Kanaan Cluster Leage: Round 4

Opponent: Will (Sisters of Battle)
Deployment: Dawn of War
Mission: Big Guns Never Tire (4 objectives)

Saint Celestine
Uriah Jacobus
5 x Seraphim
5 x Seraphim
10 x Battle Sisters w/Immolator w/Multi-Melta
10 x Battle Sisters w/Immolator w/Multi-Melta
10 x Battle Sisters w/Immolator w/Multi-Melta
5 x Retributors w/4 x Multi-Melta
5 x Retributors w/4 x Heavy Flamer

This looked interesting, and amusingly I was just talking with a friend about how I'd never yet faced off against Sisters. Annoyingly, it's tough even to track down their codex information these days, since it was only printed in a White Dwarf supplement. Know your enemy, indeed!  I didn't even realize Will was doing double FOC until after the fact, when I looked up where everything in his list fits in!

I won the roll-off, and since most of Will's army looked likely to start on the ground, and also since I didn't know exactly what Exorcist's did other than look intimidating, I went for a line rather than a bunker with my Aegis. I strung my XV88s on the objectives along my flanks, with the Fireknives and a team of Fire Warriors near each, while my warlord manned the quad gun and my second 'El and his Deathrains took position with the third squad and the Hammerhead. My Allies contingent remained in reserve, with a slight twist on my standard force; our team controlled a tile that allowed us to add +1 to any single FOC slot, and I opted to swap out my Sanguinary Priest for a Librarian with jump pack, attached to the assault squad and the Captain. I went with Biomancy for his powers, hoping to score Endurance for not just FNP but also It Will Not Die, but instead I got Iron Arm and Warp Speed. Will, in turn, assembled in line; Exorcist, then Immolators with Battle Sisters as human shields, with Jacobus attached to the multi-melta Retributor squad near the centre, the heavy flamer Retributors off to the right, and the two Seraphim, one with Celestine attached, in reserve. Will failed to seize.

Turn one was... frustrating. Despite having the first round of shooting, I accomplished almost nothing. I failed to so much as scratch his Exorcists, and only managed to shake two of his Immolators, picking off a few random Sisters along the way. In return, Will blasted one of my right-flank XV88s to pieces with his Exorcists, and the surviving squad member promptly broke and ran, offering up not just First Blood, but an additional point for killing a heavy support choice. I have to say, I'm not used to missing First Blood, particularly when I get to go first!

That said, as the game went on I started to pick up speed. My Stormraven arrived turn two, and made a bee-line for the left-side Exorcist and Immolator. Thanks to the Machine Spirit it managed to blast both of them, at least earning me back a point for destroying one of Will's heavy support elements. It also meant one fewer of those bloody great missile launchers! Firing from the rest of my army got a lot better, too. Sisters began to drop across the board, though not a single squad broke, and anti-tank fire managed to put down another of the Immolators and shake one of the Exorcists. In his turn, Will had Celestine's squad drop in, their flame weapons costing me two of my Deathrains and their very presence threatening the core of my line. At the same time, the left-side Battle Sisters, no longer having any use as human shields, went on the offensive. They shot down a handful of Fire Warriors, and the rest scampered off the table, breaking and running as hard and fast as they could. Thankfully, nothing else he had managed much, though I did lose one of my right-side Fireknives to the shaken Exorcist.

My Stormraven turned towards the rest of the line of tanks, angling for another double-kill, while my infantry arrived on the scene. They dropped into a ruined church, passing their dangerous terrain rolls. I set them there to threaten one of the Battle Sister squads, and the Retributors with the heavy flamers. Meanwhile, my shooting continued to take its toll. The Stormraven once more smashed an Exorcist and an Immolator, while virtually my entire army turned to pour fire into Celestine and her squad. Amazingly, those five Seraphim managed to soak nearly everything I could throw at her, Celestine herself only just going down to the very last shot I had available. And worse, while I might not have known much about Sisters, I did know that Celestine was all too capable of getting back up next turn. Which was more than could be said for my own combat unit; spending a Faith point, Will gave those Heavy Flamers rending, and to my great displeasure they managed to rip through my Marines. Between them and the bolters of the Battle Sisters I had hoped to rout in close combat, I went from two HQs and five Marines to one Marine and the Librarian. And he was down a wound! Teach me to underestimate the Sisters' faith...

However, things were a bit far gone for Will to really rally at this point. While I did lose my Librarian and remaining Marine to overwatch fire, during my shooting phase I killed all but one of the Heavy Flamer Retributors, shot the left-flank group off the objective (the only Sisters to break all game!), and started to take my toll on the others, whittling the Sisters in the middle down to just a couple of models. I also managed to take out the last of Will's armour, though not with my Stormraven, as it didn't have the angle for the attack without switching to hover. With his heavy weapons removed, it was down to seeing whether he could rush me to contest, or hold up on his side of the board. He did have First Blood, after all, and another point for killing my XV88s. I was only two points ahead, and if Celestine got back up that could easily swing to being two points behind. It wasn't defeat I feared, but a lack of victory.

Will pressed hard, working what he had as best he could. The other Seraphim dropped on my left, threatening the XV88s on the objective there, while the multi-melta toting Retributors lined up on the back of my Stormraven and the few survivors of the central Sister's squad made a break for his left-side objective. The Seraphim lost two to Interceptor fire from my quad gun, and flamed and shot a Fireknife to death. He also managed to put a single melta-shot into my flyer, and after deciding I could risk not Evading, pulled out a six for penetration, and another six to blow the thing clear out of the sky. Another point for Will.

Really, though, it was all down to Celestine. If she'd got up again, she could've rampaged through my lines, killing pretty much everything that mattered before I could put her down again. But she stayed dead, and that meant I held on to enough guns to do what Tau do best.

Will's Seraphim managed to charge and kill my XV88s before I could put them down, scoring him another point. Unfortunately, I killed the last of the Sisters just stretching for the left-side objective, and while I'd lost the XV88s holding one of mine, my Hammerhead cruised over to my right-side objective to lock that one up. With Celestine dead, and me leading 1-0 on objectives, that was the game.

Result: 3-0 primary, 4-4 secondaries, Tau forces defend power generator

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