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1
To be candid, the romance aspect isn't what interests me, it's the link to Thielbane's corsair past. It gives Val that extra dimension that makes her a more interesting character than Allonia was.

Also the image of Thiel looking over and seeing a raider full of wyches staring unblinking at him made me chuckle.

Hmm, that's a good point.  I didn't think of it that way, but I'll see what I can work in for Val in the future.
I'm keeping her in for the DE vs Nids game, so that'll be interesting?  Maybe she'll bag a few big bugs.

I've gotta say, I think your opponent needs to rethink his army somewhat. The Custodes don't seem like a good core for an army. I feel like they'd work better as a massive golden distraction, charging forward and drawing fire while filling the rest of the list with powerful glass cannons, like basilisks and manticores.

Also, Tyranids are coming up? That'll be interesting, I haven't seen a Tyranid player in years.

Thanks for the reply Mabbz,
I agree that the Custodes do seem to struggle in smaller games, as they just don't seem to have the numbers to be everywhere at once.  I personally find them kind of terrifying to deal with as they are so dead hard, but once they start falling, it's hard for them to recover.  Perhaps they work better at higher points values?

I've indeed got a game with the Nids coming up soon and, if I believe the rumours to be true... It's a pretty hard Nids/Genestealer Cult game.  I've not played vs the Cult or the Nids in 8th so I'm looking forward to hopefully a good game with some good tricks on both sides :)

Best,
-BT
2
I've gotta say, I think your opponent needs to rethink his army somewhat. The Custodes don't seem like a good core for an army. I feel like they'd work better as a massive golden distraction, charging forward and drawing fire while filling the rest of the list with powerful glass cannons, like basilisks and manticores.

Also, Tyranids are coming up? That'll be interesting, I haven't seen a Tyranid player in years.
3
To be candid, the romance aspect isn't what interests me, it's the link to Thielbane's corsair past. It gives Val that extra dimension that makes her a more interesting character than Allonia was.

Also the image of Thiel looking over and seeing a raider full of wyches staring unblinking at him made me chuckle.
4
Well, so much for the Emperor's Finest I suppose. It's almost a shame, I'm sure you'd like a challenge, but then I suppose we're all mainly here for the fluff so the battle itself rarely matters unless it ultimately affects the plot.

Speaking of the fluff, always good to see Bella having fun and I'm happy to read more about Val so my suggestion is to keep the Wych Cult in for at least a little while longer.

Looking forward to seeing more of Cogliostro too,

Job's a good un!

Hi Cammerz,
Thanks for the reply!  I suppose I've just gotten used to being the underdog for so long that when I get the pretty brutal wins it's not as fun?  I can only assume so given the somewhat sparse interest, but I really appreciate your comment and I'm also surprised that you liked Val!
Well, I suppose she's more interesting than Allonia?
In any case, if you like the Wyches, I'll keep them around for one more fight as I've got a bug hunt up next.  Yes, very soon I'll be going against Tyranids, and I hope that things will be... interesting at least.

Best,
-BT
5
Well, so much for the Emperor's Finest I suppose. It's almost a shame, I'm sure you'd like a challenge, but then I suppose we're all mainly here for the fluff so the battle itself rarely matters unless it ultimately affects the plot.

Speaking of the fluff, always good to see Bella having fun and I'm happy to read more about Val so my suggestion is to keep the Wych Cult in for at least a little while longer.

Looking forward to seeing more of Cogliostro too,

Job's a good un!
6
Thanks for the kind words Cammerz!

I appreciate the support and patience as I've been a bit overwhelmed lately.
Still, it did make for a... slightly more fluffy report than usual.

Comments greatly appreciated!

Best,
-BT
------------------------------------------


Setup:
Well, this is going to be interesting.  We decided to go for a terrain heavy board with a big line of sight blocking tower in the middle with two ruins to either side. Craters and trees were scattered about, giving hope of cover, but fairly sparse.
My opponent won the roll to put down first and chose the quarter that had slightly better firing lanes.  He put down the Custodes and Shield-Captain in the front, then strung out his Infantry Squads with one squad in the rear with the Russ and Characters.

I held back a bit, putting the Taloi in the front, Bella and the Wracks behind them and then my boats behind that.  I put two units of Warriors in one Raider, Thiel with the Writ and one Warrior squad in the middle Raider and Y'stral, the Succubus and the Wyches in the last one.  The Ravagers went behind everything.  The Reavers went to the left flank, hugging a line of sight blocking building.

My opponent won the roll to go first and took it!  I failed to seize and the game was on.


Picture Caption: Huh, I don't know if it's a good thing or a bad thing that those bikes are so close...

-----------------------------------------------------------------

----------------
Interlude
----------------

Commander McClintock checked his scouting reports and frowned again.  Military intelligence indeed.

Looking up at the massive figure of Shield-Captain Cogliostro, he coughed with as minimal politeness as possible.

The gigantic gilded figure peered downward, his tassle flowing in the wind.
"Oh, hello Commander.  I think we're in luck.  That does look like Eldar down there."

McClintock felt a tremble roll over his sturdy frame, but kept it in as best he could.  "Two tanks, you said, sir.  Two."

Cogliostro peered around the enormous ruins in front of them, trying his best to reconnoiter the darkly coloured vessels that popped in and out of sight.

"Well...  Maybe they're just playing around, trying to use trickery to pad their numbers."

"Our scouts are reporting five sizable Xenos vehicles, three enormous monsters and a smattering of infantry."

Cogliostro nodded in affirmation, "Well, I suppose they went off and found friends as well.  Don't worry, Commander, the matter is well in hand.  We'll do a... pinching... maneuvering...  You know, the one where we fly around to the sides?"

"Pincer movement?"

"Right, so that way they'll have little chance of getting away."

McClintock's fown deepened, "And what's to say they won't do the same to us?"

Cogliostro turned his head up in thought, "Well, I... suppose they could, but they're rather patient-looking over there.  Probably waiting for us to act first in some kind of tactical... whatever.  But not to worry, the might of Custodes will act as a hammer blow that will shatter their plans...  Whatever they are."
---------------------------------------------------------------

X'Bella Le'Gosi floated quietly behind her Taloi, who were arranged carefully for the arrival of more guests.  The Archon had told her that specifically a party of very important individuals would be arriving soon and that she would be the first to welcome them.  The Taloi were given the proper accessories, namely friendly banners, sparkling decorative material and hopefully Mon-Keigh edible consumables.  Indeed, everything seemed well in place.  There was some talking going on as she checked her charges, but whatever it was, the Archon seemed rather pleased with the situation.

"Y'stral, are those... Custodes?"

The strained words came from Dracon (Ex-Farseer) Thielbane, who tried not to let the terror of the small armada of golden giants come over him.

Archon Y'stral let go with a cackling laugh and said, "Oh, yes, Thiel, yes they are.  We hit the jackpot, baby.  Now all we have to do is knock them off their little bikes and bring them back for an amazing trade-in."

Thielbane paused and then replied, "You... are aware that they are supposedly made from the genetic material from their Emperor?"

Y'stral shrugged and said, "So what if they're shinier than usual, doesn't change anything.  They stay away, we blast 'em, and if they get in close then we'll see how good those Wyches of yours really are."

Frowning, Thielbane responded, "I wouldn't call them 'mine,' Y'stral, they're here of their own volition.

The Archon rolled his eyes and sid with dripping sarcasm, "Yeah, sure, Thiel.  Have you even looked at their boat lately?"

Thielbane turned, and swallowed when he saw all of the Wyches staring at him almost unblinking.  There was a palpable hunger in their eyes and it took him more than a moment to look away.

And, of course, that was when the Custodes charged.

------------------------------------------------------------

-----------------
Turn 1: Custodes
-----------------

Commander McClintock roared out the order to fire.  The mortar teams loaded with rigid, mechanical professionalism, and with some satisfaction, McClintock saw the explosives hit home.

But, any sense of pride was short lived, as when the smoke cleared, the Xenos still stood unflinching.  In fact, one of the monsters rose up, and held up... what seemed to be a tray of sweets... This was going to be harder than he thought.

-------------------------------------------
Objectives:
Defend 6

Well, my opponent gets a not too hard to get objective and uses Move, Move, Move to get an Infantry squad moving up towards the sixth marker.  The Custodes all move forwards, getting within shooting range.  The rest of the IG sit still, either in range already with their mortars or out of LoS for the Russ.

The remaining order goes on one of the mortars, but it doesn't help too much, as they just can't seem to wound the Wracks.

The rest of the shooting is fairly straightforward with the Custodes trying out hitting the Wracks first.  A squad of three bikers at long range fire their hurricaine bolters, but the combination of subpar wounds, a solid 4++/FNP save and a bit of dastardly Dark Eldar luck ends up with only one Wrack biting the dust. 
After some thought, the rest of the bolters go into the Raider holding Thielbane (with the Writ), but only a few wounds are done.

-------------------
Turn 1: Dark Eldar
-------------------

"Thiel!  Thiel!"

Thielbane poked his head out from his Raider.  The roar of bolter fire had been almost deafening as a veritable armada's worth of firepower had laid into his ship.  Luckily, the Night Shields had held long enough for the primitive shelling to start.  While not extraordinarily dangerous, the fusillade seemed to go on for quite some time before finally stopping.  Perhaps Y'stral had decided upon the sensible action of not running right into a potential trap.

But, much to his dismay, Thielbane saw Y'stral gesturing to the Writ of the Living Muse at his waist, a gift supposedly from Supreme Leader Vect himself.

"Thiel, get out there and hold up the rock of 'Screw up and I'll eat your kidneys.'  The rest of you, open fire!"

Thielbane barely had time to roll out of the Raider before Disintegrator Cannons roared to life and darklight tore into one of the gilded bikers.  The enormous Mon-Keigh seemed to shrug the shots off at first, a combination of their heavy armor and shields keeping them mostly safe, but the weathering storm took it's toll and the giants fell one at a time, lying still on the ground.

A cackling roar came up from the Kabal around him.

Perhaps victory was not as far-fetched as it seemed?
-------------------------------------------------------

Objectives:
Defend 6

What?  Seriously?  Well, I'm too far for that objective, but I've got more immediate concerns.  Namely, the horde of bikers coming up on my grill.  So I pull back, dropping Thiel out to give everyone re-roll 1's to everything and lay into the closest trio of bikers.  Dissie Cannons show their stuff and with some better than average rolling, they claim the lives of all the bikers for FIRST BLOOD!


Picture Caption: Hold back and fire!


-------------------
Turn 2: Custodes
-------------------

"Cogliostro, you idiot, we're getting torn to pieces!"

Shield-Captain Cogliostro looked over at his fellow Custiodian mere moments before the near-unending volley of Xenos weaponry tore the Jetbike out from under the poor fellow and sent him crashing to the earth.  Things were looking not so great.

"Hmm...  Alright everyone, let's try a charge.  Be quick now."

Grumbling a bit at the lackadaisical order, the Custodes nonetheless readied their lances and charged in.  The enormous warriors shrugged off the patter of incoming fire, but paused when a golden light emerged from the Xenos in front of them.  A massive man, wreathed in a halo of pure energy stood in front of them, and the charge faultered, the confused men pulling up their lances at the last moment.
The Emperor himself?  Somehow restored to his full glory?  How was it...

But, little time was left for thought as the enormous Taloi charged in, their enormous Macro-Scapels slicing with precision strikes, tearing into the flummoxed Custodes.

X'Bella Le'Gosi took careful notes of the Mon-Keigh's reaction to the Vexetor Mask.  Not only was it a sufficient facial transplant, but the mask of the Shadowseer had a rather notable effect upon the subjects in question.  Clearly more study was to be done, she thought as viscera and chunks of armored sailed through the air.
--------------------------------------------------------

Objectives:
Defend 6
Secure 5

I start the turn by telling my opponent that I'm using Architects of Pain on the Taloi, so that they now will hit on 2+ (yay!), hopefully acting as a deterrent for charges.

My opponent gets Secure Objective 5 which is... right next the front line of his infantry.  So, that's 3 VPs for the guard pretty easy as another squad takes objective six without a fight.

The Custodes, seeing my retreat, move up to shoot and assault.
After asking what the stats for the Taloi are, he decides to try and soften them up with Hurricaine bolters.  But, even the mighty bolter doesn't do much and I only lose a few wounds on a Talos.  The rest of the shooting merits little note.
Then, onto the assault!  The furthest squad tries to asault the Talos, but fails it's long charge.  The much closer squad though, manages to charge in, and I hit them with the Vexetor Mask!  The Mask's special rule causes the Custodes to fight last, and the Taloi with their 2+ to hit WIPE OUT the entire jetbike squad!

VP: 3


Picture Caption: Vexetor Mask is awesome!

--------------------
Turn 2: Dark Eldar
--------------------
The shouting was bad enough, but the smell though, that was what started it.

Succubus Vallaria hadn't taken her eyes of Captain Thielbane.  She had to make sure he was real.  She had been wrong before, so many times.  But now, no, things were different.  He was here, but these creatures, these Mon-Keigh, they were trying to take him away.

She shook her head, trying to clear the darkness that was seeping in on the edges.  The Captain liked Craftworld girls.  Normal girls.  She couldn't be abnormal or he might leave.  She just had to smile.  Smile and be pretty.  But, the raw and grating hunger pulsed through her veins and the smell of blood filled her nostrils, tearing into the vast pit of emptiness that was her soul.  There, something sinister rose to the surface, a foreign sentience supplanted by an agreement long ago.  Cracks formed in the mask that she called a face and it began to pour out.  A small snicker escaped through her teeth and then it turned into a stifled laugh and then ripped out of her full-scale in a shaking cackle.  She glanced at the Blood Glaive that pulsed with a visceral energy.  It needed to be fed.  It demanded to be gorged.  And she would give it what it... no, what they... needed.

----------------
Objectives:
Defend 6
Witch Hunter

Ignoring the still mostly pointless objectives, I move up everyone for the kill.  I get the Succubus out and everyone moves over to put the hurt on the surprised Custodes.

Bella uses Fleshcraft on the Talos to heal it up to full.

Shooting has mass darklight (now with blasters) tear apart the last biker squad. 
In assault, the Taloi absorb overwatch.  The Succubus dances into the combat as well.  The big monsters mostly kill the Custodes leader, but it is the Succubus that finishes off Shield-Captain.


Picture Caption: And now it's down the Guardsmen...

--------------------
Turn 3: Custodes
--------------------

"Commander, this is Cogliostro.  I'm in a bit of a pickle.  There was this laughing girl with a very large spear and I'm afraid that I won't be having voluntary movement of my limbs for a little while.  My sincerest apologies, old chap."

McClintock swore as his comm-bead finished the recording.  Shouts brought his attention to the front as a shadowy fleet of dark-masted ships rounded the corner and began to billow into the alleyway.  Blasts of obsidian energy tore into the Guardsmen in front of him, turning them into charred ash that billowed out in a foul tempest.

Things were looked bad indeed.

-----------------------
Objectives:
Behind Enemy Lines
Defend 4
Supremecy

My opponent draws his new objectives and sadly, none of them are very achievable.  With a slight sense of doom after watching the Custodes do their impression of the Charge of the Light Brigade, the IG re-musters their lines.  Shooting does very little as the Mortars are still the only thing in LoS.

VP: 3

Picture Caption: Reform, reform the lines now!

-------------------
Turn 3: Dark Eldar
-------------------
Objectives:
Discard Defend 6
Witch Hunter
Psychological Warfare
Behind Enemy Lines

I throw Thiel and the Succubus back in their Raiders and begin Operation DESTROY ALL INFANTRY. My Mass Darklight moves up to the right while the Taloi and Bella with her Wracks move to the left, flanked by the Reavers.
The Taloi cut down a few Guardsmen with their Haywire blasters and use Fire and Fade to get even closer.
A rain of Disintegrator fire does what it says on the tin and in the end, there's very little of the front line left.

VP: 1

Picture Caption: You know... massive Dissie Cannons work well on Guardsmen too!

-------------------
Turn 4: Custodes
-------------------
Objectives:
Discard Supremacy
Behind Enemy Lines
Defend 4
Defend 1
Secure 3

Wow, my opponent still can't get any points.  The remaining Guardsmen rally and try to pull back to protect the Commander, who runs to the rear of the Russ.
Fire goes on the Reavers, but I use Lightning Reflexes to keep most of the shots off them.

VP:3

Picture Caption: The Imperium is running low...

----------------------
Turn 4: Dark Eldar
----------------------
Objectives:
Witch Hunter
Psychological Warfare
Secure 6
Secure 3

Time to earn some points.  Everyone moves up.  The Darklight farm sits on objective three, while the Wracks move onto objective 6.  Mass fire has the Infantry almost wiped out, save for a few that run away.  The Reavers fly over and tear apart the Commander.  The Psyker is also destroyed, and the Reavers and Taloi consolidate into the Russ.

With basically only a locked-up tank on the field, my opponent concedes.
 
VP: 5

Picture Caption: And that's all she wrote!


-----------------------------
Result: DARK ELDAR VICTORY
-----------------------------

---------------------------------------------------------------

-----------------------
Post-Game Thoughts:
-----------------------

Wow, that was rough.  My opponent wasn't aware of what the Vexetor Mask could do, and I wasn't aware that it would be that epic.  Being able to let the Taloi hit first basically doomed the Custodes, who were relying on locking me up so that I couldn't maneuver into prime Darklight range.  Truly amazing piece of gear.

I really am liking the Covens and Kabals so far.  The Covens are hard enough that they can repel early charges and are pretty fast with the right Stratagems and can just mince anything they run into.  I'm actually surprised with the big Wrack squad, but they are so hard to down with standard S4 fire, they're a nice fire magnet that doesn't give up First Blood that easy.  As their squad is tougher than a Raider, that's no mean feat given that they're less than a hundred points.  Granted, they have no guns and aren't that fast, but if you want something sturdy and cheap, you can't go that wrong.  The Succubus was nice to have, but I wasn't sold on the Wyches and Reavers.  Granted, they didn't get to do that much, but I didn't really have anything meaningful for them to do.  Perhaps I should give them another shot or just focus on my Covens and Kabals?

As for my opponent, he came off just shocked as to how tough the Dark Eldar were, as he was just expecting us to fall over in a light breeze with the Custodes running rampant over everything.  And that might be true IF I didn't take Coven and the Mask.  Given the increasing popularity of the Custodes, I think keeping a solid Coven component is very useful in future lists.  Plus, you know, Bella's fun to write :)

-----------------------------------------------------------

---------------
Epilogue
---------------

X'Bella Le'gosi continued her notes on the battlefield.  Things were rather interesting indeed.  Although projected to be genetically and technologically superior than their Astartes subspecies, the Custodes did not prove to be the exponentially deadly creatures of legend.  The Archon, though, seemed pleased by the course of events.  Captain Thielbane, though, appeared less emotional regarding the battle.

She watched Thielbane, who paced the length of his Raider, trying to keep the rolling mass of emotions inside him.  What was going on?  The battle was straightforward enough, but something had happened to Vallaria.  The sweet, innocent looking girl had turned into a cackling monstrosity, grinning from ear to ear as she tore into the Custodes leader with reckless abandon.  And clearly, from the near orgasmic looks of satisfaction by the other Wyches, this was not out of the ordinary.

He glanced back at Vallaria, who was still staring at him with wide-eyed abandon, and a less dangerous looking smile was on her face.  But, Thiel had seen something monstrous within and that had brought back a small field of memories.
Val was always dangerous. 

And she and her gaggle of Wyches were walking towards him with quicksilver speed.  Before he could act, his Raider was surrounded and there was a flicker in his blind spot.  Thiel felt something grip his sides, and there was Val again, hugging him and looking up with tears in her eyes.  Nodding to herself she said, "You... you are real.  You didn't go away after the battle.  You didn't go away.  You didn't."

Thielbane nodded, but it didn't stop Vallaria, who half-sputtered out, "After I...  we lost you, there was just this void...  I left.  I went back to the arena.  But, it wasn't the same.  I just killed and killed and killed, but nothing really filled me back up.  The cheers, the bloodshed, the backstabbing.  It was just... window dressing.  I... found something that offered me... it... it gave me a semblance of life.  Of feeling.  And that was... bearable.  Until now.  Now, you're back.  And we can do great wonders again.  We can carve a bloody swath from one end of the galaxy to the other and make our enemies weep at the mention of our names.  All who come before us will fall to their knees and beg for mercy...  Doesn't that sound great?"

The Ex-Farseer opened and closed his mouth a few times, but thankfully he heard a familiar shout from below.

"Hey, Wych-pits!  I need to talk to my Dracon!  Back up before you get your stink all over him!"

Thielbane saw Val's eyes widen and her hand go to her Glaive, but there was a familiar sound of Splinter Rifles hissing and he saw the assembled Kabal below, guns drawn, waiting for an excuse.

Trying not to look at her directly, Thielbane felt the Succubus tense, nearly cracking his armor, and then slowly relax, a familiar slow smile creep over her face.

"Alright.  You can talk to him.  After all, he's not going anywhere.  He's staying."

The Wyches leapt off the Raider with acrobatic precision and Thielbane let the breath go that he was holding for far too long.

There was some swearing as Archon Y'tral climbed up the Raider and slumped down next to Thiel, "Man, Wyches.  Can't live with 'em.  Can't get great ratings without 'em."

Thielbane nodded woodenly.

The Archon rolled his eyes in response, sighed and said, "So, what's up with you and crazy-face over there?"

Tapping his lip in thought for a moment, Thielbane pondered the wisdom of opening up one's sort-of-hidden past to a known sociopathic maniac, and then said in a low voice, "I met Val during my... bad phase.  I had just left the Craftworld after some... disagreements with the Council.  It lead to a lot of... anger issues.  And Val...  Well, she wanted to kill me at first.  Came looking for my head during a Realspace Raid and I... uh... convinced her to give up a middling life of a Hekatrix to join my crew.  She was... really... motivated.  Deadliest thing with a blade I've ever seen.  She loved it.  And me.  Perhaps too much.  So I... took measures to make sure when I made my clean break back to the Craftworlds she wouldn't... have reason to follow me.  Yes it was... kind of underhanded.  But, necessary.  Really."

Y'stral nodded, "Right, so she's your crazy girl.  Remember rule #1 Thiel: Don't bang the crazy.  That is, unless you plan on shooting her.  After or during.  Either's fine really."

Thielbane sighed, "Thanks Y'stral, I can always count on your sage advice."

The Archon laughed in response and said, "You know it Thiel.  After all, this is only the beginning."

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7
General 40k and Expansions / Re: Ork and Space Wolf Codexes Incoming!
« Last post by Irisado on June 03, 2018, 02:49:21 PM »
The plural of codex is codices ;).  I agree with the sentiment behind your statement though.

This is one of those situations where GW cannot please everyone.  On the one hand, a slow release rate leaves some struggling with an out of date codex.  On the other, the fast release rate does cause problems for those who do not have a great deal of disposable income.  Fortunately, I only really play one army in 40K, so I can ignore most of these releases.
8
General 40k and Expansions / Re: Ork and Space Wolf Codexes Incoming!
« Last post by Cammerz on June 02, 2018, 09:31:44 AM »
This quick turn-over of codicies (yes GW, the plural of Codex is codicies, I'm sure you used to get this right) must be really hard on the wallets of people with multiple armies. I still haven't picked them up for my: Tau, Imperial Guard, Chaos Space Marines or Daemons.

I'm hoping that the new Ork codex might actually be accompanied by a green tide of new models (the warbuggy must be about as old as I am and why aren't the Assault on Black Reach Deffkoptas available as their own box these days?).
9
General 40k and Expansions / Ork and Space Wolf Codexes Incoming!
« Last post by BigToof on June 01, 2018, 11:22:01 PM »
Hi All,
News today: Ork and Space Wolf Codexes are next!
Hopes are high that both will be good, and as they are two of my favorite armies, they will have reps for sure!

And here I was just having fun with the Dark Eldar...

Best,
-BT
10
After only two reports with him I'm fast becoming a fan of Cogliostro, he's written in a way that I can even hear his accent while reading his lines.

I also like that we're slowly getting more details about Thielbane's corsair past, the odd detail now and then allowing us to piece it together instead of one big info-dump, which of course encourages people to read every report.

I suppose if you destroy the Russ then you don't need to be overly concerned with the rest of the Guard so you can focus fire on the Custodes, not sure how well that'll work but good luck.

Looking forward to the rest of the report.
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