Thursday, 21 May 2015

Battle Report 4- 1500 pts White Scars vs Astra Militarum

Once again, I headed to Dundee Wargamers for a 40k battle. This time, I played against Mark and his Astra Militarum army. Playing guard myself, I knew they had a lot of units that could mess up my day.  
This time we played 1500 pts on a standard 6’x4’ board, and rolled up Big Guns Never Tire. Mark was just getting back in to 40k and wanted to dust off his guard for a game.
Both forces marshal for battle.
My army was a slightly modified version of my Blog wars army that I wanted to test:
Kor’sarro Khan on Moondakken (K)
5 Bikers- 2 x grav gun, sergeant with meltabombs (B1)
5 Bikers- 2 x grav gun, sergeant with meltabombs (B3)
5 Bikers- 2 x meltaguns, sergeant with meltabombs (B2)
10 tactical marines- Meltagun, sergeant with combi-melta and meltabombs (TS) in drop pod (DP)
10 devastator marines- 4 missile launchers (DS), Rhino (R)
2 Attack bikes- Multimeltas (AB1 and AB2)
3 Centurions- 3 grav cannons and grav amps (C)
Stormtalon (S)
My warlord trait was set with Khan.
Mark was running:
Company command squad- 3 Sniper rifles (CC)
4 Squads of Veterans- Each squad has flamer and grenade launcher (VS1-4)
Leman Russ (LR1)
Leman Russ (LR2)
Leman Russ Vanquisher (LRV)
Baneblade (!?!) (B)
Mark’s warlord trait gave him first Relentless, then Outflank on the re-roll.

We placed 5 objectives in a fairly standard layout; one in the middle, one of each flank on both sides of the board.  

The battlefield set up. The faint shields indicate the placement of the 5 objectives.
I won the roll for table edge and chose the side with the two woods for cover. I also won the roll for deployment and chose to go first. I figured that with my scout moves and speedy bikers, I could get a lot of anti-tank fire in range in the first turn. I deployed two biker units (grav gun and meltagun) on the left flank behind the woods, along with an attack bike and the Grav centurions. On the other flank, I deployed the last unit of bikers, the devastators and the second attack bike behind the woods.
White Scars, ready to advance.
Mark deployed across the board, the Baneblade to the right of Mark’s centre, and the three tanks spread out in Mark’s deployment zone with the veteran squads supporting them. The company command squad deployed in the woods in the centre of the deployment zone.
Mark's gunline deploys.
For my scout moves, on the left flank, I moved the bikers forward towards the tanks and the attack bike towards the Baneblade. On the right flank, the bikers and attack bike advanced towards the guard lines.

The initial deployment and my Scout moves.
The scouting White Scars advance.

Mark failed to seize, so I got the first turn.
White Scars turn 1. 

The White Scars bikers advanced on their enemy, eager to get their guns into short range of the enemy armour, only the devastators remained in place to fire more effectively. The drop pod arrived to the centre of the guard lines, the tactical marines spilling out to the side of the Leman Russ.
The bikers are right at the enemy line on the first turn.
The drop pod crashes into the guard lines.

On the right flank, the attack bike failed to hit the Vanquisher. The Devastators fired at the Vanquisher, hitting it several times, but failing to penetrate the armour. The newly arrived drop pod fired at the Veterans in front, killing two of them. The pod’s passengers fired their meltaguns into the side of the Russ, hitting with both shots, but failing to penetrate the armour (I managed to roll less than 5 on 2D6 for both shots!). On the left flank, the grav gun bikers fired at the leftmost Leman Russ, but failed to damage it. The other attack bike fired at the same Russ, but its multimelta failed to hit. The meltagun squad fired at the same Russ and managed to take a hull point from it. The Grav centurions fired at the damaged Russ, but only managed to do a single hull point damage, as well as immobilising the vehicle (I managed to roll one 6 on 9 hits, even with re-rolls). Khan’s bike squad failed to hurt the Baneblade with their grav gun shots.
The massed firepower of the White Scars managed to cause 2 HP of damage on the whole turn.
Astra Militarum turn 1.
Seeing the bikers quickly advance on them, the guard turned towards them and readied their weapons.
The gun line opens fire.
Shouting orders at the nearby veterans (first rank fire, second rank fire), they trained their guns at the meltagun bikers, but failed to cause any wounds. The company command fired at Khan’s bike squad, but failed to cause any wounds. On the left flank, the veterans fired at the tactical squad, wounding them several times, but failing to breach the marine’s armour.
The mighty Baneblade then opened fire. The main cannon fired at Khan’s squad, hitting four but only killing one thanks to the Jinking skill of the bikers. The Demolisher cannon fired at the Centurions, but scattered off of the unit, leaving them unharmed. The sponsons fired at various different squads, but only resulted in the loss of a single tactical marine.
On the guard left flank, the Vanquisher killed the attack bike, while the other Leman Russ managed to kill a marine with its heavy bolter. The other tanks fired at the bikers, but they white scars suffered no wounds thanks to their jink saves.

The Leman Russ fires at the tactical marines, but its mighty battle cannon misses.
White Scars turn 2.
The Stormtalon arrived on the field of battle, ready to add its firepower to the onslaught. Spurring his warriors forward, Khan advanced on the company command, while the remaining bikers advanced on the Astra Militarum tanks.
The Stormtalon arrives.
The bikers manoeuvre to the vulnerable rear of the tank. 
Khan advances on the Company Command squad.

The drop pod fired at the nearby veterans, killing two and causing them to fall back when they failed their morale check. The newly arrived flyer shot at the Leman Russ in front of it, causing two HP damage and immobilising it. Seeing the lumbering behemoth damaged, the devastators added their firepower to the barrage, causing a glancing hit on the Russ which was subsequently saved by cover. It was up to the remaining meltagun on the tactical squad to finished off the damaged tank.
On the other flank, the Centurions opened fire at the Baneblade, their powerful grav cannons taking 4 HP off the superheavy. The surviving attack bike added to the damage, causing another HP damage and leaving it with 4 HP remaining.
In the assault phase, Khan led his unit in an assault of the command squad. The Khan bellowed a challenge, which the commander accepted. Khan caused a single wound on the commander, who failed to damage the White Scar’s leader in return. The bikers managed to slay another veteran for no loss. The carnage was too much for the command squad, who fled the combat and were quickly cut down.
After wiping out the opposition, Khan leads his unit away from the Baneblade.
On the left flank, the meltagun bike squad assaulted the Veteran squad opposing them, one biker being felled by overwatch fire as they closed the distance. One veteran died, crushed beneath the wheels of an assaulting bike, while the White Scars warriors slew a further 4 veterans for no loss to their number. The furious assault broke the morale of the guardsmen, and they were wiped out as they tried to flee.
Astra Militarum turn 2.
The veterans that were falling back failed to rally and fled off the board. The remaining Veterans on the left flank advanced towards the tactical squad, supported by the mighty Vanquisher battle tank.
The Vanquisher fired on the drop pod, but somehow failed to penetrate the armour of the transport. The supporting Veteran squad fired at the remaining tactical marines, causing 3 wounds, all of which bounce off the armour of the marines.
The Baneblade fired its main cannon at the tactical marines, slaying 6 of the 8 remaining marines. Its demolisher cannon fired at Khan’s bike squad, the jinking of the bikers preventing any damage. The side sponsons fired at various targets, killing one of the bikers in Khan’s squad and putting a wound on the attack bike. The Veterans on the right flank fired at the meltagun biker squad, killing two of the bikers.
The Baneblade exacts a heavy toll on the tactical squad.
The Veterans train their guns at the squad in front of them.
At the end of turn 2, the guard had succeeded in killing some of the White Scars, but their number were rapidly diminishing.
White Scars turn 3.
The Stormtalon turned and gunned its engines, advancing towards the Baneblade. The remaining meltagun bikers also advanced towards the mighty war engine. Khan led his unit towards the Vanquisher on their right flank.
The bikers fire on the Veterans.
Khan advances on the remaining enemy forces.

The Centurions fired at the Baneblade, taking two HP from the tank. The meltagun bikers finished off the superheavy, taking the remaining two HP. The engine meltdown scattered away from the Baneblade’s wreckage, leaving the White Scars unharmed. The Veterans on the White Scar’s left flank were targeted by the grav gun bikers and stormtalon. Seven were slain by the firepower, leaving only the sergeant. Khan’s unit fired at the Veterans on the right flank, killing 4 of their number.
The grav gun bikers assaulted the lone sergeant, their hammer of wrath attacks slaying him before he could attack.
Astra Militarum turn 3.
With only one Veteran squad and the Vanquisher remaining, the Guard could only hope to slay as many of their enemy as they could manage. The Vanquisher fired at Khan’s bike squad, its mighty shots missing the fast moving targets. The remaining Veterans fired at the two remaining tactical marines, killing one and leaving the sergeant alone.
The remaining veterans advance on the objective.
With that, the Astra Militarum turn was over.
White Scars turn 4.
Khan radioed the Stormtalon to leave the battle’s airfield, while he advanced his squad towards the Vanquisher, while the Devastators broke cover to fire at the remaining tank. The remaining White Scars troops manoeuvred to seize the objectives.
The marine firepower was targeted at the Vanquisher, the grav guns failing to harm it, while the Devastators managed to stun the vehicle.
Eager to finish it off, the bike squad assaulted the Vanquisher, their sergeant’s meltabombs finally succeeded in blowing up the tank, one veteran being killed in the resulting explosion.
Khan's squad destroy the final tank.
Astra Militarum turn 4.
With only five veterans remaining, there was little they could do to stop the slaughter. Hoping to make their deaths mean something, they advanced on the nearby objective and gunning down the tactical marine sergeant as they advanced.
With that, the game was ended. The final result was:
WHITE SCARS- 9 victory points (4 objectives, 3 slain heavy support, Linebreaker and Slay the warlord)
ASTRA MILITARUM- 2 victory points (1 objective and first blood)
That was an interesting battle. Thanks to Mark for such an enjoyable game.
After I got first turn, Mark and I both thought the game would be essentially over. With my scout manoeuvres, followed by my first turn moves, I had all of my melta weapons and grav weapons in range of the enemy armour. In my first shooting phase, I fired 4 meltaguns, 2 multimeltas, 3 grav cannons, 4 grav guns and 4 missile lauchers at the enemy armour and managed a whole 2 hull points damage. That was not what was expected. After that turn, I thought that now I was in real trouble.
Fortunately for me, Mark had an equally atrocious first turn and only managed to cause 5 wounds from his massed ordnance and weapons fire thanks to some great armour and jink saves on my part. This was the first game where I saw the huge survivability of bikers. The high toughness made it difficult for the lasguns to harm them. In addition, I could not fail a jink save for the first few turns.
Overall, I think my battle plan went well. Despite the poor first turn shooting, I continued to focus on the enemy armour. I knew that my bikers could easily handle the veterans in combat or outshoot them and their high toughness would limit the damage they could do in return.
Things for me to note:
1. I remembered to use the Hammer of Wrath attacks for my bikers this game (though I kept forgetting the +1S that white scars get).
2. I forgot Khan’s furious charge rule yet again. It might have allowed me to finish off the company commander and get the bonus victory points for slaying the enemy warlord in combat.
3. The grav Centurions are very powerful, able to take out enemy armour with their high volume of shots and re-rolls. I substituted the Sternguard in my blog wars army for the Centurions. I think that the Centurions provide better anti-armour and should allow me to deal with any threats that the Sternguard were to take out with their poisoned ammunition (they will certainly be more effective against a Wraithknight or Riptide).
4. I replaced on the tactical squads in my blog wars army with the Devastators. Their missile launchers should provide me with some more long ranged firepower and some more anti-tank shots or provide some anti-horde firepower (with frag missiles).

5. KNOW YOUR RULES- this came to pass when I read up the rules for meltabombs recently. These are Armourbane and NOT Melta. This means that they still affect units that are immune to Melta! Didn't make any difference in this game, but last time against Jamie's Death Guard and the nigh-on indestructible land raider, it might have made a difference. I will need to remember this when I face another Land Raider in the future. Also, Khan gets D3 hammer of wrath hits when charging instead of one. I have never used this special rule yet. In addition, the drop pod cannot fire its missile launcher the turn it arrives. As it deep strikes, it counts as moving too fast and can only fire snap shots. I have made this mistake in every game I have used it (but have not been corrected yet, so I don't think many people know this).

EDIT- I have been reliably informed that a drop pod can fire the deathwind launcher the turn it arrives. I have been playing under the old rules. Thanks to Lightning Slayer for pointing this out.
Dundee wargamers have announced a 1500 pts one-day tournament taking place on 24th May. I have signed up for it and will be taking the above army. It seemed to work well, giving me plenty of anti-tank firepower and a bit more long ranged firepower with the added Devastators.


  1. Nice bat rep :) really enjoyable read. Interesting to see it against a baneblade. Not that I'm looking for a big rules debate, but I'm pretty sure you can fire drop pods on fu BS The turn they arrive? I haven't got my rule book on me. It was a change they made sometime after 5th.

    1. Found it! Page 162, 3rd para. Combat speed :) I don't think I've ever got a rule book out for reading a blog before, nice work ;)

    2. Awesome! Thanks for the correction, makes it even better for me. I guess that is the problem with relying on the internet for rules, the pages don't get updated with each new edition and you can get things wrong. Serves me right, just need to look it up myself next time.

      I wasn't too worried about the Baneblade. I've used one before in a 2000 pt game and it really struggled to make its points back. It has a lot of guns, but cover saves just shut it down from doing massive amounts of damage. Against horde armies, I think it would make a huge difference though. I'll be interested to see if any show up for Blog wars or if it'll just be Knights and Wraithknights taking to the field.