I played another game against regular-opponent-John this week. I took Adeptus Mechanicus and friends, he took Chaos Marines, and we both had Knights! It was 2000 points, Maelstrom mission: Sealed Orders.
I took a Ryza Battalion, a Super Heavy Auxiliary and the special FAQ Assassin Vanguard. I was interested to see how useful the Assassins are now in 8th/post FAQ.
HQ: Tech Priest Dominus, Tech Priest Enginseer
Troops: 10 Rangers, 3 Arc Breachers, 3 Plasma Destroyers
Elites: Callidus, Culexus, Eversor and Vindicare Assassins, Cybernetica Datasmith
Heavy Support: Neutron Onager, 3 Robots, 2 with guns, 1 with fists (I'm experimenting with mixed units as a combat deterrent)
Lord of War: Knight Crusader aka Lord Camulus
John took an Emperor's Children Battalion and a Superheavy Auxiliary.
HQ: Lord on Steed, Sorcerer on Steed, Prince
Troops: 2 units of about 12 Cultists, 18 Noise Marines
Heavy Support: Deredeo Dread with Butcher Cannon Arrays, Leviathan Dread with Butcher cannon and Claw
Lord of War: Renegade Acheron (this thing is scary)
Deployment. We tied on the roll to go first twice, but John got it in the end after getting his force down first.
I tried to hide my destroyers behind the blue crates but they were never going to get out of LoS of all those Noise Marines. I chose Shroudpsalm for my first Canticle.
John's first turn was fairly brutal, though low scoring. All his shooting killed the Destroyers, forced the Rangers to flee and dropped the Breachers to a single model who proceeded to get stomped on by the Knight. A lot of fire also went into the Kastelans, but thanks to Aegis Protocols they all survived. John got a point for an objective and one for first blood.
In response I brought on the Vindicare in the watch tower (he proceeded to take a single wound off the Sorcerer and do nothing else) and mobilised the Knight. Lord Camulus fired up the Thermal Cannon and blasted a huge chunk of wounds off the Acheron, and with assistance from the Onager and Dominus' Weapon XCIX relic reduced it below half. The Gatling cannon went into the Noise Marines, as did the double shooting Kastelans, reducing them to just the two Blastmasters after morale.
Camulus positioned himself for a good kick up the rear of that naughty Knight. In hindsight I should have charged from the Acheron's right hand side to stay away from the Leviathan, but I couldn't resist a cheeky bum kicking.
Camulus took heavy damage from the overwatch but kicked away to reduce the renegade to 4 wounds. The brave Datasmith also went in, dealing another wound with his powerfist. The stumbling Acheron did a couple of wounds to the Datasmith in return. I scored a point for an objective and discarded a bunch of difficult cards.
In John's turn heavy firepower got rid of the Robots, even though I rolled for Canticles and got Shroudpsalm again. A bit of fire also stripped some wounds from my Knight, before melee happened. The Warptimed Leviathan barreled into Camulus, aided by the Prince, while the limping Acheron charged in to finish off the Datasmith. Overwatch was disappointing, and the Leviathan hit and wounded all four times, going right through the Knight's armour. Then I rolled a 6...
The resulting explosion wounded the Leviathan and the Prince, killed the Renegade Knight before it could fight, leaving the Datasmith standing alone on 1 wound! Most of my army was dead but it was totally worth it for that!
My turn 2 and I brought in the remaining Assassins. The Eversor popped up at the back to kill some cultists and claim Behind Enemy Lines. The Culexus appeared near-ish the Sorcerer, blasting him, though not fatally. The Callidus (who, by the way, had cost John 2 extra command points in the first turn so was probably already ahead at this point) aimed for the seriously wounded prince with her Neural Shredder, dropping it to 2 wounds before charging in. Elsewhere the Vindicare missed the Sorcerer, while the Ryza forces put a bit of damage on the Leviathan.
In combat the Callidus only landed one wound with the C'tan Phase Sword, leaving the Prince to strike back. She died horribly.
At this point I'd also scored a defend objective, so was perhaps ahead on points, but I didn't have much left. In fact, apart from the Onager, it was all character.
John set about removing the Assassins, killing off the Eversor and Vindicare with ease, but getting stuck on the Culexus. The brave Datasmith who totally needs a name survived the Leviathan's meltagun and helflamers, but fell to it's claw, though only by 1 failed save (I command pointed it, I felt he had earned it at this stage, but it wasn't to be.) The Prince and Sorcerer ran away from the Culexus and started scoring some objectives.
More cards for me on turn 3, but not a lot I could do. My remaining Ad Mech forces, the Dominus and the Onager (and, technically the Enginseer, though he was little more than a speed bump), fired into the Leviathan, hurting but not killing it. The Culexus ran away from combat to scare to Prince a bit. In John's turn not much changed apart from the Enginseer got crushed. I rolled Shroudpsalm again and the Deredeo and Blastmasters shot at my Warlord but he tanked it all.
Elsewhere the Chaos Lord caught up with the Culexus in a combat that was destined to last a long time...
Not much left over the final few turns, we both picked up a few points here and there but John definitely had the board control. We went on to turn 6, eventually the Culexus fell, but the Dominus stood tall, constantly repairing himself and passing saves left and right.
This hero of the Imperium just would not die, and is probably now 90% lead after being hit by about a million butcher cannon shots.
Sadly that Leviathan lived on 1 wound, Neutron Laser failing to wound at the end. I was left with a 'destroy a unit' card, which, combined with the Linebreaker the Leviathan was earning would have been a 2 point difference. In the end it mattered not, counting up the points John won a not-quite comfortable victory with 8 points to 5.
It was one of those games, where the luck was all over the place and the dice had their own idea of how things were going to go down. Putting my Knight in position to get charged was definitely a mistake, but one I'd gladly make for the hilarious 10 inch explosion that it resulted in. I also could have deployed my Kataphron units in much better positions. They were too close and able to get deleted turn one, I should have made better use of their range and ability to move and shoot. Finally the Assassins, I'm not convinced. I think they would have been really good if I'd had first turn and still had an army when they showed up, but after the FAQ it's too much of an investment to take all of them and wait till turn 2 for most of them to do things. Having said that the Callidus' ability to cost command points is very annoying, and the Culexus is very tough to shift. I feel like the Eversor might be handy given the right targets, but the Vindicare was pretty disappointing.