Generals Corner – Raven Guard Tactics. Part 1- Decapitation Strike Force

I have been playing the Raven Guard since I started playing 30k which was shortly after the release of Betrayal at Calth. The legion specific rules grabbed me straight away as did their reliance on infantry, drop pods, fliers, infiltrators and jump infantry.

I have collected about 9000 points of the mighty XIXth legion and have played many, many games against a variety of opponent’s. I have also used many different rites of war, however my favourite and probably the one I have the most success with is Decapitation Strike Force.

So here we go, this is my view on the rite of war and how I normally use it.

Let’s first take a look at what the rite of war actually does.

Benefits:
For Whom The Bell Tolls: Legion Astartes Raven Guard gain the preferred enemy independent character special rule – THIS RULE IS HUGE! With the new faq ruling that it affects the independent characters unit not just the independent character themselves it makes deathstars a little less scary and plasma guns even more devastating.

Fury From Above: Tactical squads, tactical support squads, heavy support squads and seeker squads can take a drop pod as a dedicated transport. In addition deathstorm drop pods can be taken in elite and heavy support slots – This rule is one of the main reasons we take this rite of war. Podded plasma’s yes please.

Predatory Strike: Rerolling to see who goes/deploys first – this helps tailor the game to our armies play style, if we want to go first then we have more of a chance.

Limitations:
Only one heavy support slot – this is a big one so if you are going to take a heavy support slot make it count. I normally stick in a leviathan, but also sometimes use an infiltrating support squad with lascannons.

Only one consul – this is also a serious drawback as it means you really have to think about what consul your army will benefit the most from. In my opinion you can never go wrong with a Chaplain, but I also love using the dual plasma pistol Moritat.

Cannot take fortifications or allied space marine legion detachments – again this rule sucks but you can still ally with mechanicum, militia or solar.


Lets crack on with my top tips for using Decapitation Strike Force

Tip 1 – to pod or not to pod
Well the main thought I have when making a Decapitation Strike list is whether to use drop pods or not. I know one of the main benefits of taking this rite of war is gaining drop pods as dedicated transports for some units, however in my experience running Decapitation Strike is all about synergy and having a fast paced army that hits before the enemy can unload all of their fire power.

That can 100% be accomplished with an entire drop pod army, raining down from the skies and striking deep in the heart of enemy lines. That being said, I love using jump infantry (they gain furious charge from Astartes Raven Guard and they are fast). I normally run two 15 man assault squads in combination with a two or three drop pods (which normally carry my support squads in). I find that the drop pods coming down turn 1 distracts my opponent from my assault squads just long enough to let them get into combat more or less unscathed. 

What to put in your drop pods?
Well I normally put a 10 man plasma squad in one drop pod, a 5 man melta squad  in another and then a tactical squad in a third.  The basic idea is that the melta team and tactical squad come down first and put pressure on the enemy by either destroying a dreadnought/vehicle without armoured ceremite or claiming a key objective. Then turn two my lightning and plasma team will come into play. The lightning will aim to blow up that pesky enemy spartan and the plasma team will roast what ever is inside. Normally using this tactic, my opponents big deathstar is normally not a threat anymore by turn 3, which leaves my jump infantry free to take on the enemies squishier units.

The other great way to use drop pods is to control the battlefield. Drop pods block line of sight, limit enemy movement and are just a general thorn in your opponents side. I normally try and stick a pod in front of  vehicle to block one of its guns or in front of an objective. Anything just to slow down enemy units and make them play to my game.

That is my main tactic when using drop pods in Decapitation Strike, my aim is literally to Decapitate the enemy force in the opening turns of the game. It relies on a lot of synergy between two or three key units, but the most important thing is how this tactic is supported, which leads me nicely onto tip 2…

Tip 2 – have some boots on the ground
In a list that focuses on the use of drop pods there needs to be some board presence turn one. Maybe something that can lay down some ranged fire power, or some infiltrating units that hug cover to wait for the right moment to make themselves known or just some units deployed normally to move up and support the drop pods when they come down.

This tip might not be for everyone as people like to run all drop pods or put different units in drop pods. If that is the case then you may find that your units are survivable enough without the need for some additional boots on the ground. However in my experience it is always useful to have a couple of units on the board turn 1 to either distract units away from your drop pods as they come down or to weaken the enemy forces so your podded units have an easier time.

There is no right way to do this but I sometimes use a 5 man lascannon team to soften up enemy vehicles as my drop pods are coming in, along with my assault squads which will get into combat quickly and reduce some of the enemies fire power. 

Last point I will add to this, there is no way to express the importance of infiltrating units in drop pod heavy armies. The fact that we can have both drop pods and infiltrators in this rite of war is something no other legion can do. It means we can get key units into position ready for when our drop pods come down which is not to be underestimated. 

It is also funny to go first and then not have deploy a single model because everything is deep striking or infiltrating. That way we can tailor our deployment to counter our opponents and still have the luxury of going first.

Tip 3 – prepare to take a beating
This tip is more of an observation from my experience running Decapitation Strike, but it might not be everyone’s experience.
I have found that I normally get peppered until all my drop pods, fliers and reserves have come on the board. After about turn 2 or 3 that is where I start to make real progress and cause real damage to my opponents army. So don’t be disheartened if your army takes an absolute spanking on turn 1.

Tip 4 – Fliers and speeders are your friends
In my armies, whether I run Decapitation Strike or not, I always take a flier. The reason for this is normally to add a bit of depth to the army but also because I am a big fan of planes. Normally an opponent will bring only one form of anti air which means if I target the threat with my turn 1 drop pods my flier can spend the rest of the game pretty much unhindered.

I normally always take a lightning to fill the role of anti spartan/heavy armour. This for me is key in a drop pod heavy army as most podded anti armour is either short range or will need to snap shoot if it moves.

Speeders whether they are javelins or regular land speeders are also not to be overlooked in a Decapitation Strike army. I find that outflanking Javelins enables me to out manoeuvre enemy light vehicles and help support my army as it gets into position.

My armies fast attack slots are normally filled with a squad of two missile Javelins, a Lightning and a squad of Dark Furies. The combination gives me an incredible amount of mobile fire power that balances well with my combat focused Dark Furies and Assault Squads.

Tip 5 – who should lead my army
In a drop pod heavy army, Strike Captain Alvarex Maun is a must! He is not very survivable or killy but his army wide buffs help bring all of the different units in the Decapitation Strike together and ties the army off with a nice little bow.

The reason he is so good is due to his warlord trait, his Bleeding Edge special rule and his Night Fall Pattern Strato-Vox. 

Warlord Trait (Co-ordinated Planet Strike):
Maun can reroll reserve rolls for fliers and drop pods – This is important as most of our units will either be drop pods or fliers. It just helps get our units on the board as fast and reliably as possibly.

Bleeding Edge:
If Maun starts the game deployed on the board the army can reroll their seize the initiative roll. – This is another important rule that allows us to dictate the flow of the game.
If Maun starts the game in a drop pod or flier with the deep strike special rule then he automatically comes in turn 2. – This rule is less important and I very rarely put him in a vehicle but I can see its uses.

Night Fall Pattern Strato-Vox:
Units arriving via deep strike within 18″ of Maun do not scatter and units arriving via deep striking vehicles gain the counter attack special rule on the turn they arrive. – This lovely piece of equipment allows us to put our pods where we need them and gives them a little bit more punch if they end up getting charged.

Maun is very fragile, with 2+ armour and no invulnerable save he will die quickly if he is on his own.  I normally attach him to a Mor Deythan squad and infiltrate him into a position where his 18″ bubble is most useful.

Tip 6 – target priority
This tip is fairly self explanatory and has been touched on in the previous tips. However I think the two main things to target when taking the Decapitation Strike rite of war are:

  • Anything that has interceptor – so our units don’t get shot off the board as soon as they arrive. I will try to use sniper Mor Deythan to precision shoot apothecaries with augury scanners early on in the game.
  • Anti Air – normally I will use my 5 man melta squad in a drop pod to try to take out any Mortis Dreadnoughts or Deredeos so that my Lightning can come on relatively unchallenged.

As with all other things in a dice game, the whole concept of being able to prioritise targets is somewhat unreliable. So normally I will go for the mentioned targets first and then will try to focus on other threats on the board as they present themselves.  The best thing about playing an alpha strike army whether its using drop pods, infiltrators, fliers or jump pack infantry is that  you will be up in your opponents face really quickly and hopefully that way they will panic and make less tactical decisions as they try and push you back.




There you have it!
My top tips on how to run the Decapitation Strike rite of war.

Happy decapitating!

Tom

Dok’s Shop – Vengeance for Istvaan V

Hi everyone, we thought it was time to show off our latest joint project – loyalist daemons. Now we know this is a contraversial topic but stick with us, we think we have a pretty good justification…

Back in early February Tom and I attended part 3 of the Sundering of Fortis II event put on by our friends Curtis and Grant. This was a doubles event and each pair could bring a free centurion model worth up to 150pts. Tom and I spent a while thinking what consul we could bring as we wanted to do something that stood out. We eventually settled on one of the new centurion types from book 8: the Esoterist.

For those of you who aren’t familiar, the Esoterist is a psyker who specialises in demonology (both banishing and summoning daemons). They fit right in with the traitor legions but it’s a bit tricker for loyalists.

Having settled on an Esoterist we then needed to come up with fluff for him and how to justify loyalist daemons. During the Horus Heresy daemons were more creatures of raw emotion than the settled looks that we know from 40k. Really anything can be a daemon so long as it is on the right base size!

Our idea came partly from the scene in Master of Mankind where the ghosts of marines (and Ferrus Manus) come to the loyalists’ aid. We thought it would be cool to have our Esoterist as a Iron Hand faced with the betrayal and death at Istvaan V unleashed his suppressed psychic abilities and brought forth daemons. These daemons, taking cues from the strong emotions in the esoterist, appeared in the form of the dead of the loyalist legions seeking vengance for their betrayal.

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We wanted to convert lesser daemons, brutes and a greater daemon to cover the various powers in malefic daemonology. The lesser daemons and the brutes were really easy to convert; we just built marines normally and then applied lots of battle damage.

Bullet holes are super easy to do, all you need is a drill bit and a hobby knife. Simply drill a small hole and then use the knife to expand the hole and make it look less regular. You can do multiple bullet holes next to each other to look like the marine was hit by someone rapid firing.

The greater daemon was a harder choice, as we wanted the model to have enough height and bulk that it could realistically be a greater daemon. We also didn’t want it to just be a monster after all it was supposed to be loyalist! Tom then had the cool idea of having a bunch of models on the base, rather than just one big model. This could then represent the spirit of the Great Crusade; everyone working together and mankind victorious over the Xenos. We bought some Custodes and Sisters of Silence models cheaply and then added some militia and solar guys leftover from our other projects.

Painting wise it was super quick. The models were sprayed with Grey Seer and then washed with Hexwraith Flame and Nighthaunt Gloom, allowing them to mix randomly across the models. This gave them an etherial look rather than being solid creatures.

When it came to basing we thought it would be cool to have half of the base blackened and cracked to represent the corrupting effect of the ghosts. They might be fighting for the loyalists but they are still daemons after all!

Overall the project was a fun one for us and we feel we managed to create a unique themed force. It can be used as an allied detachment in its own right, but most of the time will just be used for some fluffy summoning.

What do you all think? Did we pull off loyalist daemons?

Jamie and Tom

Muster the Militia!

So all three of us have signed up to a horus heresy militia event later this year. There’s only one slight problem with this plan…. I don’t currently have a single militia model! But now marks the start of a new project!

This section of the blog will chart my progress from never playing a single game with militia to playing a fully painted 1500 point list at a heresy event! I’ve played plenty heresy against solar and militia lists, just not with my own militia force.

My main challenge for this is the fact I’m quite a slow painter, I’ve received a lot of abuse from the other MSE boys for how long its taken to paint up all my salamanders! But I’m feeling super motivated for this project. Plus the event is a hard deadline that I can’t miss!

So let’s get stuck in….

My inspiration for this list is the new enforcer models. I love the look of them and wanted to experiment with making a whole army of them. My plan is to run an elite list of mechanised infantry and that way I have a cool themed list but also a realistic number of models to paint in the short time frame!

Please join me on this journey! Your advice and feedback will be much appreciated.

Stu

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The first purchases to get this army started!

 

Dok’s Shop – Militia Land Speeders

Developed by Arkan Land primarily for the Legiones Astartes, land speeders were also used by the fledgling Imperial Army.

Expensive and difficult to maintain, they were reserved for the more prestigious outfits who had the contacts to field them in large numbers. One such force was the Byzant Janizars.

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When the Byzant Dominate was absorbed into the Imperium after the Siege of Byzant Alpha, they gained the support of the Mechanicum and their supply chain. The Emperor gifted several companies of land speeders to the Janizars, thinking they might suit the Janizar’s method of warfare.

He was right.

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The Byzant Janizars adopted these skimmers wholeheartedly, using them as mobile gun platforms to support the infantry’s advance and to help in patrolling the vast expanse of the Mediterranean Dust Bowl. They were equipped with a variety of weapons to suit any opponent, though their preferred load out was plasma weaponry. Although volatile and prone to accidents, the risks were worth it in the mega conflicts of the Horus Heresy. Their goal was to inflict as much damage as possible before the inevitable return of fire. 

The Byzant Janizars were extremely gifted and known for their ability to weave through all but the heaviest incoming fire. It was even rumoured that Janizar pilots were amongst those settled on the newly compliant world of Glavia.

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I was originally planning on running land speeders as ‘count as’ sentinels in my army to fit the theme of only having skimming vehicles. The only problem was it didn’t quite feel right so I put off making any. When I saw the Mournival Events additional units had militia land speeders I immediately went ahead and built the unit up.

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They currently are equipped with plasma guns and cannons but I’m planning on magnetising the weapons so I can equip them a variety of ways. I feel the militia list lacks mobile AP2 options, so these guys are going to be my terminator hunters. They pack a serious punch when they shoot but with only 2 hull points each and Gets Hot they’re prone to blowing themselves up as much as the enemy!

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The conversions themselves weren’t too tricky, its mainly a mix of the land speeder and sentinel kits. The hardest part was cutting away the space marine legs that are attached to the seats on the land speeder and replacing them with the sentinel pilots. The sentinel kit comes with plenty of weapon options and I had some plasma guns left over from the plastic heresy marines. I used the hooded heads from the Wildwood rangers rather than my normal converted Byzant Janizar helmets. In my fluff, they’re wearing some sort of sand scarf to protect them whilst patrolling through the Mediterranean Dust Bowl. Plus I thought their usual high helmets would be a bit impractical on the speeders!

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Overall I’m happy with how they look; they’re a fun fluffy unit that feels right at home amongst the Byzant Janizars.

Jamie

Dicing with Death – the Swamps of Voggo

We played a couple of games using some of our new jungle terrain. It blocks line of sight really well and we are working on a lot more pieces to create a really dense board. The jungle pieces mix nicely with the rest of our terrain which is really handy for mixing and matching and giving us more variety.

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Records show that in early 008.M31 the planet of Voggo declared for the Warmaster and was rewarded with a garrison of veteran Byzant Janizars. The steamy jungles and swamps of this planet housed large raw promethium deposits ripe for mining. Voggo was therefore a strategically important world despite its size and position to the galactic north. It needed to be protected.

Shadow-captain Kraai took his talon to Voggo to distrupt supply lines for the traitors marching on Holy Terra. Their first strike destroyed the astropathic station, rendering the planet unable request help. In a masterful campaign over the next few months the Raven Guard systematically picked apart the Janizar units and forced them into an ever diminishing pocket of control. With no choice left, the commander of the Byzant Janizars decided to force a break out at what he thought was the weakest point in the Raven Guard lines. Little did he know this was all part of their plan…

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Commander Mahzun ordered his less mobile infrantry and artillery to hold the line whilst the core of his infantry attempted the break out. The Janizars raised their guns and shell after shell landed amongst the Raven Guard lines. Despite the blistering fusillade, many of the shots fell wide of their mark, such was the panic of the men and women firing. 

The Raven Guard moved up in response. Whilst the tacical squads took cover behind disused pipes and began targetting the militia infantry, Honoured Brother Yiraka barrelled through the undergrowth, aiming for the ostentatious plumes of Commander Mahzun. Seeing the metallic giant running toward his lines, Mahzun smiled and uttered a single word in the language of Old Byzant:

“Katletmek”

The Ogryd Arco-Flagellanti with him twitched. Stimm pipes and chem neutralisers in their bodies kicked in and these gaints sprung forward with weapons cracking and mouths frothing. Headless of their own safety, their only objective was to kill anything threatening their master. The six giants slammed into the dreadnought and, although Yiraka was able to kill several beasts, he was brought down by the great power mauls of meteoric steel grafted in place of the hands of some Ogryds.

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The Janizar’s sense of victory was short lived as the dreadnought Kynaeus mercilessly gunned down the surviving Ogryds with his kheres. Just then the sky overhead seemed to blacken and, with a sound like thunder, the Raven Guard destroyers arrived.

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Particularly feared on Voggo, these marines had committed several acts of virulent genocide on the workforce of the planet. Before the militia squad could even react to their arrival, the destroyers opened fire. With cold efficiency they unleashed their payload and the Janizars were left a pile of rad-sickened corpses.

Demir Umudu, the Byzant Janizar demolisher, had continued its steady advance, firing shots as it moved that knocked out the Raven Guard javelins and tactical squad. Recognising this vehicle as the real threat, Kraai ordered Kynaeus to take it out. Running forward Kynaeus shoulder barged the tank, flipping it over to expose its weak underside. Gearing up his assault cannons, he shot through the hull until the vehicle exploded in a fireball.

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Watching his army fall to pieces Mahzun realised the breakout was now impossible and the day was lost. Not wanting to die in ignomy and hoping to take out the enemy leader in a last act of defiance, he lifted his ancestral axe and raised it towards Kraai. The Shadow-captain answered and, with a burst of his jetpack, charged into combat. The supernatural speed of Kraai was impossible for Mahzun to counter and he was brutally cut down in short order.

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With that the battle was over. Soon after the traitor grip on this planned collapsed when the governor was assassintated by Kraai’s Mor Deythan. The planet’s supply of promethium would now be helping the loyalist cause…

We played the Noose mission from Book 6 with my militia having to escape whilst Tom’s Raven Guard tried to stop us. This was always going to be tricky as my militia are very static and immobile but it was fun watching them be on the offensive and the Raven Guard on the defensive for a change! End result was a clear victory for the Raven Guard but I’ve learned more lessons about how best to play my militia and have a couple of more fast moving reinforcements inbound.

Jamie

General’s Corner – Sky Hunter Phalanx

Today I thought I would do a post covering a favourite RoW of mine and one you don’t see very often on the board, the Sky Hunter Phalanx. I run it with my Emperor’s Children and it plays really differently; it has such a unique feel to it and your opponents will struggle to know how to deal with it!

IMG_20190218_175106_400.jpgHow your opponent will feel being chased down by all the jetbikes

In this post I will share some of my tips and tactics that I have found in the various games I’ve played with it, and as of a couple of weekends ago, against it!

Tip 1: Your troops

In putting together your troop squads of jetbikes, I much prefer smaller squads than bigger ones. It is tempting to go with big squads of jetbikes with well equipped sergeants and heavy weapons but I would suggest keeping it simple. I normally run 4 squads of 3 bikes with melta bombs on everyone and 1 volkite culverin.

IMG_20190214_172809_825.jpgAll the bikes I run in my list. The core of any sky hunter phalanx is a solid base of jetbikes.

My justification for this is three fold. Firstly, smaller squads are easier to jink without the same loss of firepower. If you have a squad of six jetbikes and then jink, that is way more guns hitting on a 6 than there needs to be. Secondly, smaller squads are much more flexible and can move around the board easier. They are able to hold more objectives and can’t all be targeted at once. Finally, taking weapons like plasma and multi-meltas in your troop squads not only restricts firing options but makes you second guess jinking. A multi-melta is a great anti-tank weapon, but it is only 1 shot and, if you target a tank with it, the rest of the heavy bolters cannot do anything and so are wasting their shooting phase. The same goes with plasma cannons, which are deadly against elite infantry, but cannot shoot once you’ve jinked. The 4+ cover save from jink is so useful, and you should be jinking whenever you can. By contrast volkite culverins are excellent anti infantry weapons like heavy bolters and have more shots so jinking does not affect them so much.

I think multi-meltas and plasma cannons are much better in the heavy weapon jetbike squads (and I run 5 man teams of both). This allows them to focus on their respective roles, and by jumping off the board they can limit the risk of having to jink, and therefore snapshoot the next turn.

Tip 2: Avoid combat!

I have found that spending a lot of points on squad sergeants never works as well as you’d like in a sky hunter list. Playing Emperor’s Children this is doubly so, where you can really get caught out in a challenge if you aren’t careful.

IMG_20190714_163729.jpgWhat happens when you land danger close and fail to destroy your target, these land speeders really don’t want to be there and didn’t last much longer than when the picture was taken!

The fun thing about the sky hunter list is the mobility and flexibility of your army. To make the most of this you really don’t want to be bogged down at any point, and certainly not in combat. Additionally you can’t jink in combat, so if you end up against any unit with AP2 weapons they will just delete you.

IMG_20190218_175106_399.jpgThis is what happens if you drop a flyer into hover mode without thinking it through properly!

Tip 3: Target priority is key

As your army will be relatively small and elite, every shot counts and so you should make sure your army is working as efficiently as it needs to be. Basically interceptor is the natural enemy of this list and will make your shenanigans much more difficult (and deadly) to pull off. Any unit with interceptor should always be your first priority!

IMG_20190428_170436.jpgFire raptors are amazing at being able to tackle multiple targets at once. I would say they are a must have in a sky hunter phalanx list

Just a heads up, the Sicaran Arcus is the worst. With its 8 shots, interceptor and forcing you to re-roll jink saves (which is super deadly as all your vehicles are skimmers/flyers) it will tear your army to pieces if you are not careful. If you come up against an arcus, it should be your priority and the first thing you destroy. Other things to watch out for are weapons which ignore cover, and heavy weapon teams with an augury scanner.

Tip 4: Have some infantry

It is a good idea to have some infantry in your list, either in anvillus pods or storm eagles. Whilst your jetbikes are tough (T5 and 2+), it is an elite list and so each casualty is keenly felt. I think it is useful having some units with a bit more bulk to them, and some variety of equipment.

IMG_20190428_151308.jpgThe heat blast from an anvillus is a fun bonus when arriving, as is being able to adjust your position once you’ve landed

This is also the perfect place to include some combat punch. I usually run a unit of palatine blades with Fulgrim and a chaplain in an anvillus in 3k games. I have also seen terminators used which is another great choice on account of their 2+ armour. Another option would be veterans who can hold objectives and unleash a lot of firepower when they land.

Something I’m considering taking, and will let you know how it goes in game, is a tactical support squad with plasma guns in an anvillus. The goal with these guys will be to neutralise enemy deathstars/get in my opponent’s back line and cause some trouble.

Tip 5: Don’t forget jumping off the board

It may be an obvious point, but one of the perks of the rite of war is being able to jump your jetbikes off the board and enter ongoing reserve with outflank. I cannot overstate how useful this rule is in most situations. I generally suggest going second if you plan to make maximum use of this, as tabling only occurs at the end of the game turn, not player turn. This means you can jump your jetbikes off safe in the knowledge that they will arrive next turn and you cannot be tabled.

In objective missions this comes in handy as you can jump off with your troop bikes the second to last turn of the game and then arrive in your final turn right on objectives. If you go second this will be the final turn of the game and so your opponent cannot do anything about it. This is especially good in Shatter Strike, where you get VPs for getting into your opponent’s deployment zone. 

IMG-20190318-WA0003.jpgArriving from outflank helps put you exactly where you need to be

It is also really good for units like the heavy support squads, who are able to arrive right next to their targets thanks to outflank. This allows multi-melta squads to arrive in the side/rear of vehicles to help with taking them out and avoiding any flare shields.

A fun tactic is outflanking troop jetbike squads behind enemy tanks and using their heavy bolters/volkite culverins to target the rear of tanks. This can be deadly on vehicles based on the rhino chassis as their rear armour is usually 10. I have wrecked many vehicles using this tactic and it is always a surprise to my opponents!

My normal list (2k):

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I hope this has been useful, if you have any other tips/tricks it would be awesome to hear them!

Jamie

Horus Heresy Throne of Skulls Doubles – Part 2

As promised here is a follow-up post talking through each of the games we played over the course of the weekend.

Game 1 – vs Raven Guard and Iron Warriors

Mission: Dominion.

Deployment: Hammer and Anvil.

This was a really fun game, the Iron Warriors had a lot of artillery including a minotaur (which was ace to see on the battlefield) and the Raven Guard were all deploying from reserves/outflanking. Luckily for us with so many troops on the board we were able to deploy near a couple of objectives and hold onto them by the skin of our teeth! Our infantry took an absolute battering from their guns but we had too many for them to shake off in time.

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The Raven Guard player was very unlucky in his reserve rolls which helped us a lot as they were unable to arrive in enough numbers to overwhelm us at once. The poor autocannon squad got butchered by a tactical squad in a rhino and the leman russ got destroyed by their contemptor but our opponents were unable to match our scoring units.

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End result was a win for the 216th Expeditionary fleet! Our opponents were absolutely cracking guys, really good fun to play against, we couldn’t have asked for a better opening to the tournament.

Game 2 – vs Mechanicum and Mechanicum 

Mission: War of Lies.

Deployment: Dawn of War.

Neither of us had played mechanicum before and it showed in this game. We struggled to do much damage to their automata as we were systematically pulled apart by our opponents. The plasma mortar on the Thanatar is insanely good! Our heavy weapon teams were targeted early on and destroyed which meant we were lacking the necessary heavy firepower to make a dent in their army.

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My militia couldn’t even harm the Castellax as their lasguns were only s3! Our opponents used their list very effectively and we ended up with just artillery carriages on the board by the end. We didn’t really need to roll to see what the objectives were worth, as it was clear that we had lost the game. It was still good fun though, and we definitely learned lessons about the importance of protecting our heavy weapon teams!

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Games 3 – vs Iron Warriors and Sons of Horus

Mission: Tide of Carnage.

Deployment: Clash of the line.

Our opponents had brought a really interesting list, with the Sons of Horus being just 1 unit of Justaerin, a unit of veterans, a spartan and Horus himself. The deployment zone hampered us as we barely fitted our combined army in!

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The Iron Warriors managed to roll infiltrate for their warlord trait and deployed two contemptors right near our lines which hurt! Horus landed amongst our lines and the battle became a race between running our infantry squads up the board to take battlefield zones and trying to take down Horus. By the end of the game we got him down to 1 wound but just could not quite take him down.

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In the end the game came down to a single dice roll. One squad of Saoghal infantry were 6″ from our opponent’s deployment zone and, if they could run and make it in we would stop them scoring and win us the game. The dice took a long time to settle but came up a 6! So with a bit of luck we managed to win this game. We learned a lot about how immobile our army actually is though, with so many heavy support squads we struggled to get out of our deployment zone.

Game 4 – vs Death Guard and Iron Warriors

Mission: Onslaught.

Deployment: Vanguard Strike.

We were paired against a couple of good friends in this game which made it really fun. The Iron Warriors had a Sicaran Punisher which posed a serious threat to our poor infantry, taking it out was a priority. Our artillery was systematically targeted by our opponents in an attempt to force them to flee/destroy them. This proved very effective and we were unable to put out as much firepower as we needed.

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Despite looking cool my ogryns continued their trend of not really doing anything! They failed a couple of key charges and kept getting shot in the face by a neutron beam laser. By the end of the game the board was full of brutal combats between marine and militia, with both sides properly butchered. Sadly we ran out of time to see whether either of us could grab the dominion objectives, and having worked out victory points it came out a draw.

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A particular favourite moment of ours was the vexilla bearer from the grenadier squad who managed to take down astartes with his weaponised shovel. He is definitely in line to get some medals next time they are handed out!

Game 5 – vs Dark Angels and Ultramarines

Mission: Shatter Strike.

Deployment: Search and Destroy.

What a game to end the weekend on! We were up against a gorgeous Ravenwing list and a brutal artillery focused Ultramarine list. Our opponents were super nice guys and it was a fun game even though we got steadily blown of the board! Jetbikes with acid rounds are really nasty as, thanks to fleshbane, they were wounding our artillery on 2s which really hurt!

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The Dark Angels praetor was excited about the prospect of facing off against some beasts in the shape of the ogryns and proceeded to butcher them in a single round of combat. His moment was cut short when a medusa shell landed on his face and blew him up! The ultramarine leviathan was nasty, he just cut through so many militia men as he steadily advanced up the table and by the end we had nothing which really could harm it.

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By the end of the game we only had my basilisk and the Saoghal warlord on the board so another loss. It was such a fun game though and had several cinematic moments in it.

Overall Result

So with 2 wins, 1 draw and 2 losses out of 5 games we were pretty happy with our performance. We ended up ranking 5/66 teams which was amazing! Our lists definitely need tweaking and I think if we had been able to squeeze some practice games in we might have changed some bits around. We severely lacked mobility which definitely didn’t help.

I did buy a thunderbolt from the forge world store and am sorely tempted by an arvus, so expect to see some faster units amongst the Janizars sometime soon…

J

Horus Heresy Throne of Skulls Doubles – Part 1

Two of us attended the Throne of Skulls doubles over the weekend and it was an absolute blast! We played 5 really fun games against great opponents. It was heresy at its best! I promise we will do a write up of each of our games but for now we thought we would show you something else.

We ran a dual militia list called the 216th Expeditionary Fleet comprised of the Byzant Janizars and the Saoghal Siege Regiment. For the tournament you had to bring along copies of your list for your opponents. We decided to also include some fluff about our units alongside our list for people to enjoy reading. Here is the fluff we wrote, let us know what you think!

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The Doom of Ieriche – Battle for Station Alpha-Alpha-0001

Hi everyone! A while back we said we were going to link some of our games together into a campaign to raise the narrative levels of our games. Well we have finally done so! We present to you War Zone: Ieriche

Ieriche Tactical Map

This campaign uses the rules from black book 4, we are using 4 strategic objectives and have 4 reserve points each (so the campaign will run for a total of 8 games). The rules are really simple to use and are great for adding a little extra detail to our games. The whole war zone has the Ferocious Storms special rule whilst each of the strategic objectives have additional rules. There is a risk of going over the top with these rules, so we have been careful to keep the extra stuff to a minimum. If this campaign goes well, we’re considering running one with our gaming group so fingers crossed!

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On Saturday we played our first game; the Raven Guard won the roll off and chose to fight on Orbital Station Alpha-Alpha 0001. This station was named when the planetary governor was so sure of Ieriche’s post-compliance prosperity that he believed they would need vast numbers of orbital stations and defence platforms. Sadly Ieriche’s history didn’t prove him right, and Alpha-Alpha 0001 was the only station every built. We decided to play 1,500 points of ZM plus a primarch. Here are our armies:

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It was a very intense game, with the Raven Guard choosing to deploy right next to the Emperor’s Children.

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The Emperor’s Children had the first turn, and seized on the opportunity, rushing ahead with all speed whilst the two Contemptors took out the nearby doors. Corax jumped ahead of his men, keen to engage the dreadnoughts and tie them up, blocking the corridor for Fulgrim and his accompanying band of psychopaths. He failed his charge however, leaving him out in the open and in charging distance of he Phoenician. Few palatine blades could make it into the combat but it did not matter as in a single round Fulgrim brought Corax down to 1 wound.

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Corax fled the combat and charged in with his dark furies, but they were unable to dent the artificer armour of the palatine blades and were butchered in return.

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With the main combat units of the Raven Guard destroyed all was lost for the loyalists, who were forced to withdraw and cede control of the orbital station to the sons of the Phoenician. Round one of the battle for Ieriche went to the traitors.

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It was a really fun game even if the Raven Guard did end up getting tabled, things could have gone very differently if Corax had got his charge off turn one! This was only round one of eight in this campaign so keep an eye out for more games on the horizon.

Ieriche will fall, it just remains to be seen who will be left standing on its ashes…

(the image of the planet is edited from a screenshot taken whilst exploring the Space Engine program, for personal use in this campaign only. See http://spaceengine.org/ )

The Expedition to Iydris Part 3

It has been a while since we have posted hobby updates but we have all been making progress on our heresy armies. I’ve been working away on my mid-heresy Emperor’s Children, in particular the unit of Palatine Blades. As explained in previous posts many of these characters are based off individuals mentioned in the book Angel Exterminatus. I also have a unit of assault marines with sonic shriekers to add to the mid-heresy army.

The unit is finally finished and I’m really happy with the results; they clearly look heresy in their reinforced mk 4 armour but they also look like traitor and look like the degeneracy which plagued the legion has set in. I was concerned about the best way to get across the garish paint on their armour whilst still wanting to tie them into the rest of my Emperor’s Children army.

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I also finished my Chaplain, who is based off of the old Emperor’s Children Chaos Lord model, but I’ll do a post highlighting him in the future.

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Here is the first finished squad of kakophoni. I’ve run them in a few games and they’ve been pretty devastating (apart from when they’re blowing themselves up!!!) With these guys I used the colourshift paints from Greenstuff world to make their armour iridescent. I think it works really well as another way of representing the bold colours of the mid-heresy Emperor’s Children armour that is still clearly purple in its base.

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Once I’ve finished off the whole force I will post more pictures with some fluff behind all the units.