Thursday 9 March 2017

Birthday Bash Tournament Battle Report 3- Deathwatch vs Khorne Daemon Kin

My final game of Birthday Bash was to be against Liam and his phenomenal Khorne Daemon Kin army. With two wins each under our belts, this was sure to be a very tough match up for both armies. 

Liam actually has his own blog, Blue Warp Studios, which is well worth checking out and following. As you will see from the photos below, his army was absolutely stunning, featuring some amazing painting and conversions. Not only did it look great, it looked like a nasty force to fight as well. 

This mission would be Cloak and Shadows with Hammer and Anvil deployment. This is the mission where you draw three cards per turn, but keep them secret from your opponent until you score them.

My army consisted of:
Watch Captain Artemis (with VV)
5 Veterans- 3 Frag Cannons, Storm Shield (V1)
Drop Pod (DP1)
5 Veterans- Meltagun, 2 Combi-meltas, Auspex (V2)
Drop Pod (DP2)
5 Veterans- 5 Deathwatch Shotguns, Storm Shield (V3)
Drop Pod (DP3)
5 Veterans- 5 Stalker Pattern Bolters (V4)
4 Bikers- Power Weapons, Meltabombs (B1)
4 Bikers- Power Weapons, Meltabombs (B2)
4 Vanguard Veterans- 2 Heavy Thunder Hammers, 2 Pairs of Lightning Claws (VV)
Corvus Blackstar- Inferno Halo Launcher (CB)

Artemis was my warlord and his warlord trait would grant me one extra change to my Mission Tactics (so two in total). This time, I decided to put Artemis with the Vanguard Veterans in the Corvus Blackstar to keep him safe. I figured the Drop Pod units would be quickly killed upon landing, so wanted to try and save my warlord a bit longer.

Liam's army consisted of:
Bloodthirster of Insensate Rage- Great Axe of Khorne, Warp-forged Armour (B)
8 Cultists- Champion, Autoguns, Mark of Khorne (C1)
8 Cultists- Champion, Autoguns, Mark of Khorne (C2)
3 Chaos Spawn- Mark of Khorne (CS)
Heldrake- Baleflamer, Daemon of Khorne (H)
Defiler- Battle Cannon, Daemon of Khorne, TL Heavy Flamer (D1)
Defiler- Battle Cannon, Daemon of Khorne, TL Heavy Flamer (D2)
Chaos Knight Errant- Daemon of Khorne, Dirge Caster, Foe-reaper Chainsword, Heavy Stubber, Thermal Cannon (CK)

His warlord was the Bloodthirster, with his warlord trait allowing him to automatically pass the test to summon a Bloodthirster if he wished to.
I have never played Khorne Daemon Kin before, so was not too sure what I would be facing. I knew that the more units he or I killed would be working to give him bonuses. Not too much of a problem, as I wasn't confident about killing much in his army!

The Bloodthirster would tear apart anything it came into contact with, but fortunately was not a Gargantuan creature. This meant my poisoned shells and Stalker Bolters could actually do some damage against him. The Cultists would fall easily, and being the only objective secured units, I would try and take them out quickly, even if it meant giving up Blood Points. Spawn are a tough unit to kill, but no mark of Nurgle would make this a bit easier. They are fast and tough in combat, so I would need to try and stay away.
The Defilers would be annoying with so little anti-tank in my army, the Heldrake is a nightmare for Marine armies and would decimate my units if left free. I would just need to hope that my Corvus could take care of it early on.
Finally, the Knight. Oh boy, the Knight. I didn't think my army had the tools to deal with it. Statistically, if I sent the Frag Cannons and Meltagun squad after it, I should be able to kill it. Just one of these units would be lucky to put a couple of penetrating hits on it and probably not take it out. Was it worth sacrificing two powerful units on the off chance they could destroy it? Probably not. My plan with the Knight was to avoid it and hope my cover saves would keep me safe from the cannon, and hopefully avoid combat where I could. If it had to be dealt with, perhaps Artemis' Stasis Grenade could be the hail Mary I needed or the Heavy Thunder Hammers could do some damage. I actually forgot that I could choose an additional warlord trait from the Escalation table (as per the rules of the tournament), but I don't think this would have made a difference to my plan.

We set up the objectives as shown below:

I won the roll for deployment zone and chose the side with the ruins in it. I wanted the best cover saves possible for my army and to try and slow the advance of the Khorne Daemons.

I also won the roll for deployment and chose to go first. I put the Stalker Marines in the ruins to the right, holding one objective. One unit of Bikers went in the centre, ready to advance on any objectives, the second unit went on the right to hold the objective there. My plan was to just focus on grabbing the maelstrom points, only killing the enemy units where necessary and hoping to stay alive.

In reply, Liam deployed his Spawn, Bloodthirster and a unit of Cultists on the right. The second unit of Cultists and a Defiler went in the centre. He deployed the final Defiler on the left. The Chaos Knight went right at the back of the board on the left. He didn't want the Meltagun squad getting to the vulnerable rear armour. That worked for me, as it kept him out of charge range for much longer.

Liam rolled to seize the initiative and he managed it! This could all go quite badly for me.


The disciples of Khorne advanced on their Deathwatch foe, many units running to quicken the spilling of blood for their patron.

The mighty Chaos Knight fired its Thermal Cannon at the Veterans in the ruins in front of it. The shot scattered off target, hitting one of the Deathwatch, but failing to wound. I chose to go to ground as the shot hit, as I wanted to keep them alive for as long as possible.

A Defiler fired at the Bikers in front of it, killing one of the Jinking Bikers with its Battle Cannon. The second Defiler fired at the same unit, but its aim was off target and caused no damage.

At the end of his very quick turn, Liam scored Objective 5 and discarded Scour the Skies.

In my first turn, I drew Objective 3, Objective 6 and Scour the Skies. I enacted the Heavy Support Mission Tactics, hoping it would help me deal with a Defiler.

The Drop Pod carrying the Frag Cannon Veterans arrived, landing besides Objective 1 and the Defiler. The second Drop Pod carrying the Meltagun Veterans landed on Objective 3. My plan was to take out one of the Defilers to try and score First Blood. The Meltagun Veterans were going to clear the Cultists off of Objective 3 to score that. I figured that I would lose both units, but they would be worth it to score two points this turn.

One unit of Bikers moved to secure the objective in front of them, while the other unit retreated out of range of the approaching Chaos Spawn.

In the shooting phase, the Deathwatch fired their Frag Cannons into the rear of the Defiler. The Daemon engine could not survive such punishing fire and it blew up, killing two of the nearby Cultists. The Drop Pod opened fire, killing another one of the squad. The Stalker Marines snap fired at the squad, killing another one of the Khorne devotees.

The second Deathwatch team fired at the Cultists beside them, killing three of the squad. This was enough to break the squad and they fled from the Deathwatch.

The Bikers fired at the approaching Chaos Spawn, wounding one of them twice.

At the end of my turn, I scored Objective 3, Objective 6 and First Blood. I discarded Scour the Skies.

Khorne Daemon Kin- 1
Deathwatch- 3


The Heldrake arrived, moving on the field to target the Deathwatch now surrounding the Daemonic horde. The Bloodthirster and Spawn turned around, their attention drawn by the carnage occurring behind them. With a bellow, the Bloodthirster roared at the Cultists and stopped them from fleeing (Liam rallied the Cultists).

The Defiler on the left flank continued its advance, as the Chaos Knight climbed the landing pad to target the new enemies before him.

The Heldrake opened fire at the Frag Cannon Veterans with its Baleflamer. I had positioned the Storm Shield at the back to try and block the shots, but he failed his first save and four of the squad perished in the daemonic flame.
The Knight fired its Thermal Cannon at the nearest Drop Pod, but the shot scattered onto the nearby Cultists, killing two of the squad. The lone survivor broke and fled from the rocks he was sheltering in.
Run for your lives!

The Defiler fired its Battle Cannon at the four backfield Bikers, slaying one of the Jinking riders. The Deathwatch held firm, after passing their morale test.

The Knight attempted to assault the Drop Pod, but failed to make the charge distance.

The Bloodthirster launched himself at the Deathwatch in front of him, bellowing a challenge as he went and bringing down one Veteran as he crashed into their ranks. The Deathwatch struck at the Greater Daemon in vain, wounding him twice, but the Beast's armour protected him from harm. In reply, the Blood Thirster struck down only two of the Deathwatch, obviously toying with them (Liam had a horrendous set of To Hit rolls and only killed two Veterans). The Deathwatch attempted to flee the combat, but remained locked in.

The Spawn assaulted the lone Deathwatch Marine in the centre. He struck at them valiantly, but was easily brought down by their massed attacks.

At the end of his turn, Liam scored Hungry for Glory.

This turn, I drew Objective 5, No Prisoners (kill an enemy unit) and Assassinate (kill an enemy character). I changed my Mission Tactics to Fast Attack.

The Deathwatch reserves arrived. The third Drop Pod landed behind the Chaos Cultists, while the Corvus Blackstar moved on at full speed to engage the enemy flyer.

The Bikers holding the Objective retreated slightly, while the other unit of Bikers moved behind the safety of the ruins. My plan was to eliminate the Cultist squad with my Shotguns, scoring me No Prisoners and Assassinate. I positioned a unit of Bikers to be at maximum turbo-boost range of Objective 5, so that I could hopefully score it next turn without being assaulted in this turn.

The newly arrived Deathwatch fired their Shotguns at the Cultists, easily obliterating them with their Wyrmsbreath shells (template attack).

The Drop Pods fired at the Chaos Spawn, but failed to do any damage.

The Corvus Blackstar fired at the Heldrake (Liam chose not to Jink). The Assault Cannon struck at the enemy flyer, but did no damage. I fired three Missiles at the Daemon Engine. Only one hit, but it failed to do any damage!

In the combat, the Bloodthirster finished off the rest of the squad and consolidated towards the Shotgun Veterans.

At the end of my turn, I scored Assassinate and No Prisoners.

Khorne Daemon Kin- 2
Deathwatch- 5

At the end of turn 2, I was gaining a strong lead in maelstrom points, but I was losing squads fast. Annoyingly, I had not managed to take out or even hamper the Heldrake, which would prove costly, I am sure.

Khorne was pleased with the slaughter occurring on the field and granted a boon to his followers, granting them all Feel No Pain.

The lone Cultist continued to flee, as the Bloodthirster advanced on the Deathwatch in front of him. The Knight moved towards one Drop Pod, as the Spawn moved to secure the objective. The Defiler continued its advance on the left flank.

The Heldrake surged towards the Bikers, Vector Striking the Deathwatch flyer, but failing to do any harm. The Daemon Engine fired its flamer at the Bikers, consuming one of them. The Defiler added his firepower to the attack, but failed to kill any of the Jinking Bikers. The survivors held firm.

The Chaos Knight assaulted the Drop Pod. Liam chose not to fire his Thermal Cannon with the Spawn nearby. He was suitably berated for being a poor devotee of Khorne. He cares not where the blood comes from! The Drop Pod was easily obliterated by the Knights massive Chainsword.

The Bloodthirster assaulted the Deathwatch Veterans, easily wiping them out and suffering no damage in return.

At the end of his turn, Liam scored Objective 3 and discarded Objective 4.

This turn, I drew Objective 2 and Big Game Hunter (destroy an enemy vehicle or monstrous creature) and had Objective 5 from last turn.

The Deathwatch Bikers moved to secure the objectives, one turbo-boosted into range of the Defiler, the other moving into the nearby ruins. The Corvus Blackstar turned towards the Defiler, hoping to damage the enemy vehicle.

The Stalker Marines opened fire on the Spawn, wounding them three times, but their cover and Feel No Pain saves protected them. The Drop Pod fired at the lone Cultist, killing him.

The Corvus Blackstar fired at the Defiler, penetrating it once with its Assault Cannon. The Daemon was able to shake off the effects of the stunning.

At the end of my turn, I scored Objective 2 and Objective 5, and chose to discard Big Game Hunter.

Khorne Daemon Kin- 3
Deathwatch- 7


The Heldrake moved to the right flank, hovering above the Deathwatch Bikers. The Defiler advanced on the second Bike squad, while the Chaos Knight and Spawn moved into the central ruins. The Bloodthirster moved up on the nearby Drop Pod.

The Heldrake fired at the Bikers, killing two of the squad. The survivor passed his morale test.

The Knight fired at the Stalker Marines, killing one of the squad with his Thermal Cannon and failing to wound with its Heavy Stubber.

The Bloodthirster assaulted the Drop Pod, easily blowing it up. The exploding Drop Pod managed to take a wound from the mighty Greater Daemon, the first damage it had suffered in the game (now all I needed was four more exploding Drop Pods!).

The Defiler charged the Deathwatch Bikers. The Deathwatch struck with a Krak Grenade, but failed to do any harm. In return, the Defiler cut down the two Bikers. To add insult to the injury, Liam made his It Will Not Die roll and recovered his lost Hull Point.

At the end of his turn, Liam scored Behind Enemy Lines and Objective 6.

This turn, I drew Objective 4, Blood and Guts and Overwhelming Firepower.

The Corvus Blackstar left the field, hoping to come around for another pass on the Daemons. The last remaining Biker moved up to engage the Heldrake.

The Stalker Marines fired at the Chaos Spawn, wounding them once.

The Biker assaulted the Heldrake. The Deathwatch Marine struck at the Heldrake with his Meltabombs, penetrating the enemy vehicle. Liam failed his Daemonic save, but made his Feel No Pain roll. I had a few choice words about Khorne Daemon Kin vehicles getting a FNP roll!

At the end of my turn, I scored Objective 4 and discarded Overwhelming Firepower.

Khorne Daemon Kin- 5
Deathwatch- 8

This were still close at the end of turn 4. I had very few units left, but still had a lead in the maelstrom points. Hopefully, I could keep scoring points to maintain my lead as Liam racked up more points.


The Heldrake moved to engage the last Biker, as the Knight advanced on the Stalker Marines. The Chaos Spawn moved to secure the objective in the ruins to their right, as the Defiler claimed the objective he was on. The Bloodthirster took to the air, swooping across the field towards the remaining Deathwatch.

The Chaos Knight opened fire on the Stalker Marines, hitting twice with his Thermal Cannon, but rolling a double 1 to wound! The Heavy Stubber fired at the unit and managed to kill one.

The Heldrake killed the last of the Deathwatch Bikers.

At the end of his turn, Liam scored Objective 2 and Supremacy.

This turn, I drew Behind Enemy Lines (have a unit in the enemy deployment zone), Hungry for Glory (issue a challenge) and Blood and Guts (kill a unit in assault). This was not good, as I would be unable to achieve any of these this turn.

The Corvus Blackstar returned, moving on near the Chaos Spawn.

The Stalker Marines fired at the Spawn, killing one of them finally. The Corvus fired at the Bloodthrister, but failed to wound the mighty Daemon.

At the end of my turn, I scored no points and discarded Behind Enemy Lines.

Khorne Daemon Kin- 7
Deathwatch- 8

This were incredibly close. If the game ended now, it would be a draw as Liam would score Linebreaker. I rolled for it and the game continued for another turn.


The Bloodthirster landed beside the Stalker marines, as the Knight advanced on their position. The Heldrake launched itself at the Corvus Blackstar, glancing it with its Vector Strike.

The Chaos Knight fired at the Stalker Marines, killing two of them. The survivors passed their morale test. He then attempted to assault the squad, but failed the charge! He would have made it had he not killed the two models in the shooting phase.

At the end of his turn, Liam scored no points.

This turn, I drew Ascendency (control 3 objectives) and had Hungry for Glory and Blood and Guts. If I could kill the Spawn in combat, I would be able to score two objectives and re-gain my lead.

The Corvus Blackstar moved to secure the objective in the ruins, Artemis leading the Vanguard Veterans out of the flyer to target the Spawn.

The lone Stalker Marine fired at the Spawn, killing another of the squad. The Corvus fired at the Heldrake, penetrating it once and forcing it to snap fire, but once more the Daemon ignored the damage.

Artemis led his squad in an assault on the last Chaos Spawn. He struck at the Daemon, wounding it once, but its daemonic save protected it. The Vanguard Veterans struck at it, ripping it apart with their Lightning Claws. The squad consolidated onto the objective.

At the end of my turn, I scored Ascendency and Blood and Guts.

Liam rolled to see if the game would end there and it did!

Khorne Daemon Kin- 8 (inc. Linebreaker)
Deathwatch- 10 (inc. First Blood)
End of the game.

A win for the Deathwatch!

Thanks to Liam for an absolutely fantastic game. Even though we were both on two wins and had the potential to do very well with a first win, it was a really relaxed game and I had a blast laughing and joking with him before, during and after the game.

I think that my plan worked well overall. Sacrificing my units to score points each turn was useful and helped distract the Spawn, Knight and Bloodthirster from my main battleline. This was great for keeping my Bikers alive for longer and allowing them to grab objectives.

I also think I made the right choice in not going after the Chaos Knight and Bloodthirster with my units. I may have been able to kill them off in turn 1, but that would have been a very big risk had I failed to do so. I would have lost both units anyway, but would not have scored any maelstrom points for doing so.

Once again, my Storm Shields proved to be pretty inept, failing their save on the first wound in each case and dying without really doing anything. I would probably leave these off the next time and just accept the fact that the unit is going to die.

I did get lucky with the cards and the game ending on turn 6. Had the game gone on an extra turn, I think I may have struggled with the win, if Liam was able to draw some good cards. I would assume that Artemis would die, giving up Slay the Warlord, so he would just need one more point to draw the game and two to win it.

For fun, we decided to do a fake combat between the Vanguard Veterans and Chaos Knight, just to see what may have happened had the game gone on. Artemis struck the Knight with his Stasis Grenade and I rolled a 6 on the D table- obliterating the Knight completely! This would have been a very fun outcome for the game, but I doubt we would have got there. The Heldrake and Knight's Thermal Cannon would have most likely taken care of the squad.

Once all the games were completed, the results were announced. I was stunned to hear that I had won the entire event. There were a number of players with three wins, but I had manged to rack up the biggest victory points total in the games, by one point! I was very happy with the win, getting a nice trophy, certificate and a £20 voucher for Wargames. It was a fantastic end to a fantastic day.

I will be doing my customary review of my army, as well as posting the Armies on Display photos and a review of the tournament itself. I hope you have enjoyed the three battle reports and my ongoing efforts with the Deathwatch army. 


  1. Great read, seems you had blast! :)

    1. It was awesome Jimmy. Thoroughly recommend it if it goes ahead next year.

    2. Who knows, I don't mind visiting the UK again! :)

  2. Great stuff Mike - and thoroughly deserved, you've been a top end player at these sorts of things for a while now so it's great to see 1st place go to such a nice and deserving guy - especially as I know from experience that your luck with dice can be almost as bad as mine!

    1. *blushes* Cheers Nick! I thought my bad luck had come back at the end of game 2, but I managed to push through it!

  3. Congrats! Nice to see Deathwatch putting out results when in the hands of a great player!

  4. As Nick said, you've been right up in the mix at many an event so this is well deserved! I'm definitely sure that I was the one making mistakes in our doubles game at her for a day!

    The Deathwatch also look really good on the table as well :) top stuff, top bloke!

    1. Thanks Rob! Yeah, I'm really happy to have finally come first at one of these events. I can relax at the others from now on ;)

    2. Also, didn't we win our Hero for a Day game? There were plenty of mistakes all round, but we pulled out that win in the end!

  5. Sound like it was a cracking games and congrats on the well deserved win!

  6. Wow man, good job! I've always thought you were a good player, with your DA and White Scars, too. Congrats! I bet it's not your first 1st place either!

    In regards to the game, it was cool to see KDK on your blog. I think it's a really unique and cool army with interesting mechanics. I also think your opponent suffered a bit from bad target priority - the Bloodthirster seems to have done alright but the Knight was more of a living statue than a factor, it seems? When you bring expensive models like that imo you need to make sure to not waste a turn or two.

    1. Cheers Chris! It is actually my first 1st place at an event. The closest I have got is 2nd in a 1250 pts tournament last year. I seem to get to the top table in the smaller events, but end up losing my final game. I seriously thought that was going to happen here too!

      KDK are a great army, can't believe this is the first time I've ever faced them. I think I was right to ignore the Knight as I said above. He didn't really achieve much in the game.

      Now, I just need to get practicing with the Genestealer Cults and win it with them next year ;)

  7. Congratulations on a well deserved win. The battle reports show well what a focused, elite army list can do if you stick to the mission. Each time reading through the reports I expected it to come down to a tabling. Instead you held on and made good use of maelstrom points to stay ahead.

    Great stuff!

    1. Thanks Dave. I think it is so important to focus on the mission in maelstrom. Killing the enemy is fine and a great tactic, but only if it helps you achieve your goals. As you saw, I frequently went after the Cultists when there were bigger threats around, but only because it would score me more points in that turn than trying to take out the Knight or Bloodthirster.

  8. The Main rulebook FAQ states that vehicles don't take FNP as FNP is against wounds, not penetrating hits.

    1. This is what I was planning to ask about... is there some KDK specific rule or FAQ that give sthe helldrake FNP? As far as I can tell it's against wounds, not hullpoints. IWND can be for either, but FNP is specific..

      But congrats on the win regardless :)

    2. Nope, KDK don't have any exception for that. Their vehicles can't benefit from FNP. Also, Spawn aren't actually Daemons, and don't get a Daemon Save.

      I'm not actually particularly impressed by that KDK Army or how he ran it. Would have been better with Soul Grinders instead of the Defilers, and Bloodletters instead of Culties. The Gorepack is also fantastic in Maelstrom Missions, as are MaulerFiends and solo Spawn.

      I would have been rather more worried about the White Scars than this list.

    3. Thanks for the info guys. I'll know for next time and take down that damn flying Turkey!

  9. Great win. Your opponent also played his knight badly. They can target multiple units. It should have been shooting the melta cannon at far things and the stubbed at close things to charge.