The Kabal of Lost Souls vs The Fire Lords
by Chris Cook

Forces and Deployment

The mission was a standard Cleanse, fought over a 4'x4' area populated by various bits of debris and ruins. To keep things even I made sure each quarter had a Necromunda building in it suitable for firing from the top of. We were supposed to be playing a Dawn Assault, but both of us forgot to use the night-fight rules. The game had been set at 1000 points.

My force was led by Karainn, who today had the profile of an Archon (my characters get drafted into whatever squad position I need them in, so their abilities vary between Sybarite and Archon). She had an agoniser, combat drugs and a shadow field. Her bodyguard was five Incubi, and her Raider was upgraded to carry a disintegrator. I'd already decided that maxing out on agonisers and AP2/3 weapons was the way to go, and it's only for lack of miniatures that the Incubi didn't carry a pair of blasters. Being basically a short-ranged dark lance, I can't help but love blasters.

Troops were two Raider squads, led by Rathai and the Dancer who both carried agonisers. The squads each had a blaster, and both Raiders carried disintegrators. A third warrior squad was created to provide vehicle-killing power, consisting of ten warriors on foot, two of whom carried dark lances. I knew that my opponent would be using a Rhino (I'd painted it several weeks previously) and I intended to blow it to bits on turn one.

For support, and if possibly to deploy right in the leading corner of my deployment zone, I took a Talos. The Sting may not be much of a heavy weapon against marines, but D6 attacks with strength 7 power weapons count for a lot. I briefly wondered if I should take two, then decided that I'm not that nasty in a thousand-point game. If it was fifteen-hundred I'd have been positively sadistic, of course. Instead, the Talos got a squad of Wyches to accompany it, armed with a shredder (I'd have preferred a blaster, but availability of models again killed that idea). The Succubus Kallian's agoniser should help out in assault, just in case the Talos started rolling 1's for number of attacks.

I'd have liked to take another Raider squad, but I lacked the Raider so I opted for my little-used Reaver squadron led by Succubus Riana. She got an agoniser, naturally, and one bike was upgraded to a blaster. At best, the Reavers would be a distraction to take some heat off the incoming Raiders - they could move as fast as the transports and still fire, and the models have quite a high 'fear factor' against players who don't know that Reavers are a bit over-priced and vulnerable to shooting.

I was a little concerned that I only had two dark lances, and unable to move at that - I'm used to having a bunch of Raiders acting as mobile tank-killers, but the disintegrators seemed to be made for marine-killing and, unlike lances, couldn't be carried by foot troops. My other worry was Possessed Marines, which I knew my opponent liked and, from previous games between him and my loyalist marines, I hated. My Wyches rolled for combat drugs, the foot troops getting to reroll their attacks, and the Reavers becoming fearless.

The army I was up against was a Tzeentch/Slaanesh force. My opponent chose an Exalted Champion on a bike, with the Mark of Tzeentch and a power weapon. His other HQ choice was a Sorcerer, a follower of Slaanesh with the power Fleshy Curse. I'd not seen this one in use before, so I was cautious about the Sorcerer. Troops consisted of a squad of chaos marines with bolters, plus a heavy bolter and meltagun, and five Thousand Sons to accompany the Sorcerer, chosen as troops via the Lord's Mark of Tzeentch.

Guessing correctly that I'd be charging forward as soon as possible, my opponent went for a gun-heavy force to blunt my attack. He took a squad of Havocs with various unpleasant heavy weapons - a missile launcher, heavy bolter and autocannon, which between them were a fair load of heavy anti-personnal weapons and something of a threat to the Raiders as well (mind you, anything stronger than a lasrifle is a threat to a Raider). Also chosen were a squad of Noise Marines, with a Doom Siren-equipped champion and a Blastmaster. His final choice was a squad of (you guessed it) Possessed Marines, in the Rhino. Naturally the blasted things became Invulnerable, in addition to rising to strength 5 and getting vorpal blades. I really hate Possessed Marines.

I deployed first, placing my Talos right in the corner of my zone as planned, forcing the chaos army back into its own quarter. My warriors with the two dark lances stood on top of a Necromunda building with good lines of sight, the Wyches accompanied the Talos, all three Raiders covered the right flank and the Reavers took the left. My opponent put his Havocs and Noise Marines in the considerable cover offered by a building in the back corner of his zone, then had his Lord and Sorcerer deploy just ahead of the Possessed's Rhino, which was ready to counterattack once I'd made my first strike.

So, hopefully-lucky purple dice in hand (my Dark Eldar have purple armour) I prayed for the first turn...

Turn One

...and got first turn. The Talos moved straight forward, heading for the guts of the chaos force, with Kallian's Wyches in tow. The lance warriors stayed put, as I was hopeful that the Possessed's Rhino was just within range. Riana's Reavers took the left flank, bearing down on the Noise Marines and Havocs, and all three Raiders took the right, heading for the Sorcerer's Thousand Sons and, later, the Lord. At this point I decided not to deploy any troops from the Raiders, hoping to throw a spanner in the obvious Possessed-led counterattack that was coming.

The lances fired, blasting the Rhino to pieces - unfortunately all the Possessed survived, but they'd lost their mobility. The combined firepower of the disintegrators and the blasters riding on the transports targeted the Thousand Sons, but cover saves led to only two and a half of them falling (two wounds each, dammit). The Talos fired, but only managed three hits, all of which had to go to the Thousand Sons who would be unharmed by the strengh 4 weapon - one more hit and the Sorcerer would have had to take it. The Reavers fired at long range with their rifles, but failed to wound the Noise Marines. With the Talos and Wyches not close enough to assault, and the other troops staying in their vehicles, we went straight to the other half of the turn.

The Possessed moved forward, hoping to get into position without their vehicle. The Thousand Sons moved to block the Talos, while everyone else stood still and fired. The Noise Marines targeted the Reavers, but the bikes saved against the handful of hits that got through. The Thousand Sons blasted away at the Dancer's Raider with their rapid-firing boltguns, downing the vehicle and killing one of the squad in the crash. The Havocs fired at the remaining Dark Eldar, killing three but, significantly, leaving the Dancer herself unharmed. The Possessed, armed with bolt pistols, shot two Wyches but failed to break the squad.

In the assault phase, my gamble with the Raiders paid off, as the Possessed had no targets close enough to charge, with the vehicles themselves sitting just outside 6". The Thousand Sons couldn't charge, despite being almost next to the Dancer, but the biker Lord attacked the Reavers in a brave and, hopefully, suicidal attempt to stop them reaching the heavy weapons squads. He managed a hit, but the increased toughness of the Reaver prevented him from wounding. Riana wounded him in return, her agoniser ignoring the bonus toughness from the chaos bike.

Turn Two

Both Raiders moved into the side of the chaos force, Kallian and her Incubi deploying to take the Sorcerer, Rathai staying in her vehicle. The Talos and its accompanying Wyches moved into assault range of the depleted Thousand Sons, with the Dancer also moving towards them. During the shooting phase everything available fired at the Possessed in an attempt to break the back of the squad. Two disintegrators, two dark lances, a shredder and a blaster, plus every splinter weapon available, but in the end only two of the Possessed fell thanks to their Invulnerable 3+ saves. Did I mention I hate these things?

The assault phase went better. Karainn charged up her combat drugs, gaining an extra attack and rerolls on her to-hit rolls. She charged the Sorcerer and killed him before he had time to yelp (to be honest I'd been getting confused, and had falsely assumed he was a sorcerer *lord* - he'd have died anyway, as it was he suffered severe overkill). The Incubi charged the Possessed, denying them the extra attack they would have gotten had they charged, but failed to get through their damned armour. Two Incubi were killed in return by the armour-ignoring vorpal blades, but the squad held and Karainn advanced into the Possessed to help out her Incubi.

Meanwhile the Talos and the Dancer charged the Thousand Sons, finishing the wounded one and killing another. The survivor couldn't harm the Talos in return. Riana killed the biker Lord before he could make his attacks, thanks to a bit of luck - both to-wound rolls came up 4+. At this point I made something of a blunder, forgetting that it wasn't my turn next and not advancing the Reavers into the Noise Marines.

In the chaos turn the marine squad made its first contribution, downing Rathai's Raider but not killing any of the squad on board. The Havocs dropped the empty Raider that had carried Karainn and the Incubi, and the Noise Marines wiped out the badly-positioned Reavers. Two of the remaining Possessed Marines fell to the combination of Karainn and her Incubi, and two more Incubi fell in return. The last Thousand Son fell to the Talos, which advanced alongside the Dancer into the doomed-looking survivor of the Possessed.

Turn Three

Kallian's Wyches moved towards the Noise Marines, two of whom were vaporised by the dark lances from the back of the battlefield. The remaining three fell to Kallian's agoniser before they could strike back. A similar fate befell the last of the Possessed, leaving Karainn, the Dancer and the Talos free to advance. Rathai led her squad into the chaos marines, missing a shot with a blaster on the way in but making up for it with an agoniser. The single wound dealt in return was saved by the Dark Eldar mesh armour (which gave me quite a shock, I'd become resigned to never being able to save) and the chaos marines broke and ran. Unfortunately they didn't run far enough, and were destroyed by the advancing Dark Eldar. At this point my opponent conceded, as he was left with a Havoc squad facing a Talos and a total of four agoniser-wielding psycho-bitches, all within assault range. The game ended with one zone held by Dark Eldar, one zone contested, two zones unoccupied. Also, 12 captives taken alive. Not that it affects the victory conditions, but I like to keep track of these things.

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