My first stop was in Nashville, TN, where my buddy and team-mate lives and runs a Games Workshop (the student has become the master and all that jazz). He presented to me his Tyranid list, but I'll go into that in a bit. We played a game against one another, and that had some good lessons. The next day, we teamed up and played against two of the hobbyists in the shop, and that was a hard-fought battle. A few days later, we'd made it to Buffalo, NY, where I got to chill with another old buddy (and also team-leader) and play a game. Again, some strong lessons.
Before I go into the games, let me show off my army and the army list:
1000 point Adepticon Army- Word Bearers Chaos MarinesHQ- 1st Chaplain Erebus (counts as Huron Blackheart) 160
TROOP- 10 Chaos Marines, Power Fist and Plasma Pistol, 2 Plasma guns, Veterans of the Long War 220
TROOP- 20 Cultists, Shotgun, Flamer 97
TROOP- 25 Cultists, Shotgun, 24 Autoguns 136
ELITE- 5 Terminators, twin Lightning Claws, 3 bolter/melta-guns, Reaper Autocannon, 2 Power Fists, 2 Chainfists, Veterans of the Long War 272
HEAVY- 5 Havocs, 4 Autocannons 115
This army is not a min-maxed force, it's not specialized at killing anything (in fact, there's a few things it can't kill), and it fits the 'theme' to the point of insane. But that's the point anyway, so this became the army. If you want to know the theme, check out the Horus Heresy novel 'Know No Fear', by Dan Abnett. Other than that, the reasoning for all the units is simple- horde and bullets. I needed the autocannons to break light vehicles and possibly drop some flyers, and I needed Terminators to lay down the hurtin' when possible since the rest of the army is pretty weak. I had to include 'veterans of the long war' because these guys AMBUSHED THE ULTRAMARINE LEGION ON THEIR OWN MASTER-WORLD! So yeah, that rule was pretty much required. So now it's time to see how this army did in the real-world:
Game 1- Tyranids vs Chaos Marines, 1000 pts.
His army was definitely scary. It comprised of the Swarmlord with 2 Tyrant Guard, a Zoanthrope, and 3 units of 30 Hormagaunts. It was the 'horde and dice' game I thought I could play, and was embarrassed at the attempt.
I rolled for my d3 infiltrating units (Huron's warlord trait) and got a '2', which allowed me to attach Erebus to the CC unit of Cultists and outflank. We were playing the 'ol "Castles" scenario (objective on each side) and he got to go first.
So his doods all rushed at me. I shot him. The first casualties of the game were my Plasma Gunners blowing themselves up. Then more good luck- my Terminators deep-struck directly behind the Swarmlord and cadre, fired everything, and caused a single wound. A unit of claws, er, 'gaunts simply turned around and overwhelmed the elites, killing them in a single phase. But luck does have a way of changing- twice, my autogun-wielding Cultists were saved by a poor Charge roll ('4' when he needs a '5', and '5' when he needed a '6'). But luck does not a game win. The Swarmlord simply stomped foward and smashed everything. My Cultists died first, then my Chaos Squad. My Leader'd-up Cultists outflanked and wiped out the 'gaunts threatening my Havocs' position, but were then chomped by the Swarmlord themselves. Even Erebus fell pitilessly in a single phase. The Havocs shot a unit of 'gaunts from across the table and chased them from the objective. The game ended with the Tyranids taking my objective and gaining all the secondaries.
All in all, it was a fun game. I got to see how my units fared against other armies. The MVP for me was, surprisingly, the Cultists. They each caused a decent amount of damage and took some real work to get rid of. I found them surprisingly distracting. I learned that Huron seemed to be wasted in the CC Cultist unit. Other than that, just happy to see them in action.
Game 2- Tyranids/Chaos Marines vs Necrons/Space Marines, 2000 pts.
So my buddy and I team up and take on a couple of other gamers, and this being my last hours in Nashville. We roll up the multiple objectives, then Night Fight, and then they got first turn.
I rolled for my d3 infiltrating units and got a '2' again, so I attached Erebus to the Autogun-Cultists and chose to outflank again. I deployed my Havocs in some woods on the back of the table, behind layers and layers of 'gaunts. The Swarmlord deployed in front of me, and my Chaos Marines deployed opposite inside a ruins (which just happened to have one of the objectives and no line of sight to the enemy).
The battle began with a Drop Pod full of Veterans popped out right in front of the mob and the Swarmlord. With some powerful shooting, a Tyrant Guard died and the other was nearly dead. More shooting from the Necrons and Space Marines saw a ton of 'gaunts get blown up. But not enough. Our turn started with a massive surge foward, some running, and quite a bit maneuvering. The Havocs killed an Annihilation Barge in one round (and some terrible saves), while the Stormlord and horde crunched through Marines and Drop Pod alike. The game went on to see some epic swings. My Terminators deep-struck next to his Triarch Stalker and melta'd it to death, only to die by Necron and Tactical squad fire. The Techmarine and accompanying squad were responsible for killing droves of xenos, but was subsequently cut down by the Swarmlord. My Cultists, led by Erebus, outflanked behind the ruins where some Wraiths were waiting to counter-charge, and successfully killed one and wounded another. A timely counter-charge by Hormagaunts saved my Cultists, who went on to take the objective in the enemy ruins and be killed to a man. Erebus was slain when even he could not withstand an army's shooting phase alone. The Swarmlord was killed as a Land Raider drove over him. When the smoke cleared, we had just pulled out a victory. It was a BLAST!
We learned that the Zoanthrope was getting dropped and another Tyrant Guard was being added to keep the Swarmlord alive longer (plus not give away the free 'First Blood' objective point that easily). I learned the Huron is perfect in the Autogun-cultists. I learned, definitively, that the Terminators are too frail to withstand close proximity to the enemy. Which explains why I took combi-meltas- I need them to kill something NOW! because they may not be here in a moment...
It was very nice to work with my buddy again. This game proved how well we play together, and how well my army can do with some proper support, and vice-versa. The MVP for this battle was the Chaos squad, who stayed strategically hidden behind an objective while the Tyranids were a huge distraction, just to climb up in time to kill a Dreadnought and wipe out the remnants of the Tactical squads. Claiming the objective, and with good marksmanship this game, they proved to be the decider. Also nice to get a win...
Game 3- Chaos Marines vs Necrons, 1000 pts.
This game was a learning experience more than a game. My buddy wasn't familiar with the new rules quite yet and didn't have all the models he needed, so we fudged a few things. His army had an Overlord in a Command Barge with Warscythe and Phylactery, 2 units of 5 Immortals, a unit of 18 Warriors in a Night Scythe, and 3 Wraiths. We rolled up the random-objectives mission and deployed. My Chaos Marines went onto a hill across from ruins with Wraiths, while my Cultists and Havocs deployed in some ruins across from the 'douche canoe'. Erebus rolled a '2' yet again and chose to outflank with the Autogun-cultists.
This game was a ton of shooting and some wild swings themselves. My Cultists survived copious amounts of fire from Warriors disembarking from a 'flying croissant'. The Havocs and Cultists were very lucky for the area terrain of the ruins. Wraiths rushed foward and charged my Chaos squad, eventually losing but tying them up for many turns, while the Terminators deep-struck right in front of the enemy ruins and jumped the Immortals there. The crowning moment, early in the game, was when the Erebus-led Cultists showed up right beside the 'douche canoe', got charged and survived, then went on to kill the barge and stick the two lords in combat. After a number of harrowing turns, the Overlord finally fell (and failed to self-repair) and the mob took the most valuable objective. The funniest moment was when the Night Scythe returned and my Havocs decided to let lose and killed it right then, only to remember the 'Jink' save and pass both with boxcars! It was hope, snatched away in the most poetic event in the battle. The Terminators finally held up their end of the bargain by killing off a unit of Immortals while only the Champion and (more effective) single Terminator stood. Some 'Veil of Darkness' shenanigans and the Necrons were able to steal the victory from the Chaos, only to have the last teleport of the game miss by inches and allow the Cultists, led by Erebus, to claim the top points on the table. Chaos won, if sloppy. But the Necrons certainly hadn't lost...
In this battle, we discussed the merits of certain army builds, rules, and combos that may work a little better. My army seemed to do exactly what it was supposed to do in every case. Despite not killing the Night Scythe, I still finally got to test the effectiveness of those Havocs against flyers. My MVP for this battle was the Havoc squad. Their shooting proved to be very effective (despite only hitting half the time) and they proved that they can handle the very thing I'm scared of. All in all, very educational (as well as a blast!)
So there it is, there's the games I got to play. I'm planning on playing this army a few more times before Adepticon, so stay tuned for more battle reports! And Happy Gaming!