Tank Commander Strom surveyed the scene. The buildings were densely packed, and could be hiding any number of enemies, and the morning mist rising from the damp ground could have been concealing more. He stretched, and smiled. It was always surprising how quiet the battlefield was before a fight. Even with the big Knights behind him, the troops all around him, and the tank support by his side the place was virtually silent. Only the pressure hiss from a Hellhound's canisters and the cough of a guardsman broke the peace.
His smile widened. "Forward!" he shouted, and then the noise began.
Mission: The Four Pillars (Chapter Approved 2018, p51)
First things first - sorry it's been a while since I last posted. Work has been extremely busy recently, and I've not had much time to hobby. I suspect that for a while the blog posts will need to be approximately fortnightly rather than weekly, so apologies for that!
Today I'm going to run through another battle report, which saw me and Tom scrapping with our armies through a semi-ruined city. We used the custom hab-block rules (as described in a previous post), and both brought our 'work-in-progress' tournament lists. Neither of these is painted yet - and Tom was still using proxies for some of his models - so I hope the pictures don't make your eyes hurt!
Deployment: Frontline Assault
Tom got to choose which deployment zone to take, so I deployed first and took the first turn (he tried to steal but failed). I put my big guns along the line, but ensured that I kept things relatively close to the two objectives nearest my deployment zone. Tom countered by placing all his Dreadnoughts together behind one of the hab blocks (effectively hiding them from pretty much my whole army), and stringing everything else out along the line. His two squads of Nurglings deployed outside his zone, one on top of a hab-block (which was where an objective marker sat), and one inside the same building.
I moved as much stuff forward to the centre as I could, and used the 'move, move, move' command on 4 infantry squads to put them into position as shields for the big guns. At the end of my turn, I held two objectives, and had good board control at the centre of the table. I'd brought the Hellhounds out, into firing range, and was expecting them to move into the enemy lines next turn - this was my big mistake in round 1, as you'll find out soon.
One of the Helldrakes fell from the firepower from 2 Leman Russ Tank Commanders and an Armiger Warglaive. 11 plague bearers were mown down by the crusader's Gatling Cannon (the Endless Fury relic) and a Hellhound's inferno cannon. I also managed to get line of sight on one of the Contemptor Dreadnoughts, and a lascannon shot from one of the Tank Commanders chipped 4 wounds away from it.
By the end of my turn I'd killed one unit, and was confident that I was in a strong position.
Tom advanced his Plague Bearers, Daemon Prince, and Poxbringers, taking the loose objective. He disembarked the Nurglings which had deployed inside a building so that there were two units on the top, guarding the objective.
He managed to smite a Hellhound for 4 damage - the power went off on an 11. This meant that the purge were rerolling hits against it for the rest of the turn. The 'orb of life' got thrown, and did damage to various units.
One of the infantry units got shot down, and then the Hellhound got taken out too. I'd positioned it really badly (I need to learn to use them better) and it exploded, damaging quite a few of my nearby units and none of Tom's.
The Dreadnoughts shot at the Gallant, wounding it but not dropping it a bracket. It didn't bother to rotate shields as the AP on all the shots was only -1, so the standard save was 4+. One of the Drakes flamed an infantry unit, and then charged it, a Leman Russ, and a Warglaive. It put some wounds on the Armiger, which wounded it in return.
In the morale phase, one infantry unit ran away (the one facing the Helldrake). I didn't bother to use command points to keep it - Tom had killed two or three of my units by this stage, whereas I only killed one, which meant he would have gained a victory point anyway. I figured that by allowing the easy-to-kill units to get taken out early on, it would be much harder for him to get victory points later from killing units.
I began by ordering the Tank Commander and Warglaive to fall back, which left Tom's Helldrake exposed. The Knight Crusader made short work of it - taking multiple wounds away with the Thermal Cannon before finishing it off in melee. It didn't explode. The other Helldrake was smashed by the other Leman Russ, and it also failed to explode. The remaining Plague Bearers were pummelled by Hellhound Fire, the shots from the Crusader's Gatling, and then they were finished off by the Gallant in melee. The Gallant also killed the Daemon Prince in combat (although I had to use the 'Glory in Honour' stratagem to fight twice as in the first attempt Tom rolled 5 invulnerable saves (all 5+) to save him. In the second attempt his luck ran out, and the mighty Paragon Gauntlet pulverised the Prince.
By the end of my round, I'd killed 4 units, was controlling 3 objectives, and had 7 command points left. I'd gained one victory point for killing the warlord.
Tom advanced his Poxbringers, and cast smite and withering pox on the Gallant. The dreadnoughts rounded the corner and brought their considerable firepower to bear, killing the Gallant, the Hellhound (which didn't explode), and a couple of units of infantry. This meant he'd also killed 4 units, and had taken back the third objective from the Gallant - and he'd also removed a considerable threat from the board.
At this stage, Tom was feeling quite positive about his chances. This was about to change, however.
Sometimes you have a round where every dice you roll works out, and this was one of those rounds for me.
The Warglaive kicked things off by reducing one of the Contemptors to 1 wound with the Thermal Spear, and finishing it off in close combat. One of the Leman Russ Tanks drew a bead on a Deredeo, and one-shotted it. The other Leman Russ was able to see the remaining Deredeo through the ruined walls of a hab-block, and took a few wounds away. The Crusader did the rest, killing that one too. The Crusader charged and removed one of the Poxbringers.
Tom's army was in tatters, and I controlled the board, but he fought on bravely.
The final Poxbringer advanced backwards, bravely running away. Smite failed. One of the Contemptors hid behind a hab-block, trying to get away from the Leman Russ.
This wasn't going well.
The other Contemptor stood its ground, and shot everything at the Knight Crusader. It managed to remove a respectable 6 wounds, but this was clearly not going to be enough. It then attempted to charge the Knight, and took 4 wounds in overwatch, but then failed the charge (despite re-rolling one of the dice on a command point).
At this stage, that Contemptor was exposed to firepower from pretty much everything, and the other one was hiding (which meant it couldn't get near to any objectives). I'd begun to pull ahead on victory points, and with control of three objectives this lead was only going to increase. Tom only had a few units left - the Nurglings, one Poxbringer, and a couple of Contemptors (one of which would clearly have died next turn), and there wasn't much he could do to regain control of the battle.
The Imperium had triumphed, and Chaos's defeat was assured, so Tom did the noble thing and resigned.
It was a good battle, and the terrain helped a lot - line of sight in particular was a thing. My round 3 was a fantastic example of how well the hab-blocks work - Tom had positioned himself carefully but didn't realise I could see through the gaps in the building's ruined walls, and that meant he lost both his Deredeos in one turn, which was catastrophic.
Air Wing Detachment (Chaos Space Marines) Legion: The Purge Flyers 3 x Heldrake with Baleflamer, Heldrake claws, Mark of Nurgle Battalion Detachment (Chaos - Daemons) Chaos Allegiance: Nurgle
2 x Poxbringer (one with ‘Fleshy Abundance’, one with ‘Shrivelling Pox’)
2 x Nurgling units (3 in a unit)
27 Plaguebearers Vanguard Detachment Legion: The Purge HQ Daemon Prince with Wings: Arch-Sorceror, Death Hex, Malefic talon, Orb of Unlife, Warlord, Warp bolter, Wings Elites 3 x Hellforged Contemptor Dreadnought with Butcher cannons, & Havoc launcher
Heavy Support 2 x Hellforged Deredeo Dreadnought with Butcher cannon array, Greater havoc launcher, & Twin heavy bolter.
Battalion (Astra Militarum)
2 x Company Commanders with Chainsword & Laspistol
3 x Infantry Squad
Battalion (Astra Militarum)
2 x Tank Commanders with Battle Cannon & Lascannon
3 x Infantry Squad
2 x Hellhounds
Super Heavy Detachment (Imperial Knights)
Lord of War
2 x Armiger Warglaives
Knight Crusader (Warlord): with Thermal Cannon, Endless Fury (relic), heavy stubber, flamer, titanic feet
Knight Gallant (Character through ‘heirlooms of the household’ and ‘exalted court’) with Paragon Gauntlet (relic), Reaper chainsword, Titanic Feet, and Heavy Stubber