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Events and Battle Reports

Happy Newb Year!  by Kenton Kilgore
Maybe it’s just because I’ve been into 40K for almost 30 years, but there’s something pleasing to me about watching two new players go at the game.  Such was the case on New Year’s Day when I visited my brother-in-law Drew at his request.

Technically, Drew is not a “newbie”: as a teenager, he started playing in the 2nd Edition days, then took a break for about 20 years, coming back to 40K after establishing a career, getting married, and having some kids.  For those reasons, he doesn’t play often (a few times a year, tops), and is learning the 7th edition rules from me as he rebuilds his Ork army from long ago.

Sharing his dad’s gaming passion, Freddie, Drew’s son, is 12, and has glommed on to Tyranids.  He has a decent collection already (thanks in part to contributions from Jungle Guide Patrick Eibel, and from his Wicked Uncle Kenton), and is swiftly learning the ropes.  I eagerly accepted their offer to come over and help Fred take on his dad.

Tyranids (1650 points)
Fred’s army is mostly “little guys,” backed by many, many mid-sized Nids.  He wrote up an initial list for the game, based on the figures he has and what they’re armed with, and I tweaked the list when I noticed that the points were off.  Fred had a lot of Shrikes, but as he had too many Fast Attack figures any way, I counted them as Tyranid Warriors. 

  • Hive Tyrant w/ wings, heavy venom cannon, lashwhip and bonesword, and Hive Commander
  • Tyranid Prime w/ Reaper of Obliterax
  • Two broods of 20 Hormagaunts each
  • 5 Tyranid Warriors w/ devourers and 1 w/ venom cannon
  • 6 Tyranid Warriors w/ rending claws and scything talons
  • A single Zoanthrope
  • Brood of 9 Raveners
  • Brood of 8 Raveners
  • 10 Gargoyles

After rolling for psychic powers, we determined that the Hive Tyrant had Paroxysm and Psychic Scream, while the Zoanthrope had Paroxsym. 

Having battled the new-and-improved Orks with Tyranids recently, it was obvious to me that Fred had exactly the wrong kind of army to deal with Drew’s greenies.  Not so long ago, Nids could bum-rush Orks (and anyone else) and slice-and-dice them in the Assault Phase, but no more: Orks are now the premiere hand-to-hand force.  Beating Drew wouldn’t be easy, especially once I saw what he was bringing to the party.

Orks (1650 points)
Drew first started collecting Orks back in the Bad Old Days of 2nd Edition, and held onto his minis during the many, many years he didn’t play.  Since getting back into 40K, he’s added quite a few modern miniatures, acquired in trades with other players.

  • Ghazghkull Thraka
  • Warboss
  • Weirdboy
  • Big Mek w/ shokk attack gun
  • 3 Meganobz
  • 4 mobz of 30 Boyz w/ shootas
  • 10 Burna Boyz
  • 5 Warbikers

Drew was using the Ork Horde detachment from the most recent codex, relying on a strategy that my pal (and fellow Warboss) Patrick Eibel likes to use: flood the table with Boyz in a display of quantity over quality.  Swell.  And it didn’t hurt that his psychic power for his Weirdboy was Frazzle, a shooty blast attack.   

Setting Up
We played at Drew’s house, on a 4' x 6' Citadel Realm of Battle gameboard loaned to us by his friend Kramer.  Rolling for Warlord Traits, Fred and I came up with Synaptic Lynchpin for the Hive Tyrant, which grants him 18" Synapse range.  Drew’s Trait for Ghazghkull was Prophet of the Waaagh!, of course, as that’s what the big guy comes with.

We rolled for mission and deployment and got The Relic, and Hammer & Anvil, respectively.  Great: we would have to run towards the Orks, with minimal shooting capability on our side.  I explained to Fred that we were in a tough spot, and that our only hope for winning was to throw our fastest guys forward, snatch the relic, and retreat with it while throwing everyone else into the buzzsaw that was the Orks to slow them down.

Accordingly, we set up with the Hormagaunts on both flanks, to do a pincer move, with the choppy unit of Warriors with claws and talons (and the Hive Tyrant) behind one brood.  The Tyrant and Gargoyles were front and center, intent on grabbing our prize, with the many, many Raveners behind them to take up the mission if need be, or to slither forward and run interference. 

The Ravs were backed by the Zoanthrope for synapse control, and by using the Tyrant's Hive Commander ability, we Outflanked the shooty Warriors (with devourers) to bring some pressure behind Drew’s lines and hopefully retard his advance.

Drew assembled his Boyz in a phalanx across the board, with Ghaz and his other HQ near the center, the Burna Boyz out front, and the Bikers on his right flank.  We rolled to see if there would be Night Fighting, but there would not.   It was crucial to us that we win the roll to go first, but alas, we didn't. 

Turn 1
Drew’s army stamped forward, the Bikers roaring ahead and firing, dropping 11 Hormagaunts on our left flank.  The Big Mek’s shokk attack gun killed 4 Gargoyles, and Ghazghkull himself shot another dead.

The Tyranids surged forward, with the Hive Tyrant dropping Paroxysm on the nearby Burna Boyz to reduce their Weapon Skill to 1.  Shooting by the Gargoyles whiffed, so they and the Tyrant charged the Burnas, whose Overwatch flames consumed the Gargs.  The Tyrant slammed into them, slicing and dicing them.   On our flank, the Hormagaunts  charged the Bikers, dragging one down, but the greenies defeated them.  A horrible first turn that was NOT AT ALL how I wanted it to go.

Turn 2
Orks continued to advance, of course, as they would throughout the rest of the game.  The Weirdboy’s Frazzle successfully took a Wound from a Ravener, while the shokk attack gun killed two more Ravs and knocked a Wound off the Hive Tyrant.  Three mobs of Boyz shot and killed the rest of Fred’s Hormagaunts (the entire brood on our right flank), while another mob of shootas executed the Hive Tyrant.  

Bikers fired on the Warriors and Prime, to no avail, and the Meganobz took two Wounds off a Ravener.  The same Megaz attempted to charge, but failed.

Our forces had taken some serious hits, but perhaps we could dish some out.  As one brood of Raveners advanced to seize the relic, the Outflanking Warriors came on the board behind the Ork’s right flank, firing their devourers and killing four Boyz.  Hmmph; that was not nearly the “serious hit” that I was hoping for.  A timely Warp Blast from the Zoanthrope took out five more Shoota Boyz in the mob closest to the Ravs that had the objective. 

The other Ravener brood charged other Shoota Boyz on our right flank, losing three of ours to Overwatch (OW!!!), killing four in the scrap, and losing 1 Rav and a Wound off another.  The Tyranid Prime and his Warriors engaged the Warbikers, with the Prime taking down a mere two, the Warriors none, and the Bikers bagging a Warrior. 

Sigh.  It had definitely become one of those games, the kind where nothing goes right.       

Turn 3
In a duel of psykers, the Weirdboy attempted to Frazzle our Zoanthrope, hitting and wounding, but the Zoat’s save came through.  The Big Mek’s shokk attack gun hit and killed a Warrior that had Outflanked.  Shoota Boyz turned and fired at the same brood, taking down one and gunning two Wounds off another.

Ghazghkull, the Meganobz, and more Shoota Boyz fired on the Raveners with the relic, dropping three and knocking two Wounds off another.  Those Boyz then charged, losing three of their number in the fight, but killing three Raveners and wounding another twice.  The Ravs failed their morale check (they were out of Synapse range) and fell back, dropping the Relic and going into Cannibalistic Hunger, losing more of their number. 

Boyz began to dogpile onto our guys, rushing the Outflanking Warriors (losing five Orks, but killing two Nids) and the other Raveners (losing four, killing one).  The Prime and his friends polished off the Warbikers, and it was our turn again.

The Ravs that used to have the relic fell back into Synapse range of the Zoanthrope and regrouped.  The Zoat failed to charge up his Warp Blast (which would have helped mightily against the clumped-up Meganobz—just sayin’).  On the left flank, the Prime and his Warriors were trying to make something out of not much, charging the nearest Shoota Boyz, killing nine. 

The Outflanking Warriors continued to struggle against their Boyz, killing one greenie and losing another of theirs.  The Raveners on the right flank killed six Boyz while losing one and a Wound off another.  

Turn 4
At this point, Drew remembered to Waaagh!, and the Meganobz scooped up the relic.  Frazzling and the shokk attack gun missed their targets, but no matter.  The Warboss charged the Ravs that used to have the relic, while Ghaz charged the Warriors with the Prime.

In the Assault Phase, the Orks hacked down all but one of the Raveners in both broods; as well as both batches of Warriors and the Prime—Senor Ghaz saw personally to that after the Prime ripped open four Shoota Boyz. 

At the start of our turn, Fred and I had exactly two figures left on the board: one Ravener and the Zoanthrope.  The Zoat bricked his attempt to Paroxysm some nearby Boyz, while other Ladz took out the Rav in hand-to-hand.  Thus endeth that.

Post-Game Analysis
At the start of the game, I didn’t think we had much of a chance, but it turned out even uglier than I thought, thanks in no small part to some really crappy dice rolls.  Our Nids were outnumbered, outgunned, and out-fought: even when we were able to get into close combat, supposedly our forte, Overwatch and the Orks’ resiliency snuffed us out.

Because Fred doesn’t have a budget to go out and get more stuff (he’s only a kid, you know), and because he’ll usually be playing against his dad and his Orks, I suggested to him that he reconfigure his army as described below, to be more effective:

  • Count the Hive Tyrant as a Tyranid Prime;
  • Count the Hormagaunts and Gargoyles as Termagants;
  • Count Shrikes as Warriors with devourers and scything talons;
  • Count the Raveners as Tyranid Warriors or Zoanthropes (see list below).

The Tyrant didn’t do much for Fred, and as he’s not an Independent Character, he was easy to pick out and fire upon.  Hormagaunts—sheesh.  Even Fred knows they’re crap.  The Gargoyles are too few to be their own force.  Shrikes and Raveners are too expensive and too fragile for what they do. 

Fred needs more shootiness; for the exact same amount of points (1650) that he had in this battle, he could have:

  • Tyranid Prime w/ scything talons and Miasma Cannon
  • Tyranid Prime w/ scything talons and Reaper of Obliterax (Fred really likes this wargear)
  • Three broods of 7 Tyranid Warriors each.  In each brood, all have scything talons, 6 have devourers, 1 has a barbed strangler
  • Two broods of 25 Termagants each.  In each brood, 23 have fleshborers, 2 have stranglewebs
  • Three broods of 3 Zoanthropes each

That’s a whole lot of guns, almost all of it unbreakable and not subject to Instinctive Behavior, and he will OWN the Psychic Phase.  Take that, Daddy-O!  I’ll follow up with Fred and see if he used this against Drew, and how it turned out.  


Posted January 2015


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