"Esteemed Shas'El, he claims to be hunted. He has asked for asylum in exchange for military secrets of the Gue'la." rebuked Sidestriker. "He wears their battlesuit armor and displays the official symbols codifying high rank." Sidestriker paused and held his composure. "He has pledged his alliance to the Empire. The Ethereals will be pleased.This is not simply another soldier but a Gue'la of once great esteem." He placed his hand on Old Shatter Hands' shoulder. "Trust me, the information he provides could help bring an end to the war and victory to the Empire."
Old Shatter Hands looked up at his cousin, his eyes darkened from months upon months of XV8 hard-wiring. "I...have fought long, cousin...Do you believe this human? Is he who he says he is?"
"He is certainly a Space Marine, my lord, genetically modified. One of a higher rank. And old at that, he has lived many, many years. Bio-tests indicate that this Gue'la has lived 5 to 6 times you or I. Who knows what secrets the Water Caste can glean from his ancient mind?"
"Why, then, does he seek asylum from our kind? What has driven this Gue'la to this state? If he is of high rank then why does dirt and grime cake his robes? His armor is chipped and unkempt. Are the Gue'la so fickle, so quarrelsome that they would cast out their own kind?"
All of the sudden there was a blip on the digi-tablet. Old Shatter Hands' face hardened. "Enemy forces approach, my friend. Tell the Shas'la to cloak the Devilfish APCs. Send the Piranha pilots on a reconnisance run. I want to blast these Gue'la from this sector once and for all!"
The Dark Angels Armored Spearhead moves out.
Testing out my 1850 Tournament Army this past weekend, I went up against a Dark Angels Mechanized Force in a seize ground mission with objectives.My humble Tau Cadre faced 6 Rhinos filled with Tactical Marines, Veterans and Librarians and supported by the fire power of 2 Predators.
While the interwebs are filled with whining about the Dark Angels Codex as compared to recent ones, the Dark Angels have one advantage over others in that they are equipped with old smoke launchers that downgrade all penetrating hits to glancing hits. That coupled with cover from intervening terrain and models, gives the tank two layers of protection. This certainly made it difficult for my Railguns and Missile Pods to pop all his Rhinos. As a consequence, by turn 3 my opponent had created a wagon circle in the middle of the board, giving him a firm hold of the objectives cluster we had set up in deployment.
With Spearhead Deployment, I clustered the objectives in the quarter with the least amount of cover. Winning the roll for first turn, I passed it to my opponent who snagged up the bait (or what I thought was the bait) and took the quarter with less cover but more objectives. I wanted him to try to hold as I attacked him where I wanted, rather than the other way around. The Tau perform much better that way.
I decided to go for some fun and a reserved all three devilfish and my two big squads of XV8s went into deep-strike. This was partly for strategy but mostly for fun. I don't know why but even if it is "stupid" I have to deep-strike my XV8s every once and while for the sheer thrill of it.
The Broadsides, Hammerheads and Piranhas castled up on my table quarter and took the brunt of the attack in the first couple turns.
The Tau Firebase ready to engage.
I'm not going to go into too much detail about this game but basically my opponent created a nice wagon circle of the middle of the board, consolidating on the four objectives. The only kicker being was that the back end of the wagon circle was left open. My reserve forces then moved in to attack the rear with some success and eventually moved out to contest all held objectives. Had the game ended on Turn 5 would have been a win for the Tau but it ended up going to Turn 6 and the repentant Space Marine, viciously knocked my units off their once held -objectives.
Tau forces flank the enemy, hitting them in their weakest point.
The lesson from this game was the flank maneuver. With Spearhead Deployment, you set up in table quarters on opposite corners. With Tau is helps to set up as far back as possible and use your range to your advantage. I set up a firebase of XV88s and Hammerheads with its back to the short table edge, firing down lane (see the second picture). This essentially meant that the game was being fought length-wise on the board, rather than width-wise as normal. If you can get your opponent to fight you length wise, you have more room to pull back, while your long range weapons like Railguns can still reach out an touch the enemy.
However, your reserve forces still come in on your table edge (the entire length of the board is considered your table edge) so you can flank him if he's moved up to engage your firebase, deploying behind your enemy to hit isolated squads and claim objectives that he assumed were out of reach. In the diagram below, the white block represents your firebase and the yellow arrow is your enemy's advance. The firebase pummels targets and acts as a magnet for your enemy. The white arrow represents the movement of your reserve forces that move in behind the enemy that has engaged your firebase.
The white block is the Tau Firebase, the white arrow is the movement of Tau Reserves and the yellow arrow represents enemy forces.
In this game above, my XV8s and Devilfish pulled in and attacked the isolated squads in my opponents backfield, while he was simultaneously getting hit from the front by Railguns. He did turn to attack and my forces held but not without serious losses. Note that in this game I also lost a Shas'El and the 3 crisis suits he had joined to deep strike mishap! If they had not been lost this games would have been very different so be careful when you deep-strike.
While this works best in Spearhead games, it can be done in other deployment types. However, remember to prep your entry point, in this game I failed to do so and thus had a tougher time getting my units through. They simply had more work to do when they arrived.
As always, comments and feedback appreciated.