1500 Point Chaos/Imperial Guard Vs Witchhunters/Imperial Guard

The Daemon-bound staff of Commorian, Lord of Sorcery and Chosen of Ahriman, was plunged upright into the floor of the ancient cathedral. Standing at the center of a chaotic swirl of eldritch runes and sigils, dark power pulsed along its length with a heartbeat rhythm.
Standing at arm's length, Commorian paced in time with the thrumming power of the warp, while his thralls chanted at the edge of the ritual.
"My Lord," Darthax emerged from a shadowy corner, the smoky effluence of the webway drifting off his blood-red cloak.
"You know I am not to be disturbed." Commorian spoke without breaking from his circuit around the staff.
"The Inquisition has been alerted by loyalists among the planetary defense forces. An assault force of PDF and Ecclessials approach."
"This is a purposeless interruption. Take command of the Guard regiment here, and destroy them."
Darthax nodded. "They are lightly armed, my lord. The cost to them will be high."
"The cost of another interruption may be higher." Commorian snarled. "Feed Azmos to Lord Izzixtril, if you must, but do not permit the Corpse-Emperor's followers to find this place. We are very near our goal."
"I hear, Lord, and obey." Darthax bowed, and stepped backwards through a rift in reality.

My friend Ryan and I teamed up against friends Spooky and Bill for one CRAZY game. Each player got 750 points, and each team shared an FOC.

Darthax's Coven

HQ

1 Lord of Change (w/Bolt of Change)
1 Chosen of Ahriman (Darthax) w/Plasma Pistol, D. Strength, Power Weapon, The Key,
      Mark of Tzeentch

Troops

9 Rubric Marines w/AC (Daemonhost, D. Chains)
9 Rubric Marines w/AC (Powerfist, D. Mutation, Spikey Bits)

Traitor Guard Garrison

Elites

5 Ratling Snipers

Troops

1 Infantry Platoon
-HQ Squad w/ Junior Officer, Grenade Launcher, H. Bolter, Psyker
-Praetorian Squad A w/Lascannon
-Praetorian Squad B w/Lascannon
-Valhallan Squad C w/Lascannon

Fast Attack

1 Hellhound

Heavy Support

1 Griffon
1 Demolisher (Plasma Sponsons, Heavy Bolter)



Ecclesial Strike Force

Troops

10 Sisters, w/ 2 Meltaguns, Vet. Superior (Book of St. Lucius)
      Mounted in Rhino (Smokes)

10 Sisters, w/ 2 Meltaguns, Vet. Superior (Book of St. Lucius)
      Mounted in Rhino (Smokes)

Fast Attack

4 Seraphim w/ 2 Inferno Pistols, Vet. Superior

5 Seraphim w/ 2 Inferno Pistols, Vet. Superior

Heavy Support

1 Immolator w/ TL Multimeltas

Imperial Guard Loyalists

HQ

HQ Platoon

-HQ squad w/Junior Officer, Autocannon

-Mortar Squad (Mortars x3)

Elites

10 Hardened Vets w/ Plasma Guns x3 (Hardened Vet Sarge w/Plasma pistol)
     in Chimera (Multilaser, Heavy Bolter)

Fast Attack

6 Rough Riders w/Hunting Lances, Vet. Sarge w/Lance, Power Weapon

Heavy Support

1 Leman Russ (Heavy Bolter)

1 Leman Russ (Lascannon, Heavy Bolter Sponsons, Pintle Heavy Stubber)


Terrain and Deployment

The board's central objective was a pair of unassuming rocks at the center of the battlefield. To their left were a pair of bunkers, and to their right a series of rough terrain/earthen ridges. On the close edge, center, was a tower the sat just outside Ryan and my deployment zones, some sparse woods just to the tower's right, and a large hill at the far right. To the left of the tower was another large hill, and then a tall rock outcropping in the left corner. The far side of the table was dominated at the center by a large building. The right on that side had several rock outcroppings and small hills, while the left was largely covered by the bunkers.

Ryan and I lost big time in both the mission selection and deployment stage. For one thing, Spooky and Bill won the option to select a mission they wanted (they picked take and hold) AND won the option to deploy. they picked the side with the large building, as it afforded the best cover, both from the building itself, and the bunkers along the left flank. They deployed a Rhino behind a rock on the far right, which was followed by the non-sponson Leman Russ, and then the Immolator. The 4-sister squad of Seraphim deployed behind the Russ. The Command Squad claimed the top of the building with their autocannon, while the mortar squad hid behind it. Just to the left of the building deployed the big Leman Russ, then the other Rhino, then the Chimera and, finally, the Seraphim and Rough Riders nailed down the left flank.

Ryan and I, meanwhile, deployed as follows:

The first Praetorian Lascannon squad deployed in cover behind the hill on the right, with the Griffon behind them. The HQ squad deployed behind some ridges just to the left of the Praetorians, and next to them, huddled next to the tower, the Demolisher parked itself. My squad of Rubrics with the Assault AC hid as best they could behind the tower, while the Ratlings infiltrated on top of it. The second group of Praetorians deployed in the open to the left of the tower. In cover atop the hill to their left, the Valhallans took up positions. On the far right, Darthax deployed behind the Daemonhost squad of Rubrics, and were right next to the Hellhound.

After deployment was through, the table looked like this:

Turn 1

We lost turn 1, which sucked--basically, if there was a pre-battle roll to flub, we flubbed it. So, Spooky/Bill got the initiative. The Rhino on the right edged forward, and popped smokes. The Leman Russ stayed put, and shot at the Demolisher with a battlecannon shot that scattered enough to kill 3 Rubric marines (oof!), but didn't damage the big tank. The Immolator also rolled forward and fired at the Demolisher, but did nothing, either. The Seraphim on the right followed up the Demolisher. The autocannon fired at some of the Praetorians on the left (I think) but missed entirely. The mortars, meanwhile, shelled the ratlings, killing 2, though the little guys kept their cool. On the left, a bit of a traffic jam developed as the big Leman Russ and the Rhino tried to edge past one another. The Rhino popped smokes, and the big Russ shot at the assault rubrics, killing another 2 (lousy insta-killing battlecannons!). On the far left, the Chimera rolled forward, firing at the Valhallans, but killing nobody. The Rough Riders and the Seraphim also advanced, prepping for an assault hopefully next turn.

On our turn, we discovered a crucial flaw in our defensive plans: Ryan's guardsmen had clearly never used a lascannon before. All squads fired on tanks of various descriptions, and missed. The Demolisher fired its big gun, and blew the tracks off of the Immolator. The Ratlings successfully pinned the autocannon squad with a single kill, while the Griffon's big shell blew the crap out of the mortar squads, killing 4 and forcing the group to re-form next turn. The Assault Rubrics huddled for better cover from the marauding Leman Russes, while the Rubrics on the left moved forward along with the Hellhound, the latter of which toasted a Seraphim. Darthax followed the Rubrics at a respectful distance.

Turn 2

Things got real ugly for the forces of evil here. The two Rhinos hit the gas and drove hard towards our right flank, disembarking some 20 sisters on our front doorstep. A hail of meltagun fire reduced the Demolisher to slag shortly thereafter. The Seraphim shot at the Ratlings, wiping them out. Another battlecannon shell killed another assault rubric marine, which reduced the squad to a mere AC and two rubrics. A second Battlecannon Shell annihilated the Praetorian Squad in the open, and the survivors took to their heels, never to return.

On the left, the Chimera rumbled forward a bit more, still shooting at the Valhallans with no effect. The Seraphim leapt a bunker to get a rear shot at the Chimera, which promptly burst into flame (well, you drive around with 2500 gallons of Promethium, and its pretty much bound to happen). The Rough Riders, deciding not to test their luck with 10,000 year old undead marines, made for the Valhallans alongside the Chimera.


Inferno Pistol + Hellhound = Kaboom!


There Goes the Neighborhood...

On our turn, it was time for payback. Well, before that, it was time for some suckage: The Lascannons continued to miss, as the operators quickly thumbed through manuals and asked themselves 'which button is for aiming?' The assault rubrics, who were hoping to get a charge in this turn, moved exactly 1" in the movement phase,and so just hugged the tower to hide from battlecannons and shot at the sisters with little effect. The Command squad, despite firing a heavy bolter and short range, didn't kill a goddamned thing.

The good news, though, was the appearance of the Lord of Change, who promptly leapt out of the body of the hapless Azmos (who was just 1 week from retirement! Doh!), and flew behind the Chimera, charged it at its exit port, and proceeded to make the transport explode, trapping the vets inside (save 3, who all died in the ensuing conflagration, anyway) and blowing up all but 1 Rough Rider (the vet sarge, of course) with the secondary explosion. This, of course, sent our opponents into a panic. YAY! Then, the rubrics, along with Darthax, charged and slaughtered the remaining seraphim.


The Lord of Change orders his Hardened Vets in a convenient, carry-out container.

Turn 3

Reeling from the appearance of a Greater Demon (which they were pretty sure was coming from the other AC), the forces of Bill and Spooky went a bit nutty. The big Leman Russ threw it in reverse to attempt to get out of charge range, and fired its Battlecannon at the distant rubrics that were hanging out with Darthax. No casualties were inflicted. The other Battlecannon from the Far Russ also fired, with identical effects. The autocannon fired at the Lord of Change, and missed. The Immolator also shot at the Lord of Change, only to be thwarted by the beast's invulnerable save.

The Lone Rough Rider, meanwhile, passed his Last Man Standing, and decided charging the Valhallans was still the best chance he had of actually cashing in his paycheck. He charged, killed a Valhallan, survived the counter attack, and was locked in combat.

On the right, one sister squad blew apart the Griffon, while the Seraphim charged and wiped out the second Praetorians. This left the Valhallans and the Command Squad as the last Traitor Guard units on the board.

On our turn, the Lord of Change's munching spree continued as he tore apart the big Leman Russ in a ball of fiery doom. The Valhallans beat down the Rough Rider, after losing another member, but then reformed to see if they couldn't fire the damn Lascannon once effectively for the whole game. Darthax teleported, taking the rubrics near him along, and they landed behind the Far Leman Russ, and, firing into its rear armor, immobilizing and stunning it several times. The Command Squad made it's last stand against the Sisters, doing absolutely nothing. The Assault Rubrics, though, got a good movement roll and charged one of the sister squads, killing 4 of them and losing only one wound of one of the Rubrics.


The Rough Rider Goes for Broke!

Turn 4

The dawn of Turn 4 saw the forces of the God Emperor flagging--their tanks (their heaviest guns) were mostly destroyed, and nobody seemed able to stop the Lord of Change. What had seemed like a massacre had turned into a near game. The Seraphim and free (i.e. not being slaughtered by Chaos Marines) Sisters squad joined forces to gun down the Command Squad. The Sisters locked in combat used their powers to gain initiative against the forces of Chaos, but it did little good, and they lost another 3. The Immolator took a wound off of the Lord of Change, while the Autocannon shelled the Valhallans to no effect. Then, realizing he had some Rhinos sitting around that weren't doing anything, Spooky gunned one of his Rhinos to tank shock the Valhallans off the board. In a gusty Death of Glory attempt, the lone Lascannon operator, closing his eyes and hitting buttons frantically, DESTROYED THE RHINO! Whew! The Valhallans, with new purpose, aimed their big gun at better targets...

...and failed to do anything again in our turn. The Rubrics, meanwhile, kept pumping bolt shells into the back of the Russ, stunning it again and destroying the battlecannon. Darthax's Plasma Pistol overheated, but he saved the wound. The Lord of Change (in what was, in retrospect, a bit of an error, but not much of one, anyway), charged into assist the assault Rubrics, who then eliminated the Sisters' unit with which they were engaged. Unfortunately, the massacre rolls were not high enough to re-engage any enemies.


I'll take 'Glory', please!

Turn 5

Everybody, and I mean EVERYBODY, shot at the Lord of Change. He weathered it well, considering that he was closed into Rapid Fire range by the other sister squad, the seraphim, the Immolator, and the Autocannon. In the end, it came down to the last bolt pistol shot from the last seraphim who, her bolt guided by the divine will of the Emperor, sped the beast back to hell. Before he went, though, he sent the servant of the Corpse God a final, horrifying image: Her body, broken upon the top the tower she stood upon.

In our turn, the Valhallans actually managed to shoot the Immolator, but only shook it, so whatever. The Rubrics came around the edge of the Leman Russ (I, myself, am confused why I did this), and left Darthax to rapid fire his plasma pistol into the back--which then double over-heated and caused a wound to the chaos sorceror...AND failed to penetrate the armor. Doh! The Rubrics then fired at the Autocannon, killing 2 but still not making them run. The Assault Marines charged the Seraphim (who invoked the emperor's power to remain invulnerable), killing one but losing one, too. The Seraphim broke off their attack, with the intention of charging next turn.

Turn 6

In the top of 6, the Seraphim fired their inferno pistols, doing nothing, and charged the Rubrics. They were subsequently slaughtered, in keeping with the Lord of Change's vision. The Rubrics then consolitdated into the other sister squad. Autocannon shot at the Valhallans, and missed.

Finally, in my turn, the Valhallans missed the Immolator (Gasp!), the Assault Rubrics killed another 2 sisters, but not enough to knock them below scoring. Darthax and his rubrics teleported to the objective, to claim their points. At the conclusion of the battle, smoking vehicles dotted the field.


A Tank's Graveyard

Final Score

Traitor Guard/Thousand Sons: ~1400

Imperial Guard/Witchhunters: ~1200

Post-Mortem

This was a close, close, close game! As it stands, Ryan and me were only a little more than 50 or 60 points away from having a draw--we only won by 200! The early game was a slaughterhouse for us, but I'm starting to discover that the Thousand Sons are an army that works best with patience. I just need to think up a trap to set, and then wait through the pain for my opponent to spring it.

The Lord of Change was AWESOME! Not only did he kill well over his points-worth in enemies, he also attracted a lot of firepower that otherwise could have been spent whittling away at my much more expensive Rubric squads.

Spooky had some great use of Rhinos--that rapid melta-assault was devastating. Tanks were popping like nobody's buisness!

Finally, Ryan's Lascannons were, hands down, the unluckiest bunch of heavy weapons I've ever seen. They did almost NOTHING, and in a target-rich environment, too.

Overall, it was a fabulous game, and I enjoyed it a lot. Thanks guys!