For months now I've been eagerly anticipating playing the campaign I'd written for Matt and I. The format has been discussed in previous posts so I'll get on with the battle reports. I'm not going to go into as much detail as I normally do as to be honest they were all pretty quick and bloody affairs.
Battle 1 (500pts - Annihilation)
With no force organisation restrictions I decided to give Blood Claws a chance to finally prove themselves. I backed them up with a Wolf Priest, Lone Wolf and a Land speeder. Matt had very different ideas for his 500pts and brought Mephiston and a full squad of Sanguinary Guard. As you can imagine I didn't fancy my chances very much!
Predictably Matt got to attack and quickly got Mephiston into combat with the Blood Claws. His SG took down the land speeder without breaking a sweat then proceeded to help the master librarian with the massacre at hand. Some how I failed miserably with the vast majority of my power weapon attacks so Mephiston came out relatively unscathed. In his dying throes my Wolf Priest managed to dispatch 2 of the SG however.
My lone wolf should've probably charged the SG instead of Mephiston in order to buy my blood claws some time to do some damage. However, to be honest the two armies were hopelessly outmatched so I'd have been lucky to come out of it with a win.
Battle 2 (1000pts - Seize Ground)
Thanks to my abysmal performance in battle 1 Matt started off with about 400pts extra. My list for this battle was a fairly standard selection of Rune Priest, 3x GHs and some long fangs. The only real surprise was that one of the squads was in a drop pod instead of the standard rhino. The plan being to hit one of Matt's objectives hard early on and hopefully slow down his advance. Matt took 2 largeish jump pack squads (one with a reclusiarch), some scouts and his librarian dreadnought.
My drop pod crashed in right between Matt's scouts and the dreadnought. Deciding that the dread posed the largest threat I barraged it with fire and manage to remove one of its arms and immobilise it (Matt still hasn't had success with it). I'd have liked to whittle the scouts down a bit too but had I hit them the dread would've been difficult for me to take down.
Matt's assault marines deep struck right in front of my long fangs. They let rip with small arms fire only managing to kill a single heavy bolter. Sadly this messed up the coherency so they'd have to move next turn (d'oh!). Pretty much the rest of Matt's army hit the rune priest and grey hunters that came out of the drop pod. The squad was taken down to just one man and the priest and I only managed to kill 3 scouts. They were quickly finished off by the SG in the subsequent combat.
Somehow Matt's scouts managed to get two rending hits on my rhino and immobilised it. Mephiston wrecked the other rhino with his pistol but thanks to cunning disembark I kept out of his assault range. The flurry of power fist attacks brings him down but not without heavy casualties on my side. On the other side of the map the assault marines make short work of the long fangs.
I got some inane pleasure out of watching Matt's sanguinary guard trying and failing to destroy my drop pod which was contesting his objective. At this point it's pretty obvious that I can't win so the only thing left to do is to try and kill as much as possible to make the remaining battles less painful. Brilliantly I forget what I'm doing for a minute and decide to rapid fire with my grey hunters squad despite easily being in charge range. Needless to say I'm made to pay for my mistake and in the end I still manage to take all but 3 men down in that squad. The game ends here before I have chance to do any more damage. Interestingly thanks to it being objectives it's technically a draw but Matt wins on VPs.
Battle 3 (1000pts - Annihilation)
I felt pretty good about this battle since Matt would start with less points than me and I hoped my Tau would be able to inflict some damage with punishing amounts of firepower.
I deploy in such a way as to make Matt choose between killing my hammerhead or my broadsides. I send a devilfish full of fire warriors towards where his scouts are hiding in the hopes of rapid firing them to pieces. Brilliantly my rolling is awful and I only kill one. Matt returns fire and forces the FW to flee. With a stroke of luck they flee just the right amount that I can finish the scouts off on my way off the board!
Matt's obsession with sanguinary priests (and who can blame him?) means that a torrent of fire simply pings off his assault squad who make every single FNP save!! Obviously this doesn't help my plans and they smash into my lines with far more force than I'd hoped. The 3 remaining assault marines from the battle with my grey hunters use their meltagun to blast apart the hammerhead.
The real failure here is my commander who despite having a decent BS and a small array of low AP weapons only seems to hit with a single shot per turn which isn't really helping matters! The kroot excelled themselves in shooting and somehow kill a handful of assault marines. Once Matt's assault squad had reached my lines I didn't have much chance. He wipes out the entire army and somehow still has about 500 points to carry over to the final battle.
Battle 4 (2000pts - Planetfall)
So we've never done Planetstrike before so we were both looking forward to it (me less so after 3 crushing defeats) and I spent a good while setting up my fortress deploying my excessive numbers of heavy support units (just because I can) inside the walls. Matt then gleefully began his firestorm and out of 6 blasts rolls 4 hits!! His makes short work of the battle cannon I'd given to one of my bastions, kills two long fangs and stuns the other bastion!
Thanks to some more flukey scatter dice rolls Matt deepstrikes pretty much his entire force inside my fortress. The interceptor guns manage a couple of lucky wounds on the Sanguinor. Dante and his honour guard proceed to rip apart my long fangs, the death company dwindle my terminators to a single model and a single pesky assault marine that was left over from the Tau battle manages to immobilise my Vindi making it pretty much useless. Matt isn't finished there so the Sanguinor mashes the predator like it wasn't there and the Sanguinary Guard (who survived the entire campaign!!) kills the long fangs razorback. Out of my 2000pt list I'm down to just over a thousand after Turn 1.
In my turn I pile my Grey Hunters out of the bastions. One squad wipes out the death company but Matt informs me thanks to a strategem they'll be back in a turn or two. The whirlwind does nothing and subsequently gets blown up. The other Grey Hunters squad kills most of Dante's honour guard.
In turn 2 my remaining Grey Hunters are wiped out and I'm left with the bastions gunnery (some use that is!). Since the battle is lost Matt sees no problem in letting me bring Bjorn in from reserve despite me not having any other models left. He does his best but the battle was over long before he set foot on the field.
Well what can I say? I learned a lot which is sadly the case when you lose like that. The first battle had quite a big influence on the campaign as a whole (which was actually good because that's how we designed it). I picked most of my lists based on cool things I wanted to try out. This was especially true in the final battle when I had far more heavy support than was sensible with little in the way of troops to back them up. I should've crowded the interior of the base with lots of scatter scenery to make it a bit more difficult for Matt to successfully deep strike.
At the time I was pretty mardy about the whole thing but looking back it was certainly interesting to play battles where the outcome had a big influence on the battles yet to come. I'd like to do a campaign again soon but next time I'll think more about how my lists will perform not just about what seems cool!