Wednesday, 30 November 2016

The Caledonian Highlander - Nestor's Return (part 1)

Greetings Sinners!
Last week a bunch of the Cold Steel Mercs attended the Caledonian Highlander.
Michael (Necrons), Neil (White Scars), Iain (Red Scorpions) and my misguided brother, Steve (Khorne Daemonkin) joined me in sunny Stockport for my favourite style of tournament.....the Highlander.

I'm sure most of you know what a Highlander tournament is, but for those of you who have never had the pleasure of participating in such an event, the photo above pretty much sums it up. There can be only one unit of a particular type. So only one Predator, one Chaos Lord, one unit of Spawn etc.

Highlander events can still vary enormously, some exempt Troop choices, some don't allow the same troop choice until all other types of Troop choice have been taken; E.G. I would have to take a unit of Chaos Marines, a unit of Cultists and a unit of Noise Marines before I could take another unit of Noise Marines. Some allow allies, some Lords of War and some don't.
The Tournament Organiser, Tim, had decided to include Troop choices in the Highlander format (which I prefer). Tim had chosen to go with single CAD with no Allies (so no Formations allowed). Forge World would be allowed, but no Lords of War.
The reason for all of this should be obvious, it's an attempt to cut down on spam and try to encourage as many different types of army as possible. It also declares loud and clear what type of tournament the organiser is aiming for.
So did it work?
For the most part, that would be a resounding yes!

Here's a list of the armies that attended:
Tau Empire: 5
Khorne Daemonkin: 4
Space Marines: 4
Craftworld Eldar: 3
Blood Angles: 2
Dark Angels: 2
Grey Knights: 2
Orks: 2
Chaos Daemons: 1
Chaos Space Marines: 1
Cult Mechanicus: 1
Dark Eldar: 1
Farsight Enclave: 1
Genestealer Cult: 1
Imperial Guard: 1
Necrons: 1
Tyranids: 1

So that's 34 players using 17 different Codexes! I'm sure you'll agree, that's quite a variety.
Of course, no system is ever perfect, There was one loop-hole that could still be exploited.....Squadrons.
Squadrons allow a player to overcome the Highlander ethos by allowing more than one unit to be taken. The Tau can exploit this better than most armies. Squadrons of 3 Riptides, 3 Sky Rays or 3 Hammerheads are all perfectly legal and sadly most of them decided to exploit this fact.
Personally, I'd prefer to see this loop-hole closed off in future by allowing squadrons to only include one model. Some people are against this, but for me it breaks the whole idea of Highlander by allowing squadrons in the first place.

Despite that, Highlander achieved its aim and everybody was looking forward to the weekend....while praying to the Dark Gods that they avoided the Fish-Heads ;-)

I decided to dust off Nestor and his bikes for this outing, mainly because grudges were allowed and I had grudged my deluded brother Steve in the first round. Here's the list that I came up with:

The Castigators Chaos Space Marines

Nestor Lustheart (195pts)
Chaos Lord[65], Mark of Slaanesh[15], Power Fist[25], Lightning Claw[15] Bike[20], Sigil of Corruption[25], Daemonheart[30].

Squad Divine (123pts)
6 Chaos Marines[88], Melta[10],
Darius Lewdgrip – Aspiring Champion with Combi-Melta[10] & Lightning Claw[15]
Dreadclaw (100pts)

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

The Violated (55pts)
10 Cultists, Flamer[5]

Tormentum (170pts)

The Sullied (150pts)
5 Chaos Spawn

Squad Schadenfreude (207pts)
6 Chaos Bikers[130], Mark of Slaanesh[12], 2 Melta Guns[20], Icon of Excess[30]
Korath Vilehorn – Aspiring Champion with Power Weapon[15].

The Painsworn (150pts)
2 Rapier Weapons Carriers[80], 2 Cyclotrathe Conversion Beamers[70]

Divine Flame (225pts)
Fire Raptor[200], Autocannons[10], Balefire Incendiary Missiles[15]

Total: 1500pts

So the big day soon arrived and after a couple of rum coffees, the Cold Steel Mercs made their way to their respective tables. As I mentioned earlier I had grudged my deluded brother Johann Steve, so the brothers von Gottlieb would battle it out for our gods.
Steve was using Khorne Daemonkin, his Chaos Lord, Vorlath (the turncoat) has fallen far from our lady's grace since Nestor cast him out from her palace. The turncoat has given himself to the Blood God, so it was only right that Nestor should show his brother the error of his ways!
Steve had a really nice list, I can certainly understand why he's gone over to the other side, it's a fun army to play with and against (just don't tell our lady I said that, our's is a jealous god).

Game 1 - Steve, KDK
Deployment: Hammer and Anvil
Primary Mission: Crusade - 4 Objectives (3VP each)
Secondary Mission: Contact Lost
Tertiary Mission: Purge the Alien, Slay the Warlord, Linebreaker & First Blood
Despite going to the other side, Steve's KDK look remarkably purple!
Vorlath was mounted on a Jugger Crusher with some fancy axe.
5 Crushers.
10 Raptors, 2 Melta Guns
10 Cultists
16 Bloodletters.
10 Flesh Hounds.
Soul Grinder.

I deployed first with the Rapiers taking up a central position, Nestor and his Bikers deployed to their right with the Spawn in front of them. The Noise Marines deployed on the tall building between them (top right). The Cultists deployed on my left in some ruins.
Steve Deployed his Lord and Crushers 49" away from my Rapiers with his Maulerfiend centrally. The Flesh Hounds deployed in front of Vorlath and scouted forward towards my Cultists. The Raptors, Soul Grinder and Bloodletters all went into reserve to deepstrike.

The Rapiers and Blastmaster opened up on the Flesh Hounds killing 6!
The Dreadclaw came in on the right, Flat Out-ting to the table edge. I draw a card the cultists can reach and move forward to claim it

Steve's Flesh Hounds react like a wounded animal and slaughter the poor Cultists, gaining First Blood while his Maulerfiend takes cover in the ruins.

The Castigators' Heldrake arrived just as the Dreadclaw flew off of the board. Flame engulfs 5 of Steve's Cultists skulking in some ruins that are guarding an objective. The Noise Marines and Rapiers shoot at the Flesh Hounds once more, but succeed in killing only one Hound.

The Spawn charge the 3 remaining Flesh Hounds, and despite 30 attacks, they put one wound on them.....Pah!

I really thought Steve had made a mistake Deepstriking so much of his army, but when they all arrived together, I thought better of it!
The Raptors and Soul Grinder unloaded everything they had into my Rapiers and failed to kill a single model.

Steve's Maulerfiend charged into the Spawn, Killing 3 out right.....but not before the Spawn finished the Flesh Hounds off.

The Castigators's Fire Raptor arrived to support Nestor and his Bikers, as the Dreadclaw flies up my right flank

The Fire Raptor and Rapiers wiped out the Khornate Raptors in a devastating display of fire power. Nestor's Bikers pour Melta into the Khornate Soul Grinder but the beast saves the penetrating hit. Nestor charges and the one attack that hits is once again saved by the Daemonic warmachine. The Soul Grinder rips three of the Bikers apart.
The Khorne Maulerfiend rips the Castigators' Spawn apart with contemptuous ease and heads towards the Rapiers.

Steve's Deepstrike gamble pays off as his Bloodletters charge into Nestor and his Bikers. Nestor has to accept the Bloodletters challenge, which see's him hack down the champion and one of his Bloodletter kin, but more importantly Keeps the Slaanesh Lord away from the Soul Grinder (well played brother). The Soul Grinder kills the last remaining Biker. The Maulerfiend charges into the Rapiers and smashes them apart, leaving the Noise Marines stranded in a see of Khornate Daemons!

The Heldrake has killed off two of Steve's Crushers and wounded Vorlath over the course of the game. Because of this Fire Raptor drops into hover mode and hovers backwards to tempt Steve's Lord and the remains of his Crusher unit from an object. Although I have very little army left, I could still do an Eldar and steal the objectives to claim a small win.
The Dreadclaw goes into hover mode and the Chaos Marines jump out. They cut down the Khornate Cultists to claim one of the four Objectives while the Dreadclaw claims another. The Fire Raptor unloads into the Soul Grinder and strips 2 Hull Points from it. The Noise Marines are hacked apart by the Bloodletters As the Soul Grinder futilely chases the Dreadclaw.
The 3 Crushers break off from the Khornate Lord (never thought of that) and charged the Fire Raptor. I was confident that without the Lord they couldn't bring it down and that it would then finish Steve's Lord off the next turn.....I mean 12 attacks needing 3's to hit and 6's to glance....what are the odds on that? So four glancing hits later and the Fire Raptor smashes to the ground!!
With that, the game was over, we tallied up the points and Steve had crushed me.

Ressult - 5-15 Loss

As always, it was a real pleasure to cross blades with my fallen brother and I look forward to doing so again in the not too distant future.
Well played brother!

The rest of the Cold Steel Mercs all won their games, so that put me in bottom place out of the five of us. I was still glad to have played Steve. I hadn't played in three months and it really showed in my first game. Fortunately I haven't been out of the game for that long that I didn't realise just how many mistakes I'd made. Steve was very patient with me forgetting rules and what not......always remember Soul Grinders and Maulerfiends are strength 10 and not 8....d'oh!

Game 2 - David, Tyranids

I'm sure many of you will have seen Dave's excellent blog Confessions of a 40k Addict and his wonderfully colourful Nids. He has already posted up his view point from the battle that you can read here

Transport: Tyrannocyte, Deathspitters
Hive Tyrant, 2 x Twin Linked Devourers, Wings
5 Genestealers
10 Hormagaunts
3 Rippers
30 Termagants
1 Tervigon, Miasma Cannon
2 Carnifex, 4 x Twin Linked Devourers
1 Tyrannofex, Acid Spray –[175]
Skyshield Landing Pad

Deployment: Dawn of War
Primary Mission: The Relic
Secondary Mission: The Spoils of War
Tertiary Mission: Purge the Alien, Slay the Warlord, Linebreaker & First Blood

I got first turn and decided to take it.
Nestor and his Bikers deployed directly opposite the Relic in the centre, with the Spawn alongside them. The ruins on the right housed my Noise Marines, giving them an excellent view of the battlefield.
Picture courtesy of Confessions of a 40k Addict
The Rapiers positioned themselves in some ruins directly behind Nestor. The ruins to the left of the Bikers held my Cultists.
David set up his Landing Pad centrally with a large gribbly (sorry, I can't tell one big gribbly from another), his Hive Tyrant and some Termagaunts. To the right of them he placed his other large gribbly, 2 Carnifexes, his Hormagaunts and a Malanthrope to give them a cover save. Finally he infiltrated his Genestealers close to the Relic.
The Spawn ran to the centre alongside the Relic while Nestor and his Bikers boved in between to pick the Relic up. The Rapiers opened up on the gribblies on the landing pad, killing a couple of Gaunts and putting a wound on the big gribbly. The Noise Marines 2 Genestealers with their Blastmaster.

The Dreadclaw came in on my left and Flat-Outed towards my table edge. Nestor and his Bikers picked up the Relic and turbo boosted 6" back towards their lines. The Spawn were tasked with slowing down the Genestealers so that Nestor could get back to his lines. They made their charge into them, wiping them out with their 40 attacks and consolidated back towards their lines.

David's Nids marched forward, determined to avenge their fallen Genestealers. The Hive Tyrant flew towards the bikers and cast FNP on itself. It Perilsed and took a wound.

The Hive Tyrant shot at Nestor and his Bikers and although 11 hit their target none of them fell thanks to their armour and the Icon of Excess. Everything else targeted the Spawn, killing all bar one. One of the big gribblies spawned some Gaunts doubling out on an 8.
No reserves arrived for the Castigators, so the Bikers with the Relic continued to put distance between themselves and the Nids. The lone Spawn retreated back towards his own lines. The Dreadclaw took to the skies and left the table.
The Malanthrope came into range of the Noise Marines and their Blastmaster stripped a wound from it. The Rapiers blasted away at the approaching Nids, stripping a wound from a Carnifex but everything else was saved thanks to the Malanthrope.
The Hive Tyrant Flew to the Table edge and cast FNP on itself. It perilsed once again but fortunately for Dave he made his FNP roll. Dave's forward elements continued their long slog towards my lines. His Tyrannocyte dropped in between Nestor and the Cultists, disgorging 3 Ripperswarms in an attempt to stop me claiming an objective that he had rolled up. The Hive Tyrant shot at the Bikers, killing one. The Tyrannocite shot at the Cultists killing 3 as they dived for cover. Dave achieved his aim of of clearing his Objective, when the Cultists ran. Unfortunately for him, he couldn't get his Ripper Swarms close enough to claim it.

Both the Heldrake and the Fire Raptor arrived this turn. The Heldrake flew over the Hive Tyrant and stripped a wound from it. The Fire Raptor lined up Dave's Hive Tyrant and, pausing only to strip a wound from the Malanthrope with its Autocannons, blasted it from the skies with its deadly Avenger Bolt Cannon. The Dreadclaw re-entered the fray zooming up the right flank for an objective I had drawn. The Cultists regrouped under the stern gaze of Nestor and claimed Dave's objective that they had previously scarpered from. Nestor and his Bikers charged into the Ripper Swarm and tore them apart.

The Noise Marines took another wound from the Malanthrope and stripped one from the big gribbly. The Heldrake wiped out the gaunts and put a wound on a Carnifex, to finish a devastating turn for the Castigators.
Dave continued to push his dwindling forward detachment on, but with the loss of his Hive Tyrant it was obvious that the Relic was beyond him.
The Noise Marines finished off his Malanthrope, stripping the cover saves from the Nids' forward element. The Fire Raptor banked towards the Tyranid landing pad and reduced the Carnifexes to a couple of wounds between them and reduced the big gribbly standing on the landing pad to one wound. The Heldrake incinerated the Gaunts heading for the Dreadclaw and the objective it was heading for.
The Nids were running out of time. The Tyrannocyte shot at the Rapiers but they few shots that found their mark pinged harmlessly off of their armour.
The Noise Marines finished off the big gribbly on the landing pad, which exploded killing a couple of Gaunts. The Fire Raptor and Heldrake went into hover mosed and killed more of them.

The Rapiers opened fire on the Carnifexes and wiped them out. The Chaos Space Marines disembarked from their Dreadclaw to claim an objective and claim Line Breaker.

In a last act of defiance Dave's last big gribbly charged the Rapier Weapons Carriers but the Dark Prince watched over them and only a single Marine fell.

Result: 20-0 Win
It's not often that a plan survives contact with the enemy but this played out perfectly for me. I had quickly surmised that Dave's Hive Tyrant, the Malanthrope and his Gaunt birthing big gribbly were my main concerns. Fortunately, for me, my Fire Raptor made short work of his Hive Tyrant and I had the perfect answer to his Malanthrope in the form of a Heldrake and my Blast Master toting Noise Marines. His big gribbly doubling out on his first turn birthing Gaunts meant that I could keep out of charge range at let my guns do their stuff.
Dave was a pleasure to play against and I'm sure he'll have his revenge in the future.

Game 3 - Samuel, Dark Angels
Deployment: Vanguard Strike
Primary Mission: The Scouring
Secondary Mission: Deadlock
Tertiary Mission: Purge the Alien, Slay the Warlord, Linebreaker & First Blood

Interrogator Chaplain, bike, Mace of Redemption, Auspex
5xDeathwing Knights
Ravenwing Command Squad; 6x Black Knights, Apothecary, Champion, Ravenwing Company Banner, Ravenwing Grenade Launcher
Scout Squad
Tactical Squad; Sergeant w Combi-Melta, 4x Tac Marines, Melta 10, Drop Pod w Deathwind Launcher
Ravenwing Bike Squad; 4x Bikers, 2x Melta, Attack Bike, Multi Melta, Sergeant.
Ravenwing Dark Talon
Devastator Squad; Sergeant 14, 9x Marines 126, Plasma Cannon 15, 2x Missile Launcher

A very large ruin dominated the battlefield, fortunately it ran against our deployment zones. Once again I won first turn and opted to take it. I deployed my Rapiers in a central position with the Noise Marines positioned in front of them in some woods. Nestor and his Bikers deployed directly behind them so they could meet the Ravenwing head on whichever way they came. The Spawn deployed alongside the Noise Marines so that they could do the same. I had manged to place 2 objective in the corners of the board, so I left the Cultists in reserve so that they could claim one later in the game. Unfortunately I forgot to take a photo (it was nothing to do with the beer I had drunk by this time.....honest!).
Sam deployed his command squad behind the ruins centrally. Behind them he placed one half of his Devastator squad with 2 Missiles and a Plasma Cannon in some woods. To the right of the ruins he placed he placed his Black Knights, with the other half of the Devastators. His Scouts Infiltrated on my left behind some ruins and Deepstrike his Deathwing.
Sam scouted his Black Knights forward to the very edge of the ruins on my right.
The Dreadclaw came in on my left flank and Flat Outed towards my table corner. The Rapiers and the Noise Marines could only see the heavy weapon Devastators so targeted them and wiped them out for First Blood. The Spawn moved towards the Black Knights and charged them, losing two of their number to Overwatch....Ouch! Spurred on by their loss, they dragged one of the Knights down in revenge. The Black Knights attempted to Hit and Run but failed to escape the Spawn's clutches.

Sam's Drop Pod came in and landing right on the Objective I wanted on my right. His Command Squad moved forward towards the Noise Marines & Rapiers. The remaining Devastator squad moved forward to help out the beleaguered Black Knights against the Spawn.

The Command Bikers opened up on the Noise Marines, cutting down four of them and leaving only the Blastmaster standing. The Devastators charged into the Spawn......
......But they couldn't help their Black Knight brethren who lost two of their riders. The Black Knights Hit & Run to escape the onslaught.
The Heldrake arrived making straight for the Command Bikers in the centre. The Fire Raptor came in on the right while Nestor and his Bikers closed in on the Libby and his Drop Pod Marines on the right. The Heldrake roasted all six of the Command squad and the Lone Noise Marine and Rapiers stripped two wounds from the Interrogator Chaplain. The Fire Raptor wiped out the Black Knights and stripped two hull points from the Imperial Drop Pod. Nestor and his Bikers charged into the Libby and his Marine entourage, wiping them out with contemptuous ease. The Dreadclaw jumped over to the Scouts on my left and Darius with his Chaos Marines jumped out and charged the Scouts, wiping them out in a flurry of blows to claim an objective.

Sam's Deathwing arrived and scattered towards the Heldrake. His Chaplain charged into the lone Noise Marine and hacked him down. The Devastators slugged it out with the Spawn dropping them down to one wound each left.

The Dreadclaw took to the skies and positioned itself to block the Deathwing's path. The Fire Raptor banked to the right and gunned down the Chaplain. The Rapiers fired into the Deathwing and killed one. Nestor broke away from his Bikers and tore apart the Drop Pod with his Powerfist. The Bikers charged into the Devastator squad fighting the Spawn and wiped them out.

The Deathwing moved towards Nestor but couldn't clear the Dreadclaw's base to charge.
The Fire Raptor went into hover mode,as did the Heldrake. Everything that could opened up on the Deathwing Black Knights, wiping them out and leaving no Dark Angels left standing.

Result: 20-0 win.

Sam was a pleasure to play against but unfortunately for him, my army is really good at dealing with Dark Angels. My Blastmaster and Heldrake excel at hunting Ravenwing and while he tried his best to avoid the Blastmaster, it merely funnelled him for my Heldrake to do all of the damage.
"Jink this skirt boy!" Intercepted message from Lothar von Gottlieb at the Ambush at Angel's Fall.

So day one came to an end and I was amazed to find myself doing much better than I had hoped for. My fallen brother Steve had blown the cobwebs away in the first game and it appeared that that had done the Castigators a world of good. Better yet, I had played 3 different armies and had enjoyed every game.
Even more amazing was that a Cold Steel Mercs were on the top tables going into day 2. Michael and his Necrons occupied table 1, my fallen brother with his KDK wasn't far behind on table 2 and I had somehow made it to table 3.

Table 1 - Tony Chew vs. Michael Bolton
Table 2 - Steve Pearce vs. Jez Morris
Table 3 - Gary Marsh vs. Laurence Elliott

Much wine would flow to celebrate our victories (and defeats) that night, but we were sure we wouldn't drink too much and that we'd be raring to go the next morning.....honest!

Stay tuned for the second part of the Caledonian Highlander later in the week, until then......may Our Lady grant you her number!


  1. Cheers for writing that all up, twas a good read. Seems like you enjoyed getting back into it. Actually you could answer a question for me, can a heldrake vector strike and flame in the same turn?

    1. Cheers Rory.
      Heldrakes can indeed Vector Strike and and use their flamer in the same turn.
      A few people don't rate the Heldrake since its fire arc has been reduced from 360 to 45 degrees, but I still think it earns its keep. Thankfully the latest GW FAQ at least allows them a 90 degree vertical fire arc.

  2. Lord Adiatun Varunn1 December 2016 at 09:16

    Congratulations, my friend! Very good performance in the tournament. I can't wait to hear the rest.

  3. This is brilliant. Accurate, entertaining and full of character. Good job cousin.

    1. Cheers Michael, glad you're enjoying it cuz.

    2. Great report Brother and a really fun game. See you soon I hope

    3. Cheers Steve.
      After lashing my back to bloody ruin for my humiliating defeat, I look forward to bringing the cur of Khorne to heel when we next meet brother.