2K Tournament - Round Two

Round 2: Jamie Goddard (Imperial Guard/Blood Angels)
Deployment: Dawn of War
Mission: The Emperor's Will
Secondary Objectives: Slay the Warlord, Thin the Herd (kill three Troops units), Secure the Archeotech

Company Command w/Master of Ordinance, Officer of the Fleet, 2 x Bodyguard, Camo Cloaks, Vox Caster
Platoon Command w/3 x Flamers, Meltabombs, Vox Caster
Infantry Squad w/Meltagun, Meltabomb, Vox Caster
Infantry Squad w/Meltagun, Meltabomb, Vox Caster
Heavy Weapon Team w/3 x Lascannon
Heavy Weapon Team w/3 x Lascannon
Heavy Weapon Team w/3 x Autocannon
Veterans w/2 x Plasmagun, Vox Caster
Lema Russ w/Lascannon, Heavy Bolter sponsons
Leman Russ
Sanguinary Guard w/2 x Infernus Pistol, Powerfist
10 x Sternguard w/4 x Combi-Melta, Lightning Claw
Drop Pod

Apparently, the Blood Angels were a little conflicted about who to support this time around; ultimately, they seem to have decided to split the difference, and send Allies to both sides. A bit of bad form, really, for the boys from Baal...

I'm never happy to find myself coming up against Guard, since they basically do everything I do, but better. Still, no sense calling it before the ball drops. We rolled off, and Jamie opted to go first, deploying nearly everything. His Colossus and solo Leman Russ marked the left flank, while the two Leman Russes anchored the right side, with his infantry spread out between them. The Marines, befitting their fluff nature as a rapid reaction force, opted to stay in reserve, the Sternguard in the Drop Pod and Dante and the Sanguinary Guard formed up together. In response, I spread my XV88s out on each wing, with the Hammerhead towards the middle, and did my best to get my Devilfish, Firewarriors and Allies into decent cover. Between our two armies was the archeotech secondary objective, a huge pumping station that provided no small amount of LOS-blocking through the centre of the table. We each got an objective to deploy, as well, putting them well back in our respective zones. Finally, satisfied I'd done as much as I could, we rolled for Night Fight, and man was I happy to see it come on first turn.

It's not the save that really mattered, though that was nice; XV88s being protected by a 2+ cover save against lascannons makes them pleasantly survivable, for a change. No, the big benefit to Night Fight was that it meant his Master of Ordinance and Colossus literally could not fire; with no units within 36", they were incapable of selecting a target. My army weathered the storm pretty comfortably, since nearly everything had a 2+ cover save (no Chimeras, no searchlights), but his Sternguard dropped nearly on top of my right-hand XV88s, and those melta guns were much too close, and firing at the wrong angle, for my poor '88s to stand a chance. Of course, that meant two five-man squads of Sternguard standing pretty much out in the open, so it wasn't exactly a totally one-sided strike. Before I could get to them, though, I had to deal with the Colossus. Against an MSU T4/3+ army, something that drops AP3 large blasts that wound on 2's and don't allow cover saves is just devastating. Jamie completely agreed, and wasn't at all surprised when I made it the focus of my first turn's firing, since as he put it that blast would otherwise have just walked along my army line, killing everything it hit. Thankfully, not only did I manage to put that down, I also blasted apart the solo Leman Russ, though that took pretty much all my anti-tank firepower. With those dealt with, it was time for threat number two, the Sternguard. A Fireknife squad and supporting Firewarriors managed to wipe out one of the combat squads, while the other was left for my own Allies, who unfortunately suffered two casualties, despite the captain striking first with a power weapon and the protection of FNP. Still, it meant they were dealt with, which removed a serious threat from my army's vitals.

Unfortunately, as I said, the Guard do what I do, but better. With my only assault unit pinned down in my deployment zone it was down to a shooting match, and the result of that is usually going to be safe to assume. Things only got worse when Dante and the Sanguinary Guard turned up, finishing off my other XV88 squad (though not before they managed to pop one of the two remaining Leman Russes) and hanging dangerously close to my objective. Sadly, the Fireknives in the area rolled poorly, only managing to kill two Sanguinary Guard with their plasma rifles despite being in rapid fire range, and for obvious reasons they didn't get another chance to shoot. While Jamie cleared out my objective with his surviving Allies, a squad of Guardsman hustled forward to take the archeotech, which turned out to be a psychneuin hive; as neither of us had psykers, that didn't much matter. He also managed to finish off my Death Company, which meant that, combined with the Firewarrior squad he'd killed to clear my objective and a second team lost on the right flank, he'd achieved the Thin the Herd secondary. Fortunately, though, I wasn't completely out of the game. Since there was no chance I could finish off the Sanguinary guard and get my objective back, I opted instead to shoot the Guard off the archeotech, and claim that one, instead. A combined Devilfish and Firewarrior assault managed to either kill or displace enough Guardsman for them to be out of range of the thing, while my Firewarriors were right inside the envelope to catch it for themselves. Thankfully, time ran out before the turns did, because it was still entirely possible for Jamie to have shifted me off that thing; while my army was pretty much a broken ruin, he still had plenty of infantry to throw at me.

In the end I scored a measly six points, three for showing up and three for claiming the Archeotech, while Jamie was just a slain Warlord away from sweeping with a perfect 20, finishing up with 17 points.

Night Fight continues to be the best thing Tau can hope for; cheap blacksun filters mean that your anti-armour will be unaffected first turn, while the enemy's is likely to be far more restricted. And good heavens, was it nice to be able to weather a first-turn barrage of firepower without losing much of anything, for a change! Jinking saved my transports more than once, though if they hadn't been protected first turn there might not have been many of them left to save. I still say dropping disruption pods to save the points is a viable strategy, but it can be a little nerve wracking at times. Warlord traits, on the other hand, have singularly failed to impress. I don't even remember what either of us rolled, since neither of us had any use for it. I have a sneaking suspicion I may have gotten the Furious Charge one, which is particularly useless for Tau...

Having barely survived the crushing power that is the sledgehammer of the Imperium, the numberless masses of the Imperial Guard, my Tau cadre pressed on to the final round, for a confrontation with...

Oh, come on!

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