Saturday, 6 October 2018

The Battle For Worlds End

The Scargill Planetary Defence Force were having a hectic lunar cycle. First the accursed Heretic Astartes of the Death Guard, then a raiding force of Necrons appeared, almost out of the ground to threaten the Imperial settlement of Scousehatton. All Balto Krudditch - commander of Scargill's Planetary Defence Force - Kinnock Region, wanted was a few weeks of relative peace, some light skirmishing from slavers or pirates, but nothing more strenuous than that. His request for reinforcements had once again been met with pedantic exactness (all previous casualties were replaced by troops of the very same position and armament). Then came new orders over the vox net. Sensors have picked up a large xenos radiation signature over the Grimbling Crevasse. Grimbling, a settlement of some renown, famed for it's Godtalker Ale, a popular semi-hallucinogenic beverage that the wretched masses of Scargill rely on to maintain optimum work quotas. Xenos raiders capturing the brewery would be disastrous for the Thatcher Magz regime. Worse yet was the identity of the xenos, Tau from the Pur'la Sept were confirmed. The Emperor alone knows what filthy alien hygiene and/or health and safety regulations would be introduced. This must not be allowed to happen. So began the Battle For World's End.

Hello all. Following on from my last game in which the Scargill PDF fought the unknown landlords of Scargill, I found I had a rare Saturday free (I mainly play games midweek). With this in mind a Whatsapp message went out and a crowd* of Cavan wargamers descended upon my garage. I hadn't played Aaron recently so an 1850 point battle was decided upon. I was very much in an Astra Militarum place so I used the exact same list I had in my two previous games against Dylan and Stuart. Here's what Aaron used;

Brigade Detachment +9CP (T'au Empire) 
HQ ;
Cadre Fireblade: 2. Through Unity, Devastation, Markerlight, Puretide engram neurochip, Warlord
Commander in XV86 Coldstar Battlesuit: High-output burst cannon, Missile pod
Longstrike: 2x Burst cannon, Railgun
Breacher Team ;. 4x Fire Warrior,Fire Warrior Shas'ui: Pulse blaster
Kroot Carnivores: 10x Kroot
Strike Team;. Fire Warrior Shas'ui: Pulse rifle. 4x Fire Warrior w/ Pulse Rifle
Strike Team; Fire Warrior Shas'ui: Pulse rifle. 4x Fire Warrior w/ Pulse Rifle
Strike Team;. Fire Warrior Shas'ui: Pulse rifle. 4x Fire Warrior w/ Pulse Rifle
Strike Team; Fire Warrior Shas'ui: Pulse rifle. 4x Fire Warrior w/ Pulse Rifle
XV104 Riptide Battlesuit: 2x Smart missile system, Advanced targeting system, Heavy burst cannon, 2x MV84 Shielded Missile Drone, Target lock
XV25 Stealth Battlesuits;. 3x Stealth Shas'ui w/o support system: 3x Burst cannon
XV25 Stealth Battlesuits. 3x Stealth Shas'ui w/o support system: 3x Burst cannon
Fast Attack;
Pathfinder Team;. 5x Pathfinder: Deployment5x Markerlight. Pathfinder Shas'ui: Markerlight. 2x Pathfinder w/ Ion Rifle: 2x Ion rifle
Vespid Stingwings: 4x Vespid Stingwing, Vespid Strain Leader
Vespid Stingwings: 4x Vespid Stingwing, Vespid Strain Leader
Heavy Support;
TX7 Hammerhead Gunship: 2x MV1 Gun Drone, Railgun
XV88 Broadside Battlesuits : MV4 Shield Drone. Broadside Shas'ui: 2x Smart missile system, Heavy rail rifle, Velocity tracker
XV88 Broadside Battlesuits: MV4 Shield Drone. Broadside Shas'ui: 2x Smart missile system, Heavy rail rifle, Velocity tracker
Dedicated Transport;
TY7 Devilfish: 2x MV1 Gun Drone, Burst cannon
Total: [109 PL, 1850pts]
This was my first game against  Aaron since the new Tau codex so although I pretty much knew what to expect (shooting with little intent to get into close combat) there was bound to be some surprises. Of course my army wasn't overly interested in close combat either so there was a distinct possibility of there begin no knives being brought to this particular gunfight.

Tactical Stuff & Blog Post Title

The Table was set up and the mission picked, it was Clease & Capture (one of my favourites). As previously mentioned there were a number of other gamers in the garage so space was not as optimal as normal. In the deployment map picking stage (which I got to choose) there was some other gamers arses in the way so I picked Hammer & Anvil as it seemed the sensible choice. It actually gave the game a slightly more thematic feel to it as the landing pad was bordered by alien plants (that was the Tau deployment area, which then led into the settlement that was to be defended by the PDF. My much used Inn was placed centrally and was it turned out to be an objective of great value to both sides and was fought over very intensely. The Inn was dubbed by Aaron 'The World's End' and a battle report title was born. During deployment Aaron placed his Stingwings and Battlesuit in the sky and centered his Fireblade warlord on the landing pad surrounded by Fire warriors and Battlesuits. I placed as many units within 6" of Sergeant Harker again to utilise his rerolls. I put my ratlings in the jail in the right side of no mans land and the Stealth suits (both units) deployed in The World's End. The Kroot made a dash forward towards the Ratlings so they might not see the second turn if I am unlucky. For the sake of the people of Scargill it was imperative that the Tau couldn't doctor the pub with a healthy aesthetic and religious beer mats. The veterans were in the Chimeras ready to bring special weapon death to the heathen xenos. 

The deployment map.

The Battle Itself

Once again I got lucky with the first turn, so with luck the First Blood VP should be attainable. One of the first things I did of note apart from obligatory movement and psychics was to snipe the Cadre Fireblade guy (he was an unnamed enemy model, you know the type of important nazi commander who is killed 5 minutes into the movie). Didn't kill him sadly, but took 2 wounds off him from the Ratlings and made sure they went to the top of Aaron's things to kill list.

A closer view of the filthy Tau. Left to Right; 2 units of Fire Warriors (one unit is skulking in the jungle), Devilfish with Breacher Team, Longstrike. Broadsides, Cadre Fireblade and 2 more units of Fire Warriors (all on the landing pad). Riptide, Kroot and Hammerhead. The sneaky Stealth suits are getting ready to add antibiotics to the ale.
Side profile of the filthy Tau.

The Scargill PDF; Left to right, Aaron, Tank Commander Revs Cantalope, infantry squad, Heavy Bolter squad, Hellhound, another infantry squad, Leman Russ, Flamer special weapons squad (in the upper crater), Chimera with vets and Primaris Psyker Vim Ajax, Sergeant Harker (in crater) Balto Krudditch, Autocannon squad (in another crater), Leman Russ, another infantry squad  (placed in such a way to deny deepstriking aliens), Chimera containing more vets and Chuck Nimrod, Ratlings.

My tactical objectives for turn one, Hammer of the Emperor, Troops on the Ground and Death From Afar.
Aaron's tactical objectives for the first turn. Secure Objective 6, Domination and Priority Orders Received which became Secure Objective 4. Both objective 4 and 6 were far into my deployment zone which meant they were both very hard for him to achieve.
The Tau warlord is down to two wounds in turn one. Good shooting little abhumans!

Thanks to a lot of flamer weapons First Blood is achieved by removing a unit of Stealth Suit troops. 
Xenos in Stealth Suits are not big fans of flamer weapons. I imagine after all the dice rolling there were some barbecued Tau and a whiff of tuna which probably got the guardsmen's mouths watering for fish and chips. 

Revs Cantalope, Tank commander extraordinaire attempts to take on the armoured might of the Tau single handedly on the left, the two Chimeras go right to deliver their passengers to cause maximum alien death. The Hellhound and special weapons squad give the stealth suits a taste of "I don't care much for -1 to hit modifiers, have a bucket of auto hits baby!". Every one else stays fairly still and shoots whatever is in range.

At the end of my turn I get two VP's for the objective cards.

Aaron's first act was to markerlight the shit out of Revs Cantalope, giving the generally incompetent Tau something they could hit. Poor old Revs buys the farm. Is this the last Scargill will see of it's hero? His sacrifice was worth it though, it took a lot of firepower to get rid of him.
Aaron took a picture of Revs' demise so I put it in here to make him feel better.

A unit of Vespids deployed. A lot of Aaron's turn consisted of many markerlights shooting at Revs Cantalope and seeing as the Ratlings scared the dung (or at least the Tau equivalent) out of the Cadre fireblade most of the smalls arms fire targeted them. I lost a few but despite the Emperor's disdain for abhumans he allowed them to pass their morale phase at the turn's end to cause more inconvenience to the Greater Good next turn.

At the top of the picture the Kroot are contemplating eating a Chimera so they can grow tracks, armour and transport capacity. A last remaining Fire Warrior ponders the wisdom of the Greater Good against Autocannons and the Cadre Fireblade does his best to look like a rank and file trooper (to little avail).

My next crop of orders from Scargill High Command.

Death of a Devilfish! This causes the Breacher team inside it to have to walk around like proper aliens not just flying around like rich kids on hoverboards.

The world's End is currently clear of alien threats.

The main thrust of the PDF goes towards the World's End with a unit of veterans moving up to wreak alien vehicles next turn.

A healthy 6:1 VP lead for the brave defenders of Scargill. Due in no small part for the completion of these two tactical objectives. The Cadre Fireblade warlord was also Ratlinged to death (the first time sniping has really worked for me) giving me the Kingslayer VP as well,

A drone peeks down at some brave guardsmen who've secured The World's End. Pointless really as Drones can't hold their liquor!

My Plasmagun vet squad has a varied collection of models, mainly because back in the day one could only have a single special weapon in a squad. So a Necromundan Pit Slave Techno called Derric has be inveigled into the unit. Also Chuck Nimrod (a Necromundan Beastmaster Wyrd) is also preparing to murder the ungodly. 

Vespids and a Riptide take on three guardsmen. Just the sort of mismatch that gives xenos a bad name throughout the galaxy.
It was around this time that I made a tactical faus pax by assaulting the Riptide with my remaining plasmagun veterans, I reasoned that it would have to move out of combat to shoot (which was going to inconvenience Aaron) and it was also unlikely to kill them all coming in. I was wrong due to some nonsensical Xenos technology that wiped them out pretty efficiently. That's one for the Tactica Imperium for sure.

Meanwhile, to the left of the World's End, a Tau commander and some more Vespids arrive in an inconvenient place. Luckily the narrow battlezone made it awkward for Aaron's sneaky feckers to  threaten me and keep out of Leman Russ line of sight.

Turn 3's end sees me get another VP for something, probably just being humanities savior or something.

My second Leman Russ goes bang! Luckily it didn't explode but it put in a solid shift and will surely be getting a complete rebuild for the next AM outing. Probably have a different crew though 😟

At this stage of the game there are a lot fewer models on the board. The Tau Commander in the battlesuit and the Vespids are sent to the great figure case in the sky this turn. Sergeant Harker (or at least his proxy model) keeps bellowing "reroll those 1's men!" causing me a great deal of happiness.

Aaron loses a Hammerhead. The track guards on the Chimera means it will move at full speed to torch some Fire Warriors next turn. The riptide having taken damage from the meltangun vets scampers away out of range over the other side of  the World's End.
It was around this point in the game we called time. I was ahead on  VPs and Aaron's scoring units were becoming fewer and fewer. His Hammerhead was well banged (so was my last remaining leman Russ), he had a lightly damaged Riptide but few mobile units to take any objectives. I had lost a lot of guardsmen but I still had some potent units (I think the Hellhound was still undamaged) including most of my characters. I still had a Chimera to flame infantry and Aaron still had his Broadsides but the World's End was blocking line of sight to a few of my units. Had time allowed the score could have been more even but I'm sure the World's End would remain in Imperial hands.

The final score. 8:1 to the Scargill PDF. On a more amusing note Aaron started the game with nearly double the amount of  command points but Grand Strategist and Kurov's Aquilla kept my CPs ticking along nicely all game.

PDF Debriefing

Another enjoyable game. A couple of things about the game had a very pronounced effect on the outcome. Firstly my choice of deployment map ; Hammer & Anvil was very telling. Although me choosing it was more on the basis of space constraints, it seemed to benefit me more than Aaron. I could space my numerous units out easily to stop any deepstriking units and still keep most of my heavy hitting tanks within 6" of Sergeant Harker. Secondly Aaron drawing the Priority Orders objective card for probably the furthest away; 4. It basically meant a footslogging warlord would have to brave a lot of enemy fire to get anywhere close to it. The Ratlings killing said warlord in turn two was pivotal too as he only got one turn to perform whatever heathen alien strategies he could before his lights went out. Another unsung hero was my Primaris Psyker, Smite is always very useful but Nightshroud is too with the Tau's average BS of 4+. The special weapons squad did sterling work clearing out the Stealth Suit dillholes in the World's End even though I forgot to use the Catachan order Burn them Out!  Aaron is getting pretty good with his strategems making his Tau a lot more effective. A 3+ invulnerable save on the Riptide is a real pain, as is Longstrike's higher than necessary BS. I think I got lucky with my objective cards and Aaron was unlucky. In summary another cracking game where the tactical objectives were pivotal. 

* At least 5.

Shortly before nightfall the Tau had left the battlefield. They had been shown the error of their alien ways and were hopefully rethinking the wisdom of attempting to establish a beachhead here in Grimbling. The battle had been fierce and it was a miracle that The World's End was still intact. The groans of the dying and wet thuds of wounded Tau receiving the Emperor's Justice at the end of a lasgun butt was occasionally heard. Some troopers were 'searching' the cellars of the Inn for xenos infiltrators and others were scouring the battlefield for grisly trophies. Balto Krudditch moved over to the burning wreckage of Revs Cantalope's Demolisher tank. Amazingly it seemed that the tank commander had not been killed in the blast and like his vehicle was salvageable. His legs weren't, but to Krudditch's mind, tank commanders don't walk much anyway. He sighed, and called for his adjutant, Crolly Mirkle his personal valet, batman and ale taster. 
"Crolly, fetch me the requisition forms for troopers, vehicles, weapons and non organic body part replacements".
"Yes Sah!".
"I'm beginning to think we're going to need to put in a standing order!".
"Yes Sah!".
"Oh and Crolly, get me a keg of Godtalker, I've got to debrief the men.".

Thanks for reading!

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