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Events and Battle Reports

Women’s Work  Text by Kenton Kilgore
Thanks to Patrick Eibel for note-taking during the game and post-game analysis

Ultra-Good-Guy Yann Folange was in my neck of the woods recently for the Baltimore Grand Tournament. Yann has created many way-cool armies over the years, including a Star-Wars Space Marine army, an undead Tzeentch force, and a Blood Angels-successor detachment with lots of Dreadnoughts. His latest effort is an Banshee-heavy strikeforce. Yann and I have known each other for years but up ‘til now,  never had the chance to play. We got together a week after the GT to finally move some figures and roll some dice.

Yann used his Banshee army in the GT and brought a scaled-down version to our game:

  • Jain Zar
  • Five squads of 10 Banshees each (each squad led by an Exarch w/ Executioner)
  • Two Vypers w/ scatter lasers
  • Two Wraithlords w/ bright lances
  • One Wraithlord w/ starcannon
I had played Marines the week before at Conflict, so I thought I’d bring my Dark Eldar, which I hadn’t used since Fall From Grace V. Ordinarily, I play my Dark Eldar up-close-and-in-your-face, but doing so against Banshees seemed to be an invitation to a swift ass-whooping. No thank ye. Instead, I configured my Death Twinkies into a “Shoot/Counterattack” force that would try to whittle down the Banshees with fire and crush any that made it into hand-to-hand combat. I brought:
  • Haemonculus Vulnayvya w/ stinger
  • Six Raider Squads, each with eight Warriors w/ splinter rifles, one Warrior w/ splinter cannon, one Warrior w/ shredder; Raiders w/ disintegrator or dark lance and horrorfex 
  • Squad of eight Wyches w/ wych weapons and two w/ shredders; Raider w/ dark lance and horrorfex
  • Three Taloses
Mission: Secure and Control (Gamma level)
Points per Player: 1500
Vulnayvya’s agile mind raced faster than her hard, bare feet as she hurried through the dark, rough-hewn tunnels that formed the lair of the Ozone Scorpions. The messenger had given no reason as to why Archon Syryx Lynatharr wanted Vulnayvya, considered the least of the Kabal’s Haemonculi, nor why she should come alone—unless….  She shuddered, then reminded herself that it was an honor to serve the Archon and provide whatever pleasures he might demand.

No guards barred the way into the cave that was Lynatharr’s throne room. A lantern, burning oil processed from human lipids, revealed a lithe figure lounging on the Archon’s granite chair. At the sight of her, Vulnayvya lowered her eyes, shamed by Dr’zzlah’s ebon beauty.

“Good evening, dear,” the Dracon said. “You were expecting my father, of course. That is what I wanted the messenger to believe. None must know of our meeting. Please, sit.”

Vulnayvya, her mouth sewed shut years ago by her own hand, said nothing, but seated herself, cross-legged, on the cold stone floor.

“You and I,” Dr’zzllah said, “are the two most powerful women within this Kabal. Yes, YOU are powerful,” she asserted, seeing the surprise in Vulnayvya’s eyes. “For too long, you have served under Dr. Fybze, doing his busywork while he plots against Jheste—and my father.” She laughed at Vulnayvya’s shock. “Oh, yes, I know all about his little schemes. He is not as clever or as careful as he thinks he is, and someday soon, when it suits me, his clandestine work will be aptly rewarded. I am thinking that he will be invited to a dinner with Master Wormwood’s Warp Beasts—where, of course, his flesh shall be the main course.

“However, there is no reason why your considerable talents should be wasted. Have you ever seen this?” the Dracon asked, showing her a small, grinning figurine carved from a pulsing blue gem.

Vulnayvya shook her head.

“My father recently found this beneath the city of Tharalon. Obtaining this single item was the sole, albeit covert, reason for our Kabal returning to Veda. If my father knew that either of us had ever set eyes on it, he would kill us both. This object has great power, but it is only one of a set.”

Dr’zzllah tossed the figure in the air and caught it. “The Fighting Tigers have recently begun exploring a world they call Ghaatii—we called it Shar-Akummn before the Fall. They’ve found a number of interesting trinkets. Some of our Warriors, loyal to me, have followed the Tigers there and scouted around. What do you suppose we've spotted there, Vulnayvya?”

The Haemonculus pointed to the figurine.

“That’s right: more of these. I want them, Vulnayvya. If I swear to you that you will be safe when Fybze's treachery is exposed, will you get these for me?”

The Haemonculus nodded. 

“I was hoping you’d say that. I have a detachment of Warriors who will obey your commands as if I spoke them myself. Go to Shar-Akummn and gather up as many of these figurines as you can. But be careful: the Tigers’ activities have drawn the attention of our cousins: Biel-Tan, this time, instead of Ulthwe. They have tried to stop the Tigers from plundering the planet, and they will try to stop you, too.”

The Haemonculus shook her head and smirked. 

Women warriors: Vulnayvya (left) leads the Ozone Scorpions on behalf of Dr'zzllah (right)

Turn 1
The Dark Kin had arrayed themselves into a fearsome wall of Warriors and Raider craft, but Jain Zar pointed and the Banshees began the attack, sprinting forward, zigging and zagging, flitting from one patch of cover to the next. The supporting Vypers did the same, slithering from behind hills and ruins, presenting their foes with no shots. Only the Wraithlords strode boldly forward, taking up good firing positions. One of them unleashed its starcannon on a Raider, destroying it as it turned to face the Eldar.

Yann and the Eldar deploy
Above: Yann and his Banshee-heavy army deploy against a wall of Dark Eldar

A great hiss rose from the Dark Eldar line, but they held. Their Taloses and transport craft glided forward, the former hoping to close with the oncoming Banshees, the latter positioning themselves to fire. Two disintegrators from the Raiders lashed out at the Banshees, but the woman warriors were spread out: one fell from one squad, one from another. 

Vulnayvya sensed that the battle was not going to go well….

The Banshees advance, the Raider rise to meet them
Above: As the Banshees advance, the Raiders and Taloses rise to meet them...

Turn 2
The Eldar continued their advance, the Banshees and Vypers again taking maximum advantage of cover. One Vyper unleashed its scatter laser on a Raider, shaking its crew. The Wraithlords opened fire on the Raiders as well, stunning the crew of  two and blowing the dark lance off another. The Raiders and Taloses surged forward as well, the gunners of the disintegrators switching to sustained mode but still managing to kill but one Banshee. The Taloses, looking like huge metal scorpions, focused on the closest enemy unit, a squad of Banshees whose members wore blue plumes on their helmets. Wildfire from the Taloses’ stings killed five of them, but still the swordswomen pressed on. 

Turn 3
Vulnayvya’s mouth—sewed shut long ago by her own taloned hand—smiled. Though they had, to this point, avoided serious injury, the Banshees would soon be in firing range of the Warriors and in assault range of the Taloses. Slaughter would ensue. Captives—particularly choice ones, at that—would be taken. And then there were the wraithstones to be had….Vulnayvya was not the fiendish genius that Dr. Jheste, her mentor’s rival was, but she had several ideas about what twisted entertainments could be had with a wraithstone or two. 

But instead of continuing to race forwards, the Banshees slowed their pace and began firing their shuriken pistols—at the Raiders confronting them. Ridiculous, and yet…a group of green-plumed Banshees disabled the disintegrator of one craft, Banshees with purple plumes immobilized a second, and a gray-plumed squad shot down a third. One of the Wraithlords immobilized another Raider and stunned its crew, but Vulnayvya scarcely noticed: she was transfixed by the sight of Jain Zar hurling her Silent Death across the field, killing three Warriors before the weapon returned to her hand.

This can’t be, the Haemonculus thought. Her faith in her army was restored when the Banshees that had lost five of their number to Talos fire charged a Talos and were rewarded by two more members perishing to the mechanical beast’s pincers. The green-plumed Banshees charged the Raider they had shot at, but their blades were of no use against the craft’s armor, and their Exarch found no vulnerability with her Executioner. 

Banshees take down Raiders
Above: The Raiders start dropping like the flimsy kites they are...

The Raiders that were still mobile buzzed about, their pilots confused and angered at the losses their squadron had suffered. One fired its horrorfex at the green-plumed Banshees, who were closest to the Dark Eldar lines. Horrific hallucinations pinned them to the spot, and a nearby clump of Warriors moved up and opened up on them, killing six Banshees. Another Raider found a bead on a Vyper and its dark lance stunned the crew. Two Taloses fired at a squad of yellow-plumed Banshees, killing four. Both beasts were out of assault range, but the Talos already in combat killed the last of the blue-plumed Banshees, but not before suffering two grievous hurts.*

*Editor’s note: During the game, we erroneously assumed that Banshees (Str 3) could harm Taloses (T 7) with a roll of 6 “to wound.” The mistake wasn’t discovered until well after the game. 

Turn 4
As the Banshees continued forward, the Eldar trained their guns on the remaining Raiders. The gray-plumed Banshee squad shot down another Raider, a Vyper downed a second, and a Wraithlord destroyed a third. The bright lance of another Wraithlord scored a wound against a Talos, but the last Wraithlord missed the Talos it was aiming for. 

In hand-to-hand fighting, the squad of yellow-plumed Banshees charged a Talos and lost three of their members. Jain Zar and her Banshees attacked another Talos and the Phoenix Lord made swift work of the metal monster, carving it into scrap.

With most of their transports out of action, the Dark Eldar relied on their Warriors. One squad finished off the green-plumed Banshees while three Warrior squads and the Wyches moved up and combined their fire at close range to wipe out the purple-plumed Banshees. Jain Zar fell to a storm of splinter rifle fire: her armor crumpled and fell empty to the ground as her indomitable spirit left her. 

Vulnayvya smiled—surely with the end of the Phoenix Lord, victory was at hand? Perhaps not, as the yellow-plumed Banshees managed to bring down the Talos they had been fighting and swept closer to the Dark Eldar lines.

Turn 5
The Banshees pressed on as their support units laid down more fire. The Wraithlord that had missed the Talos before struck home this time, wounding it. Another Wraithlord stunned the crew of a Raider. The Wraithlord with the starcannon and both Vypers combined fire on the nearest squad of Warriors, killing five of them. Having already last three members to Jain Zar’s Silent Death, the two survivors fell back and took no more part in the battle. 

The gray-plumed Banshees crashed into the Dark Eldar line, killing six Warriors. The yellow-plumed Banshees attacked the last Talos and all of them fell to the monster’s claws. Wordlessly, Vulnayvya signaled for the right side of her line to move towards a figurine, located atop a hill. The others she ordered to repel the gray-plumed Banshees. 

The Wyches and the last Talos slammed into the gray-plumed Banshees, killing four of them. The Banshees slew two more of the Warriors they had attacked and then attempted to fall back. The Wyches caught them in their nets and stabbed them to death where they fell. 

The Banshee assault shatters on the Dark Eldar line
Above: The Banshee assault shatters against the Dark Eldar line

Turn 6
A Vyper, hovering over a figurine, destroyed the last Raider. One Wraithlord, ensconced by a figurine, fired, destroying the Raider whose crew it had stunned previously. Another, also standing over a figurine, killed a Warrior with its starcannon. The third Wraithlord strode calmly forward, intent on taking another figurine.

The Dark Eldar, led by Vulnayvya, got there first. Vulnayvya’s stinger shot went wide and the rest of their fire was ineffective. Further down the line, a Warrior squad destroyed a Vyper, but it was not the one with the figurine. The battle ended with the Eldar holding three of the ancient objects and the Dark Eldar holding two. 

Outcome: Draw (Dark Eldar Victory Points: 1703; Eldar Victory Points: 1610)

Post-Game Analysis  by Patrick Eibel
Patrick EibelIf you were to ask me what makes a perfect game of 40K, I would have to say it would involve two fully-painted armies, played by two friendly and knowledgeable opponents, on a board with interesting scenery, and the game is close throughout.

This game was just about perfect.

Both armies looked fantastic. Yann had painted up his Eldar for the Grand Tournament, and the rank upon rank of Banshees in bone armor really was striking. To differentiate Banshee squads from one another, Yann had painted each squad’s hair plumes a different color. This made it easy during the battle to identify who was doing what (yellow plumes Fleet of Foot, purple plumes assault the Talos, etc.) Kenton’s purple, silver, and blue color scheme for the Ozone  Scorpions made a nice visual contrast and clearly pointed out who were the “bad guys.” 

The entire spirit of the game was of good fellowship and fun. While Kenton and Yann certainly wanted to win the game and were talking smack to each other, the atmosphere never became contentious or tense. The game was played at Dream Wizards in Rockville, Maryland, and there were plenty of other games going on at the same time (we will not discuss the kid at the next table who asked rules questions every five minutes). Both armies attracted onlookers from around the store, and several people remarked how nice it was to see two well-painted armies squaring off. The scenery for the table was typical gaming store hills and ruins, but there was plenty available. 

At first, it looked like the game was going to be an easy win for Kenton, as he was playing mostly shooty and poor Yann’s Banshees had to slog over a lot of terrain. Once the Banshees neared assault range, it became clear the game would be closer than anticipated. In my book, the play of the game was the destruction of two Raiders by glancing hits from Banshee pistol fire. In close games, it is frequently the long shots (or in this case the short shots) that can make the difference. 

In all, the game was thoroughly enjoyable to be a part of (I compiled the notes), and I look forward to the next time Yann can make his way down to the area so I can get in a game with him. It’s battles like this one that remind me why, as I stumble into middle age, I am still playing with toy soldiers. 

Related Pages
A Tangled Web

Posted April 2005


Fighting Tigers:
Codex <> Tactics <> Gallery <> Allies and Enemies <> Tales of the Tigers

Other Pages:
Main <> What's New <> Site Index <> The Tiger Roars <> Themed Army Ideas
Events and Battle Reports <> Campaigns <>Terrain<> FAQ <> Beyond the Jungle