Fight hard, die well

I seem to have a lot of glamor shots of my Space Marines but not many in-game pics. So, to remedy that, here are a few from a game I played earlier in the week against Stephen Bazja’s Voidwalker CSM. It was one of the better games I have had in a long time. Real back and forth the whole time, with control of the game in question literally until the very last move of the (7-turn) game!

This game was part of the current campaign we have going at the store. It was a Cities of Death game so there were lots of ruins and obstacles. The mission was The Relic, which represented an ancient datacore exposed in the ruins by all the bombardments going on. Each side had to try and get a unit to the datacore and download whatever info they could find. It was a 1500-pt game and I chose to run a variant of my “Tanksgiving” list, with two Land Raiders (one was a Redeemer). I had three combat squads in Rhinos for objective grabbing, and the heavy hitters would be my full Sternguard squad, a Command squad fully armed with plasma guns, and a Bike squad, led by Captain Ojin on his brand new ride.

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The Voidwalkers also rolled up with a Land Raider, stuffed full of Chaos Terminators, and a Rhino with a Slaanesh marked CSM squad in trail. Regular CSM troops and Stephen’s cultists rounded out his Troops choices. The cultists are a hoot, and we agreed that the cultist champion should have a bandolier of beer cans modeled on (get to work, Steve!). The Tzeentchian sorcerer, Nameless, was leading the host.20131210_195359 20131210_195423

Steve likes his Obliterators, so they were there of course. And yeah, he had a Heldrake.

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My  plan was to drive up on the objective and clear it with the Sternguard coming out of the Redeemer, and then rush the Tac squads in to grab the damned thing. The Land Raider would provide long range fire support, and Ojin and his bikers a mobile strike unit to go after high threat targets. Naturally, things went wrong from the very first die roll – Steve seized the initiative!

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OK, so that sucked. But it was an indication of how hard fought and close this game would be! I took a hull point on the Land Raider which got into a long range gun duel with its Chaos counterpart. There were a few more shots fired but as with most games, T1 was about positioning and Steve moved his CSM up. I took a few shots in my turn after mounting up all the troops in their vehicles and moving out, knowing that the Heldrake was inbound.

We forgot to launch my preliminary bombardment on T1, so we did it on T2. It missed everything except the one building where the CSM had set up, and collapsed it. But, only two traitors got crushed so on we went.

Then, like an unwanted pigeon (that shits napalm), the Heldrake zoomed in on T2.20131210_202216 20131210_202507Another variant of my list didn’t have bikers, and I knew the Hel-turkey would go after them since all the rest of my troops were inside the (relative) safety of their transports. Sure enough, I lost 3 bikes (out of 6) to the damned thing (including Captain Ojin getting toasted and taking a wound). I took a few ineffective pot shots at it but they all missed and that point I decided to just try to ignore it, stay buttoned up if possible and keep going forward. I had a thought to put Flakk missiles on my MLs in the Rhinos and use them as ghetto flak positions but decided to spend the points elsewhere.

Though the objective was in the center of the table, the objective was walled off by debris and the tank traps Stephen had placed nearby (which also affected him of course). This was going to force me to unload the Sternguard early, and with Heldrake around, I knew that was going to suck, but, no choice. I jumped a combat squad out and went in while the Redeemer and the rest of the Sternguard went right. The Command squad also moved up, flanked by the bikes going all-out, full-tilt boogie toward the right flank (holy Emperor, I love White Scars Chapter Tactics) where the Obliterators were walking up the street like a couple of outlaws in a western. These two mugs got some solid hits on the Redeemer but the Command Squad fed them some hot plasma death.

In response, the Voidwalker warlord, Nameless, turned all his cultists invisible and formed them into a gunline in the ruins of the cathedral. They let loose a huge volley of fire that took out two more bikers, leaving Ojin with just one more outrider. Did I mention, Nameless turned his cultists invisible?! It was fun to imagine the incoming Space Marines switching to thermal imaging to try and spot the cultists!

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Well, I wasn’t going to let that go unanswered! I set off my Demolitions Charge (Cities of Death, woot!) and if it went off, the cathedral was packed with cultists and CSM, not to mention Nameless and Captain Ojin (who was gunning straight for the aforementioned Chaos sorcerer). But! The charge failed to go off! Emperor’s teeth! We both thought it would have been awesome if it had, but, oh well, drive on!

The cultists got a full serving of Sternguard Special Cover-Ignoring Dragonfire Rounds ™ followed by more hot plasma death from the nearby Command squad. After this, they decided they didn’t want any more and turned to watch their boss get friendly with Captain Ojin. Nameless went invisible, giving him his best chance of killing Captain Ojin on his charge. The sorcerer’s force staff crackled with warp energy, but the Emperor was with Captain Ojin and his Iron Halo deflected the killing blow. Ojin struck back with his power fist, but trying to hit a thermal blur proved challenging, and the Dark Gods protected their servant for the moment. This was turning into an epic duel!20131210_214806

Elsewhere, the Heldrake burned down a combat squad that had to bail out of their cored Rhino. With no other targets along its flight path, it flew off the board to set up for another run. Two Marines managed to survive but were soon picked off by long-range bolter fire from the advancing CSM. By this point the CSM Land Raider had been immobilized and the Rhino as well, throwing a track as it tried to smash through the cathedral wall. In this game, both of us found our immobilized heavy tanks to be a real hindrance to our maneuvering, once they had been stuck where they were. My Redeemer flailed away with its weapons but their short-ranged nature made them largely ineffective. The Voidwalker Terminators unloaded as well, and began marching toward the Sternguard I had near the objective. All the CSM infantry were boiling forward, determined to overrun the Rising Sun battle brothers!20131210_222049

Back inside the cathedral ruin Captain Ojin and Nameless were locked in deadly battle. With his cultists looking on in amusement (“Yeah, yeah, get ‘im boss. Glad that ain’t me.”) Nameless invoked the Ruinous Powers again. And again, Captain Ojin was saved by the will of the Emperor (and his 4++ save). Spinning his bike around, Captain Ojin hammered his powerfist into the sorcerer, who went down in a bright flash of light. The cultists briefly contemplated charging the Captain, then decided they didn’t want any of that mess and headed off the other direction. Cultists who later picked up Nameless’ armor said they found no trace of the sorcerer’s body inside…

As Captain Ojin and his last bike trooper roared away, the battle outside heated up! The Chaos Terminators crushed the Sternguard, sweeping them away from the objective. The Slaanesh marked CSM also made short work of the second Sternguard squad. At this point I had only two scoring units left! A combat squad of Tactical Marines that had just been blown out of their Rhino, and the single biker riding alongside Captain Ojin! But, only in death does duty end!20131210_222558

The Command squad got their sights on the Slaaneshi freaks and gunned them down. I was desperately looking for a way to protect my last squad of Tacticals from the Heldrake that had just shown up again, so they dove into the last mobile Rhino on the board. Denied that target, the Heldrake washed the Rhino in fire but did no damage. Meanwhile, Captain Ojin was roaring around the rear of the CSM positions. A quick strike on the Chaos Land Raider did nothing, but did set him up to charge the objective!

The center of the board was slick with blood and ash as the Chaos Terminators fell to plasma gun fire. With the Captain on the objective, the Heldrake hovered around to try and burn him down. Ojin survived only to see the cultists charging him. It was a one-sided fight as Ojin smashed a few and their morale crumbled and they were swept.

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With the objective clear, the Heldrake had another shot at Captain Ojin, and this time, the heroic Astartes Captain finally went down in a fiery blast. Surviving Chaos Space Marines stomped over the broken cultist bodies to claim the objective. But…!

I still had a combat squad in a Rhino nearby. They couldn’t charge the CSM on the objective but they could roll up and disembark close enough to contest, so that’s what I did, and if I could shoot the remaining CSM off the objective it wouldn’t just be contested, it would be mine! It was the bottom of T7 and this was it. I got a great shooting roll with enough hits to wipe them out, and…

All but one Traitor was left standing. Would he break and run? No! The objective was contested!

The Heldrake flew off in search of fuel as the CSM sounded their recall and withdrew, leaving the bloody field to the Rising Sun.

The final score was 2-1. We both had Slay the Warlord and I had First Blood, and that alone gave me the win.

Man, what a game! Many thanks to Steve for making it such a close game and giving me a hell of a fight. The game had some truly stand-out cinematic moments and was easily one of my favorites!

Fight hard, die well!

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