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!

 

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 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.

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/ )

Dok’s Shop – Jetbike Praetor

Just a quick post to show my current project, a Praetor on jetbike to lead my Sky Hunter Phalanx list. I was struggling for a while to think of a suitable model when the new Red Scorpions characters were suggested to me. So with my trusted hobby tools I set about sawing Casan Sabius’ legs off and sanding down any scorpion insignia, which there actually was not a lot of. I then built a Custodes jetbike, sanding down some of the insignia and attaching an underslung heavy bolter. Jetbikes are armed with a heavy bolter rather than 6 bolters. I still need to work out what to do with the bit where the bolters are, and blend Casan’s body to the Custodes legs using some greenstuff but I’m really happy with how he looks. I think he’s a pretty unique character.

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And he is a sneak peak of the full command squad, with whom he rides. There’s also a Chaplain and a Primus Medicae in there. Its a pricey squad points wise, but will (hopefully) look the part on the battlefield. And looking good is all Emperor’s Children care about after all!

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J

Zone Mortalis

Roughly a year ago I got a 3×3 ZM board and its taken a while to get round to painting it! Slowly but surely we’re getting there, with 2×2 done and the rest nearly finished. We were keen to get a couple of games on the board though, and so decided to set the tiles up, add a bit of scatter terrain and then play some games. First we did a three way game with 1000pts each. Here are the forces we used:

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It was a fun, fast paced game and very bloody. My poor Emperor’s Children didn’t have a single model left on the board by the end! The Emperor’s Children and Iron Warriors then teamed up against the Raven Guard and we tried the unknown enemy rules. That was a very interesting dynamic, with trying to work out what the various blips were. Here are some photos we took in game. We haven’t written any fluff for these games as it was more of a intro to ZM to see how it plays. The Cold in the Void rules are awesome and make terminators/breachers a lot more survivable.

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Once all the tiles are finished we’ll be sure to get some fun themed games on them so stay tuned for more!

J

Dicing with Death – Clash of Jakverk Refinery

Taking advantage of the Easter bank holidays, we managed to squeeze another couple of games in. Here are the armies we used in the 2k game (we got a bit carried away and forgot to take a photo of the armies we used in the second game! Both of us used the 2k list and then added a few bits):

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IMG_0338Jakverk had declared for Horus and valuable promethium from the planet was being sent to traitor fleets across the galaxy, aiding their war effort. A detachment of Emperor’s Children had been garrisoned on the planet to protect this resource from any threat. They had quickly grown bored of this task though, and began to use the civilians as their playthings more than guarding the pipelines. A small detachment of Raven Guard, sent behind lines by Corax to destabilise the traitor supply lines, saw Jakverk as a perfect target. A strike team personally led by Shadow Captain Kraai was assembled and descended quickly to the planet. Their aim was to take out the Braat Pipeline, shutting down the transportation of the promethium and stopping Horus’ armies from accessing this valuable resource.IMG_0340The Emperor’s Children reacted quicker than Kraai expected, stealing the initiative and moving aggressively towards the Raven Guard troops on the ground. Little did they imagine what was even now hurtling through the atmosphere from Kraai’s strike cruiser in orbit…SLAM!IMG_0344Two drop pods smashed into the Emperor’s Children deployment zone and squads of Raven Guard burst forward, laying down a hail of fire that crippled the Emperor’s Children. The plasma support squad obliterated the volkite caliver squad, leaving behind only a pile of goo and purple armour. The Land Raider Pursuit of Ecstasy drove forward, locked its lascannons onto Honoured Brother Kynaeus and blew him up. The lighting fighter Zorya’s Claw arrived and unleashed a volley of missiles and shots at the Pursuit of Ecstasy but only managed to immobilise it; the venerable hull withstood every other shot.IMG_0349Hipparch Anthame, commander of the garrison, stepped from the land raider’s ramp and charged with his bodyguard of palatine blades into the Raven Guard assault squad. Fresh from having massacred an Emperor’s Children tactical squad, the assault squad were caught unawares and were butchered by the beautiful blade work of Kreon and his swordsmen.IMG_9390Fuelled by this fresh victory, Anthame and his squad moved against the plasma support squad. Demanding vengeance for Galbeon and his volkite support squad, they cut the Raven Guard down in one swift round of combat.IMG_9391It was too little too late though as the Raven Guard cleaned up the Emperor’s Children’s deployment zone with more tacticals arriving by drop pod and engaging their enemy in brutal hand to hand combat. This turned into a slog as more marines piled into the melee. The Emperor’s Children fought back to back but were eventually slain.IMG_0350Kraai faced down Legion Champion Eurydeon and his skimmer relief force which arrived on the Raven Guard’s flank. Eurydeon had chased the Raven Guard throughout their 98 days on Isstvan V, making use of his sky hunter phalanx to constantly harass the Raven Guard. When Kraai realised that such a hated foe was on the planet, he made an oath that he would kill him. Although he was successful at neutralising the jetbikes, Kraai was knocked out of the combat by a pair of javelin speeders who murdered his unit with krak missiles from their cyclone launchers. IMG_0346The Raven Guard carried the day and took control of the prometheum refinery. The Emperor’s Children withdrew and regrouped with units that were moving up to reinforce the shattered garrison. The Raven Guard, leaving behind units to sabotage Braat Pipeline, pressed their attack on the retreating Emperor’s Children, and battle was met again in a windswept valley a few kilometres away. Kraai was determined to avenge his fallen brothers by killing Eurydeon, no matter the cost, and fulfil his oath.IMG_0352In order to kill his hated foe Kraai deployed the last of his reserves from orbit. Three more drop pods descended quickly and landed across the Emperor’s Children deployment zone. Augury scanners had predicted their precise arrival though and the Emperor’s Children turned to target the new arrivals. Thermal blasts from the volkite squad proved deadly and the entire plasma squad was gunned down before they could fire.IMG_0357Other elements of the Raven Guard army raced up the board, with the lascannon team glancing The Pursuit of Ecstasy on the Emperor’s Children right flank.

Much to Kraai’s frustration, Eurydeon had not appeared on the battlefield yet, and he vented his anger out on the volkite support squad, butchering them to a man in a flurry of blows from the dark furies’ raven talons.f35a201d-0d50-4849-b235-9902cfcd7d1cIt was then that the Emperor’s Children hidden blade appeared and Eurydeon showed himself. Appearing behind the Raven Guard lines, the jetbike squad deleted the lascannon team with shots from their heavy bolters and volkite culverins.IMG_0360Zorya’s Claw zoomed onto the battlefield, locked onto The Pursuit of Ecstacy and wrecked it with its kraken missiles. Anthame and his blade squad were then assaulted by Honoured Brother Yiraka who managed to kill three palatines before being ripped apart by Chaplain Athenion’s power fist.f579a9ad-206a-4530-a175-09b927bfacffShadow Captain Kraai, Hipparch Anthame and their bodyguard units met in the centre of the battlefield for a brutal combat that lasted mere seconds but saw many butchered on both sides. The Raven Guard came out on top, as when the dust settled not one marine in purple armour stood to oppose Kraai and his dark furies.IMG_0364Having suffered greater casualties than he expected, and failing to kill Eurydeon, Kraai ordered his force to withdraw. His attack had also served as a diversion and had given the saboteurs enough time to blow the Braat Pipeline. Kraai brooded over the battle whilst sitting in his personal thunderhawk. He was not one to break an oath and before the war was finished he would have Eurydeon’s head…

We played two games and decided to link them narratively. The first mission was Shatter Strike, representing the Raven Guard trying to take ground and capture the pipeline. The second game was Bad Blood from the shadow war missions. We hadn’t used them in a while but are big fans of the different feel those missions have; they’re much more personal and bitter than the normal missions. All in all was a fun day and a victory each for the Raven Guard and the Emperor’s Children.

J