As promised one batrep We kept things light rules wise to learn 9th which included no mission - it was a battle to the death! I was expecting a hard fight being my first game and against the new Marine codex, especially knowing only one Stratagem (the healing one ) but I reasoned that I had the numbers to weather the storm enough so was in with a shot.
Hive Fleet Solerön
Going lengthways to give 24" no man's land didn't leave much option for deployment so it turned out pretty predictable. There wasn't much to work with going up the board either so I banked on using the containers to cover my Monsters as I knew much would rest on them so if I lost them early the game would follow.
Aside from being a pain for placing models, the craters also got in the way with the constant -2" to moving...
I am given first turn so it is time to move up. Everything Advances, the Hive Tyrant casts Onslaught on the fex so he can shoot at full BS which is needed as the Smokescreen Stratagem comes into play. A shot gets through on the Whirlwind for 3 Damage, the Biovore misses so a hug balloon appears in enemy lines...
The Hive Tyrant can't shoot but hiding behind the containers is likely more use for me. Otherwise my forces move up cohesively albeit struggling with the craters. Unfortunately I neglected to take a picture of this part of the game.
The Marines don't move a great deal, left flank forces move back a little and the right flank starts to converge towards the centre. Shooting kills some Termagaunts and Hormagaunts but not too many. So far so good, but I'll have another turn of much more shooting to come! In particular as an Orbital Bombardment is keyed to a ruin just ahead of my advance (purple marker in picture below)... It's not all bad though, my opponent moved back too far with a combat squad and set off the Spore Mine which did 3 Mortal Wounds
Unfortunately there's too much ground to be covered for my left flank to get any charges in so I focus on moving up and away from the bombardment. The Hormagaunt squad can't escape it but I'd rather not get slowed down. The Warriors struggle to make any ground over the ruins, the Devourer squad having to loop up to avoid the blast but I also want to keep them close to the Prime. Hopefully they can form a second wave to support the first.
Shooting accounts for little - the Biovore misses again so the Dreadnought gets a follower. At least I can make some charges, thanks to Onslaught! Catalyst on the left Hormagaunt squad will hopefully keep them alive longer.
Sadly combat doesn't go so well either. The gaunts struggle to do much and the Hive Tyrant whiffs most of his rolls. At least the gaunts could tag the Whirlwind to buy me a turn from its shooting.
Things start to go a bit pear shaped in my opponent's turn. The Whirlwind falls back (though again, into hug territory ) and the Captain charges in to beat the Hive Tyrant up badly. Both gaunt squads on the left flanks are wiped out and the right squad almost joins them Things are looking rather grim with my remaining forces still trying to get into the action. At least the bombardment failed to do anything!
I need to get stuck in or the game is not going to be recoverable but fortunately my units can reach, with Onslaught helping the Warriors engage the Captain. I can plink some wounds off the Dreadnought and the forward combat squad is reduced but otherwise my forces struggle to inflict much damage. The Genestealers kill four on the bottom but with the Terminators arriving the previous turn it might not end well for them. With Catalyst perhaps they can survive?
The Hive Tyrant redeems himself further by almost killing the Captain, the Warriors finish the job but lose two to Only in Death letting him fight still. Things aren't looking any better really so I'm going to end up relying on the stealers and fex to even the scales and hopefully open a path to victory.
The Biovore is taken out between the Dreadnought's Assault Cannon and the Whirlwind, the Dreadnought easily wiping the Devourer Warriors squad in combat. I can finish off the Hive Tyrant's opponents finally, and the Genestealers manage to come out of the great melee with four remaining - but not before I counter to get my hits in first against the Termies to reduce them. The fex finishes off the combat squad which is going to make a big difference next turn.
Things aren't great but I can see the opportunity to change that and build a decent shot at winning if I can have a good turn. Shooting followed by a charge can finish the Dreadnought off, and the Tyrant can engage the Whirlwind to batter it down with Smite helping out. I put Catalyst on the stealers again in the hopes they can hold long enough to buy me time to finish off the other flank.
With my opponent's forces in combat there's nothing else to happen, but I'm wearing his forces down. In particular the stealers manage to hold on with some good luck even getting some killing in thanks to the Acid Maws rolling hot.
Things are in my favour now, my forces don't have much trouble finishing the flank off. The last Terminator is killed by the stealer, who is in turn killed by the Sergeant - who then faces the victorious right flank alone:
He moves up to attack the Hive Tyrant in defiance but is slain in combat, a hard fought victory for Solerön!
It was a game of ups and downs that's for sure, I starting to think it was going to end early after turn 2 where I was pulling model after model off the table having achieved little and still needing to make ground. Dying was all the gaunts really did, WS4+ S3 really struggled against 2W Marines compounded by larger nids failing to secure many wounds on a 3+ which made for a very lopsided early game...
2W Marines makes a big difference, Terminators were something to be afraid of too. The Dreadnought also felt like something to respect, I was going into fights aware of the differences but it was numbers that mattered in the end. The Hive Tyrant could have done better with his rolling but he was key in both the psychic support as well as tanking, but managed to deliver when it mattered at least so he was crucial.
S6 doesn't seem to cut it in many cases so I may need to consider options especially with regards to anti-armour duties. Otherwise things largely played out as I had expected for my units. The Biovore did quite well, and the 6++ for the gaunts helped keep them in the fight (which says a lot given how fast they died). The Warriors were a bit disappointing but it might not have been the best game for them.
The fex didn't get much chance to shoot or fight even but did yeoman's work when he did. The Genestealers did well, but what a difference 2W Marines make to their effectiveness - they'd have mauled another squad on that charge. They held my left flank alone once the gaunts had caught all the bullets so they were up there with the Tyrant when it came to winning the game. Playing the Stratagem to get them to fight against the Terminators no doubt made for one of the key parts of the game - not like I had much else to spend my Command Points on
It was great to get them on the table and the game was a lot of fun, I learned a lot about the army too so I've got a better feel for how they work. I don't think it has changed my immediate plans, though I can't seem to find a base for the Broodlord so he may need to wait.