THE BADMAN STRIKES BACK: Team Attacker at GHO Narrative 2023

It’s August 18th, 2023. Earlier that morning, I kissed my wife goodbye and then waved as she drove away from the departures terminal. She didn’t wave back. I looked like a dweeb, but I endured. I’ve navigated through security with not a single TSA agent awkwardly commenting on my Warhammer bag. I’ve flown halfway across the nation to Baltimore, Maryland, a city that I have no emotional connection to and would describe to anyone who asked me by telling them “It’s definitely a city.”

I’m walking back from Pickles Bar with my friends I’ve made through Goonhammer. I don’t get to see these people often, and as we create horrible bits all the way back to the hotel I can’t help but wish I could stretch the passing seconds, enjoy each second of spending time with these great people a little bit longer. Time is a fleeting thing, every moment hangs just out of reach while we chase it. You so rarely get to stop and soak in the present before it becomes the past.

The moments pass, we reach the hotel, and all enjoy some food together at the hotel as friends before calling it an early night. There’s a big weekend ahead of us. After weeks of preparation and months of anticipation, it’s finally here. The Goonhammer Open US narrative event we have all traveled to Baltimore for.

We all go to sleep as friends.

Some of us, a strong, lucky, very cool few, wake up as BADMEN.

Norman: And with that I am summoned. As the BAD moon rises over the Baltimore Convention Center, I am compelled to add my two cents and kick ass stories from the event as well. As the Megatron to Dan’s Starscream (his words not mine) he legally cannot stop me from also writing things in this article

Dan Yeah but Starscream is way cooler he’s a fighter jet. Scientifically proven to be mondo mega cool.

Moving on, these are the stories of those those rad as hell few, who fight for glory and the conquest of the planet of Attos on team Attacker in the narrative. The highs, the lows, the Thrope Goats inbetween.

DAY ONE: The Good to be Bad times

Dan: Malioch Soulbinder and his Warband of Chaos Space Marines devoted to Slaanesh are back, and ready to rock. Was it a good idea to mark everything with Mark of Slaanesh for this event? Probably not, but I couldn’t turn my back on the narrative I started earlier this year in the war for Parasbine Secundus. I can only hope that my mishmash of Chaos Space Marine good stuff need to advance and shoot a lot over the course of the weekend.

The way this narrative is set up, there are several thematic tables for the defenders and attackers to divide their forces up on after an initial briefing by Rob Jones, who is acting as the head GM for the event. Most of these games will be 2v2 matches, but adjustments can be made as long as each side has 2000 points between the players.

For the first mission, I come in a little late after needing to step away to get the friendly tournament I’m also running today started. So after a whirlwind of people figuring out where they need to go, I’m put on my own to try and take Outpost Bravo-Foxtrot-Golf (read: BFG) from the defenders of Attos. Across the table from me is Joe, with his Grey Knights. He’s a little irked, as he doesn’t really have 2k points of Grey Knights to play with here. As I offer to drop down to 1k points of Chaos Marines, Rob overhears the problem and gets an idea.

My good friend Rob has found a way to close the points gap between Joe and I, and more importantly cause me emotional stress in a way that Rob will find very funny.

Rob slips away for a moment, and then comes back with a fucking Warhound Titan. If there’s ever been a bad omen in my life, it’s this hunk of resin that Joe will use to kick my ass.

The Titan walks, unfortunately all over me

The game itself is a merry-go-round of trying to break line of sight as much as possible with the Warhound Titan, while trying to stop Joe scoring as I can. Against another army, this tactic may have had some real play: Chaos Marines are fast and nasty in combat, so any unit I catch up with goes down real quick. Joe’s playing Grey Knights though, and he makes several clever plays to keep the score just out of reach from me as I try to retake the BFG and not get turbo-blasted by the Warhound Titan. When the dust settles, I’ve mostly avoided the latter, but Joe emerges from the snowy battlefield victorious by a five point margin.

Norman: My first game meanwhile was much cooler and also powerful. I had brought my Chaos Knights because they’re my narrative darlings and I cannot be stopped from shoehorning my character, The Shadebinder, into every narrative event I attend. This time around I brought a contingent from my custom house, House Gloam, called “Wall Eater Lance”. They were a specialized group of knights who were well trained in the art of siege warfare. Naturally I went straight to the wall board. 

The way this table worked was that the mission itself heavily favored the defenders. They had to simply hold 2 out of 3 objectives on the other side of the wall. The kicker is the walls were broken up into segments and the segments would remain destroyed from round to round. So while we probably wouldn’t win this game, our goal was to do as much damage as possible.

Aided by Ork and World Eater minions allies, we attacked the wall in earnest. I had brought 3 war dogs and a Knight Tyrant, perfect vehicle (which the walls technically were) killing machines. We get the first turn and converge aggressively on the right hand side of the wall. Just beyond that side was a void shield generator, which buffed all the defenders and the walls. It needed to die. I then proceeded to fire the harpoon at the wall, since it hits on 2’s, is strength 24, and anti vehicle 4+ with devastating wounds. I even have a cp in my pocket to make sure it hits. I fire. I roll a one. I reroll. I roll a second one.

The knight then proceeds to get blown up in one turn.

Not a great start!

Working through the Wall

Somehow we manage to gather ourselves, blow up 3 wall segments, and the void shield generator. We may not have been as successful as we could have been, but we did make a ton of headway for our team mates. That was of course until the imperial forces pooled all their resources to rebuild the wall.

Dan: The next game is just as much a nail biter as this one. A team of three Chaos players (Myself, Kryik, and MattF) versus Dark Angels (Kevin) and Votann (Alex) on the Hive Primus board. The defenders hold the city gates still, which meant that half of our combines attacker force would need to start in reserve. Fortunately, the Daemon player and eventual hero of Team Chaos has 500 points of Daemons he can easily prep for strategic reserves, but I have to put my Chosen and leader pals in a Rhino in strat reserves which stings.

World Eaters lead the charge!

The defenders go on from here to put on one hell of a fight as we battle over the comms tower in the middle: by the time we clean up the Hearthkyn in a Land Fortress on one flank, the Dark Angels Deathwing forces with their Land Raider are bearing down hard on the other flank and we have Hearthguard teleported into our flank.

Fortunately for team Attacker, the Chosen in the Rhino are able to make it on the field as well as the Daemonic reinforcements, and together with the World Eater forces who have made it to easy charge ranges we make quick work of the defending team. In the end, both sides have very little gas left, and it comes down to the Chosen needing to remove the very last unit of Deathwing Knights plus a Terminator Captain in combat for the attackers to win. The Chosen get to work and make it happen, and now myself and the attackers come out with a five point victory and control of Hive Primus.

The last game of day one I team up with my friend Andrew N. and his T’au, who have decided the forces of Chaos are much more receptive to the Greater Good than the Imperial Defenders. We face down more Dark Angels with Knight support (Lamar) and Aeldari (CDR Seamonkey) on my favorite board of the event: the Asteroid Field.

Space: The Final Forgefiend Frontier

The way the board is set up, there are several asteroids hanging in low gravity orbit over the planet of Attos that we are fighting over. Units with FLY can move normally in both the void of space parts of the board as well as the asteroids, but if you don’t have FLY than any model ending a move in the void means instant death. Units without fly can still “jump” between asteroids if their movement is enough to get from one to the other, which is what my footslogging contingent will need to do.

Andrew has plenty of flying units and bombers to maneuver around the board for fire support, and my force of close combat bruisers intend to hold down the major points on the board with extreme violence. My Possessed eviscerate some poor scouts on defense duty of the central asteroid platform and my Venomcrawler gracefully leaps through the vacuum of space to hang on to another objective on our flank. The Hammerhead and Venomcrawler work together to pop a Wave Serpent and send some poor Guardians careening into the void when it dies.

My Possessed bravely face the Aeldari horde

The defenders punch back by having the Imperial Knight as well as Banshees tear the Possessed in the center apart with heavy firepower and sharp elf blades, so on our turn the Chosen make the leap through space and hold the middle in their stead. The T’au reinforcements arrive in spectacular manner when the Sunshark bombers and Crisis Suits melt the Knight, and the defenders are running out of gas fast. It’s not helped when the Dark Angels deep strike reinforcements are forced to come in away from the action due to a lack of real estate they are allowed to land out not already zoned out.

The defenders do catch a break when the debris storm comes through. This was another really cool mechanic for this board, meant to represent the drifting debris of other vehicles whipping through those fighting here as the asteroids orbit Attos. We take the number of DEADLY DEMISE units that exploded and add it to the number assigned to us by Rob, and roll a D6. Above a certain number, every model takes mortal wounds. Lots of mortal wounds go out here, and importantly this puts my forgefiend at 7 wounds remaining. My next activation, I use the Skinshift stratagem to heal up to ten, make a dark pact and overcharge to kill a Vyper into next week. Mama didn’t raise a coward who doesn’t overcharge.

The Forgefiend fails its dark pact, and I roll triple ones on my hazardous test. The Forgefiend decides that Warhammer is a dumb game, and biffs it. 

When your Daemon Engine just wants to go home

It’s not enough to salvage the game for the defenders, who are getting cleaned up thoroughly by Kauyon firepower, but its very funny to everyone walking by. The attackers win again, and now we have an orbital bombardment for the start of day 2.

At the end of the day, I have a nice dinner at Kona Grill and enjoy several very tasty watermelon margaritas that have enough sugar to make a dentist winge. Despite Joe bullying me with the Warhound, Day one was a successful day of Warhammer for me and Team Attacker is in a good spot. 

Day Two: Things Fall Apart

Dan: In The Killing Joke, The Joker posits that the only thing separating anyone from becoming just like him is “One bad day”. In the comic, he’s proven wrong. One bad day doesn’t make someone turn into the Joker, the Joker is an insane and evil monster by his own choice. 

Day two is when I find out one bad day doesn’t make you the Joker, but one bad Desolation Marine shooting phase absolutely will jokerize you.

Day two game four started inconspicuously enough. I got sent over with fellow Goonhammer contributor and Battle Bro PantsOptional, AKA Drew, over onto the Manufacturom board. There’s some automatic battle cannons that’ll shoot my the attacker guys, but it’s okay we have some ID badges from raiding the cargo convoy that lets three units of our choice be untargetable by the automatic guns. Drew and I make a quick trip to the bathroom before the game starts, and Drew offhandedly mentions that he really hopes he doesn’t have to play my good friend and Hero of the Imperium, Andrew C., for the fourth game in a row. 

When we get back to the table, Goonhammer himbo Micheal DiCanna stands confidently across from us, with the wildly overconfident grin that only someone also wearing a belt buckle with “cocky” written on it could have. Next to him, like a hateful shadow, is my good friend and GHO roommate Andrew C., Hero of the Imperium.

Andrew has carved a path of destruction through Team Attacker with his Space Marines, the Sons of Ash. We all came to the narrative to have fun and play great games, but Andrew has come here for blood. He’s brought ten Desolation Marines with an Apothecary, who has the Bolter Discipline enhancement. Its a fucking war crime to bring to the narrative, like UN-sanctions level stuff. And oh god, oh no, he’s vaguely pointing his Desolation Marines at me

And to my even greater horror, Defenders automatically go first.

Live image of Team Attacker getting shot to pieces and my soul being crushed

I wish I could say this game was close, but at every corner there was only some Desolation marine, playing Candy Crush on their Astartes smartphone and shooting their Castellan Launcher vaguely somewhere in our direction. My Possessed limp to Micheal’s Sternguard, only to bounce helplessly off them and get manhandled by the Astartes Veterans. Drew’s Warp Talons carve though infiltrators and tie up intercessors, only for the intercessors to shrug, take two steps backwards, and blast them to bits. We bring in Obliterators to try and do something to the Desolation squad, only for the Obliterators to wiff and get sent to plastic hell by Desolation Marines who’s aim was probably deemed to shitty be given any sort of weapon that requires even facing the enemy.

The last straw for my body and soul comes when the remnants of my battle shocked Chosen squad, led by a Master of Executions, advances towards the line of Sternguard in a last ditch effort to do something in this game where we’ve been getting dominated by two opponents who have probably spent a combined ten minutes on the movement phase by turn four. Andrew goes full-on Wormtongue here, and cackles a little bit as he whispers something in Micheals ear. Micheal says “Oh cool that’s neat. Yeah I’m gonna overwatch you Dan.”

That was fine. Cruel, but fine. Then the overwatch happens, and only the Master of Exectutions remains. My heart sinks to my feet. He advanced this turn. When the Chosen are alive, that’s no problem, but they’re all dead now. He doesn’t get that ability anymore. He just now has to stand there, in the open, four inches away from the Sternguard, to get turned into Chaos swiss cheese.

Andrew smiles at me, and looks at me with the malignant certainty of a vulture in the desert, circling it’s dying prey. Micheal fortnite dances at me.

He just wanted to kill guys with his axe, is that too much to ask? Credit: Swiftblade

One bad Desolation Marine Shooting phase. All it took to turn mild mannered Dan into the Joker. Drew and I conceded with the last of my sanity as I’m sure Drew becomes increasingly concerned for my mental state, and I shout as many creative explicit metaphors about how much I hate Desolation Marines at Andrew. Unfortunately, this only makes Andrew happier and Micheal fortnite dance even harder.  

Norman: Let me take a break from the jokerization of Dan to tell you a story. A story of honorable combat. A story of two BADMEN who just can’t be kept down. This is the story of the Thrope Goat.

It’s round 5 and I’m back at the wall. This time I’ve changed that and I’m using 4 war dogs and my most dear and special guy: The Shadebinder. He was being represented by a knight despoiler with thermal cannon and fist this time around. This is not what you’d call a “good” loadout or even model, but you gotta work with what you have.

I’m joined by my friend and fellow BAD(wo)MAN Emma and her Tyranids. She brought a veritable monster mash of maleceptors and hauruspexes all backed up by 12 zoanthropes. We were ready to tear down whatever the Defenders had set up for us to fight.

On the other side of the table was Goonhammer patron, Rinric. He had a full complement of Imperial knights waiting for us. A castellan, 2 other bigs, and 3 armigers.

Now when the BADMEN make planetfall, its bound to make a bit of a stir, and when Emma and I decided to take on the wall, the Defenders in a move of supreme cowardice called in warhound support. We in turn called in our own warhound. They, in response, called down a firestorm strike. Our skillful riposte was to scream, cry and throw up.

For those not in the know, a firestrike has you put down 6 markers, then roll 6 dice and whatever you roll corresponds to how many strikes come down on the corresponding marker. All said and done our warhound took 12 wounds, I straight lost a war dog, another was reduced to 8 wounds, and Emma took some wounds on her maleceptor. Not Great!

I had decided to reserve The Shadebinder so he wouldn’t get flavor blasted right off the table before the game began, and emma did the same with her zoanthropes. Turn one we manage to destroy one (1) armiger with the warhound and plink some wounds on some other stuff. On our opponent’s turn one he killed: All my war dogs and the warhound.

I won’t lie to you, morale is low.

But dear friends, turn 2 we turn on the juice. Emma’s zoanthropes come in and so does The Shadebinder. We pick up a big knight, bracket another, and booty blast an armiger. On our opponent’s turn two he wipes out all but one of the zoanthropes, kills both maleceptors and fails a charge on The Shadebinder. 

I’ve got the only piece left on the board that can kill anything, and its time to get to work. Over the next 2 turns, the shadebinder proceeds to kill a big knight and the warhound and starts squaring off with the castellan and the remaining armiger.

When in doubt, the Shadebinder starts fightan

Our opponent whiffs their shooting phase and The Shadebinder moves in for the kill. All the remaining knights are locked in combat when The Shadebinder makes the final strike on the castellan. Who then blows up, doing 2d6 mortal wounds to everything nearby. The armiger dies. Shadebinder dies, and both sides are tabled.

Except the last remaining Zoanthrope. The Thrope Goat.


Due to one side being tabled, and no side holding any objectives, the match was declared an attacker victory. It just goes to show that miracles can happen and that warhammer is in fact, good. Now let’s check in with Dan and see how he’s doing.

Dan: Poorly! 

I’m back at the Manufactorum table again, and Phil’s orks and my Chaos Marines are up against Alex’s Votann again and Marshall’s Astra Militarum artillery squadron. It plays out just like the last game, only this time the automatic Battle Cannons get in on the action of shooting the hell out of the attacker forces. Alex does also, to his credit, make a bold play with Rapid Ingressing his Hearthguard to get them exactly where they need to be to nearly clean up my Obliterators in one round of shooting and cripple my Possessed in the following charge phase. All dice luck has abandoned me and my Forgefiend continues to do way more damage to itself than the enemy. I can only guess that it just wanted to go back to the cold comfort of the army case. 

My Possessed bravely try to hide from Artillery, to no avail

Phil’s Greenskins look for a moment they may at least overwhelm the other flank, but the weight of Guard shooting puts an end to his Orks and the end of our dreams of victory. Once again, I concede under the weight of massed indirect fire and my descent into madness worsens. 

By now, I’m jokerpilled and very much in living in a society. Now all I need is my Harley Quinn, my partner in clown based crime.

I reunite with PCA Andrew’s T’au. He’s also been getting his teeth kicked in in his games today. We decide to team up for the final game, no matter what. He’s my Harley, I’m his puddin’. Very normal things to say during a Warhammer event. 

At first, we try to spite Norman’s directions for us in true Starcream fashion by going to the Attos Hive Primus table to capture the Governor’s Palace. Waiting for us at that table is Quinn, who’s Aeldari have reigned terror on the Chaos masses for the second GHO narrative in a row, and then Andrew with his Sons of Ash. PCA Andrew and I turn on our heels, walk away, and shout at Norman “WE AREN’T PLAYING ON THE CITY TABLE ANYMORE NORMAN, YOU CAN HAVE IT!”.

So it’s back to the Manufactorum again while Norman and Emma get stuck with two men who will get tried at the Warhammer Geneva convention for their plastic crimes against humanity over this weekend. Waiting for us at the table is Joe, who’s also been mildly jokerized, and a phenomenon occurs where three men have all reached their wit’s end and don’t care about the objective, strategy, or even glory anymore. 

All we have now is The Bloodlust.

Joe has even decided to take my own Kataphrons against me. Because of the Bloodlust.

It looks briefly like Joe will have to run the Warhound again until Scott Horras saves the day with a shrug by saying “it’s no big deal, I’ll just play two games of Warhammer at once” and then proceeds with splitting his collection of Astra Militarum tanks between our table and the adjacent table he was initially playing at. And to his credit, he does play both games at once with little issue, and it’s impressive to watch his whirlwind of measuring and dice rolling over the course of the game. 

Andrew did make it a whole lot easier on Scott by blowing up his Baneblade turn one with his Stormsurge. Really, he was doing Scott a favor.

Andrew’s Stormsurge really is just looking out for Scott

Andrew does most of the heavy lifting this game when it comes to actually playing and eventually winning this mission, with his earlier mentioned Stormsurge and Crisis Suits. I’m too embroiled in mortal combat with Joe, as we both send our units crashing into each other with wild abandon. Every once in a while Andrew asks how I’m doing. Joe and I shout something about the Bloodlust and Andrew goes back to winning at Warhammer.

Last man standing in Power Armor WINS

In the end, thanks to a brave tank shock from the Stormsurge, my Possessed and their Master of Possession buddy are the last ones standing in Joe and I’s personal war of attrition, but everyone at this final table is having a great time with a this very cathartic game of Warhammer where we all prioritized violence. Thanks to this last game with no indirect fire, I am cured of my jokerization.

The attackers fought with noble rage and great wickedness, but we were not able to wrest away Attos from the defenders. I do win best painted though, so despite my team’s through defeat Badman Dan still comes out on top. 

The GHO Narrative 2023 was a blast, and I want to thank everyone I played with or against this weekend for being excellent folks I would happily play again. Even Andrew, Hero of Team Imperium. The BADMEN will have their revenge next year.

Have any questions or feedback? Drop us a note in the comments below or email us at