Monday, May 23, 2011

CSM vs. CSM (p.2): The Battle

[A Brief Recap]
For a modestly more comprehensive look at the scene, please check the first installment of this batrep (p.1) here. Otherwise, the following should suffice:

Pitman fielded his Iron Warriors –with a strong Khornate disposition- and I brought a Nurgle faction of the same, whom I call the Arrugginiti. This may make some of the photos combined with the narrative potentially a bit awkward (who is what?); however, true to form, the Iron Warriors are always silver+, while my Arrugginiti are all manner of otherwise weathered metallics.

To add spice to our standard encounter, we deployed our forces as if every single model enjoyed the Infiltrators USR and forbid reserves. As such, we imagined that a once broader CSM army had finally sundered into divided factions loyal to one aspect of Chaos, or another. This battle, then, was one important scene in that grand schism. 

[Early Turns]
Deployment being what it was, there were bound to several calamitous confrontations from the word go.  Ominously, Pitmann took first turn. Calamity ensued.

The Iron Warrior Terminators in the middle of the table popped out and picked off my unit of Plague Marines that had been cowering in a Rhino toward the middle of the table. It was a messy affair. T5 failed to keep them in the game, and even the Champion with his Power Fist was unable to get his own back. Alas. I was hoping for a bit more from this unit.

In the rest of the action, the Iron Warrior Raptors took some shots at my other Plague Rhino, but failed to produce the intended result; Pitmann’s Obliterators began an interesting and much enjoyable shooting duel with their counterparts from opposing strongholds, but to little effect. The two units of Berzerkers on the Northwest and Southwest margins began their now standard march toward the muss, and largely served to hem the action (as a rule, I have tried to give these marches a very wide berth while I try to deal with whatever else is on the table. I loathe and fear Pitmann’s Berzerkers with equal measures).

Finally, Pitmann’s much celebrated Daemon Prince closed immediately (HQ-HQ assault in player turn one, how often does that happen?) with my Chaos Lord. I am used to getting squished in these encounters and was, therefore, absolutely stunned when the first round of combat ended inconclusively. The Daemon Weapon answered blow for blow and T5 actually appeared to make a notable difference in the dice this time round. My confidence was growing. Pitmann looked rather shocked... and a little nervous as well, I might add.

Such was my new-found confidence that the Raptors behind my Lord jumped directly past him (rather than support the unfolding combat immediately in front of them) in order to make a gambit at saving the otherwise doomed Plague Marines in the middle of the table. 


In the very next round of combat, the Iron Warrior Terminators finished the Plague Marines and something dreadful happened …my Chaos Lord tripped over his weapon, impaled himself, offered no attacks, and was summarily executed the Pitmann’s Daemon Prince. It was awful.

At the bottom of the turn, my Raptors were now caught directly between a consolidating group of Terminators and an also consolidating Daemon Prince. Unfortunately, either combat had resolved itself at the bottom of my turn, leaving these poor fellows entirely in the wind. Certainly, their Lord could have used the hand and this would have avoided the ensuing mess as well.

As an aside, there is a funny way that Fate works the turn sequence at times and, if this game had a theme, that would be the substance of the matter. 

True to form, both IW Terminators and DP took advantage of the new turn and piled into my suddenly isolated Raptors. Considering both the theme of this blog and the theme stated in the paragraph above, it seems worth noting that at the end of Pitmann’s second turn, my lone remaining Raptor rolled double ones for his morale check (the elusive, eponymous Gentleman’s Ones) and stayed in the game; thus, said Raptor –though uncommonly brave- ensured his own demise during my turn, and likewise denied me a chance to shoot at Pitmann’s inevitably victorious Terminators while also leaving the Iron Warriors fresh once more at the top of their own turn. Fate vs. Turn Sequence. Though one shouldn't criticize, it was a misguided bit of bravery, and poorly timed, to be sure. Gentleman's Ones indeed.

Thankfully, it was not all bad news. My Obliterators made a decent contribution to the game by limping away from a vicious shootout with their Iron Warrior counterparts, all of whom had quite neatly been reduced to their component molecules. 

Moreover, my second squad of Plague Marines disembarked and, with some notable help from my Terminators (ahem), gave Pitmann’s Raptors what-for on the other end of the table.

The combat was messy, but inevitable really; in sum, I needed to work for “charge denial” and, while four Plague Marines paid for it, the remaining Rusted Ones dismantled the Iron Warrior Raptors in remarkably good order. It was a much-needed measure of consolation for the calamity at the other end of the table.

Still, at the end of two extremely brutal turns, I was having difficulty imaging how this thing might last the third. I had lost well over half my force (one squad of PM dead, the other halved, Raptors gone, Chaos Lord gone) with only my Terminators and Obliterators worth mentioning. On the other end, the Iron Warriors (having lost only a unit of Raptors and Oblits) were marching across the table with the strong remnants of a Terminator Squad, and Daemon Prince, and two untouched units of very hostile Berzerkers.

As it turns out, we made it to seven. Here is how…

[Middle Turns]
The Iron Warrior Berzerkers plodded onward.

Having cleaned their respective ends of the table, the two Chaos factions set in toward the other. My hamstrung unit of Marines unhesitatingly offered themselves as bait in an attempt to pull any of the Iron Warriors into the path/view/range of my Obliterators looming over the northeast corner. No dice. Pitmann was not biting.

The Rhino, instead ran interference and tried to channel, or at least bracket, the Iron Warrior approach to my only real remaining threat… the Terminators. 

The first unit of Berzerkers had closed the gap considerably during in the interim, and I was only able to get one bit of shooting (for a tally of two Berzerkers) before deciding that, once more, I must play for “charge denial.” Unenthusiastically, the Terminators assaulted an opponent that I was not really too excited about facing in close combat; however, the other options were far worse, and I had no intention of waiting for the DP and second squad of Berzerkers to arrive at their convenience ...ftw. 

As it turns out, the Terminators came up ace. To be fair, the dice helped –over two rounds of combat, I rolled six consecutive 6s for saves, Invulnerable included. Glorious. Those that know me, and know my dice, will also understand that this kind of luck (for me) is beyond rare -unheard of, really.

Still, the Terminators cleaned house.

Pitmann had not anticipated such a one-sided turn of events. Otherwise, I suspect he would have hesitated a bit, allowing the remaining troops and DP catch up. To be candid, I was not expecting that result either. Go figure. Still, he was in a tough spot and his options seemed reasonable at the time.

With regard to the other unit of Berzerkers and the Daemon Prince, they were delayed slightly by necessity, as Pitmann expertly denied my Obliterators a single meaningful shot as they marched across a really significant patch of real estate. 

[Final Turns]
Having said that, this may have been the moment in which the Iron Warriors made their only real mistake of the game –as each new threat continued to approach my Terminators one at a time. As such, I was able to fight each combat without being utterly overwhelmed.

Granted, the Daemon Prince did manage both to charge and to kill a Terminator (perhaps two, I can’t recall at the moment –either way, let’s hear it for T5); however, already weakened, he was unable to hold it sufficiently together in face of the responding Power Fists and Weapons onslaught.

To finish the game, the remaining Terminators found themselves on the happy end of the Fate vs. Turn Sequence equations and once more played for “charge denial.” The resulting combat was ugly and, again, uneven –as the Terminators picked up 7 wounds to their 1. improbable Victory for the Arrugginiti -and no points for guessing which of my units gets the Most Valuable Terminators award… oh wait.

See you next time for “The Vultures Circle,” in which I will summarize and reflect upon the lessons that we failed to learn on the day.


The Angry Lurker said...

Nicely done, good result in the end.

sonsoftaurus said...

Cool, nice report, great pics with beautiful figs and scenery.


Brian said...

@ Angry Lurker. Cheers.

@ Sons. Ahhh. Typo. Will fix immediately. Thanks for reading. Ha.

jabberjabber said...

Love the battle report -- and the miniatures in the images are cracking! The Blood Angels "raptor" with the trident (chaos knights halberd?) looks awesome!

Warflake said...

The Daemon Prince and Chaos Lord fight sounded cool and had a great picture aswell really enjoyed it thanks man.

HOTpanda said...

All praise Pappa Nurgle. Great Battle Report sounded like a real slug fest especially a rare turn 1 HQ vs HQ battle. Cheers.

Draxius said...

"T5 failed to keep them in the game"

What about their Feel No Pain?

Brian said...

@ Jabbers. Cheers mate. He's not quite finished yet, but he'll do.

@ Warflake. A pleasure. I am pleased that you enjoyed the report and hope to offer them more regularly once our annual campaign gets underway.

@ Panda. Cheers. It was a pretty brutal game... and fast. Perfect for our needs.

@ Draxius. Alas. I successfully rolled only a single FNP the entire game -which is strangely consistent with my "normal" rolling.