I recently attended a tournament at BattleUX in Uxbridge. This was the first tournament that they had held, so I was looking forward to seeing how it would turn out, as it is a relatively short drive for me and I might be able to attend on a regular basis.
The day was four (yes, four!) games of 40k at 2000 pts. The missions would follow the ETC-style format, where you would be playing both a maelstrom mission and eternal war mission at the same time. The army was restricted to no duplicate detachments and Forgeworld was allowed.
The first mission used Retrieval Mission for the Eternal War (4 objectives, scoring at the end of the game) and Kill Confirmed for the maelstrom of war mission (3 cards per turn, cannot discard any “kill” cards and you score a kill point for each enemy unit destroyed).
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I had recently been practising with my White Scars army, so decided to take this force along for the day. My army consisted of:
- Captain- Bike, Thunder Hammer, Shield Eternal, Imperium’s Sword Warlord Trait (C1)
- Lieutenant- Jump Pack, Power Axe, Master-crafted Bolter (L1)
- 5 Scouts- Bolters (S1)
- 5 Scouts- Bolters (S2)
- 5 Scouts- Bolt Pistols, Combat Knives (S3)
- 5 Tactical Marines- Heavy Bolter (TS1)
- 10 Vanguard Veterans- 5 with Plasma Pistols and Chainswords, 5 with two Chainswords (VV)
- 10 Sternguard Veterans- Special Issue Bolters (SV)
- Stormraven Gunship- Twin Assault Cannons, Twin Heavy Bolters, Two Stormstrike Missiles, two Hurricane Bolters (SG)
- Captain- Jump Pack, Thunder Hammer, Combi-Melta (C2)
- 3 Bike Squad- Twin Bolters, 2 Meltaguns (B)
- 3 Scout Bikers- Twin Bolters, Shotguns (SB1)
- 3 Scout Bikers- Twin Bolters, Shotguns (SB2)
- Lieutenant- Master-crafted Bolter, Chainsword (L2)
- 5 Devastators- 2 Missile Launchers, Lascannon (D1)
- 5 Devastators- 2 Heavy Bolters (D2)
- Thunderfire Cannon (TC)
- Techmarine Gunner- Flamer, Plasma Cutter, two Servo-arms (T)
I had only playtested this exact army once, but it performed rather well in a recent battle report, so I was hopeful for the day.
In the first game, I was supposed to be playing the organiser, Sid. I had played him at Caledonian Revolution 2 years ago, where his unholy abomination of Grey Knights and two Riptide Wings had decimated my White Scars army. However, on the day, one of the players didn’t show up for the first game, so I would be facing off against Dean and his Tyranids. As we had different opponents from the draw, we would both get a win for the first game, regardless of the outcome, but I was still hoping for a fun and close game.
Dean’s army consisted of:
Battalion Detachment (Hive Fleet Behemoth)
- Broodlord- Catalyst (B)
- Hive Tyrant- Adrenal Glands, Heavy Venom Cannon, Monstrous Rending Claws, Wings, The Miasma Cannon (relic), Onslaught, The Horror, Monstrous Hunger (warlord trait) (T1)
- 12 Genestealers- 3 Acid Maws, 12 rending claws (G1)
- 12 Genestealers- 3 Acid Maws, 12 rending claws (G2)
- 3 Ripper Swarms (R)
Supreme Command Detachmet (Hive Fleet Behemoth)
- Hive Tyrant- Adrenal Glands, two Devourers with Brain leech worms, Monstrous Rending Claws, Wings, Psychic Scream, The Horror (T2)
- Hive Tyrant- Adrenal Glands, two Devourers with Brain leech worms, Monstrous Rending Claws, Wings, Psychic Scream, Paroxysm (T3)
- Hive Tyrant- Adrenal Glands, two Devourers with Brain leech worms, Monstrous Rending Claws, Wings, Psychic Scream, Catalyst (T4)
- Hive Tyrant- Adrenal Glands, two Devourers with Brain leech worms, Monstrous Rending Claws, Wings, Paroxysm, The Horror (T5)
Spearhead Detachment (Hive Fleet Kraken)
- Hive Tyrant- Adrenal Glands, two Devourers with Brain leech worms, Monstrous Rending Claws, Wings, Onslaught, Catalyst (T6)
- Carnifex- Enhanced Senses, Heavy Venom Cannon, Monstrous Crushing Claws, Spore Cysts (C1)
- Carnifex- Enhanced Senses, Heavy Venom Cannon, Monstrous Crushing Claws, Spore Cysts (C2)
- Carnifex- Enhanced Senses, Heavy Venom Cannon, Monstrous Crushing Claws, Spore Cysts (C3)
That’s a whole lot of Flyrants in that list! While they are not as bad as they were in 7th edition, they are still a big threat to my army. I would need to use my deployment to stop them from deep striking close to my lines. We were using the Beta rules, so that should help mitigate Smite spam on them a little. Obviously, this tournament was before the recent FAQ and new rules.
My Thunderfire Cannon would be useful for slowing the Genestealers, but of little use against all the Hive Tyrants.
We set up the objectives as shown below. The maelstrom objectives 1-4 would be the objectives for the Retrieval mission at the end of the game. As you can see, I’ve changed the objective markers from the shields. Some reader feedback told me that they were too faint and easy to loseat times. Hope you like the new ones.
The deployment zone was Spearhead Assault for this mission. We set up our units as shown below.
I deployed my Scouts far forward, deploying one unit across the centre and two units behind terrain to block the enemy deep strikes. I set up the Stormraven at the back (with Sternguard inside), away from the enemy guns. I deployed the Devastators and Tactical Squads across my backline, with the Thunderfire Cannon out of line of sight. The Scout Bikers and Captain went on the left flank, while the Bike Squad went on the right flank.
Dean put his Ripper Swarms and all but one of the Flyrants in reserve. The rest of the Tyranid forces pretty much castled up in the middle, the Genestealers and Swarmlord deploying as far forward as possible.
Before the game started, Dean played the Digestive Denial stratagem on the ruins my Missile Launcher Devastators were in. This would deny me getting a cover save for this terrain piece, quite a useful stratagem.
I won the roll for first turn and Dean failed to seize the initiative, so the White Scars took the first turn.
TURN 1- WHITE SCARS
In my first turn, I drew Mission Critical Objective (Objective 3), Defend Objective 5 and Priority Orders Received (Witch Hunter). Not a bad draw. I could easily get objective 3 and was on objective 5, I just needed to see if I could hold it.
On the left flank, the Scout Bikers moved up on the objectives, while the Bike Captain stayed back for now. The central Scouts moved to support the units holding objective 5. I figured if I had enough units there, I could hold it for my turn. The Stormraven sped down the left flank, looking to target the Genestealers. The right flank stayed in place, waiting for the Tyranids to come to them.
In the shooting phase, the Scout Bikers opened fire on the Genestealers, killing four of the squad. The Thunderfire Cannon fired at the other unit of Genestealers with the Tremor Shells stratagem, killing a couple of the squad.
The Stormraven fired on the Genestealers and nearby Carnifex. A poor round of shooting with the Hurricane Bolters left two of the Genestealers alive and I did a couple of wounds on the Carnifex with the rest of the firepower.
My Devastators fired their Frag Missiles at the Genestealers and Lascannon at the Hive Tyrant. I needed to finish off the squad for first blood. The Missiles were enough to kill the last two members of the squad, but the Lascannon missed the Flyrant.
At the end of my turn, I scored Mission Critical Objective, First Blood and a kill point. I discarded Priority Orders Received. We discussed this, and since Priority Orders Received is not a “kill” card directly, we decided it could be discarded.
A decent first round for the White Scars. My firepower had not done too much damage, but I had opened up the scoring with a decent round.
TURN 1- TYRANIDS
In his first turn, Dean drew Defend Objective 1, Priority Orders Received (Decapitate, kill an enemy character) and Secure Objective 5.
The Tyranid forces surged on the White Scars lines, all of the ground units advancing to get into range. Fortunately, the Genestealers were slowed by the Tremor Shells and didn’t go very far. The one Hive Tyrant on the board moved up on the Stormraven.
The Rest of the Hive Tyrants then arrived. Two landed to take on the Stormraven, while one landed on the left flank, the other going in the centre of the battlefield.
In the psychic phase, one Hive Tyrant cast Catalyst on the Carnifex, failing the power and using a command point re-roll to pass it. Another then cast the Horror on the Stormraven. The Tyranid Psykers then unleashed their Smite and Psychic Scream attacks, taking 7 wounds from the enemy flyer.
In the shooting phase, a Carnifex opened fire on the Bikers, wounding them once, but I made my armour save. Another fired on the squad, but failed to hit.
The warlord Hive Tyrant fired at the Stormraven, wounding it twice and taking 6 damage to leave it on a single wound.
Another Hive Tyrant fired at the flyer, causing two wounds but failing to get past its armour. Another fired, this time causing 5 wounds. I passed all but one save, using a command point re-roll to pass it and keep the Stormraven alive. The final Hive Tyrant fired at the flyer, causing two wounds, but I made my armour saves once more! Dean couldn’t believe it as all his shots bounced off the armour of the Stormraven and he couldn’t take its last wound.
In the charge phase, a Hive Tyrant charged the Stormraven, taking a massive 5 wounds to overwatch fire, and then failing the charge. The two Hive Fleet Behemoth Hive Tyrants tried to charge, but only one made it in to combat.
The other two Hive Tyrants charged the Scout Squads on each flank, the Broodlord charging to help one of them.
The Hive Tyrant in combat with the Stormraven managed to kill it finally and four Sternguard perished in the resulting crash (I guess that made up for all the armour saves I passed).
The Hive Tyrant on the right attacked the Scouts, killing four from the squad.The Broodlord then also killed four Scouts. I was able to remove the casualties to stop the other Hive Tyrant from attacking. The Scouts struck back, but to no avail.
At the end of his turn, Dean scored a single kill point and no objectives. He discarded Defend Objective 1. I also scored Defend Objective 5.
White Scars- 5
A good turn for the White Scars had seen me take a big lead in the first turn. I was hoping I could carry it on in my next turn.
TURN 2- WHITE SCARS
In my second turn, I drew Secure Objective 3, Secure Objective 6 and Scour the Skies.
On the right flank, the Bikers moved up on the Broodlord, while the last Scout fell back from combat to the objective.
On the left flank, the Sternguard moved back towards their lines, while the Scout Bikers and Biker Captain moved up to target the Hive Tyrant.
In the shooting phase, I used the Masterful Marksmanship stratagem on the Sternguard. They fired at the Hive Tyrant closest to my lines and wounded it 3 times. The rest of the White Scars forces on the left fired at the Hive Tyrant and was able to slay him.
On the right, the Bikers fired their Meltaguns at the Broodlord, killing him with their powerful shots.
The Missile Launcher Devastators fired at another Flyrant, only managing a single hit with a command point re-roll. They wounded, but failed to get past its invulnerable save. The Thunderfire Cannon fired at the Genestealers, killing four. I decided not to use Tremor Shells, as I was running low on command points.
At the end of my turn, I scored all three objectives and two kill points, taking me up to 10 points. With Dean on one point, he would need to have a good second turn to catch up.
TURN 2- TYRANIDS
In his second turn, Dean drew Secure Objective 1 and had Priority Orders Received (Decapitate) and Secure Objective 5.
On the left flank, a Carnifex moved up on the lone Scout, while another moved up on the Bikers. The Hive Tyrant flew over the Bikers to move up on the Devastators.
On the other flank, a Hive Tyrant moved over the lines to land beside the Biker Captain, while another moved up on the Scouts. Another Carnifex and Hive Tyrant moved up on the Sternguard Veterans.
In the psychic phase, Smite put one mortal wound on the Biker Captain, while Psychic Scream did another 3 mortal wounds on the Captain. The other Hive Tyrant attempted to Smite the Bikers, but failed to manifest it. Another tried to Smite the Scouts, but also failed.
In the shooting phase, the Warlord Hive Tyrant fired his relic weapon at the Sternguard, only getting one shot with the flamer weapon. Dean used a command point re-roll, but rolled another one. The shot wounded the Sternguard, but couldn’t get past their armour.
The two Carnifexes on the right fired at the Devastators in the ruins, killing two of the squad. The other Carnifex fired at the Bikers on the left, but failed to harm them.
On the far right, the Tyrant fired at the Scouts, killing two of the squad. The other Flyrant fired at the Biker Captain, killing him. Another fired at the Scout Bikers, wounding them 8 times and wiping out the squad. On the left, the Hive Tyrant fired at the Heavy Bolter Devastators, wounding them 5 times, but I made all my armour saves.
In the charge phase, the Genestealers assaulted the Sternguard Veterans. The Hive Tryant also charged the remaining Scout Bikers, while another charged the Scouts and a third charged the lone Scout on the objective.
On the left flank, the Carnifex tried to charge the Bikers, but failed the 5″ charge, even with a command point re-roll. The other Carnifex tried to charge the Bikers. I rolled by overwatch and got a double 6 for the two Meltagun hits. I managed two wounds (after a command point re-roll) and the damage was enough to slay the beast to earn me a kill point. The Hive Tyrant charged the Bikers without any harm.
The Genestealers struck at the Sternguard, killing 5 of the squad. The Hive Tyrant struck at the Bikers, killing one and wounding another. The two Hive Tyrants were able to wipe out the Scout squads in combat, while another killed the Scout Bikers.
The White Scars attacked back, causing no damage. Dean used three command points on a stratagem to allow one of the Hive Tyrants to attack again and he was able to kill the last two Bikers on the left flank.
At the end of his turn, Dean scored 6 kill points, slay the warlord and Secure Objective 5. He discarded Secure Objective 1.
White Scars- 11
A good round of killing had seen Dean narrow the lead. However, there was little left in my army that could easily deal with the Flyrants, so I think they would be rampaging around my back lines for a while.
TURN 3- WHITE SCARS
In my third turn, I drew Behind Enemy Lines, Secure Objective 3 and Psychological Warfare (pretty much impossible against a Tyranid army).
The Tactical Squad moved up on the objective, while the Lieutenant moved back behind the safety of the ruins. The lone Sternguard Veteran fell back from combat.
At the end of the phase, the Vanguard Veterans, Captain and Lieutenant arrived in the enemy deployment zone.
The Devastators on the left flank fired on the Hive Tyrant in front of them, killing the wounded beast. The Tactical Squad and Thunderfire Cannon fired at the Genestealers, wiping them out.
The Devastators on the right flank fired at the Hive Tyrant, wounding it once, but failing to get past its armour.
The Vanguard Veterans overcharged their Plasma Pistols and fired at the Warlord Hive Tyrant. Only one of the shots got past its invulnerable save and caused two wounds. The Captain fired his Combi-Melta at the enemy warlord, but he made his invulnerable save once more. I really thought that would have done more damage to him, but the invulnerable save and Catalyst helped to keep it safe.
I decided not to charge the Hive Tyrant, I wanted to score the points for Behind Enemy Lines.
At the end of my turn, I scored 2 kill points, Secure Objective 3 and Behind Enemy Lines (2 points).
TURN 3- TYRANIDS
In his third turn, Dean drew Assassinate and Defend Objective 5, while also having Priority Orders Received (Decapitate).
One of the Hive Tyrants moved up on the Tactical Squad and Devastator Squad, while another moved over the ruins to target the Lieutenant and Techmarine Gunner. Another moved up on the second Devastator Squad on the left flank. The warlord Hive Tyrant and a Carnifex moved up on the Vanguard Veterans.
In the psychic phase, one of the Hive Tyrants cast Onslaught on the left flank Carnifex, allowing it to fire after it advanced. One cast Smite, taking a wound from the Lieutenant in the enemy deployment zone. He then cast Psychic Scream, taking another 2 wounds from him. The Hive Tyrant then cast The Horror on the Missile Launcher Devastators, and failed to cast Catalyst.
In the shooting phase, the Carnifex killed the lone Scout. A Hive Tyrant fired at the lone Sternguard Veteran, killing him.
On the left, the Carnifex fired at the Devastators, but did no damage. Another Hive Tyrant fired at the right hand Devastators, wounding them four times, but I made all my saves. Another fired at the squad, wounding 5 times, but again, I made all my saves.
The warlord Hive Tyrant fired at the Vanguard Veterans, killing one of the squad.
In the charge phase, a Carnifex charged the Heavy Bolter Devastators. He took 2 wounds from overwatch fire and failed the charge. On the right, a Flyrant charged the other Devastator Squad, while another charged the Tactical Squad. Some great overwatch saw the two Krak Missiles hit and wound, but he made both his invulnerable saves. The nearby Hive Tyrant charged the Lieutenant and Techmarine Gunner.
In the backfield, the Warlord Hive Tyrant and Carnifex charged the Vanguard Veterans and Captain.
In the fight phase, the Warlord Hive Tyrant struck at the Captain, wounding him four times. I passed two saves, using a command point re-roll to pass a third and the Captain took 3 damage. The Carnifex struck at the Vanguard Veterans, killing three.
On the other side of the field, the three Flyrants in combat killed the Devastators, four of the Tactical Marines, the Lieutenant and the Techmarine Gunner (as well as the Thunderfire Cannon).
In reply, the Captain swung his Thunder Hammer at the Hive Tyrant, taking four wounds from him. The Vanguard Veterans struck at the enemy warlord, wounding him 5 times but only one got through to leave him on 5 wounds.
I passed both morale tests for the Tactical Squad and Vanguard Veterans.
At the end of his turn, Dean scored 6 kill points and Assassinate. He discarded Secure Objective 5. He also realised he had forgotten about the Ripper Swarms, giving me another kill point.
White Scars- 17
At the end of turn 3, I was still barely in the lead. However, there were still four Flyrants running around and ready to wipe out the rest of my army.
TURN 4- WHITE SCARS
This turn, I drew No Prisoners, Secure Objective 4 and Supremacy. Not a bad draw for this turn, as I had a good chance of getting them.
The Tactical Marine fell back from combat towards the objective, while the Vanguard Veterans and Captain fell back to target the enemy warlord.
The remaining Vanguard Veterans overcharged their Plasma Pistols at the Hive Tyrant, but only managed to do a single wound. The Captain fired his Combi-Melta and was able to take three more wounds, leaving it on a single wound left.
The remaining Devastators fired at the Carnifex and took another 2 wounds from it.
In the assault phase, the Vanguard Veterans and Captain charged the Hive Tyrant. The Captain struck, doing three wounds after using a command point re-roll and killing the enemy warlord.
At the end of my turn, I scored Slay the Warlord, one kill point, Supremacy (2 points), Secure Objective 4 and No Prisoners to give me 23 points in total.
TURN 4- TYRANIDS
In his fourth turn, Dean drew Psychological Warfare, Devour (kill a unit in the fight phase) and Master the Warp. We must have made an error at this point, as he should still have had Priority Orders Received (Decapitate).
One of the Flyrants moved back towards the central objective. I think he used a Stratagem to move twice and get into range. The Carnifex moved up on the Vanguard Veterans, while the other moved up on the Devastators.
The other two Flyrants moved up on the Devastators.
One Hive Tyrant cast Smite, killing one Vanguard Veteran. The other two cast Smite, killing four of the Devastators in total.
The Carnifex fired at the Vanguard Veterans, but failed to do any harm. The nearby Hive Tyrant fired at them, killing two of the squad.
One Flyrant fired on the lone Tactical Marine, wounding him 5 times, but I made all my armour saves. The other was forced to fire at him, wounding him 6 times. I failed two saves and he perished. Annoying, had I only failed 1, I could have used a re-roll to try and pass it.
In the charge phase, one Flyrant charged the lone Devastator, while the Carnifex charged the Vanguard Veteran and Captain. The charge of the beast was enough to finish off the last Vanguard Veteran, as he caused a mortal wound.
The Hive Tyrant killed the last Devastator, consolidating into the objective. The Carnifex struck at the Captain, wounding him three times. I failed one invulnerable save. I used a command point re-roll, but failed to make my 4+ and the Captain perished.
At the end of his turn, Dean scored four kill points, Master the warp (for 2 points) and Devour (for 2 points).
White Scars- 23
A great last turn had seen the Tyranids take the lead for the first time in the game. Unfortunately, we ran out of time there. Dean also scored 2 primary objectives and his Carnifex was able to deny my Lieutenant from scoring an objective. We both scored Linebreaker. That left the final score at:
White Scars- 24
A win for the Tyranids.
Thanks to Dean for a fun game. It was actually a lot closer than I thought it would have been coming up against 6 Flyrants with little firepower to take them out.
Annoyingly, had I made the last invulnerable save for my Captain, I would have scored the objective and denied Dean two points (one kill point and he would only score 1 point for Devour). I wouldn’t have won the game, but it would have ended 29 to 27, which would have been awesome.
Dean and I both agreed he probably won’t get to field this list much longer. Turns out we were right and the new FAQ will limit the number of Flyrants you can take in an army. I can see why people field them in such numbers, as they are fast, have great combat and shooting abilities and are incredibly resilient.
I won’t be sad about it though, as such a Hive Tyrant-heavy list can be boring to play against and certainly to write about. My entire battle report seemed to be:
“The Flyrant moved, then the other one, then the other one, then the other one, then the other one and finally the other one. The Hive Tyrant cast Smite, then another one, then another one, then another one, then another one, then another one…….”
Overall, there were a few things that I could have done differently. I don’t know if they would have made much difference, but they might have.
- In turn 1, I should have put all the Stormraven’s firepower into the Genestealers rather than split fire on the Carnifex. This would likely have wiped out the unit and allowed the Devastators to fire at another target, perhaps hurting the Hive Tyrant or one of the Carnifexes.
- When bringing in the Vanguard Veterans, Lieutenant and Captain, I might have been better putting them on the left flank. This would have stopped much of Dean’s army from targeting them and might have allowed them to be a threat on the objectives at the end of the game. However, I thought that they would have done a lot more damage on the enemy Hive Tyrant warlord with their shooting on the turn they arrived.
Who knows how that would have gone, but it was still a fun and really close game.
As we finished the third turn, there was about 10 minutes left in the “official” time. We asked if we had enough time to do another turn to get to 4 turns and they told us we could play through lunch up to 45 minutes.
As the game started a bit late (due to the opponent issues) and it didn’t really matter, I was happy to play on. However, in a proper game, I might have taken issue with this. At the end of turn 3, I was in a great position. I was ahead on victory points, as well as holding 3 of the eternal war objectives, while Dean had none.
This would have won me the game, around 27 to 17. I’d hate to have had to pull a dick move to win the game if it mattered and keep to time. This is some of the feedback I gave to the tournament organiser. In a tournament, I think it is important to keep to time. Knowing exactly how long you have left lets you organise your game plan and what risks you are going to take.
Giving “bonus” time is going to have a benefit for one player over the other in most cases, and in a proper game, I would have felt robbed out of a victory for being told to play past the official finish time.
Overall, I think I played the mission rather well. Once more, I think it was kill points that did it in for me. Against such a resilient army, made up of most Flyrants and Carnifexes, my army was going to struggle to score much on that front.
So with one game down, there were three more to go before the day was over.
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