Return to Auros IX: Battle #2 by Patrick Eibel and Kenton Kilgore
After our first game (a nice warm-up for the campaign), Pat came up with the way-cool idea to treat the next three battles as occurring simultaneously, with the Tigers launching an all-out, make-or-break blitzkrieg on the greenskins to wrench Auros IX from their grip. Thus, units used in one game cannot be used in another. As Pat and I have massively-overlarge armies (I’m up to 11K points of Tigers), that’s not a problem for either of us. This game’s mission was “Planetfall,”from the Planetstrike supplement, and would feature 3,000 points of Space Marines in Stripes vs. an equal amount of the most badass Blood Axes around.
Sho-T’s Blood Axes (3000 points)
by Patrick Eibel
This list was designed to have big, globby shooting squads, some speed in the bikes, and some counterassault with the ‘Ard Boyz, Sho T. and Sprokkits hanging together. I was hoping to soften the Tigers up with some shooty shooty before the inevitable Assault Phase. Kenton, of course, had other plans.
Fighting Tigers of Veda
(3000 points) by Kenton
At first glance, this appears to be an unabashedly cheesedick power-gaming list; atypically for me, it has no Troop choices (“Planetfall” does not require the Attacker to take Troops). While it is clearly designed to kill lots of Orks all at once (all those flamers and assault cannons!), bear in mind three things:
1. My guys would be dropping down right in the Orks’ faces, not a good position for any army besides Orks or Tyranids to start in;
2. It does not have a whole lot of staying power (not many bodies, and those Speeders aren’t cheap); and,
3. In all the fiction pieces that Games Workshop writes, it’s the Dreads, the Termies, and the Assault Marines leading planetary invasions, so it felt properly “fluffy” to bring lots of them for this game.
Astute visitors will also note a paucity of anti-tank capability, aside from the unreliable Rending of the assault cannons and the gotta-get-in-close-to-use-them power fists. A trademark of my Fighting Tigers, this was to become an issue late in the game .
Setting Up by Kenton Kilgore
Like Cities of Death, Planetstrike uses strategems: each player receives one stratagem point per objective, and strategems cost various points. I chose Scorched Skies and Laserburn; Pat chose Ammo Store, Power Generator, Krak Attack, Las Maze, and Escape Hatch. With that, the invasion of Auros IX began!
Turn 1 by Kenton Kilgore
Planetstrike uses a sped-up Reserves rule that starts on the first turn. Needing a 3+ for each unit, almost all of my army arrived at the start of Turn 1 (the only stragglers were Maruti Squadron). While it was nice that the Reserve rolls were favorable, actually getting my guys down where they would do the most good was problematic.
Pat had bunched up his guys pretty well, forcing me to spread out a bit more than I would have liked. I also had two Deep Strike mishaps from my squads deviating onto Orks: Indra One was delayed, and Indra Four wound up (Pat’s choice) at the other end of the table, waaaaaaay out of the action: they would spend the rest of the game running for (and obtaining) an objective towards the middle of the table. In addition, I lost an Assault Terminator to Pat’s Krak Attack, and two Assault Marines from landing in difficult terrain.
With most of my Tigers deployed, it was time to start the shooty-shoot part of the show. I unleashed the Laserburn stratagem, targeting a nice line of Ork Warbikers. The ‘burn deviated, going through my Assault Terminators and killing one of them. Nice.
In happier news for Our Stripy Heroes, the two Assault Marine squads combined their fire (four flamer bursts!) on another mob of Bikers, killing all of them but the Nob, who lost his nerve and fell back off the board. The Flying Tiger Speeders wounded a Warbike Nob (curse that Feel No Pain nonsense!), and the Tiger Sharks killed one of the un-pinned Lootas (curse those 3+ cover saves for the fortress they were atop!). Shiva the Destroyer trundled out of his Drop Pod and his heavy flamer bathed the pinned Shoota Boyz, killing four.
Taking full advantage of the Planetstrike rules regarding Deep Striking and charging, Chaplain Anhurada and the Assault Terminators sliced their way through 10 of the un-pinned Shoota Boyz, losing none of their own. The Boyz then lost another 10 due to being Fearless because of mob size. Indra Three charged a mob of Killa Kans. The Kans went first, killing one Termie, but the Tigers hit hard, destroying two, shaking and immobilizing the third. An exploding Kan took out another Terminator, and it was Pat’s turn.
Most of the Orks who weren’t pinned moved up; the Lootas atop the fortress held their position. The Deff Dread R2Ork2 waddled into position to get a shot at Shiva with his rokkit launchas and scored a “Weapon Destroyed” result. Foolishly, I gambled on Shiva’s Venerable ability to re-roll damage, hoping to knock it down to “Shaken,” but the die instead came up with “Wrecked.” A colossally stupid and unnecessary blunder on my part.
The Nobz on Warbikes fired their dakkaguns on Kali Squad One, killing three Marines and forcing a Morale test, which I chose to voluntarily fail, thanks to the Space Marine rule Combat Tactics (easily my favorite thing about the current SM codex). The Assault Marines were now safely out of the Nobs’ charge range, and would regroup on my turn. The other Bike Mob shot at my other Assault Marines, killing two of them.
The Lootas fired uselessly on my other Dreadnought, Shrendi Vashtar, but his reprieve was short-lived. Planetstrike grants the Defender free heavy weapons, and Pat fired off his Interceptor gun (a lascannons-thingy) to fry Shrendi as he lurked by his Drop Pod. A mob of Grot Kans near the back of the table fired on the Tiger Shark Speeder Squadron, knocking the assault cannon off one and shaking another.
The bikers that had shot at Kali Squad Two charged them, and received some bolt pistol-and-chainsword loving, losing two of their own and killing no Marines. The greenies got skeered and fell back off the table--who said bikers were tough guys?
Chaplain Anhurada and the Assault Terminators finished off the Shoota Boyz and moved in on the pinned Lootas. The ‘Ard Boyz and another Deff Dread charged the Terminators already mamboing with the Killa Kans. The Dread whiffed with all five of its attacks, the ‘Ard Boyz killed one Termie, and my guys took out an ‘Ard Boy and exploded the last Kan (alas, killing no Orks). The ‘Ard Boyz and the Terminators formed up into each other to continue the scrap.
But wait! I had forgotten that both my Drop Pods had locators beacons, meaning that the sensible thing to do would be to have both units come in--with no chance of deviation--near the Drop Pods. In an act of supreme coolness, Pat let me re-do my botched Deep Striking, and both units touched down safely. Let me give Pat a very big, public “Thank you” for being such a good sport: certainly, it would have been in his best interests (and well within his rights) not to let me do that, but he doesn’t just talk the talk about friendly, casual gaming being better than hyper-competitiveness, he walks the walk too.
As mentioned, my rallying Assault Marines joined their sisters in advancing on the suddenly-vulnerable Nobz on Bikes, and the Flying Tiger II squadron swung their guns that way, too. All three units opened up with flame, heavy bolters, assault cannons, and bolt pistols, and two Nobz dropped, but held their nerve.
The first Flying Tiger squadron drifted forward 6" and let the Lootas atop the fortress have 9 heavy bolter rounds and 12 assault cannon shots, bagging three Lootas (damn those 3+ saves!). The newly-arrived Indra One Terminators shot 7 Gretchin, and the Maruti squadron waxed 3 Shoota Boyz. The Deathwind launcher on Shiva’s Drop Pod kakked four more from the same mob, and the boyz decided they had had enough, falling back 9".
Again using Planetstrike’s Shock Tactics rule that lets Deep Strikers charge when they arrive, I had Indra One hit the Gretchin like NFL linebackers smashing into Brownie Scouts, killing 12 wee ones. The remaining Gretchin wisely fell back 7", and the Termies lumbered after them. Not far away, Chaplain Anhurada and her Assault Terminators hack-and-slashed their way through the Lootas who were on the ground.
Both Assault Marine units charged the Nobz on bikes, losing three Marines but killing two Nobz and running down the lone survivor as he tried to flee. That whole “chase-down-the-fleeing-squad-and-wipe-them-out-with-a-single-die-roll” has to be the part of 40K that Pat hates most. In happier news for Pat, Sho-T, the ‘Ard Boyz, and the Dread easily overwhelmed Indra Three before the Terminators could cock back a power fist.
On Pat’s turn, Sho-T and his ‘Ard Boyz came Waaaughing! over a hill towards the Fighting Tigers. The Shoota Boyz and Gretchin continued to fall back, firing on Indra One and killing two Terminators. R2Ork2 shook one Speeder from the Maruti squadron, and the other Grot Kan unit fired on Kali Two, killing one Assault Marine.
Bikers looped around the fortress and the Lootas poked their guns over the side, both mobs letting Anhurada and the Assault Terminators have it, killing two and wounding the Chaplain. The bikers charged, losing one to a difficult terrain check, and the Terminators ripped them to pieces. Nearby, Sho-T and his lads assaulted the Maruti squadron, wrecking both Speeders.
Tiring of the Loota’s nonsense, I bounded one of my Assault Squads onto the roof of their fortress and flamed them, killing them. So much for them!
On Pat’s turn, the Shoota Boyz and Gretchin continued to fall back towards the edge of the board. The Killa Kans that had been skulking about behind the fortress used the Escape Hatch stratagem to move atop its roof, near my Assault Marines. R2Ork2, the other Deff Dread, and the falling-back Shoota Boyz fired on Indra One, killing a Terminator.
The Kans fired at the Assault Marines, to no effect, then charged, killing one. The Sergeant’s power fist wrecked one Kan, and my guys fell back 16" in a “Whoa-what-was-THAT?” moment. Sho-T came up short on a difficult terrain roll and failed to charge the Assault Terminators.
Pat moved R2Ork2 near an objective and planted his other Dread atop another one: combined with the Kans at the fortress, he was now holding three out of five (I had the other two thanks to the Sternguard--remember them?--and Indra Squad One). The Shoota Boyz and Gretchin finally fell back off the board, excusing themselves from the rest of the fight. R2Ork2 shot dead a Terminator from Indra One--man, I thought Ork shooting was supposed to suck! Yet so far, R2Ork2 was earning himself a marksman’s medal .
The Kali Kids shook one Kan, then took casualties, tried to fall back, and got caught by the Kans--and here I totally forgot the “And They Shall Know No Fear” rule and pulled them off the board. Another dumb error, this time brought by fatigue (we had been playing for about 7 hours by now, broken only by a half-hour dinner of 5 Guys burgers). Yes, I know that Space Marines are never caught and destroyed when they fall back: don’t e-mail me. I promise it’ll never happen again .
Pat had his Kans fire at the Assault Termies; they missed. The Kans charged and killed one, but the Termies were Fearless (thanks to the Chaplain) and stayed. R2Ork2 shot my Tiger Shark squadron, wrecking one (again with his damned accuracy!), then charged, wrecking another, though he needed “6’s” to hit. That is one awesome Ork Dread--the little bastard.
Pat rolled The Loyal Green Die ™ and the game, of course, continued.
I really, really needed the game to end now. Of course, because it belongs to Pat, The Loyal Green Die ™ denied me. And to think that I used to own that die, before it sided with Pat back in the original Auros IX campaign. Little traitor.
R2Ork2 missed my other Speeder, my Termies continued to evade the Killa Kans in close combat, and when the game mercifully ended, the Tigers had 4 objectives and the Orks had 1.
Post-Game Analysis by Kenton Kilgore
Technically, I could have made the argument that the Dreds and Kans shouldn’t have gotten cover saves for being atop the fortress or the hill, as none of the models were actually 50% covered.* However, Pat had been very gracious in letting me hit the “Undo” button on some stupid moves I had made in Turn 2, so why nitpick? When you regularly game with someone, you have to cut each other some slack.
*It turns out that I’m wrong about that, too. See Pat’s response, below.
Almost any game with Orks will involve your guys getting up-close-and-personal with them at some point, and I was pleased that the Tigers, for the most part, handled themselves well in close combat, especially against the Nobz on bikes. I stupidly muffed the “And They Shall Know No Fear” rule when my Assault Marines were trying to fall back against the Kans, but that was mitigated by the luck my Chaplain and Assault Termies had in dodging/making invulnerable saves against the same Kans.
Over to Pat.
by Patrick Eibel
The game went awry from the beginning, when Team Green was literally bombarded into submission by 13 templates. While Kenton was unhappy with the number of kills he got, the attack managed to splinter the Ork response to all of the units he was dropping into their deployment zone.
I also made one huge mistake over the course of the game by sending Sho-T. and the ‘Ard Boyz to the far right flank. They ended up too far out of position and fell to the superior firepower of the Marines.
As to Kenton’s suggestion that the Kans were getting an undo save, I learned at Counter Offensive that the Kans would merely have their cover save reduced by one to a 4+. Quibbling (and losing) aside, the game was very casual (now almost a dirty word on some sites) and lots of fun. I now have to get in the win column or the campaign will rapidly get out of reach.
Posted October 2010