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Counter Offensive 4
Introduction <> BigDAWG Battles <> Bloodbaths <> The X(eno) Files <> Spreading the Word <> Photos

Counter Offensive 4: Spreading the Word   by Bryan Layton
Editor’s Note: All-around good guy Bryan Layton, one of the moderators at the excellent Millenium Gate forum, came to CO4 with his Word Bearer army, using the rules from the 3rd Edition Codex: Chaos Space Marines.  

My 1500-point Word Bearers list consisted of:

  • Dark Apostle Daes Fane w/ bolt pistol, accursed crozius, Mark of Chaos Undivided, daemonic strength, daemonic resilience, and frag grenades; 
  • Word Bearers, Squad 1. Aspiring Champion w/ bolt pistol and power fist; two Word Bearers w/ melta guns; six Word Bearers w/ bolters (one w/ Chaos Icon). All w/ Mark of Chaos Undivided. Mounted in Rhino w/ extra armor and smoke launchers;
  • Word Bearers, Squad 2. Aspiring Champion w/ bolt pistol, power weapon, and daemonic strength; two Word Bearers w/ plasma guns; seven Word Bearers w/ bolters (one w/ Chaos Icon). All w/ Infiltrate veteran skill, Mark of Chaos Undivided; 
  • Twelve Daemonettes
  • Eight Bloodletters
  • Defiler w/ indirect fire; 
  • Dreadnought w/ mutated hull, twin-linked lascannon;
  • Havoc Squad. Two w/ autocannons, two w/ missile launchers, two w/ bolters; all w/ Mark of Chaos Undivided and Tankhunter veteran ability.

Bryan "Lawman" Layton

Game 1: vs. Grey Knights (Omega-level "Recon")
My opponent, Brian Somerville, had:

  • Grey Knight Hero and Terminator Retinue;
  • Two Grey Knight squads w/ Justicars;
  • Two Grey Knight Dreadnoughts w/ twin-linked lascannons;
  • Ten Stormtroopers (two w/ plasma guns) and a Chimera; and
  • Teleporting Grey Knight squad.
Well, as one can see from my list, the “Omega” mission condition did not leave me with many units on the board. I placed my Havocs in a building to my left which had good lanes of fire, and I infiltrated the Troop squad with two plasma guns into a building on the border of my opponent’s deployment zone.  The Dark Apostle went into the building the Havocs were in to provide counterassault and an icon to drop in some daemonic fun when the time came.

Brian quite astutely placed most of his infantry on my right, opposite the Havocs.  So the beginning of the game started with my troop squad out of range of anything and all the GK infantry looking to surge forward and put the smack down on my Havocs and possibly slaughter my lonesome leader.  

The first turn began with the GKs moving forward and placing some ineffective fire on the Havocs.  The Havocs shot back and dropped a GK or two.  The second turn came up with the GKs continuing forward and shooting at the Havocs, killing two. The first GK Dread arrived, shot into the WB troop squad, and then promptly assaulted them, which led to a few turns of the Dread slowly mulching the squad, who had nothing to scratch it in return.

My roll for Reserves was singularly bad, with only the Daemonettes arriving.  I placed them on the embattled WB troop squad and they were summoned without deviation and promptly joined the combat on the GK Dread.  The Havocs shot and killed another GK.  The Daemonettes’ whopping 24 attacks (from those who could get into assault) against the Dreadnought resulted in nothing more than a “Shaken” result.  The Daemonettes lost two of their own, but stood their ground.

The GK’s next turn saw the GK Termies and the two regular GK squads advancing as before and finishing off the Havocs, leaving the Apostle alone on the ground floor. The Stormtroopers came onto the board and deployed near their transport behind the GK screen.  The combat between the Daemonettes and the Dread continued, with the Daemonettes losing two more but ripping off the Dread’s close combat arm.

The bottom of the third turn saw my Rhino-mounted squad, Dread and Defiler arrive.  The Rhino squad moved forward 12" and deployed behind their vehicle (which fired off its smoke launchers) by the building with Dark Apostle Fane in it, while the Defiler moved to the left and dropped a battlecannon shell on one of the regular GK squads, killing five.  My Dread fired and fried the GKs the Defiler had left standing.  The Dread/Daemonette combat continued, with the Dread killing one Daemonette and suffering a “stun” result from a penetrating hit from the Chaos Grrrls.

Fourth turn began with the second GK Dread coming on and assaulting into the Daemonette/Dread fest.  The GK Hero and his Termies advanced, their storm bolters firing at Fane, who was still exposed (he survived). The GK teleport squad Deep Struck in, deviating away from cover out into the open about 10" from the Defiler.  The Daemonettes continued their streak of doing little to nothing while losing another of their number.

The Word Bearers finally began to focus on what they should be doing, with the Rhino redeploying to shield the Dread from fire from the Termies, the Dread moving forward, and the Rhino squad advancing and spreading slightly into a firing line.  The Dark Apostle did nothing, because I forgot him despite using his icon to bring in the Bloodletters.  

Shooting was singularly good, with the exception of the Dread bouncing its shot off of the front armor of the Chimera.  The Defiler dropped a round on the newly-arrived teleport squad, leaving the Justicar standing alone in a smoking hole.  The Bloodletters surged forward without doing much more than leaving themselves exposed.  The Rhino shot and miraculously dropped a Terminator.  The Rhino squad opened up with the meltas and a storm of bolter fire, killing two more Terminators and the GK Hero (who was the only other target in range).

The Daemonettes, perhaps realizing that the two Dreads were just too much fun to bear/handle, destroyed the first damaged Dread and proceeded to start ineffectually beating on the new, healthy one.  The WB infiltrator squad wisely moved away, as they had no one in base-to-base with the second Dread, and left the Daemonettes to their fate.

The rest of the game saw the rest of the GK Termies assaulting the Rhino squad and being countercharged and destroyed by my Chaos Dread.  The Stormtroopers and other GKs shot the Bloodletters to pieces, with only one Khorne daemon making it into close combat and killing two Stormtroopers before being beat down by the remainder.  The squad of WB infiltrators took up a position in the GK deployment zone, out of sight of the GK Dread, which the Daemonettes immobilized before being flogged back into the Warp.  The lone Justicar assaulted the Defiler and they simultaneously destroyed one another in close combat.  As the Bloodletters and Daemonettes began recycling onto the field and moving into position to assault the Stormtroopers, Brian conceded the game.

Game 2: vs. Imperial Guard (Alpha-level "Seek and Destroy")
My opponent was Mike Somerville, the brother of the fellow whose Grey Knights I had fought. Mike brought 140+ infantrymen to contest with the Word Bearers.  Although later events were to show that my dice were apparently seeking redemption from the Emperor, and Mike is nothing if not skilled, I almost certainly lost this game in deployment.  My seven scoring units stared across the field at 18 or 19 scoring IG units, so I knew I had my work cut out for me.

Mike placed a mortar squad on each of his flanks and spread troop squads across the board, with a concentration of Fire Support quads, Command Squads, and Special Weapon squads in the center, slightly to my right.  I overreacted to the prospect of facing the firepower of the entirety of his army and set up as a refused flank, concentrating my units to my right. 

My plan was to set up a base of fire with the Havocs and Defiler while the Rhino-mounted squad, accompanied by the Dark Apostle and the Dread, would sweep around to the right and summon daemons into opportune positions as the game unfolded.  The normally-infiltrating squad would set up to cover the advance and would later advance themselves or assault if the IG ventured forward.

As the first few turns of the game unfolded, Mike starting lobbing mortar shells into the infiltrators and later, the Rhino squad.  While the minions of Chaos could handle autocannon shells, missiles, plasma guns and the like without breaking a sweat, they simply could not save versus mortar rounds.  Between the two squads, I must have failed 10 armor saves in about 16-18 rolls.  

This reduced the Rhino squad to 2 or 3 members and the Dark Apostle, and the sweep to the right ground to a halt.  The Daemonettes arrived early and deviated out into the open.  They did very little damage before they were shot to pieces by the combined firepower of the nearby IG.  The Dread advanced, but was later popped by a lucky melta shot.  The infiltrating squad absorbed fire and lost a member or two each IG shooting phase for the next couple turns.

The only Word Bearers that did anything worthwhile were the Defiler and the Havocs. The Defiler consistently dropped rounds on target or deviated onto even juicier targets and pinned the unit struck 90% of the time.  It shrugged off hordes of autocannon fire, with the only damage being an “Immobilization” late in the game.  While the WB troops squads could not make an armor save to save their lives, the Havocs could not miss one.  The Havocs remained in place the entire game, blasting away with frag missiles and autocannon and taking large chunks out of the huge array of enemy squads.

The later turns saw the Dark Apostle and two remaining WBs from the Rhino squad moving forward into assault with the entirety of the IG right flank.  The timely arrival of the Bloodletters gave me a ghost of a chance at possibly pulling out a tie, but Mike was cunning in his removal of models and despite the Bloodletters mulching a fair amount of Mike’s IG, they were slowly whittled down as they moved up his lines, ending up about 8" too far away to assault from the IG center into the IG opposite my left.  The Havocs and Defiler had done their job too well and blasted the IG center to pieces, leaving no units for the Bloodletters to sweep into to continue their carnage and possible reduce enough IG units to force a tie.  The Dark Apostle slaughtered his opponents, but the Aspiring Champ kept his squad’s streak alive by muffing his rolls, missing with all his attacks, and blowing the one save he had to make.

The game ended with the IG units on my left isolated but immune from any retaliation due to the slaughter and the limited range on my firepower.  I forget the exact count, but Mike had at least 5 or 6 units remaining to my lone Havoc squad.

Game 3: vs. Mechanized Imperial Guard (Omega-level "Cleanse")
This game was versus Rob Van Pelt, who brought a list that featured one Demolisher, one Exterminator, and one standard Leman Russ.  The remainder of the list contained carapaced IG in Chimeras sporting autocannons. 

If I had thought my luck was terrible in the last game, this game let me know what bad luck really was.  As Escalation was in effect, I infiltrated the appropriate WB squad into a building in the quarter next to mine, with a good view of Rob’s deployment zone.  My Havocs deployed in cover very near the center of the board, accompanied by the Dark Apostle, with my intention of them moving forward and setting up in a building on the other edge of Rob’s deployment zone and using tankhunters to well, hunt his tanks as they came on the board.

My unopposed first turn saw the infiltrators twiddling their thumbs and the Havocs and Apostle blowing their difficult terrain rolls and ending up exposed in the open.  The next turn saw more craptastic difficult terrain rolls and the Havocs still in the open as Rob’s Exterminator and three Chimeras came onto the board.  

One Chimera moved toward the building that the Havocs were vainly trying to occupy and the remainder of the IG units rolled up on the infiltrators, disembarked and proceeded to blast the WB.  Now, despite the amount of firepower, a fair percentage of the shots were weak S3 lasguns and I got a save vs. all of the wounds as I was in a building, providing at least a 4+ save, so I should have enough remaining to take down a transport or assault some flimsy IG units that were exposed, right?  When the smoke cleared, the WBs were wiped out and the IG remounted and went about their business.

The next turn saw the Dread and Rhino arrive.  The Dread moved up along my left, on the edge of the deployment zone furthest to my north.  The Rhino came up on my south and cut across into the deployment zone on my right and popped smoke.  The Havocs managed to get a few men into the building, but half the squad was still swinging in the breeze.  The Dread nailed the Chimera near the Havoc’s building, but the transport was not seriously damaged.

The command Chimera now entered the board and deployed its squad into the building where the smoldering carcasses of the infiltrating WB lay.    The other IG squads mounted up and moved into my right quarter, with the Exterminator pushing through terrain into a prime firing position for the Rhino.  The IG squad nearest the Havoc building advanced into the building and opened up on the Havocs, with the Havocs actually making some saves and only losing one man.  The Exterminator destroyed the Rhino and entangled the Rhino squad, which was also shot up once it stumbled out.  Rob forgot to bring in the two remaining Russes, but clearly did not need them.

The WB turn started with the Daemonettes arriving, and I chose to summon them off the entangled squad in the hopes of seeing them get into assault with one of the two disembarked IG squads.  Once again, a bad scatter left the Daemonettes short.  The Havocs moved up and assaulted into the IG squad, contesting their building and winning the combat, but the IG hung tough.  The Defiler finally made its appearance and dropped a round on the far IG squad in the right quarter, hitting dead on and blasting them to pieces.  The Dark Apostle moved up near the building to avoid being picked off and possibly to help the assault.  The Dread moved forward to hopefully find a better firing position.

The IG responded by bring the rest of their tanks on, which fired on the Rhino squad and Daemonettes.  The rest of the infantry followed suit, and by the end of the round there were three remaining WBs and the Daemonettes were shot into oblivion.  The assault between the Havocs and IG continued without much happening.

The remaining rounds saw the Bloodletters summoned in off the Dark Apostle, but they landed in an exposed position and the best I could do was to try to get them back into cover to avoid annihilation at the hands of the brothers Russ.  Even then, they did not get back far enough. They got shot to pieces and only had 2 or 3 left, but Rob made the mistake of advancing the remaining Guard squad to rapid-fire them, and even a few Bloodletters are a match for a squad of IG.  

The Dark Apostle joined the Havocs and helped enough to break the IG and have them flee the building.  The Havocs then set up, surviving repeated Demolisher shots, and blew up the standard Russ.  The Defiler fired repeatedly at the remaining Russes but never got a result better than a “Stun.”  The Dread did no better, although it survived to contest a quarter.

The game ended with the WBs shot to pieces and only Fane, the Havocs, and the Dread alive.  Rob had two Russes and the command squad as scoring units.  As for quarters, the WB held one and contested one, but were hugely behind in Victory Points and the IG held the remaining quarters: a resounding victory for the Guard! 

Rob benefited hugely from my insanely bad dice rolling, but his plan was solid and I think he would have prevailed even with average rolling on my part.  I will mention that it is very hard to be the player benefiting from extremely bad luck on your opponent’s part without being condescending or a poor sport, but Rob was cheerful and fun and kept my interest up in a game that I was probably doomed in from Turn 2.

For a change of pace, I broke out my Eldar. My 1500-point list consisted of:

  • Farseer on a jetbike, w/ stones, spear, Doom, Fortune;
  • Eight Harlequins w/ Seer and kisses for everyone;
  • Eight Striking Scorpions w/ Exarch;
  • Six Fire Dragons
  • Ten Guardians w/ scatterlaser platform; 
  • Ten Dire Avengers w/ Exarch;
  • Ten Dire Avengers w/ Exarch;
  • Wraithlord w/ missile launcher and scatterlaser; 
  • Two Warwalkers w/ scatterlasers; and 
  • Falcon w/ stones, shuricannon upgrade, scatterlasers, holofield

Bryan's way-cool Striking Scorpions, which remind me of the "xenomorphs" from Aliens

Game 1: vs. Imperial Guard (Gamma-level "Cleanse")
My opponent was Jen Burdoo and her Imperial Guard (what was it with Guard all the time?) I set up with my Dire Avengers in the center, in cover, to anchor things, with the Wraithlord behind a large rocky structure.  I placed the Falcon behind the Wraithlord, with the Fire Dragons nearby to allow for them to embark should I win the roll for first turn.  

The Farseer was placed near the Wraithlord to prevent Wraithsight rolls and the Guardians and Harlequins went on my left flank to allow for fire suppression and a hopefully quick assault.  The Warwalkers deployed on the far left to use their Scout move to hopefully deploy into cover and gain good position early on and eliminate any IG moving into that quadrant.

At this point, I was ready to deploy my lone infiltrating unit of Striking Scorpions when it occurred to me that Jen would most likely infiltrate her Veteran Squads into position and try to nail the Falcon before it moved.  To prevent that, I placed the Scorps in the quadrant directly north of my deployment zone and along the quadrant border, in cover.  This did not prevent Jen from doing exactly what I feared, but it proved to be decisive none the less.

Jen placed two units of infiltrating Vets opposite of the Warwalkers and to the south of the Falcon (there was about 20" free).  We rolled for Dusk and Dawn, got “Dawn,” and Jen got the first turn.  She promptly shot up the Warwalkers, immobilizing one and stunning the other.  The Falcon also went down in flames, taking one of the Fire Dragons with it.  Crucially, Jen also moved up a squad on my right, ending it about 10" from the Scorpions.

My first turn consisted of the Dire Avengers opening fire and managing to assassinate the lascannon gunner from a squad, as he was the only model in range.  The Wraithlord, Farseer, and Fire Dragons combined to wipe the "Doomed" Vet squad in my deployment zone, which had downed the Falcon.  The Harlies moved forward, needed only 2" on their Fleet of Foot roll, promptly rolled 1" and ended up 3/8" out of assault range of a squad.  The Scorps moved through cover 6" (the single decent roll that turn) and assaulted into the nearest squad, which held and did not run.

Jen’s second turn saw one Warwalker getting polished off and the other shaken, the Guardians shot up, and the Harlies wiped out.  Jen moved a nearby squad away from the squad that was tied up with my Scorps, who won that assault and then swept up the hill.

The rest of the game consisted of sporadic shooting between the two armies, with the squads of Dire Avengers assaulting Guard squads in the center, the Wraithlord advancing behind them and laying fire on exposed units.  The only reason that I was not slowly ground down by the masses of IG infantry was the MVP performance of the Striking Scorpions, who assaulted or swept into and destroyed 4 or 5 other squads.

That left Jen with few squads left and the final turn saw the Eldar holding two quarters and contesting two.  It was a great game against a fun opponent who is far more skilled than she likes to give herself credit for.

Bryan and Jen battling at Counter Offensive 4

Overall, I had an excellent weekend playing skilled and relaxed opponents that made my consistently terrible luck in the opening turns of each of the games very bearable.  I look forward to Counter Offensive 5, and playing all the IG armies has me dusting off my pile of unassembled Guard models and thinking of starting my next army.

Counter Offensive 4
Introduction <> BigDAWG Battles <> Bloodbaths <> The X(eno) Files <> Spreading the Word <> Photos

Related Pages 
Other Counter Offensives

Posted September 2007


Fighting Tigers:
Codex <> Tactics <> Gallery <> Allies and Enemies <> Tales of the Tigers

Other Pages:
Main <> What's New <> Site Index <> The Tiger Roars <> Themed Army Ideas
Events and Battle Reports <> Campaigns <> Terrain <> FAQ <> Beyond the Jungle