Wednesday, 30 December 2015

Game of the Year: Angels of Death vs Tyranids Part 1

It came to my attention not long ago that I have only played 40K once this year, and that was a 2nd Edition game. To make matters worse, I have only played three games of 40K since 5th Edition. Feeling old and rusty, I asked Sgt Waz if he would run a game for Wade and I and show us the ropes (again). Playing 40K in 7th Ed. for me is a strange experience. I have every rule-set of 40K still floating around my brain, some of the information is relevant and the rest is... archaeological in its significance. It was great to have a player who is experienced in the current competitive meta to give us a shake-down run. We soon found that 40K is like a very good old friend, despite the years between visits nothing had really changed; we had an absolute cracking game.

Sgt Waz set up his Tyranid army across from us and it was terrifying. He just kept reaching into his case to pull out Tyranid monstrous creatures, including a Tervigon, Tyrannofex, Swarmlord, flying Tyrant, Hive Crone, Harpy, Mawloc, Malanthrope and a Dimachaeron. He started the flying Tyrant in formation with two Gargoyle broods and piled termagants around his Tervigon, with Tyrant Guards surrounding the Swarm Lord and two Biovores in the backfield sitting on an objective.

Yes, that is an A-10 Thunderbolt crashed in the middle of the battlefield. Assuming this battle doesn't take place on Terra, the USAF is still using the venerable Warthog way past its "best by" date.

I chose to field a pared-down Demi-Company of Dark Angels; I am 10 Tactical marines short at the moment of a full one. My Command Squad was lead by a Company Master with the Mace of Redemption and a combi-plasma. His squad was supported by two Tactical squads armed with a multimelta, lascannon and flamer, as well as three Dreadnoughts armed with DCCWs, twin-linked autocannon, assault cannon and plasma cannon. They were deployed to refuse the Tyranids foot-slogging left flank. In the centre of our deployment zone I placed a 5 man Tactical squad over an objective marker armed with a plasma gun and plasma pistol, supported by a Devastator squad with plasma cannons and an Assault squad. Lastly, I infiltrated a Scout squad with sniper rifles and a heavy bolter (with hellfire rounds) onto another objective, in the hope of sneaking some early victory points. With a bare-bones Lion's Blade Strike Force on the table, I was well placed to steal objectives off the Tyranids with Objective Secured and defend it with Supreme Fire Discipline.

Wade chose a 1500 point Blood Angels army that is typical for him: excruciatingly low model count committed to high-risk deployment tactics. His list complimented mine in a weird way, but I knew I may not have any support for the first couple of turns.

The Tyranids had the first turn and advanced rapidly. The winged detachment on the right flank moved towards the scouts in preparation for a charge. The scouts passed all of their cover saves to avoid wounds from shooting and performed admirably during overwatch as expected. Unfortunately, the Nids made their assault roll and wiped out the squad, capturing the objective in one fell swoop; so much for winning early points, the Nids were up by one with First Blood. The Harpy also managed to immobilise my Dreadnought with the twin-linked autocannons, but as he had the range and a good field of fire, I wasn't too concerned.The Tyrannofex targetted our "counts-as" Vindicator and prevented it from shooting during the next turn.

On the left flank the Termagant swarm and Tervigon moved forwards towards two objectives in no-mans-land, whilst every other monstrous creature (except the Mawloc...) began the long foot slog up the center of the board. In response, the Dreadnoughts and Stormraven gunship combined to snipe the Malanthrope out of existence, denying the monstrous blob its cover save, and my Tactical squad unleashed a flamer on the Gargoyles, followed by a flamer and heavy flamer from a Blood Angels Tactical squad in a Rhino. We killed a lot of Gargoyles that turn :-)

Unfortunately, our fun didn't last long...

Turn 1 Victory Points
Tyranids: 2
Angels of Death: 0

The Mawloc emerged underneath my 10 man Tactical squad and wiped out 7 marines in the first hit. With enough room to deploy, it didn't cause any more damage. The Hive Crone, flew to the center of the board and ripped the Stormraven open from bow to stern, killing all of the Death Company on board.

Mephiston, the Death Company Dreadnought and Corbulo survived the crash but were now stranded in front of the Termagant horde led by a Tyranid Prime.

The Dimachaeron charged and destroyed the Blood Angels Rhino transporting a Tactical squad, whilst the Harpy and Tyrannofex destroyed my plasma cannon Dreadnought. The Termagants charged Mephiston and Corbulo, who accepted the challenge from the Tyranid Prime and survived a round of combat.

My Company Master, Dreadnought and Tactical squad all charged the Mawloc, hoping to take it down before it could disappear into ongoing reserve. The Company Master administered the killing blows with his Mace of Redemption. The survivors of the other Tactical squad moved towards the objectives in the ruins, whilst my Devastator squad and immobalised Dreadnought killed a Tyrant Guard and wounded another. My hope was to isolate the Swarmlord before it reached close-combat.

My Dark Angel assault squad jumped to the rescue of the Blood Angels heroes, hacking into the Termagants whilst Mephiston focused on the Tyranid Prime. Another round of combat rolled by without a decisive outcome; the center of the board was now a meat grinder.

Turn 2 Victory Points
Tyranids: 3
Angels of Death: 2

To be continued...

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