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Battle Report 36 - In the Belly of the Beast

Tyranids vs. Black Templars (Space Marines)

Composed by Michael J. Casavant (Hive Fleet Phage)


  • Date - 20MAR2003
  • Points - 1500
  • Scenario - Nightswarm (Custom Scenario)
  • Hive Fleet Phage, Tyranid Army List [played by Michael J. Casavant]
  • Black Templars [played by Greg Coffman]
  • Results - Victory for Hive Fleet Phage
    • VPs for Hive Fleet Phage 1623
      • Kills 1173 - Chaplain (100), Emperor's Champion (105), 1/2 Terminators (210x1/2), BT Marines (156), BT Marines (160), 1/2 Rhino (58x1/2), BT Marines (226), BT Marines (106), BT Marines (111), Whirlwind Battery (75)
      • Mission 450 - Captured Intel (300), Killed enemy leader (150)
    • VPs for Malta Planetary Defense Force 495
      • Kills - Red Terror (104), 1/2 Genestealers (144x1/2), 1/2 Lysogaunts (298x1/2), 1/2 Spinegaunts (170x1/2) * 2.
    • Quarters Tyranids (barely) - Tyranids 1, BT 0, contested 2.



This is my first battle in the Midnight Comics GW League's Spring 2003 40k League.

Scenario: this was a custom mission called Nightswarm. Because of other campaign dynamics, I would definitely be the Attacker.

  • FOC Attacker - 1 HQ (compulsory), 1 Elite, 3 Fast Attack (1 compulsory), 6 Troops (3 compulsory), 0 Heavy Support (ouch!)
  • FOC Defender - 2 HQ (1 compulsory), 3 Elites (1 compulsory), 1 Fast Attack, 6 Troops (3 compulsory), 3 Heavy Support (1 compulsory)

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".

The Battle

Turn 0

The naive bright-eyed faces of Neophytes were interspersed with the battle-hardened visages of veteran Initiates. Weapons adorned the walls of the sparse room, and sturdy benches filled the center.

The thin matte black carapace that covered the torsos of the marines was a reminder of the unnatural sacrifices their bodies had made for service. The strange plastic alloy would never leave their skin while they lived, but it allowed them to interface with the power armor that kept them alive.

Bodies were adorned with personal marks as well, bionic replacements from battle casualties, unit tattoos, and scars of all shapes and sizes. The air was thick with bravado and tall tales. For a brief moment, they were not the purist guardians of the Emperor, they were just men sharing ale in a brief moment of respite.

"Red Terror? She's not so terrifying!" Barked Captain Villiers above the dull roar of the barracks commons. He was an intimidating figure, even for a marine. Tattoos identified his many years of service and hundreds of battles. All in the room respected his achievements.

"Ah yes, Brother Villiers, tell us your grand tale of the night swarm!" Yelled a voice from the crowd. A few more yelled encouragement.

"OK, OK. It was about three years ago. I was a senior initiate in the Malta Planetary Defense Force."

"MPDF! Shield of the Emperor! Hoo-ah!" Yelled a few men in the from the crowd.

"That's right Brothers, the Shield of the Emperor. We were defending two reinforced positions, FAC1 and FAC2, and we had valuable intelligence to protect. Chaplain Castellan La Valette was in command. He and Emperor's Champion Oliver Starkey were positioned in FAC2, an Intelligence compound, with a small squad of Initiates. Outside of FAC2, awaiting the onslaught, was a unit of Terminators...Brogalia's men, if I recall correctly."

"In FAC1 were a half dozen Initiates; outside was a reinforced squad with 10 Initiates and 5 Neophytes. We had a Dreadnought positioned just north of the other position, behind a small section of woods."

"Two more units of marines were loaded up in their Rhinos, and a Whirlwind was on site for heavy support. I was inside one of those Rhinos, positioned just north of FAC2."

"We were waiting for them when the motion sensors started to trip. Genestealers had penetrated the sensor web and were already in striking distance of the squad outside FAC1 when we saw them." Villiers' voice trailed off and his eyes stared off into the distance.

(Just after setup)
Lots of Marines hidden and out in the open. Genestealers Infiltrate on the lower left. With a 12" spacing, we know *someone's* getting some Genestealer love. :)

"The horizon to the east and west...moved. Walls of chitin advanced on our positions." Villiers paused for moment.

(Middle of my move on turn 1)
The bugs arrive...doesn't that look cool?

"The arty boys managed to get some flares into the air and we could see the waves of bugs clearly. Well, we crossed and locked, and got to work. The battle trance kicked in and we were invigorated as the might of the Emperor flowed through us [vow gives them +1 to Wound rolls (good), but -1 to Initiative (bad); for all but Neophytes]."

"The Termies advanced east into a huge cluster of Spinegaunts. The little buggers broke on the Termies like a wave on a rocky shore. A trio of Warriors pulled up south of them into a small cluster of trees, and a unit of Lysogaunts scampered around behind a rocky slope, along with...the Red Terror."

"The Genestealers approached from the southwest and launched into the reinforced squad, along with another huge group of Spinegaunts from the west. Rounding in from the northwest was a group of Hormagaunts, and backing up the west group was a Hive Tyrant with two Tyrant Guard; we called this one Thunder."

Some mumbling in the room confirmed that others had heard that name as well.

(Start of turn 2)
Spinegaunts and Genestealers mix it up with Senglea Squad outside FAC1, while the Terminators outside FAC1 take the fight to the Spinegaunts on their side.

"The Lysogaunts blazed over the rocky plateau and streamed down a slope towards the bunker and the Red Terror glided in with them. The Hormagaunts leapt into the fray outside FAC1 and dropped the rest of the squad outside, but one of our Rhinos had already unloaded a squad into the fight, so it wasn't over yet. The Hormagaunts just slid right out of that fight and right into the Dreadnought. It was unreal the way those bugs moved! And the mindless sacrifice."

A young man's voice from the crowd inquired, "Sounds like you are praising them Villiers."

Another, older voice answered, "Don't be foolish. The man who does not respect his opponent will surely die with a surprised look on his face. These beasts are an unholy blight on the Emperor's universe but they are deadly. Faith in the Emperor will aid you boy, but you still have to do the job. You'd do well to listen. Now shut up!"

Villiers growled a follow-up, "Yes, shut up boy, or you'll be running Farrin's Peak until your ignorant legs fall off!"

"Where was I...oh yeah. Thunder plodded forward, it's vile weapon useless against our mighty Dreadnought."

"The Lysogaunts and Red Terror tore through the squad in FAC2 and split up to fight the Chaplain and Emperor's Champion. The EC went down in a sea of Lysogaunts, never to rise again. Then it happened, the Red Terror turned around and in a concerted spasm of its talons, snatched the Chaplain off his feet and swallowed him whole!"

More Neophytes turned towards him, lowering their drinks, their eyes widening. Villiers paused again to let the drama build.

"Then we rolled in."

"We leapt out the back of our Rhino while it was doing at least 20 MPH and charged into FAC2. We gutted every Lysogaunt in easy reach, including one of those Hivenode freaks. They ran away like scared children!"

The crowd cheered in response.

(Start of turn 3)
This turn, the Chaplain gets swallowed and the Red Terror gets killed.

"Over by FAC1, the Hormagaunts were getting squashed left and right by the dread', but the little bastards were keeping him tied up just the same. The red squad was till giving the Spinegaunts and Genestealers hell until those damnable Tyrant Guard peeled off and charged into the fray. They went down fighting."

"I still had my own problems to deal with, a half dozen Lysogaunts and the Red Terror."

"Well, you know how Chaplain's like big banner poles..."

A few chuckles answered him.

"I swear before the Emperor that Chaplain Vallette's banner pole was still poking out of the Red Terror's mouth!"

A few guffaws erupted from the crowd.

"Anyway, I was trying to get at the beast, but the Lysogaunts had hit the Synapse of the Warriors, rallied, and charged back into us and were between us. Then suddenly the Red Terror obliged me. It rounded the Lysogaunts and came straight at me!"

The crowd fell silent again.

"The beast stood at least 8 meters high, talons 4...meters..long. A great gaping maw meters across. A huge barbed tail thrashing about, smashing cinderblock and bodies alike!"

An Initiate yelled, "We get it! Get on with the damn story!"

"All right, all right. Anyway, there it was, a great huge unclean beast of destruction. A saw a gash where Chaplain Vallette had wounded it, but it was still coming on strong. It's huge blade arms sliced in all directions. I dodged and weaved. Two of my cohorts fell, their bodies shattered. I called on the Emperor to guide me and struck true. I snapped off one of the beast's talons and sliced open its guts. Chaplain Vallette spilled out, but he was out of the fight like so many others."

(Start of turn 4)
Not much else happens after this. The remnants of the marines in both bunkers are finished off. The Terminator and Spinegaunts exchange unremarkable blows through the end of the game, as do the Hormagaunts and Dreadnought. The Warriors continue to sit in the trees and do nothing significant, as they have done the entire game.

In turn 5, the Hive Tyrant and Tyrant Guard whack the Whirlwind, and the Lysogaunts flank and immobilize the topmost Rhino.

"And that's about it. I caught a talon to the chest that cracked my carapace, and my armor did a security lockdown. The techpriest that used to maintain my armor is probably still walking with a limp." Villiers smiled grimly as he took a drink. A few chuckles sounded.

"After that, the bugs managed to crack our Whirlwind, and snap a tread on my Rhino. Only one Termie was left, but then they just faded back into the night. Sir Upton, our dread', took off after them, but couldn't keep pace."

"So like I said, the Red Terror ain't all that terrible. Especially when the Blessing of the Emperor is yours."

Villiers stood tall and bellowed to the crowd, "What is your craft?!"

They yelled in answer, "My craft is Death!"