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Iron Hands vs Raven Guard: Battle of Tatesford

Iron Hands Raven Guard Battle Report 2000 points

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Iron Father Ferrum

Iron Father Ferrum


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...however, the Imperial attempt to push back the schismatics on Lauder Prime was fraught with reversal.  The valiant defenders, recognizing their precarious situation, broadcast a wide call for reinforcements.  The first to respond were the Raven Guard; while elements of the 1st, 3rd, and 10th Companies made their way into the battle zone, they did so with no fanfare and indeed did not even inform Imperial authorities of their arrival, as is their wont.  Conversely, when the Iron Hands of Clan Company Haarmek arrived, they trumpeted their landing on Lauder Prime to friend and foe alike.


Iron Captain Tyrrod Tekton, the Iron Hands' local commander, decided that his Space Marines could be best used not against the heavily-entranced front line, but against the more lightly defended flanks.  The area of greatest vulnerability, he determined, was on the Archenemy's eastern lines facing the ruined city of Tatesford.  Tatesford had been an early victim of the initial invasion.  Not only was it almost completely abandoned, but most of the city had been reduced to rubble by months of shelling the previous year.  With no known Imperial forces garrisoning the devastated metropolis, the invaders saw no reason to defend the sector facing its rubble.  Here, Iron Captain Tekton decided, was where his armored spearhead could do the most damage.


What Tekton did not know, however, was that the city was not as deserted as it appeared.


~ Excerpt from An Early History of the Indomitus Crusade, circa 095M42, author unknown.







SHADOW CAPTAIN KALAE KORVYDAE: Iron Hands elements, this is Captain Korvydae of the Raven Guard.  Please respond!


IRON CAPTAIN TYRROD TEKTON: Iron Captain Tekton of Clan Haarmek responding.  What do you want, Raven Guard?


KORVYDAE: We are currently using this site as the base of operations for numerous insurgency and infiltration missions deep behind enemy lines.  If you continue to advance through the city, or attack into the enemy's flank as appears to be your intention, you will disrupt months of careful planning.


TEKTON: ...and?


KORVYDAE: I have several teams deployed within the enemy sectors already.  You'd be dooming them to discovery if the enemy's eye is drawn this way!


TEKTON: That would not be a problem is you fought the enemy face-to-face like a Space Marine instead of skulking in the shadows like the cowards you are.


KORVYDAE: I have no time to trade insults with you.  Withdraw!  Now!  Or face the consequences.


TEKTON: Do what you must, Raven Guard.  I will drive past you, or I will drive over you.  All units, advance!






Imperial Tuba and I got together for a game at Tate's Gaming Satellite in Lauderhill, FL.  We played 2,000 points using an urban map, the "Spoils of War" Maelstrom mission, and the "Search & Destroy" deployment type.  Lists were as follows:


Iron Hands (Battalion, Spearhead, Spearhead)


Terminator Captain with hammer & shield (All Flesh is Weakness, Automedicae Bionics)

Techmarine with combiplasma & conversion beamer (Tempered Helm)

Techmarine with servoharness, power axe, bolter (The Ironstone)

Librarian with bolt pistol & force sword (Reforge & Psysteel)

Librarian with bolt pistol & force stave (Objuration Mechanicum & Blessing of the Omnissiah)


5x Tactical Marines

5x Tactical Marines

10x Tactical Marines


2x Razorbacks with lascannon & twin plasma gun


Venerable Dreadnought with twin lascannon & fist with heavy flamer


Land Raider Redeemer with multimelta

2x Vindicator with stormbolter


2x Thunderfire Cannons



Raven Guard (Battalion, Vanguard, Outrider -- from memory, so details may be fudged a bit)


Phobos Captain (Echoes of the Ravenspire, Oppressor's End)

Gravis Captain

Phobos Lieutenant

Terminator Librarian (Shadowstep & Spectral Blade)


5x Scouts

5x Intercessors

5x Intercessors

5x Infiltrators

5x Infiltrators


6x Bikers

3x Inceptors

3x Inceptors


5x Vanguard Veterans

3x Aggressors

Primaris Ancient


3x Suppressors

8x Devastators

5x Hellblasters


Game Setup:


I arrived first, claimed a table, and began setting up terrain.  I decided to go with an urban setting, with several large ruins with solid or near-solid ground floor walls to block LOS across the table and force maneuver for all of my long-range guns.  When Tuba arrived, we added a few more pieces of wall sections and some barricades as scatter terrain until both of us were satisfied with the table.  We rolled for mission, deployment, and I won first turn.  Unfortunately, we forgot about Seize the Initiative (sorry brother, that was my fault!).






I deployed my TFCs in the rear, with my armor up front.  The LRR was deployed centrally near the Venerable Dreadnought with the full Tac Squad and my Captain embarked, while the combat squads with Librarians were deployed on the flanks inside the Razorbacks.  Tuba posted the Scouts on my left, the Infiltrators on my right, and the rest of his army spread across his center anchored in ruins or behind barricades.  The Inceptors and Vanguard were held in reserve, while the Aggressors and Hellblasters were sent to Strike from the Shadows.





Venerable Hiram leads the push up the center.


My initial card draw was SECURE OBJECTIVE 2, SCOUR THE SKIES, and NO PRISONERS. I activated the Ironstone targeting the Land Raider, disembarked both Librarians from their Razorbacks, and proceeded to advance my armor forward across the midfield, except for the right-flank Vindicator which circled behind the northeastern-most ruin to get shots into the Infiltrators sitting on Objective 2.  I placed Psysteel on the Land Raider and Blessing of the Omnissiah on the left flank Razorback. 


The Iron Hands firepower was fairly devastating.  Between the Vindicator and Land Raider, half the bikers were killed and the entirety of the Infiltrator squad holding Objective 2 was wiped out; the Stalker and second Vindicator combined put paid to the Suppressors as well.  The Scouts were reduced from five men to two, and several lascannon shots burned down some of the "bullet sponge" Devastator Marines.  I worried the bikers would try to tie up a Vindicator, so I hit them with a Tremor Shell to slow them down.  The Venerable Dreadnought then rolled box cars on a 11" charge and got into the five Intercessors holding the barricade and killed three of them for one wound taken on Overwatch.







Venerable Hiram survives against all odds to reap a terrible tally with his iron fist.


Tuba had a bad shuffle and his card draw was three consecutive cards: LET THEM KNOW FEAR, CLIP THEIR WINGS, and SAP THEIR RESOURCES.  His Intercessors fell back from the Dreadnought while the bikers advanced on it (at half speed).  The Phobos Captain used his warlord trait and disappeared from the table, ready to deep strike on the next turn.  Most of his firepower was focused on killing the Dreadnought, whichhe came very close to doing, leaving it on 2 wounds.  He did manage to kill the left-most Razorback between a double-firing lascannon and a Hellfire shell from the Scouts, and the resulting explosion took a Tactical Marine with it.


Determined to end the Dreadnought, his bikers charged.  Despite throwing half a bucket of attacks, he only managed to squeeze one wound through my saves.  In return, the Dreadnought killed all three bikers and cemented himself as a badass.


Tuba scored LET THEM KNOW FEAR and CLIP THEIR WINGS, and discarded SAP THEIR RESOURCES, earning 2 VPs.





The Infiltrators are about to have a very bad day.


This turn's card draw was SECURE OBJECTIVE 2, KINGSLAYER, and ADVANCE.  One Vindicator moved into the northeastern ruins to sit on Objective 2, while the other Vindicator and the Land Raider moved westward and flanked the remaining Infiltrators.  The Dreadnought pulled back into the central ruins while one of the Librarians moved up to get within Reforge range and healed him up to 3 wounds.  The remaining Razorback advanced to bring his plasma guns into range while the forcibly-disembarked Tactical Marines moved to get the remaining Scouts into an easy rapid fire & assault range.  The conversion beamer-armed Techmarine climbed to the top of the ruins he was standing in to give him clear line of sight to most of the battlefield.


The remaining Infiltrators and Scouts were both wiped via shooting, and more Devastators fell to lascannons blowing holes in the ruined sanctum they were hunkering in.  As they fell, the Ancient activated and all but the Sergeant of the Tactical Squad were killed by heavy bolter fire and the missile launcher winged some wounds off the remaining Razorback.  The Land Raider ended up having the Lieutenant as a legal target and I took advantage, burning him down with the flamestorms.  The TFCs were curiously ineffective, only killing one Devastator.  The final, lascannon-armed Devastator failed morale and ran.


I scored SECURE OBJECTIVE 2 and discarded ADVANCE, earning another 1 VP.






The ambush is sprung!


Card draw for the Raven Guard provided NO PRISONERS, SECURE OBJECTIVE 4, and AREA DENIAL.  The Ancient, with no Devastators to support anymore, began making his way towards the remaining Intercessors holed up in the second floor of a ruin deep within his deployment quarter.  Most of his reserves arrived and he switched to Tactical Doctrine, and a total of six Inceptors, five Hellblasters, and the warlord all crammed into a tiny little drop zone between my TFCs and the back corner of the table. The three Aggressors also struck in, planting themselves firmly in the path of my Land Raider; it wasn't his first choice, but skillful scattering of my support HQs throughout the middle of the table closed down most of the landing zones he tried.  The Librarian cast Shadowstep on the Gravis Captain and teleported him over to the support the Aggressors.


In the Shooting Phase, he killed both my Cannons (though the Gunners survived); it took a lot of firepower to kill them as one was in cover and both rolled exceptionally well on armor and Flesh is Weak saves.  The Aggressors threw buckets of lead at the Land Raider's glacis but only succeeded in knocking off a single wound.  The Aggressors, convinced their power fists would be just what was needed to hurt the Redeemer, charged.  The Flamestorm Cannons landed nine hits and wiped the squad before they got to fight.  The Gravis Captain decided that discretion was the better part of valor and did not follow suit.


Tuba scored NO PRISONERS for the two TFCs for 1 VP.





The two heavily-armored Captains know what is coming.


My card draw is KINGSLAYER, BLOOD & GUTS, and PRIORITY ORDERS RECEIVED (HOLD THE LINE).  At this point, I've dealt way more damage but the rear-area deep strike could be lethal and by VPs the game was still very close.  I disembarked the Captain and Tactical Squad from the Land Raider; they moved up to confront the Gravis Captain while the Land Raider turned about and started rushing back to my table quarter to intervene in the fight for the back edge.  The Vindicator that was camping near Objective 2 moved in nice and close to the deep strikers, and the two Cannon Gunners came out of the ruins to confront the enemy.  The Dreadnought moved back out of the central hab-block towards the Raven Guard "Alamo" in the northwest corner, flanked by a Librarian and a Razorback.  More Reforging on the Dreadnought brought him up to 5 wounds and Blessing of the Omnissiah on the Razorback ensured I could overcharge its twin plasma guns without fear of the tank exploding.


In the Shooting Phase, combined fire from the Dreadnought, Razorback, Vindicator, and Tactical Squad wiped the Intercessors in the Alamo; the same success did not occur against the deep strikers, however.  Two servoharnesses, one Demolisher cannon, two Icarus stormcannons, and one conversion beamer killed a grand total of one Hellblaster, one Inceptor, and wounded another Inceptor.   Talk about disappointing.


Both Gunners then did the unexpected: they assaulted the Phobos Captain, while the Tacticals assaulted the lone mid-field Intercessor (losing one man to Overwatch) while Iron Captain Tekton himself was determined to show this Primaris officer that "Firstborn" Space Marines were still the kings of the battlefield. I opened the Fight Phase with one Gunner hitting the Phobos Captain, managing to land a servoarm hit for 3 wounds.  Knowing he couldn't take another round like that, Tuba interrupted combat and let the Phobos Captain fight.  He split his attacks against the Gunners, but because he was using Oppressor's End against CHARACTERS, he managed to slice & dice both of the Gunners.  The Tacticals dragged the Intercessor down with weight of attacks.  In the Captain Show-Down/Throw-Down, I dealt 6 wounds and received 1 in reply (thanks to a timely use of Reject the Flesh & Embrace the Machine for a 4+ Flesh is Weak save).


I only scored BLOOD & GUTS and discarded PRIORITY ORDERS RECEIVED, earning just one more VP.





The Vindicator is swarmed by hostile Primaris.


Tuba's card draw was AREA DENIAL, SECURE OBJECTIVE 4, and STRIKE AT THE HEAD.  His deep strike corps, minus the Captain advanced towards the Vindicator that had dared to close on their position.  The Librarian backed out of LOS just in case, the Ancient moved into the Alamo position recently vacated by his Intercessors, and the Gravis Captain elected to remain in combat with the Terminator Captain.  His Vanguard Veterans then arrived via deep strike, lined up looking at the Terminator's unprotected back.  The Librarian smote the Razorback for one mortal wound (blocked by Flesh is Weak), then Shadowstepped (despite my attempt to deny it) onto Objective 4 -- which happened to be on the rubble-pile where the Land Raider and Vindicator had previously spit-roasted a squad of Infiltrators.


The deep strike corps pumped as much firepower into the Vindicator as it could and brought it down to 4 wounds.  The Ancient tried to snipe off another Tactical Marine, but rolled poorly, and the Librarians stormbolter could make little impression on the Vindicator he shot it at.  The deep strikers charged the Vindicator en masse.  The Hellblasters went first and suffered for it when it fired 6 shots and blasted all but one Hellblaster off the table.  Still, now that it was engaged, the Inceptor went in and knocked another wound off via impact hits.  Their combined close combat attacks did no damage.  The Vanguard failed to charge my Captain (we were both out CPs at this point), but the Gravis Captain managed to sneak two more wounds onto the Terminator before he was brained by the thunder hammer.


He scored AREA DENIAL and SECURE OBJECTIVE 4, evening the score at 5-all.



TURN 4 - IRON HANDS (16-5)


The Redeemer arrives back in the deployment zone.


My card draw finally landed well!  I pulled KINGSLAYER, OVERWHELMING FIREPOWER, and METHODICAL DESTRUCTION (for the latter, the three units I chose were the Ancient, the Librarian, and the lone Hellblaster).  I disembarked the last Tacticals from the Razorback, and moved both infantry units and the Razorback up to engage Ancient in the Alamo; the Dreadnought and mid-field Vindicator drew up to the face the Librarian; and the Stalker, Land Raider, and conversion beamer Techmarine took aim at the deep strike corps.  The engaged Vindicator withdraw from combat to open up the ranged options. My Captain took a few confident steps towards to the Vanguard and healed two wounds thanks to his Automedicae Bionics.  My Librarians put Blessing of the Omnissiah on the Stalker, failed to Smite the enemy Librarian, and then Reforged the Dreadnought up to 7 wounds.


The Tacticals and Razorback doused the Ancient in plasma.  The Vindicator's point-blank shell vaporized the Terminator Librarian.  The Dreadnought killed an Inceptor with a lascannon.  The conversion beamer disintegrated the Hellblaster.  The Stalker, thanks to the psychic aiming aid, killed the Phobos Captain, and the Land Raider then annihilated the four remaining Inceptors thanks to a combination of flamestorm and assault cannon shots.


The Captain then charged the Vanguard Veterans, but the use of storm shields on both sides meant that no damage was done either way.


This was a huge turn for me.  I scored SLAY THE WARLORD, KINGSLAYER (for 3), OVERWHELMING FIREPOWER for (2), and METHODICAL DESTRUCTION (for 5), shooting me ahead to 16 VPs and leaving my opponent with just one unit left on the board.





Tatesford clearly belongs to the Iron Hands now.


I honestly don't have a record on Tuba's card draw; the end was obvious at this point.  We played out the last round of combat between my Captain and his Vanguard.  Moving into Assault Doctrine let his chainswords push a wound or two onto my warlord, and I squashed one Veteran with my hammer in return, and at the end of the round we called it.


Victory for the Iron Hands!  You can see the Captain's red cape surrounded by gray Vanguard on the left of the above photo, and the Alamo is still surrounded by my Tactical Marines in the lower-left.






It felt good to shake the rust off, as this was actually my first game of 40K in the 2019 calendar year!  That being said, Tuba is still fairly new to the game so I did have some tactical pointers.  We discussed an increased need for heavy anti-tank weapons; one of his biggest issues throughout the game was his predominantly S4 shooting bouncing off of the four T8 tanks I had on the tabletop.  I let him play out the first turn as he wished, but after that started pointing out other options in terms of movement, deep strike placement, and shooting priorities.  As a beginner so many years ago, one of my biggest problems was always dispersing my fire, and Tuba made similar mistakes.  Concentrating your fire is key!  That being said, he did have some tricks I was not expecting -- the clever use of deep strike traits and powers on his Captains to deliver reroll auras to deep striking troops was cool to see in action, but his placement of the Inceptor bomb in my backfield backfired in my opinion: the TFCs had killed two models total at that point.  He'd have been better off massing this force against my Razorback/Tacticals/Dreadnought advancing up the middle.  The Hellblasters in particular would have been much more effective firing S8 against T7 instead of against T8.


For my part, I loved the Land Raider Redeemer and the Vindicators.  Granted, I rolled well on the number of shots for all three in most cases -- lots of 4s and 5s per gun -- but the high strength, good AP, and multiple damage of the flamestorm and Demolisher cannons simply punished the Primaris for the temerity of having 2-3 wounds a piece.  The most disappointing performances were the TFCs and the Stalker.  The Stalker killed one Suppressor, two Inceptors, and the Phobos Captain which isn't terrible. . . but given its specialty and the fact that I blew a CP on the Skyfire Stratagem for no return made me sad.


In any case, let me know what you think: tactics, list building, etc, all comments welcome!

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