Sunday 27 September 2020

Daemonettes and the Masque of Slaanesh - Completed


You may remember back in June I posted some pictures of the Chaos Daemons collection that the wife and I had accrued over the years. In that article I mentioned that there were still several old metal Daemons of Slaanesh (old by today's standards - they are at least the third version of the Daemonettes GW produced!) to finish, and that I would likely get round to it eventually. Well, I did!

If you follow me on Twitter or Instagram you may well have seen some of these pictures, but this is the end result of my daemonette painting, added to the existing ones, including their leader, the Masque of Slaanesh (again, an older metal version of the character.)

The existing 'nettes were a mix of blue and pink hair/claws, so to make the unit look more 'cohesive', I painted my third of them with purple bits, I think making a nice effect when the unit is all mixed together. I also fixed up the banner bearer that was previously painted, but needed repairs and a base doing. A couple were missing their arms as well, so I gave them some fun tentacles instead.

The Masque is a slightly newer model than the others, and a slightly better sculpt. This plus being a character model meant I spent a bit more time on her. To tie her in to the whole unit I gave her some fading effect caws and hair, blue, through purple, to pink. It was pretty simple to do - I just painted the base colours on, gave the whole thing a blue wash, then applied a bit of drybrushing of each of the colours - but I'm pretty happy with how it turned out.

Anyway, that was a fun little project, and now the Daemons are ticked off. I think we've got just about enough now to run a full Daemon 2000 point list, though not in any way optimised since it's a mix of all the gods and is pretty much just basic troops and a bunch of characters. But it is done! Hope you enjoyed, and stay safe out there.

Saturday 19 September 2020

Actions - a rules summary thing


Actions are a thing now. A new mechanic for 9th edition 40k, we've probably all seen them talked about and maybe used them in play, but if you are like me, you've probably also been confused by them, gotten them wrong, and tried to avoid them where possible so as not to face digging through the book to work out exactly how a specific action works. I've been using them somewhat grudgingly, but I've made enough mistakes now that I think I've got the basics down, and I think going forward they are going to be quite an important part of the game, both competitively and narratively. They provide more tactical and strategic decisions to be made and mastering how they work - how and when to perform them, and how to disrupt them will be quite a big deal. So here is my quick guide to taking actions in 40k. I'm going to put in bold some key points that I have initially missed so that you can either learn from, or laugh at my mistakes.

First thing to note, the Actions section of the rules (on page 258 in my rulebook) details the main rules for regular actions and psychic actions. Seems simple enough? Psychic actions are basically psychic powers, except your psyker cannot cast any other powers at the same time. Actions are basically a unit  stands there and does nothing for a bit. Well there are a couple of important notes here for the regular actions that I've missed in my games, and there is also the fact that each action specifies when and where it starts and ends, as well as which units can perform them, meaning you will need to check each one to see what it does.

Let's look at exactly what you can and can't do while performing an action. Firstly, it's important to note that your unit cannot start to perform an action while within engagement range of the enemy - but crucially, being in engagement range does not stop the action from being completed. I've definitely got this one wrong, thinking that breaking the initial criteria for an action will stop the action - it is not the case! This also seems to apply to the individual actions - for example the Siphon Power action from The Four Pillars mission states that to start it, there must not be enemy units in range of the objective marker, but it doesn't say anything about enemy units moving into range stopping the action from occurring. I believe we were playing under the impression that it would stop the action during this game, though I think various failed charges stopped it becoming an issue.

Also in terms of things you can and can't do - even though most actions are done at the end of the movement phase, a unit cannot start an action if it has advanced or fallen back. Once it has started the action, it cannot move (in pretty much any way), shoot, charge, do psychic powers and cannot use it's aura abilities if it's a character, but notably it can fight in the fight phase if it is charged. (More accurately, it can do these things, but doing so makes the action fail - you might decide in your shooting phase that actually you really need to kill that last guy in a unit, rather than raising the banner.) We got both of these wrong in this game, with falling back units trying to pick up the relic, and then failing once engaged in combat. Luckily these two kind of cancelled each other out, and the result of the game was not dependant on either.

The last thing I'd like to mention is, when looking at the specific actions and when they occur, it's fairly clear that not all actions end at the same time, many are completed at the end of your turn, but at the end of your next command phase is a common one as well, but it might not be immediately obvious that individual actions specify when a unit can start performing them, and what type of unit can do so. The vast majority of them are started at the end of your movement phase - allowing you to position your units for them during your turn, but there are others, notably the Raze Objective action from the Scorched Earth mission that work differently, in this case at the start of your movement phase. We were very nearly caught out by this in this game, but we both decided not to use the associated secondary objective after we read the rule more carefully. Similarly most actions can be taken by any unit (though frequently not aircraft), but some specify infantry, characters etc.

So that's my little summary of the things I got wrong about the action rules. I'm sure anyone who is a die hard matched play gamer will have already worked all this out, but I suspect there's a fair few people out there who are like me and were initially confused by the somewhat scattered nature of the rules. I hope this helps someone out there to understand the rule better and to work out how to make use of it during their games. Thanks for reading, stay safe.

Sunday 13 September 2020

Crusade Battle Report - Adeptus Mechanicus vs Orks


After the failures on the unnamed desert planet, the Helios Exploratory Crusade has moved on to the nearby jungle world of Goros, acting on the ancient distress signal of a crashed pre-heresy satellite, previously been lost to deep space. In a billion to one chance, the weakened transmission from the fallen relic was picked up by the fleet's sensors, and they made planet-fall within a standard terran week. But as they located the archeotech satellite, the forces of Ryza were themselves being watched. The local Deathskull Orks noticed the new arrivals, and saw their chance at grabbing some loot! As the Mechanicus prepared the rituals to appease the machine spirit of the satellite, the Iron Waaagh clambered into their transports and revved their engines!

I recently played my third Crusade game, against Tony of the Narrative Wargamer Podcast (which of course I recently was a guest on). We played at 55 power level, so he could use his full initial order of battle, but we decided to play an Incursion mission (normally up to 50 power level) to keep it a little bit simpler. We rolled up The Ritual, which is an interesting asymmetric mission where the defender has to perform a ritual with their warlord, while the attacker has to kill the warlord, in addition to scoring points for holding 2 or more objective and more than your opponent. We also decided, since we were on a jungle planet, that we would use the Theatre of War: Forest World rules from Saga of the Beast. This adds a couple of special rules to allow infantry and swarms to be untargetable if they are more than 12 inches away, providing they didn't shoot or advance, and a chance for high strength weapons to fell trees and cause mortal wounds on their targets. There is also a stratagem to let units fade away into the undergrowth, but neither of us used it. We decided that narratively the AdMech would be defending, performing a ritual to appease the machine spirits of some archeotech, while the Orks would be attacking, drawn by the opportunity of loot.

My force came to 54 power, and contained both my units who had gained battle honours: Sec Decima the Datasmith (the Laurels of Command) and his charges, the Kastelan Robots the Fists of Reverence (Improved Shielding). Alongside them was Magos Vettius Thannek, the Tech-priest Dominus as the warlord, the Vanguard, the Breachers, a unit of Destroyers, the Dunecrawler, the Serberys Raiders, the Pteraxii Sterylizors and a new addition - a unit of 5 Sicarian Ruststalkers. I did not expect great things from them, based on their track record, but it was a narrative game so I was willing to give them a go. I picked Priority Target and Survivor as my Agendas, reasoning my force would be looking to destroy the heretical Ork vehicles and Thannek would need to survive to successfully complete the ritual.

Tony took his appropriately blue and looted Deathskulls Ork army, Zaggdreg's Iron Waaagh! Aside from Zaggdreg Ironhide himself (a Mega armoured Big Mek with the warlord trait Follow Me Ladz! and upgraded to be Da Kleverest Boss), he had a Big Mek with Kustom Force Field, 3 Meganobz, two units of 10 Boyz in Trukks, a unit of 17 Boyz, who along with the characters were piled into a Gunwagon (upgraded with the ZagZap kustom job) and a Megatrakk Scrapjet. Zaggdreg's initial crusade goal was to destroy 10 vehicles with 11+ wounds and loot them by also winning the game. As such he also took the Agenda Priority Target, and added Breakthrough to that, since they were trying to stop the AdMech completing the ritual and running off with da loot! This was his first Crusade game (and first game of 9th edition!) so no extra Battle Honours or anything in the list. Tony also took a load of photos of the game and I looted some of them off him.

Deployment, I put the Sterylizors flying through the sky above, and the Orks decided to deploy the Meganobz in the Tellyporta, as well as putting the Scrapjet into strategic reserves. With the Laurels of Command this gave me a pretty big headstart on CP. The rest of the Orks all deployed in their wagons, while the AdMech forces spread along the lines taking up firing positions, Thannek positioned on the objective ready to perform the ritual. The Orks won the first turn, so the Raiders used their pre-game move to run back from the front! Also, we decided that the large forest terrain would be obscuring for this game as well as dense, and the thorny spine things would could as barricades. Combined with the Theatre of War rules, this meant the table was actually not nearly as open as it might look.

First turn and not a lot of activity from the Orks, mostly advancing up into positions behind the trees or in the dense cover. Token shooting phase was ineffective. No points scored, onto turn one for the AdMech. 

Mechanicus turn one, the close ranged units move up to engage on the Ork strong flank with the Trukk and Gunwagon full of boyz, while the Destroyers line up their shots on the lone Trukk on the left. I score points for holding 2+ objectives, more than the Orks, and at the end of the turn for completing the ritual action with Thannek, putting me into a solid 30-0 lead at the start. 

Both Deathskull Trukks prove surprisingly resilient to my shooting, the left one surviving the Plasma Specialist (but not super charged) Destroyers - even with the assistance of a falling tree. The one on the right soaked up the Neutron laser and the Heavy Arc rifles, and eventually fell to the Vanguard, who I had planned on not shooting to keep them hidden in the forests.

Emergency Disembarking onto the far side of the forest, the Orks were safe from the Robots and Breachers, but the Ruststalkers were able to get in. To my complete surprise, they butchered the whole mob! Their transonic weapons apparently were well tuned in to Ork flesh.

Ork turn two, and it was krumpin' time! Zaggdreg and his boyz got out of the Gunwagon and lined up multiple charges. On the left of the battlefield the Boyz got out of the Trukk and looked menacingly at the Serberys Raiders in the woods. The Meganobz also materialised in my backfield, putting more pressure on the right flank. The green and blue wave was about to crash onto the AdMech lines.

Shooting was mostly irrelevant, apart from the ZagZap on the Gunwagon, which fired twice, failing to wound once, and dealing 3 mortal wounds on the Kastelans at the second attempt. (It automatically hits at strength 2D6, it a 9+ is rolled it's 3 mortal wounds instead.) Then the charges...

The Boyz surrounded the Raiders, piled in to the Breachers and the Robots, with the Datasmith heroically intervening. The Gunwagon and the boss himself rammed into the Robots as well. Sadly for the Deathskulls, the Meganobz failed to reach the Breachers. Attacking first, Zaggdreg smashed his powerklaw into the Kastelan Robots (who had switched to Conqueror Protocols) and did a total of one wound. Very unfortunate. The Boyz didn't fare much better, failing to do much to the Breachers or across the board, kill the Raiders. In retaliation the Fists of Reverence smashed the Big Mek to the ground. In his last act of the battle, Zaggdreg yelled "Orkz is never beaten!" and attacked once more, this time doing even worse and failing to wound at all. It was a very disappointing turn for the Orks, a sea of ones and twos putting them in a very bad position. 

AdMech turn two, more points were scored, the Magos continued his ritual, and guns were brought to bare on the unengaged Orks. The Serberys unit performed a Desperate Breakout manoeuvre to escape the Boyz, allowing the Vanguard to light them up, reducing them to a single model after their morale. The Onager and the Destroyers targeted the Meganobz, surprisingly leaving one still standing.

One of the Destroyers wasn't in range though, so instead finished off the Trukk that the Pteraxii Sterylizors had dropped in to deal with, making them feel a bit foolish. In melee the robots continued to strip wounds off the Gunwagon, while the Ruststalkers charged into the big mob of Boyz on the right and made it a much smaller mob.

Turn three and it was looking a bit desperate for the Orks, but they continued pushing toward the enemy Warlord. The Scrapjet came in this turn and took a big chunk out of the Pteraxii in shooting and melee, marking another forgettable appearance for them. The remaining Big Mek fixed up the Gunwagon a bit, while it fired the ZagZap into combat, reducing one of the robots to one wound (it had also been repaired in my previous turn). The remaining Meganob managed to make it into melee with the Onager, but the bad luck continued as he only managed to strip a single wound off it. Elsewhere the boyz on the right flank were finally killed off by the Breachers/Ruststalkers. Hilariously the Onager also managed to deal a wound back on the Meganob, thanks to the Ryza specific Canticle in effect - improving the AP of all melee weapons by 1. The Robots also finished off the Gunwagon, piled into the Big Mek to attack again, and somehow failed to kill him.

Again getting points for holding objectives and completing the ritual putting me waaaay in the lead, it looked like mopping up time. The Raiders finished the last Ork on the left jungle objective with an Archeo-revolver shot to the head, while the Vanguard moved up and blasted the Meganob, then charging in to finish him off with the help of their rad-saturation and the Canticle in effect. The Big Mek fell in combat to the last Ruststalker, leaving onto the Scrapjet facing down the entire AdMech force.

The Scrapjet pilot however, Flyboy Tanksplitta, was going to have his moment of glory, regardless if any of his allies were conscious enough to see it. He moved into position, shot up the Onager with his rokkits...

Charged the robots, staying more than an inch away from the uninjured one, then caused mortal wounds with Spiked Ram. No longer within one inch of an enemy, the Unstoppable Momentum stratagem was played, allowing him to charge again...

Skidding all over the jungle, the Scrapjet ended up in melee with the Onager, and between dealing mortal wounds again and a strong roll for the Nose Drill...

The Onager was destroyed, earning Flyboy Tanksplitta some valuable experience points for Priority Target, and putting him in melee of my warlord!

Of course that also put him in the middle of all my guns, and the Scrapjet was blown to pieces, leaving no Ork units on the board and a resounding victory for the Helios Crusade.

Magos Vettius Thannek gazed upon the smouldering wreck of the xenos vehicle with what might pass as disgust. It had been an affront to the Omnissiah, and it's tortured machine spirit needed to be freed. Sadly he was well aware that the Orks would undoubtedly build it back, though he would like to think he at least gave them a challenge. Still, they had got what they had come here for, the ancient knowledge contained within the satellite, a fragment of sacred STC code, a find of immense value. They would leave this world knowing the lives lost and the damage sustained was not in vain.

Thannek transmitted these thoughts to his cohort through the noosphere, and in return, received congratulatory binharic chatter from his Skitarii, confirmation chimes from his servitors, and a litany of praise for the Omnissiah from the fleet in high orbit. Though indecipherable to biological ears, it represented a raucous round of applause for their leader.

That was another fun Crusade game, though a bit one sided thanks to some poor luck from the Ork side early on. We rolled up the various results of the game, thanks to being the winning leader Thannek got a free Battle Trait - becoming an Inspiring Hero - giving him a 6 inch bubble of +1 leadership to allies, and a 6 inch Heroic Intervention range. He also levelled up to Blooded, thanks to completing the Survivor Agenda, so I gave him my second Crusade Relic - the Conversion Field - a 4+ invulnerable save that can bounce back damage as mortal wounds in melee on 6s. I chose to put the Marked for Greatness XP on the Ruststalkers since they surprised me with their competency, though it wasn't enough for them to upgrade. For the Orks, unsurprisingly the Scrapjet was Marked for Greatness, and having got a Priority Target, it was upgraded with a Fleshbane Nose Drill for +1 damage. It also was so badly wrecked that it gained a Battle Scar - Weakened Armour, meaning it would take a mortal wound every time it's hit by a strength 8+ weapon!

I really enjoyed this mission and the little tweak with the Forest World rules, it felt a lot like some of the older one-off or campaign narrative games I've played, with asymmetric objectives, fun special rules and a pretty clearly defined narrative to the scenario. I think even without the Crusade admin, this mission would be a good one for someone looking for a bit of a break from the somewhat samey matched play missions, and I suspect the same could be said for many of the other Crusade missions. I do not like to disparage how others play the game, but I think if you are only playing the standard 2000 point matched play scenarios, you are missing out a bit on some of the cool stuff 9th edition has to offer. Hope you enjoyed this one, and stay safe out there.

Tuesday 8 September 2020

Combat Patrol Battle Report - Orks vs Adepta Sororitas


Game two of the Combat Patrol night with SorcererDave. This time we decided to step it up a bit, and play one of the three matched play combat patrol scenarios. We settled on the first one, Incisive Attack, which let us pretty much play the same board and deployment as before, only with the objectives shifted around. A unique feature of this mission is that once an objective is held, it remains held by that side until the enemy forces claim it, meaning you can continue to score a home objective while pushing forward with all your units, encouraging a nice big central scrum. Once again Dave was running the Sisters, but this time I took the Orks! WAAAGH!

I raided Saga of the Beast and took the Tin 'Eads specialist mob - meaning all the walkers would get +1 to hit in melee. Kans hitting on 4s and Dreads hitting on 2s! I also spent some CP on kustom jobs, so my Kans were -1 to hit with ranged weapons, and the Dread gained 3 inches of movement. My Warlord trait refunded me one of these. For my secondaries I picked Slay the Warlord, Raise the Banners High and the mission specific objective Surgical Assault - offering 5 points if you hold the objective in your opponent's zone at the end of your turn.

HQ: Big Mek with Kustom Force Field (Warlord Trait: Follow Me Lads! Relic: Super Cybork Body)

Troops: 10 Boyz (Shootas, big shoota, Powerklaw)

Heavy Support: 4 Killa Kans (4 Rokkits, 2 Buzzsaws, 2 Kan klaws, Dirty Gubbinz), Deffdread (2 klaws, 2 rokkits, Orkymatic Pistons)

SorcererDave took a similar force to the previous game, swapping out a sister and a few special weapons to get more meltas, and swapping relics/traits around. They were still Valorous Heart and still had an Imagifier, though this time with a 9 inch bubble! He took Raise the Banners High, Bring it Down (no brainer) and While We Stand We Fight as his secondaries - the latter covering the two characters and a Sister Superior with a combi-melta.

HQ: Canoness (Plasma pistol, blessed blade, Warlord Trait: Impervious to Pain, Relic: Iron Surplice of Saint Istaela)

Troops: 10 Battle Sisters (Simulacrum Imperialis, melta, combi-melta), 10 Battle Sisters (Simulacrum Imperialis, 2 meltas), 9 Battle Sisters (Simulacrum Imperialis)

Elites: Imagifier (Relic: Book of Saint Lucius)

Everything was deployed on the board, no reserves, so with that we rolled off. I won the roll but reasoning the Sisters had little to hurt me at this range, let them spend a turn getting closer to me, which they did. The Canoness raised a banner, while the Sisters advanced up (they had +1 to this thanks to one of their sacred rites) to reach one of the central objective markers. Some small arms fire chipped a couple of wounds off a Kan, but in my turn the Mek fixed it.

In my turn da boyz moved into position to cause some damage, while the Kans marched up under the force field and the Dread zoomed up the flank to sit behind a building and out of line of sight of most of the meltas. But then, disaster! The boyz failed their charge! That put them in a precarious position, and gifted the Sisters a whole load of Primary points for holding one, two and more than me!

In return, those boys were punished, dropping the unit down to a mere two models - though after morale there was importantly still one left. The sisters also managed to get a single melta shot on my Dread (and in doing so got onto the third objective) and dropped it down below half wounds. Ouch!

My turn two needed to be a counter punch - the Kans and Dread got into range for a charge at the Sisters by the pipes, while that last boy legged it and called his mates - Unstoppable Green Tide was played getting my Boyz right up behind the sisters, with shots and a charge on their characters. This could be a big swing in points, to potentially hold the far objective, remove the banner, slay the warlord and get rid of two of the most expensive models. Of course their shooting wasn't the best, and then they failed their charge.

The Kans and Dread made it in, but needed a command point to re-roll the Kan charge. Poor rolls in combat resulted in the Sisters still standing defiantly on the objective. Not the turn I needed. Going into their turn three the sisters once again racked up 15 points on the Primary.

Dropping out of combat, the rest of the sisters lined up their bolters and meltas to unload into the Kans, while the Canoness bravely opted to take care of those Ork boyz herself. The Shooting was a mixed bag - the Kans lost two of their number, taking a sister with them due to an explosion, but they failed to kill the 2 wound Deffdread.

The Canoness cut down two of the Orks, and survived their return swings (including the powerklaw), but the boyz were kunnin' as well as brutal, and piled in around her to get within 3 inches of the undefended objective, earning me points for Surgical Assault and 10 Primary points in my turn 3. Maybe there was a way back for the Orks?

The Kans were tied up in combat (they killed a couple more sisters with shooting and melee), and there was no chance of charging over the pipes to the squad on objective 1, so the Deffdread and the Mek (fixing the machine up a few wounds) charged the unit in the ruins. I played the Dreaded Death Machine stratagem from Saga of the Beast, meaning every time the Dread killed a model it got to attack again - combined with hitting on 2s and wounding on 2s, it killed off six of the sisters! However, not enough to push them off the objective, gaining them 10 points for the primary and only 5 away from the maximum 45.

Dropping back to defend their objectives from the Orks, the Sisters lined up their guns and felled another Kan, but were unable to bring enough firepower to the Dread. In melee the Canoness continued to swing, but took a solid hit from the Klaw and was reduced to 3 wounds.

In Ork turn 4 the Dread finished off the last Sisters in the ruins, and the Kan caused some harassment to the bolter squad that was trying to hold their rear objective. Then disaster for the Sisters! The Nob's powerklaw powered up, hitting and wounding three times! The Canoness fell, granting me 6 points for Slay the Warlord, and once I had piled in, the 5 points for Surgical Assault!

Turn 5 suddenly became quite close - I was behind on the Primary objectives, but I could get the full 15 on my turn 5 the Orks still held that Sisters home objective, plus Surgical Assault once more, and if I could kill off that Imagifier I'd steal it! The Sisters lined up and fired their bolters into the Boyz, disciplined shots cutting through them to shut the game down. Into my turn and I picked up a respectable 10, plus some more points for the banner on my objective that had been there since turn one and a cheeky extra one for a banner raised by the Big Mek on the ruins objective.

With the scored added up, Primary, Secondary and painting, it ended in a close run victory for the Adepta Sororitas, 75 to 62. A dramatic little game with the luck swinging heavily in Dave's favour early before coming right back to me at the end, but not quite enough to see the Orks over the line. That sisters infantry blob with the banner is a very tough nut to crack, and I can see that 500-ish point chunk be a solid base for many Sisters lists. My Deffdread definitely performed, but the Killa Kans were a bit disappointing, and gave away a load of points for Bring it Down as well. Ultimately I think I lacked the infantry presence to cap those middle objectives early (in both games), so perhaps more troops next time!

I really had fun playing the Combat Patrol games, it was interesting to see the game scale down very well and to get lots of little dramatic moments that might have been lost in a larger game. I think we need to give GW a bit more credit for how they've included these smaller scale games in the rulebook with their own missions and scaling on command points etc. The command points especially is very interesting - the one you get at the start of your turn suddenly becomes very powerful when you only start with two or three!

I was a bit surprised that even at 500 points we were picking three secondaries (compared to Crusade where the number of agendas you pick scales up with the size of the game) and it was quite tricky to pick them! I feel like some of the neglected ones like Slay the Warlord and First Strike might be well suited to this level where you are unlikely to maximise your points off them anyway. Similarly, some of the common picks might not be so suited to these small games - with so few units on the table and a smaller board size, Engage on All Fronts could actually be quite tricky, and even against an infantry heavy force I could have got a total of three points from Thin Their Ranks.

So I'd definitely recommend others give Combat Patrol a go, especially if you are new and struggling to build up a 'full' army, or if you are just a bit bored of samey 2000 point missions. Combat Patrol is there and it is a legitimate way to play the game. Hope you enjoyed, and stay safe.

Friday 4 September 2020

Combat Patrol Battle Report - Genestealer Cult vs Adepta Sororitas


I recently played a couple of non-filmed games of 40k with SorcererDave while we got to grips with the new rules a bit and did some (very vague) brainstorming for the next instalment of the Reuvengrad Campaign. Since he'd not played the new edition, or any 40k at all since February, we decided to do a couple of 500 point combat patrol games to keep it simple-ish.

For the first game we played the basic Only War mission from the 9th edition core rules. Simply 4 objectives, score a point for each you hold at the start of your turn and an extra point if you slay the enemy warlord.

I took my Genestealer Cult for the first time in 9th - or more accurately a Brood Brothers armoured patrol. A Cult of the Four Armed Emperor patrol detachment where only two models actually had that key word! I also quite wanted to take the awesome female Magus mini, but I felt there was a certain history here so I had to bring back the old boy from Morgan's Reach.

HQ: Magus (Mass Hypnosis, Undermine, Warlord trait: Inscrutable Cunning, Relic: Amulet of the Void Wyrm)

Troops: 10 Brood Brothers (Flamer, Grenade Launcher, Vox)

Elites: Kelermorph

Heavy Support: Leman Russ (Battle cannon, heavy bolter)

Dedicated Transport: Chimera (Heavy Bolter, Multilaser, Heavy Stubber)

That's a bloody cheeky banner Dave! The Sorcerer took his Adepta Sororitas out for a spin, building a solid defensive blob of nuns to cause me issues. I forget the exact list, but it was a Valorous Heart patrol (they get a 6+ 'feel no pain' and to ignore -1 AP modifiers, and -2 if in range of the Imagifier) a bit like this:

HQ: Canoness (Blessed blade, plasma pistol, Warlord Trait: Impervious to Pain, Relic: Mantle of Ophelia)

Troops: 3x 10 Battle Sisters (Assorted special weapons and Simulacrum Imperialis)

Elites: Imagifier (Heroine in the making: Beacon of Faith)

With the mission chosen and objectives set out, we 'deployed' - though being Genestealer Cults I cheated and just put some ambush markers down. I also had the Kelermorph ready to pop up from underground. Dave chose to put one of his units (one with a couple of meltas) into strategic reserve for a command point. It looked like we both had two easily grab-able objectives near our deployment zones, so the game would probably be won or lost either in attempts to take the enemy objectives or in losing our warlords. I won the roll for first turn, so the Cult took the initiative.

Turn one was fairly uneventful, the Cult moved up to cover their objectives and get a few shots in on the sisters, which bounced off their power armour thanks to their Stoic Endurance trait and the Imagifier - ignoring the -2 AP on the battle cannon! In response the Sisters marched up onto their objectives and plinked a few bolter shells off the armoured vehicles of the Brood Brothers.

Turn 2 saw things heat up a bit. The Cult got into position to pour fire into the Sisters in the open, while the Kelermorph popped up from hiding. It was A Perfect Ambush, effectively meaning he could shoot twice, once in the movement phase and once in the shooting phase. He aimed at that bloody banner, but when all his guns ran empty, thanks to miracle dice and her special rules, the Imagifier remained standing. A few of the other sisters fell though under sustained firepower, but not enough to shift them off the objective.

In retaliation the outflanking battle sisters arrived from strategic reserve to level their meltas at the Leman Russ, while the other Sororitas turned to gun down the unfortunate Kelermorph. The Leman Russ suffered minor damage, but more importantly the Battle Sisters near the Chimera decided to charge into it, stopping it rolling past them and onto the objective.

In my turn three the Cult opened fire once more, the Chimera knocking down some of the sisters and close range, and then running one over, while the Leman Russ backed up a bit and unloaded the battle cannon into the sneaky melta sisters. They didn't need their banner however as poor shooting and good saves left the unit mostly intact.

Sisters turn three, and the meltas had warmed up, reducing the Russ to slag. Elsewhere a few Brood Brothers were slain, but the Chimera remained in combat and the squad protecting the objective from it was looking thin on the ground.

Turn 4, with the Russ gone I was now only scoring one objective and I knew I had to make a move to try and top the Sisters scoring both of theirs. The Magus jumped forward to smite the squad, though it was denied by the faith of the Sisters, thanks to one of their Sacred Rites they had performed before the battle. The Chimera did sterling work reducing the squad to just the Superior however, and denying that objective.

On equal points and with one turn to go, the Sisters went in for the kill, mobbing the Chimera, while the Imagifier planted her banner at the objective. Importantly the Canoness made it to melee with the Magus, looking to cut the head from the snake, so to speak.

And in a not-in-any-way close contest, the Canoness cut the Magus down. With that point for slay the warlord, and the fact we would both be getting a point for holding objectives, I needed to kill the Canoness to claim a draw. However with half a Brood Brother squad left and the Chimera unhelpfully not exploding, it wasn't going to happen, and it was a victory for the Adepta Sororitas.

This was a fun, if not particularly even, little battle. I'll be writing up the second game later, so I'll save most of my thoughts on Combat Patrol sized games for the end of that one, but generally I'm a fan, and a fan of the fact that GW seem to want to push small 500 point games as a legitimate way to play. I also quite enjoyed playing this simple Only War mission. It's the one included in the free Core Rules document, so it's literally the 'standard' mission, but it really captures the 9th edition mission style (objectives are priority over killing your opponent - you need to be scoring throughout the game) without the added complexity of secondary objectives or agendas that lead to lots of admin. I think it would be a shame if this scenario was disregarded by the community, it is one of the few proper 'casual' missions in the book, and that's a very large niche that's not very well filled at the moment.

Hope you had fun reading, and maybe consider playing this mission if you've been feeling the new 40k is a bit too much. Stay safe out there.