Friday, 8 October 2010

The swarm approacheth

Here's a bit of a blast from the past, a write up from the night the Tyranid Codex was released:

For the release of the Tyranid codex, my local GW ran a massive games night, a series of combined narrative games linked to a central Apocalypse game entirely against Tyranid opposition, using the new codex. I was lucky enough to take part in the Apocalypse game with 2000pts of Wolves. I teamed up with another 2000pts of Wolves, 3000pts of Crimson Fists and 2000pts of Guard. Facing us were 9000pts of Tyranids who even got endless swarm, a bio-titan and 3 barbed hyrodules!

The whole night was organised by a provisional campaign organising group that GW was trialling in our store, although the campaigns have somewhat gone by the way, they certainly put everything into this night and it was truly epic.  One of the organisers who dabbled in blogging, FlingItNow, wrote up the night in a great review on Imperius Dominatus which is far more comprehensive than this (theres big chunks missing from my report as I was far too engrossed in the action on my board - it was awesome!).

The two side tables that were being run each had a series of games which dictated how reserves would arrive on the apocalypse table, and could influence the game in other ways as well. One of these involved the defence of a Fortress by a combined Dark Angels and Guard force. Below you can see the setup:

The Guard had been left to hold the Fortress for as long as possible to allow the missile battery's to fire on the tyranids, while the Dark Angels had a secret mission and so needed to get through the force of Orks on the far side of the table and escape the board!
On the second table, a combined Imperial force was facing up to Genestealers defending bastions, hoping to delay reinforcements for the Tyranids on the Apocalypse table.

As we were including both the Wolves and the Dark Angels in the overall game we had to have a face off for the Lion and the Wolf.  Sadly Ragnar let us down (not the only time that night) and fell to the Dark Angel in part due to my lousy dice rolling and in part due to having to face 2 rounds of shooting before being able to get into contact (the two characters were placed far apart).

Meanwhile, we were seeing just what we were going to face. 9000pts is a lot of Tyranids!

Here you see a lonely squad of Crimson Fists lurking on the streets at the edge of the city we were defending facing the monstrosities of the Tyranids as they approach over the hill.

The Guard prepare for a mad dash into the lines of the Tyranids to delay their approach and in the vain hope of securing a field of crops that is buried under the middle of the Tyranid lines - amazingly enough thanks to some deepstriking troopers they were able to secure the crops by the end of the battle!

That is a mighty line of gribbly death!

So from here on in I can only offer images of a few highlights as things got very engrossing. I'll try and give you a brief overview of the first few interesting turns and then just gloss over the later turns leading to the climax as they weren't as intersting.

Imperial turn 1
Pretty much all our high strength weaponry is directed towards the bio-titan in the hopes of felling it before it can wreak too much havoc. After all the weapons of a baneblade, 4 devestator squads and the missiles from numerous tac squads we've got it down to 2 wounds! The rest of the firing did little harm to the tyranids taking the odd few gaunts from broods.
Tyranid turn 2
The bio-titan regenerates 3 wounds leaving it on 5, in the last round we took 8 wounds from it so theres still a chance. The bio-titan and hyrodules all open up on the baneblade and guard causing a lot of damage to the massive vehicle but miraculously only disabling a number of weapons and shaking some others - it'll still be able to fire next turn. The rest of the tyranids move forward on mass.
Then, like a bolt from the blue - thanks to the guard holding the Fortress on the other table a great missile lands amid the tyranid lines:
This one shot kills 33 gaunts! One weapon causes more destruction in the Tyranid lines than the combined shooting of all the Guard and Crimson Fists. Sadly, we saw that destroyed brood of Hormagaunts reappear at the start of the next Tyranid turn thanks to endless swarm.
Fleet of foot is only as good as your dice rolls :)

Imperial turn 2
Thanks to the work of the Imperial players taking and holding many of the bastions on one of the other boards almost all the wolves were able to turn up on turn 2. My Long Fangs were deployed to back up the others facing the monstrous creatures over to the right hand of the board, while my lone wolf and land raider containing Ragnar and a bodyguard of termies arrived on the left flank to face that whole flank of the Tyranid hoard pretty much alone. Not to worry though, thanks to Ragnars beserk charge, my dual wolf claw guys were rolling 7 wolf claw attacks and individual termies were accounting for up to 6 gaunts each.
Meanwhile on the rest of the board we finally felled the bio-titan and one of the hyrodules. Some drop pods were strategically placed in the way of the monstrous creatures in order to slow their advance, and the rest of the tyranid brood was being slowly whittled away. The small Guard force was doing surprisingly well.
Notice a difference between the above image and below? Well one round of combat from Ragnar and his guard accounted for a brood of 32 Hormagaunts and a Carnifex. In the following rounds they would take a charge from the Warriors and Termagaunts and proceed to wipe out everything on this flank. By the end of turn 3 they had wiped out 1 Carnifex, 3 Tyranid Warriors, 64 Terma/Hormaguants, 3 Zoanthropes and a few others I can't quite remember, all for the loss of a couple of Terminators.
Turns 2-4
These saw the mopping up of the remaining Tyranids on the board. Thanks to the amazing work on the other tables a lot of the Tyranid reinforcements were stopped from appearing, and coupled with that and the incredible work of some of the other squads of Crimson Fists massing bolter fire on the centre of the Tyranid line and the other force of wolves chomping its way through a significant fraction of the other end of the tyranid line, by the end of our turn 4 we had almost completely cleared the table of Tyranids. However, it wasn't all going to go our way, we'd received "intelligence" from the other boards that the Genestealers had got into the sewers under the city and could appear at any time, the Dark Angels were fighting to stop them as we were finishing off the main Tyranid assault.

Below the city the Dark Angels were fighting a desperate battle to stop the Tyranids from getting to the city and disrupting its defence. They were partially successful, delaying the Genestealers (so they only turned up in the middle of our lines on the last turn of the game) but unable to stop them:

So the final, climactic turn of the battle, Tyranid turn 4 and the Genestealers appear at both flanks of our lines. Ragnar and his guard were facing over half their number alone...
...while on the other flank, my Blood Claws were the only squad with a hope of stopping the 'stealers as it was them, a tac squad and some devestators facing them.
On the right the 'stealers chomped their way through pretty much everything without the slightest difficulty (although I forgot that they don't have frag anymore so it could have been a little different for my Claws - I won't forget that one again).

While on the left it wasn't looking good for Ragnar, his guard or the Lone Wolf...
...completely surrounded...
...and when the dust of the combat settled, Ragnar and all the Wolf Guard were gone, but by some miracle the Lone Wolf survived, and with his full 2 wounds as well (again I forgot that being in cover I could have gone first against the stealers - D'oh!).

So, Ragnar fell in battle, but perhaps the Lone Wolf proved himself more than capable of taking his place at the head of a new company of Wolves.

Finally, I'll leave you with a picture of the full Tyranid force used across all of the gaming boards. Some 13,000 pts of Tyranids and totalling a massive 499 models.

It was an awesome night and I can't thank the guys from my local GW and the gamers who took the time to organise and run  the night.

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