Doctors’ Duel

by Kenton Kilgore and Patrick Eibel

It’s been much too long since we did a battle report here at the Jungle, so let’s remedy that appalling situation.  As we did previously, we’re presenting our report in narrative style, but so everyone understands what’s going on, we will, when necessary, note or explain something in game terms by putting it in [brackets] as an aside to the actual tale.

Sound good? Let’s get to it, then! Please to follow us over here, and mind your step….

Purple Pain by Kenton Kilgore

Recently, I posted a detailed write-up of my Drukhari army, including the three lists I use for it. One of them, the “Purple” list, is brand-new, never-been-played-before, so I thought I would go with it.  Like many Dark Eldar lists, it comprises multiple Patrol detachments, because the Death Twinkies gain bonus Command Points for configuring their forces so.

Two of the detachments have predominately units with the <HAEMONCULUS COVEN> keyword, so that they can enjoy the benefits of the Connoisseurs of Pain Obsession, which increases their Invulnerable Save (granted by the Insensible to Pain rule) from 5+ to 4+.

Because I don’t have a lot of <COVEN> units in my collection, the third detachment is made of <KABAL> units who use the Serpent’s Kiss Obsession to re-roll “to wound” rolls of “1” with all splinter weapons and melee weapons.

Patrol #1:

  • Dr. Jeste [Haemonculus] w/ liquefier gun + 5 Scorpion Guards [Wracks]
  • Warp Scorpions, Squad 0. Counts as 5 Scourges, including 4 w/ splinter cannons
  • Steel Scorpions 1-3. Three Talos Engines, each w/ 2 macro-scalpels + 2 splinter cannons
  • Steel Scorpion 4. Cronos Pain Engine w/ spirit syphon + spirit-leech tentacles + spirit vortex

Patrol #2:

  • Vulnayvya [Haemonculus] w/ liquefier gun + 5 Scorpion Guards [Wracks]
  • Super Scorpions, Squad 0.  Counts as 3 Grotesques + Sky Scorpion [Raider] w/ dark lance
  • Super Scorpions, Squad 1.  Counts as 3 Grotesques + Sky Scorpion [Raider] w/ dark lance
  • Warp Scorpions, Squad 1.  Counts as 5 Scourges, including 4 w/ splinter cannons

Patrol #3:

  • Dracon Eklavdrah [stats as Archon] + 5 Silver Scorpions [Lhamaeans] + Sky Scorpion [Venom] w/ 2 splinter cannons
  • Blue Scorpions, Squad 2.  Ten Kabalite Warriors (includes 2 w/ shredders + 1 w/ dark lance) + Sky Scorpion [Raider] w/ dark lance
  • Blue Scorpions, Squad 3.  Ten Kabalite Warriors (includes 2 w/ shredders + 1 w/ dark lance) + Sky Scorpion [Raider] w/ dark lance
  • Blue Scorpions, Squad 4.  Ten Kabalite Warriors (includes 2 w/ blasters + 1 w/ dark lance) + Sky Scorpion [Raider] w/ dark lance

Total: 1998 points

“Let’s Go Orky” by Patrick Eibel

My massive Ork army is divided into two basic groups: a large “green tide” with over 100 figures, and a Kult of Speed.  Supplemental to these two groups are a Rebel Grot force with Dreads and Kans, and a mobile force with Battlewagons.

When putting together a list for this battle, I decided to go with what I mostly had painted – and that meant Green Tide with some Grots mixed in.

The Really Big Brigade:

  • Warboss Moe Zee-Bopp with kustom shoota, attack squig, power klaw
  • Warphead Dokta Jeep with staff
  • Big Mek with mega-armor and kustom force field
  • Ork Basha Mob – 17 Boyz with choppa and slugga, plus two rokkit launchas and a Nob with power klaw
  • Ork Slasha Mob – 20 Boyz as above
  • Ork Crasha Mob – 20 Boyz as above
  • Ork Smasha Mob – 20  Boyz as above
  • Gretchin “Sniggling Gits” Mob – 20 Grots with grot blastas; Runtherd with squighound
  • Gretchin “Giggling Snits” Mob – 20 Grots with grot blastas; Runtherd with squighound
  • Kommando Mob “Throatslittaz” – 9 Kommandos plus Nob with power klaw
  • Kommando Mob “Backstabbaz” – 9 Kommandos plus Nob with power klaw
  • Stormboy Mob “Rokkit Boyz” – 19 Boys plus Nob with power klaw
  • 3 Deffkoptas
  • 3 Deffkoptas
  • Mek Gun with traktor kannon and 5-Grot crew
  • Mek Gun as above
  • Mek Gun as above

Total: 1991 points

Setting Up by Kenton Kilgore

We played at Pat’s house, on a 4′ x 6′ table that Pat had arranged the scenery for.  As we’re still new to 8th Edition (I was tremendously busy for most of last year with this), we made this game simple.  We used the Dawn of War deployment, with the sole objective being a huge chunk of rock placed in the center of the board.  Whichever of us managed to secure it by the end of the game would win: no other victory conditions.

As is done these days, we took turns placing units on the table.  Pat’s massive army spread across the length, with his Warboss and Warphead (and their accompanying mobs) towards the center; his Kannons placed on high ground; his Deffkoptas, Kommandos, and Stormboyz in reserve; and everywhere else was flooded with Orks and Gretchin.

Not wanting to mambo directly with an ocean of Greenies, I kept the two squads of Grotesques in their Raiders (along with Vulvayvya) and kept them off the board; put the other three Raiders, loaded with Warriors, on my left flank; had my Scourges atop terrain, with good lines of sight; and put Jheste, both units of Wracks, and the Talos Engines and Cronos on my right.

I won the roll to go first, and off we went!

Turn 1

It will be fine, Dr. Jheste assured himself, surreptitiously wiping his sweating palms on his robes.

The Scorpion Guards beside him knew nothing of fear, nor did the Talos- and Cronos Engines accompanying him.  Of course not: he had fashioned them so.  Yet he himself fought to control the gnawing terror that grew within him with each passing moment.  He had been charged by Archon Syryx Lynatharr with the task of securing the massive Warpstone boulder here on Tondar, a world formerly held by the Imperium.  “Formerly,” as in two days ago, before the arrival and merciless onslaught of Waaagh! Zee-Bop.

The Ork horde stamping its way toward the massive Warpstone boulder was one of the largest he had ever seen.  Whether the brutes realized its significance or not—and by the lunatic howling of the Warphead they dragged with them, Jheste suspected they did—was immaterial: he could not return without the prize.  And yet, how could his tiny raiding party prevail?

How indeed? he wondered.  But then, he reasoned further, how does one dissect such a hulking thing as a Grox?  A single slice at a time.  He felt a flicker of confidence.  It would take all of his cunning, all of the Drukhari’s speed and viciousness, but perhaps it could be done.  One slice at a time.

He urged his guards and his mechanical beasts into a trot, moving towards the Orks’ flank, not towards the Warpstone monolith.  If the Orks were allowed to swarm the boulder, there would be no dislodging them—best then, to distract them, lead them astray.  Jheste believed he had just the way to do that.

He looked to the horizon on his left and activated the comm-rune engraved on the inside of his silver mask.  “Eklavdrah,” he called, “do not engage.  Skirt the enemy so that—”

“It will go poorly for you if you attempt to advise me—me, of all of us—on what course of action to take,” the Dracon replied.  The three Raiders at the edge of his vision peeled away, perpendicular to the Ork horde, racing towards his position.  “My Warriors know perfectly well what to do, and they shall do it, flawlessly, as I command them.”

“Of course,” Jheste purred.  Slattern, he thought, but did not say.

“Of course,” Eklavdrah replied.  Milksop, she added, but did not articulate.

Indifferent to the bickering between the two leaders, the Warp Scorpions—so named because of the teleportation devices built into their suits, allowing them to disappear from one place and reappear in another an instant later—held their ground atop the remains of two human buildings, and fired their splinter cannons into the closest of the oncoming Orks.

Zoggin’ ‘eck? thought Warboss Moe-Zee Bopp, as five Boyz in the mob ahead of his crumpled to the ground, bleeding from hundreds of tiny wounds.  He had been momentarily reminiscing about the particularly noxious and, indeed, violent defecation that he had enjoyed this morning, and only just now spotted the Twinkies and their zippy little zoom-kites.

“YERRRRRS!” he bellowed. “Eyes front, ya maggots! Leg it double-time quick-quick, ya greasy gits, and bring me da ears of dem skinny wifftas!  NOW!”

His Boyz roared their approval, shambling forward as fast their bowed legs could take them. Far across the field from Moe-Zee, six Deffkoptas thundered over a hill and bore down on the mechanical monsters silently skittering towards the Ork flank.  Dis, Moe-Zee Bopp told himself, oughta be gud.

Except it weren’t.  Muttering bonkersly to himself (“Izzn yoo t’reatenin’ me?”) Dokta Jeep’s eyes glowed vivid green as he tried to do Da Jump with him and his Ladz, but it all came of naught, his psychic power fizzling away as he and they stayed put.

Moe-Zee Bopp grunted with realization: no wonder that Jeep had such a squig up his arse about wanting to get this WarpRok, insisting that Moe-Zee and his Boyz leave the main fighting (Yarg, but dem hoomies were putting up a right riggy scrap!) to come take it.  Hopefully, once Jeep had this bleedin’ rok, his head-magic would be more reliable.

“Let ‘em have it!”Moe-Zee yelled.  Traktor Kannons, Grots, and Koptas fired a veritable storm on the Talos Engines, and while one was badly damaged [-4 Wounds], they kept coming.  More fire from the Kannon closer to him lashed one of the Sky Scorpion Raiders [-4 Wounds], but the craft weathered the storm.

Tough li’l Panzees, ain’t dey? Moe-Zee wondered, grinning.  This was gonna be even better than this morning’s visit to da drops to squeeze out a good stencher.

Turn 2

“Who exactly do they think they are?” Dr. Jheste hissed.

The Scorpion Guards with him said nothing, of course—the “treatments” he had given them had strengthened their bodies at the expense of their wits and their tongues—but merely looked at him, awaiting his command.

“If there is one thing I cannot abide,” Jheste growled, “it is mooncalves spoiling my handiwork.”  As the stricken Talos continued to lurch forward, Jheste loped after it, the Scorpion Guard hustling to keep up.

A whine as two more Raiders, carrying Vulnayvya and the bestial Super Scorpions, dropped from the sky well behind the Ork lines and the ruined fortress they had taken, not far from the mob accompanying Dokta Jeep.  Jheste cared not, as he neared his damaged Engine.

“Look at this—just look!” he exclaimed. Fortunately, there was a remedy. Taking a carved crystal from his robes, he mumbled the activation phrase, and the Talos Engine’s wounds began to knit closed [I used the Fleshcraft Strategem to restore 2 Wounds to it].

The Drukhari opened fire, a Raider’s dark lance severely damaging a Traktor Kannon [-3 Wounds], and one squad of Warp Scorpions taking down 6 Boyz from the Dokta Jeep’s mob.  The splinter cannons of the other squad of Warp Scorpions slew 3 Boyz from the closest mob to the monolith, and 6 more fell to combined fire from the Eklavdrah’s Sky Scorpion Venom craft and Kabalite Warriors on a nearby Raider.

The Cronos- and the Talos Pain Engines fired at the oncoming Deffkoptas, but their weaponry [splinter cannons that need “6’s” to wound] was ill-suited for the task.  The bio-machines attempted to charge the Gretchin, but the distance was too great.

Now wut? Warboss Moe-Zee Bopp pondered, turning and stumping toward the two Sky Scorpion Raiders that had touched down not far from him and his ladz, who followed suit.  Up ahead, Dokta Jeep and his Boyz surged toward the Drukhari craft, the Warphead flapping his hands wildly as he continued to mutter and chuckle to himself.

Some of the Boyz in the other mobs looked back, but Bopp waved them forward.  “Go get that…ting!” he roared, pointing at the huge hunk of WarpRok.  “Don’t make me tell youz again!”

At the other end of the field, two mobs of Kommandos slunk out of the scenery to engage the Pain Engines that even now, the Deffkoptas were encircling.  Rokkitpaks hissing, a big mob of Stormboyz dropped in behind the Talos- and Cronos Engines. Moe-Zee grinned.  Dis is gonna be too easy!

“Aheheheheheheheheh,” Dokta Jeep cackled, green sparks shooting from his eyes, his ears, his nose, his mouth. “HehehHEHHUH!” And then a bolt of green fire [Smite] streamed from his face, striking one of the landed Raider craft, blowing a large hole in it [-3 Wounds].

“Dat’s it!” Bopp bellowed.  “Keep ‘itting ‘em, and—”

Suddenly, Dokta Jeep seized up, sputtering, green sparks spewing out of him like water from a fountain—and then he fell forward, flat on his face [after attempting to cast Warpath and failing a Perils of the Warp roll that struck him with 3 Mortal Wounds].

“Bugger me!” exclaimed one of his Boyz, cautiously prodding the prone Warphead with the toe of his boot as the green sparks fizzled out.

“Iz ‘e dead?” Bopp bellowed.

“Me not know,” the Boy replied, shrugging.  Then the Dokta coughed, rolled himself over, pried open one trembling eye, and lost consciousness again.

“Eh, ‘e’ll be aight,”Moe-Zee decided.

Unlimbering their shootas, the Boyz that had been escorting Jeep fired on the other Raider, riddling it with bullets [-5 Wounds].  The Grots manning (grotting?) the closest Traktor Kannon pivoted it and fired at the Raider as well, but the craft’s pulsating night shields saved it.

Elsewhere, the other Kannons fired ineffectually at the Raiders loaded with Kabalite Warriors.  Deffkoptas fired on Jheste’s bodyguard, slaying two of them.  While the sluggas of one Kommando mob were amazing effective [-3 Wounds] against the nearest Talos, the guns and pistols of the Grots, the Stormboyz, and other Deffkoptas did nothing to the Pain Engines.

Roaring, the Kommandos, Grots, and Stormboyz charged the four bio-mechanical monsters, overwatch fire from splinter cannons killing 4 Kommandos before they could get in close.  In the ferocious, swirling melee, the Kommandos tore at a stricken Talos, wrenching metal plates from it and stabbing the squirming flesh beneath, until the Gretchin swarmed it, poking it wildly—and hitting something vital.  A huge explosion erupted upward, destroying the construct, but fortunately, the Boyz and Grots were spared.

“Get stuck in, ladz!” the Stormboy Boss bellowed, and despite his minions having lost four of their number to the claws and stings of the Pain Engines, they redoubled their efforts [an Ork Strategem that allowed the Stormboyz to fight twice in this round].  Massively outnumbered, the Talos Engines were suffering terrible wounds [-2 off one, -5 off another].

As the Warphead’s Boyz charged the Raiders that had just touched down, a dark lance arched over the craft like a scorpion’s tail swiveled their way and fired, a thrumming black beam vaporizing an Ork. The Boyz hacked at the skimmers, one doing a bit of incidental damage [-1 Wound], but another Ork perished when one of the craft jolted forward, spearing him on a long spike protruding from the front.

Turn 3

From each of the two recently-arrived Raiders scuttled three monstrous blue-and-silver scorpion-like creatures.  Following them was the Haemonculus Vulnayvya, her mouth sewn shut by her own hand.  She needed no words, merely pointing at the Orks that had swarmed their transports.

Elsewhere, the Talos Engines fell back from the Orks and Gretchin that had assailed them, the wounds of one of them healing as Jheste again activated his control crystal [using the Fleshcraft Stratagem again gained back 2 Wounds on a Talos].

He spoke another command word, and to the Greenskins’ horror, the Talos Engines opened fire [I used the Cruel Deception Stratagem that allows Drukhari units that have fallen back to shoot and charge in the same turn], but fortunately, only three Stormboyz fell to the mostly-inaccurate splinter cannons.

However, splinter fire from Scourges and Kabalite Warriors aboard the approaching Raiders winnowed through the remainder of the Stormboyz, killing 11 more.

Dark lance and blaster fire from those same Raiders and the Warriors managed merely to damage [-2 Wounds] a Deffkopta [5 dark lance shots from Raiders either missed or failed to wound any Deffkoptas—for that, they got to wear the Cone of Shame!].

The Cronos smashed into the remnants of the first mob of Kommandos, killing them.  The Talos Engines likewise plowed into the other Kommando mob and the Stormboyz, killing 3 of the former, and wiping out the latter.  Jheste and his Scorpion Guards also attacked the Kommandos, stabbing two of them.

At the other end of the battle, Vulnayvya’s bio-engineered Super Scorpions hurtled into the remaining Boyz who accompanied Dokta Jeep, ripping them to shreds within seconds.

“Dat’s dukky,” Warboss Moe-Zee Bopp growled, hefting his power klaw and shoving the Boyz in front of him forward, towards the chittering Super Scorpions.  “Don’t just stand dere, ya wet endz, get ‘em!  Last one dere gets me boot so far up ‘is arse, he’ll choke on me laces!”

Deffkoptas continued to maneuver around the Talos- and Cronos Engines.  Traktor Kannons fired at the Raiders and the Venom; a solid hit exploded one of the flying craft, killing three of the Kabalite Warriors aboard, and damaging two nearby Raiders and the Venom, forcing Eklvadrah and her guards to hold on or be tossed overboard.

The Deffkoptas and Gretchin fired on Jheste and his minions, but, strengthened by the soul-energy they had already absorbed [Power From Pain], only four Scorpions Guards fell.  Shrieking, the Gobbos rushed forward, knives at the ready.  The Wracks slashed three Gretchin, and two more of them were stomped under the Runtherd’s boots to keep them in the fight.

Elsewhere, Warboss Bopp and his Boyz charged the Super Scorpions and Vulnayvya, who shot dead two Greenskins.  The Orks killed two of the monsters, losing five of their own, and the melee continued.

Turn 4

“Eklavdrah,” Jheste called into his comm-rune, “if you and your entourage could be bothered, perhaps you could see your way to taking the prize that we came for, while fair Vulnayvya and I and ours actually do all the fighting.”

“Perhaps,” Eklavdrah replied, “once I and mine have secured the objective, we will finish up what you laughingly refer to as ‘fighting.’  For us, skilled as we are, it will be hardly strenuous.”

The Raiders swooped closer, dark lances destroying two of the three Traktor Kannons.  Mounted Kabalite Warriors and Scourges fired into the numerous Boyz and Gretchin near the monolith, slaying several, most of them Gobbos used as impromptu shields [Grotshield rule] by the Boyz.

The Cronos fired on the closest Deffkoptas, severely damaging one [-3 Wounds] before charging, alongside the Talos Engines.  The Cronos downed a Kopta, while the Talos Engines tore to shreds the remaining three.

More Scorpion Guard joined the ongoing fight with Jheste, his Guards, and the Gretchin.  Four goblins died, but the rest kept fighting.

The Super Scorpions had beaten Bopp’s mob, but he was still standing, and more Boyz tramped onto the battlefield to face off against the Cronos [Pat played the Unstoppable Green Tide Stratagem, bringing back the Warboss’ mob onto the table].

The remaining Orks and Grots fired at the converging Raiders, Eklavdrah’s Venom, and the survivors of the craft that had crashed, but despite their efforts, only two Drukhari (from the dismounted squad) were killed.

Nertz! Moe-Zee growled to himself.  What had looked like a very, very easy win was suddenly, improbably becoming a sure defeat.  Still, he would not bend—not yet anyway.  Not without more of a fight, even if he was surrounded by Vulnayvya and her Super Scorpions.

His power klaw crackled as again and again he punched, smashing one of the grotesque monstrosities, purple ichor spattering him and the others.  The others grabbed him—a pincer slicing deep into his abdomen—but he refused to go down [Pat played the Orks Is Never Beaten Stratagem, which allowed his Warboss to fight again before being removed].

Snarling, he rammed his power klaw down, severing the arm with the pincer that was piercing him, the monster screeching in agony. He wrenched the pincer out of him, jabbed it in the beast’s eyes.  Its dying keenings and thrashings distracted the others long enough for Bopp to leg it out of there!

Running to the Boyz who had recently arrived, he yelled, “New plan!  One of yinz grab Jeep and we get back to the main scrap!  Who needs dat stupid rok, anyhowz?”

Winner: Kabal of the Ozone Scorpions (Orks concede)

Post-Game Analysis by Patrick Eibel

With our busy lives, Kenton and I don’t get to play very often.  The lack of practice my part really was evident and revealed that I still really haven’t figured out this new edition.  Ultimately, I held too many units in reserve, which were squandered when they arrived and I had no real way to deal with those Talos Engines.

Poor list planning, questionable tactics, and misguided faith in strength of numbers.  My son is nine now and pestering me to play some 40K, so perhaps I will be in better form for the next battle.

Post-Game Analysis by Kenton Kilgore

When I saw how many, many Orks Pat was bringing to this game, I thought it would be a short, brutal curb-stomping, with my massively-outnumbered Drukhari on the losing side.  My strategy was as it always is when engaging a horde: keep my army out of reach of the bulk of the other, and throw everything at I have at one part of the enemy at a time, whittling them down.

I was less than thrilled to learn that Deffkoptas are <VEHICLES>, not <BIKES>, as I had believed, which meant that the splinter cannons on the Talos Engines would need “6’s” to wound them.

However, I was very pleased to see how well the Grotesques—the “Super Scorpions”—did.  When I dropped them back behind the Ork lines, I was hoping to peel some Greenskins away from the objective; not only did that work, the Grotesques prevailed over two mobz and the Warboss.

So, yes, an unexpected and gratifying victory, especially considering that this force, of the three Drukhari lists that I have, is not designed for dealing with hordes.


When he isn’t playing or blogging about 40K, Kenton Kilgore writes kickass SF/F for young adults, and adults who are still young.  This Wasted Land, his latest novel, is not your typical teenage love story.  It’s more like:

  • Boy meets Girl;
  • Evil Witch takes Boy;
  • Girl goes to get Boy back.

He is also the author of Lost Dogs, the story of the end of the world as seen, heard–and smelled–by a dog.  His first novel was Dragontamer’s Daughters, like Little House on the Prairie…with dragons.  With Patrick Eibel, he created Our Wild Place, a children’s book about the joy to be found in exploring Nature.  

Visit kentonkilgore.com, and follow Kenton on Facebook for frequent posts on sci-fi, fantasy, and other speculative fiction.  You can also catch him on Instagram.

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