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This is a part of the author's "Public Game" series. To view other battle reports in the series, click here.

Here we go into the first 1000 point game of the escalation league!

THE CHALLENGER: If vanilla marines are painted black, does that make them chocolate?

Force Commander (or whatever you call them now)
- with stuff

Librarian
- fear of dark, fury of ancients, familiar

5-man tac squad with flamer

5-man tac squad with missile launcher

10-man tac squad with flamer, missile launcher, drop pod

6-man scout squad with heavy bolter

5-man assault squad, sarge with fist

THE DEFENDER: I've got the home... point... advantage!

HQ-
S.O with bolt pistol, fist
priest with eviscerator, carapace
vet with standard
3x dudes with laspistols, close combat weapons

Elites-
5x hardened vets with 3 plasma guns

Troops-

Armored fist squad with heavy bolter
- Chimera with 2x heavy bolter, smoke

J.O. with storm bolter, 2x melta guns

2x squads with missile launchers

Fast attack-

2x lascannon sentinels

Heavy support-

LRBT with 3x heavy bolters, extra armor

Basilisk with indirect fire.

The mission was secure and control on gamma. Get the lootz!

He won for deployment, I won for sides and first turn.

After deployment, the field looked like this:

So, I knew that there was going to be drop pods, but I also knew that there would only be one of them, and that it wouldn't be filled with 3x meltagun space marine vets. Basically, my plan here is to run attrition until after his drop pod is taken care of, and then run in and grab me some fat lootz.

TURN 1

"Help me! Oh, Emperor, someone please help me! I've twisted my ankle and I can't get my mortars back out of line of sight."

Dammit, this was the last time he'd volunteer for "Special Duty".

"Won't someone please help me before someone captures my mortars!"

"Keep it up," came the voice of Melchoir over the micro-bead, "You're doing fine, I think they're falling for it."

He wasn't sure if that was a good thing or not. In fact, he wasn't entirely certain that this plan was a good thing or not, at least, given his role in it.

"Help! Help me, someone!"

Yup, they were falling for it:

As the opposing space marines slowly came forward to pick up my mortars (loot counters), I get ready to blast him apart.

In moving, basically the only thing that moves up is my platoon HQ, hoping to add to the strong right flank that was basically planted on the objective.

Shooting begins with my tanks going to work. My hope is to be able to catch his command squad in an ordnance blast, and have something interesting become of it. My basilisk starts with my basilisk hitting dead on. One of the hits fails to wound. He decides to preserve his librarian (he had an invul, but still...), letting his commander and the familiar meet splatty fates. As well, a scout is unwittingly caught in the blast.

My Leman Russ, however, doesn't put it out as well, scattering 6", even though it was a straight shot.

Meanwhile, my lascannons and missile launchers (no longer able to target the librarian), decide to put some into the assault squad, killing two. My opponent was a touch stunned that I'd fired so many AP3 shots at him (he's new, and is used to space marines surviving better). Oh how he didn't yet know...

After this point, the field looked like this:

In his turn, my opponent lead a mass assault against my lines. I think the idea is that the troops and the drop pods would all show up roughly at the same time.

In shooting, he has basically nothing he can shoot. His librarian gets ready to lay some fury of the ancients down, but rolls an 11 for his psychic test. A failure, but at least not a brain splat, I suppose.

After this point, the field looked like this:

Well, now looks like a good a time as any to spring forth and conquer.

Movement starts with my HQ scooting backwards in an attempt to mess up the librarian's fury of the ancients. Movement continues with my vets popping up into cover, while my platoon HQ tries it's darndest to get a bead on the marines.

In shooting, my platoon HQ does, in fact, have LOS with the two meltaguns and a storm bolter. Though the storm bolter doesn't really do anything, both meltaguns hit, and fry two marines. Then my plasma guns open up. Unfortunately, all three plasma gunners hit one, and fried themselves once. The remaining marines go down, and, very much unlike usual, two of my three vets pass their armor saves.

The rest of shooting involves the Leman Russ scattering 1" (woah... welcome to the world of direct fire...), killing two of the assault marines, with the sarge dining heartily on krak rocket. Meanwhile, my basilisk missed, but only scattered 5", which allowed it to just barely clip a space marine in the building, which it killed.

The squad then failed it's pinning check :D

After this point, the field looked like this:

By this point, my opponent doesn't really have much left to move or shoot.

In shooting, his scout heavy bolter opens up on my veterans in the trees and score an surprising two kills. Then the librarian gets his face all wrinkled up and unleashes a mighty fury of the ancients. The result puts, you guessed it, one attack on the missile launcher squad in the tower, and one attack on the HQ. Though they both wound, I pass both my armor saves ::)

"Did you feel that?" Sanario asked Melchoir.

"Feel what?"

"I don't know, I just got the feeling like..."

"... like?"

"I don't know, like there are ghosts that are angry with us."

Melchoir shot Sanario with a confused look.

"What?"

"Nevermind."

After this point, the field looked like this:

TURN 3

I start my turn with the fear that the drop pod would soon be in. I respond by moving my chimera out (to help clutter the drop zone) and get my dragoons out (who I don't want to be in a coffin when the drop pod lands).

Meanwhile, emboldened by the fact that the marines were pinned, my two veterans with plasma guns rush forwards out of the woods.

The zonhaim unload with their plasma guns, throwing a wave of sunbursts against the building. I roll: 1, 1, 2, 1.

Needless to say, the vets did not survive...

But, then, 3 hits out of 10 shots it what I should expect for a BS4 unit ;) Meanwhile, shooting continues with my basilisk hitting his marines, but the cover of the building holding strong, letting only one die. Then the chimera and the leman russ open up with a lot of heavy bolters, killing 4 of the scouts, leaving the lone scout heavy bolter. Both squads pass their morale / pinning checks.

After this point, the field looked like this:

Melchoir looked up. Suddenly, from out of nowhere, a giant capsule came rocketing down from the sky.

"Again with the drop pods!" Melchoir shouted over the noise.

"Show me marines who DON'T have them!" Sanario replied.

So, his turn begins with him deciding to drop his pod basically right down in the middle of my stuff.

The only other real movement is his marines in the building needing to adjust for unit coherency, and his lone scout failing his last man standing test.

In shooting, his 10-man tac squad absolutely obliterated the 5 dragoons who were on the wrong side of the chimera. Ouch.

Meanwhile, his librarian wrinkled his nose and shot fury of the ancients again. This time, he was a little more successful, managing to get a kill on both the missile launcher squad in the tower, and another on my HQ. Both of them pass their pinning tests.

After this point, the field looked like this:

TURN 4

My turn begins with re-mounting the remaining dragoons into the chimera, which proceeds to drive towards the loot, shooting off smoke grenades as it drove.

Meanwhile, the rest of my forces basically just do a 90 degree turn to face the dudes that just came out of the drop pod.

That, and my sentinel on the left decided to scoot up into the woods, as the librarian was now the vehicle's closest target...

Shooting begins very poorly. My basilisk decided to scatter 6" with a straight shot straight off the board. The Leman Russ' battle cannon also scattered, but was at least able to take down a couple of marines. Missile launchers and lascannons only managed to score one more kill, but my lasguns, to even out this otherwise catastrophic round of shooting, manage to bag another two marines.

Then comes the charge. While my retinue wasn't able to do anything, and even though I took a wound on Melchoir, and lost another guardsman, Melchoir single-fistedly killed the last four space marines by himself. Take THAT power weapons, it's fist time!

After this point, the field looked like this:

Stunned, by complete collapse of his drop pod attack, my opponent has little to do but move up his automatically rallied scout up to try and get a position on something next turn.

In shooting, his missile rack upgrade on his drop pod missed a second time, but the space marine with a missile launcher managed to sneak a shot in between a building and several thickets to blow my left side sentinel up.

His librarian then furrows his brow and gets ready for another fury of the ancients, but again rolls an 11, and the psychic power fails to go off.

After this point, the field looked like this:

TURN 5

Now it's basically mop-up time. I start by moving my platoon HQ up into where the vets had so recently fallen, while continuing to move my chimera up. Yes, I know that he had a missile launcher, but my entire army could kill 2 space marines, right?

Shooting begins with the lone scout eating a krak missile.

Shooting continues with 5 heavy bolters, a krak misisle, a earthshaker cannon, and a lascannon killing... 0 marines... At least my JO was able to kill one with his storm bolter.

In assault, my command squad easily takes down the immobile drop pod. Thankfully, It did it without any undue explosions (phew).

After this point, the field looked like this:

In a blind stroke of luck, his lone marine fails his last man standing test, and crawls down to the second floor. Meanwhile, his librarian takes a good difficult terrain roll and scoots it away from my chimera.

In shooting, the librarian presses his butt cheecks together and lets out another fury of the ancients. Once again, he rolls badly on his hit count, and, in the end, a single guardsman bit the dust.

After this point the field looked like this:

TURN 6

In my turn, I move my chimera up close to the last loot counter, and take it with my dragoons.

In shooting, my only meltagun that was in range with my platoon HQ missed, but my JO hit twice with his storm bolter, putting the remaining marine down (wow, I'm glad that I put him in the same box as my hardened vets last time. Looks like he's learning something).

Now, the rest of my army unloads on his librarian. Unfortunately, most of my luck goes the way it went the turn prior, and I am only able to knock two of the librarian's wounds off (I suppose it didn't help that it had an item making it immune to instant death attacks...)

After this point, the field looked like this:

In the last moment of the battle, the librarian charged forwards and let out a mighty belch. This gave the nearby dragoons (who couldn't see the librarian) the illusion that darkness itself was coming. Rolling boxcars on their morale test, let's just say that they got the fear.

After this point, the field looked like this:

FINAL RESULTS:

I had everything but a sentinel, a vet squad, and one of the four loot counters (lousy librarian!). He had a half health librarian for 57 pts, for a total of +1563 in my favor for a "victorious slaughter!"

A few thoughts:

- Even though the librarian sucked it up this game, I can see how he could be a really tough opponent. This somewhat bloated one came in at only 115 points. I can't imagine what a librarian with only fear of the ancients that just stood back and used its powers could do. How do you normally stop this?

- My opponent's army seemed to be suffering a bit in the composition side of things. With only two fast units (his drop pod being one), I'm not sure how much more he could have done against me with his units sort of showing up piecemeal (or in pieces) into my lines.

- I like this Platoon HQ setup. Even though a storm bolter and a couple of meltaguns aren't going to be killing anything on their own, they make a great support unit. Given that this squad is unlikely to be the most threatening in the area, I will probably be getting at least two turns of shooting from this squad, which has the ability to do some damage. A nice little support unit.

"... And the award of the bronze wreath as well goes to these three brave mortar tubes, who, though surrounded by the enemy on all fronts, valiantly stayed their ground, allowing the plan to go forwards as expected."

There was a brief round of light clapping. Someone took a flash photo of the mortars.

Melchoir backed away from the hastily erected podium and motioned for the soldier who had served as the decoy forward.

The soldier cleared his throat.

"First, let me tell you all about what "special duty" means..."