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Battle Report 19 - Sowing Seeds

Tyranids vs. Deathwing

Composed by Michael J. Casavant (Hive Fleet Phage)


  • Date - 14AUG2002
  • Points - 1000
  • Scenario - Ambush! (rolled from Advanced Mission Selection, Chapter Approved)
  • Hive Fleet Phage, Tyranid Army List played by Michael J. Casavant]
  • Deathwing Space Marines [played by Karl Roeder]
  • Result - Tyranid Victory
    • VPs, Hive Fleet Phage - 1000
    • VPs, Deathwing - 470
    • Campaign points
      • 7 Hive Fleet Phage (+3 win +2 VPs Killed +1 VPs Surviving +1 Sub-plot)
      • 2 Deathwing (+1 Loss, +1 VPs)



This was my second game in the Midnight Comics & Games GW League. In this battle, I will face Karl Roeder a motivated young man with a Deathwing Army and a desire to kill bugs. :)

Pre-battle fluff, "Relief":

Peterson surveyed his immediate surroundings - Franklin's torso pulled itself from the wreckage of the Chimera. His autoheal units were working overtime sustaining him, but lucky for him, the vital organs were all still untouched. He'd probably make it out of this after all, and have some shiny new legs to show for it. Kowalski was torn apart by the really big bug that ripped the vehicle in two. It was chaos everywhere.

Gowanda jumped into the small natural cave with him. She was bleeding, but she would probably make it out of this alive. She spoke above the din of men's screams and the sounds of exploding and burning vehicles. "Emperor's nuts! What is fraggin' going on out there? Intelligence told us contact no sooner than tomorrow. This ain't tomorrow sonny boy!"

Peterson grimaced and took a deep breath between his teeth, making a slight hiss. "Tell me about it. I took the damn call. There's probably some guy sipping coffee in an air-conditioned room saying 'oops' right about now. Fat lotta good that will do us. I got a plan though."

Gowanda's face registered surprise, "Really? Something other than run damn fast the other way?"

Peterson looked sidelong at her, "Yeah, but just about as simple." He switched the dials on his scanner, sweeping the frequencies.

"What are you doing?"

"Well, I read the rest of the intell. Seems there's a unit of Deathwing operating in the area and I just sent them our position and situation. I think it's high time they joined our little party, don't you?"

"Amen to that brother, amen to that."

They settled back and caught their breath, calming down slightly with the moment of respite. Just as quickly, they sat up again as they heard the scratching of chitin against rock at the edge of the cave...

And now for the very cool fluff contributed by my opponent, Karl Roeder:

Master Brother Barkiel announces to his men their mission.

"Brothers, we have been alerted to rescue a small detachment of imperial guard. They have reported that they are being attacked by large insects it seems. We have been asked to rescue these men as they are carrying vital information about this new Tyranid threat. I have accepted their pleas for help and the honor of saving these men has been left up to the Lightning Wing(Storm Angels 1st company).We depart at 800 hours."

"May the emperor bless our weapons and strike down our foes." Replied the troops together as one.

Smoke rose from burned and destroyed vehicles miles away, yet Barkiel knew what had happened and worse yet, what was going to happen if they did not get to the men left still alive. Silence swept through the troops as they readied their weapons and said their prayers to the Emperor.

"I am picking up vital signs of numerous large and small creatures ahead of us sir. They seem to be .... moving towards us, at an alarming rate..." said Reverend Dreadnought Michael.

"Brothers this is our time, this is our glory, let it be known in the records of our sacred chapter that these brave men will have given their lives to protect the lives of many millions. READY ALL WEAPONS AND PREPARE TO ENGAGE!!!"


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".

I contacted the league coordinator and set in motion a sub plot to create a Hiveworld on one of the planets, Rynn's World. I chose it because it's the most hostile and full of things to eat. The special rules for Rynn's World are twofold:

  1. Army may only take 0-1 vehicle choices
  2. Any difficult terrain movement rolls that result in a '1' cause D6 hits at D6 Strength, as native predators attack. (Note: this means if you roll 2d6 for DT and get 1 and 1, not just rolling a single '1' on either die)

So I need to fight battles against Imperial foes (Marines, Sisters of Battle, Imperial Guard) to secure the planet. If they get a certain number of points, they can secure the planet against infestation.

We rolled Ambush! and Tyranids ended up as Attacker and Deathwing as Defender. Three of my seven units did not make it on the board at the start and one was the Genestealer brood. This would be significant later. Although it was Rynn's World, I did not thrown down a ton of trees since the Deathwing is typically reliant on their shooty attack. With the Ambush setup, I lucked out because they ended up on the other side of a chunk of trees at the start of the game.

With Hidden Setup, I ended up with a single Booby Trap. I opted for Booby Trap because it is S8 AP2 so it had a good chance of killing a Deathwing Terminator.


Peterson settled back into the cave and breathed in shallow breaths. Gowanda's eyes bulged out and he recognized the face of unbridled panic. He quickly swung up his rifle butt and smashed her right in the face. She slumped back against the rock unconscious. The creature paused momentarily and Peterson held his breath. Then there was a thunder as more came to the small rocky hill in which he was hiding. His mind raced and panic seized his heart, but he stayed put. Then he heard the reassuring sounds of storm bolters. The Deathwing had arrived. They were heading to recover Peterson's cargo, the confessions of a former Captain named Srinivas. An Inquisitor had extracted vital data from the babbling scum. Peterson did not want to comtemplate the magnitude of what Srinivas claimed. It was just to horrible.

The comms lit up with traffic and gunfire erupted from the distance. The bugs appeared to have caught the Deathwing off guard and cut off their route. The bugs would pay for that. If only the Deathwing didn't blow up the hill where he was hiding, he might make it out of this alive.

The Battle

Turn 1

The Spinegaunts advance while most of the other bugs shift sideways.

The Deathwing splits up and starts to trudge around the trees.

The creatures were moving off the hill. Peterson breathed a sigh of relief and ventured his head farther out for a better look. He saw motion behind the trees just west of his position. It was the markings of a Deathwing Terminator. Implacable vengeance had arrived.

Turn 2

The Spinegaunts race forward and charge into the nearest Terminators. They actually manage to kill one.

Reserves: Forgot to make the roll! Argh!

The Deathwing laughingly dispatch of the remaining Spinegaunts and consolidate, but not before another mighty Terminator falls to the lowly Spinegaunts. The Dreadnought peeks around the trees and manages to wound Mjolnir.

There was more thunder as a horde of the small bugs races forward into the advancing Terminators. It was brutal and frightening as the creatures plunged into their doom. So reckless was their violent abandon that they managed to knock a couple of the mighty Terminators off their feet and kill them. It was a short-lived success, though, as the Terminators closed in on them and tore them to shreds. A fearsome Dreadnought rounded the other side of the trees and the bright flash of a Lascannon lanced into the Carnifex. It's roar was unsettling but still satisfying. The hunter had become the hunted.

Turn 3

The Monsters side step to attack the Dreadnought, and blow it up.

The Terminators step out from behind the trees and mow down the Warriors without working up a sweat. Obviously the Warriors were sacrificing themselves intentionally for the good of the Hive Mind [I foolishly forgot to take my cover saves].

Reserves: nothing, nada, zip.

The creatures reminded Peterson that they were not mindless animals as they ducked back around the trees to engage the lone Dreadnought. The air around the Hive Tyrant rippled as a wall of psychic force ripped forth and shattered the Dreadnought's holy armor.

The trio of Warriors stayed behind the hill, but did not take cover behind it, drawing fire from the monsters towards themselves. The eerieness of the Hive Mind was the thing that most tormented Peterson. Their mindless self-sacrifice was so brutally efficient and yet so incredibly unsettling.

Turn 4

Reserves: Genestealers and Ripper Swarms, a-ha, they'll save the day! Right? Wrong...

The Monsters come back around the trees to get closer to the Terminators. The Genestealers and Ripper Swarms finally make it to battle and do a fantastic job of NOT KILLING A SINGLE MODEL. I have never seen any mortal man roll so many '5's and '6's.

Variable Game Length, End? No

A blur of motion crossed from the south and plunged into the Terminators. Genestealers! Ripper Swarms! No! Peterson braced himself to witness the decimation of his mighty bothers, but it did not happen. The Terminators ducked, dodged, met attack with counterattack, and suffered no more than a minor wound to their leader. He felt hope filling his heart and soul. The Emperor most assuredly was watching over them.

Turn 5

Reserves: Lysogaunts

The Genestealers and Rippers continue to die in an orderly fashion, but manage only to finish off the Master of the Deathwing. Lightning finally gets into the fray and starts with a bang, killing three terminators in a single attack. That's the high point of the battle right there. The Lysogaunts show up and do almost nothing, then start getting in line to be slaughtered along with the other bugs.

Not a single Terminator dies in the Deathwing's turn, but the bugs keep on dropping.

Variable Game Length, End? No

Peterson's hopes were dashed almost immediately as the fell creature that Gowanda had called "Lightning" leapt into the fray. Massive blade-like arms longer than a horse sliced into his battle brothers and three fell in as many strokes. It was a brutal grace that the creature embodied.

Turn 6

With only two monsters and a little over half a brood of Lysogaunts, the bugs finally get into a groove and start killing off the Terminators in style.

The nearest Terminator was the kind of man legends were made of. Blow after blow, he took the attacks and returned them twofold. He crushed Rippers with his mighty powerfist and their talons seemed incapable of penetrating his armor. His brothers fell to the alien onslaught, then Lightning turned on him and Mjolnir turned on the other remaining Terminator.

It ends in the bottom of Turn 6, with the last two valiant Terminators dropping.

The last two Terminators fell. Peterson hunkered back into his hiding place. He had to get to the communications set and warn the nearest units. There were so many bugs. It was as if they planned to stay a while...


Karl gave me a great game, thanks Karl! He opted against the Land Raider for this battle and although it might have been cool even though he did not know we were playing ambush until we rolled it, I think he did the right thing. I had plenty of anti-vehicle capability and vehicle don't have armor saves. The squad of Terminators that he would have had to give up for the Land Raider would have cost him dearly and with only one squad moving fast, it would probably have dangerously divided his forces.

This mission was a hard one for Karl in that he really could not hope to score any bonus VPs because of the lack of speed in the Deathwing. Fortunately, the Attacker (me) on Ambush has no source of bonus VPs, so it came down to who killed the most of the other. Still, facing a Tyranid Attacker on Ambush is not a pretty thing. Karl did a great job.

This fight had some crazy dice rolls. I definitely did not feel comfortable until the last Terminator was dead. Very exciting game.

Good thing I had Monsters, as the Terminators are like little monsters themselves. Those saves are unbelievable. Why is that a 5+ save seems to work about ten times better than a 6+ save? :)

Lessons Learned (and relearned)

  • Deathwing Terminators are hard! A 5+ save can work 90% of the time if the right person is rolling the dice. :)

Tactics Developed

  • I avoided the Thunder Hammers with my monsters, just in case they did hit and do some damage. That was mostly because my bad die rolling had me really concerned in Turn 4.

Rules Questions & Clarifications

  • None.