How long has it been!

April 2021, that's how long it's bloody been. Otherwise known as "too long".

Since that time, I dedicated eighteen months of my life to playing World of Warcraft and generally let the 40k scene pass me by. I do not regret spending eighteen months experiencing a game I've always wanted to see, but I do regret letting the scene pass me by.

A lot's changed since the last time I rolled dice in anger (or, more accurately, passive aggression). I've actually put in about thirty games of 9th, but none of them really felt like I'd ever played my absolute best, or really locked down a coherent army list.

So with 10th dropping, I knew I had a golden opportunity to really make a decent fist of covering some, not all, of my games.

But before you get excited at the prospect of only reading about how I win and I'm a winner, let me spoil the ending for you - I get belted in this first battle report. I'm not interested in cultivating an online persona where I obfuscate my poor outings in order to project a myth of invulnerability. I had a bad list and was comprehensively outplayed.

Before I talk too much about my opponent, this is the list I brought:

++Space Marines - Gladius Strike Force - 1995++

Primaris Captain - Relic Blade, Relic Shield, Heavy Bolt Pistol, Artificer Armour (90)
Primaris Lieutenant - Master-Crafted Power Weapon, Neo-Volkite Pistol, Storm Shield, The Honour Vehement (90)
Bladeguard Ancient - (50)

5 Heavy Intercessors - Heavy Bolter (110)
5 Heavy Intercessors - Heavy Bolter (110)

6 Bladeguard Veterans (200)
6 Bladeguard Veterans (200)
5 Desolator Marines (120)
3 Eradicators (95)
3 Eradicators (95)

Redemptor Dreadnought - Macro Plasma Incinerator, Icarus Rocket Pod, Onslaught Gatling Cannon (225)
Brutalis Dreadnought - Multi-Meltas (220)
Storm Speeder Thunderstrike (160)
Repulsor Executioner - Heavy Laser Destroyer (230)

My opponent was a close friend of mine. Me and Tim have been playing 40k (and sometimes other games) for the better part of two decades. I asked his permission to cover this game, and he wanted it in the record that we were "super best friends." I would agree with that statement.

Even as I tilted the fuck out at the end of the game. Whoops.

This is what Tim brought to the party:

++Grey Knights - Teleport Strike Force - 1995++

Brotherhood Librarian (110)
Brotherhood Librarian - Sigil of Exigence (30)
Grandmaster in Nemesis Dreadknight - Nemesis Greathammer (245)

5 Brotherhood Terminators - Psycannon, Ancient's Banner, Narthecium (225)
5 Brotherhood Terminators - Psycannon, Ancient's Banner, Narthecium (225)
5 Strike Knights - Psycannon (135)
5 Interceptors (160)

Nemesis Dreadknight - Nemesis Greatsword (215)
Nemesis Dreadknight - Nemesis Greatsword (215)
Nemesis Dreadknight - Nemesis Greatsword (215)

Inquisitor Coteaz (75)


10th editon does things a little differently:

You pick a deployment, mission rule and primary mission. We drew Hammer and Anvil, Chilling Rain, and Purge The Foe.

The cliff's notes of the above:

-5 objectives, long board deployment.
-No mission rule.
-4 points for controlling an objective, 4 for controlling more than your opponent.
-4 points for destroying a unit and 4 for destroying more than your opponent.

For secondaries, I'd let the luck of the draw determine what I'd be doing and opted for tactical secondaries. Tim picked Storm Hostile Objective, and Behind Enemy Lines.

Before a shot was fired in anger, this is what the board looked like:


I won the roll for attacker / defender, and picked the left edge.

This is the awkward part where I admit I didn't really have a plan and deployed everything centrally. I made a big deathball in the middle of the board on top of the objective in my deployment zone.

It didn't help that Tim was telling me how nervous he was about the amount of shooting I had. It was all a bit of a clever mindgame, if it turned out I'd used any part of my brain to figure out what I was doing.

Tim, on the other hand, opted to deploy much more conservatively. It was obvious he intended to take advantage of the shiny new Grey Knight army rule to shunt his heavy hitters into space to shoot at me.

As the dice would have it, I won the rolloff, and so was given first turn. Game on.

Turn One

My tactical objectives to begin the game were Secure No Man's Land and Storm Hostile Objective.

There wasn't much doing for Marines T1. I put oath of moment on some Strike Knights in the back right corner, hoping to have a poke with my Desolator Castellans.

Elsewhere I opted to move forward in multiple directions. With the benefit of hindsight, this was a big mistake. I had already deployed poorly and split my force across a wide frontage, I then compounded the error by splitting my force and sending everything everywhere.

The Brutalis ran up the left flank, the RepEx drove into the middle and the Bladeguard decided to run toward the right.

Shooting was uneventful, with the desolators chipping a single Strike Knight. Gottem.

In the end phase, Tim picked up two Dreadknights and a unit of Brotherhood terminators.

In Tim's turn, the Grandmaster flew down the right hand side of the board toward the Brutalis.

During the reinforcement phase, the two Dreadknights and the Brotherhood Terminator squad, Librarian in tow, materialised in front of the RepEx.

With clever use of the Prognosticated Arrival stratagem, Tim also deposited a third Dreadknight right next to the Heavy Intercessors chickening out in the back left corner of the board.

Before shooting, both Brotherhood Librarians used their potent Vortexes of Doom, inflicting many mortal wounds onto the RepEx. Then three Dreadknights' worth of shooting polished the chunky hover tank off, although it took the last shooting of the last Dreadknight to do so.

An important learning moment here for me would've been to use the Armour of Contempt stratagem on the RepEx to worsen the AP of all incoming shooting, particularly the Heavy Psycannons that had clear sightlines.

At the end of the first turn, Tim had seized control of the game by the throat - it would be up to me to try and claw it back.

Space Marines - 0.0 (0)
Grey Knights - 8.2 (10)

Turn Two

I hadn't achieved either secondary at this point, so I kept my existing two. That being said, Tim had parked himself on a number of objectives, so there was a chance I could relieve him of his prizes.

I also marked the Grandmaster on the left flank for death with Oath of Moment.

The Brutalis walked toward the Grandmaster, intent on putting his claws to good use. However, in an event that would prove to be a continuing theme, Tim cleverly used the Mists of Deimos stratagem to put the big boy back into Strategic Reserves.

(Editor's note - the rules commentary explicitly states that if a unit arrives from Strategic Reserves and has the Deep Strike ability, they can use the Deep Strike ability.)

No matter, the Brutalis would eat the interceptors. Or so I thought.

Elsewhere the Bladeguard continued to amble around not doing much. Eventually, I opted to move toward the objective in No Man's Land on the right.

In the reinforcements phase I popped both units of Eradicators down next to the Nemesis Dreadknight that had jumped the Heavy Intercessors in the back corner. Tim later admitted this was a trap, and I have to agree. Not that the Eradicators would've done much elsewhere, but at least they could've stood on some objectives, or cleaned up the Interceptors.

In the shooting phase, the Eradicators nearly cleaned the Dreadknight, taking it within a wound. Leading to this hilarious exchange:

Tim: "Nah man it's got one wound left. You'll charge it and pick it up in the fight phase."
Row: "You reckon? I don't think so."
Tim: "Yeah man for sure, it's not that tough."

I also got too clever for my own good, opting to shoot the Redemptor dreadnought at the Terminator unit carrying the sigil of exigence, allowing the unit to park on top of the objective on the right hand side, after the Bladeguard unit had advanced.


Elsewhere the Brutalis shot its Multi-meltas at the Interceptors, killing one, and then it was fight time.

This photo was taken after the Brutalis attacked. Who needs an invulnerable save when you get a 4+ save against dreadnought close combat weapons.

But the 'worst' was yet to come. Fully baited by Tim, I charged my heavy intercessors into the Dreadknight:

Clean bounce. The Dreadknight then proceeded to remove two models in response.

At the end of my turn, Tim picked up two Dreadknights and the unit of terminators in the middle of the board.

In the reinforcement step of Tim's turn, the Dreadknights and Terminator squad appeared on my right flank, tucked neatly into the corner of the board. Perfect for Tim, a nightmare for me.

Shooting was sufficiently brutal. Both Librarians went to work with Vortex of Doom, shredding the Storm Speeder. The Nemesis Dreadknight and the Terminators then went to work blasting apart the Bladeguard.

When the dust settled, only the Bladeguard Ancient was left, and the Storm Speeder was sufficiently bruised.

In the fight phase the Terminator squad then pulled off a 10" charge to kill the Desolators. Ouch.

(Editor's note - The rules for the fight phase are a bit confusing. The Terminators can hit the desolators through the wall because models can attack if they are within 1". If a model is not within 1", then they need to be in base to base with a model that is, in itself, in base to base.)

The Dreadknight in the bottom left corner of the board also killed another two heavy intercessors. Miraculously, the Brotherhood Terminator squad was unable to kill the Storm Speeder - which, fun fact, doesn't degrade. The Bladeguard Ancient was absolutely murdered in cold blood, however.

I hadn't really clawed my way back, but I wasn't out of the game either.

Space Marines - 4.10 (14)
Grey Knights - 20.10 (30)

Turn Three

Having achieved two tactical objectives in the last turn, it was time for two more. I flipped over No Prisoners, and Overwhelming Force.

I called Assault Doctrine to advance and charge, and used the Adaptive Strategy stratagem to call Tactical for the Storm Speeder, and used the stratagem again to call Tactical for the Heavy Intercessors, who fortunately passed their battle-shock.

I know for a fact I didn't do this right, because I misread the Captain's Rites of Battle ability. The correct way to do this to avoid spending a CP was to call Adaptive Strategy on the Bladeguard and call Tactical.

(Editor's note - The Rites of Battle ability allows you to use a stratagem for free, provided it targets the Captain and/or his unit. It does not give you a free stratagem.)

Feeling extra confident about my ability to use the Bladeguard to carve up Tim's prettyboy Brotherhood Terminators, I marked them with Oath of Moment.

The Brutalis continued to amble up the board into Tim's deployment zone, keen on murdering those Interceptors.

Knock Knock

And the Bladeguard moved and advanced... right into Mists of Deimos. Great job, idiot.

This picture illustrates what happened, but isn't actually from this turn. That building is empty, like my soul was at the time.

The Storm Speeder fell back, angling to use its Thunderstrike ability to prep some Terminators for death, and the lone heavy intercessor with his heavy bolter, fled from the Dreadknight.

Crucially, I did not move one of the units of Eradicators - I simply left both of them there, and did not take advantage of moving one, or both of them away, or closer. They both stood there. Not particularly clever.

Shooting was reasonably uneventful, the Redemptor Dreadnought rolled low for its number of shots - even with Tim's poor saves, I couldn't manage more than a couple of dead Terminators.

The Eradicators did manage to chip the last wound from the Nemesis Dreadknight. It had only cost me four heavy intercessors and committing six Eradicators, it was fine.

With nothing to charge, the Bladeguard sat in the middle of the board and waited for death. They wouldn't have to wait very long.

The Brutalis charged the Interceptors in the building - and did not succeed in killing any of them. Disappointed was an understatement. To make matters worse, the Interceptors succeeded in putting four wounds on the Brutalis.

At the end of my turn, Tim opted to pickup two Dreadknights. I think. My memory was getting hazy at this point.

I made another mistake at this point - I opted to keep Overwhelming Force, when I should've binned it for a CP and a shot at an easier secondary. Whilst it would have in no way altered the outcome, it is important to record for posterity.

Coteaz (who, I haven't mentioned at this point, but I think it's fair to note, Coteaz bore a striking resemblance to Orlock Bounty Hunter Slate Merdena) and his Strike Knight friends headed for the middle of the board.

In the reinforcement phase, the two Dreadknights popped down in my deployment zone to start accruing points for Behind Enemy Lines. Perfectly positioned to prevent the majority of Eradicators from getting into range.

The second unit of terminators re-appeared in pretty much the same place as they had left, just slightly further to the right but not on top of the objective.

The Librarians warmed up their vortexes again, and the volume of shooting directed at the second Bladeguard unit saw them all sent to the shadow realm. Crucially, the captain survived, and would live to give Tim's Brotherhood Terminators a bloody nose.

The Grandmaster in the Nemesis Dreadknight also put the Brutalis out of its misery in a hail of Heavy Psycannon fire.

At the end of the third turn, the game was well and truly over, but Tim had come all this way for a game, not two and a half hours of whining. We'd be going to the bitter end.

Space Marines - 12.12 (24)
Grey Knights - 32.18 (50)

Turn Four

Having destroyed a single unit for No Prisoners, I was able to generate another secondary. I flipped over A Tempting Target, which seemed doable.

As was his right and privilege, Tim picked the objective where all the Terminators were. Seeing a chance to claw some pride back, I marked them with Oath of Moment.

Now I know what you're thinking - is he going to move within 9" and let Tim teleport the Oath of Moment target away?

Yes. Yes I did. Even thinking about how poorly I played makes me cranky. As I remarked on the discord the day afterward:

Elsewhere I managed to roll a big 6 with a unit of Eradicators in order to shoot at Tim's Dreadknights.

The Redemptor Dreadnought managed to kill a couple of Terminators to soften the target for the Captain, and the Eradicators did manage to pile seven wounds onto one of the Dreadknights - pretty solid for two miracle shots.

In the fight phase, the captain activated Finest Hour, a new ability with the Primaris Captain datasheet, giving him Devastating Wounds and three extra attacks. He cut four terminators to ribbons, leaving just the half-dead Librarian.

His artificer armour also went a mile, saving mortal wounds, stray Psilencer shots, and everything in between.

At the end of my term, Tim opted to pick up just his Grandmaster. No prizes for guessing what he was going to do with the two Dreadknights parked in the bottom right corner of the board.

In Tim's movement phase, he did exactly what he promised. Which is good, Tim tends to keep his promises, even if the promise is extreme violence. His Librarian did chicken out, opting not to have the snot beaten out of him by the captain.

On the other side, the reserved unit of Terminators popped up again, as four turns of dancing had given Tim the upper hand by a clear margin.

It was a bit of a Turkey Shoot - the Terminators and Interceptors picked off the lone Heavy Intercessor. Shooting from the Dreadknights claimed four Eradicators.

Again the Vortexes wound up - the captain survived his encounter, but the Heavy Intercessors in the middle were not so lucky, as the librarian produced a big six to hit them for six. (It was actually nine mortal wounds.)

In the fight phase, the two Dreadknights bashed the Redemptor, but were unable to bring it down, thanks to -1 damage.

With one turn left, all that was to do was to wallpaper over the cracks.

Space Marines - 20.12 (32)
Grey Knights - 40.26 (66)

Turn Five

Playing for pride, I opted to Oath the wounded Dreadknight to try and polish it off. I also called Tactical, planning to move my Redemptor back to blast and charge something.

In an interesting twist, however, my redemptor became battleshocked. This would have immediate consequences, as the big box boi failed his desperate escape test, and was destroyed.

The Nemesis Dreadknights laughed off the remaining melta shots from the Eradicators. However the Captain would leave the Librarian with something to remember him by. Finally learning from my mistake, I opted not to move the captain, playing around mists, and then my captain beat the shit out of his librarian.

A small moment of catharsis.

At that point we called the game. Tim had well and truly done a job on the Salamanders.

This screenshot also covers off the +10VP bonus for being battle ready, because that's a thing.

The Wash Up

Going into the game I knew two things - Grey Knights have high mobility, and Grey Knights struggled with heavy armour.

Coming out of the game, Grey Knights have insane armour, and still have trouble with heavy armour, but they don't have zero ways to deal with it.

Tim played extremely well. He moved cleverly, with consideration, and made sure to punish my overextension. I wouldn't say I enjoyed the game, but I enjoyed the company, and I think that's important.

Movement tricks are also somewhat of a speciality for Tim, and I think secretly he really enjoyed getting back to his "Dancing Queen" roots. I haven't been outmanuevered like that since his Eldar days. And that was a long time ago now.

I will say I did myself no favours with the army list I brought. It had no gameplan, other than "put dudes on the table", and it showed. It was also played poorly, and I feel like I didn't really give Tim much of a challenge, which disappoints me.

The Brutalis was also unimpressive. -2AP seems quite low, and it really struggled to do much of anything. It's certainly nowhere near the ultraviolence ballbuster it was in 9th. I doubt it'll find room going forward.

It's worth mentioning although I didn't play optimally, at no point did I think "man, I forgot about XYZ secret squirrel stratagem that would've won me the game." I think that's really good for the game on balance.

I used every special rule, most of the stratagems, and spent very little time looking at army rules, mostly looking up profiles. This bodes well for being able to teach new players how to handle the game in the future, and I'm very excited for it.

I should also mention this game was played before the app was released - I did spend a lot of time looking up rules on PDFs, which has now all been sorted with the release of the official companion app. I don't doubt GW will ruin it in future, however.

That's all for this edition of the weekly war - I am looking forward to bringing you more of these battle reports, with more photos, and maybe even painted models! Maybe. We'll see.

Catch you next time,

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