Planetstrike Campaign

April 29, 2009 · 1 comments

April 29, 2009

My local gaming group is decided to have a Planetstrike campaign when the new Planetstrike rules are released. If you didn't know, 40K Planestrike is a new set of missions and force organisation charts depicting a surgical strike against a planet in the Warhammer 40,000 universe.

To tie in with the coming Planetstrike release, Games Workshop has launched a 40K campaign map in the same vein as Warhammer Mighty Empires with tiles representing sprawling hive cities, space ports and other 40K equivalents of the Warhammer fantasy tiles.

The little information we do know about Planetstrike so far is the the Attacker's force chart requires only 1 HQ as standard with 6 Elites, Troops and Fast Attack choices being available while only 1 Heavy Support may be taken.

Meanwhile the Defender must adhere to the regular force chart restriction, but may only take a single Fast Attack choice, but may have up to 6 Heavy Support choices.

So when it comes to Planetstrike, the real question is whether Elites and Fast Attack choices can overcome Heavy Support choices?

Planetstrike Armies

James and I had a heated discussion about Planetstrike armies. He was determined to field 6 Land Raider Redeemers while I said that 6 squads of 3 Space Marine Attack Bikes with multimeltas would be unstoppable.

Then we both stopped and realised we couldn't build 1500 points army lists for Planetstrike. We needed more points. Lots more points!

Cheesy Planetstrike army lists aside, a Planetstrike campaign would open up a whole new avenue for our games of Warhammer 40K, which have been very tournament based and competitive so far.

I picked up the Imperial Amour 3: Amoris Campaign a while ago (it was going cheap on eBay) and this deals with a variety of Planestrike styled missions where the defenders are outnumbered or the attackers and deep striking into a hot zone and need to quickly achieve an objective before enemy reinforcements arrive.

I think Planetstrike will be an awesome addition to our regular games of 40K. I just need to step in an ensure balance and fairness without certain people in our group turning it into one almighty cheese fest.

New 40K Orks VS Tau


April 29, 2009

I managed to play a game against Orks at the Ammo Bunker Open Bash. The Ork army in question was owned by a relative newcomer to Warhammer 40K, so his army had a little of everything.

Having given Dave a kicking in the previous 40K game, it was nice to take things at a more leisurely pace with my Tau army, allowing me to try out some new things, see what works and see what doesn't.

Since this game, one Warhammer Tau blog reader has pointed out that my 1500 points Tau army is about 40 points over. I'm going to put my hands up and say they're probably right as I've jiggled my Tau army list about so much over the past few months, taking bits off here and adding other bits on there that I really need to go back and start from scratch with the Tau Codex in one hand, a pencil in the other and a nice clean sheet of paper.

So while the 2000 points 40K game against Dave was all fine, this game at 1500 points wasn't. But considering we only got to play 3 Turns due to Warhammer World kicking us all out at 4pm, we shan't worry about it.

Here's my 1500 points Tau army list (which is probably wrong)

Tau Shas’el
Plasma Rifle, Missile Pod, Multitracker, Hardwired Drone Controller with 2 shield drones
2 Bodyguards with Plasma Rifle, Missile Pod, Hardwired Multitracker, Targeting Array

Tau Battlesuit Team
2 with Twin Linked Flamer, Missile Pod
1 Leader with Twin Linked Flamer, Missile pod, Hardwired Drone Controller with 2 shield drones

(X3) 6 man Fire warrior Team
Devilfish with Smart Missile System, Targeting Array, Multitracker, Disruption Pod

Hammerhead with Railgun, Smart Missile System, Target Lock, Multitracker, Disruption Pod, black sun filter

Skyray with Smart Missile System, Target Lock, Targeting Array, Multitracker and Disruption Pod, black sun filter

2 man Broadside Team with advanced stabilization
Leader, Hardwired Drone Controller with 2 shield drones, Bonding Knife

Tau VS Orks Battle Report:

Game: Annihilation
Deployment: Dawn of War
Opponent: Owen, Orks

Big Mek with kustom force field
Big Mek with shokka attak gun

15 Lootas

30 boyz, nob with klaw
30 boyz, nob with klaw
11 boyz, nob with klaw in Trukk
Deff Dread with twin flamers and grot riggers

20 storm boyz, nob with klaw

Battle Wagon with boom gun
Looted Wagon with kill kannon

We rolled to see who went first. I rolled highest and made him go first.
Now, I'm still trying to get my head around Dawn of War as I foolishly made him have the first turn with the intention of making him lose a turn of firing while I could fire at him using the black sun filters on my hammerhead and skyray.

I think it's time I accepted that in Dawn of War there will be no shooting, or little shooting with minimal effect on Turn 1.

Anyway, he chose the table edge nearest him, with all the woods (another mistake on my part). and spread his army out. The 30 strong Ork boyz mobs in the centre and to my right flank with the Deff Dread in the middle, then the Looted Wagon, Battle Wagon and Big Mek to the left and on the far left, up on the hill was the Bike Mek with shokk attak gun leading the 15 Lootas. Then he remembered the Storm Boyz and put them on the far right flank as well.

He had nothing to fire at and ran his army into position. On my first turn everything came on. The Broadsides moved behind the woods in the centre. The 3 Devilfish with Tau Battlesuit teams moved up my right flank towards the 30 boyz and 20 storm boyz around the rocks. Finally, my Skyray and Hammerhead set up opposite the Lootas.

The Skyray opened fire with its smart missile systems, which were only just within range of 1 Loota, killing him, while its markerlights fired at the same squad, scoring a single hit. Nervous that the Hammerhead would be unable to see, I used the markerlight to 'spot' the Lootas and landed a submunition round slap bang in the middle of them, killing 5. They passed their mob check.

The Lootas opened fire, glancing the hammerhead and blowing off the railgun! Owen cheers as the big blast weapon is taken out of the game.
Meanwhile the shokk attak gun misses, but without incident.

The Ork army as a whole advances into rocks and trees for cover.

The 3 Devilfish and 2 Tau Battlesuit teams move towards the mob of 30 orks and the 20 storm boyz, unleashing a salvo of smart missiles at the storm boyz, killing only 2 because of the cover.

The Tau Battlesuits target the Deff Dread with the missile pods, immobilising the walker before jumping back behind the 3 Devilfish.

The Skyray and Hammerhead fall back from the Lootas, firing smart missiles as they go, killing 2 more. The Skyray uses its markerlights on the 30 strong Ork mob in the woods, which is used by the Broadsides for +1 to hit and -1 to the Ork's cover. 6 smart missile shots hit, 4 wound and 1 is saved by the cover, killing just 3 Orks.

The Storm Boyz charge the nearest Devilfish, dealing no damage.

The Ork army holds position in cover.

The Trukk boyz hurtle towards the Skyray, disembarking 2" plus an extra inch for the base size, calling a WAAAGH!, sprinting 6" and charging 6" into close combat for a total move of 27". Owch! Needing 6's to hit, Owen rolls an obscene, truly obscene number of 6's to hit and then 6's to glance, immobilising the tank and ripping off all the guns, bar 1 markerlight.

The Shokk Attak gun and Lootas fire at the twin flamer Tau Battlesuit team. The Lootas are out of range, but the Shokk attak gun hits. Prepared for my team to be wiped out, Owen rolls for the strength of the attack, rolling a double 5. Consult the chart!

Suddenly the Ork Big Mek is sucked into his own gun and fired across the battlefield, landing on the enemy and charging into close combat!

What's he armed with?
His fists!
The Big Mek causes a single wound, which is saved, then the Tau Battlesuits kill him in close combat, then consolidate through the woods and close to the Ork storm boyz.

In my turn, the twin linked flamer Battle suits land next to the Ork storm boyz, scoring 24 hits with their combined flamer templates. 4+ to wound, reroll to wound. That's 18 wounds on the 16 strong unit, wiping them out. The Battlesuit jump back behind the Devilfish wall.

The 3 Devilfish continue their advance towards the huge mob of Ork Boyz in the rocks, firing smart missiles as they go, killing 3 more Orks.

Meanwhile the Tau Battlesuit command team target the Deff Dread, but to no effect.
The Broadsides also target the Deff Dread, destroying it.

The Skyray is a sitting duck as it can't move and will be automatically struck in close combat.

The Hammerhead moves way, towards the broadsides, firing its smart missiles at the nearby Orks, but fails to hit or fails to wound.

The Skyray is then destroyed in my combat phase by the Orks.

The Lootas destroy the Hammerhead with a obscene number of glancing hits, stripping away the weapons until its it immobilised and them destroyed. (I've seen some lucky dice in my time, but damn!)

It's at this point I stop him from rolling his dice in batches of 10 and make him roll ALL his dice together as stated in the Warhammer 40,000 rule book. After this his luck returns to normal. Besides, time is of the essence and we need to speed this game up!

The Ork boyz in the rocks advanced, making sure that half their number remained in cover, but were out of charge range of the Tau Devilfish.

The Battlewagon and Looted Wagon fired, but both missed.

It was at this point one of the Ammo Bunker organisers came over to tell us we had to finish our game in 5 minutes, pack up and go. So agreeing that my next turn would be the final turn, we finished up.

The Tau Broadsides blew up the Ork Trukk on the left flank, leaving the Ork trukk boyz stranded in the open.

I felt that now as a good time to see how many Orks in cover could survive against massed Tau firepower and with no consequences for being reckless, I moved all the Devilfish forward, disembarking the Tau fire warrior squads within. The Tau Battlesuit command team moved into rapid fire range, as did the twin flamer Tau Battlesuit team, but they couldn't fire their flamers due to friendly units being in the way.

The 3 tanks, 18 firewarriors and 6 battlesuits fired 66 shots into the mass of Orks in the rocks. Once the dust cleared they had killed 7, which was statistically quite accurate.

The game ended with the Tau scoring 4 Kill Points to the Orks 2 Kill Points.

Dealing with OrksThis game of 40K against the Orks, which was meant to be far more relaxed than facing Dave's space marine army, was surprisingly tense.

Okay, my deployment was a shambles and I fluffed the whole Dawn of War deployment. I should have gone first, making sure I was just out of 24" on Turn 1, keeping me safe from shooting during Night Fighting (remember that average spotting distance is 21") so I could get the first full volley of fire in during Turn 2.

Pitching the Hammerhead and Skyray against the Lootas was an interesting experiment. Had the Lootas been in cover, even less of them would have died. A quick maths test shows that my entire army moving at speed firing at the Lootas in cover would Only be able to kill 11 of the 15 models. Now that's quite concerning.

I really understood the power of the cover saves in this game. Even though it was a friendly game, I struggled to inflict much damage against his squads, although popping his vehicles with railguns and missile pods was a familiar pleasure to my earlier game.

On the right flank the advancing wall of Devilfish was a good idea as it stopped the Orks from advancing with confidence and gave a screen for the twin flamer Tau Battlesuits who were truly devastating in this game, just for their 1 use of their twin linked flamers.

24 hits resulting in 18 wounds is amazing against Orks. If this game was restricted by time, I would have been far more patient in getting them up to the Orks hiding in the rocks.

In the same way that the plasma rifle and missile pod Tau Battlesuit command team is a key unit for space marines, the twin linked flamer and missile pod Tau Battlesuit team is a key unit for killing masses of infantry.

However, I am concerned about being able to kill Ork infanry on a massive scale. It seems that if Orks sit in cover you simply can't shift them. But as soon as they break from cover, they're dead.

While this means I can theoretically keep an Ork horde from advancing, a high firepower unit, like 15 Lootas in cover will take 2 turns of long range firepower from my entire army to shift and I'll probably lose 1 tank per turn in the process because of them.

The only other weapon for the Tau, apart from a flamer, which can ignore cover saves is the Air Bursting Fragmentation Projector (or AFP for short). It has a range of 18", costs 20 points and is only good against light infantry. Considering that Imperial Guard will be on their way very shortly, I think it's time to start playtesting one.

Ammo Bunker Open Bash 2009

April 28, 2009 · 3 comments

April 29, 2009

On Sunday I went to the Ammo Bunker Open Bash to play some Warhammer 40K with my Tau army. Challenges had been made before the event took place, but only two brave souls had accepted my challenge of "come on then, I'll take on the lot of ya!" So I was certain to get in at least two games in this Warhammer filled day of fun. It was only when I realised that Warhammer World would only be open form 10am to 4pm that I got worried about fitting in two games of Warhammer 40K.

As this wasn't a tournament, the 2 hour restriction and organisation for games of Warhammer 40K wouldn't be in place, so I had to rely on my opponents to play as quickly as I do. Which, in a non-tournament scene rarely ever happens.

I got a lift from one of the other local Ammo Bunker members and we headed up to Warhammer World, arriving just before 10am to be greated by the most stunning sight of pretty miniatures I have ever seen. This is the second time I've attended an Ammo Bunker meet up and like last time, the level of modelling and painting ability is worthy of Golden Demon. The display table was lavished with the finest Warhammer miniatures I have ever seen. Sadly my camera was no up to scratch to get pictures of these models. So I quickly found my first opponent and got down to playing some Warhammer 40K

For this occassion I had prepared a 2000 points Warhammer Tau army. I've never played a game of Warhammer 40K this big with the Tau, so it would be interesting to say the least. While I would have liked another fireknife Tau Battlesuit command team, I only had Tau Stealth Suits, Fire Warriors and Piranhas at my disposal. I'd never used Piranhas, so I thought 'what the heck' and took them for a test drive.

Adam's 2000 points Warhammer Tau army

Tau Shas’el
Plasma Rifle, Missile Pod, Multitracker, Hardwired Drone Controller with 2 shield drones
2 Bodyguards with Plasma Rifle, Missile Pod, Hardwired Multitracker, Targeting Array

Tau Battlesuit Team
2 with Twin Linked Flamer, Missile Pod
1 Leader with Twin Linked Flamer, Missile pod, Hardwired Drone Controller with 2 shield drones

Tau Stealth Team
4 stealth suits

(X3) 6 man Fire warrior Team
Devilfish with Smart Missile System, Targeting Array, Multitracker, Disruption Pod

10 Kroot

Tau Piranha Vehicle Squadron
3 Tau Piranhas with Fusion Blaster and Targeting Array

Hammerhead with Railgun, Smart Missile System, Target Lock, Multitracker, Disruption Pod

Skyray with Smart Missile System, Target Lock, Targeting Array, Multitracker and Disruption Pod

2 man Broadside Team with advanced stabilization
Leader, Hardwired Drone Controller with 2 shield drones, Bonding Knife

Warhammer Tau army thoughts:
I was taking the twin linked flamer suits out for their second taste of battle. Having proven to be ineffective against Deathwing I wondered how they would fair against regular Space Marines. However, I was confident with everything else in my army, other than the Tau Piranhas, which I had no idea how to use. But hey, this is a casual game -or at least it was meant to be.

Warhammer 40K Battle Report:

Game: Capture & Control
Deployment: Pitched Battle
Opponent: High Marshal Dave, Space Marines

Pedro Kantor with vanguard in a razorback

stern guard with 2 missile launchers in a razorback
stern guard with melta and combi plasma in a razorback
stern guard with melta and combi plasma in a razorback

5 marines with flamer in a razorback
5 marines with a heavy bolter

5 marines with flamer in a razorback
5 marines with a heavy bolter

5 devastators with 2 lascannons, 2 missile launchers
1 Vindicator

Dave was a big chap with a mighty beard who was capable of crushing a man's skull in a single hand. He was actually quite a a good laugh, although I was rather worried by his viscious looking army list which would hound me down with sheer volume of units and transports. But, it was time to stick to my guns (literally) and the tactics which have made my Warhammer Tau army so successful over the past year.

Priority 1 would be to target his transports to restrict his mobility. Then I could slow his advance and blast his marines apart unit by unit at me leisure. Or so I hoped!

We rolled off to go first with me winning the roll. All his units were relatively short ranged or had twin linked heavy bolters which were ineffective against my armour 12 Tau transports. Meanwhile I needed to get in as many shots as possible before he got too close, so I chose the table side nearest me with hills and little terrain to maximise my movement, set up and took the first turn.

I set up my objective in the middle of my deployment zone, right at the back. Dave placed his objective in the same place in his deployment zone.

I then promptly plonked my Tau Broadsides down on my objective with the Skyray and a Tau Devilfish filled with 6 Fire Warriors to their right while the twin flamer Tau Battlesuit team deployed behind the two tanks, out of sight.

On my left flank, I deployed a Hammerhead with a Tau Devilfish on either side to protects its side armour (I don't know what from, it's just a habit I've got into). The Tau Battlesuit command team deployed behind this tank line, safely out of sight.

Meanwhile the Kroot and Tau Stealth Suits would infiltrate. I held the Piranhas in reserve (I honestly didn't know what to do with them).

Dave deployed his razor backs evenly along the edge of his deployment zone. Devastators took up position in the woods on my right, alongside two combat squads with heavy bolters. Another combat squad with heavy bolter took up position in the rocks on my right with the Whirlwind set up behind them to take advantage of cover from the rocks. The vindicator set up in the middle of his deployment zone.

It's worth noting that each razorback held a squad of 5 men. From left to right it went: Stern Guard, Pedro+Vanguard, Combat squad, Stern Guard, Combat squad, Stern Guard. I made the point of asking Dave to clearly point out which units were in each transports and made him put a model from each unit on top of the transport as well. It's easy to forget what unit is where in the heat of a game.

Once Dave had deployed his forces, I infiltrated the Kroot into some woods on the far right flank, in front of his guns, but ready to Go To Ground for a 2+ cover save and hopefully bait him in. Meanwhile the Tau Stealth Suits infiltrated 24" away from the combat squad with the heavy bolter in the rocks on the left flank, ready to open fire on the first turn.

Dave rolled to seize the initiative, claiming that 1 out of 6 times, it works all the time. Then rolled a 2.

On the far right, the Kroot shot at the space marine combat squad with a heavy bolter, killing 2 of them.

The Devilfish on the right moved forward, firing at another combat squad. Meanwhile the twin linked flamer Tau Battlesuits jumped out from behind the tank, firing their missiles at the

The Skyray locked on to the Vindicator with its 2 markerlights while unleashing its missiles at a the combat squad the Devilfish had been firing on.

The Tau Broadsides used the markerlight hits on the Vindicator. +1 to hit, -1 to cover save. Both railguns hit home, although one was saved by cover. One railgun slug penetrated through the front armour, immobilising the Vindicator.

On the left flank, the Hammerhead and flanking Devilfish moved forward, combining their fire with the Tau Stealth team to wipe out the combat squad with heavy bolter in the rocks. The Hammerhead used its target lock to fire its railgun at the whirlwind obscured by rocks, but the tank passed its 4+ cover save.

Meanwile the Tau Battlesuit command team fired their missile pods at a razorback through the woods but only succeeded in glancing the vehicles and blowing off the pintle mounted storm bolter.

The Stealth Suits and Tau Battlesuit command team jumped back behind the safety of the Tau tanks.

Apart from his Vindicator, Dave moved everything forward 12". There wasn't much firing, apart from the Devastator team which targeting the skyray, striking the front armour with two lascannon shots. The first failed to penetrate and the second was deflected by the 4+ disruption pod save.

On the right flank the stern guard rhino drove towards the Kroot occupied woods, disembarking the squad within who rapid fired with their boltguns. Ready to go to ground for a 2+ cover save, I was surprised to discover that Stern Guard have bolter rounds which ignore cover! I'd better go read the new marine codex some more. Combined with heavy weapons fire from a nearby combat squad with heavy bolter, the Kroot lost 5 of their number, broke and ran.

The Vindicator fired at one of the Devilfish flanking the Hammerhead on the left flank, but was out of range.

Pedro Kantor's razorback and another Stern Guard razorback sped forward, disembarking into the woods in front of the Tau Devilfish, Hammerhead and second Devilfish which were screening the Tau Battlesuit command team and Tau Stealth Suits.

The Sterguard combat squad with 2 missile launchers ran into the other patch of woods on the far right flank.

The Kroot rallied, consolidating 3" and then running 6" back into the woods.

The Devilfish and twin linked flamer Battlesuits moved towards the approaching razorbacks (not too close mind you) and opened fire again, killing 1 space marine from a combat squad while the missile pods from the Tau Battlesuits penetrated and immobilised a razorback on the far right.

The skray locked into a razorback behind the hill in the centre, hitting once again with both markerlights (this almost never happens!). Once again the Tau broadsides increased their ballistic skill by +1 and knocked down the razorback's cover save by -1. Both shots hit home thanks to rerolls, causing two penetrating hits, one was saved by the cover while the other producted a 4, +1 for an AP1 weapon, making it a 5. Vehicle destroyed.

The Tau Piranhas arrive from reserve. With nowhere sensible to deploy them, I brought them 12" on from the far left flank. They are woefully out of range and I expect the Stern Guard with 2 missile launchers in the woods to shoot them, so I disembarked the drones for a 4+ drone screen cover save.

The Tau Stealth Suits, Tau Battlesuit Command team, and two Tau Devilfish flanking the Tau Hammerhead open fire on the Stern Guard combat squad in the woods. Dave passes an ungodly number of 3+ saves and 4+ invulnerable saves, leaving just 1 sergeant alive.

It's at this point he asks about the ruling on Space Marine Orbital Bombardment and whether Pedro Kantor can call it from inside a transport so long as he doesn't move. I agree that he can before jumping my Stealth Suits into the ruins behind them, passing all difficult terrain tests, then jump the Tau Battlesuit command team into the edge of the woods occupied by the lone STern Guard sergeant brandishing a power axe. They all pass their difficult terrain test, to Dave's annoyance.

I've never been hit by an orbital bombardment before, but I didn't fancy my entire Tau Command team being wiped out by it!

In Dave's turn the Stern Guard on the far right flank, drive passed the kroot while the immobilised razorbackshoots at them. The Kroot go to ground, but fail two of their 2+ saves, leaving only 3 Kroot remaining. They break and fall back again.

The Stern Guard disembark, firing at the twin flamer Tau Battlesuits who can be seen behind the cover of the Tau Devilfish

Another space marine combat squad get out of their destroyed transport in the centre and take refuge behind the cover of the hill.

On the left flank the Stern Guard with 2 missile launches fire at the nearby Devilfish to no effect.

Please note that the Whirlwind fires constantly throughout this game but kills nothing. Hence why I have forgotten to mention it until now.

Pedro Kantor unleashes the ORBITAL BOMBARDMENT on the Hammerhead! It scatters wildly and hits nothing.

Meanwhile the lone Stern Guard sergeant charges the Tau Battlesuit Command team.
"Bring it" I grin, pointing towards my 2 shield drones while preparing a dose of 7 return attacks.
He hits three times and scores two wounds. Which I take on the shield drones and fail both 4+ saves. Not good.
The Tau Battlesuit command team strike back, hitting on 4+, scoring 4 hits and wounding on 3+, scoring 3 wounds. He then passes all 3 armour saves (statistically he should have failed 1 in 3, but Dave seemed to only fail 1 in 6 saves throughout the entire game).

I'm down by 2, so I take my Leadership test on 7 and fail. Roll a 5 for fall back while Dave rolls a 3. I break and run, falling back 3D6 for a total of 16", just 4" away from the board edge.

I roll for my Tau Battlesuit Command team to get back into the fight and cause some more hurt from their now excellent position. I need to roll 9 or less...and roll a 10. Off they go! Dave cheers in jubilation.

The Piranhas speed through the gap in the woods on the left flank, firing their fusion blasters at the empty one of the two razorbacks, but fail to penetrate. Meanwhile Pedro Kantor and his Vanguard are in the other one.

The drones move forward and shoot at the Stern Guard with 2 missile launchers in the woods on the far right, killing two of them, but they pass their pinning test.

The 2 Tau Devilfish flanking the Hammearhead and the Hammerhead itself fire all of their smart missiles at the space marine squad behind the hill, killing 2 of them. The Hammerhead fires its railgun at the whirlwind behind the rocks again, immobilising it.

The Kroot continue to fall back, taking a some fleeing shots at the rear armour of the Stern Guard razorbac on the far right flank, but to no avail.

The Tau Devilfish and Tau Battlesuits on the right flank move towards the disembarked Stern Guard. The Fire Warriors disembark and the combined force open fire with flamers, smart missiles and pulse rifles. 4 of the Stern Guard fall, leaving one Stern Guard and the sergeant. The Tau Battlesuits jump behind the Tau Devilfish, leaving the Fire Warriors to a probably very messy fate.

I can't remember what the Skyray and Tau Broadsides did this turn. But they can't have done much!

Dave's 3rd turn is pretty awful, although he doesn't have much in the way of firepower by this point. The heavy bolters target the Tau Broadsides and patter harmlessly off their 2+ armour.

The Devastator squad continues to target the Skyray, but misses or fails to penetrate.

Pedro and chums disembark from their razorback and run towards the Tau gun drones on the left flank.

The Stern Guard in the woods fire at the nearest Devilfish, hitting with both krak missiles, which are deflected by the 4+ disruption pod save.

On the right flank is where the action is. The Stern Guard marine and sergeant charge the Tau Fire Warriors, but fail to kill any of them, resulting in a drawn combat.

Dave has 1 razorback to send forward around the right of the hill, disembarking the Stern Guard squad within who fire at the Tau Skyray which is 12" away with their melta gun and combi plasma. Both weapons miss.

Meanwhile the remaining combat squad with heavy bolter, the devastator squad and another combat squad I only just noticed are lead by a space marine captain with powerfist all run forward.

The Skyray points two markerlights at the squad having emerged from the razorback on the right of the hill while killing 1 marine with its smart missile system.

The Tau Broadsides destroy their razorback transport with a well placed railgun shot.

A Devilfish to the right of the Hammerhead lands on the hill in the centre, disembarking its 6 man Fire Warrior team out of the back who use the markerlight from the Skyray to boost their ballistic skill, but only managed to kill a single space marine. Meanwhile their Devilfish transport, combined with smart missiles from the other Devilfish and Hammerhead wipes out the rest of the space marine squad.

The Hammerhead fires a solid slug at Pedro Kantor's razorback through the woods (can't see anything else!) and destroys it.

The Piranhas squadron surrounds the other razorback on the left flank, destroying it with their fusion blasters.

The Tau Stealth team and Tau Gun Drones finish off the last 2 Stern Guard in the woods who die cradling their missile launchers.

On the right flank, the Tau Devilfish falls back from the Fire Warriors who are in combat with the Stern Guard, firing at the space marine captain and his 2 chums, killing 1 of them. Meanwhile the twin flamer Tau Battlesuits get in close and torch the squad with their flamers, killing 1 more space marine and inflicting a wound on the captain. They then jump away to the right to draw the captain away from the objective for future turns.

The Tau Firewarriors were beaten in close combat and driven off by the Stern Guard who then consolidated towards the Tau objective.

In Dave's turn, Pedro and his Vanguard charge the Tau Gun Drones, wiping them all out and consolidating towards the Tau Stealth Suits.

The Devastators fire at the Devilfish on the hill, immobilising it.

The immobilised razorback and whirlwing kills 3 of the disembarked Fire Warriors who break and fall back towards the Tau objective.

The Stern Guard razorback on the right flank attempts to ram the nearby Devilfish, but the skimmer roll a 4+ to dodge out of the way.

The Stern Guard run forward to the foot of the hill, inches away from contesting the Tau objective.

The End!
Now, I seem to have missed the details of a turn somewhere in this battle report. In addition to all this, Pedro and the Vanguard chase the Tau Stealth Suits for another turn and take 2 casualties from shooting while the Tau Piranhas cruise up to the whirlwind and stun the crew with their fusion blasters. Meanwhile the Tau Hammerhead kills 3 of the 5 Devastators and the space marine captain charges the twin linked flamer Tau Battlesuits and gets his head kicked in!

Normaly I remember everything that happens in a game, but in this case there was so much stuff on the board, it's tough to keep track of it all, especially when every unit in my opponent's army looked pretty much the same.

I have to admit that after writing out this battle report the game seems very one sided, but the game itself felt very close.

My greatest strength was being practically immune to all of his heavy bolters. And to make sure I didn't fall foul of his melta guns, specialised ammo or powerfist wielding sergeants, all I had to do was blow up his transports - a valuable lesson learned from previous games.

When in doubt I stuck to the tried and tested tactics of combining markerlights with Broadsides, hiding Tau Battlesuits behind tanks, always moving my tanks 12" if anything got close (hitting on 6's only!), making Kroot go to ground in woods and making sure that my Stealth Suits were as annoying as possible.

Could I have done anything better? Not taking Piranhas perhaps. Or instead of bringing them on 12", I could have zoomed them 24" up the flank, spent 2 turns speeding towards the Whirlwind and taken it out early on, then harassed his tanks from behind, or drawn a lot of firepower in the very least.

3 Piranhas is definitely overkill. Maybe just 1 would do the trick. But then, I'm reluctant to use them as I fell I'm giving away easy kill points.

But at the end of the day, we both had a great game and Dave was a fun player, although it has to be said that his army was not geared up for taking on a mechanised force.

As the game seems to favour heavily mechanised armies, melta guns and lots of basic troops in cover, tailoring to just one of these trends isn't going to win you many games. Dave's army with all the heavy bolters, whirlwing and Stern Guard cover save ignoring ammo would be excellent against an infantry horde like Orks or Nids, but when it comes to mechanised Tau (apparently he was expecting gun-line Tau) he had very little that could hurt me and only 4 long ranged anti tank weapons, which were all tied up in 1 squad.

While my firepower may have massacred him, the sheer number of targets was daunting until I could eliminate his transports from surging towards me at speed.

Warhammer Tau Rule Number 1: kill their transports first

Tau VS James Deathwing Army

April 24, 2009 · 2 comments

April 25, 2009

I went down to the Essex Warhounds club for some 40K, but ended up playing James with his Deathwing army. After a Ravenwing binge James is getting back into the Deathwing and took the same army that I borrowed for the 2008 Grand Tournament.

So having played the Deathwing a fair bit myself, I knew what I was in for.

Adam's 1500 points Tau army

Tau Shas’el
Plasma Rifle, Missile Pod, Multitracker, Hardwired Drone Controller with 2 shield drones
2 Bodyguards with Plasma Rifle, Missile Pod, Hardwired Multitracker, Targeting Array

Tau Battlesuit Team
2 with Twin Linked Flamer, Missile Pod
1 Leader with Twin Linked Flamer, Missile pod, Hardwired Drone Controller with 2 shield drones

(X3) 6 man Fire warrior Team
Devilfish with Smart Missile System, Targeting Array, Multitracker, Disruption Pod

Hammerhead with Railgun, Smart Missile System, Target Lock, Multitracker, Disruption Pod

Skyray with Smart Missile System, Target Lock, Targeting Array, Multitracker and Disruption Pod

2 man Broadside Team with advanced stabilization
Leader, Hardwired Drone Controller with 2 shield drones, Bonding Knife

40K Battle Report 1:

Game: Annihilation
Deployment: Dawn of War
Opponent: James Le Grys, Deathwing

Belial +5 terminators, assault cannon, chain fist

Librarian +5 terminators, assault cannon, chain fist

5 terminators, assault cannon, chain fist

5 terminators, cyclone

5 terminators, cyclone

We rolled for set up and I rolled highest.
"You can go first!" I said, grinning. I know that Deathwing need to go second in order to maximise on the Deathwing Assault rules and obtain the first turn of fire. But if he Deep Strikes on turn 1 with nothing to shoot at, my army will come on and get the first turn of fire. If he brings everything on from the edge, he'll be out of the range while having to footslog across the board to get to me as I shoot him at range.

James chooses his table edge and deep strikes Belial with squad, Librarian with squad and another assault cannon squad on to the table, spread roughly around the centre. The assault cannon squad scatters off target, into the left flank of my deployment zone. All the terminator squads then run into cover.

I see that he has spread his forces out, so I brought the entire Tau army on from my left flank, obliterating the assault cannon squad that scattered with 2 markerlights, boosting the Ballistic Skill of the nearby Tau Shas'el battle suit team so they hit on 2+ while reducing the Deathwing squad's cover save from 4+ to 5+.

4 of the Deathwing squad were wiped out as all 6 plasma shots and 6 missile pods hit home and wounded. It took 56 smart missile shots to bring down the last terminator. But considering the way James rolls 2+ armour saves, I expected this.

The Librarian and squad were out of range to harm anything. Belial's squad shot at a Devilfish with their assault cannon, but did nothing.

One of the Deathwing squads in reserve landed on the left flank, firing a krak missile at the nearby Skyray, which was deflected by the disruption pod.

The Tau army rolled forward, gunning down the entire Deathwing squad which had just landed.

It was at this point James called the game. Poor chap had such a look of despair about him. But there was little he could do considering the situation the deployment and mission had put him in.

Because the guys on the other table were taking so long (we had planned to swap opponents), we played another game.

40K Battle Report 2:

Game: Secure & Control
Deployment: Spearhead
Opponent: James Le Grys, Deathwing

Things went a little differently this time around. James won the roll to set up and promptly made me go first. Having just murdered him, I thought I'd take things a little more easily.

I had considered setting up a few units, then putting everything else in reserve...but just bunged everything in my quarter instead and took my first turn to spread my army out along the centre of my deployment zone...around an awkward peice of terrain which ended up blocking line of sight for most of the game.

James Deathwing Assault/Deep Striked his Belial squad, Librarian squad and other assault cannon squad onto my right flank in the centre, destroying a Devilfish with concentrated assault cannon fire.

The rest of the battle went quite badly for me as I couldn't bring my mass of firepower to bear thanks to this bloody great building in the centre of my deployment zone. Half my army found itself cut off and with my Tau Shas'el battlesuit team with their plasma rifles denied any shots, I just couldn't take down the terminators with a mass of basic weapons fire. Once again James' ungodly ability to pass 2+ saves shone through, failing only 1 in 12 saves opposed to the balanced statistics of 1 in 6, but I have come to expect that now.

Due to being unable to combine my firepower, James had me on the run, herding me off the objectives. The game ended on Turn 5 with James claiming 2 objectives while I contested 1. However, I was certain I could rescue the game from the jaws of defeat if I had another turn.

So while it wouldn't count of course, I asked for a Turn 6.
All the remaining Tau tanks, including Devilfishes, Hammerhead and Skyray moved 12" on to all the objectives.
In the following phase they were all charged by Deathwing terminators who were now hiting them on 6+, causing some damage here and there, but not being able to destroy more than one tank in a single location.

All the points were now contested, so we racked up the victory points. I scored 620, he scored 560. Not bad, but I need to work on my Turn 5 game strategy.

Thoughts on the Tau army after these games
Game 1 was a no brainer. roll on second, shoot first, concentrate forces, react to his deployment.

Game 2 was the real challenge. I was setting up blind because he could attack me from anywhere. Thinking back to previous games, I thought it best to spread my units out to allow for maximum mobility. But the problem is that against Deathwing you need to maximise your firepower against one squad at a time and that 1 peice of terrain ruined my line of sight.

If anything, this Tau army works best in the middle of open ground where it can be free to move, shoot and see. That means terrain, especially line of sight blocking terrain is a real hazard.

In hindsight I think I should have put down a couple of units to bait James in while keeping the rest of the army in reserve. The bait units would probably be the Hammerhead and Broadsides, which can take a considerable beating and hold their own. Then my reserves can come on from the board edge and counter his units already on the board. I will try this next time!

How did my Tau army perform?
The Tau Battlesuit command team where my star players once again. Combined with a markerlight, they seemed to hit and wound with every shot they made. Devastating! I'm thinking of investing in another of these squads.

The Tau Battlesuits with twin flamer and missile pod were alright, but just as ineffective as the ones with burst cannon and missile pod. I'm tempted to make some with twin missile pod and single flamer in the future. However, they were far more survivable than the Stealth Suits.

Devilfish with Firewarriors performed brilliantly being tough to shift as always.
Broadsides were brilliant.
Skyray was brilliant.
Hammerhead was...okay.

This sunday I'm off to Warhammer World for the Ammo Bunker Open Bash. I have two games lined up. One is a 2000 points battle against Space Marines and I may take my three Piranhas for a spin and the other I can't actually remember.

More 40K Battle Reports next week!

My Dream 40K Planet Strike Tau Army

April 22, 2009 · 5 comments

April 22, 2009

Were I to play the new Warhammer 40K Planet Strike with my Tau army, then I'd have to create a proper attacking force. So to make the most of the 6 Elite slots granted to the Planet Strike attacker, it would have to be a 30 Tau Battlesuit army, led by none other than Commander Farsight. And if I had any points left, they'd all be leaping out of the exit hatch of a low flying Tau Manta.

This kind of imagery inspired by Planet Strike really makes you drool doesn't it? Of course, that's until you add up the dizzying cost of a proper Warhammer 40K Planet Strike army.

So I'm going to let my imagination run a little wild with this and create an army list based around whatever mental imagery the concept of Planet Strike conjures up. But, is that army playable and can I win games with it having thrown all sense of balance and tactical reason out of the window?

Warhammer 40K Planet Strike Tau Army

Commander Farsight
7 Tau Battlesuit bodyguards all armed with plasma rifle, missile pod, multi tracker, targeting array and drone controller with 2 shield drones.

Tau Shas'el with plasma rifle, missile pod, multi tracker, targeting array and drone controller with 2 shield drones
2 Tau Battlesuit bodyguards with plasma rifle, missile pod, multi tracker and targeting array

(X6) Tau Battlesuit Team
2 Tau Battlesuits with plasma rifle, missile pod and multi tracker
1 leader with plasma rifle, missile pod, multi tracker, targeting array and drone controller with 2 shield drones

That comes to 2961 points.
At 12 pounds sterling per model, it would cost 348 pounds.
How would it play? Probably quite well, although Fusion Blasters are needed for anything with armour 14.

40K Planetstrike

April 20, 2009 · 4 comments

April 21, 2009

Warhammer 40K Planetstrike is on its way. The Planetstrike promo video looks very much like apocalypse and hints at some of the Planetstrike missions which will totally change the way we play 40K.

The most notable Planetstrike photos show an Imperial base in the centre of the table, surrounded by Tau Battlesuits coming on from all sides while another photo shows chaos terminators caught between two battlement walls. The rest of the Planetstrike pics resemble a game of Apocalypse.

Watch the Planetstrike Movie

Planetstrike Force Charts

Planet Strike Attacker:
Minimum: 1 HQ.
Optional: 2 HQ, 6 Elites, 6 Troops, 6 Fast Attack, 3 Heavy Support.

Planet Strike Defender:
Minimum: 1 HQ, 2 Troops.
Optional: 2 HQ, 3 Elites, 6 Troops, 3 Fast Attack, 6 Heavy Support.

As someone who disliked the insane freedom of 40K Apocalypse, Planetstrike at first glance looks like a more controlled affair with armies specially chosen to attack or defend. Plus, a full set of Planestrike mission opposed to the big free for all that Apocalypse offered.

But one thing's for certain -if my friends and I want to play Planestrike, we need to buy a lot more 40K! So for now, Planetstrike will probably appeal to people who want to field that Space Marine Terminator army, 6 Land Raider army or Tau Battlesuit army led by Farsight as well as the people with truly Apocalytpic scale forces.

Don't get me wrong, Planetstrike looks amazing and I'd love nothing better than to see an army of 30 Tau Battlesuits decending from the skies (to the sounds of heavy metal!). But for someone like myself with around 2000 points of Tau which are designed for playing Warhammer 40K tournaments, I would need to buy a whole heap of Warhammer 40K before I could even feasably play Planetstrike.

1500 Points Tau Army List

April 17, 2009 · 5 comments

April 17, 2009

After some tweaks to my Tau army list after Carnage, I've decided to write up a 1500 points Tau army list. In the UK 1500 points games are run of the mill for Warhammer 40K.

Progressing from 1500 points up to 1750 points was a bit daunting for the tournament. But for anyone who regularly playing 1500 point games, I would strongly suggest going up to 1750 points, then pulling out 250 points of the units that didn't perform very well. This will make your 1500 points army list much stronger and easier to use.

Adam's 1500 points Tau army

Tau Shas’el
Plasma Rifle, Missile Pod, Multitracker, Hardwired Drone Controller with 2 shield drones
2 Bodyguards with Plasma Rifle, Missile Pod, Hardwired Multitracker, Targeting Array

Tau Battlesuit Team
2 with Twin Linked Flamer, Missile Pod
1 Leader with Twin Linked Flamer, Missile pod, Hardwired Drone Controller with 2 shield drones

(X3) 6 man Fire warrior Team
Devilfish with Smart Missile System, Targeting Array, Multitracker, Disruption Pod

Hammerhead with Railgun, Smart Missile System, Target Lock, Multitracker, Disruption Pod

Skyray with Smart Missile System, Target Lock, Targeting Array, Multitracker and Disruption Pod

2 man Broadside Team with advanced stabilization
Leader, Hardwired Drone Controller with 2 shield drones, Bonding Knife

1500pts Tau Army Thoughts:
In reducing my force down to 1500 points, I've dropped the Kroot because all they did was sit in the woods and get shot.

While I initially planned to drop the second Tau Battlesuit team, which were armed with missile pods and burst cannons, I felt the need for the new Tau Battlesuit team with twin linked flamers.

Twin linked flamers are devastating up close and should act as a deterrent for units that get to near to my moving Tau tank wall. Also, in my last game against Tyranids I desperately needed some kind of template weaponry to eradicate the sheer number of smaller creatures.

Of course, in order to field these, it meant dropping the Stealth Suits team. Now as much as I love my Stealth Suits, they weren't massively effective in the tournament as you can see from the 40K Battle Reports (LINK) they didn't really do that much. I can always switch back to them in the future.

You can see that I've kept my core units, such as the Heavy Support choices and the 3 squads of Tau Firewarriors in their pimped out Devilfish transports. So instead of reducing the solid core of flexible units, I've had to cut back on my elite choices and a throw-away unit.

I'm off to Essex Warhounds this Sunday. Let's see how my 1500 points Tau army list fairs!

Tau Battlesuit Twin Linked Flamer Conversions

April 11, 2009 · 10 comments

April 11, 2009

After my Tau Battlesuit team with burst cannons failed me, it was time for some Tau Battlesuits with flamers -twin linked flamers!

As we know, 5th edition is all about cover, flamers and getting up close with Melta guns. As my Tau aren't keen on getting up close and they can take out tanks from afar with their railguns, they need flamers for getting up close and inflicting plenty of damage to prevent any unpleasant consequences for their agressive actions.

This is why you should always take twin linked flamers instead of flamers were possible. One of my friends suggested giving my new Tau Battlesuit team multi trackers so that they could fire their flamers and missile pods together.

There is a problem with this logic. Because if you are firing your strength 7 missile pods, you are often out of range for the flamers. Similarly, if you are firing the flamers, 6 extra shots (most likely resulting in 3 hits) from the missile pods don't make a whole world of difference.

Certainly not when your flamers could be twin linked flamers! So, let's say your Tau Battlesuit team jumps forward and each of them touch 6 models with their flamer tear drop template. That's 18 automatic hits. Most likely you're wounding on 4+, resulting in 9 wounds. But if your flamers are twin linked, you may reroll to wound. So the 9 failed wounds now become 5 wounds, making for a total of 14 out of an 18 possible wounds inflicted.

AP 5 and no cover save should see light troops of all sorts and even Orks going up in flames. Not so good against Space Marines who will probably lose 2 to 3 of their number. But that's power armour for you. Nothing a torrent of smart missiles can't sort out.

As you can see, I've based my Tau Battlesuit twin linked flamer conversions on an early design from 2004, supplied by the very kind moderator of the Advanced Tau Tactica forums. I had to make a few moderations due to not having all of the same components or sheer laziness, but the essence of the design is there. Basically it's a plasma rifle block with the fuel line repositioned, a flamer fuel tank stuck on top and then the front of the Tau flamer with an extra nozzle stuck on the front. Finally a small rectangular chunk of plastic from the bottom of the pulse carbine handle fills out the bottom of the plasma rifle body, bringing it in line with the underlying support strut of the flamer.

Now to get the base coated, glue the arms and heads in place and finish them off. Then I'm ready to cook some fools!

Organising My Carry Case

April 5, 2009 · 3 comments

April 5, 2009

I felt that it was time I sorted out the remaining slots in my army carrying case as I put the finishing touches to my Tau army.

I fully expect to have to buy more Tau units in the future with an update of the Tau codex or a new edition of Warhammer 40,000. But when that day comes, I'll simply buy another carry case and put even more stuff in it.

So for now, I need to cram in 3 more Tau Battlesuits, which will be armed with missile pod and twin linked flamer for some burnination. I've got some burst cannon sponsons for my Heavy Support tanks, a spare Railgun turret and a spare Ion Cannon turret if I ever want to turn my Skyray into another Hammerhead, or give the Hammerhead a lighter armament.

There's plenty of gun drones, shield drones and even marker drones as well as flying bases, some spares thrown in and even the newly painted Piranha scout skimmers, painted by David Richardson. I also have a limited edition Ethereal in there. I doubt I'll ever field him, but he's there for completeness.

When I started this army, I declared that it would be my last Warhammer 40,000 army. And I bought an enormous carry case from KR Multikase which could house 4 smaller carry cases. I spent a fortune with the intention to fill the whole thing. But after playing this army for a year, I did what many normal players do, which is to pick the units they like, keep the units that perform well and build an army with lots of small add ons discovered from playing games. Then I sold all the stuff I didn't need to pay for my expensive girlfriend as well as all the tournaments I attended.

But thankfully I dumped her berfore Christmas, which has freed up a lot of my disposable income (aka: all of it) and my time. Hence why I was able to complete my army just in time for the Carnage tournament this year. Last time I had to take a week off work.

Anyway, before this post derails itself anymore, I'd like to point out that constantly playing and trying out new things is the best way of finding out what works for you as a player. And this is why the reigning Grand Tournament lists that everybody spams to death will often be overcome by a new idea. Obviously, it will have to be a bloody good idea to deal with the 4 Ork Battlewagons of nefarious line of sight blocking designs that are thundering towards you, but that day has come before and it undoubtedly will come again.

So now that my Tau are complete and I need to order myself a material carry case from KR Multikase which can contain the 2 boxes instead of 4 (I'll keep the big one for future use), it's time to start looking at another army for the future. Eldar, Chaos and Orks are the big 3 for me right now. Although Salamander Space Marines look like fun. But I can't bring myself to build an army around just 1 special character who could be written out of the rules by the next codex.

I also have a ton of left over spare weapons and drones, as well as a complete Hammerhead weapons sprue and a complete Skyray turret still on the sprue -Oh and a shrink wrapped Skyray box to get rid of.

But before I choose my next army, I have 3 new Tau Battlesuits to build, complete with twin linked flamer conversions, then I have to paint everything that's left. The painting list currently includes an ion cannon turret, a railgun turret, loads of shield drones, loads of marker drones, a couple of gun drones and the Limited Edition Ethereal. Then I'm done!

No need to fret, there will still be tactics, battle reports and more even after my Tau army is finished...until the next Tau Codex or 6th edition Warhammer 40K anyway.

40K Battle Reports from Carnage 2009

April 2, 2009 · 16 comments

April 2, 2009

As promised, here are my Tau battle reports from the Carnage 40K tournament. These battle reports aren't turn by turn, but I'm going to reflect on how my Warhammer 40K Tau army faired and what tactics I used to win (and survive!) six games against some really tough opponents. I'm going to go over my 1750 points Tau army again, briefly explain what my opponents had, then get on with the battle reports.

After the battle reports, I'll conclude about my Tau army, the tournament in general and what I have learned from the experience. So get ready for 6 great games of 40K with breif battle reports and some things to bear in mind the next time you face a Warhammer 40K Tau army or take your own Tau strike force to the table top.

Remember that in the Carnage tournament objectives are now worth 100pts. So for every Loot counter in Seize Ground, every Kill Point in Annihilation and the enemy base in Secure & Control grant me 100pts on top of the points earned for what I kill. As the Tau army typically struggles to claim objectives, killing will be my first priority. Although I did managed to claim quite a few objectives in my games, which gives me fresh confidence in the abilities of my army.

There were also restrictions imposed on the army lists in addition to the usual must haves and limitations. Basically you couldn't field 2 of the same HQ, 3 of the same Elite, Fast Attack or Heavy Support choices. However, you could for example, field 2 Ork Battlewagons in Heavy Support and 2 in Elite as dedicated transports. So essentially all the top 5 armies from the UK Grand Tournament were ruled out...apart from the 4 Ork Battlewagon army. So no prizes for guessing which army came out on top!

Finally, I'd like to quickly apologies for the photos in this post. Some are images I've used as illustrations of the armies I faced while others are photos from the actual tournament. My folks took all the camera batteries and the charger with them on holiday, so I couldn't take any photos of my games!

Adam's 1750pts Tau Army List:

Tau Shas’el
Plasma Rifle, Missile Pod, Multitracker, Hardwired Drone Controller with 2 shield drones, Bonding Knife and Hardwired Black Sun Filter

2 Bodyguards with Plasma Rifle, Missile Pod, Hardwired Multitracker, Targeting Array and Hardwired Black Sun Filter

3 man Battlesuit Team with Burst Cannon, Missile pod, Multitracker
Leader, Hardwired Drone Controller with 2 shield drones, Bonding Knife

4 man Stealthsuit Team

(X3) 6 man Fire warrior Team
Devilfish with Smart Missile System, Targeting Array, Multitracker, Disruption Pod

10 man Kroot Carnivore squad

Hammerhead with Railgun, Smart Missile System, Target Lock, Multitracker, Disruption Pod

Skyray with Smart Missile System, Target Lock, Targeting Array, Multitracker and Disruption Pod

2 man Broadside Team with advanced stabilization
Leader, Hardwired Drone Controller with 2 shield drones, Bonding Knife

Tau Army Thoughts:
I was really happy with every Tau unit in the army, there wasn't a single unit that failed me in any of my games. Even the Kroot performed exceptionally well and my Stealth Suit team provided a wonderful annoyance to my opponents.

40K Battle Report 1:

Game: Annihilation
Deployment: pitched battle
Opponent: Adam Torap, Witch Hunters

Inquistor lord and large retinue in land raider
(X2) inquisitor in land raider
(X4) storm troopers, mixture of special weapons, rhinos
space marine tactical squad with plasma gun, plasma gun, rhino

"I'm really sorry" was the first thing I said to Adam when I was drawn against him. As 'master of the wooden spoon' he knew this was going to be a slaughter, but we both laughed and had an enjoyable game anyway. He's a lovely guy to play against and was most deserving of the 'Best Sportsman' award that he received.

His force was themed around a family of affluent rogue traders, so it had a nice look and feel to it. However, my confidence was soon dented when by Turn 2 I had failed to destroy any units in his army. So instead of targeting the land raiders with my railguns, the hammerhead and broadsides turned to his transports and the carnage began. The land raiders did very little against my mobile army and the units armed with powerweapons that were transported inside offered no threat to my mechanised force.

The game ended on Turn 7 with 2 of his land raiders remaining, the rest of his force wiped out. 20/0

40K Battle Report 2:

Game: Seize Ground (4 objectives)
Deployment: pitched battle
Opponent: Paul Scott, Chaos Plague Marines

Ahriman (a rather nurgley version)
daemon prince with mark of nurgle, warp time and wings
Greater Daemon
(X2) plague marines with 2 plasma guns and champ with powerfist and icon in a rhino
(X2) 7 summoned daemons
3 Obliterators
6 Chaos Havocs with 2 lascannon, 1 missile launcher, champion, icon of undivided

I'd been admiring Paul's Nurgle army during the break between round 1 and 2, so I was quite pleased to play him. We rolled for objectives and a got four. I threw one into the open on the right, he put one down in terrain on the left, I put another on the right in another open space. He put another on the left in terrain. This was understandable as plague marines greatly benefit from terrain. Meanwhile my Tau skimmers (loaded full of troops) benefit from being out in the open. So with an objective placed in each quarter, there was plenty to play for.

I won the roll to go first, choosing the table side with the least terrain (I need the space to move skimmers). I set up my army evenly spread across my deployment zone with the Tau Battlesuit teams in the middle, hidden behind my devilfish and hammerhead which was flanked by the devilfish to protect its side armour. Meanwhile my Tau Broadsides and Skyray occupied the right flank.

He deployed his plague marines in their rhinos (along with Nurgley Ahriman) on my left flank with the Daemon Prince hidden behind a rhino (he used an ogryn sized model), the Obliterators in the centre and the Havocs further to the right. The daemons, greater daemon and daemon prince were in reserve.

I then infiltrated the Kroot into a wood on the left flank near one of the objectives and the Tau Stealth Suits infiltrated within 24" of the Chaos Havoc squad.

Turn 1, my broadsides climbed to the top of the hill on the right flank, the Tau Stealth Suits moved forward, as did the Skyray, before firing two markerlights into the Chaos Havoc squad which were used by the Stealth Suits and Broadsides to increase the Ballistic Skill. Now hitting on 3+, the two units, combined with smart missiles from the Skyray reduced the unit to 1 model (the champion with an icon). The Stealth Suits then jumped back to a safe distance. The daemons in reserve had me worried, as did the Greater Daemon.

Meanwhile, the Tau tank formation moved forward, spraying smart missiles at the Obliterators, inflicting a single wound. The Hammerhead and Tau Battlesuit teams fired at the two Plague marine rhinos in the distance, immobilsing one.The Tau Battlesuits jumped back, out of sight behind the wall of armour 12 vehicles. The Kroot stayed in their wood and hugged trees.

In the following turns the plague marines jumped out of their destroyed rhino and into cover. The plague marine squad led by Nurgley Ahriman drove down the left flank (followed by the Daemon Prince), forcing the Kroot to break and flee off the board with their rapid fire. Meanwhile the Tau tank formation swept roung to the right flank with smart missiles and Battlesuits destroying the remaining transport. The Skyray flew up the right flank while the Broadsides remained on their hill, engaged in a long range firefight with the Obliterators. The Stealth Suits fell back from the lone Havoc champion with icon in anticipation of the Daemon's arrival. The daemons arrived, just a few inches out of charge range from the Stealth Suits. The other group of daemons also arrived, using the icon from the plage marines in cover on the left flank before running towards an objective.

The Tau tank formation continued to fall back from Ahriman's squad and the Daemon prince, firing smart missiles, plasma rifles and missile pods at the squad they fell back, inflicting a number of casualties. Meanwhile the Skyray hit the Daemons infront of the Stealth Suits with two markerlights. I used these to boost the Stealth Suits shooting by +2, so with Ballistic Skill 5 they hit and wounded with all 18 shots, wiping out the Daemons while the Skyray's smart missiles killed the lone Chaos Havoc champion. The Broadsides killed one of the Obliterators and took no casualties in return (thanks shield drones!).

With the mobile elements of the Chaos army taken care of and any appearance of the Greater Daemon being restricted to two distant squads, I could safely claim both objectives on the right flank and hold him at arm's length.

By the end of the game on Turn 7, He had one objective, I had two. Ahriman and 2 plague marines were on an objective far left where the Kroot had started. The Greater Daemon had died to a torrent of plasma, missile pods and smart missiles from the Tau tank formation and battlesuits, as had the remaining plague marine squad and Daemons. The Obliterators had lost their firefight with the Broadsides who hadn't even lost a drone. As a final act of defiance, the Nurgle Daemon Prince flew across the woods and ran into the middle of my army before being promptly plasma'd into oblivion.

Once I took out the fast moving elements of his army the game turned into a long ranged firefight which he couldn't win. It was obvious from the start that he planned to engage the Tau Broadsides at range with both the Obliterators and Stealth Suits, but with the loss of his Havocs, he couldn't bring enough long range AP2 guns to bear. 18/2

40K Battle Report 3 (Part 1):

Game: Seize Ground (4 objectives)
Deployment: dawn of war
Opponent: Joshua Roberts, 4 Battlewagon Ork army

Ghazghkull Thrakka + 4 Mega Nobs with kombi-skorchers
Ork Battlewagon with grabba claw, boarding planks, armour plates and red paint job.
Big Mek with kustom forcefield + 29 boyz (2 rokkits, nob with powerclaw
Ork Battlewagon with grabba claw, boarding planks, armour plates and red paint job.
30 boyz (2 rokkits, nob with powerclaw
Ork Battlewagon with grabba claw, boarding planks, armour plates and red paint job.
10 MegaNobs
Ork Battlewagon with grabba claw, boarding planks, armour plates and red paint job.
3 Killa Kans with rokkits

Note: All the Ork Battlewagons were converted from Land Raider hulls to maximise their front armour width while blocking as much line of sight as possible.

After two big wins I found myself facing the sheer terror of Table 1!
Young Josh was borrowing a 4 Battlewagon Ork army from the bloke who won all 3 heats of the UK Grand Tournament and it was apparent from the warm up games on Friday that this army would win Carnage 2009 (and it did!). As a relatively new Tau player who can't judge ranges to save his life, I wasn't in the slightest bit confident about this game.

My friend had just played Josh with his Tau army during round 1 and was quickly wiped out. So I asked him about the game. "I got murdered" was his reply. He opened fire with all 5 of his rail guns, which were all deflected by the Big Mek's kustom force field, then he got torn apart in close combat.

To make matters worse, I would be playing the Dawn of War deployment which uses the Night Fighting rules for turn 1. With my railguns all out of range for a turn, I would be a sitting duck.

Turn 1, his 4 Ork Battlewagon wall rolled into the centre of his deployment zone with the 3 Killa Kans on the right flank, behind some trees.
Turn 1, my tanks moved 12" on to the table while my broadsides went to take up position on the rocks on my far right flank. My Stealth Suits and Tau Battle Suit teams were Deep Striking while my Kroot remained in reserve (for a desperate counter-assault). As I couldn't do any shooting, I decided to run the Tau Broadside team into the cover of the rocks.

Turn 2, the far right Battlewagon broke formation, moving through a wood and disembarking its cargo of Meganobs, ready for Ghazghkull to call the Super Waaagh (all units move six for fleet) and murder my Broadsides. Josh paused as the look of realisation of what I had just done appeared on my very concerned face.
"Good game!" I laughed and extended a handshake.
Then I paused and looked at the table. If his combination of red paint job Ork Battlewagons, disembarkation, Ghazghkull Super Waaagh and charge move can grant him a total 28" assault range there really was nothing I could do in this game. Deepstriking Battlesuits would be destroyed the moment they were in range and that's if they managed to even glance the side armour of his Ork Battlewagons. My Tau tank formation had no targets they could hurt and while they need to be hit on 6's because I always keep them moving 12", the sheer volume of powerfish attacks (and Grabba Claws on the Ork Battlewagons) would bring them down.
And I only have 1 railgun left.

I chewed my lip for a while, looked up and finally said. "I know I've fluffed it. So instead of just getting wiped out for a five turns, I'm going to concede, so you get all 20 points. Then we can play again and have a bit of a more relaxed game. Is that cool?"

Josh was quite surprised by this. It turns out that he thought I was a better player than I actually am. So he agreed to play again, but offered to show me how to beat his army. Obviously, I was very keen to know!

40K Battle Report 3 (Part 2):

Game: Seize Ground (4 objectives)
Deployment: dawn of war
Opponent: Joshua Roberts, 4 Battlewagon Ork army

Ghazghkull Thrakka + 4 Mega Nobs with kombi-skorchers
Ork Battlewagon with grabba claw, boarding planks, armour plates and red paint job.
Big Mek with kustom forcefield + 29 boyz (2 rokkits, nob with powerclaw
Ork Battlewagon with grabba claw, boarding planks, armour plates and red paint job.
30 boyz (2 rokkits, nob with powerclaw
Ork Battlewagon with grabba claw, boarding planks, armour plates and red paint job.
10 MegaNobs
Ork Battlewagon with grabba claw, boarding planks, armour plates and red paint job.
3 Killa Kans with rokkits

Turn 1, the 4 Ork Battlewagon wall rocked up again with the Killa Kans on their right flank.
Turn 1, this time the Tau deployment was very different as Josh showed me exactly where to place my units. On the right was a Tau Broadside team deployed in the very right hand corner, shielded from charges by a screen of Kroot alongside a Tau Battlesuit team which was in a perfect line along the table edge. On the left was a Tau Hammerhead deployed in the very left hand corner, next to the Skyray while two devilfish positions at funky angles prevented any charging Ork units from getting into contact with the Hammerhead or Skyray. Meanwhile another Battlesuit team was deployed in a perfect line along the left table edge. Finally, third Devilfish sat in the middle back of the deployment zone as a bait unit while the Kroot and Stealth Suits were held in reserve.

The idea behind this deployment is that should the Orks wish to attack, then they risk exposing the side and rear armour of their Battlewagons to missile pods from the Battlesuits and Railguns from both the Broadsides and Hammerhead. The 4 Ork Battlewagon army needs to stick together, which is why forming a big firebase or 'castle' in a single location never works. You have to hit them from all sides.

Then, you need units in place to deny them attacking the units which can blow up the Ork Battlewagons while having units which can counter attack.

So in this instance the Devilfish blocking the way to the Hammerhead and Skyray would keep the Orks at bay. Similarly, the Kroot wall around the Broadsides would absorb a charge for a turn, giving me an extra round of firing with the rail guns.

Turn 2, all four Ork Battlewagons drive into the middle, repositioning to face their foward armour towards the Tau railguns, but for one which has to expose its side armour to the Hammearhead's railgun.

Tau Turn 2, the Tau Battlesuits move up the flanks, firing at the Killa Kans on the left and firing at the side armour of a Battlewagon on the right with their missile pods, but to no effect.

The Skyray locks on to the land raider with its side armour exposed and hits with both Markerlights. The Broadsides then use the Markerlights to increase their Ballistic Skill to 4, hitting twice. One shot is deflected by the Big Mek's kustom force field, but the other hits home and scores a penetrating hit. +1 to the roll for an AP1 weapon and another +1 because the Ork Battlewagon is open topped. BOOM! big explosion. A couple of Orks inside get killed, then get wittled down to a handful of Boyz following fire from the Stealth team that arrives from reserve as well as the Devilfish that's been

The Hammerhead now has line of sight to the side armour of the next Battlewagon. Hits, penetrates, Josh fails the 4+ cover save and it is also destroyed, but doesn't explode.

This is where we ended the game. Because only two Ork Battlewagons remain. One with Ghazghkull + 5 Meganobs and one with the Big Mek + 29 Ork Boyz. But, this doesn't mean the Tau are going to win.

The Ork Boyz in the exploded Battlewagon wreck will be gunned down by the Devilfish (probably after they've ripped the Stealth Suits apart). The Meganobs will take a turn or two to charge the Kroot, then the Broadsides.

On the left Ghaz and his mates will charge the Tau Battlesuits or the Devilfish. Mosty likely the Battlesuits. The it's a case of the Tau trying to get in as many railgun shots as possible to down the remaining two Ork Battlewagons, then the mobile elements of the army can do their best to move away as fast as they can, incurring as few casualties as possible on the way.

So in conclusion, I was humped no matter what I did. I was going to take casualties and so would he. But I'd lose a lot more and end up with a minor loss. However, it's also worth pointing out that in the regular 5th edition tournament rules he could have simply parked his Ork Battlewagons in the middle of the board on all four objectives.

The lessons in sneaky Tau deployment were learnt, much appreciated and would be used in future battles. 0/20

40K Battle Report 4:

Game: Capture and Control
Deployment: spearhead
Opponent: Harry, 4 Chaos Marines Nurgle/Slaanesh

Daemon Prince with mark of slaanesh, Lash of Submission, wings
Sorcerer with mark of slaanesh, Lash of Submission
Greater Daemon
(X3) plague marines with 2 plasma guns and champ with powerfist in a rhino
(X2) 3 Obliterators
Defiler with extra close combat arms

I won the roll to go first, so I chose the bottom left corner with a small amount of scenery, forcing him to take the opposite corner...with just one tree! I deployed in my quarter with a crescent of Tau tanks protecting my Battlesuits and Broadsides from line of sight while the Kroot stayed in reserve and the Stealth Suits infiltrated. I was getting ready for the dual Lash effect as well as Deep Striking Obliterators.

So I was a little surprised when Harry set up his entire army in the opposite quarter with the three rhinos with plague marines (and Lash sorcerer) up front, the defiler behind, then the Obliterators around the defiler. The Daemon Prince and Greater Daemon were in reserve.

I infiltrated the Tau Stealth Suits to my right flank in order to harass his army as it advanced.

The game itself was quite short as it ended on Turn 5 and consisted of my failing to cause enough damage to his Rhinos to keep his army at a distance. He passed an ungodly amount of 4+ cover saves from either smoke launchers or terrain. As a result, Plague Marines were pouring into my line of tanks while the Sorcerer 'Lashed' my Battlesuit Command team out into the open for an unhealthy dose of plasma cannons, battle cannon and a plethora of small arms fire.

In hindsight, I should have focussed all my railguns at his transports from turn 1, then counted any smart missiles from my tanks as an extra incase they didn't do the damage. But like a fool, I was distracted by his defiler in fear for my Battlesuit teams. The defiler didn't hit once in the entire game!

By the end, I killed 5 plague marines while he wiped out my Stealth Suits, Tau Battlesuit Command team and Kroot.

I also should have kept the Stealth Suits in reserve and not charged in foolishly with the Kroot. Then I would have denied him victory points and forced a draw. Instead I suffered a minor loss. 8/12

40K Battle Report 5:

Game: Caputre and Control
Deployment: Dawn of War
Opponent: Glenn More, Eldar

Eldrad Ulthuan with 4 Warlocks armed with singing spears
Avatar of Khaine
10 dire avengers with exarch, powersword, shimmer shield, Bladestorm
Waveserpent with twin linked starcannon, spirit stones.
8 Guardians with Warlock and Bright Lance
(X2) 3 Jetbikes, shuriken cannon
5 fire dragons with exarch, fire pike, Bladestorm
Waveserpent with twin linked starcannon, spirit stones.
Wraithlord with scatter laser, sword and twin flamers
Wraithlord with starcannon and twin flamers
Fireprism with Holofield and spirit stones

As someone who used to face Eldar quite a lot, I had a good idea on the ins and outs of this army. Although I have to say that it's one of the toughest looking Eldar lists I've seen in a long time. I had to wonder that if it got up to the top tables, could it give the 4 Ork Battlewagon army a run for its money?

The only thing I didn't know about was Eldard Ulthuan, who it turns out is a super farseer with all the powers, can cast three powers per turn and has a power weapon which wounds on 2+. I knew from playing Eldar before that I can ignore the Avatar and just stay away, ignore the Wraithlord and just stay away. And considering how tough the seer council was, I'd ignore them too!

Glenn won the roll to go first, choosing the table edge near him. Woodland was evenly scattered across the board, so it made little difference. He deployed Eldrad with seer council 24" on, along with the two jetbike squads.

A big grin split my face. They would ALL DIE on the first turn that my army rocked up and opened fire while his army and all its guns would be well out of range. Maybe I need to work on my poker face, because Glenn quickly realised his mistake when I deployed nothing before hastily rolled for Eldrad's "reposition D3 units power", rolling a 5 and moving Eldard and jetbikes back into his deployment zone.

Turn 1, his army moved on to the board, occupying the right flank. Eldrad, the Wraithlords and the Avatar occupied the middle, followed by the Wave Serpents to their right and then the Guardians and Fireprism on the far right corner, flanked by the Eldar jetbikes which zoomed forward behind some woods. Meanwhile the second squad of Eldar jetbikes zoomed into a similar position on the left flank.

The game was very quick and only lasted 5 Turns, much to my disappointment.
The Stealth Team moved on to the right flank, engaging the Eldar Jetbikes with their burst cannons, alongside the Skyray which fired markerlights into the Eldar transports from the relative safety of being close, but not too close to the main Eldar army. The Kroot sat in some woods to the left of the Skyray for the whole game and constantly went to ground whenever the Wraithlords shot at them for a 2+ cover save. Meanwhile, the rest of the Tau army concentrated its forces on the far left flank, maximising its range with railguns, missile pods and a wall of Devilfish pumping out 12 smart missile shots per turn.

The Eldar Wave Serpents seemed impervious to the missile pods, although it didn't help that my Broadsides and Hammerhead were distracted by the Fireprism when they should have been firing at the transports which were a higher priority. It seemed that I hadn't learned anything from my earlier game at this point. As a result, the Waveserpents were able to close in with my Devilfish Wall that my Tau Battlesuits were hiding behind.

Fire Dragons disembarked and a Devilfish exploded while Dire Avengers disembarked and Blade Stormed the nearby Tau Battlesuit team armed with burst cannons and missile pods, killing both shield drones and wounding a Battlesuit.

Retaliation was swift with the Hammerhead blowing the starcannons off one of the Wave Serpents while the Skyray targeted the other with both Markerlights, allowing the Broadsides to score two penetrating hits which destroyed the skimmer.

the Tau Battlesuit Commander team wiped out the Fire Dragons while the other Tau Battlesuit team and reamining Devilfish opened fire on the Dire Avengers in cover while moving away.
Next turn,

The Dire Avengers lost a few of their number, but held their ground, using Fleet of Foot to charge the Battlesuit team with burst cannon and missile pods, slaughtering them, then moving 1" for their consolidate move. Caught between a Devilfish, 6 Fire Warriors, Tau Battlesuit Command team and Broadsides they died quite spectacularly. Meanwhile combined fire from the other Devilfish and Hammerhead killed the jetbike squad on the left flank.

When the game ended on Turn 5, I had lost a Battlesuit squad. Glenn had lost a Wave Serpent, a Jetbike squad, the Fire Dragons and Dire Avengers. I was just a mere handful of points away from getting a Minor Win. Had the game continued, his Avatar who had foolishly run into the open would have been fired upon en masse, earning me 150pts and securing a vicory, but it was not to be.

Looking back at the game, I did everything right, but for my target priority. I should have been firing at his Waveserpents and ignoring the Fire Prism with my railguns to ensure their destruction and keep his troops at a distance. Once again I feared for my Tau Battlesuits, even though he constantly hit and failed to penetrate my Hammerhead every turn. Had he actually hit the Tau Battlesuits, they probably would have saved most of the wounds anyway. So in the end, I was scared of a lascannon/plasma cannon weapon. The game ended with a draw 10/10

40K Battle Report 6:

Game: Annihilation
Deployment: Spearhead
Opponent: Steve Pearce, Daemons

Keeper of Secrets
Tzeentch Daemon Prince with Daemonic Breath
Slannesh Prince with Daemonic Strength
the Masque of Slaanesh
10 Blood letters
15 Daemonettes
10 Daemonettes
3 Flamers
15 Plaguebearers
6 Fiends
6 Seekers

I've never played against Daemon with my Tau before. But I knew from the start that he had lots of troops with low toughness and low armour saves. I quickly quizzed him on the stats and abilities of all the units in his army and we get playing.

Steve won the roll and opted to go first, choosing the top right corner, restricting me to the bottom left corner, hemmed in by woods and a large ruin.

So deploying everything by the Stealth Suits, Kroot and Broadsides in my deployment zone, I awaited for his first turn of deepstriking and opened fire. The wall of Tau Tanks formation swept around 12" to the left, moving around terrain and spraying smart missiles at the Seekers of Slaanesh, Bloodletters and Daemonettes that landed in or around cover. The Masque scattered and landed on the right flank while the Fiends of Slaanesh scattered and landed on top of her. Steve rolled a 4 for their Deepstrike Mishap, which allowed me to place them wherever I liked...which was naturally in the far right hand corner, miles away from everything.

Tau firepower from the three Devilfish, Hammerhead, Skyray and two Tau Battlesuit teams wiped out the Bloodletters and Seekers, but only killed a single Daemonette who gained a 4+ cover save from the woods.

Turn 2, Steve's Keeper of Secrets Deep Striked next to the Daemonettes, the Flamers of Tzeentch Deep Striked and scattered, landing just between the Keeper of Secrets and the Daemonettes, flaming the Hammerhead and knocking the smart missiles off. The Daemon Prince Deep Striked next to the Tau Devilfish leading the sweeping wall while another squad of Daemonettes Deep Striked into the ruins my Tau Tanks were moving around, losing 5 of the 15 models in the process.

The 8 Daemonettes to the right of my Tau Tank formation charged the Hammerhead, scoring a single rending hit which penetrated and immobilised the tank. It was at this point I realised just how badly I'd boxed myself in. Trapped in the corner behind a huge chunk of ruins, surrounded by monstrous creatures and fast moving, rending daemons, I realised that I should have just held everything in reserve and moved units on at my leisure to counter his squishy troops from angles that would deny his cover saves.

But, making the most of a bad situation, the Kroot, Stealth Suits and Broadsides arrived! They walked on to the far right flank, gunning down The Masque who was out in the open before the Broadsides knocked a wound off the Keeper of Secrets.

The Tau Battlesuits continued to follow the Tau tank formation, which left the immobilised Hammerhead behind while a Devilfish parked alongside it to prevent the Daemons from easily pursuing the Battlesuits.

The Battlesuits with burst cannon and missile pod, Hammerhead and Devilfish wiped out the Daemonettes in the ruins. Meanwhile the Skyray and other two Devilfish cruised up to the Slaanesh Daemon prince, disembarking the Fire Warriors who combined their rapid firing pulse rifles with the smart missiles of their transport, tearing the Daemon Prince apart in a hail of energy bolts and exploding missiles. With that the Tau Battlesuit Commander team ran to the far left, behind the Devilfish transport, with the second Tau Battlesuit team close by as they used their jet packs to jump away from any Daemonettes using Fleet of Foot should the Hammerhead or Devilfish to their right explode.

The Daemonettes tear the Devilfish apart, then consolidate into the wreck. The disembarking Fire Warriors break and flee.
The Keeper of Secrets destroys the Hammerhead in close combat.

The Tzeentch Daemon Prince Deep Strikes near the Stealth Suits, but scatters on to them. Steve rolls a 6 on the Mishap Table and the Daemon Prince goes back in reserve.
15 Plaguebearers Deep Strike between the Skyray, Devilfishes and Tau Battlesuits.

In my turn, the Devilfishes and Battlesuits move to the top left corner of the table, the Fire Warriors disembark and as many rounds as possibly pump into the Plague Bearers with the ballistic skill of the Fire Warriors boosted by markerlights from the Skyray which flees to the centre of the board. Steve passes an ungodly number of 5+ invunerable saves and only a single Plague Bearer dies.

The Fiends of Slaanesh move forward, roll 6 for their Fleet of Foot and are 1 milimetre in range of a single Kroot from the Kroot squad. They all get wiped out and the Fiends consolidate towards the Stealth Suits.

Finally, with no route of escape, the Tau Battlesuit team with burst cannons and missile pods opens fire on the Flamers, getting ready to charge them. The Flamers all die, leaving the Battlesuits staring at 9 daemonettes. I jumped the Tau Battlesuits straight over the Daemonettes, landing between them and the Devilfish wreck. The Tau Battlesuits will die anyway, but I don't want to give them extra movement to go chase down the rest of my army.

Steve's next turn seals my fate.
The Tzeentch Daemon Prince Deep Strikes infront of my Devilfishes, Firewarriors and Tau Battlesuit Commander team and casts his breath attack, killing two Fire Warriors and inflicting two wounds on the Battlesuit team. I take one on a battlesuit and one on a drone. This forces a morale check of 9 on 2D6, which I fail. The Battlesuits fall back 15" safely away from harm. But wait! They can't pass within 1" of an enemy model when falling back or they die. Caught between the table edge and the Plague Bearers they had nowhere to run, so they all died. Just when I was going to kill the Daemon Prince with them as well.

At the same time, the Keep of Secrets used Fleet of Foot to charge the Skyray. While I know I forgot about the Flamers moving like jump troops, I don't recall the Keeper of Secrets having Fleet of Foot. Thankfully she failed to roll a 6 to hit.

My Turn (please let the game end!) The Fire Warriors get back into the Devilfish and try to escape the Daemon Prince of Tzeentch. The skimmers open fire, inflicting a single wound. The Skyray falls moves 12" away from the Keeper of Secrets so she can only hit on a 6+, while aiming its markerlights at the Fiends, but misses with both. The smart missiles managed to wound one of the Fiends.

The Broadsides fire at the Keeper of Secrets, failing to remove her last wound.
The Stealth Suits fire at the Fiends, killing two of them.

The Fiends tear the Stealth Suits apart, then consolidate towards the Broadsides.
The Keeper of Secrets charges the Skyray again, failing to hit again.
The Tzeentch Daemon Prince destroys a Devilfish in close combat, but the Fire Warriors bail out safely and do not flee.
The Plague Bearers pick their noses.

The Skyray backs away from the Keeper of Secrets, firing both markerlights into the Fiends which are used by the Broadsides to fire their smart missiles. All hitting on 2+ I score eight hits, killing two Fiends. A single Fiend on one wound remains.
The Skyray and remaining Devilfish fire at their smart missiles at the Keeper of Secrets, finally killing her.

The game carries on for another turn.
The Fiend charges the Broadsides, causing two wounds which are saved before being killed by the Sheild Drone.
The Tzeentch Daemon Prince is out of range.
The Plague Bearers stare aimlessly.
The Tau Tanks and Broadsides fire at the Plague Bearers, but fail to inflict any wounds.

While I made a valiant attempt to drag the game back, my deployment really let me down. One thing I hate about Spearhead is how it forces you into a corner, which isn't good for Tau and in this instance, Steve who was used to playing Tau knew he could wedge my tanks in between two big chunks of terrain by choosing the opposite quarter. So in hindsight, to make use of my entire deployment zone, I should have kept the entire army in reserve. Or perhaps deployed a couple of tanks on the flanks to get some early shots in before the rest of the army arrived en masse. Something to consider for next time.

7 Kill Points to me + everything I killed
9 Kill Points to Steve + everything he killed.
Steve wins by over 400pts, scoring a Minor win. 8/12

Carnage 2009 Tournament Points

With all 6 games of Warhammer 40K complete, I had earned 64 points in total with another 30 'soft points' acquired from having a fully painted army with squad markings as well as a typed up army list and army background. This gave me a total of 94 points, putting me in 11th position. Considering how badly I fluffed the last game, I was pleasantly suprised. At least I beat Michael Bolton (lol). Although I have to point out that Joshua Roberts, nice lad that he is, shouldn't have got any points for his army painting because he was borrowing someone else's army.

Still, it was a great tournament with a fantastic group of enthusiastic gamers, even if the trophies looked like a slab of MDF this year. The lasagne served up by the Warhammer World cantine was mighty fine as well.

But what did I learn from my six games and my reflections in the battle reports posted here? Please bear in mind that I've been writing this all up since Monday, so I've had quite a lot of time to juggle the various Tau tactics in my head, the things I did, the tricks that worked, the attempts that failed and the rather pleasing notion that not once did the dice abandon me, which goes to show that I was relying on my tactics with the Tau rather than my luck with them.

New Tau Tactics

The first new Tau tactic I learned was the Tau tank formation. I know I scoffed at this some time ago, but forming a wall of three Devilfish, then hiding your Tau Battlesuits behind it is understandabley a popular Tau tactic when you consider how many plasma cannons, plasma guns and general low AP weaponry I was facing.

Tau Tank Wall Tactics
Tau tanks are also suprisingly difficult to kill. I never imagined that a wall of armour 12 would be quite so intimidating, but when you consider that this wall moves 12", can put out a high number of Strength 5 shots, can only be hit in close combat on a 6 and has Tau Battlesuits hiding behind it, you can see why it's so effective.

If you want to shoot it at long range, you're not diminishing the Tau army's firepower by much and that's if you get through the armour 12, through the Disruption Pods and then cause enough damage.

It was only by my 5th game that I truly mastered the Tau tank formation and Tau Battlesuits when I played Glenn with his Eldar.

But I was once again let down by my poor target priority. I've had to accept that being shot at from afar is fine so long as there are fast closing targets about to swarm you with bodies. Destroy those, then yes, it's time for a long ranged firefight and we all know who the kings of long range are with their range 72" Srength 10, AP1 railguns.

Tau Stealth Suits
As a harassing unit the Tau Stealth Suits were great out on the flanks, wittling down vulnerable units and shooting vehicles in the side armour. Combined with markerlights from the Skyray there devastating against the Chaos Havocs in game 2.

Tau Skyray
Speaking of which, the Skyray was the unsung hero of many a game. Because people rarely see one, they ignore it. After all, what can an armour 13 tank with two markerlights and a smart missile system do? It's just a glorified Devilfish. Or so they thought! In game 1 against the Witch Hunters its markerlights were instrumental in taking out transports and a land raider. In game 2 the marklerlights were key to wiping out the Chaos Havocs. In game 3 (part 2) they were key to knocking down the cover save on the Ork Battlewagons while boosing the Tau Broadside's abilities to hit. Game 4 wasn't so good, but then none of my guns seemed to do anything. Game 5 the markerlights helped the Broadsides to destroya Waves Serpent and stun the Fireprism. Game 6 the markerlights helped me to wipe out hordes of daemons (despite Steve having made a pact with the devil to pass so many 5+ invulnerable saves). All the while, the Skyray took lascannons, bright lances and swipes from a Greater Daemon, but kept on rolling.

Would Pathfinders have survived so well? Probably not. More markerlights from the Pathfinders, but I'd be less likely to benefit from them throughout the game. I still have to playtest my Pathfinders.

Tau Broadside Battlesuits
Tau Broadsides were fantastic as always, doing what they do best, which is being an unmoveable rock with railguns. Even when charged by plague marines (oops) or Fiends of Slaanesh they didn't care.

Tau Hammerhead Battle Tank
The Hammerhead did alright. I only used the submunition round once to kill some daemonettes huddled in cover during game 6 and another time to kill some Storm Troopers in game 1. The rest of the time it was solid slug from its railgun, which put an end to an Ork Battlewagon, blew up a couple of Rhinos, stunned a Fire Prism and generally missed more times than it hit. But I didn't suffer when it missed, so that was alright.

Tau Battlesuits
The Tau Battlesuit Commander and his bodyguard were the most feared unit in my army. They wiped out a marine squad when they deepstriked and rapid fired during game 1. They killed a Greater Daemon, Daemon Prince and plenty of Plage Marines in game 2, plus many more massacres in games 5 and 6.

The plasma rifles were the weapon of fear, hitting on 3+, then backed up by the missile pods for some high strength hits that were often not saved, finishing off whatever monstrous creature, light vehicle or squad they were shooting at. Sometimes I boosted their ballistic skill with a marker light to make sure every shot hit and I wiped out a high threat unit in a single round of fire.

The other Tau Battlesuit team didn't fair so well. Quite often they ended up with the dirty work, like charging in and being sacrificed for the Greater Good. They were woefully weak compared to the Tau Battlesuit Command team. I can now see why a number of 5th edition Tau players give some of the Battlesuits twin linked flamer and missile pod. Not only is the twin linked flamer a very big deterent when you're hiding behind a wall of Tau tanks, but there were 2 instances when this weapon would have inflicted massive casualties against Dire Avengers in game 4 and Daemonettes in game 5. There wasn't a single instance when the burst cannon proved its worth.

Finally, the Kroot performed admirably in their usual roll as fodder. Apart from baiting a Wraithlord for the entirety of game 5, which was hilarious, they mostly sat in a wood and went to ground for fear of getting shot, breaking or being charged. They provided a meat screen in game 3 part 2 against the Orks, but that was about it.

Tau Army List Changes

I have to say that playing a 1750 points Tau army was a big change for me. But if I had to go back down to 1500 points, I would instantly drop the Tau Battlesuit team with burst cannons and missile pods as well as the Kroot. They both underperformed in the tournament and I quite honestly could have made do perfectly well without them.

Overall, I'm very happy with the army and how it played in all the games. The only real flaws were down to my own inexperience, either because I'm still learning all tricks the Tau have to offer or because I play the same handful of local players. But when it comes to a tournament the variety of armies is so massive it wasn't suprising that I only knew how one of my opponents armies worked. The rest all had an unpleasant surprise or two in store for me.

By the end of the tournament I was seriously contemplating either a Chaos Space Marines or Eldar army as an alternative to the Tau (a guy needs a break). But now that I've spent a couple of days writing all this up, the Tau still have a real hold on me. If only because I want a Tau Battlesuit team with twin linked flamers and missile pods. I've managed to find the space for three more Tau Battlesuits in my case, so stay tuned for another amazing Tau Battlesuit weapons conversion for a twin linked flamer.

Final Words
I received a lot of complimentary remarks about my Tau army at the Carnage tournament. Many people not only liked the clean painting, but my army list as well. Even a couple of the more competitive players contemplated bringing their Tau armies off the shelf and back on to the table top.

It's also worth noting that I found claiming and contesting objectives much easier with this army list. So perhaps the Tau aren't so bad in 5th edition Warhammer 40K after all?

Stay tuned for new tactics, Tau Battlesuit conversions and Warhammer 40K battle reports!

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Warhammer Tau is a group of wargamers who feel that they have a little something different to offer other Tau Empire, Kroot, and allied players... even if it's just a starting point for discussion! Our goal is to produce at least one article per week to inform and encourage the Tau and Warhammer gamer community. For the Greater Good, of course!

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