King of the Hill II
King of the Hill Part Deux: Battle #1 by Patrick Eibel and Kenton Kilgore
Another summer, another campaign, and we had so much fun last year test-driving the (then) new codices, that we thought we'd do it again. Given how frequently GW releases army books these days and how infrequently Pat and I (both of us with full-time jobs and families) get to play, our efforts are bound to look dated, but ask us if we care. First up, the Dark Eldar against the Space Wolves.
Kabal of the Ozone Scorpions (2001 points) by Kenton Kilgore
Iíve divided my collection of Dark Eldar into two detachments: one with heaps and heaps of Warriors (as well as three Taloses, for maximum gits and shiggles); the other one with lots of Raiders, Reavers, Trueborn, and Scourges. Having used the first to mop the floor with my brother-in-lawís Orks a few months ago, I was itching to try out the second:
army uses the Realspace Raiders Detachment, the primary benefit of which is
that it allows the Dark Eldar to take up to 6 Fast Attack choices. In addition, it lets me re-roll the Warlord
Trait, and it gives my Troops a 5+ cover save during Night Fighting (which, of course, I
Iíve owned Death Twinkies since the army came out in 1998, at the advent of 3rd Edition, but up until this game, Iíd never used Incubi, Scourges, or Hellions. The latest codex had persuaded me that they were worthy units to use: letís see if I was right!
Keric Quicbrandís Great Company (1996 points) by Patrick Eibel
I have been playing Space Wolves ever since they first came out, so I always enjoy the opportunity to get them on the table. My army has gone through many changes over the years as editions and codices have changed. Currently, I have built a force around the Thunderwolf Cavalry, because they are just that awesome. Like most players, the idea of Space Marines in power armor riding giant wolves seems silly, so I created a unit riding large polar bears using miniatures from Scibor. The end result looks impressive, and much more fearsome than the GW version.
This list tries to leverage the abilities from the Wolves Unleashed detachment presented on page 102 of the Space Wolf codex. The main benefit of the detachment is the ability to Outflank Troops on a 6+; 4+ if led by an Independent Character. Here is my list:
Using the Harald Deathwolf character gets me buffs for the cavalry and Fenrisian Wolves, so worth the points over just going stock. I gave the Wolf Priest the Black Death weapon artefact because in some incarnation I had converted his crozius into a frost axe and now had to make sense of it. Each Grey Hunter unit is joined by an Independent Character Ė the Wolf Priest, the Rune Priest and the Battle Leader Ė to increase the chance that the unit will Outflank.
The unit in the Drop Pod will come in first turn regardless (thank you Drop Pod Assault) and the Tornadoes will Deep Strike to where they are needed. I brought the Whirlwind because I needed some cheap heavy firepower, and Dark Eldar seem like an army that a Whirlie would be effective against, with low Toughness and lots of targets.
Setting Up by Kenton Kilgore
We played at DropZone Games in Glen-By-God-Burnie, MD, on a 4' x 6' table with several ruins. As Pat had said in his introduction to the campaign, we would be doing the Maelstrom missions, starting with the Deadlock scenario. Rolling randomly, we came up with the Hammer and Anvil deployment, which I vastly prefer over the diagonal set-up the mission suggested (Wicked Uncle Kenton only got a ďCĒ in Geometry, and that was over 30 years ago).
Dicing for Drízzllahís Warlord Trait from the DE codex, I came up with Towering Arrogance, which would make my Bad Grrrl and all friendly models within 12" of her Fearless. Kericís Trait was Saga of the Wolfkin, which makes Beasts and Cavalry units Stubborn, and units within 12" of the Warlord in an assault get an extra Attack and Furious Charge.
I won the roll to determine sides and who would deploy/go first. I picked the end with plenty of cover for my dudes, and said that Pat would go first, as I wanted to see where he would set up, and react accordingly (in hindsight, this was not a good idea).
We placed the objectives and remembered to roll on the Mysterious table (often, we forget). Pat placed his Predator behind some ruins, almost on top of Objective #1. His Whirlwind went behind some ruins (and Objective #5), with his twin-lascannon Razor (and the Grey Hunters within) alongside the Whirlie. Keric, the Iron Priest, and the Thunderbear cavalry went on one flank, in position to crash forward and take Objective #3, on a balcony of the ruins in the middle of the board. The rest of his force was in reserve.
I set up one squad of Kabalite Warriors and their Raider on Objective #2 (in some woods); more Warriors and their ride on Objective #4 (some ruins in the back), with my Reavers in front of them; and both Scourge units near Objective #6, on my left flank. My Succubus Warlord, the Haemonculus, and the Incubi (aboard their Raider) were in reserve, as were both squads of Hellions, with the thought that they would drop into Patís end of the table and harry his forces from the rear.
We determined that there would be Night Fighting on the first turn, and I failed to Steal the Initiative. Off we went!
"Unpainted miniatures? HERESY! Kill them first!"
At the start of Patís turn, his Drop Pod successfully landed near my Scourges, and the Grey Hunters aboard stepped out to begin the ass-whoopiní. The bear riders stamped forward, intent on taking Objective #3. The Razorback that had deployed near the Whirlwind moved up, and the Grey Hunters disembarked, clambering atop the ruins to take Objective #5.
Firing from the newly-arrived Grey Hunters killed 4 out of 6 members of one Scourge unit, causing them to fall back. A barrage from the Whirlwind likewise took out four from the other unit, but their nerve held. The Predator and the Razorback fired on the Reavers, to no avail.
Takin' the dogs for a walk just like how they do back home
Clearly, my choice of going second was an incorrect one: I had forgotten all about the rude tendency of Drop Pods to arrive on Turn 1, an inexcusable error for someone who plays Marines.
On my turn, the two survivors of the first Scourge unit continued their cowardice, falling back off the board. My two remaining Scourges wisely retreated behind some cover; my Raiders maneuvered to have line of sight on targets, and my Reavers advanced. Firing from my Warriors dropped three Podding Grey Hunters; the Reaversí blasters did nothing against the Predator, and they zipped back into cover.
"Reavers" converted from Eldar jetbikes. Just like with Chaos Marines, adding spikes to anything makes it EEEEEEEVUL
Night Fighting ended (alas) at the start of Patís turn, and his Outflanking Razorback came onto the table near Blue Scorpions Squad 5, who were holding an objective. His Land Speeders Deep Struck onto the board, and his Thunderbear Cavalry moved beneath the balcony with Objective #3, claiming it.
The sneaky Dark Eldar find it very annoying when they are out-sneakied. But that's what they deserve for fielding unpainted minis
Dismounting from their Razorback, the newly-arrived Grey Hunters (where have I heard this before?) went after the Kabalite Warriors. The Rune Priest's Living Lightning power killed one Dark Eldar, the squadís flamer roasted five, and double-tapping bolters took out the rest. Two turns, two GH packs coming in from reserves, two Death Twinkie units eliminated. Arggh!
Unimpressed with the Dark Eldar's opening hand, the Space Wolves see the Scorpions' Fast Attack unit, and raise them with a much more badass one
The Grey Hunters who had arrived by pod returned fire, killing four Warriors, though they lost one of their own due to an overheating plasma gun. The Predator, other Razorback, and Land Speeder Tornadoes only managed to down two Reavers among them (thank you, 3+ Jink!). The Whirlwind killed no one, and the new Razor managed to knock a Hull Point off a Raider.
Dr'zzllah and friends arrive to wreck some Wolf [poop].
The "Incubi" figures are conversions I made using Kabalite Warrior legs, 3e Reaver torsos and arms, and Silver Scorpion heads
At the beginning of my turn, Drízzllah and her entourage arrived by Deep Striking (via Raider) near the Grey Hunters and their Drop Pod. Stinger Squad 1 and their Raider, as well as the Hellions, likewise plopped onto the table, but Stinger Squad 2 suffered a Deep Strike Mishap and arrived off-target. No matter.
The Ozone Scorpions counterattack
The Reavers swarmed forward, firing Snap Shots, but neither they nor the dark lances of the Raiders did anything to stop the Predator from continuing to hold Objective #1, which was one of Patís Tactical Objectives, giving him a Victory Point. In happier news for Team Evil, mass shooting from the Hellions (48 blast markers from splinter pods) and Trueborn (8 shredder blast markers and 16 splinter cannon shots) felled three Thunderbears and most of the Fenris Wolves, forcing the cavalry to fall back.
Patís last reserve unitóa Rhino full of Grey Huntersócame on the board behind one squad of Hellions. The Rune Priest attempted to shoot a Raider with Living Lightning, and succeeded only in suffering a Wound from Perils of the Warp.
The Dark Eldar thought they had the Space Wolves surrounded. They thought wrong.
Firing from both Razorbacks and the Predator didnít take out a single Jinking Reaver; the Whirlwind missed the massed Hellions completely. The Tornadoes were much more successful, their heavy bolters and assault cannons wiping out Stinger Squad 2.
The newly-arrived Grey Hunters (how Iím coming to loathe that phrase) shot dead four Hellions from Fybzeís group, while the Drop-Pod Hunters blasted five from Eklavdrahís. Rude. The last Fenris Wolf attempted to charge the surviving Trueborn and was gunned down with a splinter cannon burst for his impertinence.
Dark Eldar zipped, zigged, and zagged, as they are wont to do. The Reavers shot one Grey Hunter from the Rune Priestís group behind them; the remaining Scourges and Warriors killed two Pod Hunters. A Raiderís dark lance destroyed the Whirlwind, and shooting from the Hellions whittled down more Thunderbear riders.
The Dark Eldar would probably hit more often if some of them would face the right way!
There was no way I could let up on Patís command group: given the chance, Keric and the Iron Priest (the only ones left) would smash through my spindly sissies in silver boots without breaking a sweat. Accordingly, both units of Hellions charged, killing Keric, while Eklavdrah (a squad leader) fending off the Iron Priestís challenge.
Elsewhere, the Reavers charged the Rune Priest and friends, killing two Grey Hunters and losing one of their own. Drízzllah and the Incubi charged the Hunters by the Drop Pod, easily eliminating them.
"By the Emperor! I thought you foul xenos had to take Dangerous Terrain checks!"
"Nah, bro: we have Skilled Rider. It's all good."
Time was running short, so we decided that this would be the last turn. Fire from a Razor took out one Scourge, with the other failing his Break test and fleeing. Lascannon shots from the other Razor and the Predator only caused Raiders to Jink. The Tornadoes gunned down the other Trueborn squad.
The Hunters from the Rhino that had come in on Turn 3 charged Fybzeís Hellions, who nevertheless hack-n-slashed three Wolves before being beaten, broken, caught, and destroyed. Eklavdrahís Hellions lost two of their own to the Iron Priest, and did a Hit and Run to evade him. The Reavers lost three to the Rune Priest and his power-fisting Sergeant, and also fell back.
On my turn, I tried to take out the Hunters holding Objective #5, waaaay back in Patís deployment zone, which was one of my Tactical Objectives, but I couldnít get them off. With that, we packed up.
The game winds down, with no clear victor
Kabal of the Ozone
8 Victory Points (Six Tactical Objectives; Slay the Warlord; Linebreaker)
Keric Quicbrandís Great Company: 8 Victory Points (Six Tactical Objectives; First Blood; Linebreaker)
Post-Game Analysis by Kenton Kilgore
As mentioned, I had never played the Maelstrom missions before, believing them to be too complicated. There was a lot to keep track of, and I didnít understand until the end that it wasnít important to continue to hold objectives once taken (unlike the missions Iím used to). Nevertheless, it was great fun, and Iím looking forward to the next game in the campaign.
The purpose of the campaign is to test-drive the new codices, and I continue to be pleased with the Dark Eldar book, with the glaring exception of Wyches, who are wretched. Fortunately, I could proxy my former Wych models as Incubi and Hellions, who are magnificent (even if it takes an exasperatingly long time to resolve all those splinter pod shots).
I am also happy with the Scourges, even if they didnít get to show their full potential (getting jumped by Drop-Podding Space Wolves will do that to you). Hull Points are the best thing to ever happen to Raiders (no more getting taken down by a single bolter shot). And the Realspace Raiders Detachment plays to the Death Twinkiesí strength of having many great Fast Attack units.
Enough gushing from me. Pat, what did you think about your Wolves?
One of the few times when an enemy charges a Space Wolf unit and wins the fight
Post-Game Analysis by Patrick Eibel
So there was a lot of new stuff for us to keep track of during the game, and for the most part we did a good job. The Tactical Objectives were not as difficult to use as I thought they might be, and really added a different dimension to the game. I could see how, if you got objectives that you could not accomplish, they could be frustrating, but in this battle they worked out fine. Kenton and I have been playing this game for a very long time, and the reason it is still fun for us is that we continue to try new things and we are very forgiving of each other when we make mistakes or forget stuff.
The Space Wolf list did what it was designed to do, which was gratifying. Using the Unleashed detachment really gave the Wolves some unpredictable movement, as units could Outflank from either side of the board (and with Acute Senses, could really dictate where). Combined with the Deep Striking units, I was in the thick of things early, which is where I like to be. I am sad that the Thunderbear Cavalry really didnít get rolling, but they do make themselves a huge target, and any unit would have difficulty surviving the number of shots hurled at them.
I was very impressed by the Dark Eldar. Before, they were glass-jawed bullies that inflicted pain early, but folded like cheap suits in a prolonged fight. Kentonís bad boys weathered the initial blows well and were able to battle back, which is a testament to their new resiliency. The game ending in a draw seems appropriate, as these were some very flavorful armies that were equally matched.
The next battle will pit the current
cheese mongers of 7th Edition against each other ĖNecrons and
Craftworld Eldar. I expect that battle
to be an absolute bloodbath. Sounds like
lots of fun!
Posted July 2015