The Deathwatch have punched through the surrounding Tyranid fleet swarm to reach the moon of Anish Prime, over Cophichi, and are now pushing towards the Haxel Bunker located on that moon’s surface. The bunker is a scene of intense fighting with a branch of Tyranids cut off within it fighting Tempestus Scion defenders. The Deathwatch have brought a secret artefact with them, the delivery of which is essential to fulfil their mission…

Game 6 of our Crusade campaign and we’re starting to see the impacts of Battle Scars and Battle Honours. Again we’re playing a 50PL game pitting Tyranids against Deathwatch. For this game we’re using the Dominate the Field mission from Beyond the Veil. Rather than give a blow-by-blow report I’ve written a bit of surrounding fiction. I’ve been trying to figure out how to give the Tyranids some characters, since they are evolving and benefitting from advancements through the campaign. I’ll give a brief overview of the game at the end of the post.

Daelius had been glaring at the pict screens for hours. He hadn’t imagined his honoured service in the Emperor’s elite xenos hunters would involve so much sitting… so much analysis. “I think it moves like 7F.106-d”, Gregar noted, leaning close to a grainy display and moving his hand in time to the beast’s swoops and dives. Daelius wasn’t sure. “It climbs and banks right like it, but that last raking attack across the 345th’s line wasn’t anything I’ve seen 7F.106-d do in the archive footage”, he responded, tapping keys on the stack engine to track back to that moment. “It used the Devourer-type weapons differently… see here… it kept one steady as it flew along the line and swept the other back and forward.” “A new behaviour?”, asked Gregar. “Maybe… maybe. Let’s tag it as a candidate evolution and call in a Blackstar to dispatch it. Then we’ll just have to wait and see.”

It folded its wings instinctively, sensing the threat and diving to avoid it before its highly tuned senses detected anything. The instinct was a merest flash, a feeling, a tell. It was enough to trigger an extreme dead weight dive, a desperate gambit to survive. Brightness filled its eyes, concussive waves buffeted its vebrorum and its ears ached with the sudden attack. As it plummeted a vision of its hunter and of itself began to form. The consciousness in which it shared deemed it important enough to divert a small bit of focus, but it wasn’t just a focus on the current, it contained the tacit awareness of similar situations. It nudged its left wing out a fraction, just enough to start a slow spin to the fall, arcing its face and weapons upwards towards the hunter. Its weapons were symbiotic, they knew what it knew and the moment the hunter was in view living ammunitions streamed from them. It was aware of an incoming strike from the hunter Then it was aware no more.

“Blackstar Delta-Bravo 42 report target, 7F.106-e, down. They’ve started referring to it as ‘Spectre’. They sustained only superficial damage in the attack.” Delius incremented the beast’s coded name to 7F.106-f?, indicating an anticipated re-spawning of the xenos creature. What behaviour would ‘Spectre’ exhibit next he wondered.

Daelius liked to think that his Primarch’s eye for the aesthetic was part of him and that it made him good at this most tedious of tasks. All Astartes paid meticulous attention to the smallest of details, but this was different. It was more akin to an appreciation, an interpretation. The weeks passed and Daelius began to sense a rhythm to the activities of the Tyranids. The evolutions had a tempo, not that they were completely predicable. The changes were subtle, sometimes they were obvious advancements, other times they seemed to revisit previous behaviour, but each creature seemed to re-emerge over and over, its abilities shifting. None of the cogitators could surface a pattern to them, but there was something Daelius could sense. Something his Blood Angel mind could almost grasp.

The Game

This was probably the high water mark for the Tyranids, but things didn’t bode well in their lines, with a unit of Deathwatch having teleported in to engage the Hive Guard. ‘Spectre’ was also almost dead at this point!

I massively overkilled the Deathwatch captain and didn’t attend to the Redemptor… that was a mistake. In response it killed Spectre and Haunter (my Broodlord). The Tyranids had been ahead on VPs until this point, but now there was nothing to prevent the Deathwatch from mopping up…

A solid win for the Deathwatch in the end. They continue to push towards Haxel Bunker, securing an area for the mysterious artefact to be brought to the moon’s surface.

Until next time,