Tau VS Space Marines Battle Report 2

August 7, 2009 ·

August 8, 2009

This second Space Marines VS Tau Battle Report come from my new apartment. Please forgive the glowing Television screen. It's not the movie Poltergeist, it was infact Kerrang Radio playing on the telly.

Last time James's new Space Marine army gave the Tau a kicking. But this time the tables turned -and oh how they turned!

I always say it takes me 3 games against an army to truly defeat it and this Space Marine army is no exception. Many of you commented on the last battle report asking where his Land Speeders, terminators and attack bikes were. Truth be told, James doesn't need them to create an effect force when he favours sheer numbers of men in order to grab objectives.

Maybe one day he'll realise that his Dark Angels are still rather good, especially when combined with Outflanking Ravenwing squads? Time will tell.

Without further ramble -on to the battle report!

1500 Points 40K Battle Report:
Game: Seize Ground (4 objectives)
Deployment: Dawn of War
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 Thunderfire Cannon

1500 Points Tau Army
Tau Shas’el with 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

Joel had come round that evening to check out my new apartment, so we let him set up the terrain. And he chose on some kind of whacky street-based set up. I was game, as was James and we rolled for Objectives, getting 4 in total.

James won the roll off and made me go first.
I placed an objective in the 2nd building from the right in my table half. He mirrored the placement of this objective. I then placed my last objective in the building on my far right. He placed an objective in the 2nd building from the left in his table half.

With fairly dense terrain around the centre and 4 closely placed objectives to fight over, this could be a very interesting and hard fought game.

Tau Set Up

I kept everything off the board, but my Tau Battlesuit command team. They deployed as far forward as possible inside a building. If James Infiltrated his Sniper Scouts, as I knew he probably would, they'd get a face full of plasma and missile pods for their troubles.

James kept everything off the board, but put his Scouts into Reserve and they could be Outflanking. He'd probably try to charge one of my tanks and glance it when they arrived and I would have to bear this in mind for later. Similarly, any Battlesuit or Broadside teams would have to remain more than 12" away from the sides of the board. Their firepower is too precious for them to be tied up in close combat.

The Tau army cruised on to the board at top speed, taking positions behind the buildings. Skyray on the left, with the twin flamer Battlesuit team behind. Two Devilfish in the centre and one Devilfish and a Hammerhead on the right. Meanwhile the Broadside team waddled on 4" just behind them. Now to wait for the arrival of the Space Marines.

The Space Marine razorbacks took up position around the central building, firing their smoke launchers. The combat squads with lascannons ran behind them. On the left flank the Assault Squad led by the Chaplain jumped behind the nearest building, while the Techmarine with Thunderfirecannon trundled towards the building on the far left flank. No shooting, so it was over the Tau.

While going first in Dawn of War can put you at a disadvantage when it comes to deploying your army, you effectively get the first round of fire in, even if those does come during Turn 2. As I've found before, if you're trying to shoot in Turn 1 of Dawn of War, you will be disappointed.

So I took the opportunity to make the most of my first volley in Turn 2 by destroying one of the Razorbacks, blowing the turret off another and stunning another...but it had extra armour, so it didn't make much difference. I was quite unlucky with my rolls, but hey, I'm getting used to that.

The Space Marine Chapter Master stumbled out of his destroyed Razorback, along with the combat squad he had joined. Only 1 of them had died in the explosion. They passing their pinning test.

In response, James surged forward with his two remaining mobile razorbacks, disembarking one of the squads on the edge of the central building with the Assault Squad and Chaplain a few inches behind.

The combat squads with lascannons held their position and began firing on the Tau tanks, but either missed, failed to penetrate or their shots were deflected by the Tau disruption pods.

The disembarked combat squad, heavy bolters from one of the Razorbacks and the Thunderfire cannon ALL took aim at the Tau Battlesuit command team in the centre building, killing both drones and one of the Battlesuit bodyguards, but they passed their morale check and held their position.

Meanwhile the Chapter Master called in an orbital bombardment on the Tau Battlesuits with twin linked flamers, hitting and wounding 3 models. One shield drone was destroyed, the other saved and one of the Battlesuits was instantly killed. The squad passed its pinning test, failed its morale check and fell back towards the table edge.

The Sniper Scouts didn't arrive from Reserve.

To stem the advancing tide of space marines, The hammerhead immobilised the Razorback on the right flank, while the combined efforts of the Tau Battlesuit command team and the twin flamer battlesuits who rallied mere inches from the table edge destroyed the Razorback on the left.

The Broadsides managed to get the Thunderfire Cannon and its techmarine gunner within line of sight and destroyed the artillery peice, but the techmarine was very much alive. This would make things much easier for when my Tau Firewarriors would have to disembark en masse and put down the Assault Squad.

In James's turn, the Assault Squad jumped over the destroyed Razorback and ran to the edge of the Tau occupied building which housed one of the objectives.

With every other immediate threat eliminated, the Tau army was ready to pounce!

The Sniper Scouts didn't arrive from Reserve.
The combat squad with lascannon on the left flank began running for the objective on the left flank.

The Skyray moved in, the Tau Battlesuit command team moved in, the twin flamer battlesuit team jumped out from behind the Skyray, ready to jump back if need be while the Tau Battlesuit command team acted as bait to draw the Assault Squad into the range of the twin linked flamers next turn.

The Tau Broadsides turned for face their smart missile systems towards the Assault Squad, the Hammerhead hovered in a ruin, it's massive railgun ready to fire.

Finally, two of the Devilfish surged forward, disembarking their 6 man firewarrior teams from the rear hatch who rapid fired with their pulse rifles.

The Assault Squad was wiped out in an orgy of destruction, leaving only the Chaplain reduced to 1 wound and with a markerlight remaining on him. The Skyray fired off 1 seeker missile (have you noticed that I fire these a lot now?) and obliterated its target.

To make things worse for James, the Hammerhead and two Devilfish were still yet to fire, making short work of the combat squad next to the destroyed Razorback.

Robbed of his prize unit, James was now playing the defensive game...but that didn't stop one of his combat squads from charging one of the Devilfish on the right flank while the Sniper Scouts finally arrived and Outflanked from the right flank also before running towards the objective in the Hammerhead occupied building.

The combat squad with lascannon on the left flank continued running for the objective on the left flank.

The only threat to my objectives were the Sniper Scouts. They had to die! And so two Devilfish, one which disembarked its firewarriors and the Hammerhead decended upon the doomed Scouts. The Scouts were mercilessly wiped out.

Meanwhile the Broadsides and Skyray finished off the combat squad which had been left out in the open after foolishly charging one of the Tau Devilfish transports.

This left the last Devilfish to land on top of the objective in the central building, while firing its smart missile systems into the Chapter Master's squad. The Battlesuit teams also added their missile pods to the salvo, wiping out the entire squad, but for the Chapter Master. One of James's objectives was now unclaimed.

In retaliation, a lascannons from the stationary space marine combat squad fired at the Devilfish parked on the roof of the ruin, but one failed to hit and the other shot was saved by the vehicle's disruption pod.

Meanwhile the other combat squad ran towards the objective in the central building, only just managing to get within range to claim it.

The combat squad with lascannon on the left flank reached the objective on the left flank.

We played for 2 more Turns, which were uneventful. I couldn't push the attack without moving Devilfish off of my objectives and James lacked the firepower to inflict any serious damage.

A draw. Well, it didn't feel like a draw. But I think this simply shows how Tau struggle in an objective grabbing mission. I did everything right, defended well and prioritised the elimination of each threat.

I feel that James played rather recklessly with his Assault Squad and walked them all into my guns. Although it makes me appreciate the sheer volume of firepower the Tau can bring to bear, especially when you stop thinking about ignoring people's armour saves because you can simply drown them in weight of fire. Even James's consistently above average passing of armour saves couldn't save the Assault Squad, or the Chaplain.

The one thing James did say after this game was the he could have taken melta guns for his combat squads in Razorbacks -which is very true. But then he said he'd rather keep the plasma guns and not tailor his army to beating my list.

As for me, I've overcome my fear of the Thunderfire Cannon and Obrital Bombardment. There's nothing you can do about it for a turn, so you just have to take it on the chin and get on with it. But, spreading out your Battlesuit units minimises the damage Orbital Bombardment can inflict. I always wondered why James never hit my Broadsides with it, but it's because I deploy them with their shield drones in a line, he can only catch 2 models with the blast template. Guess which models I'm going to take those hits on? -The shield drones of course!


Raptor1313 said...
August 8, 2009 at 1:27 AM  

Grats on the win, though the objective-claiming is annoying, and I suspect I'll be running into that when I finally start fielding my Tau.

For deployment, I agree that going first sets you at a disadvantage, but it gives you the first shot. If the other guy's coming to you, you can at least try to figure out his approach and hit him there.

Have you found slapping Crisis Suits in buildings to be a big hindrance? I'm thinking that when dealing with Guard, hiding behind hovertanks won't protect you from ordnance shots.

Yeah...the Thunderfire is amazing for nuking stuff, but Tau suits are well-suits to feeding it missiles. So what if the Techmarine lives? Without the cannon, he's pretty worthless unless he can get into assault.

I think your buddy could probably tweak his list and get it a bit nastier. The Orbital Bombardment doesn't so much for him (and saves him 25 points). I don't know about Extra Armor on Razorbacks, but I'm not really a fan of extra-armor type upgrades just because they hardly ever come into play. I think he could trim some stuff out and get a leaner, meaner army. Four Extra Armors and a couple assault marines could get him another Thunderfire.

I'm a bit surprised he outflanked the sniper scouts, but I can see scouts outflanking. Not super reliable, but 10 sniper rifles at BS3 have issues inflicting damage. (5 hits, 2.5 wounds...). I'll maintain the strength of CSM scouts is hiding Telion and having Telion give a missile launcher BS6. Losing a couple scouts for Telion makes that squad much more deadly, I think, and lets him claim his home objective easily. Against Tau, though, I think the only thing he might do is put wounds on Broadsides a bit more effectively (if he's not BS6'ing the missile launcher).

Anthony Yeates said...
August 8, 2009 at 2:24 AM  

I find a Pirhanna or two invaluble for objective games. Zipping out to contest, give them Fusion Blasters so they can burn transports off objectives, TA to make sure they hit and if ytou have the points FD to make your oppenent think twice about assulting them. Seeker Missels are also a useful toy on them, as they can get side armour shots off easily.

Admiral Drax said...
August 8, 2009 at 9:12 AM  

Nice report - thanks!

Also, what a cracking table! Seriously good looking, that.


- Drax.

Simon said...
August 8, 2009 at 12:19 PM  

Congrats on the win and thanks for the great looking report. Did you make those buildings? I've been looking for some building templates that look like that so if you did build them I'm wondering how you went about it.


Damon said...
August 9, 2009 at 8:48 AM  

Well, just like the previous battle report, the DA army is a total failure, and was also played badly.

Outflanking is a cute gimmick but rarely a game-winning tactic. (And outflanking snipers?! Wha?!) Why not just play smarter from the get-go? And building a smarter army is the first place to start.

Insert pretty much everything I said previously about the DA army here. He simply cannot compete with your army until he makes changes like that. I strongly disagree with your assessment that the DA army has any tactical merit whatsoever.

I also stand by my assessment of your Tau army. It's OK, but the reason objectives missions are difficult for you to win is because your army can't control the board. This is where infiltrating Kroot and piranhas come into play. You shove piranhas right in the face of your enemy and use Kroot to push the enemy away from your Crisis suits.

If you trim some of the extras -- e.g., all those shield drones (really, only your broadsides should have 'em) -- and drop two of your FW units, you can get 2 units of Kroot/Hounds and change all your suits over to Fireknives and get a pair of piranhas. Then you'd have an army capable of controlling enemy movement and giving you command of the table. Take objectives at your leisure once your crisis suits and done most of the killing (with Kroot clean-up crew right behind).

Mike said...
August 11, 2009 at 6:55 AM  

Great report, and your army looks very good.
Just a quick question, do you strictly adhere to 1500 points or under? as your army list seems slightly over pointed.
It adds up to 1520

Also, do you really find that the Skyray is effective? as I have tried it and it never seems to do much

Anonymous said...
October 4, 2009 at 8:28 AM  

Isn't Orbital Bombardment a large blast weapon? It seems like if he aimed it at one of the center models of the broadside line he should get 3 models..

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