Foul Deeds Will Rise: Battle #3 by Kenton Kilgore and Patrick Eibel
Archon Syryx Lyntharr, leader of the Kabal of the Ozone Scorpions
Kabal of the Ozone Scorpions by Kenton Kilgore
set-up for the campaign dictated that I take Archon Syryx Lynatharr: poor, poor
me! I’ve been itching for a chance to
use my Main Bad Guy and the new miniature I painted for him. Originally, we had planned on a 4000-point
game during the day, but we changed our minds and scaled it down to 3000 after
finding out that the only time we had was a Friday night. I took two detachments (and four Elite units)
because I couldn’t crank out a 3000-point list and keep it to one detachment.
Ordinarily, I load up the Ozone Scorpions with lots of tank-killing wargear: blasters, haywire grenades, haywire blasters, and similar happiness. Knowing that I would be fighting Tyranids, I ditched most of those, keeping some blasters to deal with Overlarge Critters.
Under the previous codex, the splinter rifle was the Death Twinkie version of the sucktastic lasgun, but under the new book, it’s a poisoned weapon, and thus, perfect for hunting Nids, especially the big guys. Standing around waiting for Bugs to come get you is often a bad idea, so I made sure to bring lots of Raider transports.
Shooting is how one usually gets rids of Space Roaches, but some close combat is inevitable, and Bad Elves can do it really good with Wyches and a wall of Grotesques. I was counting on these units to keep the Xenomorph wanna-be’s off the Kabalite Warriors I planned to drop onto the objectives.
Hivefleet Ravana by Patrick Eibel
The terms of the mission required me to split my Tyranid force in three waves. I knew I wanted lots of Troop choices to hold objectives, and at 3000 points and two detachments, I could bring plenty. Here is what I brought in each wave:
Set-Up by Kenton Kilgore
We played at Pat’s house, on an 4' x 8' table that Pat had set up. The premise was that the battlefield was an abandoned Imperial outpost—abandoned because it had recently been overrun by Tyranids. Appropriately, the table had plenty of big buildings in various states of disrepair.
The mission we were using was “Wave Assault”—a Bug scenario—from page 84 of the Battle Missions book. Before I had arrived, Pat had set up the four objectives in accordance with the game parameters, and as the Scorpions were considered the “enemy” for the scenario, I would deploy first. I chose to field my entire army, reasoning that I had the speed and wherewithal to throw all or most of force against Pat’s waves of Nids as they arrived piecemeal in the first three turns of the game.
I placed Blue Scorpion Squad 1—the 20-man group—on one objective and added the Haemonculus Ancient Dr. Jheste to them to grant them Leadership 9 and an automatic Pain Token, so that they would start the game Feeling No Pain. To protect them from the inevitable Tyranid charge, I placed the Grotesques nearby, and added Haemonculus Dr. Fybze with them, to give that group 2 Pain Tokens: they would FNP and have Furious Charge.
I placed the two Taloses and the Cronos Pain Engine near another objective, on my right flank. Though they were not Troops and thus could not claim the objective, they would be, I hoped, hard for Pat to dislodge. Hopefully, they would hold off the Cosmic Cucarachas long enough for me to drop a Troop unit there near the end of the game.
All the other units were either jetbike-mounted Reavers or Raider-mounted fighters (save for Lynatharr & Friends aboard their Venom), and I stashed them behind cover just in case the Tyranids (who would have the first turn) got in some lucky shots. I rolled randomly to see the effects of the combat drugs my Archon, Bloodbrides, Wyches, and Reavers would enjoy, and got +1 Strength. Not helpful for the leaders with agonizers, but good fun for the rank-and-file.
The Hive Tyrant and two Harpies appear to challenge the Dark Eldar, with the Taloses and Cronos Pain Engine at the forefront
At the first screech of the monsters, Dr. Jheste felt his stomach become an iron lump. With trembling fingers, he activated the comm-rune behind his ear, and whispered, “By my head, here comes the Great Devourer.”
“By my heels, I care not,” snapped Archon Syryx Lynatharr. Lynatharr the Mad, Lynatharr the Panderer, even by Dark Eldar standards. Lynatharr, who had led the Kabal of the Ozone Scorpions into ruinous exile from Commorragh, and to mutation by radiation deep within the Maelstrom. Lynatharr, who had recently further transformed himself into a bizarre, centaur-like synthesis of Dark Eldar and scorpion-like monster.
Another screech, closer this time, and three great beasts—a winged Hive Tyrant and a pair of Harpies, Jheste recognized—bounded into view among the shattered remains of the Imperial outpost. Four days ago, this place had been a thriving center of mon-keigh…activity, as Jheste refused to use the word “civilization” concerning such loutish, contemptible creatures as humans. Three days ago, the Tyranids had arrived and swiftly overwhelmed the planetary defenses much as a tsunami smashes and sweeps aside a child’s sand construct along the shore. Two days ago, the last of the mon-keigh had perished to the fangs and claws of the Great Devourer. Seventeen minutes ago, the Kabal of the Ozone Scorpions had arrived on this world to begin what Lynatharr had called a “splendid bit of sport.”
The Ozone Scorpions swarm towards Wave 1 of the Tyranid attack
Dr. Jheste did not share Lynatharr’s confidence—if that is what it was—or psychotic inability—more likely—to appreciate the peril they were in. In the past, the Kabal had engaged many enemies: the witless, clownish turncoats of Chaos; the unassuming, unimaginative Tau; the Kabal’s morally rigid and emotionally crippled cousins, the Eldar; the skilled but hot-headed Space Wolves; the dogmatic, out-classed “Sisters of Battle.” But these horrors from beyond the galaxy’s edge were something altogether different.
The heavy venom cannon of the first Harpy spat, but it did not have nearly enough range to reach the grotesque Warp Hunters, led by Aberration Wormwood, who crouched in the shadows of a nearby building. Learning from its mate’s error, the other Harpy fired on the Taloses closer to it, barely missing. The Hive Tyrant marked this well, and adjusted the fire of its own heavy venom cannon so that the Guilty Pleasure, one of Jheste’s constructions, was struck solidly.
Yet the armor on the Talos held, and the three mechanical beasts—the Guilty Pleasure, the Dirty Secret, and Vulnayvya’s Voice—glided forward on anti-grav engines as the Dark Eldar jetbikes and transports rocketed towards the three alien monsters. Those dark lances that had range fired, wounding one of the Harpies. Then the Pain Engine and the two Taloses slammed into the other, claws tearing at its hide, ripping it to shreds but leaving themselves exposed to the vengeance of the Hive Tyrant….
Wave 2 of Hive Fleet Ravana rushes onto the board to challenge the Ozone Scorpions
…except that “vengeance” is a concept unknown to the Tyranids. The Hive Tyrant and the surviving Harpy flapped back into the sky, leaving the mechanical scorpions in their wake. Elsewhere, a surge of Tyranids—Genestealers, Warriors, Hive Guard and Venomthropes—appeared among the buildings directly across from most of the Dark Eldar. The Hive Guards’ impaler cannons brought down the Raiders of Blue Scorpions Squad 2.1, killing three Kabalite Warriors in the crash. Impaler cannons also fired at the Silver Scorpions’ Raider, but were just out of range.
Tyranid Warriors urged their deathspitters to target Blue Scorpion Squad 1, which Jheste was attending, and eight Dark Eldar perished. The Harpy fired on the Ring of Honor’s Raider, but the craft’s flickerfield saved it. It was not as successful against the Hive Tyrant’s heavy venom cannon, which destroyed the transport, taking out 6 of the Wyches in a massive explosion.
The Sky Scorpion Raiders continued to advance, the Hive Tyrant crashing into a heap as dark lances and blasters riddled it with eldritch energy beams. Reavers from all three squads slashed past the lone Harpy, slicing it to ribbons with their bladevanes, though two riders died when their jetbikes smashed into the ruins of buildings. Dark Eldar shooting killed three Genestealers from one brood and two from another.
The Silver Scorpions (Wyches) hurl themselves heedlessly into the maw of the Tyranids
Jheste saw that Lynatharr’s Venom was moving to intercept the oncoming Tyranids, as were the Warp Hunters. The Taloses and Pain Engine were moving back towards the center of the battle. Confident that none of these enemy…creatures would assail his personage any time soon, Jheste decided that bolder action would be needed to continue the Dark Eldar’s success thus far.
“Blygos, we must preserve our freedom of movement,” Dr. Jheste told the leader of the Silver Scorpions. The Wych commander made no reply—his tongue had been sacrificed years before as a token of servitude to Lynatharr—but directed, by sign language, his Raider’s pilot. The craft shot forward, dark lance eliminating a Venomthrope, as the Wyches leapt to attack the Hive Guard. The Tyranid gun beasts proved to be much more than helpless in close combat, however, striking down one of the Wyches. Nevertheless, the Silver Scorpions remained engaged with them, and there would be no more impaler cannon fire, at least for the moment.
The Warp Hunters (Grotesques) move to intercept the Genestealers
Far away, a small horde of Termagants, accompanied by three Tervigons and a massive Trygon, appeared on the scene, scuttling towards a digestive pool. Originally intent on vomiting up the biomass they had consumed into the pool, the newly-arrived Tyranids received the psychic call of their brethren to join the battle. They hurried forward as fast as they could, but with no sense of panic, for fear and anxiety are unknown to their race.
Elsewhere,Warriors fired again on the Raiders whizzing by, to no avail. Much of the second wave of the Tyranids converged to engulf the Silver Scorpions and the grotesque Warp Hunters, though a tendril of Warriors with boneswords moved to deal with some of the Reavers.
The boneswords of the Tyranid Warriors effortlessly carve through the Reavers
The close-combat Tyranid Warriors easily hacked down the two remaining riders of Black Scorpion Squad 2 before their jetbikes could allow them escape. Genestealers assaulted the Silver Scorpions, claws pulling down three Wyches even as the Stealers lost two of their own. The ponderous Hive Guard thumped another Wych, but still the nerve of the Dark Eldar fighters held.
Nearby, another Genestealer brood charged the Warp Hunters, twice wounding one of the monstrosities. The pincers and stings of the Warp Hunters were more effective, snipping and envenoming five Stealers, and wounding the Broodlord.
A third Stealer brood charged the Raider of Stinger Squad 2, and their claws tore through a fuel cell, causing the craft to explode. Three Stealers died in the burst, as did a nearby Kabalite Warrior of Blue Scorpion Squad 2.1.
Tervigons, Termagants, and a massive Trygon appear at the edge of the battlefield
Shooting from common Dark Eldar soldiers and Trueborn elites whittled down several unengaged Genestealers and Tyranid Warriors. Dismounting from his Venom, Archon Syryx Lynatharr and his Bloodbride guards charged the closest Genestealers, those who had destroyed the Stingers’ Raider. Lynatharr was too fast and too adept even for the Stealers, and in a few heartbeats, the Tyranids were slain before they could respond.
The Archon licked his weapon, the vile ichors of the slain blistering his forked, spotted tongue. The Bloodbrides, hardened warriors, awaited him impassively.
He grinned. “Definitely flavorful. I may need another taste of that.”
The Dark Eldar are having success against Wave 2 of the Tyranid attack. The numbered counters indicate how many Pain Tokens each squad has
Not far away, the Warp Hunters and Genestealers continued to spar, the Grotesques losing two while cutting down two more Stealers and wounding the Broodlord again. The other batch of Stealers finally hacked down the last of the Silver Scorpions, both of Hekatrix Blygos’ legs severed out from under him as fell, silently screaming, to the hard rockcrete on which they fought.
Far from the fighting, unnoticed by all, Blue Scorpion Squad 3 dismounted from their Raider and crept forward into the ruins where the Taloses and the Pain Engine had previously lurked. Warily, the Kabalite Warriors approached a Tyranid digestive pool.
“Is…this what he sent us to find?” one of them asked, eyeing the bubbling green slime.
“It’s best not to ask difficult questions of Lord Lynatharr,” another cautioned.
“I wouldn’t,” the first replied. “But don’t you think Lady Dr’zzllah should know?”
“She already does,” a third said, activating the video-rune on his helmet.
Genestealers, led by a Broodlord, battle Grotesques
The three newly-arrived Tervigons spawned a total of 26 Termagants as they and their original attendants followed the Trygon towards the middle of the battlefield. The Genestealers that had defeated the Silver Scorpion Wyches moved to reinforce their brethren fighting the grotesque Warp Hunters. Elsewhere, the Hive Guard and Tyranid Warriors with boneswords moved to engage new targets.
The Hive Guard unleashed their impaler cannons, twice damaging Jheste’s Guilty Pleasure. The Warriors with deathspitters fired on Lynatharr and his group, but all of them made their cover saves amongst the supports of an Imperial building.
The Trygon, Tervigons, and Termagants surge forward
The Warriors with boneswords charged the Pain Engine, but their blows were ineffectual. The Genestealer reinforcements attacked the Warp Hunters, killing all but one, and striking down Dr. Fybze as well. Some of the same Stealers also assaulted the surviving members of Blue Scorpion Squad 2.1, killing three Kabalite Warriors and losing one of their own.
Reavers sliced their way through one unit of Hive Guard, butchering them with their vaneblades as they rocketed past. Unengaged Blue Scorpion Kabalite Warriors combined their fire on the Tyranid Warriors bearing deathspitters, killing all but one monster. Stinger Squad 0 moved up to fire upon the remaining pair of Hive Guard, shooting one of them dead.
Stinger Squad 0 then charged the lone Hive Guard, but were unable to harm it. The nearby Taloses charged the Warriors with boneswords, inflicting some casualties. Lynatharr and his guard assaulted the Genestealers that had recently joined the fight against the Grotesques, hacking and slashing all of them. The remaining Warp Hunter killed two more Stealers of the brood that had initiated the assault.
While a Tervigon and several of its Termagants settled atop the digestive pool they had originally been seeking, the rest surged forward, accompanying the Trygon as it neared its quarry: the mass of Ozone Scorpions engaged in close firefights and assaults with the Genestealers and Tyranid Warriors. It salivated as it thundered closer: soon, soon, the fragile Dark Eldar would be in striking range, and the Trygon would gorge itself again.
The Venomthrope comes to the aid of the last Hive Guard, engaged with Kabalite Trueborn
The Venomthrope threw itself into the fight between the last Hive Guard and Stinger Squad 0, to little avail. The Warriors with boneswords continued to scrap with the Taloses and Pain Engine, but were stalemated. The Broodlord and his band of Genestealers finished off the last of the Warp Hunters, then fled deep beneath the shelter of another building to avoid the oncoming Archon.
Seeing this, Lynatharr smiled. “Never follow a snake into its hole,” he told his guards. “Not when you can have someone else go down that hole for you. Eklvadrah!” he called, to the leader of the Ring of Honor Wyches. “I spy with my little eye a four-armed beastie who wants to die. Make that happen for me, love.”
“From your lips to my arm,” she replied, charging forward with the other surviving member of the Ring of Honor.
“Your Exuberance,” Dr. Jheste said to Lynatharr, via the comm-rune behind their ears, “it seems we have a very large problem looming over us. Very large.” The bellowing of the nearby Trygon drowned out some of his next words. “—my troops forward to engage. May I suggest you do the same with the remainder of our force?”
“Yes, yes, fine,” Archon Lynatharr replied, peeved at the interruption. He had been so enjoying himself with the all-too-easy elimination of the Genestealers, but Jheste did have a point: the Trygon was rapidly becoming a paramount threat. He ordered all capable units forward to engage the monster. Splinter rifles and dark lances fired, and though the former were effective, the marksmanship of those wielding the latter left much to be desired.
The Ozone Scorpions engage the Trygon with massed fire
No matter. Eklavdrah and her companion assailed the Broodlord, killing it. Stinger Squad 0 cut down the Venomthrope. The Taloses and the Cronos Pain Engine crushed and stung and ripped apart the remaining Tyranid Warriors with boneswords.
Suddenly, the Hive Mind quailed. While the Imperials had been easily slaughtered and their biomass assimilated, here was a foe that perhaps it had underestimated, perhaps had not fully understood. A foe that—if Tyranids were capable of feeling such an emotion—perhaps it would learn to fear.
The Trygon, the Tervigons, and the surviving remnants of the Tyranid forces turned to flee. Archon Syryx Lynatharr—with his new form and powers, Dr’zzllah’s defeat at the hands of the Chaos Marines, and this convincing victory—was now the undisputed master of the Kabal of the Ozone Scorpions—at least for now. But now was all that mattered. There is nothing, he told himself, but now.
He threw his head back and howled in laughter.
Ozone Scorpions: 3 Objectives
Hive Fleet Ravana: 1 Objective
Winner: Kabal of the Ozone Scorpions
The Grotesques staved off the Genestealers until Archon Lynatharr (by the yellow Pain Token) took them out, and the Warriors held the two objectives nearby
Post-Game Analysis by Patrick Eibel
After a loss like this, it is easy to find places to place blame – the conditions of the mission were goofy, I was using a sub-par older codex, or I didn’t select the right army for the mission. However, the reality is I did not adequately anticipate for the speed and effectiveness of the Dark Eldar and I was beaten badly for my error.
The key moment was when the second wave was set to come on, I chose to bring them up the middle to seize the two objectives there. Kenton had committed the bulk of his force to move to my left flank and take out Wave 1, so coming up the middle gave his rear guard something to do once the Tyrant and Harpies were gone. The second wave should have come on from my right flank. Aside from making his guys travel all the way back across the board, it would give the right flank wave an extra round to get into the fight (as it was, the third wave never made it into combat.)
The game was still a lot of fun, even though it was clear to be by Turn 4 that I had little chance of winning. I actually was pretty happy with my army list for this battle. I just needed to make better decisions during the game, but that is the great thing about 40K – there is always the next game to do better.
The Silver Scorpions had no hope of surviving, but their sacrifice kept the Hive Guard from shooting for a turn and held a brood of Stealers back near their board edge
Post-Game Analysis by Kenton Kilgore
This was the first game I had ever played of the "new" Dark Eldar vs. Tyranids, and I was concerned that my Callous Drowboys would be caught and swamped. If I had been Pat, I would have put one small unit—say, 10 Termagants—into one wave to come onto the board from one flank; an identical unit in another wave to come from the other flank; and everything else to come up the middle. Had he done so, I would have been hard-pressed to deal with the tsunami of Bugs headed my way. Instead, I was able to use my speed and mobility to eliminate Wave 1 (the Tyrant and Harpies); neutralize Wave 2 (Warriors + Stealers + Hive Guard); and stay away from Wave 3 (Tervigons + Termagants + Trygon) until Turn 5.
I was very pleased with how the army operated. I knew that the Silver Scorpion Wyches were doomed when I threw them against the Hive Guard, right smack into the maw of the Tyranids, but I needed to keep the impaler cannons from taking out more of my Raiders. I was very satisfied that they tied up Pat’s best guns for several turns. I wish the Grotesques (the Warp Hunters) had gotten to charge the Genestealers instead of being charged, but they kept said Stealers off Blue Scorpion Squad 1 so they could hold their objective.
I felt like I had control of the game from beginning to end, cutting up Pat’s army into bite-sized chunks and taking out said chunks with overwhelming firepower and some well-applied close combat. My Dark Eldar used to be punching bags, but now I’d be confident taking them against any opponent.
With Wave 1 annihilated, the Ozone Scorpions could turn their full--and deadly--attention to Wave 2
Final Thoughts on the Campaign by Patrick Eibel
I liked this campaign a lot, even though I lost. The main goal was to further the story of the Ozone Scorpions, which I feel we did very well. We also got to put the relatively new Dark Eldar codex through its paces and it fared rather well. You can no longer look at Dark Eldar as a one-trick army. They have lots of new toys with which to eviscerate you.
My decision to use only missions from the Battle Missions book made for some interesting games that were different from the rulebook missions. However, these missions can be a little weird, so it is difficult to know if you lost a game because you played poorly or because you were in a no-win situation. Since this more of a linear campaign, the results of the missions were not as important as telling a good story. Ultimately, the campaign was a lot of fun and I look forward to whatever crazy idea I can cook up next (evil cackling ensues.)
Final Thoughts on the Campaign by Kenton Kilgore
What a blast! I, too, had a lot of fun, and learned a lot about my army. The missions required quite a bit of forethought, and I found them challenging and interesting. I hadn’t used the Battle Missions book much before this campaign, and I’m happy I didn’t sour on it the way I did on the Planetstrike rules after the Return to Auros IX campaign.
Pat has said that the next campaign will be based around the Kill Team scenario on page 90 of the Battle Missions book. I’m really looking forward to it!
Tyranid Warriors with boneswords battle the Cronos Pain Engine and Taloses
Posted April 2012