Tournament Report – Bad Moon Final

An article by    Battle Reports Tactics Warhammer 40k        0

Christmas is nearly upon us and after the complete madness that was the Chapter Approved/Blood of Baal release weekend, things are finally winding down for a little bit of a break before January ramps up. However, there’s still time for one last tournament report – this past weekend I attended the Bad Moon Series final run by the London Wargaming Guild, and while the event had the misfortune to fall on the annual “lame duck 40k Saturday” (i.e. Chapter Approved release day) it was still a tonne of fun, and the Bad Moon Cafe remains one of the best venues in the UK to play 40K at.

While I won’t be diving quite as deep into the games as normal, but I’ll still try and make sure we’re hitting all the key beats, covering in each:

  • The Competition – Details of my opponent’s army
  • The Mission – Details of mission and deployment
  • The Plan – how I aimed to play out the game and target priorities.
  • The Summary – how the game played out at a high level
  • The Takeaways – points of interest and things I learnt from the game
  • The Score – my score after the game.

The event was 100% unmodified ITC Champions missions playing out on LGT terrain sets.

LGT Board

LGT Standard Terrain. Photo: Wings

I’ve written extensively about the ITC missions in the past, so if this is your first time joining us go have a look at our rundown of Primary and Secondary objectives within them. Right now, we’ll take a quick look at my list and then move on to the games.

My List

Army List - Click to Expand

+++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++
+ PLAYER NAME: James Grover
+ ARMY FACTION: Asuryani
+ TOTAL COMMAND POINTS: 10
+ TOTAL ARMY POINTS: 2000pts
+ POWER LEVEL: 118
+ ARMY FACTIONS USED: Asuryani, Craftworld Mara-Nai (Expert Crafters, Hail of Doom)
+++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

== Battalion Detachment == Asuryani, Craftworld Mara-Nai (Expert Crafters, Hail of Doom)
[60PL, 1039pts] 5CP

HQ: Yvraine (115) [6PL] [115pts]
HQ: Autarch Skyrunner (95), Laser Lance (8), Fusion Gun (14), Twin Shuriken Catapult (2), Banshee Mask (0) [6PL] [119pts]
HQ: Warlock Skyrunner (65), Twin Shuriken Catapult (2),  Witchblade (0) [4PL] [67pts]
Warlord - Seer of the Shifting Vector

TR: 10 Dire Avengers (80), Exarch (0), 10 Avenger Shuriken catapults (30), Exarch Additional Avenger Shuriken Catapult (3), Exarch Power - Avenging Strikes [6PL] [113pts]
TR: 10 Dire Avengers (80), Exarch (0), 10 Avenger Shuriken catapults (30), Exarch Additional Avenger Shuriken Catapult (3), Exarch Power - Avenging Strikes [6PL] [113pts]
TR: 10 Guardian Defenders (80), Heavy Weapon Platform (5), Shuriken Cannon (10) [5PL] [95pts]

DT: Wave Serpent (120), Twin Shuriken Cannon (17), Twin Shuriken Catapult (2) [9PL] [139pts]
DT: Wave Serpent (120), Twin Shuriken Cannon (17), Twin Shuriken Catapult (2) [9PL] [139pts]
DT: Wave Serpent (120), Twin Shuriken Cannon (17), Twin Shuriken Catapult (2) [9PL] [139pts]

== Spearhead Detachment == Asuryani, Craftworld Mara-Nai (Expert Crafters, Hail of Doom)
[30PL, 429pts] 1CP

HQ: Farseer (110), Witchblade (0) [6PL] [110pts]
Relic: Faolchu’s Wing

HS: Wraithlord (85), 2 Shuriken Catapults (0), Ghostglaive (10) [8PL] [95pts]
HS: Night Spinner (110), Twin Shuriken Catapult (2) [8PL] [112pts]
HS: Night Spinner (110), Twin Shuriken Catapult (2) [8PL] [112pts]

== Air Wing Detachment == Asuryani, Craftworld Mara-Nai (Expert Crafters, Hail of Doom)
[28PL, 532pts] 1CP

FL: Hemlock Wraithfighter (200), Spirit Stones (10) [10PL] [210pts]
FL: Crimson Hunter Exarch (135), 2 Starcannons (26), Exarch Power - Hawkeye [9PL] [161pts]
FL: Crimson Hunter Exarch (135), 2 Starcannons (26), Exarch Power - Hawkeye [9PL] [161pts]

In my defence, I had to write and submit this on Chapter Approved review day, and I had zero energy or brainpower spare to try and optimise a pre-CA list. More seriously, given that trying to hyper-optimise for a set of points that were about to change is a waste of energy I did what I often do in such cases – tested out some concepts to see how they played on the table. In this case, i was interested in whether going big on Avenging Strikes would ever actually work on the tabletop, and whether Hail of Doom did enough, touching on stuff that I wanted to field test coming out of the Phoenix Rising review. Taking Hail of Doom obviously meant going in on Shuriken Serpents, and the last pre-CA event was a good chance to take my precious skybabies and my Autarch Skyrunner out for a final spin before they got nerfed into the dust. The Wraithlord is entirely there as a distraction Carnifex/objective holder who happened to be exactly the right points cost to fill out a Spearhead. Don’t @ me.

It is super optimised? No, but it looked like it could be fun on the table, and would give me some useful data to play with, so into the cases it went!

Round 1 – Thousand Sons

The Competition

Army List - Click to Expand

Thousand Sons Battalion (8CP)
(HQ) WARLORD - DP w/ Wings + Talons = 180
(HQ) Sorc in termy armour w/ Familiar + Stave + Combi = 122
(HQ) Ahriman on disk = 166

(TP) 5 Rubric Marines w/ 5 Bolters + stave = 96
(TP) 5 Rubric Marines w/ 5 Bolters + stave = 96 
(TP) 10 Cultists w/AutoGuns = 50

(EL) 10 Termies w/ Bolters + 2 Hellfyre = 368

Thousand Sons Super Heavy Auxiliary
(LoW) Magnus = 445

Thousand Sons Super Heavy Auxiliary
(LoW) Spartan w/Las + HB = 477

The Mission

ITC Mission 1 – Seize Ground

Search and Destroy deployment

The Plan

I’ve never seen a Spartan out and about before, but if my opponent gets to go first with it then it can plausibly land some damage. Two Quad Lascannons plus various buffs will let it lay down a decent amount of pain into my stuff. However, the deployment is very much in my favour here, as it lets me backline sufficiently that Magnus has to choose between not coming out to play or rushing into the teeth of a million shurikens, Smites and Serpent shields. While I’ll probably lose something, his list is very thin on the ground and I feel like I should be able to outdo him on board control and take over the game.

If I go first, of course, this is likely a complete massacre – the Spartan will die, and from there it’s extremely difficult to see how he can ever take enough of my stuff off the board to win the attrition race.

My Secondaries

  • Kingslayer
  • Marked for Death (Spartan, Scarab Occults, Daemon Prince, Terminator Sorceror)
  • Recon

Their Secondaries

  • Big Game Hunter
  • Old School
  • Marked for Death

The Summary

Priority target identified

I went first, and as predicted that made this game pretty one-sided. The Spartan got immediately killed, leaving him desperately short of anti-vehicle tools, and costing him a few Scarab Occults. More of those went away as he managed to Perils for them the next turn, but the rest of his army had a decent go at doing some damage, with the squad of infantry I’d committed to the board getting taken out by the Scarabs. Critically for him, however:

  1. Both of Magnus’s defensive buffs failed or got denied.
  2. Magnus’s last act this turn was to kill a Serpent with DAs in, and one died in the crash.

That meant on my turn we got to find out what Avenging Strikes does when it actually goes off in ideal circumstances.

Magnus attempts to explain sorcery to some unimpressed elves

Turns out the answer is yikes. Between that and some other tools (including some smites and Serpent shields) Magnus bit the bucket (along with the Daemon Prince) and that left him with no-where near enough stuff to ever get back into the game. I picked up his army over the next few turns, scoring the bonus as often as possible on the way.

The Takeaways

1-0 to the “Avenging Strikes is actually good” crowd I guess because, goodness me, when it works, it works.

The rest of the army did what it does best and took stuff apart. I should really go back and calculate my lifetime record against Magnus because I seem to play against and beat him a lot.

Big red feathery jerk coming round here saying he’s the master of the sorcerous arts. Punk.

The Score

Primary: 25-6

Secondary: 12-5

Total: 37-11

Match Score: 1-0

Round 2 – Chaos Space Marines

The Competition

Army List - Click to Expand

++ Battalion Detachment +5CP (Chaos - Chaos Space Marines) [37 PL, 687pts] ++ + No Force Org Slot [1 PL, 10pts] +
Dark Disciples [1 PL, 10pts]: 2x Dark Disciple [10pts]
Legion: Emperor's Children
+ HQ [11 PL, 207pts] +
Chaos Lord with Jump Pack [6 PL, 107pts]: Bolt pistol, Combi-bolter [2pts], 2x Lightning Claw [12pts], Mark of Slaanesh
Dark Apostle [5 PL, 100pts]: Mark of Slaanesh + Troops [25 PL, 470pts] 

Chaos Cultists [3 PL, 50pts]: Mark of Slaanesh . 9x Chaos Cultist w/ Autogun [45pts]
. Cultist Champion [5pts]: Autogun
Chaos Cultists [3 PL, 50pts]: Mark of Slaanesh . 9x Chaos Cultist w/ Autogun [45pts]
. Cultist Champion [5pts]: Autogun
Noise Marines [19 PL, 370pts]
. 2x Marine w/ Blastmaster [70pts]: 2x Blastmaster [40pts]
. Marine w/ boltgun [15pts]
. 14x Marine w/ Sonic blaster [266pts]: 14x Sonic Blaster [56pts] . Noise Champion [19pts]: Bolt pistol, Sonic blaster [4pts]

++ Patrol Detachment (Chaos - Chaos Space Marines) [10 PL, 170pts] ++ + No Force Org Slot +
Legion: Word Bearers

Sorcerer with Jump Pack [7 PL, 120pts]: Bolt pistol, Delightful Agonies, Force sword [8pts], Mark of Slaanesh, Warlord, Warptime

Chaos Cultists [3 PL, 50pts]: Mark of Slaanesh . 9x Chaos Cultist w/ Autogun [45pts]
. Cultist Champion [5pts]: Autogun

++ Air Wing Detachment +1CP (Chaos - Chaos Space Marines) [56 PL, 1,142pts] ++ + No Force Org Slot +
Legion: Emperor's Children
+ Flyer [56 PL, 1,142pts] +
Chaos Fire Raptor Assault Gunship [19 PL, 432pts]: Mark of Slaanesh . Quad heavy bolters [72pts]: 2x Quad heavy bolter [72pts]
. Twin lascannons [80pts]: 2x Twin lascannon [80pts]

Chaos Fire Raptor Assault Gunship [19 PL, 432pts]: Mark of Slaanesh . Quad heavy bolters [72pts]: 2x Quad heavy bolter [72pts]
. Twin lascannons [80pts]: 2x Twin lascannon [80pts]

Chaos Storm Eagle Assault Gunship [18 PL, 278pts]: Balefire missiles [30pts], No Chaos Mark, Reaper autocannon [10pts], Vengeance launcher [28pts]

The Mission

ITC Mission 2 – Cut to the Heart

Spearhead Assault Deployment

The Plan

This list is super cool, and makes use of the incredibly powerful Emperor’s Children tools from Faith and Fury. Basically, if it goes first almost anything is going to have a hugely bad time. The Dark Apostle will activate the Remnant of the Maraviglia to create a full wound re-roll bubble, the huge squad of Noise Marines will warptime into position to unleash Excruciating Frequencies and the fliers will converge as well, unleashing a hail of firepower that would make even Tau blush. While the Wave Serpents in my list will stand up to this better than most, and I’ve got the ground control to fight back, it’s still going to be an absolutely vicious first strike if he takes the first turn. He also has a Chaos Lord with the new tasty relic claws and the ability to near-automatically charge thanks to Honour the Prince. While I can certainly take some decent chunks out of it if I get the first turn, it’s not defenceless either – he can add an extra -1 to hit on the key transport flier with the Dark Apostle, and if I start killing Noise Marines they can shoot back.

Also, his Storm Eagle had bluetooth speakers built into it so it could blast out tunes as his army went to town, which was super awesome, but also made it even more of a priority target.

My Secondaries

  • Marked for Death
  • Old School
  • Recon

Their Secondaries

  • Big Game Hunter
  • Marked for Death
  • Recon

The Summary

This was very much a game where nothing went right for my opponent. I seized, and was able to leverage the first turn to kill off the Storm Eagle, two cultist squads, about 9 Noise Marines and his Sorcerer. To add insult to injury, his lord popped out of the Storm Eagle and heroiced into my Crimson Hunter, and then proceeded to re-roll a one into a one for his Daemon Claws.

My army speeds up to murder stuff

A shameful attempt is made on the life of my poor plane.

On his turn he attempted to do as much damage as possible, killing off my Hemlock but not doing all that much to the rest of my forces, and not managing to wrap my Guardians with his depleted noise marines.

My Hemlock continues its run of being bullied by bigger, meaner planes.

With that, it was game over – I picked up all his ground forces that were up in my business with Shurikens and psychic, took one Fire Raptor out of the sky with my Autarch and a Crimson, murdered his Chaos Lord with another Crimson and had the Night Spinners left to shoot out enough of his last cultist squad behind a ruin to boots him, as the second Raptor was his only remaining model.

The Takeaways

While it didn’t quite play out here, the damage the Emperor’s Children list can do is absolutely eye-watering, and it only gets better after CA. I definitely came away from this game expecting to see EC armies do some damage in the next metagame.

On my side of the table, this was probably the highlight of Hail of Doom all weekend, because shooting Shurikens into Cultists with Expert Crafters and Hail of Doom is an extremely messy and extremely brief experience. Hordes are currently on the downward ebb, but if a meta shift or some Space Marine nerfs bring Cultist or Boyz hordes back, Hail of Doom will be on my list of things that can potentially help with them.

The Score

Primary: 23-2

Secondary: 12-3

Total: 35-5

Match Score: 2-0

Round 3 – Iron Hands Successors

The Competition

Army List - Click to Expand

++ Brigade Detachment +12CP (Imperium - Space Marines) [105 PL, 1,999pts] ++
**Chapter Selection**: Iron Hands Successor, Master Artisans, Stealthy

+ HQ [15 PL, 278pts] +
Captain [6 PL, 143pts]: Jump Pack [1 PL, 19pts], Storm shield [10pts], Thunder hammer [40pts] 
Librarian [5 PL, 90pts]: Bolt pistol, Force axe [10pts]
Techmarine [4 PL, 45pts]: Bolt pistol, Chainsword, Servo-arm, Warlord, Master of the Forge 

+ Troops [29 PL, 494pts] +
Incursor Squad [5 PL, 95pts]: 4x Incursor [76pts], Incursor Sergeant [19pts]

Intercessor Squad [5 PL, 86pts]: Auxiliary Grenade Launcher [1pts], Stalker Bolt Rifle 
. 4x Intercessor [68pts]
. Intercessor Sergeant [17pts]
Intercessor Squad [5 PL, 86pts]: Auxiliary Grenade Launcher [1pts], Stalker Bolt Rifle 
. 4x Intercessor [68pts]
. Intercessor Sergeant [17pts]
Intercessor Squad [5 PL, 86pts]: Auxiliary Grenade Launcher [1pts], Stalker Bolt Rifle 
. 4x Intercessor [68pts]
. Intercessor Sergeant [17pts]
Intercessor Squad [5 PL, 86pts]: Auxiliary Grenade Launcher [1pts], Stalker Bolt Rifle 
. 4x Intercessor [68pts]
. Intercessor Sergeant [17pts]

Scout Squad [4 PL, 55pts]
. Scout Sergeant [11pts]: Bolt pistol, Boltgun . 4x Scout w/Boltgun [44pts]

+ Elites [23 PL, 403pts] +
Redemptor Dreadnought [7 PL, 155pts]: 2x Storm Bolters [4pts], Heavy Onslaught Gatling Cannon [30pts], Onslaught Gatling Cannon [16pts]

Relic Contemptor Dreadnought [13 PL, 228pts]: Cyclone missile launcher [38pts]
. Dreadnought melee weapon [40pts]: Dreadnought chainfist [38pts], Storm bolter [2pts] . Twin lascannon [40pts]

Servitors [3 PL, 20pts]: 4x Servitor [20pts], 4x Servo-arm

+ Fast Attack [12 PL, 270pts] +
Suppressor Squad [4 PL, 90pts]
. 2x Suppressor [60pts]: 2x Accelerator autocannon [20pts], 2x Grav-chute [4pts] 
. Suppressor Sergeant [30pts]: Accelerator autocannon [10pts], Grav-chute [2pts]
Suppressor Squad [4 PL, 90pts]
. 2x Suppressor [60pts]: 2x Accelerator autocannon [20pts], 2x Grav-chute [4pts] 
. Suppressor Sergeant [30pts]: Accelerator autocannon [10pts], Grav-chute [2pts]
Suppressor Squad [4 PL, 90pts]
. 2x Suppressor [60pts]: 2x Accelerator autocannon [20pts], 2x Grav-chute [4pts] 
. Suppressor Sergeant [30pts]: Accelerator autocannon [10pts], Grav-chute [2pts]

+ Heavy Support [22 PL, 489pts] +
Devastator Squad [6 PL, 150pts]: Armorium Cherub [5pts]
. Space Marine Sergeant [13pts]: Bolt pistol, Chainsword
. Space Marine w/Heavy Weapon [33pts]: Grav-cannon and grav-amp [20pts] 
. Space Marine w/Heavy Weapon [33pts]: Grav-cannon and grav-amp [20pts] 
. Space Marine w/Heavy Weapon [33pts]: Grav-cannon and grav-amp [20pts] 
. Space Marine w/Heavy Weapon [33pts]: Grav-cannon and grav-amp [20pts]

Mortis Dreadnought [8 PL, 155pts]
. Two twin lascannons [80pts]: 2x Twin lascannon [80pts], March of the Ancients

Thunderfire Cannon [4 PL, 92pts]
. Techmarine Gunner [37pts]
. . Servo-harness [11pts]: Flamer [6pts], Plasma cutter [5pts]
Thunderfire Cannon [4 PL, 92pts]
. Techmarine Gunner [37pts]
. . Servo-harness [11pts]: Flamer [6pts], Plasma cutter [5pts]

+ Dedicated Transport [4 PL, 65pts] + 
Drop Pod [4 PL, 65pts]: Storm bolter [2pts] ++ Total: [105 PL, 1,999pts] ++

The Mission

ITC Mission 3 – Nexus Control

Dawn of War Deployment

The Plan

Ah, we won two games, naturally it’s now Iron Hands time.

This list is pretty brutal, sporting a decent amount of board control, a couple of heavily buffed lascannon platforms and lots of stuff that will just wither my army away. The best avenue I can see to winning is that he doesn’t quite have the tools to engage on a lot of fronts once I take out the Scouts, Incursors and Devs, so i need to try and land a hefty punch early on, seize the centre and then try and maximise points before the attrition from his absurd range of shooting options wipes me out.

With that in mind, if I go first I think the priority is to fly a couple of planes up and kill the Thunderfires – that heavily reduces his weight of fire options and lets me move out infantry a bit more confidently. While I’ll lose quite a bit in retaliation, I can hopefully also do a decent amount of damage into his screens before he gets to do stuff, and from there maybe stay far enough ahead attrition-wise to swing the game, especially with hard to shift Serpents seizing the centre.

My Secondaries

This list is also a complete nightmare to pick secondaries against. The ITC definitely needs a review to stop Marine lists being so difficult to pick against.

  • Headhunter (this was a mistake, should definitely have been Butcher’s Bill)
  • Recon
  • Old School

Their Secondaries

  • Marked for Death
  • Big Game Hunter
  • Old School

The Summary

My opponent took the first turn which is, uh, not ideal in this matchup. However, (literally) against all odds it wasn’t that brutal. He managed to take out my Hemlock, but low-rolled on damage across the board, leaving a few of my vehicles with dents but still operational.

Game on then.

My Autarch zoomed up and butchered his grav Devs before consolidating into the happy safe bubble of melee with their drop pod. A plane picked off a Thunderfire and I picked up a squad of Intercessors that was holding an objective, allowing me to take out hold and kill more. My calculation here was that, having gone second, I wasn’t going to be able to win the attrition race so i had to aim to maximise early scoring (and this is definitely where I realised Headhunter had been a mistake). The other downer on this turn was that my Farseer didn’t manage to Executioner his scout squad, leaving them as next turn’s problem.

His second turn was better, but being down the devs and a Thunderfire helped me. His Suppressors started doing some damage (and he was savvy enough to drop them all out of LOS of the Night Spinner I’d put within 6″ of my Farseer for Forewarned) and his lascannons blew up my planes – but my board presence was all still live so I still had metaphorical fences to swing for.

My Autarch used Feigned Retreat to back out from the drop pod and head over towards the Mortis Dread. A squad of Intercessors had tried to impede him, but he killed three with shooting, picked up the last two in combat and consolidated into the dread. Meanwhile, Yvraine, the Farseer and a Night Spinner successfully killed the Scouts and Incursors to allow me to grab a maximum five points for the primary this turn.

All in all, from going second against Iron Hands this game had started about as well as possible. Sadly, it still wasn’t enough. His Contemptor was able to kill a Serpent in melee, and his largely untouched suppressors started picking my stuff up. I had one more decent turn on three, as I was able to use Doom, Jinx and psychic to clear out his Contemptor, leaving his warlord Techmarine exposed to a Wave Serpent, which put him down with its shurikens and shields to take a point of Headhunter and warlord, and then bully charged the Mortis dread again, but even with all of this it just wasn’t enough – he still had the guns left to blow me off the board over the next few turns, recouping the primary points he’d fallen behind on, and taking the win.

The Takeaways

Iron Hands are pretty good y’all, and much like Fists the fact that there’s at least two valid ways to play them is part of why they’re so terrifying. This game left me with the distinct impression that the best you can aim for going second against Hands with Eldar is a high scoring loss, and honestly i only got a crack at that because he abysmally low-rolled turn one. The sheer volume of re-rolls for everything that matters which can be stacked onto platforms that are either unshootable or effectively unshootable is a complete nightmare.

Still, I do basically think my plan was right here and that I played it well. I’m going to miss my Bike Autarch, cause going through 250pts of stuff then bully charging a Mortis Dread is, as the youth say, Big Mood.

The Score

Primary: 15-20

Secondary: 6-12

Total: 21-32

Match Score: 2-1

Round 4 – Tzeentch

The Competition

Army List - Click to Expand

Faction: Tzeentch
Battalion detachment, Tzeentch Daemons [777 pts] +5 CP
HQ1: Lord of Change (270) [270 pts] (warlord) 
HQ2: Changecaster (65) [65 pts]

TROOPS1: 20x Pink Horrors (7), Icon of Chaos (15), Daemonic Instrument (10) [165 pts] TROOPS2: 9x Brimstone Horrors (3), Blue Horror (5) [32 pts]
TROOPS3: 10x Brimstone Horrors (3) [30 pts]

ELITES1: Exalted Flamer (70) [70 pts] 
ELITES2: Exalted Flamer (70) [70 pts]
ELITES3: 3x Flamers (25) [75 pts]

Battalion detachment, Thousand Sons [1218 pts] +5 CP
HQ1: Ahriman (131) [131 pts] (warlord)
HQ2: Daemon Prince of Tzeentch with Wings (170), pair of Malefic talons (10) [180 pts]

TROOPS1: 20x Rubric Marines (16), Aspiring Sorcerer (0), Force staff (8), inferno bolt pistol (0), 17x inferno bolters (2), 2x Soulreaper cannons (10) [382]
TROOPS2: 5x Rubric Marines (16), Aspiring Sorcerer (0), Force staff (8), inferno bolt pistol (0), 4x inferno bolters (2) [96 pts]
TROOPS3: 5x Rubric Marines (16), Aspiring Sorcerer (0), Force staff (8), inferno bolt pistol (0), 4x inferno bolters (2) [96 pts]

ELITES1: 5x Scarab Occult Terminators (30), 5x inferno combi-bolter (3), force stave (8), 4x power swords (4) [189 pts]

DEDICATED TRANSPORT1: Chaos Rhino (70), combi-bolter (2) [72 pts]
DEDICATED TRANSPORT2: Chaos Rhino (70), combi-bolter (2) [72 pts]

The Mission

ITC Mission 4 – What’s yours is mine.

Search and Destroy deployment.

The Plan

My opponent was basically on the same plan as I was here – try something out to see if it has legs after CA. This list gets north of 100pts more post-CA, and it’s already pretty intimidating on the table, though I do have some good options against it.

A lot of his damage is tied up in the psychic of his Warlord and various other units, but by backlining heavily I can force them to either come to me or skip out on doing stuff turn one (which I put him on). The biggest threat at that point is him landing a super Infernal Gateway on my castled up forces. With that in mind, I put a brave and heroic Wraithlord out way in front of my army to take the hit, and planned to either out attrition and out board-control him if he chose not to go for me early, or to kill his warlord and follow through hard if he did.

My Secondaries

  • Reaper
  • Kingslayer
  • Headhunter

Their Secondaries

  • Big Game hunter
  • Old School
  • Marked for Death

The Summary

The big bird cometh

My opponent’s first turn was some of the biggest emotional whiplash I’d had in a game of 40K. He decided to go for it, bringing his LOC up to try and drop Gateway on my army. With his very last smite, he was able to clear the Wraithlord out, opening up the gateway cast onto a Wave Serpent that was in my castle. He landed a normal cast that he re-rolled a low dice from into a super, rolled a bunch of sixes and took out two of my characters and profiled several tanks.

I was left starting at my army reeling at the horror as my opponent went to buy me a drink and then…remembered looking at Infernal Gateway for Kevin’s off-brand Smite review, checked the card, and confirmed that he was about 3″ out of range for the cast, having deliberately hung back to be a fraction of an inch outside my deny range.

When it’s coming from an actual Chaos Daemon and not a power swapped Thousand Son, Infernal Gateway is 12″ rather than 18″ (it’s also apparently 18″ in AoS, which my opponent plays heavily). We chatted about it, and after some soul searching, since it had clearly been my opponent’s plan and they’d had the movement to get into range if they wanted, I let the head judge dice for whether my opponent could move 3″ closer on a 4+, which came up as a 6. HOWEVER things still weren’t all lost, because that would have put them in range of my Warlock to attempt to deny the final smite that cleared the Wraithlord, and we’d agreed that if my opponent won the dice roll and got to make the move takeback I’d get to attempt the deny to save the game.

He made it, like an absolute hero.

That put the game firmly into my court, as a psychic barrage and Serpent shields took out the Lord of Change sharpish, while some planes also popped a Rhino. My opponent went for a big swing turn 2, attempting to take down a bunch of planes with deep strikers, Daemon Prince charges and psychic, but it was a gamble and it didn’t pay off, with none of the planes dying and leaving me with overwhelming superiority on the board. On my turn 2 I did easily enough damage to ensure that he was never getting back in the game, and that the big Rubric squad would get bully charged every turn and never shoot again, and things were basically over.

The Takeaways

Turns out pouring hundreds of hours I could be spending painting more elves into writing for this website pays off sometimes – never has a game been more thoroughly swung by remembering an obscure rules detail.

Other than that, my only big takeaway here is to watch the heck out for Rubrics post CA and with (presumably) some decent buffs coming in PA4. The big squad of 20 is a nasty unit that has access to several mobility options between the Dark Matter Crystal and Webway Infiltration. All it would take is one more strong offensive or reactive defensive stratagem and I think they’d really get there.

The Score

Primary: 25-8

Secondary: 12-5

Total: 37-5

Match Score: 3-1

Round 5 – Iron Hands Successors

The Competition

Army List - Click to Expand

+ ARMY FACTION: Space Marines
+ TOTAL COMMAND POINTS: 1
+ TOTAL ARMY POINTS: 2000

Tin Pigeons – Iron Hands Successor (Long-Range Marksmen, Stealthy) Tin Pigeons Spearhead
Chapter Master, Jump Pack, 2 Chainswords - 93pts 
Lieutenant, Jump Pack, 2 Chainswords, The Ironstone - 78pts
Company Ancient, Boltgun - 63pts

Invictor Tactical Warsuit, Twin Ironhail Autocannon - 136pts

5 Devastators, 4 Grav Cannons, Sergeant (Boltgun, Chainsword), Armorium Cherub - 150pts 
5 Devastators, 4 Grav Cannons, Sergeant (Boltgun, Chainsword), Armorium Cherub - 150pts 
5 Devastators, 4 Grav Cannons, Sergeant (Boltgun, Chainsword), Armorium Cherub - 150pts 

Relic Leviathan Dreadnought, 2 Storm Cannon Arrays, 3 Hunter Killer Missiles, March of the Ancients, Warlord (Student of History) - 321pts

Terrax-Pattern Termite Assault Drill, 2 Twin Volkite Chargers - 146pts 
Terrax-Pattern Termite Assault Drill, 2 Twin Volkite Chargers - 146pts

Tin Pigeons Air Wing
Stormhawk Interceptor, Las Talon, Two Assault Cannons, Two Heavy Bolters - 189pts 
Stormhawk Interceptor, Las Talon, Two Assault Cannons, Two Heavy Bolters - 189pts 
Stormhawk Interceptor, Las Talon, Two Assault Cannons, Two Heavy Bolters - 189pts

The Mission

The Plan

Oh look I won a game and get to play Iron Hands again. The Tin Pigeons are back.

Hooray.

Honestly, if I go first this list is extremely beatable. The grav Devs are nasty but if he starts down two planes, or I manage to Doom/Jinx alpha strike the Leviathan off the board, then we’ve got a real game right there.

If I go second the aim is to use Phantasm to get the planes out of Leviathan range, forcing him to at least use his planes to go after them. Sadly since he’s brought the las talons they’re pretty good at that, but backlining them behind my army at least forces them to get close enough for psychic and the Autarch to give me a good crack-back.

Am I confident? No. Am I going to have a go? Yes!

My Secondaries

  • Old School
  • Kingslayer
  • Big Game Hunter

Their Secondaries

  • Headhunter
  • Big Game Hunter
  • Marked for Death

The Summary

Post Phantasm cowering

Tragically I did not get to go first, and my opponent picked up two planes and a Night Spinner, the latter of which (inevitably) exploded on a re-rolled 6, scattering some mortals around (but at least not vapourising my warlock, because seriously, that happens way more than anything that’s a 1/108 chance really should).

Evil pigeon power

I did some calculations of my route to a win from there, and made the call that I had to try and kill the Leviathan with Doom and Jinx, because if it lived out the turn I was never going to win the attrition game. Killing it needs a high roll, but sometimes you have to go with it.

First, however, I cleared out the front plane with psychic and incidental shooting, and it duly exploded. I was initially salty about this, as it was another vehicle explosion amidst my army, but after picking up models I suddenly realised.

At least one Dire Avenger from each squad had just died.

With Avenging strikes active for both squads and sitting in the Autarch bubble, they tore the Doomed/Jinxed Leviathan to pieces, and other shooting ripped apart a second plane and took the third to a single wound. Agonisingly, if one of my Wave Serpents had been a fraction of an inch backwards I would have been able to pop the shield to kill the last one, but this turn was such an outrageous high-roll compared to expectations that I hadn’t factored for that option.

Sadly, my opponent could high-roll too, and his grav devs turned up and basically deleted my entire army. They’re extremely dangerous, obviously, but his wound rolls were off the charts good and just picked up the screening serpent in front of my characters and then unleashed on them. Some good saves kept them alive (though the last Interceptor had killed Yvraine) but his chapter master and Lt made charges in to take out all but the farseer. That did at least let me get some kills on 2 and take a few points, but after that my opponent picked up almost everything left.

On turn 3, I tried to take a couple of points by having my Wraithlord come out from cover to make a 5″ charge to finish his Invictor, but naturally he rolled a 3 then died.

RIP me.

The Takeaways

Iron Hands grav Devs are a menace, and Drills with volkite are also a menace. Turns out giving a gun (effectively) +1BS, re-roll 1s to hit and AP-1 makes it a lot better.

Not much else to say here – it’s another point for Avenging Strikes but the case here was so fringe that I literally didn’t realise what had just happened was good for me until I started planning the rest of my turn.

Don’t go second against Iron Hands, kids.

The Score

Primary: 6-21

Secondary: 9-12

Total: 15-32

Match Score: 3-2

Final Score: 5th place.

I would like to point out that I got pushed into 5th place by a single VP, so my Wraithlord failing a 5″ charge for 2 points (kill and BGH) cost me some juicy, juicy Bad Moon vouchers for more elves.

Stupid Wraithlord. Back in your box.

Army Thoughts

This list worked better than I was expecting even if Hail of Doom wasn’t actually doing stuff most of the time. I feel like you not getting to hit at AP-4 if you roll a 6 to wound was unnecessarily cautious from a game design point of view, as far too often you’re only wounding on like 5s and 6s anyway, so it doesn’t add enough. Taking a list like this again, I’d use Superior Shurikens for extra range instead.

Avenging Strikes I’m much more torn on. My concern with it was always that it would be hard to turn on, and it was but boy oh boy when it goes off it goes off, and landing big, relevant hits for it twice in the event was honestly a better record than I expected.

I enjoyed this army enough that it’s inspired some listbuilding in a post CA world, and I’ve arrived at a force that I’m going to test and am seriously considering for LVO, as it’s an amount of painting that’s probably practical in the time I’ve got:

Army List - Click to Expand

+ ARMY FACTION: Asuryani
+ TOTAL COMMAND POINTS: 14
+ TOTAL ARMY POINTS: 2000pts
+ POWER LEVEL: 117
+ ARMY FACTIONS USED: Asuryani, Craftworld Mara-Nai (Expert Crafters, Superior Shurikens)
+++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

== Battalion Detachment == Asuryani, Craftworld Mara-Nai (Expert Crafters, Superior Shurikens)
[62PL, 1073pts] 5CP

HQ: Autarch w/Wings (80), Power Sword (4), Fusion Pistol (7), Forceshield (2), Warlord [5PL] [93pts]
HQ: Warlock Skyrunner (60), Twin Shuriken Catapult (2),  Witchblade (0) [4PL] [62pts]

TR: 10 Dire Avengers (80), Exarch (0), 10 Avenger Shuriken catapults (30), Exarch Additional Avenger Shuriken Catapult (3), Exarch Power - Avenging Strikes [6PL] [113pts]
TR: 5 Dire Avengers (40), Exarch (0), 5 Avenger Shuriken catapults (15), Exarch Additional Avenger Shuriken Catapult (3), Exarch Power - Bladestorm [3PL] [58pts]
TR: 5 Dire Avengers (40), Exarch (0), 5 Avenger Shuriken catapults (15), Exarch Additional Avenger Shuriken Catapult (3), Exarch Power - Bladestorm [3PL] [58pts]

FA: 9 Shining Spears (180), 9 Twin Shuriken Catapults (18), 8 Laser Lances (64), Star lance (10), Exarch Power - Expert Rider [14PL] [272pts]

DT: Wave Serpent (120), Twin Shuriken Cannon (17), Twin Shuriken Catapult (2) [9PL] [139pts]
DT: Wave Serpent (120), Twin Shuriken Cannon (17), Twin Shuriken Catapult (2) [9PL] [139pts]
DT: Wave Serpent (120), Twin Shuriken Cannon (17), Twin Shuriken Catapult (2) [9PL] [139pts]

== Battalion Detachment == Asuryani, Craftworld Mara-Nai (Expert Crafters, Superior Shurikens)
[19PL, 341‬pts] 5CP

HQ: Farseer (110), Witchblade (0) [6PL] [110pts]
Relic: Faolchu’s Wing
HQ: Spiritseer (55) [4PL] [55pts]

TR: 5 Dire Avengers (40), Exarch (0), 5 Avenger Shuriken catapults (15), Exarch Additional Avenger Shuriken Catapult (3), Exarch Power - Bladestorm [3PL] [58pts]
TR: 5 Dire Avengers (40), Exarch (0), 5 Avenger Shuriken catapults (15), Exarch Additional Avenger Shuriken Catapult (3), Exarch Power - Bladestorm [3PL] [58pts]
TR: 5 Rangers (60) [3PL] [60pts]

== Spearhead Detachment == Asuryani, Craftworld Mara-Nai (Expert Crafters, Superior Shurikens)
[36PL, 586‬pts] 1CP

HQ: Asurmen (150) [9PL] [150pts]

HS: Fire Prism (140), Twin Shuriken Catapult (2), Crystal Targeting Matrix (5) [9PL] [147pts]
HS: Fire Prism (140), Twin Shuriken Catapult (2), Crystal Targeting Matrix (5) [9PL] [147pts]
HS: Fire Prism (140), Twin Shuriken Catapult (2) [9PL] [142pts]

Of the things that could make Dire Avengers worth taking, a 4++ is definitely one of them, and Asurmen is more attractive now he got a cut in CA. A single large squad being able to buff to a 3++ with Protect T1 (before the Spears land) seems like the most plausible way to maximise the threat of Avenging Strikes. Finally, unlike a lot of Shining Spears lists I’ve seen thrown around, this list does a decent job of applying some board pressure before they turn up, making it more likely you can have the opponent on the back foot when they come in.

I’m worried it might be a little light on stuff, but it’s extremely my kind of army and looks like fun, so I’m going to slam a few games with it and see how it looks.

Wrap Up

I hope you’ve enjoyed this report and (for regular readers) all of the reports I’ve put up this year. Goonhammer has flourished far beyond even out wildest expectations in the last 12 months, and one of the nicest things about that has been being able to have so many conversations with readers at tournaments, both fans of these reports and our other competitive content. My next booked event is the LVO and I’m extremely excited to come over to the US and hopefully meet lots of American fans – so if you run into me feel free to come and say hi!

I will of course have some sort of preview/list review in place for the LVO before then, so look forward to that, and in the meantime thanks again for reading my reports this year, and let us know at contact@goonhammer.com or via our Facebook page if you have any feedback!

 

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