New 40K Orks VS Tau

April 29, 2009 ·

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.


Anthony Yeates said...
April 29, 2009 at 9:34 AM  

I usally take a AFP on my Shas'el, along with Twin-Linked Missle Pods, and a single sheild drone to take some hits for him. I usally use him on the flanks, sniping side armour and closing in to shred exposed infantry. I've found it very effective against guard and even had some sucess with it againt Nurgle Daemons.

Raptor1313 said...
April 29, 2009 at 10:18 AM  

The thing I do like about going second in Dawn of War is that you get to react to enemy deployment. Since your army is a bit more agile than his (everyone can bust out a 12" move, either through vehicles or jump-shoot-jump) you can claim good positions. Granted, you don't get first shot, but you might be able to minimize return fire.

Nuking his Lootas is, as you said, your priority. However, if you can KO 7-8 in a turn (difficult, but possible) and cut him down to below 10, he's no longer fearless and there's a chance they'll run off the board. Once they're gone, he's got NOTHING on your tanks but punching them out. Shoot his transports out from under him, and he's pretty much done.

Though if I read your batrep correctly, he put a Big Mek in with the Lootas. The advantage to this is he gets a Bosspole in there. Bosspoles let the unit wearing them inflict a wound on the unit to re-roll that morale check. Doesn't always work, but it's something to consider.

I'm not so sure about the AFP, though. Against footslogging orks, it's not bad, but against Mech Orks it's a bit worse.

Also, some fun math on Orkoid Charge Range...12" vehicle move + 1" for 'red paint' equipment + 2" disembark + 6" assault = 19" potential assault range. With a Waagh move, it's 19+d6, which gets

Also on his Lootas, that's why my Ork-playing buddy brings about 3 cubes of dice and a huge box to roll 'em in. 15 Lootas can crank out 45 shots on a good day (though that's only 15 hits). Sounds like they shot well.

Tim M said...
May 4, 2009 at 2:04 PM  

Ahh, as an Ork and Tau player this battle report hurts! And I really feel for your opponent, as my big mek has been telly-ported into tanks, termies, and to him... buy a power klaw!
As for your tactics, they were very sound. Altho not known for shooting well, lootas can put out an amazing amount fire. I rarely play a game of 1500 or more points without 10 plus.

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