2000 Point Battle — Tactical Report

I recently played a 2000 point game at my local store and thought I’d break down my list, what worked, what did not work, and how I would revise my forces and tactics going forward, based on what happened in this battle:

 First off, my list. I took three Detachments (one Astra Militarum Battalion, one Ultramarine Spearhead, and one Grey Knight Vanguard) for a total of 8 CPs and 9 “drops,” based on how I deployed in the game.

 —Astra Militarum Battalion—

HQ

*Tempestor Prime with Rod of Command

*Tempestor Prime with Rod of Command

 

TROOPS

*5 x Scions with 2 Plasma Guns

*5 x Scions with 2 Plasma Guns

*5 x Scions with 2 Plasma Guns

*5 x Scions with 2 Plasma Guns

 

DEDICATED TRANSPORT

*Chimera with Multi-laser, Heavy Flamer

*Chimera with Multi-laser, Heavy Flamer

  

—Ultramarine Spearhead—

HQ

*Sergeant Chronos

 

HEAVY SUPPORT

*Predator with Twin Lascannon, 2 x Heavy Bolter

*Predator with Twin Lascannon, 2 x Heavy Bolter

*Predator with Twin Lascannon, 2 x Heavy Bolter

 

 —Grey Knight Vanguard—

HQ

*Castellan Crowe

 

ELITES

*Brotherhood Ancient (Warlord, with “First to the Fray” WL Trait, and GK Relic Banner)

*GK Apothecary

*10 x GK Paladins (3 x pair of Falchions, 3 x Halberds, 3 x NDHs, Paragon with Sword)

  

Overall, the plan for the AM Battalion was for each Chimera to load up with two Scion squads and a Tempestor Prime, providing me mobility/protection for the Plasmas, plus a source of Orders to re-roll 1s when I overcharged them, as well as “generalist” fire support from the AM Infantry Fighting Vehicles (IFVs) in the form of their Multi-lasers and Heavy Flamers. Importantly, despite being made up of 8 separate units, this only accounted for two “drops” during deployment, giving me a solid chance of going first.

 For the UM Spearhead detachment, Chronos was there as a cheap HQ who also made one Predator always shoot at BS2+, no matter what damage it takes, unless there are -1 modifiers like from moving, enemy fliers being “hard to hit,” Raven Guard chapter tactics, etc. etc. The Predators themselves were included to give me the option to use the new KILLSHOT stratagem (for 1 CP it gives them +1 to Wound and +1 damage if they are all within 6” of one another and shoot at either an enemy Vehicle or Monster), but also provide versatile fire support due to their mix of Lascannons and Heavy Bolters.

 Finally, for the GK Vanguard detachment, the idea was for everyone to start in Reserve except Crowe (who can’t, unless you use the special GK stratagem to override that for him), them bring them in Turn 1 to overwhelm a particular portion of the enemy battle line and then “roll up” his forces from their with the powerful psychic, shooting, and close combat potential. Crowe himself was deployed near one of my Predators, out of LOS, as a counter-assault unit who also had the “Gate of Infinity” power to bounce himself around the battlefield and either support other units in close combat or, if necessary, grab objectives later in the game.

 My opponent was a veteran 40K player and a great guy who I enjoyed playing against and talking with the entire game. He brought his all-infantry, Primaris heavy Ultramarine army, with a small Grey Knight contingent in support, so thematically it was a bit of a “civil war” type game between our forces. If I remember correctly, he ran something like the following:

 

—UM “Primaris” Battalion—

HQ

-Primaris Captain in Gravis Armor (his Warlord, with the UM “uber Iron Halo” relic)

-Primaris Librarian

-Primaris Chaplain

 

ELITES

-Primaris Apothecary

-Primaris Ancient

 

TROOPS

-5 x Intercessors with Bolt Rifles

-5 x Intercessors with Bolt Rifles

-5 x Intercessors with Bolt Rifles

 

 HEAVY SUPPORT

-5x Devastator Centurions (3 with Twin Heavy Bolters and Hurricane Bolters, 2 with Lascannons and Centurion Missile Launchers)

 

—Grey Knight Vanguard—

HQ

*Grand-Master in TDA (with NDH)

 

ELITES

*Paladin Ancient

*GK Apothecary

*3 x GK Paladins (all with pair of Falchions)

 

This gave him 7 CPs and his WL Trait (which we forgot to use all game long) was the UM one that enabled him to “regain” expended CPs on a roll of 5+.

 So, the game was somewhat “old school” in nature, with 4 Objectives (each worth 3 VPs if you held them when the game ended), plus the traditional Slay the Warlord, Line breaker, and First Blood.

 We deployed using the new “Frontline Assault” deployment type (each player is along a long edge of the board, with the deployment zones being 9” from the center point in the middle and 6” from the long board edges on the very sides, making for in essence a “wedge-shaped” DZ for each player). There was lots of cover and LOS blocking terrain overall and he deployed heavy in the center, with an Intercessor squad on each flank and his GKs in reserve. I deployed with two Predators in my center, the Chimeras (and their Scion passengers) on the right, plus the third Predator and Crowe on my far right… also, like him, I kept my entire Grey Knight TDA contingent in reserve. I finished deploying first and so got +1 to the roll to go first, which I ended up winning. He tried to seize the initiative and failed, so I went first.

 Summarizing the game, my Paladins/Apothecary/Ancient dropped in on his right flank turn 1 and completely removed his Intercessor squad using the new PSYBOLT AMMUNITION stratagem. My Predators, Chimeras, and Plasma Scions also managed to kill all his Centurions, his Apothecary, and a number of his Intercessors by the end of Turn 2. However, his “counter-drop” of Grey Knights and the rest of his Primaris shooting/close combat was able to eventually destroy all three of my Predators, both my Chimeras, and all my Scions, leaving only Crowe (who bounced to an Objective late in the game with “Gate of Infinity”), my WL Brotherhood Ancient (who also stayed back from the fight to hold an Objective, get Line Breaker, and deny him Slay the Warlord), and my Apothecary left by the end of the game.

 My GK Paladins moved slowly toward the middle of the board (where his main Primaris Battle line and one of the Objectives was) over the course of several turns, but when they finally got into close combat there, the Primaris Gravis Captain, Primaris Chaplain, Primaris Ancient, and Primaris Librarian killed them all, a bit to my surprise (they did get into combat without the benefit of +1A from my Brotherhood Ancient, since he was camping on an Objective far away and they did kind of charge in piece-meal, but they also were not able to crack the 3++ save of the Gravis Armor Captain, who survived multiple rounds of their best punches and then beat them down with his D3 damage power fist).

At the end of the game, he had several more units left than me and significantly more combat power (i.e. almost all of his GKs were still alive, plus most of his Primaris HQ options, while I only had Crowe, the Brotherhood Ancient, and the GK Apothecary), but I actually was able to squeak out a win due to VPs (we both held two objectives, but I also had Line Breaker and First Blood, while he had none of the “auxiliary” objectives).

 Evaluating how I played, here are a few things I did well and a few things I did poorly:

 

POSITIVES —

[1] I had good target priority and concentration of fire early on, I think, with the Grey Knight TDA contingent overwhelming his right flank and my strong shooting assets rapidly removing the Centurions, which were a large threat to my forces.

[2] I made good use of the Chimeras, adding their firepower to my other shooting, using them to “block” off enemy forces, and getting them to survive late into the game and absorb a lot of combat power away from the rest of his forces.

[3] I made sure I was aware of and playing for the key VP conditions all game long, even when I started losing in terms of raw numbers of troops, thereby enabling me to control as many objectives as him and gain the edge via Line Breaker/First Blood when all the dust settled.

 

 NEGATIVES –

[1] I did not use the mobility/range of the Predators very well to keep them out of harms reach, enabling him to eventually destroy them all with a combination of shooting (including a lot of close range shooting/Smiting from his Primaris forces) and assault (the Grey Knights finished off my last Predator with Chronus in it because I had backed it into a corner, rather than “dashing” it away after they deep struck nearby.

[2] I didn’t employ my GK Paladins very effectively, dropping them so far on the flank that it took them multiple turns of “foot-slogging” to get into Smite/close combat range for the rest of the battle and, when I did get there, I didn’t deploy them in a way to maximize all their shooting, psychic abilities, and close combat power (I just kind of rushed into assault as quickly as possible, assuming they would be able to “brute force” their way to victory, an assumption which cost me dearly).

[3] I didn’t use my GKs, Scions, and UM Predators very well in terms of mutual support, but pretty much deployed them in separate parts of the board and fought them as “independent” elements, which enabled my opponent to deal with them in piecemeal fashion to some degree. For example, if I had dropped some of the GKs in near the Scions, then I could have used their threat to distract his shooting/assault (keeping the Scions alive much longer) and also could have supported the GKs with the Chimeras shooting and LOS blocking. Similarly, with the Predators, if I had some of my Scions or GKs to help screen them, they would have survived much longer and been able to contribute all game long, potentially.

[4} I didn’t use the ORBITAL BOMBARDMENT stratagem to drop a massive dose of Mortal Wounds in the center of his very clumped up Primaris Marine battle-line… if I had remembered to do that when I still had 3 CPs left, I think I could have massively softened up his forces, potentially to the point of critically wounding them, and when my GK Paladins finally assaulted, the combat in the center might have gone quite differently.

  

So, based on all that, going forward, what would I do differently in terms of list construction and tactical employment of my troops?

 Well, right now I think I will keep the Scion and Astra Militarum portions of my army, with the exception of potentially trading Chronus out for Marneus Calgar… not only does Calgar give me an additional 2 CPs (so up to 10 total for my army; I blew through CPs pretty quickly, especially using PSYBOLT AMMUNITION twice, which while very effective, cost me 4 CPs right there), but he also provides re-rolls to Hit for all my Predators if they stay close together (another thing I will do differently, deploy them all near one another), gives me a VERY powerful counter-assault element to protect them, and, finally, as my new Warlord, he is tough to kill and lets me regenerate expended CPs on a 5+.

 Now, of course, Calgar is much more expensive than Chronus, so I have to recoup points somewhere else… well, I think my GK contingent, while powerful, is a very heavy points investment with less than optimal return… instead of a Vanguard of Paladins and “supporting cast” detachment, I think I might opt for an Outrider detachment with three Interceptor squads (two 5 man units and one 10 man unit) and GM Voldus as the HQ… this gives me highly mobile infantry that can get around the battlefield all game long with their 12” movement (and special Shunt move), still shoot very well with their massed Stormbolters (and can use PSYBOLT AMMUNITION still), can grab Objectives late game, and also give me a range of Psychic powers to use still.

 As for Voldus, with the ability to cast/deny three psychic powers a turn, he can be an incredible “toolbox” to support the Interceptors, plus he can use Gates of Infinity all game long to go anywhere on the battlefield (i.e. like back to help Marneus and Predators, or over to support the Scions if need be) and he is no slouch in close combat either (5 x S8 AP-3 D3 attacks, all hitting on 2+s with re-rolls to Wound!). Finally, if I had enough leftover points, I would probably invest an UM Thunderfire Cannon, since its fire support can help at range, it can use the TREMOR SHELLS stratagem to slow enemy forces down, and the Techmarine Gunner can help repair my Predators if they are damaged.

 

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