Welcome to part two of this series of articles delivering you into the dim, dark future that is the 40k universe. Last time, we had a brief look at the lore of Warhammer 40,000 and how I’d begun work on my Ghosts of Mortain Grey Knights Battalion. If you missed that article and want to catch up, you can find part one right here.
Today, I’ll be deploying my forces onto the tabletop for my first game of 40k in about six years. My Ghosts of Mortain will be facing the vile, corrupted forces of the Genestealer Cults, as piloted by our very own Chris Warrington. While these alien-worshiping heretics are not exactly the primary targets of my ‘Daemon Hunters’, it should be a fun and enlightening experience for both of us as the Genestealer Cult recently got their updated Codex.
As this was going to be a learning curve for both of us, we decided to play a quick and easy 500 match point game so we could both get our bearings. As a result, I would only be playing with around half of my collection, a total of around eleven models at the most. I had a quick look at what I could field and settled on the below list for my first foray into 8th edition 40k.
Grey Knights Patrol Detachment
Grand Master Voldus: (Warlord),
Warlord Trait: Lore Master
(2 Force Swords, 1 Force Halberd, 1 Force Falchion, 1 Daemon Hammer)
(2 Force Swords, 1 Force Halberd, 1 Force Falchion, 1 Daemon Hammer)
This list (I hope) will give me some tactical versatility, allowing me to hold multiple objectives. The basic game plan is to hold any objectives on my side of the board with Voldus and the Strike Squad while the Terminators come in from the reserve and get into the thick of the melee before I get shot to pieces by the enemy’s firepower. If all goes the way it should do, I should be able to clear up the board with minimal losses. At least that is what I thought would happen. Then I got a look at the sheer numbers Chris would be bringing to the table.
Genestealer Cult Battalion Detachment
Warlord Trait: Shadow Stalker
Icon of the Cult Ascendant
(4 Acolyte Hybrids, 1 Acolyte Leader with Hand Flamer, Lash Whip, and Bonesword)
Brood Brothers Infantry Squad:
(Brood Brothers Leader, 6 Brood Brothers, 2 Brood Brothers with Grenade Launchers, Brood Brothers Weapons Team with Lascannon)
(5 Neophyte Hybrids: 2 Neophyte Hybrids with Grenade Launchers, 1 Neophyte Hybrid with Mining Laser, 1 Neophyte Hybrid with Heavy Stubber, Neophyte Leader with Autogun, Power Maul)
(Clearance Incinerator, Heavy Stubber)
(Heavy Stubber, Twin Autocannon)
Whoa. That’s a lot of models for 500pts. Not only is my force outnumbered nearly three-to-one, but Chris gets to bring two vehicles into the fray. Additionally, he will have eight command points to my measly three, meaning that there was some absolute shenaniganry coming my way. True, my Grey Knights should be the superior force mano a mano (and with the recently released Beta Bolter rule I’ll be no slouch in shooting). But the sheer number of dice being thrown at me could make all my best-laid plans moot. If I am to be successful in this game, I’ll have to play more tactfully than I’m used to.
For this game we randomly chose to play Secure and Control with the Dawn of War setup. Since there would only be two objectives on the battlefield, I felt slightly better about my chances of claiming victory thanks to my Knights of Titan rule. I would be sticking to the plan of holding my Terminators in reserve, allowing them to come down on turn two either near Chris’ objective if all is going well, or on my own if I needed to prevent it from being captured. Hopefully the Strike Squad and Voldus would be enough to hold the line. Chris placed two blips (one of the new toys Genestealer Cults get to play with) and held the Brood Brothers and Primus in reserve, ready to outflank me from the tunnels below. Chris won the die roll and would be going first.
Unsurprisingly, both blips were the trucks laden with hybrids of all shapes and sizes. The Rockgrinder sped its way towards my objective with the Acolyte Hybrids and Iconward in tow, while the Truck held back with the Neophyte Hybrids near his own objective. Some shots were fired but, lucky for me, the shots all went wide of their marks.
I kept my army in cover nearby and used Voldus to gift the Strike squad with Astral Aim. I then loosed a hail of bolter shells at the oncoming Rockgrinder through the cover of my objective. Thanks to Voldus allowing me to reroll 1’s, I was able to get a healthy number of hits on the oncoming ramshackle transport. I even managed to score a couple of wounds for my efforts. All in all, a fairly uneventful turn one. But I didn’t think that that would be the case for the upcoming turn two.
The Rockgrinder continued on its path to my army, while the Neophyte Hybrids unloaded and dug into Chris’ own objective. Then the Brood Brother and Primus turned up right next to my Strike Squad thanks to some of the new Stratagems Chris had access to. Things were looking grim as the shooting began, but after the dust had settled only two of the Strike Squad’s members had fallen (can ghosts die?). Additionally, Chris’ Warlord and tainted Guardsmen were in the open. It was time to bring the pain.
I split my forces at this point, sending Voldus up to meet the Rockgrinder head-on while the three remaining power-armoured Grey Knights moved towards the Brood Brothers. Lastly, my Terminators beamed down to the surface ready to blow away all in their path. My psychic phase went well, and many Smites were made, but it was the shooting phase where things really got interesting.
Both the Strike Squad and the Terminators unleashed their considerable firepower onto the Brood Brothers, leaving only their sergeant alive. I then charged into melee range with the Strike Squad (sadly the Terminators just missed out), hoping to make quick work of the Primus and the last Brood Brother. Unfortunately, my dice had other plans and I was unable to kill a single model. For their failure, the Grey Knights were wiped out and I was down to only my Terminator-armoured brethren.
On a more positive note, Voldus made short work of the Rockgrinder, smashing it so hard that it exploded. Lovely. The resulting explosion did give him a mortal wound, but also took out one of the Hybrids. However, Voldus was now between a rock and a hard place. And it was Chris’ turn.
Chris moved everyone that he could into position to bring down the hurt on poor old Voldus, and even reinforced his depleted Brood Brothers with some of his many command points. First, he decided to unload a volley from the Truck and the Neophytes into my beloved Terminators. Unfortunately for me they were pretty much out in the open, but luckily for me it was Chris’ turn to have horrid luck and I only suffered a single wound. Then it was Voldus’ turn to face the firing squad. A hail of laser fire, promethium, and grenades descended upon the Grey Knight Grand Master, and when the dust had cleared… he had suffered only a single wound (insert ‘tis but a scratch’ meme here).
The Acolyte Iconward and Hybrids then tried to finish the job at melee range, a wave of steel, teeth, and chitin washing over the old man… yet still he stood tall with three wounds remaining (this guy is an absolute beast!). Voldus then swung his Daemon Hammer in a wide arc and flattened all but the Iconward in retaliation for them scuffing up his armour. In my turn, the Terminators moved onward, and through a combination of firepower and close combat laid waste to the Primus and the remaining Brood Brothers. Meanwhile, Voldus set his sights on a very lonely looking Iconward. He then proceeded to smash the xeno hybrid into several bloody lumps.
Things were looking good for me, but I was now pretty far away from Chris’ objective. It looked like neither of us were going to be able to claim both objectives before the end of the game, so Chris resigned himself to at least bruising my ego and killing Voldus. Luckily for him, my warlord was in the open and he proceeded to unload the remaining weapons into the Grand Master.
The Truck started things off and was able to score a wounding hit with its autocannon, reducing him down to a single wound. Then the Neophytes opened fire and things were looking grim for poor old Voldus as Chris was able to score five wounding hits on him. I picked up my dice and rolled to see if Voldus could survive the onslaught. As the dice came to a rest I breathed out a sigh of relief as none of the attacks had made it past his armour. The game would end in a draw, but (much to the chagrin of Chris) Voldus would live.
We played out the rest of the game, but aside from a few dead Neophytes and my wounded Terminator being added to the pile of dead miniatures, not much had changed. Although there was no clear winner, the game was still a ton of fun to play. Grey Knights are definitely an elite force, but when they get into the thick of it, they can really make their mark. I also liked how the Genestealer Cult played. Although they can be a bit of a glass cannon army, they bring a ton of versatility to the game.
So, what now? Well, I think some anti-tank support would be very handy. In fact, I have already started work on not one, not two, but three Venerable Dreadnoughts to fill this role. I hope to have them finished in the next few days or so, which should bring my number of painted models to a respectable 1,500pts. After that? I’m not sure, but those new Imperial Assassin rules from White Dwarf magazine look pretty sweet.
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