In my first game in ages, I opted to take out the Tyranids in their Mega-Monster configuration at 1,000 points, just to get the feeling once more. At the shop, I featured a very very familiar Imperial Guard player featuring a list that looks as though I put it together.
I had a bit of fun putting this one together, thinking of a context for the battle. This is what I came up with:
It is the early stages of the Tyranid consumption of Presidio Prime, and the Imperial Guard aren’t done fighting yet. Launching a massive attack which is largely a distraction, the bulk of the swarm is swept aside, though at great cost. The elite armoured fist, led by Knight Commander Pask lead the assault on the Tyranid back-line Synapse creatures, hoping to knock them out before the invasion really gets going.
Sensing the deception (and the implied danger), the Hive Mind responds by sending in a lurking terror. But the Synapse creatures are not concerned. Perhaps the Biomass has yet to learn the Perils of the Warp…?
Without further ado *drumroll*:
- Hive Tyrant: Lash Whips & Bonesword
- Tyrant Guard (x3): 2x LWBS, 1 Crushing Claws, Adrenal Glands
- 12 Hormagaunts w/ Toxin Sacs (derp)
- 12 Termagants w/ Devourers
- 3x Zoanies, w/ Neurothrope (HEH)
- Trygon Prime
Simple, synapse everywhere, should be an easy army to field, and FUN. Some MC’s there to NOM NOM NOM and the brainbugs to shoot MIND BULLETS. I want to be clear I was really out for a quick, fun game. This list epitomizes that.
To make matters a bit worse for the AM, I rolled Catalyst on the Hive Tyrant, so those 10 wounds are now featuring a 5+FNP. yeesh. You’ll also notice the complete and total lack of AT assets there with the possible exception of the 18″ Zoanie Warp Blast, which is…. problematic considering my opponent:
- Punisher Pask
- Exterminator Bro (w/ Lascannon)
- 2x Veteran Squads in Chimeras, flamer & grenade launcher in each?
- Leman Russ MBT: All the heavy bolters
- 2x Armoured Sentinels: Lascannons
- 1x Armoured Sentinel: Autocannon
This looks eeerily familiar to me. Use of Stompies for blocking and eating assaults from random gribblies (and sometimes Abaddons). Vets to hold objectives, everything forward facing at least AV12, and the Wyvern & MBT to make sure that anything valuable isn’t tightly packed…. y’know the drill by now. I know it’s a challenging list and Pask is the automatic “Kill everything” button to push…. and it’s AV11 on its back meaning my Hive Tyrant & Guards (except the crushing claws dude) need 5’s to get through on the charge. I don’t like those odds, particularly considering I have to get through 6 hullpoints to get the killing blow.
Regardless, we’re playing Maelstrom and you never know what happens there. I just have to survive long enough to score more points than them and I’m good right…?
The Mission: Contact lost, dawn of war deployment. Nids deploy first and take first turn. It should be noted the Bugs were playing off of the “Supremacy” objective set, while the Guard were playing off of the regular “Maelstrom” objective set. This created an interesting dynamic which I’m sure you’ll notice as we get going…
The Guard try to seize, and fail on a 1. which is not a 6.
The Hive Mind of Leviathan shuddered in contemplation of the situation on Presidio Prime, where the primary stages of consumption were underway. Local biomass was resisting heavily, using armoured shells to protect their warriors. These shells had punched through the van of lower Tyranid life-forms, descending on a valuable synaptic node.
Reaching further into Presidio, Leviathan organized a hasty defense through a nearby Hive Tyrant and his Guard, a lurking brood of Zoanthropes, and an Subterranean Monstrosity. It wasn’t clear if the Trygon Prime had been detected by the resisting Biomass.
Urging his broods forwards, and signalling the larger swarms for assistance, Leviathan resolved to stop the Imperial counter-attack here, before more valuable synaptic nodes were lost.
Tyranids Turn 1:
Not having any shooting, this was a pretty quick turn. The Tyrant and Hormagaunts fly into action, while the Neurothropes cower behind a bastion and the Termagants secure an objective. By the end of the turn the ‘Nids are sitting on 1 Victory Point and 3 objectives, which should result in a good draw next turn, provided they can stay on them…
Astra Militarum Turn 1:
Pask and the Exterminator use their shooting to great effect, killing two of the Tyrant Guard, including the only real AT threat, the dude with the crushing claws. Aw. Multilaser fire and lasgun bolts from the chimera thin out the Hormagaunts on that objective, and blast them off of it also. In the end, only the Termagants emerge unscathed, holding onto an objective.
After 1 turn, the bugs lead 1-0.
Tyranids Turn 2:
Mr. Bitey emerges with his usual flair and cooks the lead Chimera. Given his location (completely blocking the back door of the Chimera), the Veterans inside need to complete an Emergency Debarkation, meaning they can perform no voluntary actions for the next turn. What a drag.
Taking a beating, the Hive Tyrant and his last remaining guard hide in some Ruins (or about as much as they can, considering how HUGE they are. They should be able to hold onto that objective until the end of the turn…
The Hormagaunts charge forwards, with the trailing edge on the objective. If they take another fusilade from the guardsmen, if only one survives they should be able to hold onto it this turn…
Astra Militarum Turn 2:
Pask’s righteous fusilade continue to rain down on the Hide Tyrant (see what I did there?) but they succeed on blasting a singular wound off of him, due largely to 4+ Cover and 5+ FNP. Yikes. The pie-plates all whiff, but some Hormagaunts die to autocannon fire and a gallant Stompy(tm) charges in to tie them down, killing one on Hammer of Wrath.
After turn 2, the Tyranids are still in the lead, 1-0.
From a general (read: desperate) assault on the Tyranid swarm emerged a spearhead, as battle was joined throughout the line. Several divisions of Guardsmen were sent over the top into the strangely hesitant Swarm, who seemed to understand that they had overextended themselves in this campaign.
Always the tip of the spear, in the heart of the action, Knight Commander Pask reviewed the forces that had broken through the desperate melee dispassionately. Two squads of hardened veterans had broken through the swarms behind the Leman Russes, as well a unit of sentinels. Somehow a single Wyvern had cleared a sufficiently wide path for for the column to get into the target area.
It was time to hunt the big ones.
Breaking the column into a battle-line, Pask focused his attention on the right flank, sensing a brood of large, heavily chitined bugs forming a phalanx, making a run for the Wyvern.
Slewing the Leman Russ hard over, Pask lit up the punisher cannon, to devestating effect. Chunks of charred xenoflesh flew off of the shield wall. Some fell, but others took its place. The tyranids were determined to protect one of their own.
Pask kept his finger firmly on the trigger. Ammunition flowing from the hold of the Battletank at an alarming rate. He could hear the radio crackle with panicked reports from the left flank, but he couldn’t be bothered. The Tyrant needed to be brought down.
Turns 3 & 4:
Mr. Bitey goes on an absolute rampage, decimating whole squads, supported by mind-bullets from the Zoanthropes. Most of the Guard’s forces are distracted with chasing down the Hive Tyrant, who makes an awful mess of the Wyvern.
Sustained fire from Knight Commander Pask brings him down at the end of Turn 3, for Warlord and a Monstrous Creature kill. All in all, Turn 3 was very productive as the Guard take the lead 4-2.
Turn 4, sees the Trygon prime frolicking through another unit or two in the Guard’s back-lines, but Pask holds the trigger down some more, and the Trygon is no more at the bottom of the turn.
Playing with the “Supremacy” objectives turns out to hurt the Tyranids in this instance, as some of the objectives drawn involve camping on the same objective with the same unit for two turns in a row. Fortunately the Zoanthropes are in an advantageous position, and start their camp on the bottom of Turn 4. Should the Tyranids success in holding this position, and the game ends in Turn 5, it will be a Tyranid victory…
Reeling from the loss of the local Tyrant node, Leviathan rallied on the next largest synaptic lynchpin, the Zoanthrope brood in the thick of the fighting.
With the Trygon Prime out of the picture, energy weapons continued to lance out at the Zoanthropes, who deflected each attack expertly. Leviathan continued to urge nearby broods to protect this last support, lest the tendril of the hive mind be severed.
The metal boxes of the local biomass proved extremely resistant to claw and talon – albeit vulnerable to the blasts of the warp. Onced cracked, the resistance ended quickly. …..Leviathan resolved to spawn more Carnifexes in the future consumptions…
To the great satisfaction of the Hive Mind, the swarm arrived in force just as the noose was beginning to tighten on the Zoanthropes. The local biomass signalled their defeat through commencement of an artillery barrage, to cover their forces retreat. Meanwhile, Leviathan let its ravenous children feed.
This was a hard fought battle, and came down to the wire. The zoanies were able to hold onto the objective long enough to secure the points, and the Guard were so out of position that they could no longer draw objectives. If the game had gone on, it would seem unlikely that the Tyranids would have won the game. But it didn’t, and the narrow victory is ravenously accepted by the great hunger.