Hi all - welcome to the second of my new format battle reports - this one I've added in something extra for you too - some maps so you can hopefully see a bit better what was going on. Sadly I didn't get any close up pictures again, but I'll try harder next time to take a few.
This was the second of my three games at the 1000pt level in our Tale of 4 Gamers series, again against Space Marines, this time from Clan Raukaan, so everything had Feel no Pain and the vehicles came with It Will Not Die.
We were playing the tactical escalation maelstrom scenario from the main rule book, so would have a number of objectives to achieve equal to the turn number.
My opponent's warlord trait let him choose to fail his morale tests, whilst mine allowed my warlord's unit to thrust move 3D6". The opposing librarian drew powers from telepathy and biomancy, getting Invisibility and Endurance (seriously? The two best powers out there! In my last three games every opponent I've faced who's drawn on telepathy has got invisibility - I must be cursed!)
Hunter Contingent Detachment
- 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.
- 5 Marker drones
Army Lists - Clan Raukaan
Combined Arms Detachment
- Level 2 Librarian
- 2 5-man tactical squads in lascannon razorbacks with melta guns
Armoured Task Force
- 2 Predator Annihilators with lascannon sponsons
- Thunderfire Cannon
Objective Drawn: Secure objective 5
The entire Tau battleline advances, the short range (comparatively) of their guns meaning they need to close with the black armoured marines facing them. Little was in range however, with the only fire being directed at the razorback on the right flank. The Commander's missile pods glanced and penetrated the vehicle, destroying the lascannon turret in the process, and the Tactical Support Turret in the Strike squad added its fire to the barrage, taking the last hull point and forcing the passengers to disembark from the wreck. Everything that was out of range moved forwards again, and the Commander's unit used their thrust move to ascend the bastion. one marker drone died to dangerous terrain.
I scored First Blood, and kept hold of objective 5, which I would be able to claim next turn.
Objective Drawn: Honour your Chapter
The Space Marines didn't move much, the Vindicator advancing to get within range with its demolisher cannon, and the second razorback cleared its firing lines from behind the statue. The razorback shot the piranhas, but they jinked away the penetrating hit. The thunderfire shot at the commander and his unit, killing two marker drones and wounding the commander himself three times , also killing one of his shield drones (I opted to take most of the 23 hits scored on the commander - in hindsight I should probably have rolled a few look out sir attempts!). The predator on my right shook the right hand devilfish, whilst the second predator glanced the exposed piranha.
Martin discarded Honour your chapter.
Objectives drawn: Secure objective 2, secure objective 5 (retained from previous turn)
The piranhas had jinked last turn, so were on the face of it not going to be too effective, however the marker drones used the commanders drone controller to hit the vindicator twice. The piranhas then combined with the devilfish and ds8 tactical support turret for +1BS from their detachment bonus to still shoot at BS4, blowing up the siege tank. The Commander and his unit jumped back out of the bastion, losing another marker drone to dangerous terrain.
I scored both objective 5 and objective 2.
Objectives drawn: Harness the warp, Psychological Warfare
Movement on the marines side of the table was limited to the tactical squad advancing. The librarian cast invisibility on them to try and protect them from the firestorm likely to be heading their way. The central predator fired at the devilfish, destroying its burst cannon, whilst the second predator glanced the devilfish on the right again. The thunderfire cannon targeted the strike squad to try and remove the support turret, wounding them 13 times and causing 6 casualties, but the squad passed their morale check. The tactical squad charged into the piranha squadron, wiping them out through a combination of krak grenades and the librarian's force stave.
Martin scored Harness the Warp and discarded Psychological Warfare.
Objectives drawn: Ambush, feigned withdrawal, secure objective 4
With everything else unreachable I had no alternative this turn but to try and take down the librarian's squad. Ordinarily this wouldn't have been a problem, but they were still invisible. Consequently, everything I had with range and possible line of sight prepared for a firestorm, both breacher squads dismounting and getting within AP3 range. The Commander's marker drone hit, meaning I at least could hit them on a 5+. Everything shot everything at the squad, causing 7 wounds (I had some bad rolls to wound for the gun drones and the commander). That would be enough, considering the shots were all AP3. Martin decided to go to ground to get himself a cover save, and passed 3 of them, failing to save any more with feel no pain. He passed his morale check, but would be snap shooting in his turn. The hammerhead, which didn't have line of sight to the marines, shot the razorback instead, glancing it once and stunning it with a penetrating hit.
I failed to score any objectives (stupid go to ground rule) and discarded objective 4, which was being held by the thunderfire cannon.
Objectives drawn: No mercy, no respite, Kingslayer, Hold the Line
The razorback moved across the table towards the predator, and more importantly the techmarine, whilst the librarian again made his unit invisible. The meltagun in the unit fired at the devilfish, needing a 6 to hit. Yes, you guessed it, I didn't jink and up came the 6. The transport blew up from the resultant explosion, killing 4 of the breachers who had disembarked the previous turn. The central predator opened fire on the second devilfish, also penetrating it and causing another explosion, which killed one of the breachers from the second squad. The thunderfire opened up on them too, killing another two and causing them to flee. At the end of the turn, the fleeing breachers were in range of the sabotaged objective 2, which blew up, killing one of them and taking them below 25% for regrouping purposes. AAAAAARGHH!
Martin scored no mercy, no respite, and hold the line.
Objectives drawn: No prisoners, secure objective 1, feigned withdrawal, ambush
Well, that hurt! I was basically now left with three combat effective units, one of which was severely limited as it had jinked in the previous turn. The lone breacher on the right flank killed the last tactical marine, whilst the ghostkeel advanced on the thunderfire, the furious blast of its fusion collider damaging the thunderfire cannon, but failing to prevent it firing in the next turn.
I scored no prisoners, secure objective 1, feigned withdrawal and ambush.
Objectives drawn: Ascendency, Emperor's Retribution, Overwhelming Firepower, Kingslayer
The predator on my right flank behind the building drew a line of sight to the lone breacher that wasn't fleeing, killing him outright. The predator in the centre destroyed the hammerhead, whilst the thunderfire cannon opened up and killed the last marker drone. The librarian had managed to cast endurance this turn rather than invisibility, and charged into combat with the commander, surviving overwatch but failing to hurt the commander in the challenge. In return, the commander swung and wounded the librarian, who had been reduced to a single wound by a perils of the warp result. Martin failed his armour save but passed the feel no pain roll, drawing the combat.
Objectives drawn: Blood and guts, multiple distractions, witch hunter, assassinate, overwhelming firepower.
If I could kill the librarian, then this could be a very good turn indeed, as I would score 3 victory points just for that one act. At the Iron Hands end of the table the Ghostkeel proved its worth once more, destroying one of the predators. In the combat, the commander was wounded twice by the librarian, failing the one save he needed to make to keep him alive, giving Martin Slay the Warlord. The shield drone struck back, wounding the librarian again, and he again failed his save, but once again endurance saved his hide. The shield drone lost the combat therefore and was cut down as it fell back.
I scored overwhelming firepower.
Objectives drawn: Ascendency, Kingslayer, Supremacy, Objective 4, Domination
With little likelihood of killing anything, the Iron Hands moved to secure as many objectives as they could.
Martin scored ascendency for 3pts, Kingslayer for 2, Supremacy for 3 and secured objective 4. With that, the game ended. Neither player had scored linebreaker meaning Martin had won by 16 points to 8, with 10 of those coming in the last turn.
My immediate feelings at the end of the game were fairly simply expressed by the two words I wrote at the end of my notes. Jammy B*£&$^d.
That's being pretty unfair on Martin though - yes he got an absolutely blindingly good draw of objectives on the last turn, but he played to the cards really well throughout the game and made the most of the strengths of his army - he sat back on the board, keeping my best weapons away from his tanks. The hammerhead had the range on him, but was outgunned by the number of lascannons he could bring to bear, I had to keep moving it up to both claim objectives and get line of sight on my targets. He got really lucky with the explosions on my devilfish, and the sheer damage they did to my breachers, but he'd got in that position by making his librarian's unit invisible.
When I asked Martin for his thoughts on the game, he made the following points.
- The first couple of turn really went my way, taking out a lot of his firepower on my right flank and passing almost all of the saves I was called on to make with my piranhas etc.
- The lucky meltagun shot and the predator killing the second devilfish turned the tide of the game, whilst the card draw on the last turn was lucky but game defining.
- The key to the win was the librarian beating my commander in combat, allowing him to not only score kingslayer points, but secure an objective that game him ascendency and supremacy on turn 5.
So what did I learn and what will I need to do better next time?
- My army is pretty short ranged in general, and hammer and anvil deployment meant I needed to both deploy further forward and close faster with the other army.
- The piranhas are seriously good anti tank, but they really are a bit of a suicide unit unless they pick on something isolated.
- The commander's 2+ save is good, but not good enough to tank 15+ wounds from a thunderfire without being seriously affected, and although he's ok in combat, the lack of AP really hurts him.
Aside from these points, I have to say that I actually do genuinely believe that this game swung wildly on luck, with these elements going against the likely outcomes.
- Passing more jink saves on the piranhas than I had any right to meant I could destroy the vindicator, which put me ahead in the early turns.
- Saving 3 wounds by going to ground kept the melta gunner alive. That melta gunner had no right to make the hit, penetrate and then destroy the devilfish, and only passing 1 4+ save out of five on the breachers (some of whom should have avoided being wounded!) compounded that luck.
- Whilst the predator destroying the second devilfish was not unreasonable to expect, the second explosion and thunderfire causing the two remaining breachers to fail their morale check brought them within range of the sabotaged objective. Fair enough, but for that objective to then blow up, killing one breacher and bringing the unit below 25% effectively preventing it from regrouping.
- The commander losing his final wound to the librarian was highly unlikely, and really shouldn't have happened. It's eminently possible he could have killed the librarian in return had he survived, which would have drastically changed the complexion of the game.
I can only congratulate Martin on the win though he absolutely deserved it for sticking to the task at hand despite being right on the back foot at one stage.