The Weekly War - Thousand Sons v Black Legion

The Weekly War - Thousand Sons v Black Legion

Long before I became like everyone else and wrote about video games like it wasn't some already well-trodden format, I wrote about miniatures. The original thirty editions of Vulkan's corner were facebook notes, detailing my results at local events, army lists and tactics on how to deal with armies that I didn't have good enough results to play against (looking at you, Aircav.)

Recently I have been making an effort to get back to my roots (barely) and made a commitment to try and cover my casual 40k games with a bit more professionalism (snort, chuckle.)

So I'd like to take this opportunity to try a semi-regular (just like everything else on this godforsaken site) article entitled "The Weekly War" whereupon I discuss my wargaming jaunts. Please don't be too harsh on my unpainted miniatures - because I don't care.

I'm sure in days, weeks and months to come I will take a combined profile shot of my army so people are more accurately able to visualise what's going on - but for now, you'll have to settle for a text dump. Without costings, because you need to go and get the codex yourself, you cheapskate.

This is my 1000 points of Thousand Sons:

++Thousand Sons Patrol Detachment++

HQ
-Ahriman

Troops
-10 Rubric Marines (Soulreaper Cannon, Warpflamer)

++Chaos Daemons Battalion Detachment - 5 CP++

HQ
-Mega Ultra Chicken (Lord of Change)
-Herald of Tzeentch (I'm using the changeling model because I like it)

Troops
-10 Horrors
-10 Horrors
-10 Horrors

Leaving some points in reserve for a single unit each of 3 Flamers and 3 Screamers.

On the table that night were my good friend Andrew's Black Legion. Andrew is what we like to call a "closeted hyperviolence enthusiast" - meaning he's one fall of society away from actually building a throne of skulls.

This was his list:

++Black Legion Unbound Army++

HQ
-Master of Possession

Troops
-9 Chaos Space Marines (Autocannon, Plasma Pistol)

Elites
-2 Greater Possessed

Heavy Support
-2 Obliterators
-Venomcrawler

Lord of War
-Chaos Knight

Our table - note Andrew's undeployed miniatures on the left.

The scenario played was "The Scouring" - six objectives worth 3 VP each with standard secondaries.

I won the rolloff for objectives and so Andrew picked Vanguard Strike for deployment - board divided in half diagonally.

Deployment

Andrew deployed his knight and chaos marines in the centre, whilst preparing what looked like a savage flanking attack with the Venomcrawler, Master of Possessions and Greater Possessed all deployed to the far left.

Meanwhile I did my best zero-thought required deployment and instead deployed in a neat little pattern in my deployment zone. I cannot stress to you enough, dear reader, how little I thought about this deployment.

With the forces arrayed for battle and the table set - I was unable to seize the initiative. Andrew would have the first turn.

Deployment

Turn One

Despite the claustrophobic deployment, there was plenty of moving to be done by the Black Legion - Andrew's flanking force advanced and his Chaos Knight lumbered forward to try and man-mode the Thousand Sons in the centre.

Andrew's shooting was uneventful - the mighty Chaos Knight laser found its mark on Mega Ultra-Chicken (despite a command-point re-roll) but unfortunately only managed to inflict a single wound. Otherwise the remainder of turn one shooting was either innacurate or failed to inflict any damage.

In response, the Thousand Sons did... nothing. My reasoning was that with such a low points game there was plenty of time and despite the promised violence of the Chaos Knight, I had reasonable tools to resist its huge death laser.

So turn one concluded without much fanfare.

Advance of the Black Legion - note Andrew clenching his fists in anticipation of the slaughter to come.

Turn Two

Andrew's force of fast moving assets on the Sons' left continued to advance - with the exception of the Venomcrawler who opted to fire its 'extortion cannon' - lovely. The Chaos Knight tried to move further into the centre, but its advance was blocked by a particularly tiny and obnoxious gap between the building and a volcanic lava flow.

Seeking an early opportunity to soften up the Thousand Sons before his flanking force was in charge range, Andrew's Obliterators arrived from reserve on the Thousand Sons' left:

Hello, boys!

With that done, the violence began in earnest. Not before the attempted psychic powers from the Chaos Knight and Master of Possession were denied.

Overall it was another shooting phase to forget for the Black Legion. The Knight's big gun of death failed to hit and remaining shooting achieved little. The Obliterators killed two Rubric Marines after rolling minimums for strength and for AP, compounded by my choice to increase their invulnerable save with a stratagem.

To cap off what was an outstandingly awful turn for Andrew's dice, his Obliterators and his Knight failed their charge moves. In particularly insulting fashion, his Obliterators also lost two wounds in the attempt.

Now with targets in what would be considered "optimum range" for combat, the Lord of Change opted to fly towards the Chaos Knight. At the same time, the Herald summoned in fresh reinforcements in the form of three Flamers near the Obliterators.

The psychic phase was a mixed bag. On the one hand, the Lord of Change super-smited the unit of Chaos Space marines, crushing three and granted himself an extra limb with a Chaos boon. On the other hand, the Rubricae nearly suffered perils of the warp (avoided with a re-roll) - only for Ahriman to show his boys how it's done and inflict three wounds to himself. He was able to shake off his magical wanker's cramp to at least smite the Obliterators, killing one.

The shooting phase was grindy but not without result as the combined firepower of the Horrors and Flamers was enough to pick off the second Obliterator. The Rubric Marines were also able to take five wounds from the Venomcrawler.

The Lord of Change charged into the Chaos Marines, knowing that the Chaos Knight would want to fight it later. Unfortunately my dice turned sour, only managing to slay a single Chaos Space Marine.

At this point things were going well for the Thousand Sons - I had managed to extract some value out of exchange of big beasts and the Obliterators had been seen off without much fanfare. But the game lasts for six turns, after all.

OM NOM NOM - Mega Ultra Chicken comes down hard on the Black Legionnaires

Turn Three

With hostilities finally starting to escalate, Andrew's flanking force had finally managed to advance into charge threat range. Meanwhile the Chaos Knight could not ignore the Lord of Change stomping on his Chaos Marines and stomped towards Mega Ultra Chicken, intent on starting a brawl. Just as planned.

Intent on stopping the world's most one-sided fist fight, Andrew's Chaos Knight charges into the fray.

In the Psychic Phase, the Master of Posession finally managed to get those chants right and crushed a Rubric Marine. Immediately afterward he then said a Daemonic cuss-word and was given a chaos admin slap for a word.

The Chaos shooting was again a mixed bag - the Chaos Knight and Venomcrawler finally managed to find targets, killing three Rubricae. As the Chaos Marines fired their bolt pistols, the Aspiring Champion opted to overcharge his plasma pistol - the weapon decided it was too old and too rich for this shit and killed him instead.

Unfortunately the Legion's attempt to soften their targets and provide a less hostile overwatch led to their targets being all out of charge distance. Except for the Venomcrawler, which had apparently re-routed all power to its guns and failed its charge distance. Real violence would have to wait until next turn. The "Lord of Change versus the world" combat in the middle of the board had no result - the fighting could continue to grind on for another turn.

Knowing the Chaos murder machines would struggle to make it through all the horrors the Thousand Sons began to consolidate their hold on objectives. A unit of Pink Horrors made a beeline for the objective in the top right. At the same time, the Rubricae retreated to let their Pink Horror friends form a squishy barrier.

In the psychic phase the Lord of Change sucked the remaining Chaos Marines into an infernal warp gateway. This same gateway inflicted some structural damage to the knight. At this point the Chaos Gods declared they were sick of Ahriman's shit and proceeded to deny everything else. Boon of Change? Denied. Time Flux? Denied. Finally in an attempt to cast Smite, Ahriman summoned all of his power in an att- denied.

Shooting was just as uneventful. With the greater possessed being untargetable, the only target was the Venomcrawler. Despite huffing, puffing and firing all their boltguns at the clanking warp turd, it refused to die. In the fight phase, Mega Ultra Chicken gave the Chaos Knight an almighty smack wit his sword - dealing seven wounds. In return the Chaos Knight continued to struggle having its unwieldy fist strike home. It was not going well.

At the conclusion of Turn 3, the large gap the Thousand Sons had opened up was starting to close. The Venomcrawler had proved to be a spanner in the works, protecting the far squishier (and far more dangerous) greater possessed in tow. Despite poor advance rolls and poorer shooting, the time had come for the Black Legion to claw it back.

Turn Four

Finally after three turns of plodding along, the Black Legion flanking force hit the front line of Chaos Horrors. Andrew rubbed his hands with glee in anticipation of the murder to come. At the conclusion of the movement phase, the Master of Possession attempted a sacrifice one of the greater possessed. But the poor fellow must've heard him and so bolted before the Master could hack him up.

The psychic phase was a bust as both sides had settled in to denying each other. The shooting was also uneventful as the Black Legion had run out of guns. The lone highlight was the Venomcrawler killing a Rubricae with it's delightful 'extortion' cannon.

Finally the time had arrived to fight stuff. With minimum distances required across the board, a single unit of horrors was left to deal with two greater possessed and a Venomcrawler. It didn't look pretty...

After four turns, the fight is finally joined.

However, just as the Master of Possession looked to be able to charge in and deliver the crucial added force - he apparently ran out of electrolyes or something and failed his charge.

It was a portent of things to come, as the Venomcrawler and two Greater Possessed were unable to get past the horror screen. In a show of clever casualty removal (removing the only model close enough to the greater possessed to deny it attacking) and extraordinarily poor dice, a single horror was slain in the fight phase. Andrew could barely believe it. In the centre of the table, the knight and Mega Ultra Chicken traded haymakers, inflicting six wounds on each other.

The Horror screen still being present was a tremendous result for the Thousand Sons, who were then able to counter-attack and fight on their terms.

The psychic phase was one to remember. Time Flux was denied (again) - but a smite inflicted crucial wounds on a greater possessed. But the play of the day came from Ahriman, who turned the master of possession into a Chaos Spawn! Something which made me and Andrew so incredulous I cackled maniacally for thirty seconds.

The subsequent shooting phase went by quickly with the Rubricae using their boltguns to remove the unengaged possessed. In the fight phase, the Venomcrawler was shocked to find its master now trying to tear it apart from the rear. The horrors lost another casualty to the engaged greater possessed and neither the knight nor the Lord of Change were able to inflict any meaningful damage to each other.

The turn had started with Andrew's threat of violence finally reaching its promised conclusion - only for his dice to absolutely desert him. I was clever in the combat, taking advantage of his multiple combatants - but even then the horrors should've died in droves. Once the master of possession had been spawn-ified, that, to me, signalled the death-knell.

Turn Five

At this point we had been playing for two hours and things get kind of hazy from here. There was no shooting to speak of from either side as the combat had been joined, and there was naught to do but grind it out.

As it so happened, the cosmic dinner bell rang at the end of my turn five, and the game was concluded. In the end, it was a minor victory to the Thousand Sons, who had managed to stake their claim on one objective to the right, and contest the other two that Andrew still had miniatures near.

I would speculate on the likely outcome of the game if there were more turns, but that sounds awful.

The Wash Up

This was a casual garagehammer game between friends. I cannot stress enough that Andrew is an excellent opponent. No matter if he's winning handily, or recieving a horrendous spanking, he takes it all his stride. A true gentleman. Which comes in handy because his dice were abysmal. Maybe he pissed in Khorne's cheerios.

That being said, the only thing that bothered me was that Andrew insisted on having his Obliterators deep strike early to pressure the Rubricae. Admittedly their dice were so awful that their contribution may not have mattered anyway, but I would've thought having the greater possessed AND the Venomcrawler AND the Obliterators all coming in at one time might've been enough.

Oh and he totally took the bait and went after Mega Ultra Chicken. It's a different pot of potatoes if he had sent his Chaos Knight after my Horrors instead of letting Mega Ultra Chicken lock him into an atrocious five-turn combat with no resolution.

Overall, an absolute pleasure of a game to play - and I hope you look out for a few more of these battle reports in future. I'll try and do them and document them as best I can - I did have a lot of fun writng this one.

Catch you next time,
Vulkan

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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.