Some of us at my FLGS are getting ready for a one day campaign this Saturday. It’s 1,500 points, no Unbound armies, and you can’t have any named characters. I’ve already mentioned that I’m using this as a chance to, hopefully, establish my Sorcerer in Terminator armor, tentatively named Maelstrom, from my Disciples of Twilight (Chaos Space Marines). I love campaigns, and they’re a great way to build up some fluff and let characters come to the forefront.
To that end, I’ve been messing with a list featuring dual Sorcerers. I tried it out last week and got destroyed in two back-to-back games. I went back and modified my list to try to cover glaring weaknesses. The result was this list I ran on Wednesday.
Chaos Space Marines – 1,500
- Maelstrom (Sorcerer) – Psyker (Mastery Level 3), Combi-bolter, Force Weapon, Terminator Armor, Spell Familiar
- Warforce (Sorcerer) – Psyker (Mastery Level 3), Bolt Pistol, Force Weapon, Sigil of Corruption, Spell Familiar
- Deathcry (Helbrute) – Power Fist, Missile Launcher
- Gorgons (Terminators) x 5 – Combi-melta, Reaper Autocannon, Assorted Power Weapons
- Redemption (Chaos Space Marines) x 5 – Meltagun
- Swiftclaw (Aspiring Champion) – Meltabombs, Combi-melta
- Rhino – Dozer Blade
- Vengeance (Chaos Space Marines) x 5 – Plasma Gun
- Aspiring Champion – Meltabombs
- Heldrake – Baleflamer
- Devastation (Obliterators) x 3 – Mark of Nurgle, Veterans of the Long War
- Forgefiend – Ectoplasma Cannon x 3
The list is a really big deviation from my norm, which makes it both interesting and a bit aggravating. Not a bad aggravating mind you; just that I’m not used to wielding something like this and it takes more thought.
A few of the big changes for me was trying out 5-man CSM squads. I was talking to someone last week, and he had a very good point. He was the one who kicked my head in twice. He suggested dropping them down to 5-man because the full 10 wasn’t benefiting me much, and he was right. I also shaved all my squads down to bare minimal (mostly), to save on points to spread around. I had a lot of marks in my previous list that were mostly wasted. I also wanted to try the Forgefiend with the 3 x Ectoplasma Cannons. As long as I’ve owned a Forgefiend, which was as soon as it came out, I have not tried it. It’s shorter range and trades in volume of fire for quality of fire. For the record, Ectoplasma Cannons are S8, AP2, blast with 24″ range.
I’m not going to break down my opponents list. Astra Militarum have such large lists, at any point size, that I can never get everything right. The short of it is that he, Ming, had around 6 Chimeras, mostly full, and dual special weapons, also a Command Squad. It was backed by a Manticore, Leman Russ and Vendetta.
We rolled up a Maelstrom mission, Deadlock: start with 6 cards and decrease one card per-turn. He won deployment and I won to setup first. I setup with all my units close together since he could outmaneuver me, and pick off anyone who strayed too far. He setup his parking lot relatively far forward and then stole the initiative from me. That’s happened two games in a row now…
Mostly Ming shuffled around to get on objectives. The Manticore hammered the Terminators and took out two if I recall. Short turn but Ming pulled out 4pts.
I advanced slowly, pulling my units together. My psychic phase was horrible. but my Obliterators took out a Chimera and pinned the unit inside. I managed to pull 5pts.
Ming’s Vendetta arrived, and the rest of the army moved up for objectives. My Obliterators took heavy fire from the Vendetta and Chimeras, and only one remained afterwards with Warforce. The Terminators also took a lot of fire, Manticore and Master of Ordnance, and only one remained there with Maelstrom. Tough turn. Ming pulled a few more points.
My CSM in the back moved to an objective. My forward CSM jumped out, and with melta, took out the Leman Russ. Maelstrom left the lone Terminator to join Warforce and the remaining Obliterator. The Forgefiend immobilized a Chimera and the Heldrake toasted some Guardsmen. I pulled a few more points as well, keeping it a very close game.
Ming advanced up, and I lost my Forgefiend this turn to volume of fire. The Vendetta unloaded into my Helbrute, and put two hull points on him, as well as stunning him. My forward CSM lost their Rhino, and then they proceeded to die from the Master of Ordnance. That guy was ruining my day. Ming pulled a few more points.
Things were pretty desperate for me here. My lone Terminator moved to try to charge the nearby Chimera. My Helbrute got crazy, recovered from stunned and had to try to charge something, the Chimera. My Obliterator vaporized a single Guardsman on an objective with a lascannon (not overkill at all), and my Heldrake went into hover to snag an objective. That single Terminator died to overwatch, and the Helbrute failed his charge. I pulled a few points, keeping it close still.
Remainder of the Game
The game was neck and neck. I was taking a pounding, but managing cards that kept me in the game. At some point we got a tie score, end of turn #4 I believe, and the desperation intensified. Ming had to get the objective in my back field with CSM on it. I had to get an objective his Chimera was on, the one the Helbrute and Terminator failed to get at. Warforce got Endurance up on my CSM, which kept them alive when the Veterans got out of the Vendetta and shot them in the face. I had denied him. I sent my Obliterator on his own to get the Chimera, as I needed my Sorcerers close to the CSM for powers. The Obliterator failed to destroy the Chimera in shooting, which I needed, so I could charge the occupants. He did punch the Chimera to death but I was denied the objective.
At the end of turn #5 it was a tie game, I believe 11-11. We got another turn and Ming downed my Heldrake, removing my ability to score line breaker. I couldn’t remove his ability to score linebreaker, too many units and not enough of my own. My only call was to try to kill his Warlord holed up inside a Chimera. Warforce got off Endurance, Iron Arm and Warp Speed. He was jacked up, and ready to smash a Chimera, but they failed the charge. It was a long shot anyway. I had to get the Commander to die in the explosion, but it was my only move.
We rolled up a turn #7, but at this point Ming had me by at least one point with the ability to pull a few more. The store had to close early so we never got to play out the turn, yet it was clear Ming had won the game.
It was a hell of a game, and the closest one I’ve had in literally months. I was amazed I stayed in the game after he neutered my Obliterators and Terminators. Not only did I pull cards that I could manage, those remaining few models were almost invincible after losing their buddies. The fact the game came down to a few critical dice rolls was great.
My psykers just weren’t felling it this game. I had some great powers on both of them, but it was really only two turns of the seven that I got up the powers I wanted and needed. My list is an elite list, and it really relies on my Sorcerers to do their thing. Those failures really hurt.
The MSU CSM squads did well though. Had I run those squads at 10, like usual, it wouldn’t have made a difference in this game. One game doesn’t make for anything conclusive, but I’ll keep trying them out small squads to see how it goes. The Forgefiend was a letdown but I wasn’t prioritizing well either, so that’s on me and not the setup.
Overall I like the list. It’s small, theoretically resilient, but anyone who has seen me roll 2+ saves knows better. I might tweak it a bit for Saturday to get another fast unit in there, like Bikers. The list is so slow, and having a fast unit would be damn helpful. We’ll see though…