2019.07.0 Iron Warriors v3.1 vs. Scions of Iron

So I made it up to CT this past weekend to hang out with the gaming group and get a couple of games in.  Matt and I got in a long, high-points value Adeptus Titanicus game that ran us most of the morning and early afternoon, after which I heckled Karl & Chris playing "What a Tanker!" and got a playtest in for the Iron Warriors against Jimmy's Scions of Iron list.

Scions were interesting to fight against.  Ground-pounding marines with lots of durable armor but more prosaic means of getting across the board (i.e. not air assault) are a bit easier to manage than most traditional marine lists.  Early game I singled out his bike formations to absorb serious artillery, and then did what I could to roll his flanks.  It largely worked, and my drop pod coordinates worked out well, but I still suck at placing cruiser barrages.  I have to stop targeting obvious locations and start aiming for likely places where deployment will limit people's options.  Maybe I'll do better at it next game.

By now, if you've been following along, you'll notice a relatively common core to my Iron Warriors lists - if I'm looking to play competitively, the list is going to have at least 1 infantry company, 2 artillery batteries, a cruiser, two drop assaults, and a terminator strike.

The artillery is there for reach and threat.  The drops are sacrificial - I expect the dreadnought formation to come in, kill something, and get obliterated in retaliation (mostly because fearless dreadnoughts in your backfield *must* be dealt with, otherwise I'm just going to run amok).

I tried something different with the Chosen this time - which I'd wanted to test, frankly.  Marines are hard to break, with ATSKNF.  Rather than try to break them and drive them off, I tried to use the Chosen to set up crossfires with the Infantry Companies - reduce those armor saves and see if I can claim more casualties.  It didn't work perfectly, but it worked well on the Tactical formation in the middle of the board.




6 Chaos Space Marines and 2 Havocs, 4 Chaos Rhino, Stalker, Warsmith (Supreme Commander)

6 Chaos Space Marines and 2 Havocs, Iron Warriors Lord, 4 Chaos Rhino, Stalker

6 Chaos Vindicators, Chaos Vindicator

4 Chaos Basilisks, Stalker, Emplacements

4 Chaos Basilisks, Stalker, Emplacements

Iron Warriors Lord, 4 Iron Warrior Terminator

5 Chaos Dreadnoughts, 5 Dreadclaw Drop Pod

CHOSEN [200]
4 Chaos Space Marine Scouts, Chaos Dreadnought, 5 Dreadclaw Drop Pod

3 Fighters



4 Tactical units, Land Raider, Hunter, Supreme Commander in Land Raider

4 Tactical units, 2 Land Raider, Hunter

4 Tactical units plus transport, 2 Predator Destructor, 2 Vindicator, Chaplain

BIKE [245]
4 Bike Unit, 2 Land Speeder

BIKE [245]
4 Bike Unit, 2 Land Speeder

4 Predators (Annihilator or Destructor), 2 Predator Annihilator

2 Marauder Bombers

1 Warhound Class Titan

1 Warhound Class Titan

...I realize now that I handicapped myself, sort of.  While I'd included a seventh Vindicator in the armored assault company... I only deployed six of them on the table for the actual game.  Oops!  Wouldn't have significantly impacted the outcome though.



I dropped my objectives to favor my left flank since that side offered little to no cover for any defending Scions of Iron formations and reasonable approach lanes for my mechanized infantry companies.  Jimmy followed suit, placing his objectives on the same flank but out in the open where a creative player could spread out and hold 2-3 objectives if they needed to.

Standard Iron Warriors anti- air/drop assault deployment - bubble wrap the fortified artillery in Infantry Companies with organic AAA, use the Vindicators to bait an airstrike away from the formations that actually do the heavy lifting.  Largely unnecessary against Scions of Iron, but it's pretty much force of habit at this point.  I lined up a mechanized company and the Vindicators to push up my left flank and onto the objectives, while my Supreme Commander company was set up as bait / for a push into the middle of the board where it would hopefully draw some attention and position my opponent advantageously for my drop pods.  I opted for a turn one drop from the Cruiser in an effort to keep the orbital bombardment meaningful, and saved the Terminators for a turn two teleport to clean up other ground forces.  A gamble that paid off more than it should have this game.

Across from me, Jimmy anchored his flanks with his Heavy Tactical formations, trusting in the Hunters to keep me off his ground forces, with his Supreme Commander on his left flank along with the reinforced Predator Annihilator company, a Warhound reinforcing his right flank, bike formations occupying the next spots in, and the basic Tactical formation and second Warhound holding the middle.



The Scions of Iron won the initiative.

The tactical formation holding their center doubled up out of my pre-plotted orbital barrage (sigh), and toward their T&H objective toward my right flank.  The Iron Warriors largely ignored this opening feint and plugged in a fire mission on the right flank artillery battery, lighting up the right flank bike formation and killing 3.  The Scions' Heavy Tactical formation on my left flank doubled up  past the Warhound onto my leftmost T&H objective.  Again, the Iron Warriors ignored the bait and punched in a fire mission for the left flank artillery battery, dropping rounds on the left flank bike formation and killing 3 as well.  With both assault formations effectively neutered, I could focus on shooting up Tacticals.  The Scions marshalled the left flank Bikes formation, advancing toward midfield and clearing all 4 blast markers.  The Iron Warriors' Vindicators then doubled up along my left flank, taking the Heavy Tactical formation under fire, killing one tactical marine stand and prepping them for an eventual assault from the left flank IW infantry company.  The left flank Warhound advancedup behind the Heavy Tacticals, dumping all of its fire into the Vindicators and killing three, breaking them.  The left flank Iron Warriors infantry company, undeterred by the carnage suffered by the Vindicators, doubled up and also took the Heavy Tactical formation under fire, killing another tactical marine and ensuring they had more than enough blast markers to suppress the Hunter.  The Scions then marshalled the right flank Bike formation, but a snake eyes roll only resulted in the removal of one blast marker.

It was time to change up the tempo.  The Iron Warriors called in their Cruiser, the barrage landing just shy of the marshalled Bike formation (sigh), but with the landing sites for the two Dreadclaw formations wide open!  The Dreadnoughts came down within striking distance of the central Warhound, and the Chosen disembarked into a building behind the central Tactical formation, setting up a potential crossfire threat.  Finally, the Cruiser's lance strike came down hard on the central Warhound, bursting its void shields and scoring a solid hit.  Retaining the initiative, the Dreadnoughts piled into the Warhound, with predictable results.

When the dust cleared, my Dreadnoughts were picking trophies from the wreckage and preparing for the inevitable counterstrike to land on them.  Predictably, the Scions advanced their Predator company, taking the Dreadnoughts under fire and killing four.  Between six twin-linked lascannon and another 12 lascannon, I think I was rolling 3 saves per dreadnought.  I'm lucky I even made two.  Regardless, the remaining pair broke, moved to hug a building and awaited a further beating next turn.  However, this distraction had served its purpose, and my Chosen were in position to support a crossfire.

The Iron Warriors' right flank infantry company doubled up into the middle of the board, claiming one objective and taking the Scions' Tactical formation under fire.  I managed two infantry kills from the weakened armor saves, lining up an obvious engagement for turn two.  Seeing the threat, the Scions attempted to call in their Marauders... only to fail the activation and stand down the squadron.  The Iron Warriors took advantage of the reprieve and the Chosen continued the crossfire, failing to pop any tanks but putting another blast marker on the Tactical formation.  The Scions doubled up their Supreme Commander's Heavy Tactical formation onto the Iron Warriors' midfield infantry company, pouring in fire but failing to score any kills.  Finally, the Iron Warriors called in their Hell Talons on the suppressed left flank Heavy Tactical formation, killing another infantry squad and escaping without taking retaliatory fire.

At the end of the turn, everything rallied, but the left flank Heavy Tactical formation kept a few blast markers.



The Iron Warriors' terminators made an appearance, dropping to the rear of the Predator Annihilator company, out of immediate line of fire from the Scions' Supreme Commander Heavy Tactical formation (not pictured above).

The Scions of Iron retained the initiative.

Seeing the obvious threat from the Terminators, the Predators doubled out of reach and went full disco on the Dreadnoughts - killing the last two.  Fine, we'll cycle away from the Terminators for a few activations then - the Iron Warriors Chosen sustained fire on the Scions tactical formation stuck in a crossfire, adding another blast marker, and then the Warsmith's Infantry Company retained the initiative, engaging the same.

After the dust settled and hack-downs were sorted, two Predators and a Rhino broke loose, falling back toward the Scion's right flank and the Heavy Tactical & Warhound formations still standing there.  After the Warsmith's formation consolidated, the Scions Supreme Commander's Heavy Tactical formation sustained fire, killing one Iron Warriors squad.  Knowing the Marauders were still out there orbiting the battlefield, and with the initial assault cleared, the Warsmith ordered the Hell Talons onto CAP, and then retained the initiative with the left flank Basilisk battery pouring fire into the Heavy Tactical formation sitting on the T&H objectives, killing one more tactical marine squad and breaking it.  With that, the way was open for the left flank Infantry Company to assault the Warhound... but first those Marauders came screaming in on a ground attack on the Warsmith's formation.  The Hell Talons knifed in on intercept, shredding the Marauders and downing both planes.

Time to prep a few more assaults.  The Iron Warriors' right flank Basilisk battery punched in a fire mission on the Scions' Supreme Commander's Heavy Tactical formation, killing a tactical marine squad and the Hunter.  Retaining the initiative, the Terminators advanced into an overwatch position in a building overlooking the same Scions formation, pouring autocannon and heavy flamer fire into them but failing to inflict lasting casualties.  Seeing what was coming, the lone Warhound holding the Scions' right flank advanced and poured its vulcan megabolter into the opposing Iron Warriors infantry company, killing one squad of marines... only for the same formation to retaliate and engage, wiping out the Warhound and critting it twice in the process (where it thankfully failed to stagger onto them!).  The turn ended with the two Scions bikes formations activating, one advancing to occupy a T&H objective, the other failing and removing blast markers - and the Chaos Vindicator formation rolling up to put more fire into the broken Tactical formation (but not scoring enough blast markers to kill anything).

As the turn ended, the Iron Warriors were sitting in a good position to hold DTF objectives and assault their own T&H, with Terminators threatening the Scions' Supreme Commander/BTS and the Chosen positioned to potentially move on the Scions' Blitz.  In the Rally phase, all affected Iron Warriors formations freshened up, while the left flank Heavy Tactical formation stayed broken (keeping those land raiders out of the fight!), and the Scions' Supreme Commander's formation came away with one blast marker left.  The Tactical formation's Predators and the bikes rallied.



Turn three began with the Iron Warriors claiming strategy.

The Iron Warriors' right flank artillery battery opened up on the bikes & land speeder sitting on my second T&H objective, killing two and breaking them (leaving the left flank battery with its open fire lane to the Predators fresh).  Looking to trim down the Scions' options and finish rolling the flank, the Iron Warriors Terminators retained the initiative and engaged the Supreme Commander.

The engagement claimed one squad of Terminators, but between combat kills and overwhelming hack-downs (I went into the dice roll up by 7!), the Scions' command structure was wiped out, claiming BTS.  The remaining unbroken Scions bike formation activated and fell back onto their BTS, plainly worried about getting outmaneuvered.  The Vindicators remained sitting on a DTF objective marker, sustaining fire on the remains of the Scions' Tactical formation and killing a Predator, breaking them before they could marshal.  Retaining the initiative, the left flank Basilisk battery levelled tubes and punched rounds downrange on the Predator Annihilator formation.  Unfortunately, the Predators' armor held and the tanks escaped with a single blast marker.  The Predators failed to activate (Jimmy had some bad rolls this game), and on their holding action advanced to contest T&H.

This triggered a cascade of attacks on that Predator Annihilator formation (despite the fact that I already had BTS, DTF, and TSNP (arguably) - I mean, I had fresh formations in the area, right?).  This kept me from threatening the Scions' Blitz, but still played out pretty well.  First the Warsmith's Infantry Company sustained fire on the Annihilators, killing one.  Then the Chosen formation engaged, taking the Annihilators into a Firefight that killed one Predator but cost me two Chosen in the assault and another in the hackdown when they bounced.  The left flank Iron Warriors infantry company advanced to hold one T&H objective and contest the other, firing on the Annihilators and putting another blast marker on them.  Finally the Hell Talons came in on a ground attack and poured more fire into the Annihilators, adding the last blast marker to break them.



At the end of the game, the Iron Warriors dominated the board, having rolled up to hold all four mid-board objectives.  The final score was 4-0 (BTS, DTF, T&H, and TSNP).

Scions had a couple of key rally and activation failures throughout the game, and splashing the Marauders early on turn two really limited their long-range striking power.  Playing marines who couldn't air assault allowed me to set and maintain the tempo across all three turns, and gave me the freedom to move up aggressively to support my early game Dreadclaw assault drops.  I still noob out when plotting my orbital barrage, and I probably could have just gone for the Scions' Supreme Commander with the Terminators rather than threatening his Predators, but nothing was unsalvageable.  

After the game, Jimmy wanted to debate my decision for a turn one drop rather than holding my forces for turn two (or likewise, why I didn't bring the Terminators in turn one as well).  While delaying has merit - I'm starting off the game with 4 activations on the table, and two of them are basically tacticals in rhinos.  Dropping hard with CC macro on turn one allowed me to eliminate and/or pin down key enemy formations and kept him reactive rather than letting my opponent have free rein to maneuver for a turn.  Likewise, saving the Terminators for turn two allowed me to reapply pressure where needed.  If they'd come in on turn one, it would have been a largely unsupported assault on the Scions' Supreme Commander, and it would have been a much more even fight.  The one advantage I had was that his army played very similarly to mine (mobile shooting), which (a) isn't necessarily a Marine strength, and (b) allowed me to easily focus on and eliminate his best engagement troops (the bike/land speeder formations) on turn one.

The game went well, and highlighted what a drop/artillery Iron Warriors list can do against a more conventional opponent - it was nice to fight something other than drop assaults, skimmers, and war engines for a change!