22 Mar 2013

Chaos is Fickle

Howdy all, Learn2Eel here with a quick and perhaps humorous look at how truly.....'uncaring' the Chaos Gods can be. Suffice it to say - sometimes, the dice simply do not go your way.

I'm here to talk about another game I had today with my Chaos Daemons, featuring this time as an Allied Detachment due to my inability to use the Bloodthirster and Soul Grinder from my previous games - the former was a one-use test model from my LGS, the latter was a counts-as Defiler for testing purposes only. My opponent was Space Wolves, and given he said he was taking a fun army list, I thought I would do the same thing too. I ran with some obviously questionable options, but I refused to list-tailor, using some standard choices and completely ridding my army of certain units I would usually use (a pair of Heldrakes, for one).

Chaos Space Marines - Primary
Chaos Daemons - Allied

Abaddon - 265 (Warlord)
Lord of Change w/ lesser gift, two greater gifts, mastery level three - 305

Chaos Space Marines (10) w/ plasma gun, rhino - 190
Chaos Space Marines (10) w/ plasma gun, rhino - 190
Cultists (20) - 90
Bloodletters (10) w/ bloodreaper, etherblade - 115

Fast Attack
Bikers (3) w/ two plasma guns - 100

Heavy Support
Vindicator w/ dozer blade - 125
Vindicator - 120

Given we were playing on a 4x4, I've found the 90-point Cultist unit is not a bad bodyguard for Abaddon - they are simply twenty ablative wounds to protect him whilst he buffs all around him with Preferred Enemy, before mauling almost any enemy in combat (which he usually gets into about turn two/three). Food for thought! I've found lately that Abaddon is very good if used in the right capacity, though as many would rightly point out, he is suited more for bigger games where his abilities become more useful.

I couldn't say exactly what my opponent's army list was, but it was a Logan-wing army with two drop-podding Wolf Guard Terminator units (one all armed with combi-plasmas and combi-meltas, the other with an assault cannon), a drop-podding Dreadnought with an assault cannon, and Logan himself with a bunch of storm-shield armed Wolf Guard Terminators in a Land Raider Redeemer with a multi-melta.

The Lord of Fickleness and Trolling.
To say we both had some bad luck in this game - all at the machinations of one of the snide Chaos Gods, no doubt - would be an under-statement. Mine started before we had deployed, namely with the Lord of Change; though the two Greater Gifts I rolled were excellent (I got Feel No Pain +4 and re-roll failed Invulnerable saves!) I rolled terribly for Divination, literally getting all three of the powers useless to me in that game (Ignores Cover, Counter-Attack and Overwatch at full BS, and roll three dice for Reserves/Outflank/Mysterious Terrain) given my army list. I swapped Ignores Cover out for Prescience, but really, how bad was that? Only one useful psychic power for the entire game? Durr. Well, at least I got some massive boosts to his durability - from memory, the chances of failing a re-rollable +5 invulnerable save, followed by a Feel No Pain +4 save, are roughly equivalent or lower than failing a +2 armour save. If you don't fail at maths like I do, please comment and school me on the truth! So anyway, the point remains; given he had no force weapons or anything, I could reasonably expect my Lord of Change to live for a long time. Right? Right!?

So anyway, on to the game (and a note that I may have forgotten a turn entirely) - he had first turn, I didn't seize, and no Night Fighting. He went for the risky maneuvers and dropped both his Dreadnought and combi-weapon Wolf Guard behind either of my Vindicators - both Drop Pods arrived right where they needed to be. I saw it coming, but I had deployed so that he was forced to risk going behind the rear or not be able to reliably destroy them. So, some luck for him - would I get some? Well, funnily enough, one of the Vindicators lived - the Dreadnought failed to do anything, despite the assault cannon firing into the rear armour 10 of one. Some laughs to be sure. His Land Raider Redeemer trucked forward and did no harm. So, my turn. Abaddon promptly charged the nearby Terminators and - with some help from a plasma-gunner inside a nearby Rhino and a bunch of auto-pistol shots from the Cultists - butchered all of them without taking any damage, unsurprisingly. Whilst I was moving, I looked to my Lord of Change and thought long and hard about what I should do. I was worried about the Dreadnought, and thus had my Bikers and a nearby Chaos Squad in a Rhino rapid-fire it with their plasma guns - achieving nothing. In that sense, my decision to send the Lord of Change after it was vindicated, but not in what followed. This is where one of the Chaos Gods decided to make my day a bad one. I started the game in a ruin - as a flying monstrous creature, swooping out of it means no dangerous terrain - that and obviously it still had its ridiculous saving throws. Want to know something funny? Ok, so I rolled a 1. I'm like, ok sure, whatever. +5 invulnerable save. Failed. Re-roll! Failed - laughably, I rolled a four. +4 Feel No Pain - I even said "no way I fail this surely". I rolled a three. Yep. I rolled one under each result I needed on the re-roll and Feel No Pain save. I got the immediate impression this was going to end badly. Worse, the Dreadnought was in a crater, and so I had to land in terrain again - ironically, I rolled a two this time. Phew! The fun started when I declared a charge. The Dreadnought overwatches with its Assault Cannon - two hits! Eh. Two wounds. What? Same drill. The re-roll of the invulnerable save passed once, but I failed the subsequent Feel No Pain for the second wound. Hurr-hurr. Down two wounds from having to take three god-damned saves. You can understand if I was feeling a bit anxious. The Dreadnought hits me with three attacks, hitting twice, wounding twice. Wonderful. Well what do you know? I failed both of my first-up invulnerable saves, passed one re-roll and had rolled a four on the other die. Guess what? I passed my Feel No Pain and was fine! Real surprising eh? I blew up the Dreadnought with impunity - I Smashed and cast Prescience on myself to make sure my abysmal dice rolling would not screw me over again. But still.......

If I find out who was trolling me, I'll kill them dead!
It gets even better. His turn two, his Land Raider moves up and promptly blows up the second Vindicator as expected - he fails to wound the nearby Lord of Change. His other Terminator unit comes in near the middle of the board, again on target. They jump out. What follows is where I really start to shake my head and even (jokingly) fling my dead models aside in frustration. The Lord of Change is out in the open, and everything is in range of it. Three Drop Pods with their storm bolters shoot at it - the first two do nothing. The one that has to snap fire lands one hit, one wound and what do you think happens? Oh....of course, he passes his (equivalent of a) +2 armour save. Hahahahahahaha. What were you saying? Say it again? I want to hear it. Well anyway.....WROOOOOOONG! Down to two wounds, my opponent says that "for laughs" he will shoot the Lord of Change with the Terminator unit. Laughs. Yeah. Lol! What do you think happens? Guess. Just guess. He gets in two wounds from the Assault Cannon, and two wounds from Storm Bolters. As always, I failed all of my invulnerable saves first up, but passed two with the re-roll. Ok, so two wounds and +4 Feel No Pain means that I should live, right? Don't make me get my shotgun out.....because no. He dies. To add insult to injury, one of them was another three. At this point, I promptly requested that I get a free, neutral Skarbrand model to kill everything on the table in a fit of Raaaaaage! I could stop the article here, really. Jokes aside, by the end of the turn, I was left without a means to destroy the Land Raider, I had only killed a Terminator unit and a Dreadnought, and he was shooting up my Bloodletters and Cultists. Not good. So, my turn. Given that it is a kill points mission and he already has First Blood, I am forced to take some risks. Abaddon splits from the Cultists and easily blows up a Drop Pod - the combined shooting of three plasma guns, rapid-firing I might add, does nothing to the Drop Pod. Want to hear another joke? Take two Chaos Space Marine Bikers, and a Chaos Space Marine, all with plasma guns. Shoot them at a Drop Pod. Two of them kill themselves and the two hits landed on the Drop Pod roll ones for armour penetration! Hahahahahahaha! What swell guys! I snipe off one Terminator from his assault-cannon wielding unit with my other forces.

His turn three. Logan still refuses to jump out, with the Land Raider wiping out several Bloodletters and stunning a Rhino. Some Cultists are gunned down - my opponent and I have a gentleman's agreement not to shoot Logan/Abaddon, but the bodyguard are fair game. Not much else happens. The luck of the dice start to shoot my way this turn, as Abaddon rejoins the Cultists and they run very close to the ranged Terminators, to which my opponent promptly points out I refused myself a kill point by not charging their much nearer Drop Pod. Doh! My Bloodletters manage a miraculous difficult terrain move of one inch for the third turn in a row, though they again follow up with a decent run move to hopefully survive and hide for the rest of the game behind a building. My mounted Chaos Marines manage another kill through some lucky bolter shots (the plasma gun again proved useless), starting a somewhat ironic trend for my opponent of failed armour saves. Not much is happening. Turn four! More Bloodletters are gunned down, with only one remaining at the end due to a very lucky invulnerable save - though to be fair I hadn't been passing them for my life on the Bloodletters, either. He wrecked the stunned Rhino with the Land Raider (who was positioned to also flame the Bloodletters), and gunned down a few more Cultists - Logan also finally decided to join the fray, and after killing two of his bodyguard Terminators through failed armour saves, that recently disembarked Chaos Marine squad was promptly wiped out. This is where some good luck started coming into play for me. My other Rhino moved into a dangerous forest and nearly conceded another victory point, with the Chaos Marines jumping out and rapid-firing into the Terminators - the Plasma Gun failed to do anything, but eleven bolter wounds in total led to three failed armour saves, wiping out the Terminators. See that pattern I was talking about, and how ironic it was given my Lord of Change's unfortunate demise? I guess it must have initially been Nurgle laughing at my Lord of Change having Feel No Pain, but Tzeentch helped me by forcing my opponent to roll so many ones that he couldn't re-roll. I realized I had been forgetting about Abaddon's Preferred Enemy bubble for the first three turns, and used it to murder some enemies - luck at last! Given that Logan was nearby, the obvious decider of the game would be a clash between the two Warlords. Suffice it to say, it did not go as expected!

What I got out of the game.
As a note, this is where I feel I have forgotten about a turn from the game completely - I think our battle was on my turn five, but my memory is hazy and places it at turn four chronologically. I charge in successfully, and laughably, my Cultists kill the remaining two Terminators with the help of Preferred Enemy. Wha-? Completing the cycle of bad luck for both players, it would of course be I that suffered last. Abaddon challenges Logan, who promptly accepts. I of course use Drach'nyen; with four attacks base, an additional one for wielding two specialist weapons, a bonus two for Rage, and five from the Daemon Weapon, I smacked down with twelve attacks hitting on threes with re-rolls (Hatred) and wounding on threes with re-rolls of ones (Preferred Enemy). Seven wounds all up on Logan's +4 invulnerable save. Considering neither of us could pass saves when we were supposed to, I guess I shouldn't have been surprised about what followed. He passes all but one. Seriously. He proceeds to smack me with his power fist, landing four wounds in total. Continuing the trend of averages meaning little at all, I fail three saves with the one pass being a four. If Abaddon had died there, given Logan's amazing rolling, I would have seriously (of course not) thrown both Abaddon and the Lord of Change at the window. The following turn led to some odd stuff, and some luck at last for me. My lone Bloodletter was behind a building and safe from the Land Raider - who proceeded to wreck a Rhino - but was in sight of a Drop Pod. Two Storm Bolter shots at full BS - two misses! Yay! Abaddon again rolls a five for Drach'nyen, and lands eight wounds. I promptly tell my opponent about my earlier plan if Logan somehow survives eight +4 invulnerable saves with only two wounds left and proceeds to kill Abaddon. Well, it did kill him, but only just - he passed six of the saves! Are you serious? I turned and looked at my vanquished Lord of Change and shook my head in disbelief. Chaos is indeed fickle - even if Abaddon won me the day, it was only by the skin of my teeth, and from some insanely good and bad dice rolling on either players' part that really puts the law of averages to shame.

A fun, light-hearted game that ended with my opponent conceding, given I was ready to take down two more Drop Pods - even if I had no way of killing the Land Raider. Perhaps 'fun' could be substituted for "aggravating", "funny", "irritating", "humorous", "hair-tearing" or whatever permutation, but whatever. It was enjoyable, and suitably Chaotic - it goes to show that you don't need fancy Warp Storm Tables to have a random game where the dice really do decide the fate of both armies. I hope you enjoyed this article, and I hope to post some more entertaining battle reports in the future - if you liked it, of course! Please tell us in the comments below if you didn't like the way this article was presented, or the style of writing - we are open to any and all criticisms and suggestions! Thank you again!


  1. Compared to Abaddon's previous crusades, the Chaos gods were generous this time.

    1. I thought so :D Killing Logan Grimnar, butchering some Terminators - not bad!

  2. MCs don't take dangerous terrain tests they have move through cover.

    1. Adding insult to injury lol, I keep forgetting that this isn't 5th Edition! Cheers!