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Events and Battle Reports

“Hulloooo, Zeeba Neighba…”
If you’ve read Stephen Pastis’ comic strip Pearls Before Swine, you’ve probably encountered the ravenous (but dim-witted) crocodiles that live next door to Zebra, one of the main characters. Every so often, the crocodiles try to trick Zebra into coming over to their house, hoping that once they have him trapped, they can greedily devour him. Zebra, of course, is far too intelligent to fall for their obvious ploys.

Pearls Before Swine

My friend Patrick Eibel, however, either does not read Pearls Before Swine or possesses the Fearless special ability. How else to explain his accepting my invitation to visit my house for a battle against heaps of carnivorous reptiles, my army of Lizardman that use Tyranid rules? Surely, this couldn’t end well….

The Kurindans: 2997 points
I’ve recently begun collecting this army and documenting my progress in this series. Pat was gracious enough to agree to a 3000-point battle, which allowed me to use everything I have. I organized it like so:

  • Hive Tyrant w/ adrenal glands (+1 WS), toxin sacs, scything talons, barbed strangler, Warp Field (154 pts) 
  • Broodlord w/ feeder tendrils, flesh hooks (77 points); retinue of 10 Genestealers w/ extended carapace (200 pts) 
  • One Lictor (80 pts) 
  • Four Warriors, each w/ enhanced senses, extended carapace, rending claws, and deathspitter (132 pts) 
  • Four Warriors, each w/ enhanced senses, extended carapace, rending claws, and deathspitter (132 pts) 
  • Brood of 24 Hormagaunts w/ toxin sacs (288 pts) 
  • Brood of 24 Hormagaunts w/ toxin sacs (288 pts) 
  • Brood of 12 Genestealers w/ extended carapace (240 pts) 
  • Brood of 12 Genestealers w/ extended carapace (240 pts) 
  • Brood of 12 Genestealers w/ extended carapace (240 pts) 
  • Brood of 12 Genestealers w/ extended carapace (240 pts) 
  • Five Raveners, each w/ scything talons, rending claws, and deathspitter (46 pts each) 
  • Two Zoanthropes, each w/ Warp Blast (55 pts each) 
  • Two Carnifexes, each w/ enhanced senses, extended carapace, venom cannon, and barbed strangler (173 pts each) 
My plan was to create a “Hammer and Anvil” formation, overloading one flank with the Broodlord, the Lictor, one brood of Hormagaunts, and all the Genestealers (the “hammer” part) while creating a slower-moving line (the “anvil”) of the other Hormagaunts, the Zoanthropes, and Carnifexes. Sprinkled throughout the formation would be the Hive Tyrant and the two broods of Warriors, who would serve as Synapse control. 

As you will see, that strategy went right out the window before the game began.

Imperial Guard/Daemonhunters: 3001 points
Pat brought along the Latest Love of His Life—no, not some bimbo: his Imperial Guardsmen, their Daemonhunter allies, and heaps of tanks, arranged as follows:

  • Command Platoon
    • Grand Moff Tarkin (Heroic Senior Officer) w/ Macharian Cross, power weapon, plasma pistol; squad w/ lascannon, company standard, medic, “Nork Deddog” Ogryn bodyguard (212 pts)
    • Heavy Support Squad w/ three lascannons (110 pts)
    • Two Sentinels w/ lascannons, extra armor, armored top (190 pts)
  • Grey Knight Hero w/ Scourging, nemesis weapon, storm bolter (81 pts)
  • Grey Knight Terminators w/ nemesis weapons and storm bolters; one w/ incinerator (245 pts)
  • Aurra Sing (Callidus Assassin; 120 pts)
  • Infantry Platoon w/ Junior Officer and Command Squad w/ autocannon, and two plasma guns (70 pts); two squads w/ heavy bolters and plasma guns (80 pts each); two squads w/ missile launchers and grenade launchers (83 pts each)
  • Infantry Platoon w/ Junior Officer and Command Squad w/ autocannon, and two plasma guns (70 pts); two squads w/ heavy bolters and plasma guns (80 pts each); one squad w/ missile launcher and grenade launcher (83 pts)
  • Inq. Stormtroopers w/ Veteran Sgt w/ power weapon; two w/ grenade launcher (145 pts); Chimera with multilaser, heavy bolter, extra armor, and smoke launchers (99 pts)
  • Two Sentinels w/ multilasers, extra armor, armored top (170 pts)
  • Imperial Royal Guard (Grey Knights) w/ Justicar, nine Knights (two w/ incinerators; 295 pts)
  • Hellhound w/ hull-mounted heavy bolter, extra armor and smoke launchers (120 pts)
  • Leman Russ w/ hull-mounted heavy bolter, heavy bolter sponsons, extra armor, and searchlight (175 pts)
  • Leman Russ w/ hull-mounted heavy bolter, heavy bolter sponsons, extra armor, and searchlight (175 pts)
  • Leman Russ Demolisher w/ hull-mounted lascannon, extra armor, and smoke launchers (185 pts)
Setting Up
We played on a 6' x 4' table with a several clumps of trees and vegetation, a high waterfall, and a river running through one board quarter. We randomly rolled up a mission and came up with an Omega-level “Seek and Destroy,” complete with the dreaded Escalation rule but without the Dusk and Dawn effect. Meaning that Pat’s tanks would start off the board, as would my Tyrant, my Carnies, my Raveners, and—worst of all—my Hormagaunts, which are considered “Beasts,” but are the lead element of my attack strategy. Rapture. Hardly a good way to start the very first game I played with my Lizardmen.

Deployment
Deployment. The IG cluster on Pat's right side, while the Lizardmen hug cover where they can. 
The Godzilla figure atop the waterfall is my army's "mascot" and was not actually used during play

I won the roll to pick table edge and took the side with the waterfall to deny Pat the fall’s line of sight to everything on the battlefield. Pat clustered his infantry forces into one corner of the board and I deployed my Genestealers, Warriors, and Zoanthropes into whatever cover I could find. I placed my infiltrating Broodlord and retinue in cover as well, close to Pat’s lines—he responded by pushing them back using the Callidus’ Word in Your Ear ability. Pat then won the roll to go first.

Deployment
Deployment. The "Broodlord" and his retinue (center) have taken some bad advice from the Callidus 
and been pushed back from the Guard lines (and out of protective cover)

Turn One
This may come as an incredible shock to you, but Pat’s forces hardly budged in the Movement Phase—instead, they stood still and opened fire in the Shooting Phase! Shocking for an Imperial Guard army to behave in that way. Shocking, I tell you. To no one’s great surprise, the looming Broodlord and retinue bore the brunt of Pat’s unfriendly attention, losing 8 Genestealers. Heavy weapon fire also tagged a wound from a Warrior in each squad.

Well, if Mr. Eibel wanted to play the shooty-shoot game, I could, too: my closest Warrior squad unloaded their deathspitters on the nearest IG squad and wiped it out to a man! Then one of my Zoanthropes unloaded a Warp Blast onto another squad and took out three Guardsmen. The squad held. Meanwhile, everything I had on the board advanced, hugging or going through cover if at all possible.

Turn Two
Pat hates the Reserves rule, but his rolls were (for once) good to him this time. At the start of his turn, he managed to bring on the following:

  • Callidus Assassin;
  • Grey Knights;
  • Two Sentinels;
  • Hellhound; and
  • Demolisher.
While the vehicles trundled on from his edge, Pat plopped down the Callidus and the Knights by Warrior Squad #2, on my right flank. Both opened fire, dropping three of my four Warriors in the brood—not good, not good at all. The Hellhound unloaded on the Broodlord and his pals, cooking the last two members of the retinue. The Demolisher opened fire on the Broodlord with its lascannon, but missed, fortunately for me. 

Callidus and Grey Knights attack Warriors
Callidus Assassin (center) and "Grey" Knights (those guys in red at right) appear out of nowhere 
to attack "Tyranid Warriors" (represented by Lizardmen on Cold Ones) 

Pat combined fire from his infantry squads and his Sentinels to wax six Genestealers from one brood (ouch!) and knock another Wound off Warrior Brood #1 on my left flank, thus removing a member. In the Assault Phase, Aurra Sing, the Callidus Assassin, charged the remaining Warrior from Brood #2 but received a busted lip (translation: loss of a Wound) for her troubles. They remained locked in combat.

Well, if Mr. Eibel wanted to play the choppy-chop game, I could, too. First, I brought on some of my reserves:

  • Lictor;
  • Raveners; and,
  • Both Carnifexes.
The Lictor botched its Deep Strike roll and wound up on the far side of a stand of trees, further from the IG lines than I would have liked. The Raveners came in on my right flank and made a beeline for the Grey Knights that had teleported in on Pat’s turn. I lumbered the two Carnifexes on atop the waterfall on my left flank. This would prove to be a monstrously stupid error (pun intended, thank you) when I found my Carnies waaaaaaaaaaay out of range of any targets. Worse, they would be out of Synapse range later on. Dumb, dumb, dumb.

The battle gets into high gear
Above: Some of the "Tyranid" (Lizardman) reserves arrive, with a lot of territory to cross

Be that as it may, the Lizardmen advanced, of course, with Warrior Squad #1 firing again, taking out seven members of a Guardsmen squad. One of my Zoanthropes fired off another Warp Blast that fragged four Guardsmen from the squad the Zoats had hit the turn before; the three guys left lost their nerve, fell back, and were considered destroyed. 

As mentioned, the Carnifexes had no range to any targets, so they plodded down the waterfall. My Lictor slunk through the foliage, hoping to pounce on a tank next turn. 

On to the choppy-chop part of the show. My Raveners barreled into the Grey Knights, pulling down five with their rending claws (“BABY!” I exclaimed, with joy) and only losing one. They tried to devour the Callidus, too, but she jumped out of combat before the swinging started. Suddenly, what had been looking like a serious problem for me on that flank was looking more and more like a serious problem for Pat….

Turn Three
…or maybe not. Rolling for Reserves, Pat brought on two more Sentinels, two Leman Russes, and the Grey Knight Terminators (including the Grey Knight Hero). The vehicles bolstered the center and right of Pat’s line while the Termies beamed down right behind the Grey Knights. In Pat’s Movement Phase, the Callidus moved to join the Grey Knights, as well. “Did someone call for backup?”

Though Pat is an unrepentant close-combat junkie, he is rapidly learning to love the Shooting Phase. His Hellhound barbequed seven Genestealers from one brood; the Demolisher’s cannon missed its target but—fortunately for Pat—plowed into the same brood the Hellhound had just hit, wiping out those Lizardmen. 

One Leman Russ missed, but the other pasted three Genestealers of Brood #1. Infantry fire dropped four from Stealer Brood #2 and two from Brood #3. The Sentinels and more infantry worked together to bag two members of Warrior Brood #1, leaving me with a total of two—count ‘em, TWO—Synapse critters on the board: one on the far right, the other on the far left. This was not looking good for the home team.

Things noticeably picked up in the Assault Phase. The Callidus charged the Raveners and wounded one—it turned around and snapped her in half. The other Raveners killed a Grey Knight, and the fight continued. 

Raveners attack Grey Knights
Above: "Raveners" (represented by Salamanders) rip into the Knights
Pat is painting the Lizardmen for me--gotta love those fins on the backs!

Anytime the damn Hormagaunts wanted to show up was fine with me. Only one of my two broods did, however, along with the Hive Tyrant. I moved them onto the board, then advanced my army—except the two Carnifexes, which I forgot about. I also forgot to have them fire in the Shooting Phase—not, mind you, that I think anything was in range. Dumb, dumb, dumb.

My Shooting Phase, which had been going well, unexpectedly went south: the Warrior on my left managed to kill only one infantry guy with his deathspitter, and my Zoanthropes whiffed against the Hellhound, which I needed to stop, like, NOW. 

My Assault Phase, which had been going well, had mixed results. On the plus side, my Raveners munched through the last of the Grey Knights and consolidated into the GK Terminators, and my Lictor assaulted the rear of a Leman Russ and destroyed the turret. Two battered units of Stealers got into hand-to-claw combat with one of Pat’s infantry squads and ripped them to shreds. On the minus side, those same Stealers rolled abysmally for their Massacre rolls (all of 2") and could not consolidate into any nearby Guardsmen. Another Genestealer unit attempted to assault the Hellhound, but could only claw uselessly at the front armor. Pat’s next Shooting Phase, I assured myself, will suck major ass for me.

Lizardmen fail to consolidate into Guardsmen
Above: What's the worst thing that can happen to you against Imperial Guard? 
That you end your turn thiiiiiiiis far out of base-to-base contact

Turn Four
Turns out, it was bad, but it could have been worse. Pat’s Storm Troopers and their Chimera came on from reserves, filling out his army. The Troopers immediately unloaded their guns on my Lictor, killing it dead, dead, DEAD. 

Storm Troopers come on
The Storm Troopers (in white armor) gun down the "Lictor" (behind the tank with no turret)

The Leman Russes and infantry combined to kill 13 Genestealers across three Broods and wound a Warrior—despite this, I still would be able to charge more Guardsmen on my turn. The Hellhound failed to wound my Broodlord. In the Assault Phase, my Raveners killed all of the Grey Knight Terminators except the Hero (he wasn’t in base-to-base contact).

Raveners have Terminators for dinner
Above: "Raveners" easily tear through some Terminators

My second Hormagaunt unit still refused to come in from reserves. A Carnifex blew the guns off and stunned both Sentinels in a squadron, but the rest of my firing sucked: the Hive Tyrant missed the other Sentinel unit and the Zoanthropes couldn’t so much as scratch the Hellhound despite firing Strength 10 bolts against its mediocre front armor of 12. Sigh.

Still plodding through difficult terrain (so as to escape enemy fire), the Broodlord found himself nowhere near the Storm Troopers—his intended target—so instead, he assaulted the back of the Hellhound and destroyed it. Finally! The Raveners devoured the GK Hero and swept forward. The handful of surviving Genestealers assaulted the Guardsmen line, though to little effect.

Turn Five
The Storm Troopers opened up on the Broodlord at point-blank range and killed him. Lascannons from the Anti-Tank Squad and a Leman Russ killed one of my Zoanthropes. Infantry, Chimera, and Sentinel fire brought down two of the Raveners, killed a Warrior, and wounded another, and the other Leman Russ wounded a Carnifex. The Assault Phase was, once again, nothing to write home about: though my Genestealers tagged a few Guardsmen, the grunts simply piled in and refused to run off.

Storm Troopers make a stand
Storm Troopers ignore the "Zoanthropes" (represented by green Mage Priest figures) 
and "Raveners" and go for the "Broodlord" (purple figure behind Hellhound)

Finally—finally!—my second brood of Hormagaunts came on. One Carnifex destroyed a Sentinel; the other shook a Leman Russ. Go, boys! The Raveners charged the Storm Troopers, killing three of them and knotting them up in close combat, while on my left flank, a Warrior and a few Genestealers duked it out with some Guardsmen and a Commissar.

Turn Six
Pat’s infantry fired on the approaching Hormagaunts (the first brood), killing five. Other infantry squads and a Leman Russ knocked a Wound off the sole Zoat. Carnifex #1, which had been wounded before, suffered another one from the Chimera. One of Pat’s Sentinels charged the Warrior, to no avail, and the Raveners ate another Storm Trooper.

On my turn, one of the Carnifexes fired on and immobilized the Chimera. My Warrior and a Genestealer slew the Commissar and broke/destroyed the squad he was with. The other Warrior and the Raveners killed some more Storm Troopers, who persisted in hanging around. 

Pat’s Loyal Green Die ™ rolled to end the game (Random Game Length), with massive losses on both sides. 

Outcome: Draw (Imperial Guard: 2701 Victory Points; Kurindans: 2580 Victory Points)

Post-Game Analysis by Kenton Kilgore
Kenton as the CrocodileA draw with a brand-new army right out of the chute? Not too bad, I think. The Escalation rule hampered me more than Pat, as it kept my Hormagaunts (supposedly the spearhead of my attack) off the board for most of the game, leaving my Genestealers with the unenviable task of leading the charge into Pat’s gunfire. True, Pat’s tanks started off the board, but once they came on, they were immediately effective, whereas my guys had to hoof it to get into the game.

I made some dumb mistakes. Having the Carnifexes so far away from the Synapse critters (and forgetting to move and fire them in one turn) marks me as the Tyranid newbie I am. I also underestimated  the speed of the Genestealers and sent most of them on a direct run over more-or-less open ground, when they could have followed a longer route that provided more cover. I’ll not make that blunder again. 

The biggest, happiest surprise was how well the Raveners performed: they were chewing through squads so quickly, I thought for sure that I was misreading their abilities. Nope—Ravs with scything talons and rending claws really do get five attacks on the charge (3 base, +1 for talons, +1 for charge) and wax dudes on 6’s “to hit.” Ferocious! They single-handedly kept me in the game by bagging the Callidus, all the Grey Knights (including the Hero) and most of the Storm Troopers. MVP awards for them! I had originally planned to have five with deathspitters, but seeing how well they did in close combat, I’ll drop the spitters and use the points towards getting another Ravener. 

Building on that last point, I also revised my list after the game. Why on Earth did I give the Tyrant a weedy barbed strangler instead of the muy macho venom cannon? Why bother giving the Broodlord feeder tendrils?—though the 3+ “to hit” was nice against Pat’s Hellhound, it really doesn’t do him or his retinue any good, seeing as how they hit on a 3+ vs. most infantry anyway. And so on.

While my "crocodiles" managed to get in a couple of good bites on "Zebra," they didn't make a meal of him….

Post-Game Analysis by Patrick Eibel
Pat as ZebraWhew! What a close and hard-fought game. The fact that it ended in a draw is a testament to the amount of carnage inflicted by both sides. In general, I think I played a pretty good game, but I made a couple of key tactical mistakes that nearly proved very costly.  First, having the Callidus and all the Grey Knights Deep Strike to target the Warriors seemed like a good idea at the time, but in retrospect, I was merely giving Kenton close targets to assault with his rending Raveners. I would have been better served keeping the forces closer to my lines to squeeze out a couple more rounds of shooting. Those troops were much too expensive to throw away like that.

My second error was not finishing off either of the Warrior broods. Not only would this have garnered me more Victory Points, but it would have meant the only Synapse creature on the board would have been the Hive Tyrant, who was strolling in from the back of the board. The one Warrior on the left flank basically made the Raveners Fearless, while the one on the right did the same for the Genestealers. Once they closed into hand-to-hand, there was no way I could win through attrition.

I like the Imperial Guard as a change of pace from my usual armies. While Kenton seems to think that I have converted from being a “close combat junkie,” the truth is I merely like to take a break every now and then. It is also very challenging to change your mindset from “move forward and assault” to “stand still and shoot until they don’t get up no more.” I believe that my assault-oriented tendencies were the reason I overextended the Grey Knights (that, and a complete underestimation of the rending ability of Raveners).

This game was also quite fun because it pitted two archetypal foes: the hideous alien assault force against the human force determined to shoot them down. In movies from Aliens to Starship Troopers to any number of zombie films, the scenario plays out the same. In the end, I can take some solace in that the “good guys” came out ahead in points, which, with $1.25, can buy me a cup of coffee before the next battle.

As I am also building a Tyranid army, I suggested to Kenton that we should try this scenario again, but with the roles reversed. I would play the advancing alien horde and he would play the desperate, shooty fighting force (Scout army maybe?). That, however, will have to be the subject of a future battle report.

© Copyright Kenton Kilgore and Patrick Eibel, October 2005
 

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Fighting Tigers:
Codex <> Tactics <> Gallery <> Allies and Enemies <> Tales of the Tigers

Other Pages:
Main <> What's New <> Site Index <> The Tiger Roars <> Themed Army Ideas
Events and Battle Reports <> Campaigns <> Terrain<> FAQ <> Beyond the Jungle