The Emperor’s Shield

“Captains!  Another centennial contest is upon us, and we shall once again determine who is best suited to be the Emperor’s Shield.  The Lords of Terra welcome you to Olympus IV to test your mettle against your fellow Adeptus Astartes.  These battle exercises help to hone the skills of all our chapters for their eternal war against the xenos pestilence and the scourge of Chaos.”

I recently participated in a mirror list tournament at Endgame in Oakland, CA.  Thank you very much to TO Adan for organizing and running the event.  Also, thanks to First Captain Reuben of the Mythic Angels for tactical advice, loan of a squad of his honored and ancient assault marines, as well as logistical support transporting my chapter to the Alameda Sector.

The list everyone played was:

Headquarters
Captain in power armor with power sword and bolt pistol.
Librarian in power armor with force staff and bolt pistol. He was level 2 and his powers were Iron Arm, Endurance, and Smite.

Troops
Two units of ten tactical marines. The sergeant had a chainsword and bolt pistol. Special weapons were a flamer and missile launcher. Each squad had a rhino with a dozer blade as a dedicated transport.

Elite
Dreadnought with an assault cannon and power fist with a built-in storm bolter.

Heavy Support
Predator with auto-cannon turret and lascannon sponsons.

Fast Attack
Land Speeder with heavy flamer and multi-melta.
Five assault marines. The sergeant had a plasma pistol.

Game One: Assaulting the Green Marines’ right flank.

Adan assigned chapter tactics and the first game was Ultramarines. We were also allowed to pick warlord traits, but we could only use a specific trait for one game. I picked Master of Ambush and used this to concentrate my forces somewhat on my opponent’s right flank. This was the only game where the trait had much of an effect on the battle.

The idea was to take one of his backfield objectives, which was behind good cover, and have one of my combat squads with the missile launcher hold this strong position and blast away. I’d have threats coming from my own side of the board as well so I could swing around and subject whoever was in the center of the board holding the important objective there to a (hopefully) withering crossfire.

Things worked out but not nearly as well I hoped. My opponent did have to direct a goodly number of his forces to react to the outflank, but it turned into a bloody stalemate. I did win the game decisively, but mostly because of Chapter Tactics: Good Luck. For example, my assault marines deep struck but ended up in a bad position where they got tied up by a dreadnought. They lost a couple of marines, failed their morale check and promptly ended up 16″ back where they were in prime position to kill a land speeder threatening my forces. After that they joined in on the final attack on the center position. My predator won the tank duel that lasted three turns, and so on.

Still, sometimes as the saying goes it is better to be lucky than good and I had my share of it in this tournament. In any case, it was a very fun game and I hope to play the Green Marines again someday soon.

Game Two: Close quarters in the Zone Mortalis Light!

The board for this match was very interesting in that it was what Adan called “Zone Mortalis Light” in the middle, surrounded by thick ruins. Again we were fighting for objectives and I believe we were Raven Guard. The rules for the ZML were no vehicles except the dreadnought could enter and the walls went up to “infinity” so you couldn’t shoot or move over them. Also, our flamers were twin-linked against any unit inside the zone.

As might be expected this was a very tactical game inside the zone. Both sides were doing their best to maneuver so they got to be the ones charging. Outside the zone it was a bit more of a free for all with my rhinos tank shocking all over the place and our heavy units trading fire. My opponent pulled off a great move when he blocked off one of the entrance to the ZML with both of his rhinos. Right in the face of my advancing forces! He also pulled off some late game unlikely but exciting charges against my tactical marines covering one of the ZML entrances.

This was a hard-fought game where by the end our captains ended up dueling each other to a draw. However, my land speeder, despite immediately immobilizing itself in a ruin when it deep struck, did manage to cripple both Adan’s predator and his dreadnought. More good luck. This allowed my dreadnought to pick his way unopposed into the ZML, where he did good work supporting my infantry and holding the central objective.

Game Three: Imperial Fists assault marine on the attack!

The last game was a first for me: I’ve never played on the top table at a tournament before. The terrain was fairly sparse and we were fighting for kill points. A couple of forests and several large hills. We were Imperial Fists this time, which suited my opponent because that was his preferred chapter!

The early fighting mostly came down to a long-ranged battle to control a long firing lane between two hills. My opponent won the roll off for table sides and wisely deployed his predator in a forest at his end of this lane. This allowed him to control the action there, supported by both his missile launchers. My response was to use the hills for cover as best I could and counter-attack. We both tried to turn each others’ forces around a plateau on my far left flank. This ended up in a somewhat bloody draw. He had a small advantage in the fighting, but I got first blood when his deep striking speeder landed too close to my forces.

My opponent had the early advantage overall mainly because he had control of the firing lane. My speeder was able to pull off a very risky drop right behind his predator. I hoped to destroy it with my multi-melta but had to settle for shearing off one of its lascannons.

This was a very close game that came down to the final turn. Things were looking bad when his assault marines drove back my supporting infantry and stunned the walker with a lucky plasma pistol shot. His librarian jumped alone into an empty rhino and moved flat out toward the fighting to help finish them off. If he succeeded my opponent would cement his victory.

Instead, my other, less harried missile launcher squad managed to wreck the rhino as it moved across the contested firing lane. From there the librarian jumped out and continued on his way. My dreadnought recovered and pushed back the assault marines, despite being covered in krak grenades. Another shot, either by my predator or a missile launcher (I forget) and the librarian was dead. With time running out I was up by one kill point. Tough game against a very good opponent. Honestly, I felt like I was fighting off balance for most of the game.

A memento for the chapter’s trophy room.

First place was the plaque seen above and a nice gift certificate, which I used toward buying a new predator. Although the ancient predator I now possess, pulled from a lake by orks and then rescued by the Space Wolves or Ultramarines (depending upon who you ask) has given me good service, it has burned far too long in the crucible of war. Its machine spirit deserves an honorable retirement or at least a good, long rest.

So, all that remains now is to add a gold ribbon to my Wolf Standard and go back to fighting all of that xeno pestilence and Chaos scourge!

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Terminators!

I’ve been working on terminators lately and playing them as Space Wolves most of the time.  Fortunately for me there is a detachment in the Champions of Fenris supplement that allows one to use elites without requiring troops.  So I’ve been painting these guys as time allows.

Eight terminators practicing their patented anti-armor deep strike formation.   Codex Astartes be damned!

The bodies are all Assault on Black Reach terminators.  The two combi-meltas are Chaos Space Marine bits where I’ve filed down some of the spikes.  Ditto on the power axe and maul.  The storm shield is Space Wolf obviously and the cyclone missile launcher is a Kromlech “zephyr missile launcher”.

A few of the arms are glued or held on by pins, but many of them are magnetized as well, as is the missile launcher.  I figure that Space Wolf terminators have the advantage of being highly flexible in terms of what they take for weapons, so I might get into trouble with the Fang if I don’t keep their options open.  I’m already in enough trouble from that quarter!

Practice makes perfect! A textbook teleportation deep behind enemy lines.

I’ve kept these guys fairly generic on purpose so I can also run them as wolves, generic space marines and also as chaos marines.  After all, I like to use my models in different ways because I play a lot and like to change up both my lists and my codex, but I do want my forces to at least somewhat look the part.

Perhaps some magnetized tentacles might be in order?