TheChirurgeon’s Road Through 2024, Part 3: Slumming It in Crusade

Welcome back, Dear Reader, to my ongoing log of hobby, play, and competition in Warhammer 40,000. This update is a bit late; I’ve been working on the Best Year in Gaming series and with that done I finally have more time to write these. So to make up for it, I’m going to commit to some weekly updates for a few weeks. I’ll kick things off today covering some of my recent games in the Parasbine Secundus campaign, then I’ll be back with regular updates on Thursdays each of the next four weeks. So be sure to check back for those, after which I may need a week off – for reasons I’ll talk about soon.

Last time around, I shook off some of the rust by playing a practice game against Custodes. This time around I’m less on the competitive side of things, but there’s still content here worth talking about. Also, it’s not all Death Guard!

The Parasbine Secondus Campaign

Last year I helped run a couple of local campaigns during our big Vadinax campaign for patrons. In particular, two Houston-area campaigns, one of which was run by Greg “Klobasnek” Narro: The Parasbine Secondus Campaign. A year later and a whole new edition in play, Greg wanted to run a sequel campaign, and so we’re going back to Parasbine. I didn’t play many games last time around but this time I’m trying to get in some more support and take part in things.

The first thing you need to know is that the local Houston group is pretty large and invested here – we have 33 players in Parasbine, though only about half of those are really dedicated play-multiple-games-per-phase types. I’m technically leader of the Shattered Cabal, one of the campaign’s six battlegroups. I uh, I don’t take the responsibility super seriously, but it’s a capable team of guys and so far we’re doing okay.

Right now I’m running a Black Legion (Chaos Space Marines) warband called Kaervek’s Mauraders III: Third Strike. Kaervek is the name of the Black Legion sorcerer I created for a campaign about ten years ago. Back in seventh edition I ran a campaign with my friends in New Jersey called the Paulus Campaign. At the time, my Black Legion warband was led by Molloch, a Chaos lord with a twin brother named Malias. Kaervek was his second in command, a sorcerer who was in charge of a ritual which opened a warp rift on Paulus and plunged the planet into a daemon-infested night. Molloch and his brother died in the big Apocalypse battle to end the campaign, and Kaervek took over after his death. He’s been running things ever since.

When I play Crusade, Kaervek’s warband is a great way for me to run Chaos Space Marines but to also tone things down a bit for more casual play. One way I do this is by sticking to the “confluence of traitors” theme – I run a unit each of Berzerkers, Plague Marines, Rubrics, and Noise Marines in the army. They’re fun to work with but not crazy competitive.

Right now here’s my 1000 point force:

It’s fairly nasty for a thousand points. The Land Raider and Forgefiend are tough for a lot of armies to deal with normally, but as you’ll see that’s not necessarily an issue in the games I’ll play. Kaervek hasn’t shown up yet but he will as the army gets big enough to include a psyker; I run him as a Sorcerer or Terminator Sorcerer most of the time.

Parasbine Game 1: vs. T’s Adepta Sororitas

I got a late start on the campaign, but still in the first round and that’s what counts. Because our schedules are pretty flexible and the game was only 1,000 points, T and I were able to fit in the rare midday game during the week. In Parasbine we choose strategic footing as a team, so this round my team chose Balanced and so did T’s, meaning we rolled off for attacker/defender and first turn.

The Mission: Dig Site Raid

This is one of the 1,000-point missions in Pariah Nexus – our campaign is a Pariah Nexus campaign – and pretty straightforward. These normally call for a 44×30 table but that size seems lame to me, especially at 1,000 points, so I’m using my 48×48 Games Workshop City Ruin battle mat I got back in 2016 when it released. It still looks pretty great and I use every opportunity I can to play with it.

I haven’t played against Adepta Sororitas since Tampa last year but I know what they can do, mostly. T’s list runs an Exorcist, a Castigator, a unit of Arcoflagellants, some Seraphim, a Mortifier, and a unit of Battle Sisters. We roll off, and T gets the first turn. On this mission you score by holding objectives, but also characters can do an action on each objective to extract some blackstone, and having those blackstone tokens at game’s end is worth 10 VP per token.

T spends his first turn moving out and I do the same, taking a couple shots on my Land Raider after the Forgefiend uses Dark Obscuration to avoid being shot. Things heat up on turn two, when T continues to press forward and I respond by dumping out my Berzerkers and using them to wipe out one of the Seraphim units. Then T kills my Land Raider using miracle dice to push through damage. I bring in the Noise Marines and Rubrics from reserves, but neither does much the turn they arrive.

This game ends up being a real back-and-forth; the Warpsmith captures a piece of blackstone early on and manages to snag another before the end of the game. Meanwhile the Plague Marines ate shit to the Arcoflagellants, who turned out to be pretty nasty in melee, though the Rubrics were able to take care of them two turns later.

The game would end in a tie after I was able to kill one of T’s characters, forcing them to drop a blackstone marker and keep him from beating me by 10. This was a hard mission; as you might see from my list, I only had a single character.

I managed to keep the Warpsmith, Noise Marines, and Forgefiend alive at game’s end, scoring bonus agenda XP for the Warpsmith and Forgefiend. So I marked the fiend for greatness and ended up getting him… the Heavily Armoured battle trait, letting him reduce one incoming attack’s damage to 0 once per game. It’s okay but not amazing. I think I’ll go for a weapon enhancement next time. Otherwise I passed all of my out-of-action tests.

Things I learned:

  • I need to add another character for bigger games. Not every Crusade mission revolves around characters, but enough do that I probably want someone else on the table, though that means I probably need to add a unit they can actually join – so probably terminators and a term sorcerer. Kaervek will return!
  • Arcoflagellants are pretty nasty. They hit hard and they’re tougher than they look thanks to having 2W and a 4+ feel no pain. It was a lot harder to take them out with Rubrics than I expected.
  • Reserves against indirect is still the right call. It’s not worth taking the shooting if you don’t have to.

Next Time: More Crusade Games and Teaching My Son to Play

That’s it for this week – it’s a shorter update than usual but I didn’t have nearly as much hobby progress this time around. Next time I’ll cover the two Crusade games I played at the end of round 1 as well as my son’s first steps into 40k and some thoughts on teaching younger players. So check back next Thursday for that.

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