1500 Points - Warhammer 40K Battle Report
Mission: Contact Lost (Maelstrom of War)
A great battle of wits pitches the Tau against the armoured might of the Imperial Guard.
The Tau commander deployed at the top of his deployment zone, to help prevent some potential morale issues (if the Broadsides broke for whatever reason, they would need box-cars to fall off the back of the table.)
Commander behind the broadsides, this was the Tau's firebase.
Skyray took advantage of the cover mid-field, while the Riptide and firewarriors occupied the Tau left flank.
Generally speaking, there wasn't much on the table that the russes should have been scared of on the table. Moreover, they were pushed back for threat of infiltrating Fusion blasters from the Stealth Suits.
Left flank protected by the Melta Veterans, with the Manticore tucked in behind cover facing the SMS swarm in the Broadside teams. Wyvern didn't have many places to hide, so put it behind the sentinels so it would at least have a cover save against most fire.
Blob squad with grenades occupied the right flank, staring down the Riptide and Firewarriors. Off camera to the right are the Bullgryns, ready to pounce on the objective located in no-man's land.
Tau took turn one after the Guardsmen failed to seize, and didn't waste much time getting first blood.
The stealth team, infiltrating along the right flank, nails the chimera on the side-arc using their burst cannons, and the veterans pile out the back. Unfortunately, they're also in SMS range of the Broadsides, and are literally torn to pieces. The one survivor (wisely) breaks and falls back. The situation on the left flank is already looking grim for the Guard.
The rest of the turn is less eventful, with the Riptide accounting for 5 casulaties in the infantry platoon, largely due to SMS fire.
Lamenting the loss of his infantry support on his left flank, Knight Commander Pask hits the gas and gets within range of the Skyray. Ordering his unit to "Strike and Shroud" (giving Pask & Co. 4+ cover for the following turn), he proceeds to strip 2 hullpoints and stunning him despite rolling 3+ cover because of the disruption pods. Unfortunately the Vanilla Russ wasn't able to land the final blow.
The Manticore completely whiffs on his shot on the Skyray.
Guardsmen pour lasgun fire into the Riptide (for lack of better targets) dealing a few wounds, but nothing gets past the 2+ armour.
The Bullgryns, trying to gain some ground on the right flank attempt a 5" charge against the gun-drones which may have snuck past. No dice, the charge is failed and the Bullgryns are left in the lurch.
After 1 complete turn, the Tau are looking pretty good leading the Guard 1-0 on the merits of First Blood.
Bullgryns staring down a Riptide and a Devilfish full of Firewarriors. - Turn 1 (Image 2 of 7)
The survivor flees the carnage after the Tau complete their assault-moves. Smart-Missile Systems do their job, line of sight be damned. - Turn 1 (Image 3 of 7)
Final position of the Commander and all the drones... Some shenanigans here in order to work around LOS and put some fire on the Russes. - Turn 1 (Image 4 of 7)
Pask and his Vanilla Russ Bro lace the Skyray with fire, but are unable to deal the final blow to knock out a potentially dangerous vehicle... - Turn 1 (Image 5 of 7)
Turn 1 (Image 6 of 7)
SERIOUSLY? - Turn 1 (Image 7 of 7)
The Tau commander hits his comm-link and brings in all his reserves. The Kroot out-flank and knock out the Manticore (who got a single round of shooting in). Not having the real-estate to perform a bombing run on the Infantry Platoon, the Sun Shark instead blazes away at the Wyvern, immobilizing it.
The remainder of the Tau shooting was marginally effective with the exception of the Firewarriors, who unleashed an Ethereal-assisted triple-tap into the Bullgryns, causing 11 wounds. The Bullgryns, with Shields locked, fail 8 of 11 of the saves, wiping the unit, and leaving a very embarrassed Priest standing in the open.
The Knight Commander, seeing his assets diminishing now, is rapidly losing both flanks. Pushing forward towards the Tau Commander, he rakes down all of his drones, and puts 2 wounds on the Commander himself. (it was hoped that he would die, but the Tau dice were rolling pretty effectively... )
The Wyvern also dropped a shell directly on the head of the now disembarked Firewarriors, dropping 6 of them, with 3 left standing not including the Ethereal. Tau dice rolled hot again, saving more than half of the wounds placed on the unit.
Not waiting for a more dramatic time, the Vendetta targets the Broadsides, knocking out one plus a drone.
The Priest, lacking anything better to do, assaults and mops up the two gun-drones from the Devilfish, routing them both. He consolidates back onto the objective in a Crater, forcing the Tau to remove him next turn if they want to proceed beyond...
After 2 full turns, the Tau remain in the lead 1-0 on the merits of First Blood. None of the objectives drawn by either side have been achievable, though both sides are stockpiling a bunch...
The carnage begins, with Broadsides picking off two of the Armoured Sentinels. - Turn 2 (Image 2 of 6)
While the Priest, having obtained some manner of retribution by killing the gun-drones, waits and prays for death in his crater. - Turn 2 (Image 3 of 6)
Vendetta swoops in, vaporizing one of the Broadsides. - Turn 2 (Image 4 of 6)
Leman Russes try to bring down the Commander, and leave him alone, with two wounds remaining. - Turn 2 (Image 5 of 6)
Emprah have mercy. - Turn 2 (Image 6 of 6)
The Tau, with their shenanigans, are now hunting the Guard unit-by-unit.
The Devilfish cuts down the Priest, who puts his faith in his Rosarius, (and ultimately let him down). 6 Guardsmen die to SMS & Gatling Cannon fire from the Riptide, and the Broadsides strip off 2 Hullpoints from a jinking Vendetta. Markerlights from the Skyray were used to boost their ballistic skill on the shot.
The Tau on the Guard's left flank then assault the Russes (you read that right). Stealth suits rip the Vanilla Russ apart on the rear arc (seriously). Ideally they would have left it with one hullpoint remaining so the Onager gauntlet on the Commander could strike through to hit Pask, but this was not to be.
In a bit of Derring-Do, the Vendetta rips across the table, dropping off the flamer Platoon Command Squad right in front of the Skyray. The unit scatters in the wrong direction, and needs to order itself and run 6" in order to get to the objective. They succeed (WOOT) resulting in 1 victory points being scored for the Guard. The Vendetta then flees combat airspace, flat-outing off the table.
Pask, mourning the loss of the Vanilla Russ, fires up the Punisher Cannon and cuts down the Tau Commander. Even with only 2 wounds remaining, he still almost survived the fusillade.
The wyvern, being unimpressed with the Stealth suits and having no more fire warriors to harass, knocks out the stealth squad, leaving one survivor and taking their Fusion Blaster away. Having killed a character, the Guard succeeded in their Assassinate mission.
After 3 full turns, the Guard take the lead, 3-1.
Alas poor priest, we knew him well. - Turn 3 (Image 2 of 3)
Having just grav-chuted in, these troops aren't fancying their chances for survival, facing down 2 broadsides with SMS systems... - Turn 3 (Image 3 of 3)
The Tau, seeing the Guard are showing SOME life hop onto all of the objectives, scoring 7 by the end of the turn, including D3 (3!) for Ascendency. Guard casualties include:
And that's it.
Curtain call for the Guard going into their Turn 4, staring down an 8-3 deficit, the Vendetta flies back on and blows away the Devilfish carrying the Ethereal, which was jinking 3+.
HOLY CRAP SERIOUSLY?! Now the Guardsmen's luck starts to arrive, but quickly dries up when the Wyvern quickly whiffs on the follow-up shot, for the Coup-de-Grace to wipe the unit.
The survivors from the Guard platoon, including the Commissar and two sergeants (how the heck did that happen? almost like I planned it that way... ) kill the Ion drones in assault.
After 4 complete turns, the Guard are down 8-3 and it's approaching hand-shake time... .
The Vendetta arrives and.... - Turn 4 (Image 2 of 3)
...now there's no more Devilfish! Huzzah! - Turn 4 (Image 3 of 3)
The Tau promptly shoot down the Flyer with the last Seeker Missile off of the Skyray's racks (!!! Remember how I couldn't finish that bugger off first turn?!), and the Tau score 2 more victory points. This leaves 2 units left on the table for the bottom of 5, and it's officially handshakes.
The guard lose by a bunch, approximately 11-3, with no real hopes of scoring any more objectives.
These guys infiltrated like bosses, and really were a horrific pain in my backside. Next time I might introduce them to Mr. Hellhound. Might make them easier to handle. =D
I don't blame them, specifically, I blame the dice.
How is it possible to fail 8 of 11 3+ armour saves?!?! They deserved better. If they had gotten in against the Tau firewarriors (surviving overwatch) then they would have been in there perpetually, and we'd be talking about a different game.
Generally speaking, I'm becoming disenamoured with the Manticore. I'm thinking the 170 points would be better spent on something more accurate and directly applied. Scions will make an appearance in my next list, to be sure.
The Vendetta as well, I'm not sold on. It does provide some late game mobility and crucial anti-tank firepower, but it's relatively easy to bring down once you apply some even generic AA to the table.
The Tau were able to stay alive and more importantly, mobile throughout the game, something the Guard could not do.
The score reflected the end-game, but it was closely faught throughout, and both players felt it could go either way as of around T3, but the writing was on the wall after T4.