Monday, February 11, 2013

Batrep: Necrons vs Chaos Marines, 1750 pts

After doing 3 batreps in one weekend, I just felt like having a couple of games without batrepping for a bit. This past few weeks I've been fielding the same Necron army over and over again. I've said it before and I'll say it again, I like this list. In today's batrep, the Crimson King takes on Wong's Chaos Horde...

My Necrons:
Overlord with Mindshackle Scarabs, Warscythe, Sempiternal Weave, Phase Shifter and Resurrection Orb
20 Warriors and a Ghost Ark with a Harbinger of Eternity, Chronometron
9 Warriors and a Ghost Ark with a Harbinger of Destruction, Solar Pulse
8 Warriors with a Harbinger of Destruction
Doom Scythe
Doom Scythe
6 Canoptek Wraiths, 2 with Whip Coils
4 Canoptek Scarabs
4 Canoptek Scarabs

Warlord Trait: Night Attacker.

The previous day the Crimson King marched against Ian's Orks, the first time this army had faced a true horde army in 6th edition. That game didn't go too well, but to be fairly I think it was mostly due to bad rolls. MANY bad rolls. Failed reserves, charges, an inordinate number of armour saves and good grief, the Crimson King was inept. There was one truly pathetic moment when the Crimson King and his faithful Cryptek, having gotten back up after the King's Guard were wiped out by stampede of 30+ Orks, charged a handful of Orks to try and throw a spanner in Ian's plans. The Crimson King missed with ALL 4 attacks. The Cryptek hit and wounded once. And an Ork made a T-shirt save. It was just one of those days. Anyway, the point I'm trying to make here is that I'm perfectly comfortable with the idea of fielding this army against a horde army and I daresay that on a day with more average rolls, the Crimson King stands a perfectly good chance at seizing victory.

Wong's Chaos Horde:
Huron Blackheart
Chaos Lord in Terminator armour with a power maul
5 Chosen with 2 meltaguns and 2 plasmaguns in a Rhino
5 Chosen with 3 meltaguns and 1 plasmagun in a Rhino
20 Cultists with 2 Heavy Stubbers
20 Cultists with 2 Heavy Stubbers
20 Cultists with 2 Heavy Stubbers
20 Cultists with 2 Heavy Stubbers
5 Raptors with 2 meltaguns
5 Raptors with 2 meltaguns
5 Raptors with 2 plasmaguns
2 Obliterators with Mark of Nurgle
2 Obliterators with Mark of Nurgle

Warlord Trait: Master of Deception (1 unit)

80 cultists. Man, that looks... like so much fun to kill! That having been said, though, that's enough Cultists to possibly pose a threat to the King's Guard, especially seeing as the little freaks attack at I3. Plenty of anti-armour options, too, in the form of Raptors, Obliterators and Chosen. Apart from the Cultists, there wasn't much staying power, but that's what the Cultists are for, at any rate. The only thing was: How does one get those Cultists across the board and into combat in sufficient numbers to hurt? Compared with Ian's Orks, they only have T3 and can't Waaaaagh. For a footslogging close combat list, that's huge. Well, let's see how this plays out...

Mission: Purge the Alien
Deployment: Vanguard Strike. I won the roll off and deployed first. Night fighting was active on the first turn.

Looking across the battlefield, I dearly wished I had some blast weapons of some sort...  Wong knew I only had direct fire weapons on the board, hence the boldness of his deployment - packed close at the very limit of his deployment zone. For my part, having engaged Ian's Orks and knowing how fragile Cultists were in comparison, I was confident the King's Guard would cut down huge swathes of the Cultists before they reached combat. But would it be enough?

Turn 1:
Necrons: The King's Guard advance and unleash a deluge of gauss fire through the night into the closest squad of Cultists. The Arks move up and follow suit, and after the shooting was done, that squad of Cultists was down to 8 members. Fortunately for them, the Chaos Lord was with them, so they stood firm. To the left, the Wraiths and Scarabs moved closer to the infiltrated Chosen in their Rhino. The other Scarab swarm went round the hill to the right, keeping out of sight, just in case I needed them to charge the flanks of some Cultists.

Chaos: The Chaos response was, predictably, to run willy nilly in my direction and try to get to grips in close combat. Huron's Hamydra gave him Forewarning, and he cast it on nearby Rhino, which moved right up into the middle of the battlefield, serving as a wall for the Raptors to hide behind as they made ready to pounce with their melta weapons. The Obliterators tried to blast the Ghost Ark on the left with lascannon, but were foiled by the quantum shielding and Night Fighting. On the left, the other Chosen Rhino trundled up and the Chosen inside fired plasmaguns from the hatch into the Wraiths, wounding one.

Turn 2:
Necrons: Both Doom Scythes arrived from reserve. One headed for the Obliterators, the other for the Rhino in the centre of the board. The Wraiths broke off their advance on the left Rhino and headed right, straight for the Raptors hiding behind the centre Rhino. The King's Guard backed away, opting for a strategy of falling back and using their gauss flayers to bring the Cultists to more manageable numbers before closing for the kill.

The Doom Scythes got to work, only managing to wound one Obliterator, but in the centre, the Rhino lost 2 hull points and 3 Raptors, 2 from one squad and 1 from another, were sliced apart by the Death Ray. Salvoes of firepower from the Ghost Arks and their occupants blew up the offending Rhino, leaving the occupants to the tender mercies of the King's Guard, who rendered them into their component atoms in one salvo.

Scarabs charged and wrecked the other Rhino, and the Wraiths charged a squad of Raptors, gutting them easily and spreading out in a line to stall the Chaos advance.

Chaos: The Hamydra granted Enfeeblement to Huron, and he cast it on the Wraiths, who were suddenly looking a lot more vulnerable to the autoguns and pointy sticks of the Cultists...

Three squads of Cultists converged on the Wraiths, guns blazing. 3 Wraiths went down to autogun fire, the rest were brought down by the Chaos Lord, Huron and an insane number of attacks from the Cultists. The Obliterators tried to bring down the closest Doom Scythe, switching to twin-linked plasmaguns. Wong suffered incredibly bad luck here, though, as the wounded Obliterator's weapon blew up in his face, killing him! Despite this, they managed to take down a hull point. To the left, the surviving Chosen squad was understandably vexed by the destruction of their transport, so they took it out on the Scarabs, first shooting them, then reducing them to 1 base in assault. On the right, 2 Scarab bases were lost to shooting from nearby Raptors.

Turn 3:
Necrons: Those Cultists were getting uncomfortably close. I knew if Huron and the Chaos Lord's squads both managed to get a charge in on the King's Guard, I'd quite likely get overrun, no thanks to combat resolution and the unfortunate curse of Necron initiative. So, I moved the King's Guard over to the right, putting lots of them within rapid fire range of the Chaos Lord's squad, and nice and far from Huron's squad. A withering salvo later, the Lord's squad lost about half their members and the Lord himself was wounded. Another salvo from one of the squads in the Ghost Arks took another wound from the Lord and slew all but two Cultists.

The Doom Scythes flew overhead, lashing out at Cultists with their Death Rays and tesla destructors.

The Scarabs on the left were wiped out by the Chosen, who now found themselves too far from the battle to do anything useful. On the right, the other Scarabs charged the smaller squad of Cultists, who had the numbers to smash one base of Scarabs before the Scarabs could strike.

Chaos: Hamydra gives Huron some useless power. After 3 turns of unrelenting gauss abuse, the Chaos forces stumbling out of No Man's Land were pitifully few. The Chaos Lord and the survivors of 2 Raptor squads converged on the Ghost Ark on the right, exploding it with melta fire and charging the contents. The Raptors were too few in number to wipe out the Necrons, but the Chaos Lord, with one wound left, smashed the Cryptek to scrap with his maul... and won the favour of the Dark Gods! A new Daemon Prince arose...

Apart from that, not much else happened. The Obliterators fired on the other Ghost Ark and failed to harm it. The two larger squads of Cultists fired ineffectually at stuff. The Cultists in melee with the Scarabs finished them off and backed away, trying not to get themselves killed and give me a Kill Point.

Turn 4:
Necrons: Silly me, no photos from this point on. The Doom Scythes, having nowhere else to turn, both headed for the left side of the board and inflicted ludicrous overkill on the squad of Chosen. The King's Guard turned their guns on the Daemon Prince and blasted away with abandon, but only dealt one wound. The Warriors in the remaining Ghost Ark showed the Guard how it's done, taking 3 wounds off the Prince and killing it.

The Raptors lost 2 of their number in melee and took down 1 Warrior in return, who got back up. At this point, things were looking pretty dire for Wong. The King's Guard was still completely unscathed, and he had nothing to stop them but:
  • Huron's squad of Cultists, who were too far and would have to take at least one salvo of gauss fire from the Guard, which would quite likely render them combat-ineffective. 
  • another squad of Cultists, down to about half strength and too far to do anything useful.
  • 3 Obliterators. Again, too far and simply can't dish out enough damage in time to swing the game. 
  • 2 more badly mauled squads of Cultists, who were better off just staying out of sight. 
So, we tallied up the Victory Points. I had:
  • Slay the Warlord
  • First Blood
  • 6 Kill Points: 2 Rhinos, 2 squads of Chosen, 1 squad of Raptors, one Chaos Lord/Daemon Prince

Wong had:
  • Linebreaker (but not for long...) 
  • 5 Kill Points: 2 Scarab swarms, Wraiths, Ghost Ark, 1 Cryptek
I had a comfortable lead and enough guns on the table to push it further. With that understood, Wong conceded. Necron victory!

Once again, the Crimson King has served me well. That having been said, Purge the Alien really favours my army compared to Wong's swarms of Cultists. Had it been an objective game, things could have gone very different indeed, as my lack of templates and close combat prowess makes it hard to winkle out those Cultists, especially if the little blighters hide in ruins and such.

As expected, the Cultists' low speed, combined with their measly T3, made it far too easy for me to thin out their numbers. That said, there are armies with far more firepower than my Necrons, like the Imperial Guard, the new Ravenwing, or those godawful Dark Eldar, for example. So is there a reliable way for the Cultists to cross the board?

The way I see it, there's only one way I can think of: More Rhinos. Seriously, if the Raptors were switched out for, say, another team of Chosen with melta death and maybe some Havocs with 4 flamers, both in Rhinos, Wong could have advanced by hurling the Rhinos ahead, flat out, shielding the Cultists. I'd be forced to deal with the Rhinos first, because meltas and flamers are really things I can't ignore, but with, say, 4 units in Rhinos in front of my face, I need at least 2 units to deal with each, one to pop the transport, the other to kill the contents. No army I can think of can pull that off. Out of that first wave of Rhinos, at least one team will accomplish their mission, i.e. to nuke a vehicle or flame some important infantry. While this is happening, the Cultists will swarm over everything and carry the day.

If I didn't have the option of changing the list, what I'd do is deep strike the Raptors. It's clear to me that their mission is to cross the board and nuke a vehicle, but if they start on the board, that gives an opponent time to react. During the first 2 turns of shooting, a squad of Raptors can fall victim to all sorts of abuse; gauss fire and Wraiths when facing my army, of course. By deep striking, an opponent has to deal with an enemy on an unknown front. Worse yet, an enemy that, even if it's not in a position to take a good shot after deep striking, can quickly move to bring its guns to bear on sensitive targets, most notably the rear armour of my Ghost Arks. This could quite conceivably break the coherence of my formation, quite likely lessening the pressure on the Cultists, who now find it that much easier to cross No Man's Land...

As for my Necrons, they did what they did, and the strategy I've used for the past 5 or 6 games with them has proven very sound indeed. Time to change things up, I think...

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