40K Grand Tournament Day 2

October 31, 2009 · 22 comments

October 31, 2009

Day 2 of the Warhammer 40K Grand Tournament quickly got underway following a ridiculously late night in Nottingham's Rock City followed by another fine full english breakfast and a double Espresso to wake me up!

We walked to Warhammer World again, only to find that we had arrived a little late and had but moments to set up our armies, introduce ourselves to our opponents and start playing.

I found myself playing on the middle tables (usually where I'm happiest) and saw on listings that I was playing a chap called Shaun and his Ork army. But when I arrived, I found that he had brought Tyranids instead. LOTS of Tyranids.

Fortunately there was a lack of cover on the board, so my wealth of Strength 5, AP5 weapons should cause a bit dent in his swarm. I also noted a lack of long ranged fire power, which meant that my Tau tanks could be relatively safe.

40K Battle Report 4:
Game: Annihilation
Deployment: Spearhead
Opponent: Shaun, Tyranids

Hive Tyrant with warp field, venom cannon and 1 Tyrant Guard

Broodlord with feeder tendrils and 8 Genestealer Retinue

6 Tyranid Warriors with scything talons, devourers, barbed strangler
6 Tyranid Warriors with scything talons, devourers, barbed strangler

Carnifex with numerous twin linked devourers, enhanced senses
Carnifex with lots of choppy bits, toughness 7 and 2+ save

8 Genestealers
8 Genestealers

32 spinegaunts
32 spinegaunts

SET UP
I won the roll off and let Shaun choose his table quarter, set up first and go first. While I could have focussed on pouring as much fire power into him as possible in the first turn, I knew that clever deployment and use of reserves would be my friend in this mission.

He declared that his Broodlord and retinue would be in reserve, outflanking while the rest of his army set up within 12" of the centre, as far forward as possible.

My first priority would be to get rid of his high strength guns as these would be a threat to my tanks. After that, I'd fall back on my usual run and gun tactics with flechette dischargers on the tanks to inflict some extra damage for when he inevitably charged me.

So I set up the Broadsides, Hammerhead and Tau Battlesuit command team behind it (all just outside of 12" from the right board edge to avoid the Brood Lord and chums).

TURN 1
The Tyranid horde surged forward as one. Some shots were fired, they didn't do anything.

The Broadsides fired into the Tyranid Warriors to the left of the central building, killing one of them. Damn synapse rule! I'd forgotten about that.

The Battlesuit Command team jumped into the ruins, following behind the Hammerhead. The Tau Commander injured himself on the rocks (tsk!) and the squad opened fire on the advancing Dakka-Fex, inflicting only 2 wounds. The Hammerhead aimed its railgun at the monstrous creature...and missed. Not a great start!

TURN 2
The Brood Lord and his Genestealer retinue arrived. Shaun rolled a 6, so he could choose where 'Broody' and chums would arrive. He brought them on right behind the Tau Battlesuit command team and ran them to make sure the Battlesuits wouldn't be able to escape next turn.

The Tyranid army continued its advance. It had quickly become apparent just how much the swarm had been slowed by having to spread out in such a tiny deployment zone. With squads of creatures pushed to the back, the army had been dispersed into lots of little waves rather than a single wave that could crush my small Tau army.

The Dakka Fex opened fire on the Tau Battlesuit command team, inflicting a wound on one of the Commander's bodyguards and killing both shield drones. The squad held their ground thankfully.

The Tau phase began with 3 Devilfish transports arriving from reserve. With only one Outflanking unit to take care of, the Battlesuits, Broadsides and Hammerhead could fall back safely towards the table corner.

Safe from the majority of the Tyranid's guns, 2 Devilfish moves 6" on and their Firewarrior passengers disembarked, taking aim at the Brood Lord and its retinue.

Once the smoke cleared only the Brood Lord remained. I had hoped to kill him as well. Then I could focus the plasma rifles and missile pods of my Battlesuits at the approaching Dakka-Fex.

The Hammerhead took aim with its railgun and missed -again!

It was up to the Battlesuits who gunned down the Broodlord with no effort and jumped back behind the safety of the Hammerhead. Try and shoot me now Mr Dakka-Fex!

The Broadsides continued to fire at the Tyranid Warriors, wounding another (they had nothing else to shoot at).

Meanwhile on the left flank, the third Devilfish arrived and also began firing at the Tyranid Warriors from a safe distance. Then plan was to shoot at the tail of the swarm as it charged towards my main force on the right.

TURN 3
The Tyranid swarm continued to advance, ignoring the Devilfish on the left. The Hive Tyrant's venom cannon was out of range. The Dakka-Fex devourers were just out of range of the Tau Firewarriors it tried to get a bead on. Meanwhile the Tyranid warriors and Genestealers continued to surge forward. Next turn the Hammerhead would get charged and there was nothing I could do about it.

The Tau Battlesuits with twin linked flamers and single missile pods arrived from reserve and jumped behind the Devilfish on the left flank. The Skyray also arrived, taking up position on the left flank where all three units could continue to fire at the Tyranid Warriors -I want that Kill Point! But 2 of them remained.

The Tau Battlesuit command team finished off the Dakka-Fex while the Firewarriors embarked in their Devilfish transports advanced along the right flank, staying away from the swarm, firing their smart missiles at the Tyranid Warriors on the right of the building.

The Hammerhead flew over the trees and fired a solid slug into the Dakka-Fex, which combined with firepower from the Tau Battlesuit Command team finally finished off the brute. Once they were done, they then jumped over the woods behind the Hammerhead.

TURN 4
The Genestealers leapt upon the Hammerhead and immediately 4 of the 8 were torn apart by the flechette dischargers. Unable to land a single blow, they were in trouble.

The Tyranid warriors also charged in, but were only able to glance the vehicle, preventing it from firing next turn while losing one of their number to the flechette dischargers.

The rest of the Tyranid swarm rushed forward as before with the big stompy Carnifex getting dangerously close to the Broadsides along with the 32 strong gaunt swarm.

The Hive Tyrant and a nearby Genestealer swarm turned their attention to the two Tau tanks and Battlesuits peppering the back of the Tyranid army, inflicting a glancing hit on the Skyray which disabled one of its markerlights.

In the Tau turn lots of Tyranids were killed.

The Hammerhead flew away, the trio of Devilfish gunned down the remaining Genestealers and the Battlesuits blasted the Tyranid Warriors apart in a spectacular display of statistically accurate dice rolling. God bless Mathhammer when it actually works!

The Broadsides were in trouble. They knew it. So they trudged towards the spinegaunts, killing 4 with their smart missile systems before wading into close combat.

On the left flank the remaining 2 Tyranid warriors were killed and the very slow and ponderous Hive Tyrant ignored.

SUMMARY
On the right flank the Tyranids came to a halt due to their lack of synapse creatures, but not after the stompy Carnifex had killed the Broadsides in close combat and managed to catch a fleeing Devilfish transport and sent the Firewarrior team inside fleeing off the board.

On the left flank the remaining Genestealers were wiped out and the Hive Tyrant ignored some more.

Back on the right flank, the rest of the Tyranid army got mopped up in short order, leaving just a Carnifex and a Hive Tyrant at opposite ends of the board.

3 Kill Points to the Tyranids, 7 Kill Points to the Tau!

For me, this game ran like text book for the Tau. But that was thanks to eliminating his high strength weapons early on. I was surprised that he didn't have any leaping Tyranid Warriors or more Outflanking Genestealers or this game could have been really tough for me.

With my excellent win I was propelled up the tables to table 23, where I met Luke, a reader of Warhammer Tau and generally all round nice chap.

His army wasn't so friendly though, as I soon found out. Fortunately I'd had my arse handed to me on a silver platter during Friday's games, so I had an idea of what to expect from a Valkyrie heavy Imperial Guard army.


40K Battle Report 5:
Game: Capture & Control
Deployment: Pitched Battle
Opponent: Luke, Imperial Guard
Command Team with plasma guns
Valkyrie
Imperial Guard squad with melta guns
Valkyrie
Imperial Guard squad with melta guns
Valkyrie
Imperial Guard squad with flamers
Valkyrie
Imperial Guard squad with plasma guns
Vendetta
Vendetta
Vendetta

I'm a little hazy on Luke's army composition, but this was basically it. Against so many fast armour 12 vehicles all loaded up on heavy bolter, big explosion markers and lascannons I didn't fancy my chances. The fact that lots of little guys with melta guns would be jumping out of them made it even worse. Boy and to think I used to hate playing Ravenwing! This kind of army is the Tau's Nemesis because you can't outrun it, outshoot it or outfight it.

So, knowing that I was pretty screwed, it was time to play tactically. Very tactically.

SET UP
Luke won the roll off and made me go first. Ah well, I suppose that gives me less to think about 'tactically'.

The board was quite open, but for some trees around the middle, rocks at the side and one one side a large, square building.

I chose the side with the large square building because I had an idea, then placed my Objective in the trees in the centre of my deployment zone. Luke placed his objective top right, where I'd struggle to get it if I set up in the centre, which is generally expected of most Tau players.

Luke was fixated on my Broadsides. I knew that with his Outflanking Valkyries he could hit me from all sides, so it was wisest to hole up on one side, take the hits and see if I could go after his objective with faster units. Maybe I could hold him up long enough with all my sacrificial units to scrape a draw?

I placed the Broadsides behind the building (which I knew he REALLY REALLY wanted to kill!), a Skyray to the left and a Devilfish on top of the building itself.

This left nowhere for his Valkyries to move on 12" and disembark their troops within range of the Broadsides. It would also give me a little bit of breathing space and stop his Valkyries from zooming into key positions.

Meanwhile I placed the Battlesuits and Hammerhead in the centre on the objective to see if they could hold it until the bitter end while 2 Devilfish transports were held in reserve.

SUMMARY
I'm not going to do a turn by turn account of this game, because basically the plan worked...as well as it could. 4 Valkyries arrived on the right while the 3 Vendettas arrived on the left.

I took the hits and lost one of the tanks, but in doing so Luke had exposed his troops who were now vulnerable to the burst cannons and smart missiles of the Devilfish which had arrived from reserve. Hosing down his troops the Tanks began to push forwards, towards his objective. This caused a momentary distraction for the Vendettas to stop blowing up the Hammerhead and killed my Battlesuits, but the Tau tanks were stopped dead in their tracks.

The Broadsides shot at the Vendettas all game, blowing off lascannons once in a while (rubbish!).

The game ended on Turn 5 with Luke getting his command squad on to his objective (despite being forced to take 2 break tests.)

He also disembarked another squad into the trees next to my objective.

Perhaps I'm too much of a sport, because I pointed out that his unit was 1mm within 3" of my Objective and so they could contest it. Otherwise this would have been a quite stunning tactical draw for the Tau.

Oh well. That's the way it goes sometimes. But then, I'd rather play properly and lose by the skin of my teeth than lie through my teeth to win a game.

1-0 on Objectives to the Imperial Guard.


With that, it was down to my final game of the weekend. One look at this guy's army list and I knew what I didn't have a hope in hell of beating him. Hell, it was the last game of the last day. I was tired and I wanted to go home. But it's remarkable what a little luck can do for your game!

40K Battle Report 6:
Game: Seize Ground (3 Objectives)
Deployment: Dawn of War
Opponent: Gareth, Space Marines

Kayvann Shrike leading 5 assault marines with jump packs

10 Terminators with thunder hammer and storm shield

5 space marines in a razorback with twin linked lascannon

10 space marines with melta gun, powerfist and missile launcher in a rhino

3 Vindicators

Gareth's army was made up of numerous Space Marine chapters as a themed 'Crusade' army. But in truth I think he borrowed most of them to make a competitive tournament list with Shrike giving his terminators Fleet of Foot.

So my final game would be my least favourite mission where I'd have to wrestle objectives from Armour 13 vehicles and 10 Terminators with 3+ invulnerable saves.

At least it's Dawn of War - my favourite set up!

SET UP
I won the roll off, so I took the first turn, choosing the board edge with the least terrain so my tanks may cruise about without fear of crashing.

We rolled for Objectives, getting 3. It's a really disgusting thing to do when you get 3, but I can place 2 Objectives in my zone while my opponent is stuck with just 1 to place in his. Harsh, but screw it, I've had it done to me.

I placed the first Objective in the open, quite central. Gareth mimicked my placement, but put his Objective in some rocks. I placed the last Objective further left, also in the open. I figured that spreading out the objectives would be daft, because my army can't compete Unit to Unit, so a last term contesting rush might be in order.

I set up nothing. He sets up nothing. All my Battlesuits are Deep Striking (I don't care, it's the last game and I'm gonna lose!), he decides to Deep Strike Kayvaan Shrike and the Terminators as well. The game begins.

TURN 1
The Tau army rocks up, Broadsides take position on the hill on the right flank,

From right to left it's Devilfish, Skyray, Devilfish, Devilfish, Hammerhead. The tank armada cruises on 6". No need to rush, no one is going to get a shot off during Turn 1 (which is something more people need to just accept about Turn 1 of Dawn of War).

Gareth drives his tanks on to the right flank. Rhino with 10 space marines in on the far right, behind some woods, then 2 Vindicators, a Razorback with 5 space marine in behind his Objective, which is flanked by another Vindicator on the left. All tanks fire their smoke launchers.

TURN 2
It's daylight and the Tau can fire!
The Tau Battlesuit Command team arrives from reserve and Deepstrikes next the to Vindicator on the left, protecting the Razorback.

Markerlights from the Skyray light it up, the Hammerhead locks on and fires its railgun, the Battlesuits use the markerlights to reduce its cover save and maximise their chances to hit and when the dust clears...the tank has been immobilised and lost its Demolisher cannon. I suppose that's something.

The Broadsides slam railgun shots into the Vindicator advancing alongside the Rhino, stunning it for the turn so it cannot shoot. (Rubbish I know!)

Shrike and the Terminators don't arrive from reserve. In retaliation the Vindicator round the other side of the Razorback drives around and kills the entire Battlesuit Command Team in a single, well placed shot.

On the right flank, the Rhino with 10 space marine inside continues its advance through the woods.

TURN 3
The Tau Battlesuit team with twin flamers and single missile pods Deep Strikes into the clearing between 2 Vindicators a Rhino and a Razorback on the top right of the table. They fire their missile pods into the rear armour of the Vindicator that killed the other Battlesuits, glancing it and preventing it from firing for the turn. Phew!

The Tau tanks advance, pouring fire into the Space Marine vehicles, but having no effect.

The Broadsides fire at the Rhino driving through the woods, but only manage to blow off the storm bolter.

Gareth rolls for his reserves. Shrike doesn't arrive, but the 10 Terminators armed with thunder hammer and storm shield do!

He placed the sergeant in the clearing between the Broadsides and the Rhino in the woods. He rolls a 9" for the scatter and his enormous unit of 10 Terminators can't be placed without landing on the Rhino.

He rolls on the Mishap Table and gets a 3.
I get to place them wherever I like.
Far left hand corner please! That should keep them out of the fight for the rest of the game.

The Vindicator beside the Razorback can't do much, but turn to present its front armour to the Battlesuits. The Razorback takes a shot at the Battlesuits, but miraculously fails to wound one of them. The other Vindicator can't do anything either.

That leaves the Rhino with 10 space marines which drives up to an objective and disembarks its troops who fire their melta gun at a nearby Devilfish, but only succeed in glancing it (due to range) and prevent it from moving or firing next turn.

TURN 4
The Tau army descends on the 10 space marines, killing 6 of them with the 6 Firewarriors who disembarked from the stunned Devilfish causing most of the casualties.

Meanwhile the 2 Battlesuits shoot the nearby stationary Vindicator in the back with their missile pods and charge in for the killing blow. The explosion inflicts a wound on one of them.

In Gareth's turn, Shrike arrives from reserve and Deep Strikes behind the Hammerhead. I'd have said a little too close...but it's too late as Gareth scatters on to the back of the tank and rolls another 3 on the Mishap Table. Top left corner with the Terminators (who have been busy trudging forward all this time).

The Space Marines fire at the disembarked Firewarriors, killing 4 of them, but the squad passes its morale check.

The last active Vindicator kills the 2 Battlesuits with a well placed Demolisher cannon blast.

TURN 5
The Tau army advances as one, gunning down the remaining space marines in a hail of smart missiles while the Firewarrior squad re-embarks into their Devilfish to go claim an ojective. The two other Devilfish do the same while the Hammerhead speeds forward, hoping to contest the Space Marine Objective.

The Broadsides fire at the last Vindicator, but without any luck. The rest of the Tau army is content with its objectives.

I Gareth's turn the Terminators use their Fleet of Foot (thanks to Shrike) to charge the Hammerhead and begin smashing it to bits. But they are only able to stun and immobilise the vehicle after tearing off its railgun.

The game ends with 2 Objectives to the Tau and 0 to the Space Marines.

I think we all know that I won this game purely due to Gareth's bad luck. But it was nice to have an easier game for once!


FINAL THOUGHTS
Well, my army wasn't perfect, but I played well and there weren't any moments where I thought "Ah gawd, what did I do something stupid like that for!?"

My Tau army faced overwhelming odds, unstoppable armies and fought many losing battles. But they emerged from the weekend with a grand total of 3 wins, 1 draw and 2 losses. I came 56th overall, just shy of qualifying and had I drawn with Luke I would have almost certainly have qualified for the final.

If I had plenty of time, I'd definitely drop all the flechette dischargers from my tanks, upgrade my twin flamer and single missile pod battlesuits to twin linked missile pods and swap my Skyray for another Hammerhead or second team of Broadsides.

But I've done well with what I have, played 6 very enjoyable games and confused the hell out of my opponents at the same time! What more could any Tau player ask for?

40K Grand Tournament Day 1

October 30, 2009 · 7 comments

October 30, 2009

Day 1 of the Warhammer 40K Grand Tournament.

After a night of drunken fun at The Pit & Pendulum (where Luke bought an inflatable pig!), we woke up the next day to a mighty fine cooked breakfast before walking through town and along the canal to Warhammer World for day 1 of the Warhammer 40K Grand Tournament.

Having sold my Tau army to a chap from Spain on Thursday, this would be their last tour of duty, so I had high expectations of them.

I've decided to take a break from this army, but I will build a new Tau force when the new Tau Empire Codex is released. My Battlesuits will definitely be magnetised the next time around too!

1500 points Tau army list for the 2009 Grand Tournament Heat 1
I made some last minute amendments to my army as I was 2pts over the limit.


Tau Shas’el with Plasma Rifle, Missile Pod, Multitracker, Hardwired Drone Controller with 2 shield drones, Stimm Injector (feel no pain) and Bonding Knife
2 Bodyguards with Plasma Rifle, Missile Pod, Hardwired Multitracker, Targeting Array

Tau Battlesuit Team
2 Battlesuits with twin linked flamers and single missile pods

(X3) 6 man Fire warrior Team
Devilfish with Smart Missile System, Targeting Array, Multitracker, Disruption Pod, Flechette Discharger

Hammerhead with Railgun, Burst Cannons, Targeting Array (comes as standard), Multitracker, Disruption Pod, Flechette Discharger

Skyray with Burst Cannons, Target Lock (comes as standard), Targeting Array, Multitracker, Disruption Pod, Flechette Discharger

2 man Broadside Team with Advanced Stabilisation Systems.
Leader, Hardwired Drone Controller with 2 shield drones

40K Grand Tournament Battle Reports

We arrived a little late, so we quickly found our tables and met our first opponents. I had been drawn against a chap named Leonidas (cool name!) who spoke a little English. I was delighted to see a well painted Khorne Chaos army across the board from me, but never imagined just how wrong my first game would go.

40K Battle Report 1:
Game: Seize Ground (4 objectives)
Deployment: Pitched Battle
Opponent: Leonidas, World Eaters

Daemon Prince with Mark of Khorne and Wings

5 Terminators with 2 combi-plasma, 2 combi-melta, heavy flamer and chainfist
Chaos Land Raider with extra armour and bull dozer blade

7 Bezerkers +1 champion with icon and Power weapon
Chaos Land Raider with extra armour and bull dozer blade

7 Bezerkers +1 champion with icon and Power Fist
Chaos Rhino with extra armour

2 packs of 10 Summoned Damones

SET UP
We rolled for the number of objectives and ended up with 4. Then Leonidas won the roll off, opting to go first. He was clever with his objective placement so that almost all 4 were around the centre of the board.

He deployed his forces centrally with a Land Raider either side and the Rhino on the left flank. Bezerkers and Terminators were in their transports on the left while Bezerkers were in the Land Raider on the right with the Daemon Prince hidden behind it and the Daemon packs in reserve.

Due to the line of sight blocking terrain on the board, I was forced to place a Hammerhead on the far right flank, Broadsides in the middle (big mistake!), Battlesuit command team in the middle (another mistake!) and Skyray on the left flank.

TURN 1
The Khorne vehicles surged forward the full distance into the middle of the board, firing their smoke launchers.

All the Tau railguns hit home, but couldn't see past the smoke launchers as Leonidas passed all his 5+ cover saves.

TURN 2
The disembarking Terminatords and Khorne bezerkers were just (like 1mm) within charge range of the Broadsides and Battlesuits...who died spectacularly.

The Devilfish transports arrived, as did the Battlesuit team with twin flamers, sweeping around the sides of the board, firing as they went, but doing very little.

TURN 3
The Daemon Prince jumped on the Hammerhead and ripped off the railgun.
The Daemon packs arrived, deepstriking and running to claim 2 objectives while the Land Raiders continued to advance, parking on 2 more objectives so that they couldn't be contested due to the sheer size of the vehicles.

The Terminators made short work of 1 Devilfish while the Land Raiders took out the other with their lascannons, leaving the Tau Firewarriors dangerously exposed.

SUMMARY
While 1 Devilfish was able to contest an objective on the far left flank and the Hammerhead eventually made it round the the Khorne deployment zone to contest another objective, Leonidas had clearly claimed 2 objectives in my deployment zone with Bezerkers embarked inside his Land Raiders.

To make things worse I hadn't brought a single unit below half strength, but for his Daemon Prince who miraculously passed 18 armour saves in the last round.

Leonidas won with 2 objectives to 0 and over 1000 victory points.

Thoughts:
When I couldn't at least immobilise one of his Land Raiders I knew I was in big trouble. It was also unfortunate that my Battlesuits were literally millimetres within charge range.

I should have put the Broadsides on the far left flank while the Hammerhead was on the right, then done my usual sweeping around the sides tactic. Although I needed a 'juicy bone' in the middle to bait him in for that to work.

If I could get a 2nd turn of firing with the Broadsides, then maybe things wouldn't have been so bad. Then I could immobilise the Land Raiders and sweep round to his side of the board. The game would still probably end in a draw, but that's the way things go with the Tau right now.

A group of us were chatting about the game afterwards when Leonidas added:
"Oh, he was impotent."
*everyone laughs*
"That word doesn't translate very well" I said.
"Why?"
"Because in English 'impotent' means that you can't get an erection."
*embarrassed laughter*

We left our armies out for judging and then made our way into the cantine for some dinner before resuming the games.

40K Battle Report 2:
Game: Capture & Control
Deployment: Spearhead
Opponent: Luis, Dark Eldar

Archon with tons of wargear on a Jetbike with Shadowfield
Wych character with tons of wargear on a Jetbike
Big mob of Reaver Jetbikes
4 squads of 10 warriors with 2 Dark Lance
4 Raider transports with Dark Lance
3 Ravagers with Dark Lance and 2 Disintegrators

Just one look at Luis army and I knew my tanks were in trouble, my Battlesuits were in trouble and, well, that's a lot of AP2 guns.

Luis also didn't speak much English beyond the words 'Dark Lance', but had an English copy of his Codex to point at. This game was not only a lesson in tactics for me, but also international sign language!

SET UP
I won the roll off, choosing the most open corner (for my tanks to cruise around) with some woods and an impassable hab-dome terrain peice, which I placed my Objective behind.

Luis then placed his Objective in the opposite corner, in the far right corner behind another hab-dome. I wouldn't be going all the way over there for his objective.

So which his army much faster than mine and having more powerful guns than mine, I chose to defend my objective.

Dark Eldar are very fragile, so with the first turn, I set up everything on the board with my tank wall up front, Battlesuits behind and Broadsides in the far back corner. I kept a Devilfish with some Firewarriors in near my objective at all times.

Luis then deployed his Dark Eldar Warriors squads in the woods and ruins with their Dark Lances aimed at my tanks.

Meanwhile the Ravagers, Raiders and Jetbikes were held in reserve, just as expected.

SUMMARY
The Tau tank wall advanced, firing on the Dark Eldar Warriors in the nearby ruins, but killed very few. In return the Hammerhead and Skyray were both stunned by the Dark Lances and unable to move or shoot next turn.

The Tau continued shooting at the two squads in the ruins until they were wiped out. But by this time, one of the Ravagers and 2 of the Raiders had arrived from reserve and blew the Skyray apart.

The newly arrived Dark Eldar skimmers were in turn blasted apart by Battlesuit missile pods and railgun slugs from the Broadsides. Lots of explosions!

As the battle went on it looked as though the Tau had gained the upperhand with the light Dark Eldar skimmers arriving, inflicting minor damage and then exploding one by one...until the huge Dark Eldar Jetbike mob led by two characters arrived and began speeding down the left flank.

With nothing else important to shoot at, the entire Tau army turned their guns on the speeding vehicles, gradually gunning them down until only the Archon and a single Reaver Jetbiker remained...until they were gunned down in the following turn.

The game ended with each of us holding a single objective. While this battle went like textbook for the Tau, I simply couldn't risk moving away from my objective due to the sheer volume of firepower needed to take down all those Dark Eldar jetbikes in time.


40K Battle Report 3:
Game: Annihilation
Deployment: Dawn of War
Opponent: Iain, Imperial Guard

Command squad with lascannon
infantry platoon with command team with autocannon and three squads with autocannons
heavy weapons team with 3 mortars
veterans with 3 melta guns in a chimera
veterans with 3 plasma guns in a chimera (+ special character that allows rerolls)
Devildog
Leman Russ with 3 heavy bolters
Leman Russ with 3 heavy bolters
Leman Russ Demolisher with lascannon

My friend Luke had played Iain last year and commented on what a nice guy he was as well as the great game they had. Like myself, Iain fields a well rounded army that's played very tactically. This would be a very close fought game as our strategic minds met.

SET UP
I won the roll off and opted to go first. It's my belief that in the Dawn of War mission no one will get any shots off on the first turn. So whoever gets the first volley of fire in the 2nd turn will inflict the most initial damage.

I set up nothing and declared that my whole army would rock up on the first turn.
Smiling, Iain set up all of his infantry roughly 6" on from his table edge, then deployed a single squad further ahead in some woods.

TURN 1
The Tau army arrived and spread out 6" on along the deployment zone. The Broadsides took up position on the hill, ready to fire smart missiles into the Guardsmen in the woods. The 3 Devilfish with Firewarrior teams embarked set up around the centre, looking to fire at the same target. Meanwhile the Skyray and Hammerhead set up further to the left. The Battlesuits walked on in a position to jump back behind the Tau tanks.

The 3 Devilfish APCs and Broadside Battlesuits opened fire with their smart missile systems at the Imperial Guard squad in the woods, killing 5 of them, but they held their ground. Iain seemed quite horrified that smart missile systems do no require line of sight and ignore the effects of night fighting.

Meanwhile the Skyray was able to spot the Imperial Guard Veterans advancing in their Chimera on the left flank. Two markerlights hit home, which was used by the Hammerhead to spot the transport and reduce its cover save. However, the shot only succeeded in blowing off the tank's multilaser.

His tanks rolled onto the board, but were unable to see anything due to the Night Fighting conditions. The same goes for the rest of his infantry.

The Chimeras with veteran squads advance.

SUMMARY
While I could give a hazy turn by turn account of this game, not much really happened, but it was incredibly close!

The Chimera on the left disembarked it Veteran squad with 3 melta guns into the rocks because Iain didn't they'd make it that far.

He was right, because the next turn massed firepower wiped all by 2 of them out, but they blew up a Devilfish with a melta gun as they fell back (grr), then all the Firewarriors that tumbled out were hit by the Bane Wolf tank and killed outright.

The Chimera on the right drove up and the Veterans inside rapid fired their plasma guns (with re-rolls from a special character) into a nearby Devilfish. They did this for some turns until the Devilfish was immobilised, their Chimera exploded and in the final turns the Tau army hosed down the Veterans.

It was a very tense game because it took so much of my firepower to wittle down one of his squads and it took a lot of his anti-tank to take out one of the Devilfish, after which an ordnance shell or highly accurate Mortar fire would then take out the squad which had stumbled out of the tank wreckage.

Thank goodness I'd gotten the first turn, been lucky with my night fighting and made the most of my Smart Missile Systems to effectively get 2 Turns of shooting before the real fight started or I'd have struggled in this game.

The game ran until Turn 7. When the dust cleared I had 2 Battlesuits, 6 Firewarriors and 2 Broadsides remaining. Iain had 2 infantry squads, a mortar squad, a single Leman Russ and a Demolisher.

I won the game 8 Kill Points to 7.

I shook hands with Iain, having played one of my best and closes games of Warhammer 40K in years. Like myself, Iain is a guy with a well balanced army played as tactically as possible.

His deployment was excellent, even that one 'juicy bone' infantry unit to bait me in was well placed. As a result I went a little too far forward with one of the Devilfish, but it all worked out in the end.

So day 1 of the Warhammer 40K Grand Tournament came to an end with me having scored 1 Loss, 1 Draw and 1 Win. Not Bad!

Stay tuned for Part 2

Tau Grand Tournament Armies

October 25, 2009 · 23 comments

There are 7 Tau armies at the Grand Tournament. Quite an unusually high number it has to be said. But the interesting thing was how they were all completely different from my own Tau army.

Unfortunately, I wasn't able to get photographs of them all or learn their compositions, but there were some general trends that I spotted regarding troops, elites and heavy support choices. Perhaps we need a new Codex sooner than I had thought?

Here is the run down of what I saw.

Army 1: Green Tau with Orange stripes (
plasma rifle/missile pod command team
twin flamer, single missile pod battlesuits
3 Devilfish with Firewarriors squads
Skyray
Hammerhead
Broadsides

Notes:
Yes, this is my army. I had to include it for completeness. I'd gone for a combination of mechanised with Battlesuits. Mostly so my Battlesuits had some large tanks to hide behind. My main tactic was the Tau Tank Wall, which swings round the flank, firing as it goes, with the Battlesuits doing Jump-Shoot-Jump over and behind it. I finished 56th.

Army 2: Dark Green with Light Green details
plasma rifle/missile pod command team
extra commander with cyclic ion blaster and missile pod
burst cannon/missile pod battlesuits
Devilfish
3 Firewarriors
Kroot
Hammerhead
2 broadsides

Notes:
This was a really nice looking army. Shame to see it so far down the tables, but it seemed to be designed for 4th edition rather than 5th edition. While it had plenty of Broadsides the 2nd Battlesuit team only had burst cannons. I've tried this unit myself with unhappy results. Loved the guys broadside conversions.


Army 3: Black and Red

Notes:
I didn't get a good look at this army. But this was also quite far down the tables. Also seemed a throw back to 4th edition.


Army 4: Brown
twin linked missile pod Battlesuits
plasma rifle/fusion blaster Battlesuits
another team of Battlesuits (I think)
firewarriors
kroot
pathfinders + devilfish
2 broadsides
hammerhead

Notes:
I think it was this guy who managed to qualify for the final. Minimal troops, but plenty of railguns and his Battlesuits were armed with both fusion blaster and plasma rifle. I think he had 2 of these units and another unit with twin linked missile pods. He certainly suffered in the objective based missions but when it came to killing things, his 3 Battlesuit units would be able to deepstrike into enemy territory, take out tanks, monstrous creatures and heavily armoured targets with relative ease while the 5 railguns pounded targets from afar. Maybe its just my troops who die easily?

Army 5: Blue
twin linked missile pod Battlesuits
plasma rifle/fusion blaster Battlesuits
another team of Battlesuits (I think)
firewarriors
kroot
pathfinders + devilfish
2 broadsides
hammerhead

Notes:
At first glance this guys army was near the same as the Brown Tau, but he didn't do nearly as well. Then again, he did give his Tau Commander the Airbursting Fragmentation Projector.

Army 5: Pastel brown with red and green

Notes:
I didn't get a good look at this army, but from what I could see it was mostly mechanised with 3 Hammerheads for heavy support. It ended up quite far down the tables.

Army 6: camo green
2 Battlesuit command teams with plasma rifle/missile pod
stealth suits
3 firewarriors
hammerhead
2 broadsides

Notes:
This was my friend Luke's army. Not sure where he came in the tournament, although I know he didn't do great. Lost out on objective missions and generally got blasted apart for his troubles. Stealth suits were useless!


CONCLUSION
With the Brown Tau qualifying and my own force falling short of going through to the final (not that I wanted to), I think it demonstrates what kind of Tau army works well in 5th edition.

In fact, the Brown Tau seem downright nasty.
The Kroot can go hide in some woods to claim an objective (and go to ground).
The Firewarriors can get in the Pathfinder's Devilfish which in turn allows the Deepstriking Battlesuits to reroll their scatter. The Pathfinders light up targets for the Broadsides (and Battlesuits). Then the railguns, plasma rifles, fusion blasters and missile pods annihilate that unit and move on to the next one. The army is screwed when it comes to multiple objectives, but if it can kill everything, then who cares?

As for my army, I think sneakiness may have won out over brute force. My army isn't nearly as hard hitting, but it floats around, using the Tau Tank Wall to protect my troops and Battlesuits while dealing out minor damage here and there. But as you will find when I post my battle reports from the Grand Tournament, it doens't have that punch to clear someone off an objective.

Stay tuned for Warhammer 40K Throne of Skull Grand Tournament battle reports soon!

40K Grand Tournament Warm Up Friday

October 23, 2009 · 3 comments

October 23, 2009

Friday morning we drove to Warhammer World for a Grand Tournament warm up day. James and I stopped off for a McDonald's breakfast on the way, while Luke would meet us there later.

We arrived quite early, so with no one to challenge, we played each other.

Perhaps my recent break from playing 40K on a weekly basis has really helped, because it was during this game that I developed some new tactics which would go on the serve me well at the Grand Tournament. I went on to not only contest objectives, but capture them as well! But more on that later.

40K Battle Report:
Game: Capture & Control
Deployment: Dawn of War
Opponent: James Le Grys, Ravenwing

Having played my Tau army many times, James had a good idea of how to beat me. He also knew that driving his very fast, hard hitting and incredibly tough to kill army straight down my throat was the surest way to secure victory. So that's what he did!

James won the roll off, placing his objective to the right, while I placed mine to the left. He placed Sammael in the centre of the board with a bike squad either side. The Land Speeders would arrive on Turn 1, while the 3 attack bikes and another bike squad were held in reserve.

He used his scout move to move the two bike squads 12" forward.

I wanted to mess his day up by seizing the initiative, but failed the roll.

In his first turn, his 3 Land Speeders turbo boosted down the left flank towards my objective. Sammael held position in the middle while the two bike squads turbo boosted to my board edge and spread out along it.

While the tactic had worked against Luke's foot slogging Tau, my mechanised army of skimmers and jet pack Tau Battlesuits could simply fly over the line of bikes...apart from the Broadsides who walked on to the objective on the left, meanwhile the rest of the Tau army arrived on the right, intent on capturing James' objective. He certainly didn't see that coming!

Firewarriors piled out of Devilfish as the entire Tau army opened fire on the two bike squads, wiping out one squad and reducing the other to 3 men.

James Charged two of the Firewarrior teams with the 3 remaining bikes, killed one of the twin linked flamer Battlesuits with Sammael's assault cannon while his bike squad in reserve arrived from the right flank along with 1 attack bike.

The attack bike used its multimelta on the Skyray, immobilising it, then charged it and suffered and wound from the flechette dischargers.

The bike squad failed to kill a Devilfish with their meltaguns, but charged it for good measure, shaking it so it couldn't shoot, but not after losing 2 of their number to its flechette dischargers.

I like flechette dischargers!

The Tau Broadsides on my left objective were mercilessly gunned down the the three Landspeeders and another Attack Bike which outflanked.

On the far right, my Battlesuits jumped over the immobilising Skyray to deal some serious damage to the bike that had arrived.

With nearly all the bikes wiped out, but 1 Attack Bike which was sitting on my objective, the Tau army mobilised for the abandoned Ravenwing objective.

What then ensued was the gradual annihilation of both Land Speeders and Tau tanks, although the Tau smart missiles couldn't compare with the assault cannons of the Land Speeders.

By Turn 5, only the Tau Battlesuit command team, an immobilised Skyray and 6 Firewarriors were left (to claim the Ravenwing objective). All the other vehicles were smoking wrecks. Thankfully that's when the game ended. Turn 6 I would have been fine, but if the game had continued until Turn 7, I would have been wiped out.

40K Battle Report:
Game: Capture & Control
Deployment: Pitched Battle
Opponent: Simon Thorne, Orks

Simon Thorne and his mate Jon arrived shortly after we had started our game, so James played a game against Jon's Eldar while Simon challenged me to face his Ork biker army once again.

We rolled off and I won, giving Si the first turn. Si placed his counter on a hill in the centre of his deployment zone, while I placed mine to the right. He then set up his two units of Ork Biker Nobz with Painboyz and led by Warbosses on the right flank to claim his own objective and go for mine.

So I deployed away from my own objective, just off centre towards the left hand corner.

I set everything up to run and gun, sweeping around the flank, remaining out of charge range for as long as possible while baiting him in with units that might just be close enough for him to charge.

The gambit worked as he drove both units into the centre, then zoomed one unit away to the far right objective after they had taken half their wounds and would begin to take leadership tests.

So I threw a Hammerhead submunition round at him, inflicting another wound, causing him to take a Leadership test, which he failed. The Ork Nob with the boss pole smacked one of his mates to take the test again, but Si failed the roll again and they fled into the middle of the board, back into the range of my guns.

The remaining members of the squad were gunned down in short order after the Painboy was killed, which removed the unit's Feel No Pain ability.

The other Ork Biker mob had taken a few wounds during the game, so Simon used his 5th turn to zoom the Nob Bikers back to my objective while zooming a lone Ork Warboss to claim his own objective.

The Tau army surged forward, getting 1 Devilfish into range to contest before firing every gun they had at him. Finally, it was up to the Broadside's railguns and they took him out, ending the game in a draw.

It really goes to show how much better you can play if you know your opponent's army. Ironically, it didn't matter that I was a tactical genius, because the game still ended in a draw, but it's the best I could do in the situation.

Even so, my victory had depended entirely on Simon having to set up first and take the first turn.

After lunch, I played a game against a chap with an Imperial Guard army who had been admiring our armies earlier.



40K Battle Report:
Game: Annihilation
Deployment: Spearhead
Opponent: some guy, Imperial Guard

I'd seen the load out on Valkyries before, but this would be the first time that I'd actually faced them. This guy also had Al'Raheim, which meant Outflanking. Valkyries Outflank too and he had an Astropath in his army to add +1 to his reserve rolls. Nice!

He won the roll off with a 6 and made me go first.
I could either set up everything up and get shot or reserve everything and arrived just after his units. Then I could make the most of my close range guns and counter his much stronger army.

Turn 2, my Broadsides and a Devilfish arrived. His Turn 2, he rolled 3+ for every unit in his army. So much for my tactical planning.

With hundreds of guns bearing down on me, there was nothing I could do and every unit that arrived was wiped out in short order.

But I have to say that he was very lucky and consistently lucky. Everything seemed to hit, glance and immobilise. Or if it penetrated my tanks, they died straight away. I really didn't get a look in. Didn't even get a kill point.

Nevermind. It was just 'one of those games'. But playing against this army would put me in good practice for another army which I would face on Sunday.

So having played 3 games Luke arrived, so we promptly packed up and headed to our hotel before meeting up with some other friends at The Pit & Pendulum.

More battle reports from the Warhammer 40K Throne of Skulls Grand Tournament coming soon!

Saturday Night Gaming

October 11, 2009 · 17 comments

October 11, 2009

After a gig on Friday, Saturday was a night in with some Warhammer 40K and curry in anticipation for next week's Grand Tournament weekend.

In spectacular Luke-Style, Luke hadn't even finalised an army and left with 3 unopened Tau Battlesuit boxes to frantically bolster his force with just 6 days to go!

Between myself, Luke and James, we comfortably played 2 games within the time limit of 2 hours per game that we had set.

James VS Luke
James had his Dark Angels Ravenwing army as always, while Luke had minimised his troops in favour of more units focussed on killing things. Luckily for him, they rolled a Kill Point mission.

Luke won the roll to go set up and deploy, forcing James to set up his Ravenwing and take the first turn.

Following his recent Grand Tournament warm-up day with members of the FLAME ON! tournament team, James had some new ideas about playing his Ravenwing. Namely setting everything up (instead of outflanking) and swarming Luke's deployment zone on Turn 1.

However, this was a Spearhead game, so James could only set up in his table quarter.
Luke set up a lone Hammerhead in the opposite quarter and held the rest of his army in reserve with the Tau Battlesuits deepstriking in.

What ensued was James's faster units hunting down the Tau, unit by unit, while the Tau took a steady toll on the Ravenwing bikes and landspeeders.

Luke's two Tau Battlesuit command teams armed with plasma rifles, missile pods and Ballistic Skill 4 (hitting on 3+) were devastating, although the same couldn't be said of the Stealth Suits.

Luke has gone for a totally different approach to the Tau Empire in 5th edition 40K, which is to wipe out the enemy. He simply accepted that he will always struggle to claim or contest objectives. So his solution is to make things dead. And thinking about it, it's not a bad solution at all.

The game ended with 5 Kill Points to James and 7 Kill Points to Luke.

In between games we went across the road for a curry. As James and Luke were driving, it was up to me to drink their complimentary brandys in the curry house, so I was a little more 'confident' in playing a hot Tau on Tau game against Luke.

Adam VS Luke
While my Tau army revolves around tanks and battlesuits, Luke's army revolves around battlesuits and broadsides. I didn't favour my chances against 5 railguns, 4 of which were twin linked. I also didn't fancy the chances of my Battlesuits against his 6 Fireknife battlesuits all hitting on 3+.

We rolled the Annihilation Mission and Dawn of War set up. Usually my favourite combination, but then I realised I may have been better off in an objective grabbing mission.

The game began with some sneaky setting up on both our parts with the plethora of smart missile systems on my tanks wiping out one of Luke's firewarrior teams.

Luke's Stealth Suits deepstriked in front of my gunline and died horribly.
Luke's second Tau Battlesuit Command Team deepstriked next to my Broadsides, but I had already disembarked 12 Firewarriors inside the nearby building.

The Fireknife Battlesuits unleashed a volley of plasma fire and missiles at the Broadsides, but with some canny wound allocation, both Broadsides fought on with 1 wound remaining while only 1 shield drone was lost and they passed their moral check.
Next turn 24 shots from the Firewarriors took a terrible toll before the Broadsides charged in and finished off the last Fireknife Battlesuit.

Early in the game I passed an obscene number of 4+ disruption pod saves for my tanks. Surely testament to the power of alcohol consumption prior to a game?

But as the game drew on, Luke's railguns began to take their toll. I simply didn't have anything that could take out so many Broadsides, let alone close with them quickly. Fortunately the game ended on Turn 5, otherwise my immobilised tanks would have quickly become destroyed tanks.

3 Kill Points to Luke, 4 Kill Points to me.

We had some great games and a good curry. So not bad for a night in at all.

Next weekend will be a good one. Out on Friday, play games all Saturday, out on the Saturday night, drag ourselves to the final day of the tournament on Sunday, then pack up and come home. Back to work on Monday!

In the meantime, Luke has purchased 3 Tau Battlesuit boxes from me (they were just sitting in the cupboard) and will be amalgamating what points he has from his Stealth Suits and lone twin missile pod Battlesuit to see if he can make ANOTHER Fireknife Tau Battlesuit team from them.

If he can kill enough, I think Luke might do quite well with his Tau army at this year's Grand Tournament.

Final Grand Tournament Tau List

October 2, 2009 · 20 comments

It's time to settle on a Tau army list for the Grand Tournament.

Regular readers of Warhammer Tau have been very vocal when it comes to my army selection. Some think Kroot and Pathfinders are awesome, some love Piranhas and some prefer twin linked missile pods on their Tau Battlesuits rather than twin linked flamers.

But if there's one thing we all agreed upon, it's that the Tau army is struggling against the new army updates.

Not that I'm making any excuses when I get my arse kicked at the Grand Tournament. I'm not the greatest player in the world, but I give it a whirl. I'd probably be greater if I had a cheesier and more forgiving army though.

So my army for the GT has been built on experience and personal preference. For me Kroot die in droves, Piranhas are too expensive for what they do, Pathfinders are too static and even get me started on Vespid! So here is the 1500 points Tau army list I will be taking with me.

1500 points Tau army list for the 2009 Grand Tournament Heat 1


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 Battlesuits with twin linked flamers and single missile pods

(X3) 6 man Fire warrior Team
Devilfish with Smart Missile System, Targeting Array, Multitracker, Disruption Pod, Flechette Discharger

Hammerhead with Railgun, Smart Missile System, Targeting Array (comes as standard), Multitracker, Disruption Pod, Flechette Discharger

Skyray with Smart Missile System, Target Lock (comes as standard), Targeting Array, Multitracker, Disruption Pod, Flechette Discharger

2 man Broadside Team with Targeting Arrays
Leader, Hardwired Drone Controller with 2 shield drones

Thoughts
This is my 1500 points army until a new Tau Codex (whenever that may be). I can't squeeze anymore out of this army.

Yes, I still love my Skyray. Those markerlights are a god send when it comes to Lictors, taking out Battlewagons with Broadsides and making sure the Tau Battlesuit command team kills what it shoots at.

Twin linked flamer and single missile pod Tau Battlesuits have been a topic of much controversy lately. Twin linked missile pod is the way to go people say, but it only yields +1 hit on average while the single flamer is far less deadly.

It's a slight trade off between a tiny bit better at maybe glancing tanks or completely annihilating troops. I'll take the complete annihilation of troops thanks!

The Tau army struggles against hordes of armour 11-12 vehicles, so instead of worrying about them, let's just kill what comes out of the transports. That's what we're good at after all.

Tau Tournament Tactics
I'm going with the 1 tactic which consistently works. That's all the heavy support deployed safely at the back of the board while everything else comes on from reserve and counters threats...or just runs for its life.

All my victories have used this tactic and nearly all of my defeats have been when I've set up everything and lost the ability to react to my opponent's deployment.

I have 2 weeks until the Grand Tournament weekend on October the 17th, so I'd better get some more games in.

PS: If you see me or my army on the day, come over and say hi.
Please buy me a beer as well. I may need it.

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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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