Tuesday, May 26, 2015

Fratris Salutem Debriefing

Librarian Angelus mused over the after action report of 5th Company, Blood Angels.  His forces had been requested to support the Ultramarines to defend a planet from a Chaos incursion.  In accordance with the battle plans, 5th Company began the fight on the ground, defeating an opposing force, then switching to an ambush plan in order to eliminate a enemy column - but the ambush instead became the location of a massive Chaos Marine drop pod landing, and 5th Company had to withdraw away.  In the end, as the 5th Company fought valiantly with the Ultramarines at the walls of a fortified city, word on the command net announced that a third faction - the much accursed Eldar, had breached the Citadel's archives and had spirited away what appeared to be the object of the incursion - and as quickly as it all began, the Chaos forces retreated to their ships and left the system - not without leaving behind massive amounts of casualties on all sides.  Angelus planned to meet with Tigurius in the next day, in order to have gaps in his knowledge addressed.  
The Fratris Salutem 2015 is complete!  Much thanks to Thor at Creative Twilight for pulling together a great event. Additional photos can be found on Crossroad Games' facebook page. Thor's wrapup is on the Creative Twilight Website. You may soon (or already) see more at the ThinYourPaint website, and maybe a few more.

The Fratris is a narrative event, where the scenarios follow along a storyline, and there are in-game callouts to add to the game stresses and fun.

Yes, Chaos won the day.  Most of that success is due to the last-second reassignment of a Blood Angels Player (Steve) to the Chaos side.  Steve's list was almost directly counter to what the missions called for (to some extent, breaking the hopeful narrative of the three missions).  I'm glad Chaos won, however, although in the end, it was the Eldar in the narrative, who stole away the object of their desire.  This keeps the narrative alive and vibrant for next year!

Here are my own annotated photographs:

Word Bearers Chaos Marines ready for the invasion
  Mark's Ultramarines (Tipsforbadpainters website):
More of his Ultras (between this guy and ShinyRhino all of Second Company must have been there):
Thor's Disciples of Twilight (on Standby, never left the battle barge):
Steve's "Traitor" Blood Angels:
I think these guys were run as Black Templars:
Berman's Dark Mechanicum (Skitaari):
Some Knights just deserve their own picture:
Nurgly Nurgle Guys:  
Just another shot of Nurgly-ness:
Shiny Rhino's Ultramarines (I almost felt he was not taking the event seriously from a Imperial vs Chaos standpoint, or maybe Sicarius had something else to do that day....):
Beautiful models though.  Whirlwind:
More of the Armored Column:
Top Shot:
White Scars Reaction Force:
Gotta love the work on this (Memorial Day Weekend and all):
Of course, the "Best Army" on the Imperial Side:
Melta bomb, anyone? (Oh, and I do notice that these guys all have their yellow assault squad kneepads on the wrong leg...that means their one step closer to grabbing the black paint? Or just being silly?:
Angelus sporting a grafted Force Sword, and his trusted Sanguinary Priest battle buddy:
Deployment shot - Game 1, vs Rodney's Necrons.  In this game, Chaos was to cross the table, earning buffs for Game 2 (an undisclosed benefit).  My goa was to keep Chaos bottled up on the table, which I did, and by Turn 3 was assaulting the Necron units.   No necrons left the table except by phasing out...The Necrons were in a Decurion, and fighting vs 3+/4+RP forces was tough!  You figure, nearly 80% of every necron casualty would just stand back up.  The only way I had to counter that was to be in assault with power weapons...
Game 2. Beginning of Chaos Turn 1...two pods homered in to the objectives, the third on would arrive w/o scatter in the lower left.  Chaos Blood Angels vs Blood Angels?  Chaos side not only had totally countered the intent of the mission, he had buffs from Game 1 that meant there was no way he'd lose.  The best part of this game was the Mountain Dew.  It was frustrating.  The mission theme was that the Chaos force would start along the center of the table, and that there were 4 objectives worth points, and more points for Chaos to be at the Chaos table edge.  Imperial players could start around the table boundary, go first (its an Ambush), and get points for objectives or for being on the Chaos table edge (in pursuit).  In this case, Steve's force was objective secured as a CAD, could start the game with only scouts on the table, and had everything else able to arrive by Pod or teleportation from reserves.  Couple that with the added benefit that each objective aced as a Beacon, and that he could recycle 6 units back onto the table (vs my three), you can feel my pain...kill a pod, see it come back the next turn to the same spot...objective secured...kill a unit, see it come back and shoot up your survivors...Overall, I appreciated the challenge. 
Game 3.  This had us fighting as pairs, in this case Ultramarines and Blood Angels vs Necrons and Nurgle.  However, each unit was reduced to half strength (including reduced special weapons), vehicles with hull points halved rounded down, and characters with wounds halved and rounded down.  The mission was simple kill points, scaled to a % score metric.  This game only went three turns (turn three was completed in 7 minutes due to time), and having all of our vehicles only at 1 HP each was the undoing for the Imperial side.  

As I said, the missions fit a narrative story line very well, and I think everyone had a great time. I was trying to think if any of my Marines earned any particular Battle Honors...so far, nothing spectacular comes to mind...as marines, they all just did their jobs...

Already looking ahead and forward to the Standish Standoff 2015 in the Fall...

Saturday, May 16, 2015

So...have we been doing it all wrong?...still pondering...

"The American and the British are two peoples, separated by a common language"....Patton, the movie.

So...way back in the beginning of 7th Edition, when formations and detachments all came out, it was driving the American 40K bloggers crazy.

Imagine if you can for a moment...you are a Brit.  You wrote some rules.  Nobody seemed to understand what you wrote.  You decide that its not worth explaining.  Later, you write other books, and try to force or illustrate a correction...

Imagine, all along...that each player was to build their army lists in 40K, with every unit fitting into a detachment.  Certain combinations of unit inside the detachment could be combined into formations.  I postulated that on this blog a while back.  And now in recent codexi (Necrons, Eldar), we see it coming to fruition.  Is the 7th Edition rule designer truing to impose what he/she intended all along?  Decurion anyone?

So, for example, should I take a Baal Strike Force detachment (all units get +1I on the assault) from the Blood Angels Codex, and then include within it some of the formations that are in White Dwarf (note, some of the BA formations don't get the +1I - they get other benefits...like a Decurion the Formation benefits would be added to what those units get within the Detachment)?

Should I take a Combined Arms Detachment from the BRB, and fit within it the Blood Angels Battle Company Formation from the Codex (similar, except that everything is Obsec)?

Why is the BA Battle Company Formation not a Detachment in its own right?

IIRR, in the text in the BRB, it seems on first reading to imply that formations are a combination of units within a Detachment...but again, I'm an American, trying to interpret what was intended within a rulebook written by a Brit, and then translated to American spelling and such, printed in China, and then shipped here via container ship.

If this was true, imagine that the whole idea of taking multiple CADs was not what was intended (libby tac tac, libby tac tac, libby tac tac, libby tac tac, yada yada).  Imagine that a TO implied you could build a tournament list that could have a primary detachment, and then an allied detachment if desired (different from your primary faction).  Imagine you could include within those detachments all the formations for that faction you wanted, but a unit could only belong within a single formation.

Translation attempt  completed.  Sort of.


Friday, May 8, 2015

The 555th Triple Nickels has an Answer to your Problem Sir

Everyone on the internet seems all agog at the current Eldar codex, and the battle reports have been interesting.

The Astra Militarum has exactly what you need to handle pesky swarms of jet bikes carrying long haired pointy eared pale faced xenos.

Here is a hint...

The sound it makes when it attacks someone away from your location is:


If it is attacking your position, all you hear before your unit is eliminated is:


Imagine a trio of these in your next army list:


The Vulture Gunship is a purpose-built variant of the Valkyrie STC; a high-speed, low-level hunter-killer, capable of mounting a wide range of payloads to carry out its assigned mission. Commonly used in a close protection role for air-to-surface Imperial Guard deployments for regiments such as the Drop Troops of Elysia, the Vulture is also assigned to strafing missions against massed infantry formations and lightly-armoured vehicles. This is a complete resin and plastic kit, includes plastic flying base and plastic Hellstrike missiles and Rocket Pods. Punisher Cannons shown on some pictures sold separately. Model designed by Daren Parrwood.

and then you add these:


I was on the receiving end in a game a few years back where my opponent had just two...at the end of the game I had one lonely blue space marine left, hugging his bolter, ducking behind a rock...I could not imagine seeing the effect of three...the shear mount of firepower is amazing.  Of course none of the easily found pictures on the web show the variant with the punisher cannons in action...

Or, if you are in to Chaos...and don't want to ally in some "trator guard" just go with three Helldrakes.  Nothing says "can't Jink this" like three S6AP3 templates...

Just trying to help...

Friday, May 1, 2015

Fratris Salutem Practise - 1500 Points of Fun

Epistolary Librarian Angelus surveyed the industrial site with grim determination.  Chief Librarian Mephiston had tasked Angelus to this sector.  A large Chaos warband with support was heading towards the Blood Angel position.  Bikers.  And in the dust, a large apparition.  A Knight.  Today's combat was going to be a tough fight.  Angelus looked up at the Sanguinary Guard arrayed around him.  The Sanguinary guard looked off to the distance, their death masks shining in the sun...

1500 Points - Blood Angels vs White Scars (plus Knight), Maelstrom #5

We've been here before...

With a bunch of upcoming 40K related events coming, attendance at our Wednesday "club night" was pretty light.  I paired up with our local White Scars player, to practise our 1500 point lists in preparation for the Fratris Salutem (to be held May 23 at Crossroad Games - go get yourself a ticket to attend!).  The Fratris Salutem is a narrative event, where players are first placed into an Imperial Faction and a Chaos Faction, and you play to get your side the victory.  The narrative is a continuation of last year, a very interesting story line involving the deep infiltration of the Ultramarines by Chaos elements, and each game will have narrative elements to continue the story line.

My opponent and I will be in the Imperial faction, but when you think about it, the White Scars with a Knight can equate to an Eldar jetbike warhost with a Wraithlord.  The Blood Angels can approximate a Khornate battle force.  So both of us can get something out of this game.

Overall, this battle report won't provide our lists, as to some extent, we don't want the local Chaos (plus xenos) players to game us completely.

The terrain was set to be a chemical plant, with a good amount of LOS blocking terrain, with patches of tall grass providing 6+ cover/area terrain (but not acting as difficult).

Maelstrom #5 is interesting
You only have 3 mission cards per turn and you keep them undisclosed till scored.  As usual, you could discard mission cards that could not be scored (in this case, anything with flyers, destroying buildings, mysterious objectives).

Deployment is the long way, providing a narrow front and deep deployment zones.  This deployment sets up interesting synergies when it comes to both of our armies -  much of our weaponry is shoret ranged and fast, which means it becomes easier to charge towards your opponent, but it also means he'll be concentrated and be able to countercharge.  Something to think about...

My opponent chose deployment zone, and I won the roll to deploy first.  After deployment I selected to go first.

Looking across my narrow deployment zone, I decided to concentrate troops on my center and left, and go vehicle heavy on my right.

Picture of my right flank deployment.  Its the first time I'm ever using Sanguinary Guard!  Their painting is about 75% done at this point...

And here is the left flank...I had to swap in an unpainted marine for my poor assault squad sergeant, who had chosen this moment to break off his base...

My opponent seemingly did the same - his knight was deployed on my upper right, and his major biker units were in the upper left.  Here is my opponent's left flank - his bikes are on the forward edge, ready to go forward!

An overall shot -  I always deploy with the objective numbers undisclosed - and I always want to make sure my opponent shuffles/cuts his deck.  That's a pro tip for you!

The Knight...ready to move forward and get that massive chainsword of doom jammed with blood angels bones and gore!

The Game
In turn 1, I pulled three cards, and only one seemed doable.  My drop pod was placed in my opponent's backfield on an objective (#2), and it deviated right, to still allow me the positioning I needed.  The meltacide troopers charged out into the grassland, and opened fire (after an uneventful psychic phase) on the rearmost biker squad, killing off the biker sergeant and another.  The biker unit broke and headed close to the table edge.   I score 1 point for killing an enemy character (the sergeant).

On my right, shooting killed another biker from a squad hiding behind the Knight, and I removed 2 HPs from the knight.  On the center and left, maybe another bike or two was eliminated.

My Sanguinary guard moved towards the left, adjacent to the Death company, keeping an OK distance between models.

My opponent draws his three cards, frowns.  He moves his bikers and knight forward on my left and right.

In the backfield, his damaged biker squad regroups and prepares to engage my demi-assault squad. WHAMMM!  He drops his orbital bombardment onto the sanguinary guard, and it does not scatter. 1 DC marine, 3 Sanguinary guard, and Angelus are under the large blast template!  Rolling to wound provides a single "1" which saves my Librarian from instant death.

The Knight fires on a razorback, gets two hits with the rapid fire battle cannon, BOOM! and then fails to glance or pen!  Other shooting is uneventful.  He assaults my squad in his backfield, and we each lose a marine so are stuck in combat.  

My opponent scores...nothing...Nobody has first blood....

In turn 2, there are no reserves for me...I re-position my tanks on the right.  In the center and left, I move to focus on the largest bike squad, which has attacked to it my opponent's HQ characters!

Because the Blood Angels are all about the assault, it was important to jump in there, before the bikers jump me!  Angelus and the Sanguinary Priest break from the two surviving Sanguinary Guard to join an assault squad  - the Sanguinary Guard select a demi-biker squad of their own.  Then the fun happens...in the Psychic Phase, I successfully cast Enfeeble on the large target biker unit, making them -1T, -1S!!! but I PERILED.  I roll a 4, losing a wound on Angelus.  Then he casts Warp Speed, but fails on Force and Smite.

In shooting, another knight shield is stripped off, and another biker on the right is removed - that squad breaks and heads away.  In the center, the two Sanguinary Guard shoot their target, but all Jink saves are made.  On the left, with a bunch of firepower, just 2 jinking bikes are removed.  Then its time to assault!  The 4 remaining Death Company want to jump in first, but FAIL a 6-inch charge.  The Sanguinary Guard make their assault.  Then the Assault squad plus Angelus and the Priest make their assault!  In the center, the Sanguinary Guard (+1I, +1S), kill off all but one biker, who does not break.  On the left, my assault squad (+1WS, +1I, +1S) pound the bikers (-1T, -1S), and in the end, I kill off the bike squad, leaving just the characters (neither of us had offered a challenge) [First Blood].  The characters "hit and run", getting away!

I score an objective card (#1, in my zone), and First Blood, so my total score is 3 points...

My opponent also has no reserves. With his characters enfeebled he continues to head away with them, with the goal of assaulting my drop pod at Objective #2.  The remaining bikers that are mobile all move forward, to pick assaults or look to score points.

The Knight shambles towards the center - the goal is the Sanguinary Guard!   The turn is relatively quick - the Knight charges into the Sanguinary Guard, and a bike squad shoot up and then charge into a nearby dismounted demi-tactical squad.  In assault, my Sanguinary guard finish off the biker (their original target), but the Sanguinary Guard are eliminated by the Knight.

My demi-tactical squad is damaged but not eliminated by his other bikers.  The biker squad on the right headed deep into a patch of grass in my deployment zone, jinking was the plan to get a 2+ cover save.  In the backfield, hos assault on the drop pod failed, and the continued assault between the bikers and assault squad remained a basic stalemate.  My opponent scored a point for having a unit in my deployment zone. The total score was now just 3-1.

In turn 3, I can see the Knight has plans on going after my assault squad/priest/warlord on his next turn.  I move to intercept the knight and whittle it down further, while working to try to clear the bikers from my deployment zone, and maybe try to get after his characters, and eliminate the bikers chewing on my helpless tactical squad.  My assault squad, etc. move after the biker characters.  The Death Company looks to extract the tactical squad, and other elements look to go after the other bikers and Knight.  In the psychic phase, Angelus FAILS to cast a power.  In shooting, the Knight loses just one HP, so is now down to 2 out of 6.  My counter-assault on the bikers in the center by the Death Company works - and the bikers are eliminated.  I Conga-line my DC before the knight, to deny him the ability to go after my assault squad.

On the right, I maybe kill a biker...maybe...meh...probably not...2+ Jink saves...I score a single point for Objective #4.

In response, my opponent moves the knight towards the DC.  His characters move over to help clear my demi-squad out of his deployment zone.  His last mobile unit goes after my right-most razorback.  In shooting, the Death Company are eliminated by the Knight's rapid fire Cannon.  The heavy stubber kills off an assault marine.  In assault, my razorback is wrecked, and in the backfield, my demi-assault squad is eliminated (but they also took out his last remaining non-character bikers).  My opponent...scores no points...(in retrospect, he had a card at ths point to just issue a challenge - which he forgot to use and then discarded - he could have used it in elimination of the demi-assault squad in his backfield).  Score remains 3-1.

I rearrange the units to go after the last of the bikers and knight.  I'm fretting about losing my Warlord to anything stupid - the game is just too close!  In shooting, the bikers at my wrecked razorback are eliminated - and with a large amount of high S firepower, the knight loses the last of its HPs and EXPLODES!  (but I take no casualties back).  [note to self...for game purposes, it would be awesome to replace exploded Knights with craters...I miss craters in 7th edition...]

I score a point for an objective.

My opponent is down to just the two biker characters.

We continue on - at the end of turn 5, my opponent is down to just his Warlord, who, like Angelus, is down to a single wound! I score Linebreaker and objective #5.  I'm holding a card for Objective #6...

The final score is just 6:1, win for the BLOOD ANGELS!    

In the post-game assessment, a couple of things came up -

  1. I never thought to look up/use the death masks on the Sanguinary Guard - also I was disappointed to have three of them pooped right off the bat by the orbital bombardment.  I'd completely forgot that was a possibility!  I was more worried about the large blasts from the Knight! 
  2. We both could have used challenges much better to our advantage - I have some weaknesses there that need to be fixed - in particular, Angelus needs a force sword rather than an axe!   
  3. My opponent could have used his Knight better - he probably could have just charged forward and started wrecking vehicles in assault. Also, it has the range, so deploying it in the center would have been better overall, to keep all of my shots at the forward arc.  
  4. Overall, I'm getting better at playing Blood Angels.  It will be interesting to see what things will be like vs. some of the other newer armies!  Biomancy seemed like a good choice for librarian powers, but I'm torn about that.  I may try another suite next week.  Regardless, i think this is the third game in a row where I periled!
  5. Terrain coverage was pretty good.  My opponent loved the grassy area terrain as it made his bikers jink at a 2+, which was pretty great - overall, he could have used the terrain better to his advantage!  
It was a fun game.  I was amazed at the end to see that I'd only fully lost the Death Company, the Sanguinary Guard; a Razorback; and a demi-assault squad!  Everything else was either fully functional or damaged.  That was crazy!  My opponent was a little disappointed to say the least that his bikers did not fare well.  Overall, the Blood Angels are best on the charge, and furious charge can help against T5 opponents!

Anyways, i have more work to do - but most importantly - my list is due Friday to the TO for the Fratris Salutem!  I hope it passes inspection...and I have a few minor list changes to make before submittal..which will require surgery on some models because we play WYSIWYG.

Overall, feedback time - do you enjoy these battle reports?