Adeptus Mechanicus and Astra Militarum/Imperial Guard "Wiki"

Ave Omnissiah!


Incidentally, my blog also serves as a sort of "Wiki" for the Mechanicum during the time of the Horus Heresy (30K), the Adeptus Mechanicus and to a smaller extent, the Imperial Knights and the Imperial Guard...I mean Astra Militarum. I will endeavor to expand and construct new posts and articles on them. Feel free to comment, criticize and advise changes in the comments.

These posts will be about fluff, unit analysis and "tactics" similar to that of 1d4chan, but obviously I suck at it, being an amateur, so go read 1d4chan instead. But in the fluff sections for the 40K articles, I will include my own personal fluff regarding the Draconis system such as the Knight House Yato in Draconis III, the Astra Militarum regiment trained there, the Draconian Armored Defense Force, and the Forge World of Draconis IV with its Mechanicus priesthood and Skitarii legions, and perhaps the Titan Legion, Legio Gojira.

Mechanicum (30K)







Adeptus Mechanicus



Skitarii Tactics (under construction)

Cult Mechanicus Tactics (under construction)



Astra Militarum/Imperial Guard


Astra Militarum/Imperial Guard Tactics (under construction)

Sunday, December 27, 2015

Starting Warhammer 40K: Imperial Knight

Sorry for the lack of updates, I've been busy the past week with spring cleaning (an ethnic Chinese tradition) so I didn't have time to do much about Warhammer 40K. Now that I have a bit of time, and since Christmas has just ended, I had an idea about starting a Warhammer 40K army - what with the festive spirit and giving season and all.

Basically, if you're wondering what to give as a present, and you want your son/nephew/friend/loved onee (daughter and niece also work here, let's not be gender-biased) to start playing tabletop Warhammer 40K, you might probably want to give him or her a box. But what do you give to someone who has never played Warhammer 40K before? Similarly, what if you are someone, like me, who decided around the same time last year that you are no longer contented with just reading the novels pouring out of Black Library and want to participate in an actual tabletop game as well? If you've read so much Warhammer 40K fluff and been exposed to so many factions, would you have trouble deciding which faction to start off with?

That's what this article is today: Offering a suggestion on how to start off a Warhammer 40K army. I know this is going to sound controversial and perhaps downright stupid, but I personally think a good choice to start Warhammer 40K is an Imperial Knight.

Yeah, I can hear the dismissals and outcries already. Why would you want to start with a super-heavy?! Are you crazy?! An Imperial Knight gets killed easily! It's difficult to learn tactics and strategies with an Imperial Knight! It's not good advice for list-building! Blah, blah, well, I'm sure people will elaborate more in comments (if anyone comments, that is, I don't think anyone actually reads this blog, and I don't blame them) with better criticisms than the ones I randomly threw out. And they are right.

But I never said an Imperial Knight was the BEST choice, nor did I suggest it for learning strategies, list-building and tactics. I said it's a good choice for starting Warhammer 40K tabletop. What I'm focusing on is the rules of the tabletop game itself, not the strategy, deployment, tactics and list-building. Why? Well, I'm going to list the advantages and good points of fielding (as well as procuring) an Imperial Knight.

Before I begin, I would like to make it clear that the best advice is still BUY THE ARMY THAT YOU LIKE. Yes. Don't just buy an Imperial Knight because I said so. Buy it if you like it. If you have something else you like, like Xenos scum and Eldar Cheese, then buy them because by the Emperor, it is YOUR army, not mine. You have to be the one who likes the army you buy, build, paint and field. Otherwise it defeats the purpose of starting the game.

The suggestion of Imperial Knights is for new players who have absolutely NO idea what they like, are dazzled by the vast array of options and factions, people who are indecisive, or you can treat it as a plain analytical article for why an Imperial Knight makes for a good starting army. If you have an idea of what you like, or you already started the game with a faction you like, buy that. Don't be like me and waste money on Tau (only to sell them at huge losses) just because I wanted to power-game with my Imperial Knights and decided that I needed anti-air to cover my Adamantine Lance Formation's weakness (in the end, I had Icarus autocannons and Skitarii for that, so the Tau stuff was a total waste of money and I do not regret getting rid of those blue commies Xenos scum).

With that out of the way, here are my reasons why I think an Imperial Knight is a good starting point for people who have no clue what they like. Yet.



1: You only need one to three models.

A single Imperial Knight is enough for a whole army, to be honest. 500-point games? Sure, let me bring my Knight Crusader, upgraded with a rapid-fire battle cannon and Stormspear rocket pod. If your opponent is all right with it, then perhaps throw in a Helm of the Nameless Warrior or Mark of the Omnissiah to round the points off to 500 (of course this is, strictly speaking, illegal, but if you're just starting out and learning how to play, then your opponent might not mind). 800-point game? A Knight Errant and a Knight Warden, both with meltaguns and a single carapace weapon. You don't even need to glue or magnetize the carapace weapons, just use blue-tac. It's enough. 3 Imperial Knights for 1,500-point games would be good, but if you're just starting off, maybe stick to 1 or 2. Save the $200 for that 3rd Imperial Knight for a new army if you're going into bigger games (I'll elaborate more at the end, and in another article).

Contrast this with trying to buy, build and paint more than 10 models. I think the Dark Vengeance Starter set is a good buy, but honestly, it offers so many models and units that the list gets downright dizzying. I mean it has 49 models! And 2 different armies! And there's not a lot of choice - if you want to play Dark Angels, you're pretty much stuck with a Chapter Master (or Company Master), a Librarian, a 10-men Tactical Squad, 5 Terminators and 3 Bikers. No customization, no room for much options - your Librarian doesn't have the Terminator armor that you might want. Plus you have 2 different armies, and you're probably going to wonder which to use. That's of course assuming you are actually hardworking enough to build and paint all 49 models (then again, if you wanted to start Warhammer 40K you probably already have the determination to go through all that).

An Imperial Knight box offers all 5 choices - so you can build a Knight Errant, a Knight Paladin, a Knight Warrant, a Knight Gallant or a Knight Crusader. Take your pick. No restriction whatsoever. And you don't have to remember the rules for so many models. Plus, unlike the Dark Vengeance set, you probably don't need to spend weeks or even months building and painting your Knight. Maybe a week to build it (I built one in about 3-4 hours), and another week to paint it. Much easier than trying to build and paint an entire army (and if you give up halfway you've just wasted your money).

Now I'm not discouraging you from buying Dark Vengeance - it's still a very good starter set! It has its own advantages, strengths and benefits, but I also think just buying an Imperial Knight will have its own advantages as well.

2: Easy to learn the rules.

The Imperial Knight Codex is thin and light enough to carry around, and you don't need to flip through so many pages to find the Knights you're looking for. Besides, they all have the same rules anyway, so you only need to refer to the book for the weapons they're carrying. This will allow you to concentrate on learning the tabletop rules - for example, the four phases. Movement phase, your Knight moves - and you don't need to worry about moving so many models! You can ignore your Psychic Phase since Knights do not have psychic powers, and Shooting phase would be easy to remember as you only have a few weapons on each of your Knight, so you don't have to remember, for example, if your Sergeant has a bolt pistol, you have 6 lasguns, 3 special weapons, etc. Assault phases hould be easy to remember and learn too. Basically, if you want to learn the four phases and how the tabletop game flows, fielding an Imperial Knight would be an extremely easy and quick way to learn (of course, I'm not bothering with the complexities, tactical decisions, placement, etc. but this is for starters who are trying to get a feel of the game and see how one match plays out).

Furthermore, you also learn about vehicle rules, armor values and stuff when playing an Imperial Knight. Not to mention, you get exposed to the super-heavy rules pretty early on, and so know Invincible Behemoth, Smash, Move Through Cover, Stomp, etc. And if starters find the whole vehicle damage table complicated, the Imperial Knight's Invincible Behemoth rule allows it to ignore that table except for the Explodes! result, so it does allow the owner to gradually get used to the vehicle rules.

Of course, the Dark Vengeance set shines here because it gives you a small rulebook along with the armies, and if you jump into the game with an Imperial Knight like I did, you'll have to buy a $100+ rulebook that's thick, heavy and takes up a lot of space. Ouch. But then again, if you're not very fond of Space Marines and was going to start off with another army anyway, then you were probably going to just buy the rulebook anyway.

3: Quick and fast

Not sure if Warhammer 40K is for you? Worried about matches that take 3 to 4 hours? Are those matches (I find them fun, personally) too long for you? Then an Imperial Knight is for you, sir!

An Imperial Knight, as many people have rightly pointed out, are sometimes impractical in games. They either crush the enemy too easily, or they die too easily to drop-pod melta squads and Haywire (I bet my 170-point Sicarian Ruststalkers can easily wipe out my 420-point Knight Warden!). However, if you flip this around, this can mean quick games. Sure, you might lose a lot when people bring hard counters to your Imperial Knight, but both you and your opponent might get a good laugh when your Imperial Knight blows up in an Apocalyptic explosion and destroys both armies for an entertaining draw. Plus it also means you'll find ways to navigate or place your Knight strategically to avoid those deadly meltaguns. I hope. Either way, if you're someone with a short attention span, or has little time to game, an Imperial Knight provides a quick fix and a shorter game.

4: Easy to build, keep and bring around

Having so few models makes it easy to build and store. You can just build and paint one or two Imperial Knights, or even three, and being bigger it's easier to paint than a Guardsman. I know how difficult and time-consuming it is to build a platoon of Guardsmen, 10 each, and then paint every single one of them individually. Some people enjoy it, but if you don't, then just build an Imperial Knight, spray paint it, coat the rims, and then go straight to gaming. Additionally, you don't need a box to store dozens of Guardsmen, vehicles, aircraft and artillery (or just infantry). You just throw one or two Knights into a bag and carry them around without much difficulty. They're not too big like the Warlord Titans to carry around, and not too small and numerous like infantry to transport either.

5: Shooting and Melee

Playing an Imperial Knight is also an excellent way of learning the rules of shooting and assault. As mentioned earlier, with so few models, it makes it easy to remember the rules just for the Knight, and the weapons. The Knight is good with both shooting and melee, especially if you brought the hybrid ones with cannons and a Strength D Reaper Chainsword. You'll get to roll scatter and roll to Wound with both a strong gun (battle cannon or Avenging Gatling cannon or Thermal cannon) and a weak gun (heavy stubber), and fairly judge the rough values of Strength against Toughness. You also get to remember the whole Ballistic Skill as well, with the Knight's good BS4.

Similarly, you'll get used to melee with the Knight's good WS4 and take note of the Initiative and Attack values. With so few models, you can concentrate on getting used to shooting and melee instead of worrying over who has what weapons, who has what BS, who has what WS, who has the higher Initiative, who has how many attacks, since Knights have the same stats all across the board. Guardsmen, for example, are usually BS3 and WS3, but Veterans have a higher BS, Sergeants have more attacks, and if you give your Sarge a Power weapon or Power Fist, you've to remember Unwieldy and different strengths. With Knights, you don't have to remember all those, and can just focus on shooting and melee.

6: High durability

An Imperial Knight's strength is not just its Invincble Behemoth that allows it to shrug off vehicle damage stuff (except Explosion! results), but also its high AV13 front, ion shield and 6 hull points. As I said earlier, it may be killed easily, but it will still last longer than a Guardsman with Toughness 3 and 1 Wound. Or even a Space Marine with Toughness 4 and 1 Wound.

What this means is that the Imperial Knight will stay alive long enough for you to get familiar with it and its rules, so you don't have to keep trying to keep track of whether your squad of 10 guardsmen only have 5 shots left after losing half of their squad to a devastating bolter volley. It also means you don't have to take the model off the table as frequently as your opponent. Usually...I hope. And you don't have to bother with Morale checks since it's effectively Fearless, and you don't have to worry about the weapons snap-shooting after moving since it's effective Relentless.

7: Ambiguous Alignment

Okay, maybe you don't like the Imperium and much prefer Chaos, but you have done your research, read through 1d4chan, forums, other Warhammer 40K blogs' comments (can't be mine since I get almost zero comments) and Internet stuff, only to find out that the current Chaos Space Marines codex sucks. I don't know how true that is, but I heard Khorne Daemonkin is pretty competitive. Huh. Anyway, you want to play Chaos but you don't like Chaos Space Marines, and you're not interested in summoning Daemons or spilling your blood for Khorne (because you like Tzeentch more but you can't wait for the Thousand Sons and Tzeentch Daemonkin supplement that's rumored to be released next year). So what do you do?

Turn your "Imperial" Knight into a Chaos Daemon Knight. Paint it black and red, draw a skull or something on the banner, add horns, add spikes, throw in lots of stuff and make him as Chaos-y as possible. There you go. You're still Chaos, but you now have a Knight that has the same rules and stats as your awesome Imperium brethren. After all, House Devine and oher houses have fallen to Chaos according to the fluff, and who's to say you can't have a Daemon Knight? Just use the same rules but tell your opponent that for the sake of game narrative and fluff, your Knight is a Daemon Knight. It still works!

This also applies to Ork fans, and at my local gaming store, someone actually converted an Imperial Knight into a grotesque (and I mean this in a very good way) into an Ork Knight! Awesome. I should get a picture of it and post it here one day, but obviously I need the owner's permission and I don't have the chance to meet him.

These are the reasons why Imperial Knights make a good starter army for beginners, in my opinion, of course. I'm not suggesting that playing Imperial Knights make you more tactically nous and turn you into a competitive, high-level tournament player able to sweep the table. But I do think fielding Imperial Knights allow a fledging player just starting out to familiarize himself (or herself) with the game, learn the basic rules such as the four phases, shooting and assault, have a quick taste of the game without being put off by the tremendous amount of time needed (though I actually enjoy spending all that time playing), and have no trouble transporting so few models around for a game without worrying about dropping or losing anything.

After starting with an Imperial Knight and finding out that you really like the tabletop game, you actually enjoy spending a longer time moving models around the table and rolling dice, you want more models and a larger army, and you're finally motivated to develop a deeper tactical nous, heavier list-building and better strategies, then I would recommend expanding out of Imperial Knights and jumping into a new army. No! Do NOT throw away your Imperial Knight! Keep them! In fact, you probably want to keep them as an Ally (or if you really love them, as the Primary Detachment) to your new army! And my suggestion for that new army is none other than the Adeptus Mechanicus such as Skitarii (more so) and Cult Mechanicus (less so). Huh, I think that article for expanding into a new army is for another day, so we shall stop here for today.

So yeah, if you're thinking of starting Warhammer 40K, or getting someone else to begin the tabletop game, please consider getting an Imperial Knight. It's easy to use, field, learn and familarize yourself with the game! For expanding into a new army after getting used to your Knights (that's why I advise getting just 1-2 at first, and not jumping straight to 3...or 4, like I stupidly did), I'll elaborate more in another article in the new future.

Friday, December 18, 2015

Battlefleet Gothic: Armada

I know I'm late to the party, but Battlefleet Gothic: Armada is a game set to be released next year. Awesome. They have a website here, so check it out if you want.


This is the gameplay trailer. Awesome. They have also released a trailer for the Imperium fleet, which is down below.



Speaking of games, I will also keep tabs on Space Hulk: Deathwing and let you guys know of more details when I hear news. Unfortunately, other than a couple of trailers, there hasn't been much updates on that front since June so I have no idea if it's still going on.

I should also purchase the Dawn of War collection during the Christmas season. Whoops. Oh well. I have not played Dawn of War or Space Marine before, but I'm tempted to try them out soon. We shall see. I'm not that eager to try out Dawn of War II because I don't like tactics-based small squads, and only Retribution has Imperial Guard (my favorite faction). Anyway, we shall see.

For the Emperor!

Thursday, December 17, 2015

Battle Report 7

This is the 7th Battle Report! Today I brought my Skitarii forces (with a single Imperial Knight ally) against a White Scars Combined Arms Detachment (my opponent didn't buy the Kauyon book and so didn't  use the Formations from in there).

Skitarii and Imperial Knight vs Space Marines White Scars Chapter.

My opponent brought 5 Tactical Squads, a Command Squad, and a Captain. All on bikes, which was pretty scary, fast and deadly. Turbo-boost was pretty powerful, as was their 12" movement. So was their 3+ jink save, argh. Added to that force was 2 Land Speeders and a single Stormtalon gunship. Heh.

White Scars Space Marines, all on bikes!
As for me, I brought along a Skitarii Battle Maniple, along with an Oathsworn Detachment of a single Imperial Knight. So 10 Vanguard, 5 Rangers, 5 Ruststalkers, 5 Infiltrators, a single Ironstrider Ballistarius and 3 Onager Dunecrawlers with Icarus Array, and then a Knight Crusader. In the end, the Ironstrider Ballistarius was next to useless and I never needed the Leadership 10 bubble the Onager Dunecrawlers provided. Hmm. I should have took the Ironstrider Ballistarius out for other upgrades, maybe plasma calivers, or Cognis Manipulators, which would have helped me out a lot during this game. Oh well.

Skitarii and Imperial Knight
So we played Eternal War, and I rolled the Scourging, which gave me 1 victory point for every Fast Attack unit I killed. Useless for my opponent because I have no Fast Attack units at all. But he had his Captain who gave him D3 extra points for slaying my Warlord, so it all adds up. We also had 1 4-point Objective, 2 3-point, 2 2-point and 1 1-point objectives spread out over a diagonally divided table. Huh.

Deployment

Deployment
I chose to deploy and go first, there was no Night Fighting, and my opponent failed to seize the initiative.

Turn 1

Without further ado, I unleashed the awesome firepower of my Skitarii. My Onager Dunecrawlers ripped apart a single Land Speeder, granting me First Blood, yay. My Infiltrators killed a bike with their flechette blasters, my Knight Crusader killed very little bikers with his Avenging Gatling cannon, which missed half of his BS4 shots (what?! terrible rolls, I know), but managed to kill 1 with his Stormspear rocket pod. One battle cannon blast scattered very badly, while I managed to inflict a couple of wounds on the bikers, killing one and leaving one gunner dude with one wound. Forgot to fire the heavy stubbers, whoops.

My Ironstrider Ballistarius actually killed a single guy in the open with his lascannon. Wow. I think my Rangers didn't do much, with him saving against their S4 AP4 galvanic rifles, everyone was out of range or out of sight of my Ruststalkers and Vanguard, so they did nothing.

My Knight Crusader tried to charge, failed his charge, and his overwatch failed to hit. Phew.

My opponent threw all his bikes forward. I can't remember, but he took out 3 of my Ruststalkers. Hmm...he also took out 2 hull points from my Knight after shooting whatever melta he had, immobilized a single Onager Dunecrawler and left him on 2 hull points. I think that was it, surprisingly enough.

Turn 2

This time, I had a far better turn. My 2 remaining Ruststalkers tossed their Haywire grenades at the remaining Land Speeder and glanced a hull point off it. A hailstorm of radium rounds from my Vanguard saw me wipe out an entire biker squad (rad poisoning is so rad!), my Infiltrators ran and I think my Knight Crusader wiped out half of another with combined firepower from my snap-firing Onager Dunecrawlers, 2 of whom broke away from the immobilized one. My Ruststalkers then charged into the Land Speeder and killed it with an Initiative 10 Haywire attack from the Princeps's Prehensile Dataspike. Cool. My Knight Crusader then charged another squad and smashed them in combat, so in total, 2 and a half biker squads and 2 land speeders destroyed. Stupidly enough, my Battle Cannon scattered horribly both times, doing absolutely nothing except glancing my poor Onager Dunecrawler from behind! Ouch. Ironstrider Ballistarius did nothing, I think.

My opponent then brought in his 5th outflanking biker squad, and brought his command bike squad forward, as well as brought his Stormtalon on from reserve. The outflanking biker squad annihilated my Rangers in cover. Well, 10 wounds, and I saved 5. But I only have 5 of them...wait, I screwed up there! I forgot my Ranger Alpha has 2 Wounds! OH NO! I FORGOT! Too late to regret it now.

Anyway, the command squad killed 5 of my Vanguard, and then split charged my Ruststalkers and Vanguard. Before that, the Stormtalon took out 3 of my Infiltrators with its assault cannon. Ouch. The two remaining Bikers from the half-squad that I took out earlier fired and MISSED both their melta shots. I think the other bikers also missed all their melta shots, and what hit failed to damage. Huh. Terrible rolling, my poor opponent. I think I only did one wound to my opponent, who failed his Iron Halo and Feel No Pain saves, but I took about 2-3 wounds and my surviving Vanguard fled. Or something. Fortunately, he couldn't chase because they're still locked in combat with my 2 Ruststalkers.

Turn 3

Fortunately, I wiped out the half-squad with lucky rolls from my 2 Onager Dunecrawlers, and my Immobilized Dunecrawler funnily enough killed the Stormtalon all by himself. Meanwhile my Knight Crusader turned around and ripped apart the squad with just shooting, leaving only one survivor, who he smashed in combat. Hey, even without a Destroyer weapon, a Knight Crusader's S10 AP2 melee attacks are nothing to sneeze at. My Vanguard ran into cover, which was useless. Hmm, I think I lost one Ruststalker while dealing a 2nd wound to the Captain, who only had 1 wound remaining. I charged my Infiltrators in but my opponent made all his armor saves against their taser goads. They're not very good in combat against bikers, huh. Oh well.

My Ironstrider did nothing against the biker squad, who jinked. Oh well. By this point, my opponent had only one biker squad, 1 command squad and his captain left. But all that will change soon.

My opponent hit and run, and chased down my Vanguard, because my Warlord is in there. Needless to say, he shot and killed 3 more Vanguard, then charged and challenged my Warlord before killing him combat. He rolled a 5, and thus earned 3 (D3) Victory Points, and with Slay the Warlord, he had 4 to my 1...except that I killed all 3 of his Fast Attack units so I actually have 4 as well. Thanks to my opponent for reminding me, thank you! Anyway, the final biker squad charged my Onager Dunecrawler, and I did nothing while I think he only stunned one of them. Ouch.

Turn 4

I had my final Ruststalker and 2 surviving Infiltrators moving and running, as did my Knight, who also moved and ran. Er...combat continued, and nothing happened, with no wounds dealt on either Onager Dunecrawler or biker squad. During my opponent's turn, he turbo-boosted his bikes into cover. I think. Combat continued, and I think he finally killed one of my Onager Dunecrawler, but the other guy was still full health. Did I kill a bike? I think I did. Only 1, though. Must have failed an armor save or something.

Turn 5

I continued moving my Ruststalker Infiltrators and running them, while my Knight slowly moved forward and running. Oh well. Combat continued...and nothing happened to both my Dunecrawler and the biker squad. During his turn, my opponent finally separated his Captain from his command squad and had him run all the way to an objective while his command squad tried to hit my Knight with krak grenades and then charge him with melta bombs. I actually lost 2 hull points in that combat, failed to hit most of my hits, and what I did hit and wound (S10 AP2 after all), his Stormshield made his 3+ invulnerable save. What...Stomp did some damage, but he made all his armor saves. Ouch.

Turn 6

This continued on to the 6th turn when my opponent rolled and the dice gods indicate that the match shall continue. I had better luck this time, and while my opponent killed my Ruststalker from hit and run, I think, I charged in my Infiltrators, and with good rolling from the taser goads, had 9 hits and 9 wounds. Wow. Surprisingly enough. My opponent made half of his saves, but failed 4 of them..which was enough to wipe out the entire squad. Not bad, my Infiltrators were boss! Upon winning combat, I had them consolidate on the nearest objective to claim 2 points to draw with my opponent, whose captain was still on the 2-point objective.

As for my Knight...my opponent whiffed all his hits, or did absolutely nothing. I did one wound, but again, that stupid Stormshield meant he saved it. Argh. However, my Stomp scored a 6 this time and I removed 3 bikers under the small blast marker from play. Ha ha ha ha! Stomp actually rocks if you roll a 6! However, 2 more bikers were left, so...oh well. Anyway, with only 2 bikers from his command squad and his Warlord left, my opponent didn't do much except roll to see if the game would continue to the 7th turn. And it didn't.

So it turned out to be a draw! I had 6 points, 1 from First Blood, 3 from killing Fast Attack units, 2 from objective, and my opponent had 6 points, 1 from Slay the Warlord, 3 (because D3) from his Captain's special characteristic, and 2 from objective. So 6-6. Not bad!

Post-match analysis

I think I should get rid of the Ironstrider Ballistarius, I totally forgot I still had him. I should have moved him and had him run to another objective, so my fault there for having the game end a draw. Oh well, I should trade him for Cognis Manipulators so my Onager Dunecrawlers would have totally destroyed those bikers in combat instead of being tied up for so long. Argh. I should also bring plasma calivers, considering the radium carbines weren't that effective against the command squad's 3+ armor saves (but the sheer amount of wounds did help me wipe out a single biker squad all on their own!), and I forgot that I have Preferred Enemy from my Warlord, so I should have re-rolled ones to hit! Argh. My Ruststalkers weren't that effective, but they did survive quite a lot, surprisingly. Might want to swap them out for upgrades instead, I sure could have used a 4+ invulnerable save!

I don't understand the abuse Infiltrators get from Abusepuppy, they were very effective both at tying up the opponent in combat, reducing my opponents' stats, and dealing a lot of wounds. Just 2 of them - ONLY TWO! - wiped out 4 bikers in combat. A joke unit if I had ever seen one. Yet Abusepuppy insists on abusing them and calling them rubbish (according to a comment he made regarding the War Convocation. It's not a conclave, it's a Convocation!). Or maybe he has changed his mind after play-testing them, I don't know. Oh well. Anyway, never ever underestimate Infiltrators! They are awesome! Really!

Can't wait to try my Skitarii again, they are really an effective fighting force, and if I learn how to use them properly (which I didn't in this game, how did I forget to move and run my Ironstrider Ballistarius?!) I might actually start winning games. Well...admittedly I already crushed a 1,000-point Tau army with my Skitarii Battle Maniple, but against other armies...hmm...we shall see.

For the Emperor! Or Omnissiah.

Sunday, December 13, 2015

Tank Commander with Tech-Priest Enginseer

And so I've finally built my Tank Commander with Tech-Priest Enginseer.

Leman Russ Vanquisher, Tank Commander and Tech-Priest Enginseer
I chose to build a Leman Russ Vanquisher instead, so that's what you're seeing. Then I added the Command antenna and giant Aquila to mark him as a Tank Commander. I didn't build the guy yelling out of the hull because he'll get easily shot down and killed. The whole point of having a Tank is to hide behind an armored wall of titanium, and it defeats the purpose by sticking your head of the hatch to make yourself an easy target. So nope.

The Tech-Priest Enginseer looks awesome. I can probably use him as a Magos for my Mechanicum army if I ever get around to building it. First, I'll quickly finish up my Armored Company by getting my last tank (Leman Russ Battle Tank with lascannon to make use of the Tech-Priest Enginseer's Power of the Machine Spirit). If I can get my hands on Militarum Tempestus Storm Scions, I can build another Vendetta to complete the Airborne Company and throw in a few Storm Troopers into my Cadian...er...Draconian Battle Group. Let's hope it works a lot better than my Combined Arms Detachment. Re-rolling ones for my hot-shot lasguns, making sure my orders to Ignore Cover, Run after Shooting or Monster and Tank Hunter go off, giving my Battle Group Command Company Command Squad 3 orders and 24" range...wonder if those will make a lot of difference. I hope it does, but we'll never know.

Anyway, someone wondered why the Imperial Guard has all the good tanks and not the Space Marines. Same with the artillery. Why not give all these tanks and artillery to the Space Marines?

Well...the Adeptus Astartes are genetically engineered super-soldiers who are designed to survive in the harshest environments, have enhanced physical strength that allows them to engage in ferocious melee combat, wear Power Armor...so why would you stick such a super-soldier inside a tank? You would want to make use of his enhanced physique to throw them behind enemy lines and wipe them out in close combat. Wouldn't ordinary humans be sufficient to drive a tank or artillery tank around? You don't need super-soldiers for that, it's a waste of genetic engineering potential.

Anyway, I like the Imperial Guard a lot more than the Space Marines...I just can relate to them more. Part of it is down to me reading too many Ciaphas Cain novels, but the romance and courage of normal men fighting together against all odds, facing unimaginable horrors, ravenous monsters, psychic aliens, advanced technology, super-soldiers, and yet somehow triumphing over all that...that somehow just appeals to me. It is just so touching and strikes home with me...maybe because I've served in the military for a couple of years so I see a lot of myself in the Imperial Guard. Just a regular joe hanging out in the barracks with no genetic engineering, transplants, augmetics or super-soldier physique and reflexes to save me. Just me and my trusty rifle (lasgun! Ha ha!), and maybe a one-use rocket launcher that fails to kill a tank more often than not. So yeah...I'm technically a real-life Imperial Guard.

So we get the best tanks! Problem, Astartes?

Sunday, December 6, 2015

Cadian Battlegroup summary and "analysis" in Mont'ka

As promised, today's article is on War Zone Damocles: Mont'ka - The Rules. More specifically, I will only be dwelling on Chapter 2: Armies of the Imperium. Actually, not even that, I'll be focusing solely on the Imperial Guard, and the regiment featured mainly are Cadians. Yay. I love Cadians, and Draconians are Cadian wannabes, so we're happy.

Anyway, the new formations and Cadian Battle Group Detachment might be referring to the Cadian Shock Troops, but don't let this stop you from using these for your own Imperial Guard army! After all, most Imperial Guard regiments model themselves after Cadians, including their uniforms, their tactics and organization, so feel free to apply them to anything you want! For example, my own Draconian Armored Defense Force learns and follows Cadian organization and tactics closely, so they base their own companies off the Cadian Tank Companies and Airborne Companies. Are they as effective as Cadians? Probably not. But they are hardworking, diligent and determined to emulate the best of the Imperium's finest Astra Militarum regiments, and so work exactly like the Cadians. Yay.

I'll also be exploring the new Tactical Objectives for Imperial Guard (we finally have our own! Yay!) and our eight "new" Lords of War.

SUPER-HEAVY VEHICLE DATASHEETS

We have eight Lords of War, all super-heavy tanks with big guns and plenty of weapons. All of them have the same stats, BS3, front AV 14, side AV 13 and rear AV 12, and are *relatively* hard to kill with 9 hull points each. They can take up to two pairs of side sponsons, each with one lascannon and one twin-linked heavy bolter/heavy flamers, but they all have different primary weapons. Take note that they are EXACTLY the same as in Escalation, so you can just refer to Escalation for identical rules, weapons and stats if you already have that book. That said, you're buying Mont'ka not just for the Baneblade and its variants' rules, but also for the Cadian Battle Group Detachment and Formations, so that will be what I'll be focusing on. Anyway, here's the list of the eight.

Baneblade, with Baneblade cannon. Also carries an extra autocannon and demolisher cannon. The vanilla and standard tank that, if this is Pokemon, he evolves from the Leman Russ Battle Tank. The most reliable, even if it's the 2nd-most expensive.

Banehammer, with Tremor cannon. A Transport that can carry 25 dudes, 10 of whom can fire from the troop bay. Earthshock from its primary weapon causes earthquakes and makes your opponents take dangerous terrain tests for the laughs. The cheapest.

Banesword, with Quake cannon. Super-long range. basically a Basilisk on steroids. Or the evolved form of the Basilisk. Half the range (but 180" is still nothing to sneeze at, and nobody will play on 360" tables anyway), but with an Apocalyptic Blast-size explosion.

Doomhammer, with Magma cannon. Discount Shadowsword that does decent with his S10 AP1 primary weapon, but can also ferry 25 soldiers like the Banehammer, and also allows 10 to fire from the troop bay. The 2nd-cheapest, and for 10 points more I would take this guy over the Banehammer for greater Strength and lower AP. I guess Leman Russ Demolisher evolves into this, but instead of getting a larger blast template he gets a much longer range AND transport capacity. Hmm.

Hellhammer, with Hellhammer cannon. All your S10 AP1 Ignores Cover goodness which means you're virtually guaranteed to kill anything with a single Massive Blast. Like the Baneblade, he also carries an extra autocannon and demolisher cannon, making it the most expensive of the 8 (hey, I'm making the Baneblades sound like Farsight and the 8 now). But...but S10 AP1 Ignores Cover! Still, I'm more inclined to take the Stormsword instead.

Shadowsword, with Volcano cannon. The only guy with a Strength D weapon, use him to destroy Titans and other super-heavies (make sure you roll sixes though, or you're screwed). Doesn't come default with the hull-mounted twin-linked heavy bolter like all the others, but you can throw it in for 10 points. Er...what? Okay. Also the only guy who can replace 2 sponson lascannons for targeters, which gives him +1 BS so your scatter isn't as bad. Might be useful as the Volcano cannon only fires a Large Blast-sized beam. Also one of the longest-range, outclassed only by the Banesword. The Leman Russ Vanquisher evolves into this badass!

Stormlord, with Vulcan mega-bolter. The Lord of all transports, carrying 40 dudes and allowing 20 of them to fire from the troop bay. Awesome. And they can disembark and embark as if he's an Open-topped vehicle, but this doesn't do anything for the vehicle damage table! Even more awesome. The Vulcan mega-bolter can fire twice if you don't move him, allowing you to pump out 30 S6 AP3 shots of death at up to 2 different targets if you please.  The successor to the Leman Russ Punisher, I suppose.

Stormsword, with Stormsword siege cannon. Like the Hellhammer, he fires a S10 AP1 Ignores Cover, but at APOCALYPTIC BLAST. Awesome. That's why I'm taking this guy over the Hellhammer, and he's the one in my Imperial Guard army. Destroys absolutely anything he fires upon, and none will live to tell the tale. The relatively short range of 36" is a weakness, though. Ouch. Anyway, he's the final evolved form of the Leman Russ Eradicator! Or, if you like, Leman Russ Eradicator and Leman Russ Demolisher decided to go Digimon instead and Jogress Evolve or Fusion into this amazing baby. He's the 3rd most expensive variant, mind you, but totally worth his points.

Points and Costs are the same as in Escalation, so no improvements there. Sadly, it means we'll still get owned hard by Eldar and their Wraithknight spam (I saw a Wraithknight take out a Stormblade in the 1st turn during a battle report before the poor tank could even fire his plasma blastgun), but...oh well. For the Emperor.

FORMATIONS

There are 10 new Formations for the Imperial Guard, some are awesome, some are okay.

"Emperor's Shield" Infantry Platoon
1 Infantry Platoon, which must include at least 5 Infantry Squads (standard 10-men squads, not the teams like Heavy Weapons Teams or Special Weapons Teams), and 1-3 units of Scout or Armored Sentinels, up to you. They all get Move Through Cover as long as they're within 9" of any Sentinel from this Formation, and the Platoon Commander can issue the "Fire and Advance!" order as a bonus order. Cool. "Fire and Advance!" gets the ordered dudes to shoot, and they essentially gain Relentless, so you might want to pack in a few Heavy Weapons Team in there. Awesome.

"Emperor's Shield" Infantry Company
1 Company Command Squad and 3 Emperor's Shield Infantry Platoons. In other words, horde your enemies with blobs of infantry and drown them in the blood of your soldiers! Tarpits! Make sure you bring at least 510 dice with you, especially since they have Punishing Fusillade, which allows the Company Commander to issue the "First Rank, Fire! Second Rank, Fire!" order to ANY number of units from the Infantry Company at the same time. In other words, you can have all 170 men fire together with an extra lasgun shot, which is 340 shots at max range, going up to 510 lasgun shots at rapid fire range! Don't forget you get to re-roll ones for your lasgun shots if you're using this as your Core choice in your Cadian Battle Group! That's a lot of hits! Pick up 510 dice after declaring shooting, and watch your opponent's face as you begin to roll them all in a box. I don't think all that dice can fit in both hands, though......

"Emperor's Talon" Recon Company
For those who love fielding nothing but Sentinels. You get 2-4 Sentinel Squadrons from an amazing selection of either Scout or Armored, and each squadron must have 3 Sentinels stomping around because safety in numbers. One Sentinel is designated the Command Sentinel (I'll choose the Armored Sentinel but then again you can't Scout him if that's the case), and he can give the orders "Take Aim!", "Forwards, for the Emperor!" or "Move! Move! Move!". All of them have Leadership of 8 for these orders, and I don't know if the Command Sentinel counts as an officer to get the Cadian Battle Group bonus of extra dice roll for Leadership. Someone please let me know. Anyway, if you pick an enemy unit from the start of your first turn, you get Preferred Enemy against him for the rest of the game. I can see plasma cannon spam from Armored Sentinels just for this! Woohoo! Furthermore, thanks to your orders, your Sentinels can either have Precision Shots, can Shoot and Run in the same turn, or Run with the value from the highest of 3D6 instead of merely rolling 2D6 and accepting fate. Huh...only the 2nd order is useful, and the 1st is for sniping so it's somewhat useful. The 3rd? I guess if you're really desperate to get your Sentinels into an objective.

"Emperor's Blade" Assault Company
1 Company Command Squad, 3 Veteran squads and 1-3 Hellhound Squadrons. All your infantry must take a Chimera or Taurox as Dedicated Transports, making this a Mechanized Infantry company, which is fine with me. Awesome. All units from an Assault Company have Preferred Enemy against enemies within 6" of an Objective Marker, and all the infantry get Objective Secured! Woohoo! This is going to be your bread-and-butter Formation or Auxiliary choice in Maelstrom games! Start spamming plasma gun Veterans like me now, I order you! And I love the Inferno cannon on Hellhounds, so maybe I should consider getting 2 more Chimera APCs, another Veteran squad with plasma guns, and at least 1 Hellhound...Objective Secured is just so tempting.

"Emperor's Wrath" Artillery Company
Artillery. Awesome. 1 Company Command Squad, 2 batteries of Basilisks, Hydras or Wyverns, whichever you want, and 1 Manticore or Deathstrike, rounding up with 1-3 Enginseers. The Company Commander can issue the "Smite at Will!", "Supressive Fire!" and "Fire on my Target!" orders to any vehicles from this Formation. So your Basilisks/Hydras/Wyverns/Manticore/Deathstrke can Split Fire, have Pinning, or Ignores Cover depending on what you want, and they have a Leadership of 8 (and you can roll an extra dice and discard the highest if you're using this as an auxiliary choice in a Cadian Battle Group, remember!). Awesome. Pure awesome. There is nothing deadlier than 3 Basilisks firing 3 S9 AP3 Large Blasts with Ignores Cover in concert. Except maybe your Manticore's S10 Large Blasts with Ignores Cover. Yay. And Hydras can now ignore jink saves from those nasty, annoying flyers too! Wee! Um, you can also get one friendly model with a vox-caster to choose an enemy within 18" and line of sight, and your artillery will have Twin-linked when firing at them. Yay. Not bad if you've Deep-Striking or Scout dudes with a vox-caster, makes a deadly combination. Doesn't do much for Hydras and Wyverns, though. Particularly Wyverns, as they already have Ignores Cover, so I suggest you just bring Basilisks and maybe Hydras if your opponent has flyers.

"Emperor's Fist" Armored Company
Now this is the one I'm looking for! YAY! A Tank Formation! 1 Tank Commander, 3 Leman Russ Squadrons and 1-3 Enginseers, and it's a Core choice! Woohoo! Won't benefit much from the Cadian Battle Group's Command Benefits, though, so argh. Anyway all my tanks within 6" of an Enginseer gets a bit of protection from penetrating hits as my opponent must roll 2 dice on the Vehicle Damange table and discard the highest. Hah! Even better, any Leman Russ from this Formation within 12" of my Tank Commander gets BS4! WOW! My Leman Russ Punisher and Leman Russ Vanquisher just got a lot better, and I can spam lascannons now! The Tank Shock and Ram is a little meh, you get to subtract 1 from the enemy's Leadership when Tank Shocking them, which is okay. But you add 1 to the Strength of the Ram for the 2nd vehicle onward, which is useless as Leman Russ tanks already Tank Shock on S10 with their AV14, heavy and tank type. Er...so what's the point? Do we get S11? I don't think so, right? Again, I don't know if the Tank Commander counts as an officer, so if this is your Core choice in a Cadian Battle Group, do you get to roll an extra D6 for Tank Orders? It'll suck if you don't and render the whole point of making this a Core choice absolutely pointless, especially if you're like me and bring an all-tank Cadian Battle Group. Argh.

Ogryn Auxilla
1 Commissar, 2 Ogryn squads and 2 Bullgryn squads. Tough, strong, ugly and hard to kill. Nice. Um, if a 2nd squad charges into the same enemy as the first squad in Assault, the 2nd team has Hammer of Wrath hits at S7. Uh, okay. All Ogryns and Bullgryns from this Formation within 12" of the Commissar are Fearless. Wow! Now that's fearsome! Not as good as the shield thingy from Sanctus Reach: The Red Waaagh! though.

Psykana Division
We have our own Librarius Conclave! If you like Psykers, or you want to cast Prescience and spam Psychic powers, this is for you! 1 Primaris Psyker, supported by 3 Wyrdvane Psyker squads and 1-3 Commissars (to prevent the dudes from summoning something horrifying from the Warp by mistake). The Primaris Psyker knows all the Wyrdvane Psykers' powers if they're within 12", so awesome. He also gets +1 to his Mastery Level for every 5 Wyrdvane Psyker within 12", which is even more awesome. So if you have the bare minimum of 15 Wyrdvane Psykers surrounding your Level 2 Primaris Psyker, he'll be Level 5 (do take note it doesn't mean he suddenly learns 3 extra psychic powers, though - just the 2 he already knows, and those of your Wyrdvane Psykers within 12")! 5 extra Warp Charges in your Psychic pool, even more awesome! Not only that, the Wyrdvane Psykers get their own bonuses, and as long as their squad is joined by a Commissar from this Formation, they can cast Psychic spells on rolls of 2+ instead of 4+. AMAZING! Prescience and psychic powers just got a lot more reliable, eh? Beware, if they fail their psychic test (due to unlucky rolling), a randomly determined psyker gets offed by the Commissar. Such is the price of failure. Furthermore, Perils of the Warp will never happen as the Commissar will kill the guy automatically before he gets dragged screaming into the other dimension. Heh. Don't bother to roll on the Perils of the Warp table, the Commissar saves you from everything.

"Emperor's Fury" Super-heavy Company
3 super-heavy tanks! Of any kind and combination, just take any of the 8 I listed above in squadrons of 3, this Formation alone can be your entire army (though I'll advise against it, having seen my 3 Imperial Knights absolutely wiped off the table in short order, and you'll hardly find anyone willing to play with you, and those who do will gleefully hide their Space Marines in drop pods, land in front of your tanks, and melta them to death). Plus a single Enginseer. The Enginseer gets 2+ to his repair roll, which is awesome (he now repairs on a 3+!), and if an enemy unit is hit by 3 or more Primary weapons from this Formation, it must make a Morale check on 4D6 unless it has gone to ground. Uh, what? Usually one Primary weapon will be enough to wipe out an entire unit, let alone 3, so why the hell would you want to fire 3 on the same unit?! Enemies within 12" of at least 2 super-heavy tanks move as though they're in difficult terrain because they are super-heavy that the ground shakes beneath their giant treads. Nice gimmick, but ultimately worthless. Only the Enginseer gets any sort of benefit, and I don't think it's worth buying 3 Baneblade variants just for this Formation. I'll stick to using a single one, thank you very much. I only need my Stormsword, he can do the job by himself, and I would rather spend the points on more fun units like Leman Russ squadrons, Storm Troopers and stuff.

"Emperor's Spear" Aerial Company
3 Valkyrie or Vendetta squadrons in any combination. Wings of Liberty! Take flight! Anyway, if a Reserves Roll for any of your flyer squadron is successful, you can choose to automatically pass any remaining Reserve Rolls for your other flyers. Awesome. I can't wait to bring all 3 of my Vendetta gunships (I only have 2 though) into the table with just one roll! They also have Low Altitude Drop, which forces your flyer to take difficult terrain tests if he moves over terrain that is taller than 3". Ouch. BUT the infantry disembarking from the flyer with Gav Chute Insertion will not scatter. Awesome! Pair this up with Storm Troopers and watch them land safely with the precision of a scalpel to claim Objectives or sterilize high-priority targets! On their own, they're meh, but once you throw in Veterans or Storm Troopers inside them, they can be devastating combos!

ASTRA MILITARUM TACTICAL OBJECTIVES

We finally receive Tactical Objectives for our good old Imperial Guard! Hoo-rah! Semper Fi! For the Emperor!

So these are our unique Tactical Objectives:

Armored Assault
1 VP (Victory Point) if our Tanks completely destroy at least one enemy unit. What, no D3 VP if our Tanks destroy 3 enemy units? Doable, especially with my Armored Company. Yay. Or even with my Super-heavy Stormsword! Woohoo!

Fix Bayonets!
1 VP if any of your Astra Militarum units made at least one successful charge. Uh...why the hell would I be charging my frail Guardsmen into enemies for melee?! Not only that, we don't get D3 VP for successfully charging 3 enemy units, which is good because our Guardsmen will get wiped out in combat. Well, my 7 Veterans did kill 2 Space Marines with nothing but bayonets, but that was through sheer luck. I'll avoid this unless I draw it. Sigh. My poor Guardsmen.

Strength in Unity
1 VP if you successfully issued at least 3 orders. D3 VP if you get off 6 or more successful orders. 3 is doable for me, but if I want 6, I need to field the Emperor's Shield Infantry Company or Platoons. Argh. Oh well, I probably will not get off 6, even if I try to include Tank Orders. TT____TT

Hold Your Ground
I can imagine General Horace Warfield shouting this in Starcraft 2: Wings of Liberty. "Hold your ground!" even as the Zerglings run toward them. Anyway, you get 1 VP if at least half of your surviving units  (rounding up) are within your deployment zone. Most of the time I'll get this because my Tanks are all clustered in my deployment zone and too lazy to move out.

Overwhelming Numbers
We put the Tyranids to shame with our endless hordes! 1 VP if we control more Objective Markers than our opponent, and if we control at least 3 more Objective Markers than our opponent, we get D3 VP instead. Great if you have overwhelming numbers of infantry blobs, not so great if you're like me with only 5 Leman Russ tanks and a single Stormsword. Oh boy.

Storm of Fire
1 VP if at least one enemy unit was completely destroyed during my shooting phase, and D3 VP if at least 3 enemy units were completely destroyed, or D3+3 if 6 or more are destroyed. Woohoo. Hard to destroy 6 in one go, though, but I can dream. I guess.

WARLORD TRAITS
Our Cadians have our own Warlord Traits Table that we can roll on. We have Master Orator, which gives him Zealot; Dead-eye Shot, which gives +2 to his BS and +1 to his unit's BS (Bull Shit!); Artillery Veteran, which turns him into a Master of Ordnance once per game (pretty useless if you ask me); Unflappable Stoicism, which excuses you from taking Morale tests for units within 12" of him who have taken 25% or more casualties, which essentially makes them Fearless (awesome!); Above the Thundering Guns, which gives him either Voice of Command rule if he's a Tank Commander or not a Senior Officer, and if he's already a Senior Officer with that rule he gets to issue one additional order each turn (entirely useless if you're already using a Company Commander Warlord in a Cadian Battle Group); and lastly Staunch Traditionalist, which forces all your Cadian Characters to issue and accept challenges whenever possible. You can choose whoever you want to issue or accept challenges, and these guys can re-roll failed To Hit and To Wound rolls in all their challenges. Uh...I think I'll pass, I don't want my guys to be running into combat. And does this apply to Tank Commanders? I guess the "wherever possible" wording exempts my Tank Commanders from this. Yay.

HEIRLOOMS OF CADIA
So we have our own relics. Wow. Okay.

Celeritas - a special chainsword that is Master-crafted and gives the wielder a 4++ invulnerable save in challenge, and each successful save allows him to make an attack that hits automatically and has Rending. Cool, I guess, and relatively cheap.

Kabe's Herald - For Tank Commanders, and this allows him to issue orders to any other Leman Russ squadrons within 12", and they probably have Leadership of 9 thanks to the Tank Commander because it doesn't say what value they should take on except that treat them as part of the Tank Commander's unit. The "Gunners, Kill on Sight"order gives them Split Fire. Awesome pawsome. Make sure your other squadrons are in twos or threes or this will be pretty wasted.

The Iron Left - A bionic arm that gives +2 Strength and AP3. Er...okay.

Standard of the Lost 113th - a pretty expensive standard that allows the bearer to plant it and fight to the last, sabotaging his unit and forcing them to not move, run or charge. On the other hand, all Cadian units within 18" are Fearless, which is pretty sweet.

Voklov's Cane - another relatively cheap relic, it's a stick that deals Concussive attacks at AP4, but this weapon is only as strong as its user. On the other hand, anybody within 6" of the Company Commander (who is the only one who can use this relic, no other characters are allowed to touch it) holding it only fails their orders on a roll of double 6. Meaning they'll pass unless they're incredibly unlucky, the chances of them failing being as low as Perils of the Warp. Yay. Basically Leadership tests for orders are now taken at 11! The best of the best.

Wrath of Cadia - the cheapest relic, it's a pistol with 12", S3, but always wounds on 4+. Armor saves of 3 and less will always fail, even if you're a Space Marine with 3+ Armor save. Even Terminators fail their Armor saves if they roll 3-. Hah! Basically turns all Armor into 4+ Armor saves. Sweet, I guess.

HAMMER OF THE EMPEROR - CADIAN BATTLE GROUP
Before I begin, please let me implore all fans to stop using the term "Decurion" for Imperial military organizations. We are not filthy xenos! We are the proud soldiers of the Emperor, the defenders of Mankind! The vaunted Adeptus Astartes use the Galdius Strike Force, whose Core choice is the Battle Demi-Company. Theirs are not Decurions. Even among the hated xenos, they use different terms for their various armies! The Eldar use Warhost, not Decurion, and even the Great Enemy use the Blood Host - well, it's exclusive to Khorne Daemonkin, but you get what I mean. The Craftworld Warhost is full of hosts! The Tau have their own Hunter Contingent, which is made up of Cadres. So yeah. Repeat after me. This is a Cadian Battle Group. Not a Cadian Decurion. Battle Group. Okay?

Now that we have that cleared up, let's move to the Battle Group itself!

The Cadian Battle Group must consist of 1+ Command choice, 0-3 Core choices per Command, and 0-3 Auxiliary choices per Core. Stupidly enough, this means you can just field a Tank Commander squadron as your Battle Group Command and say he's your entire army. So, uh, I don't know what's with that? At least have 1-3 Core, otherwise what's the point?

Command Benefits are awesome. The Company Commander in the Battle Group Command can issue up to 3 orders per turn, and to units within 24". Twice the range of a normal Company Commander! Your Company Commander is now awesome, and your infantry is buffed pretty well! Secondly, any officer from this Battle Group gets a sweet bonus to their orders where the units they order get to roll an additional dice for the Leadership test and discard the highest. As I said earlier, I don't know if this applies to Tank Commanders because they are officers in the fluff, but don't have the officer type in their rules. I think. Someone please correct me and let me know! Lastly, all infantry in this Detachment can re-roll To Hit rolls of 1 when firing lasguns or hot-shot lasguns. Awesome! Your ordinary Guardsmen are basically BS4 now, and your Veterans and Stormtroopers are now BS5! Woohoo!

Anyway, let's roll with the choices.

BATTLE GROUP COMMAND
1 Company Command Squad or Tank Commander, and you can use Lord Castellan Creed and Color Sergeant Kel, or Knight Commander Pask if you wish. You also get the option adding 0-1 Lord Commissar. So go ahead and make a Valhallan Battle Group and throw in Lord Commissar Ciaphas Cain if you want. Thank goodness he's not a unique character.

No benefits on their own, so why anyone will field a Battle Group Command on its own is beyond me. To troll, perhaps, or maybe for 500-600-point games where you can just field 2-3 Leman Russ tanks and laugh as your opponent's infantry get rolled over by AV14 walls.

CORE

"Emperor's Shield" Infantry Company
This is going to take a lot of points, and unless you're playing 2,000 to 3,000-point games, there's no way you're taking 3 of this as your Core choices. Well, you can probably squeeze 2 in a 1,850-point or 2,000-point game, and that's a lot of bodies on the table. Bare minimum, you have 165 infantry, 5 more for Battle Group Command, and 3 Sentinels running all over the table. 2 Core choices of these will see you have 335 infantry models and 6 Sentinels on the table. Good luck moving them up and down! As a single core choice, it might be fun, but bear in mind you will not have a lot of points left for your auxiliaries especially if you play lower-points games, considering this single Core choice alone will take up over 1,000 points.

"Emperor's Fist" Armored Company
Now this is what I will take, personally. Tanks, tanks and more tanks!

AUXILIARY

"Emperor's Shield" Infantry Platoon
The mini, bite-sized version of the Emperor's Shield Infantry Company, in case you want to field infantry but don't have that many models. Much more manageable, admittedly. No Objective Secured, but has a nice order for your Heavy Weapons Teams, and better movement across the table thanks to the Sentinels. Not to mention they have better shooting, have better chances of following orders, and the Company Command Squad that can issue 3 orders can safely hide 24" away without being forced into dangerous territory - if you take this as part of the Cadian Battle Group. Somebody might value Objective Secured a lot more, but I think the Cadian Battle Group has its own strengths with regards to their infantry and Command Benefits.

Infantry Platoon
I don't know if these guys have Objective Secured because you're using this as part of the Cadian Battle Group Detachment instead of a Combined Arms Detachment where they will have it. If they don't have Objective Secured, then they basically have no Special Rules like the other Formations, and there's little reason to use them except...I don't know. Maybe you want a more flexible Infantry Platoon than the Emperor's Shield version that forces you to throw in FIVE Infantry Squads as minimum, and you don't like Sentinels. Well, yeah, this saves you the points and bodies, yet gives you the flexibility and options the Infantry Platoon normally gets, such as Commissars, Heavy Weapons Teams, Special Weapons Teams, but without restrictions of the Emperor's Shield. Plus they benefit from the Battle Group's Command Benefits, shoot at BS4 effectively, have better Leadership tests for orders, and your Company Commander in the Battle Group Command can give 3 orders to the several Special Weapons Teams and Heavy Weapons Teams you threw inside your minimally sized Infantry Platoon with just 2 Infantry Squads. I'm glad they allowed you to throw this in as an option as many people might underestimate just how flexible and effective a vanilla non-Formation Infantry Platoon can do. Just look at 1d4chan and the various tips and advice they offer! 50-men Conscripts with a Commissar running in front of your minimally-sized Platoon and Heavy Weapons Teams! A dream Tarpit. They might lose Objective Secured, but in return they gain better shooting for their lasguns, and have a higher chance of getting off orders even with Leadership 8. Furthermore, you don't need your Company Command Squad to follow them as closely, just throw them into a Chimera 24" away and give orders from a safer distance so as to delay the inevitable Slay the Warlord.

Super-heavy Support Element
Any 1 Baneblade or his variants. Mine is the Stormsword. Or you can just screw it and play 3,000-point games just to throw in an "Emperor's Fury" Super-heavy Company to screw your opponent over. At least until he brings in 8 Wraithknights or 20 drop pods of Melta Marines.

"Emperor's Blade" Assault Company
The normal mechanized infantry, or mech-Veterans we all love and know, taken up to eleven with those sweet Formation bonuses. Prepare to throw in plasma guns to maximize Preferred Enemy, but I think most people will still choose meltaguns as they are also very effective. Oh, and Objective Secured. Sweet.

"Emperor's Spear" Aerial Company
What you see is what you get. As I said earlier, ineffective on their own (unless you want to spam flyers and get all of them in on just 1 roll), but deadly when combined with drop troops like Storm Troopers. Hell, you can probably just build an Elysian Drop Troops list basing it on this Formation alone! Just use...I dunno, the Militarum Tempestus Codex, or spam Veterans, and then load them up in this as your attached Formation. As part of your Battle Group, though, it's the only way to bring flyers to your army, but pretty expensive, so consider wisely. As I said, great with drop troops like Storm Troopers, so if that's what you're planning to do then go for it!

Ogryn Auxilla
As above, they are Ogyrns and Bullgryns. Tough and hard to kill, just send them charging into your enemies and pray they don't get taken down by Overwatch.

"Emperor's Wrath" Artillery Company
The 2nd way of getting anti-air besides the Aerial Company, just throw in Hydras. But what you really want is to spam as many Basilisks as possible, keep rolling to make sure your "Fire on my Target!" goes off and laugh hysterically as you destroy your opponent's "safely hidden" forces with 6 S9 AP3 Large Blasts, all with Ignores Cover. Short of wearing Terminator Armor, nobody is going to survive such a brutal bombardment. Unless you're Tau or Eldar, then you can rely on plot armor instead. Throw in Voklov's Cane as a relic for the Company Commander in this Artillery Company and your Artillery will be effectively obeying orders at Leadership 11. Ha ha ha ha! Beware of drop pods and close combat dudes, but that's what your Infantry Platoon is for, right?

"Emperor's Talon" Recon Company
If you're a Star Wars fan and want to run an entire army of AT-STs (All Terrain Scout Transport), you can bring a few of these Formations and have them run around your enemy's deployment zone, wrecking havoc while your plasma cannon Armored Sentinels lob plasma blasts with Preferred Enemy at your opponent's Warlord (or whoever you choose). And then run up the table for laughs. As part of a Battle Group, I guess they can screen your Tanks or something, or lock up Fearless blobs in combat, particularly when All Their Weapons Are Useless.

Psykana Division
The Imperial Guard version of Librarius Conclave, use this if you are worried about your psychic spells not going off reliably. Throw in 3 Commissars and each of your Wyrdvane Psyker squads will be casting their psychic powers on rolls of 2+. What can I say? Pure awesomeness, and it'll have some mindfucking effects on your opponent. Literally. If you don't care about Prescience for your tanks or infantry, then maybe you can take several Psykana Divisions, have all 18 Wyrdvane Psyker teams specialize in Demonology, particularly the Malefic table, and begin to spam Summoning on 2+. Oh boy, the look on your opponent's face as you plop down a Daemon army that's basically twice or thrice the points of your pure Psyker army. If you're lucky enough to get Possession on some of them, laugh and watch as your Wyrdvane Psykers explode into Bloodthirsters or Lord of Change (or any Greater Daemon) on 2+ rolls. At best, you'll be swapping 18 Wyrdvane Psyker teams for 18 Greater Daemons (imagine 18 Bloodthirsters on the table!), at worst you can just keep spamming Pink Horrors or Flamers (sorry, I'm more inclined toward Tzeentch and my favorite pre-Heresy Space Marines are the Thousand Sons, and my favorite current Space Marines are probably Grey Knights) endlessly. Same thing with Incursion, summoning 3 Bloodcrushers or Screamers in front of your opponent will send him into a panic (now if you have 18x3 of them at best...).

Militarum Tempestus Platoon
Now this here is one of my favorites. Not the other Formations, but this. Being part of the Battle Group, they are Sharpshooters, which means their hot-shot lasguns firing at BS4 have just gotten a lot deadlier. They retain their Deep Strike, which is cool, and can provide decent cover for my Tanks, showing up unannounced and unleashing a hail of AP3 fire on those nasty drop-pod Space Marines, or Devastators and heavy weapons Space Marines cowering in cover. Nice. Combine them with the Aerial Company, and you'll have Elite drop troops that grav-chute out, snatch Objectives from right under your opponent's nose, and then melt Space Marines or 3+ Armor saves dudes into oblivion through sheer firepower. Add their versatility thanks to being able to be in five-men squads, and the ability to take special weapons, they can be used as precise surgical tools to strike at key characters, high-priority targets and monsters such as Monstrous Creatures or Vehicles. Pretty awesome. Just because they don't get any Formation benefits doesn't mean they suck, and as with Infantry Platoons, they're often underestimated because they're not Formations. Don't forget they still get buffs from Command Benefits, and the Stormtrooper officer's orders can be taken with 3 D6 rolls where you discard the highest! Get ready to "Fire on my Target!" on your Stormtroopers, or "First Rank, Fire! Second Rank, Fire!" on a 10-men squad with hot-shot lasguns, or "Forwards, for the Emperor!" right after they drop out of a Vendetta or Deep-Strike. These orders now have a much higher chance of success! Don't forget, these orders are force multipliers that will turn these Stormtroopers from an elite, deadly force into an awesome killing machine! So don't just write them off because they don't have Objective Secured, or you can have the same thing in a Combined Arms Detachment. Rather, I would argue that the Storm Troopers are stronger here in a Cadian Battle Group (where they'll be called Kasrkins instead of Storm Troopers or Tempestus Scions...jeez, stop it with Scions and just call them Kaskrins, Grenadiers or Storm Troopers already) because of their order benefits and the buff they get for their hot-shot lasguns. Not only that, you can throw in a Battle Group Command's Company Command Squad into one of the Vendettas, Altitude Low Drop them 24" away from 3 different Storm Trooper squads, and issue 3 orders to them to ensure maximum damage, plus the extra D6 roll for orders! Need a vehicle destroyed or Monstrous Creature exterminated? Order a Tempestus Command Squad with 4 meltaguns or 4 plasma guns to "Bring it Down!" for Tank Hunters and Monster Hunters to make sure they absolutely die. Space Marines cowering inside cover like the cowards they are? "Fire on my Target!" and absolutely vaporize them with hot-shot lasguns. 10-men Tactical Squad ready to assault you? "First Rank, Fire! Second Rank, Fire!" and watch your 5-men Storm Trooper squad destroy 10 Space Marines in one shooting phase. Just jumped down from a Vendetta? "Forwards, for the Emperor!" and your 3 Storm Troopers squads will be running into cover or objectives right after shooting their enemies to death. Even "Smite at Will!" has gotten a lot better as you can have your specialist weapons fire at tanks while the hot-shot lasgun dudes shoot at Space Marines. And all this can be pulled off more easily with 3D6 Leadership rolls and a 3-order Company Commander hollering safely from 24" away!

Anyway, that's all I have for you, folks! I won't be touching on the Farsight Enclaves or Dawn Blade Contingents as other people will be doing them and they are far better than me. Ditto with the Assassins. I hope you've enjoyed this little article, and please leave comments, suggestions, advice, corrections and other stuff I've missed out if you want. Thank you!

Saturday, December 5, 2015

Mont'ka Summary and Spoilers

I've finally gotten a copy of War Zone Damocles: Mont'ka, and finished reading the whole campaign and fluff in one sitting. I know there are readers or fans out there who either are too lazy (not a bad thing) or do not have time to read through 100+ pages of fluff, so for those people out there, I'll write a summary. Warnings: This summary will obviously include spoilers, so if you don't want to be spoiled, please don't read it. Otherwise, you can save some time reading it here.

I'll do the new Cadian formations and tactical objectives in another post. By the way, the so-called "new" Lords of War for the Astra Militarum are not new at all. They are exactly the same as the 8 Baneblade variants in Escalation, so if you already have Escalation, just refer to that book for your Baneblade (or its variant) rules. There has been no changes, no points deductions, no extra options. Disappointing as it means my 535-point Stormsword will still get slaughtered by the 2nd turn with only one turn of shooting. Sigh. Oh well.

Anyway, let's get started with the Mont'ka summary and spoilers!

Kauyon: The Story so far...

I don't really like Kauyon and so I didn't buy that book, but nonetheless I managed to read it and I'll summarize it.

After their crushing defeat on Agrellan, the Imperium retreated to Voltoris and sprang a trap of their own on the annoying and audacious leader Shadowsun, dealing her a humiliating blow and destroying her forces. Yay for the Imperial Knights of House Terryn! They are awesome! Anyway, the Tau Empire fell back to Prefectia, a fortress world, where Shadowsun the bitch lures the Imperium into a trap, including two highly revered Space Marine chapters, the White Scars and the Raven Guard. The Tau kicked the Imperium's ass as everything goes "just as planned" for Shadowsun, who proceeded to troll Raven Guard's former Chapter Master, Corvin Severax, the latter deciding for some reason to totally disregard the stealth and shadowy tactics his chapter is known for and brazenly charges into a Tau line to fight in the open. Just as when he thought he had killed Shadowsun, surprise, surprise! That was a mere double (or eight) despite the fact that Shadowsun's Stealth suit was supposed to be unique (I guess she finally decided to stop monopolizing the suit), and the bitch appeared in a Ghostkneel to destroy him in a pretty anticlimactic fashion. Oh well.

That's not including the shennigans pulled by some Commander in a Ghoststar suit clinging on naval ships in orbit, the Stormsurges literally appearing out of nowhere and having shields more powerful than the Imperial Knights, and the seemingly sad demise of our favorite Obsidian Knight who saved High King Tybalt and ended up falling into a ravine. But they never actually show him melt in magma, and as I always say, if they never, ever show a character's death - especially if he happened to fall off a cliff/ravine/into the sea, it means he will be back.

In any case, the Imperium got their sorry asses kicked and fled with their tail between their legs while the Tau Empire gloated triumphantly like the idiots they are, not knowing that the wrath of Mankind was about to fall atop them...

Chapter 1: Retribution Unbound

The Imperium appeared over Agrella, now renamed Mu'gulath Bay, in force, with a massive naval fleet that pummeled the Tau's pathetic navy and sent their starships running away like the cowards they are. And destroying a few in the process. Yay! Named Task Force Retribution, the Imperial Guard's objective is to teach the Tau a lesson, not to reclaim Agrella (not that anyone wants to live in that radioactive, toxic hellhole anyway), and to kick the blue commies' asses. Hell yeah. You don't mess with the Imperium, little Xenos!

They proceed to destroy the Tau orbital stations by sending the Space Marines in boarding missions, and the Raven Guard and White Scars, particularly after suffering from their brutal smackdown in Prefectia, took this task with relish. Yay. Kayvan Shrike is boss and way better than the corny Corvin and now severed Severax. Anyway, they proceed to demolish the orbital stations and free the way for the Imperial navy to hold orbit over Agrella and send their troops down. Let the massacre begin!

Lord General Troskzer of Cadia is in charge of the entire military operation, but uh...he never shows up again, except in the end...where he still doesn't show up but is mentioned as being...um, "removed" from his post. Such is the price of failure. Anyway, the Cadian Imperial Guard regiments, along with Rhundvarian infantry, Blossak regiments, Nhadakin infantry, and even the Attilan Rough Riders (who never got mentioned ever again), land in force, deploying in three places in the south of the supercontinent containing Agrellan Prime. So you have the Imperial Western Spearhead, Imperial Central Spearhead and Imperial Eastern Spearhead, and we're focusing on the western spearhead.

We also have Skitarii forces from the Adeptus Mechanicus, and a bunch of Space Marine chapters. Plus the Imperial Knights. Never forget the Imperial Knights!

Anyway, the Cadian Shock Troops and Armored companies begin their slow and steady march up north to recapture Imperial territory and exterminate the filthy xenos. Yay. They...fail. Boo. They suffer ambushes and traps along the way, losing men and tanks, but they continue stoically, ignoring the horrendous loss of life, and grimly soldier on...for they are Cadians! Anyway, they get ambushed at the Black Ruins, get routed, but thanks to the legendary Knight Commander Pask, who outflanked the annoying and cowardly Longstrike who was leading his Armored interdiction Cadre, Pask's Squadron Batalica managed to pincer Longstrike's forces and trap them. Even better, we have three superheavy tanks, a Baneblade, a Banesword and a Hellhammer, dropping right to the rear of Longstrike, and the Cadians promptly take revenge and curbstomp Longstrike and massacre the Tau forces. Longstrike, by virtue of plot armor, cheats death and runs away like the cowardly xenos he is, and the Imperium is free to continue onward and upward. For the Emperor!

The first chapter belongs to the Imperium! Woohoo! Score one for the Imperial Guard! Death to the xenos!

Chapter 2: Imperial Spearhead

Shadowsun counters the Imperial Guard's advance with bold moves and ambushes while allowing her forces to run back into the cover of their defensive lines like blue pussies, and proceed to whack the poor and valiant Imperial Guard with underhanded tactics. However, we have help from the Adeptus Astartes, who land in Drop Pods and proceed to maul the Tau's defensive lines. Woohoo!

Accompanying the might of the Imperium are the soldiers of the Machine God, who funnily enough only show up in this chapter, only to disappear later. What the hell? Anyway, like the awesome cyber dudes they are, they show up unannounced like ghosts, surprising even the omnipotent Tau, and proceed to wreck havoc all over the place. Yay! The Imperium begin to slaughter the Tau, the Space Marines and Skitarii relentlessly overrunning their pathetic lines and the Imperial Guard making a valiant and diligent effort to keep up with their enhanced and augmented brethren, but they are winning! Shadowsun sends the Air Caste and bombers to bomb the hell out of the Cadians, but Colonel Starkzahn calls in Valkyrie and Vendetta squadrons to blow the freaking xenos out of the sky! Woohoo! We're turning the tables on the annoying Tau! AT LAST!

THE IMPERIUM IS WINNING! YES! For the Emperor!!!!

And just when the Imperium is on the cusp of victory, Farsight had to turn up and ruin everything.

Farsight Enclaves show up to help bolster the collapsing Tau Empire forces through some deus ex machina feat, turning the sky red and appearing out of no frakking where. Dude, didn't the Imperial Navy, like, cordoned the whole area around Agrellan off? Aren't the Imperial ships orbiting the planet to make sure no one gets through? How the hell did Farsight and his army get past the Imperial naval cordon? Did they teleport or something? Ridiculous.

Anyway, thanks to this insane deus ex machina, the Farsight Enclaves miraculously arrive and save the Tau Empire's blue, furry hides from being overrun. They proceed to outshoot and whack the poor Imperial Guard upside down, driving them back. Colonel Starkzahn regrouped at Blackfossil Ridge, but the Farsight dudes continue to asault and almost drove them back, despite the arrival of Ogryns, who beat the weak, frail blue xenos upside down in close combat.

Knight Commander Pask then counterattacks with his tanks, to initial success, but through plot armor and anime-type shennigans, the Eight dive in and wipe out the entire tank squadrons by them freaking selves. What the hell?

Then for some reason Shadowsun decides to unleash the Stormsurge ballistic suits. Only now. Not when she was losing earlier and getting her ass handed to her on a plate, but when...I dunno, they think it's time to press their advantage after Farsight's arrival. Wait, what? You hold them back even when you're gonna get overrun and eliminated, but when you're holding your own, you decide to unleash them to press your advantage!? Oh boy.

The Skitarii have their own agenda, and after raiding the Tau's enviro-engines and tech (they have a cool scene where the Holy Requisitioner formation teleports in, steals all the cool Tau tech, then proceeds to teleport out of there with all their loot - brings a smile to my face, and reminds me of them Orks), they see this new Stormsurge and they want to steal those to dissect and study them. So the Skitarii surprise the Tau with their peek-a-boo stunts by jumping out of the swirling storm and grabbing hungrily at the beautiful Stormsurges (I don't blame them, I want one for my Mechanicus army too). And then...the Skitarii are never mentioned again in the rest of the book. Huh? What?

Anyway, after wiping the floor with Squadron Batalica, Longstrike the cowardly slimy bastard proceeds to snipe Knight Commander Pask when he has his hands full dealing with the Eight and is the sole survivor. Or at least his new squadron mates do. The guy has no honor, neither does his squadron. Pask's tank gets destroyed. NOOOO!!!!

The Imperial Knights and growing Imperial Guard reinforcements then tear the Tau a new one and Shadowsun is forced to retreat and call everyone to fall back. Including her hated foe, Farsight. Yay. The Imperium wins again! Bonus points for the Skitarii, or the Adeptus Mechanicus, who got what they wanted! Awesome. Anyway, the Tau pick up on the Obsidian Knight, who was supposed to have died on Prefectia, and they quail like the cowardly xenos they are. Dun dun dun!

And abruptly, this battle ends and suddenly a few weeks have passed. Way to transit there, Games Workshop. Anyway, apparently for some reason we're thrown to a timeskip of a few weeks later, where the impatient Imperium can't wait for victory and decides to throw in the Assassins. An Assassin Execution Force full of the most awesome killers in 40K. Why they didn't throw them in from the start, I'll never know, but...whatever. We need a premise and story to feature these badasses, and Games Workshop decided that this campaign is it. Uh, okay.

The Tau continue to scheme like the filthy xenos they are, and for some reason they reveal that they can...gasp! Control the weather! Wow. Oh well, the psykers and Space Marine Librarians did that in Kauyon, so I guess we can allow the loser Tau to do the same here, Heh. Anyway, the Tau plot to use the weather and storm against the Imperium. Interestingly, after the timeskip, the campaign was summed up as the Tau winning every major battle across the whole of Mu'gulath Bay BUT for some reason they only have a single strongpoint left in the end. What the hell? So the Tau win all their "major" battles but lose the war? I guess I can live with that, but it's annoying how the Tau win every freaking thing and the minor battles are brushed off. And I find it weird that they can lose all their strongholds except one despite "winning" EVERY major battle. But we've to accept it because our spiritual liege says so and deems it unfair that the Tau loses even a single major battle in a campaign book about their tactics (that's why it's named Mont'ka, the Killing Blow).

At least it's not as obnoxious as Kauyon where the Tau effortlessly wins every battle and everything goes just as planned, with only a few sentences "billions of Tau died" or the cost was great tacked on at the end as an afterthought in case readers think they're winning too easily (but they are!).

Chapter 3: Ultimate Retribution

The final battle YAY!

The Space Marines are lured away by Farsight Enclaves and their Crisis battlesuits, and Shadowsun then whacks the poor Imperial Guard who's bereft of the support of the Emperor's Finest. Oh well. Thankfully, the Imperial Knights hold, and the appearance of the Obsidian Knight, who rampages in the Tau's lines like the Emperor's Wrath incarnate, helps them win at least a portion of the battle. Unfortuantely the Baneblade gets destroyed. NOO! Then the Hellhammer at least destroys a lot of Hammerheads and a Stormsurge. The Knights also take a toll on the Tau before being forced to retreat. Fortunately, the Obsidian Knight takes over and annihilates the freaking xenos.

While the Tau slay and massacre the Imperial Guard in great numbers, the Guardsmen keep coming, an endless tide of soldiers marching stubbornly to their deaths as they seek to literally drown their enemy in blood. This is the Imperial Guard. We are BLOBS. The Tau can kill as many of us as they want, but they'll run out of pulse rounds and lasers before they wipe us out! The Storm thing was annoying, though. Oh well. The Tau continue to direct their storm to annoy the Imperial Guard and cause us to cough. Ouch.

Anyway, the assassins launch their attacks. The Vindicare, like the badass he is, leaves a trail of blood and kills lots of Tau before sniping Farsight. He manages to break Farsight's shield generator with shieldbreaker ammunition, but his second shot, meant to take the guy's head, is intercepted by a bodyguard. Damn. Anyway, a Pathfinder team, led by the legendary Darkstrider, picks up on the trail of death the Vindicare left behind and attack him after his failed attack on Farsight. Being an awesome dude, the Vindicare slaughters the whole team except for Darkstrider, and though wounded the evil Tau manages to kill the Vindicare and shoots his body until his rifle runs dry. Ouch. Poor guy.

The Eversor fares little better, the berserk assassin going around massacring lots and lots and lots and lots of Tau (no, seriously, he's a one-man army who mopped the floor with a whole Tau contingent by HIMSELF), takes on the Eight solo (that takes a lot of guts, man! Well...guts the Eversor will lose later, but you get what I mean), and even kills Ob'lotai 9-0, the AI Broadside. Nice. Anyway, Farsight manages to shoot the poor guy, but like a berserk zombie, the Eversor keeps getting up and killing more Crisis suits. Awesome! At the end, though, he is slain when Farsight slices him into two (I told you the Everor will lose his guts), but the Eversor laughs and explodes, wounding the poor guy. Farsight survives again because of plot armor, but oh well. Sigh. We still need him anyway.

The Callidus takes on a more subtle tactic, sneaking in and disguising herself as an Ethereal and tries to cut Shadowsun, who again by virtue of plot armor survives being stabbed in the heart. Or in the side, anyway, because of her super Tau instincts. Argh. Anyway, the Callidus kills a lot of Pathfinders and even Kalas Starshoud, but dies to the damned Shadowsun's fusion blaster. What does it take to kill that trolling bitch?! RAGE

On the other hand, the Culexus does awesomely, killing everyone with his animus speculum (or psyker power that isn't psyker power) or just appearing invisible to all the Tau while strolling inside their base casually. Epic. Anyway, he kills loads, and like the Eversor, is a one-man army who infiltrates and wipes out an entire base by his freaking self. Nice. He then assassinates the jerk Aun'Va, who was ungrateful and bitchy to Farsight despite the latter saving his life So totally deserves his end, I tell you, which is neither swift nor merciful. I would have loved a more elaborate description as it's always fun to see the filthy xenos suffer horribly, but alas I guess the spiritual liege decides to leave it to our imagination. Anyway, finally we get a victory for our assassins and the Imperium! Woohoo!

While all this is going on, the Imperium decides to withdraw all its troops for some obscure reason. Huh? What? Why? Apparently Task Force Retribution was deemed a failure even though they have only been fighting the Tau for WEEKS. Not even months. Mere weeks. And campaigns can take up to years. But some idiot (or maybe our spiritual liege who needs an excuse to end the story quickly instead of letting it get drawn out) decides that the Imperial Guard should withdraw. Er...what? A new Lord General has replaced Lord Troskzer, and we don't care or give a damn because the guy barely gets any mention or does anything of note throughout the entire campaign, and his first order is retreat. What the hell!? Cadians never retreat! We make tactical withdrawals, but we sure as hell never retreat! Draconians are Cadian wannabes, so I speak for them as well, but we aren't involved in this campaign so we're counted as Cadians now. Anyway, the Space Marines run away, disgruntled at a lost chance to have their vengeance, half of the Imperial Guard is successfully evacuated within 3 days for some stupid reason. Knight Commander Pask is revealed to have survived, is wounded but recovering, and the Imperial Knights fly away. The Obsidian Knight disappears, but High King Tybalt knows he'll show up again to haunt the Tau. Argh. Anyway, many millions of men are abandoned, half of the Imperial Guard left for dead on Agrellan below. DAMN IT! Why must you do this?!

It makes absolutely no sense whatsoever. They could just evacuate everybody, but they don't because Grimdark. For no tactical purpose, no real reason, no NOTHING! The Tau isn't even winning! If anything, the Imperial Guard would have won out of sheer attrition, and I bet the Imperial navy could take on the Tau navy and drive them off despite Shadowsun's optimism. I don't see the logic in all this at all!!!!

Anyway, before the Imperium leaves, they decide to give the Tau the finger, and a giant "fuck you" by firing a warhead into the planet. Nice. The Adeptus Mechanicus rocks, and Tech-Priest Dominus, Magos Arcotholitis laughs knowingly at his little present, knowing that the Imperium is going to screw the Tau over just before they run away. Muahahaha.

Agrellan gets destroyed. HA HA HA HA! Take that, Tau! They want to use it as a Sept World to expand, but now they can't! Not only that, the whole of the Damocles Gulf has become a roiling inferno so the Tau starships are now unable to cross over to this side of the galaxy! The Tau are basically trapped on this side without any reinforcements or anything, and the other side can't get to them! Nice going, Mars! We made them pay! HA HA HA! Die, you filthy xenos! Die!

Anyway, the strongpoint of Lo'vasht'au, the one earlier that the Imperium tried to assault in one last battle, is the only thing that remained. Many millions of Tau died (as did our poor, brave and gallant soldiers of the Imperium...NOOOO!), and the world has become a wasteland. Ha ha ha! Stuck and trapped within that single shield-dome, the Tau have nowhere to go and nowhere to return to. The Tau had never before tasted so deeply from the bitter cup of defeat. Take that, you loser xenos!

Farsight runs off to T'lasla, which is part of his Enclaves, because it has come under attack by the ravenous Tyranid hordes of Hive Fleet Leviathan. Now maybe you'll be begging the Imperium for help instead of trying to suck up to the Ethereals and Shadowsun. Speaking of which, his motives for helping them is explained away as "For the Greater Good" and they leave it at that. What the hell? Yeah, he's altruistic and noble, but that's stretching it a bit much, considering the Ethereals all want him dead for treason. Damn.

Aun'Va is confirmed dead, Shadowsun is weakened by her injury, and the Tau is left to lick their wounds. Ha ha ha!

The Adeptus Mechanicus has won this time, folks! A sinister and brutal victory, but a victory nonetheless, and the Imperium shall teach those upstart, scheming, sniveling xenos what it means to go against us! This why I'm a fan of the Adeptus Mechanicus! MUAHAHAHAHA! For the Omnissiah! I mean the Emperor! Whatever.

Chapter 4: The Colors of Rebellion

Uh...there's no fluff here, only painting schemes. And only for the Farsight Enclaves because screw it, the Cadians don't need them for some reason. Whatever.

Anyway, that's the summary and spoilers of War Zone Damocles: Mont'ka. I hope you've enjoyed it! Grab a cup to savor the bitter tears of Tau after their defeat, and laugh triumphantly with the Imperial victors as we chatter in binary cant all the way back to Mars! Don't forget to update your status in the noosphere! We beat the hi-tech Tau with our so-called low-tech - those filthy xenos have no understanding of what the Machine-God wants! We are the chosen one!

For the Omnissiah! Er...Emperor!