Monday, March 31, 2014

Battle Report: Space Wolves vs. Chaos on my New Alpine MegaMat

For those not aware of it, the MegaMat was a Kickstarter from TableWar and Frontline Gaming. I've been looking for something like this for a long time and both the designs and product quality were on the mark for me. The mat arrived a couple of weeks ago now. It comes in a carry bag but due to the width of the mat it wouldn't really be practical to transport around if you didn't have a car. Great for me though as when I want to switch back to using my home-made realm of battle board I can simple roll up the mat and lay out the tiles.

I'm impressed with the quality of the product. Up close the print is a little blurry but you really have to be studying it to notice. The mat instantly changed the look of my table without messing about trying to achieve the same results with my meagre skills and lack of free time. There were four different designs on offer (I think). I was tempted by the Urban one which cleverly incorporates the deployment zones with roads for the straight ones and flares for the diagonals. However, I've mentioned before that I wanted a snow/ice themed board so the Alpine mat was always going to be my favourite. Hopefully owning the mat will encourage me to work on some snowy scenery to go with it. I've already started painting some up but I've got to do some research and experiments with creating the right snowy look. Apparently the mat is waterproof but I have to say I didn't dare test it! The other nice thing about it is how dice sound when rolled on it. I know that seems ridiculous but there genuinely is something pleasing about the sound it makes!

Anyway, Matt and I had a game on it a couple of weeks back with me trying out DE with beasts and Matt running an interesting marines list with centurions. Unfortunately, I've struggled to find the time to write it up and I've not forgotten most of the details. Luckily, we've since had another game on the board and if anything Space Wolves are a better fit for a snowy scene. We'd be playing the Control Freak mission from Blog Wars as a bit of a test of the scenario.

I was running a mech heavy list as a bit of a throw back to 5th edition. My list featured Logan and some terminators in a land raider, Arjac with some grey hunters in a drop pod, two rhinos with grey hunters, a lone wolf, a vindicator and a dakka predator. Matt was running a Crimson Slaughter army with a lord on a bike with a unit of possessed, Kharn with more possessed in a land raider, a defiler, two units of plaguebearers and a bloodthirster. It's been a long time since we've run lists like this and it's amazing how few models you get when you've got land raiders and expensive characters.

Matt won the roll off and elected to go first. He could only a strip a hull point from the vindicator and immobilise one of my rhinos. No first blood for him then. The bloodthirster had deployed a portalglyph though so I spied a chance for an easy first blood for me (I'd forgotten that this mission doesn't actually use First Blood as a secondary - you'd think I'd remember since I wrote it!) and stopped any more daemons appearing. I'd also dropped Arjac in to try and take out Kharn's land raider but he missed with his hammer and despite hitting the meltagunner in his squad couldn't penetrate the armour scoring 13. Logan and his terminators lined up to bring down the bloodthirster and then hopefully engage it in combat with help from the lone wolf. Sadly the combined shooting of the land raider and the terminators didn't score a single hit so the daemon stayed aloft. The nearby grey hunters faired better though, with help from the vindicator they were able to kill off more than half of the possessed squad and wound the lord. With two of the objectives in my hands and one contested I was off to a good start, 2-0 at the end of turn 1.

The defiler killed off a swathe of grey hunters with its battle cannon but failed to charge into combat (Matt forgot it has Fleet). The plaguebearers nearby decided to charge in but were wiped out with help from daemonic instability. The lord and his possessed charged the grey hunters but with counter-attack and the extra attack from Logan the wolves killed off the remaining possessed. Sadly, the wolf guard couldn't kill the lord with his power fist which would prove costly. Kharn and his possessed sprang from their land raider and piled into combat with Logan (Kharn took a wound on the way in as his pistol got hot!). Meanwhile the land raider fired its lascannons at the lone wolf who failed both of his storm shield saves. Logan ended up in a challenge with the champion preventing him from getting at Kharn who chewed through all four terminators with gorechild!! Logan easily dispatched the champion so there'd be no hiding for Kharn next turn. The bloodthirster smashed into the land raider and easily tore it apart.

Arjac and his meltagunner pack mate were able to destroy the defiler although I'd been hoping the other squad might destroy it to free up Arjac for another shot at the land raider. The vindicator and predator combined to banish all but one of the newly arrived plaguebearers back to the warp. The lord was now in combat with the grey hunters on his own but with T6 and 2+ save he wasn't going anywhere unless the wulfen could rend. I'm normally pretty jammy when rolling for the wulfen's attacks but not this time as I rolled pretty low every combat. Logan had opted use the Axe Morkai as a power fist so Kharn would be striking first but would almost certainly be killed if he couldn't down the great wolf. Sadly, he wounded 5 times and Logan failed four of his 4++ belt saves and the great wolf was slain.

Fearing reprisal from the vindicator kharn and his remaining possessed jumped back into their land raider which turn its attention to the predator and ripped through it with lascannon fire. Meanwhile the bloodthirster swept across Arjac's unit who took less casualties from the vector strike than Matt was hoping as Arjac made his saves. The obliterator arrived from deep strike and scattered on top of the vindicator causing him to be misplaced but he'd still be able to get into the fight next turn. The remaining plaguebearer moved onto the central objective at this point the score was something like 4-2.

With the bloodthirster contesting the objective Arjac needed to deal with it. The nearby grey hunters were able to bring it down and with help from Arjac's squad they were able to bring it down to a single wound to give Arjac the best possible chance. The bloodthirster challenged Arjac to prevent him using the grey hunters as ablative wounds. Grimnar's champion managed to survive with a single wound but despite 3+ to hit with a re-roll he only scored two hits from his 5 attacks (my re-roll scored three 1s). One of the two hits failed to wound and the bloodthirster passed his invulnerable save. Arjac may have missed his chance. Meanwhile the drop pod and one of the rhinos fired their storm bolters and killed off the single plaguebearer. The lord finally finished off the wulfen who'd failed on multiple attempts to rend whilst the lord kept using IWND to get back to full wounds.

Kharn and his possessed again charged from the land raider, this time into the grey hunters from the immobilised rhino. Kharn killed off the wolf guard in a challenge but unfortunately for him all of the possessed died around him so in the next phase he was finished off by the grey hunters after fluffing his attacks. The bloodthirster managed to cause three wounds on Arjac who was fortunate to pass all of his shield saves. Yet again though he failed to bypass the daemon's invulnerable save which stopped three hits this time! The next round was different though, Arjac again passed his saves (jammy I know) but this time his hammer hit home and just managed to cause a single wound (Matt was pretty jammy with his saves again) and slay the beast.

Matt was now left with just the obliterator and the biker lord. The obliterator was struggling with range and with the fact that I kept using a rhino to block the vindicator. Luckily for him though the vindicator missed it's mark when it tried to strike him down. The biker lord was forced to finish the job with his power fist but all the while I was scoring points on the left hand objective. Arjac made his way into the middle and charged in on the land raider, smashing his hammer through its thick plate and causing a devastating explosion. This attracted the attention of the biker lord who struck him down with his fist, only taking a single wound in return.

It was too little too late though and the game ended on turn 6 (this mission is limited to five turns but I forgot again!). It ended with a 10-4 victory to me but it felt a lot closer than that.

Once again Arjac Rockfist demonstrates why I love him so much and why it always amazes me that he gets overlooked so much. I can understand that there wasn't a model for a while but the WG terminators kit always offered an easy conversion and now there's a genuine model. Of course with two wounds he's prone to a premature death from time to time but if you can roll those 2+/3++ saves you're golden. Being able to re-roll against ICs and MCs is crucial (when it works) and Eternal Warrior makes him that bit more frustrating. Anyway, I'm sure there's a dozen posts about him on here so I'll shut up now.

Arjac finally meets his demise
This game could've been very different though. It would have been a lot easier for me if Kharn hadn't killed those terminators as with the extra attack from Logan, combined with Counter-Attack and Preferred Enemy would surely have resulted in the possessed being cut down. Similarly, Kharn was fairly lucky (but not overly so) to kill off Logan before he struck back. If Logan had at least one wound left he'd have massacred Kharn with his axe on power fist mode and then wiped out the possessed in the following round with his axe on frost blade mode making the most of I5. Once out of that combat he'd have been a real thorn in Chaos' side.

On the flip side, the game could've been very different for Matt if he'd been able to charge with his defiler. It didn't help that he forgot about Fleet but even so not getting into combat with Arjac and then subsequently not killing many with the vector strike from the bloodthirster really messed up Matt's plans. Having said that though I really should've been able to kill the defiler or land raider in the first turn.

Anyway, more importantly it was another opportunity to test out the mission. I have to say I'm a huge fan of it and I hope the players at Blog Wars 7 like it too. Given that tabling isn't an option you literally have no choice but to try to get on the objectives early and stay there. Obviously speedy armies are at an advantage here but they tend to be either flimsy (DE) or have a low model count (Ravenwing). Of course it isn't perfect, going first gives an advantage if you can get on the objectives without response but then you've commited early and might regret it later. It forces players to think differently about their tactics and that, to me at least, can never be a bad thing. Hopefully Emperor's Relic will have the same effect and encourage bloody skirmishes in the middle of the board.

Something I want to finish on (sorry I know this has been a long post already) is that this game was a hell of a lot of fun for both of us. This was probably mostly due to it being a 5th edition style game with me running a mech list from a 5th edition codex and Matt resisting the temptation to bring a Heldrake (which would've undoubtedly swung the game in Matt's favour). I'm keen to try more games in this style where there aren't tons of flyers and there are more vehicles around.


  1. Great report. I have been trying out a few of the missions down at my local club and have to say they are excellent and alot of fun to play. Really looking forward to trying this out at blog wars 7

  2. Very enjoyable report, more please!

    Really like the arctic mat, wish the postage wasn't so expensive from the US


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