BATTLE REPORTS - The Hand of the King - 32 (tactical)

To view the Hand of the King registry, click here. To view the game's battle report, click here.

This game was the second of our big multiplayer games, but it had a pretty serious twist. First, let me explain the rules.

Everybody would play a game with a 750 point list. The mission was one akin to the relic. The difference was that in the center was a hatch that went downstairs, rather than an objective. Any unit that started their turn (not just ended their movement phase) on the hatch was able to send a unit down below. The unit would be removed from play and the player would score one point.

Naturally, vehicles couldn't go through the hatch, and if you ended your turn without anything on the board, and had gotten at least one unit down the hatch, then the game just ended, and points were calculated (so, you couldn't table yourself). Secondaries still counted.

Now, when your units went down the hatch, you wrote down exactly their composition (so, if a unit or character went in wounded, you wrote down how many they had left), and what turn they went in on.

Then, once all the games were done, there was a second game that was played. This was done on a single table that consisted of a tunnel system with a doomsday device in the center. Your units would arrive at one of the tunnel entrances (based on which table you played your first game on), with the models that made it through, on the turn that they made it through on.

This game had no time limit. Whoever was the last man standing on the doomsday device at the end with a scoring unit won the game for their team. Like the last multiplayer game, the players who were on the same team all did their turns simultaneously.

So, that's what the game was. The only problem with this was that nobody really knew that this was what was going on. I, amongst others, had assumed it would be an apocalypse-style game, so I left most of my miniatures at home. Most people, not bringing a legal list, had to quick throw something together once they learned how the game was going to go down.

I sat down for a little while and thought about how to build a list for this. On the one hand, any vehicles I brought would be dead weight for the second game, as they couldn't fit down into the tunnels. On the other hand, if I brought only guardsmen, I'd probably be on the wrong end of a massacre trying to get downstairs. Moreover, infantry platoons have terrible force concentration, and I was about to try and get my army into a tunnel system...

In the end, I decided to play it conservatively. Three units of vets and a lord commissar would be what I'd try to get downstairs. I'd put them in chimeras, to give them at least a somewhat reasonable chance of surviving up until they got to the hatch. This left 135 points. I didn't think I was all that likely to get more than three vet squads down the hole, especially with the draconian "start the turn in base contact" rules, so I decided to throw the remained of my points into something that would just kill off my opponent's stuff. I figured that not only would killing his stuff help keep my dudes safe for a late-game push for the hatch, but, well, my opponent couldn't exactly put dead guys down the hatch himself.

My List (Imperial Guard) was:

Lord Commissar - 2x plasma pistols.

Vets - 3x meltaguns, lascannon, chimera with multilaser, heavy flamer
Vets - 3x meltaguns, lascannon, chimera with multilaser, heavy flamer
Vets - 3x meltaguns, lascannon, chimera with multilaser, heavy flamer

Medusa


My Opponent's List (Grey Knights) was:

Crowe

5x purifiers, 2x heavy incinerators
5x purifiers, 2x heavy incinerators
5x purifiers, 2x heavy incinerators
5x purifiers, 2x heavy incinerators
5x purifiers, 2x heavy incinerators


Needless to say, this was going to be strange. On the one hand, my opponent focused a little too much on the second game, and not quite enough on being able to secure the hatch in the first place for the dudes to go down. On the other hand, for the first time in roughly 90 games (since roughly five years ago) I've brought a chimera. For the first time EVER, I'm running a mech list.

My opponent's warlord got to outflank with his warlord trait, which he decided to make good on. My warlord allowed all units within 12" to use his leadership... which is real useful... given that I have a lord commissar...

My opponent won the roll to go first. There was no night fighting this game. I failed to seize the initiative.

1.) My opponent's plan this game was simple - charge the hatch. Two things started to foil this plan right away. The first was some mediocre difficult terrain tests and some flat crappy run rolls. The second was that, for some reason, he decided to keep his troops bunched up.

2.) The bottom of turn one saw me being pretty conservative. My plan is to blow him off the hatch, and then dump guys down at the end. I mean, let's be reasonable, I have to survive an entire turn out in the open against 10 heavy incinerators. That's not happening. The chimera on the left stays put while the one in the center scoots forwards just a little bit, while the one on the right moved up to flank the ruins.

Shooting starts with a medusa throwing down a 1" scatter. On units that are not only internally dense, but also packed in next to each other. There are a few cover saves available, but the end result is 5 dead marines. Multilasers and single-tap lasgun fire sees off two more thanks to crummy armor saves, and I snag first blood.

3.) He bum-rushes the hatch. Everything but one squad (which rolled only 2" for difficult terrain, and only 1" for run) all piled in. Also, Crowe showed up from reserves on the right side of the board.

In return, I move in my chimera from the right and the center chimera also scoots up into heavy flamer range. The medusa begins the magic with a hit, and all but one of a purifier squad disappears, despite having cover from an intervening chimera. The heavy flamer and the vets on the right bring their squad down to just one guy while the center chimera finishes off the medusa squad and two squads of vets unload into more purifiers, killing 2 with crummy rolling.

At the top of turn 3, my opponent moves in. He doesn't really have much he can do, though, as I'm still meched up. Heavy incinerators throw around three glances, but that's all. The one purifier doesn't manage anything with a krak grenade while the 3-man squad on the left rolls snakeyes for charge distance, and lose another guy to the 2x plasma pistol, 3x meltagun, 1x lascannon overwatch.

At the bottom of turn 3, everything moves into the middle. The medusa doesn't do anything, but the vets butcher the marines with their meltaguns and mass of fire. When the smoke clears, only two marines are left in the middle, and they're not all that close to the objective, and crowe, who is desperately hoofing it in from the right.

4.) Turn 4 sees my opponent wreck my command chimera with a heavy incinerator. In return, all of my guys pile out in such a way where they're all touching the objective. They kill off the last marines.

I still have a medusa shot left, but if I table my opponent before I have a chance to get anything down the hatch, then I'm not going to have anything for the second game. All that's left is Crowe, and he doesn't have eternal warrior. The big gun decides to remain silent for now.

To make up for his genuinely crappy rolling before, Crowe makes a giant leap over into the center with a good charge roll and manages to snag one of my vet squads in close combat. The remainder of the guys go through the hatch while Crowe slaughters the vets with cleansing flame.

The game goes to turn 6 to see Crowe break out of my dudes and consolidate near the objective, which he then walks on to. If there's a turn 7, my opponent gets to push him through!

My two remaining chimeras open up and do nothing. The medusa aims and hits. He fails his 4+ invul save, and my opponent is wiped.

I got three units down the hole (two full-strength vet squads and a lord commissar), to his nothing, and I also got secondaries for a 5-0 Imperial Guard victory.

- There wasn't much for my opponent to do this game. He brought no anti-tank weapons stronger than S6, and I brought tanks and melta vets. Plus a splat-cannon. All I needed to do was to not screw things up, and he wouldn't have much of a chance. Plus, I had a rare game of having decidedly better luck than my opponent.

- That said, things didn't just go completely perfectly. Crowe managed to snag 1/3 of my infantry, and my opponent's aggressive charge with his flamers DID delay my entrance into the tunnel system all the way until turn 5.

- So yeah, this was my first ever mech list. I'm not completely convinced that the heavy flamer is the way to go with the hull weapon, though. I only got a couple of shots off, while I certainly would have gotten more rounds of shooting with the heavy bolter. And I'd be able to hurt vehicles better, and target fliers at all.

Now that my russes are done, I'm going to start work on a few chimeras, and perhaps I'll give mech lists more of a try in the future.

MVP: The medusa, obviously. It killed something like 10 marines and Crowe. That was basically half my opponent's army, by itself. I was a bit loathe to sink points into something that wouldn't be able to go downstairs, but certainly felt it was a good decision once the game was over.

Hero of the Game: Those brave lads who held down Crowe while everyone else made a break for the tunnels.



The first game complete, it was time to move on to the second.

My team was the bad guys. One of my team mates had managed to get a 1W nurgle lord down into the catacombs on turn 3, while one had managed to get 6 necron destroyers in on the same turn. I'd be bringing up two meltavet squads and a lord commissar on turn 5.

The neutral team saw one guard player with 6 guardsmen, a single space marine with a meltagun, a one-wound lord commissar, and most of a space wolf army, some 10 dudes in power armor, and 3 or 4 termies lead by a terminator rune priest.

But who really stole the show was the good guys. Only two of their team managed to send anybody down the hatch. One of them was a dark angel's player who was up against a neutral guard player who took a list similar to mine, except he swapped out a squad of mechvets and the medusa for a vendetta and a bunch of stormtroopers. The idea would be that he could plonk them down on the objective and easily get them in. The problem was that the vendetta didn't show up until turn 4... and the DA player brought basically nothing but tac squads and assault marines who just POURED down the hole.

The other good guy was a DA player who brought a deathwing. The dice were so ludicrously in his favor that literally his entire army showed up completely unscathed.

So, discounting the tiny, wounded squads, it was basically neutral with a nearly complete space wolves army, evil with my couple of vet squads and some destroyers, and good with two entire dark angels armies.

Note the various entrances on the edges of the board. The doomsday device was in the middle. The white parts are the tunnels - the only places where troops can go.

1.) The first few turns of the game saw the assault marine dark angel's army come in from entrance 6 and the deathwing player from entrance 1. At least they were on opposite sides of the board.

Most stuff spent the early games just running, as they didn't have targets. The exception was in the middle where the guard player with a half a squad made a rush for the objective only to be eaten by the nearly-dead terminator lord. Other people came on, but were quickly munched by the more powerful.

The game pretty quickly became one of the two DA armies, the SW army, and then my vets and the destroyers all against each other.

2.) While the assault marine DA player books it towards the middle, the deathwing splits up, one going to attack the space wolves and the other going over towards tunnel entrance #2, where I'll be showing up.

The Space Wolves quickly find themselves on the loosing end of the terminator battle, as deathwing terminators are just plain better at shooting. The plasma cannon really stung. Eventually, that side of the deathwing was able to push the SW player all the way back into his tunnel entrance. In the face of endless tactical withdrawing, the deathwing player gives up and just goes for the center objective.

Meanwhile, the other arm of his army advances towards me. One squad of vets showed up, but the other couldn't deploy, and so went into continuing reserves. Shooting kills a terminator, and the squad retaliates with a heavy flamer, killing most of the squad. The termies then charge in, rolling an 8, but one crazy guardsmen lands a hit and a wound with overwatch. The terminator fails his armor save. He is left just outside of the charge.

In return, my other vets with the lord commissar arrive. 3 meltaguns and two plasma pistols kill the termies down to just one guy with a storm shield. The terminator charged, but discovered what 2 plasma pistols, 3 meltaguns, and a lascannon can do in overwatch, seeing him downed with a plasma shot before he could make it in.

4.) I had cleared out the terminators, but the assault terminators were fast and, despite taking casualties, were able to catch the destroyers in close combat. The necron player had HORRIBLE luck (failed every 3+ armor save), and eventually the assault marines broke through just as my mob of guys was going towards the objective. He only had a couple of marines left on the area, but one of them had a flamer, and this time overwatch failed me. The fight quickly devolved to the lord commissar vs. a couple of space marines, but rolling was not my friend, and he broke through.

5.) By roughly turn 10 or so, everybody had been cleared except for three armies. There was the SW player, the half a deathwing, and the huge mob of tac marines slowly making their way towards the objective.

The SW player, realising just how awful things would be for him if the two DA armies managed to link up, decided to go back on the attack against the deathwing player. This time, his rolling was good, and he managed to get into close combat with the deathwing terminators and largely beat them up.

But too late. On roughly turn 15, the last of the space wolves broke out of the death wing to find basically three full tac squads up against an injured rune priest and a couple of SW marines. The rune priest had used up all of his phenominal luck against the terminators, and was drug down by sheer weight of attacks.

The game ended with about 10 DA tac marines and a DA captain on the doomsday device.

Not only did they win the game, but as a reward, they got to blow up a planet. That's a lot of flags going to be lost...

- So, I kind of liked the 2x plasma pistol lord commissar. You could easily make the argument that he should have a power sword instead, but two BS5 plasma shots are nothing to sneer at. In two rounds of shooting and an overwatch, that guy killed a space marine and two terminators. I guess we'll see how I go with that.

The main problem is that he doesn't have carapace for free, which means that, especially without a power weapon, he kind of struggles in close combat.

- As you've noticed from both of these games, you can generate some pretty brutal overwatch with two plasma pistols, three meltaguns and a lascannon. With 6 shots, you've got a pretty decent chance of having at least something hit, and, given the power of the weapons, odds are good that that hit will be a kill. Not only is that nice damage, but it can also very easily kill an opponent out of charge range.

Plus, look at it in the context of the chimera. You roll up and shoot the enemy. The enemy charges the transport and eats overwatch. The transport dies. The guys inside shoot again. The enemy charges the guys inside and eats overwatch AGAIN. When we're talking about this level of firepower, that's an awful lot of potential damage taken before they even get a swing in.

And you wonder why mech is better than foot, and shooting better than close combat in 6th edition...