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Black Templars Battle Report
I recently ran a Combat Patrol tournament at my local hobby shop. After things got rolling, a fellow stopped by and was disappointed that he wasn’t aware that I had reserved the gaming tables. Since he had brought his Eldar miniatures and I had time to spare while everyone else was gaming, I invited him to play a quick patrol game against my Black Templars. He knocked out a quick list that seemed to meet the following organization:
4 Fire Dragons and Exarch with Firepike (maybe an exarch power?)
9 Dire Avengers and Exarch with 2 Shuriken Catapults, Bladestorm, and Defend.
10 Guardians, Eldar Missile Launcher Weapon Platform
I had prepared an untested Combat Patrol list for my newly-painted Black Templars:
Crusade Squad 1: 5 Initiates, Power Fist, Flamer, 3 x Bolt Pistol and Chainsword, Rhino, Smoke Launchers.
Crusade Squad 2: 5 Initiates, Power Sword, Meltagun, 3 x Bolt Pistol and Chainsword.
Crusade Squad 3: 5 Initiates, Missile Launcher, Plasma Gun, 3 x Bolters.
Land Speeder, Heavy Bolter
To keep things simple, we agreed to play the tournament round scenario that everyone else was currently enjoying: an annihilation mission with spearhead deployment. After I shifted the tournament scoresheets from a spare prepared table, we had a 4’x4’ area with 4 areas of modelled Tau landing strips and ruins on rough hills.
We diced for deployment and he won. He chose to deploy first, taking the NE corner with a large rough hill commanding the table quarter. He placed his Dire Avengers behind the hill, out of sight and kept his other two elements in reserve for reasons of his own.
Knowing he had no effective line of sight to my deployment zone, I was able to deploy freely. I set Squad 3 up on a hill beside a Tau landing pad with excellent fire lanes along both sides of the hill the Eldar were hiding behind. Squad 1 mounted their Rhino and went directly to the east edge of my deployment zone. Squad 2 stood ready between the landing pad and the Rhino with plans to use the Rhino for cover during the advance. I positioned the Land speeder behind the landing pad to react to the enemy, since virtually the entire table could be accessed in a single turn’s movement.
The Eldar Dire Avenger squad moved west along the base of the hill in their deployment area, apparently unwilling to traverse the rough ground without bringing the enemy into range of their shuriken catapults. Their turn ended as the Dire Avengers awaited the arrival of reinforcements.
Squad 1 advanced their Rhino northeast, keeping the hill between them and the Dire Avengers, and launching smoke to provide cover in case reinforcements arrived to the east of the hill. Squad 2 ran on foot directly north to engage the Eldar, relying on their bretheren on the landing platform to provide covering fire. The Land Speeder cruised north and took cover behind a large ancient ruin to the west of the Eldar aspect warriors. While his brothers deployed, the initiate with the missile launcher drew line of sight to a Dire Avenger helmet peeking over the ridgeline, and let a frag missile loose. It scattered far over the hill, but still managed to eliminate two Eldar warriors from the spread-out unit.
The Eldar reinforcements arrived this turn to the relief of the Dire Avengers. The Guardian squad flowed along behind their weapon plaftorm, running into the valley to the west of their deployment zone. The Dire Avengers ran forward to lead the Guardians against the Space Marine upstarts. The Fire Dragons ran east along the rough hills, preferring to maintain their mobility rather than use the cover provided by the rocks as they prepared to ambush the APC assault. All teams continued running into attack position, sacrificing a few moments of firing as they prepared for the upcoming attack.
The Space Marines determined to dictate the terms of the upcoming battle and advanced. The Rhino drove full speed to the edge of the rough terrain and Squad 1 disembarked within boltpistol distance of the Fire Dragons. Squad 2 advanced toward the Dire Avengers, leveling their boltpistols with the knowledge that they would not reach their enemy in time to bring chainswords to bear. The land speeder pilot pumped his controls, bouncing the vechicle into position to maintain as much cover as possible while giving the gunner line of sight to the enemy. Squad 1 opened fire first, arcing a flamer burst over the intervening terrain to bathe the Fire Dragons. As the eldar struggled to maintain their cover, the other initiates fired their boltpistols. While two aspect warriors fell, the others were too focused on firey retribution to consider turning back. Squad 2’s advancing boltpistol fire was largely unaimed, but one more Dire Avenger fell to a lucky shot. Squad 3 fired a slightly scattering frag missile, the plasma gun, and a bolter into the Guardian squad, killing 2 of the volunteers. The land speeder’s heavy bolter added to the fusillade, killing another 2 Guardians. Encouraged by the presence of the aspect warriors, the Guardian squad pressed forward.
The Eldar initiated their counterattack. The Fire Dragons broke cover and ran forward, spewing melta fire towards the Space Marine tank. The Rhino’s armor plates buckled under the onslaught for a second before flying in all directions as the tank exploded. The Exarch howled with amusement as a large armor panel sheared one of the vehicle’s prior occupants in half. On the other side of the hill, the Guardian squad tried to draw a bead on the land speeder with their missile launcher, but the incoming fire caused them to rush their aiming sequence and miss the jinking skimmer. The Dire Avengers leveled their shuriken catapults and poured disciplined fire into the the advancing Space Marines. The Exarch expected to level the small incoming squad without having to empty their weapon magazines, so he decided not to order a bladestorm attack. He spared a glance towards the enemy team near the landing pad, expecting to charge towards them soon. However, as he refocused on the incoming squad, he was surprised to see the powered armor of his enemy shedding the majority of their fire. Worse still, when one fell, it spurred the others on to advance even faster. Determined to sieze the initiative, the Dire Avenger Exarch shouted a battle cry and led his squad into an assault against the Space Marines. The Exarch personally dispatched a Marine almost immediately. As the Eldar effectively parried the counterattacks, they found the Space Marines unexpectedly resolute. The fight would only end with the total annihilation of the black-clad warriors.
Squad 3 leveled another frag missile into the Guardian squad, killing two more eldar. Unfortunately, the squad’s plasma gun picked this moment to overheat, vaporizing both hands and forearms of one initiate and removing him from the battle. The land speeder continued to pour heavy bolter rounds at the Eldar missile launcher platform, killing another two Guardians. Squad 1 leveled point-blank fire at the Fire Dragons through the oily smoke pouring from their wrecked transport, but their targets’ armor shrugged off the shells. Engaging their chainswords and power fist, the Templars charged through the debris into the Fire Dragons. One Marine was killed by a short-range burst from a meltagun, but an aspect warrior was just as quickly dispatched in retaliation. Squad 2 weathered a second onslaught from the Dire Avengers, whose assault lacked the fury of their initial charge. The Templars quickly cut down two Eldar, but the Exarch held his team firmly in the fight.
While all aspect warriors were locked in face-to-face combat, the remaining Guardians shifted their weapon platform to gain an unobstructed line of sight to the land speeder. They fired again with clear aim, but to their dismay, the missile flew errantly due to a shift of the wind. The Fire Dragons fought the Space Marines to a desperate stalemate on the eastern side of the hill. The Dire Avengers fared no better, losing one of their own to a Space Marine power sword, but remaining to finish the fight. The combat began to look desparate, as almost the entire Eldar forces were locked in melee, while the Space Marines still had support teams free to engage targets.
The land speeder jetted southeast to the Tau landing platform, using its speed as cover while keeping the Eldar missile platform in its sights. Squad 3 fired its missile launcher and bolters at the remaining Guardians, wiping them out. Squad 1 lost another brother-initiate to the faster Fire Dragons, but again, they took recompense by slaying an aspect warrior. The Fire Dragon Exarch foresaw the outcome of facing the two remaining Space Marines and disengaged. Squad 2 lost a member to the concentrated assault of the Dire Avengers, but the remaining Space Marines killed an Eldar in retaliation.
The Fire Dragon Exarch readied his firepike to lay down some covering fire as he retreated, but by the time he turned around to check on his pursuit, he had lost sight of the battle. The Eldar missile platform began to drift erratically over the bodies of the Guardians, automatically retracing their psychic imprint back to the Eldar lines. The remaining Dire Avengers and Exarch fought more furiously as they knew their survival rested on vanquishing the remaining Space Marines. However, although they managed to kill one more Marine, they lost another warrior to the Space Marine armed with a power sword.
Squad 1 turned and advanced up the rough terrain to gain a vantage over the remaining combat. The land speeder hovered over the landing pad, keeping the melee in its sights. Squad 3 spared a missile to knock out the errant missile launcher platform before it could drift out of sight. The lone brother-initiate of Squad 2 focused on parrying the attacks of the remaining Dire Avenger and Exarch, knowing that his brothers in Squad 1 were on their way to his assistance.
(We diced, and continued to turn 6)
Knowing that they faced their doom, the remaining Dire Avenger sacrificed himself on the power sword of the Space Marine to provide an opening for the Exarch to escape.
As the lone Dire Avenger Exarch sprinted away, the power sword-wielding Space Marine broke into a run to catch him. Squad 1 continued their climb over the hill, but realized that they wouldn’t be able to bring the Eldar into range of their boltpistols. At a nod from the brothers in Squad 3, the land speeder darted forward and flew past the last member of Squad 2. The gunner then opened up with the heavy bolter, walking the rounds along the Eldar’s path until they reached the Exarch and put him down.
With that, the game was over. A complete victory and welcome initiation by fire for my Black Templars.
The game was pretty well balanced throughout, with both of us bemoaning poor die rolls and marvelling when things went right. The failure of the Eldar missile platform to score a hit definitely made the land speeder seem much more impressive than it probably had a right to be. While the Black Templar’s fearlessness in melee was a load off my mind, losing a couple of combats and having to make armor saves versus automatic wounds pointed out that a fearless CC unit really needs to have numbers on its side. I can admit that powered armor saves definitely kept me in the game, but I do think things could have gone my way faster if it weren’t for an early streak of CC misses being rolled by the wielders of the power fist and power sword. Things could have gone much worse if the Dire Avengers bladestormed or if the Fire Dragons targeted the Space Marines and not the Rhino.
While we shook hands afterwards and talked a bit before I got back to scoring the tournament, I’m sorry I didn’t remember the name of my opponent. Dude, if you’re out there reading this, thanks again for an enjoyable game. I hope I did you justice in my narrative.
Nice battle report. I play BT muself, so its nice to see them do well in cc in the game that you played, even with crappy rolls. Good job!!
Not the eldar list I would have chosen but a good fight all the same. Good batrep, informative, quick, and with diagrams to help.