"Ceiba-ny-shak!" cried Farseer Caerys. It was an Eldar curse, and not a mild one. The damnable Imperial forces were pouring into her base like a heavily armed insect plague, shooting at every building in sight. The elegant wraithbone structures charred and splintered beneath a pulsing torrent of lasgun fire. They held for now, but they would not withstand the onslaught forever. Occasionally, a beleaguered wave of Guardians would march out of the Webway to fend off the attackers, only to be gunned down within seconds.
In the midst of the havoc, a lone Bonesinger worked frantically to keep the Eldar's buildings intact. He darted this way and that, playing silent songs of healing to speed the wraithbone's regeneration.
Unfortunately, in a show of perfectly awful timing, he blundered into firing range just as the last squad of Guardians fell.
"STORM THEM!" yelled a guardsman, and the entire regiment turned their ire on the hapless builder. He collapsed in a bloody heap, and died with barely a gasp.
The Farseer buried her face in her hands. It was over.
The query appeared on the screen, as it always did.
"You have been Annihilated. Would you like to look around the map before continuing?"
Caerys frowned. Why did it ask that? It might as well have said "Would you like to reflect on your abysmal failure?" No, actually. Not particularly.
As she moved her cursor over the window, a triumphant voice rang through her earpiece. "I win again!"
"It did not escape my notice," muttered Caerys.
"Uh-oh." At the other end of the connection, General Vance Stubbs leaned back in his chair. "Someone's feeling sore."
"How am I to counter these early assaults? I cannot mount a defence against such numbers. It is absurd."
"You're too conservative. Far as I could tell, the only thing you had when I arrived was one Banshee squad." He paused. "Which you weren't reinforcing."
"I..." She sighed sheepishly. "I forgot to press the button."
"But surely it is better to save one's resources for the stronger units? I perused that...archive...you showed me..."
"Yes." She still refused to say the word. It sounded ridiculous. "It said that Wraithlords were both inexpensive and powerful. I'd hoped to overwhelm you with-"
Stubbs snorted with barely constrained laughter.
"Do not mock me!" snapped Caerys.
"Sorry," said Stubbs, taking a deep breath. "Sorry. Look, you're never going to get a Wraithlord out before you're attacked. Not if you're sitting on your haunches the whole time. You need to build some troops right away. Guardians. Rangers. No point saving your requisition if you won't get to use it."
Caerys grumbled. It was in her nature to be cautious, thrifty, but it seemed the game would only reward wild expenditure and reckless offensives. It was almost as if she was expected to win battles by...she grimaced at the thought...attrition.
"Besides," he went on, "The more squads you build early on, the more points you can capture at once, which means more resources. They'll pay for themselves."
She hesitated. The human had a point.
"Hold on a second." The earpiece went silent for a moment. "Gorgutz and, er...Necron...want to play a few matches. Do you mind?"
"No. If they can keep you occupied, perhaps I will last more than five minutes."
Stubbs smirked. "Her Highness decrees that you may join us."
Immediately, Gorgutz' voice blared through their collective speakers. "Dis time I is gonna stomp ya, humie!"
Stubbs winced and lowered the volume on his headset. The Warboss' constant shouting was bad enough, but combined with his cheap, staticky microphone, every word became an aural cheese-grater. At least the Necron Lord was quiet.
"We'll see," answered Stubbs. "Teams?"
"Sod teams! I wants a free-fer-all!"
"Fair enough. Four-way battle, Van de Mar Mountains. Everyone okay with that?"
A moment later, Stubbs opened his eyes and donned his headset again. "Caerys?"
The Necron Lord tapped on its microphone, once. They had established that this meant "Yes."
"Alright then. Get ready."
As the war began anew, Caerys surveyed the map. Orks to the left of her, Imperial Guard to the right.
Gorgutz was notoriously impatient. He seemed to enjoy watching his units chop things up more than actually playing the game, and would often spend entire matches building nothing but Slugga Boyz. Some of the others referred to this as "spamming". And if Stubbs used the same tactics he had before, she would be facing a large amount of light infantry in very short order.
Stubbs' headset beeped. He blinked and stared at the screen. The Farseer had sent him a private message.
"what is the shortcut key for guardians"
He couldn't help but grin. "G," he replied. "G for guardian"
"thank you :)"