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Battle 11: 50PL vs Imperial Knights, Eldritch Encounter


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Or: It's Fistin' Time!

22 September, 2022

After a series of stinging defeats and anaemic offerings to the Blood Father, the World Eaters are eager for a worthy fight. Kratus, in particular, is determined to prove his worth as a successor to the Hand of Khorne. As scattered bands of Cruentes stalk the streets, they encounter a scouting force of Imperial Knights, presenting them with an opportunity to take some worthy trophies.

Since the last battle, I used Repair and Recuperate to remove the battle scar from Thrax, the Exalted Champion. It appears his pact with a shadowy daemon has instilled him with new confidence...

Kratus and Thrax lead this force, composed of all three Berzerker squads led by ValidonDreior and Gorm, and backed by a Cultist mob and Bardûl, the Spawn.

Eager to salvage his reputation and silence any possibility of usurpation from within his ranks, Kratus seeks to draw the Eye of the Gods (kill characters or vehicles) and solidify himself as an Instrument of Vengeance (Path of the Righteous - kill characters or units bearing relics).

In this mission, half of each player's units (rounding down) must start in Strategic Reserve, at no cost. With seven units in my army, I opt to keep Kratus, two Berzerker squads and the Cultists on the board. Thrax leads a reserve band of eight Berzerkers and the Spawn. 

The objectives for this mission are simply to kill enemies and end the game in the opponent's deployment zone. We also set up a couple of supply cache secondary objectives, per our campaign's rules. Performing a special Action on these objectives would provide free uses of certain Requisitions.

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A wave of determination sweeps over the World Eaters, and although my opponent gains first turn I decide to use Apoplectic Frenzy to sprint almost everyone forwards.

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In the Knights' first turn, their warlord, Prince Arthur, shimmies between two ruins to draw a bead on the Berzerkers on my right.

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In a storm of extremely accurate firepower, six Berzerkers are blasted apart.

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On the left, one Berzerker is downed by an autocannon from the shooty Armiger.

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Following up on his successful shooting, Prince Arthur barrels between the ruined buildings to charge and easily destroy the two remaining Berzerkers. Kratus, still suffering from some Deep Scars, cannot use Heroic Intervention.

(Our campaign has a house rule where a unit can only use the Repair and Recuperate requisition if they sit out a battle, and Kratus has been fighting in every battle since gaining that scar.)

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In response, I abandon my original plan of using the Cultists to just nab some supplies, and instead hurl them at the Knight along with Kratus. If push comes to shove, they can use Fury of Khorne to help get a few extra wounds in if needed.

The Berzerkers on the left instead head over to pick up those supplies...but I forget that they have the Battle-weary scar, preventing them from performing Actions. Dangit.

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Kratus leaps from the corpses of dead Berzerkers to latch onto the Knight's carapace. With the help of the Wrath of the Chosen (+1 to hit with Terminators or Chosen) and Stoke the Nails (puts the unit into Wanton Slaughter) stratagems, as well as his various abilities, Kratus drives his chainfist repeatedly into the Knight's body. 

Inflicting an impressive 27 damage, Kratus manages to rupture the fuel cells of Prince Arthur's mighty steed, causing a catastrophic explosion that kills several Cultists and wounds the Chaos Lord.

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Seeking retribution for the demise of their Warlord, the two Armigers in reserve start racing towards Kratus.

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Six cultists (and a couple of Berzerkers on my left) are slain by the Knights' firepower.

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Wading into the Cultist mob, the Armigers make short work of the mortals and their remains are sprayed onto the walls of the nearby ruins and silo, leaving Kratus decidedly vulnerable.

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In my second turn, Thrax and his Berzerkers stream in from Strategic Reserve, taking advantage of the ability to set up closer to the enemy if you arrive close to your own table edge. Thrax's aim with his combi-melta is uncanny, scoring a direct hit on one of the Armigers and stripping six wounds off it.

Elsewhere, Bardûl wanders onto the table near my opponent's deployment zone, ready to wander in on the last turn to earn some endgame VPs if things go badly.

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Meanwhile, Gorm's Berzerkers stalk through the ruins, hoping for a long charge on the Armigers to help out the Chaos Lord.

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Unfortunately, everyone except Kratus fails their charges. I guess it's down to the Hand of Khorne, now!

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Kratus has an impressive nine attacks on the charge, so I allocate three to the wounded Armiger and six to the other. Using the Wrath of the Chosen and Stoke the Nails stratagems again, he gains an absurd number of attacks from exploding 6s, but even so he barely finishes off the wounded Armiger and, with a lucky Command Re-roll to wound, he destroys the unwounded Armiger.

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Unfortunately, Kratus's luck can't last forever. The last Armiger sidesteps the ruin and unloads his autocannons into the Chaos Lord, who fails two of his 2+ saves, so even a Command Re-roll wouldn't help. High-impact, explosive rounds tear into Kratus and he crashes to the ground, ending his rampage.

In my third turn, Thrax and all the Berzerkers hurl themselves at the last Armiger, eager for the kill.

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In the Knights' fourth turn, he knocks out a couple more Berzerkers from Gorm's squad, but the writing is definitely on the wall. Thrax and Validon's Berzerker squad pack into the last Armiger, with Thrax severely damaging the machine (seriously, I can't seem to roll 6s to save my life with Gorefather), and it is easily dismantled by the Berzerkers.

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What a brutal game. I made one mistake in sending my one Berzerker squad that can't perform Actions after some objectives that require Actions, but other than that things went unbelievably well, and probably need to start screening Berzerkers with Cultists to prevent them from getting charged so easily. I also kept forgetting to use the Skulls for the Skull Throne stratagem, since all of the Knights were Characters. But I think that would've just been rubbing salt in the wound at that point!

Result: 50-10 victory

Kratus's Personal Glory: 1 -> 7
Khorne's Dark God Glory: 6 -> 5
Cruentes' Warfleet Glory: 7 -> 7

I only gain four Chaos Points for the victory, but with Kratus killing the enemy Warlord and two more characters/vehicles, he gains another three Personal Glory points. I put another three Chaos Points from the victory into Kratus's Personal Glory (I think he deserved it!), catapulting him from being Forsaken to being Favoured! Evidently, his followers were impressed by his showing in this game.

Unfortunately, Kratus does fail his Out of Action test, and it turns out that one of his legs was turned into a pulpy mess by a hail of mass-reactive rounds. His body has not yet accepted the crude bionic replacement, giving him the Lost Leg battle scar (-1Mv, -1 to Advance and Charge rolls). Oof.

However, he gained a whopping 8XP from the Eye of the Gods agenda, and a further 4XP (and 2 Righteous Inspiration points) from the Instrument of Vengeance agenda, plus he killed three units and was Marked for Glory for a total of 17XP (including the one for fighting a battle).

And this is the part I've all been waiting for: Kratus finally levelled up to Heroic rank, giving him another chance to roll on the Chaos Boons table. He already has serpentine fangs (13) and a scorpion's tail (21), and if I roll either of those two results again he gets to join Bardûl in the ranks of spawndom.

I roll the Chaos Boon - and get 23. Warp Stalker (reroll Advance and Charge rolls). My heart skipped a beat on the first D3 roll, but that result was a very good one, and partially offsets the Lost Leg battle scar.

Kratus is now at 47XP, so levelling up to Legendary rank is realistically only a couple of games away. And who knows what awaits him when he does...

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I just binged everything and you're killing it (for Khorne, of course)! The lore about your characters has been delightful; and this latest swing for Kratus, on the verge of disgrace, straight to Heroic... apparently Khorne really likes leg meat. The battle reports and connections show everything that is great about Crusade. Thank you for taking the time to post all this!

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On 9/27/2022 at 12:36 AM, jaxom said:

I just binged everything and you're killing it (for Khorne, of course)! The lore about your characters has been delightful; and this latest swing for Kratus, on the verge of disgrace, straight to Heroic... apparently Khorne really likes leg meat. The battle reports and connections show everything that is great about Crusade. Thank you for taking the time to post all this!

Thanks! I'm really enjoying playing Crusade, and the interesting characters it can make. I'd like to do a bit more with the other characters in the story, though. But I'm glad you are enjoying it.

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I've only read this blog post/battle report but I enjoyed it immensely even without prior knowledge of your army's exploits and the various characters. As jaxom mentioned, your write-ups are a testament to how great the Crusade system can be, and your enjoyment really shines through. I'm looking forward to reading the rest of your blog posts and future updates!

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