Tau commander El’Quixo had a lot of thinking to do.

With the woods on the far side of the battlefield already taken by the Eldar in the night, he thought immediately of reinforcing the Tau position near the fuel accumulator and emplacements. “They are wise, this race of the elders.” He mused. “But our youth can be our advantage.” Saying this, he summoned a pathfinder to him. “Brother, tell the Q-Guard to prepare for fighting at close quarters. The incinerator units should be tested and ready for use. And shasui… please train your markerlights on those advancing scorpions….”

Mission: capture & control (one objective in each deployment zone) Deployment: spearhead (table quarters) 1st turn: Eldar

Figures: Before the battle is joined

Eldar turn 1 (E1) The combined might of striking scorpions, dire avengers, wraith lords and Maugan Ra himself advanced up the centre of the battlefield among the destroyed infrastructure.

In the shooting phase, Eldar missiles rained down on the Hammerhead which was shielding a squad of 12 fire warriors. There were 5 shots in total, from 3 units of guardians and 2 wraith lords. When this fusilade had ended, all that was left of the tank was a large crater in the battlefield. The fuel tanks ignited, enveloping the fire warriors and roasting 4 alive. The remaining 8 were so terrified by this start to the conflict that they fled the field. 2 units destroyed – not a bad start for the Eldar!

Tau Turn 1 (T 1) The Tau were rather slow to respond to this early setback. The devilfish containing the Kroot advanced away on the right flank. With the stealth suits and crisis team deep striking there was little else to do. The highlight of the turn was the highly accurate firepower of the broadsides, smashing the wraithlord out of its stride from the sheer power of two railgun direct hits.

E2 Building on their impressive start, the Eldar phalanx of scorps, avengers, farseer and Maugan Ra, strode up the centre of the field, threatening the pathfinders on the fuel dump. Much fire was trained on the devilfish containing the last Tau scoring unit. This resulted in the fish being unable to move or fire for a turn.

T2 The first of the deep strikers arrived, with the stealth team shifting in and out of the visual range like chameleons. Sadly the re-rolled scatter put their burst cannons out of range of the advancing Eldar fleet. There was more joy for the broadsides as their superaccelerated railguns tore the wounded wraith lord to pieces.

E3 The Eldar continued their march toward the Tau objective. Missiles continued to rain down on the devilfish but fortune had smiled once again on the Tau, with a shaken result on the charts. The pathfinders were caught under a plasma missile blast which killed 3 of the 5. The scorpions in the centre were by now moving into assault range and the next turn was critical. The dire avengers were looking to be in a very good position to threaten the stealth team but couldn’t see them amid the shifting images projected by the stealth field generator.

T3 It was make or break for the Tau. The Eldar objective in the far corner was held by guardians and seemed secure owing to the proximity of another 2 squads of guardians. The Tau objective seemed to be very close to being captured by the dire avengers and scorps. So bold action was needed. This duly arrived in the form of the high-risk deep strike of the crisis team Q-guard. El’Quixo held back tears of pride as his boys teleported in behind the guardians and flamed them all alive, leaving only the warlock standing!

Not to be outdone, the other Tau suddenly hit form. El Quixo himself and the stealth team riddled the dire avengers, wounding the farseer. The remaining pair of pathfinders, having moved away from the scorpions, took aim with pulse carbines and managed to kill one, forcing a pinning test which was promptly failed! No movement for the scorps next turn! This was more like it. E4 The surviving warlock from the guardians who has been hosed so efficiently by the crisis team vowed bloody revenge. Drawing his witch blade, he leapt to the assault. This resulted in a drawn combat meaning that the firepower of the crisis team was on hold for a while at least. The dire avengers advanced on the stealth suits as the scorps were hopelessly, crucially, pinned.

Out of the corner of his eye, the farseer caught sight of the shifting fields of the stealth team. “Direct your fire.. there!”- the volley of shuriken belted out by the dire avengers was highly accurate. Killing 3 of the stealth team in an awesome display of ballistic competence. The unit held firm in the face of death. The devilfish continued its charmed existence though the number of shots on it was reduced due to the toasting of a guardian unit and wraith lord.

T4 Again, things were looking grim for El’Quixo and his cadre. Mostly because of the menacing scorpions but also because the dire avengers, the scoring unit, was still very much alive. The combined fire of the 3 remaining stealth suits and El’Quixo himself was therefore trained on the dire avengers, killing a couple. The broadsides rescued the situation by inflicting 7 wounds via a superb round of smart missiles. This was enough for the farseer and the avengers. They fled the field, and being below half strength could not rally. The crisis team felled the gallant warlock in close combat, consolidating into the corner.

E5 The Eldar phalanx was now well within assault range and eager to make up for the round of pinning. Swiftly the scorps assaulted the remaining 2 pathfinders, who had been fighting a rearguard action for most of the game. They tore them limb from limb, showing no mercy. Ominously for El’Quixo, Maugan Ra hoved into view, standing atop the fuel dump. Sure enough he was caught in an assault and swiftly dispatched though no-one saw it clearly. The guardians at the other corner of the field, along with the remaining wraith lord, fired on the crisis team, killing two, the remaining Qguard fled from the objective.

T5 The turn started with the remaining crisis team member rallying, recalling the bonding ceremony which had caused him so much pride, and lighting up his incinerator for instant use against the guardians. The Devilfish burst through the cover of the forest and disgorged its Kroot cargo in rapid fire range of the guardians, nearby the Eldar objective. The combined fire of Kroot rifle and flamers decimated the guardians down to 3, however they resolutely refused to flee. The broadsides took a pot-shot at the last wraith lord but their actions were superfluous, and the stealth team were also ineffective, with only 3 suits still functioning.

E6 The scorpions sensed blood and went after the broadsides, assaulting them with consummate ease. They were unceremoniously dispatched, though Maugen Ra couldn’t spot the retreating stealth team. At the other corner of the field, the Eldar scoring units closed in on the objective but failed to land a hit on the Kroot.

T6

The Kroot leapt back into the Devlifish which sped towards the objective.

E7 Eldar missiles rained down on the Devilfish, immobilising it but crucially not hurting the Kroot inside! T7 The Kroot raced out of the Devilfish and assaulted the smaller of the 2 units of guardians, feasting on their flesh, and contesting the Eldar objective!

Result: Draw. Kill Points: Eldar 7 Tau 5