Tuesday, January 13, 2015

First Contact with Xenos Reported - 5th Company Attacks!!!

Captain Sendini and Librarian Epistolary Angelus of the Blood Angels 5th Company "Daemonbanes" both gripped the edges of the table with their powered gauntlets.  Scouting reports were feeding back to their command station on the Strike Cruiser Blood of Vengeance from the planet below.  They had arrived in orbit just the night before, to investigate the loss of astropathic signals from the planet a mere three standard months prior.  Instead of detecting the normal electronic signatures of a working agricultural world, everything they detected was in the wrong frequency and energy signatures referenced to those known to have been used by the Tau Empire.  Blood Angel tactical squads were deployed from the Strike Cruiser to the planet surface, finding the human settlements in ruins, no bodies, nothing but ruins.  And now, Tactical Squads 3 and 4 were sending up images of a possible Tau military strongpoint.  Captain Sendini ordered that the Tactical squads be reinforced, and contact made. Librarian Epistolary Angelus was to deploy to the surface and coordinate the action.
First Battle Report of 2015!

Summary: Blood Angels vs Tau, 1500 Points
Battle: Maelstrom Mission #2
Terrain: Ruined City with defense lines / defensive barriers

I'd been working with the new Blood Angels codex, and evaluating starting a list in preparation of the upcoming Winter-Spring Maine 40K League.  I'd gotten in contact with JT, a long-time 40K player, to come on over on an evening to get a game in.

My basic list (in part because it is what I had more or less available for immediate use) the following, which I wanted to test in order to get some exposure to the new Blood Angels 40K Maelstrom cards, new Blood Angel librarium spells, new Blood Angel warlord traits, and some of the iconic Blood Angel units pushed in the new codex.  Here is my force breakdown to 1500 points:
  • Librarian Epistolary Angelus (Level 2 psyker, force axe, plasma pistol, jump pack) (warlord)
  • Sanguinary Priest Marus (power axe, jump pack)
  • Tactical Squad #3: 10 marines, sergeant, flamer, missile launcher, rhino
  • Tactical Squad #4: 10 marines, sergeant, flamer, missile launcher, rhino
  • Assault Squad #7: 10 assault marines, jump packs, 2 melta guns, sergeant has power fist and melta pistol
  • Stormraven w/ TLLC, TLMM
  • Death Company Dreadnought Titus, MG, SB, twin blood talons
  • Death Company Squad, 8 death company marines, jump packs, 1 PF, 2 power axe, 5 power swords. 
My opponent had something like:

  • Ethereal (warlord)
  • 10-Tau squad of firewarriors with devilfish transport, 2 drones (obsec)
  • 10-Tau squad of firewarriors with devilfish transport, 2 drones (obsec)
  • Skyray, missiles, 2 drones
  • Forgeworld Hammerhead with Plasma Cannon Turret
  • 12+ kroot with krootox/gunner
  • Tau Piranha
  • 4+/- Forgeworld Tau Drone Sentry turrets
  • 3-Tau Crisis Suits
  • 3-Tau Crisis Suits
  • Aegis defense line

I was using the new Blood Angels Baal Strike Force Detachment from the back end of the new codex, which required a minimum of 1 HQ, 2 troops, and 1 elite, from which, all Blood Angel Faction units would get +1 Initiative on the assault as a formation special rule, plus the ability to reroll the warlord trait.  This would go on top of the standard Blood Angel (+1S) furious charge bonus.  The concept was to combat squad the tacticals to keep the MLs as overwatching units in cover, while the smaller combat squads in the rhinos acted as a fast moving wall to screen the assault squad plus librarian and priest.  I wanted to keep the Stormraven in reserve, carrying the death company and dreadnought.  I'd look to deploy as a refused flank, and try to use terrain to get cover saves on the rhinos when the game began.  The death company was tooled originally to play vs MEQs or GKEQs, thus the power weapons.  I'd planned on using the special rule for jumping off of the Stormraven in flight to deploy the DC units as zoomed onto the table.

The battlefield was set up (as usual) with a narrative bent, with a zone of tank traps and rubble walls set obliquely across the table, with trenches, ruins, and fortifications/bunkers all about equal to both table halves.  What I did not think about at all, was what the tank traps would mean to the rhinos....

JT arrives and unpacks Tau...

We deploy objectives, which from what would end up as my table side as the following approximate grid coordinates:  #1(+1, +2); #2(+2.5, +2), #3(+4, +2), #4 (+5.5, +2), #5(+5, +3.5), #6(+4.5, +0.5). The mission entails getting just one maelstrom card turn 1, and then cards (up to 6) for each objective controlled.  If you get behind on the objectives, doom can swiftly follow.

JT wins the roll to select sides, and chooses the "far side" which has some entrenchments and walls in the upper left, putting all of the tank traps in a line in my mid to far right as a barrier for vehicles.  He then deployed refused flank in the upper left, taking advantage of the cover, with just a Tau Piranha in the upper right.

I deployed in response on the lower right...I was thinking I'd be able to advance quickly on objectives #6, #5, and #3...

After my deployment, he placed his Kroot in position near objectives #1 and #2...

And then I realized I had the tank traps as an added barrier...

JT decides to go first.  I try to seize and fail.

The Game
JT gets first blood destroying Squad #3's Rhino, while positioning to better get firepower on Squad #4's Rhino and the assault element.  I move forward quickly to mid field on the right, and overwatching fire has no effect on the Tau.  Tau are controlling 3 objectives, I have 2; game points 1(first blood) to 0.

The picture above is at the end of Turn 1 - you can see the smoke coming out of the 3rd Squad's Rhino, the sergeant and his combat squad taking cover behind the wreckage, while the overwatching half is in the nearby trenches.  In the lower corner, the overwatching half of Squad 4 is conga-lining it for the bunker from which they can claim Objective #6.

On the second turn, the tau move forward a bit more, spreading  across to the right, but staying cautious.  He uses a drone wall to protect some dismounted units firing now into my lines.  I lose the second Rhino, and maybe 3 assault marines.  In response, I try getting more forward into assault, and the combat tac squad makes a blunder, killing off some drones from one unit to keep me out of the assault, and then I blow a key charge range for the assault element, leaving the remaining assault marines, librarian, and priest hanging out on my flank.  My stormraven stayed in reserves!  Tau are controlling 3 objectives, I have 2; game points 2-0.

In the picture above, you can see 4th Squad's Rhino now a smoking wreck, while I advance further to assault through the gun drone line.

In the picture above you can see the combat squad had created a hole in the drone wall for the assault element...but the assault fell short!  I'd used my jump packs to get this far, so could not re-roll the charge distance!

On the third turn, the Tau pushes further onto objectives now, and he is looking to push me back!  One one hand, he is drawing cards, but the missions are not really yielding him points.  I lose more marines form every squad, but no units have been eliminated.  I push back, and finally get the assault element in to the assault, and also kill more drones. The stormraven zooms on to the field, with the death company getting a drop at grid coord +2.5, +1.5, near the kroot, and the dreadnought drops about +3, +2.5.  The stormraven explodes a Devilfish, causing the Ethereal and his retinue of firewarriors to dismount.  Using POTMS, the Stormraven also immobilizes the Skyray that had advanced on Objective #3.  The Tau plasma variant of the Hammerhead is also damaged by a shot from my dreadnought.  The Death company spreads out with a good run move, looking to get their weapons stuck into the kroot. The  Tau are controlling 4 objectives, I have 2; game points about 4-0.  None of our tactical cards have been kind!

The fourth turn sees the Tau try to claim or contest all 6 objectives, but at the end of our turns, they could not achieve that.  I lose about half of the death company to fire from the kroot and nearby suits and defense guns, but I'm fearless!  On my turn, the death company assault the kroot and wipe them out.  The assault squad remnants with librarian and priest get into assault with the ethereal (yield warlord +1), and claim three additional points for a mission card (2 and double more on objectives than the opponent).  The dreadnought assaults and explodes the plasma Hammerhead variant.  Tau are controlling 2 objectives, I now have 4; game points about 5-5.

Turn 5, the Tau are crumbling away, as am I.  The two remaining immobilized Tau tanks try to jink their way to safety?  The death company now assaults the remaining crisis suits, while the librarian and remaining assault element attack the tau defense gun turrets.  I'm now in mop-up mode.

In the picture above, the last of the Death Company can be seen on the lip of the last tau entrenchment, with the Dreadnought in the distance charging off to look for something else to rip apart...and yes, although primed, the death company have a ways to go...

In the end, the game is decided at 5 points to 6, Victory for the Blood Angels!  IIRR, at the end, I was actually controlling just 2 objectives (#2 and #3), and the Tau were on maybe 2 as well (#4 and #5).  I cannot recall who had #6.  But the dice roll to see if we would continue ended it there.  My 6th point came from linebreaker.

As a first game for the Blood Angels, it was exciting to get some cool things going, like assaulting vehicles with the dreadnought (5 or so S10 attacks on the charge), death company going into assault (just too much overkill), and the resilience of the assault element (although I ended the game with just 1 assault marine, a wounded librarian, and the priest as remnants)...I had some really poor rolls with the psychic phase (no more than rolls of 3), so key spells could not be manifested well or were dispelled by the Tau.  I was freaked out about the delay in reserves as well, lets face it!  Angelus IS NOT Tigurius!  Cool things were having I5-S5 assault marines on the charge, and I5-S5-WS5-+2A on the death company charge.  I recall on turn 5 that I used the 6-inch move for the Death Company and needed the reroll for the charge distance, plus hammer of wrath attacks.  I think overall, there was some good experimentation and learning here, and JT and I know I have a long way to go to get this army to a competitive level.

Anyway, I'm looking to tweak the list this week, get more painting done, and work to be in better shape for the league games!

"More to come"....(statement attributed to Jawaballs, my first player/painter inspiration for Blood Angels) 


  1. Thanks for the report, my buddy and I are getting back into the game after a three year break. He plays Blood Angels and I play Tau and Space Wolves so this was a nice report. I definitely run my Tau a little different than this list. How were the Plasma Turrets he had on the Hammerhead?

  2. The plasma turrets were pretty good, I think he needed to be more agressive with his shooting though.