Battle Report: Tau vs. Space Marines

July 25, 2013 ·

Feast of Blades Qualifier: Round 3

Ok, here is the final battle report from my FLGS's Feast of Blades Qualifier Tourney! It was a real quick game, but restored my faith in my army after my abysmal performance in the second round.

The Armies

My list is posted HERE. Feel free to ask any questions about my choices. It is a TAC full Mech list.

His list looked something like this:

  • HQ with storm shield, squad with champion, standard, and a couple special weapons
  • 2 Tac squads with Lascannon and Plasma split into combat squads
  • Razorback for each squad. One with TL Lascannon and one with TL Heavy Bolter
  • 10 Sternguard, one with a combi-plasma
  • Rhino for the Sternguard
  • Vindicator
  • 10 assault marines with a flamer and a plasma pistol


The game was a basic 5 objectives with corner deployment. My warlord trait was the no-scatter when deep striking. I don't recall what his was. He decided to deploy first. Night Fight was in effect first turn and I failed to seize the initiative.


He deployed his marines in cover and his vehicles hull down behind some ruins. A combat squad was in Razorback 1 and his Sternguard were in their Rhino behind a massive LOS blocking piece of terrain on his deployment zone edge.

I set up with my own vehicles almost entirely out of sight from his units. I decided not to deep strike my command team and only kept my carbine firewarriors in reserve. My stealths deployed near a lascannon team. I goofed with this slide and my piranhas are actually deployed right next to my command team in the center.

Turn 1

He moved his loaded transports up and popped smoke, but kept them in hard cover. Pretty much nothing else moved.
With night fight in effect, a single stealth suit was all that he could target, and only with a single bolter. 2+ cover saved the wound and his turn was over.
I moved most stuff up the left flank to counter his advance, and maybe get some crossfire on his vehicles in later turns. The stealth suits moved out to get a better shot at the marines on the rooftop, and my Skyray/DFish moved to support them. My command team moved into the ruins with regular movement.
I destroyed his forward razorback with a couple guided seeker missiles and cover-ignoring plasma fire from my command team. "2+ cover you say? I hate to break it to you..." My stealth team gunned down 3 of the lascannon team, which failed their morale check and retreated to the bottom layer of the ruin. I also dropped two submunition blasts on his other lascannon team, killing all but two. They passed their leadership check.
I jumped my suits back into cover and jumped my Deathrain/Marker unit up the flank to get some better angles next turn.

Turn 2

He moved his disembarked combat squad up and moved the Sternguard full speed to counter my stealth suits. We forgot to roll for his assault squad's reserve roll. He decided to just leave them in reserve instead of deploying them in the middle of my turn.
His combat squad targeted my piranhas, with no effect. His lascannons failed to do anything to my Devilfish, and he used a single hunter-killer missile from his vindicator on my exposed Hammerhead. He rolled poorly on the damage table and my HH escaped with only a "Shaken" result.
He was sending his units at me one at a time, so I made him pay for it. My reserved firewarrior team did not come on. First I advanced just about everything except the stealth suits. I took a wound on one of the Burning Eye suits and lost a shield drone from my command team as I got into position to roast his command squad.
I wiped out his disembarked combat squad and continued my advance up the left flank. I killed off his lascannon team with submunitions. My stealths and DFish destroyed his rhino, and my command team killed off every honor guard because he had his commander buried in the back of the unit.
I jumped my stealth suits away and jumped my Deathrain/Marker unit forward some more.

Turn 3

At this point my opponent (who is a bit of a sore loser, but at least he doesn't cheat!) was considering giving up right there. He decided to see if he couldn't kill something else. He brought his assault marines on around my Deathrain/Marker unit, moved his Sternguard up to attack my stealth suits, and moved up his vindicator to get in range.
His vindicator stunned my Skyray, his assault marines killed two drones with their pistols and wounded a Deathrain. His remaining lascannon failed to do anything to my vehicles. He then opened up with his Sternguard. He chose the AP3 rounds, though I'm not sure why, since I had 2+ cover. After he was done I lost one stealth suit  and he had lost three sternguard to "Gets Hot" rolls. At this point he was ready to quit, but we decided to finish out the round.

My firewarriors came on, zooming towards the central objective to claim it turn 4. My other two fishes unloaded their teams on top of the other two objectives. I zoomed my piranhas over to block his vindicator and maybe roast it next turn. 
My command team killed his commander despite a 3+ invulnerable save (he rolled triple 1's. I felt so sorry for him) I killed a few assault marines with missile pods and SMS. My Skyray rolled two 6's for markerlight snapshots, and fired two seekers at his vindicator. I glanced it once, but he was royally upset that my Skyray had basically ignored a "Stunned" result and he thought I should have fired my Seekers at BS1.
I didn't even finish shooting his Sternguard. I told him we could be done, since I'd killed his commander and he was looking like one sad dude ("Well this tournament was a total waste of time"). He scored it and we packed up. Turned out we only had about 10 minutes left in the round anyways.


I actually do not know how he scored the final round, because when they read off the total scores for the tournament I was short about 6 points of what I should have been. Since he conceded, I should have been allowed remaining time to move my units up to claim Line-Breaker and unload my remaining FW squad to claim my central objective. The score would have been 8-3 at the end of turn 3, 12-0 after he conceded and I moved.
Either way I was fine with it. I wasn't planning to go to the Denver invitational, so I was only playing for fun. 

Lessons Learned
  • I really do love my Commander's assassination team! Waiting all night for them to match up against something in power armour was totally worth it. The ATS was a bit lackluster, but I am not sure what I would spend the extra 9 points on that would serve me better. I'm sure it will come in handy sometime.
  • Markerlights. I was able to actually use some this game! The seekers really only accounted for 1 razorback and a glance on the vindicator, but I'm still glad I had them
  • Hammerheads. Though they never got a clean shot at any of his vehicles, they killed plenty of marines with just submunitions. I think subs is an auto-upgrade for anyone taking a Railhead. Also, he was very afraid of them, and kept his vehicles back as much as possible, allowing me to engage his infantry piecemeal.
  • Stealths. Though always useful, they have yet to kill their points worth. Perhaps if they had more time they would have killed some more sternguard, but I really do want to trade them out for something else. More piranhas, or some more XV-8's would be nice. Or perhaps I'll break down and make a Riptide. Who knows?
  • I like the mobility of this list. The loss of multi-trackers hurts, but I can deal. I'm sure that I shook things up at my FLGS. They don't usually see full Mech. armies. I think there will be a lot more high-strength weapons in the coming months, since the Eldar player brought a Wraithknight and none of his opponents had an answer for it (I'm suprised the Guard player I faced didn't fare better against him, he had so much lascannon and plasma!)

Thanks for reading! Let me know what you think! (finally figured out how to show the little casualty explosions)

What would you have done different? What would you have done if you were the space marine player?



Trackstar said...
July 26, 2013 at 11:17 AM  

you and I have basically hit the same point on the stealth suits. I like their fluff and their theme, but I have never really felt like they were the "best" choice for the slot. I was also using them because I didn't have the models for the suits or the riptide. But after a dozen games or so, I think I am going to try the riptide with the Ion accelerator, EWO, and VT all for 210 pts. That build is only marginally more expensive than the full stealth team, has a longer range, and always has a 2+/5++ with mostly a 3++ with the nova reactor.

Skyler Hoeft said...
July 26, 2013 at 11:52 AM  

The Riptide does sound tempting. But I think I am actually leaning towards another commander and a piranha.
More missile pods and a PEN sounds awesome on that Deathrain unit.

We'll see. I wont be playing again for a little while. Real life :P

Anonymous said...
July 28, 2013 at 2:40 PM  

Just my two cents worth, but with regards to your stealth teams, did your ever ask your opponent what he thought of them?

You should not only consider whether a unit makes its points back, but also what they caused you opponent to do.

I know from my games, I ALWAYS include one stealth team, mainly because they can infiltrate and get in close to the enemy, then distract them... They're a throw away unit. If they kill someone, great, if not... Then at least my opponent had to spend resources to hunt them down.

From the sounds of it, that sounds like what happened here with your game.

Skyler Hoeft said...
July 30, 2013 at 8:22 AM  

Interesting. Looking back, they did do better than usual this game. True, my opponent threw the worst possible units to kill them, but they accounted for 3 tacticals, a Rhino, and 3 sternguard (and they didn't even get to shoot the sternguard before we ended the game).

They are a great distraction, I am still learning how to USE that distraction though.
You are probably right, and removing them from the list might be premature.

Munitorum said...
August 6, 2013 at 8:37 AM  

Usually I run 2 squads of Stealthies. Yeah they each are quite expensive (each is 248points) but I feel that the ability to infiltrate tends to make my opponents have a bit of a split personality disorder in the game ("do I hunt down those damned suits that dish out 16 S5 and 2 S8AP1 shots with precision shot and usually hit on 2+? Or do I commit to my preselected play style and try to ignore the unit in my backfield messin with my long ranged support/vehicles/objective sitters?"). That mental game, in addition to the torrent of shots, is why I love my Stealthies. They (mostly) toy with your opponent mentally, but this does require A LOT of practice with them to get the movement down and learn how to effectively set up ambushes via LoS blocking on their turn. Basically think of them as herding dogs, you can chase your opponent around and force them to do things they normally wouldn't, and you can funnel them into pre-made killzones. Win-win imo.

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