A mighty Tyranid Harridan soars over the battlefield, striking fear into the hearts of men and xenos alike.
Yesterday I played an informal 22000pts Apocalypse game at a friend's house, the largest game we had ever collectively attempted. The two man teams saw the Forces of Order (FoO) Vs. the Forces of Disorder (FoD), and featured some of the formations in the new Apocalypse Reload book.
In an interesting twist those playing the FoD were able to call upon 4 Legendary Units (namely a Baneblade, TWO Barbed Hierodules and a Harridan) while those fighting the good fight had none. Therefore it was agreed that the FoO would be allowed to take formations while the FoD would not, in order to see if it would give either side the upper hand. The FoD were also using not only a large number of Legendary Units, but also high cost tanks and monstrous creatures as opposed to the far far more numerous, but largely lower quality troops of the FoO - creating an interesting contrast on the battle field.
So without further ado, I present a plethora of photos (apologies for the quality) and a short summary of the battle.
1 Imperial Shield Infantry Company - 110 Guardsmen, 7 Commissars, 1 Psyker, 1 Chimera
1 Armoured Fist Mechanized Platoon - 30 Guardsmen, 3 Chimeras
1 Emperor's Wrath Artillery Battery - 3 Basilisks
1 Emperor's Fist Tank Squadron - 3 Leman Russ
1 Catachan 'Death Trap' Patrol - 30 Veterans
1 Windrider Host - 12 Jetbikes, 2 Warlocks, 2 Farseers, 1 Autarch, 2 Vypers
1 Cloudstrike Squadron - 3 Flacons
1 Spirithost - 10 Wraithguard, 1 Wraithlord, 3 Warlocks
HQ - Yarrick, Grey Knight Grand Master & Retinue, Space Marine Hero & Retinue, Avatar
Elites - 15 Terminators, Scouts, Veteran Marines, 2 Enginseers & Servitors, Ratalings, Stormtroopers, 1 Vindicare, Fire Dragons
Troops - 30 Tactical Marines, 10 Grey Knights, 10 Sisters of Battle, 20 Guardians, 16 Dire Avengers (with Wave Serpent), 6 Pathfinders
Fast Attack - 2 Landspeeders, 5 Assault Marines, 1 Hellhound, 3 Sentinels
Heavy Support - 1 Hyrda Flak Platform, 1 Flacon, 1 Predator
Assets: Scheduled Bombardment, On My Coordinates, Defence Lines, Tunnels & Eldritch Tempest
2 Barbed Hierodules, 1 Harridan
2 Hive Tyrants + Guards, 10 Warriors
60+ Gaunts, Ripper Swarms & Genestealers
4 Raveners, 1 Lictor, 2 Zoanthropes, 3 Biovores, 1 Carnifex
1 Baneblade, 1 Hellblade(?) flyer, 3 Predators, 1 Leman Russ, 1 Defiler, 2 Basilisks, 1 Vindicator, 2 Dreadnaughts
3/4 Rhinos with Possessed, Berserkers etc.
1 Land Raider with Abaddon, Kharn & other nastyness, 1 Daemon Prince
3 Heavy Destroyers
Assets: Major Possession & Hold At All Costs
Deploying second, but winning the roll for board edge the FoO, who were largely Imperial at this point, choose to hunker down around the firebase (top end of first photo), adding their fortifications. Grey Knights and Wraithguard were deployed within the bunkers, ready to attempt to slow down the Tyranid monstrosities bearing down on them (including all the Monstrous Creatures & both Hierodules).
The first turn for the FoD was largely disappointing; the cover afforded by the fortifications frustrating their efforts immensely. They did however manage to destroy one of the two linked bunkers that made up the firebase, leaving the Grey Knights exposed for a first turn charge by winged warriors. Or at least they would have been, if some plucky Ratlings had not survived everything that was thrown at them (including a Hierodules strength 8 Hellstorm weapon - look at the 6 ones on the to wound roll below!). With the Ratlings taking the warrior charge the Grey Knights were left free to go Tyrant hunting next turn. Truly heroic stuff from the space Halflings!
Imperial Return fire was also less than impressive, largely due to a lack of heavy hitting weapons.
The FoD brought on their reserves, including the Harridan, Land Raider, Rhinos and plenty of Gaunts - due to their low model count most of thier units were already on the table from deployment. Using their speed, Chaos tanks in the central village locked down 2 objectives while the Hierodules occupied two more near the firebase and Tyranid Warriors controled a 5th in a swamp on the far opposite side of the board. This left the FoO with one objective at their side of the firebase with only thin line of Guard, Grey Knights and Battle Sisters holding the 'nids back. Things looked bleak for the FoO, even at this early stage of the game.
Can the Tyranid onslaught be stopped?
Time for some reinforcements...
A combined force of over 15 Imperial and Eldar tanks surged onto the battle field, ready to repel the enemy, while 10 of the Emperors finest Terminators destroyed the Heretic Baneblade in combat.
Imperial fire was immense, knocking out or destroying nearly all the Chaos armour pieces in the centre, and heavily damaging the 'nids around the swamp objective (largely due a suicidal Dire Avenger Bladestorm that knocked out most of the synapse in the area). Only the large Tyranids advancing on the firebase now seem unopposed.
The imposing silhouette of a Harridan looms over the few remaining defenders of the firebase, while the Hierodule and the mighty Avatar engage in combat.
The battle hangs in the balance as the end draws near.
At the same moment the last of the Imperial Terminators, accompanied by Stormtroopers, deepstriked into the village in an attempt to gun down the obliterators buried deep in cover, and succeed in whittling down their numbers. Evidently coordinating itself with its Saim-Hann brothers, the Dire Avenger's Wave Serpent flew at full speed toward the village; heroically ramming a Chaos defiler in a stunning display of speed and power. This naturally ended with a battle cannon round tearing through the skimmer, which promptly crashed and killed just under half its Avenger cargo. Not quite what that driver had in mind. Despite this the survivors managed to bladestrom an Obliterator to death, and more importantly claimed the second village objective.
Things do not go quite as planned for the Wave Serpent and her crew...
At this point the battle drew to a close, and as the dust settled it was clear the Forces of Order had snatched a shaky draw from the jaws of defeat, largely due the lighting speed of the Wild Riders of the Saim-Hann, and the soild defences of the Praetorian Guard.
Unfortunately due to a late start and time constraints we couldn’t play past this point but a fun day was had by all. It was worth it just to see the sheer amount of models a 20000pts+ game entails - next time we will set aside a weekend. Hopefully we will also have some actual tables, as it was hard work on the back!
As for the Formations Vs. Legendary Units question, it seemed to me that a slight advantage was gained by the side using the Formations. Whilst they all had a huge impact on the game and where very scary to play against, the Super Heavies could not hamper the enemy quite so well as the Ambush asset or Fortifications did, nor allow the tactic flexibility that the Windriders and Cloudstrike provided. That said, we had 8 Formations Vs. 4 Legendary Units, perhaps if the numbers had been more equal then it would have been a different story.
Either way Apocalypse proved a lot of fun, as always. The lack of Super Heavy in my arsenal is bugging me now more than ever, I may be paying Forge World a visit very soon. I have always wanted a Marauder Destroyer after all….
Abaddon the Despoiler suffers the indignation of not only has his victory stolen from him, but also having to walk from his immobilized Land Raider. Khan was not best pleased...