So it’s been a while since I played some proper games of Warhammer 40k/ Horus Heresy, the annual Christmas apocalypse bash at the Edinburgh League of Gamers not withstanding.
All in all it’s been close on about 5-6 months since any of my armies took to the field in anything resembling a normal sized fight. Therefore when the Horus Heresy tournament at 6’s 2 Hit in Edinburgh was announced I jumped at the chance to get involved, as did Ian.
We both used the tournament as a deadline to get stuff finished, my own progress can be followed in my previous articles on getting the Macrocarid Explorator battle ready. Long story short, due to a packing malfunction and human error, I didn’t take the right case and my shiny new toy never made it to the tournament.
This game was the first of three as part of a Horus Heresy Escalation campaign, starting at 1350 points for the first game, 1600 for the 2nd and 1850 for the last. We were required to use the same base list and add to it each round.
So after leaving half the things I had initially planned on taking and scraping together a scribbled down list of what models I had actually brought with me I ended up with the following:
3x Castellax Battle Automata with Mauler Bolt Cannons
2x Castellax Battle Automata with Darkfire Cannons
Krios Battle Tank with Pulsar-fusil
Thanatar with Siege Mortar
Initially i was quite worried about Ian’s list, as he had a lot of armour. Although, I was confident that i could try and glance them to death but it could take some time.
Ian’s Iron Hands
Legion Praetor with Paragon Blade
Pride of The Legion Rite of War
5x Cataphractii Terminators with an Autocannon & Sergeant with a Plasma Blaster
Mounted in a Spartan Assault Tank
10x Tactical Marines
Mounted in a Rhino
Sicaran Battle Tank
Sicaran Battle Tank
The tournament itself had a pretty interesting set up, it started at a small points 1350 points and each additional game added 250 points to your army list, this could be done through new units, additional wargear etc. Due to the low points cost and small addition between each game this meant that Lords of War basically couldn’t be taken, although the Primarch’s Chosen Rite of War allowed people wanting a Primarch to get around this, although at this small points cost I was glad to note that only one appeared in the tournament.
The missions were drawn from the Age of Darkness mission sets with a few small additions, generally to do with night fighting. This didn’t really effect the majority of my force due to a lot of my Mechanicum units ignoring it due to special rules or wargear.
Game One: Blood Feud
The deployment zone was split up into table quarters.
The primary objective was to keep a tally of all the units you had killed as each unit type was worth a set amount of points.
The Secondary objectives were Slay The Warlord and Last Man Standing.
Battle Brothers Show Down: Mechanicum vs Iron Hands
It just so happened that I was drawn against Ian and his Iron Hands for a Battle Brothers show down! Going into the game I was fairly confident as the game was about scoring Kill Points and I had a lot of durable units that could take plenty of punishment. I also had a decent amount of anti armour weapons across most of my units that should be able to deal with his tanks, of which most would minus 1 to cover. Added to that, Night Fighting was also in play for the first 2 turns, something most of my force happily ignored. The only thing to really give me cause for concern was the Spartan that would give me a little trouble with it’s Flare Shield.
We were playing table quarters, Ian set up pretty far back and behind what cover he could, this suited me fine with my 48″ Lance weapons. Although he did manage to hamper the effectiveness of my Thanatar’s Siege Mortar as it was forced to move up the field to get into range. I also marched Scoria and his troupe of Castellax up the centre field, intending to close on the enemy and apply some pressure, where their 36″ range Mauler Bolt Cannons would be more effective and provide a sufficient distraction. While the little tank that could, the Krios battle tank and my small duo of Castellax with Darkfire Cannons flanked up the long table edge, lining up some side armour shots on one of the two Sicarans.
Despite shaking both Sicarans and stripping a few hull points off them my shooting wasn’t all that effective, but still better than Ian’s first turn who only managed a couple wounds on the Castellax marching forward. He had a few pot shots at my Thanatar and Krios but the high toughness, cover saves and invulnerable saving throws kept them from taking any damage.
I continued my march forward, stripping a hull point off the Rhino and the Krios popped the Sicaran it had shaken in the previous turn, my Thanatar opened fire at the 2nd Sicaran but failed to cause any damage. I was whittling Ian’s forces down slowly but it certainly seemed like I had the upper hand . That was until his Spartan Assault Tank moved forward and took two wounds off of my Thanatar and the surviving Sicaran claimed a 3rd wound off it. Suddenly things weren’t looking so one sided anymore.
In response I ducked the Thanatar into cover behind the Bastion, hiding from the big scary guns. Scoria continued to advance up the field, though gave up his shooting to use his Cyber Cethurgy powers to help the big guy regenerate a wound. I also set my Krios the task of killing the 2nd Sicaran, which it scored a penetrating hit, dropping it to one hull point and shaking the tank. I was pretty confident that would be enough to stop it being a nuisance.
With the Thanatar ducking out of the way, Ian took the chance to advance his Spartan, jump out the Cataphractii terminators and lit up the Castellax, though didn’t cause any damage. Initially I was surprised at the move, as he was 11″ out from getting a charge on the Castellax, sitting in the open and presenting a tasty target for my Thanatar. The Spartan Assault tank put some shots into Scoria, who had left the unit and was now on his own, which seemed like a waste to me as he just shrugged it off. His surviving Sicaran with 1 remaining hull point had sped along the table edge to line up a shot on my Thanatar. To my horror he scored 3 hits and 2 rends on the big guy, which I promptly failed my invulnerable saves against. I had lost my first unit.
Following that, the Iron Hand terminators (somehow) made an 11″ charge, that jammy git! Joined by the Preator, who of course had a Paragon Blade, which is ideal for fighting Mechanicum. Because I’d split Scoria off from the squad he didn’t get dragged into the melee, which meant I could charge him in in my turn. Unsurprisingly, Ian’s Praetor killed one of my Castellax outright with an instant death strike. In return I killed 2 terminators, although the power fists stripped three wounds off of one of my remaining Castellax.
In my turn I charged in Scoria, if you haven’t played against him then he is an absolute beast! He rolls to hit and each hit causes D3 automatic AP2 wounds on the unit that cannot use Feel No Pain or recovered from It Will Not Die. This added to his own high toughness, lots of wounds, 3+ invulnerable, Feel No Pain and It Will Not Die make him exceptionally good in a fight. He has a well earned ‘Primarch Killer’ title among our gaming group and has a pretty good chance of taking them down. Needless to say, he walked through the Iron Warriors like Sauron from Lord of the Rings, swatting terminators left and right and proceeded to wipe out the unit with the help of the two surviving Castellax.
Sadly No More Pictures!
Since it was a small game and I now had a total of 4 units, the game sped up quickly and I completely forgot to take any more pictures.
After wiping out the terminators Scoria rejoined the Castellax and chased after the remaining Sicaran that was still proving to be a thorn in my side with it’s one remaining hull point. Ian’s Spartan retreated to safety and put an end to my Krios that just hadn’t been able to hurt anything following the death of the first Sicaran. Using the Machine Spirit he also pumped a few shots into Scoria’s unit, which I took on the Mechanicum Lord as I was trying to save my big stompy robots seeing as I only had 3 units left and promptly failed, although his Feel No Pain stopped one of them. The Pesky Sicaran then managed to wipe out both of the remaining Castellax from Scoria’s unit, he was at the back so couldn’t tank the hits.
2 units left to Ian’s four, he still had a Spartan, a tactical squad in their Rhino and the Sicaran that refused to die. I had gone from smashing Ian’s forces to potentially getting wiped due to the small unit count of my army. The main issue I had was that Scoria, although hard as nails doesn’t get anywhere fast, he does have a Photon Thruster though which presents a ranged threat to most units, although can’ hurt the front of a Spartan with the Flare Shield. Everything else he has is pretty much short range, like his Melta Pistol that he used to melt a hole in the side of the pesky Sicaran.
I couldn’t get line of sight on the Spartan with my surviving Castellax squad and their Dark Fire Cannons, so I marched them forwards and blew up the Rhino in cover instead. Two units remaining a piece. While Scoria about turned and marched towards the Spartan, he’ be lucky to reach it before the end of the game.
In Ian’s turn he fired everything (everything consisting of a tactical Squad and a Spartan) at Scoria and just managed to drop him.
I didn’t really have much to do in my own turn, except try to get some glancing hits on the Spartan, with no luck. The game ended with Ian’s Spartan mopping up my last 2 Castellax and wiping my forces from the field.
It was a great game and a lot of fun, it swayed to and fro quite a bit. I was pretty sure I had the upper hand once I’d destroyed the first Sicaran and shaken the other but the twin linked Accelerator Autocannons and some and a fair bit of luck from Ian was enough to be proven otherwise.
Going forward it’s apparent that I really need to take more detailed notes if we intend on doing more battle reports, and make sure that I am taking more pictures.