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So, this week was MetaCon at the local university, and I was drug back from my hole to actually play some 40k. While I still don't have the 5th ed. rulebook yet, I've had a chance to read it once, and a couple of people who were there had bought Black Reach, and thus there were some real copies of rules around.

I'd like to apologize in advance for missing a handful of pictures. I wasn't quite on my A-game as far as battle report prepping is concerned. In any case, let's get this started:

THE CHALLENGERS: The Black Reach Boys
2000 pts.

Orks: 1000 pts.

2x warbosses (with klaws) with some nobz
2 20+ ork boyz mobz with nobz
1 nobz squad
2 3x deth koptaz with twin linked rokkitz (reserves)

Space Marines: 1000 pts.

2 big tac squads, at least one had a flamer.
2 multimelta-DCCW dreadnoughts
9-man terminator squad (reserves)

THE DEFENDERS: Melchoir Group (with allies)

Imperial Guard Armored Company: 1000pts.

1 Vanquisher
- hella upgrades

1 Leman Russ
- Heavy bolter sponsons, lascannon hull
- hella upgrades

1 Leman Russ
- hull lascannon, sponson heavy flamers
- hella upgrades

Autocannon Sentinel (with at least closed crew compartment)

Imperial Guard Infantry Company: 1000 pts.

I used my shiny new list 4. Basically, a big pile of infantry.

As you may well notice, two of the people in this game (most notably my two opponents) had both just bought Assault on Black Reach but a few days prior and had traded between themselves to get a real 1000 pt. army (thus some of the odd unit choices, like all those terminators).

The mission was "capture and control" on "dawn of war". They elected to give us first turn.

Now, as a part of this failure of picture taking theme, I didn't actually get a shot of deployment. As such, I have photoshopped a facsimile to the best of my creation:

(note that the stack of boxes between the two hills on the left was actual terrain)

Note that the objectives were in the absolute bottom left hand corner (my choosing) and the upper right hand corner of their zone.


A loud blast shattered the early morning air. "Melchoir, get your backside up here NOW!" came a voice shouting over the micro-vox.

Melchoir had taken a long time to recover from his cursed lightning claw wound. It was immediately complicated by a problem with his left arm. Apparently one of those shots through his powerfist, or perhaps a bolter wound back when he used a sword had been secretly harboring a festering bone infection. Though his life had been hanging by a thread, the chiurgeons had managed to lift the curse and close the wound, as well as replace a fair amount of his left radius. Since then, he had been on intensive care injury leave, being carefully, but rigorously returned to full health.

In some ways, it felt good to be on the field again. Violence, destruction, and victory were concepts he knew intuitively, while civilian life had proven surprisingly confusing and unsettling for him. As terrible as warfare was, at least here he knew his place.

In our turn, all of our forces (except my veterans) move in from our side of the field. Basically, my plan is to keep one squad of infantry on our objective, as well as keeping a couple of good units around at the center-left in order to support it. Then, on the other side, I'd have 3x infantry units and an infantry command squad barrel up the right onto their objectives, with the support of the basilisk, a sentinel, and maybe the veterans.

In shooting, nightfighting plays havoc on us a little bit, and we're able to give the boyz on the left a heavy pasting, but not quite as much as we could have.

After this point, the field looked like this:

Melchoir's troops quickly finished deploying in the darkness.

With the exception of a brief skirmish around the landing field when the Valkyrie carrying him was forced into an emergency landing, this was the first combat that Melchoir had seen in awhile. He had taken a great deal of time devoted to study while he had been unwell, and had requested to be a part of a different line with a new group. Given that the rest of his line had been wiped out to the man by a surprise tyranid assault, his request wasn't unduly denied.

It was his first time commanding a nearly totally infantry company. Combined mechanized and infantry heavy arms had been his bread and butter through the entirety of his military career thus far. He hoped that he wouldn't be disappointed.

In their turn, the rest of their stuff shows up (that wasn't in reserve) and the stuff that was on the board barrelled forwards as fast as it possibly could.

Needless to say, we didn't suffer any casualties (yet).

After this point, the field looked like this:


Sanario looked at Melchoir. He knew that the enemy was approaching rapidly, but he also knew the officer's sense of timing was vastly more necessary to a successful result, no matter how courageous a blind, flat-out charge was. He just hoped that Melchoir hadn't lost his edge.

When Melchoir was struck down, Sanario decided to take a sabbatical to the Ecclesiarchy back on Folera. He had a lot to sort through. Not only was his experience conflicting with his training, but he had grown attached to Melchoir, and he found himself too distracted and dispassionate to fight on the field without him. It didn't take more than a couple of days to realize that he needed a good, long break to cool his head.

The months of meditation and study had done him well. He had found himself able to reconcile his faith, his training, and his experience into a sufficiently synergized system. When he heard that Melchoir was being called back, the priest had no choice but to follow.

Our second turn starts with my veterans coming in on the flank. I get the option to choose which side to bring them in on and, fearing a possible breakthrough on the left, decide to attack his nobz.

Meanwhile, the rest of our movement involves developing our deployment. I move my forces up into a good position of cover, ready to spring them forward, while the middle drives up to attempt a wedge between his two mobz.

In shooting, both of his battlecannons hit the boyz on the left, reducing the mob down to just the boss and an injured nob. Meanwhile, a minor hail of lasgun fire from my advancing right, and a Leman Russ heavy flamer do a good job turning a healthy amount of the right mob into mushroom toast.

After this point, the field looked like this:

My opponents basically keep up their left side charge. The left rear sprints up towards the middle, while the left front charges up into assault range.

Then, from the field erupted a large "WAAAGH!" sound. With only a few boyz left and with the only credible chance to hurt our tanks, he seized the initiative.

In shooting, the only damage done is their space marines in the center taking their turn to liberate my veterans of their imperial obligations...

In assault, his boss made it up to the vanquisher. Seven auto-hit, auto-penetrating hits later, the tank was mush. The resulting blast took out an unfortunate amount of my command squad out.

Then came the charge against the flamer Leman Russ. Then things got... interesting. To begin with, because the tank had moved, it got to take "evasive maneuvers" which, for those who don't know (like me at the time), it basically means that the tank gets to "countercharge", grinding a big chunk of the hapless foe under tread. Then, things got more interesting to the tune of an initiative 10 sponson defensive action. Thus, after crushing some boyz under the tank, he proceeds to heavy flamer basically all the rest of them.

Then the boyz got to strike at their improved initiative. The nob was able to land a couple good hits, though, knocking off the battlecannon, and immobilizing it, which, due to track guards was brought down to a stun.

After this point, the field looked like this:


In response, I decide to launch my grand assault. A massive pile of guardsmen leaps out of the rubble and starts a full-out run up the field. Meanwhile, my left engages in a little bit of maneuvering of its own.

In shooting, my basilisk makes a hit on his objective-holding space marines, but only kills a couple of them. Meanwhile, the sentinel on the right hits their right-side dreadnought, putting it out of commission. As well, my objective-holding guardsmen bop forwards and unload with a torrent of lasgun fire, offing the nob, and wounding the boss (along with help from the nearby autocannon sentinel).

Melchoir, Sanario, and the standard bearer charged forwards. Sanario revved up his eviscerator. Melchoir, on the other hand, suddenly stopped and pointed his bolt pistol at the rampaging warboss.

The priest had been looking forward to this. He'd been practicing in his dormitory at the Ecclesiarchy. "Now," he bellowed, "Men of Folera! CH-"

Melchoir's bolt pistol let a single shot burst through the air. The deuterium slug impacted the warboss' face. The resulting bolt explosion rendered a fine green paste into the now-empty helmet.

"...arge." Sanario practically whimpered to a close. He stopped and turned towards Melchoir. The officer responded with a coy smile. "What else was I going to do while on leave and in stitches?"

Yes, that's right. I aced the warboss with a bolt pistol shot. I think this might possibly be the first thing that Melchoir has ever killed with his pistol.

Then, in assault, my other close-combat HQ, who had flamered and pistoled the remnants of the right side mob down to just a nob with a single wound, charged in. While my normal attacks did a disappointing nothing, and the nob killed a couple of guys in return, a powerfist to the face was able to dispatch of the last of the initial ork charge.

After this point, the field looked like this:

They reply by getting the terminators to deepstrike in, and all of their koptaz in an outflank:

This time, they go all out with movement. It begins with the marines who were in the center coming in to reinforce the space marines on the right (at this point, they still don't see my strategy), and continues with the koptaz getting chummy with my basilisk. On the left, their side begins their final charge.

In shooting, his multimelta dreadnought comically fails to wound a nearby sentinel, while the storm bolters in the terminators unleash hell on my defensive infantry squad. Thank the emperor for cover! In the end, the unit is wounded, but not put all the way down.

Then, of course, the koptaz get to know the side armor of my basilisk.

After this point, the field looked like this:


In our turn, we start with my left side infantry squad cramming all the way back into the absolute back corner of the board, right onto the objective. As I've now completely neutralized any troops choices on their entire left side, I no longer need to worry about it (after all, even if they were able to kill the infantry squad on the left, they couldn't actually capture the objective). As a result, we decide to simply abandon our left side in an attempt to ensure that the right would be able to claim its objective.

The massive right-wards shift continues with my ~35 guardsmen mobbing up and sprinting forwards. I flinch as I do this. I know that those bolters are going to do some serious hurt, but I take refuge in the knowledge that I have 4 units, and he can only kill, at absolute most, 1 a turn. Time to see if this newfangled infantry idea of mine is going to work.

Unfortunately, my failure at photography failed once more. The actions from this round will be on the next picture.

So this side of the turn begins by my orkish opponent suddenly discovering that the nob sqad warboss' retinue was, in fact, pulled from TROOPS! He proceeds to book it with great haste towards the objective on the left.

Meanwhile, everything else on the left chases my command squad and sentinel. As well, his koptaz and space marines close in on my huge right side mob.

In shooting, their remaining multimelta dreadnought misses a Leman Russ, but that same Russ takes a tailpipe load of orkish rokkitz, blowing it to smithereens (thankfully with none of my infantry nearby).

Then came the space marines shooting into my mob... The flamer was just barely in reach, offing a couple of them. Then came the metal storm of bolter fire. When it was over only a single guardsman from the first squad survived.

Praise the emperor for no more shooting or half-strength penalties to morale, and no last-man standing. In the end, the dude with the missile launcher decides to stick it out. At this point the space marine opponent asks something to the effect of "so that one missile launcher guy can still claim the objective?" I responded to the affirmative, smiling coyly to myself. Muahaha.

After the end of turn 4, the field looked like this:


And now, it's time for my plan to come to fruition. Movement begins with my huge horde of guys sprinting forwards, ignoring the furiously firing space marines. The only exception was my powerfist JO with flamer who peeled off to handle the koptaz. My mob is, however reinforced by my partner's lone surviving vehicle.

Meanwhile, on the left I desperately wheel my command squad around to try and get a charge in. All I need to do is off a couple of nob wounds with a big pile of powerfist attacks. As well my infantry squad cowers further into the corner while my sentinel ran interference. I'd get at least a turn of delaying action from this.

In shooting, my lone flamer manages to knock a wound off of the koptaz, while the autocannon sentinel knocks off a wound from the other squad.

The space marines continued to unload shot after automatic shot into the charging guardsmen, while the captain continued to shout orders, pointing out targets with his power weapon. Something was odd... the guardsmen weren't even trying to shoot back.

Then, suddenly, a hole opened up in the mass of guardsmen. Out charged a giant mechanical construct:


Yes, the question of "can those things assault?" was asked. Before I could reply, the grim consensus was already echoed across the table. While the sentinel didn't manage to kill anyone, of course, neither did the marines. The way was now safe for my huge pile of guys to flop onto the objective unhindered.

After this point, the field looked like this:

Unfortunately, I didn't take a picture of the end of the game, and as such, I can't exactly remember what happened. In any case, my sentinel in the upper right survived, and my infantry squad in the lower left was left unhurt (any more than it had already been shot at).

After turn 5, the die was rolled, and the game was called.


While his space marines were no longer in range of the upper right objective, thanks in part to the pile-in moves required for close combat, my huge mob was left tragically short of the upper right objective. In any case, my infantry squad in the lower left was planted squarely, and uncontestedly on the objective, for a total of 1 to 0 for an Imperial Guard victory.

- We're pretty sure that we accidentally called the game too early (probably with a 3 of the 1 or 2 required to end it), but given that another turn would have only given me the upper right objective while at best letting him contest the lower right one, I think the end results would have been the same. In any case, I probably should have started my grand assault a little sooner, given the threat of a turn 5 ending.

- So, this was my first experience with 5th ed. I was already looking forward to it, and let me say, this game was tactical candy for me. If this would have been the same mission, but with 4th ed. rules, it would have been our side just castling up everything into a corner and static gun-lining their stuff do death with the winner being the one who had killed slightly more stuff. Instead, it wound up being a game of dynamic troop movements with the strategic elements of list composition, movement and to a lesser extend deployment and target prioritizing, just that much more of what was responsible for the final outcome. I look forward to being able to actually buy the rulebook for myself and start being able to get some more regular games in.

- So the outflanking thing was pretty cool. Not exactly something to build an entire strategy around, but it was kind of cool to have stuff just showing up, even if it was against me as much as it was by me. I'm already tinkering with putting more of this kind of stuff in my list.

Melchoir turned around. A giant ork was looming over him. The officer was temporarily paralyzed at the shock.

"Ooo fight gud, fer a hoomie!" The ork stoutly declared.

Melchoir could see several orks coming up behind the warboss. Most of his forces were over on the other side of the battlefield. The officer had no choice but to smile nervously back at the ork.

"I'f gotta use for tuffin's like yoo!"

Melchoir gave a side glance at Sanario. For some reason, when the two of them weren't charging into battle, Melchoir just didn't seem to have the same spirit to engage in a melee. He did what he did best: contrive.