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Author Topic: The Dark Eldar Archives: Dark Eldar vs Knights! (Part 3)  (Read 2009 times)

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The Dark Eldar Archives: Dark Eldar vs Knights! (Part 3)
« on: October 27, 2018, 11:09:30 am »
Dark Eldar vs. Imperial Knights/Guard in "Knights and Daze" (1500, 9/18)

Hi All,
No, not dead yet.  I've been away, on a holiday.  Mostly procrastinating.
But, I've heard something that made my blood run cold:


What with the Dark Eldar actually being a GOOD (maybe OP, but hey, I'm not judging anyone) Codex, I feel the nerfs in the September FAQ coming.

So, as a last hurrah, I managed to squeeze in a game with not-quite the whole Knights/IG netlist, just to see how evil the latest meta boogeyman was.

And... it was pretty mean.

How did the Dark Eldar fare?

Smashed asunder?  Crawling to Victory?  Or standing menacingly on a pile of corpses?

Read.  On.


P.S.  Fluff of course is here!


The Lists

Dark Eldar 1500: 38 Infantry, 3 MCs, 6 Vehicles; 9 CPs
Black Heart Battalion
-Archon w/Venom Blade, Blaster
-Archon w/Venom Blade, Blaster
-Warriorsx5 w/Blaster
-Warriorsx5 w/Blaster
-Warriorsx5 w/Blaster
-Raider w/DCannon
-Raider w/DCannon
-Scourgesx5 w/Haywire Blastersx4
-Ravager w/DCannonsx3
-Ravager w/DCannonsx3
-Razorwing w/DCannonx2
-Razorwing w/DCannonx2
Prophets of Flesh Patrol
-Talosx3 w/Chain Flail, Macro-Scapel, Haywire Blastersx6
Artifacts of Cruelty: Writ of the Living Muse, Vexator Mask
Warlord: Labrynthine Cunning, Diabolical Soothsayer

Imperial Knights and Guard 1500: 32 Infantry, 4 SHs; 11 CPs
Imperial Knights House Raven
-Knight Castellan w/Volcano Lance, Plasma decimator, 2 Twin Meltaguns, 2 Twin Siegebreaker cannons, 2 Shieldbreaker missiles
-Knight Gallant
-Armiger Helverin w/Autocannonsx2
-Armiger Helverin w/Autocannonsx2
Imperial Guard Battalion
-Company Commander
-Primaris w/Force Stave
-Infantry Squad
-Infantry Squad
-Infantry Squad
Company Commander: Kurov's Aquilla
Castellan: Cawl's Wrath
Company Commander: Grand Strategist
Castellan: Ion Bulwark (4+ Ion Shields)

Chapter 17: Knights and Daze

Lt. Colonel Silas Hawthorne of the Cadian 812th marched along with his newly adapted rolling step that shifted every 8th and a half stride to account for the earthquake caused by his new charges.  The sky on Bellanor IV was supposed to be sweltering and for that, Silas was glad that the Hellenic assault was cut off by the previously mentioned monstrosities.  Correction, he told himself, Wonders of the Imperium.  A gout of dust plumed in front of him, causing him to raise his cloak up to his face, but it was getting to be standard protocol.  A ratcheting sound nearly matching the deafening roar of a Bastilisk brought his attention upwards, and he saw the underside of one of the hulking titans.

Or rather, he corrected himself again, Knights.  Four Knights, lead by a so-called Baron Gravestone, were a bit of a surprise for the Colonel.  His bedraggled unit was assigned to Bellanor IV to guard the ruins of a once-mighty cathedral, full of saints and reliquaries and other hand-wringingly important artifacts that he couldn't tell from a hole in the wall.  It wasn't Silas' fault, he often told himself.  He glanced to his shoulder to see the new omnipresent mechanical two-headed bird that perched there.  The Aquilla.  An interesting "gift" from his superiors that supposedly held the collective knowledge of military geniuses and was rare as hygiene on a Ogryn.  Or at least supposedly.  He swore that he had seen Rogue Traders with armloads of the birds and it seemed that every Commander he had run into had one welded to his arm in an attempt to look savvy.

Which, Silas had to admit, that he needed in spades.  Silas was in a word... modest.  Collectively so with a face that neither made maidens swoon nor recoil in horror, a slightly receding hairline that failed to make him look dashing or noble, and a body that was fairly dumpy outside of his uniform.  Having had few encounters, his uniform was bare of the usual regalia of his peers, but that bothered Silas little as most of them were dead.  Still, he was sure that something about him that must have made the Mechanicum choose him as an escort for the enormous war machines.  In fact, he was technically in charge of them and leader in the expedition. 

He just wasn't entirely sure what the expedition was about.  But, the Aquilla told him that it was important and it let of reams of detailed data about how it was of utmost import that he go precisely to opposite side of the Cathedral out in the open on the big hill with all due haste.  A lesser man might question the tactical wisdom of such an action, but Silas knew better.  The Aquilla was a priceless relic, so it had know what it was doing.  After all, ignorance was one of the Imperium's prime virtues and it wasn't his place to know the gritty details.  Better men than him certainly knew what was going on.


Haemonculus X'Bella Le'Gosi floated in front of the Webway Portal, her trio of massive Taloi hovering closely nearby.  Her head tilted to the side in curiosity at the cackling laughter emenating from their leader Y'stral, Archon of the Grisly Hand Kabal.  Something was certainly amusing.

"Can you believe these nimrods Thiel?" howled the Archon, turning to his Dracon, the once-Farseer Thielbane.  "Marching out in the open to be plucked off.  Completely exposed and asking for it.  Might as well coat them with lube.  Make things faster."

Thielbane sighed.  Once again, Y'stral was getting ahead of himself.  "Y'stral, don't you think we're... biting off more than a bit here?  Those are Knight Titans.  Titans."

"Yeah," nodded the Archon, rubbing his hands together with malicious glee, "Imagine how much we're going to get for their bits.  I call dibs on the big one's head.  Gonna fit right over my throne in the orgy pit."

Fighting down a bit of revulsion, Thielbane continued, "If you... insist upon endangering all of us like this, Y'stral, shouldn't we at least... take some reinforcements?  Bella's monsters are effective, but we're clearly outnumbered."

Y'stral sighed and stalked forward, throwing a clinging hand around Thielbane's shoulder that made the Dracon wince, "Thiel, it's like this.  The more we bring in, the more we gotta share.  And I'm tired of sharing.  These Knight morons are everywhere spanking Archons left and right.  Can you imagine how many rage-induced heart attacks we'll cause if we manage to take a clump of them down?"

Thielbane paused, fighting back the mental calculations and reasonable assumption that trying to fight the Adeptus Questoris usually ended up with the losers in very shallow graves as the Knights trodded on them like insects.  Still, he saw the gleam of avarice and unrestrained murderlust in his comrade's eyes and he knew there was only one response:

"Of course, Y'stral.  Can we just... be careful?"

The Archon snorted, "We'll be careful, Thiel.  Careful as a Succubus on triple Adrenalight.  And don't worry, you won't regret this."

Thiel rolled his eyes into the back of his head and nodded.  Things were just getting better and better.

Mission: Retrieval Mission (4 obj)
Setup: Front Line Assault

Setup is fairly kind with one big porous ruin in the center of the board (kind of Cathedral looking) with statuary lining the sides and big bunches of trees scattered about.  Nothing that can totally block line of sight (gah), but enough to get saves on my boats if I play things right.  The objectives go one to each side and my opponent and I put one objective in each of our deployment zones.

Right, now before I get into things, I have to say, the combination of IG just to get CPs and regenerating said CPs for the Knights is kind of broken.  My opponent uses 2 CPs to give the Castellan a Warlord trait (wait... what?) and Cawl's Wrath as an extra relic (double what?).  I raised an eyebrow at this, but apparently, the wording the slightly dodgy and everyone agrees this isn't a bug, but instead a feature.  Right.  Then he puts his IG commander on the field in the far back behind the hill and we start deploying.  Nothing out of note save that when I drop my Ravagers into reserve he rolls as well.  Didn't say anything, but I did note that he could end up with more CPs than when he started if he can roll in deployment.

In any case, he castles up in the center with his Commander and Psyker in the far back behind the Castellan, who has the Armitgers to either side and a thin line of 30 Guardsmen in front of them.  The Gallant goes in front of them all.

I deploy to match with the Talos in the front, behind of which I put Bella and her Wracks.  The Raiders go slightly to one side, ready to zip up and drop Lances as needed.  The Razorwings go a bit to the flanks to prevent heady turn 1 charges and to clog up lanes of traffic on turn 1.  Ravagers go in deep strike reserve as does the Scourges.

And with that, we roll to see who gets first turn.  The Dark Eldar take it (yay), and the Knights fail to seize.  And with that we're off to the races!

Turn 1: Dark Eldar
Right, the Armigers have to die.  4d3 re-rolling to hit S7 D3 wounds are nothing to laugh at and I need to keep my boats alive as long as possible.

I push the Raiders out to the left in range of the left Armiger, and the Ravagers come out of Deep Strike to the right in range of the right Armiger.  The Razorwings hit the skies to land close-ish to the front lines, blocking the closest route for the Gallant.  Bella and her crew start the long walk up the right side.

Shooting is pretty decent with my plethora of Blasters and the Raiders' Dissie Cannons take down the Armiger on the left and the rest of my firepower takes down the Armiger on the right with some shots going in to pare down the Guardsmen on my right flank.  My opponent activates the upgraded shield on the Castellan, so I don't get anything meaningful in on the big guy.

Picture Caption: Ha ha!  We'll win for sure now!

Turn 1: Knights
This is the turn I see the full might of the Knight list come into play.  My opponent advances the Gallant over to the left flank and gets a big move, coming within 12" of my Raiders.  Huh... that's not good.

The Guardsmen shield retracts and then the Castellan starts firing.

He uses the Raven Strategem which is "re-roll 1's."  I let it through not knowing that it means ALL 1's.  Not just to hit.  Not just to damage.  But all of the random shot rolls too.  Guess who has all random shot guns?

Yeah, it's pretty gruesome as despite using Lightning Reflexes to give the Castellan a few wounds off his overcharged Plasma Cannon (ha!), there's not much joy as he annihilates both Raiders with ease.  The Archon and Dracon bail out, losing a few Warriors in the process.  Some shots go at the Taloi, but no real damage is done.

Then, my opponent using a Strategem to let the Gallant charge!  Thankfully, he falls short (even with a re-roll).  I realize that my opponent has just spent a bucket-full of CPs, and ask him if he really has that much.  I wasn't really keeping track, but apparently he's been getting so much back from decent Aquilla rolls, he still has more than enough left over...

Picture Caption: Uh... right...  We might be boned.

Turn 2: Dark Eldar

Right, that Castellan is super dangerous, but I HAVE to kill the Gallant, or he'll just multi-charge my entire left flank, get Warlord and just go to town on my Taloi.
So, I move the Jetfighters out of the way, pull the Warriors  to the sides and keep scooching Bella's crew forwards.  The Scourges come down from up-high to help on the left.

It takes EVERY LAST ounce of shooting, but I'm able to destroy the Gallant, even through the fancy shield.

Oh, except for some side shooting into the Guard for kicks which helps thin the line a bit more.

Picture Caption: Man, those Knights are TOUGH.

Turn 2: Knights
Realizing that my Ravagers did most of the work, my opponent shuffles to the left, trying to keep out of range of the Taloi, but the line of sight on the boats is a bit tough, so he doesn't go quite as far as he'd like.  The Guard shuffle around and the Psyker moves up to Smite my Taloi for ONE WOUND... which I save with my 6+ FNP.

And... that would be only bit of luck this turn as the Castellan activates his powers again and easily destroys both Ravagers and throws a Missile (1d6 wounds that ignore invuls??) into Y'stral... who somehow survives off his 6+ FNP!

Picture Caption: Man... we're going to be walking home again aren't we?

Turn 3: Dark Eldar
Time to tighten the noose.
Everyone moves forwards.
Shots go into the Castellan.  He tries to use his upgraded shield, but I block it with Agents of Vect.  We do about a quarter or so of its wounds (man this thing is tough!), but the important thing is that the Taloi get stuck in on the Castelan!
I use the Strategem to let them re-roll wounds, and now with 2+ to hit, they go to town on the big guy, tearing him down to the last eddies of his wounds.
Bella and her Wracks dive into the Psyker and the Guard next to them, mulching them with surprising ease (Haemonculi can fight?  Just as good as an Archon?  Say it isn't so!)
Oh, and just to see what they can do, the Scourges jump into assault on the last Guard squad and... get the royal stuffing knocked out of them.  Still, they tie up combat, so that's ok.

Picture Caption: Taloi.  You guys...  you guys do good work.

Turn 3: Knights

The Castellan uses a Strategem (yes another one) to move as if it had full wounds, and then steps out of combat.

My opponent somehow STILL has CPs, so he uses the usual Raven Strategem again and tries to take out the Taloi.  He does some wounds to them, but not enough to kill one.  He also uses more CPs to fire his missile against Y'stral, but this time he misses (whew).

The Guard thump the Scourges to death with their lasguns, but the winged mercenaries at least take their lump of... uh... they killed a few.  Really.

Picture Caption: Man, they have a Strategem for everything!

Turn 4: Dark Eldar
Right.  Time to die.

Everyone moves up.

I shoot everything into the Knight who STILL has CPs for the use of that 3++ shield, so I just settle with Bella charging in with the Vexetor mask (to avoid overwatch) and then charge the Taloi in.  The resulting carnage plies the last few wounds off the Knight who finally... FINALLY... falls.

Picture Caption: Wow, that was really... really hard.

And... I sort of forgot about the Commander who was hiding behind the hill.
My opponent gracefully decides to tilt his king at this point.

And with that it's a...

Result: Dark Eldar Victory!

Post-Game Thoughts: First of all, this was a sloppy game on both my and my opponent's ends.  I hadn't really faced the Knights before, but now I can see why they have so much of a following.  With enough CP they are CRAZY deadly for their points.  And the Guard with their Commander can do just that.  It's a remarkably effective union and I think it'll probably be nerfed sooner or later.

As for the Dark Eldar, it was a really touch and go kind of victory.  I had luckily gotten first turn otherwise my boats would probably all be dead and my units inside too.  I can see why some people have stopped taking Warrior gunboats all together if this is the kind of firepower than you can expect Turn 1.  The Gallant was scary fast and could easily have ripped apart my lines if I didn't devote every shot to take it down.  I didn't know about the "act as if you had full wounds" strategem at that point, but it was a good idea to take it down.

After this game, I felt that the Taloi were really great counters, especially for their points as they have a meaty number of wounds and with that T7, they can resist a good number of Autocannon shots.  Their invul bounces the bigger shots too.  Some have said that their price will see a noticeable increase, which saddens me, but I'll probably just take Grotesques in the future if that's so, especially if the Knight population starts to thin.

Overall, this was perhaps my toughest game in a while and I can see why Knights are such a dominating force!



Lt. Colonel Hawthorne poked his head out of the ravine.  It wasn't the most glorious way of exiting the battlefield, but when the last Knight fell, he knew it was time to go.  He frowned, looking at the Aquilla that was still barking out helpful advice.  Dropping it to the ground, he raised his Laspistol and put a few well-placed holes in the once revered artifact, finally silencing it's mechanical cries.  Never again would he let a toy tell him what to do.  Now, all he had to do was find out some way to retreat back to the nearest outpost without being discovered by the Xenos and not be executed for desertion or incompetence.
He sighed, looking at the ruined mechanical bird on the ground.  Just when he could use a little advice...


Bella watched Y'stral dance amongst the still burning remains of the Knights, occasionally stopping to let someone take holos of his good side.  It was a Victory indeed.  But, something about it bothered Bella.  Why were these enormous creatures so common?  Surely something was happening on a systemic level.  All she had to do was keep her head and analyze what the...


Bella jerked her head up out of her notes and looked up at Y'stral and a very uncomfortable looking Thielbane standing atop a teetering Casteallan head.

"Don't just stand there!  We need a girl to sit fawning at our feet!"

An odd request, thought Bella, the necessity of a female in a position of adulation would certainly be unnecessary given the importance of her discovery and...

"That means you!" yelled Y'stral shaking a fist in her direction, "Get over here and get fawning!"

Something clicked inside Bella's head and thoughts started to float away.  Something was important.  Something.  But, she couldn't remember anymore.  It wasn't important surely.  The Archon needed her.  That was what was important.  After all, what could possibly go wrong?
BigToof Points:

Cammerz: 8
Waaaghpower: 1
The Man They Call Jayne: 3
Mabbz: 6
Archon Sharrek: 3