Relics of Treasure - Week 3

Round 3: 1650
Deployment: Dawn of War

Scott (Space Marines: Iron Hands)
Captain w/Artificier Armour, Power Weapon, The Shield Eternal, Relic (Furious Charge)
10 x Sternguard w/2 x Melta, 3 x Combi-Melta, Drop Pod
5 x Legion of the Damned
10 x Tacticals w/Power Weapon, Plasma Gun, Lascannon, Rhino
10 x Tacticals w/Power Weapon, Plsama Gun, Lascannon, Rhino
5 x Devastators w/3 x Lascannon
Aegis Defence Line w/Quad Gun

Coming off a defeat and a draw, I was itching to put a mark in the win column, and Scott's Marines seemed a reasonable target to hit to go get it. Only a single drop pod, no real close combat units, no major artillery and, having dropped my flyer for more suits on the ground, the Stalker wasn't going to be doing too much. On the other hand, there were no small number of lascannons on the far side of the table, and I've yet to meet the Stormraven that doesn't inspire at least one moment of heart-stopping fear when it aims its multi-melta square at one's most valuable tank. So I wasn't going into this with my eyes closed; any fight with Space Marines is a serious fight, and I was taking this seriously. Especially since, once more, there was a mysterious relic at play in the centre of the table.

Commander w/Iridium Armour, Stimulant Injectors, Shield Generator, 2 x Plasma Rifle, PENchip, Relic (Hit and Run)
2 x Bodyguard w/2 x Plasma Rifle, 2 x Twin-Linked Fusion Blaster
XV104 w/Ion Accelerator, Early Warning Override
3 x XV8 w/6 x Missile Pod
3 x XV8 w/6 x Missile Pod
9 x Fire Warriors
9 x Fire Warriors
9 x Fire Warriors
4 x Pathfinders
4 x Pathfinders
Hammerhead w/Longstrike, Submunition, Disruption Pod
Hammerhead w/Disruption Pod, Blacksun Filter
Aegis Defence Line w/Quad Gun

I usually prefer the Fireblade, but I just could not squeeze out ten more points for him, so I decided to give my Ethereal a chance to show me what he could do. The rest of my list is more of the same, with an emphasis on infantry over all else; since all Infantry models count as scoring models (unless they explicitly done, like drones) in this league, flooding the field with options is never a bad strategy.

Scott won the roll-off, and positioned himself in a pretty strong little bunker, with his Devastators and a combat squad of Tacticals behind the Aegis with the Stalker and Quad Gun, his Captain and another combat squad hiding out in some ruins, the remaining two halves of the two Tactical squads holed up in their Rhinos. The Sternguard started in their drop pod, the Legion of the Damned in Deep Strike Reserve, and the the Stormraven off the table. In return, I went with a refused flank, building my Aegis around a forest and plunking my Commander, his bodyguard and a squad of Fire Warriors in there on an objective, along with the Quad Gun, while everything else spread out left and right. While I usually prefer to send my Commander deep striking into the heart of enemy territory, his BS5 and Tank Hunter would be essential to making certain the first shot I got with the Quad Gun stood the best possible chance of putting down the Storm Raven.

After checking for Night Fight, which was on, I rolled to seize and actually managed it. And that's when the killing began. In my opening salvo, I wrecked one Rhino and Shook and stripped two hull points from the other, and killed the entire Devastator squad with combined fire from my Riptide and ionHead. I'd done just the bare minimum of manoeuvring necessary in my movement phase, moving my Ethereal and his two Fire Warrior squads up towards the centre of the table, and the juicy relic lurking therein, and wiggling my tanks to generate those oh-so-necessary skimmer saves without degrading the hitting power of their main guns. Reeling from the rather surprising ferocity of my opening round (even I was a little shocked; I rarely roll so well!), Scott nevertheless pressed on, taking full advantage of his drop pod's inertial guidance to slip it right down next to my Commander and the Fire Warriors. Ten Sternguard piled out, combat squadded, with one of them swinging their melta guns around to open fire on Longstrike's Hammerhead. Before they could squeeze the trigger, however, my Commander let loose on the drop pod with the Quad Gun, and with BS5 and Tank Hunter it didn't last long. Unfortunately, he didn't just wreck it, he exploded it for the full 6” blast, catching both combat squads of Sternguard, a unit of Fire Warriors, and even the Commander and his bodyguards themselves. And in the chaos of the blast, one Sternguard from one squad and two from another were killed, along with three Fire Warriors, breaking the morale of both the Sternguard and the Firewarriors, the latter of whom fled clear off the edge of the table.

That's right. In a single game turn my shooting killed five Devastators, a Rhino, a drop pod, three Sternguard, and an entire squad of Fire Warriors. Now that's a shooting army!

Anyway. Since the Sternguard hadn't had time to use And They Shall Know No Fear to auto-rally yet the surviving three members of the broken squad were reduced to snap-firing, rendering them incapable of hitting. The other squad did manage to put a hit through onto Longstrike's Hammerhead, but while the loss of its railgun was definitely unfortunate, in the long run a Weapon Destroyed is a pretty good break for something that gets fried by a meltagun. Besides, now he could cruise around SMS'ing without hesitation! Yeah, okay, it's kind of a stretch to find that silver lining. For the rest of it, Scott managed to put a wound on my Riptide with his remaining lascannons, while the squad from the destroyed Rhino headed towards the relic in the centre of the table and his Stalker opened up on my ionHead, though since it requires 6's to glance and I had a 4+ cover save it should surprise nobody when that accomplished nothing.

Turn two, the overwhelming firepower of the Tau continued to tell. My Commander and his bodyguard made short work of the 4-strong Sternguard squad, stealing a boost from the markerlights of a nearby Pathfinder squad to give them Ignores Cover; I didn't want to take any chances with Scott's luck turning around, and I was shooting through a forest, so he'd get his cover saves. My Riptide turned to fire on the combat squad and the Captain, killing several Marines but with area terrain saves coming to the rescue of much of the squad, while my ionHead picked off a few members of the combat squad manning the Quad Gun. The deathrain squad on my left flank finished off the Rhino there, forcing the Marines inside to pile out into the terrain feature they'd been parked beside (where the Captain and his remaining men were hunkered down), while the one on my right started shooting down the advancing squad from the first destroyed Rhino, picking off a few of their number. Nothing as stupendous as Turn 1, but I did some solid damage across the whole of Scott's army; the dead Marines were starting to pile up.

In his turn, Scott rolled up both his Legion of the Damned and the Stormraven. Unfortunately for him, the Damned managed to scatter right on top of one of my deathrains, but Scott remembered that they could re-roll their descent... and dropped them on top of another one of my deathrains in the same squad, instead. Those guys really are damned. They turned out to have gone off course, landing instead in the far back corner, in a forest, where the dangerous terrain test from landing in difficult terrain picked off two of them. The Stormraven zoomed on from the edge to aim at my ionHead, and this time my Commander wasn't quite up to the task; with the Stormraven mostly concealed behind a three-storey ruin, the best he could manage was to pick off a couple of hull points. Thankfully, yet again skimmer saves to the rescue, as my Hammerhead shook off the meltagun hit.

From this point on, it was mostly clean-up; I'd badly compromised Scott's army with my alpha strike, and effectively losing his Legion of the Damned didn't help matters. The deathrains on the right finished off the combat squad and hustled up to grab the relic, while the Fire Warriors and their Ethereal seized one of the objectives and my Pathfinders hunkered down in a forest on the other. My Riptide and ionHead, supported by the second deathrain squad, gradually rolled up Scott's left flank, shooting Marines off the objective there again and again, while his Stormraven actually went down to an especially unlucky lightning strike getting through its armour plating and stripping off its last hull point. When his Captain, on his last wound, tried to charge my Riptide, also on its last wound, and died to the ensuing Overwatch fire Scott basically figured his day was done, and conceded. It was Turn 4.

I think I have to give MVP to my Riptide this game; it killed a bunch of Marines with its blasts, unsupported by Pathfinders to diminish its scatter distance or offer it Ignores Cover, and scored both Linebreaker and Slay the Warlord for me. My Commander might have been rather well regarded for his scattering of Sternguard if he hadn't also been the cause of the only full squad lost all game. And a special notation for my deathrains, for securing me the relic in the centre of the table, which turned out to be a very handy +1WS/BS, not just for my Commander, but for the squad he's attached to, as well.


  1. "Anyway. Since the Sternguard hadn't had time to use And They Shall Know No Fear to auto-rally yet the surviving three members of the broken squad were reduced to snap-firing, rendering them incapable of hitting" What does that mean, that they hadn't had time?

    1. And They Shall Know No Fear allows Marine units to automatically pass their tests to regroup, and those tests are taken "in their Movement phase just before they move." (LRB, p. 31) Since the casualties were sustained at the end of the movement phase, the Sternguard had to spend the rest of their turn broken until they could test to regroup at the beginning of their next turn.

    2. Ah, it was an Interceptor shot that caused a morale test in the movement phase.