It was out there, somewhere. Hiding. Waiting. Lord-Commissar Argento was a hunted man. Prey. He knew it and could not rid himself from the seeds of despair it instilled in him. Yet, he would not fail the Emperor. The fate of the planet hung in the balance and so much relied on him. The conscripts from Hague were ill-prepared for the coming storm. Most of them couldn´t hit the side of a ten story buildning let alone a Tyranid organism assaulting them. But it was what he had. It was all he had.
The sun still had not risen. There was no sign of the predator. It remained unseen. He almost wished that it would finally come to try and claim him. Death was better than this. He swallowed hard, wiping the cold sweat from his forehead. Discreetly. He gave his squad a final look. Was this really the best we could muster? God-Emperor save us. He commanded them forward. The swarm had arrived.
The fight for survival had begun.
War Zone Hague: Survival
Echoes of War Mission 8 – Survival
Defenders of Hague fielded a desperate alliance of Astra Militarum, Dark Angels, Skitarii and Tau. They had a ton of stuff; the Astra Militarum had the ignore cover artillery formation (with a death strike, so freaking awesome!, gold star for bringing that one), conscripts, guardsmen, psykers and more flamers than you could count. The Tau had three Devilfishes, Plasma Crisis Suits, some shooty Broadsides and a Ghostkeel with some drones and two squads of stealth suits. The Ravenwing represented the Dark Angles with four skimmers (formation that allowed them to fire overwatch) and some Bikes with plasma and pick axes led by Sammael. Finally two skitarii units on foot backed up by two anti-air Dunecrawlers. I might have missed something here but you get the point.
They set up the extraction building 24″ from their left table edge. They had won the roll off and deployed first. Astra Militarum set up defensively along their table edge across from the building, while the Tau took the right flank and the Skitarii and Dark Angels the centre. Very compact and concentrated. They left the Buffmander and the Plasma Crisis suits in reserves.
The Tyranid Invaders had mustered a mighty swarm supported by the remaining vanguard organisms on the planet. We had two flyrants, a tervigon, the Deathleaper, a couple of ripper swarms, a mucolid, trygon prime, a tyrannocyte, three Venomthropes, two Zoanthropes and a Lictor. We also brought a some formations; Manufactorum Genestealers, Broodlord Hunting Pack, two Endless Swarms and a Bioblast Node with four Carnifex. We deployed about 3000 point leaving 1000 points in reserves.
The big extraction building shattered our deployment zone as we couldn’t deploy within 6″ of it. We filled both sides of it with gaunts, both swarms deployed so 120 gaunts, and supported them with warriors, Zoanthropes and Venomthropes. A Carnifex brood was placed on our right and a single one on the left. The Tervigon and the Tyrannofex hid behind the building. The Manufactorum Genestealers infiltrated to primarily stress the Tau broadsides.
Our plan was to try and surround the building with our little critters. If we could deny access to the building long enough for our slower big monster to crash into the enemy.
We tried to seize the initiative but fail, even with the +1 to seize warlord trait. Oh well. Let’s start picking models off the table.
The Defenders of Hague began by moving the Devilfish transport up on their left flank and the Ravenwing bikes up the middle. The Skitarii followed behind while most of the Astra Militarum remained in place. In the shooting phase the tau concentrated fire to remove our stealers. One out of ten survived. Awesome. They were there to draw fire and did just that. They killed some gaunts and warriors too but we had lucky dice rolls (pretty good cover saves).
In our turn we moved up with everything. The Ravenwing had moved too close and were destroyed by our combined left flank. On the other flank our lone Carnifex charged and destroyed a Devilfish. The game most certainly still hung in the balance. Their mistake to move the bikes so close maybe gave us a slight advantage.
The Tau continued to advance on their flank as the Devilfish transports moved up and the Fire Warriors got out. As did the rest of the army, they moved quickly through the ruins and rubble due to their warlord trait. Their shooting phase was punishing. Both Warrior broods on our left flank were destroyed leaving us with only a Zoanthrope to hold the Gaunts in check. The Tau identified the Carnifex as the biggest threat on their flank and poured everything into it (maybe 50 shots with s5 or better). The carapace on the beast did not yield, it only took a single wound, saving at least 15 times. This was a game changer.
On our turn nearly all our reserves came in, two units of stealers, three ripper swarms, the mucolid, the trygon prime, the tyrannocyte with dakkafex and last but not least the two flyrants. The lictor and Deathleaper came in too. Re-roll reserve rolls ftw! We took a lot of risks deep striking our stuff in the middle of the board right next to the advancing defenders. All scatter roll were ok, no mishaps. With our ranks bolstered by nearly a thousand points, the game began to turn.
Our flyrant destroyed tau stuff while we began to consolidate the left flank bring more units under the synapse of the Tervigon. The unkillable Carnifex took two wounds from overwatch but remained standing. It killed a Piranha.
The game had been going on most of the day and we all were getting a bit tired (and maybe the beer started taking its toll too). It was far from over. The Tau suits came on, did their Tau stuff and the Trygon Prime was gone. At least it left a hole in the ground. One flyrant was gunned down. The Carnifex took another round of punishing fire and finally died. All and all, it took more than 100 s5 shots, and made more than 25 saves. (The best 145 points ever! Your getting painted next big boy.) They extracted the first specialist from the building and placed it in a Devilfish.
In the distance the ground rumbled as the Death Strike missile launched. It struck its target on our right flank and killed stuff. It is a frightful weapon as it is but it lack a true punch against t6 monsters. It should be a Destroyer weapon and I hope it will be next codex as it is an awesome model.
We continued our assault, shooting at stuff in range and slowing their advance. We used our disruptive units to draw fire and ask questions. We managed to wreck the Devilfish forcing the Specialist out. We shot him up but failed to kill him. Our Hunting pack Broodlord cast the Horror on the Plasma Crisis suits, pinning them. The warlord Flyrant moved up and destroyed a Dunecrawler.
It was now clear that the Defenders of Hague would not be able to extract the other specialist from the building but they were ahead on points. They would win if one of the specialists survived.
When you definitely must not fail a dice roll you sometimes do. The remaining Dunecrawler failed its One Eye Open rule and couldn’t shoot the warlord Flyrant. Can you hear the cussing? Everything else moved up to clear a path for the specialist but they didn’t shoot the dakkafex dead. The Ravenwing speeders probably could have done that but did something else instead.
We shuffled our stuff around, moving closer. The dakkafex climbed atop of the downed Devilfish and got the Specialist in Line of Sight. 12 twinlinked s6 shots later and the Defenders of Hague gave up. With the specialist dead, we had a lead that could not be lost.
The 10-11 hour marathon of a game was over. Tyranids won.
This was one awesome game that could have gone any way really. And if it had gone the other way, it would not had mattered. It was a truly great experience through and through.
I think we won because of stamina. That and a little luck. We did less mistakes and followed our game plan. It was exhausting playing that many hours. The size of the game slowed the pace immensely and nothing being the most avid gamers didn’t help. So in the end stamina was the key. The mission forced the Defenders of Hague to act and meets the Tyranids on the battlefield rather than just hunker down and shoot.
Their list could have been a little faster and mobile to reflect the mission objectives. But in the end this was beer and pretzels game focused on laughs and good times. Consider the narrative forged!