Brother-Captain Mordigael had been set the task of escorting Mechanicus explorators in a surveying operation, endeavouring to locate several caches of energy transfer couplings that this devastated world had once manufactured in great numbers. The four techpriests and their servitors had divined the most likely location and the warriors under Mordigael's command had secured the approaches. However, he had a bad feeling about the zone - some indefinable hint of wrongness. He had launched his pod long before contact with the enemy.
The first he knew of the conflict was when he heard one of the enginseers exclaim about "ancient relics". There was a binary exchange before the call "Captain, secure those machines!" was voxed into his helm. He looked around at the men in the pod with him - all of them armed with combi-meltas. They might be securing the wrecks of some machines...
Only the second game played since 8th was released (but using 7th rules) against the same opponent I played here:
Given the somewhat one-sided nature of the previous battle, this time I took a (very much) less effective force - Around 1200 points of Deathwatch, backed up by nearly 300 of Mechanicus from the Imperial Agents codex. There were three squads of 5 DW, each equipped for different roles - combi-meltas in a pod, stalkers with a Blackstar and plasma and close combat stuff on board an assault cannon-armed razorback. They were led by the aforementioned captain and backed up by a single terminator with assault cannon. I had four techpriests, each with two or three servitors.
He won the deployment, and I had the option of going first, which I took. Although we were playing 7th rules the only objective cards were his 8th set, but pretty much everything looked like it would work out.
I placed my techpriests near objectives, with the razorback and mounted squad on the left, and the stalker squad on the right. Then he put down his stuff, which included two newly-painted scorpius whirlwinds - vehicles that I dislike somewhat. They were, unsurprisingly, on his back line. Khârn and some Red Butchers were in cover in front of the tanks. Atop that building was a pair of rapier laser destroyers, and on the ground nearby was a contemptor dread. Basically he'd refused the right flank, and the compactness of his force would be a significant advantage for him in terms of killing, in exchange for the inability to capture objectives. Would that be enough for me to capitalise on?
At least he failed to Seize...
Mordigael's pod crashed down about ten metres from its targeted landing spot, between a signal source for the data that needed to be secured, and the contemptor. The distance was enough to severely restrict the effectiveness of the combi-meltas, leaving his squad in a very difficult position, both exposed to the enemy, and unable to scan the signals effectively. He had to make a difficult decision - a probably-futile attack on the contemptor, or take the primary objective and leave his men utterly exposed.
Honour demanded the second option. The men took up a defensive position, ready for any enemy assaults, as he gathered the data via his auspex. As he did the razorback rolled up and opened fire on the dread, failing to make much impression thanks to its shields. One of the servitors had a long shot at the rapiers with its plasma cannon, and the squad in the ruin nearby added stalker fire, unsurprisingly failing to do any damage.
I managed to get the objective, as well as one on my own line, but paid for it with Mordigael's squad being hit by scorpius fire. Six wounds; three of the veterans were taken down before I had to make any decisions for the leader. First 3++ made. Second 3++ made. Could I ride my luck? Of course not. S8=one fallen commander. First Blood and Slay the Warlord to my opponent, plus another, although the remains of Mordigael's squad fortuitously failed their morale check, taking them to the centre of the board and preventing my opponent from scoring an objective. The razorback took two penetrating hits but no permanent loss of weapons or movement, thankfully.
With the arrival of both the Blackstar and terminator in turn 2 I still destroyed nothing; the contemptor seemed invincible. At least I fixed the two hull points on my razorback. I saw no reason to get the men out, however. I managed to get two more points for holding an objective. In his turn my enemy took out the terminator. The opposition gained a couple more points through popping my pod and taking an objective.
Despite the parlous way the battle was turning out, the enginseers continued to carry out their work, as if they were in no danger, and the terrifyingly powerful weaponry aimed at them was a mere distraction. As their servitors sent plasma and melta across the field, much precious information was gleaned through aetheric connections. Even if they all fell, their duty to the Omnissiah would be done...
In their razorback, five grim-faced veterans of the Deathwatch prepared to cover their brothers from the pod - and potentially suffer a last few moments of fleeting pain. The vehicle sped up to the centre, providing a shield for the two men scanning the central datanode. The assault cannon above them roared as it sent streams of shells towards the contemptor - but, again, to no great avail. A multimelta from a servitor fused its close combat weapon, however. The plasma cannon servitor was less successful, its overheating weapon shutting it down. Telemetry showed the Blackstar had engaged the scorpius squadron, but managed to do little to them.
I was in the position to get a number of points if I could hold them for an additional turn (the Defend objectives) although casualties were mounting. Having said that, the scorpii did nothing this turn, even though there were plenty of hits on the squads in the right of my deployment zone. The flyer jinked in order to not be severely damaged, but it still took a glance. Enemy reserves in the form of rhino-mounted marines turned up. One squad took an objective on the far right flank. The other turned up to the left on my side, and promptly slaughtered a techpriest and his escort. Khârn and his merry men charged the razorback and smashed it (all had two axes except the leader, with two chain fists) but I knew the superb men of the Deathwatch inside, armed with plenty of AP2/1 guns and close combat gear, wouldn't let me down.
Until they were pinned, of course. Eleven would be a pass against their Leadership, right?
Turn four saw a gradual retreat from most of my mobile units, holding objectives and scoring a surprising 5 points, but the casualties were getting severe now. I lost my fist-armed veteran from the pod when he tried charging the contemptor (leaving me with a single man who couldn't actually damage the thing). I managed to take down a single marine for my troubles. On the enemy turn, though, Khârn left his unit and charged the guy in combat with the dread, while the Red Butchers smashed the pinned squad standing in the wreckage into pieces for no casualties in return. The scorpii obliterated two squads in cover. Another hit on the Blackstar left it nearly destroyed. It was now a rather more hopeful than it should have been 9-10.
By now almost all of the mechanicus warriors were offline - a single techpriest was holding out on the left with two servitors, while individual machine men fought mindlock to activate desperate escape and evasion protocols. The Khornate warriors about to take the skulls of several fallen marines in the centre of the field growled with frustration as the mangled bodies teleported away - Mordigael still bore a Theta Sigma relic, designed not only to guide in reserves, but also to evacuate fallen warriors when their life signs reached critical levels. However, the Mechanicus priests had no such blessings.
The last on his feet faced nearly a full squad of warriors, and he grimly voxed the ident-code which allowed his data-blurt to speed to the ship above, securing vital knowledge that could be decoded by those more wise than him. Then he and his escort were gunned down by the bolters of the foe.
Of the imperial forces, the only activity was from the Blackstar, speeding away behind enemy lines, and a single servitor dragging the remains of its fallen allies away.
Conflict over, the followers of the Blood God secured their victory. After swiftly snipping the heads from the bodies of the Mechanicus pawns, the three enginseers who had not been killed outright, grimly wounded, were chained together and taken off. Khorne enjoys skulls, but his warriors sometimes appreciate slaves to build them new toys...
Turn 5 saw the roll that ended the game - it couldn't have come soon enough.
Well, it was a bit of a turnaround from the last game, but I don't mind too much; I knew my force was sub-par - I hadn't reckoned with the dice which were occasionally quite cruel. It also seems that I generally under-estimated the effectiveness of the World Eaters - last time they were a little unlucky, after all. Final score was 12-15, but the obvious disparity in kills made this closeness a little insulting. Having said that, I was the only Imperial player to have models on the board at the end of the night after the three games that were played at the venue, so I definitely don't feel bad...
You can't account for the dice, but I really should have passed off the third wound against Mordigael to one of his men. The fact that my opponent drew Kingslayer and gained 2 additional points for it added insult to injury. I'm not convinced that the captain would have lasted much longer, but it would have been nice if he could have done some damage - or at least summoned some reinforcements to do some for him!
The unfortunate Mordigael has previously featured in a couple of reports that were part of this thread:
Edited by Brother Sefiel, 01 November 2017 - 10:42 PM.