Set at 1500 points, Albert had challenged me for a game, and of course the Pink Phalanx answered.
So what force might be best to take against a bunch of 4+ invunerable, meltapistol wielding prancing ponies? In the end I went for a list which has mostly massed fire to force him to take as much saves as possible, boosted with some up close and personal-ness and rapid movement for objective taking or contesting. All nicely wrapped in a cultist bubble.
So I took Lucius, a Dark Apostle and a Sorcerer for my HQ choices. No less then 5 Troops choices are joining them, with two 20 man groups of cultists to protect 2 squads of 10 marines and 1 squad of 10 Noise Marines. The HS is only provided by 2 Quad Rapiers, which I know if I don`t have the first turn will quickly die to his haywire jetbikes, and for some objective snatching, 10 Raptors came to the party. The final points have been filled up with 5 Possessed, just for some punchiness.
Opposing me? A flying circus of three transports with 5 man troops in them, two also carrying a troop master. Three squads of 2 jetbikes each, three death jesters, a solitaire and his warlord, a shadowseer.
The table was set out and the objective, Spoils of War, generated, so we went on to deploy our forces and off to battle.
Both sides denied about a tile of wodth of their deployment zone, but the Harlequins would easily be able to bridge that due to their high speed forces. I just needed to make sure to swamp the table to give him no place to run, while making sure I didn`t isolate my forces. The Raptors remained in orbit, ready to deep strike on objectives if needed.
Turn one saw the Harlequin bikes surge forward, out to hunt for the only vehicles I had in my list, the two Rapier quad bolters. On the other flank, his transports came around the old castle in a flanking move.
But albeit everything, my firing casualties weren`t to bad, the cultist screen taking the most hits.
I didn`t surged forward, pouring bolter after bolter round in his lines, and destroying the first of his transports, generating me the First Blood victory point.
My forces caused some decent casualties on the Harlequins, as they gained ground over the table to try and secure or contest any objectives coming up in the future turns.
And turn one ended with an "impressive" 1 - 0 score in favour of the Emperor's Children
Moving into turn two the Harlequins slaughtered my screening cultist unit with shooting and combat shannanigans, as troops disembarked and made themselves ready to assault the Noise Marines in the coming turns. The Rapiers received the expected haywire barrage, but miraculously one remained with a single wound.
In my second turn, the Raptors arrived, ready to attack the objective guarded by the Solitaire. In the meantime, Lucius and the Noise Marines finished the troop standing before them, ready to try and get to the lone third troup in it`s transport above the castle now.
As charges where made, the Raptors reached the solitaire (I need that objective as I have the Supremacy card in play), while the Possessed and Marines charge the jetbike. The other Marine squad and the cultist are both camping on objectives for that reason as well.
So at the end of turn two, the score stood at 3-2 in favour of my pink forces...
In turn 3, the Harlequins moved their final transport behind my lines, aiming to kill my characters once they eliminated the Noise Marines. The Solitaire in turn Blitzed over the table ready to take on Lucius.
However, that went sour as the wounded space clown fell to the overwatch fire of the Doom Siren, talking about an anti-climatic hero versus villain duel in the making...
The troupe and troupemaster then charged the Dark Apostle and Lucius was drawn in due to the Heroic Intervention rule, as the transport itself was destroyed in combat by him. The lone bike on the other flank went down in combat against my Marine squad.
The score at the end of the the turn read 6-2, but Albert would get 4 points for sure in his next turn due to two defend objective cards he had lying in front of him.
So turn four saw half an army against in essence a collection of characters, so this would be intresting as I would need to score some decent points this turn as well.
My whole force as such started advancing to the platform occupied by two Death Jesters, the third one far away on the other side of the table preventing him from getting tabled. The lone surviving Raptor moved towared objective 3 to capture that in the final turn and grab another point as such.
The score now read 8 - 7 as we moved into the final turn, we souldn`t be rolling for the additional one probably as time was starting to run out...
The Harlequins managed to grab another point as he needed to grab objective 2, but in my turn, that character went down as well to mass fire. The Raptor grabbed objective three as a result, while I also rolled a 5 for the d3 points my Area Denial could score me.
And as such the game ended, a lone Jester somewhere in a far corner the witness to how his force was destroyed at the cost of half an Emperor's Children army, as the final result read 13 - 8.
Now don`t get me wrong on the next status, as I had a great and enjoyable game, but what a CRAP army those Harlequins are to play against. With all their fancy-smanshy minus to hit rolls, invunerable saves (though that boosted to 3++ Troupe Master looked pretty sour in his battle when his save was Death Hexed) and high manouvrability makes them a pretty survivable little bunch of warriors. Add to that some rock hard characters whose biggest weakness is their T3, so you can force them to save a LOT, this is a special circus to battle against.
But in the end, the plan to force them to take as much saves as possible did work out, and a memento will be added to the pile of trophies as a result...