Battle Report: Tau vs Astra Militarum

July 25, 2014 ·

---Shas'El Bork'an J'Shas'ka called a halt to his battlegroup's advance. The XV8's fanned out into a holding formation around one of the larger ruins while he tried to get his bearings. The rain was coming down harder. From inside his battlesuit, he could not feel the falling droplets directly, but his sensor ranges were decreasing and there was an increase in static throughout his suit's neural connections. He looked around, but the only landmarks in this part of the continent were the numerous ruins from a forgotten civilization. Even the recon probes would have trouble mapping the area accurately in these conditions. 

"Vre'Ho'kais, scout the area west of us. 2000 tor'lek range, sweep formation. Return within 20 rai'kor."

He looked down at the rubble at his feet: a knotted mess of primitive tank traps and anti-infantry entanglements. They couldn't be far from their target, but he needed to be sure. How many times had O'Sha'is'Nen warned him against running in without proper preparation or intel? For all he knew, the enemy was 1000 tor'lek distant, watching them. He glanced at the massive profile of Vre'Monat'Shan on the other side of the ruins. 
"If the enemy was anywhere nearby they'd know we're here from just one look at him" he thought to himself. The gravity of the situation, if his musings were true, did not fully sink in until the first shells were already in the air.---

Battle Report: Farsight Enclaves vs. Astra Militarum 

This is the second game from the other weekend. It is the second 1000 point game I played for our escalation league. This time I faced off against our Blood Angels player, who has been trying his hand at Astra Militarum.

The Lists

Farsight Enclaves
Same list as the previous game, in more detail HERE.
  • Commander with Fusion Blades & Cyclic Ion Blaster plus Stims and two shield drones
  • 2 Helios
  • 3 Fireknives 
  • 3 Deathrains
  • Riptide with Ion Accel, Fusion Blaster, and Earth Caste Pilot Array
  • 5 Stealth Suits
Astra Militarum
He had added some tanks and an Aegis to improve his early game against my firepower. He told me that the brought the Basilisk exclusively to deal with my crisis squads. His command squad+quad gun was brought to deal with flyers. The Primaris, depending on the power he got, either went with the Plasmavets or with the command squad.
  • Company Command Squad
  • Primaris Psyker
  • Tank Commander in Leman Russ Executioner
  • Plasmavets in Taurox
  • Meltavets in Chimera
  • Basilisk
  • Aegis defense line with Quad gun
Note: I was unaware, at the time, that Tank Commanders had to come with a second Leman Russ in the squadron, but I'm sure I would have let it slide anyways. In the end it just made his Warlord easier to kill.

Setup

Mission: Maelstrom of War mission #3: Tactical Escalation
Nightfight: No
Psychic Powers: He got the power that Ignores Cover, but I don't remember it affecting the battle at all
Warlord Traits: He got #1 from the AM codex (D3 outflanking units) and I got #6 on the Command table (reroll 1's to-hit in assault)
First Turn: I deployed first, but he successfully stole the initiative
Reserves: Despite having D3 outflanking units he chose not to use any reserves. I put my Stealth Suits into Outflank

Deployment

I deployed first, hoping to go first and get some damage in before he started shooting his big guns. I put the Stealths into Outflank. I figured that they were my best bet at removing his Basilisk because of how the board was set up. The rest of my army deployed around cover, mostly because I was afraid of the Executioner.
He set up pretty standard, clumping his vehicles so that they would get cover, and putting his Basilisk far back. The Primaris deployed with the command squad to grant it Ignores Cover.

Turn 1

A note about the terrain. We called the ruins hard cover, but we did not treat them as area terrain, like in the rulebook.

AM Turn 1
Since he seized the initiative, naturally het went first. His left flank all moved forward and everything else stayed put.
His Basilisk fired on my Deathrains, wiping out both drones and one of the suits instantly and wounding my Riptide by a lucky scatter. They passed their leadership check. His Executioner fired on my Shas'O+Helios, wiping out a shield drone and one of the Helios, wounding another. His Chimera finished off the second Helios. My Shas'O passed his leadership check. Everything else targeted the Riptide but I passed the few saves they forced. The Bullgryns ran a little bit farther.
He scored a victory point for killing a character (the Helios 'Vre) 

FSE Turn 1
Wow, that was pretty bad! I hadn't even gone yet and I'd lost a third of the models I had on the board! I admit that I was at a bit of a loss on what to do next. There was virtually no cover between me and him, but I needed to get my suits in range to do something about that Basilisk. I moved everyone forward but I moved my Shas'O towards the ruin and hard cover.
I had a side arc on his Executioner, so I fired on it with my Deathrains. I stripped a single hull point but otherwise caused no damage. My Riptide nova-charged its shield but failed to do any damage to the Executioner with its big gun. My Fireknives had nothing in range.
I jumped my commander behind a ruin and everything else jumped straight forward to make for the cover in the craters.
I scored no objectives this turn, and hadn't really done much to assuage the torrent of AP2 firepower he was toting.

Turn 2

AM Turn 2
He disembarked the Meltavets from the Chimera and moved his vehicles forward again along with the Bullgryns. Everything else stayed put.
The Basilisk fired on the Fireknives and killed one with the scatter. His Executioner fired everything it had at my Riptide and wounded it once. He ran the Bullgryns so that they would be in better position to assault next turn. The Taurox, Chimera, and Quad gun fired at the Deathrains but only managed to wound one of them.
I don't remember him scoring any objectives this turn.


FSE Turn 2
My Stealth Suits, unfortunately, failed to arrive from Outflank. I Nova charged the Riptide's weapon, hoping to get a good solid hit on the Leman Russ, and maybe get some Bullgryns or Chimera with it. I figured that even with the Nova shield, the Riptide wouldn't last another turn if I didn't silence that Executioner. My Fireknives moved toward the cover of the craters and my commander hopped out to get range on his Executioner's side armour.
My commander (at maximum range) failed to do any damage to the Executioner, my Riptide's nova charged blast scattered completely into nowhere and his fusion blaster didn't do anything either. My Deathrains fired and stripped another hull point, destroying the main plasma cannon with a lucky penetrating hit. The Fireknives took some pot shots at the Bullgryns, wounding one twice.
My Riptide charged the Leman Russ, hoping to finish it off. At WS1 (earth caste pilot array) and against AV11 rear armour, he didn't have super good odds, but I needed it dead. I rolled poorly and failed to damage it at all.
I jumped my Shas'O back into cover and got the two crisis teams into the cover of the craters.

Turn 3

AM Turn 3
With his Executioner's main gun destroyed, I had some more hope. He move the Meltavets and Bullgryns towards my Riptide to catch it in combat. The Chimera moved a little bit to the side to get better firing angles, everything else stayed put.
His Basilisk fired at my Deathrains, hitting them both, but I went to ground and passed both cover saves granted by the craters. The Executioner fired its one plasma cannon that had line of sight, at my Deathrains. The blast scattered wide so the Chimera, Taurox, and Quadgun tried to finish off the Deathrains. Fortunately for me, I only lost one suit and the Shas'vre survived with one wound. The Meltavets fired their meltaguns at the Riptide and wounded it again, leaving it with only 2 wounds left. .
He then declared a charge against my Riptide with his Bullgryns, needing 4" to make the charge. I missed all my Overwatch shots, but he rolled a 3 for charge distance anyways! His Meltavets charged my Riptide to tie it up for a few turns. The vets caused a couple wounds but I passed my saves, in return the Riptide crushed two of them underfoot. Despite having -2 to their leadership, they rolled very low (4 I think) and passed their Leadership check, a big roll since my Riptide now couldn't shoot on my turn.

FSE Turn 3
I was slowly losing models, and what's worse: my Stealth Team failed to arrive again! Things were dire but at least I wasn't losing models like I had on the first turn. I moved my Shas'O up and everything else pretty much stayed put or jockeyed for better firing angles. I rolled for my Nova shield, failed, but passed my re-roll. The look on my opponent's face, when I told him the ECPA allowed this, was priceless!
My Deathrain Shas'vre fired at his Basilisk and with some lucky rolling managed to get a "Shaken" result, silencing it for a turn! My Fireknives now had side armour on his Executioner and but I failed to cause any damage anyways. My Shas'O, instead of targeting the Executioner at extreme range, fired at the Bullgryns. He wounded one twice and finished of the already wounded one.
I hopped my Shas'O back into cover, feeling pretty ashamed of himself. In combat, my Riptide passed his armour saves yet again, and stomped another poor guardsman into the mud. Apparently 3 out of 10 was too many, as the Vets promptly failed their check and ran. In a funny twist of events, my Riptide caught them in a sweeping advance and wiped the unit from the board entirely, consolidating a few inches away from the Executioner. A moral victory for sure, even if I still hadn't killed any of the heavy hitters.

Turn 4

AM Turn 4
He decided against trying to round the tank with his Bullgryns and had them run towards my Shas'O instead. He knew that his Basilisk likely would be dead next turn and then he'd have no way of getting Slay the Warlord. Everything else just jockeyed around for better shooting positions.
I forget who targeted what, but both of my remaining crisis teams were finally wiped from the board. Leaving me with a wounded Riptide, a Shas'O, and one of his Shield Drones on the board.

FSE Turn 4
My Stealth Suits automatically came on the board and I got to choose the table edge I wanted. I brought them in behind his Quadgun. He used the Quadgun's Interceptor and managed to kill one of my Stealth Suits. At the time I did not remember that Skyfire weapons fire snap shots against ground targets, oh well. My Riptide stayed put, Nova Charging its shield, and my Shas'O jumped out of cover.
My Riptide fired on the Executioner, killing it with 3 direct hits a Pen and a Glance. He didn't even need to use his Fusion Blaster, I was so proud. My Stealth Suits didn't have a good angle on the basilisk, so they fired on the unit manning the Quadgun. They killed the company commander, the Primaris Psyker, and one of the regular guardsmen. The unit failed its morale check and fled right up next to my Stealth Suits. My Shas'O looked like he could finally use his Fusion Blades this game, so he shot the Bullgryns. Suddenly, he couldn't miss and he killed one Bullgryn while wounding the other one twice! All in all, a very productive shooting phase.
I jumped my Riptide towards his lines and jumped the Stealth Suits into some hard cover. They rolled 3 out of 4 dangerous terrain tests! Luckily, they passed all their armour saves; no casualties. My Shas'ui rolled well for his charge range and got into combat with the Bullgryn. The Shield Drone had the higher initiative so it struck first. It hit twice and wounded twice, then the Bullgryn failed a save! My Shas'O was probably feeling incredibly stupid at this point and I had missed out on the Fusion Blades again! My opponent, however, did not feel sorry for me at all. 
"Aw, I'm sorry you didn't get to kill my unit with the weapon you wanted to. Not."
I consolidated straight forward, confident that my Shas'O could handle an empty Chimera on his own.
Things were looking up, I'd cleared out most of his advancing units and I'd finally gotten my Stealths into his backfield to cause some mayhem. As far as objectives were going, I believe he was currently ahead but it was a close game. Neither of us had been able to score more than a couple of the Tactical objectives.

Turn 5

AM Turn 5
He immediately drove his Taurox back and disembarked his Plasmavets. The 3 guardsmen from the company command squad rallied and he moved his Chimera away from my Shas'O in order to claim a particular objective. The Basilisk turned towards the Stealth Suits.
He fired with all of his infantry and the Taurox but the 2+ cover was too good. Then he fired the Basilisk, but the blast scattered way off the board. The Chimera fired at my Shas'O wounding him twice, but his Stims negated one of the wounds. Neither of his infantry groups could assault my suits, so he ended his turn.

FSE Turn 5
Don't mind the Chimera's movement arrow, I forgot to remove it for this frame.
I moved the Stealth Suits around to put the Basilisk between me and his infantry, and to get a shot at his side armour. My Shas'O and Riptide moved forward. I decided to Nova charge the Riptide weapon and see if I could cause some damage to the knot of infantry and vehicles in the corner.
My Shas'O failed to significantly damage the Chimera, and he was out of charge range this turn. My Riptide's blast scattered badly and killed only a single guardsman. It clipped the Taurox too, but it made its cover save from the Aegis. My Stealth Suits easily stripped the last two hull points from the Basilisk, scoring me a tactical objective for killing a vehicle.
I made my thrust moves but didn't really go anywhere in particular. My army had lost most of its cohesiveness and now I was just trying to kill units before the game ended.

We rolled for the game to continue and it did continue. However, my opponent decided to concede at this point. He had lost almost all of his heavy hitters and didn't think he'd have much chance of winning the overall game. I felt that it was still pretty close since I was only winning by 1 victory point. Anyways, he wanted to call it so we finished there.

Results

I forget the actual numbers but when we called the game I believe that I had 6 VP's total and he had 4. However, at the time we thought that I had scored First Blood by killing his Vets. Later that night I remembered that the Helios were actually a separate unit so he technically scored that VP on turn 1. He definitely would have played another turn if he knew we were tied instead of him lagging by 2 VP's.

What Impressed Me

  • Riptide: He performed admirably, soaking up tons of firepower and tying up the advancing enemy almost single handedly. This is what the Riptide was born to do and it is fantastic at it.
  • Crisis Suits: I've noticed this in the last few games I've played, so I'll point this out here. Crisis suits, as a multi-wound unit, can soak up quite a bit of firepower. Even caught in the open, being pounded by a Basilisk and various other things, they held in there for a few turns before going down. 
What did Not Impress
  • Shas'O: he didn't do much this game at all. Perhaps one more turn and he would have been able to use his fun toy, but this game he had to hide and avoid giving my opponent Slay the Warlord. Despite having range and side armour most of the time, he still couldn't strip a hull point from that Executioner either. Oh well, he can't be super killy every game.
Once again my Stealth Suits saved the day. You might say "For 150 points they better!" which may be true. My suit teams did great, taking a real beating in the early turns and buying me the time I needed to neutralize his heavy hitters and turn the game around. There is no guarantee I would have won, given more time, but they at least gave me a chance. 

All in all, it was a pretty close game that started off very rough but I enjoyed it quite a bit. The game actually moved along at a good pace too

Thanks for reading! Post your thoughts in the comments below!

2 comments:

aracersss said...
July 29, 2014 at 10:20 AM  

great game ... nice to see a battlesuit army in action

Anonymous said...
August 2, 2014 at 10:05 PM  

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