Friday, 7 June 2019

Rapid Strike Tournament: Game 3- Deathwatch vs Drukhari

Game 3 of the 40k Rapid Strike tournament saw my Deathwatch take on a tough Drukhari force featuring a ton of Grotesques and Talos engines. 

This game was Tactical Escalation, where you get one card on turn 1, two cards on turn 2, etc. This means you need to keep your army alive for longer in order to grab the objectives later in the game. 

My army consisted of:
Patrol Detachment (Deathwatch)
Watch Master- Guardian Spear
Watch Captain- Jump Pack, Thunder Hammer, Storm Shield, Bolt Pistol, Castellan of the Black Vault, The Beacon Angelis
Kill Team- 7 Veterans with Storm Bolters, Chainswords and 2 Storm Shields, Terminator with Storm Bolter and Power Fist, Vanguard Veteran with Storm Shield and Bolt Pistol, Biker with Twin Boltgun. 
10 Intercessors- Bolt Rifles, Bolt Pistols
5 Vanguard Veterans- Bolt Pistols, Chainswords, Hand Flamer
6 Bikers- Sergeant with Storm Bolter and Storm Shield, Twin Bolters, Chainswords
Razorback- Twin Lascannon, Storm Bolter

Joe's army consisted of:
Patrol Detachment (Drukhari, Haemonculus Coven)
Haemonculus- Diabolical Soothsayer, Electrocorrosive whip, Stinger Pistol, The Vexator Mask
7 Wracks- Acothyst, Haemonculus Tools
9 Grotesques- Monstrous Cleavers, Flesh Gauntlet
5 Mandrakes- Baleblast, Glimmersteel Blade
5 Scourges- Haywire Blasters, Shardcarbine
3 Talos- Chain Flails, Macro Scalpels, 2 Haywire Blasters each
Venom- Bladevanes, Flickerfield, Night Shield, 2 Splinter Cannons

A combat-heavy army with a lot of Haywire firepower for taking on my one tank. Much of the army would have a 4+ invulnerable save, so my high AP rounds were of little use in this game. However, the Hellfire Bolts would prove invaluable to taking on the tough Drukhari units. I would need to hope that my superior firepower could make a dent in the enemy army before they get to my lines.

We set up the objectives as shown below. I was able to place much of them on one side of the table and chose the deployment zone with many of the objectives. Joe's army was going to come to me anyway, so I may as well force them to go after the objectives.

I deployed the Razorback and a unit of Bikers on my left flank. The Intercessors went in the centre and to the right flank in cover, with the Watch Captain behind the central unit. The other unit of Bikers went on the right flank, with the Watch Master, Vanguard Veterans and Kill Team in reserve.

Joe deployed at the front of his deployment zone, the Wracks on the right, the Grotesques in the centre and Talos on the right. The Haemonculus went in the centre, with the Mandrakes in a Venom on the left. The Scourges went in reserve to deploy later.

Joe chose to take the first turn and I failed to seize the initiative. For our bonus cards in this mission, we each chose Take and Hold. For each of these types of card that we scored, we would get a bonus point. These were all Secure Objective cards, so we would be going after the objectives, putting me in a good position.

In his first turn, Joe drew Trophy Hunter. I had to select an objective and character and Joe would score points for holding the objective and killing the character. I chose Objective 2, deep in my deployment zone and the Watch Master. For my mission tactics, I chose Elites to target the Grotesques.

The Drukhari forces advanced, eager to get up on the enemy lines. The Venom moved up on one of the central objectives.

In the shooting phase, the Talos fired their Haywire Blasters at the Razorback, putting four wounds on it. The Mandrakes fired at the enemy vehicle, but failed to do any damage. The Venom fired at the Bikers to the left of them, doing one wound on the squad.

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

In my first turn, I drew Supremacy.

On the left flank, the Bikers moved up on the Wracks, while the other Biker squad moved up into range of the Talos.

The Bikers on the left fired on the Wracks. Some terrible rolling saw only 5 of my 16 shots hit and wound four times, killing three of the squad. The Intercessors in the centre fired at them, killing one more.

The Razorback fired at the Talos, hitting once but failing to wound. The Bikers and Intercessors on the right flank added their firepower, doing two wounds with their combined firepower.

In the charge phase, the Bikers assaulted the remaining Wracks, hoping to score First Blood. The Bikers did one wound that was saved, taking no damage in reply.

At the end of my turn, I scored Supremacy and rolled a 1 for the D3 roll, annoyingly!

Drukhari- 0
Deathwatch- 1

In his second turn, Joe drew Secure Objective 3 to go with Trophy Hunter.

The Grotesques turned back to target the Bikers behind them, while the Talos and Haemonculus moved up on the Deathwatch lines. At the end of the phase, Joe used the Black Cornucopians stratagem to remove the Wracks unit and redeploy them on the left flank at full strength. The Scourges arrived on the right flank, behind the Bastion.

The Scourges opened fire on the Razorback, but only managed a single mortal wound on the vehicle. The Talos added their firepower, but failed to do any damage.

The Mandrakes fired on the Intercessors to the left of them, doing a single wound. The Venom fired at the Intercessors in the centre, doing 5 wounds, but failing to get past their armour. The Haemonculus fired at the Bikers, but failed to do any harm.

In the charge phase, the Wracks attempted to assault the Bikers, losing three to overwatch and failing to make the charge. The Grotesques assaulted the Bikers, easily killing them.

At the end of his turn, Joe scored First Blood, Secure Objective 3 and a bonus point for getting a Take and Hold objective.

In my second turn, I drew Defend Objective 3 and Scour the Skies.

The Watch Captain moved up on the Venom, while the Bikers on the right moved up on the Wracks. The Deathwatch reserves arrived, landing in front of the Talos.

The Razorback fired its Storm Bolter at the Scourges, killing one, while the Lascannons targeted the Venom. I did two wounds with a CP re-roll, one of which got through to do four damage.

The Intercessors in the centre fired at the Scourges, killing three in total. The second squad fired at the Scourges, hitting three times but failing to do a single wound on a 3+.

The Storm Bolter Veterans fired on the Talos, doing 30 wounds with their Hellfire Bolts. The squad took 8 wounds, killing one of the pain engines. The Watch Master added his firepower, doing two damage on one of them. The Bikers added their firepower, doing another two wounds and leaving one of one wound.

The Watch Captain charged the Venom, taking one wound in overwatch, while the Bikers assaulted the Wracks.

The Watch Captain struck at the Venom with his Thunder Hammer, destroying it and killing two of the Mandrakes inside. The Bikers did four wounds on the Wracks, but they were all saved. The Wracks managed to bring down one Biker in reply.

In the morale phase, the last Scourge fled the field. At the end of my turn, I scored Scour the Skies and discarded Defend Objective 3.

Drukhari- 3
Deathwatch- 2

I was currently losing in points, but felt I was in a good position. I had a lot of firepower on the table, but the remaining units were proving very tough to take out with that firepower.

In his third turn, Joe drew Defend Objective 1, Defend Objective 6 and Pain in all its Forms (kill a unit in the shooting and fight phase).

Joe used a stratagem to heal 3 wounds on the Talos. The Grotesques and Talos moved up on the newly arrived Kill Team, while the Mandrakes moved up on the Watch Captain. I made an error here, forgetting to use Intercepting Volley to fire on the Talos with the Kill Team. I might have been able to kill off one more of the squad, or even the whole unit with my firepower.

In the shooting phase, the Mandrakes fired on the Watch Captain, doing one mortal wound. The Talos fired at the Razorback, taking two mortal wounds from it.

In the charge phase, the Haemonculus charged the Kill Team, blocking their overwatch with his relic. The Talos and Grotesques followed him in, the latter making a 9" charge.

Joe used a 2CP stratagem to allow the Grotesques to re-roll to wound, and easily wiped out the Veteran squad. The Grotesques consolidated into the Razorback, while the Talos went into the Intercessors in front of them. The Primaris Marines struck at the Talos, but failed to do any damage.

The Mandrakes attacked the Watch Captain, but did no harm. In reply, the Captain cut down the last three Mandrakes with his Thunder Hammer.

At the end of his turn, Joe scored no points and discarded Pain in all its Forms.

In my third turn, I drew Secure Objective 3, Secure Objective 5 and Defend Objective 6.

The Watch Captain moved up on the objective, while the central Intercessor squad fell back to secure the other object, ensuring that they were out of range of the Grotesques to stop them from being felled in combat. The Watch Master moved up on the Haemonculus.

At the end of the phase, I brought in the Vanguard Veterans. I landed them on the Bastion, ready to go after any of the nearby objectives or linebreaker, depending on what cards I drew.

In the shooting phase, the Watch Master fired on the Talos, taking two wounds from one. The Intercessors added their firepower, doing one more wound.

In the charge phase, the Watch Master assaulted the Haemonculus, Grotesques and Talos. The Haemonculus used his ability to ensure that the Watch Master struck last (I had forgotten about this ability!).

The Bikers struck at the Wracks, killing two of the squad, leaving one remaining. The Talos then attacked the Watch Master, killing him, while the Grotesques took out the Razorback. The Wracks struck at the Bikers, but failed to do any damage.

I used 3CP on Honour the Chapter to fight again with the Bikers. If I could kill the last Wrack, I could deny Joe from scoring Defend Objective 1. The Bikers struck at the last Wrack, doing a single wound, which was saved.

At the end of my turn, I scored Secure Objective 3 (plus the bonus point) and Secure Objective 5, discarding Defend Objective 6. Joe also scored Defend Objective 1.

Drukhari- 5
Deathwatch- 5

The end of turn 3 saw things very close, with each player on 5 points. The Drukhari definitely had the upper hand in terms of army strength remaining.

In his fourth turn, Joe drew Defend Objective 6, Advance, Supremacy and Fear and Terror (cause a failed morale test).

The Talos moved up on the Intercessor on the left flank, while the Haemonculus went after the other unit of Intercessors. The Grotesques moved off to target the Watch Captain. Joe used Black Cornucopians once more to pull the last Wrack off the board and deploy on the other flank, next to the objective.

The Talos fired at the Intercessors, but failed to do any damage. The Haemonculus fired at the other unit of Intercessors, but also failed to do any harm.

In the charge phase, the Grotesques assaulted the Watch Captain, the Haemonculus and Talos each charged a unit of Intercessors.

The Talos struck at the Intercessors, killing four and leaving one in the squad alive. The Haemonculus managed to kill two more Intercessors. The Grotesques cut down the Watch Captain. The attacks back from the Intercessors did no damage, both squads passing their morale tests.

At the end of his turn, Joe had failed to take out the Intercessors to secure the objectives. He scored Advance and Slay the Warlord.

In my fourth turn, I drew Mission Critical Objective (objective 4), Overwhelming Firepower, Secure Objective 2 and Psychological warfare.

The Biker advanced onto the objective, while the Vanguard Veterans moved into the enemy deployment zone. The Intercessors units fell back, ensuring they remained in range of the objective.

With no shooting or combat, my turn ended. I scored Mission Critical Objective and Secure Objective 2 (along with a bonus point). Joe also scored Defend Objective 6.

We ran out of time and the game ended. We each scored Linebreaker and I scored another bonus point for scoring more of my chosen objectives.

Drukhari- 10
Deathwatch- 10

A draw for the Deathwatch and Drukhari.

Thanks to Joe for a great game, it was very tactical and a hard fought draw. This is why I'm a huge fan of maelstrom games. Had this been Eternal War or the ETC mission format, I would likely have lost the game by a big margin against such a tough force. However, by focusing on the cards drawing and making tactical decisions to maximise my score, I was able to give Joe a good game of it in the end.

I made a number of tactical errors in this game that may have helped me win the game.

One of the first ones was mentioned above. I could have used Intercepting Volley on turn 3 when the Talos moved into range of the Storm Bolter Kill Team. This allows you to fire on a unit of Aeldari with Fly that moves into 12". This may have allowed me to kill off another of another Talos with my Hellfire Bolts, or both if I got very lucky. This may have helped me in later turns, allowing the Intercessors to shoot in the following turn.

It also might have been worth landing the Storm Bolter Kill Team behind the Grotesques and Talos, instead of in my deployment zone. This may have force Joe to go after them, moving away from my main lines and the objectives to take them out.

I also made an error with the Mission Tactics. I chose Elites to go after the Grotesques, but wasn't really able to target them during the course of the game with my firepower. I probably would have been better choosing Troops or Heavy Support.

Another big error was in the combat against the Wracks with the Bikers on turn 3. I forgot about the Beacon Angelis on the Watch Captain. This would have allowed me to move the Biker squad out of combat and allow them to fire on and assault the Wracks once more, allowing me to target them with other units as well. Had I killed off the Wracks on turn 3, this would have denied Joe at least 4 points from two "Defend Objective" cards. This came down to lack of practice with the army, as I don't use the Beacon Angelis so often.

Alternatively, the Bikers can fall back and still charge. This would have allowed me to target the Wracks with the Intercessors and Watch Master to diminish their number further, possibly allowing the Bikers to finish them off.

Joe could have made more of a focus on the objectives as well. On turn 3, he had 2 Defend Objective cards that he probably could have gotten with his units, certainly objective 6. Pulling the Wracks out of combat and putting them on objective 6 earlier would have scored him a few more points and given him the win. He may have been more focused on taking out the Deathwatch forces and ignoring the objectives.

Again, on turn 4, he might have been able to get Supremacy. Had he sent the Wracks after objective 6 (using the stratagem), and put the Talos on objective 4, rather than going after the Intercessors. The Grotesques could have got objective 3, giving him the three objectives and D3 more points. Saying that though, had the game gone on another turn, he would have likely taken the lead, getting Supremacy with ease.

Overall, a fun game and challenging game. I was on two wins and a draw, putting me in a good position, with a good number of points.

Rapid Strike 2019
Game 1- Deathwatch vs Astra Militarum
Game 2- Deathwatch vs Black Legion Chaos Space Marines
Game 3- Deathwatch vs Drukhari
Game 4- Deathwatch vs Black Templars Space Marines
Game 5- Deathwatch vs T'au


  1. I'm really enjoying reading these reports and I love the format of the event. How long do the games last for?
    My biggest issue with 8th edition has always been that most of the Tourney scene's insistence on 2000pt 3 hour games. At 3 hours the game quickly became a chore for me rather than an entertaining immersive game like this format feels like.
    Keep up the good work Mike, I'm looking forward to reading about the rest.

    1. Cheers, glad you are enjoying them. They've actually been really quick to write up too, which has been nice.
      Each game was 90 minutes, which seemed short, but most game went to at least turn 4.

    2. 90 minutes sounds perfect to me....which is probably why I always preferred 5th edition because the games were usually that long ;-)

  2. Another well-played match. Nice job pulling out the draw. I'm not surprised that this game ended up having some errors. Even at lower Points levels, by the third game in a day, the mind starts to get kind of overwhelmed.