On Tuesday Rich and I had a game of Whatcanyourarmydohammer 40k. Neither of us had played much 8th edition so we were sorta groping our way around the rules and tactics, and just about remembering what we could do most of the time, just not doing so well at knowing what the other guy could do...
So for this game I decided to give my Deathwatch a run out. After following the exploits of St Andrews wargaming I took a few things on board, but was still working within the constraints of an existing model collection...
So, my list. It's basically 2 battalions, but I'll just throw it all down here as it's all deathwatch so no different rules to worry about.
I had a watch master as warlord, with the watch eternal warlord trait and the beacon angelis.
Watch captain Artemis
librarian in terminator armour, with a storm bolter and force stave.
2 squads of ten veterans, including 3 heavy thunder hammers each, 2 stormshields each, a sergeant with xenophase blade, a black shield with paired lightning claws, bolt pistols and chainswords where appropriate.
2 squads of 5 vets each with 4 missile launchers
2 squads of 6 vets, including 3 frag cannons each, 2 stormshields each, and a vanguard vet each
1 squad of 5 vets with deathwatch shotguns
1 squad of 5 vets with 1 Infernus Heavy Bolter
Both librarians had Veil of Time and Might of Heroes. The plan for the army was to set up the watch master and two large squads in the teleportarium strategum, use the terminator librarians deepstrike ability to join them, and when they land use the beacon to pull the other librarian over and buff the hell out of the squads before charging in.
I had the stormshields and vanguard vets with the frag cannons as obviously to get the best out of them they need to be danger close, so I wanted some protection, and the ability to fall back from a combat and shoot it to death.
The squads with missile launchers are my fairly obvious heavy support, and the heavy bolter is because I saw it synergies well with a strategem on St Andrews (although that also seemed to require an armorial cherub, which I didn't take, don't think I can...)
So what was I up against? Well, Rich brought a Bloodthirster, Belakor, 2 daemon Princes of khorne, 2 daemon Princes of nurgle, 1 of slaanesh and 1 of tzeentch. Plus about 5 or 6 juggernauts of khorne. Everything had wings apart from one of the nurgle Princes that was using a strategem to deep strike. Well, certainly plenty of high value targets, but this could go wrong very quickly...
Rich isn't a fan of the beta rules preventing out of deployment deep strikes on turn 1, so I played it the rulebook way for now. Just means I get my big dangerous squads in sooner. We were playing tactical escalation, where you have an increasing number of objectives and can gamble on certain objectives being more important.
I'm not gonna do a play by play as chances are I wouldn't remember it all, we'll go with a highlights reel...
Rich went first and turn 1 just moved everything forwards and cast a few psychic powers. He dropped his nurgle prince in front of my missiles but just tried to psychic them instead, to no avail. End of turn 1, I lost one shotgun vet to smite.
My turn 1 I drop everyone in on my right flank behind the khorne and slaanesh Princes. I move the frag squads forward (they'd held back to prevent him dropping behind my lines) although one of the squads I foolishly put behind Los blocking terrain when juggernauts were nearby. Some good shooting by my missile launchers saw the recently arrived nurgle prince take a battering, and my heavy bolter used the mortal wounds strategum to finish the job. I killed a juggernaut (though the morale roll brought him back!) And whilst I managed to cast might of Heroes on both large vet squads, veil of time was stopped for both. This was to prove problematic.
I charged the khorne prince first, and needed a CP reroll to make the charge. The watch master then failed his charge, as did the unit trying to take out the slaanesh prince. Damn you Rich for stopping veil of time! I took the khorne prince down to 1 wound, his retaliation mostly bounced off the stormshields, only causing a single casualty, and then just as I was debating using the command points to attack again, I remembered might of Heroes... we couldn't exactly take guesses about how many more wounds I would have had for the extra strength, if any, but we could still do one attack each... and that did the trick. I took an early lead in the score as I had to kill a couple of characters that turn, and I had.
In richs turn 2 the juggernauts charged the frag squad, the nurgle prince charged the shotguns, the slaanesh prince and Belakor wanted to pick off my characters, the tzeentch prince advanced on my missiles and the bloodthirster turned towards the big fight on my right flank (funnily enough when I saw him on the left flank I chose to drop on the right near warlord Belakor instead...)
Belakor stripped my warmasters invulnerable save and knocked his rolls down by one, so he was pretty much done for. Belakor charged him while slaanesh charged both librarians. He was then most unpleasantly surprised when I did what I had to do, and heroically intervened with both squads. This was a very unpleasant surprise for him... he had been mulling over multi-charging the squad too but decided it was a bad idea... as it turns out his decision was irrelevant. Belakor cut down my warmaster, but then I paid 2cp to interrupt and tear the slaanesh prince in two. The nurgle prince annihilated the shotgun scouts, but the frag cannons were protected by stellar work by their stormshield bearing brethren, one of them falling to the flurry of attacks while the other held firm. However he did have a good scoring round, as he completed both objectives, including the bonus for completing one with a nurgle unit, and they were both his chosen special category, so he netted 5 points, taking the lead.
In my turn 2 the frag cannons fell back (the vanguard vet meaning I could still fire at full effect) and the other squad moved up to close range too. The juggernauts were toast. The nurgle prince took some missiles, but I couldn't finish him off due to Los blocking terrain (the LGT would be proud) so my other missiles took a pop shot at the big fella, Mr bloodthirster, and took 9 wounds off him. Not bad for a pot shot! Belakor was dragged down in combat by my veterans. I had a poor card draw so only scored warlord this turn.
Turn 3 saw rich focus on objectives from another favourable card draw, the injured nurgle prince and bloodthirster taking objectives whilst the khorne and tzeentch Princes took out my left flank of missiles and heavy bolter. This saw him reach 10 points.
My turn 3 my librarian had something to prove and double 6'd his powers twice, going down to a single wound remaining. Still, got the job done. My vets charged the nurgle prince and bloodthirster, despite using a stratagem for +1 to wound I couldn't quite take the bloodthirster down. Took out nurgle and wounded khorne though.
Turn 4 the bloodthirster fell back from combat and finished off my suicidal terminator librarian. This turn he had potential to score good points if he could make me fail a morale test... however he was in amongst the small squads and the bloodthirster was down to 2wounds at this point. His tzeentch prince suited the survivors from the heavy bolter squad, but was overzealous and wiped the squad out. The khorne daemon prince charged the frag cannon unit... and found out how painful they can be. He survived on a single wound. My stormshield then failed his save at the first asking and the entire squad perished. No morale test for me!
My turn 4 the other librarian smote the bloodthirster as vengeance for his fallen brother. The frag cannons finished off the khorne prince, allowing the 4 missile launchers to turn the tzeentch prince into a cloud of feathers. This was Rich tabled for the win. I would have scored points for killing characters, and for getting objectives, which would have just about caught me level on points with him. He had the mobility to try to hide the tzeentch prince and wait the game out, but I would probably have outscored him if he'd tried that.
So, lessons for both of us. Rich missed a sitter earlier, his khorne prince could have charged my frag cannons from outside Los. This would have probably saved him, and maybe required me to shoot the missile launchers at him instead of big bird. He also now knows to be wary of black Shields. I meanwhile had forgotten how nasty daemon Princes with just claws can be in combat. I passed way more stormshield saves than I should have.
I do miss my corvus so will probably try to fit them back in at some point, so consider this to be an audition for which squads fit in well with that. I thought the frag cannons did superbly, but then rich was a combat army, against someone with guns I can see them getting shot before they can get close. The missiles did a solid shift. I did originally have these in a larger squad of ablative wounds but that ties 5 extra bodies backfield, and if you aren't getting shot at, it's a waste.
Using the beacon just to pull across the librarian did seem wasteful, but I wanted the buffing powers and I only have one librarian in terminator armour. I do have more terminators so maybe a proxy test run is in order... besides, I had nothing else i'd want to bring in... the missiles? The 8" deadly frag cannons to deploy 9" away? Pfft! I suppose it would have let me take a different relic but there wasn't anything that leapt off the page at me.
Anyway, a good fun game, and some food for thought for future list tweaks.