Saturday, 12 January 2013

Pingo played a game!

I played a game today! This is a rare thing for me. In fact, it was only my second game of Sixth Edition.

The battle was a 1500 point game with my Ultramarines and allied Space Wolves taking on Chaos Space Marines.

I took the chance to test out my Space Wolves for the first time by including some of them as an allied detachment to my Ultramarines.

Army list

Primary Detachment


Chaplain Cassius - 125


8 Sternguard - 235
Power fist on the Sergeant
2 Combi-meltas

Dreadnought - 115
Storm bolter, plasma cannon, and dreadnought close combat weapon


Tactical squad - 200
10 marines
Sergeant with plasma pistol and chainsword
Plasma cannon
Plasma gun

Tactical squad - 170
10 marines
Sergeant with bolt pistol and chainsword

Fast Attack

Landspeeder - 100
Multi-melta and typhoon missile launcher

Heavy Support

Vindicator - 115
No siege shield

Allied Detachment


Rune Priest Olaf Wyrdweaver - 140
Psychic mastery level 1
Runic armour, bolt pistol, and force stave
Saga of the Beastslayer
Wolf tail talisman
Power: Living Lightning and Jaws of the World Wolf


Harald's Grey Hunter Pack - 185
10 Grey Hunters
Power axe
2 plasma guns
Wolf Standard

Heavy Support

Patrekr's Long Fang Pack - 115
5 Long Fangs
4 missile launchers
Pack leader with bolt pistol and chainsword

Battle report


I was facing a list that had the Dark Vengeance models at it's core. There was a tooled-up Chaos Lord, a Sorcerer, a meaty squad of Slaaneshi-marked Chosen, two 10-man units of Cultists, a Helbrute, a 15-man squad of Nurgle-marked Chaos Marines, 3 Mutilators and 2 Obliterators.

For out mission we rolled The Relic, and the deployment was Dawn of War. This was the field of battle:

I was able to break out the modular canal terrain and bridges I made earlier last year. These were pretty fun, although during the game my Grey Hunters got seriously bottled up on the narrow bridge. The problem was that we rolled Daemon Bile for the canal and I didn't want to take my Rune Priest across it. That was an error as I seriously hampered the unit's movement for about four turns.

Anyway, my opponent rolled very well for Chaos boons and started getting quite worried. I really like that table actually; in fact I could cosider Gift of Mutation a must-have.

Early game

We (quite correctly, it turned out) figured this was going to be a bloodbath. I deployed and went second. The first few turns were fought mainly down the right flank with the Chosen and Lord advancing through the ruins towards my Sternguard (with Cassius) the plasma Tactical Squad, the Dreadnought and the Vindicator, supported by the Obliterators (with the Sorcerer) and some deep-striking Mutilators. The Vindicator survived lascannon fire from the Obliterators, and took out one of the two and two of the Mutilators. However, that last remaining Mutilator would go on to cause absolute havoc. He tore the Vindicator apart and as the game went on slaughtered his way through a depressingly large number of Sternguard and Tacticals.

I think Mutilators are a pretty good unit. They're one of those ones you just have to deal with. These particular ones were Nurgle-marked so were tough as mails. If they can get into combat with marines, it's a bad time.

Eventually, the Chosen got into combat with the plasma Tactical Squad and utterly destroyed it without me even getting to swing. It didn't help that it was down to 8 men due to the Sergeant and plasma gunner having unceremoniously detonated themselves with bad Gets Hot! rolls.

While all this was going on, the Cultists had moved towards the centre of the board on either side of the large bridge and the Nurgle Chaos marines had gone and grabbed the relic. On the left flank my Long Fangs were positioned on the extreme flank and were plugging away at Nurgle-marked marines and Helbrute as required, often splitting fire as not all could see the Helbrute. The Grey Hunters were nowhere going across the narrow bridge in single file. This was my mistake of the match.

The Landspeeder went the wrong way in turn one and was caught out by the Helbrute's multi-melta but my poor positioning. Luckily for me, it was only immobilised and was still pointing in the right direction to explode the Helbrute a couple of turns later after fortunately having a follow-up multi-melta shot miss. It didn't do much for the rest of the game except totally miss some Cultists with two frag missiles.


By the start of my player turn three things were looking very bad for me. My opponent had the relic, he had two units in my deployment zone, and had got First Blood. So, this was effectively five Victory Points. I had no Victory Points at all and had been badly outmanoeuvred.

My Sternguard were going to get assaulted by the Chosen and the last Mutilator. One Tactical Squad was gone and the other was in the middle of the board standing around like wallies nowhere near anything useful. The Grey Hunters were dancing a slow and painful conga across that damn bridge (gah, I'm still cringing at that ... ). The Landspeeder was immobilised  The Long Fangs could see a few units but they all had cover saves. The Dreadnought had been exploded on turn two by an Obliterator who got slain for his trouble by some bolter fire, if I recall correctly.

There are sometimes times in games, I find, when things are going badly and you just have to sit down, accept the fact that the you-know-what has hit the fan and you need to just salvage what you can. Perhaps I'm just a bad player (likely!). I figured it was time to be bold. I advanced by Sternguard well into rapid fire range of the Cultists and let loose with Vengeance rounds in the vain hope that some might fail the cover saves and I'd have a slightly easier time in the inevitable combat. I luckily took two wounds off the Chaos Lord and possibly killed another Chosen (I don't recall).

I also moved my last Tactical Squad as far as I could towards the Chosen to try and pepper them with a few extra shots. This proved very fruitful as I managed to take out the Lord. Not only did this give me a Victory Point for Slay the Warlord, but the Lord had the Murder Sword and it's target was Cassius.

The Grey Hunters, two of whom had been taken out by an unfortunately large explosion of the Helbrute moved into assault range of a unit of Cultists, the goal being to take them out and make up lost ground by winning the combat and 'slingshotting' towards the Chaos marines with the Relic in the centre of the board with a good consolidation move. My Long Fangs redeployed, running towards the middle of the table to see down the length of the bridge to add some fire in later turns.

As expected, the Sternguard and Cassius were charged by the Chosen. The end result was not pretty and the remaining Mutilator joined the party. The Sternguard were slaughtered to a man in two rounds of combat, but Cassius stubbornly held on as he was locked in a challenge against a power axe-wielding Chosen Champion.

This was the fight of the game, and I think Cassius was model of the match for me simply for single-handedlt holding up the Chosen for four whole player turns. In the end it was a bit of a slap fight as not a single wound was caused by either model in the challenge, but it was a fun fight nonetheless. He's one tough cookie is old Cassius. If his weapon wasn't AP4, he'd have taken out that Champion and perhaps the rest of the Chosen too. In fact, Cassius had rolled the Legendary Fighter Warlord Trait so taking out that Champion would have been good (very good actually ... but more on that later).

The Grey Hunters and Rune Priest took out seven Cultists sheltering in the crater made by the exploding Helbrute with no attacks made in response (we were a bit spaced out, actually, and Pile-In moves weren't enough to get any one engaged) and the Cultists fled as I rolled a pathetic 1 for my Sweeping Advance roll. Anyway, the Grey Hunters got another four inches closer to the Relic-holding Chaos marines in their consolidation move. Not bad, but not as much as I needed and one warrior still had a toe in the difficult terrain of the crater.

Meanwhile, my remaining Tactical Squad had assaulted the other Cultist squad near the right-hand side of the main bridge and wiped them out. A good consolidation move roll allowed me to put them right in between the Choas marine squad, the Sorcerer and the Multilator (who had broken off from the combat with the Sternguard after he killed everything and found himself unable to be engaged with anything).

Now this wasn't exactly a fight I was going to win but it was my only chance. I needed to try and hold up the Chaos marines so the Grey Hunters could catch them and my 9 remaining Tactical marines were basically the price that would cost me. I thought I'd probably get assaulted but if I could just stick around or even hold them up it might all work out for me. If I didn't get assaulted, maybe I could take out some of the Chaos marines.

End game

So, at the start of turn five I felt I had only one option open to me. The Chaos marine squad with the relic were down to 10 men after several turns of pot-shots from me. If I could just take out three of them in my next shooting phase and cause them to Fall Back, they would be forced to drop the relic. Also if Cassius could take out the Chosen Champion (which by rights he should have done already!) I'd grab another Victory Point. If the game ended after turn five that would give me two Victory Points and leave my opponent with two as well – a 2-2 tie is better than a 5-1 loss after all!

Admittedly, it was a bit of a long-shot.

In my opponent's turn, his Tezeenchian Sorcerer took out two Tacticals with Breath of Chaos and then the squad was assaulted by him, that pesky Multilator, and the Chaos marines. As I'm sure you can imagine, they were wiped out and in no uncertain terms. Cassius and the Chosen champion remained locked in an epic struggle so it all came down to my turn.

The Grey Hunters and Rune Priest advanced on the Chaos marines who were still on the other side of the bridge after consolidating away from the combat which killed my Tactical marines. The Grey Hunters had an okay difficult terrain roll (one model was still in the crater!) and although they didn't quite make it onto the bridge The Rune Priest could see the unit of Chaos marines and three bolters and a plasma gun were within 24 inches. The Rune Priest only rolled a 2 for Living Lightning, but between them they took out two Chaos marines, including the Champion, thus taking their Leadership down a point. If I could just nab one more with my Long Fangs and get lucky, they may fall back I might just pull something out the bag.

The Long Fangs could just barely see the Chaos marines through the bodies of my Grey Hunters and over the hump of the bridge. After some debate as to whether it would be better to shoot frag to cause more weaker hits, or krak for few but stronger and armour ignoring hits, I elected for krak. Amazingly, I took out one Chaos marine and at the end of the shooting phase my luck was in and they failed their Leadership test and fell back, dropping the relic in the process!

Now if Cassius could finally take down that Champion this could be a spectacular turnaround.

Cassius struck well and wounded the Champion two more times, but again the servant of Slaanesh made his armour and Feel No Pain saves. Cassius's prodigious toughness also kept him safe from harm and so the combat ground on.

I had lost my chance at a tie if the game ended now, so I was hoping we could go another turn or two. Cassius surely had to get his man eventually and perhaps my Grey Hunters and Rune Priest could keep the Chaos marines off the relic. Who knew, my Long Fangs might have been able to run into my opponents deployment zone and steal a cheeky Linbreaker point.

But, it was not to be and the game ended. A shame, not because I lost 2 to 1, but because it was a thoroughly brilliant game.

So I say to my foe if he is reading; "well done" on a game well-fought. He deserved the victory as he executed some nice moves to grab the objective and take it out my reach while distracting some of my key units with some really formidable units of his own. I, on the other hand, forgot all about winning the game until it was too late and never got into a strong fighting position. I was lucky not to lose by more.

In summary

A loss for me by 2 Victory Points to 1, but after a major setback and poor play this could have been a much worse defeat.

Model of the match

Chaplain Cassius for single-handedly holding up a very nasty Chosen unit for foru whole rounds of combat. As you can see in the photo at the top of the page, anyone who can walk out of that alive deserves respect. Ok, so he was only facing one guy that whole time, but nonetheless if he has died in turn four those Chosen would have been allowed to take out the Tactcial marines and I wouldn't have seen the Chaos marines with the relic for dust.

Damn that model!

For me, the model that caused me the most grief was one single Mutilator. He was the only survivor of the Demolisher cannon blast that took out his two fellows but he went on to take out the Vindicator and then a whole heap of Sternguard and Tactical marines. Not on his own, but adding his weight into combats really swung bad combats for me into disasters.

With a Mark of Nurgle he was hard to wound with regular attacks and two wounds with a 2-up save made it near impossible. He also had Veterans of the Ling War so laying into marines with lightning claws after charging gave him re-rolls on hits and wounds, and gave my hapless Sternguard and Tactical marines no chance.

Hero to zero

My Rune Priest had a less than stellar game. He passed all five psychic tests he attempted but was denied twice, held up the Grey Hunters by being too scared to cross the Daemon Bile canal (okay, that was mostly my fault), and never rolled particularly highly for the number of shots for Living Lightning. His successes included defeating a Cultist Champion in a challenge (not something to boast about over a flagon of Mjod) and taking down a few Nurgle-marked Chaos marines. The latter did fulfil his fear not the beast oath though, so at least he did not go back to the Fang with his head hung in shame.

Mistake of the match 

I deployed my Grey Hunters and Rune Priest together behind the canal on the left flank next to the narrow bridge which was as far forward as I could get without deploying in the canal (as it was unknown mysterious terrain) and I wanted to get them to the bridge and cut off the Nurgle-marked Chaos marines who were more-or-less deployed opposite. Since the Rune Priest had Saga of the Beastslayer and Living Lightning and the Grey Hunters had two plasma guns, those Toughness 5 marines looked like a tasty target.

My opponent went into the canal on his first turn and we rolled Daemon Bile for the mysterious river. I decided not to go through the canal on my first turn as I wanted the Rune Priest to be able to shoot at the Chaos marines.

This was a massive error. I backtracked and went single-file over a narrow bridge and the unit took three or four turns to get where it could have got in one (with a decent difficult terrain roll) or two. To make matters worse, the Rune Priest tried to use Living Lightning but was denied by the Chaos marines.

If I had bitten the bullet and just sacrificed a turn of Living Lightning, the Grey Hunters and Rune Priest would have been well-placed towards the middle of the board and I think I would have quite fancied their chances taking on those Chaos marines head-to-head. At the very least, they wouldn't have got the relic so easily.

Rules blunder of the game

For some reason for the first two turns we were both rolling only one D6 for difficult terrain before we realised were were doing it wrong. But I think we both suffered from that to about the same degree, so all was fair in the end. You live and learn!

What I learned

I learned a lot about the Chaos Codex in this game. Perhaps the thing I remember most is how much I liked Mark of Slaanesh and Veterans of the Long War on close-combat Chosen against marines. Man, did I have no answers for that after my Tacticals and Sternguard were caught with their pants down by them. It just reinforces my feeling that Initiative is king in assault.

I also feel that Gift of Mutation is really great. There is some awesome stuff on that Chaos boons tables. Not only does it make a model better in game (most of the time!) but it gives them character.

I also learned that although I was very skeptical about the Relic mission, it was a lot of fun and really good for a good old fashioned scrap.

If I could do it all again ...

If I could re-play this game the first thing I would do is try and have more of a plan at the start. I suffered from dilly-dallying in the first few turns and paid for it. I think I would swap out the Landspeeder as although it took out the Helbrute (making its points back), it was more by luck than judgement. A Thunderfire Cannon might have been nice as I could reach out and touch anything that came near the objective and lend solid fire to anywhere that needed it. That's a straight swap point-for-point too.

I really wanted to take Codex powers for the Rune Priest, but perhaps Divination's Primaris power of Prescience is so very useful it might have been a better option to roll for rulebook powers. Indeed, most of the powers in that discipline are fantastic.

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