Escalation in Alpha Prime - Week 3

Opponent: Scott (Imperial Guard)
Deployment: Dawn of War
Mission: Big Guns Never Tire
Point Level: 1250

Company Command Squad w/Powerfist, Astropath, Master of Ordinance
10 x Storm Troopers w/Power Weapon, 2 x Plasmaguns
Platoon Command Squad w/Powerfist
Infantry Squad w/Lascannon
Infantry Squad w/Heavy Bolter
Heavy Weapon Squad w/3 x Lascannon
Heavy Weapon Squad w/3 x Missiles
10 x Penal Legion
Leman Russ w/Lascannon
Leman Russ w/Lascannon

Well, the good times couldn't last forever; eventually I'd have to run into that great anvil of the Imperium, the Guard. And I suppose, if I had to do it, doing so at 1250 wasn't a terrible point range to have it happen in. Even the notoriously points-efficient Guard can't bring too many toys along at that low a points value.

As for myself, my list was just an expanded version of last time's.

Shas'El w/Twin-Linked Missile Pods, Airbursting Fragmentation Projector, Hard-Wired Multi-Tracker, Hard-Wired Blacksun Filter
2 x XV8 w/2 x Plasma Rifle, 2 x Missile Pod, 2 x Multi-Tracker
2 x XV8 w/2 x Plasma Rifle, 2 x Missile Pod, 2 x Multi-Tracker
3 x XV8 w/3 x Twin-Linked Missile Pods, 3 x Flamer
8 x Fire Warriors
8 x Fire Warriors
8 x Fire Warriors
5 x Pathfinders w/Devilfish, Flechette Discharger
XV88 w/Advanced Stabilization System
XV88 w/Advanced Stabilization System
Hammerhead w/Railgun, 2 x Burst Cannons, Multi-Tracker, Blacksun Filter
Aegis Defence Line

A little light on railguns to face the armoured might of the Imperial Guard, but there were only three tanks across from me, one of them a comparatively fragile Hydra. Not an insurmountable problem.

Scott won the roll off, and spread his army out nice and wide. The company command squad were on my left, behind a ruined church; inside those ruins were the infantry squad with the lascannon and the three-las heavy weapon squad, the platoon command squad near the doors. In the centre were the Hydra and one of the Leman Russ, screened by the second infantry squad. And on the right was the second Leman Russ and the heavy bolter team, the latter hidden inside a small ruin and the former behind it. Marbo, the Storm Troopers and the Penal Legion all started in reserve, the former to pull his traditional appearance trick, the other two outflanking. In response, I put one of my Fireknife teams in reserve, since the Pathfinder's Devilfish makes their deep strike slightly more reliable, and spread my own force out. My commander joined an XV88 on the far left, beside a team of Firewarriors behind a section of Aegis. In the centre, a second squad of Fire Warriors, the Deathrains and a Pathfinder team were sheltered behind a Devilfish, which was just waiting to start sea turtling for them. And on the right, my Hammerhead, the third Fire Warrior team, the second Fireknife team and my other XV88 were hidden behind the last section of Aegis line. There were three objectives on the field, one on my left, one on Scott's left, and a third around the middle of the board. Night Fight failed, my seize failed, and we were off.

Scott turned the full power of his army on pretty much the only three real threats; my two XV88s, and the Hammerhead. Thankfully, the protection of the Aegis line sufficed to let me weather the storm, mostly. Unfortunately, I lost the right-most XV88, and First Blood, though nothing else of note. In return, I managed to pick a few Guardsmen off with my pulse rifles, their long range and the relatively short rear area allowing them to reach most of the infantry. My commander split from the XV88, heading up the left flank towards the infantry in the ruins; against Sv5+ models in area terrain ruins, his AP5 cover ignoring AFP would be a godsend. Pity about the short range, though. Thankfully, the walls of the building mostly blocked Scott's line of sight on that angle.

The two of us traded fire for a while, but I'm sorry to say that he got the better end of it. Over the second and third turn, he managed to take down my other XV88 and Hammerhead, removing the threat to his Leman Russ, only one of which I managed to destroy before losing my railguns. I also lost one of the Deathrains and a few Fire Warriors, trading them for assorted dead Guardsmen and the aforementioned central Leman Russ. Despite that, though, there were some bright spots. My commander had managed to close the distance, thanks to a good run roll first turn, and dropped his AFP with unerring accuracy into the middle of the densely packed Guardsmen; the company command squad, which sallied forth to deal with him, found themselves suddenly outgunned and outfought, as he proceeded to take them apart over the course of two assault phases, thankfully avoiding the very real danger the powerfist represented. And of course, once he was unengaged, his large blast, S4, AP5, cover ignoring barrage weapon started to do exactly the damage I'd expected it to.

Unfortunately, while I was blasting his infantry to pieces, he'd pulled a very real threat to mine out of reserve. Turn 3 Marbo appeared, tossing his demo charge and killing the XV88 on my left and about half the Fire Warrior squad, the survivors promptly breaking and running off the objective. And at the same time, the Storm Troopers deep struck in front of my central Fire Warriors and the Penal Legion, gunslingers the lot of them, emerged from outflank just behind the Aegis line. Scott had initially scoffed at gunslinger, having hoped for the more impressive rending ability, but it turned out this served him quite well. When a second turn of shooting from the Storm Troopers and Penal Legion wasn't quite enough to do in my Fire Warriors, the latter could use their assault-classed weapons to follow up with a charge, and weak as Imperial prisoner-conscripts might be, the few lingering remnants of an 8-man Fire Warrior team were no match for them.

Of course, they were no match for what came after them in return. The Storm Troopers took a couple of flamer blasts to the face from my surviving Deathrains, whittling them down but sadly not doing them in (I forgot they had carapace armour), while the Penal Legion squad went down to a hail of pulse fire from the central Fire Warrior squad. And those convicts certainly weren't wearing carapace. At the same time my commander continued to rampage through the infantry in the far left ruin, AFP'ing the command squad to death, including the warlord, while a Fireknife squad dropped in to finish off the heavy weapons team with the three lascannons in the ruin, killing everything off of Scott's objective. Of course, he responded by turning around and blasting my Fireknives to pieces, but they'd done their job, and as far as last-turn assaults go, it didn't add up to much.

When the game ended, it looked for a moment like I'd pulled out a win. There were no Troop units on any objectives (and fair few Troop units left alive, period), and no Heavy Support units on them, either. Scott had earned First Blood by taking out my XV88, but my commander had singlehandedly secured me both Linebreaker and Slay the Warlord. One secondary to two, it looked like I had it. Unfortunately, I'd forgotten that in Big Guns Never not only do Heavy Support choices score, they also count for victory points. Which meant that, with my three dead units and only one of Scott's, things suddenly went from 2-1 my favour to 4-3 his. Accursed fragile Tau units!

Running Score: 2-1-0

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