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Daemons vs Iron Hands - 1500pts

Thursday night I played Atomic, from the Independent Characters forum. He asked if he could test out his 1500pts Brisbane Winter War Fest Iron Hands list, to which I agreed. I'm not really a tournament player, but relished the chance to try my army against it.

My list, is unchanged from my previous two games.

@HQ [ 1 ]
Keeper of Secrets (245pt.); Mastery level 2; Lesser Rewards; Greater Rewards (x2);
 - Powers: Lash of Slaanesh (Slaanesh); Psychic Screech (Telepathy), Shrouding (Telepathy)
 - Rewards: Corpulence (Greater), Lash of Despair (Greater), Etherblade (Lesser)

@Troops [ 3 ]
15x - Daemonettes of Slaanesh (160pt.); Alluress; Greater Rewards (Greater Etherblade);
15x - Daemonettes of Slaanesh (160pt.); Alluress; Greater Rewards (Greater Etherblade);
10x - Daemonettes of Slaanesh (90pt.);

@Fast attack [ 1 ]
10x - Seekers of Slaanesh (145pt.); Heartseeker; Greater Rewards (Greater Etherblade);

@Heavy support [ 3 ]
Soul Grinder (170pt.); Daemon of Slaanesh; Baleful torrent;
Daemon Prince (260pt.); Daemon of Slaanesh; Daemonic flight; Mastery level 1; Greater Rewards (x2);
 - Powers: Lash of Slaanesh (Slaanesh); Smite (Biomancy)
 - Rewards: Lash of Despair (Greater); Hellfire Gaze (Greater); Etherblade (Lesser)
Daemon Prince (265pt.); Daemon of Slaanesh; Daemonic flight; Warp-forged armour; Lesser Rewards; Greater Rewards (x2);
 - Rewards: Touch of Uncreation (Greater); Corpulence (Greater); Etherblade (Lesser)

Atomic's Iron Hands is a Highlander list from Clan Raukaan Codex Supplement, which means only one of each entry. From Memory:

@HQ [ 2 ]
Chapter Master; Gorgon's Chain, Axe of Medusa, Bike
Librarian; ML2, Mindforge Stave, Bike
 - Powers; Psychic Shriek (Telepathy); Invisibility (Telepathy); Dominate (Telepathy)
4x Command Squad; 3x Veterans with Grav Guns; Apothecary; Bikes

@Troops [ 2 ]
10x Bike Squad; 8 Bikes; 2 Melta Guns; Sergeant with Combi-Melta; 1 Attack Bike with Multi Melta
10x Scouts; 5 Close Combat Weapons and Bolt Pistols, 5x Sniper Rifles

@Elites [ 2 ]
Mortis-Contemptor; 2x Kheres Assault Cannon
Storm Talon; Assault Cannons; Missiles

@Heavy Support [ 1 ]
Sicarian Tank; Lascannon Sponsons

This is the first time I have faced a Bike list, although not strictly 100% bikes, it's still going tough. Especially with all my Daemonettes at strength 3. Still, lots of Rending and AP2 should give me the edge in combat. I am concerned about the large Bikestar, not by the Grav guns, as my Daemons don't wear armour, but by that Librarian with Invisibility!

We decide to play a Maelstrom mission, this is my first time with this mission type. We roll Cleanse and Control, 3 Strategy cards each, with Vanguard Strike deployment. The table can be seen in the pictures above.
Atomic rolled to deploy first. His Sicarian is on the hill next to an objective, with a combat squad of bikers next to it. The Mortis-Contemptor in the middle of the board to try and control the skies. To its right is the biker command squad with Librarian and Chapter Master. With the second combat squad bikers with the attack bike on far side.

I deployed my Soul Grinder and Keeper close to the Sicarian, figuring the Grinder is my best bet at destroying it. My keeper being the best bet at killing that Mortis-Contemptor. Daemonettes back up the Keeprs looking to get across the board. In the ruins on my left flank, is the other Daemonettes and my Seekers on the far side, looking to take on the Bike squad with the attack bike. Both Daemon Princes behind cover far away from danger ready to swoop across the board. 10 Daemonettes are held in reserve.

Infiltrate moves see's the Atomic put the sniper scouts on the hill in the back field. The other squad is in reserves with the Storm Talon.

Atomic decides to go first, I fail to seize.

Iron Hands Turn 1

Movement Phase:
The Sicarian shuffles to its right to get clear view of the Soul Grinder. Bikes hang back, snipers stay still. The Mortis-Contemptor moves up the objective in the ruins. The Command bikers stay still, the Chapter Master moves away from the squad to line up the Daemonettes close to the Keeper of Secrets. The Attack Bike squad lines up shots against the Seekers.

Psychic Phase: Librarian casts Invisibility on the Chapter Master, Perils, loses the Dominate Power and a wound.

Shooting Phase: 
The Chapter Master drops an Orbital Bombardment on the Daemonettes, direct hit. It kills several. A Seeker is killed from the attack bike squad. The Sicarian fails to wound the Soul Grinder. The Mortis-Contemptor fails to kill any more Daemonettes. Snipers shoot and fail to hit the Keeper. The Command squad fail to kill any Daemonettes in the Ruins.

Atomic gets 2 Victory Points for holding two objectives.

Daemon Turn 1

Movement Phase:
Everything moves up. Soul Grinder and Keeper towards the Sicarian. Daemonettes into the ruins towards the Mortis-Contemptor, the other squard advances towards the Command Squad, the Seekers move up to the Attack Bike squad. Both Daemon Princes swoop across the board, keeping out of range of the Mortis-Contempter.

Psychic Phase: The Keeper casts Shrouded on itself. The Daemon Prince casts Smite and Lash of Slaanesh on the Attack Bikes, kills a couple.

Shooting Phase:
Warp Storm Table brings Tzeentch to the table, he fails to hit anything. The Soul Grinder shoots the Harvester Cannon hoping to get some glances on the Sicarian. It fails. The Daemon Prince with the Lash of Despair targets the Attack Bike Squad and takes a few more. Just one bike left, and the Attack Bike has one wound left.

No Victory points for me. I discard the Strategy card to control at least 2 objectives and twice as many as my opponent.

Iron Hands Turn 2

Movement Phase:
The Scouts arrive from reserve and outflank in my deployment zone. The Storm Talon remains in reserve.

The Sicarian backs up, ensuring it's still within reach of the objective but as far away from the Soul Grinder as possible. The Biker combat squad back away from the Grinder also, Snipers stay on the hill, the Mortis-Contemptor holds its position also. The Bikestar advances on the Daemonettes (Chapter Master rejoins the squad), the remains of the Attack Bike squad goes over the hill, behind the Seekers and the Daemon Princes.

Psychic Phase: The Librarian successfully casts Invisibility, on the Biker star. I roll everything in an attempt to Deny it. I am one 6 short. The Librarian also casts Psychic Shriek, and kills a Daemonette.

Shooting Phase:
Sicarian fires at the Soul Grinder and takes a hull point off. The Biker combat squad shoots at the Keeper, but the Keeper makes its cover saves. The Mortis-Contemptor  opens up on the Daemonettes in the ruins, and kills 3. The Biker star shoots in to the Daemonettes in the open and kills 4. The Attack Bike combat squad fires at the Seekers and kills another Seeker.

Assault Phase:
The Bikestar charges the Daemonettes, I can't hit anything due to Invisibility, they kill all but one Daemonette. Who passes the Daemonic Instability test.

Atomic picked up another 2 Victory Points for securing objectives.

Daemon Turn 2

Movement Phase:
Soul Grinder and Keeper keep moving towards the Sicarian. The Daemonettes in the Centre move on to the objective. The Seekers turn about and face the Attack Bike Squad. Daemon Prince kitted for Close Combat lands, and moves into cover. The other Daemon Prince flies to the flank of the Mortis-Contemptor.

Psychic Phase: The Keeper cast Shrouding on the Daemonettes in the centre. The Daemon Prince cast Lash of Slaanesh and Smite on the Mortis-Contemptor with no affect.

Shooting Phase: 
Warp Storm is Calm. Soul Grinder attempts to shoot the Sicarian again, and fails to get any glances. The Swooping Daemon Prince uses Lash of Despair against the Contemptor getting 11 hits on the side, with enough glances to destroy it, First Blood.

Assault Phase: 
The Lonely Daemonette still can't hit the Invisible Bikestar, they easily finish off her off.

The Seekers charge the Attack Bike combat squad, one dies to Melta overwatch, the remaining easily finish off the bikes. A massive 1" consolidate see's them move just within the objective marker.

Two Victory points for me this turn.

Iron Hands Turn 3

Movement Phase:
The remaining bike squad moves up to deal with the Soul Grinder.

The Bikestar moves up to deal with the Daemon Prince.

Scouts head toward the objective in my backfield.

Psychic Phase: The Librarian casts Invisibility on the Bikestar. I throw everything at it to Deny... and fail.

Shooting Phase:
The Grinder is finally taken down by the Melta guns of the Bike squad. The Sicarian reduces the Keeper to 2 wounds. The Bikestar knocks a few wounds off the Daemon Prince.

Assault Phase: 
The Bikestar charges the Daemon Prince. Hammer of Wrath knocks a wound of him, Daemon Prince cannot hit the Invisible unit, the Bikestar have no such problems. Daemon Prince is out for the count.

Atomic picks up a few more Victory points for holding some objectives. Librarian regains its wound from It Will Not Die.

Daemon Turn 3

Movement Phase: 
The Seekers and Central Daemonette squad double back to take on the Scouts, and get as far away from the Bikestar as possible.

The Daemonettes  from reserve and land on the central objective the Mortis-Contemptor had been holding. The Keeper looks to take on the Bike Squad. The Swooping Daemon Prince flies behind the Sicarian to get a rear shot.

Psychic Phase: The Daemon Prince casts Smite and Lash of Slaanesh on the Sicarian, and fails to do anything. The Keeper casts Shrouding on the newly arrive Daemonettes.

Shooting Phase: 
Warp Storm brings Nurgle to the battlefield, he fails to hit anything. The Keeper uses Lash of Despair on the bikers killing one with a single rending hit. The Daemon Prince uses Hellfire Gaze on the Sicarian, 4+ needed to glance. I roll a one. He then uses its Lash of Despair, gets just 4 attacks, but manages one Glancing hit! The Daemonettes in the centre run into cover of the ruins.

Assault Phase:
The Keeper is finally within distance to charge the Bikes, overwatch kills him before he makes it into combat....

I pick up one Victory point. Atomic picks up Slay the Warlord.

Iron Hands Turn 4

Movement Phase:  
The Scouts make it to the objective in my backfield. The Bikestar moves up to lend support to the Scout squad.

The Storm Talon arrives and lines up against the Swooping Daemon Prince. The Sicarian moves to get a better view of the Daemonettes. The Bikes move out of assault distance from the Daemonettes in the centre.

Psychic Phase: Invisibility is cast on the Bikestar. Again, I fall short of Denying it.

Shooting Phase:
The Storm Talon unloads everything into the back of the Daemon Prince. Some terrible dice rolls see the Daemon Prince vanish in a cloud of blood. The Sicarian, Scouts and Bikes open up on the Daemonettes reducing them to 1.

 The Bikestar used the shooting phase to turbo boost towards the seekers.

Daemon Turn 4

Movement Phase: 
 Daemonettes turn around and run to an objective I picked up a Strategy card for.

The lonely Daemonette moves to ensure she is in the ruins for the cover save. Seekers move through the ruins ready to strike at the Scouts.

Shooting Phase: Warp Storm table brings a Daemon -1 to invulnerable saves... Nothing else can shoot.

Assault Phase:
Seekers charge the Scouts and kill them all, claiming the objective.

I pick up 2 Victory Points.

Iron Hands Turn 5

Movement Phase:
 The Bikestar moves in to take on the Seekers.

 The Storm Talon turns its attention towards the Daemonettes in the centre.

The Sicarian remains where it is, and the Bike squad moves up to take aim at the lonely Daemonette in the Ruins.

Psychic Phase: The Librarian casts Invisibility on the Bikestar, I fail to Deny.

Shooting Phase: The Bikestar opens fire on the Seekers, and kills all but one.

The lonely Daemonette is killed by the bikers.

The Storm Talon and Sicarian open fire on the last remaining Daemonette squad. One lonely Daemonette remains.

Assault Phase:
 The Bikestar Charges the Seekers, Hammer of Wrath kills it. They Consolidate on to the Objective.

Daemon Turn 5

I don't have any strategy cards that will gain me any extra Victory points from my lonely Daemonette. So well call it here.

Game Over: Iron Hands win.

Final tally is 10 - 6 to the Iron Hands.

The final score flattered what should have been a tabling, my last Daemonette held out so it wasn't a white wash. Although, we didn't roll for turn 6 so it could have continued.

End Game Analysis

That was a humbling experience. After three great Victories in a row, it's a bitter pill to swallow.

The Maelstrom missions were certainly entertaining, not sure how long the novelty will last, without them I certainly wouldn't have come close in Victory Points. They did however, make decisions for me, like moving a squad of Daemonettes in the opposite direction in order to claim an objective. Troops with shooting weapons I don't see this as much of a problem, but when I can only deal damage in close combat, having to move my troops away from the enemy really hurts my ability to 'win' the game.

I should have already learnt that the Soul Grinder's Harvester Cannon is useless. I was so scared of the Sicarian tank that I was using all my shooting to kill it... But the best way I have of removing it is to smash it in close combat with the Iron Claw. in the future, forget shooting, run, run, run! The Sicarian itself turned out to be quite timid, it didn't put out the fire power I was expecting and the AV13 on the Soul Grinder was a struggle for it.

Invisibility is such a powerful psychic power. I had no way of dealing with it, I also have no idea what I can do in the future if I come up against it again. The Iron Hands Bikestar is very hard, it doesn't really need Invisibility to be scary, but I wonder how well it would have done against my Daemon Prince and a full squad of 15 Daemonettes.  I should have ignored the squad completely and kept the close combat Daemon Prince swooping towards the Scouts in the back field.

Lash of Despair was very useful. I may have to make it a default pick for both Daemon Princes and the Keeper, it adds more shooting to my army which is sorely needed, even with such short range. I just have to be wary of killing too many models and moving out of assault range.

Again I bemoan my 'cursed' dice. I threw far too many 1's, so many in fact that I have bought new dice! I will keep those dice for Leadership tests.

All in all, I learnt a lot from the experience, and look forward to a rematch. Beaten but not lost!


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