BATTLE REPORTS - PUBLIC GAME - 22

Well, after a marriage, a honeymoon, and a move to a new home over 500 miles (800Km) away, here, finally, is my twenty-second game. To view my last game, click here. To view my next game click here. To view my lost game, click here. To view my batrep registry, click here.

This game was played against a talented young man with the new blood angels. Here's a quick synopsis of some of the new rules:

- all units get free frag and krak grenades
- assault marines are now a troops choice
- special characters no longer require player permission
- death company no longer requires a chaplain
- death company attacks now have rending
- death company automatically fail their black rage (meaning that they can assault you from 30" away)

And I think, somewhere down there, GW did the courtesy of throwing in a disadvantage, but I'm not certain.

The person with whom I played was someone that had played his first game just before this game (it was me and him against a necron player who had to quit after turn 2. Click on my lost game link above).

THE CHALLENGER: Daunte Culpepper's got the ball!

1500 pts.

1 10-man tac squad with plasma gun, plasma pistol
1 10-man assault squad with plasma gun, plasma pistol
1 10-man assault squad with melta gun, thunder hammer
1 10-man assault squad with melta gun, power fist (deepstrike)
1 5-man death company
Predator Annihilator
Daunte

THE DEFENDERS:

TAU

500 pts.

2 6-man firewarrior squads (none with carbines)
1 hammerhead with missiles
1 broadside with railguns, missiles
1 crisis suit commander with quad cannon, missiles

IMPERIAL GUARD

1000 pts.

This is my list.

In the end, after all the discussion from my last set of reflections, I wound up going for the most conservative changes. Basically, I dumped two flamers and a grenade launcher, and upgraded an autocannon to a lascannon (didn't have time to convert it yet), a flamer to a meltagun, and a powersword to a power fist.

You will notice that we are breaking the FOC with 4 HS choices. I gave my opponent the option of either letting us take 4 and just playing with it, or for us to remove one, and then play a lower points game (as we needed all of our models to barely stretch out to 1500 pts.). For the sake of simplicity and sanity, he chose the former.

My opponent rolled for sides and first turn, I rolled for deployment.

At deployment, the field looked like this:


For a hi-res version, click here.

I feel like I really flubbed it in deployment here, especially with my tanks. Maybe it's just been too long, or maybe I'm just not used to fighting an army in which almost all of them have jetpacks. At least we got to deploy like half our army after his.

TURN 1

He got to go first, which kind of bummed me out as there was a LOT of earthshaker fodder packed ever-so-close-in out there.

As all assault-based armies, his turn was pretty uneventful, consisting of moving forwards, and having nothing in range (except his predator, which failed to damage the hammerhead).

At this point, the field looked like this:

Melchoir looked around as they approached the main gate of the city. His new powerfist was unexpectedly heavy, and it was definitely taking some getting used to. He paused for a moment as his unit continued forwards.

This new war zone was absolute chaos. The battle for Urbana had been going on for a long time now, long enough for an intricate series of alliances and power struggles to form. Melchoir had only a brief time to figure out this complex system before he had already managed to make an enemy: the Blood Angels. The officer's experience with the chapter was already complicated enough, after the last planet he had fought to win over, and it didn't look like things would be getting any smoother.

What he didn't know is that someone in the Blood Angels command had already informed the grand chapter master, Lord Commander Dante, of the insult that Melchoir had payed them. Dante had pledged to handle the matter personally.

In our turn, I try to quickly fix my deployment mistakes. As everything is within 36", I quickly reposition my basilisk to shoot at his death company. As well, I try and set up a trap on my right. An infantry squad goes forwards as bait, while I move my command squad in. I move my chimera up as cover, while I move my demolisher back to be able to shoot at them in case the plan fails, and to handle the death company if the need arises. My opponent forgets to move anything.

In shooting, my basilisk aims at the death company, but misses badly. The broadside, which is very badly deployed, can pretty much only see one death company member in it's whole field of vision. Thankfully, the railgun hits and annihilates one. Both lascannons on the sentinel miss the predator. The rest of our army, what of it that had a target that it could see, manages to kill only a single marine.

After this point, the field looked like this:

TURN 2

Our opponent begins the turn by successfully getting his remaining squad in from reserves, but they scatter 2" into my troops, losing about half of them.

He then keenly capitalized on our terrible shooting phase. On the left, his assault marines manage to make it up to the building that the firewarriors were hiding in. In the middle, his death company makes it into assault range with blood rage alone. On the right, he gets his assault marines with Dante into the thick of it with my decoy squad:

On the left, his assault marines easily plow through the firewarriors and consolidate over towards the hammerhead which had been immobilized (along with the loss of its railgun) by the predator. In the center, his death company easily crushes my center squad which had been decimated by gunfire from both the death company and the deepstriking squad. On the right, my decoy squad doesn't stand a chance, but after winning, he consolidates 6" behind the gateway. Crap.

After this point, the field looked like this:

Melchoir's pulse pounded in his ears. He had the unfortunate necessity to fight blood angels before, and he knew that the fights turned into something akin to a Foleran ballet. This attack had been so quick, so well organized, and so sudden, that the officer felt more than a little flat footed. He just had to trust that his tanks would know what to do. He spared a brief moment to consider his Tauish allies.

Suddenly, the assault marines in front of them disappeared. He looked at Sanario. The priest now knew better than to blindly charge Blood Angels. The priest nodded. "Fall back, left flank!" the officer ordered, "Chimera back to cover!".

The blasts of his big guns firing from mere feet away drowned out any further orders.

My plan on the right had been wildly unsuccessful. Rather than trapping him into close combat, he was now over 12" away, which meant that with his jetpacks, he would be able to charge me instead of the other way around. Desperate, I move my command squad towards my demolisher in an attempt to get the vehicle to provide a 1" bubble around some of my troops. I do the same with my chimera, but make sure to drop off my dragoons first. I hope desperately that glory of hacking apart my last squad will make him attack another squad, rather than my HQ.

Meanwhile, I move one of my sentinels up in the hope that his surviving death company will be forced to attack the closer vehicle.

In shooting, my demolisher aims at his deepstriking troops and scatters, but only 2" away in a good direction. Unfortunately, I roll a pair of ones in my five wounding rolls, so a couple survive. My basilisk, meanwhile, aims at the death company and scores a hit. Only one of them survive the carnage. Now the vultures come in... A sentinel lascannon vaporizes the remaining death company, while a barrage of tau missiles kills another one of the deepstriking squad, but we just can't seem to kill the last guy with the meltagun.

On the right, we have a phenominal bout of shooting against the assault marines. The firewarriors on the roof manage to down a couple and a frag grenade (with 8 hits, baby!) takes another one. My platoon HQ vaporizes one with a lascannon (I am already starting to really like that upgrade), and my lasguns take down THREE marines (more than all the rest of the kills that lasguns have gotten on marines in the last 21 games combined).

I definitely feel a lot better, having sufficiently defanged my opponent, but there's still a lot to play...

After this point, the field looked like this:

TURN 3

In his turn, he doesn't mess around; closing in for the kill.

He starts by moving his left assault squad in towards my sentinel. He then proceeds to NOT take the bait and fly over to my command squad, despite the injuries inflicted by my dragoons. As well, he flies the lone survivor of his deepstrikers over to the side of my demolisher.

In shooting, he rakes over our entire force. On the left, a hail of bolt fire manages to stun the sentinel while the predator takes aim and easily destroys the basilisk with its lascannon battery. In the center, his footslogging marines manage a wound on the broadside while the meltagun easily penetrates the side armor of the demolisher for a "armamant destroyed + crew stunned". The demolisher cannon goes away, but thanks to extra armor, I can at least drive away. On the right, his bolt pistols make a mess of my command squad.

In assault, he meltabombs the crap out of my sentinel while charging into my demolisher with a meltabomb, only managing to stun it.

Melchoir whipped around to see a space marine in bright gold armor jetpack next to them and open fire with their bolt pistols. The officer was taken completely by surprise, his pair of gambits had failed.

The space marine commander made a sprint towards Melchoir. "Charge them!" Sanario shouted, but it was already too late. Dante chopped at Melchoir with his powersword, eager for revenge. Melchoir tried desperately to fend off the attack, but the weight of his powerfist was just to much. He awkwardly swung back, but was met with an energy-sheathed chop to the back. Daunte raised his sword for the killing blow when he was blindsided by Sanario crashing into him. The space marine staggered backwards and looked up to see the priest's mighty eviscerator crash down into his sword arm, gouging deeply into it.

Suddenly, a burst of pistol fire surrounded Sanario. As Dante's retinue charged in, Sanario could feel panic grip him. In a flash, he dropped his eviscerator, leaving it to churn up dirt, while he bolted and ran away. Angered, but still focused, Dante turned his attention to the greater threat.

Daunte chopped up my officer, while the rest of the assault squad killed everyone but the priest, who, after getting in a chop with his eviscerator, managed to outrun a sweeping advance and run off the board. Daunte and the assault squad consolidate into my dragoons.

After this point, the field looked like this:

After the second round of brutal thrashing in a row, I go into damage control mode. Without ordnance, and with my command squad dead, I decide to focus on regaining my footing next turn. This begins with me moving my demolisher 12" and popping smoke. I continue by moving my chimera over 6" towards his assault marines in a hope that they will go for the chimera rather than the demolisher. Finally, I move my sentinel into the ruins of the basilisk.

At this point, the only targets available are a squad of assault marines, a squad of tac marines and a predator. I start by zapping the assault marine with the meltagun with my platoon lascannon. I then target the assault marines and convince my ally to do the same. After all the smoke clears, only half of them are gone.

In assault, the marines that had barely made it up to my dragoons last turn slaughters half of the guardsmen, which flee and are cut down in a sweeping advance.

After this point, the field looked like this:

TURN 4

My opponent finishes closing his jaws on our forces. The assault marines on the left thankfully close in to attack the chimera. The assault marines on the right close in to hit the demolisher. The footslogging marines attack from the front while Dante splits off from the assault team and hits in from the rear. In short, a consumate blow.

Shooting begins with his predator shooting at my remaining sentinel. Being in cover can only help so much when you are targeted by three lascannons, and you're an AV10 open-top vehicle... His shooting continues by him mauling my platoon command squad with bolter fire. Thankfully, the plasma gunner fried himself, and I made a lot of cover saves, so I was able to survive with my lone lascannon.

Dante looked up onto the gate, the last standing resistance in the battle. He ordered his men to finish off the demolisher, wreathed in smoke from its grenades, and from it's busted turret. He identified the last shred of leadership in the army: the Tau crisis suit commander. He engaged his jetpack and charged in:

In assault, he attacked my chimera, but its speed let only a single meltabomb through, which caused an "armament destroyed + crew stunned" result. Despite it's very rapid movement, the marine commander's choice troops were able to land a meltabomb on the demolisher, netting an "armament destroyed + crew stunned" result on a penetrate, and a "armament destroyed" and a subsequent "crew stunned" result with a glance from the thunder hammer. Thank the emperor for extra armor!

Dante, meanwhile, tried to attack the crisis suit, but he didn't manage a wound on the suit, which wounded Dante in return.

After this point, the field looked like this:

With few units able to move, and even fewer able to move and shoot, the only movement on our side was me continuing my frantic retreat of my demolisher.

In shooting, neither of my lascannons hit, but my partner's railgun smeared one of the assault marines that had attacked my demolisher. The firewarriors also put in two wounds. We nominate the meltagunner (rather than the thunder hammerer) who passes his save, but he fails the other one, which he choses to assign to his meltagunner.

Daunte continued his battle against the giant Tau suit. His arm writhed in pain as he attempted to chop into the crisis suit. Pain, and an awkward position on the steps below the suit made it challenging enough to keep his balance, much less land a useful blow with this power sword.

The combat between Dante and the crisis suit ended with no injuries.

After this point, the field looked like this:

TURN 5

As my opponent started to lose his momentum, he moved all of his forces into the gate.

Movement begins with his remaining assault marine failing his last man standing test and running back towards the demolisher, which then took the trip up to aid Dante. As well, his tac squad finally makes it into position in front of the gate, backed up by the predator, which, nearly bereft of targets, finally decides to move.

In shooting, his tac marines turn the firewarriors into a fine red paste, and a hail of pistol fire manages to shake my chimera.

Dante struggled against the Tau suit. Finally, he was able to land a clean blow on the Tau leader, causing it to fly backward a few feet. Suddenly, an assault marine with a thunder hammer appeared behind him and struck hard down onto the suit. The shot connected and with a thunderous roar, the hammer obliterated the rear armor of the crisis suit, causing oil and a fine red gore to blast out through the cracks in the front armor along with the thunder of the hammer.

Dante looked up at the marine and nodded. The two of them wheeled around to engage other targets. It was time to finish this battle.

In assault, the crisis suit goes down to an instant kill by the thunder hammer. Dante again just barely manages to make it into consolidation range by grazing the base of the broadside, while the assault marine is left somewhat flatfooted, ending an inch away from the remnant of my platoon HQ.

After this point, the field looked like this:

In our turn, the only thing left to move was the demolisher, which moved in such a way where it could target either the assault marine on the gate, or the newly exposed predator.

Corporal Menos clipped the lead wire into his lascannon. Without a loader, the cannon had been cumbersome to reload, and his focus had to compete with the battle around him. With the final click, he looked up and around him. Suddenly, from his left, an assault marine came charging at him, shouting in a loud voice. The corporal whipped his cannon around:

...and pulled the trigger. The point-blank blast of the cannon smashed straight through the chest of the assault marine, who was knocked backwards in the blast. Menos let out a deep breath as he watched the marine collapse to the ground.

My lascannon on the gate hit (phew), which let the demolisher target the predator. The demolisher's lascannon also hit and easily penetrated the predator's side armor with a 14. The result? See ya later, predator!

The events of this stage will be included in the next picture.

TURN 6

Frustrated with their inability to kill the chimera, the remaining assault marines charge over towards my demolisher. Meanwhile, the tac squad storms the gate in an attempt to get to the chimera:

In shooting, he opens up with a vortex of bolter rounds on my chimera which net him a pair of glances. One stuns the vehicle, the other removes the other heavy bolter.

In assault, Dante chops the crap out of my lone lascannoner, and one of the three meltabombs of the assault squad hit my demolisher for the result of "Armament Destroyed + Crew Stunned". That's it, folks, my Demolisher is now no more than an AV14 Impala.

With nothing left to do anything, I concede our turn.

At the end of the game, the field looked like this:

FINAL RESULTS

We killed everything but half of Dante, half of an assault squad, and a tac squad for a total of 1038 pts. He killed everything but half a hammerhead, a demolisher and a chimera, for a total of 1117 pts. for a total of -79 in his favor, for a draw.

Whew! That was a tense game! The only other one I've played where I've left with a headache due to the ammount of tension and focus in the game. A few things to note.

- If you are a brand new player, make absolutely sure you remember the movement phase, especially if you're a fast army like Tau. "Skimmers moving fast" only works if the skimmers move ;)

- My deployment was crap. In the end, a single vehicle dominated the entire left side of the battlefield. As well, I was only able to get a round and a half of ordnance in. The firepower of my tanks was severely diminished through most of the game. I'm not sure yet what I could have done differently, but I think some changes should have been made.

- I'm all but totally certain that I'm going to keep the lascannon in my platoon HQ. For the first time in 22 games, that squad made its points back.

- My inability to charge my HQ into close combat was another fatal error. Rather than wiping out a squad, like I'd hoped, I only managed to take a single wound off of an independent character. I honestly tried to make it work out, but I obviously didn't know how do handle this situation. My only thought would have been to move my units in such a way where my command squad was surrounded by another squad to make it impossible to consolidate into them while keeping them close. Otherwise, I'd really appreciate some suggestions.

- Even though it's survival was unusual, it does show off a bit of the resilience of the demolisher. While I still didn't manage to make my points back (although I probably got close with that predator kill), the ability to move at high speeds was an emperorsend in this battle. Way to keep 200 VP's on my side.

- The store where I'm playing only has 4x4 boards. It will be very interesting to see how I'll be able to deal with these very small spaces. As well, I'm now part of a 40k league which is playing a citifight campaign at the moment, so I'm going to brush up.

MVP: For as much as I wanted to drop it, I'm going to have to say the demolisher. Not only did it manage a few kills, but it also gave the opponent one hell of a runaround. Tactical gold.

Hero of the game: As much as I love my lascannoner, I think I'm going to have to pass this to my armored fist dragoons. Getting out of your chimera so that you can charge Lord Commander Dante takes a bit of guts.

Dante paused for a moment. He finally let his mind wander over to the radio systems that had been blaring with activity since his assault began. Central command was sending an inquisitor with an armored retinue to investigate the imperial infighting. Dante figured it would be best if he wasn't around when reinforcements arrived. His own forces shattered, he called his remaining marines to fall back to his position. Even though they would have to give the field without a proper conclusion, he felt that the debt of insult had been repayed. He activated his jetpack and flew off into the late afternoon sun.

---

"Sanario!" came the voice of the demolisher captain over the intercom, "We just got news: The inquisitor found Melchoir. He's at the medivac now. That's one lucky bastard. Apparently he was saved because the inquisitor saw the pin that Sixtus gave him. Just thought you'd want to know".

Sanario continued to stare out into the night, still trembling a bit from his violent shaking before. The demolisher, now little more than a wreck, had caught up with him as he was running away from the battle. He had been weeping violently for most of the time since. He had failed. He had run away.

Sanario shut his eyes hard and forced back a few more tears before sniffling and turning his attention back to the night sky through a giant hole that used to be a plasma cannon sponson. He wiped his face with his sleeve and looked back down at his book. In the dim light, he picked up where he left off.

"In the time of peril, I look for the Emperor to be my strength..."

So, that's it. I'm glad to be back in business now that I've gotten all moved in. See you guys next week for game 23!