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Battle 10: 75PL vs Custodes, Strike for Supplies


Cheex

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Or: Maybe Don't Choose To Go Second Against Custodes Next Time

16 September, 2022

After being surrounded by the foul xenos forces, the World Eaters only manage to fall back thanks to the enemy armies' preoccupation with each other. Returning in force and hoping to catch these enemies off-guard, the Cruentes are surprised to not see Necrons or xenos mutants, but instead the transhuman might of the Adeptus Custodes. 

After the last battle, I used the Repair and Recuperate requisition to remove the battle scar from the Terminators.

Kratus and Baruda lead the force, consisting of Murdax's Red Butchers, all three Berzerker squads led by ValidonDreior and Gorm, a big mob of Cultists, Xarian the Helbrute and Bardûl the Spawn.

In this mission, there are six objective markers in No Man's Land, which players must perform "loot" actions on to score VPs. Each objective can be looted three times in total before being removed. I choose the agendas Blasphemous Ritual (perform an action in the centre for XP and Chaos God Glory), Instrument of Vengeance (a Path of the Righteous agenda to kill characters) and Reaper (unit that kills the most gets bonus XP).

I win the roll-off for first turn, and decide that I want to go second, to draw the enemy forward or something. It sounded like a good idea at the time.

At the top of the first battle round, I spend a few CPs on Apoplectic Frenzy to rush the Red Butchers, Cultists and two Berzerker squads forward. 

The Berzerkers on my left flank rage forward but somehow maintain the wherewithal to take cover. The Cultists move into a position to capture an objective on my first turn, while the Terminators look all menacing in the middle. And finally, the Berzerkers on the right start shuffling around a piece of terrain.

Why didn't I Frenzy the other Berzerker squad, you ask? You know, the one in a perfect position to nab an objective on turn 1? Your guess is as good as mine, dear reader.

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In my opponent's first turn, things move up and start shooting. I quickly realise that I should've taken the first turn, if only to get Illusory Supplication off on the Apostle. Thankfully, my dice are extremely hot - who knew that frenzied Berzerkers would be so situationally-aware that they could make so many saves in cover!

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A few Terminators are, however, blasted off the table. Remind me again why I chose to go second?

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In response, everything surges forward in a great, red tide.

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Terminators begin a mission action in the centre of the table, while Baruda sings them a nice prayer. I didn't want to risk failing the dice roll, so I quite happily used the Fell Prayers stratagem to guarantee it.

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On the left-centre, the Cultists also begin the mission action on an objective. Near them, some Berzerkers Advance to cover. Not sure why I didn't Frenzy them at the start, since it would've meant that they could do the mission action now...but I digress. Past Cheex is not best Cheex.

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On my right, Berzerkers file forwards, while Xarian opens up on the Custodes with jump packs (I forget their name). Xarian gets a little too trigger happy, rolling two shots and landing both a 1 and a 6 - thanks to Wanton Destruction, the 6 turns into two hits but the 1 still causes a mortal wound. 

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In my opponent's turn, some fancy bolters kill several Berzerkers out on the left flank, a pile of Cultists are turned to mist, and a couple more Terminators are killed. Many Terminators are saved by the Illusory Supplication, though - against an army that relies on a small number of high-quality shots, nearly halving their ability to shoot is extremely useful.

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I seem to be missing some photos of my second turn, but simply: Terminators continue moving forward, this time enacting the Blasphemous Ritual on the centre of the table. Baruda again uses Fell Prayers to automatically succeed in using Illusory Supplication on them.

On the right, my Berzerkers charge and massacre some Sisters of Silence who were on an objective, while the remnant Berzerkers on the left attempt to charge some bolter-wielding Custodes. Unfortunately, Tanglefoot Grenades root them to the spot (reduced my charge range by a whopping 6"!).

On my opponent's turn, he decides he's had enough of the Dark Apostle's shenanigans and sends a Shield Captain over to assassinate him. Meanwhile, more jetbikers head off to intercept the Berzerkers on my right, and a couple of Terminators are killed.

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The Berzerkers on my left, out in the open from their failed charge, are mercilessly cut down, with four dying to shooting.

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The few that are left are easily mopped up in melee.

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Yeah, this turn isn't looking good. On the right, the Berzerkers there are skewered by the jetbike charge.

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The only glimmer of hope this round is Baruda, whose loyal disciples are cut down while the Apostle himself is merely wounded. In return, he lands a successful hit on the Captain.

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In my turn, I remember that Baruda has the Mantle of Traitors relic, so he can use the Fell Prayers stratagem once for free. He beseeches his daemonic patrons to splinter reality around the Red Butchers once more, while he turns his attention back to the Captain.

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Sensing an opportunity for a gory kill, Kratus steps up to claim a worthy skull for Khorne. 

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Xarian stomps forward to handle the jetbikes on the right flank.

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Meanwhile, the Cultists keep chanting "wE cAptOrEd iT fOr ChAyOssS" into their vox for some reason. They've just been quietly earning me VPs all game, bless their hearts.

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I've got some good charges lined up, which would give me the opportunity to stay in the game. If I can clear out a few of these enemy units, I'll be able to stay ahead on VPs and potentially win the game.

Unfortunately, the dice gods would not agree. Tanglefoot Grenades yet again ruin my day, dropping the Terminator charge by 6" again (my opponent profusely apologised for rolling a 6 twice with that stratagem!). They end up failing their charge, even with a reroll.

Even more unfortunately, this leaves his Allarus Captain free to use his own relic, which allows him to perform a Heroic Intervention to anywhere on the table. He chooses to go after Kratus.

Had this not happened, I would've activated Xarian first to kill the jetbikes on my right, trusting that I could weather the attacks from one captain. But with two captains squaring off against my characters in the centre, I opt to activate Kratus first.

He splits his attacks between the two captains (first mistake). The jetbike captain makes enough Invulnerable saves to barely survive, while the Allarus captain uses Transhuman Physiology to absorb the rest of the attacks.

Of course, the jetbikes then interrupt combat and demolish poor Xarian, and a string of bad saves means that both my characters die.

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From there, my opponent simply had to mop up the rest of my Terminators and Cultists to win the battle.

Result: 25-45 loss

Kratus's Personal Glory:  2 -> 1
Khorne's Dark God Glory: 6 -> 6
Cruentes' Warfleet Glory: 7 -> 7

Oof, what an unfortunate series of events. My opponent played his stratagems well, twice using Tanglefoot Grenades to severely hamper key charges, but that last Hail Mary charge just fell apart spectacularly. Kratus's Personal Glory suffered again after that disastrous mishap, while the Blasphemous Ritual and my paltry 1 Chaos Point kept my Dark God and Warfleet glory at their previous levels. Thankfully, no rivals tried to challenge Kratus still.

Gorm's Berzerkers gained the Battle-weary battle scar, while Bardûl lost 1XP from a Devastating Blow

I made a few key mistakes in this game again, particularly with regard to going first and not Frenzying my third Berzerker squad. They would've been able to nab another objective early on, while benefiting from cover. I also should've kept Baruda better covered, rather than letting a jetbike character charge him. I also failed a few key rolls, especially the Terminator charge in the middle. Had they succeeded, they probably would've killed the Allarus Captain while Kratus killed the Jetbike Captain and the Helbrute killed at least one or two of the jetbikes. 

No units gained a rank in this game, but I did make Kratus Marked for Glory (though in hindsight shouldn't have bothered, given his performance!), which put him just 1XP behind reaching Heroic rank...

Edited by Cheex

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