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Happiness is success... (Buddha)

Saturday, November 30, 2013

1st Holiday Grudge Match • Plaguewing vs. Tyranids

This is the first grudge of the holiday weekend... Plaguewing versus my arch nemesis' Tyranids... 2000 points, double FOC and Allies. Neither of us brought any Forge World units.

Here are the rules for the mission which is from the Crucible 3 40k GT qualifier to be held in Tampa at Anthem Games next weekend.

Deployment—Hammer and Anvil

Mission Special Rules
Night Fight—Infiltrate—Outflank—Deep Strike—Reserves

Primary Mission
Place an objective in the center of each table quarter and one objective at the center of the table for a total of 5 objectives. Heavy Support are scoring units (including vehicles) and each is worth 1 victory point (VP) if destroyed. Only scoring units can control the objectives. The player with the most objectives wins this mission, if an equal number of objectives are controlled by both players then the mission is a draw.

Secondary Mission
All Scoring units are worth 2 VP if destroyed and 1 VP is below 50% in unit strength. The player with the most VPs wins this mission, if both players' score is equal then the mission is a draw.

Tertiary Mission
Destroy Vehicles, Monstrous Creatures, and Flyers! Each Vehicles and Monstrous Creature is worth 1 VP and each Flier and Flying Monstrous Creatures are worth 2 VP. The player with the most VPs wins this mission, if the points are equal then the mission is a draw.

Victory Conditions
Calculate the total VPs for each mission. The player with the most VP for each mission wins that objective and generates Battle Points (see below). In the event of a draw then the Battle Points are divided between both players equally rounding down. The player with the most overall Battle Points wins this scenario.

Primary Mission
8 Battle Points (WIN) - 4 Battle Points (DRAW)

Secondary Mission
5 Battle Points (WIN) - 2 Battle Points (DRAW)

Tertiary Mission
3 Battle Points (WIN) - 1 Battle Point (DRAW)

Bonus Objectives (Each is worth 1 BP)
Slay the Warlord—First Blood—Line Breaker

Here is my army list - note that I've made quite a few modifications since my last battle report:

Chaos Space Marines Primary Detachment

- The Black Blow Flies -

Chaos Lord: /Warlord
Mark of Nurgle—Power Axe—Sigil of Corruption

Daemon Prince:
Daemon of Nurgle—Wings—Armor—Black Mace—Spell Familiar—Level 3 Psyker

4x Plague Marine - 2x Meltagun
Champion - Combi-Melta

4x Plague Marine - Meltagun & Flamer

4x Plague Marine - Meltagun & Flamer

Heldrake - Bale Flamer

Chaos Daemons Allied Detachment

- The Black Plague -

Great Unclean One:
Level 3 Psyker—2x Greater Reward

Daemon Prince:
Wings—Armor—Level 3 Psyker—2x Greater Reward

12x Plaguebearer

3x Nurgling

Warlord Trait, Psychic Powers & Rewards

Warlord Trait - Useless

CSM Daemon Prince—Endurance—Haemorraghe—Iron Arm

Great Unclean One—Haemorraghe—Iron Arm—Warp Speed • Armor & Bale Sword

CD Daemon Prince—Enfeeble—Haemorraghe—Warp Speed • +1W, IWND & Bale Sword

Here is my opponent's army list - note that he was using double FOC, so I've rolled it all up into one list:

- Hive Gargantic -

Flyrant #1: /Warlord
Twin Linked Devourers—Ancient Adversary

Flyrant #2:
Twin Linked Devourers

Flyrant #3:
Twin Linked Devourers

Tyrant Guard

Tervigon #1

10x Termagant

Tervigon #2

10x Termagant

Tervigon #3

10x Termagant

3x Biovore

Warlord Trait & Psychic Powers

Warlord Trait - I can't remember

Unfortunately I don't have a list of all the Tyranid psychic powers, however I do remember the following:

Flyrant #1—Iron Arm

Flyrant #2—Endurance

Flyrant #3—Iron Arm

Tervigon #1—Iron Arm & Enfeeble

Tervigon #2—Iron Arm & Endurance

Tervigon #3—Endurance & Enfeeble

Pre Game Analysis
This is my arch nemesis from my local area and he is very good. If you make a mistake he will be sure to capitalize on it. Tyranids are very strong in sixth edition and this is one of my toughest match ups regardless of what army I'm playing. We have played a good number of games and I only remember winning once with my Necrons. Typically I kill a lot of his units but end up with only a couple units left at most while he still has a good number of units by the end of the game.

So this would have to be a very tactical game and I'd have to make the Hive Mind pay for any mistake... No barreling straight into the horde, guns blazing.

I knew I had to keep away from the swarm as my small number of troops cannot stand up to this vast number of Tyranids - this I have learned the hard way from experience. So I knew after reviewing the mission rules I'd have to go for the win on the secondary and tertiary objectives plus hopefully pull a couple of the bonus points. If an opportunity to draw on the primary objective came about late in the game I'd jump on it.

Daemons can outclass Tyrants in melee with the right build. My army list was designed to have some heavy hitting melee monsters that can bypass Iron Arm and quickly get the kill... Both the Black Mace and Bale Sword are the perfect choice. The Bale Sword also denies FNP since it inflicts Instant Death. I was counting on the Flyrants being overly aggressive, moving forward ahead of the swarm to shoot their bio guns and blanket my psychic creatures with their Shadows in the Warp (SitW), so I could pick them off one by one.

I didn't really have an answer to the Swarmlord other than hoping he'd charge into cover to assault one of my monsters... That's a suicide mission at best though so I planned on keeping the Swarmlord at arm's length.

I have to honestly admit I was glad not to see the Doom. He is always a thorn in my side and requires throwing a large chunk of your army to eliminate... This really helps the Flyrants get the drop on your army! That said had my opponent brought the Doom I would have counted on it arriving the second turn so I could bring in my reserves far away. The Death Guard would have remained embarked and drove off while my two Princes would be spread far apart enjoying their 2+ cover save in ruins when the Doom dropped then flown away leaving the annoying beast stranded. Of course you can count on that as one objective marker you can't go near but then again I wasn't planning to take primary objective anyways. I do applaud my opponent for not bringing the Doom and don't feel it is a must take unit for competitive play. Seriously I'd rank this particular Tyranid list as the toughest I've ever faced so far.

As a final note my army list was not necessarily tailored to best the typical Tyranid list we see so often see at the competitive level. There are plenty of armies that feature monstrous creatures. I think this is a well rounded take all comers list.

I won the roll to choose my deployment zone and picked the side of the table I felt had more terrain for cover saves plus this would help slow down the ever advancing Swarmlord. Note there was a large multi level ruined building in the center of the table.

I also won the roll to choose going first but opted to go second. Typically I like to go second for two main reasons:

—I can react to my opponent's deployment
—I have the final grab for objectives

Versus Tyranids you can't really react all that much to their deployment - at least not so much with an army like mine.

Here is my opponent's deployment:

Biovores are safely tucked away to the rear. Tervigons are spread about the middle with the gants for midfield board control. Flyrants and Swarmlord make up the vanguard ready to push quickly forward and take the fight to the forces of disorder.

Here is my deployment:

Here is an overview of both sides:

I held the following in reserve, all of which would deep strike except for the Heldrake:

—Great Unclean One

It's easy to react to the opponent's deployment with these units since they can deep strike or zoom onto the table. I wanted to use the greater daemon and Plaguebearers to anchor one table quarter in my deployment zone, holding one objective marker. I was hoping my Nurglings could prove to be a distraction to the Biovores and they are intended as a throw away suicide unit since they don't score.

My units that started on the table were all castled up with the two Princes both in ruins for the awesome cover save. I made sure all units were beyond the first turn maximum range of the three Flyrants' deadly bio guns.

—Unless otherwise noted assume all psychic powers are successfully cast as intended.
—No Night Fight on turn 1.
—All terrain except for a small hill is treated as ruins.

Tyranids—1st Turn
None of the Tervigons spawn. The Swarmlord moves and runs forward. The three Flyrants all zoom forward taking positions in cover and maintain a safe distance from my army.

Plaguewing—1st Turn
Both Daemon Princes back up a bit to make sure they will be outside the range of SitW next turn. My rhinos move behind terrain for cover saves from the zooming bio guns next turn.

Tyranids— 2nd Turn
Again none of the Tervigons spawn. Again the Swarmlord moves and runs forward... He has a lot of ground to cover. All three Flyrants zoom again and one (non Warlord) moves up into range to target a rhino for a possible First Blood. The Flyrant scores two pens and a glance but I pass all three cover saves. Note that this Flyrant is T8 due to Iron Arm.

Plaguewing—2nd Turn
Both the Heldrake and greater daemon arrive from reserve. The Heldrake straddles my short edge of the table - it'll leave the table the next turn rather than possibly face incoming enemy fire from the Flyrants. The Great Unclean One lands in my table quarter to the right in terrain for the cover save and passes his difficult terrain test.

The CD Daemon Prince glides over a couple of inches from the forward Flyrant - both are in open ground. All three squads of Plague Marines disembark to rapid fire their bolters into the Flyrant along with their meltaguns. First I fire the rhinos' combi bolters but none manage to hit. The first squad of Plague Marines to shoot manage a hit and the Flyrant comes crashing down from the sky and takes a wound for his trouble from the crash. To make things worse the Flyrant also loses another two wounds from meltaguns from the second two Plague Marine squads. The CD Daemon Prince then charges in, taking one wound from Overwatch, and snuffs the Flyrant for First Blood... That was huge. The CD Daemon Prince then consolidates back into cover.

Chaos has scored two victory points for the secondary objective and one bonus point for First Blood.

Tyranids— 3rd Turn
Again none of the Tervigons spawn. Again the Swarmlord moves and runs forward... He's getting closer but is still a good way off. The two remaining Flyrants zoom again - the remaining non Warlord Flyrant moves up into range to target my exposed Plague Marines. The Biovores jump out of their building so they'll be in range to drop pie plates on my Plague Marines (whom are all nicely clustered up) but only manage to drop one. The Flyrant then unloads his devourers into one squad but inflicts no damage.

Plaguewing—3rd Turn
In from reserve arrives both daemonic troops. I place the Nurglings behind the building by the Biovores - of course they scatter straight into them and mishap. My opponent wisely places them in the middle of all his many termagants.

The Plaguebearers drop into an open ruin beside their greater daemon, fairly close to the forward Flyrant that shot my Marines.

They scatter eight inches but miss landing on top of the Flyrant and lose two due to their dangerous terrain tests. The Heldrake exits air space. The Great Unclean One waddles out from terrain straight towards the Flyrant. The Plague Marines then all shuffle over along with their rhinos to target the Flyrant. Again the Flyrant comes crashing down and suffers a wound from the massive face plant. The Great Unclean One then charges the downed Flyrant with the aid of Warp Speed, taking no wounds from Overwatch. The Flyrant strikes first but inflicts no damage... The Great Unclean One strikes back consuming the Tyranid monstrosity whole - he then consolidates back into the safety of terrain right beside his waiting children whom rooted him on.

Chaos has scored a total of four victory points for the secondary objective and one bonus point for First Blood.

Tyranids— 4th Turn
Again none of the Tervigons spawn. Again the Swarmlord moves and runs forward... He's closer now to my Plague Marines but definitely too far to launch an assault this turn. The last remaining Flyrant (Warlord) decides not to follow suit and glides on top of a building beyond the charge range of my Daemon Princes. The Flyrant targets a rhino and drops two hull points with his bio gun. The massive sea of termagants then mutilate my Nurglings (non scoring unit). The Biovores' pie plates drift off course inflicting no damage.

Mid-Late Game Analysis
So far my battle plan is working. I'm comfortably ahead on the secondary objective... The Heldrake should easily be able to score the secondary objective and is relatively safe with only one Flyrant left. One of my Daemon Princes can take Line Breaker safely on top of a high building in my opponent's deployment zone. I just need to protect my scoring units now and not make any big mistakes.

Plaguewing—4th Turn
The Heldrake re enters air space heading straight into the never ending sea of gants ready to burninate. All the Plague Marines re embark and move away from the ever approaching Swarmlord. The CD Daemon Prince glides over into the open ruin beside his greater daemon and Nurgle's blessed children. I then make a bold move with the CSM Daemon Prince whom twice failed to successfully cast Iron Arm (outside of range from SitW)... Aaaaarghhhhh ! He zooms into the top floor of the central building so he can go for Line Breaker the next and possibly final turn - this turned out to be quite a risky move. The Heldrake then spouts out a huge gout of hellfire consuming all but two gants from one central brood.

Chaos has scored a total of four victory points for the secondary objective, one point for the tertiary objective (i.e., one gant brood under half strength) and one bonus point for First Blood.

Tyranids— 5th Turn
My opponent immediately reacts to the forward position of my CSM Daemon Prince. He casts Enfeeble twice on him... I pass the first Deny the Witch (DtW) save but fail the second - so he is now only T4 and can die to Instant Death should he crash. All of the Tervigons shat out great multitudes of gants and two can no longer spawn. All of the gants then move into range to shoot the high flying Daemon Prince. Due to my positioning of the Prince fortunately the last remaining Flyrant can't find a suitable position to target him with his devourers... That's something. Shooting then commences from many broods plus two of the Tervigons. The Tyranids can manage only one grounding test which I just pass... That was really tight.

Plaguewing— 5th Turn
I successfully cast Enfeeble on the brood of gants in the central building and they fail to deny it. The CSM Prince successfully casts Endurance but fails to cast Iron Arm yet again (this time he was inside the range of SitW). I move and flat out one rhino full of Plague Marines into the central building... The Swarmlord is too far away to reach them should there be a sixth turn since he is now much too deep inside my deployment zone. The CSM Prince casts caution to the wind and glides down to assault the closest Tervigon which is surrounded by many of the gants which tried to ground him the previous turn - he obviously wants some payback !! In hindsight I should have zoomed him on top of a building deep inside the enemy deployment safe for Line Breaker... I think this was my one and only mistake and of course hindsight is 20/20. The Heldrake vector strikes the last two gants from the first brood he torched then burninates another large brood but they remain just at half strength. The CSM Prince then charges into the Tervigon, taking no wounds from Overwatch. Note that I forgot to use the Black Mace and those extra attacks plus the toughness tests could have been huge. I only manage to wound the Tervigon twice and she totally fluffed it with her two Smash attacks... Close again.

My opponent then rolls to see if there will be another turn and up pops a 2... Game over. We add up the scores and it's a draw... If I had gone for Line Breaker with the CSM Prince I would have won and that's what can happen when you stray from your original battle plan.

Post Game Analysis
Not much to say really... If I had destroyed the Tervigon and popped lots of exploding gants the game would have still ended in a tie since it only went five turns but that's nothing something to count on unless you're behind the proverbial eight ball. It's a lot of fun though to take down the big ones and to be honest I am happy with the end result. If the game had gone another turn it was possible I could have actually drawn on the primary objective which would have ensured a major win... Thus partly why I was aggressive with the CSM Prince towards the end. I controlled the tempo of the entire game from the first turn down to the very end. You've got to outthink the Hive Mind to best them and that's what it's all about versus this particular breed of xenos scum. It was definitely a morale victory for me and I'll take that, thank you.

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