To Battle!

Tonight, I played my first game of Warhammer 40K in a little over two decades.  I brought my marines down to the local GW store and had a short battle against Dark Eldar.  I lost.  Badly.

But it was GLORIOUS!

And I have a battle report.

I played against one of the fellows who works at the store.  The battle was a bit improvised, and some things are probably not 100% according to the rules (I’ve pointed out the bits below).  Having said that, I had a blast playing.  I am especially pleased that my opponent cracked open one of the display cases to bring out some some amazing models for me to play against.  My pictures do not do them justice.

Er, I should also mention that this battle report is written from the Space Marines’ point of view.  I don’t know enough about the Dark Eldar to make this more… balanced.

Space Marines vs Dark Eldar (500 pts)


Space Marines – The Brotherhood of Sleep


  • Brother Chaplain Seth, with Jump Pack, Digital Weapons and a Melta Bomb.


  • Dreadnought–Brother Hymie, with multi-melta, storm bolter and dreadnought close combat weapon.


  • Squad Wilkinson: Sgt. Wilkinson with bolt pistol and chain sword, plus 9 Tac Marines with flamer and missile launcher.
  • Squad Tholus: Sgt. Tholus with bolter, plus 4 Tac Marines

Dark Eldar

Note: This list is incomplete, and I’m not sure it’s actually 500 points. The fellow from the store made it up on the fly to match what I fielded, as there were no other opponents available to play me at the time.  Some units were never actually used in the game so I have no idea what they could have been.


  • Not sure, the coward never showed his face.


  • Squad of 5 Wracks (one with a liquefier gun), embarked on a Venom bearing two splinter cannons.


  • Squad of 10 Kabalite Warriors with splinter rifles and a blaster, embarked on a Raider.
  • Squad of snivelling malingerers too busy torturing each other to put in an appearance.

Heavy Support


Annihilation, to keep things simple.


Pitched Battle, again just to keep things simple. Play was on a 4’x4’ area instead of the usual 4’x6’ – this was going to be a short game, as I had a bit of a time constraint.

Initiative:  Space Marines win initiative and deployed first.

  • Squad Wilkinson deploys between two stands of trees without appreciable cover.
  • Brother Hymie deploys on the other side of one of the stands of trees.
  • Squad Tholus deploys in front of Brother Hymie to provide him some cover.
  • Brother Chaplain Seth deploys with Squad Tholus.

The Brotherhood of Sleep Deploys

The Talos Pain Engine, Raider and Venom deploy in typical xenos cowardly fashion behind cover on the opposite side of the battlefield.

The Dark Eldar Deploy

Dark Eldar attempt to seize initiative, but cannot overcome the glory of the Emperor and fail.

Turn One

Space Marines

Squad Wilkinson holds position, as they have line of sight on the Talos Pain Engine. The filthy xenos abomination is not as well hidden as it thinks. A missile is fired, scoring a wound! Unfortunately, the Talos Pain Engine still has a long way to go before the wretched creature is fully brought to the Emperor’s justice.


Lacking a target, Brother Chaplain Seth leads Squad Tholus towards the Talos Pain Engine’s hiding place. Brother Hymie follows along behind.

Dark Eldar

The sadistic xenos ponces show themselves! The Talos Pain Engine, the Raider and the Venom emerge from cover and advance on the Emperor’s chosen. The Pain Engine fires the heat lance on Squad Tholus, but fails to hit. The Raider targets Brother Hymie and also does not find its mark. The Venom rains down a deadly deluge of poisoned projectiles on Squad Wilkinson. One warrior meets his death as envenomed darts pierced his Emperor-blessed power armour, but the rest stand firm against the withering barrage.

The End of Turn 1

Turn Two

Space Marines

With the Talos Pain Engine closing, Squad Tholus and Brother Chaplain Seth pepper it with bolter fire but none of the rounds penetrate the filthy creature’s hide. Brother Hymie brings his weapons to bear but even the searing heat of the multi-melta beams fall short of wounding the creature.

Squad Wilkinson, with all targets out of reach to everything save the missile launcher, advances out of the trees towards the Raider.

Dark Eldar

The Raider loops around the watchtower, heading towards the dreadnought. The Venom closes on Squad Wilkinson. When it gets to within striking distance, it disgorges its cargo of Wracks.

The Venom unleashes another deadly hail of toxic crystalline shards against Squad Wilkinson. The Emperor’s chosen endure the attack save for one who was perhaps not as attentive in maintaining his armour’s blessings as he should have been. He is slain by the poisoned shots. One foul Wrack hefts his liquefier gun and sprays the squad with a jet of horrifically corrosive acid. Another noble marine, his protective ceramite punctured by the earlier barrage, dissolves agonizingly within his armour.

The Raider is close enough for the embarked Kabalite warriors to catch Squad Wilkinson in a brutal crossfire. The xenos treachery costs two more Marines their lives.

The Wracks assail the survivors of Squad Wilkinson, cutting down another honoured battle brother in close combat. Finally able to lay hands on the enemy, the remaining marines strike back, repulsing the attack and eviscerating two Wracks. The remaining wretches break and attempt to flee. Squad Wilkinson runs them down and when the last vile xenos is dead the marines advance towards the Venom.

The Wracks Make a Fatal Mistake

Across the field, the Talos Pain Engine charges Squad Tholus. Brother Chaplain Seth strikes first, but his furious assault with his blessed Crozius simply bounces off the beast’s gnarled skin. Squad Tholus switches to close combat weapons but cannot inflict a wound through the monster’s tough hide. The Talos Pain Engine rips into the marines, rending ceramite and flesh with equal ease. To a man, Squad Tholus is wiped out. Brother Chaplain Seth stands alone against the abomination.

The End of Turn 2

Turn Three

Space Marines

Brother Chaplain Seth remains locked in combat with the Talos Pain Engine. Brother Hymie moves his dreadnought closer, legs pistoning as he prepares to charge into the fray.

Squad Wilkinson bombards the Venom with a righteous volley of fire from the missile launcher, flamer and the remaining marines’ bolters. The xenos craft is saved by its flickerfield, bending light to make the craft seem to be where it is not and turning certain hits into distant misses.

Brother Hymie assaults the Talos Pain Engine, the two juggernauts colliding in an echoing crash of metal on flesh. Brother Chaplain Seth continues to batter the creature, but cannot overcome its defences. Brother Hymie is more successful and the dreadnought’s bludgeoning close combat weapon inflicts a vicious wound.

Brother Hymie Hurts the Beast

The Talos Pain Engine turns its attention fully on the machine-encased marine. Its claws shear through the metal and pierce the dreadnought’s power core. The ancient mechanism detonates. The Talos Pain Engine is torn to pieces in the blast. Brother Chaplain Seth is knocked off his feet, but by the blessings of the Emperor he is unscathed.

As the Dust Settles, Only Seth Remains

Dark Eldar

The Venom remains motionless, firing another torrent from its splinter cannons at Squad Wilkinson. Again, the hellish volley takes the life of only one marine. Sergeant Wilkinson, his heavy weapons marine and his special weapons marine withstand the attack.

Brother Chaplain Seth regains his feet only to face the oncoming Raider. A blast from its Dark Lance is turned aside by the power field generated by his Rosarius, but a mass volley from the Kabalite warriors within the Raider overwhelm the Chaplain’s defenses. Brother Seth is cut down.

…And the game was called at that point. With just three marines left on the field against two vehicles and at least one squad of Dark Eldar troops, it was pretty much a given that I would get tabled the next turn.

Lessons Learned

1. Know thy enemy. It would have helped a lot if I had a better idea – heck, any idea – of what the Dark Eldar could do. I don’t own the Codex, so all I have to go on are anecdotes from battle reports and podcasts. I would not have closed with the Talos Pain Engine, for example, had I known about its melee capabilities.

2. Know thyself. Brother Chaplain Seth had digital weapons. I forgot to use them. Considering Seth needed 6’s to wound the Pain Engine, it would have helped. I’m also thinking that breaking up Squad Wilkinson into two 5-marine combat squads could have helped as well by keeping the missile launcher immobile and in cover.

3. Know thy rules.  I found myself floundering in a few places, frantically looking up some stuff about my army that I know I should have known better.  Fortunately, my opponent was a good sport about this and helped out on a couple of points.

4. Know thy arse is in the warm yet calloused hands of Lady Luck. I made a ridiculous number of armour saves. Attacks that should have easily wiped out an entire squad cost me just one marine. But when it came time to shoot things, suddenly I could hit little and wound less.  Both my opponent and I agreed there were points where unusually good or bad rolls affected us both. I don’t want to blame the dice for certain outcomes…  Oh, wait.  Yes I do.

As I mentioned before, despite the outcome I had a really good time.  It will definitely not be two decades before my next game.

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3 Responses to To Battle!

  1. justin says:

    heyo, i’m the guy who commanded Morks Blue Cheese, the blue orks that engaged your Brotherhood of Sleep, the pics in this eldar skirmish are bad ass, i can’t wait to see wednesdays report. WAAAAAGH!

  2. justin says:

    heyo this is the owner and operator of Morks Blue Cheese, i’ve found one huge error with the way i used my WAAAAGH!, so if we are able to play again sometime i will have to remedy this, also i was wondering if u wanted to trade some of your assault on black reach orks for my marines, just something to think about over the next few weeks, take it easy, and i just wanna say i’m dying to see the pics and report the suspense wears on me, heh heh, WAAAA……………………….!

  3. War Disciple says:

    Hmmm – I’ve got a bunch of new-ish orks still on the sprue, but I’ll need to think about it… Let’s talk about this away from the blog. I’ll e-mail you separately.

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