Warheads

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Month: December 2011

Forge World and You: The Badab War-Part One

This is the first instalment in a series of articles which aim to make people familiar with Forge World’s more recent books and the rules therein.

With the release of Imperial Armour Apocalypse Second Edition (IAASE. Hum. Even the acronym is a bit of a mouthful) and the infamous ’40k approved’ stamp, more and more tournaments are considering permittinging a limited amount of Forge World rules.
This series is looking to inform and educate the majority without access to the books. It will not pass comment on whether the individual ruleset should be used in tournament play. Remember that this is the opinion of only one man.
Without further ado, we’ll begin with our first book: The Badab War Part One

The Story
The Badab War is the most recent wholesale revolt of multiple Space Marine Chapters, in the Imperium’s histroy. Four entire Chapters, though one was nearly the size of a Legion, rebelled against Imperial rule. Heading the rebellion was Lugft Huron, Chapter Master of the Astral Claws. Over many years, Huron had increased the size of his Chapter far in excess of the standard thousand marines laid down by the Codex Astartes. Through careful distribution of his forces and manipulation of those sent to audit him, this was kept secret for at least a century. It is also thought that he was able to merge his Chapter with the Tiger Claws, though this was never proven. When Huron destroyed an Inquisitorial task force sent to audit his Chapter, he drew the Astral Claws, The Lamenters, The Mantis Warriors and The Executioners into a bloody war of secession

Forge World delivers a great back story for the entire campaign, giving a few short extracts on individual battles as well as an overall picture of the first half of the war, lavishly detailed with star maps and artwork. It examines the reasons for Hurons initial ‘betrayal for the good of the Maelstrom’ to his fall from grace, at the beginning of the war. The background follows the Imperium’s initial response and failures to gain ground, up until the Angstorm Incident, which was the tipping point of the war.

Chapters

The book details the following chapters:
The Astral Claws
The Fire Hawks
The Marines Errant
Red Scorpions
The Fire Angles
The Raptors
The Lamenters
The Novamarines
The Howling Griffons

Accounts are given of their founding, some history, their disposition before the Badab war and selected battles they’ve taken part in. Accompanying the text are examples of marines and vehicles of the chapters, rendered in their colours through CAD. If you are a fan of any of these chapters, the Forge World writers really beef out their history and combat doctrine -developing them almost as much as the original 20- making this a must-read.

Characters

I’ll go through the characters by firstly giving you a little on background behind them and their disposition at the end of the Badab War. Following on from this I’ll go through:
  1. The points cost compared to a Company Captain.
  2. Their stat lines.
  3. Wargear.
  4. Special Rules.
  5. I’ll explain any non-standard Special Rules or Wargear and give my opinion.
  6. Finally I’ll comment on it’s relative effectiveness.
Any non-standard rules and wargear will be highlighted in bold.
Lugft Huron
One of the more badass models out of Forgeworld
The Master of the Astral Claws, this are the rules for the character as he was during the war. He would take a meltagun to the chest at the end of the Siege of Badab and go on to become Huron Blackheart in the Chaos Space Marine Codex.

HQ Choice
Points: 2.35 times the cost of a Company Captain
Profile: Exactly as a Chapter Master
Wargear: Terminator Armour, The Ghost Razors, Heavy Flamer and Iron Halo.
Special Rules: And They Shall Know No Fear (ATSKNF), Combat Tactics, Independent Character, Big Guns Never Tire, Living Legend, Shadowed Fate.

Big Guns Never Tire:
His Orbital Bombardment is Ordnance 2, otherwise it’s exactly the same as the Chapter Master’s Orbital Bombardment.
This is nice, note it’s not barrage so they scatter individually, doubling the chance that lovely Str 10 Ap1 blast will hit!

Living Legend:
Allied Space Marines may use his leadership while he is in play (Modifiers apply as normal).
Can re-roll the size the initiative dice.
Good to see the Rites of Battle back in some form, makes an army slightly more reliable. Re-roll the initiative is a common rule now for Characters, but it’s no Vect!

Shadowed Fate
The first time Huron would be removed form play as a casualty for any reason, leave him on his side, at the end of the turn this occurred in, roll a D6, on a 2+, he survives with one remaining wound. He is then placed as close as possible to where he fell. This only happens once.
Here’s half the money here! This is very sneaky, adds a lot of survivability to him as he’s not an Eternal Warrior. Lets him get to grips with larger monstrous creatures and if that Power Klaw lurking in that boyz squad snags him, he can survive it!

The Ghost Razors
Lightning Claws that force your opponent to re-roll successful invulnerable saves against wounds caused by them.
And here’s the other half of the money, With a decent WS, he’s hitting most things on a 3, re-olling 4’s to wound, forcing a re-roll on a successful Inv save.

Final Thoughts:
I’d add him to a TH/SS squad, it gives them quite a bit of anti-infantry with the Heavy Flamer and 4 attacks on the charge with the Ghost Razors aren’t to be sniffed at. I find the Big Guns Never Tire very situational as you’re staying still with what is effectively a combat character. I’d be tempted to keep him on an objective with a scoring unit providing superior LD to the army and one turn of fire support. He’d be a great deterrent against outflanking units, chewing through a squad of Wolf Scouts on his own but maybe needing help with Snickrot and his friends.


Chaplain Dreadnought Titus
Chaplain of the Howling Griffon’s Chapter, he was destroyed fighting a rearguard action against the Executioners Chapter, allowing his Battle Brothers to escape
HQ Unit
Points: 2.05 Times the cost of a Company Captain.
Profile: Same as a Venerable Dreadnaught, +1 Attack.
Wargear: Dreadnaught Close Combat Weapon (With either Storm Bolter or Heavy Flamer), Lascannon or Assault Cannon, Extra Armour, Smoke Launcher, Searchlight.
Special Rules: Living Icon of the Chapter, Venerable, Litany of Hate

Living Icon of the Chapter
Every squad within 12” of him is Fearless.
While it can be a disadvantage, fearless can anchor a flank rather well, combine this with venerable, he’s be able to hold his own, with some support.

Litany of Hate
He can re-roll failed ‘to-hit’ rolls when he charges.
This makes him particularly handy for attacking vehicles and mitigates a weakness dreadnaughts have while in combat.

Final Thoughts

As I stated previously, he could certainly anchor a flank with the fearless and makes a great counter assault unit. While the re-roll to hit diminishes one of the Dreadnaught’s greater weakness in combat, he is still slow and vulnerable to dedicated anti tank fire.


Captain Corien Sumatris
The Tyrant’s Champion, Captain of the Astral Claw’s Second Company. He was rumoured to be a member of the Tiger Claws chapter, which supposedly merged with the Astral Claws long before the start of the Badab War. He slew the previous Champion in a particularly bloody duel, a soldier who was the right hand of Huron himself. Thought dead at the end of the war, his body was never found, raising fears he is still fighting with his master.

Points: 1.65 Company Captains
Profile: +1 WS over a Company Captain
Wargear: Power Armour, Storm Shield, Spectre Pattern Bolter, Goldenfang, Digital Weapons, Frag and Krak grenades.
Special Rules: ATSKNF, Combat Tactics, Independent Character, The Tyrant’s Champion
Spectre Pattern Bolter:
An Assault 2 Bolt Pistol.
A nice addition for an assault character.
Goldenfang
Master Crafted Power Weapon that confers two extra attacks when charging.
Again, nice, not a cookie cutter relic blade which everyone and their mother had these days, but not that powerful until you take into account the next rule

The Tyrant’s Champion
Furious Charge is conferred to both him and the squad he’s with. In addition all Codex Space Marine units (Not independent Characters) within 12″ of him have +1 WS.
Well then, here’s the meat of Sumatris. Hell, I’d pay 65 points to give this rule to a bog standard company champion. Aim at the densest part of the enemy with a few squads and pull the trigger!

Final thoughts:
This guy is well worth his points, I can see him easily rocking out of a Land Raider with some TH/SS Terminators. He is an excellent force multiplier for any squad, build a battle line around this guy or the counterattack element of your force and you won’t go wrong.

Armenneus Valthex
In the Grim Dark Future there is only….Mechadendrites?

‘The Alchemancer’ and Patriarch of the Forges of the Astral Claws. As Huron’s Chief Techmarine, Armenneus oversaw the logistics of supplying an ever increasing army of space marines and millitia. While his forges could not produce many of the more advanced weapons used, they were more than capable of meeting the demands of simpler items from the humble bolter to Rhinos and Leman Russ Battle Tanks. He carried his Lord’s body into the Maelstrom after the Siege of Badab.

Cost: 1.45 Company Captains 
Profile: Master of the Forge, +1 Attack 
Wargear: Artificer Armour, Bolt Pistol, Conversion Beamer, Indynabula Array, Frag and Krak GrenadesSpecial Rules: ATSKNF, Combat Tactics, IC, Battle Alchemistry, Blessings of the Omnissiah, Bolster Defenses, Lord of the Armoury.


Indynabula Array
Counts as being armed with two power weapons (Additional attacks added to profile), he has the counter attack USR, a 5+ Inv. save and a re-roll on the blessings of the Omnissiah.
This gives him a degree of survivability over normal Master of the Forges but not much. The Blessing of the Omnissiah is still on a 5+.

Battle Alchemistry
Gives one squad the ability to upgrade their Bolt Pistols, Boltguns or Storm Bolters to have the Poisoned (2+) ability.
This makes shooty terminators almost useable or just give it to a Tactical Squad to make them mini Sternguard. Note it’s one -not all- of the list.

Final Thoughts:
I’d really like to have him sitting in a 10 man terminator squad with two assault cannons (Or Cyclones because they look cooler!) in base contact with a Rifleman dread in a fortified (3+ cover save) ruin. Shifting that core is no mean feat. He’s definitely a support character, sitting back and blasting away with his beamer but realistically he’ll be in a dev squad as addition fire support while he gives is poison to a tactical squad.


Lieutenant Commander Anton NearvaezThought I’d drop in some old-school right about now.

The Master Locum of the Marines Errant. The Marines Errant seem the be GW’s whipping boy chapter, they never seem to be winning, at all, ever. The only reason this guy is still alive at the end of the Badab War was because his ship, the Star Jackal, took a hiding from some Astral Claws. It was too slow to keep up with the rest of the High Command, who in turn were ambushed by some Mantis Warriors and slain to a man. Being the only Captain left, he was made de-facto Chapter Master. Everyone else was either dead or in stasis.

HQ Unit.
Points: 1.35 Company Captains
Profile: -1 Wound, -1 WS, From a Company Captain.
Wargear: Power Weapon, Bolt Pistol, Thundershock, Actinic Halo, Frag and Krak Grenades
Special Rules: ATSKNF, Combat Tactics, Independent Character, Dark Void Elite.

Thundershock
A master Crafted Plasma-Gun.
A BS 5 Plasma gun is handy to have.

Actinic Halo
Confers a 3+ Inv. Save, but if it’s failed, roll a D6, on a 4+ it continues to work, roll a 1-3 and it cannot be used for the rest of the battle.
A toned down shadow field for the man with only two wounds. I like change up in the concept and the rules are different but it’s just not that great. 
Dark Void Elite
Anton and his squad get Scout and Move Through Cover and Void Hardened Armour (Only usable in games of Boarding Assault, more on that later)
This opens up the game for some fairly funny things such as Scouting terminators in Land Raiders and Scouting Vanguard Veterans in Rhinos. This really shines in games of Boarding Assault.

Final thoughts:
I really can’t shake the feeling that this guy is just an upgraded sergeant, which in all fairness is fairly loyal to his background. I would only take him if I was doing a Marines Errant themed army and even at that he’s not got a lot of use. I’d end up sticking him in a tactical squad in the back field, use him as a wound soak and a reliable Plasma carrier. He really shines in games of Boarding Assault where Void Hardened armour is a great bonus and Scout and Move Through Cover are extremely valuable.

Magister Sevrin Loth
I’m sorry, I can’t hear you over the sound of how awesome this armour is.
This. This is the marine Tigerius wishes he could be. The Chief Librarian of the Red Scorpions, also called the Witch-Bane. Unusually for librarians, he would rather be in the crucible of battle than meditating on aspects of the Warp. He is often accompanied by a group of Honour Guard, normally reserved for Chapter Masters. They keep him from being overwhelmed, but he doesn’t notice, he’s too busy purging xenos and murdering heretics. He is one word: Badass. He could be found wherever Commander Culln was, offering his sage advice to the new Lord Commander and fighting in the thickest battles. He survives the Badab War.

HQ Unit.
Points: 2.05 Company Captains
Profile: Same as a Librarian’s, +1 WS.
Wargear: The Armour of Selket, Force Weapon, Bolt Pistol, Frag and Krak Grenades
Special Rules: Fearless, Combat Tactics, Independent Character, Master Psyker

Master Psyker:
Can use three Psychic powers a turn, but not the same once more than once. He can choose out of the following: Smite, Machine Curse, The Avenger, Quickening, Null Zone and Vortex of Doom

The Armor Of Selket
Confers an armour save of 2+, but he may use a psychic power to make this a 2+ invulnerable save, which canont be stopped by a Psychic Hood. This lasts until the controlling player’s next turn.
Bam. Dark Eldar, you can take your shadowfield back from whence you came, we have the best bit of protective wargear right here.

Final Thoughts:
This guy is pretty dam good. The 2+ inv save, the psychic hood, (Everyone has psychic powers these days!) access to all the good powers, fearless, decent combat stats and did I mention the 2+ inv save? His one real weakness is lack of eternal warrior but most things will probably be dead once he’s done with them.

This concludes the first part on the Badab War series. Part two will come shortly with notes on the Campaign, ‘The Tyrant’s Legion’ army list and the remaining characters.

Please comment below with any comments and constructive criticism.
Thanks for reading!

Product review: PaperTerrain.com

Travel east in southern Russia across the heat saturated steppes and you will eventually reach the cool waters of the Laba and Kuban.  In between these two rivers lies the somniferous village of Bristolscalia.
The product under review here is the South Russian Village pack (http://paperterrain.mybisi.com/product/south-russian-village-pack) in 15mm.  It costs $40.00 (roughly 31 euro) with an additional $11.00 for shipping from the U.S.  We ordered the village online and received it seven days later.  In addition to the village we received a signed letter from PaperTerrain.com’s CEO/CFO.  That’s a nice touch.
The village consists of seventeen buildings–barns, workhouses, houses, and a church.  The buildings are printed on cardstock with each building clearly labeled.  We unpacked the buildings and sorted out the inventory.

.    A key feature of paperterrain.com buildings is the double-construction.  Each of the main buildings comes as a ruined “core” and an outer healthy shell that slides over the core.  This was a compelling reason for our decision to give this product a trial.  This also effectively doubles the assembly time so plan accordingly. Our xacto knives were sharp and we got straight to work cutting out two houses, sheds, and some fences 

The assembly of the house was straightforward.  A ruler with a sharp edge is helpful with the folds, particularly the small tabs that are used to glue the components together.  We used Scotch’s “scapbook glue” and it worked nicely.  
The detail is impressive, as we expected from a printed product.  The chimney is a nice touch and you can imagine a family sitting around a poorly fueled fire waiting to be crushed under the treads of an IS-2. Having assembled two houses we decided to make a compound.  The base is the cork underside of a place mat that has been painted brown.  Our compound consists of two sheds (one wood shed is just visible to the right of a house), a pig pen, and some fences.  
Next we simply applied some flock.
And as soon as we had we finished assembling our compound a ZIS-76 crew occupied it.  

Let’s conclude this brief review.
Price: Inexpensive.  Flames of War requires a serious commitment to terrain and this product gets you most of the way there.
Gaming: Perfect.  The footprint of each building is ideally suited to FoW sized bases.  The ability to remove the outer shell of each building is a great feature.  
Assembly:  The editorial team struggled to reach a consensus on this.  The general feeling of our team is: do not purchase paper terrain unless you are prepared for the assembly. Papercraft is not for everyone.  It requires a certain temperament and hands that aren’t riddled with caffeine.  It will take you hours–DAYS EVEN–to assemble your village.  We suggest that the lack of painting required makes the build time average out with other types of terrain.  This review covers only a small sampling of houses because one of the editors had an “accident” with his knife while assembling the church.   

Bristolscalia will be the site of several bloody conflicts in the upcoming months. We’ll be sure to post some AARs here and at On The Step.

  

Dominicon: Return of the Guard

Once again, the War Altar decides to brighten up your day with colour. Let’s see what Dominicon tells us about the state of Irish 40K. For the sake of context, Dominicon was a 1750, ETC 2011 tournament. The attendees were largely Dublin-area gamers with a large Northern contingent. The list submission and painting scores have been stripped from the equation and we are dealing only with pure battle points.

Firstly, we have the percentage of players using each codex. The major change from Gaelcon is the re-emergence of the Imperial Guard. From nowhere, they return to claim a strong fifth of the field. We see further consolidation towards the better books as the top four codexes were used by 68% of the players. The Tyranids, Tau and former Necron codexes remain dead, dead, dead. Strangely, Black Templars appear to have vanished once more.
Now, we look at proportionate shares of the total battle points. Grey Knights, Dark Angels and Dark Eldar all perform well above par, roughly in line with the previous tournament. Eldar and Blood Angels continue to march firmly down the middle of the road. There are some surprising misfires and one that… isn’t. The poor performance of the Space Marines is unsurprising and consistent with previous results. Not so elsewhere, we would expect Space Wolves and Imperial Guard to do better.

Based on average score, Dark Angels are the best codex ever. But only when played by Alec, the 40k Irish Master. Let’s try to disregard that anomaly. The Dark Eldar narrowly pip Grey Knights as both armies perform very strongly. As previously stated, Space Wolves and Guard perform poorly. Anecdotally, there was a large proportion of less optimised lists from both armies, which may have skewed the figures. It should be noted that despite a poor showing, they remain well clear of the godforsaken Space Marines.

So, another tournament and the stats continue to support what we all really suspect. Oh, well.

From the current information, Assault on Arkham was largely Northern players and Moocon was largely Southern players. This is… interesting as the next set of charts might show some regional variations. More importantly, we should start seeing the impact of the new Necrons and identify the impact of the move from 1750 to 1000 points.

Steamroller: December 2011

The final event of the 2011 Warmahordes series was a quiet tournament as many players chose to stand, sobbing, in toy-shop queues throughout Dublin. Its small size is reflected by the length of the tournament report. For those lucky souls who did attend, they had the opportunity to beta test the Steamroller 2012 rules. But first, the violence. I deployed my Menoth, bringing a pKroess Pop’n’Drop list and the Harbinger.

Game 1: vs Anto’s Cryx, eSkarre

Going into the game, I reflected on Anto’s limited intelligence and silly hair. I spent a good five minutes debating the relative merits of incessantly mocking his defeat for the rest of the day or simply sporting an insufferably smug look everytime he wandered nearby. That concluded, we diced off.

*draws breath* Hate, hate, hate. Die in a fire, eSkarre. *draws breath*

I regret to report I was rather nicely outplayed in a short, sharp shock. Having played this exact match-up recently, complacency had nested. My opponent reinforced this by going with what appeared to be his standard opening. Deathjack and Nightmare both postured for the assassination run and I decided to play defensively and lure him in for a failed attempt.

This caution left me unable to react when he completely reversed his normal game plan and made a bid for a scenario win. By turn 3, he was poised for victory. One futile attempt to gun down his caster and the Menites had crashed to a defeat.

Game 2: vs Steve’s Circle, Morvahna

This seemed somewhat familiar. Steve. Circle Orboros, that nameless mission. Looking at the large swarm of infantry, the Harbinger was the only choice. The mission suited me, the list composition suits me and the caster match-up suited me. Despite this, I still managed to make it far too close a match.

His army was a sight to behold, massive amounts of Tharn infantry filling the deployment zone. My slightly anemic force, hiding in a forest, may have wanted to run at that point. But a series of lucky scatters saw his caster, beasts and some druids lit on fire. With the tricksy assets being removed, I felt a little safer about the course of the game.

His caster was heavily dependent on upkeeps, my caster could cheaply and easily remove all upkeeps in a large zone. This rather simple course of action never occurred to me. But the Harbinger’s feat disrupted the tempo of his advance and the troops never really managed to hit home. By the time his flankers were in place, my warjacks were firing on Morvahna.

Game 3: vs Peter’s Cryx, pDeneghra

Well, it was something of a wash. There was a brutal bloodbath in the centre into which both sides fed most of their armies. We both felt rather pleased with ourselves by the end of the first hour. Peter felt he had the advantage in the endgame and I felt likewise. After several turns of slaughter, a trio of Bane Thralls and Nightmare faced off against a Reckoner and Vanquisher. We’ll never know what would have transpired as the game ended very early.

Peter took the win on tertiary tie-breaker with a Deathripper partially in the primary flag zone. Bad beta rules, bad. No reducing the time limit to an unfeasibly short amount of time. Admittedly, my dislike may be based on losing by time and the fact that we played ten minute rather than seven minute turns would skew the system but I really dislike the idea.

The games were fun, my final standing was disappointing.

But the beta test certainly reveals that next year’s tournaments will see some major changes. The shortened turns and potential for reduced match lengths make units with multiple AoEs unpalatable. In fact, even large infantry units threaten to use too much of your precious time limit. Warbeasts and warjacks will be tempting and those casters/locks which support them will see more play.

The character restrictions, however, will certainly shake up list design. The stronger builds will still see play but expect the alternate lists to be more focused, optimising a specific caster rather than being similar to the primary list, with a second choice caster. I’ll miss you, Covenant of Menoth.

Play Necromunda


Ah, Necromunda. Another unsung classic in the GW back catalogue. The rules, as with most Specialist Games can be found online, http://www.games-workshop.com/gws/content/article.jsp?categoryId=1100011&aId=5300010.

Not without its flaws, the rules set can be a little unclear at times. Some argue that the skill system favours certain gangs but this can be a function of inadequate terrain. An overly open battlefield is biased against close combat-oriented gangs. You need a lot of terrain, think city fight and then double it. No street grid, no long lines of sight, you want a tangled mess and little bits of cover in every open space.

Some can balk at the paperwork involved in keeping your roster updated. This is something of a problem with those players who have played only short and/or aborted campaigns. Gang development is very fast in the first two to three games and slows thereafter. Many players have only experienced those first few games and never get to break out into the less frantic and happy waters of a developed gang.

But I bring good news on this front. You can use http://yakromunda.com to bypass all that sort of thing. Online, updating, printable gang rosters for all. Any diehard Necromunda fans, caught without opponents, should sign up just to access the library. I won’t go into detail, you’ll just have to trust me.

That’s the negative, now for the positive. For sheer character and development, it is unsurpassed, the upgrades automatically shape your gang’s character. You don’t need to write fluff, it is created naturally over the course of the game. Allow me to demonstrate.

My favourite gang are a bunch of Van Saars by the name of the Chemdock Saints. Those readers with excellent taste in cult films will recognise my heavy-handed homage to the Boondock Saints. The leader is named after the family patriarch and the heavies were named after his sons, the main characters. Tragically one was killed in action and replaced by a thematically fitting name. The gangers and juves are all named after various supporting characters.
The leader, Noah MacManus, is a well-equipped and hardened veteran of the underhive. He boasts the hip shooting, dodge and rapid fire skills. All this means that with his trusty plasma pistol, he can sprint and shoot. If he pauses for breath, he can blaze away twice. Imagine the Duracell Bunny crossed with Max Payne.
The veteran heavy, Connor MacManus, is a medic with an old battle wound. He doesn’t make every fight due to his chronic and blinding headaches but always lends a hand afterwards when people need to be patched up.
The other heavy, Fergal MacManus, is new to the post, replacing Murphy MacManus. His vaunted predecessor died when his heavy stubber exploded in his hands, the poor git survived the shrapnel but the force of the blast threw him off a walkway. He did not survive his encounter with the ground. Fergal is something of an inventor, after each game, there’s a chance that he’ll cobble together a useful piece of kit.
The first ganger, Smecker has received no skills only stat upgrades. He is currently a middle of the road fighter. He’s a good shot, tougher than average but nothing special. This means that in the absence of juves, he gets all the crappy jobs. Death will claim him soon.
Rocco is a little more focused. The gunfighter skill lets him handle two pistols, he’s working towards becoming a short-ranged assassin. The armourer skill lets him maintain Noah’s plasma pistol, making it more reliable.
Greenly, the third ganger, is probably my favourite. With specialist and step aside, he carries a deadly plasma gun (the handle is visible on his back in the picture). The weapon maketh the man in this case and he is deadly at mid range. A Delaque club has left him with horrible scars and he now causes fear.
The fourth ganger, Dolly, is an eclectic character, with dive and disarm. This allows him to sprint across the battlefield from scrap of cover to scrap of cover. When he closes in, he snatches your weapon from you and tosses it in the nearest sump pit. As you would suspect, he tends to attract a lot of fire.
Duffy is a former juve, now full-blooded ganger. From his former role as bullet bait, he’s become a mini-Terminator. He’s an excellent shot but more importantly has maxed out his toughness and wounds characteristics. A lucky quirk of the random upgrade system. The vaguely Arnie-like haircut is entirely coincidental.
Doc, another juve turned ganger, has developed in a near-mirror of Rocco. He shares the gunfighter and armourer skills. Again he is close range combatant but in his case, its to compensate for the fact that he’s a terrible shot. He’s generally found maintaining one of the heavy stubbers.

None of the above is literary indulgence, all of it is based on in-game stats, skills and events. The advances system, although fickle and cruel, does make for a gang of individuals with a wide variety of skills. They start as merely carriers for their weapons and stats but quickly form distinct personality. Ganger #6 (autogun) soon becomes Greenly, the scarred and quick-footed ganger with a fondness for high tech weapons and certain calmness under fire. This RPGesque twist really puts it ahead of the crowd of skirmish games out there. If you’re a hardened tournament gamer craving a little bit of narrative heavy wargaming, this is your outlet.

Warmahordes Battle Report: Ossyan vs Madrak

So we have another battle report, this time it’s Trolls vs Elves, as Madrak Ironhide leads his scruffy troops against the Retribution of Scyrah. Following some trash talking and a frankly awful dance-off, both players are hustled to the table and forced to deploy their armies.


Deployment

Say hello to Anto’s Trollbloods, a nicely painted, standard Troll Brick list. For new players, his support units layer protective and aggressive auras onto his troops, letting them grind the opposition down. The Pyg Burrowers, in particular, have a strong record of killing far more than their points. They even threaten the most heavily armoured troops. Trolls as a faction have the Tough rule, on death, they roll a d6. A roll of 5+ leaves them knocked down rather than killed.
Mark’s Retribution force, or at least, the central section. Retribution are noted for their excellent infantry and thus tend to run a lot of troops and few myrmidons (warjack equivalents). This commander is no exception, with units of Sentinels and Invictors in the field. The latter are ranged troops while the former are melee fighters.

The remainder of Mark’s force consists of two solos, Narn on his left, eEiryss on his right. Narn is a close combat-oriented character and eEiryss is a ranged combatant. Both are advance deployed and represent a minimal flanking force.
The battlefield in all its glory. The scenario requires you to hold uncontested flags to earn points, each flag held at the end of either player’s turn is worth one point. The first person to score three or more points and have more points than their opponent will win. Of course, an assassination victory is also possible.

Turn 1

The Pyg Burrowers trigger their special ability, unsurprisingly, this involves them burrowing underground to pop up on their next turn. If you have any surplus malice in your heart, I strongly encourage you to direct it their way.
The remainder of the troll army advances, attempting to keep assets within range of all three flags. The abundance of medium based troops does make redeployment difficult and the Troll player must carefully position troops to cover all three axis of advance.
The Retribution mirror the tactic but go about it very differently. Narn moves up to stand off his left hand flag. Although well outside contesting range, the flag will not activate until the end of the second player’s second turn.
eEiryss does likewise on the opposite side. In both cases, the Retribution stands well off the flag to protect his flankers from unexpected charges.
Having been utterly butchered in earlier games by Burrower charges, the Sentinels are ordered to form a line to hold the menace off. Their weapons have a very long reach and careful positioning should expose only the front rank to imminent death and dismemberment. The Burrowers will not be able to charge through to more valuable targets.

Turn 2

As expected, the Pygs pop up and take the bait. A forgiveable decision as there is no better option. Burrowers must reappear the turn after they descend. They have to charge now or die next turn. Their trollish nature cannot compensate for their general squishiness.
As the left hand flag has vanished, the trolls move on the right hand flag. This is a lucky break for the Trollbloods as they are far better positioned to seize this flag than its vanished companion. The Bomber and Pyre Troll represent a sizable force by themselves and there are additional solos moving in place behind them.
The Pyg charge wipes out the first line of Sentinels as a mix of ranged and melee attacks kill all within reach. Those poor sods are deemed acceptable losses and their friends start plotting a terrible revenge.
The brick sweeps onto the central flag in all its glory. This mass of tough infantry will be very difficult to shift and could easily achieve a scenario victory if not countered in some way. The defensive buffs are in place and the caster stands nearby. The Trollbloods are clearly intending to claim a scenario win or failing that, draw the Retribution into close range and pummel them.
The Sentinals take their Vengeance actions, chopping down some Pygs. Some are killed outright, others make their tough rolls and are merely knocked down. But this is only the first step and their death is imminent.
An overhead shot of the line shows that the Burrowers have taken some hits but, as you can see, the majority remain intact. For now.
In the first action of the normal turn, Narn runs in to contest the flag and tie down the bomber. This is most certainly a suicide mission as the pointy eared git cannot hope to survive. If the bomber does not crush it, there are two solos and another beast who can oblige.
This is the moment Anto realises that Invictors shooting while under the Shatterstorm power, will bypass his Tough rolls. His impenetrable central block seems a little more vulnerable.
The focus now switches to the centre and the point of decision is clearly the block of Fennblades. Lady Aiyana casts Kiss of Lyliss on the unit. This spell will increase all damage rolls against models in the unit and generally means that each hit should be a kill. The Invictors grin.
Her lackey/partner, Holt breaks out his pistols and drops two Pygs clearing a section of the line. This is not mere random violence as shall later be revealed.
One Pyg proves too stupid to run away as his friends are butchered. As part of their activation, the Sentinels have left a hole in their formation.
This gap has been created to allow the Invictors and the Phoenix to position themselves for attacks against the Fennblades, just visible to the left of the picture.
The Invictors shoot well, dropping six Fennblades and a Stone Scribe, permanently, which tears the heart out of the Troll’s main infantry block.
To finish the job, the Phoenix charges in and combusts, turning two more Fennblades into torches. The unit is now under half strength and while they may contest it, they cannot score points on the flag.

Turn 3

The trolls, rocked by a nasty turn, start by killing Narn. This leaves one flag entirely in their hands. It’s also unclear whether the Retribution can get any reasonable portion of their army into the area. It appears that this flag is now completely secure.
The trolls around the central flag appear to be clearing a path for someone or something. Bear in mind that most of the above are support rather than frontline troops.
The bomber smashes through the trees, appearing on the Retribution’s left flank, lobbing bombs around with abandon. This snarling beast eliminates any chance of breaking through to the Troll-held flag.
The hissing, powder-filled kegs begin to rain down. Lady Aiyana takes a bomb directly to the face and expires. The Invictors manage to duck.
She is quickly followed by Holt as his heart breaks at the sight of the mangled elf. Or a misplaced bomb scatters next to him and blows him up. We’ll leave it to the poets.
As a formality, the Pyre Troll moves onto the right flag to grab the scenario point.
The Phoenix quakes (insomuch as a soulless contruct can) as Madrak Ironhide storms in, swinging his world-ending axe. In the fluff, this is the most dangerous weapon in existance, an apocalypse with a hilt.
Clearly, the responsiblity is starting to weigh on the feckless savage as Madrak fluffs his initial charge, missing the opportunity to do some major damage.
But with his fury reserve and a feat which grants extra attacks, a wrecked Phoenix is inevitable. The trolls score two points on both flags and need only one more for victory. A solid comeback which maintains the scenario pressure on his opponent.
With Madrak exposed, Lord Arcanist Ossyan moves in. He must go for the assassination as the trolls will certainly score a third point at the end of the turn. Simply shooting everything at Madrak will result in failure. The troll warlock is protected by layers of overlapping defences which have to be stripped away. But his faction does have the tools required with multiple medium strength ranged attacks.
Ossryan magically blasts two Fennblades to clear a path to the support models which provide defensive buffs. The Fennblades have had a rather terrible game as their signature resiliance is bypassed by precise shooting.
The Sentinels sweep in to eliminate the support unit, making a terrible, terrible error.
This is the moment when Mark realises that he has accidentally engaged Madrak in close combat, which will give him a defence bonus against Mark’s ranged attacks. With only an ranged unit remaining, he may have lost himself the game.
To resolve the issue, he must use one of his own spare Sentinels to hack down the offending model. The unit leader finds himself fragged by his own men.
Elsewhere, the last Pyg gets chopped and diced. Always good to see the wretched, undercosted vermin get theirs.
Initial shooting drops Madrak’s grenade jumpers. The warlock has an ability whereby warrior models near this particular warlock take hits on his behalf and die. It was necessary and more resource-efficient to clear them out first with single shots. This finally leaves Madrak exposed.

To boost the chance of hitting and wounding Madrak, all remaining Invictors combine their last shots into three volleys. The first of three combined ranged attacks inflicts light damage, taking off four of eighteen hitpoints.
The second attack is much better, knocking off 8 hitpoints. An average roll should see him downed.
With six points of health left, the final volley inflicts only five. Madrak lives, the Trolls score a third point to win by scenario.

Or do they?
Having skulked on a nearby hill for the entire game, Eiryss finally rouses herself.

The shot is on target and the special bolt inflicts an automatic point of damage.
Will he make the tough roll? No.

The End

With a last ditch assassination, the Retribution steal victory by the skin of their teeth.

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