29 July, 2022
This was the inaugural battle under Kratus's leadership. He led five Red Butcher terminators, two squads of five Berzerkers in a Rhino, one squad of eight Berzerkers on foot. He was accompanied by Baruda the Dark Apostle and a small mob of Cultists.
My Agendas for this mission were to kill enemy characters for XP and Personal Glory, and sabotage terrain in the enemy deployment zone.
The Cruentes were "ambushing" the Custodes as the latter attempted to link up with other Imperial forces on the world of Janus, following a disasterous encounter with the T'au.
Unfortunately, Berzerkers are not known for their subtlety, so the Custodes were able to quickly react to the newcomers. The Blade Champion and Dreadnought charged my Rhino full of Berzerkers, who attempted to counterassault. Their berserk fury was enough to overcome the skill of the Blade Champion, who was barely left standing with several visible wounds. In return, however, the Berzerkers and Baruda were all scattered.
Meanwhile, the Custodes defending the rear of the column brought a withering hail of fire upon my eight Berzerkers on foot. Half the number were incapacitated by shooting, and another two were taken down by either Overwatch or Counter Assault (can't remember) but the remainder charged and cut down two of the Custodes. The last two Berzerkers eventually succumbed.
In hindsight, I probably should've popped a couple more strats on them (exploding 6s would've been nice!), as that lone Custodian would go off to score a ton of VPs by holding an objective I couldn't do much about.
The cultists were, predictably, demolished by enemy fire. Six died from a flamer from a Sister of Silence character, two more died from bolter fire, and the remaining two were later set ablaze by the same character.
Seeing things not proceeding to plan, Kratus and his Terminators slice through the Warp in a neat spearhead. In a spark of utter brilliance, Kratus places himself at the tip of the spear...and then everyone fails to charge, leaving him exposed to enemy fire.
Not pictured: my opponent also brought down some jump pack pistol guys (the name escapes me), which made my deep strike just that little bit harder.
On the plus side, a well-placed meltagun shot badly damages the dreadnought.
Thankfully, the Bloodfather rewards courage (or forgetfulness, not sure) and a series of excellent saves means that Kratus himself is left on a couple of wounds.
The following battle round was a little exciting, so I forgot to take photos. The Sword Champion and Dreadnought charge, with the Dread merely managing to incapacitate one Terminator. Kratus interrupts, finishing off the Sword Champion while the Terminators cut apart the Dreadnought.
In the following turn, Kratus charges and kills the Shield Captain very handily (I cannot recommend a chainfist enough, especially when you get rerolls to hit), while the Terminators chased down the Sisters character. One cheeky double-pile-in-and-consolidation later, and the Terminators had also tied up a unit of Sisters and shooty Custodes. (I like to call this move a "Khornesolidation".)
Unfortunately, Kratus's luck couldn't keep up with the firepower levelled at him.
The Terminators butchered the Sisters (they were very silent about dying, sadly) and the last shooty Custodian fell back to let everyone else shoot the Terminators. One Terminator was left at the bottom of the last turn, so he marched off to blow up a building as an Action. With three CPs left, I decided to spend two to be able shoot, and one more to shoot more accurately - which was just enough to also finish off the last shooty Custodian.
Despite this Hail Mary charge, however, the Custodes had held on to the objectives long enough to claim victory.
This battle really demonstrated what I love the most about Crusade (other than being able to expand on my characters' narratives): you can lose the battle on objectives, but still achieve your Agendas to create moral victories.
Result: 35-65 Loss
Following their defeat against the perfidious xenos, the Custodes fell back through an industrial sector to attempt contact with the remaining Imperial forces. They knew they weren't alone, however, as the unmistakable sound of roaring chainaxes filled the air. Leading a heroic charge, the Custodian Blade Champion Ganorth Tychor suffered a horrific chest wound, however his sacrifice bought the force enough time to establish communications with their allies. The forces of the World Eaters had blooded themselves on the Emperor's chosen, but their ferocity was not enough.
Kratus's Personal Glory: 3 -> 4
Khorne's Dark God Glory: 4 -> 4
Cruentes' Warfleet Glory: 8 -> 7
Edited by Cheex
Fixed image formatting, added feature photo