It's another battle report against Stig's Luna Crusaders, this time, as promised, a prequel to the arrival of Hive Fleet Goliath, as Marshal Kurt Rhinehart leads his men against the Genestealer Cultists.
This photo (and several others) looted from Stig
Playing at 1750 points, Stig used the same list as before, again with Black Templar chapter tactics, a battalion and two vanguard detachments:
HQ: Gravis Captain (Warlord: Oathkeeper, The Crusader's Helm), Chaplain, 2 Lieutenants
Troops: 2x5 Intercessors, 6 Intercessors with auto bolt rifles
Elites: 2x Redemptors (Heavy onslaught cannons), Company Champion, Emperor's Champion, Ancient, 5 Reivers
Fast Attack: 3 Inceptors (Assault bolters)
Heavy Support: 3 Suppressors, 5 Hellblasters, 3 Aggressors
(Apologies if I've got some units in the wrong slot)
Here's my list. It's a double battalion, both using the Cult of the Four Armed Emperor. This was the first game with the 'new' codex, so I didn't get too funky with extra relics or the bonus warlord traits GSC can get. I went with a trait/relic combo for the Patriarch that would make him hard to kill (-1 to hit, +1 save vs ranged weapons, no overwatch) rather than anything too clever. As for psychic powers, I wasn't sure which to take, so I semi-randomly dished out 5 of the 6 psychic power cards between my psykers.
HQ: Patriarch (Warlord: Shadow Stalker, Amulet of the Voidwyrm), 2x Magus, Primus
Troops: 3x10 Neophyte Hybrids (assorted weapons), 2x10 Acolyte Hybrids (one squad with 4 melee weapons, one with 4 demolition charges), 10 Brood Brothers
Elites: Kelermorph, 15 Purestrain Genestealers
Heavy Support: 3x Cult Leman Russ (1 Battle cannon, 1 Vanquisher cannon, 1 Exterminator autocannon)
Transports: Cult Chimera
Since I have the digital codex, it occurred to me to whip up some quick blip tokens on spare 32mm bases:
They seem to have been well received when I posted them on twitter, but ironically they didn't get used since I was the attacker in the mission and as such got first turn automatically. We played the Hold Your Gains mission from Vigilus Defiant, which mean 1/3 of the Space Marine force started in the centre, getting assailed on either side by the Genestealer Cult, until their reinforcements arrive. The winner would be the force with the highest total power level within 12 inches of the centre point at the end of the game.
The defenders set up in a fortified position, while the Cult infantry and tanks rolled in from either flank. Several of the Genestealer units were not immediately present, instead laying somewhere in ambush.
The first turn was relatively quiet. Some shots from the Neophytes plinked off wounds from Intercessors here and there, while the battle cannon got a good round of shooting at the Hellblasters, though their barricade saved some, leaving 3 left. The Exterminator also did some damage on the other flank to more Intercessors. In return a few of the cultists were gunned down, and the Hellblasters returned fire, stripping 6 wounds off the Leman Russ, however it's Devoted Crew (stratagem) fought on regardless of the damage.
Turn 2 for the Cult, I moved up and brought on the Hybrids with melee weapons in a Perfect Ambush, and the Primus. The rest of the ambushers waited for their moment to counter attack. Shooting from the tanks finished off the Hellblasters and the last of the Intercessors on the right flank. The Acolytes made a big charge in to the remaining Intercessors on the left, easily cutting them down. At this stage the Luna Crusader's presence was down to three characters, the Chaplain, Company Champion and Lieutenant, but the reinforcements were about to arrive!
Stig rolled for his reserves to arrive, and got everything apart from the Suppressors. A big block of black and yellow marines arrived, flanked by the Redemptors, while the Aggressors popped in a corner to line up a charge on the damaged Leman Russ, the Reivers dropped in behind the Neophytes in cover. Inceptors dropped in to face off against the Acolyte Hybrids.
A brutal shooting phase ensued, with the Acolytes reduced to a single model, while the two Neophyte units in the open were removed. The charge phase was a disappointment however, even with rerolls nothing made it in. To add insult to injury, the last Acolyte passed his morale on a 1, allowing me to play the Cult Reinforcements stratagem to get 4 of them back (naturally the mining weapons).
The Luna Crusaders had punched back, but now was time for the trap to be sprung!
The Patriarch emerged from a hatch to the sewers, looking down and the Inceptors from the shadows. Elsewhere the Purestrains turned up on the right flank in another Perfect Ambush, lining up the Intercessors and a Redemptor, while the demolition charge Acolytes were Laying in Wait for the other Redemptor, supported by the Kelermorph.
Psychic powers went off all over, using both familiars to attempt 5 this turn. Might from Beyond buffed the Purestrains, while some mortal wounds went on one of the Lieutenants, softening him up for the Kelermorph. I attempted to Mind Control the Redemptor, but the Crusaders said no and denied it with a stratagem.
The Shooting phase started well with the Kelermorph killing his target, granting a reroll 1 buff for the Acolytes throwing all their demo charges and destroying the Redemptor. Several other units took casualties, but the rest of the damage was done in the fight phase.
The Patriarch made short work of the Inceptors with a big charge using my last command point to reroll a one. The Purestrains survived the overwatch to reach the Intercessors and the remaining dread, finishing off the Primaris marines but leaving the Redemptor largely intact. The Primus and Magus on the right made it into the Champion and Chaplain, but failing to kill them (and the Primus got battered in response.) Marshall Rhinehart wasn't waiting around, using his warlord trait to heroically intervene 6 inches into the demolitions acolytes, cutting several of them down.
Turn 3 for the Marines, the Suppressors arrived, dropping into a commanding position (and proceeded to have a limited effect on the tough Cult armour.)
The Aggressors moved in, their flamers damaging the Leman Russ further before the charge. The last Reiver tossed a stun grenade at the Neophytes to avoid their overwatch and charge in.
In the shooting phase the two characters on the right flank killed off the Magus with their bolt pistols, allowing them to charge out and tie up the Exterminator and help kill off the Genestealers.
More characters doing work for the Crusaders, the Emperor's Champion cutting down the other Magus, while the Marshal and the Ancient finished off the Acolytes. Rather embarrassingly, having reduced it to 3 wounds, the Aggressors were unable to finish off the Leman Russ in combat, losing one to overwatch to boot.
My turn 4, running out of assets, but still with a few tricks up the sleeves, the Cult tried to hold the middle ground. The Russes broke out of combat, while the Vanquisher lined up and blew up the last Redemptor (causing wounds on the nearby characters). The Kelermorph tried to assassinate Marshal Rhinehart, but his armour just about protected him, leaving him on two wounds. The last Acolytes charge the Emperor's champion to avenge their fallen Magus, but the rock saws were not quite able to cut through, leaving him alive on a single wound, and able to wipe the unit.
The Luna Crusaders were now down to mostly just a few injured characters, but they would not withdraw from this fight!
With little left on the field, the Marshall and the Emperor's Champion joined forces to take on the deadliest threat - the Patriarch. Wreathed in shadow, the xenos proved a tough challenge...
But the Crusaders proved their worth, taking the beast's head! Other action: The Ancient punched out the Kelermorph, the Company Champion charged the Exterminator again, and the Aggressors incinerated the last of the hybrids, before charging and once again failing to kill the Leman Russ.
Turn 5, time to get bodies in the middle. The Brood Brothers finally disembarked from the Chimera, and both units opened fire on the remaining characters.
The Chimera gunned down the Emperor's Champion, while he Marshall was peppered with lasfire and finally downed with a frag grenade.
One tank down, the Aggressors finally got their target. In the centre many of the Brood Brothers were cut down, but they held. The Ancient and wounded Chaplain holding the objective against them. The game did not end. On to turn 6.
Shooting from the remaining Russes (one of which had amusingly run over the Company Champion) and desperate charges from the Brood Brothers and the Chimera failed to remove the Ancient and Chaplain, who charged in himself to try and cut down the last of the cult infantry.
At the end of turn 6, Stig rolled the dice and got a 2. This was the way the world ended. The Brood Brothers had held on, and the Chimera had snuck into the 12 inch radius, but the closest Leman Russ wasn't wholly inside, so the combined power level of the Ancient and the Chaplain trumped them, giving the Luna Crusaders a very narrow win!
What a game! A massacre on both sides, and it came down to some heroics from the Crusader's characters to win the game.In hindsight I shouldn't have gone for the kill on them with the Russes, and instead should have parked them on the narrow edge of the barricades to get one or both within 12 of the centre, but I really wanted to kill them! In the end though I'm pleased with the narrative of the Ancient standing on the objective, holding the banner high, while more Imperial reinforcements pour into the city to destroy the last of the cult. Just in time for the Tyranids to arrive, of course.