Relics of Treasure - Week 2

Round 2: 1575
Deployment: Dawn of War

Thom Morden (Chaos Daemons)
Great Unclean One w/Mastery Level 3, Greater Reward, Exalted Reward, Relic (+1T)
10 x Plaguebearers of Nurgle
10 x Plaguebearers of Nurgle
15 Flesh Hounds of Khorne
Daemon Prince w/ML3, Mark of Nurgle, 2 x Greater Reward; daemonic flight; warp-forged armour
Daemon Prince w/ML3, Mark of Nurgle, 2 x Greater Reward; daemonic flight; warp-forged armour
Soul Grinder w/Mark of Nurgle, Phlegm Bombardment

Thom's a good guy, a friend of my best friend's little brother, actually. We've played in a doubles tournament together before, and are planning to do so again. In the not so distant future (read, next Saturday).  Unfortunately, I don't really have any experience fighting against him, and even just a pair of FMCs makes me a bit nervous. Not least because every one of his MCs managed to roll up Iron Arm, amongst other things, on Biomancy. Because if there's anything Nurgle daemons need, it's even more toughness!

Swordwind Cadre:
Commander w/Iridium, Stims, Shield Generator, 2 x Plasma Rifles, PENchip, Relic (+1 to Reserves)
XV104 w/Ion Accelerator, EWO
2 x XV8 w/2 x Plasma Rifles, 2 x Twin-Linked Fusion Blasters
3 x XV8 w/6 x Missile Pods
9 x Fire Warriors
9 x Fire Warriors
9 x Fire Warriors
4 x Pathfinders
4 x Pathfinders
Razorshark w/Missile Pod, Decoy Launchers
Hammerhead w/Longstrike, Submunition, Disruption Pod
Hammerhead w/Disruption Pod, Blacksun Filter
Aegis Defence Line w/Quad Gun

Thom won the roll-off, and deployed largely in the right corner, with his Plaguebearers in reserve and his Soul Grinder crouched behind a ruin for a whopping 2+ cover save. In return, I went for a refused flank, putting most of my army behind my Aegis in the other corner, but using my Riptide and a squad of Fire Warriors to anchor the corner opposite Thom's force; I didn't want him to be able to entirely ignore half the board, and forcing him to choose what to send where seemed like a good idea. With both Plaguebearer units in reserve, after all, it's not as though he had a lot on the board to start with. I kept my commander and the fusion/plasma suits in deep strike reserve, in return, and after failing to seize, Thom started off with a solid first turn.

The Daemon Princes took wing, closing in on my army and buffing themselves up with Iron Arm, while the Flesh Hounds started into midfield; since they couldn't reach either of my unit blocs turn 1, I think Thom was probably waiting to see how things shook out. And how they shook out was well, as with his only shooting unit, the Soul Grinder, Thom managed to blast enough of the Fire Warriors on my right flank into phlegmy pieces to force a break test and send them scrambling for the board edge. That left just my Riptide holding that side of the table, though 'just' a Riptide is still a solid fighting force. Passing off to me, I can't say that my own first turn went well at all. My Fire Warriors advanced, closing to rapid fire range with his Daemon Princes, while my tanks did the old half-inch skimmer shuffle to generate their jink saves, and my Riptide jumped sideways to get an open firing lane on the Flesh Hounds. I did manage to ground one of the Princes, but between 3+, 5++, FNP and IWND, I just could not make a wound stick. Longstrike took a shot at the distant Soul Grinder, but missed, setting the tone for his shooting; he spent the entire game throwing shots down-range at that thing, and while he never missed again, the Soul Grinder passed every 2+ cover save it needed to make. My Riptide fared better, it's S8 blast blowing several Flesh Hounds to immaterial chunks, but unfortunately that only drew attention to it. It hopped backwards, putting a forest between it and the Hounds for good measure.

Turn 2, Thom commenced the murdering. His grounded Prince charged into one of my Fire Warrior squads, eating them alive and catching the handful of survivors in a sweeping advance, leaving me down two scoring units. Meanwhile, one of his Plaguebearers dropped in, scattering into a forest and shaking off the dangerous terrain test, along with most of the damage from my Riptide's interceptor shot. His Great Unclean One shuffled forwards, in no particular hurry, and would basically accomplish nothing all game, though it also came under exactly zero threat. In my turn, my Razorshark arrived to smash more of the Hounds with its large blast, while my Commander and his fusion/plasma suits dropped in behind the grounded Prince. With a boost from both Pathfinder squads and Monster Hunter from the Commander, it seemed impossible that their considerable AP1/2 fusillade couldn't reduce the Prince to a greasy stain, but sadly Thom was all about doing the impossible this game. I managed to force through just two wounds after all that, and IWND regenerated one of those at the end of the turn. Worse, despite having rolled The Ghost Who Walks Among Us for my warlord trait, 3D6” of thrust move only took my warlord 7” further away from the Prince in question.

Unsurprisingly, in Turn 3 Thom ignored the squishier elements, and his Prince rounded on my Commander. The other Prince landed, intent on rampaging through my lines as well, though at least that one would have rather less of a good time of it. He also advanced his Flesh Hounds on my Riptide, to the point where they simply couldn't fail to get off their charge. His Prince made contact with my Commander, and began a truly titanic battle in which my Commander, challenged out round after round, managed to hold out until the bottom of Turn 5 before finally succumbing to the considerably superior force ranged against it. And that's with me having forgotten for two full Game Turns that he, a, had Monster Hunter from the PENchip and b, that it works in close combat! My Riptide, on the other hand, remained locked in combat with the Hounds for the entire rest of the game not because he was doing so well, but because he was doing do poorly, stubbornly refusing to roll anything but 1's to wound. While he shrugged off nearly everything the Hounds could throw at him, suffering just one wound and passing the LD test for losing combat, he managed to inflict only a single wound in return, killing one already-wounded Hound. Though it might have gone better for him if I'd remembered he's an MC, and therefore causes Fear, and that Flesh Hounds aren't Fearless, before pretty much the end of the game. Hitting on 3's is a heck of a lot easier than hitting on 5's!

With two of my heavy hitters wrapped up in combats they had no real hope of escaping, nevermind winning, it was looking a little iffy. Fortunately, despite blasting a couple of hull points off, Thom's Soul Grinder couldn't bring down my Razorshark, leaving it and my ion-armed Hammerhead to throw large blasts around. Backed up by Pathfinders to strip away that troublesome cover save, the two managed to to wipe out all by one of the Plaguebearers over the next few turns, and the surviving one was well out of position to go for the objective. My Fire Warriors and deathrain Crisis suits, meanwhile, managed to finally put the hurt on the unengaged Prince, forcing him down to just a single wound and having Thom send him flying off into Ongoing Reserves to keep him from getting blasted to pieces. It didn't help, however, as when it returned to the table next turn it fell victim to Interceptor fire from my Quad Gun.

Unfortunately, that's around when the first Prince finally overwhelmed my Commander, killing him and stealing his relic. The Prince went on the attack, and did significant damage over the next several turns. I sent my last Fire Warrior squad up towards the nearest objective, along with one of my Pathfinders, but Thom steadily ground away at them. If the game had ended on Turn 5 I'd have scored the win, but lost my Relic, but the game continued onwards. Thom's remaining Prince moved in to threaten my objective, but with a bad charge roll couldn't quite get into range. At the same time, my deathrain Crisis squad jumped out from behind the Aegis line, foregoing their shooting phase to run so they could be square on the relic in the centre of the table at the end of the turn. If it had ended there I'd have been thrilled, scoring both a win and the relic. Unfortunately, yet again, the game continued.

Thom's Soul Grinder finally dealt with my Razorshark, but that was purely a sideshow. The main stage was the objective, and with jump pack movement that Prince had no problem putting himself square on that mark, after wiping out my final Fire Warrior squad and consolidating back on top of the objective. I gave a token effort to shooting it off in my final turn, with the deathrains and the ion Hammerhead, but I'll admit my heart wasn't particularly in it, given the unbelievable amount of punishment this thing had taken up until now. Unsurprisingly, at the end of Turn 7 that monster was still standing there, the ultimate immovable object.

While I'm obviously not thrilled to have lost my relic to that Prince, in the end I actually ended up ahead of the game, as the new relic provided Hit and Run. Let's see a Prince lock me up for three full turns next time!

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