Format of the event
The day consisted of 3 games with unknown/mystery scenarios of either 2,000 or 2,500pts – the idea being that both players would need at least 2,000pt lists, but that if they both mutually agreed that they could play a larger point game. This was a concession to encourage new players to attend – while it wasn’t prerequisite to have a fully painted army, it was encouraged as prize support was based around hobbying rather than winning games.
As seems to bit typical of this style of Horus Heresy event, Leviathan force organisation was not permitted (so no Warlord Titans to be expected – phew!). Given the particular narrative nature of the event Dark Compliance and Shattered Legion themed lists were also not permitted.
Narrative advantages were introduced as a result of which faction won the prior round and also based on the total victory points scored by each faction, a number of strategic asset cards were made available to be distributed amongst the faction’s team.
Venue & Terrain
Incom Gaming is a ‘pop-up’ store based at the 2 Pigs pub in Cheltenham. Consequently, it goes without saying there is a well stocked bar, with a modest selection of GW and 3rd party miniatures and hobby materials.
The terrain boards were really impressive: there were 20 very differently themed boards with a mix of GW realm of battle board, gamermat.eu rubber mats and a good range of terrain appropriate to the board theme.
In addition to the standard primary and secondary victory conditions, additional ‘side quest’ victory points were available in all of the missions:
5VPs for a Lord of War kill
3VPs for each name/unique character kill
2VPs for each independent character kill
1VP for each unit with 4+ hull points destroyed
2VPs for if there are no enemy units in your deployment zone
2VPs for more of your units in the enemy deployment zone
Depending on the total no. of VPs achieved throughout the day earned your faction a number of strategic asset cards which could be distributed between the members of your faction as your team leader/Warlord saw fit representing things like orbital barrages, phosphex bombs and relic wargear, etc.
Game 1 – vs Space Wolves
This board was really superb and my favourite of the event. At it’s foundation it had a GW Realm of battle board painted up in a snowy mount/tundra scheme. A giant imperial ruin was located at the peak of the hill where I deployed with scatter comprising woods and boulders on the opposite side where the Wolves deployed.
Scenario – Shatter Strike
Primary Objective – Shatter Strike: 3VPs for every scoring unit in the enemy deployment zone; 1VP for each denial unit.
Secondary: Slay the Warlord & Attrition.
Deployment: Clash of the Line.
How it played out:
My Knights and Malcadors quickly advanced towards the Space Marines on the flanks leaving the Cultists to scrabble through the ruins running through the middle of the board.
Initially things seemed to be going well for me as I seemed to get the better of the head to head tank battles with the lighter Space Wolf tanks and the Knights absorbed a significant amount of the firepower from the Glaive.
However, by the time the Cultists had managed to get across into the Space Wolf deployment zone the tide had turned as the Glaive manoeuvred into position to finish of my damaged Knights & Malacadors, leaving a smoking ruined hulls in its wake.
One squad of Cultists managed to make it into close combat with the Glaive and even managed to strip off a few hull points with their horde or rending attacks. Unfortunately, it was able to thunderblitz into a position to hit all four of my infantry squads in a single shot, decimating them all at a stroke and reducing the once mighty horde to just a few dregs of rabble.
I wasn’t quite tabled, but probably would have been if the game had gone on for another turn.
Result – big loss for the Warp Cult; big win to the Space Wolves.
Game 2 – vs Dark Angels
This board looked like a repurposed Bolt Action board: WWII ruins and some green woods & scrub.
Scenario: Bood Feud
Primary Objective: Blood Feud
Secondary: Slay the Warlord, Last Man Standing.
How it played out:
The Angels were a foot-heavy list, in contrast to the tank heavy Wolves in the first game.
Having faced Typhon’s before and not wanting to repeat my mistake in the first game of not focusing on killing the Lord Of War, I immediately deployed my three Knights on the same flank with a single Cultist militia squad, with the rest of the army deploying on the opposite flank.
This proved to be effective as while the Knight’s shooting only managed to strip off a few hull points from the Typhon, the close combat which followed easily finished it off. This then gave me a significant advantage as the rest of the Dark Angels army was mainly tooled up with anti-infantry rather than high strength weapons, allowing the knights to able around an rain down destruction in relative impunity.
Result – win for the Warp Cult; loss for the Dark Angels.
Game 3 – vs Mechanicum
Terrain: Dessert Wasteland.
Deployment: Dawn of War.
Primary Objective: Unknown Signals – a single objective is placed in a terrain element worth 15 VPs to the side controlling it at the end of the game.
How it played out:
I deployed pretty much my entire force in the quarter closet to the objective with the Knights at the front, hoping to be able to get to it quickly, hide in the cover and then swarm the Mechanicum forces as they advanced. Interestingly, my opponent split his army into 3 elements: the Thralls deployed in the Triaros Conveyers were deployed the opposite side to my force, close to the objective; the battle tanks were kept in reserve to outflank and the rest of the force (Magos, Castellax, Thanatos, Thallax and Knight) were deployed in the far corner.
Not being too familiar with the Mechanicum, I didn’t expect the shock ram from the Conveyors smashing into my Knights, quickly stripping off valuable hull points. The Knight were able to quickly react and smash the transports in close combat as well as stomping on the Thralls in subsequent turns, but this districted valuable focus on the ranged attached.
My Rogue Psykers summoned Plague Bearers to help deal with with the Thralls, only to be obliterated with Phosphex bombardment by way of timely use of the strategic asset cards by my opponent.
Relatively ignore, the cultists overran the objective, close assaulting one the battle tanks as to swung into my back line from reserve, but not before it managed to gun down one of my Knights from the rear. My Malcadors rumbled off against the heavy Mechanicum foot elements, but were largely outshot and quickly reduced to smouldering wrecks.
As my damaged Knights turned about and squared off against the remaining advancing mechanism force, they were slowly whittled down. As the enemy Indentured Mechanicum Knight advanced, it didn’t even have to get into close combat as it finished off my last Knight for a derisory single shot from its Thermal Cannon.
Fortunately, the game ended with the bulk of the Mechanicum force still being at least a turn of movement away from making contact with my surviving units.
Result – win for the Warp Cult as I narrowly hung on to the objective as the Mechanicum didn’t have enough firepower left to strip 80 cultists off of the objective. That said this was undoubtedly a morale victory for the Mechanicum given that there were only a rag-tag of Cultists surviving with none of traitor armour left to defend from from certain slaughter had the game gone on longer.
Overall the Traitors won the event by a narrow victory point margin. All my opponents were very friendly, had amazing looking armies and were great people to play against: what more can you ask for in a gaming event?