Monday, January 30, 2012

King Of The Hill - #1

Mike came up with a fun idea for a series of games for him, Brendan and me. One player would be the challenger and have his army list locked; the other players would get to challenge him and tailor their lists to beat him. The winner then has his list locked and would then face challengers. The goal is to churn through a bunch of different list styles and army types, rather than stagnate with similar stuff game after game.

This past Sunday, Brendan and I played the first game in this series. I played the part of the challenger with a new Tau list I've worked up. Brendan came up with a Tyranid list to counter it, and we fought it out. Here's what went down... 


  • Champion: Tim - Tau
  • Challenger: Brendan - Tyranids
  • Objective: Sieze Ground (3)
  • Deployment: Pitched Battle

My hammerheads sat in the southwest corner, wrapped with kroot. Two devilfish sat beside them. The hammerhead railguns had good views to nearly everywhere on the table except the inside of the further ruin, the third story of which held an objective. Piranha in the southeast readied themselves to zoom to wherever they were needed, or perhaps to immediately threaten the top-story objective that the railguns couldn't clearly see. Two squads of crisis suits, concerned about Tyranid hive guard and their S8 impaler cannons clung to a patch of forest near the piranha. (Since those weapons are AP4 and suits have Sv3+, I didn't need that cover, but it made me feel good. Having almost exclusively played Orks, I'm not used to having a reliable armor save.)

Brendan's Tyranids reserved a large portion of their army, and set up the remainder almost in a line across their table edge. Gargoyles and Zoanthropes lined the northwest edge, the tervigon sat in the back middle, and the hive guard and tyranid prime set up behind the ruins in the northeast. A squad of genestealers outflanked, and a trygon, mycetic spore full of termagants, and death leaper prepared to deep strike.

I had deployed first, so Brendan rolled to sieze the initiative...

...and did!

Turn 1

All of the Tyranids on the table advanced forward. The hive guard shot at one of the crisis suit squads, and managed only one wound that was shrugged off by a drone. The zoanthropes, out of range for their vehicle-piercing lance, leveled a barrage of warp blasts at the only infantry they could reach - the squad of kroot surrounding my hammerheads. The blasts all hit and did many wounds. The squad then failed their morale check and ran off the board.

In response, the hammerheads and devilfish moved from the corner toward the center of the board. The piranha flew flat out along the eastern board edge to the side of the ruins, giving them a view to the hive guard and tyranid prime. The crisis suits jumped forward and aimed their weapons at that same squad. The hammerheads shot their railguns at the zoanthropes, forcing two 3++ saves, one of which failed and terminated a zoanthrope. The piranha gun drones (always able to fire in addition to any weapons, so we believed them to be able to fire after a flat out move) and crisis suits blasted away at the hive guard squad, causing some wounds and removing one entire hive guard. The devilfish used their smart missile system (SMS) to take out a few gargoyles. In the assault phase, the crisis suits retreated backward.

Turn 2

None of the tyranid reserves appeared. The gargoyles, zoanthropes, and tervigon advanced again, and the hive guard stayed put. The zoanthropes penetrated a devilfish and stunned it. The hive guard wrecked one of the piranha.

A squad of firewarriors disembarked from the stunned devilfish and took aim at the gargoyles in front of them. The the other devilfish moved toward the center objective, and hammerheads again moved toward the rear center of the table. The two remaining piranha moved slightly further to clear the ruins and get clear shots at the hive guard; their gun drones detached to act as a screen against a possible assault. The crisis suits jumped forward from the wood as they had done the turn before. Another volley of railgun slugs slammed into the zoanthropes, only to be nullified by the zoanthropes' invulnerable saves. The piranha, crisis suits, and devilfish SMS from wiped out the remained of the hive guard squad. Finally, the disembarked firewarriors killed several gargoyles. In the assault phase, the crisis suits, fearing outflanking genestealers, jumped away from the eastern board edge and toward the center objective.

Turn 3

The termagant mycetic spore dropped right in front of the ruins to threaten the crisis suits, and the deathleaper appeared directly behind the gargoyles. Meanwhile, the Tyranid advance continued: gargoyles flew right in front of the disembarked firewarriors, zoanthropes floated closer to my tanks, and the tervigon stepped forward and to the side of the center building giving him line of sight to a unit of crisis suits. The tervigon and most of the termagants fired upon the larger crisis suit squad, killing two drones and wounding a suit. The gargoyles killed a few firewarriors. The zoanthropes then lanced the stunned devilfish and caused a massive explosion that killed half of both the firewarrior and gargoyle squads. At the end of the shooting phase, the commander-led squad of crisis suits, having lost two drones and exactly 25% of their unit, were understandably filled with abject terror and broke from combat. The weakened gargoyles then assaulted the weakened firewarriors, expecting to finish them off; instead they dealt no wounds themselves, and in return the firewarriors swung 7 times, caused 6 wounds, 5 of which went unsaved and therefore forced 5 "no retreat" saves! (6 1A firewarriors and 1 1A drone caused 10 unsaved wounds on a turn in which they were charged: that should never, ever, EVER happen.)

The commander-led crisis suit squad shook their veil of fear and turned back in to the fight. One piranha flew at combat speed to the top of a ruin, the other flat out along the northern edge toward the tervigon. The hammerheads again backed away from the zoanthropes, and the remaining devilfish deposited its contents onto the center objective. The two crisis suit squads caused many, many wounds to the termagants, and the hammerheads took out another zoanthrope. The brave but depleted firewarrior squad passed a halved night vision check and spotted the deathleaper, spelling his demise at the hands of a torrent of pulse rifle fire. Inspired by their brethren, the other, full squad of firewarriors and their devilfish unloaded their entire arsenal on the tervigon, causing an astounidng zero wounds. The devastated termagants, out of synapse range and hence subject to morale tests, failed the check caused by shooting phase casualties and turned tail, never to be seen or heard from again as they were well under half strength and therefore unable to rally. In the assault phase, the crisis suits again jumped away from the eastern edge and toward the center objective.

Turn 4

The trygon finally arrived from reserves, bursting up onto the table directly in front of the weakened firewarrior squad. The genestealers also arrived, outflanking from the eastern table edge. The tervigon crouched on the center objective spawned a unit of termagants that sprinted single-file toward the western objective. The trygon lashed out with its cluster spines, killing a few firewarriors. The tervigon killed a couple firewarriors from the squad next to it with its stinger salvo. The lone remaining zoanthrope lanced one of the hammerheads and wrecked it.

The crisis suits moved away from the encroaching genestealers. The central unit of firewarriors moved west, between the central and western objective alongside the line of spawned termagants, and their devilfish floated forward to the other side of that same termagant unit. The hammerhead moved up to take that devilfish's previous location next to the central objective, and fired a submunition blast onto the termagant unit. The blast scattered backward, exactly centered on the firewarriors, and killed 6 of them and no termagants. The remaining firewarriors and their devilfish did manage to shoot down a few of the termagants, but fearless through synapse the unit remained in place. The two units of crisis suits painted the genestealers with plasma rifle and missile pod shots, eliminating 2/3 of the unit. In the assault phase, the crisis suits jumped onto and behind the building in the center of the table, hoping to stay out of assault range of the genestealers.

Turn 5

The wounded unit of termagants raced onto the western objective, as a fresh unit spilled out of the tervigon's birthing chamber and ran the same direction through the tightly compacted remainder of the Tau force. The genestealers ran toward the crisis suits, poised for assault. The zoanthrope lanced the hammerhead but the shot was denied by the tank's disruption pod. The trygon again launched its cluster spines at the firewarriors beneath it, and then assaulted and finished them off. The genestealers were indeed within assault range of one of the crisis suit squads and so charged into combat with them, dealing 3 wounds and taking 2 in return. The crisis suits passed their morale check to stay locked in combat - good news for the genestealers who would otherwise be left unprotected in the teeth of the remaining Tau.

The few remaining firewarriors and their devilfish shot at and killed some termagants on the western objective, but some still remained. No Tau unit was quite close enough to contest that objective, so that unit of termagants had to be eliminated or I could lose at the end of this turn. The hammerhead dropped a submunition blast on the unit, the marker did not scatter, and the unit was eliminated. The remaining crisis suit squad picked out a few of the members of the newly spawned termagants. In assault, the genestealers finished off the crisis suit squad they had been fighting since the top of the turn and made a consolidation move closer to the other, who in return made a jet pack move away from them.

At the end of the turn, all objectives were contested, so if the game ended it would have been a draw. I rolled the die to determine whether the game would continue, and it did! On to turn 6 we went...

Turn 6

Mirroring what happened in the previous, the surviving termagant brood raced toward the western objective while another burst from the tervigon (whose birthing organs by this point must have been really shredded and gross). The zoanthrope once again unsuccessfully lanced the hammerhead. The Trygon and one of the termagant broods eliminated the last of the firewarriors. The genestealers reached the remaining crisis suit squad and assaulted them.

All of the available Tau firepower came down on the unit of termagants that had reached the western objective, eliminating it.

At this point, all of the objectives were again contested, so we paused the rest of the turn to see whether there was any need to finish, or if the game would end in a tie. I rolled the die, and the game was over! The game was a draw, and I had fought off the challenge!

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