Wednesday 4 September 2019

Dark Artisan Open ITC Tournament: Game 2- Deathwatch vs Astra Militarum

Game 2 of the Dark Artisan Open ITC tournament would see my Deathwatch take on Sebastian's Astra Militarum army, featuring three Baneblade variants. This would be a tough match up for my Deathwatch!

The second mission was Beachhead. In this game, there is a central objective and one objective in each player deployment zone. At the start of your turn (starting on round 2), you score points for each objective held; one for the one in your deployment zone, two for the central objective and three for your opponent's objective. 

My army consisted of:
Battalion Detachment
Watch Captain- Castellan of the Black Vault (warlord trait), Jump Pack, Storm Shield, Thunder Hammer
Watch Master- Guardian Spear, the Tome of Ectoclades
5 Intercessors- Bolt Rifles, Bolt Pistols
5 Intercessors- Bolt Rifles, Bolt Pistols
Kill Team 1- 7 Veterans- Storm Bolters, Chainswords, 2 Storm Shields, Biker with Twin Bolter, Chainsword, Vanguard Veteran with Storm Shield and Bolt Pistol, Terminator with Power Fist and Storm Bolter
Kill Team 2- 7 Veterans- 3 Combi-Meltas, Meltagun, Chainswords, 3 Storm Shields, Biker with Twin Bolter, Chainsword, Vanguard Veteran with Chainsword and Bolt Pistol, Terminator with Power Fist and Storm Bolter
5 Veterans- 2 Missile Launchers, Storm Shield, 3 Stalker Bolters, Chainswords
5 Veterans- 2 Missile Launchers, Heavy Bolter, 2 Stalker Bolters, Chainswords
5 Vanguard Veterans- Bolt Pistols, Chainswords, Hand Flamer
Razorback- Twin Lascannon, Storm Bolter

Outrider Detachment
Librarian- Jump Pack, Force Sword, Bolt Pistol, Null Zone, Might of Heroes
4 Bikers- Twin Bolters, Chainswords, Sergeant has Storm Bolter and Storm Shield, Teleport Homer
3 Bikers- Twin Bolters, Chainswords, Sergeant has Storm Bolter and Storm Shield, Teleport Homer
3 Bikers- Twin Bolters, Chainswords, Teleport Homer

A fairly standard force for my Deathwatch. I decided to take two full Kill Teams, with a Terminator, Vanguard Veteran and Biker in each one to give me lots of options for falling back from combat and still staying active. I also added a couple of Veteran squads with Missile Launchers and Stalker Bolters for long range firepower, as well as a single Heavy Bolter to use the Hellfire Shells stratagem, and a Razorback for some anti-tank firepower. 

I took the Outrider for the extra CP. I decided to try the Librarian, as his powers would be of use to the Watch Captain. I took three units of Bikers. These should be useful for going after objectives and adding some strong firepower to the army. 

Sebastian's army consisted of:
Battalion Detachment (Militarum Tempestus)
Lord Commissar- Bolt Pistol, Power Maul
Tempestor Prime- Chainsword, Hot-shot Laspistol, Old Grudges (warlord trait), Tactical Auto-Reliquary of Tyberius
5 Scions- Hot-shot Lasguns, 2 Hot-shot Volley Guns
5 Scions- Hot-shot Lasguns, 2 Hot-shot Volley Guns
5 Scions- Hot-shot Lasguns, 2 Hot-shot Volley Guns
4 Command Squad- Hot-shot Lasguns, 2 Hot-shot Volley Guns

Superheavy Detachment (Valhallan)
Baneblade- Baneblade Cannon, Demolisher Cannon, 5 Twin-Heavy Bolters, 4 Lascannons
Banehammer- Tremor Cannon, 5 Twin-Heavy Bolters, 4 Lascannons
Shadowsword- Volcano Cannon, 5 Twin-Heavy Bolters, 4 Lascannons

A very tough prospect for my army. The Deathwatch struggle against vehicles, so three Super Heavies would be a very difficult task for my army. The Infantry squads could embark in the Banehammer, even keeping them safe from my firepower.

I won the roll off for deployment and chose to deploy first. Fortunately, there was a lot of line of sight blocking terrain on the table.

I put one unit of Bikers with the Watch Captain and Librarian behind some rocks on the right flank. Two units of Bikers went in the central ruins, while the two squads of Intercessors, the Razorback (with one Veteran squad inside) and the other unit of Veterans on the left flank on my objective. I put the rest of the force in reserve, spending 3CP on the Teleportarium stratagem.

Sebastian put the Shadowsword on his left, on his objective. The Baneblade went in the centre, with the Banehammer on the right.

I chose to let Sebastian take the first turn. I had hidden most of my army from his firepower and want to go second to jump on objectives to score them later in the game.


On the left flank, the Shadowsword move up slightly, while the Baneblade moved towards the central objective. On the right flank, the Banehammer moved around the ruins towards the enemy lines.

The Baneblade opened fire on the one Biker squad it could target, easily obliterating them to score first strike. I was unable to hide my entire army, so had to give up one unit unfortunately.


A very fast first turn for the Astra Militarum would be followed up by an even quicker turn for the Deathwatch! My Mission Tactics were Lord of War.

On the right flank, the Bike squad advanced to hide behind the rocks on the far right of the field, while the Watch Captain and Librarian moved up to the space vacated by the Bikers. The rest of the army stayed in position.

There was no point exposing my forces this early. I was never going to score first strike, so would rather keep my units hidden from enemy fire to be of more use in the following turns. I could also not want to sacrifice any units to try and survive long enough to score an objective. Sebastian and I would only be scoring one objective point each in turn 2, so I could afford to hold off.

Astra Militarum- 1
Deathwatch- 0


At the start of turn 2, the Guard scored one objective point. The Baneblade moved up to sit on the objective, while the Banehammer continued to move towards the enemy lines.

I'm not a fan of allowing objectives to be parked on top of by enemy vehicles. This makes it impossible for units to get to them without charging them. I get it is a valid tactic, I just don't like that it is.

With all the Deathwatch units hidden, there was no shooting to carry out. Two turns with the loss of only one unit was a great result for me so far!


At the start of my second turn, I scored one objective point for holding my own.

The Deathwatch decided that now was the time to launch the attack. On the right, the Bikers moved out of cover to move up on the Shadowsword, the Librarian and Captain moving up to support them. The central Bike unit moved up on the Baneblade.

At the end of the phase, the two Kill Teams and Watch Master arrived near the Shadowsword to target the enemy objective.

In the psychic phase, the Librarian cast Smite, doing two mortal wounds on the Shadowsword. He then failed to manifest Might of Heroes on the Watch Captain.

In the shooting phase, the Captain threw a Krak grenade, taking three wounds from the Shadowsword. One unit of Bikers fired at the Shadowsword with their Vengeance shells, taking five wounds from it. The second unit of Bikers manged to take another three from it!

The Storm Bolter Kill Team fired at the Shadowsword, doing 33 hits, but only 6 wounds, the enemy tank taking four of them.

I then used a Doctrine to give the Meltagun Kill Team +1 to wound. The Bolters managed to do four more wounds with their Kraken Bolts. Finally, the Meltaguns fired, doing three wounds, and enough damage to destroy the enemy tank.

Joy turned to horror as the vehicle exploded! Sebastian rolled a 3" explosion, using a CP re-roll to get an 8" explosion. The red-hot shrapnel killed the Librarian, two Bikers in one squad, one in another and put three wounds on the Watch Captain. Fortunately for me, the Baneblade also took 6 wounds in the explosion.

That was a rough turn of events, as his 1 in 6 chance came up to do a lot of damage to my units. I decided not to charge with the Bikers on the Baneblade. With the loss of some of the squad, the Defensive Gunners stratagem would have likely shred the squad and still not scored me the objective.

Astra Militarum- 2
Deathwatch- 1

At the end of turn 2, I was only one point behind and had managed to already kill one of the tanks. That was a lot better than I thought it would go so far, to be honest.


At the start of his third turn, Sebastian scored 2 points for holding the central objective.

The Banehammer moved round to target the newly arrived Deathwatch units, while the Baneblade stayed on the objective.

In the shooting phase, the Scions in the tank opened fire. They started putting fire into the Meltagun Kill Team. The first volley wounded the Biker, then both Storm Shields failed on their first roll. The other two units added their firepower, killing three more of the squad.

The Banehammer on both Kill Teams. The Lascannons targeted the Bikers, but failed to get past their Storm Shields. The rest of the firepower managed to kill one of the Meltagun Kill Team and wound the Terminator in the squad. The Tremor Cannon targeted the Storm Bolter Kill Team, only killing one after some great Storm Shield saves, but halving their movement in the following turn.

The Baneblade fired its Cannon and got 10 shots on the Bikers, killing one squad, while the rest of the firepower killed all but one in another squad.

A decent turn for the Guard. The firepower had seriously whittled the Meltagun Kill Team and had wiped out the rest of the Bikers.


At the start of my turn, I scored one point for my own objective.

On the left flank, the Veterans disembarked from the Razorback, moving around to target the enemy tanks, while the Razorback moved around to aid them. The other Veteran squad moved out of cover to add their firepower, while one Intercessor squad advanced towards the ruins.

The Watch Captain moved up towards the Banehammer, out of line of sight of the behemoth. The Meltagun Kill Team and Watch Master moved up, while the other Kill Team stayed in place. The Vanguard Veterans landed behind the cover of the rock formation.

The Watch Captain threw a Krak Grenade at the Baneblade, doing another two wounds on it (he had certainly picked the good grenades today!).

The Razorback fired at the Banehammer, missing with both shots. I used a CP re-roll to get one hit and wound, doing 2 damage to the tank. The Veterans fired their Missile Launchers, doing one hit and wound, but it bounced off the armour of the Banehammer.

I spent 2CP to give the Storm Bolter Kill Team +1 to wound, and they targeted the Banehammer with their Kraken Bolts. The squad got 14 wounds, but the enemy tank only took four wounds after a great round of saves.

The three Meltaguns fired on the Banehammer, all hitting, but failing to get a single wound on a 4+! The Watch Master was able to take two more wounds from it with his Guardian Spear.

The Watch Captain charged the Banehammer. Sebastian then spent a CP on the Crush Em stratagem to allow the tank to hit on a 2+. Neither of us remembered that this had been FAQ'd to only be useable on a turn that it charges, finding out later.

The Watch Captain struck, doing three hits and three wounds to take 12 damage from it, leaving it on 6 wounds. The Banehammer struck back, doing four hits with a CP re-roll and three wounds. Fortunately, the Captain's Storm Shield blocked all the damage.

A decent turn for me. I was hoping that the Captain and Meltaguns could take out the second tank, but the Meltaguns failed to do any damage. Annoyingly, it might have been better to use the +1 to wound stratagem on the Meltaguns to try and finish off or seriously wound the tank.

Astra Militarum- 4
Deathwatch- 2


At the start of his fourth turn, Sebastian scored 2 more points for the central objective.

The Scions disembarked from the Banehammer, moving up on the Deathwatch forces. The Baneblade moved up on the ruins to target the Deathwatch behind them.

The Tempestus Prime issued orders on the nearby squads to re-roll 1's to hit, also using the Inspired Tactics stratagem to give one unit re-rolls of 1's to wound.

The Scions opened fire at the Meltagun Kill Team, one squad wiping them out. The rest fired at the lone Biker, but failed to kill him.

The Baneblade opened fire at the Biker and Storm Bolter Kill Team, killing the Biker and a few of the Kill Team.

The Banehammer fired on the Watch Master and Watch Captain, killing both of the characters in a hail of bullets.


At the start of my turn, I scored one objective point for holding my own.

The Storm Bolter Kill Team and Vanguard Veterans moved up on the Scions, now they were free of the Superheavy's armoured hull.

The Intercessors fired on the Banehammer, but failed to do any damage. The Veterans fired their Stalker Bolters at the enemy vehicle, doing two wounds. One of the Missile Launchers managed to hit and wound. Sebastian failed his save with a CP re-roll and I managed to do 5 damage, destroying it.

The Razorback could only fire at the Scions, killing one. The Storm Bolter Kill Team fired at a squad of Scions, wiping them out, while the Vanguard Veterans managed to kill three in another squad.

In the charge phase, the Vanguard Veterans assaulted the Scions, Lord Commissar and Tempestus Prime. The Kill Team then charged another unit of Scions beside the ruins.

In the fight phase, the Vanguard Veterans killed two of the Scions. The Lord Commissar then interrupted the combat, killing one Vanguard Veteran. The Kill Team then struck, killing all but one of the Scions, locking him in combat.

Astra Militarum- 7
Deathwatch- 3

I had somehow managed to keep enough firepower to kill two of the enemy superheavy tanks, but was falling behind in the score. The central objective was racking up the points for Sebastian.


At the start of his turn, Sebastian scored another two points, taking it up to 9 points to 3.

The Prime and Scions fell back from combat. The Baneblade stayed in place to target the enemy.

The Baneblade fired all its weapons at the Veteran squad. The Storm Shield managed to soak up a lot of firepower, but the squad eventually succumbed to the punishing firepower.

In the fight phase, the Lord Commissar attacked, but failed to damage the Veterans. In reply, the attacked, doing two wounds on him. The Kill Team then struck down the last of the Scions, free them up for my turn.


At the start of my turn, I scored one point for holding my objective.

The Kill Team moved around the building to get to the enemy characters, while the Intercessors moved up to the edge of the ruins.

The Storm Bolter Kill Team fired on the Scions, wiping them out and putting one wound on the Tempestus Prime as well. The Vanguard Veterans fired at the Commissar Lord, killing him.

In the charge phase the Kill Team and Vanguard Veterans charged into Tempestus Prime. Both squads of  Intercessors then charged the Baneblade, using the cover of the ruins to block the overwatch fire. Sebastian used Crush Em once more at the start of the phase.

In the fight phase, the Terminator cut down the Prime to give me Slay the Warlord. The Intercessors attacked the tank, doing no wounds. The Baneblade then did 6 wounds on the Intercessors thanks to Crush Em. I failed all 6 saves at -2, but fortunately only three of the Intercessors perished after some poor damage rolls.

I passed my morale test to keep the Intercessors alive and the Baneblade locked in combat.

Astra Militarum- 9
Deathwatch- 5

We rolled to see if the game wound continue and it did. Now was the chance for the Deathwatch to bring back some points in the game.


At the start of his turn, Sebastian scored no points. The Baneblade was locked in combat and unable to move. The tank turned its small arms on the squads engaged in combat with it, doing one wound on a unit of Intercessors.

In the fight phase, he spent has last CP on Crush Em once more. The tank split its attacks between the two units, doing three hits on one, but rolling a triple 1 to wound. The attacks on the other squad managed to kill one Intercessor.

The Deathwatch struck back, doing one wound but failing to get past its armour.

At the start of my turn, I scored three points for holding two of the objectives.

The Razorback moved into the enemy lines, while the Kill Team moved up on the enemy objective. The Vanguard Veterans moved into the ruins to support their brethren.

In the shooting phase, the Intercessors fired their pistols at the Baneblade, but failed to do any damage.

The Vanguard Veterans charged the Baneblade. The massed attacks of the Deathwatch did a single wound, which was saved by the armour of the might tank. In reply, the Baneblade slew three of the Vanguard Veterans and one Intercessor.

At the end of the turn, I rolled to see if the game continued and it did not. I scored Linebreaker.

Astra Militarum- 9
Deathwatch- 9

A drawn game.

Thanks to Sebastian for a tough and very tactical game.
Sebastian and Me.

I really thought that this game was going to be a stomping for the Deathwatch. Given the anti-tank firepower in my army, I was surprised that I was able to take out two of the Superheavy Tanks during the course of the game.

My plan worked pretty well. I hid my forces for the first two Guard turns, meaning that both of Sebastian's shooting phases were pretty poor, only taking out a single Bike squad over the course of two turns. There wasn't much I could do about this, as there was nowhere to hide the third bike squad, where he couldn't draw line of sight to it with at least one of his tanks.

In my second turn, I brought in both Kill Teams and moved up with my Bikers, Captain and Librarian to strike at the Shadowsword. This worked, taking all the firepower on my right flank to deal with the enemy vehicle. It was really unlucky for it to then explode, taking out a few of my Bikers and my Librarian, as well as injuring my Watch Captain. I was just fortunate that it didn't manage to reach my reserves, as this could have crippled my army very quickly.

If it wasn't for the explosion, my plan was to charge the Baneblade in the centre with my Bikers, Librarian and Watch Captain. With some lucky charges and hopefully not too punishing an overwatch fire, I was looking to do some damage to the Baneblade with my Thunder Hammer attacks and keep some of my units safe from the return firepower.

My plan was to grab his objective for the bonus points each turn, but every time I put a unit on the objective, it was shot off of it before I could score the points.

In hindsight, it might have been better to commit my reserves to taking out the central Baneblade with my firepower. This would have still allowed Sebastian to score his home objective, but would only be getting one point per turn, instead of 2 for the central objective. However, he could have then moved in his Banehammer to deal with the reserves and moved that on to the vehicle to score more points each turn.

Another annoyance was the three Meltaguns failing to do a single wound on turn 3 against the Banehammer. Had one of them got through, this may have been enough to destroy the second tank, or take it down to a higher damage profile, reducing its effectiveness. Destroying it may also have killed off a few of the Scions, allowing me to deal with them in the following turn, or getting in a charge on the squad.

The big problem with the tanks were that they were Valhallan. This meant they operated at full capacity until they were reduced to 11 wounds. This allowed them to keep up a good rate of fire, even as I was damaging them.

In the end, I just had to persevere with whittling down the Guard forces until I could start to score more points later in the game. I was very surprised to be able to get a draw from this game. Had the game gone on till turn 7, I would have won in the end, not an outcome I expected going into the game.

With one win and one draw, my next game would see my forces take on the Blood Angels. 


  1. Blimey, well done, I would have felt very disheartened if faced with 3 Superheavies, what on earth was the Tournament guidelines like if 3 superheavies and a token squad or two of Guardsmen is a real list? No offence to your opponent meant at all, that was the event guidelines, but not exactly a list of massed Guard dying in droves - this is why I think I prefer fluff-orientated events rather than game-y events.

    1. The army restrictions were mono-faction, but no limit on army theme or contents. I thought this was one of the tougher lists, but it ended up going 2 wins, 1 draw and 2 losses.
      It was certainly a tough game, not one I expected to do so well in. Was very happy with the end result.

  2. Great result for the Deathwatch under the circumstances. Well fought!

    1. Thanks Dave! I was quite happy with how this one turned out.

  3. Well played! Not often I root for the Marines, but nobody should have to face that much tank without their own superheavies on side. If not for that chance explosion, that would have been your game!

    1. That explosion was very frustrating! I was hoping the Captain could take care of the Baneblade in combat.

  4. Personally I think I would have switched out the banehammer for a stormlord, that way there would have been some proper anti-infantry firepower.

    A well played game, but I think your right, it might have worked out better to go for the tanks rather than the objectives at the beginning.

    1. My worry is that my firepower would bounce off the tanks and leave my reserves in the open to face the full firepower of the army. I was actually pretty surprised I managed to take out two of them. I must have been rolling hot with my Storm Shields to help keep them alive for long enough to do some damage.

  5. Frightening match up. Great play and a win would have been deserved m8.

  6. Well played Mike. A classic example of the waiting game.

    1. Cheers Ed! I'm glad it worked out, rather than just waiting around to eventually die.

  7. Playing the objectives is tricky when there is a tank that size sitting on them. Fair play for doing the work you did. Nearly grabbed a win and all.

    Thanks for writing up the report.