Saturday, September 22, 2012

Batrep: Blood Angels vs Chaos, 1750 pts

This time round I tried piecing together a list that concentrates some serious Blood Angel violence in a happy little package. Louis fielded a combined force of Chaos Marines (the Thousand Sons march again, hungrey for vengeance) and Daemons. Coincidentally, I've been listening to the Fear to Tread audiobook. It's excellent stuff and I find it's a perfect accompaniment to painting my good old Blood Angels.  Anyway, the lists.

My Blood Angels: 

Librarian with force axe and plasma pistol, Warlord Trait: Princeps of Deceit
5 Sternguard veterans with 4 combimeltas and heavy flamer, in a Drop Pod
10 Death Company, with 1 each of power sword, power axe and Thunder Hammer
Death Company Dreadnought with Blood Talons
10 Scouts with sniper rifles, camo cloaks and a missile launcher
2 x Stormravens with extra armour, hurricane bolters, twin-linked assault cannons and twin-linked multimeltas
2 x Baal Predators with heavy bolter sponsons

This list has a fairly simple strategy to it.  The Scouts would combat squad and, together with the Baal Predators, take up positions on the board and basically survive. The Sternguard would drop in on the first turn and gun down either the biggest threat to my Stormravens or the most expensive thing they can reasonably be expected to seriously hurt.  With 4 combi-meltas, no single vehicle is safe, and hellfire rounds and a heavy flamer mean lots of anti infantry brutality, too. The Stormravens are each there to dive in and maul infantry with their hurricane bolters the turn they arrive. Of course, the Power of the Machine Spirit means I can let one gun - either the assault cannon or the multimelta - blast a nearby vehicle, too.  The turn after that, the Stormravens go into hover mode and unleash their cargoes where it hurts most.

There's really not much thought put into objectives in this list, other than the token Scouts. This list is designed to kill. For things with a Toughness value, there's massive amounts of infantry erasing firepower in the Stormravens, the Baal Predators, the Dreadnought and the fearsome charge of the Death Company.  For vehicles, I'm trusting in the Stormravens and the Sternguard to do their jobs and woe betide anything which isn't a Land Raider that gets charged by the Death Company...

Louis' Chaos Alliance:
11 Thousand Sons and their Aspiring Sorcerer
10 Chaos Marines with a champion with powerfist, 2 meltaguns and an Icon of Chaos Glory in a Rhino

Bloodthirster with Unholy Might and Blessing of the Blood God, Warlord trait: Target priority
15 Plaguebearers with an icon bearer
6 Flamers of Tzeentch
Daemon Prince with wings, the Mark of Tzeentch Breath of Chaos and Soul Devourer

I'm not sure what diabolical power the aspiring sorcerer was toting but it didn't matter, as we'll soon see.

Mission: The Emperor's Will
Deployment: Dawn of War. I won the roll-off and deployed first. Nightfighting was active on Turn 1.

I know it looks like I've deployed a little further ahead than Dawn of War would allow, but don't forget, all four of my units have the Scout USR. And my Warlord Trait was Princeps of Deceit.

Quick discussion on reserves:
I'm going to lay out the disposition of my forces in reserve, just so I can be sure I read the reserve rules (pg 124 of the Rulebook) right. Here's my summary of the key points of the reserve rules.

1) Half your units (rounding up) may be held in Reserve.
2) A unit and its Dedicated Transport count as a single unit for this purpose.
3) Units that MUST begin the game in reserve do not count towards the total number of units in your army for this purpose.
4) An Independent Character counts as a separate unit for this purpose, regardless of whether it has joined a unit.

Bearing in mind the above, this is how my forces break down:
In reserve (4 units):
Death Company
Death Company Dreadnought

On the table (4 units):
2 x Baal Predators
2 x combat squads of Scouts

Not counted for the purpose of calculating reserves (3 units):
2 x Stormravens (because they're Flyers. Rule 3 above.)
Sternguard Veterans in a Drop Pod (See Rules 2 & 3 above.)

That said, here's two questions I'd like to hear opinions on:
1) Did I allocate my Sternguard Veterans to the right slot?
2) Is it all right to field an army that's competely in Drop Pods (i.e. one starts the game with nothing on the table)?

Right, enough talk, let's battle!

Turn 1
BA: Chaos failed to steal the initiative.
The Sternguard got straight to work, first landing their Drop Pod right in front of the Rhino, then disembarking to level their heavy flamer and bolters at the Thousand Sons.  The Baal Predators also moved up to open up with their guns.

The Shooting phase was kind to me, and between the Sternguard, the Drop Pod, a Baal Predator and the Scout squad in the ruins, I managed to put enough wounds on the Thousand Sons to reduce them to just Ahriman and a pair of Rubric marines.  The other Baal Predator and Scout Squad tried to get lucky shots on the Rhino, but didn't manage to do anything.

Chaos: The Ruinous Powers look favourably on Louis' choice of Daemons to deploy, and his first wave of daemons arrive as planned. The Plaguebearers arrived just in front of my objective, and the Daemon Prince, thanks to Ahriman's Personal Icon, plopped himself unerringly in front of my Sternguard. The Rhino moved away to my right to secure Louis' objective.

Is this a Breath of Chaos I see before meEEYYAAARRRGGHH!!

The Shooting Phase saw my Sternguard suffer for their earlier attack, but the combined might of the Rubric marines, the Daemon Prince and Ahriman's sorcery weren't quite enough, and one Sternguard survived to ping away with his hellfire rounds...

Turn 2
BA: Both Stormravens arrived, hurray! The Death Company Stormraven (hereinafter referred to as the DCRaven) made a beeline straight for the Daemon Prince, hoping to overwhelm it with it's guns. The Stormraven carrying the Death Company Dreadnought (the Dreadraven) hurtled towards the Plaguebearers, with the obvious intention of dumping its deadly cargo into close combat with the slimy wretches next turn. Elsewhere, the Baal Predators turned round to bring their guns to bear on the Plaguebearers. Somewhat less heroically, the lone surviving Sternguard backed away.

Ooh, I'm going to enjoy this...

Shooting was suitably pyrotechnic. The Sternguard fired at the Daemon Prince, causing no wounds. The DCRaven fired and boy, rolling 17 twin-linked shots is fun! That salvo took 2 wounds off the Daemon Prince. The multimelta used Power of the Machine Spirit to nuke the Rhino, blowing it up and killing 2 Chaos Marines. Then the Baal Predators, the Scouts and Dreadraven fired on the Plaguebearers, but the Ruinous Powers were smiling on Louis this day - he made an insane number of saves and FNP rolls! I think after all that shooty death, which could quite likely have wiped out a full squad of marines, only 4 Plaguebearers fell!

Why are you slimy freaks still on my board?!

Chaos: After 2 turns of getting mauled by ludicrous amounts of ballistic weapons fire, a Bloodthirster or even those flamers were looking reeeaaally good now! But alas, it wasn't to be! Both reserve rolls failed, leaving the beleaguered Chaos forces to fight to survive another turn of Blood Angel gunishment.

Without any units with Skyfire, there really wasn't much for Louis to do. The Daemon Prince tried swooping and Vector Striking the DCRaven, to no avail. Ahriman and gang gunned down the last Sternguard, earning Chaos a Victory Point for First Blood. The Plaguebearers shuffled towards the nearby Baal Predator, then charged with 22 attacks, needing 6s to glance, but unfortunately, he only managed 2 glancing hits. Looks like someone was going to eat another salvo from that Baal...

Turn 3
BA: This turn saw the Stormravens going into Hover mode to unleash their deadly cargoes. The Death Company piled out, aiming to charge the Chaos Marines, and the DC Dreadnought came stomping towards the Plaguebearers. The vehicles swung round to bring their guns to bear on the Daemon Prince and Ahriman.

Guns blazed once again, and when the gunsmoke cleared, the Daemon Prince and Ahriman were out of the battle. The Plaguebearers continued their lucky streak, and only lost 2 to shooting.

Assault was predictably violent for the Death Company, though the Dreadnought failed his charge. The Death Company, struck with 35 WS5, S5, I4 attacks, rerolling to hit and wound.  The Chaos Marine Champion, predictably, didn't survive to swing his powerfist.

Chaos: The Bloodthirster arrived at last! But the Flamers continued to dally. This really didn't leave much for Louis to work with.  The Bloodthirster plonked himself close to my objective.The Plaguebearers once again shuffled towards the Baal Predator, charged it and did nothing. Not good...

Turn 4
BA: More of the same, really.  Stormravens and the Baal Predator on my left bury the Bloodthirster with dakka death. This time the Dreadnought managed to come and play with the Plaguebearers, but 2 survived to get mauled further next turn...

Chaos: At long last, the Flamers arrived and they popped up behind my Scouts to cook them. Thing was, only 1 Scout was within reach. Next turn promised to be messier. The last 2 Plaguebearers were squished by the Dreadnought.

Turn 5
BA: Those Flamers were in a pretty good position, so the amount of firepower I could bring to bear, wasn't really enough to kill them.
Chaos: The Flamers moved up, burning the Scouts and then assaulting them, wiping them out. However, this put them within view of all my nasty, nasty guns, albeit within cover. Funnily enough, the Victory point tally was tied at this point. I had 1 point for Slay the Warlord. Louis had 1 point for First Blood. We both had 1 more point each for Linebreaker. Louis rolled for Turn 6... and the game continued!

Turn 6
At this point, Louis and I looked at each other and we decided that:

1) I simply couldn't be bothered to roll all those dice again, just to blat a lousy 3 Flamers.
2) Even if, by some miracle, the wretched things survived the combined firepower of 4 hurricane bolters, 4 twin-linked assault cannons, 2 twin-linked multimeltas and 4 heavy bolters, the odds against such a thing were so stupidly small that there'd have been no value to such a draw.

As such, Louis graciously conceded, and Ahriman was vanquished for the last time under a pile of shell casings before the advent of the lovely new 6th ed Chaos Legion codex...

Another bad match-up for Louis, I think. I've a soft spot for the Thousand Sons myself, but against an army like mine which doles out a tremendous volume of wounds, power armour simply wasn't enough. The Plaguebearers proved, as expected, to be able to soak up loads of punishment, but without support for the rest of the army (on account of them either being late to arrive from the warp or just dead) .

Would I have done anything differently? I'd probably have done better to remember to USE the Librarian for something...

Would I change my list in any way? I think the list is hunky dory as it is. I might fiddle about with it and drop the Librarian and change the Chaplain for a Reclusiarch and slip in, say, an Attack Bike or a Land Speeder, but for the moment I like this list.

One thing about this game leaves a bitter taste in my mouth, though - Flyers. Flyers are absurdly hard to kill if you don't have anything with Skyfire or your own Flyers. Spamming Flyers makes for a ridiculously powerful army that's boring to play and boring to play against. The way 6th ed is looking now, it seems like more flyers = more power. Either that, or one has to dig around Forgeworld to find some decent anti-aircraft dakka to have a fighting chance. 40k is a very different game now, and 5th ed is very, very dead. Ah, well...

That's it from me. I'll see if I can make another Warmachine Batrep happen. I find writing them to be tremendously informative. I did get a game in the same night as this scrap, but man, every time I field pIrusk the game is SLOW AS HELL! I get the feeling there's something I'm not quite doing right... Anyway, until next time, happy wargaming... 

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