I Came Home On My Shield

Munitorum Series: Lasgun did not, exactly, go as I had hoped.

Round 1:
Primary Objective: Capture and Control
Secondary Objective: Headhunter (extra points for killing in close combat)
Enemy Forces:
2 x Chimera with 10 Imperial Guard Vetereans (3 Melta)
Chimera with 10 Imperial Guard Veterans (3 Plasma)
Chimera with 5 Imperial Guard Veterans (3 Flamer)
2 x Vendettas with 3 x Twin-Linked Lascannon

This was my first time facing off against the forces of the Imperial Guard, and I must say, they were every bit the problem the internet has led me to believe.  Things started well enough, with me shooting down both Vendettas and blasting apart the Chimera with the flamer troops inside, killing must of them and sending them running for their table edge, in exchange for just the loss of a single XV88.  Unfortunately, the Guard's whole bag is 'quantity has a quality all its own', so despite my initial good shooting I was soon surrounded by extremely hostile Guardsman toting extremely deadly special weapons.  The Hellhound roasted my Piranha and barbecued my foot troops unit (who stubbornly refused to wait in reserve past turn 2), while the two melta-vet Chimeras advanced up the side, angling straight for my objective.  My Devilfish came in on turn 3, bringing the rest of my troops into the line of fire just in time for the first squad of meltaVets to emerge and turn their flying bunker into a piece of difficult terrain, and exposing them to the fire of the Hellhound as well.  Although my 3-man Deathrain team managed to barbecue the entirety of the plasmaVet unit off the board once I'd de-meched them, neither my commander nor my Hammerhead managed to contribute their own blast markers to the so-inviting targets that dismounted Guardsmen represent.  In the end, I had my Hammerhead and one XV88 left on the board, with the Guard solidly in control of my objective

Result: Major Loss (3 pts)

Round 2:
Primary Objective: Annihilation
Secondary Objective: Falling Debris (each player turn an objective falls onto the board, scattering 2D6 and hitting like a Marine frag missile if it connects with a unit)
Enemy Forces:
2 x 10 Assault Marines with 2 Meltaguns and Sanguinary Priest
2 x Demolisher

Two tournaments, two annihilation matches against Space Marines.  Once more I had a good start, with my 88 managing to blast one of the Demolishers to pieces and my commander actually managing to pin an assault squad with his AFP, but between 12" jump pack moves, 3+ armour, 4+ FNP rolls and the support of the surviving Demolisher, the battle quickly became a route.  Though I whittled one squad down to 4 models I could not destroy it, and the other kill point I recieved came courtesy of the enemy librarian failing two Perils of the Warp tests.  The assault marines slaughtered everything they caught, from firewarriors to Deathrains to my Hammerhead, and I simply could not get through two saves for every wound with any kind of regularity.  In the end the only Tau unit on the board was my commander, and with a nearly-intact 10-man assault squad crawling all over him it would have been only a matter of time before he was dragged down, as well.

Result: Major Loss (3 points)

Round 3:
Primary Objective: Seize Ground (3 objectives)
Secondary Objective: Thin the Herd (bonus points for taking enemy units below half strength)
Enemy Forces:2 x Tervigons
3 x Zoanthropes
3 Biovores
2 x 6 Genestealers with Broolord

And another first, this time my first time going up against Tyranids.  The forces of the Great Devourer were less than impressive, here, although I certainly learned to respect the sheer resiliency of Tervigons.  Deployment was Dawn of War, so the first turn of shooting accomplished nothing.  I left my troops in reserve and so did my opponent, with everything else walking on, and the swarm of Tyranids began to grow almost immediately.  The Tervigons' gaunt squads were prodigious, and with the Zoanthropes and their mental-railguns to worry about, I didn't have much attention to spare for them, though when I did I quickly gave up; T6, W6 is just ludicrously difficult to put down, and there were rarely spare units I could task with them.  The gun drones off my Piranha, which again annoyingly turned up as soon as possible, managed to make a strong case for MVP this round, gunning down one of the Zoanthropes and managing to decimate a squad of Genestealers who outflanked, though sadly not until after they'd eat my Deathrains.  Ultimately, however, the real MVP was my Hammerhead, which managed to drop large blast templates on guants nearly the whole game, and with the assistance of its burst cannons earned me a whopping 4 bonus points on its own.  My 88s did well enough, blasting the other two Zoanthropes to pieces, but one was eaten by the other squad of Genestealers and the other soon found itself out of meaningful targets, resorting to its SMS to pick off guants around the edges of the swarm.  With both my troops units consumed (if only they could turn up past turn 3!) and the Tervigons continually spawning scoring enemies, it was no surprise to me that I lost the major objective; by the same toke, all those squishy squads were entirely too tempting for my Hammerhead and my commander's AFP, and I took the secondary objectives a convincing 10 to 4.

Result: Minor Loss (6 points)

Overall, although I did come runner-up for best presentation, I ranked a disappointing third-last, one point ahead of my buddy Dave (who lost points for not having his models painted yet) and just 7 points ahead of one of the fellows who turned up two hours late and had to settle for a Major Loss on his theoretical first game.  And annoyingly, it's difficult to see where I could have improved my standing much.  I might have sent my Devilfish around the far side of the table against the Guard, keeping it alive and potentially seizing their objective, but I was still rapidly bleeding units against their special weapon-heavy Veterans and anti-infantry Hellhound.  Against the Marines, there was really nothing for it; Annihilation against a small force of close combat-oriented Marines with FNP and S10 AP1 blast weapons will never be in the cards for Tau.  And against Tyranids I was simply overwhelmed by targets, who were often either in cover or had FNP themselves, with any units caught by the enemy rapidly devoured.  I'm just not sure how else I could have handled things, really.

I'm not discouraged, though.  Next month is a 1000 pt doubles tournament, in which Dave and I will be participating.  Perhaps the protective Kan Wall of the Orks will help give the big tuns of the Tau Empire the kind of staying power they need to show my opponents who should rule the Eastern Fringes...

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