Saturday, 4 February 2017

40k - the road to competence - first two games.

Greetings all,
following on from my initial article on the subject, I thought I'd follow up and update you all on how those games went. These aren't battle reports, but a look back at the tactical choices and abilities of the units I took, and their performance in the game.

Game 1 - 750pts vs Militarum Tempestus.

Before I look too much at the game, I should note that afterwards we realised that my opponent had made a mistake in his list, including one unit in two formations. It didn't make too much difference in the end, and if anything it only made the game tougher for me so I actually don't mind.

Inevitably at this points level, my list was pretty simple, I took Ultramarines chapter tactics in a combined arms detachment (CAD), and having just finished my terminator chaplain he pretty much had to be my HQ. I gave him the primarch's wrath boltgun rather than the storm bolter.

For my  two troops choices, I took a unit of scout snipers (6 strong I think) with camo cloaks, and a 10-man squad of space marines. This split into combat squads before the game, with one carrying a melta, multi melta and combi melta for some tankbusting duties. This squad deployed via drop pod.

The chaplain was accompanied by a unit of sternguard without upgrades, and they all packed into a second drop pod.

My final choice was a devastator squad, 5 men strong, though I only had the points for 3 plasma cannons.

My opponent's army was mechanised, with 5 Taurox troop vehicles and a couple of formation benefits, one allowing reroll's when they dismounted and another meaning the units from the commissar's detachment could return to the field when they were killed.

The game started pretty well, I picked up first strike (a tweak of first blood allowing both players to pick up the point, but only in the first turn) when the melta squad blew up the commissar's taurox, which would return in the next turn.

The scout snipers didn't do a huge amount of damage to the mechanised units (unsurprisingly) however their camo cloaks allowed enough of them to stay in the fight for a while until the chaplain was able to intervene. Ironically, they actually got wiped out in combat a turn before the chaplain could join in, but thankfully my opponent missed his melta shot that turn (I had horrifying images of my newly finished chaplain getting vapourised without raising his crozius in anger). The chaplain laid about him with his crozius, easily dispatching the remaining scions from the squad, before turning his attention to their taurox and putting paid to that too after two rounds of combat.

The melta squad unsurprisingly didn't last long under the guns of the enemy as they had landed pretty much in the centre of the opposing army. Their sacrifice however allowed the plasma devastators to target the commissar and obliterate him. That was pretty much all they did in the game however, their S7 weapons not proving great at even glancing the weak transports they faced.

The small combat squad of marines took heavy fire early in the game from the multiple Taurox on the board, however two of them survived long enough to charge into a scion squad, and systematically reduced them to scraps of blood and cloth over a few turns, before also wrecking their transport in combat and securing an objective.

The sternguard didn't have a huge amount to do once they arrived, the infantry squads of the enemy were largely destroyed by then and their bolters weren't all that effective against the enemy vehicles.


  1. This was actually a pretty tough match up for the marines I think at this game level - I didn't have a huge number of models on the table even at full strength, and the hot shot lasguns of the scions were very capable of making a mockery of my armour, which combined with the large amount of shooting I was facing from 5 Taurox autocannons meant I took fairly heavy casualties to start with, and I was worried about lasting the game.
  2. Thankfully, marines proved their reputation for being tough, but only for one reason - combat! My initial deployment didn't leave me exposed as such, but with 10 twin linked autocannon rounds pinging in at me every turn, I was having to take (and therefore fail) quite a few saves every time. Because shooting was my opponent's clear strength however, closing in and weathering the storm to get me into combat meant I then had the advantage of skill, strength and protection, and my warriors were able to hang around long enough to get the job done. Never underestimate the ability of even a couple of space marines in combat - they're not going to take out a squad of warp talons, but against units that are strong in the shooting phase, they can silence those guns, even if they don't destroy the unit on their own.
  3. The chaplain was certainly a non-optimal choice for leader in this army, I knew this when I wrote the list but really wanted to use the model. His strengths are most definitely as a force multiplier however, he needed a combat unit to be really effective, as his benefits translate best into that phase. I was genuinely worried that he'd be taken out by the meltagun - he'd have been killed instantly if it had wounded and he'd failed his rosarius save, which would have been an ignominious end to say the least!

Game 2 - 1000pts vs Daemons

Ok another caveat to presage the game - the daemons I faced were not using many of the more recent improvements available to them for various reasons.

I changed my list quite a bit for this one.

HQ was my cataphractii captain with combi melta and chainfist.
Two troops units were two 5-man squad of marines in drop pods, one with a flamer and the other with a meltagun and combi melta.
For fast attack I took the recently painted Moloch - my Stormhawk Interceptor (sensing a theme here with painted units? I added a full land speeder squadron to this, with heavy bolters and assault cannons. Heavy support was a thunderfire cannon and a Contemptor Dreadnought with a Kheres cannon.

My opponent went with a bit of a summoning style list, 3 units of pink horrors and a lord of change, plus a six man unit of flamers and a big unit of screamers.

Early on I really felt like I was going to struggle - in the first turn the thunderfire missed its bunched up target of horrors (by a long way - even with BS5 I managed to scatter 6" off target and all the subsequent rounds flipped away from the unit) and with the rest of my shooting I managed to down 1 screamer and 9 plaguebearers from a 10-strong summoned unit. So basically I had managed to just about keep my opponent down to his starting level of points.

Things improved after that however, Moloch arrived and put a couple of wounds on the lord of change, the screamers were ineffectual at hurting either the landspeeders or the thunderfire cannon. Speaking of which, my thunderfire managed one awesome round of shooting and nothing else in the game, taking out a unit of pink horrors. I'm beginning to think usually losing him on turn 1-2 is actually a blessing!

The landspeeders were immense, putting out huge numbers of shots each turn, though I have to caveat that by saying that my opponent had little to really hurt vehicles of any sort, and they eventually fell to the flamers, having put themselves in harms way to achieve one of my tactical cards.

Unit of the match definitely went to my Contemptor though, smashing his way through units left, right and centre with both cannon and fist. He took an unlucky couple of hull points to some hits by the flamers late on, but by then the damage was done really.

One tactical squad made efficient use of their drop pod to claim an objective early before getting wiped out by an attack from the flamers (6 templates can get you a lot of hits on a unit that's not spread out), whilst the second took damage from the flamers before skirting a building to try and claim linebreaker (they actually ended about an inch short).


  1. Well the tactical squads in this game weren't as effective as last, though again they proved very competent in combat against a unit of pink horrors. Objective secured on them and their drop pods however is a huge bonus, one drop pod held an objective for me for the whole game, which given we were drawing cards based on how many we held was very helpful!
  2. The contemptor really ruled the roost in this game, the fleet rule is an absolute gem, whilst there's no target it can't achieve something against thanks to its high BS, good rate of fire and combat punch. My opponent really didn't have anything to challenge it though, and the last time I used it it was killed on turn one by a stray melta shot, so any assessment must be tempered by the fact there was no real anti tank in my opponent's army (and with 4 mobile vehicles and two drop pods it was always going to favour me!).
  3. The thunderfire did what they always do for me, it's very much a hit or miss unit in my army (pun intended!) and when it misses it's the most frustrating thing I can think of in the codex, especially when some of my normal opponents seem to wield them in such a way that they are massive threats to anything on the board (I've seen a pair of them take down a knight before).
  4. My warlord certainly proved how effective he can be, and though he did fall to the flames of tzeentch eventually, he most certainly took a lot of fire first (ironically when he was down to a single wound I started taking look out sir rolls, and he passed all twelve. I then lost several marines to their subsequent armour rolls, d'oh!).
  5. The landspeeders were highly effective, and though they were hampered somewhat by the invulnerable save of my opponent, negating one of their strengths (rending assault cannons) they still caused heavy casualties in the game.
  6. Moloch also was a positive addition, the las talon, krak missiles and assaults cannons combined enough rate of fire with high strength to hurt the lord of change, whilst the same rate of fire combined with a pair of frag missiles caused enough horde damage to take out a unit of horrors in a single turn. The only downsides to it really are the lowered ballistic skill against ground targets and the fact that it can't hover, but they are more than made up for by the improved jink, the insane number of shots it has and the potential to manipulate reserves through the flyer rules in Death from the Skies.

So there you have it, this assessment doesn't include the performance of the Dusk Knights in my narrative report game, but I'll include that next time I do a write up as I'll be using a similar list to that from the second of the above games (with a few tweaks)

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