Finally, it was time to start the game!
The first thing we did was roll to see who went first. On a 1-4 the team that deployed first has the first turn, and on a 5+ the other team does.
The dice came up a 6, meaning that Chaos had the first turn. Poor luck!
Before they got to moving, though, it was time to roll on the Exterminatus table. We rolled a 1, +1 for being Turn one, which meant that we got the Orbital Bombardment result. The Imperium was the Master of Disaster, so got to place the first one, and there were to be 4 placed.
One thing I didn’t realise until we started was that these attacks are treated as coming from a Warlord, so could only be placed on a target within his LoS. This was not good for the Imperium as one of the Warlords was in reserve and one was behind cover. We still found a few targets (it was hard not to with that many models on the field), and wiped out a few Plague Marines. The Chaos side could not see a massive amount either, and settled on obliterating the majority of the Space Marine bikers. They managed to clip the Shadowsword, but it took no damage.
We decided to use the Apocalypse rules for D weapons (which were much, much nastier than the 40k ones). I know that the errata says that in Apocalypse you should use the 40k rules now, but this is more fun! That being said, having no saves whatsoever is brutal.
With that over, the first turn could start properly!
CHAOS TURN ONE
The Helldrake formation swooped to the left, right over my forces and managed to wreck another vehicle by Vector Striking. Curse the Hell Turkeys!
Most of the Chaos Side were close-combat or short ranged, but as we were rocking a huge amount of armour it was clear we wanted to get as close as we could, so they had the luxury of waiting for us to come to them.
With the movement phase over, it was time for the psychic phase. There was a scary amount of psychic potential on the board. I had 3 Inquisitors, a Level 2 Psyker as well as Ezekial, who was level 3. George had Njall (level 2) and 3 level 1 Rune Priests. Chaos had Sorcerers, Daemon Priests, Ahriman (Level 4!), all sorts, as well as a Thousand Sons war coven! I think the numbers were something like 24 Psychic Dice, and we had 14. Chaos rolled a 6, meaning they had a frankly scary 30 dice to throw around!
Most of the powers were out of range, but one particular power was not! The main benefit from the Thousand Sons War Coven was access to a terrifying Vortex spell. It’s so powerful that the player using it has to sacrifice sorcerers each turn he uses it. It allows the user to manifest a lethal Vortex, which is a S:D blast that stays there for the next turn. In fact, it scatters each turn, and whatever it lands on takes further D Strength hits! Remembering how tightly packed our vehicles were, and the fact that in the old rules D weapons automatically ‘Explodes!’ vehicles on a 2+, this was scary.
Marcus successfully got the power off, and despite nearly 20 dispel dice we couldn’t counter it. He placed them both over the Stormlord, and neither of them scattered. This was bad. If a Superheavy runs out of Hull Points, it suffers a Titanic Explosion regardless of how it was damaged. Everyone around it takes hits of a random strength (potentially D!), but everyone inside suffers a number of S:10 AP:2 hits equal to the number of units in the squad.
Considering that the Stormlord currently had 1 Devastator Squad, a Command Squad (with a Chaplain and a level 2 Librarian!), an Iron Wolf and an Assault Squad with another Chaplain, that would be a bad thing to happen.
Marcus looked very happy indeed when he picked up his two dice to determine damage, scoring mid-results on each. That was ok for us, because the middle result means each hit scores D3+1 Hull Points, not the D6+6 that the higher result gives. I let out my breath as the Stormlord took 8 Hull Points of damage. It had survived!
In the Shooting Phase the Chaos side threw all they had at the injured Stormlord, hoping to bring it down. George and I cheered every time they failed to penetrate its formidable AV14, and I was hugely pleased when the final Chaos unit had shot and failed.
The Helldrake formation turned their disgustingly powerful Bale Flamers on my Psyker squad and wiped them all out, so no S:10 AP:1 Large Blasts each turn for me! At least, not from them. Boo!
With clearly no assaults, the Chaos side was just about done. George and I got ready to retaliate, utterly relieved that there were no significant casualties on our side.
“But wait,” says Marcus. “I’ve not fired with this, yet.” He pointed at his Bastion with its Interceptor/Skyfire Lascannons.
Feeling a bit worried all of a sudden, he rolled and succeeded in hitting Simul Asino, the Stormlord. Needing only a glancing hit to destroy it, he would still need to roll a 5+…
Which he did! Oh no! The Stormlord goes down! Not only that, but we rolled for the explosion result and it was as bad as it could be, scattering deep into our lines before exploding! Every single person inside, barring the Jump Pack Chaplain and the Veteran Sergeant of the Assault Squad bit the dust, and a few models were taken out from the exterior explosion, too.
I think I’m cursed. Whenever I field a new Super-Heavy, it is destined to be destroyed before it can do anything!
The last thing they did before ending their turn was activate the Smoke Screen Strategic Asset, which essentially let them draw a line on the field that blocked line of sight. Naturally, they stuck it right in front of my Shadowsword, rendering it almost useless for a turn! Boo!
With the Chaos turn finally over (and once they’d finished their Victory celebrations), it was time for our retaliation. And boy was it going to be fierce…
IMPERIUM TURN ONE
The first thing George and I decided to do was play one of the Strategic Assets we had. I think it was called Perfect Planning or something like that. It allowed us to Deep Strike without scattering for the turn, which was awesome, especially because in Apocalypse you can bring in you reserves without rolling, and fliers and Deep Strikers get to come in on Turn One if you want. Naturally, we decided to bring in everything we had!
Nearly 20 Terminators teleported right in the heart of the Chaos back lines, and 4 Drop Pods smacked down on the Battlefield holding powerful Dreadnoughts. One of them contained Marneus Calgar and his squad of Captains, and that one landed almost on the Chaos board edge, out of sight of many of their squads.
The Sentinels also appeared, as did the Wolf Scouts to support. The Land Speeders arrived on the backlines, too, to support the Terminators.
The huge armoured column rolled forwards towards the Chaos front line, ready to disgorge their deadly payloads into the enemy that had so badly wounded them in the previous turn. The Thunderwolves charged forwards, and the Stormtalon gunship swooped in to take on the Helldrakes. The rest of the tanks each shifted around as best they could to get as many targets as they could.
In the Psychic phase, most of the powers were Presciences being thrown around, though the Malleus Inquisitor, who had teleported in with the rest of the Terminators, did manage to reduce the Daemon save of a nearby Prince.
In shooting, a Helldrake was destroyed by the Stormtalon, and long-range artillery pounded some Plague Marines from the assembled Leman Russes and Basilisk. The Shadowsword, frustrated at not being able to see anything worth shooting, instead tried a few snap-shots with its Lascannons at the Helldrakes, but failed to inflict any hits. The Terminators all combined their shooting on a unit of Thousand Sons sitting on an Objectives, whittling them down.
In assault, the Thunderwolves stampeded into the nearby Plague marines, hammering them into a stinky grave.
With a shamefully small amount of Chaos dead, it was time for Turn Two…