Tuesday, 3 November 2015

Battle report: Tau v Marines

Hi all - two battle reports for you today from our Tale of 4 Gamers series. The first one I was up against Ryan's Marines, who had won both of their previous games in this round, whilst in the second I faced Mj's Chaos marines.

We played 750pts over a 4x4 table, with 4 objectives.
My list:
3 Stealth suits incl 1 fusion blaster
2 units of 6 fire warriors with pulse carbines in devilfish with gun drones.
Riptide with Ion Accelerator, twin fusion blasters, early warning override (interceptor) and velocity tracker (skyfire).

Turn 1 the Ironclad dropped in on the table centre near the stealth suits, roasting two of them. The thunderfire cannon piled in too, killing the last suit and wounding shadowsun. My devilfish advanced, along with the riptide, and shadowsun opened fire on the ironclad, immobilising it before using her jet pack to get out of the way.

Turn 2, the lascannon centurions opened up on the devilfish, taking two hull points from one of them. The landspeeder moved up and finished off shadowsun, whilst the storm bolter on the drop pod wounded the riptide. The thunderfire chimed in too, finishing off the devilfish. In return, my Ion Accelerator overheated, and the twin fusion blaster failed to penetrate the armour of the land speeder.

Turn 3 and the landspeeder immobilised itself on the central objective. The centurion sergeant missed the devilfish, but his squadmates managed to put a wound on the riptide. The thunderfire opened up again, killing off 5 of the fire warriors taking cover in the wreckage of the devilfish. In response, my army did diddly squat (so bad in fact I stopped taking notes). The remaining two turns simply involved the marines tidying things up as I was tabled.

The second game I faced a Chaos Lord on a bike, with three bodyguards, a small squad of marines, a large-ish squad of cultists, a maulerfiend and the obligatory heldrake.

We played big guns never tire with 4 objectives, and my opponent gave me the first turn having deployed first (think he was trying to be tactical, based on my deployment!).

Turn one saw the stealth teams take out the Rhino, killing the meltagun-toting marine. The riptide opened fire but failed to wound (this is getting tiresome...). In response the Chaos bikes advanced and the maulerfiend repositioned itself.

Turn 2 saw me open up with just about everything on the bikers, managing to kill all three supporting the warlord. The heldrake failed to arrive, but the warlord wiped out a unit of fire warriors while the maulerfiend took two hull points from the devilfish on my right flank.

Turn 3 and I started getting tactical too, placing the gun drones and a devilfish to block the advance of the chaos lord. I also jumped my stealth suits on to the top of some impassable terrain so they couldn't be charged by the maulerfiend, though one died to his dangerous terrain roll. The fire warrior squad opened fire on the marine squad, causing them to flee, whilst the Riptide failed its 'gets hot' roll. Again. Finally the stealth suits hopped over to another piece of impassable terrain to get within melta range, and the burst cannon equipped model died to dangerous terrain. The heldrake arrived, wounding shadowsun, whilst the chaos warlord let rip with the burning brand, killing the fusion blaster stealth suit.

Turn 4 turned the game, as the fire on the heldrake saw it lose 2 hull points, the flamer and suffer from locked velocity, which almost (saved by some very precarious model placement) resulted in it crashing and burning. Shadowsun stripped a hull point from the maulerfiend, whilst the gun drones and fire warriors combined to wound the warlord twice. The heldrake vector struck the riptide, but it passed its shield save, and the maulerfiend advanced once more.

In turn 5, shadowsun killed the maulerfiend and the riptide finished off the warlord, though I realised with a certain amount of horror that if the game ended I was behind on victory points once the heldrake decided to hover to claim linebreaker and an objective in my deployment zone.

Thankfully we had a turn 6, Shadowsun finished off the heldrake, and the riptide blasted the chaos marines from the table. The sole remaining chaos unit, the cultists, understandably failed to achieve anything with their shooting but held on to their objective, at which point my opponent conceded. I'd won, and totting up the vp count at that time I was 10-3 ahead, having been well behind on the previous turn.

So, that's round two finished in terms of the games, and I managed to (just) avoid a whitewash - albeit Mj did suffer that fate. Ironic that the two of us who brought big players in our lists (Riptide and Heldrake) were the two who lost the most games.

We also played a 4-player maelstrom game afterwards, with points awarded for placement (4 for the winner, 3 for 2nd etc). Not surprisingly Mj and I tied for the wooden spoon in that game too.

What did I learn therefore from this round, and what am I going to do next time?

Well, the first thing I learned is that, as I've thought before when playing against them, the Riptide is not a game changes without markerlight support - it certainly has the potential to do some real damage, but it's by no means a given. When it did succeed though it certainly made me happy!

More to the point though, bringing the Riptide at a whopping 210 points really unbalanced the rest of my list - my fire warriors did not bring enough bodies to make their pulse carbines count (albeit not helped by my rolling to hit - they might as well have been BS2!)

Playing an aggressive style with the Tau is fun, but the devilfish certainly need a bit more protection - I'll be taking disruption pods on them from now on for a 3+ jink and a 2+ with night fighting (which with blacksun filters I will most certainly be aiming for).

Most of all, I'm now in possession of the new Tau codex so it's formation bonuses all the way from now on baby! I'll be posting up my initial impressions of the codex in the next few days, but suffice to say that if you want the army to work well, the formation bonuses are, in my opinion, a key part of that - the majority of the book is the same as before so formations are the new hotness, but boy do they bring benefits!

So, my aim for round three? We're playing at 1000pts so I have a few more options. My initial thoughts on 1000pt lists are here so please feel free to have a look and let me know what you think. I've got a plan, which is to use the hunter contingent (I'd honestly love to go with the retaliation cadre but 14 models at 1000pts scares me, as does the thought of painting all those in just three weeks) for the significant bonuses it brings. I love the idea of the breacher teams so they will be part of the new list, and crisis suits will finally make an appearance in my army (you basically have to have at least a commander to use the new formations properly).