Going in to this match from my victory over the Salamanders in a 30k match-up, I wasn't so sure that I could do well here. The Tau have a (rightly) fearsome reputation for firepower. That said, I was confident that I could at least pull off one charge by turn 2 with my assault marines and hopefully put them on the back foot for a turn or two. That was at least the plan. The battle would be fought over the beach table with two objectives to secure.
My forces remained unchanged from the previous matchup:
Alpha Legion List:
HQs: Autilon Skorr (Pride of the Legion Rite of War), Master of Signals
Elites: Contemptor Mortis Dreadnought (Kheres)
Troops: Assault Squad (plasma pitols, serg with thunder hammer); Terminator Squad (Axes, plasma blaster, thunder hammer); Veteran Squad (two melta guns)
Fast Attack: Storm Eagle (las cannons)
Heavy Support: Heavy support squad (missile launchers)
Meanwhile, the Tau had plenty of firepower to call upon:
Tau Army List:
HQs: XV86 Coldstar with shield generator and stimulant injector
Elites: XV104 Riptides (early warnings, earth caste pilot array, ion accelerator, plasma rifle, velocity tracker)
Troops: Strike Team (missile pod support, marker light, Devilfish transport); XV8 battle suits (2xShas'ui, 1xShas'vre); XV8 battle suits (2xShas'ui)
Fast Attack: 2 Pathfinder teams (marker lights)
Heavy Support: XV88 Broadside (drone controller, seeker missile, high yield missiles, smart missiles).
The set up is pictured below. And as a general health warning -- I took too many pictures for this one!
Off screen to the right are a bunch of suits that I'm aiming to charge at early in the game with my assault squad. My heavy support are holed up in the Eldar ruins on the left and I have my contemptor with my veterans near the top left who are foot-slogging along.
Luckily, I manage to get the first turn.
Not much happens, but the drones and the marker lights start lighting up everything that causes me to start to worry a whole lot. I distract myself by taking some cool pictures :)
Things start to get much more interesting in turn 2 as my assault squad enters close combat. Sadly, I completely forgot about the insane over watch that the Tau are capable of pulling off. All the surrounding squads take pot shots at my poor charging marines and whittle them right down before they can get truly stuck in to the enemy.
Much pain ensues.
The combat with the battle suits pictured above will go on for another few rounds as I fail to kill them on my charging turn.
Meanwhile, the footsloggers are making good progress and are being supported by an incredibly lucky shooting contemptor who is really whittling the wounds off the enemy. (And I think this shot looks awesome as well, so I had to include it in this report).
Despite lots of casualties on both sides by this point, the fun really starts when my storm eagle arrives and disgorges the terminators plus Skorr in to the melee. It is only at this stage that I recall the mission is to control the objectives (one in each deployment zone), so I make sure that the terminators can not only charge, but get back again to reach the objective nearby. In this game, they are classed as troops for scoring purposes due to the rite of war I'm running.
The terminators try to finish off the enemy HQ, but do not succeed, and take casualties in exchange. For their troubles, the Tau HQ flies away in a hit and run effort to survive and shoot again next turn.
All of my assault squad are dead now following the melee. They took plenty with them though.
The above picture shows the game position at turn 4. Much carnage has occurred, and more blood and fuel are yet to be spilt across this beach landing paradise board. This comes in the form of the remaining Tau shooting my Storm Eagle out of the skies. It narrowly avoids anything on the way down, but otherwise is wrecked.
Critically, the terminators are able to slog it to the objective marker nearby, whilst finishing off the remaining Tau troops. The veterans have meanwhile perished due to incoming fire. The contemptor has only one Kheres left. The Tau make a run for it to try to claim the opposite objective. But I manage to kill most of them along the way. Sadly not enough.
The game ends in a tie on the major objective: 1 objective secured each.
The game ends up being decided by secondaries. I have just one more than my opponent (in terms of line breaker), hence I win. But only just.
This was a very tough slog to say the least. I was very happy with the photos that the game produced, but tactically, it could have gone either way. I thought I was going to lose when the storm eagle got taken out and the Tau jetted away for the opposite objective. The terminators and the heavy support squad held on though and a draw ensued.