June 2, 2024

Breaching the Rock - The Invasion of Fulgur

I still catch myself thinking back on the massive SN Battle Reports: No Retreat V experience we had a couple of weeks ago, enjoying the hobby and tabletop gaming in its ultimate form! The five Horus Heresy battles against magnificent armies on a luxury yacht sparked a proper gaming flame for the summertime and I can't wait to get back to the workshop desk for some new army and event schemes. The friendly discussions, inspiration and recognition will fuel these aspirations for a long time - the War Head World Eaters were commended with a SN Award (TOP5 exemplary Horus Heresy armies chosen by the event team) and with the Best Army Award (as voted by the participants). My big thanks for all the kind feedback, army votes and brilliant hobby chatter go to all of the skilled co-participants, hardworking event staff and the esteemed judge panel! This is a world class event with so much thought and effort going into it, and also seems to attract the best kind of people as participants.

My 3000 point army shared a lot with the previous iterations when it comes to the theme and playstyle, but it had been updated with many new units and additional XII Legion Culture. To complement the Jump Pack onslaught I added some skirmish elements, proving useful for countering Infiltration and providing me with an option of dividing the attack force into separate Deep Strike and Outflank detachments. I'd also completely redone the list's workhorse Red Butchers unit, retiring the Forge World models with new personalized scratchbuild conversions. There were also many narrative story hooks hidden within the modelling work and split between this main list and the optional one for Zone Mortalis games. More on these later!

Player: Teemu Valve
Army: XII World Eaters 308th Void Assault Brigade
Rite of War: Crimson Path
Allegiance: Traitoris Perdita

HQ1: Warmonger, Berzerker, Twin Lightning Claws, Warlord: Butcher's Claws [140]

HQ2: Master of Signals, Chainaxe [95]

HQ3: Delegatus, Falax Blades, Jump Pack [120]

HQ4: Command Squad, Jump Packs, Power Lance, Power Fist, Lightning Claws [145] 

ELITE1: The Red Butchers, 6 Terminators, Thunder Hammer and Power Fist [310]

ELITE2: The Red Hand, 7 Destroyers, Jump Packs, Chainaxes, Thunder Hammer, Artificer Armour, Lightning Claw [225]

ELITE3: Rampagers, 7 Falax Blades, Excoriator Chainaxe, Barb-Hook Lash, Jump Packs, Artificer Armour, Power Fist [370]

ELITE4: Rapier Platform, Quad Heavy Bolter [40]

TROOP1: Despoiler Squad, Chainaxes, Power Axe, Artificer Armour, Power Fist [130]

TROOP2: Assault Squad, Chainaxes, Power Axe, Plasma Pistol, Artificer Armour, Power Fist [185]

TROOP3: Recon Squad, 10 Recon Marines, Chainaxes, Shotgun, Power Fist [160]

TROOP4: Scout Squad, Chainaxes [65]

FAST1: 2 Javelin Attack Speeders, Chainaxes, Multi-Meltas, Lascannons [210]

FAST3: 2 Proteus Legion Land Speeders, Chainaxes, Multi-Meltas, Graviton Guns [190]

FAST3: 6 Sky-Hunters, Volkite Culverins, Chainaxes, Vexilla, Fist, Artificer Armour [265]

HEAVY1: Caestus Assault Ram "Commodus" [350]

Battle 1: Alpha Legion Headhunter Leviathal 

My first go against the Alpha Legion resulted in a tense deployment period as I was trying my best to avoid Headhunter infiltration wiping out my ground forces before the cavalry had a chance to arrive! I tried to block precision shots to the back lines with Recon Marine counter-infiltration which worked ok and bought the necessary time. Just as I had rolled my initial deep strike scatter a narrative event put a massive spin on the game - Horus' fleet was performing electronical jamming and all my opponent's Augury Scanners and Intercepting was turned off (as well as any following deep strikes scattering an additional dice). This left poor Jason's army completely at the World Eaters' mercy and I was able to wipe out most of the Alpha Legion board presence. The rival Dawnbreakers and Assault Marines arrived and performed a valiant counter-strike, but there was no recovering from the Kill Point deficit suffered on the initial onslaught. Jason took the misfortunes like a champ though and we had a good chat about our armies, tactics and the hobby in general.

Battle 2: The Primarch of the Imperial Fists

A rock-hard Imperial Fists Phalanx was led by Dorn himself in a scenario where three midfield objectives were used for progressive scoring. All Imperial Fist units were so incredibly robust that I found no easy targets, deciding early on to go for Line hunting. In the initial drop I was able to remove one Tactical horde and the Praetor's Command Squad, but made a mistake destroying the Spartan instead of the more mobile Leviathan that proved harmful later on. The Imperial Fists struck back, wiping out many of my elite units but left me in a position to kill off the last hostile Tactical Marines on my following turn. The maneuvers were done in very close quarters however and as I tried to reach the charge ranges Rogal Dorn stepped out, using the advanced reaction and clipping the wings of my ambitions. It finally took a long charge from the Huscarls to remove the World Eater Rampagers from another objective and the VII stood victorious with a couple points' margin. Fun, eventful and friendly game and it felt that with a bit better playing on my part the World Eaters could've gone for a result even facing the Sire of the Imperial Fists himself!

Battle 3: Dark Angels Castellans

Incredibly stylish and thematic Dark Angels deployed in a fortified battlefield third that also hosted all of the five objectives, setting up a defensive perimeter around their castle. This game saw waves of foul traitors crash against the knightly defenses in an epic and bloody contest, with the World Eaters gaining the upper hand thanks to fortunate rolling on the randomized victory points, leaving burnt objectives in their wake. While I made short work of the First Legion's scoring capacity, the intercepting Melta Leviathan was absolutely terrifying and Corswain with his Companions refused to give any quarter protecting their central keep. The game naturally concluded in the duel of the Warlords, with the Paladin of the Ninth Order beheading my Warmonger with ease. Splendid game against a most gentlemanly opponent, who also got my vote for the Players' Player award.

Battle 4: White Scars Chogorian Brotherhood

A rematch against Tim from No Retreat III - and a table full of eye candy in his magnificent White Scars. The scenario was a challenging one for my reserve based list, as we scored points from table segments at the beginning of our turns. Thinking back I probably should have kept some of the Jump Infantry on board to keep Tim on his toes, but lacking the experience decided to drop most of it. White Scars took the field and went way ahead in points, with World Eaters arriving late and attempting to mount a comeback. Turns two and three were absolutely brutal with most of the White Scars' strength swept off the board in a true Traitor shock assault, but Tim's masterful playing made sure I didn't really shake his faith in victory. The Rhinos were a menace once again, blocking movement and driving some of my units back, an absolute steal for their points value! Tim's special Destroyers hunted down my Outflanking scoring elements which meant that I couldn't complete the VP sprint in the end - the Loyal Scum ultimately took the game by a couple of points. Great study in sharp and calculative Heresy again, I'm always up for another lesson! 

Battle 5: Raven Guard, Host of the Shadowed Lord

The Raven Guard had an absolutely terrifying list with a murderous Corax + Dark Talons Deathstar, but absolutely superb gaming conduct to perfectly balance things out. Playing the Primarch in a rather reserved way Steve let me into the game and even after my disordered Deep Strike graciously placed my entire army in a way that we managed to have a proper scrap in the end. I had great time trying to conquer the battlefield center, watching Corax wreck my entire flank and backline and learning about the background story of the Deliverers, who proved to be more than worthy opponents for the many World Eater elites. Thanks to my list's mobility and Steven's gentlemanly attitude I managed to claw my way into a narrow victory in the end after triumphing against Raven Guard's MVP Tactical Marines on the final turn. What a fitting way to end the terrific wargaming weekend!

All of the games were quite evenly matched and I felt great using the newly-finished roster. I'll be tinkering with the Troops side of the list going forward, but I think most of the list is nailed down for the time being. With Ropecon's Show of Force and War Head's Civil War event in the distant horizon, it'll be a busy Summer!

Picture courtesy of SN Battle Reports. What a venue, I didn't think they could improve from last time but they outdid themselves once again!

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