Hi everyone, Michael here with the written battle report of the final game of a recent tournament I attended. For more battle reports, reviews and analyses, check out the Tactics Corner.
The final game of Caledonian Revolution 2017 saw my Deathwatch take on Craig’s Tyranids.
Game 5 featured the Scouring as the Eternal War mission, with Cleanse and Capture as the maelstrom mission (three cards per turn). The deployment zone was Vanguard Strike. I had yet to play a horde army with my Deathwatch yet, so would be interested to see if I had the firepower to take them out before they could reach me.
My army consisted of:
- Watch Master- Guardian Spear (W)
- Watch Captain- Jump Pack, Xenophase Blade, Bolt Pistol (W)
- Kill Team 1- Sergeant with Power Sword, Black Shield with Power Sword, 3 Veterans, 2 Frag Cannons, Vanguard Veteran with Pair Lightning Claws, Deathwatch Biker with Teleport Homer (KT1)
- Kill Team 2- 5 Veterans with 2 Frag Cannons and 2 Shotguns (KT2)
- Kill Team 3- 5 Veterans with Meltagun, 3 Combi-meltas (KT3)
- Kill Team 4- 5 Veterans with 5 Stalker Pattern Boltguns (KT4)
- Kill Team 5- 5 Veterans, Terminator with Power Fist, Storm Bolter and Cyclone Missile Launcher (KT5)
- Rhino- Storm Bolter (R1)
- Rhino- Storm Bolter (R2)
- 5 Vanguard Veterans- 2 pairs Lightning Claws, 2 Heavy Thunder Hammers (VV)
- 4 Bikers- Teleport Homer, Power Axe, Power Maul, 2 Power Swords (DB1)
- 4 Bikers- Teleport Homer, Power Maul, 3 Power Swords (DB2)
- Corvus Blackstar- Twin Assault Cannon, 2 Stormstrike Missiles, Hurricane Bolter, Auspex Array (CB)
- 6 Command Points
My warlord was the Watch Master, who took the Legendary Fighter warlord trait.
Craig’s army consisted of:
- Broodlord- Monstrous Rending Claws (B)
- Old One Eye- Monstrous Crushing Claws, Monstrous Scything Talons, Thresher Scythe (OOE)
- 30 Termagants- 15 Fleshborers, 15 Devourers (T)
- 25 Hormagaunts- Toxin sacs, Adrenal glands, scything talons (H)
- 20 Genestealers- Rending Claws (G)
- Exocrine- Bio-plasmic Cannon, Powerful Limbs (E1)
- Exocrine- Bio-plasmic Cannon, Powerful Limbs (E2)
Supreme Command Detachment
- Flyrant- Toxin sacs, Adrenal glands, Prehensile Pincer, two Deathspitters with Slime, Monstrous Rending Claws (F1)
- Flyrant- Toxin sacs, Adrenal glands, Prehensile Pincer, two Deathspitters with Slime, Monstrous Rending Claws (F2)
- Flyrant- Toxin sacs, Adrenal glands, Prehensile Pincer, two Deathspitters with Slime, Monstrous Rending Claws (F3)
7 Command Points
One Flyrant had Catalyst and Onslaught, another had The Horror and Onslaught, the third also had Catalyst and Onslaught. The Broodlord had Catalyst.
Ah, the classic Flyrants of 7th edition. I was curious to see how effective they could be in 8th edition, as in 7th, these three alone could decimate my entire army. Once I found out the weapons stats of the Exocrine, I knew that these would be a priority target for my guns, I could not afford them to survive for long. Fortunately, my 2+ poisoned shells would still affect them.
As for the hordes, I would need to count on my Bolters and Frag Cannons to do the job before they could get to me.
Craig won the roll for objectives, and we placed them as shown below:
Rolling for the objectives, Objective 3 was the major one, objective 5 was the minor one. Craig also won the roll off for deployment zone and chose the side he was on. I deployed my first units. The deployment order was as follows:
- Vanguard Veterans (reserve)
- Watch Captain (reserve)
- Kill Team 4 (Stalker Marines)
- Kill Team 5 (Cyclone Missile)
- Old One Eye
- Rhino 2 (Frag Cannon Squad)
- Rhino 1 (Meltagun Squad)
- Deathwatch Bikers (RHS)
- Deathwatch Bikers (LHS)
- Corvus Blackstar
I put the two static kill teams on the ruins near the objectives in my deployment zone. One unit of Bikers went on each flank, ready to advanced on the Exocrines and fire on them. One Rhino went behind the ruins to my right, out of line of sight, while the other deployed back behind the ruins on the left. I deployed the Corvus slightly further back, ready to advance on the Tyranid lines.
Craig placed an Exocrine on each flank and spread the three Flyrants over his lines. The Genestealers and Broodlord went on his right, ready to advance on the bulk of my army, with the Termagants and Hormagaunts behind them. Old One Eye went on the left flank.
As I finished deploying first, I chose to go first. Craig then managed to seize the initiative. This could be problematic for my army.
TURN 1- TYRANIDS
In turn 1, Craig drew Assassinate (kill an enemy character), Secure Objective 2 and Secure Objective 4.
On the left flank, one of the Flyrants moved up to the edge of the ruins, while Old One Eye advanced into the ruins. The other Flyrant on the right moved up to support the advancing Genestealers and Broodlord. The rest of the Tyranid swarms moved up into position.
One Hive Tyrant cast the Horror on the Stalker Marines. Another cast Catalyst on the Broodlord, but failed to manifest it.
On the left, the Exocrine targeted the Bike squad in front of him. As he didn’t move, he got to first twice and at +1 to hit. The bio-plasma attack pummeled the Deathwatch, wiping out the squad. The other Exocrine split its fire between the second unit of Bikers and adjacent kill team (Craig said he was afraid of the Cyclone Missile Launcher). Two of the Bikers perished, along with two of the kill team.
At the end of his turn, Craig scored First Blood and a kill point. He discarded Assassinate.
TURN 1- DEATHWATCH
This turn, I drew Defend Objective 3, Secure Objective 3 and Behind Enemy Lines. Not a great draw, objective three was in the centre, about to be swarmed by Tyranids.
The Corvus Blackstar moved up over the Genestealers to the flank of the Exocrine. It dropped its payload on the way, but the Genestealers were unharmed. The Bikers moved up behind the ruins to the left, the Rhino also advancing and using its Smoke Launchers.
The Terminator fired his Cyclone Missile Launcher at the Exocrine, but failed to hit with both shots. The squad’s Bolters fired at the Genestealers, killing 2. The Stalker Kill Team added their firepower, killing two of the Tyranid creatures.
The Corvus Blackstar fired at the Exocrine. The Twin Assault Cannon failed to wound. The Hurricane Bolters managed to take two wounds, while the Stormstrike Missiles took 3 wounds after the use of a Command Point re-roll.
At the end of my turn, I scored Behind Enemy lines and discarded Defend Objective 3. My reduced firepower had barely put a dent in the Tyranid lines.
- Tyranids- 0 Maelstrom Points, 1 Kill Point
- Deathwatch- 1 Maelstrom Point, 0 Kill Points
TURN 2- TYRANIDS
This turn, Craig drew Secure Objective 1 to go with Secure Objective 2 and Secure Objective 4.
The two Hive Tyrants moved up to engage the Corvus Blackstar, as the other Tyrant moved towards the central objective. Old One Eye picked his way through the ruins to towards the objective, while the rest of the Tyranid swarms stayed in position.
One Hive Tyrant cast The Horror on the Corvus Blackstar, another casting Catalyst on itself. The Deathwatch flyer was then hit with four Smite attacks from the Broodlord and three Hive Tyrants, taking ten wounds from it on total (one of the castings rolled an 11).
In the shooting phase, one Flyrant fired at the flyer, taking a single wound from it. The other Flyrant also fired at the Corvus, but failed to get past its armour. The third Flyrant targeted the Corvus Blackstar, but also failed to wound it. The Termagants fired their weapons at the flyer, wounding it 7 times. I failed only one save and the Corvus was left on two wounds. The nearby Exocrine split its fire between the Corvus and the Terminator Kill Team. The bio-plasma put three wounds on the flyer, I failed two saves and it was destroyed. The Bio-plasma fired at the Kill Team in the ruins, but failed to do any damage.
The Corvus had fallen, but mostly due to the Smite attacks of the psykers. Had it not been for them, it probably would have survived the shooting phase, but could have been taken down by the Flyrants in combat.
In the charge phase, the Genestealers assaulted the newly deployed Kill Team. The Frag Cannons managed to do 7 wounds and kill 5 of the squad. The Bolters in the squad managed to do four wounds, but Craig passed 3 of his four 5+ saves. The Exocrine and two of the Hive Tyrants also charged the squad and Watch Master.
The Genestealers attacked the Kill Team, slaying four of the squad, leaving the two Frag Cannons and the Vanguard Veteran. I then used two Command Points to interrupt with the Watch Master (I figured the game would not go on much longer, so decided to use them up while I could). The Watch Master attacked the Exocrine, doing 2 wounds on the creature. One of the Flyrants attacked the Watch Master, doing two wounds, but failing to get past his Invulnerable save. The Kill Team then attacked the Genestealers, killing two of the squad. The other Flyrant was now out of range to attack.
In the morale phase, I rolled a 6 for the Kill Team in combat. I used my ATSKNF re-roll and got another 6, losing the two Frag Cannon Veterans!
At the end of his turn, Craig scored Objective 4 and discarded Objective 2. He also scored one kill point.
TURN 2- DEATHWATCH
This turn, I drew Defend Objective 1, Secure Objective 2 and had Secure Objective 3.
The Bikers moved up to support the Watch Master, who fell back from combat towards them. The Vanguard Veteran also fell back, moving towards the central objective. The Vanguard Veterans and Watch Captain arrived to the south, moving to target the second Exocrine (I figured the game was pretty much a loss at this point, so decided to try and at least kill one of those bloody beasties).
The Bikers fired at the Exocrine, wounding it five times, but only getting past its armour once.
The Stalker Marines fired on the Broodlord, wounding him 7 times with their poisoned 2+ shells. Craig managed to fail 5 of his saves, so the Broodlord was injured. The nearby Kill Team added their firepower, the Cyclone Missile Launcher hitting for once and obliterating the Broodlord.
The Vanguard Veterans assaulted the Exocrine. Craig managed to hit with 3 of his 6 overwatch shots, killing 2 of the squad. They made their charge. The Watch Captain also made the charge after using a command point re-roll.
The Heavy Thunder Hammers struck, doing 5 wounds on the Exocrine, while the Captain and Lightning Claws did no damage (I was wounding on 6’s thanks to its T8). The Exocrine failed to do any damage in reply.
At the end of my turn, I scored Objective 2 and Objective 3, discarding Objective 1. I also scored one kill point and slay the warlord.
- Tyranids- 1 Maelstrom Points, 2 Kill Points
- Deathwatch- 3 Maelstrom Point, 1 Kill Point
Things looked close on the score line so far, but a lot of my army had been decimated and I had yet to make much of a dent on the Tyranid numbers.
TURN 3- TYRANIDS
This turn, Craig drew Objective 1, Objective 1 and Objective 5.
The Genestealers moved up on the objective in the woods, while the Termagants moved up on the objective in the ruins, and the Hormagaunts moved to support the Exocrine beside them. The two Flyrants on the right went after the Watch Master.
The Flyrant cast The Horror on the Watch Master. He also cast Smite on him, rolling high enough to get D6 wounds. Fortunately for me, he rolled a 1 and I took a single wound. The other Hive Tyrant cast Smite on the Bikers, wounding them 3 times and killing one. The third Hive Tyrant tried to Smite the Vanguard Veteran in the centre, but failed to manifest it.
In the shooting phase, one of the Hive Tyrants fired at the Biker, killing him. The Exocrine fired at the Kill Team in the ruins opposite, killing two of the Veterans and leaving only the Terminator.
The second Flyrant fired at the Watch Master, wounding him once. I failed my 3+ save and he took a wound. The third Hive Tyrant fired at the lone Vanguard Veteran, easily killing him.
In the charge phase, the Hormagaunts charged the Watch Captain and Vanguard Veterans. The two Flyrants charged the Watch Master.
The Hormagaunts struck at the Watch Captain, wounding him four times with his massed attacks. I failed three of my saves and the Captain perished. They also wounded the Vanguard Veterans, killing two of the squad.
The Flyrants attacked the Watch Master, wounding him four times. I failed two saves, using my last Command Point re-roll in an unsuccessful attempt to save another. He then took 6 damage from the attack and was slain.
At the end of his turn, Craig scored all three of his objectives, as well as four kill points and Slay the Warlord.
TURN 3- DEATHWATCH
This turn, I drew Hold the Line (have no enemy units in my deployment zone), Secure Objective 4 and Witch Hunter.
The Kill Team disembarked from their Rhino, heading for one of the Hive Tyrants, while the other Rhino advanced through the ruins, using its Smoke Launchers.
The Kill Team fired their Meltaguns at the Hive Tyrant, hitting and wounding three times. Craig made one invulnerable save and I took 5 wounds from it. The Cyclone Missile Launcher fired at the same Hive Tyrant, hitting once, but failing to wound. The Stalker Marines fired at the Hive Tyrant, wounding twice, but failing to get past its armour.
The Kill Team assaulted the Hive Tyrant. The Kill Team did one wound which was saved. The Hive Tyrant struck back, wounding once, but I made a 6+ armour save.
The Heavy Thunder Hammers of the Vanguard Veterans hit once, but failed to wound yet again. In reply, the Hormagaunts wiped out the squad.
At the end of my turn, I scored Hold the Line and discarded Objective 4.
- Tyranids- 4 Maelstrom Points, 7 Kill Points
- Deathwatch- 4 Maelstrom Point, 1 Kill Point
TURN 4- TYRANIDS
This turn, Craig drew Scour the Skies, Big Game Hunter and Secure Objective 4.
The Genestealers and Flyrant moved to target the Rhino behind the ruins. The Hive Tyrant remained locked in combat, the rest of the Tyranids moving to secure the objectives.
Both Hive Tyrants cast Smite on the Meltagun Kill team, easily wiping them out.
The Exocrine fired both kill teams in my deployment zone. One shot killed two of the Stalker Marines, but failed to harm the Terminator.
The Hive Tyrant charged the Rhino. He had no line of sight to the Rhino, but we could find nothing in the rules that stopped this. He was also supported by the Genestealers.
The Hive Tyrant attacked, but failed to do any damage. The Genestealers struck at the Rhino, wounding it twice.
At the end of his turn, Craig scored Objective 4 and a kill point.
TURN 4- DEATHWATCH
This turn, I drew Secure Objective 1, to go with Objective 4 and Witch Hunter.
The Kill Team disembarked from the Rhino, moving up on the Genestealers, while the other Rhino fell back towards the objective.
In the shooting phase, the Frag Cannons targeted the Genestealers. Some poor rolling saw only 9 hits from 4D6 and 6 wounds. Craig then passed four of his 5+ invulnerable saves. The Bolters and shotgun of the squad killed another 3.
The Stalkers fired at the wounded Flyrant, doing a single wound. The Terminator fired his Cyclone Missile Launcher at the Flyrant, hitting twice, but failing to roll a single wound despite only needing a 3+.
The Kill Team assaulted the Genestealers. They struck at the squad, doing 5 wounds. Again, Craig passed three of the five 5+ invulnerable saves, leaving a single Genestealer remaining and denying me a second kill point.
At the end of my turn, I scored no points.
With that, we ran out of time in the round. Just as well, as I would have most likely been tabled in the following turn.
The final score was:
- Tyranids- 5 Maelstrom Points, 8 Kill Points, 8 Objective points, First Blood, Slay the Warlord and Linebreaker = 24 points
- Deathwatch- 4 Maelstrom Point, 1 Kill Point, 5 Objective points, Slay the Warlord = 11 points.
An easy win for the Tyranids and the full 20 tournament points to Craig.
Another brutal game for the Deathwatch. Thanks to Craig for the game and for putting up with my mood during this game.
The game started off badly with Craig being able to seize before we started. This allowed him to wipe out one bike squad and half the other, which put a damper on my plans. With 16 shots at short range, I was counting on these guys to either damage the Exocrines or make a serious dent in the hordes.
Once again, some terrible dice rolling was on display for the Cyclone Missile Launcher and Heavy Thunder Hammers.
Over the course of the four turns, the Cyclone Missiles hit 5 times, but only wounded twice during the whole game (even though it was wounding on a 3+ most of the time). This guy was pretty worthless throughout the whole tournament. Equally, the Heavy Thunder Hammers didn’t really do any real damage, a total waste of 60 points.
In hindsight, there are a few things that I would have changed. I did not think that the Flyrants would have been so ineffective against the Rhinos and Corvus Blackstar. Had I known this, I would have send all three vehicles towards the Genestealers early on, trusting that they could survive the firepower and combat attacks. I should also have gone after the genestealers with the Corvus Blackstar’s weapons rather than the Exocrine. The Corvus really doesn’t have the firepower to go after enemy vehicles or tough creatures, but could have helped deplete the Genestealer unit further.
In turn 2, this may have allowed me to target the Exocrine or Flyrant with my Meltaguns and Frag Cannons, or aimed all four Frag Cannons at the Termagant unit, to make a big dent in them. Also, the Vanguard Veterans would have been better suited going after the already injured Exocrine. I think it would have been tough to take out the other one and it proved to be so.
Being able to cast Smite multiple times a turn with a number of psykers is also pretty brutal. Stripping 10 wounds from the Corvus with psychic attacks was hard to recover from, as the rest of the Nid firepower would not have been able to destroy it in one phase, I feel.
Only killing one enemy unit during the course of the game was pretty pathetic. After I got seized on and saw the devastation the Exocrines could wreak, I was not feeling too confident about my chances, so pretty much tried to kill as much as possible, which turned out to be not a lot! Interestingly, only Old One Eye made it into my deployment zone. The rest of the Tyranid army never crossed the half-way mark during the game. Perhaps if I had ended up with the major objective in my deployment zone, I may have sat back with my army and waited for Craig to come to me with his units, taking an extra couple of turns of firing at them.
Craig was kind enough to send me additional photos of the game, as well as write up some of his thoughts on how the battle went.
How the game went The game for the most part came down to 3 things which made it end completely in my favour, rather than coming down to 1 VP like it should : You had deployed to get a rush at me with your bikes and put the volume of shots into the horde to get as much of them whittled away as you could, and I seized which left all of your fast approach horde damaging units exactly within range of my huge gun beasts, that just turned the game. Originally as I said to you at the time I wasn’t even going to roll to seize as I knew exactly what would happen if I did, but as it was a competition rather than a friendly game in a garage, so how could I not try. Every shooting roll you threw was out by like 75% percent; if you should have got 4 save rolls from a barrage of attacks you were only getting 1, and I was throwing a 5+ save like it was a 2+ re-rollable. (From this point of view I didn’t enjoy the game it is a hollow victory if it was a consistent dice victory) (See! It’s not just me complaining about how awful my dice are- sometimes my opponent agrees!- Mike).
Because I had seized and taken out your mobility and volume, the first card you drew was Behind Enemy Lines, and I think already at that point you knew you had to get in my face with the only mobile unit you had (the Corvus) and do as much damage as you could, also grabbing that maelstrom which looked like it was going to be important, given I had such mobility in volume to grab those objectives, 1 of which was worth 4VPs. Unfortunately, what should have stripped my models from an entire half of my deployment zone rolled so poorly that it only removed 5 damage from an Exocrine (which didn’t take it down a tier on the damage table) and 5 genestealers (leaving 15 behind within charging distance and sat on the superior objective). From then, it was my turn and everything had range. I had 4 smites to throw at it, 3 flyrants to engage it in CC, an exocrine that could have shot it at +1 BS and shooting twice, and almost 70 devourer shots to put into it.
Did I enjoy it?
On the whole it wasn’t an enjoyable game as you didn’t enjoy it. I thought my tyranids played amazingly; just sat back kept you at arms length and those exocrines kept dealing the damage, I so wish you had at least got the moral victory of killing that one right on the back line.
What units were effective
My Flyrants are a very 7th edition relic that aren’t just an unkillable flying gun boat anymore, the reasons to bring them were clear- 6 psychic powers per turn (nid powers are GOOD), ultra mobile synapse, and I was expecting more stormraven spam, and Flyrants can engage them in close combat and have really good zero cost rending claws which re-roll all failed wounds (which I forgot to do the entire way through our game) that on 6s to wound, deal 3 damage at AP-6.
The exocrines did their job like I couldn’t even have dreamed, target the big stuff and target anything that worries me with speed or firepower.
My Plan for the game
On day 1, I had done the tyranid thing of go second because I have too many drops try and charge in like a headless mindless eating machine and get slaughtered by Orks and Space Marines on my way, leaving me a very hungry bug and getting tabled twice. Day 2 I tried a different approach- hide my big stuff behind LoS blocking terrain and leave the horde to soak the volume with the 2 exocrines to just send shots into anything that came out of your deployment. Due to me seizing, that kind of screwed me up as all my stuff that could get in your face was tucked away and now had 2 turns to do anything, however, I expected to take a round of punishment before I took out your critical units so it changed my plans but definitely not for the worse.
What was 8th like less than a month old and competitive
During our game I think we had good interpretation of rules, there were 2 key things we went over that we didn’t immediately agree on. (other games through the weekend there was maybe more of a we will roll to decide who is right)
Having a fly key word doesn’t mean anything to your fliers -1 to hit. Everyone takes -1 to hit, other fliers, things that can fly it doesn’t matter -1 to hit your Corvus PERIOD!
When I destroyed your Corvus I could have been a dick and actually taken it down in the fight phase which could have let me surround it on all sides not allowed you to deploy out slain all models inside and given me automatic warlord and taken out a massive amount of points, important to note that after the FAQ this was 100% confirmed as being the case you can’t place models where the transport used to be they must be deployed within 3″ of the transport an inch away from enemy models before the transport is removed. When playing against hordes transport should be used to charge up to outside the hordes charge range deploy out your unit and pound face, your readers need to not get transports soaked in bodies with people inside them or they are dead.
Thanks to Craig for taking the time to write up some thoughts for me on the game. He did point out to me that all units are at -1 to hit against flyers (unless they have a special rule negating it). I think I was confused that Fly units could assault the flyers, I also thought that they ignored the -1 to hit against the flyers. Annoyingly, none of my opponents from the other games pointed this out when I told them that they could ignore the -1 to hit with their flying units. Hard to know what kind of effect this could have had on my previous games.
So, with 5 games played, I scored one win, one draw and three losses (two of which were 20-0, with a single tabling). When the results were up, I came 66th out of around 100 players. This was definitely my worst placing at any tournament that I have played at so far. Oddly enough, I won the award for best Deathwatch player. True, I was the only Deathwatch player at the event, so it was pretty much a default win!
Despite my poor placing, I was thrilled to get a Best Painted Army nomination, which more than made up for the terrible game results.
As much as I love my Deathwatch army, I think they are going to struggle in 8th edition. The Marines are just so expensive, and the Frag Cannons in a Drop Pod tactic has effectively been neutered by the new reserve rules. I think I will retire them for a while so that I can focus on getting some games in with my other armies that have yet to see the table in 8th edition.
I hope you have enjoyed my reports from Caledonian Revolution 2017.
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