All posts by lehann

Written 40k Battle Report: Harlequins vs Deathwing (Warzone Nachmund: Mission 33)

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It’s been a long while since I have managed to pen down one of these, life and laziness are insurmountable stumbling blocks on occasion it seems. Today I am running my Harlequins against the might of the Dark Angels 1st Company. Harlequins is an army I am still very much learning but having a ton of fun doing so. Turns out speed is quite fun to play with, who knew? Beware of horrendous decision making inside, not advised for sensitive viewers or children.

  • Harlequin List (Light Saedath Battalion):
  • 2x Troupe Masters (1 with Cegorach’s Rose, Favoured of Cegorach, Player of the Light, 1 with Foot in the Future, Veiled King and the Storied Sword)
  • Death Jester with Rift Ghoul and Eye of the Laughing God
  • Solitaire, Prince of Sins
  • 6×5 Troupes with 1 kiss, 2 fusions, 2 neuros
  • 6x Starweavers
  • 1×3 Voidweavers
  • 1×2 bikes with Glaive and Shuriken Cannon
  • Dark Angel list (Deathwing Vanguard):
  • Interrogator Chaplain
  • Ravenwing Apothecary
  • 3×10 Terminators (mixed stormshield/thunderhammer, stormbolter/powerfist, 2 missile racks apiece, sergeant double Lightning Claws)
  • 1×6 Bladeguard Veterans
  • 1×5 Bladeguard Veterans

Mission 33 Secure Missing Artifacts

  • Harlequins Secondaries:
  • Stranglehold
  • A Deadly Performance
  • Retrieve Nachmund Data
  • Deathwing Secondaries:
  • Stubborn Defiance
  • Grind them Down
  • Raise the Banners High

Deployment and Pre-Game:

My opponent is the Defender. I start by moving his bottom right objective down and away from his home. Above all I need him to not sit in his deployment and score hundreds of points on Stubborn Defiance, Banners and the Primary by not interacting. (note we played it here as selecting secondaries before moving objectives, since the timing seems to coincide in the book.) He then moves his home objective back and behind obscuring, and my home objective to be more exposed. I finish off by moving top left back to make it harder for his durable but slow obsec bricks to get there. My priority objective is my bottom left objective, his is the bottom right.

My opponent, showing exactly 0 respect for my army, deploys it all on the line, determined to push those blocks of brutal bodies forward as quickly as 5″ movement and advance rolls allow. He combat squads the maximum Bladeguard Veterans squad and one 10 man Terminator squad. On my side, each boat has a troupe squad inside, with my 3 characters starting embarked. (Sad Solitaire noises. No one ever wants to allow him in a boat). I deploy everything that cannot be obscured 5″ back from the line, to ensure that I am not taking any unnecessary stormbolter fire.

We roll off and my opponent goes first. I elect not to phantasm, as I am hidden from 90% of his shooting not worried about whole 5 missiles he’ll fire off this turn.

Battle Round 1:

My opponent moves out aggressively, raising a sole banner on his home objective, and settling in with a 5 man terminator squad to score stubborn defiance. Anything with a missile launcher does not advance. Between light saedath (cannot be hit on an unmodified 1-3 outside of 12″) and some lackluster rolling he only manages a single wound on my bottom starweaver from his whole army. Turns out I was right about not worrying about some desultory missile fire. Narrator: He was not right. That single wounds goes unsaved and rolls a 6 for damage to blow up my boat. Oof. Classic Aeldari arrogance gets some beautifully poetic comeuppance

On my turn I move the dismounted troupe squad to my home objective. They perform RND (they pass the roll, but this was unnecessarily risky). I *move the two northern transports up to the top-left objective, my Veiled King and Death Jester transports to within fusion range of the terminator squad, and I line up my voidweaver on the same. One boat with just troupes touches into the center objective, and I stage my bikes behind the ruin to get into his deployment next turn.

After the 14x shuriken cannons, 5 fusion pistols, 4 neuro disruptors, 2 shuriken pistols, 3x prismatic cannon and one Death Jester shrieker cannon opens up on the 5 man terminator squad in the open, the thrice damned sergeant still stands. I fire and fade my voidweavers back behind obscuring. My opponent scores 3 points on grind, while I get my 3 on stranglehold. We both score the mission 3 points.

End of Battle Round 1:

Harlequins 6 : 6 Deathwing

Battle Round 2:

He scores 1 point on banners, 2 on stubborn defiance and 8 on primary. His bottom right Bladeguard raise a banner. The Deathwing move aggressively into the middle. He lines up charges into my starweaver on the middle objective with his jump chaplain and the terminators. His bottom 10 man terminator squad move towards my home objective as fast as their stumpy legs allow. In the north, his hero-sergeant and the 3 man Bladeguard goes into the starweavers. His rapid advance leaves a very convenient 25mm hole next to his Ravenwing Apothecary… My Solitaire starts salivating from his hidden position on my home ruin.

Between shooting and charges he fails to blows up any more of my boats in the north. His jumppack chaplain charges my central starweaver. I use the light saedath strat to move it just far enough to still edge onto the far border the objective, but far enough to make the charge for his terminators unfeasible. After some consideration between my bikes and boat, the chaplain ends up going after the boat. I elect to take armor saves to kill the boat, disembarking the troupes inside onto the point to give me a 12 on primary in my coming turn. He gets his 3 on the mission.

My turn 2 I move aggressively in the North. One squad of troupes disembark and performs RND. The downside of my 12 on primary is I cannot flip the middle objective for Deadly Performance, so reckon I need to make a play for his home objective. (In hindsight, I made a massive mistake here. I had 2 easy kills in shooting, and I could have fire and faded the bikes into his deployment to get my deadly performance. I did not need to FnF the voids, just get a narrow angle on the terminator sergeant and the bladeguard. I already had stranglehold locked down, and I did not have enough to take down the terminator squad far enough to out obsec him on his home if all the charges did not hit).

I kill the chaplain with shooting from the troupe squad, the bladeguard and terminator sergeant (finally the damnable nerd eats it) evaporate from the weight of most of my armies shooting. 1 terminator dies on his home objective to the troupes and the Death Jester in the boat. I disembarked the rose queen to guarantee the bladeguard dies, but she ends up not being needed. I fail the 5″ charge into his home objective with my troupes in the centre even with a reroll, but I left 2 toed into the middle to keep my stranglehold intact in case of this exact situation. My horrifically misplayed skyweavers get brutalised by the terminators. RIP skyweavers. You deserved better. My blitzing solitaire thoroughly and effortlessly rips through the exposed apothecary, but gets killed straight through his -1 to hit, no rerolls, 3++ invuln with a luck reroll due to his singular inability to pass even a single save whenever he happens to fight bladeguard.

End of the round I score my 3 on stranglehold and 4 on RND. I miss deadly performance due to incredible stupidity (its definitely not real stupidity, just part of the carefully crafted clown performance. Definitely. Maybe.) but thankfully he also misses grind. We both got our 3 on the mission

End of Battle Round 2:

Harlequins 28 : 20 Deathwing

Battle Round 3:

My opponent still has so much BEEF on the board its honestly scary. He scores 3 on stubborn defiance, 2 on banners and 8 on primary. He finally takes the centre with the one 10 man brick, while his 5 man bladeguard saunter back over to his home to help stem the tide coming next turn. His southern 10 man brick continue their trudge to my home objective.

They knock out a voidweaver, while the centre squad kill the boat next to them and utterly annihilates the 4 troupes on the centre objective. The 4 man on his home kills 2 disembarking troupes (I’ve been very lucky on my disembarking models not dying). He scores his 3 on the mission.

My turn 3 I get 8 on primary. I embark the troupes on my top left and the rose queen back into boats. In the top middle I have a boat very precisely placed to get the 5 man troupes just over 6 inches from the centerline after a disembark and move to get my 3rd quarter for RND. I collapse everything else in range on his home objective. Between the fusion and neuro pistols, the DJ lending his cannon and rift ghoul mortals, and finally the veiled king and the 2 troupe squads swinging into them, the terminators are knocked out. I take down his bannner and cap his stubborn defiance scoring. The Veiled King gets back into the starweaver with the Curtain Falls. Fighting someone just to hop back into a boat is totally fair and balanced and I love every minute of it. With his apothecary dead I can start working on whittling down his bricks too, with the voids taking down 2 marines.

End of the round he scores his grind, I get my 3 on the mission, 4 on RND and 3 apiece on stranglehold and deadly performance.

End of Battle Round 3:

Harlequins 49 : 39 Deathwing

Battle Round 4:

I’ve got a decent lead here, but I am fast running out of material and ways to deal with the terminator bricks that don’t involve a tape measure. He scores 1 banner and 8 on primary, but 0 on stubborn defiance. He spreads the center brick between the middle and his home objective, while the southern brick finally gets close to my home objective (a mere 1″short, but he decides he wants the shooting and will just charge me to get on the point. If I run away with the light strat at least he costs me primary).

He kills 2 troupes with bolter fire in the north. In the south he bounces off the voidweavers, and the troupes on the point runs away so his terminators are stuck outside my objective. The bladeguard mince my Death Jester, boat and the troupes on his home objective. The Veiled King does not roll a one to die on disembark and I cry from happiness.

My turn 4 I score only 4 on primary. I run the troupes back onto my home objective to flip it for Deadly Performance. In the North I commit the remaining 3 man, the rose queen onto the terminators. I advance the Veiled King to try and knock his bottom right Bladeguard off their points factory as a bit of a hail Mary.

On my home objective I get a bit lucky with the void weavers and the troupes, and bring the terminators down to 4 models. The Veiled King manages to kill only one Bladeguard (he feels real bad into transhuman), while the remaining 2 knock him down to a single wound. In the North I kill 4 out of 5 bladeguard after fusions and melee, and the rose queen gets back into the boat. We both get our 3 on the mission. He gets 3 on grind, while I get my 3 apiece on stranglehold and deadly performance.

End of Battle Round 4:

Harlequins 62 : 54 Deathwing

Battle Round 5:

He scores a 1 on banners and an 8 on primary. He does not get his Stubborn Defiance thanks to the “consecutive command phases”requirement. Keeping it to a 5 has been massive for me.

His southern terminators obliterate my troupes on my home objective, and park themselves in light cover. In the north he gets as many terminators as possible onto his home objective. The lone bladeguard kills 2 troupes. My Veiled King on the bottom right kills another bladeguard before dying. He scores 3 on the mission

My final turn I yet again display my staggering stupidity by going for an entirely unnecessary play. I score my primary on the bottom of the turn, so the smart thing to do have been to disembark the troupes on my top left, advance the transport onto the centre and just take my 8. Instead I try to go for the 12 AND try to deny my opponents grind. In order to accomplish either of these I need to get very lucky, accomplishing both is a pipe dream.

My voidweavers jet forward onto the objective. My lone transport gives himself options into the sole surviving bladeguard on my opponents home objective and the terminators on mine. The boat on the top left toes into the centre objective while giving the troupes inside range to the terminators on my home. The rose queen disembarks and advances to try for a 7″ charge into the bladeguard on the bottom right. I’m trying to do way too many things here with low odds of success instead of consolidating my efforts. Going for a 12 on primary but dropping to a 4 if I fail, trying to deny grind but guaranteeing it if I bounce, trying for my 3 points priority objective AND trying knock down my opponents last banner.

In the north the lone fusion troupe kills the BGV, while in the south two transports, 2 voidweavers and the 5 man troupe squad inside the centre objective boat kills 3 terminators. The rose queen predictably fails her charge with a reroll. The voidweavers charge, fails to do any damage and gets a boat blown up for their effort.

I score 4 on primary, 3 on deadly performance, but I miss my stranglehold. My opponent scores grind them down and 1 more on his banner.

End of Battle Round 5:

Harlequins 69: 68 Deathwing

Post game

Whoooof that was close. I played my Deadly performance very badly, and similary there was no reason for me not to put a de-meched troupe squad back into deepstrike to get my 12 on RND, especially once it was clear that squad is about to get punked (looking at you home objective boys). I am happy with the secondaries I picked, but there is definitely some improvements to be made in my execution of them. This was my first game fielding a 2 man bike squad as utility. I really liked having them as an option, but I threw them away for no gain, and I missed getting a free 3 points with them early game with a Fire and Fade play. Having them survive later to help the Veiled King clear the bladeguard would have cemented a very comfortable victory.

I also really like the 3 man void weavers still, even after the substantial nerf, but they suck a lot of CP. In this match I think I could’ve afforded to be a lot more cavalier with them. My opponent never really did a whole lot of damage even when he could line up the missile launchers. Especially in the early rounds I think I could have just played angles with them and forgoed the FnF to keep the CP to keep my troupes dealing mortals at full clip.

All in all this game was a lot of fun and a good learning experience. This Deathwing list is a bit of a gatekeeper in my opinion, but if you just let it be it can and will score high just for existing. Disrupting my opponents scoring is a playstyle I very much enjoy, but I think it highlights my own “playing the mission” with this list needs some more reps.

Thank you kindly for reading, I would love to hear your thoughts on the clash!

Written Battle Report: Shadowkeepers vs Thousand Sons

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Preface:

At time of playing/writing, Custodes are yet to recieve their well deserved nerfs. This game was an exercise in trying to build a game that would be enjoyable for my opponent, by building weaknesses that he can attack and interact with into the army, without building a completely useless force that neither of us would enjoy. Sadly finding this middle ground is an exercise that I have had to repeat with some regularity lately. This author at least, is waiting for the promised balance dataslate with great hope and anticipation.

That said, going into this battle I set myself some army building ground rules to make sure my opponent has a fun game facing the horrendousness that is the current Custodes book. No Trajann, no bikes outside the single bike captain, and since I have no desire to see my mortal dependent Thousand Son’s opponent cry, no Emperor’s Chosen 4+++ vs mortals.

With that in mind, I built a joint Shadowkeepers and Sisters of Silence force. The further I got into building this list, the more the idea of a Witchseeker force thrown together for an expedition into Thousand Sons controlled space to recover a relic to serve the shadowy agenda of the Shadowkeeper Shield Captain started to appeal to me. So the narrative was born.

Shadowkeepers

  • Leader of the Host: Eorl the Young, Shield Captain on Dawneagle Jetbike, titled the Lockwarden, of Superior Creation, carrying the Stasis Oubliette. Tip of the spear of the offensive against the witches.
  • Unstoppable Destroyer Fëanor, Shield Captain in the Praetorian Plate Terminator Armour, famed for his ironclad Impregnable Mind.
  • Knight Centura Elbereth, Mistress of Persecution, carrying the Excruciatus Flamer.
  • The Centura leads 5 prosecutors, 9 Witchseekers and an Anathema Psykana Rhino to the expeditionary force.
  • 2 squads of Sagittarum Custodes, a lone Allarus Custodian, one squad of Venatari, one squad of Wardens of the Vaults make up the body of the host.
  • When word of the possible presence of Magnus reaches Eorl, he requests the honoured entombed to walk. 4 ancient names answers his call. Elendil and Isildur, Galatus pattern, and Gil-Galad and Elrohir, Achillus pattern will stride the witching world.

Thousand Sons

  • Responding to the hated presence of the null-maidens and the unwelcome tread of auric boots on the witching world, Magnus himself descends to the field.
  • From the mists rise 2 squads of 5 rubric marines and a squad of 10
  • 2 squads of 5 Scarab Occult Terminators grind to their primarch’s side.
  • 10 Tzaangors make their braying appearance
  • Ahriman and 2 sorcerers marshal the Rubricae.

Mission:

We are playing mission 22 Conversion from the Nachmund 2022 mission pack.

Secondaries:

  • Custodes: Assassinate, Stranglehold, Abhor the witch
  • Thousand Sons: Raise Banners, Stranglehold, Psychic Interrogation

Turn 1

We both deployed relatively conservatively, his Terminators and Rubrics in the North outside of the charge range of my dreadnoughts and the pistols of the Venatari. My Witchseekers and Knight Centura start in the rhino. My katah’s are Calistus, Dacatarai, Kaptaris. I won the roll off to go first.

In my command phase I activate the Calistus stance to roll 2D6 drop one for advances. I advance my single allarus terminator onto the middle objective, fly my venatari up to touch the north west objective and advance the other sagittarum squad into the ruins behind them. My south west saggitarum walk up to my home objective to draw a bead on the rubrics opposite. The dreadnoughts, wardens and prosecutors shuffle around so I can keep hiding some infantry pieces to throw out one per turn onto the centre. The achillus dreadnoughts draw lines of sight on the top Scarab squad. I position the north galatus slightly forward of the rest, so I have a closest dreadnought to eat the smites and hopefully absorb a bunch of hate with the 5++ vs mortals strat.

The witchseekers get out of the rhino, get a big six on their advance to flood his south eastern objective. I fully expect them to get slaughtered next turn, but they have 2 very important objectives. Kill the tzaangors to prevent my opponent from gumming up the centre, and shut down his banner. They set up at maximum distance from the Tzaangors, with the Centura right behind to provide her auras. After disembark I throw the rhino forward to hopefully touch the 10 man rubrics and force my opponent to divert some of his central units to deal with the sisters.

The witchseekers immolate the tzaangors utterly, and the Centura picks up 2 rubrics with her Excruciatus flamer. My southern Sagittarum account for one more. On the North Side my sagittarum, Galatus and 2 Achillus dreads manage to pick up 4 rubric marines and 2 scarab terminators. In the charge phase my rhino manages to touch his southern rubrics, and is slapped for 2 wounds as a reward.

In his turn my opponent brings Magnus and his sorcerers forward to deal with the dreadnoughts. I explain the Praetorian Plate counts-as-4-obsec-models-teleporting captain’s shenanigans, which leads to some deliberation on where he wants to commit. He ends up playing fairly cagey, not moving into the middle yet until he’s dealt with my dreadnoughts. Rubrics raise a banner on his home objective. He lines up his middle scarab squad to deal with the witchseekers, and positions Magnus and the 2 sorcerers with lines of sight to my dreadnoughts. I help him measure out to make sure no model is in range of more than 1 sister’s squad debuff, and he keeps his psychic interrogation sorcerer just outside of the terminator captain’s deny.

Now all set to smite the unworthy from his sight, he gets to work. The centre scarab terminators get +1 to hit, the north terminators get -1 to hit and a 4++ invulnerable save. The bottom rubrics smite a couple of wounds off of the rhino. The allarus terminator takes 2 wounds, and after spending a CP to give my Galatus a 5+++ against mortals, a deny on a low smite, and some (un)lucky rolls he takes 4 wounds, down to 5. He tears secrets from the mind of my bike captain for 3 points.

I was expecting to lose at least the Galatus dreadnought here, so I feel quite lucky thus far. He spends CP to power up his central terminators and take aim at the witchseekers. He hands me 9 5+ saves on my 9 sisters. I figure if I make even one or two and force him to commit a bit more here, that would be quite nice.

Welp.

The rest of his shooting removes the allarus terminator on the central objective and knock another wound off my galatus, 4 remaining.

We both scored 2 on the mission, End of Turn 1, he got 3 on psychic interrogation, I got 3 on stranglehold.

Custodes 5: 5 Thousand Sons.

Turn 2

Time to roll the dice. I get my 8 on primary. I move out most of my forces into the open. If this turn flubs I’m going to be very exposed, smack bang in mortal range of a whole lot of hurt. He does not have whole lot of things standing between me and his characters, and if I get to them I can hopefully cripple his output. The three dreadnoughts in the middle charge forward, one of them getting reroll wounds of 1 from Wisdom of the Moritoi. My prosecutors move into the middle objective to get my stranglehold and to cover his whole northern force in the -1 psychic bubble. My shield captain moves as far forward as he can to give himself options into the characters if I manage to kill the scarabs. Northern sagittarum and Venatari moves into range of the scarabs. The southern Galatus moves forward to have something that can punch his final scarab squad next turn.

The scarabs evaporate in a storm of adrathic and kinetic destroyer fire straight through their layered defenses. The bike captain has free reign now, and puts 6 wounds onto his demon prince thanks to Lockwarden. In the south the knight centura picks up another 2 rubrics. I’m starting to suspect this flamer may actually be good.

The bike captain and the Galatus charges Ahriman, and he gets spitted immediately on the Interceptor lance. The Galatus consolidates into the foot sorcerer. I breathe an immense sigh of relief. Downing Ahriman is huge! I still have nightmares from a game with the 8th ed. Custodes dex, where Ahriman solo took down a full health Telemon straight through his 5++ vs mortals. Not this time Ahriman. This time you can sit down nerd.

I get my 3 stranglehold, 7 on abhor and 3 on assassinate. I’ve done a lot of damage, and taking down Ahriman (one of his main damage dealers) feels big. Now we just need to weather the storm.

He scores 8 on primary. He positions Magnus, the sorcerers and the demon prince to deal with the Galatus and bike captain. His centre scarabs walk up to kill the prosecutors and take the middle. He needs a big psychic phase here, and possibly a big melee phase. I fully expect to lose the captain and the galatus, and hopefully no more than one of the achillus to still be in good shape.

What follows is one of the worst psychic phases I have ever had the (mis)fortune to witness. Through cabal points and copious rerolls the man still managed to perils three times. Fortunately one was on Magnus, who cannot suffer perils of the warp. Between the prosecutors debuff, a very lucky 4+ deny and the impregnable mind captain flexing his rock hard brain, he only managed to reduce the bike captain to a single wound and the galatus to 2. The scarab terminators handily cleared the middle of prosecutors in a hail of inferno fire. (We later determined that he only managed to shoot a single soulreaper volley all game between the 4 guns in the list . He either killed his target with the bolters or lost the wielder before it got to shoot)

My knight centura finally succumbs to the rubrics in the south east.

Fight phase, make or break time.

Magnus charges the Galatus and the captain. The demon prince flies over the swirling melee to land behind the bike captain. The disc sorcerer lends his staff to finally killing the bike captain. Very unhappy with the shifting balance of power in the centre, the praetorian plate captain activates his teleporter to appear between the disc sorcerer and the demon prince.

The bike captain makes Magnus fight last. I’m hopeful of tanking the demon prince in the face, but I have no intention of losing the Galatus and the bike captain to a single model activating before either get to swing.

The demon prince roars and swings and falls flat on his ugly face against the combination of – 1 attack and only wounding on 4’s from arcane generic alchemy. Only 2 saves to make, and the bike captain has no intention of dying to some jumped up blue johnny. He swings back with half of his attacks (Conniving Plate says hi) and eviscerates the demon prince (turns out no invulnerable saves are very good against a 3++ for a turn. Who knew?). Magnus splits his attention between the Galatus and the captain. The captain finally goes down, but – 1 to hit from the Galatus shield, no rerolls from emperors auspice and a very lucky 4++ sees him shrug off the blade of Magnus. He only rolls a 1 on the extra mortals, and the Galatus lives on 1 wound. The sorcerer on disk swings and bounces of the Plate terminator captain. The Galatus puts all his attacks into the sorcerer he piled into the previous turn, reducing him to mist with 12 unsaved damage. The allarus captain decapitates the sorcerer on disk

End of the turn and all is dust. Unfortunately for my opponent, just not the kind that resides in gold and blue armour.

Somehow I ended up doing more damage to him on his own turn. Shadowkeepers are real good guys, especially if your opponent suddenly forgets how to do mortals with his psychic army.

I max out my abhor the witch in a single turn, go up to 12 on assassinate. My opponent got his 3 on psychic interrogation and 3 on stranglehold. We both got 2 on the mission. After the dust has settled (hehe) I scored 40 points this turn. Abhor the witch is totally a fair and balanced secondary, nothing to see here.

Custodes 45 : 22 Thousand sons

Turn 3

We roll out the fight vs Magnus and the terminators in the middle to see if any magic happen, but at this point the writing is on the wall. We both put our armies out there to go for the back breaking turn, but my back is only very lightly bruised.

Final score Custodes 100 : 62 Thousand Sons

Elrohir the Achillus puts his spear through the heart of the demon primarch, earning a name on his first outing as part of my army. The last scarabs are overwhelmed. The Shadowkeepers walk tactically victorious from the field, but with Eorl the Young severely wounded, and his entire sisters contingent dead, dying or otherwise incapacitated the Shield host’s strategic goals have been stymied. For now…