Relics of Treasure - Week 7

Round 7: 2100
Hammer and Anvil

Thom Morden (Chaos Daemons/Chaos Space Marines)

Great Unclean One w/Mastery Level 3, Greater Reward, Exalted Reward
10 x Plaguebearers
10 x Plaguebearers
15 x Flesh Hounds
Soul Grinder w/Daemon of Nurgle, Phlegm Bombardment
Daemon Prince w/Mark of Nurgle, Mastery Level 3, 2 x Greater Reward, Daemonic Flight, Warp-Forged Armour
Daemon Prince w/Mark of Nurgle, Mastery Level 3, 2 x Greater Reward, Daemonic Flight, Warp-Forged Armour
Chaos Lord w/Burning Brand of Skalathrax, Mark of Nurgle
7 x Plague Marines w/2 x Plasma Pistol, Chaos Rhino, Havoc Launcher
Heldrake w/Baleflamer

Having missed out on one of the league nights owing to an unfortunate personal issue, I was lucky to get a make-up game in against Thom on the weekend. I wasn't all that eager to throw down with the daemons again, particularly that brick wall of a Great Unclean One, but beggars can't be choosers. And it's not like Thom isn't a good guy, so a game with him, even a loss, is pleasant enough. Plus, I had a certain new weapon up my sleeve...

Commander w/Iridium, Stims, Shield, 2 x Plasma, Relics (Hit & Run, +1WS/BS for squad)
Commander w/MSSS, C&CN, PENchip, 2 x Flamer
XV104 w/Ion Accelerator, Early Warning Override, Stimulant Injector
3 x XV8 w/6 x Missile Pod
3 x XV8 w/6 x Missile Pod
3 x XV8 w/3 x Plasma, 3 x Twin-Linked Fusion Blaster
9 x Fire Warriors
9 x Fire Warriors
9 x Fire Warriors
12 x Sniper Kroot
5 x Pathfinders
5 x Pathfinders
Sky Ray w/Disruption Pod, Blacksun Filter
Hammerhead w/Disruption Pod, Blacksun Filter
Hammerhead w/Disruption Pod, Longstrike, Submunition
Aegis Defence Line w/Quad Gun

That's right; Kroot. Though I hated the way they looked, after running head-first into the ever-growing ranks of MCs infesting Tyranid and Chaos ranks one time too many, I finally had to bite the bullet. And much as I fear Chaos Daemons, with their invulnerable saves and their MCs with Iron Arm, well, a cadre commander's gotta do what a cadre commander's gotta do.

Also, victory would net me a spaceport, enabling me to attack anywhere on the table, including the moon and the space station. And I wanted the high ground.

I won the roll-off and opted to go first, deploying the whole of my army along the longest line I could find, though a huge volcanic crevice running diagonally across the table did somewhat limit my ability to deploy along my right flank. Thom laid his army out in response, with his Plaguebearers in reserve, his Great Unclean One hanging out towards the back, his Soul Grinder on the line in the centre, the Lord and his Plague Marines forward on the right flank and the two Daemon Princes set to take from the shelter of some ruins. Thom failed to seize, and off we went.

This was the first time I'd used the Support Commander loadout, and it did not disappoint; boosted up by a successful Nova charge, the Riptide managed to one-shot the Soul Grinder, with twin-linked allowing me to shrug off Gets Hot and settle my blast marker nice and even, and Ignores Cover leaving the target with just its daemonic save to fall back on. The Soul Grinder went up in a spectacular explosion, and though that was all I managed to accomplish that turn, it was enough. Unfortunately, Thom didn't much appreciate that, and showed it in kind by sending his Daemon Princes forwards. One of them dropped a psychic flamer attack on my Kroot, killing a handful of them. His Rhino trundled forwards, throwing a few random shots at the Kroot and picking off another one, though using plasma on T3/6+ models is a touch overkill. For their suffering, they failed their leadership test and scampered off towards the table edge, though they were far enough back not to get all the way off in one round. The effective loss of my Kroot meant that we'd basically gone one-for-one, but since I lost 84 points of Kroot and he lost 180 points of Soul Grinder, I think it's safe to say who came out ahead there.

Sadly, at the start of my turn my Kroot were too far away to benefit from the Ethereal's leadership bubble, and they kept scampering, falling clear off the table's edge after failing to regroup. Vowing to not have sacrificed them in vain, I pushed out along the right flank, sending my Commander and his squad, backed up by a unit of Fire Warriors, towards the Rhino, while most everything else hunkered down to try and throw as many bullets into the two Princes as possible. Annoyingly, Longstrike failed to destroy the Rhino; with no better targets for his railgun I'd pointed it at the transport, to conserve anti-infantry firepower, but with a successful cover save Thom kept his tank in the game. It therefore fell to my deathrains to take the honour, but although they did manage to penetrate twice, in both cases they simply shook up the driver and passengers. I actually had to burn my Fire Warriors on that thing, glancing it into a wreck, finally allowing my Commander and his team to throw some solid firepower into the Lord and his retinue; it cost Thom two of his Plague Marines, and a wound off the big man himself. His Princes suffered rather less damage, with one of them grounded and suffering a wound lost in the process, but with re-rollable 3+ armour saves on top of FNP, and the protection of needing 6's to hit, I just could not push anything more through his unbelievably strong defences. His Flesh Hounds, on the other hand, had no such protection, suffering another handful of losses from my Riptide and the odd bit of anti-infantry firepower, which threw them further back along the line, pushing their leading edge away from my units.

In his turn, Thom brought his Heldrake in from reserve, and pushed his Princes forwards, leaving the grounded one approaching one of my objectives and the still-swooping one closing in on my Ethereal's squad and the objective they laid claim to. Only one of his Plaguebearers arrived from reserve, but when the scatter was rolled it ended up embedded in a wall of ruins, forcing it back into Ongoing Reserves. He moved his Flesh Hounds up, blockading the relic in the centre of the table, and set his swooping Prince to shooting at the Fire Warriors and their Ethereal. While he did manage to kill several of them, the Ethereal was not amongst the casualties, and her superior leadership kept them safe on the objective. Over on the other objective, Thom's Prince charged in, easily shrugging off multiple units' worth of overwatch for the same reason it did so while swooping about. Able to ignore their attacks, and with Iron Arm giving it the strength necessary to double them out, the Prince made short work of the suits, consolidating right on top of the objective. With two of his Princes in my lines, but much of his infantry in shambles or set to be shot to pieces, it was looking like a guaranteed mutual slaughter. Before our armies could meet in full-scale warfare, however, the shifting tides of the immaterium turned against the forces of the Ruinous Powers, draining away their powers just when they were most needed, leaving them to falter at the moment of their greatest threat...

Which is to say, unfortunately, we ran out of time before the store closed.

So, we got two full turns in and had to call it there, leaving one empty objective, one contested and me sitting on top of the third; a win, but not a very rewarding one (First Blood for me, Linebreaker for Thom, no other secondaries), and hardly the most satisfying of games. Still, it was the best we could squeeze in, given conflicting schedules, and a little 40K is better than none!

Oh, and for winning the territory, I got to pick up the relic by default (since Thom hadn't claimed it with an infantry unit at game's end). And what did I get for my troubles? +1 attack for my warlord.

Not exactly a huge boon for a Tau commander...

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