Saturday, December 16, 2017

Ulthwe vs Blood Angels Written 2K Battle Report

I took on a new Blood Angels force, and by new I mean, only just built and not painted.  Between this and time constraints I don't have a battle force picture of the Blood Angels.  They had Sanguinary Guard, 10 Death Company, Lamaretes, or whatever his name is, Mephiston, 2 Devestator Squads (one with heavy bolters and one with lascannons), a dreadnought and Storm Raven, and three Intercessor squads.

My Ulthwe force at 2k:

This was my first post-codex game to include a Wraithknight.  With two sizeable wraith squads as well I figured I could test the new Bonesinger by taking 2.

Mission: We were trying the new Eternal War mission with 6 progressive capture objective points and gives you an extra point for destroying units.  I got to choose the deployment zone and went for short edges, putting Swooping Hawks, Warp Spiders, and the 10 Wraithguard in Deep Strike.  The rangers were, as usual sneaking in from the webway.  



While my opponent was going first, I, luckily, stole the initiative.

I was aggressive in my movement, as you have to be when using a slow moving short range army.   10 Wraithguard dropped in range of a Storm Raven and when all their firing was  it sat on 3 wounds left.  I had hit 8 times, but only wounding 3 times and rolling poorly for my wounds left the blasted flyer on 3 wounds, and my wraithknight and warp spiders all failed to wound it with their shooting.  I did get off Quicken and Protect on my Axe guard and my rangers managed 3 mortal wounds on the Heavy Bolter squad and with the grenade mortal wound from the Swooping hawks managed to finish off the squad as the last man standing failed his 2+ armour save.  I used Fire and Fade to move the Wraithknight a second time after shooting to put pressure on my opponent and hopefully keep his army in his deployment zone.  I started off the game with 6 VPs, and had already burned through 4 of my 6 CP.

My opponent deployed everything and was happy to bring his still alive Storm Raven into hover mode and lay into my forces.  A lot of his shooting was used to work down my Wraithknight.  He did 13 wounds to it and I didn't make a single 5+ or 6+ for Ulthwe at this point.  As his dreadnought finished off the last of my Warp Spiders in combat and Sanguinary Guard launched into my Wraithguard his Death company charged my Wraithknight.

Mind you this was not a Death Company entirely tooled up.  There were 4 with Thunderhammers.  Those 4 managed to cause 9 wounds, all of which I failed to save, and then caused 27 wounds.  I Ulthwe ignored 2.  The WK was dead.  250 pts of models easily destroyed a 500 pt model without breaking a sweat.  They needed no assistance.  The shooting it took before hand was inconsequential.  Mind you the rest of the unit hadn't even had to roll.  The Bonesinger that was intended to support it and help it was useless and watched helplessly. He had 3 VP.

I tried to figure out a way to recover, and held to my plan, so I moved my guard out of combat and with 8 models left I split my shooting, 3 to finish off the raven, and 5 to kill the dread.  Meanwhile my Axe guard moved up the field.  

My shooting was awful.  While I did manage to down the Raven, finally, the other 5 left the dread sitting on 2 wounds. My Axe guard made it in to 1 squad of intercessors and slew them.  More importantly I had board control.  I was up at 12 VP, and all out of CP.

The marines moved to solidify their left flank and take out the last of my real firepower.

With startling efficiency the Wraithguard and Swooping Hawks were wiped out.  Less than half of the Ulthwe forces remained, while the Blood Angels had lost barely a quarter of their force.  Yet they only sat at 5 VP, having moved off the only board objective they had controlled.

My forces were reeling, and overpowered, but I could still sneak out a victory if I played smart.  A bonesinger managed to kill the dread with smite, while the combined efforts of Smite from a Spiritseer, and the Wraithaxe assault wiped out the other devastator squad.  I crept up to 20 VP.

The Blood Angels pushed to the center of the table, easily wiping out the rangers and both bonesingers.  They jumped to 9 VP, choosing to abandon a nearby objective for a position closer to my guardians holding my back line.

I had lost a huge portion of my army, but I thought I could put the game away if things went to plan.  I moved my Wraith axes in position to charge the two intercessor squads in the rear of my opponent's deployment zone, while one of my Spiritseers moved to retake an objective I had lost.  In a shameful display, my Axes failed their 6" charge by rolling snake eyes.  This left my Autarch totally in the open and out of position and my whole force vulnerable.  It was a horrifying moment because I could easily see how this roll would cost me the game, and now I was just a spectator to being tabled. I moved up to 24 VP.

My opponent used a stratagem to redeploy his Death Company to my back lines.  They were in all but mop-up mode, with characters splitting off.  Then my opponent made one great mistake.  He boasted to someone else about how he was about to easily get Warlord.  Firing two units of intercessors at my Autarch he only managed to cause 2 wounds.  I had shrugged off their mighty firepower.  Undeterred and pressing his advantage he moved on to the assault phase.  During the assault phase both units of intercessors charged my Autarch, while the sanguinary guard and Mephiston charged the Spiritseers.  The Stratagem to roll 3D6 on the charge allowed his deathguard to slam in to my rearmost unit of guardians, while two characters mutilated the other squad.  By the time he was done and morale was over both Spiritseers were easily slaughtered, one unit of guardians was wiped out, and 3 guardians remained on my rearmost point.  Yet my Autarch still lived on 2 wounds and had killed an intercessor.  He had leapt up to 15 VP.

I had to hope the game ended before I got tabled.  My only moves were to consolidate the three remaining guardians to hold their point at the back, and get my Wraithblades in to combat.  I didn't remove my Autarch, so I couldn't get overwatched.

They did their job well, killing both squads.  At the end of the turn I had 23 VP.

My opponent now had a choice, to play for board control, ignoring my survivors, and win on points if the game pushed to turn 7, or abandon points and try to chase me down and table me.  He opted to try to table me.  He repositioned his entire army and the only interaction of note was when one of his characters charged into my remaining guardian squad, only killing 2, leaving one guardian remaining.  His stretch up the field brought him up to 17 VP.  Fate favouring my opponent, the game continued.

I didn't have much left to do in my turn.  In an act of defiance against doom my guardian broke from assault to continue holding the objective (thanks obsec!) as my Autarch and Wraithblade bodyguards moved to another objective point.  I pushed to 25 VP.

The blood angels zoomed across the board ready to slam into my wraithguard as their standard bearer moved in to kill my last guardian.  

He smote down one of my wraithguard.  I pulled the closest model from the squad.  Suddenly my opponent noticed that made his charge more difficult.

Once again the dice gods punished his hubris for casting Smite, as Mephiston rolled a 4 on his charge, needing a 5.  Then, his Sanguinary guard also rolled a 4 on the charge, needing an 8.  He had 19 VP, but was certain he'd  wipe me out in another turn, with everything he had left.  The dice gods then abandoned him in full as the game ended, 26 - 19, with a close fought victory to Ulthwe.

Post game thoughts:

Wow, that was close!  Blood Angels are positively beastly.  They're the fastest marine faction I've played against, and their Red Thirst rule is probably the best of the individual marine chapter rules.  Nearly everything was wounding my units on 2+ or 3+, no matter how tough it was.  This will be a force to reckon with given their speed, toughness, and ferocity.

The Death Company are insanely point efficient for their damage output in combat.  The fact that they chewed through a Lord of War that cost twice their points without breaking a sweat is pure madness.

This was an odd game in that there are 6 moments that really stand out.  The first is when my dice went cold early for the Wraithguard.  A 400 pt unit that is usually reliable were in an ideal position and fell flat on their faces.  It happens, but hopefully not often.  In this case dragons would have been better as they would have been fewer points, but more likely to get the job done turn 2 with the additional chance of rolling higher damage.  Those failures early game cost me a lot and it was tough to recover from.  But my opponent's luck going cold right at the end of the game, finally failing charges for the first time all game ended up doing him in.

I learned that the Bonesinger seems not worth it, but I'll test it out in other builds.  They never had a chance to use their heal ability because I never had a wraith construct on fewer than full wounds.  It was either full wounds... or dead.  This meant all they ended up doing was holding objectives and at one point casting smite.  I was super disappointed.  But the model is pretty.

Those invul saves on the Wraith axes came in handy since I sped them up with quicken and used Protect.  One thing I forgot was that I wanted to spend a CP to get them to advance a full 6", since I'd get to go a total of 22" with Quicken (thanks to the FAQ for Nids we know with those type of powers we roll once for advance and use it both times).

The Wraithknight is actively bad.  It was as survivable as I could make it and never had a chance.  After actually using it, it might be as much as 150 pts overpriced.  It was hot garbage.  Total swill.  here's why... not only does it have to pay a ridiculous tax to have either no shield or titan killing weapon, or ridiculous tax to have those but not good guns, it's actively not fun to play with.  When you buy the basic package of a Knight it's still a force to be reckoned with because it comes with the invul and either two great long range weapons, or one great and one close combat weapon.  The knight either lacks firepower to match, or simply isn't as survivable, yet costs more.  Watching it get torn apart so easily actually made a very tight tense and fun game... less fun.  I'm not in any way interested in using the knight again, but I might give another load out a chance to see if it can change my mind at all.  Right now I feel like it just needs something to either distinguish it (like a 5+ ignore damage) from a knight, or  to be VASTLY cheaper than a knight.  I can deal with gamble units that can do real well, or real poorly but priced somewhere in between, because I know they're a gamble going in.  Right now it's just a poor unit that can only do well if your opponent is either unlucky or makes an unforced error.

My plan to keep my opponent bottled up while I took the board ultimately won me the game, but I felt like this game was easily winnable by my opponent.  He was still experimenting with his units, and so he was overkilling everything he went after.  He hasn't had enough experience with them yet to know how much damage output he can trust from them so he can just spread out and devour an opponent.  Even still if he hadn't made a few mental errors in regards to how he took objectives early he would have kept pace with the VP total in the early part of the game.  I felt like I learned a lot about Blood Angels in this game and much of it will shift how I play against them in the future.


  1. Nice report. Once you had the good objective point lead I keep screeming "pull back, pull back" as I would see you were running out of units fast :)

    You luck against the Stormraven seemed ok, 10 wraithguard should do about 12 wounds against a "Hard to Hit" Stormraven, and you Wraithknight while not great was put against almost the worst possib;e opponent. It shouldn't go against close combat units with thunderhammers let alone ones with +1 to wound :) It is a pain that you can't get a good shooting weapon as well as a combat weapon. Its default guns are very good anti tank, plus against non close combat unit it can do a number with its tap dancing feet, just don't go near units containing multiple powerfist type weapons.

    1. Thanks. I considered that, but with his speed I thought pulling back would just consolidate my force for when he got to charge. Putting all of my eggs in the basket so to speak. BA are just so fast. I'm sure I'll try some variation of the WK at some point, but I don't expect it will wow me.