The sides were the same as last time, myself and Rich with our 30k Wolves and Fists respectfully, verses James and Steve with their 40k Blood Angels and Flesh Tearers. We all see ourselves as Loyal so a bit of fluff to explain away these battles always helps:
The Blood Angels Fifth Company, lead by Captain Nassir Amit and reeling from the events at Signis Prime, are heading back to the Sol System to lend their swords to the defence of Terra. En route they encounter an Imperial Army fleet acting suspiciously, heading out system on an unknown heading. Amit, never one to leave a mystery unsolved, orders his fleet to give chase, only to be lead back to the fleet's home system and find themselves suddenly outgunned ten to one by traitorous forces.
Despairing not, the Sons of Sanguinius and their varied allies vow to destroy this nest of vipers. In swift recourse they cripple the fleet and the Blood Angels, supported by Imperial Army and Mechanicus forces make planet-fall on the capitol world, determined to wipe the slate completely clean with the blood of traitors.
A combined patrol fleet of Wolves and Fists, responding to the Blood Angels' original greeting as they headed towards Terra, are curious to know why their battle-weary brothers had suddenly changed course. They track the Angel's to the traitor system and swiftly take up an attack formation, intending to support the Imperial assault.
Just as Captain Amit tears his way through the crystal palace and beheads the turncoat Governor, word comes to him that almost a whole company of his men have succumbed to the curse of the Black Rage that has been ever more present since Signis. Astartes know no fear except that of failing in their duty, and Amit is no different. At that moment, word comes of the inbound loyalist forces. Amit tries his best to stall them but the impatient Wolves are already launching drop pods, keen to lend their axe to the assault and support their crimson-armoured kin in leaving no traitor alive.
What started out as brother helping brother quickly becomes awkward as the Blood Angels race to hide their shameful secret. Tempers fray, words are spoken, and before they realise it, legionnaire is fighting legionnaire once again. Amit struggles to hold his own rage in check, quickly friend and foe become indistinguishable.
Will the Wolves and Fists uncover the Blood Angels' secret or will Nassir Amit manage to hold them off and maintain his honour?...
Bunker Assault Zone Mortalis
The idea was to play the ZM games as and when the two competitors were not doing anything on the board. This kept everyone busy, and the bonus that the in-game effects would come in to play as soon as the ZM game was over was a real incentive to thrash it out quickly.
I pitted my Wolves against Steve's Blood Angels in the bunker assault. The winning side would have their remaining troops pop out on the main board from the bunker tile on the left hand side.
I took a contemptor dreadnought and a squad of boarding marines. I wasn't sure what I'd be facing so wanted to maintain a but of flexibility.
As it was, Steve brough three dreadnoughts and a laser destroyer!
Needless to say, we got stuck in and I got wiped out by the end of Turn 4. I did manage to take down one of his dreadnoughts, so that did reduce his advantage on the main board, but still, a howling defeat for the Wolves!
Orbital Zone Mortalis
On the Orbital Station we had Rich's Imperial Fists against James' Flesh Tearers Death company. The winner of this game was able to teleport down on to the 'mystery tile' on the main board, which held a D strength weapon emplacement. We decided this would come in to play in Turn 4 of the main game (so that it didn't unbalance anything too early).
Though the Flesh Tearers fought like the frenzied beasts they are, they were no match for the iron wrath of the Imperial Fists terminators, which wiped them out in 3 turns and hit the teleport activation panel.
In summary, I think these little side battles were horrendously mismatched in terms of the forces we took, but they were fun and both took less than an hour to play in between the action on the main board, which goes to show a game of 40k doesn't have to take you all day if you don't want it too.
The 'loyalists' take turn one in this Legendary Battle, so it was up to the Wolves and Fists to put on a good show. Unfortunately, we'd not anticipated just how many tanks the Blood Angels' Imperial Guard allies would bring! We had visions of our Spartan Rush crashing into the enemy infantry, and everything else that we'd taken could quickly follow up. As it was, we spent a turn chipping hull points off tanks...
The wolves got 'First Blood' for taking out a chimera on the right flank. The Fists' quad mortars spattered dangerous terrain all over the field from the centre of the board and the Fellblade started chewing through the Mechanicum guarding the bunker tile on the left flank.
The 'traitors' made us pay for our mistakes in army selection by firing off its manticore missiles and generally killing any infantry not inside a tank or behind adequate cover.
The turn ended 5 VPs a piece, but it wasn't the overwhelming push forward that the 'loyalists' were anticipating...
Turn 2 saw the Fists and Wolves dive forward. Not as quickly as they would have liked but the best they could. We were conscious that we had to be in that breakout zone by the end of Turn 4, and we hadn't moved as quickly as we had hoped in Turn 1.
The Fists and Wolves infantry launched assaults on the right flank. We had decided to concentrate all of our force on one side of the board, to force the Blood Angels to move across to us. Unfortunately that left our infantry launching assaults against tanks, which they had little hope of destroying in a single round of combat, or getting bogged down as they waded through 20-man blob squads of guardsmen.
The Imperial Fists terminators gallantly launched an assault against the enemy Knight. We'd never played against knights and Rich learned a few lessons today... firstly, the knight tried to Stomp him as he launched the assault. Then when he had thunder hammered it to death it toppled over and exploded. Thankfully the fall missed his squad, but it could have been catastrophic!
The Blood Angels dreadnoughts lurched through the bunker doors on the left flank, which is where the Wolves Fellblade was concentrating it's fire as it crawled forward. This round it took out a few more Mechanicum.
VPs stood at 12-10 to the Wolves and Fists...
Sven Bloodhowl: "Whatever you do guys, don't kick over that knigh...."
Sigismund: "What did you say, I'd just kicking over this knight!"
The Blood Angels dreadnoughts launched an assault against the Fellblade on the left flank, knocking off a few more hull points.
We'd decided that the game was only going to be 4 turns long, so this turn the Blood Angels did everything they could to engage us and hold us back from making that final push next turn, whilst we continued to punch as hard as we could into their tanks. 3HP doesn't sound like a lot but when there are at least ten tanks on the board, that's a lot of hull points to get rid of!
The Imperial Fists' quad mortars carried on laying down dangerous terrain, which we only just started to realise that we'd have to wade through that as we exited the board!
The Imperial Fists teleported down from the Orbital station on to the Mystery Tile and took control of the weapons emplacement, hope rising in their hearts that the D cannon would give them a decisive victory...
They fired, the shot scattered and did precisely zilch! The squad within the emplacement were then swiftly wiped out by a Vendetta coming in from reserve as it raked the ground with cannon fire. I would feel some disappointment I that, but I can't help feeling the Fists deserved it for not producing the goods with the D cannon...
This turn the Wolves and Fists focused on moving as many units as possible into the break out zone, or at least into the traitor deployment zone, to avoid giving away free victory points. We mostly managed it, but many of our tanks took an 18" flat out move, which meant we couldn't shoot.
It's easy to look back and say "well, if I'd just done that in turn 3 we would have won", but at the end of the day you didn't, so you didn't. And that was our case. If I'd decided to charge the Blood Angels vindicator with Russ in the final turn, there's a good chance he would have destroyed it and given us the decisive victory point. As it was, I tried to charge the Death Company, failed my charge roll and was subsequently shot at and then charged in their turn, giving them 2 victory points (destroyed unit + slay the warlord). So they won.
This once again goes to show that at around 3000pts, you can play 30k vs 40k. The Blood Angels and Flesh Tearers were 40k armies verses the wolves and fists, who were 30k. I think this points limit is kinda the upper boundary for 40k armies and lower boundary for 30k, so it was fairly balanced. Markai's teeth, they beat us!
Thanks for reading,
theerrantwolf.blogspot.co.uk - a blog dedicated to The Horus Heresy and Warhammer 40k