August 21, 2009

Defence of Strongpoint 00/19

As announced, we played our first game of planetstrike. We decided on 2500 points on each side, Trotzki attacking with eldar, me defending with marines. We placed 4 objectives thus giving us 4 points for stratagem selection.

Eldar stratagems:
Webway assault
Supply drop.

Space Marine stratagems:
Void shield (middle bastion)
Escape hatch (middle bastion)
Krak attacks

Additionally we decided that the long table edge where I based the bastions was a denied drop zone. I think we house rule this for most of our games, as we don’t want to play planetstrike competitively and 3 stratagem points is rather expensive to spent on this stratagem. Another change we made is that the guns on the bastions have the intercept special rule as well as the guns on the ground (why should a gun on a raised position not be able to shoot on incoming attackers but the one on the ground can?).

Space Marines:

Grand Marshal Hermann (counts as Lysander)
10 terminators with assault cannon,
heavy flamer, 2 chainfists
5 sternguard all with combi-meltas, sergeant with single lightning claw
Dreadnought with assault cannon, heavy flamer, extra armour
3x 10 tac marines with powerfist, flamer (1 plasma gun), lascannon, locator beacon
2x 6 devastators with 3 heavy bolters, 1 plasma cannon
6 devastators with 3 missile launchers
Whirlwind, extra armour
10 assault marines with 2 flamers, power fist
Land speeder with multi melta, heavy flamer


Avatar of Khaine
Farseer with fortune, doom, runes of witnessing (with warlocks in falcon)
5 Warlocks with embolden, enhance
Autarch on jetbike with laser lance, mandiblaster
5 shining spears with exarch, skilled rider, withdraw
10 howling banshees with exarch, warshout in wave serpent with TL bright lance, shuriken catapults, star engines, spirit stones, vectored engines
6 fire dragons with exarch, fire pike
10 dire avengers with exarch, bladestorm, defend in wave serpent with TL bright lance, shuriken catapults, star engines, spirit stones, vectored engines
2x 10 guardian defender squads with missile launcher, warlock with singing spear, destructor
10 warp spiders with exarch, withdraw
Wraith lord with eldar missile launcher, bright lance, 2 flamer
Falcon with holo-fields, spirit stones, shuriken cannon, scatter laser, pulse laser

I positioned the 3 bastions at the long table edge with the relay station in the middle surrounded by aegis defence lines and placed some craters and two ruins on the remaining space of the board. With Lysander’s special rule I fortified the barricade in front of the base. The attacker’s drop zone would be on the right hand side.

Hermann and the sternguard were positioned in the void shielded middle bastion, the devastators with plasma cannons and heavy bolters manned the outer bastions and the remaining devastators with missile launchers were placed on the fortified barricade. I combat squad’ed the tactical marines and placed the the Las/Plas squads around the comms relay. The remaining combat squads were positioned behind the aegis lines, lascannons in the back and on the barricade, flamers and power fists at the first rank. The whirlwind prepared to let loose barrages of vengeance missiles in the back of the strongpoint. The terminators, dreadnought and land speeder were put into reserves.
So the stage is set and the onslaught of the eldar force on the imperial strongpoint is inbound.

Eldar Turn 1:

Trotzki rolled a 4 for the preliminary bombardment and thus got formidable 8 firestorms to drop onto the marines. The opening firestorm then destroyed 2 quad cannons, shook the whirlwind and killed 3 tactical marines, the squad at the comms realy took cover and the other 2 squads failed their pinning test and wouldn’t do anything in my turn.

Everything but the footslogging guardians became available from reserves. The Avatar deep struck next to the right bastion and was attacked by krak grenades and lost one wound. The wraith lord impacted next to the left bastion and the warp spiders appeared behind the devastators on the barricade. The fire dragons materialized between the middle and right bastion, eager to melt one into oblivion but they landed in sight of the one remaining quad cannon and one aspect warrior was blasted to pulp by a stream of grenades.

The tanks moved on the field and used their star engines to get close to the defense lines, the falcon actually flew directly into the base. Cunning eldar! One of the icarus lascannons on the bastions intercepted the wave serpent transporting the banshees and blew the bright lance off the tank. The shining spears raced towards the marine squad manning the foremost defense line. By supply drops for the eldar the seer council, warp spiders and shining spears acquired all kinds of grenades. Shooting saw the the left bastions melted to a burning pile of rubble by the fire dragons after the avatar of war missed with his melta. But the devastators inside were unharmed by the collapse. The anti tank devastators on the barricades were not that fortunate and were obliterated by the warp spiders. The shining spears assaulted the marine squad and slaughtered them to a man before they could do anything.

Marines Turn 1:

So after having lost the first bastion, a devastator squad, a combat squad and three further squads pinned I was desperately praying to the Emperor to send help against the vile xeno threat. The Emperor protects, all reserves became available and arrived all in the eldar deployment zone! So ten terminators, a full squad of assault marines, a dreadnought and the land speeder were in striking range of the eldar force. Things were getting to look way better than minutes before.

The terminators opened fire on the avatar and I rolled so badly that he wasn’t wounded. Hermann’s sternguard squad targeted Khaines incarnation as well and five hellfire rounds hit home, wounding him once. The two assault marines carrying a flamer jumped to the front and bathed the eldar jet bikes in burning promethium killing the hole squad but the autarch. The warp spiders where killed by a signum assisted plasma cannon shot followed by a rain of heavy bolter shells from the left bastion. The same fate awaited the fire dragons as the devastators paid back the destruction of their bastion. And the land speeder did what he does best: failing to hit with the multi melta so the wave serpent carrying the banshees was not harmed. Assault was horrible, the assault marines managed to do nothing against the autarch on jetbike.

Eldar Turn 2:

The guardians arrived from reserve and took aim at the terminators and the land speeder. The fortuned seer council disembarked and the falcon raced on towards the middle bastion. With a howling scream the banshees jumped out of the serpent transport and ran towards the doomed assault marines which were still engaged in close combat with the autarch. The other wave serpent flew directly in front of the barricades unloading the dire avengers who bladestormed the marine squad. Trotzki rolled miserably and just killed two. The land speeder was stripped of all weapons and immobilized by the fire of the civilians at arms. The other guardian squad was as successful and killed two terminators. In a shower of sparks the middle bastion lost its void shield leaving it nearly defenceless at the bright lance attack of the wave serpent. The lance beam punched right through the enforced permacrete and the bastion collapsed in a cloud of dust and smoke. In the ensuing assault the banshees charged the assault marines and wiped them from the board before they knew what hit them. The avatar charged into the ruin of the left bastion and killed two devastators but the marines hold their ground stubbornly. Both combat squads behind the aegis lines were attacked by the seer council and both squads lost one marine to the assault and they didn’t manage to hurt the fortuned eldar. On the far right the guardians charged into the waiting power fists of the terminators and the dreadnought and suffered dearly. Four guardians were smashed and their morale broke so they ran off the board. But not before the guardian warlock immobilized the dreadnought with the singing spear. On the other side of the battlefield, the monstrous wraithlord hammered into the last remaining bastion and destroyed it in a huge explosion which consumed one marine.

Guardians in the open, dire avengers bunched up after disembarking and howling banshees not locked in close combat with a heavy flamer standing ready and a whirlwind loading vengeance missiles. Things would get ugly next round…

Marines Turn 2:

The whirlwind swiveled its turret towards the dire avengers to let loose a devastating barrage. The missiles killed seven dire avengers and two more were killed by the decimated marine squad on the barricade by bolter fire. Just before the bright lance of the wave serpent led to the collapse of the bastion, Hermann and his squad of sternguard escaped through tunnels beneath the strongpoint and appeared unharmed next to the falcon through the escape hatch of the middle bastion (my third stratagem). The veteran space marines used their one-shot melta guns and wrecked the falcon with a well aimed shot through the engine of the sophisticated tank, the holofields all but useless on such short a distance. In the back the plasmagunner of the squad defending the comms relay shot a bright hot plasma bolt on the autarch on jetbike, killing him instantly. In the ruins of the right bastion the devastators lost no time and a searing plasma blast found its mark on the wraithlord and wounded it once. The immobilized dreadnought brought his assault cannon to bear on the last guardians and killed two, even the heavy flamer was in range and roasted another one. The terminators marched in the direction of the howling banshees and bathed them in a gout of promethium and a hail of storm bolter and assault cannon fire. Three terminators charged the remaining two aspect warriors while the other five stood back. One terminator was cut down before his brothers avenged him and made short work with the fragile but nonetheless deadly eldar women. Meanwhile one marine was killed by the seer council.

Eldar Turn 3:

To avenge the slaughtered banshees the remaining guardians pushed under fire towards the terminators and unleashed a torrent of shurikens against the astartes, killing one. The still unharmed wave serpent moved away from the barricades and targeted the whirlwind with its bright lance which destroyed the missile tank. Three marines fell to the flamers of the wraithlord and another one was smashed when the monstrosity charged into the ruin. The avatar continued his rampage at the backfield and charged the combat squad at the comms relay making short work in close combat and killed 3 marines getting no wound in return. The marines passed their leadership test and the fight would go on. The last standing dire avenger gathered his wits and charged into the ongoing close combat between the seer council and the two marine squads. Two marines lost their lives to the witch blades. The guardians attacked the last terminator and killed him

Marines Turn 3:

The wraithlord had to go, so Hermann left his squad and ran towards it but couldn’t reach it and by doing this, he took one wound when he stumbled into the ruin of the bastion (yes, I rolled three 1s in a row!). The sternguard jumped over the wrecked falcon, losing one veteran, ready to charge into the melee with the seer council. On the left flank the terminators continued their march and fried the guardians with heavy flamer fire and a few stormbolter rounds. During close combat the wraithlord killed one marine and the avatar wiped out the squad at the comms relay. The sternguard charged the seer council and killed two.

Eldar Turn 4:

As everything was locked up in close combat this round was rather short. The avatar charged the last tactical combat squad and killed 2, of course getting no wound in return. The seer council killed one sternguard veteran.

Marines Turn 4:

I moved the terminators in base contact with the right ruined bastion to capture it. Hermann’s luck didn’t return and he wasn’t able to wound the wraithlord (I required 3s to hit, I rolled three 1s and one 2, rerolled one, hit and rolled another 1 to wound…). Following the same concept the whole sternguard squad was killed by the seer council and the remaining lascannon marine failed his leadership test and broke from combat. The three tactical marines from the barricade weren’t able to do anything harmful as well. In the back the avatar got rid of the last marines and the comms relay was now under eldar control.

Eldar Turn 5:

The wave serpent fired its engines and flew over into the strongpoint next to the collapsed right bastion, capturing it. The fleeing marine was melted by the avatars wailing doom. Hermann at last hammered the wraithlord into a pile of wraithbone and consolidated towards the avatar. In the never-ending fight in the middle one marine died under the witchblades.

Marines Turn 5:

Another marine was killed by the warlocks, but the squad hold its ground. The terminators moved around the crater and fired at the avatar to no effect. Hermann charged the avatar. Running under a stream of heavy bolter shells fired in his back by the surviving devastator he crashed into the towering incarnation of a wargod, sparks raining from the protective energy field of his shield as the giant sword of the avatar awaited him. One strike slipped through his defense and cut easily through his ancient tactical dreadnought armour and bit deep into the marshals flesh. But he had suffered worse and wielded his hammer in a devastating back-hand strike into the abdomen of his enemy. In an explosion of sparks, pieces of lava and half-molten rocks the thunder hammer unloaded its energy, sending the avatar reeling back. Stunned by such a tremendous blow Hermann took the advantage and another mighty blow of the mastercrafted weapon hit home and the avatar was down to one knee. With a last, all-destroying overhead strike khaines avatar was destroyed and the comms relay was back in imperial hands.

We rolled if the game would go into another round but it ended here.

Defender: 2 objectives.
Attacker: 1 objective.
Victory Space Marines.


Phew, that was close and it was a really tense and hard fought battle. During almost the whole game I thought that I wouldn’t be able stop the eldar from taking all objectives. Planetstrike brings everything directly into contact and close combat starts at the very first turn and that’s something marines really don’t shine at. But having some heavy hitters in reserve really can turn the tide. And I was lucky that all came on the field at the same time (comms relay helps on that part), all from the same direction at the attackers drop zone. So I could charge eliminate some serious threats very early. The shining spears would have done havoc to the defenders and by having so much force in his back, Trotzki was forced to divert his army. I am honestly surprised now that I could win with my army in the role as defender. As I said in the announcement I had the impression the attacker has the advantage simply by having the possibility to blow things up with the firestorm and then attack in the first turn what is left. And not having the need to wipe out any defender at an objective but simply being in base contact with it is sufficient to hold it and on top of that, a tie is actually a win for the attacker led me to this opinion. But of course all that was based only on theory, only having read the codex and not having played an actual game. I stand somewhat corrected now. Hard hitting reserves seems to be the way to victory for the defender.

Ok, that leads me to a little rant about planetstrike and armies in general. On bell of lost souls there was a poll, which army would be the best at defending. The great majority voted for imperial guard. Admittedly I haven’t seen them playing planetstrike (we will do this in the coming weeks) but I doubt that they will be such a great defending force. Of course, they can field so many heavy weapons, one might think that they will blow every attacker out of the skies and they have heavy tanks coming from reserves to shoot the remaining forces to pulp. Hmm sounds great, but what happens when the bastions are destroyed at turn one and the squads inside are charged by dedicated assault units and “everything” is in close combat? The tanks cannot shoot. To make long things short, the attacker kills everything in the base and then goes to ground and awaits the end of the game, maybe firing some shots at the tanks. Attacker wins. I am not saying the imperial guard has no chance here, but I can imagine way better armies, both at defending and attacking. The one great choice for both roles is simple, at least in my humble opinion. Who has heavy hitters with serious staying power? Right, Death Guard. At the moment I see no easy way to get rid of plague marines sitting on an objective (this problem isn’t new, I know). As defender, a lot of plague marines should do the work by just charging everything getting too close to the objectives and thereby creating long lasting close combats. And as attacker they just have to get to an objective and stay there. And that’s what they excel at. But that’s again just my few cents. I really would like to see how Tau and Tyranids fare in planetstrike as I just have no idea how I would use them. Or what would you guys out there think?
End of rant.

Coming to the conclusion. I thank Trotzki for a really nice and exciting game and I think we both had fun. I always like close games and for my part I had no idea how the game would end during the most time.
Concerning my army choice I was rather happy as everything performed well and I think the list is rather solid. When I use that list again I still have about 100 points I could free as the locator beacons, the extra armour on the whirlwind and maybe all the powerfists in the tactical squads aren't really necessary. Maybe I could take another hq choice. And Lysander really is a beast and making the whole army stubborn is awesome for defenders. I would have lost the combat against the seer council many times but with stubborn I could hold and thus negating the council a consolidation into the middle bastion/ruin.
Planetstrike is really a nice addition to warhammer 40k and makes up for funny and enthralling games. But you have to keep it in a friendly environment and not try to play it in a competitive manner. It is really more like apocalypse where careful planning and maybe some narrative aspects pay off in the end. What I somewhat disliked is that your lovingly created strongpoint with its bastions and carefully erected defense lines and overlapping fields of fire of the quad cannons and whatnot is overrun in the very first turn. When I initially thought of planetstrike, I imagined there would be hard fought battles to get into such vital strongpoints with the attacker suffering horrendous losses by charging a well fortified position. This aspect comes a bit short for my taste and I think it would be cooler when the bastions would last a little bit longer than turn two. Maybe we have to think about changing the rules a little bit that there are bubbles the attacker cannot deepstrike into so that he has to walk/fly/whatever to the bastions. Of course that will be a disadvantage for the attacker but I think, permitting the attacker more points will solve such problems. And that would bring the image of a stronghold more in line with reality when the outnumbered defenders hold off wave after wave of onrushing attackers.

This brings me to the end of this battle report, I hope you all enjoyed it as much as we did.

7 Kommentare:

Clausewitz said...

Amazing game guys! Looking forward to playing Planetstrike when i come over for vacation.
We really need so plan this Planetstrike, Cities of Death, Apokalypse thing!
Death Guard hmmm....ill proxy some...if you let me. ;)

Jason said...

Awesome report. I like that you crop the images so you don't see the background. Good stuff. =)

Boss Salvage said...

Great report, love the pics and appreciate that everything is painted ;D Haven't played PS yet, but really digging the batreps that are popping up so far.

- Salvage

Anonymous said...

Great to read, One of the best i've seen! Real fast, were you losing guy's to Dangerous terrain tests, and where was it coming from?

Managarm said...

Thanks for the comments, guys!

Anonymous: I lost one sternguard and one wound of Lysander to dangerous terrain. Collapsed bastions and wrecked vehicles (in this case the falcon) count as difficult and dangerous terrain.

oni said...

Holy cow, your bastions got rocked. Looks like it was one heck of a game.

KingOfMalkier said...

That's looks like it was a really fun game. As an Eldar player I was rooting a bit for them, but you write a very nice battle report so I wasn't too sad when the Wraithlord and the Avatar finally fell. Absolutely beautiful terrain and models on both sides, too.