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(The following is a detailed battle report of a game played by a few friends and I. Many of us have been away from Warhammer 40,000 for a while and are now getting back into things. The Carnage mission we played was our way of becoming re-acquainted with the game. Due to the level of detail, this may take a few posts to fully describe the action. Enjoy and feel free to ask questions or comment on things =) )
Paul: Having been away from Warhammer 40,000 for quite some time, I was a little rusty but itching to get back into the thick of things. So what better way is there to plow back through the breach yet again than a Carnage mission with three of your friends? The mission allows for a lot of awesome fights, climactic duels over the objective, political intrigue, paranoid alliances and plenty of good fun. It all adds up to time well spent and the stuff the Games Workshop hobby is made of.
So I had a mission (Carnage) and I had an army I wanted to take for a test drive (the Tau). Now all I needed was three other players. Matthew was the most natural choice given that he was my younger brother and that he was also returning to the game. Darren, a good friend of mine that I introduced to 40k back in high school, was a natural choice as well- the two of us butted heads a lot in past campaigns we had played out and many a battle had come down to a show-down between his Imperial Guard and my Eldar.
With us three rusty old veterans, I figured we needed a fresh new player to add a bit of vim and unpredictability to the mix. Matt, Darren and I had played a lot of games together over the years and thereâ€™s nothing worse than being able to predict the way the game is going to go based on the way your opponents set up their armies before the match because youâ€™ve learned everyoneâ€™s tricks and favourite tactics.
Keeping this in mind, I managed to talk Jay, my fire team partner in the Army, into playing his first game with us. Iâ€™d been gradually brainwashing him into a 40k fanatic on training exercises and the mental conditioning was apparently successful because he wholeheartedly agreed.
So we had everything set. The objective of the Carnage mission would be a shrine located in the center of a valley, built to house the remains of a Saint that had led the Imperiumâ€™s colonization of the planet. My army for the battle, a Tau Cadre from Viorâ€™la, is part of an expedition trying to take the world as part of the Third Phase Expansion. A Pathfinder team scouting ahead of the main force marked the shrine for its strategic value as a tool for demoralizing the Human defenders and as an outpost for monitoring enemy movement through the vale. Matthewâ€™s army, a detachment of Thousand Sons Chaos Space Marines, intends to use the Saintâ€™s corpse as a component in some magic spell that will bring Ahriman another step closer to entering the Black Library. Darrenâ€™s army of Tanith First Imperial Guard wanted to seize the shrine and defend it in order to prevent the holy site from being desecrated by the tide of heretics and aliens besieging the planet. The Dark Eldar being played by Jay was on the world to collect slaves but the prospect of consuming the residual psychic energies of the Saint, who was a powerful psyker in life, was too great an opportunity to pass up for his Dracon commanding the pirate band.
The challenge was laid. Now the players had only to muster their troops before backing their words up with blood and ironâ€¦ or paint and resin. Whichever. Preferably the paint and resin part.
â€śWe shall secure the gueâ€™la structure at the heart of the vale with a swift Montâ€™ka. The Kroot mercenaries, the Aun willing, will take the objective while our railguns mercilessly pound the enemy positions from afar.â€? Shasâ€™oâ€™etâ€™kar declared after a few moments spent examining the holographic map of the area of operations his Cadre was being deployed to aboard a Manta Missile Destroyer. He nodded to himself in certainty. That was the best course of action to take considering there were two forces of gueâ€™la warriors and a band of Elâ€™dar pirates bearing down on the objective as well.
â€śWould it not be better, Shasâ€™o, to let the aliens spill one anotherâ€™s blood and then bring the wounded prey to ground?â€? Shasâ€™vreâ€™kaj asked, thoughtfully. Then, with a mischievous smirk that tugged at a long scar on his cheek, he recited an old proverb of the Tau Fire Caste, â€śThe Patient Hunter always gets the prey.â€?
Etâ€™kar shared Kajâ€™s smile for a few moments. The two were troth-kin, siblings. The Tau Empire, and their sept of Viorâ€™la in particular, frowned upon brothers and sisters holding special bonds with one another. The Ethereals taught that the whole Tau race was a family, with every member of every caste on every sept as brothers and sisters. When one had a family as big as the entire Tau Empire and a cause as unimaginably vast as The Greater Good, what need did one have to maintain a sentimental attachment to another Fire Warrior simply because one came from the same womb?
But Etâ€™kar had felt a need and he had kept in touch with his younger brother Kaj even when they were separated at adolescence and trained in different Cadres. If the Ethereals had known about their secret communiquĂ©s and exchanged gifts on their birthdays, they would have lectured him about how love and care for family took away from ones love and care for The Greater Good, the Tauâ€™va. And the more Tau that allowed other pursuits to draw away from their attention to The Greater Good and pre-occupy them with things of less importance, the closer the entire race came to being consumed by the Montâ€™au- the return to more primitive and self-destructive times.
Etâ€™kar felt, though, that the Aun were not always right. Family and the maintenance of its ties was a service to The Greater Good, not a betrayal of it. Family was like a Taâ€™lissera, with the individual surrendering oneself to a wider interest. Tau society was full of such outlets of loyalty aside from the Empire itself. Following the Ethereal line of logic, teams, Cadres and septs were all things that drew away from the supreme nature of the Tauâ€™va. It was ad absurdum. But it was also scandalous among the hawkish Fire Caste of Viorâ€™la to speak openly of such things, especially with Aunâ€™va formally replacing Commander Farsight with Commander Shadowsun as Hero of the Empire.
â€śThat may be true.â€? Etâ€™kar nodded finally. â€śBut if we enact Kauyon, the gueâ€™la might be able to properly entrench themselves and bombard our Shasâ€™la with their long range weapons. Additionally, driving them from the objective would prove difficult, given their penchant from close quarters combat.â€?
Kaj grunted in appreciation of Etâ€™karâ€™s analysis, folding his arms over his chest in concern. â€śTheir race is historically stubborn.â€?
Just as the Shasâ€™o was about to dismiss the planning session and order the Shasâ€™ui to begin rehearsing their battlefield roles, a soft and melodic but authoritative voice spoke up from the other end of the holographic map. â€śIf I might offer some advice from my limited tactical knowledge, Shasâ€™o?â€?
Etâ€™kar looked up at Aunâ€™elâ€™shiâ€™ores, the Ethereal attached to his Cadre for the duration of the attack on the illegal gueâ€™la colony of this world. Aunâ€™shi did not have as limited tactical knowledge as he claimed. He was a hero. A humble one at that, as well. The wealth of knowledge he had gained fighting against the Orks and gueâ€™la was by far greater than Etâ€™karâ€™s own. He gestured for Aunâ€™shi to speak his mind.
â€śThank you Shasâ€™o.â€? Aunâ€™shi said, bowing his head. â€śI suggest we use both the Killing Blow and the Patient Hunter in this operation. Your Crisis and Stealth teams could secure the structure and then bait the enemy forces. The rest of the Cadre would then set up in cover and spring the trap as the enemy approaches within range.â€?
Etâ€™kar considered this for a moment. It would work perfectly assuming that the Cadre was able to make effective use of the surrounding forests. â€śA sound tactic, Aunâ€™el.â€?
The hunt would be glorious!
Tau Army Selection: Shas'la ready for action!
Paul: Hello again! I've been away from Warhammer 40,000, as previously mentioned, for about 3 years now having been swamped by a combination of of University studies and the Army Reserves. But I'm back and have to say things are definitely looking fantastic. Just when you think the game can't get any better, Games Workshop proves you wrong.
For this game I decided to test out my newly assembled and partially painted Tau army. There's something about the race that has a strong appeal for me. They've got some nice toys, sure. And the sleek contours of a Hammerhead Gunship are more fun to paint and pleasing to look at than, say, an Ork WAAAGH! and their "ded big shooty gitz". But I'm more inclined to say that it's the Tau ideals that really interest me. Their philosophy, The Greater Good and all that, are extremely similar to the ones we fight for in the Canadian Army. Or at least the same ones we espoused in my Section. But we were a weird lot so...
On the topic of my Army selection, I went with something fairly basic and well-rounded. Two Fire Warrior teams and a Hammerhead Gunship would provide effective fire support while the Commander, his retinue and a Stealth team would be my objective takers, using their jump packs to hopefully take the shrine before anyone else could come close to it. A Kroot squad, Shaper and Ethereal rounded out the Cadre with a nice bit of close combat talent to deal with an assault from Jay or Matt.
With my Shas'la ready for action, it was time to find out if I could set up some under-the-table alliances to secure victory...
HQ (379+105= 484 pts)
Shas'o'et'kar: Shas'o Crisis battlesuit w/ missile pod, plasma rifle, shield generator, hard-wired multi-tracker
Commander Retinue: Two Shas'vre Crisis battlesuits w/ missile pods, plasma rifles, shield generators, hard-wired drone controllers w/ 2 Gun Drones
Elites (90 pts)
Stealth Team: 3 Shas'ui w/ burst cannons
Troops (130+120+186= 436 pts)
Ethereal Honour Guard: Shas'ui w/ pulse carbine, 5 Shas'la w/ pulse carbines, 6 Shas'la w/ pulse rifles
Fire Team: 11 Shas'la w/ pulse rifles
Kroot Carnivor Squad: Shaper w/ pulse carbines, 19 Kroot- all with upgraded armour saves
Heavy Support (150 pts)
Hammerhead Gunship: 2 burst cannons, railgun
Total- 1,000 pts (52 models)
Dracon Vladinniasâ€™ war host had captured many slaves that day from a nearby mon-keigh village. The pathetic creatures were nothing more than barely sentient cattle and they had made for little sport. Eventually Vladinnias had grown bored of the chorus of screams produced by his Haemonculiâ€™s art being interrupted whenever one of the subjects wouldâ€¦ break. So he ordered Drazhar, the Master of Blades, to disembowel all of the prisoners save one.
A smile spread across his lips as he watched the twin blades carve a bloody swathe out of the bumbling and clumsy mon-keigh. Such mastery! Such ecstasy! Spending time in the presence of such incredible talent in the arts of killing manifest in the being of Drazhar, chosen child of the Father of Scorpions, had been well worth every soul the Dracon had been forced to offer in payment for the mercenaryâ€™s services.
Stepping forward, Dracon gestured to Master Pinari, the most senior of his Incubi retinue in his retainer. In response, one of the Incubi standing behind the last remaining mon-keigh prisoner reached out and seized the femaleâ€™s hair, which was slick now with the blood of her fellows, and wrenched her head back to place the thin cruel blade of a dagger across her throat.
â€śNo! No! P-please!â€? She objected. Mon-keigh, of all the prey races, seemed to always make the most fuss when it came for their time to die.
The Dracon lowered his face close to hers and inhaled deeply, taking in the pungent odour of her fear and hatred. It added a delicious edge to the scent of her sweat and the blood of her brothers and sisters. Whispering tauntingly in her crude tongue, he asked, â€śWhy should I spare you?â€?
â€śTh-the vale. The S-Saint of the Vale. He protects me!â€? She stammered.
A Saint? Mon-keigh superstitions aside, psykers of that race always made for such satisfying meals. Their souls and residual psychic energies were flowing with fear, paranoia and pain. The prospect of such a feast could not be passed up. He would partake of this so-called Saint, lapping up the mon-keighâ€™s horror of the Warp entities that haunted its sleep and whispered insanity from a place just beyond the existence of reality.
Dracon Vladinnias made a gesture to his throat and turned to stare down upon the vale before him as his Incubus complied with his order and slashed open the throat of the last remaining prisoner. His hands quivered in anticipation of the coming slaughter.
The death of the woman would not be the last on that day. The Dracon would sooner see his entire war host slain and mutilated before losing his prize.
Dark Eldar Army Selection: Your soul is mine, mon-keigh!
Jay: My first game of Warhammer 40,000 and I got to admit Iâ€™m completely stoked. If itâ€™s as good as it looks on paper, itâ€™s going to be awesome. Maybe a bit unrealistic but if I wanted to see what real-life combat was like, Iâ€™d join the Army. Oh, wait! I did. My bad.
Anyway, I fully anticipated being thrashed in the earlier phases of the game. Compared to other armies like the Space Marines, the Dark Eldar are very fragile unless they can overwhelm their opponents with superior numbers in an assault. And even then, if you donâ€™t win Initiative or you donâ€™t completely decimate your opponent in the first round of the assault, you can expect a lot of body bags being brought back to Commoragh, if you get my meaning.
On top of that, my opponents were highly experienced. The Dark Eldar army I was using for this game, after all, was selected from a dusty collection of Paulâ€™s sizable Dark Eldar army, the Kabal of the Bloodied Claw. This meant that Paul would have a pretty good idea of what I would try in the game. That is, assuming I didnâ€™t try something unpredictable. Being new, everyone else would place their bets on me playing defensively and trying to escape with my dignity intact. Instead, I plan to go straight for the objective and the army in the adjacent deployment zone. Itâ€™ll make for a good deal of bloodshed and plenty of experience with the shooting and assault rules (plus morale checks).
So I went gung-ho on my HQ choices. A Dracon to lead the army with a healthy bunch of Incubi to bolster him in an assault. Drazhar just looked so darn cool in the Codex and in miniature form, so I just had to include him in the retinue.
Knowing that Iâ€™d need something fast to reach the objective before Paul and his pesky Tau, and being aware that Matthewâ€™s Thousand Sons and Darrenâ€™s Tanith First would be a bit slow slogging their way to the fight, I took a squad of Hellions as my go-getters. They could fly up to the shrine, lay down a hail of splinter rifle fire at any takers and assault anyone that didnâ€™t die fast enough.
Grotesques also seemed to be a nasty piece of work in an assault and could withstand the pounding of the Tau weapons as they shambled up to them. So I took a squad of those. However, noticing that they didnâ€™t seem to be all that bright and would take even longer to reach the Tau firing lines, assuming Paul was set up in the corner next to mine, I decided to take a Haemonculus to deal with their â€śStupidityâ€? special rule. Some creepy guy with implements of torture apparently goads even the mentally disabled into developing a desire to run full out into a line of pulse rifles.
With some points still left over to work with, I took two Warrior squads to satisfy my Troops requirements and a Ravager to satisfy my desire for big things that go boom. The Ravager would allow me to deal with any tanks that the others might have in their armies and might even, assuming I lasted that long, allow me to throw a war machine onto the objective that could dish out plenty of suppressive fire while absorbing any retaliatory strikes, securing the win.
Now letâ€™s see if I can stab a couple people in the back with those Disemboweller Blades!
Kabal of the Rending Talon
HQ (274 pts)
Dracon Vladinnias: splinter pistol, power sword, Hell Mask
Retinue: Incubi Master w/ Trophy Rack, 1 Incubi w/ Blaster, 2 Incubi
Elites (195 pts)
Haemonculus: Destructor and Scissorhands
Troops (200 pts)
Warrior Squad: 11 w/ splinter rifles, 2 w/ splinter cannons, Sybarite w/ splinter rifle
Warrior Squad: 11 w/ splinter rifles, 2 w/ splinter cannons, Sybarite w/ splinter rifle
Fast Attack (186 pts)
Hellion Squad: Succubus w/ Hellglaive, Hellion w/ Blaster, 9 Hellions w/ Hellglaives
Heavy Support (105 pts)
Total- 1,004 pts (52 models)
Ahriman stood on a crest over-looking the vale, his helmeted head held aloft as if he was staring up at the scattered clouds in the sky overhead. But he did not need his eyes to see. Through an eternity of servitude to Tzeentch, he was blessed with a sight that was not confined to the material world and which granted him a measure of transcendence beyond the strictures of space and time.
No, he was not looking at the sky. His gaze rested upon the contents of the eloquently built structure that sat in the very heart of the valley. It was a shrine, built not long after the Horus Heresy. Entombed within that shrine were the ancient remains of a Saint of the False Emperor. But Ahriman did not want the corpse at the center of the valley simply to spite the servants of Decaying Terra, to desecrate it for his own vengeful amusement. He was fashioning an item of power to further his own agenda and one of the remaining components he required for it were the finger bones of a holy man buried for more than a millenium. Before him lay exactly what he required.
There were others in the vale, intent on reaching the same structure as he. But they would not obstruct him from his purposes. They would crumble before the suits of power armour animated by the trapped souls of his so-called "Battle Brothers" like so much dust. Assured of the inevitability of his own victory by the weight of his ancient destiny, Ahriman strode forward purposefully, his accompanying Traitor Marines falling into formation and marching slowly and meaningfully in unison behind him.
Chaos Army Selection: All is Dust!
In case no one else has noticed, Thousand Sons are expensive. Their Cult Terminators even more so. I couldn't help but flinch as I wrote down my Army selections as the numbers were significantly higher than I've become accustomed to with my Black Templars Space Marine and Death Korps of Krieg Imperial Guard armies. I mean, 230 pts for 10 models is a bit steep, right?
But the durability of the units is definitely worth it. The "All is Dust" rule ensures that even a well-placed shot from Paul's railguns don't even count as Insant Death. The only problem is that the things aren't multi-wound models! But the moral victory is more than worth it. Just imagine being able to laugh at an Imperial Guard player for wasting a krak rocket launcher shot just to get rid of a single model of your army. Just make sure that your opponent doesn't have access to a Basilisk before trying such a stunt as a purely Thousand Sons army. Otherwise the joke might be on you as a single Earthshaker round eats your whole army under an Ordnance template.
With only 1,000 pts to play with, I went for a fairly basic army selection. Ahriman for my HQ, two Thousand Sons squads for my Troops choices. With the essentials out of the way, I blew my remaining points on a scary-looking Cult Terminator squad dedicated to Tzeentch, in keeping with the Legion and a Predator Annihilator with twin-linked turret-mounted lascannons for scrapping with any enemy tanks. A very modest-sized army, yes. But one that could lay down huge amounts of bolter fire while on the move to the objective, a tank to deal with Paul's Hammerhead Gunship (what sort of Tau player doesn't take one of those?) and Darren's Leman Russ battletank (he recently painted up a beautiful one and knew he wouldn't be able to pass up the opportunity to show it off). The Terminators and Ahriman would make for viscious close quarters combatants and would slog it to the objective on foot, only to wipe out the fragments of opposition sitting at the center of the map in the last turns.
Looks like I'm good to go.
HQ (174 pts)
Troops (230+207= 437 pts)
Thousand Sons: 10 Marines
Thousand Sons: 9 Marines
Elites (252 pts)
Tzeentch Cult Terminators: 1 w/ heavy flamer, 1 w/ combi bolter-flamer, 1 w/ power claw and storm bolter, 2 w/ power fists and storm bolters
Heavy Support (140 pts)
Predator Annihilator: twin-linked lascannons, side sponson heavy bolters, warp flame
Total- 1,003 pts (26 models)
Lieutenant Zhilovski took another drag of his cigarette and looked worriedly at the horizon. From his spot sitting atop the turret of his Leman Russ Main Battle Tank, he had a fairly good vantage point of the valley ahead of the formation of tanks from the Ketzok 17th Armoured Regiment.
Out a few kilometres, it seemed that the blasted xenos Tau were landing troops from the open bay of a Manta Missile Destroyer- a massive alien spacecraft that could carry small armies within its holds and which could fly into the atmosphere to wreak havoc on enemy lines. Fortunately, the Ketzok tankers had learned a few tricks about camouflaging their vehicles to prevent detection from the sky by their comrades in the Tanith First.
As if his thoughts had summoned them to his side, Zhilovski saw a line of the legendary Guardsmen from the Tanith First jogging past his Leman Russ. They stopped every now and then to dip a hand into the mud of the road, running their hands through the clay and then spreading it across their face with their fingers. One or two, as they stopped to create this added improvised camouflage, felt the Lieutenantâ€™s eyes on them and they turned and offered him a quick salute.
Zhilovski wasnâ€™t sure if he should pity the men which were charging ahead of the armoured company to secure the shrine in the center of the vale, or if he should envy them. They were brave. They were the best. They were guaranteed a place at the Emperorâ€™s side when they passed into the next life, every last member of that blessed Regiment.
But their lives were brutally short and with each one that died, the memory of that world which was destroyed by Chaos was dissipated somewhat. It was tragic to watch as he served alongside the light infantry, giving them fire support from his Leman Russ. It was like watching a world die, one person at a time. And there would be many deaths today, there was no doubt of that.
The auspex-scanner on the Captainâ€™s command vehicle had detected forces from three hostile armies descending on the vale: Tau xenos, Eldar pirates and vile Chaos. Knowing that victory would be difficult in the face of such overwhelming odds, the Colonel-Commissar of the Tanith First had made a very grim decision. The Tanith light infantry would rush ahead to secure the shrine and preserve its purity with the fire support of a single tank. The rest of the Ketzok 17th would remain behind, over-looking the valley, and wait. If the Tanith failed and were routed or wiped out, the orders the Captain of the Ketzok tanks were to level the shrine. Destroy it, rather than let it be desecrated by the filthy hands of the unclean aliens.
Lieutenant Zhilovski had volunteered himself and his crew for the role of close fire support for the men and women of Tanith. His crew had protested just a little. They thought this was a suicide mission, that the best course of action would be to rain destruction open the shrine in the first place and then wait from a good vantage point for the enemy to come into the sights of the Leman Russ. But Zhilovski felt he owed something to the remains of that lost world. He felt a sense of honour and duty towards Gauntâ€™s Ghosts. And he would be damned if he neglected that duty.
Lieutenant Zhilovski watched as the last of the Tanith infantrymen disappeared into the tall grass by the road-side and then butted his cigarette out against the green and brown swirls of paint on the side of the Leman Russâ€™ turret. He might die today, his tank reduced to cinders. But it would be a good death, for he would ensure his place at the foot of the Golden Throne of the Emperor and he would pass into that most holy existence in the company of great heroes.
Imperial Guard Army Selection: With me, Men of Tanith!
Darren: Paul was most gracious enough to allow me to field an army of Tanith First Imperial Guard. The rules we settled on for them might be a bit archaic as we're all coming back from a long hiatus to the Warhammer 40,000 game. So the rules were taken from a copy of White Dwarf Magazine, but I'm sure they've since been updated.
Anyway, I went with a modest selection, knowing full well that the army would be rather small and mostly light infantry. With such delicate troops, one has to play very carefully in order to make sure there is a chance of winning. If you run in with an army like Tanith First Imperial Guard as if they were Space Marines, you're going to be beaten. Badly. And you'll probably deserve it too for making the mistake.
Thinking that a long-range approach might be a good idea, I took a Vindicare Assassin and a Leman Russ to compliment two Platoons of Tanith Guardsmen, a Veteran squad, and the Command Section with Commissar-Colonel Gaunt himself.
I just hoped I could do justice to Dan Abnett's awesome character...
HQ (231 pts)
Gaunt's Ghosts Command Section
Elites (110+72= 182pts)
Hardened Veterans: Veteran Sergeant, 3 Veterans w/ bolters, 1 Veteran w/ lasgun
Troops (250+180= 430 pts)
1 Platoon: Command Section- Lieutenant w/ power sword & bolt pistol, Veteran Sergeant, Guardsman w/ flamer, Guardsman w/ grenade launcher, Guardsman w/ lasgun
A Section- Veteran Sergeant w/ laspistol & chainsword, Guardsman w/ flamer, 8 Guardsmen w/ lasguns
B Section- Sergeant, Guardsman w/ long-las, Guardsman w/ missile launcher
2 Platoon: Command Section- Lieutenant, 4 Guardsmen
A Section- Sergeant, 9 Guardsmen
B Section- Sergeant, 9 Guardsmen
Heavy Support (165 pts)
Leman Russ w/ side sponson heavy bolters, battlecannon, and lascannon
Total- 1,008 pts (62 models)
Tau Turn 1
Paul: Luck started out on my side and I was allowed to choose quarter first. I decided to go with one which had a large swathe of trees blocking line-of-sight, for the most part, between my quarter and the one to my left. A long line of ruins did the same for concealment in the deployment zone just across the table from mine. It wound up being that Jay's Dark Eldar wound up on my left and Darren's Imperial Guard directly ahead. For me, this was an excellent arrangement as I had an alliance with Jay prior to the game and I had a feeling that Darren's under-protected infantrymen would be easy pickings for my Fire Warrior's pulse rifles.
I used the jetpacks on my Crisis and Stealth teams to move those two units into contact with the ruins at the start of my Movement Phase. First one there!
I then moved my Hammerhead Gunship a little closer to Jay's deployment zone so as to be able to see around the ruins to Darren's Leman Russ with my mean and nasty railgun. The rest of the army just slogged it up to the objective on foot.
With my Shooting Phase, I opened up on the closest Imperial Guard squad with my Crisis battlesuits. My missile pods were the only things that could hit them from that range, so I let loose with those. 4 Guardsmen from 2 Platoon b Section exploded in bloody ruin. First blood to the Tau!
Dark Eldar Turn 1
Jay: It seemed Paul was all too eager to present a back for me to sink my knife into and so, unable to contain my treachery until a later turn, I obliged him.
I moved my retinue into the woods between our deployment zones, setting up to assault his less capable Fire Warrior teams and extract some easy kills that would also throw his advance off. I moved my Ravager toward the Thousand Sons deployment zone directly opposite me as I knew Matt would try to come to his brother's rescue.
The rest of my army moved up to the objective, including the Hellions which closed much more quickly due to their skyboards. I had them assault the Crisis team sitting on top of the shrine, benefitting from the Combat Drugs roll I had made as we were deploying our armies (which came up as +1WS! You can never have enough WS when you're assassinating someone's HQ choice!). Unfortunately, I wasn't quite in range and so I contented myself with shooting all of my Hellglaives into the Crisis team. But only 2 Gun Drones fell to the fusillade. Maybe this wasn't such a good idea...
Chaos Turn 1
Matt: Slow and steady wins the race. I moved my army 6" toward the objective, while turning my Predator in the direction of the Imperial Guard army.
Imperial Guard Turn 1
Darren: It looked like I was stuck between a rock and a hard place. Paul's Tau were preparing to completely decimate my army from the opposite side of the board, with the exception of the cheeky battlesuits that managed to jetpack from the very corner of his deployment zone onto the objective. Meanwhile, Matt's Thousand Sons were making threatening gestures in my direction with the movement of that Predator.
I decided to move my army towards the Tau, getting as close as possible in the off-hand chance I might be able to assault and use my superior numbers and WS to advantage. I then moved my Leman Russ into a position where some ruins would make it hull-down if a firefight with the Predator were to break out.
For my Shooting Phase, I noticed I had line-of-sight to the Thousand Sons Terminator squad with my Vindicare Assassin. Having not moved him because of his decent firing position, I let him take a pot-shot. BOOM! A Chaos Terminator wielding a combi-flamer was blown away by the Exitus Rifle. It was only one kill but it put me in the lead for Victory Points.
Tau Turn 2
This seemed to me, to be a shooting turn. And so it was, with all of the choice targets now presented to my army.
My Crisis Team opened up on the Hellions that were charging them, the plasma rifles and missile pods of the Shas'o and two Shas'vre killing no less than 7 Hellions. In an attempt to finish the pesky foes off, I had my Stealth team unload on them with their burst cannons as well. But only one more Hellion dropped out of the sky. Amazingly enough, Jay passed his morale test with the remaining two Hellions in the squad. I guess all those drugs can get to your head after a while...
Darren had also panicked when he saw Matt's Predator moving towards him and forgot about my Hammerhead on the other side of the table. Tracing a shot to the Leman Russ' side armour with my railgun, I fired. The result: crew stunned and one of the side sponson heavy bolters destroyed. Not exactly the cataclysmic explosion I had been hoping for but it would do until the next turn.
Dark Eldar Turn 2
I kept going for the objective, knowing that perserverance would be the key in a game of Carnage. Meanwhile, the retinue moved just to the lip of the woods on Paul's flank- the perfect spot to assault Aun'shi and his honour guard from.
My Hellions opened up with their Hellglaives again, sending poisoned splinters at the Crisis team on the objective. But the shield generators abosrbed all of the shots. My Ravager fired away with several dark lances at Matt's Predator. But something was jinxed about our Armour Penetration rolls and results. I got a result of "Crew Stunned" and one of the Predator's side sponson heavy bolters plopped off.
Intent on having some cool fight scenes going on, I assaulted with my Hellions. Those Crisis battlesuits are pretty resilient, though, and my Hellions were wiped out with nothing to show for their efforts but two destroyed Gun Drones. Next, my retinue assaulted the Tau retinue. 2 Fire Warriors died in the assault under the blades of Drazhar. But one Incubus was impaled on the Ethereal's honour blade. Ouch.
Chaos Turn 2
I kept moving my army forward, ever so slowly. Interestingly enough, Jay's feet-of-foot movement with his Dark Eldar Warrior squads had brought them just in range of my Thousand Sons squads. He must not have known about the "Slow and Purposeful" rule.
My Thousand Sons squads fired their bolters on full auto as they kept marching, not missing a step. They also didn't miss many shots! 9 Warriors from one squad died while 6 from the other fell, their flimsy armour crumpling under the explosive shells of the bolters.
Imperial Guard Turn 2
First thing was first this turn: put an end to the most dangerous units on the board. So I had my Vindicare Assassin put a bead on Paul's Crisis team. This squad was just doing way too much damage to be left alone. The Vindicare Assassin managed to cause a wound to the Shas'o. Something told me that would be enough to lure him from the objective. If he wanted his Shas'o to survive the game, he would have to send the Crisis team out to get the Assassin. Either that or he could sit tight, continue to hold the objective, but suffer the moral defeat of having his Commander sniped to death with a few quick shots.
I then traced line-of-sight past the shrine to the Dark Eldar Ravager with my missile launcher team in 1 Platoon, unable to do so with my Leman Russ as it had been hit by the Hammerhead Gunship earlier this turn. The missile sped across the battlefield and, miraculously, the Ravager blew to pieces and fell to the earth in fiery ruin.
Feeling a little cocky, I assaulted Matt's Chaos Terminators with my Command Section. Gaunt is at his best in close combat and it seemed unjust to keep him sitting out of the action. The assault resulted in Gaunt felling one Terminator. All in all, a good turn.