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Cult Mech

Welcome back readers, here is the battle report from the Fate of Konor week 1 campaign. This past weekend was also the release of the new Space Marine codex so I busted out the Sunbreakers (Salamanders) for a debut into 8th Ed. The Chapter tactics are pretty cool so wanted to try it out.

I will preface this article to say that overall the weekend was great fun (I had a second game on Sunday at a friends). So many small moments that could have changed the results of both battles. The luck was fairly average so if I seem like I am complaining, its more because those tended to be clutch moments. Furthermore I only wanted to use painted models this weekend, which was a self-imposed list building restriction I had on myself.

Fate of Konor;

Harajuku store in Tokyo saw the opening of the Fate of Konor campaign for the Sunbreakers. With roughly 1000 pts I rolled up with clear eyes and a full heart, to make things better I would be teaming up with an Cult Mech player to take on Necrons and Tau. Daniel, the store manager, suggested I give the Redemptor Dreadnought a shot, so it bumped up the 2000 pts battle to about 2500 pts per side as we all scrambled to add a couple things.

On the side of the Xenos was Pham (Tau) and James (Necrons), with some tasty units- definitely pretty tough together. Their army had roughly the following; (Pham) 3 commanders, Longstrike, 1 unit of Pathfinders, 2/3 units of Fire Warriors and 2 Devilfish transports. James had Nightbrighter, a Lord, unit of 20 warriors, 10 Immortals, Ghost Ark, Stalker thing and a 2 units of Scarabs.

Cult Mech (Jon) had Cawl (overall Warlord for the Imperium), a Datasmith, 2 units of 2 Robots, 2 units of Vanguard, and 2 of the tank walker guys.

The Sunbreakers consisted of a battalion detachment (6 CP);

Captain with TH/SS
Lieutenant with combi-flamer and PF
Tact squad (5) with a flamer and combi-flamer
Tact squad (5) with a flamer and combi-flamer
Tact squad (5) with meltagun and combi-melta
Razorback with twin lascannon
Dreadnought with AC and PF w/ HF
Ironclad with 2 heavy flamers
Redemptor Dreadnought with a bucketload of stuff

The campaign had a set scenario in which the Imperium are set as the defenders, and Chaos, or Xenos are the attackers. The defenders score points by killing enemy units, and the attackers score by having units in the defenders deployment zone at the end of the game. Hammer and Anvil was chosen (?) as the deployment type, and there was plenty of line of sight blocking terrain for the Xenos to approach our lines intact. Furthermore, the scenario also stipulated that the attackers are to go first unless the defenders can Seize the initiative (I think). This meant I was perhaps a little too defensive with my deployment as I kept my units hidden as much as possible down the right flank. Jon had set the robots up midfield surrounded by Cawl and the Datasmith, with a couple units sprinkled down the left flank.

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One thing I will say is that the Imperium forces did not really combine that well. The Cult Mech force was very elite, and I had a force better suited to a 4’x4′ table, which I thought was going to be the case for several 1000 pt games. It felt we didn’t quite have the mobility to really put pressure on what was a lot of infantry models. Anyway, I was there for a good time so onto the game.

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Turn 1 for the Xenos; they moved, or shuffled up some units closer to the Imperial deployment zone. The shooting phase saw the Xenos load up the blank shells causing very little damage to the Imperial Forces, with the exception of a Dunecrawler that survived on 1 wound. The Ironclad took a few wounds from the right flank by an approaching Devilfish.

We had a large debate about Line of Sight. Does this affect individual models or whole units? I think on reflection James was right, if a model can’t see a target then it can’t shoot. We played that if a model in a unit can see then another model that can not see is ok to shoot. I would have this clarified by Dan the next day. I don’t think this error affected the result of this game, but important to clarify during the infancy of 8th Ed.

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Imperium turn one saw us draw first blood (but didn’t score a point as per mission rules) by wrecking a Devilfish, then proceeded to wreck another Devilfish- one by the Ironclad in combat. The Ironclads rules, and Salamanders chapter tactics (CT) were key in this combat. I rolled 1, 1, 2, 2 to hit, Ironclad rules let me re-roll 1’s as I had two combat weapons, and CT lets me roll another- now I had 3 hits. CT secured me 3 wounds, and at 3 damage each the Devilfish was no more. Awesome! A few Firewarriors perished along with the vehicles, but overall the Xenos came out of the turn ok.

Xenos turn two saw the arrival of the third general. Some guy (who was known in the store) began to coach the Xenos players for every shooting attack, order by which they should occur etc. This dramatically increased the length of the turn, changed how James and Pham were going to play, and so the outcome of the turn. This guy, although very nice, ruined the flow of the battle. Several times Jon and I encouraged James and Pham to just play the game. I get that doing things correctly is important, but tactical mistakes and target priority is often how games of 40k are won. If the players cannot see that, then it is their mistake.

At the end of the turn both Robot squads had been nerfed, including 1 Robot blowing up causing a bunch of wounds to the surrounding units. The Dunecrawler was finally taken down, and the Ironclad dragged down thanks to more shooting, and then the Scarabs dragged it down in combat (although they took a beating from Overwatch).

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The Imperium was in a tough spot as the large amount of Dakka we had was now gone. The Redemptor dreadnought was not having a great day, some of our damage rolls were terrible, and we still had the unkillable phalanx of Necrons bearing down, Tau commanders to drop in and Longstrike chucking out chunks of damage. We managed to clean up more Scarab bases including a beastly overwatch from the Ironclad, and kill off more Fire Warriors.

Xenos turn 3 saw the Commanders come down and compound our misery. More wounds going in on the final Robot, the other Dreadnought was hurt, the Redemptors bad day got worse, and the Necrons were now coming into rapid fire distance to heap more shots onto anything within range. Our rebutal was swift; we hurt the C’Tan with Lascannon shots from the Razorback, killed a few drones with bolters and 1 Commander in the backfield was hurt.

Turn 4 saw the Xenos really swing the game as they finished of both remaining Dreadnoughts, killed the Datasmith, killed a bunch of Vanguard and moved into scoring positions. Jon and I knew we had kill as many units as possible to give ourselves a chance to draw, or steal a win. We finally killed the Commnader in the backfield, killed the C’Tan, killed more small units like Drones or Fire Warriors. At the end of the turn we didn’t have much left but we had about 8/9 points to a maximum potential of 11 including Slay the Warlord for the Xenos.

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At this point the details are hazy, and this post is becoming very long so I will wrap up now. The Xenos had 10 units at the beginning of our turn 5, so we have to try to kill two units to draw it up, 3 would give us 11 points. We managed to kill 2, Jon got unlucky with his damage rolls vs another Commander with Cawls meltagun thing. Instead of the game ending on a draw, it continued with the Xenos managing to kill Cawl for the decisive point. 11-10 to the Xenos.

Overall, it was a good game. Plenty of fun, and cool things happened from a narrative point of view. Everybody had a good time and I enjoyed using the new Salamanders Chapter tactics, they helped a lot without feeling overpowered. I know my army was limited by mobility, something I have to address by painting more, but it was fun nonetheless. I didn’t make use of the buffs the Captain etc gave as much as I should- something I have to work on tactically in the future. Perhaps I will detail more about tactics in another post but for now that’s me signing off, hope you enjoyed reading this.

Cheers

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I said I was back, but that was now some ago. Life continues to prevent me from spending too much time in the grim dark future. That said I’ve got a small written report today. Also as I am more about the hobby, writing my thoughts/summary will help me improve as a player.

Alas, the date was 25/3/2017 at Ikebukuro GW, Tokyo, Japan. I turned up without an opponent but the store manager, Sven, is a total hero so I thought I’d go anyway to pick up  Gathering Storm 2 and some hobby supplies. On arrival Sven informs me that somebody needs a game, Bryan, so I accepted. I took about 1000 points of Dark Angels so I was ready in the event a pick up game could be found. Bryan is also more into the hobby but wants to get into the gaming side more. He had Cult Mech/Skitarii from the Start Collecting box. I had about 10 minutes to get my army sorted :/

Mission type; Purge the Alien

Dark Angels; 590pts

Interrogator Chaplain; bike, auspex

Tactical squad (5); veteran, plasma gun, Razorback with twin linked lascannon

Tactical squad (5); plasma cannon

Black knights (3); no upgrades

Darkshroud

Cult Mech; 590pts

Techpriest Dominus; Power axe, data spike, a bunch of other crap

Skitarii rangers (10); sniper rifle, some other stuff on the squad leader

Kataphron Destroyers (3); Heavy Grav cannons, flamers

Onager Dunecrawler (1); Neutron gun, heavy stubber.

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I win the roll-off and get him to deploy first. Bryan splits his force up with the rangers alone on the right and the rest of his army in the middle. So I castle up on the left with the plan to send the bikes and Darkshroud to flank his slow but dangerous units. Razorback is in ruins with the plasma gun squad, and the plasma cannon squad in sitting above in the ruins too. Bryan decides to go first.

Turn 1;

Bryan moves the skitarii down from the right and runs them as they are a bit far from anything. The Dunecrawler blows up a couple of the plasma cannon marines but they make their moral check. The Destroyers shuffle around a bit but their cannons are still out of range.

On my turn, I turbo boost the bikes, Chaplain and Darkshroud behind cover on the left. The plasma cannon tries to hurt the Crawler but nothing happened. The Razorback missed to hit completely.

Turn 2;

Bryan continues to march forward and the strength of the Cult Mech/Skitarii becomes more apparent. Good guns and relentless, but slow. He snips the Razorback with the sniper rifle but I make my cover save. His Destroyers are a bit scared and distracted by the Bikes on the left so pulls them back. Plus he didn’t have line of sight to bring the Grav pain train. The Dunecrawler tries to blast more marines away but scatters onto the razorback, and it gets stunned. He was unlucky to only stun the vehicle.

My turn I move the bikes into a threatening flanking position and just out range of the Dunecrawler side arc. The plasma cannon does a wound to the Destroyers. The stunned Razorback pulls magic out of the bag and destroys the Dunecrawler! A series of lucky 6’s and a failed save from Bryan saw the Dunecrawler blown up. This scored me first blood and a kill point. 2-0 to the Dark Angels.. The tactical squad inside got out in case anything worse happened to the transport.

Turn 3;

Bryan’s is now on the backfoot having lost his big gun and with the bikes looming he acts defensively. The Grav Destroyers kill a Biker with a huge volley of grav. Another marine is downed by the Skitarii rangers.. The rangers again plod up and take pot shots at the marines that just got out, killing 2.

The bikes moved up and tried to plasma stuff but the only thing they did was kill themselves and kill off the first Destroyer. 1 bike down to plasma is sad. The plasma cannon did another wound to the Destroyers. The tactical squad continued to move up through the middle beside the Skyshield landing pad. The remaining biker and Chaplain make it into combat with the Destroyers and the Chaplain wipes them away without any damage back. 3-0. The Razorback could move now so it went to support with weakened tactical squad.

Turn 4;

The Skitarii continue to try to remove the tactical squad in the middle but no damage was done. The Techpriest Dominus charges the Chaplain and Biker to reclaim the data from the Destroyers. He tanks a bunch of wounds thanks to his 2+ save, and then does two wounds on the Chaplain as I fail two 4+ rosarius saves. I then fail hit and run so they are resigned to their fate.

My turn I kill a couple skitarii from a combination of Darkshroud heavy bolter and twin linked lascannon fire. The combat goes well for me doing two wounds on the Dominus. In return he does only 1 wound and I decide to risk it on the Chaplain. He fails again and that gives him Slay the Warlord and an extra kill point. 3-2. The last biker was successful at hit and run.

Turn 5;

The Techpriest Dominus pursues the biker and almost dies to overwatch from the plasma talon. He made his refractor field save. The bike is killed by the data spike. Meh. Score now 3-3. The Skitarii are unlucky again not to finish the tactical squad.

My turn is looking bleak after a flurry of fail saves. I pour everything I have into the Techpriest. But he tanks 3 or 4 2+ saves and then fails a refractor field save but make the feel no pain. Squeaky bum time for the Dark Angels.

The game continues…

Turn 6;

The invincible Techpriest manages to put a hull point on the poorly positioned Darkshroud. The Skitarii wipe the rest of the tactical squad putting the score 3-4 in favour of the Cult Mech.

My turn I tubro boost the Darkshroud miles away from the Techpriest, but it didnt matter as the plasma cannon guy finally killed him! Giving me two kill points the score swung back in my favour at 5-4. The Darkshroud had secured linebreaker if the game ended.

We decided to call the game there there was only a few rangers left on the Cult Mech side.

The final score was 6-4 to the Dark Angels.

This was a close win. It certainly gave me plenty of food for thought. I had to take the cheesiest combo in the Darkshroud and Blackknights in order to compete. The Darkshroud was new in the army and I wanted to try it. At first I felt bad, especially once the Dunecrawler and Destroyers were killed off. But the Techpriest completely turned the game around. I perhaps positioned the bike unit poorly, but I didn’t realise the killing power in combat of the Dominus. Dark Angels have an old codex and its shows. I thought I had enough AP2 weapons, but plasma talons are either excellent or they kill you. I can see why at competitive levels Blackknights are often run as the command squad for the Feel no Pain. Still, it was a fun and tense game.

Cult Mech/Skitarii are cool, and the first time I have played against them. I can only imagine it becomes more difficult as more units are added giving even more sweet benefits, as well as Bryan’s experience grows. I want to say how cool Bryan was, and say how awesome his models looked. The Cult Mech will be back and better than before. A scary prospect, but one i’ll meet head-on.

Thanks for tuning in.

Chris