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 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?


  1. How did grass make him Jink at a 2+? His base Jink is 4+, bettered to 3+ by the White Scars chapter tactics. It doesn't get better than that. A 6+ cover save from terrain does absolutely nothing for Jink.

  2. Interesting you should bring it up! We discussed the terrain before objectives or knowing the mission, and decided we'd handle the grass as "TALL" grass that would not cause dangerous terrain checks for jump pack troops (BAs) but still give them a 6+ cover save, and would give the white scars bikers a +1 to their cover save. Overall, it all good so long as you and your opponent agree to what the terrain would do. It similar to those guys at who don't count ruins as difficult unless you cross a wall, but still give all non-vehicle models with their base just a hair into it the full benefits of ruins - or only use mysterious objectives if someone has a flyer, only to use the skyfire nexus. Regardless, if you are a TO, its better for you to make those calls to make sure everyone is playing the same. My opponent enjoyed the bonus to Jink as white much as I was glad that I would not have to take tests for my jumping guys. It's all good and fun. Of course where possible, I was placing objectives out where i could see them...

    1. You got the short end of the stick on that one. Dangerous Terrain tests are largely harmless to non vehicles now that you get armor saves against them, especially power armor saves.