Hello everyone for another exciting installment of this blog. This week, I am going to talk about the painting I have managed to do, as well as writing about two games of 40k I played on Sunday against a Tyranid army. So if you wish to skip ahead to that, it will be after the first two sets of photographs.
But starting on the painting front, I slowed down a bit this week, as the wife had more work than usual, meaning that I had to spend more time with the dogs and running the household than usually. Nevertheless, I am still on track for my objective of painting at least one unit and one character per week. In fact, I had already accomplished that objective last Sunday when I finished the Tactical Arcanist Corps and Captain Kara Sloan. But in addition, I also managed to paint the stuff I ordered last week, namely a Centurion Heavy Warjack and Commander Dalin Sturgis.
The Centurion is the bastard lovechild of a Khadoran and Cygnaran Warjack, in fact it has more in common with a Khadoran Warjack than a traditional Cygnaran one. Compared to the gold standard of Cygnar’s heavies, the Ironclad, the Centurion has one less SPD, MAT and DEF, making it the slowest Warjack in the faction and as fast as a Rhulic Dwarf or Man O’War Stormtrooper, if fast is an appropriate term here. Dropping to MAT6 is also rather bad, as it means that hitting DEF13+ might call for a boosted roll and thus spending a focus point you can’t invest to buy more attacks or boost damage rolls.
So why should one invest in a Centurion then? First of all, its reduced DEF is not that much of a disadvantage, as even the Ironclad is hit on average dice by below-average troops and elites hardly miss either one. However, it gains an additional point of ARM in exchange, putting it on the same level as the Stormwall colossal, and astute viewers have probably noted the gigantic shield it lugs around. As this shield gives it the Shield weapon quality (paging Captain Obvious), it gains another ARM bonus on top of its increased ARM, making it the best-armoured Warjack in all of Cygnar. If you add Arcane Shield, its ARM is in fact the second-highest in the game behind the Khadoran clamjacks and those can easily be dropped to ARM17. So in essence, it is a brick that can tank hits all day long.
Furthermore, the shield also houses a Polarity Field generator that it can activate as an action (so no running, charging or attacking in the same round) to prevent models in its front arc from charging it. As it is so hard to damage, most models require the boosted damage roll that charging gives you, so being unable to charge it makes it even more difficult to scratch it. It is thus excellent for scenario play, where it can park next to a flag or in a control zone, threaten free strikes with its POW19 spear with Reach and just stand there looking mean. Lastly, it works well with eHaley, as she can move it with Telekinesis and also gives +2 movement to the ‘jack she bonds with, thus making it as fast as a regular Cygnaran Warjack. But then again, eHaley is the resident turd-polisher who makes everything good.
The second model I painted is Commander Dalin Sturgis, who I have talked about in great detail last week, so I won’t go into him here.
This week, I am going to paint Gastone Crosse, a Mercenary Journeyman Warcaster who wields a handcannon with ROF 2, so he can put two boostable POW12 shots into people at a reasonable rate. This week might also be the week where I finally get round to painting my unit of Sword Knights that you could see in the background of my painting queue for the last couple of months. For some reasons, I could never muster the enthusiasm to get started with them. However, I also got some models I ordered from Forgeworld, a Sicaran Battle Tank and a Hell Blade Chaos Fighter and I will probably paint them first. For more information on the Sicaran, see below. I love that little bugger already.
Welcome back for those who have skipped the painting update to go straight for the battle reports. Given that a new Blood Angels codex will be in the shops this weekend, I thought it would be nice to give them a spin with the old one. I have recently re-read some of the old Blood Angels novels and novellas and used the army a couple of weeks ago against Guard, so I thought I should run it once more before the new book is there. We decided to play 2.000 points, using Maelstrom missions, because they are cool. I ran the following:
Librarian (Warlord): Level 2
10 Assault Marines: 2 Meltaguns, Sergeant has an Infernus Pistol, Rhino
10 Assault Marines: 2 Meltaguns, Sergeant has a Power Fist, Jump Packs
10 Tactical Marines: 1 Plasma gun, 1 Missile Launcher
10 Tactical Marines: 1 Plasma gun, 1 Missile Launcher
Baal Predator: Assault Cannon, 2 Heavy Bolter sponsons, Storm Bolter
Baal Predator: Assault Cannon, 2 Heavy Bolter sponsons, Storm Bolter
Sicaran Battle Tank: 2 Heavy Bolter sponsons
Storm Raven: Typhoon Missile Launcher, Twin-Linked Assault Cannon
Storm Raven: Twin-Linked Assault Cannon, Twin-Linked Multi-Melta
Imperial Bunker with Void Shield Generator (1 shield) and Comms Relay
The plan was to have a strong centre with the two Tactical squads, with the Sanguinary Priest to add FNP and Furious Charge for a possible counterattack. The Assault Squads should be fast Objective Secured units (if rumours are true, they won’t be Troops anymore in the new book, which would be a shame) to rack up points quickly. The tanks and flyers provided fire support with multiple assault cannons or the vastly superior version that is the accelerator cannon. I bought the bunker to have access to a Comms Relay on the cheap and then I noticed that it could receive a Void Shield, so I thought ‘Why not?’ and it kinda rocked.
I played against Dominik, whose Tyranids I already faced in Nommern with my Dark Eldar. He had actually organised the big Forgeworld order that included my Sicaran and Hell Blade and he wanted to test his Barbed Hierodule, which is why I decided not to run my Dark Eldar again, as they should be able to kill it in one round of shooting on average dice, which would be a silly way to celebrate the first game of a new model, especially an expensive Forgeworld one. So another reason to run Blood Angels.
He ran something like this (not a 100% sure):
Hive Tyrant: 2 Twin-Linked Devourers with Brainleech Worms, Wings
4 Ripper Swarms: Deep Strike
5 Ripper Swarms: Deep Strike
Toxocrene (?), the funky new tentacle beast that can fart poison clouds and has Poisoned 2+ with Instant Death on a 6, in a Spore Pod
Carnifex: 2 Twin-Linked Devourers with Brainleech Worms
Living Artillery Formation:
3 Tyranid Warriors with 1 Barbed Strangler
So lots of monsters, including one Gargantuan Monstrous Creature, some cheap troops to score objectives, a Drop Pod with a poisonous Monstrous Creature (MC henceforth) and some barrages to pin me.
In game 1, we rolled up mission 4, where players cannot discard Tactical Objective cards that read ‘Secure Objective X’ and players can steal their opponent’s ‘Secure Objective X’ cards if they control the objective at the end of their turn. So, for example, either you control objective 1 in your turn and get the point, or I get to control it in my next turn to steal your card and get the point instead. It is a great mission as it encourages aggressive play, because you simply can’t hold on to a card for a later turn if your opponent is near the objective on that card. It also punishes gunlines really hard, and they deserve all the punishment in the world. Of course, I was slightly faster than he was, as I had non-flying units with a 12” move, but he had the tougher units and his access to deep-striking units meant that he could also grab objectives easily enough.
I deployed as seen below, forming an anvil on the left with the bunker full of Tactical Marines and my two characters, the second Tactical Squad next to it in a ruin with the Sicaran and one Baal next to them. The right was covered by my two Assault Squads and a Baal. He deployed his formation and Flyrant behind the (inactive) Firestorm Redoubt and his Malanthrope, Carnifex, Hierodule and Hive Crone behind the Aegis Line in the centre. My Warlord trait was Move Through Cover (ruins) and Stealth (ruins), he had -1 to my reserve rolls, which made me happy for buying a Comms Relay. My Librarian had Prescience, Perfect Timing and Omniscience, the Flyrant had Catalyst, Dominion and Paroxysm. I had first turn and he did not manage to steal the initiative.
I spread out a bit to score the first couple of objective points, then cast Ignore Cover on his unit and failed to cast Prescience on 5 dice. The missile launcher then predictably missed its Ignore Cover shot. Nevertheless, the other squad’s missile launcher, the Baal Predator and the Sicaran combine fire on the Malanthrope and it fails a predictable 4 out of 8 2+ cover saves. Predictable because it did the same thing the last game, in fact I was three-for-three for killing Malanthropes in turn 1 in 2+ cover at this point. The rest of the army does very little, but dropping the Malanthrope kills his Synapse in the centre and this will cost him. I get First Blood and 2 objective points.
In his first turn, his Carnifex decides to stumble forward, then refuses to shot anyone or run somewhere because of Instinctive Behaviour (that table should force you to run if not within charge range, as it utterly neutered the Carnifex that game). The Hierodule swung to the right/ his left to shoot up an Assault squad, but they went to ground behind a forest and got off lightly. It also ran on top of an objective instead of firing its second gun as I could otherwise snatch that point next turn. The Flyrant destroyed the Baal Predator on the right. The Crone flew to the left in order to land on an objective next turn if necessary. The Biovores hit, but failed to kill any Marines as my dice were hot. The Exocrine missed or ran, I can’t remember. So he got some objective points too, but his centre was looking bleak.
One Storm Raven came in, one failed even with a re-roll. It flew up to hurt the Crone and hopefully drop it with the help of the Sicaran and the unit in the bunker. The Sicaran also used the fact that it is a Fast Vehicle to drive onto the objective the Crone wanted to grab to steal it and still shoot it in the face (in hindsight, it did not really matter as it is a flyer). On the right, my Assault Squad disembarked (I had combat squaded them, but put both units in the Rhino because you now can. Actually, I am not 100% if Blood Angels already can but I assumed), one Combat Squad jumping over the wall to take the objective next to the Hierodule (he had been able to run within 3”, but not far enough to step on it) as they were Objective Secured and I had also drawn a card to secure it. The other Assault Squad was lying in the dirt, but in range to snap shot the Flyrant. I cast Prescience, but Perfect Timing was dispelled. I had a go at shooting the Crone, but it survived on one wound. On the other side, I actually managed to wound the Flyrant once and it hit the ground for a second wound.
On his turn, he dropped the Spore next to the bunker and the Toxicrene disembarked. The Hive Crone also swung towards the bunker and a unit of Rippers deep-struck next to the Sicaran to grab that objective marker as he had drawn the objective that forced him to control 3 markers. The Hierodule advanced towards one Assault Combat Squad and the Flyrant took flight again, circling towards the centre. The Carnifex again failed its Ld-check and despondently stomped another 6” towards the nearest Baal Predator, that however was still out of charge range. The Exocrine stayed put as it had multiple targets in range, as did the Biovores. In his shooting phase, the Biovores missed, even with a re-roll of the scatter die and created one mine next to the forward Assault Squad. That squad then lost 4 guys to the Hierodule, thankfully it was behind an Aegis to have at least some survivors. The Flyrant bounced off my armour for the most, killing only one Assault Marine. The Exocrine also failed to do much, though it forced me to go to ground behind the Aegis Line. On the flank, the Crone actually managed a single hit on the Storm Raven despite Jinking. I think he should not have banked to the centre, but flown over the Storm Raven to Vector Strike it into oblivion, but hindsight is 20/20. That hit was cancelled by the Void Shield, which would have otherwise completely blanked the Toxicrene and Spore, as their weapons could not glance it. The Spore was still unable to do much as the nearest model was my AV14 bunker and it was S5, but Poison Cthulhu did kill a Marine in the ruins with its Poison Cloud. However, the Tyranids could not score a lot of points again, while I had been racking them up so far, so we were wondering if there was actually a point continuing the game at this stage, but we decided to play another turn.
So we took a third turn and I got the card telling me to destroy 1 unit for 1 VP, 3 to 5 for d3 VP or 6+ for d3+3 VP. A quick calculation later and I redeployed my Assault Marines to kill the Hive Tyrant on two wounds with the help of the second Storm Raven that had arrived from reserves. This would be my first kill. The Sicaran would unload into the Ripper Swarm in front of him, having 6 twin-linked S7 shots should take care of 4 bases, even without the 9 Heavy Bolter shots. Kill 2. The Storm Raven should drop the Crone, whilst the Tactical Squad with the two characters would charge out of the bunker to kill the Toxicrene and perhaps the Spore for kills 3-5. Kill 6 would be more difficult, but I had some shots left to kill of the Carnifex if necessary. Anyways, we misread the profile of the Spore because the layout slid between the statline and the stat numbers the line below, so we thought it had T6 and a 3+, whilst it only has T5 and a 4+, so I actually spent too much fire on it and only managed to kill off 5 units in the end, leaving the Carnifex alive. However, as I got a 3 for the VP and some more points for Objectives, I had a significant lead and more importantly still a functioning army, whereas he was down to the Hierodule, the Carnifex on a single wound and out of synapse, the Exocrine and the Biovores plus Warriors, nothing which would have been able to deal with two Storm Ravens beyond the Hierodule and that would have been my next target, so we called it there.
There are unfortunately no pictures beyond deployment for the second game, as it was getting a bit late and it was such a nail-biter that I forgot to take pictures in between turns. We rolled up another Maelstrom mission and got the one where both sides draw hidden objective cards, only revealing the ones they scored. We also rotated the deployment zones, playing from left to right instead of front to back. I had the Warlord trait that gives +1 to Seize the Initiative and re-roll on reserves, but he had the insane Master of Ambush, that let him infiltrate his Tyrant, Hierodule, Carnifex and Malanthrope (‘Non-vehicle units’ includes all Monstrous/Gargantuan Creatures because of course a Hierodule is stealthier than a Land Speeder or a Vyper). You can see the deployment above.
Crucially, we did not change the location of the objective markers, meaning that he had 4 close to his zone and I only 2 close to mine (my mistake as he had asked to change them and I had talked him out of it, so shame on me 1).
I then spiked a ‘6’ and Seized the Initiative because that’s how jammy I am. I am not going to do a play-by-play, because honestly I can’t remember the game that well (I wrote the first part of the article on Tuesday, now it is Sunday, so a week after the game), but I would rather like to call the following A Comedy of Errors.
Tactical mistake 1: I poorly deployed my Bunker
In game 1, the Void Shield on the Bunker had made half my army immune to his fire, as nothing but the Hive Crone could actually penetrate it. So I should have built on that and deployed it in my frontline, where it could have forced his Crone or Hierodule to deal with it, as they were the only units not needing 6s to glance it. Instead, I got too worried about the fact that he could infiltrate and put the bunker in the back of my deployment zone, where it stopped him from infiltrating behind my lines, but meant that I never benefitted from the Void Shield.
Tactical mistake 2: I decided to Seize just for the hell of it
I had deployed defensively and this meant that when I seized, I was unable to do much to actually do damage to him, given that I deployed far enough to negate him his first round of shooting, but thereby also negating my first round of shooting. So as my fire did not amount to much, it was a waste of a turn and his return fire was more efficient than it otherwise would have been if he had started playing.
Tactical mistake 3: I then decided to remain in my deployment zone instead of scoring
Admittedly, his infiltration blob with the 4 Monstrous/Gargantuan Creatures was impressive, but I should nevertheless have put more pressure on them, rather than backing away from them, especially as I would have to get behind them at some point as two of my objective cards where located there. Instead I relied on my Sicaran and a few paltry missiles to down them and even though they did indeed do some damage, they did not manage to kill a single creature.
Tactical mistake 4: I drip-fed my units to the Hierodule
The Hierodule started advancing on my lines and its first shot killed a complete combat squad, leaving just the Librarian and Sanguinary Priest alive. At that stage, I should have noticed that I would have to do something drastic soon to kill it before it could wipe out half my army piecemeal, but I instead dropped the two characters into another combat squad and tried to ping it to death with meltashots and the Sicaran, doing very little to it. The turn after it, killed off another combat squad before I finally managed to double charge it. However, I failed to cast Prescience on 6 dice, meaning that I could not kill it cleanly in one go, letting the Carnifex get into the combat. In the end, I wiped out both the Carnifex and the Hierodule, but they managed to drag down my Librarian (warlord), the Sanguinary Priest, a Tactical Combat Squad and all my jump pack Assault Marines bar the Sergeant. As he had the Kingslayer card, this did not only cost me half my army, but he also got a lot of VPs in one fell swoop.
Tactical mistake 5: I misplaced my flyers
Both my flyers turned up on turn 2 and I immediately and without thinking dropped them opposite the Hive Crone, arguing that I should be able to drop it between them and the two Baal Predators Assault Cannons, giving me a VP for Big Game Hunter and air superiority. Of course, Dominik’s dice went hot that moment and the Crone jinked hard enough to survive on one wound, after absorbing half my fire. He could have actually punished me harder that moment if he had then used a Vector Strike to drop one of the flyers, but he instead banked away to help kill the Sicaran. So I decided to compound my error and fly after it, downing it, but in turn taking one of my Storm Ravens out of the game for two turns as it was out of position. The other one flew towards the centre, which meant that it took some useless pot shots and then also was out of position.
The result was that both of them had to hover to get back in the game and both ended up taking damage as a result, which later led to their destruction.
Tactical mistake 6: I neglected his Exocrine to take impossible shots at his Malanthrope
The Exocrine spent the whole game taking potshots at one of my Tactical Squads and a Baal Predator behind an Aegis Line without doing much real damage as my dice were hot and as a result I did not spend much thought on it, rather focusing my fire on his Malanthrope that was in a forest where it had a 3+ cover save. I did manage to put it down, but only after raining a ton of fire into it, fire that could have killed the Exocrine three times over.
The result of all these mistakes, especially my tactical indecision at the beginning, was that I could not keep up with him in terms of victory points, meaning that I had to go for the tabling, but did not come to that conclusion early enough. So despite a mad scramble starting on turn to kill off all his units, it came down to one wound remaining on the Exocrine that I could simply not remove in time, giving Dominik a deserved 14-12 win, because he concentrated on the mission whereas I was running around like a headless chicken getting hung up on killing his Crone and Malanthrope instead of going for objectives.