I finally have pictures!!!! Yes, this is a big day indeed. Now you just have to forgive my inability to take good pictures. I'll get better though, I promise. So this battle was 1500 points against Deathguard with my Black Templars. We were playing a Take and Hold mission at the Omega level.

We had to claim the center of the table, so we thought it would be fun to put a building right over it and make that an "Objective" of sorts. We both deployed in the center and the right side of the board, so the left side was completely ignored for the whole game. There were plenty of buildings and ruins around to hide in and lot of the paths between them were obstructed by barricades and tank traps. This is the second time we played, so he knew I liked my Rhinos.

Here are the Army Lists:

Black Templars:

Champion - Accept Any Challenge…
Master of Sanctity - Jump Pack, Bolt Pistol
Crusader Squad - 9 Marines w/ Power Fist, Meltagun in Rhino w/ Smoke, Armor
Crusader Squad - 10 Marines w/ Power Fist, Meltagun in Rhino w/ Smoke, Armor
Crusader Squad - 5 Marines w/ Lascannon and Plasmagun
Dreadnought
Assault Squad - 10 Marines w/ Power Fist and 2 Plasma Pistols
Land Speeder Tornado
Land Speeder Tornado
Predator Annihilator - Lascannon Sponsons

Deathguard:

Demon Prince - Stature, Speed, Aura, Essence, Strength, Talons
Chaos Lieutenant - Chaos Spawn, Talons
Chosen Retinue - 6 Chosen, 1 Melta Gun, 4 Aspiring Champions, all 4 Champions with a Chaos Spawn and Talons
Terminator Squad - 6 Terminators with 2 Reaper Autocannons, Tank Hunters
Plague Marines - 14 Plague Marines with 2 Meltaguns + Aspiring Champion with Mastercrafted Powerfist, Mutation, Spikey Bits, and Infiltrate on the squad
Plague Marines - 14 Plague Marines with 1 Meltagun + Aspiring Champion with Powerfist, Chaos Spawn
Everything had a Mark of Nurgle

Deployment:
I deployed my Assault Marines, Rhinos, and Landspeeders behind buildings to keep them safe. My Predator was staring right into his deployment zone along with my Dreadnought and Las/plas squad.

He pretty much lined up in the center of the table. He had a Demon Prince to the far left (my perspective, as always). Next to the DP he had a squad of Plague Marines. Next to them were the Terminators. Then came the large, scary Chaos Lieutenant squad. Finally his other squad of Plague Marines infiltrated right behind the Objective building.



I rolled for the turn choice and I took the first turn.

"Sir, we have a problem," a nervous voice came over the communications array.
"What?"
"Heretic Marines, Sir. They've overrun the city of Nargrid. Their numbers are increasing quite rapidly and they're advancing towards our Third Temple for the Crusade."
"We'll need to get a defensive foothold in Nargrid quickly if we hope to fend them off. Alert the Marshall."
"Sir?"
"We're attacking."
The veteran Chaplain stood up and lifted his Crozius over his shoulder. It was still stained from the previous battle with the Ordo Hereticus.
'Too bad they're gone. Would've been nice to have those guys on our side,' Rhyce thought to himself.

Turn 1 -

Black Templars:
Everything in my the army except the Las/plas and the Predator move forwards. The left Rhino moves up and drops its Marines off in the building. The other Rhino powers forward and pops smoke. The Assault squad jumps towards the center building as the Dreadnought lumbers forward. The Tornados blast over the building in front of them to see the full mass of the Deathguard army.

The Predator starts off the shooting. He's joined by the Dreadnought, both Tornados and the Las/plas squad in shooting at the Terminators. Together they reduce the squad to only 2 Terminators. The Crusaders in the building shoot at the Plague Marines in front of them and kill one.



Kairen was fidgeting in his seat as the Rhino plowed forward into the city. He knew what was waiting for them there. He was one of the few members of the Crusade that knew what those who dedicated themselves to Nurgle were capable of. However, his faith in the Emperor kept him calm. As he waited, a transmission came in from the other mobile Initiate squad.
"We've made contact! … Dear Emperor, there are so many."
Kairen bowed his head. 'Many of us will not leave this battlefield today,' he knew it.

Deathguard:

Similarly, everything trudges forward. The Terminators roll a miraculous 2" on their difficult terrain roll so fail to get very far. The rest close in on the center building.

In shooting, the Infiltrating Plague Marines, now inside the center building, Rapid Fire on the Marines in front of them. Only 2 drop from the flurry of shots fired at them. The Terminators target a Landspeeder and send it crashing to the ground (removed to avoid confusion).



Turn 2 -

Black Templars:
The Crusaders inside the building trudge through Difficult Terrain to ensure they're very close to the Plague Marines in front of them. The Assault squad jumps into the ruins next to the center building. One Marine dies due to Dangerous Terrain. The Rhino mounted Crusader squad gets out and approaches the rear Plague Marine squad. The Dreadnought also moves forward a bit and the Tornado repositions behind the Chaos Lieutenant and his squad.

The Crusaders and Jump Packs fire on the Plague Marines and manage to down 4 of them. The Predator and Las/plas squad team up to finish off the Terminators and the Tornado kills a Chaos Spawn. The Champion squad fails to kill anything with their shooting.

The Assault squad and Crusader squad charge the Plague Marines. Inside the building the Space Marines reduce the Plague Marine squad to a single a model, while the Plague Marines kill 1 Assault Marine and drop the Crusader squad down to 4. The final Plague Marine fails his Armor saves for being incredibly outnumbered. The Champion squad charges the rear Plague Marine squad. The Champion kills a whopping 4 Plague Marines (Yes, all of his attacks killed something. No, this will never happen again, not even close). Most of our models are left out of base contact from this. The rest of the Marines kill another Plague Marine and they kill a single loyalist in return. The Jump Packs and Champion squad consolidate into the Plague Marines. The Crusader squad fails to make it there.



Brother Maleus looked at the horde of Plague Marines in front of him. It didn't look good.
"Brothers! Today, we die for the Emperor!" He raised his Powerfist high above his head as he spoke.
The other Initiates roared in approval. As they did, Maleus heard the familiar sound of jetpacks nearby. He looked into the adjacent ruins to see their revered Chaplain land with his Assault squad.
"Shall we?" Rhyce asked briefly over the transmitter.
"For The Emperor!" was the cry that Rhyce received both from his squad and the other as they charged forward towards their enemy.

Deathguard:

The Demon Prince didn't have to move to be in range of the Assault squad, they were inches away. The Chosen squad moved over into charge range of the Champion and his Marines.

The Chaos Marines forgo the shooting phase and head right into assault. The Demon Prince charges the Assault Marines and the Chosen squad gets the Crusaders. The Templars direct nearly all of their attacks onto the center Plague Marine squad hoping to wipe it out. In flurry of wonder luck the Chaplain and Champion collectively kill 2 Plague Marines. The Demon Prince and Chaos Lieutenant have better luck. The middle Plague Marine squad is eventually whittled down to 6 strong. The Assault Marines are reduced to only 2 (the Demon Prince hurts) and the Crusader squad is wiped out (so does Rending). The Demon Prince, however, is wounded by an Assault Marine in base contact with it.

Kairen nearly leapt out of the Rhino as it grinded to a halt. He was already charging the misshapen Marines as his squad was getting out of their transport. Kairen nimbly plunged into the squad of heretics and cleaved at as many as he could. Limbs were torn, but the Plague Marines showed unnatural resilience to his strikes. As he fought he heard the screams of his men coming form behind him. Surely he hadn't left too many alive in his wake, Kairen thought to himself. He stole a glance back towards his squad only to see them lying, torn to pieces on the ground. A mass of mutated, writhing Chaos warriors now stood in their place. Kairen whispered a silent prayer to himself and charged forward.

Turn 3 -

Black Templars:
The Dreadnought moves up to join the fray. The Las/plas squad also moves up due to lack of targets and to get closer to the center of the table. The Predator moves up as well.

The small Crusader squad charges the Plague Marines in the center of the Assault to help out. The Dreadnought charges the Chosen. The Chaplain and Champion again deal 2 collective wounds. The Demon Prince kills the remaining Jump Packs, but the Chaos Lieutenant can't hurt the Champion. The Crusaders kill all but one Plague Marine and the Dreadnought kills 3 from the Chosen squad. Two of the Crusader Marines are killed, leaving 2 remaining. The Dreadnought avoids getting hit with a rend, despite 6 hits landing. The Champion takes a whole mess of attacks, 2 of which rend, but only suffers a single wound.

Kairen and Rhyce met at the center of the whirling massacre.
"It doesn't look good," Kairen shouted bluntly as they fended off more Plague Marines.
"Does it ever?" Rhyce responded quickly as he bashed a Plague Marine into the ground with his Crozius.
Kairen snorted a laugh as he parried a mangled talon extending from what was once a person. There was a pause as the remaining heretics gathered around the two.
"I'll see you with the Emperor, Brother," Kairen stated softly.
"Yea? I'm not going anywhere."
Kairen laughed softly. He couldn't help but be amused by Rhyce's optimism.
"Then I'll see you at base, Sir. For the Emperor!"
Kairen plunged forward into the mass of Chosen Marines and Chaos Spawn. Rhyce couldn't see his Battle Brother amidst the swarm of bodies, but he knew he was fighting bravely. Rhyce prepared to follow suit.

Deathguard:

Straight to Assault. The Chaplain goes for the lone Plague Marine for lack of a better target (I don't like that DP). He kills him, scoring only a single wound. The Demon Prince only manages to put a single wound on the Chaplain. The Champion and two Crusaders attack the Chosen along with the Dreadnought. Together the squad is knocked down to 5 Chosen, 1 Spawn and the Lieutenant. The Dreadnought gets hit with a single rend this round that destroys it. The Champion suffers a similar fate and gets cut to shreds by rending attacks.

Turn 4 -

Black Templars:
The Predator moves behind the central building and the Las/plas squad moves up.

In Assault the Chaplain attacks the Chosen squad but is unable to wound it. The Demon Prince fails to wound this turn as well and the Chosen squad rips up the Crusaders who fail to deal any damage.

Deathguard:

Again we go right to Assault. The Chaplain puts his attack against the Chosen and again manages to inflict no damage. Good-bye Chaplain. The Demon Prince and Chosen spread out.

Rhyce was hacking away at Plague Marines, finally killing the last of them when a massive shadow was cast over him. He looked up to see the hulking image of a Demon Prince looming in front of him.
"You must be joking," Rhyce said aloud to the monstrosity.
His comment was met with nothing shy of a ground shaking roar. With that Rhyce boosted forward and struck the Demon Prince hard with his Crozius. Little to the Chaplain's surprise, the blow did not even phase the beast who promptly responded by slamming Rhyce to the ground with one of its large talons. Rhyce struggled and tried to free himself, but was unable to. The last thing he saw was another giant talon rushing towards his face.

Turn 5 -

Black Templars:
I move my Predator around the center building to get one shot on the Chosen. My Landspeeder also takes aim at them. The Las/plas moves up again, but can't get Line of Sight to anything.

The Predator kills a single Chosen with its Lascannon, but Tornado can't make it past their armor.

Deathguard:

The Demon Prince moves over to Assault the Predator. The Chosen prepare to shoot their Meltaguns at the Tornado.

A single Meltagun glances for a Crew Stunned result allowing my Speeder to move next turn. The Demon Prince cuts the Predator to ribbons.

Turn 6 -

Black Templars:
I notice that I need to deal only a single additional wound to the Chosen squad to remove them as a scoring unit. This being his only scoring unit left, I figure I can do something by killing one of them off. I move the Las/plas squad into the building to rapid fire them. The Tornado boosts right behind to building to claim some free VP.

The bolters are ineffective in killing any Chosen (as I expected them to be). The plasmagunner steps up to the plate. He fires twice. I roll a 2 and a 1. Both miss. I miss my save. He dies. Wow, that was upsetting. Definitely the first time I've lost more models than my opponent in my own shooting phase. I didn't realize then, but did after the game, that this could've really changed the outcome of the game.

Deathguard:

His Chosen move towards my Las/plas. So does the Demon Prince. They all shoot and kill a single marine.

They charge. I fail to deal any damage to the Chosen with my attacks. Oh well. The Demon Prince, in wonderful spell of luck, hits 3 attacks and misses all of the wound rolls! (That made me feel better about my plasmagunner). All but one of my Marines are killed by the Chosen.

Rhyce awoke with a start. It took a while for his vision to return to him as he surveyed the room that he was in. It was the medical bay at the Second Temple of the Crusade. He started laughing wildly and looked up to the ceiling.
"Emperor, you have some sense of humor!"
After laughing hysterically for a few momeWord Study Toolnts he calmed down and moved on to evaluating his injuries. It must have been some time since the battle as a lot of corrective surgery had already been done. He immediately noticed a change in his vision. His right eye functioned as if looking through a Power Armor helmet. And his face felt different. He raised his left arm to realize that it was now completely mechanical. Lowering it, Rhyce raised his right arm, still intact and touched his face. The right side now sported a metal jaw and cheek that extended up to his forehead.
"Wow, that thing really did a number on me," Rhyce muttered to himself.
As he continued to review his injuries, the Command Apothecary entered the room. He snapped to attention realizing that the Chaplain was awake.
"What happened?" Rhyce asked in his usual gruff demeanor.
"Well, Sir, your men weren't able to hold the edge of the city, but you did manage to push the Chaos forces back a bit, buying more time for reinforcements. Marshall Zeeke is fighting over the city right now with the rest of Crusade. We should be able to take it back."
Rhyce nodded. "Kairen?"
The Apothecary smirked and Rhyce already knew what he needed to know. "He survived and in better condition than you did Sir. He's on the front lines with the Marshall."
"What!? He's fighting?" Rhyce couldn't help but be shocked. He hated being left behind, especially due to any injury. "I'm going!"
Rhyce struggled a bit and shot a confused look at the Apothecary. "Why can't I get up?"
"We haven't finished reconstructing your leg, Sir. You'll have to wait a while longer before you can fight."
Rhyce slumped back into the medical stretcher. "Hurry up then."
"Yes Sir." The Apothecary got to work immediately.

So, that was a REALLY close game. Here's the end result. I had a Landspeeder scoring, my las/plas below half, but not dead and both of my Rhinos intact. He had a wounded Demon Prince and his Chosen squad at exactly half (DAMN!). His Chosen Squad and my Landspeeder both were close enough to the center to give us extra VP as well.

He ended up with about 1530 VP while I had approximately 1230, give or take 2-5 points. That's a 300 point deficient making it a close, but Solid Victory in his favor. Let's look at what would've happened if my stupid plasmagunner didn't suck there at the end. Had he dealt a single wound, that Chosen squad would not have been a scoring unit. Minus 282 points from him. Plus 141 points to me for taking that unit below half. It's now a Draw in my favor by slightly over 100 points. Little did I realize how meaningful that roll was. Another option would've been to simply hide my Predator behind my Rhinos and get that to score as well. This would have been a significant swing in points as well making the score almost dead even. But, I don't mind this mistake as much as it's not very Black Templarsy to hide and hope to score points. I'd rather go down fighting!

Still, I am very proud of my army's performance today. It was an incredibly close match, which is clear by how easily it could have swung in either direction. My opponent was an excellent one and this is definitely one of the toughest armies I've ever faced (literally, T5 across the board). I'd like to thank him for a great game. Hopefully I'll get another chance to try my luck against his army.

Some closing thoughts on general tactics and abilities:

- Toughness 5 is HARD to wound, especially with Space Marines. Sure we're durable, but when it comes to Strength, it's pretty much 4s everywhere. Shooting with big guns and Powerfists are key to having any success against such an army.
- Combining all of my units against one of his is the only way to have any success. I've played against this army once before and was unable to do this due to some poor tactics on my part and poor Reserves roles (Escalation makes my army cry). One on one, I cannot beat Toughness 5, so I have to use my speed to my advantage.
- Getting rid of those Terminators early was incredibly helpful. With them gone my Armor doesn't have to worry much until they get assaulted by a Demon Prince.
- My Meltaguns make me sad. Neither hit once this game. I'm hoping for a better show next time out of them.
- Rending hurts. A full squad of Chosen that rend hurts a lot. Probably should shoot them more next time.

Thank you for reading and I hope you enjoyed it.