Friday, April 4, 2008

Battle Report: Tyranids vs. Orks Cityfight Coup de Main

Scenario: Cityfight Coup de Main
Tyranid Forces: Darkwing
Ork Forces: Badelaire

The Scenario
For this battle we decided on Cityfight, as it had been a while since we played it, and decided to roll the dice to determine the scenario. The randomly generated scenario was determined to be Coup de Main. Normally, due to their nature as the ever-eating swarm, the Tyranids are always the attacker, but we decided that there could be some legitimate reason for the Tyranids to be the defender in this case. Perhaps the Orks wanted to take the objective building and the Tyranids were protecting new hatchlings there, or perhaps just wanted to lure the Orks into a kill zone centered on the building. In any case, we diced off for it, and the Tyranids ended up being the defender.

Tyranid Briefing
Darkwing: I’ve learned from experience that Orks in 4th Edition are really tough in close combat even against armies that are close combat machines like Tyranids. With two attacks per model and a huge proportion of them armed with Sluggas and Choppas, giving them a third attack, coupled with large mob sizes and the 6” danger zone of engagement of Cityfight, Orks are a truly frightening prospect. So I was determined to maximize the strengths of my own army, the Tyranids, by turning them into a close combat machine of death as well. Let him bring those hordes of green towards me, for I would try to overwhelm him with as much close combat death as I could, being for the most part the faster army.

As we have in the past few battles, we chose our armies before we determined the scenario. I started off by choosing a Winged Hive Tyrant—I wanted some heavy close combat power coupled with mobility. I also wanted some strong synapse presence, so I got two broods of Tyranid Warriors, one brood armed with Scything Talons and Rending Claws, with Extended Carapace to enhance their survivability, and the other armed with Rending Claws and Deathspitters, to make use of their “blast” capability in the confines of the city.

Thinking close combat strength, I got two broods of 16 Hormagaunts, and 2 broods of 10 Genestealers. Realizing that many of my Hormagaunts would likely die after they charged into the Ork lines, I decided to give each brood Acid Blood to give Badelaire a nasty surprise.

To give the swarm some added mobility, I got a brood or gargoyles, as I’ve seen the effectiveness of the bio-plasma attack. I got a Lictor for his superb skill in the confines of the city, getting an excellent 2+ save vs. shooting while in buildings. I bought some Ripper Swarms because I know that if used right they can be a royal pain in the butt for your opponent, and finally I got a pair of biovores to unleash frag spore mines on the Orks in the confines of the city. The D6 hits they would deliver when they exploded would definitely be a pain for Badelaire to deal with.

Once we determined the scenario and that I would be the defender (we decided to waive to rule that the Tyranids would always be the attacker in this case), I started making my plan. Having all of my Synapse creatures start in reserve would hurt a bit, as would the fact that my biovores would be delayed as well. I figured I would mainly hold back within the buildings and taking cover, ambushing his units as the opportunity presented itself, and then deliver a knockout punch when he came within striking range.

Ork Briefing
Badelaire: Well, I’m fighting ‘nids. My orks have never fought the ‘nids before – our group had one ork vs. ‘nid battle a couple of years ago that went quite poorly for the boyz, but back then Darkwing’s orks were a pale reflection of the true power of Da Waaagh. My boyz, combined with some of Darkwing’s own orks, would make a much better challenge.

Knowing vaguely what Darkwing had at his disposal for the Tyranids, there wouldn’t be much shooting coming from his direction. Not that ‘nids can't shoot, it’s just that Darkwing didn’t have too much in the way of shooty ‘nid power and he would probably rather focus on assault, where his special rules, options, and higher Initiative, coupled with my lousy saves, would mean that he’d do much better assaulting. Orks, particularly my orks, having a pretty good balance of shooty and assaulty ability, can sometimes use this to one’s advantage. Many an opponent has gone against the Green Tide thinking they’re safe outside of assault range, and been Dakka’d to death for their trouble.

With this in mind, I made up my list. I decided to go with my weaker warboss, since I didn’t want to risk my “deluxe” mega-armored warboss getting picked on by something big and nasty and wiped out before he could swing. If my ‘boss was to die, I’d rather he was cheap. Beyond that, I had three “fast mover” elements in my army – my stormboyz, my skorcha buggy, and my Kommandos (“fast” because they’ll move through terrain much quicker than other units). The stormies are an assault unit, the buggy a shooting unit, and the Kommandos are either depending on the situation at hand.

Beyond that, I took a dread with big shoota and skorcha so he could pop a few bugs at range, then get in and burn a bunch more before being rended to death. My huge mob of grots was pretty much there to be out in front, catching the first ugly assault and hopefully holding it long enough to allow for a countercharge. I took a small mob of Flash Gitz with big shootas for some entrenched firepower, and a big mob of shoota boyz for a beefier shooty unit. My autocannon Lootas were there to just find a place to hunker down in and dakka dakka. The burna boyz were a good mobile flamey unit, able to burn out bug nests or deliver a good power-weapon-and-choppa charge, and the big bad two-dozen-strong mob of slugga boyz with burnas and Klawfreek were there to do the bulk of the messy, dirty hand-to-hand krumping.

As for tactics? I’ll try to use my shooty units to whittle down the ‘nids so that when they inevitably get into assault with my boyz, I’ll have the advantage in numbers and attacks, and be able to wipe him out. Hopefully I’ve got enough of dakka and choppa to pull it off…

The Forces
Tyranid Forces Points

Mutable Hive Tyrant with Wings 152

Warrior Brood (Deathspitters) (3)114

Warrior Brood (Rending Claws) (3) 102

Lictor (1) 80

Genestealers (10) 160

Genestealers (10) 160

Hormagaunt Brood (16) 170

Hormagaunt Brood (16)170

Ripper Swarm (5) 50

Biovores (2)100

Gargoyles (10) 100

Raveners (3) 141

Total Points: 1499
Ork Forces Points

Warboss (1)84

Stormboyz with Nob (9) 146

Lootas (10) 140

Skorcha Warbuggy 49

Burna Boyz with Mekboy (12) 131

Dreadnought 83

Gretchin with Slaver and Squighound (32) 113

Shootaboyz (20) 205

Kommandos (10)137

Slugga Boyz (27)283

Flash Gitz (11) 131

Total Points:1502

Turn 1
In the city the Tyranids had a pair of Hormagaunt broods each 16 strong, three Raveners, one brood of Genestealers, a brood of ten Gargoyles, and the Lictor. None of the Tyranid Synapse creatures were present, although they surely would arrive soon. In the meantime, the rest of the Tyranids were on their own.

The Orks arrived in one large sweeping wave, with Klawfreek’s large mob of 27 Slugga Boyz holding the right flank, the Warboss next to them. Then came a unit of 11 Burnaboyz, with Blackhorn’s mob of Shoota Boyz behind them. A huge mob of Gretchin held the center street, with a unit of Lootas behind them. Finally, the Ork Dreadnought began to move up another street, parallel to the Lootas and Gretchin.
 The Orks advance
The Dreadnought fired its big shoota at the Gargoyles, who were flying over the roof of one of the buildings, killing one of the winged creatures. The Shoota Boyz fired at the right brood of Hormagaunts lurking in the large building, killing one of them.

Responding to the fire, the Gargoyles backed up, flying from the roof of one building to the roof of another. The rest of the Tyranids held their ground, passing their Leadership tests, except for the right brood of Hormagaunts, who decided to lurk instead, but which made no difference since they were already in cover.

Turn 2
All of the Ork reserves arrived, including the Skorcha Warbuggy, a mob of Flash Gitz, the mob of Stormboyz, and some Ork Kommandos. The Skorcha and the Flash Gitz moved into the battleground from the north, while the Stormboyz and Kommandos moved in from the south. The rest of the Orks plowed forward at top speed, except for the Lootas, who spent the time aligning their looted autocannons on targets.

The Skorcha drove right up to the door of the large building, and belched forth fire into the structure, enveloping the broods of Hormagaunts inside, and killing one of them. From the other side of the building, the Flash Gitz fired into it, killing one of the three Raveners. The Dreadnought fired its big shoota at the Hormagaunts in the building, but didn’t succeed in hitting any this time.

Stalking through the rubble of one building, the Kommandos fired into another, aiming at the other brood of Hormagaunts. The Nob’s Skorcha killed no less than five gaunts, while the mob’s burna killed another four. The rest of the Kommandos fired their shootas and sluggas, killing three more. The Stormboyz assisted by firing their own Sluggas at the Hormagaunts, killing one more.

The Ripper Swarms, Raveners and Gargoyles massacre the Flash Gitz
The Lootas aimed their autocannon at the Genestealers in the objective building, but their fire ended up killing one of their own instead. The Shoota Boyz did better, as their big shootas managed to take down a pair of the Genestealers.

The Rending Claw Tyranid Warriors arrived on the scene, apparently coming out of their hiding places behind the Ork Kommandos. The Kommandos had incinerated most of a Hormagaunt Brood, now they would get some payback. The Ripper Swarms also arrived, this time near the Flash Gitz. Both broods of Hormagaunts failed their morale checks—the right brood deciding to flee towards the nearest Synapse creature, in this case the Rending Claws Warriors. The other brood, being the one that was just attacked by the Kommandos, decided to attack them, and skittered over the rubble in their direction.

The Raveners moved towards the Flash Gitz, as did the Gargoyles, and they all opened fire on them. The Raveners fired their two devourers, but failed to kill any orks. The Gargoyles did a little better with their fleshborers, killing one. Then the Raveners, Gargoyles, and Ripper Swarms all charged the Flash Gitz. Being in cover behind a wall, the Flash Gitz struck first, bringing down three Gargoyles. The Gargoyles then unleashed their bio-plasmas attacks to no effect. The Raveners then tore apart four of the orks with their scything talons, and the Gargoyles killed one more with their own claws and teeth. Then the Ripper Swarms piled in and ripped the rest to shreds.

On the south side, the Lictor and the brood of Genestealers moved out of the building to assault the Stormboyz. The Lictor struck first, killing one of them with his rending claws, and then the Genestealers tore into them, literally tearing them apart and killing the eight that remained.

The Kommandos then fought against the Rending Claw Warriors and the three Hormagaunts. The Nob failed to wound, the Orks delivered 20 choppa attacks, but the two that wounds were both saved by the Warriors’ extended carapaces. The Burna tried to get in a shot, and wounded one of the Warriors. Then the Warriors struck, killing six, and the Hormagaunts killed another two, leaving two left. The Orks fled but the Tyranids held them in combat and the fight continued.
Turn 3
The Orks continued their advance, the entire Ork line moving forward relentlessly. The Warbuggy drove forward and unleashed its Skorcha again on the brood of Hormagaunts in the large building, killing three of them. The Shoota Boyz fired at the same brood, killing three more, while the Grots unleashed their blastas, killing four more. The Warboss fired his kustom shoota at the Hormagaunts, but failed to hit any of them.

In the assault, the Rending Claws Warriors finished off the last two Ork Kommandos, and consolidated their position.

The Hive Tyrant arrived, and winged his way over towards to Ork Dreadnought. The Biovores arrived as well, and lumbered into position behind the cover of some buildings. A brood of three Tyranid Warriors with Deathspitters also arrived, moving behind the large mob Slugga Boyz, ready to spit some death on them. They proceeded to do so, but only managed to score a pair of hits, but killed both of the orks.

The Hive Tyrant and the Ork Dreadnought battle it out
The Deathspitter Warriors then proceeded to charge into close combat with the Orks, tearing four of them apart with their Rending Claws. The Sluggas responded with 21 attacks of their own, killing one of the Warriors and wounding the other. The brood of Hormagaunts, of which there were only three left, had charged the Sluggas as well. The combined Ork attacks easily overwhelmed the three Hormagaunts before the gaunts could attack, killing all three of them. Yet even in death they got their revenge, spewing their acid blood all over their attackers, killing no less than four Sluggaboyz. Then the Sluggaboyz Nob finally attacked the Deathspitter Warriors with his powerklaw, and crushed the two surviving warriors all on his own.

The Hive Tyrant eagerly charged the Dreadnought, hit with its bio-plasma attack and three of its regular attacks, but all of them failed to penetrate the dreadnought’s thick armor plating. Then the dreadnought spun into action, delivering 3 attacks resulting in 3 hits and 3 wounds, leaving the tyrant terribly wounded and surprised.

Turn 4
The Warboss joined up with the Sluggaboyz mob. The Skorcha warbuggy gunned its engine again and took a position outside the building with the Lictor and Genestealers inside. The rest of the orks continued to advance.

The Skorcha fired into the building, covering three Genestealers with flames, but they all managed to survive the attack. The Shootaboyz fired on the Gargoyles, who were in the open attempting to fly across the street, and sent two of them crashing to the ground. The Sluggaboyz fired on the Rending Claw Warriors, killing one with a burna. The Burnaboyz fired on the unit of Hormagaunts in the rubble, killing one of them.
 The Warboss and Sluggas approach the Hormagaunts in the ruins
In the assault the Hive Tyrant swung at the Dreadnought again, penetrated its armor, resulting in an immobilized and crew stunned result. The dreadnought responded, delivering one hit that failed to wound. The Hive Tyrant was hanging on, but only by a thread.

The Slugga boyz charged the Rending Claws Warriors and a brood of Hormagaunts. The Warriors killed three of the Sluggaboyz, while the Hormagaunts focused exclusively on the Warboss, delivering two wounds to him, leaving him with only one left. The Warboss struck back, killing one of them, whose acid blood proceeded to splash all over the Warboss, who managed to shrug off the burning and keep fighting. The Sluggaboyz then delivered their attacks, killing one of the Rending Claws Warriors, and the Nob killed the last Rending Claw Warrior with his power klaw. The two remaining Hormagaunts fled towards the only surviving synapse creature—the Hive Tyrant, which led them dashing parallel to the advancing Ork lines. The Sluggas consolidated into the building.

The Warboss and the Lictor face off
The last brood of Genestealers arrived from the north, on the far side of a building from the battling Hive Tyrant and Dreadnought.

The Biovores, finally in position and able to fire, launched their frag spore mines. One landed in the middle of the Burnaboyz, hitting four but killing none. The other spore mine was aimed for the Shoota Boyz, but scattered forward into the Gretchin mob, killing four of them.

The Raveners burst around the corner from behind a building and slithered towards the Gretchin Mob and unloaded their devourers at them at close range, killing three of them. Then the Raveners charged, killed four more. The Grots and their slaver and squig hound fought back, but failed to do the Raveners any damage.

The Hive Tyrant struck again at the immobilized Dreadnought, but failed to penetrate its thick armor. Then the Dreadnought struck, and killed the Hive Tyrant in a flurry of buzzsaws.

The Lictor and Genestealers charged the Warboss and the Slugga boyz, who being in cover would negate the speed advantage of the Tyranids. The Lictor and Warboss went for each other simultaneously, and the Lictor came out on top, almost nonchalantly ripping the Warboss’ head off with his rending claws, completely ignoring the Warboss’ inept flailing attack. The Sluggas then struck at the Genestealers, delivering a vicious 27 attacks, and killing no less than 5 Genestealers. The surviving Stealers then responded, killing four of them. Then the Ork Nob struck and killed three Genestealers with his power klaw, leaving the Lictor as the only one left to face the Sluggas.

Turn 5
The Shootas and Lootas both moved into the building on the left, both to provide themselves with some cover and to deal with the approaching Genestealers. The Warbuggy fired its Skorcha on the two remaining Hormagaunts, who were now just fleeing randomly with no synapse creature to run to, and put both of them out of their misery.

The Shootas fired on the Genestealers, killing one of them through the windows of the intervening buildings. The Dreadnought, immobilized though it was, could still shoot, and killed two more stealers with its big shoota, and one more with its Skorcha.

The Lictor, surrounded by choppa wielding Slugga boyz, pathetically missed with all of its attacks, and the power klaw armed Nob killed it easily.
 The Gargoyles swoop down to attack the Burnaboyz
The Raveners continued to kill Grots, taking down six, while the grots managed to wound one of the Raveners in return.

The two biovores launched another pair of spore mines, one landing in an open street, the other landing in the middle of the Burnaboyz, killing one of them.

The Gargoyles swooped down from above and fired on the Burnaboyz, killing two of them. They then charged, killing two more with bioplasma attacks, and one more with their teeth and claws. The Burnaboyz killed two gargoyles in return, but still lost the fight, and they fell back into the buildings.

The Raveners killed six more grots, while the struggling grots again failed to wound the Raveners.
The Genestealers assaulted the Ork Dreadnought, and their massed Rending Claws tore the dreadnought to pieces. The Genestealers then consolidated back into cover, since they could not consolidate into the Orks in the nearby buildings.

Turn 6
The Burnaboyz continued to fall back, taking them out them further out of range of the objective building. The Lootas moved further into the building to aim at the Genestealers, while the Shootas charged the Raveners to provide some welcome relief to the beleaguered Grots.

The warbuggy drove forward and killed the last two Gargoyles with its Skorcha. The Lootas fired on the Genestealers, killing three of them.

The Shoota Nob attacked the Raveners first, but his only wounding hit was saved by the Ravener’s chitin plate. One of the Raveners killed two more Grots, while the other attacked the shoota boyz, killing one of them. The Orks then poured in a massive 51 attacks, killing the two Raveners easily. Both the Orks and Grots consolidated a mere one inch, however, leaving them out of reach of the objective building.

The Ripper Swarms, slowing skittering and slithering along the ground, finally made it to the objective building, and two bases piled inside, claiming it for the Tyranids. The Biovores took two last shots at the Shootaboyz, both spore mines landing in the middle of them and killing six of them.

The Ripper Swarms enter the Objective Building and win the day
With no assault in the turn, it was only left to the dice roll to see if the game would continue…and with a 3 as the result, it did not. The two Ripper Swarms had claimed the building, leaving the Tyranids as the victors.

Ork Debriefing
Badelaire: Beaten by the lowliest of the low – how pathetic. Well, seeing as how my grots were one of the closest units in my army to the objective building, it could have been just as likely that Darkwing would have lost to a bunch of gretchin, so I guess all’s fair. My shooting did all right – I just wound up losing a few units who got cocky and blind-sided, such as my flash gitz and the Kommandos, but the buggy and the shoota boyz made up for it. My stompiness was also pretty good, and once again having a power klaw in a slugga mob is A GOOD THING. My boss died without doing a whole lot, but that’s par for the course, and while the whole dreadnought vs. hive tyrant debacle was unfortunate for Darkwing, such is the way things happen. A big to-do is made about X, when all the while Y is quietly staring you in the face, silently begging to be remembered, but ultimately ignored until it’s too late.

In the end, though, I thought the battle went quite well – as most of our Cityfights seem to do. My shooting was effective, and so were my assault phases, but I wound up shooting myself in the foot with my reserve deployments, and lost those small mobs early on when they could have come in very handy later in the game.

After this fairly low-point Cityfight brawl, I just want to see what things will look like when we open up the field a little bit and have a good old-fashioned 2,000 beat-down…

Tyranid Debriefing
Darkwing: That was perhaps the cheesiest victory ever. It may not even be a legitimate victory, seeing as Ripper Swarms don’t count as holding table quarters or count as a “scoring unit.” Still, the Cityfight victory conditions just talk about having “troops” in the objective building—it says nothing about how many or what kind.

Yet even if technically this wasn’t a victory for the Tyranids, it was a moral one. Even though it hinged on the Random Game Length Dice roll at the end of Turn 6, I still managed to keep any orks out of the objective building. Had the game gone to Turn 7, I would not have been able to stop them. The Raveners did a great job in creating a traffic jam by taking on the Gretchin. I was also fortunate that most of my reserves arrived the turn after Badelaire’s did, and were therefore able to ambush them—allowing me to quickly eliminate the Flash Gitz, the Stormboyz, and the Kommandos.

It was a colossal mistake of mine to charge his dreadnought with my Hive Tyrant—I have seen before what an Ork Dreadnought can do in close combat, but it must have slipped my mind this time, and I was caught up with the idea of my Tyrant ripping it to pieces with his Rending Claws on the charge. Needless to say, that didn’t happen and my Tyrant was himself ripped to pieces with power klaws and buzzsaws. The Tyrant would have been much more effective if I had used it to attack the Lootas or Shoota boyz, disrupting Badelaire’s lines and stalling his advance. As it was, though, the brood of Genestealers that arrived in reserve managed to pull that off.

Badelaire’s “Invincible” Skorcha warbuggy was a thorn in my side the entire battle. He wisely armed it with spiky bitz and kept it moving at 12” for most of the battle. Since I had nothing capable of shooting it down with any certainty, if I was going to get rid of it, it would have to be in close combat. To destroy it, I’d have to have hit it on a 6 because of its speed, and because of the spiky bitz any missed hit would deliver a S3 hit to the attacking unit, which was something I didn’t want to have to worry about. I could have used the Tyrant on it without too much fear, but I already wasted it by foolishly throwing it away against his dreadnought.

Considering the mistakes I made, I was luckily to pull off a victory, even if it was hollow one lacking in legitimacy. Again, I do have to say that these close games always end up being much more fun than the lopsided battles that sometimes occur.

Noted added 9/12/2005: After the battle I finally figured out why the Hive Tyrant was having such a hard time against the Dreadnought. Both Badelaire and I were so fixated on the rules for the Hive Tyrant's Rending Claws (extra D6 if you roll a six for Armor Penetration), that we totally forgot that he rolls 2D6 for Armor Penetration rather than 1D6 since he's a Monstrous Creature. Seeing as this is my first battle ever playing as the Tyranids, I can easily see why I forgot. Even so, I have no cause for complaint, as I won the battle. Still, I can only wonder what would have happened if my Tyrant tore apart the Dreadnought on the turn he arrived, and then proceeded to tear into some Ork Mobs.

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