Ready for some hot, Psyker-on-Psyker action? Read on readers!
You know you want to.
Here at Wednesday Night Gaming, we thought we’d give Combat Patrol (using 5th edition) a shot, albeit we played a modified version (selections MUST be 1 HQ and 2 Troops). There are plenty of other websites and links that will explain the rules in detail (click away, or google the rules), but again to summarise what we played:
- 400 points
- Must take 1 HQ
- Must take 2 Troops
- No vehicles with an AV total more than 33 (e.g. yes to Chimera, no to Land Raider)
- No ordnance
And with that, we gave it a go on a 4’ by 4’ table for a quick, intense game, choosing Annihilation (KP’s) and Pitched Battle (12” from centreline) as the simplest of missions and setup. So, here’s a nice graphic legend showing the forces at play, me with Imperial Guard, our local marine player, L, with his Ultramarines.
First of all, apart from my use of a Psyker Battle Squad in my last game, both of us players haven’t really given Psykers that much of a whirl, so we both decided to go with a Primaris Psyker VS Librarian showdown (hence the blog image post). While I had to stick with my powers (Nightshroud, Lightning Arc), L’s Librarian went for Vortex of Doom, and Avenger. Meanwhile I stuck with the reliable, survivable, mobile and familiar troop loadout of Vets in Chimera’s, with a meltagun, a Heavy Flamer and all shotguns for ‘assault/mop-up purposes’, plus a power weapon, just in case, to help with finishing off squad remnants and give that last killing boost when needed.
Also I’ve begun to favour equipping my Chimera’s with Heavy Flamers for close encounters and Multilasers for covering fire, as opposed to H.Bolter/M.Laser loadouts that I have never really been able to find useful (I hardly keep my Chimelta’s still, they’re always on the move and I’ve noticed my success rate goes up when I play them more aggressively). Same with the shotgun and assault weapon loadouts to give a little edge to my Vet guardsmen. The best defense is a good offense they say, and I have found playing more aggressively, especially if you have the first turn, puts the opponent on the backfoot. Active Vs Reactive = Active wins, most of the time!
L has gone for a Tac squad with a Rhino, equipping a melta, so undoubtedly planning to pull a Rhino driveby, and a missile launcher for all-purposes (krakking vehicles, fragging men as they pile out of wreckage, etc). He has the choice of having the Librarian outside and the squad inside, thus rendering the missle launcher a little less useful but maintaining a larger squad for KP purposes, but as always he goes for combat squadding, splitting them into 2 groups of 5 to afford him more targeting options.
Also, Scout Squads. Perhaps it’s because he’s running low on points, or perhaps he’ll feel like Infiltrating them and relying on their Rending to hopefully pull of a glancing shot or two. But for me, they’re priority easy KP targets, and I always tend to pick on the weaker components of his army (nya ha ha) for KP purposes.
We’ve restricted ourselves to 4’ by 4’ for a faster game, plus we were playing Kill-Team games with the terrain beforehand (more on that in a subsequent post). The Terrain has been set up in a sort-of “edge of a wrecked Imperial outpost”, with the embattlements demarcating the centre of the board. Ork bastion and tall buildings at the perimeter, a few hills and impassable terrain LOS-blocking trees at the corners, and difficult terrain affording 4+ cover (with a lava line counting as dangerous terrain).
Quite a lot of cover in this game actually, so given the mobility of our mech-ed up units this will funnel our vehicles out in the open, and since I have no heavy/long-range weapons and my opponent has his missile launcher, I’ll be taking more of a chance on this. Still, thank the Emperor for smoke-launchers.
I place my Chimera’s at the corner to protect their side armour, taking the easterly-edge of the board as my table edge. Also, I’ve placed them to ensure that no infiltrators can come to 12” (hidden) range of deployment from me.
Parking Chimeras in a poor Imperial neighbourhood means they're more likely to get nicked. Remember to lock your doors!
Since learning my lesson the hard way in my last battle, deployment can win, or lose you the battle.
My opponent naturally takes the opposite edge, splitting his tac squad and placing his missile launcher in the Ork bastion (for this game all buildings AV count as 12). Initially he was going to place his scouts via infiltration in one of the large buildings in the south, until he realised I could cruise my chimera’s, get my men to disembark, and bring the building down with my melta guns, so he changed his mind and placed them just shy of the dangerous terrain. If he had persisted instead with placing his scouts in the building, the game could’ve turned out quite differently, but who knows?
He rolls to steal the initiative and fails, so I get first turn!
TURN 1 IMPERIAL GUARD:
1. I cruise my Chimeras ahead, poppin’ smoke. A cautious approach, I’m aiming to close the distance so I can wreak all sort of havoc to his Scouts.
"Go boil your bottoms, you sons of a silly person."
TURN 1 SPACE MARINES:
1. My opponent does the same, cruising his Rhino closer and popping smoke too.
2. His Scouts shoot their sniper rifles. 3 hits, then 1no. ‘6’ for rending, but rolls a 2 on the damage chart, thus it being shaken. Still, I succeed in my cover save *phew!*, so far so good for me.
TURN 2 IMPERIAL GUARD:
1. I move the Chimeras a bit closer, but nothing’s in range for my embarked squads to fire at (just out of 12” range), so I pepper away at the Scouts with the multi-lasers. Pew pew pew pew! 1 dead.
2. It’s PSYKER time! Knowing my last game in which I successfully rolled Perils of the Warp twice and failing a Psychic test once, will Miss Fortune smile at me once more? I roll a 9, YES! And just when I was about to use Lightning Arc, my opponent tells me of his Psychic hood. D’oh!
We roll and add our Leadership, he beats me by miles, so no Psychic powers come to play today.
TURN 2 SPACE MARINES:
1. Rhino gets closer, and with a meltagun now in 12” range he fires away and succeeds in immobilising a Chimera.
2. A krak missile punches through my Chimera’s front armour and it’s a weapon destroyed!
3. Librarian passes his Psychic test and tries out the much dreaded vehicle flattener, the Str 10 Ap1 Vortex of Doom! Being a psychic shooting power (blast), it unfortunately scatters off the mark, and even at half-strength to the rear it does no damage.
Funny how, even with an immobilised and weapon destroyed result, it’s not considered a KP. Still, I’m not complaining!
TURN 3 IMPERIAL GUARD:
1. The still operable Chimera closes the distance to the Scouts. My men in the immobile Chimera returns the favour and meltashoots the Rhino, exploding it. Librarian takes a wound (with 1no. wound left) and 2 dead in the ensuing blast when he fails his armour saves. Hooray!
2. Heavy flamer, shotgun blasts, meltagun let loose and decimate the Scout squad to a single man. Then my Primaris passes both his Psychic test AND beats the Psychic Hood, launching 10no. STR 6 shots of lightning bolts. Zzzzzap! He’s toast!
An avid Warhammer 40K player, Jay Garrick vibrates his face as this photograph is taken
so that nobody will realise that he is indeed the original Golden Age (Earth-2) Flash.
Score is now 2KP’s to IG.
TURN 3 SPACE MARINES:
1. The tac squad separates from the Librarian, and tries to finish off the Chimera, but hard luck! They miss.
2. The Librarian tries the Vortex of Doom again on the other Chimera, but it scatters the full distance away! Still, a krak missile eventually explodes it, and I lose 2 vets.
"Men! The Emperor commands you to make Sandcastles!"
Score is now 2KP’s to IG, with 1KP to Marines.
TURN 4 IMPERIAL GUARD:
1. My men from the immobile Chimera disembark and lays assault fire to the remaining tac squad, taking out 2 marines. When they charge the lone survivor though, even with 4no. power attacks from my sarge & 18 S3 hits with shotgun butts, they lose one of their own! Still, they hold their nerve. If they hadn’t, the game could’ve been lost here.
2. A similar story here, my squad pumps out an impressive rate of fire but Armour save of 3+ is a b!tch to budge. On the charge, my Primaris Psyker, Lexmercy, being an independent character is singled out by Librarian Laurentius Lorl and slain outright by a successful force weapon hit. Ouch!
Flame on! BWOOOOSH
Score is now tied, 2KP’s each!
TURN 4 SPACE MARINES:
1. Nothing happens. Just one of those days where everyone’s rolls fall flat (Krak missile misses, In combat every misses or fails to overcome their opponent’s toughness, etc), so they sit around twiddling their thumbs, drinking tea and swapping stories of the girls back home.
TURN 5 IMPERIAL GUARD:
1. Each Vet squad finally manages to splatter their lone opponents with their shotgun butts, cracking through the thick power armour and bashing their brains in. FINISH HIM!
Guard winning in assault, PREPOSTEROUS! But very satisfying.
2. The squads consolidate to different directions, one to get into a building for cover for KP denial, the other to close the range to the Ork bastion and melta it.
Score is now 4KP’s to IG, 2KP’s to Marines.
TURN 5 SPACE MARINES:
1. A bit more desperate now, the Marines need to get the KP’s to tie and hope for a next round. With a selection of targets to choose from (squad approaching, squad running away, or the immobile Chimera), my opponent reckons my melta squad coming for him is not only a pretty juicy target, but also the most urgent threat so goes for him. Rapid firing bolters and a successful frag missile takes out 5 of my vets, even when I go to ground to get a 3+ cover save. However, they hold fast (thank you leadership 8, as that is exactly what I roll) and deny that important KP to my opponent.
Score is still 4KP’s to IG, 2KP’s to Marines. A dice is rolled and it’s another turn!
TURN 6 IMPERIAL GUARD:
1. With one squad gone to ground, nothing else for me to do but move and run my men and spread them out to limit any frag blast template damage, just in case.
"Boy, am I glad the Commisar didn't follow us out on Combat Patrol. If he saw us pulling off this 'tactical withdrawal', he'd blow my brains out!"
TURN 6 SPACE MARINES:
1. My opponent, L, needs to finish off the squad, then in the next turn blow up the Chimera to equalise. Again he pumps out an impressive amount of firepower but this time I succeed in all my much-needed 3+ cover saves, thus denying that KP he needed badly.
At this point my opponent concedes defeat, as even if we roll off and get another turn, he can only shoot at one target and perhaps claw a KP back, but no way is he going to equalise.
Final Scores: 4KP’s to IG, 2KP’s to Marine.
IMPERIAL GUARD VICTORY!
In the Codex: IG, the Psyker Battle Squad powers really did catch my eye (weaken resolve, etc) and I’ve always never considered the Primaris Psyker as a viable HQ choice. But since spotting the use of it in a 500pt list by Sandwyrm on his blog, I thought to myself, despite being an independent character being a detrimental KP reason not to take it, the Psyker’s Lightning Arc power can seem to bring a solid amount of hits to the enemy. Certainly, I will consider taking the Primaris again especially in support of my mech’ed-up vet squads in this fashion, combining his powers in tandem with a large amount of shooting to pulp the enemy.
As for the billed Psyker VS Psyker showdown aspect of the game? Well, I can say that Librarian trumps Primaris every time, though I was pretty lucky to get off a Lightning Arc, and conversely my opponent was unlucky that his Vortex of Doom scattered so widely. Luck of the dice I guess.
L’s Librarian’s force weapon did work when it needed to (thank you Initiative 4), although Vortex of Doom seemed a disappointment overall. Maybe next time when it flattens each and every one of my tanks, I’ll develop big-up respect for the Vortex, but for now it seems, what’s the fuss?
All in all, I think I rolled okay-average, while my opponent had some below average rolls (missing his meltas, missing his krak missiles, missing the vortex). I think not finishing off the Chimera was a mistake, but then it’s all about the mech baby. Not only do you have to hit, you have to damage (penetrate) the AV value, and further to that you get to roll on a damage chart where it’s only a 33% chance of getting that kill point (50% if you use melta/ApP1). In a funny way, it’s almost as if Vehicles get a Feel No Pain roll if they’re damaged, although of course, they can still be shaken & stunned.
I know that if I were to re-play this game, I’d take the same list. If I were the marines though, I’d swap the Scouts out for something a bit hardier, but exactly what I can’t be sure.
All in all, Combat Patrol was a real blast for the both of us, AND it lasted a little less than an hour, so we’ll definitely be doing it again! That’s it from Wednesday Games Night, so see you all the week after!