In the dark grimoires recovered from a looted imperial palace, Sorcerer Lord Khenti of the Thousand Sons discovered a most wonderful gem of information. Millenia ago, the Eldar had failed to fully seal a daemonic incursion on a planet orbiting the distant sun of Felix Minor. Many had tried to settle there – the Imperium had tried 3 centuries ago, and the ruins still littered the planet.
Most recently the foolish upstarts known as the Tau had chosen to bring the planet to life, unaware of the dark threat in their midst. Determined to gather sorcererous power from daemonic pacts by breaking wide the portal in the midst of the Imperial ruins, he led the Thousand Sons to war once more.
This scenario was designed for Chaos Marines and Tau, though most armies could play it through. The Temple of skulls was placed in the centre of the board. The defending army set up first, choosing their table edge, then setting up anywhere up to 18″ away from the Tau board edge.
The Tau set up second, up to 6″ from their table edge.
In order to win, the forces of chaos need to have a sorcerer on the temple of skulls for 4 turns – he can be in combat or wounded, but he must be on the temple. This can be any character with sorcerous powers – the thousand sons have aspiring sorcerors in their units.
The terrain is mostly imperial ruins, with some trees to indicate overgrowth and the temple in the very centre.
The Sorceror Lord and a unit of Thousand Sons set up in the very middle on the Temple of Skulls. A full unit of havocs squatted atop an imperial ruin with a commanding view of the battlefield, while a defiler lurked on a hilltop, ready to rain fire down on any challengers, while a dreadnought stood in front of him to hold the left flank. On the right, a predator guarded a rhino full of another unit of Thousand Sons, ready to advance into the enemy.
The Tau set up with most of their Fire Warriors in the center, guarded by drones. To the right was the broadside battlesuit, hoping to take out the predator, and to the right were the pathfinders, ready to add accuracy and rail rifle fire to the assault.
The Tau started strongly on the attack, charging forward across the board. They hammered the Thousand Sons in the center, killing 5, despite their invulnerable save. Unfortunately (as with every time he has taken the field), the broadside battlesuit missed with his rail guns, and the missile pods bounced off the heavily armoured predator.
The Thousand Sons lashed back. The Predator annihilated the broadside with a lascannon strike, and the defiler wiped out almost a full unit of fire warriors, and half their screening drones. In the centre,Lord Khenti smashed the pathfinders Devilfish with a bolt of change, destroying it and leaving nothing but a crater. The dreadnaught advanced, hurling insane curses as its plasma fire further decimated the Tau left.
The Tau’s second turn saw the ferocity continue undimished from both sides, though the advanced Tau weaponry didn’t seem as effective as normal – perhaps some chaos wizardry at work? Commander Farside dropped behind the dreadnought, opening fire with his plasma rifle, but failing to breach the sturdy armour. Another crisis team dropped on the right flank, annihilating the rhino carrying the thousand sons, who survived the ferocious explosion unscathed and settled into the crater left behind. The remaining fire warrior lashed at the thousand sons, for little effect.
In the centre, it was a different story. Here the fire was accurate, and all of the remaining thousand sons in the temple were annihilated … and Lord Khenti himself wounded. Deciding that discretion was the better part of valour, he quickly vactated the temple at the start of the chaos turn.
The dreadnaught charged Commander Farside after missing with his plasma cannon, only to find that Farside wasn’t the easy meat that most tau are in close combat. He smashed into the dreadnaught for two penetrating hits and a glancing hit, beating the dreadnaughts initiative. Unfortunately for the Tau, that only managed to shake the Dreadnaught and destroy the plasma cannon, leading quickly to Farside’s destruction. The defiler annihilated more troops, while the havocs took some shots at the distant pathfinders, causing a few casulties, diminishing the taus overall accuracy thanks to the markerlights.
The predator annihilated all but one of a unit of firewarriors, who remarkably refused to break! The thousand sons in the crater fired firey bolter rounds into the crisis team who destroyed their transport, wiping out all three.
After the tremendous pace of the game so far, you think things would start to slow down, but instead, they sped up! The Tau stealth team dropped in behind the temple, near the fleeing sorcerous lord, and blew him away. The fire warriors continued to press the thousand sons trapped in the crater, while a unit of drones and firewarriors pressed fire into the side of the predator, destroying it! Another unit of fire warriors destroyed the dreadnaught from behind, as it had turned to face Farside.
Suddenly realising thepower of tau weapons, but their weakness up close, the havocs made a brilliant choice – forgetting their heavy weapons, the 9 man squad poured forward firing bolt pistols, then smashing the stealth suits to pieces.
The defiler advanced down the hill, opening fire again with the siege cannon, but the scatter meant it caused only a couple of wounds, while the thousand sons advanced out of their crater and broke a unit of firewarriors with bolter fire before they could charge.
The last Tau reinforcements arrived as a unit of crisis suits dropped into battle. With a whole range of any tank weaponry, they confidently unleashed a firestorm of epic proportions…. to absolutely no effect. The pathfinders joined in, but to no avail. A few remaining firewarriors and a single drone advanced towards the crisis suits, hoping to engage the rear or side armour if the crisis team fell. To the right, the drones opened fire on teh havocs, hoping to pin them from charging, but with no success.
The havocs, in their turn, fell upon the drones like starving wolves, while the thousand sons picked off the few stragglers of the fire warrior units from that flank. The defiler charged into the crisis suits, killing a couple, but not breaking them, forcing them to stay in close combat, saving the defiler from weapons fire.
The fire warriors and drone on the left flanks moved to both sides of the defiler, guaranteeing one a shot once the crisis suits fell, which they did in their own assault phase! The pathfinders couldn’t see anything to shoot at, and the firewarriors on the right opened up on the havocs who had just destroyed their drone screen, hoping to break them, but causing no casulties!
The havocs charged forward again, almost raptor like in their approach to combat this day! They quickly annihilated the fire warriors, tearing them limb from limb, while the three remaining thousand sons finished off a lone survivor of another unit.
No Tau were left on the right flank at all! On the left the defiler turned and shot the firewarriors creeping up on it, but that exposed its rear armour to a single drone….
The defiler was surprised when the drone got a glancing hit, and blew its heavy flamer off! The pathfinders tried to find a weak spot in its front armour, but to no avail.
In the chaos final turn, the defiler tried to use its siege cannon on the remaining pathfinders, but the shock of being shot by a drone must have thrown it off, and it scattered the blast zone well away from any Tau troops. The havocs moved around the temple, but were too far away to intervene.
Both sides claim victory – 4 turns with a sorceror on the temple was the victory condition for chaos, and they hadn’t managed that or a wipeout. On the flip side, the Tau were losing badly by the end of the game, and a sorcerer was left to perform the ritual in the thousand sons on the right flank. A tactical draw was agreed (though both claim bragging rights!)