Sunday, 19 October 2014

The Battle Of Thermonaos - 1000 Point Imperials vs Chaos

An awesome Sister of Battle cosplay by JNA the Bornean cosplayer.
This monday I left Sister Superior on her own for the evening, travelled out to Dave's flat and took part in a wee game of Warhammer 40,000.  His good lady wife was away for a few days so he had the place to himself - we therefore hijacked his living room for a 1,000 point encounter between Chaos and Sisters.

A small 4 footish table was erected and dave covered it with his temple terrain.  His giant church may have been far too big for the table size... but it was too much fun not to use!  Our armies were broken out and deployed along the board, as well as a scattering of objectives (mostly down the centre line of the board).  Our mission was Big Guns Never Tire, which gives 3 points per objective held and also awards a point per Heavy Support unit destroyed (as well as a bonus point for First Blood and Slaying the Opposition Warlord)

The table at the time of deployment, with a squad of Chaos Marines and a Dark Apostle hiding in the large building.

Dave brought his sisters with some Imperial Guard allies - so two squads of battle sisters, two Penitent Engine walkers and some Repentia close-combat psychos were accompanied by a squad of Imperial Guard veterans, two Sentinel scout-walkers and a command squad.  The whole thing was lead by an Inquisitor and his retinue for a general force of Humanity allied.

While I have a "standard" Chaos army I do like to mix and match my various units for variety so this time round I took a different arrangement than normal.  Two units of 10 Chaos Marines with a mishmash of bolters and support weapons, one unit of 5 noise marines for heavy support, an Obliterator for teleporting shootyness and a Hell Blade fighter for air cover.   I therefore got a lot more figures on the table than normal for 1000 as I usually overdose on Noise Marines - who are cool and all, but quite expensive points-wise.

....Yeah, there they are.

The whole ensemble was lead by a new figure, who is the chap in the picture with the red armour.  Many moons ago I gave a spare Chaos Space Marine to my chum Charles who decided to paint it up in his own very pretty style - he is far more gifted and patient than I.  The end result is a badass Iron Warrior chap who I used this time round as a Dark Apostle, an evil Chaos priest.

Charles' handiwork up close.  I really like the blood effect he managed using a sort of translucent red resin.

Anyway, we tried to squeeze our armies into the very busy battlefield.  Thanks to my Warlord trait I could send my units further in than normal as I rolled to allow them to Infiltrate - Dave pointed out this meant I could in fact deploy inside the temple on top of one of the objectives, so I did exactly that.  I also got the first turn - which suggested a narrative of a Chaos contingent defiling an Imperial bastion and the Inquisition being sent out to reclaim it.

Unfortunately, the first round of shooting went badly for the forces of Humanity...


...and their Inquisitor leader found himself felled by unlucky bolter fire.  Oops!  Score two points for me (one for First Blood, one for Slay The Warlord) and I hadn't even really done anything yet!

I stayed fairly stationary on turn one, laying down fire on the enemy.  That wasn't an option for the sisters who got stuck in - and the Inquisitor's chums, the Sisters Repentia, didn't let his death stop them from running their half-naked chainsaw-wielding bodies into my Noise Marines.

No armour and no shooting, but Repentia are really harsh if they can charge in

The Noise Marines quickly found themselves all but annihilated, their volume of fire unable to overwatch the Repentia.  Guarding one of the objectives (the blue skull statue next to the big rock) this meant I had lost control of a vital part of the board and had to send one of the other Chaos Marine units in to help.

While this was going on Dave tried to get his forces into the church.  There was an objective on the stairs and an objective inside, but the Dark Apostle inside wasn't going to be shot out thanks to all that cover and his own Zealot special rule.  (His preaching makes his unit immune to fear, panic etc)  So he had to march troops up the stairs.

The queue to battle

Back over by the Repentia, a countercharge by Chaos Marines polished off most of the sisters... but not all, and the one that lingered on was the leader with armour and electric whips of death.  The Chaos Marines found themselves in the the inverse of their usual Prodigy-sponsored position - not outnumbered yet dearly outgunned.  Even my poor old Obliterator could do little when he appeared, blasting off only a couple of shots before sisters closed to melee and (to continue the mangled musical metaphors) ripped him to shreds.

<insert whipcrack noise here>

But at the temple things went better for me.  There was only one way into the temple - on larger tables the rear exit would need to be defended but this time round only one was accessible and Dave had no flying or jump pack-ing units.  So, he had to march his troops in small numbers through the door.... where they were puréed by Bolter fire.

A Penitent Engine wrecked at the door; the arco-flagellants unable to close into melee with their electric whips without taking heavy fire.

Now Dave could easilly hold onto the steps objective and the swamp objective that the Sentinels were camping on - plus the point for killing the Obliterator (a heavy support choice) this gave him 7 points.  But a guaranteed win needed that temple cleared and he could only do it by braving melee.  The Penitent Engines are vicious in melee and they've eaten a few of my tanks in the past.... but they need to get close to do the job, and the camping unit had a Missile Launcher to finish off any such unit coming into their line of sight.

It got even worse for Dave when he tried to move his second Penitent engine in.... and it was also crippled.  Rather than being close combat monsters, these beasts were just two awkwardly placed terrain pieces making charging even more difficult.  Just like the world-famous Battle of the Hot Gates or the locally famous Battle of Stirling Bridge, the terrain was doing my work for me.

The hot gates get even hotter as shrapnel flies everywhere
Back outside, the Sisters tried to wipe out the last of the Chaos Space Marines.  The Hell Blade had crashed but the Sisters couldn't budge the last few Slaanesh worshippers who, thanks tot heir evil Icon of Excess banner, are given an extra way to avoid death.  Holding them off so the combat couldn't end meant neither party could claim the objective on offer.

The men of the match for me might be these two guys, who spent five turns in close combat and somehow came out of it still alive.
Finally Dave's female Imperial Guard veterans got into the building and took a few Chaos Space Marine corpses - but closing to melee seemed madness, so he just sat pack and picked off a few shots.  The unit was immune to fear and previously mentioned so he couldn't force any morale saves to get them running, so the temple remained mine when the game came to an end on the sixth turn.

The blue-haired girls in basic armour and with lasguns do what heavily armed veterans and heavily armoured walkers couldn't do - assault the temple and live.

It looked like a narrow Dave victory at first - I had one objective and my two bonus points, so that's 7 points to 5.  What I forgot, however, is that Penitent Engines are Heavy Support objectives and Dave bought them as two seperate units.  Wrecking them meant an extra point per walker for me so I managed to scrape up 7 points, making it a draw.  While I felt outplayed by Dave and certainly outnumbered at the end, I inflicted enough misery to make it a pyrrhic victory at best for the Imperium (who I suspect would be forced to nuke the site from orbit to reclaim the area.)

Thoughts at the end of the game?  Well, the small table with one huge terrain piece and no high points definitely caused us both problems.  If I hadn't infiltrated into the temple (at Dave's suggestion, I must confess) then things would have been vastly different.  As it was, Dave simply could not hope to get me moving there without taking a huge amount of casualties.  On the other end, my Noise Marines proved a bit worthless in their location and easy to devour - I normally would put a unit like that on top of a hill or building but no such firing position existed.

Good times were had, and I'm seeing Dave again tomorrow - this time to teach him Dreadball.

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