Saturday, 19 March 2011

20: Tales of a Splinter Fleet

Game 20: 1500 Points vs Space Wolves
Scenario - Seize Ground (three objectives - moisture vaporators), Spearhead deployment

I played a full drop pod army again so nothing arrive until the bottom of turn two. This gave the marines plenty of time to position themselves ready for the attack. They just did not know where it was going to come from...

Tyranid Air Assault
Hive Tyrant (Old Adversary, Hive Commander, Wings, TL Devs x2)
Zoanthropes x2 in Spore Pod w/ TL Deathspitter
Zoanthropes x2 in Spore Pod w/ TL Deathspitter
Ymgarl Xenomorphs x7
Termagants w/ Devourers x20 in Spore Pod w/ TL Deathspitter
Mummy Tervigon (Toxic,Adreanl,Catalysis) [Outflanking]
Broodlord (Toxic) & 5 Genestealers w/ Toxic
Gargoyle Brood x12 w /AG,TS

Space Wolves (not all gear listed)
Rune Priest Penda leading 8 Grey Hunters & Wolf Guard w/ Fist in Rhino
Wolf Priest Tola leading 8 Grey Hunters & Wolf Guard w/ Fist in Rhino
Five Long Fangs in Lazerback
Rune Priest Ozur leading 4 Terminators in a Drop Pod.
Dreadnought Vandrad
Land speeder w/ HF, MM

The hive ship drifted through the star-system drawn towards the transmissions from several moons orbiting a gas giant. As the ship approached its autonomic nervous system began launching spores towards the planetoids. Sensing this activity the hive mind stirred from its hibernation and started to listen to the transmissions of its prey.

Ozur's pod was buffeted by the moons strong winds as it dropped towards his brother Penda and the troops already on the ground. The pod landed in the north-east edge of the plateau next to one of the moisture vaporators. As his retinue took up position around the pod Ozur could see Penda repositioning his troops in the north-west. The two APC's parked up back-to-back in front of a tumbled down keep near another vaporator. Inside the keep were the long fangs with brother Vandrad to the west and the Lazerback to the east. Between the two groups of soldiers was the wreckage of a crashed shuttle amongst which a third moisture vaporator was somehow still operating.
Unfortunately for the marines Xenomorphs were already lying dormant in the keep and as the spores fell they burst out of the ground tearing through the metal hulls of the APC's and the exposed pistons of brother Vandrad's mighty power claw. Devilgaunts disgorged from a pod killed all but one of the Fangs. Penda was able to dissipate most of the Zoanthropes psychic energy but one of them blasted the Lazerback forcing the crew to spend precious moments re-routing power cables to get the guns back on line.
Ozur was too far away to join the fray and he could see a swarm of gargoyles and a gigantic beast both heading towards the keep. He ordered his men to shoot at the near by spore blasting chunks of wet flesh from it. His men were so busy they did not see the genestealers creeping up behind them and all the terminators died in the ambush leaving just Ozur fighting alone. Penda tried to summon lightning from the ether but the psyhic choir of the brain-bugs broke his concentration and the return fire carved the APC in half forcing the troops out on to the moons frigid surface. Tola roasted some gaunts with a flamer but it was not enough as the swarm of gargoyles descended on the immobilised APC and tore it to shreds, one panel at a time, killing everyone inside. The Xenomorphs ripped the stabilisers from brother Vandrad's legs while contining to be to agile for him to crush any.

Another psyhic blast stripped the tracks from the Lazerback but the crew were able to get the guns back online. They just had enough time to zap the hovering form of Tyrant descending towards them before the vehile was annihilated in a massive fireball. Pedra got revenge for his fallen kin by wiping out the gargoyles but several of his men fell to the hail of needles from the devilgaunts. Mummy charged forward biting deep into Vandrad's power pack silencing the mighty fighting engine.

Its engines open at full throttle the land speeder rushed towards the drop pod burning genestealers with its flamer. Unfortunately they were not quick enough to save Ozur who was eaten by the hulking leader of the alien brood. Pedra did not long survive his brother being skewered on a spike by the Tyrant as the last of his men died to the Xenomorphs.

With nothing to now hold back their warp blasts the Brain-bugs obliterating the drop pod and destroyed the engine on the speeder forcing it to land next to the broodlord who quickly slaughtered the crew.

Aftermath: Victory by annihilation for the Hive Mind (I also had two objectives).
The game may have been a massacre but tactically it was very close to a draw. I killed the last grey hunter at the end of turn five so if I had not been lucky in wiping out a whole squad in their transport they would still have had men contesting the western moisture vaporator. Mummy only managed to spawn three babies this game and the Zoantrhopes kept glancing the APC's. However the dice gods did give my opponent bad rolls too. Snake eyes on the terminators saves was harsh and the rune priest and Dreadnought kept rolling one and two to hit even with their magic necklaces.

Sunday, 6 March 2011

Sunday Smackdown: T-Wolves (part two)

Space Wolves, Thunder Wolf
I was asked what would happen if the Wolf Lord was with his unit when they were fighting the Xenomorphs. Now my first thought was that they would just get slaughtered. Since (when I started typing this) my daughter is just running up and down the room I thought I would roll some more dice...

In the Green corner, weighing in at 426 points we have a Broodlord and 19 Genestealers all with sything Talons and toxic sacs. The Broodlord gives the bugs the chance to soak a few extra wounds before loosing combat efficiency and with higher strength he gets a re-roll to wound against the T-Wolves. He also has hypnotic gaze which help reduce incoming attacks.

In the Red corner, weighting in at 440 points we have the same three Thunderwolf Cavalry now joined by a 230 points Lord. All decked out with magic necklace; shiny runic armour; Frost Blade; Mount; Storm Shield. He could take more bling but I do not think he need it. WS 6 makes it 4+ for the regular stealer to hurt him and Necklace and Str 6 he is hitting on 3's and slaying bugs on 2's anyway.
Burst, Genestealer, Space Hulk
I mocked up three battles. Just like before the Wolves got the charge. I was amazed at the difference the re-rolls made to the bugs. The Cavalry were dead turn two every time! The Lord lasted until turn 4-5 taking one wound a round once the cavalry were dead. The bugs do loose the first round of combat by 2-3 points so with out synapse it would be possible for them to get swept. Mostly though they just just take the 'no retreat' hit and carry on clawing the wolves eyes out...
Image Credits: Pictures from

Sunday Smackdown: T-Wolves

Magnet, Marker, Mission Objective Marker, Power Weapon, Space Marines, Space Wolves, Terminator Armor, Thunderwolf, Warhammer 40,000, Wolf Guard, Wolf Lord, Wolf Scout, Wolves, Work In Progress
I have quite enjoyed Gmorts Sunday Smackdowns where he has pitted one hero against another in single combat.  As I was discussing if Thunderwolf Calvalry could beat Genestealers I thought I would put it to the test in an actual battle.  After all rolling a few dice helps to distract me from the work I should be doing!

In the Green corner, weighing in at 204 points we have twelve Genestealers with toxic sacs and rending claws.  Twice as many wounds as the cavalry and striking first they are going to need those rends to overwhelm the single Wolf Storm Shield.

In the Red corner, weighting in at 210 points we have three Thunderwolf Cavalry with mixed weapons for wound allocation tricks.  #1 was a Thunder Hammer, #2 a Storm Shield and #3 a Pistol. Thunderwolfs have four attacks each with Rending and strength five. They are striking second but with two wounds each it is difficult for the genestealers to take any out in the first round.

Math-hammer says it will be a fairly bloody battle taking about four rounds of combat and be too close to predict the winner.  If the wolves can kill some bugs with shooting it shifts the odds in their favour.

I mocked up ten battles.  The Wolves got the charge in all of them.  They managed to kill one stealer with shooting in half the battles.  Genestealers inflicted ~3 wounds in the first round.  Sometimes they were lucky and killed a T-wolf however this did not seem to change the cavalry's performance as they still killed 4-5 Genestealers in 9 of the battles. The second round was where the battle turned in most games with the Genestealers inflicting enough rends that the Shield-bearer died. Without the invulnerable save the Wolves went on to lose the battle of attrition. The longest battle was five round and was won by the Wolves. The shortest battle was eleven bugs killing all the Thunderwolves before they got to strike on the first round (eight failed saves out of 11 wounds).
Space Wolves, Thunderwolf, Warhammer 40,000, Wolf Lord
Results: Ten Battles, Genestealers 6; T-wolves 4.
So the Hive Mind just pulled ahead.  In the four battles Wolves won they survived with a single model at one wound.  With striking first the bugs usually had at least three models left.  What I found with actually rolling the dice was that the T-Wolves were quite susceptible to results that had deviated from the statistical average (both up and down).  If I rolled a low number of wounds with a high number of rends (3 Wounds; 2 Rends or 7-4) the Wolves could not stack them all on the Shield.  Equally if I inflicted 10+ wounds the shear number of saves caused cavalry to die.

In a real battle both sides would have support from other units.  It is therefore unlikely they would ever face each other at full strength without support.  It was a fun exercise though to see how effective each unit can be. Twelve Xenomorphs is the minimum size brood I like to run.  Although I may increase that if I start to see more T-Wolves on the battle field.

Image Credits: Pictures from

Friday, 4 March 2011

19: Tales of a Splinter Fleet

Game 19: 1500 Points vs Ultramarines
Scenario - Seize Ground, Spearhead deployment

I played a full drop pod army so nothing arrive until the bottom of turn two. This gave the marines plenty of time to position themselves ready for the attack. They just did not know where it was going to come from...

Tyranid Air Assault
Hive Tyrant (Old Adversary, Hive Commander, Wings, TL Devs x2)
Zoanthropes x2 in Spore Pod w/ TL Deathspitter
Zoanthropes x2 in Spore Pod w/ TL Deathspitter
Ymgarl Xenomorphs x8
Termagants w/ Devourers x20 in Spore Pod w/ TL Deathspitter
Tervigon (Toxic,Adreanl,Catalysis,Talons) [Outflanking]
Broodlord (Toxic,Talons) & 5 Genestealers w/ Toxic
Gargoyle Brood x11

Chaplain Caecilius with Jump Pack
Purpureus & Albus Tactical Squads with flamer, missile & power-gauntlets; Albus in a Rhino
Plumbeus Devastator Squad with 4 Missiles
Tripudio Assault Squad with Fist and two Flamers.
Tempestas Terminator Squad with assault cannon & CML
Brother Grumio Dreadnought

* = Objective
Purpureus & Plumbeus Squads formed up on the top of the hill in three squads guarding the first weather mast*, they were backed up by Brother Grumio. Caecilius lead Tripudio over the hill and formed up on the second mast*. Tempestas advanced to investigate the bio-signs* from the ruins while Albus squad zoomed their APC forward and jumped out to investigate the petrified forest*.

File: 20110225/excom  Date: 0736903.M41
It had been three days since the space hulk had dropp+d out of the w+rp int+ the system. It is broa+casti+g a st+tic disruption s+gn+l +n +ll ch+nn+ls. +++++ some+++ c++ ++c++ve this. At t+++ ++

Kellerman watched the transmission from the masts. Three large meteors dropped from the sky. Two of them impacted at the bottom of the hill; the shells cracked open and the floating form of the alien Zoanthropes emerged. Searing balls of psychic plasma erupted from their elongated heads and vaporised three marines. The last spore impacted by the ruins disgorging termagants who opened fire killing six Tripudio marines. Swooping down from the sky behind the meteor spores was the gigantic form of a Hive Tyrant. It swept down in a long arc racking a deadly hail of spikes into the injured assault marines and engaged Caecilius in melee combat. Over the intercom he could hear the screams from Albus squad as genestealers ripped them apart. Only Sergeant Lucius, hypnotised by the Broodlord, was left alive after the first assault.

The Terminators stomped forward crushing termagants under their boots. Purpureus-Pugnus and Dreadnought Grumio charged into the Zoanthrope broods but were not able to penetrate their mystical protection. Meanwhile the Hive Tyrant finished with Caecilius and glides over the landscape to rend Plumbeus apart. Xenomorphs burst out of the ground and leaped onto the Terminators slaying half of them. Over the intercom could be heard Lucius' screams as he was torn limb from limb, the intercom then thankfully went silent as the aliens swarmed over the APC and torn it, and its transmitter, apart.

Purpureus-gravis opened fire on the gargoyles descending towards the hill, while Grumio and Purpureus-Pugnus continued to battle ineffectively against the Zoantrhopes. The Hive Tyrant launched itself at Grumio tearing off his arm and then shattering his cooling systems causing him to seize up and only be able to watch helplessly as the Tyrant effortlessly glided over and munched the last of Purpureus squad.

Kellerman hit the side of the screen trying to clear the static. In the distance he could see the dark shape of a large monster spuing forth termagants as it advanced towards Tempestas squad. He could see the last of his elite soldiers fighting against Gaunts, Xenomorphs and Genestealers. While they held there own for a few moments the shear weight of enemy numbers was over whelmed them. Kellerman turned to the servitor and ordered him to activate the teleportation system and bring the injured men back to base. Surrounded by a halo of violet energy six bodies, more dead than alive, materialised in the control room. The medics rushed over to adminster to them.

File: 20110225/excom  Date: 0736904.M41
++++ t++eat has ++++n th++selv++ to be T++++ds. Alien spor++ have been bom+bar+ing the +++++ ++++++e. Our marine contingent has successful repelled the first attack with minimal casult++++ Assist++++ req+++++. TRANSMISSION END. TIME STAMP DISCREPANCY DELAY IN ARRIVAL 278 DAYS.

Victory for the Hive Mind by annihilation (I also held three objectives)