Inquisitor Aki had only one simple task: keep the three squads in the center of the table alive to the end of the battle.
Aki and the Hambali 501st Regiment, The Jokers, fought against the Tau Firestorm Sept in Round Three of the Pillars of Hatred Campaign. The mission was the Stop the Ritual mission from the Daemonhunter codex with a couple of minor changes.
Keeping three squads of guardsmen alive for an entire game is difficult. So the only solution was to surround them with armor!
I took Riddler and Wise Crack out for a spin with their Demolisher Cannons and sponson plasma. Bad Humor, my seasoned Battle Tank, also came with me because, let's face it, fielding a Guard army without a basic Leman Russ Battle Tank is like a woman leaving home without her purse.
The Wolf, my old-school Banewolf, came out to play with a hull mounted multi-melta. Siabolst Ghan, the shady Primaris Psyker, hid in a Chimera with a platoon command squad that was pimped out with meltas. Sgt Barnes, the Marbo wannabe, was lurking around somewhere. And Aki was also there in his new ride: the Inquisitorial Rhino with twin storm bolters. He had two Mystics and an Acolyte riding with him.
The three squads in the center of the table weren't able to do anything except stay in their circle formations. They did have Chimeras, which were all decked out with multi-lasers, hull mounted heavy bolters, and pintle weapons.
The Firestorm had a whole bunch of Battlesuits, some Firewarriors, two units of those annoying gun drones, a couple units of those Kroot savages, and a Hammerhead.
I had to deploy within 18" of the center of the table and the Tau deployed from a short table edge. The trick was he didn't have to decide which table edge until I was done deploying.
So I made a circle around my troops. I had a pretty good idea he would deploy on the side of the table that had more buildings, but spread my tanks around just in case I was wrong. Besides, I also knew he was going to deep strike some units, and the "backfield" area was nice and open for that purpose.
And here are the military tactics: an Envelopment is when you attempt to surround your enemy coming from one side. A Double Envelopment is flanking your enemy from two or more sides to surround them.
The Reverse Double Envelopment is when this is occurring TO you instead of BY you.
On the first turn one Kroot squad started running up one side of the battlefield and the second Kroot squad took the other side. There were buildings on both sides that was covering their advance. Everyone else simply advanced and started unleashing hell.
The Hammerhead started shooting at the Demolisher, Wise Crack, but didn't scratch the paint. I breathed a sigh of relief with this opening salvo. Not because he didn't destroy my tank, but because he shot at it instead of my troops.
In a game with strange objectives you can either play the objective or play against the opposing army. He chose the "play against the opposing army" tactic, which meant that he was going to miss the objective: destroy my troops.
Instead, he tried to destroy my army.
He did take vengeance on the command squad with my army's HQ choice in it. Blew the Chimera up, then mowed down the veterans inside. Only Ghan and a single guardsman stood in the crater when it was all done - and Ghan only had one of his two wounds left.
Then it was my turn to shoot.
The Wise Crack's Demolisher Cannon took out an entire squad of Stealthsuit-wearing Tau. Bad Humor's Battle Cannon barked, scattered, and all but missed. It did manage to hit a drone. Ghan wound up to use his Lightning Attack but got sucked into the warp. I'm thinking of retiring him for a while.
Everything else missed. Everything else. You have to imagine how many shots three fully loaded Chimeras can pump out (three multi-shot weapons on each). The all missed.
It was at that moment that the thought of actually losing this battle entered my mind as a possibility.
Stay tuned for part two...