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Battle Report 21 - Reaping What You Sow

Tyranids vs. Storm Angels Deathwing Space Marines

Composed by Michael J. Casavant (Hive Fleet Phage)


  • Date - 23AUG2002
  • Points - 1500
  • Scenario - Rescue (rolled from Advanced Mission Selection, Chapter Approved)
  • Hive Fleet Phage, Tyranid Army List played by Michael J. Casavant]
  • Storm Angels, Deathwing [played by Karl Roeder]
  • Result - Victory for Tyranids
    • VPs*, Hive Fleet Phage - 672
    • VPs*, Storm Angels - 683
    • Campaign points
      • Hive Fleet Phage 7, +3 win + 1 kills +1 survive +1 prim. battleground + 1 subplot
      • Storm Angels 4, +1 loss +1 kills +1 survive +1 prim. battleground

* - not normally counted for Rescue, but the league requires them



This was my fourth game in the Midnight Comics & Games GW League. In this battle, I will face Karl's Deathwing again. Tough and shooty. We'll see what happens.

Pre-battle fluff:

Srinivas looked up at the savagely beautiful beast. Massive bladed arms rent his body in two. The glorious avatar of Phage was bringing him to a blessed Nirvana. The wrecked sanguine mass of his body fell to rocky ground. As soon as it had appeared, the avatar was gone, as were the rest of the servants of Phage. Soon, soon he would be dead and bliss would be his.

"We got a man down over here! Move! Move!" Called an IG medic that raced towards Srinivas.

The shattered man's body was loathe to answer his please, but he managed to find the strength to slowly pull himself away from the medic with the single working limb he possessed. His legs had been severed at the hip and his other arm was missing from the elbow down. Nonetheless his bloody stumps kicked and pushed in a feeble attempt to escape the medic. Srinivas was like a massive slug, leaving a trail of blood.

"Captain! Sit still! You're gonna be all right!"

"No! I must go on to Nirvana! It is my darma! Phage has come for me! Let me pass on!"

The medic smiled grimly as he applied tourniquet cuffs to the stumps of limbs and plugged two units of artificial blood into Srinivas's medport. Srinivas tried to knock it away, but the medic gently deflected his attempts an obviously practiced skill.

"Take it easy there sir, we'll have you fixed up in no time. Once you get a little more blood up to your noggin' you'll be right as rain and stop all of this nonsense."

Srinivas screamed in soulful agony. It was an unsettling, unintelligible noise. The medic stepped back pace, and pulled an autoinjector from his pack. He stepped in pinned Srinivas's one good arm and jabbed the autoinjector into the medport. Srinivas slumped to the ground.


Srinivas woke up again. His mind twisted. He had lost count of how many times this had occurred. The Inquisitor had been here for days. The foul agent of the Corpse-Emperor had already extracted the information about Glorious Phage from his broken body. Why they kept him alive now was uncertain, but he was suspicious it was simple malice. His will was weak. They knew of the Nirvana that he would go to if he was allowed to die and they were just jealous, yes , that's it jealous worms crawling from their Corpse-Emperor.

"Wretched creature." Spoke the Inquisitor in his deep rumbling voice. He had come from Rynn's World and given Srinivas the sad news that the devout of Phage on that planet had been hunted down and murdered.

Srinivas spit on the floor. His voice cracked and was ragged as he spoke, "Wretched? Me? You are the one that murders and tortures the righteous on behalf of your Corpse-Emperor."

"Yes, fool, babble on. Every word you speak gives me the gift of the truth and girds me for battle. The vile alien beasts that you worship will fall before our holy might. Perhaps not here, perhaps not now, but ultimately we will prevail, even if this whole sector becomes a writhing mass of the foul fiends."

"You don't deserve death at the hands of Phage. I pray for justice. I pray that you get your wish and are entombed in the coffins you call Dreadnoughts. There to live out eternity mindlessly slaughtering for your dead god."

The Inquisitor showed no emotion. He stepped closer to Srinivas, pulled out a bolt pistol, and placed the large, heavy barrel to Srinivas's head.

"You should know by now that death does not intimidate me, maggot."

"It's not supposed to, this is your ticket to Nirvana." The crisp action of the weapon sounded once, shattering Srinivas's skull and bisecting the lobes of his brain. A young man with a freshly shaved head stepped up quickly, placed the brain in a nutrient solution, and connected electrodes to it. Images flashed onto a screen.

"Now for the final answers." Said the Inquisitor in a quieter, more thoughtful voice, speaking to no one in particular. He adjusted his robes and sat down at a console. "Let's see what secrets were left. There has to be something else that you know. Perhaps some residual from your psychic link with the beast."

The young man spoke up, "Psychic link? Did he have the gift?"

"Yes, he did, but it was neither strong nor developed. All it served to do in his case was make him more susceptible to corruption."

The images flashed by for minutes. Finally the Inquisitor jumped up and pointed his gloved finger at a screen. "There! Pull that location up on the screen!"

A techpriest hurriedly stroked the panel in the ritual motions and spoke the words of power. The screen hummed to life with a battle ravaged area. It was near the Zeta Tau firebase on Rynn's World that they had obliterated earlier to cleanse the plague of a Genestealer Cult.

The Inquisitor moved fluidly toward the screen and pressed his finger to a spot. "That heat signature. It's their Magus, the thrice-blighted leader of the cult. His biosignature seems to indicate wounds..."

One of the marines in the room spoke up, "Let's just fire some more missiles!"

The Inquisitor growled, "No fool, that didn't work the first time. That command bunker he hid in is built to survive such attacks. Besides, it could be useful to interrogate such a being and help us to repel the swarm."

The Inquisitor fell into a moment of silent contemplation then snapped out of it suddenly with a burst of speech, "Quickly, mobilize the Storm Angels. Their armor can withstand the radioactive residue of the area and if they can get ahold of this foul creature, they should be able to hold onto him long enough for us to provide extraction of their unit."


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 played Rescue. Only Troops start on the board. No problem for the Deathwing, whose Troops are Terminators. Big problem for my swarm, since it means no Synapse. Cool, a challenge. I went ahead and threw all of my Troops down and took my chances. Instinctive Behavior can be very entertaining at times. :)

The Storm Angels advanced on the position. Their deliberate advance mimicking their mental resolve. As they cleared a thick tangle of woods, they spotted motion along a wooded ridgeline, then in the opposite clearing, and off to the right as well. The swarm was advancing and they had precious little time to spare. Thankfully, no monsters had arrived yet.

The Battle

Turn 1

The Deathwing slowly advanced, unleashing a rain of death on the Tyranid horde. Gaunts bodies writhed and shattered with the might of their weapons fire. Implacably, both the Deathwing and the bugs advanced. Three of the possible tiny emergency bunkers turned up empty. One of the trees came to life in the form of a Lictor, who alighted onto the roof of another bunker and poised to rush in and investigate.

Turn 2

Reserves: Deathwing get everything. Tyranids get Carnifex and Biovores, but both Hive Tyrants still off the board.

The armored hulks of the Deathwing were joined by a massive Land Raider, kicking up a huge column of dust as it sped to the battlefield. Two Dreadnoughts crashed through the wood to reinforce the left flank. The Lictor flipped down and into the bunker and emerged with his prize, the Magus. A wave of assault Gaunts went into a frenzy, raced across the clearing, and leapt into combat with one of the units, heedless of the danger it was in.

Turn 3

Reserves: The Hive Tyrants arrive!

The Terminators tore the assault Gaunts to pieces, but the creatures mindlessly kept fighting. The Lictor pulled back from the woods it was in and handed the Magus to one of the Hive Tyrants, the one with the wings. More Gaunts locked arms with other Terminators and began falling quickly to their mighty weapons of power. A bio-acid mine ran into one of the Dreadnoughts and when the vapor and liquid cleared, the mighty sarcophagus was still. The fearsome Genestealers melted back behind a wooded hill.

Turn 4

The winged Hive Tyrant raced for cover near the Carnifex, but did not quite reach it in time. The Lascannon of the mighty Land Raider sliced into it's abdomen and vital fluids gushed out. The creature showed no response to the attack. Another spore mine burned through the other Dreadnought's armored skin and it exploded as it's power cells ruptured. The Librarian, heedless of the ravaged area, tried to channel his psychic powers, but it backfired and he stumbled as his mind was ravaged. Blood streamed from his nose and ears, but he fought on. Again, he tried to use his mind to scatter the Gaunts, but again it backfired, but the mighty Librarian shrugged off the damage as he became attuned to the twisted warp fluctuations caused by the carnage and the residual taint of the former cult. The Lictor charged back into combat and felled another Terminator before his body was shredded in a glowing storm of lightning claws.

Turn 5

The rest of the Gaunts were finally dead and the Terminators reformed ranks in the woods. The winged Hive Tyrant finally reached the Carnifex and handed off the Magus to him. The winged beast unleashed a wave of mental energy that downed two Terminators. Spore Mines rained down on the marines to no avail.

Turn 6

Spore Mines rained down harmlessly about the Terminators missing their mark. Their Cruxes glimmered with an unnatural radiance. The bugs attacked more aggressively as the numbers of the Deathwing dwindled. Another wave of swarm was approaching and the bugs began to melt back towards their fellow creatures. The Storm Angels regrouped and prepared for dust off. Many aliens had been purged this day, but the foul Magus was in the alien's grasp. The Inquisitor would not be happy.


Karl played a great game. He was a lot of fun to play against. Thanks Karl!

It was tough because I did not just try to massacre the other guy. I thought that fit in with the spirit of the mission better. The fact that Terminators are Troops for Deathwing had some impact as well.

Lessons Learned (and relearned)

  • I probably should have just charged in with the monsters and killed everything I could. It would have allowed me to hold onto the objective anyway.
  • The lack of Synapse until Turn 3 was rough, but there's nothing I can do about that. Tyranids cannot field Synapse without a HQ (Hive Tyrant or Warriors), Elite (Warriors), or Heavy Support (Zoanthropes) choice. I suppose I could field all Genestealers and/or Rippers...yeah right. :)

Tactics Developed

  • None.

Rules Questions & Clarifications

  • None.