The Fate of Bavgad Prime IV – Week 3

Opponent: Blake Nelson (Imperial Guard)
Deployment: Spearhead
Objective: Annihilation

Primaris Psyker
Techpriest w/2 x Servitors
Platoon Command Squad w/4 x Plasma Gun, Chimera
Infantry Squad w/Sniper Rifle, Missile Launcher
Infantry Squad w/Sniper Rifle, Missile Launcher
Veteran Squad w/2 x Meltaguns, Valkyrie w/Lascannon, Rocket Pods
Armoured Sentinel w/Plasma Cannon
Armoured Sentinel w/Plasma Cannon
Leman Russ Battle Tank w/Passk, Lascannon, Heavy Bolters
Leman Russ Battle Tank w/Lascannon, Heavy Bolters
Leman Russ Battle Tank w/Lascannon, Plasma Cannons

Bloody annihilation! The mission my cadre does worst at, and it just keeps coming! As does Blake; this game was a rematch from week one, where my abandonment by the dice gods allowed his Imperial Guard army to put the fear of the God-Emperor into my poor Tau. With no other options (everyone else around his holdings was already engaged in a fight), Blake decided to come at me. And I, having learned a lesson or two from the last game, was happy to obliged.

He won the roll-off to pick sides, and as is customary at BKG, opted to just use the side he was standing on. Yeah, we're lazy that way. He deployed a row of armour along the front of his army, his Leman Russes in the middle, with the Armoured Sentinels between them, and the Chimera with the Psyker and Platoon Command Squad on my left. The two blob-squads were hanging out in the back, one in a forest and the other between the forest and the tanks. His Veterans and the Valkyrie were in reserve, waiting to drop onto the board and unleash their melta-y destruction at unstoppably close range. I responded with my standard double-base deployment, a 2-suit XV88 team on the left with the Hammerhed, the Pathfinders and their Devilfish, one Firewarrior squad, and the Deathrains, and the other 2-man XV88 team on the right with a Devilfish and the second Firewarrior squad. My commander and the two Fireknife squads stayed in reserve, in order to deep strike; in the last matchup with Blake his AV14 tanks had been impervious to my missile pods, but Leman Russes are as vulnerable as Rhinos if you get them in the back. And since hopping around the board would take forever and leave me dangerously exposed, I decided to try reserving and deep striking, instead.

I managed to seize, which worked out even better than I could have hoped; in my first turn, the combined fire of my XV88s, Deathrains and the Hammerhead, aided by the Pathfinders, managed to wreck his Chimera and the Leman Russ beside it, forcing the Primaris Psyker and his squad out onto the board and removing one battle cannon from the equation. I also shot the plasma cannon off one of the Armoured Sentinels, a somewhat less impressive feat but a cadre commander can't be picky; all damage is good damage. In return, Blake blasted my right-side XV88 team, both of them failing their cover throws against the battle cannon and suffering Instant Death, but that was all he managed; everything else either failed to hit, scattered way off target, or was blocked by cover saves. As nice as it was to be leading, it was even nicer to be down to just two Leman Russes, and not three, even if I was short half my XV88s. I continued to push along the flanks, sending my Hammerhead up towards Blake's table edge to angle for side shots on his tanks and bouncing the Deathrains in and out of cover to keep poking away at the Armoured Sentinels, but nothing really happened until turn three, when one of my Fireknife squads dropped neatly in behind the right-most Leman Russ. Despite managing a solid slew of hits and penetrates, however, they couldn't bring it down; stripped of its battle cannon, its lascannon and immobilised, it nevertheless remained on the board, stubbornly refusing to give up a kill point. Worse, in Blake's turn my Fireknife squad practically evaporated under the torrent of lasgun, missile launcher and sniper rifle fire, while the Valkyrie dropped in and discharged the Veterans, along with its lascannon and both missile pods on the XV88s. The XV88s themselves were unharmed, but the missile pods scattered, catching my Deathrains and Pathfinders, and costing me two of the five Pathfinders. The squad promptly broke, but thankfully rallied next turn, and I decided to just stick them behind a terrain feature and keep them out of trouble. The Veterans, meanwhile, failed to hit the Hammerhead with their meltaguns, and in return both they and their ride were promptly slaughtered. No invincible Valkyries this game; that thing went down with one volley of railgun fire, while the Veterans lost their meltaguns to a combination of the Hammerhead's submunition and the weapons on a nearby Devilfish, leaving them easy pickings for my commander when, after being bounced back into reserves, he dropped down and landed the AFP blast on their heads next turn. It's been my experience that Guard don't often like AP5 large blast weapons that ignore cover.

Still, the game pretty much went down to the wire in the end. While my second squad of Fireknives and the Deathrains managed to blow up both Armoured Sentinels, and my Commander killed the accompanying Platoon Command Squad out from under the Primaris Psyker, those Leman Russes continued to fire, repeatedly put back into action by the Techpriest and his Servitors. In the end, I won by a single kill point, one I might well not have got if the game had gone another turn; I was out of easy things to kill, and his Leman Russes had already taken an impressive pounding without flinching, so who's to say they couldn't have gone right on doing it? Fortunately for me, though, I didn't have to put that to the test.

It's just a pity I was on the defensive, that battle; it would've been nice to have more than two regions on the league map...

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