Monday, November 19, 2018

Isstvan Clash - 30k Sons of Horus vs. Death Guard

Byron's Death Guard jet bikes prepare to make their stand amid the ashes of Isstvan III.
Back in the fall, I was itching to get a game of Epic 30k in, and Byron was kind enough to oblige me.  Through this time my hobby mojo has still really been "in" to the broad 30k setting and the Horus Heresy (whether through Adeptus Titanicus, Epic or with the standard scale). So last week I was really keen to play a game of 30k in standard scale (using the fan-created 8th edition rules). Once again Byron was ready and willing to participate.

The battle lines are drawn - the glorious legions of Horus Lupercal assembled on the left side of the photo, while rag-tag pro-Emperor terrorists clog the table on the right side...
Byron has an excellent collection of 30k Death Guard (seen throughout this blog, and on Curt's Analogue Hobbies Painting Challenge blog), and it is always fun to see those beautiful figures on the table.  They are a fine demonstration of Byron's great skill not only with his airbrush, but with the various filters/coats that he has used to achieve a very chipped and worn effect that looks absolutely fabulous.  Byron brought his lads over last Thursday night for a game.

Byron has done a fine job on his Death Guard collection.  Note the Volkite Culverins on that heavy support squad. Volkite weapons are not quite what they were in the 7th edition, but still...OUCH. 
My Praetor (white cloak, centre) prepares to lead the attack. 
I set the scenario on the ruined world of Isstvan III, location of the outbreak of the Horus Heresy and site of one of the Warmaster's most notorious atrocities clever victories.  In this battle, Horus and his fellow rebel commanders have kicked off their betrayal fight for freedom by trying to purge their own Legions of those who would not toe the line.  As such, on Isstvan III you can have intra-legion conflicts that would pit forces otherwise associated with a unified front against the Emperor against each other instead.

The Death Guard lines await contact...
In the story of the Horus Heresy, the initial wave of Death Guard had been sent down to take out the main defences on the outskirts of the Isstvan III capital city (known as the "Choral City").  Warned of the impending betrayal by Captain Garro, many of these Death Guard troops on the surface raced to seal themselves up in bunkers and fortifications they had just captured from the rebels. They survived the virus bombardment, and once the bombardment subsided, emerged on the ruined surface of the planet...as Horus landed troops to finish off these pockets of survivors, the Death Guard made an effort to move into the ruins of the Choral City and join up with the survivors from the other legions and simply hold out as long as they could. 

XVI Legion prepares to move out.  Note the heavy support squad hunkered behind the Rhino...they would have a disappointing outing...
So for our game last week, Byron's Death Guard forces would represent loyal marines who, having suppressed the rebellious regime on Isstvan III, were then betrayed and abandoned on the surface, bombarded from space and,  once it was clear they had managed to heroically endure said bombardment, were subjected to a ground assault...at a power level of 90, his forces represented a blocking force, looking to hold out while larger groups of their comrades escape to join fellow surviving loyalists in the Choral City. 

A 20-man tactical squad races forward. 

Contemptor dreadnought spearheads an assault, and a 15-man assault squad prepares to join the action. 
I assembled a similar power level force from the Sons of Horus, tasked with smashing these delusional followers of the so-called "Emperor" and preventing them from linking up with other survivors to perpetrate further acts of reactionary pro-Imperial terrorism...for rules, we used the fan-created 30k 8th edition stats and lists.  Remember that GW made the (somewhat bewildering) decision not to formally do an 8th edition for 30k...but the 30k community filled that gap in like...five minutes? Anyway, they did fine work, and we took advantage of this.

Death Guard jet bikes arrive to help stabilize the loyalist line...
And look, this game wasn't complicated.  Work was busy for both of us, and we were not about to tax our minds with a complicated game. This was a nice line-em-up, light-em-up game! My brave and honourable troops of the XVI Legion moved as quickly as possible to get to grips with craven Horus-deniers on the other side.  Surely we would wipe them from the table?

Well, not so much...over four turns of 30k mayhem, both sides pounded each other to pieces.  My 15-man assault squad and my kill-stealing very brave Praetor were the stars of the game for the Sons of Horus.  Of course, only two models were still around from that assault squad by the end of the game, but they did good work.  The Sons of Horus Praetor, for his part, cut down (or, depending on your perspective, "kill-stole") quite a few enemy tactical marines, before using his plasma pistol to score the final wound against one of Byron's Contemptor dreadnoughts...which duly EXPLODED! Mortal wounds all around!  Great stuff!  The Praetor eventually succumbed to combined fire from surviving loyalists. Having fallen bravely in the Warmaster's honour, his name will be inscribed on some motivational deck plate somewhere on Horus' ship, the Vengeful Spirit.

The XVI Legion Praetor..."edges in" *cough* to help in the close assault...
On the "needs improvement" file, I was excited of course to debut my new Sicaran combat tank.  But this was a newly-painted vehicle and...well, it went the way of newly-painted vehicles.  The Sicaran cannons shot up of lots of loyalists, but in the end my tank was blasted to bits.

The Death Guard dreadnought has just one wound remaining...the Sons of Horus Praetor draws a bead with his deadly plasma pistol, and...
KABOOM! Where did everyone go? Mortal wounds all around, including a couple on the Praetor himself...
The biggest disappointment was my heavy support squad with lascannons.  I was counting on those guys to take down some of Byron's heavy armour, but the only thing they managed to knock out was their own sense of self-worth...awful rolling...back to school for them!

Boy...that 15-man assault squad sure took a beating...
For Byron's side, his collection is tremendous, but in particular I just LOVED the jet-bike squad. He has them mounted on custom pill-shaped flying bases, and they look SUPER COOL. We found the rules penalized them a bit (the penalties for shooting heavy weapons when moving are a deterrent to zipping around the table - that seemed odd) but oh man they were neat on the table - and tough to bring down!

Surviving members of Byron's heavy support squad look to mop up a few more of their betrayers...
There were very few models remaining on either side when the game concluded - very apropos for 30k in my opinion. The loyalists payed a dear price, while Horus would surely rage at the heavy losses and delay incurred in what should have been a boring "mop-up" operation! Time for some new commanders in the Legion! I would say it was a loyalist victory.

Thanks again to Byron for the game - I just love the 30k setting, and it was great fun to push some Legion stuff around the table once again.  Hopefully Isstvan III will be a setting we can return to again soon.

2 comments:

Francis Lee said...

Those dice gods, beautiful miniatures!

Curt C said...

Great looking game guys! I love seeing all those magnificent 30K models getting their time in the sun (or crosshairs).