Like to introduce you all to Tom my first guest writer on the blog. Tom has kindly written up a most excellent report of our most recent table top tussle on Wednesday. ...........Take it away Tom!
It was like a Space Marine training session at Sons Of War gaming club in Cambridge, as the Blood Angels took on the Dark Angels in a 1750 point match-up. Having managed to scrape past the Space Wolves the week before, it was time for my Dark Angels to face Darren's unbeaten Blood Angels list (See below).
I have been playing Dark Angels for some years now, while waiting for the new codex to come out, and have been through various lists including, of course, a number of Deathwing-heavy builds. However, having played Terminator lists for some time, I decided to take a break and opted to bring the, reassuringly expensive, 'regular' Dark Angels to the table. Some time ago we decided on a house rule among friends that those of us with older codexes (Sisters Of Battle and Dark Angels in particular) could adjust the point totals for standard-issue vehicles. Meaning, for example, that a Razorback would cost me 40 rather than 50 points. This rule was only applied to basic vehicle costs, and not to infantry units or weapon costs once a unit or vehicle had been bought. I mention this so as you understand how I came to build my list...
Dark Angels List:
Chaplain with Jump Pack, Storm Bolter, Plasma Pistol, Melta Bombs
10 Assault Marines, 2 Plasma Pistols, Sg. with Power Sword / Combat Shield
Tactical Squad 1: (Split into combat squads) - Sg. Power Fist, Plasma Gun, Missile Launcher
Tactical Squad 2: (Split into combat squads) - Sg. Power Fist, Melta Gun, Missile Launcher
Assault Cannon Razorback
Tactical Squad 3: (Split into combat squads) - Sg. Power Fist, Plasma Gun, Missile Launcher
Veteran Squad: 3 Power Sword, 1 Power Maul, 1 Power Axe (two with Storm Shields)
Blood Angels List:
Reclusiarch Jump Pack
10 Assault Marines Jump Packs 2 Flamers 1Pwr Fist Storm Shield
Sanguinary Priest Jump Pack Pwr Sword
5 Sanguinary Guard Banner Power Fist
4 THSS Terminators 1 Twl LC
10 Assault Marines Jump Packs 2 Melta 1Pwr Axe Melta Bombs
10 Tactical Marines Multi-Melta Plasma Gun
5 Devastators 4 Missile Launchers
We rolled 'Crusade' and 'Dawn of War' for set-up, with three objectives on the table. I took first turn as Darren failed to seize the initiative. The board was split down the centre with Darren's forces occupying three large buildings while my forces were deployed in a series of steep, rocky hills. With two of the three objectives on my side of the table it was going to be a case of weathering the storm with my combat squads as the Blood Angels looked to get among my small combat squaded troops with his hard-hitting units.
I pushed the Vindicator forwards with the veterans alongside in their rhino to try and eat up the ground between our forces as the Whirlwind began to fire on the opposite flank. The Razorbacks disgorged their troops and pushed forward to create some choke points among the hills. Meanwhile my Assault marines (plus Chaplain) began to jump-pack forward, hoping to get amongst Darren's tactical squad and devastators. However, their targets were reduced as the Vindicator took down four out of five of the Blood Angels devastators, while the Las and Assault cannons opened up from the top of the Razorbacks, bringing down a number of Assault Marines from Darren's Reclusiarch-assisted unit. The casualties included the Sanguinary Priest - giving me first blood.
It was a good turn of shooting but, with most of my marines out of range for their bolters or line of sight, it was time for Darren to respond. As expected the Blood Angels pushed forward. However, due to the loss of the devastators, a lack of range, and some unlucky dice, a pretty ineffectual round of shooting left me with no casualties.
Creating some space by moving my Razorbacks to the side as my bolter marines shuffled their positions, I managed to create some lanes of fire, taking a few more casualties from the oncoming Assault units. The Vindicator continued to do its job by dropping a demolisher shell on the Blood Angels tactical squad, depleting their numbers, while the Whirlwind continued to drop its own barrage on the advancing enemy. However, I knew I was just biding my time for the arrival of the Storm-Raven and Darren's Terminators.
As expected, the Storm Raven made its arrival, unleashing a volley of fire that immobilised my Rhino, leaving the veterans with the choice of staying put to repair the damaged vehicle or getting out and continuing on foot. Meanwhile, the first Blood Angels assault unit closed with the Dark Angels, attacking the first combat squad they came across. However, having taken quite a few casualties from shooting, their attack was blunted, giving me time to adjust to their arrival in my lines, as the remains of my squad fell back from combat.
My veterans decided to leave the stricken Rhino behind and began to make their way forward on foot as, assisted by my own Assault marines, they engaged the Blood Angels tactical squad in close combat after a little more softening up, courtesy of the Vindicator. With the Storm Raven on the table, the Las-cannon Razorbacks switched targets - delivering a glancing hit with a re-rolled shot. Meanwhile, my marines opened fire with their bolters on the advancing Blood Angels, further weakening the advancing units, and finally taking down the Reclusiarch and his unit (Slay The Warlord).
Despite my best efforts, the Blood Angels tactical squad survived the assault on them, dealing some damage in return as their numbers were bolstered by the Terminators and Sanguinary Guard. This was going to hurt. Elsewhere, the remaining Blood Angels devastator continued to shoot from his position in the ruins, taking out my Assault cannon Razorback, while the remnants of the second unit of Darren's assault marines fought to take an objective by attacking a Dark Angels combat squad. Meanwhile, the Storm Raven opened up with everything it had to destroy the Vindicator several times over! At this pont I held one objective, with one contested. The combined might of the Terminators and Sanguinary Guard began to make light wor of my own assault unit, chaplain and veterans as their high armour save made them very hard to hurt. Things were heating up!
This turn was all about close combat as the Blood Angels and the Dark Angels struggled to force the upper hand in the centre of the table. The Dark Angels assault marines were all killed, as their Chaplain, despite his best efforts, also fell to the Blood Angels onslaught (Slay The Warlord). The Dark Angels veterans were beaten down to just three remaining as they fell back from the combat, leaving the Terminators untouched and the Sanguinary guard also looking very healthy. Elsewhere, the remaining Blood Angels assault unit continued to struggle against one remaining bolter marine and a power-fist sargeant for an objective. The second objective was being held by five Dark Angels marines with a couple of other combat squads loitering nearby while the third objective was, by this point, out of the game. With all the close combat leaving very few options for shooting, the Dark Angels got lucky and took down the Storm Raven with a Las-Cannon shot, while also taking the opportunity to finally kill the remaining Blood Angels devastator.
At the end of the turn, things were finely poised as the Blood Angles sought to wipe the Dark Angels from the two objectives, while my remaining combat squads fought to slow the advance.
The final turn saw the Terminators make short work of a combat squad of Dark Angels tactical marines (although they did lose their Lightning Claw to a lucky close assault hit). This took me down to just a single objective. Elsewhere, the Dark Angels veterans jumped into one of the remaining Razorbacks and sped off towards the Blood Angel deployment zone to force a Line-Breaker victory point, ending just a handful of inches out of range. The second Blood Angels assault squad finally fell, after the Dark Angels added a further five men to the assault, leaving the final objective in my hands (for now). Meanwhile I shot at the final Blood Angels tactical squad, leaving just the accompanying Sanguinary Priest standing, and Darren with no troops left to take objectives.
Darren's final turn saw the game finely balanced, with five victory points for the Dark Angels (Slay The Warlord, First Blood, plus three points for an objective) vs. two for the Blood Angels (Slay The Warlord, Line-Breaker). With the remains of two Dark Angels combat squads on the objective, the Blood Angels needed to get into assault to contest and draw the game. However, a poor assault move roll left the Sanguinary Guard too far away, and the final tally 5-2 to the Dark Angels. My brother was onhand to roll for game end, and it was all over at the end of the turn (I'll give im that £5 later!).
It was a great game that balanced on a knife edge at the end, with the Blood Angels just not quite able to get past the combat squads fast enough to secure the objectives. I was certainly helped by some good shooting early on, and things would certainly have been different had the Blood Angels Terminators and Sanguinary Guard got into my back-line earlier. Overall, it was fun to leave the Deathwing at home and play with a less-obvious list for a change and, with my whirlwind and two out of three Razorbacks still operational at the end, it just goes to show that vehicles and MSU may not be such a thing of the past as some say...