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 armyTau 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
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
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.
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