Saturday, 30 November 2019

Civil War, Sort Of

For some time Patriarch Vexermillidies had been troubled by doubts. For many years his cult had grown strong on Pruscilla, an Agri-world of little note. Then came the Custodes. A vicious battle had been fought and won and the invaders were eradicated. Vexermillidies had been sorely wounded in the battle by the accursed Custodian's axe and had very nearly lost his life. What had been particularly galling was the siren song of the Star Children had been growing stronger signifying their proximity. After his head wound however, the siren song had become a grating screech. Thus it had been for months and then Star Children had arrived. The nearer they came the more it pained the Patriarch, to such an extent that when the bio-forms started landing his cult, rather than aiding the invaders, they were mentally commanded to gather once more around Custrad Castille. The Tyranid creature in the temple that had been protected for many seasons had become agitated that the cult were not attacking with the Star Children. It sent out a pheromone signal to attract attention of it's peers. Vexermillidies, head pounding flew into a rage and eviscerated the creature after a brief struggle. Still raging the Patriarch removed the head of the creature and hurled it into the central square outside the temple beside a transmitting device. The pheromone  signal however, did not cease and a spearhead of Tyranid creatures arrived to find out the source of the signal. By this time a large portion of the cult had assembled and the pain in Vexermillidies was increasing, the only possible solution was to kill all the Tyranids on Pruscilla to bring relief, that was the start of second battle of Custrad Castille.

Good evening (or whatever). The massive backlog of battle reports is being dealt with once again and this is quite a corker I think. Hive Fleet Stuart has landed on the Agri-world Pruscilla some time after Patriarch Vexermillidies had defeated a force of Adeptus Custodes. The cult had taken heavy losses, so much so that the planned insurrection had been postponed. Then came the Star Children rather than bring salvation the closer they got, the more intense mental anguish they caused. So much so that every member of the cult were immune to the effects of the Hive Mind's power. If xenobiologists were to discover this then they would perhaps find a great weapon against the Tyranid menace. Before that however, there is the little matter of a bit of argy bargy.

So the specifics of our game was we are playing a 2000 point matched play game using the Cut Off the Head scenario. For those unaware the scenario is pretty unusual as you divide 3 intel points as evenly as possible between your characters and they start transmitting intel via a secure satellite uplink from turn 3. VP's are scored by having your characters with intel points alive from turn 2 (1 per character) and from turn 3 they transmit said info up to whoever they wish by standing within 3" of a single, central objective. How this translates fluffwise when Tyranids are involved is anyone's guess, probable some huge organ that spurts info up into the skies? whatever it is, the opposing army has to try to operate the same system. Linebreaker, Kingslayer and First Strike are all in effect as well. So without further faff here are the army lists; 

Battalion Detachment +5CP (Tyranids) [43 PL, 745pts]
Hive Tyrant: Monstrous Rending Claws, Monstrous Scything Talons, Power: The Horror, Wings
Neurothrope: Power: Catalyst, The Norn Crown, Warlord, Warlord Trait: Synaptic Lynchpin
Termagants. 20x Termagant (Fleshborer)
Termagants. 19x Termagant (Spinefists)
Tyranid Warriors. Tyranid Warrior: 2 x Deathspitter, Scything Talons, 1 x Scything Talons, Venom Cannon
Hive Guard. 3 x Hive Guard: Impaler Cannon
Lictor: Flesh Hooks, Rending Claws
Lictor: Flesh Hooks, Rending Claws

Battalion Detachment +5CP (Tyranids) [73 PL, -1CP, 1,256pts]
Stratagem: Bounty of the Hive Fleet [-1CP]: 1 Extra Bio-artefact
HQ;Broodlord: Power: Onslaught
Neurothrope: Power: Psychic Scream
Ripper Swarms: 3x Ripper Swarm
Termagants. 19x Termagant (Devourer)
Tyranid Warriors. 2 x Tyranid Warrior: Deathspitter, Scything Talons, 1 with Scything Talons, Venom Cannon
Venomthropes: 3x Venomthrope
Heavy Support;
Screamer-Killers; 3 x Screamer-Killer: 2x Monstrous Scything Talons
Harpy: 2x Heavy Venom Cannon, Stinger Salvo

++ Total: [116 PL, -1CP, 2,001pts] ++

Brigade Detachment +12CP (Tyranids - Genestealer Cults) [118 PL, 14CP, 2,000pts] ++
Battle-forged CP [3CP]
Cult Creed: Cult of the Four-Armed Emperor
Detachment CP [12CP]
Stratagem: Broodcoven [-1CP]
Patriarch Vexermillidies: Amulet of the Voidwyrm, Familiar, Power: Mental Onslaught, Power: Might From Beyond, Warlord, Warlord Trait: Shadow Stalker
Primus Pincus Rex: Bonesword, Warlord, Warlord Trait: Alien Majesty
Jackal Alphus Mary
Magus Frowl : Familiar, Power: Mass Hypnosis, Power: Mind Control, Warlord, Warlord Trait: Inscrutable Cunning
Acolyte Hybrids: Cult Icon. 6x Acolyte Hybrid, Heavy Rock Drill, Demolition Charge
Acolyte Hybrids: Cult Icon, 6 x Heavy Rock Saw, Heavy Rock Cutter
Brood Brothers Infantry Squad 
Brood Brothers Infantry Squad 
Neophyte Hybrids: Cult Icon, Webber, Grenade Launcher, 2x Mining Laser, Power Maul for the leader.
Neophyte Hybrids with shotguns;  2x Grenade Launcher, Mining Laser, Seismic Cannon
16 x Purestrain Genestealers 
16 x Purestrain Genestealers
Fast Attack;
2 x Achilles Ridgerunners: Flare Launcher, Heavy Mining Laser, 2x Heavy Stubber
Atalan Jackals shotguns, Demolition charges and Incinerator for the Wolfquad
Heavy Support;
Brood Brothers Heavy Weapons Squad 3x Autocannon
Brood Brothers Heavy Weapons Squad 3x Mortar
2 x Goliath Rockgrinder: Cache of Demolition Charges, Heavy Mining Laser, Heavy Stubber
++ Total: [118 PL, 14CP, 2,000pts] ++

For want of a better way to distinguish between two evil factions that were sort of aligned but are now not, here is my Genestealer Cult "the good guys".

More freedom fighters. 

On the other side of the table is the much more evil side, Tyranids.

The Screamer Killers and Exocrine lurk behind some barricades and on the landing pad. I have visions of the Exocrine being lifted up onto the landing pad by some sort of organic crane. That or they threw an egg up there and it grew there.

Stuart's nearly fully painted army is pretty cool. Of course the unpainted Venomthropes are protecting everyone with their cloud of throp (or whatever they have) whilst ironically being unpainted and therefore not worthy of me shooting at them.

My speedy left flank that is pretty much unpainted. Mary the Jackal Alphus one shotted a Hive Guard and I thought I'd get to put up a big tally of kills for her. Sadly I did not.

Brood Brothers are a funny bunch. They go haring off into the distance hoping to impress the Patriarch. He's not even looking.

My dead pile from the Tyranid shooting phase. Pretty OP I think everyone in the world will agree. 

This game I tried out a new tactic, as the objective in the centre doesn't start scoring until turn 3 I decided to not bother moving much forward and letting the 'nids come to me. Brilliant. Except for those sacrificial Brood Brothers. Still can't remember what piece of genius involved that, but I'm sure it was pretty mind blowing.

And of course the Hive Mind falls into my trap. All Hail the Cult Of The Four Armed Emperor! All Hail the indecisive Genestealers who thought they wanted the blessed star children to come on down then changed their minds!

Not being an expert on Hive Crones and despite Stuart assuring me they are rubbish I decided I did not want it over my side of the table. Nice model. Good paintjob. Just no thanks to coming round here.

With that in mind I sent my Purestrain strike-force to jump as high as they could and slash it's belly or whatever.

Also my second expendable unit of Brood Brothers infantry and my not so expendable Rockgrindertry to clear away some Termagants.

Having Hypnotised one of the Screamer Killers (the right one) my Patriarch, his bodyguard and some Hybrids decide that the enemy has come close enough and it's time for them to leave. The SK's are turn round so that I can get my models into position rather than out of cowardice. 

Being the Patriarch's familiar is quite a good job. You gain his toughness get to sneakily bite ankles all this while shouting tiny little Genestealer obscenities in a squeaky voice. Incidentally I had s managed to put Mass Hypnosis on the screamer Killer on the right.

Having failed to roll over all the Termagants in one fell swoop the Rockgrinder is forced to drive slowly forwards and back to catch the unwary little buggers. But I can see they are concentrating on the Brood Brothers.

Meanwhile over here, the Hive Crone is now an ex Hive Crone and the Genestealers decide to go at the much weaker Termagants, I can almost feel the Purestrains rubbing their non taloned hands together with glee at the thought.

The Tyranidization of the planet seems complete when statues of Lictors suddenly start appearing on castle walls.

Some of the other unwelcome alien invaders float/slither/bounce into view. The ineptness of both Termagant, Neophyte and Rockgrinder is plain to see.

Meanwhile, some Ripper Swarms appear.

The Kelermorph earns his pay by shooting to death a Lictor that managed to charge him, this spectacular event was mitigated by sneaking up on the Neurothrope filling him with hot Liberator Stub death only for his stupid 3++ save to save him! Bloody cheek! As an aside the the Lictor's hands seem to be flexing in frustration at being overwatched to death by a single model.

There is now only one Screamer Killers and considrably less helpers for the Patriarch.

The Humanish are now gone as is the Rockgrinder, if memory serves it was that arsehole the Exocrine.

The Termagants charge the Genestealers, don't worry, I'm sure they will rip them all to pieces by the next turn.

Bolstered by seeing another unit killing stuff in close combat the Termagants try to do the same for the slightly exposed Clamavus.

The Tyranid Prime is now fighting some Neophytes. How did that happen? Well the turn before they (and quite a few other Neophytes started shooting up Stuarts back line aided and abetted by the Kelermorph, this was largely unsuccessful as you can see from this picture. I think I killed of the Hive Guard before this happened.

This highly unclear picture shows that I still have my Jackals. They are about to speed off towards some enemy creatures to throw a demo charge or something on them.

Ding Dong the Screamer Killer is dead!

A unit of Neophytes move to the vitally important thing in the centre of the battlefield that has caused the ruckus in the first place!

The Termagant assassination squad fail to kill the Clamavus and receive the unpleasant ends of rending claws and mining tools.

Having killed the Hive Crone, these Termagants are proving far tougher to get shot of. Who'd have thought it?

Not every Tyranid bioform on the battlefield was killing with abandon as this slightly relieved miner can attest.

Turn three and we start scoring. 

The Primus now makes an appearance to impress the proles.

The Termagants are doing such a good job of not dying that the Ripper Swarms saunter over to the other side of the battlefield.

It's all getting rather congested in the centre of the table.

The Genestealers. Patriarch, Jackal Alphus and Hybrids start moving towards the centre to kick arse and chew bubblegum, and possibly kick arse again.

Out of no where Deathleaper kills the Clamavus.

Can't remember where the Hive Tyrant was all game but he tries to kill the Patriarch, the fight is inconclusive as several expendables leap in front of the Hive Tyrants appendages at critical moments. 
End of Turn three and it's 7 - 7! To be honest it is turn four but I can't be expected to do everything can I?


So a draw then, that was cool. The game was very tight and close. Not mentioned in the game was the bloody Exocrine which caused loads of damage and led a charmed life whenever I shot back at it. The Screamer Killers didn't die as quickly as I'd hoped either. I tried an unsuccessful assassination attempt with the Kelermorph on the Neurothrope in turn two at the same time as I'd pulled a Perfect Ambush. The ambush wasn't as perfect as I would have hoped and the Neurothrope passed all his 3++ saves. Had that worked I probably would have won due to there being one less Tyranid intel point on the table. The Purestrains did good the first turn killing the Crone but then were spectacularly unspectacular against the Termagants. All in all a very enjoyable game and evenly matched. Stuart was as difficult as even to defeat but I'm used to that by now. So i'll just wrap up with some coloured text and that will be that.

Epilogue's Epilogue

As both sides had taken severe casualties they withdrew. If they had continued both forces faced annihilation. Vexermillidies had found that the pain in his head had receded during the battle and it was slowly returning. This could mean that the only way to escape it was to remove every single Tyranid organism from the planet. There was also what passed for consternation within the Hive Mind. Why had these ally-organisms turned against the Hive? The threat had to be neutralised. A redoubled effort had to be made to consume this planet and remove every taint of this disturbing phenomenon . Unseen by both sides, shrouded from sight stood a humanoid figure. Having taken in the full battle, the figure seemed pleased. Had a psychically adept observer been able to penetrate the shielded mind a single thought would be found shining like a beacon above all the others;
The plot is proceeding as planned, I must inform the Master.......

Thanks for reading.

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