Dicing with Death – Sethurisia

Emperor’s Children 3rd Company ‘Cavalcade of Pain‘ vs Raven Guard 8th Talon

Antigonus unleashed his 3rd Company on the sub-sector, ordering them to cause havoc and misery wherever they went. In truth he had little control over the Cavalcade of Pain at the best of time, and it was better to factor their chaos and carnage into his wider strategy than try to leash the madmen.

Plunging into the sub-sector’s south, Phoceon, captain of the 3rd, razed every planet and orbital station he came across, and his force grew with each victory as more of the XXII Millennial fell to the excess.

Witnessing Phoceon’s trail of carnage, Kraai vowed to stop their rampage. Gathering his battalion’s destroyers, he knew that his best chance to kill the Emperor’s Children murderers was with his own genocidal madmen.

On Sethurisia the two sides met, with Kraai having sworn to remove the head of the snake and kill Phoceon by his own hand…

Hi everyone! With lockdown starting to ease Tom and I were able to meet for some Garden Hammer and scratch the warhammer itch again. It was also an opportunity to play test our online campaign system’s rules which was good fun (though we need to tweak the rules a bit).

Mission, lists and terrain

We played the Challenge mission from book 6 in a 2.5k centurion game. The primary objective of this mission is for each player’s warlord to kill the other either by shooting or close combat. This meant that, regardless of everything else that went on in the game, everything would come down to Phoceon and Kraai.

Tom ran the following force using the Destroyer Company rite of war from the Mournival Events rulebook. Of interest is the fact that all his dreadnoughts can take Phosphex Dischargers and his characters Rad Grenades. This makes them even nastier on the charge (thanks to Raven Guard jump units having furious charge they were wounding on 2s!!!).

Meanwhile I took the following 3rd Company Elite list. Built around a core of Kakophony, I was hoping to cause enough wounds to trigger their guns’ effect and explode the Raven Guard’s heads. The five man plasma cannon jetbike team were there to wipe units off the map, though they would have to work hard to earn their points back.

We decided to fight on Sethurisia, a death world in the Xyphos sub-sector home to all manner of exotic flora and fauna. This allowed us to use the jungle terrain I had built over lockdown and maximise the line of sight blocking terrain.

Battle report

The Emperor’s Children had the first turn but were unable to push the advantage thanks to the cover offered by Sethurisia’s jungle. Although they successfully managed to not kill themselves with Gets Hot rolls, the plasma jetbikes only took out one Dark Fury. Meanwhile the rest of the force advanced cautiously, aware that the Raven Guard were incredibly mobile thanks to their jump packs.

On their turn the Raven Guard opened fire with their entire arsenal of close-range weaponry with deadly effect. The contemptor-cortus’ phosphex dischargers were incredibly effective at thinning the Palatine Blade unit and managed to wipe out the entire jetbike squad with one shot. It was impressive to see a 30 point upgrade eradicate a 330 point unit!

From there it only went downhill for the Emperor’s Children, as they whiffed their shooting attacks and failed some key charges in their second turn. Kraai managed to manoeuvre himself for a charge in turn 2 and slammed into Phoceon and his Palatine Blades. He realised too late that Phoceon was equipped with divining claws manufactured by the finest artisans in the 3rd legion. Before Kraai could swing with his iconic executioner’s axe, Phoceon gutted his opponent and left him for dead.

With that the game was over as the Emperor’s Children warlord butchered the Raven Guard warlord by his own hand (well claws really). This outcome belied the absolute pounding the rest of the Emperor’s Children force suffered; in any other game the day would have been carried by the Raven Guard for sure!

Lessons learnt

The Destroyer Company rite of war is really good, being able to give characters Rad Grenades is tasty and helps break the marine vs marine deadlock that often happens.

Dreadnoughts being able to take Phosphex Dischargers is very nice. Although they cost 30 points each and are one use, the ability to drop 3 mini blasts with poisoned 3+ and AP2 is not to be sniffed at. Tom said they were the MVP in this battle for him.

When building his list Tom accidentally bought Rad Grenades for characters that already had them (mainly his Moritat and Destroyer Sergeants). Make sure to double check when building lists that you are not spending points where you do not need to.

Divining Blades are really good. Arguably too good.  I was losing the game big time until my praetor stepped up and butchered Kraai. Instant death on every wound is very strong, particularly when the weapon is +2 strength as well. I do not think I will take them again in a friendly game as there just is not a downside to them (unlike the rest of the Psyarkana relics).

Phoceon laughed as he was showered with Kraai’s blood. Around him the Emperor’s Children lay broken and beaten yet he tasted the sweet nectar of victory. Kraai had challenged him with so much arrogance and it had been divine to crush that in short order.

The Raven Guard had driven a wedge through his force with a brutality that had surprised even Phoceon. Utilising all manner of exotic and toxic weaponry they had cut through his men like wheat.

Despite their best efforts to stop his rampage, Phoceon couldn’t help but smile at the knowledge that the rad weaponry used by the so-called ‘loyalists’ would cause more damage to this planet that anything he could have done.  

“I think your master needs some help” Phoceon gurgled through cracked lips at the surrounding Dark Furies before activating his teleport transponder and returning to his ship in orbit.

Let the planet belong to the Raven Guard, the moment belonged to him.

Thanks for reading!

Jamie

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