40k Batrep • BikeStar vs. Flyrant Spam

Merry Christmas! – Nothing like a good old fashioned 40K batrep to pass some time while you’re busy with the relatives.

INTRODUCTION
Hi everyone and best wishes to everyone this holiday season ! I hope everyone got some nice new wargaming toys they wanted.

I was up north last week and had the opportunity to play some games with my BikeStar versus the new hotness Flyrant spam. I have made some tweaks to my list to adjust for the current meta – this was the perfect opportunity to see if it all comes together. These changes are as follows:

Double Psyker
This is something I’ve wanted to change for some time now. To me the psychic phase is a bit of a gamble but can pay off with huge dividends. Psychic powers can give your army an edge. Sure there are some armies that can shut you down but in a tournament environment you most likely will only face off against such an army once or twice. Space Marine Psykers have good overall stats all around too especially when you consider what you get for the points and come equipped with force weapons which are the bane of many evil things such as daemon princes and other monstrous creatures.

I now run both a Librarian and Rune Priest. The lore I choose for the Librarian depends upon what I’m up against and my go to choice is Telepathy. You can’t count on rolling Insta Gizz (Invisibility) but Shrouding is awesome for the 2+ jink save and the Primaris power Psychic Shriek is really good for sniping tough enemy units such as Wraithknights and Dreadknights. I always choose Divination for the Rune Priest as this is the true go to lore for BikeStar. I gave up the Wolf Lord for the Rune Priest with a good chunk of points left over.

Air to Air
The proverbial Achilles Heel of BikeStar is versus flyer or FMC heavy armies – snap shooting grav guns is better than nothing but I found a way to include both a Stormfang and Stormtalon at 1850 points which is pretty awesome IMO . The Stormfang is the new hotness for Space Marine flyers… Much stronger than a Stormraven. The Stormtalon is also arguably a better choice than the Stormraven too – especialvly when we consider the points saved. By including two flyers the BikeStar becomes much more tactical all around and they compliment each other due to the inherent mobility.

So like I said I was able to play two games which is a good test. Flyrant spam features five Flyrants and is currently being promoted as one of the new top meta internet lists. My general philosophy in both games was the same – be very aggressive and put the pressure on the Tyranids right at the start.

Flyrant Spam is put to the test with my new list… Read on for army lists and the battle report – very exciting game !!!


The Army Lists
Here are our army lists…

NIDZ
Primary detachment

Flyrant – 2x TL-Brainleech Devourers, Egrubs, Fighter Ace (Warlord)
Flyrant – 2x TL-Brainleech Devourers, Egrubs

Lictor
Lictor
Lictor

3x Rippers – Deepstrike
3x Rippers – Deepstrike

Mawloc

Void Shield Generator – 3x Void Shields

Hive Fleet Leviathan detachment

Flyrant – 2x TL-Brainleech Devourers, Egrubs
Flyrant – 2x TL-Brainleech Devourers, Egrubs
Flyrant – 2x TL-Brainleech Devourers, Egrubs

Malanthrope

1x Mucolid
1x Mucolid
1x Mucolid

BIKESTAR
White Scars Primary Detachment

Chapter Master
Power Fist + Auspex + Artificer Armour + Space Marine Bike + The Shield Eternal

Librarian (Lvl 2)
Melta Bombs + Force Axe + Space Marine Bike

Command Squad
2x Melta Bombs 2x + 3x Storm Shield 4x Grav Gun + Bikes 35 + Company Standard + Power Fist
Apothecary

Bike Squad
x3 Biker + 2x Grav Gun
Attack Bike + Multi-melta
Biker Sergeant + Melta Bombs + Combi-Grav

Bike Squad
x3 Biker + 2x Grav Gun
Attack Bike + Multi-melta
Biker Sergeant + Melta Bombs + Combi-Grav

Stormtalon Gunship + Skyhammer Missile Launcher

Allied Space Wolves Detachment

Rune Priest (Lvl 2)
Runic Armor + Force Axe + Bike + Melta Bombs

Stormfang Gunship + 2x Twin-linked Multi-meltas + Twin-Linked Lascannon

9x Grey Hunters + Wolf Standard + 7x Close Combat Weapon + 2x Meltagun + Plasma Pistol + Power Axe
Wolf Guard Pack Leader
Storm Shield + Frost Axe
Drop Pod

My psychic powers were as follows:

Librarian – Psychic Shriek – Shrouding – Dominate – Force

Rune Priest – Prescience – Perfect Timing – Misfortune – Force

My Warlord trait was stealth in ruins coupled with a good amount of ruins.

Nidz got mostly Psychic Scream, Onslaught and Warp Blast. Nidz warlord trait not that great.

Mission and Table Layout
Mission was The Relic for the first game as my friend is not a big fan of Maelström missions (don’t worry the second game we broke out the cards). First Blood, Slay the Warlord and Line Breaker were in play too.

Lots of terrain on the table with a fair amount of LoS blocking.

Deployment – Vanguard Strike. I got to choose my deployment zone and went second.

Night fight first turn too !

Pre Game Analysis
Like I said my game plan was to play very aggressively. Depending upon deployment and who goes first I can either try to hit the xenos ground forces hard first or focus on the flyrants. I had a couple of games with the flyers so I had a good idea how to optimize their impact. I opted to cast psychic powers as normal but not roll a lot dice per power to limit the odds of perils… Hopefully the Emperor would smile on me in this phase. This is a tough mission for the Nids as they can’t really make a play for the relic early on plus I don’t have to either. I would rather go second so my two flyers come in behind the flyrants.

Deployment
I chose the side of the table with the most LoS blocking terrain – not as much on the other side of the diagonal line.

My opponent opts to hold two of his Flyrants in reserve including his Warlord. He places the other three Flyrants deep in his corner such that if I seize they are out of the range of grav guns. He also places the void shield generator (VSG) more forward but such that the Flyrants are in range of the shields. Malenthrope is placed behind the VSG.

Mawloc, rippers and Mucolids all start in reserve.

I deploy BikeStar and the two biker squads close to the Relic and in ruins. Grey Hunters, Stormfang and the Stormtalon start in reserve.

My opponent then infiltrates his Lictors behind LoS blocking terrain close to the Relic.

I then roll to seize…

… And up pops a six !!!

😀

Chapter Master Thungron points with his power fist at the horizon – the sky is dark and filled with what at first appears to be dragons. As the alien host swoops in the bikers realize it’s the Tyranid vanguard bearing down upon them. “Ready yourselves for a hard fought battle. Librarian Windrider and Rune Priest Skallagrimm, you’ll have your work cut out for you and will be needed to wrest victory from this airborn behemoth.”

The bikers began to throttle their engines as they rode forth en masse upon the open plains. A hot wind mixed with debris surged down shrouding the Marines in a blanket of swirling dust. The energy cables attached to Windrider’s psychic hood bulged and twisted like a nest of hungry vipers as he reached into the cold warp. Windrider could sense the Hive Mind stirring within the ether realm roaring above the static crackling of Malefic energies. Skallagrimm draws his ancient axe fashioned from a Kraken fang siphoning the runic powers stored within the vessel.

1st Turn – BikeStar
The Grey Hunters pod down on top of the Relic with minimal scatter. Grey Hunters then disembark to claim the objective. BikeStar moves into position to target one of the Lictors. The other two biker squads move up as well to target the other Lictors while remaining in ruins.

I have an awesome psychic phase – first the Librarian successfully shrieks one of the Flyrants dropping three wounds ([b]note[/b] my friend’s gaming group plays it such that Shriek bypasses void shields – who was I to argue… :o). He also was able to shroud BikeStar. The Rune Priest successfully cast Perfect Timing on BikeStar.

Shooting then commences… BikeStar drops one of the Lictors for [b]First Blood[/b] (FB)… The Grey Hunters pop another one with a lucky melta shot and the two biker squads combine their firepower to drop the last Lictor. Note that all three Lictors were outside the range of the void shields.

1st Turn – Tyranids
The wounded Flyrant enters swoop mode and legs it off the table while the other two enter swoop mode and both swoop over towards the Grey Hunters while remaining inside the range of the void shields. Malenthrope sits in place.

One of the two Flyrants perils suffering a wound and loses Psychic Scream. The other Flyrant casts Psychic Scream versus BikeStar to retaliate but it’s denied (3+ DtW – Shield = Admantium Will, Rune Priest = Ward and Level 2 psykers).

Shooting from both Flyrants is all focused on the Grey Hunters – they drop five Space Puppies but they stand tall not breaking plus I’ve still got the Wolf Guard, Wolf Standard and both meltaguns.

A good first turn for BikeStar !

BikeStar – FB, Relic
Tyranids: 0

2nd Turn – BikeStar

The dark sky seems to vibrate for a moment as the sounds of rocket engines fill the air. Black Death in the form of a Stormfang bursts through the umber clouds followed by the smaller Stormtalon. “Reinforcement has arrived.” whispers the Chapter Master over the encrypted comm link. “Tear the filthy beasts from the sky!” shouts Windrider.

I roll for my reserves and in comes both the Stormfang and Stormtalon. I angle them in for what I call a stealth arrival – they move along my table edge so that they will be out of range from the Flyrants this turn. My opponent had declared his two Flyrants in reserve would come in from his table so no deep striking – it could have been handy for him though if he had.

BikeStar moves into position to charge the VSG while the two biker squads split off in opposite directions and spread out to help mitigate the possible arrival of the Mawloc this turn – they both remain in cover. The Grey Hunters move back and try to hide behind a piece of cover.

The Librarian again is able to successfully cast Shrouding on BikeStar and that is it for the psychic phase.

Both biker squads target Flyrants – a melta shot gets through and drops one wound. The Flyrant remains aloft.

BikeStar then assaults the VSG and explodes it causing one wound on the Malenthrope.

2nd Turn – Tyranids
Two ripper swarms, one Mucolid, the wounded Flyrant and another (non Warlord) arrive from reserve. Both ripper swarms deep strike into cover close to the Grey Hunters – one swarm scatters off into the open. The Mucolid drops down in my deployment in the corner away from my flyers. Flyrants all converge on the Grey Hunters. Malenthrope wisely backs away from BikeStar.

My opponent attempts to cast Psychic Scream on the Space Puppies but I deny it. Warp Blast goes off twice but scatters both times..

The shooting phase sees two Flyrants required to finish off the Grey Hunters. The other two Flyrants target one biker squad which jinks for the 2+ cover save – the attack bike takes a wound along with two bikers (non grav). The bikers break amd fall back approximately 12″.

Score remains the same.

3rd Turn – BikeStar
I move both of my flyers off the table wanting to have them around for at least the fourth turn and hopefully at least one during the fifth turn. The broken bikers regroup and move up beside one of the ripper swarms. BikeStar moves back toward the center of the table and spreads out to fill up as much room as possible. The other biker squad moves off to one side of the table behind a tall piece of LoS blocking terrain.

In the psychic phase I successfully cast Shrouding on BikeStar again. The Librarian also gets off Shriek on the wounded Flyrant and perils but I roll a six and pass the leadership test for the 3++ save… I roll a total of 11 just dropping the first Flyrant. The Rune Priest then casts Perfect Timing and my opponent fails to deny it.

BikeStar targets another Flyrant which had already suffered a wound from PotW and I manage to wound it twice with the grav guns bringing it down to its last wound but it remains aloft.

The biker squad then charge the ripper swarm taking them down to one base – I was hoping not to finish them off so they are safe for the turn locked in combat.

3rd Turn – Tyranids
In from reserves arrives the Mawloc, Warlord Flyrant and the remaining two Mucolids. The Warlord Flyrant swoops over towards the hiding biker squad and the Mucolids both drop down in my deployment zone – the three Mucolids are spaced evenly across the back of my deployment zone. The unengaged ripper swarm remains in cover while the rest of the Flyrants move into position to focus fire on BikeStar this time around. Malenthrope boldly moves up towards the bikers locked in combat with the first ripper swarm.

My opponent thinks about it for awhile then decides to drop his Mawloc on BikeStar – it scatters a bit only covering three bikes including the Apothecary. I take one wound on the Apothecary but he passes it off via Look Out Sir to the Librarian whom then passes his 3++ save like a champ. The Mawloc drops again but then scatters way off… Could have been a big deal.

In the psychic phase the Warlord Flyrant casts Psychic Scream on the bikers but I catch a break and only take one wound on the attack bike. It then casts Warp Blast but they pass all their 2++ jink saves (stealth in ruins). Another Flyrant casts Psychic Scream on BikeStar but again I deny it a second time.

The Flyrants surrounding BikeStar unload their devourers dealing out around 30 hits but in a display of poor dice rolling only manage to inflict roughly 15 wounds. Chapter Master tanks the wounds losing a couple but regains one due to FNP. The Warlord Flyrant targets the bikers – I lose the attack bike and two bikers including one of the grav gunners – they stand tall in the saddle passing their break check though.

The Malenthrope attempts to charge the bikers but falls short by a couple inches. The bikers then finish off the rippers and consolidate towards the Malenthrope.

Score remains the same except I have Line Breaker now and the Relic is up for grabs.

4th Turn – BikeStar

Again there is roar of rocket engines from the sky above as the gigantic form of the Black Death breaks through the canopy of swollen clouds. The Stormfang swoops down upon the xenos like a metal bird of prey. It’s mighty guns lance through the chill air cutting into one of the Tyrants. Screaming in pain the alien monstrosity releases a sonic cry splitting the air. Again the Black Death attacks unleashing a Hellfrost bombardment upon the ripper swarms. Little Bird zooms in swirling through the sky aiming for another Tyrant. “Our call has been answered.” whispers the Chapter Master. The bikers surge forward again with new confidence.

In come comes the Stormfang and Stormtalon for a late beta strike. I move the Stormfang (Black Death) into position so it can drop Hellfrost and the remaining ripper swarm and light up the wounded Flyrant with its twin linked multi-meltas and lascannon. The Stormtalon (Little Raven) splits off to target the Warlord Flyrant and draw some heat off the remnant biker squad off to the side of the table. The other biker squad makes a break to the back of my opponent’s deployment zone – he will have to dedicate at least one Flyrant to deal with them… The play is to force him to fragment his army. The first biker squad tucks itself into a building with a ceiling – the Warlord Flyrant will have to go into glide mode to be in a position to shoot them. BikeStar moves around the Relic to box it off setting their sights on the Mawloc for the easy target.

In the psychic phase I first attempt to Shroud BikeStar again but it’s finally denied… Most of the unit is situated in ruins though for the 2+ cover save (Stealth in Ruins). Next I Shriek the Malenthrope toasting it back into the local spawning pools. : ) Oh well Xenos we knew yee well. The Rune Priest then successfully casts Prescience on BikeStar.

Little Bird fires into the Warlord Flyrant forcing it to jink and drops a wound. Black Death vaporizes the remaining ripper swarm with Hellfrost via PotMS and also punks out the wounded Flyrant. BikeStar then literally obliterates the Mawloc.

Another great turn for BikeStar. Tyranids are down to three Flyrants and the Mucolids plus I have Line Breaker twice over.

4th Turn – Tyranids
My opponent decides to go for the easy target moving his remaining Flyrants to target my Flyers. Warlord Flyrant will target Little Bird while the other two go after Black Death.

Psychic Phase – again I am able to deny Psychic Scream on the BikeStar… I can tell my opponext is getting frustrated. He then hits them with a couple Warp Blasts and my Chapter Master suffers another wound bringing him down to his last two wounds.

Warlord Flyrant manages to down Little Bird with some hot dice. The other two Flyrants combine to glance Black Death twice but can’t manage to knock it out.

We both lost some this turn but I maintain my lead.

5th Turn – BikeStar
This could be the last turn so time to play it smart – BikeStar moves on top of the Relic and the Chapter Master picks it up. Hidden biker squad sits tight while the other biker squad remains in the enemy deployment zone while moving as far away as possible from the Flyrants. Black Death (Stormfang) flies off the table.

In the psychic phase the Librarian attempts to shroud BikeStar but is denied. I decide not to attempt any other spells.

In the shooting phase BikeStar targets the closest Flyrant and manages to drop one wound via rending bolter fire… Lol !!! It then passes its grounding check on a roll of 3.

5th Turn – Tyranids
My opponent wants to concede but I ask him to finish the game and he agrees. Two of the Flyrants go to glide mode maintaining a safe distance so I can’t charge either if it goes to turn 6. The Warlord Flyrant remains aloft coming in close to BikeStar.

All three Flyrants then unload their devourers into BikeStar and score lots of wounds. I lose two grav gunners and the Rune Priest takes a wound along with my Chapter Master (now down to his last wound).

We roll to see if there is a sixth turn and its on !

6th Turn – BikeStar

“It’s time now to make our final stand!” The Chapter Master lifts his power fist to the sky shaking it at the last of the xenos vanguard. “Make the enemy pay dearly. The Hive Mind shall taste bitter defeat this day!”

I don’t want to eat a lot more shots to the face again but I’m sitting on the Relic. What to do ?

Black Death comes back on and makes a beeline towards one of the gliding Flyrants. The Librarian and Rune Priest split off from BikeStar heading over beside the other gliding Flyrant. The biker squad not hiding in the building doubles back to draw a bead on one of the gliding Flyrants.

Both Psykers cast Force and the Rune Priest is successful. I also am able to successfully cast Misfortune on one of the gliding Flyrants.

Black Death lights up the first of the two gliding Flyrants and drops two wounds. BikeStar targets it as well, finishing it off. The biker squad lights up the other gliding Flyrant that is Misfortuned and drop one wound. The psykers then tap it as well with bolter fire dropping another wound.

The psykers then assault and manage to get past Overwatch tanking the wounds on the Rune Priest with just one wound left. The Librarian eats it but the Rune Priest is able to just drop the Flyrant’s last wound… Really close call – I was banking on the 2+ versus Overwatch and the Flyrant not being able to drop both psykers in close combat. Counting on two things to go your way is risky but it paid off this time.

With that my opponent concedes with only his Warlord and Mucolids left. I take primary, First Blood and Line Breaker.

POST GAME ANALYSIS
I was happy with how the new additions to my list worked out – before this would have been a very tough match with no dedicated anti air support to handle the Flyrants. The two psykers pulled their weight and along with the Chapter Master were the star players. Seizing the initiative was huge as I saw how my opponent deployed and was able to react first. My opponent made a mistake with the Lictors which should have been held in reserve to deep strike. Even with the advantage going into the final turns he made the right moves to create an opportunity to win but my dice came through for me.

I think that the right armies can handle Flyrant spam and its a lot like playing against Ad Lance… If you can quickly eliminate a couple early on it greatly reduces their overall synergy and exposes the weakness of the Tyranid ground support. For me the key was to first eliminate the VSG then take it from there. I think three Flyrants is more than enough. Two to three dakkafexen would have really helped the Tyranid army strengthen its ground support plus I would take Deathleaper in lieu of one of the stock Lictors just for the reduction in leadership to the Librarian – BikeStar was shrouded most of the game which was a great defense – without it would have greatly restricted its movement.

Happy holidays everyone ! ! !

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