This was a 1,750 point game, helping out friends who are preparing for a tournament in the near future.
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HQ: Ahriman, "Herihor" Sorcerer in Terminator armour (inferno combi-bolter, force stave, familiar, Helm of the Third Eye relic, Warlord)
ELITES: Tzaangor Shaman (paid 1 CP for second relic, Dark Matter Crystal), Helbrute with Plasma, Sekhmet Cabalx5 (Soulreaper, Sorc w/ force stave&inferno combi)
TROOPS: Rubricsx10 (Soulreaper, sorc w/ force stave&pistol), Rubricsx10 (Soulreaper, sorc w/ force stave&pistol), Tzaangorsx20 (Tzaangor weapons)
FAST: Tzaangor Enlightenedx6 (Greatbows)
HEAVY: "Tantabus" Sicaran Venator (lascannon sponsons)
102 reserve points (Honestly, wasn't sure what to bring here. Rhino didn't fit thematically, didn't have another 10 Tzaangors painted, decided to leave open for demon summoning)
Warlord trait: High magister (+1 casting)
Spells: Ahriman (Prescience (+1 hit), Glamour of Tzeentch (-1 to be hit), Weaver of Fates (+1 invuln or 5++), Herihor (Death Hex (no invuln, Doombolt (d3 MW, half movement), Shaman (Warptime (move again)), Sekhmet (Diabolic Strength (+2 Str, +1 Atk), Rubric 1 (Boon of Mutation (roll on boon table), Rubric 2 (Temporal Manipulation (heal d3 wounds))
(NOTE!: I believe I cheated by taking Warptime on the Shaman, as he shouldn't have access to that discipline. However, I could have swapped with Rubric 2 and not had any change in effect, as they both hung out very close to each other all game)
CP: 6 -1 (second relic)
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Don't recall the detachments, but he had 5 CP, so probably two elite ones, or somethin'. Didn't really look that close at his list.
Not very specific on wargear, will note where possible
HQ: Primaris Captain in Gravis armour (Warlord, Salamanders relic and Warlord trait), regular Captain in cataphractii, Primaris Lieutenant
ELITES: Terminators x5 (assault cannon), Primaris Aggressorsx3 (Flamestorm cannons), Sternguardx5
TROOPS: Primaris Reiverx5, Primaris Reiverx5 (dunno if these are troops or not), Primaris Intercessors (autobolt rifles)
HEAVY: Repulsor with all the assault cannon dakka, Land Raider Redeemer (multi-melta)
TRANSPORT: Drop Pod (storm bolter, for the sternguard)
Deployment: Search and Destroy
He got first turn after finishing deploying first and us rolling a tie for first turn. I did not attempt to steal the initiative (honestly, I forgot to even try).
The board was a set of ruins, overgrown with lush vegetation, both the ruins and the various vegetation terrain pieces blocked line of sight, giving some very favorable line of sight blocking venues to advance through.
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Salmanders: (Termies in Redeemer, Aggressors in Repulsor, sternguard in drop pod, cataphractii captain in teleport, both reivers in hidden deployment) He moved the Repulsor behind some vegetation, blocking LoS to my entire army, but left the Redeemer relatively exposed, slightly behind his lines. Since I was able to cover my back lines by having a crafty Ahriman deep behind my Sicaran Venator, there was no opportunity to deep strike behind my lines. Both reiver squads too commanding positions on the top of buildings to my left flank and in the center. The intercessors, supported by the Lt moved up into the center building. Both reivers fired at the Tzaangors, which were deployed as my spearhead, but nothing else had a venue to fire. Only 3 died (good 5++ saves), but I then promptly rolled a 6 for morale, losing 2 more.
TSons: Objectives: Defend 5 (left flank, rubricae were just shy after moving), Defend 6 (Helbrute moved onto it), Harness the Warp (definitely got d3 on this one), Asassinate, Area Denial (Reivers in center), and a 6th I don't remember 'cause I discarded it.
On the left flank, I moved the Rubrics towards the reivers and drove the tank up to get line of sight on his Redeemer. The Tzaangors, shaman and enlightened all moved to the right flank to put pressure on the intercessors and Lt. Ahriman remained stationary. Herihor and the Sekhmet deep struck in the far corner on my left flank, exactly 24" away from the Repulsor (Note: They MAY have been within 9" of the Reivers in the building on that flank, as we both forgot to pay attention to them, but as the reivers were on the top floor, it was likely still outside 9"). In addition, I used the Dark Matter Crystal to pull the Tzaangors from one side of my Shaman to the other, in perfect charge range of the intercessors and Lt. Ahriman used a command point for Sorcerous pacts,summoning in a 20-body unit of horrors into the back field (10 Pink/10 Brimstones, 100 points). This provided rear field coverage to protect against the drop pod and let Ahriman move forward in further turns to keep up with the tank.
Ahriman poured all 3 powers into the Sicaran Venator, the Shaman warp timed the Tzaangors (note, the Rubricae squad was also within range, as the 3" range was increased to 9", thanks to Thousand Sons), Herihor doom bolted and smited the repulsor (the reivers at the top of the building were out of LoS). Finger pistols went every which way. Shooting was largely uneventful. Knocked the center reiver squad to 1 model (losing me first blood and Area Denial). The Sekhmet and Herihor fired on the Repulsor, doing a remarkable 4 wounds with inferno combi-bolters and a soulreaper cannon, bringing it down to 9. The Sicaran Venator hit with the main cannon but utterly failed to wound the Redeemer (3d6 against Ld9: 2, 2, 1), so only managed to put 3 wounds on with a lascannon. The 15 man Tzaangor unit charged the intercessors and Lieutenant, taking 1 casualty in overwatch. They then promptly bounced off them (much to my surprise, considering their performance in my league games with 10). They were then whittled down to 1 (casualties and morale).
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Salamanders: The Repulsor moved in on the Sekhmet and Herihor, it being slowed thanks to Doombolt. The Redeemer pushed the right flank to deal with the Tzaangor threat while his Primaris captain milled about the back field, moving towards the center building at a leisurely pace. The drop pod came down on the right flank, also to put pressure on the Tzaangors. The enlightened took the brunt of the firepower, losing 3 of their 6.
The Repulsor offloaded the entirety of it's 3 billion weapons at the Sekhmet, doing a whopping total of ZERO wounds with everything except the twin-lascannon (which killed two). Losing only 2 models from all of that firepower was through stunning luck on my part, passing a whole lot of 2+ saves. There were no charges, however the last Tzaangor was slain, keeping the intercessors far enough back that I could claim Area Denial in my turn.
TSons: Objectives: Defend 5, Area Denial, Assassinate.
With the Repulsor exposed, my Sicaran Venator was able to remain stationary to pour firepower into it. Ahriman moved forward to consolidate his position with the tank. The Tzaangors still on the right flank fell back into the building for cover, the Enlightened getting a bead on the remaining Reiver in the center field. The Rubricae on both flanks were largely just firefighting into the buildings, doing token wounds, here and there, cover negating much of the high AP firepower. The Sicaran Venator was able to finish off the Repulsor with the Sekhmet's help, but it took the entirety of its firepower (the main cannon only did 4 wounds). The aggressors were able to get out with no further firepower coming their way. The Enlightened were able to finish the last Reiver, giving me Area Denial (but only the 6" range, not 12"). The Helbrute failed to damage the intercessors, still taking cover in the building.
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Salamanders: The right flank consolidated all their firepower to wipe out the remaining Tzaangor Enlightened and begin to pick off the rubricae in the building. The left flank saw the three agressors get in range of the sekhmet, laying into them with 6d6 automatic hitting flamer shots. Unfortunately for him, my Sekhmet were, once again, on point, taking only ONE wound from the furious firestorm. His unfortunate lack of long ranged firepower limited his capability to reach out and do serious damage to me.
TSons: Objectives: Assassinate (I foolishly did not discard this on my previous turn, as I had a chance to warp time bomb my Helbrute into his Lt this turn).
With the Redeemer now exposed on the right flank, my tank backed up, getting a bead on the Land Raider while my Helbrute broke out, away from Objective 6 to try for the bomb on his Lt. The rubricae on the left flank were joined by the pink horrors, supporting them against the Reivers while the Rubricae moved around to get shots off on the aggressors. Sadly, the tank, once again, only did 4 wounds with the big cannon on the Land Raider, overall firepower dropping it to 8 wounds. I wiped out 2 aggressors with shooting, and decided to challenge the overwatch and charge the last one with my Sekhmet and Herihor (who had periled, dropping him to 2 wounds remaining, so it was a big risk). At the same time, the Helbrute warp time bomb did work, getting it into range to charge the Lt and the Intercessors (hoping to lock them up and maybe keep them to protect the helbrute). With 4d6 auto-hits in overwatch, he got one more wound, killing the third Sekhmet (but no more). My Sekhmet sorcerer dropped the aggressor with a well timed strike of his force stave. Sadly, the Helbrute was not so lucky, only getting a single strike in for 3 wounds, failing to kill the Lt. It was left alone, in the middle of his entire right flank. I chose to discard assassinate at this point.
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Salamanders: With the left flank lost (he had 3 reivers left, still in the building), his right flank spent nearly their entire firepower bringing the Helbrute down, even bringing the terminators from the Redeemer out. It went down hard, with the few remaining shots going into the Rubricae.
TSons: New Objectives: Secure 2 (right in the middle of my deployment) , Secure 1 (his side of center), Secure 3 (deep in his deployment), Defend 4 (in the middle of his right flank forces), Power of the Cabal (1 VP for every 2 powers cast in one turn)
My tank remained stationary, aiming to finish off the Redeemer, while the rest of my forces consolidated on their targets. I finished off the Reivers on the left flank, giving me total dominion of that side of the board, but leaving my Sekhmet and Herihor stranded (thank Tzeentch for +6" on psychic power range!). I whittled the Intercessors in the central building down to 1 and wiped out the sternguard, but that remaining model protected his characters. The Sicaran Venator obliterated the Redeemer, the main cannon finally managing to roll high, doing 11 wounds on the tank, removing it from play.
Power of the Cabal proved to be the game changing objective, as I was falling a shade behind on objectives, despite systematically dismantling his army. I was able to successfully manifest 8 of my 9 total attempts, getting 4 victory points.
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Salamanders: To his credit, he pushed on, despite losing much of his forces. His warlord was finally in a position to push through the central building, but was just a shade too far to do anything, yet, so he supported the terminators with the Lt, while the cataphractii captain attempted to push up against the rubricae in the building. While he had a combi-grav to do some damage, he was unable to get within range of a charge up the building. He did whittle down the horror unit, dropping most of the brimstones, but was unable to do any more than token damage on the rest of my forces.
TSons: Objectives: Secure 1, Secure 3, Defend 4.
I critically neglected to pay attention to the turn number, as I was nowheres near a linebreaker push, still didn't have Slay the Warlord and lost First Blood early on. Herihor, my Sekhmet and the Tzaangor shaman (on a disc, so 12" move) made a break for his deployment, now that he moved to abandon it. I would be lucky to get there on turn 6 with some runs. I was able to drop the intercessor protecting his characters, but his cataphractii captain, who was out of line of sight, prevented me from aiming the Sicaran Venator at his Warlord, who was just a bit further away. instead, I threw the firepower at his terminators, only killing one. His Lt, however, was not protected from the forward position of his shaman, who blasted a force bolt through the window of the building, taking his head clean off.
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Salamanders: With only the Terminators, two captains and a drop pod remaining, he had a quick turn, consolidating the Terminators in the central building and charging forward with both characters. His Primaris captain had a long bomb 10" charge to make it up the building to the Rubricae, and his cataphractii captain had an 8-9" charge (we weren't exact, but it didn't matter). He managed to pull out an 11 on his Primaris captain's charge, but only rolled a 7 on his cataphractii captain. This left the Primaris captain forward and alone. However, he made a showing for himself, killing all remaining Rubricae except the sorcerer, who failed to damage him back. I fortunately passed my morale check with a 2.
TSons: Objectives: Secure 1, Defend 4.
Herihor, the Sekhmet and the Tzaangor shaman continued to move towards his deployment, however both ended shy by about 1-2" (the shaman, at least, landed on objective 1 for that). The Sicaran Venator pulled back, drawing a bead on the captain in the building, guided by Ahriman. True to the tank's reputation, the main cannon simply removed the captain from existence, doing 9 damage with the main cannon, granting me Slay the Warlord in the process.
The final score was 13-11 in favour of the Thousand Sons, all thanks to Power of the Cabal (in more ways than one, it seems!)
My old all-stars, the Tzaangors, utterly failed to be anything more than a distraction carnifex, which disappointed me, but, in turn, the Sekhmet Cabal terminators absorbed an unholy amount of firepower. I'd say my opponent's biggest weakness was a complete lack of both long ranged anti-tank firepower, and decent mid-level AP firepower to deal with the Rubricae and Sekhmet Cabal, which almost always had a 2+ save against his firepower. My Sicaran Venator was left completely alone to harass his Land Raiders with utter impunity. I'm super glad I have a second Sicaran Venator to build and paint!