The Warhammer-community team brings us part 4 of their Crusade series to get you hyped for narrative style play in 9th ed 40k!
One of the most exciting elements of the new edition of Warhammer 40,000 is the immersive, narrative-driven Crusade system. To show you just how awesome it is, we’re taking you on a virtual Crusade, and over the course of the series, we’ll be introducing you to each element of a campaign. Today, our Adepta Sororitas Crusade force faces its most difficult challenge yet – a battle-hardened army of Black Legion Chaos Space Marines…
Preparing for Battle
With our Crusade force having been reinforced in the aftermath of their first fight, and facing a veteran Black Legion army with a considerably larger Order of Battle, we decided to fight an Incursion battle, meaning a Power Rating of 50 per side. Here are the two Crusade Armies that faced each other in battle, both of which used Battalion Detachments.
As you can see, our up-gunned Adepta Sororitas army has a lot more firepower at its disposal than before, while the Penitent Engines offer some devastating melee impact should the enemy draw too close. The Black Legion army, however, features a number of levelled-up units with some powerful Battle Honours. If you’re thinking that looks a bit unfair, there’s a way to redress the balance – Crusade Blessings.
Thanks to the five-point deficit in Crusade points, we were looking at a handy blessing of 3 Command points. God-Emperor be praised! You’ll also notice an appearance by none other than Haarken Worldclaimer in the Black Legion army. Yes, that’s THE Haarken Worldclaimer, as named characters can indeed be included in your Crusade list if you wish – they just don’t gain experience as your other units do.*
There are six Crusade missions at Incursion level. We rolled a 2, meaning that both armies would be searching for a lost artefact in The Relic. Better get those shovels ready!
Claiming the Relic may seem simple at first, but doing so comes at enormous risk. With no cover to cling to while attempting to uncover the artefact, it’s a dangerous business indeed! There was also the matter of picking our Agendas (you choose two at Incursion level). With plenty of fragile Cultists available to shoot, we chose Cull the Hordes.
To take advantage of their newly increased unit size and the survivability offered by their Grizzled Battle Honour, we also chose Survivor and applied it to Retributor Squad Sienn.
With everything ready to go, let’s see how things panned out…
The Battle of Saint Augustinia’s Tomb
With a roar of warp-tainted jump packs, the Black Legion Raptors took to the skies, bounding forwards in great leaps, and led by their dread lord – Haarken, the Herald of Abaddon himself. The mighty Daemon Prince, Ar’baal, flew alongside them, blotting out the meagre sunlight with each beat of its vast wings. Haarken’s ground forces followed in his wake, peppering the Adepta Sororitas with sporadic fire.
The Exorcist, Glorious Exultation, lived up to its name as its payload of missiles launched skywards to the sound of the organist’s rising crescendo. The deadly warheads arced gracefully through the sky to land among the Khorne Berzerkers, obliterating a trio of the frenzied warriors in a fiery explosion. The Retributors trained their guns on the survivors, their massed firepower ensuring that no skulls would be claimed for Khorne this day.
The Raptor Lord and his kin descended upon the site of the holy artefact – the tomb of Saint Augustinia – taking up a position around the site to create a defensive perimeter as the Daemon Prince swept overhead and into the Unabsolved. With otherworldly strength, the mighty Daemon tore one of the Penitent Engines apart, though Ar’baal’s arrogance would ultimately prove his undoing. As the immortal creature stood gloating, one half of both man and machine in each of its vast claws, the other Penitent Engines proceeded to douse it in flames and rip the Daemon Prince to pieces with their buzz-blades.
Haarken Worldclaimer’s decision to head straight for the Relic came at a heavy cost in lives as Raptor after Raptor fell to the bolter fire of the Battle Sisters closing on his position. Moments later, Abaddon’s Herald stood alone. But before he could react and make good his escape, Haarken Worldclaimer vanished in a fiery explosion as the Exorcist’s holy wrath descended upon him.
Despite the apparent death of their lord and the total destruction of their lead elements, the Ebon Guard sought to salvage the increasingly desperate situation by moving to recover the Relic themselves, supported by their flanking hordes of Cultists. Battle Sisters Squad Adriana and Seraphim Squad Amisara both felt the manifest vengeance of the Black Legion as they succumbed to a fearsome counter-attack, yet their sacrifice was not in vain. The Penitent Engines hurled themselves at the Chaos line, immolating swathes of Cultists with great gouts of flame before tearing into the Ebon Guard.
With their Space Marine masters dying before their eyes, the Cultists’ nerve left them and they began fleeing in droves. For their part, the Ebon Guard fought to the last, though against the pain-fuelled rage of the Unabsolved, there could be no victory. As her Adepta Sororitas consolidated their destruction of the remaining Black Legion forces, Canoness Avia Pureheart allowed herself a brief smile as she recovered that for which they had come – the sacred armour of Saint Augustinia.
Wow. Was that down to luck, tactics, or the divine will of the God-Emperor? Who can say, but we’ll take the mission’s Victor Bonus without complaint! We chose the Master-crafted Armour Crusade Relic to represent the armour of Saint Augustinia, and gave it to Canoness Avia Pureheart, giving her a Save characteristic of 2+. Nice!
The bonus Command points received from the Crusade Blessings certainly helped. You would normally be looking at starting an Incursion battle with six Command points, so to have nine at our disposal was a huge boon. It allowed us to make the most of a few crucial moments in the battle, such as the fight with the Daemon Prince, focusing fire on the Raptors, and even re-rolling the Damage result for the Exorcist’s missile launcher to take out Haarken Worldclaimer.
Well, that’s game two down and a whole lot more to go. We’ve lost one and won one, and in doing so, even managed to notch up our first of ten victories against the forces of Chaos – our Crusade Goal from the outset. Check in with us again tomorrow, when we’ll be taking a quick look at the highlights of this battle’s aftermath, and what lies ahead for our Crusade force.
If you haven’t already ordered a Core Book (or the awesome Indomitus set via the Made to Order service), make sure you grab yours today, along with the Warhammer 40,000 Crusade Journal for keeping track of your army’s development.
* After all, named characters have literally already made a name for themselves! One of the most rewarding aspects of Crusade is the chance to develop legendary heroes and famed units of your very own, but that’s not to say you can’t have a named character or two on your Order of Battle to use for special occasions!
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