The Sternguard Advance as the Land Speeder Typhoons bank for another attack run! All under the watchful eye of Brother Uriel: The 'FlakPanzer' Dreadnought!
A total of eight gamers descended on GiftsforGeeks retail store for a mighty nidfest battle. As most frequent readers will be aware - I have a soft spot for the old Genestealer Cult Army. Back in the day of the less formalised codici, you could basically pull anything into a genestealer cult army. The theory is this, any underground cult will make 'deals with the devil' in order to gain power and influence. Therefore whilst a genestealer cult at it's core will have the Tyranid invasion policy as a strong political aim, the Genestealer magus will be savvy enough to exploit any power he can get, including turning to the currupt powers of Chaos and their evil ways. In my own mind I think they fit perfectly, after all the Chaos Gods are only really interested in stealing and corrupting souls, or blood - as such the Tyranids are welcome to a DNA leftover (which is all they're interesting in) ... deal or no deal?
In addition, I was inspired by the sublime story of Ciaphas Cain, where the Tau and Guard are nearly dragged into open brutal conflict by the machinations of an evil Genestealer Cult operating in the background and corrupting the PDF, governor et al...
Following that old (twisted) 2nd Edition logic I had proposed the following format, I would be playing fluffy in-the-middler with a half Tyranid/half New Guard codex Genestealer Cult Army. Alongside this force, Jack and Rob were fielding two impressively sized Tyranid Horde. Finally Dave would bring up the rear (but mostly lead insanely from the front) with a Chaos Marine and Deamonic Horde, which perfectly balanced out the force. And so the armies of Darkness were formed...
Facing this foe, Mark would reprise his role as the all dominating Guard - since the last battle he'd bought, built and painted two superheavies and a Vendetta (TOO much free time AND disposable income methinks!). He was ditching all pretense of a balanced force and maxing oout on vehicles. Crigey Chris did a last minute side-switch and stuck with his beautifully painted Ultramarines rather than bringing his Nids (clearly deciding on Nid-bashing options for the sons of Ultramar), meanwhile Dustin's Tau would be backed up (and faintly scorned by) a new entry 'Hutch' - who would be fielding a spectactularly painted (and for sale) Grey Knight force.
Genestealer Cult Uprising - Suneokun - Jack - Rob (TBC) - Dave
Genestealer Magus (Primaris Psyker) with Synapse Creature
Broodlord Patriarch with 8 Genestealers (Feeder Tendrils and Flesh hooks)
Winged Hive Tyrant, Scything Talons, Wings, Bonesword and Whip
Hive Tyrant with Venom Cannon and Bonesword and Whip and 3 Tyrant Guard
Maelstrom of Gore (gifting fleet of foot to all members) Comprising;
Chaos Lord with Blood Feeder and Mark of Khorne.
Chaos Terminator Lord with Chainfist, combi plasma.
3 x Khorne Berserkers  led by a Skull Champion with power weapon.
Tyranid Warriors  with Deathspitters and Rending Claws
Tryanid Warriors  with Spinefists and Redning Claws
Tyranid Warriors  with Scything Talons and Devourers
Hybrid Coven (Psyker Battle Squad)  with Chimera
Tyranid Warriors  with Deathspitters and Scything Talons
Chaos Dreadnought with twinlinked Lascannon, TL bolter, Dreadnought CCW and extra armour.
Bloodcrushers of Khorne 
Brood Brothers #1 (Penal Squad) - Gunslingers
Brood Brothers #2 (Penal Squad) - Knife Fighters
Genestealers  - Flesh Hooks and Scuttlers
Genestealers  - Flesh Hooks
Gaunts  - Flesh Borers
Gaunts  - Flesh Borers
Hormagaunts  - fleshhooks
Hormagaunts  - fleshhooks
Bloodletter of Khorne  Bloodletter of Khorne 
Sentinel - Lascannon
Sentinel - Lascannon
Ravener with Scything Talons
Leman Russ - Lascannon/Heavy Stubber
Leman Russ - Heavy Bolter/Heavy Stubber
Carnifex - Barbed Strangler, Scything Talons, Spineback, Mace Tail
Carnifex - 2x Scything Talons Carnifex - Scything Talons and Barbed Strangler
Carnifex - Venom Cannon and Crushing Claws
Traitor Baneblade with Autocannon, Baneblade Cannon, 3 TL Heavy Bolters, 2 Lascannon, Demolisher Cannon
Soul Grinder with 2 x Dreadnought CCW, Harvester, Mawcannon vomit-tongue-phlegm.
Imperial/Tau Defenders - Mark - Chris - Dustin - Hutch (TBC)
Techpriest Enginseer with 4 Servitors, 2 with Heavy Bolters
Librarian (Company Commander) with Smite and Gate to Infinity
Shas'O Swift Fury with Plasma Rifle, Missile Pd, Hard wired Multitracker, HW drone controller, Shield Drone, Bonding Knife
Shas'O Sureshot with Missile Pod, Cyclic Ion Blaster, Multitracker, HW target lock, HW drone controller, bonding knife and shield drone.
Techmarine with Thunderfire Cannon
Brother Uriel (Awesome looking 4 autocannoned Dreadnought) Sternguard (10) in a Rhino
3 Crisis Suits with Missile Pods, Plasma Rifles and Multitrackers 3 Crisis Suits with Missile Pod and 2 TL Missile Pods, Burst Cannon, Fusion Blaster, Multitrackers and HW Multitrackers all round and 2 gun drones
Stormtroopers #1  with plasmagun and meltagun
Stormtroopers #2  with plasmagun and meltagun
Stormtroopers #3  with plasmagun and meltagun
Tactical Squad #1 with Plasma Cannon and Plasma Gun in Rhino
Tactical Squad #2 with Lascannon and Plasma Gun in Rhino
Fire Warriors #1  with Shas'Ui, Photon Grenades and Bonding Knife in Devilfish with Disruption Pod Fire Warriors #2  with Shas'Ui, Photon Grenades and Bonding Knife
Fire Warriors #3  with Shas'Ui, Photon Grenades and Bonding Knife
Kroot Warriors  with shaper, light armour and 4 kroot hounds
Platoon Command Squad in a Chimera with Boltgun, Powerfist, platoon standard and vox-caster
Infantry Squad #1  with Grenade Launcher and vox-caster in Chimera
Infantry Squad #2  with Grenade Launcher and vox-caster in Chimera
Armoured Sentinels  with Multilasers
Land Speeder, Heavy Flamer and Multimelta
Land speeder Storm with Cerbus and Jamming Beacon
Land Speeder Typhoon with Typhoon Missile Launcher and Heavy Bolter
Land Speeder Typhoon with Typhoon Missile Launcher and Heavy Bolter
6 Pathfinders in a Devilfish
2 Leman Russ Battle Tanks with Lascannons and 2 Heavy Bolter Sponsons
Predator with TL Lascannon, 2 Heavy Bolters, Extra Armour
Vindicator with Demolisher Cannon and Dozer Blade
Devastator Squad with 4 Missile Launchers
2 Hammerheads with Railguns, Burst Cannons, Disruption Pod, Multitrackers and Target Lock
Landscape: The long walk ahead
The battlefields covered 2 4' by 8' boards which are 'linked' by a crowded cityscape in the centre. The armies woudl setup in diagonal positions, and for the Imperial forces this gave them ample room to target the enemy. For the ravening hordes, we would benefit from the line of sight being blocked by the intervening buildings, allowing us to approach at speed.
Objectives: The cityscape represented one objective, with the base in each deployment zone forming another. In addition, a further objective of killing the enemy commander got everyones attention. The Allies decided to opt for the Ultramaring Librarian as their commander model. The Tyranids opted to make the Tyranid Hive Tyrant with three tyrant guard as theirs (I wasn't involved in this decision making and sorely wish I had have been!)
Deployment: Both armies deployed over the far half of their board, split diagonally across the middle. While the 'gribblies' as I like to call them deployed over the more 'sheltered' side of the board, the armour (led by the traitor baneblade) sat from and centre and would attempt to draw fire from the enemy. The Imperial lines looked more like a 41st Millenium 'WhatTank?' convention, with the two superheavies holding centre stage in front of the Basalisks. Layer upon layer of tanks fielded, with the Imperial Guard holding the centre ground and back while the Ultramarines ranged down the left flank and the Tau took the near side right flank (where they could pop-up to fire). A rush of Rhinos and Chimera would rush the centre ground.
Turn 1: Gribblies Charge!
The Allies plumped to go first and immediately went about deploying as much firepower onto the Tyranids as possible. The traitor baneblade came in for a bit of a pounding but weathered the incoming fire remarkably well. In the same sense a large number of direct and indirect fire was targetted towards the running horde. While the pieplates looked dangerous, the swarms only lost occassional models. In the centre of the board and Genestealer Patriarch and his 8 strong retinue came under surprise attack as a dozen heavy weapons attempted to flatten the building they lurked in and kill the occupants.
Despite pummeling the building with everything they had, the forces of the Imperial Guard only managed to immobilise an immobile building AND then disarm 3 weapons that never existed. A valiant effort to uproot the Patriarch failed, and he and his retinue quickly moved across into the bottom of the building in which the nervous Space Marine Scouts crouched.
In the centre ground the Baneblade and Leman Russ took potshots at the Tau skimmer targetting them and managed to destroy the railgun on a hammerhead.
Turn 2: INCOMIIIING!
Imperial Allies: Suddenly, 'too clever by half' allied deepstrikers and flanking started appearing everywhere. To the surprise of the Broodlord and his eight strong retinue, the scouts Ultramarine LandSpeeder Storm zoomed to their defense, shooting a heavy bolter and Heavy flamer into the building at point blank range. The heavy flamer claimed four victims and the heavy bolter another two - leaving the Broodlord with a meagre retinue of two. Meanwhile in the backfield Tyranid lines, Mark dropped in three eight man stormtrooper units and attempted to massacre the rear armour of our tanks. They were further backed up by not just a Landspeeder, but a Vendetta and a squad of Grey Knights. Thanks to some lucky damage rolls and poor scatter, the meagre Cult Army armour division only suffered a shaken result on the Baneblade main weapon and one of the Leman Russ couldn't fire - everything else survived.
Meanwhile the gribbly horde advanced another 10" across the board (on average) and wer now only a couple of turns from flooding into the city. Basilisk and Superheavy attrition was light though, due to the intervening building. This was the case until the Tau dropped a 10" template NOVA BOMB on the advancing horde. A great deal of units lost many many models in this single strike, and the Tyranid Horde was severely affected.
In the centre ground, Tau forces descended on the City, hoping to hold the oncoming horde for the Greater good. Large numbers of Crisis Suited warriors were backed up by fire warriors and Kroot.
Genestealer Cult Horde: The plan at this point had two prongs, to draw the Imperials into the centre ground, and to hit their attritional firepower (Superheavies, Basilisks) with a devastating heavy flank attack. As such we put together over 15 Carnifi and selected the lot, plus Hive Tyrant and others for the charge. What we hadn't counted on was the Ultramarines disruption beacon. This evil evil device resulted in over 50% of our attacking units being redirected to flank onto our backfield. This debacle was further strained by Commander Jack (commanding the flanking forces) having a truly disasterous luck. As such, Rob's valiant 5 Scything Talon leaping Warriors failed to wound a single techmarine who dealt out 3 wounds in return. The Carnifewes were unable to wipe out a cannily place squadron of Armoured Sentinel and were left bunched up and hopelessly vulnerable. Our devastating flank attack was in disarray!
Meanwhile the surviving Broodlord and retinue  swarmed up the building on their flesh hooks (which are wickedly evil in city-fight terrain, "What do you mean you can treat verticle terrain as horizontal?") The scout squad had lost a member to attritional fire from the traitor units. The Broodlord quickly dispatched the other three scouts, leaving the Sergeant to the tender ministrations of the Genestealers. Despite wounding him three times, his carapace held ... he was still in the fight - which was actually a blessing in disguise.
The advancing 'Gribbley Horde' quickly detoured around the Nova Bomb - leaving a solid space for the Leman Russ tanks to advance.
20 termagaunts, 3 warriors and a psyker battle squad focussed their displeasure on the deepstruck storm troopers. The template from the psyker battle squad killed all but one of squad 1, while killing a further 4 in squad 2 (S6, rolled an AP3). The firepower proved too much and despite their 4+ save they were wiped out from fleshborers, deathspitters and spinefists. The Landspeeder came under fire from some lucky gaunts, who managed to wing the skimmer with their fleshborers and succeed in two immobilised results - destroying the vehicle. The Sentinels were less lucky with the Vendetta, despite managing a hit (on a 6) and penetrating (reduced to glancing), they only succeeded in stunning the vehicle (apparently ignored becuase flyers can always move - (Ed:I smell beardiness!) ho hum...
The valiant grey knights were equally luckless as they were quickly overwhelmed by the furious charge of five bloodletters from their own deployment zone, killing only one deamon in reply.
Turn 3: Annihilation.
Turn 3 was the single biggest carnage of the game so far. The Imperial had been denied clear targets due to range and the intervening terrain, now they faced the immediate threat of upwards of 10 monstrous creatures and close comabt specialists. The other side of the board saw little incoming as the superheavies and battletanks took aim at the 'helf-hearted' horde. By the end of the Allies players turn over 7 Carnifex, 2 Hive Tryant (and Tyrant Guard), 8 Deamons and 5 Tyranid Warriors were destroyed. Multi-wounds, extended carapace and, immunity to instantdeath meant nothing as the outnumbered flankers were poured into a cauldron of retributional fire. Only 4 Tyranid Warriors survived, managing to kill the Techmarine and stagger out of the firing line. The Imperial Armour was secure.
Sadly also, the Tyrant Guard guarded Tyrant (IE: The Tyranid Commander) had been one of the unlucky ones to make the flank assault and NOt been disrupted. The Allies had been handed the commander on a plate (giving one victory point) thanks to their deployment and their disruption field.
DINNER TIME LADS!
At this point, lunch was called. The Tyranid Horde was bloodied but not unmade - what could the Horde do against such attritional fire? What could we pull out of the fire after lunch?