Thursday 11 June 2015

Blog Wars Battle Report 3- Howling Griffons Space Marines

When I arrived in Stockport for blog wars on Friday, I met up with Luke, Peter and Daniel for some practice games. Luke and I squared off against one another as he wanted some practice with the Maelstrom mission against a fast moving force. It was a fantastic game, which I will write up at a future point.
Imagine my surprise when I turned up for my third game on table 8 (luckily, I didn't have to move!) and it was against Luke's great Howling Griffons Space Marines army. This was going to be really interesting. We both knew what to expect from each other's armies and had a very close first game against one another, would this game turn out the same?

White Scars advance.
Luke's army consisted of:
Inquisitor Coteaz (C)
Level 1 Librarian (L)
3 Grav Centurions (Cent)
Thunderfire cannon and techmarine (TC)
4 Bikers- 2 grav guns (B)
5 Scouts- Sniper rifles and camo cloaks (S)
5 Devastators- Lascannon and 3 Missile Launchers (D1 and D2)
2 units of 5 Sternguard- Combi-meltas (S1 and S2) in drop pod (DP1)
2 units of 5 Sternguard- Combi-meltas  (S3 and S4) in drop pod (DP3)
2 units of 5 tactical marines- one with meltagun  (T3 and T3) in drop pod (DP2)
2 units of 5 tactical marines- one with missile laucher (T1 and T2)

His warlord trait game +1 to seize the initiative and re-roll of reserve rolls (which we both forgot about). In addition to Coteaz and his re-roll, the chances of seizing were quite high. A lot of small units for grabbing objectives and some serious firepower.

Luke got me to draw the psychic powers from his deck before the battle started (I like this, it's a nice touch), so I only had myself to blame when his librarian ended up with Invisibility and Psychic Shriek. Coteaz got Precognition, Misfortune and Prescience. The thought of invisible Centurions running rampant did not make me happy.

My warlord trait gave my Warlord Fearless and It Will Not Die (quite handy on a tooled up Chapter Master).
The objectives were placed in a fairly central order, only one in each potential deployment zone and the other four stretched across the middle of the board.
Placement of the Objectives.
The Battlefield.
I won the roll of for table edge and chose the side with the line of sight blocking terrain, leaving only some rocks and one ruin for Luke to hide his heavy weapons.
I also won the roll of for deployment and chose to go first, hoping that Luke would be unable to seize. I deployed the Devastators alone on the right hand side, behind the ruins. I thought Luke would be likely to set up his heavy weapons in the ruins opposite them, so wanted to have a good field of fire on my own heavy weapons. They could also grab the objective if necessary. The other devastator squad deployed in the large building, grabbing another objective. The Centurions went behind the building, out of lone of sight, but able to advance to fire. The bikes and landspeeder went to the left hand side. If Luke wanted to deploy opposite my army to target them, he would need to do so without the benefit of a lot of cover.
My plan was to play to the cards. Depending on what I drew each turn, my mobility and firepower should hopefully help me achieve it without having to destroy the opposing army.

The majority of my army deploys.
The Devastators on their own.

Luke set up the majority of his army on his left flank. The thunderfire cannon and two units of tactical marines deployed in the ruins. The Centurions, surprisingly, deployed mostly in the open, backed up by the Devastators. The bikers hid behind the rocks on the right hand side, I think to counter my own bikers and grab objectives. The scouts infiltrated forward towards my line, I think Luke mentioned this was to cut down on my Scout moves.
The gun line deploys.

The bikers support the scouts in cover.

Heavy weapons deploy.

Deployment and Scout moves.
I chose not to Scout with anything, as a consequence, Luke used his Scout move to move his sniper scouts back towards his deployment zone. In case Luke managed to seize, I did not want me units to be unable to assault his drop pod units (hence the lack of Scout moves), something that I had learned from in our first game.
Despite getting +1 to seize and a re-roll, Luke failed to seize the initiative and I took first turn.
On my first turn I drew- seize objective 4, Assassinate and Blog warrior (kill the enemy special character).
White Scars Turn 1.
The drop pod landed in front of the scouts beside objective 4. My plan was to eliminate the scouts to get first strike, assassinate and objective 4 in one fell swoop. Two of the bike units and an attack bike moved up to help, the other units stayed in my deployment zone to counter Luke's own drop pod units. The Centurions stayed behing cover, there was no unit in range this turn, even if they moved.
The drop pod arrives and the bikers move to support.

In the shooting phase, I managed to eliminate the scouts to claim my objecitves. The Devastators fired frag missiles at the enemy centurions, hoping to use massed hits to kill them. Unfortunately, they made all their saves. The Chapter Master aimed his orbital bombardment at the Centurions. Luckily, the scatter was low and I was able to kill one Centurion as Luke's Librarian warlord as well! I scored obj 4 (2 pts) and assassinate (1 pt), I discarded Blog Warrior.
Luke drew- No Prisoners (eliminate 3 enemy units), Objective 3 and Supremacy.
Howling Griffons Turn 1.
In his first turn, two drops pods arrived screaming to my deployment zone. One went into the ruins in front of my devastators, two tactical squads spilling out. The other deployed two units of Sternguard to the right of my Centurions. There was little other movement, the bikes coming out from behind cover to the very edge of the board to target my tactical marines and the other tactical marine unit advanced to grab the objective.
A drop pod comes screaming down behind the lines.

Another unit occupied the ruins.
In the shooting phase, the newly arrived Sternguard levelled their combi-meltas at the Centurions, easily wiping the unit out. The tactical squads fired at the Devastators in front of them, killing three, but luckily they passed their morale check and stood firm. The bikers fired at my tactical squad, killing 4, but they too passed their morale check. The enemy Centurions and devastators destroyed my drop pod. Luke was only able to achieve objective 4 (2 pts) and discarded No Prisoners.
At the end of turn 1, the score was:
In this turn, I drew- No Prisoners, Overwhelming Firepower and Objective 2. It would be difficult to get objective 2 without facing the wrath of Luke's army, but the other two could be achieved with some judicious application of firepower.
White Scars Turn 2.

I advance with my bikers on the left flank, ready to target Luke's bikers (the presence of inferior bikers on the field obviously offended the White Scars), while my units in the deployment zone target the newly arrived Sternguard.
Luke's bikers are wiped out by the combined fire of the tactical marines, bikers and attack bikes. The drop pod in my deployment zone was destroyed (I don't remember who did this) and one unit of Sternguard was destroyed by the combined fire of the bikers and devastators. At the end of my turn, I had scored all three of my tactical cards for 4 pts.
One unit of Sternguard is destroyed.

The enemy bikers are wiped out.

In Luke's turn, he drew- Big Game Hunter and Hold the Line, and retained Supremacy from last turn.
Howling Griffons Turn 2.

His units advanced on my bikers and tactical marines in his deployment zone, two of which were contesting his ability to score Hold the Line. The Centurions fired at the tactical squad, easily wiping them out. The Devastators, Thunderfire cannon and tactical marines fired at the bikers contesting the deployment zone, but were unable kill them. The Sternguard in my deployment zone fired at the bikers, killing one of their number, while the tactical marines in the ruins finished off the Devastators they had decimated last turn. Luke was able to seize enough objections to claim Supremecy (2 pts) and discarded Hold the Line.
The tactical marines target the remaining devastators.

The Centurions advance.


This turn, I drew- Objective 6, Hold the Line and Behind Enemy Lines. Objective 6 was firmly in enemy territory and I would be hard pressed to clear all of Luke's unit from my lines. Behind enemy lines was easily achievable though.

White Scars Turn 3.
 I moved one unit of bikers, an attack bike and turboboosted the landspeeder storm into the enemy deployment zone in order to get Behind enemy lines. The Chapter Master's unit advanced on the Centurions to try and kill them.
In my shooting phase, I failed to wound the Centurions, but managed to kill a couple of Sternguard and a few other marines. In the end, I got Behind Enemy Lines (2 pts) and discarded Objective 6.

In his third turn, Luke drew Objective 6, Assassinate and Big Game Hunter.
Howling Griffons Turn 3.

The Centurions and tactical marines advanced on the bikers, while the two remaining Sterguard advanced on the Rhino. In the shooting phase, Luke concentrated his firepower on the bikers, killing all but Khan and the Chapter Master. In the assault phase, the Sternguard charged the Rhino, easily blowing it up with their meltabombs.
Luke was able to score all three objectives for 4 pts.

This turn I drew Objective 3, Ascendency and retained hold the line from last turn. I already held objective 3, so that was in the bag. Ascendency would be easily to claim, as I still had enough fast moving units to get another two units. Again, hold the line would be very difficult to achieve.
White Scars Turn 4.

In my turn, I moved an attack bike to claim objective 4, knowing it would likely die next turn. Khan and the Chapter Master joined up with the meltagun bike squad and moved out of range of the Centurions, while the Landspeeder storm went off to claim a third objective. My shooting phase was ineffective. The Stormtalon fired at the devastators, but I managed to roll a triple one to hit with the Skyhammer missile launcher. I claimed Ascendency and Objective 3 (4 pts) and discarded Hold the Line.

Luke drew Blog Warrior, Ascendency and Objective 1.
Howling Griffons Turn 4.

The third drop pod arrived, landing near objective 1, but having to keep away from the Landspeeder Storm in order to prevent a large scatter. The Sterngard got out and headed for the objective, but first the scouts would need to be dealt with.
The last of the Sternguard arrive.

The tactical marines advance.

The Centurions target the enemy.

The Devastators fired at the landspeeder, the Lascannon succeeding in blowing it up. The scouts then came under intense fire from the Centurions, tactical marines and Sternguard. Three are killed, but two survive to claim the objective. The attack bike on objective 4 was slain by the thunderfire cannon. Unfortunately, the scouts prevented Luke from scoring any points this turn and he discarded Blog Warrior.

MIKE- 13

I drew Big Game Hunter, Objective 5 and Blood and Guts. There was a nearby drop pod, which I could attack to claim big game hunter. Objective 5 was firmly held and would be difficult to claim. Blood and guts was achievable as the Chapter Master and Khan had yet to get stuck in.
White Scars Turn 5.

The Bikers in my deployment zone moved towards the drop pod, while the Chapter Master's unit advanced on the rear Sternguard unit. The grav gun bikers fired at the pod, removing two hull points. They assaulted the vehicle, but were unable to destroy it in combat. The Chapter master and Khan vented their fury on the Sternguard squad, wiping them out to get me one victory point.  I discard Objective 5.
The Sternguard are overwhelmed.

In Luke's turn, he drew Objective 4, to go with Ascendency and Objective 1. This was a crucial turn. If Luke could clear the scouts off of objective one and grab it with his Sternguard, he would both score objective one and have claimed enough to get Ascendency.
Howling Griffons Turn 5.

He moved a tactical squad towards objective 4, now that the attack bike had been dealt with. All remaining firepower is turned towards the two scouts and they are finally slain, allowing the Sternguard to claim the objective. By grabbing objective 1 and 4, Luke had scored 6 points and evened up the game. Everything would come down to the final turn.
Tactical marines advance on the objective.

MIKE- 14
LUKE- 14

In my final turn I had retained big game hunter and drew slay a psyker and supremacy. I could hopefully finish off the drop pod and supremacy would be difficult to get as Luke controlled 4 objectives. I had no unit in range of assaulting Coteaz and had little firepower left in range to take him out.
White Scars Turn 6.

The Stormtalon reappeared in front of Coteaz and the last two centurions to see if he could finish the job. The remaining biker units sped towards the drop pod, eager to take the last hull point and score a victory point.
The Stormtalon and remaining devastators fired at Coteaz's squad, but could only kill a single centurion, allowing the psyker to escape. The bikers fired at the drop pod, but were unable to take the last hull point. They assaulted the vehicle and finished it off with their krak grenades.
Massed bikers take out the Drop Pod.

In Luke's final turn, he drew Objective 5, Blood and Guts and Scour the skies.

Howling Griffons Turn 6.

There was little movement as all guns trained on the flyerStormtalon, but they were unable to take flyer down. Luke's drop pod claimed objective 5 to give him 2 pts and the win!
Sternguard hold the objective.

The Stormtalon tried to finish the Centurions.

Final Score:
MIKE- 15 (plus First Strike and Slay the Warlord)
LUKE- 16 (plus First Strike and Linebreaker)

What a nail biter! It all came down to the last turn. Thanks to Luke for a fantastic game, I don't think anyone had particularly good or bad luck on the dice rolls, so the game really did come down to just tactical strategy and what objectives you were willing/able to achieve each turn. Luke was a fantastic opponent (in both games) and a real tough army to play against. He kept me on my toes the entire game, even managing to pull back a 6 point deficit in one turn.

Overall, I was happy with how my army performed and how I played the game, I was just piped at the post by a superior player. There were a few error during my game that I could have improved upon:
1. I should have been more aggressive with the Centurions. By deploying them out of line of sight, I kept them out of range too. I knew that Luke would target them with a lot of firepower in his first turn (a lesson I learnt from the first game) and his multiple drop pod units would allow him to do this. By putting them up front, I could have a least got a turn of shooting, possibly taking out Luke's own Centurions, before they were wiped out by the retaliation. As at was, they achieved nothing in this game.

2. Luke pointed out to me that in turn 5, I should have split Khan from the bike squad and gone after the other unit of Sternguard. Even if I didn't wipe them out, I would have been able to grab the objective (the special character was scoring in this mission) and prevent Luke from claiming it next turn. As it was, I wanted to ensure that one unit was wiped out in combat to get me the score for Blood and Guts.

3. I could have been more aggressive with the Chapter Master. He can do serious damage in combat and I might have been able to silence the Centurions and Coteaz in assault. I think I was put off by how little he had done in the other two games.

With the third game out of the way, the results were posted shortly after. I came 14th out of 48 players, scoring 61.2 out of 99 blood points overall (Luke finished one spot above me on 13th place, we scored the same points, but he gave away fewer points than I did!).

I had a fantastic weekend, three really tough games against three great opponents. Overall, I was happy with my results, two wins and a loss and a decent placing was more than I hoped for when I was travelling down for the weekend. There were also some amazing armies on display (photos to follow in a future post) and some great guys to meet up and chat all this 40k with. Well done to Alex (From the Fang) for putting on such a great event and thanks to all my opponents and people I met for making it such a good trip.

My next post will focus on reviewing my army, what worked and what didn't and how each unit performed over the course of the day.


  1. Unlucky but once again a great game and good result overall. Hopefully I'll see you at Blog Wars again.

    1. Definitely hope to go back, really enjoyed the day. It was a very close game, but Luke did well to close the 6 point gap and go on to win.

  2. Sounds like an absolutely cracking game. Shame you lost but in games like those it does not matter so much :)

    1. Absolutely, it was a brilliant game. To lose by one point on the last turn after being 6 points ahead was quite a turnaround, but Luke was a cracking opponent. I'm in the process of writing up our practice game from the Friday night, it was another great game too.

  3. I've gotta say, the most interesting thing for me head reading your thoughts on how &why. Given that, I'm glad I didn't manage to seize!

    A really great game, and I've gotta say I thought I'd lost it tbh about turn 3. But you've just gotta keep playing sometimes, I think realising that maelstrom can give you the most amazing games. You know I got so stressed during that game my right eyebrow was twitching so much Pete could see it from 5 metres away!

    Really enjoyed game Michael, gutted that it had to end, but I was beyond emotionally drained after that!

    1. Glad you enjoyed it as much as I did. A really tense battle, but a lot of fun at the same time. As I said, I don't think either of us had particularly bad or good luck, so it was down to a purely tactical game, which was great.

      I always think it is interesting to see a battle report from the other person's perspective. You get to see what the reasoning behind their decisions are, especially when the object of the game is not just to kill everything.

      I actually thought I had it on turn 4. Six points can be a huge gap in these types of games depending on what cards you draw, but you had an amazing hand and were able to focus and get the six points.

      I must say, I really enjoyed both of our games, some of the best 40k battles I've had for a while.

  4. I think your battle report skills have gotten really really good and I wish you wrote for White Dwarf! Now that you have your blog wars army of white scars done what are your plans? Are you going to expand these guys or start a fresh army? Look forward to it whatever :)

    1. Thanks Rob, that means a lot. I'm glad people seem to be enjoying them, though they wouldn't be half as good without some fantastic opponents that I get to play against.

      I have several units to paint up for the white scars including a dreadnought, another drop pod and a stormraven that I need to get to at some point. Then again, I also have plenty of models left to paint for my guard, dark angels and Orks, not to mention my vampire counts (don't we all have a ton of unpainted models to get to?), so I don't have any plans to start a new army any time soon.
      I also have a stack of terrain projects that I want to get to, including some terrain repairs that I will be discussing and outlining on Thursday this week.

      I need to decide what army I want to bring to blog wars 10! Depending on how the new codex pans out, I might dust off the Ravenwing for a few games.

      What about yourself? What's the next big project on the go?

    2. Its been great reading your Blog Wars reports and makes me very keen to grab my ticket for November!

      I would be very interested to see your Dark Angels as they are an army I have always just been on the edge of buying and I am looking forward to reading their new codex as I love the fluff.

      I'll admit I am as guilty of having piles of unpainted miniatures (nay unbuillt sometime!) as the rest of us. I am also terrible for never really doing terrain based projects, but thats partly a space based theme.

      I think a storm raven would be good for your scars, I noticed you were umming and ahhhing over the storm talon in your army post but I think it would be good to keep an immediate answer to flyers in your list.

      I'm just trying to smash my blood angels and black templars out at the moment, so many to paint though!!

    3. I really like the Dark Angels, both from a fluff and model point of view. I am hopeful about the new codex, they have really suffered in the past two, not being a patch on the standard marine codex, so it would be nice to see them get some love.

      I like the stormtalon and stormraven, I think they are great looking models. I don't actually face many opposing flyers, so don't have any direct experience on how they handle them, but by all accounts they should perform quite well against them.