Tuesday 9 August 2022

War Zone Nephilim Battle Report - Tyranids vs Astra Militarum


I recently had an awesome game of 40k over at JP's, running Nidzilla style Tyranids into his Astra Militarum that are going to the Leeds GT. As a bit of tournament practice we were using the War Zone Nephilim rules - which was actually my first time with them. Our most recent game had featured the Tyranids winning quite handily, but prior to that, all the way back to the start of 9th ed, my Nids got battered by the Guard so I was out for a bit of revenge!

My Tyranid force consisted of a single Battalion from a custom Hive Fleet - I took the traits for +1 to charge rolls and monsters gaining ObSec (with 10+ wound ones counting as five models). For secondaries I took Bring It Down, Engage On All Fronts and Grind Them Down. I grabbed a bunch of traits and relics, so I started with a single command point. This definitely doesn't feel like an optimised list, but it felt like it might be a bit of fun (inspired a bit by a recent Play On Tabletop battle report) and I think it's quite hard to make a bad Tyranid list these days.

HQ: Hive Tyrant (sword and whip, the Shardgullet, adrenal glands, Catalyst, Onslaught, Adaptive Biology), Trygon Prime (adrenal glands, The Passenger, Heightened Senses), Malanthrope (Synaptic Lynchpin)

Troops: 3x 10 Termagants

Elites: Haruspex, 3 Tyrant Guard, 3 Zoanthropes (Catalyst)

Fast Attack: Mawloc (adrenal glands, Predator Instincts), 3 Ripper Swarms

Heavy Support: Scythed Hierodule (Dermic Symbiosis), Tyrannofex (Synaptic Enhancement, fleshborer hive)

Flyer: Hive Crone

JP's Guard were also running a custom trait Battalion, but had a Super Heavy Auxiliary on the side. His traits were extra range on heavy weapons and reroll a single number of shot die per gun. He skimped on the upgrades a bit so started with 5 CP. His secondaries were also Bring It Down and Engage, but he took Banners as well to round off the three. I don't have the exact list, but it was something like this:

HQ: 2x Demolisher Tank Commander (las and plasma cannon), Psyker

Troops: 6x Infantry Squad (assorted free weapons)

Elites: 5 Bullgryns, 2x Platoon Commander

Fast Attack: 2x Scout Sentinel (Heavy flamer)

Heavy Support: 2x Basilisk (one with Full Payload)

Lord of War: Baneblade (Tank Ace to make it part of the regiment)

Transport: 2x Chimera (heavy bolter/flamer)

The mission was Abandoned Sanctuaries, a hold one, two, more, mission with five objectives in a cross, long edge deployment, and bonus points for controlling the centre objective.

Here's the deployment. We both had some big stuff that was unable to hide, but I was able to cover most of my centre with the Malantrope's now 9 inch spore cloud bubble. My big and little snakes were undeground, while the Guard had everything on the field, apart from some infantry in the Chimeras. The die was rolled, and I was going first.

I expected turn one to be about manoeuvring into position with only minimal damage, since most of it would be coming from melee. I did manage to get onto three objectives, including the Hierodule onto the centre, with Catalyst cast on it. I also had the Zoanthropes Synaptic Imperative active for a load of invulnerables, but in hindsight it didn't really help much.

In any case, my shooting provided surprisingly effective, the Hive Tyrant nuking a Chimera with the Shardgullet relic, and the Crone melting a Guard squad with it's drool and improbably dealing 8 wounds to one of the Tank Commanders with the Tentaclids. 

In Guard turn one, JP got the Chimeras and Sentinels up the board, then unloaded with the big guns to try and take out the Hierodule. Incredibly a Chimera full of Guardsmen dealt seven wounds to the beast thanks to the auto wounding on 6s rule, but thanks to the -1 to hit from the Malanthrope, 4+ invulnerable save and use of the 'transhuman but for monsters' stratagem, it clung on at the bottom of the middle bracket. Elsewhere a unit of Termagants on an objective held on with three models left, in order to ObSec the points and chain back to the Zoanthropes' Synapse, and one of the Tank Commanders shot the Crone out of the sky.

The big move however was the Chimera charging the Hierodule. Obviously it was destroyed, disgorging a unit of obsec bodies onto the objective to hold it and block the Hierodule's movement towards the Baneblade.

Interesting turn one, both of us scrapping for the middle, not too many big kills, but I did pick up Grind Them Down, and was sitting on two objectives for round two.

Turn two, more moving up and grabbing objectives. I was hoping to Onslaught the Haruspex into the Baneblade, but it got a 1 on the advance roll so pretty much put that out of the question. There were also too many Guardsmen up the field to deploy my reserves effectively, so they waited till next turn. I set about removing those forward elements, Guard squads falling with ease to the Hierodule and Tyrant Guard (though a brave Platoon Commander stood his ground on a single wound!). The Tyrannofex had a go at chipping down the badly damaged Leman Russ, but 38 shots produced no failed saves - Armour of Contempt and a 2+ save really helping it out.

At the end of the turn I was back to controlling four of the objectives, but hadn't removed any of the heavy hitters.

The Guard response was fairly brutal, with the Haruspex, Hierodule and Tyrant Guard falling to big guns. More men ran onto the points, with the Bullgryns charging the T-fex in the centre. They barely dented it's T8, 2+ save carapce however, leaving me with an ObSec unit in the centre. They did also have to do some awkward shuffling to avoid some of the damage of the Mawloc coming up in the middle of their castle...

Turn three, snake time! The Mawloc popped up on the enemy objective, dealing a few mortals, and the Trygon Prime tunnelled up in a corner with effectively a 6 inch charge to a Tank Commander - after the Hive Tyrant blasted the damage one. I also brought the Rippers on my home objective to allow the 'gants to run over and get involved elsewhere. The Tyrannofex stayed in combat, dishing out some punishing fire and slowly wearing away at the slab shield Bullgryns.

In the charge phase it started to go a bit wrong - the Prime got into the Commander but totally fluffed the attacks, only chipping off a couple of wounds. (I should have used the Voracious Appetite strat for rerolling wounds.) I also foolishly charged the Malantrope in to the Bullgryns, Overestimating it's defensive profile, only for it to get splatted. 

Amusingly, when it came to Guard turn three, the Mawloc counting as 5 models meant I had claimed their home objective, leaving them with just one. JP was running out of expendable elements, having to stretch to get some infantry into the centre and claim it back. The Baneblade and Basilisks were still operational though, and blasted both my Trygon and Mawloc back into their burrows.

Nid turn four, I was running out of bugs! The Zoanthropes were fairly safe over on the flank, smiting away at the Basilisks, removing one this turn. They were accompanied by a diminished unit of 'gants who got enough friends back with a strat to count for Engage. On the right flank the Hive Tyrant was pretty much going it alone trying to remove the rest of the Guardsmen - and failing to kill the Demolisher Tank Commander that the Trygon had bounced off. Luckily being ObSec and counting as 5 models he was able to reclaim that point as well. In the middle the Termagants swarmed in around the last Bullgryn to ensure I was claiming that objective as well, leaving the Guard just one in their turn once more.

Their retaliation saw the Hive Tyrant badly lose his duel with the Tank Commander, while the Baneblade failed to completely kill off the Tyrannofex thanks to Catalyst.

This meant going into turn five I was still controlling three points, allowing me to max out the Primary. I picked up another couple for Engage but I was unable to bring any more tanks down.

In turn five the remaining Guard forces more or less cleared the board, with the exception of hidden Zoanthropes and Rippers, grabbing a bunch of points for holding the objectives at the end of the turn, plus five for controlling the centre at the end of the game, and maxing out Bring It Down for finally removing the Tyrannofex.

Counting up the scores, it was clear we'd both had mixed success with our secondaries, but thanks to maxing the Primary I was able to just pip it and finish on top, 76-73. Win to the Tyranids!

That was a hell of a game, super close at the end, and a bit of a bloodbath. I was a little surprised by my army in how I didn't actually manage to mangle much stuff in melee, but ObSec monsters meant I was really good at getting the objectives. Very much the opposite of how I envisioned the list working, but made for a fun, tactical game. Plus I'll take that win for some revenge!

Hopefully JP has a great time at the GT - I'm sure there are some lists that will cause him some big problems, but most people need to be at least a bit wary of that kind of firepower! The balance dataslate changes came up a lot in this game, with the improved saves keeping the tanks going longer and the automatic wounds meaning lasguns and heavy bolters were a bit of a threat to even my monsters! They may not be top tier but the Astra Militarum certainly has some teeth.

Anyway, thanks for reading and I hope you've enjoyed it. Stay safe.

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