Thursday 1 October 2015

Battle Report 21- 1850 pts Ravenwing vs Chaos Space Marines

In this week's battle report, my Ravenwing army takes on a force of Chaos Space Marines, commanded by Thomas, as part of the Medusa IV campaign that I am running.

My Ravenwing army was one I am considering taking to Blog Wars X. It consists of:
Sammael on Corvex (S)
Interrogator-Chaplain- Bike, Mace of Absolution, Auspex, Meltabombs (IC)
5 Ravenwing Command- Champion, Apothecary, Ravenwing banner, one grenade launcher (CS)
6 Black Knights- grenade launcher (BK)
5 Ravenwing Bikers- 2 Grav guns, sergeant with meltabombs (RB1)
5 Ravenwing Bikers- 2 Plasma guns, sergeant with meltabombs (RB2)
5 Ravenwing Bikers- 2 Meltaguns, sergeant with meltabombs (RB3)
Ravenwing Landspeeder- Multimelta, Typhoon missile launcher (RL)
Dark Talon (DT)
Darkshroud- Assault Cannon
3 Ravenwing Landspeeders- Heavy Bolters, Assault Cannons (RSS)
I have swapped out the Librarian from my original army with an Interrogator-Chaplain. I feel this gives the Black Knights a bit more punch in combat with the Zealot re-rolls and I never had much success using the Librarian.
Thomas' army consisted of:
Be'lakor, the Dark Master (Bl)
Chaos Lord- Bike, Blight Grenades, Mark of Nurgle, Power Fist, Lightning Claw, Veteran of the Long War (PL)
5 Plague Marines (PM1)- 2 Plasma Guns in Rhino (R1)- dozer blade, dirge caster
5 Plague Marines (PM2)- 2 Plasma Guns in Rhino (R2)- dozer blade, dirge caster
5 Plague Marines (PM3)- 2 Plasma Guns in Rhino (R3)- dozer blade, dirge caster
5 Chaos Spawn- Mark of Nurgle (CS)
Heldrake (HD)
Aegis Defence line with Comms Relay
Mayhem Pack:
3 Hellbrutes- Multimelta, power fist (H1-H3)
From Thomas:
"Making the list, I really wanted to take the Mayhem pack as three deep striking Hellbrutes is great fun to play (even if it isn't terribly effective most of the time). Investing 300 points in the pack means taking an aegis with comms relay for some control over when they come in. This naturally leads to a heldrake since it would benefit from reserve re-rolls.
For the rest of the list, the obligatory power fist and lightning claw Lord came along and I had a lot of plague marines painted up as Death Guard chapter colours, so I took three minimum units for Objective Secured. I had a toss up between a black mace nurgle prince or Be'lakor, but opted for Be'lakor because he is one of the few characters that stands a good chance against an Imperial Knight or a character powerful enough to beat the Nurgle Lord, while providing plenty of utility."

That's a lot of reserves.
Thomas' army looked quite tough. Plague marines are a tough unit, almost as tough as my bikers and the Heldrake is the bane of marine armies, especially bikers as it denies both their armour and Jink saves. It would be tough to deal with as I lack a lot of anti-flyer firepower (my own flyer can only fire its bolters at it and these are unable to damage it).
For the mission, I wanted to try out the special blog wars mission- Hold your own. This game features three objectives; one in the centre and one for each player. At the end of the game, your own objective is worth 5 pts, the middle objective is worth 10 pts and your opponent's objective is worth 15 pts. I was keen to see how my army would hold up in this mission as I am lacking Objective Secured units, so it may be a tough one for me.
I won the roll for table edge and chose the side with a good amount of cover on it. Thomas won the roll for Deployment and chose to go first. He deployed his Rhinos and the Chaos Lord and Spawn behind the Aegis Defence line, with Be'lakor taking cover behind a set of ruins out of line of sight.
I set up my army opposite in a roughly even fashion. The command squad went on one flank, out of line of sight behind a bastion. The Support squadron were deployed nearby to provide some cover. The Black Knights went on the other side of the deployment zone, ready to Scout forward towards the enemy. The rest of the bikers and landspeeder went between the two units. My original plan was to keep two units of Bikers in reserve to outflank late in the game to grab the objectives in the enemy deployment zone. Just as the game was about to start, I remembered that this was not allowed as all the units in the Ravenwing Strike Force had to deploy at the same time, so I put the units on the table.
I scouted the Black Knights and a couple of the bike units forward, ready to engage the enemy quickly. I chose not to seize the initiative, there was not a lot of firepower on the table so far and I wanted the last turn of the game to try grab the objectives.
Deployment and Scout Moves.

The Chaos side lines up.

The Ravenwing ready to advance.
Turn 1- Chaos Space Marines.
Be'lakor led the advance on the enemy army, flying over the ruins with the Rhinos advancing over the Aegis line (one failed its dangerous terrain test, but passed the re-roll with the dozer blades).

Be'lakor leads the advance.
In the psychic phase, Be'lakor casted shrouded in himself, providing protection for the nearby Rhinos who popped their smoke launchers in the shooting phase.
With nothing in range to shoot or assault, the turn quickly passed to the Dark Angels.
Turn 1- Ravenwing.
On the left flank, the Black Knights and grav gun bikers advanced on the enemy, both units turbo-boosting to make themselves appealing targets to the enemy forces. The rest of the units advanced cautiously, however, the Command Squad stayed in position to survey the battlefield.

The Support Squadron moves up.

The Support squadron began the attack, firing at the front Rhino and wrecking it in a hail of gunfire (I managed 4 penetrating hits and three glancing hits on the vehicle, enough got through the cover save to wreck it). The only other unit in range was the Ravenwing Landspeeder, who fired its frag typhoon missiles at the chaos spawn, causing one wound that was saved by cover.
Turn 2- Chaos Space Marines.
With a shriek of engines, the Heldrake arrived, targeting the Command Squad on the left flank. On the other flank, Be'lakor swooped on top of the ruins, covering the advance of the spawn and Chaos Lord towards the Black Knights. The remaining Rhinos stayed behind the protection of the Aegis line in their deployment zone.
The Heldrake targets the Command Squad.
The Spawn advance on the Knights.
The Rhinos castle up.

In the psychic phase, Be'lakor used his daemonic powers to terrify the grav gun bikers, but the squad held fire and passed their morale. He then used his powers to make the Chaos Lord and Spawn invisible.

In the shooting phase, the Heldrake target the command squad, causing four wounds with its flamer. I was fortunate enough to pass two feel no pain rolls, so only two of the Knights died, one of which was the apothecary.
The plasma gunners from the wrecked rhino fired at the Black Knights, but could not get past their Jink saves.

In the assault phase, the Chaos Lord led the spawn in a charge against the Black Knights. The Knights' overwatch fire was immense, resulting in 5 wounds and the death of a Spawn. The Chaos Lord bellowed a challenge, which the Chaplain stepped forward to accept. The Chaplain struck with the Mace of Absolution, wounding the Chaos Lord. The Black Knights could do nothing against the invisible spawn and did not wound them. The Spawn struck back with a crazed ferocity, killing all the Black Knights and wounding the Chaplain (Thomas managed to roll a 6 for the Spawns' attacks, giving him 24 attacks that caused 12 wounds. I then managed to fail 7 out of twelve 3+ saves, losing most of the unit). The Chaos Lord then struck the Chaplain, causing three wounds. I failed two of my invulnerable saves and the entire unit was wiped out.
The Spawn assault.

That did not go to plan. I forgot about Invisibility could be cast on the Spawn to make them very tough to kill in combat, so lost the Black Knights for nothing (plus, I was horrendously unlucky with my saves).


Turn 2- Ravenwing.
The turn began with the Dark Talon arriving on the left flank, moving up towards the enemy lines. The rest of the Ravenwing army advanced, eager to get out of the firing arc of the Heldrake.

The newly arrived flyer fired its Rift Cannon at the Chaos marines sheltering behind the rhino wreck, killing one (I hit four of the marines, but only wounded twice, rolling two ones to wound. Then one wound was saved by cover). Its hurricane bolters slew another of the Death Guard. The Ravenwing Landspeeder fired at the Rhino in front of it, penetrating and stunning the vehicle.

The Command Squad fired at the remaining Death Guard in the open. Sammael's plasma cannon overheated (but did not wound him), but the squad's plasma talons killed two of the followers of Chaos, leaving one remaining.

The Support Squadron fired at the second Rhino, causing two hull points worth of damage.

With no units able to assault, the turn was over for the Ravenwing.

Turn 3- Chaos Space Marines.
The Mayhem pack arrived, Deep Striking into the Ravenwing deployment zone to grab their objective. The Chaos Lord led the surviving spawn around the ruins towards the Support Squadron, a Rhino moving up to cover their advance.
The Mayhem pack arrives.

The Heldrake moves along the flank.

The Heldrake turned 90 degrees and advanced towards the right flank. Be'lakor also turned and advanced on the Support Squadron.

In the psychic phase, Be'lakor cast dominate on the grav gun bikers. They failed their morale check and fell back, out of the firing arc of the Heldrake (a nice bonus for me!). He then attempted to use Psychic Shriek on the bikers. The attempt was successful, but Be'lakor took a wound as he periled the roll. To add insult to his injury, he failed to roll high enough to cause any wounds on the squad.

With its prime choice now out of sight, the Heldrake fired at the support squadron, taking a hull point off the nearest speeder.
The lone Death Guard armed with the Plasma gun fired at the Dark Talon. Thomas rolled a one to hit, overheating, then a one for his armour save. Fortunately, his feel no pain roll met with more success and the gunner survived. The Mayhem Pack fired at the grav gun bikers, but all three multi-melta shots were saved by the Jinking bikers.

In the assault phase, the Chaos Lord charged the Support squadron, the spawn advancing quickly behind him. The nearby Dirge caster prevented the support squadron from unleashing their potent firepower in overwatch. The Spawn struck first, destroying two of the enemy speeders. Unfortunately, this put the Chaos Lord out of range to attack and he was unable to finish off the squadron.

Turn 3- Ravenwing.
The majority of the Ravenwing units advanced, the meltagun bikers moving to engage the Rhino, while the other units focused on the Chaos Lord. Only the grav gun bikers and Ravenwing Landspeeder moved back to face the Hellbrute menace in their deployment zone.
The Ravenwing move to the exposed armour of the walkers.

The Dark Talon fired at the Rhino in the backfield. The shot hit on target but failed to penetrate the armour of the vehicle (I managed to hit, but rolled a 1 on the AP roll, so only glanced). The support squadron, command squad and plasma gun bikers fired at the Chaos Spawn causing 6 wounds in total, leaving only one Spawn and the Lord left.

The Ravenwing Landspeeder fired at the Hellbrute. The Multimelta penetrated, destroying the brute's own multimelta. The typhoon missile launcher then failed to finish off the walker (I managed to roll a double 1 to hit on the krak missiles). The grav gun bikers targeted the same walker, their bolters glancing the Hellbrute to death.

In the assault phase, the Command squad charged the Chaos Lord. The Chaos Lord challenged and the Black Knight Champion had to accept. The Chaos Lord slew three of the Black Knights before they got to strike. Sammael was unable to damage the Chaos Spawn thanks to their increased toughness.
The Plague Marines are assaulted.

The Command Squad attack the Chaos Lord.

The Meltagun bikers assaulted the Death Guard. Neither side was able to gain the upper hand and the combat continued.

Turn 4- Chaos Space Marines.
The Heldrake turned once again and moved towards the grav gun bikers in the Ravenwing deployment zone. The Hellbrute advanced on the Ravenwing landspeeder, while the second member of the formation advanced on the objective. Be'lakor moved up to the Support squadron, ready to finish off the thorn in his side.

The last remaining Rhino attempted to pass the Aegis line, but only succeeded in wrecking itself as it attempted to navigate the obstacle (Thomas managed to roll a 1 on his dangerous terrain test, then the re-roll came up a 1 as well, removing its last hull point). The Death Guard inside scrambled out behind the protection of the defence line.

Be'lakor cast terrify and dominate on the plasma gun biker unit. Not content with that, he then used psychic shriek on them and succeeded in wiping out the unit.

In the shooting phase, the Heldrake fired at the grav gun unit, but only two bikers succumbed to the daemon flame. The Hellbrute nearest the landspeeder fired its multimelta at the skimmer, but the jinking pilot stopped any damage.

With no other shooting, the assault phase began in earnest. The Hellbrute charged the Landspeeder, clawing the skimmer and damaging it, but he could not finish it off. Bel'akor charged the support squadron, their overwatch fire could not get a bead on the jinking daemon and he easily destroyed his prey.

In their combat, Sammael wounded the Chaos Lord he now found himself in a challenge with. The Spawn struck at Sammael, but was unable to get past his armour. The Chaos Lord struck with his mighty power fist, wounding Sammael only once (Thomas managed to miss with three out of his 4 attacks on the Ravenwing Chapter Master). Sammael failed to Hit and Run from combat (on a 6!) and remained locked with the Chaos Warlord.

In the battle between the Death Guard and Ravenwing, one of the elite bikers was struck down for no loss in return. The biker unit passed their morale check, but failed to hit and run out of combat.

Turn 4- Ravenwing.
The grav bikers advanced on the exposed rear armour of the Hellbrute, while the Dark Talon had to leave the air space to circle around for another pass. The Landspeeder turbo-boosted into the enemy deployment zone.

In the shooting phase, the grav bikers fired at the Hellbrute, immobilising it with their grav guns. They charged in in the assault phase, their krak grenades finishing off the enemy walker.

Sammael failed to wound the Chaos Lord and was cut down in reply.

At this point, I conceded the game. I had few units left and had not really made much of a dent in the enemy army. Next turn, the grav bikers would be finished off by Be'lakor and the Chaos Lord would mop up the remaining bikers, so there was little point in playing on.

Chaos Space Marines- 30 (primary) + 2 (secondary, Slay the Warlord and Linebreaker)
Ravenwing- 0 (Primary) + 1 (secondary, first blood)

Thomas rolled for capturing his tile and was successful.

Quite a few lessons to learn from this battle.

One potential mistake was advancing the Black Knights and Interrogator-Chaplain so far forward. I wanted to tempt the Chaos Lord and Spawn to charge them. This worked, but I was not able to damage them as much as I wanted to in combat. I forgot about the chance of them getting Invisibility cast on them and forgot how tough spawn can be in combat.

We wondered how much of a difference invisibility made in the combat, so went and re-played it once the game has finished. In our revised combat, the Knights struck at the Spawn, causing 6 wounds and killing two spawn. The Chaplain then took a wound off the Chaos Lord in the challenge. In return, the spawn killed 3 Knights and the Chaos Lord wiped out the rest of the unit and Chaplain (Thomas was lucky to hit and wound with all his attacks and I managed to fail all invulnerable saves). The overall outcome would have been the same (dead Black Knights), but the Lord's unit would have been reduced by two more models, possibly enough to allow my firepower to wipe them out in the next turn.
It may have been more useful to use the Black Knights more conservatively, possibly charging the Spawn themselves (though the Blight Grenades rendered would have rendered this a moot point, but denied the Spawn additional attacks from their charge) An alternative idea would have been to move the Support Squadron to get line of sight to the spawn. I could have used the Ravenshield to overwatch the Spawn, hopefully causing more wounds and diminishing the attack potential of the chaos unit.

I knew from the start that the Heldrake was going to be difficult to deal with. It was the worst flyer for me to come up against as it ignored my armour, Jink saves and higher toughness with its flame weapon. I think my plan in turn 2 to move everything up to get out of its firing arc was the right idea. Unfortunately, there is not much in my army that could deal with it. Thomas was cautious enough to keep outside of assault cannon range when he deployed it once I had informed him that the Support Squadron had interceptor, they may have given me the chance to deal with it before it caused any damage. I like the Dark Talon and can see its immediate value, but it may be worth swapping it for the Nephillim to give me some anti-flyer firepower. Any advice on this would be appreciated.

Another annoyance was having the Champion in the Ravenwing Command Squad. He had to accept the challenge from the Chaos Lord and as a result, the unit was wiped out by lightning claw attacks before they could strike. Without the Champion, I would have accepted the challenge with Sammael, hoping to tank the wounds on his invulnerable save. This would hopefully have left the Knights to deal with the last spawn and possibly even wound the Chaos Lord with their S5 rending attacks. Sammael is a great character, but being limited to S4 means he struggles to put wounds on any T5 or T6 characters he comes up against. I may drop the Champion from my list as he limits the tactical choices in combat by being forced to issue and accept challenges.
I think that we forgot to make Be'lakor roll to hit for his psychic shriek attacks. Probably wound not have made any difference, but I may have gotten lucky with the plasma gun bikers.
Even though I have been playing 7th edition since its release, there are still things I am learning about the game:
  • You get +1 attack for being armed with any two specialist weapons. I thought they had to be the same specialist weapon, but the rule just says any two. The power fist and lighting fist combo is quite useful.
  • You get cover and Jink saves from Overwatch fire. I had somehow convinced myself that you did not get cover saves from overwatch, but could find nothing in the rules to support this. As a result, Be'lakor got a 2+ cover save when charging the Support squadron, so my overwatch fire did nothing to him.

Thanks to Thomas for a very interesting (if humbling) game. Goes to show the Chaos space marine codex can still pack a bit of punch.

"My initial plan to turtle up with the shrouded psychic power and smoke until the reserves came in went ok since I got the first turn, I didn't feel like I was missing too much of the battle. I knew the bike squad on the right would be a good target for the Lord, although I did underestimate it's close combat a lot and in fact only cast invisibility with 4 dice as an after thought for 'what do I do after I've killed this squad and am out in the open?' As it turns out they were way more fighty than I had thought and I really also should have had a dirge caster cover their assault. I think we both underestimated each others units on that flank.

When all the bikes came forward to try and escape from the Heldrake, I took the opportunity to deep strike the Helbrutes at the back to try and secure my opponent's objective, but that did not work out so well as the manoeuvrable bikes were able to easily get to the rear armour and the brutes did almost nothing.

The turn Be'lakor landed, I think was the same turn the Hellbrutes came and I moved my Chaos Lord up to assault the middle which presented 3 big threats at the same time (although it turns out the Hellbrutes aren't that threatening).

Another big mistake was not moving my lord further into the vehicle squadron when he charged the Landspeeders, so he lost the opportunity to strike.

People say that Chaos is an underpowered codex, but I think there are still plenty of quality units in it (it's just a shame they are all Nurgle)."

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