BATTLE REPORTS - BLOOD CONQUERS ALL - 17

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This week brought about the beginning of an 1850 red-book league. Nothing fancy, just knock-down drag-outs. The first game saw me pitted against P.Chappel, my vanquisher from the tournament the previous week, and who crunched me in game 4. Inspired by recent eldar-ery, my opponent decided to up his wraithguard of doom list into an 1850 model.

THE CHALLENGER: spirit stones!
1850 pts.

Eldrad

10x wraithguard with spirit seer
8x banshees (exarch with acrobatic, executioner)
10x scorpions (exarch with shadowstrike, chainsabres)

avengers in a serpent
pathfinders

Wraithlord (brightlance, EML)
Wraithlord (brightlance, EML)

Fire Prism

THE DEFENDER: CHAAAAAAAARGE!!!! 1850 pts.

I used list 5-1850-c. Straken, 2 priestly power blobs in the back, 2 priestly power blobs coming in with al'rahem, 3 hydras. Grand old time.

The mission was "capture and control". Deployment was "sprearhead". I won the roll to go first. Given Eldrad's "fancy feet" ability, I gain little by making him deploy first, even though I'd like a turn of him coming towards my blobs (and hopefully allowing me to get the drop on his outflanking scorpions). I decide to take first turn.

At deployment, the field looked like this:

Our obejctives are both placed pretty close to each other, so this is likely to turn into a giant scrum in the middle - just what I want. All I've got to do is keep wraithlord away from my ogryn (and wraithguard shooting, for that matter), and my new toy unit will probably survive. As well, I've kept my commissars way in the back of the blobs. Yes, I'll lose out on some power weapon attacks right away, but, very, very much more importantly, I'm not going to see eldrad popping all of my commissars before they have a chance to make it into close combat. Getting lots of stubborn power weapons in for several turns is going to be key to killing a huge mob of T6 wraithguard, and ultimately securing my opponent's objective. I'm banking on ogryn and hydras to shoo away most of the rest, with Rhamael coming in wherever he's needed most.

Hopefully, I'll be able to win the slow grind of attrition with my 9 power weapons and equivalent 5 power fists backed by 103 abblative, abblative wounds.


TURN 1

Raust Melios Carissander - Commissar, Theleos Group

With the bold attack straight into the enemy that I lead nearly a week ago, Foleran forces quickly regained ground lost to over a month of indecisiveness by the worthless marshal Clinton.

With reinforcements pouring in, I was shortly standing before the gates of a great bastion just outside the city. Once this trifling objective was swept away, the enemy would be caught in the flank with their pants down, with me holding the sharp yet rusty knife, ready to stab them in the nuts.

Marshal Clinton had decided to tack a characteristically cowardly course, and decided to direct his regiment from the rear. Disgusted with his petty and girlish ways, I left his personal group and reassigned myself to one of the line's others. Casualties had been sufficiently high on our part over the last few days of fighting, with several of Clinton's groups being completely reformed within just the week.

One of the replacements was a commander marshal Theleos, who insisted that everyone call him by his first name of Melchoir. At first, he struck me as the slimy, sneaky type who placed their faith in contrivance rather than in the direct assaults sanctioned as the only proper course of attack dictated by our Most Holy and Gracious God-Emperor (may a million smiles be upon his face). However, having learned more about him, I could clearly see that iron-clad gaze of sufficient greatness in his eyes. Despite being somehow unable to advance past the rank of a group commander, he was armed appropriately for a man of action.

Some say that he lost his left arm to a cursed chaos blade, the traitorous infection therefrom nearly claiming his life. Whatever the cause, any man who can swing a power fist like a switchblade and carries the emblem of the Blessed and Most Bureaucratic Inquisition is surely a man after my own murderously beating heart.

After a few, brief words to his officers, our group formed up and began its advance.

With shouts of "forward you abblative fools!" from commissars and priests leading boldly from the rear, my whole army charges forwards. The only exception to this are the ogryn, who move over more toward the right board edge. I want to chew some chump pathfinders, and be in position to help out Rhamael when he shows up.

That and Melchoir, who stayed out of LOS near the objective. The LAST thing my army needs right now is to lose the astropath to a well-placed fire prism or wraithlord barrage turn 1.

In shooting, 2 hydras open up on the right-side wraithlord, nearly killing it, while the center hydra shoots at the wraithguard in the middle, but they pass all their armor saves.

After this point, the field looked like this:

My opponent, in return, moves vaguely rightwardsly. Shooting began with fortune on the wraithguard and doom on my ogryn, followed up by a mind war that pops the pea-sized brain of the lumbering brute nearest the pathfinders. The pathfinders and one of the nearby wraithlord likewise open up on the ogryn, dropping one. The ogryn fail their pinning test and then reroll only to fail it again!

Meanwhile, the left side wraithlord opened up on one of my hydras causing a penetrating hit and a vehicle explosion.

After this point, the field looked like this:


TURN 2

I advanced boldly into combat, shouting out orders to my men who, assuredly due to fear of being caught in range of my bolt pistol, had already advanced far ahead of me. Their retreat away from me may have been cowardly, but it was herding them towards the enemy witches. This clearly shows one of the limited uses of the common enlisted soldier.

During this, I lost sight of Theleos. Concerned that he was hiding cowardly like that wretched Daxos, I panned the field, only to see our reinforcements arriving en masse.

Needless to say, the turn begins with Rhamael showing up. As this is an objectives game, I decide to make his forces 2 20-man blobs instead of one superblob.

The rest of my army charges in boldly. Rhamael uses like the wind, and with a good fleet roll, one of the power blobs barely makes it into assault range with the wraithguard. Likewise my bottom blob is able to probably be able to assault. The ogryn get back in the fight and decide to run (because shooting pathfinders in cover...), but only get 1".

Shooting begins with BiD of 3x melta on the fire prism. Three hits cause some pretty lackluster damage due to holofields, but once again Rhamael's plasma pistol comes through in the clinch, immobilizing the vehicle. Meanwhile, the two remaining hydras down the nearby wraithlord that they had wounded the previous turn.

Then came the assault phase. The fleeted power blob made it into close combat with the wraithlord:

followed by a gang-bang on the falcon:

Followed up by my center blob joining in the fray:

The madness began with an eviscerator throwing down two penetrating hits for a mere "stunned" as the highest result (boo), while Rhamael used a frag grenade to cleverly break the prism's crystal, leaving the tank an immobile shuriken catapult platform.

The scrum in the middle didn't go quite as well as hoped. Even with furious charge, I still needed 6's to wound the wraithguard, and the first invul save of every batch was thrown onto a rerollable 4+ invul save. Still, through the torrent of rerollable power weaponing, I'm able to put a couple down, whose return casualties are pretty light.

I pass the morale check on the center blob, but I fail it on the fleet blob. After gunning down the sergeant, the commissar forces a reroll, and they fail their Ld9 morale check AGAIN!

After this point, the field looked like this:

In response, my opponent consolidates his forces into the developing melee in the middle. It starts with the scorpions arriving from reserves, and rolling in off of the right side of the board, following right up behind Rhamael. The banshees started the turn about 13-15" away from my nearest dude and begin with a poor move through cover roll.

Shooting sees the wraithlord peel some paint on one of the hydras, while the pathfinders open up on my ogryn, putting down a couple of wounds. The ogryn fail their pinning test AGAIN, but make it due to the standard being nearby.

Scorpions open up with pistol fire into my guardsmen and unfortunately take down 5 before charging in:

The scorpions put down 17 wounds, which is exactly the number he needed to do in order to force me to put one on the commissar. The commissar fails his armor save. Instead of losing about 8 or 9 guys due to the charge and sticking them in combat for another couple of turns, the entire squad was cut down in a sweeping advance.

Meanwhile, the center combat sees him chip away at a couple more of my dudes, while eldrad rerollable 3+'s his way out of a couple of wounds while my power weapons only put down a single wound, which is stopped by a rerollable 4++. A few passed armor saves later, and my side does literally no damage to his wraithguard wall this turn.

At least, with only turning up a 4 on difficult terrain, the banshees were just shy of making it into combat.

After this point, the field looked like this:


TURN 3

My first wave didn't really go as planned, so I have little choice but to bring up everybody else. The battle will be won or lost by this scrum in the middle.

A poor difficult terrain roll with Raust's power blob leaves me considering my options. Ideally, I'd like to make it into close combat with the middle, as I'd be furious charging a medium size can of whoopass directly into eldrad. On the other hand, I don't want those banshees getting the charge into close combat. That and the banshees would do some serious hurt before my power weapons got an attack in edgewise. As such, I consider charging in against them to preempt their charge. Unfortunately, I've got to pretty much roll a 6 on difficult terrain in order to get into the thick of it with them. As such, I decide to put down a FRFSRF. After all, the center can probably hold on for another turn by itself...

Shooting sees banshees die by the fistful as something like 50 lasgun shots and a flamer which hit 5 banshees guns them down. The hydras chime in to help, but unfortunately, after all the dust settles, there's still one left. The phase continues with lots of running. Spearhead deployment meant that I'd be having a hard time getting everybody into combat this turn (indeed, if anybody), so I set up for the death blow the turn after.

I make sure to use a "get back in the fight!" on my stupidly running away power blob so that they can charge in next turn (or even this one), but they FAIL their leadership test to receive the order.

In assault, my ogryn roll high enough on difficult terrain to get into it with the pathfinders. The scouts vainly attempt to pistol whip the ogryn who furious charge them a new one.

In the dogpile in the center, eldrad once again laughs off several attacks with the armor save of doom, taking down a couple of guardsmen in the process. The rest of my guys puts down a couple of power weapon wounds, one of which is absorbed by the seer, but I finally take one of the wraithguard down.

One of my blobs fails a morale test, but THIS commissar is able to actually enforce order in his ranks and the squad stays.

After this point, the field looked like this:

In return, my opponent commits everything into the middle but the wraithlord (who still moved in that direction).

After missing with his wraithlord, he throws all of his remaining forces into a giant battle to the death in the middle:

Assault began with the banshee using a I10 scream mask to throw down a meltagunner before getting stabbed in the throat by Rhamael's power weapon.

Meanwhile, my ogryn beat the last remaining snot out of the pathfinders and consolidate 1" upwards.

Having not gotten a chance to fire their pistols (lest it leave him out of range), the scorpions charged in and put down a similarly grotesque number of wounds on my fleeing blob with chainswords as they did last time, except this time they're just one model shy of forcing me to put a wound on my commissar. The end result is a lot of dead guardsmen, but the scorpions are now stuck.

With my blob in the center now down to precipitously low numbers, the amount of damage I throw on the wraithguard is pretty weak. He finally fails an armor save, though, and one of them goes down.

After this point, the field looked like this:


TURN 4

I decided to take a moment to preform a strategic withdrawl (not running forward as absolutely fast as is possible) to saturate a nearby witch squad with a thousand brilliant rays of light and purifying fire. After enough accursed flesh had sloughed off the bone, I continued my merciless advance. The battle had been raging for quite some time now, and I was eager to rip out my enemies cursed witch stones with my bare hands.

As I charged, I noticed that Theleos had emerged from hiding and was joining me in the attack. It was now all or nothing - a cowardly death or glorious, glorious victory.

I'm all in, baby! I was so excited to do my second wave that I even forgot to shoot my hydras.

Everything charged in, bringing the total number of my units in the combat up to 8. With so many targets that he had to attack, the damage done was pretty spread out.

While furious charge didn't help me much against the wraithlord, the raw amount of hits put down threw 5 wounds on eldrad, 6 wounds and 1 power wound on the wraithguard and 2 power wounds on the seer. Eldrad passed every one of his armor saves. The wraithlord passed all of theirs. The seer passed both of his rerollable 4++s. Unfortunately, Melchoir whiffed with 4 of his 5 WS5 S7 power weapon attacks, while my power swords over by the scorpions finally decided to work properly, dragging a couple of them down.

Unfortunately, despite my grand entrance, I still barely lost combat. I take morale and fail with Raust's squad, causing me to gun down another sergeant, but at least they stayed. Meanwhile, Rhamael (whose instant death power weapon I was counting on to handle the other wraithlord) failed his morale check and then rerolled morale due to the standard and failed AGAIN. My ogryn, my stubborn, stubborn ogryn roll morale and they fail AGAIN. Then the pick up the standard reroll and FAIL AGAIN. They then flee 12"...

After this point, the field looked like this:

In my opponent's turn, his serpent full of avengers decides to arrive, smoothly gliding onto their objective.

Shooting sees a shuriken catapult from the fire prism ace Rhamael's meltagunner while the wraithlord blows off one part of my hydra autocannon system.

Close combat sees the endless struggle for the middle of the board continue to grind down...

Eldrad and company once again put down their reliable handful of wounds while the scorpions throw a murderous amount of attacks against Melchoir. Chain sabres against WS3 T3 5+ is one thing, WS5 T4 3+ is entirely another. I look on in astonishment as I actually pass a drove of armor saves. In return, after flubbing it last round, Melchoir regains his footing and punches out three of the scorpions while the lone remaining commissar from all of Rhamael's forces (other than Rhamael himself) stabs a fourth.

Meanwhile, the weight of three power fists and three power weapons finally starts taking a toll. This time I don't do enough damage that he can wound wrap invul saves just onto the seer. As such, a couple of wraithguard finally get the punching they deserve and this time, after countless saves, the seer finally fails a rerollable 4+ save. Of course, eldrad once again single handedly fought off a dozen guardsmen without a scratch...

Now that the much-easier-to-kill scorpions were available for the munching, I finally win a round of combat.

After this point, the field looked like this:


TURN 5

Turn 5 begins with my ogryn being just barely within 6" of a scorpion, causing them to continue to fall back... 10"... right up to the very edge of the board.

Shooting sees me pathetically bounce a handful of hydra shots off the wave serpent.

In close combat, Melchoir easily knocks the scorpions down to just the exarch, but not before they put down the last commissar of Rhamael. Meanwhile, now that the wound wrapping nonsense is out of the way, almost all the remaining wraithguard fall to power fist, power weapon, and eviscerator attacks. I cue up another 4 wounds on Eldrad. He, yet again, passes every single save.

After this point, the field looked like this:

By this point, my opponent's army is now broken. Basically alll he has left is eldrad and a wraithlord standing between all the anger I have left over, and an unfortunate end to the avengers. After tagging Rhamael with a shuricat shot and blowing off another autocannon from a hydra, he proceeds to play his last card, bringing the wraithlord into combat:

In close combat, the scorpion exarch takes down another commissar (once again, the only one left in his squad), and bounces another couple of hits off of the man of steel before meeting a gristly, punching death. Meanwhile, I easily finish off the last wraithguard, while, yet again I throw some wounds on Eldrad, and yet again, they are all rebuffed by his rerollable 3++.

Of course, without the scorpion food, I dont' put down enough wounds to win combat, the end result of which is that Melchoir, far from the action, loses a wound to being over run.

After this point, the field looked like this:

If the game were to continue on to turn 7, I'd have a pretty darn decent chance of winning this, what with the raw number of power fist attacks I put down every turn. Of course, we've got to be able to get there. The die is cast for continuation and comes up a 1.


FINAL RESULTS

Both players controlled their objective for a draw.

- For a less than favorable deployment type against probably the best player in the store with a mean eldar list, I'll definitely take a draw. The endless rerollable saves (how Eldrad is capable of keeping his concentration up to cast psychic abilities while mobbed by a horde of chopping guardsmen I'll never know) and T6 models and lots of attacks proved more than an adequate challenge, and I'm happy with the end result.

- This was my first time using ogryn (well, in this case, it was the "jolly green giants" - bringing high strength attacks and frozen peas to the enemy everywhere). Despite failing almost every single leadership test, despite rerolls, and running away from battle about 11 times faster than they ran towards it, they still actually were basically worth their points. Of 250 spent, they ate a little over 200. Plus, they absorbed the only turn of mind war, and provided a temporary distraction in the big melee for a turn. If this is how they preform with really bad luck, I'm interested to see how they do when the dice fare better.

- likewise, "Straken's" special abilities did NOTHING this game, as very little got charged, and the +1S didn't prevent me from needing 6s to wound. That said, while the scorpions ate over 400 points of guardsmen, Melchoir stopped them COLD. In the end, I could have possibly gotten more if I would have waited a turn so that more stuff could have been in range with the original charge, but I really didn't want the mind war to go endlessly on. Like the Ogryn, my judgment is reserved, but hopeful.

MVP: This one is going to have to go to Melchoir. My army was having problems with the T6 3+/4++ fortune cheese, and the going was as tough as it was slow. Thanks to Melchoir, enough time was purchased against the scorpions to finally put the spirit seer down. Plus, all of those scorpion kills were desperately necessary to get me winning combats again - ever so important when I couldn't pass a morale check (I gunned down a third of my sergeants this game due to cowardice).

Hero of the Game: This one goes to Melchoir's cousin, Rhamael. Despite the fact that he was technically falling back when the game ended, he was the lone, injured survivor of the absolute carnage that happened to his rather considerable forces. That and he bravely took down a fire prism with his pistol and the lone banshee with his sword which was friggin' sweet. If only he could have got into hand to hand with the other wraithlord...

The mighty war machine crept up behind me. I turned, with deep passion and eviscerative anger and rallied the troops into taking down the monstrosity. A flurry of brutal violence was applied to the remainder of the enemy forces - a lone vehicle of the enemy escaped our slaughter. Fortunately, with my help, casualties among our men were very, very high. Victory was ours, but Theleos felt he had little choice but to consolidate our gains, rather than properly push through to continue our advance into the bastion.

I would have summarily executed him right there and then if it weren't for the impressive amount of ichor dripping from his entire body. More of such men, the Imperium desperately needs, even if their sanity does occasionally lapse.

I eagerly await my next assignment. In faith,

-Raust Melios Carissander, Imperial Commissar