"Ere’s wot we’s gonna do, right? First I’se gonna yell Waaagh! an’ ‘den I’se gonna run up to ‘em an’ krump ‘em. ‘Den, while I’se runnin’ and hollerin’ an’ before I get to ‘da krumpin’ part, you lot yells Waaagh! an’ makes a run at ‘em too, see? ‘Den we’ll all krump togevva! ‘S a great plan, innit? ‘Dem ‘umies’ll nevva expect it.”
–Flikka Hammahead, Blood Axes Nob
After the last time my friends got together for a larger than normal game, we knew we wanted to go bigger, but running solo was a struggle with so many models on the table in 9th edition. So the scheming began, and since we covered the big three (Imperium, Chaos, and Xenos) between us, we knew this was about to become easy!!
We separated ourselves up and the friends' draft began!! Those that played multiple armies were more flexible on who they could play with, and sides were chosen! After hearing about our first big game, my buddy who played Tau knew he was gonna be my second in command! Orks is good at krumpin' but they needed some heavy hitters for fire support if we were gonna bring out the big toys!! All we were missing was maneuverability to compliment my overly aggressive walker Speed Waaagh and I knew just who to recruit!! One of my dear friends had an unbelievable 27 consecutive loss record in 9th with his Drukhari, yet still loved his army. The Archon of Friendship was the kind of Xenos loyalty I wanted for our next raid! All that was left for us to decide was when and where the teams would meet up to battle!!
Scheduling an event with nine players, each bringing 3,000 points, is definitely not for the faint of heart. Thankfully we knew we wanted to wait until 10th edition dropped so we could use this get-together as a crash course in new mechanics and army composition. It's honestly also just a great excuse to play with some models that don't always get the love they should. I definitely debated bringing three Stompas at one point, but unfortunately G Dubs did me dirty and brought the effigy back up to its unwieldy 800 point level again. I was a bit gutted, especially with now at least half my list being eaten by only 2 models, but as the event drew closer I knew I wasn't going to back down now!
We all knew in the background we were building ridiculous lists and discussing potential opportunities for some really fun armies to be thrown on the table, but before we could finalize lists we needed to decide how we were going to do this. 10th edition missions are very similar to the Tempest of War style of play, but still crunchy enough to keep the more competitive players on their toes. With the scale we were working with, traditional deployments and primary objectives were kind of out the window, but with some new horror stories already circling the 10th edition gaming stratosphere, we knew we didn't want to just camp and shoot each other. It was decided: each deployment zone would get an objective marker for secondary scoring, and each team would get two more to place in the t-junction no man's land each worth 5 pts if your team controlled them at the start of the 2nd round on.
The next bit was secondaries, so to maximize fun, each team would pull 3 on their turn and pick a player to accomplish each task. This would get risky when things like Assassination, Engage On All Fronts, Secure No Man's Land, and Bring It Down forced players to think on their toes to accomplish the tasks at hand. Teamwork would be a definite factor for overcoming the beastly monsters and machinations each squad was bringing to the table.
As game day approached, each team discussed tactics on what they were going to bring to the table based on play style and what we were looking forward to accomplishing. We gathered up all of our terrain and tables, and headed to our friend's house to set things up. We hoped to use this as a dry-run for future projects like battle reports and apocalyptic charity live streams!! It had been a long while since my terrain had been out of the box. Most of our local hobby stores had incredible setups, so I was excited to see mine all back on the table! Shrubberies and forests, factories and foundries, entire army display boards dwarfed on the table by the sheer volume of space we were filling! I couldn't be more proud of everyone coming together to set things up as quickly as possible!! The deployment zones were claimed, and things were put into place to get the dice rolling!!
Team Chaos consisted of a mixture of large and small chaos knights, a demon horde lead by Be'lakor, a Lord of Change, a duo of Great Unclean Ones, and too many little gremlins for holding objectives. They also had Thousand Sons with none other than the Big Red Machine, Magnus, leading squad after squad of dusty boys and even a few of the big blue birds of happiness!
Team Imperium looked like something straight out of a codex, with Blood Angels bringing Death Company and Dreadnoughts, all looking to satiate the Thirst. Dark Angels featured The Lion leading a retinue of Tanks fresh off the factory floor, and even brought along their I.T. department... I mean Adeptus Mechanicus, holding the fort and bringing a Knight of their own!
Last and most importantly, the three best Xenos friends that anyone can find! I thought I was going to be the biggest target with my faster movement and double Stompas looming over the table, but with Tau bringing three Stormsurges and forward deploying stealth suits, and the Drukhari bringing an entire armada including a Tantalus, I had some serious competition for threats on the table. With everyone deployed and setup on the table, the most important dice rolls happen: The Imperium of Men would be going last, but Chaos would be going first!
With pre-game abilities underway, we encountered our first hurdle: Ad Mech get to irradiate an enemy deployment zone but there were two enemies, so we made the easy call of nominating which team is affected by "opponent" abilities, as it would come up again with the vex ability of the Archon to make certain Stratagems cost an additional command point each time it was used! Since there were a lot of demons about to move into the center of the table, Ad Mech made their choice: the Xenos felt the sudden urge to evacuate their home base! It couldn't have all been the Stormsurge camping on the only terrain over a foot and a half in height. Nope not that at all.
Chaos discovered their first hurdle as they moved forward into no-man's land: the Knights were stacked to the nines with firepower. The Demons were a very melee focused army so this meant they had to move hard and fast into the center and set themselves up for future turns. The corners of deployment became anarchy as their first objectives required them to execute multiple enemies and even pulled Bring It Down, but fortunately the bulk of everything was out of range for big scoring. The only substantial victim was the Trukk holding the Zodgrod Squad that got in some early scouting.
With the Xenos Zone now a cesspool of mortal wounds, everything that could book it out of our deployment zone, did. Our objectives were Assassination, Engage On All Fronts, and Overwhelming Force. Orks were fast enough to clear the radiation and still get in some shooting, so I took Assassination with hopes that double Stompa plus their Mek boost would give enough dakka to eat through the lord of demons! I was wrong. Even with a bit of pre-peppering he failed to fall. Drukhari took engage because they started with half a dozen ships in deep strike and were just waiting for turn 2. We knew overwhelming forces was gonna be next to impossible this early, but Tau could toss it and give themselves that crucial extra Command Point when the time was right.
As the imperium readied for action, their intent became clear as they also pulled Assassination, and my biker squad lead by Deffkilla Wartrike was in range of entirely too many dreads! On the wings of Sanguinius, some death company soldiers popped into the Xenos back field trying to collect what trophies they could. Unfortunately tanks and dreads aren't the fastest in the fleet so although they claimed their goal, Extending Battlelines, they castled up and braced for round 2 mortal wounds.
IT'S TIME TO WAAAAAAAAAAGGGH!!!
As Chaos began moving, the third and final Assassination secondary was drawn, and the poor little Zod Squad full of Geargut's Dogosaur Gunners were on the menu. I use these as Superunt Grot proxies . Chaos also had Bring It Down and a now weakened Stompa would be easy pickings, or so they thought! Turns out Toughness 14 does mean something when a lot of lasers and mind bullets cap at Strength 12. I also got that tasty invulnerable save during the Waaagh! So Be'lakor did what Be'lakor does best and charges the nearly dead Mek. He does what any Mek in a Stompa does best, and opens up Overwatch!!! At this point there are only a few wounds remaining on the Demon and my -1 to hit for being damaged doesn't matter with me fishing for 6s regardless. The thing is, 60+ dice rolls later, statistics get the better of him with flat three damage Rokkits, and the target is slain. Orks claim their assassination goal for the round as well.
Xenos are up to the plate once again, and pull Secure No Man's Land, and Storm Hostile Objectives, complimenting the already in place Engage held by the Dark Elves! The Daemons are slow, the Thousand Sons were still partially off the table, and the Knights were getting invasive, so we knew next we had to thin them out! Letting loose with more Stompa shenanigans, the Warboss and Meganobz in his tummy finally get to pile out and are looking to mix it up with the terminators!
Once again everything with guns move forward to fire and attempt to thin the ranks of the many monstrous machines coming our way! Failing multiple rolls with buggies that do mortals on the charge definitely made me sad. Seeing the look on someone's face, however, as you roll double 6s for your Stompa to then tank shock a Knight with 20+ dice feels really good! While this was going on, the backfields of both human factions were invaded by series of ships, scouts, breachers, and boats! With that being the highest scored turn yet, we claim all three of our secondary objectives.
Imperium once again moves forward and outward clearing their tail in hailstorms of Martian firepower. Dark Angel tanks moved into range to threaten the Daemons like the Chaos scum they are, and the Blood Angel dreadnoughts moved further forward trying to now get into a flanking maneuver with their Death Company, now accompanied by The Lion!! First they RAD Bombed our home, and then when we move out, they tried to claim it as their own? Typical 'ummie tactiks!! After a few bits of fisticuffs, the Tantalus falls. We also have our next hiccup on multi-player: a squad of terminators in the center of the table were charged by my meganobs and unable to be cleared. This also meant that when the dreadnought charged in as well, if it could kill the terminators then the meganobs would be taken out of combat and they would be neither be in engagement range, nor have made a charge move. But if the terminator captain remained, the double saw nobs would get to pile-in and get some extra free attacks!! Unfortunately it fell and the boyz just had to watch as the squad they krumped so hard on was claimed by the enemy. We were gonna be hungry for revenge, or maybe it was just hunger in general.
Let me tell you this was where friendship showed up the strongest, as we knew this was already going to slow things down gamewise. Since Chaos was up to bat first, the rest of the folks divided and conquered to different food locations to get snacks and meals accordingly. By the time we got back, Chaos had just finished moving and we began snacking between shooting phase armour saves. Xenos started feeling the slapback as Jeff the Stompa is popped clearing space for the knights and daemons to finally come to the center, pushing back along the back to take objectives from the imperium having drawn Storm Hostile Objectives.
After the first few turns of divide and conquer, Xenos are now fully deployed on the table. We lucked out again on our secondaries, pulling Capture Enemy Outpost, Behind Enemy Lines, and Bring It Down. We also managed to retain some of our objectives from our scouts and infiltration tactics, so we are the first to score multiple on primary! The Tau and Drukhari were already in place to complete their goals which left me with a tough choice. Use Da Biggest Boy (Stompa 2) to try and kill as many dreadnoughts as possible or sending off a Hail Mary across the table to attempt to bring the Dark Angel Spartan down from its remaining 2 wounds. Thankfully there's a lot of Rokkits on a Stompa and a few missed saves later Da Biggest Boy has taken out Da Biggest Tank on the table! A few savage battles remaining and Xenos had the upper hand, but it was now a ten hour game. With that, it is decided that the Imperium would treat it as though it was the end of the game, and try to get as far forward as possible, since everyone kept deepstriking their home zone preventing them from leaving.
The Imperium finally shows their strength moving out and easily accomplishing their secondaries, with behind enemy lines and engage very much being accomplished by The Lion and his retinue of Blood Angels on the wings of Sanguinius. Unfortunately all the targets that mattered survived on just a few lucky saves keeping many of the big gadgets on 1-3 wounds each, bracketed, but still breathing. Brutal, but was it enough!?
Members from each team gather together as we double check the math on primaries and secondaries, and the totals come in with the greatest of surprises!!! Most likely to win the whole shebang with nearly 75% of their army remaining, but a few bad tactics pulling units off objectives to score secondaries, was Chaos at 40 points. Second place showing their resilience in battle but realizing as they packed up their dice that they forgot to use their Oath of Moments the entire game was the Imperium at 44 points. Which now brings me to the heroes of our story!! This Warboss could not be more proud, as we managed to pull a whopping 61 points. I could have cried! I was so excited to be able to announce this great feat! We had finally broken the losing streak for Drukhari and proving once and for all that friendship is magic!! This was hands down the most fun I've had with a group of friends, wasting an entire day rolling dice, sharing laughs, and making memories around the table.
Was it exhausting? More than I could have imagined! But we are already planning the next event, and even talking about a simplified version where my 10000 points of boyz may bring along some extra warbosses into the mix and krump for charity in a Point of Pride livestream. With all that being said I must say the biggest take-away from all of this, was that I am truly blessed with the friends and community that I have, all thanks to this hobby! In a world of Golden Demons and Championship Tournaments, it's nice to remember that sometimes it's okay to put some gray toy soldiers on the table, get messy, make mistakes, and just enjoy some good company.