Recently I started a Grey Knight terminator army with Grand Master Mordrak as the centrepiece. I invited “Newbreed” and his Space Wolves over to give the terminator list a thorough vetting. My friend Sébastion Le Prestre de Vauban, an accomplished military engineer and master-mind of defensive strategy, came over and offered to commentate on the game.
My Mordrak list was:
Mordrak + 5 ghost knights (x2 halberd, x2 swords, banner)
Inquisitor, psyker: psychic communion, terminator armor, psycannon, sword, x3 skulls,
10 terminators, x2 psycannon, x3 halberds, warding staff, banner, justicar w/MC hammer, psybolt
5 terminators, 1 psycannon, 1 falchions, banner, warding staff, justicar w/mc hammer,
The Space Wolves list was:
3 rune priests (all with living lighting then jaws, tempest, hurricane)
4 wolf guard with combi-meltas, fists
X4 grey hunter squads with meltas in rhinos
X3 long fang squads (5 rockets, sergeant)
I brew some coffee and arrange the table tastefully. The terrain offers some good locations to deploy long fangs and dreads but there are also ample LOS-blocking features.
We rolled a random mission and came up with five objectives, dawn of war deployment. Mordrak used Grand Strategy to make all three dreads scoring—nice one! I then bested Newbreed on the roll to place objectives and then again on the roll for first turn. We spread out the objectives and then I deployed. I decided to combat squad the large unit of terminators. The inquisitor deployed on the table with five terminators in the central ruin. The plan is to deepstrike Mordrak nearby and the two units should be able to support each other.
[Intercession by Vauban: “Why combat squad? You have three dreads and two infantry units to score. There are five objectives, not six. A man only has one stomach even if he is a fat slob. A much better decision would be to plop the ten man terminator squad in the middle of the table with the inquisitor attached.”]
Newbreed decided to hold everything in reserve. Everything. He wants to wait until the disposition of my forces is clear.
[Vauban remarks: “Clever F*&#”]
I am, of course, content with his decision because my stacked psychic communions will keep my terminators off the table until his force disposition becomes clear.
Inquisitor and five terminators deploy while the space wolves stand ready in reserve.
I deep strike Mordrak to the middle of the table in front of a ruin. Two dreads stomp on to the table on my right flank and one dread takes the left flank. Mordrak’s unit runs into cover and the dreads run as well hoping to occupy advantageous positions. The Inquisitor moves towards Mordrak but rolls poorly for difficult terrain and running.
Below: the end of turn 1
[Vauban comments: “Not a terrible plan by the GK player. We can see that he means to claim the three objectives on his right while using a single dread on the left to vex any wolf unit that occupies the objective on that side.”]
Mordrak and the inquisitor successfully cast psychic communion. I take a +2 on the roll and keep both remaining terminator squads off the table. The inquisitor unit moves towards Mordrak at a glacial pace. However the dreads have better luck and occupy some excellent sniping locations. Mordrak continues into cover.
Only two space wolf units arrive from reserve: a land speeder and one squad of long fangs. They come on to the space wolves’ right flank.
Line of sight is traced along the barrel of the weapon, right?
The Inquisitor squad claims the central objective. Note: the other terminators are inside the ruin.
Long Fangs and a speeder arrive from reserves.
[Vauban gushes: “What a fabulous table. Pity the armies are not up to the same standard.”]
[Vauban chides: “Two turns through the game and no shooting—what tedium! ]
The stacked psychic communion keeps the two remaining terminator squads off the table. The dread on the my right wrecks the space wolf speeder. Mordrak and the inquisitor unit continue to gird themselves.
The space wolves receive four units from reserves: three grey hunter squads and another squad of long fangs. The fangs occupy barricades on the space wolf left flank. The three Hunter squads in rhinos enter the center of the board. Two move on 6” and one moves on 12” to obscure the other two. It pops smoke. The squad of long fang that walked on turn 2 fires on a dread and destroys one of its auto-cannon arms. A rune priest inside a rhino casts Jaws of the World Wolf at Mordrak’s squad but three terminators pass their tests. Shooting at the same unit is also ineffectual.
Long fangs seek succour behind xeno barricades:
Three grey hunter squads in Rhinos:
The two terminator squads arrive. One deep strikes near the long fangs on the space wolf left, the other near the fangs on the space wolf right.
[Vauban notes: “A poor decision. Let the space wolves have the objective on their right. With only 20 terminators the GK forces cannot afford to spread out.”]
Mordrak’s squad and the inquisitor squad move to engage the center grouping. A mediocre shooting round sees the termies on the GK left drop two rockets, while two dreads combine to immobilize one rhino. The third dread kills the sergeant in the long fang pack on the space wolf right. The terminators on the GK right fail to cause any casualties among the long fangs. The inquisitor destroys the storm bolter on the immobilized rhino. Mordrak and his unit charge the immobilized rhino and wreck it.
The remaining grey hunter squad arrives from reserves. The space wolf player drives off the remaining mobile rhino in the center towards the objective on his left. Two squads of grey hunters prepare to unload on Mordrak. Combined jaws and shooting kill four ghost knights. Mordrak and the remaining knights are killed in the ensuing assault at the cost of three grey hunters.
Grey Knight terminators deep strike near Long Fangs:
On the other flank Grey knight terminators make a similar deep strike:
Mordrak and his ghost knights are greeted by the occupants of two rhinos:
The two dreads on my right flank move to secure the objective. Pop smoke or shoot at the long fangs? I decide to shoot at the long fangs. The termies on my right move to engage the intact/full rhino. The inquisitor squad moves up—finally getting some good difficult terrain rolls—to get some payback for mordrak. Shooting again disappoints as both dreads combine to kill two long fangs while the terminator squad pings off the rhino. On my left flank the termie squad charges and wrecks a rhino and the grey hunters disembark in good order and prepare to shoot the hell out of the terminators. The inquisitor squad charges and wipes a squad of grey hunters and consolidates to an objective.
The space wolf player moves his forces to destroy the inquisitor squad. In the shooting phase both long fangs on the space wolves left flank ping off the dreads. Shooting kills three terminators in the inquisitor squad. On the space wolf right shooting kills three terminators. When the dust settles on the assault phase only the inquisitor remains in the center while the warding stave is the sole survivors on the GK left flank.
The game, unfortunately for the Grey Knights, continues.
Warding staves are great in assaults:
Two dreads hold an objective:
The dreads pop smoke and pray really hard to the emperor. The remaining terminators shoot and wreck the last remaining rhino. The grey hunters get out and prepare to unload.
[Vauban sighs: “It’s déjà vu all over again.”]
The space wolf player wrecks the remaining dreads despite their smoke screens. The grey hunter squad eliminates three terminators with shooting and then charges and kills the remaining two.
[Vauban says: “Pity it was in the middle of the day because the grey knight player could have used a drink.”]
Victory to the space wolves. Mind wiping will have to wait.
Aftermath. Indeed, I could have used that extra squad of terminators on my right flank. As I type this the glue is drying on additional halberds for the terminators. This battle has shown that I6 /5++ is better than I4/4++.
[Vauban concludes: “But for two crucial tactical errors by the Grey Knight general, combat squading and spreading his forces, the game would have been close.”]