Thursday, July 24, 2014


Last week's Deadlock battle vs Eldar xenos was quite the slug-fest. I had just finished painting the reinforcements for my AirCav, and eager to see how the updated list would work. Of course, we had to pick Deadlock! Which on hindsight is probably not what the AirCav is best suited for. O well, I'm sure Straken didn't worry about it.

Deadlock is a really interesting mission as the number of tactical objectives reduces with each turn played. So the best chances to score VPs is as early in the game as possible. Of course, when I deployed Major Winters' 2iC squad and the 3 ground support/pathfinder squads, and waiting for the Air Cavalry to arrive, it did seem slightly daunting.

With the Eldar swarming into my positions from the get-go, I was quite lucky to actually survive the first couple of turns. Both sides' fire were not really that good in the early game, but the Eldar were picking up objectives really fast.

Things started to improve when the gunships arrived, streaking in guns blazing and actually giving me first blood by tearing up a Wraithlord. The Eldar's lack of dedicated anti-aircraft gave me a good advantage, though they were still far ahead in terms of VPs.

Things got desperate, and as my final reinforcements finally arrive, the Valkyries hovered in, directly disembarking 2 veteran demolitions squads into the thick of the action. One of the squads unleashed heavy flamer and melta fire, and by the time the dust from the demo charge settled, there weren't any targets left for the squad's lasguns. An entire squad of 6 Wraithguard and their Wave Serpent were blown to bits. The other assault squad didn't do so well. Point-blank range melta and heavy flamer fire into the rear of the xenos leader's Wave Serpent did nothing (both meltas missed), and taking a huge risk (both Valkyries were nearby), the demo charge dude hurled his explosives at the xenos skimmer, knocking out another hullpoint. Straken's command squad also disembarked, plasma guns making short work of the nearest Wraithlord.

The xenos reaction was quite dramatic. Apparently to avenge his fallen undead kin, the gigantic Wraithnight stomped over and charged Straken's squad. Two of Straken's plasma gunners fell, but the combination of Counter-charge, Zealot, Battle Hymns, Smash and Monster Hunter saw a drawn combat. The nearest AirCav assault squad later lent a hand and charged into the melee, and shortly after, the monstrous Wraithknight was felled.

The Eldar Guardians had disembarked and shot the other assault squad to ribbons. It was down to the last couple of turns, and I figured the only way I could catch up on VPs and steal a win is to kill the Eldar Spiritseer Warlord, embedded deep in the Guardian squad. Mustering what was left of my army, the AirCav managed to wipe out the Guardian bodyguards. The Spiritseer Warlord was down to his last wound. And he survived the battle!

It was truly epic, right down to the last die roll of 7 turns. Losses were heavy on both sides. The Eldar had only 4 survivors, losing 3 out of 4 Wave Serpents, both Wraithlords, the Wraithknight, 10 Guardians and 14 of 16 Wraithguard. The AirCav lost both Valkyrie,  a Vendetta, and 47 troopers (out of 61 men). Bloody.

My MVPs were most definitely the Colonel himself for taking on the Wraithknight in close combat and winning the fight, Major Winters for his spirited leadership of the forward squads on the ground and for killing a Wraithguard in close combat and most definitely the sole surviving trooper of 4th Squad who kept up a steady lasgun fire from the battlements of an objective even as his squad was gunned down mercilessly by the xenos.

But of course, MVP of the match had to go to xenos Warlord who just wouldn't die!

Some lessons: I kept forgetting to use my Master of Ordnance, so maybe I don't really need him. Also, my forward ground squads (I call them Pathfinders) could do with a little more punch. Juggling some points and using available models, the squads starting on the ground now get 2 additional plasma guns and a meltagun, and all 3 sergeants get meltabombs. Major Winters is truly inspiring, and his leadership and orders role is spot on. I'm just now split between giving his 2iC squad a meltagun and a flamer, or keeping the standard bearer there. I might just go with the standard. We'll see.

Keep them dice rolling.

Friday, July 18, 2014

AirCav Reinforcements!

Finished just in time for an epic battle against xenos undead, the reinforcements for the Air Mobile Detachment of Straken's II Catachan Regiment finally reported for duty last night.

When I started the AirCav army (waaaaay back ...), it was supposed to be made up entirely of veteran light infantry plus their air transport and gunships at 1750pts. But the combination of a failed Throwdown attempt (2000pts), and the change to standard games in my community to 1850pts, I had to include a Basilisk into the army as a stop-gap measure (though I had immense fun painting it - and the Ordnance is always welcome).

With the release of the Astra Militarum codex, I decided to take the Basilisk out of my 1850pt list and return the army back to its original intended light cavalry plus air elements and no tanks theme. I included a second command squad, which is designated as the second-in-command under bolter-toting half-breed Major Winters. His job is to lead the guys who are already on the ground at the start of the battle (designated as "pathfinders") and take charge of the lead elements until Straken and his assault detachment flies in.

The assault veteran squads flying in with Straken are buffed up by kitting them out for Demolitions. And of course, being assault squads, they had to take advantage of Astra Militarum's new cheaper heavy flamers. I had fun doing these guys up. As I was assembling the models, I realized I had used one of the flamer fuel tanks for a Basilisk conversion (it became a fire extinguisher), so the Catachans stole a couple of Cadian-pattern promethium tanks from the neighbouring 77645th Cadian camp. Then I used solder tin as the hose from the tank to the weapon. I think it works out pretty nicely. I also just realized I forgot to model the guy with the actual demo charge itself. That should be simple enough though, I can paint up a couple of satchels and attach them to the demo charge dude's belt.

One thing that's really cool about the Astra Militarum codex is that my squads can have snipers for just 2pts. And since the squads in Major Winters' advanced ground party is meant to stand-off at range, the snipers fit right in.

Since I removed the Basilisk, I thought that maybe a Master of Ordnance can be a cheap stand-in for a nice large blast Ordnance coming in out of nowhere. Plus, I've had the model for ages (it's the metal one from the original Advisors blister pack), so it had to be done up.

Accompanying the snipers in the long-range role are autocannon squads. I find autocannons to be versatile heavy weapons with good range, decent strength, and a good rate of fire. The autocannons aren't glued in, and I'll be painting up some lascannons as well after this so that I can switch back and forth between the two should I need to. I modeled one of the autocannon teams not firing just to have a bit less uniformity. This is the first time I'm actually using autocannon teams in any of my IG armies ever, and I must say I'm quite happy with them.

Anyways, as soon as the matt varnish dried, the reinforcements were rushed straight into battle to repel a xenos incursion. But that story is for another time ...

Keep them dice rolling.


Sunday, July 13, 2014

Cloak and Shadows


A quick update on the second 4th of July game I had couple weeks back. Been a bit caught up with work, so this is more like a highlights rather than a batrep. The opponent was Doc Selvam's scary-looking White Scars, complete with a Land Raider Crusader, 2 Predators (autocannons with lascannon sponsons), 2 Razorbacks (twin assault cannons), Veterans, Tacticals, a Storm Raven, Storm Talon and the Chapter Master himself! I used Captain Brigitte Vogelsang's 3rd Company, 6th Schutzen Rgt with 109 infantry, 4 Leman Russ, 1 Hellhound, 2 Sentinels and a Vendetta.

We played the Maelstrom mission Cloak and Shadows on the Cityfight table, and what's interesting about the mission is that unlike the other Maelstrom missions, each Tactical Objective generated is kept secret, so neither side knows what the other needs to achieve.

At any rate, for awhile it did look like objectives did not matter, and it was a right bloodbath! The White Scars went first, and the Land Raider Crusader wasted no time barreling down the street towards my lines, supported by one of the Predators. The lascannon platoon occupying the tall ruins in the center of my line did not perform very well, and despite Captain Vogelsang's exhortations to Bring It Down! they only managed to glance it once. Leman Russ from the Assault Tank Squadron did squat too. The Plain Jane Leman Russ fared better as their battlecannons knocked out a lascannon sponson of a Predator.

As usual, my infantry was sweeping forwards up the flanks, using the city ruins for cover. 1st Platoon on my left was charged by Assault Terminators from the Land Raider Crusader, but the Termies were easily mashed to bits under the weight of numbers, driven to a frothing frenzy by the hymnals of Ministorum Priest Parler. 1st Platoon went on to assault the Land Raider Crusader with meltabombs, easily achieving what the combined fire of 2nd Platoon and the Assault Tank Platoon could not do.
On my right, 4th (Conscript) Platoon was caught in the open (bad run dice) by incoming White Scars flyers, wiping out half their number. The escorting Storm Talon later peeled off from the formation to hover behind the conscripts and add to the carnage. Ministorum Priest Erhardt was greviously wounded in this volley, but miraculously the platoon managed to hold.

Revenge came in the form of the Vendetta, which blew the Talon out of the sky. The Hellhound moved up with the Conscripts to continue the pressure on my right flank, even as the Sentinels appeared behind enemy lines on my right to sucker punch the Predator from behind, turning it into a wreck. Avenging Tactical Marines easily destroyed both Sentinels soon after.

But the White Scars Storm Raven got through to my backfield, and a flamer-toting veteran squad, charged 2nd Platoon, utterly routing them. The White Scars' Chapter Master took on Vogelsang's Command Squad. Amazingly, the plucky little Captain and her veterans managed to hold for an entire turn before getting run over.

The game ended as my 3 surviving Leman Russ manouvered to pound the White Scars Veterans as they took cover in 2nd Platoon's former position, while the Vendetta, 2nd Platoon's commander and 1st Platoon went on to seize further objectives. The Hellhound took a chance and went flat out deep into enemy territory for the Linebreaker point.

The Imperial Guard won the battle, but as has become usual in my 7th ed games so far, it was quite bloody. The White Scars' infantry actually fared pretty well, partly because they weren't threatening too many of my objectives, but also because my shooting could have been better. I think they lost 5 Assault Terminators, and maybe 5 Tactical Marines. But they lost almost all their vehicles, the Storm Raven being the only surviving White Scar vehicle (with 1 hull-point remaning). My losses were quite heavy - around 60 Guardsmen (including all of 2nd Platoon, the Company Command squad, more than half of the conscripts, the Commissar and 1 Ministorum Priest), 2 Sentinels and 1 Leman Russ. But as they say in the Guard - acceptable losses.

It's been fun fielding the Sentinels again in this game, as well as in the game vs the Iyanden (see previous post). But between the Sentinels and the Hellhound, the Hellhound was just too amazing to compare. It's not just the amazing Inferno cannon and the reasonable armor, it's the speed of the tank. I think I'll add another Hellhound in the next game and see how that works out. The other thing I want to reconsider is the Master of Ordnance. In both games, I forgot to use him about 80% of the time. Maybe I'll leave him home the next time, though my Catachan AirCav will still use him (my Catachan AirCav, being light infantry, have no access to Leman Russ. The only large blasts they have are the demo charges and off-table artillery).

Anyways, I'm totally looking forward to more action this Friday. Keep rolling them dice!

Sunday, July 6, 2014

Spoils of War

I brought my infantry-based 6th Schutzen Regiment, Brandenberg Imperial Guard to battle on July 4th, and actually managed to fit in 2 games with a dinner break in between. After 5 hours of pushing 117 models on the table, I can truly say my 'ead 'urts. But it was awesome fun!

The 1850 point army I brought was based on my requirement for an infantry-heavy core, with support elements built around the 3 infantry platoons (for fluff purposes, I count my Conscripts as a platoon, though rules-wise they are part of 1st platoon). Captain Brigitte Vogelsang's command was as follows:

Company Command: Captain Vogelsang - standard bearer, vox caster, attached Master of Ordnance
Commissar Silberbauer
Ministorum Priest Ehrhardt
Ministorum Priest Parler

1st (Assault) Platoon:
Command: Lt. Ostermeier - vox caster, 3 grenade launchers
1st squad: Sgt w meltabombs, vox caster, meltagun
2nd squad: Sgt w meltabombs, meltagun
3rd squad: Sgt w meltabombs, meltagun
4th (Assault) Platoon (conscripts): 30 conscripts

2nd (Anti-Tank) Platoon:
Command: Lt Schneider - vox caster, 3 grenade launchers
1st squad: vox caster, plasma gun, lascannon
2nd squad: plasma gun, lascannon
3rd squad: plasma gun, lascannon

Sentinal Scout Squadron - 1 with autocannon, 1 with multilaser

Assault Tank Squadron:
Leman Russ Executioner - plasma sponsons, hull lascannon
Leman Russ Exterminator - heavy bolter sponsons, hull lascannon
Battle Tank Squadron: 2 Leman Russ with hull heavy bolters

Spoils of War
Supply convoy DS-XVIII, which was due to arrive at Demetol-Secundus yesterday, had been ambushed and all contact was lost. It was feared that its cargo of precious ancient artefacts was lost, or worse, in enemy hands. Captan Vogelsang was ordered to lead her 3rd Company, 6th Schutzen, into no man's land to recover the cargo, thought to be somewhere amidst the ruins of the abandoned city of Jerrico.

En route, it became clear that elements of the Eldar xenos have been prowling the vicinity, with augurs and forward picket Sentinels feeding in reports of several spottings of xenos in yellow livery. Third Company arrived at Jerrico in the darkness of the early morning, and Captain Vogelsang found that Eldar xenos of the Iyanden tribe had arrayed for battle before her, with 4 Wave Serpent grav IFVs in line abreast threatening her right flank, 2 Wraithlord monstrous constructs on her left flank, and xenos Guardian infantry supported by an even bigger Wraithknight monstrous construct in the center.

With cold precision borne off years of iron discipline, the Brandenbergers deployed for war. Captain Vogelsang and her command squad deployed dead center, behind the Leman Russ Exterminator of the Assault Tank squadron. The tall ruins immediately to her right was occupied by 2nd (Anti-Tank) Platoon, with Commissar Silberbauer. The right flank was taken up by the 4th platoon concsripts, their will fortified by uplifting hymns of Ministorum Priest Ehrhardt. Slightly behind them was Lt Schneider's command squad, temporarily overseeing 4th platoon. To the left and forward of Captain Vogelsang is 1st (Assault) Platoon, with Ministorum Priest Parler singing prayers for the Emperor's blessings. Lt Ostermeier's command squad was directly behind his platoon. The extreme left flank was held by the Battle Tank Squadron, backed by the Hellhound. Captain Vogelsang had ordered the recce squadron of Sentinels to scope out her outlying flanks and making sure they were secure before rejoining the main force. She had also requested Regimental Command for air support.

Scarcely had the Schutzen deployed for battle, the xenos armor began to open fire, even as the 3 monstrous constucts advanced up the left flank. Some conscripts fell to the foul machinations of xenos weaponry, and both tank squadrons were subjected to concentrated heavy las fire, but did no harm other than scratch the grey paint (one crewman later complained of a severe headache caused by the high-pitched clang of xenos munitions bouncing off Leman Russ armor).

Captain Vogelsang ordered both assault platoons to advance, the regulars through the woods in the center, and the concsripts through ruins on the right. 2nd Platoon reported that they have discovered one of the artifacts sitting in the top floor of the ruins they were occupying. Thanking them quietly, Captain Vogelsang ordered the platoon to bring the nearest xenos grav tank down. Focused lascannon fire stabbed into the predawn darkness, converging on the sleek alien tanks. The lascannons, Exterminator autocannons and plasma cannons of the Exectioner followed suit, directing their immense firepower into the enemy tanks. But between the low light and the deft jink manouvers of the xenos pilots, only 1 grav tank suffered a glancing hit. Captain Vogelsang smiled, as 3 of the 4 enemy tanks were forced to manouver wildly to avoid the incoming fire.

In the meantime, the Leman Russes opened up on the xenos Guardian infantry in the ruins in the center of the enemy line. Hi-ex explosions blossomed amidst the ruins, sending fire smoke, rubble and xenos body parts into the air. A stray heavy bolter shell hit the xenos Spiritseer witch, but he stood firm, slightly bloodied. All this while, the Schutzen platoon commanders were barking "move! move! move!" and both 1st and 4th platoons swarmed up the center and right flanks respectively. Shortly, 4th platoon reported recovering yet another lost artifact amidst the ruins they were clearing on the right flank.

As the twin suns rose bringing in the blessing of daylight, the xenos monstrous constructs continued their advance on the left flank, and the 3 Imperial tanks faced them stoicly. Massed las fire and other insidious xenos weaponry converged on the lead Leman Russ, scoring several hits. Chunks of armor, tracks and equpment blew off the mighty tank until the crew were forced to bail out, dragging their unconscious commander away with them from the stricken tank. To the right, the 4th platoon concsripts received the attention of 2 of the xenos tanks, and while the tanks' wild manouvers threw off their aim somewhat, more brave souls were commended to the Emperor. In the center, a xenos lance shot pierced through the Exterminator's front armor like so much tissue paper, and the venerable tank blew up in an orange fireball. Captain Vogelsang herself, who was stationed behind the tank, was wounded, but one of her command squad, as well as four men from nearby 2nd Platoon were killed in the blast.

Refusing medical attention and simply wiping off the blood trickling on her brow, she exorted her men on. The vox caster had been switched off inadvertently in the blast, and her command to 1st Platoon to bring down the already damaged alien tank went unheard. Blessed be the Emperor, for 2nd Platoon's lascannons still managed to glance the enemy IFV again. Then from her left flank was the all-too-familiar whining roar of Vendetta turbofans. Quickly turning on her vox, Vogelsang barked precise instructions, and the gunship's impressive lascannon arsenal opened up as one, turning the alien tank into a twisted wreck of wraithbone. As 1st and 4th Platoons continued their pell mell dash into the enemy's right flank, the Sentinels of recce squadron appeared deep in enemy territory on the right flank - directly behind the xenos tank holding the extreme right. Multilaser and autocannon fire spat death into the enemy's rear armor, but the alien pilot's inhuman evasive manouvers meant that none of the shots found their mark.

The Executioner unloaded all her weapons at another xenos tank, and again the alien pilot's evasive manouver managed to minimize damage to it, though it was glanced once. Unfortunately for the Imperial tank crew, the left sponson plasma cannon overheated, injuring the gunner and causing some damage to the tank itself. On the left flank, the surviving Leman Russ steadily withdrew away from the alien Wraithlords and Wraightknight, drawing the monstrous constructs away from the main body of the Schutzen. But the Hellhound commander spotted one of the artifacts in the blasted woods ahead of him, and sped forwards to retrieve it, towards the monstrous Wraithknight! With his gunners providing covering fire, the brave tank commander leapt of his tank and retreived the artefact. What he did not know was that the fiery covering fire from his flame tank's Inferno cannon had immolated the enemy witch, forever sending him back to whence he came. Such is the justice of the Emperor! On the far right, Lt Schneider's command squad reported the retrieval of yet another artefact.

In the Eldar backfield, 16 Wraithguard silently disembarked from their Wave Serpents, making short work of the outflanking Sentinels with their deadly weaponry. The Wave Serpents themselves opened fire on the screaming horde of concsripts from 4th platoon, and while their fire was not as effective as it could be, the platoon was by now down to half strength. The 3 surviving Guardians opened fire on 1st platoon which bypassing their position, felling one Guardsman. On the left, the 2 Wraithlords continued their implacable advance, weapons flickering as they did, and only managed to score a glancing hit on the Leman Russ. The monstrous Wraithknight targeted the forward Hellhound, its weapons easily cutting through the flametank's armor. The protective jackets around the Hellhound's promethium tanks melted away, immediately igniting the fuel, and the tank went up in a fiery explosion.

Pressing on her attack, Captain Vogelsang ordered the remnants of 4th platoon forward to secure yet another objective in some ruins on the right flank in enemy territory. 1st Platoon's advance was by now also in enemy territory, advancing steadily forwards. Whithering covering fire from the Leman Russ' battle cannon and the Executioner's plasma cannons obliterated 10 of the alien Wraithguard. Concentrated lascannon fire from 2nd Platoon and the Vendetta did further damage to 2 Wave Serpents, despite the alien pilots' inhuman attempts at evasive action. Lt Schneider's squad loosed a volley of krak grenades at the third Wave Serpent, but the grav-tank easily avoided it.

As if to avenge their undead brethren, the two Wraithlords on the left advanced further, and this time, their fiendish las weaponry found their mark, repeatedly hitting the lone Leman Russ holding the left flank. The crew was forced to bail out, dragging the lifeless body of their commander with them. The Wraithknight advanced towards Captain Vogelang's position in the center, firing on the Executioner, but failing to cause any damage. All other shooting from the aliens was ineffectual. Then with a silent ferocity, 5 Wraithguard charged 4th Platoon. Many conscripts were hewn to pieces or simply vapourised, but thanks to the strength of the Emperor's Will exhorted by Ministorum Priest Ehrhardt, they stood firm, hitting and shooting back as best they can.

1st Platoon now swung right and advanced against the nearest Wave Serpent, which was standing between them and the melee between 4th Platoon and alien undead constructs. Meltaguns opened fire, but again the alien pilot easily evades the incoming shots. Then, with the hymnal exhortations of Ministorum Priest Parler, 1st Platoon charged the enemy grav-tank. Despite the bucking of the tank, the men bravely, and literally, threw themselves at the tank, affixing meltabomb charges. The alien tank disappeared in a ball of fire, taking 7 men of 1st Platoon with it.

Captain Vogelsang now ordered all her heavy weaponry to focus on the rapidly closing enemy Wraithknight. A curtain of lascannon, plasma cannon, plasma gun and even krak grenade fire from 2nd Platoon, the Executioner, the now-hovering Vendetta and Lt Ostermeier's platoon command squad converged on the monstrous constuct, hitting it repeatedly as pieces of elegant alien wraithbone chipped and tore away from it. But still it advanced towards the Captain's position.

The Wraithknight opened fire on 2nd platoon, but the ruins provided ample cover, the alien energy beams pulverizing masonry instead of human flesh. 2nd Platoon opened up with defensive fire, but the massed lasfire simply bounced off the monstrous construct. The brave men braced themselves for the alien monster's charge - but none came. Quickly seizing the moment, Captain Vogelsang ordered the platoon to Bring It Down! and concentrated lascannon and plasma gun fire blew the hideous thing apart.

Meanwhile, Ministorum Priest Ehrhardt found himself fighting alone as the last of his conscript charges were hewn by the alien undead constructs. He feared not, for his soul had already been prepared for the Emperor's cusp. Raising his chainsword and streaming unending hymnals to the Emperor's glory, Ehrhardt prepared to fight to his death.

Then suddenly, silently, the enemy Wraithguard fell back.

The surviving Eldar - 2 Wraithlords, 3 Guardians, 7 Wraithguard and a Wave Serpent - simply broke off contact and escaped into the surrounding woods, leaving no trace of their prescense, save for the dead and broken machinery.

Captain Vogelsang wiped of the blood that was still oozing on her brow. The enemy had been defeated. She and her beloved Schutzen had emerged victorious. Truly, none can best Guardsmen with the Emperor's blessing behind him. And without a single trace of emotion showing on her face, she ordered immediate status reports from her officers. The Emperor Protects. But it's up to her to make sure 3rd Company survives.

 This was the Spoils of War mission from Maelstrom of War. Again, I find the Maelstrom missions really satisfying tactically, and rarely is a game decided early. It's always possible to pull a victory off a defeat. And vice versa. This game was an exception though, and perhaps largely because this is only Dom's second game with his brand-new Iyanden, so he's still learning the Eldar ropes with one of the most difficult Eldar army to play. Importantly, we both had a great time with this game, both vowing to crush the other in a return match. For this game, I decided to use some models which I haven't used in a long time - the Sentinels, and the Hellhound. And I must say I love 'em! Especially the Hellhound. Maybe next time I'll field 2 of those :)

Keep them dice rolling.