Eons ago, a strange saint arose in the outer reaches of galaxy. Apparently professing undying loyalty to the Great Father and the Emperor, he wrought great turmoil through the subsector in the name of the Imperium. After he perished at the hands of the Eldar, his closest followers buried him in two separate locations. The pious believe that this was to symbolise the divide between the Ecclesiarchy and the local chapter of Astartes, the Tyrian Eagles … while Inquisition records show a much darker truth. The Dining Saint was possessed by a Greater Daemon of Tzeentch, which led to his destruction at the hands of a Autarch.
This dark truth has fallen into the hands of a disciple of the dark lord Khenti, who has led a group of the Thousand Sons to reunite the bones, free the trapped Daemon, and gain dark power from a pact from the grateful warpfiend. However, the local order of Adeptus Sororitas, aghast at the prospect of a beloved Saint’s tomb being despoiled, has moved to defend the tombs. The Order of the Verdant Garden has taken the field of Battle once more!
The game set up was capture and control, with a straightforward pitched battle deployment. Making the game more of a tactical challenge was the fact that we were gaming on a 5′ by 3′ table, rather than the more standard 6′ x4′. Terrain was set up as follows:
The Thousand Sons chose to deploy and go first, and the Sisters failed to steal initiative. The initial deployment was as follows:
Turn 1 – Thousand Sons (CSM 0 Objectives, SoB 1 Objective)
The Thousand Sons surged forward like an unstoppable blue tide, moving forward and smashing bolts of change, havoc heavy weapons, lascannons on predators and plasma cannons on the dreadnaught into the waiting Sisters of Battle’s tanks.One Exorcist was stunned, an immolator was annihilated, while the other was shaken, and a Rhino immobilised. The only unfortunate opening move was on the right, where the predator failed to damage the waiting Exorcist.
Turn 1 – Sisters of Battle (CSM 0 Objectives, SoB 1 Objective)
Canoness Lilith, in her Immolator, hurtled forward on the left, as the fleet Sisters repentia sped past towards the Chaos Dreadnaught. The Seraphim flew down the centre, led by Saint Evangeline, while on the right a squad of battle sisters in a rhino advanced next to the menacing shape of the Exorcist. The Exorcist managed to blow a heavy bolter off the Possessed Predator, but the twin linked lascannons just swung menacingly to point at the holy tank! Saint Evangeline used her Ardent Blade to kill two of the Thousand Sons in the centre, while the accompanying sisters bolt pistols killed a couiple more, followed by a charge into close combat. The Aspiring Sorcerer wounded Saint Evangeline twice, while two more Thousand Sons fell, leaving the combat drawn.
Turn 2 – Thousand Sons (CSM 0 Objectives, SoB 1 Objective)
The Sorcerer Lord leading the Thousand Sons realised that the Havocs couldn’t hold their own objective – a strategic error. He decided to lead his own personal squad back to the objective, with the intention of destroying the Sisters around their own shrine, and collecting the bones after the battle. The defiler advanced to charge the Seraphim, while the dreadnaught only stunned the immolator on the left with a plasma cannon, before immobilising it in close combat. In the centre, the havocs destroyed the Rhino, forcing the Sisters to pour out of the hatches around it. On the right, the Exorcist was immobilised, but still in the fight.
Turn 2 – Sisters (CSM 0 Objectives, SoB 1 Objective)
The Sisters continued their counter attack, with the Daughters of Repentence assaulting the Dreadnaught on the left, while on the right the immobiled Exorcist blew another heavy bolter off the Predator. The Retributor squad managed to destroyed the rhino, and flaming wreckage killed two thousand sons and a havoc. The Defiler continued to rip seraphim apart, while Evangeline continued to slay Thousand Sons. The rhino to the right decided discretion was the better part of valor, and started to move back to reinforce the sisters objective.
Turn 3 – Thousand Sons (CSM 0 Objectives, SoB 1 Objective)
Things were already looking bleak for the Thousand Sons hopes. The dreadnaught fell to the Sisters Repentia, blowing up … but failing to hurt any of them in death. The defiler killed another Seraphim as the aspiring sorcerer fell to Evangelines Ardent Blade, and the Predator finally wrecked the Exorcist on the right flank. The Havocs destroyed the gun on immobilised exorcist in the centre, while the Sorcerer Lord and Thousand Sons continued to move to guard their own objective.
Turn 3 – Sisters of Battle (CSM 0 Objectives, SoB 1 Objective)
The Sisters of Battle continued their strong advance, with the Daughters of Repentia fleeting and assaulting a total of 18″ to cut the defiler into pieces … exploding! The worst to wound rolls seen meant that the 15 sisters caught in the blast all escaped unharmed. The Rhino on the right flank continued its retreat, while the Retribution squad killed another Havoc. At this point, the Sisters position looked pretty firm!
Turn 4 – Thousand Sons (CSM 0 Objectives, SoB 1 Objective)
The Thousand Sons settled in around their own objective, and the havocs and predator killed Saint Evangeline, and all but one of the Seraphim. The Thousand sons hit the Repentia with Bolts of change, only to see a shield of faith roll preserve them.
Turn 4 – Sisters of Battle (CSM 1 Objectives, SoB 1 Objective)
The remaining Seraphim (with hand flamers) jumped for cover, as the Canoness advanced and killed a couple of havocs with shooting. The Daughters of Repentence seemed to feel their work was done, stumbling forward only a few inches over the difficult terrain. The Retribution Squad pulled off an act of faith, and managed to immobilise the predator against its front armour with rending heavy bolters.
Turn 5 – Thousand Sons (CSM 1 Objectives, SoB 1 Objective)
At this point, a mistake was revealed – the Raptors had been forgotten about, and no reserves rolls had been made! They dropped down and opened up on the Battle Sisters defending the objective. The Choas Havocs supported them, and they killed all but four of them. Unfortunately for the Chaos troops, they made their morale roll. The thousand sons squad killed two more of the repentia squad, but the fearless women continued their very slow advance over difficult terrain. The predator opened up on the canonesses command squad, killing one of the Evangelists!
Turn 5 – Sisters of Battle (CSM 1 Objectives, SoB 1 Objective)
Saint Evangeline slumbered this turn. The Seraphim sister saw an opportunity, jumped forward, twin hand flamered the thousand sons, and charged into close combat, drawing the thousand sons off the objective … but she was quickly cut down, and they regrouped back onto the bones of the corrupt saint. The Evangelists moved forward, and opened up on the raptors, with the remaining Battle Sisters, wiping them out. The rhino on the right reversed again, disgorging reforcing sisters!
Turn 6 – Thousand Sons (CSM 1 Objectives, SoB 1 Objective)
Running out of options, the havocs open up on the canoness and her bodyguard, but lucky invulnerable saves and poor shooting let them escape …except for the canoness, who rolled a 1 against an autocannon save and suffered instant death .. having escaped agaisnt a lascannon strike from the predator earlier! The thousand sons whittled the Sisters Repentia down to just two troops as they continued their advance.
Turn 6 – Sisters of Battle (CSM 1 Objectives, SoB 1 Objective)
Saint Evangeline rose from the grave and flew forward (with a full three wounds on the D3 roll), while the sisters ambled forward with appalling difficult terrain rolls. The remaining Evangelists opened fire on the havocs, before charging into close combat. To the south the sisters from the rhino moved to bolster their colleagues to hold their objective, slightly slowed by the craterous remains of the immolator. The retributors failed their Act of faith test, and their shots bounced off the predator.
Turn 7 – Thousand Sons (CSM 0 Objectives, SoB 1 Objective)
In possibly the sneakiest move I have ever seen on a 40k battlefield, the Thousand sons threw the dice to try to level the score. The predator took aim at the immobilsed and weaponless exorcist in the centre of the table … Why? To hope for a vehicle explodes, and do enough to the battle sisters to force them to flee! This was duly done … and if not for successful morale rolls, the Thousand sons would have, at the least, forced a draw. Several more thousand sons died against Evangeline, and it looked hopeless for the sons of Magnus.
Turn 7 – Sisters of Battle (CSM 0 Objectives, SoB 1 Objective)
The repentia squad rushed into close combat, and out of spite for their actions on the defiler and dreadnaught, the Thousand Sons cut them down, ignoring the living Saint. The Celestians finished off the havocs, while the Retributors failed to finish off the predator. It still left the SoB in control of an objective, while the living Saint had pulled the Thousand Sons off their own!
Outcome – Sisters of Battle Victory! (CSM Objectives 0, SoB Objectives 1)
The Sisters played well, and the Chaos had some truly unfortunate rolls. Still, the main mistakes were forgetting about the raptors, and accidentally assuming the havocs could hold the Chaos objective, forcign a rearrangement that tied up a powerful unit. The game could easily have swung the other way with a slightly different initial deployment. Great fun for both sides, and more exploding tanks than I’ve seen before! It was like a fireworks display! Other thoughts are melta bombs are rubbish, as when you need them against dreadnaughts or defilers, they really don’t help with that roll of 6 needed to hit with the single attack!
Amazing the difference the smaller table makes too – weaponry becomes much more lethal, as range becomes less of a factor.