Welcome to the first of my battle reports from my games at Blog Wars X (run by Alex at From the Fang). This was the second time that I had attended Blog Wars, the first being Blog Wars 9 earlier in the year. Last year, I finished 13th out of around 50 gamers, so was keen to see if I could equal or beat my result this time around. It is an awesome event (not just for bloggers) and I got the chance to meet up with some fellow bloggers and some friends I made at the last tournament.
A big thanks to Luke (from Darksun Life), Pete and Daniel for letting me join their (rather sizeable) contingent this year at the tournament and for being great company over the weekend.
I also have to mention all the wonderful bloggers I met up with (it is called Blog Wars after all);
- Luke from Darksun Life. I met Luke and his mates at Blog Wars 9 after chatting on the 40k addicts facebook page. It was nice to finally meet them and have someone to hang out with for the weekend. We even faced each other in the final game of Blog wars 9. I lost, but it was a great game. Luke had recently got back into blogging (and started vlogging) after a long absence and I look forward to seeing what appears on the blog from now on (as well as going back and reading his older stuff).
- Rob from "From the Horus Heresy to Infinity and Beyond". I feel a kindred spirit with Rob as we both started blogging about 40k at pretty much the same time (he beat me by 10 days!). Rob brought a fantastic Death Company army and was a great bloke to finally meet and chat to.
- Dave from Confessions of a 40k addict. Dave's blog was a great inspiration when I was starting mine and he brought his fantastic Nids army once again to Blog Wars.
- NafNaf from Objective Secured. NafNaf had his amazing Thunderwolves army with him again. We actually faced one another in the first game at Blog Wars 9. It was a bloody affair, full of terrible dice rolling on both sides.
- Alex from "From the Fang". Last, but by no means least, the power behind Blog wars. Alex has put on 10 Blog Wars, two of which I have been fortunate enough to attend. I always have an amazing weekend when I have gone and hope to keep going to his events in the future.
- Everyone else from the weekend who I may have missed and everyone who made it such a great weekend. Special thanks to Leicester Sabres who welcomed me in to the ranks and for the staff at the North West Gaming Centre for all they did during the weekend and for putting on an amazing game of Werewolves on the Friday night.
Last time round, I took my White Scars to Blog Wars, this time I wanted to give my Dark Angels a go. As Blog Wars is a friendlier list event (particularly filthy lists are returned to the owners for modification and only 2 detachments are allowed with no multiple detachments such as Decurion and Battle Company allowed), I decided to take my all Ravenwing force as a nice thematic army that still packed a good punch. I posted my list earlier, highlighting my choices and what I saw as the strengths and weaknesses of the list.
The first game of the tournament was good old "Purge the Alien" using Hammer and Anvil deployment- kill one another with Blood Points awarded for killing each enemy unit (equal to the victory points cost of the unit if destroyed or half points if taken below half strength/wounds/hull points).
Fresh-faced on Saturday morning, I found myself at table 14, facing Ian and his own Dark Angel's army, consisting of the Ravenwing Strike Force and Deathwing Strike Force, but with his own Guardians of the Covenant army featuring a Razorwing/Doomwing force. This would be an interesting match up; I would get to see how annoying my re-rollable Jink saves were going to be first-hand.
As a reminder, my army consisted of:
RAVENWING STRIKE FORCE
Sammael- on Corvex (with CS)
Interrogator-Chaplain- Space Marine Bike, Mace of Redemption, Auspex, Meltabombs (with CS)
5 Ravenwing Commnad Squad- Ravenwing Company Banner, Apothecary, Grenade Launcher (CS)
5 Black Knights- Grenade Launcher, Huntsmaster has Meltabombs (BK)
5 Ravenwing Bikers- 2 grav guns, sergeant has Meltabombs (RB1)
5 Ravenwing Bikers- 2 plasma guns, sergeant has Meltabombs (RB2)
5 Ravenwing Bikers- 2 meltaguns, sergeant has Meltabombs (RB3)
Dark Talon- Rift Cannon, Two hurricane bolters, stasis bomb (DT)
Ravenwing Landspeeder- Multimelta, Typhoon Missile Launcher (RL)
RAVENWING SUPPORT SQUADRON
Ravenwing Darkshroud- Assault Cannon
3 Ravenwing Landspeeders- Heavy Bolters, Assault Cannons (RSS)
As a note, due to the comp rules of the tournament, a 2+ re-rollable save (cover or invulnerable) became a 2+/4+ save. This reduced the effectiveness of the Darkshroud by a marginal amount. My Warlord trait was set with Sammael, giving me +3" to charge and turboboost moves.
Ian's army consisted of:
RAZORWING (Ravenwing) STRIKE FORCE
Nehemiah (Sammael)- on Sabreclaw (N)
6 Command Squad- Champion, Apothecary, Ravenwing Banner, Grenade Launcher (CS)
6 Ravenwing Bikers- 2 Plasma guns, sergeant with meltabombs (RB1)
6 Ravenwing Bikers- 2 Melta guns, sergeant with power fist (RB2)
Attack Bike- Multimelta (AB1)
Attack Bike- Multimelta (AB2)
Landspeeder- Multimelta (L)
Darkshroud- Heavy Bolter (D)
Dark Talon- Rift Cannon, Two hurricane bolters, stasis bomb (DT)
DOOMWING (Deathwing) STRIKE FORCE
Librarian- Level 1 psyker, Terminator Armour (with DK)
5 Deathwing Knights- Mace of Absolution, Knight Master (DK)
5 Terminators- Lightning claws, Storm Bolters and Power fists, Flamer, Chainfist (T)
An interesting army to face. I have not come up against Sammael on the Landspeeder before, it would be interesting to see how he performs. The Black Knights and Darkshroud are a great combination with 2+ re-rollable Jink saves and they pack a good punch in combat. Lots of multimeltas and a Dark Talon to contend with.
The terminators are a solid addition and could probably rip my army apart in combat. Fortunately, they need to Deep Strike, so I should get a turn firing with my plasma and grav weaponry before they can assault.
Sammael was Ian's warlord, so he got the same trait as me. The Librarian rolled Mind Worm and Righteous Repugnance (gives a unit Rage). This would be very effective on the Black Knights or Deathwing Knights, giving them a lot of attacks on the charge.
Ian won the roll for deployment zone, and chose the side with the most ruins in it. He also rolled for Night Fighting to be in effect (though we both totally forgot about this during the first turn).
Ian won the roll for deployment and selected me to go first. I deployed the Command squad with Sammael and the Chaplain in the middle, backed up by the Support Squadron. The other unit of Black Knights and the plasma bike squad went to my right, while the other two bikers units and the Landspeeder went to the left of the command squad.
(NOTE: To keep things simpler, I will refer to Ian's army by his Razorwing and Doomwing theme to avoid confusion with my own Ravenwing units)
Ian counter deployed with everything far back from my army (at least 36" away). Nehemiah (Sammael) deployed at the back, out of line of sight of the enemy army. The Plasma Razorwing squad and Razorwing Knights deployed in the middle, supported by the Darkshroud. The meltagun Razorwing and an attack bike deployed to his right, while the Landspeeder and another attack bike deployed to the left. The rest of the army was held in reserve.
Neither side decided to Scout move. I don't think either of us were too keen to close the range at this point).
With Ian's unit so far back, I elected to go second. I think he was a bit surprised by this and wasn't aware that you could do this (do many people know that if you deploy first, you may choose to go first OR second?).
TURN 1- DARK ANGELS
Awaiting their reserves to arrive, the Razorwing cautiously moved forward towards the enemy forces. Seeing they were outnumbered, the Razorwing turbo-boosted back towards their own lines (even though Ian's army didn't really move, they would benefit from the formation rule that allowed them to Jink without snap firing in turn 2).
A very quick turn for the Guardians of the Covenant.
TURN 1- RAVENWING
With the enemy's left flank having only the Landspeeder and attack bike, I decided to move my army towards the middle, the Black Knights moving up into range of the Darkshroud. Two of the bike units and the landspeeder moved just into range of the enemy army.
In the shooting phase, Sammael fired his plasma cannon at the Razorwing melta bikers, but the shot got hot and he took a wound. The Landspeeder fired at the same unit, the multimelta hit but failed to wound. The Typhoon launcher caused two wounds, but the Jinking bikers saved the attack. The Meltagun unit fired their bolters at the unit, causing 4 wounds that were all saved.
The other units turbo-boosted to gain the Jink benefits of the formation in my own turn.
TURN 2- DARK ANGELS
The first unit of Terminators arrived, attempting to deep strike into the ruins behind the Ravenwing lines. Unfortunately, the unit misshaped on scattering and were placed far away in the Dark Angels' deployment zone (by me, I wanted the slow terminators to be as far away from me as possible). The Doomwing Knights arrived, utilising the teleport homers of the bikers to deploy in the ruins to the left. The Dark Talon also arrived, moving up the left flank to engage the Black Knights.
The other bike units inched forward, eager to not get too close to the enemy units.
On the left flank, the attack bike and Landspeeder fired at the plasma gun squad. Despite Jinking, one biker died. The Dark Talon fired at the same squad, the Rift Cannon and Hurricane bolters accounting for one dead biker each. The Darkshroud fired at the same unit, but could not kill any.
On the right flank, the attack bike fired at the Landspeeder, but the Jinking skimmer was unharmed. The Razorwing bikers fired at their Ravenwing counterparts, but no damage was caused thanks to the Jinking of the bikers.
TURN 2- RAVENWING
The Ravenwing advanced on the enemy, the meltagun and grav bikers advancing on the left flank. The Command Squad and Darkshroud advanced on the centre, while on the right flank, the remnants of the plasma gun squad retreated from the enemy (to prevent them being wiped out).
In the shooting phase, both Ravenwing bike units that Jinked fired at the meltagun Razorwing, but could not damage the Jinking bikers (the grav unit hit, but I then rolled a 2 to wound). Sammael fired his plasma cannon at the same unit, this time, killing two of the enemy bikers.
The Ravenwing support squadron targeted the Plasma gun Razorwing squad. The single assault cannon in range hit three times, but only wounded once (I rolled two 1's to wound). The heavy bolters struck a meagre 4 times (again, I managed to roll five 1's to hit), but succeeded in killing one of the Jinking bikers.
With shooting having little effect on the Razorwing, I decided to assault. The grav and meltagun bikers charged the Razorwing unit in front of them. Both units made it into combat, the Hammer of wrath attacks killing one, while the bikers brought down another. The Razorwing failed to wound me in return and the Power fist sergeant managed to miss with all of his attacks (a lucky escape for me as I didn't notice he had one when he charged).
I hit and ran with the Meltagun unit, as did Ian with his unit. The grav gunners consolidated towards the enemy lines.
TURN 3- DARK ANGELS
The Razorwing units advanced on the Command Squad, as the Terminators began their slow advance towards my lines.
In the psychic phase, the Librarian cast Righteous Repugnance on the plasma Razorwing squad that were moving to engage the Command Squad.
In the shooting phase, Nehemiah (Sammael) targeted the Ravenwing squad in front of him with his assault cannons. The Rending shells struck true, causing 5 wounds on the bikers. Three of the Ravenwing died, even with Jinking to protect them. On the right flank, the attack bike fired at the grav gun squad, causing one wound that was saved by Jinking.
The Razorwing Command squad turned their plasma talons towards the Ravenwing Command Squad. The mighty guns caused 5 wounds, but were unable to harm the Jinking bikers. The Darkshroud and plasma gun squad fired at the unit also, but could not get past the Jinking of the riders (love those 2+ cover saves!).
The Dark Talon fired at the Black Knights beside the ruins. The Rift Cannon failed to do any damage on the Jinking bikers, but the Hurricane bolters managed to slay one of the elite riders.
On the left flank, the Landspeeder and attack bike fired at the support squadron, but were unable to get past their cover saves.
In the assault phase, the remnants of the meltagun squad and the plasma gun squad assaulted the Command Squad. Overwatch fire from the Command Squad and the Ravenwing support squadron managed to slay two of the plasma bikers as they advanced. Sammael issued a challenge to the power fist wielding sergeant. He accepted and Sammael easily slew the sergeant and the last member of the squad. The Chaplain killed two of the other squad and the Black Knights easily finished off the lone survivor for no loss in return. The unit consolidated 6" forward towards the enemy lines.
The attack bike on the right charged the grav gun Ravenwing squad. The attack bike killed one of the bikers for no damage in return. I lost the combat, but managed to hit and run out towards the Darkshroud.
TURN 3- RAVENWING
Seeing the enemy falter, Sammael ordered the advance. The Command squad moved up to engage their counterpart in the enemy army. The grav gun squad moved up to engage Nehemiah, while the meltagun unit moved to target the Darkshroud.
The Dark Talon arrived, moving up to gain range on the Doomwing Knights advancing from cover.
In the shooting phase, the Dark Talon fired at the Doomwing Knights, but their mighty armour saved them from any harm. With most of the other units snap firing, there was little damage this turn. The Command Squad and Black Knights targeted the Razorwing Command squad, but could not harm the Jinking bikers. The grav gun squad fired at Nehemiah and managed to hit 3 times despite snap firing, but could not harm the speeder. The other units fired at the closest targets, but no damage was caused.
In the assault phase, Sammael led the Command Squad and Black Knights in a charge against the enemy Command Squad (barely, I managed to roll a double 1 for the charge. Thank goodness for Sammael's warlord trait). The combat was swift and brutal, leaving all of the Razorwing Knights dead for no loss in the Ravenwing ranks.
The grav gun squad charged Nehemiah's landspeeder, easily bringing down the fragile construct and slaying the enemy warlord.
The meltagun squad charged the Darkshroud. The sergeant's meltabombs blew up the enemy skimmer, resulting in the death of one of the squad.
Quite a brutal turn for Ian, he had lost a lot of his army, including his warlord, but still had two units of terminators left.
TURN 4- DARK ANGELS
The terminators advanced on the enemy, while the Dark Talon left the airspace to come around for another pass.
In the psychic phase, the Librarian attempted to manifest Force, but failed to cast the power. He used Mind Worm to target the Command squad, manifesting and hitting with the power, but then failed to wound. He then cast Righteous Repugnance on the Deathwing Terminators in preparation for combat.
On the right flank, the attack bike fired at the Ravenwing Landspeeder. The Multimelta failed to get past the Jinking speeder.
The other attack bike and Landspeeder snap fired at the Ravenwing Dark Talon. One multimelta hit, but the Jinking pilot saved the flyer from damage.
In the assault phase, the attack bike charged the Ravenwing Landspeeder, its grenade penetrating the tank and forcing it to snap fire only.
The Doomwing Knights attempted to charge the Ravenwing Command Squad. The Command Squad overwatch fire cause 4 wounds, but the Storm Shields saved all the damage. The Ravenwing Support squadron also added to the overwatch fire, slaying three of the Terminators! Due to this, the terminators failed their charge, leaving them in a precarious position.
TURN 4- RAVENWING
The Command Squad moved back from the Terminators, ensuring they were still in rapid fire range. The Black Knights moved to engage the attack bike on the right, while the Grav gun unit advanced on the terminators. The Dark Talon moved to the enemy deployment zone..
The grav gun bikers fired at the Terminators, slaying three of the elite warriors. Sammael fired his plasma cannon at the Doomwing Knights, but it overheated again and he took a wound. The Command Squad and Support squadron fired at the Doomwing Knights, wiping the unit out and slaying the Librarian.
The Black Knights fired at the attack bike, easily slaying the enemy riders.
The two remnants of the plasma squad fired at the other attack bike, wounding him once. They charged into combat with the wounded rider, but were unable to finish him off. Ian hit and ran out of combat.
TURN 5- DARK ANGELS
The two remaining terminators advanced on the Black Knights, while the Dark Talon moved to engage the Command Squad. The Landspeeder moved up on the enemy Dark Talon.
In the shooting phase, the Dark Talon fired at the Command Squad, wounding them several times, but failing to get past their cover save.
The terminators fired at the Black Knights, their heavy flamer killing one of the elite riders. They then attempted to charge the unit, the overwatch fire of the plasma talons killing one terminator and forcing the survivor to fail the charge.
The surviving attack bike charged the damage landspeeder and finally finished off the vehicle.
TURN 5- RAVENWING
The Dark Talon moved into hover mode to target the enemy units. The rest of the Ravenwing advanced on the survivors in the enemy army.
The grav gun bikers fired at the terminator, slaying the last member of the squad. The Command Squad, Black Knights and Dark Talon fired at the Landspeeder, but could only penetrate the Jinking skimmer once, stunning it.
The Support squadron snap fired at the enemy Dark Talon, glancing and penetrating the enemy flyer and stunning it.
In the assault phase, the Black Knights and Command Squad charged the Landspeeder, easily destroying the enemy vehicle.
The two survivors of the plasma squad assaulted the attack bike, one dying to overwatch fire. They could not slay the enemy biker and he survived to hit and run out of combat.
We rolled to see if the game ended and it did.
DARK ANGELS- 340 Blood Points + 0 Secondary objectives.
RAVENWING- 1840 Blood Points + 2 Secondary objectives.
Thanks to Ian for a great game, I honestly thought it would go either way after the first couple of turns.
Overall, I think my plan worked very well. After seeing how far back Ian deployed, I was glad I chose for him to go first, pretty much negating his first turn. Some people commented beforehand that ours could have been a very boring game, with both sides Jinking and avoiding one another. Thankfully that was not the case.
At the start of the game, I had some poor luck, failing a lot of Jink saves in turn 2 and not really doing any damage to Ian's army. That all changed pretty soon and I was getting some brilliant rolls and Ian was struggling to make saves. He was very unlucky to mishap the deep striking terminators. This allowed me to deploy them far away from my army and effectively took them out of the game. The second bit of horrendous luck was when Ian failed three terminator armour saves from the overwatching Support Squadron. This meant that he failed his charge and allowed me to obliterate the unit in the next turn. If the Deathwing Knights had made it into combat with the Command Squad, I think I would have lost most of the unit and the game would have been closer.
I think the game came down to who moved first to engage the enemy. Ian's charge in turn 3 did not go as well as it should have and it allowed me to wipe out most of his army by the end of turn 3. I have never used Sammael in Sabreclaw before. Once you get into combat with him, he is easy to destroy with AV10 at the rear and only 2 hull points, he died pretty quickly from assault.
The two units of Black Knights really helped in this game. With fantastic Jink saves on both sides, the game would be decided by combat and I had the upper hand for the bike based units. They could hit the Razorwing bikers hard and wipe them out, but were mobile enough to avoid combat with the Terminators.
One of the highlights for me in the game was Sammael's useless plasma cannon. He fired it three times over the course of the game and twice it overheated and wounded him. In the final turn, Ian kept taunting me to fire it at the Landspeeder, but I refused. After the turn, we rolled to see what would have happened. The cannon managed to overheat and wound Sammael once again, killing him with his own gun!
So with a win in the first game, I was keen to move on to see who I would be facing in the second round.