Recently over the first weekend of May, a large number of Warhammer 40k player gathered up to Spokane Washington to participate in the annual Storm of Silence tournament at Gamer’s Haven. This was not my first trip up to visit Bob’s magnificent store in the Spokane Valley and it was once again a great event ran by a fantastic TO (Dan Winters). The event had roughly 50 players participate in it and it was one of the first ITC event to allow for the new Eldar Codex though the event had some slight alteration of the ITC rule-set as it did allow for re-rollable 2+ and unnerfed invisibility. I decided to take a new army concept that I have been scrounging up. It’s a new take on an old concept, Skitarii with Blood Angels. The event was 1,850 points and here is the list I took up:
Skitarii Maniple Detachment:
1x (10) Skitarii Vanguard (Warlord) with Arkhan’s Divinier, Omnispex, 3 Plasma Culiver and 7 Radium Carbine
5x (10) Skitarii Vanguard with Omnispex, 3 Arc Rifles and 7 Radium Carbines
1x (2) Vengeance Batteries with Quad Icarus Array
Flesh Tearer Detachment:
1x Sanguinary Priest with Auspex
1x (5) Sternguard Marines with 5 Combi-Grav in a Drop Pod
2x (5) Tactical Marines with Combi-Melta, Meltagun in a Drop Pod 6x (1) Drop Pod
The overall concept of the list is as you can obviously tell, a drop pod list. Effectively the Priest would ride with the Sternguard while the Skitarii will ride in the Fast Attack Drop Pods of the Blood Angels. The list has some obvious tricks and some not so obvious. One of the obvious tricks is the null deploy of the list with the 9 Drop Pods (5 on turn 1 and 4 in reserve) and that its effectively has some nasty shooting capability. Let me clarify for those who have no read or played against Skitarii, at the start of the shooting phase they can pick from a list of 6 unique Once per Game Doctrines. 3 of them impact ballistic skill and 3 of them impact weapon skill until their following shooting phase; 2 of +1 of either WS or BS, 2 of +2 of either WS or BS and -1 to the opposite and 2 of +3 of either WS or BS and -2 to the opposite. Which means on the turn the Skitarii come down, they can effectively gain BS 7 but WS 1 as their opening volley of fire. The combination of the accurate opening volley and their guns make for quite effective first turn shooting against many armies. Radium Carbines have an 18” Str 3 AP 5 Assault 3 and the Radium Poisoning rule (Any roll of a 6 to wound results in 2 wounds to target unit versus 1 no matter the toughness of the target) which effectively makes them great all target basic gun as the turn it lands it will have 21 highly accurate shots. The Arc Rifles are 24” Str 6 AP 5 Rapid Fire Haywire which makes them quite effective against any armored targets and can still bring some nasty punch to any Toughness values. The Plasma Culiver are 18” Str 7 AP 2 Assault 3 Gets Hot but due to the Skitarii automatically gaining Preferred Enemy, the gets hot is not all that worrying.
The Vanguard themselves have some cool attributes such as having Relentless, 6+ FNP, 4+ armor and lowering the toughness of any unit they are locked in combat with (couple with the BA Furious Charge can yield a bit of extra punch). The Arkhan’s Diviner was the cheapest of the relics (5pts) but has the greatest potential helpful yield due to it allowing that unit to reroll the mysterious terrain result and thus maximizing on the opportunity for Skyfire results. Finally, the last little trick in the list is that the Skitarii Maniple detachment grants all the models in the Detachment (not solely Skitarii faction) Scout and Crusader which applies to the Vengeance Batteries. Now I am sure that is probably an oversight but until the mechanic gets errata’ed differently, you can redeploy the Vengeance Batteries 12” before the game starts and if you were not aware fortication such as Buildings bought from your list are considered claimed which means they are scoring units.
Now off to my match ups at the Storm:
Round 1 against Vincent Price’s Imperial Knight with new Craftworld Eldar Army. His army contained an Adamantite Lance, a CAD Eldar with a Seer on Bike, 1 Unit of 9 Scatterbikes, 1 Unit of 3 Scatter biker and 2 Crimson Hunter. Vincent was not looking forward to our matchup for two reasons, I had a lot of Haywire Guns which can bypass his shield facings with smart placing of pods and because we are both competing for Agents of the Imperium Faction (WHERE IS THE ADEPTUS MECHANICUS FACTION Reece!). The mission was Kill Points primary and Objectives secondary. I won the dice roll for first turn and made Vincent go first. He deployed his Knights extremely by packing them into a corner and minimizing the angles and facing I can deep strike into. I had 1 objective next to one of the batteries and scouted the other battery to cover another objective during my deployment. Vincent had deployed too far to shoot at the batteries and chose to maintain his tight formation. On the drop I brought in 4 of my Arc Rifle Vanguards and 1 of the Melta Tactical Marine. The scatters were favorable as I stuck around in the midfield on objectives while still getting plenty of coverage of various different facing. I chose the BS 7 WS 1 Doctrine and waited to see how Vincent placed his Ion shields. First Volley from an Arc Rifle unit, all 6 Hits hits, all 6 Glance, Titanic Explosion, and stripped 1 HP from another knight. Second and Third Unit killed off the other knight and finally when the fourth Arc Rifle unit and the Melta Tactical squad fired at the last knight without his shield roll, managed to only strip him down to 2 hullpoints due to a cold roll on my part which made this a game as if I killed the lance on turn 1, would have tabled Vincent as he had reserved everything else. The rest of game was basically me collecting Maelstorm points and locking his big unit of Bikers in melee as they had perma invisibility they entire game. Vincent is always an awesome player to play against and even though this was the paper to his rock, he did win Best Imperial Knight at the end of the event though. Quick summary of what I learned in the game, Vanguard unit in combat with Jetbikes is not terrible as they lower their T to 3 and Vengeance Batteries really only need to force things to jink over trying to kill them.
Round 2 against a Craftworld Eldar army. His army contained a Wraithhost formation and a CAD Eldar. His CAD was a Farseer and 2 small Biker units but did not have scatter laser in it. He did however have 3 Serpents with 2 normal D-Cannons and 1 with D-Scythes. The Mission was Big Guns and Maelstorm secondary, I won the dice to make my opponent go first. He shuffled to cover some objectives and got first blood by popping 1 of the Batteries with a Wraithknight shot. My first turn coming down was basically holding the middle and focusing firepower into his Invis carrying Farseer Jetbike in one of the biker unit (he had cast invis on the knight instead) and killing his Wraithguard unit covering his maelstrom objective in no man’s land while maintaining distance from the D-Scythes and Knight. The Radium truly shined in that game as they basically oblirated everything they shot at this game. Pop the Transport and the Warlord’s Plasma Culevin and Radium did short work. The Sternguard I sent after the Wraithlord as he had infiltrated it with his warlord trait into my deployment zone. They did absolutely nothing with 10 Grav shots, (this would prove to be a trend the entire game). The game played out that I would deny him maelstrom with reserve pods and keep focusing down his wraithguard and bikers. On turn 2 I had killed all of the bikers and the D-Scythe Wraithguards. By turn 4 he had a full wounded Knight facing two thirds of my army by himself. He chose to hide in the corner and get linebreaker and we mutually called the game there. Quick summary of what I learned in the game, I don’t need to kill Wraithknights as much as minimizing their potential and killing everything else and Sternguards felt out of place in the army.
Round 3 was against Brian Haler’s Decurion Necrons. His army was the Reclamation with Zahndrek, 2 Flayed Ones Units, 1 Unit of Deathmarks and the Triarch Formation. The mission was Scouring primary and Maelstorm secondary. Brian is a budding competitive and experienced 40k player and the combination of the mission plus his army was going to prove very difficult for my army. He chose to go first and had overwhelming board presence with his vast unit count. Right off the bat, I knew that I couldn’t win Scouring with 6 Fast Attack drop pods against all the Gauss so I focused all of my efforts in denying Maelstorm and taking the lead in it. The sheer durability of all his units with Everliving and my lack of low AP weapon or Melee prowess meant that I had my work cut-out for me in killing any Necron unit outright. Turn 1 I decided to kill his Triarch stalker to lower their fire prowess (+1 BS) and remove the re-roll to hit and wound form the Triarch Praetorians (also give me First Strike) while the rest of my army created a wall of Drop Pods and focused down his Flayed Ones. The overall strategy of the game went well, I had secured an early lead in Maelstorm but I was haemorraging units quickly. By turn 4, I had 6 Drop Pods left, 3 Skitarii, 1 Vengeance and 5 Tactical Marines left but we had very few minutes left before we could start turn 5. We called it here with a perfect Draw. We ended with both 5-5. I will fully recognize that if we had enough time to get into turn 5, he had a strong chance to pull ahead depending on the Maelstorm he rolled. That game was brutal, I knew Decurion Necrons were tough to kill but man in the game I felt like I was shooting rubber bullets at a reinforced steel wall. Brian took Best Necron at the event and even played the winner at the top table.
Round 4 was against Joel Talley and his nasty Daemonkin Dog Spam army. It was focused around a CAD Daemonkin and the Blood Pack formation; he had 2 Lords on Juggers with Fist, Claw, Mark of Corruption, 4 big units of Dogs, 2 units of Cultists and 2 Heldrakes. I knew that game was going rough again due to the overall durability of the army. I want to point out that not only was the army durable but so is Joel. Joel is a very renowned and acclimated Warhammer player in the Pacific Northwest, the night before he had to go to the emergency room because he tripped in the shower and bruised his ribs. He showed up to the game ready to rumble and he delivered. I won the dice roll to make him go first and once again focused my entire game on Maelstorm over the primary mission. I split my forces on turn 1 focussing my Plasma Culevin and 2 Arc Rifle units on his right flank (but middle of the table) where 1 of my objectives was and my Sternguard and 1 Arc Rifle unit on his left flank to cover his home objectives. The left flank was sacrificial but he had to deal with them while the right flank forces had one mission and that was to kill his Warlord and his dogs. The combined firepower of the three units managed to kill all but 2 dogs and his Warlord, which also relieved some pressure on that flank. Also the Arkhan’s Diviner did its job and managed to roll a Skyfire Nexus. This proved amazing for then the Drakes came on the table. They arrived turn 2 and scorched alive the Warlord and most of his unit and 1 of the Arc Units. On my turn 2, with some luck I managed to blow off the gun from 1 of the Heldrake and used the Skyfire Nexus to kill the other drake which I think turned the tide of the game. As Joel army as this point was gaining FNP with the blood tithe, it became much harder to kill his units. I kept the left flank contested and harassed while reinforcing the right flank. On the top of turn 5 I had both the Primary, Secondary and Tertiary but Joel had some moves he could pull to change all that. He managed to kill off my contesting units on his home objective but failed a crucial charge to kill my last Skitarii claiming Linebreaker. The game ended on turn 5 with me having 6 to his 1 (or 0?). Quick summary, that Daemonkin list is nasty and makes a really competitive assault army. Joel took best Daemonkin at the event and even played his last round with his bruised up ribs.
Round 5 against Cody’s Tyranids. He had 3 Flyrants, 2 Crones, 2 Malanthrope, 1 Dimachaeron, 2 Units of Gaunts and 1 Unit of Rippers. The game was Crusade and a modified ITC Maelstorm (unique to Storm). I changed my strategy a bit for this game against Cody, mostly because I wasn’t at the top table and this was literally the 5th game I had with the army. I chose to go first because I wanted to see if the sheer alpha strike power of the army was enough to be functional in later turn if I was forced to go first. Cody deployed smart by keeping his Flyrants in the back but toe in cover and putting his Dimachaeron in the front with both Crones and malanthrope. He castled in the same piece of terrain with his entire deployed army. Turn 1 I chose to deploy 3 Arc Rifles, Plasma Culevin and the Sternguard with the Priest. I covered the middle of the board but created a “U shaped” wall around his army. The Priest lowered the cover of the Dimachaeron as any of the Flyrants would force me to drop off the objective and too close to his face eating monsters. The army took BS7 WS1 and the Plasma Culevin opened on the Dimachaeron and with Preferred Enemy and -2 to cover, the Dima was executed. The Sternguard and 1 of the Arc Rifle Unit took out one of the Crone while the other Arc Rifle unit dropped the other Crone to 1 wound. After that first turn of effective shooting, I clenched for the Electrogrub and Crone flamer template deaths. But by turn 3, Cody only had his 3 Flyrants alive (one had 1 wound left and the warlord had 3 left). Cody played for Linebreaker and the game ended on turn 5. Quick Summary, thank the Omnissiah for Omnispex and Auspex. Cody took Best Tyranids at the event.
When the dust settled from the last games, we had a Best Overall Ork army and me with my Skitarii/BA in second place with Best General. For their very first outing and my experiment with them, I couldn’t be happier. All my opponents were great and I can’t wait to take them to Guardian Cup Ocho in a few days with some adjustments made to the list. I definitely liked the Vengeance Batteries as great backfield scoring unit and making people consider Jinking. I don’t think I need the Sternguard in the list at all. And with the potential of 3 Sources being alive in ITC, I have many options to play with.
Thank you with putting up with this long and dry text wall. I will try to get back to as many comments as I can.