The important lesson? Always plan on that 'other guy seizes initiative' thing. I'm cursing myself a little for forgetting the basic, but I got a case of the dumb that cost me a Hammerhead off the bat, and learned more about kroot capabilities.
Bottom line? Practice and exposure to a variety of lists makes perfect.
I took the Hybridized Tau (build pretty much courtesy of Stelek) at 1500. They looked like:
Shas'o w/ Missile/Plasma/Multi-tracker
Two 3-man Missile/Plasma/Multi-tracker Crisis Teams
Two 10 Kroot/6 Hound Kroot teams
6-man Fire Warrior Team
8-man Pathfinder Team w/ Devilfish (SMS, Multi-Tracker, Target Lock)
2 Hammerheads (SMS, Multi-tracker, Railgun)
Basically, I cut a Crisis Team, the Piranhas, and the Suits. Why? Well, I was about to work out (...I am meat head? Maybe.), got a game request, figured 'what the hell.' For reference, this is one of the guys I've 'adopted' as a sort of pupil. I've done this a couple times before, with resources like YTTH, and directed them to From The Warp for more reading. If I ever got a freaking Eldar trainee, I could probably do much worse than direct them to Elessar and Dverning as well. I mean, the web's about resources, right? Right.
He rolled with:
5-man TH/SS Squad
Drop-pod (w/ Locator Beacon) MM/HF/EA Dreadnought
10-man tac w/ some stuff
7-8 Scout Squad w/ Cloaks, Telion
10-man Assault Squad, Sarge w/ Hammer/Shield
This is a short batrep, more of a "I made a dumb mistake and it cost me." He is somewhat fearful of Pathfinders and my firepower, so stuff hides. I roll off to go first in spearhead/capture the flag, slap my objective in the back, and deploy the Warriors on it, give folks cover. He has nil long-range firepower.
I fail to use my Kroot effectively as screens. I figure with first turn, I can use one infiltrated squad to try to threaten his objective, but he's a bit cannier than that. Vulkan > squad of Kroot (that love getting pinned by snipers. Stupid Snipers. No, Telion missed 3 out of the 4 shots he took at them. Amazing, yes?)
So, my stupidity? He manages to get Shrike and co within 12" of one of my Hammerheads. Ok, fine, I have first turn. I'll light those guys up, and move the Hammerhead 12" as bait to try to pull them away.
BZZT! WRONG! DO NOT PASS GO, DO NOT COLLECT $200! WATCH HIM SEIZE THE INITIATIVE!
So, he pops the Hammerhead. His Dread comes in and torches half the Pathfinders. I retaliate by shooting the crap out of that squad (Shrike and 10 Assault Marines with him turn into...wounded Shrike and...a couple guys).
Broadsides: Hey! Hey Mr. Dreadnought! Do you like Rail Guns?
Dreadnought: Man, I wish I had a Rail Gun! You got spares?
Broadsides: Do you like hypersonic metal slugs?
...I needed the comic relief.
Yeah. So then his TH/SS Termies come in via the locator beacon on turn 2, and Shrike and company eat a Crisis Suit team. It was that, or potentially let him hit up my claiming Fire Warriors. I shoot down more of his guys, nail Shrike and the Hammer guy luckily, and then assault them down over the course of two turns. My Kroot decline to move out of assault range, thanks to a craptastic run roll.
Turn 3, I lose the kroot without them being so kind as to drag down a single terminator. I manage to kill four out of the five, and mercifully the last one breaks. By this time, Vulkan has wandered over to the pinned kroot, BBQed several of them, broke them in combat, and meandered on over to say 'hi' to my Pathfinders. His lone Rhino has moved out, but with his TH/SS termie within 6" of my Pathfinders, he's pretty much out of the game.
Sadly, at this point (the bloke's 16, so the parents got to control him some) we call it, but it's safe to say it's a draw.
I will lose the Pathfinders without question, but I doubt either of us will be able to get the other guy off the objective. I can probably splat that Rhino (still have Broadsides and a Hammerhead) and murder its occupants pretty readily. If time permits, I might shell the guys on his objective, but then it's a morale crapshoot, and marines are in good shape on that.
Bottom line? More practice for me. Kroot are screens first and foremost, and I got greedy thinking I could march them up and grab an objective. And ALWAYS plan on having the initiative seized from you.