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!

IMG_0653(the tiles are currently wip but we were too excited not to play a game on them!)

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.

Dicing with Death – Assault on Lapladia

Just before Christmas we ran an event themed around the forge world of Lapladia, owned by the maverick Magos Dominus S4nt4r. It was a fun event and awesome to get our gaming group together for some drinks and games. Here is some fluff on the event along with some pictures of the games.

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Both Traitors and Loyalists descended upon Laplandia, intent on claiming the planet and it’s resources for their respective sides. The loyalist forces claimed the initial beachead, furiously slaughtering traitor deployment elements, forcing the warmasters forces to a more hazardous dropzone further from the polar city. The Loyalists took the initial advantage.

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As fighting continued, both forces driving towards the polar city, the traitors sought revenge. Their fury was unmatched and the loyalist forces suffered catastrophically.

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Finally, the forces reached the inner polar city. The Iron IVth and betrayed sorcerers of Prospero formed a defensive line on the western flank, and despite the withering attacks of the Fists of Dorn and the Emperors Angels, the traitor line held.

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Meanwhile, the Sons of Angron and Emperors Children faced off against the Emperors Wolves, with the losses of previous fighting delaying the main Raven Guard force. The Wolves charged violently into the traitors guns, and a savage trick played out via the Perfect legion, delivering annihilation upon the Emperors Executioners.

The Raven Guard forces arrived in haste, and wrecked havoc upon the traitor lines in furious vengeance but alas, it was too late. Both sides took horrendous losses, however Dorn deemed the loss to great, and ordered his forces to fall back. The Traitors had taken a foothold in the Thirteen Realms and gained a staging point to push forward onto the Loyalist homeworld of Chogoris and Nocturne…

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The Doom of Ieriche

Hey everyone, we decided to link some of our games together into a campaign setting. We wanted to create a bit of interest in our games and to introduce some other narrative elements and special rules. The plan is to use the rules for running a campaign from Book 4 and adapt them a little bit to suit our purposes. We’re mainly looking forward to including war zone traits, strategic objectives and such as well as building some new fluff for our characters. This is campaign is just for fun and just between us.

Here is a brief bit of background to the planet and the ensuing conflict:

‘The bright banners of the 233rd Hoyuke-Chata Fusiliers cracked in the wind as the regiment stood to attention along the trench network which wove its way through the outskirts of Eurbelhive. Bunkers stood at strategic points along the trenches, housing the regiment’s heavy weapons and command elements. It was a resplendent force; their uniforms were a bloody crimson and deep turquoise and the sun gleamed off helmets that had been carefully polished. It was hard to miss such a colourful force stationed amongst the mud, gunmetal, and discarded corpses.

That was the point.

The 233rd did not realise that they were bait. They did not even realise that they were actually fighting for Horus.

Two years before the outbreak of the Heresy the Emperor’s Children had brought Ieriche into compliance.  Ieriche is the fourth planet orbiting binary orange giants. It was a world of relative importance, being designated a low level staging world for sub-expeditionary level resupply. The only inhabited world in the system, two of its moons are mined for valuable resources used in the city sized manufactories on the planet, with the other two moons turned over to defence. These are fitted with large defence cannons, long-range detection scanners and thousands of armed security. Fulgrim himself had accepted the Governor’s surrender and in a theatrical display of magnanimity allowed the man to continue his rule. Several regiments of Hoyuke-Chata Fusiliers were left behind to ensure he stayed loyal to the Imperium.

Ieriche had been cut off from astropathic communication and so were entirely unaware of the events of the Isstvan system. When ‘the Andronicus’ entered real space at the edge of the system they were welcomed as returning heroes. Lord Commander Eidolon himself came planet-side and told with tearful eyes how the Emperor had been betrayed. He told them how Ferrus Manus, ever jealous of Horus’ command and his bond with the Emperor, had turned from the Imperium and corrupted Corax and Vulkan to his cause. He said that even now Corax was coming to this system to hunt down all those who had stayed loyal to the Emperor.

Eidolon could barely keep a straight face as the Governor and ruling elite of Ieriche fell for this lie. Outraged at such betrayal they immediately turned Ieriche to a war footing and vast networks of defence lines were constructed around the hives, to help in the coming war against who they thought were traitors of the Imperium.

Instead they were being used to draw the Raven Guard into a trap. Emboldened by taking the Perfect Fortress and supported by an influx of recruits thanks to the work in Ravendelve, the Raven Guard had begun to strike back at the exposed rear of the traitor advance. Horus had approved Eidolon’s plan to draw the shadowy legion out and destroy them for real.

The thought of such carnage, and having the Raven Guard kill imperial army men who were loyal to the Emperor swelled Eidolon’s heart. At the right time in the battle his force of Emperor’s Children would swoop down in a pincer and crush the Raven Guard.

Today was going to be a good day.’

We played our first game planet-side over the weekend which was great fun, expect a written up report over the next couple of days. The plan is to mix it up, planning large scale operations as well as centurion level games and Zone Mortalis to represent the fighting around the moon bases.

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