Thursday, 14 January 2016

The Obsidian Enclave vs The Judicators - a Burning Eye Battle Report

Greetings all, well I'm currently off to my club to face a 2000pt space marine list with the Obsidian Enclave - their first outing at that sort of points scale (comfortably in excess of the previous maximum game size they've played - 1250!). I thought therefore that whilst I was engaged in teaching the Gue'la a lesson in humility (I hope!) I'd bring you a report on the Obsidian Enclave's previous engagement against marines of the space variety.

Bear with me please, I'm trying out some new stuff in terms of battle reports (hence the swanky new logo above!) so if there's anything you think I could improve please let me know (the text editor in blogger is pretty basic in terms of functionality!)

Ok so this was a 1000pt battle, representing the first of this round in the Tale of four gamers series running at my club. I was playing Ryan, who so far has pretty much crushed all before him so I'd need to do well to pull out a win. We played a maelstrom of war mission, drawing up to 3 objectives each per turn, and whilst I got choice of deployment, Ryan chose to go first.

Army Lists - The Obsidian Enclave

Hunter Contingent Detachment

Hunter Cadre
  • Shas’O Rassai – Commander with 2 shield drones, iridium battlesuit, neruoweb system jammer, 2 missile pods, drone controller and target lock
  • Shas’Vre Tallen – Ghostkeel with fusion collider, twin linked fusion blasters, early warning override and velocity tracker
  • 2 TX4 Piranhas with fusion blasters
  • 1 TX7 Hammerhead gunship with ion cannon
  • 2 5-man breacher teams in TY7 devilfish transports
  • 1 10-man strike team with pulse carbines and a DS8 tactical support turret with smart missile system.
Drone Network
  • 5 Marker drones
Army Lists - The Judicators

Level 2 Librarian, Auspex, on bike
2x 3 Bikes, 2 grav guns and 1 combi grav
1 5-man scout squad, heavy bolter
1 Thunderfire cannon
1 3-man centurion devastator squad, with twin linked lascannons, missile launchers and omniscope
2x 5-man scout squads with melta bombs in land speeder storms
1 land speeder with assault cannon

In terms of warlord traits, we each went from our respective codices, and I got 'Precision of the Skilled Hunter' meaning Ryan couldn't take look out sir rolls against precision shots from my warlord. Ryan drew 'Rites of War' which meant that he could use his warlord's leadership for morale checks etc. In terms of psychic powers, in addition to the usual force, Ryan got Endurance and Warp Speed from the Biomancy table, meaning he also picked up Smite for free.

Objectives drawn: Hold the line, For the Emperor, Ascendency.

Not a huge amount of movement from the marines given they were sitting on a few objectives and were making use of lots of infiltrating/scouting units. The main part was pushing the landspeeders forwards, and dropping one of the bike units backwards out of sight. In the psychic phase his librarian completely fluffed his lines, failing to cast endurance and not having enough warp charge to attempt anything else. The thunderfire made up for this though in his shooting phase, dropping its payload right on top of the Fire Warrior Squad that wasn't embarked on a devilfish, killing 8 of them, and glancing the nearby hammer head twice, despite needing '6's. Without a cover save due to the barrage rule and the location of the shot, I scooped off a handful of models. Thankfully in this excitement Ryan forgot to fire his centurions!

Ryan scored Hold the Line and Ascendancy for 2 pts, and discarded For the Emperor.

Obsidian Enclave:
Objectives drawn: Overwhelming firepower, behind enemy lines, feigned withdrawal

In contrast, my army moved out from its deployment pattern intent on revenge. It's no secret I hate facing thunderfire cannons, especially since my own tends to be quite ineffective when I use it. The devilfish on my left flank advanced on a land speeder storm with both the gun drones and breacher team disembarking to take advantage of the Combined Firepower rule - I wasn't leaving anything to chance in terms of bringing down the speeder! The devilfish on my right jockeyed around to head off the pair of landspeeders on that flank (1 storm, 1 tornado). The piranhas made the first play of the turn though, slingshotting themselves forward past the commander, and taking advantage of the rule allowing them to turbo boost and then fire if they started the shooting phase within 12" of him. Their fusion blasters lanced out and hit the thunderfire cannon, whilst the hammerhead's Ion Cannon also spoke, leaving the techmarine looking somewhat bewildered as he turned around to reload an artillery piece that was no longer there.

The devilfish on my left proved entirely capable of reducing the landspeeder to a smouldering wreck without the help of either the gun drones or the breachers (very lucky rolling here) meaning that had I not combined their fire, those two units could easily have wiped out the scouts that were inside it. The Tau kept living up to their reputation of deploying brutal firepower as the DS8 support turret from the fire warrior squad destroyed a second landspeeder on my right flank. The Commander split his fire from the unit of drones around him and launched a fusillade of missiles into the Centurions, who failed a single armour save. The Ghostkeel also targeted the centurions, taking a second wound and killing the nearest member of the unit.

I scored First Blood, Overwhelming Firepower and Behind Enemy Lines to even things up 3-3.

Objectives drawn: Supremacy, Assassinate, Hold Objective 2

As with the previous turn, the marines barely moved at all, simply planting their feet and letting rip. The now speeder-less scouts on my right killed one of the remaining 2 fire warriors, whilst the land speeder immobilised the devilfish on that flank. The scouts on the left flank killed two of the 5 breachers facing them, who passed their morale check. The centurions levelled their guns at the damaged devilfish, but after a bit of a rules question (where we couldn't find anything to say that immobilised skimmers couldn't jink - please help here if you know the reference!) they managed just a single glancing hit, leaving it with a solitary hull point. The librarian split off from the safety of his centurion squad and charged into the piranhas, destroying one after failing to cast any psychic powers once more after the other had been immobilised by the grav bikes.

Ryan scored all three of his objectives.

Obsidian Enclave:
Objectives drawn: Blood and guts, Witch Hunter, Recon

I didn't move about too much this time, but I did disembark all the drones that were currently embarked on things, and the breacher team on my right flank got out to target the scouts. The Commander also left his drone unit to push my claim on the left flank. Those on my right flank proved how good S5 firepower could be once more, destroying the landspeeder on that flank. The breachers and devilfish on that flank killed a pair of scouts, with the remaining members of the unit out of my line of sight. The devilfish, drones and breachers on my left flank once again combined their firepower, wiping out the scouts that had survived the landspeeder explosion. The commander took aim at his opposite number and pounded him with missiles, killing him outright. The immobile piranha vapourised the techmarine, whilst the hammerhead took out a pair of bikers. The ghostkeel targeted the bike unit in the centre of the board, killing two and the remaining rider failed his morale check and fell back (I'm attributing this single roll to determining the outcome of the whole game, as you'll see later!)

I scored Slay the Warlord, Witch Hunter and Recon, but discarded Blood and Guts as the biker had fallen back out of range of my ghostkeel, which I was fairly sure would have squashed it in combat.

Objectives drawn: Recon, Kingslayer, Hold objective 6

The fleeing biker rallied, moving up the board to target the Tau Commander, whilst the other solitary remaining biker headed towards the piranha and its gun drones.

The scouts in the building on my left flank (bottom right of the picture) shot at the Commander, killing a shield drone, whilst the centurions destroyed the second shield drone and wounded Rassai himself. The biker then opened fire with his grav gun, hitting and wounding with all three shots, meaning I'd just lost my warlord. The other biker charged into the two drones but neither could harm each other.

Ryan scored Recon, Kingslayer and Objective 6.

Obsidian Enclave:
Objectives Drawn:
Hold objective 2, Ascendency, Hold objective 3

The drones on my left flank killed a solitary scout from the unit in the building (which held objective 2), whilst the ghostkeel unleashed the righteous fire of vengeance on the centurions, causing three unsaved wounds thanks to the help of the marker drones allowing it to ignore cover, and leaving a solitary model on a single wound. On my right flank, the drones and breachers both charged into the scouts, I figured that those seven models should be able to take down a couple of scouts. I was wrong. not only did I lose the combat, but the drones fled, leaving the breacher team to their fate.

I scored Ascendency and Objective 3, and discarded objective 2 now my Commander couldn't look to take out the scout squad.

Objectives drawn: Hold objective 5, Hold objective 1, Lightning Strike

On this turn the bike that had killed the commander ran and hid, presumably fearing the wrath of the vengeful Tau (you can just see him peeking out of the building in the bottom right of the photo). The last centurion also moved out of line of sight of the ghostkeel behind the building, whilst retaining a view of the devilfish. Predictably, the transport paid the price and was destroyed, though the biker in combat with the drones still couldn't finish them off. I also lost the combat between the breachers and scouts on my right flank, though the fire warriors held their nerve.

Ryan scored Lightning Strike, discarded Objective 5 and retained Objective 1

Obsidian Enclave:
Objectives drawn: Ambush, Hold objective 6, Domination

I didn't move too much here, though the breachers on y left flank had re-embarked on the devilfish, which now moved to gain sufficient angle to wipe out the scouts in the following turn. The Hammerhead pilot, annoyed at the smoking ruin of the devilfish next to his craft, let rip with the smart missile system, which caused a solitary wound on the centurion. Yup, you guessed it, Ryan really didn't want to roll the dice for the save, and when he did, it came up a 1, wiping out the unit. The breachers in combat with the scouts on my right flank were wiped out.

I scored Ambush, kept Objective 6 but discarded Domination.

Objectives drawn: Emperor's Retribution, No Mercy, No Respite, Hold Objective 1

With so little left on the table, Ryan probably moved more this turn than in the rest of the game! The biker in the building on my left moved out again, taking shelter behind the bastion, whilst the scouts in the building moved out to target the gun drones, killing them both. The biker in combat killed his opponents, consolidating onto the nearby objective and the scouts on my right flank destroyed one drone, causing the other to flee the table.

Ryan scored No Mercy, No Respite, and Objective 1

Obsidian Enclave:
Objectives drawn:
 No prisoners, Hold Objective 6, Hold Objective 4

Little happened this turn, bar the breachers in the devilfish disembarking to wipe out the scouts near the building. The ghostkeel also charged the biker on the objective having failed to shoot him off it but impressively failed to do any harm to the rider, despite hitting twice in combat.

I scored No prisoners and Objective 4.

With that, our independent observer rolled the dice and ended the game. After we totted things up, it became apparent that Ryan had won 14-12. We also however looked at the forces remaining on the table, with Ryan having 53pts still alive, whilst the Tau could boast over half their forces still intact.

Still, you win the game on victory points, not stuff you kill!

Well, they say you learn more from your defeats than your victories, so what did I learn this time?

1. The slightest thing can affect the outcome of the game. Some people call it Chaos Theory. I call it your opponent failing a morale check meaning the bike you wanted to charge falls back, then rallies next turn and kills your commander. This meant I couldn't score Blood and Guts in turn 2, and cost me both Kingslayer and Slay the Warlord in turn 3. Of course I could have mitigated this by not detaching the Warlord from the marker drones but that would make it my fault, hehe!

2. MSU is still hard to beat. Ryan is a real adherent to that philosophy in general and by the end of the game, his forces were so spread out I had difficulty reaching them all with meaningful quantities of dice.

3. Solitary models can achieve a whole heck of a lot. Witness the biker who killed the Commander, or the other biker who slogged away in combat for two turns before finally killing the two drones he was facing and claiming an objective.

4. Tau suck at Close Combat. OK technically I knew this already, but the combat on my right flank between two scouts and 7 of my own models proved just how much they suck. I was sure I'd be able to run them down with those 14 attacks, but some bad rolling and difficulty wounding put paid to that idea.

5. Do not, ever, leave the Commander exposed again without checking to make sure he's not in danger, and if he isn't, still don't do it! All jesting aside, this one act probably saw the game swing in Ryan's favour. credit to him for capitalising on it, but the kingslayer card also came at exactly the right time, justifying the expenditure of firepower he put in to taking him down. I'll definitely be giving the boss his own personal shield generator in the next round...

As for a unit of the match, I think I'm going to have to give it to my ghostkeel - he was a real threat in the centre of the board and I don't think he took a wound all game. He may have 'only' killed a pair of centurions and a couple of grav bikers but he really dominated the centre of the battlefield, and Ryan seemingly didn't want to fire at it thanks to its insane cover save. I'm definitely considering using the Ion Raker next time, despite the usefulness of having two AP1 weapons on the unit. I'll have to have a think about what else is coming into the list!

I asked Ryan what he thought about the game and for a few comments of his own.

He felt after 'playing like an idiot' for the first two turns he was lucky to survive, and that whilst he drew some good objective cards, he kept rolling poorly when multiple points were on offer (very true, at least three times, possibly more, he failed to roll better than a 1 for his D3pts objectives). As we said, in terms of model count I'd absolutely destroyed him but he had some poor luck in places (the landspeeder and centurion both falling to a single SMS spring to mind!). Equally he had some good luck, with the rolls for shooting at my commander really paying off and the two scouts holding off against the Breachers and Drones gaining them his unit of the match award.

Till next time,