Monday, 9 February 2015

The Cold Steel Mercs Invitational

Taking a break from their Storms of Judgement campaign, the Castigators made the perilous journey to the Preston system to do battle with countless rogues, villains and miscreants. Many, lured by the phantom shrieks of the fabled Dragon and Golden Turkey echoing throughout the warp, answered its call. Some coveted the glory and power that only the Dragon can bring, whilst others sought solace in the strangely alluring and comforting talisman that is known as the Golden Turkey. For Nestor and his Castigators, these trinkets paled into insignificance next to the prize of defeating his Brother Vorlath the Forsaken and reaffirming his divine title of Chosen of Slaanesh. Here is the tale of the Castigators exploits.....

Every year the Cold Steel Mercs meet up for their annual tournament. Now in its thirteenth year, we assembled once more in the northern city of Preston to see who would take possession of Thermofax the Dragon for the year and who could avoid having the dubious glory of holding on to the Golden Turkey for the next 12 months.
After much procrastination I finally decided on the following list:

The Castigators 1000pt Invitational Army

Nestor Lustheart (200pts)
Chaos Lord[65], Mark of Slaanesh[15], Blade of the Relentless[30], Bike[20], Slaughterer’s Horns[15], Sigil of Corruption[25], Daemonheart[30].

Squad Prurient(125pts)
5 Noise Marines[95], Blastmaster[30].
Ryak Spittletongue - Aspiring Champion with Bolt Pistol & Close Combat Weapon

Squad Divine (205pts)
10 Chaos Space Marines[140], Mark of Slaanesh[20], 2 Melta Guns[20], 7 with Bolt Pistol & Close Combat Weapon.
Darius Lewdgrip – Aspiring Champion with Lightning Claw[15] & Combi-Melta[10].
Divine Bliss (40pts)
Rhino[35], Dozerblade[5]

Squad Schadenfreude (177pts)
5 Chaos Bikers[130], Mark of Slaanesh[12], 2 Melta Guns[20].
Korath Vilehorn – Aspiring Champion with Lightning Claw[15].

The Sullied (150pts)
5 Chaos Spawn

Violatus (125pts)


Basically this is a retro 5th edition rush list. Unfortunately, as fast as this list is, there are many armies that are better at assault than Chaos Marines. Daemons, Imperial Biker Captains, Thunderwolves and Nids can all do a number on them, but win or lose, at least my games will be fast. My only long range shooting was the Blastmaster in the Noise Marine squad.

Game 1 (Matt)
Matt grudged me and once I found out he wasn't rocking up with Tau (I really don't like Tau), I readily accepted. Matt's was using Blood Angels. His list was 15 Death Company with an Apothecary, 3 tacticals with missile launchers and a Sicaran with Heavy Bolters.
The Mission was Maelstrom, Contact Lost. Slaanesh smiled on me and I set up first like so.

 Matt Deployed centrally with his big scary Death Company holding the centre.

Using my speed I quickly redeployed my army to the right, making the most of the cover to shield vitrually all of my army. The Noise Marines did sterling work killing 3 Tacticals (pinning them) and killing a couple of Death Company. Matt didn't take the Rhino bait and held back with his Death Company, reasoning that his Sicaran and Missile Launchers would be much more effective than my single Blastmaster. Fortunately for me, they weren't. His Sicaran wrecked my Rhino but that would be all his shooting would achieve. My Maulerfiend slammed into his Sicaran tearing it pieces while Nestor and his bikers positioned themselves to help out either the Maulerfiend or the Chaos Marines from the attentions of Matt's Death Company.

Matt Jumped his Death Company over to the Maulerfiend, wrecking it with his thunderhammers for the loss of a couple of Marines. Nestor, the Bikers and the Spawn charged in and wiped them out for the loss of two bikers. With the Death Company wiped out Nestor and the Spawn finished off the Tacticals to earn me a win.

Nestor was the man of the match, butchering the Death Company and powering his sword up to 11 by the end of the game. The Noise Marines pinning a tactical squad really helped my army reposition safely and the Maulerfiend did exactly what it was supposed to do. Matt was a pleasure to play and I'm sure he'll get is revenge in the near future.

Game 2 (Jason)
I've played Jason a few times and the games are always challenging no matter what armies we use. This time Jason was using Khorne Daemons, so some Slaanesh on Khorne action had me salivating at the prospect. Worryingly Jason's army had more long ranged fire power than I had. His army consisted of a Khorne Herald, 16 Bloodletters x2, a Skull cannon, 5 Crushers and a Soul Grinder.
The mission was kill points playing lengthways, I had 7 kp's Jason had 6kp's. Jason gave me first turn so I deployed my army loaded on my right flank.

Jason kept his Bloodletters in reserve along with his Herald and deployed everything else directly opposite.

In our eagerness to get to grips with each other, we decided to ignore the rest of the battlefield and concentrate all our forces on a two foot by two foot piece of the table :-)

My lack of games really showed in this game. I moved my army forward, carefully keeping my bikers out of range. Unfortunately it is so long since I've played Daemons, I forgot that Crushers can now move 12"....D'oh. The Noise Marines stripped a hull point from the Soul Grinder and the Spawn set off after the skull cannon. Jason Crushers hurtled through the ruins not slowed by the difficult terrain to charge my bikers with 30 attacks! Nestor took one for the team and proceeded to take all of the attacks on himself, dying to the last attack, giving Jason first blood and slay the warlord. Spurred on by this supreme sacrifice, the bikers held in combat. The Spawn tore the Skull Cannon apart and the Rhino carrying the CSM's moved towards the Soul Grinder. The Maulerfiend charged in to help out the bikers and wiped them out over a couple of rounds of combat. Then I made another silly mistake, for some reason I was convinced that the Soul Grinder could move 12" a turn, so rather than consolidate away from it, I figured there was no way to avoid it and consolidated towards the Soul Grinder.....double D'oh!

Jason's Soul Grinder Charged into my Maulerfiend and although I managed to cause a penetrating hit he made his Daemonic save. His Soul Grinder ripped my Maulerfiend apart with contemptuous ease. A unit of Bloodletters turned up near my Noise Marines but fortunately for me they'd need at least another full turn before they were in charge range. I figured I could deal with the Soul Grinder and still have time to get the bikers and CSM's over to deal with them, so the Noise Marines stayed put and hit them with their Blastmarker, killing three. My CSM's and Bikers surrounded the Soul Grinder and blasted away at it with 4 Melta Guns, but only succeeded in immobilising it and leaving it with one hull point.

Jason's final squad of Bloodletters turned up perilously close to my Noise Marines, so it was time for them to make a run for it. My Bikers and CSM's finally killed the Soul Grinder but not before it killed two my bikers. We tallied the points up and I needed my Noise Marines to survive to pull off a draw, despite their best efforts at running for the hills the Bloodletters caught them and Jason took the honours, beating me by one point. It was a great game and as usual Jason was a blast to play.

Game 3 (Steve, One of the six Lords of Slaanesh, Forsaken of Slaanesh)
I've known Steve for long time. Over the years the Castigators have fought side by side with his Emperors Children, revelling in each others acts of wanton violence and sharing experiences that only a true disciple of Slaanesh can fully appreciate. The history of our armies are forever entwined and our rivalry knows no bounds. Each of us seeks Our Lady's favour, relentlessly mocking the other should they fall from Slaanesh's grace. Both of us have held the title Chosen of Slaanesh and Forsaken of Slaanesh. When ever the Brothers of Sin meet, we offer bloody praise to She Who Thirsts, basking in her divine glory as we do battle once more for our mistress's title of Chosen of Slaanesh!
Steve's army consisted of Vorlath with relentless blade, horns, melta bombs. 2x5 noise marines with a blast master in each squad. 6 chosen with 5 plasma guns, Draznicht in a Dread Claw. Sicaran with malific heavy bolters and relic of ruin and a Cyclothrathe Rapier.
The Mission was the Relic with each army deploying a single immovable objective in their deployment zone, Vanguard Strike.
I was so excited to be playing Steve that I forgot to take a picture of our deployments (or maybe the beer was starting to kick in). This photo shows it pretty well though, with Steve's Rapier system at the back supported by a squad of Noise Marines. I had first turn and managed to hide Nestor and his bikers, the Maulerfiend and the Rhino from his Rapier and a squad of Noise Marines. The Spawn scuttled over to the ruins to grant them some much needed cover. My Noise Marines (deserters from Steve's very own Emperors Children army!) were only in range of the Sicaran and their shot bounced off the machine's hull.
Steve's Sicaran moved across to get an angle on Nestor and his bikers, killing one and putting a wound on Nestor. The Rapier killed two Spawn, instant Deathing them with it's strength 10 shot.

Vorlath and his Chosen arrived from reserve, determined to exact bloody retribution to the perfidious Noise Marines that had joined the ranks of his brother...... a lethal display of marksmanship, they slaughtered their erstwhile brother marines!

Nestor and his Bikers levelled their Melta guns at the Sicaran and took a hull point off of it. The Maulerfiend ran towards the Rapier and Noise Marines, while the Spawn charged Steve's other squad of Noise Marines. My CSM squad moved back towards Vorlath and his Chosen, gunning three of them down. Nestor and the Bikers charged into the Sicaran but could only take another hull point from it. Steve shot evertyhing he could at Nestor and his bikers, downing Nestor and leaving just two bikers left.

Vorlath split from the Chosen and charged my CSM's, killing 5 in a dazzling display of swordmanship and running down the rest as they turned to flee! The Chosen and the Dreadclaw stripped the Rhino of two hull points.

The Spawn finished off Steve's Noise Marine Squad and the Maulerfiend did the same to Steve's other Noise Marine squad, but not before being stripped of two hull points from their krak grenades. The Bikers finally finished off the Sicaran with a Melta gun and headed over towards Steve's home objective. Steve moved his Chosen on to my home objective. The Maulerfiend moved back to the relic to claim it. With the no enemies in range, Vorlath and his Chosen left the battlefield to the victorious Castigators.

The battle was a bloodbath, all I had left was 3 Spawn on one wound each, two bikers and a Maulerfiend with one hull point. Steve faired little better, 3 chosen and Vorlath remained. Talking after the game I asked Steve why he hadn't gone for the relic with Vorlath. Steve then realised that his sword was at full power (strength 7), he rolled to see what would have happened if he'd charged the Maulerfiend. His anguish was like the finest wine as he rolled a glance and three penetrating hits, that anguish turned to despair as I failed to save three of them! And that, dear brother, is why I shall bask in Our Lady's glory and you shall remain the Forsaken one ;-).
Always a pleasure mate.

Game 4 (Chris)
Chris is another top bloke who is always great fun to play against. Unfortunately (for me) he was using one of the lists that I was hoping to avoid.....Tyranids. His army consisted of a Flying Hive Tyrant with twin devourers, two carnifexes with twin devourers, Zoanthrope x2, a Biovore, 30 gaunts and a Tervigon.
The mission was Crusade (5 objectives) with Dawn of War deployment.
The beer had well and truly kicked in by now and I forgot to take pictures of deployment and most of the game.
Chris gave me first turn and my army hurtled forwards toward his guns. My Noise Marines tried to get me first blood by targeting one of Chris' Zoanthropes but although the Blastmaster hit and wounded, Chris passed its invulnerable save. Then Chris opened fire with his army and Nestor and his Bikers simply vanished! The Hive Tyrant flew over to the Noise Marines and wiped them out with its twin-linked devourers. Figuring the safest place for me was in combat, the Spawn charged the 30 gaunts and the Maulerfiend despite being only 4" away failed to make it into combat, even with fleet.

The CSM's moved up the right flank towards the biovore and the Tervigon, hoping they wouldn't be noticed. With very few targets left Chris' Hive Tyrant jumped behind the Maulerfiend and immobilised it, before finishing it off next turn.

My CSM's jumped out in front of the Tervigon and over a couple of turns succeeded in bringing the mighty behemoth down, their victory was short lived though as the rest of Chris' army annihilated them and their Rhino. The Carnifexes joined in the combat with the Spawn and and wiped them out in short order tabling me.
Despite the sound spanking, it was fun to play, with much laughter and beer consumed. The beauty of my list is that, win or lose, a game never lasted longer than an hour. Cheers Chris.

So at the end of day one I had won two and lost two, but more importantly I'd enjoyed all my games and because the army played really quickly, I didn't feel drained like I have done in previous 7th edition tournaments.
Saturday night saw everyone retelling tales of woe and glory in equal measure over a meal. The usual suspects stayed out until 4.30am drinking while the more sensible people retired for an early night.
Three hours later and we were all up and raring to go.......honest!
Rob raring to go after a few drinks the night before
Game 5 (Geoff)
Geoff is the unluckiest bloke I know, you know how we all get one of those games where you roll eight dice needing 3's to hit and you roll one measly 3? Well Geoff usually does it at least for 2 or 3 turns every game. The only time he ever rolls high is when it's a leadership check! Despite this he is the most cheerful and pleasant chap I have ever had the pleasure to play against. Geoff has lost his way recently, gone are his wonderful Death Guard, to be replaced by the Imperial lapdogs known as the White Scars ;-) . His army consisted of a Captain on a bike with shield eternal and a thunder hammer, 5 bikers with grav guns x2, 5 scouts with sniper rifles, a Landspeeder Storm with a melta, 5 Tacticals with a Grav gun & 3 Centurians with Grav cannons.
The mission was Maelstrom, Tactical Escalation.
Unfortunately I was still drunk for this game, so I forgot to take any pictures and only remembered when we had packed our armies away.
I got first turn and set up my Noise Marines in a hilly ruin centrally. Behind this hill was my Maulerfiend and CSM's in their Rhino. Nestor and his Bikers and the Spawn held the left flank.
Geoff deployed as far forward as possible, with both bike squads and his Centurians central. His Landspeeder hidden on my right flank and his Tactical and Scouts covering the left.
My Maulerfiend and Rhino moved cautiously to my right, keeping out of sight of his army. Nestor and the Spawn moved to the left, again taking advantage of the plentiful cover to remain out of sight. The Noise Marines opened up with their Blastmaster at the bike squad with the Captain and killed three.
Geoff broke right hiding the remnants behind a hill, the Centurians moved forward and killed one Noise Marine. The other Bike squad moved forward to support them.
The Maulerfiend and the Rhino moved back to the central hill that contained the Noise Marines, ready to charge anything that came for them. The Noise Marines shot at the second Bike squad, killing two and pinning them. Nestor shot up then charged the Tactical squad wiping them out for no loss.
Geoff moved his bikers and Captain from the left to the centre, supported by the Centurians they shot at the Noise Marines and reduced them to two models. his Landspeeder popped out and took a shot at Nestor and his bikers but Nestor saved it.
The Maulerfiend and CSM Rhino moved forward forming a shield for the Noise Marines. The Noise Marines levelled their Blastmaster at the three man bike squad and wiped them out in a crescendo of noise....eight bikers dead in three rounds of shooting! (Geoff was heard saying thank f*** you only have one Blastmaster). The Spawn charged the Centurians and over three rounds of combat (and 95 attacks!) wiped them out. Nestor and the Bikers hunted down the scouts and wiped out the Landspeeder Storm. The Maulerfiend took two wounds from the Captain before succumbing to his Thunder hammer and the CSM's finished him off along with the two remaining Bikers to claim complete control of the battlefield.
It's not often the White Scars are outmanoeuvred, but thanks to my Noise Marines and Geoff's customary luck I managed it.
Cheers Geoff, as always a pleasure.

Game 6 (Paul)
Paul is another top bloke, he is also the Ying to Geoff's Yang. Paul always says that it's his dice that will beat you and not his army. The truth isn't quite that simple, Paul is a bloody good player as well. His Daemon army is the perfect storm to my Castigators.
Herald Slaanesh, Lvl 2, Beguilement, Lesser, Greater, Steed.
Herald Nurgle, Lvl 2, Greater, FNP
Exalted Flamer
Exalted Flamer
18 Plague Bearers
11 Horrors
9 Seekers
Flaming Chariot
Flaming Chariot
Unfortunately for Paul, this was the army swap round!
The Mission was Big Guns Never Tire, Vanguard Strike.
Paul got to deploy first and set up like so.

 I set up his Daemons to cover all angles. Even with my limited knowledge of his army it was clear that the only real threat was the Maulerfiend.

I wish I could say that this was a great tactical game but in the first turn I blew up the Maulerfiend with the Flamer Chariot's lascannon shots and realistically that was game over. What this game did teach me is that I really need to buckle down and learn the psychic phase properly. The book keeping required to play the psychic phase properly, really turns me off, but Paul is a master of it and what appears to be a mediocre army can be devastating if you know how to work those psychic powers. The other thing I noticed is just how good a Flamer Chariot is in 7th edition. A fast vehicle that can shoot a strength 5 AP3 torrent flamer or D3 18" lascannon shots is a thing of beauty, why aren't more people using these?
Cheers Paul, as always a pleasure mate.

Game 7 (Jason)
The final game saw me drawn against Jason and his Khorne Daemons again. I was more than happy to face Jason again, Khorne vs Slaanesh is a fitting way to end an event.
The mission was Maelstrom Cloak and Shadows.
This time I'd learnt my lesson from the previous game and made sure to keep my bikers away from his Crushers. The Spawn became the bait for them and although the Crushers managed to hack apart three of them the Maulerfiend made short work of them. The Noise Marines' Blastmaster took a couple of Hull point off of the Soul Grinder and the CSM's Meltas finished it off. Nestor and the bikers took out the Skull Cannon and when the Bloodletters showed up, the Maulerfiend locked one unit in combat while the other was incapable of catching anything. We called after four turns.

So as the dust settled I'd managed five wins and two losses, much better than I'd anticipated as I really thought I'd be battling for the Golden Turkey. Fortunately lady luck was with me and avoided that particular honour. With baited breath, the results were announced:
Paul Scott 147 Daemons
Alex West 140 Ultra Marines
Gary Marsh (The Chosen)139 Chaos Space Marines
Rob Madeley 135 Necrons
Karl Bickley 130 Eldar
Chris Green 125 Tyranids
Jason Miller 120 Khorne Daemons
Geoff Hamilton 117 Space Marines
Rob Kanciodrowski 114 Chaos Space Marines
Michael Bolton 110 Necrons
Steve Pearce (The Forsaken) 105 Chaos Space Marines
Neil Gibbons 104 'Quality Street' Daemons - (Assorted)
Iain Miller 100 Blood Angels
Matt Pearce 99 Death Company
Rob Sims 92 Space Wolves
Aythlan 75 Eldar

So Aythlan took the Golden Turkey. Well done to Alex for coming second with his first outing with his Ultramarines and congratulations to Paul for taking the Dragon, a truly worthy winner.

Thermofax with his new pet.

I managed to take 3rd spot but more importantly I've retained my title of Chosen of Slaanesh. No doubt my 'Brother' will be plotting his revenge for the next time that we meet.
I'd like to take the opportunity to thank Michael for all his hard work in organising it and the Ribble Warriors for providing the tables, scenery and venue.
To all my opponents who kept me entertained all weekend, I salute you and I look forward to seeing you all again next year.
Until next time......May Our Lady grant you her number.


  1. Great write up Brother and always a pleasure to make war with you again. Still you may have my right hand but I have another of Nestor's clones, one day I will kill the real you! Great pictures as well and I am really happy with my scratch built timber Dread Claw and the way it looks on the table top.

  2. If only you had claimed the battlefield you'd have taken Nestor hostage, alas your faith in Our Lady was found wanting once again Brother ;-)
    Your Dreadclaw really does look the part, I might have to pinch that idea from you.

  3. Fantastic read! I cannot recall at all you taking any pictures lol You were also my only defeat - Slaanesh teaching me a lesson for using its followers myself? Who knows ;)

    Great week end!

    1. You played a blinder all weekend and thoroughly deserved it. Well played mate.