Hello! Welcome to one of my battle reports prepping for the upcoming tournament season. The mission is the second mission from Las Vegas Open(LVO)’s Warhammer 40k Championships, which is The Scouring primary and Purge the Alien secondary. Lists also follow LVO rules. This time I will be leading my White Scars with Tau allies again Chaos Daemons, specifically their Screamerstar with Fateweaver list.
We get Nightfight for the first turn and we’re off!
Daemons of Tzeentch List
Herald of Tzeentch (Psyker Mastery Level 3, Disc of Tzeentch, Exalted Reward, Exalted Locus of Conjuration)
Herald of Tzeentch (Psyker Mastery Level 3, Disc of Tzeentch, Exalted Reward)
Herald of Tzeentch (Psyker Mastery Level 3, Disc of Tzeentch, Lesser Reward)
Herald of Tzeentch (Psyker Mastery Level 3, Disc of Tzeentch, Lesser Reward)
Pink Horrors of Tzeentch x17
Pink Horrors of Tzeentch x16
Screamers of Tzeentch x8
Soul Grinder (Mark of Nurgle, Phlegm Bombardment)
Soul Grinder (Mark of Nurgle, Phlegm Bombardment)
Herald 1: Flickering Fire(FF), Misfortune, Prescience, Grimoire
Herald 2: FF, Misfortune, Precog, Portalglyph
Herald 3: FF, Misfortune, Prescience, Etherblade
Herald 4: FF, Forboding, Prescience, Etherblade
Fateweaver: Inferno, Misfortune, Terrify, Enfeeble, All Change
Daemons fish for Forewarning and don’t get it. Lucky for me.
Space Marines List
Chapter Master (Artificer Armor, Bike, Power Fist, The Shield Eternal)
Librarian (Terminator Armor, Storm Shield, ML2)
Commander (Command and Control Node, Multi-spectrum Sensor Suite, Puretide Engram Neurochip, Vectored Retro-thrusters, Shield Generator)
Bike Squad (2x Grav-gun)
Bike Squad (2x Grav-gun)
Bike Squad (2x Meltagun)
Kroot Carnivore Squad (10 Kroot)
Centurion Devastator Squad (Omniscope, 4x with Grav-cannon, Grav-amp, and Missile Launcher)
XV88 Broadside Team (3x with Twin-linked high-yield missile pods and EWO, 5x Missile Drones)
I roll a 2 for my Warlord trait and pick Intimidating Presence (Enemies within 12” must use their lowest leadership). The other two traits are almost guaranteed worthless, even if this one only matters in the slim chance that I force a Demonic Instability test on the Screamerstar while my Chapter Master is within 12”. Librarian takes Dominate and Psychic Shriek, hoping that the low Leadership of the Daemons will make these powers cause a lot of damage, whenever they get through 5+ Deny the Witch (DtW).
Daemons Pre-Game Thoughts
Playing with a new list is always a challenge; even with a fundamental understanding it takes time to learn the nuances and the subtleties. I knew this was going to be the case going into this game and as a result my post game thoughts will be more revealing. The basis of the Screamerstar is a max unit (4) of Heralds of Tzeentch, all Pysker Mastery Level 3 with one of them carrying the Grimoire (Exalted Reward) and one carrying the Exalted Locus of Conjuration. You put the Heralds with a max unit of Screamers to tank wounds. You then have your Heralds take the Primaris Change power Flickering Fire and roll twice on the Divination table hoping for at least one Forewarning out of the 8 rolls for the 4 Heralds. You then use the Grimoire in combination with Forewarning to get a 2++ rerollable save due to everything being Daemons of Tzeentch. I added Kairos Fateweaver to have his reroll in case the Grimiore fails. With 4 Heralds with 3 warp charges each and the Exalted Locus of Conjuration I was sitting at 15d6 S6 AP4 shots fired at BS4. With Prescience you can reroll missed hits. With 15d6 shots you get an average of 52.5 shots hit on 3s, reroll misses, that wound on 3s against bikes (the majority of Ricter’s army). So you average 46.7 hits, and 31.1 wounds. Against a 3++ save this works out to 10.4 wounds (enough to wipe out a bike squad a turn, and against a 2++ save 5.2 wounds. If one of the Heralds (or Fateweaver) is able to roll for Misfortune on the Divination table then the squad is forced to reroll successful saves then against a 3++ save you average 17.3 wounds and against a 2++ save you average 9.5 wounds.
I knew from playing Ricter previously that he would use the Chapter Master to tank wounds for other squads and planned on trying to take out the Chapter Master first so that I would have an easier time of killing everything else (I regret this strategy and will talk more about it during the post game thoughts). I could then just blast through bike squads round after round with the Screamerstar and the two Soul Grinders. Hopefully I would be able to bring my pink horrors in late in the game to claim objectives. I also took the Portalglyph in hopes of using it to mass some pink horrors on one of the objectives that was out of LoS, but this did not really work out.
Space Marine Pre-Game Thoughts
Now, while I have played against Daemons several times before, this is only my second game against a Screamerstar/Fateweaver list (and my first game was a week before against the same opponent). I know a little of what to expect. Nothing really scares me in this list except for the star, of course, but it threatens just about everything in my list. I do have the mobility to avoid it and the volume of attacks to put enough wounds on it to get through the 2++ rerollable, but it will be tough.
My basic idea is to clump my army together as much as possible, and assault the Screamerstar with as many units simultaneously as possible. Not because I will win the assault (although it’s possible) but rather to deny Flickering Fire spam and deny its movement. Critically, this should prevent him from killing my troops and allowing me to win on objectives, even if I can’t win by killing the star. He does have a few templates to punish the clumping, but nothing too scary. I gave him first turn and attempted to seize so I could counter-deploy and still get first turn, but failed to seize.
The Daemons push forward. Grimoire goes off, without Fateweaver’s reroll. It will do exactly that every turn for the rest of the game (I thought Daemons were supposed to be unreliable…). Prescience will also go off every turn (my opponent will proceed to successfully cast every power and never suffer PotW). I’ll leave out Grimoire and blessings since they happen the same every turn. Warp Storm throws around some potential wounds, I think, but either fails or is saved against every time.
One Soulgrinder is out of LoS, and much of the Screamerstar is out of range. Flickering Fire still manages to put 1-2 wounds on my Chapter Master and 1 wound on my Librarian, despite a 4+ DtW and 2+ armor save. The only good news is that I pass my Toughness test and get 6+ FnP (and pass again next turn for 5+). The Soulgrinder smashes a few bikes and the squad fails their Morale, but luckily stay on the board (Thanks, aggressive deployment!). Overall not too bad even if I was unlucky on the saves and no VP to the Daemons.
Space Marines T1
I move rather cautiously, except for the Bike squad at the top of the board that circles around the ruins and will Turbo-boost to go after the Soulgrinder if my OB doesn’t get it. Of course, my OB doesn’t disappoint, and it pastes the Soulgrinder between Ordinance, Tank Hunters and Ignores Cover. First Blood to the Space Marines! The rest of my shooting combines to cause some wounds on the Screamerstar, even bringing one down.
The Daemons get one squad of Horrors in and attempt to deploy aggressively, going after my exposed Bike squad up top. Unfortunately they scatter, mishap and are destroyed! Ouch. The Screamerstar moves up, now easily in range with all of their Heralds, and throw Misfortune on to my Broadside squad. 4+ DtW doesn’t matter much when they can cast it three times!
The Portalglyph gets thrown down and spawns 5 horrors right away, thanks to Fateweaver’s reroll. Screamerstar shooting causes a few more wounds on my characters. Between the two rounds of shooting I think every character has a wound, and the Chapter Master has 2. The Soulgrinder fails to cause any damage to the Bike squad up top.
Space Marines T2
Now is the turn that I decide to push the Screamerstar, trying to cause as much damage before more Daemons can show up. Unfortunately he’s passed Grimoire every turn so I don’t have a good opportunity to attack, but starting this turn he’s probably going to mulch a Troop every turn if I don’t stop him.
Everything fires into the Screamers that can, and then everything assaults. The Thunderfire Cannon tries to snipe the Grimoire Herald but fails miserably, killing two of my bikes instead. Thanks, Techmarine. I challenge with my Chapter Master, which ended up being a mistake. This means the Chapter Master can’t tank the AP2 wounds (which I underestimated the quantity) and the Herald fighting the Chapter Master saves every wound I put on him. Daemons win by 1, and one Bike squad and the Chapter Master/Centurions flee. Critically, one squad sticks (thankfully), preventing the Daemon’s return fire.
I forgot to take a picture for this turn, but it was pretty uneventful. Misfortune and Enfeeble is manifested on my Broadsides despite 4+ DtW. The Soulgrinder shuffles around and fails to damage anything, no more Daemons spawn from the glyph, and the Screamerstar wipes out my Bike squad. The last Horrors squad comes in via Deep Strike and tries to ambush my back lines, but scatters into the ruins my Techmarine had reinforced. Dangerous Terrain checks and Interceptor fire from the Broadsides remove most of the squad before it gets a chance to do anything.
Critically, however, the Warp Storm gives +1 to all Daemon Invulnerable saves. Ugh.
Space Marines T3
Same plan, one turn later. Everything moves up to shoot/assault the Screamstar, except for one Bike squad which sweeps around to plunk the Portalgylph. They do so successfully while the Thunderfire Cannon wears down the Horrors.
Shooting/assault on the Screamerstar clears out the rest of the Screamers even through 2++ rerollable thanks to sheer volume. The Screamerstar throws a scary amount of AP2 wounds out, but I save almost all of them. Now the Screamerstar is at LD4 between wounds and my Warlord trait, and all of the Heralds now have a wound on them (meaning a wound either kills a Herald or damages Fateweaver). Average roll causes a nasty 3 wounds and with a little luck… 3 and a 1. Nope.
Screamerstar is still tied up and the Daemons only have two other units, which move forward some. Their shooting still hurts, killing two Bikes and the last member flees. Yet again, the Warp Storm is re-rolled into +1 to Daemon saves, giving the entire Screamerstar 2++ even through another turn. Misfortune and Enfeeble, again through a 4+ DtW, is manifested on my Broadsides (which has all 3 characters as well). I fail to cause a single wound and lose combat. The only good news is that after failing Morale checks and Hit & Run, every unit is out of combat.
The Thunderfire Cannon gets assaulted, beats the Horrors in assault and proceeds to Hit and Run out.
Space Marines T4
Same plan, yet another turn. Thunderfire Cannon shoots at the Horrors and kills a few. The rest of my shooting combines for a total of 0 unsaved wounds on the Screamerstar. Assault is pretty much the same.
Daemons move to take the 2-point objective, and manage to get a few wounds on the Centurions. I think finally the Warp Storm doesn’t grant the Daemons +1 to invulnerable saves, but I still don’t cause any wounds.
Space Marines T5
Combined shooting and assault results: 0 wounds. At this point, I’ve cause 60-70 wounds on the Screamerstar for 0 wounds. Any failed save would result in a dead model since Fateweaver is in the back, but I can’t manage it.
Technically the game went on, but we call it here as although the Daemons still technically can win, it will be very tough. All Heralds are wounded at this point, and even with getting Misfortune, Prescience, Enfeeble and +1 to invulnerable saves army-wide two turns in a row they are not getting anywhere.
Space Marines have the primary objective (The Scouring) 4-2, giving the Space Marines 4 points. They also have the secondary (Purge the Alien) 4-1, assuming the Portalglyph counts, giving them 3 more points. Finally, they have First Blood.
Space Marines Win 8 – 0!
Daemons Post-Game Thoughts
I was unable to get the Divination power Forewarning, which is essentially the linchpin of the Screamerstar. As a result the effectiveness of the list suffered greatly, although I was able to get the 2++ rerollable save later in the game due to some very lucky rolls on the warpstorm table. I could, and did, still use the Fateweaver to LOS wounds since his innate 4++ would be a 2++ with the Grimoire but he would have to be the closest to all the units in a squad and could only protect the Heralds. I was able to get Misfortune, which helped considerably. Despite this the Chapter Master’s 2++ save and 5++ FNP proved more difficult to break through than I thought and I regret focusing on him for so long (especially since Flickering Fire improved his FNP every round). Although it would have been a huge overkill it would have been better for me to destroy all the troops on the board to eliminate much of Ricter‘s scoring potential and guarantee a greater number of Purge the Alien points. I also should have placed my one Soul Grinder in a better position. He was essentially worthless the whole game. The added threat from his large blast may have helped clear up some of the bike squads; although this is unlikely due to their jink saves. Misfortune could have helped. Losing one of the pink horror squads on a Deep Strike mishap was very unfortunate; in the future I will be a little more conservative with their placement.
Daemon List Thoughts
In terms of playing this list in the future there is actually very little I would change. Every part of me despises the low number of troops in this list but the cost of the Screamerstar is a huge limiting factor. Although they did not prove very effective against Ricter’s bikes I feel the Soul Grinders are a necessity against vehicle heavy and infantry heavy armies and would not remove them. I would, however, change out their Mark of Nurgle as walkers do not benefit from area terrain for the Mark of Khorne to free up 30 points. Beyond that I feel this list is pretty solid.
Marine List Thoughts
Overall I find bikes to be very solid units. They have a good armour save (3++), they almost always get a jink save (5++, 4++ with White Scars), have solid toughness (T5) and have good mobility. That being said I feel like up until the addition of grav-guns bikes fire power never really impressed me; even with multi-meltas I always found them lacking. Grav-guns were a huge boost for marines and more so for bikes, when combined with all their other perks. Bikes get bolters which are greater for slicing through low armour, medium toughness units; combine with grav-guns which are excellent at taking out high armour, generally high toughness targets and you have a single unit with multiple functions. It literally spans the spectrum. For everything I mentioned, armour, jink, and toughness bikes are solid but with the addition of grav-gun, marine bikes have gained an almost unmatched versatility not to mention the extras like Hit and Run and Hammer of Wrath.There is one area that bikes suffer: they have very few answers to massed infantry, except their speed.
Since bikes do not have many answers to massed infantry I find the addition of the Thunderfire cannon to be a good one, although against a smart player who is aware of his troop placement its effectiveness will suffer due to it being a small blast. Unit coherency is 2″ and the small blast template is 3″ in diameter. Smart troop placement will limit the Thunderfire cannon to 1 hit per blast. In this regard the High Yield Missile Pod Broadsides and Missile Pod drones are a good additions since they provide solid firepower that can shred through infantry if they aren’t busy taking out flying targets.
Centurions provide additional answers to high armour/high toughness targets, especially with their 36″ range. Despite their lack of speed they are an effective unit for immobilizing vehicles and killing monstrous creatures.
Not surprisingly, I find Ricter’s list very solid and although I find it unlikely he will face it, I think massed infantry may present him with his greatest challenge. The Tyranid and Ork codices are slated to come out early in 2014. Traditionally these armies are heavily slated toward close-combat and massed infantry; it will be interesting to how these armies fair against Ricter.
I would like to make one comment regarding Hit and Run that has nothing to do with Ricter ‘s list. I find this rule very frustrating due to its poor implementation due to it not being an opposed check making it vastly better than I think it should be. Hit and Run should function similarly to Sweeping Advance. When you Sweeping Advance a unit you roll an opposed Initiative check representing your unit attempting to overtake the enemy as they flee. Hit and run should function similarly as one unit is attempting to flee combat and the other is trying to keep them engaged. This paradigm is better represented and implemented by an opposed check rather than a characteristic test. In this way it becomes unlikely that units with low Initiative will be able to flee from units with high Initiative.
Space Marine Post-Game Thoughts
First, the bad news. The Screamerstar is pretty awful to face, worse than I expected. 2++ rerollable isn’t really any fun to play against as I was basically just letting my opponent attack me every turn. Not to mention the volume of AP2 re-rollable attacks they are throwing back at me. It’s really punishing on my army as I can’t tie them up in assault nearly as well as I can other nasty assault squads. The Thunderfire Cannon is really struggling to carry its weight again Daemons. Sure, it beat up a Horrors squad, but only after the Broadsides Intercepted it. Between two games it has yet to even force a save on the Herald. I really wish I had the extra psychic defense of the Rune Weapon. Being utterly unable to stop blessings that only fail on double 6’s is frustrating, considering how powerful they are. I really miss FnP on my Chapter Master, the difference between 4W and ~5.33W is noticeable. I really wish I had sniper rounds on the Kroot, but I’m not sure where to get the points, as I’m already missing a Missile Drone.
On a positive note, my plan pretty much went off. The Chapter Master’s OB secured First Blood, and then I chipped away at the Screamerstar every turn. The Tau Commander did exactly what I was hoping for, although PEN is not very helpful against Daemons. I really like having multiple units for my ICs to bounce between. Interceptor on Broadsides is amazing, which is probably news to no one at this point. I really like the pseudo-Relentless it grants the squad as well. Despite this probably being the worst possible match-up for them, the Grav Centurions still carried their weight through durability and volume of shots.
Thanks for reading. Feel free to add your comments! Especially appreciated are playstyle/tactic criticisms, as this is the army (if not the list) I plan on bringing to several tournaments next year.