Friday, February 11, 2011
Battle Report, Harrowed vs. Tyranids, 2/10/2010
This week the Harrowed took the field against Tryanids captained by Matt, a longstanding rival. The first few times we pitted our armies against each other several years ago, the Tyranids had thrashed and thoroughly masticated my daemons. More recently, the Harrowed have managed to eke out a series of draws against the bugs. In fact, the expectation of fighting to a standoff has become a kind of running joke between Matt and me. This time, determined to achieve a more decisive result, we decided to play an annihilation game. For deployment we rolled Dawn of War.
Hive Fleet Matt bred for battle:
A Hive Tyrant, with three Hive Guard; 6 Ravenors; a Trygon Prime; a Mawloc; a Trygon; a Tervigon; 2 broods of Termagaunts (one 19 strong, one 18); and a brood of 11 Genestealers led by a Broodlord.
The Harrowed summoned:
M’Bashaar the Bloodthirster, the prophet Twice-Touched [Bluescribes], 2 deamon princes, one Nurgle-marked, one Tzeentch-marked; 3 Flamers; 3 Bloodcrushers accompanied by Skulltaker on a Juggernaut; 6 Fiends; a pack of 14 Plaguebearers; a pack of 9 Horrors; and a pack of 8 Bloodletters.
(Note: as you might guess from the fact that my daemon troops were fielded in sacred numbers, this was a friendly game playing armies that were honed for battle but also themed for narrative. I don’t think either of us fielded “throwaway” units, but neither were we looking for optimally-lethal "tournament" lists. Hence my sacred numbers and, more generally, the avoidance of any repeating of unit types.)
Matt won the roll to pick turn order and chose to go second. Looking the field over, I then chose the table side that had the most impassible terrain (hoping to make it easier to land in Matt’s rear lines if opportunities presented themselves). Preliminaries out of the way, we squared off for battle.
Under the terms of Dawn of War, Matt could not deploy his Hive Tyrant (because of the Hive Guard), but he did station a brood of termagaunts in building ruins and a Tervigon just behind.
Making supplications and sacrificial offerings to their fickle Gods, the battle prophets of the Harrowed beseeched a preferred wave that included: The Bloodthirster, the Plaguebearers, the Horrors, Bluescribes, and the Nurgle Prince. The Ruinous Powers heard the prayers of their faithful and opened the gates.
I tried to land my forces centrally. Twice-Touched (the Bluescribes) scattered backwards (11 inches!), M’Bashaar (the Thirster) also drifted back, while the Nurgle Prince scattered forward to the edge of the building holding the Termagaunts. The two daemon troop units landed more or less as planned. All in all an auspicious summoning, although one that left the Nurgle Prince unsupported in the teeth of the oncoming bug-storm.
Scenting prey, Xenos organisms walked, slithered, and scurried onto the field.
The Ravenors sped particularly swiftly, joining the Termaguants in swarming over the Nurgle Prince.
Impressively, the iron-hided half-daemon survived the onslaught, felling one of the Ravenors, taking wounds, then just barely remaining afloat amid a sea of slicing talons as the gaunts joined in.
Drawn by the opening of hostilities, the Harrowed’s Bloodcrushers, Bloodletters, and Tzeentch Prince materialized on the field.
As he arrived, the Tzeentch Prince hurled eldritch energies into the approaching Trygon Prime, wounding the creature.
The Plaguebearers lurched and shambled into the melee consuming the Nurgle Prince, Termagaunts and Ravenors. Even as the daemonic reinforcements reached the fray, the Ravenors finished off the Nurgle Prince, though not before losing another of their number. Because the Plaguebearers were swamped by Termagaunts, the surviving Ravenors managed to break away to seek out new prey.
The Mawloc arrived, trying to burrow out into the midst of the Horrors but drifting a bit as it dug toward the surface and landing near the Bloodthirster.
The Hive Tyrant hurled needles into the Bloodletters's brains. (At least, that was how Matt described what was happening!) That firepower, reinforced by ancillary shooting from other ‘nids, wiped out the ‘letters.
The Ravenors charged the Tzeentch Prince – but that half-breed, too, proved durable, withstanding the Ravenors’ charge, taking several wounds, then slaying another of the creatures for their pains.
With Warp currents evidently in high flood, the rest of the Harrowed broke through to the material plane, Fiends and Flamers honing in on the icon born by one of the Plaguebearers.
Skulltaker and the Bloodcrushers crashed into Ravenor/Tzeentch Prince combat, wiping out the Ravenors.
The Horrors issued a volley of Warpfire at the Termagaunts, felling a number of them. (I was torn here, and perhaps would have been better off targeting the Mawloc.)
The Thirster charged the Mawloc, dealing some wounds. The Mawloc then executed a hit-and-run.
The Bluescribes darted into the center of the table, close enough to try pavaning the Genestealers into the Flamers’ Breath of Chaos. The first effort to hit with pavane failed, but Tzeentch granted his heralds a second effort, this one successful. Helplessly the stealers danced toward their doom in the form of the waiting Flamers, whose Breath of Chaos wiped out the Genestealers and dealt a wound to the Broodlord.
The Trygon Prime wary of Skulltaker, backed away from the Bloodcrushers.
In the melee in the ruins, Plaguebearers were beginning to die, but slowly, in dribs and drabs as Plaguebearers do. Termagaunts were also dying, also slowly (bolstered by their own Xenos brand of feel no pain).
The Broodlord charged the Flamers, dispatching one of the daemons but then falling before the counterblows of the surviving two. (Wow, that was lucky!)
The two surviving Flamers, with no useful role to play in the immediate area, retreated to the safety of some semi-distant cover (where they remained for the rest of the battle).
The Bluescribes darted forward to try pavaning the Trygon Prime closer to the Bloodcrushers. When that effort failed, the herald joined the Tzeentch Prince in harrying the creature with Bolts of Tzeentch.
The Fiends charged into the melee in the ruins, finishing off the Ravenors and beginning to mow into the gaunts while the Plaguebearers fended with the bigger bugs.
The Bloodthirster and the Mawloc exchanged a wound or two. Then the ‘nid monstrosity tried to hit and run again, but this time failed to extract himself from the combat.
The Tervigon plunged into the melee in the ruins. Under the combined onslaught of several monstrous creatures, the Plaguebearers were whittling down. The Fiends, meanwhile, shredded the surviving gaunts in a frenzy of gore.
The Thirster and the Mawloc destroyed each other in a vicious exchange of mortal blows.
The fighting ground on. Somewhere in here (and I can’t remember when or how -- sorry) the daemons’ Horrors and the Tyranids’ second brood were both wiped out.
Matt, by now falling behind on kill points, decided to try a final gambit. The Tervigon spawned a new brood of Termagaunts that managed to hurtle into the melee in the ruins embroiling the Plaguebearers, the Fiends, and two Tyranid monstruous creatures. This tipped the scales there, sending both daemon units back to the Warp and thus delivering 2 more kill points to the Tyranids.
At this point, I rolled the dice and the Gods delivered a “2,” declaring the game over.
We tallied up the kill points.
The Nids had banished:
The Nurgle Prince, the Bloodthirster, the Bloodletters, the Plaguebearers, the Fiends, and the Horrors back to the Warp.
The daemons, for their part, claimed:
The Ravenors, the Mawloc, the Genestealers, the Trygon Prime, and two broods of Termagaunts.
Matt and I looked at each other and literally, audibly groaned. Six kill points each! Another draw!
What a great game!