Monday, 17 September 2018

The Court of The Yellow King Awakens

Balto Krudditch pored over the vid reps regarding the now disappeared Death guard force, the battle had been fierce with no clear victor, so with the lack of a visible enemy, all seemed well. His requisitions for a much larger force had been largely overlooked, but his command was back filled to the exact *size it was prior to the followers of Nurgles attack. Scargill had been on high alert since an alien structure had been unearthed some 700 clicks eastwards of here in the town of Kinnock. After some attempts at entering the object were marginally successful the entire central plaza was cordoned off with a strong garrison observing the object which appeared to be dormant. Then a vox command was received for his company to advance 75 clicks northeast to a small settlement of Scousehatton. A rad signal very similar to the one in Kinnock only much stronger had been identified. The entire army was dispatched to Scousehatton, a journey taking approximately 3 hours. What met them entering the small town was a surprise to say the least, what would have been more accurate was a hideous Groxballs of a surprise. A large contingent of Necrons had rounded up the inhabitants and held them in a large tavern in the centre of the settlement. They were currently using the towns main edification gallows as a staging area for the army. As the relief force arrived a booming synthesised voice was heard in archaic Imperial Gothic;
"Insignificant mammalian creatures, Lord Grimdarhk the Somnolent, rightful Lord of this world has come to reclaim his territory. Your presence here is ended. You have one hour to vacate this planet before liquidation begins. Move one micron nearer to the Court of the Yellow King's presence and you will forfeit the hour, he has generously granted you.".
Without a seconds pause commander Krudditch sent out a vox to his troops "No jumped up tinman is going to kick us off our own planet! OPEN FIRE!". And so began the battle of Scousehatton. 

Greetings. Another battle report hoves into view. This time it's my astra militarum vs Stuart's Necrons. Having never played Necrons I wasn't really sure what to expect. looking through my Codex Xenos book I noted they have decent saves, decent stats, decent weapons and arrogance. One thing I did know from reading the codex was their Reanimation Protocols, every casualty can return to battle on a 5+. Of course models removed due to morale won't come back, they have a lot of explaining to do when the Overlord finds them. The secret to dealing with Reanimation Protocols is to wipe out entire units to stop that sort of thing. 

The Armies

The army I selected was exactly the same one I used against Dylan's Death Guard , in actual fact the army list was originally written up to fight Stuart's Necrons but fate had other plans**. A month later than scheduled I arrived at Casa Stuart with a game mat, some scenery and the Scargill PDF led by Balto Krudditch. I haven't got a copy of Stuart's army list and as he was using some Forge World Necron toys my understanding of what he used is somewhat limited. As far as I can remember he took;
A Necron Lord on a Command Barge.
2 Cryptechs
A unit of 8 or 9 Tomb Blades
A unit of around 20ish Necron Warriors
A Tesseract Ark
2 units of 10 Immortals
A Canoptek Tomb Sentenel or Stalker
A Doomsday Ark.
As you may or may not be able to discern, Stuart has a lot of big items. Probably because Lord Grimdarhk decided to show off his scary Necron weaponry to the primitive humans and a lot of his Necron warriors were still in the Land of Nod. Also he has a broken down Monolith in the central plaza of Kinnock that needs a jump start and he hasn't gotten round to it yet.

The Asking What Stuff Does Phase

Otherwise known as the set up and other sundry activities part of the game. I asked Stuart what his stuff did/does***. He explained the Tesseract Ark and Doomsday Ark did horrible anti tank stuff (my Leman Russ wouldn't like that), the Cryptechs did some sort of buffs to reanimation protocols, the Necron Lord would obviously be nails so I didn't question him much about that. The Canoptech lad was some sort of deepstriking chewing up guardsman sort of thing and the Tomb Blades were flying things that had reanimation protocols and a -1 to hit in the shooting phase. I didn't like the sound of that. To be honest there was a lot I didn't like the sound of but I figured that the Tomb Blades were very high on my things to kill list.

Astra Militarum to the left, obnoxious insufferable braggarts to the right. 

Four Objectives can be seen in a semi straight line running along the centre of the battlefield the other two were placed more selfishly nearer our respective deployment zones.

Sergeant Harker squats in a crater in the centre of of the deployment zone allowing two Leman Russ, two infantry squads, a Chimera and a special weapons squad the pleasure of basking in his aura of rerolling ones as they all have the Catachan keyword. Unfortunately his aura isn't able to encompass the rest of my army so the Autocannon heavy weapons squad, Ratlings, Chimera, infantry squad and Tank Commander will have to make do without it. Both Chimeras also contain veterans and other assorted Astra Militarum dignitaries, ready to jump out at a moments notice. The Hellhound lurks out of shot at the bottom of the battlefield.

My initial Tactical Objectives; secure objectives 2, 6  and area denial. both of these were on the wrong side of the battlefield for me.

Objective 1 is firmly in Imperial hands. Unfortunately the higher echelons of Imperial command don't really want it.

Assorted Necrons cower behind the inn in an attempt to avoid righteous Imperial munitions hurtling towards them. Two Arks Doomsday and Tesseract prepare to unleash awful disambiguation beams and things of that nature.

During turn one a VP is scored, Area Denial probably.
During the first turn I attempted to destroy some of the Necron troops, and was pretty successful.As stated before I didn't like the sound of the Tomb Blades so I concentrated fire on them wiping them out with Leman Russ, and sniper fire. Got a few hits from the autocannons on the Doomsday Ark only to have Quantum shielding save it (Stu rolled double 1's). On the east side of the table Imanaged to inflict quite a few casualties on the Necron Warriors and then quite a few of them got back up into the fight. A few fled so they couldn't come back so Stuart had to have a pile of models that might come back due to the accursed Reanimation Protocols and a pile that could not as they had scarpered. Stuart's turn didn't go so well as his highly dangerous Ark tag team failed to inflict significant damage on my Leman Russes. He did wipe out my autocannon heavy weapon team and several Ratlings due to some sort of teleportation device jiggery pokery. By the end of turn one I think I had the moral high ground.

The Veteran squad with the plasmaguns reinforce the place where the Autocannons were while the chimera remains parked perilously close to scratching the paintwork on the side of the building. If the driver does commit the sin of taking off the anointed holy pigment, a week or two cleaning out the latrines will be his punishment.

On the off chance High Command takes a fancy to objectives 3 or 5 a lone sergeant takes 3 (the rest of his squad were vaporized) and the Hellhound takes 5. A Cryptec hides behind some  Necron Warriors, hoping that a Leman Russ some assorted small arms fire and a Hellhound won't be able to remove his shield of underlings.

More Necrons, this time, I think Immortals (which is to me a fairly pointless name as all Necrons are I think) assault the brave defenders of humanity. The unit on the left had some sort of Tesla weapon that turn into 3 hits on the roll of a 6. Very nasty and not at all welcome on behalf of the Ratlings.

After aforementioned Leman Russ, Hellhound and small arms fire the Necron Warriors are gone. That leaves a very exposed Cryptec next to a couple of Arks. The Immortals next to the Necron Lord is also gone. High Command still doesn't want objective three but the sergeant is loath to relinquish it as there is a 12% bonus for any NCOs that successfully defend objectives from xenos equipment of danger level 3 or above.
It was around this time that Quantum Shielding proved strangely ineffective. After weathering autocannon shots and Plasma cannon hits Revs Cantalope in his Demolisher took a shot at the Doomsday Ark. One successful wounding hit later I hoped for a 2 or 3 to start plinking off wounds from it. Fate decided to add some drama to proceedings by making me roll a 6 for damage to mean all Stuart had to do was roll a 1-5 on a d6 to negate the damage. He (or she) must have taken pity on my sour look and made Stuart also roll a 6, making QS worthless.

On this side of the table the strategy of concentrating fire on xenos infantry wipes out the Tesla armed Immortals (who are proven to be fairly mortal, at least for the minute). Another Cryptec fills his metal togs with waste oil and surplus mechanical extrusions. It's at this point that Warlord Grimdarhk says to himself, "Fine, I'll do it myself." his voice although metallic sounds quite a lot like Josh Brolin's.

At the end of my turn I have a happy "I shot all your troops" type feeling. Coupled with a "and by sheer good luck, you barely damaged my tanks" type feeling. By natural progression of narrative, it was a warm and fuzzy Balto Krudditch that wallowed in his good fortune.

The picture below shows Stuart's attempt to ruin the party. An horrible Crypt Caterpillar of Death came out of the ground near the centre of the table and Grimdarhk attempted to redress the balance between tinmen and humanity.
A number of things then gave Stuart the impression (I would imagine anyway) that things weren't going to go his way this turn. Some shooting from the Arks were once again unterrifying to the doughty warriors of the Imperium except for a couple of Ratlings and Guardsmen. Lord Grimdarhk himself moved his Command Barge to charge my veterans and get some VPs for stealing my objective. The Cryptec by the Inn also declared a charge on the lone sergeant in the there. The Tomb Stalker also declared an assault on some guardsmen. There were mixed results. On the pro Necron side the Tomb Sentenel (or Stalker) made it's charge into some startled guardsmen. On the not so pro Necron side the Cryptec failed a charge on the sergeant and took a wound to overwatch into the bargain! The Necron Lord also failed his charge and although he didn't get to smite humans with his big weapon, he did get the satifaction of seeing two guardsmen fry themselves with dodgy plasma guns.

The creepy metal insect thing managed to roll the required 9 on 2d6 to kill and maim poor innocent guardsmen that were minding their own business by the Inn in the middle of the table. Some efficient nipping and biting later the special weapon squad is at half strength. 

A close up of the special weapons squad fighting off the Tomb Sentenel (or Stalker). YTS trainee Terry stands next to the remaining members of his squad trying to remember the correct procedure for bayoneting a large Necron creature under the scrutiny of my Primaris Psyker. 

Lord Grimdarhk stalls his command barge much to the veterans glee. The Ratlings are pretty chuffed about it as well.
With the prospect of another turn of shooting with the Necron Lord as the nearest target to most of my army and Stuart's terrible dice rolling he concedes the game. A wise move as the Necron force was pretty much troopless and my three Leman Russ were still in good shape. Taking six wounds off the Doomsday Ark was an important psychological blow as it proved Fate was taking an interest in the game and was rooting for the good guys. As I have found many times when the dice hate you, winning a game is an uphill struggle.

The final scores on the doors. Featuring my foot at the bottom of the picture.  I must learn to crop this sort of thing out.

Post Match Punditry

Well it was a short game and my first against Necrons. From my point of view, Sergeant Harker is a real bargain at 50 points. If you place him centrally around your important units the rerolling of 1's really makes the Astra Militarum shooting phase more unpleasant for your opponent. I think my decision to target (and luckily wipe out) the Tomb Blades in turn one was pivotal. Had I let them frolick over to my poor squishy guardsmen with their good ballistic skill and similar weapon skill then I may well have been packing up early instead. I did manage get rid of all the Necron troops which is vital with Reanimation Protocols. Stuart took a list of stuff he likes rather than what the Internet says he should take which is always more of a challenge. I was particularly pleased to see a total lack of Monoliths in the army list as I think they would soak up a lot of heavy weapons before they go. He also had some appalling shooting from his Arks which sort of unleveled the playing field somewhat. Talking of unlevel playing fields, Quantum Shielding is a pretty weird thing! It seemed to want to protect his stuff from Autocannons rather than Demolisher cannons, even though it should've worked the other way. Perhaps after their long sleep the QS  machine needs it's settings tweaked.

From the narrative point of view of my ongoing Scargill saga, this was Lord Grimdarhk the Somnolent's first scrap in millennia and it didn't go as planned. Probably caused more by arrogance and a not too thorough equipment servicing plan . I'm sure he will be back to wreak havoc upon the populace of Scargill as they have steadfastly refused to vacate his world. Balto Krudditch remained largely unscathed during the battle and will now have to put in some more requisition forms for replacement troops. If he is lucky he will get more than he wants, but if the penny pinching of the Planetary Governor - Thatcher Magz continues he will only get replacements on a one for one basis. 

*1850 points.
**Either myself or Stuart couldn't play. Fate it seems, is annoying by times.
***As Necrons supposedly can't be  destroyed they will always do this stuff.

Lord Grimdarhk The Somnolent had returned to his palace far below the surface of Scargill. His mood dark. The primitive human force had defeated his own by some miracle and forced him to flee back to the underground city known as Fugue. The reanimation process of his people was ongoing but slow. He had expected to exterminate all resistance in the human settlement and move on to some of the larger dwelling areas to  rid his planet - Torporia of the human infestation. With a large portion of his initial strike force in the workshop undergoing repairs, it seemed the conquest of this planet would be delayed. Enjoy your  time left on this world humans, it will not last much longer..........

Thanks For Reading.

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