Monday, May 18, 2015

Raids on the Edge of the Maelstrom - Night Lords, and mini battle report: Astral Claws vs. Night Lords

A couple beginnings- the first Night Lords, and the first battle report moving in to 7th edition 40k.

So, this is a hybrid of a ton of kits-- there's very little in the way of chaos marine models that I actually like on their own, so this is a mix of (IIRC)... Raptors, Horus Heresy, vanilla Chaos Space marines, Possessed, Chaos Terminators, regular marines, vehicle kits, and even a Monopose marine from one of the older starter sets. I'm thinking most of my Night Lords are going to be a similar mix.

I think my favorite is the aspiring champion (though that might just be because I like Iron Armor a ton).

Battle Report
So, this is also going to be the first in a series of battle reports detailing getting in to 7th edition... with the exception of one 6th edition game, I haven't actually played since late 3rd, so the landscape has certainly changed.

The Story
Well, I guess this will be evolving.

During or before the infamous Badab War, Huron and his buddies hate those stupid pirates (oh, the irony!). They're either on their big purge mission in the Maelstrom or maybe pulled away from their campaign against those jerks who want to tax them without giving them representation. Either way, these raids are really pissing them off, and Huron diverts some troops, sending of course a counter force identically sized to the mysterious threat.

Turns out those pirates were actually cultists under the command of some grumpy Night Lords! (Surprise!)

The Report
This one didn't get pics 'cause we were using a ton of proxies, but action shots will be following.

Astral Claws 
(using official AC chapter tactics* from Forge World)
Captain Drive-by: Captain, bike, power axe
Drive-by marines: 5 bikers, 2 grav guns, sgt. with combi-grav
Tactical squad, broken up into:
Combat squad: 5 marines, sergeant, flamer
B-Squad: 5 marines,  missile launcher
Assault terminators: 5 , 3 incl. sgt TH/SS
The Vigilant**: Predator, HB, AC
(Warlord: Storm of Fire (1 round re-roll shooting))

* For the record since it's not in the codex, Stubborn, Skilled Rider, skimmers get Scout
** This one actually had a name scroll... the others got titles as the game went on.

Night Lords 
(vanilla chaos space marines)
Atrementar Champion [undecided], AKA. Lord Stabby: Lord, terminator armor, chain fist, chain glaive*, mark of Tzeentch
The Cultists of the Shangri-la: 10 cultists, 1 heavy stubber, 8 autoguns
Chaos Space Marine squad: 10 close-combat, 2 meltaguns, champion w/ chain glaive
Raptors: 5 with 2 plasma guns
The Shangri-la: Dreadclaw Drop Pod**

* The one unofficial rule, which I'm pretty sure never actually came up to be an advantage over a power sword. This is using the Horus Heresy special Night Lords weapon, which could replace any power sword, with the following stat line: 2-handed, AP3, rending. So, basically sacrifice 1 attack for the chance to hit AP2.
** Another one you might not know- basically an expensive drop pod with armor 12, that acts as a flyer with hover, and gets a weird burst attack instead of a storm bolter.

Deployment and turn 1:
We got Hammer & Anvil deployment on Purge the Alien, with no Night Fight. Night Lords characterfully got the first turn.

The Night Lords' Dreadclaw came down fast and hard, and burst its retro thrusters to kill a lucky 3 tactical marines. The obliterators and cultists advanced without doing anything effective.

Captain Drive-by used his Warlord ability, his bikers vaporized one of the flanking Obliterators. The Vigilant and B-Squad Missile Launcher hit the Dreadclaw with no damage, but the short-ranged combat squad managed to sink a grenade on it for 1 HP.

Turn 2
The Cultists got their first lucky kill, taking down a biker, and the surviving Obliterator took out B-Squad's missile launcher.

Lord Stabby and the CSM squad in the Dreadclaw leapt out and split off, with the Lord hustling over to the Vigilant. The marines blasted away Drive-by's squad, bringing it down to the captain with one wound and one Grav-gunner. Lord Stabby made quick work of the Vigilant.

We then messed up the rules and had the Chaos Marines charge the combat squad (we recognized the error later, and kept it consistent for this game...), with a Challenge ending in a dead sergeant and unimpressed chaos gods. Also, the rest of the squad got out with a miraculous one dead marine, with the remainder holding their ground.

The situation was looking pretty grim for the Claws, with those dead bikers... the remaining Grav Gunner took a wound off of Lord Stabby, and then every surviving Marine piled in to assist the beleaguered combat squad, which resulted in most of the Night Lord squad dead, and the remaining ones fleeing and hacked down. At this point, the lack of either reserves coming in had both sides thoroughly thinned.

Turn 3
The Dreadclaw, without its cargo, started hopping around, blasting marines with its jets. While it didn't kill anything for the rest of the game, it also took no damage. None of the chaos guns connected, while Stabby failed his charge of the surviving tactical marines by half an inch.

The Terminators came in and threatened the Cultists (moving away from the Lord), and the Grav gunner took out the surviving Obliterator.

Turn 4
The rest of the cavalry arrived, with the raptors roaring in to gun down three Terminators and the cultists killing another, and Stabby charged in to wreck the remaining tactical marines.

The Terminators predictably wiped out the Raptor squad, and the Grav marine took Stabby's second wound. In another big upset, Drive-by split off to take on the cultists, gunned down two, but then was finally killed to a hail of autogun snap fire before charging.

Turn 5
With little left, the cultists distinguished themselves for a final time, taking out the Terminator sergeant. Stabby failed another charge against the grav gunner, which would have ended the game, him being the last Marine in play, and just barely saved against another grav shot.

Said Grav gunner pulled back and fired one last salvo, killing the Lord, and tying up the game!

One Marine (total) and 5 cultists survived... The Marine probably beat a hasty retreat back to the Badab sector, while the Cultists, without the yoke of their Marine overlords or even champion, took a joy ride in their newly dubbed Shangri-la Dreadclaw.

What we learned
Chaos Cultists were completely OP lucky!

Challenges are only very situationally worth taking.

Probably not the best to split up obliterators since the added flexibility also makes them easy points.

It's a serious sacrifice to get that AP 2.

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