Thursday, 13 December 2018

40k Grand Slam Tournament Game 3- Dark Angels/Deathwatch vs Imperial Knights/Astra Militarum

My third game of the Element Games Grand Slam 40k tournament saw my Dark Angels and Deathwatch force take on Matt and his army of Imperial Knights and Astra Militarum. 

The ETC mission was Dominate and Destroy for the Eternal War mission and Contact Lost for the maelstrom of war mission. This would be tough, as this game gave double kill points for the Eternal War mission on top of the ETC mission. We would be using Dawn of War deployment. 

My army consisted of:
Battalion Detachment (Dark Angels)
Azrael (Az)
Primaris Lieutenant- Master-crafted Auto Bolt Rifle, Eye of the Unseen (Relic) (L)
Primaris Ancient- Bolt Rifle (An)
5 Intercessors- Bolt Rifles (I)
5 Scouts- Bolters (S1)
5 Scouts- Heavy Bolter, Bolters (S2)
5 Devastators- Heavy Bolter, Armorium Cherub (D)
10 Hellblasters- Plasma Incinerators (H)
Darkshroud- Heavy Bolter (DS)

Battalion Detachment (Deathwatch)
Watch Master- Guardian Spear (W)
Watch Captain- Jump Pack, Thunder Hammer, Storm Shield, Bolt Pistol (WC)
10 Intercessors- Bolt Rifles, Bolt Pistols (DI)
10 Veterans- 10 Storm Bolters, 2 Storm Shields, 8 Chainswords (DV1)
6 Veterans- 2 Missile Launchers, 4 Stalker Bolters (DV2)

Auxiliary Detachment
Culexus Assassin (CA)

Matt's army consisted of:
Superheavy Detachment (Imperial Knights, Hawkshroud)
Knight Castellan- Armour of the Sainted Ion, Ion Bulwark (warlord trait), Plasma Decimator, Volcano Lance, Seigebreaker Cannons, Twin Meltaguns. (C)
Knight Crusader- Cawl's Wrath, Rapid-Fire Battle Cannon, Heavy Stubbers, Ironstorm Missile Pod, Heavy Flamer (KC1)
Knight Crusader- Avenger Gatling Cannon, Rapid-Fire Battle Cannon, Heavy Stubbers, Ironstorm Missile Pod, Heavy Flamer (KC2)

Battalion Detachment (Astra Militarum, Valhallan)
Company Commander- Laspistol, Chainsword (CC1)
Company Commander- Laspistol, Chainsword (CC2)
Infantry Squad- Lasguns (IS1)
Infantry Squad- Lasguns (IS2)
Infantry Squad- Lasguns (IS3)
5 Rough Riders- Hunting Lances, Sergeant has Power Sword (RR)
Vulture Gunship- Twin Punisher Gatling Cannons, Heavy Bolter (V)

A classic tournament combo of Imperial Knights and Astra Militarum allies. The Rough Riders and Vulture Gunship are a nice addition to the force to give them some much needed mobility.

This would be a very tough game for me. I know my army has an issue dealing with Imperial Knights, and double kill points are not going to help me do well.

The objectives were set for the mission as shown below:

We then deployed our forces. I put most of my army out of line of sight of the Imperial Knights. I put a unit of Intercessors, the Deathwatch Veterans and a unit of Scouts in the cover on the right flank. The rest of the army went in the ruins to the left flank. I put one unit of Scouts in the centre on the missile pad. The rest of the Deathwatch were in reserve.

In reply, Matt deployed the bulk of his Guard forces out of line of sight as well, split on each flank. The three Imperial Knights went front and centre, going on the objectives in the middle.

I lost the roll off for first turn and failed to seize the initiative. I used the Secret Agenda stratagem to allow me to keep my maelstrom cards secret from Matt. This would hopefully allow me to score more points if I could keep them secret.

In his first turn, Matt drew Assail the Foe (charge an enemy unit).

On the right flank, one of the Knight Crusaders moved up on the enemy army. On the left flank, the Vulture Gunship soared over the battlefield to engage the foe. Matt then used the Combine Squads stratagem to merge two of the Infantry Squads.

The flyer fired on the Scouts, wiping out the squad for first blood. No other units were able to be targeted by the Imperial Knights.

At the end of his turn, Matt scored First Blood, held three objectives and got one kill point.

In my first turn, I drew Big Game Hunter. I spent 2 CP to discard it and re-drew Secure Objective 1, which was little use.

The Hellblasters moved out cover to target the nearest Imperial Knight, while the Scouts moved out to secure the objective.

In the shooting phase, the Hellblasters fired on the Knight, overcharging and using the Weapons of the Dark Age stratagem. The Primaris Marines were able to put 6 wounds on the Knight, Matt using the Rotate Ion Shields stratagem to try and protect the Knight. He failed four saves and the Knight Crusader took 12 damage from the volley.

The Devastators used the Hellfire Shells stratagem on the Crusader, doing one mortal wound. I used a CP re-roll and got another 1. I used the Armorium Cherub to fire again and do another 3 mortal wounds, leaving it on 8 remaining.

The Deathwatch Veterans fired their Krak Missiles at the Knight, one of which got through and did two damage.

The Scouts fired on the Flyer, doing one wound on it.

At the end of my turn, I scored two objective points and discarded Secure Objective 1.

Imperial Knights/Astra Militarum- 5
Dark Angels/Deathwatch- 2

Not a great first turn. I was hoping to be able to take out one of the Knights. I had managed to reduce it to 6 wounds, so would hopefully be able to kill it in the following turn.

In his second turn, Matt drew Defend Objective 5, Defend Objective 6 and had Assail the Foe.

The Knight Crusader continued to move up on the Hellblasters, while the Vulture moved across the battlefield towards the bulk of the Dark Angels army. The Infantry Squad on the right moved up the ruins to target the enemy army.

In the shooting phase, the Knight Crusader fired on the Hellblasters, killing two. Both Primaris Marines got to fire back thanks to the Ancient, doing four wounds on the enemy vehicle!

The Vulture fired at the Hellblasters, killing two more. Both got to fire back once more and killed the Knight Crusader. Matt used a stratagem to allow the Knight to fire before it was destroyed, killing the unit. The Hellblasters then got to fire back at the Vulture, doing 8 wounds on it! (This was getting ridiculous!).

The other Knight Crusader fired at the Scouts, wiping out the squad. The Knight Castellan opened fire on the Deathwatch Veterans, but only managed to kill one after some terrible rolling.

At the end of his turn, Matt scored three objective points and two kill points.

In my second turn, I drew Domination. I was not having much luck with the maelstrom cards so far!

The Dark Angels moved into cover to avoid the enemy guns. I brought in the Assassin to hold an objective, hoping he could survive the enemy firepower and hold it for me.

In the shooting phase, Azrael fired at the enemy flyer, putting one wound on it. The Devastators fired their Hellfire Shells at it (I kept the CP) and did one mortal wound. I used a CP re-roll and got another 1! The Bolters of the squad did one wound.

The Deathwatch Veterans then fired at the Vulture, the Flakk Missile stratagem finally taking it down.

At the end of my turn, I scored two objective points, one kill point and discarded Domination. Matt scored Defend Objective 6.

Imperial Knights/Astra Militarum- 12
Dark Angels/Deathwatch- 5

At the end of turn 2, things were going no better. I was one Knight down, but had lost my major source of firepower for taking them on in the Hellblasters.

In his third turn, Matt drew Advance and had Assail the Foe and Defend Objective 5.

The Imperial forces stayed in position to fire on the enemy army. The Knight Crusader fired at the Assassin, doing three wounds on the Culexus.

The Castellan then fired on the Assassin, Devastators and Deathwatch Veterans. The Assassin was wounded once, but made his invulnerable save.

The rest of the shots killed three Devastators and two of the Veterans.

At the end of his turn, Matt scored three objective points and no kill points.

In my third turn, I drew Area Denial and Secure Objective 6.

The Dark Angels and Deathwatch forces on the battlefield stayed in position. At the end of the phase, the rest of the Deathwatch forces arrived. The Storm Bolter Veterans landed on the left flank to target the forces of the Astra Militarum, while the Intercessors, Watch Captain and Watch Master landed on the right flank to target the Knight Crusader.

In the shooting phase, the Intercessors fired on the Knight, using the stratagem to get +1 to wound. Matt used the Rotate Ion Shield stratagem to protect the Knight Crusader.

The squad did 5 wounds on the Knight, the Watch Master doing another 2 wounds. The Deathwatch Veterans fired two Krak Missiles at the Knight, one of which got through and did 3 damage.

The Storm Bolter Veterans fired at the Infantry Squad with their Kraken Bolts. Matt played the Take Cover stratagem to help them out, but 14 of the squad were slain by the volley.

In the charge phase, the Deathwatch forces on the right assaulted the Knight Crusader. The Watch Captain took 4 wounds from the overwatch fire! I rolled a 6 and a 2 for the charge distance, but managed to use my last command point re-roll to make it in. The Intercessors failed the charge, but the Watch Master managed to make it in.

In the Fight phase, the Watch Captain did three wounds with his Thunder Hammer. Matt then made two out of three 6+ saves, dashing my hopes of seriously damaging the Knight. The Watch Master added his attacks, doing three more damage to the Knight.

The Knight struck back, focusing his attacks on the Watch Master and doing four wounds on him.

In the morale phase, four of the Guardsmen fled the field. At the end of my turn, I scored two objective points and 2 pts for Area Denial.

Imperial Knights/Astra Militarum- 15
Dark Angels/Deathwatch- 9

In his fourth turn, Matt drew Assassinate and Advance, and had Assail  the Foe.

The Knight Castellan moved up on the Deathwatch Veteran, while the Knight Crusader fell back from combat. The Astra Militarum forces on the left flank moved up to target the Intercessors.

In the shooting phase, the Guardsmen were ordered to increase their rate of fire (First Rank Fire, Second Rank Fire), but only managed to take a single wound from the Intercessors.

The Castellan targeted the Deathwatch Veterans. Once more the Storm Shields failed to block a single wound, but only four Veterans perished. The Knight Castellan fired at the Deathwatch Intercessors, but only managed to fell three. A pretty poor round of shooting for the Imperial Knights for once.

In the charge phase, the Castellan charged the Deathwatch Veterans, while the Knight Crusader charged the Watch Master and Watch Captain.

The might war machines were able to kill two of the Veterans and both the Deathwatch characters.

At the end of his turn, Matt scored 2 objectives, two kill points, Assassinate and Assail.

In my turn, I drew Kingslayer and Mission Critical Objective (objective 6).

The Deathwatch Intercessors moved up on the Infantry Squad, while the Dark Angels characters broke cover to target the Castellan.

The Deathwatch Veterans fired on the Infantry squad, wiping them out.

The Veterans fired their Missile Launchers at the Crusader, both shots hitting but failing to wound.

In the charge phase, the Intercessors charged the Company Commander, while Azrael assaulted the Castellan.

Azrael struck at the Knight, but failed to do any wounds. The Deathwatch Primaris were able to kill the Company Commander. The Deathwatch Veterans did no wounds on the Knight.

In reply, the Castellan targeted Azrael, easily slaying him.

At the end of my turn, I scored two kill points and three objective points. Matt also scored one kill point and Slay the Warlord.

Imperial Knights/Astra Militarum- 23
Dark Angels/Deathwatch- 14
End of the game.

At this point, I decided to end the game. It would simply be a case of cleaning up my remaining forces, with no possible way to close the gap in victory points.

Well, that went pretty much as expected.

My army has a real problem dealing with Knights, so I was surprised to be able to take one of them out. This game was going to be a hard task from the outset. The way the dual missions were set up, you got double points for killing units, meaning it was an uphill struggle for me to score many points in this game as the three Imperial Knights decimated my army.

This was really a zero-sum game for me. Any time I had a unit break cover to grab an objective, they were quickly eliminated in the following turn, meaning the victory point I gained went straight back. The maelstrom cards also didn't help that much, in fact, I only scored one over the course of four turns.

The Castellan actually didn't do a whole lot in this game. Some really poor rolling from Matt meant that I wasn't doing much damage each turn. It didn't matter though, as the other two Knight Crusaders had such a high rate of fire, that they were able to demolish most of my squads with ease.

Yet another game where I knew the outcome before even rolling a single die. Unfortunately, you get match ups like this at tournaments, and my army simply didn't have the tools or durability to deal with the Knights.

A rather disappointing first day at the Grand Slam. The first game was a lot of fun and very tactical, but the next two games were a foregone conclusion from the start. 


  1. Seems like knights are too good. I was hoping 8th Ed had got rid of the overpowered elements in an army. From evidence it seems not. Another reason for me not to play 40k anymore :D

    1. Yeah, for me, Knights are simply too strong right now for certain armies to deal with. You either have the tools to deal with them and take them out easily, or you don't and get massacred. I've not had a fun game against them since the codex dropped.

      The mission can help balance this a lot, but any game with kill points or end of game objectives is always a struggle against Knights for me. I'm simply resigned to losing any time I face Knights, which is pretty poor in any game system.

    2. It's one of those things I talked about a bit in the comments of the previous BatRep. When they expand the power level of the game this far, even if it's still theoretically balanced, there's far more possibility for bad match-ups, and even in the decent match-ups, often just a few rolls can really swing a game.

      Also, the basic 40K system just doesn't really expand very well to a scope that includes things like Knights, and the alterations needed to get some semblance of balance at that scope make things really, really brutal for anything middle-of-the-road. Hordes and LoW/Deathstar combos are more efficient, and anything that can deal with them can also deal with the stuff in-between.

    3. Yeah, anything at Knight level can be super powerful in the game. It was similar in 7th edition towards the end.

    4. Agreed - unless you're tooled to take on Lords of War, it's really hard to deal with them. Knights in particular, but there are others.

      I'd nerf their invuln saves, myself. 5+ is just too high on a model with such high toughness and wound count, but no idea how helpful that would actually be!

  2. how do you think this knight list would have faired against that eldar list from the previous report?

    as you said you army was not designed to take on that many knights.

    but at 1-2 you should hopefully get a more even matched game next

    1. I think it would have been a tough match for both players, but the Aeldari have a lot of tools to deal with Knights.
      Dark Reapers with Guide and Doom and Jinx on the Knights would help them out a lot (as well as getting to shoot twice per turn). Plus, hitting much of the enemy army at -1 to -3 to hit would really hurt the firepower of the Knights.

  3. locally we have debated banning Imperial knights as a codex, because of the impact they can have in tournaments, in the end we went with limiting people to single Codices, which does trim them back a little bit at least.

    Looks like some great game play, in an uphill battle.

    Didnt mention it last time, but love your list, unusual to see, and looks like it would be fun to play against with other balanced and not ott lists.

    another great battle report again!

    1. Cheers, glad you like the list. I like to play with more unusaul armies, thinking the Dark Angels and Deathwatch would compliment one another quite nicely.
      It does work in many games, but against super powerful armies, they do struggle a lot.

  4. Since you keep throwing the watch master into knights hard targets, maybe give him the Clavis for the -1 hit bubble and the mortal wound strat?

    1. Haha, I probably should! I keep forgetting about all those little stratagems that you can use against the vehicles. Had the Thunder Hammer Captain done his job and taken the full 9 wounds from the Knight, the stratagem might have been able to do a bit more damage to help reduce its efficiency or take it out.