February 21, 2013

Mini-Tournament 16.2.2013. Vulkan Ownage!

Greetings my fellow 40k-ers, here's another triple battle report for your viewing pleasure.

Before I begin, let me say how thrilled I am about the “Death From the Skies” supplement. Seriously, stormravens not only make vanilla more competitive, they also make close combat dreadnoughts and stormtalons a lot more desirable because they provide them with reliable assault transport and awesome target saturation, respectively. This not only opens up a variety of new lists and tactics, it actually turns vanilla into a nice ally option for other armies. For example, a nullzone libby, a tac squad, a stormraven, and perhaps a stormtalon or 5 hammernators strike me as a neat addition to armies who lack their own (good) fliers, such as space wolves, tau, eldar, dark angels, etc. Also, skyhammer stormtalons that cost the same as rifleman dreads are insanely good. Food for thought.

1850 pts armies, rulebook missions + the nemesis special rule. The nemesis special rule states that any unit who scores first blood is automatically worth one victory point if destroyed. My list:

Captain Adolf von Klinkerhofen (Vulkan counts as)
Tactical Squad RED – flamer, combiflamer, plasma cannon, rhino
Tactical Squad YELLOW – flamer, combiflamer, plasma cannon, rhino
Tactical Squad GREEN – flamer, combiflamer, missile launcher
5x Hammernators
2x multimelta Attack Bikes
Land Speeder – heavy flamer & multimelta
Land Speeder – heavy flamer & multimelta
Land Raider Godhammer – multimelta
Vindicator – dozer blade
Vindicator – dozer blade
Aegis Defense Line – quad-gun
TOTAL: 1850 pts

The plan (short version): turn 1 – rush towards the enemy, turn 2 – kill everything. The plan (long version): I definitely want to get first turn. Tactical Squad Green sits behind aegis defense line & mans the quad-gun and maybe holds an objective, while plasma cannon combat squads camp in terrain. Everything else turbo-boosts forward. Bikes move 24" in front of the vehicles to give them cover saves. If opponent has barrages or something else that negates standard cover, tanks move 12" and pop smoke. Speeders deep strike. Turn 2, everything comes in 6-24" range and makes someone's mother cry.

FUN FACT: I'll forever hold Vulkan close to my heart because he's the first HQ I have ever fielded and the one I took my baby steps with. When I started 40k in early 5th edition, all my lists typically consisted of Vulkan & hammernators in a LR, with three tactical squads with MLs, flamers, combiflamers, power fists, and rhinos. 1500 pts armies were the standard back then. Needless to say, there weren't many points leftover for other stuff, so I tended to lose whenever someone immobilized or destroyed my LR early on. However, due to the fact I was one of few mech players back then (and mech was overpowered in 5th) and that my regular opponents were tyranids, ultramarines, world eaters, necrons, and blood angels, I actually managed to win the majority of my games. I even believed I was an awesome general. Good times.


You may remember this guy from the goddamn LOS-blocking hill battle report. Guess what, we ended up playing on a table with the same oversized hill again. The good news, however, was that he was fielding a pure drop pod list, so the hill wasn't going to come into play. Four of his five pods were full of wolf guard with combiplasmas and combimeltas, plus two terminators, one with assault cannon, another with hammer & shield. The fifth pod carried Logan Grimnar, Arjac Rockfist, and three more th/ss termies. The mission was four objectives (each worth 3 VPs), 12" deployment. He wins the roll-off and decides to give me the first turn. I deploy in a defensive position to make it hard for combimeltas to get into 6" range. My plan is to basically be a rock and let him break against me.

I spread out and pop smoke with all my vehicles.

Three drop pods, one of them containing Logan & his hammernators, arrive. The left-side rhino is blown up by meltas. The right-side vindicator is immobilized by Arjac's hammer.

Both speeders arrive. One scatters off the table, resulting in a mishap that has it placed in the upper right corner. Undaunted, its driver steps on the pedal and turbo-boosts back towards my deployment zone. Lots of shooting occurs, killing plenty of wolf guard and one of Logan's terminator buddies. Hammernators try to charge Logan & co, but roll poorly and fail their charge. The centermost wolf guard squad is assaulted by Vulkan, who kills four of them. They inflict two wounds on him, lose combat, and manage to flee, leaving him in the open.

The remaining two drop pods arrive. Vulkan is plasmaed to death. The surviving two wolf guard from the squad Vulkan charged rally and assault a plasma cannon combat squad. Hammernators are shot at by combiplasmas and two of them go down. They then fail their leadership test and run off the board. Logan & co assault and wipe out a combat squad. I'm hating life.

I turbo-boost the right-side rhino with a combat squad inside into the midfield, so it can grab an objective in the opponent's deployment zone and score linebreaker. The left-side vindicator turns to face the wolf guard squad between it and the LR, and in a moment of true beauty pays for itself and probably for its twin brother by vaporizing 7 out of 8 of them with a single shot. My tacs, attack bikes, speeder, and LR mop up, opening fire on the remaining wolf guard, but failing to wipe them out. My combat squad kills the last wolf guard in combat and consolidates.

Opponent moves his surviving wolf guard squad up and attempts a multiple assault, but shoots too well and ends up taking out his primary target. Logan & co assault the quad-gun crew and the immobilized vindicator, with predictable results.

My left-most combat squads gets epic terrain and run moves, managing to reach the other objective in the opponent's deployment zone. The rest of my army takes out a drop pod as well as the last few wolf guards. The mishapped speeder finally arrives and joins the fun.

Logan & co charge the closest combat squad, stomp them into the ground, and move into midfield.

I point all my guns at Logan's unit. The last two terminators are turned into molten slag. Both Arjac and the Great Wolf are reduced to a single wound each. At that point I'm pretty confident I'm going to win. Logan & Arjac are stuck in midfield, far away from the two objectives I hold, and unlikely to be able to do anything meaningful. Then, to my horror, they fail their morale test, resulting in a 11" retreat + 3" regroup, which enables the two of them to...

...Get close enough to assault one of my two remaining combat squads, decimate them, and then seize the objective, possibly resulting in a draw thanks to a single failed leadership test. Thankfully, the match goes on for another turn.

TURNS 6 & 7:
The left-side vindicator moves into terrain, shoots at Arjac and Logan, and scores a direct hit, mowing both of them down and winning me the battle. Overall, that one 120 pts tank took out 700+ pts of deathstar/wolf guard during the course of the match. It's almost as if Lando himself was piloting it.

The rest of the 6th turn and all of the 7th is spent wrecking drop pods, resulting in me winning by tabling the opponent.

I botched up my deployment and first turn, allowing Arjac and combimelta wolf guard to get within 6" of my LR and right-side vindicator. I also had the disadvantages of going first and getting the table side with a single objective, but I dealt with it well, if I do may say so. My dice rolls during the first couple of turns were depressing, what with hammernators running off the board and Vulkan getting shot up like a total chump. Logan & Arjac failing a ld10 roll and getting a free 14" move that almost won/tied them the game was frustrating.


Nob bikerz list, the first one I've ever faced. Two big units, each with a powerklaw warboss, boss pole, painboy, cybork bodies, two powerklaws, big choppas, and combiscorchas. Also, a unit of four outflanking deffkoptas with rokkits. Three objectives, one in the middle worth 3 pts, one in your deployment zone worth 2 pts, the one in opponent's deployment zone worth 4 pts. Diagonal/table quarters deployment. He gets first turn and night fighting is active. I place my objective on top of a wrecked building, preventing him from being able to contest it. The central objective is inside the middle ruin. I put one combat squad with a rhino in reserve. My plan was to shoot most of his nobz to death and then go medieval on the remainders with vulkan & th/ss termies, at which point I would grab either the objective in the middle or the one in his deployment zone with the reserved combat squad.

The bikers advance. The left-side unit remains rather far back though.

I smell blood and go all out on the right-side bikerz unit, determined to wipe them out fast. They're pretty close, so the LR leaves the safety of the defense line in order to disembark my th/ss termies into 2-3" range of the closest nob. Regrettably, my shooting ends up being too effective, killing so many nobz that my terminators remain too far away and fail their charge.

Deffkoptas stay in reserve. The right-side warboss leaves his unit and assaults the attack bikes, wiping them out. The three surviving bikerz pull back to contest the objective in their deployment zone. The other biker unit shoots up the terminators, killing 3, and then multiple-charges them and the LR but, to my misfortune, fails to wipe them out, meaning they're locked in combat and safe from my shooting. The LR is stunned.

Speeders arrive from reserve, both of them deep striking around the opponent's objective, both scattering too far to be able to use their flamers. I move one of my rhinos up, creating a mini-wall to prevent them from getting more charges off in the following turn. The warboss who slaughtered the attack bikes is shot to death. During assault phase, the two terminators finally die.

Deffkoptas are still in reserve. The three bikerz at the opponent's objective move down and destroy the speeder. The big nob unit in the middle shoots like crazy, but fails to destroy the rhino. They then assault the LR and the rhino, stripping another two hull points off the LR and exploding the rhino.

Rhino combat squad arrives from reserves and rushes towards the opponent's objective. I open fire, killing and wounding a bunch of nobz as well as injuring the warboss.

Deffkoptas arrive and blast the combat squad rhino to pieces. The three bikerz then assault the combat squad and, although they suffer some wounds from overwatch, they manage to decimate them without any casualties. The warboss keeps hitting the LR, failing to do anything to it. The middle nobz multiple-assault the quad-gun combat squad and the nearby vindicator, destroying them all.

I shoot my depleted guns at the nobz, killing some, but it's not enough. Furthermore, I assault the warboss with Vulkan, hoping to strip his last wound before he gets to swing. Vulkan's dice suck, however, and he ends up getting powerklawed by the warboss.

Middle nobz are pulled back to contest the middle objective. Warboss assaults and destroys the second vindicator.

Shooting from combat squads finally strips the warboss of his last wound. The remaining speeder moves in on the three nobz at the opponent's objective and sends all three of them to green heaven. Game ends. Opponent wins 5-4.

I've made serious mistakes in this match. Getting greedy and disembarking my hammernators on first turn was by far the worst. If I had managed to pull that charge off, I probably would've been able to wipe out the entire unit and keep my attack bikes, but failure to do so would result in my LR & termies being left in the open to die, effectively stripping me of my counter-charge unit early on, which is exactly what happened. It was an unnecessary gamble, and it ended up biting me in the ass. I would've been much better off keeping my vindicators and LR further back, and bubble-wrapping them with a pair of flamer combat squads. Speaking of which, I should've kept pulling my left-side vindicator back during turns 2 & 3, instead of leaving it vulnerable to a multiple assault. Reserving that rhino combat squad for a late game objective grab wasn't such a bad idea, but it relied on me being able to quickly take out at least one of the two nob units. Aside from all this, it was my first time facing a nob bikerz list and to be honest I have underestimated them. A lesson well learned.


6 objectives, one in the center of each 1/6 of the table. Objectives in your deployment zone are worth 2 pts, the ones in middle 3 pts, and the ones in opponent's deployment zone 4 pts. Annoying table-sides deployment. His was a weird list. It consisted of a minimal sniper squad, Dante, a small unit of sanguinary guard, 10 assault marines with meltaguns and a sanguinary priest, a stormraven, and ~20 tactical terminators with assault cannons. He had first turn. I was expecting him to combat squad and deep strike everything while hiding the scouts behind terrain, only to be surprised when he placed his termies on the table and infiltrated his scouts on top of the central building. I responded to this the way any self-respecting ultramarine successor should when faced with a band of bloodthirsty power-armored mutants: by deploying in a massive gunline. I had no intention whatsoever of going for his objectives, or even the ones in the middle.

His terminators advance towards me, rolling 1s and 2s on their run rolls. Snipers shoot, but being scouts they don't do crap.

A rhino illuminates the left/upper terminator squad with its searchlight, and a couple are killed by shooting. The other rhino illuminates the scouts and the rest of my army shoots at them, killing three. I spread out my infantry and bikes behind my land raider and vindicators to make it harder for the incoming meltas get into range.

Dante arrives with the sanguinary guard, deepstriking behind my lines. Assault marines appear right in front of my LR. Terminators advance. Assaulters shoot at the LR, yet their meltaguns are impotent. Dante fires his melta pistol at a vindicator, but his gun is no match for its indomitable rear armor. Just kidding, it blew up like Christian Bale on the set of Terminator 4.

Both speeders arrive. One attempts to roast the scouts, only to scatter out of template range and roast the termies instead. The other is placed behind the upper terminator unit so it can provoke them into wasting shots or even assaulting it, but it too scatters too far to use its flamer. Still, it manages to snipe the assault cannon guy. Vulkan & the combat squads disembark and burn the crap out of assault marines, leaving only the priest alive. Hammernators disembark so they can charge Dante & co, but it's unnecessary, as my shooting is more than sufficient to vaporize the entire unit. Lastly, empty rhinos turbo-boost forward to block the path of the incoming terminators.

Stormraven still refuses to arrive. Sanguinary priest assaults the speeder in the middle, and fails to do anything to it. Terminators do some more walking.

Vulkan & the hammernators return to the LR. I try to move the middle speeder up to take out the scouts, but it fails its terrain test and is immobilized. My combat squads move forward to serve as bait for the incoming terminators. The sanguinary priest takes a bolt to the face. For some reason, I try to tank shock the lower terminator unit, resulting in a successful death-or-glory and a disintegrated rhino. The vindicator tries to move over the aegis defense line and manages to immobilize itself despite having a dozer blade. Oh well, it was bound to happen sooner or later.

Stormraven arrives and tries to dislodge some of my combat squads at the objectives. One terminator unit takes the bait and assaults a combat squad, killing four marines and putting themselves in perfect assault range of my hammernators. The other advances and shoots a bit.

I disembark my hammernators. However, once again they don't get to kill anything because my shooting destroys the offending terminators before they can charge. As for the other terminator unit, all but one are gunned down. The speeder turbo boosts to the top of the central building so it can succeed where its twin failed ie. killing the snipers.

Stormraven keeps attacking the combat squad at the lower objective, but they go to ground behind the defense line and it fails to wipe them out. Scouts assault the speeder, to no effect.

Sergeant Jurgen & gunner Albrecht pump the stormraven full of quad-gun bullets, blowing it to pieces. Hammernators charge the last remaining blood angel terminator, and the resulting combat is as one-sided as you can imagine. The speeder opens fire on the two scouts, killing one. Game ends, with just one scout standing between me and a victory by tabling.

I had many things going for me here. My dice were incredibly good, my opponent's list was far from optimized, the deployment was the best I could hope for, and I even got to pick my side. From then on, it was a matter of withstanding his 2nd turn alpha strike and then retaliating with overwhelming firepower.


I really enjoyed this tournament. Opponents had cool in-yo-face armies, resulting in close-fought matches and plenty of epic moments. Also, taking Vulkan out for a ride had a lot of nostalgia value for me. I ended up getting 2nd place on the tournament and winning a box of blue GW dice. Yay!

Strange thing I noticed: unless I'm playing against imperial guard, I always end up turtling while my opponent tries to bash my skull in. This happens even when I bring out assault/short range armies such as this Vulkan list or the Lysander list I fielded in my first battle report. I have no idea why this is so. Maybe my lists are imbalanced in favor of passive play. Or maybe my opponents are more offensive-minded than me. Or maybe the vanilla dex can't really support a truly aggressive playstyle. Or hell, maybe I'm just a pussy.

Sadly, although Vulkan is a pretty cool guy, I can't justify fielding him in 6th ed. The loss of combat tactics is a considerable liability, and so is his price tag, while meltas & flamers are just not all that hot in this age of plasma, feel no pain, T5, and footsloggers. To top it all off, he's just a 3 attack captain-equivalent with an AP4 template, an AP3 spear, and no eternal warrior. A list with plenty of plasmagun/combiplasma tacticals, in las/plas razorbacks, led by a naked null zone + avenger librarian, just seems like a superior all-comers option, especially since my local metagame is almost 100% MEQ. Come to think of it, Vulkan is so expensive I could easily replace him with a naked libby + an allied DA libby with a power field generator. 4++ vindicators, anyone?


  1. Great batreps! I really enjoy your concise commentary - you gave a great recap of all the action, but it was still relatively quick to read. I think your analysis of the mistakes you made against the nob biker list were spot-on. It's really tempting to try to deliver that knock-out blow early in the game, but when he only sent one squad forward to threaten your lines, you didn't need to commit your terminators right away.

    Looking at your list, it isn't surprising that you end up turtling in most of your games... it's much better suited for playing the counter-punch game. 5 TH/SS termies in a LR isn't enough to charge head-on into anyone's army and expect to live, and beyond that, you don't have anything else that's worthwhile in CC. With 6th ed making vehicles much easier to destroy in CC, you can't risk bringing the fight to your opponent (unless he plays IG, or anything else with a mass of STR 3 models that can't glance your vehicles to death), so you're basically forced to sit back and let them come to you. I think that's generally been a problem for 'nilla marines, and especially so now that PF sergeants aren't worth fielding. If you want to play an aggressive MEQ list, you'll probably need some SW/BA/GK allies... or BT marine blobs, but those don't really have any place in a competitive tournament list :(

    Thanks for the great read! Good luck with the next tourney.

  2. The thing with the list, I don't even think vanilla can make a real assault list to begin with, but rather an aggressive short-range shooty list. However, even when I stack up on high-dmg low-to-mid range stuff (vindicators, flamers, meltas, plasma) I still end up defending most of the time. Not that I complain, I'm fine with being the earth warrior. ;]

    Anyway, thanks for the commentary, I'm really glad you enjoyed the reports. :]

  3. I'd say the preponderance to defend comes from having a defense line. AA is pretty thin on the ground for marines so I see the reasoning in taking one, but it means your playstyle then relegates the rhinos to mobile YOU SHALL NOT PASS blocks.
    A mix of twin-linked meltas and lascannons is passable in my experience but then it was not a tournament-competitive environment.

  4. I dunno, while the aegis defense line definitely changes the way I deploy, it certainly doesn't enforce the defensive mentality. You can check my previous battle report, and you can see me having no problem with leaving the defense line so I can push into midfield. :P

  5. Also, one of the main purposes of the rhino is to act as mobile terrain pieces that, when wrecked, turn into los-blocking immobile terrain pieces. It's their lot in life. :P

    I do intend to replace them all with las/plas razorbacks, eventually.