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Messages - BigToof

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Dark Eldar vs. Custodes/IG (1500, 5/18) in "The Golden Guard Returns!"
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Hi All,
This rep brings back one of my more recent mates who is piloting the Custodes again!
I think it's pretty much the same list, but with a change-out of the IG relic for a sweet Custodes relic bike and plasma guns instead of flamers.  But, I'm not running the tough-as-nails Eldar this time.
This time it's the glass hammer of the Dark Eldar.
And I'm... not as optimized as I could be.
As my last game felt a bit too... one-sided, I decided to go with some Wych cult action.
Reavers are supposed to be the new rule of cool, so I threw them in with a Succubus and a side order of Wyches.

Did it work out?
Was it too weak-sauce?

Read on and see!

Best,
-BT
P.S.  Fluff is here too!  Comments and critiques are greatly appreciated!

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The Lists
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Dark Eldar 1500: 43 Infantry, 3 MCs, 5 Vehicles; 8 CPs
Black Heart Battalion
-Archon w/Huskblade, Blaster
-Archon w/Venom Blade, Blaster
-Warriorsx5 w/Blaster
-Warriorsx5 w/Blaster
-Warriorsx5 w/Blaster
-Raider w/DCannon
-Raider w/DCannon
-Raider w/DCannon
-Ravager w/DCannonsx3
-Ravager w/DCannonsx3
Cult of the Red Grief Patrol
-Succubus
-Wychesx8 w/Shardnet
-Reaversx6
Prophets of Flesh Patrol
-Haemonculus
-Wracksx10
-Talosx3 w/Chain Flail, Macro-Scapel, Haywire Blastersx6
Artifacts of Cruelty: Writ of the Living Muse, Blood Glaive, Vexator Mask
Warlord: Labrynthine Cunning, Hyper-Swift Reflexes, Diabolical Soothsayer
Drugs: Succubus +1S, Wyches +1A, Reavers +1T

The Golden Guard 1500: 42 Infantry, 1 Vehicle; 9 CPs
Custodes Outriders
-Shield-Captain on Aquila Jetbike (Relic), Salvo Launcher
-Vertus Praetorsx3 w/Hurricaine Bolter, Misericordia
-Vertus Praetorsx3 w/Hurricaine Bolter, Misericordia
-Vertus Praetorsx3 w/Hurricaine Bolter, Misericordia
Cadian Battalion
-Company Commander
-Lord Commissar
-Tank Commander w/Battle Cannon, Lascannon
-Primaris Psyker w/Force Staff, Psychic Barrier
-Infantry Squad w/Plasmagun, Mortar
-Infantry Squad w/Plasmagun, Mortar
-Infantry Squad w/Plasmagun, Mortar
Warlord: CC: Grand Strategist

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Chapter 16: Darling in the Webway
---------------------------------

Ex-Farseer/Dracon Thielbane of the Kabal of the Bloody Hand pressed by another group of Drukhari Warriors.  The Warriors, all relatively young, looked at him with a look of disdain.  This was somewhat understandable, as he wasn't wearing his usual Dracon garb, finding the inner pain-barbs to be not to the liking of most reasonable Eldar.  However, this did mean that navigating the growing crowds was becoming more and more difficult.  He wasn't sure of it was Archon Y'stral's recent alliance with the Kabal of the Black Heart had done it, or if it was just some kind of Commeraugh event, but the ranks of the Drukhari had swollen rather significantly.

For Thielbane, it was a surprise seeing so many new faces, given that the Eldar were supposed to be dying race.  Of course, he had to admit, that was the Craftworld variety.  There were whispered rumours that the denizens of the Dark City had ways to churn out mass-produced Aeldari in near mind-numbing numbers, but he had never put much stock to it all.

Whatever the cause of it all, there were now more Dark Eldar in one place than he had seen.  Perhaps ever.  Although, his days as a Corsair Prince were probably close.  He shrugged to himself.  But, that was a different person.  Customary to the Paths of the Craftworld, Thielbane had shed his old life before walking the Path of the Seer and thus had left his past deeds (and misdeeds) behind him.  It was like the old skin of a Warp Spider, things lost to the passing of time.

Finally having made his way to Y'stral antechamber, Thielbane took a moment to readjust his Biel-tan robes.  There were supposed to be the leaders of a potential ally faction that were coming to meet them, and first impressions, as always, were very important.

With a gesture, the spiked-iris door opened with a hiss, and inside a small cadre of scantily-clad Drukhari stood, turning to face him with blades at their hips. 

Wyches? 

This was unexpected.  Y'stral had a way of putting off the more delicately-nuanced Arena fighters with his less-than-subtle antics.  Bowing with respect, he was almost caught off guard when the pointy-armored Y'stral walked out of their midst, cackling near-manically.  The Archon was his usual self, that to mean equal parts blood-thirsty monster and conniving madman.

"Thiel!" the Archon crowed, clasping him rather uncomfortably on the shoulder.  "Glad you could make it.  Ladies, this is Captain Thielbane.  My Dracon.  Like I said."

Thielbane nodded to the assembled crew of Wyches, who looked him up and down with a look that a butcher gave to a rather exquisite piece of meat.  But, they parted when an elegant figure wielding an enormous Glaive strode forward.  Like the other Wyches, she was scant of clothing, showing off enough ivory skin to make certain parts of Thiel's anatomy spring to attention in a rather undiplomatic way.  However, unlike the others, she had an elegant whirl of body-paint that started on her blade arm and worked it's way up to her face, which was rather surprisingy soft with none of the harsh edges and glares that he had come to expect from the leaders of the Wych cults.  And she clearly was high up in the ranks with a number of odds and ends draped about her that were clearly trophies from presumably rather nasty opponents.

Before he could say anything, there was a blur of motion and the lead Wych was suddenly very close with the edge of her gigantic blade against his throat.  He glanced over at Y'stral and saw that he was similarly surrounded by the other Wyches, who had their blades drawn and settled against varying parts of his anatomy.  And much to Thielbane's irritation, the Archon seemed to be enjoying every moment of it.

Thielbane looked down at the Wych, who looked up at him with a sudden fury and said in soft, velvet tones, "Whoever you are impostor, know that you will die by my hand for daring to call yourself by the name of the greatest Aeldari the universe has ever known."

He blinked.  Something about her voice, her face.  Memories that were long since buried came back to life and a name popped up into his head.  "Val?  Is... Is that you?"

The Wych took a step back and Thielbane let a breath go that he didn't know he was keeping in.  "Thiel...," whispered the girl, "C...  Captain?"

Thielbane nodded, rubbing the back of his head in embarressment, "Uh, hi.  Val.  Yeah, it's... it's... been a while."

The Wych's mouth dropped open and Thielbane both saw and felt a panaply of emotions cross over her face.  "How?  It's... impossible.  You died.  You were..."

Trying to inject, Thiel gestured pointedly and said, "Can we... talk about this somewhere else?"

Still, the Drukhair continued as if in a waking dream, her eyes unfocused as if seeing something else far away.  "We all saw the explosion.  There wasn't even enough left for the Haemonculi to try and resurrect.  I... don't... understand..."

Nodding, Thielbane said, "Yeah... about... that...  I mean there's a reasonable explanation about..."

Suddenly, she whipped her head up and forcefully cut him off, "I don't care."

It was Thiel's turn to be more than a bit confused.  "W... What?"

"I'm just... happy you're alive."

Then, with surprising speed yet again, the Wych was next to him, holding him in an embrace that was shocking to everyone else in the room.  Especially Thielbane. 

It was such a foreign gesture amongst the Drukhari.  To leave yourself open to attack in so many ways, especially by someone who was so clearly a veteran of the Arena, was just... unfathomable.

Taking a moment to let it all sink in, Theilbane ventured to say,  "I... Thanks.  Val.  I...  I didn't..."

Looking up at him with a look of unbridled joy, she replied , "It's ok.  You're back.  We're back.  It's... all perfect now."

Y'stral coughed, drawing everyone's attention to the Archon who was still surrounded by a forest of drawn blades.  "AHEM.  Are you two done?  There's a lot of Mon-Keigh who aren't going to be killing themselves you know."

Thielbane nodded and said, "Uh, right.  Sorry."

The Wych let him go and Thielbane noticed that she blushed when he caught her eye and she looked away. 

Vallaria.  She hadn't changed.

Or rather.  She had.  A lot.  His memories were still rather foggy.  He had been lucky to get a name.

Y'stral sighed and said, "Right, so Thiel, you know the Succubus.  That means we're good to go, right?"

Thielbane looked rather surprised at Vallaria, who smiled and nodded.  Someone had gone up in the world.

The Archon continued, "So, now that we're not into stabbing each other, as fun as that might be, I've got some sweet, sweet extra-prime Mon-Keigh that need harvesting.  All we have to do is pick them up."

Thielbane frowned.  That sounded far too easy.  What wrinkle was...

There was a hiss of the door opening again, and the end of what sounded like a babble of words came through.  And Thielbane was a bit surprised to see Bella and Starsparkle.  Bella was her usual self, reading her book and not paying attention to anything in the slightest, especially not the overly animated figure next to her.  Done up to the nines with dyed hair and glittery sparkles covering nearly the entirety of her body was Starsparkle, the youngest of the Drukhari and one of the most skilled Reaver Arena Champion Thiel had ever met.  Although, he had to admit that it had been some time since he had seen her.

"Bella.  Star," said Thielbane in greeting.  "We have... a guest...  This is..."

"Oh, right!" Starsparkle said, "I'm supposed to be doing introductions.  This Succubus Vallaria of the Cult of the Red Grief.  The Mistress of Madness.  Sorry I'm late.  I just had to find Bella.  Oh, hey!  You're still alive, Captain!  That's great!  I thought we were going to kill you."

Thielbane felt his blood freeze again, but before he could speak, Vallaria was in front of him, smiling a familiar nervous grin.

"No, no darling, that's not it.  I just thought someone was using your name, and I was coming to... rectify that situation.  That's it."

Thielbane swallowed, nodded and said, "Well, I'm... glad then... about... that."

Star continued, "Yeah, I mean, who'd have thunk it that after I got sold off to the Cult of the Red Grief that I'd be back here so soon."

At the word, "sold," Thielbane whirled his head back to glare at Y'stral, who just shrugged.
"Yeah, yeah, yeah, Thiel.  She wasn't doing much and it's a real pain to keep Wyches and their ilk on the payroll now-a-days.  Just doesn't fit in with the look of it all.  Can't have all spikey Kabals and one Wych wandering around.  Doesn't look good.  We got a good price for her, don't worry."

As he was about to say something, there was a blur, and once again, Vallaria was in his face, smiling again.  "And it was a good thing that she came to my cult too.  Otherwise we would never have met each other again.  By the Muses...  I think...  I think this is fate."

"Uh, yeah," said Starsparkle edging her way to the nearby Wyches who were still stunned.  "This is... completely normal.  Umm... Hey, are we... going on a raid then?"

Thiel again tried to find his words, but this time it was Archon Y'stral who appeared between Thielbane and the Succubus.  Throwing his arms around both of them, he drew them together and Thielbane felt some familiar soft curves press up against him.  Vallaria blushed again, and Thielbane felt more faint memories churn in the backseat of his brain.

"Absolutely," said the Archon, "I mean, we've gotta celebrate this day, right?  The Muses and stuff.  Let's get our kill on.  The Mon-Keigh won't know what hit them."

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"This tea is rather wonderful."

There was a slight clatter of porcelein as the enormous figure of Shield-Captain Cogliostro of the Adeptus Custodes carefully put down the delicately decorated cup.  Dwarfed by the super-human was Commander Argus McClintock of the Cadian 758th.  The bearded man nodded with as much politeness as he could muster, his cybernetic eye humming in the dim light of the officer's tent.
"So, now that the pleasantries are done," said the Commander in a grizzled tone, "I take it now's the time for you to lay it on us what you and your golden boys are doing out here?"

Cogliostro nodded rather excitedly and said, "Oh, yes, quite.  We're getting vengeance for our fallen brethren.  Both you know, Custodes and Militarum.  I was in a tussle with some Eldar that went... badly really.  Bit of a shame, that.  Fell into a bout of sad-sack myself until I was told that we could have a second round with the Xenos.  Rather nice of the Emperor to allow that."

There was a clatter of silverware, and Cogliotstro saw that the Commander had nearly dropped his cup.

"The... The Emperor?" whispered McClintock, "The... Emperor himself sent you?"

Tapping his finger against his chin in thought, Cogliostro said, "Well, I suppose that's a rather technical turn of the phrase really.  Rather complicated.  More to say that we're here in the service of the Emperor whose decision tree was sorted through a number of Adeptus Administrum departments.  But still... kind of through the Emperor."

"Oh," said the Commander, who just felt an entire conversation fly over his head with the speed and distance of a Valkyrie on full-burn.  "So... what you're saying is that you're here to Purge the Alien and you want our help."

"Quite," said the Shield-Captain, "Jolly good that you understand that so well.  Very impressed with you and your men."

McClintock nodded and said, "Not to... question anything, sir, but... you do realize that we're at the end of a major engagement ourselves and our number are... less than substantial."

Cogliostro said excitedly, "Oh, yes, but don't fault that to yourselves.  That sort of thing just happens.  We just need some escorts to make sure that those dastardly Xenos don't get away."

The Commander rubbed his chin and said, "Well, I... suppose we can act to pick off the stragglers.  How large of a force are you expecting?"

Humming in thought, Cogliostro replied, "Well, the last time I saw them it was just two tanks and a handful or three of them.  Not much to deal with.  And according to this intelligence report there's sighting of them not that far away.  With any luck, they should come right to us."

Frowning, McClintock could only nod.  It sounded far too easy.  Hopefully the Administratum had actually done their job this time instead of the usual half-made haberdashery that came out of the so-called "intelligence" operations.  All he could do now was hope.  For whatever tha was worth in the 41st millennium.

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Pre-Game Thoughts: Well, looking at the lists, I can say this is going to be a tough fight.  Those Custodes are worth their weight in literal gold and are each monstrous to take down.  Four wounds each with a 2+/4++ save means I'm going to have to work overtime to kill even one squad.  I'd love to use Blasters on them, but with their 14" move that means that if I fail to do the job, they'll be all over me.
Bella and her friends may be some decent speed-bumpbs, but with their 2+WS, I think the Custodes will either outmaneuver or outfight them.  I can easily see them getting run around and then shot or stabbed to bits.
And speaking of stabbing, I have my very, very untested tiny Wych patrol with a Blood Glaive Succubus and a group of Reavers and Wyches who will hit with all the fury and impact of wet packing foam against the Golden Giants.

So, my plan?  Hope that the game will let me run around and pray for good rolls.  I suspect this may not go well for the Dark Ones.

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Mission: Tactical Escalation (Draw up to round #, Prioritize one type; both took Take and Hold (Secure))
Setup: Search and Destroy (Diagonal w/18" circle)


Setup-Sneak Peek

Picture Caption: Right.  You stay on your side and I'll stay on mine!

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To Be Continued!

2
Its alright if the battles are one sided, some of us just keep coming back for the excellent fluff ;)

Thanks for the reply!  I'm glad that the rep wasn't off putting and I appreciate the compliments on the fluff!
Let me know what you think of the new one as well!


I'm somewhat unsure about the Cult (Wyches and what-not) this edition.  Considering taking them out, but fluff-wise do you consider them as interesting as the Haemonculus Covens?


As interesting as Bella? Certainly not.
To be honest, I've grown a little disinterested in Allonia and Ray'keth's rivalry. It just doesn't really go anywhere. I wouldn't mind if you just wrote them out entirely.
It'll save more space for the characters we're invested in, or feasibly some new characters if you've got some good ideas for any.

Hi Cammerz!

Thanks for the reply.  I've got a new rep up with a few new Characters.  Let me know what you think.

3
I actually missed the audio-drama.  That's great news.
Have you listened to any of GW's audio works?  I've not tried them yet, but if it's decent, I'm enthused to have a listen.
The Sister also looks good.  I hope the rules will be solid as well, and GW will have a real hit.
Heavens knows I'll buy them.

Best,
-BT

4
Well that seemed to go well, I guess the problem with the guard was that all of their anti-tank was on their tanks and all of their massed infantry was just anti-infantry. I'm just speculating, I'm not sure how I would have done anything any different.

Loving Bella of course, can't go wrong with a report balancing her unique perspective with Thielbane's straight-man character reacting to the surrounding madness.

Not sure what else to say,

Job's a good un!

Hi Cammerz,
Thanks for the reply.  I'm always a bit worried about putting up a rep that is too one-sided, but I suppose that won't always be the case.  I've played a few more games with the Dark Eldar and they are pretty mean, but fear from invincible.
And I'm glad you liked the fluff!
I'm somewhat unsure about the Cult (Wyches and what-not) this edition.  Considering taking them out, but fluff-wise do you consider them as interesting as the Haemonculus Covens?

Best,
-BT

5
Thank you all for the kind words!
"Wait..." said the Farseer, "Didn't...  Didn't your Kabal fight Vect and Lady D'ysperax not that long ago?  Didn't we... nearly kill them?"
Heh,I remember that battle. I may have to go back and reread it.

You know, I enjoy all your characters, but Bella is definitely one of my favourites. She's adorable! And so is the image of a talos in a party hat!

Anyways, you said DE are more powerful than Tau, and since you won your previous battle that pretty much proves that you'll win this one. Still, I look forward to seeing how you manage it.

Quick question, you fought the guard a few times now. Would you say they're more or less powerful than the Tau? I've been thinking of reviving my old mech guard army since I can't seem to win with tau without using a nearly pure gunline which I find boring.

Hi Mabbz,
Thanks for the reply.  The Guard is about the same power level as the Tau.  They're just different in that some of their power is more reliable, but both armies are looking fairly gunline or infantry heavy at the moment.  I haven't seen too much mech yet, but maybe that'll change soon with the new FAQ out.  I think pure guard does need some kind of kick though to make them stand out, and that seems to vary from a super-heavy, some Bullgryn or something else fairly nasty.  Pure Infantry can work too, but it's a lot of work both with models and the like.  Still, Lemun Russes seem to be pretty solid overall.

I'd forgotten just how much I enjoyed reading the tales of Bella, I hope the battle goes well for her so we can read even more.

I'm liking what I'm seeing so far, bring on the rest of the report.

Thanks for the reply Cammerz!
I'm glad I still have the knack for writing Bella, she's one of my favorites too :)

Hope you all like the rest of rep!

Best,
-BT

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Setup
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Well, setup is an interesting one.  My opponent is rather surprised by the sheer volume of guys I have available, and when I set the trio of Talos down, he becomes rather worried about the center.  I put the Talos down in the middle on my front line with Bella and a Raider with Wracks and my Writ Archon (in the fluff as Thielbane) behind them.  Razorwings on the sides and then the rest of my army goes in reserves using Screaming Jets.  I also use a CP to give Bella Diabolical Soothsayer, which then gives me back 3 CPs (Best Warlord Trait ever?) and the Vexetor Mask for another CP.

My opponent proceeds to put his Lemun Russes behind the big LoS blocking building to hide them from the Talos (probably anyway) with the Chimera and one Manticore between them.  One Manticore goes into each of the ruins on the corner and my opponent wraps each of them with an infantry blob.  The Sentinels are deployed more conservatively and the rest of the Guard make nice lines to try and hedge me out.

Dark Eldar finished deploying first and win the roll off!

IG fails to seize and the game is on!


Picture Caption: Can I crack this nut?


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Turn 1: Dark Eldar
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"Bella!" screamed Thielbane, trying to keep his feet planted on the Raider rocking seismically from the Imperal bombardments.

Either the Haemonculus couldn't hear him or was just unflinchingly apathetic to his pleas, it was hard to say.  Then, Y'stral's voice came screeching in over the comms:

"Haemo!  Get up there and show the Mon-Keigh a good time.  Thiel!  Get out of the Raider or we're going to smash it to bits!"

Thielbane looked up, swore and sprinted out of the Raider, skidding to stop as a quartet of Drukhari warships landed around him in perfect synchronicity.

Archon Y'stral was at the head of the lead Raider, cackling with delight.
"Thiel, get that Writ-thing out!  Minions!  That's the word of Vect himself!  Don't screw this up if you know what's good for you!"

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Thielbane bails out to the right, advancing and setting up a nice LoS to the backfield  Manticore and Russ.
The Talos advance, as does Bella.  The Razorwings move at angle to criss-cross the center building (and thus prevent any shenanigans from the Guard to crash them).
The Raider moves to the right in front of Thiel and the rest of my army arrives from their Screaming Jets to pile around Thiel.

Shooting is actually not as amazing as I would have thought given everyone's gnashing of teeth, but I wreck the right-most Russ, the center Manticore and put about half or so wounds on the Chimera.
I also use the Fire and Fade stratagem and get the Talos on top the building ready for a Turn 2 assault!


Picture Caption: Huh, that was... kind of mild shooting.  Hopefully not a sign of things to come?


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Turn 1: Imperial Guard
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Sparks shot off like maddened fireworks inside the Commander Chimera, forcing Commander Jenkins to keep his head down as some kind of dark Xenos weaponry fried out some of the systems of the tank.

But, the Tech-priests had made these things to last and a little something like losing half the electronics wouldn't do much to the Machine Spirit.
Or... so he hoped.

"Everyone listen up!" barked the Commander, "We're only going to get one shot at this!  Focus Fire on those monsters up there, we're..."

There was a sudden high-pitched screech and Jenkins forced the Comm-Bead out of his ear in shock and pain.

What was that?  How did the Xenos figure out their comm-frequency?

"Get me another frequency!" yelled the Commander, "We have to act quickly before it's too late!"

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

IG answers back with the Lemun Russ and Chimera moving to the left out of LoS from the Ravager/Raider park that just showed up.  The Sentinels move up to BarBQ the Razorwings (I still don't understand how that works, but I guess it does?).
The Guardsmen all move around to recreate a second line of defense with one Sentinel and a unit of Guardsmen being thrown to the metaphorical wolves to slow down the Talos.

Shooting starts with a not great FRF/SRF as 6's to wound against the Talos is just really, really hard to get (or so it seemed).  The remainder of the Infantry all drop their Mortars on the big guys and finally manage to weasel a wound through.
My opponent then decides to use his Coordinated Firepower stratagem... that is... IF IT WASN'T BLOCKED BY THE AGENTS OF VECT! (Cue airhorns).

A bit put off, he decides to throw shots out with his last Russ and the Chimera, which do very little damage through my 4++ invul save.  One Manticore opens up and only gets 5 shots, which do nothing to the Talos.  Deciding that perhaps the Talos have just been a massive Distraction Carnifex (Kinda...), my opponent decides to do the somewhat questionable action of shooting at one of the Ravagers instead and does some wounds, but not enough to lower it's stats.  The Sentinels then somehow shoot at the airborne Ravagers and do a few wounds each.


Picture Caption: Talos is the new Distraction Carnifex?


-----------------------
Turn 2: Dark Eldar
-----------------------

X'Bella Le'Gosi watched the approaching human line with her usual head-turning assessment.  The humans were assembled in orderly lines and were releasing some kind of brightly-coloured energy salvos at the Talos.  Nothing had really happened as the lights bounced off the heavily armoured creatures and Bella's mind was racing with conjectures.

The Archon had said that she should "show them a good time," which had at least 304 different meaning depending on the variables.

But, given the setting of a "party," the lines and light-show could mean only one thing:

This was a DANCE PARTY.

Sliding her hands through the air, her silent commands went out amongst the Talos, who instantly responded.  They raised their arms in the air (like they just didn't care) and began to do their best impressions of prancing around like a drug-fueled Wych while whirling their chains in a hopefully celebretory manner and firing their Haywire Blasters in return.

There was a pause and the humans began shouting loudly as the enormous creatures fell amongst them.  The Talos were clearly doing their best to find dancing partners amongst the mass of suddenly very lively humans.

Bella nodded in approval as mostly intact Guardsmen began hurtling through the air.  This was surely the most apropriate choice of action.

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

Everyone moves up with the Talos especially getting ready to jump the front line offerings.  The Razorwings zoom around.  Bella heals one of Talos for 3 wounds using the Fleshcraft Strategem.

I delete all of the Sentinels with fine Blaster and Dissie fire and wipe out one of the Infantry squads on the right.  The Talos fire their Haywire and surprisingly are able to finish off the Chimera while the Razorwings start to try and chip away at the Russ.  In a stroke of poor luck, the Psyker is lost in the Chimera wreck.

Then it's on to the Assault!

The Talos pretty much ignore all of the Overwatch and come in, chopping the Sentinel to bits with their Macro-Scapels and then the fury of the Chain-Whip is unleashed, easily tearing apart the Guard squad.


Picture Caption: Right, well, perhaps the Talos ARE something to worry about.


------------------------
Turn 2: Imperial Guard
------------------------

Not again, thought Commander Jenkins to himself as the front lines began to crumple.  The enormous creatures had suddenly gone insane and were ignoring the enormous volleys of lasguns fired indiscriminately at them.  Jenkins had elbowed the Psyker out of the way of the flaming Chimera, and he felt only a vague twinge of guilt at letting the mutant die horribly in the smoke and flames.

But, he had to admit, swallowing nervously at the incoming monstrosities, perhaps the Pysker had taken the easy way out.

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

My opponent moves another Infantry squad up to the Talos grinder and everyone who can pulls back.

Shooting goes out again with everything aiming at the Talos.
I don't have enough CPs to attempt to deny the Strategem again, and after the fury of Lasgun, Mortar and Shells, the Talos are left with a single wound remaining on one of the monsters, but the other two are completely intact!  (I blame my janky 4++ invul rolls)


Picture Caption: This... probably isn't good news for the IG.


-------------------------
Turn 3: Dark Eldar
-------------------------

Hekatrix Allonia swore as something slammed against the hull of her Razorwing.  It was bad enough that they had to fight at such low altitudes that the Mon-Keigh could reach out and touch them, but now things were getting much more annoying with debris hitting...

A faint wailing brought her attention to her windshield and paled when she saw the half-rent form of a Guardsman, holding on with a vice like grip to nose of her plane.

Allonia snarled and jerked the controls to the side, but the human was wedged in tight.

"Nice one, Allonia," came the annoying snarky tone of Hekatrix Ray'keth from the cockpit of her Razorwing, "I guess you're picking up your date for tonight?"

"Shut up, Ray'keth," said Allonia, ignoring the closely passing Jetfighter.  It was only for a split-second, but Allonia could clearly see her rival making a rude gesture with her fingers as they passed.  It was bad enough that they had been forced into joining a Kabal of all things, but having only Ray'keth to be compared against was an insult that boiled within her.

Snarling, Allonia pitched the Jetfighter into a roll, and when she righted herself, she could only sigh when she saw that part of the human had gotten stuck in her fuselage and was now flapping along completely jammed into her plane.

At least they were winning the battle.  But, Ray'keth would never let her hear the end of all this.

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

Everyone moves in for the kill.

I park the Raiders and Ravagers on top the building.
The Talos FLOAT over the heads of the bedraggled front line who only now realize the folly of trying to block flying MCs.  Razorwings zoom around some more.

Shooting has the Russ nearly wrecked and decent damage done to the Infantry squads.

In Assault, the Talos do a massive 3 way assault and finish off all of the Infantry and the remains of the Russ on the left as they are now hitting on 2+!


Picture Caption: Right, I think we can now say that Talos are pretty nasty for T3 Guardsmen.


------------------------
Turn 3: Imperial Guard
------------------------

Commander Jenkins sprinted for dear life as the Lemun Russ next to him was rent asunder by the Xenos.  How had this happened?  There were only supposed to be four of the creatures, not an overwhelming horde!

Skidding to a stop, he motioned for the last of his men to form a defensive line.

They would it, or die trying.

-----------------------------------------------------
With not too much left, the Guard try to cluster their Characters near the center.
Shooting has the Manticores finally dropping the really wounded Talos.


Picture Caption: Well, you done good Talos.  You done good.


------------------------
Turn 4: Dark Eldar
------------------------

"STOP!"

The command echoed out amongst the Raiders, and the Kabalities pulled their hands off their weapons instinctively.

Thielbane turned in confusion, as he saw Y'stral whip out his Huskblade and leap off the Raider, landing with a screeching wail as the Archon barreled straight towards the last Guardsmen amongst the poisoned and disintegrated remains of the last stand that had been set up so hastily.

The Mon-Keigh leader was barely visible amongst the haze, but there was a snicker-snakt of a blade and only a shriveled husk fell to the earth.

Y'stral howled in glory, but Thielbane tried not to roll his eyes.  They had a veritable armada of weaponry yet unfired.  Surely there were more effecient uses of time.

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


Y'stral wants some glory as he pops out with some Wracks for backup.
The Talos move in to hit the left Manticore.

Shooting wipes away the screen for the Archon who wants the Commander for himself.
The Talos also do a good number of wounds to the Manticore.

The Assault is pretty brutal as the Archon takes down the Commander in a flurry of totally unnecessary Huskblade hits and my Talos finish off the Manticore after wading through some not-too-scary overwatch.
 

Picture Caption: Right, no need to hit them too hard when they're down...

-------------------------
Turn 4: Imperial Guard
-------------------------
My opponent is down to one Manticore with one rocket left, one Commissar and an Infantry squad.
He fires the Rocket to try and finish a Ravager, fails and then calls the game.


Picture Caption: And that's it!

---------------------------------
Result: Dark Eldar Victory!
---------------------------------

Post-Game Thoughts: Wow, that was rough.  The Dark Eldar hit like a truck compared to... well... pretty much almost any army out there. 

Including Eldar.

It's mostly just numbers, but you can build your army in a number of exciting ways now.  My current build was unintentionally very light in Infantry, so my opponent which had a massive load of anti-Infantry in it's Guardsmen could do very little.  And the anti-Tank focussed on the Talos, but with first turn, I was able to get too close using Fire and Fade, and I had hit his armor hard enough that it just wasn't effective enough to hurt the big guys.  Although, if he had fired that lost Manticore shot during his turn 1, he might have taken one MC down, but I'm not sure how much of a difference that would have made...  It had just hit me after the battle that I had lost one Talos.  Just ONE out of my entire army.  The rest of the units were somewhat damaged, but still functional.  In return, the Guard had gotten almost all of it's units wiped.  Harrowing indeed.

Right, once again, let's do this proper:

1) Archons: B+
A bit pricey for what they do, but the Writ and re-rolls makes them very useful and the very accurate blaster and hella-painful Huskblade make them finally good.  That said, they're still pricey.

2) Haemonculus: B+
Bella healed the Talos and gave me bonus CP's!  What's not to love?  However, she just didn't do that much as she wasn't needed on the front lines...

3) Warriors: B+
Good and cheap.  The blaster is so much deadlier at 1d6 damage that I didn't mind at all.

4) Raiders: B+
DCannon Raiders put in work and with re-rolls they can finally do some damage!

5) Ravagers: A
Triple cheap-as-chips Dissie Ravagers HURT things.  I liked using them and with only two I didn't feel that much of a pinch when I had to put Thiel back in his Raider to zoom around.

6) Razorwings: B+
Pretty solid anti-tank and anti-infantry.  No complaints, but they were kind of awkward when zooming around the center.  Not sure if better than a Ravager for it's points.

7) Wracks: B
Fairly cheap, didn't do anything this game...

8) Talos: A
Just amazing.  I had very low expectations, but they tanked hard with their 3+/4++ with FNP on top.  And they hit like a truck too against Guardsmen.  Love 'em.  In a unit of 3 with Fire and Fade they can really move across the table and with the ability to fly they are hard to screen against.  Just really great units overall.

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

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

Thielbane walked across the ruined battlefield taking stock of their situation.  It was a clear victory, but it seemed hollow compared to before.  Granted, he had told himself that it was for the good of the Craftworlds, but how much of that was true.
Smiting a petty force of Mon-Keigh who were really doing not that much themselves for what seemed like a few moments of amusement was little reward in the grand scheme of things.

And how much was... he paused as he saw Hekatrixes Allonia and Ray'keth, clad in their tight-fitting Wychsuits walking over from their Razorwings.  The taller, bustier and far more crass Ray'keth was whispering something to Allonia, who did her best to keep her raven-hair from exploding with rage.  Something had happened out there, perhaps it was best to find out.

As he neared, Ray'keth bowed dramatically and Allonia gave a curt, respectful gesture from the arena, which in it's more simplistic way meant more to Thielbane.  That, and the fact that she was his on-and-off again lover.  But, the two were looking at him in a rather unusual way.

"So, you're the new Dracon?" said Ray'keth, a finger playing along her bottom lip.  "You're handsomer than I would have thought."

Allonia rolled her eyes and said, "Ray'keth, he's in full armor.  You can't see anything."

Ray'keth narrowed her gaze and snarled at her rival, "Oh, yes.  So, you're calling him hideous, then?  How narrow minded Allonia.  Perhaps that's why you were draging that poor Mon-Keigh half-torn-up across the warzone."

"That means nothing and you know it," shot back Allonia.  The two Wyches stood nearly a swords-breath apart, and Thielbane recognized the tell-tale signs of a fight as both Hekatrixes' hands slowly moved doubtlessly towards hidden blades...

And that was when Archon Y'stral smashed through the wall of the nearby building riding one of the Talos and drinking directly from some kind of hose hooked up to the creature.

The totally-rocked-off-his-nuts leader of the Kabal landed with a wallop, causing the two Wyches to scurry back in deference and fear.

"Did you see me up there?  Man, this is great!  If I knew the Haemo could make them have drugs for blood, I would have had a dozen of them at my last murder-orgy.  Oh, you gotta try this!"

Thielbane sighed and before he could respond, Allonia and Ray'keth made lightning-speed deferential gestures and apologies before sprinting off to safety.

Wonderful, Thiel thought, just when things couldn't be more complicated.  But, he had to admit, at least it wasn't boring.

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

Far off on the other side of the battlefield, X'Bella Le'Gosi was examining the remains of a strange two-headed mechanical avian.  The Imperial Commander had it resting on his shoulder and it was clearly of some value.  The last of her surviving Talos held it in its claws and with a delicate motion, turned some kind of internal mechanism. 

There was a sudden whirring as a hologram appeared, crudely made, but detailing a number of planets.  Bella turned her head to one side, and then to the other.  Imperial names and designations appeared as well as a code of some kind.

Interesting, she thought.  Perhaps the Archon would be interested in it.  Today's party had most likely been quite a success.  Surely they should try again at a different locale.  The Mon-Keigh would indeed be in for an event they would not soon forget.  If only that they would probably soon be dead and relative degradation of memory components was minimal compared to total systemic failure.  Bella nodded to herself.  Yes, the possibilities to the future seemed open indeed.

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

6
--------------------------------------------------------
Dark Eldar vs Imperial Guard in "Bella's New Friends (1500, 5/18)
--------------------------------------------------------

Hi All,
I have another BatRep, this one my first battle with the new Dark Eldar.
It was played right after my Tau battle, so same board setup and mission.
However, the new Dark Eldar...  they're pretty good.
The Codex itself is a lot more flavourful than the Tau one and quite frankly, power-wise I think it's a big jump.

So, I took a Black Heart Battalion for it's 6+ FNP save on everything (including vehicles) and the game changing Agents of Vect Stratagem that lets me deny Strats.
Oh, and for fun, I decided to bring out a trio of Talos.

Why?  Mostly because I needed to keep half my army on the board, and since you now have to count Power Points...

Well, the Talos are big point sinks that hopefully won't get blown off the board turn 1.

I had heard that they were the "special sauce" in the Codex, so I also wanted to see what they could do.

That is, if they ever got to the front lines.

But, I'm getting ahead of myself.

How did the True Kin do?

Were things over in a heartbeat or was it a slugfest?

Read. On.

Best,
-BT

P.S.  Comments and Critiques greatly appreciated!  Plus, there is fluff...

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

Dark Eldar (1500): 23 Infantry, 3 MCs, 7 Vehicles; 8 CPs
Black Heart Battalion
-Archon w/Huskblade, Blaster
-Archon w/Agonizer, Blaster, Writ of the Living Muse
-Warriorsx5 w/Blaster
-Warriorsx5 w/Blaster
-Warriorsx5 w/Blaster
-Ravager w/Disintegratorsx3
-Ravager w/Disintegratorsx3
-Razorwing w/Disintegratorsx2
-Razorwing w/Disintegratorsx2
-Raider w/Disintegrator
-Raider w/Disintegrator
-Raider w/Disintegrator
Prophets of the Flesh Patrol
-Haemonculus w/EC Whip, Vexetor Mask
-Wracksx5
-Talosx3 w/Chain Flails, Macro-Scapels, Haywire Blastersx6
Warlord: Labrynthine Cunning, Diabolical Soothsayer

Imperial Guard (1500): 59 Infantry, 9 Vehicles; 15 CPs
Cadian Brigade
-Company Commander w/Kurov's Aquilla (Warlord)
-Tank Commander w/Battle Cannon, Lascannon
-Tank Commander w/Battle Cannon, Lascannon
-Primaris Psyker w/Force Staff
-Commissar
-Commissar
-Commissar
-Infantry Squad w/Mortar
-Infantry Squad w/Mortar
-Infantry Squad w/Mortar
-Infantry Squad w/Mortar
-Infantry Squad w/Mortar
-Infantry Squad w/Mortar
-Scout Sentinel w/HFlamer
-Scout Sentinel w/HFlamer
-Scout Sentinel w/HFlamer
-Manticore
-Manticore
-Manticore
Warlord: Grand Strategist

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

------------------------------------
Chapter 15: Bella's New Friends
------------------------------------

The spiked door irised open to show another empty room.  The figure in the entryway raised a concerned eyebrow and brought a thin hand up to his face, rubbing his chin in thought.

Farseer Thielbane of Craftworld Biel-Tan was now officially worried.  This was the third similarly empty room that had he had checked.  Once, it had held another of his Craftworld brethren, but now it was empty.  Thielbane had noticed the subtle absence of Craftworlders aboard the Drukhari vessel that they shared, but it had taken him a slightly longer amount of time to confirm his suspicions. 

They were gone. 

All of them. 

Not all the Eldar per se, but the Craftworlders, surely enough.  Sadly, he had let his own guard down, not having bothered scrying the future since Y'stral was away.  The Archon of the Grisly Hand Kabal had sped away in the dead of near-night on some sort of mission that left Thielbane minding the proverbial shop.  The other Craftworlders had thought the Farseer mad for not bolting at the nearest opportunity, but Y'stral had been a staunch companion for such a long time, it seemed unseemly to leave him in a lurch.  Plus, the Archon was as vengeful as a Y'nnari with half a Soulburst and getting on his bad side was something to be avoided.

Thielbane leaned against the wall in thought, trying to avoid the spikier bits that hummed slightly with the far-off wails of anguish from the Torment Pits.  He should really consider leaving though.  His Craftworld had been shattered and the Seer Council was in disarray.  Surely if he wanted to be a major player he could easily come in and assume more than his fair share of power.  But, that seemed more trouble than it was worth.

"Thiel!"

A familiar shout broke his reverie, and the Farseer looked up to see Archon Y'stral striding forwards carrying an enormous sack.  He was wearing his usual black and red raiding armor and sporting a near-maniacal grin.  The game was clearly afoot.

"Y'stral.  I'm glad you're back.  Do you...  Do you know where the others have gone off to?"

The Archon laughed and said back with a sneer, "Oh, those losers?  Don't worry about it, Thiel.  I sent them away."

A jolt of shock went down Thielbane's spine as the edges of some dark mechanization started to form on the edges of his mind.  "Away?  Why?  I... They wouldn't just... leave me here."

Y'stral shrugged and said, "Yeah, well, you can't do much when you're under sleep-venom.  I mean, besides the inner screaming and all."

The Farseer rubbed his temples.  Not dead at least.  That was good.  "I...  You didn't... kill them, right?"

The Archon snorted and said, "Nah, I knew that'd put you in a snit.  Those boring sticks-in-the-mud were just holding you back.  They'll wake up soon enough.  Now, we have something big to do, you and me."

Thielbane frowned and said, "Y'stral, I can't just abandon my companions.  I..."

"Ffft, those losers?" snorted Y'stral, "I have 'em kept up in one of the secured holds.  Nothing'll happen to 'em while we have a little fun.  C'mon, don't you at least want to hear the details?"

Thielbane tapped his foot, sighed and said, "If we do this do you promise to let them go, unharmed?"

Y'stral grinned, threw an arm around Thielbane and said, "Absolutely, Thiel.  Absolutely.  Now, I've got this great opportunity.  Been away a while.  The Dark City and all.  Lots of big changes.  Vect really came through and all.  You gotta see it, Thiel.  It's all...  It's like a rummage sale over there.  Raiders and Venoms just flying out the door.  I picked up so much on the cheap.  And all I had to do was just trade some favours around."

"Favours?" replied Thielbane, recognizing a dreaded word amongst Drukhari society, "What... kind of favours?"

"The kind that aren't THAT bad.  Vect had just gone off and killed a lot of Archons that were openly backstabbing him and let bygones be bygones for others as long as they swore loyalty and all."

"Wait..." said the Farseer, "Didn't...  Didn't your Kabal fight Vect and Lady D'ysperax not that long ago?  Didn't we... nearly kill them?"

Y'stral shrugged, "Yeah, but c'mon, Thiel.  You think something like that's gonna hold back some potential deal-making?  If you stopped dealing with someone just because they killed you once or thrice, you'd never do any business in Commeraugh.  Anyway, I put us down as being Vect supporters."

"You did... WHAT?"

"Yeah, I know.  They didn't even have hats or anything.  Just this stupid tablet thing.  'Writ of the Living Muse.'  Hah, more like overwrought paperweight," growled Y'stral, "Anyway... so all we have to do is keep doing what we're doing.  You know... winning?  And now we can get so much on the cheap and get real weapons Thiel.  REAL weapons.  I don't know what they were doing to the Huskblades, but that's back and oh, oh you HAVE to see the Blasters now.  Knock your socks right off.  Blow 'em off more like it."

Thielbane whet his lips, "So... you pledged us to... eternal victory in the name of a vengeful Supreme Lord who will supply us with weapons and equipment, but has the reputation of destroying anyone who disappoints him?"

Y'stral sighed and said, "Thiel, Thiel, Thiel.  That's the Craftworld talking.  We were hanging on the ledge before, but now we're back on top.  All you have to do is never lose."

The audacity of the situation made Thielbane sputter for a bit, which gave Y'stral the opportunity to throw the bag he was carrying onto the ground with a clatter.

"What...  What is that, Y'stral?"

The Archon smirked, opening it up and holding out various pieces of savage looking gear.  "My old stuff.  Extra armor.  Oooh, double faced helmet with horns, classic.  Old Agonizer.  Good ol' blaster.  In perfectly working order."

"I... See..." said Thielbane, not liking where the conversation was headed.  "And... why do you have it all here?"

"Because," continued Y'stral, his smile spreading into a rictus grin, "I need a Dracon.  Someone who I can trust NOT to stab me in the back."

"What?" said Thielbane, genuinely shocked, "You... can't be serious.  Y'stral...  I'm not..."

"Not the notorious Space Pirate that made the galaxy quake?  Captain Thielbane of the Scarlet Serpents?  Him?  That's not you?"

Thielbane sighed.  It was this conversation again.  "You... know that's not how it works.  That was a different path.  A different me.  I can't just..."

"Pretend?" shot back Y'stral, playfully jabbing a finger into the Farseer's chest.  "But, which one is the real you, Thiel?  Is it this simpering half-competent Rune-lover or is the pirate who made girls squeal and Admirals quake in their boots?"

The Archon pulled the horned helmet up, and Thiel could see his own reflection, twisted in the dark metal.  Something about it seemed familiar.  It... called to him in a way.  Something deep within his soul asked a question that had been long since hidden:  Why not?

Thielbane whet his lips and said, "Y'stral...  If I do this... it'll be... for the good of the Craftworld.  Just to let you know."

"Of course," said Y'stral pressing the helmet into his companion's chest, watching as a familiar look crossed the once-Farseer's face, "Good of the Craftworlds.  Can't be helped.  Did what you had to do.  Just this one time, Thiel.  You can stop after that.  I promise."

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

"Sergeant, repeat that last message."

Commander Oswald Jenkins of the Cadian 555th was on a routine patrol of his artillery divisions when an odd message had come down the Comm-bead links.  The old, grizzled Commander had been through more than he could nearly bear.  Being too far away from Cadia when it fell, he felt the damnable pit of despair open up and swallow him whole.  Only by taking in the refugee Guardsmen of their once-bright homeworld did he feel any solace.  That and when he was smiting the foes of the Imperium.  However, his unit was breaking in new additions and repairing his transports.  It would be days still until they could break position, but it did offer him time to test out the new Manticores and make sure that their usually unreliable Storm-Eagle rockets at least worked.  And things were shaping up.  Until the call.

"Sergeant Collins here, sir.  Repeating message.  Three.  No, make that four contacts sir in the ruins of fifth sector.  Xenos.  Definitely Xenos."

Jenkins frowned.  Xenos?  This far away from the trading lanes?  How could they have gotten in without tripping any alarms?

"Are you sure, Sergeant?  Not some kind of trick by the locals?"

There was a pause and the somewhat more sarcastic reply came back.

"Sir, begging your pardon, but unless the locals are 5-odd meters tall and sporting giant blades, then, respectfully, no, sir, I'd say we're dealing with Xenos."

The Commander frowned.  Collins was a ten-year man with no history of tomfoolery.  Whatever it was, it was serious.

"Keep your position, Sergeant, we'll be there soon."

Jenkins turned off his comm-bead and tapped open the comms of his Chimera, boosting the exterior speakers.

"This is Commander Jenkins.  We're moving out.  We have possible Xenos on the horizon, men."

There was some murmurs of discontent that spread through the assembled Guardsmen.  Most were looking for vengeance against the hated Ruinous Powers, not against some nebulous third party.  But, a few glares and growls from the Commissars shut down any signs of unrest.

Jenkins nodded to himself.  Best to take care of things swiftly, then.  No need to waste time on reinforcements if just a handful of stragglers.  He tugged at his graying beard in thought.  No, something about it seemed off.  Too easy.

He opened up the internal comms to the Manticores.  "Lads, you too.  I want a proper field test of your guns.  Let's see how the alien likes rockets to the face."

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

X'Bella Le'gosi floated slightly off the ground surrounded by her Trio of Talos.  Some time had passed, but the Archon's instructions were clear.

1) Go through the Webway Portal to the assigned area.

2) Stand out in the open.

3) Wait for the party to start.

Bella scratched a few more notes in her book.  The Archon had established new connections with the Black Heart Kabal, which had oddly made the once aloof Prophets of the Flesh reach out to her Salon of Sorrow.  They had usually ignored her and her small group of creations, but now that alliances were being made, Bella had been almost surprised when a sizable number of raw supplies were left mostly screaming on her doorstep.

And it was a nice opportunity to make some new friends.  She looked around at the three gigantic monstrosities that hummed as they slowly hovered nearby.  Bella had yet to name them, but it was nice to have some new faces around.  And it was just perfect timing that she had finished up before the orders had come in. 

It had taken her some time to do research about a "party," but the base elements were clear: libations, entertainment and converstaion.  The Archon's instructions were unclear, though, if she was hosting the party or if she was joining an ongoing one.  Still, she had brought the necessities.  One of the Talos had the appropriate large and multi-coloured pointy hat, the other sporting an array of liquid intoxicants and the third pre-programmed with appropriate aural interjections.  Having the Talos around did make the entire affair much more straightforward.  Indeed, the future overall seemed less foreboding.

Actually, it was just less chaotic.  By utilizing the broken Soul-Stones from the last few missions alongside the Craftworlders, analyzing the raw fundamental possibility strains of the universe and divining a semblance of the future was no longer an impossibility.  She wondered if this is what a Farseer felt like, looking at the bright sun of tomorrow, just beyond the reach of certainty.  How much it felt like...

"BELLA!"

Bella looked up to see a somehow familiar looking armored Eldar waving his hands in front of her.  She blinked for a moment.  The suns had moved rather far in the sky.  Time had passed then. 

With a nod of her head, the Talos went into immediate action.  One of the Talos helpfully dispensed a frothy drink into a cup, another let go with a stream of sparkles into the air from it's Haywire Blasters, and the last howled in an approximation of a friendly greeting recorded from the Hive Fleet Behemoth.

Instead of showing signs of appreciation, the stranger took a few steps back, shook his head to re-center himself and continued.

"Bella!" interjected the strange new guest, "You have to get out of here!  The Imperials are bearing right down on this position.  I've got a Raider ready to go!  Just get on board and..."

A high whistling sound made Bella look up curiously as something clipped the ruined building next to her and the subsequent seismic explosion launched the stranger off his feet into her.  The Talos growled in discontent, but Bella turned her head to indicate that dismantling was not to be done at this particular moment.

The stranger pulled himself off, realized that his helmeted face had been buried in her chest and muttered a confused apology, looking shamefacedly away.

How curious indeed.  She had never seen such a behavior in a Kabalite before.  Perhaps it was some kind of viral infection?

"Bella, it's too late now, that was a ranging salvo.  We're in the thick of it now.  Damnit, Y'stral, why do we cut these things so close?"

Bella noted that one of the Talos was looking at something far away and glanced down the broken avenues, her head turning from one side to the other side in curiosity.

Humans.  Rows upon rows of humans.  So this was that timeline then.  Bella made note of the happenstance as something hit another building knocking around some more inconsequential material.  Perhaps they were the guests to the party?  It was a good thing that she had brought extra supplies then.  She nodded to the Talos, who settled into position.

This was going to be an interesting day indeed.

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

Mission: Big Guns Never Tire

Setup: Dawn of War

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

To Be Continued!

7
Certainly not as bad as you were suggesting then, those last few turns looked really quite comfortable.

When it comes to using all these stratagems would I be right in thinking that it's better to use them earlier in the battle when you still have a load of units?

I enjoyed the fluff, I suppose playing Imperial Guard every now and then let's you create loads of different characters for your own armies to defeat, you could even have different regiments for each battle.

Well done on the win, looking forward to the next report.

Job's a good un!

Hi Cammerz!

Thanks for the reply.  I didn't feel as good going into this game, and I think I did make some errors.
I didn't utilize the drones as freely as I should, and I think we played the Manticores as having AP-3 (they're -2 btw).
As for the Stratagems, they're kind of hit and miss.
The Command and Control node lets you re-roll missed hits, but you can't shoot with your Commander.  (Kauyon does something similar but it's all units in a radius and it's only once a game.)  The Markerlight buffing strat is kind of useful, but sort of mediocre (as you can only add to units you hit already and the first hit is the only really useful one).  The Battlesuit repair one is also pretty decent.  Overall, nothing really amazing, but serviceable over all.
Also glad you liked the fluff!
I like the Guard as they tend to make for easy characters, but right now, I'm not as thrilled for the Guard as I can't really use Deep-Strikers and Outflankers the way I'd like to and I'm not super fond of gunlines...

Woohoo! Great to see the Tau actually pulling off a decent win here. I was worried that this just wouldn't be a good edition for them.

Coldstars are awesome. I've been experimenting by going more gunline recently, but I just can't help loving their ability to more or less go anywhere and cripple anything. Combine that with their Character ability to hide until the right moment, and they really do become the perfect explanation of the Mont'ka. Mont'ka in the codex is usually described as being all about striking key targets, hard and fast, at exactly the right moment. Attack too early and they die unsupported, too late and the target has probably already done too much damage.

I have to admit, I'm a little suprised at how pro-kroot you are. I've usually found that they just die and flee too easily, and while I understand the need to block deep strikers and other fast units, I haven't found them all that good at it. Then again, most of my local opponents don't really deep strike all that much, so maybe it's just differences in local metas.

As for your own tale, I don't think that two Piranhas are really enough to deal with... anything really.  Other than board control, have you been liking them?  Haven't tried them yet, but I'm always open for suggestions!
Depends on what you use them for. They put out moderate firepower (about the same as a three man stealth team, whilst being cheaper), but they wont usually kill anything on their own. But they're small and non-threatening enough to avoid being a priority target for you're enemy, and their speed and toughness makes them very effective roadblocks. In my last game I had one hide behind some ruins for a few turns, only to suddenly park it in front of a incoming CC blob. My opponent couldn't go around it, was built mostly for anti-infantry so it couldn't easily go through it, and I'd taken out enough of their anti-tank that they couldn't kill it with the rest of their army. It basically saved my gun line from being disrupted long enough to let me wipe them out with mass shooting the next turn.

As far as suggestions go, I personally like them a lot. Most of my games these last few months have been 35 power level, yet I've happily spent 16 out of that 35 power level on a speed themed outrider detachment. It wasn't always effective, but having the slowest thing in the army be a devilfish team with 12" movement is a lot of fun.

I do have one unrelated question though. Have you ever use any of the Tidewall fortifications? I ask because I've been really tempted lately, especially since a fireblade in a droneport could be an interesting alternative to pathfinders, or even a good way to keep them alive...

EDIT. Quick point, you mentioned at one point that your Vior'la Commander used his stratagem to wipe out a Leman Russ. What stratagem was that? Because the Vior'la specific stratagem is infantry only.

Hi Mabbz,
Thanks for the reply.  The Vior'la one is... oh.
I didn't catch that... thanks :)
I guess since we played as Manticores being AP-3, that gives me some feeling back that we both played things out wrong.
I have not played with a tidewall yet, as they don't seem that durable, but I suppose I will need to do something as my Vior'la build is kind of invalidated then at the moment :)
I'm actually somewhat tempted to go Tau as their Stratagem is expensive, but quite brutal with the +1 to wound for everyone who adds shots in on an already wounded target.
Hmmm... more to think on it seems.

Best,
-BT

8
Hi All,
Thanks for the kind words!

Apologies about being a bit late, things have been a bit rough in 'Toof-land recently...

Oh, and just before I post the last of the rep... I've found out that Coldstars can't take CIB's, but that didn't make that much of a difference in the rep (thankfully).

Sorry for the delayed response. It's nice to see you sticking with tau at least a little bit longer. I really hope this went better for you than your last game, at least to prove that the Tau aren't totally awful this edition.

As far as the lists go, three coldstars with fusion blasters should deal with some of the tanks, the only question is whether they'll survive long enough to finish then off. At least you're better equipped than I was in my last game against IG. Two broadsides and two fusion piranhas really isn't enough to deal with a baneblade  :P

Thanks for the reply Mabbz.  Your words actually kept me trying out the Tau, and I think I found some evidence that I might be on the right track to something that works (as long as I don't fight Lady D again...).
As for your own tale, I don't think that two Piranhas are really enough to deal with... anything really.  Other than board control, have you been liking them?  Haven't tried them yet, but I'm always open for suggestions!

That's a lot of guns. I can't wait to see how this game goes, but judging by the ellipse, perhaps not so well.

Hi Deraj,
Thanks for the reply.  Yes, it was a LOT of guns, and it was rather frightful.  Hope you enjoy the rep, let me know what you think!

I read somewhere that Mortars are really good this edition, I guess your opponent has the same view.
I guess if you were able to wreck the tanks with your Coldstars then you'd just have to sit outside the Guardsmen's 24" range and take the squads out one at a time. He has got a lot of units though, maybe what you need are more guns, are squads of shield drones good or are they just cheap units allowing you to fill an Outrider detachment?

Hi Cammerz!

Mortars are good this edition if you play ITC as it lets you play with the victory points, are cheap and let you hit things that are behind LoS blockers (like in this game).
I definitely need more (or just better) guns.  And drones.  Shield Drones are just amazing as they have 4+ armor and a 5+ FNP roll, so they can potentially soak even the nastiest of hits for your valuable suits.  I really like them and they fit the fluff for Voxi pretty well.  The Outrider detachment just kind of works for them, as it gives me a CP, and well... the Farsight bonus doesn't really help most of the Tau...

And here's the rest of the rep!


-------------------------
Turn 1: Imperial Guard
-------------------------

Never before had Terrance Featherstone been so happy that Chimeras existed.  The signal was coming from a broken outpost that was full of craggy outcroppings that were full of sniper outpockets that held all manner of potential Officer killing Xenos weaponry.  Or at least, so it seemed like it.

So it was that he was nestled in his very safe tank on the very edge of the wide, but narrow column of tanks hoping that the Tau weren't here.

But, as was typical, there was a bark over the Comms.

"Contact!  Contact!  Xenos sighting!"

Terrance coughed and said as clearly as possible, "Everyone, keep your positions.  Manticores, shoot.  A lot.  Thank you."

There was a pause before the Artillery crew answered back, "Yes... sir."

Terrance waited for the few seconds before the ground shook with the impact and subsequent explosion of Storm-Eagle Rockets.

Riddle the ground until nothing can shoot back.  It was the Imperial way.

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

After verifying that I don't have any deep-strikers, my opponent decides to push his entire army forwards.  The Lemun Russ Commanders move to the flanks to line up shots.  Two of the Sentinels, having scooted forwards, get within Heavy Flamer range.

Shooting is kind of brutal with my opponent using his tanks and artillery using the Cadian Strategem to produce a rather shocking number of wounds.  It nearly kills one of the Riptides, who barely survives just by the judicious use of Shield Drones.  The Heavy Flamers don't roll that well, and my Kroot screens survived.
Sadly though, enough of my drones have died (nearly all actually), which is enough for First Blood!


Picture Caption: OW... that's a painful First Blood...

-------------------
Turn 1: Tau
-------------------

Shas'ui Kai'nan howled over the comms.

Bang grabbed the nearly toppling Riptide and righted it.  Some people had all the bad luck.

"I thought..." coughed Kai'nan, "I thought these Battlesuits were the ones that didn't riddled with shots as soon as the battle began."

Bang shrugged, "Takes some getting used to.  The Ghostkeel may be hard to see, but I'll take armor plating over a stealth field any day.  Now, warm up your Nova Reactors and let's show 'em how real shooting is done!"

There was a flicker on his screen as Shi'va appeared, looking her usual dour self.  "Kor'va, link up with my suit.  One of the Heavy Tanks is out of cover, we need to take it out."

Bang smiled, fingers whipping across the terminal  to setup the Command and Control nodule, "No problem.  Just like old times, right?  That's a Lemun Russ, by the way, beautiful craftsmenship.  For the Imperium anyway.  I think it might be a Mars Alpha Pattern...  Sort of a shame to destroy it."

The Commander sighed and rolled her eyes, tapping her display that was automatically targeting the vulnerable points of the enemy vehicle, "Yes, beautiful for an alien tank about to blow us off our feet.  Now, let's give them something to worry about..."

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

Time for payback!

We have a large LoS blocker in the middle, so I move to the left to block tank shots and then move the Fire Warriors to the right.
Markerlights go out, getting some Markerlight shots on most everything that I'm worried I might not be able to easily destroy (i.e. the right Sentinel and the Lemun Russ on the left).
The Commanders have moved out and Shi'va stays in the back.

Li'myr and our new Vior'la friend roast a Sentinel each (not too hard as they don't have a lot of wounds) and the Fire Warriors take out the Sentinel on the right (barely) and a few Guardsmen.  Branched Nova Charge goes off on Bang.

I then use the C&C Node from Shi'va (re-roll wounds for 1 CP and a turn of the Commander who is out of range of everyone doing nothing?  I'll take it!) on Bang and go to town on the Lemun Russ.  I knock it down to basically dead and then finish off with the other Riptide (who is on Stimms and has a few points back from the Automated Repair stratagem).

I also thin out a Guardsmen squad on the left thanks to SMS fire.


Picture Caption: Note to self: Use more Stratagems!

--------------------------
Turn 2: Imperial Guard
--------------------------

There was an explosion behind the Command Chimera, nearly knocking Terrance Featherstone off of his feet.  He ran to the back hatch and confirmed that indeed, the Lemun Russ on their flank was now a pile of rubble.  How had the Tau managed that from this distance?  No matter.  A few more volleys and even they would have to capitulate.  Either that or there wouldn't be anything left of them...

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

The Guard continue to move up and return fire, taking down the badly hurt Riptide and trying to hurt Bang, but I've got my 3++ thanks to Branched Nova Charge, and am just fine though it does expend the last of the Shield Drones.  The Lemun Russ zooms to the center using orders, moving quite a bit faster than I expected...

I also lose the last of my Kroot on the left due to Orders and well, even Lasguns can be effective when a squad is pumping out 40-odd shots each...


Picture Caption: Well, it's a good thing I brought TWO Riptides...

---------------
Turn 2: Tau
---------------

Shas'nel Cal'nan nodded to himself.  Things were going all according to plan.  Thanks to the superior weaponry of the Bork'an, the enemy was within their reach and could slowly be whittled down.  Even the simple Pulse Rifle could be the means of defeating the sturdiest tank if used with precision.  All they needed was patience and to absolutely keep their positions.  Nothing would...

"This is Shas'O Vior'la Li'myr of the Farsight Eclaves.  The time is nigh!  The Wild Blade calls!  MONT'KA!"

There was a pause amongst the assembled Tau as the veteran Enclave Commander roared into the sky, falling deep into the enemy backfield.

The confusion amongst the comms was audible, and Cal'nan tried to keep order.
"This is Shas'nel Cal'nan.  Belay that order.  I am the leader of the..."

"Sorry, can't hear you," said the newcomer Vior'la Saum'ka.  "Must be the comms...  For the Greater Good!  Mont'ka!"

The violet Battlesuit leapt forwards, following Li'myr in this near suicidal charge.

Cal'nan was beside himself, but then gasped when he saw his own Commander Shi'va take flight.

"Apologies, Shas'nel," said Shi'va, "But I can't let those two idiots get themselves killed for nothing.  I respectfully request support fire.  Did you hear that, Bang?"

Bang nodded, "You got it, Shi'va.  Hey you alien scum!  Take a look at my Greater Goods!"

The Riptide hummed as the Nova Reactor flipped into overdrive and a massive gout of Heavy Burst Cannon roared across the battlefield.

Shas'nel Cal'nan shook his head.  How had things unraveled so quickly?

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


My opponent is a bit shocked when I declare MONT'KA.

All three Commanders zoom up 40" and park next to tanks.
Shi'va flies to the left and the two others fly to the Center.
Bang and everyone move up.

Shooting has the newcomer Commander show off with his Vior'la strategem, wiping out a Lemun Russ BY HIMSELF.  Li'myr settles with destroying a Manticore.  Shi'va also destroys a Manticore.  Bang puts the hurt on more Guardsmen, as does the Fire Warriors, who are now in triple tap range.

On the side, it's hard to tell who did more damage, but the Guardsmen are running a bit thin on the flanks now.


Picture Caption: MONT'KA!!!

--------------------------
Turn 3: Imperial Guard
--------------------------

There was a trio of thuds behind the Chimera.  At first, Terrance thought that they were artillery shells or something, but the crackle of tell-tale energy across his scanners told him something quite different.  The enemy had breached their front lines.  But how?  The Tau weren't supposed to be this fast!  Could his intelligence be off?

Before he had a chance to question things more, a pair of explosions told him all he needed to know.  The Tau were here and things were going to be quite dangerous.

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

Shocked that well... their numbers have thinned a bit, the Guard consolidate towards the center, and shoot the pants off the Vior'la Commander.

They try to do some damage to Li'myr, but the old man is not having it taking basically no wounds.

Assault is attempted as well, but no damage is really done.


Picture Caption: To no one's surprise Crash bites the dust.

----------------
Turn 3: Tau
----------------

Shas'O Li'myr took a moment to confirm that the youngster Vior'la Commander wasn't dead before pushing away the horde of humans that had surrounded him, trying to stab at him with their rifle-knives.

He shook his head as he activated his Fusion Blades, twin lances of pure energy forming into deadly weapons as he swung them with precision timing, turning the nearest Guardsmen into ash as his fellows howled and fell away with fear filling their eyes.

Primitives. 

No wonder the Fifth Sphere had done so well if this was the extent of their enemies.  He frowned as another bombardment flew threw the air, a massive rocket turning into a cluster of explosions.  There was still another one of those ungainy weapons on the field.  And it had the audacity to let Li'myr know it's location.  Fair enough, he thought, as he warmed up his engines.  Better use of his time then.

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

I pull Li'myr out of assault and zoom him over to the last of the Manticores.
Shiva moves up to threaten the Command Chimera.

Fire Warriors and Kroot begin to move up with the Fireblade.

Shooting has more Guardsman fall and I almost take out the Manticore.
The Chimera proves a bit hard of a nut to crack, but both suits manage it.
The Psyker and Company Commander get out none the worse for wear though...


Picture Caption: Almost turning things around...

-------------------------
Turn 4: Imperial Guard
-------------------------

Shas'O Shi'va frowned as she watched the old human struggle out of the wrecked tank.  Her weapons targeted on the hunched figure, scanners running over the alien.  No weapons save for a simple pistol and staff.  Perhaps a non-combatant?

She snorted and turned back to the main fight, weathering another barrage of las-fire.

Which, in hindsight, was her mistake as Primaris Psyker Gideon Ortean opened his mind to the Warp.  There was a howling sound as crackling Warp-Lightning raced from his fingers, frying the Battlesuit in front of him.  The old man let go with a crackling laugh as the Xenos fell.  Purge the Alien.  Let it's own weakness be it's downfall...

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

The Guard continue to consolidate, taking out Shi'va with a huge Smite (he periled for it...) and concentrated Lasgun fire.  However, it's getting to be a bit too late, as he's hemorrhaging so many Guardsmen, it's not looking good for the Imperium.


-----------------------
Turn 4: Tau
-----------------------

"Shi'va!"

Bang launched his Riptide forwards, spraying a massive rain of Burst Cannon fire that melted the line of Guardsmen around the fallen Commander.  He checked the suit and let go a sigh of relief when he noted that life-signs were still intact, but the suit's engines and weapons were down.  Shi'va wasn't going anywhere anytime soon.

"Bang," grunted Shi'va over the comms, "I'm alright.  Go and finish them off."

Kor'va nodded, "Yeah, what's the old Imperium saying... 'That's how we'll win. Not by fighting what we hate, by saving what we love.'"

There was a pause as Shi'va blushed and said, "That's a stupid saying."

"I think it must make sense in the original Gothic.  In any case," said Bang, warming up his Heavy Burst Cannon, "I have to show an old man his retirement gift."

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

Bang and Fire Warriors move up and shoot more Guardsmen.  Li'myr finishes off his Manticore.  Bang personally goes in and slaps the last wound off the Primaris!


Picture Caption: Vengeance for Shi'va!


-----------------------------
Turn 5: Imperial Guard
-----------------------------

I take some shots from the last of the Guard, but it's not looking good for the Imperium.


Picture Caption: Running out of time...


------------------------
Turn 5: Tau
------------------------

Li'myr and Bang put an end to the last of the Guard.


Picture Caption: I see your Laspistol and raise you a Heavy Burst Cannon!


----------------------------------------------
Result: TAU VICTORY!
----------------------------------------------

-----------------------------------------------------------------
Post-Game Thoughts: FINALLY.

After the beatdown of last game, I reworked the Tau list and it feels much better.
Needs some fine tuning still as I struggled some against the IG list as it felt like I was more fragile than before, but maybe that's just the feeling that fighting the Guard gives you.  You can't beat them in numbers, that's for certain.
But... let's go over units:

1.  Coldstar Commanders
Yeah...  I love 'em.  I was a bit apprehensive before, but their 20"/40" move/advance just lets them surgically insert themselves and dissolve armor or heavy infantry with easy.  Plus, they can use stratagems like C&C that gives the Riptides re-roll wounds (SO KEY in this game), and they can be hard to reach for your opponents in the early game as they are Characters.  I liked the double Ion/ double Fusion suits as they gave me enough of a kick while letting me have some rate of fire if I want to go Infantry whittling, but I've found out that you can't take Ion with Coldstars...  So Quad Fusion we go!  Overall great units.
Grade: A

2.  Riptide
Taking two is still somewhat questionable, but 12" move and Heavy Burst Cannon is just so good.  With a buff from the Commander they are nearly unstoppable.  Also, the Branching Nova Charge is hella amazing.
Grade: A

3.  Fireblade
Not bad, but his aura is a bit small and felt kind of limited this game.  Still, he's an untargetable markerlight that hits on 2+ and a good Warlord that can sit in the backfield and keep farming CPs with the Puretide Chip.
Grade: B

4.  Fire Warriors
What can I say?  Triple tapping is fun and the ability to stay in my 21" sweet spot was pretty nice, but they didn't do all THAT much damage as they still have a mediocre BS and no AP on their weapons.  Just don't know how long they would last in a real gunfight...
Grade: B

5.  Pathfinders
I'm finding Markerlight more and more of an unnecessary commodity.  One hit is great, but you need FIVE to really do anything more meaningful.  As the Pathfinders have mediocre BS, you really either have to take a lot of the fragile guys or keep them hidden, which kind of makes them less useful.
Grade: C

6.  Shield Drones
I would have lost BOTH Riptides turn one without them.  Cheap and god-like resilient.  I would take more, but their less-than-stellar Morale is a big issue.
Grade: A-

7.  Kroot
Don't do much, but hella cheap and kept Heavy Flamers from being pushed into my face.  Love 'em.  Just wish they had better Leadership sometimes...
Grade: A-

So the list is shaping up.  I like the triple Commander build.  All three feel like they add a lot to the overall army.  The Bork'an Commander can buff the Riptide, the Vior'la Commander is just an unguided missile of suicidal backfield destruction and the Farsight Commander is a boss in close-combat.  I love the Riptide as well, but maybe just one?  Hard to tell if I can't take more drones.  The Kroot are also keepers.  As for the others?  I'm less set on them.  The Pathfinders, Fire Warriors and Fireblade are ok, but I'm not sure how good the 21" triple tap is for it's points.  Seems like a lot for a one-trick pony that falls on it's face if any of the units are lost or out of position.  I'm tempted to take something like Broadsides or Stealth suits for my anti-infantry, as I can feel the stirrings of the great Imperial Guard Horde a-coming...

Let me know how you thought the fight went, and any suggestions are greatly appreciated!

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

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


Shas'nel Cal'nan was pacing angrily as the remaining Riptide and Coldstar brought over the ruined Battlesuits.

"You two!" he barked, causing Li'myr and Bang to halt in mid-stride.  Even though the Fireblade was dwarfed by the two enormous machines, Cal'nan showed no sign of letting up.  "How dare you undermine my command!"

Li'myr snorted, "Your command was going to get us all killed!  Perhaps if you listened less to the Ethereal-damned device in your skull and more to your own instincts, you'd realize that I just saved us all!"

Cal'nan shook his head.  "Saved us?  From what?  A modicum of a force that the Imperium can throw our way with impunity?  Look at our losses.  Coldstars just don't just grow on trees!  Better for us to have quit the field than..."

"Quit.  The.  Field?"  growled Li'myr, "Just like the Bork'an to think of numbers than appreciate a hard-won victory.  No wonder you're not a Shas'O."

Cal'nan scowled and his hand went for his Pulse Rifle, but was stopped by the massive form of Kor'va sliding between the two.

"Get out of the way, boy," said Cal'nan, "I have a lesson to teach this traitor about respect."

Bang held up his hands, "Listen, Cal.  I understand.  You're mad.  We took some pretty bad hits, but...  Li'myr's right."

Both of the other Tau looked up at Bang with surprise.

Cal'nan frowned, "You're siding... with the Separatists?  Against me?  I thought we were friends!"

Kor'va nodded, "Uh... yeah...  We are...  But... This isn't an Imperial invasion.  They're getting hammered up there by whatever crazy Eldar that did a number on us.  All we have to do is move fast, get our ship repaired and find a window out of here."

Li'myr thought for a moment and then nodded as well, "The youngster's right.  Our time grows short and we need to work together if we want to survive.  Truce for the moment?"

Cal'nan frowned and nodded in assent, "Very well, Enclavist.  But know that our conversation isn't over by a long shot."

The two older Tau turned and left, leaving Bang to thankfully release the breath that he didn't realize he had been holding.  Things were maybe looking up after all?

"Well done."

Bang turned to see that odd Farsight Drone floating near him again.  "Voxi, right?  Uh, you... saw all that?"

The Drone floated forwards, getting a bit too close for comfort, "Quite right.  Li'myr can be handful when he's worked up.  Vior'la blood you know.  You'll make a fine Shas'O one day."

At that compliment, Bang brightened, "Do you really think so?"

"Oh, yes," Voxi said, floating closer and then whispering, "If you ever give any thought to joining the Enclaves, I'll be sure to put in a good word for you."

"Uh... thanks," said Kor'va not sure how to take an offer of sedition from an artificial intelligence, "I'll take that as a compliment.  Now, let's see how we can get off this rock..."

9
--------------------------------------------------------
Tau vs. Imperial Guard in "Guards and Gunlines" (1500)
---------------------------------------------------------

Hi All,
Take two.

The Tau are back again, this time Post-FAQ so gunlines got a bit of a boost and the shakeup from my local meta is quite pleasing.
At least for the Tau and IG.
And that is what I bring today, as I was able to get in a pair of games vs the same IG list.
The Tau did... better than they did vs the Dark Eldar (shiver), and since I did a massive list re-tool, that made me feel better.
Hope you all like the rep, and yes, there is fluff!

Best,
-BT

P.S.  Critiques and Comments are greatly appreciated!

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

-------------------
The Lists
-------------------


Tau Empire (1500): 48 Infantry, 14 Drones, 2 MCs, 9 CPs
Bork'an Battalion
-Commander w/Coldstar, Fusion Blastersx2, CIBx2
-Fireblade w/Markerlight, Puretide Chip
-Riptide w/HBurst Cannon, SMSx2, ATS, TL
-Riptide w/HBurst Cannon, SMSx2, ATS, TL
-Fire Warriorsx5
-Fire Warriorsx5
-Fire Warriorsx5
-Pathfindersx5 w/Markerlights, PAccel Drone
-Pathfindersx5 w/Markerlights, PAccel Drone
Farsight Enclaves Outriders
-Commander w/Coldstar, Fusion Blastersx2 (Fusion Blades), CIBx2
-Shield Dronesx4
-Shield Dronesx4
-Shield Dronesx4
Vior'la Patrol
-Commander w/Coldstar, Fusion Blastersx2, CIBx2
-Krootx10
-Krootx10
Signiture Systems (Relics): Fusion Blades, Puretide Chip

Imperial Guard (1500): 59 Infantry, 9 Vehicles; 15 CPs
Cadian Brigade
-Company Commander w/Kurov's Aquilla (Warlord)
-Tank Commander w/Battle Cannon, Lascannon
-Tank Commander w/Battle Cannon, Lascannon
-Primaris Psyker w/Force Staff
-Commissar
-Commissar
-Commissar
-Infantry Squad w/Mortar
-Infantry Squad w/Mortar
-Infantry Squad w/Mortar
-Infantry Squad w/Mortar
-Infantry Squad w/Mortar
-Infantry Squad w/Mortar
-Scout Sentinel w/HFlamer
-Scout Sentinel w/HFlamer
-Scout Sentinel w/HFlamer
-Manticore
-Manticore
-Manticore
Warlord: Grand Strategist
------------------------------------------------------------

------------------------------------------------------
Chapter Two: Any Landing You Can Walk Away From...
------------------------------------------------------

"... And that's how I ended up here."

The mostly bandaged Tau being tended on by multiple medical drones seemed chipper enough.  Shas'O Shi'va sighed, holding her head.  It had been a rough dozen or so days.  Waking up in the wreckage of her battlesuit was bad enough, but when she was told about their situation, that was enough to make the sturdiest Tau fall into the depths of depression.

Instead of doing the tactically intelligent thing of simply annihilating them, the Eldar had let them live.  It had taken three Fire Warriors to pull her off Kor'va when she had found out the identity of their assalients.  It was just like the Eldar to fake one of their own being kidnapped and then attack when their targets had bumbled their way into a trap.

But, after reviewing the data logs, the truth was perhaps even worse.  The Great Databases had records of Dark Raiders, a faction of the Eldar that were like shadows that could snatch away entire populaces in a single night.  She had always thought that the records were exaggerations caused by survivor's guilt, but the truth was sadly true.  There was a race of entirely malevolent beings that existed only to cause pain and suffering, and they had not killed them because they had enacted a plan.  A sadly masterstroke of one. 

By bringing them to a planet held on the edge of Imperial space, the local Imperial settlements had been altered to their presence and the Eldar were sending out a surprisingly accurate set of transmissions to both Tau and Imperial bandwidths that the Tau had landed and combat was fierce.  And when ships had gone into orbit to attempt to evaluate the situation, they were set upon by the Dark Eldar. 

Their ship, though without sufficient fuel to attempt a breakthrough of their own, had been able to watch the entire affair.  Two ships, one Tau and one Imperial had fallen to the trap so far, and they had luckily rescued survivors from the Tau crash.  Or rather Survivor.  Singlular.  Shi'va had to admit that he was perhaps the luckiest Tau she had ever met, as the rolling fireball that broke up half-way into the atmosphere was most assuradly a death sentence.

But, this Tau, a Shas'O of all things, had survived.  The bandaged Tau pushed away a Drone and said with a grin, "Well, your situation has improved after all."

Shi'va pulled her head out of her hands and said, "And how exactly is that, Shas'O?  The Imperial crash also had survivors and they are coming this way.  They vastly outnumber us, and we have little in the way of troops or weapons."

The Shas'O smirked, "You've got the best Battlesuit pilot in all the Empire, pretty one.  Don't worry, Shas'O Vior'la Saum'ka will put these Imperial scum to the torch."

Shi'va rolled her eyes.  Not another one.  "Right, you can't even get out of..."

And with some surprise, Saum'ka jumped off the bed, winced a bit, and then started pulling bandages off.  He was young, Shi'va had to admit, younger than her by more than a bit, and had a number of scars criss-crossing his body.

Saum'ka noticed her watchful gaze and grinned.  "You like what you see?  Besides being the handsomest thing you'll see in the Fifth Sphere, I've also got most of my nerve endings replaced.  Souvenirs of a bad crash or five.  Turn off the pain notifiers and BAM.  I'm back in business."

Shi'va thought for a bit, nodded and said, "Alright then, Shas'O, I'm not going to deny you a chance at a last stand.  Just don't let your Vior'la blood get the best of you."

With a snort, Saum'ka nodded, "You'll have to keep up with me.  Now, where did they put my Coldstar?  I want to make sure I didn't lose any kill markings in all of this..."

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

Newly minted Company Commander Terrance Featherstone checked the last of his men.  The gangly, bespectacled man was the least threatening man amongst the Cadian 555th, and it was perhaps by the most aggressive battlefield promotions ever recorded had Terrance assumed command.  It wasn't that he really wanted it, he had to admit.  He was the aide of the least senior Junior Commander, it was just that he happened to be in the supply closet when their ship made planetfall.  99% of the crew had perished, but, as was perhaps normal for Imperial-made vessels, much more in the way of munitions and vehicles had come out surprisingly in working shape.  Or at least, nearly so.

Terrance did a head count, and wrote down names on his mostly singed paper.  Six Squads, Nine Vehicles, and an enemy beacon that they had to find and silence.

For the Good of the Imperium.

Terrance had considered perhaps falling back to shelter or waiting for reinforcements, but one of the Guardsmen had dared to question that possibility out-loud.  A bolt pistol round later, nobody was asking questions around the three Commissars that had survived.

He swallowed at the thought of the rather nonchalant summary execution, and thought to himself that it was almost comically appropriate that the only people who were allowed to voluntarily lower their own manpower had survived through the rather brutal affair.

Fair enough though.  It wasn't as if the universe dealt anyone anything resembling a decent hand.  You just had to learn to roll with the punches.

Who knows, he thought, maybe the Xenos thought they were all dead and weren't going to try anything.  He did think it was rather odd that they weren't being orbitally bombarded yet, but he decided just to count that as a blessing from the Emperor.

Also, it was probably a sign that they should get to cover quickly.  And if the Xenos had a suitably reinforced and lightly-guarded place, all the better.

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

Setup: Dawn of War
Mission: Big Guns Never Tire

Deployment:
Oof.  And I thought I brought a lot of guns.  The Guard outnumber me in manpower, tanks and sheer weight of well... everything.  But, they thankfully need to pull me off my objectives.

The board is fairly even with small ruins in the corners, a big LoS blocker in the middle and craters (yay cover!) in the remaining areas.

It's going to be very nice for my Tau that don't like to move a terrible amount.

The IG have plenty of drops, and make almost parade lines with their 60 guys up front and the Manticores in the corners.  One also goes in the center next to the Command Chimera that has the Commander and the Psyker.  The Lemun Russes are also in the center next to them.  The Sentinels are near the front and will be scouting forwards.

I also deploy centrally, with Kroot in the front (also going to scout out) Fire Warriors behind them, and the Riptides behind that with all of the Characters sort of in the middle.

My opponent is quite eager to blow me off the table, and indeed wins the roll to go first! (Why is it that +1 doesn't seem to help the Tau with these things...)

I fail to seize (sigh) and the game begins!


Picture Caption: Now THAT'S a gunline...

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

To be Continued!

10
I'm going to keep playing with the new Beta rules and see how they pan out.

GW is looking for input and they actually seem to look for balance issues, so I hope that pans out.

That said.  Looking forward to an Ork Codex.

Soon?

Best,
-BT

11
Thank you all for the kind words!

It was a hard rep to write, as you know, I'm a bit competitive at heart, but you have to work with your defeats, perhaps more than your victories...

As the new FAQ has just dropped that nerfs deep-striking (and thus kind of buffs gunlines), perhaps the Tau haven't lost all hope yet...

Oh, and the Dal'yeth got the FAQ they were hoping for: Cover saves as long as they don't move...

That's actually pretty decent now, but it's still kind of a hard sell as you now can only take 3 of a unit.

There goes my hopes of drone spam, but what can you do, eh?

More to think on and I can feel the meta shifting as we speak...

I feel like I'll probably build two lists:  One Dark Eldar (which may include Bella) and One with Tau and see how they do.

Best,
-BT

12
Thanks for the kind comments, Mabbz.

Glad you liked the fluff although this battle pains me more than a little bit :P

Hope you all like it!

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


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

Kor'va whistled a merry tune as he tromped through the landing area in his Riptide Battlesuit.  Shi'va was really in a mood today, although he had to admit that it might have something to do with Cal'nan.  Cal was an amazingly awesome Shas'nel and had unbelievable stories that Kor'va didn't mind hearing again and again.  And again.  He didn't even mind when the details changed because that wasn't the point.  The point was about languishing in the past victories of the T'au Empire.  He had been in a number of scraps himself, but nothing on the scale that Cal had talked about.  Cal said that he had seen everything from the Imperium to strange otherworldly aliens that looked like skeletons, which seemed plausible given how odd everything in the universe was.  Granted it had been quiet for quite a while, but they were tracking, on good authority, the Orks had had kidnapped his beloved, and he would not rest until they had found Lorilune.  Well, he had to admit, not technically not resting ever, as that would be impossible and all, but figuratively, it was a good goal.

He turned another corner and looked at another empty square that seemed half falling apart.  That was odd.  Why were the Earth Caste around here so lax?  It was like nobody had been around for a long...

A warning light went off on his comm-grid and he flipped it on.

"All Cadre members, this is Shas'ui Kai'nan.  We have intruders!"

Kor'va frowned, Kai'nan was doing scouting using a Ghostkeel.  What kind of...  Suddenly, the sky darkened and his targeting grid went haywire with the number of spiked dark vessels that seemed to appear from nowhere.  Perhaps things were going to be tougher than he thought.
-----------------------------------------------

Lady D'ysperax stretched on the deck of her Raider in the Webway.  The Tau had arrived at just the right time.  It would give her son and Tallaria's little girl a chance to bond over the blood of their enemies.  Just the proper sort of engagement in more ways than one.  She heard some grumbling and saw Klon'vi pacing the ship, which was loaded up near to bear with Tallaria and and her Wyches.  The boy always had something to complain about.  She could think of a few dozen names who would sell the souls of the families to come within breathing distance of Tallaria or her exquisite entourage, but that was children for you.  They never appreciated anything you tried to do for them.

"Lady D'ysperax?"

The question made her turn, where she saw an eager looking Warrior waiting for a reply.  Oh, yes, she thought, the signal to attack.  Might as well make this look good for her new in-laws.

"Very well, then.  Let the Mon-Keigh tremble in their little boots.  The Wicked Talon has them within our grasp."

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

"Bang!  Where are you?!" bellowed Shas'O Shi'va, just before the lumbering Riptide turned the corner, nearly toppling over mid-stride.

Kor'va barely had time to stumble into position next to Shi'va and Cal'nan before the explosions started.  Jets flew overhead, releasing some kind of missiles that dissolved away the flesh of their Kroot auxiliaries with ease and bursts of some kind of energy tore into the Fire Warriors, leaving nothing but dust behind.

Things were getting kind of bad.

Shi'va growled, "This is a trap!  Right.  Perfect.  Everyone, listen up..."

"Puretide speaks to me, young one.  Nothing to worry about."

Shi'va twisted around to see Cal'nan looking contemplative, a faint glow in his left eye.  "Shas'nel, what are you talking..."

Cal'nan interrupted with a wry grin, "The Ethereals have gifted me the wisdom of Puretide in this old skull of mine.  You didn't think that I got this far on my looks alone?"

Shi'va flushed and turned away.  Wisdom or not, she only hoped the old one was right.  Things were looking dire.
--------------------------------------------------------------------------

On the other side of the battlefield, Helliarch Malice cleaned the end of her Hellglaive off on the fallen T'au Battlesuit with a grin.  The aliens had bumbled into their killzone without even bothering to look for a trap.  A wave of pain and torment passed over her as the still alive occupant twisted in agony.  Malice had to admit something, although she was irritating and interfering, her mother knew how to pick her Realspace raids.

Even she had heard of Lady D'ysperax and although her spawn looked meek and timid, the chance that she could ally herself with someone as legendary as the Archon was tempting to say the least.  She would have to see how attached the Lady was to her son first.  Malice had no attention to stay tied down with anyone, and as long as a corpse was binding enough, then perhaps she would give some thought to the possibility of a union. The little milksop had just not give her any trouble.

--------------------------------------------------------------------------
Everyone moves up.  The Hellions jump forward... basically next to the Ghostkeel who realizes that his Commander might have put them too forward.

The Ravagers and Raider deep-strike into the left ruins on my flank (This bodes ill).

Then... shooting opens up.  Ok.  The new Codex is hella better at shooting than the previous.  Or at least it seems that way.  The left Kroot all fall.  The center Kroot also fall.  Nearly all of the Fire Warriors go down.  Mass disintegrators and blasters fall onto the left flank.  I throw the drones onto the fire, but I don't have enough to keep shots falling into the Riptide.  Thankfully, I don't fall below 8 wounds, so I'm fine for shooting.  Oh, and yes, blasters and the Hellions wipe out the Ghostkeel...


Picture Caption: Wow, that was kind of brutal.

----------------
Turn 1: Tau
----------------

Cal'nan nodded as the hologram of the great Puretide faded from his mind.  It was a divisive strategy, but it might pay off.

"Shas'O, take to the front, we need to take out those tanks.  Shas'ui, stay back here with me and withdraw to the right flank."

Bang paused a bit confused, Cal'nan was acting like a different person entirely.  Gone was his jovial nature, replaced with a kind of cold pragmatism.

"Cal'nan?  Are you sure?  Shi'va's going to be by herself..."

"Not by herself, Shas'ui."

Everyone turned at the sudden transmission that came over their comms.  It was an old code, yet one easily recognized by their array.  The Farsight Enclaves.  The Separatists.  Traitors.  Here?  How?

There was a crimson trail of light as a single Crisis Suit dropped from the sky and landed with a crash in front of them.  A horde of drones nestled around the newcomer, who proudly wore the sigil of the Enclaves.

Weapons raised reflexively from the loyalist Tau, but were quickly waved away by Cal'nan.

"Do not waste your ammunition.  What do you want, traitor?  You are not wanted here."

The foreign Commander waved to the flotilla of incoming Eldar and said, "Wanted, perhaps not.  Needed?  Yes.  Definitely.  Now, do we waste more time with old grudges or do we fight our enemies?"

There was a pause and a subtle nod from Cal'nan in response.

"Good.  My name is Shas'O Fior'la Li'myr.  This is Voxi.  If we live through this we can make proper introductions later."

-----------------------------------------------------------------
Right, EMERGENCY precautions!  Fall back to the right!

Now that I don't have any Fire Warriors to really boost, I move everyone to the right and nestle the Warlord between the Hammerhead and the Riptide.  I consider my options for anti-tank... not much.  So my Commander suits up and flies over to start shooting at the Ravagers.

And I bring down the Farsight units to the left to act as a buffer.

Shooting has some pretty poor Markerlights from my Pathfinders as they moved.
Still, I manage to take apart a Ravager.  Yes, one Ravager.  I proceed to open up on the HQ-laden Raider using my Riptide (with Branched Nova Charge for 3++ as well; well worth 1CP if you ask me!) and then my opponent uses Lightning Reflexes (having gained back CPs using that damnable Warlord Trait), so I'm -1 to hit...  That's not great.

I do manage to get some wounds on the Raider, but not enough to take it down.
Oh, I do manage to take apart half or so of the Hellions with Kroot shooting, but that's cold comfort as the Dark Kin swarm in...


Picture Caption: Yeah, that's not... so great.

----------------------------
Turn 2: Dark Eldar
----------------------------

Drachon Klon'vi laughed as he threw himself over the prow of the Raider, landing lightly on his feet.  The chorus of wails from the Tau was a fine music to his ears.  All they needed to do was press the attack and he would seize glory from the aliens in front of the Succubus.  Then, she would be his.  Yes, after she witnessed his martial prowess, even his mother could not deny him this prize and...

"Oops."

There was a sudden flash of Darklight and Klon'vi scowled when he saw his mother daintily step over the ruined body of a Tau battlesuit.

"Mother!  I'm trying to work here!  Stop stealing my kills!"

"Yes, yes, dear," said Lady D'ysperax with a shake of her head, "Now hold onto this Writ while Mummy and Auntie Tallaria deal with the Tau.  Be careful with it as it's a gift from Vect himself."

The Archon pressed a strange, glowing runic tablet into his hands, and Klon'vi felt the awesome might of Living Muse within.

Still, he pressed on, "Mother!  How can I gain any glory sitting in the back?!  I should be in the front!"

Clicking her tongue, Lady D'ysperax whipped free her Huskblade, "Now, now, Klon'vi, maybe when you're older.  I'll deal with these little rapscallions and then we'll have a proper accord with Tallaria's little darling.  It'll work out fine, you'll see..."

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

The Dark Eldar show me what real shooting is like.
But, I get ahead of myself.

The HQs and Wyches pop out and boy do they move fast.  Lady D walks over to point-blank range on my Coldstar.  The Wyches and Succubus also slide up to the front.

All tanks and planes circle in...

And then the shooting starts.

Boosted by the Writ of the Living Muse, the back Archon buffs up the surrounding vehicles with re-rolls 1's to hit and wound (!).

Suddenly, Darklight is hella accurate and deadly.

Pathfinders go down.  Kroot go down.  Hammerhead and Riptide take some more wounds, but are still ok.  I also lose some drones...

Oh, and Lady D fires her Blaster at my Coldstar.  Hits.  Wounds.  Rolls a SIX on damage.

.
..
...

Shi'va goes down in a heap.

Yeah... that's pretty savage.

The Wyches assault in first, and although my Riptide is within range, I don't manage to get more than a single wound to stick as my opponent is rolling 6's for invuls/FNP pretty much outside the range of mathematical probability.
Sadly, my drones can't take mass S4 attacks and go down.

The Succubus has quite a bit of fun as she has 8 attacks (!) that go to THREE hits for every 6 (!).  So, she ends up having about a dozen or so hits and eight or so wounds.  If I can roll average, my Commander will survive (Eight being divided by two is four after all).  I roll... and barely survive.

Then I almost forgot that my opponent had also charged in Lady D, who then CRUSHES my poor Commander with her Huskblade...


Picture Caption: I just... don't know what to say.

----------------
Turn 2: Tau
----------------

Kor'va scowled as the Nova reactor warnings went red again.  He was pushing the Riptide to it's limit and it still wasn't enough.  Shi'va had gone down in an eyeblink and the new Shas'O soon afterwards.  The creatures were almost on top of them.  He just had to hold the line.

Somehow.

-------------------------------------------------------------
I'm down to FOUR models.

FOUR.

Well, better get to work then.

I continue to try to pull back, but my rear is blocked by a Razorwing.

Right.

So we try and hold our ground.

Shooting goes into the Wyches and I take them out.

I try to go big and fire at Lady D with the Hammerhead, but no wounds go through the Shadowfield...


Picture Capture: I shot the Wyches off the board.  ... Yay?


---------------------
Turn 3: Dark Eldar
---------------------

Kor'va gasped as he watched two lithe figures run up to him.

Their identity startled Kor'va more than it should have.

Eldar?

How?

Were they friends of Lori?  Maybe he could talk...

And that moment's hesitation was enough for the leaders of the Cult of the Broken Blade and the Wicked Talon Kabal.  Working with familiar precision, Succubus Tallaria went low, bringing her Triptych in lightning fast rakes, tearing open the leg joints of the enormous Battlesuit.  The Tau suit whirled it's arms trying to keep it's balance, but could do little to defend itself as Lady D'ysperax sauntered over and dug her Huskblade deep into the nether regions of the suit.  Though not blood, the Drukhari weapon sucked the coolant of the Nova Reactor just as readily, and the suit shut down as it's reactor failed, leaving the pilot trapped within.

Reveling in the destruction around her, Lady D'ysperax threw up a gauntleted hand in victory and grabbed the waist of Succubus Tallaria, who allowed herself to be drawn in for a passionate kiss.

It was good to be the Queen.

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

The True Kin decide to just finish the job and move in for the kill.

My Hammerhead goes down and then the Fireblade and Marksman are filled to the brim with poison.  The Riptide takes a real beating, but barely survives.

Lady D and the Succubus assault in, ignore my overwatch wounds (Shadowfield's pretty nasty...) and then take the big guy down.


Picture Caption: Sigh...  I guess this is what losing feels like...


-------------------------------
Result: Dark Eldar Victory
-------------------------------

Post-Game Thoughts: Ok... that was rough.

First things first: I think this was a bad matchup.  The Tau have a kind of lackluster Codex with their defense relying in two things: Range and Armor.

Their overall ballistic skill isn't the greatest and their rate of fire without buffs isn't so hot.  My initial idea of a gunline (which works well in say... Imperial Guard) wasn't a BAD idea per se, but going second against the Dark Eldar, who have guns that either ignore Toughness or Armor, was not playing to my strengths at all.

I don't know about the Tau in this edition.  I thought that 8th was shooty and horde friendly, but the Dark Eldar seem to do fine even without horde numbers.  Also you know... mobility.

Granted, I had mobility.  The Commander, Riptide and Hammerhead all move 12" or higher, but I was saddled with trying to keep the infantry alive.

.
..
...

That's a thought.  Maybe I should move away from Fire Warriors then.  Granted, they're useful, but they need to be able to do serious damage when I need them.  And if they don't survive past Turn 1... That's a problem.
Devilfish?  Hmm... not sure.

In any case, I need to cogitate on the issue while being in awe of the Dark Kin.

I'm SO tempted to bring out Y'stral and Bella for a spin.  I managed to get my hands the Codex and so much is better.  Just STRAIGHT better both in crunch and the fluff is pretty epic too.  Vect (probably) planning his own assassination to bring out his rivals to his own funeral, murdering them all with the Prophets of Flesh Coven and then using their blood and souls to reincarnate him as a LIVING MUSE?  That's... pretty epic.  The Dark Kin... call to me...

What do you all think?

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

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

Shas'ui Kor'va had lost count of the minutes as the air grew quite stale inside his Riptide.  Once a seat of glory, the enormous machine was now his tomb.  Whatever the Eldar had hit him with, it had overloaded his circuits and even the emergency hatches were jammed shut.

He could barely make out the sounds outside, but for whatever reason, it had gone quiet.  Nothing had been moving him around, so he was fairly sure he wasn't being taken captive, but something was going on.  Something sinister he was certain.
Suddenly, there was a whirring sound and a sudden burst of light as his systems came back to emergency power and his hatch popped open, letting in a blinding glare.

Kor'va covered his eyes and could barely make out the image of... a drone?

An Enclave Drone hovered in mid-air, scanning him with a beam of light before saying in a rather brusque tone, "Well now, you're alive.  That's a good thing."
"Uh, thanks," said Kor'va, feeling rather foolish talking to an artificial intelligence.  "I... you..."

The Drone sighed, "Sadly enough, I can't fault brain damage for your lack of decorum.  We've been introduced.  My name is V0-X1, Voxi for short.  Congratulations on not dying.  It's a far better fate than most of your comrades."

Kor'va rose to his feet, unbuckling his harness as he suddenly remembered the image of Shi'va falling to the aliens.  "The others?  Shi'va?  Cal'nan?"

"Worry not, oh great master," said the Drone with a surprising amount of sarcasm, "The two leaders of your enterage are surprisingly safe.  In no small thanks to our intervention."

"Our...?"

There was a rumble from behind the Tau and a group of Enclave-clad Battlesuits trampled over the ruins.  One waved in his direction and Kor'va meekly waved back.

"Yes," said the Drone, "Our.  The Old Guard.  Personal bodyguard of Shas'O Li'myr, who you were rather rude to."

"Oh," said Kor'va feeling his cheeks flush with shame, "I... Is he alright?"

The Drone rotated side to side in a motion that Kor'va realized was the same as a head rocking back in forth in thought, "That's depending upon which physician you talk to.  Physically, he's still intact, though put out that a group of scantily clad females put him down so easily.  He's like that, you know.  Now, come on out of there, there's a lot of work to be done.  We just scared them off, but they'll be back soon."

Kor'va nodded and started clamoring to his feet.  They had gotten lucky, but perhaps something more could be gotten out of all this.  After all, every great quest had a bit of tragedy from time to time.  All he had to do was look to the future.

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

13
-------------------------------------------------------
Tau vs. Dark Eldar in "Bang vs Lady D'ysperax!" (1500, 4/18)
-------------------------------------------------------

Hi All,
Well, this was an interesting one.
Straight up, this is my first list and battle with the new Tau Codex.
I had a lot of trouble making my list and decided (somewhat against my better judgement) just to go with Borkan gunline.
A lot of points dropped with the new codex, but sadly, not with the Crisis suits, which made me more reluctant to take them.
However, as there is a lot of infantry horde in my meta, I decided that maybe gunline (although rather boring), could probably be viable.
Of course, I also went with bringing the new hotness that is the Coldstar and the old (but still good) awesomeness of the Riptide.
Then...  I decided to throw some Farsight in my list for fun.
I hoped that it wouldn't take too much steam out of my overall strategy, but I needed something to deep-strike anyway.

And when I looked for an opponent, I noticed that one was just taking names, tabling people in short games, and I was somewhat surprised to see an old friend:

Lady D'ysperax

.

..

...

Cue Shock and Awe

The Lady Archon had come back and was taking names (and faces... and souls...) with great abandon.

I had to try and step up, after all, I had a good amount of shooty and I wanted to see what the new Dark Eldar can do.  After all, it was week one of the new Dark Eldar Codex and even I hadn't had a chance to look it over.  How bad could it be?

How did it go for the Tau?  Did I roll my opponent in three turns as per usual?

Umm... no.  But, it was a "greater good" game!  (puns ahoy)

Best,
-BT

P.S.  Fluff is here!  Comments and Critiques greatly appreciated!

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

-------------
The Lists
-------------

Tau Empire 1500: 59 Infantry, 20 Drones, 2 MCs, 1 Vehicle, 7 CPs
Bork'an Tau Battalion
-Commander w/Coldstar, Fusion Blastersx4
-Fireblade w/Markerlight, Puretide Chip (Warlord)
-Riptide w/HBurst Cannon, SMSx2, ATS, TL
-Ghostkeel w/CIon Raker, BCx2, ATS, TL, Stealth Drone
-Firesight Marksman w/Markerlight
-Fire Warriorsx5
-Fire Warriorsx5
-Fire Warriorsx5
-Krootx10
-Krootx10
-Krootx10
-Pathfindersx5 w/Markerlights, PAccel Drone
-Pathfindersx5 w/Markerlights, PAccel Drone
-Sniper Dronesx3
-Hammerhead w/Ion Cannon, Gun Dronesx2
Farsight Enclaves Outriders
-Commander w/Fusion Blastersx2 (Fusion Blades), DC, Iridium
-Shield Dronesx4
-Gun Dronesx4
-Marker Dronesx4
Signiture Systems (Relics): Fusion Blades, Puretide Chip
Warlord: Through Unity Devastation (-1AP on 6's aura)

Dark Eldar 1500: 34 Infantry, 9 Vehicles, 7 CPs
Black Heart Batallion
-Archon w/Huskblade, Blaster, PGL (Warlord) in Raider w/Disintegrator
-Archon w/Agonizer, Blaster, Writ of the Living Muse
-Warriorsx5 w/Blaster in Venom
-Warriorsx5 w/Blaster in Venom
-Warriorsx5 w/Blaster in Venom
-Ravager w/Disintegratorsx3
-Ravager w/Disintegratorsx3
Black Heart Air Wing Detachment
-Razorwing w/Disintegratorsx2
-Razorwing w/Disintegratorsx2
-Razorwing w/Disintegratorsx2
Cult of Stife Patrol
-Succubus w/Glaive, Triptych
-Wychesx7 w/Shardnet
-Hellionsx9
Artifacts of Cruelty (Relics): Writ, Triptych
Warlord: Labrynthine Cunning, Blood Dancer
Drugs: Succubus +2M, Hellions +1A, Wyches +1S

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

--------------------------------------
Chapter One: A Date with Darkness
--------------------------------------

There was a ripple of space/time as the Tau warship Eio'va burst from the Startide Nexus wormhole.  The crew aboard the craft swiftly activated their scanners to look down at their destination: Mul'gath 8.

A simple agrarian world, it had a spaceport planetside with enough supplies to refuel the ship on their quest.

The bridge was bustling with activity as the Air Caste set up plans to make landfall.  There was a general sense of relief upon the ship, given the relative newness of Nexus travel.  Although thoroughly vetted by the Earth Caste, there were few who were entirely comfortable with the newly discovered wormhole and the travel options that it had made available for the Fifth Sphere expansion.  As such, almost everyone was ready to see friendly faces once more.

That is to say... almost everyone. 

Commander Shi'va sat sternly, watching the instrument panel light up in front of her.  As leader of the Fire Caste Cadre that had been deployed on what she considered to be a long-shot mission, it was all but insufferable to have to deal with delays of any kind.  Still, it would at least get her out of the vicinity of her co-commanders.

"Shi'va!  Did you hear that?  I think we're out of the Nexus!"

Shi'va turned to see the smiling face of Shas'ui Kor'va.  Kor'va had aged a bit since they had first met, but he was still as annoyingly chipper as the first day they had met on the Shas'la firing lines.  And he was with the other pain in her side...

"Of course she heard that, Kor'va!" the Tau next to him bellowed.  "Girl's not deaf.  Just acts like it at times!"

Shi'va scowled at the scarred and wizened face of Shas'nel Cal'nan of Sept Bork'an.  Cal'nan was a Fireblade of some renown, having passed at the chance of, in Shi'va's opinion, taking the more sensible approach of wearing a battlesuit into combat. 
Instead, the old Tau had decided to stay on the front lines and poke his nose into things that didn't really matter to him.  Shi'va was hoping to leave the newly met, half-retired Shas'nel at his far-away outpost, but it was not to be.  Although lacking most social decorum, Cal'nan had one advantage: He was a good talker.

So good in fact, that he had managed to convince the Ethereal of his planet that he should be instituted as co-leader of their mission, even though he had just met the wandering Cadre.  It cut her to the bone, but Shi'va accepted the wisdom of the Etheral, even though she had to wonder, howerver momentarily, if there was the slightest possibility that the Ethereals might be wrong on this one.

But, she had sighed to herself, that was an impossibility.  So it was that she was saddled with this burden of an old busybody who had taken himself out of retirement to fiddle with their guns and talk about his past exploits to anyone within earshot.  Shi'va had wondered if half of them were even true, but that had mattered little to Kor'va.

Kor'va, also known as "Bang" to the non-Tau, had eaten up the stories with great earnest.  Easily swayed by honeyed words and tall-tales, the Shas'ui had become Cal'nan's biggest fan and had followed him around like a Kroothound looking for scraps.  It had been a relief at first to Shi'va, who had always been the target of Bang's assorted musings and half-flirtashish remarks, but it had quickly become an irritant now that Cal'nan was clearly loving the attention from his new admirerer.

Not that it had really mattered all that much, Shi'va reminded herself.  Best to just let it all go.  After all, it wasn't like she had felt jilted or anything when Bang chose to fall in pointless love with a Eldar of all things.  And when said Eldar had shown her true colours and abandoned Kor'va in the middle of an Ork invasion, the Shas'ui had somehow convinced himself and the local Council that the Orks had spirited away the Eldar "diplomat" and that they were honour-bound to rescue her.

Again, the memory made Shi'va grit her teeth, but it was a scar that only burned when she mentally picked at it.  After all, she told herself, it was just more time until she could retire and be done with all the nonsense of following quests.  Or maybe get to actually act as a Fire Caste member for once.

Looking up at Cal'nan and Kor'va, Shi'va replied, "I only wish that I could turn myself deaf, then I wouldn't have to listen to you two prattle on."

The knife-edged words made Kor'va wince, but Cal'nan grabbed his belly and let go with a hearty laugh that was slowly and more quietly joined by the Shas'ui next to him.

Cal'nan nodded to himself, wiping away a tear, "Oh, she's a funny one.  I can see why you keep her around, Kor'va."

Shi'va growled, "HIM?  Keep ME around?"

But, before the argument could become more heated a message popped up on the comm-screen in front of all of them.

Shi'va frowned as she read it.  "Curious.  Just an automated response.  Something about the weather being intolerable.  We're just supposed to land at a set coordinate..."

"See, Shi'va," said Bang, glad that something else had grabbed the fiery Shas'O's attention, "Nothing to worry about.  With luck, we'll just have a bunch of drones come over, fill us up, scrub out the meteor holes and we'll be on our way.  Nothing to worry about at all."

Shi'va frowned.  It seemed quiet.  Far too quiet.  Something in the back of her mind whispered a warning, but it was interrupted by a pang of smoke, which made her eyes water.  Cal'nan had produced one of those damnable Imperial smoke-sticks and was sucking on it with great abandon, puffing circles into the air dramatically.

"Do you mind?" asked Shi'va, raising a threatening eyebrow.

"Not at all, girl," replied Cal'nan pulling a stick out of the threadbare pack and handing it out to her.

Shi'va grimaced at the offer and stood up.  "I like my lungs, thank you.  Make ready for planetfall you two.  Make sure the entire Cadre is at the ready."

"Uh, ready?" asked Bang, "For... what?"

"For the unexpected," growled Shi'va.  "You're a member of the Fire Caste, Kor'va.  Act like it for once."

Kor'va paled for a moment, but Cal'nan interrupted the two, clapping a hand on the Shas'ui's shoulder.  "Let her have this one, m'boy.  She'll owe us one that way."

"Owe...  You..."  started Shi'va before Cal'nan swiveled on a heel.

"Can't get started now," continued the Shas'nel as he guided the semi-confused Bang out of the room.  "Got to get ready.  After all, we should make a good show for the locals!  You never know who we'll meet out there!"

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

"I'm afraid, Commander, that our signal is still being jammed," intoned the mechanical voice of Drone Network V0-X1.  The small drone fluttered around a massive crimson-clad Battlesuit that looked none-too-happy about the response.

Shas'O Vior'la Li'myr of the Farsight Enclaves swore at the situation.  It had gone from bad to arguably worse.  The Harlequins had left them on the planet occupied by Tau on things had been marginally acceptable as the locals had reluctantly supplied the separatists with supplies on the agreement that Li'myr and his Old Guard wouldn't raid them and the loyalists wouldn't report them.

Things had actually been going on swimmingly until the sky turned into a swarm of jagged ships that descended from the sky and with frightful quickness had gobbled up all of the populace.  Li'myr had considered intervening, but the sheer size and speed of the invaders had whittled their chances of intervention down from foolheardy to downright impossible.

So it was that Li'myr had to watch the mass abduction with nothing but shame in his heart.  Time had passed and no one else had come.  With supplies now dwindling, Li'myr had his friends put into stasis, and only Voxi (V0-Xi's nickname) keeping watch for reinforcements.

And so they had come, but a familiar static plagued their transmissions and Li'myr's suspicions were confirmed:  The Invaders were still here. 

He had to dome something. 

Anything.

"Voxi, get your other bodies mobile, we're going to help them.  If they're caught flat-footed, they'll be torn to shreds in moments."

"Commander," said the AI pragmatically, "Do you want to know the odds of our survival or the success of this mission?"

"Low, Voxi?"

"Surprisingly low.  Even by our standards."

The Shas'O nodded, "Fair enough.  Put the Old Guard on timers.  If we don't make it out of here, they at least deserve a chance to avenge us.  I only hope we can make those monsters pay in blood."

Li'myr took another furtive glance down at the abandoned looking settlement.  Who knew what those creatures were doing?  What macabre plans did they have afoot?

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"Mother!  I am not wearing that!"

Drachon Klon'vi sprinted down the hall, sending Warriors diving for cover.  Following on his heels with the speed of an Ur-ghul on Adrenalight was his mother, the extravagantly beautiful and equally deadly Lady D'ysperax.  The Archon had on a brilliant smile and a set of tight-fitting Kabalite armor that left little to the imagination.  Most Drukhari would fall to their knees at the sight of such titillation, but for Klon'vi, it was more disgust and shame that filled his mind. 
After being ousted from his position as leader of the Bloody Vulture gang of Hellions, he had been forced, seemingly by the capricious will of Khaine himself, to have to do the most unimaginable thing possible:

Move back in with his mother.

"Klon'vi!  Don't be so stubborn.  This one's pretty..." continued Lady D'ysperax holding up a runed and embroidered Slave-skin cape.

"Helliarchs don't wear capes, Mother!  They get caught on everything!"  countered the Drachon, suddenly finding himself stuck in a corner.  The Wicked Talon Kabal had found a mostly undefended Tau world and had ransacked it of its blue-skinned inhabitants.  The Kabal had decided to stay in case other Tau would return and thus open up the possibility of a second harvest.  But, Klon'vi knew that it was for a more sinister design.  His mother had set-up a "union" proposal.  Pimping out her only son to ally with some other Kabal.  It was scandalous, unacceptable and completely on-par for HER.

"But, dear, you're not one of those little gang-people anyone," reminded Lady D'ysperax, quickly grabblng her son and pinning the cape on despite his protests.  "Now, don't we look handsome?"

Klon'vi grumbled some form of acceptance, vowing to throw the cape into the nearest fire as soon as this whole mess was over.  "Yes, Mother.  Whatever.  Now what kind of homely creature am I going to have to bear dealing with..."

And that was when his words skidded to sudden halt as a faint jingling of blades was heard down the hall.  A ravashing-looking Drukhari walked at the forefront of a small horde of scantily clad Wyches.  Klon'vi felt every fiber of his being drawn to attention as the fiery-haired Succubus was nearly perfect in every detail.  Her face was flawless, her body fit and toned with enough curves to attract the eyes of everyone who still had them, and a predatory glint in her eyes that made everyone remember where their weapons were being kept.

"Tallaria!" shouted Lady D'yperax in greeting, bowing deeply to the newcomer.  "You're right on time.  This is my son, Klon'vi.  Klon'vi, this is Tallaria, Succubus of the Broken Blade."

Klon'vi managed to get enough blood back to his brain to operate his mouth and said in as best a pompous tone as possible, "Oh, ahem.  Greetings.  Yes, Mother, she'll... she'll do."

There was a pregnant pause and then a tittering as both Lady D'ysperax and Succubus Tallaria broke out in near-falling over laughing spasms.  Klon'vi fumed as the two women seemed to laugh themselves nearly hoarse.

Wiping her tears away, Lady D'ysperax said, "Oh, oh, dear-heart.  Oh, that's... that's a good one.  No, we're not here to... (snicker) pair you with Tallaria.  Oh, no, not that at all."

Rolling his eyes back into his head to hide his near-terminal embarrassment, Klon'vi said, "FINE, then Mother.  Then who am I..."

The conversation was ground to a halt as a smell rolled into the corridor.  Klon'vi wrinkled his nose as a pack of slave-leather wearing, tatooed and scar-bearing Hellions scrabbled into view.  Khaine's blood, Klon'vi thought, Is that what I used to look like?

The Hellions sauntered up to the assembled groups, bowed mockingly, and their leader, a braided, face-painted female with the usual badly-made serrated teeth and clearly drug-enhanced musculature said, "The Venomous Vermin are here as invited.  I..."

The Helliarch paused, fumed and then said, "Mother?  Is this one of those things?!  You promised this was a real raid this time!"

Tallaria smiled and said, "Be polite, Venaria."

"Malice."

Tallaria shot a knowing look at Lady D'ysperax who gave her a sympathetic nod that only mothers of troubling children could give.

"Yes, little one," continued the Succubus, "It's one of those things.  Now, Mummy's good friend here has a Drachon that..."

"Not even an Archon?" said Venaria with a wrinkled nose, "And a half-pint looking piece of dross at that?  I'd rather stick a Hellglaive up my holes than let that thing anywhere near me."

"As if you're doing anyone any favours!" threw back the Drachon, "You could at least go to the good Haemonculi for enhancements.  I'm amazed you still have half a tongue with that ill-fitting maw of yours."

"Children, Children," said Lady D'ysperax, "Let's not be so hasty.  First impressions aren't all that important.  Why my fifth consort and I didn't hit things off until we got to the bedroom.  Let's just..."

Suddenly a voice came over the speakers, "Attention, Mul'gath 8, this is starship Eio'va.  We are requesting resupply.  Please reply."

A grin spread over the Dark Eldar, quelling all of the petty arguments.  Prey had wandered into their kill zone and now the new harvest would begin...

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Mission: 2 Objectives
Setup: Frontal Assault

Pre-Game Thoughts: Huh, that's... a lot of Dark Eldar.  After making sure that we are indeed playing the same points level, I have to say that the flotilla of nasty poison-filled Space Elves are kind of intimidating.  However, it seems that the defenses (i.e. Wounds, Toughness) hasn't changed, so all I have to do is shoot them out of their paper planes and I'll be golden.  In theory anyway.  Thankfully, I'm Borkan, so 36" plasma shots as a base with 18" triple shot-rapid fire should take care of a bunch of T3 models.  I just have to deploy smart and make a meat wall just in case...

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Setup: The board is kind of interesting with ruins in the corners and a big Line of Sight blocking building in the middle, which is kind of irking as my additional range won't be as much of an asset with the center blocked out.
We take turn deploying and I put the Farsight all in deep-strike while my opponent spends 3 CPs to put the Ravagers and the Raider with the Archons, Succubus and Wyches into Deep Strike.  That's... new.  Kind of awesome and horrible.  Just like the Dark Eldar...

Next comes my choice to put the Tau down.  I know that the Dark Eldar are hella fast.  So...  if I put all my mates in the corner, it's going to be bad times if I'm flanked.

Alternatively, if I deploy centrally, I'll probably take more fire, but the Dark Eldar are so fast, I'd probably be taking a decent amount of fire anyway.  PLUS, it gives me a flank to run to if/when we need someplace to run to.

I put all of the Tau in the center with the Kroot in front, Fire Warriors behind them, Pathfinders behind that and far in the back, the Riptide, Commander, Hammerhead, Marksman and Sniper Drones.

The Dark Eldar deploy aggressively, with the Hellions in front, the Venoms behind them and the Razorwings acting as a somewhat effective barrier.

I then decide to put the Ghostkeel on top of the center building.

The Dark Eldar get the roll to go first and take it.

I'm really not looking forward to the possibility of an alpha strike.  So that means... I need... to seize the initiative.

Now, you all know that this legendary thing has never happened for 'Toof.  I have heard the tales and seen others do it.  So... I summon the powers of the Greater Good... and roll a 1.


Picture Caption: I uh... have more mens than you.  Go away.

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To be Continued!

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14
Thanks for the kind comments!

I'm glad that you like the fluff, and although I'm retiring the Eldar for now... I have a new rep (with Tau!).

Please let me know if you like that one too :)

Best,
-BT

15
Thanks all for the kind comments!

I know it's a bit hard to root for the Eldar as they are kind of top dogs at the moment, but I'm glad the fluff seemed to please :)

As for the next rep...

.
..
...

I fought a hard battle yesterday as Tau.

You ever have that list that you think looks ok, but on the table it just seems to fall apart?

I had one of those days.

It'll be up soon, but it's not the best start for the Greyskins!

Best,
-BT

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