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Saturday, February 4, 2012

Battle Report: Grey Knights vs Imperial Fists

It's the battle of the bright yellow and bright blue Marines! I was using my recent Grey Knight Acolyte based list whilst Vince brought out his Imperial Fists - the list needs some work which we'll talk about later. As always, lists can be found in the comments section.

So, game was 2000 points and we were looking to trial the effectiveness of Vince's Fist list and how my large Psyker squads went. Remember, the point of these was to give me a backfield scoring option and some large blasts to keep my opponent's honest (the minimal utility against tanks is a nice bonus). We rolled off a NOVA based mission and got kill points, objectives, quarters with spearhead deployment. For some odd reason Vince changed this to objectives, kill points, quarters and pitched battle after I had chosen to go first :P. Doesn't matter!


So with Pitched battle and a 24" based army against an army which outranges me there are a lot of thoughts which need to go into deployment. If Vince deploys smartly (refuse flank on the table edge to stack cover), very few, if any, of my 24" passbacks will be in range leaving me with my Psyfledreads (always reliable) and Psykers (less reliable) as my only weapons turn 1. I also have the option of moving up 12" and dumping my Purifiers into play but this can easily over-extend myself and will put me in melta range from Vince's army. This is a mistake many people make, particularly Imperial Guard with melta-vets. If my whole army had been made up of Grey Knight units with Psycannons on the other hand, this would have been a more viable option.

So the thing to do here is to deploy as centrally as possible so I can move the bulk of my army towards Vince during Turn 1 depending upon which side he deploys. This also stops him from deploying across from me at an angle to generate more distance between our armies. I also need to ensure my Psyfledreads and Psykers have good firing arcs (remember they can both move 6" and fire) and I want my Chimeras near or on objectives. With that in mind we get what we have below...

Vince's deployment is both good and bad. Although I've deployed in the centre as much as possible and given my Psyfledreads as much room to fire as possible, Vince should have deployed on his board edge in a refuse flank position. This would have greatly minimised my passback shooting Turn 1 and whilst the couple closest may have been in range, he'd have his army in a very good counter-punch position. As it was he deployed in a line across his back board edge. This results in me not being able to shoot at all with my passbacks Turn 1 but means everything will be in range Turn 2 and his army is spread out without cover - there's no stacking.

His MM/HF Speeder squadron was alsoin reserve when it really shouldn't have been - whilst it did ensure their safety they could have provided some much needed saturation of AV10 vehicles, mobile MMs and vehicle blocking during his first turn.

Grey Knights Turn 1

So with my Turn 1 I have one major choice to make - do I push forward and dump Purifiers out to try for as big a Turn 1 punch as possible and be in range from all of Vince's static MMs or do I hold back for a Turn 2 punch and ensure I'm in the best possible position to do maximum damage then? I opt for the latter option due to the Acolyte nature of my army - the Purifiers either jump out alone and become good fodder for the Dakka Preds or the Acolytes jump out too but are relying on tanks being opened to be of any use. By holding back I'm not relying on my first shooting phase being awesome and have more control later in the game.

With that in mind everything moves up 6" and with a few key smokes plus use of terrain, cover is generated on my whole Passback force. Both Chimeras shuffle towards objectives with the one of the left immobilising whilst both Dreadnoughts move around for clear fire lanes.

As the smoke clears we have Exploded two Rhinos, one an MM Tactical combat squad which ends up pinned and the other containing Pedro + Plasma Cannon Sternguard who run off the table. Woops. One of the Typhoon squads can also be seen by a Dreadnought who destroys one and rips the TML off the other. One of the Psyker squads kills itslf with boxcars.

Imperial Fists Turn 1

Movement is boring as all hell and here's the issue Vince runs into throughout the game - the list is too static. The damaged Typhoon squad moves fast to hide and stay alive whilst the other one pops out behind terrain to take potshots at the passbacks on the left. This ensures no cover from the missiles but leaves them exposed next turn. One LasPlas moves into the ruins whilst the other moves behind a smoke MM Rhino as they push towards midfield. Everything else stays still and opens up and does...

Diddly squat thanks to some poor rolling and cover. One Passback is stunned on the left of the right hand cluster.

Grey Knights Turn 2

Everything of mine will be in range this turn with a 6" move so it's time to lay the hammer down. Unfortunately I make a boo-boo this turn and forget all my Passbacks are S7 instead of S6...woops!

Regardless, the left Passback cluster doesn't move forward much as it sets up shots on the Typhoons and looks to force the MM Tactical combat squad to come to them. The right cluster however moves up and around the central piece of terrain though the stunned Passback fails Fortitude so stays put. Some Purifiers jump out to lend more firepower whilst the Chimera on the right moves to sit on the back right objective and deny LOS to the Predator over there and the Dreadnoughts all move for good firing locations.

Everything opens fire and the same damage which was done to the first Typhoon squadron happens to the second - one destroyed and one TML lost. The smoked Rhino in front of the LasPlas is wrecked and two Marines are shot down whilst the LasPlas is stunned. Poor shooting there and it allows Vince back in a bit.

Imperial Fists Turn 2

Once again we see little movement with both damaged speeders protecting themselves for late-game contests and little else. The remainder of the MM combat squad moves up towards the objective on the left but doesn't run (when it should have).

Vince's shooting is a little more effective with the originally stunned Passback becoming stunned, weaponless and immobilised whilst the exposed Dreadnought gets shot off the board - first Kill Point! One Passback from each flank is also stunned though they shake this off through Fortitude next turn.

Grey Knights Turn 3

 With the stunned effects shaken off, both Passback clumps move again. The Passback group on the left pushes closer to the Fists line but still doesn't push everything into range (i.e. Purifiers) as they maintain good fire positions with cover due to terrain. The Passbacks on the right move towards the top right objective leaving the damaged Passback in front of most of the firepower to generate cover for the rest. The Purifiers remain stationary to get some heavy Psycannon action going. Dreadnoughts move behind damaged Passback for cover whilst the Acolytes jump out onto the central objective.

Shooting happens and both MM Tactical combat squads take it in the face with only the MM on the left surviving and the MM plus two others surviving on the right. The LasPlas in the ruins explodes killing two of its members whilst the one on the right is immobilised and loses its lascannon. The far left Predator is stunned.

Ignore the dead Marines part - they are still alive!

Imperial Fists Turn 3

Speeders still fail to show up and we see...jack crap movement again. The damaged speeders are currently behind the main ruins hiding for late turn objective rushing and everything else is static. The stunned Predator pops smoke and it's back to shooting.

The heavily damaged Passback in midfield finally dies whilst the MM on the left rips off a Passback's gun and the MM on the right explodes the lead Passback. Follow-up shooting from Predators kills all but one Acolyte. The damaged Passback on the right flank takes more damage and becomes immobilised.

Grey Knights Turn 4

The Passback cluster on the right has been reduced but is still very effective on the left. The left cluster pushes up and unloads both Purifiers to finish off the Marines there whilst trying to damage the hiding Speeders. The damaged Passback swings round to plug the gap between the terrain and board edge with smoke so everything has cover. The remaining undamaged Passback on the right hides behind the damaged Passback which the lone Acolyte jumps into. The Dreadnoughts climb over the Passback wreck in midfield for continued shooting success.

The Purifiers wipe out all the Marines on the left flank but the Passbacks fail to hurt the Speeders. The LasPlas is shaken again whilst the MM Marines on the right flank are also destroyed and it moves to Vince's Turn 4.

Imperial Fists Turn 4

The Speeders finally come in and move on in front of my Purifiers (though they should have been placed more towards the objective to stop me from moving onto it). The combat squad in the remaining LasPlas hops out and moves towards the Acolytes in the centre of the board and then the shooting starts.

The Speeders fail horribly and the damaged Passback on the right finally bites the dust, forcing Coteaz and his buddy into the open.

Grey Knights Turn 5

Coteaz & buddy move towards objective on the right whilst the remaining Passback there dumps out more Acolytes to sit on objective and moves itself to be on the objective, too. There was no real point to jumping these guys out at this point but I wanted to kill those Sternguard...ha. Purifiers all stay standing still whilst damaged Passback on the left moves over onto objective whilst mobile Passback moves to get side armor shots on Predator. Dreads and Acolytes chill in the middle.

Purifiers on the right wipe out the combat Tactical squad whilst the Purifiers on the left destroy both speeders. The explosions kill two Purifiers, one form each squad. The Passback there shakes the Predator and the combined fire of a bunch of stuff does nothing to the Sternguard on the right.

Moving into what could be the final stages of the game, the Grey Knights hold four objectives.

Imperial Fists Turn 5

Time for the most movement on the Fists side ever! Bad sign. Both Speeders zoom out to contest the left and central objectives whilst the shaken Predator also moves onto the left objective. The Sternguard on the right move out to engage all the Acolytes there and try to push into range of the right most objective. If the Passback falls...

Shooting sees Coteaz and his buddy fall and a couple of the Acolytes from the nearby squad bite the dust as well. They flee but the Passback on the objective was only stunned and the Sternguard too far away.

And with a roll on '1', the game ends. Grey Knight victory.


Despite not being a close game, Grey Knights only win by one objective (1-0) though are a lot further ahead in kill points (11-6), table quarters (3-1) and Victory Points (1318-617). The main issue and lessons here were deployment and a too static army list. The Grey Knights had complete control from the beginning as they were able to move into position against the whole Imperial Fists army and start working them over from Turn 2 whilst the Imperial Fists couldn't counter with movement of their own. In this respect, it's an excellent report to see how a static list suffers in 5th edition and how one can effectively deploy first whilst still countering the opponent's likely moves.

It did unfortunately lead to a boring game but Vince's list will certainly get an upgrade next time around - leave the Tactical combat squads with heavy weapons behind as fire support and put the other combat squad with melta-weapons + Sternguard with combis into Rhinos/Razorbacks to push forward. This gives more mobility whilst still keeping quite a bit of firepower. That firepower did wear on the Grey Knight vehicles over time but at the cost of board control and ultimately the game.

From the Grey Knight perspective, the Chimeras were nice to have provide supporting fire and allowed the Acolytes + Purifiers to stay inside until the oportune moment. They probably could have gotten out en masse Turn 2 to hurt the Sternguard more but it would have given the Dakka Preds perfect opportunities to up the Kill Point count when it wasn't strictly needed. The Psykers didn't do much outside of the first Rhino explosion (which was huge considering Pedro + Sternguard then fled) but holding those backfield positions was nice as it allowed the rest of the army to push up without worry.

Anyway, good game Vince and may your dice not suck next time ^^.

Army Lists:

Imperial Fists -

Pedro Kantor
2x5x Sternguard w/2x Lascannons, LasPlas
1x5x Sternguard w/2x Plasma Cannons, Rhino
2x10x MM/flamer/combi-melta Tacticals, Rhino
2x2x Typhoons
1x2x MM/HF
3x Dakka Pred

Grey Knights -

3x5x Purifiers w/2x Psycannons, Hammer, Passback
4x6x Stormbolter Acolytes, Passback
2x8x Psykers, 1x Acolyte, Chimera
3x Psyfledread

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