This is a guest battle report by Darklink with attached Vassal images!
1999pt Contest of Champions victor battle report – Gordy aka DarkLink aka Gord-Don the Rampager!!
About a month ago, I played in the bimonthly Contest of Champions tournament at Great Escape Games. 1999pts, standard book missions, nothing too fancy. It was a tiered battle point system, with a primary objective worth 8pts, secondary objective worth 4pts, Linebreaker and Warlord worth 2 each, First Blood worth 1, and you had a list of possible secret objectives you could pick from each game for another 3 pts bringing the total to 20 (e.g. Kill half your opponent’s army by model count, or kill more HS/Elite/FA choices than your opponent does).
I had three solid games with good opponents, and Reecius asked me to write up a battle report so here I am. I don’t have any pictures, so this is from memory so some details might be a little fuzzy, but all the important stuff should be there. If you see something odd, it’s probably not because my opponent or I cheated, I probably just got some minor details next up. The terrain looks a little sparse in the Vassal pics, because I only remembered the terrain that was relevant to the battle. Also, I got a little lazy and Vassal can be a bit of a pain to work with.
10 Purifiers, 4 Psycannons, 2 hammers, 1 Halberd (Knight of the Flame)
5 Paladins, 2 Psycannons, 2 Hammers, 3 Swords
10 GKSS, 2 Psycannons, Psybolts
6 Acolytes, Boltguns
Land Raider, Psybolts
Land Raider Crusader, Psybolts, Searchlights
Dreadnought, 2 TL Autocannons, Psybolts
The basic idea behind the list dates back to the Daemonhunters codex. They lacked transports and long ranged firepower, so you basically had to max out your HS slots with Land Raiders and Dreadnoughts, with priority on the Land Raiders. I got very, very, very good at playing Way of the Water Warrior Style (see the tactica on Bolter and Chainsword, outdated since it was written for 4th, but still a good read), so I always had 2-3 Land Raiders with Grey Knights, a squad or two of cheap Stormtroopers in Rhinos, and maybe a Dreadnought if I had a HS slot left open. Since the advent of 6th, people have stopped taking as much melta, Tau have lost their dominating Str 10 firepower, and so Land Raiders have gotten significantly better because so many people just don’t bring the tools to effectively deal with them.
I always take Godhammer Land Raiders. The lascannons bring both range and high str/ap that is severly lacking elsewhere in the GK codex. That, combined with a Rifleman Dreadnought and the Razorback, give me some tools to reach out and touch stuff like Dark Eldar (I’ve found that as long as I have 2-3 ranged threats that can kill DE vehicles, I always win against them, but if I lack those, then DE is practically auto-lose). The Crusader gives me a ton of medium range firepower, plus a fast transport so I can mech up my Paladins with Draigo and Coteaz. It’s a flexible pair that gives me a lot of options.
Since GK Terminators are pretty mediocre compared to the other options available, Paladins are the way to go. Paladins with Draigo out of a Land Raider are rock hard. Draigo hands out special rules with the Grand Strategy, and he punks Daemon Princes (and just about everyone else other than, I dunno, Abbadon and Lysander). So Draigo with 5 Paladins was a pretty obvious starting point.
Coteaz deserves to be in basically every GK list. He gives you scoring Acolytes (which also brought a Razorback which is good against Dark Eldar, one of the GK’s worst matchups), protects you from Seize (which is very important in tournament games against the likes of DE or Tau), lets you Seize which is always a good way of giving your opponent the finger, reroll to hit from Prescience on Paladins or Purifiers is utterly brutal, he buffers you from enemy reserves, and you get another Divination power in the mix (something like Misfortune can win you the game against the right opponent).
A 10-man Strike Squad is a natural second choice. You can combat squad out of the Godhammer late game to grab objectives, you get some very solid shooting on a relatively cheap unit, and you get Warp Quake, which pretty much negates the number 1 way of counter Land Raiders: Drop Pods full of Melta. You can Scout up with the Rhino, or do all sorts of other neat little tricks with them.
I then had a choice to fill my second Land Raider. I settled on 10 Purifiers with Psycannons and a couple Hammers. The Hammers let me kill stuff like Wraithknights in assault, Cleansing Flame murders Orks and ‘nidz, and Purifiers are just solid in general. Taking 10 gives me 4 Psycannons and lets me Combat Squad and they can score thanks to Draigo. What’s not to love?
The rest was just details, mainly fitting in a couple of Searchlights. What I end up with is an army that is extremely tough to deal with if you didn’t bring a ton of Melta/Lance, has a ton of TL shooting to kill Flyers, can break up to get a bunch of scoring units, can murderize Daemon Princes and Tyranid Monstrous Creatures in assault, and is all around very flexible with lots of good options. Plus, Land Raiders in Big Guns Never Tire? Paladins in The Relic? Awesome.
On to the games.
Game 1: Crusade (?), Hammer and Anvil vs Daemons/CSM
My opponent’s list:
Nurgle Biker Lord with Power Claw
2×3 Chaos Bikes
2×10 CSM in Rhinos
5 Havocs, 4 Lascannons
5 Warp Talons
Aegis with Icarus Lascannon
10 B loodletters
My primary concern here was the Bloodthirster. He can potentially force enough wounds to overwhelm Draigo’s 3++, and then walk through the rest of my army. He’s the number one threat. The biker Lord might be a problem, too, but I can force weapon him before he hits a little easier and he’s easier to shoot to death, so that’s a secondary concern. Everything else I can deal with without too much trouble.
Coteaz got full BS on Overwatch and reroll to hit, Draigo made the Dreadnought and Purifiers scoring, and got counter attack in my deployment zone. Since it was Hammer and Anvil, the general plan was to sit the GKSS/Dread on my home objectives while the Paladins pushed upfield killing his troops and denying him objectives. Hammer and Anvil is pretty good for me since it’s that much harder for an opponent to sneak around on a flank.
First shot of the game, his Havoks explode my Land Raider Crusader despite cover saves and everything. I fail two saves from the explosion, and put the wounds on Coteaz since I’ll need my Paladins alive as long as possible. The rest of his army just moved forward.
My turn, Coteaz Perils and dies. I can see how this is going… but it’s too early to despair. Since my LRC died, I have to go all-out for the Bloodthirster, so I moved the Paladins closer, hoping to shoot him down and assault him, since Psyk-out grenades will drop him to I1 and then he’s an easy kill. I shot my Dread at his Havoks, killing 3, popped one of his Rhinos, put a few wounds on the bikers with my GKSS, and shot everything else at the Bloodthirster, who made all of his Grounding Checks, but actually failed a couple armor saves. Still, I couldn’t assault him as he was still flying. Now I have to hope he goes for the Paladins and that Draigo can kill him in a challenge.
My opponent’s Bloodletters and Warp Talons arrive from reserves. The ‘letters drop into my backfield (a mistake, they should have gone into his backfield and camped an objective), and the Talons drop next to my Paladins. His bikers and Lord move up, but can’t assault due to my well-positioned Rhino/Land Raider. His back Rhino tries to move around the Rhino I immobilized, but immobilizes itself on terrain.
His Bloodthirster drops down and assaults the Paladins. His Seekers fail the charge, I believe. I challenge, and Draigo bitch-slaps his Bloodthirster. 4 hits, 4 wounds, and the Thirster drops to one wound, and I force weapon him. Boo yeah!
The Paladins consolidate from the BT and assault the Seekers and Warp Talons. It’s not much of a contest. I kill the Warp Talons, the Seekers bounce off Draigo, and Daemonic Instability wipes the survivors. One Purifier combat squad goes for the Bloodletters, and they all die to shooting, while my GKSS, Land Raider, and the rest of the Purifiers finish off the Nurgle Lord, though there were still the two Biker squads left with two models each.
The Havocs shoot my Land Raider, blowing it up. Good thing I spent 500+pts on AV14! Both his CSM units jump out to shoot the Paladins, and everything he has left moves to corral them on my side of the field. Paladins being Paladins, though, shrug off everything he throws at them. I start moving all my backfield units towards the objectives. I shoot up, but don’t completely finish off, his CSM squads, who run away to claim his own objectives. Draigo and Coteaz break off and assault different units so that I can send my Paladins after his remaining scoring units. My Dreadnought finished off the last two Havocs.
My Paladins then spend the next few turns chopping their way upfield towards his objectives. I shoot/assault everything to death, while the rest of my army grabs my objectives. His Soul Grinder Deepstrikes in to try and slow the Paladins, but I break Draigo off to kill them.
Turn 5, and all he has left is a badly damaged Soul Grinder locked in assault with Draigo, and a couple of immobilized Rhinos. I’ve got all three objectives near my deployment zone, the Paladins claim the fourth, and he doesn’t have anything to get the last one. I get full points except for First Blood, 19/20.
Game 2: The Relic, Dawn of War vs Dark Eldar/Eldar
My opponent’s list:
Farseer with Jetbike
Wyches in Venom
Warriors in Venom
Big Beastmaster unit (a bunch of random stuff)
2x 5 Rangers
Ravager with Dark Lances
2 Void Ravens
Dark Eldar can be a pretty bad matchup for Grey Knights, and he has the tools to kill both my Paladins and the Land Raiders, and Venoms eat expensive power armor Marines. It is, however, the Relic, which Paladins excel at. Secondary objective is Emperor’s Will with two objectives in each player’s deployment zone, but I decide I need to go all-out for the Relic and worry about Emperor’s Will later.
Draigo give the Paladins and GKSS Scout. I Scout both up as close as I can to the Relic. Game plan is to snatch the Relic with the Paladins, sacrifice the GKSS to protect them, hide the Paladins in the LRs, and go from there. It’s Night Fight turn 1, so I won’t be able to kill his firepower right away unfortunately, so I want to bait him into shooting the GKSS instead of putting Dark Lances and Blasters into the LRs/Paladins T1.
His Void Ravens will be a pain, too, but they’ll only get one round of shooting because of all my TL shooting and the fact that they modified the Relic to be a Skyfire Nexus for this. I think that was a nice little touch, personally, not a bad idea. But I don’t have Interceptor, so I could have two dead LRs T2 if I’m unlucky.
I go first, the GKSS hop out and screen the Paladins, the Paladins grab the Relic, and my shooting bounces off of his cover saves.
He moves his Beastmaster unit up, assaulting and kill the GKSS, which is pretty much what I expected. The rest of his shooting doesn’t really do anything to the Paladins thanks to Draigo’s 3++.
The Paladins boldly run away into their LRC. Now that he doesn’t get stupidly good cover from Night Fight, I blow his Ravager, his Warrior Venom, and immobilize the Wytch Venom going for the flank.
On his turn, his Beastmasters hid in the central piece of terrain, protected by Fortune. Both of his Rangers come on, on opposite flanks, but his Void Ravens are out. His Wyches jump out of his immobilized Venom and go for my LRC full of Paladins, doing 3 Hull Points of damage since it moved and he only had 6 Haywire attacks.
His biggest remaining threat is the Beastmaster unit, so I move up my Paladins and Purifiers to take them out. Almost everything shoots at them. In retrospect, I should have kept the Purifiers in their LR another turn, because the Paladins absolutely murder the Beastmasters thanks to my Force Weapons. I manage to kill his Farseer somehowe or other depite Fortune and a 4++, but I don’t remember if it was in a challenge or not. Draigo, Coteaz, and my Paladins are left in assault with the Baron, who -dundundun- fails his rerollable Hit and Run.
His Void Ravens then come in, but completely whiff. His Wyches assault my LR, and whiff. He fails the Baron’s 2++ and I Force Weapon him. Great turn for my opponent.
My Paladins with Skyfire shoot at one of his Void Ravens, and whiff. Ironically, random TL fire from my LRs and Dreadnought down both flyers. Throw enough TL shots at Flyers, and they’ll eventually drop, and AV11 helps a lot. I send my LRC off to try and shoot him off his far objective, while Coteaz runs off to kill him off his other objective. The Paladins, who are still at pretty much full strength, hunker down in terrain with the Relic.
Coteaz spend the rest of the game cutting down Warriors until I clear off his objective. My LRC tries to clear off his far objective, but the game ends before I succeed. I hold one objective, he has one, so we tie on Emperor’s Will, but I have the Relic, First Blood, Warlord, Linebreaker, plus my secret objective. A solid win for 16/20pts.
Also, I randomly got a bloody nose turn 1 for no discernible reason, so we told everyone that we literally fought for first turn;).
Game 3: Big Guns Never Tire, Vanguard Strike vs Space Wolves
Lord with THSS, Eternal Warrior
Dreadnought, dual Heavy Flamers, Drop Pod
6 Wolf Guard w/ Combi-Plasma, Drop Pod
8 Grey Hunters, Meltagun, Standard, Drop Pod
9 Grey Hunters, Meltagun, Standard, Drop Pod
2×10 Grey Hunters, 2 Plasmaguns, Drop Pod
10 Grey Hunters, 2 Meltaguns, Drop Pod
3 Land Speeders, Typhoon Missile Launchers
5 Long Fangs, 4 Missile Launchers
Drop Pods can be a real pain for me, but killing Marines isn’t nearly as big of a deal. I can kill his 50 Grey Hunters. I do have to be real careful of his Lord, though, since Draigo is only AP3 and that guy will TH Paladins to death.
The objectives aren’t too far out for me to go and grab them, so I castle by the large piece of LOS blocking terrain. He won’t be able to get close enough to melta my LRs despite my lack of Warp Quake T1, since he’s going first, though I’ll probably lose First Blood on my Rhino/Razorback. The game plan is to shoot down the Wolf Lord, survive his melta drops, then counter charge my way out of my corner and snatch the objectives. Coteaz and the Purifiers cover my other flank, and if he does decide to drop in over there, they won’t be in a good position to prevent me from grabbing objectives later, so I’m not worried about him trying to alpha-strike Purifiers, I just need to keep him away from the Land Raiders since it’s Big Guns Never Tire.
He drops in his Lord, Priest, 2 GH squads with melta, and his Dreadnought. The Dreadnought scatters, and the Pods all form a wall that will try and block my movement out of the castle. His meltas come sooooo close to whiffing, but he just barely finishes off my Rhino to earn First blood. His Dreadnought Pod scatters like 11” away from where he wanted it.
I focus fire on the Lord and his squad. The Purifiers get full shots since they can just see the Lord’s squad around the building, and everything but my Paladins focus on the Lord. He disappears in a hail of gunfire, despite some pretty solid saves on my opponent’s part. The Paladins charge in and go hammertime on his Rune Priest and his squad. 20 Space Wolves down, 30 more plus Drop Pods and Heavy Support to go. Also, my Dreadnought immobilizes his Dreadnought where it can’t do anything meaningful.
The Rune Priest managed to block my 4++ invulnerable save power from Coteaz, so his Wolf Guard unit drops in and kills 4 Purifiers with plasma, plus I fail a LOS on Coteaz who gets ID’ed. The rest of his units drop in, completing his little wall around my castle, and shoot up my Paladins. Draigo takes a couple of wounds, two of which come from Drop Pod Storm Bolters of all things. I lose one Paladin as well to plasma from behind.
In response, I assault again with my Paladins, and split off Draigo to go after one other squad. The Purifiers shoot his Wolf Guard and kill them, my GKSS hid in a Land Raider, and the Land Raiders mow down mofos. Unfortunately for me, the Paladins kill all but one Grey Hunter, who runs and keeps running in order to hide on an objective. Same thing with Draigo’s victims.
My GKSS assault and kill his remaining unit of Grey Hunters. Draigo gets shot down by Storm Bolters from the Drop Pods and Missile Launchers from the Land Speeders and Long Fangs. I carve my way through his Drop Pods to get Land Raiders on objectives, while his Missile Launchers also kill my Dreadnought and the rest of the Purifiers.
His two random Grey Hunters hunker down on objectives, but it’s not quite enough. My Land Raiders pick them off with Power of the Machine Spirit before going Flat Out to grab objectives. He’s left with ~3 Long Fangs and 2 Land Speeders and a couple of Drop Pods, while I have my Acolytes, 2 Land Raiders, and about 5 GKSS, all sitting on objectives.
His plan to bog me down in my castle did come pretty close to working, but he was only able to get one or two melta shots at my Land Raiders and that just didn’t cut it. Then I eliminated his melta and after that, it was only a matter of time until I had them on objectives. He was a touch bit too aggressive with objective placement, it would have been a lot more difficult if he had an objective for his Long Fangs to hold. Other than that, it was a close, tough game against a good opponent. Either way, I’ve got the Primary, the secondary was Purge which I won iirc 11-7 kill points, and we both had Warlord and got our secret objectives for 17/20.
Since my army is pretty well painted, and I got solid sportsmanship scores, and had the most battle points, victory was mine. In a very close second was Ben Vaugh with his Thousand Sons, who magically wins all of his games despite how terrible Thousand Sons are (it’s probably the 350pt rage-inducing Daemon Prince ;), but I jest, Ben’s a great guy and a very good painter, and I unabashedly stole my gold quasi-NMM technique from him).
Hindsight: Overall, the list performed pretty much as I expected, with lots of flexible tools and options. Good to know I haven’t lost my touch with Land Raiders, I haven’t played with more than one in a long time. It was definitely fun to get back to my roots.
However, the Purifiers got shot to death too easily. They never saw combat with anything I really needed Cleansing Flame for, and frankly I’d like to have a more durable unit. I’ve never had problems dealing with hordes (with old Daemonhunters I was basically undefeated against Orks. I’d played games where I was outnumbered literally 10:1 or worse, and we didn’t have no fancy Cleansing Flame back then). Plus, as hard as 5 Paladins are, 10 is better, and I like having that option instead of the Cleansing Flame options that I don’t really need. Some lists just see 10 Paladins and think “oh, ****, guess I’m hiding on objectives this game”. And most lists that are good against Paladins I can deal with thanks to the Land Raiders (DE are still tough, but no list is perfect and Purifiers don’t really help me there).
So drop the Purifiers and max out the Paladins. I need to find some points to do that, so I’ll drop the Rhino and Razorback, since they tend to be an easy First Blood for my opponent anyways, and judicial use of Land Raiders can mitigate the lack of transport options.
New list (what I took the The Golden Throne):
10 Paladins, Banner, Stave, 4 Psycannons
10 GKSS, 2 Psycannons, Psybolts
10 Warrior Acolytes, 8 Boltguns
Land Raider Crusader
While I don’t want to type up six more detailed battle reports, the list did pretty well. I broke even in win/losses, mostly because of bad luck at critical moments in several games. In Game 1 an unfortunate series of events gave my opponents the chance to grab objectives Turn 5 for the win (Coteaz died on Overwatch, the game ended Turn 5, I failed a few critical charges, etc).
Game 2, I was faced up with a brutal cheesy Tau list, in Hammer and Anvil, on a board with basically no terrain on my side except a river to slow my movement (lovely), in Kill Points versus Broadside/Riptide spam (which GKs are terrible at killing), and he won the roll to go first and I failed to Seize. Even then, the main reason he won was a superbly lucky Skyray turn 1, which after everything else in his army whiffed, shot six Seeker Missiles at my LR and glanced it to death. That got him First Blood, one Kill Point, and removed the only guns I had that could both ID Broadsides and ignore their armor at long range. Even with all of that, he won by one Victory Point in a very close game. Had my LR retained even one Hull Point, I likely would have won handily. Alas, sometimes it happens, and it was a surprisingly fun game against a codex that is normally not the least bit of fun to face.
Game 3, after two narrow losses, I played a player with IG/Eldar, and had a fun casual game, which I won. Nothing too special to talk about, other than it’s a bad idea to jump 20 Dire Avengers out right in front of Draigo, Coteaz, and 10 Paladins.
Game 4: Drop Pod Marines. I decided to have fun, and almost intentionally made a lot of wrong moves. Draigo left the Paladins, letting him lascannon half the squad to death with combat squads in cover on objectives. It was the Scouring, so he was able to drop all over the board, and blew up both Land Raiders pretty easily when he won the roll to go first and I failed Warp Quake in subsequent turns. Despite the jokes and bad luck (I failed basically all of the armor saves on my GKSS), it was a very close game, when I finally decided to start playing smart Turn 5, shot him off one objective, claimed two of my own, and contested his third objective, for what we thought was a one VP loss thanks to his Tac Squad in my Deployment Zone for Linebreaker. Once we realized the mistake we corrected it, and both had a good laugh.
Game 5: Orks/IG: Triple Vendettas. Dammit. Still won, like I said, I’m really good against Orks, I killed them off almost without casualties. Then of course his stupid Vendettas flew in from Ongoing Reserves, killed all but one GKSS claiming an objective, dropped onto the objective my acolytes were claiming and killed them, and was pretty close to claiming a bunch of objectives. He wasn’t quite able to pull it off, though, and I killed all of his troops to secure my victory. I did get to pull off an awesome reversal/counter charge when I baited his Orks into assaulting my Land Raider, Tank Shocked through them, turned around with everything that had been chasing his Nob Bikerz, and wiping out most of his troops in one move I’m pretty sure he didn’t see coming. Land Raiders are great for catching people by surprise like that, you can 180 and assault 18-24” in the opposite direction at a moment’s notice. I really don’t know why more people don’t run Vendettas, though. They’re as nasty as Heldrakes against a lot of lists, and their ability to fly in and dump a scoring unit on an objective is game-winning.
Game 6: Chaos, Abbadon in a Land Raider. I shot his Maulerfiends to death, killed one Heldrake and ignored the other, popped his Land Raider midfield, then used my Land Raiders to block his movement with Abbadon until I shot him to death. A solid victory, and a classic LR tactic to deny charges to anything that can’t reliably kill Land Raiders in assault. See my game against CSM/Daemons at the COC where I charge-blocked a Nurgle Lord for another example of how useful this is.
The list did well, I had fun, but the dice just weren’t with me in my losses. One loss I could have turned around if had taken it more seriously in deployment and the early turns, but it was a fun game. I like to think of it as playing on hard mode ;). The other two game down to a handful of critical rolls outside of my control. The only real problem I encountered was a slight lack in scoring units. I’m a little weak in the Scouring, so I might need to tweak the list or just automatically combat squad everything in those games. Also, the Acoltyes tend to die a lot. People are starting to realize that cheap scoring units win games, and they die to a stiff breeze. I’ll have to be a little more careful with them, and maybe find a way to get them back in a Razorback.
Eventually, I’ll whittle the list down to 1750 in preparation for the BAO, and hopefully the Las Vegas Open if I’m able to get the time off. Until then, hope you enjoyed the battle reports, and better yet learned a few tricks you can pull in your next game.