Hi everyone, Michael here with another written battle report. This time, my Deathwatch make a return to the table to face off against the Harlequin threat. For more reviews and analyses, check out the Tactics Corner.
This week’s battle report sees a return to the table for my Deathwatch, taking on Yaro’s Harlequins once more.
We would be playing the Tactical Gambit maelstrom mission. This is the mission where you bet how many of your four cards you will score in your turn (before you know which cards you draw). If you score at least that number, you gain that number of bonus points. If not, your opponent gets the bonus points. This can make it risky to bet big, but rewards you if you do and score the cards.
My army consisted of:
- Watch Captain Artemis (A)
- Librarian- Force Sword, Bolt Pistol, the Beacon Angelis, Null Zone, Might of Heroes (L)
- 5 Veterans- 2 Frag Cannons, Storm Shield, Bolters, Chainsword (KT1)
- Rhino- Storm Bolter (R1)
- 5 Veterans- 3 Combi-Meltas, Bolters, Chainswords(KT2)
- 5 Veterans- Bolters, Chainswords (KT3)
- Rhino- Storm Bolter (R2)
- 5 Veterans- Stalker Bolters, Chainswords (KT4)
- 5 Veterans- 3 Missile Launchers, Bolters, Chainswords (KT5)
- 5 Veterans- 3 Frag Cannons, Storm Shield, Bolters, Chainswords (KT6)
- Drop Pod- Storm Bolter (DP)
- 5 Veterans- Deathwatch Shotguns, Storm Shields (KT7)
- 6 Vanguard Veterans- 3 Pairs Lightning Claws, Bolt Pistols, Chainswords (VV)
A different kind of Deathwatch army for me. I decided to go for bodies over toys, dropping the Corvus Blackstar from the list.
I decided to give Watch Captain Artemis a go. His Stasis grenade should negate the pesky invulnerable saves of the Harlequins. I made him my warlord and gave him the 6+ FNP from the rulebook warlord trait. My other secret weapon was the Librarian with Null Zone. Negating the invulnerable saves of the Harlequins is key to bringing them down, as my Deathwatch don’t have the weight of fire to get past them easily.
Saying that, 7 units of Deathwatch Veterans should give me a decent level of firepower. I also remembered to give them all Chainswords. With 2 attacks base, getting an extra attack on each Veteran should boost my damage output a lot.
Yaro’s army consisted of:
- Troupe Master- Harlequin’s Caress, Fusion Pistol (M1)
- Troupe Master- Harlequin’s Caress, Fusion Pistol (M2)
- Shadowseer- Mind Staff, Shuriken Pistol, Twilight Pathways (S1)
- 2 Skyweavers- Zephyrglaive, Haywire Cannon (Sk)
- 5 Troupe Players- Harlequins Embrace, Fusion Pistols (TP1)
- 5 Troupe Players- Harlequins Embrace, Fusion Pistols (TP2)
- 5 Troupe Players- Harlequins Embrace, Fusion Pistols (TP3)
- Starweaver (St1)
- Starweaver (St2)
- Starweaver (St3)
- Soltaire (Sol)
- Death Jester (DJ)
- Shadowseer- Mind Staff, Shuriken Pistol, Fog of Dreams (S2)
- 5 Troupe Players- Harlequins Embrace, Fusion Pistols (TP4)
A fairly standard Harlequin army. The Fusion pistols would make a mess of most of my army, and the Harlequins could also hit really hard in combat. Plus, the army is incredibly fast, making them great for taking objectives.
We placed the objectives as shown below:
We rolled for deployment and got Spearhead Assault. We then deployed our armies as shown below:
I set up the Missile Launcher team in the ruins to the left, with the Rhino carrying a Kill Team, Artemis and Librarian out of line of sight below them. I put the Rhino with the plain 5-man Kill Team and the Melta Kill Team in the centre of the field, with the Stalker Marines on the hill to the right. The rest of the Veterans went in the Drop Pod, along with the Vanguard Veterans in reserve.
Yaro set up the the Skyweavers on his right flank, with the Starweavers spread out across the board. The Troupe on foot went on his left, with the characters inbetween the units.
I finished deploying first, but Yaro won the roll off for first turn. However, I managed to seize the initiative and took the first turn. It may have been better to let Yaro go first and draw the Harlequins closer to my lines, but they could do a lot of damage with one turn.
TURN 1- DEATHWATCH
In my first turn, I bid I would score one maelstrom card. I drew Defend Objective 6, Mission Critical Objective (Objective 6), Secure Objective 2 and No Prisoners (destroy an enemy unit).
The central Rhino moved right to the hill, moving around the ruins to get line of sight on the enemy. The Drop Pod crashed to the ground on the right flank, the two Veteran squads disembarking to target the Harlequins.
In the shooting phase, the Kill Team fired their Missile Launchers at the central Starweaver. They hit three times and wounded twice, but both rockets were deflected by the invulnerable saves of the skimmer (on a double 6 no less!). The Stalker Bolter Kill Team fired on the same vehicle, wounding it twice.
The Shotgun Kill Team then opened fire on the Harlequin Troupe on foot with their Cryptclearer rounds. The shots were able to kill three of the squad. The Drop Pod added its firepower, killing one more of the squad.
I decided to fire the final Kill Team all at the last remaining Harlequin. I could have split the fire between the Player and Starweaver, but really needed to kill the last Troupe Player to score No Prisoners and First Blood and didn’t want to risk not killing him with just the Bolters. The Bolters fired, wounding twice, but Yaro saved both wounds. The Frag Cannons then fired, only scoring one hit out of four shots. I used a command point re-roll to get a second hit. Both shots wounded, with Yaro saving one of the shots. He used a command point re-roll, but fortunately for me, he failed the save again and the unit was slain.
In the charge phase, the Frag Cannon Veterans charged the Starweaver. The Shotgun Kill Team tried to charge, but failed to make the distance.
The Kill Team struck at the Starweaver, taking two wounds from it. The Skimmer struck back, killing one of the Veterans.
At the end of my turn, I scored Mission Critical Objective, No Prisoners, Secure Objective 2, First Blood and my one bonus point for 5 points in total.
TURN 1- HARLEQUINS
Yaro also bet on scoring one card. In his turn, he drew Supremacy (score 3 objectives), Priority Orders Received (Kingslayer), Secure Objective 5 and Secure Objective 6.
The Harlequin Troupe and Shadowseer disembarked from the Starweaver in combat, moving towards the Shotgun Kill Team. The Troupe Master and Troupe Players disembarked from another Starweaver, moving up to engage the Kill Team in combat with the Starweaver. Yaro decided to keep the Starweaver in combat, not wanting to risk the overwatch fire of the Frag Cannons.
The third Starweaver moved up on the objective on top of the ruins, while the Skyweavers moved on top of the other ruins. The Soltaire moved up behind the central ruins, as the Death Jester moved towards the right flank.
In the psychic phase, the Shadowseer cast Fog of Dreams on the Shotgun Veterans, perilling on a double 1. Yaro used a command point re-roll to stop the perils, but failed to cast the power. He then cast Smite, killing one of the Shotgun Veterans.
The other Shadowseer cast Twilight Pathways on the nearby Harlequin Troupe, moving them up towards the Frag Cannon Kill Team.
The Shadowseer fired his Hallucinogen Grenade at the Shotgun Veterans, hitting but failing to wound. The other Shadowseer also fired his grenade, hitting but also failing to wound.
The Harlequin Troupe on the left fired one Fusion pistol at the Drop Pod, the rest firing at the Shotgun Veterans. The one shot hit the Drop Pod and wounded, but only caused a single damage point. The rest of the pistols hit the Veterans, wounding them twice, but the Storm Shield in the squad blocked the damage.
The Skyweavers fired at the Missile Launcher Veterans, but failed to hit. The Death Jester opened fire on the squad, wounding them twice and killing two Veterans. The Starweaver added its firepower to the squad, wounding twice, but failing to get past their armour.
In the charge phase, the Harlequin Troupe and Shadowseer charged the Shotgun Veterans. The Deathwatch turned their Wyrmsbreath Shells on the charging Eldar, hitting them with 17 shots and wounding them 5 times. Yaro failed four of his saves, even with a command point re-roll and most of the squad perished! A good bit of luck for me.
The other Harlequin Troupe and Troupe Master charged the Frag Cannon Kill Team.
The lone Troupe Player attacked the Kill Team, wounding once, but the Storm Shield managed to block the attack. The Shadowseer managed to kill one of the Shotgun-armed Veterans.
I used two command points to interrupt and attack with the Frag Cannon Kill Team. They struck at the Troupe Players, killing three of the squad before they could strike. The Troupe Players attacked back. The Storm Shield was able to block three wounds before he succumbed, another Veteran falling with him. The Troupe Master easily finished off the rest of the squad.
In the morale phase, the Troupe passed their morale test. At the end of his turn, Yaro scored Supremacy for one point, Secure Objective 5 and his one bonus point. He discarded Priority Orders Received (Kingslayer). I also scored Defend Objective 6.
TURN 2- DEATHWATCH
In my second turn, I bid two points for my cards. This turn, I drew Supremacy (hold 3 objectives), Psychological Warfare (force a failed morale test), Behind Enemy Lines and Domination (hold all 6 objectives).
On the left flank, the Kill Team disembarked from the Rhino, advancing towards the central ruins to target the enemy with their Frag Cannons. The Rhino moved up to support them, Artemis and the Librarian still inside.
The Combi-melta Kill Team disembarked from the other Rhino, also moving up on the central ruin, while their transport vehicle retreated to secure the objective.
At the end of the phase, the Vanguard Veterans landed in the ruins in the enemy deployment zone.
In the shooting phase, the Kill Team on the right flank fired their Combi-Meltas at the Starweaver in the ruins. Two of the shots managed to penetrate the armour (thanks to a command point re-roll) and blew up the Starweaver. None of the Troupe inside were damaged.
On the other flank, one Frag Cannon fired at the Soltaire, wounding it once. The other Frag Cannon fired at the Skyweavers (he did not have line of sight on the Soltaire), but failed to do any damage. The Rhino fired on the Soltaire, wounding him once, but the nimble warrior was able to evade the shot.
The Stalker Veterans fired on the newly arrived Troupe on the ruins, only hitting with three of their 10 shots, killing one of the squad. The other Deathwatch Veterans fired three Frag Missile at the same Troupe, killing two more of the squad.
On the other side of the battlefield, the Vanguard Veterans fired their pistols at the Shadowseer, but failed to do any damage.
In the charge phase, the Vanguard Veterans assaulted the Starweaver and Shadowseer. They struck at the skimmer with their Lightning Claws, wounding it twice. The rest of the Veterans attacked the Shadowseer, only hitting with 4 of their 9 attacks and wounding him once, which he saved.
The Shotgun Veterans attacked the Shadowseer that they were engaged in combat with, wounding him once. The psyker struck back, but failed to do any damage.
The Harlequins attacked back, the Starweaver killing one of the Vanguard Veterans, while the Shadowseer killed one more.
At the end of my turn, I scored Behind Enemy Lines, Supremacy for 2 points and two bonus points. I discarded Domination.
I should have just charged the Shadowseer alone. With the full attacks of the squad, I may have had a chance to kill him. As it was, I didn’t kill anything and would likely lose the squad in the following turn.
TURN 2- HARLEQUINS
Yaro bid two scored cards in this turn. He drew Area Denial, Secure Objective 1, Secure Objective 6 and Defend Objective 5.
The Troupe Master and remaining Troupe Players jumped down from the central ruins, moving up on the Melta Kill Team. Yaro activated the Harlequin Stratagem to give the Troupe Master a 3+ invulnerable save. The Soltaire blitzed, leaping over the Frag Kill Team, moving up the ruins to the Missile Launcher Kill Team.
One of the surviving Starweavers moved up to secure the central objective, while the other Starweaver fell back towards the Drop Pod. The Troupe Master moved up on the Vanguard Veterans, while the Troupe Players moved up on the Shotgun Kill Team.
In the psychic phase, the Shadowseer cast Smite, killing one of the Vanguard Veterans. He then attempted to cast Fog of Dreams on the squad, but failed to manifest the power. The other Shadowseer attempted to Smite the Shotgun Kill Team, but failed to manifest the power. He then cast Twilight Pathways on the nearby Troupe, moving them up on the Drop Pod.
The Troupe Players fired at the Drop Pod, hitting with one of Fusion Pistols and taking 5 damage from it. The Shadowseer fired its pistol at the Vanguard Veterans, killing one of the squad.
The Death Jester opened fire on the Frag Cannon Kill Team, slaying one of the squad. The Starweaver on top of the ruins fired at the same squad, hitting and wounding with 6 shots and killing one of the squad, after the Storm Shield tanked three of the -3AP shots. The other Starweaver fired at the squad, killing one more and leaving only the two Frag Cannons. The Skyweavers added their firepower, but failed to do any damage.
In the charge phase, the Soltaire assaulted the Missile Launcher Kill Team, taking a wound from overwatch fire. The Soltaire failed the charge, but Yaro was able to use a command point re-roll to make the charge.
In the centre, the Harlequin Troupe charged the Melta Kill Team. As they were out of line of sight, the Veterans were unable to fire overwatch. The Troupe Players made the charge and were joined by the Troupe Master.
The other Troupe Master charged the remnants of the Vanguard Veterans, while the Troupe Players assaulted the Shotgun Kill Team.
The central Troupe struck at the Deathwatch Veterans, slaying three of the squad. The Troupe Master killed the rest of the unit with ease.
The other Troupe Master attacked the Vanguard Veterans, slaying the last two members of the unit. The nearby Troupe Players attacked the Shotgun Veterans, also killing the unit.
On the other side of the field, the Soltaire attacked the Missile Launcher Kill Team, wiping them out.
At the end of his turn, Yaro scored Area Denial for 1 point, Secure Objective 1 and two bonus points. He discarded Secure Objective 6.
That was a brutal turn for the Deathwatch. I had lost three and a half units to the attacks of the Harlequins.
TURN 3- DEATHWATCH
In turn 3, I bid one card to score. I drew Secure Objective 1, Secure Objective 1, Secure Objective 5 and had Psychological Warfare.
Atemis led the Librarian out of the Rhino, moving up on the Troupe Master. The Deathwatch Veterans with the Frag Cannons moved up on the Troupe Players. Another unit of Veterans moved up on the Soltaire, their Rhino moving up to support them.
In the psychic phase, the Librarian cast Smite, dealing three mortal wounds on the Troupe Master. The Librarian then attempted to cast Null Zone. I rolled a 5 and a 2, re-rolling the 2 with a command point re-roll, but rolled another 2!
In the shooting phase, Artemis threw his Stasis Grenade at the Troupe Master. He missed with his first shot, but fortunately hit with the re-roll. The grenade wounded and caused a single mortal wound, leaving him with one wound. I used a command point re-roll, but rolled another 1!
The Librarian fired his pistol at the Troupe Master, hitting and wounding. Yaro failed his save, also using a command point re-roll, but still failed the save and the Troupe Master was slain.
One of the Frag Cannons fired at the two Troupe Players, killing both of them. The other fired at the Starweaver near the Drop Pod, hitting and wounding, but the skimmer made its invulnerable save. The Drop Pod fired at the other Troupe, but failed to do any damage.
The Kill Team fired at the Soltaire, wounding him 6 times, but the Soltaire made all but one save. The Stalker Kill Team fired at the Soltaire, wounding him five times, but he made all 5 saves, and the Soltaire survived. The two Rhinos fired at the Soltaire, wounding him three times and taking one wound, leaving him on one remaining. Aaargh! Yaro had passed 12 out of 14 3+ saves! Statistically, he should have died from all that firepower.
The Frag Cannon Kill Team, the Librarian and Artemis attempted to assault the Starweaver on the ruins. All but Artemis made it in to combat. The Veterans on the left flank then failed a 6″ charge against the Soltaire!
The Librarian struck at the skimmer, wounding it once. The Veterans also attacked, wounding it once, but the Starweaver made its save.
At the end of my turn, I scored Secure Objective 3 and one bonus point. I discarded Psychological Warfare.
TURN 3- HARLEQUINS
Yaro bid 2 cards scored for his turn. He drew Secure Objective 1, Secure Objective 2, Secure Objective 5 and had Defend Objective 5.
The Soltaire moved down the ruins, out of line of sight of the Kill Team he would be charging. The Starweaver moved up on the Stalker Veterans, while the two Shadowseers moved towards the central ruins. The Troupe Master moved to secure an objective.
The Shadowseer cast Smite, destroying the Drop Pod. He then tried to cast Twilight Pathways on himself, but the Librarian was able to block the attempt.
The Skyweavers fired on the Rhino moving up on their position, wounding it twice. The Starweaver fired at the Stalker Marines, killing one of the squad.
The Shadowseer attempted to charge Artemis, but failed to make the distance. The Soltaire assaulted the Kill Team beside the ruins, while the Starweaver assaulted the Stalker Veterans on the hill.
The Soltaire easily dispatched the Veteran squad. The two Starweavers struck at their respective foes, with one killing one of the Stalker Marines.
The Librarian attacked the enemy skimmer, doing a single wound and taking three damage from it. The Veterans failed to finish off the vehicle. The Stalker Veterans attacked the Starweaver and were able to destroy it.
At the end of his turn, Yaro scored Secure Objective 1, Secure Objective 2 and two bonus points.
TURN 4- DEATHWATCH
In my fourth turn, I bet one card to score. I drew Defend Objective 2, Defend Objective 5 and had two lots of Secure Objective 1.
The two Rhinos moved up on the Soltaire, while Artemis moved up on the Shadowseer.
The Librarian cast Smite and was able to finish off the Starweaver he was in combat with. He then cast Might of Heroes on Artemis, but the attempt was blocked.
The two Rhinos fired on the Soltaire and were finally able to slay him with their Storm Bolter shots. The Stalker Marines fired at the Harlequin Troupe, killing off the last two on the battlefield.
Artemis fired his Combi-Flamer at the Shadowseer, wounding him once with the Flamer weapon. The Frag Cannon Veterans fired at the Starweavers, wounding one of them once and taking two damage from it.
Artemis charged the Shadowseer, hitting four times and wounding once. The enemy psyker made his invulnerable save. The Shadowseer struck back, wounding the Deathwatch Captain once.
At the end of my turn, I scored no points, meaning Yaro scored a bonus point from me. I discarded Defend Objective 2.
TURN 4- HARLEQUINS
This turn, Yaro bid two cards to score. He then drew Secure Objective 6 and Big Game Hunter to go with Secure Objective 5 and Defend Objective 5.
The Troupe Master moved towards Artemis, while the two Shadowseers moved up towards the central ruins. The Skyweavers moved up on the central ruins.
One of the Shadowseers cast Smite, attempting to harm Artemis, but the Librarian blocked the deadly power.
The Death Jester fired at the Frag Kill Team on the ruins, hitting three times and wounding twice. One of the Veterans fell to the fire. The Skyweavers fired at the unit, but failed to do any damage.
In the charge phase, the Shadowseer failed a charge on the Frag Cannon Kill Team on a double 1. The Troupe Master tried to charge Artemis, but also failed. The Skyweavers charged the Frag Cannon Deathwatch Veterans. The single Frag Cannon scored 9 hits and 7 wounds on the squad. Yaro failed four saves and the unit perished.
The Shadowseer struck at Artemis, wounding him once and dealing him three damage. Artemis stuck back, hitting four times, but failing to roll a single wound.
At the end of his turn, Yaro scored no points and I scored Defend Objective 5 and two bonus points.
Destroying the Skyweavers with the Frag Cannons was key in this turn. Had he taken out the Veterans, he would have scored three points for objective 5 and his bonus points, putting him in the lead. I had to hope that my few units would hang on till the end of the game.
TURN 5- DEATHWATCH
In turn 5, I once again bid one point. I drew Defend Objective 3, Secure Objective 5 and still had two cards of Secure Objective 1.
Artemis fell back from combat, as the Deathwatch Veteran with the Frag Cannon and the Librarian moved up on the Shadowseer. The Stalker Marines moved down the hill to get line of sight on the Harlequin characters. The Rhinos moved to secure the objectives.
The Librarian attempted to cast Smite, but the power was blocked by the Shadowseer.
The Deathwatch Veteran fired his Frag Cannon at the Shadowseer climbing the ruins, obliterating him after causing 5 wounds. The Librarian fired his Bolt Pistol at the second Shadowseer, but failed to hit.
The Stalker Veterans fired at the enemy psyker, only hitting once and failing to wound. The nearby Rhino was able to take another wound from the Shadowseer.
In the charge phase, the Deathwatch Veteran tried to charge the Shadowseer, but failed. The Librarian managed to make the charge with an 11.
He struck at his enemy counterpart, hitting twice but failing to wound. The Shadowseer attacked back, hitting and wounding twice. I failed one save and the Librarian took two damage.
At the end of my turn, I scored Secure Objective 4 and one bonus point. I discarded Secure Objective 1.
TURN 5- HARLEQUINS
Yaro bid one card scored this turn. He had Defend Objective 5, Secure Objective 5, Secure Objective 6 and Big Game Hunter.
The Troupe Master moved up on Watch Captain Artemis, while the Shadowseer fell back towards the central objective.
The Shadowseer cast Smite, killing the Veteran on top of the ruins.
The Troupe Master fired his Fusion Pistol at Artemis, hitting and wounding him. His invulerable save failed him and he was slain. The Death Jester fired at the Rhino holding the objective, wounding it once.
The Troupe Master assaulted the Librarian, easily killing him in combat.
At the end of his turn, Yaro scored Secure Objective 5, Slay the Warlord and a bonus victory point. I scored Defend Objective 3
TURN 6- DEATHWATCH
In my sixth turn, I bid on scoring one card. I drew Secure Objective 4, Secure Objective 6 and Overwhelming Firepower to go with Secure Objective 1.
One of the Rhinos moved to secure the objective, while the other moved up on the Harlequin lines.
The Rhino fired at the Shadowseer, hitting twice but failing to wound. The Stalker Marines fired on the Shadowseer, wounding him twice and killing him.
At the end of my turn, I scored Overwhelming Firepower, Secure Objective 4, Secure Objective 6 and one bonus point.
TURN 6- HARLEQUINS
In his sixth turn, Yaro bet on one card scored. He drew Mission Critical Objective (Objective 6), No Prisoners, Secure Objective 2 and had Defend Objective 5.
The Troupe Master advanced towards the Stalker Marines. If he could take them out, he could secure the objective they were holding.
The Death Jester fired on the Rhino, wounding it once.
The Troupe Master then assaulted the Deathwatch Veterans. He struck at the squad, hitting four times and wounding four times. Two of the Deathwatch perished. The Sergeant struck back, wounding the Troupe Master twice.
At the end of his turn, Yaro scored no points and I scored one bonus point. We rolled to see if the game would end and it finished there.
Deathwatch- 27 (including First Blood)
Harlequins- 16 (including Slay the Warlord and Linebreaker)
A win for the Deathwatch.
Thanks to Yaro for a great game, it was a lot closer than the score suggested, with only a few models remaining on each side.
The Tactical Gambit mission is an interesting one. I like the idea of betting how many cards you will be able to score each turn. You need to bet before you draw your cards, because otherwise it would be too easy to predict how many cards you would be likely to score. However, once you build up a lead in the maelstrom points, there is little incentive to bet big for the bonus points, and most players will probably stick with one or two cards. The only time I can see myself betting higher is if I failed to achieve any points in one turn, so knew which cards I would have and how many I would be likely to score.
Once again, Yaro had mixed luck with his invulnerable saves. I don’t think either of us expected the Shotgun Veterans to take out most of a Troupe from overwatch fire, and this was a big blow for him. Equally, his Soltaire once again was able to fend off a huge number of wounds to survive firepower that should have killed him twice over.
Overall, I think the game went well for me. Based on my first turn cards, I think I was right to bring in my reserves and focus on the Troupe Players on foot. Even though I had to put most of my firepower into them, it was worth it to score the victory points.
As I said above, charging the Starweaver and Shadowseer with the Vanguard Veterans was a mistake. I should have just gone after the Shadowseer with all their attacks and tried to take him out. I was likely to lose the squad anyway, but at least they would have taken a unit with them.
Harlequins are a tricky prospect for the Deathwatch. Their invulnerable saves negate most of my special issue ammunition, and I don’t really have the mobility to keep up with the army without investing in the overpriced Bikers or the Corvus Blackstar.
I actually quite enjoyed putting the Deathwatch on the table again. I’ll need to try them out more in the future, going for bodies over toys to get a number of units on the table.
And remember, Frontline Gaming sells gaming products at a discount, every day in their webcart!