Monday, 3 February 2014

Battle Report: The Sabik Skirmish

I hope you all enjoyed my prelude to this battle report, it's something I would like to try every now and then for my battle reports just to add a little flavour to them. The idea was sparked off when the big apocalypse game on the next table had a story arc to it and they wanted to include the battle I had as part of the background. Anyways, on to the meat of the matter, the battle between Necrons and the Imperial Fists (with Catachan allies)...

The Army of Aeons Past


HQ
  • Necron Overlord with Gauntlet of Fire, Phylactery, Resurrection Orb, Mindshackle Scarabs & Phase Shifter (200pts)
  • Royal Court: Harbinger of the Storm with Lightning Field, Harbinger of Despair with Veil of Darkness, Harbinger of Destruction with Gaze of Flame & Necron Lord with Resurrection Orb (205pts)
Troops
  • Necron Warriors: 15 man unit (195pts)
  • Necron Warriors: 15 man unit (195pts)
  • Necron Warriors: 15 man unit (195pts)
  • Necron Immortals: 10 man unit with Gauss Blasters (170pts)
Elites
  • Deathmarks: 5 man unit (95pts)
  • Triarch Stalker with Heat Ray (150pts)
Fast Attack
  • Canoptek Wraiths: Unit of 3, Whip Coils (135pts)
  • Canoptek Scarabs: 3 bases (45pts) 
Heavy Support
  • Annihilation Barge (90pts)
  • Canoptek Spyder with Gloom Prism & Fabricator Claws (75pts)
Total: 1,750 points

Sons of Dorn/Catachan Allies

HQ
  • Master of the Forge with 2 Plasma Pistols (120pts)
Troops
  • Tactical Squad: 10 man unit with Veteran Sergeant, Power Fist, Multi-Melta, Melta & Razorback with Twin-Linked Heavy Bolters and Extra Armour (260pts)
  • Tactical Squad: 10 man unit with Veteran Sergeant, Power Fist, Missile Launcher, Flamer & Razorback with Twin-Linked Heavy Bolters and Extra Armour (260pts)
  • Scout Squad: 5 man unit with Heavy Bolter & Camo Cloaks (73pts)  
Elites
  • Dreadnought with 2 Twin-Linked Autocannons (120pts)
  • Dreadnought with 2 Twin-Linked Autocannons (120pts)
Heavy Support
  • Centurion Squad: 3 man unit with Grav-Cannons and Grav-Amps (250pts)
Allied Detachment (Imperial Guard)
  • Command Squad: 5 man unit with 3 Plasma Guns (95pts)
  • Hardened Veterans: 10 man unit with Harker, Missile Launcher, 3 Grenade Launchers and Forward Sentries (185pts)
  • Scout Sentinels: Unit of 2 with Autocannons (80pts)
  • Scout Sentinels: Unit of 1 with Autocannon (40pts)
  • Devil Dog with Multi-Melta
Total: 1,738 points

Deployment

As this was a set terrain board, myself and my opponent had no need to worry about setting terrain, instead we rolled for sides. I won the roll and decided to set up amongst the ruins (for cover mostly). Afterwards we rolled for mission and turned up Big Guns Never Tire, meaning all heavy support units killed gave a single victory point each and said units could also capture objectives (even if they are vehicles). As neither of us took characters with set Warlord Traits we rolled for them simultaneously. My opponent rolled on the Space Marine chart and got a 1, Angel of Death granting the Master of the Forge and any unit he joins the Fear special rule. I rolled on the Strategic chart and got a 6, Precipice of Deceit allowing me to move 1 unit 3D6" or 3 units 1D6" from their location during employment. Finally we placed 3 objectives down, all of which were evenly spaced out towards the middle of the table.With the preparations complete, I set up first as I won the roll for deployment.

I decided on deploying in a 3 prong approach, with my Wraiths, 2 Warrior units (one with my Lord and one with my Harbinger of Destruction) and my Triarch Stalker going up the center, a single warrior unit with attached Harbinger of the Storms and Overlord on the right flank and my Scarabs, Spyder, Annihilation Barge and Immortals with Harbinger of Despair on the left flank. My Deathmarks were kept in reserve.


Heavy support bring up the left flank...

...whilst a single scouting party bring up the right.

Like a true Imperial Fist player, my opponent set up his troops behind dugouts and ruins, using the Master of the Forge's Bolster Defenses rule to up the cover save of the ruins surrounding his Tactical Squads and Razorbacks. The Imperial Defenders took up a similar 3 prong set up, placing a Sentinel plus Harker and his unit behind a dugout road, the meat of his Marines behind any kind of ruin he could find and his more heavily armoured units including 2 Sentinels, 3 Centurions, a Dreadnought and a Devil Dog to his right flank, more or less directly opposite my heavy division. Not liking the look of the sheer weight of heavy weaponry I saw, I took advantage of my Warlord trait and moved my Immortals 3D6" behind the walls of surrounding ruins, blocking any line of sight the Imperial forces could draw to them. Finally the Imperial Fists took advantage of his Scout's and moved them 6" directly in scoring range of an objective.

Tactical Marines bunker down.

Imperial armour division

With deployment done, the Imperials attempted to seize the initiative but failed to score a 6. First turn belonged to the invaders...

Turn 1: The Necron Advance


With the first turn underway (and no enemies within viable shooting range) the Necrons had no choice but to advance forward through the ruins, the Triarch Stalker following two contingencies of Warrior units to provide targeting and covering fire. The Annihilation floated forward into nearby ruins and, with astoundingly bad luck immediately immobilised itself as the Spyder created a new Scarab base, causing itself a wound with even more helpings of bad luck and followed up by failing to repair the Annihilation Barge. Not a great start to the game. The majority of the foot soldiers did well with their difficult terrain tests with only one of the central warrior squads falling behind due to bad rolls. The Wraith, completely unaffected by intervening terrain acted as vanguard, viciously approaching the enemy Scouts with murderous intent...

Heavy support units stop unexpectedly
Wraiths loom over Imperial scout units

With deadly grace, the Wraiths successfully engaged the Scouts in combat, but due to some lucky shooting rolls on my opponent's behalf and some terrible save rolls on mine, 1 Wraith immediately got blown to bits in overwatch fire, but inflicted 3 deaths on the unit before forcing them to flee and retreating back into the ruins themselves. The Harbinger of Destruction, meanwhile was able to strip a hull point off a Dreadnought from it's Eldritch Lance but failed to do any more damage.

Wraiths attack...

...Before retreating back into the ruins

In a bout of retaliation fire,the Imperial defenders shot back at the Wraiths and, with almost every single consecutive saving roll failed on the unit gained First Blood from wiping the unit. Seeing an opportunity from the back of the defense line, autocannons hosed the Harbinger of Destruction's unit, killing him and 10 Warriors in a hail of gunfire, but with uncharacteristically lucky rolls on my behalf 6 Warriors reanimated to continue the fight.

Turn 2: From the Depths of Ruin

I realised by this turn that, unlike most of my games using Necrons I would need to advance quicker if I was to have any hope of victory and, in a desperate gambit the Harbinger of Despair teleported itself in front of the enemy, narrowly avoiding a mishap. The Abyssal Staff took out 2 Hardened Veterans whilst the Harker and the rest of the squad was ripped apart by a barrage of Gauss Blaster fire, utterly annihilating the unit. Meanwhile, as the main force advanced the Spyder created yet another Scarab base and set the unit of now 5 into the depths of the ruins whilst simultaneously still failing to repair the immobilised Annihilation Barge. Whilst this was proving to be utterly infuriating for myself, a Razorback happened to drive just within range of the vehicle's Twin-Linked Tesla Destructor, reducing the Razorback to a smoldering wreck. The Warriors, still bogged down by difficult terrain and still out of fire range hid out of line of sight as best they could for the time being.

Scarabs emerge from the ruins
The Necrons bunker down

Without provocation, the Scarabs leaped at the Devil Dog, easily reducing the vehicle to raw materials and dismembered armour with their 25 Entropic Strike attacks before dropping back into the ruins, believing themselves to be hidden from line of sight. The Imperial defenders, however realising these metallic bugs were a much bigger threat than originally thought found a gap in the wall a focused fire at the swarm, blowing 4 out of the 5 bases apart with relative ease. With such heavy weight of fire focused on the small beast, only a few units were left to fire at the newly emerged Immortals, but the curse of 1's inflicted me yet again as armour saves were almost all failed, wiping the squad with plasma and bolter rounds.

Scarabs come out from hiding...
...Before retreating in lower number

Turn 3: Vendetta

The Necrons begun to break through the urban forest and loomed over the yellow Astartes as the Triarch Stalker broke cover, blasting two Marines out in the open with it's Heat Ray, vaporising both on the spot and reducing the squad down to 3 men, but leaving itself open means it was shot back, penetrating the Quantum Fielding and stunning the walk in reply. The Deathmarks also turned up with intent to destroy the Master of the Forge, but unfortunately they inflicted absolutely no damage and was wiped in the squad's retaliation fire, coupled with the Imperial Guard Command's plasma guns in a single turn. Meanwhile, back at the Spyder's camp, the Annihilation Barge was finally repaired of it's immobility as the single Scarab base returned to replenish it's numbers (which would have to wait until next turn). The Annihilation Barge caught sight of 2 pesky Sentinels in the meantime and wasted the both of them instantly with more tesla fire whilst the Scarabs and Spyder were pulverised by the nearby Centurion squad and Rifleman Dreadnought. The death of the Spyder earned the Imperials another victory point for destroying a heavy support choice.

The Barge is repaired as the Spyder is crushed by gravitational fields
Meanwhile, the Overlord and his unit grab an objective and watch the battle unfurl...


Turn 4: Holding the Line

With the Triarch Stalker out of commission for now, the Imperial Fists focused fire at the walker. With it's Quantum Fields down and no chance of defending itself, it was reduced to wreckage as it was glanced to death with heavy weapon fire, permanently putting it out of action, but gave time for the 2 Warrior units to set up either side with one unit finishing off the Scout squad and the other taking firing positions in the nearby ruins, blasting the Catachan Command Squad, leaving the captain to flee, only to regroup in front of the Imperial Fist defense line but close to death. Meanwhile the Annihilation Barge, now mobile but utterly alone moved forward to shoot the 2 Sentinels that had moved forward to (successfully I might add) add damage to the advancing Warriors in the central column, achieving success in wrecking both Sentinels in a barrage of tesla bolts.

As if sensing the looming threat of the potentially scoring skimmer, the Centurions pondered in and unleashed gravitational waves on the Barge, but thanks to jink saves it was able to deflect 2 of the 3 hull points inflicted with it's Quantum Fielding intact, but at the cost of being rendered immobile. Again.

The Annihilation Barge sets up a gun position

Turn 5: "We Stand Defiant!"

With the line almost breached, the Imperial Fists realised that without some serious action, the Necrons would threaten to overrun their set up. Vaulting from cover, the 3 man Tactical Squad whose numbers were dropped by the Triarch Stalker earlier sacrificed all shooting to dash for the objective that Necron Warriors had now taken from their Scouts, covering fire spraying the advancing units and dropping their numbers significantly enough to put a dent in their defenses. The Centurions, realising that the objectives was more important than further damaging the Annihilation Barge let it be and stomped towards their goal. A Rifleman Dreadnought who had foolishly walked into the gun sights of the Barge to get a better aim on the advancing Warriors was wrecked by yet more Tesla fire, removing it's 2 Twin-Linked Autocannon threat from the game. With the units on both sides in place, the final dash for victory was at hand...

With Warriors contesting the objective, Astartes run to stop them
The Dreadnought bites the dust

Turn 6: Swan Song

With the final turn, it was a dash to claim as many objectives as possible. Necron Warriors in the center rushed to contest the central objective, reaching their goal simultaneously with the Astartes warriors, whilst the Centurions lumbered to claim the left objective. The right objective, as it had been since turn 2 was held fast by the Overlord's Warrior retinue. With more focus on the objectives than anything, very few shots were fired and any casualties suffered were insignificant as this final round of the game became a nail biting race to the finish. At the close of Turn 6, the Imperial Defenders held 1 Objective and gained First Blood plus an additional victory point for killing the Canoptek Spyder The Necrons merely held a single Objective with the third Objective contested by both sides.

Centurions hold an objective...
...Whilst another is contested

Final Victory Points Tally
Necrons: 3
Imperials: 5

Victory to the Imperials!


Epilogue

     Nemekh watched the battle rage from the vantage point he had taken within the ruins of this desolate world. Whilst his forces had indeed done much damage to the humans, these particular "Space Marines" as Kharimekh had called them seemed far more disciplined than those he had previously faced. He made a mental note to order a catalogue of these various Space Marine clans and their doctrines to store in the frozen archives of Ripekh.
     Azhryn pondered to his liege's side, lightning crackling about his carapace. "Should we press the attack, my lord?"
     Suddenly the paranoid glitch that cursed Nemekh's psyche since his awaken all those years ago kicked back into gear as the realisation that not all of the fallen would recover from this battle. His underestimation of these Fists of Vermillion had cost his dynasty's already dwindling numbers dearly and the urge to restore these warriors back to life became overbearing.
     "We shall retreat back to our Crown World of Ripekh" came Nemekh's order, "phase the fallen back to my flagship. Many of our fallen will repair with time, give those that don't to Infekhtys, and take the remains of our Wraiths as well."
       The Harbinger of the Storms bowed lightly to the Phaeron's command. Nemekh wished it were Kharimekh with his sage wisdom by his side, but in this battle his presence was amongst the Warriors.
     As Azhryn pulled out a compact communication devise from his metal frame he heard the Phaeron speak once more. "Do not take this as surrender, Azhryn. We will take back what is rightfully ours. We will find the chink in our enemy's armour. But for now, let them revel in the corpses of their dead. Today stands as a testimony of our might, and unlike their weak prisons of flesh our bodies will heal."
     Nemekh craned his head to look at the Cryptek. "We'll be back."

Post-Mortem

Wow, what an utterly enjoyable game! I've never played on such an amazing board against such a skilled player with such interesting set ups. The game could have gone either way, by the last turn neither of us could guess who would have won, it was a real nail biter and that's what made it so fun. I'm not even bothered by the fact I lost because at no point I ever thought I would win outright nor did I think my opponent would utterly smash me. Honestly the best game I've played in a long, long time.

As I've spent so much time writing this, particularly with the interwoven story (which I will be using to create the history of my Dynasty) I have decided to condense this post-mortem into bullet points. I know it's lazy but I'm tired and you will find it easier to read this way.

  • My definite MVU (Most Valuable Unit) has to be my Annihilation Barge. Despite being immobilised TWICE, it took out over twice it's points worth, racking up a kill tally of 1 Dreadnought, 2 Sentinels, a Razorback and a single wound off a Centurion. For 90 points, it was a bargain.
  • I can't say the same with the Harbinger of the Storm and the 15 man Necron Warrior unit. Usually I love my Harbinger of the Storm, but since the whole unit did absolutely nothing all game other than capture an objective, I would have been better off with a 5 man unit. Oh well, hindsight is a wonderful thing.
  • My rolls were atrocious. I won't be that player that blamed losing on luck, but rolling 10 fails out of 12 for 3+ armour saves, then 6 fails out of 7 for the same armour save, immobilising my Annihilation Barge on turn one via dangerous terrain whilst simultaneously losing a wound on my Spyder for Scarab breeding... well let's just say none of that helped my cause.
  • Speaking of Scarabs, I've really changed my mind on these. If used correctly they become a massive threat to your enemy. My opponent immediately decided these things needed to die as soon as they saw what they can do to a tank. I think taking more Spyders just became a must for next time...
  • Playing against Marines was intriguing, especially with my Ultramarines in the works. Bolter Drill is not a Chapter Tactic to underestimate either, it really helped the Imperials rack up a kill tally.
  • Autocannons are far nastier than I expected too. I heard that Riflemen Dreadnoughts (those with 2 Twin-Linked Autocannons) were nasty but wow do they pack a punch.
  • Also, after playing this game I realised 3 Centurions with Grav-Cannons and Grav-Amps is actually really worth the points. They're tough cookies to kill and they will murder almost anything they fire at. They're pretty harsh.

Anyway, I hope you enjoyed the concluding post to the Invasion of Sabik. Normal service to resume shortly!

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2 comments:

  1. I really liked the story you crafted for both the prologue and epilogue, it was well done, added to our understanding of your personal Dynasty/Characters and it really intrigues me as to where you'll take it in the future. Keep up the good work, I look forward to reading more battle reports of a similar caliber if you'd be up for it.

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    1. Thanks, glad you enjoyed reading it :)

      I will be posting at the end of the month again my thoughts on my posts for February, but crafting a story around particular battle reports is definitely something I'd like to keep up. I've even found myself getting more involved in the fluff I've written for my dynasty and I'm pumped to do more, so I do think there will be more battle reports like this from me in the future.

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