40K Battle Reports from Carnage 2009

April 2, 2009 ·

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.

Kroot
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!

16 comments:

Equinox said...
April 2, 2009 at 10:31 AM  

This was by far, one of the best tournament recaps I have ever read.

Carnage sounds like a blast!

Vandhir said...
April 2, 2009 at 12:55 PM  

An interesting read and I'm very much looking forward to taking my Tau army to the battlefield.

Dylan said...
April 2, 2009 at 3:35 PM  

Thanks for your share.
but how dit your fire warriors preform? where they usefull?
or can you better use the points for other options?

CJ said...
April 2, 2009 at 4:35 PM  

Holy Crap,

That's one very impressive tournament recap. I have to say that even though it was a full 6 game report It was a very good read!

by the sound of it you had a good run with the tau even though facing some very tough opponents (Ork list is just wrong, and those conversions where very questionable)you did pretty good. Like most first tournament reports I've read you had a lot of trouble trying to get to grips with all the different armies and thier strengths and weaknesses (Target-priority). But as is everything in this game experience will get you where you need to be.

Further more you had a great test run with your new armylist, and from reading the reports I would seriously consider getting those 3 other battle suits and even though they are a heck of a lot of fun maybe drop the Kroot for some more fire warriors or maybe some Fusiongun piranha's (those are like melta's right?).

But thanks a lot for sharing this great report, it must have taken you a lot of time and energy to write this all up. And even without the pictures it was very clear.

Cheers CJ

Kelly said...
April 2, 2009 at 7:13 PM  

Reading your battlereport I was going to mention that if you get the option to place fiends of slannesh, put them in the middle of your army where you can shoot them up before they get the chance to move. It's only the really option since they are blistering fast with fleet and a 12" charge. Pretty much anywhere else you put them, they are on you in 1-2 turns with furious assault and gobs of attacks.

Adam Hunter said...
April 2, 2009 at 11:55 PM  

DYLAN
My FireWarriors sat in the Devilfish, apart from when more firepower was needed. 36 extra shots comes in handy.

CJ
No one takes Piranhas to tournaments because they give away 2 kill points

KELLY
On turn 1 all my firepower was dedicated to wiping out the bloodletters, daemonettes and seekers. I was only able to kill the seekers and bloodletters, leaving the daemonettes. So I did the right thing having already expended all my firepower.

CJ said...
April 3, 2009 at 12:32 AM  

Ok sorry I didn't know that piranhas were worth 2 KP.(Not a Tau player myself)

Cheers CJ

jabberjabber said...
April 3, 2009 at 1:15 AM  

Superb battle summaries and great photos - thank you for taking the time to get all the detail down.

"Plaguebearers picking their noses" - what a great line! :)

suneokun said...
April 3, 2009 at 3:56 PM  

Really enjoyable tournament synopsis. Not bad for the army ranked 13th on BoLs. I'm definitely going to follow you down the road of Devilfish and SkyRay. The 'heat' signature on these vehicles just gives them low priority for the enemy while they actually provide an invaluable job. Additionally, I like the way in which you use the Seeker missiles up and then focus the skyray like a big fat pathfinder while whizzing about as fast as possible (markerlights are defensive anyhow) and playing chicken with the enemy.

It nice to see a Tau force without the predictable 2 hammerhead, no stealthsuit approach.

Great work.

Anonymous said...
April 21, 2009 at 2:53 AM  

The Ork Armylist can't be correct.. there can be max 20 Boyz in a Battlewagon...and if I try to rebuild the list I calculate 1850 points? (even with 2x20 boyz instead of 29 and 30)

Anonymous said...
May 28, 2009 at 1:26 PM  

This was a great read. I'm fairly new back to 40k (I last played in 3rd ed).

Foolishly I've decided to try my hand at a tournament (a real case of running before I can walk!) and my only hope of having any clue at all is reading stuff like this online, so big thanks.

If anyone can point me towards some good chaos marine tactics I'd be even happier :)

Anthony said...
August 17, 2009 at 5:11 AM  

There are definately a few changes you could make to your list one of which is the Twin flamers and missle pod suits. Another is droping kroot for more fire warriors or ninja like tactics. Positional relay has been my friend ever since I played Tau (even more so now you can reserve anything you want). Combine that with maybe some pathfinders for the Beacon and you can have accurate deepstiking units which could pop tanks or just wreak havoc. You and many others have inspired my Tau of today the list is still in need of some tweaking but packs one hell of a punch with the 2 Rail heads, 4 warfish, 3 broadsides,6 battlesuits, 1 Shas O, 18 fire warriors, and 4 little pathfinders.

Lunius said...
March 24, 2010 at 5:51 PM  

Hey Adam, I'm about to save up to get my hands on some Tau units to start off, what do you suggest I go for? I'm thinking maybe just some fire soldiers at first, then getting a Hammerhead and then a battlehost, but I'm not sure what way to go...

For the Greater Good,
Lunius

Adam said...
March 24, 2010 at 11:19 PM  

Start with a Battleforce as it gives you plenty to play with from the off. Then you can add to and refine it as you go.

Graham said...
November 17, 2011 at 6:51 PM  

I find my kroot do great against chaos space marines. I like to assault and tie up their units as they come close, since kroot get 3 ws4 and st4 attacks on the assault, which do a lot of damage for 7 points per model. I am in the process of adding a second Kroot unit to my army list.

Secondly, I find shield drones too often cause expensive crisis units to fall back, so I've opted to run my commander and three crisis suits each by themselves with no shield drones in my 1500pt army (no stealth suits so 3 elite slots). Each crisis is a shas'vre, but not TL, with tageting array, HW BS filter, and HW multi-tracker. I'm testing different combinations of weapons, but usually either fushion and plasma, or plasma and missle pod. Worked out to 85 pts each, and no risk of falling back. You can also keep them together and have them act as a unit, but bait assaulting squads with one, while running the others away.

With a highly mechanized army like yours, flechette discharges would be a valuable addition to your devilfish and skyray that risk being assaulted.

Thank you for this writeup, your tactics learned from the ork battle will help me immensely against fast moving assault armies. Overall a great read! Keep it up

Porthos said...
December 20, 2014 at 1:40 AM  

Have just read and re-read this and although I'm a few years off, thanks so much for such a write-up! I'm getting back to my own Tau but don't get many games so your experiences against a variety of opposition are really informative; the post tournament unit appraisals are invaluable. Out go the burst cannons!

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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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