Sunday 9 December 2012

Gaming: 6th Edition Battle Report BA/IG vs BT/TAU

 Last week I took some time off work, and used at least half of that day to play the largest 6th Edition Warhammer 40,000 game I have tried since the new rules were released in June. 6th Edition has brought a number of big changes, including Flyers, Psychic Powers, Fortifications, Mysterious Terrain, Allies, a new set of Objective based missions, and an extra detachment above 2000 points. This game included all but the 'Flyer' rules-set, and each one was critical in determining the winner!

The following is my first 'Battle Report', I have tried to keep things short and sweet for those already familiar with the rules, and introduce those less familiar to some of the intricacies of the new rules. Important points are underlined for speed readers! Comments always welcome.

The Armies (2,500 points):

 Blood Angels 'Jump Troop Heavy' list included two Librarians, a Reclusiarch, Assault Terminators, 2 Assault Marine Squads with a Sanguinary Priest, Death Company on foot, Death Company with Jump Packs, Land Speeder Typhoon. Imperial Guard Allies were represented by a Primaris Psyker, Company Command, Ratlings, Penal Troops, Infantry Platoon with Autocannon and Missile Launcher teams, Armoured Sentinel and an AEGIS Defence Line.

My opponent's Black Templars had two Rhinos with close combat Marines, a Bolter equipped Marine squad, Assault Marines, a Chaplain in Terminator Armour, an Emperor's Champion, a Captain equivalent, two Dreadnoughts and two Land Speeder Typhoons. His Tau Allied detachment consists of Fire Warriors, a Hammerhead and Commander in a Battlesuit.

Mission: The Scouring.

"Both side are sweeping through the area, tasking recon units to identify sites of strategic importance. However, not all sites are of equal worth and victory will go to the foe that can secure the most valuable sites and cripple the enemy's ability to locate others." p129 WH40K Rulebook 6th Edition.

The main part of this mission is a maximum 6 primary objectives, spread across the table, whose strategic importance are not known until after armies are deployed. Additionally, Fast Attack units are scoring, in this case the Typhoons, his Assault Marines and my Sentinel (which I forgot was Fast Attack!).

Critically, Victory Points are given to the opponent if your Fast Attack unit is destroyed!


In 6th Edition, Fortifications are deployed before armies, objectives and even scenery is placed on the table.
In placing my AEGIS Defence line semi-centrally and slightly forward of my deployment zone, I hoped to control more of the board and then be within striking distance of objectives in the later turns.

In this mission the objectives are placed alternating between players, and then the models are deployed with only the location of the objective, not it's value, know. There are six objectives, with randomly assigned values of 1,2,2,3,3,4 Victory Points revealed once the game begins.

Black Templar Deployment. Land Speeder on 6th objective not shown.
In placing objectives, and then through deploying, my opponent gambled on a couple of easy grab Victory Points away from my Fortification, and utilised a 'refused flank' deployment to hopefully isolate my Imperial Guard and then cut down the Blood Angels as they arrived from reserve. His light Tau infantry squads hugged the terrain for cover, and his Rhinos prepared for a frontal assault of my lines.

Detailed Deployment, Imperial Guard and Assault Terminators.

As Imperial Guard and Blood Angels are 'Battle Brother' Allies, I deployed my Librarians with my IG troops, and used the Assault Terminators as escort for my Primaris Psyker. Battle Brother Allies allow psychic powers to be used across the whole army, to devastating effect as we will see later. My Blood Angel Assault Squads remained in reserve, and I could be more aggressive with them as they were troops, and therefore scoring units, but would not give up Victory Points like my opponents Assault Squads, who were Fast Attack.

When objectives were revealed, my opponent's gamble didn't pay off and we rolled up the two lowest scoring objectives on his side of the table. My AEGIS Defence Lines, however, was now within range of 8 out of a potential 15 objective Victory Points.

Fast Attack units from both sides have been placed in or behind cover, or hopefully out of range of enemy guns. In 6th Edition, pre-measuring is allowed, so there is no excuse for bad deployment as you can always know exact threat ranges from ranged weaponry. Critically, one of his scoring Land Speeders was deployed on the highest value objective close to my lines for early first turn shooting, but this left it open to retaliation.

Turn 1:

Rhinos move forward, Typhoon holds objective at top right.
The Imperial Guard failed to seize the initiative, giving the Black Templars a chance to seize the First Blood victory point. A poor roll on the Mysterious Forests table saw three Fire Warriors die to a Carnivorous Jungle! The other squad moved up toward an objective partially hidden in front of my lines. The Rhinos surged forward in the centre and the remaining troops on his right flank began their long march across the board.

Lots of out-of-place units have to re-position!
The Tau, Dreadnoughts and Typhoons all opened up on the Quad Gun, destroying it with ease. Arms went in the air, grins were proudly displayed and fists clenched, until we checked the rulebook and determined that being a terrain piece, Fortifications are not a 'Unit' and therefore do not give up First Blood. I allowed a couple of units to retake their shots, and lost a Terminator and a couple of Guard instead. Not the great start he was hoping. In previous games he has wasted his entire first turn trying to destroy my Ratling snipers with camouflage cloaks, only to have one survive and spoil the fun. They remained untouched this time.

Imperial Guard Response
In response I moved up to the AEGIS Defence Line, and loaded up on Psychic powers, casting "Presience" on the Lascannon (allowing re-rolls To Hit), took some pot shots at the Firewarriors with the Quad Gun and used my Company Commander to order "Bring it Down" on the Autocannons against his Rhinos, popping one of them for First Blood Victory Point. I had also used "Enfeeble" (-1 Toughness and Strength) on the Fire Warriors but instead opted to fire my missiles (who Ignored Cover due to the "Perfect Timing" psychic power) at the exposed Marines. Together with the Rapid Fire Lasguns and Bolters, the Chaplain's squad was now less than half its starting strength. The Lascannon from the Company Command took out the lone Land Speeder Typhoon on the objective. My "Magic the Gathering" play style  as my opponent has termed it, showed how powerful basic units can be when bolstered by Imperial Guard orders and/or Psychic Powers.

Blood Angels/Imperial Guard: 2 (First Blood+Fast Attack Units Destroyed)
Black Templars/Tau: 3 (Objective)

Turn 2: 

Black Templars move forward, Terminators Deep Strike in.
In their second turn, the Black Templar/Tau forces moved up to secure objectives with their troops (The Land Speeder the only one to actually capture this turn), and rolled well enough to have their Assault Terminators arrive by Deep Strike, despite the presence of an Officer of the Fleet in the Imperial Guard detachment. This presented many small units (or MSU) for the Imperial Guard to shoot at, whilst setting up multiple charge opportunities in the following turn. Once more, all un-engaged Black Templars moved up on the far flank, with little effect from their combined shooting due to insufficient range and/or cover provided by the AEGIS Defence Line.

The only charge was horribly successful, with all five Death Company dead.

In response to the Black Templar reserves, all of the Blood Angel jump pack infantry arrived with re-rolls and minimal scatter due to Descent of Angels. They immediately removed two Terminators thanks to AP2 Plasma Guns, and placed more than twenty "Feel-No-Pain" power armoured bodies right next to the highest value objectives, and away from the main firepower of the enemy force, and a second hard-hitting squad of Death Company ready to counter-charge in the deployment zone. The Black Templar Terminators passed their Leadership check, and move toward the closest enemy as per their special rules. This guaranteed they were in range to be charged by the Blood Angel Terminators, who also tied up the Chaplain.

Blood Angel Terminators hold the worst of the Black Templar units away from the Imperial Guard.

6th Edition at it's best: 42 Lasgun shots with re-roll to hit makes a mockery of Power Armour.
In the shooting phase, the Imperial Guard orders and Librarian Psychic Powers combined allowing an immense number of wounds against the Black Templars, who lost more than half of the second Rhino squad. The Quad Gun took a hull point off the Dreadnought, while the Sentinel who lost its gun to enemy shooting hid at the back. The worst news of the turn was the loss of the Primaris Psyker to his second 'Perils of the Warp' wound in two turns, this time a double six on the new dice!

With three psykers on the table this was bound to happen!

Blood Angels/Imperial Guard: 2 (First Blood+Fast Attack Units Destroyed)
Black Templars/Tau: 4 (Objectives)

Turn 3: 

Black Templar/Tau units arrive piecemeal to assist. Tau Battlesuit weapons ignore cover!
Turn 3 saw maximum movement from all free Black Templar and Tau units. The Assault Marines finally made it across the board to challenge their namesake, the Rhino repositioned to block Imperial Guard shooting at the Fire Warriors, and the Dreadnought moved up to take pot-shots at the Quad Gun, only to fail his charge. The Assault Marines also failed their charge, leaving them dangerously exposed.

Dismal rolling from the Black Templars see the Guard take down more Marines.
With the last of the Rhino-based Black Templars finally able to assault, they crash headlong into the Imperial Guard lines who, with the assistance of "Prescience" carried over from last turn, proceed to embarass the Emperor's Finest, leaving the Emperor's Champion effectively 'tar-pitted' in combat. The Chaplain too is bogged down by the Blood Angels' 3++ invulnerable saves.

Assault Marines doing what they do best, removing scoring units and challenging objectives.
With not many targets to shoot at, most of the Imperial Guard focus on the Dreadnought bearing down on their lines, taking off another Hull Point and an arm but failing to stop it. The Blood Angel Assault Marines do their worst on the Tau Fire Warriors, following up with a comprehensive combat by the use of 'Furious Charge' thanks to the Sanguinary Priest, and taking the objective. The combined charge also sees off the last Rhino. The other squad pulls their punches against the Black Templar jump troops, so as to remain in combat for the next Black Templar turn. Still, the high value objective is in the other direction!

The Death Company and Blood Angel Terminators, both aided by "Prescience" thanks to two Librarians using the "Divination" Psychic Discipline, make short work of the remaining Terminators and the Chaplain, taking the "Slay the Warlord" Victory Point and swinging the balance of the game massively in their favour.

Blood Angels/Imperial Guard: 6 (First Blood+Fast Attack Units Destroyed+Objective+Warlord)
Black Templars/Tau: 3 (Objectives)

The overall shot shows how spread out the Black Templars are.

Turn 4: 

With their units rapidly disappearing, the Black Templars consolidate their positions on the objectives, the Tau providing long range support. The Quad Gun Operator is taken out by the Dreadnought, and the Emperor's Champion finally wins combat and seeping advances the whole squad, only to remain stranded in front of the majority of the Imperial Guard. The Assault Marines die (giving up a Victory Point).

Dreadnought makes his way into the fray, killing the Librarian manning the Quad Gun.
In the Blood Angels turn, the Platoon Command move up to take the objective behind the AEGIS Defence Line, while The Land Speeder positions for a better shot on the Dreadnought. The Death Company used their mobility to reach the Quad Gun in case additional firepower was required on the Dreadnought.

The combined firepower of the Land Speeder and Imperial Guard removes the immediate threats to the objectives.
It was at this point that the Victory Point difference (Now 7-3) got to my head, and instead of holding tight on the objectives, I moved the Assault Squad containing my Reclusiarch out from the objective and into the open to try and charge his commander (which failed). I also forgot to move the other Assault Squad at all, leaving them dangerously exposed and not at all near an objective!

More Tau die to the Quad Gun, this time manned by Death Company!

Blood Angels/Imperial Guard: 4 (First Blood+Fast Attack Units Destroyed+Warlord)
Black Templars/Tau: 3 (Objective)

Turn 5: 

With Turn 5 being possibly the last turn given Random Game Length, the Black Templars played smart, aiming all their firepower at the Assault Squads to deny last turn objective grabbing. They were so successful, they not only reduced one squad down to a man and the Sanguinary Priest, they also took down the Reclusiarch, gaining the "Slay the Warlord" Victory Point. The second Black Templar Captain also moved up to contest an objective, whilst the Fire Warriors move toward cover but are still exposed.

Victory Points are tied at the end of Black Templar 5th.
With the wake up call duly noted, the Blood Angels played for the mission. The Penal Troops, who had auto arrived on Turn 4 by outflanking, made their way toward the '4' objective, ending up 1" short after a poor move through cover roll, but still counting toward the "Linebreaker" Victory Point! The surviving Assault Marine jumped back to capture a '3' objective, and remain out of line of sight. The Death Company, who cannot score, move up to assault the Black Templar Captain, but fail their charge (even with re-roll for jump packs!). The Terminators make the last kill of the game and take out the Tau Tank using the Quad Gun.

The game ends of turn 5 due to a '1' being rolled!
With the last Assault Marine taking the '3' Objective, and the Platoon Command holding the '2' Objective uncontested, the final score doesn't do justcice the close battle of the final turn, and costly mistakes made by both sides.

Blood Angels/Imperial Guard: 10 

First Blood(1)+Fast Attack Units Destroyed(2)+Warlord(1)+Objectives(2+3)+Linebreaker(1))

Black Templars/Tau: 4 

Objectives (1+2)+Warlord(1)


As with all games of Warhammer 40,000, playing for the objectives dictated the result of the game. Had the higher value objectives been rolled up closer to the Black Templar lines the Blood Angels would have had to work a lot harder for the win. With static positioning behind the AEGIS Defence Line, the Imperial Guard simply reacted to the enemy units rather than forcing the enemy's movement. It was only through the use of Psychic Powers and Imperial Guard Orders that the lowly Guardsmen were able to hold off the Black Templar charge, a charge only necessary given the objective locations.

All in all, an excellent example of how the new Fortifications (placed before deployment), Objectives (rolled for after deployment), Mysterious Terrain (which prevented the Tau hiding in the forests), Psychic Powers and Allies (which allowed poor quality troops to win unmatched combats), changed the way Warhammer 40,000 plays in 6th Edition. Flyers are coming, watch this space!

Thanks for reading, as always comments are welcome. I hope you enjoyed reading my first Battle Report.

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