Another in person, real life, 2000 point game of 40k! This time matched play against James P (jp_wh40k on Instagram), who has beaten me with his Guard in the previous three games, but this time was taking Adeptus Custodes. I took the spicy new Adeptus Mechanicus, along with the Lady Helena, piloting the Valiant ‘The Defiant Flame’ – primarily to make up the points to 2k, but also to reduced the amount of new rules I’d have to remember. In fact I opted to go pretty admin light, with very few additional buffs and effects that go off in the command phase. I’m sure it’s far more competitive to take advantage of all these new rules, but this book is definitely one that I needed to ease myself into gently!
Anyway, we played the ‘new’ Overrun mission from the GT2021 pack. That’s long board edge deployment, six objectives, 3 in each player’s territory, scoring points for holding two, holding more than two, and holding more than your opponent.
My list featured a Ryza battalion and a Taranis superheavy auxilliary. I spent a CP on the obligatory Ion Bulwark warlord trait for the Valiant, and an extra CP to give both the Techpriest Dominus and Cybernetica Datasmith a melee weapon relic, for a bit of a laugh. For my secondary objectives I picked Engage on All Fronts and Raise the Banners High since I had a lot of fairly quick, fairly expendable units, and without a super great option for the third, the new and improved No Prisoners, which replaces Thin Their Ranks, and now gives one to the tally for each wound on non-vehicle/monster/character units killed.
HQ: Tech-Priest Dominus (Eradication ray, macrostubber, Anzion’s Pseudogenetor, Masterwork Bionics), TechnoarcheologistTroops: 3 Kataphron Breachers (Arc rifles/claws), 20 Skitarii Rangers (2 Arc rifles, 2 arquebus, omnispex, data-tether, power sword), 20 Skitarii Vanguard (2 Arc rifles, 2 plasma, omnispex, data-tether, taser goad, arc pistol)Elites: Cybernetica Datasmith (Uncreator Gauntlet), 6 Sicarian Ruststalkers (razor/claw)Fast Attack: 5 Pteraxii Sterylizors, 3 Serberys RaidersHeavy Support: 4 Kastelan Robots (each with heavy phosphor blaster, kastelan phosphor blaster, fist)Lord of War: Knight Valiant (four missiles, one siegebreaker cannon, Ion Bulwark)
JP took a battalion of the Dread Host, and also spent some CP initially buffing his Captain, and then in deployment to teleport the dreadnoughts. His secondaries were also Engage on All Fronts, as well as Grind Them Down and the mission specific Overrun, which gave points for holding my objectives in his command phase, which was a pretty clear signal of intent. The list was roughly this:
HQ: Trajann Valoris, Shield Captain on bike (assorted upgrades to get 3+ invulnerable, 9 wounds and a 5+ feel no pain)
Troops: 2×3 Custodians (all sword/shield), 5 Sagittarum
Elites: Contemptor-Galatus Dreadnought, Contemptor-Achillus Dreadnought
Fast Attack: 5 Venatari, 5 Vertus Praetors (hurricane bolters)
Deployment was pretty cagey from the Custodes, while the AdMech spread out across the line, Valiant in the middle to go whichever way as needed. Dreadnoughts and Venatari off the board, while my Pteraxii were also flapping around somewhere above (I know they don’t really flap – let me have this). The die was rolled, and Custodes went first. A cheeky pregame 3 inch backwards move from the Rangers put them out of charge range of the jetbikes on turn one, while the Raiders ran up into the central ruins. I had previously been mocking the 3 inch Ranger move as useless – apparently not!
Turn one for the ‘stodes, and they opted for pretty much a null turn, waiting me out and keeping the bikes behind the big rock. They got onto two objectives and took some token shots down at the (now very scary) Vanguard.
Ad Mech turn two was similarly uneventful. I moved up the robots on the left flank, Knight central and other units plonked on objectives, raising banners as they went. The Raider hoofed it up into JP’s half for a couple of Engage points, and the Datasmith started to change the disks on the Kastelans to the ones marked ‘super punchy death’. Some token shooting did not a lot, and the Valiant nuked a Custodian with a Shieldbreaker missile.
Turn two, 5 Primary for the Custodes. Venatari dropped in behind my lines, while some other units moved up. The Vertus Praetors continued to play it safe by zooming over to hide near the central objective. Shooting cleared most of the Vanguard, though hilariously didn’t hurt the Raiders.
They were however not long for this world, as the Custodian Guard and Shield Captain combined to make them go away, though they did make a bit of a meal out of it.
The Venatari made their charge into the dregs of the Vanguard and wiped them with ease, claiming an objective in my territory and removing a banner. This also put JP on two units killed for Grind Them Down.
In my turn two I scored 5 Primary, plus a couple for Banners, then lined up to kill a couple of units of Custodians. In my mind the now very punchy robots and Ruststalkers coming in from Circuitous Assassins would charge in and kill the Guardians, taking that objective, while the Valiant and newly arrived Pteraxii would kill most of the Venatari with shooting, then finish off one or two in melee. Let’s see how that worked out?
The robots managed to kill the Custodians to a man in shooting – a good result but now I had nothing to charge on the objective! But the other flank was surely doing better right?
Errrm. Not even one killed with shooting (the entire payload of the Valiant went into them ,as well as the Phosphor torches from the Pteraxii), and then I didn’t even manage to kill one in melee! To add insult (and more injury) to injury, the Venatari turned around and smashed the flappy boys out of the sky! This ensured Grind Them Down and some points for Overrun on turn 3.
Apparently annoyed at the continued incompetence of the Sterylizors, I goofed a bit and forgot to take any photos of JP’s turn three. Which is a shame because some significant stuff happened! He picked up a big 15 for Primary, and deployed the dreadnoughts to press the advantage. The spear one dropped in to charge the robots, while the shield one came up behind my Breachers to double team them with the Shield Captain.
In shooting the jetbikes killed off the Ruststalkers and the Venatari blasted ten wounds off the Valiant, before the Dreads both charged in (using a reroll charges for teleporting units strat) along with the Captain. The Breachers died horribly, and the spear dread smashed two of the robots to bits. However return fighting from the remaining two was pretty nasty, hitting on 2s and wounding on 2s thanks to the Conqueror Protocols and Ryza’s new trait, destroying the war machine. Even more surprising however, Lady Helena powered up, getting her steed to hit with 11 out of 12 titanic feet attacks! The Venatari were suddenly reduced to just one model!
Into my turn three and only holding one objective, I picked no primary points and only a measly one for banners. It was looking pretty ropey, until that last fight phase gave me a bit of breathing space. I moved the robots up to engage the bikers, reasoning if I charge them they’ll only be wounding me on 5s without rerolls. The Rangers and my characters looked at that unkillable Shield Captain (perhaps optimistically), while the Valiant left combat in order to split fire all over the place, then charge back in and finish off the lone Venatari, who was being a right pain!
The Robots did their job well, killing a bike in shooting and two more in melee. They did take a hilarious 60 shots in overwatch, losing a few wounds.
Valiant shooting was once again slightly underwhelming. Killed a Custodian with the flamer, missed with the missile into the Venatari, and the Dreadniought passed it’s invulnerable against the Thundercoil Harpoon (though it was reduced to 4 wounds by the meltas). Helena did managed to kill off the Venatari in melee, though it did cost me a CP reroll and a thunderstomp to do it!
Rangers shooting four times each with Galvanic Volley fire did a number on the Captain, but between them and shooting and melee from the Dominus and Datasmith, the Captain stuck around on four wounds remaining. He smashed down the Datasmith in response. In the end I was engaging on all of the fronts, but I hadn’t pushed the Custodes off enough objectives.
Turn four, another 15 Primary for the golden boys, but there wasn’t much killing to be had. Jetbikes zoomed away from combat to ensure some more engage points while giving me threats to deal with. Trajann and his Sagittarum friends safely held onto their objective and shot into the Kastelans, destroying the damaged one. Finally the Contemptor charged my warlord…
A mighty dual, resulting in a single wound taken each! That left the objective contested, so going into my turn four I was suddenly picking up 15 primary points! Back in the game, time for a big turn…
So the plan was to do enough damage to stop JP scoring any more Primary, then run onto the objectives at the end for another 15 myself, and see how the secondaries fall – at this stage they were very close between us! The last Kastelan went in to try and clear off the bikes, while the Rangers poured more double shot firepower into the Captain, to little effect, leaving it to the Technoarchaeologist to charge in! The robot did kill one biker, but left one holding the objective, thanks to Custodes obsec. The Archaeologist obviously failed to kill the unkillable Shield Captain, but he did somehow survive the return attacks to force him to stay locked up.
The big play however was the Valiant taking on the right flank on her own, finishing off the Dreadnought, murdering some Custodians in melee, and flaming three of the Sagittarum! For some reason, the ‘regular’ Custodians are only leadership 8, so JP promptly rolled a six, and the last one ran away, (or probably just slowly cooked to death inside his armour), leaving that objective unheld!
This meant the Custodes were only holding one objective, and didn’t get any Primary points! In their turn five they spread out and disengaged to get some Engage on All Fronts points, leaving me to go stand on objectives at the end of turn five, and finally shoot down that Shield Captain!
At the end of the game, the Ad Mech controlled the field, but would it be enough? We both totalled 35 Primary points. JP picked up 19 Secondary, but with 6 for the new No Prisoners, I snuck ahead with 24! Including the painting score, it ended 69-64 to me! (Nice!)
What an awesome game, and so close! Great performance from the Valiant and the Kastelan Robots, with decent support from the Rangers and the Dominus. For the ‘stodes, the men of the match had to be the Venatari, causing me a huge problem and earning JP a lot of points.
I feel like I’ve barely scratched the surface of the new Ad Mech book, but I am now more excited to delve in further and start playing with some more of the crazy overlapping buffs on offer, as well as maybe getting some Crusade in and looking for some Archeotech Treasures!
Anyway, I hope you enjoyed the read, sorry for the missing turn three pics, and stay safe out there!