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King of the Hill II

King of the Hill Part Deux: Battle #4 by Patrick Eibel and Kenton Kilgore

In this campaign (a follow-up to the one we did last year), we’re test-driving some of the more recent codices to see how they fare against each other.  Last time out, some (proxied) Orks and the Astra Militarum (aka Imperial Guard) collided.  To wrap up the campaign, we’ll bring on the assault-addicted Khorne Daemonkin vs. the shooty-shoot Tau Empire.   


Fearful Symmetry (1999 points) by Kenton Kilgore

This army (first mentioned in the story Traveller of Both Time and Space) is a collection of Space Marine renegades and outcasts who—aided by the fearsome rakshasas of legend—fight for the Emperor under the command of the exiled Shamshir Talatra, former leader of half the Fighting Tigers of Veda. 


In the past, I’ve used various versions of Codex: Chaos Space Marines to assemble the army, but now I’m giving Codex: Khorne Daemonkin a whirl.  Let’s see what we have:      


Blood Host Detachment (primary):


    • Shamshir Talatra.  Counts as Chaos Lord w/ Terminator armor, combi-bolter, combat familiar (his tiger “Panja”), and Goredrinker (“The Saber of Shiva”)
    • Lesser Rakshasas, Pack 1.  Count as 10 Bloodletters
    • Lesser Rakshasas, Pack 2.  Count as 10 Bloodletters
    • Greater Rakshasas, Pack 1.  Count as 5 Possessed Chaos Space Marines
    • Greater Rakshasas, Pack 2.  Count as 5 Possessed Chaos Space Marines

 War Engine Formation: 

    • Bronze Tyger.  Counts as Soul Grinder w/ harvester cannon, iron claw, and warp gaze

War Engine Formation: 

    • Bronze Tyger.  Counts as Soul Grinder w/ harvester cannon, iron claw, and warp gaze

Combined Arms Detachment (secondary):

  • Varman Kumar.  Counts as Herald of Khorne
  • Lesser Rakshasas, Pack 3.  Count as 10 Bloodletters, one w/ instrument of Chaos
  • Lesser Rakshasas, Pack 4.  Count as 10 Bloodletters, one w/ instrument of Chaos
  • Squad Rudra 1. Count as 10 Chaos Space Marines, including Aspiring Champion w/ combi-flamer and chainaxe.  One Marine w/ melta gun; one w/ heavy bolter
  • Squad Rudra 2. Count as 10 Chaos Space Marines, including Aspiring Champion w/ combi-flamer and power fist.  One Marine w/ melta gun; one w/ missile launcher
  • Greater Rakshasas, Pack 3.  Count as 4 Chaos Space Marine Terminators w/ combi-bolters and power fists
  • Ghost Tygers, Pack 1.  Count as 5 Flesh Hounds
  • Ghost Tygers, Pack 2.  Count as 5 Flesh Hounds

If you’re going to go Khorne Daemonkin, the Slaughtercult Formation is a nigh-obligatory no-brainer, as you get +1 Blood Tithe point every turn (for those of you who may not know, you rack up Blood Tithe points for destroying enemy units or having units of your own destroyed, and you can cash them in for freebies, up to and including a Bloodthirster appearing on the battlefield).  The ‘cult calls for at least one HQ and two Troops (the Bloodletters), as well as at least unit of Possessed; because I like Possessed, I brought two. 


You have to field some other units with the Blood Host Detachment in addition to the Slaughtercult, so I brought two Soul Grinders, each making up a War Engine Formation.  Because the Blood Host is fairly stringent on what and how units make up the various formations available to it, I had to field a standard Combined Arms Detachment to get the rest of my guys on the board.


Sky Hunters of the Tau’n Sept (1,997 points) by Patrick Eibel

Loyal readers of the Jungle may remember that I used to have a Tau Empire army.  I sold that army off a few years ago in an effort to pare down my armies.  A few years later, I realized that I sold off the wrong army, and opted to sell my Tyranids to build a new Tau Empire army (mental, I know).  This time out, I wanted to try and keep things relatively cheap while still bringing a lot of shooty goodness.  Fortunately for me, the new codex formations offer plenty of opportunity to bring the boom.  In total, I brought three different formations (all units are as listed in Codex: Tau Empire, with additions or changes listed):


Hunter Cadre Formation:

  • Commander Kor’vash w/ iridium armor, stim injector, multi-spectrum suite, command and control node
  • Cadre Fireblade
  • Tau Fire Warrior Strike Team. 10 Fire Warriors w/ pulse carbines; Devilfish transport w/ disruption pods
  • Tau Fire Warrior Breacher Team. 9 Fire Warriors w/ pulse blasters, Shas’ui w/ guardian drone (unit has 5+ invulnerable save).  Devilfish transport w/ disruption pods
  • Kroot Carnivores. 12 Kroot and 4 Kroot hounds
  • Pathfinder Team. 4 Pathfinders w/recon drone
  • Riptide w/ ion accelerator
  • Broadside w/high yield missile pod, drone controller, and 1 missile drone

Firebase Support Cadre Formation:

  • Riptide w/ ion accelerator
  • Broadside w/ twin-linked heavy rail rifle
  • Broadside w/ twin-linked heavy rail rifle

Retaliation Cadre Formation:

  • Commander J’Karra w/ cyclic ion cannon, missile pod, target lock, shield generator
  • Crisis Suit w/ twin-linked fusion blaster
  • Crisis Suit w/ twin-linked fusion blaster
  • Crisis Suit team w/ plasma rifle and missile pod
  • Riptide w/ ion accelerator
  • Broadside w/ high yield missile pod, drone controller, and 1 missile drone

The Hunter Detachment gives me the useful, though confusing, ability to raise a unit’s Ballistic Skill if three units shoot at the same target.  The Hunter Cadre gives units in the formation the ability to run and shoot, and an increased supporting fire range.  The units in the Firebase Support Cadre can get Tank Hunter or Monster Hunter if they all shoot the same target.  All of the units in the Retaliation Cadre will Deep Strike in at the start of Turn 2, and have +1 Ballistic Skill that turn.


I chose these units to maximize their shooting capability, to work well together, and to absolutely destroy whatever they shoot at when combining fire.  At least, that’s the theory.  Some may question why I put Kroot in this list, as they don’t get the shooting bonuses.  I have always like the Kroot models, so I had to include some, and I even painted them about the same as in my old army.  I was working furiously to have the army fully painted up by the time we played, but a decision to field three Riptides slowed me down a bit.


Setting Up by Kenton Kilgore

We played at my house, on a 4' x 6' table with some hills and jungle terrain, as well as some pieces that our old pal Mel Glover had been kind enough to give me.  As Pat had said in his introduction to the campaign, we would be doing the Maelstrom missions, and this one would be Cleanse and Control, with the standard deployment for the mission. 


We placed our objectives, and rolled on the Mysterious Objectives table to find out what they were.  Objectives 1 and 2 were Targeting Relays (re-roll “1’s” when shooting); Objective 3 was Sabotaged (our favorite, because there’s something deeply wrong with us);  and numbers 4-6 were each a Skyfire Nexus, which was of absolutely no consequence, as neither of us had Flyers.


Dicing for my Warlord Trait, I came up with Favored of Khorne, which would give me an extra Blood Tithe point every time my main man killed a character in a challenge.  From the Tau book, Pat rolled up Predator of the Skies, which sounds like an ‘80’s hair-metal album, but actually would give the Tau Warlord and his unit Skyfire for a turn.  You know, to shoot all of the Khorne Flyers I was going to field.  Oh well, not everything can be useful.


The dice decided that Pat would set up and go first, and that there would be Night Fighting.  He placed his Pathfinders along his left flank; Devilfish with Fire Warriors had the middle; and Kroot hung out towards the back.  His Retaliation Cadre, he kept in Reserve.


Extremely cautious about the renowned Tau shooting (which I had heard had only gotten better with the latest codex), I put almost everything in my army in Reserve, to Deep Strike in later.  The exceptions were that I placed both CMS squads and the Possessed out of sight behind cover.  I also had the Flesh Hounds behind cover, then foolishly Scouted them out to move closer to the Tau, an incredibly stupid move that Pat made me pay for straightaway.

Ghost Tygers (proxied Flesh Hounds) decide NOT to stay in that nice cover of those two black buildings, where their friends are....


Turn 1 by Kenton Kilgore

Pat advanced his Devilfish, Pathfinders markerlighted one unit of Flesh Hounds, and the Tau big guns easily obliterated both units of Ghost Tygers.  Because, duh, if you give the Tau two small targets, they will simply wipe them off the board without breaking a sweat.  I would like to say that I had no idea what I was thinking, but the truth is that I was not thinking at all.

Seeing the Ghost Tygers, the Tau Riptide and Broadsides are like, "Dudes, you may want to reconsider that decision."


If there was any bright side to my idiocy, it was that I had earned 3 Blood Tithe points (2 for the destroyed Flesh Hounds, +1 for the Slaughtercult), and I spent them to acquire Feel No Pain for my army for a full turn (mine and Pat’s next one). 


Because the Slaughtercult is just awesome like that, it has a happy rule called Boon of Khorne, which allows one an extra freebie for the ‘cult members when spending Blood Tithe points, so in addition to FNP, the Possessed also had Insatiable Bloodlust (Furious Charge + Rage [which they already have] for one turn).


Okay, then.  None of my units in Reserve could come on, and none of Pat’s units were in assault range, so I continued to let my guys skulk out of sight.  Hardly worthy of Khorne, but then, I’m not playing an actual Khorne army, just one that borrows its rules.


Turn 2

Pat’s Retaliation Cadre Deep Struck onto the board.  One Crisis Suit had a mishap and wound up at the other end of the table, but the rest touched down safely inside the Fearful Symmetry’s deployment zone.  Devilfish advanced, and one unit of Fire Warriors disembarked. 


The newly-arrived Broadsides and Crisis Suits had a line of sight to Greater Rakshasa Pack 1 (Possessed Marines), so they fired, inflicting 9 Wounds.  However, I made 4 armor saves and 5 FNP rolls (thank you, Blood Tithe points!), so I lost 0 tigermen.

Protected by Spot, my tiger mascot (atop the building), the Greater Rakshasas resist the Tau's firepower.  That, and hiding helps.  A lot.


At the start of my turn, Varman Kumar (the Herald), three packs of Lesser Rakshasas (Bloodletters), and a Bronze Tyger (Soul Grinder) appeared behind the Tau.  At the other end of the field, Greater Rakshasa Packs 1and 2 and Rudra Squad 1 advanced on the Tau, with the shooty Marines content to hold an objective.

"Way to ambush the Kroot!  A pity we have no guns..."


In the Shooting Phase, the Bronze Tyger’s harvester cannon took a Wound off a Riptide, but it’s the Assault Phase where Khorne Daemonkin make their money.  Greater Rakshasa Pack 1 charged a Broadside and a Crisis Suit, taking one Wound off the former and tying up both units.  Greater Rakshasa Pack 2 was supposed to charge nearby Fire Warriors, but they failed their charge and lost one of their number to Overwatch.

The Bronze Tyger (proxied Soul Grinder) says, "Hi!  Feel free to wet yourselves.  No one will think poorly of you."


Turn 3

The Tau maneuvered to deal with the Fearful Symmetry units that had popped up to cause trouble, with Breachers dismounting from their Devilfish, and Pathfinders markerlighting Lesser Rakshasa 1. 


The Kroot took full advantage of this, and gunned down all of them, including Varman Kumar.  The Breachers and their transport’s Drones took out Pack 2. Crisis Suits fired on the Bronze Tyger, taking off a Hull Point, and the Commander and the Riptides also fired on it, taking off another Hull Point.

Kroot go "bang!" and proxied Bloodletters fall down, go boom


Crisis Suits, Fire Warriors, and Drones exploited Greater Rak 2’s slow footedness, shooting them dead.  In the Assault Phase, the other Greater Rakshasas continued to scrap with the Crisis Suit and Broadside, with no one able to hurt the other.


I had taken quite a few casualties in this turn, but I had racked up enough Blood Tithe points to summon a free Skull Cannon, a nasty unit that fires an impressive Blast Marker o’ Death.  Alas, when it Deep Struck onto the table (which is how it appears—there’s no option to simply have it come on from the edge of your deployment zone), it suffered a Mishap and was destroyed before it got to do anything.  *heavy sigh*


However, Lesser Rakshasa Pack 4 came on, and their instrument of Chaos should have brought the other Bronze Tyger with them.  It too suffered a Deep Strike Mishap, and was delayed.  Ever have one of those games where it feels like when one thing goes right, two things go wrong?  Yeah, exactly. 


Thanks to the Boon rule, I was still able to give my surviving Greater Raks Feel No Pain, though I didn’t think they’d need it so much, tied up as they were in hand-to-hand combat with shooty Suits.  


My turn was all about moving up units to take objectives or to get into charge range.  Bronze Tyger 1 charged a Riptide and a Broadside, taking a Wound off the former.  Losing his nerve, the Riptide pilot failed a Morale check and fled off the table. 


Elsewhere, Lesser Rakshasa Pack 3 charged a Crisis Suit, hacking it to pieces.  The Greater Rakshasas killed the Crisis Suit they had been fighting, and took a Wound off the Broadside that they were also engaged with.             

"Hey!  Thanks for moving closer so we could pop out and murder you!"


Turn 4

Eager to avoid the blades of the Lesser Rakshasas, the Kroot, a Devilfish, its Drones, and the Pathfinders fired on Pack 3, killing 6 out of 10.  Fire Warriors, Crisis Suits, and Drones obliterated the recently-arrived Pack 4 before they could assault.  Breachers, their Devilfish, the Commander, and the remaining Riptide unleashed a storm of fire on Rudra Squad 1, wiping them out.


In the Hack-n-Slash Phase, the Greater Rakshasas killed the Broadside and swept towards the Riptide.  The Bronze Tyger also killed the Broadside it was engaged with.

My Warlord Shamshir (bottom right) finally gets his lazy ass in gear and comes to the fight


At the start of my turn, Bronze Tyger 2 and the greatly-delayed Shamshir + Greater Rakshasas Pack 3 (proxied Chaos Terminators) came onto the board.  I had accrued enough Blood Tithe points to summon another Skull Cannon (this time, successfully arriving), and to grant FNP to Great Rak 1 and Shamshir.  

Rudra Squad 2 shot dead four nearby Fire Warriors, and Shamshir and his retinue of Greater Rakshasas blasted the rest of the squad (we imagined that the Rakshasas fired bolts of eldritch Warp energy from their eyes).  The Skull Cannon went to work, killing four Breachers with a huge blast.  The newly-arrived Bronze Tyger did exactly “jack” and “squat” firing its harvester cannon and warp gaze.

Greater Rakshasas (proxied Possessed Chaos Marines) take on Riptides and a Broadside


Great Rakshasas Pack 1 charged the Riptide and a Broadside, taking a Wound off the former and losing one of their own in the dust-em-up.  Bronze Tyger 1 charged the (Warlord) Commander, killing him.  The remains of Lesser Rakshasa Pack 3 attempted to charge the other Commander and his Crisis Suit pals, but perished to Overwatch fire. 


Turn 5

Pat formed up his guys to deal with the threats of the Bronze Tygers and Shamshir.  Fire from several sources only managed to knock one Hull Point of the ersatz Soul Grinder, but the Tau were more successful against my Warlord. 


First, the Pathfinders markerlighted his unit, and then Crisis Suits, two Devilfishes and their Drones unleashed hell, taking down all four of the Greater Rakshasas (standing in for Chaos Terminators).  The Drones alone killed three when I rolled three “1’s” for armor saves for them, needing only a 2+!

When you lose three (proxied) Terminators to Drones, you know you're having a bad day


In the Assault portion of the show, Greater Rakshasa Pack 1 continued to try to rend the Riptide and another Broadside.  While one of the proxied Possessed fell, the Riptide (similar to its counterpart) lost its composure and fell back 8".


On my turn, Shamshir called for the Ghost Tygers to return by me spending Blood Tithes points to Deep Strike 5 Flesh Hounds near him.   Squad Rudra 1 fired on a Crisis Suit, taking off a Wound.  Having nothing closer to attack, Shamshir shot down a Drone and then charged the others.  Elsewhere, Bronze Tyger 1 shot and killed a Broadside—not at all an easy feat—with its harvester cannon and warp gaze.


In close combat, the Skull Cannon charged the retreating Riptide, but was not able to hurt it.  Greater Rakshasa Pack 1 knocked a Wound off the Broadside they were fighting, and the pilot attempted to flee, but was caught and eliminated. 


I was finally getting some traction against the Tau and needed the game to continue, but Pat’s Loyal Green Die™ sided once again with its master and decreed that the game would end.  


Final Score

Tau Empire:  11 Victory Points (10 for Tactical Objectives + First Blood)

Fearful Symmetry:  6 Victory Points (4 for Tactical Objectives + Linebreaker + Slay The Warlord)


Post-Game Analysis by Patrick Eibel

The Tau army did what Tau armies do: dish out serious hurt early, and then try and hang on when the game turn to melee.  I was surprised by the Soul Grinders, which were hard to take down and very, very effective at killing my fish-heads. 


The best thing about the game was that Kenton and I had a blast playing two new armies.  For all the changes GW keeps throwing out, it is good to know that we can still have fun playing after all of this time.


Post-Game Analysis by Kenton Kilgore

I knew going into this that it would be a gamble using Bloodletters and Deep Striking most of my army, but I did it for the sake of experimentation.  The results?  Bloodletters can slice-and-dice just about any infantry, if they live long enough to get into assault.  And that’s a big “if,” because relying on Toughness 3 and a 5+ Invulnerable save is like betting on the Washington Capitals during the playoffs.  Sure, it might work out in your favor, but odds are, you’re going down.


Deep Striking, as our pal (and gaming guru) Paul Hill said, is bringing in your units “piecemeal and paralyzed.”  Meaning, that some will show up when you want them to, while some won’t (in this fight, it was my Chaos Lord and his Terminators).  And when they do, they won’t be able to move, which made my guys sitting ducks—and the Bloodletters were fragile ones, at that. 


I was hoping that Pat would have too many targets and pressing concerns so that my Deep Striking units would survive his initial fusillade and be effective, but he had plenty of firepower for everybody I brought (“You get some shooting, and you get some shooting, and YOU get some shooting, too!”).  While my Soul Grinders acquitted themselves, I lost three out of four Bloodletter units before they could so much as swing a sword. 


Back to the drawing board for the Fearful Symmetry.  When next you see them, they will look different.     

But the Soul Grinders?  They were sweet.  I'm definitely keeping them


King of the Hill II
Introduction <> Battle #1 <> Battle #2 <> Battle #3 <> Battle #4 <> Conclusion

Posted June 2016



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