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Battle Report 14 - Fall of Firebase Theta

Tyranids vs. Chaos Space Marines

Composed by Michael J. Casavant (Hive Fleet Phage)


  • Date - 13JAN2002
  • Points - 1500
  • Scenario - Strongpoint Attack
  • Hive Fleet Phage, Tyranid Army List played by Michael J. Casavant]
  • Chaos Space Marines (Undivided) [played by Lars Ericson]
  • Result - Massacre in favor of Tyranids
    • Losses, Phage (378 total) - Lightning 1/2 strength (100), Genestealers dead (112), Gargoyles 1/2 strength (45), Spinegaunt one brood 1/2 strength (65), one Biovore (56).
    • Losses, Chaos Space Marines (1630 total) - All dead except for one Rhino (70).
    • Bonus - +200 to Tyranids for occupying bunker at end of game.
  • Grand Tournament Scale (Victory Points Difference) - 1452 in Tyranids favor = Massacre.
    • 0-299 Victory Points = Draw - neither side holds the upper hand.
    • 300-599 Victory Points = Minor Victory - You have won the battle, but only just!
    • 600-1,199 Victory Points = Solid Victory - You have decisively defeated your foe!
    • 1,200+ Victory Points = Massacre - You have ruthlessly crushed your foes!



This was my second experience with going with the basic scenario setup in the book. I won the die toss for Scenario type, but I let my opponent, Lars, choose because he was bored with Standard missions. He selected Raid. I won the die toss for choosing Attacker or Defender and I chose Attacker.


Naming convention: The food that have faced Hive Fleet Phage have named the Hive Tyrants that continue to plague them. The one that trudges forward implacably with an escort of Tyrant Guard they call "Thunder." The swift winged beast that races across the battlefield and shatters bodies and vehicles alike has been dubbed "Lightning." They have also named the Carnifex engine of destruction, "Mjolnir."

There were only two useful pieces that blocked LOS, the large buildings/woods, and only one was useful to me. However, this mission did not involve a lot of advancing over large stretches of ground, so I did not mind so much.

The Battle

Initial setup - I went with both side flanks. There is a sentry in the building that is not visible in this picture. I resisted the urge to attack immediately (bad idea), and tried to sneak in, realizing that I would have to be very lucky not raise the alarm when I killed three sentries. I tried nonetheless, but failed. :b

The sentries are dead and the alarm is raised. Amusingly, the Red Terror managed to swallow a sentry whole.

End Marine turn 1 - Shooting. A lot of firepower came screaming at Lightning, but he sucked it up like the bad bug he is. Oh sure, taking cover behind the hill didn't hurt either.

Tyranid turn 1 - So I ran on in there. Notice that I attacked first with Spinegaunts. This was to get the close combat going so my Leapers did not have to suffer the loss of initiative attacking into cover in the first round of a combat. I also attacked with the Red Terror (can't kill him as fast) and the Warriors (Flesh Hooks). On the other side, I managed to get the surviving trio of Genestealers around the wall, and then attacked into cover with Lightning. I was a bit crafty and bypassed the obvious target to assault the forward unit of Chaos Marines; this nullified their advantage of being behind cover, and pulled them away from the wall for the imminent assault of the Lysogaunts next turn.

Note: The Red Terror only has three wounds and a 3+ save, so getting him into Assault fast was very important.

Thunder and the Biovores fail to damage anything, those slackers.

Marine turn 2 - The Possessed Chaos Space Marines come on. They have the special powers of Invulnerable (that makes their 3+ save Invulnerable!) and Fast (12" move). They pounce on Lightning with dreams of dropping him while he fruitlessly wails away at their invulnerable hides.

Tyranid turn 2 - Numerous gaps left by dying Spinegaunts afford an opportunity for the Lysogaunts to jump in the fray.

Thunder and the Biovores fail to damage anything.


Thunder asssaults the Rhino. The other Rhino, chases down and kills a Biovore. The Assaults end with only the Tyranids still alive.

The Red Terror and Lightning go after the Land Raider Crusader...

Lightning and the Red Terror, devour the Machine Spirit! This is actually the first time I have had to face a Land Raider.

Yeah! Who's bunker is it now?


So in the end, only the Rhino that went Biovore-hunting survived. I got +200 bonus VPs for occupying the bunker.

There were a number of pivotal points in the battle. I guessed right at a lot of critical junctures and the dice backed me up too. Lars's Possessed Chaos Space Marines had really bad luck!

Lessons Learned (and relearned)

  • I need to check on the rules about moving over dead vehicles. I would think infantry could just treat them as Difficult Terrain.
  • A trio of mixed Warriors can be very handy. Recall that if one of the Hand-to-Hand Warriors chooses to detonate Spore Mines it does not affect the shooting of the rest of the unit. I also felt a lot more comfortable that my Synapse would be solid throughout the game.

Tactics Developed

  • I practiced careful removal of Casualties to facilitate followup assaults and crushing in by other models/units.
  • In the setup shown I was able to assault a unit from behind and negate it's cover by ignoring a closer unit that was a more obvious target. This prevented two assaults from going through cover.
  • Catalyst was OK, but not amazing.
  • For 1 point, it's worth putting the Flesh Hooks on Warriors. It helps make them into a Tyranid Commando of sorts.

Rules Questions & Clarifications

  • A telephone call to GW confirmed that infantry should be able to move over a dead vehicle as though it were Difficult Terrain. Also, vehicles treat dead vehicles as impassable terrain.