It's another Open War battle report. This time the Adeptus Mechanicus of Forge World Ryza and the Knights of House Taranis stand against the forces of Chaos - the Emperor's Children and their Renegade Knight allies. The mission was Invasion - there are two objectives, one in each deployment zone. If you control both of them at the end of your opponent's turn, you win. The deployment was short edges, but with deployment allowed right up to the middle line. The twist was Set Piece Battle - one side deploys everything first, then the other. The side that deployed first goes first on a 2+. We played at 2000 points, but due to power level being used to determine who got the Ruse card, it went to the forces of Chaos, since I had to pay for a number of modes that weren't in my list. Luckily it was something largely irrelevant and went unused.
My forces were a Ryza Battalion and a Taranis Super Heavy Detachment.
HQ: Tech Preist Dominus (warlord trait: Monitor Malevolus, relic: Weapon XCIX), Tech Priest Enginseer
Troops: 10 Vanguard, 10 Rangers (with arc rifles), 6 Kataphron Destroyers (with Plasma Culverins)
Elites: 7 Sicarian Ruststalkers
Heavy Support: 3 Kastelan Robots (7 Heavy phosphor blasters and 1 set of fists)
Lords of War: Knight Errant (with meltagun and Icarus autocannon), Armiger Warglaive (with meltagun), Armiger Warglaive (with meltagun)
Regular opponent John took a chaos force that I can only assume has just stepped off a daemonic forge world dedicated to Slaanesh. It featured an Emperor's Children Spearhead and a Renegade Knights Super Heavy detachment.
HQ: Daemon Prince
Troops: 16 Cultists (I think)
Heavy Support: Decimator (2 Soul Burners), Decimator (Soul Burner and Storm Laser), Decimator (Soul Burner and Storm Laser)
Lords of War: Renegade Knight (Reaper chainsword, Thunderstrike gauntlet, heavy stubber), Renegade Knight (Reaper chainsword, Thunderstrike gauntlet, heavy stubber), Renegade Knight Acheron
I felt like I was very much on the back foot, not helped by the fact that John won the roll off for first deployment, and then first turn. With most of his force on the centre line, apart from the Cultists on the objective, I felt the only option was to put almost all my force on the back line. I did brave the Skitarii units forward in elevated positions so the 'gallants' couldn't charge them, and if everything went really well they'd be forward enough to run for the objective from turn 2 onwards. I also spent a command point to give the Errant the Sanctuary relic for a 5+ invulnerable save in melee.
We started the game and predictably the Chaos forces moved deep into my deployment zone. Shooting from the Decimators killed off 3 of my Servitors, but there were no charges to be made so I got passed the first turn relatively unscathed.
The Knights moved into position as the guns of Ryza warmed up. Elsewhere the Ruststalkers, on the field for the first time, took the glorius duty of standing 2 inches away from the 'Gallant' on the flank to block it's movement. (They are behind the building.) A volley of fire from the Taranis lance forced the Acheron to rotate it's Ion shields, but did not do much significant damage. I dropped 4 command points into the Ad Mech to use Binharic Override, Eliminaton Volley and Plasma Specialists. The Servitors blasted the renegade 'Gallant', reducing it down to 6 wounds, while the robots plinked off some more wounds from the Acheron with a very strong set of wound rolls. The Errant declared a charge on the 'Gallant', but rolled disastrously and failed. Both Armigers went in to the Acheron, the first one in taking 6 wounds from the overwatch of it's enormous flamer. In melee they managed to put enough wounds on it to drop it to the middle damage bracket. In this turn I had severely wounded two of the three big Knights but I had hoped to kill at least one of them. I knew I was in for a tough time if I didn't get a strong turn 1.
The Chaos walkers swarm in around the brave Martians. In the shooting phase both Armigers fell to a combination of the Acheron's flamer (which rolled poorly) and the mortal wounds from the Decimators. The charge phase came about and John realised he had done a very silly thing - those Decimators had Siege claws on the models, but he had payed for Storm lasers instead (which he had not been shooting). I offered for him to revert to the list that he had set up the models for, but that meant removing the cultists and his ability to actually hold his own objective, so he declined. Instead he had a bunch of shooting units blocking the charge from his melee ones.
In the end only the badly damaged 'Gallant' was able and willing the charge in. The Sanctuary relic and the Taranis 6+ save did wonderful things and the Errant remained on it's full profile, and fought back to destroy the foul renegade! With that stroke of luck it was time to take the fight back to the Chaos filth!
My turn 2. The Errant moved in to the enemy Lords of War, while the Ruststalkers started advancing up the flank. Between the Thermal Cannon and the Plasma Servitors the Acheron fell. The Errant then charged the remaining Knight, damaging it enough to reduce it down to a lower damage bracket, which probably saved him from destruction in response.
John's turn involved the main force moving on my Ad Mech, while the 'Gallant' stepped back to allow the Soul Burners to fire in on the Errant. I played the Benevolence of the Omnissiah stratagem to give the Errant a 5+ save against the mortal wounds, and got really lucky, saving most of them. The renegade Knight was forced to charge back in to finally finish the job, but took damage from overwatch and as the Errant exploded!
With only 3 wounds left on the last Knight standing, the Vanguard stepped up, used the Protector Doctrina Imperative and blasted it to bits. The Ruststalkers continued to advance to the Cultists and their objective.
Though all the Knights and one of the Decimators had fallen, John's Chaos forces were still pressuring my objective. Over the next couple of turns my two Tech Priests and remaining servitors fell, leaving my Skitarii making a mad dash back to help the immobile Robots clear them off.
At the end of my turn 4 the Sicarians were finally in range to charge the Cultists, which John had forgotten to move back. A big 11 inch charge got the Ruststalkers swinging in...
But their Transonic razors were not enough to clear all the Cultists, John's only Troop unit, off the objective...
And with a Decimator and a Daemon Prince controlling my objective, that signaled the end of the game.
I think I was definitely up against it in that game, John's list was much nastier than mine, and him getting first turn really gave me a tricky job to kill enough of his stuff before it came crashing into my castle on the objective. I think my forced fought hard and valiantly, and the Omnissiah was definitely watching over some of those dice rolls! I did however make an error in not putting my Kastellans on the objective - the whole point of having a set of fists in the unit was as a combat deterrent once they had become locked in place with the Protector protocols, but since they weren't actually on the objective John was able to just stand next to them and not charge at all. There is a good chance the Prince would have just killed them all anyway, but I could have gotten lucky (again) and it might have been enough to hold off for a turn so the Ruststalkers could kill all the cultists and force at least a draw for me.
Anyway, it was another fun game and another example of how surprisingly close the missions generated by the Open War deck can be.