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Battle Report 41 - Broken Wing

Tyranids vs. Dark Angels Deathwing

Composed by Michael J. Casavant (Hive Fleet Phage)


  • Date - 17APR2003
  • Points - 1600
  • Scenario - "Forlorn Hope"
  • Hive Fleet Phage, Tyranid Army List [played by Michael J. Casavant]
  • Dark Angels Deathwing [played by Jae Bagherra]
  • Results - Victory for Tyranids (2632 VPs vs. 85)
    • Hive Fleet Phage total VPs 2632
      • Kills 1582 (everything)
      • Troops that did not get recycled (all), 5 x 50 VPs = 250
      • Units >= 50% in Defender's Deployment zone, 8 x 100 VPs = 800
    • Deathwing total VPs 85
      • Kills 85 (1/2 Spinegaunt brood)
      • Units >= 50% - 0
      • Vehicles with working weapons - 0



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

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

  • FOC - 1 HQ, 0-1 Elite, 0-1 Fast Attack, 2-6 Troops, 0-1 Heavy Support

The Board

This setup is similar to a Strongpoint Attack, but the Defender's Deployment zone is bigger. More importantly, as Attacker, the mission required that I setup at least 20" from the Defender, which meant that the Defender could force at least some units to come in from the edge of the board. The Defender picks which side to defend and sets up first. Attacker goes first.

Special Rules

  • Modified sustained assault - Attacker may remove any Troop unit that is <50%, loses close combat, or falls back. They can then bring an identical unit back on (minus transports as usual). If the transport is still alive, it is reassigned to the new unit. If the unit originally deployed via Deepstrike, it may re-enter by that method (that could be cool if I had a Troop that could Deepstrike).
  • Deep Strike
  • Victory Points - normal, plus
    • Defender - +100 for each unit >= 50% of starting number
    • Defender - +50 for each vehicle that has a working weapon at the end of the game.
    • Attacker - +50 VPs for each Troop pick not recycled.
    • Attacker - +100 for each unit >= 50% in Defender's Deployment at the end of the game.
  • Nothing to lose - Defenders pass all Leadership-based tests (except Psychic), will not fall back, and will not be pinned.

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

"Chalson's unit is cut off!"

"We can't get to them sir! There's just too many bugs and we have to pull back to protect the landing zone!"

"So be it. Inform Chalson that his unit has been given Broken Wing status. He is to delay the enemy as much as possible and fight to the last man. Emperor guide them."

I need to get some painting done, so this report will be photo album style.

One thing to note is that Thunder is the only Synapse on the board; unusual for me, but I usually use Hive Tyrants and this mission only allows one HQ choice, so one Hive Tyrant it is; to heck with Tyranid Warriors! :)

However, if anyone "falls back", they will fall towards cover or towards Thunder until they get a chance to regroup and you might notice that with most of my broods' positions, that means getting closer to the enemy anyway. That was no accident. :)

Middle of turn 1
Forgot to take a picture at the start. That spread out unit towards the top is the Lysogaunt unit. They got lucky and killed off the Terminator squad with Assault Cannons (Lysogaunts should kill 3 Termies on average in such an attack, they killed all 5; mostly due to some unfortunate luck on armor saves).

The Land Raider was immobilized and the Lascannon near the monsters was destroyed.

The Hormagaunts thought they were cool too, and rushed in to fight, but were beaten up a little and ran away scared (or failed Instinctive Behavior, I can't remember).

The Lightning claw unit of Termies from inside the Land Raider leap out and start gutting Spinegaunts.

Data seized by the Inquisition.

Start of turn 2

The Gargoyles fail instinctive Behavior and "charge" 2" towards the enemy with an "Attack!" result.

The Lysogaunts jump in and take out the Terminators (Cyclone Missile Launcher unit) that scared off the Hormagaunts.

The Spinegaunts continue to die in an orderly fashion to the Lightning Claws, but don't run away.

Start of turn 3
The Lysogaunts charge into the Lightning Claw Terminators and take them out.

The fleeing Hormagaunts recover their wits and decide to take over the large standing stones terrain piece that was holding Jae's dice. :)

The Librarian squad Deepstrikes in behind Thunder. Thunder's Psychic Scream inflicts a peril of the Warp on the Librarian as he fails to Smite Thunder, but the attack does not cause a wound.

Start of turn 4
Thunder moves to a flank position of the HQ, while the Tyrant Guard separate and move straight at them. Gargoyles move to the other flank, and the Hormagaunts advance to the front side of the unit. They all rush in. It's a big cluster.

The Tyrant Guard use their lash whips on the Librarian and tie him up for the fight. Thunder manages to kill a couple of Terminators, but everything else bounces. The HQ squad focuses on Thunder and the TG, but do not manage to wound (some crappy to hit rolls in general).

Start of turn 5
The Deathwing HQ falls to Thunder and the TG, failing just enough saves to go down.

Mjolnir and the Lictor are finally in range and they charge the Land Raider. Mjolnir destroys it.

End of game (middle of turn 5)


The FOC was pretty constrained, so there weren't a ton of choices, but with what choices I had, I went for speed and numbers, anchored with a beefy Synapse that could reliably avoid being killed in one or two rounds of shooting. I also brought along my Land Raider insurance, Mjolnir. It worked out well for me.

Jae had some things working against him in this battle. Chief among those was the unfortunate combination of his list with this mission.

  • Not enough models in the list.
  • Fearless was free, so being Deathwing and having "Stubborn" was not as cool.
  • Not enough models in the list.
  • Deep Strike was too much of a temptation.
  • Not enough models in the list.

Ways to do better against me on this with Deathwing:

  • Take more Terminators, leave the high point junk at home, including Land Raiders.
  • The mission did give the Defenders a subtle tactical advantage in deployment that the Deathwing did not take advantage of in this battle - the ability to seriously constrain my setup.
    • Possibility #1 - Place a unit in the trees at the left side (top of picture) and front (right of picture). The cover would force a Difficult Terrain test and quite possibly would have stopped the first turn close combat from the Leaper Gaunts. It would also force most of my army to walk a lot farther to get to the food.
    • Possibility #2 - Throw the Land Raider up front as a sacrifice. The monsters will take three turns to get into assault with it (at least), and the small guys will bounce off. Then you can position the rest of the army at the bottom left of deployment (top left of picture) and shoot for a few turns while backing up and giving the fast guys time to get dangerously separated from the rest of the army. A strategic withdrawal of sorts.
  • Prevent so many charges - that's easier said than done, but the Lysogaunts were able to charge three times in that one battle. That 72 bonus attacks for that unit alone.

On top of that, I was lucky when I needed to be. My Lysogaunts shined, while Thunder, his guard, the Gargoyles, and Hormagaunts pretty much stank on ice, but they didn't need luck, they had sheer numbers and power on to fall back on.

Ultimately, we proved that 72 attacks can hurt even a squad of Terminators.