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Saga of the Wolf King
Introduction <> Battle #1 <> Battle #2 <> Battle #3
Saga of the Wolf
King--Battle #1 batrep
by Kenton Kilgore with commentary by Patrick Eibel
How long HAS it been since the Space Wolves have seen action here at the Jungle? Much, much too long, we think. Time to rectify that appalling situation, and how better than by a guaranteed all-out brawl between two close-combat armies? The premise behind this battle is that each army is searching for the Ring of the Wolf King, a techno-magical device that grants its user nigh-invincibility in battle. Once upon a time, in the distant past, it was held by the noble Space Wolves, but was then stolen by the villainous Dvergar, and thereafter, apparently lost. In pursuit of the Ring, the Wolves and the Space Dwarves encounter each other on a snowy field dotted with pines and hills, home to great terror and even greater treasure….
Space Wolves (1999
(1999 points) by
Because Pat had set up, I chose the side I wanted, and we scattered 5 objective markers around the board. The object of the game remained to grab the most objectives, of course, but whoever held the Ring of the Wolf King (marked by one of the objectives) at the end of the game would be able to use it in the next battle. To make things even more interesting, we decided to wait until after the game to roll randomly and see which objective counted as the Ring.
I won the roll-off to see who would go first and elected to go second. Following the rules for “Dawn of War” deployment, Pat put Grey Hunter Pack Roskva (inside their Rhino) fairly far up the field, near an objective. I put my Cave Nomes (Gretchin) on one objective, on my left flank, and put down the 30-man Dvergar Regulars, Squad Black (Shoota Boyz) on another objective, behind a hill. With that, it was on!
Something whistled, keening, through the darkness, causing all of them—masters and slaves—to pause and look up: a meteor, sizzling red from the heat of entry through the planet’s atmosphere. In a heartbeat, it would strike nearby—the explosion would surely kill them all. The Nomes cowered, the Overseers shielded their eyes against the glare as, at the last moment, the meteor slowed, retro-rockets firing, revealing it to be not a rock from space, but a plasteel drop pod in the blue-grey color of their ancient foe.
The hatches swung open and the Old One Valnir, nicknamed “the Reaver,” by his comrades, lumbered out. To ground! To ground! the masters ordered, but where was there to hide against Valnir’s heavy flamer, whose burning fuel washed over the Nomes, incinerating 10 of them. Storm bolter fire from the pod killed another, and as the wretches rose and began to scamper away, the Overseers turned on them, their electro-wands cutting down the fastest one. No one runs! None retreat until we say the word! Order will prevail! There must be Order!
Whispering into their comm-runes, the Overseers reported their predicament to the approaching Warspars. Their leaders ordered them to fall back for now, to lure the Space Wolf Dreadnought away from the digging site. The Overseers complied, even as more Space Wolves—a squad of Grey Hunters not too far away—made their presence known, advancing in their Rhino.
Nearby, ensconced behind a rocky hill, a squad of Dvergar Regulars—skirmishers in light armor—redoubled their efforts. The divinations of the Living Ancestors had determined that the fabled Ring of the Wolf King was here, somewhere, and that the Space Wolves were on their way to claim it. Order—the same brutal Order than ruled every cruel facet of Dvergar life—compelled them to find it before the Space Marines did.
The Dvergar Overseers continued to obey, driving the Nomes further back, the Dreadnought Valnir trudging after them. As Squad Black continued their digging, another unit of Dvergar Regulars—Squad Gold—appeared from the encircling forests, their steel boots tramping through the snow. They fired their mine cannons at Roskva’s transport, but their bullets hit the intervening trees and boulders, sparing the Rhino any injury.
“Just make sure you swing down with your chainswords,” Wolf Guard Modi added, and the young Bloodclaws laughed and began making bets on how many of the enemy they would butcher. Under his skull mask, Horsa did not smile. He stepped forward and addressed the driver.
“You may fire at will,” he said, and the driver activated the Machine Spirit and set it to work. A rack of hurricane bolters erupted, despite the fact that the tank was moving at top speed, and two Nomes perished. Stamping along just ahead of the Crusader, his footsteps shaking the ground, Valnir the Reaver ignited his heavy flamer again, catching three more of the scampering vermin as they continued to retreat.
Unlimbering their heavy weapons, Long Fang Pack Venir spotted a few of the Regulars from Squad Black and opened fire, killing three Dvergar who were not fast enough to dive behind the solid cover offered by the rocky hillside. Roskva’s Rhino barreled forward, spraying snow before it, and the Grey Hunters dismounted and fired on the Gold Squad of Regulars, killing 16 of 25 with flame and boltgun rounds. Betraying no emotion, the survivors held their ground.
Wolf Priest Horsa tapped into the Land Raider’s communications net. “Roskva, you are too far out of position,” he said. “Re-mount and fall back,” he began, but it was already too late. Puffs of what looked like inky smoke but was actually warp ectoplasm escaping into the material universe marked where Dvergar Warp Miners, using their personal teleporters, appeared on the Wolves’ left flank. Two black, squat behemoths—eight-wheeled Crawlers—clanked forward, knocking over trees as black-armored Dvergar swarmed out of their transports.
A golden-masked Dvergar captain—a female, one side of her long hair grey, one side white—led the Flametongues—elite Warriors wielding their signature weapons—against Pack Roskva. As they came, the remnants of Regular Squad Gold opened fire, blasting down three Grey Hunters. And then the Flametongues and their Warspar was upon them, and the Wolves howled their defiance, hacking and shooting, killing three Dvergar before they could strike. It mattered little. Tuning their weapons to the close-combat setting, the Flametongues cut down six Grey Hunters. Pack Leader Roskva, the last of his unit, smashed another Space Dwarf with his power fist and then was forced to run, back towards his Rhino. But no safety was to be had there: the Steel Troopers were at work, their Troop Commander ramming the end of his power halberd through the tank’s storm bolter assembly, disarming it as his fellows pounded the Rhino with hammers and axes, swaying it violently.
Swearing under his breath, Roskva turned and ran, the Dvergar hooting as they stumped after him.
“Best to check it out,” Pack Leader Mimir replied. He signaled to Pack Venir, who began providing cover fire. He and his men trudged up the hill, bolters ready. Mimir eyed the woods suspiciously. “What’s the latest, Voinenkl?”
“Signal’s gone,” Voinenkl replied. “It’s as if—”
The snowdrift beside Voinenkl exploded as something huge and white and furry erupted from it. A massive paw smashed through Voinenkl’s helmet, brains and blood spattering the snow. The thing lunged forward, impossibly fast for something so large, crushing Brother Jhormyr’s chest in its jaws, plucking him out of the squad like one might take an egg from a clutch, or a piece of fruit from a bowl. Mimir and his men opened fire at point-blank range, but though all of their shots hit, the great beast—something like a bizarre fusion of bear, grox, and giant centipede—seemingly did not feel them, disappearing into the trees with its prize, the body of Brother Jhormyr, flopping in its jaws.
“What in Hel’s gates WAS that?” Pack Leader Mimir demanded. None of the surviving Grey Hunters had an answer.
Pack Leader Roskva kept running as the driver of his doomed squad’s Rhino backed away from the horde of Steeljacks that had them surrounded moments ago. Roskva spared a glance back and saw that the Dvergar Warp Miners—regular fighters who wore backpack-sized personal teleporters—were after him. Long Fang Pack Venir fired over his head, but their three frag missiles all failed to hit the elusive xenos. Nor did the Long Fangs’ lascannon—or its Razorback—fare much better against the alien Crawlers that were steadily advancing.
On the Wolves’ left flank, Old One Valnir the Reaver forewent shooting so that he could more quickly move against the Black Squad of Dvergar Regulars that hid behind the cover of their hillock. The Land Raider Crusader “Dire Wolf” turned their way, barreling forward, the Machine Spirit firing the assault cannons, killing two Steeljacks.
Ah, here they are, Wolf Priest Horsa Drachenbane told himself, as another Dvergar Crawler crashed through the trees, moving at full speed right for them. Horsa accessed the “Dire Wolf’s” comm.-net again. “Brother Valnir, have a care,” Horsa warned. “Enemy reinforcements on our right.”
“I’ll deal with them,” the Dreadnought growled, swiveling around. He paid no heed to the Nomes, who sprang forward at the command of their cruel Overseers. Nor did he care much that Regular Squad Black was retreating from him and the “Dire Wolf.” Gutless, he thought. Typical.
Elsewhere, the Steel Troopers—heavily armored Dvergar soldiers—clambered aboard their Crawler and the great black tank hurtled forward, colliding with Roskva’s Rhino, shattering its drive shaft as the Dvergar whooped and shook their weapons. The Flametongues also embarked and their Crawler rumbled forward, as the remnants of Regular Squad Gold began looting the corpses of Squad Roskva.
Valnir fired, but the tank swerved at the last moment—Od’s blood! Valnir swore—and the shot hit a mighty pine, crashing the flaming tree to the snowy ground. The “Dire Wolf’s” Machine Spirit fired the Crusader’s multi-melta at the tank, but again, the tank swerved and the shot missed. Tricky little bastards, Valnir admitted. Let’s see what else you have, then.
Farther away, Pack Leader Roskva climbed atop a small hillock to get a better sense of what was going on. Pack Angrboda dismounted nearby, readying themselves for the Dvergar advance. Their melta gunner fired at the Flametongues’ Crawler, but the tank was moving too fast, and he missed. The Long Fangs’ Razorback fired at the same Crawler, but the trees in the way blocked its shots. So, too, with the lascannon from Pack Venir. The missile launchers had more success, two of them exploding amidst the Warp Miners, killing eight of them and forcing the rest to retreat as quickly as they came. Fire from Rhinos shot dead two Regulars of Squad Black. Pack Mimir fired on them as well, but the rest cowered by the side of their hill and were unharmed.
“Time for a warm-up,” Horsa Drachenbane ordered, and he and the Bloodclaws charged the surging Nomes. The beady eyes of the spindly grey aliens widened in terror as the Bloodclaws howled and waded into them, hacking and shooting, smashing the Nomes as easily as they might crush children’s dolls. The Bloodclaws laughed and cheered, but Horsa felt no honor fighting wretches like these. “Quiet!” he bellowed, pointing at the Crawler barreling down on them. “Look sharp! Form up! What comes out of there won’t be nearly as easy.”
Roaring like the beast that had attacked Pack Mimir, the Crawler smashed into Old One Valnir, the impact crumpling his power claw, though the Dreadnought kept his feet. Steel-shod boots pounding, a squad of heavily armored Dvergar Marauders—elite warriors who gave even Space Wolves pause—leapt from the top of the Crawler. With them was a red-bearded Dvergar with a humming power axe and a crackling power shield: a Warspar, a captain and a match for any Space Marine save a Primarch.
Elsewhere, the other Dvergar tanks were shoving themselves into the Fenrisian line and the Dvergar spilled out like a black tide. The Steel Troopers swarmed over Pack Leader Roskva, pulling him down and stabbing him with cruel blades. The Flametongues and the golden-masked, woman Warspar swept into Pack Angrboda. The Wolves were faster, killing seven of their foes, but the power weapons of the Steeljacks hacked through them, killing seven in response.
An elderly Dvergar bearing a huge hammer—a Living Ancestor, Horsa recognized—shrieked an admonishment and the Marauders thundered forward, Bloodclaws racing to meet them in a smash of steel and swords. Horsa swung his sacred weapon again and again, shearing through armor like wet paper, but each Steeljack was as unyielding as his namesake’s metal, dying only after repeated blows. The Wolf Priest looked for the Warspar, but he was too far away. The Dvergar had cut down nine Bloodclaws and lost six of their own when the comm-piece in Horsa’s ear brought word from the driver of the “Dire Wolf,” who had dismounted to see what the Nomes had been digging for:
“I’ve found it! I’ve found the Ring of the Wolf King!”
Post-Game Analysis by Patrick Eibel
I have played with my Orks against Marines under the new edition rules, so I knew going into this battle I would have certain advantages. Orks need to gang up on Marines to win combat, and the Dawn of War deployment would surely hinder Kenton’s ability to bring his numbers to bear on my guys. Add to this that there were three objectives close by that I could easily control and victory for the Wolves seemed guaranteed. So, how then did I lose? I overextended my units, which allowed Kenton to gang up on the squads closer to his deployment zone and acted as a conduit for his forces to launch into the rest of my army.
While I did have some monumentally horrid dice rolls (three frag missiles getting 1’s, bricking two close range multi-melta shots), that really was not the deciding factor in the game. Vehicles really are much harder to kill under 5th Edition, especially ones with Armor Value 14 on the front. I knew that I would have to be able to go toe-to-toe with the Orks in order to win. I am happy to say that in the cases where I used my forces wisely, that the Space Wolves acquitted themselves well. However, in too many cases, I allowed my units to get separated and outmatched by superior numbers or superior weaponry (Burna Boyz are just nasty).
I am still feeling my way through the new SW codex, so I expect my comfort level to be higher next time out (it has been many years since I have used the Wolves.) I think the campaign is off to a great start, and I love the way the story is being written. It is all just very cool, and I get to claim the Ring for the next battle.
by Kenton Kilgore
And kick they mostly did, but only through gross mismatches (e.g., Warboss and 15 Burna Boyz vs. 10 Grey Hunters). My normally uber-crushing combo of Warboss + Nobz + Painboy slammed into a brick wall called Wolf Priest + Wolf Guard + Bloodclaws: for the first time that I can recall, my Marauders lost close combat, taking 12 Wounds and dishing out 9. It was a good thing for me that the game ended after that turn, because otherwise, the Dreadnought and the Claws would have polished off that Warboss and Nobz in the next turn.
As for the rest of the army, they mostly did their jobs. The Gretchin got in Pat’s way, slowing down his Dread and Bloodclaws. The Shoota Boyz held objectives, though the Black squad should have shot at the Bloodclaws: I didn’t have them fire because I was worried about Pat pulling casualties so that my Nobz would be out of assault range. I was happy with the Burna Boyz and the ‘Ard Boyz, but the Stormboyz were a total waste: all they did was hop on the board, get shot, and hop off. They’ll do better next time.
If you noticed how often my Battlewagons rammed Pat’s vehicles…well, Pat himself gave me the idea in this article. I knew Pat would bring a lot of tanks—he’s been playing mechanized Wolves for many years now—and my Dvergar have no big guns to stop them…but who needs guns when you can just jam several tons of steel full speed into the other guy’s ride? In addition, the Wagons got my guys well up the field and in position to grab the crucial third objective I needed to claim a win. When this army was starting out, it used to have problems with mobility, but not any more. The Battlewagons were my MVPs.
Let’s see what happens in Game 2….
Posted November 2009
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