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Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Apoc Battle Report: 9K BA vs. 'Nids (with Pics)

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So this past Wednesday I ended up playing in an Apocalypse battle, arranged with one of my friends down at the local game store; it essentially boiled down to "Hey I have a company of Blood Angels, I hear you've got a lot of Tyranids. We should have them fight." I agreed, and we found some time for things between our schedules (he works early morning to evening, I work graveyards, store is open 11 AM to 6 PM, not exactly convenient.)

However, we managed to get things worked out and dragged things down there soon after the store opened up to start the battle. We both had a touch under nine thousand points- him something like 8.8K, mine around 8.5K; he was using the Masters of the Chapter and Battle Company formations, I used the Endless Swarm. Since he didn't have any superheavies, I declined to use my big beasties as gargantuan creatures, instead playing them as Mawlocs. Since I was a bit under on points, I got an extra stratagem as per the Apoc rules, which did a little bit to catch me up with his oddles of free choices from formations.

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His BA. So very purty and painted!

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Another shot of his BA, with some of my 'Nids visible in the background. Note the absurd size of my Tyrant's wings, visible even from this distance.

My friend was playing counts-as Blood Angels, which is to say he was playing Blood Angels, but using the vanilla Marine codex for all of his squads except one, a unit of ASM with a Priest attached. He was thankfully relatively light on vehicles- one Land Raider, one Vindicator, a pair of Predators (Tri-Las), a couple of Razorbacks (TLLas), and a few miscellaneous Rhinos. He has a metric crapton of Tactical squads, most all of them with a heavy weapon (Missile or Las) and Power Fist, a few Scouts with counts-as Telion, a Master of the Forge(!), Devastators, Honor Guard, Command Squad, Assault Squads... oh yes, and five Dreadnoughts and a Drop Pod. He also has a number of Librarians (three, I think) to make things difficult for my psykers.

On my side of things, we have a similar smattering of virtually every unit in the codex. My two Tyrannofexes and one winged Hive Tyrant are in the spawning pits for repairs and I just barely get my Swarmlord ready in time (pics of him later), but I still have plenty of MCs in the form of my other two Tyrants, Flappy and Walky, alongside three 'Fexes, two Tervigons, two Trygons, and two Mawlocs. Tyrant Guard (three and two) accompany the Swarmlord and Walky, for protection. Two dozen Warriors and a pair of Primes add to the heavy hitters, half of them in Boneswords/Claws setup and the rest using miscellaneous weapons. A brood of Lictors, two of Hive Guard, one of Zoeys, Deathleaper and the Doom, and two brood of Ymgarl 'Stealers mean that my elites slot is MORE than sufficiently filled. Troops come in the form of three full broods of Hormagaunts (one with Toxin/Adrenal, two naked) and three broods of Termagants (one of them still Spinegaunts, since I haven't gotten around to tearing them apart), two dozen Genestealers (one set with Broodlord), and twenty Gargoyles with the Parasite, plus four Biovores. Oh, and Spore Mines. So many Spore Mines- around fourty of them, ready to be DS'd in (we agreed that using their special deployment rules wouldn't make sense or be fun, so they could arrive like normal units from Strategic Reserve.)

We divide the table up by Apoc's wacky "roll a scatter die" method and end up with a split favoring my left table edge. I end up with first deployment and first turn. We have three objectives each, to be placed after deployment; I pick Flank March and Blind Barrage for my stratagems, hoping to use them to get into CC with "minimal" losses- in the scale of things, anyways. Terrain is a little on the sparse side, but not exceedingly so, and it's decent enough at midfield, which is where I really need to worry.

I lay down a carpet of Gaunts on the front line, with Genestealers and Gargoyles up the left edge, hoping to get in his grill early on and be inconvenient- I'm not really concerned with losses there, as Endless Swarm + Flank March means I can bring in my troops pretty much wherever I care to do so. My MCs take a bit of a backline approach, as I know he's going to be DSing in some strong assets and I expect him to do so behind me, as that's the only place there is any space available. Biovores deploy back a bit on the left side, ready to drop bombs, and Hive Guard take their place behind Head Hill (visible in the pics above near the center, a mannequin's head with flocking and paint) to get safe shots on any armor. Trygons, Mawlocs, and various "special" units (Ymgarl, Lictors, etc) start in reserve, ready to do their thing when they arrive.

He deploys in a pretty basic line across from me, all his vehicles clustered on (my) right flank and a line of Dreadnoughts on the left, near my Genestealers. Hrm. Some Devastators and a Libby, plus a Chapter Master, take position in the Fortress of Redemption we've dragged into the battle and do what Marines do, i.e. line up in ascending rank on a piece of area terrain. The remaining Devastators, along with all of the Combat Squads with a heavy weapon in them, hole up in a good-sized ruin near his back table edge to provide support. MotF hides inside his tank bubble and Scouts take position in a small ruin to snipe from. Drop Pod with Sternguard, five TH/SS termies, and ten normal Termies along with a couple ASM squads go into reserve to try and pull tricks on me. He also infiltrates a squad of CCW Scouts in behind me, aiming for a back objective.



PhotobucketBattlefield overview during deployment. Yes, that's my ugly ass on the left there. Note Head Hill in the center (everyone's favorite terrain) and my Flyrant's enormous fucking wings again, easily spanning half the width of the landing platform and then some. Fortress of Redemption is concealed behind me.

PhotobucketAwfully blurry, but gives you some idea of the midfield. The markers by Head Hill and in the bottom right are my Blind Barrage.

PhotobucketSlightly better midfield shot. Fortress at the top is slowly being painted by our resident Good Artist.

PhotobucketHey I hear Tyranids can field some dudes. Every Gaunt I had, no matter how poorly-built, half-painted, or missing limbs, was conscripted for this battle. My carapaces are actually much darker than it appears on the row of Termagants in the back, but the light catches the metallic color very strongly in this pic.


So, having the first turn, I drop my Blind Barrage, which scatters around a little bit but lands roughly where I want it on the left side. Hive Guard open up and set a pattern by failing to hurt the Dreadnoughts at all; I don't roll a single meaningful damage result on them the entire game. :\ Genestealers move forward along with the whole line sort of surging up just behind the barrage line, but some poor difficult terrain and run results mean I don't get off any assaults. (The "no man's land" in Apoc is only 12" across, so first-turn charges are quite possible. Venom Cannons and such shake his Vindi and a Predator, keeping the firepower output on that side of the table down. My MCs advance, but are well behind the Gaunt screens. My Swarmlord, who will not take part in the battle at all, rolling a '1' for every single time he runs and managing no more than 3" off any difficult terrain test. My Biovores turn themselves around, seeing the Scouts who are standing out in the open in my backlines, and rain explosive death down on them, wiping out 75% of the squad in one go. However, also setting the tone of the game, his dice refuse to fail him on Leadership tests and they remain rock-solid. (Seriously, I don't think he ever fails a Morale or Pinning test the whole game. It was crazy, even when I was beating him by 4-6 in combats.) As my turn is fairly uneventful, we pass over to him fairly quickly.

His Drop Pod and some ASM arrive, since he has Careful Planning; it's got a Locator Beacon on it, so I know where the Terminators are coming in next turn. Sternguard hop out and split into combat squads, ASM move forward but can't do anything this turn. Land Raider and a Rhino move up, the Raider disgorging a decked-out set of Vanguard Vets with a Chaplain and Captain with them; a Precision Strike gets declared on the Tervi next to the Sternguard, and they open up with combi-Meltas and Hellfire ammo, and it barely escapes with its life, taking five wounds straight up. Thankfull it is out of sight of his long-range shooting, which puts miscellaneous wounds on the 'Fexes, Tyrant Guard, etc, but nothing important. Lasers from space come down thanks to the Chapter Master sitting on the tower of the Fortress of Redemption, but thankfully a Guard is able to jump in the way of them and my Tyrant is okay. (Are those guys well-trained or what?) The heavy weapons in the large ruin are largely useless this turn thanks to Blind Barrage and the Dreads mostly lose their chance to shoot as well, although some are in range for assaults. :( One Ironclad manages to nick the edge of some Hormagaunts and will spend the rest of the game smashing 1-2 each turn while they scratch at it ineffectually, which I'm reasonably fine with; it's a pretty even trade of points if he can't go anywhere. Other Dreads engage my Genestealers and Gargoyles; rolling like absolute trash, I get perhaps six hits out of a dozen models (including my Broodlord and Parasite) and don't even get a single Rend against him, so they are unceremoniously swept off the table, with only one small squad of 'Stealers escaping the fray. The VV and his true Blood Angels squad on the right side of the table shred through a ton of Gaunts and my Primes, attached to the Hormies that get charged, are both quickly pulled in- something he doesn't realize until it's a bit too late. All in all, three of my Gaunt squads are wiped out (one Terma, two Horma) and ready to re-deploy.

PhotobucketSternguard and their embarassment of friends, most of whom ignored them. By the way the Flyrant's wings are still huge.

PhotobucketBasically everything visible in this photo eventually died. I think the Vindicator and Rhino were basically all that made it through, plus the stealth 'Fex on the right.

PhotobucketWait, you mean Genestealers DON'T like Dreadnoughts? Shit, abort, abort!


PhotobucketOh, uh, hey there Heavy Flamer. Fancy meeting you here. I don't suppose there's any chance you'd consider NOT firing this turn? No? Well, had to ask.

My reserves arrive and I flash my Flank March. Turns out he's got an Ambush, but it never ends up doing more than inflicting some irrelevant wounds. The Doom drops dead-center in the ruin, ready to wreak its havoc there; one Trygon moves in from that board edge, while the other walks up behind the true BA squad on the right. Zoanthropes show up next to the Raider, prepared to end it, and Lictors and Deathleaper also show behind various targets, ready to do some damage. My dead Gaunts roll onto my back edge to help out with encroaching problems there, including the poor, benighted Scouts and the Sternguard. MCs continue their advance, with one of the 'Fexes angling towards the Drop Pod and the rest heading into the heat of the battle. Come the shooting phase, I shake a bunch of vehicles (he has Extra Armor on basically everything) and wreck his Land Raider with Zoeys despite a Librarian putting up some protest- which, apparently, is the first time this Raider has ever died on the battlefield. Huzzah! The Doom eats a bunch of guys in his back squads, but a Boltered ruin cuts down on the damage a lot, even when he rolls some 14s and 15s on the tests. The arriving Spore Mines wreak some havoc on his Scouts and Devastators in the Fortress- I wipe out most of the sniper Scouts and a round of extremely poor rolls leaves the entire Dev squad wiped out. My various Lictors shake their respective targets, as generally happens. I counter-assault an ASM squad on the left with the remaining Genestealers, send the Tervigon at one combat squad so it doesn't get shot any more, and pile the Trygon into the true BA as the Primes arrive to make friends with his VV and their accompaniment. Some of my Bonesword Warriors on the left side also get stuck in with the dudes that are tearing up my Gaunt squads. Genestealers do their usual thing and take out a fair portion of the squad, Tervigon has a close call with a Power Weapon but clings to the remainder of life as it chows a couple of dudes down, Trygon rolls poorly and only takes out a couple of guys, and the Primes show their worth as they tear apartmost of his VV with ease, as the ICs are forced to keep fighting the remaining Hormagaunts. Warriors make short work of his regular dudes, as it's what they're designed to do.

We go over to his turn 2 and his Termies, unsurprisingly, drop in next to the beacon. Umm, right next to a huge squad of Gaunts that just finished off some Sternguard. I can already see this is gonna be bad. His vehicles shuffle around and the MotF moves over and, using its ability for perhaps the first and only time in all history, glues a Lascannon back onto a Razorback. The Doom eats a few more guys and obviously has his full attention at this point- he opens up with pretty much all the remaining heavy weapons and eventually one of them gets through, popping it. His Vindicator actually gets to shoot this turn and manages something fairly impressive- missing, on a board that is most places literally filled with Tyranids. We both sit a moment in awe of this. The Terminators open up with their flamer template on my tightly-packed Gaunts, who may have forgotten to consolidate after the previous combat, and hits a record-setting eighteen with a single shot; combined with Storm Bolters, this makes short work of them. The Dreadnoughts variously shoot through units, scoring wounds here and there, and then charge in with my Warriors and Lictors, where the carnage begins. I once again prove that I can't roll Rends for crap as I fail to do anything to them (off of something like seven 'Stealers, three Lictors, and ten Warriors), so he makes a bunch of guys go squish pretty bad. The Tervigon continues to tear guys up, my Trygon continues to roll like crap (three wounds this time), and the fight between the Primes and his ICs is nail-bitingly close on both sides; I lose a Prime, he loses the rest of his normal guys and takes wounds on the Chappy and Captain. Things are looking tough, as I haven't really gotten my MCs into the fights yet, especially the laggard Swarmlord, who is still a good 24" from ANYTHING useful. Jesus, dude, have some motivation.


PhotobucketUnfortunately the only pic we have of T3. Note the Mawlocs about to die, the extremely sparse Prime combat in the center-left, and Dreadnoughts still going absolutely nuts on the right.


I bring in the last of my reserves, sending some Ymgarl into his remaining guys in the big ruin and another squad at his few guys in the Fortress. Mawlocs pop up underneath his parking lot and manage to explode one vehicle and damage another. My remaining Spore Mines very carefully avoid landing on anything despite placing them on top of rings of units, etc, and I curse at the scatter gods for their fickleness. My shooting sees a Terminator dead from a Carnifex, a Tyrant reduce some disembarked dudes to WS1, and some other minimal damage. I shut down his Vindicator again with Zoanthropes, since most of the Librarians are out of range/dead now. As the shop is nearing closing time now, we hurry the turn along to try and finish both our sides of things; my Ymgarl and Trygon charge into the back ruin and cause some damage, but not nearly enough given the huge concentration of dudes back there. The other Trygon finishes off the true BA, and the IC combat is fought to a stalemate with the Prime at one wound and the Captain likewise- everyone else is now dead. The Flyrant charge into some Tacticals and just takes them apart, killing six without taking a wound (including No Retreat). My 'Fex tries to slow his Terminator down a bit but rolls like trash and kills only one of the five before being pasted; Gaunts swarm on the others but achieve little other than delaying things a bit.

We speed-play through the end of his turn as he unleashes a couple Orbital Bombardments, doing a lot of damage to MCs and such, and his Terminators absolutely take a bunch of guys to pieces. The fight in the ruin makes minimal progress and his Dreads are held up by a Gaunt screen protecting the remaining Warriors. He unleashes holy hell on the poor, poor Mawlocs, charging them with 15+ guys each, including multiple Power Fists, and all of this following a spree of Melta/Plasma fire. We're forced to call time here and quickly do a count on the objectives-; there are six total, having each placed three (one in our zone, one in no-man's-land, one in enemy) and any unit over 50% can help control an objective, contributing its points value to your side. His huge piles of dudes in the ruin and their heavy weapons manage to take that one despite my best attempts; my Tyrant takes the other one on his side thanks to wiping its opponents. We each hold one in midfield, his armor trumping my nonpresence and my Warriors + Gaunts barely edging out his Dreadnoughts due to Toxin + Boneswords + stuff being ridiculously expensive. He easily has the objective in my backfield by the Dreadnought, while I have uncontested hold on the one by my Biovores and reborn Hormagaunts. In the end, we manage a perfect tie on all fronts and shake hands at a game well played. A hurried session of packing later and we scoot out the doors only a little bit after the store normally closed.

All in all it was an excellent game and shows just how silly Apocalypse can be. We didn't have any Strength D weapons or 10" blasts, but I'm rather okay with that; it was just a huge mess of models piling into each other for the fun of it. I probably should've started my MCs in a more relevant position, in hindsight, and sent more of my forces into reserve to come out on Flank March, but c'est la vie. We both had a good time and neither side was horribly unbalanced, and that's really what Apocalypse comes down to. Seeing an entire company of Marines, fully-painted, was quite impressive, especially given the sad state of my own painting; it gives me a good impetus to stop converting new units and just finish some damn troops, at least.


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My Swarmlord conversion, using the Chapterhouse Boneswords. They're a bit big with two pairs of them, I may end up switching him down to just one set. Still needs miscellaneous greenstuffing to finish up some armor plates, etc, but I'm fairly happy with the way his head turned out. The neck a little less so, though. Not perfect shots, but will have to wait until I can get something decent set up.

3 pinkments:

Borkai said...

sounds like your opponent didn't use his combat tactics very well, losing the combats he can fall back and blast you in most cases.

Also yeah Nids don't like D blasts very much (heirophant's don't mind tho!), good to have an apoc game with only codex units, swarms of guys, but it takes ages!

VT2 said...

N00b marines, with tons of tacticals, versus experience tyranids. Round one! Fight! DRAW!

Kirby said...

Nice report Puppy, huge pics for a huge battle!

The Swarmlord looks nice but agree re the arms being a bit big. Also not sure if the heading pointing down does the model justice. Looks like you've got a bit of 2nd, 3rd and recent bits in there though :P. A true Tyranid organism!

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