HQ 1: The Swarmlord [WARLORD, Onslaught, Paroxysm]
HQ 2: Broodlord [Resonance Barb, Catalyst]
TROOPS 1: Hormagaunts x10
TROOPS 2: Hormagaunts x10
TROOPS 3: Hormagaunts x10
TROOPS 4: Rippers x4
ELITES 1: Lictor
FAST ATTACK 1: Dimachaeron
HEAVY SUPORT 1: Scythed Hierodule [Dermic Symbiosis]
HQ 1: Neurothrope [Symbiostorm]
TROOPS 1: Rippers x3
ELITES 1: Hive Guard x6 [Impaler Cannons, Enhanced Resistance]
ELITES 2: Zoanthropes x6 [Psychic Scream]
HEAVY SUPPORT 1: Exocrine
High Marshall Helbrect - (Warlord: Front Line Commander)
Primaris Chaplain - Catechism of Fire, Litany of Hate
Primaris Chaplain on Bike - Litany of Divine Protection, Fires of Devotion, Chapter Command: Master of Sanctity, Hero of the Chapter: Wise Orator, Additional Relic: The Crusaders Helm
10 Assault Intercessors
5 Intercessors - Power Fist
5 Intercessors - Power Fist
3 Aggressors - Boltstorm Gauntlets
Primaris Apothecary - Chapter Command: Chief Apothecary, Hero of the Chapter: Selfless Healer, Additional Relic: Aurelian Shroud.
5 Vanguard Veterans - 4 Chainswords, 1 Power Sword, 5 Storm Shields, Crusader Relics: Sword of Judgement
7 Hellblasters - Plasma Incinerator
Repulsor - A Million Guns and a Twin Lascannon
Going into this match-up I know it's going to be tough, I’m definitely not running the most efficient list I can bring but we’ve got some fun stuff with the Repulsor and Hellblasters. It's also my first time ever running the Bladeguard Ancient and he’s such a cool model.
I've taken the Sword of Judgement onto my Vanguard Vet Sergeant - if he can get into the Hive Guard it's pretty much easy kills with S5 -3 Damage 3. Elsewhere the list kinda operates as a “moving castle” pushing out in the later turns to get on the objectives in Liam's deployment zone. If I can weather his early turns I should have a chance. If he gets the first turn I think I’m toast as his Dimacheron will be on my lap turn 1.
With this in mind I’ve taken Raise The Banner, Oath of Moment, and Abhor the Witch (I’m a Black Templar so of course I’ve taken Abhor the Witch.)
The bugs are back! I'm using my Tyranids again today as I need the practice for an upcoming tournament at the end of the month. I've brought my standard Nid list again, and James has brought the boys he's most comfortable with, the Black Templars. I'm sure that protection against my mortal wounds will really come in handy this game, so I'm going to have to make the most out of my other units.
I've gone for Engage and ROD as I do every game, and for my last secondary I've gone for Assassination; James has a lot of characters and I have a lot of ways to catch them out with the Swarmlord's double move, so I reckon I have a good chance at scoring at least 9 points on this secondary, maybe even more.
James' Black Templars
The mission and Board
Grand Tournament 2021
12. Scorched Earth
Picked Deployment: James' Templars
Went First: Liam's Tyranids
I’ve set my two units of Intercessors to both flanks behind the ruins there and the rest of my force is pretty much all deployed behind the central ruin. Liam's got a lot of damage in his shooting and psychic phases so if he does get first turn at least he won't be able to see much (obviously his Hive Guard can still target me though.) If I get the first turn i should be able to push up slightly into the ruin and set up for a big Turn 2
The benefit of going second here is even though I'll be fighting a big bug in my deployment zone, I’ll score my Secondary at the end of the turn 5 and as Oath is scored at the end of the Battle Round, it’s effectively the end of my turn meaning getting those 2 points for being in that Danger Zone in the middle would be much easier.
He's only gone and done it again! The bugs are on the initiative, and I'm gonna capitalise on this as best I can. I start my movement by spending a CP on Opportunistic Advance to move the Dimachaeron a mighty 22" - I'm hoping to pass Onslaught on him so that he'll still be able to charge later this turn. I move everything else up, making sure the Swarmlord is within 6" of the Dimachaeron. The Zoanthropes move up slightly ready to start smiting next turn, and the Hierodule moves up past them behind the building. The movement phase draws to a close and I start my first ROD in the top right corner with my Hormagaunts.
Into the Psychic phase, and I start with the most crucial one- Onslaught. I make the first roll, and fail on a 3... I immediately spend a CP to reroll this, and thank goodness, I pass on a 6! I made sure to stay out of 24" range of any of James' units so he wouldn't be able to deny it. I also pass Catalyst and put it on the Dimachaeron aswell. Unfortunately, even with the assist of reroll 1s from the Neurothrope, I fail to cast Symbiostorm, which would've gone onto the Hive Guard.
Shooting phase, and the only thing I have that can actually shoot are the Hive Guard. I open fire on the 10 man unit of Assault Intercessors, and James pops Transhuman Physiology to try and keep them alive a bit longer. Thanks to some great saves by James and some unfortunate wound rolls, I only manage to kill a single marine. I then use the Hive Commander ability on the Dimachaeron to rocket him up near the Repulsor. End of the shooting phase I spend 2cp on Single Minded Annihilation to shoot the Hive Guard again, but this time into the Aggressors. Again, thanks to a bit of poor luck I only manage to kill 1, which means I haven't really killed any, as James will just revive him with his Apothecary.
Into the charge phase, and I declare the Dimachaeron into the Repulsor and the Assault Intercessor. James activates Overwatch and Grav Pulse. After all the shots have been fired, the Dimachaeron only suffers a single wound thanks to Catalyst. It's a 6" charge after the -2 thanks to Grav Pulse into both units, and I roll a 4. No worries! I have a CP for such an occassion! So I promptly reroll and get a 3.
I'm in danger.
And of course, Liam gets first turn. He is playing his Nids and he has something like an 80% go first rate at the moment so it's to be expected!
Luckily, I got off real lightly here. His Hive Guard only managed to kill 1 Assault Intercessor and 1 Aggressor (who’s about to get resurrected) and his Dimacheron failed his charge even with a re-roll thanks to the Grav Pulse stratagem making it -2 to the charge roll.
Starting my Command Phase I put Litany of Protection litany onto the Assault Intercessors but fail the Fires of Devotion. I don’t use the other Chaplains litany as I am debating on whether to automatically do it with the Commanding Oratory Stratagem. It's steep for 2CP and I’ve already spent 4 on trying to keep my army alive in Liam's turn so I’m not sure if I need it. Helbrecht puts his Chapter Master buff onto the Assault Intercessors and the Bike Chaplain puts the Crusaders Helm on them too, putting them into the Assault Doctrine.. Finally I activate Wisdom of the Ancients on the Redemptor to let my Core units re-roll 1’s to wound.
I move cautiously and keep most of my army hidden behind the ruin. My idea is to try and keep out of line of sight of Liam's Shooting and Psychic again. Both my normal Intercessors rush up onto the home objectives and raise some banners. My Repulsor moves out further than the rest of the army, he doesn't get re-rolls and I’m trying to use him as a bit of a line of sight blocker for my Intercessors on the objective.
So my Hellblasters start the shooting phase and shoot and successfully hit every shot into the Dimacheron, I then roll to wound and they roll… eight two’s…. This might cause me a lot of trouble trying to get this Dimacheron down. Everything else in my army bar the Replusor goes into him and puts him down to 7 wounds. I split fire with the Repulsor and put his Onslaught weapons into the Zoanthropes and everything else into the Dimacheron. I do get a Lascannon wound through but only manage 3 damage putting him down to 4 wounds remaining with nothing else to shoot into him. I have managed to take one Zoanthrope down which was the goal as this reduces Liam's smite efficiency on them next time.
My Assault Intercessors make their charge onto the Dimacheron, I really need him down this turn so I don't have much of a choice. With all the buffs I have stacked on them I’m pretty confident they will take him down. And as suspected they do with their Knights of Sigismund ability alone.
I activate the Aurellian Shroud at the start of this turn and go into the Tactical Doctrine - All the core units I need protection are in the bubble - especially the Hellblasters.
OK, that was a ROUGH turn 1. On the bright side, I still have the rest of my army ready to fight! And so, I move up with most of my army. The Swarmlord and Broodlord move up the left flank, preparing the Broodlord to catapult onto James' bottom left objective. The Hierodule and Zoanthropes move up the right side ready to put some hurt onto James' army. The Exocrine moves to the right and I spend a CP on Symbiotic Devastation to count him as having remained stationary. End of the movement phase, I bring in my MVP Lictor to the bottom right of the board, and immediately start him on ROD.
Psychic phase starts, and I start with Catalyst from the Broodlord. I pass the test, and put it on the Broodlord himself. The Zoanthropes cast a smite into the Assault Intercessors and do 4 mortal wounds, but then James passes 3 of them on his feel no pain... ouch. Psychic Scream also does no damage as James passes the feel no pain on that too. I do however manage to cast Symbiostorm! To which James immediately spends a CP and denies it on a 4+...
Onto the shooting phase, and I start by spending 2cp on Pathogenic Slime on the Hierodule to make his flamer damage 2. I then open fire with his Acid Spray onto the Hellblasters, and despite only rolling a 7 on the number of shots, I manage to kill 4 of the Hellblasters! The Exocrine then opens up on the Intercessors behind the Repulsor and kills 2 of them with the first volley, but unfortunately I'm no longer in line of sight for the second volley, and so just fire some plink shots into the Repulsor and do minimal damage. The Hive Guard open fire into the Intercessors again, and this time do a bit better and kill 3 of them... although I was kinda hoping that they would be doing a bit more than this. I also move the Broodlord again with Hive Commander to try and knock James off that bottom left objective.
Straight into the charge phase, and my Hierodule crashes into the Repulsor. And man, he just utterly rips that thing apart, doing a total of 22 wounds to it! The Broodlord has also charged into the Intercessors, and James pops Transhuman on them. I hit with all 6 of the attacks, and despite rerolling wound rolls, only manage to pass 2 of them... I kill 2 of the Intercessors so the objective remains under his control. I just seem to not be able to roll what I need to this game.
End of the turn I score 3 points on Engage and score my first 4 on ROD.
So losing the Replusor was expected, I tried for another lucky Grav Pulse stratagem to force the Hierodule to fail but he clearly adapted where his other bug friend had not and quickly cleaves the Repulsor in 2. I had to pull my Intercessor Sergeant on the unit to keep his Exocrine out of sight on his second volley which was a shame as I could really do with that fist against his Lictor now. I did lose 4 Hellblasters, but I’ll be bringing one back with the Apothecary later.
My Assault Intercessors get all the buffs they did turn one, with Fires of Devotion this turn too. I failed the Catechism of Fire onto the Hellblasters which was a shame as I could have done with that against the T8 Hierodule.
Into the movement phase I advance with the Assault Intercessors and activate The Emperor's Will to let them advance and charge. The Redemptor peels off to go deal with the Broodlord threatening my objective (who fortunately didn't do that well in combat last turn.) The rest of the army (or Castle) moves a bit closer towards the right side of the board. I also bring down the Veteran Vanguard right in the middle of the board. I took a while on this decision, but eventually felt the guaranteed 2 points on Oaths of Moment and giving the Swarmlord a road block was worth it.
Into my shooting phase and I once again open up with the Hellblasters and they shoot into the Hierodule who takes 6 damage from their Plasma Incinerators. The rest of the castle shoots into him and whittles him down to 1 wound, to the charge phase it is!
I pile all the characters other than the Ancient and the Aggressors into the Hierodule. The Redemptor makes it into the Broodlord with his re-roll from the Black Templars Chapter tactic and the far right Intercessors make it into the Lictor. This could be a bit risky as the Lictor does have damage 2 on his weapons so I could lose them if Liam rolls hot. Finally my Assault Intercessors charge into the Zoanthropes.
My characters and Aggressors manage to lay the Hierodule low and the Redemptor punches the Broodlord all the way back to the hive mind with 10 damage. My Intercessors do a couple of wounds to the Lictor and he takes out one in return. Unfortunately, even with the Chapter Master Re-rolls, Knights of Sigismund ability and Fires of Devotion, Liam rolls really well on his 3++ invuln saves and I only manage to kill 1 Zoanthrope.
That ends the turn and I score 4 points for Oaths of Moment, 2 on my Banners and my first 3 Abhor the Witch points
Every single time I player against James' Black Templars, without fail, I always forget he has access to The Emperor's Will to advance and charge with a unit. And this has proven to really mess with me: James now controls one of the objectives in my deployment zone, so scoring primary this game is going to be harder than ever.
Movement phase, and I move the Swarmlord up to the midboard to try and deal with those Vanguard Veterans. I also move the Hormagaunts up to try and stay hidden from the Redemptor that is slowly making his way up the left flank. End of the movement phase, I start ROD with said Hormagaunt squad, and bring in some Rippers onto the bottom left part of the board.
Psychic phase arrives, and I finally manage to cast Symbiostorm onto the Hive Guard! Unfortunately, I was hoping to kill off the Intercessors with some lucky smites and psychic scream, but only manage to kill 3 of them. Definitely a big misplay on my part, I should've known I wouldn't be able to chew through all those bodies. Paroxysm however is successful and is cast on the Vanguard Veteran unit, as well as smite which plinks a wound off them.
Shooting phase, and the Exocrine opens up onto the Vanguard Veterans, leaving only 2 alive. The Hive Guard fire again into the Aggresors, but luck is just not on my side with these guys this game, as again I only manage to kill 1, which James will just revive in his turn. I end the shooting phase by using Hive Commander to move the Swarmlord right up next to the Vanguard Veterans.
Straight into the charge phase, and my Swarmlord makes it into those Vanguard Veterans! He immediately swings, and just like he has in every battle report so far... horrifically fails and only manages to kill 1. The Intercessors and Zoanthropes stay locked in combat for the time being too, and the Lictor actually manages to keep his output up, killing another Marine in combat and staying alive himself!
End of the turn, I score another 3 on Engage and up to 8 points on ROD.
My Chaplain on Bike fails the Litany of Divine Protection but does get the Litany of Hate online. The Primaris Chaplain finally gets Catechism of Fire onto the Hellblasters.
I feel like this is the turn to try to go big on the pressure. I can't do much about the double moving Swarmlord so if I can make a big push in Liam's deployment zone I may make this out alive. Therefore, I push my remaining castle up to get ready to charge into the remaining Zoanthropes. The Vanguard Veteran falls back into the middle to secure my 2 Oaths of Moment points, I’ll lose out on the “not falling back” part but it's a net gain of 1 point so it's worth it in my books. This means I can fall back with my Intercessor that's in combat with the Lictor and the Assault Intercessors. My aim is to use Devout Push to pile into Liam's Exocrine and tie him up.
My Redemptor carries on his push on that side of the board and guns down Liam's Ripper Swarms that just popped up. The Hellblasters go into the Swarmlord and put him down to 6 wounds and the Aggressors finish off the Lictor and kill a Zoanthrope. Liam had a wounded one on the left so killing 1 wouldn't make the charge longer for the rest of my units.
Into the charge phase, my characters all pile into the Zoanthropes and my Aggressors go for a long 9” charge onto the Neurothrope and the Zoanthropes, but fail it even with the re-roll.
With the Aggressors failing I Devout Push into the Neurothrope instead, if I can roll well and take him out it's at least another 3 points for Abhor the Witch. The turn doesn't go too much better as I leave the Neurothrope on a single wound and leave a single Zoanthrope alive - those 3++ Invuln saves are brutal.
Fortunately I’ve made up the turn on points with 15 on Primary and 4 on Secondary this turn.
I'm definitely on the back foot right now this game, but man oh man, I see that big blob of characters in my deployment zone, look at my Assassinate secondary, and just can't wait to dive right in! I move the Swarmlord slightly back towards the characters, but make sure I keep the Vanguard Veteran Sgt the closest to smite him. I move the Hormagaunts off the objective and up into the building near the Redemptor - my thought process here is that if I keep them on the objective, James will just make mincemeat of them with his Redemptor. But my hiding them and setting myself up for my last ROD, I can score an extra 4 points with them. I fall back with the Zoanthropes so my Exocrine can shoot those characters.
The Psychic phase goes about as well as I can expect, with Symbiostorm failing, but Smite bringing those Intercessors down to 1 wound remaining from the Neurothrope. The Swarmlord manages to cast Paroxysm though, and puts it onto the Aggressors. He also Smites and manages to bring down that Vanguard Veteran Sgt!
Shooting phase arrives, and the Exocrine managed to totally obliterate that poor Apothecary! The Hive Guard also open up and with the use of Single Minded Annihilation at the end of the phase, manage to kill Helbrecht himself! Earlier I also moved the Swarmlord up next to the Chaplain on Bike, ready to devour him.
Charge phase and I smash into the Chaplain on Bike with the Swarmlord, and kill him in one go! Swarmlord seems to finally start picking up the slack. At the end of my turn I score 2 points on Engage, and prepare to score my final 4 on ROD next turn. I also score a massive 10 on Assassinate this turn!
Ouch! That was a big turn for Liam scoring a massive 10 points on Assassinate. I think forcing him off the objectives has worked out well as its another turn Liam scores only 1 for the Primary.
I advance my Chaplain into the middle of the board for my Oaths of Moments points, my Assault Intercessor falls back so my Redemptor can shot the Neurothrope and my Aggressors move forward so they can shoot the remaining Zoanthrope, this should get me 5 points on Abhor the Witch.
And that's what happens, it’s nice when plans go smoothly… My Hellblasters put their shots into the Swarmlord with their buffed Catechism of Fire shots and… two of them kill themselves. Ouch… Maybe not quite to plan.
I debate whether charging the Swarmlord here with my Aggressors, I've got a Command Point for Transhuman Physiology and work out statistically with it Liam doesn't kill all three. So in they go!
So much for statistics... I said this was going to plan right...? The Swarmlord cuts all three down thanks to the Psychic power he'd cast on them earlier (admittedly I had totally forgot he'd done this until after I'd rolled my charge)
I don't know how much it now matters, I think my points lead might be large enough to clench this victory and I'm very likely to have very little left after Liam's turn 5 so I really just need to try and hold on.
Praise Paroxysm! Forcing those Aggressors to fight last proves to be huge, as the Swarmlord manages to cut them all down before they can even attack him! It's nice to see the Swarmlord finally pulling his weight!
Movement phase, I run the Swarmlord up the right side of the board, eyeing up that Ancient for some more Assassinate points. My surviving Hormagaunts, thanks to their 6" pile in and consolidate, had actually managed to score me 5 points on the primary! I do fall back with them though to charge the Redemptor - if I can charge him and survive, I'll remove James' banner on the objective and deny him a couple of points.
Into the shooting phase, and the Exocrine manages to obliterate that Chaplain in the middle of the board for another 3 Assassinate points! The Hive Guard also open fire into the Assault Intercessors in the left building, and wipe the squad. This is a bit more like it! Only took me until turn 5 to do this kind of damage with them. I also move the Swarmlord again up next to the Hellblaster and Ancient.
Charge phase, and the Swarmlord slams into the Ancient, and the Hormagaunts charge into the Redemptor. I start with the Swarmlord, and he devours the Ancient in a heartbeat. The Hormagaunts plink off the Redemptor, but more importantly, they survive the combat, and pass the morale! This scores me another 2 for Engage this turn, and I've scored maximum on Assassinate this game. James definitely has this game in the bag, but atleast I'm scoring some points!
My Hellblaster falls back outside of 3” of the Swarmlord but still on the objective so I still hold that Banner and that’s about it for the turn! Leaves me on a tidy 82 points!
End of Game thoughts
That was absolutely not how I thought that game would go if I’m honest. As soon as Liam rolled for the first turn I thought it was going to be an uphill struggle to a close loss at best. But Liam's dice just… fell apart in those early turns and I know those early turns are so critical for him. Combined with some really great saves from my side and the Aurellian Shroud coming up big in turn 2 helping me keep my Hellblasters alive was pretty critical.
If I had an MVP it probably would go to the Assault Intercessors, they just got in amongst his lines, caused havoc and are generally just super efficient. These guys always perform for me and for a unit that you have to tax when taking a battalion I always throw 10 of these into every list. I was pleasantly surprised with the Hellblasters, they are solid when they can get going but the fact that to really get everything you can out of that 33 points a model you need a banner, you need something / somewhere to hide them and re-rolls… they're always very much an “eggs in one basket” kinda unit. I think it worked in this game as I was running a bit more of a “moving castle” kind of list.
As always Liam and I’s games are full of great moments - thanks for the game!
My first two turns are really what lost this game for me. I really needed to pass that charge on the Dimachaeron, and put some more hurt on James' army with the Hive Guard, but unfortunately I failed to do either. James really capitisalied on this too and punished my poor decisions and poor luck.
MVP, funnily enough, actually goes to the Swarmlord for once! From turn 4 he really shined and managr to dish out a tonne of damage, and I was finally happy with him in a game! I'm definitely still happy with this list though, and think I'll be sticking with it for when this tournament rolls around.
Thanks again to James for the great game, always a blast playing against him. And thanks for reading!