Saturday, June 13, 2009

Tau vs. Ravenwing: The Battle at Pad 9

Old Shatter Hands commands a small mobile assault cadre in a mission to flush Dark Angel forces, commanded by my fiend and enemy,Brian, from Pad 9. The Ravenwing Force is highly mobile and can easily exploit gaps in the Tau line. Old Shatter Hands contemplates the enemy, consults his command structure and follows the advice of Stealth Team Leader Ui'Vaer.

With the Ravenwing getting first turn and making their scout moves before hand, I was worried about the havoc all of their meltaguns and multimeltas could reek on my mechanized force. I needed my transports and tanks to set up a skimmer-wall of defense so I decided to avoid any first turn kills by reserving everything.

The Ravenwing deployed on a flank, expecting to a Tau gun line. But much to their amazement, Tau troops were nowhere to be seen. The Ravenwing bikers began a wide sweep of the area to locate the reported Tau forces. The first two turns Brian moved his bike-army out to cover as much of my deployment zone as possible. He essential funneled me to one corner of the board.

On my turn 2, my forces started to roll in. I was lucky to get the Stealth Team, a group of 12 Fire Warriors on foot, 1 Hammerhead and my pathfinders. My skimmers castled up and my Pathfinders deployed behind them. The Fire Warriors jump out to face the biker horde, while my Stealth was carefully deployed right in front of the skimmer wall. I placed the Stealth Team too cautiously, and as a result they were out of range of any of the bikers. So it was my lone Fire Warrior Squad and a Railgun Hammerhead facing 3 squads of Ravenwing Bikers, and 3 Attack bikes with Multimelta. Tau shooting took out 5 bikers. Not as many as I had hoped.

On Turn 3, the Ravenwing struck back, wiping out the Fire Warriors with flamers. What followed that was a torrent of melta and bolter fire that miraculously only caused 2 Stealth Suits to fall. I was only down one kill point and needed more units to start racking up the points.

On my turn, Old Shatter Hands and company joined the fight along with the Piranhas (or what I call Warhawks) and another Hammerhead. The Pathfinders were ready to mark targets, and what's more is none of the bikers had turbo-boosted last turn, meaning they were now nice and soft for all of my plasma rifles and Ion cannon. My warhawks instead flew out to the far right, on the other side of the board from my skimmer-wall. The turbo-boosted out with two goals in mind, 1) set up rear armor shots for my seeker missiles on the space marine tanks. 2) draw out Samuel and keep him that side of the board. Samuel was a bog concern for me. With his jetbike, he could fly over my skimmerwall and reek havoc on the troops sheltered behind them. I needed to him to stay away. To my pleasure, Samuel took the bait and went after the Warhawks. Here he is going after the Warhawk Gun Drones.

On Turn 4 the Ravenwing were able to exploit a gap in my skimmer line. One squad sped through and assaulted Old Shatter Hands. The combat lasted 3 turns as the giant robots and bikers battle it out, with Old Shatter crushing bikers with his battlesuit's robotic hands. HA! He got that nickname for a reason, Gue'vesa.

The next turn saw the full trap unfold onto the Ravenwing. The Devilfish flew forward, surrounding the remaining bikers and deploying Fire Warriors. Pathfinder marked targets and the Ravenwing were gunned down by the Shas'La of the Tau'va. Victory for the Greater Good!

I learned some important lessons in this battle. Firstly, that castling up with a skimmer wall and blowing your opponent to smithereens is a viable and effective strategy. A line of minimum AV12 Tanks is a solid wall for your battlesuits to leap out from to fire on opponents. Secondly, against Ravenwing armies, torrent of fire is the best way to take them down. I was considering how effective my Stealth Suits were at taking out the small biker squads. In this case, volume of shots won out to quality of AP.

Most importantly, this was a Kill Point mission and my opponent often targeted big, tough units rather than easy kills. his lascannons almost always fired on my AV 13 Hammerheads, rather than my Devilfish or Warhawks. His bikers, when they got a chance to assault attacked my toughest unit. In Kill Point missions, I've learned to collect easy kills to put you ahead. My Railguns often target Rhinos and Razorbacks. I attack smaller units first, then deal with the big stuff when I am already ahead. It's a winning strategy.

Over to you, the reader, Any advice for my buddy Brian? Any wisdom to share with Old Shatter Hands on kill point missions?


Adam Hunter said...

2 things

1) As soon as I saw the Ravenwing army, I felt that it would be quite weak because of the tanks.

Ravenwing do not need tanks. In fact they perform far better when there is nothing but bikes, attack bikes and landspeeders. Also, the Grand Master of the Ravenwing should always be in his land speeder -because he's devastating this way.

My friend James runs an extremely effective Ravenwing army...usually with EVERYTHING Outflanking while the speeeders go in reserve.

2) Tau in reserve
You made the mistake I used to, which is to try to kill kill kill whatever you can as quickly as you can.

Sometimes you need to deny your opponent for a turn, even if that means denying yourself any kills.

For example, the stealth team came on and were out of range of the bikes. Great! This mean's he'll probably take them as bait, be out of charge range, inflict minor casualties. Next turn more of your reinforcements arrive and can wipe out the ravenwing squad with concentrated fire.

Old Shatter Hands said...

Hmm, interesting points. I was thinking that with some tanks you could have some fire power that could target mid-fielders, while your bikers move in to attack a weak flank. Or that they could help soften up targets for the Ravenwing. I don't really see the benefits to Outflanking since your units would not always come in on the same side of the does it generally work for yur friend, James?

Adam Hunter said...

The benefit of an all-outflanking-army is that he hits you from all directions with so many units that you struggle to fend them all off.

Plus, every unit has a melta gun, meaning bad news for any tank/broadside/battlesuit.

If the bikes squads don't charge you (en masse), his attack bikes are the biggest thread.

His attack bikes come on from the sides 12" and have range 24" guns.

So, if you've deployed something within 24" of the side he gets 2 dice for armour penetration against vehicles.

Otherwise his combined movement and weapons range of 36" allows his attack back to shoot your tank (usually in the side armour) regardless.

There's a lot to be said for a Ravenwing army that drives straight down the enemy's throat, pinning them down and tearing them apart with concentrated charges from lots of their small units or combining their mass of melta guns to eliminate key targets.

Compared to a bunch of tanks that sit across the board and put out fewer shots, it's a lot better.

Once your opponent builds this kind of Ravenwing army, it's tough for the Tau player to win, but it can be done with some practice (see my post: 40K Bank Holiday)

Chuckles said...

My only suggestions have to do with spelling and synonyms. The Ravenwing should wreak havoc but garbage reeks.

Old Shatter Hands said...

Thanks Chuckles...Now taste pulse rifle ammo, human. blam! blam! blam!