Pain and Gain: Crimson Fists vs Dark Eldar 1500pts Battle Report

Hello there fellow warmongers! I managed to squeeze in a casual fluffy game against my friend Dan during the midweek and thought I would try to share it with you as best as my crumby camera phone and grammatically challenged prose would allow!

Dan bought his beautifully painted Dark Eldar, in the very fluffy ‘Realspace Raiders’ formation which let them bring 6 fast attack units. I’m afraid I don’t have the whole list but it included a Raider, Ravager, two Venoms, Wyches, Helions, Trueborn, Scourges, Reaver Jetbikes, a Razorwing and some Incubi with and Archon. Ooof!

I decided to play Crimson Fists, in an honest to goodness Combined Arms Detachment! Here is my list:

Crimson Fists: 1,500pts

Librarian (Brother Derio), ML2, Terminator Armour, Force Axe, Storm Bolter

Sternguard (6), 1x Multimelta, Drop pod
Assault Terminators (5), 4x Thunderhammer & Storm Shield, 1x Lightning Claws
Terminators (5), Power Fists & Storm Bolter, Power sword on the Serg

Scout Squad (5), 5x Sniper rifles
Scout Squad (5), Bolters, 1x Heavy Bolter
Tactical Squad (5), Bolters, 1x Flamer
Tactical Squad (5), Bolters, 1x Heavy Bolter

Fast Attack
Land speeder (1), 2x Heavy Flamer
Land speeder (1), 2x Heavy Flamer
Stormtalon Gunship (1), Skyhammer Missiles, TL Assault cannons

Heavy Support
Devastator Squad (5), 2 x Las Cannon
Devastator Squad (5), 2 x Plasma Cannon
Thunderfire Cannon (1)

I think it my list is quite fluffy in that there are no death stars or units I would consider OP (looking at you grav cents, on both counts) but also in that it feels like a Space Marine infantry force might deploy – solid infantry core with some specialized elements that can be quickly deployed in support.

It is also very nice to fill out almost all the slots in a CAD (kind of feel I should get a badge when I manage it), my only disappointment being that I couldn’t get any Assault squads in. However, I really wanted the land speeders as we would be playing Maelstrom of War and I would need something to counter the natural maneuverability of the Dark Eldar. I was also keen to try out the Stormtalon as I don’t really use fliers at all, but wanted to see what all the fuss was about.


We rolled on ‘contact lost’ from the Maelstrom of War missions. This is probably my favorite maelstrom mission, as it takes a little bit of the randomness out of maelstrom. Sure, you can still get stung by the luck of the draw when you generate the mission, but you have to rely on your tactical play to make sure you are generating missions by holding objectives.

The setting was an abandoned Industrial facility near a dried up riverbed. Both sides are reconnoitering in force, but also jamming each others communications as they advance on the complex which is thought to house valuable intel. Hmmm, sounds important!


Crimson Fists rolled to go first and set up. Devastators grab objective 4 while the flamer Tactical squad backs them up. The other devastator squad grabs objective 5, while the heavy bolter tactical squad claims objective 6. Thunderfire cannon hides in the ruins on the right flank, while the land speeders hide behind terrain. Everything else, including Brother Derio, is in reserves.

Dark Eldar blob up behind the building, eager to avoid any devastator fire. Scouts then infiltrate, with the snipers backing up the plasma cannon devastators on the roof of the central building and the heavy bolter squad going into the Dark Eldar deployment zone to grab objective 1.


Turn 1

Being in control of four objectives I draw four cards, and they are very favourable – three are to hold objectives I have already. The drop pod comes in and immediately sets about exterminating the biggest scoring threat the Dark Eldar have – the Reaver Jetbikes. The Sternguard use their special Dragonbolt rounds, which ignore cover and gives the bikes no chance to jink their way out of trouble. First blood to the Crimson Fists!

The Dark Eldar react and come flying out of the traps! The ravager disgorges its Wyches to deal with the Sternguard, while the venom flat outs to get behind the scouts on objective 1. The raider does likewise, getting in behind the tactical squad holding objective 6.

Combat goes the Wyches way, dropping three Sternguard for only one of their own. However, the brave boys in blue hold their nerve and combat continues

Turn 2

Imperial reinforcements begin to arrive and in come the terminators with Brother Derio, as well as the Stormtalon. I draw three more gettable missions this turn – big game hunter, behind enemy lines and secure objective 3. To try and get the D3 VPs from behind enemy lines, I flat out both speeders into the Dark Eldar deployment zone, with one handily securing objective three to boot. Joy!

Psychic phase can usually be a bit underwhelming, but this time I opted to try out one of the new space marine powers – fulmination. Brother Derio’s two shooty powers didn’t do much this turn, but he did manage to pull off a neat trick with Electrodisplacement – swapping the Sternguard out of combat and the termies and Brother Derio in. Hello girls!

Shooting, and I manage to take down the raider for big game hunter. It explodes and dumps the archon and his incubi out unscratched. The venom also goes down to multiple glances, plopping the Wyches down straight in front of their intended victims. Combat goes as expected, with the Wyches losing and falling back, but just about staying on the table

The Dark Eldar are on the back foot now, but luckily all their reserves come in – the Razorwing, Helions, scourges and a venom full of blaster totting true born. The Helions decimate the flamer tactical squad, while the scourges grab objective three. Everything else shoots at the Thunderfire cannon, but it tanks the lot and survives on one wound! The incubi and archon destroy the heavy bolter tactical squad in combat and consolidate back to the crater, while the Wyches finish off the scouts and claim objective 3 for themselves

Turn 3

Having lost two objectives in the last turn I could only draw two cards, but more good fortune meant I had to capture the two objectives that I already held. The Hammernators came in but scattered off from the drop site. A Land speeder moved up and roasted the Wyches holding objective 1, while the storm talon took two hull points off the Razorwing and forced it to jink. Brother Derio and his squad also finished off the Wyches and made their way back into the fray

Turn 4

Dark Eldar turn, and combined shooting finally takes out the Thunderfire cannon. The Helions also manage to take out the plasma cannon devastators atop the building, while the scourges destroy the land speeder claiming objective 1. The Archon and his incubi also make short work of the hammernators, with a little help from the Trueborn blasters from the venom

Turn 5

I draw two more cards but once more they are eminently doable. Brother Derio separates from his squad and drops back to grab objective 2 and line breaker. He also destroys the venom with his mind bullets, while the Stormtalon drops into hover mode and kills the disembarked true born. Elsewhere, a lurking land speeder jumps up and hits the Helions with a double heavy flamer, toasting the entire unit. The Techmarine also exacts his revenge by popping the raider with his plasma cutter.


The Crimson fists have built a commanding lead on points, and the Dark Eldar know that the game is up. Intent as always on causing as much havoc as possible, they press on in the face of defeat and try to take as many of the Marines with them as possible! The Razorwing avenges the Helions by destroying the land speeder, while the incubi and archon take great delight in skewering the Techmarine, before withdrawing into the ruins and escaping the battle.


Crimson Fists win 12:4, having picked up line breaker and first blood along with 10 maelstrom points. The Dark Eldar found it hard to generate the missions in the first few turns, and even then the luck of the draw was not with them when they did (I think Dominate might have been the one he started with – ouch!)

Decisive moment: Space Marine deployment. Being able to grab four objectives before the game started meant the marines could start piling on the points early, while the Dark Eldar struggled to establish a foothold amongst the objectives until turn 3. This was the point at which the game could have shifted momentum in the Dark Eldar favour (as often happens in Maelstrom), but they had lost a lot of their transports and table control by that point. The loss of the reavers in turn one really hurt them as well

Crimson Fists MVP: The land speeders scored a lot of points and dealt with Dark Eldar threats such as wyches and helions, but the Thunderfire cannon soaked up a punishing amount of fire turn 2/3 which really stalled the Dark Eldar advance, allowing other Marine units to go about their business relatively unhindered

Dark Eldar MVP: Helions made the Fists sweat, as did the Razorwing but it was probably the Incubi in the end -they survived pretty much intact, and showed the value of high initiative in brutal style against the cumbersome hammernators.

  • Good report, and a lot of great shots.

    It really seemed like luck was on your side this game. I know I feel bad when I keep pulling cards for stuff I’m already doing – objectives I’m on, while my opponent struggles to pull a single worthwhile card. Nothing you can do about it of course.

    Where I play, we read the mission to start with 1 card. It’s in that First Turn section of that mission. We then generate cards starting on turn #2 for objectives. I find it just balances things out a bit at the start by giving you a turn to get where you want to be.

    Anyway, not saying you didn’t play well. You went in to remove his big threats early and take board control. You indeed played it smart. Congrats on the win.

    • iapedus

      Thanks Thor, glad to be part of the creative twilight family.

      I cant deny that luck was on my side in this one – most of the missions that I drew were achievable. As I said in the report though, I like this Maelstrom missions the best because you make your own luck through capturing objective markers and holding them.

      Having reread the rules of ‘contact lost’ I think you are right in that you should only start with one mission card drawn. Not sure what difference it would have made to the result though, other than the score being a bit closer. The fundamental problem with the Dark Eldar was that none of their units were tough enough to hold onto objectives longer than a turn. A lack of ObSec also hurt them, as quite a few times I was able to contest an objective and prevent them from drawing a card.

      All of which is a strange reversal to the norm in maelstrom missions, where Dark Eldar’s maneuverability and speed usual pays dividends. Anyway, I’m sure Dan will get his revenge in the next game ;)

      • Glad to have you on board. It’s nice to have someone else doing some batreps, and getting some variety in here.

  • Sounds like you had a good one and I am glad the DE pkayer stuck it out in the end, hard luck to them though.

    Thanks for sharing the report, here is to many more.

    • iapedus

      Yeah Dan is a good sport, playing in the spirit of his army and not giving up until he had inflicted as much pain as possible. Hopefully more to come from our regular SM/DE face-offs!

  • LunaWolf

    Cool report! Well played and very neat photos.

    Feels like it shows the blessing and curse of Maelstrom missions though – not that anyone was at fault, but it’s frustrating when a game is close to over before it really starts. I’ve played against Tau and they kept drawing “cast a psychic power” and “win in close combat”

    • iapedus

      As a Tau player I have had my fair share of ‘blood and Guts’ and ‘Hungry for Glory’ and I would agree that Maelstrom can be a real mixed bag of random fortune sometimes. We usually house rule that if the mission is impossible (i.e. Tau & ‘Harness the Warp’) then you just discard and redraw, but this only slightly mitigates the luck issue.

      The factions specific decks also help a little too and make it feel a bit more fluffy, but there is no accounting for what happened in this game – drawing ‘secure objective x’ cards for the objective markers you already held. Being rewarded for doing nothing essentially.

      Maelstrom usual swings back and forth a bit more than it did here, and I thought it was going to swing on turn three when the Helions were in my back line. But for the intervention of the land speeder, it could have been a very different outcome.

  • Great bat rep and awesome shots.

    • iapedus

      Glad you enjoyed it, hopefully more to come!

  • Nice report, I really enjoyed it.

    • iapedus

      Thanks fella!

  • Replicant253

    I’m Dan. Great write up and photos. Was a fun game. I had not played that particular flavour of Maelstrom with Dark Eldar before and it was brutal. Very difficult to generate card draws as DE do not sit on objectives very well (or long). Ignoring the cards the actual battle was a little closer and as mentioned in another comment, there was one point with the Helions that it looked as if the DE might be able to claw themselves back into it. However i didn’t reckon with the land speeder on one hull point (damn you scourges and your blind pew accuracy) having itself a BBQ. DE hate flamers.

    • Glad you stopped in, Dan. You have a great looking army by the way.

      The problem Dark Eldar face is the same that most non-Marine armies face sadly. Without a 3+ armor save, it’s just tough to sit anywhere for long. Plus, it’s just not the nature of the Dark Eldar either.

    • iapedus

      Yeah great game Dan, it was definitely closer than it looked at the end. The land speeders certainly got their fill of roast space elf in this game.

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