28 November 2012

Battle of Cherbull – Coulda, Woulda, Shoulda

The opening statement in this post-mortem aftermath discussion should be that this was an awesome game. We had big tanks, big explosions, lots of combat (some heroic, some not so) – we even had a flying dragon and zombies! Big thank you to Bull.

I had devised a list of evilness, talked the talk in my pre-game banter, and now had to stand up and dish out the pub kicking that I'd promised. But I was not facing the army I had expected.

Bull's Dark Angels

To start with, Bull had thrown a spanner or two into the works, which was great. His list – which he admitted was more characterful than killer – was not quite what I had predicted. The Terminators and Land Raider made sense on paper, given that Belial was leading. I had mentioned them briefly in my pre-game thoughts but I did not really expect to see any Terminators… not really. The Lascannon Razorback was something that I had also dismissed over time but could return to haunt me. What it meant was that there were less enemy models on the board but all of them were a real threat.

Heldrake enters the fray

In a similar vein my list gave Bull a couple of unknowns. He would be experiencing a Flyer for the first time and all that entails (as would I). On paper the Heldrake seemed almost game changing and could cause him no end of trouble (or at least that was the plan). The Zombies, whilst very characterful, were more a novelty addition. On paper they seem quite weak and Bull's list had the firepower to kill them easily. Alas, he engaged them in combat on Turn 2. He has since criticised himself for this. In fairness, if he hadn't engaged them when he did, they certainly would have charged into him next turn, doubling the incoming attacks. The only thing he could have done was find a different way to get rid of the Obliterators, which were his true target.

At the end of the day I claimed the victory, so talk of ifs, buts and maybes seems a little redundant from my perspective. Still, there is always a lesson to be learned and I do like my statistics, so I have asked the questions a general must ask himself and pored over the data for each unit. Apologies if it's a little self-indulgent!

Would I change my list?
I can't say that I would to be honest. I eeked out every last point of the 1500 available, so in order to get the one thing I did need more of – Obliterators – some other aspect would suffer significantly.

I could have removed their Mark of Nurgle, taken the Extra Armour off my Rhinos and found room for a third, plain Obliterator perhaps. However, the Armour saved a Rhino on Turn 1 and Toughness 5 Obliterators lasted longer against the Lightning Claw Deathwing than they would have, had they been T4. They would also have been instant killed with a Power Fist. That in turn would have meant the Zombies had more Deathwing Terminators to deal with and that whole combat could have swung in favour of the Imperials.

That's not to say I will take the same list next time…!


Would I change my deployment?
Not really, I think it worked out in the end. The only thing I may do differently would be to deploy Typhus and the Terminators in with the Obliterators and Zombies. However, having them in reserve did mean I could drop them where they were needed most, even if this did expose them for a while.

What would I have done differently?
I would have made a more concerted effort to take out the Vindicator earlier on. It became a real thorn in my backside and prevented me claiming a second objective that was there for the taking. I've learned in this game that the chances of destroying a vehicle in one hit is unlikely. You're much more likely to kill a vehicle by removing its Hull Points with multiple glancing hits. Expecting the Heldrake to take out the Vindicator in one turn wasn't reasonable, without something else softening it up first.


Man/Unit of the Match?
I think it has to be the Zombies! I was expecting them to die easily and leave the Obliterators exposed. What actually happened was that they helped the Obliterators last longer than they might (and visa versa). Thanks to their sheer weight of numbers, they helped tie up 400 points worth of enemy and took down the Deathwings' beloved leader. Had Bull taken a Heavy Flamer in his Deathwing Unit he could have taken out half the unit in one hit! Scary.

The only issue I have is that in order to field these guys I HAVE to take Typhus. Costing almost as much as a Landraider in points, that's quite an investment.

Damage Taken: 24 zombies lost (approx. 100pts)
Kills: 3 Deathwing Terminators and Belial (approx. 315pts)

Wooden Spoon?
All the units in the army did reasonably well. I didn't lose a lot (really) – A Rhino, 2 Obliterators, 3 Terminators, half a dozen Plague Marines and two dozen Zombies – but was anyone dragging their feet? The only unit that didn't contribute a lot to the cause was the unpainted Plague Marine unit. They were blown out of their Rhino on Turn 2 then sat near objective and were hit by the Vindicator for two turns. They didn't kill anything, despite a couple of rounds of shooting, ending the game below half strength.

Damage Taken: 4 Marines and a Rhino lost (approx. 145pts)
Kills: 0


What about the Big Fella?
He arrived in a very prompt fashion and managed to land where I wanted him to. A good start. He cast a Malediction spell to impede the nearby Deathwing Terminators which seemed to help and survived a round of shooting and a couple of rounds of combat unhurt. Once he got his mojo going he was devastating, showing us a glimpse of what is to come. He rolled up 8 hits against the Chaplain, who failed 4 of them, so he can certainly dish out a beating. His Boon Table roll game him re-rolls to wound – this would have made him even more deadly had there been anyone else to fight! Looking forward to seeing more of this guy in the future. His points cost may mean that he isn't present at every battle, but that only reflects the nature of his lofty status.

Damage Taken: 2 wounds
Killed: 2x Command Unit marines, Interrogator Chaplain

Other Stats…
The rest of the army looks something like this:

Killed: 1x Command Unit marines, 1 wound off Interrogator Chaplain
Damage Taken: wiped out
Effectiveness: Took hits to shield Typhus, otherwise in deficit

Plague Marine unit 2 (secured Objective marker)
Killed: 2x Command Unit marines, Imobilised Venerable Dread
Damage Taken: 2 dead 
Effectiveness: Positive

Killed: Hull Points off Vindicator and Speeder, 5-man Tactical Squad
Damage Taken: survived untouched
Effectiveness: Pretty even with points cost

Killed: 2x Deathwing Terminators, Hull Point off Land Raider
Damage Taken: wiped out 
Effectiveness: Held up the Terminators, otherwise in deficit

Killed: Hull Points off Vindicator, Speeder and Razorback
Damage Taken: 2 Hull Points lost (should have been 3 and dead)
Effectiveness: Kept Vindicator occupied, otherwise even with cost

What's Next?
As Bull pointed out in his battle report, this game represented an initial surgical strike by the Nurgle forces to eliminate the Dark Angel leadership. That mission is now complete and it's time to move on to take the rest of the planet. Belial may be down but he's surely not out. He may need time to recover but he'll be back before this campaign is done. Can the Dark Angel's at the outpost on Cherbull hold out until reinforcements (i.e. a new codex) arrive to save them?


  1. Great report and post game analysis. Thanks!

    You brought up several things I hadn't noticed. Forge/Maulerfiends having Daemonic Possession is nice. I was thinking of picking up a Mfiend, and the protection against stun makes that more tempting. I had also forgotten Typhus could deep strike in his terminator armor. That's a fun idea.

    Plague zombies were certainly longer lived than expected when I played them as well. They eventually took out a 4 plasma cannon dev squad, but it took many fight sub-phases. They are an excellent tar pit.

    1. The biggest thing I learned, as mentioned, was that I'm not scared of vehicles dropping to a single high strength shot. It's the multiple glancing hits that will stop you dead (literally) in your tracks.

      The cover/daemonic save, combined with daemonic possession, meant that I usually ignored the effects of shots that did go through.

  2. Some fine looking pieces on that table Templar. Great batrep as well. Really like the way you've set up your sidebar too.

    1. I'm afraid there were quite a few unpainted models on my side of the board, which is rather embarrassing. Bull always fields a fully painted army – he paints so quickly!

  3. Great report and run down afterwards. Can't wait for the next one!

    1. We're hoping to get the next chapter in either before or over the Christmas break.

  4. I do like a post-mortem, but I have a sneaky feeling that Master Bull will be already plotting his revenge!

    1. Yes, this Dark Angel army was a bit of novelty list so I'm quite wary of what will be awaiting me on my next visit to Bull's!

  5. Agreed on the batrep dissection here. Never been that detailed for my reports, but it was really interesting to see this and how effective some units were. I think over time you could really see what units are doing so well, and others that do not work. Great work on this! Thanks for posting this up!

    1. I'm a bit of an after-game stats geek when it comes to sports, xbox, etc. so I couldn't help myself, haha!

      I do think, as you say, it will help inform me of the effectiveness of individual units going forward and help me use them better.

  6. I don't know very much about 40k, but it was a great read, and I like the idea of a post mortem after the game has finished I may pinch that idea for our next game.

    1. Ah Ray, the post-mortem is always the best bit, sitting around after the game with a cup of tea (or beer) re-living the dramatic bits.

      I have tried to keep in mind my non-40k-playing viewers when writing this recent stuff but hoping to make the next one even easier to follow.