BATTLE REPORTS - The Hand of the King - 49 (tactical)

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

With my team league over, it was time for some free play at the store. Several of us decided to default to 1500 points.

This game was Emperor's will with Dawn of War deployment.

My list (Imperial Guard) was:

CCS - plasma pistol, power fist, 3x meltaguns
        - chimera

Vets - 3x meltaguns
        - chimera
Vets - 3x meltaguns
        - chimera

Hellhound - multimelta
Devil Dog - multimelta
Devil Dog - multimelta

Exterminator - lascannon, multimeltas
Exterminator - lascannon, multimeltas
Eradicator - lascannon, plasma cannons

My opponent's list (Grey Knights) was:


Henchmen - 2x joakero, 3x muiltimelta servitors

Henchmen - 8x crusaders, 3x Death Cult Assassins

Henchmen - 1x storm bolter, 3x storm bolter and meltaguns, 8x psykers
        - chimera
Henchmen - 1x storm bolter, 3x storm bolter and meltaguns, 8x psykers
        - chimera
Henchmen - 1x storm bolter, 3x storm bolter and meltaguns, 8x psykers
        - chimera

10x Interceptors - 2x heavy incinerators

Dreadknight - heavy incinerators

Various pre-game rolls were made, but the only one particularly interesting was that I went for personal with my warlord, and rolled up the ability to outflank, which I chose to exercise. Otherwise, night fighting was off, and my opponent won the roll for first turn and took it. I didn't bother to try and seize.

As you can see, I've got two russ+vets groups, with my fast vehicles in the middle, capable of swinging to support either side as necessary. My opponent likewise put his tougher, scoring units on the flanks, with his quick guys in the middle.

1.) The game began with a general advance. The DCA blob moved up to the sandbags, and the interceptors/dreadknight moved up into the middle of the little villiage. All of his psychic powers go off. One of them is denied, and another is stopped by cover with the third mega-psyker medusa cannon shot immobilizing my right side devil dog.

In return, I move up on the right and keep still on the left. A barrage of firepower is thrown at the dreadknight as a combination of several multimeltas and some plasma cannons throw down on the monstrous creature, which can be seen from basically everywhere, given how tall it is. My opponent's cover saves don't work right, and I nab first blood with the dreadknight going down. With nothing left to do, the exterminator strips all the hull points off of the left-most chimera with multimelta, lascannon, and autocannons. I was hoping for an explosion, but so it went.

2.) On turn 2, my opponent continued to advance everything. The interceptors make it up to near my hellhound while the DCAs make it out into the open with plenty of storm shields to protect them. In shooting, all of his psychic powers go off again, and without denial. I lose the left-side chimera and the previously-hurt devil dog. My opponent also rolls basically the only scatter of the night with the third large blast template, hitting nothing. The turn ends with an attempt at a medium-range charge with the interceptors against the hellhound which fails.

3.) At the bottom of turn 2, my CCS arrives from outflanking. I was banking on him showing up on the left, and a combination of meltaguns, heavy flamers, and exterminator cannons putting my left-side scoring unit into a great place to take my opponent's objective with support units to spare. Unfortunately, he shows up on the right, so I have him just sort of generally join the fray.

Back on the left, though, things go even more disastrously as 3 BS4 meltaguns, and an entire lascannon/multimelta exterminator not only fail to explode the left-side chimera, but fail to even wreck it.

On the right, my newly-arrived CCS makes short work of the dismounted psyker henchmen squad with heavy flamer and meltaguns, my senior officer precise shotting the last meltagun out of the squad, leaving just a single psyker. However, I've still got a tough decision. I have the DCAs breathing down my neck, and going for my objective, while I have a 10-man squad filled with krak grenades and jump packs ready to pounce from the village. To make it worse, I still have another chimera with its S10 Ap1 large blast pointing straight at me.

The DCAs are the bigger threat strategically, but there's no way I can kill them off if all of my tanks are dead. Also, given that I still have time to handle the DCA blob as it struggles over terrain, I decide to focus on the interceptors instead. My opponent tried to hide them out of LOS, and did mitigate casualties somewhat, but it also required him to bunch up. Plasma cannons, along with an inferno cannon and a melta cannon, and a bunch of other shooting knocked the 10-man squad down to just 2.

I hem and haw over what to do with my last exterminator. I could try and finish off the interceptors, or try and break open the last chimera, possibly exploding it and ending the psyker mess on the right. I could start in on the DCAs. Instead, though, I decide to give my left side some sort of a chance at all, and fire into the left-side chimera. Tragically, I again fail to explode the vehicle, merely stripping off its remaining hull points.

4.) As turn 3 rolls around, my opponent continues the attack. On the left, the psyker henchmen squad moves up to attack my russ while on the right, the DCAs continue their advance under cover fire from the other psyker squad. The only exception is the two interceptors who decide to go after my fast units, still more or less in the middle.

In shooting, all of his psychic powers go off. On the left, the out-of-melta-range meltaguns don't do anything, but the psyker attack hits and only rolls a 1 for damage, but this still means that my russ is fatally stunned for next turn. On the right, the psykers hit and cause a penetrating hit on my right-side chimera trying to hide behind some trees. The shot hits, penetrates and causes an explosion result. To my horror, all of the die rolls for the explosion wound. To my much, much greater horror, I fail all of my armor saves except for one. Now, instead of having a scoring unit in reserve, only needing a single model to take my home objective, I now have none as the chimera's multilaser picks off the last survivor.

To add insult to the injury, the two interceptors charge my remaining devil dog in the center, causing it to explode due to a krak greande.

As turn 3 rolls around for me, my hopes are dashed. Endless bad rolling has seen me make little inroads against my opponent's objective while my opponent has stopped my ability to hold the right in more or less a single shot. And he's got storm shields getting awfully close to my objective. I now have exactly one hope for this game - to kill off my opponent's scoring units and hope to win on secondaries, something that I'm in a good position for, given that I've got first blood.

But keeping them off of the objectives is the most important thing. For this I deploy my best tactic - distractions. My CCS gets out of its ride and it and its chimera move forward to attack the DCAs in such a way where if they want to attack my command squad, they'll have no choice but to move and then assault backwards, back towards their deployment zone and away from my objective. Meanwhile, the hellhound goes after those pesky interceptors that I still can't have running around unchallenged. I do so in such a way so as to present rear armor to my opponent's other stuff.

On the left, the veterans manage to kill a whopping 1 psyker with three meltaguns, and the snap-firing autocannons do nothing more, leaving me basically stuck on the left. In the middle, I clear off the interceptors with an inferno cannon and multimelta, and on the right, my CCS and the rest of my firepower finally hammer into the DCA blob. Thanks to the positioning of my CCS, all of the melta and plasma wounds wind up getting chucked to the DCAs so as to keep coteaz alive. This just leaves coteaz and a few stormshield guys decidedly not in coherency.

At the top of turn 4, my opponent takes all the bait. On the right, left with having to scoot back into coherency before they can get anywhere, my opponent decides to move back and attack my CCS. In the middle, the remaining mounted psyker henchmen attack into the village, spilling out their dudes to just get meltaguns into range against my hellhound. The left continues as usual.

My opponent's shooting begins with him passing all of his psychic tests. Except for one. Well, it still passed, but this time, after 20 flawless psychic tests, it passed with a perils... on a psyker squad. The left-side psykers incinerate themselves. My opponent's meltaguns also get a taste of my medicine, failing to do damage to my left-side russ, but the victory is hollow as my last couple of scoring models over there are killed off by the joakero squad (which was having intermittent problems passing mind lock tests this game).

In the center, three meltaguns cause a vehicle explosion on my soft rear armor of my hellhound. Coteaz shoots his eagle into my CCS, killing a dude. The multilaser from the center chimera then shot, for three hits, three wounds, and three failed saves, including failed Look out Sir's that see my CCS abruptly killed down to just a single meltagunner, who is picked off by that one psyker who survived in the right casting his low-S spell into his back.

5.) As we get to the bottom of turn 4, I'm pretty well stuck, as I've got three russes left on the table, and that's it. My diversions had kept one scoring unit far away from anything, and another moving in the wrong direction from the right-side objective. It came at great cost, though, as my opponent had gotten a point for slaying the warlord, and he didn't even need to get into close combat like I'd hoped in order to get it, meaning that the squad was closer to said objective than I'd have hoped.

With what tools I have at my disposal, I start to plug away. On the left, my now un-stunned battle tank shreds the couple of meltagunners leaving just a single regular dude with a storm bolter. On the right, the eradicator decides to aim at the perfectly clustered psyker squad in the middle of town. Unfortunately, in a reverse of my opponent, I think I only hit with a single scatter die this game, and this time wasn't an exception, a pair of plasma cannons and an executioner doing no casualties whatsoever to the tightly clustered infantry. My third russ opened up on the DCA blob, and managed to down one of the dudes with a stormshield.

In return, he moves the psyker squad up along the same path the interceptors had taken a few turns earlier. They shoot at one of my tanks, but I draw my second successful denial of the game. On the left, the lone survivor runs back towards the obejctive, and on the right, coteaz and his remaining three dudes with storm shields move forward. Because they hadn't been as back as I'd have hoped, they are able to roll high enough to scoot the 8 or so inches to get into close combat with my eradicator, very near the objective. Coteaz only has S6, though, and my opponent had used his warp charges already on prescience and precognition, so no hammer hand. The end was a glancing hit on the eradicator.

As the game winds down to turn 5, I play my last card. Both exterminators are in range of his joakero squad that's been holding its objective on the left. The autocannons, lascannons, and even a pair of multimeltas beat them to paste.

As it was, my opponent had a psyker squad in the middle near to a lone dude, also in the middle, along with coteaz and 3 stormshields on an objective that my leman russ was contesting. He had warlord, but I had first blood. I had managed to turn this nightmare into a draw.

But a 4 is rolled, and the game continues.

At the top of 6, my opponent desperately scrambles back towards his now shockingly unheld left-side objective, but can't make anyone to within 3". I'd had to back my eradicator up a bit to be able to fire its plasma cannons at the remnants of the DCA blob. All of them had missed, again, at that crucial moment, but it did give my opponent the ability to move forward a bit. Coteaz charged in, remembering hammerhand that time, and wrecked the eradicator, giving him control of the lower left side objective.

In response, I turn my two remaining units against coteaz and his squad. 8 TL autocannon shots, two lascannons, and a pair of multimeltas hammer the squad. Coteaz pitches everything. In the end, it's just coteaz left.

I eagerly hope for a turn 7, as coteaz is alone now, which means his slay the warlord point is effectively mine, and it's very likely that I'll keep his few other models away from an objective of any kind.

But the game doesn't continue.

Nobody had any objectives. I had first blood for 1 point, while my opponent had slay the warlord for 1 point, and was also about 1" inside of my deployment zone for linebreaker, for a grey knights victory.

- So, apart from the luck and the loss, this is really how a game of 40k is supposed to be. There was back and forth territory control. There was long and short range shooting, and assault. It was a close game with several chances for a single die roll to win the game decisively for either side.

More important than all that, though, is that this game, at least to me, felt like there was plenty of opportunity to make decisions that would have a meaningful impact on the game. Rather than merely a target prioritization exercise coupled with dice rolling, this game actually did feel properly tactical. Even if I didn't make the right decisions (Perhaps I could have kept my CCS on the table, for example, or run it away to keep the warlord point and gain linebreaker myself, for example), at least there were meaningful decisions to be made.

It wasn't pointless gunlining, or mindless die rolling, or a one-sided slaughter. This was a proper game of 40k.

- As you can see from my list, I basically just took my 1,000 point list and added russes. In retrospect, this wasn't exactly the smartest move on my part. I've given up on the idea of the premacy of bboys over toys, but in this case I probably could have done a fair bit better if I had brought a third scoring unit. I've got to get myself some more chimeras...

That said, on a second glance, you find something shocking. I more or less drew a game with only TWO scoring units at 1500 points. That's insane. 6th edition really is a toys over boys edition. All I had to do was to kill the stuff that threatened my scoring units before they could kill my scoring units, and with a slightly less unlucky vehicle explosion, I might well have pulled it off.

- This board was set up using the narrative terrain rules. And by narrative, I mean my opponent just let me set things up. What you notice is that, unlike most games I play, it doesn't wind up being two sets of ruins facing off against each other, or a barren wasteland in the middle of the board with terrain crammed into the corners. In this case, I think it made the game MUCH livelier (and, to toot my own horn, a better-looking table). If only I could have the opportunity to do this every game.

MVP: This one will have to go to the left-side exterminator, I suppose. It opened up a psyker chimera on the right, for its contents to be attacked by the CCS later, opened up the left-side psyker chimera for the left to have a chance (ultimately fruitless, but still), helped blow my opponent's scoring unit off of the left side objective, and stripped the remainder of coteaz' henchmen, and likely would have killed him on turn 7, had there been one. This unit isn't showy, but rather a solid workhorse. That said, for 15 more points I could have a lascannon vanquisher with plasma cannons...

Hero of the Game: This goes to the left-side vet squad. Their transport may have exploded, and they may have been abandoned by their senior officer, but they still toughed it out, despite their inevitable evisceration by melta weapons.