Battle Report – Implacable Advance

As we continue our re-fighting of the Badab War, the Salamanders have had mixed results in their clashes with the Mantis Warriors around their landing zone and are in danger of getting pushed right back to their drop ships. However, the Marines Errant, arriving later in the invasion of Bellerophon’s Fall, have enjoyed many successes, forcing the Mantis Warriors to give ground at nearly every step.

With such momentum behind them, the Marines Errant ploughed through the Cygnus Valley to the first wilderness outpost of the Mantis Warriors. With little time to prepare, the Mantis Warriors deployed an elite force to stall the Marines Errant long enough to reinforce their defences.

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The Marines Errant advanced down the valley on foot, but the Mantis Warriors were not fooled, having seen these slow-but-relentless tactics before. Their Captain held his ground alongside a Dreadnought and Attack Bike, as a Stormraven roared overhead to strafe the Marines Errant squads. However, the Marines Errant had their own ideas, as a Terminator and Assault Squad dropped into the Mantis Warrior’s rear position, destroying the Attack Bike before it could get its engine running, and putting the Captain on the back foot.

Responding in kind, the Mantis Warriors teleported a Terminator Assault Squad behind the Marines Errant Tactical and Devastator Squads, led by a Librarian. They immediately set about disrupting one Tactical Squad, and forced the Marines Errant Chaplain to retreat before their Thunder Hammers and Librarian’s powerful abilities. Things went from bad to worse as the Stormraven swooped in to drop off another Dreadnought, then took to the skies again to trade missiles with the Devastator Squad.

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A pitched battle erupted around the old comms array as the two forces clashed. The Mantis Warriors’ Terminators started to take casualties but the Marines Errant were unprepared for a Librarian and Dreadnought in their midst, and their losses started to mount.

Further away, the Marines Errant Terminators were crushed by a Dreadnought which, in turn, was wrecked by the Assault Squad who also knocked the Mantis Warriors’ Captain to the ground.

Firing their jump packs, the Assault Squad tried to aid the Tactical Squads, but it was too late. The Stormraven of the Mantis Warriors dropped into a hover and used its weapons to support the Dreadnought, Librarian and last Thunder Hammer-armed Terminator around the comms array. In a hail of Storm Bolter fire, the last members of the Assault Squad were shot down, leaving an eerie quiet over the battlefield.

The Mantis Warriors had been successful in stalling the Marines Errant, but it was only a temporary reprieve, for the main force of the Loyalists was close by and already moving in. However, time had been purchased, albeit at great cost, which the Mantis Warriors intended to use in preparing a solid defence against the Marines Errant inevitable assault.

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Helbrutes of the Death Guard

While I wait for, what I imagine will be, a veritable block of Death Guard releases, I thought I might do the odd unit here and there to pad out what you get in the Dark Imperium box set.

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A couple of Helbrutes seemed to be the obvious choice!

After the box set Death Guard were done, I remembered that I had a Dark Vengeance set somewhere that I had done very little with. So, I popped the Helbrute out of its sprue and set to work.

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However, an eBay recon turned up another Helbrute, this time a ‘standard’ one, for really not very much money. So, I snaggled that and, when it arrived, quickly painted the first few stages to bring it up to the same point as the first Helbrute, and then proceeded with both!

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The result? My Death Guard no longer have to go into battle with a Drone being their heaviest support. Hopefully these Helbrutes will be seeing some action very soon!

Rooting around my (veritable mountain of) unpainted miniatures, I have also turned up Typhus, a bunch of Plaguebearers, and some Chaos Cultists, all of whom seem appropriate to add to the Death Guard. I am not rushing these (got some AoS Freeguild on the go at the moment), but I think they will be making an appearance in the very near future.

Sector Imperialis Objectives

Didn’t get these done quite as quickly as I had hoped, but the Objectives released for the new edition of 40k are finally done!

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None of these were particularly complicated and you can get through them at quite a rapid pace, even if you have other projects on the trot.

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I won’t go through them all, but will just highlight some favourites. This is the first, the 40k equivalent of a doctor, complete with not just a servitor-doctor but also a bed with straps to hold the patient down.

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Then there is this – you get a few shells and ammo cases in this set, but this is a full-blown Exterminatus device. If this pops up as an objective, you will probably be wanting to make sure you grab it!

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A cogitator – or a computer, 40k-style. Has a nice 70s server-theme to it…

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And a xenos specimen case. One of the more interesting pieces, but is actually dead simple to put together. The actual casing was painted first (black, then drybrushed grey), followed by the Genestealer inside. Then the clear front just pops on (no glue was required, a true snap fit!) and you paint in the ‘bars’. A nice evocative piece overall!

The Badab War: Cut and Run

We are continuing our (re)fighting of the Badab War, with the Marines Errant trying to smash the Mantis Warriors line on Bellerophon’s Fall.

In our last battle, the Marines Errant had delayed their landings on the industrial moon to take advantage of the disruption the Salamanders’ landings had caused. Deploying swiftly on the moon’s surface, the Marines Errant tried to break through the Mantis Warriors’ line – but the Secessionists held.

As the Marines Errant committed more units to the fight, the Mantis Warriors enacted one of their classic strategies. Melting away from the assault, they would attempt to break contact from the Marines Errant so they could reengage on their own, stronger terms.

 

The Mission

We are adapting one of the scenarios from the old Battle Missions book for this fight, Cut and Run. Ostensibly it is supposed to be used for Orks, but the general strategy shown works well for the Mantis Warriors, so we will swipe it for our campaign!

The Mantis Warriors will be deploying first, close to the centre of the table, and throughout the battle their units will be able to shoot and/or charge if they flee from combat (representing the cut and run tactics). They will have the option of standing against the Marines Errant and fighting or, from turn three onwards, skipping backwards off the table to fight another day.

Victory is based purely on Kill Points – 3 for an HQ, 1 for Troops, and 2 for everything else.

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The Mantis Warriors prepared a hasty line at the edge of a disused refinery, intending to stall the advance of the Marines Errant, giving them a bloody nose for good measure before retreating.

Almost immediately, things started to go wrong for the Mantis Warriors as the close combat Terminators of the Marines Errant thundered through the barricades, slaying every Terminator except the sergeant.

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The Mantis Warriors Sergeant managed to escape the destruction of the barricade, and through the smoke and debris, he spied the Chaplain leading the Marines Errant force. Determined not to let his brothers go unavenged, he charged, seriously wounding the Chaplain with a vicious cut from his Chainfist. Unfortunately, the Chaplain recovered quickly and smashed him to the ground.

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Meanwhile, the Marines Errant flew a Thunderhawk overhead, dropping an Assault Squad right behind the Captain of the Mantis Warriors. Taking advantage of his surprise, the Assault Marines piled into him, but the Captain made good account of himself, cutting five of them down before finally succumbing to their greater numbers.

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By now, the surviving Mantis Warriors had retreated to a second line of barricades, and a Tactical Squad faced off against the oncoming Terminators. The Tactical Sergeant managed to dispatch the Marines Errant Chaplain with his power Sword but, by now, the Marines Errant just had too many units in the area. As the second Tactical Squad fled the battlefield alongside a heavily damaged Land Speeder, the assault Terminators carved through the last of the Mantis Warriors before tearing apart their Rhino.

 

The State of the Campaign

The Mantis Warriors are taking a beating from the Marines Errant and in our next set of games, they will be trying to stage a Fighting Withdrawal in an attempt to slow the advance of the Loyalists.

However, it is not all bad news, as they have had success in disrupting the landings of the Salamanders, and are now preparing a deadly ambush as Vulkan’s marines try to advance into Secessionist territory…

Relics of the Mantis Warriors

I was not going to add much more to my Mantis Warriors, really I wasn’t. Just the odd bit and piece here and there, and most of the focus was going to be on the Tyrant’s Legion, who have the lion’s share of duties in our Badab War campaign.

But then 8th edition came out, we started up the Badab War campaign once again and, well, I had a couple of models that had been knocking around for a bit, and they really needed to get onto the table…

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Introducing two valued relics from the armoury of the Mantis Warriors – a Deredo Dreadnought and Deimos-pattern Vindicator Tank Destroyer!

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The Deredo (Eddy) wades into battle with a Plasma Carronade, finely tuned to blast apart enemy marines who just do not get the Tyrant’s (entirely legitimate and legal) point of view.

Vehicles get painted in the same fashion as the rest of the Mantis Warriors, with the exception that the all over Nuln Oil wash is reduced to just lining the cracks between armour plates. This makes them very quick to do, and the Mantis Warriors transfers set the models off perfectly.

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The Vindicator Tank Destroyer will do to ‘loyalist’ tanks what the Deredo does to their power armoured infantry. With more heavy lasers than you can shake a dead scout at, it should keep our roads clear for a while.

So, is any more coming for the Mantis Warriors? Well, leaving aside I put together the first Tyrant’s Legion squad this week, I could really use another Tactical Squad for the Mantis Warriors, and probably some Scouts too. Whirlwinds look useful in this new edition. And a Land Raider never goes amiss…

Review – Index: Imperial Armour

Well, new stuff for Warhammer 40,000 just keeps on coming – this morning, the new Index books for Imperial Armour (Forge World) arrived, covering Forces of Chaos and the Adeptus Astartes.

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These books will be of interest for anyone who has a Forge World model or three, and wants to get them into games. I am not going to go into a blow-by-blow of the units in these books, as there have been quite a few leaks already of Datasheets, but I can give more of an overview.

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The Astartes book kicks off with some new rules. As befits the new edition, they are quick and light, but get the job done. Previous Index books added the odd Titanic model, but now we have Macro weapons to match. These basically cover all the Really Big Guns you find on the larger Forge World models (though I have yet to find any in the Astartes Datasheets…). Only Titanic models can fire Macro weapons if they move, and no one can overwatch with them. In addition, they double damage against Titanic or Building models (ouch!).

There is also the Relic rule, covering all the really old stuff the Astartes can trot out. This rule I quite like, as it basically says no detachment can contain more Relic units than non-Relic units of the same Battlefield role – which will greatly limit their appearance on the table (which is as it should be).

I can see an issue for our Salamander player, as he has been anxious to get his new Spartan into games. Unfortunately, the Spartan is a Lord of War, and it will not be easy to get that into a force at anything like ‘normal’ points levels (again, as it should be, but I doubt he will see it that way). He should be good with his Deredo Dreadnoughts though.

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Units are divided into chapters: Battle Armour (covering the lighter tanks), Heavy Armour (the big stuff like Spartans and Fellblades), Dreadnoughts (from Mortis to the big Leviathans), Strike Craft (flying stuff, from Tempest Landspeeders right up to the Thunderhawk), Battlefield Support (auxiliary stuff like Damocles Rhinos, Tarantulas and Dreadnought Drop Pods), and the Grey Knights, Inquisition, and Sisters get wrapped together in one chapter (even though only one of those is Astartes…).

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There are a couple of Appendices, the first of which covers various characters such as Lugft Huron, the Tyrant of Badab (whom I will be painting up soon!).

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What is interesting about this chapter is that it features all sorts of characters who have appeared in earlier Imperial Armour books, but many have never had miniatures done for them, such as Lieutenant Commander Anton Narvaez (who, after looking at his Datasheet, I have a suspicion that out Marines Errant player will be building very soon!).

Does this mean we may see models for them in the future (would love it if Forge World returned to the Badab War), or are the guys at Forge World just being nice to those who converted models? Or (and I just raise this as a possibility) did they have pages that needed filling?

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After that, just as with the ‘normal’ 40k Index books, you get appendices covering points values and weapon characteristics.

Any big surprises in this book? After the leaks, probably not – though I think our Badab War campaign is going to see a rush for the Relic Whirlwind Scorpius (Heavy 3D3, S6, AP-2, D2, and can be fired twice if the Whirlwind does not move – which it never, ever will…).

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The Index covering the Forces of Chaos has the same format, and begins with new rules. Macro Weapons pop up again (and this time they are going to be used, as Chaos forces do possess them), along with Arch-Daemonic Rituals. The latter function in much the same way as the Daemonic Ritual of Index: Chaos, but allow you to roll way more dice in an effort to bring the ‘exalted’ greater daemons to the table. Which will be uch time, as I have already peeked at their Datasheets…

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The chapters in this book bring the Daemon Bound (daemon engines, really, like the Plague Hulk and Greater brass Scorpion), the Hellfroged (everything the Loyalists get, but with the Machina Malifica rule, which allows them to heal every time they kill something – who needs Techmarines?), Eyrine Cults (D&D players will get the reference there, this chapter covers everything that flies), Lords of Ruin (a handful of characters), Children of the Warp (actual daemons, from Plague Toads to the ‘exalted’ Greater Daemons), Traitor Questoris (Knights) and Chaos Titans.

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After looking at the stats for the Warlord, the Warhound actually seems quite reasonable, with its mere 35 Wounds, 24″ Move (36″ when advancing), and 4+ Void Shields (which work like invulnerable saves, but also work against mortal wounds).

Plenty of Macro weapons on these pages!

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Finally, the Appendices cover points values and Wargear, as per usual.

I am not going to go into whether you should pick these books up – if you are into the new edition and have Forge World models, then you will. Hell, at £15 each, you might well be picking them up regardless of whether you have any Forge World models, as the Warlord Titan is a good read for what is ultimately possible in this game.

Regardless, you can be sure to see a few of these units in out battle reports, especially as we continue exploring the events of the Badab War!

Badab War: Enter the Marines Errant!

We have not been doing too much with the Badab War campaign of late, mainly because someone who will remain nameless (James) has been taking his own sweet time painting up his forces, leaving the poor Salamanders fighting the Tyrant’s allies all by themselves. However, the gamer who will not be mentioned (James) has got his act together for the coming of 8th edition…

The Marines Errant have arrived!

Like the Salamanders, they are landing on the industrial moon of Bellerophon’s Fall, but are taking advantage of the distraction the Salamanders have already created with their own landings, and catching the Mantis Warriors offguard.

We are using a tree campaign structure for the Marines Errant, alongside a similar (but different) tree for the Salamanders, to represent the Loyalist landings on Bellerophon’s Fall, as you can see here.

So, the first battle for the Marines Errant is the Vanguard mission from the (old – perfectly serviceable though) Battle Missions book, where the Mantis Warriors managed to string together a ragged defence that the Marines Errant tried to punch through to expand the perimeter around their landing areas.

The Mantis Warriors were strung across the battlefield in an effort to take on the Marines Errant from any angle, and were gratified to see their enemies advancing in two formations, one with two Tactical Squads led by a Chaplain, the other a Devastator Squad led by a Venerable Dreadnought.

However, the Marines Errant had a trick up their sleeves as two Terminator squads teleported right in front of the Mantis Warriors, while an Assault Squad dropped in behind them. However, the Assault Squad veered a little too close to an enemy Dreadnought, which quickly tore them apart.

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The Terminators proved to be a real problem, and a Rhino selflessly crashed into one of their units an in effort to stall them until sufficient heavy weapons could be massed.

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In the end, one Terminator Squad entered the bunker and killed the Mantis Warrior Captain before they were finally shot to pieces, while the Terminator Assault Squad took its time to destroy the Rhino, and then charged and killed the Mantis Warrior Librarian who had been holding the centre objective before the Dreadnought once more waded in and stomped them into the snowy ground.

Meanwhile, the Mantis Warrior Stormraven had free reign of the skies and after pounding the advancing Tactical Squads, it veered across the battlefield to explode the Marines Errant’s Venerable Dreadnought with a single salvo of Multi-Meltas, Lascannon and Stormstrike Missiles.

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This freed the two Marines Errant Tactical Squads to assault the central objectives, and they had only a single Mantis Warrior Tactical Squad to hold them off.

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However, the Mantis Warriors dug in around the refinery, and weathered a great deal of punishment, all but finishing off one of the advancing Tactical Squads before the Marines Errant Chaplain broke their line.

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The two forces continued trading fire, but it was rapidly becoming clear that the Mantis Warriors were secure around the objective on their back line and it was the central one that was being contested.

The Assault Terminators of the Marines Errant had already been driven off by the Dreadnought, who was in turn destroyed by the rampaging Chaplain, who was then blasted apart by the last Mantis Warrior Attack Bike after the Stormraven destroyed the last of the Tactical Squad who had been shielding him.

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The battle ended with the Stormraven moving in to hover over the objective before the last Marines Errant Tactical Squad forced it away.

With one objective each, the battle was a draw!

 

Summary, Thoughts and Conclusion

We have managed to get a handful of 8th edition games under our belt now, but this was our first ‘serious’ campaign game with the new rules.

First things first – we like the new rules, let’s get that out of the way.

However, this game did underline for us that a) we don’t really know what units do any more, even if they made regular in older editions and b) we don’t know how to use them!

I mean, consider the Rhino… we had two of them in that battle. Are they any good? No idea! One got destroyed pretty quickly by a couple of Tactical Squads, while the other held up Assault Terminators for a few turns and was instrumental in holding the Marines Errant back.

Or take Dreadnoughts. The one belonging to the Mantis Warriors destroyed an Assault Squad by itself, then finished off the Assault Terminators in a single charge. It only ran out of steam when the Chaplain came along, but that was partly poor luck and there was every chance it could have finished him off too!

However, the Venerable Dreadnought was typically out shot by the Devastator Squad next to it, and just exploded when the Stormraven swooped in.

So, is the Stormraven good? It killed the Venerable Dreadnought and then failed to repel the Tactical Squad from the central objective (it might have done better with a different weapons fit). That said, I am liking the Stormstrike Missiles in this edition, and they are a nice compliment to the Lascannon and Multi-Meltas that I have mounted on the gunship.

Anyway, looking forward to getting this campaign properly under way and finding out what more units can do!