Battle Report 37 - A Moment's Hesitation
Tyranids vs. Black Templars (Space Marines)
Composed by Michael J. Casavant (Hive Fleet Phage)
- Date - 27MAR2003
- Points - 1830
- Scenario - Lightning Strike (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 2070
- Kills 1820 - Everything.
- Mission 250 - Killed more than 1/2 of enemy but did
not prevent targeted unit (Carnifex) from dying.
- VPs for Malta Planetary Defense Force 670
- Kills - Carnifex (153, doubled because of mission
objective), 1/2 Tyrant Guard (45), 1/2 Lysogaunts
(298x1/2), 1/2 Spinegaunts (170x1/2) * 2.
- Quarters Tyranids - Tyranids 3, BT 0.
This is my second battle in the Midnight
Comics GW League's Spring 2003 40k League.
Scenario: this was a custom mission called Lightning Strike.
It was meant to represent a desperate suicide strike by the Attacker
in an attempt to turn the tide of war (the faction I was in had
been winning a lot). Because of other campaign dynamics, I would
definitely be the Defender.
- FOC Attacker (Black Templar) - 0 HQ, 1-3 Elite, 1-3 Fast Attack,
2-6 Troops, 1-3 Heavy Support
- FOC Defender (Tyranids) - 1-2 HQ, 2-3 Elite, 0-2 Fast Attack,
2-6 Troops, 0-3 Heavy Support
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 heavily muscled man that strolled confidently into the room
looked oddly typical among the small throng of men. They were
casually dressed for physical training, clothed only in sweat
pants and sleeveless undershirts. Their clothing had the uniformity
typical of the military. The were also uniformly radiant and healthy,
all apparently in an almost ideal state of health and fitness.
Thin matte-black plastic torso coatings peeked out from under
their shirts, and occasional scars, bits of bionics, and ports
for wetware electronics broke the surface of their skin, testing
the illusion of health and vigor.
The new arrival barked to the men, "Fall in!"
They quickly responded and fell into an evenly spaced square
"Prepare for instruction...move!"
The group raised their left arm and spread out until only their
fingertips reached the shoulder of the next man. They dropped
their arms, then every other row stepped sideways. The movements
were carried out with almost inhuman synchronicity and grace,
leaving a staggered formation of towering soldiers.
The soldiers relaxed somewhat from their stance and clasped their
hands loosely behind their backs.
The man in front spoke loudly in a commanding voice, although
it was swallowed hungrily by the large gothic training room. Huge
sweeping arches, a vaulted, ceiling, and doorless entries all
conspired to swallow his words before they could be heard.
He pointed a small device at one of the stained glass windows.
It flickered slightly and shifted to a frozen image of a horde
Here are my bugs crammed into a "huge" deployment
zone (inside joke) with their obstacles (sometimes I wish
they were optional).
The men gave little response except for a few adopting squinting
expressions of attention or grim determination. Most of the men
in this room had killed dozens of the creatures on the screen
in hand-to-hand combat.
"Tyranids...bugs...whatever you call them, they are a blight
on this universe and a unique opponent. I'm Captain Lenos and
I am here to educate on this menace. It is your duty to learn
everything you can about how to beat them and uphold the honor
of the Black Templars."
From the back of the formation someone mumbles, "Kill 'em,
clean off the goo, and move on."
Lenos barks a retort, "With that attitude you'll go from
being a DAN, Dumb Ass Neophyte, to being another DANDY - Dumb
Ass Neophyte, Dead Yesterday."
The formation stirs a bit but settles back into silence.
"That's better. Now, if the invincible Neophyte in the back
can shut the hell up, we can examine how bugs managed to kill
this entire unit of Black Templars, and maybe a few of you will
live long enough to prove your worth and don the armor of an Initiate.
Otherwise, we can conduct this briefing in the front leaning rest!"
["front leaning rest" is a military name for the start
position for performing push-ups]
"Here's the tactical situation. In this military campaign,
one of our units was losing ground fast to the Tyranid swarm known
as Hive Fleet Phage. The commanders in charge decided to commit
a large group to a high-risk raid on a pocket of bugs. There is
no intelligence that explains why the bugs clustered so tightly
and set themselves up to defend open ground like that, but our
best guess is that perhaps there was a brood hive entrance or
some other significant location invisible to our sensors."
The mission called for the Attacker to mark his units with
overturned counters, then the Defender set up everything
in his zone. Then the Attacker had a choice of taking the
first turn normally, or taking a special Blitz Maneuver.
The Blitz would allow him to fire all of his Heavy Support
choices as stationary in the first turn, but nothing else
could come on and in subsequent turns, the Heavy Support
would have to make Reserve rolls to come onto the board.
Greg wisely chose to forego that maneuver, given his army
"The BT force consisted of a Land Raider Crusader with a
hybrid tactical squad composed of ten Initiates and five Neophytes,
Sanglea squad. They approached from the south alongside St. Elmo
squad, which was composed of nine Initiates in a Rhino.
"From the west, came a Dreadnought, Land Speeder and two
reduced-size fire support squads, FS5 and FS6, with 6 marines
apiece and two squad support weapons each.
"Finally, from the north, came a Whirlwind battery, Lazarus
squad, five Terminators, and another fire support squad, FS4.
Lazarus squad contained nine Initiates in a Rhino; they were joined
by a Champion of the Emperor."
"Hoo-ah!" came a yell from one of the neophytes.
"Oh, so you wanna be a Champion, DAN? Well, that brings
us to the main character in this little tragedy. I'll get to that
"Simple enough, the separate elements arrived, perfectly
coordinated, but a little close to the bugs for comfort. The Terminators'
weapons were still spewing casings from taking shots at the wall
of Spinegaunts in front of them when two dozen Lysogaunts raced
around this rock outcropping and tore them to shreds. That's right
kiddies, Terminators torn to pieces before they could strike
down their foe in hand-to-hand combat. Never expect your armor
to work miracles boys, that's the Emperor's domain.
"Anyway, FS4 got swept up into that mess and pretty soon
it was hard to see them past the chitin. Here's a better shot
from a recon drone."
|(Turn 1 Tyranid Assault Phase)
The Terminator squad vanishes, along with a member of FS4,
under a sea of claws (60 attacks will do that), and the Lysogaunts
sweep into the remains of FS4. The Emperor's Champion and
Lazarus squad watch calmly from their Rhino.
"The western detachment was still not engaged in close combat,
but the southern detachment took a hit. You see, my fresh-faced
young DANs, you should never underestimate the enemy or their
ability at warcraft. Here we see the alien Hive Mind coordinating
an attack on St. Elmo squad. The Lictor advances on the vehicle
while the Hormagaunts surround it. The Lictor pops the Rhino,
and most of the squad is cut down as it tries to get out of the
"Any of you DANs out there that end up driving your squad's
vehicle, pay attention. One brief moment of indecision, and you
may cost the lives of a whole squad. Control your encounters.
Don't let the alien determine the location or nature of the battle."
Lenos stops and smiles. "Sounds good on paper doesn't it?
Truth is, when the battle is joined, there will be more bugs than
you expected and they will be faster than you expected. Either
way, try not to let this happen."
Lenos zooms in on St. Elmo Squad's battle.
|(Turn 1 Tyranid Assault Phase)
A gamble pays off - the Lictor pops the Rhino while the Hormagaunts
block most of the exits, and 5 of the 9-man squad are killed
by the explosion.
Note: the vehicle was in the big empty spot. The explosion
slung it into the trees.
"All right, so let's zoom back out and continue with the
lesson. Ah, yes, there at the bottom right you will see the Land
Speeder has been downed. Off to the right, you can't really see
it from this angle, but one of the Crusaders bolter sponsons has
been destroyed by the Carnifex. I cannot emphasize this enough,
the Tyranid's Venom Cannon IS A VIABLE THREAT TO ARMOR! It's no
Lascannon, but it WILL ruin a tank's day, especially if it's carried
by a Carnifex; and Speeders are fast, but they still can't outrun
a high velocity round."
|(Start of turn 2)
"All right, let's start with the south this time. St. Elmo
fights valiantly, but the Lictor and Hormagaunts take the rest
of them down and shift towards the rest of the battle. Sanglea
squad pulls up in the Crusader and launches an assault against
one of the huge Spinegaunt squads. They inflict heavy casualties,
then a dozen Gargoyles hop over the southern copse of trees and
a trio of Warriors slip through the western cluster of trees to
join the fight and the tide turns back towards the bugs.
"No matter how blessed you THINK you are, three broods of
bugs will be hard to beat with a single squad. Always keep the
counter assault units in mind when you make your move."
"All right, on the west flank, FS 6 was under attack from
the Lysogaunts and FS 5 was getting buried under Spinegaunts.
The whirlwind was in a steady position and firing at targets of
"Here we can see the Dreadnought firing another salvo into
the Carnifex and assaulting him. This disoriented the beast making
it easy to finish him off...but remember that comment I made about
counter assault? Yeah, there they are, the Hive Tyrant, Thunder,
and his guard sweep in, immobilize him with a Venom Cannon shot
and BOOM, smoking sarcophagus. To his credit, he was carrying
out his mission. HQ had specifically targeted the Carnifex for
destruction, probably because he's the biggest threat to an LRC."
"Lazarus squad and the EC advance slowly. I'm not sure why
they held back, but EC's are often blessed with a greater...awareness
than us lowly faithful servants."
Some of the Neophytes looked nervously at each other, but none
was willing to endorse or denounce Lenos's irreverence. There
were rumors that Lenos did not think highly of the Champions of
the Emperor, but none of the Neophytes knew why.
"The winged Hive Tyrant, Lightning, can be seen crossing
back towards the LRC. See that ripple in the air passing over
the LRC? That isn't heat boys, that's a Warp Blast. It'll tear
a tank in half like tissue paper. I've seen it shred half a tac
squad in the blink of an eye. It's not the same thing as the filthy
Psykers wield, but it's just as good a reason to wipe them out."
|(Start of turn 3)
"OK, pay close attention. Things move fast here on out.
The Crusader stands and delivers fire to the bugs. Sanglea squad
puts up a heroic fight, but is taken out of action, along with
FS5. FS6 continues to exchange blows with their Spinegaunts. The
EC leads Lazarus squad towards Lightning and they disembark, ready
for the assault. Then he hesitates..."
[OK, what really happened is that for the first time ever, the
Hive Tyrant's power "the Horror" actually had an effect.
If someone tries to assault a Hive Tyrant, they have to make a
Leadership test. If they fail, they can't assault the Hive Tyrant
or anyone else that phase. The EC was leading the unit, so they
benefited from his Leadership of 9. Greg rolled...a 9. However,
Lightning also has the psychic power Psychic Scream, which
subtracts 1 from the Leadership value of models within 12".
So the Horror actually kicked in. However, the Black Templars
are pretty gung ho suicidal religious nutsos, so I figure it would
be more of a confusion effect than a fear effect, or at least
that's what the BTs would say. :) ]
"That moment of pause is all the bugs needed. As you can
see, the Lysogaunts pounced on them from one side and the Gargoyles
pulled up on their other flank, while the Warriors rush the Rhino
and try to take it out. The Rhino remained unscathed, but our
fellow brothers were not so fortunate and most of them fell in
the initial charge.
"The Crusader gets a lot of attention as Lightning flies
over to assault it, the Lictor pulls up behind it, and Thunder
unloads his Venom Cannon on it. Thunder gets lucky and the Crusader
gets taken out of commission."
(Start of turn 4)
"And here we see the Black Sword fall." [The Black
Sword is the weapon wielded by the Emperor's Champion]
Lenos lowers his head in silence. The Neophytes follow suit.
After about ten seconds, Lenos continues.
"The Hormagaunts spread out, probably to secure the battlefield.
The Rhino from Lazarus squad performs a strategic withdrawal,
but Lazarus squad falls and the Gargoyles race after the Rhino.
They flank it, it is immobilized by weapons fire, and then they
rush in and take it out of action with bio-plasma."
"Meanwhile FS6 is still holding fast and Lightning advances
on the Whirlwind battery."
(Start of turn 5)
"Lightning's Warp Blast finally makes contact and the Whirlwind
(Start of turn 6)
"And then the last man falls."
(End of turn 6 and end of game)
"And now we will meditate on this in formation for the next
hour. Any who fall will renew their righteous zeal by spending
the night helping the Thought Priests transcribe their holy tomes."