Battle Bros is an ongoing bi-weekly column where Drew (PantsOptional) teaches his brother Chris (head58) how to play Warhammer 40,000 but somewhere along the line they lost that thread and this is what we ended up with instead. Catch up on their past adventures in season one here.
Meet the Battle Bros
The older of the two brothers, but new to the game. Learning to play Iron Hands and – after only three games – building an army of Bostonian Orks, kehd.
The younger brother, now adrift in a strange and foreign land painted in the myriad hues of nostalgia (but mostly black and he’s running out of the good bottle please help).
CHRIS: Welcome back, sports fans, to the moment you’ve been waiting for all season! The final clash! Chaos vs Orks! Brother vs Brother! Whoever wins, we lose.
Drew came over on a rainy, miserable afternoon and after a fortifying Hot Dog Lunch we set to the business at hand: kicking the shit out of each other with tiny toy spacemans. As a reminder we had crafted our own mission for this game and while we thought it looked pretty good there really was no way of knowing if it would really sing (unlikely) or just be a big mess (if you’ve read even this far in a single Battle Bros column you have probably put your money here).
DREW: I made a prediction in the comments section last time, consisting of the following:
- The drones would be a first turn distraction at worst, basically a speedbump;
- The random results would either be ignored completely or would become a massive headache over-complicating play; and
- The first person to control the Primork would set in motion a snowball/Katamari that would decide the fate of the game.
Was I right? Was I wrong? My God, what have I done?!
CHRIS: And yes, THE PRIMORK REVEALED! The model itself was carefully crafted by skilled artisans, made of resin forged in the fires of spicy ramen broth, quenched in Malört and Moxie, folded over 69,420 times. Or maybe it was just a Hulkbuster action figure I grabbed off eBay and slapped a 3d printed Ork head on. Who can say for certain?
Chris's List - Click to Expand
+ HQ +
Banga Yuey – Warboss: Kombi-weapon with rokkit launcha, Da Killa Klaw, Brutal but Kunnin (PL 4, 2 Crusade points)
Keytaah Beah – Weirdboy: Da Jump, Warpath, Warphead (PL 4, 1 Crusade Point)
+ Troops +
Reveah Raidas – Boyz (20): 19 w/Sluggas and choppas, 1 w/rokkit launcha, 2 tankbusta bombs, ‘Ard Boyz (PL 8, 1 Crusade Point)
Allston Ratz– Boyz (30): 27 w/Sluggas and choppas, 3 w/rokkit launcha, 3 tankbusta bombs, ‘Ard Boyz (PL 8, 1 Crusade Point)
Framinghammas – Boyz (10): 9 w/Shootas, 1 w/rokkit launcha, 1 tankbusta bomb (PL 4)
+ Elites +
Lucky’s Krew – Meganobz (3): Double Killsaws (PL 6)
The Morky Morky Waaaghtones – Tankbustas (5): Rokkit launchas (PL4)
+ Heavy Support +
Ol’ Ironsidez – Mek Gunz (1): Smasha gun (PL3)
+ Dedicated Transport +
Storrow Speshul – Trukk (2): Wrecking Ball (PL 4)
Drew's List - Click to Expand
+ HQ +
Valac Oathbreaker – Chaos Lord: Black-clad Brute, jump pack, 2 lightning claws, Mark of Khorne, Talisman of Burning Blood (PL 7, 2 Crusade points)
Kaothol Naxos – Sorcerer: Force axe, jump pack, no Chaos Mark, Prescience, Warptime (PL 6)
+ Troops +
Adharak’s Reavers – Chaos Space Marines (5): Bolt pistols and chainswords, plasma gun, Mark of Khorne, Aspiring Champion with chainaxe and plasma pistol, Icon of Wrath (PL 4)
Shame’s Blade – Chaos Space Marines (5): Boltguns, autocannon, no Chaos Mark, Aspiring Champion with chainsword and bolt pistol (PL 4)
Makaran 23rd – Chaos Cultists (10): Autoguns, flamer (PL 3)
+ Fast Attack +
The Forgotten – Raptors (5): Bolt pistols and chainswords, Mark of Khorne, Raptor Champion with plasma pistol and lightning claw, Icon of Wrath, Disgraced (PL 5)
Tormentors – Raptors (5): Bolt pistols and chainswords, Mark of Khorne, Raptor Champion with plasma pistol and lightning claw, Icon of Wrath (PL 5)
+ Heavy Support +
Ecstasy of Destruction– Havocs (5): Missile launchers, Champion with flamer and chainsword, Mark of Slaanesh (PL 7)
Scyzhar the Malefic – Venomcrawler: no Chaos Mark (PL 7)
CHRIS: We picked our Agendas, although it didn’t really matter much since this was the last game of the campaign (but who knows, maybe we’ll continue on in a Battle Bros Season 3 (we won’t)). I took King Slayer and Breakthrough, thinking I’d try to get my Trukk and at least one blob of Boyz onto the far objectives, and that the Primork might be doing more killing than my orks would so something like Reaper might not work out so well. Protip/spoilers: when selecting King Slayer and going in for the assassination, make sure you’re 100% clear on which model is your opponent’s warlord. Yeah, I suck.
DREW: No, keep doing that. You rushing forward with your Warboss to take out a guy who ultimately didn’t matter while the Chaos Lord whomst I told you was the Warlord blenderized the other side of the map was an excellent move in my opinion. For what it’s worth: I picked Reaper and Lord of the Warp because they’re old dependables.
CHRIS: What part of “I suck” was not clear enough for our readers? Also related to my general suckage, one of the things I realized just before the game started was that Drew had cursed me once again with a 5” deployment zone. Should I have noticed this last time before signing off on the mission writeup? Maybe, but that’s not the point. The point here is I was going to have to really string out my units of Boyz in long thin lines, and that my Trukk was basically fucked from jump street. But I vastly underestimated exactly how fucked it was to be honest. I had my Meganobz and Tankbustas in the Trukk, figuring I might be able to cruise around doing some drive-by rokkit launcha shenanigans while I tried to get the very slow and pokey Meganobz upfield. But the fact that Drew had two units of Raptors deployed up opposite the Trukk should have let me know that none of that was going to happen.
DREW: To be perfectly honest, I’m not sure what I thought I was doing there. I didn’t have a really good way to crack open the Trukk and feast on the delicious fungus inside but it worked out for the best as I tied up that entire corner of the table. In the meantime my Havocs started a game-long pattern of annihilation by blowing the Mek Gun off the map in one volley. Spoiler for this game, those dudes put in work.
Those who were paying attention may have noticed I added some much-needed Cultists to my roster in the form of the Makaran 23rd, a renegade Guard regiment. The story behind them is that they’re from an Administratum world where even a minor crime carries the sentence of forced conscription, so for the most part they’re accountants and file clerks who littered or jaywalked and were given a gun and told to get soldiering. They’re technically a Penal Legion but they’re real 10-ply about it, soft as a unicorn themed birthday party, and it didn’t take much to get them to renounce the Imperium. Either way their job is to get in the way and die and they did so admirably, trying desperately to save the life of the Sorcerer then who completely failed to get the Primork to do anything and exploded when a Warboss looked at him.
CHRIS: The first couple rounds are just a hazy fog of seeing all my shit get mercilessly owned, to be honest. I mean sure, I wrecked his Sorcerer, denying him both the Immense Psychic Power psychic action and the XPs for performing actions. But that left my Warboss standing exposed in front of a bunch of missile-launcher Havocs, considering the poor life choices I’d made. And I did manage to use the Power of the Old Ones action to control the Primork once, moving him a bit closer to my deployment zone (this would turn out later to be a Very Good Thing) and blasting Drew’s Venomcrawler for exactly fuck-all effect. Made every save. I hate that thing so goddamn much, you guys.
DREW: Turn two wasn’t much better for you, as I positioned the Havocs in a way that you couldn’t LoS for your Warboss and converted him to Ragu Thick and Chunky, then ate two units of Boyz in melee. The Venomcrawler paid off by blasting a Drone off the table and then skittering in to pincer one of those Boyz mobs alongside Adharak’s Reavers. At this point you still had most of your 30-strong unit of Boyz, up until I introduced you to the joys of being shot by a unit with Blast weapons on turn three.
CHRIS: When it came to my turn at the bottom of round three, in the immortal words of Clint Barton things looked bad. My Mekk Gun never got to fire a shot, my Warboss and two units of Boyz were gone, and my last unit of Boyz, the big one that started at 30 had been reduced to a single lonely Boy from a combination of enemy fire and failed morale checks. And I knew I had Drew right where I wanted him.
I’m not exactly sure how I’d done it but I’d cleared enough of those asshole Raptors from around my Trukk that I now had room for the Meganobz and Tankbustas to disembark. Honestly, being stuck inside the Trukk was probably the only reason they were still alive at this point, so I now had those to work with. But the big ace up my sleeve – the thing that I hoped would save my candy lacquered bacon – was the Unstoppable Green Tide stratagem. That one lonely surviving Boy who had endured and made his Combat Attrition check was now reunited with 29 of his closest personal friends back on the board.
If that Morale phase had gone just a tiny bit worse for me and the entire unit had been wiped I wouldn’t have been able to pull that off. Navigating around the “9 inches from any enemy unit” requirement was a little tricky since Drew’s forces were spread so thoroughly over the board and I was trying to find a home for 30 models but a little Googling revealed that the unit didn’t have to come in from my own board edge – any edge would do – and there was a convenient corner on Drew’s side where they could fit.
I think this was about the time that you looked at the score sheet and we realized that despite having this new big blob of models back on the board there was no chance I could actually win. You had been holding two or more objectives all game, and even the Raise the Primork points at the end of the game couldn’t save me. So, from here on out it the game was just going to be for spite.
DREW: I should point out that at some point during all of this you stripped all but one of the Venomcrawler’s wounds off of it through judicious use of ska-based rokkit technology. This would have been fine except for the Drone that shot a real Death Star Trench Run shot at it, blowing it up and taking two of the nearby CSMs with it. I’ll be real, this broke me. Ol’ crawly was doing so well up until that point and it had so many good years left in it…
CHRIS: Yep, regular speed bump, those drones. I tried not to gloat but rest assured I was gloating on the inside. I moved my Boyz to grab one objective and my Tankbustas to grab another. And my Meganobz moved up to the Primork to use the Power of the Old Ones action, causing it to turn its D6 Strength 12 AP-3 D6 shots on the one lonely Chaos Marine still squatting on an objective. I now held two objectives and Drew held one. The game grew marginally tighter.
DREW: So what you’re saying is, you held the objective solely with five T4 W1 Orks and they were all within range of my Havocs? Okay, kiddo… champ… chief…
CHRIS: With my Tankbustas gone, it looked like the end. I needed to control two objectives in order to get enough points to pull it out. Keytar Bear got himself vaporized by a drone, which was fine since he’s been especially useless all game. My Meganobz had picked up a Battle Scar in my first game against Drew and couldn’t control objectives. But I took a quick look at the rules for objectives and pulled out the Air Bud rule: Ain’t no rule that says a vehicle can’t control an objective. So with a mighty K-Turn the Storrow Speshul slammed into the objective, claiming the points only to lose by 10 points! I declare a moral victory!
DREW: Okay but hear me out: I claim the actual victory. Like we said, I’d been sitting on objectives for multiple turns and racking up points. It’s so weird that when I play the objectives I win and when I don’t I lose. And that’s why you always leave a note play the objective.
Let’s go back and take a look at my pre-game predictions, shall we? I said that the following would happen:
- Drones (like these edibles) ain’t shit;
- The random results would either be ignored completely or would become a massive headache over-complicating play; and
- Primork would decide the game.
Whoops! I’d have egg on my face if I wasn’t so busy showering in champagne over here in victory lane, or whatever it is that race drivers do. There’s milk involved, maybe they make pancakes, I don’t know.
The drones turned out to be super-important between blocking movement out of the deployment zone and blowing up my Venomcrawler. (They also killed Keytaah Beah, whose only crime up until that point had been mostly failing to cast powers.) The random psychic bullshit table never got used because no one succeeded at using it, so our back-and-forth about the various entries was a huge waste of time and therefore on brand. Finally the Primork killed one Chaos Space Marine, which doesn’t speak well to its capacity as a world-beating ultra-Ork.
DREW: It is perfectly in keeping with him being an Ork though.
CHRIS: We’re not going to go into the 18 or so hours where we thought I’d actually won the scenario by 10 points before I realized we’d accidentally been scoring at the end of each turn instead of after the Command phase. We had to go back and reconstruct the game turn by turn and it ended up I had lost by 10. This is why I was pushing so hard in the last couple rounds to claim the objectives; at the time we thought I could squeak out the win if I grabbed every point available in those turns. If I’d known at the time all hope was lost I would have gone into Scorched Earth mode and just thrown everybody at killing the rest of your models, forcing as many Out of Action tests as I could. But so it goes. Getting a fundamental game rule wrong and spinning the whole outcome of the game is just so extremely on brand for us.
DREW: To be fair, as you mentioned earlier I did tell you around turn four that it was going to be difficult if not impossible for you to win. This is where we’d talk about the post-game bookkeeping, but Rob doesn’t pay us by the word and the Crusade is over. As far as the story goes, I think there’s only one possible conclusion: the Black Legion did not take control of the Primork in the end, but by sabotaging the blackstone obelisks controlling the beast they collapsed the cave on themselves and prevented the Orks from claiming their prize. Rocks fall, everyone dies. The end, no moral.
So What Did We Learn?
CHRIS: It took me all campaign but I think I finally remembered all the special abilities that Orks have. Just in time for a new codex!
I definitely enjoyed the structure of Crusade, leveling up units as we went. It’s definitely more important to plan out your future requisitions from the start so you don’t burn points on things like raising the Supply Limit when you don’t really need to. And the Battle Scars had a real impact. Not being able to use a Command Reroll on my Weirdbearboy really hurt in this game, and the Meganobz’ inability to control an objective made things very tricky at the end.
DREW: The logistics and administration of this Crusade left some kind of taste in my mouth, for sure. Wrestling with all the list builders and spreadsheets really just made me wish that I could incorporate everything into one app that tracked Rosters, Requisition Points, and all the rest. Also if I was to play in a Crusade again I would want deadlines for things like choosing Battle Traits and spending Requisition points, and also have the master copies of the Rosters saved in a central location, with that Roster being the one that counted in case of any dispute.
CHRIS: I’ve also come to the conclusion that transports on a Combat Patrol/Incursion sized board really aren’t worth it, even if you have units that only move at stupid 4”. Thus was probably obvious to every other 40k player in the world who wasn’t me.
DREW: It was, yes. I didn’t want to say anything but Keytah was right there ready to Da Jump your Meganobz across the table the whole time, or you could have put them in Strategic Reserve. Lots of options that didn’t involve blocking your own LOS.
CHRIS: Da Jumping the Meganobz isn’t great since they would have to end up more than 9” from any target and some genius only gave them melee weapons. Their stubby little armored legs just can’t close that distance before they get shot to shit. And up until about half an hour before the game I had the Snazzwagon in my list instead of the Trukk. I’m not sure that would have been the right choice either – it doesn’t have a great gun for getting past armor or saves and has no melee weapons, so once it’s engaged it’s just terrain.
DREW: If we’re talking about ways we would have built lists differently, the concept of using the Start Collecting box was fun but ultimately I probably would have chosen different loadouts for my CSMs. Plasma gun in a melee squad? Autocannon on a squad meant to sit on backfield objectives? No, none of that. Also I probably wouldn’t have taken the Greater Possessed. I never once deployed them because they’re so damn awkward – you have to track them individually in the Roster and they operate as independent units once you place them on the table. They didn’t really fit very well in any list that I built, partially because they really need support to sing and I didn’t have a Master of Possession to babysit them.
CHRIS: If rushing to buy/paint models weren’t an issue I’d probably have tried to include more Meganobz – I think they are probably more effective in bigger groups. Same for Mek Guns. A single one still gets some work done, but is too fragile.
DREW: In the end, though, I think we learned the most important lessons of all: neither of us should be trusted to write a column without being garbage idiots about it, and that truly we are both terrible at 40k and our closest friends outshine us in that regard at each and every opportunity.
Next Time: There Is No Next Time
You can probably join us for season three next year, which will mostly involve us lighting our groins on fire for the amusement of twelve people.
Have any questions or feedback? Drop us a note in the comments below or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.