My complete 1.500 points army. I have to admit that seeing them all on the table for the first time was quite exciting. From left to right: Annihilation Barge, 2 Canoptek Spyders, 3 Charnel Swarms, 5 Tesla Immortals with Night Scythe transport, 18 Warriors plus Overlord and Harbinger of Eternity with Chronometron, 10 Warriors with Harbinger of Destruction with Solar Pulse, 6 Canoptek Wraiths with Destroyer Lord, Annihilation Barge.
His army (yeah, iPhone cameras are not that great if I use them and Chris’s army isn’t done justice by those pictures as he is an amazing painter) was: Raven Guard successors: Chapter Master with Fist, 2+ armour and Primarch’s Wrath (super boltgun), 5 Vanguard Veterans with a boatload of lightning claws, hammers and shields, 5 Sternguard in a Razorback with Assault Cannon, Double Vindicator, Storm Talon, 10 Sniper Scouts, 10 Tacticals. All in all, a bit light on boots on the ground and that might be coming back to haunt him in our 2 games, yes, we managed 2 in 4 hours.
In game 1, we had The Scouring with Hammer and Anvil (over the width of the table instead of the length) deployment, no night fighting and no seize. He won both rolls, so ended up with better objectives and first turn. We had a big defense line in the middle, but as we played the other way around, neither army could claim any excessive advantage from it. My Warlord Trait was +1 VP if my Warlord survives (Red Harvest list from IA12) and his was re-roll all 1s in one shooting phase from the Marine list.
Deployment on both sides. I deployed a bit slanted to stay 31 inches away from the Vindicators. This meant that my big unit got deployed in between two fortifications and thus lost some of the numerical advantage by being wedged in-between. My Spyders and Scarabs were deployed in the green building on the extreme right corner, you might just spot one glimpse of gold on the picture. He spread out as he deployed first, with his Vanguard hidden behind the big LoS-blocking cannon of doom bunker. He scouted ahead with the Sternguard’s Razorback and his tactical squad got on top of the bastion. Note his tactical squad in the back next to the Vengeance battery objective. All 6 gun platforms were inactive and counted as the objectives.
His turn 1 saw him advance after I activated the solar pulse to give him night-fighting. Shooting was largely inefficient, his Vindicator killed 2 Wraiths thanks to poor saving rolls, other than that I managed to avoid or resurrect all casualties. His Vanguard got into position to charge my big unit in turn 2.
In my first turn, I pop the Razorback with the Annihilation Barge and Immortals and overrun the Sternguard, the Destroyer Lord didn’t challenge to be able to tank wounds. The Chapter Master survived and I unsurprisingly didn’t manage to run him down. He rallied next turn. On the right, my Scarabs got two new bases for one wound on a Spyder. They are deployed centrally to pop the second Vindicator, but as you can see, it exploded before they could charge it. In fact, the Harbinger of the Destruction rolled 6 to hit, 6 to pen, he rolled 1 on his cover and then I rolled 5+1 for AP2 to blow it up in one go. The Spyders ran to remain in 6 inches.
In his turn two, he fails to bring down the Wraiths despite pouring an Orbital Strike and a Vindicator shell as well as the tacticals and the Scouts in there. He drops two and wounds the last two (fire from different angles), but the Destroyer Lord remained on one wound too. In the Assault phase, he reveals a serious flaw in my list when his Vanguard charge my big phalanx. The Overlord decapitates the Sergeant, but the rest fail to do anything and the Vanguard kill 7 in return. I fail the test, but fortunately I manage to barely escape when he rolled a 1 on his Ini check and I a 4. This would have given him a lot of points, but as I had a second unit and two Barges with LoS on them, I would have probably managed to gun them down anyways. Still, it bears thinking that that unit is a lot of eggs in one basket.
In my turn two, my flyer comes in and immediately drops his Storm Talon that had arrived in his turn and dealt 2 damage to my Annihilation Barge. The Warriors rally, but as they only snapfire, they fail to hurt the Vanguard. The other Phalanx actually kill them as he rolls poorly for his saves and fails 4 out of 5 or something like that. The Tesla Immortals and Barge on the left kill two guys in the bastion. The Wraiths cut the Vindicator into ribbons. Note the Chapter Master on the bunker between them and the Magna Cannon.
On the right flank, the Scarabs go to 7 bases and attack the 5 man squad next to the Vengeance Battery objective. Turns out that 30 rending and shredding attacks utterly annihilate 5 Marines. They roll a five and move towards his rear-line scout sniper unit.
At this stage, his army consists of a Chapter Master that can only attack the Wraiths, who can potentially tie him up for some time or even seriously wound him with the AP1 Warscythe or the rending attacks, 5 Snipers that could be overrun by the Scarabs next round, 3 tacticals in a bastion that would soon face two Barges and a Night Scythe and 5 Snipers that were far from any objectives, so we decided to call it there and run a second game.
In game 2, we got the killpoint mission deploying the traditional way. I won sides and he deployment, no night-fighting again. He got the same Warlord Trait and I got Fires from the Heavens (one tank or artillery gets +1 Strength for one gun each shooting phase), which would make my Tesla Guns Strength 8.
His deployment. On the left, 5 Marines and a Vindicator, centrally, the Sternguard and Master deploy on top of the building. The second Vindicator and the Razorback shield the Vanguard. The second Tactical unit goes onto the second Bastion. The Scouts infiltrate into the bunker in front of his two tanks and onto the lower part of the Magna Cannon (infiltrate plus Scout move), which was a tactical mistake in my opinion.
My deployment from left to right. Note how my photography skills create a nice phasing in and out effect on the Wraiths. The Spyders and Scarabs hide behind a Bastion. The central Warriors try to avoid the Vindicator by deploying slightly in the back.
I seem to have no pictures of turn 1, so I’ll summarize. I solar pulsed to stimy his fire, in addition to being out of range for most weapons. He drops an Orbital Strike on the big Phalanx that kills 5 over resurrections but fortunately scatter off the Cryptek. It also does a glance on the Annihilation Barge. Beyond that, range, night fighting and Resurrection Protocols manage to limit his fire. In my turn one, I generally advance towards his line, the Wraiths start moving towards the Tactical Squad in the building and run a might 1 inch in the shooting phase. For the rest, his cover and my short range mean that he only loses a couple of hull points on the Vindicators, though the right one is stunned and thus out of combat for a turn. However, the Scarabs exploit his advance of the Scout next to the Magna cannon and overrun them.
Turn 2: He brings in his Storm Talon and it drops the central Annihilation Barge. His Vanguard hide behind the bunker on the right of the defense line, next to the Razorback. This guarantees them a turn 3 charge without me being able to target them beforehand. He drops a pie plate right on my Wraiths, rolling quadruple 6 for the wound roll, needing 2s. Talk about a waste of 6s. However, I pass 3 invulnerables and only one Wraith dies. The Sternguard drop cover ignoring shots on the Scarabs and waste two bases. Ouch, especially as my Spyders only rolled 4 on their difficult terrain and 1 on their run, so they would be unable to create new bases.
In my turn 2, I split off the two characters from the Phalanx to go hunt the Razorback. I wanted to get him to focus on them instead of the Warriors to be able to shoot them in my third turn. Of course I forgot that Vanguard can do multiple charges without losing their bonus attack. But I decided to focus on the characters anyway as they are worth 3 VPs. My central Warriors advance and do two glances on the Vindicator but it passes both saves. The Annihilation Barge uses its Strength 8 to down the Storm Talon. The Wraiths kill the Tacticals and the 3 Scarab bases take the last hull point off the Vindicator. My Immortals started in the Scythe this game and failed to turn up this turn. I had hoped they would turn up, as they could have dropped behind the Vanguard and shot 5 Tesla shots in their rear.
His turn 3: The Vanguard kill the Overlord and Cryptek without losing a model, before falling back into the cover of the bunker. I fail both Resurrection rolls despite only needing a 4+. His Vindicator blows up a few Warriors in the smaller unit but all but one get up again. The Sternguard drop another bases and a half of Scarabs.
I bring in the flyer and try to put the Vanguard into a crossfire between them and the Phalanx, but 2 survive. The Scythe takes out the Vindicator. The smaller warrior unit and the Barge concentrate on the scouts, but only two die thanks to their 3+ cover save. The Spyders create another two Scarab Bases, but both take wounds for that, one having already lost a wound in round 1. The Wraiths push towards the centre.
To summarize the rest of the battle, the Vanguard charge the Immortals and drop 4, but the last one holds and 2 come back, they hold up the last Vanguard until the Warriors charge him and bury him under their attacks. The Sternguard unit decides to charge the Wraiths and kills two while the Destroyer Lord and Chapter Master maul each other. Having Toughness 6 proved to be great as did his lack of a Storm Shield. In the end, the Chapter Master slew the Lord but was down to one wound. The Scarabs and Spyders got involved in the combat and killed all the Sternguard. The Scouts died under a hail of fire and the second tactical combat squad was too far away to do much damage.
In conclusion, I was aided by his army selection, as he focused too much on the Vindicators to do his long range damage and suffered from his lack of mass firepower to bypass the Wraiths’ invulnerable. His army could have done with a bit more bodies instead of the expensive equipment on the Vanguard. Maybe a Thunderfire Cannon would have helped or dropping a few weapons to bulk the Vanguard to 8 or so.
The army never the less performed very well. I might have to reconsider the large Warrior Phalanx as it was not really the anvil I had hoped it to be and can be dropped by tough assault units.
The big winners were the Wraiths that soaked fire like a boss and killed everything they touch. Of course, 370 points are a bit spendy on that unit and the Destroyer Lord, but they managed to get those points back in both games. Second creatures of the game were the Charnel Scarabs. Rending and Shred is just downright dirty and they go from being cheap harassment units with lots of fearless wounds to being downright killers. Of course, I could have dropped the 2 Spyders to increase them to a starting size of 8 bases, but that might make them too difficult to hide as well as becoming a fire magnet. The two Spyders also provide 4-6 AP2 attacks that are nice to have, as well as 6 T6 3+ armour wounds.