Wednesday, 13 April 2016

Battle Report 51- 1250 pts White Scars vs White Scars/Dark Angels

This week's battle report features two tournament lists in a practice game for the upcoming Stronghold V. Innes and I decided to give our respective lists an airing to see how they performed. I would be taking my White Scars (you can find the restrictions of the tournament and my discussions on my list in a previous post), while Innes would also be taking White Scars with a Dark Angels allied detachment. As this is a tournament practice game, I thought I might delve a bit more into my reasoning for certain decisions as the game goes on.

I am also using some new look turn maps in this report. After almost a year of using Battle Chronicler, I finally decided to have a go putting the actual terrain and some backgrounds into the reports. Thanks to Nick from the Burning Eye for linking me the tutorial on how to do this. I think it makes a big difference to the maps, let me know what you think of them in the comments section.

As a reminder, my army consisted of (in red and white):
Librarian- Level 2 psyker, Bike, Hunter's Eye, Mantle of the Stormseer, Force Sword, Meltabombs (with CS)
5 Command Squad- Bikes, Apothecary, 4 veterans with grav guns, stormshields and meltabombs (CS)
5 Bikers- 2 grav guns, sergeant with power lance and meltabombs (BS1)
5 Bikers- 2 grav guns, sergeant with meltabombs (BS2)
5 Scouts- sergeant with meltabombs (S1)
Landspeeder Storm- Heavy Bolter, Cerberus missile launcher (LS)
Drop Pod- storm bolter (DP)
Attack Bike- Multimelta (AB)
Stormtalon- TL assault cannons, skyhammer missile launcher (S2)
 Centurion Devastators- Grav cannons and grav amps, hurricaine bolters (C)

I rolled for my warlord trait, getting Unrivalled Hunter. I re-rolled this, but got the same result. This gives me +1S and +1A in challenges.
For my psychic powers, I first rolled on Telepathy and got Hallucination, but changed it for Psychic Shriek. I then rolled on Divination and got Foreboding. I decided to keep this after looking at Innes' list; if I was charged by his characters, I would want full BS overwatching grav guns to try and deal with them.

Innes' list consisted of (in blue and white):
Chapter Master- Shield Eternal, Bike, Power Fist, Artificer Armour (CM)
Librarian- Level 2 psyker, Bike, Hunter's Eye, Force Axe (L)
5 Command Squad- Bikes, Apothecary, 4 veterans with grav guns and stormshields (CS)
5 Sternguard Veterans- Sergeant with combi-flamer and power maul, 2 combi-flamers, 2 heavy flamers (S2)
Drop Pod- storm bolter (DP)
3 Bikers- 2 grav guns, sergeant with combi-grav (BS1)
3 Bikers- 2 meltaguns, sergeant with combi-melta (BS2)

Interrogator-Chaplain- Bike, Crozius Arcanum, Bolt Pistol, Eye of the Unseen (IC)
5 Scouts- Boltguns (S1)

His warlord trait (Chapter Master) also gave him Unrivalled Hunter. His Librarian took Psychic Shriek and Prescience.
Quite a tough list, very similar to my own. The tooled up command squad with the 3 characters attached formed a pseudo-deathstar that I would either need to deal with quickly or attempt to avoid. The other units should be easy enough to kill with my massed grav fire, assuming my own units did not succumb first.

We rolled for mission and got Crusade with 5 objectives and Vanguard Strike deployment. This worked well for me as I had more objective secured units.

I won the roll for deployment zone. After studying the table, I opted to take the corner with the large ruins, as both large, line of sight blocking ruins were on this side. If I got the first deployment, this would prevent Innes from hiding his army completely and if I did not get first deployment, I could then hide much of my army away from his firepower.

I won the roll for deployment and chose to go first. I put one bike squad in the centre of my front line, with another to the left. I put the command squad in the ruins to my right, along with the landspeeder storm and attack bike. This gave me a good spread of units across the board to counter Innes' deployment.

Innes then deployed all his units out of 30" of my bike units. This meant that I would not be in range with my grav guns with any unit in the first turn. Two squads of bikers went in the ruins to his right, while the command squad set up in the centre of the board. The scouts went into reserve, along with the Sternguard in the drop pod.
Deployment. The shields represent the objectives.

Seeing the set up, I decided to take second turn. Innes' deployment meant that I would not be in range of most of my shooting in the first turn, so thought I would waste his first turn instead. This also meant I would get the final turn to grab the objectives.


The drop pod carrying the Sternguard attempted to land beside my Command Squad to attack with their massed flamers. Unfortunately, Innes forgot about my Landspeeder Storm's jamming beacon and the pod scattered 15" towards his own lines. The Sternguard got out of the pod and moved towards the ruins sheltering the bikers.

One of the command squad is slain.

The grav bikers and melta bike squad moved back from my lines. The Command Squad moved to their left, ensuring that they still kept out of 30" of my Command Squad.

In the psychic phase, the Librarian put 5 dice into Prescience on his squad, but I was able to block it.

In the shooting phase, the drop pod fired its storm bolter at the middle White bikers, but its one wound was saved. The Chapter Master launched its orbital bombardment at my Command Squad, but the shot scattered and only struck one of the white bikers. The blast was sufficient to rip him from his mount and one of the squad was slain.

With no combat, it was now my turn.


The drop pod carrying the Centurions arrived. I decided to go after the enemy Command Squad to see if I could make a dent in the unit for later.

The rest of the bikers advanced on the newly arrived Sternguard and the enemy grav bike squad. The landspeeder storm and Attack Bike advanced into the centre of the board.

In the psychic phase, the Librarian cast psychic shriek on the Sternguard (which Innes failed to block), killing two of the squad. He then cast Foreboding on his own unit.

The shooting phase began with the Centurions targeting the enemy command squad. The grav cannons caused 10 wounds on the bikers, but only killed one of the veterans after some great invulnerable saves and Feel no pain rolls. The hurricane bolters caused 7 wounds that were tanked by the Chapter Master as he only failed one and took a wound. The drop pod added its firepower, but failed to cause any damage.

The Landspeeder storm targeted the Command Squad. I wasn't too hopeful about killing any, but had a 1 in 6 chance of blinding them. If I got lucky, I could advance most of my army into range of the command squad without having to fear too much about their firepower. The Cerberus launcher struck on target, hitting 6 of the bikers. Amazingly, all 6 hits wounded, but the armour proved too strong and none fell. They also passed their blind test. The heavy bolter fired too, but caused no damage.
I needed photographic evidence of me actually having very good rolls.

The attack bike fired at the enemy drop pod, hitting with its multi-melta, but only managing to glance it, despite being in melta range.

The Command Squad fired at the Sternguard, their grav guns hitting four times. However, not a single wound was caused when rolling to wound. The squads bolters made up for it, wounding twice and killing two of the elite marines. One of the other bike squads fired on the unit and was able to finish them off. The other bike unit fired at the drop pod, but was unable to damage it and finish it off.

The front bike squad assaulted the drop pod. Their krak grenades failed to damage the immobile vehicle. The sergeant's meltabombs penetrated the drop pod, but only managed to shake it, leaving it on one hull point.

A pretty subdued first turn for both of us. Eager to keep out of range of our respective command squads, the damage had been limited to a single Sternguard unit so far, giving me first blood. I had a feeling this was going to be a game of cat and mouse, keeping away from each other until the end of the game forced us to engage.


The grav bikers moved round to the right of the ruins to engage the enemy. The meltagun bikers retreated towards the swamp, turbo-boosting to reach the ruins in their deployment zone. The Command Squad advanced on the Centurions that were foolish enough to come close to them.

In the psychic phase, the Librarian threw 4 dice at psychic shriek on the attack bike. I failed to block it, despite the presence of my own Librarian (and only needing a 4+ to deny it). The psychic attack hit the attack bike, but Innes failed to roll high enough to wound.

In the shooting phase, the Command Squad targeted the Centurions. Their grav guns were sufficient to wipe the squad out in one volley.

The grav bikers fired at the bike unit that had engaged the drop pod. Their grav guns wounded four times, killing one of the jinking bikers. The drop pod fired at the same unit, but could not hit them.


The Stormtalon arrived to survey the battlefield. They singled out the Command Squad as their primary target.
The rest of the White Scars army moved to engage the enemy grav bike squad, moving away from the enemy command squad at the same time.

In the psychic phase, the Librarian cast Psychic Shriek at the squad in front of him. He manifest and hit with the attack, but failed to roll high enough to wound. He ended the phase by casting Foreboding on his own unit.

The Stormtalon opened fire on the enemy Command Squad. The assault cannon wounding twice, but failing to get past the armour of the Chapter Master. The skyhammer missiles struck the Chapter Master, wounding him 3 times. He failed one armour save, but passed his Feel no Pain roll.

The Command Squad opened fire on the three enemy bikers in front of them, easily slaying the squad. The other two bike units fired at the drop pod, but were unable to remove its last hull point.

The attack bike and Landspeeder storm took the opportunity to turbo-boost away from the enemy army (I wanted to keep them safe for some late game objective grabbing).


The three bikers in cover moved out onto the field to move towards the further away objective, turbo-boosting to gain more distance on it.
The Command Squad advanced into the ruins to the South, while the Chapter Master veered off to engage the drop pod.

In the psychic phase, the Librarian attempted to cast prescience on his unit, but failed to manifest enough power to do so.

In the shooting phase, the Command Squad fired on the Stormtalon, hitting three times with their grav guns. One of the shots succeeded in damaging the flyer, it lost a hull point but did not crash and burn.

In the assault phase, the Chapter Master charged the drop pod, easily penetrating it and causing it to explode. The resulting explosion killed one of the nearby command squad.


The Stormtalon advanced to just in front of the Chapter Master, while the other bikers moved towards the enemy board edge. The attack bike moved to the north-west, while the Landspeeder moved to the objective on the south-west.

The Stormtalon fired at the meltagun bikers, wounding them once with its assault cannon, but the shot was saved by the jinking bikers.

The Command Squad fired at the drop pod, finally wrecking the enemy vehicle.

At the end of turn 3, there had not been too much action, but there was a lot of moving and counter moving going on in the game.


The Scouts arrived from reserve, moving on to the east to grab the nearby objective. The meltagun bikers moved closer to the objective, turning to target the enemy flyer. The Chapter Master re-joined the command squad.

The Librarian then cast Prescience on the Command Squad as they were ordered to target the Stormtalon. The psychic boost proved sufficient and the flyer was finally brought down by the grav fire.


Thinking about the end game, I sent a unit of bikers and the Command Squad after the Scouts and their objective. The other unit of bikers moved towards the board edge out of range of the enemy command squad and ready to grab the nearby objective. I disembarked the Scouts to grab their nearby objective, while their Landspeeder transport moved towards the centre of the board. The attack bike moved away, but remained within 24" of the objective held by the Scouts.

In the shooting phase, one unit of bikers targeted the Scouts, wounding one of them with their bolters but failing to get past their armour. The Command Squad turbo-boosted forward to get to the Scouts, while the Landspeeder Storm turbo-boosted to support the other bike squad to the North.

Not too much action at the moment, but the game was about to take off as we moved into the final turns to see who would be victorious.


The Scouts moved into the cover of the ruins, hoping the structure would help them to survive the upcoming conflict. The three meltagun bikers moved behind the cover of the ruins to secure the objective. The Command Squad advanced on the scouts, while making sure they claimed the central objective, turbo-boosting to get into range.

There was no shooting or assault this turn.


I began to think more about the end game now. The Command Squad moved up to engage the enemy scouts, the biker unit moving to support them and claim the objective. The second bike squad moved to claim the objective near them.
The bikers advance. The ruins were removed for clarity.

The Landspeeder Storm moved to the gap in the ruins beside the middle unit of bikers. I thought about sending it to claim the central objective (thanks to being objective secured), but if the game went on I would no doubt lose it. As it was, I was currently controlling two objectives and Innes was controlling two. The last objective was contested by the Scouts and my bikers, but I was confident the command squad could deal with the Scouts. If the game ended in turn 5, I would win.

I fired the command squad at the scouts. Only one grav gun had line of sight thanks to Innes' positioning of the Scouts, but he was able to kill one of the squad. The bikers in the middle fired their bolters at the Chapter Master, but failed to wound him.

In the assault phase, the Command Squad assaulted the enemy scouts. The scouts were able to cut down one veteran with overwatch fire. This caused a rules debate about whether the command squad could charge, as the only one that could see them was now dead. Turns out, line of sight only applies at the start of the assault, even though the veteran was killed by overwatch, the rest of the squad could charge as they could see the Scouts when the assault was declared.

The Librarian challenged the Scout sergeant, easily slaying him and entire squad in combat before they could strike back. The squad consolidated into the ruins.

At the end of turn 5, I controlled three objectives to Innes' two. We rolled to see if the game would continue and it did.


Innes decided to split his main squad up to grab the objectives. The Chapter Master advanced on the middle unit of my bikers, while the Interrogator-Chaplain went after the central objective. The Librarian and Command Squad moved after my scouts in the south-west.

In the psychic phase, the Librarian cast Prescience on the command squad. He then cast Psychic Shriek on the Scouts, slaying one of them with the psychic attack. The Command Squad fired on the Scouts, killing three with their grav guns. The survivor passed his morale check.

The Interrogator-Chaplain fired at the Landspeeder storm, failing to hit, but forcing me to Jink. The Chapter Master fired at the bikers, killing one of the squad. They passed their morale check and kept fighting.

In the combat phase, the Command Squad assaulted the lone scout, their hammer of wrath attacks slaying him before they could attack.

The Chapter Master attempted to charge the bikers in front of him, but failed to make the charge distance.


The Command Squad moved out of the ruins towards the enemy bikers opposite them, hoping to get into range to finish them off. The attack bike decided to move towards the north-central objective. I figured that I would stand little chance against the command squad if the game went on, but could help shore up the central objective against the Chapter Master or Chaplain.

The Landspeeder Storm stayed out of the action, waiting for the next turn. At the moment, I controlled two objectives and Innes controlled three. I was hopeful the Command Squad could deal with the three bikers, giving us two objectives each and I would win thanks to first blood.

In the psychic phase, the Librarian attempted to cast Psychic Shriek on the bikers, but failed to manifest it!

The Command Squad fired at the bikers, but only managed to slay two of them after some very poor rolling. The survivor passed his morale test and remained to claim the objective.

The middle bikers fired at the Chapter Master. The grav gun hit three times, but only managed one wound despite only needing a 2+. The Storm shield saved the shot. The squad's bolters then wounded three times and one save was failed, leaving the Chapter Master on one wound.

My gamble to take out the three meltagun bikers had failed and one remained to claim the objective. If the game ended now, I would lose. Fortunately, we had to play a final turn.


The Chapter Master advanced on the three remaining bikers, while the Interrogator-Chaplain moved up on the attack bike. The Command Squad left the Librarian holding an objective to go after the central objective.

In the shooting phase, the Interrogator-Chaplain fired at the attack bike, wounding it once, but failing to penetrate its armour. He then charged the attack bike, suffering one wound from overwatch fire, but easily dispatched the enemy biker in combat.

The Chapter Master assaulted the bikers in front of him. The grav gun managed to hit the Chapter Master once in overwatch, but then I rolled a one to wound (my howl of despair was heard across the hall as the Chapter Master had only one wound remaining). The bolters of the squad wounded him in overwatch, but failed to get past his artificer armour. The Chapter Master cut down the squad easily after they failed to cause any wounds when striking first.


In my final turn, I manoeuvred into position to win the game. The Landspeeder Storm moved to wrest control of the objective from the Chapter Master and Interrogator-Chaplain. The Command Squad moved to engage the lone biker that had escape their wrath last turn.

The Librarian failed to cast psychic shriek on four dice, so the Command Squad opened fire with their grav guns, slaying the last of the squad. The other bike squad fired their bolters at the Chaplain, but failed to cause any wounds.

With that, the game was over. I controlled three objectives and Innes controlled two.
End of the game.

White Scars/Dark Angles (Innes)- 7 (two objectives and Linebreaker)
White Scars (Mike)- 11 (three objectives, First Blood and Linebreaker)

Thanks to Innes for a very thorough and tactical (if not the most exciting) game. It was very much a game in a tournament frame of mine, with movement and counter movement, thinking about the objectives, rather than just rushing at one another and trying to kill one another.

With this game, there were a few lessons to be learnt:
1. Taking Foreboding was a mistake. I should have gone with Prescience instead to give my command squad re-rolls to shoot, which may have helped with some of my shooting if I could have cast it.
2. Using the Centurions to go after the Command Squad was also an error. With their storm shields and Apothecary, I would have been hard pressed to cause a lot of damage. With no invulnerable saves and so much firepower and combat potential in Innes' command squad, the centurions were as good as dead the following turn. I should have sent them after the bikers on my left flank. They would have allowed me to wipe out one of the bike squads, then used them to secure one of the objectives.
3. I think the general plan worked well. Charging in to take on the Command Squad with all my units probably wouldn't have gone too well. I had a lot of firepower, but the durability of the enemy Command Squad would have been too high. Give the unit had a Chapter Master and Interrogator-Chaplain, they would have gone through anything in my army with ease. I just had to hold out till the end of the game and grab the objectives with my objective secured unit.
4. The Landspeeder Storm showed its worth in this game, effectively neutralising the Sternguard with their 5 flamers. Had this unit landed on target, they would likely have killed a few of my Command Squad and maybe meant them weak enough to be taken out.
5. Sending the Stormtalon after the Command Squad was an error in hindsight. It did not really achieve much and was taken down much easier than I thought it would be. It probably would have been better to save it for objective grabbing at the end of the game or use its speed to target the Scouts or meltagun bikers later in the game.

Overall, I was pleased with how the army performed. I have a lot of mobility and firepower for most of the missions. Not the most exciting of games, but very tactically sound I thought. We might replay with one of the maelstrom missions to see how each army performs and get a bit more action on the field.


  1. great report.

    in games like this i always target obj sec units first. only id the command squad was getting in the way would i deal with it.

    the landspeeder storm is s little known unit and things like that are what counts in competitive games...know your enemy. in pick up games then maybe a warning, but not when it comes to the hard nosed realm of tournament play.

    as others mentioned in the other post i think less points on the lib and the attack bike and get some scout bikers or maybe a cheap tact in rhino

    1. Thanks.

      I generally will warn my opponent about the landspeeder storm, even in competitive games. It's a little unfair if you win a game based on your opponent not knowing every single rule in the game.

      I'm currently working on getting the scout bike squad painted for the tournament to replace the attack bike.

  2. It's a really interesting thing to look at your own army style across the field. Granted there were subtle differences with how each of you pushed the army strengths, but I often find that these kind of games result in one of two extremes, either as you had here with a real tactical game of move and counter move and not much happening, or a complete bloodbath that ends with a tabling on turn 3.

    I think you fell for the bait of the command squad with the grav centurions, they're such a powerful unit it's easy to get tempted to see if they really can pull down a unit like that. Certainly the odds would suggest they should have done more damage but without a good counter unit so that you could use them as bait themselves I agree it was a bit of a mistake. Similarly the Storm Talon isn't best equipped to take down this type of unit. Psychic shriek was probably actually your best best, either that or just drowning them with all your units - the combination of centurions, command squad and 2 grav bike squads would likely have seen enough damage to cripple them. Then you can deal with the rest of the army at your leisure. As it was, I think you did really well to pull things in despite being pushed into the fringes of the table by the threat of that one squad. Just goes to show what an advantage going second really can be in this type of mission. Innes deployment would have been perfect if he'd been going second, but having to go first put him on the back foot and he did really well I think to put himself in a winning position on turn 6.

    1. Yeah, the Centurions were definitely wasted in this game. I was a bit hesitant about sending my Librarian and Command Squad after his Command Squad. If I didn't take them out in the shooting phase and psychic phase, the next combat phase would have most likely done them in.

  3. Very interesting report! Both of you did well, even though I thought you had the game in the back after the bad scatter and your opponent seemingly holding back and just trying to avoid your units.

    The only thing I noticed what that in one of the middle turns I think you disembarked your scouts and afterwards moved more than 6"/turbo boosted, which I think is no allowed.

    1. Cheers Chris.

      As long as the vehicle did not move before the squad disembarked, it can move normally afterwards.