Tuesday 6 April 2021

The Lessons of War

Having spent much of the last eight months painting or repainting two armies for Warhammer 40k, and with games against other human beings appearing on the horizon, I figured it was time to actually try playing the game...

The aim of this solo game would be to try to get a handle on the rules, specifically those of my two armies. I have watched a fair few YouTube games, but they are limited by only really showing well constructed forces made from the best choices in the lists...a description which does not fit with my selections.

I limited myself to 500 points a side (I did try using Power Levels, but that did weird things). I also didn't bother with strategems other than those in the main rulebook, as I had plenty to think about. I used the basic Only War scenario.

Blood Angels

Librarian Tyborel
- Force Sword, Boltgun, Artificer Armour
- Shield of Sanguinius, Unleash Rage, Smite

Veteran Squad Sevrael
- Sergeant Sevrael: Bolt Pistol, Power Fist
- Brother Morlaeo: Lightning Claws
- Brother Urrel: Bolt Pistol, Chainsword

Tactical Squad Rafael
- Sergeant Rafael: Bolt Pistol, Power Sword
- 1 Tactical Marine: Flamer
- 1 Tactical Marine: Missile Launcher
- 7 Tactical Marines: Boltgun

Dreadnought Furio
- Multi-Melta, Combat Weapon, Heavy Flamer

Daemons of Tzeentch

The Fluxmaster
- Staff of Change, Impossible Robe

10 Pink Horrors & 3 Blue Horrors

3 Flamers

Exalted Flamer

5 Screamers


Tyborel ordered his forces to make as much use of cover as bright red armour would allow, and took to the centre with his Veteran bodyguard and the mighty Dreadnought.

Squad Rafael were split, with Sergeant Rafael leading a thrust to the Librarian's left.

Meanwhile, the missile launcher took up a firing position on the hill to the right, beneath the signal tower, and close enough to secure one of the objectives without moving.

The forces of the Changer of the Ways also made use of cover where they could, in the full knowledge that it wouldn't hinder their movements.

Flamers stalked in the undergrowth.

Gibbering Horrors clustered amongst the ancient ruins.

Turn 1

The Blood Angels took the initiative and began to advance through the jungle, with the Veterans leading the way.

Librarian Tyborel took the opportunity to cast Shield of Sanguinius onto the Dreadnought and Unleash Rage on himself, just in case he got jumped on by some Screamers.

The Dreadnought's multi-melta taught one of the Flamers what real heat was, whilst a frag missile managed to bring down a single Blue Horror.

Teaching Moment #1
By adding the 3 Blue Horrors to the Pinks, I'd accidentally made the whole unit more susceptible to blast weapons.

The Deamons flooded forwards, their ability to fly giving them much more maneuverability than the Marines in the dense terrain.

In a display of total ineptitude, the Horrors failed to cast Smite, the Fluxmaster had Smite denied, and then failed to cast Flickering Flames. The Flamers and Exalted Flamer all failed to hit or damage the Dreadnought.

Teaching Moment #2
Although I failed to hit a lot, I didn't realise that the Fluxmaster improved the strength of units within 6". This might have improved the effectiveness of the shooting. I'll need to learn to position him well.

The Screamers swept forwards into assault on the Veterans, whilst being careful to stay out of 3" of Tyborel to avoid heroic intervention.

Teaching Moment #3
Don't let characters get separated from the units they are accompanying. It leaves both more vulnerable.

They then proceeded to eat the Veterans who died wishing that the Librarian had put Shield of Sanguinius on them.

With their meal finished, the Screamers consolidated to deny the Dreadnought control of an objective and reduce the Blood Angels ability to score.

Turn 2

Furio advanced on the Screamers that had savaged his brothers and poured fire (literally) into them, whilst Sergeant Rafael took up position in the pool and directed fire at the Flamers, destroying one.

Feeling somewhat exposed, Tyborel dropped back to the missile launcher squad and they also opened up on the Screamers, whilst another frag missile flew across the battlefield and killed another Blue Horror.

Teaching Moment #4
Tzeentch invulnerable saves are not to be sniffed at. The Screamer weathered some severe firepower, and only lost two of them.

Furio charged into assault, and the combined effects of the Red Thirst, Shock Assault and Unleash Rage saw him rip them to shreds.

The Daemons repositioned tour everything they had at the Dreadnought lumbering towards them. Two Smites and a torrent of flames saw the venerable warrior reduced to two wounds.

If only they had more firepower...

Teaching Moment #5
Dreadnoughts don't degrade like other vehicles, which was a nice surprise at this point.

Turn 3

Furio advanced into the face of the fire, supported by Tyborel and Squad Rafael.

The last Flamer was finished off with a psychic Smite. Punishing rapid fire from the Tactical Marines brought down the Exalted Flamer.

The Fluxmaster would have been banished back into the warp by the multi-melta, had not the Impossible Robe got there first when Tzeentch was out of Command Points.

With the Blood Angels bearing down on them, the Horrors, which had taken 3 more casualties to the missile launcher, had to go on the offensive.

Leaping forwards, the Horrors let loose a Smite at Furio that Tyborel somehow failed to deny twice, finally bringing down the the valiant hero.

They then saw the opportunity to gain vengeance for the banishing of the Fluxmaster, as the Librarian was alone and vulnerable.

Teaching Momemt #6
It was at this point I realised that the Horrors have a shooting attack, which Battlescribe had contrived to place on a different page from the rest of the profile. 20 shots per round might have had an impact on the game...

Unleashing a torrent of flames, the Horrors leapt towards Tyborel, his Arrificer armour buckling as he was left on just two wounds, and only able to fell one of the capering daemons.

He might not survive another round of combat...

Turn 4

Seeing the Librarian sorely pressed, the two halves of Squad Rafael acted as one and ran towards the fray.

Noble savagery was unleashed a the Horrors were ton limb from limb beneath the blades of the sons of Sanguinius.

Teaching Moment #7
Oh. My. Word. Blood Angels in combat. That is a LOT of dice! And this isn't even a close combat unit

Tyborel stood amidst the carnage and uttered a prayer for the fallen. Orders were given for the gene-seed to be retrieved and contact was made with the fleet.

Firstly, a request to retrieve Brother Furio and see whether he could be refitted for combat.

Secondly, a report on the daemonic infestation which would clearly need purging. There was no way the Blood Angels had seen the last of the servants of the Changer of the Ways.


Well, that was fun.

There's a lot to keep track of (especially running two armies), and even more so if I add in the elements I missed.

The Daemons seem to need more careful handling than the Marines, as things went south quickly and, apart from the Screamers, they aren't very good at close combat.

The Blood Angels felt very forgiving, and were able to respond effectively throughout the game. With the added versatility of having more units to pick from, this match up doesn't seem like it will be a fair fight for a while.

I've got plans for the Daemons, so I might wait until I have somethi g else painted before I try again. I should probably buy their book too at some point...


  1. Nice report and great looking game.

    1. Cheers. I probably need some taller sci-fi terrain for when I break out the vehicles and Greater Daemons.