Wednesday, April 16, 2014

The Knight's first ride

The dark hours of early morning ended with a bright flash from the heavens and bodies being incinerated as soon as they were noticed.  Arrayed against the outnumbered defense forces of the Ultramarines was Kranon the Relentless and his horde of Crimson Slaughter.  The majority of the numbers were made up of Cultists, chanting and fidgeting around a rousing Apostle named Okrark.  A daemonic Defiler and other vehicles clanked loudly now that they were noticed, and especially when the lance from space obliterated the Possessed brethren directly in front oh him.  The force was furious and immediately rushed the loyalists.  Okrark used his words to put the massive horde to frenzy and rushed forward himself.  As everyone neared, a massive machine of war came into view.  The golden walker stood 5 stories tall and had a reputation that began before even the Imperium.  The renegades immediately accepted doom and surrounded the Imperial Knight, their rage and insanity pushing them to death.  Dawn broke and that journey began as war often does.

My buddy and I recently acquired some toys and had an urge to play.  My buddy is a Chaos marine player and wanted to try out the Crimson Slaughter book.  I came into an Imperial Knight and wanted to really test its effectiveness in battle.  So we built 2000 point forces, set up a standard 'green' batttlefield, and laid out 5 objectives per the 'Crusade' battle scenario.  This was nothing more than a fun game and a chance to see how some things looked.

I am not going to give a blow-by-blow for this batrep.  I really just want to toss up some pictures, explain a bit of what happened, and finish up.  This is because the game was really alot of fun and we got to see some things that our game group hasn't seen before.  Did I mention there was an audience?  

Setup.  Night Fight turn 1.  Man am I outnumbered.  But I have a Knight...

So my army was a couple of TAC squads in Rhinos, Marneus leading a squad of Centurions in the Land Raider, a Terminator squad in Deep Strike reserves, and a Stormtalon waiting for strafing runs.  His army, on the other hand, was Kranon leading a massive squad of Chosen in a Land Raider, a Defiler and Annihilator, Mortis Metalicus (a Helbrute), 10 powerful Possessed (they're better in this book), and two massive mobs of Cultists with Okrark.  It was just a chance to play the new codex for Crimson Slaughter.

Here's the whole point of the battle for me- IS THE KNIGHT BROKEN?  I don't think so, but I can't say for sure until I play with it.  So, I'm playing with it.  Hence, the Knight's First Ride.

It started with his whole army moving foward and heavy weapons shooting at the Knight.  Some great saves with the Ion Shield saw only 1 hull point taken away.  My turn started with Marneus calling in an Orbital Strike and the Knight moving up and pounding the Possessed to death.  One survived.  Metalicus was killed as well.  The Ultramarine force had already destroyed almost two units.

And this guy, the surviving Possessed, rolls the needed invulnerable save too late and rushes right at the Knight and all his buddies.  RAGE!!!!.  

The Land Raider and his squad try to rush around the rear of the army and shoot at the Knight's rear armor and the rest of the force advanced.  The Ultramarines watched the Knight bound across the table in long, armoured strides.  Before anyone could react, the Knight charged into the Predator and was counter-charged by the Defiler and the squad of Terminators.  A couple of quick swings of the massive chainsword saw the Knight easily dispatch every vehicle and start the process of killing Terminators...

"I'm coming at ya, brah!"

The ever resilient Possessed warrior tried to charge against the Rhino tank and stumbled a bit, only to watch the whole enemy detachment walk away from him.  In his abashed state, the half-daemon decided to get a 'selfie' before the Rhino ingloriously shot him down.  This shot above was literally his last surviving photo.  "Gotta take a selfie."

The Ultramarines are cleaning up the battlefield, wondering where the command structure is.  They eventually focus on the Apostle and get ready to execute him.  But he rushes into the safety of a challenge...

Unfortunately, he was counter-challenged by a Terminator.  Dark Apostles aren't really designed to fight that kind of warrior.  They're more of fighting the spiritual kind of enemy rather than the 'immune to tanks' kind.  

The Knight spend turns killing the Termintators down.  But the Terminators were wasting no time in cutting him up as well.  There were only two Termies left and he only had a single hull point remaining.  Would he survive?

The last remaining Chaos Terminator, fortuitously armed with a Chainfist, after seeing his brother be eviscerated by a Str D close combat weapons, took that final chance and destroyed the Knight!.  With no other choice and the last hope, this Terminator earned the glory of the Gods here.  

Finally, Kranon and his Possessed got out of their ride and charged the remaining TAC squad members.  Kranon powered up his sword with 4 kills instantly, and then turned his attention to the next enemy unit.  Just then, the Centurions and Marneus disembarked from their Land Raider.  Marneus went after the Chaos Land Raider and the Centurions shredded the Chosen in one volley with their overpowered Grav-amps.  There was few Crimson Slaughter units left (a tank and the boss).  

Kranon turned on the Centurions that destroyed his bodyguard and was bound to challenge and slay the Sergeant.  Marneus failed to kill the Land Raider and turned to challenge the Chaos Lord.  Marneus tried to reason with Kranon, but the renegade was relentless (get it?).  He swung and tried to kill the Chapter Master of great renown, doing nothing.  

Like a slow motion movie scene, Marneus missed with blow after blow until the last moment, connecting with a haymaker followed by an uppercut.  With the power of the artifacts known as the Guantlets of Ultramar, Marneus simply obliterated Kranon's body.  With a clear victory, Lord Calgar casually turned from the corpse, ordered the cleanup, and walked back to his Land Raider.

No sooner had the sun cleared the horizon than the battle came to an abrupt end.  The green fields saw the forces of the Crimson Slaughter charge into the implacable wall of Ultramarines and simply dying.  The Knight that had struck fear into the Chaos force finally fell, at least giving the powers-that-be the satisfaction that all was not for nothing.  But the Ultramarines were so efficient that the battle was won in the same amount of time as it took for the sun to break darkness and clear the darkness.  Marneus was bored.  Maybe he could join a larger task force and log his battle hours there.  This was too fast.  And Auric Arachnus was brought down.  What a way to witness a sunrise...

So how did we feel about the game?  My buddy didn't get a fair shake with his army in this one, but still managed to pull some pretty neat tricks out.  He suffered horribly from the 'so close!' curse with his die rolls and I eliminated the Chosen, the Dreadnought, and the Possessed from his army before they ever made an impact.  Despite all that, he was able to kill the Knight with his Terminators and showed that the double Cultist-mob-of-doom strategy is a good one.  In addition, his Land Raider, Lord, and Chosen squad didn't enter the battle until too late.  
As far as my force, I can't say anything.  I simply wanted to use my Knight and then took the opportunity to use other stuff that our group hasn't seen before.  Nobody had seen Centurions devastate things like they do (my buddy that witnessed this was stationed elsewhere now) and the Stormtalon and Marneus units are never used (another guy in our group that used to use them has moved an hour away recently).  I kept them out of the battle as long as I could with Marneus and the Centurions riding around in their Land Raider until the end of the game, and the Stormtalon simply shooting down Cultists and then flying around for no reason.  I expected to see a Land Raider in the enemy army (there was one) and a Heldrake (not this time), so it some units had no purpose.  The Knight was really the point, and we determined that it's killable.  A seven-man Terminator squad with 2 Power Fists and a Chainfist finally killed him.  That's a very large and powerful elite unit, but it's also a mini-Titan that they're fighting.  On the subject of the Knight, the weapon loadout is really cool.  A two-shot Battle Cannon is awesome, but the Strength D close combat weapon is ridiculous.  A knight can kill Abaddon or Marneus or Lysander or Ghaskull or anything else he touches.  Strength D is ridiculous in 40k.

The main question- is a Knight balanced?  So far, we can't really say.  But I still feel that it is.  It is properly pointed (370+ points is a big chunk of even a 2000 point army), only armed with a single meaningful gun (and it's still only AP3), and isn't unkillable (armour 13 in front and a 4+ invulnerable save most of the time isn't enough to keep a Missile Launcher Devastator squad from killing one in three turns for sure, possibly two.  But until I get some more games in with it, I can't say for sure.  I certainly like it.

Let me know what you think about the Knight and what your experiences have been so far.  I haven't seen a lot on the interwebs, so I'm still pretty curious of what everyone thinks.

Happy Gaming!

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