Tuesday, September 8, 2015

The Relic of Doom

The Tau Commander touched the object that was brought to her by the Fire Warriors. Through her gloved hand, the stone relic, of a four legged mammal with long floppy ears, was cool to the touch.  The surface was brown and glassy, polished or glazed to a sheen.  The object, identified in the dataslate as a Terran "Rabbit", was a pleasant and good object.  The Commander smiled within her crisis suit.  For whatever reason, the red-armored "Blood Angels" had come to this planet and had wanted to recover it.  Now the Tau had the "Rabbit".  The relic would soon be on its way to the Earth Caste for further study.  For the greater good....

1850 Points, the Relic Mission
Blood Angels vs Tau

Combined Arms Detachment
Tau commander and three crisis suits, rockets and plasma
3 crisis suits, plasma
3 crisis suits, plasma
5 pathfinders
5 pathfinders
12 firewarriors
12 firewarriors
12 firewarriors
3 Hammerheads

Blood Angels 5th Company:
Baal Strike Force:

Epistolary Librarian, FS
Sanguinary Priest, PA, Pistol, auspex
5 Sanguinary guard, banner, 2 PFs, 2 infernous pistols
6 Death Company, 1 PS, 1 PA, 1 PF
5 man tac squad, flamer, dedicated las/plas razorback
5 man tac squad, flamer, dedicated las.plas razorback
Death Company dread, talons, MG/HF, dedicated drop pod w/ deathwind
10 man assault squad, 2 MG, PA, infernous pistol
10 man assault squad, 2 MG, PA, infernous pistol
Baal Predator, TL AssCan/ HB sponsons
Baal Predator, TL AssCan/ HB sponsons

Pre-Game Assessment and Deployment:
My opponent was new to the general area, and did not have any Maestrom cards, but loved to play the standard missions.  So we rolled up the Relic.  It is a low-point game with a ton of risk involved - 3 points for the relic, and then just a point each for STWL, LB, and FB. I'm totally outgunned here, with so much sources of plasma, rail guns, and a riptide.  My goal was to grab the bunny (an actual ceramic rabbit, that my opponent carries around for use in the relic mission....), and run like hell.  I decided to keep one assault squad and the sanguinary guard squad in reserves -  a mistake here was not combat squading where possible.  With them anfd the DC dread, I figured I'd use them as fodder to keep the Tau busy.  The Librarian spells were off the BA list - but nothing special.  The warlord trait allowed less scatter for deep strike, and rerolling reserves.  I won the roll to choose corners and deploy first (vanguard deployment). We were treating the river as difficult terrain, worth a 5+ cover save.

I also elected to go first.  In order to get that rabbit...here is my deployment.  I'm going first!  The rabbit is just 12 inches away...next to the bridge...I was going to bum rush everything forward, use the vehicles as cover, and jump pack the bunny away to Victory!

My opponent's deployment.  Gunline. He told me he never wins by meeting the mission objectives.  He just tables his opponent....

Battle Summary:
The Tau seize the initiative.

Here is a photo at the end of turn 1.  The Tau explode a Baal, wreck a razorback, kill a DC marine and 2 tactical marines.  In response, my DC dread dropped in front of a building, and was able to flame and break a pathfinder squad (which ran off the table turn 2, and half of a firewarrior squad).  It ends up I was like 14 inches from the bunny with the assault squad, so they re-positioned to grab it next turn....

 Middle of Turn 2.  The Riptide jumped on top of the building, fired away, then jumped back behind.  I lost half the assault squad and the second razorback...things were going badly.

 End of turn 2.  My DC dread went around the building to assault the Crisis Commander's squad - but failed the charge distance by about a half-inch!

The Sanguinary Guard dropped into the river - lost one infernous pistol to dangerous terrain, and the other failed to harm the Hammerheads in front of them...The Tactical Squad grabs the Rabbit!  The Librarian and Sanguinary join the DC. Things are grim.

Middle of Turn 3 - My assault squad drops in.  Up out of view, the DC dread was wrecked by the Tau Commander.  The last of the Sanguinary guard assault a hammerhead and take it out.  The remnants of the first assault squad had jumped across the river to shoot up and assault the riptide with help of the new assault squad (which I should have combat squadded...)...The riptide is taken down to a single wound!

Meanwhile, the DC takes the Bunny and looks for a quick escape! Things are looking better...

Turn 5 - I have the Bunny.  The score is 3-1!  The Riptide dies in the Tau assault phase! But so did the newly arrived assault squad.  The Sanguinary Guard are overcome with tau railrifle fire.  The DC are gone, and the Librarian has the bunny!  Things are great! If the game ends here...

But alas, no, the Tau now have to chase the Bunny!  Only the Crisis suit teams can put up with the chase! Things go from great to....worse?

That table edge is a long way away...or at least the tree line and better cover!  I'm down to the last Baal Predator, 2 assault marines, 2 tacs, the Sanguinary priest, and the Librarian.  The drop pod's deathwind was wrecked somewhere around turn 3...the Tau are ignoring the pod...

Middle of Turn 6...the Librarian and Sanguinary are gone, as are the two assault marines. The Tacticals will pick up the bunny and keep running!  The score at the end of turn 6 is 3-2!  Things are going from worse to OK...this is gonna be close!

  And then Turn7...The suits are really hopping along FAST!  If I can also pop the Tau Warlord - I might be able to keep this to a draw! Aaaaagh!!!!!!

And then the end of the game.  I still have the Baal Predator - which whittles the Tau commander's squad down and wounded him, bu he was still jumping...on the other hand, the tactical squad was gone...but the Tau cannot retrieve it before the game ends.  Hey.  I'm not tabled!

FINAL SCORE:  Blood Angels 1 (linebreaker w/ the Baal Predator) to Tau 2 (first blood and Slay the Warlord).

Tactical Assessment:
Well, I had a good plan...but seize the initiative and a few other details did me in - Overall:

  1. I could have just started the game with everything on the table except the DC dread (but my opponent was worried about me assaulting him from the back corner - so he tried to keep it covered up).  
  2. I could also have selected the other deployment zone - in retrospect is provides better cover at the river bank.
  3. I should have combat squaded the assault squads - it might have made the Tau's firepower slightly less effective.
  4. I could have deployed planning for the loss of initiative - get vehicles in behind cover better before the game starts.  This would not have been easy to do in this game....
  5. Librarian could have taken Pyromancy and dropped with the assault squad in the missdle of the Tau...Nova powers anyone?
Overall, I was very happy with the game...it was very very fun, and a great way to start the new gaming year!

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