Tau Golden Demon

May 30, 2009 · 3 comments

Golden Demon Baltimore 2009 results are in. One which caught my eye is this amazing Tau golden demon diorama. I can't believe such a dynamic scene only won silver!

I laughed when I saw the Tau Piranha doomed to crash and burn while the Tau crew are being torn apart by a Tyranid Lictor. The guy in the back seat is brilliant too as black smoke belches from one of the engine pods. They're going down fast and it's not going to end well...not for the driver anyway. Of course, the Lictor is going to leap clear before the crash and probably be alright...or make a large purple splatter along with the plumeting Tau Piranha as it explodes on impact.

Brilliant scene which tells a story, but only gets Silver. Ah well.

If you can't tell, I love/hate Lictors. Awesome models, loads of character, but a real nightmare for any Tau player, unless you chuck a load of stuff in terrain in the centre and just sit there to make sure it doesn't appear amongst your forces.
I need to call up Munky for another game against his Tyranids.

you can see all the Games Day Baltimore Golden Demon winners here.

Note: Yes, the link does work. Just select your country and it will show take you to the right page. Damn GW and their silly redirect.

Imperial Guard: Game 2

May 29, 2009 · 11 comments

May 29, 2009

The Imperial Guard may be the latest codex, but this doesn't mean the Imperial Guard cannot be beaten!

The new Imperial Guard codex gives the Guard cheaper men, cheaper tanks, lots more units and Orders.

Since Imperial Guard game 1, it has been confirmed that Imperial Guard vehicle squadrons are cannot receive Orders.

There are also some other Imperial Guard rules which Marc clarified since our last game -not that I can actually remember them now. I think I'll have to actually buy an Imperial Guard codex of my own for future reference.

Like so many of the current Warhamemr 40K armies, beating the new Imperial Guard army requires some thought. Simply sitting in cover and outshooting them is no longer an option thanks to their reduced costs and special Orders. Instead, you have to play on the Imperial Guard army's weaknesses, which is numbers over mobility and the poor quality of their troops. But more on this in a moment.

On 40K Bank Holiday Monday I played James with his Ravenwing and achieved an unprecidented win in a mission I have always struggled with previously by putting my entire Tau Warhammer army in reserve.

This put me in good practice for my second game against the Imperial Guard.
However, Marc's Imperial Guard army was back and this time it was even more disgusting than before.

Thankfully we'd cleared up the bit about Imperial Guard tank squadrons not being able to receive Orders. But now that his army had a Sanctioned Psyker squad and the Leman Russ squadron had been refitted with a trio of Vanquisher cannons to add to the horde of infantry with a lascannon fetish.

The Imperial Guard were horribly biased towards killing Tau tanks at long range and looking at his list, I felt that there was no way I could win this game. He even went so far as to take a Devildog when he could have simply taken a Hellhound and removed 'some' suspicion that he'd grossly tailored his army to destroying mine.

Convinced that I had no chance against his Imperial Guard army, I began formulating my plan and took my 1500 points Tau army as always.


The Tau Empire Strikes Back

Game: Capture & Control
Deployment: Dawn of War
Opponent: Marc Cook, Imperial Guard

Command Squad with master of the fleet and lascannon team. All have camo cloaks.

10 Sanctioned Psykers

Infantry Platoon 1:
command group with lascannon team
10 Imperial Guard with lascannon team and melta gun
10 Imperial Guard with lascannon team and melta gun

Infantry Platoon 2:
command group with lascannon team
10 Imperial Guard with lascannon team and melta gun
10 Imperial Guard with lascannon team and melta gun

Devildog with heavy bolter

Leman Russ Tank Squadron:
Tank Commander Special Character (whose name I forget)
Leman Russ Vanquisher with lacannon hull and heavy bolter sponsons
Leman Russ Vanquisher with lacannon hull and heavy bolter sponsons
Leman Russ Vanquisher with lacannon hull and heavy bolter sponsons

Marc won the roll, choosing the side with the most terrain and placed his base counter to my right flank, inside a building.
Meanwhile, I placed my base counter in the centre of my deployment zone, right at the back, on the edge of a building.

When it came to deployment he put down 2 Imperial Guard infantry squads as stated in the rulebook. However, it is important to note that the Codex ALWAYS overrides the rule book unless stated in otherwise in an FAQ. So this meant that Marc could continue to deploy his entire Imperial Guard platoons as single troop choices for the mission set up.

Pleased at this, he deployed his infantry units evenly across his deployment zone, sticking to the cover of the buildings. He placed 2 command teams in the Chaos Temple at the centre of the board so they would be in cover and within 12" of his squads to issue Orders. Meanwhile, he placed the Imperial Guard Commander and his squad in the building further to the right flank on top of the objective. Presumably this was because of the 3+ cover saves granted to them by their camo cloaks, or rather, 2+ if they Go To Ground.

Meanwhile the Leman Russ squadron, Devildog and Sanctioned Psykers would arrive on the 1st turn.

I chose to hold everything in reserve, which some might say was madness because of his Master of the Fleet, which would delay my reserves by subtracting 1 from my dice rolls. In actual fact, I was counting on this to keep as many units off the table for as long as possible. I also announced that my Tau Battlesuit teams would be Deep Striking.

The Imperial Guard infantry remained in position, awaiting the arrival of the Tau. The Leman Russ Vanquisher squadron rolled on from my left flank, between two of the ruined buildings, while the Devildog moved down the centre, towards the Chaos Temple. Finally, the Sanctioned Psykers came on behind the Imperial Guard Command squad and hid behind the building.

Turn 2
The Imperial Guard held position.
The Leman Russ Vanquishers continued to rumble forward, as did the Devildog, which parked up behind the Chaos Temple.

I rolled for my reserves, needing a 5+ to bring Tau units on to the table. I prayed that nothing would show up until next turn, but I was not so lucky. 1 Tau Devilfish carrying 6 Tau Firewarriors and my Tau Battlesuit command team armed with plasma rifles and missile pods arrived.

With nowhere safe to go, I moved the Tau Devilfish alongside a building on the right flank, opposite the Imperial Guard Commander and his squad. The Tau Firewarriors disembarked and run up the levels of the building, taking up positions in the windows to fire at the Imperial Commander next turn. In the meantime, the Devilfish fired its smart missile system at one of the Imperial Guard command teams in the Chaos Temple, killing two of the Imperial guardsmen, but the command team held their ground.

Meanwhile I had my Tau Battlesuit command team to Deepstrike in. I could land them behind the Leman Russs squdron (risky) or on the right flank, besides the Imperial Commander and his squad in the building. As it was a safer place to land, I went for the latter, rolling a HIT on the scatter dice.

Their firepower would be a waste against the Imperial Commander or the Psykers, so they fired their missile pods at the side armour of the Devildog, stunning the crew and preventing it from moving or shooting next turn.

The stunned Devildog fired its smoke launchers.

The Leman Russ squadron continued their advance, sighting the Tau Battlesuit team from around the ruins and combined their fire with the Imperial Guard Commander's squad and the Sanctioned Psykers.

Now this is where I was very lucky. Because when Marc had explained what the Psykers combined power "Soul Storm" does, he said it was a range 36" strength 10 hit. Not quite true. It's the same strength as the number of models in the Sanctioned Spsyker squadron (although it can be reduced togive -1 to leadership checks for every point of strength sacrificed) and has a Large Blast Template. Not only that, by the AP value is D6. Wish I'd know that BEFORE I Deep Striked my Tau Battlesuits there.

So 1-3, I'd have to rely on cover saves or 4-6 I'd get my regular 3+ save. Luckily Marc rolled the latter.

From the mass of fire, I lost both shield drones and a Tau Battlesuit bodyguard took a wound. Then I had to take a Leadership test on -2 because the Psykers had hit me with a Strength 8 shot. I passed the Leadership roll.

Finally, every other lascannon on the board was aimed at the Tau Devilfish, with two shots hitting, one deflected by the disruption pod and the other immobilising the vehicle. Not a worry, I didn't plan to move it anyway.

This time the Tau Skyray and Hammerhead heavy support tanks arrived and stopped alongside the recently immobilised Devilfish.

The Skyray targetted the now active Devildog with its markerlights, hitting twice.

(Marc insisted he should get a cover save against markerlights. Sorry, but no, you don't. Please clarify this in an FAQ to stop arguments GW and at the same time make the smart missile system doesn't-need-line-of-sight-rule deny cover saves against models not actually IN cover, just hidden BEHIND it.)

The Hammerhead locked on to the markerlights with its railgun, using +1 to hit and -1 to the Devildog's cover save. So hitting on 2+, glancing on a 2 and Marc rolling to save on a 5+.

The slug hits, glances and I roll a 5. -2 for a glance, +1 for an AP1 weapon and the total is 4: Immobilised.

The Tau Firewarriors in the building fire through the ruins to 1 Sanctioned Psyker they can see, killing him.

Meanwhile their Devilfish continues to fire at the Imperial Guard command team in the Chaos Temple, inflicting another wound, but the squad doesn't break.

The Tau Battlesuit Commander and Bodyguard move forward and are clearly within charge range of the Imperial Commander and his squad or the Sanctioned Psykers.

Now had Marc given his Imperial Guard Commander a power sword, I'd have been reluctant to charge him. Meanwhile the Sanctioned Psykers come with a laspistol and close combat weapon. I didn't want to shoot either of them for fear of living myself outside of combat and exposed to another round of shooting. So I took the chance to charge the Imperial Commander, if only to delay any special Orders for a turn or two while my Battlesuits sold their lives dearly.

In the close combat little happened with the Imperial Guard Commander sustaining a single wound and the squad held their ground.

Rather than charge the Sanctioned Psykers into close combat, Marc moved them to take aim at the Firewarrior squad in the building, mustering their powers to inflict a Strength 6 attack with -4 Leadership in an attempt to make the squad flee off the table. The attack missed completely.

I did wonder if Marc was going easy on me at this point when he could have torn my Tau Battlesuits to shreds in close combat.

In a way I wish he had. Not only because those Tau Battlesuits did nothing else for the rest of the game, but because my next turn would have been equally, if not more devastating because of it.

His tanks and lascannons fired en masse at the Skyray, either finding that they had no line of sight due to intervening models, terrain or that they were out of range. Pask's vanquisher cannon hit home, but was delfected by the Skyray's disruption pod.

Meanwhile the combat between the Imperial Commander's squas and the Tau Commander Battlesuit team raged with both sides losing a single wound and the combat ending in a draw, but now the Tau Battlesuits were outnumbered.

This turn the two remaining Tau Devilfish and the Tau Broadsides arrived as well as the Tau Battlesuit team armed with twin linked flamers and missile pods who Deep Striked on to the battlefield.

The Tau Broadsides walked on to the right flank behind the Hammerhead while the Devilfish took up positions around the objective in the centre of my deployment zone. The one to the left of the building disembarked its Tau Firewarrior squad who ran into the shelter of the building, remaining within 6" of the Tau objective marker while the second Devilfish (still full of Firewarriors) parked 6" away also, but behind the ruined building.

The Devilfish fired at the Imperial Guard command teams in the Chaos Temple, wiping out the last of the squad on the right and reducing the other to 3 men, but they held their ground.

With nowhere safe to go, I elected to Deep Strike my Tau Battlesuit team between the two buildings in the centre of the Imperial Guard deployment zone. To the right was Sanctioned Psykers and my Tau Battlesuit Command team fighting the Imperial Guard Commander and his squad. To the left was 20 Imperial Guardsmen in the cover of ruins. I had about 4" room to scatter either way with relative safety.

I placed the Tau battlesuit team leader and rolled the scatter dice. There was nothing I could really do with this squad and I would never get their flamers into range unless I went for it.

The scatter dice tumbled across the table, rolling a HIT. Marc didn't seem bothered.

I Then assessed where to place the following models around the team leader to maximise the range of their flamers while leaving a gap to the team leader's flamer to fire through.

Three twin linked flamers fired upon the Sanction Psyker Squad with each Tau Battlesuit hitting between 4 and 6 models, totalling in 15 hits.

Now Marc looked worried, especially when I said I would be wounding on 3+ and rerolling to wound because they were twin linked. 14 wounds later and the Psykers were incinerated. Rather fitting for a bunch of witches, even if the Tau aren't a supersicious bunch.

The Tau Skyray held position, locking on to the Devildig with another 2 markerlights which were used by the Tau Broadsides to hit on 2+, then they both rolled 1 to penetrate. Oh dear.

The Tau Hammerhead moved forward and fired at the Devildog, penetrating the hull and causing a massive explosion which killed two Imperial guardsmen in the building at the back of the board. That's the way to do it!

The Tau Battlesuit command team continued their drunken brawl with the Imperial Guard Commander, which ended with no wounds and another draw.

The remaining Imperial Guard command team issued orders the 20 Guardsmen at the back of the board to First Rank Fire! Second Rank Fire! giving them 3 rapid fire shots with each of their lasguns at the Tau Battlesuits armed with the dreaded twin linked flamer. The hits from lasguns, lascannons and melta guns were equally divided throughout the Tau Battlesuit squad with the melta guns and lascannons being placed on the drones and the lasguns mostly placed on the Tau Battlesuits themselves.

Ironically, had Marc not declared First Rank Fire! Second Rank Fire! I wouldn't have been able to allocated all of the lascannon and melta gun hits to the shield drones because there wouldn't have been so many wounds from the lasguns to balance out. Now there's something to think about for the Imperial Guard players!

I miraculously saved both shield drones, but took 2 wounds from lasguns on the Tau Battlesuits and had to remove 1 model, but it wasn't enough to force a break test.

The Leman Russ Squadron also fired at the Tau Battlesuits with flamers, but the hits were saved by the shield drones again.

The remaining command team in the Chaos Temple and the 20-man Imperial Guard squad on the far left flank Destroyed the Tau Devilfish in the centre of my deployment zone (which I pretty much expected, hence why the Firewarriors had disembarked into the building.)

Meanwhile the Tau Battlesuit Commander and his remaining bodyguard won the combat against the Imperial Commander and his cronies, inflicting two wounds which saw then fail their leadership test, only to be chased and caught. The Tau Battlesuit Command team then consolidated into the safety of the ruins.

The Skyray was out of range, but the Hammerhead and Broadsides weren't who opened fire on the Leman Russ Vanquisher squadron, penetrating one of the tanks and immobilising it.

It's important to note that when a tank in a vehicle squadron is immobilised, because it can't keep up with the other vehicles it is counted as Destroyed.

Finally, the Tau Battlesuits with twin flamers jumped forwards to the edge of the cover occupied by the 20 Imperial Guard in the centre and opened fire with their flamers, reducing them to just 7 models. But they held their ground and did not run. The Tau Battlesuits then jumped back 6" out of charge range.

We rolled a dice to see if the game continued...and it did.

Rather than risk more damage from the railguns, Marc manouvered his Leman Russ Vanquishers behind the Chaos Base out of signt from the Hammerhead and Broadsides and opened fire on the Tau Devilfish behind the building in the centre, but only succeeded in immobilising it.

He ran the 20 Imperial Guard on the left flank along side the tanks using a Move Move Move order. I have no idea why, although they had nothing to shoot at and there was a Tau Battlesuit flamer team nearby.

Speaking of which, the remaining 7 Imperial Guardsman opened fire with their lasguns, lascannons and melta guns, inflicting 2 wounds which were once agains negated by the shield drones.

In my turn, my army could see very little and didn't need to move, but for the Tau Battlesuit team with twin linked flamers who finished off the Imperial Guard in the building.

We rolled a dice to see if the game continued...and it ended.

The game ends.

Victory to the Tau Empire!

Imperial Guard -Game 2 Thoughts:
Just because I've beaten the Imperial Guard doesn't mean I can rest on my laurels.

I know that the Imperial Guard will be back and probably with a lot of Valkyries and Vendettas. Marc has yet to exploit all the new tricks that the new Imperial Guard codex has to offer, but this game has led me to make some very interesting ways to exploit the Imperial Guard.

The most obvious use was Master of the Fleet, which have the Imperial Guard +1 to reserve rolls while their opponent suffers a -1 and can be forced to reroll for outflanking units.

Well, as I didn't fancy getting shot, I put everything in reserve. At first glance this seems like a bad idea, but considering the Imperial Guard's lack of mobility, it's actually quite brilliant as it forces your Imperial Guard opponent to waste 2 turns, preferably more.

Also, if you end up playing a 'battle of the reserves' then your stuff is going to be arriving second and as a result your units will get the first round of shooting in.

The other example of using their bonuses against them was when Marc used Fire Ranke Fire! Second Rank Fire! Because of the number of wounds inflicted from the mass of lasguns, I was able to strategically allocated all 4 melta gun and lascannon wounds on to the shield drones rather than spreading them evenly through the squad, which would have resulted in 2 dead Tau Battlesuits. Instead I got to make more armour saves and keep more models.

Looking back over the game itself, the idea to keep everything in reserve was to draw out the game for as long as possible as I felt that I had no hope of winning due to the sheer volume of lascannons and vanquisher cannons.

However, now that we've clarified that Imperial Guard vehicles CANNOT take Orders, the Imperial Guard aren't quite so scary.

They're still good, don't get me wrong (and this army was grossly optimised to kill mine), but they're not quite so horribly unbalanced.

I was surprised that Marc didn't place his objective counter centrally or where his main cluster of troops was going to be deployed. The same for his Commander and when he chose not to charge the Psykers, but have them fire instead, I felt that maybe he was giving me a chance.

However, I don't feel that these factors made much of a difference.

Imperial Guard Orders aren't that scary when it's bog standard infantry shooting at you (which is what they work on most of the time) and as a result his Commander and squad aren't really that scary. However, I did expect them to have a power weapon in there.

Also, now that I know what the Sanctioned Psykers can do, I could have been less inclined to Deep Strike right next to them. But there was nowhere else to go and I didn't care if the Tau Battlesuits died. The same goes for the Battlesuits with flamers. They could have died, but I had to go for it. I was lucky, even though I chose a reasonably sensible location with room for minor scatter. Either way it paid off and the carnage wreaked by 3 twin linked flamers is quite awesome!

This was a strange game for me, because I'd resigned myself to defeat from the start, but intended to draw the game out for as long as possible and ended up doing rather well and even passed a health amount of disruption pod saves.

Had this been an Imperial Guard mechanised army I would have been facing less men, more mobility and less lascannons, which would have been better for me in a shoot out, but worse in objective grabbing and moving around the board.

Not sure about the Valkyries, storm troops, veterans and Vendettas as they are the new toys in the Imperial Guard Codex. I imagine that similar sorts of reserves tricks would work, although Vendettas scare me, but only when there are 6 of them.

I continue to have nothing but sheer love for the Tau army in 5th edition. Not only as a force that's difficult to win with, but so intensely tactical that you can always win with them, even if the odds are stacked against you and your opponent has crafted an army specifically to kill you.

Some of my friends are insisting that the Tau are an overpowered army, which is the most ludicrous thing I've ever heard. I'm just playing them well after 2 years of solid gaming with nothing but Tau. Just wait until I unleash my finished Space Wolves army upon them!

But for now the Imperial Guard may be beaten, but they are not yet defeated.

Imperial Guard: Game 1


May 29, 2009

Imperial Guard are the latest army to get a new Codex. So Marc took the new Imperial Guard Codex for a test run against my Tau army.

As an Imperial Guard noobie, Marc needed some help in building a list, which James and I were happy to help him with. Meanwhile I took my usual Tau army to see how they would fair.

Now, I haven't read the new Imperial Guard Codex myself, so no doubt we've missed one or two restrictions, like Vehicle Squadrons not being allowed to receive Special Orders, or so I'm told. I need to check this.

Imperial Guard Game 1Either way, what I imagined would be a walk in the park against the Imperial Guard turned into a bloody massacre!

As I've said before, it usually takes me 3 games to beat an army and then I can usually beat it forever more. I think the Imperial Guard may take 4 games. But here is Imperial Guard game 1:

Imperial Guard - game 1

Game: Annihilation
Deployment: Spearhead
Opponent: Marc Cook, Imperial Guard

Imperial GuardCommand Squad with master of artillery and lascannon team. All have camo cloaks.

Infantry Platoon 1:
command group with lascannon team
10 Imperial Guard with lascannon team and melta gun
10 Imperial Guard with lascannon team and melta gun

Infantry Platoon 2:
command group with lascannon team
10 Imperial Guard with lascannon team and melta gun
10 Imperial Guard with lascannon team and melta gun

Fast Tank Squadron:
Banewolf with heavy bolter
Devildog with heavy bolter

Leman Russ Tank Squadron:
Tank Commander Special Character (whose name I forget)
Leman Russ Vanquisher with lacannon hull and heavy bolter sponsons
Leman Russ Demolisher with lascannon hull and heavy bolter sponsons
Leman Russ with lacannon hull and heavy bolter sponsons

Imperial Guard ArmySet Up
Marc won the roll, choosing the table quarter with a large building while forcing me to accept the corner with a tiny building. Fine by me, because my army needs space to manouvere.

He then proceeded to set up his infantry platoons inside the building while the command squad and command groups set up behind the building.

The 10 man infantry squads combined, using one of the new Imperial Guard rules, into 20-man squads.

He also announced that all his Imperial Guard tanks would remain in reserve.

I looked at this firebase of 7 lascannons and thought better of deploying within 48", especially if he would be taking the first turn.

I place my Tau Broadsides and Hammerhead in the far opposite corner, some 60" away so I could shoot him from a safe distance and avoid all those AP2 weapons.

I rolled to seize the initiative, failed and the game got underway.

Marc's master of artillery calls in a barrage, which scatters wildly off the board.
I fired my railguns. I think I only killed 1 guardsman because of cover saves.

Marc rolls for reserves. Nothing comes on. Fires another artillery barrage and misses.
I roll for my reserves, getting 1 Devilfish, the Skyray, Tau Battlesuit flamer/missile team and my Tau Battlesuit command team armed with plasma rifle and missile pod.

It's important to remember that at this point I was wondering how to get kill points and how to stop all of Marc's tanks from rolling on in turn 3 and probably wiping out my Broadsides and Hammerhead.

I also wanted to kill his Imperial Guard command squad, because sooner or later that artillery strike was going to hit something important.

I deployed the skyray on the far right, opposite his firebase in the building, with a clear line of sight to his command teams. On the other side of the ruin on the right, I deployed the Tau Devilfish with the Tau flamer Battlesuit team behind it while the Tau Battlesuit command team were behind the Skyray.

The Skyray targeted the two nearest command teams with its markerlights, scoring a hit on both, before opening fire on the nearest with its burst cannons, using the markerlight to hit on 2+. The squad were wiped out while the Tau Battlesuit command team used the other markerlight to boost their ballistic skill, but they only managed to kill 2 of the 5 models due to them passing most of their cover saves.

The Devilfish was out of range of that command team, so combined its fire with the Tau Battlesuits at the Imperial Guard squad in the building, but only killed 1 or 2 models between them.

I would have fired the Tau Battlesuit missile pods at the reduced command team, but I didn't have line of sight. However, the plan is to move them forward in the following turns and get their twin linked flamers into range to flush out the Imperial Guard platoons.

Meanwhile the Broadsides and Hammerhead fired their railguns at the same Imperial Guard squad, because they couldn't see anything else through the buildings. I think they killed 1 more Imperial guardsman.

Marc's Leman Russ squadron and fast attack tank squadron rolled onto the board.
The Leman Russ' took up position opposite the Skyray.

The fast attack tanks occupied the other side of the firebase building, but had nothing for their heavy bolters to fire at.

The Imperial Guard commander 'Ordered' the Leman Russ squadron to Bring It Down against the Tau Skyray, allowing the whole unit to reroll to hit.

The mass of shots was mostly ineffective, but for the Vanquisher cannon on manned by the Tank Ace special character which is a Strength 9, 2D6 armour penetration shot with +1 to the armour penetration roll. Straight through the 13 front armour. I rolled for my disruption pod save...and fail.

A 6 is rolled and BOOM! the Tau Skyray is gone. One of the Tau Battlesuit bodyguards takes a wound in the explosion.

Meanwhile the Imperial Guard platoons in the building receive their orders to Bring It Down and fire at the Tau Devilfish, destroying it with 2 rerolling lascannons. Although it doesn't help that I fail both disruption pod saves. It's gonna be one of those games it seems...

The Tau firewarriors inside disembark out the side and fail their pinning test.

Lastly, the artillery strike misses again.

2 moe Tau Devilfish arrive and line up alongside the destroyed Devilfish in an attempt to safely extract the Tau Battlesuit flamer/missile team. They fire their smart missiles at the Imperial Guard squad in the building, but only kill 2 guardsmen.

Seeking cover, the Tau Battlesuit command team move (like infantry) into the nearby ruin while firing at the last 3 members of the Imperial Guard command team, wiping them out.

The Tau Broadsides and Hammerhead target the side armour of the Imperial Guard fast attack tanks, penetrating the side armour, destroying the Banewolf in a mighty explosion, which kills a single Imperial guardsman.

The Tau Battlesuit team with flamers and missiles are now stranded and can't advance safely towards the Imperial Guardsmen in the building and instead fire their missiles at the Devildog, stunning it so it may not shoot next turn before jumping behind the newly arrived Devilfish.

Imperial Guard Game 1TURN 4:
The Leman Russ squadron rumbles forward and receives 'Special Orders' from the Imperial Guard commander to Fire On My Target against the Tau Battlesuit Command Team in the ruins (this forces you to reroll any successful cover saves).

The tanks hit with practically everything, killing the Tau Commander and his 2 shield drones while the 2 Tau Battlesuit bodyguards remain alive.

Both 20 man squads of the Imperial Guard platoons are Ordered to Bring It Down against the nearby Tau Devilfish, scoring 4 hits, 2 of which penetrate while only 1 of the shots is saved by the disruption pod. Fortunately the the tank is only stunned and may not shoot next turn.

The Tau Broadsides and Hammerhead destroy the Devildog in a massive explosion which kills 2 Imperial Guardsmen from inside the building.

The Tau Battlesuit Command Team jump out of the ruins to hide out of sight. But one of them fails his dangerous terrain test (he's already taken 1 wound from earlier) and dies!

The Tau skimmers begin falling back from the Imperial Guard firebase, towards the Hammerhead and Broadsides. The Tau Battlesuits with flamer/missile pod jump behind one of the Devilfish. They all fire at the Imperial Guard in the building, but seem to do little or no damage because of the cover.

The Tau Broadsides and Hammerhead target the side armour of the Leman Russ squadron from across the board, destroying the Leman Russ Demolisher while stunning the others, but as Vehicle Squadrons can always move and shoot regardless, it has no effect.

The Imperial Guard don't seem to do so much this turn, but Brint It Down orders allow the Imperial Guard platoons to destroy the Tau Devilfish which the Tau Battlesuits are hiding behind.

The Tau Firewarriors disembark and are pinned.

The remaining Tau Devilfish falls back towards the Tau Broadsides and is now safely out of weapons range.

The Battlesuits fire at the Imperial Guard squad in the building, inflicting another casualty, then jump back behind the wrecked tank.

The surviving Tau Battlesuit Bodyguard hides behind the wall of the ruin, but takes a quick shot at the Imperial Guard squad in the building, killing another.

The Tau Broadside and Hammerhead fire at the Imperial Guard tank squadron, blowing the battlecannon off the Leman Russ.

We roll for another turn and turn 6 begins...

Marc's guns are now mostly out of range or having nothing to fire at. The Leman Russ squadron fires at the Hammerhead, but misses.

Then the artillery strike from the Imperial Guard command squad scatters 3" on to the centre of the Tau Battlesuit team with flamers/missiles. The squad are out in the open. The Strength 9, AP3 large blast wounds every model in the squad, killing them all outright with no save.

The Tau Broadsides and Hammerhead target the Imperial Guard tank squadron, destroying the Leman Russ, leaving just the Vanquisher remaining.

The game ends.

Marc has destroyed:
1 Tau commander
2 Tau Devilfish
1 Tau Battlesuit Team
= 4 Kill Points

I have destroyed:
2 Imperial Guard command teams
1 Imperial Guard fast attack tank squadron
= 3 Kill Points

Victory to the Imperial Guard!

Imperial Guard -Game 1 Thoughts:
First, I'd like to say owch.
Second, I'd like to have passed some disruption pod saves.
Third, I need to read the Imperial Guard Codex

I'll confess to not having a great interest in the new Imperial Guard army after looking at the points cost and thinking "actually, that's quite balanced, I'm cool with that." But what I didn't know about, prior to this game is the Orders which can be issued.

Bring It Down (and a variant, which I can't remember, for shooting at troops) allows a unit to reroll to hit.
Fire On My Target forces an enemy unit to reroll their cover saves.

Tau Markerlight can give you +1 to hit
Tau Markerlight can -1 from an enemy's cover save.

Now I'm not normally one to gripe, but it seems like the Imperial Guard basically get 'super Tau markerlights' for FREE. Obviously, this is very frustrating when Tau players have to pay between 12 and 30 points in various shapes and forms for each markerlight.

It's even more frustrating when the Command Squad (usually hidden away) has camo cloaks for a boost to their cover save.

But new Imperial Guard Codex aside, let's talk tactics, because that's what Tau are all about.

My start was good, deploying the Broadsides and Hammerhead out of range.
My 2nd turn could have been better. Had I passed that 1 disruption pod save, the Imperial Guard Command Squad would have been killed by the Skyray while the Tau Battlesuit command team would have mopped up the last of the Imperial Guard command teams for the platoons.

I felt that I had to bait him somehow into deploying his tanks away from my railguns. But now that I think about it, perhaps a firefight between the tanks, Hammerhead and Broadside would have been okay? I can imagine the Hammerhead needing to pass a disruption pod save, just like the Skyray (and failing), but perhaps the Broadsides could have fought them all off? Unlikely considering the number of lascannons.

In the start of the game I saw his firebase of 40 men as an immovable object, but somehow thought I could get a unit of flamer Battlesuits in their behind a Devilfish when that Devilfish wasn't very likely to survive past its first turn on the board.

Perhaps I should have kept everything with the Hammerhead and Broadsides then fought any reserves out of my quarter? But the artillery strike which came down every turn scared me into spreading out my forces.

While I could put my failure in this game down to 1 disruption pod save, my tactics were less than perfect, especially when I tried my usual trick of lining up my Devilfish to leap frog a Tau Battlesuit team behind in an attempt to get them out of trouble. The error in this method was that the massed smart missiles from the Devilfish couldn't hurt the Imperial Guard in the building and were in range for all those rerolling lascannons.

However, despite all my screw ups, the 'better than a markerlight' Orders the Imperial Guard get for free and Marc placing Orders on tank squadrons, which apparently can't take orders (need to check this!), the game would have been a draw had the artillery strike not very luckily landed on the Tau Battlesuit team in the final turn.

Marc is still fine tuning his Imperial Guard army and may take an officer of the fleey instead of an officer of artillery next time. Meanwhile I'm going to continue with the army list I played and fine tune my tactics.

Stay tuned for Imperial Guard Game 2...when I finish writing it in a few hours.

Imperial Guard Screw Up

May 27, 2009 · 5 comments

Sorry guys, I've screwed up with this blog with regards to my Imperial Guard battle reports.

In yesterday's post "40K Bank Holiday" I talked about facing the Imperial Guard for the 2nd time, leaving you all with a very dramatic cliff hanger.

Well, there's one problem with that, because you haven't seen the first time I played against the Imperial Guard with my Warhammer Tau army.

You see, this is what I get for 'scheduling' blog posts.
I got carried away writing about my awesome bank holiday of 40K and forgot that while I played my first game against the Guard last Friday, the battle report had been scheduled for this Friday coming.

Now as I've announced that my second game against the Imperial Guard will be written up this Friday (and I am yet to write it), there is a clash.

So, I'm going to go wild and give you guys not just one, but TWO 40K Battle Reports against the Imperial Guard!

I'm a busy guy and sometimes it's impossible to write more than 1 battle report per week. Sometimes I can't even manage that, so it's good to save up some regular content for when life's too hectic.

And those of you reading my Space Wolves blog will know that my life has been very hectic, what with buying my first apartment and totally redecorating it before moving in.

So without further ado, here's a nice big cliff hanger for this Friday, accompanied by the wise words of my Father which have helped me to overcome all manner of difficulties both on and off the tabletop.

A New Codex

The Tau Empire Strikes Back

Coming this Friday!

One man's tactical brain meats against the might of the Imperial Guard and their new codex of cheap men, cheap tanks and devastating orders.

"There is always a solution." -Brian Smith

40K Bank Holiday

May 25, 2009 · 7 comments

May 25, 2009

40K on a bank holiday. What more could any 40K fan wish for? We haven't played Warhammer 40K for a little while, so with no 40K tournaments on the immediate horizon we thought we'd make a day of it.

The greatest thing about 40K as a hobby is how social it is. On the bank holiday monday 4 of us rocked up for a day of beer, pizza and warhammer 40K in its entirety, whether we were working on our 40K army lists, miniature painting or just exchanging cool ideas.

Or in the case of my friends, claiming that the Tau Codex is overpowered and that they should receive a cover save against markerlights. Hey, it's not my fault if I can out play them with tactics!

It's a shame I'm across the water from Fritz at The Way of Saim Hann, because he's someone I'd love to play.

So having just set up the terrain, made everyone a cuppa tea and being the host I was expected to play first as well. We agreed on 1500 points, because that's what we usually play. So I took out my current Tau warhammer army while James had the choice of Thousand Sons, Eldar, Ravenwing, Deathwing or Dark Angels. Someone might say he was spoiled for choice, but that didn't stop him from choosing Ravenwing -again!

Game: Seize Ground
Deployment: Pitched Battle
Opponent: James Le Grys, Ravenwing

Ravenwing army

Sammael in Landspeeder

(X3)Ravenwing Squad:
3 bikes sergeant with power sword, melta gun
3 bikes, melta gun
1attack bike with multimelta
1 Landspeeder Tornado

Landspeeder Typhoon

Set Up
James won the roll, choosing the table half nearest him, putting down the first counter and taking the first turn.

Brilliant! I needed him to take the first turn should he Outflank everything. It meant that his units would arrive before mine did. Then I could counter whatever he brought on.

During the counter placing phase he placed all 3 of his 12" from his table edge in the centre, each one 12" apart perfectly.

Meanwhile, I placed a counter 12" on in the centre with another 24" on, just around to the right of the Chaos Temple in the middle. It was a gamble, but I'd have to sweep my mobile firing line around in that direction to claim/contest at least 2 objectives. It was unfortunate that 3 were in his deployment zone, but there was nothing I could do about that.

"Everything's Outflanking!" He announced...apart from all the Landspeeders which could only go into Reserve
"Everything's in Reserve!" I replied before we proceeded straight on to TURN 2.

This was a very quick game, so I haven't remembered exactly what happened. I didn't have time to take turn by turn photos either.

Basically, James brought a unit on. It had little or nothing to shoot at. I brought a unit on, it killed one of James's units and so on until the Tau occupied 3 objectives while James held 1 and nearly lost his squad on Turn 7.

I kept my entire army in the middle portion of the board, more than 24" from the edges, carefully moved my models around the maximise my firepower and where firepower failed, I blocked his path (and line of sight) with parked tanks.

Because I denied him targets early on I sustained few casualties, losing only a Tau Battlesuit team with flamers (which he was scared to get close to) and a Tau Devilfish along with 4 of 6 Tau Firewarriors. Meanwhile he lost everything but for 6 bikes and a landspeeder Tornado.

There was a mighty cheer from everyone (except James) when the Grand Master of the Ravenwing's Landspeeder took a direct hit from the Tau Hammerhead and exploded spectacularly. As a group of guys who are tired of Sammael hosing down troops or getting a rending hit every round from his twin linked assault cannon, it was a very satisfying sight.

Tau Ethereal

May 22, 2009 · 9 comments

Tau Ethereal -worth taking? Probably not. But a Tau Ethereal is a fantastic finish for any Tau army. Normally I willl never field a Tau Ethereal in a game of Warhammer 40K, unless I'm playing a fun game or have a whacky new idea (more on this in a moment). But when I saw the 1st limited edition Tau Ethereal on eBay at Buy It Now for a tenner, I had to snap it up, then suffer the 5 pounds postage charge (owch), so he cost me 15 overall.

I'm amazed Games Workshop never put this Tau Ethereal on general release. He's a fantastic figure that's very static, but beautifully and quite plainly sculpted, making him a sheer pleasure to paint.

As you can see, I did a little something different with my typical Tau scheme for this chap, swapping the abundance of military green for darker, warmer colours. He is a Tau spiritual leader after all, not the Tau army commander.

Tau Ethereal Tactics

Do Tau Ethereal tactics really exist? Well, no not really. a Tau Ethereal is in fact a massive liability, especially when your jet pack troops fall back 3D6" and are quite likely to flee straight off the board should he be killed and your Elite units fail their Leadership Test, which is horrifically common.

While he may make all units which can draw line of sight to him Fearless, he's simply far too easy to kill and makes for an especially invitiing target, even if you hide him in a unit of Tau Broadsides. Chances are that someone is going to score a hit on him and if you're daft enough to believe he will tip the balance for you in close combat with his Weapon Skill of 4 and 3 Attacks, you're sorely mistaken.

Get Angry!
The best use I've found for an Ethereal is in an army with lots of Tau Battlesuits. Tau Battlesuits are the strongest Tau close combat units in your army, especially a Shas'O joined by some bodyguard.

Obviously, I played this for a laugh, because it's not competitive by any stretch of the imagination. In a 4-way game I took as many Tau Battlesuits as possible and put the Ethereal out in front. I also proxied Shadowsun to pass her Leadership of 10 to all nearby units.

The Tau Ethereal proceeded to run towards the nearest enemy screaming "Shoot meeee!!". While he was a tempting target, everyone knew that on his death my Tau Battlesuit army would flip out at the loss of their spiritual leader, probably pass all their Leadership Tests using Shadowsun's leadership and then get Preffered Enemy for the rest of the game, making them all close combat killing machines!

Eventually the Ethereal got into close combat, was horribly murdered and the Tau Battlesuit army charged into glorious close combat, killing lots, but taking horrendous casualties from Terminators armed with powerfists. Totally silly, but really good fun!

Don't take a Tau Ethereal, he's rubbish!

Tau GW Price Hike June 2009

May 19, 2009 · 5 comments

The GW price hike has been in the news today, so here's how the price hike effects the Tau in the UK.

Now, some of the increases have probably been omitted, because many of these prices have actually applied for a few months now. As someone who buys from online discount stores rather than Games Workshop direct, I presumed some of these price hikes had occured earlier in the year and didn't pay it much mind.

GW Price Hike: Tau

Listed here are the Tau units effected by the price hikes. If the Tau unit isn't here (like the Tau Hammerhead and Skyray), then it remains unaffected by the price hike.

The number of Tau models each pack comes with is in brackets.
Number represent English Pound Sterling.

(1) Tau Pathfinder Shas'Ui 8
(3) Tau Pathfinders With Rail Rifles 8
(1) Tau Ethereal Caste 8
(3) Tau Pathfinders Squad 8
(1) Krootox 12
(1) Kroot Shaper 7
(2) Kroot Hounds 8
(1 controller, 3 drones) Tau Sniper Drone Team 18
(5) Tau Vespid Stingwings 20
(1) Tau Xv8 Crisis Battlesuit 12 (I thought this was 12 already)
(3) Tau XV25 Stealth Suits 12 (I thought this was 12 already)
(1) Tau Piranha 15
(1) Tau Devilfish 20
(1) Tau XV88 Broadside Battlesuit 18
(1) Tau Crisis Battlesuit Commander 18
(1) All Paints 2.25

It has to be said that this time around Games Workshop marketing has been quite clever with this price hike. Not only have they given us all less time before its publically implemented, therefore attempting to spark greater panic buying, Games Workshop also raised many of the prices on the price hike list long ago, hoping that no one would notice. The Tau Battlesuits, Tau Battlesuit Commander and Tau Broadside Battlesuits are prime examples of this, having been at this higher cost since January.

How to save money on Games Workshop
As you can see, it's mostly metal products which have gone up in price. So I would suggest sticking to plastics, which either haven't increased or may have gone up by a mere 2 pounds (nothing shocking) or looking to Forgeworld to make some value for money savings on little things like character models and tank turrets.

Despite this year's price hike (and I'm sure it's now become a yearly tradition for Games Workshop), one of my closest friends will still drive to the nearest shopping centre and exchange cash over the checkout and continue to pay for retail price for his Warhammer 40K models.

It's these people who are rewarding Games Workshop's business practices. To make things worse, he won't order online like I tell him to, because he "wants it now!" and can't wait a week for his models, even if he would be reducing the cost of his latest army by 100 pounds.

From a business point of view the new Games Workshop MD has done a brilliant job, selling us Apocalypse and making us buy high mark up models in droves while the impending release of Planetstrike will inspire the same behaviour.

But as a consumer, I now make almost all my models from plastic components to cut costs and I have restricted myself to just 2 Warhammer 40K armies. I was pondering a second Necromunda gang, but now I'm thinking better of it.

Alternatively, you can stop spending your money in a Games Workshop store and take your money online instead where there are plenty of retailers selling Warhammer 40K at a discounted price.

Many of these retailers may be based in the UK, but they also ship worldwide, making them an excellent choice for our European, American and Canadian cousins across the waters.

The cheapest retailer right now is Wayland Games who offer a 25% discount and very reasonable postage. I don't know what their postage outside of the UK is like, but when they're doing cheap bundles on things like 3 Valkyries, I suppose you can't really complain.

All Comers Tau Army

May 15, 2009 · 10 comments

In 5th edition the Tau army isn't as competitive as it once was. Because a Tau army should be about moving and shooting, this means that to be effective, a Tau army has to have a host of weapons to deal with a variety of threats. This means not tailoring your force to one specific opponent, but a variety of opponents.

Now I for one hate it when you show up for a game and your opponent has completely tailored their army to obliterate yours, simply because they know what you are taking.

I experienced this earlier in the month at the Ammo Bunker Open Bash when Dave rocked up with a Space Marine mechanised army, designed purely to kill the Tau army he was used to fighting. Unlikely for him, that was a Tau gunline army, while my Tau army cruise in style in all manner of Devilfish, Hammerheads and even Skyrays.

As a result his horde of Heavy Bolters and Stern Guard armed with their special bolter rounds where ineffective against my mobile wall of armour 12 vehicles. Instead of proving how tailoring your army can win you games, it only proved how tailoring your army can turn Warhammmer 40K in a game of rock-paper-scissors.

Thankfully, anyone tailoring their army to take out a mechanised army will be paying a lot of points for all those lascannons and multimeltas. So perhaps mechanised is the safest way to go? Providing your lowest front armour value is 12 of course.

So what makes my all-comers Tau army so special? Well, it's got a little bit of everything to take on virtually anything. Even my friend Marc who has returned to the hobby after a brief brake and is now eager to break out his Imperial Guard and make the most of the new Imperial Guard Codex doesn't feel that my Tau will be a push over, even with the new Hyrdra flak tanks and Leman Russ Vanquishers.

Tau Army Essentials

So what makes a good Tau army to take on all comers? Durability, Mobility and Firepower.

Durability: This comes from having a lot of tanks. With so many people focussing on killing troops, mostly with short ranged template weapons, tanks are relatively free to roam as they please, protecting the squishy occupants inside while still being able to claim objectives thanks to the Troops they are transporting. Lascannons shouldn't be a serious problem for Tau skimmers, especially when there are lots of Tau skimmers in your army. Lascannons only become a problem when there are lots of them, but they cost a lot of points, so your opponent will have to sacrifice something else in his army to afford them all...unless he's fielding 6 Valkyrie Vendettas. Hopefully any nasty penetrating hits should be deflected by your disrutption pods. Glancing hits aren't so scary. Just watch out for melta guns and multimeltas getting up close.

Mobility: Contrary to popular belief, Tau are not by any means a fast army. They can just move and shooot a lot thanks to multitrackers on tanks. With the Tau you have to stay out of close combat at all costs, so moving as far as possible is extremely important. A static Tau army dies, so once again, you need to mechanise. While moving 6" and firing all your weapons might be appealing, it's safer to keep moving 12" and keep the enemy at a safe distance. It also makes your opponent need a 6 to hit your skimmers in close combat.

Firepower: While your Tau tanks and disembarking and rapid firing Tau Fire Warriors can put down lots of squishy targets in the open, the Tau army is no longer a powerhouse of firepower. They put out a lot of shots, but due to the volume of cover saves or power armour, they aren't dealing as much damage as they once did. Although plasma rifle and missile pod battlesuits hitting on 3+ (due to targeting arrays or markerlights) are still utterly devastating and should be used to eliminate key targets in the same way that Broadside teams can still take out enemy tanks. This means you need to prioritise your targets more than ever before, but you can never rely on your firepower to completely wipe out an enemy unit.

So which weapons do you take when you could be facing Eldar, Orks, Space Marines or Imperial Guard? Well, the simple answer is that you take a little bit of everything!

The Tau army is actually a very balanced army. The fact the Tau are so balanced is probably a weakness when you think about it, so you have to really optimise the guts out of it to build an effective force. This means you will need railguns, a mass of basic weapons fire, plasma rifles, missile pods and flamers as well as some markerlights to make sure your important weapons hit when you really need them to.

Everyone has their personal preferences when it comes to arming their units, but I will advise you to take weapons which can hurt everything. Or a combination of weapons to take on whatver the enemy throws at you. For example, my Tau Battlesuit team with twin linked flamers are also equipped with missile pods. They can't fire both in the same turn (and they don't need to), because if they aren't annihilating troops at close range, the can fire at troops or tanks from a safe 36" distance. Alternatively, if I took a Tau Battlesuit with twin linked flamer and an Air Bursting Fragmentation Projector (AFP) he'd be in trouble if a tank came towards him.

Durability, Mobility and Firepower together creates a successful Tau army. Sometimes your tanks will be stunned, shaken, immobilised or plain destroyed. Leave them and keep moving with the rest of the force. The most important part of the Tau army is mobility. If you can't move, you can't stay out of close combat. It's that simple. This is why Tau gunline armies no longer work.

Your firepower often won't be enough to wipe out the enemy. So keep moving with the presumption that you won't kill them all (unless your entire army is firing en masse at a bunch of Orks who have wandered out into the open). This way you will ensure that your units are at a safe distance, or moving 12" so that enemy units will struggle to hit your tanks and inflict any damage in close combat.

So here are those 3 Tau army rules again

Tau Rule 1 Mobiity: Keep moving. If you sit still, you die.
Tau Rule 2 Firepower: Combine your firepower for maximum kills, but don't expect to eliminate your targets.
Tau Rule 3 Durability: Take tanks, keep your distance and hide your Tau battlesuits behind them.

1750 Points Tau Army

Here's my regulary 1500 points Tau army list again if you missed it the other week. If you want to boost it to 1750 points, simply add 10 Kroot, 4 Stealth Suits and upgrade the burst cannons on the Hammerhead and Skyray to smart missile systems. You'll have maybe 15 points left to play around with.

Feel free to borrow, play test, tear apart and reform for your own use. Good luck and good hunting!

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, 2 Burst Cannons, Target Lock, Multitracker, Disruption Pod, black sun filter

Skyray with 2 Burst Cannons, 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

How NOT to play Tau in Warhammer 40K

May 12, 2009 · 8 comments

This week Wwarhammer Tau is going to show you how not to play Tau in Warhammer 40K. My Warhammer Tau army took a real beating this week and it was all my fault.

I took another trip to the Essex Warhounds club in Hockley and played a chap named Nathan who had a Space Wolves army. As I'm in the process of building my own Space Wolves force, I thought it would be a great opportunity to play an experienced Space Wolves player, see which units he is fielding and how effective they were in Warhammer 40K 5th edition.

But what I didn't expect was to accidentally leave my brain at home and play my Tau army like a complete moron!

I let him bait me with a Rhino full of Blood Claws and deployed my entire army in the corner to engage it. Soon I was penned in by a Venerable Dreadnought and a Grey Hunters squad which had arrived by drop pod. Instead of moving away and shooting like crazy, I advanced, all guns blazing. Typically, I didn't kill much, then spent the next few turns losing units as I made a very hasty retreat as more drop pods came down and his Predators shot my from across the table.

My lack of movement was all because of his Wolf Scouts who could come on from my own table edge. So I huddled in the corner...and died in the corner with nowhere to run.

Of course, it was only during the course of the game that I realised he couldn't charge my infantry units that were lined up against the back of the board, because Wolf Scouts can't move within 1" of an enemy unit during their Movement Phase. Like I say, I'd left my brain at home.

He tried a conga line to move 6" on to the board between two units, but as he had 7 models in the unit, couldn't get them all on. So he came on around the side of a Devilfish and blew that up isntead, which was fair enough.

In hindsight I should have advanced everything into the middle, where I'd have plenty of room to move around the shoot things or lined up along the back edge, spread things out or just kept it all in reserve.

It seems quite a common occurence that I will face an army I'm not used to, completely fluff my deployment and lose badly. I'll face it again and half of the time do alright, half of the time still lose, but play better. It's only on the third encounter I seem to crack it. This seems to be a predominantly Tau army problem, because the army is so technical to play.

So keep playing, keep learning and when you've played 3 games against all the different army types you'll be king!

40K Battle Report: Tau VS Thousand Sons

May 9, 2009 · 1 comments

May 9, 2009

This week's 40K battle report has more photos. In fact, this 40K battle report is a little bit different. Namely because Simon borrowed my Warhammer Tau army to take on James's Thousand Sons.

The reason this 40K battle report is so different, is not only because I'm not playing, but most importantly because my Warhammer Tau tournament list has been put into the hands of a casual, once-in-a-blue-moon player.

James's Thousand Sons army is by no means overpowered. But in this 40K battle report I wanted to see if a novice with a strong list, which they don't know how to play can beat a run of the mill army.

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, 2 Burst Cannons, Target Lock, Multitracker, Disruption Pod, black sun filter

Skyray with 2 Burst Cannons, 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

40K Battle Report:

Game: Annihilation
Deployment: Spearhead
Opponent: James, Thousand Sons

Chaos Lord with mark of tzeentch, daemon weapon, plasma pistol

(X2)Sorcerer with bolt of change + 8 thousand sons
rhino APC with daemonic possession

Chaos Dreadnought with twin linked lascannon

Chaos Landraider with daemonic possession
Chaos Predator with twin linked lascannons, heavy bolter sponsons and extra armour
Chaos Predator with twin linked lascannons, heavy bolter sponsons and extra armour

Set Up
James won the roll to go first, picking a bottom right table quarter with the most buildings and deployed his entire force. The 2 Chaos Predators were on the left of his deployment, hidden behind a building. The Chaos Land Raider was in the centre, alongside the Chaos Dreadnought while the two Rhino transports, carrying the Thousand Sons and the Chaos Lord were deployed further north from the Land Raider. All tanks were concealed behind buildings.

Simon proceeded to set up his entire army in the top left corner, mimicking James's set up. THe Hammerhead and 2 Devilfish took position right at the top, behind a building. Further down on the left was the Skyray and Broadsides and further down from them was the 2 Tau Battlesuit teams, concealed behind a Devilfish and a building.

Turn 1
James took the first turn, advancing the Thousand Son Rhinos North, behind cover. The Land Raider and Chaos Dreadnought moved down the centre while the Chaos Predators moved around to the left, firing at the Devilfish concealing the Tau Battlesuits, but failed to harm it. Similarly, the Land Raider and Chaos Dreadnought fired at the Tau Skyray, but both shots were deflected by the disruption pod.

Simon moved nothing, stating that he wouldn't sacrifice his defensive position.
Okay, whatever...
Then found that most of his guns were out of range. But that didn't stop the Broadsides from immobilising the closest of the two Thousand Sons Rhino transports.

Turn 2
James disembarks his Thousand Sons out of the immobilised Rhino. The other Thousand Sons Rhino, carrying the Chaos Lord continues its advance Northwards and fires its smoke launchers.

Meanwhile the Chaos Dreadnought goes into a FIRE FRENZY and takes aim at the advancing Chaos Land Raider. Both shots hit, but fortunately fail to penetrate.

The Land Raider shoots at the skyray again. Does nothing.

The 2 Chaos Predators continue sweeping around the left flank, firing their twin linked lascannons at the Devilfish which the Tau Battlesuits are hiding behind and manage to blow off the smart missile system.

Simon advances the Hammerhead flanked by 2 Devilfish to fire at the disembarked Thousand Sons squad. Unfortunately, he's far too cautious and it just inches out of weapons range. But a submunition round the from Hammerhead's railgun does manage to kill a single Thousand Son.

The Tau Devilfish on the bottom left of Simon's deployment zone moves aside, making room for the 2 squads of Tau Battlesuits who target the nearest Chaos Predator with their missile pods, but either miss or harmlessly bounce off the armour. He needs 6's to glance you see. Afterwards they jump back behind the Devilfish again.

Meanwhile the Skyray targets the advancing Chaos Land Raider, locking on with one markerlight, which is then used to boost the Ballistic Skill of the Tau Broadside team by +1. Both railgun slugs slam into the Land Raider. One fails, the other glances and a twin linked lascannon sponson is destroyed.

Turn 3
The Chaos Land Raider and Dreadnought advanced together, firing at the Skyray with no effect. Either by failing to penetrate or the Skyray's disruption pods deflecting the incoming shots.

The Thousand Sons behind the Rhino moved into of the nearby building, firing a Bolt of Change at the nearest Tau Devilfish, shaking the crew who could not move or shoot this turn.

Meanwhile the Thousand Sons Rhino ferrying the Chaos Lord proceeded Northwards at full speed, behind another building. The sorcerer leans out of the top hatch and fires a Bolt of Change, but misses.

The Chaos Predators advance along the left flank. One takes cover behind a building, while the other continues to fire at the Devilfish, glancing the tank and stunning the crew so that they may not shoot this turn.

Simon moves nothing (again!) but drops the Tau Battlesuit teams back a bit to get the Thousand Sons squad in the building into line of sight.

The Skyray splits its fire, aiming a markerlight at the Chaos Dreadnought and another at the Chaos Land Raider. Only the markerlight on the Chaos Land Raider hits, which is used by the Tau Broadsides to boost their Ballistic Skill. Both railguns hit, penetrate and the Land Raider is destroyed, but does not explode.

The Hammerhead and two flanking Devilfish open fire on the Thousand Sons squads in the building, as do the Tau Battlesuit teams, killing 2 Thousand Sons with their combined firepower.

The Tau Battlesuit command team jump away to the North, behind a building while the Tua Battlesuit team with twin linked flamers and missile pods jump back behind the Devilfish which has just been stunned by the Chaos Predator.

Turn 4
"Where's My Wife!!?" screams the Chaos Dreadnought and sprints forward 12" towards the Tau Skyray! And fired its smoke launchers of course.

The Chos Predators continue their advance up the left flank, firing their twin lascannon turrets at the Devilfish concealing the Tua Battlesuit flamer team and still do nothing!

The sorcerer of the Thousand Sons squad in the building fires a Bolt of Change at the nearest Devilfish, but the psychic blast is deflected by the disruption pod.

The Thousand Sons Rhino with the Chaos Lord in continues to advance around the building while the sorcerer makes another Bolt of Change attack out of the top hatch, which shakes the nearby Devilfish, preventing it from moving or shooting.

The Tau Skyray moves within 18" of the Thousand Sons and targets the Chaos Dreadnought with its markerlights. Both shots miss while the burst cannons open fire on the Thousand Sons squad in the building, combining with a barrage of firepower from the Tau Battlesuit teams, but between them they only manage to kill 2 Thousand Sons.

The Tau Broadsides target the Chaos Dreadnought. One fails to hit, while the other causes a glancing hit, but fails to do anything due to the Dreadnought's extra armour.

Meanwhile the Hammerhead and fully functional Devilfish open fire at the approaching Thousand Sons Rhino. The smart missiles and burst cannons do nothing. But a solid slug from the railgun flies straight through the obscuring building and into the side of the Rhino, penetrating the tank and immobilising it.

Turn 5
The Chaos Dreadnought, obviously still mad with rage, rolls BLOOD FRENZY again and rampages forward, charging the Tau Skyray, hitting the skimmer twice, ripping off the engine blocks and the burst cannons, leaving the Tau skimmer immobilised.

The Chaos Lord and Thousand Sons disembarked from their immobilised Rhino transport. The Lord fired his plasma pistol at the nearby Devilfish, to no effect, while the sorcerer called upon the powers of the warp, rolling a double 6, failing his invulnerable save and exploding in a shower of gore. Yikes!

The Chaos Predators continued their advance up the left flank (it's a long way!), firing on the Devilfish as they go. They managed to penetrate and immobilise the tank this time.

Simon moves the Hammerhead and 2 Devilfish into position to gun down the Thousand Son squad led by the Chaos Lord, wiping them out until only the Chaos Lord remains.

Meanwhile the Tau Skyray targets the Chaos Dreadnought in front of it with its marker lights, scoring a single hit.

The Tau Battlesuit command team fire at the Chaos Dreadnought but cannot glance its armour.

The Tau Broadsides use the markerlight on the Chaos Dreadnought to boost their Ballistic Skill again, scoring 2 penetrating hits. The Chaos Dreadnought explodes, sending scrap metal in all directions.

Finally, the Tau Battlesuit team with twin linked flamers and missile pods glance a closeing Chaos Predator, ripping the twin lascannon turret from its mountings.

We roll for another turn and the game ends.
2 Victory Points to the Tau
0 Victory Points to the Thousand Sons

Tau army thoughts:
It's interesting to see how in the latter stages of the game Simon began to employ my commonly used tactics with various units and pulled through after an atrocious deployment and poor target selection. It goes to show that even by refusing to move most of his army, Simon could pull a win against this opponent with sheer firepower and lots of armour 12 vehicles.

When questioned why he never advanced, Simon said that he guessed the distance for the Thousand Sons to get up the table would be too great and he could sit in relative comfort for 5 turns.

That's something I've certainly overlooked myself and will be taking advantage of next time I play a game like this.

Thousand Sons army thoughts:
It has to be said that James is still fielding his 4th edition Thousand Sons army and it needs some updating. Obliterators, Terminators, a Daemon Prince and a Defiler are on his shopping list, so it would be interesting to play him again.

1500 Points Tau Army List Corrections

May 1, 2009 · 11 comments

Since posting my 1500 points Tau army list which was wrong. Here is a correct 1500 points Tau army list. Kudos to the chap who pointed out that I was over by 30 points, even if it was so he could steal *cough* borrow it and make some minor alterations. But hey, it's flattering that someone would base their 1500 points Tau army list on mine.

So this evening, it's time to sit down with pen, paper and my Tau Codex to work out my 1500 points Tau army list from scratch.

No, I don't use army builder. It irks me greatly! I don't use a calculator either as I can add and subtract quite well...contrary to my recent army lists. Can you believe I was 30 points down in the 2000 points game last Sunday?

I've written out my usual list, added up all the numbers and I'm 25 points over. Not 30 as some presumed because the Skyray already comes with a target lock (only just spotted that myself mind you!).

This means I need to find 25pts by dropping stuff from my list.
The only things I can drop is the target lock on the Hammerhead, which I rarely use. Plus, the smart missiles on the Hammerhead and Skyray in favour of dual burst cannons.

So now my 1500 points Tau army looks like this:

Adam's 1500 Points Tau Army MKII

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, 2 Burst Cannons, Target Lock, Multitracker, Disruption Pod, black sun filter

Skyray with 2 Burst Cannons, 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

Good and Bad
Well, the plus side of having 2 burst cannons on my main battle tanks is having 2 more shots. I also have 1 extra weapon to prevent the tanks being destroyed from my opponents (like Owen) rolling multiple 'weapon destroyed' results on the vehicle damage table.

On the minus side, they now have range 18" guns instead of range 24" and I actually need to be in range with both sponsons to make all my shots count rather than just one.

Unless I want to lose a troop choice there's not much else I can do when it comes to shoe-horning as much as possible into my Tau army. And I need all the mechanised troop choices I can get.

What about the Airbursting Fragmentation Projector? Good question. But first, I need to play some games with the dual burst cannons instead of smart missiles and see how I get on.

Having a good all-round army list seems to be a real problem when it comes to 5th edition. Not only for Tau, but Space Marines as well. For example, when I played against Dave's Space Marines, he had loads of Stern Guard with cover ignoring bolter rounds, loads of razorbacks with twin linked heavy bolters, combat squads with flamers and a whirlwind. The army was great for killing Orks in cover, but as soon as he faced a mechanised list, he was in trouble.

Similarly, when I faced Owen's Orks, my lack of flamers meant that only 1 unit in my army could actually do any damage.

While some people tailor their armies when they know they will be facing a certain opponent, I feel that this is very unsporting, especially when this situation would never arise in a tournament. You just take a versatile army and play to the best of your abilities.

Hopefully I'll get a game of 40K this weekend.

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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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