Friday, July 18, 2014

Battle Report: Executioners vs Grey Knights

Inquisitor Coteaz sat at his private terminal aboard his gun cutter, scanning the data from his recent encounter with the Executioners. The casualties his Grey Knights had taken were unacceptable, and the continued presence of crusading Astartes outside of his control was threatening his plans in this system. The Executioners had to be exterminated or forced to leave the area, but he would need additional forces to do so. Grey Knight reinforcements were months away.

His gaze alighted on the most recent report on the Executioners’ location from his network of spies, and he knew exactly how to reach his goals.

The Executioners advanced slowly through the forests of the planet Roark’s Conundrum. They had landed here in response to distress signals regarding a Tyranid invasion. In truth, the invasion was an extremely small splinter and had been quickly exterminated. The Executioners were returning to the nearest space port, which was being protected by the Imperial Guardsmen that had heralded their arrival with such relief. They were forced to move slowly through the rough terrain so that the Thunderfires and Devastators on foot could keep up.

As usual, Brother-Captain Amalric and Death-speaker Chareos rode at the head of their Command squad. Amalric was looking forward to getting off this planet, which had not offered the challenge he was hoping for. Most importantly, the local governor had promised the Executioners a great deal of raw materials that would help them continue their penitent crusade. Amalric was becoming extremely tired of not receiving regular supplies from the Munitorium.

As the woods cleared, the Executioners came to the halt. They had expected to see an Imperial Guard defense line celebrating their victory, but the Guardsmen the saw were grim and ready for battle. Behind the Guardsmen stood the silver forms of Grey Knights. Amalric simply stared at the men they had come to rescue, who had suddenly become foes.

“This is getting out of hand,” remarked Chareos. “We should double back and request our Thunderhawks pick us up elsewhere. We don’t need to use the space port.” Amalric simply growled, which was amplified to the sound of grinding steel by his armor’s vox, and tightened his grip on his axe.  

“These shiny armored bastards are taking this personally,” the Captain snarled. “They’ve followed us across the system. They’ve forced men we were here to help to take up arms against us. We tried to sweep this away and move on, but it seems we’ll have to show them why we are the Emperor’s Executioners.”

“All squads, execute the enemy with extreme prejudice. Secure the supplies we were promised and make sure no one thinks following us further is a good idea.”   

I got another game in against the Grey Knight player from my last battle report, who was looking for revenge. My list was similar, though I retooled it to have a second Stormtalon. I only had one painted Stormtalon, so my Stormraven stood in for it.

Chapter Master w/ bike, power fist, Shield Eternal, artificer armor

Chaplain w/ bike

Command Squad w/ bikes, Apothecary, 4 storm shields, 2 power fists

10 Tactical Marines w/ Sergeant w/ storm bolter, flamer, heavy bolter
Rhino w/ dozer blade

10 Tactical Marines w/ Sergeant, meltagun, heavy bolter
Rhino w/ dozer blade

10 Tactical Marines w/ Sergeant, meltagun, multi-melta
Rhino w/ dozer blade

Stormtalon w/ skyhammer missile

Stormtalon w/ skyhammer missile

Thunderfire Cannon

Thunderfire Cannon

10 Devastators w/ Sergeant, 4 lascannons

My opponent was trying out Astra Militarum allies in his army for the first time.

Inquisitor Coteaz

5 Grey Knight Strike Squad w/ psycannon, psybolts
Razorback w/ twin-linked heavy bolter, psybolts

6 Grey Knight Strike Squad w/ psycannon, psybolts
Razorback w/ twin-linked heavy bolter, psybolts

Dreadknight w/ greatsword, heavy incinerator

Dreadnought w/ 2 twin-linked autocannons, psybolts

Dreadnought w/ 2 twin-linked autocannons, psybolts

Leman Russ Punisher w/ Pask
Leman Russ Vanquisher

Platoon Command Squad w/ autocannon

Infantry Squad w/ autocannon

Infantry Squad w/ autocannon

Manticore (the Chimera is standing in for the Manticore)

Aegis Defense Line w/ Quadgun

The deployment was Hammer and Anvil and the mission was the Scouring. Here’s the table:

I deployed first and chose to go first. Here’s my deployment. 

I had two ruins in my deployment zone, both fortified by my Techmarines. I deployed a Devastator Combat squad and a Thunderfire in each. Two Rhinos of Tactical Marines took the center, covered by the trees there, while the last Tactical squad was on my left flank. The mounted Command squad was on my far right.

My opponent went for a much more defensive deployment. Most of his units deployed behind his ADL, with the tanks concentrated on my left. One squad of Guardsmen held the ruins in front of the ADL, along with an objective.

Turn 1

My opponent failed to seize, so I began my advance. All of my Rhinos and my Command Squad moved as far up as they could. I realized that my Devastator squad on the right was out of range of any vehicles, so they ended up just shooting a Guardsman. The Devastators on the left fired at Pask but couldn’t damage him even with Tank Hunters. My Thunderfire on the left fired at the Platoon Command squad crewing the quad gun, but scattered back onto the Manticore. Amazingly, it proceeded to do 2 penetrating hits and a glancing hit, destroying it. I think the Techmarine firing the gun knew better than me and aimed at the Manticore on purpose. The other Thunderfire blasted the forward Infantry squad, killing 5 and making them fall back. Finally, my Chapter Master fired his Orbital Barrage and destroyed one of the Razorbacks.

The Thunderfire destroys the Manticore before it can fire.
My Orbital Barrage destroys the rightmost Razorback while the advanced Guardsmen fall back.

My Rhinos advance into the woods.

My Warlord trait allowed me to force three Pinning checks on the enemy at the beginning of their first turn, resulting in one of his Infantry squads being Pinned. The Guardsmen that had been falling back rallied. The army opened fire, destroying my Rhino on the left and damaging the center Rhino. The remaining firepower hammered the Combat Squads that disembarked from the destroyed Rhino, killing 3 Marines between them.

The central Guard squad is pinned by my Warlord's cunning.

Turn 2

Casualties were pretty light, so I continued my advance. My Stormtalons both arrived, but were couldn’t get into range to use their assault cannons. One managed to cause a wound on the Quadgun, while the other combined its fire with the Devastators on the left to destroy a Dreadnought. My central Tactical squad disembarked to hold another objective, while the right Rhino went flat out toward the objective on the right of my opponent’s deployment zone. The right Devastators advanced, trying to get into range of something worth shooting with lascannons. The Command squad advanced toward the enemy lines. My Thunderfires shot at the Strike squads but didn’t get any great hits.

My opponent started off his turn by Deep Striking his Dreadknight in my backfield. He scattered on to my Devastators, so I got to place his Dreadknight, which I put right in front of my Command squad. Obviously, my opponent didn’t want me to charge him and kill him, so he put all his firepower into killing the Command squad. When the smoke cleared, only the Chapter Master, Chaplain, and Apothecary survived.

The Grey Knight gunline prepares for my advance.
I planned to assault the Dreadknight with all these guys.
But had to make due with these guys.
Turn 3

My Rhino on the right moved on to the objective in my opponent’s zone, while my central Tactical squad and Devastators shot at the Dreadknight. With most of my Command squad destroyed, I wasn’t sure the survivors could take the Dreadknight, but my shooting took it to its last wound and my Chapter Master easily destroyed it. My Stormtalons remaining Dreadnought but couldn’t kill it. My Thunderfires killed a couple Strike marines and forced one of the squads to flee off the table.

The Chapter Master weathers the Dreadknight's attacks and finishes it off.
Things weren’t looking great for my opponent, but he wanted to do some damage. His firepower concentrated on my Command squad, killing the Apothecary and Chaplain.

Pask lines up his shots on the Chaplain.
 Turn 4

My Tactical squad on the right disembarked, wiping out the Guardsmen near them and destroying the Razorback. My Chapter Master assaulted into the central Infantry squad and forced them off the table. My Stormtalons were now in the enemy line and had to rely on their assault cannons, but they managed to destroy the Quadgun and kill a few Grey Knights. My central Tactical squad moved into the fountain, claiming the last of the objectives on the table.

My Tactical squads have advanced to secure all of the objectives.
At this point, my opponent conceded the game so that we would have time to play another one.

Lessons Learned

1) Combat squads were still amazing. I was able to hold all of the objectives on the table with them, and my firepower was always able to target the best units.

2) I like the second Stormtalon, better than a Razorback at least. They don’t do that much damage, but they do it where you need it. Speaking of them, they survive Quadgun fire better in this edition. Between 4+ jink saves and not being destroyed by one lucky hit, mine were able to survive all game.

3) Vehicles with side armor 10 are very vulnerable to Thunderfire barrages. This is particularly useful for dealing with artillery style vehicles such as Manticores and Wyverns.

4) Pask in a Punisher is astounding, especially when Coteaz was allowing him to re-roll misses and ignore cover. Everything he shot at, he annihilated. Only my Command squad was able to survive a round of fire from it, and was still seriously damaged.

5) My opponent and I talked about his force a bit after the battle. We decided that he was missing a few things. First, his force was just too defensive. He needed units that could take the fight to the enemy and secure objectives. Second, he didn’t have enough Guardsmen for them to be threatening or to endure sustained fire. 

Coteaz retreated from the battlefield under the covering fire of his Leman Russes. His personal shuttle was nearby in the space port, and he and his Grey Knight entourage boarded quickly. That had not gone as he had planned, but this was not over. The Executioners would be dealt with eventually.

As his shuttle broke orbit, Coteaz brought up the feeds from the space port’s security cameras. Through them, he watched the Executioners decapitate the corpses of the Guardsmen and Grey Knights left on the battlefield. They left the heads arrayed along the wall surrounding the space port, mute testimony to their wrath. As the finished, they faded back into the forest.

“At least I won’t have to worry about executing the Guardsmen to keep this quiet,” the Lord Inquisitor mumbled under his breath.


  1. I like the narrative that book ended the game, well done!

  2. I do love the stories behind your battles, they add so much depth to the reports.

    As for your friends guard elements, I would say that he doesn't seem to have an overall objective for them. I.e. Are they offensive, pask and vanq or defensive, platoon and manticore. If there going offensive I would take vets with special weapons instead of the platoon, or if there going defensive, drop the tanks and take a load more troops and heavy weapons, poss missile squad with flakk to support the quad gun, and a commissar or priest for some staying power.

    Maybe taking more grey knights would help, I know nothing about the grey knights so can't say much there but he looks a little thin on the ground with marines.

    I'm not an expert by any means but that's my thoughts. Don't know if it's any help or not to you but I thought I'd throw it out there anyway.

    1. Was thinking a bit more while at work, and two things I've thought of. First, why not try blobbing up the platoon squads, that will help with the staying power a little and secondly, grey knights can combat squad now right? So maybe it's worth trying to find the extra points for the other 5 knights?

      As I said I'm no expert, but I think a few minor changes and you'd see a big difference in the knights army.

  3. Great batrep! As a guard player, what sjb mentions is correct. You should blob up those squads, but you also need someone there to keep em from running, like a Priest or a Commissar. I'd try to find some points to ges some conscripts, to protect Pask from charges. That will allow you to move up and have some "board control", camping around the middle objetcives.
    Give em a try, you won't be disappointed. Also, wyverns murder infantry. I'd take 2 instead of the manticore.

  4. I'm pleased everyone seems to like my narrative bookends. I will definitely keep it up, as I'm enjoying writing some fiction and I feel like it really helps me flesh out the background for my army in my head.

    Thanks for the Guard tips! I will definitely pass them on to my opponent. He usually plays pure Grey Knights or Grey Knights with Space Marine allies, so I think this was his first using any unit out of power armor. It was definitely a learning experience for him.

    1. You got to have a very different attitude when using 5+ armour saves!


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