Wednesday 15 January 2014

1,500 point battle against Codex Space Marines: Working out Storm Troopers

So, with the turning of the New Year, I decided to head down to Dark Sphere's new shop and gaming centre to get some 40K in. I decided that now I have two fully painted Storm Trooper squads, I wanted to try out deep striking large squads of them to cause mayhem in the back field, as historically I've had a lot of problems projecting my force into my opponent's side of the battlefield.

1500 Pts - Imperial Guard Roster

HQ: Company Command Squad
Medi-pack; Regimental Standard; Lascannon; Astropath; 2 Bodyguards; Master of Ordnance; Officer of the Fleet

Hull Heavy Flamer; Extra Armour; Hunter-killer Missile

Troops: Infantry Platoon
Platoon Command Squad
Meltagun x4

Infantry Squad
Meltagun; Autocannon; Commissar

Infantry Squad
Meltagun; Autocannon; Commissar

Conscripts Squad
20 Conscripts

Troops: Veteran Squad
Flamer x2; Grenade Launcher; Demolitions

Elite: Storm Trooper Squad
10 Storm Troopers; Plasma gun x2

Elite: Storm Trooper Squad
10 Storm Troopers; Meltagun x2

Elite: 5 Ratlings

Fast Attack: Valkyrie Assault Carrier

Heavy Support: Leman Russ Demolisher

My opponent was in the process of changing his Dark Angels over to being Codex Space Marines. His forces consisted of a tactical squad on foot, a tactical squad in a rhino, some scouts, some Sternguard in a Razorback with his commander, a Devastator squad, then a Storm Raven and two Storm Talons.

I was a little worried about this. I'd skimped on the Hydra, and my Valkyrie isn't well suited to putting holes in other flyers - particularly not three of them with pretty heavy firepower themselves!

We got the standard objectives mission, and I deployed my Command HQ on the left flank in their Chimera, one squad on top of a building to get some good lines of fire, the conscripts wrapping the Demolisher to protect it from assault, while the second infantry squad took the right flank.

His Sternguard, HQ and Razorback went on his far right flank, with the foot Tactical squad in the rocks in the middle, with the Devastators in some ruins with the Rhino and second Tactical squad hidden behind the ruin.

He then put a Scout squad with sniper rifles into the ruins on his far left flank.

Meanwhile, my Ratlings found a nice spot to shoot some pesky power armour. We then remembered to roll for night fight and even remembered to use the rules - but we then forgot to use Warlord traits. I am totally going to write myself out a cheat sheet at this rate.

The conscripts advanced up the field, heading towards an objective in the ruins. I was worried about how much fire they would be able to weather without having an independent character with them to prop their leadership up.

On my left flank, I felt a bit nervous and isolated, with few good targets available for the command HQ lascannon without moving and forcing it to snap fire - so I hit the smoke launchers.

The Guard on the ground floor of the building advanced a little into the building, but left the heavy weapon stationary to allow it to fire accurately.

A good choice, in the end, as the Devastator sergeant ended up taking a lucky autocannon shell to the face.

Play passed to my opponent, and his Razorback advanced and proceeded to blow the Chimera to tiny pieces, smoke or no smoke! The bodyguards didn't make it out of the explosion, but everyone else piled out of the wreckage.

I advanced my command squad onto the board from reserve, where I'd left them by mistake. Rookie error, I know. You'll also notice my opponent had managed to knock a hull point off the Demolisher.

The Valkyrie roared onto the field and ineffectively threw some fire about doing nothing in particular.

The first Storm Trooper squad with lots of melta guns dropped down in between the Razorback and the tactical squad. Looking back, I'm not sure this was the best idea - they weren't quite in a good place to do a lot of damage to either squad, and I was uncommitted to sorting out either unit properly - although keeping them back from the Tactical Squad was wise, as it meant that running back would take them far away from the objective they were heading towards.

The conscripts advanced up to the objective, and the "mysterious"-ness resolved itself as a shooty fire nexus of some kind - allowing me to re-roll 1s to hit.

I took this photo of the Tactical Marines. I assume it means I got a casualty or two. Maybe I should take better notes!

Unfortunately, at this point, one of the Storm Talons decided to turn up and "Have Words" with the Storm Troopers.

The surviving Tactical Marines also turned around to express their displeasure about being shot in the back.

The other Storm Talon decided to do something about the Valkyrie, and the Rhino advances...

The firepower definitely took its toll on the Storm Troopers. They tried to pull themselves together to do something useful but were shot to pieces before they could do anything else of note.

In return, my second Storm Trooper squad decided to put a more significant hole in the Tactical Squad. Team Storm Trooper - shooting Space Marines in the back since M40...

The Valkyrie decided it was in a bad place, so ran off the board, dropping the Veterans on the way. They scattered badly, only just surviving, with one of them ending up as a casualty.

Lets see how this shooting goes...

Ah, that's much better than the last set. Although, sadly, it shortly went south as the Marines charged the Storm Troopers down and cut them down to a man after the Storm Trooper Sergeant's challenge with the Marine Sergeant ended badly, and the rest of the squad panicked and fled, being cut down as they ran.

The Rhino then exploded spectacularly (probably of Demolisher), causing some quite significant damage to the tactical squad inside it, before an assortment of crossfire whittled them down further.

At this point, a massive wall of flying death finally turned up, the Master of the Fleet finally delaying him no longer...

He also brought a friend to help deal with the pesky, pesky Demolisher...

And lo, was there much, much cursing over the survivability of the Leman Russ chassis.

And bloody vengeance was wreaked on the veterans, causing them to flee into the cover of the dank pond.

The surviving Tactical Marines carefully got into the ruins - and discovered they had a sabotaged objective. Cleverly, they stayed a level below the objective - within 3 inches, but immune to any explosions from the objective.

The Valkyrie pottered back on and shot up the Storm Raven for no damage. I forgot that its missiles are Ordnance and so fired both at full ballistic skill, but fortunately, given my rules mistake, it did little but scratch the paint...

The command HQ spread out a little bit to better survive the oncoming storm...

A Storm Talon came over to say hello to the infantry squad.

Flyers pass each other, criss-crossing the battlefield.

The Leman Russ was finally wrecked, I think by the Devastators - the Valkyrie came around behind the Storm Raven, opened up with the multilaser, and it all just bounced off...

I don't remember if they went to ground or got pinned, but the Veterans weren't going anywhere!

The surviving infantry squad advance through the building to take a pot shot at the Storm Talon... (Although sadly, the difficult terrain leaves them too far away to claim the objective!)

And the melta gunner gets that lucky hit he needs - the Storm Talon plummets to the ground in flames!

The command HQ cower out of sight in the depths of the ruins while the Razorback advances on their position. Only three survived the massive hail of fire from the flyers!

And at this point, more or less, the game ended as we rolled for it not to continue. We both held one objective, no-one had Line Breaker or Slay the Warlord, but he had First Blood from destroying my Chimera, so narrowly carried the game!

If only my Veterans had rallied earlier or not fled in the first place, I could have drawn with Line Breaker! If only I'd advanced my squad up earlier, or they'd got a better difficult terrain roll, I'd have taken a second objective and won...

But . . .

I do feel I had a lot of learning points from this game - while there were points I was unlucky, there were also bad mistakes I made. Remember that squad out on the far right flank? They did practically nothing all game and were miles from an objective. The squad in the centre could have advanced on the objective earlier had I been minded to.

Both I and my opponent played this one pretty cautiously - there were units that did little, but also, in turn, took very few casualties. It was like the forces were reluctant to engage and risk heavy casualties, which is an interesting feel to a game - actually relatively realistic in many ways to a lot of real engagements.

The Storm Troopers did pretty well in causing casualties, but were pretty quickly wiped out in turn - the need to deep strike into open ground does penalise them a little. I still definitely have more to do with them in terms of learning how to use them effectively.

Army list wise, I do need some more units to better deal with a flyer heavy list. The Hydra is very anti-flyer specific, which is a downside when you're trying to trim points for other things. It can be very ineffective if your opponent isn't bringing any flyers or skimmers. Also, the "stock" Valkyrie doesn't have much firepower - it is primarily a troop transport. I'm not sure about it's merits as a troop transport, either. I've not been having the greatest luck with shoving people out the back at high speed - is there a time to consider hover mode?

In general, it was a very enjoyable, close fought game, and I'll be glad to play the same chap again.


  1. What a great battle report mate!

    It looks like you've got some good scenery brewing there, too...

    You're right about the survivability of troops deepstriking into the open: it's a real bind. That said, anything which forces the opponent to turn back from advancing to deal with is super-useful.

    To which end, have you ever tried Marbo? He's a GOD at this, can deploy in cover, has a great weapon, is cheap and - best of all - really good fun to play, as you never know whether or not he'll blow himself up!

    If you'll take one tip, it's to really ensure you have a job for each unit - especially when coming in from reserve or deepstriking. Even if you get it wrong, it's surely better than dithering...?

    Be brave, bold and resolute!

    Nice work carrying the fight to the enemy!

    1. I used Marbo a little in 5th, but haven't yet experimented with him much in 6th. He will be on the list when I have a painted model for him!

  2. Epic. It can be really hard getting the most out of every unit. And I totally agree about hydras. As for the Valkyrie - I prefer Vendettas for the bigger guns.

    1. I like the idea of Vendettas, but I feel guilty about fielding them "counts as" so need to man up and invest in some.