The Weekly War - Thousand Sons v Orks

The Weekly War - Thousand Sons v Orks

So 9th edition has been out for a hot minute. I played a game on the Thursday night of its launch with a good friend of mine, but have been slack and useless and sat on it for a month. Just go ahead and put me in the sin bin.

I am slowly getting back on the horse, though, and this week I wanted to bring my non-existent readers my first battle report from the new edition.

My opponent that night was Chris, who has a reputation amongst his playgroup as being a bit of a 'smiling assassin'. Certainly he's one of the best in his little group and whilst he'd have you believe that he knows nothing about his army, or yours, the truth is quite the opposite. His new army for the tail end of 8th and the start of 9th is Ork Speed freeks. Which the peanut gallery tells me is now illegal, for some reason. I'll believe it when I see it.

We played 1250 points and the game took a little under an hour and a half.

++Thousand Sons Battalion Detachment - 0 CP++

HQ
-Ahriman
-Harvey Birdman (Demon Prince [Wings, Relic - Perfidious Tome, Warlord Trait -  Duplicitous Tactician])

Troops
-10 Rubric Marines (Soulreaper Cannon, Warpflamer)
-10 Rubric Marines (Soulreaper Cannon, Warpflamer)
-20 Tzaangors (Brayhorn)

Elites
-6 Scarab Occult Terminators (Soulreaper Cannon, Hellfyre Missile Rack)

Fast Attack
-3 Tzaangor Enlightened

Chris is a bit of scratchbuilding genius and either custom built or heavily customised every model he put on the table that evening. He titled his army the "LWDG" - Long Waaagh Damage Group. A play on the famous "Long Range Desert Group" employed by the British in the Second World War. Did I mention we're a bunch of nerds?

Unfortunately all that creativity doesn't help with the fact that Games Workshop decided that they would give all the Speed Freek vehicles insane names. I'm being polite when I saw that these names roll off the tongue like a seven lane pile-up on an interstate highway. I resorted to calling most of them "vehicle friends". As far as I was concerned for the duration of the game, they were all small crappy metal things that shot at you.

++Deffskulls Speed Freek Outrider Detachment - 3 CP++

HQ
-Deffkilla Wartrike [Relic - Skargrim's Snazztrike, Shiny Gubbins - Gork's Roar, Warlord Trait - 'Ard as Nails]
-Big Mek on Warbike (Kustom Force Field)

Fast Attack
-2 Kustom Boosta Blastas (Burna Exhausts, Rivet Cannons) [Kustom Job - Sizzly Rivets]
-2 Boomdakka Snazzwagons [Kustom Job - Souped-up Speshul]
-2 Rukkatrukk Squigbuggies (Heavy Squig Launcha) [Kustom Job - Nitro-Powered Squigs]
-Shokkjump Dragsta (Kustom Shokk Rifle, Rokkit Launcha)
-Megatrakk Scrapjet
-8 Warbikers

From the outset I was nervous about the quantity of shooting in Chris' army. I know Orks aren't supposed to shoot well, but as the Russians would say, quantity has a quality all of its own. It also didn't help that there were no soft targets for my Rubrics to shoot up with their anti-infantry boltguns.

This is the board we intended to use to inflict violence on each other:

Setup

The scenario we played was "No Man's Land". Five objectives at regular intervals on the board. Deployment was on cross-table short board edges.

The new 9th edition mission scoring aligns with what ITC was previously. In your command phase, if you control an objective you get five victory points, if you control two, you get ten victory points, and controlling more than your opponent gets you fifteen victory points. To a maximum of forty five.

For secondaries, I selected Attrition, Bring it Down and Thin Their Ranks. Roughly translated, I got four victory points in a turn where I destroyed more units than Chris and at the end of the game, I got two victory points for each vehicle I destroyed and I got a victory point for each ten models I destroyed.

Chris' secondaries were Abhor the Witch, Engage on All Fronts and Thin Their Ranks. Roughly translated, Chris got three victory points for each psyker unit he destroyed (five in the case of a character), two victory points for each turn he had a unit in three table quarters (three if he had a unit in each table quarter) and a victory point for each ten models he destroyed.

The Orks won the roll-off and decided to attack. That meant I was picking deployment and deploying first.

Deployment

I wasn't sure what I was doing with deployment. I don't think I was thinking clearly, but whatever. It didn't help that I had fewer units and was deploying first, so picking battles was going to prove to be difficult.

I deployed the Tzaangors and Harvey on my left with Ahriman and the two Rubric Marine squads in the open on the right. We'd had a discussion about the buildings, so I was hesitant to put my marines on top - also because they were quite tall and getting down would've been a pain.

Despite being a ramshackle armoured corps, Chris still had a ton of small, awful vehicles - and so was able to effectively cover his side of the board. The speed of the Orks would allowed them to pull and attack in any direction they liked - whilst shooting like maniacs. Almost like they were some kind of Speed Freeks, or something.

Chris' deployment sone was bisected by a building - so the Speed Freek force split into two halves - the Deffkilla Wartrike and some vehicle friends on the right (whose names I won't bother typing out because I don't want to feel like I'm Gene Wilder in 'Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory')

Chris then deployed some more vehicle friends and warbikes on the left.

Chris then won the rolloff for first turn and opted, you guessed it, to go first.

Turn One

Kicking off, the ramshackle horde of awful Orky vehicles rolled into centre board, hooting and hollering about squig beer and goodyear tires. There was a slight traffic jam thanks to the large inconvenient buildings to either side. It made the end of the Ork movement phase closely resemble turn one on the opening lap of a Formula 1 race.

On the left flank, Chris' warbikes moved (and later advanced) into Dakkagun range of the Tzaangors and prepared to open the taps - of their bullet hoses.

The shooting phase was, maybe unexpectedly, quite effective. It later surfaced that Chris had forgotten to fire a pair of his long range vehicle friend weapons, which had taken about forty low-strength shots out of play. However, there was plenty to be happy about for the Orks, whose combined shooting removed a unit of Rubric Marines (even through a +1 invulnerable save stratagem, yikes), then lightly grazed Harvey Birdman and killed four Tzaangors.

Fortunately the assault phase was cancelled due to the distance between the two sides. In the morale phase, the Tzaangors opted to spend two command points to pass their leadership check, in order to keep their numbers in reasonable strength.

The Thousand Sons attempted a counter-attack by moving the Tzaangors and Harvey closer to two targets in the midfield - Harvey closed into a vehicle friend that I was reliably informed is called a 'Megatrakk Scrapjet' - and the Tzaangors chose to move toward the warbikers.

Ahriman tried his best to dole out the mortal wounds in the psychic phase, whilst also Warptiming the Tzaangors to guarantee their charge against the Warbikes. However the Psychic tests and subsequent damage rolls proved unable to inflict any meaningful damage - taking a wound off of a warbike and inflicting a single wound on an Ork vehicle.

Shooting was similarly uneventful, with the Thousand Sons on the far left having to move, preventing them from accessing their powerful stand-still stratagems. They were able to draw a bead to the warbikes, and combined shooting felled two bikes thanks to prior damage.

In the assault phase the Tzaangors bit down on their mouthguards and charged the bikes, whereas Harvey Birdman charged the vehicle now identified as a Megatrakk Scrapjet.

As to be expected of a unit that normally only hits on sixes but with volume of fire to compensate, the Warbikes inflicted massive casualties on the Tzaangors on overwatch, killing seven on the way in. In the ensuing assault phase, the huge casualtes prevented the Tzaangors from inflicting much damage and only managed to kill three warbikes.

If I thought that went poorly, I then watched Harvey fail to destroy (on 3+, it must be said) his Ramshackle Orkish target, scoring wound from five hits. Ork fightbacks were reasonable, killing five more Tzaangors and reducing the unit to little more than a speedbump - at least Harvey didn't take any damage. Though he was right in the middle of Orkish lines with a vehicle that was firing up its jets to disengage...

In the morale phase, two more Tzaangors fled, leaving the remainder accept the inevitable bludgeoning from the warbikers next turn.

Thousand Sons - 0
Orks - 0.6 (6) [Abhor the Witch - 3, Thin Their Ranks - 3]

Turn Two

With zero pressure on Chris' carpark and space all over the board, the ramshackle horde of Ork trash moved into the centre to prepare to shoot up anything that moved:

Elsewhere in the centre of the board, the Deffkilla Wartrike moved in the direction of the Tzaangor enlightened, keen on grilling some, then chopping the rest up with his klaw.

Meanwhile the Scrapjet fell back from Harvey to allow its other dirty vehicle friends move in and shoot him to death. I'd be lying if I didn't say I could see the writing on the wall from here. But I wasn't here for a haircut, so I said nothing and played on.

Chris' shooting was mercifully more toned down than last round. Unsurprisingly the combined fire of all the different vehicle friends on the left side of the board slew Harvey in quick order. This did have the advantage of leaving them with nothing to charge and run down in close combat, however.

On the right, Chris' shooting finally had issues cracking the tough Rubricae armor and also opted to shoot Ahriman who had forgotten the rules of the new edition and strayed outside the protective bubble of his dustball friends. Ahriman took three wounds, three Rubrics were slain and the Tzaangor Enlightened lost a a surfin' birdman. Although that last detail was not going to matter, as the Deffkilla Wartrike was in range to assault them anyway.

In the assault phase, the Warbikes dealt with the Tzaangors - rather than forcing Chris to shower me with dice, I opted to take the two models off the board to save time. The Deffkilla Wartrike did what it does best and slew the last enlightened in combat. Chris opted not to consolidate into combat with the Rubric marines after umming and ahh'ing on it. Largely academic, but I would've.

With such heavy losses inflicted in such a short amount of time, the Thousand Sons had limited ability to counter-attack. At least there were plenty of targets, though.

The Rubricae moved into the centre of the battlefield, trying their best to maximise their effectiveness by bringing their warpflamer to bear. Ahriman figured he'd roll the dice and try and kill the Warboss on his war-trike.

Finally the Scarab Occult landed in the backfield, intent on at least trying to save face and tanking their way out of trouble. But they'd have a lot of work to do, and not much time before every Ork vehicle friend was shooting at them instead of the Rubric Marines.

The Psychic phase was nearly one of great joy for the Thousand Sons, as Ahriman went big on a smite - only to roll a one, twice, for damage. He'd have to settle for a stubbed toe. It did mean he could kill the wartrike if he managed to wound the guy three times. But that was a big if. Prescience (+1 to hit) and Weaver of Fates (+1 Invulnerable) were cast on the Scarab Occult, with the hope to make them live just a little longer.

The shooting phase went about as well as it could've. The Scarab Occult inflicted some damage on the warbikers and managed to remove a vehicle friend - later identified as a Boomdakka Snazzwagon. Incidentally I think Willy Wonka and the Chocolate factory is a fantastic film.

That turned out to be a high watermark of the turn. Ahriman had his face melted by the Deffkilla Wartrike's heavy flamer whilst trying to assault it. The Rubricae had more like in assaulting another vehicle, identified as the second Snazzwagon. They inflicted minimal damage, but the Snazzwagon didn't inflict anything back - thus locked in boring stalemate.

At the end of turn two I knew the result was in the bag for Chris, but wanted to give him his money's worth. I've never been a fan of putting my hands up, even when the slight chance I thought I had goes out the window.

Thousand Sons - 10.2 (12) [0-Attrition, 2-Bring it Down, 0-Thin Their Ranks]
Orks - 15.13 (27) [8-Abhor the Witch, 3-Thin Their Ranks, 2-Engage on all Fronts]

Turn Three

With a mixture of blood and space dust in the water, the Orks proceeded to move around the Rubricae in the center right and line up to kill the Scarab Occult terminators.

Those who couldn't draw a bead or were too far back instead opted to circle around the Rubricae in the centre right of the board, with designs on shooting them to death.

Chris' unmolested gunline, still operating at near perfect efficiency, then took care of business - The Rubricae suffered six casualties from shooting. Meanwhile the Scarab Occult had their numbers trimmed to three, before the Deffkilla Wartrike opted not to shoot, hoping instead to charge in and carve up the Scarab Occult in close combat.

In the charge phase, the ramshackle mob made contact with the Rubricae on the objective in the centre-right, intent on claiming the objective for themselves to 'seal' the win for the Speed Freeks. Once the various vehicles had completed their attempts to hack, slash and otherwise hurt the Rubricae, only the Sorcerer was left, who failed to accomplish anything of import.

At the back of the board the Deffkilla Wartrike assaulted the Scarab Occult, with thoughts of tasty gubbins to augment his ride and make it shinier. Unfortunately, he would not take part in his Boyz' victory lap, as the Scarab Occult somehow survived his attacks and then managed to kill him in response. Not to be outdone, Chris used his last two command points to have the boss fight again (Orks is Never Beaten) and was able to remove the rest of the Scarab Occult.

With one model left on the board and two turns to accomplish killing my Sorcerer, we called the game there. A comprehensive win to the Orks.

The Wash Up

So I lost. Badly. I didn't know what I expected, but I expected to at least make it to five turns. Instead I got two and a half. That being said, Chris played well and made the most of his overwhelming firepower advantage.

I don't want to take away from Chris after he played to his strengths and made the scenario worked for him. But I foolishly threw away the Tzaangors against the warbikes, and didn't deploy defensively enough to mitigate the potential risk of Chris going first and blasting me into atoms.

I didn't really get to experience the difference in 9th changes this game, but that's to be expected of a game so up and down.

Man of the Match - Deffkilla Wartrike

In a game full of strong performers, it's hard to find a diamond. But in a pinch I'd have to give it to Chris' HQ, the Deffkilla Wartrike. Fast, hard-hitting and difficult to hurt thanks to T8, it also packs a punch of reliable damage thanks to a less-than-power klaw and Gork's Roar (the relic Skorcha). His kill tally included three surfin' birds, Ahriman and almost an entire squad of Scarab Occult terminators. One to watch.

Le Hidden Gem - The Entire Army

I didn't know what to expect from the Speed Freeks, but I know what I didn't expect - to be shot to pieces, then run over by awful ramshackle vehicles that I was unable to pronounce the names of. It's almost the Orky version of Dark Eldar - would be interesting to see how a 2,000 point Speedmob would go on the tabletop.

That's all for today - see you at the next instalment of the Weekly War!

Catch you next time,
Vulkan

Did you like this article? Did you hate it? Go over and keep the discussion going on the official Vulkan's Corner facebook page! - whilst you're at it, leave a like!

Rowan Naveau

About Rowan Naveau

I'm Rowan (Vulkan) - and this is my blog. Here you'll find a stream of consciousness about video games, wargaming and just about everything else.