Army: (2000 pts)
- 3x Arbites squads (double meltaguns) in Chimeras
- 2x Guard squads (grenade launchers) in Chimeras
- 1x Inquisitor squad (Lord with Crusaders and Acolytes) in Chimera
- 2x Command Squads with Sniper Rifles (on foot)
- 2x Guard Squads with Missile Launchers (on foot)
- 2x Units of 3 Scout Sentinels (with Multilasers)
- 1x Leman Russ (+3 heavy bolters)
Mission: “Bloodbath” Tournament Scenario: 4th edition alternating set-up in 12” deployment zone, combined with 4th edition Victory Points. Secondary objective: kill the most expensive enemy unit.
Terrain: Hills in all four corners, a line of woods on Chris’ side of the table, and a giant LOS-blocking skull in the middle of my table edge.
I set up my army in three ‘commands’ – a unit of Hornsuits (B-Sides) and Brave (Fire Warriors) on each corner hill on my side, and all my Ranger (Crisis) Suits hid behind the giant skull in the middle of the table. I backed up my right wing with the Stoneship (H-Head), and backed up my left wing with a second unit of Brave and both units of Pathfinders, including their vehicles. My last two units of Brave started off the field.
Chris spread his Chimera through the treeline, with Infantry hiding behind the wall of AV12, anchored his right flank (my left) with his Inquisitor and Leman Russ, and backed them up with one unit of Scout Sentinels. The second unit of Scout Sentinels started in reserve, ready to outflank me.
My plan was to deploy both units of Pathfinders with their Scout move, then mount up Fire Warriors and cause some problems, but Chris stole initiative, and shredded my Pathfinder units, greatly reducing their effectiveness for the rest of the game. I compounded things by foolishly wasting firepower on his Leman Russ in the first turn, instead of more wisely blowing away Chimeras when I had the chance.
Fortunately for me, Chris was relatively cautious with his advance, and after two more turns, I had killed all his Chimeras, save for the Inquisitor’s (which was still hull-down in the treeline next to his Leman Russ). I also shredded virtually all his infantry, although a lone Stormtrooper sergeant survived to make it to my right flank, and hacked apart a unit of my Brave (Fire Warriors) before being pummeled by the nearby Hornsuits (B-sides). The last few turns of the game were fairly fast, as I tried to maneuver units into position to hurt his last few remaining units – in the end, all that was left were the Inquisitor and his ride, and two of the foot-slogging Guard units that had spent the entirety of the game lobbing (and often missing with) rockets at me from long range.
Turning the Tables.
The Arbites were far too cautious with their approach – instead of gunning their Chimeras and rushing at me full-speed, they chose to advance cautiously and use their firepower to whittle down some of my numbers first. Against most opponents, this is a solid move – but not against Tau. Even with my colossal blunder of not shooting at his Chimera transports as soon as I could (instead wasting fire on his Leman Russ), I still had sufficient firepower – and time – to wipe out the transports before really being threatened by anything. Had the Chimeras jumped me straight-away, things would have been more touch-and-go in the middle part of the game. Even a single Storm Trooper Sergeant was more than enough to Put Paid to a unit of my Fire Warriors – imagine if a more ‘fearsome’ opponent like an Inquisitor Lord had shown up!
However, Chris’s decision to devote much of his first-turn fire at my Pathfinders was the right move – it dramatically reduced the effectiveness of my shooting for the rest of the game, and was something he could have taken serious advantage of, combined with a more dedicated transport rush.