Monday, January 5, 2015

Week 5 - Jason the Ripper vs Commander Maybury

Another excellent batrep prepared by Jason who will be commanding his own Hivefleet for this game. Over to Jason.
Hive Fleet Salix hung motionless in orbit around Tartaros, alien optics stalking the every move of the prey on the barren surface. Antennae and sensor stalks told the Hive Mind what it needed to know. Radiation bathed the grey surface of Tartaros, and only the hardiest and largest of the Tyranid bioforms would be able to survive on the surface. The prey were observed to be scurrying about in their metal boxes yet again, which was not surprising, given their general frailty. A quick kill was needed, which was this particular Hive Fleet’s specialty. Bio-forms were cultivated in the biopools, and a familiar foe was awakened.

This was another 1500pt game as part of the Leviathan campaign, this time against Alan and his combined Space Wolves/IG list. I’ve had a terrible track record against Alan, with no (or maybe only one) wins against him. Still, there’s always a first time☺. This was another kill point mission, and any non MCs or vehicles would have to make a 3+ “save” or take a wound.

Alan brought the following unbound list:
1 x Pask Squadron (both in Punishers, with lascannon, multi meltas, camo netting, and relic plating on Pask)
1 x Imperial Knight Paladin
1 x Land Raider Crusader
2 x Stormfang Gunships (TL Helfrost, TL lascannons, 2x heavy bolters)

I brought a Hive Fleet Detachment:
3 x Flyrants (all with 2x TL Devourers, ESG)
1 x Hive Crone (Fighter Ace)
4 x Mucolid Spores
1 x Carnifex (TL Devourers, and in a Tyrannocyte w/ Deathspitters)
1 x Trygon Prime (Maw Claws of Thyrax)
1 x Void Shield Generator (with extra Shield)
Psychic powers: A whole lot of useless Psychic Shriek, Paroxysm, Onslaught, and Catalyst

After the initial victory experienced on Lysios, Hive Fleet Salix had been pushed back twice in the cities on Asphodex, with much biomass being lost. That the defeats occurred were unsurprising, the Tyranids of Hive Fleet Salix were gene-tailored for lightning-fast assaults and surgical strikes, not the grinding attrition of urban warfare. Despite these setbacks, this smaller fleet that arrived with Leviathan continued to probe the Shieldworlds of the Cryptus System, and the Tyranids sought for biomass to replenish the losses suffered…

Launched from a Hive Ship in low orbit, and wrapped in a protective layer of chitin to keep it safe, the Hive Tyrant Alpha snapped open its wings the moment it hit the atmosphere. Staying just out of range of the emplaced defences, it circled the area and crafted its battle plans.

The prey were at a strategic disadvantage; letting the Swarm gather critical mass would mean they would get overwhelmed, but leaving the protective hab-domes could mean being overwhelmed in the open. All things considered, baiting them out into the open would doubtless be costly, but if things went right, less costly than infiltrating Lictors and Genestealers into the hab-domes.

The first step was to prepare the ground for the arrival of its swarm. Swooping low over the chosen battlefield area, it dropped the large seedpod it had been carrying in its claws. In a matter of a few short hours, the seed would grow into a bio-node that would generate a powerful gravitic field, shielding the Swarm’s creatures from almost any attack by sucking bullets and energy blasts down a miniature black hole. Through its synaptic connection to the main fleet, the Tyrant Alpha activated the first wave of its assault, summoning a Hive Crone which had killed many flying boxes.

A cloud of dust on the horizon caught its eye. The prey had taken the bait. It was time to close the trap.

See pics for deployment. Flyrants are actually all clustered behind the VSG (proxied with a Bastion), just that they kept sliding down the slope. Every Tyranid FMC was hidden behind terrain to reduce the impact of the (very scary) shooting. Imperium’s tanks were spread out in a battle line.

C:\Users\Yang Boon Kiat\Documents\Wolf Pics\J Deployment.jpgC:\Users\Yang Boon Kiat\Documents\Wolf Pics\A Deployment.jpg

Imperium Turn 1

Knight Commander Pask checked his bearings and his equipment one more time as they approached the navigation point. He had been charged by Segmentum Commander Alanov Maiburov, Duke of Vostroya, to conduct a surgical strike on a gathering Tyranid presence due East of Hab-Dome Titan-G. “Greer, adjust your course by two points to the right, and inform the Space Wolves and Imperial Knight to do the same”, he ordered, keeping the top of what the locals had come to term as Sandus’ Ruin in his sights.

A shimmer in the air told him that there were some alien forces at play, and the auspex confirmed that there was a void shield analog just past the ruin. Still no bio-forms spotted.

Wait. There, to the left, a flash of a black wing…. Xenos.

All the tanks and the Knight pushed forward, to try and bring down the Void Shield Generator (the edge of which can be seen at the bottom left hand corner of the pic). Shooting is uneventful as despite hitting the void shields, the tanks are unable to bring it down.

C:\Users\Yang Boon Kiat\Documents\Wolf Pics\A T1.jpg

KP Count: 0-0

Tyranid 1

The Tyrant Alpha watched as the hail of fire from the prey’s weapons were harmlessly vacuumed away by the shield node, and snarled a challenge as it and its wing-mates took to the skies. The Hive Crone Alpha swooped forward, its claws raking sparks and scraping paint from a beige metal box as it did so, yet the tank still continued to advance. After scrambling the minds of the crew of a large blue box, The Alpha and another Tyrant banked and adjusted course, spraying a large blue metal box with volleys of electroshock grubs as they did so. Lightning crawled over the heavy armour, and the vehicle came to a halt. In moments, it resumed its inexorable advance, though sparks shot out all over the place with every metre gained.

The reaching out its will, the Alpha ordered the Hive Crone to unleash two of its parasitic tentaclids, though both flew wide of the blue metal box. Snarling at the poor marksmanship from the Hive Crone, the Alpha resolved to have it dissolved and remade into a spore mine once the battle was done.

The flyrants all take off and swoop forward, along with the Hive Crone, which Vector Strikes the non-Pask tank in the Pask squadron, with no effect. Paroxysm-ed the Land Raider and reduced his BS to 3, while Catalyst went on the two non-Warlord Flyrants. Electroshock Grubs manage to take two hull points off a Land Raider.

KP Count: 0-0

Imperium 2

Pask assessed the battle damage to his squadron after that hit from the flying creature, and was relieved to find that both tanks were fully operational. While he had faith in the Emperor-blessed armour of the Leman Russ, he had not become the renowned tank ace he was by taking chances. The Space Wolves Land Raider, on the other hand, was not doing as well. Blinking yellow icons on his screen told him that its system integrity was failing, and queries to the Space Wolves were returned with terse growls of everything being functional.

Scrolling through pict-images on his viewscreen, Pask spotted the enemy leader-creature known by the men as the Ripper, after some urban legend of a mass murderer in Terra’s ancient past. Voxing for aid in bringing down the beast, he had his squadron pivot to place their vulnerable rear armour against Sandus’ Ruin for cover, and opened fire. Helfrost and Lascannon blasts from air support in the form of two Stormfang gunships contributed to the barrage, and the Ripper vanished in a cloud of fire and smoke. For a while, all Pask could hear was the ‘plink-plink’ of the Punisher cannon’s barrels cooling down, as the crew collectively held its breath. And then the smoke cleared.

Impossible. It bled heavily, but the creature yet lived…

The Pask Squadron puts their rear against the big ruin in the middle of the board, to protect their armour, while the Knight moves up to the left. Both Stormfangs come in (one proxied by a Vendetta), and the Land Raider pivots on the spot to put my Warlord in its sights. Shooting phase sees EVERY shot directed against the Warlord, but he survives with 1W! (Before pic on the left, after pic on the right)
C:\Users\Yang Boon Kiat\Documents\Wolf Pics\A T2.jpg C:\Users\Yang Boon Kiat\Documents\Wolf Pics\T2 Heroic Moment.jpg
Now you see it…..    And now you still do! He LIVES! :D
KP Count: 0-0

Tyranid 2
The Alpha was wounded. Even its legendary endurance had been tested by the amount of firepower that was levelled at it by the prey, and it retreated in order to maintain its control over the swarm. Synapse links were still provided by its wingmates, and more creatures were arriving. Retreat would yet prove to be the better option. While flying off, the Alpha called in the next wave of bio-forms. The pale and flying metal boxes would die.

Huge claws burst from the ground in front of Sandus’ Ruin, and a giant Trygon Prime burst through the surface. With equally sudden speed, a Tyrannocyte slammed into the ground meters away, and a Carnifex charged out of the murk, while Mucolid spores rained down everywhere. Seeing through the creatures’ eyes, the Alpha had the Carnifex fire a volley of devourer fire into the back of the nearest pale box, and experienced an alien satisfaction of seeing it torn apart. Smoke poured from every rent in the hull as crewmen evacuated, only to be quickly slaughtered by the Carnifex.

Meanwhile, in the skies, a dogfight between the remaining Hive Tyrants and the newly arrived Stormfangs quickly formed, with the aerial agility of the Hive Tyrants matched equally by the speed of the flying machines. Through their eyes, the Alpha watched as they spun and swooped, and exulted as one of the flying boxes went down in flames. Air supremacy was within reach….

After the pounding he got, Warlord flyrant flies off the table into ongoing reserves. Reserves all arrive except for one spore, and just-as-planned, the Tyrannocyte lands perfectly to block off the charge from the Imperial Knight, while Trygon Prime and Mucolid Spores all come in as needed, to screen movement and fire from Land Raider and Stormfang respectively. Paroxysm is placed on Land Raider and one Stormfang. Carnifex blows up one LR Punisher in the shooting phase, and Flyrants take down the non-Paroxysm-ed Stormfang. Hive Crone does absolutely nothing, failing with its Tentaclids even after re-rolls.

KP Count: 2-0 to the Nids (Stormfang, First Blood)

Imperium 3

Pask was furious with himself for his tactical error, and the frustration and strain showed on his face. When he wheeled his tanks to use the ruins as cover for their weaker rear armour, he had never considered the possibility that monstrous Tyranid bio-forms would burst through the old stones and destroy Lieutenant Gruber’s tank. The sight of a burning, screaming, Gruber trying to put out the fuel fires that engulfed him would forever be seared into his memory. That Gruber was put out of his misery with one swipe of a talon from one of the Tyranid beasts was no consolation. A waste of the Emperor’s resources, good men dead, and all because he had made one bad decision. He wasn’t sure which disturbed him the most.

Pask ruthlessly put his emotions aside as he focused on exacting revenge on the Xenos. The Imperial Knight sounded its battle horn as it engaged the beasts hiding in the ruins, and Pask had his crew lock on to one of the flying beasts that had thus far plagued the skies. With the echoes of the horn ringing across the battlefield, Pask gave the orders to open fire.

Land Raider moves to get a better angle, while Pask readjusts position to face the ‘fex and Trygon Prime. Shooting from the Land Raider puts a wound on the Trygon Prime, and combined fire from Stormfang and Pask reduces the Hive Crone to one wound. Imperial Knight shooting doesn’t do anything due to cover saves.

KP Count: 2-0 to the Nids

Tyranid 3

The Hive Tyrant Alpha absorbed information from various spy-beasts which roamed in high orbit, and pinpointed the lone remaining pale box as the prey’s leader. Looking to stop the coordinated fire that had targeted it, the Alpha flew back into close quarters on the battlefield, seeking out this “Commander”. Spotting an opportunity to eliminate its target, the Alpha drew on the power of the Hive Mind to boost its speed, managing to manoeuvre into a position where it could fire on the weaker back armour. With a single volley from the Alpha’s weapons, Knight Commander Pask’s tank went up in flames.

Letting out a roar of triumph, the Alpha scanned the battlefield for more targets, and saw that his wing-mates had already damaged the other flying box. That simply left the strange walking metal creature and the already-damaged blue box on the field to deal with. More flesh to sate the Hive Mind’s hunger….

Warlord Flyrant flies back onto the board, and casts Onslaught on himself, Hive Crone Vector Strikes Pask but does nothing. Paroxysm is put on Land Raider and Stormfang. Carnifex and Trygon both move through the ruins. Shooting sees Pask die to the Warlord Flyrant, and the other Flyrants reduce the last Stormfang to two hull points remaining. Nothing in assault.

KP Count: 4-0 to the Tyranids (Pask’s Squadron, Warlord kill)

Imperium 4

Pask was dead, of that he was sure. The Imperial Knight Paladin called The Unknown Ranger saw the hopes of saving Tartaros lessen with each moment, but surrendering was not in his or his machine spirit’s nature. He swore that he would take bloody vengeance on the Xenos in front of him, and steeled himself with the knowledge that every creature he killed here would be one less available to attack Hab-dome Titan-G. Sounding his battle horn yet again, he charged the floating gasbag that had delivered a weapon-beast into battle…

Imperium continues to struggle on despite losing Pask, and the Imperial Knight shoots then charges into the Tyrannocyte. Shooting from the Stormfang and Land Raider do nothing to the two Flyrants in the area thanks to Paroxysm, but the Tyrannocyte is wiped out with a single blow from the Knight Paladin’s weapon. Knight then consolidates back on top of the Pask wreck, in order to charge the Carnifex the next turn.
C:\Users\Yang Boon Kiat\Documents\Wolf Pics\A T4.jpg
KP Count: 4-1 to the Tyranids (Tyrannocyte)

Tyranid 4

The Alpha scanned the battlefield for several moments, its enhanced senses not impaired in any way by the smoke and burning wreckage of multiple vehicles. After seeing the strange walking creature eviscerate the Tyrannocyte with its weapons, it decided to test the creature’s strength further, and directed the remaining ground creatures to deal with the walker.

An explosion illuminated the clouds of smoke drifting across the battlefield, and the Alpha saw a blazing chunk of wreckage fall from the skies. The last flying box had been taken down; air supremacy belonged to the Tyranid Swarm. With the remaining prey units on the field being the walker and the damaged blue metal box, the Alpha saw a chance to remove the defenders from the battle completely, and banked hard to head for the metal box. It was time to end this…

Movement sees the Hive Crone head into Alan’s deployment zone to try and get Linebreaker, Warlord Tyrant flaps over to try and hit the Land Raider in the next turn. Other Flyrants split up to go for both the Land Raider and the Knight. Paroxysm again goes onto the Land Raider. Carnifex does nothing much, while Trygon Prime sets up to charge the Imperial Knight next turn, assuming (correctly) that the Carnifex would die in assault. Shooting has the Flyrants which remained within range shoot down the last Stormfang, while the Warlord Flyrant reduces the Land Raider to one hull point.

KP Count: 5-1 to the Tyranids (Stormfang)

Imperium 5

The Unknown Ranger continued his rampage in his fury, storming towards the beast that had killed Lieutenant Gruber and his men. In a few short strides he reached the beast, which seemed puny in comparison to his mighty adamantium frame. With two practiced swings, he turned the beast into bloody chunks of meat.

Something slammed into the hull from behind, though no damage was done. Pict-feeds from the outside of the hull told him that the wreckage of his air support had crashed into his rear, and that he could now also be known as The Lone Ranger. In a burst of noise that cut through the pervasive static interference, The Unknown Ranger realised that the Space Wolves in the Land Raider were howling into the vox. While continuing to scan the battlefield for threats, he sent a query to the Wolves.

Moments later, his spirits soared as the Wolves reported that despite heavy damage to the Land Raider, they had managed to shoot down the beast known as the Ripper. “Rest easy Pask”, thought the Unknown Ranger, at least some vengeance was had this day….

Movement sees the Knight close the distance and charging the Carnifex, with the predictable result of one dead Carnifex. Land Raider moves back down the slope to try and manages to shoot down the Warlord Flyrant despite Paroxysm! Knight consolidates and moves to protect his rear armour. This game is getting very close.
C:\Users\Yang Boon Kiat\Documents\Wolf Pics\A T5.jpg


KP Count: 5-4 to the Tyranids (Carnifex, Flyrant, Warlord kill)

Tyranid 5

Excerpt of Post-Action Interview

Subject: Pvt. Greer, Survivor of the Battle of Tartaros

Inquisitor Kim Jong Ray

For Ordo Xenos Eyes Only

Thought of the Day: Compliance is a sign of guilt; failure to comply is Heresy

“It was pretty hard to know what happened next. One minute I was pulling Knight Commander Pask into the ruins for some cover and trying to keep him conscious; the next instant, The Unknown Ranger comes stomping through, slaughtering the huge beasts left and right.

It all became a blur after that. I saw one snake beast go up against the Knight and rip out a bunch of systems, but the Ranger pulped that one, and kept going. He saved all our hides. I blacked out after that, and the next thing I know I woke up here.”

Note: Recommend Ordo Hereticus monitors subject for heresy; only the Emperor saves.
Not much left on the table. Hive Crone stays in the Imperial deployment zone for Linebreaker. Trygon Prime makes a suicidal charge against the Imperial Knight. Flyrant electroshocks the Knight and takes off one hull point, while other Flyrant electroshocks Land Raider to try and kill it but rolls a 1 and fails to do anything! I could have used that Kill Point. Smash attack from Trygon Prime takes another hull point off, but Knight strikes back and kills the Prime.

C:\Users\Yang Boon Kiat\Documents\Wolf Pics\End.jpg

KP Count: 5-5 (Trygon Prime)

Alan rolls to see if it continues, and he rolls a 2. Game over.

Final score: 6-5 to the Tyranids (Linebreaker)

Narrow victory for Hive Fleet Salix!

Post-game Thoughts

Phew. What a game. If it had continued I could probably have held out for the win with the air control, and the Land Raider having only 1HP left. Still, really close.

Had a couple of learning points from this game. One, I should have gone for the Land Raider with the Carnifex and Trygon instead of the Imperial Knight that final turn. Definitely had a rush of blood to the head there. Also, getting the drop during Turn 2 and tactically killing off Pask’s Squadron turned the game in my favour. Finally (and perhaps most importantly), there is nothing you can do in terms of in game tactics if your opponent rolls really well for all his saves. Luck definitely played a big part in keeping my Warlord alive until Turn 5.

Good game Alan!

P.S. Credit to Stephen Sands for the Kim Jong Ray name idea ;)

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