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Author Topic: Cometh the Red Angel  (Read 3431 times)

Offline Cammerz

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Cometh the Red Angel
« on: February 05, 2017, 12:00:34 am »
Praetor Alaric Jarrus of the 12th Legion surveyed the landscape of Isstvan III from the parapet of Zaddion’s Shield, the bastion was now the tallest man-made structure between here and the horizon, everything else had been blasted away by the firestorm that confirmed the betrayal of the Warmaster. Most of Jarrus’ marines had fallen in that initial bombardment, the virus bombs sparing only those encased in tactical dreadnought armour or within the hardiest vehicles. And now the traitors were coming, and Zaddion’s Shield is where they would make their stand.

He connected his armour to the bastion’s external comms unit and his amplified voice echoed out to the Astartes below as they methodically assembled tank traps and barricades.

<My brothers, death is coming for us and it wears a familiar face. We know those who come and we know what they have become, maddened by treacherous whispers and butcher’s nails. I remember as you all do what this legion once was, before our Terran martial traditions were thrown down, replaced by feral barbarism. Those are not our brothers coming to face us, they are those who killed them, and we shall avenge their deaths. We are not Angron’s Eaters of Worlds, we are the Emperor’s War Hounds, the Pride of the Legion!>

Horus Heresy Book One – Betrayal. Phase I Legendary Battle – Cometh the Red Angel.

It is the 31st Millennium. Horus’ plan to purge the traitor legions of those still loyal to the Imperium did not go quite as planned with many Astartes surviving the virus bombing of Isstvan III. Angron then made planetfall, his aim to destroy the loyalists once and for all. This scenario recreates part of that first battle of the Horus Heresy with one player (myself) taking control of a loyalist faction of the World Eaters as the opposing forces, led by none other than the Primarch Angron, make planetfall to wipe them out.

The loyalist forces set up the battlefield in any way they see fit and then deploy 2000pts of Loyalist World Eaters anywhere on the board greater than 6” from a board edge. The only restrictions and requirements are that: there must be at least one fortification, they may not have any drop pods or flyers, nothing may start in reserve.
The traitor forces then select any table edge, their 3000pt army may enter from that edge at the start of turn 1 (or remain in ongoing reserves). The traitor forces must contain Angron and may not contain fortifications. The traitors will always go first, the loyalists cannot seize the initiative.

In addition to these rules, due to the deadly atmosphere, all armour save rolls of ‘6’ must be re-rolled as must all armour penetration rolls of ‘1’.

Loyalists (2000pts)
Legion Praetor – Terminator Armour, Master-crafted Chainfist, Iron Halo
Legion Terminator squad – Power Axes, Plasma Blaster, Sgt Chainfist
Legion Terminator squad – Power Axes, Plasma Blaster, Sgt Chainfist
Legion Terminator squad – Power Axes, Plasma Blaster, Sgt Chainfist
Legion Terminator squad – Power Axes, Plasma Blaster, Sgt Chainfist
Legion Predator – Magna-melta Cannon, Lascannon Sponsons, Dozer Blade
Legion Predator – Magna-melta Cannon, Lascannon Sponsons, Dozer Blade
Legion Stormblade Super-heavy Tank – Space Marine Legion Crew, Armoured Ceramite, Pintle-mounted Multi-melta, 1 set of Sponsons
Imperial Bastion – Icarus Lascannon

Neither of us had any idea what our opponent would be fielding but I correctly assumed that he would predict a lot of 3+ armour saves. I however found the Rites of War, one of which is Pride of the Legion. It let me take Veteran and Terminator squads as troops whilst forbidding me from taking an allied detachment. It would also grant my opponent an extra secondary objective if I had no veteran or terminator squads left on the table at the end of the game.
For those unfamiliar with the Horus Heresy parts of my list; Plasma Blasters are 18” assault 2 plasma weapons, Magna-melta Cannons are 18” large blast melta weapons and the Stormblade is a super-heavy tank carrying a Plasma Blastgun which has two firing modes: Rapid (2x Strength 8, AP 2 blasts using a 7” template) or Overload (1x Strength 10 AP 2 blast with a 10” template).
My only anti-air was in the form of the Icarus Lascannon on the bastion however there was also a Quad Gun down on the field to be used by anyone who happened to be in base contact with it.

Traitors (3000pts)
Angron – The Red Angel, Primarch of the World Eaters
Khârn the Bloody (not yet ‘the Betrayer’)
Legion Terminator squad – 4x single Lightning Claws, 1x Reaper Autocannon, Sgt Chainfist and Grenade Harness
10x Rampagers – 5x Meteor Hammers, 4x Excoriator Chainaxes, Sgt Lightning Claw and Artificer Armour
Rhino - Auxiliary Drive, Pintle-mounted Heavy Bolter
10x Rampagers – Jump Packs, 5x Meteor Hammers, 4x Excoriator Chainaxes, Sgt Lightning Claw and Artificer Armour
Legion Tactical Squad – Additional Chainswords, Sgt Power Fist and Artificer Armour
Rhino - Auxiliary Drive, Pintle-mounted Heavy Bolter
Legion Tactical Squad – Additional Chainswords, Sgt Power Fist and Artificer Armour
Rhino - Auxiliary Drive, Pintle-mounted Heavy Bolter
Legion Outrider squad – 1x Power Sword
Legion Land Raider Phobos (Regular Land Raider) – Armoured Ceramite, Frag Assault Launchers, Pintle-mounted Heavy Bolter, Auxiliary Drive, Command Tank
Legion Vindicator – Armoured Ceramite, Auxiliary Drive, Extra Armour, Pintle-mounted Heavy Bolter
Legion Fire Raptor Gunship – Reaper Autocannon Battery

For those who haven’t seen the stats for Primarchs, they are utter beasts (as you’d expect). The Rampagers are basically the precursors to the Khorne Berzerkers (but fortunately not yet fearless) and they get some interesting weapon choices. The Excoriator Chainaxes (to excoriate means to flay the skin off something, I had to look that one up) are AP3 whilst the Meteor Hammers make the marines wielding them Strength 6.
As for the vehicles, the auxiliary drives allow vehicles to roll every turn to stop being immobilised, the armoured ceramite ignores the ‘melta’ special rule and yes, you are reading that correctly, pintle-mounted Heavy Bolters.
Rolling for Warlord Traits, my Praetor became Fearless whilst Angron gave the Vindicator’s Demolisher Cannon the Shred special rule (as if it needed it).

I set up the terrain with the Bastion equidistant from the long table edges and a short edge (my line of thought being, I know he has Angron, he’ll want to get him in melee combat asap). Walls and battlements surrounded the Bastion on all sides to provide heavy cover to everyone near it and some difficult terrain for assaulters to navigate. Around the centre of the board I placed several walls and barricades to protect my Stormblade. Most of the board around the fortifications was covered in craters to impede movement without sacrificing fields of fire and much of the rest had scattered barricades to force tanks over the craters and to seriously endanger any potential deep strikers.
Manning the walls around the three sides of the Bastion closest to table edges I deployed three of my Terminator squads, the fourth squad went next to the Stormblade to head off any potential assaults and man the Quad Gun. One Predator sat in the gap between the Bastion and the Stormblade whilst the other went on the opposite side of the Bastion (to cover the area that I couldn’t target with the Plasma Blastgun). All vehicles had their rear armour pointing towards the Bastion because I didn’t know where my foes would be emerging from. Finally my Praetor took up position atop the Bastion, manning the Icarus.

The overall objective was Victory Points. One for each enemy unit destroyed or fleeing at the end of the game, I’d get an extra one if I had more units on the table at the end of the game, he’d get one extra for killing my warlord, I’d get one extra if Angron finished the game below his starting wound count and that would increase to +4 if I killed him.

Now we have all of that out of the way, the traitors went first.

The first things they heard were the engines, the guttural roar that announced the arrival of the Master of the World Eaters, the Red Angel, Slaughterer of Nations, the Undefeated. The rubble of the ruined town around Zaddion’s Shield obscured all but the plumes of dust and smoke until at last the white hulls burst into view and Jarrus immediately opened fire on the largest target. The beam of searing light from the Icarus narrowly missing the hull of the Land Raider as it hove itself through what had once been an Imperial church. The Quad Gun’s rapid retort brought a pair of assault marines down hard and in response the approaching Rhinos immediately slowed as thick smoke erupted from their chimneys to shroud them from view. An explosion and torrent of earth declared that battle had well and truly been joined and Jarrus gritted his teeth. His men needed no orders from him, they were veterans of the Great Crusade, they knew what they were doing.
To prove his point, his tanks immediately turned on the spot and unleashed sudden devastation upon their treacherous counterparts. Combined firepower sent one of the Rhinos erupting into the sky, marines leaping to safety from the collapsing transport only to find themselves caught in a barrage of mass-reactive bolt shells and searing plasma from the Terminators positioned above them.

Turn 1 saw most of the Traitors emerge from one of the long board edges (as I predicted). Left to right (from my opponent’s perspective) saw: the Vindicator, the Rhino containing Khârn and a squad of Rampagers, a Rhino containing a Tactical squad, the last Rhino with the other Tactical squad, the Land Raider containing the Terminators and (somehow) Angron and finally the Jump-pack Rampagers (or Jampagers as I have them written in my notes). Because they were all technically coming in from reserves I activated both interceptor weapons, the Icarus rolling a 1 and missing the Land Raider (great start) and the Quad Gun swatting a couple of Jampagers into the dust. His Rhinos all popped smoke, his Vindicator fired at but missed one of my Predators and the Land Raider missed my Stormblade with its lascannons. The Jampagers then ran 3” to try and close with my Quad-gunning Terminator squad.

On my turn I started by moving the one squad of Terminators who had deployed on what turned out to be the wrong side of the Bastion, they moved to the inside edge, staying within the protective courtyard so they could counter-attack anything that might stray too close. The Stormblade (firing on Overload) took a lascannon off the Land Raider and shook the closest Rhino which was then obliterated by the nearby Predator, the explosion killing three occupants. The other Predator sadly missed the Vindicator. Two of my Plasma Blasters made an early showing, one glancing a Rhino and the other killing a now-disembarked Tactical Marine.

The Quad Gunner shifted his aim to a trio of Outriders as they boosted from the ruins, bullets tore into the lead biker and sheared the front wheel from the second, causing it to rear up and smash into the third igniting the promethium tank and the traitors vanished in a fireball. But Jarrus only caught a glimpse of that as the World Eaters nearest to him were starting to get a bit too close. This wasn’t the Great Crusade anymore, these weren’t untrained humans or clueless xenos, he was fighting a well-trained and well equipped Astartes force and it was showing. The Tactical squad ejected from their transport had immediately pulled themselves together and were unloading their bolters with swift precision into his veterans and, as he watched, he saw several of the near-invulnerable Terminators fall to a hail of explosive rounds.

The next shot from the Stormblade took even Jarrus by surprise, the ball of burning plasma engulfing everything in its path came so suddenly that for a split-second everyone stopped firing. Only the explosion an instant later brought the Astartes back to their senses and the loyalists seemed to redouble their efforts as more explosions rocked the battlefield.

Turn 2 began with the Outriders (Space Marine bikers) ride onto the board and immediately get ripped to pieces by the intercepting Quad Gun. The Terminators manning the Quad Gun (or Quadminators as my notes call them) found themselves getting slowly surrounded by various traitor units; the Jampagers from one side, Tactical Marines from the other and the Land Raider was driving closer. Away from them, the other Tactical squad disembarked from their Rhino and the third Rhino (with Khârn and his buddies) pulled up in front of the far Predator. In order to protect this Rhino, my opponent shifts the Vindicator’s aim from the Predator to my Terminators manning the walls around the Bastion, killing 2 from one squad and 1 from another. Combined firepower from Tactical Marines and the Vindicator’s Heavy Bolter pintle-mount finish off the smaller squad.

Back over with the Quadminators, the Tactical Marines nearest them used an ability called Fury of the Legion which allows them to forgo their next round of shooting (including overwatch and everything else) to double their firepower output this turn. They manage to break through the armour of one Tactical Dreadnought, the rest turning to engage the Jampagers who charge at them. 3 Jampagers fall along with 2 Quadminators and they all stay locked in combat.
My turn 2 saw my predators pull back slightly to get better firing positions (and in one case also moving a bit further away from the Land Raider and it’s infamous occupant). The Plasma Blastgun fired on Overload again hitting the Land Raider, a Rhino and all surviving Tactical Marines. The Land Raider lost a hull point, ten Tactical Marines were instantly vaporised and the Rhino exploded (which killed two more of the Tactical Marines).

On the other side of the battlefield, the Predator crew realigned their targeting matrix and triggered the Vindicator’s ammunition to detonate with a couple of well-aimed lascannon shots. Praetor Jarrus spun the Icarus around to mark Khârn’s Rhino but his shot only glanced it. The nearest Terminator with a Plasma Blaster let off a couple of shots, one hitting and immobilising the Rhino, the other overheating and melting the Terminator.

In the Quadminator-Jampager melee, the loyalists killed two more traitors and the combat remained locked.

The roar of jet engines drew Jarrus’ attention to the skies as a gunship pulled up from its steep dive, cannons roaring and mass reactive rounds tore a trail of destruction through the ground in his direction. As fast as his augmented arms could travel he swung the anti-air weapon around to face this new threat and blasted a hole straight through it with a beam of energy.

But the bullets kept coming.

Fist-sized bolt rounds exploded at his feet and then more smashed into his armour, forcing his back from the lascannon. Warning icons flashed inside his helmet and pain unlike any he’d felt before tore through him until he found himself lying on the floor unable to move, his body drenched in his own blood.

And then the sky disappeared.

Even the sophisticated auto-senses in his state-of-the-art helmet couldn’t protect his eyes from the sheer blinding light that accompanied an explosion that rocked the very foundations of Zaddion’s Shield. And when the light finally faded, all that was left was darkness.

The Fire Raptor comes in, my Icarus intercepting it and hitting it with a vector lock (stuck moving 18” a turn). The surviving Tactical Marines move forwards and the Land Raider opens up its gaping maw to spew forth the Red Angel and his coterie.

The Terminators split from Angron and make their way towards the courtyard behind the walls where the one intact loyalist Terminator squad currently resides. The Land Raider manages to glance the Stormblade bringing it down to 8 hull points whilst the Fire Raptor opens up with its Avenger Boltcannon. Most of the 7 shots hit my Praetor and he manages to roll three 1s, one for each of his wounds, and goes down in a pool of blood.

The traitor Terminators charge my loyalists but due to their lack of AP2 weaponry they lose two and don’t kill any in return.

Then Angron charged the Stormblade.

Angron is really quite powerful, and has Armourbane, and 7 Str 9 AP 2 attacks on the charge, and hit automatically because my Stormblade hadn’t moved on the previous turn.

Do you know what happens when a super-heavy vehicle is reduced to zero hull points?

The first roll of a 6 meant that the catastrophic damage was in fact a Titanic Explosion! (GW put the exclamation mark there themselves), the second roll of a 6 meant that the Strength D hit that Angron took was a Deathblow. (D6+6 wounds, no saves of any kind allowed). He only had 5.

The explosion also exploded my nearby Predator, and killed two Jampagers leaving only their sergeant left alive. In the continuing combat the Quadminators killed that sergeant, ending the combat.

Given the fact that nothing that happens now will top that last turn, and my protagonist has taken an unhealthy amount of bolt-shell, I’m just going to stick to describing the battle for now.

In my turn 3 my remaining Predator wrecked Khârn’s Rhino causing him and his Rampagers to all pile out. My Quadminators charged the Land Raider, the Chainfist somehow reaching up and removing the pintle-mounted heavy Bolter. Finally the Loyalist Terminators with their AP 2 close-combat weapons wipe out the remaining Traitor terminators with their AP 3 close-combat weapons.

Turn 4 sees Khârn and co. approach, charge and wreck my last Predator. The Land Raider reverses away from the two remaining Quadminators and both it and the Tactical Marines fail to do any damage to them. The Fire Raptor showed them how it was done.

At this point I have one complete 5-man Terminator squad and an incomplete 3-man squad, the 5-man squad moves around to get closer to Khârn whilst the 3-man squad enter the Bastion to take over the Icarus from poor old Praetor Jarrus.

Turn 5 sees the Tactical Marines take out two of the 5-man squad. The Land Raider moves around a bit. The Icarus explodes the Raptor. The Terminators on the ground charge Khârn and lose one of their own but kill two traitors.

We roll for turn 6 and the dice gods, they say no.

So game ends; and surprising everyone I managed to pull it out of the bag. The kill point total;

Traitors (7): Two for the Praetor and one each for the Stormblade, Terminator Squad A, Quadminator Squad and one for each Predator.

Loyalists (13): Five! for Angron and one each for 3x Rhinos, a Vindicator, Outriders, Jampagers, Tactical Marines A and the Fire Raptor

But really I have Angron to thank for me actually winning this one, if he hadn’t killed himself tearing through the Stormblade to find the plasma reactor then it may well have ended very differently. It really helped that we could each have a Lord of War but his had to be Angron. I’m not sure I would have coped if he’d had a Super-heavy too.

The Terminators really paid for themselves in this game, once a squad got stuck in combat it was there for the long-run and they made all of that fancy AP3 weaponry a real waste of points for the traitors.

Then to top it all off, Scotland beat Ireland 27-22 in the Six Nations so I’m extra happy with the results here.

Hope you’ve enjoyed reading this. There’ll be another one coming up as we had enough time to create a couple of other lists and run the second Legendary Battle in Betrayal.