Thursday 14 May 2015

Battle Report 3- 1850 pts White Scars vs Death Guard/Imperial Knight

Last weekend I managed to get in a couple of practice games with my White Scars army for blog wars. The game was against Jamie from Warsoc (St Andrews wargaming club) and he was bringing his 30k Death Guard army with allied Imperial Knight. I asked him to bring the knight along as he is the only player in our club with one and I wanted to see how well my army might handle one.
Jamie has a really nice looking heresy army and I was fighting along with it at our apocalypse battle last month. I knew it was a tough army, but wanted to see how my white scars would go up against it.

The battle in full swing.

The army I took was:
Kor'sarro Khan on Moondakken 
Chapter Master- bike, artificer armour, power fist, shield eternal, auspex
10 Sternguard veterans in drop pod
5 Bikers- 2 x grav guns, sergeant with meltabombs
5 Bikers- 2 x grav guns, sergeant with meltabombs
5 Bikers- 2 x meltaguns, sergeant with meltabombs
10 tactical marines- grav gun, sergeant with meltabombs, in Rhino
10 tactical marines- flamer, sergeant with meltabombs, in Rhino
2 Attack bikes- Multimeltas
5 Scouts- sergeant with meltabombs in Landspeeder storm.

My army arrayed for battle.
My warlord trait was on the personal table and gave me Fearless and It Will not Die, quite handy to have on a tooled up chapter master.
Jamie took:
Death Guard Praetor
2 x Legion tactical squads
5 Deathshroud Terminators
Contemptor dreadnought with Kheres assault cannon
Contemptor dreadnought with Kheres assault cannon
Sicaran tank
Land raider
Imperial Knight
Jamie's warlord trait made his warlord fearless and gave a +1 combat resolution to everyone within 6".

They can't be that tough, right?......
We decided to play the blog wars maelstrom mission featuring a modified objectives deck.
Jamie won the roll to pick side and went with the North side. I won the roll for deployment and chose to deploy second (I wanted to see his overall deployment and then I could possible refuse the flank that the knight was on or focus on it).
Jamie focused his forces on his right flank, the two tactical squads sandwiching the Land raider and Sicaran, while the Knight took position on the left flank.
In response, I deployed most of my army opposite Jamie's main force, ready to advance and seize objectives when needed. I have a lot of anti-tank firepower in my army, but I know a Knight can soak up a lot of firepower thanks to its shields.

Initial deployment and my Scout moves. The objectives are shown in blue.
Jamie's deployment.

My deployment....

.....and subsequent Scout moves.

For my scout moves, I advanced with most of my army, towards the Death Guard and away from the Knight. I failed to seize and Jamie took the first turn.
Jamie rolled up the following objectives:
1. Big game hunter (Destroy an enemy vehicle)
2. Assassinate (kill an enemy character)
3. Ascendency (control 3 objective markers)

Death Guard turn 1- The attack begins.
The tactical squad in the ruins and the nearby Dreadnought moved up towards the rapidly closing bikes, while the Land raider (with terminators inside) moved up behind them to cover. The Sicaran moved towards the left flank, while the Dreadnought and Knight advanced towards the white scars.
The Death Guard flank advance.
The Knight eyes up some potential victims.
The shooting phase started with the Land raider targeting the rhino on the back field. Despite scoring 3 penetrating hits with its lascannons, the rhino was saved by the cover of the ruins. The machine spirit in the mighty vehicle fired at an approaching attack bike, wounding it. The tactical squad on the right flank opened up with the fury of the legion on the meltagun bike squad (a special rule allowing the squad to fire an extra shot, but missing their next turn shooting). Despite the flurry of shots they put out, only 2 wounds were caused, both of which were saved. The dreadnought then opened fire with its powerful assault cannons (these things get six shots each with the Dreadnought hitting on 2's!). The hail of fire wiped out the bike squad (I managed to fail 7 out of eleven 3+ saves). The Sicaran fired at the bike squad led by the Chapter Master. Four wounds were caused, the Chapter Master failing two 2+ saves and taking the damage. The remaining guns on the mighty tank slew two bikers as they took the wounds for their commander.

On the right flank the second dreadnought fired at the front rhino, stripping all its hull points and forcing the squad to disembark. The Knight fired its mighty cannon at the nearby bikes and tactical squad, the bikes escaped harm thanks to their jinking, but the marines were not so lucky, losing three of their number.

At the end of the first turn, Jamie had scored all of his objectives and first strike, gaining him 5 victory points. Not the most auspicious start for the White Scars.

I drew:
1. Capture objective 5
2. Capture objective 3
3. Blood and guts- Destroy an enemy unit in assault.
Not the best of the bunch, I could get objective 5, but objective 3 was firmly in enemy territory. Blood and guts would be difficult with only one unit being able to assault thanks to scout moves.

White Scars turn 1- the counter attack.

The drop pod arrived behind the tactical squad in the centre of the field, the Sternguard spilling out guns at the ready. The rest of the army continued to advance on the enemy.
The Sternguard arrive.
The White Scars continue to advance.
The Chapter Master out for revenge.

On the left flank, the two attack bikes fired at the Dreadnought. One hit, but failed to penetrate the armour. The other hit and penetrated the side armour, but the Dreadnought's invulnerable save blocked the damage.
The newly arrived drop pod fired at the tactical marines, but their armour saved them from harm. The Sternguard fired their AP3 shells at the tactical marines, killing 7. The approaching bikes and landspeeder storm managed to slay the remaining 3 marines, clearing objective 3. On the left flank, the chapter master fired his orbital bombardment at the other tactical squad, killing two, a grav gun from the biker squad accounted for another casualty.
The combined firepower wipes out the tactical squad.

They followed up the firepower with an assault, killing one from a hammer of wrath attack. The bike squad caused no damage, the chapter master killed two of the opposing marines. The Death Guard held firm though, passing their morale check.
The bikers crash into the Death Guard ranks.

At the end of turn 1, I had scored first strike and held objective 5 for two victory points.


Having completed his objectives last turn, Jamie rolled:
1. Claim objective 1
2. No prisoners- Destroy 3 or more enemy units
3. Overwhelming firepower- destroy an enemy unit in the shooting phase.

Death Guard turn 2.

On the left flank, the Knight advanced on Khan's bike squad. On the other flank, the Sicaran advanced onto the hill in the Death Guard deployment zone, while the Dreadnought advanced on the attack bike on the other side of the ruins. The Land raider advanced on the Chapter Master's unit, its Terminator payload spilling out, ready for the attack.
The Sicaran fired its weaponry at the newly arrived Sternguard, killing one. The Dreadnought on the left flank also added its firepower, killing 5 of the veterans (Jamie managed to roll 4 rending wounds from his hits). The Land raider fired at the remaining rhino, glancing it, while its machine spirit fired at the attack bike, failing to wound it. The Dreadnought took aim at the attack bike it was advancing on, killing it.
On the other flank, the Knight fired its cannon at the bike squad. Despite causing 9 wounds on the bike, all were saved by the Jinking white scars. The heavy stubber fired out, finally managing to kill a biker. The Knight charged in to try and finish off the squad, killing one biker with its attack. The sergeant managed to clamp a meltabomb on its enormous leg, causing 2 HP worth of damage (the penetrating hit exploded, causing an additional HP). The mighty stomp attack failed to wound the bikers, but the chaos it caused prevented Khan from marshalling his forces to retreat (I managed to fail my initiative test to hit and run on a 6).
Stomp, Stomp, Stomp....

The terminators assaulted the Chapter Master's bike squad, the white scar's commander bellowing out a challenge. The Preator accepted the challenge, causing a wound on the chapter master. The temerity of the attack threw off the chapter master who failed to hit the Preator in return (I managed to miss with all four attacks!). In the background, the terminators managed to slay one biker. Cutting his losses, the chapter master led his squad in a hit and run retreat.
The survivors retreat from the terminators.

At the end of turn 2, Jamie only scored Overwhelming firepower and discarded claim objective 1.

My objectives this turn were:
1. Claim objective 3 (kept from last turn)
2. Assassinate- kill an enemy character
3. Claim objective 4

White Scars turn 2- the survivors rally (Note: R2 now represent the Stormtalon as I forgot to include it in the army roster).

With a scream of engines, the Stormtalon arrived on the field, coming on from the left flank, behind the Knight. The scouts advanced on the Dreadnought, while the Chapter Master's squad retreated.
The scouts fired at the rear of the Dreadnought, but failed to penetrate the armour. The flyer added its firepower to the attack, penetrating the armour twice, destroying one of its assault cannons and shaking the walker.
The tactical marines survey the slaughter.

The Sternguard turned on the approaching Sicaran, their combi-meltas easily blowing up the battle tank. The nearby attack bike fires at the Dreadnought, hits and penetrates with its multi melta, but is block by the Dreadnought's invulnerable save.
In the assault phase, the Knight failed to kill any bikers with its main attacks. However, its stomp attacks managed to obliterate Khan and another biker (Jamie rolled two 6's on the stomp table). The sergeant's meltabombs failed to hit the mighty war machine.

This turn, I only scored objective 3. I got rid of assassinate, the only character on the field was the Praetor and I would be hard pressed to kill him.


A bit of confusion in the note keeping this turn, I thought Jamie still had Overwhelming firepower, despite scoring it last turn, so his objectives were:
1. Overwhelming firepower- destroy an enemy unit in the shooting phase.
2. Assassinate- kill an enemy character
3- Supremacy- Hold at least two objectives and at least twice as many as the enemy.

Death Guard turn 3- the carnage continues.

The terminators re-embarked into the waiting landraider, while the damaged Dreadnought advanced on the Sternguard. The rest of the army turned towards the survivors to attack.
The one-armed Dreadnought advances on the Sternguard.

The survivors on the right flank.

The Dreadnought on the right flank fired at the remnants of the Chapter Master's bike squad, killing the two remaining bikers. The landraider used the power of the machine spirit to fire on the landspeeder storm. Despite skilful jinking, the skimmer was hit and immobilised. The other guns on the landraider were successful in wrecking the remaining rhino. Seeing the white scar's squad spill out of their destroyed transport, the remaining Death Guard tactical squad fired at them, killing one of their number.
The second tactical squad are forced to disembark from the wrecked Rhino.

The damaged Dreadnought assaulted the Sternguard, killing one of them. The veterans were unable to harm the behemoth, so retreated to a better position (using hit and run). The Knight finished off the remaining bikers it was facing .
At the end of turn 3, Jamie got assassinate and overwhelming firepower, bringing his total up to 8. He discarded supremacy.

This turn I had:
1. Claim objective 4 (from last turn)
2. Claim objective 6
3. Overwhelming firepower

White Scars turn 3.

The Stormraven advanced towards the right flank, unfortunately leaving the rear arc of the Knight. The remaining attack bike and Sternguard moved to the rear of the damaged Dreadnought hoping to finish off the vehicle. The Chapter Master moved back towards the tactical squad in the centre.
The Sternguard aimed their bolters at the weaker rear of the Dreadnought and were able to finally destroy the walker.
The Sternguard destroy the Dreadnought.

The grav gun on the tactical squad and the attack bike fired at the approaching Knight, but failed to damage the superheavy. The tactical squad in the centre fired at their counterparts in the ruins, killing one.
At the end of my turn, I managed to secure objective 6 with the squads and gained overwhelming firepower. I discarded objective 4, still firmly in enemy hands.


This turn Jamie rolled up:
1. Claim objective 2
2. Claim objective 3
3. Claim objective 4

Death Guard turn 4- the end game.

The landraider advanced on the tactical squad in the centre, the terminators spilling out to engage them. The Knight advanced on the Chapter Master in the centre of his deployment zone.
The army advances on the tactical squad.

The Imperial Knight (literally) looms over the Chapter Master.

The surviving Dreadnought fired at the Stormraven, its skyfire ability allowing it to cause one HP damage despite the pilot jinking. The Landraider finished off the landspeeder storm, while the Knight wiped out the tactical squad in the centre using its powerful cannon.
The terminators attempted to assault the tactical squad, taking a wound due to overwatch fire, which stalled their assault (Jamie managed to roll a double 1 for the assault move, failing to make it in over the barricade).
The Terminators somehow fail their charge against the tactical marines.

The Knight assaulted the Chapter Master, easily crushing the ancient warrior with its stomp attack.

At the end of his fourth turn, Jamie got a point for Slay the Warlord and for holding objective 4, giving him 10 victory points.

This turn, I rolled up:
1. Hold objective 1
2. Hold the line- Have 3 scoring units in my deployment zone and no enemy units.
3. Big game hunter- Destroy an enemy vehicle.

White Scars turn 4- the battle is over.

Surveying my forces, I had a unit of 5 scouts, three sternguard, a unit of tactical marines about to be assaulted by terminators and a damaged Stormraven. There was no feasible way for me to score any objectives this turn and most of my army would be dead by the end of Jamie's next turn. We decided to call the game there as we had time to get another one in. The game ended as follows:
The Scouts hold their objective.

DEATH GUARD- 10 victory points
WHITE SCARS- 5 victory points.

That was quite a brutal practice game for me. Jamie played a fantastic game and my luck was absolutely rotten for a lot of the battle (as was some of Jamie's). It did teach me a few valuable lessons though:

1. Just because you can scout, doesn't mean you have to! This was probably my biggest mistake at the start of the game. By pushing the bike squads so far ahead, I essentially lost one and a half bike squads as I got in range of Jamie's guns. His short 24" range on the tactical marines and Dreadnought wouldn't have been able to reach me if I stayed at the back of my deployment zone. I should have stayed back and moved up on my first turn to focus my firepower on one flank. I need to learn how to use Khan's special rule more effectively.

2. Space marines can really struggle with AV13 in combat. Despite having plenty of anti-tank firepower in my army, once I reach combat, I really struggle to deal with strong armour. All my sergeants carry meltabombs, but will a 1 in 3 chance to miss, I can't really rely on them to always work. I'm not sure how to fix this. I could add a power fist to a bike squad, but I would still be needing 5's to glance the armour. AV12 should be fine due to all marines carrying krak grenades. Once the Dreadnought and Knight got into combat, there was very little I could do against them. If it wasn't for hit and run, the dreadnought would have slowly whittled down the Sternguard.

3. I do not like Imperial Knights. Their firepower is strong, though it can be mitigated by jinking the bikers. The main problem is the destroyer attacks and stomp attacks in combat. Jamie was pretty much able to destroy any unit he pointed it at, while I could not make a dent in it. I reckon I could maybe take one down if I focused all the firepower in my army at it, but then I would be at the mercy of the rest of the enemy army. Meltabombs work well against it in combat, but I will only get one round using them before I am wiped out by stomp attacks, unless I get lucky. Add in the high mobility of the Knight and it is difficult to run away from. If I have to face one in blog wars, I don't think it will be a fun game. If I have to face 2 or 3, I don't know if it will be worth unpacking the army!

4. 30k heresy armies are incredibly tough. Each contemptor dread could put out 12 assault cannon shots, firing at BS5 with AV13 front armour and a 5+ invulnerable save. They have interceptor and skyfire. Oh, and they have fleet too. They are incredibly tough. The terminators have 2 wounds each, have a 4+ invulnerable, hand flamers and a ton of attacks on the charge. Oh, and they cost less than regular marine terminators. The landraider has 5 HP, an invulnerable save, reduces the strength of weapons shooting it and is immune to melta. It is impossible to destroy. It's a really tough army to face, before you factor in the Knight. I'm just glad they don't allow 30k armies at blog wars.

5. I did remember my hammer of wrath attacks and the Chapter master's orbital bombardment in this game, so I am learning from my previous battle.

6. The Chapter Master is a resilient unit, the 2+ save and 3+ invulnerable help to give him some survivability (although my ability to fail 2+ saves has been legendary). However, his damage output has not been that great, he only managed to cause 2 wounds in two rounds of combat. I also forgot to use his Auspex during the game, this may have helped a little, but I could not hit with my grav gun shots all game (terrible luck strikes again!).

7. When playing maelstrom missions, it really helps to have the cards. The number of re-rolls we had to make and the (sometimes unsuccessful) book keeping required without them is a pain. Fortunately, I do have a set of the original cards, so that makes regular maelstrom games a lot easier.

8. I realised when writing this up that the Chapter Master squad could not assault in turn 1 due to their Scout move. I need to remember this in the future too!

9. I need to take a good look at Battle Chronicler and try to figure out how to get the objective markers to show up in the turns.

10. We both had our share of good and bad luck during this game. For me, a key moment was Khan failing his hit and run move on a 6. If they had been able to disengage, I would have been able to shoot at the Knight with Khan's squad and an attack bike in the front and the Stormtalon in the rear. I might not have been able to destroy it, but hopefully I would have caused a fair bit of damage.

I wonder if I would have been better served refusing the other flank and focusing on the Imperial Knight. With most of my army shooting at it in the first turn, I may have been able to take it down. Then I could have focused on the slower moving, shorter ranged shooting elements of the Death Guard army. I think I may have got swept up in the fear of the knight and tried to avoid it at all costs, rather than focusing on it and trying to take it down. Then again, focusing on the mission cannot be ignored. Jamie got a great set of cards in the first turn and was able to achieve all his objectives putting him 5 points ahead in the first turn. I felt I had to catch up quickly and try and score some points (hence the ill advised advance into the enemy army).

I learnt a few valuable lessons in this game (though mainly the lesson that I don't want to face another Imperial Knight). I recently purchased from Grav centurions, I wonder if I should make space for them in my list, but what to replace?


  1. Really nice report there and its nice to read about people still learning about their armies, I don't have any friends who play so pick up games are al I get and I always feel like I'm on a steep learning curve!

    I really like the battle chronicler pics, reminds me of the good old days of white dwarf! Keep up the good work and hope to see the final figures painted soon.

    1. Thanks Robert. People seem to be enjoying the battle chronicler pics, so I am definitely going to keep them going. I plan to get a lot more painting done this weekend, hopefully even finishing everything off (though I've added the centurions and some missile launcher marines to the list!).

      I'm finding that writing the reports and the lessons from the battle have really been helping. Having an actual note somewhere of things that I forgot or shouldn't have done has helped from game to game. Otherwise, I would just end up forgetting the details or chalking it up to a bad loss or bad luck (my rolling in this game was abysmal, I hope I've used up my run of bad luck in the practice games).

  2. Another nice write up... really enjoying these.

    That death guard army looked very rough! Really packing alot of nasty stuff in.

    1. Thanks Phil. Was over at the Dundee gaming club again tonight, so got another battle to write up soon too.

      I've played Jamie's army quite a few times (mostly without the Knight) and they are a very tough force to beat. The terminators are what normal terminators should be, and the vehicles are just fantastic.

  3. What Character did your opponent slay in his first turn that would allow him to score all his cards?
    Does a Sargent count for that? I always assumed that character was referring to Independent character.

    1. Space Marine Sergeants are Character (Infantry). I think that they count as a slain character for the purposes of the tactical objective cards.