Events and Battle Reports
Presidents Day Battle 2015 by Kenton Kilgore
Another federal holiday, another opportunity for my brother-in-law Drew and me to beat on each other. Drew brought his only army, his Orks, last seen wiping the floor with his son Freddie’s Tyranids, a horrific beatdown that I could do little to prevent.
This time, though, I thought I would test-drive my revamped Dark Eldar army, the Kabal of the Ozone Scorpions. Though the codex came out last October, I had not had a chance to play the Callous Drowboys. Drew’s new-and-vastly-improved Greenskins would make a suitable challenge.
I’ve divided my Dark Eldar into two detachments: a fast, zippy one with lots of Raiders, Reavers, Trueborn, and Scourges; and one with heaps and heaps of Warriors. It was the latter that I would field today:
That’s 2,000 points of nastiness, which I organized into the Realspace Raiders Detachment from Codex: Death Twinkies. In addition to being able to re-roll the Warlord Trait, it also gives my Troops a 5+ cover save during Night Fighting.
Drew brought Ghazghkull Thraka; a Warboss lieutenant; five mobs of 20 Boyz w/ shootas, big shootas, and ‘eavy armor; 10 Lootas; 5 Burna Boyz; two squadrons of three Deffkoptas w/ big shootas; and a Dakkajet w/ a flyboss and an additional twin-linked supa shoota. Proppa! He assembled all of this under the Ork Horde Detachment, which can give big mobs Hammer of Wrath if they roll a “10” or more on their charge distance.
The ‘jet and the ‘eavy armor were new for Drew, and he was curious to see how they’d do. It looks like we were both experimenting—let’s see how it turned out!
We played at my house, on a 4' x 8' board with a jungle theme. Drew set up the scenery while I unpacked and organized my guys, and then we set to work. Rolling for my Archon’s Warlord Traits from the DE codex, I came up with Hatred Eternal, which, as you might imagine, gave him Hatred against Orks. Ghaz’s Warlord Trait is Prophet of the Waaagh!, which makes all Orks Fearless when he calls a Waaagh!
We rolled randomly for mission and deployment and got The Emperor’s Will (ironic, as we were both playing xenos), and Hammer and Anvil, respectively. We named our objectives using the scenery already on the table: mine was the tiger statue; Drew’s was a metallic spherical shrine between two small pyramids. Remembering to that they were Mysterious Objectives (often, we forget), we found that mine was nothing special, while Drew’s was a grav wave generator.
I won the roll to deploy and go first, putting Warriors Squads 1, 2, and 3 near my objective; Squad 4 further back to deal with Infiltrating Kommandos (I did not know at the time that he hadn’t brought any, though he usually does); and the Taloses and Pain Engine behind my lines. I kept everything else in Reserve.
Drew deployed the Warboss and a Shoota Boy mob around his objective; another mob nearby to supplement it; the other three Shoota Boy mobs up near the edge of his deployment zone, along with the Burnas, and one squadron of Deffkoptas (the other squadron was about halfway back, on a flank, behind some Shoota Boyz). Lootas were on the waterfall at one edge of the board, to enjoy clear lines of fire. The Dakkajet, being a Flyer, was in Reserve.
We rolled and determined that there would be Night Fighting on the first turn. Drew declined the opportunity to Steal the Initiative, and off we went.
The Dark Eldar Kabalite Warriors advanced, running to be in better firing ranges on the next turn. The Orks also advanced (naturally), with the Deffkoptas firing on Blue Scorpions Squads 1 (killing one Warrior) and 2 (killing three Warriors). The Lootas were juuuuuust (1"-3" depending on each figure’s position) out of range of my Dark Eldar.
At the start of my turn, the rest of my army appeared, coming on Drew’s side of the board. First, the Outflanking Mandrakes came on right the table edge behind the Shoota Boyz holding Drew’s objective. The Venom Deep Struck in an open space nearby, as did Blue Scorpion Squad 0 and Dr. Jheste (thanks to his webway portal), and the Grotesques and Archon Syryx Lynatharr (ditto).
All of those units concentrated their firepower on the Shoota Boyz holding the objective, killing all but three of them and the Warboss (curse that ‘eavy armor!). On the other side of the board, Blue Scorpion Squad #2 and the Taloses shot down two of three menacing Deffkoptas, causing the survivor to break and fall back 10".
The Dakkajet came on when Drew’s turn started, while the broken Deffkopta failed to rally and fell back another 10", towards the blob of Dark Eldar who had just appeared behind the Ork lines.
Meanwhile, the other Deffkoptas fired on Blue Scorpions Squad #1, killing two Warriors. Advancing Shoota Boyz fired on the Taloses, to no effect; the Dakkajet was more successful, knocking a Wound off one.
In the Ork deployment zone, the Lootas fired on the Warp Hunters, killing one Grotesque and taking a Wound off another. The Shoota Boyz that had been hanging back to reinforce those by the objective fired on the Venom, taking off a Hull Point. The Warboss and the rest of his Mob unloaded on the Mandrakes, killing one.
In the Assault Phase, the Warboss and friends charged the ‘Drakes. The faster Deathstalkers took down one Greenskin, but the Orks killed 6 and the Dark Eldar broke, falling back 9" towards my table edge far, far, away. The Boyz who had shot the Venom charged it, dragging it down and wrecking it.
On my turn, the Mandrakes Regrouped and camped out by Drew’s objective. Squad 0 moved up and fired on the approaching Shoota Boyz that had taken down my Venom, killing 18 out of 20 of them; the last two broke and fell back. At the other end of the board, firing from my Warrior Squads and Taloses took out all 5 Burna Boyz, as well as 13 Shoota Boyz, 8 of them from the mob accompanying the too-close-for-comfort Ghazghkull.
Back on Drew’s side of the table, my Archon and the Grotesques charged the Warboss and his Boyz, killing them.
At the start of Drew’s turn, his retreating Deffkopta managed to Regroup; meanwhile, the rest of his army (save for the Lootas) moved up: Drew had conceded his objective to me, and was more intent than ever on taking mine.
Fire from the Dakkajet killed 7 members of Blue Scorpions Squad 3, but the Shoota Boyz continued to have no luck against the Taloses. They were more successful against Squad 1, who lost 3 to them and 1 more to the second Deffkopta squadron. On the other end of the battle, Lootas fired on Squad 0, killing 3. The ‘Kopta that had found its nerve charged Squad 0, killing one (technically, that’s against the rules, but neither of us thought of that).
Ghazghkull and his Ladz failed a change against Blue Scorps Squad 2, but another unit charged the Taloses—which was exactly what I was hoping Drew would do. My Heavy Metal Scorpions killed 6 of his guys without suffering a scratch. The Boyz Squabbled, losing another guy, but stayed in the fight.
Blue Scorpions Squad #2 pulled back, and they and the other Kabalite Warriors on at that end fired on Ghazghkull’s crew, killing all of them and taking two Wounds off Ghaz himself.
In the Assault Phase, the Taloses killed 8 Boyz, with the Greenies doing bupkiss; they broke and were caught and destroyed, with the Taloses sweeping 3" towards Ghazghkull. On the other side of the board, the Archon and the Grotesques failed their charge against the lone Deffkopta, but Squad 0 finished it off, and moved towards the Lootas.
On Drew’s turn, the Orks continued to advance as Ghazghkull called a Waaagh! The Lootas fired on the Taloses, scoring 11 hits and 3 Wounds, but the mechanical monsters made their saves. The Deffkoptas fired on Squad #4, who were on my objective, and killed 3. The Dakkajet targeted the same, taking out 5 more. Ghazghkull fired at Squad 3, killing one of them, and the remaining mob of Shoota Boyz ran towards Squad #1.
The Boyz attempted a charge, rolling exactly what they needed (a 9) to get reach the Dark Eldar. Overwatch fire whiffed, with 5 hits, but a single Wound, which was saved. The Kabalite Warriors struck first, bayoneting an Ork, but the Greenskins killed 12 Death Twinkies, and the lone survivor fell back 5".
Moving up, the Kabalite Warriors of Blue Scorpions
Squad 0 fired on the Lootas, killing three and forcing the rest to fall
back. On the other side of the battle,
Squad 2 avenged their brethren by firing on the Orks that had just assaulted
Squad 1: splinter rifles and –cannons took out 11 Ladz. Though they had suffered casualties, Squads 3
and 4 combined their fire to down one of the incoming Deffkoptas and take a
Wound off another.
On Drew’s turn, Lootas regrouped and fired at the Taloses, who made their Armor Saves. The Dakkajet ran out of real estate and flew off the board. Ghazghkull and the Deffkoptas advanced, the Warlord missing Squad 3 with his big shoota, and the ‘koptas killing one member of Squad 4; the Warriors broke, and fell back 7". Fortunately for me, Squad 3 still held the objective.
We rolled to see if the game would continue, but the die decided that was enough of the Dark Eldar shredding Drew’s Greenies.
Kabal of the Ozone Scorpions: 7 Victory Points (Two objectives; Linebreaker)
Waaagh! Ghazghkull: 2 Victory Points (First Blood; Linebreaker)
I am well-pleased with how my Death Twinkies did, though I noticed afterwards that I had a paucity of tankbusting ability. I’ll have to tweak my list and remedy that. A shame that I can’t give the Venom dark lances….
I had feared that dropping in behind Drew’s forces was simply making it easier for him to hack my fragile Dark Eldar into bloody gobbets. However, I had such impressive firepower that Drew was soon faced with either a) turning his advancing force around to deal with the Dark Eldar behind them, conceding my objective to win back his own; or b) doggedly continuing his advance, abandoning his objective to seize mine.
In the end, he lost both, but I don’t believe it was from any mistakes on his part. The game’s deployment parameters did not favor him, and I took a lesson from Pat’s set-up in this battle and didn’t make it any easier for him.
I’m of two minds on his use of ‘eavy armor: on the one hand, the 4+ Armor Saves certainly prevented my massed splinter weapons from simply wiping out whole mobs in a single turn. On the other hand, he could have used the 400 points he spent on ‘eavy armor to include about 50 more Boyz with shootas. It’s hard to say which option would have been better.
"Hello, Mr. Thraka. We've been expecting you."
I’ve bitched before (ad nauseum) about Random Game Length stealing victories from me, but had the game gone on, it wasn’t going to get any better for Drew. On my Turn 6, all three Taloses would have fired on and then charged Ghazghkull. Mighty though he is, I think he’d be hard pressed to take them down (especially with the Cronos nearby jacking their Feel No Pain to 4+). Blue Scorpions Squad 2 still had plenty of bodies, and would have wiped out the Deffkoptas, clearing the Greenies from my side of the board.
Drew’s Dakkajet would come on at his
end of the board at the start of his turn, and then would either have to target
the Dark Eldar near his objective, or try to Zoom down the table and knock
Scorpions off mine. Either way, he
wasn’t coming out on top this time.
Kenton Kilgore is the author of Lost Dogs, the story of a German Shepherd and a Beagle-mix who survive the end of the human world, only to find that their struggles have just begun. Kenton also wrote Dragontamer's Daughters, a two-part young adult fantast novel based on Navajo culture and belief. Follow Kenton on Facebook for daily posts on sci-fi, fantasy, and other speculative fiction.
Posted March 2015