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Subject: Ambush at the Airfield - 1000 points Necrons vs Astra Militarum (with spoilered pictures!)
So, the third game in 8th was coming up (we had played a game on the kitchen table between Necrons and Ultramarines, and forgot to take pictures!) and I had lost two for two. As proud as I was for my girlfriend, the hammer of the Imperium was faltering! As I considered how to reclaim some honour, I noted how she had won her games against me both times through the Underdog rule - in the case of a draw, she would win.
So, when we agreed to play a 1000 point game after her birthday haul of models arrived, I knew exactly how to remove that advantage.
Fitting with the birthday theme, I decided to field a model I'd been given for my birthday earlier - an Imperial Knight Paladin. This was it's first game, the same as a Vindicare Assassin hot off the painting press. The rest of the list was spend trying to cram as many of my guardsmen in to swamp the Necron hordes: I ended up getting two Company Commanders, a Primaris Psyker, two Infantry Squads with plasma guns, two Infantry Squads with lascannons, my Tempestor Prime, and two squads of Scions accompanying him, with volley guns and plasma guns accordingly. The quantum shielding on the Necron vehicles had largely dissuaded me from the high-Damage weaponry, favouring more shots at medium Damage. The Knight's RFBC would be great at this, and the lascannons would be more used to superkill targets of opportunity. I'd learnt from the first game that I should use the Scions more aggressively to expose weakness, and would use them to shore up gaps where my Knight wasn't, and supporting the poor guardsmen.
The Necron list had really doubled down on vehicles, in contrast to mine. Alongside the Overlord, Warriors and Scarabs of the previous list, a unit of Triarch Praetorians with voidblades would fill the melee fighter category, with the Annihilation Barge making a return to wipe out guardsmen. As my girlfriend well knew, the Barge was incredibly effective against my basic troops, and hadn't hesitated to take it again. Instead of taking a Doomsday Ark, she took a second Barge, and supported the Praetorians with a Triarch Stalker. A Destroyer rounded off the list, as the only thing aside from the Stalker's Heat Ray with strong AP capabilities.
Of course, when she saw the Knight come onto the table, she immediately made a note never to buy me something for my birthday again.
Overall, I ended up being lower in points, giving me Underdog my the smallest of margins.
We decided to use the Open War cards to determine our game. We drew the Kingslayer Objective, a deployment which placed one player in the centre of the table, and the other player in each corner, and the Grudge Match Twist.
The removal of Morale tests helped my guardsmen massively, but I ended up getting deployed in the centre, surrounded by Necron forces with only a little cover. Not only that, but the Objective was a nasty surprise - with the victory being determined by who killed more Power Rating, and being doubled if the Warlord was killed. Suddenly my very squishy Company Commander and my chaff Infantry Squads didn't look so happy all alone in the centre of the table.
As the faster deployer, the Necron player got the first turn, surrounding my poor guardsmen in the centre of the airfield. Suddenly my plans for a decisive and hard victory seemed less foolproof...
After the disastrous first battle of Tute Oriel, the Imperial forces on the world doubled down on their defences. Soon, Necron probing raids would be ended before they began, with guardsmen ready to intercept minutes after initial contact. Overlord Asim, commanding the emerging Daerekh Dynasty, knew this had to change if he was to maximise the effectiveness of his growing army. The ground commander of the Cadian forces, Colonel Halter, needed to be removed.
Necron Scarabs tracked the colonel to a nearby airfield, where the officer would be resupplying both his forces, but unbeknownst to the Necrons, also meeting with an ally - Knight Paladin "Blade of Sanctity" of Noble House Smith. Only a platoon of guardsmen accompanied Halter, but they were some of his best men, handpicked from Blue and Red Companies. However, the sickly green glow of gauss weaponry and the deafening silence of comms arrays going down interrupted the meeting - the Daerekh dynasty had come, and it had come in force to cut the head off the Cadian army.
Surrounded on all sides, the Cadian 13th form hasty gunlines to repel the Necron onslaught. The Necrons are bound by their liege to eradicate the Colonel of the Cadian forces, and show no fear. With their backs to the wall, and a Knight of House Smith watching over them, the Cadians fight to destroy the Necrons like men possessed.
Caught by pict-drones seconds before the first shots were fired, the Knight "Blade of Sanctity" was a recent addition to the Imperial war effort on Tute Oriel. The Kingsward of House Smith, "Blade of Sanctity" had a long and prosperous history with the XIII Legion, which the Cadian 13th shared strong ties with after the Terroria and Charadon campaigns.
Captured yet again, the Annihilation Barge which caused so much damage during the first encounter with the Daerekh Dynasty can be seen training it's deadly tesla annihilators on the Cadians.
Overlord Asim, controlling the Necron forces from afar via his Command Protocols, was spotted by automated pict-feeds around the airbase. Tacticians after the battle suggest the Overlord was attempting to preserve it's own life as the ambush occurred.
Colonel Halter commanded the Cadian defense effort from the parapet of the refueling tower. His lieutenant can be seen rallying the guardsmen below, with the Primaris Psyker being no help in that.
The Necron Warriors of the Daerekh Dynasty march into battle from behind the tower, catching Squad 2, Blue Company by surprise.
The Scarab creatures of the Necron force burrow into the fuel containers near the Overlord. Some tacticians claimed this was for protection. Others suppose it was all part of a plan, or that the creatures were leeching promethium from the containers. Others say it was a tactical blunder by an overly sentimental Overlord.
Several pict-feeds caught glimpses of a Vindicare Operative designated "CDLI" - however, no record of a Vindicare deployment was ever authorized or sanctioned by Colonel Halter, or any local regional commander. All images of the assassin are, at best, a dubious hoax for "morale" purposes, or xenos manipulation.
Turn 1 Necrons: Striking without hesitation and remorse, the Daerekh Dynasty closes in on all fronts. As the Guardsmen fumble into firing lines to repel the xenos warriors, beams of gauss and tesla fire shred through their lines.
The Warriors flay four members of Squad 2, Blue Company to the bone, and the Annihilation Barge, once again, wipes out Squad 1, Red Company to the last two men. Out of their duty to the Imperium, and the fate of previous deserters, the lascannon team holds fast.
Red Company suffers further, as Squad 2 loses two men to the eldritch energies of the Triarch Particle Casters. The Destroyer, seeking harder prey, aims to snipe the Vindicare off the top of the tower, but misses - as does the Stalker's Heat Ray, skimming just off of the Knight Paladin.
Face-to-face with the looming Titan, the second Annihilation Barge fires it's entire volley of ancient tesla rounds into the war machine. However, for all of it's technical wonder, the Barge does nothing but scratch the paintwork of the "Blade of Sanctity".
Necron Turn 1 wrote:
The Triarch contingent spearhead the Necron ambush, spreading the Silent King's influence to the puny mortals who stand in their way.
With a burst of tesla, eight guardsmen are eradicated from the Barge's sight, leaving two terrified crewmen.
The same cannot be said of the second Barge - which scarcely hurts the Knight Titan.
Turn 1 Imperium: Retreating into the safety of the bunkers, the lone lascannon team and the depleted Squad 2, Blue Company gain cover from the Necron guns.
With a hiss of psychic energy, the Primaris Psyker smites one of the Triarch Praetorians with psychic mind bullets.
High above the guardsmen, Assassin CDLI searches for the Overlord: unable to spot the enemy Warlord, he aims his Exitus Rifle at the Destroyer below, nearly killing the weapon platform in one shot. As it flails around from the gaping hole in it's chest, the nearest lascannon team, crewed by Squad 2, Red Company, opens fire and puts the Destroyer down for good.
Colonel Halter and his lieutenant issue orders across the arrayed squads, to unleash volleys of lasgun fire on the Triarch Praetorians, or to bring down the Warriors. Squad 2, Blue Company and the rest of Red open fire on the Triarch Praetorians, killing another three of them before they can close in with their voidblades, leaving one Praetorian left standing.
The remnants of Squad 1, Blue Company direct plasma and las-fire into the Warriors, killing six of the constructs.
On the other side of the airfield, the Knight Paladin charged at the Annihilation Barge, and opened with a salvo of battle cannon rounds. Shell after shell smashes into the necrodermis shell of the Necron vehicle, leaving it barely functioning from the volley. Contemptuously, the heavy stubber mounted on the Knight's shoulder opened fire, and killed the pilot, leaving the Barge as a hunk of scrap at it's feet. First blood had been claimed by the Imperium.
Imperium Turn 1 wrote:
CDLI spots the Destroyer...
...but the Cadians destroy it with a well-timed lascannon.
With a combination of eldritch forces and good old yelling, the command elements of the Cadian defense effort greatly aided their brethren.
Mid-volley shot of Squad 2, Blue Company. The Sergeant of the squad was commended for his resolve and tenacity against the xenos foe.
Likewise, this security recording captures the retaliatory firepower of Squad 1, Blue Company. Blue Company was supplied with 100% more ammo in their next deployment, giving each solider a full magazine instead of a half.
"Blade of Sanctity" proved itself apt against the xenos heretech, with it's Rapid Fire Battle Cannon offsetting the effects of their quantum shielding.
Turn 2 Necrons: Despite the surprisingly effective Imperial defence, nothing keeps a good robot down. Half of the Warriors stood back up again, leaving seven of them ready to fight. Another Praetorian reassembled itself from parts of its fallen brethren, joining the only other survivor.
Seeing the Annihilation Barge between him and the Knight go down, Overlord Asim reacted quickly, calling all available Necron forces to try and disable the titan. Scrambling into range, the Stalker's Heat Ray fires, only to be deflected from the Knight's rearward ion shields. The Warriors, soulless and slaved to the Overlord, open fire too, but their gauss flayers cause no damage to the Knight.
Meanwhile, the Annhilation Barge, seeing an opportunity, glides into the gap where Squad 1, Red Company used to be, and targets the exposed Primaris Psyker. Caught in the full blast of the tesla annihilators, the tortured psyker is eradicated, and the Barge sat dangerously close to Colonel Halter.
Seeking justice for their brethren's murders, the two Triarch Praetorians open fire into the guardsmen just ahead, killing one, and charging in. Unfortunately, an overcharged plasma round turns one of the Praetorians into molten slag, leaving the last one to avenge the entire squad. He cuts down two guardsmen, but the mass of bayonets and chainswords overwhelms the Praetorian, and the squad is lost to Overlord Asim.
Necron Turn 2 wrote:
Almost immediately, the Warriors stand back up after the lasgun volley. The speed of their recovery astounded even the most experienced of xenobiologists.
Ountumbered, the Triarch host stand against the foul usurpers of the Necrontyr.
The craven Stalker attempts a cheap shot at the noble Knight Paladin. The ion shields prevented against a massively damaging shot, sparing the Kingsward from harm.
Not even high-gain vid-capture could pick up any trace of the Primaris Psyker after the Barge's devastating salvo.
Recovered footage shows the squad's plasma gunner performing a risky overcharging of the plasma coils to slay the oncoming attacker. Upon release of this footage, approximately 90% more casualties were reported by the local medical facilities, suffering burn wounds from mishandled plasma weaponry.
Outnumbered and alone, the last Triarch Praetorian goes down valiantly, severing two guardsmen in half with his voidblade.
Turn 2 Imperium: With the last Praetorian dead, Squad 2, Blue Company, moves back into the shelter of the bastion, with the other senior officer joining Halter on the parapet. The Knight moves back to rejoin the Imperial forces, the Annihilation Barge in it's sights. As Overlord Asim begins to feel relief for the Knight's departure, the whir of Valkyrie engines and grav-chutes distracts him. Airdropping barely a few metres from him, two units of Scions, led by Tempestor Prime Garran, trains their guns on the isolated Overlord. The sudden comm silence of Colonel Halter prompted Garran to respond in force, just in time.
More lasfire is poured into the Necron Warriors, killing another three of the automata. Even the Triarch Stalker is lightly damaged by the other squads combining their fire on the spider-like creature, but it remains standing. The "Blade of Sanctity" looses another volley at the Annihilation Barge, near crippling the vehicle with high-velocity explosive shells, and leaving it stunned in front of the Knight, like wounded prey.
Overlord Asim barely has time to step out of the shadows to deal with the Scion kill squad when they open fire. Plasma guns, overcharged and expertly used, turn his finely crafted warplate into slag and molten metal, but he still stands. The volley of hotshot rounds mostly scores off his still-indomitable frame, causing another small wound to him. Just as it looks like the Overlord will survive the assassination attempt, Tempestor Prime Garran unholsters his plasma pistol, disengages the safety catch and looses off a shot. The supercharged plasma round strikes Asim clean in the chest, boring a hole all the way through. Asim stumbles and falls to the ground, defeated and mortally wounded. His phase-out protocols save him from capture and death, but his absence is felt across the battlefield. Garran holsters his smoking pistol, his vengeance from the first battle satisfied.
The Knight Paladin reaches melee combat with the Annihilation Barge, it's trampling feet smashing the black onyx frame of the skimmer into the decking, and ruining the infamous machine. Hungry for glory, Squad 2, Blue Company charges the massive Triarch Stalker, weaving in and out of it's massive forelimbs. Very little is done to the mechanical monstrosity, but it is distracted as it tries to get a shot on the advancing Knight Paladin.
Imperium Turn 2 wrote:
Led by Tempestor Prime Garran, the Scions descend on Overlord Asim in force.
Caught by the Valkyrie pict feed as it skimmed overhead, the "Blade of Sanctity" charges into the side of the infamous infantry-killer.
More Warriors are killed by lasfire, and one killed from wounds not recognized as either lasgun or plasma fire - the only evidence being from bullet splinters of an Exitus round no evidence for this unknown shot has been found.
Despite losing two of their number, the Cadians distracted the Stalker until dedicated anti-tank units could deal with the threat. Look upon your fellow guardsmen with admiration, soldier!
Striking hard and fast, the Scions demonstrate their forte of engagement perfectly - this recording, captured by the security cameras, was used by training teams all across the segmentum.
The destruction of the Annihilation Barge does little to slow the advance of the Knight Paladin. The wreckage was not captured, due to the Necron phase-out protocol.
Turn 3 Necrons: Leaderless, and with more of their ambush force being lost each minute, the Necron offensive looks dire. Two more Warriors stand back up, and deliver an ineffectual volley at the guardsmen in the bastion. Their morale is flagging, but still bound by protocol, the offensive is maintained.
Scurrying out of the silos, the Scarabs charge the Scions, losing a few of the swarm to last-minute overwatch shots. One Scion is dragged under by the swarm and mauled to death, but the chainsword sweeps of the Tempestor exterminates a third of the swarm. The Scions are forced to pull back from the voracious swarm, lest they be overwhelmed.
Unable to hit the Knight Paladin, the Triarch Stalker bats aside guardsmen like a man swatting flies, leaving two remaining to tie it up.
Necron Turn 3 wrote:
Under the shadow of the Knight, more Warriors rejoin the fight. The Crypteks of the Daerehk Dynasty was impressed by the above-average efficiency of their Reanimation Protocols.
Before the overhead Valkyrie could warn the Scions, the Scarab swarms were already upon them, and melee was joined.
One Scion is devoured by the lead Scarabs, his body lost under the teeming masses.
Blood stains the forelimbs of the Stalker, a grim memento of those Cadians too slow to avoid them.
Turn 3 Imperium: The last two members of the squad assaulting the Triarch Stalker fall back, joining Colonel Halter on the parapet. Meanwhile, both Squad 2 of Blue and Red Company maneuvered to pin down the last unit of Warriors, peppering them with lasfire, plasma and lascannon blasts. Even the Vindicare Assassin, lacking any more targets, executes a Warrior from his high-up vantage point. All but two Necrons go down, their remains only to be quickly stamped underfoot by the boots of charging guardsmen. Neither the Warriors or the Cadians can land blows on the other, and the two forces are locked in a stalemate.
Recovering from their ambush, the Scions fall back from the Scarabs, only for Garran to order the plasma team to fire as they retreat. Coupled with the volley guns from the second team, the Scarabs are wiped out before they can kill another Scion.
Heralding its arrival with the thunderous rapture of it's battle cannon, the Knight heads straight for the Triarch Stalker. Wounded, but not killed yet, the Stalker fires a last blast from it's Heat Ray, piercing the ion shield. A great hole tears through the Knight's war plate, but it doesn't deter it. In a flurry of trampling feet and savage momentum, the Stalker is wrecked by the "Blade of Sanctity", and all hope of a final strike against the Imperium is lost.
The Necrons surrender the game at Turn 3.
Imperium Turn 3 wrote:
Tempestor Prime Garran is surrounded by his men as he commands the fighting retreat from the savage scarab swarms.
Cornered and pinned down, the guardsmen open up volley after volley on the Warriors.
The deployment of CDLI was wasteful, the Assassinorum notes in it's after-action report of the event.
Colonel Halter, despite all odds, survives the ambush orchestrated to kill him. As the battle closes, one of the monitors on "Blade of Sanctity" picks up Halter shouting encouragement to the Knight.
The deployment and sudden strike of the Scions crippled the Necron command structure in the Daerekh Dynasty - this image of the triumphant spec-ops soldiers was caught by the recovered recordings on the fallen Scion's armour.
The surviving Necrons are surrounded and overwhelmed by Cadian troops, who are unable to pierce the necrodermis of the ancient xenos. This is the last clear image of the Warriors before they "phased out".
The Stalker lasts slightly longer than the two Barges, but eventually is crushed under the firepower and feet of the Knight Paladin. Officially, it is the last casualty of the Ambush at Airfield Theta.
As the pict feeds from the circling Valkyrie indicate, the Necron ambush is near completely wiped out or blunted.
The airfield still echoes with the sounds of battle, but the field lies empty, the ambush blunted and repelled.
With their last unit bogged down by guardsmen, the Necron ambush had completely stagnated. From his throne, as he recovered from his near-death experience, Overlord Asim recalled the Warriors, and they phased out from the battlefield. The ambush had been a disaster, both from the unexpected Imperial Knight which tore through his armoury, and from the surprising skill and courage of the human infantrymen. The one unit he had been able to destroy, the Primaris Psyker, was barely a drop in the ocean compared to his losses.
Bitterly, he began calculating new plans of attack. The Daerekh Dynasty would strike again.
Colonel Halter emerged from the parapet of the bastion, and removed his cap. His Cadians had done far better than he expected them to, against a more powerful foe to boot. Many of his squads were severely undermanned, and his psyker support gone, but he still had most of his guardsmen alive, his lieutenant rallying the troops to him, and he had survived the attempt on his life. Only a few metres away, the Knight Paladin responsible for hamstringing most of the Necron vehicles turned to face him. Halter saluted the Kingsward, immensely grateful for House Smith's support on the battlefield, and reminded himself to make the High King of the Noble House aware of it.
A vox signal, transmitted from Tempestor Prime Garran, caught Halter's attention.
"Garran here. My boys got to you just in time."
"My thanks, glory boy," laughed Halter, "what news?"
"We took out their leader. Bastard xenos wasn't even protected, so we bagged him up good. My boys can handle the security of this facility."
"Good. We'll wait for reinforcement. Let me know if you find anything."
"Oh, nothing much. I swore there was something shooting with us that I couldn't see. That's all - probably just a trick of the ears."
The Knight Paladin dubbed "Blade of Sanctity" proved itself to be a massive aid to the Imperial forces. Responsible for the destruction of three Necron vehicles which would surely have been a massive obstacle to the exposed guardsmen, "Blade of Sanctity" brought glory and honour to both itself and Knight House Smith.
Finally, a win! And I didn't even need the Underdog rule to boot!
Much as I gave the MvP award to the Knight (great job on it's first game!), I found the guardsmen, especially at the start, when fighting the Triarch, to be far beyond what I'd hoped for. Ideally, I would have had them hiding away, but terrain wasn't in my favour. One of my biggest errors in the game was probably putting the Vindicare down for deployment before the Overlord had gone down. My girlfriend reacted very well to this and hid him out of LoS, where I had to dedicate a unit of Scion to flush him out. I was very happy with the Scions - I think that kind of "massive force applied precisely" is exactly how they should work in game, and the lore helps that too. The Scarabs, poor things, probably should have been guarding the Overlord at the very least instead of hiding, but they did take down a Scion before they died.
The cards at the start really threw us both. Of course, my girlfriend was fine with killing everything, but for me, I was now worried about my chaff guardsmen who I had wanted to hold objectives for me, and the lack of much cover in my deployment area. Of course, LOS blockers like the bastion-tower thing helped keep my squishy bois safe, as did the Twist: fearless guardsmen? Yes please! The ruse I drew I REALLY didn't want - if my Warlord was killed (aka, the thing I didn't want to happen), then I'd get +1 To Wound across my army. Not exactly something I wanted, if I'm honest. Thank the Emperor it didn't come up.
I was very pleased with regular Infantry Squads, even though not Conscripts - being able to have a utility special/heavy weapon and a higher BS really helped, especially small shots of opportunity. The Knight though, battering through the ABs before they could slaughter my Infantry, which I knew they could. It's a shame that the Doomsday Ark wasn't ready to play, but at the same time, we had agreed not to list tailor, for better or worse - not that it stopped her bringing plenty of ABs to anticipate my infantry!
Despite it being over very quick (due to closing times, coupled with wanting a beer at Bugman's and seeing the new Necron exhibit at the miniature gallery - something I do recommend if you're up that neck of the woods), we both had a blast, both with new models we got to play with, the table, and the Open War cards.