BATTLE REPORTS - BLOOD CONQUERS ALL - 32

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The Rules of Engagement escalation league continued with an escalation up to 1250 points. This game was against our Tau player (sometimes of jetbike eldar persuasion), who entered this game with a first place ranking in the league. I'd been hearing tales from other players about getting rolled over by gunline tau, and I know for a fact that this is a good player, for whom Tau is his native army.

THE CHALLENGER: Mon'Keigh want a cracker?
1250 pts.

Crisis suits - plasma, missiles
Crisis suits - lots of burst cannons, drones
Crisis suits - plasma and missiles, drones

Kroot

Firewarriors
Firewarriors
Firewarriors

Broadsides - smart missiles, TL railguns, drones

So, yeah, I don't know exactly what weapons he had because they all ignored armor and wounded on 2+ and caused instant death. I'm sure it was a healthy mix against armies which aren't all-infantry guardsmen.

THE DEFENDER: You call that sitting and shooting?
1250 pts.

CCS - lascannon, master of ordnance, regimental standard

Stormtroopers - 2x plasma
Stormtroopers - 2x plasma
Zonhaim Assassin (Marbo)

PCS - missile launcher
21-dude power blob
21-dude power blob

PCS - missile launcher
21-dude power blob
HWS - 3x autocannons
HWS - 3x autocannons
HWS - 3x lascannons

The deployment type for this game was "flank march" which is sort of a table corners deployment (as seen in game 30).

My mission was "annihilate" which meant my primary was to reduce all of my opponent's non-vehicle units to less than 50% of their starting strength with a secondary of holding any objective. My opponent's mission was "sabotage" which meant that he needed to destroy both of my objectives (the blue ones), with a secondary of holding onto either of his objectives (the pink ones).

My opponent rolled for first turn and took it.

At deployment, the field looked like this:

My opponent set up a gun line of death on his side of the board with two units of crisis suits coming in by deepstriking and his kroot outflanking.

Naturally, I assumed that it would be these special mobility options that he was going to rely on to take down my objectives. As such, I started by parking a power blob in the area, spread out so as to avoid deepstrikers landing square on either objective, with an emphasis over towards the board edge to shoo outflankers out of the way somewhat. My plan for defense of my objectives was to wait for him to deepstrike and then either hit him with my own deepstrikers (marbo would have some particularly choice targets here) or make whatever showed up eat HWS with a power blob to clean up any messes. Reasonably assured of this strategy, I considered how I'd get my primary.

The first part of my strategy would be to make liberal use of my HWSs. I have a lot of weapons which cause instant death, and with fire on my target, cover won't be as good for him. As such, I'd just need to kill off a few suits in the backfield and dust up the firewarriors with autocannons and the master of ordnance (note how his forces are conveniently bunched up...). After that, I'd just need to get a single power blob in there, and I'd likely roll him up.

I seriously considered putting my 2 power blob platoon into reserves. That way he wouldn't get a free turn to wail on me, and I might just be able to walk in off the board straight into assault. In the end, I decide against it, though. I don't have an astropath, and half my infantry showing up turn 4 might really suck. Instead, I put my troops as far forward as I can while still in cover. Hopefully my initial barrages will be able to do enough damage so that, after cover saves, I'll still be able to make it in with something. After all, Tau are so bad at close combat, that I practically only need a single power weapon model to get in there to kill something off.

I roll to seize the initiative and fail.

TURN 1

Report concerning the action on: 14 Basilos
Daxos Line

Being a commanding officer of superior fieldcrafts overseeing men of excellent virtue in respect to all things soldierly, our advance up Mt. Cos was proceeding at a pace most excellent. Several key hills and ridges had been secured over the preceding weeks of the offensive and I was now making the final preparation for an assault on the summit itself.

The enemy had set up a line of defensive positions all along the summit and I resolved to take these positions by storm. I alerted all my groups to prepare for a simultaneous attack on the outer perimeter. I myself personally lead my command staff and personal group to seize a key piece of the enemy defenses that formed a gap in a heavily bombarded forest on the ridge's north-east side.

The mountain air, fresh and crisp, has done wonders for my health and spirits. I have even been emboldened to pursue some of the more gentlemanly arts while on campaign. I took time to write several bouts of poetry, the best of which I assembled my men to hear for the purposes of morale:

On this bright and most sun-shiny day,
O my men, so valorious and gay,
Let not there be care or
a mind giv'n to terror
as we march up the mountain today!

After what was, I could only assume, shouts of approval, I continued to give out orders to the rest of my officers. Also in limerick form.

All we needed to do was assault the enemy. They were most certainly waiting for us.

The game begins with my opponent shifting his forces down to engage my own. All available firepower is thrown into my guardsmen on the left. My opponent had only average rolls, but cover saves were unkind.

After this point, the field looked like this:

In return, I move my blobs further to the left. Difficult terrain rolls are poor and my rightward blob manages a really low run roll, even with passing its run order.

Meanwhile, my fire base starts work on my opponent's gun line. I use FoMT on the lascannons on the roof of the ruins against his broadsides, and the team hears them, but then rolls three misses. Daxos then points at the crisis suits and orders his staff to fire. The lascannon hit and wounded, but the shot bounced off of a drone invul save. Then the off-board artillery rained down and scattered a fair amount. The problem for my opponent, though, was that things were clustered so tightly together that even a 8" scatter plopped the round square on a bunch of firewarriors. FoMT sees my opponent re-pass all of his passed cover saves, but the damage is done. Meanwhile my autocannons plink off a couple of firewarriros elsewhere.

I was hoping to maybe at least get the firewarriors right next to my power blob pinned to give them a chance to get in there, but no such luck as the firewarriors pass both pinning and morale.

After this point, the field looked like this:


TURN 2

My opponent begins his turn by getting one of his suit squads in. He decided to weaken the further objective first.

He then takes his non-pinned firewarriors and stages a fishly charge:

Everything else continues its slide in the general direction of my power blobs.

Shooting starts with him unloading burst fire cannons into my autocannon HWS on the upper objective. Crappy rolling and a couple of actually passed cover saves sees one of the team survive the torrent of fire. To make up for this, my autocannoneer fails his morale check and starts to run away.

Meanwhile, his 5 bravely charging firewarriors open up with pulse weapons for 6 wounds. I fail all 6 cover saves...

Other stuff also shoots at it, and I fail nearly all the rest of my cover saves, seeing the blob utterly wiped.

After this point, the field looked like this:

In return, I get NONE of my reserves in. This was really bad. I was hoping to throw a demo charge or pump some plasma death into the suits that just landed, but now I need to play my backup. There is no way that my opponent is getting another round of burst cannon fire off, so I move my blob up to deal with them. The other blob, meanwhile, moves to the left to join the meat grinder.

Shooting starts with a run order on my left side blob who had managed a tragic 2" difficult terrain roll. They FAIL the order, and run 1". Meanwhile, the command squad tries to get back in the fight on the retreating autocannoneer, but he fails his leadership a second time.

The command squad then passes FoMT and shoots at the center firewarrior squad. A lascannon aces one of them while the master of ordnance once again scatters way away, but once again lands directly on some fire warriors. Three are hit, bringing two of them down. Autocannons chime in to help. I then shoot my lascannons and missile launchers at the offending deepstruck crisis suits. One of the missile launchers tags a drone, while the lascannon battery on the roof throws down for only one hit. That one shot failed to wound. Strike two for the lascannon HWS...

From my command post, I could see the enemy moving in from all sides to engage my forces. I sternly ordered a general assault.

Looking through my field glasses I spotted my target. "That one, over there, if you please!" I shouted to the basilista gunner to my left. The great cannon burst forth with a mighty blast and ripped apart the very foe I was pointing at. How grand!

Meanwhile, the artillery observer adjusted fire from his previous shot. The ground heaved under the mighty blasts as shells pummeled the enemy positions. I took a moment to quickly and courteously thank the men for obeying my orders so promptly and correctly. In all things, politeness.

Once accomplished, I looked down to see the enemy getting the rough end of some Foleran steel!

Close combat sees me charge in against his suits, while still leaving some guys back to stay near the objectives.

Rolling sees phenominal success by the bayonets, and dismal failure by the power weapons. This basically meant that my opponent wound-wrapped away the power weapons for a single drone dead, but at least he managed to fail an armor save out of the big cloud of them. In return, they bludgeon a guardsman.

My opponent passes his morale test, and the combat continues. Also, my opponent passed the pinning check and morale check on both his firewarrior squads.

After this point, the field looked like this:


TURN 3

Turn three starts with some serious trouble. The kroot come in, and they don't come in on the wrong side...

Also, his other squad of crisis suits arrives. He places them basically in front of my remaining autocannons and scatters way back away from them. Everything else continues its general trend of cautious advance.

Shooting starts with his newly-arrived suits pummeling my autocannon HWS. Without cover saves, their fate is sealed.

Shooting continues with his crisis suits opening up on my left-side blob putting down an impressive 8 wounds. El Cheesus had swung by earlier, when I made my last bout of cover saves and said "dude, you need new dice", to which I responded "these ARE new dice". For this set of saves, I pulled out my OLD dice and proceeded to fail 7 of the 8 4+ saves. They were quickly returned to the army case...

Cover saves continue to fail as 4 firewarriors kill 4 (!) guardsmen and the rest of his army, what was in range of my now ludicrously depleted squad, continued the slaughter. I think I passed 2 4+ saves that round...

Then close combat rolled around. Kroot charged in and my guardsmen gutted a couple with bayonets, but the kroot killed TWELVE guardsmen. Guess how many armor saves I made...

Deciding that it would be for the better if I'd get a chance to shoot the kroot the next turn, I blow away the few guardsmen that are nearby, leaving the kroot to consolidate, which they do, 6", into cover...

Meanwhile, the three power weapons roll very low, but only need 3's to hit, meaning that the suits further upfield are wiped out, leaving them to consolidate their 1"

After this point, the field looked like this:

In return, only one of my squads comes in from reserve - some stormies. I put them down by the kroot, desperately hoping to assuage this terrible threat. They roll to scatter, 11" straight off the table. I pick the dice up for the reroll and they scatter 9"... straight onto the kroot. I roll for mishap, and they are destroyed.

At this point, I gave into my despair. Yet again insanely horrible luck has punched through my strategy AND my backup strategy and left me feeling clubbed like a baby seal. With only a handful of guardsmen remaining, and with my opponent still strong on his side of the field AND with his infiltrators having gutted my underbelly, ready to rip through his primary objectives, I was at a loss for how I would even pull a draw out of this nightmare.

In order to salvage this, I needed to keep my opponent from capturing his primary. With reserves nowhere in sight, I'm pretty certain that I've got to just let him have one of the objectives. The rest of my army needed to move in such a direction where they would be able to handle the kroot once they spent a turn blowing up my little objective marker. I was banking on the fact that, with 5 units in the area, he wouldn't be able to kill everything AND be able to blow up both the objectives with just the kroot.

This meant that I'd need to find a way to handle the only other threat in the area other than the kroot: the crisis suits. I'm in a good position to handle them with my power blob, and I really only need them to be tied up for so long that they can't fly over and snag my objective.

All that was left was what to do with his forces on the other side of the table. At all costs, I needed to keep them weak, and on THEIR side of the table. To facilitate this, I continued to advance with my power blob. My opponent had commented that cover had done a really good job of slowing me down, without actually helping me. Picking up another 2" difficult terrain roll only continued the tragedy.

I could clearly see through my field glasses that my assault was beginning to fail. Suddenly, from behind my own positions I heard the sound of frantic fighting. Enemy infiltrators! How nefarious!

Beset from both sides, I summoned all my will together. We must hold. Nay, we must press on, no matter the cost!

I turned and saw an autocannon team retreating past my command post, I shouted at him, demanding that they return to the fight, and at once. They duly, if reluctantly complied. I then called in my officers towards me. This situation, however unpleasant, must be reversed, even should I be forced to use the remainder of my ability to remain temperate in my dispositions.

I then returned to my artillery observer and directed the next shot. This one landed nearly dead on, sending up great plumes of smoke and earth. When I give my commands, my will is done.

The shooting phase started with my fleeing HWS finally passing a leadership test, getting him back in the fight.

Shooting saw my master of ordnance throw down on his fire warriors that were still huddled together in the middle of a rich field of targets. The shot rolled a hit and, thanks to BS4, only went a couple of inches. With a successful FoMT having been passed, the artillery round plastered the fire warriors, killing half of them. This was followed up by a frag missile exploding into their still-clustered position throwing a couple more off the table.

Then the lascannons teed up again, this time shooting at the crisis suits on the left. This time they managed an astonishing 2 hits with their three shots, and BOTH of them wounded on 2+. Cover stops one, but after all this shooting, my lascannon squad finally manages to ace a drone...

Assault started with my power blob on the left FINALLY rolling above a 3 on a difficult terrain test, sending the squad flying into the remnants of the bottom firewarriors, easily sweeping them off the table.

It also saw my other power blob rolling a 2 for difficult terrain, but me still being close enough to make that happen.

I wasn't able to get all 3 of my power weapons in, thanks to the terrible difficult terrain roll through the hedge. The end result was some pretty crappy rolling by the both of us, seeing only one wound done to him with nothing in return. The suits pass their morale test.

The firewarriors that got plastered likewise pass both their pinning check and their morale test.

After this point, the field looked like this:


TURN 4

My opponent begins the turn by snuggling up his kroot with the backfield objective:

The rest of his forces move forwards and away from my power blob on the left.

Shooting sees him run with his broadsides while snapping off some damage into my power blob with his crisis suits, with me actually passing the expected number of cover saves. In the end, it's down to just the commissar and a lone lascannon sergeant.

Meanwhile, the kroot open up on my command squad, putting down a surprising 7 wounds on my poor CCS. Finally, after all of these shenannigans, luck finally decides to cut me a small break on my cover saves. When the dust clears, only the CCSs chump falls to the ground.

At the end of the assault phase, the kroot blow up their objective. The fight between the crisis suits and the other power blob continues on its expected path. Despite losing combat again, the suits still pass morale.

After this point, the field looked like this:

At the bottom of four, I FINALLY get my reserves in play. Marbo pops up to end this horrible kroot nightmare:

With them bunched up that tightly, and with no cover saves, I anticipate some roast chicken very soon.

Meanwhile, my stormies also made it in. I debated putting them in against the kroot as well, but that's where the last stormies had tried to deepstrike and it didn't work so well for them. Plus, I take a long, hard look at the field and decide to take a risk. If the rest of my army can handle those stupid kroot, my opponent is now down to just two squads that are above half health. If I can rain plasma death on one of them, then it will be just up to my lascannoners to dig the broadside squad down to half.

With the surprising possibility of actually being able to achieve my primary, I take the risk and send my stormies in upfield:

Shooting begins with a FoMT on the missile launcher near the other objective against the crisis suits, but it fails its leadership test. FoMTing continues with the CCS missing with its lascannon, but lobbing in some more off-board artillery. The shot scatters only a few inches and, once again because my opponent is packed so hard in there, there is some serious damage. The broadsides get hit with two shots seeing the broadside pass armor, but the drone failing an invul while the top firewarrior squad gets plastered with its second helping of ordnance.

Shooting on the left continues with the stormies laying down two hits and an overheat and, for the first time in the history of EVER for me, a model whose plasma gun has overheated passes a successful armor save against the burn. Plasma death does its job, killing off the drone and spreading some casualties on the suits. The missile launcher that failed FoMT kills off one from that squad with a missile launcher.

Then it's a matter of the kroot. My Zonhaim Assassin preps his demo charge in what is going to be the most epic mass destruction of kroot ever. He chucks the charge. It scatters 5".... I manage to snag a kroot with the blast...

To make up for it, my missile launcher slams a frag missile through the window and scores 6 hits and the autocannon hits and wounds twice. Unfortunately cover is as cover does, and the end result sees 5 kroot still standing.

The lascannon team tees up and throws down three misses. Swing and a miss for... strike four?

Close combat sees me finishing off the top suits with the power blob and once again rolling really poorly to consolidate.

Meanwhile, he passed his pinning test with both his broadsides and his firewarriors. He then passed his morale test with both his firewarriors and his crisis suits. He got to his kroot and my opponent FINALLY failed a leadership test, seeing them break and run.

After this point, the field looked like this:


TURN 5

Turn five sees the kroot begin the turn within 6" of both my CCS and my worthless lascannon HWS, causing them to continue to flee.

With his kroot still out of it, this leaves my opponent with nothing in my 2/3ds of the board, making it extremely unlikely that he will accomplish his primary objective. His units just sort of spread out a bit in a general, if cautious advance.

Shooting starts with him lighting up my stormies like a christmas tree. Given how little he has left in his deployment zone, it takes almost all of the firepower he has left in the area to finally finish them all the way off. Given how dangerous even a single plasma gunner would be, my opponent can't afford to take chances.

Then, as a parting shot, my opponent shoots his kroot into my PCS guarding my objective. If he could kill them off, there was a chance he could rally and still make it onto my objective. Par for the course with his kroot, 5 models put down 6 wounds. Also par for the course, I fail 5 of the 6 cover saves, leaving a lone chump with a laspistol guarding the objective all by himself.

I roll for morale. The lone chump fails...

Then I remember that I'd brought a regimental standard at this points level for the very purpose of stopping HWSs and PCSs from running away. I measure, and he's (barely) in range of the standard. Seeing the bright hand of the king of Folera shining in the sunlight and hearing Daxos sternly, yet politely shouting at him to remain where he was, he decides to stick it out.

After this point, the field looked like this:

My opponent's plan for a primary has now been botched, and my own primary is tantalizingly within reach. I've got to be very careful, though. My position is extremely tenuous, what with 3 guardsmen standing between obtaining my secondary and not. Plus, if the game goes long, there is still the possibility of disaster.

In movement, I retire my power blob towards the kroot while bringing in my lone, semi-heroic PCS chump in. Combined, they get models within 6" of his kroot, though the power blob needed to run to make that happen. I had planned on chasing after them with Marbo, but he "move through covered" a whopping 2", followed by a 1" fleet...

The autocannon that had been rallied also ran towards the objective, not only to play point defense against the kroot, but to give me a backup unit within 3" of my objective for my secondary.

Then it's to the shooting. Daxos spent his first order running the autocannon but spent the second on FoMT for himself. Once again, the lascannon and master of ordnance took aim at the STILL densely packed group of guys. The shot scattered, but enough to hit both a suit and a drone. The lascannon bounced off of the drone's invul save, but one of the two suits failed his armor save.

The remaining PCS missile launcher targets my opponents' STILL clustered firewarriors and hits all 3 of them with a frag missile. My opponent goes to ground but gets a small taste of my cover save anguish as all three fail a 3+ cover save.

My opponent passes his pinning check on his broadsides, but he fails his morale check!

Right before the turn ends, I really quickly remember to shoot my lone PCS chump's laspistol. With a needless pair of 6's, he aces a kroot, bringing them down to less than half strength. My opponent's chances for a primary are now officially over.

After this point, the field looked like this:

Needless to say, I'm really hoping that the game continues after this point. It's reasonably likely that my opponent will just run off the board with his broadsides. If they didn't, I'd still be only 2 wounds away from my primary (and only 1 if it did), and I've still got some heavy weapons on the board waiting to go. Indeed, my opponent was now in critical danger of getting tabled. Plus the lascannon HWS is due...

My opponent rolls to continue, and flips a 1.


FINAL RESULTS

Neither of us achieved our primary, while my opponent failed to control one of his objectives, while I twice over held at least one of the objectives scoring me my secondary for an Imperial Guard victory!

- So for the first time ever playing Imperial Guard, I finally got a feel for what the CCS is good for. After many games in both this series and my public game series of this squad always being present but doing nothing, or playing a peripheral support role (such as when I ran it with a power fist, or when it was slogging around with an astropath), this game really showcased this unit. This time, in the role I have him kitted for, my senior officer and his command staff really felt like the nervous system of my army.

Daoxs stood on his fortified position rallying his troops back into the fight, and running troops onto the objectives while ordering his men to dig the enemy out of cover with concentrated fire on his target. Meanwhile, the lascannon chipped in, clearing away some of those obnoxious shield drones while the Master of Ordnance PUMMELED my opponent's forces (indeed, he did damage to over half of my opponent's units). Meanwhile, the regimental standard kept the troops from wavering while even the chump did his part of dying instead of someone more valuable.

In short, the CCS worked like how I'm finally seeing that CCSs are supposed to work. I don't doubt that there are other successful configurations for this unit, but I'm happy that I finally found something that feels like it belongs where it is. The senior officer standing heroically shouting orders left and right from the ramparts while picking out targets for artillery, snatching victory from terrible defeat is a cool image in my mind.

- Meanwhile, once again, I have to disparage my heavy weapons. I know they've been unlucky, but after 5 games this is getting more than ridiculous. Their ONLY role in my army is to kill stuff at range, and in this game I spent roughly 350 points to kill roughly 150 points of my opponent's. If you take out the PCS missile launcher, that quality plunges drastically. All three HWSs combined killed something like 3 firewarriors, a crisis suit, and a drone, and that was with 12 autocannon and 3 lascannon shots a turn there for awhile. Heck, my 30 point master of ordnance killed more than my 350 points of heavy weapons.

They play a nice psychological comfort, but I'm getting the distinct impression that I'm winning games IN SPITE of taking HWSs, not BECAUSE of them. I'll stick it out through the rest of the escalation league with these guys, but it looks like my initial prediction about HWSs was true - they're a horrible and inefficient waste of points.

- I'm actually going to offer a word of praise for my power blobs here. Amidst all the crapulence, it's easy to miss a couple of things. The first is that the right-side blob, though it failed to prevent the destruction of one of my objectives, actually did a bang-up job of stopping my opponent from getting his primary. It nearly by itself stopped my opponent from getting his primary, with killing 2 of the 3 special maneuvers units nearly unaided and being there at the end to make sure the kroot kept running off the board. Not too dang shabby at all for a 165 point unit.

Secondly, there was my doomed left-side blobs. They would have done some pretty mean stuff to the Tau if they had passed even HALF of their 4+ saves, rather than virtually none of them, and if they had been able to pass run orders and roll higher than a 3 for their difficult terrain and run rolls. As luck would literally have it, neither of those happened, and their main mission was killed by phenominally poor rolling. That said, they achieved one important secondary mission. Their mere presence, despite its ultimate fruitlessness caused my opponent to devote a big majority of forces to sitting still and defending his backfield. Defending his backfield was NOT his primary, nor was killing my guardsmen. In the end, brutal as it sounds, they made an excellent distraction.

What this meant was that towards the end of the game, my opponent was stuck with units that had been savaged by my long-range killing power, who only had short-range killing power of their own, but were stuck on the opposite side of the board. In the last couple turns of the game, as shocking as this sounds, I, the power blob commander OUT SHOT a Tau player. Had the game continued to turn 6, the fact that 1/4 of my forces held down 2/3ds of his would have probably manifested in me achieving my primary.

MVP: This is a tough one since so many units did so many crucial things. In the end, I'm going to have to give it to the CCS with a special mention to the master of ordnance. The Master of Ordnance single-handedly brought nearly half of my opponent's units to less than 50%, especially if the broadsides running away at the end counted as if they were dead for this mission. Meanwhile, Daxos and the standard were instrumental in keeping my backfield in order even when things seemed hella dicey.

Hero of the Game: This would have to go to the center blob squad. Seriously, didn't they see what happened to the FIRST blob squad I threw in there? Plus, bonus points for holding my secondary.

I searched in the smoke and haze through my field glasses. There were still enemy out there, and my pointer finger had not yet BEGUN to point out targets!

Looking through my own eyes, I was met by a startling sight. My heavy weapons gunned down the remainder of the forces in front of my embattled command post while the few remnants of the enemy were fleeing in panic. I shouted a great hurrah, joined by the few, joyful survivors of the carnage.

I withdrew from my place on the front to learn of the fate of my other groups. They had met with similar ends to my own. Casualties were high, but the enemy was utterly broken. The few remainders had straggled back towards the summit of Mt. Cos. Properly reinforced I had no doubts that the heights could be forcefully taken in the ensuing days of fighting.

I took my evening tea and small raspberry pastries with my forward artillery observer. I make a strict point of refusing to fraternize with the common enlisted soldier, but I found I was taking a shine to my new staff member. He was quiet and unassuming, as are most men of lowly birth in the face of one of my stature, but was altogether presentable and assuming. When he divulged that he was practiced in the trumpet I invited him to play with my personal field chamber orchestra. He mumbled something about studying grid tables as his way of ineloquently passing on my generous offer.

Nevertheless, I spent the remainder of the evening with a glass of port and a few Schernos gramophones while plotting my next move. Victory would most certainly be ours!

In grateful service,

Sir Daxos P. Clinton III - KAP, EKS, ICM - Foleran Armies in his Majesty's Royal Dictate.
Blood Conquers All