Unfortunately, we had two people bow out at the last minute, both on one side of the battle. So it went from seven Cult of the Weeping Eye (the "bad" guys) players and six Alliance of Tarrion (the "good" guys) players, to five Cult and six Alliance. Still, at 2,500 points per player, with a Gargant thrown in on the Cult side to even things out, there was still 30,000 points on the table. For big nasties, the Cult had the aforementioned Gargant, a Stompa, a Squiggoth and a Necron Gauss Pylon. On the Alliance side, we had three Baneblades, a Stormlord, two Terminus Ultra Land Raiders and a Thunderbolt Fighter. As you might have guessed, four out of the five Cult players were Orks, with all of the Alliance players bringing Imperial armies, five of which were Space Marines (though there was a Dark Angels, Space Wolves and Black Templar player, so it was a nice space marine mix). We used a total of three tables, arranged in an "I" formation. Players could only deploy on the two parallel ends of the I, with No Man's Land going straight across the middle. No one could deploy on the center table. There were also three objectives. One was in the Alliance deployment zone, one in the Cult, and one dead center on the table where no one could deploy.
Since we had so many tanks, my Alliance brethren and I agreed on a two minute bid for deployment, which, against four ork players, obviously won. I think I finished deploying my stuff in about thirty seconds. Which reminds me, I suppose I should talk about my list:
Chapter Master Pedro Kantor
Space Marine Chaplain w/Power Fist
Ten Sternguard Veterans (the Sarge had a power fist)
Ten Vanguard Veterans (the Sarge had a Relic Blade, one vet had a fist, the rest had power weapons)
Land Raider with Brother-Sergeant Chronus
Now you can see why I deployed so fast! I only had twenty-six models, after all. I was accompanied on my end of the table by an Ultramarines player with a LOT of terminators and Calgar, and a Black Templar player with Helbrecht and plenty of close-combat goodness. We squared off against the Necron player and one of the Ork players. We spent the first turn trying to bring down a Stompa as well as a mob of Killa Kanz and Deff Dread. I managed to level a bunch of Necron Warriors with a Baneblade cannon shot and some fire from the Stormlord, but, sadly, the warriors had some crazy upgrade where they all counted as having Res Orbs, so even a S9 template wouldn't keep them down. Most got back up. Still, I was feeling pretty good about it, as we had a lot of nasty ready to rock. We even popped the Ambush strategic asset against a 100-strong Green Tide, and killed about fifty of them. Then disaster struck. Well, it struck me, anyway.
Snikrot snuck onto the table behind us and lobbed a vortex grenade. . .that annihilated my Baneblade! It was my first time using one of those bad boys, and, quite frankly, I was hoping to fire it more than once. In our next turn, however, a group of BT terminators walked on the board and took care of Snikrot and his boys. The vortex grenade scattered once and then disappeared.
The next few turns were full of unbridled destruction. Focused fire from two Land Raiders and a rear shot from a multi-melta dreadnought managed to take out the stompa around turn three. I gave one of my teammates some bad advice, and told him to tank shock the Deceiver (yes, a Gauss Pylon, some crazy Apoc formation AND a C'tan), hoping that he wouldn't stop the Land Raider Crusader and get run over. Sadly, he blew it up. Still, we had Terminators deep striking all over the table, and lots and lots of Orks were dying, so we were in pretty good shape. Then disaster struck again, right about turn four.
My Stormlord, which had held on against Heavy Destroyer fire and shots from the Gauss Pylon, finally fell. And exploded. Apocalyptically (yes, I know that's not a word. . .artistic license). Not only did it explode, not only did it kill eight out of ten Sternguard vets inside of it and the Black Templars sheltering next to it, but it also blew the Demolisher Cannon off of a nearby Vindicator and destroyed another nearby Vindicator. One shot took out nearly a thousand points. Harsh.
By this time, both we and our opponents were running pretty ragged. I ran my Land Raider forward, which was taken out by aforementioned Gauss Pylon, but my Vanguard Vets, Pedro and Chaplain survived the wreckage mostly unharmed, slaughtered about nine Heavy Destroyers, and joined a lone Ultramarines Terminator in clearing an objective of Necron Warriors. Finally having done enough damage to phase those pesky Necrons out, my shattered Vanguard Vets and two characters (all that I had left) huddled on the objective as a Squiggoth trundled towards them. Thankfully, time had run out and my poor squad was saved.
Oh, and the other objectives? Well, the one I helped capture, a shuttle bay, was the one in our opponent's deployment zone. Our foes never really got close enough to the objective in our deployment zone, way across the table. They ran the Gargant at it, which was eventually destroyed (thanks to the Terminus Ultras and a pair of Baneblades, not to mention a suicidal IG Vet squad armed with melta guns), but the few infantry models that advanced were chewed to pieces, and a slew of Deathwing Terminators deep striking on their side of the table slowed any reinforcements. We abandoned the center objective to the enemy, focusing on the flanks, and the necessity of capturing and holding that objective proved to be our best tactical decision.
All in all, it was definitely a great day. I had a lot of fun, rolled a lot of dice (especially when I had to roll 100 sniper shots on Orks), and went from 2,500 points to just four models. My first Apocalypse experience as both a player and an organizer was a very enjoyable one, and I look forward to doing it again. Here's hoping I'll have pictures for you guys soon!