Today I played an exceptional game of Warhammer 40k with a friend in preparation for a GT we’re both attending in 2 weeks. This was his first game with a chess clock, and my first game with a chess clock in a long time, so we were both definitely feeling a bit of pressure from the time constraint, but that really just added to the tension.
I was playing pure Grey Knights. Why, you ask? Because I’m a masochist and I like the challenge. My friend was playing Necrons, and we were both playing variations on lists we’ve been working a lot on recently.
My List – Battalion and a Vanguard
Brother Captain – WARLORD, Nemesis Daemon Hammer, Psycannon, First to the Fray – Vortex of Doom
Grand Master Voldus – Sanctuary, Astral Aim, Gate of Infinity
Lord Kaldor Draigo – Hammerhand, Purge Soul
3x 5-man Strike Teams – Justicars with Halberds, 3 Strike Marines with Falchions, 1 Strike Marine with Psycannon – Gate of Infinity
10-man Paladin Squad – Paragon with Daemon Hammer, 7x Paladins with Nemesis Force Halberds, 2x Paladins with Nemesis Warding Staves, all with Stormbolters – Hammerhand
10-man Paladin Squad – Paragon with Daemon Hammer, 7x Paladins with Nemesis Force Halberds, 2x Paladins with Nemesis Warding Staves, all with Stormbolters, Sanctuary
Paladin Ancient – Psycannon, Banner of Refining Flame – Astral Aim
Apothecary – Nemesis Daemon Hammer – Gate of Infinity
My Opponent’s List
2x 10-man Warrior unit
10-man Immortal Unit – Tesla
6x Canoptek Wraiths
2x 5 Scarabs
2x Doomsday Arks
3x Doom Scythes
I don’t actually know his exact organisation of this list. I know the Wraiths were in their own detachment for -1 CP so that he could use a different trait that would let them use a strategem to fight twice, and the rest was able to advance and fire heavy weapons as if they were assault. I’m not as well versed in Necrons as I probably should be.
My opponent’s necron list is really fast and has a lot of tricks. It’s also a pretty good counter to my list as those Doom Scythes can spend 1 CP and do 3d3 mortal wounds to units within 3″ of a point they can see. He has to roll a 4+ to do it, but he can command reroll it if he wants, and Grey Knights don’t handle unsavable wounds well. I knew this was going to be a hard game going in.
ITC Mission 2. In this mission there is one objective in the center of the table, and we each place 1 objective in our own deployment zones. The bonus point comes from holding both the center objective and our opponent’s objective at the end of our own player turn.
For secondaries I chose Big Game Hunter, King Slayer, rand Old School. He had several vehicles that I had to deal with if I wanted to stay in the game at all. If he was able to drop his mortal wound strategem from his planes more than once I would have a really bad time so they had to die early. Kingslayer was because his warlord had 6 wounds, so I could score 4 points for killing 1 model, and I knew he’d want to come right at me to keep me from turtling behind my ruins and killing a unit/turn with astral aim, so deepstriking paladins behind his warlord and picking up an easy kill seemed feasible. Old school is just a good secondary in general, if you’re sure you can kill a unit in the first turn. Killing 10 immortals might be iffy, but he had 2 units of warriors and only 1 Ghost Ark so I figured there was an easy kill to pick up in turn 1.
My opponent chose Marked for Death on my 3 Strike Teams and Voldus, Old School, and Behind enemy lines. He wanted to score points for the easy things to kill, which was a good call, and he knew he was going to come right at me and hoped to just sweep me off the table, so Behind Enemy Lines and Old School made sense.
We rolled off to determine deployment and I won, and proceeded to roll Hammer and Anvil. I chose my side, and my opponent let me deploy first.
Sorry about the blurry hand. I deployed all my paladins far forwards in my deployment but hidden behind a ruin since the first floor blocks line of sight, as per ITC standard. I also deployed Voldus, Draigo, my Apothecary, and my Ancient but each unit was spaced 6″ apart. I wasn’t worried about hiding them because there were no enclosed ruins on the table and my opponent wouldn’t be able to shoot them with anything that wasn’t fast enough to get behind their cover anyway, and the Paladins were screening to protect them from the rest of his shooting even though they were hidden. Odds are I would end up going first because of the mission. There’s no roll-off. My opponent would have to seize to stop me, and I needed to be able to get my paladins close enough to fire into his deployment zone even if I failed Gate of Infinity if I’d have any chance of getting a kill in the first turn.
He deployed far forwards as expected, ready to fly across the table to kick me in the face.
He rolled to seize but failed, so I went first.
I cast Astral Aim, Sanctuary, and Gate of Infinity from Voldus onto my paladins, but periled on the Gate of Infinity on a 12, so it went off but I took 2 Mortal Wounds for it. I’d accepted that I was probably going to lose Voldus on turn 1 since he was Marked for Death anyway, so I didn’t waste the CP to reroll it. I didn’t move the paladins far. I placed them all 23.5″ away from his unit of warriors so that they could all fire with Bolter Discipline and he’d have a hard time charging me with his Wraiths. I moved my Ancient onto my objective, and Draigo up behind one of the buildings in center. I popped Psybolt Ammunition to buff my Stormbolters to 40 S5 AP-1 shots ignoring cover and killed his warrior unit. I couldn’t bring any characters within 6″ to give myself rerolls or I knew I’d be taking extra mortal wounds in my turn, so it was close, but the unit went down.
At the end of my turn I scored hold something and kill something, as well as First Strike for Old School.
He flew the planes straight into my deployment zone and delivered his tesla immortals with the Cryptek. His 3d3 Mortal Wound strategem with the planes killed Voldus without even needing a reroll, and he then killed my Ancient off my objective with massed Tesla Fire. It was a devastating turn, but he’d made some mistakes.
He scored points for Hold, Hold More, Kill, Kill More, First Strike in Old School, and Marked for Death from killing Voldus.
The score at the end of round 1 was 3 – 6 in his favour.
My friend flew his planes up the middle of the table instead of along an edge, so they had limited movement options for the next turn. Like most flyers they can only turn up to 90 degrees and they are obligated to move at least 20″. If he moved up the side of the table he could turn 90 degrees and move anywhere between 20 and probably 60 inches, but with only 20 – 30 inches on either side of the planes before reaching the end of the table it’s possible to make them autocrash, so that’s what I set out to do.
I brought in my reserves with all my strike marines spread out in coherency behind my second paladin unit (sorry I don’t have the models for that second unit finished yet; this list is a new creation), and with that I guaranteed the destruction of 2 planes. I cast Gate of Infinity on the Paladins who were already on the table with my Apothecary to put them along the near table edge in the picture. The furthest away plane still had room to maneuver, but would automatically crash on turn 3. That wasn’t good enough for me for some reason. If I could make a 9″ charge with the original paladin unit into the immortals I would actually be able to move my models in such a way that only 1 paladin made it into combat, and the rest could move forward the 2″ they had to to be close enough to force the second plane to autocrash.
I advanced Draigo backwards onto my deployment objective so I’d at least score something, but then realized I’d also made a mistake. I wasn’t guaranteeing a kill during my own turn. I had 2 options at that point. I could shoot at the immortals and kill them, but that would mean I couldn’t make a charge to move my paladins to autocrash his Doom Scythe, or I could try to shoot the Doom Scythe to death and then still have the Immortals to charge with the reroll from my Warlord afterwards for my second kill of the turn. This would be a gamble because I could fail to kill the Doom Scythe, and I could fail the charge and end up killing nothing, but I decided to go for it.
I fired all my stormbolters and Psycannons into the Doom Scythe and smited it 4x, plus a Purge Soul from Draigo. I even popped Psybolt Ammunition on the newly deployed unit of paladins but they completely whiffed and the Doom Scythe survived with 3 wounds. I then failed the 9″ charge with a CP reroll, rerolled a 2 into a 2 for an 8 when I needed 9. I did score a point for holding my objective, but that was it, and the third Doom Scythe would survive.
On his turn he advanced the Canoptek Wraiths and popped a strategem to still allow them to charge. His Doom Scythe moved to the only place it could, but the other 2 died. His immortals and Doom Scythe killed 2 of my paladins from the original unit so I pulled the warding staves because they weren’t super useful for this matchup. He shot and killed my warlord with his Doomsday arks because he was furthest forward in the line of paladins along the right side of the table in the picture in the hopes I’d be able to still give my paladins their reroll charges after Gating them back up the table. He charged Draigo with Wraiths, and Draigo killed 2, but they fought again for 3 CP, so he fought when he died for 1CP, and killed a third.
He moved his Warlord and a unit of scarabs onto the center objective and left the second unit of scarabs in cover in his deployment objective.
He scored Kill, Hold, Hold More, and the bonus point since I had no objectives anymore and his wraiths were on my deployment objective. He also scored Slay the Warlord, and Behind Enemy Lines. I scored 2 Big Game Hunters when his planes crashed. We both killed 2 even though I didn’t actually get the point for killing 1 during my own turn, so we tied for number of units destroyed.
The score was 6 – 12 in his favor and while he’d suffered some losses it looked like he’d be running away with it. I didn’t have many units left to contest the table.
I moved my paladins and strike teams forwards, and repositioned my original unit of paladins to get ready to charge. I could ignore the Doom Scythe as it was guaranteed to autocrash in the next turn since he’d flown it into a corner, which had nothing to do with me. Where he placed that plane in his first turn when he flew it up the table it was already guaranteed to fly off the table on turn 3 even if I hadn’t tried to force it to go down early.
With smites and shooting I killed his Immortals and Cryptek, and my original unit of paladins buffed with Hammerhand dove into his Wraiths and killed enough that they held my objective instead of him. They couldn’t kill the whole unit because 2 of the ones Draigo had killed got back up when he used the reanimation protocols, so they really just brought them back down to 3. The Doom Scythe flying off the table would be my third kill this turn, and I left things pretty well hidden from his Arks. I did lose a couple bases of paladins in CC with the wraiths but nothing to force leadership.
On his turn 2 more of my Paladins died in CC with his Wraiths and he killed 4 strike marines from 1 unit but couldn’t finish them off so he didn’t actually kill a unit either. He also lost 2 more of his Wraiths, leaving him at 1.
I scored Kill, Kill More, and Hold. I also scored my third Big Game Hunter for his third plane flying off the table. He scored Hold and hold more as well as Behind Enemy Lines for the plane and wraiths starting the turn in my deployment zone.
The score was 10 – 15, and I was starting to pull it back.
On Turn 4 I had the lonely Strike Marine Gate of Infinity my second paladin unit to 23.5″ away from his second warrior unit and popped Psybolt Ammunition to kill them. I hid the poor little guy in a ruin so that he couldn’t be focused down from across the table for an easy marked for death point. The other 2 Strike teams (who I advanced to keep out of line of sight) and the original paladin unit smited the last Wraith to death and the second unit of paladins cast Sanctuary on themselves to eat the return fire from the Doomsday Arks.
He had a Ghost Ark come back into my deployment zone to finish off the lonely strike marine. Sorry I didn’t get a picture of that one.
He scored Kill, Hold, and Hold More. He also got a Marked for Death for killing the strike marine. I scored Kill, Kill More, and Hold. The score was 13 – 19.
My Original paladin unit (who were now down to 3 models) moved up through their ruin and left the strike teams behind to hold the objective. The Apothecary went with them. One of the strike teams cast Gate of Infinity on my second paladin unit so they could cut across the table to the opposite side of the center objective.
The massed Stormbolter fire knocked the scarabs down to 1 model, and the Apothecary started off the charge phase strong with a 8″ charge into the Doomsday Ark and the enemy warlord. My original paladins followed up with an easy charge and the newer paladins dogpiled in after them. He rolled hot on some quantum shielding rolls so the Ark only took 3 wounds but the Warlord dropped fast and the scarab died.
He fell back with the Doomsday Ark and put it on top of the ruin behind it and fired into the paladins but couldn’t destroy the unit. The Ghost Ark whiffed pretty hard trying to kill a second strike team in my deployment zone.
I scored Kill, Kill More, Hold, and Hold More. I also scored max points this turn for King Slayer since his warlord died, and slay the warlord for Old School. He only scored 1 point for holding his deployment objective.
The score was 22 – 19, with Grey Knights taking the lead with a massive turn.
On turn Six my Apothecary (who had a hammer, again I have more models to build this list as WYSIWIG but didn’t get them done on time) finished off the Doomsday Ark with Hammerhand from the original Paladin unit.
The Original Paladin unit stayed on the center objective, and the Apothecary Gated the second paladin unit to my opponent’s deployment zone.
I didn’t shoot with my second paladin unit because he’d have pulled the scarabs off his objective, but I got lucky and made the 9″ charge onto his deployment objective. I wiped the scarabs and took the objective, scoring myself the bonus.
He advanced his remaining Doomsday Ark and tried to kill the strike teams from my deployment zone with the Ghost Ark but they just wouldn’t go down.
I scored Hold, Hold More, Kill, and Kill more. I also scored the bonus point, Last Strike, Line Breaker, and my last Big Game hunter for my Apothecary killing the Doomsday Ark. He scored Linebreaker.
The game finished 30 – 20 for the Grey Knights after trailing for 4 turns.
Lessons learned? Paladins are murder machines, and your opponents make just as many mistakes as you do if you take the time to look for them.
The biggest lesson is to always play to the mission and your objectives – no matter how dire the circumstances – because in competitive 40k every point counts.