Monday 12 March 2018

GFTW Tournament Game 1: White Scars vs Chaos Space Marines/Chaos Daemons

Welcome to the first battle report from a recent tournament that I attended. The tournament was held by Greetings From the Warp, and consisted of three games of maelstrom of war. 

For the tournament, I have been practicing with a new type of army for my White Scars Space Marines. This army focuses on infantry and board control, with some potent firepower and close combat units. 
Game 1 saw me facing off against Justin and his Chaos Space Marine and Chaos Daemon army. If you are on Instagram, you can follow Justin at BlueMarbleChomper. (Remember, you can now follow the St Andrews Wargaming Facebook page to keep up to date on all the latest battle reports too).

First off, let me say that the guys at Greetings From the Warp put on a great event. The tables looked amazing, with plenty of terrain, and the standard of the armies was really high as well. They were great to chat with and were very helpful throughout the day. I hope to attend many of their events in the future.

The first game was the Sealed Orders maelstrom mission with Dawn of War deployment. In this mission, you start with 6 maelstrom cards that you keep secret from your opponent. Once you have scored/discarded your initial 6 cards, you draw 5 more, then 4, then 3, etc. This means that a bad hand can stay with you for a while, making it harder to score.

My army consisted of:
Brigade Detachment
Captain on Bike- Thunder Hammer, The Shield Eternal, Twin Boltgun, Iron Resolve Warlord Trait (C1)
Captain with Jump Pack- Lightning Claw, Combi-Melta (C2)
Librarian with Jump Pack- Force Stave, Boltgun, Null Zone, Psychic Fortress (L2)
Lieutenant with Jump Pack- Power Axe, Master-Crafted Boltgun, Bolt Pistol (L1)
5 Scouts- Boltguns (S1)
5 Scouts- Boltguns, Sergeant has Bolt Pistol and Combat Knife (S2)
5 Scouts- Bolt Pistols and Combat Knives (S3)
5 Tactical Marines- Bolters, Heavy Bolter (TS1)
5 Tactical Marines- Bolters, Heavy Bolter (TS2)
5 Tactical Marines- Bolters, Missile Launcher (TS3)
Company Ancient- Standard of the Emperor Ascendant, Chainsword (A)
5 Vanguard Veterans- Jump Packs, 5 Pairs of Lightning Claws (VV1)
5 Vanguard Veterans- Jump Packs, 2 Chainswords each (VV2)
5 Assault Marines- Jump Packs, 2 Plasma Pistols, Bolt Pistols, Chainswords, Sergeant with Plasma Pistol (AS1)
5 Assault Marines- Jump Packs, 2 Plasma Pistols, Bolt Pistols, Chainswords, Sergeant with Power Fist and Meltabombs (AS2)
5 Assault Marines- Jump Packs, 2 Plasma Pistols, Bolt Pistols, Chainswords, Sergeant with Power Sword (AS3)
6 Scout Bikers- Twin Boltguns, Astartes Shotguns, Combat Knives (SB)
Thunderfire Cannon. Techmarine Gunner (T) with 2 Servo-arms, Plasma Cutter, Flamer, Bolt Pistol (TC)
5 Devastator Marines- 2 Heavy Bolters, Plasma Cannon, Bolters (D1)
5 Devastator Marines- 3 Missile Launchers, Bolters (D2)

The Biker Captain was my warlord. I have been having some success with the army in maelstrom games, as I have a lot of units for holding objectives and fast units to grab them.

Justin's army consisted of:
Battalion Detachment
Chaos Lord, Terminator Armour, Chainfist, Mark of Khorne (CL)
Dark Apostle- Bolt Pistol, Mark of Khorne, Power Mace, The Black Mace (DA)
Kharn the Betrayer (K)
5 Chaos Space Marines- Bolters, Mark of Khorne, Aspiring Champion with Power Maul (CM)
20 Khorne Berzerkers- Icon of Wrath, Chainaxes, Bolt Pistols, Champion with Power Maul (KB1)
20 Khorne Berzerkers- Icon of Wrath, Chainaxes, Bolt Pistols, Champion with Power Maul (KB2)

Vanguard Detachment
Wrath of Khorne Bloodthirster- Skullreaver, Warlord (BT)
3 Bloodcrushers- Daemonic Icon, Instrument of Chaos (B1)
3 Bloodcrushers- Daemonic Icon, Instrument of Chaos (B2)
3 Bloodcrushers- Daemonic Icon, Instrument of Chaos (B3)

Quite an assault heavy force for Justin. The two big units of Berzerkers would cause a mess of any of my units, so I would need to stop them from getting into combat. Fortunately, the Thunderfire Cannon should help with that. The Daemons were also a fast and hard hitting force, I would need to try and take the Bloodthirster out before it got to my lines.

It was also a fantastic looking force, with a strong focus on the 30k elements.

We deployed the objectives as shown below:

We then deployed our forces.

I put my Jump units in reserve, forcing Justin to deploy much of his army before I had to place a single model. I dislike this, it feels cheap, but it is a valid tactic for countering an opponent's deployment.

Justin put both units of Berzerkers in the centre, flanking on either side by the Bloodcrushers. A unit of Chaos Space Marines held an objective at the back, while Justin spent the command points to put the Bloodthirster in reserve. He also spend a command point to give the Bloodcrusher unit on the right flank a 3D6 charge roll.

I spread my forces along my deployment zone. I put a unit of Scout Bikers on each flank (after combat squading them). The Devastator Squads, Ancient, Lieutenant, Librarian and 2 Captains went in the centre as a firebase. The Thunderfire Cannon went on the left, with the Tactical Squads spread out to cover my deployment zone to block enemy units. I put the three units of Scouts just outside my deployment zone to force deep strikers to deploy further away.

I didn't put the Scouts too far forward as to guarantee a charge with the Bloodcrushers. As it was, Justin would need an 11 or 12" charge to get into range of the Scouts.

We rolled off for the first turn, Justin winning the roll with a 6. I failed to seize the initiative, and the Disciples of Khorne took the first turn.

As the objectives were kept secret in this mission, I didn't know what Justin drew for his turn.

The forces of Chaos advanced on the White Scars army, moving as fast as possible to the enemy lines. Justin chose to advance with the Bloodcrushers that could charge 3D6". I was surprised by this, as he needed a 12" charge to get the Scouts on the right flank. He would need to roll above average, but it was not impossible.

At the end of the phase, the Terminator Lord and Bloodthirster arrived from reserve, both landing on the right flank to threaten the Scouts and Scout Bikers.

There was no shooting in range, so we moved onto the assault phase. The Chaos Lord charged the Scout squad. The Bloodthirster attempted to charge the Scout Bikers, but failed to make the distance.

The Chaos Lord struck at the Scouts, easily wiping them out in a fury of gore.

At the end of his turn, Justin scored First Blood and no maelstrom cards.

In my first turn, I drew Secure Objective 4, Secure Objective 6, Secure Objective 6, Defend Objective 3, Area Denial and Assassinate. A pretty good draw for me, as I was on three of the objectives already.

The Biker Captain and Librarian moved up on the Chaos Lord, as the Scout Bikers moved round to join them. The Tactical Squad on the left moved back slightly, I wanted to stop the Bloodthirster from having room to charge the Thunderfire Cannon.

On the right flank, both Scout Squads moved up in front of the front Bloodcrusher unit, blocking their movement. The Scout Bikers moved up the right flank, ready to pounce on the objective.

The Librarian cast Smite, putting three wounds on the Chaos Lord. He was then able to cast Null Zone as well.

The shooting phase started with the Thunderfire Cannon targeting the Bloodcrushers with the Tremor Shells stratagem to slow their movement and make their 3D6 charge less useful.

The Devastators, Scouts and Tactical Squad on the right flank targeted the two Bloodcrusher units, slaying the front squad and killing one of the second squad.

On the right flank, the Tactical Squad used their Hellfire Shells stratagem, killing the Chaos Lord. The Scout Bikers fired on the Bloodcrushers in front of them, killing one of the squad. The Captain was able to target Kharn, who had surged ahead of the Berzerkers, wounding him once.

The Heavy Bolter Tactical Squad fired on the Bloodthirster and managed to put a couple of wounds on the mighty Daemon.

At the end of my turn, I scored Secure Objective 4, Secure Objective 6, Secure Objective 6 and Assassinate for four points. I decided to use the Acceptable Losses stratagem to allow me to discard both Area Denial and Defend Objective 3. I probably could have got to Objective 3 in my following turn, but decided I might have more luck with drawing 5 new cards in my second turn.

Chaos Space Marines- 1
White Scars- 4


The Khorne Berzerkers both moved up on the White Scars lines, Kharn moving ahead of the main force, ready for the slaughter. On the left flank, the Bloodcrushers moved up on the Scouts, while on the right flank, the Bloodcrushers were slowed by the Tremor Shells.

The Bloodthirster moved on top of the ruins, overlooking the carnage to come.

In the shooting phase, the Bloodthirster targeted the Scout Bikers with his flame attacks, killing one of the squad.

In the charge phase, the Bloodcrushers and Berzerkers on the left charged both the Scout units. On the right flank, Kharn tried to charge the Captain, but failed to make the distance. The Bloodthirster charged the Tactical Squad, moving to engage the Scout Bikers and Captain as it did so.

The Bloodthirster easily obliterated the Tactical Squad in front of the Thunderfire Cannon. On the left flank, the Bloodcrushers killed two Scouts from one Squad, while the Berzerkers wiped out the second squad with ease.

The White Scars Captain then struck back at the Bloodthirster, putting 5 wounds on him with his Thunder Hammer. The nearby Librarian was able to block the invulnerable save of the Bloodthirster, making it easier to wound.
I then spent three command points on the Honour the Chapter stratagem, allowing the Captain to strike again and kill the Bloodthirster.

At the end of his turn, Justin scored Secure Objective 1.

In my second turn, I drew Secure Objective 1, Defend Objective 2, Master the Warp, Behind Enemy Lines and No Prisoners. Another great draw of cards for me.

The Scouts fell back from combat towards the objective, as the Scout Bikers moved up on the Chaos Space Marines in the enemy deployment zone. The Biker Captain and Scout Bikers moved up on the Bloodcrushers, while the Librarian moved up on Kharn.

At the end of the phase, the White Scars reserves arrived in the enemy deployment zone. One unit of Assault Marines and Vanguard Veterans went after the Berzerker squad, while the rest of the reserves went after the Chaos Space Marines.

In the psychic phase, the Librarian cast Smite, putting three wounds on Kharn.

The Thunderfire Cannon fired at the central unit of Berzerkers, using the Tremor Shells stratagem once more to slow their progress.

The Missile Launcher Devastators fired at the Bloodcrushers on the right, wiping out the squad. The other Devastator Squad fired at the other Bloodcrusher unit, killing the other squad.

In the backfield, the Assault Squads and Scout Bikers fired at the Chaos Space Marines, wiping them out with their Plasma Pistols and Bolter attacks. The other Assault Squad and Scout Bikers fired at the Berzerkers, killing several of the unit.

In the charge phase, the Scout Bikers, Vanguard Veterans and Biker Captain charged the Khorne Berzerkers.

The Vanguard Veterans struck at Berzerkers, killing 7 of the squad. Justin used 2 command points to interrupt and fight with the Berzerkers. The disciples of Khorne struck with a fury, killing the two Scout Bikers and killing four of the Vanguard Veterans.

The Captain struck at the Berzerkers, killing some more of the squad. In the morale phase, the Berzerkers were wiped out.

At the end of my turn, I rolled a D3 for No Prisoners and Behind Enemy lines and rolled a 1 for each! I also scored Master the Warp and Slay the Warlord. I discarded Secure Objective 1. I was likely to score Defend Objective 2, so wanted to be able to draw new cards in my next turn.

Chaos Space Marines- 2
White Scars- 8

I had managed to build up a good lead in maelstrom points and taken out much of the enemy army so far. Things were not looking good for Justin.


The remaining Berzerkers moved up on the White Scars Devastators, slowed considerably by the Tremor Shells. Kharn moved up on the Biker Captain.

The Berzerkers fired on the Tactical Squad to their right, killing one with their Bolt Pistols.

In the charge phase, the Berzerkers tried to assault the Devastator Squad. Thanks to the Tremor Shells, he needed a double 6. He rolled a 6 and a 1, using a command point re-roll, but only rolled a 3. I kind of wished he was able to make the charge.

Kharn assaulted the Biker Captain and Vanguard Veteran, suffering two hits in overwatch, but failing to wound (he only had one left).

Kharn struck at the White Scars, killing the Veteran and wounding the Captain twice. He then got to strike once more using a stratagem, doing 5 wounds on the Captain, but only two got past his Storm Shield.

The Biker Captain struck back, cutting down the Betrayer.

At the end of his turn, Justin scored no points. I scored Defend Objective 2.

In my third turn, I drew Advance (have all my units out of my deployment zone), Mission Critical Objective (Objective 2), Hold the Line (have 3 of my units and no enemy units in my deployment zone) and Secure Objective 5.

One Assault Squad moved up on the objective, while the rest of the White Scars converged on the Khorne Berzerkers.

In the psychic phase, the Librarian cast Smite, killing the Dark Apostle after a very powerful psychic attack and using a command point re-roll.

In the shooting phase, the White Scars targeted the Khorne Berzerkers, The Chaos Marines could not withstand such a punishing weight of fire and the unit perished.

At the end of my turn, I scored Secure Objective 5, Mission Critical Objective, Hold the Line and Linebreaker.

Chaos Space Marines- 2
White Scars- 14

A win for the White Scars.

Thanks to Justin for a great game and for being a fantastic opponent. Even though this game went as bad as it could possibly go for him, he was a pleasure throughout it when nothing was going right and great fun to chat with during the game.

This was actually his first 40k tournament and one of his first games of 8th edition, having focused more on 30k so far with his army. As a result, his list was not really optimised, but was a very themed force that looked brilliant on the tabletop.

Unfortunately, this was a really bad match up for him. After I explained what the Thunderfire Cannon could do, he make it a priority. However, with very little shooting and my use of screening units, he was unable to take it out easily. As a result of this, I was able to use the Tremor Shells stratagem to effectively neutralise two of his units; first the Bloodcrushers, then the second large squad of Khorne Berzerkers. Having to run across the board into my gunline is bad enough, but at half speed, it was going to be very difficult to get there.

Not too much to say about this one. It was a really bad match up for Justin and worked really well for me. I was able to use the Scout screen to push back his Bloodthirster, and block off the movement of the Bloodcrushers. After that, I was able to take out the faster moving elements with my superior firepower, then tackle the two large units of Berzerkers.

My fast moving units and use of the discard stratagem allowed me to score well on the maelstrom points.

Each of the games was only 2 hours 15 minutes. I was a bit concerned for time, so started taking note of how long each turn was taking, so I would know if I was playing slow or not. While I wanted to take photos and brief notes, I did not want to do so at the expense of the game. In case it is of interest, the timings of the game were as follows:

9.45 am- Game start and deployment
10.02 am- CSM first turn
10.18 am- WS first turn
10.38 am- CSM second turn
11.00 am- WS second turn
11.25 am- CSM third turn

As you can see, we averaged about 20 minutes per turn with the game ending on turn 3 with a tabling. The turns seemed to take much longer, so I was glad when we could keep to a good time.

With a win in the first game, I was eager to see who my opponent would be for game 2.

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  1. Another great report.

    My comment on timings (which I made on another blog):

    The rulebook states a 1001-2000 game will take 2-3 hours to play (I will assume this includes set-up). From this I will assume that a 1001-point game will take closer to 2hrs to play and a 2k game will take closer to 3hrs to play.

    Your event organiser has given you 2hrs 15 to play a 2k game. It would be interesting to know how many of the games at this event when to the full (potential) 7 turns.

    If it was very few then he has obviously not allowed sufficient time.

    2 easy fixes if people were running out of time, allow more time or reduce the points.

    A lot of talk at eth moment about slow play but this I think is a very different issuer to not having enough time.

    It would be good to know your thoughts on this

    1. Glad you enjoyed it Toonboy!

      Yeah, the 2h 15min rounds had me really concerned, that's why I wanted to note the times, to make sure I wasn't taking too much time writing my brief notes and taking photos.

      I too would be interested in seeing how many of the games went to completion. The organisers were quite aware of this and asked us to write down which turn each of our games finished in. They were being very strict about round times (which is good), wanting to keep the event on time. Only one of my three games did not go to completion. A pity, as it was a really tense and close game.

      I think in their next tournament they are going to drop the points to 1750. This should give players time to hopefully get full games in.

      I don't mind 2.5-3 hour rounds, but it can be a LONG day for a one-day tournament, especially if you have to travel far afterwards. I'll probably go to the next event, so we'll see how I get along with the new points and time.

  2. Great write up, 8th is so different to 7th timing wise, it was a good learning experience for us, our next event will be slightly less points and slightly more time. Like you say it can be a long and tiring weekend so we want to find the sweet spot in the middle. Thanks for a write up, I look forward to the next one. Ryan

    1. Cheers Ryan, glad you enjoyed it! I'll definitely be signing up for the next one.
      I'd definitely be interested on the data you collected about what turn the games went to and how many finished naturally. Would be interesting to see what the spread was.