This game took place on Thursday, May 29th at the Fantasy Flight Games Event Center in Roseville, MN. It was a 1500 point battle between my Third Company Salamanders Space Marines and Eric’s Chaos Imperial Guard.
I fielded four ten-man squads of Tactical Marines, a ten-man squad of Assault Marines, a Captain, and a three-man squad of Centurions. The Centurions were in a Land Raider Redeemer, one of the Tac squads was in a Rhino, and another was in a Drop Pod.
The Chaos Imperial Guard
Eric took two Basilisks, a Leman Russ with three plasma cannons, a psyker, three lascannon artillery units, and a ton of troops.
This was our first 7th Edition game, and we tried out one of the new missions with Tactical Objectives. I deployed and went first, and we had the Night Fighting special rule in effect.
Initially, I thought that that would save me from the Basilisks, but I was wrong.
Salamanders Turn One
The Land Raider and Rhino roared across the battlefield, the Rhino taking the north end across a bridge and the Land Raider taking the south end through a sparse forest.
The Captain laid claim to a ruined tower that had been shelled into oblivion by a previous battle. A mysterious objective there gave him a boost to his cover save, and with the cover save for being hidden in ruins, he was pretty safe from enemy artillery fire.
The unit of Tactical Marines without transport and the Assault Marines started running across the battlefield. The Assault Marines darted in and out of the forest alongside the Land Raider, using the trees to mask their advance. The Tactical squad instead opted to charge directly at the Chaos front lines, hoping to put the fear of the Emperor in the traitorous Guard.
The Land Raider took a shot at the Leman Russ with its Hunter-Killer missile, but the missile’s guidance system failed and it went spiraling off into the darkness.
Chaos Imperial Guard Turn One
Since the traitors had dug in with an Aegis line in one corner of the Imperial Guard deployment area, they had no interest in moving this turn. Instead, they opened up on the Salamanders advancing on their position. A storm of lasgun fire rained down on the Salamanders, but not a single Marine fell to the onslaught.
Then, the Chaos artillery opened up. The lascannon crews dealt a glancing blow to the Land Raider, and the Basilisks had some difficulty in the darkness and couldn’t quite hit their targets. Sadly, this was the last turn in which this was the case.
Salamanders Turn Two
The Salamanders’ Drop Pod full of Tactical Marines landed next to the enemy Aegis line, right between that and the Leman Russ. The Tactical squad disembarked and prepared to wreak havoc.
The Land Raider rumbled through a river and disgorged its Centurions on the opposing bank. The Assault Marines ran ahead of it, claiming an objective but just outside of assault range of the Leman Russ.
The Tactical Squad out in the open fired at the Chaos defenders, hoping to thin their ranks. Unfortunately, only a handful died, the Aegis line protecting them from the majority of the bolter fire.
The Rhino advanced further, getting within range of the Aegis line’s north end. Sadly, this was to be its last turn in the service of the Emperor, and it did nothing useful.
The Centurions attempted to destroy the Leman Russ with their lascannons and krak missiles, but their shots glanced off the tank’s heavy ceramite plating, doing no damage.
The Tactical squad that had disembarked from the Drop Pod launched an offensive against the nearest Imperial Guard, but sadly failed in their strike and wasn’t able to assault.
Meanwhile, back in the ruins, the Salamanders Captain watched his battle-brothers through the darkened windows. A feeling of dread creeped over him.
Chaos Imperial Guard Turn Two
The Leman Russ opened fire on the Assault Marines closing on its position, and together with lascannon fire from the artillery crews north of it, wiped out the entire squad.
The Basilisks fired a barrage at the Tactical Marines out in the open, and erased that squad, too.
Several squads of Imperial Guard hiding behind the Aegis line worked in concert, and their lasguns brought down all but one of the Tactical Marines bearing down on them from the Drop Pod.
Concentrated fire from the other Imperial Guard blew up the Rhino, scattering its passengers. Thankfully, none of them were injured in the blast.
Lasgun fire tried to eliminate the Centurions, but to no effect. The gigantic Marines marched on with grim purpose.
Salamanders Turn Three
The survivors of the Rhino’s destruction opened fire on the Imperial Guard, hoping to get into melee combat and avoid the guns of the Basilisks. Bad luck meant they were just out of range, and though they dealt massive casualties to the traitors in front of them, they were squarely in the sights of the enemy.
The last survivor of the squad from the Drop Pod bravely charged into the enemy. Sadly, his heroic assault only earned him a few more kills before he was slain.
The Centurions attempted to destroy the Leman Russ again, and again failed to penetrate its armor. The Land Raider similarly tried and failed.
The Drop Pod opened fire with its Deathwind missile launcher, but only caught a few unlucky Imperial Guard in the blast.
Chaos Imperial Guard Turn Three
The lascannon artillery crews destroyed the Drop Pod, and troops began to pour out from behind the Aegis line to press their advantage.
Heavy lasgun fire brought down the last remnants of the survivors from the Rhino.
The Leman Russ traded shots with the Land Raider, finally scoring a hit and destroying one of the flamestorm cannons.
The Basilisks had run out of targets and turned their guns on the Centurions, to no effect.
Salamanders Turn Four
The Captain watching the battle from the ruins called his battle-brothers back, seeing no victory here this day. The Centurions climbed into the Land Raider and the Salamanders fled the field of battle.
There had been many losses that day. Thankfully, the traitors were content to engage in Chaos-tainted debauchery celebrating their victory the following night, and the Salamanders were able to retrieve their fallen battle-brothers’ gene-seed under the cover of darkness.
Victory: Chaos Imperial Guard
The biggest tactical error I made was in not giving one of my Tactical Squads a transport. As a result, I effectively wasted 150 points as that squad was gunned down by Eric’s Basilisks.
The biggest strategic error I made, however, was in focusing on attacking the enemy rather than going for Tactical Objectives. Even if I had suffered severe losses, I should have been able to pull off a victory with the points from those. Because Eric was deployed only in one corner of the map, I could easily have claimed and held the majority of the objective points.
The Basilisks and the plasma-toting Leman Russ were my most dangerous opponents. Eric’s psyker was completely ineffective, never getting the powers he needed at the right times. Even his lascannon crews, while dangerous, presented no major threat. I couldn’t punch through the Leman Russ’s 14 strength armor, though, no matter how much fire I threw his way. The Basilisks never even got hit, and for that, I’m going to need a better weapon.
So, lessons learned, at a heavy cost.