Battle Report 20 - Blood Makes the Grass Grow
Tyranids vs. Emperor's Wrath Space Marines
Composed by Michael J. Casavant (Hive Fleet Phage)
- Date - 15AUG2002
- Points - 1500
- Scenario - Recon (rolled from Advanced Mission Selection,
- Hive Fleet Phage, Tyranid Army List played
by Michael J. Casavant]
- Emperor's Wrath Space Marines [played
by Robert Appelt]
- Result - Tyranid Victory
- VPs, Hive Fleet Phage - 1500 kills (+1300ish for mission
bonus, not counted in campaign)
- VPs, Emperor's Wrath - 240 kills
- Campaign points
- Hive Fleet Phage 10 (3 win, 3 kills, 3 survive, 1
- Emperor's Wrath 1 (1 lose)
This was my third game in the Midnight Comics & Games GW
League. In this battle, I will face a veteran of 40k, Robert Malladus,
winner of multiple RTT prizes and veteran of about ten times as
many games as me. Wish me luck...
Pre-battle fluff, part 1: "Arrival"
For the record, the wicked imperial guys in this fluff are not
representative of any of the other armies in the league.
The young boy tugged at the woman's coveralls. "Look
mummy, it's an airplane, up in the sky."
The woman turned off the agri-skimmer. Here inside the small
walled city they had begun to plant the seeds of a self-sustaining
colony. She thought, "The sooner, the better. The damned
marines that had been sent to 'protect' them, Toggenhaller's Black
Wings, were a cure that was worse than the disease. Curfews, confiscations,
and unexplained religious counseling sessions from which many
did not return. As for the rumors of darker deeds, I just can't
think about that now. If they are true. Oh God, don't let them
be true. I have to push it out of my mind. Crops and sturdy walls
mean independence, I have to finish. Have to finish. Oh, Jacob."
She looked up to see what Jacob had been talking about. It
was a strange looking airship. It almost looked like a flying
creature. A standard Marine skimmer, she had learned to recognize
by sight, was in pursuit. The creature's form came to a dead stop
in mid-air and reversed it's course, slicing back with a massive
blade-like arm. The skimmer was ripped in two and the smoking
remains fell to the thick wooded hill south of the town.
She looked back down, lost in thought, "Where have I
seen that before?"
The boy tugged at her coveralls again, "Mummy! Look,
it's jus' like the birdy on the paper!"
She scowled at the distraction. This seemed really important.
Dammit! What was it?
"Mommy! The birdy on the paper!"
Sounds came from outside the walls. The crackling of the perimeter
fence which heralded another barbecued critter on this hostile
world, was cut suddenly short. That did not make sense. Nothing
was tough enough to short that thing out. Had Smitty ripped her
off? She waited for the traps to be triggered, but no sounds came.
Everything was dead quiet. She thought, "They always go for
the bait in the traps. Always."
"The birdy on the paper!"
"Quiet Jacob!" she whispered harshly. The silence
continued. She couldn't remember the last time there was so little
noise from the beasts that thrived just outside. Then a new sound
came, a chittering, like a hundred small mulchers. And then clicking,
like crabs toppling over one another in that nature show she had
watched about Holy Terra.
Exasperated and tense, she grabbed up her hunting rifle from
the agri-skimmer and looked down to give her son the attention
he craved. "What!"
The yell cowed and frightened him. Tears welled up and fell
down his cheeks, creating little mudslides on his grimy face.
She felt a pang of guilt and whipped her best maternal smile as
she knelt down to look at the paper he proffered.
It was a leaflet from the Marine lackey that has stopped by,
something about alien menaces. "Right, alien menaces, anything
to take our minds off them raping our colony."
Jacob looked confused as she spoke her thoughts.
"Nothing honey. Let's see what you have here." Her
eyes darted over the page and were drawn to the silhouette described
as "Hive Fleet, Tyrant Genus, Type B".
"Look mommy, armored puppies!"
Fear gripped her as she looked up. The sounds had ebbed again
and she raised her head, gripping her rifle as if the action pumped
the very blood in her veins. She could hear her pulse in her ears,
feel every drop of sweat on her skin, and she looked up. Scores
of armored fiends from her childhood nightmares stood there in
a horrific wall of chitin and teeth. One cocked its head sideways
at her like a person trying to recall an old friend's face. She
just stood there, dumbfounded. Then they came.
Like a wave of terrible grace, they slid smoothly down the
walls and galloped at her. She cocked the rifle with the speed
of a veteran hunter and drew a bead on a beast. She fired and
hit dead on. It's eye exploded, but it kept coming. She cocked
again, and fired once more, one dropped and two others rent it
to shreds as they passed. Still the wall came. She cocked the
gun and aimed at another. One more shot before they were on her.
She aimed at the fuel cells of the agri-skimmer and fired. The
tank exploded as if in slow motion. She felt the odd full body
punch of concussion slam into her and crush her bones. At least
it would be a quick death.
Pre-Battle Fluff, Part 2: "Straw Marines"
Inquisitor Follon's grim facade broke into tight-lipped speech
as his gravely bass voice rolled across the tactical operation
center, "What am I looking at Captain?"
"Inquisitor, we have reports of complaints from the civilians
of gross misconduct from our personnel in Grid Zeta Tau. There
has also been anomalous communications traffic." The captain
had begun to perspire visibly.
Follon's voice rose slightly in volume, trading gravel for
power, "Anomalous? Vague words are the herald of heresy.
Speak clearly lest you obstruct the inquisition."
The Captain snapped to attention, looking straight ahead.
He had not felt such intimidation since his days in the academy.
"Y-yes, Inquisitor! We have had communications blackouts
and also intercepted indecipherable signals directed to unoccupied
regions of the sector."
The captain saluted and nodded anxiously towards his comm
officer. The young lieutenant looked harried. He had been trying
to glean more information from the electronic surveillance nets
in Zeta Tau for the last 36 hours. It had to work and it had to
The lieutenant spoke the tech prayers of his training and
spliced the wires together. There was a spark. He prayed for the
God-Emperor's mercy...and his prayers were answered. The bank
of twenty video screens shifted from snow to various locations
of the firebase at Zeta Tau.
"Look!" The Lieutenant pointed to a man in a marine's
uniform sans power armor. His head was overly large and misshapen,
strangely hairless. His eyes were too big and his teeth...they
weren't human. "Chaos cultists!"
The inquisitor spoke steadily and calmly, his voice demanded
obeisance. "Cultists yes, but of a different taint. Those
are the wretched souls touched by the Genestealer taint. This
explains the shadow in the warp. This explains the reports of
a hive ship. Launch the missiles. The taint threatens the entire
The fire control officers did not wait for confirmation from
the captain. They slotted their golden weapons keys, hastily said
the prayers of holy technological purification and launched the
missiles to deliver their cleansing fire to Zeta Tau.
The few minutes of flight time seemed to take hours. The marines
watched the screens in tense horror as they saw the depredation
of their fallen comrades. Their decadence rivaled that of the
Slaaneshi, but it was too brutal. The creatures that mockingly
wore their uniforms committed their atrocities in a violent and
mindless fashion. They were sowing terror and chaos at the behest
The Captain spoke up, "Why missiles sir, er Inquisitor?
Why not cleanse them with our sinew and steel?"
"Your illumination will come soon. Suffice to say, your
righteous fury will be needed elsewhere, now be silent."
As the soft red blips traced the course of the missiles, one
of the strange half-human creatures walked closer to the camera.
A long forked tongue flickered in the wind as he paused, cocked
his head, and then ran off camera again.
The radar operator blurted out, "Togenhaller's Black
Wings. There was always something off about them. Faithless dogs."
The Inquisitor added, "Yes, one of the units I was sent
to investigate. Most of their number had been killed in combat
with The Fallen. The tactic priests could not explain the magnitude
of the loss until they considered betrayal."
All eyes looked away from the screens and towards the Inquisitor.
They were like deer in headlights. They wanted to stop what was
about to happen, the words that were about to hit them, but they
could only stand there in shock.
"The bulk of the survivors were in league with The Fallen.
They were hoping to set up a fifth column among the righteous.
The Emperor is not fooled so easily. They were placed here as
a garrison unit until an Inquisitor could be called. I only regret
I did not arrive sooner, but there is so much corruption and taint
and so few up to the task." With that, he flicked a look
toward the Lieutenant that had spoken up earlier.
The eyes of those assembled returned to the screens. They
somberly and reluctantly accepted the Inquisitor's words. Too
little solace was derived from knowing that these fiends were
corrupted from the start. Witnessing their cleansing was necessary
More minutes passed. It was agony. The fiends on their screens
were befouling their uniforms and their honor. Anxiety turned
to outrage. All of the men in the room were fidgeting and cursing,
eager for the release of battle.
The Lieutenant let his thoughts accidentally take voice. "It's
too calculated, something's wrong."
The Inquisitor smiled, "Really? Go on marine."
"Well, they're staging it. It's not voracious beasts
run amok. It's like terror troops trying to draw attention...like
a straw man...a distraction!"
The Inquisitor's grim facade returned. "Exactly, notify
all stations to prepare for attack! Mobilize the faithful! The
Emperor will guide our hand as we repel the alien taint! We are
the sword of God! We are his vengeance! Move move move!"
The men smiled grimly as they snatched up their bolters, the
familiar weight of their instruments of holy might reassuring
them as they raced out of the doors with superhuman grace and
speed. As the last men exited the command center, the Inquisitor
called out one last encouragement, "Go with the Emperor!"
as he laid a hand on the shoulder of the Lieutenant to stop him.
The Lieutenant pulled off his helmet and looked up at the
"You will walk a different path in the service of the
Emperor now. Your intuition will serve the Inquisition."
The Lieutenant began to protest, but his discipline stifled
the response and he simply came to attention and saluted. "Service
is my honor."
The pair walked in the opposite direction of the marines.
The Lieutenant could hear his battle brothers mobilizing and preparing
for the combat to come and it tore at him that he would be absent
when they cleansed this planet of the alien taint.
"Fear not, young apprentice, we have a greater glory
to attain. We must identify the threat of the Black Crusade."
Some cool fluff from my opponent (some
at the bottom too):
As he watched the Librarian, Brother
Icuras saw him pause and look up at the night sky. Looking to
see what interested the Codicifier he caught a glimpse of a falling
"They have arrived", the Codicifier
spoke, his voice harsh from the heat of combat.
"I sensed their presence, it is
like a dulling of the Astronomicon that causes its crystal tones
to become distorted and dull. I felt them when we first came into
the sector and now they have come to this world."
"Who?" asked Icuras.
"Tyranids, like a plague they come
seeking to devour all in their path."
"It is truly the Emperor's Will
then that we came to this world."
"Yes Bother Icuras, it is truly
His Will that guided us here. Go and notify the veteran brothers
that I wish to speak with them."
As the assault marine moved off searching
for the veterans in the surrounding jungle, Theod continued to
look up into the sky.
"I know you are here now, the harvest
is at hand, but the crop may not be what you think."
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:
- Army may only take 0-1 vehicle choices
- 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.
Setup (sort of, I remembered to snap this after Robert
moved a few units).
Jonas hunched down in his tree step. He was camouflaged and
waiting to bag a few local predators for supper when he heard
a rustling. He looked in the direction of the sound, but saw nothing.
No, wait. There was something...something wrong. The backdrop
of trees and undergrowth shuddered slightly like waves of hot
air distorting light above a desert road.
The snapping of branches sounded like it was done by something
heavy. An invisible tree? Jonas's eyes went wide. That small tree
was no tree at all. It was some sort of creature. He had not seen
its like before, but the planet was still newly discovered. The
thing was carefully moving forward in the general direction of
his position. The government had finally sent their bioengineered
assassins to kill him. He knew it! He knew too much, the conspiracy
Jonas's paranoid hopes were dashed as the alien beast ignored
him and continued. He looked north and saw groups of tactical
marines moving in a bounding overwatch patrol formation. They
were using battle language and moving quietly, but the creature
had obviously pegged their position. Jonas glanced south and was
forced to do a double take as close to a hundred huge alien creatures
came through the trees.
"Tyranids" he whispered in awe to himself. He bundled
the shadowbark poncho around his body and held still, hoping he
would be a spectator and not a victim.
Setup (sort of, I remembered to snap this after Robert
moved a few units).
I thought I'd be clever and give the Marines the first
After letting the Marines decimate a score of Gaunts, I
got a chance to move up.
I revealed my Lictor (green guy in bottom right trees)
The weapon systems of the Marines barked to life, unleashing
a firestorm on the advancing horde. Jonas refrained from cheering
as nearly a score of the Gaunts were cut down by the might of
the Marines guns.
Getting shot some more.
Getting shot some more.
The Hive Tyrant and Tyrant Guard join the fray with the
Lictor. They kill off all but two Marines, who flee and
some bad rolls stopped both units from pursuing.
Hot death continued to rain down on the bugs as dozens of
the creatures' bodies littered the field. The rest just kept coming,
oblivious to the fates of their fellows. The beasts slid smoothly
along the ground, their pairs of legs pulling them through the
dense undergrowth. Their torsos bobbed smoothly from side-to-side
as carnage rained down from the Marines. But they just kept coming.
Jonas hadn't seen anything like them in all of his years of hunting.
The beast beneath him had shifted enough to become visible
and a brave unit of Marines charged the creature. They did not
manage to down the beast, which lay mostly out of reach of the
initial charge. A trio of explosions caught Jonas's attention
and he looked back only to see the last of the bike squad dying
under the mighty talons of a Hive Tyrant and the numerous claws
of some assault Gaunts. A unit of the small shooting Gaunts had
actually made it far enough to charge the Marines behind Jonas's
copse of woods.
Marines weapon fire picks off a Tyrant Guard. The Genestealers
manage to avoid taking wounds from a few shots. The far
squads of Marines start heading for the other side of the
board to secure Victory Points.
Lightning and Mjolnir take off to intercept the units heading
for the Tyranid deployment zone. The Lysogaunts race into
the back of the squads at the bottom right.
The Lictor engages and finishes off the last two men from
the squad that fled from him (probably should have just
let them fall off the board).
The Hive Tyrant and Tyrant Guard charge into a squad as
Things went from iffy to ugly real fast. Suddenly marines
were dying left and right. Their screams as their bodies were
dismembered were overshadowed only by bellowing battle cries of
defiance from those that still stood. Man those guys were hard
chargers, but it looked like soon it was just going to be Jonas
and the bugs. Jonas hunkered down and tried to do his best impression
of a tree.
++++REPORT TO THE INQUISITOR+++++
The far marines turn and shoot everything at Lightning
and Mjolnir to no effect. The Whirlwind and Dreadnought
are stunned and immobilized, respectively, at this point.
The near squads take a lot of losses and some start to
fall back, some right off the board.
++++REPORT TO THE INQUISITOR+++++
Lightning catches the Devastator Squad and starts tearing
them up fast.
The Lictor jumps into the assaults as well as the Genestealers
(just a couple make it).
The Librarian goes down and all but two marines fall back.
The Biovores finally get their act together and kill the
The big winged guy leapt across the field and slammed into
the heavy weapon guys. Poor fellas weren't rigged for the close-in
fighting and that big beastie really tore them up. It reminded
him of Luke. Poor fella walked right into a nest of spinerunners.
He was dead before he hit the ground and we buried an empty coffin
cause we couldn't even find pieces of him.
Man, that Librarian was a holy terror. Easily a score of Gaunts
were tearing at him. His armor must have deflected almost a dozen
attacks, but finally one of them tore off a shoulder pad and severed
his arm. A second followed up, striking down and into the Librarian's
torso through the bloody shoulder socket. So many bugs...
BOOM. A plume of smoke arose from over the hill, telling Jonas
that the Whirlwind was down. It was looking bad. A couple of Marines
pulled out, but Emperor help them trying to get back to base alive
on this hellish planet.
++++REPORT TO THE INQUISITOR+++++
With only a handful of shooty marines left facing off against
Lightning and Mjolnir, the Whirlwind destroyed, the Dreadnought
immobilized and out of reach of the assaults in progress,
and four more assault phase to go, Robert declared the remaining
few models dead and a Tyranid win.
And in the blink of an eye it was all over. The field was
quiet except for the rustling and clicking of the bugs forming
up a few dozen meters away. Some of the Marines had made it off
the field, so the information about this action would get passed
along. Jonas watched to make sure the chameleon creature was somewhere
other than where he was, then he rubbed more natural scent on
him and stealthily climbed down to the ground. A few quick knife
strokes and his kin would be eating fried gaunt tonight. Well,
at least fear of the future would not have the companion of hunger.
Cool closing fluff from Robert (the
Codicifier Theod stood on the bridge
of the Destroyer Cloacina as it pulled out of orbit from the spinning
green orb that was Rynn's World. The bile rising in his throat
at the thought of abandoning the world to the Tyranids, but orders
were orders. The anger was even more so at the thought that almost
half a company of marines had been lost as well with no chance
of avenging their loss. The Emperor's Will was to be obeyed though,
they had come to this sector seeking kroot and that mission was
to be followed first and for most. He did have the pleasure though
of launching the Exterminatus beacons as the Cloacina began to
make for the edge of the system. Soon the fleet would return to
this accursed world and it would be cleansed in the searing heat
of its own molten core as its surface was burned away by the planet
killers of the Chapter's fleet.
Theod steeled himself for the upcoming
jump to Tarn Vedra, he always dreaded the travel trough the Warp
and the horrors that he experienced because of his attunement
to its energies. There was always a reward though, a promise of
more aliens to destroy at the end of each voyage. The scout ships
had reported making contact with the Kroot warsphere whose forces
they had been hunting on Rynn's World. They were sited in the
system of Tarn Vedra along with a fleet of Tau cruisers and transport.
The prey was gathering in one spot, as if willed there by the
Emperor so that they could be dealt a mighty blow.
As the crew made final preparations
for the jump and began their hushed prayers and incantations a
monotone metallic voice repeated itself over the communications
WARNING, WARNING, WARNING
ACTIVITY CODE OMEGA,
THIS SYSTEM IS DECLARED
PURGATORIS BY THE ADEPTUS ASTARTES IN THE NAME OF THE EMPEROR.
ALL IMPERIAL CITIZENS AND FORCES ARE PROHIBITED FROM CONTACT WITH
WORLDS WITHIN THIS SYSTEM. THE WORLDS HEREIN ARE PLACED UNDER
THE EXTERMINATUS ORDER 14982.983A.569 AND ARE AWAITING ENFORCEMENT.
ALL IMPERIAL CITIZENS AND FORCES THAT MAY HAVE CONTACT WITH THESE
PLANETS ARE HEREBY ORDERED TO MAINTAIN ORBIT WITHIN THE SYSTEM
AND AWAIT PROCESSING. THESE ORDERS ARE ISSUED BY THE WILL OF EMPEROR
AND ALL OF HIS SERVANTS ARE AUTHORIZED TO ASSIST IN ENFORCING
THEM AS REQUIRED. ALL VIOLATORS WILL DECLARED HERETICUS AND BE
DELIVERED ONTO THE UNFORGIVING MERICES OF THE EMPEROR"S WRATH.
WARNING, WARNING, WARNING
ACTIVITY CODE OMEGA,
THOUGHT FOR THE DAY:
IT IS BETTER THAT A MILLON INNOCENTS DIE SO THAT NO ALIEN GOES
FREE, RATHER THEN ONE MAN DIES BECAUSE THE ALIEN IS FREE.
It was a tough planet and a tough mission for Robert. The combination
of Rynn's World and Recon was hard for his army. I contend that
the dice had a lot to do with the result as well. A few more good
Shooting attacks against my bugs would have made a significant
Lessons Learned (and relearned)
- The new assault rules really help speed things up. I am still
concerned about the effect of special weapons that can no longer
be targeted, but I'll have to wait and see how that plays out.
- With the new assault rules, the Marines have invisible Powerfists,
meaning that you cannot specifically kill those units. This
is true even with models that are described as having the ability
to target a specific model in close combat as those rules are
now apparently overridden. However, all is not lost. The special
weapons still need to be in base-to-base. On the initial charge,
you can assault the normal guy with your expensive unit and
the really tough special weapon guys with your fodder, assuming
you want to protect him...
Rules Questions & Clarifications
- Blast Template placement - I had always thought you had to
reposition the template before any rolls for partial hits or
such were resolved, but Robert understands it to be that you
can wait for that roll then you are only constrained by the
actual hits scored and can reposition the template. I need to
check on that.