The good news is that the Tau emerged victorious from their encounter with the Space Marines. The victory was a minor one only, largely because I did not focus enough on the objectives and too much on killing his units. At the end Tau had close to 1000pts left on the table and the marines had 5 vanilla marines. Unfortunately, that equated to 1 objective each. Oops. One group of Fire Warriors were planned to take a second objective for Tau but needed to run 2" and unfortunately rolled a 1. Naturally.
So you are all overdue for some fluff. The tournament organiser has been so good as to write a summary at the end of each round to summarise all of the results for each round. I have put the fluff summary of round 1 and round 2 below.
After years of inactivity, warp space around Arena World flared into life once more as multiple vessels and forces were suddenly and violently transported into orbit around the planet, or, for those less fortunate, directly onto its surface. War broke out immediately as these scattered and disorganised armies struggled to gain a foothold on the planet's surface, continuing the vicious and brutal cycle of the war for Arena World.
In the desolate ruins of what was once a great city, a Dark Eldar raiding force launched a lightning attack on the small detachment of Arbiters Space Wolves who had established a defensive outpost amongst the ruins of their landing vessel. The vicious Dark Eldar struck with little warning, leaving the Space Wolves barely enough time to set up their defensive lines before they were within range. Using their barely functioning communications systems, the Space Wolves managed to call in support from their fleet in the form of a drop pod full of company veterans and a Stormtalon Gunship for close air support. The Dark Eldar moved quickly and mercilessly, but suffered heavy ground casualties as their transport skimmers moved to flank the Space Wolf position. Fortune was with the Space Wolves, as a pack of Wolf Scouts had been drawn to their beacon and arrived on the field of battle just in time to launch a rear attack upon the already scattered Dark Eldar force. As Stormtalon battled Razorwing Fighter in a close quarters dogfight, the Dark Eldar paid for every inch of their advance, withstanding a torrent of heavy fire from the Long Fangs. All elements of the Space Wolf force which dared venture outside the defensive perimeter were violently slain by the Dark Eldar raiders, but managed to spend their lives dearly, ensuring the safety of the heavy weapons. As day broke upon the battlefield, the impetus of the Dark Eldar attack faltered, and with a final hail of fire, the strike force was broken and made a speedy retreat, adding more burning wreckage to the already ruined cityscape. The Space Wolves consolidated their position in the ruined city, preparing to summon more reinforcements and bring their full weight to bear in the coming war.
Upon an open plain in one of the rural regions of the world, a drop force of the Adjudicators Space Marines made successful landfall and began to efficiently organise their armoured attack column. While this open terrain made their landing and organisation smooth, it left them open to a devastating surprise attack by the forces of the Craftworld Eldar, who had been in the area for a day already and were watching for enemy incursions. As the marines prepared to move out, the Eldar fell upon them with the speed and brutality which is so characteristic of their race. Even as the marines began to roll forwards and open fire, the Eldar sprung their ambush, as Striking Scorpions burst forth from the undergrowth and a towering Wraithknight fell upon the field of battle. Eldar skimmer vehicles screamed up the battlefield, making their presence known with volleys of devastating fire, putting the marines immediately onto the back foot. While the Space Marine firepower was formidable, they found the Eldar to be more resilient than they expected, and though the Scorpions fell to disciplined bolter fire, the marines were soon crawling from the burning wrecks of their vehicles and scrabbling to find cover from lethal volleys of shuriken fire. Even their mighty Land Raider was brought low by the devastating power of the Eldar Fire Dragons. As the battle crumbled around them, the Captain of the Space Marines and his Terminator honour guard valiantly threw themselves into the Wraithknight, causing grievous damage before making a tactical retreat from the field. As the dust settled and the smoke cleared, the Eldar swiftly dispatched the last of the marines and sped away once again; the ambush had been successful, but not without cost, and they could scarcely afford to throw lives away.
In the rugged hills of Arena World's barrens, a sizeable force of the Astra Militarum had recovered from its unpleasant entry and was picking its way through the area, attempting to re-establish contact with the rest of the Imperial forces. Unbeknownst to them, however, a T'au strike cadre had chosen these barrens as its base of operations after landfall, and was tracking their movement. Thanks to effective advance scouting from both armies, neither force made a critical blunder in their movement and they ended up facing off over the harsh terrain. Knowing the propensity of the T'au to stay at range, Imperial forces immediately began to advance across the field, laying down fire as their might battle tanks and heavy weapons began to pound the enemy with fire. The T'au response was swift and efficient, combining heavy firepower with outflanking elements of Kroot auxiliaries and Piranha skimmers to outmanoeuvre the foot troops of the Astra Militarum. As reinforcements poured into the ravines from both sides and the infantry war became increasingly bloody, both armies received much needed deep striking support. T'au battlesuits came down like a rain of death, laying waste to anything unfortunate enough to get in their way, while Imperial Tempestus units were deployed via grav chute to disrupt operations behind enemy lines. In an extraordinary turn of fortune for the Astra Militarum, the T'au commander and his bodyguard unit fell victim to their own hubris, as they attempted a particularly dangerous drop attack on a group of Leman Russ tanks and were annihilated before bringing their weapons to bear. Despite this, the T'au had pulled ahead in the bloodbath happening in the centre of the battlefield, and the majority of the Imperial infantry lay dead or mortally wounded to pulse fire. Deciding that they had inflicted a crippling blow and not wanting to suffer more casualties, the T'au strike cadre withdrew from the field, leaving the few remaining Astra Militarum units to lick their wounds and desperately search for hope.
While chaos reigned on the surface of Arena World, a far direr threat was nearing the system. The other races slaughtered each other in droves while Hive Fleet Brollachan descended upon Arena World, ready to assimilate and harvest the bountiful sums of living matter upon the planet. The lesser races could revel in their victories or despair in their defeats, but in truth, the War for Arena World had only just begun.
With each race having only just established a foothold on the planet's surface, the war was still disorganised and desperate. As the Dark Eldar slunk into the shadows to call forth more reinforcements from the Dark City, the other forces struggled to maintain the small gains they had made. It was now, before any force could build up its strength fully, that Hive Fleet Brollachan entered the system and began the process of harvesting the planet - one which turned out to be quite a bit more difficult than it may have expected.
The first army to make contact with this new threat were the Space Wolves. Having consolidated their position in the large ruined city and established a command centre, the Space Wolves were preparing to launch scouting parties to gain control over the area around the city. Their preparations were cut short by the sudden appearance of a huge number of blips on their close ranged scanners. Preparing the base for defence, Rune Priest Twinfang ordered a drop pod to reconnoitre the area where the blips had originated. Following some disturbing voice communications from the drop squad, a huge wave of Tyranid assault organisms sprung forth from the darkness and began leaping towards the Space Wolves' position. A wave of smaller combat beasts, supported by larger beasts and even winged monstrosities, descended upon the Wolves as the sun rose upon the ruined city. However, the immense firepower brought to bear by the Space Wolves made itself known, cutting down xenos without number and stemming their seemingly unending tide. As Space Wolf scouts and aircraft assaulted the rear lines of the advancing force, their flanking fortifications were assaulted and brutally taken down by the attacking Tyranids. It was only the tenacity of the Space Wolf commanders and the bravery of their troops which prevented the position from falling to the relentless attack. A monstrous winged Hive Tyrant was the only beast to penetrate the inner defensive circle, which Wolf Priest Jorik Greymane managed to valiantly fend off to cover his allies. As the last beast was slain, the Wolves took stock of their significant losses and once again set about reinforcing their position in the city, which Twinfang had decided to name "Shadow's Bane" after their hard fought victory.
Battered but not beaten after their encounter with the Eldar, the Adjudicators set a course for the nearest urban area to regroup. Little did they know, the T'au had the same idea. As the marines rolled towards a long abandoned outpost, they realised that there were once again a step behind the xenos, and the T'au had already set up a forward base in this outpost. Seeing no option but to plough through, the marines began a devastating advance. The treads of their mighty vehicles crushed the terrain beneath them as they chugged towards the T'au lines, pulse shots and missiles bouncing from their armoured hulls. Despite firm resistance from the T'au battlesuits and vehicles, many marines disembarked at the front line and began to reap a heavy toll upon the T'au forces. However, as the marine offensive faltered, its vehicles destroyed and its squads damaged, reinforcements and reserves from the T'au force never ceased, leaking ever more troops into the marines' vulnerable rear, and shoring up the defences of the outpost itself. The Captain of the marines charged the ramparts of the T'au defence line alone, and singlehandedly wiped it clean of the xenos filth. The lack of support for the Space Marine offensive was telling though, and soon even the Captain fell, riddled with pulse rounds. The T'au began to advance over the bodies of their fallen, and the marine backline was unable to sustain the combined fire of the remaining T'au forces. The T'au had held the outpost well, but had taken severe losses. The marines, thwarted once again by xenos scum, retreated and considered their next move.
The Eldar forces roamed the planet, aiming only to surgically strike targets of necessity so as to maintain numbers and avoid needless casualties. The Astra Militarum, however, had no such concerns. The Eldar had sighted the Astra Militarum forces, now bolstered by additional drops and regrouped reinforcements, and decided it not worthy of their attention. Unfortunately for them, the primaris psyker accompanying the command squad of the Astra Militarum detected the Eldar's psychic presence and, in true zealous Imperial fashion, launched an all out attack upon the Eldar force. The Imperial Guard had the initiative and momentum, pushing the Eldar who were barely prepared for such a brash attack. Heavy firepower rained down on the Eldar forces, destroying grav tanks and decimating infantry squads as they struggled to mobilise and respond. In true Eldar fashion, however, their response was swift and brutal. Even as their left flank crumbled to the Imperial Guard attack, the mighty Wraithknight lead the charge on the right, pushing up through Imperial lines and leaving destruction in its wake. The Imperial forces dedicated much of their firepower to bringing down the towering construct, and while they inflicted severe damage they were unable to bring it down before it was upon them. While the Eldar infantry regrouped to counter attack, their heavy weapons rained death upon the Imperial positions, covering their creeping advance. Losing their initial impetus, the Astra Militarum were unable to inflict any more severe damage, and were routed by the Eldar forces. As the Astra Militarum retreated once more to regroup and await orders, the Eldar took stock of their losses and continued on. They were playing havoc with the forces of the Imperium, but it would remain to be seen if their part in the war would amount to more than just wanton destruction of anything which got in their way.
With the emergence of the Tyranid Hive Fleet, the face of the war had changed. The Space Wolves had beaten back their first encounter, but how would the other races fare with this dire threat? The Space Wolves, though successfully defending their city of Shadow's Bane, were pinned and seemingly unable to take more ground as they were encircled by the warring forces of the other races. As the T'au consolidated their grasp on outskirts and hamlets around the city, Eldar strike forces patrolled the barrens and plains, searching for targets of opportunity. Could the other races break through and claim their stake on the planet? Only time would tell.