With the new Warzone Charadron rules out we took two of the new stuff in the book agaisnt each other. The Skitarii Veteran Cohort and Bel'akor!
Army of Renown - Skitarii Veteran Cohort
Tech Priest Manipulus - Sonic Reaper
Tech Priest Dominus - Solar Flare, Luminescent Blessing (Transhuman)
Skitarii Marshall - Cantic Thrallnet, Firepoint Telemetry Cache (Cover)
20 Rangers - 1 Arc Rifle, Omnispex and Data-tether
20 Rangers - Omnispex and Data-tether
20 Vangaurd - Omnispex and Data-tether
20 Vanguard - Omnispex and Data-tether
10 Ruststalkers - Temporcopia
3 Ironstriders Ballistari - Twin Lascannons
Khorne Daemon patrol
1x30 Bloodletters [daemonic icon, instrument of chaos, banner of blood]
World Eaters Battalion
Chaos Terminator Lord [warlord, violent urgency, berserker glaive]
Kharn the Betrayer
3x5 Berserkers [chainaxes and chainswords, power fist on Sgt, icon of wrath]
1x8 Berserkers [chainaxes and chainswords, power fist on Sgt, icon of wrath]
2x5 Chaos Marines [chainswords and bolt pistols]
1x10 Chaos Terminators [Red butchers, Power Axed, combi bolters]
3 Chaos Rhinos
With two tournaments coming up at the end of the month with the end of restrictions in the UK I’m looking to get one more game of practise in with my Ad Mech. With Warzone Charadron Book of Fire out we thought it’d be great to get a battle report featuring two of the armies in it. Liam’s bringing a heavy melee army with the Be'lakor and his World Eaters so I’m interested to see how my Ad Mech do. If his Berserkers or Red Butchers make it to me they will tear (and rip) apart my army.
Be'lakor also seems crazy strong, that -1 to wound, -1 to hit in shooting and no re-rolls seems to show he’ll be pretty difficult to take down. I think the only way I can manage this is with Enriched Rounds.
Be'lakor is finally out! and I'm itching to use him. I've brought my World Eaters alongside him in a Khorne Daemon patrol detachment. This army is far from being optimised, but who cares, I got a bunch of melee power and that's all Khorne cares about!
James is using the new Skitarii Vanguard Cohort today and these guys seem a little bit silly... but I'm gonna do what I can to kill as many of his models as possible!
The Mission and board
Grand Tournament 2021
32. Sweep and Clear
I’ve deployed pretty offensively with my Skitarii, Liam has little shooting so I can afford to be a bit more in the open with these units. My Ironstriders are also in the open for the same reason - something that I've got used to not doing at all. I’ve deployed a unit of Dragoons and the Ruststalkers deeper in my deployment for a counter-strike threat and also to help keep Liam’s Be'lakor, Red Butchers and Bloodletters from deep striking behind me.
So knowing that James' damage output is incredibly high, I deploy as much as I can out of LoS of his units. I spend loads of CP pregame to deepstrike the Bloodletters and Be'lakor. Normally I'd start Be'lakor on the table as he soaks up so much shooting, but when you're facing an army that has access to the (frankly overpowered) Enriched Rounds stratagem, I can't afford to keep him on the board, otherwise James would capitalise on this and quite easily kill him in a single turn.
James's Ad Mech
I start the turn with the pre-game move from the front Rangers unit. I activate the Protector Doctrina, this should help pop any Rhinos and their goods inside when and if I can get line of sight of them. Carrying on in my Command Phase, I put Luminescent Blessing, Fire Point Telemetry Cache, Galvanic Fields and Cantic Thrallnet (Bulwark Doctrina) onto the other Ranger unit.
Into the movement phase I activate the Solar Flare onto the Rangers and teleport my Dominus and the Rangers up onto the hill on the other side of the table, in clear line of sight of Liam's hidden Rhinos.
The Vanguard units both advance up and roll high, thanks to the Skitarii Veteran Cohort they both roll pretty high. Elsewhere the Ironstriders move up on the other flank to try and edge out a bit of line of sight on one of the Rhinos. The rest of the army moves up and spreads out, I want to try and clear and block out as large an area as I can for Liam's Turn 2 Deep Striking units. I also use the Sesmic Bomb stratagem on Liam's hidden Rhino in the L-Blocker, I don't want him moving up with it and if I can get him to unload the Berserkers now all the better.
Going straight to the shooting phase I open up with the Ironstriders and they pop open the first Rhino. I follow up with the Ranger unit ahead of them who due to the Lucius Dogma of increased range I have 19/20 models within range of Liam's Berserkers who find themselves on the wrong end of a Galvanic Rifle. The other unit of Rangers activates the Galvanic Volley stratagem and takes out the other Rhino.
At the end of my turn I score my 3 points for Direct Assault.
So before I even have my turn 1 I've already lost 2 Rhinos, this could be rough. I move my Berserkers up towards the middle of the board and staying out of LoS to help mitigate any potential Overwatch shots, and disembark the Berserkers and Kharn from the Rhino towards the Rangers in the top left quarter.
The shooting phase comes and goes with nothing happening, so we go straight into the charge phase.
I declare a charge with the top unit of Berserkers, and James elects to Overwatch with the Rangers, killing 3 of them as a result. Luckily, I pass all the charges I need to; Kharn and the Berserkers go into the Rangers, my other unit of Berserkers charges into the Vanguard in the middle of the board, and my 3 remaining Chaos Marines charge into the Rangers just to help contest the objective.
I fight first with the Berserkers in the top left, and thanks to Kharn's rerolls, manage to kill a good amount of them. James then spends the 2cp needed to Interrupt, and thanks to his Army of Renown granting all his infantry an extra attack, manages to kill 4 of my Berserkers despite hitting on 5s. This has really hampered my plans of contesting the centre objective.
After that's all done though, I fight with the rest of my units and manage to kill 18 Rangers in the top left, 3 Vanguard from the centre unit and 2 Rangers from the bottom left unit. I fail morale on the centre unit of Berserkers, losing the squad in the process... ouch.
I don't score any points on Vital Ground, but do score 2 points on Engage on all Fronts this turn. Be'lakor hasn't arrived yet, so no points on Psychic Interrogation yet.
So at the end of Turn 1 I scored my 3 points for Uncharted Sequencing and 3 for Grind Them Down leaving me on a healthy 24 points after my Primary had been scored Turn 2. My two Rangers having been kept alive thanks to Acquisition At All Cost helps me maintain my hold on that top left objective. I don’t use a Doctrina this turn, there's not too much to do so I don't see much point this turn. The aim this turn is to push out of my deployment zone and into the board to give Liam very little choice on where to deepstrike.
Into my command phase, my Dominus puts the Luminsicent Blessing and Logi Initial buff onto the Rangers on the hill with him and the Marshall uses their Data Tether to grant them Fire-Point Telemetry Cache. He uses Cantic Thrallnet on them to give them the Bulwark Doctrina and ignore the Deficiency on the Aggressor Doctrina. Finally the Manipulus puts his Galvanic Field onto the Vanguard in the centre.
A pretty short turn 2 in which I clear up the Chaos Space Marines and Berserkers that have broken through the lines and my Fusiliave uses his Bomb Rack on the hidden Chaos Marines in the L Blocker.
Thankfully I lose nowhere near as much as I did on turn 1, but I did still lose a unit of Berserkers and Kharn. Luckily my movement phase is short and sweet, bringing in the Red Butchers and Be'lakor to try and put some pressure onto James' army - I really need to contest the middle of the board if I have any hope of clawing my way back into this game.
Psychic phase arrives, and since I can't draw any LoS onto James' characters from Be'lakor, I cast Penumbral Curse on the middle unit of Vanguard; this means they suffer a -1 to wound penalty with melee attacks. Shooting phase is also pretty quick, I fire all of my combi bolters from the Butchers into the bottom right Rangers, only managing to kill 3 in the process.
The charge phase arrives, and it couldn't go any worse. I fail every single charge that I attempt, despite having access to +1 to charge from the Chaos Lord and rerolls from CP and Icons of Wrath. It's really not going well for me so far.
With another 24 points on my Secondaries and Primaries I’m looking very healthy on points. I know this turn is going to hurt as Liam's got his Bloodletter Bomb in reserve still. This turn is all about “operation remove Be'lakor.” Liam got super unlucky here and failed both his Terminator and Be'lakor charges. At the start of the turn I put the army into the Aggressor Doctrina. This might be a bit too aggressive but I’m trying to push out with everything I've got
My Dominus puts the same buffs on his Squad of Rangers and the Manipulus puts his buffs onto the Vanguard. The Marshall
I push out with the army and thrust the bottom unit of Vanguard into the middle. The Dragoons close in on the Terminators and the Infiltrators move out from the Hill. My two Remaining Rangers stay put on the back objective. My Fusiliave turns and drops his Bomb Rack onto Bel’akor doing 2 Mortal wounds.
Into the shooting phase and I open up with an Enriched Rounds from the top unit of Vanguard. They manage to strip off 8 wounds from Bel’akor, followed shortly by another 2 from the other unit of Vanguard. I then dedicate the Ironstriders into him and with two failed saves that finishes off the Dark Master. My Rangers on the hill put some shots into the Chaos Terminators but don't manage more than 1 and a half slain. The Fusilave puts his Cognis Stubbers into them and chips off the other wound.
With that we the Dragoons lower their Taser Lances and charge into them. With a Chain-Taser Protocol, a disappointing roll and some good saves from Liam they only kill 3. In return they cut down both the Dragoons and Consolidate forward eager to spill more blood.
I should be okay on Grind Them Down here but my Uncharted Sequencing is definitely at risk with those Terminators coming in close.
Hold on, let me get a quote from our Warzone Charadon 2 review:
Sometimes, my genius is... it's almost frightening.
Onto the movement phase! I move my Terminators up towards the middle objective to try my best to contest the middle objective, and move my Berserkers on the left flank up ready to charge the unit of Vanguard. I also bring in the Bloodletter Bomb to charge the unit of Vanguard at the bottom of the board.
Shooting phase is minimalistic, so I move straight into the charge phase! My Red Butchers pass the charge into the Vanguard, and my Bloodletter Bomb successfully charges the southern Vanguard unit. My Berserkers also make the charge into the bottom right Ranger unit, time to do some real damage!
With James having no CP left, I fight with all my units one after the other, and man oh man, the Blood God is pleased. I wipe both the Vanguard and the Rangers with the Butchers and Berserkers respectively, and the Bloodletters succeed in killing 16 of the Vanguard. 16 divided by 2 is 8. 8 is the number of Khorne. Coincidence? I think not! I also managed to "wrap and trap" the remaining Vanguard with my Bloodletters to shield them from any firepower.
At the end of my turn I score 3 points on Direct Assault.
Liam’s turn three was brutal indeed, cleaning out 95% of the Skitarii and taking me off two objectives. He’s knocked me down to 10 Primary and no Uncharted Sequencing or Grind Them Down for turn 3. I should have a large enough points difference to hold on to and he’s running out of assets fast but it's a real reminder on how hard those Berserker and Red Butcher Terminators hit.
Starting the turn I use the Conqueror Doctrina, I don't have that much left in the shooting phase and most of my melee units are now up the board ready to engage so the additional +1 WS should come in handy here. I then put the Cantic Thrallnet on the Rustwalkers to put them into the Bulwark Doctrina and ignore the Deficiency from it. The Manipulus puts his Galvanic Field ability onto the Marshall… as there are no other viable units with Radium, Galvanic or Arc Weapons to put it on.
My shooting phase does not achieve much, with most of my shooting either dead or out of line of sight.
Keeping the pressure on I charge my Ruststalkers into Liam's Chaos Marines, Terminators and Terminator Sergeant. Their Sicarian brothers also charge into the Terminators. My Dominus charges into the bottom right unit of Berserkers to try and wrest this objective off of Liam, this is my Unchartered Sequencing objective so if he can manage it it’s 3 points. It's a big ask but I believe in him!.
I use the Assassin Constructs stratagem on the Ruststalkers and they dispatch both the Terminator Lord and the Chaos Marines and the Infiltrators finish the Red Butchers thanks to some pretty spikey 6’s to hit with their Taser Goads. Sadly… my Dominus failed… and paid for it with his life as the Berserker Sergeant punched him into the ground with his Power Fist.
Not really much to say here, I stay in combat with the Bloodletters and go straight into the combat phase. I manage to kill one of the Dragoons and reduce the other one to 5 wounds remaining. Back to James!
With Liam mostly running out of models so I'm looking to clean up the rest of the Bloodletters, finish off the remaining Rhino and max my primary and secondaries for this turn.
My plane goes into Hover mode and looks to charge into Liam's lone Berserker looking to take him off the objective, but even with all of his Stubbers and 3 close combat attacks.. he fails to do so... this guy's indestructible!
I stay on the objectives I'm on and cry silently in the corner.
Then my lone Berserker Sergeant steps up and K.O's the plane... which then explodes...
BLOOD FOR THE BLOOD GOD!
Post game thoughts
Liam did a great deal of damage and looking at what I had left I’d lost almost 2/3rds my army by the end. Credit to him for really making a good game out of it. Having now run “competitive Ad Mech” a few times in our Battle Reports, I now echo the conclusion of what most people have come to: They are too strong. It’s a real shame, they are a real favourite of mine and it feels like for any other army to have a chance you really have to either take non-optimised units or not take these Holy Orders, Relics and Warlord traits that are core to the army.
On the list, I definitely feel like the Dragoons are not impactful as a unit of 2. I was going between running a big unit of 4 or two units of 2 and I really wish I'd submitted my list with the unit of 4. I think going forward they will be the first thing I cut from my competitive list, which is disappointing as they alongside the Ruststalkers are some of my favourite units in the faction. Still Liam was a great opponent as always and he always gives me a good game!
Man, what a brutal game. I always forget just how much damage Berserkers kick out - even with Lucius Skitarii infantry being so tanky, I managed to kill 78 of his 80 troops! However, failing all those charges and losing Be'lakor turn 2 was just depressing. But hey! My turn 3 made up for it with the sheer amount of damage I managed to kick out.
Be'lakor himself I feel is great in every matchup that isn't against Admech, so I look forward to using him against a different army. Thanks to James for the game, and thanks for reading!