No Quarter Given
Despite the Astartes’ early success, the xenos were determined to fight on. Teams of Tau Crisis Suits dropped from the sky, landing behind the Space Marines’ front lines and attacking them from the rear.
While some Crisis Suits targeted the Imperial armor with mixed success, a squad of Crisis Suits armed with burst cannon surprised a Devastator Squad and slaughtered it.
The Knights of Altair responded with gallant—and determined—vigor. While a Techmarine ignored enemy fire to repair a damaged Predator tank, tactical squads disembarked from their Rhinos and brought the Tau Crisis Suits under immense Bolter Gun fire. The Devastator Squad’s demise was quickly avenged, and the Crisis Suit threat on the east flank was eliminated.
The Astartes armor also brought the Emperor’s wrath down upon the xenos. A Predator’s lascannon array struck a Tau Breacher Team’s Devilfish, which exploded—the fiery blast engulfing the Breacher Squad and wiping out half its numbers. The stunned survivors fled the field, as the Terminators advanced out of the xeno supply depot and outflanked the Tau position.
In the center of the battle, the Assault Squad in the woods pressed the Tau flank, charging out of the woods and into a second team of Crisis Suits. In the melee that followed, two battlesuits were destroyed and the Tau warlord severely wounded.
After that, the Assault Squad charged the Hammerhead. But, despite two krak grenades and 15 attacks against the tank’s rear armor, the Astartes came up short in their attempt to destroy the xeno vehicle.
Death Until Nightfall
The Tau desperately searched for a way to retake the initiative. A team of Crisis Suits raced toward the Astartes’ deployment zone in hopes of destroying the squadron of Whirlwinds that was pounding away at the xenos’ position with artillery fire.
Alas, they were beset by a strafing run of an overhead Sky Talon gunship, as well as fire from a handful of Space Marine armored vehicles. The xeno advance was weakened, but it pressed on.
More threatening was the Tau attempt to retake their supply depot. The towering Riptide, supported by what was left of the Piranha squadron, proved a formidable threat, and the Terminators decided not to risk being destroyed by the long-range fire of by the Riptide’s ion cannon.
Instead, they withdraw back in the cover of the depot in hopes of forcing the Riptide to enter the maze of supplies and engage in close combat.
The Assault Squad, deciding that the Hammerhead was no longer in a position to affect the overall battle, abandoned their attack on the tank and sought out the Tau commander. In a frenzied assault, they struck down the xeno leader.
Unfortunately, the Assault Squad was exposed in open ground by their attack, and all available Tau forces targeted it. The squad was struck down.
The end of the battle came as the sun set. The Riptide approached the supply depot and opened up with its ion cannon, the blazing plasma of the weapon engulfing the entire depot in flames. Even the mighty armor of the Terminators could not stand up against temperatures that rivaled the surface of a sun—and they withdrew.
Yet, even as the Riptide stomped forward to retake the depot, a sole Land Speeder swept forward to block the giant walker’s path. Tactical squads rushed to the scene, and Predators turned their lascannon against the xeno monstrosity.
Exhausted, their commander struck down, the Tau lost heart. They called off their attack and withdrew.
Scenario: The Emperor’s Will (One objective, worth 3 victory points, in each player’s deployment zone. Secondary objectives include First Blood, Linebreaker, and Slay the Warlord.)
Imperial V.P. Two objectives (6 v.p.); First Blood (1 v.p); Linebreaker (1 v.p.); Slay the Warlord (1 v.p.) = 9 v.p.
Tau V.P. No victory points.
TheGM: As with most battles fought on Dar Sai, this was a solo game. Although a timid attacker, there’s something about Space Marines that make me “go for it.”
The Space Marines were aggressive. I’m not sure if I subconsciously held back with the Tau, or I simply recognized the total commitment of the Astartes and didn’t want to let them run over the Tau’s left flank.
Certainly the intervention of the Riptide, and the aggressive counterattack of the Piranhas, the Breacher Team, and the Riptide was devastating. If the game had lasted another turn, the Tau would likely have retaken their home objective.
Whatever. It was a fun game, and it was great to see the Space Marines so aggressive, and eye-opening to see what a Breacher Team can do at close range. Wow. I want another squad now.
But, as the narrative goes, the Tau remain stymied in their attempts to expand their hold over the agri-world of Dar Sai. Maybe that’s the will of the Emperor.
The Corvus Cluster is a Warhammer 40K blog documenting our gaming adventures in the fantastical sci-fi universe of Games Workshop.