So, the weekend saw me participate in my 3rd ever battle of apocalypse. It ended up with four players on each side, each with 5,000 points, for a grand total of a 40,000 point game.
I’d just like to say from the start that I had an absolute blast and a huge thanks to everyone involved, especially D6 gaming for hosting the game and everyone who helped organize it! The game was played as part of the Australis Ultima Secession campaign, of which details can be found here
I also thought I would take the opportunity and write the game up as the blog’s first battle report. I should warn you that this is going to be a big post… Also, during the game I found myself mainly on the right hand side of the table and, due to the size of the battle and the table we fought on, I may have missed some of the stuff that happened on the rest of the table.
The two side were divided into Imperial forces and Traitors, although in truth there was a bit of cross over in both directions.
The Imperial army was broken into three main forces. The first was a massive force of Black Templars, comprising of roughly half the total army. This force was truly spectacular, and included among other things 2 warhound titans, a fellblade, 2 spartans, 1 typhon, a castus assault ram, land raiders, vindicators, and no less than 3 minotur artillary tanks! It also included some black templars who had cunningly disguised themselves as Iron Warriors, including 9 oblitorators, a decimator and several support units.
The second contingent of the Imperial forces was a force of Salamander space marines, featuring a heavy armoured group supported by drop pods and fliers. The Salamanders force included 5 land raiders, 3 vindicators, 5 predators, 2 ironclads in drop pods, 3 storm talons and a storm raven.
The final contingent of the Imperial forces was my own Imperial Fists. My army included: 1 warhound titan, 1 Imperial Knight, 2 land raiders, 3 vindicators, 3 predator annihilators, a typhon siege tank, 1 storm eagles and 1 storm talon.
The traitor army was comprised mainly of chaos space marines (many of which were using space marines rules), backed up by traitor Imperial Guard and a handful of Eldar.
The traitor army included: 2 warhound titans, a brass scorpion, an Eldar Scorpion grav tank,a wraithknight, a baneblade, an ork stompa, a chaos mechanized tank forces including 3 land raiders and several mechanized marine squads, a Leman Russ tank company with artillary support, the majority of a marine battle company all mounted in drop pods, and significant air support including several storm ravens, talons and a storm eagle, as well as a vulture and vendetta gunship.
There were 6 objectives deployed across the table, 2 in each deployment zone and 2 in no-mans land. One of the objectives in no-mans land was a shuttle, which was decided would be worth double victory points if intact, and count as a regular objective if destroyed. Also, the shuttle would be flyable if troops embarked on it…
Finally, the Black Templars were using a siege-assault vanguard list, which means they had to place another objective in the enemy deployment zone, and until the Templars controlled this objective, they couldn’t claim any others.
The Imperial side won the role off for first turn and immediately set about deploying their forces for the coming battle. The Black Templars deployed along the left flank and up to the center, with the core of their assault forces to the left of center aiming for their siege-assault objective. The minotaur artillery set up in a plaza on the extreme left flank, supported by some chaos troops to hold the far left objective.
The Imperial Fists deployed mostly in the center, with the core of their forces aiming towards the shuttle objective. An Imperial Fists tactical squad also deployed along the extreme right flank to hold an objective in the Imperial deployment zone, supported by the Imperial Knight.
This left the Salamanders on the right flank to push towards an objective in the enemy deployment zone.
The three warhounds deployed fairly evenly across the table, ready to add their fire power to the Imperial advance.
The chaos forces were fairly light on the ground when they deployed, opting to leave a large portion of their forces in reserve. Chaos mechanized forces deployed on the left flank and in the center, with a mass of dreadnoughts, the brass scorpion and guard heavy weapons to protect the siege-assault objective. The Leman Russ tank company deployed across the middle and right flanks, with additional guard and chaos forces holding the right flank. The center was sparsely held, although there was a warhound and a stompa to either side. The last of the traitor warhounds deployed on the extreme left flank.
Turn 1 – Imperial
The chaos forces failed to seize the initiative (much to the relief of the Imperial players) and so the Imperial warmachine began its leviathan advance. All across the battlefield, tank engines revved and belched smoke as they stormed forward. Fire trails streaked across the sky as Salamander drop pods landed across the right flank, Ironclad dreadnoughts lumbering out to threaten the traitor guard tank forces while tactical squads secured several objectives, including the shuttle. The sound of titan footsteps could be heard over even the din of tank engines as the Sanguinem Venator maneuvered to gain a firing solution on one of the traitor warhounds.
Despite the mass of troops and tanks arrayed against each other, there was surprisingly little firing as the Imperial forces sought to close the range with the traitor forces. On the far left flank the roar of artillery sounded as the minotaurs opened fired, inflicting heavy damage on the mechanized chaos forces adjacent to them.
The sound of charging energy capacitors grew from a low wine to a high pitched scream, culminating in a roar as the Sanguinem Venator fired. The void shields of the triator warhound flared and then collapsed under the storm of plasma and las fire, leaving grieves wounds in the titan’s flank. Other Imperial titans fired, inflicting heavy damage on the brass scorpion and the chaos mechanized forces.
Turn 1 – Traitors
The traitor forces immediately began their response to the Imperial advance. Waves of storm talons and storm ravens swept over the battlefield, jinking past the drop pods screaming down to land among the Imperial lines. An Ironclad dreadnought advanced from the crater of its drop pod and readied to charge the Sanguinem Venator while more dreadnoughts landed among the minotaur artillery and advanced with autocannons blazing.
The brass scorpion, stompa and the chaos mechanized forces all advanced at top speed, eager to confront their hated foe. In the center the stompa charged forward, ripping apart a Black Templar sicaran and directly threatening the main Templar advance.
The warhound that had been fired on by the Venator lined up its weapons on the opposing warhound while gunships prepared to strip its void shields to leave it helpless before the traitor titan. The Venator then pulled a hidden ace, activating a power field that would prevent anyone shooting at her. Frustrated that its main target had been denied it for a turn, the traitor warhound turned and fired upon the Imperial Fists main battle line, destroying both land raiders and a vindicator in the ensuing storm of fire.
The Leman Russ tanks opened fired, however one of the traitor crew obviously took this as an opportunity to right some past wrongs. The tank fired, missing its primary target and scattering into another traitor Russ in front of it, destroying it utterly.
Turn 2 – Imperial
Recognizing the threat the enemy fliers represented, a wave of Salamander fliers swept over the battlefield, shooting down several of the traitor aircraft.
All across the table the Imperial forces continued their advance. Salamander land raiders swept towards the traitor guard while their dreadnoughts charged in among traitor sentinels and guardsmen. The Black Templars also advanced as combat broke out all across their lines as breaching marines clashed with chaos space marines and traitor dreadnoughts. Imperial Fist and Salamander tactical squads secured the shuttle objective, with Imperial Fist terminators and centurians lumber out of the wrekage of their land raiders and continue the advance towards the traitor Russ tanks. The Knight Titan advanced at top speed on the far right flank, preparing to attack the traitor back line. Other Templars turned back, engaging the traitor dreadnoughts threatening the minotaur artillery.
The Sanguinem Venator pressed its advantage against the damaged titan, unleashing both its plasma blast gun and turbo laser into the damaged machine. The beams of the turbo laser struck deep, penetrating the traitor titan’s reactor and consuming it in a nuclear fire ball. The Venator sounded its war horns, celebrating its first titan-class engine kill. Meanwhile, Salamander predators opened fire on the traitor Ironclad behind the Sanguinem Venator, destroying it before it could attack the titan.
Across the table, the brass scorpion was destroyed by concentrated fire. A full unit of Templar terminators with chain fists charged the stompa, tearing it apart. In a last act of spite however, the crippled stompa somehow back flipped over the terminators and onto their land raider, destroying it completely in the stompa’s death-throws.
Overall it had been a very successful turn for the Imperium, destroying 3 super heavy vehicles.
Turn 2 – Traitors
The second wave of traitor reinforcements swept onto the table. Traitor storm ravens swept overhead while fresh waves of drop pods crashed among the Imperial lines. Two tactical squads disembarked to contest the far right objective held by a squad of Imperial Fists, while another tactical squad landed to attack the Imperial Fists back line. A forth support squad landed next to one of the Black Templar titans, armed with no less than 10 melta guns.
Finally, a baneblade and a wraithknight arrived to reinforce the right flank, the baneblade taking aim at the Salamanders while the wraithknight moved to confront the Imperial Knight.
Chaos land raiders advanced, deploying squads of terminators who promptly charged and killed the Black Templar terminators who had destroyed the stompa. The traitors had also clearly established space superiority as an orbiting warship fired its lances at the surface, the orbital strike destroying 3 Salamander land raiders to halt their advance.
The drop pod support squad fired all ten melta guns at the warhound, stripping 8 of its 9 hull points. A traitor land raider then fired on it, but failed to penetrate the titan’s armour.
Although the Imperial forces were still in a strong position, the chaos forces had blunted their advance and were now seizing objectives all across the battlefield.
Turn 3 – Imperial
Seeing the battle was in the balance, the last of the Imperial reserves were committed to the attack. An Imperial Fist Storm Eagle and Storm Talon swept onto the right flank, shooting down a traitor Storm Raven and Storm Talon.
On the right flank the Salamanders struggled to resume their advance, terminators stumbling through the wreckage of their land raiders in the wake of the orbital strike. The Imperial Knight charged the wraithknight, the two massive machines squaring off against each other in single combat. With almost suppernatural speed the wraithknight attacked the charging knight, tearing great gauges from its heavy armour. The knight shouldered through the attacks before bringing its chainblade to bear. Although originally designed to fell large trees for the ancient settlers on long forgotten worlds, the chainblade proved equally capable of hacking through wraithbone, leaving the once graceful wraithknight a twisted wreck before it.
The Salamanders attacked the traitor guard holding the right objective in the traitor deployment zone, destroying several sentinels and tanks while driving off the bulk of the veterans holding the objective. the objective was at the top of a stack of large crates and a Salamander Ironclad lumbered alongside, ending closer to the objective than the remaining guardsmen.
Sanguinem Venator shifted its attention to the baneblade, its turbo laser tearing huge holes in the tank’s armour but failing to finish it off completely. Meanwhile, its plasma blast gun fired on the two traitor tactical squads attacking the far right objective, killing half of them.
In the center the Imperial Fist Typhon siege tank took aim at the traitor tactical squad that had drop podded behind their lines and fired. The tank obviously had a baleful machine spirit however as the shot scattered into the predator assassin squadron, destroying two of the tanks. The final annihilator fired nevertheless, destroying a chaos land raider. A squad of terminators stumble from the wreckage, only to be annihilated by 4 plasma cannons fired by an Imperial Fist devastator squad. The Imperial Fist terminators charged into the massed Leman Russ tanks, killing one while the centurians killed a second.
On the left flank, the Black Templars pushed ever closer to their objective in the face of fierce resistance. Loyalist Oblitorators surrounded the objective in the traitor deployment zone on the far left flank while the last of the dreadnoughts threatening the minotaur artillary were destroyed. The black templars were still encountering dogged resistance as they pushed towards the siege-assault objective however.
Turn 3 – Traitors
The third and final wave of traitor reinforcements sweep onto the table, including a storm eagle carrying a full terminator assault squad and chapter master on board. The storm eagle swept over the battlefield to threaten the shuttle objective, ready to let the terminators assault next turn. Three squads of terminators teleported around one of the central objectives while 2 assault squads and two land speeders homed in on the locator beacons of the drop pods around the far right objective. The tactical squads that had arrived last turned charged the lone Imperial Fist squad holding the objective, but failed to push them off. The loyalist squad was down to only 4 members however, and was greatly outnumbered.
A massed squad of chaos space marines also arrived to reinforce the objective on the right flank in their own deployment zone.
On the left flank the Eldar Scorpion grav tank and the last traitor titan combine their fire on the first Templar titan, finally laying the God-engine low. The second Templar warhound is also brought down by massed lascannon fire.
This was a brilliant turn for the traitors. They destroyed two of the three loyalist titans, and were in control or threatening most of the objectives.
Turn 4 – Imperial
Realizing that they could never hold the shuttle objective against a full squad of assault terminators, the Imperial Fists squad holding the objective jumped on board and took flight for the Imperial lines.
Realize the situation on the far right flank is desperate, the Imperial Fists storm eagle turned around and touched down, allowing the tactical squad it was carrying to disembark and charge into the combat to assist their beleaguered comrades. The Imperial Knight also turns around and rushed back towards its own line, vaporizing the bulk of one of the traitor assault squads threatening the far right objective with a blast of its thermal cannon. Salamander vindicators and an Achilles also open fire, killing several more assault marines before they can charge.
Another warhound advanced onto the table from strategic reserve, combining fire with several other Templar units to bring down the last of the traitor warhounds.
The Sanguinem Venator opened fired once more, vaporizing the traitor baneblade with its turbo laser and then killing the bulk of the chaos marine squad that had arrived last turn to help secure their objective. A Salamander ironclad then charged the remains of the chaos marines, pinning them in combat.
In the center the Imperial Fists terminators continue their attack on the Leman Russ tank company, destroying another of the machines. Meanwhile the centurians, devastators and last surviving vindicator combine fire to kill all but two of the terminators that had arrived last turn. The Imperial Fist Typhon fired again on the traitor tactical squad in the loyalist backline. Although it managed to destroy most of the squad, it also clipped a building an Imperial Fists devastator squad was sheltering in, bringing the whole building down on top of them.
Turn 4 – Traitors
Like the Imperials, the traitor forces spent a victory point to bring one of their warhounds back on from reserve, the monstrosity stalking onto the battlefield to help hold the siege-assault objective.
On the right flank, the remains of the traitor assault squads charge into the combat raging around the far right objective. Despite the traitor’s best efforts, the Imperial Fist tactical squads continue to hold in the combat, refusing to give ground. The two land speeders both fired on the hovering storm eagle, but despite being at point-blank rang, all their shots go wide.
In the traitor deployment zone on the right flank a chaos dreadnought charged the Salamander Ironclad holding the objective, but was destroyed by a lucky snapshot from the Ironclad’s melta. The last remains of the traitor guardsmen move over the crates to get closer to the objective than the Ironclad, re-securing it for now.
Also on the right flank, a traitor storm raven shoots down the objective shuttle, which crash lands near the Sanguinem Venator. A lone Imperial Fist tactical marine stumbles from the wreckage, bloody but still holding the objective.
In the center the storm eagle carrying the terminator assault squad zooms to reinforce the siege-assault objective. Meanwhile the last two traitor terminators charge the two surviving Imperial Fist Sternguard who are holding another objective. Although one of the terminators is killed, the Sternguard are overwhelmed. The last Imperial Fist Vindicator is also destroyed by the lone surviving chaos land raider.
Turn 5 – Imperial
Up until this point the game had been filled with complete carnage, and their wasn’t much left on the table. It would be the final turn of the game, so it was time for the last ditch efforts.
On the right flank the Salamanders charged forward, driving off the last of the chaos space marines. The remaining loyalist fliers set about systematically hunting down the last of the traitor artillary, destroying several basilisks while Salamander centurions killed a traitor thunderfire cannon. The last of the Salamander terminators, a stormtalon and an ironclad all open fire on the 4 surviving traitor guardsmen holding the objective, but only manage to kill 2 of them. The last 2 hold their ground, securing the objective for the traitor forces.
On the far right however, the Imperial Fists tactical squad continue to hold, even driving back one of the assault squads and killing the last members of the traitor tactical squad.
In the center, the fresh Templar warhound lined up against the fully operational traitor titan. In a stunning display of skill and accuracy, the loyalist warhound opened fired. Its rapid firing plasma blast gun stripped the traitor titan of its void shields before the turbo laser hit him, detonating the traitor titan in an incandescent ball of nuclear fire.
Inspired by the display from the their supporting titan, the last of the Templars charged forward, punching through to the siege assault objective. The Emperor’s Champion challenged the chaos lord to single combat, but was cut down by the duel change fists of the arch traitor. Despite this, the Templars managed to secure the siege-assault objective.
The Sanguinem Venator moved to secure the crashed shuttle, standing directly over the top of it and daring any remaining traitors to attack. To add emphasis to the challenge the Venator fired, destroying the last of the tanks of the Leman Russ Tank company.
Turn 5 – Traitor
It was now time for the last throws of the dice. The last traitor terminator in the center of the board clambered into the building holding the objective to secure it. The last of the assault marines on the far right flank were driven back by the Imperial Fists tactical squad, leaving the loyalists in command of the objective. Meanwhile, the last two traitor guardsmen holding the right flank objective sat back happily, making obscene gestures at the Salamanders terminators and dreadnoughts around them that had failed to make it to the objective in time. On the far left flank, the remains of the Chaos mechanized forces had also managed to seize another objective.
It all came down to the traitor storm eagle and the deadly cargo she carried. The storm eagle touched down alongside the siege-assault objective, allowing her terminators to disembark. The assault terminators immediately charged, wiping out the Black Templars holding the building. This left only a handful of loyalist oblitorators holding the far side of the building. In a last ditch attempt to destroy them, the chapter master on board the storm eagle broke away from the terminator squad and called down his orbital bombardment on the heads of the oblitorators. The dark gods must not have been watching, as the shot scattered wide and left the oblitorators unharmed. This meant both sides had troops touching the objective building and at equal distance, so it would come down to a dice-off between the players. Realizing that the result would decide the game, with baited breath, fingers crossed and prayers to the Emperor and/or Dark gods, the dice were loosed…
…and ended with a win to the Imperials, the Emperor protects!
When the final tally was taken, the Imperial forces were in control of four objectives, including the siege-assault objective, while the traitors were in command of 3. This left the final score at 24 victory points to the Imperils and 21 to the traitors. Imperial Victory!
That was such a fantastic game! As much as I loved the truly epic moments of the game like multiple titans facing off against each other, I think what truly impressed me was the effort of the little guys on the table. The lone traitor terminator holding the central objective, the 2 guardsmen holding their objective despite the massed Salamanders arrayed around them, and the Imperial Fists tactical squads flying one objective to safety while another held against four times their number to secure an objective.
In a game like this there are just so many stories that emerge over the course of the battle, and I think that is one of the most inspiring parts for me. I know I have several tactical marines who are going to need some extra purity seals and honour markings, while the Sanguinem Venator is going to need a banner to celebrate her first ever titan-class engine kill!
MVP award has to go to the Venator, who killed a traitor warhound, a baneblade, 2 leman russ tanks, around 20 marines, plus was holding an objective at the end of the game. Not to mention she was the only one of the five original titans to survive the battle (not including the loyalist titan that was recycled with strategic points).
The Typhon had a fairly rocky first game, killing more of my own things than the enemy! By the end of the game he had destroyed 2 annihilators, not to mention collapsed a building one of my devastator squads was hiding in…
So what did I learn? Firstly, range is everything on a table this size, with long ranged weapons reining supreme. Even lascannons were struggling to find targets a lot of the time, making the long range artillary that much more powerful.
Secondly, maneuverability is vital. On tables this big, and when capturing objectives is so important, the ability to have fast moving reserves like transporting fliers and drop pods is priceless. If not for the storm eagle and its tactical squad, the far right objective would probably have been lost.
Thirdly, don’t underestimate the little guys! As big and powerful as the big tanks and super heavies are, in this game it was the basic troops who ended up holding many of the objectives.
Finally, have fun! Apocalypse is not designed to be super competitive, it’s designed to be fun. Sit back, relax, don’t quarrel to much about line of sight or cover saves, because chances are everything will die anyway, so you may as well just enjoy the spectacle.