Thursday, 13 December 2018

The Second Battle of Lernin Kerv

The long campaign against the dreaded Tyranids of Hive Fleet 1Cthuga ground on, the Cyavunnh system was beset by all manner of vile bioforms. The previous battle of Lernin Kerv had been a defeat for the defending Astra Militarum. The Krablokistan 47th had been fighting a losing battle against the Great Devourer. intelligence reports had suggested a significant cluster of synapse lifeforms amid the ruins of Lernin Kerv 2Beta, Djemtri "two guns" Vlashvilli overall commander of the 47th and most of his senior aides had been incapacitated by a venomous burrowing spore mole that had erupted into the overall command bunker so the duty of leading an attack to attempt to hamstring what counts for the Tyranids command structure had to be led by a relatively inexperienced commander Polke Maltroc.

Greetings. It's time for another one of those mildly amusing battle reports that I have been churning out recently. This time, it's a return to the beleaguered planet of Lernin Kerv where my Astra Militarum force received a proper beating due to my own ineptitude. Many moons later, I hope to gain revenge on Stuart's icky army of unplesantry. The game was 1850 points and  I used the same army I have used in the last few games for those who haven't seen any of them here's my list.

Battalion Detachment + 5 CP (90 PL, 1852 points)
HQ; Company Commander, Grand Strategist, Kurov's Aquilla, Plasma Pistol, Power Sword.
 Tank Commander, Leman Russ Demolisher.
 Primaris Psyker, Smite, Nightshroud, Psychic Barrier.
Troops;Squad Fang; plasma gun.
Squad Stinger; Meltagun, Missile Launcher, Boltgun for sergeant.
Squad Talon; Meltagun, Missile Launcher, Boltpistol for sergeant.,
Elites;Chuck Nimrod; platoon commander, plasma pistol, powerfist.
Ratlings x 10
Sergeant HarkerSpecial Weapons Squad 3 x flamers.
Squad Cutter; Veterans, heavy flamer, 3 x Meltaguns, Vox caster.
Squad Vicious; Veterans, heavy flamer, 3 x Plasmaguns, Plasma pistol for sergeant.
Fast Attack;Hellhound; Heavy Flamer, Track Guards
Heavy Support;Heavy Weapons Squad; 3 x AutocannonHeavy 
Weapons Squad; 3 x Heavy Bolter
Leman Russ Battle Tanks; Battlecannon, Lascannon, Plasma Cannon, Stormbolter x 2.
Dedicated Transport;Chimera; 2x Heavy Flamer, Storm Bolter, Track Guards
Chimera Heavy Flamer, Heavy Bolter, Storm Bolter, Track Guards.

The plan is a pretty standard one, soften up the filthy xenos with my big guns, scoot the Hellhound and veterans in Chimeras into objective grabbing positions (if possible) and hopefully win the day for the forces of humanity. Stuart's list was the first time I'd be facing them since the new codex and with that the chances or horrible strategems and hideous alien weapons with special rules coming out of the wazoo seemed likely.
Battalion Detachment;
Hive Fleet: Kraken
HQ ; Malanthrope
Neurothrope: Power: Psychic Scream, The Norn Crown, Warlord, Warlord Trait: Synaptic Lynchpin
Troops;Genestealers  4x Acid Maw 20x Rending Claws
Tyranid Warriors; 4 x  Deathspitter, Scything Talons. Tyranid Warrior: Scything Talons, Venom Cannon
Tyranid Warriors; 4 x  Deathspitter, Scything Talons. Tyranid Warrior: Scything Talons, Venom Cannon
 Elites; Hive Guard ;3x Hive Guard: Impaler Cannon
Spearhead Detachment 
HQ: Hive Tyrant : Monstrous Rending Claws, Monstrous Scything Talons, Power: Catalyst, Power: The Horror, Wings
Heavy Support ;3 x Carnifexes . 2x Monstrous Scything Talons, Adrenal Glands, Bone Mace, Spore Cysts, Tusks
Trygon Prime: Adrenal Glands, Biostatic Rattle, 3x Massive Scything Talons, Toxin Sacs
Tyrannofex : Rupture Cannon, Stinger Salvo
 Total: [100 PL, 1849pts]

As you can see there is a lot of nasty things in the list, for me, the rupture cannon and Biostatic Rattle sound particularly unpleasant but as every guardsman knows, it's not the size of the weapon or how well it is welded that counts, it's faith in the Emperor and contempt for alien lifeforms that wins the day!

The Mission

a dice was rolled and it came up Tactical Gambit, this is a fun little mission from Chapter Approved 2017 where a player declares how many tactical objectives they will achieve per turn. if you get it right you gain the same number of VP's in addition if you get it wrong your opponent gets them. I am pretty sure my overestimation of guardsmen will prove problematic in this mission.

Set up

So we placed terrain and objectives as you do and a battlefield was born. I set up my veterans in chimeras on the left flank, tanks heavy weapons and ordinary guardsmen to the centre and special weapon squad and hellhound to the right. Stuart's army deployed left to right was as follows; malenthrope, genestealers, tyranid warriors, carnefexes, more tyranid warriors, tyrannofex, neurothrope, hive guard and hive tyrant. The trygon prime was all nice and snug under the ground humming happy little tyranid songs to itself waiting to pounce. Once all these nasties were deployed I placed my ratlings to the right to hopefully kill something important. We then rolled off to see who went first, it was Stuart! Then by some divine intervention (if you believe in that sort of thing) or random chance, I rolled a 6 stealing initiative and annoying Stuart to boot.

The Game

Now some people think running an Astra Militarum army is pretty much talent less as all I have to do is stand back and shoot. This is I suppose fairly accurate as the only model I moved in my first turn was the Hellhound. Others might say it takes great courage and mental fortitude to only move forward with one model and I'd much prefer that to be the general consensus. I decided to go for two tactical objectives (as you do it before you get cards it is really a gamble) and got cards that were not very achievable. Of particular note was the priority orders received whereby my commander had to go to objective 1 (a storage facility) and defend it. Considering the foe, and all the alienesque movies I have seen in my life it screamed ambush so my commander decided to stay put for now. Other objectives were Kingslayer, master of the warp and secure objective 3. Of these only one was relatively simple to acheive (master of the warp), objective 3 was on the other side of the table surrounded by stealers and tyranid warriors and the warlord was untouchable this turn due to him hiding and too many nearer targets. Stuart is far too wily an opponent to leave his warlord out in the open and the nearest target to my heavy weapons unfortunately.

The eastern side of the battlefield, it's probably worth noting all my battles seem to be me attacking from the south, funny that.

The three Carnefex stooges, Curly, Larry and Throat-Rip-Death-Hell.

Tyranid warriors, tyrannofex, hive tyrant, neurothrope and some hive guard.

Stealers, tyranid warriors and the aforementioned three tyranid stooges.

My shit crop of tactical objectives!
My first turn was thwarted by the neurothrope's aura effect giving every organism around it a -1 to hit. Coupled with the hive tyrants -1 to hit for his spore cysts, my shooting was limited. I did manage to kill a few stealers and take the tyrannofex down a bracket, but that was with all my tanks. I even failed to cast a psychic power so my original prediction of 2 objectives fell short, giving me a first turn score of fuck all and Stuart getting two for me being optimistic. 

There's no way the commander is going to go to that objective, it has around 80 attacks within short claw range! Also barely visible is the malthrope warlord skulking like a champ behind the storage containers.
Stuart gets two VP's for participating, he also has given a genestealer the job of guarding the die, I think his name was Colin, or Gary.
Stuart's battle turn arrived and I got to experience the joys of the new tyranid codex. I cannot for the life of me remember what Stu's tactical objectives were but he was sensible and said he'd achieve one. Then I found out what Hive Fleet Kraken's special ability was; when advancing roll 3 die and pick highest. Yikes! Needless to say a lot of high yield advances were made. Coupled with some gimpy regeneration, the Tyrannofex had jumped up a bracket! The Hive Tyrant moved towards easy charge range for both the Ratlings and Hellhound, the three tyranid stooges split up and advanced and the Tyranid Warriors moved normally to shoot.

After a redonkulous advance the heavy bolter squad experience squeaky bum time.

More squeaky bums on the west side of the battlefield.

And yes, a third helping of squeaky bum time! Curly and Throat-Rip-Death-Hell weren't as quick as Larry. Larry must have been suckling on the adrenal nipple for longer than the others. Dirty Larry! You could be forgiven for thinking this is turn 2. It is not.
The Tyranid shooting was pretty good bracketing the Hellhound. This in itself isn't a big problem as I alway give them track guards to get them into inconvenient places (for the enemy anyway). Several guardsmen also bought the farm from Tyranid bio-weaponry. In the assault phase the stealers easily made it into the Heavy Bolters and the Hive Tyrant plumped for the Ratlings. Some overwatch failed to damage the Tyrant but a couple of Genestealers left the table early. In the actual hitting things segment the Heavy Bolters all left the table and the Hive Tyrant did one on the Ratlings, killing 4 or 5 of them. In the morale phase I used insane bravery to give Stuart something to think about; leave the Ratlings there and fly away to attack other stuff or wipe them out.

Larry the Carnefex is using that age old annoying gimmick of repeatedly say to the tank commander "not touching, not touching2 when he is clearly is invading his personal space. Carnefexes are so mean.

Here is some dice Stuart rolled that he was not happy with. I think they were hit rolls to presumably destroy/damage either the Hellhound/Leman Russ. either way, it amused me.

Shades of Starship Troopers in this picture.

At the end of turn one Stuart is racing away into the lead, Colin is now guarding 7 VP's and has been joined by Ralph the Ratling, he is only guarding 2 VP's. I think the master of the warp tactical objective gave Stuart a bumper crop of VP's here.
At the start of my turn I go for 1 tactical objectives (damn you pessimism). Probably as I was trailing badly too I thought getting two would be achievable and at the same time realistic. it has to be said at this point I had control of two objectives (as I did in the first turn) so it is not an unreasonable possibility that one or other of them might be mentioned in the cards I pick up. They aren't though. I do pick up seize objective 1, you know the scary one over by the storage crates. at the same time the tyranid warlord is over the - a Malthrope so seizing the objective or killing the warlord might work. So I disembarked both squads of veterans to get rid of the stealers and get to objective 1. The Hellhound moved towards the Tyranid Warriors to hose them down with the Emperor's holy fiery liquid and the Ratlings stepped away from the Tyrant to give the big guns something to shoot at.  

At the start of my turn there were two elephants in the room, this is a 3metaphor for tyranids in my deployment zone, or something. All I really know is I need to get these things out of their living state into a more acceptable deceased one so my guardsmen can continue to think happy thoughts and what not.
So to summarise turn two, Larry was killed as were the genestealers. Also Curly was exterminated 😊. The Hellhound managed to inflict a paltry one or two wounds on the Tyranid Warriors due to some shite die rolling, I failed to kill the hive tyrant. The Tyrannofex I think went back down a bracket or two. On the plus side a unit of meltagun armed vets wounded the Malthrope then assaulted him kicking it to death in true football hooligan fashion. Sadly for me the guardsmen were far too successful as they managed to achieve two tactical objectives rather than the one I had predicted.

The veterans having giving the Misanthrope some melta blasts, prepare to give it a taste of hob nailed boots.

For clarity the jauntily placed shipping container has been removed to emphasis just how much shit the tyranid warlord would be in if he was facing close combat troops. It has one wound left.

The now exterminated Malthrope, with the victorious guardsmen standing over it's still twitching corpse. Sadly this particular veteran squad has been transferred to the penal battalion for 'over-exuberance following of orders'. 
Colin and Ralph eye each other menacingly, Colin looks smug.

Rare footage from the North of the battlefield.
The Hellhound who could. In an attempt to stop Venom Cannons and other nasties targeting my Leman Russ the Hellhound goes for the distraction play.

And the more traditional view from the south.

Stuart generally avoids having his soul trapped in the magic picture box as he may well think it is 'bad juju'. Dylan has no such qualms. Unknown to Stuart, he can be seen in the reflection of the window. I now have total control of his psyche! #teamvoodoo 
Stuart went for 1 objective in his turn, and as  often say in my batreps, shit got real. The Trygon erupted from the earth, in a probably very dramatic way which is impossible to recreate on this blog without some serious photo editing software and a hacksaw. The Hive Tyrant flew next to the guardsmen in the picture below, I put a filter on the picture for dramatic effect (sauna I think). Other movement in the phase was Throat-Rip-Death-Hell made a bonkers advance move to stand over the smoldering carcass of Larry (who said Carnofexes didn't have feelings?). The Hive Guard remained where they were as they have indirect Impaler Cannons. Speaking of unpleasant sounding items, the Tyrannofex's rupture cannon is worth noting, not only does it sound disgusting, it's pretty hard hitting too.  

Using the Terrorcam® some guardsmen will shortly be filling in underwaer requisition forms (those that survive anyway).

A less threatening filter.
To summarise this turn, using a after getting his Trygon into a dangerous position Stuart couldn't roll high enough to get into combat, the Tyrant didn't wipe out the guardsmen. The Tyranid Warriors left combat with the Hellhound and the Tyrannofex took their place. It's probably worth noting Stuart was using all manner of unsportsmanlike tricks like regenerating things I wanted to kill and pulling all sorts of weird acts that he referred to as 'tactics'.
After all is said and done the Hive Tyrant doesn't managed to destroy the unit. Despite being filmed bt Terrorcam®.

10 - 4 to Stuart.
In turn three I made the now customary random guess for tactical objectives (2 this turn I think), and then set about not achieving said amount. What I did have was the opportunity to shoot the crap out of filthy xenos scum. I had two units in close combat, the guardsmen battling the Tyrant stepped out of combat but I left the Hellhound to distract the Tyrannofex. The psyker smote the Hive Tyrant, and in the shooting phase the Astra Militarum killed the Tyrant, the Trygon and Throat-Rip-Death-Hell. Killing the Tyrant was only managed as 3 flamer armed troopers managed to douse him in Prometheum®. The close combat between Hellhound and Tyrannofex wore on without the Tyranid creature smashing the rapidly driving forward and reversing tank.

Throat-Rip-Death-Hell is exhausted from his advancing. 

Trooper Beard and sergeant Laspistol prepare to execute the lightly wounded Carnefex. 
Trooper Beard was only too happy to double tap him with his plasmagun on full power. Trooper Beard did not die by his own hands this game.

Although it might seem like a largely unrewarding modelling project, I would like to build two Carnefex carcasses piled on top of each other for next time I'm playing Tyranids, just in case.

Two large Tyranid critters in all their glory!

Nailed it! I declared 1 tactical objective and got it! Finally getting the hang of the game. Disregard Stuart's score please. Actually looking at the fact he has 12 to my 6 I probably declared more than 1.
So at the end of my turn Stuart had most of his army gone and decided to concede. He was well ahead on VP's but I had both units of veterans pretty much unscathed plus two functioning Leman Russ and assorted guardsmen. Had we played another couple of turns I may have wiped them out completely. To be honest the game was tricky due to my unfortunate TO cards. As two units were sitting on objectives all game I was a little unlucky to not have drawn either capture or defend these. 

Two vehicles duke it out in the middle of the battlefield.

The final positions of the troops, all that is left on the Tyrand side is the Tyrannofex, Neurothrope, Hive Guard and a single Tyranid Warrior.

Apres Match

Once again Stuart was a tricky opponent. There is some really nasty shit in the Tyranid Codex and the Hive Fleet Kraken special rules make for a very mobile army. A couple of things in the  close combat phase helped me out as the Genestealers couldn't get into another combat after wiping out the Heavy Bolter squad. It was unfortunate as they were up in a building and a 3" consolidating move couldn't get them into either the Leman Russ of Chimera. Once again the Catachan regimental doctrine was excellent as it really allows my tanks to churn out lots of heavy weapons shots. By far the best moment of the game was the veterans kicking the Malthrope to death around the sinister storage facility. With Chapter Approved looming on the horizon the game will be less about wiping out your opponent and more about objectives. I am looking forward to playing some of these new scenarios. Summing up the game was a win by technicality but had it been played a few weeks later would probably been a win for Stuart. The fairest thing would be to call it a draw.

1) Cthuga in High Gothic sounds a lot like Stuart.
2) The people of Lernin Kerv are an unimaginative lot, all the major settlements are named Lernin Kerv followed by a further identifying name, in the case of this battle Beta is the official city's title. Expect further dull names if there are any more epic battles in this setting.
3)Or a simile, it's been many years since I was at school.

Thanks for reading,

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