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Hi, here is my promised attempt at a battle report – 1000 pts of Praetorians vs. Marines. This is my second game of 7th ed, and my mate’s first, so really we just wanted to get a feel for the rules, get familiar with the new psychic phase and give Maelstrom a try.

My opponent went for an infantry focused force with 3 tac squads (one split into combat squads), 2 dreads (1 anti-tank, 1 anti-infantry), a Captain and a Librarian. I went with a CCS (all plasma & carapace, Kurov’s Aquila and astropath), Vet squad (3 plasma, las-cannon, carapace and commissar), 2x armoured Sentinels with plasma, PCS & 2 squads in Chimeras, 5 Wyrdvane psykers and a Wyvern. I rolled on Telepathy and Telekinesis, and my mate went for Biomancy. We rolled for the lengthways deployment and I think it was the ‘Spoils of War’ Maelstrom mission (the one with three cards each per turn). We mutually decided to ignore night fighting & mysterious objectives to keep it simple. Marines won the role and opted to deploy and go first, and I failed to seize. Initial deployment is shown below:

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Marine 1st turn: The Marine Tac squad with Librarian and the 2 combat squads moved to claim all the objectives within their reach. The Dreads rocked forward, as did the tac squad with the Captain. Psychic phase was quiet, with Iron-arm being cast on Librarian & squad. The Captain squad ran and the melta-dread blew up my lead Chimera (the PCS took 2 casualties and were routed). Marines claimed 4 VP’s (first blood and a D3 roll of 3 for a tactical objective!!).

Guard 1st turn: The remaining Chimera’s moved to claim the mid-field objective, the remains of the PCS rallied and the CCS moved up into the ruins with the Sentinels to get the Kurov’s preferred enemy bubble on the Sentinels & vets. Psychic phase was underwhelming – I tried to Dominate the nearest dread with the Astropath, but it didn’t come off. Plasma fire from Vets, Sentinels and CCS dropped the anti-infantry dread (with some help from orders), and the Wyvern pinged a few Marines in the Captain squad. Guard claimed 1 VP (tactical objective held by psykers).

4-1 to Marines

 

Marine 2nd turn: The Librarian squad and the combat squads camped on their objectives. Dread moved to get a shot on the next Chimera and the Captain squad continued to advance on the Wyrdvanes & Wyvern. Psychic phase – the Librarian periled and rolled the warp-drain result, losing a wound in the process. Firing was pretty ineffective, the Dread glanced the lead Chimera, and the Librarian squad pinged the Vet Lascannon team at extreme range. The Captain squad ran again. No VP’s for the Marines this turn.

Guard 2nd turn: Remains of the PCS moved to left hand objective, freeing up the rear Chimera & infantry squad for other duties. The lead Chimera moved at speed to get behind the remaining Dread. Vets reshuffled to bring their plasma into range with the nearest combat squad, ready to give them the good news. Psychic phase – I don’t think anything was in range. Firing saw the remaining Dread fall to the CCS and Sentinels, while the Vets (with some help from orders to ignore cover) did some damage to nearest combat squad. The lead Chimera finished them off and the Wyvern pinged a few more marines out of the Captain squad. I got one VP, either for killing the combat squad or the Dread, not sure which.

4-2 to Marines

 

Marine 3rd turn: The Librarian and his squad spread out to cover 2 objectives, while the remaining combat squad stayed camped on their objective. The Captain’s squad broke cover and got a line on the Vet squad. Psychic phase saw Iron-arm cast on the Librarian squad again. Shooting was fairly ineffective- the Cap’s squad pinged some Vets from the back of the squad, while the Librarian’s squad and combat squad tried to damage the lead Chimera, but failed. 1 VP scored for the tactical objective held by the combat squad.

Guard 3rd turn: Both Infantry squads disembarked, while the Vets, Sentinels and CCS broke right to intercept the Captain and his pals. The lead infantry squad took up positions to fire on the Librarian squad, while the second squad broke right to fill the hole left by the Vets, their Chimera providing some cover. The Wyrdvane squad broke cover, ready to try and put some hurt on the approaching Captain. The brotherhood managed to cast Assail, but it caused no damage and they were left hanging in the breeze. Firing was a mixed bag – the infantry squads and supporting Chimeras tried to hurt the Librarian’s tac squad, but the combination of cover, armour and feel-no-pain from iron-arm meant that only one marine fell to the weight of fire. The vets and a single Sentinel could pick out the Captain’s tac squad, and managed to ping a few more marines, whittling the squad down to 2 plus the Captain. Unfortunately, the Wyvern didn’t do any damage this turn, leaving the Marines in position to charge the psykers next turn. 1 VP scored for a tactical objective (can’t remember which one).

5-3 to Marines

 

Marine 4th turn (final turn due to time): The combat squad and the Librarian tac squad stayed put, while the remnants of the Captain’s squad advanced menacingly on the psykers in the ruins. The psychic phase saw iron-arm successfully cast again, and then the Librarian & co let rip on the nearest infantry squad, killing 7 and sending the rest scurrying back to their table edge. The Captain & co charged the psykers with no losses to overwatch (despite some surprisingly accurate fire!). The psykers were unsurprisingly butchered where they stood, and the then marines did their best to consolidate into the ruins, scoring 1 VP for the objective and potentially claiming linebreaker.

Guard 4th turn: The remains of the lead infantry squad rallied and joined what was left of the PCS in the cover of the mid-field objective, while the second infantry squad consolidated their hold on the central objective. The CCS, Vets & Sentinels moved further in-field to get line of sight the Captain and some of his tac squad. The psychic phase was uneventful, as the astropath was out of range of everything, but the firing phase was cruicial. The combined infantry & Chimera fire managed to ping another of the Librarian’s tac squad, while every plasma gun from the CCS, Vets & Sentinels opened up on the Captain’s squad, wiping out the remaining marines, and leaving the Captain reeling with just 1 wound. The last act of the game was the Wyvern, which managed to land all four shots and put all four wounds on the Cap… He failed saves, and that was enough to take him down, securing ‘slay the warlord’ and denying linebreaker. I also had the Maelstrom mission to kill the warlord, and one to ‘kill a squad’, so I had an additional 1+D3 VP’s…. I rolled a 1 on the D3, netting 3VP’s total on the last turn.

Final score – 6-6

 

Lessons learned:

1: The psychic phase really didn’t do much for me in this game. I figured that I was pretty well covered for buffs via orders and Kurov’s Aquila, so I felt quite comfortable going for a more aggressive mix of psychic powers, but they were pretty underwhelming to be honest… I only tried to get something to happen 2 or 3 times, but with no effect. On the other hand, the Biomancy buffed Marines were a much tougher prospect as a result of Iron-arm, so I think that I need to experiment more with buff/debuff disciplines rather than risking mediocre offensive powers.

2: Kurov’s Aquila is simply awesome… Surround the warlord with as much plasma as possible and enjoy rerolling all those 1’s. I didn’t fail a single ‘gets hot’ roll all night, despite the best efforts of the dice gods, and the relentless rate of plasma fire really hurt the Marines. The Aquila also lets you reroll a single leadership test per turn, and this was really useful for making sure key orders got actioned. Speaking of which…

3: Orders are probably the best thing about Guard, turning mediocre troops and weapons into something truly useful. I love the flexibility that orders bring, for example, alternating between re-rolling to glance/pen Dreadnoughts on one turn, and then ignoring cover to pick off Marines in cover on the next. I was helped by getting an extra order per turn (thanks to the warlord trait), so I was never short of options, in fact, I didn’t always get use my full quota.

4: The Wyvern is a really useful piece of kit against infantry, even against tough targets like Marines. It bled the Captain’s squad all the way across the board, and even had the glory of taking the enemy warlord down to draw the game. Ditto with the armoured Sentinels… The cost for these guys came right down in the new codex, and 2x relentless AV12 Plasma Cannons with Preferred Enemy are nothing to sneeze at!

5: Maelstrom missions are great fun, much more dynamic than the ‘standard’ missions, and I found that they presented some interesting dilemmas during the game. For example, my opponent pretty much camped the objectives in his half all game, and he scored most of his points in this way, but… this also kept most of his forces at extreme range and prevented them from overwhelming my lads. My opponent also held on to the assassinate card for several turns but he didn’t get a chance to collect on it, while I took a gamble and held on to the ‘D3 to kill the Warlord’ card which really paid off on the last turn. In fact, it could even have won the game if I had been a bit more lucky on the D3 roll. The randomness of the cards really does favour a mobile force, so expect Eldar to do well here, though the element of luck could frustrate some players… If you get bad cards and the other guy gets good ones then I you will probably lose, regardless of who is the better player. Of course, this can be a good thing or a bad thing, depending on your point of view!

So, that’s it! I certainly don’t claim to be any kind of tactical talent, I am still learning myself, but I do hope this is of some use to somebody out there. Finally, big thanks to Mr. B for a very enjoyable game against a very nicely painted and distinctly non-cheesy Marine force! Here’s a selection of pics to finish:

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