Saturday, 30 January 2016

The Obsidian Enclave vs The Iron Warriors - Burning Eye Battle Report 3

Hi all, welcome to battle report 3 in my 2016 series. This time we're watching the Obsidian Enclave taking on the Iron Warriors, again it's from our Tale of 4 Gamers series at my club, and the games are set at 1000pts per side. This is the last of the 1000pt games here, and next month we'll be stepping up to 1250. Those games will come with a twist though, as they'll be doubles games (yay!)

I've got a couple of extra pics this time to hopefully give a bit more atmosphere to the game, and as you'll see the scenery is coming on apace at the moment!

Once again we were playing a maelstrom mission, and I rolled up Cloak and Shadows, meaning our tactical objectives would be secret from our opponents! Hurrah! This is my favourite of the maelstrom missions, as I find it difficult to believe that your objectives would ever be known to the enemy (though sometimes you can take a good guess!).

Thankfully there were no psykers in the enemy army this time, and I managed to draw predator of the skies for my warlord, allowing him and his unit to use skyfire for a turn. My opponent originally picked up a boost to his reserve rolls, but decided to re-roll it, ending up with a negative modifier to mine. That was fine by me as I wasn't planning on keeping anything in reserve anyway!

Army Lists - The Obsidian Enclave

Hunter Contingent Detachment

Hunter Cadre
  • Shas’O Rassai – Commander with 2 shield drones, iridium battlesuit, neruoweb system jammer, 2 missile pods, drone controller and target lock
  • Shas’Vre Tallen – Ghostkeel with fusion collider, twin linked fusion blasters, early warning override and velocity tracker
  • 2 TX4 Piranhas with fusion blasters
  • 1 TX7 Hammerhead gunship with ion cannon
  • 2 5-man breacher teams in TY7 devilfish transports
  • 1 10-man strike team with pulse carbines and a DS8 tactical support turret with smart missile system.
Drone Network
  • 5 Marker drones
The Iron Warriors

Combined Arms Detachment

  • Chaos Lord on bike with Burning Brand, Mark of Nurgle, Power Sword, Sigil of Corruption, Veterans of the Long War
  • 5 Chaos Marines, Mark of Nurgle, Meltagun, Veterans of the Long War, Combi Melta, Power Sword. In Rhino
  • 5 Plague Marines, Veterans of the Long War, 2 Plasma Guns
  • 3 Chaos Bikers, 2 Plasma Guns, Mark of Nurgle, Power Sword
  • Heldrake with Baleflamer
  • Defiler

The Chaos bikes deployed on my left flank, to use the trenches as cover, with the marines in the centre ground. The warlord on bike deployed on the right, separate from the other bikes to ensure he could use his flamer to its full effect. The defiler took up the rearguard, with a good line of fire over the whole field.

In response, I placed Shas 'O Rassai with the marker drones in the building on my left. The hammerhead and piranhas began in the shelter of the building out of line of sight. Because of the DS8 turret they were wielding, the strike team deployed forward in the trenches alongside the ghostkeel. The two devilfish started further back, and would advance once it became clear how the marines were attacking. The ghostkeel and strike team would act as bait, drawing the marines forward into the teeth of the breachers.

Chaos turn 1: The first turn saw most of the Chaos forces advance, with the warlord taking shelter behind the bastion on my right flank. The bikes opened fire, but one of the plasma guns overheated and killed its wielder. The other bikes killed a single markerlight after cover saves. The defiler opened fire on the strike team, killing one as its shot scattered mostly off-target. Mj scored objective 5 to lead 1-0.

Tau turn 1: Almost the whole Tau force advanced, the marines were clearly heading for the centre of the table and to get within 12" range of the ghostkeel, which would mean its cover save would be reduced to 4+. The Tau opened fire, unleashing a storm of fire on the Chaos marines. The ghostkeel glanced the rhino, and the commander added fire from his missile pods to destroy it. The piranhas turbo boosted forwards, using the hunter cadre's command benefit to open fire after going flat out. Both vehicles hit their targets, using the markerlights from the drones to ignore the bikes cover, wiping out the unit. That got me first blood, but having once again drawn the tactical objective card that gives me a point if the enemy has units within 12" of opposing table edges, I'd just stopped myself from scoring that point, D'OH! The hammerhead proved just how unreliable my dice can be by scattering 6" off target even after I'd adjusted for BS4! I scored assassinate for killing the biker sergeant and also first blood, to lead 2-1.

Chaos turn 2: The heldrake arrived and announced itself with a burst of flame that killed 5 of the strike team, who fled 9" towards my table edge. The warlord skirted the bastion, advancing on the devilfish on the right flank and charging into combat, but failed to hurt the vehicle. The normal chaos marines moved back to claim the objective, whilst the plague marines advanced. The biggest blow struck this turn was by the defiler, who hit the piranhas with a large blast, destroying both vehicles with a double 6 for damage, whilst I rolled a double 1 for my jink! Mj scored recon, and overwhelming firepower to lead 3-2.

Tau turn 2, and I needed to make amends for the destruction of the piranhas. Both breacher teams dismounted from their devilfish, getting to within short range of the warlord. The drones also detached from the devilfish to boost my shooting. In a veritable storm of fire, both breacher squads, the drones and devilfish all opened up on the warlord, wounding him twice (I had some appalling rolls here, not getting a single wound out of the drones and devilfish shooting). The hammerhead saved the day however, its ion cannon intervening and sending the warlord toppling from his bike. The ghostkeel advanced on the heldrake, opening fire with the commander but they failed to hurt the vehicle. Still, I managed to score ascendency for 2 points and feigned withdrawal for 1, along with slay the warlord, putting me 6-3 in front.

Chaos turn 3: The plague marines advanced on the ghostkeel, wounding it twice with their plasma guns, but passing their saves for the two gets hot rolls they failed. The defiler ran forward this turn, forgoing its shooting to close on the Tau lines. The normal marines opened up on the Ghostkeel, which engaged its holophoton countermeasures, forcing them to fire snap shots. Its reprieve was short lived however, as the plague marines charged into combat, wounding it once and forcing it to fall back, catching it as they advanced. The heldrake flew off the board having jinked in the last turn. Mj scored objectives 6 and 4 to bring the score up to 6-5.

Tau turn 3: Time to turn the game. The two breacher units got back into their transports, whilst the two drone units killed a pair of plague marines, whilst the burst cannon from the devilfish accounted for another 2. The commander killed the last of them with a flurry of missiles, whilst the hammerhead let loose its ion cannon, wiping out the chaos marine squad further back. I scored objective 2 and supremacy for 3 points, taking the score to 10-5.

Chaos turn 4: The heldrake came back this turn, flaming the commander's unit and causing 4 wounds. Amazingly, the shield drones (who have been appallingly bad in the last two games) passed all four saves, preventing any damage to the unit. The defiler advanced again, shooting at the hammerhead and forcing it to snapfire. Mj did not score any objectives this turn.

Tau turn 4: Both devilfish advanced again, whilst the hammerhead manoeuvred to get a shot at the heldrake. The hammerhead failed to do anything, but the commander hit and glanced the defiler. I scored recon and objective 3 to go 12-5 in front.

Chaos turn 5: The heldrake flew over the hammerhead, glancing it once, then flamed the remainder of the strike team to oblivion. The defiler penetrated the hammerhead with its shooting, but the tank passed its jink save, and the defiler failed its attempted charge. It passed its It Will Not Die roll however, regaining the hull point it had lost in the last turn. Mj scored assassinate to bring the score to 12-6.

Tau turn 5: By now it was pretty much all over bar the shouting. The breacher team dismounted from the devilfish, combining their fire with the transport and the nearby drone unit to get +1 BS. They shot at short range into its rear armour, causing two hull points of damage. The commander also targeted the defiler, taking a hull point and destroying it. The other devilfish moved to claim the nearby objective and immobilised itself on difficult terrain whilst the second drone unit also lost a member to a dangerous terrain test. The smart missile system on the hammerhead opened up on the heldrake, along with its ion cannon. The cannon failed to cause any damage, but the smart missile system penetrated, destroying its flamer in the process. I scored objectives 1 and 5, putting me 14-6 ahead and with that, Mj conceded. Fair enough, he'd only got a single almost toothless model left and there was no way a flamer-less heldrake would claw back the points difference we had. 

Learning points:

Well I've still not entirely grasped the Tau I don't think - I definitely played this game better but whilst I was happy to use the ghostkeel as bait, but I think losing it was careless. I should have used its holophoton countermeasures against the plasma guns in the plague marine unit rather than the melta unit. Probably wouldn't have saved me, but these are the little things that can change other games. Aside from that, things went well - I think it's ironic that my dice largely worked as they should in this game against probably the weakest codex out there, whilst in the last two games against the relatively new marine book I think I've been quite unlucky with some of the rolling. That said, I was hardly rolling hot - the two piranhas both failing their jinks had a big effect at the start of the game, they could certainly have hurt either the defiler or the heldrake in the next turn otherwise. equally, I shouldn't have need the hammerhead to intervene against the warlord - 20 breacher shots at BS4 plus 8 burst cannon BS4 and 8 twin linked pulse carbines at BS3 should have been plenty, but my rolling to hit and to wound were both well under average. Equally, the breachers at the end of the game shouldn't have needed the commander to help them take down the defiler.

They say you learn more from your defeats, and that's probably true, but the cards definitely liked me more in this game, and I think I played to the objectives well. I made sure they were grouped nice and close together at the start of the game, which also meant that i didn't have to go too far to secure them later in the game. The beauty of the devilfishes is that they allowed me to redeploy the breachers whilst protecting them from the worst ravages of the heldrake. I got lucky with my warlord trait, though in the end all it did was force Mj to jink for a turn rather than actually doing direct damage.

Hope you enjoyed - next game will probably be against either marines, guard or orks at 1850pts - it's a nice step up and will let me field a few more toys than I've been able to so far in the tale.

Till next time,