1250 Deathwatch Vs Orks: Decapitation StrikeThe interior of the briefing chamber aboard the Strike Cruiser
Harbinger was gloomy, as befit the mood of its occupants. Thirty brothers of the Deathwatch knelt, their helmets tucked under their arms, and hung upon the words of their Watch Master.
Watch Master Raziel gestured to the glowing hologram at the center of the room--the only source of light. Within it's pale beams was depicted a monstrous Ork, his image captured mid-roar, as an absurd, multi-barrelled firearm blazed in one hand. "This image was captured from the pict-lens of a Skitarii Vanguard Alpha a week ago. Do not be concerned how we acquired it. Needless to say it was the last image the Alpha transmitted to his masters. We believe this to be a warboss operating in an isolated corner of the planet's polar region. It's name is immaterial, but the orks under its control refer to it as "Nutz-bita.""
Raziel scanned the room, but there was no indication of amusement. The Primaris took themselves too seriously, perhaps, but never mind. Better sober focus than the lax bravado of some Space Wolf befouling his briefing chamber. He moved to the next hologram--an icy-covered power station, half buried in drifts of snow. "We are interested in this ork because it controls an old reactor, long since abandoned, and has sufficient so-called "meks" to siphon its power to feed a battery of long-range artillery. This indicates a level of technical sophistication not unheard of among the greenskins, but something about it has drawn the attention of the Stygian Cult Mechanicus active on-world, and that means it draws
Raziel paused for questions. There were none. He supposed the Primaris might have been a bit more curious, but their detachment was imminently preferrable to some Ultramarine pontificating about...well, about
"Your mission," he said at last, "is to attack the base, destroy the artillery, and slaughter the orks. Once secure, we will dismantle the power station and find out what has the Mechanicus so interested. Specific tactical plans will be transmitted to you via your sergeants. Dismissed."
As one, the Primaris rose and uttered a single "Praise the Emperor" in unison. Then they filed out. Orderly, efficient...
Raziel sighed, "...and boring."
Got in another game with the Deathwatch. This time a re-match against the Orks that tabled me in the top of round 1 last time (yeah--it was not much of a report, so I didn't write one). This time a few more points to play with and a different list. So, without further ado:Deathwatch BattalionHQ
Watch Master w/Tome of the Ectolades, Warlord (Lord of Hidden Knowledge)
Watch Captain w/Combiplasma and Relic BladeTroops
Kill Team w/5x Veterans (3x Chainsword + Stormbolter, 2x Frag Cannon)
Primaris Kill Team w/5x Intercessors (Aux. Grenade Launcher, Bolt Rifles)
Primaris Kill Team w/5x Intercessors (Bolt Rifles, Aux Grenade Launcher), 3x Hellblasters
Primaris Kill Team w/5x Intercessors (Auto Bolt Rifles, Aux Grenade Launcher, Power Fist), 2x Aggressors (Boltstorm Gauntlets)Elites
Venerable Dreadnought Cassio w/Twin Lascannon, Missile LauncherFast Attack
3 Inceptors w/Plasma ExterminatorsTransport
Razorback w/Twin-linked Lascannon, Hunter-Killer MissileOrk HordeBad Moons BattalionHQ
Warboss w/Da KIlla Klaw, Kustom Shoota, Attack Squig (Warlord: Brutal but Kunnin')
Big Mek w/Kustom Force FieldTroops
30 Shoota Boyz w/Nob (Big Choppa)
30 Shoota Boyz w/Nob (Big Choppa)
10 Shoota Boyz Heavy Support
2 Smasha Kannons
2 Smasha KannonsBad Moons BattalionHQ
Weirdboy (Warphead) w/ Da Jump, Fists of Gork
Weirdboy w/Da WarpathTroops
10 GretchinMission, Terrain, and Deployment
The board was set up to look like a desolate arctic station, with a large powerplant in the north center and a bunker to its west. A forest dominated the southern edge and a variety of rocky outcroppings dotted the eastern edge. The Mission was Decapitation Strike from Chapter Approved 2019. The six objectives were (1) by some rubble in the southwest, (2) by the bunker, (3) board center, (4) NE rocky outcropping, (5) SE rocky outcropping, (6) southern forest.
We rolled and got Search and Destroy deployment; I won the roll-off. I would have preferred to defer in favor of going first, but the mission allowed no such deferment (and, seriously, there was NOTHING WRONG with 5th Edition deployment--why can't we just go back to that?). I chose the SW quadrant, giving me access to a majority of the forest for cover, which I thought would be extremely useful in the face of all that artillery. I deployed the Razorback, Dreadnought, Hellblaster Kill Team, and Aggressor Kill Team in the woods with the Watch Master positioned to give everyone re-rolls. The Intercessor Kill-team deployed back for the purpose of keeping any giant mobz of boyz from tellyporta-ing into my backfield. The Watch Captain and Veterans went in the teleportarium along with the Inceptors, who would also be dropping in.
The orks arranged all four Smasha Gunz in a half-circle between the power station and the NE rocks. Behind them went lines of grots, then the Lootas (who were also flanked by grots). One mob of 30 boyz guarded their southern flank and another 10 boyz hung around the backfield, foiling any sneaky deepstrike attempts. The weirdboyz, boss, and mek all clustered around the middle of the DZ, while the last mob of 30 boyz went in the tellyporta.
DeploymentOrk DeploymentDeathwatch DeploymentTurn 1
I attempt to seize the initiative...AND I DO! Suddenly the game goes from "crap, will I survive one turn?" to "HAHAHAHAHAHA!" This, I suppose, is a flaw in trying to play a marine army these days, but anyway, I take advantage. The Razorback and the Dreadnought each destroy one Smasha gun, then the Hellblasters and a well-placed krak grenade destroy the next one. The Aggressors advance forward 10" and bombard Smasha gun #4 with LOTS of Kraken bolts. They are assisted by one Inceptor, which drops with their team near the SE objective. That kills the last Smasha gun. The remaining two Inceptors, backed up by the Watch Captain and the Veterans, shave about 11 orks off the 30-boy mob.
For objectives that round, I pulled Supremacy, Witch Hunter, and Secure Objective 4 (that last one was *not* happening, so I discarded it at the end of round). I didn't put any wounds on his psykers, but I did hold 3 objectives from some minor shifting of my forces--#1, #6, and #5. That earned me 2 points and First Blood made it 3. Current Score:
Deathwatch 3, Orks 0
Top of Turn 1Flanking ManeuverAdvancing on the Artillery
In the Ork turn, he draws an objective that will score him points if I'm not near the center of the board and an objective for manifesting psychic powers--both easy money. He drops his Tellyporta mob onto board center...but unfortunately *waaay* too close to my guys, so I hit him with an Auspex scan. The brutality that is Hellfire bolter rounds cut into his guys, killing about half of them before they get off a shot. The ten orks in the back mob-up with the 19 survivors of the *other* boyz mob and then the Warphead uses Da Jump to put them right in the face of the Inceptors (but this time they land 12.5" away!). Their 58 shots kills 1 Inceptor and wounds another, which ain't half bad as far as I'm concerned. The Lootas, meanwhile, light me up with 15 shots followed by a "Showin' Off" stratagem letting them shoot another 15. This kills 5 marines in the hellblaster squad (including all the hellblasters themselves, who were no longer super useful to me). The 15 tellyporta orks killed 1 Intercessor from the Aggressor Kill-team and then the poor dumb bastards tried to charge the Aggressor's too and met the Stem the Green Tide stratagem, which slaughtered all but the nob and the nob was too far out of assault to be able to charge. He then promptly popped from Morale and ran for the hills.
Meanwhile, the grots re-positioned themselves to better shield the Lootas, now that it was clear I'd be attacking from the south and not the west.
End of turn, he scored 1 point for the psychic powers and 1 point for having a clear center of the board. Current Score:
Deathwatch 3, Orks 2
Bottom of Turn 1The Orks get Da Jump!Turn 2
Well, being able to wipe out 30 orks in *my opponent's* turn is a huge boost. But I also know I can't quite sustain that punishing Loota barrage forever. I keep the Aggressor team where it is and they single-handedly obliterate the 29 remaining shoota boyz (Hellfire rounds + Stationary Aggressors + Watch Master re-rolls + Furor Tactics = HOLY GOD WOW). The rest of my firepower is devoted to clearing away grot screens. I force my opponent to spend the CP for the Grot Screen Stratagem by shooting the Dreadnought at the Lootas. His whole volley killed 1 Loota but also nailed 3-4 grots. The rest of that 10 was easily wiped by the remaining 3 intercessors from the Hellblaster squad. The next 10 died to a frag grenade from the reserve squad and some extra bolters from the aggressor squad and then, of course, the Razorback. The grot screen in the south was handled by stormbolters. This exposed the Weirdboy, who I killed with the Inceptors (for a witchhunter point). My other objectives for the round were "Defend Objective 5" (which meant the Captain had to babysit that objective for two turns) and a pair of other "secure objective" things that I had no shot of achieving. Current Score:
Deathwatch 4, Orks 2
Top of Turn 2My Kill Team Vets advance!
This turn the Orks pulled a bunch of objectives that pertained to his warlord getting stuck in, so he souped up the Warboss with all the psychic buffs and Da Jumped him behind the Razorback/Dreadnought. Sadly, he missed his assault and his bullets bounced off and he got a lascannon to the face for trying to charge me, losing 3 wounds. The Lootas used Showin Off again to drop 60 shots on the Aggressor squad and, while I made it through the first 30 without casualties, the next 30 killed 5 guys and left me with just the sergeant. It kinda doesn't matter at this point, because there just aren't
a lot of orks left on the board. I believe he scores one point for securing the objective on which he is already sitting. Current Score:
Deathwatch 4, Orks 3
Bottom of Turn 2Well, he's brave. You gotta give him that.Turn 3
I draw two more objectives this turn--Kill Team Strike and Behind Enemy Lines, both of which are super do-able. With the grot screens cleared away, the stormbolters and frag cannons of the vets make short, short work of the Lootas. The Dreadnought turns around and blows the Warboss away while the Razorback eliminates the Big Mek. Come to think of it, I think this
is the turn I kill the weirdboy with the Inceptors, firing on high power and losing a guy in the process. The point is that, when the smoke clears, the only ork left on the board is the warphead.
I score 1 point for Warlord (the warboss), 1 for Behind Enemy Lines, 1 for Kill Team Strike (I killed a unit), and another 2 for Defending Objective 5 for two turns. Current Score:
Deathwatch 9, Orks 3
Top of Turn 3
As a final gesture of defiance, the Warphead Smites the remaining Inceptor out of existence and tries to charge the Veterans, but he is killed in overwatch and never makes it. Game over.
Bottom of Turn 3Final Score
Well, seizing the initiative in this game was pretty clutch--I was really worried what those Smasha Gunz would do to my relatively fragile troops, and it was a huge, huge relief to get them out of the way early. Also, the Lootas are nasty, nasty things, especially of the Bad Moon variety. Doing 2 damage a pop negates the primaris durability angle, which sucks. Fortunately, after the Smasha Gunz were gone, that was my primary threat. Deathwatch Special Issue Ammunition and Stratagems effectively render big mobs of 30 boyz obsolete--he can't use Tellyportas or Da Jump to catch me out, since I can blow his face off before he charges. On my turn, Hellfire rounds melt walls of green flesh away like CRAZY, especially when coupled with the right Deathwatch Tactic. I really felt like I was playing an elite alien-hunting force this time around, and not a bunch of chumps.
We used the Bolter Discipline beta rules and they worked fantastic--they upped my firepower at range, which is a crucial problem for the Deathwatch conventionally. Given how badly my opponent got blasted, I would imagine he feels like they're a bit *over*powered, but I personally don't really agree--the thing that killed him were hellfire rounds more than my precise weight of fire. There was only 1 or 2 instances in the game where the extra shots made an actual difference (the stormbolters killing the Lootas in turn 3, for instance) and in most of those cases I think the damage would have been sufficient anyway to cause morale to cripple his units even if I didn't wipe them.
As for the beta rule we *didn't* use, I really like first turn drops and don't think they're terribly overpowered. I think it gives elite armies and edge they need to get to grips with the enemy, it gives slow horde armies the ability to get around the board, and it overall speeds up the game. I don't want to go back to only turn 2 drops.
This battle hopefully gives my opponent some idea of just how sharp the teeth of the Deathwatch are, assuming they can get the drop on you. I look forward to the next engagement. Thanks for reading and thanks, as always, to my opponent!