So, earlier today I finally got the chance to play my first game of 9th Edition - it was also my first game of 40k since the pandemic began, so it was good to get back into it. It was also a learning experience for my opponent in what was only his 5th game of 40k (he's mainly an Age of Sigmar player, but has a growing collection of Necrons and Space Marines).
My list was the following (only basic details):
Alliance of Agony (-1 CP) and 2 Treasures of the Dark City (-3 CP)
Patrol 1 - Obsidian Rose
- Archon w/Djin Blade (Relic) and Blast Pistol (Warlord: Deathly Perfectionist)
- 2 units of 5 Kabalites, each with Shredder, Blast Pistol and Agoniser/Power Sword
- Court consisting of 2 Sslyths
- 2 Ravagers - 1 with 3 Disintegrator Cannons, 1 with 3 Dark Lances, both with Shock Prows
- 3 Venoms, all with double Splinter Cannons
Patrol 2 - Red Grief
- Succubus w/Blood Glaive (Relic) and Blast Pistol (WL Trait: Hyper-Swift Reflexes)
- 10 Wyches with 1 Shardnet/Impaler, 2 Hydra Gauntlets and Hekatrix with Agoniser/Blast Pistol
- 5 Hellions - Helliarch has PGL
- 3 Reavers - Champion has Heat Lance, Agoniser and Grav-Talon
- Raider with Disintegrator Cannon and PGL
Patrol 3 - Prophets of Flesh
- Haemonculus w/Hexrifle, Ichor Injector and EC Whip (WL Trait: Diabolical Soothsayer; Relic: Nightmare Doll)
- 5 Wracks with 2 Liquifier Guns (1 on Acothyst) and Scissorhands on Acothyst
- 5 Incubi
- 3 Talos Engines: 1 w/Talos Gauntlet, Twin Liquifier Gun and 2 HWB; 1 w/Chain Flails, Ichor Injector and 2 Heat Lances; 1 w/Stinger Pod and 2 Macro-Scalpels
- Raider with Dark Lance and PGL
And his list (as much as I can remember) was this:
Supreme Command Detachment
- Roboute Guilliman (WL)
Battalion Detachment (in no particular order)
- Primaris Captain (Indomitus) - has Plasma Pistol
- Primaris Lieutenant (Indomitus)
- Primaris Chaplain (Indomitus?)
- Judiciar (Indomitus)
- 10-man Intercessor Squad, Sergeant has Plasma Pistol
- 10-man Hellblaster Squad w/Plasma Incinerators
- 5-man Hellblaster Squad w/Plasma Incinerators
- 5-man Assault Intercessor Squad
- 3-man Bladeguard Veterans Squad
- Bladeguard Ancient
- Contemptor Dreadnought with Multi-Melta
I was mainly going with a fun list with a faction that I was used to, so that I could focus on getting the hang of the new edition.
The match itself was played out on a smaller table than expected - we had originally planned this to be a garden game, but within minutes of preparing the board, the heavens opened for all of three minutes (all models are okay, btw). We were able to move everything into the conservatory and play the game in there, however, the only table available was quite a bit smaller - as such, our 2000pt armies ended up playing on a table designed for a 1000pt match.
The game we chose was Battle Lines out of the new Chapter Approved - given the fiasco with the weather, it was easier to set up than our previous selection, Vital Intelligence - though we did it slightly differently to the book as our deployment zones went along the long edge instead of the short one (again, easier as our armies were there anyway). We both chose the match-specific Vital Ground as one of our secondaries - my opponent's other secondary objectives were Grind Them Down (kill more) and Bring it Down (kill Monsters/Vehicles), whereas I went for Thin Their Ranks (kill point total) and Raise the Banners High. Deployment was fairly basic, given the limited space we had - I put a Kabalite Squad each in two of the Venoms, with the Archon and his Court in the third, the Wyches in the Cult Raider and the Wracks and Incubi in the Coven Raider (there was no deep-striking from either army)
Having won the roll-off, I elected to go first. I took advantage of the smaller board size to get my Reavers and Hellions right up to his Dreadnought, and used the Succubus to raise a banner on the objective on my territory. Following a quite lackluster shooting phase, the Reavers charged the Dreadnought while the Hellions charged the nearby Captain - the Reavers managed to bring the Dreadnought down to 1 wound, but the Hellions, as usual, failed to do anything before losing three of them in retaliation.
His first turn was much more productive - Girlyman minced the Cult Raider in a single round of shooting, but I had the satisfaction of watching it explode and wound a lot of his stuff. Two of the Taloi, the Archon's Venom and one of the Kabalite Venoms fell in quick succession through a combination of Hellblaster fire and Bladeguard Veteran attacks, and though the rest of the Hellions were wiped out, I took the chance to interrupt with the Reavers and was able to finish off the Dreadnought.
Start of the second turn saw me take a huge lead, as I took the maximum 15 points from primaries for that round, plus 2 for holding a middle objective and another 1 for 1 banner. This time it was the Haemy's turn to secure one of the middle objectives while the Succubus went to hunt down the Primaris Captain and Lieutenant. Combined arms fire managed to whittle down the Intercessor and 10-man Hellblaster squad, but not by much, and the Bladeguard Veterans refused to die to combined Ravager fire. The combat phase was hit and miss - the Archon and Sslyth charged into the Bladeguard Ancient and remaining Veteran, and though the Archon killed the Ancient in one swing, he failed his second Shadowfield save against the Veteran, meaning the Sslyth had to take the remaining wounds for him and die. The Succubus engaged both Primaris characters - she didn't kill them, but her 3++ enabled her to survive. The Wyches engaged in combat with the Assault Intercessors, but ending up getting chopped up when the Judiciar and Chaplain heroically intervened. However, having had great success against the Dreadnought, I made a foolish decision to charge the Reavers into Girlyman. Yeah...
His second turn saw a brutal retaliation. He only scored 5 for primaries, but made up for it in kills - Girlyman ripped through a Ravager in the shooting phase, before tearing through my Archon with ease, and the Haemonculus fell to the Judiciar (who also tore down the banner he had just put up). The only combat I 'won' was the Succubus, who killed off the Captain and withstood the Lieutenant's attacks.
Turn 3, and only a few points for primaries this time. The Wracks and Incubi abandoned their raider, which was down to 2 wounds - the Wracks put a banner on the other central objective, while the Incubi joined the remaining Talos in assaulting the Intercessors. The Dissie Ravager made short work of the remaining Hellblasters from the 10-man squad - this was followed by the Incubi and Talos charging in and finishing the Intercessors, but in the process, the Lieutenant killed the Succubus.
His turn 3 - he scored no primaries, having abandoned his objectives to take me off mine. The other Hellblaster squad (down to 2) finished off the Talos - which got revenge by exploding and taking out the Lieutenant. Girlyman once again tore through a vehicle in one - this time the remaining Venom - before ripping the Incubi to shreds.
My turn 4 - I've hit 40 points in score, but I'm running out of models. By the end of his turn 4, I'm down to just the squad of Wracks, who give me one last boost of (
points before liquifying an approaching Judiciar. Alas, that would be their only action, as they were gunned down unceremoniously in my opponent's final turn. This was the turn in which I lost it, as my opponent effectively doubled his score through primary and secondary objectives in the command phase.
At the end of the game, the final score was - Space Marines: 63, Drukhari: 52
To be fair, it was the secondaries that made that match. Thin Their Ranks doesn't really work against MSU armies like Space Marines - I was only able to score 4 points through it. Raise the Banners High, however, was quite useful - but I get the feeling that it's potential was hindered by it being on a smaller board: had we been able to play on the full-size board as planned, he might not have been able to take my objectives away from me, as he didn't have much in the way of mobility. By contrast, my opponent scored Grind Them Down on all but the last turn, and got the maximum 15 VP from Bring it Down.
It's also worth noting that, while I was spending CP's left, right and centre, he barely spent any - he ended the game with 13 CP! And before you ask, he does know how stratagems and CPs work - he just didn't get round to using them much (plus, his other games were with Necrons, so he didn't really know many SM stratagems). Not that it made much difference - he still tabled me.
My MVP was the Succubus, purely for her survivability. His MVP, without question, was Girlyman.
Overall, it was a very enjoyable game - with a close(ish) score to match. I think there's plenty I can take away from this match regarding secondaries, unit choices etc. but in general, I'm quite happy with how it went. Hopefully the next 9th Ed match will be better - or at the very least, not forced onto a smaller table through the Great British Weather!