July 23, 2009
Tired of his Dark Angels codex, James decided to give the new Space Marine codex a try in a battle report against my Tau.
The Space Marine Codex has a number of new toys James was keen to employ from sniper scouts with Rending sniper rifles to the Chapter Master with a relic blade and Orbital Bombardment as well as the Tech Marine with Thunderfire Cannon.
Meanwhile, I would rock up with my usual Tau list, fend them off and defeat James once again with superior tactics. Or at least, that's the plan!
1500 Points 40K Battle Report:
Game: Seize Ground (3 objectives)
Opponent: James Le Grys, Space Marines
1500 Points Space Marine Army
Chapter Master with relic blade, storm bolter, hellfire rounds, orbital bombardment
Chaplain with jump pack and melta bombs
10 Assault Marines including sgt with powerfist
X3 Space Marine Tactical Squads
Sgt and 4 space marines, plasma gun
5 space marines, lascannon
Razorback with twin linked heavy bolters and extra armour
10 Sniper Scouts
Techmarine with Tunderfire Cannon
Space Marine Army Thoughts:
Let's go through the things I found scary in this Space Marine army. Orbital Bombardment was top of my list as it splatter a Battlesuit squad very easily. I was also cautious with regards to James's token Assault Squad led by Chaplain (or the 'Cheese Vicar' as Luke calls him). I wasn't too worried about much else.
1500 Points Tau Army
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
Tau Army Thoughts:
James has played this army quite a few times now and truly loathes it. I expect the Thunderfire Cannon to hammer my Battlesuits. I expect Orbital Bombardment to hammer my Broadsides. I expect him to advanced half his army in Razorbacks while the other half provides supporting fire. It's the way James plays and so long as he doesn't rush me with everything, that's fine, because I can fend of the half of his army which he sends my way. On with the game!
We rolled for counters, getting 3. I placed one in the open, approximately 18" on, slightly to the right of the centre. James placed a counter on the far left, on a hill, on the opposite side of the board. I placed another counter on the far right, out in the open.
James won the roll to go first and deployed his entire army on the side of the table with 2 counters. He placed the Thunderfire Cannon, Chapter Master in razorback with squad and a lascannon squad on the far left flank while 2 lascannon squads occupied a trench behind the rocks in the centre. Meanwhile Razorbacks and the Assault Squad led by the dread Cheese Vicar were ready to rush forward on Turn 1.
I didn't fancy getting blown away on Turn 1, so I deployed just my Tau Broadside team and Hammerhead on the far right, in the corner, so that I would be just out of range of his lascannons while my railguns would be in range! Everything else was in reserve.
James then deployed his Sniper Scouts across the table from my Broadsides on the right flank, in the cover of some woods.
I then rolled to Seize The Initiative and rolled a 6! Okay, that wasn't really supposed to happen.
The Tau Broadsides blew up the Razorback which the Assault squad was hiding behind while the railgun on the Hammerhead missed the other Razorback.
James began his advance. The Assault team jumped and ran behind the woods which were occupied by the Sniper Scouts.
The nearest operational Razorback sped towards the rocks in the centre, meanwhile the space marines from the destroyed Razorback ran alongside it, towards the rocks.
James's fire power could do little this turn, as I'd made sure he would be out of range (heh heh), but the Sniper Scouts unleashed a deadly volley at the Broadside Battlesuit team, scoring a trio of rending hits!
James revelled in his lucky rolling with his trademark "Ooh, that's horrible!" before I proceeded to pass an unhealthy number of armour saves, losing both Shield Drones. Fortunately my brave Broadsides held their ground and passed their pinning test.
Concerned that I might bunch my army together too much and be Orbitally Bombarded into oblivion, I had decided to Deepstrike both of my Tau Battlesuit teams. This reckless tactic would prove to be my undoing as I Deep Striked the twin linked flamer Battlesuit team next to the Sniper Scouts and the Tau Battlesuit command team next to the Razorback which had driven up to the rocks in the centre. I continued to roll for my reserves, rolling a 4+ for EVERY unit in my army. Incredible!
The Tau armada of grav tanks moved on to the board. The ENTIRE army opened fire on the Razorback and the Space Marines which fell out of its burning hatches as it exploded. When the smoke cleared the Razorback was gone, but not a single Space Marine had been slain. I was now very worried and quite sickened at the sheer volume of armour saves James had just passed.
Meanwhile the twin linked flamer Battlesuits engulfed the woods containing the Sniper Scouts in flame, inflicting 20 wounds between them. James rolled for his 4+ armour saves and 3 Scouts died (and as I'm sure you know, statistically all 10 of them should have perished in flame!). With the Assault Squad around the corner, I knew that my Battlesuits were doomed. Their noble sacrifice was to eliminate the Sniper Scouts, but the attack had failed.
After a woefully ineffective turn, it was over to James...
The Sniper Scouts continued to fire at the Broadsides, to no effect.
The Assault Squad led by the Cheese Vicar tore the Tau Battlesuits to peices before finishing them off with strikes from the sergeant armed with a power fist.
Lascannons from the combat squads in the trench and on the hill blew a single burst cannon off the Skyray.
Meanwhile the Thunderfire Cannon unleashed a deadly barrage at the Tau Battlesuit Command Team, causing so many hits that the squad were unable to pass the sheer volume of armour saves and were wiped out.
With his primary targets for Orbital Bombardment eliminated, James fired at the Devilfish parked on an objective and Immobilised it.
The two combat squads which had occupied the rocks in the centre would soon be all over my 1 easy to claim objective and I was determined to wipe them out. The Devilfish moved forward 6" as one and disembarked the Fire Warriors within rapid firing range of the enemy.
Guided by markerlights from the Tau Skyray, the wall of guns opened fire, wiping out 9 of the 10 Space Marines from the two squads. I fired my first Seeker Missile from the Tau Skyray using a remaining markerlight, which killed the 1 remaining space marine.
The Hammerhead fired a Submunition round into the Assault Squad, killing 2 of them.
Meanwhile the Broadside Battlesuits targeted the Thunderfire Cannon on the hill, hoping to eliminate either the Tech Marine or the cannon itself to ensure the safety of the Tau Firewarriors who had disembarked from their transports.
The Tech Marine 'went to ground' and passed his cover save while the Thunderfire Cannon also passed its reguler cover save.
Under fire, James advanced the Assault Squad, led by the Chaplain into the guns of the Tau army while on the left flank, the Chapter Master riding in a Razorback advanced from behind the hill.
While his lascannons proved ineffective this turn, the Sniper Scouts were able to inflict a wound on one of the Tau Firewarrior squads who then failed their pinning test and would be unable to embark in their transport next turn.
With the Assault Squad rapidly closing, no other viable targets in range and an objective to fight for, the Firewarriors re-embarked into their transports and the Tau tank wall moved around to the right, firing everything it had at the approaching Assault Squad and Chaplain. This time James rolled average for his armour saves and the squad was wiped out, leaving just the Chaplain on 1 wound.
This turn James advanced the Razorback with his Chapter Master and a combat squad from behind the hill on the left flank, towards the Tau lines.
On the right flank the Chaplain fired his jump pack and landed safely inside the nearby dug-out before running a further 3 inches.
Lascannon fire from the trench and the hill on the left flank immobilised the Skyray.
The Sniper Scouts fired at the Broadsides, scoring 2 rending hits and inflicting a wound on both of them (thank heavens for 'leader' upgrades to help share the wounds!). Thankfully they passed their pinning test.
Realising that the game could end this turn, I surged my Tau tank armada forward, but it would certainly take another turn for me to reach the objective, but I could fire all my guns at the Sniper Scouts in the woods who were likely to contest the objective in the open. Torrents of smart missiles and a submunition round from the Hammerhead wittled the squad down to just 3 men, but they held their ground thanks to Leadership 10 from the Chapter Master.
The immobilised Skyray turned its turret to target the Chaplain in the dug-out with its markerlights, scoring a hit with both.
I used the first markerlight to improve the Broadsides Ballistic Skill. They both hit, but James passed both of his cover saves.
I fired the smart missiles on the immobilised Tau Devilfish, but it did nothing.
With little else I could do, I used my final markerlight to fire my second ever Seeker Missile, which hit, wounded and killed! I can see myself firing more of these things in the future.
In James's turn, the Chapter Master and combat squad continued to zoom along the left flank, disembarking and firing their plasma gun at the side armour of a Devilfish, immobilising it.
The lascannons in the trench immobilised another Devilfish which had advanced alongside the Hammerhead.
Meanwhile the Thunderfire Cannon wiped out the Tau Firewarriors who had been pinned in the previous turn and still huddled outside their immobilised transport.
On the right flank, the Sniper Scouts ran out from the woods to claim the objective in the open.
We rolled to see if the game continued.
James rolled a 1.
Victory to the Space Marines. 2 objectives to 1.
I haven't played for a while and it really shows in this battle report. Let's put aside the fact that James was OBSCENELY lucky with his armour saves and concentrate on my appalling tactics. James played very well, because his army is incredibly forgiving. Although I would have kept the Assault Squad hidden behind the woods on the right flank, ready to pounce on the objective at Turn 5, rather than risking the Sniper Scouts to do it who are more fragile.
Rolling to 'seize the initiative' was daft on my part as I'd planned for the 1st turn and really snookered myself. I really needed the 2nd turn to objective grab in the dying turns of the game.
Deep Striking the Battlesuits was a bad idea and I should have stuck to hiding them behind my tanks like I usually do.
Yes, Orbital Bombardment is scary. I've had the same experience with Artillery Strikes from the Imperial Guard. I think it's best to just play as you normally would and simply bite the bullet if and when a big explosion lands on you.
Because I Deep Striked my Tau Battlesuits, they weren't ideally placed, left vulnerable to blast weapons for being so tightly packed together and not to mention in clear line of sight!
I also could have used both Battlesuit squads more effectively in eliminating enemy transports.
At times I played too aggressively and other times too cautiously. James's gambit in throwing the Assault Squad forward played beautifully on my fears and I moved the minimum distance forward to shoot at him, when I should have surged forward with my tanks that turn, all guns blazing.
My only 'lucky' moment in the game was my entire army arriving on turn 2, which may have done more harm than good. In hindsight, I could have surprised James and fought for the objective on the left flank, which would have drawn some of his units away at the very least.
I was pleased with my tactical placement of objectives though and it goes to show how you should always do you best to spread objectives around and place them in the open when playing a mechanised Tau army.
I'm looking forward to playing this Space Marine army again. As I always say: "It takes 3 games to defeat an army properly."
July 23, 2009
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