The Siege of Inverius, Round 1: The Devourer Descends

The catacombs stank. Thousands of years ago, they had been used to channel the waste effluent of the Invernus’ manufactoria out into the rad-wastes beyond the hive city, though they had long since been abandoned and closed off. Even after those millennia, however, the chemical reek of the place and the stench of decay persisted, even through the filters of Watch-Sergeant Cervantes’ helmet. No one had been down here since that time, not even scavvers of the underhive or the reclamation servitors of the manufactoria.

Which meant, of course, that it was the perfect place for xenos to infiltrate the city.

He glanced left at the other members of his team as they trudged through the darkness, the lens-glares of their helms the only source of illumination, their heavy armoured footfalls muffled by the bafflers built into their armour. Ka’shan of the Salamanders, Lysades of the Scythes of the Emperor, Siddarja of the Fighting Tigers, the mirthful Blackshield Marius, and their most recent addition, the Primaris Solon of the Sons of the Phoenix– veterans, one and all, of close-ranged battles and purge actions against xeno nests. This time, however, Cervantes knew, it was different. This time it was them, and them alone, with no Imperial support or backup aside from whatever resources Inquisitor Zao could bring to bear. It was a situation so dire that the unthinkable had happened: they had been forced to rely on the hated Aeldari and T’au for help.

The thought made Cervantes’ stomach churn. With Invernus under attack by the Tyranids, their new xenos…allies…had been entrusted to hold the city gates, Cervantes and his brothers had been tasked with holding the catacombs. He could see the logic of it, of course: in a desperate situation such as this, even the Aeldari and T’au could be reasoned with, after a fashion, and both races hated the Great Devourer as much as humanity did. But although Cervantes could not fault Inquisitor Zao for this devil’s pact, he could not condone it either: they were the Ordo Xenos, and theirs was the role to hunt the alien. If there was one thing bitter experience had taught Cervantes, it was at the end of the day, the Aeldari could not be trusted…

“Contact,” came Solon’s voice came in a whisper as he read his auspex. “About a dozens return signals to the north, twenty clicks away.” He paused. “They are closing, Brother Sergeant, and fast.”

In the distance, Cervantes’ enhanced hearing picked up the sound of skittering claws on metal– of cloven footfalls against metal grating, of bladed claws scratching ripping through plasteel, of chitinous bodies surging through air vents. The Genestealers knew they were here...and given how damnably fast Cervantes knew the beasts were, he had his team had less than a minute before they were upon them.

“Looks like we came just in time for breakfast,” the unhelmeted Marius said with a scarred grin, resting his power maul over his ebony shoulder plate.

Cervantes simply shot Marius a wry grin back. “Weapons free,” he ordered, thumbing the activation rune of his xenophase blade. The eldritch weapon crackled to shimmering green life as its energy matrices pulsed, and it lit the hallway around them in its unearthly glow. “Let’s welcome these skittering bastards to Inverius, brothers.”


Hello everyone, and welcome to my first post in the new year! This is the first part of a cluster of Kill Team games with my Deathwatch, in a series I should really be calling “How Not To Play Deathwatch.”

I had recently participated in a small Kill Team campaign at my local store. with all participants making, and gradually adding to, battle rosters. As a change of pace from my last several games, I decided to break out my Deathwatch…who admittedly, had only had one game before this. While I originally wanted to bring my Drukhari, however, it ended up that there were no actual Imperial players on the Imperial side– the “Truce” faction ended up being a loose collection of Craftworld Eldar, Harlequins and T’au, against a side that was almost entirely Tyranids (give or take a few Marine kill teams as well). As such, I figured that someone had to represent the horrible xenophobic, dystopian nightmare that was the Imperium, and that might as well have been me.

For the first game, we were given a choice of locations to fight in. I chose for my Deathwatch to fight in the city’s catacombs, in an Arena game against the infiltrating Tyranids. I figured that the Deathwatch’s close-ranged weaponry would really help them out in an Arena game.

For my list, I brought the following:

At this time, my Deathwatch were a work in progress…and unfortunately, at the time of writing this, they still are.

Watch-Sergeant Cervantes- xenophase blade, storm shield, Leader
Brother Ka’shan (Veteran Gunner)- infernus heavy bolter, Heavy
Brother Marius (Blackshield)- power maul, storm shield, Zealot
Brother Solon (Intercessor)- bolt rifle, auspex, Comms
Brother Lysades (Veteran Gunner)- frag cannon
Brother Siddarja (Veteran)- combi-plasma

The Intercessor was a new addition: the collective wisdom of the internet(TM) had assured me that Intercessors, with their extra wound and more potent bolt rifle, were a great addition to a Deathwatch Kill Team, particularly in the Comms role, so I figured on trying one of them out. Beyond that, the general idea of this team was a solid mix of close-ranged heavy weapons and fighty dudes with storm shields to protect them.

My opponent Ivan, meanwhile, brought the following:

Hive Fleet Kraken:
Genestealer- scything talons, toxin sacs, Leader
Genestealer- flesh hooks, scything talons, toxin sacs, Veteran
Genestealer- scything talons, toxin sacs, acid maw, Combat
Genestealer- scything talons, toxin sacs, Scout
Genestealer- scything talons
Genestealer- scything talons
Genestealer- scything talons
Genestealer- scything talons
Genestealer- scything talons
Genestealer- scything talons

Going into this fight, I was expecting to have to deal with scary large models like Tyranid Warriors or Lictors. Ivan, however, went for the simple approach and instead took a team of pure Genestealers. Note that, as I was still new to the Deathwatch’s rules at the time, I had forgotten to use Mission Tactics to get valuable rerolls to wound against those ‘Stealers.


This was a standard Arena mission, with one caveat: because it was taking place in a sewer, it had been ruled that models could slip “under” doors to represent briefly going underwater. However, if models did this, then they could still suffer overwatch as though the opponent were using the “Point Blank Overwatch” stratagem.

I deployed my entire kill team by the door of the big central room, ready to spread out and cover more ground if needed.
The Genestealers, by contrast, covered more ground in their own deployment zone, though they still kept mostly near the door.

Note, by the way, that I cannot remember what secret objectives either myself or my opponent picked, so sadly I will not be able to mention any of those.


The Tyranids began the game by spreading out and advancing, using their natural speed to go grab objectives wherever possible. Though I forgot to take a picture, the Veteran Genestealer used its special move stratagem to zoom down a corridor on the right flank, grabbing another objective and threatening the flank of my Deathwatch.
While most of the Genestealers spread out to grab objectives, the Combat Genestealer advanced up behind the door, ready to hopefully prevent the Deathwatch from opening it, while another Genestealer grabbed a nearby objective.
Yet more Genestealers came encircling around the left flank, grabbing yet more objectives and thoroughly surrounding the Deathwatch, Little by little, the tendrils of the Kraken began to close…
In response, the Deathwatch found their options to be limited, as they now had xenos on all fronts.
Hefting his frag cannon, Brother Lysades moved up to say hello to the Genestealer grabbing the objective on the left flank. The Genestealer could only give one last shriek before disintegrated in a wave of shrapnel.
Meanwhile, Sergeant Cervantes and Brother Siddarja moved up to confront the Veteran Genestealer, with Siddarja blasting away with his combi-plasma and Cervantes throwing a krak grenade. Thanks to some poor luck, however, the agile Tyranid dodged all of their shots.

Further behind, Brother Marius forced open the door, before Brothers Ka’shan and Solon fired into the room. Alas, despite engaging in some friendly Rivalry between their Chapters, and despite Ka’shan feeding More Bullets into his infernus heavy bolter, they only managed to inflict two flesh wounds on the Genestealer holding the objective.


This time, the Deathwatch seized the initiative, with Brother Marius hurling himself in a headlong charge against the Combat Genestealer. (I originally wanted him to charge the Genestealer on the objective, but he could not do so without passing within 1″ of the Combat Genestealer)
The Genestealer Leader, however, was quick to join its brood-brother in the fray, grabbing an objective in the process.
Yet more Genestealers came flooding into the room, cunningly avoiding line of sight from the Deathwatch in the doorway.
Another Genestealer, meanwhile, tore open the doorway to come charging at Lysades. Lysades, however, was prepared for the Genestealers’ devious tactics, and after some Point Blank Overwatch, the Tyranid was annihilated by shrapnel before it could even get its claws on him.
Finally, Sergeant Cervantes drew his xenophase blade and went charging into the Veteran Genestealer before it could get away.

In the ensuing fight phase, Cervantes decisively struck down the Veteran Genestealer in one blow. In the central combat in the room, meanwhile, Marius and the Genestealer Leader traded a flesh wound each, the Blackshield using his storm shield to excellent effect as he skillfully parried the claws of the xenos.


The Tyranids regained the initiative this round, with yet another Genestealer charging into the ongoing melee against Marius.
Two more Genestealers, meanwhile, came swarming in from around the doorway and from the adjacent corridors, catching Solon, Siddarja and Cervantes all by surprise.
Although his first instinct was to charge into the fray to aid his brothers, Lysades instead backed away, opening another door confront another Genestealer. In a storm of heavy bolter shells and a burst of flame, the Genestealer was cleansed from the objective.
In melee, however, things took a turn for the worse as one Genestealer managed to reach past Sergeant Cervantes’ storm shield and tear a deep gouge in his chest, felling him. Nearby, Siddarja took a deep flesh wound, while he and Solon were unable to hit the nimble Genestealers in return.

Elsewhere, in the swirling melee in the main room, the three Genestealers surrounded Marius, but none were able to pierce his guard as his storm shield blocked blow after blow. In reply, Marius dealt another flesh wound to the Genestealer Leader, and continued to fight on.


With most of the two kill teams in melee, there was very little movement. Brother Lysades moved up to claim the objective held by the Genestealer he had just purged, but otherwise, all other forces remained locked in combat.

In the melee to the south of the battlefield, Siddarja took another flesh wound as a Genestealer’s claws tore into his shoulders. Nearby, however, Solon neatly pulped the other Genestealer’s head with the butt of his bolt rifle, killing it and avenging Sergeant Cervantes.

In the other ongoing melee, Brother Marius once again was forced to fend off the attacks of no less than three Genestealers. Though he took another flesh wound, he remained standing and defiant yet again! Swinging back with his power maul, he dealt another wound to the enemy Leader, again, hurting it but failing to finish it off!

By this point, however, the battle had rapidly turned against the Deathwatch. With Sergeant Cervantes out of action, Brother Siddarja took command, and with a heavy heart, he ordered his brothers to fall back. Despite their best efforts, they had failed to stem the xenos tide this day…

The final score. I cannot remember what special objectives we were each using, but I do know that ultimately it was a 16-13 win in favour of the Tyranids.


++Tranmission Priority Omega++
Clearance: Upsilon
To: Ariadna Zao, Ordo Xenos
From: Orfeo Cervantes, Kill Team Cervantes
Thought For The Day: Feel Nought For The Devourer, For They Feel Nought But Hunger
My lady,
I regret to inform you that the catacombs of Inverius have been overrun by Genestealers. Despite our best efforts, and despite slaying a great many of the fiends, my brothers and I were overrun and forced to fall back. I myself was grievously injured, though not before I decapitated a scarred Genestealer that appeared to be a more experienced warrior beast. Thanks to Brother Siddarja’s ministrations, however, I shall be battle ready for the war to come, and I am pleased to say that none of my other brothers were badly injured.
Commendations have gone to our Blackshield, Brother Marius, who single handedly held the central chamber against three Genestealers. The Catacombs may have been overrun, but we are presently moving to link up with Watch Sergeant Makabi and his team.
I only pray that your gambit works, Inquisitor, and that the Aeldari do not stab is in the back while we retreat. As I have said before, Inquisitor, I do not believe any good can come from this alliance.
The Emperor Protects,
Orfeo Cervantes

Not long after that initial bruising defeat, it was on to game 2…


For the second game, the other half of my Deathwatch force launched an overland offensive against the Tyranids trying to gain entrance into Invernius. For this mission, I was using the other half of my Command roster, including the secondary Leader I had bought and paid for. Note: I was wrongly under the assumption at the time that I could not duplicate Kill Team Specialisms between both halves of the Kill Team. I only found out too late, however, that this was not the case. As such, aside from the Terminator, I ended up using Specialisms I had never really used before.

My list was as follows:

Watch-Sergeant Makabi- Stalker boltgun, Leader
Brother Arturio (Terminator Gunner)- storm bolter, cyclone missile launcher, power fist, Heavy
Brother Molek (Deathwatch Veteran)- Deathwatch shotgun, Veteran
Brother Carius (Intercessor Gunner)- auxiliary grenade launcher, Demolitions
Brother Diocletian (Deathwatch Veteran)- combi-plasma
Brother Rukaan (Deathwatch Gunner)- frag cannon

Again, there were some essentials in this list, like the frag cannon. Beyond that, the biggest experiment was my Terminator with a (proxied) cyclone missile launcher: on paper, it looked like a really intimidating model. In practice…well, I would see soon enough.

My opponent, Kelda, brought the following:

Genestealer- scything talons, Leader
Genestealer- scything talons, acid maw, Combat
Genestealer- scything talons, Scout
Tyranid Warrior Gunner- deathspitter, boneswords, adrenal glands, flesh hooks, Heavy
Genestealer- scything talons, flesh hooks
Genestealer- scything talons, toxin sacs
Genestealer- scything talons, toxin sacs
Genestealer- scything talons
Ravener- 2 pairs of scything talons

Again, plenty of Genestealers, but this time backed up by larger critters like a Warrior and a Ravener. I was particularly worried about that Warrior Gunner, and what it might do if I couldn’t kill it soon enough.


In this scenario, had two tokens, one token is an intelligence dossier worth 2 points and the other is a target supply drop to detonate worth 1 point, which they put close to their own lines. The objective was to defend one’s own objectives while trying to capture the enemy’s. The terrain, in this instance, was a sprawling series of urban ruins on the outskirts of Invernius, a section that the Deathwatch had to purge of the vile Tyranid invaders.

A shot of my objectives…
…and the Tyranid dossier.
The Deathwatch deployed castled in the ruins, ready to sally forth and take the fight to the Tyranids as needed. This would prove to be a mistake, as I had forgotten about how the walls would hamper my movement.
Meanwhile, the Tyranids deployed in a chittering horde across from the Deathwatch, ready to surge across the board and devour their foes.


(Note: my details on this battle are less clear, and as such, I won’t be able to provide accurate turn-by-turn coverage this time)

And with that, the game began…and right off the bat, the Ravener advanced up next to my deployment zone, looking at a charge the next turn as it grabbed the intelligence dossier. I had no idea these things were so fast!
Meanwhile, the Tyranids converged on Brother Molek, who had already scouted ahead using his Veteran stratagem to grab the supply drop. A Genestealer and the Warrior lurked on either corner up ahead, looking to pounce on the former Flesh Tearer.
By the end of the Tyranid movement phase, most of the Tyranid swarm was well within charge range, hugging cover and hiding from line of sight wherever possible.
In response, Brother Arturio stomped out from behind the wall to deal with this slithering menace…
…while Diocletian and Carius moved up to assist Molek.
In the shooting phase, the Ravener was quickly obliterated by Deathwatch firepower.
On the other flank, however, only a few minor wounds were dealt to the Warrior, while Brother Diocletian was blasted down in return, his armour shredded by bio-corrosive maggots.
After dealing with the Ravener, Bruther Arturio was pounced upon by the combat Genestealer and a Hormagaunt. Though neither of the xeno-beasts could scatch his armour, nor in turn could he land a hit upon the swiftly-dodging Genestealer.
Knowling that there were Genestealers moving to outflank them, the Deathwatch reluctantly pulled back, away from the objective they had been trying to capture.
It was to no avail, however, as a Genestealer managed to charge out from behind the wall and barrel into Carius.
Knowing that the mission was paramount, Arturio fell out of combat, his move taking him closer to the Tyranid lines and, hopefully, the enemy objectives.
Things took a turn for the worse, however, as another Genestealer charged the already wounded Carius.
Elsewhere, a Hormagaunt charged Makabi. While his brothers would struggle to deal with the Genestealers, however, Makabi would quickly dispatch this Tyranid with a skull-crushing rifle butt.
Meanwhile, Brother Rukan advanced up, hoping to grab the Tyranid dossier. Both he and Brother Arturio poured fire into the Tyranid Warrior, but neither could slay the beast.
The fight continued to drag on as Brother Ashok was charged by a hidden Genestealer as well…
…and quickly fell as the thing’s razor-sharp claws tore through his power armour.
With the Deathwatch rapidly losing ground, Carius fell back, ready to sell his life dearly so that Rukan could get to the dossier.
Once again, Makabi found himself charged by a Hormagaunt.
Meanwhile, as Arturio claimed the enemy supply drop, three Genestealers in the backfield converged on Brother Rukan.
Though one Genestealer was severely wounded in overwatch, they charged into Rukan…
…and tore him down even as he tried to claim the dossier.
Elsewhere, noble Carius finally went down to Genestealers. With a heavy heart, Makabi signalled the retreat, knowing that they could not possibly win this day.


Thoughts: Eugh, well both of those games could have gone a lot better. In each game, I was put at a severe disadvantage by the sheer speed and striking power of the Tyranids: more often than not, I was forced to play defensively, and while in a battle like the Arena game that didn’t matter as much, in the second game, where grabbing objectives mattered that much more, it cost me dearly as I was only able to make plays for the objective with one or two models (and usually only at great cost).

So, where did things go wrong? Well, aside from the aforementioned advantage that Tyranids have in the speed department…it is hard to say, given how I was, and am, still trying to figure out the “dos” and “don’ts” of Deathwatch and of Kill Team in general. I do know that in the first game, I made the mistake of trying to ready my heavy weapon guys in front of a door to the big room, a move that Ivan easily countered by manouvering his Genestealers out of line of sight, in a position where he could still charge me. That, and the narrow confines of the board meant that my team had difficulty supporting one another when they got charged. Honestly, I am thinking that maybe I should have stuck my kill team together and had them move up a flank, so that they could nullify the Tyranids’ numbers advantage and force them into bottlenecks, but then again that may have just led to my kill team getting surrounded. In the other game, trying to attack down that narrow alleyway was a mistake that cost me dearly, and given how static my force was in that game, the Tyranids were able to charge from behind terrain with impunity. On both games, my lack of actual movement contributed greatly to me losing the game.

These are, at least, I think where it all went wrong: I look forward to comments from Kill Team veterans (especially from Deathwatch players) on where and how my two games against Tyranids went badly, and any advice on how to defeat the little buggers would also be appreciated.

Some thoughts on how my own Kill Team fared, and on dealing with Tyranids:

  • Marius was an absolute beast, holding his own against several Genestealers for several rounds without help. Even though he didn’t kill anything, this feat alone makes him my MVP of both matches. On the flip side, Sergeant Cervantes died after failing the first few saves he was forced to make. I have heard that this is the curse of the storm shield: the moment you rely on it, you fail the first saves you need to make.
  • My firepower did okay, but I think more and more that Deathwatch need things like Comms/auspexes to mitigate the harmful effects of things like walls obscuring enemy models, and careful positioning to deal with things like models charging from behind walls.
  • Deathwatch Terminators are an interesting choice, but I think bear more experimentation. I want to say it was just crappy rolls on my part, but Brother Arturio didn’t accomplish much at all in this game despite the volume of shots he was pumping out (although to be fair, he proved very difficult to kill as well).
  • I think overall Deathwatch fare better in Arena than in regular kill team, due to the short/medium range of their guns and their preponderance of melee weapons. Being able to used Point Blank Overwatch with a frag cannon, after all, is quite fun.
  • Overall, I am finding that Deathwatch are FAR more challenging to play than I had first expected. While their potent stats, variety of weapons and potent firepower is great, their low model count means that mistakes will punish you hard, and it will be difficult to come back from suffering one or two losses early in the game. On the other hand, Tyranids are absolutely terrifying in Kill Team: the speed of things like Genestealers, and the durability and firepower of Tyranid Warriors, combine to make for a lethal force in the narrow confines of a Kill Team board. In all honesty, I am going to be very apprehensive about fighting them in future, and need to come up with better strategies on how to fight them.

Despite both of my losses, however, the Truce faction ended up taking a lead in the first two rounds, with my Aeldari and T’au teammates picking up wins…which, on the one hand, I was glad about, but on the other hand, I also left me feeling annoyed that my xenos allies were doing better at killing Tyranids than the actual dedicated xeno-hunters. After both of these battles, I ended up with extra points to add to my command roster…and both of those additions will be showing up in the next two rounds, where my Deathwatch find themselves fighting in the sprawling underhive of Inverius itself…


Brother Makabi, formerly of the Raptors, snapped off two more quick bursts from his bolter, the silence rounds punching into the Hormagaunt that had been lunging at him. Even one-handed, his aim was impeccable, and the snarling thing dissolved into a cloud of brackish ichor. With his free hand, he was pulling Brother Carius, late of the Necropolis Hawks, across the red ash of the broken alleyway, the Primaris Marine roaring his defiance as he blazed away with his bolt rifle at anything that got too close. Both of Carius’ legs and his torso were a mangled ruin, and even his enhanced physiology was slow to heal these deep wounds or staunch the bleeding. The Intercessor was desperately in need of an Apothecary.

Not for the first time, Makabi found himself wondering why Primaris Marines had to be so damned heavy.

“Talon Two to Shrike, our positions are being overrun!” Makabi snapped into his comm bead, even as he dragged Carius and fired. He saw more Genestealers loping along the walls at the edge of his vision, the razor-sharp edges of their spines forming ghastly silhouettes in the ashfall. “We need immediate extraction!”

The vox crackled, laced as it was by static– caused, no doubt, by the Tyranid spores now plummeting into the planet’s atmosphere. “Thi…ZZZZZZhrike….” He could barely make out the voice of Brother Augustin, the pilot of the kill team’s Thunderhawk. “We’re en route, engaging mult….winged hostiles, taking…”

At that point, the comms shorted out. “Shrike? SHRIKE!” Makabi shouted. Up ahead, he saw a trio of Genestealers running at them from out of the rust-red gloom, their hooved legs carrying them forwards in bursts of terrifying speed, multiple taloned arms outstretched, fangs open to reveal glistening fangs and repulsive tongues. Their backs were to a ruined wall at this point: there was nowhere left to retreat to.

“It was an honour, Brother-Sergeant,” Carius wheezed as he slammed a fresh clip into his bolt rifle.

“The honour was mine, Brother,” Makabi said, switching his bolter to full auto.

And with that, the two Deathwatch brothers opened fire, unleashing a steam of shells into the oncoming Genestealers. The things responded with the unnatural agility that was their hallmark, weaving left and right through the oncoming stream of shells. One of them tool a round to its bulbuous head, and its upper body vanished in a burst of ichor as the explosive round detonated. The other two, however, closed the gap quickly, talons raised for a killing strike…

What happened next happened so quickly that even Makabi’s enhanced senses couldn’t follow it. There was a sudden blur of movement, a shifting of air particles as though something impossible swift were moving just beneath the spectrum of visible light. And then, suddenly, the Genestealers, were toppling over, crashing at the feet of the two brother Marines. Their chitinous forms suddenly came apart at that moment, sliding apart into perfectly bisected chunks.

There was a figure standing in front of them, Makabi could see that now– an inhumanly slender figure that he quickly recognized as an Aeldari. It wore a bodyglove that hugged its lithe form, wove into a checkmarked pattern of white and blue that seemed to refracted the light at odd angles– the more Makabi tried to focus on the figure, the harder it became, the figure’s form seeming to bend and diffuse light a light projection. The figure’s face was obscured by a porcelain mask carved into the serene face of an Eldar female, with a single black tear running down one cheek.

And, as Makabi watched, that masked face nodded to the side, an unspoken gesture for the two Astartes to get moving.

Wordlessly, Makabi hauled Carius up and began to pull him to the extraction zone. A quick report on the comms told him what was left of his team was falling back in good order as well, as the Tyranids were unexpectedly halting in their attack. Makabi glanced back at his would-be saviour, but the Aeldari was gone.

“Bloody Harlequins,” he muttered. No matter what happened, in the end, to him or to Inverius, he was never going to live down having been saved by an Aeldari…

2 thoughts on “The Siege of Inverius, Round 1: The Devourer Descends

  1. Pingback: Siege of Inverius Part 3: The Last Stand | Ars Scripta

  2. Pingback: The Reconquest of Hieros: Escalation League Week 1 | Ars Scripta

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