Wednesday, August 3, 2016

Horus Heresy 30k Battle Report #1 - Night Lords vs Sons of Horus

It's been a while since the last blog post, but the crew at Hairy Tarantula North has kept busy. As of this post we are through the 6th week of a Horus Heresy Strike Team/Escalation campaign. The games started off with Strike Team rules for the first 5 weeks with gradually increasing points limits, and just this last week we got into full-blown 1850 point games using full Age of Darkness force organization charts and rules!

Here is a snapshot of where things stand in the campaign leader board going into week 6's 1850 point games:

Legion VP W L D
Iron Warriors 33 3 1 1
Salamanders 23 3 1 1
Emperor's Children 22 3 2 0
Space Wolves 22 2 3 0
Night Lords 21 2 3 0
Sons of Horus 21 1 4 0

There have been some epic games and a lot of nail-biters - a very successful first foray into the wonderful world of Horus Heresy 30k!

With the leader board so tightly packed and a lot of Victory Points (VP) on the line in this week's mission, the stakes are high for both Alex's Night Lords and Leighton's loyalist Sons of Horus. While they sat in 5th and 6th positions respectively, a good showing by either side could see them quickly scale the rankings going into the final week of the campaign!


The Scenario
This week we used a modified mission out of Horus Heresy 4 - Conquest.

Both forces have intercepted garbled comms-transmissions indicating that an ancient artifact from the golden age of technology lay hidden in the manufacorum district of a long-abandoned outpost. Each legion anticipated that they might meet resistance, and so deployed a considerable force to search for and secure the immeasurably valuable relic. Today they descent upon the district to recover the artifact, but will have to pry it from the cold dead hands of their once-brothers, now sworn enemies.

The ever-important campaign VP would be awarded like so: 5 VP going to the the side that controlled the relic marker at the end of the game. 1 VP for Slay the Warlord. 1 VP for every 100 points worth of enemy models slain. 3 VP per side if the relic marker was contested at the end of the game.

A further incentive was added - the side that controlled the relic at the end of the game would get to roll on a 'Relic Uncovered' chart and be eligible to bring that relic for free to the final week's battle!

The stage is set for the two forces to search for the relic and do battle!


Loyalist Sons of Horus -1850 Points

Rite of War: The Black Reaving

  • HQ
    • Legion Praetor
      • Cataphractii Terminator Armour,  Combi-Melta, Master-Crafted Lightning Claw
    • Legion Centurion - Master of Signal
      • Artificer Armour
    • Legion Centurion - Chaplain
      • Artificer Armour, Crozius Arcanum, Plasma Pistol, Melta Bombs
  • Troops
    • 10x Legion Tactical Marines
      • Sergeant w/ Artificer Armour, Power Axe, Melta Bombs
      • Nuncio-Vox, Legion Vexilla
    • 10x Legion Tactical Marines
      • Sergeant w/ Artificer Armour, Combi-Melta, Melta Bombs
      • Legion Vexilla
    • 10x Reavers
      • Chieftain w/ Artificer Armour, Power Fist, Melta Bombs
      • 9x Chainaxe
      • Jump Packs for everyone
  • Elites
    • 5x Legion Terminators
      • Sergeant w/ Pair of Lightning Claws
      • 4x Lightning Claws
      • 1x Reaper Autocannon
    • Dedicated Transport for Terminators
      • Spartan Assault Tank
    • 10x Legion Veteran Tactical Marines
      • Sergeant w/ Artificer Armour, Power Sword
      • 2x Melta Gun
      • Melta Bombs for Squad
      • Nuncio-Vox, Legion Vexilla
      • Marksmen (Outflank + Sniper)
Leighton's Sons of Horus are ready to do battle, determined to keep the relic out of the hands of the nefarious Night Lords!

Night Lords - 1850 Points

Rite of War: Terror Assault
  • HQ
    • Legion Praetor
      • Tartaros Terminator Armour, Master-Crafted Paragon Blade, Digital Lasers
    • Legion Terminator Command Squad
      • 3x Legion Space Marine Chosen w/ Tartaros Terminator Armour
      • 1x Standard Bearer w/ Tartaros Terminator Armour
      • 1x Plasma Blaster
  • Troops
    • 10x Terror Squad
      • Headsman w/ Artificer Armour, Melta Bombs
      • 10x Volkite Chargers
    • 10x Terror Squad
      • Headsman w/ Artficer Armour, Melta Bombs
      • 10x Volkite Chargers
    • 10x Terror Squad
      • Headsman w/ Artificer Armour, Melta Bombs
      • 10x Volkite Chargers
  • Fast Attack
    • Legion Storm Eagle Assault Gunship
      • 4x Tempest Rockets, Vengeance Launcher
    • 15 x Night Raptors
      • Huntmaster w/ Artificer Armour, Melta Bombs
      • 15x Nostraman Chainglaives
Alex's Night Lords... Spooky! A Terror Squad would start the game embarked in the Storm Eagle in reserves.


The Night Lords won the roll-off to choose their table edge approached the battlefield from the East while the Sons of Horus entered from the West. The Night Lords deployed first and had the first turn. All six possible relic markers were placed in a relatively tightly-packed zone in the center of the battlefield. Surely this will lead to an action-packed mad dash to secure the relic!

Outflanking Veterans
Two Terror Squads infiltrated onto the battlefield, while the third squad was set to enter play from reserves, embarked in their Storm Eagle.

The entire Sons of Horus force deployed using standard deployment, save for the Veterans who would enter play via Outflank.

The Night Lords enjoy many benefits from Night Fighting, and using the Terror Assault Rite of War can force Night Fighting on a 2+ on turn one. Unfortunately for Alex, he rolled a 1 and the horrible light of a new dawn enveloped the battlefield as the forces prepared to do battle.


Night Lords

Night Raptors advance toward the foe while searching
for the relic
Wielding exclusively short-ranged firepower and assault prowess, the Night Lords' first turn was uneventful. The Terror Squads and Night Raptors fanned out to search as many objective markers as they could and take control of the center of the battlefield. 

Ever aware of the Master of Signal's ability to call in an orbital strike, the Night Raptors fanned out their formation as they advanced toward the enemy.

The Terror Squads have infiltrated onto the possible relic locations and prepare to dig their heels in.
Sons of Horus

Now with the enemy in sight, the Sons of Horus sought to use their superior firepower to negate the foe's positional advantage. The tactical squads advanced into trenches and aimed their bolters downfield. The Spartan Assault tank roared into action, lurching forward as the assault ramp bay doors opened, unloading the deadly cargo of a Praetor and five Terminators. On the other side of the battlefield, the Reavers' jump packs whirred into action as they made a beeline to the closest Terror Squad. 

The Praetor and Terminators disembark
Reavers prepare to fire then assault the Terror Squad

In unison, the Sons of Horus' firepower came to life. The forward-most Terror Squad took heavy casualties as their Power Armour failed to protect them from the seemingly endless volleys of bolter rounds.

The front Terror Squad has lost more than half of its members,
but their resolve is strong as they hold their ground.
The Night Raptors take casualties,
but this puts the Praetor and Terminators
out of charge range for the turn.
The Spartan and Praetor's Terminator unit focused their efforts against the large pack of Night Raptors that was rapidly advancing to their position, however the Night Raptors were able to duck and weave, successfully avoiding most of the firepower. Nevertheless, four of them fell to enemy fire. 

The Reavers are victorious, consolidating toward the other
Terror Squad.
The Reavers however were able to launch an assault against  the damaged Terror Squad. A brutal melee ensued, seeing three Reavers fall while the remaining Terror Squad members were butchered to the last man. 

Turn Two - The Relic is found!

The relic lies here!
At the start of turn two the Night Lords feverishly searched the possible relic locations, and uncovered what appeared to be the ancient artifact itself! The surviving Terror Squad had by chance infiltrated right on top of it's position, within the missile bays of a long-abandoned missile silo. Now they would just have to hold their ground and make sure that the advancing Sons of Horus don't push them off the objective by the end of the game.

Just in time, the third Terror Squad embarked upon the Storm Eagle arrived to the battle, zooming toward the tightly packed formation of Sons of Horus Tactical Marines, Chaplain, and Master of Signal. Unleashing a barrage of missiles at the foe, several tactical marines fell to the Storm Eagle's firepower. The Night Raptors fearlessly charged the Spartan, hoping to use their Rending Nostraman Chainglaives to damage the armoured behemoth while the squad leader planted a melta bomb on the vehicle's hull. 

The melta bomb's placement was immaculate, causing the promethium fuel tanks to detonate. A massive ball of fire shot up into the sky as the mighty Spartan exploded!

The Night Raptors thrust forward with their jump packs,
past the Terminators and straight toward the Spartan.
Yup, the Vengeance Launcher is
going to score a lot of hits.

Night Raptors assault the Spartan
Boom! Spartan down!

After the dust settled from the Spartan's explosion, the Night Lords had turned a poor showing in turn one on its head. Not only did they discover and currently control the relic, they had destroyed the linchpin of the Sons of Horus strike force, evening the tide of battle!

Sons of Horus

The Night Raptors, unable to consolidate out of their melee with the Spartan were particularly vulnerable to enemy fire... and so the Sons of Horus tactical units dug in their heels and loosed a Fury of the Legion attack against the Night Raptors, aided by supporting fire from the Praetor and his retinue of Terminators. After the vengeful massacre, only a single Night Raptor remained. He wisely fell back an impressive 17 inches, hoping to live to fight another day. 

The Night Raptors will take heavy fire this turn as the Sons of Horus seek vengeance.
The lone Night Raptor survivor briefly contemplates his life, then chooses to flee from the impending doom before him.
 The Sons of Horus had taken a notable advantage in the battle by inflicting heavy casualties upon the foe, however the Relic still lay in the hands of the enemy. They would soon have to turn their attention to the Terror Squad, Praetor, and Terminator retinue that had rallied around the precious artifact, waiting for a Thunderhawk transport to airlift them out of the battlefield.

The Master of Signal knew this, and immediately called in an orbital strike upon the entrenched Terror Squad. The strike's accuracy was however not on point, as it clipped only the outer ring of the building, killing just a single Marine. 

With the ringing of the orbital strike still present in the Terror Squad's ears, they were descended upon by the remaining six Reavers. Once again, both sides fought with formidable prowess and ferocity. The Reavers came out on top, by virtue of their Chieftain's Power Fist attacks. Despite having the numbers advantage at the start of combat, the Terror Squad took more casualties and the three remained on either side of the melee over the pivotal relic... though the Terror Squad had reinforcements nearby.

The Reavers' Chainaxes do work against the Terror Squad, but not without taking casualties of their own. At the top left of the image, the Praetor and his retinue of Terminators is poised to provide much needed support to the struggling Terror Squad.


Night Lord

The Night Lords had taken heavy casualties but retained a positional advantage in the battle. Seeking to parlay this advantage to a victory, the Storm Eagle and it's cargo of ten Terror Squad members zoomed toward the relic. The Praetor and his retinue of Terminators scaled the wall of the ruined missile silo and charged in to support the three surviving Terror Squad members that were stuck in an ongoing melee with Reavers. The Praetor himself slew all three remaining Reavers. The Terror Squad had taken heavy casualties but not in vain - with the Reavers felled the Night Lords had full control of the relic and would be tasked with holding their ground until the end of the game... but the Sons of Horus would have at least 2 more turns to close the distance.

The remaining Night Lords consolidate onto the relic.

The Praetor issues orders to defend the objective at all costs - their Thunderhawk transport is on its way!
Sons of Horus

With superior numbers but caught out of position, the Sons of Horus marched toward the Night Lords and relic, not even stopping to fire their weapons. By this time, the Master of Signal had received word from command that a heavy enemy transport was en route to extract the remaining Night Lords infantry as well as the precious relic, and they had no time to spare.

Two Tactical Squads, a Chaplain, Master of Signal, Praetor, and unit of Terminators close in on the remaining Night Lords. Without their Spartan transport however, their maneuverability was severely hindered.
The Sons of Horus Veteran squad finally completed their wide outflank maneuver, however the tactic was flawed as they entered the battlefield on the opposite side of where the relic lay. Without a transport they would be hard pressed to reach the Night Lords in time to support their attacking force. 

The remaining Night Raptor goes to ground, dodging not one but two Melta shots, only to be felled by a stray Bolter round.


Night Lords

With dwindling numbers, the the Storm Eagle decided to enter hover mode and drop off the one uninjured Terror Squad, while the Praetor, Terminators, and three Terror Marines held their position and controlled the relic marker. 

The Storm Eagle fires off its Vengeance Launchers at the advancing Sons of Horus, while the remaining infantry set up a defensive perimeter around the relic hidden within the missile silo.
The combined firepower of the Night Lords kills most of the Tactical Squad. Only the Sergeant, one Marine, and the Chaplain remain.

6 Terror Marines on the charge yield an
impressive 24 attacks that hit and wound
on 3's with Preferred Enemy!
The Chaplain and his entourage were
slain in combat. 
The Terror Squad consolidates, victorious in combat.

Sons of Horus

This could be the last turn the Sons of Horus get to deal more damage to the foe and potentially secure a victory despite not earning the 5 VP for controlling the relic, so they had to make it count.

The Praetor and his retinue prepare
to engage a Terror Squad

The six surviving members of the Terror Squad were besieged by bolter rounds from the Praetor and his Terminator guard, leaving only two alive. The Master of Signal led his tactical squad around the trenches, not wanting to be bogged down in difficult terrain, and killed two Terror Marines from the other squad, leaving only the Huntsman alive thanks to his Artificer Armour. While the Sons of Horus succeeded in doing more damage, they were still out of striking range of the relic, and were left at the mercy of the dice. Would the game go on to a turn 6, or was the Night Lord's Thunderhawk transport ready to evacuate the remaining survivors?

All that remains of the Night Lords force is a Storm Eagle, 3 Terror Marines, and the Praetor with his bodyguard Terminators.

Night Lords

Welp. The Thunderhawk must have been delayed since we went on to a turn six!

The Night Lords HQ stood their ground, guarding the relic, while the poor Terror Squad was sent to their death, hoping to slow down the advancing Sons of Horus as much as they could.

The Storm Eagle hovered low to the ground, blocking the path of the Sons of Horus Master of Signal and his Tactical Squad. While doing so, it unleashed a volley of Vengeance Missiles killing four tactical marines.

Sons of Horus

With their path blocked, the Sons of Horus sought to make their foe pay dearly for guarding the relic with walls of flesh and metal. The Master of Signal charged in against the Storm Eagle and placed a Melta Bomb in the Vengeance Launcher ammo storage, causing the hovering flyer to be blown sky-high. On the other flank, the Terminators and Veterans advanced toward the relic, still out of striking distance.

The Master of Signal issues an order to charge the hovering Storm Eagle

The Night Lords' flyer explodes, leaving a single Hunstman to block the path of the rampaging Sons of Horus.
The Sons of Horus enjoyed a decided advantage on VP for killing enemy units, so it was unclear at this point who would win should the game end at turn six. We pressed on, rolling a 3+ the game would go to a final and decisive turn seven!


With just 4 Terminators, a Praetor and a Hunstman left, there were not many options other than hold position and protect the relic. The Praetor and his Terminators withdrew further into the ruined missile silo so as to be at a greater charge distance from the Sons of Horus while still securing the objective.

The Hunstman bravely stood his ground, blocking the path of the Tactical Unit and Master of Signal.

The remaining Night Lords forces, desperately holding out until their Thunderhawk Transport arrives to evacuate them with the relic.
The Sons of Horus advanced as quickly as they could, felling the Huntsman and one Terminator, but could simply not close enough ground to make a successful charge up and into the ruins which the Night Lords held firmly. The relic would be secured by the Night Lords, though we would have to tally up the total points killed to see who ultimately came out the victor.

Aerial view from the Night Lords' Thunderhawk Transport as it arrives to save the Praetor's unit and retrieve the relic.

Primary VP Secondary VP Enemy Pts DestroyedTotal Score
Night Lords 5 10 1018 15
Sons of Horus 0 15 1545 15

After seven turns of blood and carnage, the two forces had played off to a virtual draw! The Night Lords held the tie-breaker for winning the Primary objective, and claimed the narrowest of victories over the Sons of Horus.

Both sides won in a way however, since the high-scoring game saw the forces catapult from #5 and 6 in the standings to #1 and 2 (at least for now, as the other week six match-ups were yet to be played).

The Relic

Alex rolled on the "Relic Uncovered" table to identify what artifact of the golden age of technology lay hidden within the crate they retrieved.

Cloaking Array
This relic generates a highly localized refraction field that distorts light and may other forms of electromagnetic radiation in such a way as to render the bearer invisible to the naked eye and most forms of machine sensor.

Once per game, at the beginning of any game turn, the cloaking array may be activated. For that entire game turn, the bearer may not be targeted by shooting or declared as the subject of a charge. The bearer may not use the array if joined to another unit, or engaged in an assault, and may not move, shoot, charge or declare any other actions while it is in effect.

Neat! Alex will be able to bring this to the finale next week and ensure a turn of survival for one of his HQ choices should the circumstances require it. Furthermore, based on our house-rule of the chart, he has the option to exchange the cloaking array on the black market and receive instead the Night Lords legion-specific relic:

Nostraman Mancatcher
The origins of the mancatcher remain a mystery, though some claim that it was wrought not by human hands, but was created deep within the Ghoul Stars, a region of space known to be haunted by countless alien horrors entirely anathema to sanity. Several examples of the device have been recovered and the Night Lords have found particular use for them when they would sooner take their foe alive, but for what fell purpose only they know.

Range Str AP Type
Nostraman - 1 3 Melee,
Mancatcher Two-handed,

Ensnare: A character bearing the Nostraman mancatcher nominates a single enemy infantry model in base contact before any attacks are resolved at the start of each Fight sub-phase. The target must take a Strength test for every attack it is eligible to make that phase. For each test failed, the target loses an attack that phase. 

I am stoked to see what Alex picks, as a fellow traitor I will be playing alongside his Night Lords in the epic 6,000 point finale!

Stay tuned for more epic 30k battle reports. Next up we have Salamanders vs Space Wolves and Iron Warriors vs Emperor's Children!

Monday, March 28, 2016

40k #8 - Tau & Imperial Knight vs Tyranids

A couple of weeks ago I had an awesome and close battle against Alex's Tau. The game was so good we decided to have a rematch! This time, he re-jigged his list to include a Knight Crusader. I ran an identical list from our previous game, hoping to get some more experience running a quasi-competitive (albeit Flyrant-lite) list with a decent amount of reserves.

The Mission

We rolled on the Maelstrom of War mission table from the main rule book and got Cloak and Shadows. We would each generate up to 3 tactical objectives per turn, but would keep the objectives secret until they were scored. A sneaky scenario that made it difficult to block your opponent from scoring points. The deployment was Hammer & Anvil - along the short table edges. This normally would benefit the Tau significantly, but my list brought a decent amount of long range shooting and mobility, so it wasn't that bad. 

The Battlefield is set. Deployment would be along the short table edges, and the Tau enjoyed a nice positional advantage by selecting to deploy along the left short table edge. With most of the objectives toward the center of the battlefield however, this would really push the action. 
The Army Lists

Alex's Tau - Knight list brought a fairly diverse array of threats. Skyfire is available from the Knight Crusader as well as the Riptide. There is a good number of marker lights and bodies in the 4 units of Fire Warriors and Pathfinders, while the Crisis Suits would be able to provide some surgical heavy hitting via Deep Strike. 

Tau deployment. The troops have taken
aggressive positions in order to secure the
objective-packed midfield.
Tau - Combined Arms Detachment

Ethereal (no upgrades)
Warlord Trait - Generate 1 Additional Tactical Objective on Turn 1

10x Fire Warriors (no upgrades)
10x Fire Warriors (no upgrades)

1x Riptide (Ion Accelerator, Stimulant Injector, Velocity Tracker)
3x Crisis Suits (6x Missile Pods, Counterfire Defence System)
3x Crisis Suits (6x Missile Pods, Counterfire Defence System)

10x Pathfinders (no upgrades)
10x Pathfinders (no upgrades)

Imperial Knights - Allied Detachment

Knight Crusader (Rapid-fire Battle Cannon w/ Heavy Stubber, Avenger Gatling Cannon w/ Heavy Flamer, Heavy Stubber, Twin Icarus Autocannon, Sanctuary)

My Tyranid list was a carbon copy of the list I brought to our last game. This list is based on a balance of mid-long range firepower, mobility, and deep strike shenanigans. The Zoanthropes would enter the game via deep strike by way of the Tyrannocyte with Barbed Stranglers. The 20 Devilgaunts would be entering via deep strike through the Tyrannocyte with Deathspitters - a combo that could dump 75 S4 and S5 shots on demand.

Tyranids - Combined Arms Detachment

Tyrannocyte (5x Deathspitters)
Tyrannocyte (5x Barbed Stranglers)

Hive Tyrant (wings, 2x TL Devourers w/ Brainleech Worms) Onslaught, Paroxysm
Warlord Trait - Minus 1 to Opponent's Reserve Rolls

1x Hive Guard (Impaler Cannon)
3x Zoanthropes (w/ Neurothrope) Warp Blast, Spirit Leech, Onslaught
1x Malanthrope

1x Mucolid
1x Mucolid
1x Mucolid
20x Termagants (20x Devourers)

Hive Crone (Drool Cannon, 4x Tentaclids, Stinger Salvo)

Tyranids - Living Artillery Node

Exocrine (no upgrades)
3x Biovores
3x Tyranid Warriors (1x Barbed Strangler, 2x Deathspitters, 3x Rending Claws)

The bulk of the Tyranid deployment, abusing Shrouded and Ruins area terrain for those juicy 2+ cover saves. A Hive Crone and Hive Guard have deployed in the large green ruins and hold objective #4.

Turn One

The Tau won the roll-off for choosing table edges. They decided to deploy and to go first, and after the Tyranids failed their Seize the Initiative roll, action was under way. 

Movin' on up. The Pathfinders take aggressive scout moves to close in on objective markers.
The Tau quickly take control of 4
objectives at the end of their turn
one movement phase.
The Tau infantry cautiously advanced up the midfield, well aware of the danger in moving toward the ferocious Tyranid force, but willing to take the risk in order to score Maelstrom points and take control over the center of the board which held five of the six objective markers. 

The Tyranid deployment had given the Tau very little to shoot at. The living artillery node, Tyrant, and Malanthrope were all well-guarded by 2+ cover saves, while the Hive Guard and Crone were hidden within ruins.

Pathfinders snap fired their marker lights at the Tyrant and Crone, but were very unlucky to not land any hits. 

The Riptide and Imperial Knight put their considerable firepower into the Hive Tyrant and Biovores, however the 2+ cover saves held up for the most part. The Tyrant took 1 unsaved wound, as did the Biovores, however no casualties were inflicted. 

It had been a fairly uneventful turn one for the Tau, however they were able to score 2 victory points and take an early 2-0 lead.

Tyranid Objectives - Secure Objective 1, Secure Objective 5, Blood and Guts

These objectives were a rough draw. Taking either of those objectives would only be possible if i Glided the Tyrant or Crone on them, which would be a very risky move. Blood and Guts requires me to kill something in the assault phase - the only realistic possibility here would be if I chose to keep the Tyrant gliding and charge the Pathfinder unit that had scouted forward. This was very do-able, however it would leave the Tyrant vulnerable to shooting after he consolidates out. 

I decided to bite the bullet and go for it - I didn't want to fall behind on points early give that the Tau already enjoyed a positional advantage on the battlefield. The Tyrant would stay in Glide mode and attempt to score points by slaying Pathfinders and/or taking objective 5 that lay right beside them. 

The Living Artillery Node stayed put and prepared to put their formidable firepower to use. On the other side of the table, both the Crone and Hive Guard passed their Instinctive Behaviour tests. The Crone swooped forward into ruins to put her deadly Drool Cannon to use, while the Hive Guard stayed put in the ruins, not wanting to leave himself out in the open against Tau shooting. 

The Hive Crone decimates a unit of Pathfinders
Elsewhere, the Biovores barraged the Ethereal's unit of Fire Warriors, making full use of the formation's ability to re-roll scatter dice to score a ridiculous number of hits and wounds. In one fell swoop the Tau Warlord and his entire unit were destroyed, scoring 3 points for First Blood, Slay the Warlord, and due to the Ethereal's "Failure is not an Option" special rule. 

What a result! The Tyranids had started the game by out-shooting the Tau/Knight combo, at least for turn one. 

Meanwhile, the Exocrine fired his Assault 6 S7 AP2 Bio-Plasma Cannon at the Riptide, however Feel No Pain rolls held up and the Riptide took just one unsaved wound. 

The Hive Tyrant opted not to fire in the shooting phase, not wanting to increase the required charge distance to the Pathfinder squad that he would have to kill in order to score Blood and Guts, and potentially Objective 5. 

He rolled a 10 on charge distance, and the melee was under way. Predictably, the Tyrant ripped them apart and the Pathfinders were unable to wound the Tyranid Warlord. They failed their morale check and were killed in a sweeping advance. The Tyrant consolidated onto Objective #5, and had secured yet another 2 points for the Tyranid side.

The Hive Tyrant shreds a unit of Pathfinders before consolidating onto Objective #5 just to his right, scoring 2 points for Hive Fleet Behemoth.
It was a great result for the Tyranid side in terms of victory points, but now the Crone and Tyrant were vulnerable going into turn two.

The score stood at 5-2 Tyranids, and I nervously waited for the formidable Tau firepower to be poured into the Tyranid flyers. 

Turn Two

The Tau had no time to grieve the loss of their commander. The Tyranids were closing in on them but at a key moment of vulnerability. 

Despite having taken heavy losses to their infantry (2 Squads were wiped and 1 squad of Pathfinders was left with only 2 members after the Hive Crone's attacks), the heavy firepower was still in the Tau's favour. It was time for reserve rolls, which would be made on 4+ due to the Tyrant's warlord trait. Amazingly, Alex rolled a couple of 3's for his Crisis suits, and neither unit would be entering play on turn two!

The Knight Crusader and Riptide still had a lot of firepower to dish out, and the Tyrant was caught out in the open, not swooping. They concentrated their firepower on the Tyranid warlord, obliterating him and scoring both Witch Hunter and Slay the Warlord to bring the score closer to even. 

The remaining unharmed unit of Fire Warriors benefitted from some Marker Lights and managed to put two unsaved wounds on the Hive Crone, leaving the other Tyranid flyer with 3 wounds remaining. 

Without the Crisis Suits however, the Tau's moves were limited, and those were the only moves they would be able to make on their part of turn two. Still, it was a success as they had eliminated the formidable threat of the Tyrant, as well as scored a couple of points to draw closer, though still trailed 5-4.

Tyranid Objectives: Secure Objective 1, Ascendancy, Behind Enemy Lines

The Tyranid reserve rolls saw the Zoanthropes and two of the Mucolids entering play on turn two. I would use the Zoanthropes to secure Behind Enemy Lines, while the Crone would have to take some risks by switching to Gliding mode in order to help secure Ascendancy and Objective #1. I knew this would likely spell doom for the flying monstrous creature, but I felt that the extra D3+1 victory points might be enough to generate a sizeable lead that could carry Hive Fleet Behemoth to victory down the road. 

The Zoanthropes arrived and disembarked from their Tyrannocyte, immediately channeling Spirit Leech against the Riptide in hopes to slay the Battle Suit's pilot. Two wounds were caused, however the Stimulant Injectors proved their worth, saving both wounds from taking effect. 

The Crone glided forward, landing by objective #1 which was (for now) contested by the Tau Fire Warriors. One template from the S6 AP4 Drool Cannon, and a salvo of shots from the Crone's Stinger Salvo killed 9 of the 10 Fire Warriors and sent the last one running. 

The Living Artillery Node sticks to their cover and continues to pepper the enemy with ranged firepower.

In the backfield, the Hive Guard continued to pass instinctive behaviour tests and hold on to objective #4. All that I would need to secure Ascendancy is to run the Malanthrope out in the open to grab objective #5. This was again a risky move, but the prospect of taking a significant points lead was too attractive to turn down. 

The Zoanthropes and Neurothrope arrive. At the top left, the Malanthrope is left precariously in the Knight's crosshairs as it trundles forward to grab an objective. 
The Exocrine put fire into the Riptide once again, bringing the heavily armed battle suit down to 3 wounds remaining. 

At the end of turn 2, the Tyranids had taken a healthy lead of 9-4.

Turn Three

With the Tyranid warlord down, the Crisis suits would only need 3's to enter play, which they both succeeded in achieving. The Crisis Suits arrived deep into Tyranid territory. One threesome arrived right by objective #4, contested by the Hive Guard. The other group arrived just on the Tyranid side of the central tower. They were both in excellent position to lay waste to the remaining Tyranid forces.

The Riptide focused his firepower on the Malanthrope, eliminating one of the last remaining sources of Synapse for the Tyranid side - only the 3 warriors remained to provide synapse on the table. 

Meawhile, the Imperial Knight put his firepower into the Biovores, who still enjoyed a 4+ ruins save. He was able to kill 2 of the pesky Biovores outright - only 1 remained. 

The Hive Crone was badly injured, surviving with just one wound remaining after making a number of successful jink saves. 

The Tau were able to score 3 points for Ascendancy, 1 for killing something that is Shrouded, and another for Behind Enemy Lines. An impressive 5 point turn had drawn the score level at 9-9.

Tyranid Objectives - Secure Objective 6, Secure Objective 2, Harness the Warp

The new threat of 6 Crisis Suits would have to be dealt with. Their ability to put out 24 S7 AP4 shots each turn was brutal, but with the Termagants entering play, I was hoping to be able to wipe at least one of the squads with the sheer volume of firepower that the devilgants would bring to bear. 

Termagants pour out of the Tyrannocyte. The Warriors scramble toward them to provide synapse, while the Exocrine adjusts its position to take on the Riptide.
The Termagants' Tyrannocyte landed right in between the two units of Crisis Suits, and the 20 devilgants spewed forth from the massive drop pod. 

In the Psychic phase, I goofed and threw all 5 of my dice into Warp Blast on the Knight Crusader, but failed to manifest and lost the opportunity to score Harness The Warp for this turn. 

In the shooting phase, the 20 Termagants put their Devourers to work, completely wiping one of the Crisis Suit units. The Exocrine was finally able to finish off the Riptide, and suddenly the only remaining units on the Tau side were a single unit of Crisis Suits and the Knight Crusader. The score was tight but victory seemed in sight.

Termagants bail out a wounded Hive Guard from what would have been a sure death at the hands of the Crisis Suits.
The Tyranids scored a single point this turn, as one of the Tyrannocytes floated over to grab Objective #2. Going in to turn 4, the score was 10-9 for the Tyranids.

Turn Four

The unit of Crisis Suits held their ground and set their sights on the Tyrannocyte holding Objective #2, completely destroying the 6 Wound drop pod in one round of shooting. 

Elsewhere, the Knight split firepower between a Mucolid, the Hive Crone, and Exocrine. The Hive Crone was very lucky to make all of its 4+ cover saves, while the Exocrine took a few wounds and was left at 3 remaining. A single Pathfinder that had been falling back regrouped on an Insane Heroism test, and ran back into the fray to heroically grab an objective and score a point for his side!

Crisis Suits take out a Tyrannocyte, while the Hive Crone continues to dodge and weave, surviving with its one remaining wound to see another turn.
The Tau scored 1 point this turn for Kingslayer (an unlucky roll of 1 on the D3). Still though, that was good enough to level the score!

Tyranid Objectives - Harness the Warp, Psychological Warfare, Hungry for Glory

Well then. It was going to be next to impossible to score 2 of the 3 cards. At least Harness the Warp should be a lock. 

My priority this turn was to get rid of the remaining unit of Crisis Suits. If my opponent was left with just a single Imperial Knight to work with, I could spread out and ride the game out to a win on points, even if I was unable to kill it.

The Zoanthropes cast some easy powers to ensure that Harness the Warp was achieved. They then got Warp Lance off against the Knight Crusader, and were even able to put a hull point of damage on the Super-Heavy Walker! 

The Hive Crone swooped from ruin to ruin, firing off two tentaclids, and surprisingly causing 2 glancing hits with its haywire missiles, leaving the Knight Crusader at 3 hull points remaining. 

The 20-strong brood of Termagants poured 60 shots into the remaining 3 Crisis Suits, and was easily able to finish them off through sheer weight of fire. 

Termagants turn around and wipe a 2nd squad of Crisis suits, proving that Devourer Gants might be little but are not to be underestimated!
I scored a point for Harness the Warp, and the score sat at 11-10 Tyranids going into the all-important turn five!

Turn Five

With just the Knight left, he put all of his efforts into scoring Assassinate by killing the Neurothrope. Fortunately, the Zoanthropes' 3+ invulnerable saves held true and while 2 of them died, the Neurothrope was positioned furthest from the knight, and so he survived, preventing the Tau/Knight side from scoring any points on turn 5.

Tyranid Objectives: Hungry for Glory, Secure Objective 4, Secure Objective 5

With Linebreaker secured and already having a lead, I sought to create a gap just in case the game continued and the Knight was able to score more points. The Tyranids got a couple of points for Objectives #4 and 5 held by the Hive Guard and Exocrine respectively, pushing the score to 13-10 Tyranids. Unable to do any damage to the Knight, the uneventful turn ended and we rolled to see if the game continued. A roll of 1 meant that the game was over! 

I breathed a sigh of relief as I wouldn't have to face the prospect of fighting against the Knight Crusader for another turn or two, as it would surely have the upper hand over my remaining forces. 

The 1-wound Hive Crone has noped off the board edge, while the Neurothrope has hidden in ruins to ensure he doesn't get charged by the Knight Crusader if the game goes on to turn six. I think that if the game had gone on for an infinite number of turns, the 3-Hull Point Knight Crusader would have wiped the floor with the remaining Tyranids, but thankfully I was saved by the bell!

Another nail-biter of a game, and a 13-10 Tyranid victory! This game played out in a really interesting way as I essentially decided to ignore the Knight Crusader in favour of wiping out the Tau's ability to score points. This almost backfired on me as the Knight did some serious damage to the Hive Fleet Behemoth force. Fortunately the Termagants carried the 2nd half of the battle for me by wiping out the two units of Crisis Suits, and there were simply too many Tyranid bodies left over for the Knight to deal with.

The odd thing is that both the Riptide and Flyrant didn't do all that much - usually both of these units had been pretty dominant in our previous encounters. This time the Knight did the heavy lifting for the Tau side, while Tyranids were mostly carried by Biovores and Termagants!

Stay tuned for more batreps and an upcoming narrative campaign at Hairy Tarantula North!