Mordrak: I see... Dead people!
Ghosts: Lay off dem pills ya daft junkie
This is an expansion upon my previous article, a more detailed battle report giving interested readers a more play-by-play account of what happened in my Mordrak ‘Ghostwing*’ outing.
My reason for dictating this battle report is that while I’m a keen fan of the fluff and playability of Ghostwing, I am saddened by the lack of detailed battle reports showing how a Ghostwing army is to be applied in games, so I thought I’d give it a go for others to read!*For those not in the know, the term ‘Ghostwing’ is a Grey Knights army list that utilises Grand Master Mordrak and his Ghost Knights as the lynchpin of the army strategy, backed up by as many hard-hitting Terminator bodies as possible.
The denoting term ‘-wing’ comes from the Dark Angels codex e.g. Deathwing, Ravenwing, etc, to denote army types befitting their force composition, being mainly terminators, fast attack, etc. Since then we have alternative Space Marine builds such as Lysanderwing from the SM codex, Loganwing from the SW codex, Nipplewing from the BA codex, and even the Dustwing (Tzeentch automatons) from the CSM.
This is a standard 1500 point game I will be discussing. Note: No photos taken this time, but plenty of good ol'-fashioned battle graphics to enjoy.
Click to embiggen the goodness
My army composition, as previously discussed, involves getting Mordrak for the first turn deep strike with his First to the Fray rule, having a Librarian for shootyness and the teleport homer, then Psychic Communion to bring in the rest of the forces, these being Terminators to asymmetrically overwhelm the enemy on his flank and steamroller him slowly with a Termie-advance. Psyfleman for some long range capability, and a Dreadknight for a big distraction.
Dougie has brought his general take-all-comers list. Note that while his Havocs lack plasma death goodness, his normal marines and Oblits are capable of pumping out the plasma spam. His Landraider is at it’s most basic (lascannons & h.bolters only), but it’s cargo of Abbadon and his 5 Termie buddies are certainly a force to be reckoned with.
The terrain is deliberately sparse as this is our first Wednesday Gaming Night battle in a long time and we are all eager to get started asap. Laur has set the board for the both of us, and in the good old days of the Imperial Guard I would’ve asked for a LOT more cover, but for now am eager to see how Mordrak fares in this circumstance.
We roll off and the mission is Capture & Control, with 2no. Objectives placed. To keep it simple we agree to nominate the central ruins as our objectives. Dougie gets the first go and opts to take the north half of the board, and the deployment is Dawn of War.
Dougie opts to trot everything out on the first turn but holds his Oblits in reserve. One unit of marines in a rhino is parked right up to the eastern objective.
I opt to hold everything in reserve, but my Dreadknight and Dreadnought, which will trot out on my first turn. Using Grand Strategy, I nominate my Dreadknight as scoring, as well as Mordrak himself (I am aware the Ghost Knights can’t be picked as scoring, but as far as I’m concerned Mordrak should be able to. He’s NOT a Ghost after all) I opt NOT to seize the Initiative, so away we go!
TURN 1 CHAOS
1. All but the Oblits trot onto the board at full speed. Dougie’s Havocs deploy into, then above the building (open-topped) while his rhino taxi passengers disembark into the ruin.
TURN 1 GREY KNIGHTS
1. The Dreadknight and Dreadnought come on. NDK runs as far as he can (rolls a 2), Psyfleman destroys the Havocs building, 1no. of which killed in the rubble. Damn, 2no. twin-linked Autocannons with increased strength at 135 points = Very, very good.
2. Mordrak arrives with his Ghostly gang. I deploy them in away to give them a cover save from the Havocs, just in case as they’re all nicely bunched up. Instead of running, I opt to use Warp Rift on the Marines in the ruins, 4 of which fail their Initiative test. Another 2 killed from mass Stormbolter fire, but they hold firm. As an added bonus, the Warp Rift shakes the Rhino.
TURN 2 CHAOS
1. Oblits fail to arrive, so the Rhino and Landraider edge forward cautiously. NDK gets shot by the Havocs, ‘Raider and Rhino, managing to cause 2 wounds in total.
2. Chaos Marines in the ruin fire all they’ve got into Mordrak, namely 4 rapid fire plasma shots. They succeed in causing 2 wounds for me to save, I apply one on Mordrak to try t sprout a new one but alas he passes his Iron Halo save. 1 Ghost is killed though.
TURN 2 GREY KNIGHTS
1. NDK moves forward, and runs (rolling a 1) to close the distance for assault in *hopefully* the next turn, and if it survives possibly score by claiming the objective for itself.
2. Mordrak uses his Psychic Communion successfully, and the rest of the 3no. squads (1 squad of which is Combat Squad-ed into 2) deploy, then run to spread out.
3. Modrak himself gets into position and the squad assaults the remnants in the ruins, swinging a cheeky Daemonhammer hit onto the Rhino, which in turn is combo-ed with the Librarian’s Hammerhands and Might of Titan. SPLAT!
4. The Psyfleman chatters away it’s payload into the Havocs, killing 2. Not bad!
TURN 3 CHAOS
1. Oblits still don’t make an appearance, so Dougie manoeuvres his Rhino round the ruin (just in case). The passengers fire their plasma, and the Landraider pours lascannon and heavy bolter fire into the NDK, finally felling the mechanical monster!
2. The remaining Havocs fire their Krak missiles at Mordrak’s Ghosts, making contact but Modrak makes hi save again, and 1 Ghost is slain. Yet they hold firm!
TURN 3 GREY KNIGHTS
1. My northernmost Termi squad pours it’s Stormbolter and Psycannon fire into the Havocs, finishing them off
2. The rest of my forces run forward as far as they can go, but are restrained by the low rolls. One squad embeds itself in the ruins to definitively claim the objective. The Psyfleman tries to crack AV14 of the Landraider, but doesn’t succeed.
TURN 4 CHAOS
1. The Oblits finally make an appearance, firing their Plasma cannons. The shots scatter, but still manage to kill a Ghost Knight and a Terminator amongst the ruins.
2. The Landraider repositions itself, and lets off it’s lascannon shots to thin down the Terminator numbers. It manages to only kill 1.
TURN 4 GREY KNIGHTS
1. One of my Combat Squads surges forward. While the rest advance carefully firing away at their targets.
2. Psyfleman and Psycannon shots bounce off the Landraider’s hull. My other Psycannon destroys the last Rhino taxi, killing 2 of the passengers, while Mordrak’s mob kill a further 4 with their wrist-action Stormbolters. Nice.
TURN 5 CHAOS
1. Dougie positions his remaining troops behind cover, but rolls 1’s for his difficult terrain and running rolls.
2. Oblits fire at Mordrak’s Ghosts, killing 1 more.
3. Landraider disgorges Abbadon and his men to attempt to roadblock my GK from ruining his chances of a draw. Both the landraider and Abbadon’s crew let rip, but only manage to kill 1 more Terminator. The Chaos elite then charge into my Grey Knight Terminators, who pull off their Hammerhands psychic ability and with their plethora of Halberds, kill 2 more of Abbadon’s men and wound the Despoiler himself before they strike!
2. Abbadon himself generates a further 4 attacks with Drach’Nyen, thus his 9no. attacks slay the remaining Grey Knights. However, he and his men only consolidate an inch away, leaving themselves open in the next turn, if there is to be one!
TURN 5 GREY KNIGHTS
1. Psyfleman finally cracks that AV14, and the Landraider is stunned.
2. Mordrak’s remaining forces fire away at Abbadon. Psycannon, Stormbolter shots and Warp Rift take another wound from Abbadon, and kill 2 more Terminators (he now has 1 left). While the Warp Rift template does not fall anywhere near Abbadon, it scores a Penetrating hit on the Landraider, immobilising it!
3. Mordrak, his Librarian and a single Halberd-wielding Ghost Knight charges in, activating Hammerhands and Might of Titan. The Ghost himself slays both Abbadon and his last Terminator retinue, and the group consolidates closer towards the last objective.
The die is cast, and Dougie has his fingers crossed for the game to end to pull off a draw, but the result swings to my favour, and we play on for another round!
TURN 6 CHAOS
1. Dougie’s Oblit try to dislodge my Terminators entrenched in the eastern ruins, but fails to scratch them.
2. He moves his remaining men forward in desperation, firing off their plasma. One gets hot! and scorches himself, but another manages to score a wound off my Librarian.
TURN 6 GREY KNIGHTS
1. Psyfleman and Psycannon fire again try to blow up the Landraider, but AV14 just proves too tough!
2. My last Terminators turn their attention to the Oblits. They fire away, and get a wound off one of them.
3. Mordrak’s squad gets the charge in, and with 2no. Hammerhands and Might of Titan activated, the Chaos renegades are well and truly pounded.
Final Score. Grey Knights win, controlling 1no. objective, to Chaos’s zero.
As stated before, Dougie’s low-rolling really did let him down. The last-minute appearance of the Obliterators was well and truly too late, in addition to spacing out the Terminators carefully to shrug off the inevitable AP2 weaponry.
Dougie’s lack of Plasma or Lascannons on the Havocs certainly didn’t help either. To be fair on him, his army force, composition and deployment in no way anticipated for the tricks and uber-abilities of the new improved Grey Knights (e.g. bunching up his Chaos Space Marines in a ruin, not knowing the dangerous potential that is Warp Rift, and now that he has my measure our next game will surely be different.
He did note that the game was mine to throw away, and I certainly lucked out by having another turn. Should the game ended on a 5, I would’ve drawn the game (though the moral victory would’ve been mine. Final total ‘killpoint’ scores if the game was Annihilation would’ve been 2 to Chaos, 7 to Grey Knights.
The Landraider was difficult to crack, and in these 1500-point games will always be difficult to crack in any circumstances.
My weaknesses were the fact that my force is a footslogging ponderous beast, and with lack of cover on the board this would’ve been easy to exploit. This battle will prove to be a useful learning experience for the both of us.
Both Dougie and I did learn that Ghostwing is a list that strikes suddenly, strikes, fast, and strikes hard when it appears, but will generally run out of steam once you give it some distance to travel. Ghostwingers in turn, have to make sure their alpha strike damages the enemy irrecoverably so that they spend their subsequent turns staggering about playing damage control.
The NDK did what it did, which is to draw fire away from Modrak and prove to be too big and too dangerous to ignore. Should Dougie have committed to removing Mordrak, the NDK would’ve rampaged through his other flank unscatched. Still, it is hard to say what would’ve truly happened if he DID ignore the NDK, leaving the Chaos squad to fend for itself. Maybe next time.
Where and how you deploy Mordrak is key to Ghostwing, and make sure you back it up with big juicy distractions to amplify it’s use.
Hope you’ve enjoyed the read, any queries/feedback is welcome!