Greetings all, it's been a while since I've done a battle report, partly because some of the games I've played in the meantime have been pretty small and I don't think would have made good reports, others because I simply didn't take notes.
Last weekend however, a mate of mine came down from the frozen north for St George's Day and brought his War convocation with him. Time to bring out the Iron Fists I figured, so we set up a game and went toe to toe in the afternoon before getting tarted up for a night out in the evening.
I went with my 'standard' Iron Fists 1850pt list, consisting of a hunting force with melta and plasma bike squads, an attack bike squad, captain and chaplain with a command squad, and a big scout bike squad. This is supplemented with a stormbringer squadron comprising a sniper scout squad and landspeeder with heavy flamers, and a speartip strike with another two bike squads, including a grav squad, and a multi melta landspeeder. Finally I also brought a Raptor Wing.
Facing off against me was the knight, a dominus, a ranger and a vanguard squad, two squads of kataphrons with heavy grav cannons, a kastellan unit, sicarian ruststalkers, sydonian dragoons etc, plus a culexus assassin.
We rolled up a maelstrom mission, getting the one where the cards were secret (though we didn't bother keeping them so)
With deployment, I tried to spread out as much as I could, mixing my anti tank weapons across my battle line, so that wherever my opponent went I'd got a mix of weapons that could take him on. The command squad and bolter squad went in the centre supported by the multi melta attack bikes. The melta and grav squads went on my right flank, whilst the plasma and scout squads took the left flank.
My opponent stacked his battle line fairly evenly too, with the knight and some kataphrons taking centre stage, the dragoons and another unit of kataphrons on my left flank and the kastellans on the right.
War Convocation Turn 1 - Hold the Line, Recon, Behind Enemy Lines
Ed advanced much of his army to ensure his heavier weapons were able to make their presence felt. He didn't concentrate fire particularly however. The kataphron units shot at the scouts and the bolter bike squad, forcing the scouts to go to ground and killing two, whilst hte second unit killed a biker and wounded the heavy bolter attack bike from the same squad. The knight killed a pair of bikers from the grav squad and also wounded the multi melta attack bike int he adjacent unit, whilst the Dunecrawler killed a grav biker. The dragoons made the most of their pace, charging the scout bikes thanks to a monster charge roll, though the combat resulted in the death of one of the dragoons thanks to the scout bikes krak grenades. Ed scored Hold the Line
Iron Fists Turn 1 - Objective 1, Objective 4, Hold the Line
I moved forward with the majority of my army, though I made sure I kept enough units back in my deployment zone to score Hold the Line. The Landspeeders shot the dominus, wounding him twice with krak missiles that would have instantly killed him, however he made both the necessary saves. The plasma bikes all let rip with their guns, passing the single gets hot roll I had to make, and causing three hull points on the walker. Sadly it comes with a cover save and Ed passed all the rolls he needed to. The Multi Melta attack bikes opened fire on the knight, stripping a single hull point. Despite having jinked in the previous turn, the meltagun bike squad hit twice, stripping a further 3 hull points from the mighty walker. The grav bikers opened fire on the Kastellan robots in front of them, causing one unsaved wound and another that was reflected back and killed the sergeant of the rapidly moving bike squad. The bolter bikes and Land Speeder Storm opened up on the kataphron unit in the centre, wounding them once. The Command Squad opened fire on the vanguard, killing 3, whhilst on the left flank, having hit and run, the scout bikes shot the other unit of kataphron, killing one and wounding a second. Having failed to damage it with shooting, the plasma squad charged the second Sydonian Dragoon, easily destroying the walker with their krak grenades. The Scout bikes, having been catapulted across the board by their hit and run move, charged the second unit of Kataphrons. They caused a single wound from hammer of wrath and three in combat, though only the hammer of wrath hit made it past their armour. Finally the bolter bike squad charges the kataphron, losing 2 on overwatch and failing their charge as a result.
Turn 1 Score: War Convocation 1, Iron Fists 2
War Convocation Turn 2 - Networked Archaeotech, Praise the machine God, Recon.
Ed remembered to initiate one of his canticles this turn, choosing to give his units +3S. Once again most of his army advanced, though after the last turn, his knight chose to fall back. This turn with more of his firepower in range, the War Convocation showed its teeth. The Kastellans killed the mullti melta attack bike from the melta bike squad, the Knight and Kataphrons combined to kill all of the command squad, whilst the Vanguard killed the chaplain leaving the Captain on his own. The Rangers killed the Heavy Flamer landspeeder (note, two heavy flamers is not a great idea on a vehicle that will be jinking a lot!). The Kastellans attempted to charge the remaining melta bikes, but suffered a wound on overwatch that killed the nearest model and left them out of range. The Rust Stalkers wiped out the scout bikes easily. Ed scored Recon and 1 point for his networked archaeotech card.
Iron Fists Turn 2 - Objective 4, Behind Enemy Lines, Overwhelming Firepower.
The Storm Talons arrived this turn thanks to their formation special rule, and the Knight attempted to intercept them with its icarus autocannon array, but failed to damage the flyers. The melta bikes closed on the dunecrawler on my right flank, penetrating it 3 times and causing it to explode, whilst the land speeder storm took revenge on the Rangers for the last turn, killing seven of them with a combination of its cerberus launcher and heavy flamer. One of the Storm Talons turned its attention to the Kastellans, however whilst it wounded the remaining model twice, one of those shots was reflected back onto the flyer and destroyed the underslung autocannons. One of the Landspeeders targeted the Mechanicus Warlord, a krak missile defeating even his mighty armour and modifications, killing him outright (I like to think it hit him right in the face). Having been healed back to 4 hull points by the Mechanicus Warlord, the multi melta attack bikes started the job again, taking another 3 hull points from the war machine, while the plasma bikers on the left flank killed 3 of the rust stalkers with their shooting before making a monster 11" charge to wipe the unit from the table with a combination of Hammer of Wrath hits and combat wounds. The second Storm Talon turned its attention tot he Kataphron unit on my left flank and wiped them out.
The lone bolter biker made a brave manoeuvre, launching his bike in a suicidal charge against the vanguard unit in the building, incredibly piloting it through the window and killing one of the squad before they struck back - their high strength attacks spelling his doom. I scored all my objectives this turn, including picking up 3 points for overwhelming firepower.
Turn 2 Score: War Convocation 3 - Iron Fists 8
War Convocation Turn 3 - Blood and Guts, Overwhelming Firepower, Praise the Machine God
The Culexus started to flex his muscles this turn (by which I mean Ed remembered to use him), and in combination with the vanguard squad they killed two of the plasma bike squad threatening their right flank. The Knight split its fire this turn, wounding the Captain and killing one of the multi melta attack bike squad that was causing it so much concern. The kataphrons in the centre of the table shot at the damaged Storm Talon, but failed to harm it further. The remaining Kastellan on my right flank and the Ranger Squad killed two of the melta bike squad, before the Knight charged into the Captain, killing him. Ed scored Blood and Guts and Praise the Machine God this turn, plus Slay the Warlord.
Iron Fists Turn 3 - Mounted Assault, Objective 2, Claim the Heart
My forces were getting whittled away quicker than I would have liked at this point, with the loss of the Command Squad a particular worry given how much pain they can dish out. The solitary grav bike shot the Kastellan's leader, whilst my landspeeders targeted the Kataphrons, killing two. Both Storm Talons, the remaining Landspeeder and the Attack bike all shot at the knight this turn, forcing it to decide which flank its ion shield would protect the most. Despite many of the shots bouncing off, the attack bike finally put down its prey (now the warlord was dead, I was getting re-rolls to hit for designating the knight as the Hunting Force's secondary target. My Storm Talons were also re-rolling everything thanks to the Raptor Wing's special rules, again designating the knight as their target). The plasma bikes shot the Vanguard, killing two whilst the last members of the grav and melta bike squads both charged the Kastellan unit, one dying to overwatch and the second in combat. The plasma bikes charged the vanguard, killing 3 with a combination of Hammer of Wrath and their own attacks, forcing them to flee, though they escaped (never to return as there was only a single member of the squad left). I discarded claim the heart and scored objective 2
Turn 3 Score: War Convocation 6 Iron Fists 9
War Convocation Turn 4 - Psychological Warfare, Overwhelming Firepower, No Prisoners
With not much left on the table, the War Convocation concentrated on doing what damage it could. The Rangers destroyed the land speeder storm and the kataphrons shot at the scout squad in the centre of the table, failing to hurt them. The Culexus shot the plasma bike squad, killing one, then charged in and wiped them out in combat. Ed scored both Overwhelming Firepower and No Prisoners.
Iron Fists Turn 4 - Run them Down, Mounted Assault, Hungry for Glory
The remaining multi melta attack bike wounded the last kataphron, whilst one of the storm talons killed the last kastellan and the second wiped the Rangers. I didn't score any of my cards, discarding Hungry for Glory.
Turn 4 score: War Convocation 8 Iron Fists 9
War Convocation Turn 5 - Scour the Skies, Kingslayer
Eek, that kingslayer card could really hurt me! Thankfully Ed failed to damage my flyers this turn (though he had little left to shoot at them in fairness). He rolled for the Kingslayer card and the dice came up a 2 - only a single point, phew!
Iron Fists Turn 5 - Objective 5, Mounted Assault, Run them Down
One Storm talon killed the datasmith from the Kastellan unit, whilst the second forced a wound onto the culexus. The Multi Melta Attack Bike killed the last kataphron. I managed to score objective 5 and mounted assault this turn, and at that point with a half dead culexus as his only remaining model Ed conceded.
Final Score: War Convocation 9 - Iron Fists 12
Wow, what a game! That was seriously bloody, with neither of us having much of an army left. I was definitely in the better shape though with a pair of Storm Talons, two land speeders and an attack bike controlling the field. Ed put out some serious firepower in turns 2-3 and I was very worried about getting beaten at that stage. Thankfully I managed to down the Mechanicus Warlord, which stopped him fixing that damned knight and with some concentration of firepower I was able to finally lay it to rest. I think I was pretty unlucky at times too, the Kastellans in particular doing lots of damage with their refractor fields bouncing melta and grav shots back at me, even managing to penetrate a storm talon at one point and wrecking the assault cannons!
I was pretty surprised to see the War Convocation coming towards me to start with, however once I realised getting closer meant he could bring much more firepower to bear I understood why.
This game has made me rethink a few parts of my list too - I've dropped the speartip strike as I've yet to make use of their special rules. Instead the bikes from it are being merged into the hunting force and I'll split the attack bikes so there are two squads of two - they were absolutely the stars of the show this game, causing huge damage to the knight and eventually taking down the last kataphron and claiming the objective in the last turn to get me 2 points. The landspeeder from that formation will go into the Raptor Wing to give me a little more resilience should my opponents try and take it out so it can't designate targets for the Storm Talons. I think I'll also try and get some different weapons onto the land speeder in the Stormbringer Squadron as whilst two heavy flamers can be brutal, the landspeeder is a very fragile vehicle to try and get away without jinking.
That's it for now - if any of you have any pearls of wisdom to add, please let me know in the comments section!