Mega battle mayhem

Once every month the 40K club at Fatmantis Gaming in Shekou, Shenzhen, try to have a mega battle for the players, to give them the chance to break out the big Lord of War models that they don’t usually get a chance to play with. It usually involves 6-8 players with between 6,000-12,000 points total a side. Each month has a different theme and different scenarios for the game.

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Sunday 25th was the first time that I had been available to participate. We were playing a 4 by 4 battle, with 1850 points each. The idea was to have older players vs younger players, as the “good” vs “evil” or Empire vs others alliances tended to result in the same teams on either side. However one of the new young guys was unable to get an army together in time, so it was 4 vs 3 with larger forces on the young side and an extra person helping out.

016009006004The alliances really made no sense. The old team has Skitarii, Slanesh chaos marines, Tyranids and my Tau (the white are mine. The other ones I had borrowed from another player). The youngsters had Imperial guard, Raven wing and a Chaos force with a mix of chaos space marines and khorne demons (the demons were actually lizard men, being played as demons, because the player preferred the look of them).

012015011We had two gaming tables set up end to end, with us setting up along the long edges. We had six objectives that we were fighting over, but each player also had three personal objectives to try to claim. Mine, for example were:

Primary: Completely destroy a unit that started your turn within 9″ and is not in its deployment zone.

Secondary: Destroy a unit using a unit that is within your own deployment zone.

Tertiary: Claim objective 1.

As well as having a team objectives, for victory in the battle, we were competing to see who could claim all their personal objectives.

Setting up: Phil, who runs the store, advised us to spread out and not have everything in one area, as we would not know our objectives until after set-up and also so that we didn’t end up each fighting our own separate battles.  I think I was the only one on our side to listen to him. The Skitarii were nearly all on the left, the chaos marines were nearly all on the right and the tyranids were nearly all in the middle. This did prove a very bad decision for the chaos player, as his objective was on the furthest edge of the board and he had no reserves. His warlord spent nearly the whole battle trying to race about 80″ to the objective. I feel that I made a mistake by spreading my Tau across the whole table length. This prevented my force from using any of their formation abilities, which only apply when 3 or more of them are targeting the same unit. It was only when setting up that I discovered that the buffmander that I had intended to put with my riptides could not be put with monstrous creatures, so I put him with my crisis suits, which was a complete waste of points.

Our opponents were spread out a lot more, which worked really well for them, but had held a very large part of their force in reserve, which I think was a good decision.

030Turn 1: We achieved very little with our shooting. My riptides were badly positioned, with cover blocking their line of sight and the str 7 missiles on the broadsides were not good enough to damage to the tanks. I completely forgot about my pathfinder marker lights until after I had fired everything else. The guard army devastated the tyranids, completely wiping out a huge horde of harpies and the creature leading them.

035Turn 2: This started off a bit better, but demonstrated my lack of understanding of the system. We had a lot of scary tyranids come down and threaten the enemy. My breacher team transport got close enough to deploy my breachers within 5″ of the enemy. I could have tried to gun down the robots, but I asked one of the more experienced players if he wanted me to try to assault the tanks or the robots. He didn’t tell me that I could not assault on the turn I disembark. So I wasted my attacks by throwing 1 EMP grenade, disabling the big plasma cannon, leaving my squad completely exposed. If I had known this then 18 str 6, AP3 attacks might have taken out those robots.

051On the other side of the board my crisis suits came down. They easily wiped out a mauler fiend with 12 plasma rifles, twin linked, ignoring cover and having tank hunters. Unfortunately I did mot give them the ability to split fire, having made the mistake of paying for higher accuracy against charges. My other pathfinders took out a manticore, more than making up their points.

The enemy then came on, with two Chimeras tank shocking my unit, splitting the force and taking out half the unit. My commander failed a leadership roll and the squad started to flee, straight into a waiting force of chaos marines. My skink breachers were predictably wiped out by artillery fire. Three marine bikers outflanked and shot up my broadsides, killing 1. Things were also going badly elsewhere. The chaos knight was taken out by Imperial Guard tanks, the skitarii ironstriders were shot to pieces and the land raider was wrecked in melee by a defiler. A bunch of demons and terminators also teleported onto the board

After turn 2 we took a break for lunch and cake, as it was Luke’s birthday earlier in the week.

Turn 3: Our turn 3 was not very effective. I think the Skitarii were doing pretty well, as the player was finally starting to learn the abilities of his new army. He had paid for the force to be built and assembled and it was his first time playing it, so he had been making mistakes about what each think had. He had completely neglected the ability of the dunecrawlers to skyfire until it was too late. However, most of my surviving forces were on other parts of the board. I shot up the demons with my riptides, amazed myself by killing 2 terminators with a devilfish transport and moved my other breachers to try to secure objective 1. I took out a badly injured demon prince with my fire warriors (within 9″) and a hydra with my broadside (still in my deployment zone), claiming 2 of my personal objectives.

A group of flyers came in and shot up our forces, taking out a lot of skitarii and nyds. The tanks tried to shoot mt empty transport that was sitting on an objective, but it jinked out of the way of everything. The squad of 3 bikers took out a squad of the chaos marines. Two squads of terminators attacked my broadsides and pathfinders. A squad of 3 men attacked my broadsides, losing 2 men to opportunity fire, but doing ok in melee. The last survivor of the other squad attacked the pathfinders, but by luck he inflicted no damage.

Turn 4: by now it was clear that we were going to lose, but the skitarii were not going down without a fight. Neither were my pathfinders. The Skitarii knight reached the tank line and attacked, wrecking one tank, exploding a second and hurling a it at a nearby rhino, before stamping a third, destroying a war robot in the explosion.

115My riptides took out a guard transport and my broadside destroyed an enemy rhino, after my ally’s noise marines had completely wasted their shots trying to damage it. (To be honest, the chaos marines had been doing almost nothing for most of the battle.) The  breachers tried to take out the defiler, but only reduced it to 1 wound (making me regret not shooting it with the broadside too). My commander’s squad was being pounded in close combat (I had forgotten about the upgrade which should have given him free hits against all the attackers) and my other units were ineffectively shooting at the bikes. which had the ability to re-roll jink saves. As my transport was at 1 hull point and had lost its weapon in a defiler attack, I decided to try to ram a transport but only shook it and destroyed itself. This was even more foolish, as it allowed the defiler easier access to my breachers. The most interesting shooting was when the skitarii shot down a flyer, causing it to crash into the allied chaos warlord (who made his armour save).

My riptides were sitting on an objective, so virtually every tank and flyer tried to gun them down, but my overcharged shields saved against almost everything. Two squads of terminators attacked my broadsides and pathfinders. One of the terminators routed my broadsides in melee. By luck the pathfinders managed to kill one terminator on our melee turn. On my opponent’s turn his other terminator shot, failing to harm anyone and assaulted, but again failed to harm the pathfinders.

The defiler and marine bikers wanted to assault my breachers and the nearby marines. They intended to have the marines assault me and the defiler attack the marines, but after the marines shot (the player forgot that he had jinked the turn before, so I took too many casualties) I still had survivors in the way and he didn’t think he could charge around them, so he turned his flamers on my squad of breachers. They didn’t stand a chance; especially as template weapons can apparently now shoot people on multiple levels at once. Elsewhere a combination of marines and demons were killing off the skitarii.

Turn 5: Our death throes continued as we struggled on.  We managed to do a bit of damage and once again my riptides with overcharge shields resisted every attempt to destroy them, but an enemy transport got close enough to contest the objective. There was very little that we could do, but there were a few surprises still in store. In the first assault phase my pathfinders once again managed to kill a terminator. Two terminator squads killed by 4 pathfinders, without suffering any casualties!

134In our opponent’s shooting phase the pathfinders took a lot of fire, but went to ground and only suffered 1 casualty.

The chaos marines managed to hold objective 1, but our opponents managed to get 4 objectives and contest another.

Victory to the youngsters

Analysis: It was a very good game and not too overwhelming, but there were clearly quite a few bad tactical decisions. The first of which was not understanding the rules, then deploying with my forces too spread out. It was pointed out that this did help me to get to my objective, but without playing more games I couldn’t say if that benefit was worse the inability to use any formation abilities. Giving missile pod drones to the broadsides does give a few extra shots, but makes the squad easier to hurt and made it almost impossible for my last guy to rally. I think that it would have been a good idea to hold my breacher teams and transports back, until there were more targets for them and it was clearer where they needed to be. The commander was pretty useless. A Shas’vre could provide all the buffs to the crisis suits for far fewer points. Being able to split fire would have helped too. I also need more units with skyfire and ignores cover, or else more marker lights, to bestow similar abilities where they are needed.

The guard tank line was by far the most effective army and the chaos marines were probably the least effective. The skitarii did ok and the knight was amazing in melee. The defiler was the most effective of the opposing chaos units. The flying demon princes were not very effective. Hard to hit while flying, but not that hard to kill on the turn they landed. The riptides were very hard to kill and did ok at earning back their points. The marine bikers being able to reroll 3+ jink saves made them almost impossible to kill.

The personal objectives were pretty easy to achieve. everybody managed everything except securing the designated objectives, which only 2 people managed.

There were a few times when one player (naming no names) forgot that hid vehicles had jinked, or been shaken etc. It seems that proper tokens for such things, along with immobilized, weapon destroyed etc. would be a great idea. Since wrecked vehicles are also left on the board, a wreck marker, so that we can assess threats more easily will help avoid confusion.

With so much going on across the battlefield the judge broke up the battle a bit more, insisting that running was done after all shooting and that jet pack moves were done after all assaults were completed. Towards the start of the game I forgot to jet pack my riptides forward and at the end of the game, the enemy started their move before I was aware that the assaults were over, preventing me from moving my riptides back to better protect the objective and costing us a victory point. (although we would have still lost the game)

Before the match Phil, the judge, looked over my army list and said to me that the second pathfinder team with no special weapons were a waste of points and served no purpose. He said they would probably be killed in turn 1. They survived the match, lit up units as intended (when I remembered them) and took out 2 terminators in melee. In my opinion they were definitely worth 44 points.

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Kill Team Chaos

The squad panned out through the ruins, several of them moving forward, while others watched from the ruins. The charred remains of earth class corpses and the stark frames of ruined buildings were all that remained of the once thriving metropolis. The blanket jamming in the region was distorting the signals, but not blocking them completely. There were multiple signals that might be the supply beacon.

There had been no evidence of the Mont’Gue’la since the initial assault. Most of their forces had swiftly moved to Girish, but they were taking no chances.

“Contact!” one of the Shas’la called over the comms. In the dim, pre-dawn light a few shapes could barely be seen on the horizon, some of them rushing forward with inhuman speed.

Da’shi calmly adjusted the sight on his rail rifle sights. The figure appeared to be a distorted version of the giant Gue’la warriors known as marines, but it’s weapon did not seem to be the regular projectile weapon that those warriors generally used. It was near the limit of the weapon’s range and obscured by the crumbling ruins, but that didn’t bother him. He stopped his breathing, steadying his body as the sight zoomed in to the maximum resolution. The rail rifle kicked sharply and the Gue’la’s head exploded in burst of red.

Da’shi exhaled. A light on his sight indicated that Sho’e was signalling a target with his marker light. da’shi zoomed out and panned right, to take in the new target. It looked like “long death” he would be living up to his cognomen again.

This weekend was my first experience of a Kill Team game. I had a squad of Tau fire warriors with a mix of riles and carbines and a support turret, supported by 4 pathfinders, 3 with rail guns. The pathfinders were the specialists. Da’shi, a sharpshooter, Sho’e a relentless marker light user and Sio’t, a rail rifle trooper with favoured enemy.

My opponent had 5 chaos nurgle space marines, with 2 chaos spawn. The chaos spawn and the plasma gunner were his specialists.

The mission was “supply drop”. Most of the markers scattered to the far side of the board and my opponent got the initiative, taking that side. I had set up my sharpshooter, spotter, two rifles, leader and support turret near the middle. Two carbines on the right, two near the middle and a carbine and two rifles on the left, near a building. The other rail rifles were outflanking.

Turn 1. My opponent rushed forward. The chaos spawn moved extremely quickly across the board.

I advanced my 3 Tau on the left flank and shot at the spawn. On the right I moved to the building, to shoot the other advancing spawn, supported by a rifleman and support turret, injuring it slightly. My pathfinder spotter lit up the special weapon trooper and my sharpshooter took him out. First blood to me.

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Turn 2: The chaos spawn rushed forward, finding the supplies, killing one fire warrior on the right flank. On my left flank a marine shot and killed one fire warrior but the supporting fire from the two riflemen scored two wounds, killing the chaos spawn as it assaulted.

210

Both my pathfinder rail guns came in from the flanks. Sio’t shot the remaining chaos spawn in the back, injuring it and the support turret, ignoring cover, finished it off. In the middle my spotter failed to light up a marine, but shooting through cover Da’shi killed another chaos marine. On my left flank the rail gun missed a marine completely. A rifleman moved to claim the supplies, but their shots bounced off the marine.

Turn 3:  The chaos leader and one other marine advanced slowly, trying to avoid being seem by my sharp shooter. The other marine assaulted and killed my rail gunner on my left flank.

218

My riflemen shoot at the marine, but their shots bounce off. My sharpshooter gets a sneaky shot off at the leader, through a window, but he shrugged it off with “feel no pain”.  He also resisted shots from another rifle and the support turret. On my right a fire warrior ran forward, to try to claim the line breaker point.

Turn 4: The chaos leader moved to be hidden from my sharpshooter and shot my leader, but he shrugged off the shots. A marine shot at and assaulted the Tau by the supplies, but he too shrugged off the hits. The third marine ran towards Sio’t, killing him.

With the help of his spotter, my sharpshooter gunned down another chaos marine. Nearly everyone else who could, shot at the chaos leader. He shrugged off most of the hits on his armour and one through feel’s no pain. The marine in combat failed again to wound the lone fire warrior.

Turn 5:  The marine leader moved forward and shot twice at my leader. He made both armour saves. The fire warrior in melee also survived the attacks.

I moved as many people as I could towards the enemy leader, leaving the support turret, so that it was removed. their concentrated shots achieved nothing at all, as he shrugged them off with armour and feels no pain.

“Control, this is Shas’vre Vior’la Har’tage. We have located the supplies, but are facing resistance. Where is that support you promised us. We are in danger of being overrun.”

“Sorry, Shas’vre. There is a heavy flak from this direction. We need to circle around. We should have a retaliation cadre at your position imminently, just hold on.” 

Turn 6: Sadly the game didn’t end on turn 5, as I was ahead on victory points. The space marine leader assaulted my leader, shooting and hitting three times, but somehow failed to wound him. Similarly with the other chaos marine, my fire warrior made his armour saves.

On my turn I had nobody to shoot and was reluctant to pile into melee against superior forces. Unfortunately my lone fire warrior finally failed an armour save.

Turn 7: Once again, the game did not end. Things had been going badly since turn 3, but I was still up on points. The marine leader killed my leader and the lone marine sat on the objective, shooting at the nearest rifleman, killing him.

Of my remaining 6 troops only two, the spotter and the one who was across the enemy line, made their break tests. The Tau Kill team was almost completely destroyed and there was nothing I could do, except fire off a few ineffective shots at the marine leader.

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“Shas’vre Har’tage, this is control. Mantis 14 reports they are having difficulty reaching you. You are ordered to hold until we can get ground units to you. What is your situation.”

“…”

“Shas’vre. respond.”

“…”

“Shas’vre?”

Victory Chaos.

Post game report and analysis:

I really enjoyed playing Kill Team. It is surprisingly tactical and a lot more accessible. No giant war machines. No need to worry about your opponent having a huge budged to buy all the strongest models in the latest codex. It is like the magnificent 7 in space. a small team where many of the guys are unique individuals. I think the game favors units that are good all rounders, like marines, as it allows them to strengthen a variety of different abilities in the assorted specialists, but it definitely allows 40K to be more open to players on a budget. It should also be faster too, although our game still took an hour and a half, through needing to clarify rules, lasting 7 rounds and it being our first game.

My rail rifle sharpshooter was extremely effective. The support turret was also great at shooting through cover. I am happy with my relentless marker light. My opponent and I were both very lucky with armour saves and the feels no pain was very effective for him too. I was really surprised by how well that lone rifleman did. I think he deserves a name, even though he finally did go down. My main drawback is a lack of AP3 weaponry. I intend to swap out my carbines for a small breacher team, as they should work well at close quarters.

My opponent decided that his plasma sharpshooter was useless, as his range was too limited, so he intends to change him. In general, the marines were far more of a threat, due to their durability, than the chaos spawn, although the chaos spawn had the potential to do a great deal of damage.

Being fearless made a huge difference to the marines. It allowed them 4 rounds without making break tests. It was really the break test that destroyed my force, causing the sharpshooter to flee before he could finish off the marine sergeant.

All in all, it was a very close game, which could have gone either way

epilogue:

It was the pain which finally brought Cal through the blackness towards consciousness. There was a flutter of wings as whatever carrion bird had been pecking at his wounded leg  took to the air in surprise. Breathing was hard, as he tried to take in his surrounding.   

Ruins surrounded him and twisting his head he could make out bodies to the right. Tau bodies. Gradually the realisation of what had happened seeped through the blanket of pain, yet he didn’t yet feel any grief. Perhaps because it did not seem real. How could he have survived?

His leg’s didn’t want to respond and the ache in his chest, from where the monsterous Guer’la has pierced his armour  was almost unbearable when he breathed, but yet somehow he could still manage a few raspy breaths.

He lay still, gazing at the dark sky, when he heard voices. Had the Guer’la returned? Was this to be the end? So be it. But yet… surely not? Those voices. They were speaking Tau!

“Sir! Over here. I think there is a survivor.”