This battle was all about Scott and myself teaching his son Austin how to play 40k more competitively, how to think strategically and how minimize making the little mistakes that can lose you the battle. First things first though, Austin did indeed change his list for the game as we expected. The list looked a little like this.
HQ1 - Cadre Fireblade w/ Shield Drone
E1 - 2x Crisis Suits w/ TW Missile Pods, Flamers, Stim Injectors
E2 - 3x Stealth Suits w/ Shas'vre
T1 - 6x Fire Warriors w/ Shas'ui and Shield Drone
T2 - 6x Fire Warriors w/ Shas'ui and Shield Drone
T3 - 6x Fire Warriors
There isn't really anything wrong with the list as far as I can tell other than the Crisis Suits, I would have dropped the flamers and Stim Injectors for Burst cannons but Austin wanted to try out the flamers so we went with it. I can say that the Flamers were only used once in the late game and while they successfully toasted some Imperial Guard they really were ineffective the rest of the game. He would do better taking them against assaulting armies such as his father's Blood Angels.
This is the battlefield we were playing on, as normal the white squares are what will be forest in the future (I am still trying to get trees). There were three objectives; they are straight down the center of the board. Austin took the right side of the table and won first deployment.
And here is his deployment. Actually this is his redeployment, seeing that we were using this as a training session for him we spent a pretty good amount of time talking about deployment. His original deployment had the Crisis Suits and center Fire Warriors swapped and in the open. After a short discussion he ended up with the deployment you see. Also he has his Stealth Suits in reserves.
Below is my deployment and shortly after I failed to seize the initiative and gave Austin is first turn I realized that I made a mistake. I guess that paying more attention to his deployment made me forget what I was supposed to be doing. So the nice pretty pink tank which happens to be my daughters almost finished Immolator just happens to play my Chimera for this game and it carries within it my Veteran Squad. I should have put it on the other side of that hill instead of squishing it in besides my command squad. This would have given me a better line to run through the middle of the board. The headless Leman Russ is acting as my Griffon.
Tau Turn 1 - Turn 1 saw the Tau move! Yeah it doesn't sound overly spectacular but one of the biggest problems that Austin has had with his Tau is sitting on the back line, taking 25% casualties in the shooting phase and then losing the entire unit to routing off the board. So to see him actually move in turn 1 is a great thing. We also see that he isn't bunching up and in the past his bunching up has lost him twice as many figs to blast markers than were necessary. For the most part he moves into a situation where he was only presented by return fire from one unit while still being able to fire. The exception was the unit at the bottom that we though should have moved more in line with the rocks but seeing that all shooting would be through Forest we let him go with what he decided.
After much Tau pulse fire and missiles, the Imperial Guard take only 2 casualties mostly because both of the Infantry units went to ground and I had some lucky cover saves.
The Crisis Suits then decide they didn't want to be fired upon and ducked behind cover. There they are hiding behind the rocks.
Imperial Guard Turn 1 - MY TURN! And the pink tank move forward and drops off some Veterans while my Platoon Command moves up from around the hill to get some shots at the top Fire Warrior squad through the forest. I spread my Company Command out a bit but don't move them in order to use my Master of Ordnance.
Here come my Veterans, just as a note they sucked this game.
My Colonel gave the "Get Back in the Fight" command to the closest Infantry Squad and the Autocannon destroyed the Shield Drone for the lower Fire Warrior squad. Both the Master of Ordnance and the Griffon fire across the table at the two Fire Warrior squads on the far side of the table and both scatter into the open areas. My Platoon command orders "First Rank, Second Rank" and the order is failed. Both the command and the infantry unit that went to ground shoot the hill hiding the furthest most Fire Warrior squad. My Chimera fired off its Multi-laser at the Fire Warriors at the close end of the table but they saved everything. So my turn was over and I was upset at the way my guys were shooting.
Tau Turn 2 - Austin didn't quite move as much as I had hoped going for a wait and see approach to taking the Objectives (moving on turn 4 or 5 to claim them). The crisis suits do pop out of cover again and the Fire Warriors on the close side head towards the next hill. All in all not a lot happens in the movement phase.
Shooting is a bit more interesting though. Pulse rounds and Missiles pound the hell out of my Veterans and see them running for the hills for the first of two times in this game. The Fire Warriors on the far table edge with the help of the Cadre Fireblade felt the need to kill two of my Guardsmen in the far infantry squad and the Crisis Suits return to their camp site for the rest of the turn. Not before putting two glances on my Chimera and sending my Daughter into a rage for nearly destroying her pink tank.
This was the only turn that my artillery was actually useful. Back across the field and the Fire Warriors crouching behind the building lost 4 of their fellows. Only took both the Master of Ordnance and the Griffon to do it (sigh - I just now remembered that I could have rerolled the Griffons hits). Unfortunately for me they stayed behind that building. The Chimera made a bunch of hits but either no wounds or a bunch of saves, but at least the Crisis Suits had to pull up camp next turn.
Tau Turn 3 - The Crisis Suits popped out of cover and on to the Chimera's Flank for a better chance of penetration with their missile pods.
The Fireblade lead Fire Warriors on the far side of the table moved into a better firing position.
And the Stealth Suits finally made an appearance and flanked my Griffon.
The Fire Warriors unleash a hail of pulse rounds and not an Imperial Guardsmen is left standing, not even going to ground helped me with this one. Tau gain First Blood! 12 Shots later with the Stealth Suits doesn't even see the paint scratched on my Griffon though. I am going to predict that those Stealth Suits are in for a bad day.
Imperial Guard Turn 3 (1 - 0): My Platoon Command moves into the forest to get line up a better shot on the Fire Warriors and to remove a possible cover save from the Forest. The Veterans move back into cover of the center ruins and take the objective once again and my Company Command turn to face the Stealth Suits. The Chimera finally takes the turn around the forest and rocks to get behind the fire warriors on the close table edge and then we unleash hell.
First up, combined fire from the Griffon's mortar and the Company command wipes out the Stealth Suits. My Chimera unleashes a torrent of flame into the back of the close edge Fire warrior team killing off 4 with the help of a single kill from the Multi-laser.
The First rank, Second rank order on my Platoon Command squad with supporting fire from the neighboring Infantry Squad sends the Fireblade Fire Warrior squad into a route.
Tau Turn 4 (1 - 7): The Tau are hurting at this point, with the loss of their commander who routed off the board at the beginning of this turn and two very under strength scoring units one the wings. The crisis suits head for the center objective and use their missile to finally glance the chimera to death (my Daughter was devastated and threw hatred at Austin for this). The close side Fire Warriors consolidate into cover but not much else happens.
Imperial Guard Turn 4 (1 - 4): Most of my units head toward the closest objective marker at this point. My Veterans try sneaking around the edge of the ruins in order to get their meltagun in LoS of the crisis suits.
The veterans are successful in dropping one of the Crisis Suits with the meltagun and combined fire from my Infantry squad and Company Command took out the close side Fire Warriors. The crisis suit passed its morale test.
Tau Turn 5 (1 - 4): The Tau only had a couple of shots in them from the remaining Fire Warriors but the sole surviving crisis suit finally got a chance to use that flamer and toasted two of my veterans. Being the cowardly troops that they were they once again fled.
Imperial Guard Turn 5 (1 - 4): I consolidated my Infantry squad on the center objective but failed to kill the Crisis suit. My Veterans were ordered to halt once again and did so without complaint. I could have moves my company command or griffon up to take the last objective but since i had already won I didn't see any reason to go any further and ended my turn.
Austin had a string of bad luck in the second half of the game that Scott and myself blame on him for making some comments that offended the Dice Gods. The fact that he lost his Stealth Suits in the first turn they showed up didn't help any and if they had survived he could have walked down my back line reaping guardsmen with very little I could do about it. The choice of Flamers on his Crisis Suits also didn't help him out much. In the end it really came down to the luck of the roll than anything. If he had rolled better in the mid to late game he could have easily taken the game.