Thursday, 27 August 2015

Battle Report 17- 1500 pts Astra Militarum vs Tyranids

This weeks battle report features my Astra Militarum army vs Chris' Tyranids. Chris was getting back into 40k after a break and I think this was going to be his first game in 7th edition. I had already decided I wanted to play my guard this week before we arranged the game, so hopefully this would be a decent match up. We decided to play 1500 pts on a 6x4 board.
My army was:
Company Command- Laurels of command, vox caster, medi-pack (CC)
Primaris Psyker- Level 2 psyker (with company command)
2 Priests (one with IS1, one with IS22)
Comissar- Power Sword (with IS32)
Platoon Command- Vox caster, 2 grenade launchers (PC1)
10 Guardsmen- Vox, Flamer
10 Guardsmen- Flamer (combined squad IS1)
Platoon Command- Vox caster, 2 Plasma guns (PC2)
10 Guardsmen- Vox, Missile Launcher (IS21)
10 Guardsmen- Missile Launcher (IS22)
10 Guardsmen- Missile Launcher (IS23)
Platoon Command- Vox caster (PC3)
10 Guardsmen- Vox, Autocannon (IS31)
10 Guardsmen- Autocannon (IS32)
10 Guardsmen- Autocannon (IS33)
10 Veterans- Meltagun, Demolations, Demo Charge (V)
Chimera- Extra armour, dozer blade (C)
Heavy weapons team- Lascannons (HWT)
2 Wyverns (W1 and W2)
Leman Russ Punisher- Punisher Cannon, Heavy bolter, heavy bolter sponsons (LR)
The infantry squads arrayed for battle.
A pretty standard guard army for me, infantry squads backed up with a few vehicles. My company commander took the Laurels of Command. I like this relic as it keeps the guardsmen near the commander in the fight, stopping them from fleeing and giving me more time to shoot at the enemy. I also added a medi-pack to help improve the durability of the squad. They were backed up with a primaris psyker (level 2), two priests to keep the infantry from running away and a commissar to bolster the troops.
I then took three infantry platoons. One armed with flamers, to be led by a priest and move forward to grab objectives. The second was armed with Missile Lauchers, the other with Autocannons. These are nice all round weapons and should be able to deal with the larger tyranid creatures or smaller ones in equal measure. Some units got vox casters to help with the orders each turn. To help deal with the Tyranid monstrous creatures, I took a Lascannon heavy weapons team and a veteran squad with demolitions. The meltabombs should give me a chance against any monstrous creatures and the chimera will ensure they can get where they are needed. The two flamer squads would form a combined squad to give them the numbers to hopefully survive to claim an objective.
For the heavy support, I took two Wyverns (I had just painted up the second one and wanted to give it a shot). These tanks can put damage on most units with their special rules. The Punisher was a natural choice, its huge number of shots should cause a mess of the tyranid lines.
My warlord trait was Bellowing Voice- giving me an 18" order range. My psychic powers were Prescience, Scriers Gaze and Precognition. Not a great batch of powers, the only useful one for me was Prescience.

Chris' army consisted of:
Hive Tyrant- Wings, Lash whip and Bonesword, adrenal glands, TL devourers with brainleech worms, electroshock grubs (HT)
3 Hive Guard (HG)
2 Zoanthropes and Neurothrope (Z)
3 Tyranid Warriors- Deathspitters (TW1)
3 Tyranid Warriors- 2 Deathspitters, Venom Cannon (TW2)
21 Hormagaunts (H1)
20 Hormagaunts (H2)
20 Termagants- 10 Devourers (T2)
Trygon (T1)
Exocrine (E)
The Tyranid hordes.

Chris: "The army I selected was first and foremost a way to take as many different types of unit as possible, in order to test the 7th edition rules. Hence I took a mix of psykers, flying monstrous creatures, heavy bio-artillery and large, fast moving troops choices, with enough synapse creatures around to keep them in check. Usually I would take one large unit of Tyranid warriors, but on this occasion, two smaller units made more sense to give the army more flexibility. Its all about keeping the 'Nids in formation."

His warlord trait gave him +1 to reserve rolls. The Hive Tyrant's psychic powers were Onslaught, Paroxysm and Dominion. The Zoanthropes got Dominion, Spirit Leech, psychic scream and warp blast.

The mission we rolled was The Scouring. This is the mission where you place six objectives of varying points values around the board and reveal the scores at the end of the game. It creates a tense battle as you hope you are grabbing the valuable objectives from your opponent. We placed the objectives around the board in a random fashion.
Terrain and placement of objectives.

Chris won the roll off for deployment zone and chose the side with the most ruins. I then won the roll off for deployment and chose for the Tyranids to deploy first. My reasoning behind this was that I would not waste any lasgun shots in the first turn as the Nids were not in range. This would also give me the last player turn to try and seize objectives with my more abundant troops. I also thought that if I went first, I would have caused absolute carnage on the tyranid lines and it would not have led to a fun game.

Chris deployed the Exocrine and Zoanthropes in the centre, with a unit of termagants and hormagaunts on either side. The second hormagaunt unit claimed the objective in the ruins on the left flank. One unit of warriors deployed in the ruins to the left of the centre, the other behind the hormagaunts. The Hive Guard were in the ruins below the warriors, near to the Hive Tyrant.

The guard deployed across the board, the flamer squad led by a priest, ready to rush towards the craters and claim objectives. The Lascannon squad deployed at the rear of the board, opposite the Exocrine. The wyverns took cover in the ruins opposite the Hormagaunts and the Punisher battle tank in the ruins to the left of them, ready to move out of cover when the enemy got in range. My plan was to grab what objectives I could on my half of the board while gunning down the tyranid lines.

Turn 1- Tyranids

The turn began with the Hive Mind moving their forces towards the Imperial lines. Only the Hormagaunts on the left and warriors in the ruins did not advance, the rest of the army moved up on the guard.
The Hormagaunts race forward.

The Hive Guard cover their advance.

The Hive Tyrant swoops towards the enemy lines.

In the psychic phase, the warp storm was strong (Chris rolled a 6 for warp charge). The Hive Tyrant cast Paroxysm on the missile launcher squad in front of them, reducing their WS and BS to 1. He then cast Onslaught on the Hive Guard (allowing them to run and shoot), he passed but periled on the roll (I decided to let the power through). Rolling a 2 on the table, the Hive Tyrant took a wound and Paroxysm was lost from its mind. The Zoanthropes attempted to manifest Warp Blast on the front guard unit, but were unsuccessful.

In the shooting phase, the Hormagaunts and Termagants ran forward. The Exocrine fired at the front missile launcher squad, causing 6 wounds, four of which were saved by the cover. The Hive Guard fired at the Chimera, causing one glancing hit. The Hive Tyrant and Tyranid warriors in the ruins targeted the flamer infantry squad, killing 9 of the squad.

With no assaults, it was now time for the guard to reply.

Turn 1- Astra Militarum

Under the harsh cries of the Commissar and shouts of the Priests, the front line of the guard advanced towards the enemy forces. The Leman Russ Punisher moved out of cover and in to range of the enemy.
In the psychic phase, the Primaris Psyker cast Prescience on the Punisher to help to destroy the xenos menace before it.
The Punisher breaks cover supported by an infantry squad.

The Hormagaunts are targeted.

In the shooting phase, the Punisher targeted the Hormagaunts. The tank's guns rang out, 17 of the Hormagaunts were dead when the smoke cleared. The Wyverns then fired at the Hive Guard, killing one of the elite warriors.
The Platoon command ordered the flamer squad to hold firm and fire (first rank fire, second rank fire) on the hormagaunts and a further 5 died, leaving only two remaining. The Paroxysm-cursed missile launcher squad fired at the Hive Tyrant (they were snap firing anyway, so I thought I would go for it), but could not wound the beast. The Chimera fired at the Hive Guard, but not a single gun managed to hit. The Lascannon heavy weapons team caused a wound on the exocrine.
The other infantry squads targeted the termagants, but out of all the weapons fire levelled at them, only one died.

This was a disappointing turn for the guard. The tanks performed well, practically wiping out the hormagaunts and damaging the Hive Guard, but the infantry were missing with about 80% of their shots despite getting extra firepower due to their orders. My "To Hit" rolls for this turn were abysmal, hopefully they would improve in the following turns.

Turn 2- Tyranids

With a shower of earth, the Trygon arrived on the guard back lines, sizing up the nearby Wyvern tanks and was joined by the flying Hive Tyrant. While most of the Tyranid army advanced, the Termagants retreated back towards their own lines.
The Trygon erupted from the ground to take on the Wyverns.

The Termagants move through the ruins.

The Hive Tyrant flies up to take out the tanks.

The Zoanthropes order the Exocrine to advance.

The warp storm was strong once again (Chris rolled another 6!). The Zoanthropes cast Spirit Leech on the missile launcher squad in front of them. I let the power through, but then managed to pass the leadership test on 3D6 (my low rolling was finally working for me!). They then targeted the Punisher with Warp Blast. I failed to block on 8 dice, the blast hit the tank and destroyed the punisher cannon, severely reducing the firepower of the tank.

In the shooting phase the Trygon fired at the wyverns. Despite hitting twice, it could not penetrate the armour of the tanks. The Hive Tyrant also fired, wrecking one on the tanks and putting a hull point on the other. The Hive Guard attempted to finish it off, but was unable to damage it. The Tyranid Warriors fired at the flamer platoon squad, killing 4.

The Exocrine turned and aimed at the Chimera. Its aim was true, hitting the fuel tanks and destroying the chimera in a massive explosion. Seven of the veterans climbed out of the wreckage, seeing that the explosion had killed seven of their comrades from the surrounding squads. The tyranid warriors in the ruins killed another veteran with their firepower.

Again, there were no assaults, but the xenos bugs were closing in on the Imperial lines.

Turn 2- Astra Militarum

Despite their losses, the guardsmen pressed forward towards the tyranids. The right flank advanced into the craters to take on the hive guard, while the left flank turned its attention towards the larger Nid creatures.
The psyker failed to manifest Prescience on the squad in front of him (despite casting on 5 dice).
The infantry squad move up to the objective.

Sensing their demise was soon to come, the last Wyvern fired at the Tyranid warriors in the ruins. Despite getting re-rolls to hit, the blast scattered far from the original target, onto the other unit of warriors, wounding one.
The Platoon command of the right attempted to order the nearby units to target the Hive guard, but communication lines were scrambled (I managed to roll a double 6 on the first order and the vox caster from the unit had died in the chimera explosion, so no re-roll for me).
The Veterans target the Hive Guard.

The veterans launched their demolition charge at the Hive Guard in front of them, wounding one, with the meltagun finishing the creature off. The right flank fired at the Hive Guard as well. Despite poor to hit rolls (seriously, I failed about 75% again), the last Hive Guard was slain. Seeing the damage, the Leman Russ fired at the warriors in front of it, killing one.
The guardsmen advance into cover.

On the left flank, the missile launcher squad fired at the Zoanthropes, the lasgun fire wounding one of the beast, the snap firing missile launcher team finishing it off. The plasma gun command squad fired at the enemy psykers, but once again, failed to hit the beasts. The remaining squads fired at the zoanthropes. Despite poor to hit and to wound rolls, they reduced the squad to one model. The Lascannon heavy weapons team fired at the Exocrine, but could not wound the beast, their fire bouncing off its thick hide (I hit the exocrine twice, but managed to roll a double 1 to wound).

Another atrocious turn of shooting for the guard. For two turns in a row, I was consistently failing ~75% of my to hit rolls as well as poor to wound rolls for the Lascannon team. Not being able to use any orders this turn did not help either. The one good side was that I still had a lot of units left to grab objectives.

Turn 3- Tyranids

The Tyranid army continued to advance, the termagants moving back towards the enemy as the Hive Tyrant moved towards the centre of the board.
The Termagants advance under the cover of the Exocrine.

The warp storm continued to bolster the hive mind (yet another 6 for the psychic phase!). The Hive Tyrant and Zoanthropes then wasted the effort, failing to manifest Psychic Scream and Spirit Leech. Warp blast was manifested, but the shot failed to hit the Punisher.

In the shooting phase, the Termagants fired at the missile launcher squad led by a priest, wiping them out. The Exocrine targeted the Lascannon heavy weapons team, wiping them all out for daring to target it last turn. The Hive Tyrant flamed the Company Command squad, but amazingly only one died (I managed to make 4 out of 5 feel no pain rolls). It's second gun killed all but the Company Commander and Psyker.
The two squads of warriors fired at the veterans, killing all but two of them, while in the guard deployment zone, the Trygon wrecked the last wyvern.
The Hive Tyrant targets the Company Command squad.

Turn 3- Astra Militarum

With the start of the third turn, the guard on the left advanced. From experience, the commander knew that if they could destroy the larger creatures, the smaller Tyranids would break down and flee.
The primaris psyker cast Prescience on the autocannon squad in front of him, hoping their added accuracy could take down the enemy.

The Company Commander ordered the autocannon squad to increase their rate of fire on the Zoanthropes (first rank fire, second rank fire), easily gunning down the enemy psyker. The nearby leman russ fired at the tyranid warriors in the crater, wounding one twice.

The Termagants come under extreme fire.

On the left flank, the two infantry squads targeted the termagants opposite them. After the company commander and platoon commander ordered them to increase their rate of fire, 10 of the creatures were gunned down. Without the control of the Hive Mind to keep them in order, the survivors fled back towards their lines. Seeing the enemy unit flee, the platoon command turned their plasma guns on the Exocrine, wounding the massive beast. On the right flank, the squads surrounding the crater turned their guns on the nearby tyranid warriors. The massed firepower killed two of the warriors, wiping out the squad. The back autocannon infantry squad turned to face the Trygon. Despite their best efforts, they were unable to wound the mighty creature.
The Termagants are forced to flee.
The Tyranid Warriors are gunned down.
Turn 3 went a bit better for the guard. The synapse control on the enemy right flank had been eliminated, causing the termagants to flee under a hail of firepower. However, there were still several large creatures ready to cause chaos within the astra militarum lines.

Turn 4- Tyranids

Without synapse control, the termagants failed their instinctive behaviour roll and continued to flee. The Hive Tyrant turned and moved towards them to bring the creatures under control.
The Hormagaunts sheltered in the ruins were ordered to advance on the enemy, the two survivors of the other squad moved across to grab the objective they were guarding.
The Trygon sizes up the next target.

Harnessing the warp power around it, the Hive Tyrant used Dominion to snare the fleeing Termagants back under the Hive Mind's control.
The Hive Tyrant brings the Termagants under control.

The Trygon opened fire at the autocannon unit in front of it, killing four of the squad. On the other flank, the Exocrine fired at the platoon command, killing two of the unit, including the platoon commander. The Hive Tyrant added its firepower to the platoon command, killing another two. The lone plasma gun survivor passed his morale check and held firm. On the left flank, the Tyranid warriors fired at the remnants of the veteran squad, wiping them out.

In the assault phase, the Trygon assaulted the autocannon squad. The desperate guardsmen struck at the monstrosity before them, causing one wound which was saved. The Trygon struck back, wiping the squad out. The Exocrine assaulted the survivor of the platoon command, its Hammer of Wrath attack slaying the guardsman.

Turn 4- Astra Militarum

The squads surrounding the crater on the right moved up into its cover.

The Primaris pysker cast Prescience on the autocannon squad near him. They fired on the Exocrine, but could not wound the beast. The other autocannon squad and missile laucher squad on the left flank also fired at the exocrine, causing two wounds and leaving it on one wound left. The Leman Russ fired at the monstrous creature, eager to finish it off, but could not kill it.

On the right flank, the platoon command and infantry squad fired at the Hormagaunts, killing nine of the squad.

Turn 4 finished with a delicate balance between the two forces, much of the opposing armies had been killed off, but both held several of the objectives.

Turn 5- Tyranids

In the movement phase, the termagants moved through the ruins to grab the objective there. The Hormagaunts moved towards the guardsmen on one side of the crater, while on the side the Trygon advanced on the missile laucher squad.
The Hive Tyrant cast Dominion, the attempt successful, but the tyrant periling and taking a wound.
The Hormagaunts move up to the crater.

The Hive Tyrant fired at the autocannon squad, killing 5 in its fury. The Exocrine fired at the two squads on the left, killing 4 in the autocannon squad and one in the missile launcher squad. The Trygon fired at the missile launcher squad in front of him, killing three, while the tyranid warriors killed two guardsmen from the flamer unit.

The Exocrine and Hormagaunts attempted to assault the units in front of them, but failed their charges. The Trygon assaulted the missile launcher squad, easily wiping them out.

Turn 5- Astra Militarum

We were running out of time to finish the game, so this was to be my last, very quick turn.

I moved my units on the left forward to grab the objective that the exocrine was guarding, while on the right, the remnants of the squads moved back towards my lines to seize that objective.

I didn't want to finish the game without trying to slay the bloody Exocrine that was causing so much hassle throughout the game. With only one wound left, I thought I had a good chance, but despite firing everything in range at it, I could not remove the last wound.

At the end of turn 5, we both controlled three objectives, so the result would depend on who held the more valuable ones. Revealing the scores, I held the 4 point, 3 point and 2 point objectives, while Chris held the 3 point, 2 point and 1 point objectives. He also gained Linebreaker and First Blood. At the end of the game, the score was:


A win for the Astra Militarum by the narrowest of margins!

Thanks to Chris for a great game, Tyranids vs Guard is a classic match up that provided a thrilling and very close battle.
In all honesty, before the game started, I thought this was going to be a crushing defeat for the Nids. I know that the Guard are a strong army and that Tyranids are thought of as a poor army these days (outside of a few powerful builds), but it was a really tense and entertaining game.

I had some atrocious luck with my shooting in the first couple of turns. Without exaggeration, I was failing about 75% of my to hit rolls in the first 2-3 turns, with only the tanks performing well and causing severe damage on the enemy units. I also had a pretty lacklustre set of psychic powers for my primaris and only attempted to use Prescience during the entire game.

Overall, I think my plan worked well. I had enough firepower to easily deal with the smaller tyranid creatures. The larger creatures were more of a hassle as my heavy weapons fire was not reliable enough to take on the big threats from the opposing army; I think all but one of the wounds on the Exocrine was caused by lasguns rather than the heavy weapons (the Lascannon team was able to wound it once before being useless in the following turn, then getting wiped out). The exocrine was a big thorn in my side, it was able to take out the Chimera, the punisher cannon and cause a lot of damage on the infantry squads over the course of the game.
My attempts to take out the synapse creatures was hindered by the poor shooting, but I was able to get rid of most of them on the left flank, which led to the termagants fleeing.

I did get very lucky with some of my saving throws during the game. Making 4 out of 5 feel no pain rolls with the company command when targeted by the Hive Tyrant helped to keep my psyker and warlord alive. As the Hive Tyrant was flying, it could not finish them off the following turn as it had to move out of range. I also got lucky with quite a few cover saves over the course of the game.

Chris made some good target priority choices over the course of the game. Sending the Hive Tyrant and Trygon after the Wyverns was necessary, as these units can cause a lot of damage and would have easily wiped out the other hormagaunts and termagants if left unchecked. He was also able to take out the punisher cannon early on, severely reducing the firepower of the Russ. The trygon was also able to destroy anything it came into contact with in combat. Fortunately, I did not combine all my infantry squads, so it could only take out one unit per turn, giving me enough scoring units left to seize the objectives.

Winning this game in the end did come down to luck. We both had three objectives and Chris had the two secondaries, so I was lucky to get the high scoring objectives to win the game by a single point.

"The match was incredibly hard fought. I feel that on any normal day the Guardsmen would have walked it, but luck was not with them for the first few turns. Ending with 3 objectives each and the victory points coming down to the numbers they concealed was mostly due to unusual luck on both sides.
Given how it went, I think I needed more support for the gaunts- venomthropes and a larger warrior unit to provide cover fire could have helped. In addition, I think the flying hive tyrant did not really pull its weight- letting it glide rather than swoop would have spelled its death from hundreds of guardsmen guns, and as a result it did very little damage. Perhaps in the future, I would exchange it for a cheaper HQ unit and take more elsewhere in the army.

On the positive, my Exocrine was brilliant, managing several highly effective rounds of shooting and combat to destroy numerous units, as well as stubbornly refusing to die makes it my man (fearsome monster?) of the match. The Trygon also did well, managing to take out several tanks and infantry units before the end. Psychic powers seem like they may be good, but thanks to my psyker units getting bad powers for what they were and some poor manifestation attempts, a lot of my (many) warp charge points went to waste.

Overall, I am happy with how it went, a fun match against a tough opponent is always welcome."

Couldn't have said it better myself, Chris!

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