Narrative of War
“I am imagining your end,” Archon Syryx Lynatharr growled. “And it will give me considerable pleasure.”
The mad leader of the Kabal of the Ozone Scorpions paced on his many legs across the stony floor of his throne room. Recently, he had subjected himself to Warp-sorcery, mutating himself further into a vile centauroid-fusion of Dark Eldar and giant scorpion. Even though he had increased his physical abilities and his hold over his minions, uneasy rested his crown.
“No doubt, my ever-merciful master,” replied Dr. Jheste, Lynatharr’s personal Haemonculus and closest advisor. “And yet, if you would spare me for a few more moments, we will watch the proceedings through a spy rune that Eklavdrah bears upon her personage. Perhaps its inevitable outcome will temper your humor, and you will grant me a swifter, more efficient death.”
“This was your idea!” Lyntharr snarled, shoving a pincer-claw under Jheste’s nose. “You deliberately gave my daughter the location of the monkeigh’s scrapings in that desolate canyon. You know very well that more talismans of might are there—and you have all but ensured that she will claim them, channel their power for her own, and depose me! All of you are against me!”
“Of course we’re all against you,” Jheste calmly replied. “But I alone have the courage to admit it—and thus, you can rest a portion of your trust with me. All you say is true: true, but irrelevant. Because in addition to notifying your daughter Dr’zzllah of the archeological dig, I have also alerted a formidable band of Ork marauders to her presence. Even now, they are swarming to her position. They are more than sufficient to cripple her band, and perhaps even kill her. And then…”
“And then,” Lynatharr grinned, showing his needle-like teeth, “then our forces—proven in their loyalty—will swoop in and pluck the figurines from the corpses of the slain. I am a genius to have conceived of such a gambit, am I not?”
“Indeed, Your Malevolence,” Dr. Jester replied, bowing deeply. “I am staggered at the epiphany whose merest part you have seen fit to share with me, lowly and unworthy as I am.” Deftly, he activated the Scrying Vapors that would allow Lynatharr and himself to see what their agent, Eklavdrah, witnessed.
The first battle of a new campaign is always thrilling, and this one—featuring two “speed” armies—was sure to be doubly so. In addition, we were itching to see what new story we could come up with. So let’s jump right in and see what happened!
Speedo’s Kult of Speed (1,998 points) by Patrick Eibel
When I was creating this campaign, I thought this battle would be fun if it paired the two “zoomiest” armies. To that end, I wanted to keep my army fast and furious, so to speak.
Since the mission required loot grabbing, the trust Combined Arms Detachments from the rulebook made the most sense, even though there are plenty of Formations to choose from in the Ork Codex and Thraka Supplement. To add a little sizzle, and to make Speedo the Big Mek worthy of leading this motley crew, I also used the Mogrok’s Bossboyz Fromation from the Red Waaaugh Supplement.
I had really wanted to engineer a way to make the army Fearless because of the small squad sizes (a combination of Ghazghkull Thraka and a Formation that allows the Warboss to Waaaaugh! every turn guarantees it), but I could not make the points work.
(The Red Waaaugh! Supplement, page
(Formation Benefits: Before deployment, nominate up to D3 friendly Ork units; these units gain the Acute Senses and Outflank special rules. The Ork player also adds +1 to any attempts to Seize The Initiative)
Combined Arms Detachment
Kabal of the Ozone Scorpions (2001 points)
I’ve divided my overly-large collection of Dark Eldar into two 2,000-point forces: one “Fast,” the other “Many.” This is the “Fast” one, which takes advantage of the Raiders of Realspace Formation that allows up to six (!) Fast Attack units—and none of the Death Twinkie FA choices suck. Atypical for me, it eschews (as much as possible) Troops, the better to load up on zoomy and deadly units.
I played this army last year against Pat’s Space Wolves, and they had held their own, so I was confident that they would do well against Team Zoom Green. My plan was to use the dark lances and blasters to knock out and crack open the Trukks and other vehicles I expected, then use splinter rifles, -pods, and –cannons (not to mention shredders) to perforate the dismounted Orks.
Easy as breakfast—or so I thought.
Pat and I played at Games and Stuff in Glen Burnie, MD, the Land That Time Forgot ™ (no, seriously: everyone in “the Burnie” dresses like it’s still the late 1980’s/early 1990’s). Games and Stuff is equidistant from my house and Pat’s, and I was pleased to discover that it is a massive place with lots of merchandise, plenty of table space, and gorgeous handmade scenery.
We knew ahead of time that the mission was to be The Spoils of War, so we went straight to the prep work on a 4' x 6' table. Pat always puts together the coolest gamingscapes with what’s available, but he really outdid himself this time. With two massive “cliff” pieces along the sides, the entire table represented a desert canyon, complete with rocky outcroppings and recently-unearthed “archeotech” (the six counters we set up).
I won the roll to set up and go first, so I did, with a “pincer” formation (appropriate, given my army’s name), splitting my force in two, with a Warrior Squad and Trueborn squad (plus Raider transports), Scourges and Hellions in each. Succubus Dr’zzllah, her Haemonculus assistant Vulnayvya, their Incubi guard and their ride went on my left flank, the Reavers on my right.
Pat clumped his Trukks (loaded with Boyz, and including Speedo Da Big Mek) on his right, had both mobz of Bikerz in the middle, and put his Lootas and the Looted Wagon on his left. He kept his Deff Koptas in Reserve, to Outflank later.
Realspace Raiders allows me to have Night Fighting on the first turn, the effects of which Dark Eldar can ignore, as they have Night Vision. Sneaky Death Twinkies… I rolled for Warlord Traits and got Labyrinthine Cunning (may reroll Seize the Initiative, Reserve rolls, and determining Night Fighting), and my Combat Drugs gave Dr’zzllah, the Reavers, and the Hellions +1 to their Initiative, which is not much help, as even your basic Kabalite Warrior is quicker than any Ork out there.
Pat’s Warlord Trait was chosen for him by his Formation: “Mogrok” comes with Kunnin’ But Brutal, which gives him a re-roll of an armor or invulnerable save. Pat also rolled for Dokta Zeep’s psychic powers and got Frazzle (24” S6 AP 3 Blast), Warpath (models in unit get +1 Attack), and Da Krunch (24” 2D6 S, AP 4 Large Blast).
With that, we were off to the races!
“They’re late,” Dr’zzllah hissed, indicating the line of Ork ramshackle vehicles entering the canyon. She activated the comm-rune behind her ear, opened the frequency that reached all her troops. “The lack of punctuality displayed by our prey—such as they are—wastes my valuable time and offends me. Their disrespect is infuriating, and not to be tolerated. Inform these creatures of my distinct displeasure.”
Immediately, the Dark Eldar began to advance, beams of energy blacker than the night slightly damaging a Trukk, but failing to penetrate the rock-hard hide of a Looted Wagon. The splinter weapons of the Hellions and Scourges were much more successful against the Ork Bikers, wiping out an entire mob, as well as killing a Nob from the second group and wounding another.
“First blood to us,” Dr’zzllah crooned. The Haemonculus Vulnayvya—her loyal assistant—and the ever-silent Klaivex Blygos—leader of her Silver Scorpion guard—nodded as the Sky Scorpion Raider they were aboard zipped mere meters over the stony desert floor. Soon, they would assault the bestial Orks with slashing blades, and more blood would be spilled.
If the Dark Eldar thought that the Greenskins could be cowed by an impressive opening volley, they were sure to be mistaken. “Oi!” Speedo bellowed, pointing into the darkness where their enemies lurked. “Da fun’s not ovah, ladz! Lookee dere! At ‘em, triple time quick quick! Last one dere’s a Stuntie!”
The warband roared ahead, Boyz cackling as they loaded fresh ammunition into their shootas. After running down—and gunning down—the last of the fleeing humans that had set up this archeological dig, Speedo’s ladz had reluctantly turned back, with the bittersweet realization that there was no one left to kill, and that they would have to content themselves with mere looting.
But now! Now, there was a new enemy, one they hadn’t tangled with for quite some time. Joy surged in each of their chests, Trukks bashing, scraping, and nudging each other as each driver sought to get there first.
Aboard one Trukk, the Weirdboy Dokta Zeep furrowed his brow, mustering all his witz to summon Da Krunch. Alas, the Reavers were too nimble (or the Weirdboy’s eyes weren’t so good in the dark), and Da Krunch came down to the rear of the jetbikers, clipping one but not harming its rider.
Lootas disembarked from their Wagon (appropriated mere hours ago from its human owners, and lovingly re-tooled to be more Orky) and fired on the Reavers. The Black Scorpions jinked and weaved to avoid the ferocious deffgun fusillade, but two were not nimble enough, their bikes blown to pieces.
During the barrage, the Big Mek accompanying them was seared by a backlash of intense burnyness from his kustom mega blasta, but he merely muttered, “Dat didn’t ‘urt” while vigorously sucking on his remaining fingers. Meanwhile, the Ork gunners about the Looted Wagon fired its killcannon at the Reavers, downing another two. A great “’UZZZZAH!” went up from the Lootas, but the Black Scorpions continued to scream towards them.
At the other side of the canyon, Trukk Boyz shot dead six Hellions of Warp Scorpions Squad 2, but fire from other Boyz and Trukks was largely ineffective against the Sky Scorpion Raiders.
Much more successful was the charge of the remaining Nob Bikers, who slammed into the Hellions of Warp Scorpions 3. In the melee, the Hellions dispatched one Nob, but the doughty Ork warriors hacked down 9 of the enemy, and the survivors flitted away using their warp-jump packs. The Nobz then began to help themselves to some ‘oomie loot underfoot.
As the sun rose and light began to flood the canyon, the Dark Eldar continued their advance, Raiders firing with little effect at Trukks. The Ozone Scorpions concentrated their splinter weapons on the Nob Bikers, wiping them out.
The Reavers crashed into the Lootas, but not before another of them was shot down, this time by Overwatch fire. Eight Lootas were skewered by blades and cluster caltrops on the initial charge, then another Loota was hacked to death during the melee, though two Black Scorpions were dragged from their bikes and bludgeoned with the butts of the deffguns.
“Those fools—right there!” Dr’zzllah commanded, pointing at a group of Boyz who had leapt from their Trukk to snatch some loot. The pilot of the Raider glided them closer, and she, Vulnayvya, and their Incubi sprung from the Sky Scorpion, swords glittering in the new sun. The Dark Eldar easily dispatched them before the Greenskins could scarcely raise their weapons, and then the Silver Scorpions formed up around their mistresses.
“Any bleedin’ time yooze drippy gits wants to join the party would be just fine,” Speedo growled into his cannibalized walkie-talkie, and both flights of Deff Koptas thundered over the walls of the canyon, on the Dark Eldar’s right flank. Boyz clambered out of their Trukks and warily surrounded Dr’zzllah and her guards.
Dokta Zeep bolstered his fighting prowess with Warpath, and the Looted Wagon blasted again, killing one Hellion from Warp Scorps 3. Three Trukks fired on a nearby Raider, wrecking it and pinning Stinger Squad #2. Boyz fired on Warp Scorpions Squad 2, killing four Hellions, and the rest fell back.
One squadron of the newly arrived Deff Koptas fired on a nearby Raider, to no avail, but the other ‘koptas shot dead one Kabalite Trueborn from Stinger Squad 1.
“GET ‘ER!” Speedo bellowed, glaring at Dr’zzllah.
“Get…’er?” one of the Boyz alongside him whispered. “But, Boss, deze all spikey and whatnot…”
Speedo opened fire, and the Boyz joined in; seven Incubi crumpled. “Now…GET ‘ER!” Speedo yelled again, and he and two mobz rushed forward to take on Dr’zzllah, Vulnayvya, and Blygos, the last ones remaining. The Dark Eldar struck first, killing four Boyz, but they were overcome by a wave of Greenies, Speedo’s power klaw smashing at what should have been Vulnayvya—but when the Orks stepped back, the three Dark Eldar had vanished from the field by some fiendish trick.
“Good enuff,” Speedo shrugged. He turned, peered into the shadows of the nearby pinnacles, and saw that the Reavers had cut down the last of the Lootas, but that Dokta Zeep had waxed one of them. “Dat ain’t 'oopy,” he grumbled, as the surviving Black Scorpions closed in on the Weirdboy.
“Dr’zzllah has returned to base,” Fybze, leader of the Hellions of Warp Scorpion Squad 2, said into his comm-rune. “I shall see that she is unharmed.” He and the rest of his unit fell back from the battle. “Eklavdrah, you are in command.”
“Of course, Fybze,” Eklavdrah, leader of the other Hellions, replied. “I shall ensure the victory for Our Lady.” And report her failure—as well as your cowardice—to her father, she thought.
One of the Sky Scorpion Raiders scraped a pinnacle, damaging its grav-drive and preventing it from moving further. The Warriors aboard fired their weapons into the Deff Koptas, managing to wound a pilot, but the nearby Kabalite Trueborn had no success, despite their plethora of shredders and splinter cannons.
At the other side of the canyon, the other Blue Scorpion Warrior Squad fired at close range into a clump of Boyz, killing three. Dark lances from Raiders fired at Trukks and the Looted Wagon, but all that happened was that the crew of the latter were shaken by a lucky strike.
Much more successful were the two squads of Scourges that had, atypically, remained where they had first alighted, and were pouring fire into the Orks, scything down the Burnas Boyz and wounding Speedo himself.
Eklavdrah and her Hellions charged Dokta Zeep, but before they could strike, the Reavers sliced him to ribbons.
“Now dey’s gettin’ all personal-like,” Speedo grumbled. Boyz surged forward, firing shots when they weren’t scooping up loot that the ‘oomies had dug up. Sky Scorpion Raiders suffered a few dings, but no major damage, save to one that wrecked. One flight of Koptas gunned down a Reaver, while the others charged Stinger Squad 1. The Trueborn smashed one Kopta, but lost three of their own.
Sky Scorpion Raiders eased forward to take archeotech, but one ran itself aground. Dark lance fire finally destroyed the Looted Wagon, and the Hellions and Reavers swooped towards the Deff Koptas.
With all of the Orks dismounted, Blue Squad 1 eliminated an entire mob, while Stinger Squad 2 killed 8 of 9 Boyz from another mob. Scourges kept up their fire, eliminating nine from another mob and perforating Speedo, who fell, twitching, to the rocky floor, dozens of poisonous barbs temporarily paralyzing him as nearby Greenies dragged him to safety.
The surviving Black Scorpions charged the Koptas, losing one but wounding an Ork pilot. Not far away, the surviving Trueborn from Stinger Squad 1 bayonetted another pilot, and his group, disheartened, disengaged.
“Wha wha wha what?” the Deff Kopta leader hollered into his sqwakbox. “What’s all dis weediness in aid of? Get back in dere!” The Deff Kopta pilots regained their nerve and steadied their mechanical mounts.
Big shootas and rokkit launchas fired at Raiders, to little avail. The Koptas that were still fighting the Reavers killed one, but the scrap continued.
Warriors and the remnants of Stinger Squad 1 fired on the recently-returned Deff Koptas, downing them. Raiders fired on Trukks, shaking the crew of one and stunning another. The second Stinger squad charged a Trukk, but despite hitting it several times, could not damage it.
Trukks fired back on Raiders, wrecking one. In melee, a Deff Kopta pilot leaned out and shot Eklavdrah at close range with his slugga. She crumpled to the ground, spitting black blood. Fumbling with her medipack, she injected herself enough stimulants so that she could raise herself to a sitting position and remain awake, so that Lynatharr could continue to watch as the battle wound down.
The Warp Scorpion Scourges finally zipped forward, disappearing into the Warp and reappearing seconds later. As a Blue Scorpion squad penetrated deep into the Orks’ territory, the Scourges concentrated their fire, obliterating the last of the Deff Koptas.
An Ork Trukk rampaged across the canyon floor, firing as it went, killing the last two of Stinger Squad 1 and claiming another choice collection of loot. Another Trukk sought to escape by rocketing towards the opposite end of the canyon.
Both armies, bleeding deeply, peeled away from the fight, with the only victor being the mad Archon who had watched from afar….
Speedo’s Kult of Speed: 10 Victory Points (8 for Tactical Objectives + Slay the Warlord + Linebreaker)
Kabal of the Ozone Scorpions: 10 Victory Points (7 for Tactical Objectives + First Blood + Slay the Warlord + Linebreaker)
Post-Game Analysis by Patrick Eibel
Repeat after me: “Don’t get out of the Trukks, don’t get out of the Trukks, don’t….”
In Turn 4, I lost most of my troops, and by Turn 5 I had no Boyz left on the board. The only reason I was able to eke out a tie was by focusing on scoring any points I could. Even after 30 years of playing this game, I can’t resist getting into a close-combat melee. I knew going into the battle, though, that I did not want to mambo with the Pointy Ears, as they would strike first and have dirty tricks. This is why all the Trukk Boyz were armed with shootas, to whittle down the Dark Eldar numbers before assault occurred.
Overall, I was pleased that I remembered all of the goofy rules that came with using the Orks: the looted vehicle rules, the ramshackle Trukk rule, the Ork psychic powers, the Warlord trait, Da Lucky Stikk wargear, etc. I cannot count the number of times I have finished a battle, looked over my list, and realized I forgot to do something (the worst is where units in reserve were never brought onto the board).
As the first battle in the campaign, you could not have asked for better. The armies were evenly matched (I can see opportunities for an ongoing grudge match there), and the battle was suitably brutal and close. Playing at Games and Stuff was awesome, as they had tons of beautiful scenery, lots of space, and totally cool with us plunking down for the day. Mostly, I had a great time playing the game with Kenton. We have been playing against each other for a loooooong time, yet our battles can still hold surprises.
I was so jazzed after this game, I pulled out the Space Wolves for the next battle and got started painting and reorganizing (I even bought a Stormwolf, but there will be time for that later….)
In closing, somewhere off in a dark hovel, Speedo the Big Mek is being tended to by a Painboy, figuring out how to get a cybork body, and plotting his revenge on those dad-blamed Pointy Ears.
Post-Game Analysis by Kenton Kilgore
Well, that was everything I thought it would be, and more: fast, brutal, and a very close game. You know you’re in for a slobberknocker when you have Assault combat on Turn 1.
As mentioned, my plan was to disable and wreck the numerous Trukks, then gun down the infantry. That did not work out as planned, because while on paper I had sufficient anti-vehicle firepower (five dark lances and three blasters), poor dice rolls stymied my efforts, with dark lances missing or failing to do more than glance the fragile Trukks.
Hence, I leapt at the opportunity to have Dr’zzllah and her crew charge a unit of dismounted Boyz, knowing full well that a tidal wave of Orks would crash over them the next turn. I was confident that the Incubi’s 3+ Save and 5+ Feel No Pain (granted by the Power From Pain rule Dark Eldar enjoy) would allow them to weather the Greenies’ counterattack, but my saving throw rolls were worse than my shooting, and I lost 7 out of 8 Incubi during Pat’s Shooting Phase. After that, my Succubus—lethal though she is—had no chance in the ensuing assault.
Fortunately, I had the Scourges, who had been taken out early against the Space Wolves a year ago, but were the MVPs of this game. They hung back, stood still, and let loose with 24 splinter cannon shots per squad per round, ripping through whatever poked out its green nose. I was also lucky that Pat had brought Warbikes, which my Poisoned splinter weapons wounded on a 4+, despite the Bikes’ T5.
I was pleased how it all played out, and how my army came back from a big mid-game points deficit. I must try to add some more anti-tank, probably by swapping the Trueborns’ shredders for blasters.
So, what’s the next game? Space Wolves vs. Khorne Daemonkin? That outta be another kickass bout. So far, I’m loving the new campaign. As Harley Quinn says in Suicide Squad: “What a ride!”
Posted August 2016