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Spankings: Night of the Living Metal
This year, Pat and I are planning to attend Counter Offensive 2 in Rockville, Maryland (you can read more about our preparations for this here). CO2 is only a two-day affair, though, so we may not have time to run games with all our armies (Pat and I each have four, though he can configure his Daemonhunters in a dizzying number of ways). So Pat thought that for his annual birthday game, we each use an army we probably wouldn’t be bringing to CO2.
Pat also thought it would be a hoot
to run this battle with a theme similar to a horror movie. Appropriately,
he chose the “Meatgrinder” mission, with his Space Wolves as the Beleaguered
Defenders set to face the Endless Hordes of the Metallic Undead.
The planet Azkadar was once a thriving forge world with a small Imperial garrison, weapons manufacturing plants, and ore mines worked by the local dvergar population. The dvergar, more commonly referred to as Squats, were skilled technicians and miners and the planet was dotted with vast complexes devoted to manufacturing weapons and vehicles or forging the planet’s natural resources.
Now, everything stood silent and abandoned.
Hengist led his Grey Hunter pack through the abandoned corridors, deeper and deeper into the mining complex. All around, the physical structure showed signs of decay and neglect—metal walls rusted and corroded, stone bulkheads crumbling, wiring from a myriad of electrical devices protruding from gaping holes in the ceiling and walls. Of the mechanical devices themselves there was no sign.
Hengist could tell his men were uneasy. With his acute senses he could hear a rockroach skittering up a nearby wall, but nothing else. The air was still and stagnate and his sensors indicated that, while it was breathable, no filtration equipment had processed it in a very long time.
Finally, the corridor they were following ended in a large metal door labeled with a sign in Imperial Gothic that read “Warehouse.” Hengist activated his communicator and indicated his position to Keric and Lars, the other leaders of the expedition.
“We’ve reached an end to this complex. We have one more room to check out and then I will join you topside.”
“Copy that,” Keric, the Wolf Lord responded. “We have yet to uncover any useful clues as to what lead to eradication of the dvergar. A Tyranid invasion would have wiped out the local vegetation as well. Meet us back at the garrison and report.”
“Will do,” said Hengist, as he indicated for two of his men to pull apart the door; the sliding mechanism having apparently been disabled.
Hengist and his Grey Hunters stepped through the doorway and onto a metal catwalk. A series of ladders led down into a large cavernous room; looking down, they suddenly understood the situation.
Below them were rows of gleaming robotic bodies all standing and facing the far end of the room, where every machine, video monitor, and communication device had been fused into a huge wall. There was a soft, monotonous humming coming from the robots—not of gears turning, but as if they were murmuring some arcane chant. As if in response, the wall of machinery throbbed and every video screen, which were previously showing static, coalesced into the image of a face both beautiful and terrifying. The features, clearly made from a metallic substance, were sharp and aquiline, and the voice was alien and soothing.
“Yes, my children, I have heard you. You have done well, but your work is not yet over. For even now our enemies stand at our gates.”
Hengist felt as if the face looked directly at him as it spoke, even though the machine wall was thousands of feet away.
“Come, Centurion,” the beautiful voice continued, “let us greet our guests. I will take a form that they might find more appealing.” With that, the figure seemed to flow out of the machine wall, changing shape and mass as he moved until he was a large glowing yellow orb with a caricature of a smiling face on one side. He was joined by a robot with a large golden body, like a beetle’s, that allowed it to hover in place.
“Come, my minions!” the glowing yellow orb called. “I am here to lead you, and I tell you we will wipe this threat from out midst.”
Hengist looked at his
battle brothers and uttered one word: “Run.”
Marauders”: 2500 points of Necrons
“Battle Force Nifflheim”: 2500 points
of Space Wolves
We played at Pat’s house, on an 8' x 4' table with city-type scenery along a line in each deployment zone and little in between. I lined up my guys in cover and he lined up his. Pat put his Scouts on my right flank, so as to go after my Heavy Destroyers. In response, I used the Deceiver’s Grand Illusion power to pull the Heavy Destroyers out of there and re-deploy them at the other end of my line, alongside my Destroyers and Centurion Lucifer. I also adjusted one of my Warrior Squads. My plan was to advance the left side of my line (the Destroyers, Heavy Destroyers, Immortals, Lord, and Deceiver) while the center and right flank (Warriors and Tomb Spyders) sat tight and poured fire into the Wolves.
At the beginning of my turn, two Immortals stood back up and the left flank of my Toasters, led by the ever-smiling Deceiver, advanced, as did my Tomb Spyders, itching to intercept the Wolves. The Heavy Destroyers whiffed at Pat’s Predator, but one squadron of Destroyers shook it, which was good enough for a round, at least. Lucifer and the other Destroyers lit into the Long Fangs, killing three out of five before the Immortals polished them off. The Deceiver tried to pin a squad of oncoming Grey Hunters, but the Wolves passed their Leadership test. Warriors fired at the Hunters, killing four from two different squads.
In his Shooting Phase, Pat went after the softest part of my army: the Heavy Destroyers. His Speeders and his Dreadnought combined their fire to drop all three; because there were no more on the board, not even Lucifer’s Resurrection Orb or the Tomb Spyders would help them get back up. Speaking of Spyders, one of them fell to concentrated fire from Pat’s Terminators. Pat’s undamaged Predator dropped two Immortals.
One of those Immortals got back up at the start of my second turn, and the ‘Bot advance continued. One Destroyer squadron hunted down “Stalking Wolf,” disabling the turret of Pat’s previously-pasted Pred (say that five times fast) and shaking it so that it could not fire in Turn 3. The other Destroyer squadron took some revenge for the Heavy Destroyers, blowing the twin-linked lascannons off Angus the Dreadnought and shaking him as well.
The Deceiver again attempted to pin some approaching Grey Hunters, and once again they thumbed their furry noses at him. Evidently, they didn’t take a large, floating ball with a “smiley face” very seriously. No matter. Necron Warriors gunned down five Hunters from two nearby squads and three Blood Claws as well. The Immortals shot down “Sturm,” one of Pat’s Land Speeder Tornadoes.
In the Assault Phase, the Deceiver and the surviving Tomb Spyder wafted into the nearest Grey Hunter pack, with the C’tan killing two valiant Marines and the Spyder snipping another in half with its scissor-like limbs. The Grey Hunters, led by Wolf Guard Battle Leader Hengist Elves-bane, flailed uselessly at the Deceiver but managed to wound the Spyder once.
Back to the melee in the middle of the field: the Deceiver pasted two Grey Hunters. Hengist, unable to hurt the C’tan, turned to the Tomb Spyder and killed it. A Grey Hunter with a power fist tagged the Deceiver three times but could not wound. Was it possible for the Deceiver’s seemingly-innocent smile to get any larger? I did not think so.
The Immortal and two of the Warriors that had fallen to Pat’s shooting lurched to their feet after making their We’ll Be Back! rolls. One squadron of Destroyers continued their work on the Predator, blowing off a lascannon, shaking it again, and immobilizing it .The Immortals combined their fire to destroy the last weapon on the tank: “Stalking Wolf” would take no further part in the battle. The other Destroyer squadron finished what they started with Angus, destroying the Dreadnought, and Centurion Lucifer himself destroyed the last Land Speeder with energy bolts from his Staff of Light.
In the Assault Phase, the Deceiver killed two more Grey Hunters, but the survivors refused to run away. Yblis’ smile began to turn upside down…..
Reverting to form, Pat charged Wolf Lord Keric and his Grey Hunter squad at the Deceiver. Despite his impressive fighting abilities, the Deceiver failed to hurt so much as a hair on the Space Wolves and suffered a wound from Keric himself. OUCH! Godlike beings do not take kindly to unwanted physical contact with mortals….
On my turn, one of the Warriors Pat shot got back up and advanced, joining his fellows in firing on the Wolves. Two Blood Claws and three Terminators fell. The Immortals slew three of the Grey Hunters atop the bunker in Pat’s deployment zone. Seeing the Blood Claws threatening one squad of my Warriors, the Destroyers zipped across the field and opened fire, but despite inflicting 13 wounds, only one Blood Claw dropped. Surely, the gods of Fenris smiled on their followers.
In the Assault Phase, Centurion Lucifer broke away from the Destroyers and attempted to come to the aid of Yblis the Deceiver. Keric, however, spun on his heels and wounded the Necron Lord, intent on killing him and negating the power of his Resurrection Orb. Lucifer swung back with his Staff of Light, but the Wolf Lord was too fast for him. The Deceiver, obviously flummoxed by the Wolves’ refusal to submit to his godly power, was again ineffective in combat.
One Destroyer repaired itself and rose again into the sky: it joined its fellows in unleashing a torrent of fire on the Space Wolf Terminators, who made nine saves and lost not a member. The Immortals killed four more Grey Hunters atop the bunker, and Warriors combined their fire to gun down two Scouts and two Blood Claws and take a Wound from the retreating Hengist. In the Assault Phase, the Deceiver again failed to harm Keric; the Wolf Lord turned his back on the C’tan and smote down Centurion Lucifer.
Yblis’ smile grew even larger as Centurion Lucifer successfully called upon the Resurrection Orb to revive himself. The Immortals fired at the Grey Hunters in the bunker again, killing two and driving the lone survivor away. The remaining Destroyers unleashed their weapons on the Predator, obliterating it. Warriors combined their fire to kill two Terminators and five Blood Claws.
Yblis the Deceiver returned to his former, cheerful self as he charged the few Terminators left. He squashed one, then turned to Battle Leader Lars Ulrik and said, “I think it’s time for you to go.” Confronted with a levitating yellow sphere marked only by two dots for eyes and a curve for a mouth, Lars could only agree and retreat.
“Oops, I lied,” Yblis said, bouncing after Lars. The C’tan caught Lars and squashed him as he had Keric and the others.
“There, that was fun,” Yblis said, turning to Centurion Lucifer. “We’re done now.”
“Eleven Space Wolves remain,” Lucifer—with his buzzing voice—reminded his master.
“Two of them are running away,” Yblis said. “Let the others go with them. It’s been a long day, and our losses have been minimal. Return to base and wait there until another whim strikes me.”
“By your command,” Lucifer replied.
“We’re All Slaves to a Big Machine”:
by Kenton Kilgore
Instead, I set up a refused flank formation with Centurion Lucifer, the Destroyers, the Heavy Destroyers, and the Immortals unloading everything on Pat’s right side. The Wolves gratifyingly crumbled under all that gauss fire. With the Deceiver sallying forth to head off any advancing Wolves, I felt certain that victory would be swift and certain.
That was not to be the case. Pat started his own meatgrinder, feeding guys into the Deceiver and stalling him. It didn’t help that for two Assault Phases, Yblis did nada. His Grand Illusion power was fun to use, but I was not impressed by his ability—or in this game, inability—to pin opposing units in the Shooting Phase. I’m sure I’ll use the Deceiver again in the next big game, but I won’t expect too much from him.
So, my Necrons are still looking for their first victory, but I didn’t mind losing this game. I lost a squadron of Destroyers, all three Heavy Destroyers, both Tomb Spyders, and a handful of Warriors and Immortals. In return, I trashed Pat’s Wolves. All without exploiting the Sustained Attack rule for “Meatgrinder.” Booyah!
Happy birthday, Pat: here’s to many more years of gaming with you.
“I’m Still Standing”:
Post-game analysis by Patrick Eibel
I had originally constructed a Space Wolf army list that had two Grey Hunter packs in Rhinos, two Blood Claw packs in Rhinos, and the Terminator pack with Lars in a Land Raider. After coming up with the “Meatgrinder” idea, however, I decided to drop all of the vehicles and bring more troops.
This proved to have mixed results. On the one hand, I had more dudes on the board that Kenton would have to kill. On the other hand, I had absolutely no mobility and had to slog across the board in the face of all of that Necron shooting. In the end, I failed miserably in a shootout with the Necrons, as all of my troops and vehicles on my right side of the board were wiped out. The only reason I succeeded in winning was that I spread my troops out so far that Kenton ran out of time to kill them all.
Other than Keric and his Grey Hunter pack, the Space Wolves failed to initiate a charge the entire game. Since Necron stats are very similar to Space Marines, the only advantage I would have would be in close combat and Kenton very effectively negated that advantage by keeping his Warriors back. In retrospect, I would have done better bringing some version of the original list. An assault-oriented army without mobility is merely cannon fodder.
Well, I have five months until Kenton’s birthday to figure out how to let HIM win one for a change…..
© Copyright Kenton
Kilgore and Patrick Eibel, July 2005
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