Learning Curve 40K first game report

A couple of weeks ago I posted an army list for my re-introduction to 40K.  I was set to take my dubiously skilled Night Lords into battle against the might of the First Legion piloted by an experienced General.  Chris is a really nice guy and I thoroughly enjoyed the game despite the eventual result.

We set up diagonally with six objective markers, I was to go first and think I deployed a little badly.  In hindsight I think the Land Raider should have gone wide to maximise it’s firing potential on turn one.  I kept my terminators in reserve and deployed in order to capture up to four of the objectives if nothing else.  My list can be found here.

Chris deployed his Lion’s Blade Detachment directly opposite my units with his Deathwing held in reserve.  His list consisted of;
Demi Company with three Rhino mounted squads of six tactical marines with Grav Cannon, a small five man assault squad led by a Chaplain and a Devastator Squad with four Grav Cannons mounted in a drop-pod with a Deathwind Launcher.
Deathwing Redemption Force with two five man squads of terminators led by a level two Librarian.  Both Squads had Assault Cannons.
This was a much better force than my list (though why was not apparent until at least Chris’s first turn!) and was quite an eye-opener!

Turn one was a bit farscial on the CSM side though my objective cards turned over quite nicely so I grabbed quite a few victory points.  My Night Lords had obviously been ship-bound for much too long and struggled with normal gravity as they stumbled and tripped through woods and buildings alike whilst my Rhino moved around the woods (and forgot to fire it’s smoke launchers).  The Land Raider moved up towards the central objective and tried to blast the Rhino opposite but to no avail because of the cover.

Chris’s turn was by contrast very productive.  He too moved to grab the nearest objectives where necessary and dropped his devastators right in between my CSM squad on my left and my backline objective snafflers the Cultists.  Then he opened fire with the Graviton Cannons.  I’d never seen them before because they’re new (to me at least) and frankly I hadn’t paid much attention to their rules beyond -they kill marines.  I probably should have read the rules a little more.  Fully half of one of my CSM squads died to the devastators whilst both my transports became glued to the ground by the Tactical Squads firing out of their Rhinos.  No more moving around for me then.  The one saving grace was probably that Chris was unlucky with his objective cards which meant I was still in the lead!

Turn two saw the arrival of the terminators in position to threaten the Dark Angels back line and the disembarkation of the transported marines to grab the central objective and start to foot slog towards the enemy.  The remaining five guys from my left most squad decided to assault the devastators but again I hadn’t really read the rules and the combination of ineffective firing by my cultists and the pistols plus the madness that is salvo 5 plus the Dark Angel Overwatch rules meant that ended messily.  Things were a little better in the centre of the field where the immobilised Land Raider exploded the Rhino opposite and the nicely placed terminators burned and bolstered enough Dark Angels to make the remaining two flee the field.  Significant luck with objective cards plus first blood looked to put me comfortably ahead on victory points so I still felt confident.

Chris brought in his Deathwing and caused my chosen to have to fire snap shots, moved up on my left -completely ignoring my cultists (much to their outrage!) and it was pretty clear that the game was going to slip away.  Mass shooting crippled the Rhino, half minced my right-hand most squad of Marines and completely obliterated those that had been holding the central objective.  My chosen faired badly too as they were reduced to half strength by further fire from a Grav Cannon and a lone (but spectacularly accurate) bolter.  The one thing that went my way was the total annihilation of the Assault Squad at the hands of the terminators with the loss of only one Chaos Marine.  Chris scored quite a few victory points this turn and significantly closed the gap.

Turn three and my force was looking significantly thinner on the ground than at the start of the game so this was a short turn.  My Cultists fired into the very rude Devestators and managed to kill two!  Unfortunately they didn’t run away but I was very happy with that.  My Chosen and Land Raider elected to target the Rhino threatening the centre in the hope that the Lascannons would pop the tank and the Chosen could charge the survivors but to no avail.  In fact out of spite more than anything my Dark Apostle fired his snap-shot only plasma pistol and managed to lose a wound.  My Terminators charged the rear-most Dark Angels in the hope of forcing them off the objective they were holding but this failed too.  A combination of overwatch Grav (again) and then really bad dice rolls meant that despite it being stationary my powerfist wielding dude and surviving champion did two glances…

Chris on the other hand was now firmly in the ascendancy.  My Chosen were slaughtered to a man, the Land Raider assaulted by Power Fist Terminators and my last surviving marines were killed in the shooting phase.  At the end of the Dark Angels fourth turn I only had a snap-shot firing Land Raider and 6 Cultists remaining so we called the game.

I really enjoyed the game (especially the mission cards) despite the ass-kicking I received and I’m keen to play again.  I did learn a few things though.  Big tanks need room to move and little tanks should use smoke early to preserve their lifespan.  Grav weapons are all around horrible for marines to fight against and understanding all the rules is something I need to work on doing.  I think the key thing though was ‘don’t bring a knife to a gun fight’ literally and figuratively .  When I last played properly the game often came down to giant brawls of brutal fisty-cuffs but this edition seemed to have switched the balance to be in the holder of the bigger guns.  That goes for your over all list too;  formations and detachments seem to be the way forwards both for lore and gaming reasons so my next game I will try to utilise that for additional fun rules, hopefully using Dark Angels myself!

Until next time happy gaming! -Mark



  1. CSM are really poor at the moment, and Dark Angels are one of their worst matchups. Hard to know what to advise, get an Imperial Knight maybe.

    • Yeah that’d learn them! In fairness Chris did say that much when we’d finished.
      I’m going to focus on getting the Ravenwing geared up for war, the CSM were never really a coherent ‘army’ I just thought they looked cool!
      I do want one of those big boys though as much for the epicness as the rules!

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