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“Hulloooo, Zeeba Neighba…”
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
As you will see, that strategy went right out the window before the game began.
Imperial Guard/Daemonhunters: 3001 points
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.
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.
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.
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:
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….
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.
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.
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).
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.
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.
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)
by Kenton Kilgore
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….
by Patrick Eibel
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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