Hey! I'm back with another battle report. This time I took on a rising Tyranid player. He was fairly new to the game, but was familiar with all of the rules. Before I played him, I watched him thoroughly stomp out a fellow Black Templar player (though it was the BT player's first game ever). The game was 1500 points, Seek and Destroy at Gamma level. I tend to roll for this one a lot, so in the hopes that I wouldn't I asked my opponent to roll for the mission. What do you know Seek and Destroy! Without further delay, the lists:
Emperor's Champion - Suffer Not the Unclean to Live
Master of Sanctity - Jump Pack, Bolt Pistol, Frags
Crusader Squad - 10 Marines, Meltagun, Powerfist, Rhino w/ Armor + Smokes
Crusader Squad - 10 Marines, Meltagun, Powerfist, Rhino w/ Armor + Smokes
Crusader Squad - 5 Marines, Lascannon, Plasmagun
Crusader Squad - 5 Marines, Lascannon, Plasmagun
Assault Squad - 10 Marines, Powerfist, 2 Plasma Pistols
Predator Annihilator - Lascannon Sponsons
Hive Tyrant - Wings, Scything Talons, Toxin Sacs, Adrenal Glands (I), Adrenal Glands (WS)
Toxic Miasma, Warp Field, Flesh Hooks Broodlord - Extended Carapace, Flesh Hooks
Broodlord's Retinue - 7 Genestealers with Extended Carapace
10 "Awesome"-Gaunts - Toxin Sacs, Devourers
20 Termagants - Fleshborers
6 Genestealers - Extended Carapace
6 Genestealers - Extended Carapace
Ravener - Rending Claws
Carnifex - Enhanced Senses, Spine Banks, 2 TL Devourers
3 Zoanthropes - Warp Blast, Synapse
Kairen stepped out of the Sword Brother's barracks after the evening meal and saw Rhyce standing outside, apparently waiting.
"Come with me," the Chaplain said quickly as he started to walk away.
Kairen said nothing and followed along; he knew the news wouldn't be good.
"Dare I ask?" Kairen said softly upon entering Rhyce's chamber.
"I'll tell you anyway," Rhyce replied looking grim. "We were about ready to leave this poor planet now that their loyalty to the Emperor has been reformed and the planet purged of Chaotic influence. It appears we have one last task ahead of us. Remnants from the Tyranid invasion force we crushed a while back have been rampaging through the Eastern sector. We move out tonight, gather your Brethren."
Kairen said nothing before leaving to inform the Brothers he led in combat. They had been lucky in their last battle against the Tyranids, taking relatively few casualties, but such a miracle could not be expected twice. Within the next hour the main combat contingent of the Crusade was mobilized and heading towards the last area that the Xenos menace were spotted.
The table was fairly cluttered with some big terrain. We placed the terrain randomly and ended up with four buildings surrounding a no-man's land of sorts in the middle of the table. Off to the sides were other smaller buildings, but they had relatively no impact on the game.
There were two buildings in the center of my Deployment Zone that faced the open middle area of the table. Off to the right of my DZ was another fairly large building, I chose to ignore this one though. I put one 10-man Crusader squad into each of the middle buildings. The right one was joined by the Emperor's Champion. Their Rhinos were next to them in between the buildings forming a wall. Behind the Rhino wall was a Las/plas squad and my Predator. My Jump Packs and Chaplain went into the building with the Champion and squad. The other Las/plas joined the Crusader squad in the left building. My Tornados hid behind the buildings.
He deployed most of his forces behind the middle terrain in his DZ as well. He had two buildings also facing the open middle area. He placed the Termagants, a squad of Genestealers and a Zoanthrope behind his left (from my perspective) building. His Awesome-Gaunts were to the side of this building looking into the middle of the table. He had a squad of Hormagaunts on either side of the right building and a squad of Genestealers on top of it. His Ravener was with a Hormagaunt squad and the Hive Tyrant was behind the building. His Carnifex was inside of this building. Finally, he infiltrated his Broodlord way into the corner of my DZ with the large building that I ignored. Since my landspeeder could see most of that corner he was pretty far away from anything useful.
Rhyce and Kairen were waiting in a ruined building with their squads. They could hear the thunderous footsteps of the larger creatures approaching slowly and small pieces of rubble fell from the collapsed roof with each step. Before long, the screeching of the smaller bugs became audible and grew even louder.
"Ready your swords men, tonight we purify this ground!" Kairen spoke loudly to the Initiaties gathered around him.
As he spoke the terrifying outline of the Hive Tyrant sprung up from behind a building in the distance and took flight towards their position.
"Dear Emperor" one Initiate whispered to himself.
"How do such things exist?" asked another.
There was a short pause as they all watched the Tyrant in awe.
"Well, that's our cue," Rhyce said calmly.
Without further hesitation he and his squad kicked off the ground to pursue the winged beast.
Kairen and his Initiates waited as the smaller beasts plowed through the streets towards their position. The carnage would begin soon and they all said a silent prayer to the Emperor.
So we roll for turns and he gets it. He decides to take it. Everything in his army moves forward as much as possible. The greatest thing was his Termagants trying to move through the building in front of them. Triple 1s for difficult terrain left them outside until their fleet roll. His Hive Tyrant flew on top of the right building giving nice LOS to basically everything on the table. The Broodlord and his friends move closer to the rest of my army. The Carnifex moves outside of the building that he was in.
His shooting starts with the Carnifex at the closer Crusader squad. He manages to drop 3 marines! Yikes! The Awesome-Gaunts fire at the 10-man squad in front of them and kill one. They zeal to the front of the building. All 3 Zoanthropes target one of the empty Rhinos (why!?). Combined they manage to immobilize it and destroy its storm bolter.
One squad of Hormagaunts charge my Crusaders with the Champion. His other Hormagaunts elect to charge one of my Rhinos (unharmed one) instead of the same squad as the other Hormas. The Hormas that charged into cover were astounded that they strike second. The Champion and Initiates cut down 6. Those six manage to kill 2 marines only to lose another one to a Powerfist. The Hormas are in Synapse to the Tyrant so they stay.
Hordes of vicious Hormagaunts charged into the ruined building. The Initiates had expected them and were able to shoot a few down as they ran forward, but several Marines were not as fortunate as they were torn to pieces by the stampeding creatures. Kairen swung the Black Sword with incredible speed, cleaving whole bugs completely in half. He knew his men could stave this assault, but the battle was far from over.
As they fought, cover fire came flashing out of the surrounding buildings. Kairen stole a quick glance away from the melee in front of him to see some of the charging horde fall to the ground. Emperor willing, they would not have to fight many more of these beasts at such close range.
Black Templars -
I had very little movement. My unharmed Rhino backed up to give the las/plas a clear shot at the Hive Tyrant and my speeders fanned out. The one on the left sighted up the charging Genestealers on the left. The other faced the Broodlord and retinue. The Jump Packs leapt out of the building to stare down his other Genestealers, Hive Tyrant, Carnifex, Ravener, and two Zoanthropes (scary!).
My first Tornado shoots at the Broodlord's Retinue and kills 5 of them, but doesn't get a single rending hit. The other Tornado wipes his squad of 6 Genestealers, also without any rending hits. On to shooting at the Hive Tyrant: both Las/plas squads with my Predator's 3 Lascannons combine to put 3 wounds on the winged beast. Next my Crusader Squad that isn't engaged decides to shoot at the Zoanthrope on my far left. The meltagun wounds, but the darn thing makes it 6+ invul save. I take off one wound to bolter fire though. Lastly, my Assault Marines shoot at the Genestealers in front of them, passing up the opportunity to rid themselves of the Hive Tyrant only 2" away. They kill 3 Genestealers to shooting.
In assault, my Crusader squad manages to kill 5 of the 6 remaining Hormagaunts who manage to kill a single Marine. That last Hormagaunt is still in Synapse but fails his saves for being outnumbered and dies. My Crusaders consolidate backwards. The Chaplain kills all 3 Genestealers himself after they kill a single Assault Marine. They then massacre a full 6" to get into base contact with both the Flyrant and a Zoanthrope.
The last of the Hormagaunts lay dead in the rubble of the ruined temple. Kairen nodded in approval at the brave Initiates who had survived the onslaught. No more than a few seconds had passed when an enraged Hormagaunt ripped through the wall of the building and charged the remaining Templars. Caught unaware the Marines struggled to beat off the next swarm. More and more came pouring through the newly made entrance. Kairen had no choice but to take the brunt of the charge himself. His violent fervor allowed him to cut down beast after beast as his Initiates moved up to support him. Before long the swarm seemed to thin and it looked as if they would be able to stall the bloody advance.
Well, my opponent had a rather lack-luster first turn only killing a grand total of 7 Marines and damaging an empty Rhino. In the process he lost all but 2 of his Genestealers (who were hanging out in a far Table Quarter) along with a full squad of Hormagaunts and took some wounds on his Tyrant. He was planning to make up for it here. He starts by moving his Ravener close to my Assault Marines. His Hormagaunts (who recently charged my Rhino) ran into the building with my Crusaders and Champion. All of his Gaunts (both Terma- and Awesome-) plowed up in front of my now 9-man Crusader squad in the building with my Las/plas. The Carnifex moved right next to my Assault marines. He forgot to move his Broodlord and 2 remaining Genestealers effectively giving them no chance to ever see any action.
He starts by shooting his Zoanthropes. The first one fires at my left-most landspeeder. Failed Psychic Test on an 11! Woot! The second fires at my other speeder, which is too far away for the concentrated shot. Miss! Woot twice! Now, the Carnifex elected to shoot his shots at my far Crusader squad instead of charging the Jump Packs in the assault phase. He kills 2 here. All of the Gaunts fire on this same squad killing another 2.
Now for the assault, the Tyranids favorite phase! ALL of his Gaunts charge that poor now 5-man Crusader squad. My Crusaders in a flurry of great luck kill only 3 Gaunts from the smaller Awesome-Gaunt squad. In return all of the Gaunts (27 total) kill a single Marine. My Powerfist drops another A-Gaunt. The Hive Tyrant decides to allocate it's attacks against my Chaplain, dealing only 2 wounds. In return my Chaplain completely whiffs. His Ravener follows suit and also fails to kill anything. Now, several of my Marines strike at the Ravener killing it. Those in base with the Zoanthrope attack it and fail to do anything while my Powerfist misses the Tyrant due to an embarrassing wound roll. We all stay to fight another day. Lastly, his Hormas charged my Crusaders and Champion only to lose 7 of their original number (this was much more favorable rolling). In turn they kill a single Marine.
Rhyce stood face to face with the unholy creature. It was severely wounded from the combined Lascannon fire that assailed it only moments before. Rhyce had the distinct privilege of personally slaying two of these massive beasts in his lifetime. Today, he was prepared to add another to his impressive tally. Rhyce kicked off the ground and swung his Crozius toward the Tyrant. With impressive speed the Tyrant also took flight and evaded the attack. The Tyrant quickly retaliated lashing out at the battle-hardened Chaplain, who managed to avoid two lethal strikes mid-jump. As Rhyce pushed forward for another swing a long talon batted him to the ground. He bounced twice before a searing pain shot through his body. He looked down to find his leg impaled by one of the Tyrant's massive claws. Rhyce quickly swung his Crozius lopping the Talon in half and loosing a horrific shriek from the creature. As it screamed, one of the Initiates from Rhyce's squad leapt into the air and plunged his chainsword through the Tyrant's neck. The shrieking immediately stopped and an eerie silence grasped the field for a few seconds. All eyes were on the Tyrant as the monstrous creature fell to the ground.
The Initiates proceeded to watch as the other nearby bugs were blasted to pieces by the strafing Land Speeders and support weapons.
"Sir, do you need help?"
Rhyce looked down at his skewered leg and then across the battlefield at the other members of his Crusade.
"You know, I think I'll hang out here for a bit. You've fought well today, now go help your Brothers"
The Initiates nodded and kicked off the ground towards the area where the fighting persisted. Rhyce smiled to himself and looked down at this leg.
"Kairen's not gonna to believe this one." He then glanced at the body of the dead Hive Tyrant. "I guess it just wasn't meant to be, Big Guy. Oh well, I'll kill another one of you yet, don't worry."
Black Templars -
Now it's on. My landspeeders move a bit for better Zoanthrope shots.
Prepare yourself readers, what follows is the most amazing luck I have ever had in my life! You've been warned. I start by directing one of my Tornados to shoot at the wounded Zoanthrope. The Heavy Bolter fails to do anything as it saves 2 wounds. The Assault Cannon rends 3(!!!) times and hits for the fourth turning the poor thing into mush. The second Tornado then aims at the other unengaged Zoanthrope. Again the Heavy Bolter does nothing. Again, the Ass-Cannon rends 3 times! Again mush is made. Next, both of my Las/plas squads and my Predator sight up the Carnifex. 5 Lascannons, 2 Plasmaguns, and 6 Bolters later, the Carnifex is no longer living. On to assault, shall we?
First the Hive Tyrant kills my Chaplain. Then, the squad of Marines beats down the Hive Tyrant before the Powerfist ever gets to whack at it. Fortunately the Powerfist is close enough to attack the Zoanthrope as well. Combined with the models in base with the poor Zoan, the weird flying creature dies. This leaves my opponent with no synapse save his Broodlord all the way in the corner of the board. This actually caused him to go "Oh I forgot about him! Damn." It didn't get prettier. My Champion and Crusaders finished off the Hormagaunts, but manage to lose 2 more of their number leaving only 2 in the squad. The other Crusaders (only 4 left) manage to kill 4 A-Gaunts with the help of the Powerfist. Again the Gaunts collectively kill one. However, after losing combat and with no Synapse on the table except the Broodlord, they must take a Lead test. One squad passes (c'mon!) but the 3 remaining Awesome-Gaunts fail and flee towards the Broodlord in the corner.
At this point, all that remains of my opponent's army is the stranded broodlord, 3 fleeing Awesome-Gaunts and the squad of 20 Termagants assaulting my 3 poor Crusaders. However, with my nearly full jump pack squad on the way, the Champion and half of his squad still alive, both las/plas squads at full strength, a fully functional Predator and both Speeders intact my opponent called the game here.
Kairen strode across the battlefield. It was quiet now. Bodies of Tyranids lay in piles everywhere he looked. They had been victorious, but were not without their own losses. Kairen had elected to carry out the least desirable task of all after the battle had concluded: retrieving Brother-Chaplain Rhyce.
"What took you so long?" Rhyce shouted as Kairen approached.
"While you've been lounging around, I've been helping to purge the Xenos. Wasn't that why we came here?"
"Lounging? Just how comfortable does this look?"
Kairen looked down at Rhyce's impaled leg. His blood had swelled out of the wound and onto most of the ground around him as well as onto the talon itself. Kairen grimaced inside his helmet at the sight.
"That's what I thought. Now get this thing out of my leg," Rhyce ordered.
"Yes Sir," Kairen said casually.
The Champion walked up next to Rhyce and placed his hands on the massive talon. With a powerful heave he dislodged the bloody claw from the ground and it slid up easily, out of Rhyce's leg. The Chaplain winced slightly, but said nothing.
A moment later one of the Rhinos pulled up and two Initiates hopped out. They opened the back hatch while Kairen lifted the Chaplain inside. Kairen and Rhyce sat in the back of the Rhino as it drove back to their Eighth Temple for the Crusade, the nearest one.
"Not happy about the Hive Tyrant?" Kairen asked halfway through the ride.
"I don't want to talk to about it."
Kairen laughed slightly and leaned back as the Rhino continued on. This was one of the few times Rhyce had sustained a serious injury before taking down his intended target. He was obviously not pleased.
"I don't want to be anywhere near him the next time he's called to fight," Kairen thought to himself. He shook his head thinking of what would happen to the xenos or heretics that found themselves standing across from Rhyce in the near future. Kairen looked up to see Rhyce smiling. "He must be thinking about the same thing," Kairen thought.
When looking to tally up victory points, I just gave him points for what was already dead. With my Assault Marines able to assault his Termas in the following turn I don't think they would have been much of a threat and honestly don't even think they would've been able to kill the last 3 Marines in the Crusader squad in the 1 round of CC they would have before the Jump Packs came along. Similarly, his Broodlord was more than 12" from my nearest Marine, so he would've been Speedered very quickly. In that vein, my opponent got about 350 VP for reducing both large Crusader squads to below half, killing the Chaplain and immobilizing my Rhino. In turn I see no doubt that I could have attained a full 1500 VP for killing the rest of what he had. Still, at the time the game was called, he had less than 300 points on the board giving over 1200 VP at the time.
Now, some words for the wise:
One of the main reasons I won this fight was deployment. Especially after his first turn movement, literally everything he had was out in the open ready to get shot up. Nothing was in cover, nothing was hidden. Besides having everything out in the open, his nearly 250 point Broodlord and squad were so far away from anything in my army that they couldn't hope to get close until turn 3. The terrain didn't work to his advantage either, especially as he chose to walk through the empty middle region of the table.
Lesson 2: Target Priority. Here is where the battle was truly determined. While I would like to think my target choices throughout the game where good ones, that was not the deciding factor. His were. Deciding to shoot all three Zoanthropes (aka Marine-killers) at my empty Rhino was a poor decision. He did this in an attempt to block my Predator's LOS. Besides the fact that my Predator can move on its turn, he decided plop his Hive Tyrant directly in front of it, rendering his Rhino pounding pointless. The same with assaulting: he assaulted a Horma squad at my Rhino for a slingshot move. However, they could have reached my Crusader squad that was 10" away but through difficult terrain. My opponent chose guaranteed distance and charged the Rhino, only to exclaim "I guess my army can't beat yours in assault... " when his one squad of Hormagaunts lost combat to my 10 Templars and Emperor's Champion waiting in cover. I explained that model to model, his Hormas will lose every time. Sorry, but 1 Hormagaunt (no biomorphs) is worse than 1 Initiate (BP + CCW + Suffer). That's why my guys are more points. However, 32 Hormas can do a good job of overwhelming a squad of those Initiates. Also, why use a slingshot to get an extra 12" when your opponent's nearest unit is only 10". Risking the Difficult Terrain role is totally worth it here. Getting into combat is necessary to winning and going no where still leaves them in range for next turn. Combining your forces for a unified charge is the key to Tyranid victory. One-on-one those cheap Tyranid units won't do the trick. That's why you bring so many of them. Combine fire on a single unit to force Lead checks, combine your charges into a single unified assault and watch the opposition wither. That's how Tyranids roll!
Next is army list. I actually went over my opponent's army list with him to help refine it a bit. It wasn't a bad list actually, but some things needed to change. Mainly the Tyrant. That thing was kitted out with all sorts of biomorphs that never mattered. I won't go on a Tyranid list-building rant, but know that Genestealers get lonely in small squads and Tyrants do the same thing at 200+ points as they do at 131.
Thanks for reading!