BATTLE REPORTS - BLOOD CONQUERS ALL - 23

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This was game 7 of the 8-game league I've been playing for the past couple of months. With my pool of available opponents growing shallow, it was time to face off against the dark eldar player of this report series. Since the new codex, though, he's been playing his other army: sisters. I'd been hearing rumors of mass heavy bolter and flamers spam, and was in dread. An assault-based light infantry army vs. a literal wall of fire?

THE OPPONENT: Now let us all bow our heads... AND FLAMER!!!
1850 pts.
Note: this is the best I can do after the fact, having virtually no knowledge of the witch hunters codex

Canonness
- retinue with lots of flamers
- Immolator with 2 TL heavy flamers

Inquisitor with heavy flamer
- retinue with lots of flamers
- Immolator with 2 TL heavy flamers

Vindicare Assassin

Celestines
- with 2x flamers, heavy flamer, brazier of fire
- Immolator with 2 TL heavy flamers

Celestines
- with 2x flamers, heavy flamer, brazier of fire
- Immolator with 2 TL heavy flamers

Sisters of Battle
- with 2x flamers, heavy flamer, brazier of fire
- Rhino

Sisters of Battle
- with 2x flamers, heavy flamer, brazier of fire
- Rhino

Sisters of Battle
- with 2x flamers, heavy flamer, brazier of fire
- Rhino

Exorcist


THE DEFENDER: Flak armor is asbestos lined, right?
1850 pts.

I used list 6-1850-a, same as last time.

The mission was seize ground with three objectives. Deployment was dawn of war. My opponent won the roll to place objectives first, and won the roll to go first. After much deliberation, he decided to give first turn to me.

At deployment, the field looked like this:

I had good reason to be terrified. Before the game began, I had nightmare visions of the vindicare picking off all of my commissars to leave a bunch of panicky, huddled masses to get HORRIBLY flamed. Even my ogryn wouldn't be immune to the exorcist. By giving me first turn, I at least don't have to deal with the vindicator right away, but I am going to have a serious problem straight out of the gate with flaming.

I started by thinking about the objectives. I basically had two options. The first was to guard my objective over on the right and hope to claim or contest the two in the middle on his side. The other option was to leave my objective virtually unguarded and throw everything at the two objectives in the middle.

In the end, I decide on the latter. If I leave a power blob back to hold my objective, that meant that I'd be sending in only 3 blobs against the firewall. Victory was not guaranteed if I divided my forces like this, and it seemed pretty likely that my opponent would be able to claim one of his objectives making the end result either a draw if I could contest, or a loss if I got beaten back. Meanwhile, if I made a concentrated effort on his two objectives, and was able to take both of them, then he could just have mine. The end result was either a draw or a win.

Once decided, it was a matter of deployment. Obviously, if I was attacking the middle objectives, I'd want to deploy as far forward as possible. Then it came down to movement. Either I could advance cautiously, and risk my opponent just barely popping up on the board and then crushing my forces in their entirety turn 2, or I can get my forces closer in, and have him just drive up and flamer MOST of my stuff. Hopefully what I had left would be able to tie down their forces until Rhamael arrived...

I didn't have much of a choice but to spread my blob out, not only to keep flamer casualties down, but also to hopefully thin his forces out so that I can attack only a part of them at a time. I decide to blob up all 40 dudes in order to maximize my field presence in the middle (and hopefully push him towards the edges), and also to give my center blob two commissars in case the vindicare gets trigger happy.

In response, my opponent decides to leave his army was all-off.

TURN 1

Actions of Fongos the 10th
Caspar Macrodos

Things had been going well, and I was feeling more lucid than I had in quite some time. I vaguely reckoned having fought over the past few weeks, and once I was feeling right again, I'd been caught up on the battle's progress.

After the assassination of part of the core leadership of the enemy, we'd done a good job trapping and destroying their forces. The last pockets of resistance collapsed yesterday. This left the men in the city closest to the remnants of our enemy to sweep in and clear out the last of 'em.

We got news that we should only be expecting rear-guard action, and that we should keep on 'em if we break through. Not long and we'd have them cleared all the way out of the city. Dax was assigned to take a stretch of the old wall including the north-eastern gate. Fearing an acre of trouble should the enemy choose to dig in on the wall on account of letting their pals escape, he ordered up all four pints of artillery before we went in. This was followed up by a round of smoke shells, cloaking the field with a thick haze of obscurement. As a light breeze slowly wafted the cloud towards the wall, the marshal's entire line advanced.

I was placed right behind him in reserves, in the case of immanent violence. Didn't take us long to approach the north-east gate.

With my opponent all-off the board, I decide to advance. I want to make sure that I can get within melta range of his tanks, wherever they show up. I want to both spread him out and draw him towards the left. As such, I move up, but spread out, with a special emphasis for the left.

Claiming both center objectives on the first turn seals the deal.

After this point, the field looked like this:

In my opponent's turn, he's ALL IN.

Once his tanks drove up, most of them spilled their guts out onto the table.

I'd like to take a moment to explain a couple of things that weren't completely grasped before this point. The first of these is that immolators can move 12" and still fire both flamers. The second, and I don't know why I didn't think about this before, is that after transports move, the occupants can still get out and shoot. The third is that this gives your average SoB squad an 18" threat range coming in off the board.

This meant that it was actually blatantly unnecessary to close to 12" of his board edge.

4 twin-linked heavy flamers, 5 regular heavy flamers, and 8 regular flamers SOAKED my forces. Bolter fire chimed in, and I failed almost all of my cover saves. Had I not run QUITE so far forward, I probably could have saved myself some amount of the ridiculous carnage (or, should I say, barbecue). As it was, I got suckered into moving too far forward, and the bait was a flambe...

At least I was smart enough not to put my sergeants at the front of the squad, so I could lose chumps to thin out flamer damage as the casualties mounted.

The turn ended with both of us forgetting about night-fight, and the exorcist acing a heavy weapons team.

After this point, the field looked like this:


TURN 2

And then there they were, right out of nowhere. Looked in an awful hurry like WE were the ones getting charged out of the mist, not the other way around. A sheet of flame near as literal as you can make it blasted out onto Dax and his boys all sudden-like. The marshal shouted most politely over his vox to get other men of his line to close in on his position. I turned on my megaphone and pointed it at my posse.

"Alright, boys, seem's we got a doin's a transpirin'. Let's get em! Iffa pleese!"

"Yessah!" the lead thug replied, and we were on our way. Time to rustle up some heretics.

As the flame and smoke cleared, a figure could be made out of the heat-haze and soot strangling the air. There he was, holding his severed head filled with explosives - a Zonhaim assassin. Where did he even come from?

Ideally, I'd have gotten in the stormies right about now, but they were still busy getting into position. At least Rhamael showed up, and from the right side. Praise the Emperor for the proverbial cavalry.

So, I won't lie, I've had better bottoms of one before. I have no choice, but to press on with what I have. My opponent had basically two choices - deploy on the objective and deploy near the edge where Rhamael would be showing up, or deploy on the objective, and deploy the rest further to the right, allowing me to concentrate with my forces and Rhamael on just his left side.

As my opponent has chosen the latter, I've got to press the opening while it's still there. Given that my power blob is still in threat range of most of his forces, I've got to make a choice of where to attack. If I attack too far to the left, too much in the center will survive. This will allow him to get his house in order and instigate a mass charge on Rhamael once my center forces get swept out of the way. On the other hand, if I attack too far to the right, I might well not have enough power to make sure his left is gone, which means he'll get a pre-emptive strike on Rhamael's forces while they're still terribly bunched up. It will then be his slightly maimed forces against a maimed Rhamael at my opponent's discretion.

Shooting starts with Daxos BiDing on himself to attack a right-side rhino. The more I can KEEP my opponent's forces spread out, the better. Planting a threat on the same side as an objective, and forcing a mech player to think about how to advance forces on foot seemed like a good idea. With BiD, all three shots hit. Two of them were in 6". I roll for penetration against the vehicle and BOTH of the meltaguns roll snakeyes! At least the one that was out of 6" managed to penetrate, with the end result of a wrecked vehicle.

After this, Rhamael throws down a fleet order, and rolls boxcars.

Shooting sees Rhamael open up with 3 meltaguns scoring two pens and a glance, one of the pens being stopped by cover, along with Rhamael burning himself with his pistol. The end result is a shaken and an immobilized result. It may not be able to shoot, but it's still going to get in the way. I unload with a 3x missile launcher team into it and get a penetration for a vehicle explodes! result. A couple of sisters are killed in the blast.

The rest of the action on the left sees the ogryn make a good run roll, while the squads that came in out of outflank rolled poorly.

In the center, the Zonhaim chucks his bomb on the inquisitor. The shot scatters 2". The end result is that almost everyone is still under the blast, but the center hole is now on an immolator. The 5 hits see two of them roll 1's to wound, but the immolator is wrecked. The final salvo sees the last missile launcher team throw down a pair of glances for a shaken and immobilized result on the remaining center rhino.

Then comes time for close combat. My point is to tie up as much as I possibly can to give time for the ogryn and Rhamael to arrive.

I ran forward as fast as I could with my posse. In a break in the wall of fire, I saw a handful of men charge forward. They may have took a lickin', but it takes more than that to keep a servant of the Emperor down! That's right.

Faster than I could put to words, the fight turned into the ugliest side of a bar fight. Hacking and slashing, punching and clubbing, cursing and pulling of hair. I'd damn near PAY to see this.

Suddenly, a cloud of flame erupted up into the air as a vehicle exploded. This party was just gettin' started. Oh yeah.

My ultrablob may have suffered terrible casualties, but the cream of the crop was still there. 4 powersword wielding maniacs went after the left squad while two went after the other. The priest made sure to make it in on the immolator.

With the sisters at only WS3, the commissars put down a LOT of hits. Rerolls on everything else put down a LOT of wounds. The squad on the right was partially saved by using faith points to make their save invulnerable, but the left squad was turned into beef franks.

The combat ended with the priests putting three free penetrating hits on the immolator, causing another vehicle explosion. The 1" blast only caught one sister, one guardsman and the priest, the latter of whom was wounded and failed his rosarius test. At least he'd done his job.

The end saw me winning combat by a lot, but St. Lucius and the nearby canonness kept them in the fight.

After this point, the field looked like this:

My successful counterattack saw my opponent's left side crumpled, and with half as many transports as he started with, he'd have to be careful how he reorganized his forces.

Basically, he had three options. The first was to do what I just did: use the remnants of his outlying forces to tie down my stuff while he reconsolidated. The second was to lead an attack. This was going to be problematic with so many vehicles crammed into such little space, with such scarce ground to maneuver, and much of the nearby areas littered with wrecks just waiting for something to get immobilized. The third option was to instigate a complete withdraw, completely consolidate his forces and lead a massed late-game charge on the objectives not terribly dissimilar to turn 1.

In the end, my opponent doesn't really do any of those. He decides to keep his left out to pin down my forces while his center falls back to consolidate, but while his right leads a charge up-field, spreading his forces out.

Right near as fast as it got to starting, it seemed like everything was getting to stopping. As the last faint bits of obscurement floated off in the breeze, my gaze of the situation saw our foes starting to fall back and away from our forces.

At the same time, though, it also looked like they were attacking. Units came in on the brawl in the center...

... while a nervous marshal Clinton put out a call for help over the micro-bead...

Shooting began with the vindicator leaning out of the window and taking aim at the center power blob. A sharp crack rang through the air as one of the commissars hit the ground, his armor clattering on the gravel.

The rest of the shooting saw the inquisitor using his heavy flamer ability on the Zonhaim for a wound, while the support unit in the center ran up into cover, prepared to take down the power blob in combat next turn.

Then the sisters shot at Daxos and through some truly spectacularly terrible rolling, saw Daxos still survive. Then the exorcist opened up with 6 shots on him, and he went to ground. The officer hid so deep into cover that he wasn't found until days later...

In close combat, my opponent killed off the last chump from the ultra-blob, which HORRIBLY flubbed its rolls in return - 4 power weapon dudes killing off only a couple of models, leaving one still in close combat. Crap...

After this point, the field looked like this:


TURN 3

The top of three sees my stormies arrive in from reserves. I ponder where to put them. On the one hand, I could place them more over to the left, and using them to shield Rhamael's advance, or possible (though unlikely) digging the canoness out of cover. That said, I know that my opponent isn't the kind of person to let a juicy, lone target go unmolested (cf. Daxos from last turn). If I play them further to the right, they will undoubtedly work as a distraction, and will at least be able to thin down his forces.

Everything starts with Rhamael and he ogryn booking it towards the objectives in the center.

Shooting begins with Rhamael BiDing himself, but the melta is all but out of range, and the immolator had cover, the end result being a single shaken result. To back this up, the missile launchers decide to be full of fail and 5 missile shots into the immolator's rear armor only manages to immobilize the vehicle.

Shooting continues with ripper guns rolling really poorly against the canonness and her retinue. To make up for this, the stormies PLASTER the right side sisters squad. As they were only T3, BS4 AP3 hot-shot lasguns did terrible carnage while the plasma put down three kills, and a burn which made a casualty of the shooter.

Shooting concludes with the Zonhaim dinging the inquisitor with his ripper pistol.

Assault then begins with the Zonhaim putting down a HUGE pile of hurt on the inquisitor, and he manages to fail an armor save, sending the assassin 6" into cover.

Close combat sees the ultrablob club the lone survivor of mess in the center and then consolidate 1"... double crap...

After this point, the field looked like this:

My opponent begins his turn by consolidating his armor pool over on the right, but he decides to make the rally point still in the thick of terrain and wrecked vehicles.

What he has on the left obviously charges into the center, and, as expected, my opponent moves in an immolator from the right side of the board in to kill the stormies out in the open.

Shooting sees 3 flamers and a heavy flamer absolutely annihilate the remainder of the ultrablob in the center. While the AP4 on the twin-linked heavy flamer ends the stormies.

The vindicator takes aim at one of my blob commissars, but the shot fails to wound, while the Zonhaim gets annihilated by a heavy flamer due to poor placement on my part.

After this point, the field looked like this:


TURN 4

In what has felt like an eternity, Rhamael finally shows up with his blobs on the objective while the ogryn charge in.

Shooting sees Rhamael wreck the heavily damaged immolator while the missile launchers set them selves up for Fail: the revenge of Fail as 5 hits put down a single hit, which fails to even glance AV11. I really wanted that thing busted open, REALLY badly.

At least the ripper guns did their job, more or less, taking down a couple of celestines.

Then came close combat.

I ran forward in a great haste. We were finally closing in on them.

"Alright, boys," I shouted through my megaphone, "Looks like we got ourselves a real shindig here!"

I turned my megaphone up to 10.

"Now let's get in there and beat 'em up! Iffa pleese!"

The ogryn took a shine to the idea of general thuggery as we mobbed in on the enemy.

Combat starts with the canoness's 5 attacks put an astonishing 4 wounds on the lord commissar. The dice decided to pay me back when I make 3 of my 5+ saves. Everybody put a HUGE pile of hurt on the 2 ladies and the canoness. The retinue instantly evaporates, and 5 regular wounds and a ogryn insta-splat wound go on the canoness, who used the power of faith to make her 2+ a 2++, bouncing all of the hits clean away. Everything piles in on the canoness.

After this point, the field looked like this:

In return, my opponent brings his immolator that scorched the stormies back into line. The rest of his tanks line up in formation. They're well-concentrated now, but not actually near anything, and still with a whole heap of terrain and wrecks between him and me.

Shooting sees 4 shots from the exorcist all hitting my missile launcher squad with three wounds putting down another missile team through cover.

In close combat, rather than having me roll 18 power weapon attacks, 18 ripper gun attacks and a heap of the rest of hurt on the 1-wound canonness (she got dinged by something, I don't remember what), my opponent spares me the effort and just removes the model. My forces consolidate towards the building.

After this point, the field looked like this:


TURN 5

Coughing to get some of the ozone out of my lungs, I looked around. Not a thing left standing. Everyone just standing around looking confused. Time to take some decisive action.

"Yes sirs!" I shouted to everyone gathered nearby "That was a hell of a thing! Now, let's take this here party ON THE MOVE!"

A battle cry came up from the men as they followed me into battle.

Now finally broken through, I send the better part of my forces charging in to overrun my enemy.

Rhamael shouts a pair of like the wind's, and the lord commissar's leadership keeps everyone well informed. Ripper guns cause the vindicare assassin hiding in the building to go to ground, passing all his 2+ cover saves against ripper guns, but the fleet gets a couple ogryn up on the second floor. Taking a wound from dangerous terrain was a small price to pay to launch them upstairs.

The other fleet also goes well, and my top-side blob throws itself against the top-side immolator. Meanwhile, the lone missile launcher team creeps over to the right, giving me control of all three objectives.

In close combat, my ogryn make vindicare jam and then hoof it back downstairs. My top blob charges the immolator. 5 rerollable meltabomb attacks sees one hit for one pen, while something like 18 rerollable frag grenades see 3 hits for no damage (probably scared the crap out of the crew, though). The penetration tragically only immobilizes the vehicle.

After this point, the field looked like this:

In return, my opponent springs his long-awaited counterassault. By this point, though, he no longer feels that he can comprehensively take the center with what he has from the position he was attacking from. As a result, he keeps a rhino full of sisters and the exorcist on the right to threaten my objective while the other two units attack. Unfortunately for him, my forces are now split up, which sees one immolator+celestines on each one of my blobs.

Unfortunately for me, I'd seen this kind of thing before. 3 heavy flamers hit both guard squads, along with regular flamer fire. The left side was once again caught by flamer fire due to over-reaching during my movement phase, and with everyone packed in against the vehicle on the top, they scored a LOT of hits.

In the face of possible mass panic, the commissariat did their best to reassure the men that things would be alright. Thankfully, enough sergeants could hear the lord commissar shouting through his megaphone that summary executions were not required.

After this point, the field looked like this:

Needless to say, being up 2-0, I'd really rather the game ended here. I roll the die to continue and flip a 5. On we go!


TURN 6

Just like the top of 2, I found my plans compromised by a huge gout of flame. Just like the top of 2, I have no hope for victory but to charge straight in and kill whatever I can get my hands on.

I really wanted that bottom power blob to stick around to hold objectives, but as it was horribly gutted down to just 5 guys, I no longer have the range to keep both objectives with them. As such, I move Rhamael over to snag the left side objective, while the blob moves in against the sisters. Hopefully I'll be able to club them fast enough to snag a good consolidation roll, or be primed to take the objective back turn 7, if there is one.

Shooting sees ripper guns down three sisters in the center of the board, while the missile launchers do another round of missing. The dudes near the board edge on the top kill a couple sisters with a flamer, and the commissar even manages to make a rare kill with his bolt pistol. Then it was time to charge in.

After the terrible heap of liquid hot violence was done incinerating my troops, I looked around to take stock of the survivors. Weren't much left, but it would have to do. All this flaming was grating on me.

"Come on, boys! Let's get 'em!" I shouted. My posse looked at me anxiously.

"But its fire in dere!" one of them whined, spooked something fierce by the spectacle. I reached down to my megaphone and set the power level to 11.

"N'I'AIN'T GOT TIME FOR NO BELLY ACHIN' AND PANSY-ASS THIS-AND-THAT'N'! I SAID GET IN THERE AND THUG 'EM UP! IFFA PLEESE!!"

And how! I broke the door of the nearby vehicle open with my power fist, and a pair of my ogryn stuck their hand cannons inside and pulled the trigger. Blew it straight up! Oh yeah! Damn fine. That's right.

In the center, the ogryn put down a heap of attacks on the immolator, along with some help from a power fist. Loads of S6 attacks didn't lie, and the end result was a pair of pens, one of which blew up the vehicle. Meanwhile, 9 power weapon attacks, only manage to kill a single T3 model. The explosion failed to wound the last sister, while all 4 of my power blobsmen were wounded. I failed two of my armor saves, including the commissar going down. This meant I LOST combat by 1. Thankfully, the two remaining blobsmen were definitely within 12" of the lord commissar...

Meanwhile, a meltabomb and three eviscerator attacks autohitting the other immolator on the top wrecked it in a hurry. Thankfully, it didn't explode this time. Meanwhile, the other power weapons actually did their job, and the squad was killed.

After this point, the field looked like this:

In response, my opponent uses what few tools are at his disposal to try and do his best.

On the top, the lone survivor of the stormies that had been chilling out in the rhino made a last-ditch move for the right center objective. a 4 puts her on the rubble of her rhino, and she doesn't take difficult terrain. The run only rolls a 2, keeping the model out of 3" of the center right objective.

Meanwhile, a full, 10-lady squad of sisters drives up, flops out on the objective and MURDERS my last missile launcher squad on my right-side objective.

At this point, the game is a 1-1 draw. I've got to hope that I win the close combat I'm in with a high enough roll to get two guardsmen on the center right objective, or I've got to hope that the game goes to turn 7, in which case I just win flat out.

Close combat sees an awful mess made of the last sister. I pick up the dice to consolidate with my remaining power blobsmen and roll a 5.

Good enough.

After this point, the field looked like this:

There is now no longer anything my opponent can do. For the sake of it, he rolls to continue and throws down a snakeye.


FINAL RESULTS

The Imperial Guard held two objectives, while the Witch Hunters have one, for an Imperial Guard victory.

- A good game against a good opponent, if ever there was one. The thing that I think was most interesting about this game was that our two armies shared a special destiny with one another. I was the king of assault, and my opponent was the master of the short-ranged firefight. No matter what happened, there was no way that I could get into assault without being butchered by flamers, and there was no way that he could butcher me with flamers without immediately winding up in assault.

- I finally got to play a game against an honest-to-goodness treaded mech list. While I didn't bring anywhere near the anti-transport of my original 1850 list, the principles were still there. For example, it didn't matter that my opponent could move around in a transport if there was nowhere to move to. Furthermore, it demonstrates what I've been saying about facing off against transport armies on objectives missions. Sure, he may have been able to run wherever he wanted, but wherever he wanted was invariably AWAY from the objectives. The only way he could have gotten back on them was by risking imminent death at the hands of eviscerators, meltaguns, and ogryn. On a related note, it was actually nice to get to use my priests for their intended purpose for a change.

- Much moreso than in any other game I've played in this series, I feel like my opponent and I less played the game, and more played each other. Like poker, the game seemed more of an intermediary for a contest between the players themselves. My opponent knew that I feel the need to keep up a constant forward momentum, partially because I've played against him when I haven't, and have gotten whomped. Giving me first turn and staying all-off saw me suckered into getting horribly mangled on turn 1 and then he played the same trick on me again on turn 5, and I fell for it just as hard the second time. Meanwhile, I knew that my opponent had a hard time resisting running in and slaughtering freebie units that I leave out as bait, causing his forces to remain divided past the point where concentrating them would have been helpful. Likewise, I knew that my opponent has a keen sense for force preservation, especially when he starts taking serious casualties, allowing me to bank on him falling back on turns 2 and 3 - at least, with units that weren't taking bait.

The end result was my opponent playing me to get me butchered with flamers while I played him to keep his forces divided while I pooled mine together.

Excellent, truly excellent.

- My ogryn TRASHED this game. Not only did they kill right about their points cost in units (including getting rid of that pesky vindicare), but they were a brick wall defending the center once I took it, forcing my opponent to divert his forces right and down, rather than straight at the objectives. Plus, the leadership bubble came more than a little handy in this game, and the power fist didn't hurt either. To top it all off, they didn't take a single casualty, and all while they had arrived a turn late to boot!

MVP: Yeah, the ogryn. For all the reasons stated above, and for the sheer fact of the psychological factor of having some VERY angry brutes virtually untouched going into the end of the game.

Hero of the Game: This one goes to my Zonhaim assassin. Shows up in the middle of a literal firestorm, wrecks stuff and then aces an inquisitor. Nice job, buddy!

I relieved my men who were down with pain and led my posse to finish off the last of the traitors. It wasn't until the end that I realised that we had been fighting a traitor inquisitor and his retinue - crack shock troops of the enemy.

The other parts up and down our positions weren't so well defended, and the last of the serious defense of the city walls crumbled.

This local color put down, I put about gathering more reinforcements. There was still a city street or two to flush out in hand to hand fighting. Our enemy was beaten and high-tailing it out of here, but that didn't mean that we'd just be walking through with nothing but candy and roses. Not at all.

More reports will be expressed as available.