House Angelus vs Legio Vulturum

In an attempt to share more of what we do on Thursday nights, down at Big Stompy Robots in the North-East we’ve attempted to pull together a retro feel written battle report, perhaps as a prelude to greater things in the future. This first (be gentle with us we didn’t take enough notes!) battle report pitches the traitor Legio Vulturum (the Gore Crows) against the loyalist Questoris Imperialis Knight Household of House Angelus, in an off the cuff 1750 points match up, using previously assembled lists, paired up at random, using the open engine war cards to generate the scenario. What you read here, is taken from the broken reports received back through the fog of war from a distant battlefield in the trying times of the heresy…

The Forces

House Angelus

The High King’s Lance

House Angelus deployed a full household for this engagement, bringing two lances plus support and not a titan in sight. The first lance, containing the high king no less, consisted of three banners of two Cerastus lancer knights each, also packing a shielding standard to reduce the effects of blast weapons. The high king selected the knightly quality of Master of War to add even more manoeuvrability to this already fast striking unit.

Not content with just one lance on the battlefield, a further lance of Questoris knights was also deployed. Each banner was made up of the minimum three knights, all toting a battle cannon, melee weapon and a stormspear missile pod, as well as melta guns on the High Scion and Lord Scions. The High Scion not wanting to be outdone, also brought a Standard of Defiance, as everyone likes a pretty flag!

Further support took the form of a banner of Acastus Porphyrions, with the full complement of two knights. For some extra activations and some hopefully sneaky shenanigans the High King also unleased a banner of Armigers, with a mixed loadout of thermal spears, melee weapons and autocannons.

Questoris Lance
Acastus and Armiger support

Having this many senior members of the household on the table presented the loyalists with a number of skilled commanders, offering strong strategic and tactical advantages that come from their experience. This had a serious impact on the number of stratagem points available, three for the size of game, two for their opponents using Legio traits, three for the presence of the High King and one for the extra seneschal. Meaning a total of nine, yes nine, stratagem points to spend. These went on: Outflank (1); Interference (2); Plasma Mines (2); Ion Shield Relay (2); Smoke Screen (1); Command Bastion (1).

Legio Vulturum

Vulturum princeps (near Warlord), Warlord and Warhound

The Gore Crows, not expecting a chance engagement with a roving household of knights brought a rounded loadout designed to deal with any titans they were likely to encounter. Moving as a full Regia maniple on the hunt their force consisted of two Warlords, one the princeps, both Sunfury Plasma Annihilators, Macro Gatling Cannons and either Gatlings or Vulcan Mega Bolters on their carapace. The princeps, with the Gatlings up top also ensured a good arc of fire by upgrading these with tracking gyros and taking the princeps trait Favoured by Fortune.

Vulturum Warhounds

As accompaniment the Warhounds packed a varied set of armaments, one with the usual Vulcan Mega Bolter/Plasma Blastgun, one with Vulcan Mega Bolter/Turbo Laser Destructor and the last with dual Vulcan Mega Bolters (one kitted out with Storm Frag Shells). With a clear desire to keep manoeuvrability to the fore, every one of the titans also had the base mutation Preternatural Grace! The knights would not have things all their own way in terms of speed…

Not facing a household using any legio traits, and without the bonuses their opponents force benefitted from, the Gore Crows had only three stratagem points to spend, using these on Static Rain.

Deployment and Missions

The deployment drawn posed a challenge for House Angelus, the knights forced close together at the outset of this Chance Engagement. The same was also true for Legio Vulturum, although to a slightly lesser extent. It appears a few big bases are easier to fit into a space than lots of little ones! The knights slightly helped by the Armigers starting off the table as part of the outflank stratagem.

The forces of Legio Vulturum and House Angelus meet each other in a chance engagement

The primary mission for both sides was Wrath and Ruin, with each side placing three objectives in their already cramped deployment areas, and with their opponent looking to reach and then destroy these during each end phase to earn victory points.

Vulturum selected the secondary mission of Make Them Suffer, appropriate for the traitors perhaps? As they were facing a knight household, this meant they needed to destroy over half of a chosen banner of knights with at least three models in it, and not completely wipe it out. A challenging secondary indeed, with only the Questoris and Armigers meeting the qualifications for this. In the end, due to the expected fragility of the Armigers, the princepts settled on the Seneschal’s banner in the Questoris lance.

House Angelus picked Secure Ground, needing them to keep Vulturum away from the one building in their deployment zone for 10 points, or have greater scale within 12” for 5 points. Not an easy task either, with the fast-moving Warhounds facing off against the Cerastus lance on this side of the board.

Turn 1

Things started rather slowly, the distance between these short ranged forces making it challenging to land any telling blows at this early stage. House Angelus deployed a command bastion and ion shield relay in close proximity to the Acastus Porphyrions, hoping to keep them intact as long as possible, seeing as they represented their only big guns in the face of such titanic opposition. Legio Vulturum took the initiative and played a waiting game, making the knights of House Angelus make the first move.

The knights opened with a good round of orders, getting full stride on both lances and a split fire on the Acastus, enabling them to move up a little and still benefit from the bonus to their ballistic skill. The Armigers showed up on the right flank on long range auspex striding quickly to engage the enemy. Legio Vulturum kept orders to a minimum, preferring to sit and wait, ready to react to what their small prey planned.

End of turn 1 movement, House Angelus move up and the Gore Crows close slightly and reposition to counter

With no reactors on one side and preternatural grace meaning few if any being pushed on the Titans a swift repair phase led to an initial round of combat. The Acastus opened up on one of the Warlords, and despite their fearsome reputation failed to completely drop the shields with all their weapons then exhausted for the round.

The knights had no other shooting, desperate to close the distance and bring their short range weaponry and numbers to bear. The crowded terrain, whilst offering some cover, made lance coherency a challenge, with a banner of Questoris knights forced to weather a storm of fire from a Sunfury Plasma Annihilator on maximal. This combined with the combined hailstorm of rounds from both the carapace gatlings and macro gatling cannon severely depleted the ranks leaving just the Seneschal and Lord Scions remaining in all the banners across the lance. The only upside to this devastation was all shaken checks were passed, so the knights on this flank despite taking a beating, still formed some kind of the threat. They were now heavily reliant on support from the smallest unit in the game, with the arrival of the Armigers due next turn.

The Warhounds also opened up on the more robust Cerastus lancers and despite the banner of shielding managed to pick one of the ones in the open off. Prudent spacing, under careful instruction from the High King no doubt, had ensured the minimal number of hits were endured and the large weight of Vulcan Mega Bolter fire proved insufficient to remove any more knights.

End of turn 1. House Angelus suffer heavy casualties on one flank, with better success on the other

Turn 2

This turn saw House Angelus, stealing the initiative, play interference to stop orders being issued to the Vulturum princeps, in an attempt to capitalise on the damage to the Warlord’s shields from the previous turn. There would be no emergency repairs to save them now… In return Vulturum played static rain meaning the Questoris and Acastus would not benefit from ion shield saves this turn in an attempt to crush this already weakened flank. In return the Acastus deployed a smoke screen to try to defy the expected incoming fire.

House Angelus and Legio Vulturum both had a good round of orders. The Cerastus and Questoris Lances readying a charge and the Acastus standing firm and taking a first fire. The Gore Crows prepared counter charges on the Warhounds whilst the Warlords stood ready to react, one under the interference effects and unable to even make a roll, the other getting off an emergency repair to good effect and bringing all but one of its shields back online.

Movement saw an effective charge by the Cerastus lance, supported by the use of a Valorous Charge, buffed by the High Kings Master of War to a mighty 16”. With this, two banners were able to make contact with a Warhound, and between them pierce its heart and bring the engine down. Only the High King’s banner fell frustratingly short leaving the other Warhound on this flank able to respond. Not fancying a round of combat with the High King himself, this Warhound chose to stand its ground and rely on its guns to do the hard work.

The Vulturum Warlord switched positions, the fresher titan taking to the fore to hopefully take the attention off the princeps whilst it raised more shields and also generate more of a threat. The Warhound on this flank also moved up to support the princeps by sharing shields, thus making the incoming first fire from the Acastus unable to crack this tough nut, especially when coupled with their smoke screen obscuring their targets and making it hard to draw a bead on them.
The Armigers finally arrived in the far corner of the battlefield, ensuring they were out of arc from any of the big Titan guns and perilously close to the objectives, hoping to see out this turn and strike for them in turn 3.

Turn 2 end of movement phase. The knights of House Angelus charge the guns of Legio Vulturum

A strong repair phase for the Gore Crows saw the princeps raise shields and the other titans cool much of the heat they’d accrued during the first turn, preternatural grace again keeping this to a minimum during this turns movement.

The combat phase saw the Questoris knights attempt to bring down the newly raised shields on the warlords, but they were ineffective. The Vulturum Princeps quickly finished off all the Questoris knights, now without any ion shields to protect them due to the static rain. Then instructing the other Warlord to do the same to the now vulnerable, but as yet untouched Acastus. Despite this, the second Warlord’s shots fell just half an inch out of range, meaning the Acastus were safe for now and knowing that next turn they would not be so lucky.

The Armigers also attempted to bring down the shields on the Warhound supporting the Warlords, and thanks to sharing only succeeded in reducing its protection by one. The Cerastus also attempted similar on the other flank, with a bit more success. In return the Warhound, armed with dual Vulcan Mega Bolters continued to chip away at the High King’s banners track, slowly wearing it down, but not enough to kill a knight.

End of turn 2 combat. House Angelus Questoris is wiped from the table in revenge for a downed Warhound

Turn 3

Vulturum took this initiative this turn, and unsurprisingly chose to go first. Getting off First Fire on the lone Warhound and a Full Stride on the princep’s Warlord gave options, whilst the knights failed their first order, meaning only the High King could get a charge off, using his special abilities.

Movement saw the lone Warhound pick off the knight accompanying the High King, before he changed in and caused heavy damage to the body. The Warlords redeployed to face threats now apparent from different directions and the princeps closed rapidly on the Acastus, also heading towards the objectives they protected. The other Warlord suffered an awaked entity making it bullish and moving it slightly out of its ideal position, much to the relief of the Cerastus knights.

The Armigers attempted to encircle the Warhound unsuccessfully, with it using its preternatural grace to swiftly back away and get them in its sights.

Repairs saw more shields raised on the Warlords, bringing them both almost back to full, despite a point of damage from hot running reactors. The Warhound accompanying them didn’t fair as well.

The combat phase saw the Cerastus knights finish off the injured warhound with a combination of lances and shock shield shots, as well as enduring its reactor meltdown without loss of a knight thanks to some low rolling.

The Acastus had a poor round of shooting, mainly due to the worse ballistic skill caused by not having an order. This was targeted at the advancing warlord and didn’t strip a significant number of shields.

The Armigers faired better than expected, only losing one of their number to the Warhound and its Turbo laser. There was hope yet for the knights near two precious objectives.

The end of the turn saw one banner of Cerastus destroy one of the objective markers scoring the first victory points of the game, giving House Angelus 10 points.

End of turn 3. Vulturum begin their advance as House Angelus clear one flank

Turn 4

Are we close? Or is he really big?

House Angelus took the initiative this turn, though again failed to pull off a first fire order with the Acastus, with only the High King’s banner able to take a full stride to close the distance across the far board edge, limited by coherency. Vulturum took full advantage of this to give first fire to their princeps and then also to the surviving Warhound, with the hope of dealing with the Acastus threat and the Armigers before they could take any objectives.

Using the initiative the Armigers moved first. Using their small size to both sit on an objective and remain completely hidden from the Warhound on first fire and out of arc of the nearby Warlord. Surrounded by much larger war machines, the Armigers had the potential to score some valuable points.

In response the nearby Warlord, unable to make enough turns and fearful of exposing its rear armour to the Acastus, made a shrewd move of turning its back to the Armigers, thereby exposing them to it Ardex defence guns. Seeing this move the Cerastus knights made every effort to get out of the arc of the Warlords big guns, taking as close to the board edge as they dared, whilst closing as far as they could.

The Gore Crows princeps then unleashed a torrent of fire on the Acastus in both the first fire and combat phases, taking down one of the knights before it could return fire. This now depleted banner was all that stood between them and the objectives on this side of the board.

The Armigers managed to weather the Ardex defence fire, and at the end of the turn destroyed the objective they were on, netting House Angelus a further 10 points, bringing the scores to 20-0 in favour of the loyalists. The question was, if this went on much longer, would there be any knights to take the victory? As it turned out, the game proceeded to turn 5, the quick victory the knights had hoped for was slipping from their grasp.

Turn 4 end of movement phase. The knights begin to suffer

Turn 5

Vulturum forge towards their objectives whilst the knights do what little they can to harass and delay them

Vulturum took the initiative this turn. Giving full stride orders to the Warhound, first fire to the princeps Warlord and leaving the other Warlord to act on its own initiative. A further first failure by the Acastus meant no orders for the knights even the High King, who couldn’t take a charge and get the position required.
In an attempt to box the Warlord and Warhound after they had moved to bring the knights into arc and to rush across the board, the Cerastus wrapped their bases, limiting any future movement and staying out of arc where possible to try to survive.

First fire from the princeps, combined with going first in the combat phase meant the Acastus were removed from the board without any more input to the battle. Whilst the opening this provided enabled the Armigers to sneak onto the last objective nearby, whilst remaining out of arc of all the enemy Titans.

Despite damage from the Cerastus, the Warhound pushed away from them, its preternatural grace again paying dividends in full, as it danced away towards the now undefended objectives in the House Angelus deployment zones.

The other Warlord, with no enemies in arc finds even its Ardex defence systems useless and stands trapped, knights swirling around its feet.

In the end phase the Armigers bank another 10 victory points with the destruction of the last objective, making the score 30-0 to House Angelus. The knights clinging on by their fingernails, hope for the battle to end and Vulturum to withdraw, but no such luck as the Gore Crows roll low and the game goes to a sixth and final turn…

Turn 6

House Angelus, or what little is left of them fail to steal the initiative. They do manage to get a charge order off on the Cerastus lance, hoping to damage the Warlord they are locked in combat with. Whilst the Gore Crows princeps, with objectives in sight sets off at full stride and instructs the remaining Warhound to do the same.

The Warhound makes a break for it, putting as much distance between itself and the Cerastus, in a hope of avoiding any charges. A tough call for the house Angelus knights, who decide the Warhound might be too far out of reach thanks to its preternatural grace. They decide to engage a more sure enemy and as such two banners break off (as one is shaken from a lost knight in the previous turn) and charge the rear of the princeps in an attempt to bring it down. They don’t succeed, with the heavy armour of the Warlord proving to be too much for them.

The princeps strides away from the knights, focussed only on his objective. Closing at full speed, as preternatural grace again comes into play. The other Warlord, locked in combat and unable to turn or move out remains ineffective throughout this turn. The lone shaken Cerastus knight unable to damage it.

The Armigers meanwhile, having completed the outflanking mission they had been tasked with and reaped a haul of objectives and victory points, see discretion as the better part of valour and take cover out of sight of any units behind a building. Thereby guaranteeing that the knights will have at least one unit on the board at the end of the turn.

With that the combat phase is brief. The Gore Crows princeps moves onto an objective. The Warhound, unable to make turns, cannot quite reach the second objective and with that the game ends.

With the princeps valiant full stride he collects 10 points for his objective and with all the forces on the right hand side of the table House Angelus pick up 10 points for their secondary. The final scores:

End of turn 6 (yes there is a Warlord missing! It was late and we were tired and needed to tidy up!

House Angelus 40 : 10 Legio Vulturum

The Aftermath

All the knights left!

A deceptive score line that flatters an almost totally obliterated knight household that faced a force with only one, yes one, template weapon! A demonstration of how a well balanced Titan maniple can take on all comers without the need to specifically tailor it if played well.

The game also shows why the knights need those extra stratagems to balance things up. A good amount of terrain helped and hindered both sides in different ways. It provided cover to the knights, and also made manoeuvrers and lining up charges hard. Likewise the deployment gave the Titans time to line up on the knights and whittle their numbers, especially the Questoris.

The Armigers, whilst not very threatening, showed that they can be effective. Small and fragile, they can at least be hidden pretty easily. Ended up as the household’s most valuable player!

Both lists will no doubt get tinkered with ahead of upcoming events and more likely than not face off against each other again soon.

Overall verdict, the knights are very thankful there isn’t a turn seven!

**Servitor Note** Thanks to Russ for compiling the report alongside playing, and to Gordon for playing 🙂

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