The Weekly War - Thousand Sons v Red Scorpions

The Weekly War - Thousand Sons v Red Scorpions

Welcome back to the war for another week - this week sees Ahriman take on the Imperial Fist successors in the Red Scorpions - played and lovingly collected by my father. For respect reasons I will not be publishing his name. You'll have to conduct social engineering to find the identity of this mysterious 'Dad' figure. Good luck - it'll give Alpharius a run for his money.

Anyway here is my 2000 points of Thousand Sons. I didn't take another group shot, and I don't care how that makes you feel.

++Thousand Sons Battalion Detachment -5 CP++

HQ
-Ahriman [Death Hex, Prescience, Warptime]
-'Harvey Birdman' - Winged Daemon Prince (Duplicitous Tactician, Perfidious Tome) [Temporal Manipulation, Diabolic Strength]

Troops
-10 Rubric Marines (Soulreaper Cannon, Warpflamer) [Glamour of Tzeentch]
-10 Rubric Marines (Soulreaper Cannon, Warpflamer) [Weaver of Fates]
-20 Tzaangors (Brayhorn)

Elites
-10 Scarab Occult Terminators (2 Soulreaper Cannons, 2 Hellfyre Missile Racks) [Didn't bother with a power]

Fast Attack
-3 Tzaangor Enlightened (Fatecaster Greatbows)

++Chaos Daemons Battalion Detachment - 5CP++

HQ
-'Mega Ultra Chicken' - Lord of Change (Baleful Sword, Incorporeal Form, The Impossible Robe) [Boon of Change, Bolt of Change, Infernal Gateway]
-Herald of Tzeentch (Rod of Sorcery) [Gaze of Fate, Flickering Flames]

Troops
-14 Horrors
-10 Horrors
-10 Horrors

Leaving enough points for a unit of three screamers and three flamers.

On the table today are Dad's Red Scorpions. They were his 'secret' project for a long time - a product of fifth edition before GW awkwardly shifted into 6th edition and it got crap.

I didn't take a group shot of Dad's miniatures either. It's not that I didn't care, it's just... you know.

++Imperial Fists Battalion Detachment - 5 CPs++

HQ
-Chapter Master (Relic Blade, The Armour Indomitus)
-Terminator Captain (Thunder Hammer, Storm Shield)

Troops
-5 Scouts (Sniper Rifles, Heavy Bolter
-5 Tactical Marines (Missile Launcher)
-5 Tactical Marines (Missile Launcher)
-5 Tactical Marines (Missile Launcher)

Elites
-Relic Sicarian Battle Tank (Twin Accelerator Autocannon)
-8 Assault Terminators (Thunder Hammers, Storm Shields)

Heavy Support
-5 Centurion Devastators (Grav-cannon, Missile Launcher)
-Predator Destructor (Sponson Heavy Bolters)

Flyer
-Stormtalon Gunship (Twin Assault Cannon, Two Lascannons)
-Stormtalon Gunship (Twin Assault Cannon, Two Lascannons)

The Table

Are you envious of our 4th edition battlemat? So smooth.

Setup

We played 'Ascension' - 3 objectives at equal intervals, with VPs awarded for each objective controlled at the end of each turn. Pundits who read my blog will recognise this as an ultra-modern version of the 'bean counter' missions from years past.

Objective placement

I won the roll-off to 'attack' and Dad picked 'Dawn of War' deployment. The Thousand Sons would be deploying first.

Deployment

I deployed "my dudes" centrally, hoping to move my carpet of horrors and other terrible, terrible creatures out like a blanket to quickly take objectives. I was playing Cult of Duplicity, so could afford to stretch a unit of Rubric marines out on each flank and then bring it back with my Warlord Trait.

I placed the Scarab Occult terminators in reserve. I knew Dad was reserving a large force of assault terminators, but I knew if I was patient I would get to deploy mine in response.

Dad deployed a little differently. The centre on his side of the board was completely open, so it was a wise idea not to deploy in it. The tactical marines and scouts deployed in the buildings to my left (his right) along with the two Stormtalons (which, because I like the name, will occasionally refer to them as Thunderbudgies).

Red Scorpions' Left

He completely abandoned his left (my right) flank - leaving the Rubricae on my right with nothing to shoot at. As far back as he reasonably could, Dad also assembled a firebase of centurions, the Sicarian and the Predator. In the middle, his chapter master was tucked snugly to create a big old re-roll to hit bubble.

The re-roll parlour - lovely!

Dad attempted to seize the initiative, but was unable to. The Thousand Sons would be going first. A good thing too, because there were a lot of guns.

Before everything kicked off, I used my warlord trait to move my unit of Thousand Sons from my right flank to the left flank. Surprise!

Turn One

The Thousand Sons started things off rather quickly - Harvey Birdman scooted up the board but was careful to leave himself in convenient Warptime distance from Ahriman. There was a general advance sounded for the Horrors in the middle of the board and Mega Ultra Chicken flapped his big birdnasty wings and headed for the Red Scorpions' firebase.

The psychic phase is where things kicked off in a big way - first, a unit of Thousand Sons managed to cast Sorcerous Facade on the unit of Tzaangors - dumping them right in the middle of the Red Scorpions' lines:

Hullo, boys!

Elsewhere, Harvey Birdman successfully buffed himself up and was then Warptimed in the direction of the Space Marines, setting up a first turn charge - and also smiting three Red Scorpions in the process.

There was very little shooting to speak of - a lone stray bolt chipped the paint of the Stormtalon.

The charge phase was perfect for the Thousand Sons - Harvey Birdman ploughed into the tactical marines from one side and the Tzaangors came in from the other - one big Tzeentch sandwich. A Tzeentchwich, if you will:

Battle is joined right at the end of the Red Scorpions' line

The fight phase went extremely well, as you can imagine - Harvey switched to claws and blendered a unit of tactical marines, consolidating into the other. The Tzaangors, not to be outdone, declared that they were "Ten Thousand Year Old Goats" and butchered the Scouts and Tactical Marines.

In one crushing phase, the Thousand Sons had ripped the guts out of the Red Scorpions' right flank. Still, killing ten marines and five scouts isn't particularly impressive, and retribution was coming...

Between turns, the Thousand Sons collected a VP from Horrors contesting the centre objective.

Thousand Sons - 1, Red Scorpions - 0

With infantry engaged and the enemy on their doorstep, the Red Scorpions barely had to move. The only exception were the Stormtalons, which moved into the middle of the board. The mission was clear - blast the bejeesus out of Harvey Birdman:

zoom zoom zoom!

Elsewhere the Sicarian moved closer to the centre of the board. Then the Centurions formed a ring around the Tzaangors, intent on shooting them, then beating them to death in combat. Some folks, eh?

Smashed goat, anyone?

With Dad's least favourite phase completed, now was time for the reward for his labor - shooting. There was a bit of it to go around. The Sicarian used "Big Guns Never Tire" to prevent movement penalties and combined firepower with the Predator to 'kill' five Rubric Marines. The centurions kind of made good on their threat and removed eight goats - their weapons proving to be slightly the wrong kind for mostly naked, barely armed birdgoatmen.

The budgies made good on their threat and between twenty-four assault cannon shots and four lascannon shots, managed to make enough heat stick to kill Harvey - which would've been a big blow, if he hadn't already delivered his particular brand of violence to the Red Scorpions hanging out in the building.

The charge and fight phase was fairly succint - in came the Centurions and with sheer volume (seventeen) of attacks, they killed another five (bringing the tally to thirteen killed in a turn). The Tzaangors, having been reduced to three now, could do nothing in return and decided they should probably flee.

The Centurions deliver justice for their fallen brothers.

Between turns the Horrors had been spared the worst of the Space Marines' firepower and so held onto the objective to score another point.

Thousand Sons - 2, Red Scorpions - 0

End of turn one

Turn Two

With so much violence in the first turn, it was definitely all downhill from here. Both sides had taken serious losses, now it was time to see who could make the best of the rest.

The Daemons had been left mostly unscratched by the Red Scorpions and so endeavoured to make enough of a nuisance of themselves to beome targets. Mega-Ultra Chicken, irate at being unable to use his swank robes to save any hits from the carpark, decided to swoop in and start doing something about it.

I didn't pay for parking! Caw!

On the other side of the board, the remaining Rubricae from the mauled squad and the horrors converged on the Stormtalons - intent on exacting some revenge. Maybe - Mr. Birdman has a reputation for being demanding. I did take a picture, but the shooting phase required to remove wounds from the budgies was so tedious, the photo was declared 'too boring to post'. Sorry about that.

The movement done, the violence began in earnest. On the left a total of three wounds were smited off of a Budgie, and Flickering Flames was cast on the horrors to make their shooting attacks stronger. The Lord of Change, busy ruining the Red Scorpions' security carpark, manged to take a wound from the Chapter Master and boost himself to toughness eight with Boon of Tzeentch. Not bad.

With the advent of the shooting phase, the violence really amped up. Buffed to infinity and beyond, between the combined firepower of the Rubric Marines and two units of Horrors, one Budgie was destroyed and the other at about half wounds. It looked like the second budgie would live to regret buzzing the Thousand Sons...

...Until I used "Infernal Fullisade" to shoot twice with the unit of ten Rubrics. Having already been boosted by Veterans of the Long War, the Budgie was quickly toasted.

Powered by infernal warp magicks and an extra off-screen unit of Rubricae, the Thousand Sons ground the Stormtalons permanently.

With the shooting phase over bar the tears, it was Mega Ultra Chicken's turn to shine on the right flank. He opted to declare a charge on the Sicarian and the Chapter Master, hoping to participate in a good old fashioned assassination. He made his charge distance to Chapter Master Ablative, who picked up his relic blade and prepared to meet the threat head on.

When ensued was the world's most boring fight scene - The Lord of Change couldn't hurt the Chapter Master and the Chapter Master couldn't hurt the Lord of Change.

Mega Ultra Chicken tries frantically to murder the Chapter Master to stop the re-rolls

But all the while the battle was being fought on the Thousand Sons' terms - Horrors had maintained control of the central objectives and were accumulating beans at an alarming rate.

Thousand Sons - 3, Red Scorpions - 0

As is now customary, turn two for the Red Scorpions began with the awkward shifting of gears from Devastator Doctrine to Tactical Doctrine. It's been a while since the gearbox has been used.

Gears shifted, the Chapter Master fell back from the Lord of Change, intending to let his Centurion friends handle the dirty work.

Caught in the carpark, the Lord of Change prepares to be taught a lesson by security.

Meanwhile on the Thousand Sons' right flank, the Red Scorpions' terminator armoured reserve appeared.

If the shift to tactical doctrine was supposed to reduce the efficacy of the Red Scorpion carpark, the Red Scorpions certainly didn't seem to take notice. Expertly splitting fire, nine Rubric Marines and four Horrors were slain by the Predator and Sicarian - and the Centurions, despite again having the wrong weapons for the job (and not using their stratagem...) managed to chip three wounds from the Lord of Change.

The Centurions decided to charge into the Lord of Change to finish what they'd started. Whilst the Terminators, having dropped too far to the right in order to start capturing VPs for the Red Scorpions, were unable to find any targets to vent their hammer-based frustrations on. In combat the Lord of Change took another three wounds from the Centurions - and opted to use his staff in return, inflicting three wounds on the Centurions - not enough to kill one.

At the end of the game turn, things were starting to swing in favour of the Thousand Sons - but there was a long time left in the ballgame yet.

Thousand Sons - 4, Red Scorpions 1

Gamestate at the end of turn two

Turn Three

The Thousand Sons intended to exploit their asendancy in the middle (rather fitting, considering the mission) and moved their horror cohort further into the middle of the table. Ahriman had a thirst to start smiting stuff and so advanced on the right. At the end of the movement phase, the Herald summoned in some Screamers of Tzeentch to start eating the Red Scorpion vehicles, and the mighty Scarab Occult arrived, reacting to the Red Scorpion reserves.

The Scarab Occult join the game.

A unit of Rubric Marines cast sorcerous facade to move into the Red Scorpion backfield to snipe the remaining two Tactical Marines who had survived the initial assault - but before they could accomplish their goal, Ahriman rolled an 11 for Smite and crushed them - leaving the Rubricae feeling sheepish. Otherwise the Terminators were targeted by Prescience to improve their shooting. The last highlight was Mega Ultra Chicken rolling hot on infernal gateway and bolt of change to turn the Chapter Master into a Chaos Spawn - both causing more headaches for the Red Scorpions and removing their re-rolls.

Shooting was suitably brutal, with the Scarab Occult unloading into the Sicarian. Between almost forty inferno boltgun shots, hellfyre missile racks and soulreaper cannons the Sicarian was hundred-to-zeroed in a brutal display of firepower.

In the charge phase the freshly arrived spawn wanted to charge and hold up the predator, only to be brutally murdered by autocannon and heavy bolter fire. A minor setback. The Lord of Change wielded his staff of tomorrow with deadly efficiency, removing an additional two centurions in combat.

The Lord of Change eyes off the predator as the Centurion is unable to hold him at bay.

With the Horrors holding the two objectives in the middle, the Thousand Sons were really starting to gain a decisive upper hand.

Thousand Sons 6, Red Scorpions 2

Fast running out of options and active units, the Red Scorpion reply was short. The terminators advanced towards the horrors in the centre. The predator managed to kill a Screamer of Tzeentch with all of its guns. But the Terminators were still too far away to perform a charge. Lastly the Lord of Change slew the last centurion in combat with his staff.

Thousand Sons 8, Red Scorpions 3

Turn Four

Now in complete control, the Thousand Sons started to roll downhill and take their foot off of the gas. There was no shooting - only the Lord of Change acted in anger, charging the predator, although inflicting no damage.

Thousand Sons 10, Red Scorpions 4

In response, the Terminators finally reached a range where they were able to declare an assault on the Horrors. In a completely predictable result, the assault terminators made short work of the horrors.

It's hammer time!

As to be expected, the terminators did such a stellar job they managed to obliterate everyone within close combat range - thus allowing them to be shot next turn.

At this point with the Red Scorpions terminators under the guns of the entire Thousand Sons army, the decision was made to call the game there. A win for the Thousand Sons.

The Wash Up

It's always a good game with Dad. He plays hard and fair - as someone who likes playing for the love of the game, it's always a pleasure. Be it getting flogged mercilessly or winning with grace and style, Dad always has the same friendly face. It's what's always inspired me in organised play to be fair, be reasonable, but be friendly.

Unfortunately this result was nowhere near friendly for Dad. The Thousand Sons got away early, took full advantage of the space offered by the decision to abandon the centre. They forced the Red Scorpions to play catchup and unfortunately they had neither the bodies or the firepower to wrestle the game back. A second crushing turn that cost both Stormtalons, and a decision to put the Terminators on the far right where they could have little impact also hurt a lot.

After the hectic start, it was then the Scarab Occult terminators who turned the game from a slow grinding loss to a rout as the Sicarian was obliterated.

Without seeming whiny, these games are tough to play. They're so one-sided you never have to make tough decisions, and the whole time you're so far ahead that nothing your opponent (in this case Dad) does has any meaningful impact. Admittedly, Dad hasn't played space marines in a long time and was still learning as he played - having to make tough tactical decisions whilst also dealing with the positives and negatives of the unknown represents a significant challenge.

I'll remember this next time he stomps my Thousand Sons to jelly with his Imperial Knights.

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.