El’Quixo listened intently to his pathfinders’ report.

The anarchists from the warp had arrived on the fringes of the nascent Tau world (only absorbed into the empire 1.6 rotaas ago), and were rapidly advancing on the landing pad, just short of El’Quixos cadre. They were not many, indicated the pathfinder. But these foul, rotting Gue’la were tough, Quixo recalled from hazy memory. The learned Aun of Borkan would not be impressed if a recently won world was taken from their grasp. El’Quixo dispatched the pathfinder, saying: “this battle will be barbaric, brother. Your skills had better be employed elsewhere, and I dispatch you north: away from here.” He continued, anticipating the pathfinders protest: “Your cerebral arts of path-finding have no place in the chaos that will be upon us soon. Your day will come, brother. However, for the moment, please summon my Q-guard”

Mission: annihilation Deployment: pitched battle 1st turn: Tau Figures: Before the battle is joined (1)

Figures: Before the battle is joined (2)

Tau turn 1 (T1) With the daemon prince hidden behind a rhino and a bunker, and the terminators deep-striking, there were only 2 targets on the table. These were the two rhinos containing 7 plague marines each.

The movement phase started with the Kroot making a break for the woods on the left flank. On the same side, crisis team epsilon moved into plasma rifle range. El’Quixo and his Q-guard did the same in a more central position. Since there were no realistic targets in range for the sniper drone team, they moved up to get a better vista of the Chaos advance.

The shooting phase proved interesting, with the broadsides immobilising one rhino and crisis epsilon doing the same to the other. Finally, El’Quixo took aim with his plasma rifle at the rhino protecting the daemon prince and... Kaboom! The rhino was destroyed: the chaos marines had to decamp and leg it from now on. “They will regret their rejection of our offers of dialogue” mused the Q-guard over the shared Tau comm.-link. Even the broadsides cheered.

Chaos Space Marines Turn 1 (CSM 1)

The forces of Nurgle set about recovering from a dire start with characteristic malevolent vigour. Both sets of plague marines (one already on foot, the other jettisoning their immobilised rhino) surged up the left flank towards the kroot in the woods.

Excretos bile, the daemon prince of Nurgle, advanced and dived into the cover of the landing pad, his giant wings hellish in the fading light. In the shooting phase, the combined fire of the plague marines took out 2 drones , and a kroot hiding in the woods got a bolter shell in the neck.

T2 Drones hoved into view of the CSMs to support the kroot. Both crisis teams jetted forwards to get clear shots at their targets. The shasla on top of the concrete ruin took careful aim at the hellish winged beast that was the CSM commander, vowing to cause it harm and further the greater good by doing so. His pulse rifle shot was one in a million, taking extretos down to 3 wounds!

Sensing the kill was possible, and proud of the Shasla’s effort, El’Quixo, Q and Crisis team epsilon implemented “Subtle hunter” to perfection. Excretos melted away in a volley of perfect plasma rifle fire. Assault moves took the suits behind cover in preparation for the chaos response.

CSM 2 The plague marines cared little for the demise of Excretos. They hated his ridiculous attempts to replicate the legendary humour of Nurgle, and doubled their determination to send the Tau so some as yet undefined nasty part of the warp.

Both squads advanced, firing at the kroot with bolters and flamers, decimating them despite their woodcraft. They were ready to flee, however the shaper kept them sane by appealing to their stomachs – they would eat these marines, he said. They held firm.

The terminators decided that they would wait until the icon bearers were amongst the Tau battle lines before they appeared. Finally, the immobilised rhino managed to self-repair.

T3 Crisis epsilon moved up to engage the CSMs threatening the kroot, who thought about charging, then remembered what the shaper told them about blight grenades, and thought better of it. They fell back from the stench of the plague marines. Quixo and Q moved up to rapid fire the same unit.

With the full might of Tau weaponry brought to bear, the ill-fated CSM squad could do little but pray to Nurgle, the pestilence/humour God. Their prayers were in vain as no less than 6 plasma rifles, 4 missile pods and 3 rail rifles were pointed at them. When the dust settled all that was left of the 6 plague marines was a pungent stench.

“We have killed the leader of these abominations, and their units can be beaten” cried El’Quixo. “Now I wish to see the rest of these corrupted Gue’la wiped off the surface of this planet”. As he delivered this rousing address, he and his Q-guard blasted off toward the landing pad, sure in their hearts that these plague marines could not live with the might of the “subtle hunter”.

CSM 3

Things did not look good for the remaining plague marines. Their transports were either burning wrecks or immobilised, their prince had been obliterated by ionised gas-propelled shells, and now their brothers-inpestilence had bought it also. To compound matters, the terminators decided to stay away for another turn.

On the plus side the immobilised rhino self-repaired and trundled up to give some much-needed support. The Nurgle plague sergeant looked up at the landing pad, and found El’Quixo and the barrel of his fusion blaster looking back at him. The Tau’s ridiculous over-confidence would be his undoing.... “CHARGE”.

In the maelstrom that followed, even El’Quixo could not stand. His stimulant injector, installed especially for this conflict with the chaos hordes, was of no use as his crisis suit was rended open by the arcane savagery of the sergeant’s power fist. To add insult to injury, after wiping out the Tau commander and his entourage (and having secured 2 KPs), the CSMs rolled a 6 on their consolidation and promptly disappeared into the woods! A highly daring and effective chaos turn came to an end.

T4 Having enjoyed copious amounts of luck in the battle so far (rhino penetration and damage rolls especially!), the Tau were due a setback or two: however, this turn of events did not augur well. The objective was quite clear – this last squad of plague marines had to be wiped, or the Tau victory which had looked so certain in turn 2 and Tau turn 3, was in jeopardy. With this in mind the Kroot held their ground, ready to rapid fire their rifles. Crisis team epsilon jetted into rapid fire range. All the remaining Tau guns were trained on the plague marines. However, a display of Tau ballistic ineptitude resulted in only 2 of the 6 marines being swiss-cheesed. Plus the the icon bearer was one of these, so the Terminators were going to appear on a 2+. This wasn’t going to be civilised.

CSM 4 The Terminators, growing tired of eating canapés on the bridge of their orbiting frigate, teleported within 6 inches of the icon bearer and immediately made their presence felt, rapid-firing crisis team

epsilon. The poor kroot we unceremoniously charged by the plague marines, the shaper taking a wound from bolt pistol fire and another kroot getting burned alive even before CC.

A volley of fire from the Terminators blew 2 drones out of the sky, forcing a morale check. The crisis team, having seen their inspirational teacher and philosopher/father apparently killed in close combat, fled the battlefield. At this the kill points situation was 3-3. This changed very quickly as the plague marines rampaged through the kroot, utterly obliterating them. 4-3. The consolidation took the 4 remaining plague marines almost on top of the fire warriors in the concrete ruin, who became rather worried.

T5 Could 8 fire warriors in rapid fire range, 2 broadsides and a sniper drone team destroy 4 plague marines in a turn? If the Tau managed this, and if the drones could immobilise or destroy the rhino, then a victory was still feasible. Shot after shot pounded into the CSMs, blowing up marines and creating huge craters in the muddy ground. Only 2 of the blighters died. This was bad, very bad. To balance out a dire shooting phase, the gun drones managed to disable the Rhino again.

CSM 5 The fire warriors were charged and thrashed by the 2 plague marines. The terminators advanced towards the Tau heavy support units, spotting the drone team with their arcane sensing devices.

The volley of surgical fire which resulted destroyed all 3 of the drones in the unit. The spotter decided to toss aside his marker-light into the nearby mine field and ran for the table edge. He couldn’t rally as the unit was below half strength and was effectively destroyed. The Terminators had certainly made their mark on this conflict despite their late arrival.

T6 It was clear to the Tau that a victory was out of the question. The chances of a draw had disappeared over the horizon with the spotter. However, revenge had to be obtained, and the broadsides were not easily pacified. Targetting the 2 remaining plague marines taking cover in the concrete ruin, and surrounded by the bodies of dead shas’la. The broadside team leader vapourised one of the marines with a railgun shot, but the other managed to take cover behind a reinforced concrete pillar. The drones failed to destroy the rhino, and their A.I. temporarily malfunctioned, as they assaulted the vehicle but at S3 had no chance of penetrating.

CSM 6 The Terminators, determined to wipe out every living Tau on the field, advanced on the broadsides. Their volley of fire would have reduced lesser units to a bloody mess but the Broadsides only took a single wound. The last CSM hid in the concrete structure, preserving a kill point. The rhino failed to self-repair.

T7 The broadsides shared a grim moment of humour as the final plague marine disappeared in a hail of fire of unimaginable magnitude. “El’Quixo would be proud” one remarked to the other. The A.I. of the drones swung from one extreme to the other as the automated devices blew up the remaining Rhino.

CSM 7 The Terminators surveyed the wreckage of what was once the Tau cadre, and smiled wickedly at each other. “Your dreams will be nightmares from now on”. Somehow the Broadsides could hear it, though they were not sure how. The terminators teleported back to the frigate for port and cheese. Result: Nurgle CSM victory. Kill Points: CSM 6 Tau 5

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