Between fretting about exam results, quitting my mundane job and getting injured playing Sunday league football, I and a good friend finally found time to play a game of Warhammer 40,0000 using the Dark Vengeance set. Having only owned the game for two months we thought it was about time we finally pitted the two forces against one another.
Not being fans of chronology, we decided the best place to start would be with the fifth mission in the Dark Vengeance book. ‘Fire fight’ comprised of every unit in the box set fighting in a five turn, last man standing, battle to the death.
I chose to lead the Chaos forces whilst my opponent commissioned the Dark Angels. Quite frankly, I was feeling the more nervous. The entire Dark Angels roster was suited in Power Armour, which is quite the other end of the scale when compared to a Chaos Cultist’s tunic!
We rolled for initiative and the forces were set out as so:
Sect Anarkus, the close combat group of cultists, would be positioned on the left side of the board, facing off against the Dark Angel bike squad. On the opposite flank my five Chosen Chaos Space Marines would stand opposite the Deathwing Terminator Squad in what we both expected to be an evenly matched fight. Centre-field, glaring down at plucky Sect Tetchvar, was the Dark Angel Tactical Squad. This was the engagement I was most worried about. I feared for my cultists being vastly outmatched in both weaponry and means of staying alive. Finally, Kranon the Relentless and the mighty Helbrute were to stare across the field of battle against Balthasar the Dark Angels Company Master and his accomplice, the Librarian Turmiel.
The game began in quite an underwhelming fashion. All units that were positioned opposite each other tried to close the 36-inch gap whilst navigating around terrain placed on the battlefield. The only two units in range to shoot were the Dark Angels Bikes and Tetchvar’s cultists but both attempts at shooting came to no avail.
The second turn was however quite a different story. Roars of revving engines could be heard as the aforementioned bikes managed to kill three from Sect Anarkus, two by Boltgun and one via Plasma gun. Next to shoot for the Dark Angels was the unit of Deathwing Terminators. Before the game began I feared the imposing assault cannon being wielded by one of the Terminators, fortunately for me it managed to claim no kills with its first barrage. The other terminators were almost just as abysmal, killing just one of Sect Tetchvar between the four of them. My opponent felt almost embarrassed by their performance and decided to inflict more causalities by making the cultists suffer yet another volley of bullets, this time from his Tactical Squad. They managed to inflict two casualties.
It was at this point my opponent mentioned he was considering to fire Balthasar’s combi-plasma gun at the Hellbrute but refrained stating he ‘wished to get in rage to rapid fire with the weapon’, which could be considered smart as otherwise he would only have one attempt with Balthasar to bring down the fearsome walker. Would he live to regret being so cautious?
It was now my opportunity to strike back and inflict some damage. Anarkus opened up my shooting phase in a not-so-brilliant fashion. His Sect managing to waste all shots fired at the Dark Angels bikes.
With my opponent having metaphorically shown me his hand by telling me he was going to attack my Helbrute (possibly next turn) I thought the best course of action would be to pre-emptively strike against the aggressor. With a fantastically aimed shot, my Hellbrute vaporised Balthasar, the Dark Angels Company Master! Earning me a swift three victory points. My opponent was furious.
I capped off the second turn by charging Sect Anarkus at the Dark Angels bikes. In an attempt cut down some of the charging cultists, the bikes quickly fired some snap shots. They all failed to hit their desired mark but the biker’s plasma gun still managed to cause damage. I can only imagine that particular biker panicking at the oncoming horde and being so frightened he fired his weapon early, covering himself in boiling hot plasma.
The charge managed to kill the bike sergeant, only one bike remained.
The halfway point began with a volley of fire from the Dark Angels Tactical Squad which was directed towards the Chosen Chaos Space Marines. Fortunately, the Chosen had strong enough armour to deflect all but a round of plasma, to which one Chosen fell. My opponent then realised my Chosen were probably the corner stone of my army and thus he would want to deal with them quickly. His action was to make them the target for his Terminator squad and during a barrage from them another two Chosen fell.
Next, the bike locked in combat with Sect Anarkus from the previous turn quickly fell. After all, the lone biker was outnumbered seven-to-one and was probably torn from his metal steed, roaring, into a group of blood-thirsty savages. With the bike squad now eliminated I had earned myself another victory point!
Draznicht, leader of the Chosen Chaos Space Marines, fires which can only be described as the flukiest shot in the history of the game and manages to bring down the Terminator champion with nothing more than a bolt pistol. Not satisfied with the current bloodbath, Dranznicht, along with a fellow marine, charge towards the Terminators and in hand-to-hand combat manages to slay the Terminator wielding the assault cannon but suffering no injuries in the process.
My opponent was now worried, his Dark Angels were on the ropes. I had killed his company master and bike squad with what appeared to be relative ease. He had to gather some victory points fast and he decided to go about it by targeting my rather defenceless group of cultists (Tetchvar’s) which had previously gone relatively unnoticed, thanks to my Chosen causing an ideal distraction. The incoming fire from the Tactical Squad caused six casualties, Tetchvar being one of them, leaving one lone cultist roaming the field. My opponent was outraged that the victory point was so close, yet so far away from his grasp!
In hand to hand combat my two Chosen Chaos Space Marines managed to cut-down their number in Terminators, but before the turn was done with the Terminators also managed to kill Draznicht. This left one Terminator and one Chosen in an epic duel which would be concluded in the next and final turn.
Having come about too soon, the game was about to be concluded. This displeased me because there were still Dark Angels to kill!
However, I could not celebrate too soon as Krannon suffered a wound from a volley of Tactical Squad fire. Unfortunately, my adversary’s day went from bad to worse as during the firing, the Squad’s heavy weapon ‘expert’, holding the plasma cannon, suffered misfortune and the gun malfunctioned burning him alive.
The Dark Angels Librarian, in range for the first, only, and last time in the game was able to make an impact by charging my final Chosen Chaos Space Marine, killing him outright. Alas, my enemy had earned his first victory point. My remaining units were unable to shoot, or if they did had no impact on the game’s standings. And with a handshake the game ended.
Having slain the Dark Angels Company Master and the Bike Squadron, I had earned myself a total of four victory points.
My foe on the other hand had only managed to wipe out my unit of Chosen Chaos Space Marines, although he had caused major casualties to the rest of my army, meaning he only acquired one victory point.
A Chaos forces victory!
I had fully expected as the Chaos player to come away from the battle with my tail between my legs begging for mercy. The reason for this was the poor armour saves which the bulk of my army donned. However, what the Chaos forces lacked in fancy power armour, they more than made up for in numbers and ferocity.
Quite frankly, this battle was one of the most evenly matched and enjoyable games of Warhammer 40,000 which I have ever played. Once again I can only endorse the purchase of the Dark Vengeance set.
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