BATTLE REPORTS - The Hand of the King - 41 (tactical)

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

As the team league continues, this game wound up being a re-match of two games ago. Our respective army lists had evolved a bit, and the mission was much more deadly.

This game was Relic, on Hammer and Anvil at 2,000 points.

Our lists (Grey Knights and Imperial Guard) were:

Ordo Hereticus Inquisitor - psyker, power armor

Henchmen - 2x joakero, 3x plasma guns
        - chimera
Henchmen - 2x multimelta servitors, 3x meltaguns
        - chimera

5x paladins - 3x thunder hammers, 2x psycannons

Dreadknight - heavy incinerator, personal teleporter

CCS - 3x melta guns, power fist
        - chimera

Vets - 3x melta, plasma pistol
        - chimera
Vets - 3x melta, plasma pistol
        - chimera

Hellhound - multimelta
Devil Dog - multimelta
Devil Dog - multimelta


Our opponents' lists (Demons and Imperial Guard) were:

Bloodthirster - +1 exalted, +1 greater
Herald (slaanesh) - +1 greater

Daemonettes (10) - Alluress with +1 greater, icon
Bloodletters (10) - bloodreaper, +2 lesser, icon

Flesh hounds (6)
Seekers (5) - heartseeker, +2 lesser

Skull Cannon
Seeker Chariot - +1 greater.

Lord Commissar William T. O'Reilly - 2x plasma pistols, carapace

Vets - plasma gun, melta gun, power fist, carapace
HWS - 3x mortars

Vendetta - heavy bolters
Vendetta - heavy bolters
Vulture Gunship - TL Punisher cannon


As you would expect, there was a lot of pre-game rolling by the GK and demons player. I paid absolutely zero attention. The only one that came up was that Coteaz was able to fire overwatch at full BS, or something. Likewise, the warlord traits didn't matter, except for that one person from each team rolled the trait that delayed reserves with a -1 penalty. That forced my partner to deploy on the table, but the demons decided to leave a bunch in deepstrike and, of course, the fliers started in reserves. There was no night fighting this game.

Our opponents won the roll to go first, and Coteaz failed to super-seize the initiative.

Oh, and I should note one thing before I go into detail. We had a gentleman's agreement in this game. Our basilisks and the dreadknight and bloodthirster were sort of considered to be in a challenge with each other. That was, to say, that the two basilisks could only shoot at each other, and couldn't be shot at by anyone else until one of them died, and the same for the monstrous creatures.

1.) This time, my opponent didn't bring anything worth highland charging with my fire tanks. Furthermore, the fight is over the middle, so I don't have an objective far away to get to. As such, we decide to play things more defensively. Just sort of hammer on stuff and then make a late-game dash.

The game started with our opponents moving up. As you can see, they were pretty focused on the top of the board, and that's where they made the most of their thrust, especially with their fast units like the flying bloodthirster and the seekers. Damage is light as their basilisk misses mine, while the dreadknight unfortunately gets taken down two wounds by the bloodthirster whip 'n snaps.

Our plan was to defend, but we could only defend if we got there first. Thankfully, we've got some speed on our side. My armored pile moves up on the bottom, while the hellhound peeks up to the massive ruin, sticking its two guns through an arched doorway. Our turn sees the hellhound killing off the first few inches of bloodletters running towards the objective, and my devil dogs blow up the chariot from close range for first blood. On the top, the paladins manage to make it into close combat with the seekers, but everybody catastrophically whiffs, and its a drawn combat.

2.) Turn two is pretty soft. The reserves rolls penalty keeps a lot off the table, limiting our opponents to the vet-toting vendetta, the demonettes, and the flesh hounds. The challenges come close to resolution as my opponent kills my basilisk. My partner had informed the demon player that if the thing doesn't come down and fight, he's going to consider the challenge off, as the dreadknight can't target the monstrous creature while it's flying. The monstrous creature obliges by landing.

The bloodthirster charges the dreadknight, taking a wound from an overwatching heavy incinerator. The dreadknight then gets ready to purge the demon of all of his special abilities... and rolls boxcars, killing himself before the fight even begins.

Other than that, the vendetta opens up Coteaz' chimera and lightly peppers the guys inside with mortars. I also suffer a vehicle stunned result thanks to warp storm on my hellhound - the one unit I DIDN'T want to be messed up.

That and the paladins finally manage a couple of wounds on the seekers, horrible rolling aside, and the seekers demonic instability themselves away.

We had escaped the hammer fall, but it was clear that our opponent's weren't just going to sit there and take it like last time. Feeling like we were in a good enough defensive position, so we counterattack. My motor pool shimmies up on the bottom while we decide to go all-in on the top.

My chimera heavy flamer puts down a handful of demonettes, which are further thinned by the inquisitor squad (the melta vets and coteaz were busy closing down the warp gate thrown the previous turn). The paladins then seize their moment and charge in. The hammers do swift destruction to the skull cannon, the explosion killing a few demonettes. The demonettes also manage to throw a few wounds around, but, being so reduced in numbers, they don't get many rends. The end result is the paladins winning by one, and the demon player passing leadership.

3.) The top of turn three is where our opponents decide to bring the hammer down. The vulture and the fiend show up from reserves to add to the top-side fight. The blood feeder prepares to attack my motor pool, while the bloodletters (unmolested by the hellhound the previous turn), move up close to the objective, and the vendetta on the board goes into hover mode and drops out the vet squad and lord commissar onto the relic.

The carnage starts with the vulture punisher cannoning Coteaz' squad. A generous amount of Look out, Sir! and the fact that coteaz is a multi-wound model in terminator sees the retinue killed, but a wounded Coteaz surviving. The other flier then lights up my chimera on the top, blowing it up. I pass an absurd number of armor saves against the blast.

The demon's whip 'n snaps doesn't manage to do anything to a devil dog, but close combat sees some decidedly poor rolling on the demon player's part, leaving the fire tank with one hull point, and a multimelta.

The assault phase ends with the paladins once again horribly whiffing against the shattered remnants of the demonettes.

In return, we give it all we have.

Shooting sees my devil dogs very unfortunately failing to take down the skimming vendetta, but the day is saved by the inquisitor and his melta boat. Shooting also sees the hellhound and a chimera heavy flamer incinerating the squad on the relic, with the last wound on the lord commissar being taken by the squad that was forced to dismount the turn before. My CCS and the other chimera manage to finish off the last couple of bloodletters, leaving the objective free of enemy units.

In close combat, the paladins finally manage to break out of the close combat with the last couple of demonettes.

4.) The end result of this titanic clash is... more or less a draw. With the last vendetta making it onto the field, our opponents have a fiend, a bloodthirster, and some flesh hounds against a slightly beaten up paladin squad, a lonely coteaz, a damaged vet squad, and my generally lightly damaged (mostly thanks to warp storm) vehicle pool. They've taken worse casualties, but the center of the board still isn't secure.

To make things more complicated, the demon player brings their slaanesh herald into our deployment zone to claim linebreaker. She has to be a little cautious (lest she mishap), but it's still a big strategic threat.

In shooting, the guard player unloads hot, baleful fury on the paladins. The giant blob of guard infantry (who up until this point did literally nothing) moved forward and passed FRF. The vulture vector danced and unloaded punisher cannon nightmares into them. The end result was only three one-wound paladins. They were charged by the fleshhounds, but overwatch with psycannons is mean. A paladin manages to kill himself with perils trying to cast hammer hand, but the puppies struggle against the terminator armor. The thunder hammer and power sword, on the other hand, don't. The remaining two khorne dogs then catastrophically fail their demonic instability test, and the paladins are free.

Meanwhile the vendetta hull-point-strips the CCS chimera, forcing the squad out. The basilisk aims for them and misses, but hits the nearby troops chimera instead, shaking it. The bloodthirster had taken back to the air and flown way to the left, smartly targeting my hellhound - the only thing left on our side that's going to be able to target the linebreaker herald. The whip manages a glance with a 6, but the snap fails to do anything. The vehicle would have been destroyed by two penetrating hits were it not for the reinforced side armor of the hellhound chassis.

At the bottom of turn 4, things are looking pretty good for us. The middle is clean of enemy units, and nothing in their army, sans the infantry platoon far, far away from the battle, is able to score. Feeling confident, we go into clean up mode.

My CCS passes BiD against the vendetta that took down its chimera, but 3 TL snap fire shots miss from inches away. The remaining good devil dog scoots over and finally ends the menace of the basilisk with a melta cannon to the side armor. The paladins, free of any nearby targets, move up and fire a storm bolter and psycannon into the infantry platoon and do a fair bit of damage. Because I had accidentally killed some of the guardsmen in the platoon earlier (by very, very badly scattering off of intended targets with melta cannons), the guardsmen had to take a morale test. Without a commissar or standard nearby, they failed and ran away to within 1/4" of the board edge.

This left only the hellhound which, being a fast vehicle, was able to make it just barely into range with the inferno cannon. The multimelta also hit, and the herald suffered instant death.

There was only one other thing that this turn saw - a horrible, colossal, extremely bone-headed mistake on my part. Seeing nothing around, I disembarked my vet squad onto the relic. Perhaps I'd be able to hold onto the relic in the relative safety of the chimera next turn?

5.) Turn 5 arrived, and the guardsmen just barely managed to rally. Otherwise, our opponents only have three units left, a fiend, a bloodthirster, and a vendetta. Because of the limited mobility of fliers, my opponent is stuck with either flying the vendetta off the board and hoping for a turn 6, or going into hover mode so that it can engage any of the targets underneath it. He chooses the latter.

The vendetta then opens up on coteaz and, despite going to ground in a ruins, manages to off him with a lascannon. The fiend, got into close combat with my previously-disembarked vet squad. I don't remember what happened to it, but by the time things settled in, the fiend only had one wound left. Neither of us roll well on the attack, and both of us are pretty good with our 5+ saves.

The vulture, on the other hand, doesn't have to hover, because it gets vector dancer for free. To make up for this "I move like a skimmer, but you can't hit me" cheesiness, my opponent rolls pretty poorly for the punisher cannon against my top-side veterans, throwing down a mediocre 9 wounds. I then bust out the armor saves and pass an utterly absurd 7 of them. The power-armor-rolling veterans stay as a scoring unit on the table.

And then there was the bloodthirster. At this point, he had three of his 5 wounds remaining. With extreme violence, he jumped over to the squad on the relic and ate their faces off.

At the bottom of 5, we're suddenly not doing quite as well anymore. That demon needs to die, and in a hurry, if there's any chance of us taking the relic. The now lone psycannon-armed one-wound paladin scoots back in to the middle theatre of operations while my CCS dips back down out of the ruins and charges the demon. Everything else that's left lines up in a circle to bring it down.

Shooting starts with the inquisitor and his melta-boat of doom trying their second round of 5x TL melta shots against the punisher and this time manage a pair of hits, blowing it out of the sky.

Though the hovering vendetta is a tempting target, the bloodletter needs to go. Things start with my CCS critically failing a leadership test to take Bring it Down! against the demon. Its BS4 guns then miss with 2 out of three melta shots, and an invul save handled the other one. The devil dog does manage to simultaneously do a wound to the bloodthirster and vector-lock the vendetta with its melta cannon, sticking it into hover mode. Massed multilaser fire dings off another wound, bringing the monstrous creature down to just one remaining. Two multimeltas shoot, but both miss. The psycannon opens up with its four shots and only hits with one, and that one fails to wound...

... But I've got a contingency plan. My CCS was in charge range of the demon. Yes, it's a bloodthirster of khorne, but it won't have the charge, and will roll SOME amount of 1's and 2's to hit and 1's to wound, and I've got 4 abblative wounds for my power fist officer. I charge in. Things go exactly to plan as the demon munches most of the command squad. Then my senior officer throws down his 4 attacks, of which a shocking three hit. I pick up the dice. I've only got to roll a single 4+.

... and I roll a 1, 2, and a 2... I then hideously fail morale, and the senior officer is, as they say, comprehensively sent packing.

And then we see the damage from a single mistake and a critical spot of late-game bad luck. Nobody has the relic, and even though we have first blood, the close combat saw them up two warlords to one for a draw in points.

I pick up the die to roll to continue. I beg and plead for a chance to redeem myself. I roll a 5. The game goes on.

Turn 6 sees the demon exfiltrate from the combat by wing. The vendetta hovers around to support it. My healthy devil dog gets whip 'n snapped to death by the flying bloodthirster thanks to rear armor, and the vendetta didn't do anything of note.

After several rounds of doing nothing, the fiend finally manages to kill a guardsman, who manages to throw off its last wound.

On the bottom of the turn, the inquisitor squad drives up and piles out onto the relic with their henchmen while my now-free vet squad does the same. The barrage of melta from the inquisitor and my two remaining fire tanks manages to bring down the hovering vendetta, and a pair of multilasers track after the bloodletter. I get one hit, but the shot fails to ground, and my partner gets a hit, which manages to punch through the armor save.

As the lone paladin prepares to charge into close combat with the PCS, our opponents concede.

Our opponents bagged both warlords for two points, but so did we, and with first blood, and, more importantly, we had the relic, for a 6-2 victory.

- I'm still trying to figure out why a list that looks crummy on paper is doing this well, and I think I'm finally starting to see it. Nothing in my army is doing anything particularly fancy, but basically everything, in its own way, is doing it's little bit to help the fight. Rather than one powerful unit or one big event, it's almost like I'm fielding a highly-redundant mesh of inter-supporting units that can advance up to mid-field and collectively grind down my opponents with attrition.

Oh my god, have figured out how to do power blobs in 6th edition?

- This game is also an interesting showcase for killing vehicles in 6th edition. Our opponents had virtually no anti-tank weapon that had Ap1 or 2. In the end, I lost a lot of hull points, but I still had 3 of my 7 vehicles on the board at the end of the game. Stripping hull points off of a vehicle just isn't the same as killing it outright, especially in a world where you can't stunlock anymore. Vehicles that were merely damaged earlier in the game (especially the hellhound), wound up playing important roles later on in their half-damaged state.

Meanwhile, our opponents brought 5 vehicles, but given that 1 of them spent their entire time flying (and 2 of them spent some time flying), you could say that they brought more than 5 vehicles worth of durability. And they were all dead at the end of the game, thanks to an entire 2,000 point army filled with meltaguns.

Actually, to put it into perspective even more, of the 5 vehicles we lost, 3 were lost to the small amount of Ap2 weapons that our opponents brought. Everything else just peeled off hull points to little effect.

- In this game, you could really see fliers at their weakest. One flier showed up on turn 2, one on turn 3, and one on turn 4. Once they arrived, they got one solid turn of shooting before all of our fast units were underneath the fliers, forcing them to spend even MORE time off the board, or go down into hover mode to be able to shoot anything at all. Even not in hover mode, fliers are hardly invincible, as it's plenty possible to roll 6's with things like multimeltas, which were responsible for picking a zooming flier out of the sky.

When people started freaking out about fliers when 6th ed came out, I didn't feel THAT bothered about it (other than on principle), and I certainly didn't believe that you needed skyfire weapon to handle them, given the limitations that they have on the board itself. This game shows all of the major weaknesses in action. 1/4 of our opponents points were sunk into fliers. They killed two chimeras, coteaz, a paladin, and a pair of guardsmen. Other than the infantry platoon, the fliers were probably our opponent's biggest points sink.

- So, for the first time so far, I'm started to be actually tempted by allies. Namely, that inquisitor squad that my partner brought. I'm imagining Coteaz, 3 MM servitors, 2 laser finger monkeys and a chimera, which is what, 250 points? For a chimera filled with a scoring unit that has 3 twin-linked multimeltas and 2 twin-linked lascannons with the ability to get joakero gifts and other goodies? That's not too shabby. Plus, it would let me take a vindicare assassin...

- The demon player you've seen here and from two games ago is still pretty new to 40k, but already I'm starting to become impressed. She out-killed her more-experienced partner 3 to 2, and made the only serious play for the relic. That and she also went for linebreaker, which had the chance to make things messy. We may have suggested it to her, but still, she executed it as if it were her idea in the first place.

MVP: This goes to two different units. The first recipient is my partner's paladins. They killed off an entire squad of seekers, half a squad of demonettes, an entire squad of flesh hounds, a skull cannon, a PCS (yeah, I'm going to count that), and, if luck would have gone their way a little more, would have routed a 20-man guard blob and finished off a bloodthirster. Sticking strictly to what they did manage to kill, they wiped out roughly 400 points worth of stuff by themselves. More importantly, they basically single-handedly stopped the demon attack sans the bloodletter, and given that the guard player had no serious ground units, that was strategically huge. Our strategy was to get close to the relic and then shield it for a late-game grab. Without the paladins, this simply wouldn't have happened.

The other goes to my hellhound. Turn 1, it flamered away a few inches of bloodletters, ensuring that they wouldn't be able to take the objective. Turn 3, it inferno-cannoned the squad holding the relic to cinders. Turn 4, it picked off the only serious strategic threat besides the bloodletter - the linebreaking herald. That's a lot of strategic value out of a single unit, especially when it couldn't do anything for the entirety of turn 2, and turns 5 and 6 saw it with nothing more useful to shoot at than flying units. It killed about 200 points worth of stuff (which is already punching above its 145 point weight class), but it killed perhaps the most strategic 200 points of the whole game.

Hero of the Game: My senior officer. One day, I swear I'll kill a demon prince in close combat!