Saturday, November 14, 2009

Tau Vs. Space Marines Battle Report: Guest Post!

Today we have a real treat; a guest post from Pete W.
Dream Wizards Battle Report Nov 12th

Marines vs Tau 1850 pts

Pete Wallin

1850 Marine List

Chapter Master with power fist.

Dreadnought with Multi-melta and storm bolter

6 Terminators with Cyclone missile launcher

5 Sternguard

5 Scouts with heavy bolter

10 Tactical marines with Flamer & Multi-melta

10 Tactical marines with Meltagun Missile launcher

10 Devastators with 2 Missile Launchers and 2 Lascannons

10 Devastators with 2 Plasma Cannons & 2 Heavy Bolters

Land Raider Redeemer with Storm bolter

This list is not built in a particular way. I just got a bunch of models that I liked and could afford. It’s generally done alright in the games I’ve played with it but I’ve not really run it against tournament lists. As a footslogging list, I get lots of resilience and firepower but can run the risk of getting outmaneuvered. Also, I’ve only got two vehicles so they will probably die in most games through virtue of being the only hard targets.

Pre Game

I met Tim and Dream Wizards having nabbed a table before the hordes of Magic the Gathering players took them all. The terrain was mostly set up by the previous players but we tweaked a few pieces by alternate placement. We both agreed that more terrain was better. I’m all for fighting in the open if you’re both heavily mechanised but OSH had all skimmers and I was basically all footslogging so it was good to have lots of cover and line of sight restrictions for both of us. We roll off for missions and get capture and control.

OSH won the roll and put me up to go first. Knowing that he had a lot more maneuverability than me (and having lots of marines for a small deployment zone) I spread out fairly evenly. I broke all of my tactical and devastators into combat squads to get some flexibility. The devastators were split by matching weapons so I had a plasma squad, a missile squad, lascannon squad and heavy bolter squad. My deployment was basically heavy weapons on the right and centre, tacticals and terminators going up the centre for the big hill where I thought OSH might put his objective and the Land Raider (5 Sternguard inside) on the left.

OSH reserves all of his Devilfish and his big crisis team (2 Shas’Els, 2 bodyguards, drones). His Hammerheads and Piranhas take the hide behind the terrain on my left flank. The broadsides sit on top of the hill and the Deathrains sit just behind it (on the objective) ready to JSJ. I infiltrate my scouts to the other side of the rocks from the Hammerheads and Piranhas

Turn 1

OSH failed to sieze the initiative (good for me) and we kick off. Most of my troops surge forwards and run. The dread and scouts tuck in behind the rock terrain so that they won’t be shot to pieces. Learning a lesson from the last time I fought Tau (railguns hurt), I send the Land Raider 12” up the left flank, pull a handbrake turn, drop the sternguard behind it and pop smoke. At this point OSH reveals his wicked collection of counters to show smoke, shaken, stunned, break tests and everything else. How handy J

My shooting wasn’t too heavy since everyone had moved. I shook one hammerhead with lascannons. OSH was generous indeed on the range measurement as it was about 1mm in range…maybe. The terminator’s cyclone shots were deflected by disruption pod. I dropped my Chapter Master’s (CM) orbital bombardment on the Broadsides. I always struggle with this ability because it can seriously flatten troops but if I hold onto it too long, the CM tends to get hit with Instant Death, wasting the ability. In any case I get two wounding hits but OSH wisely puts these on the shield drones and makes one invulnerable save. My plasma cannons are just in range and manage to drop the other shield drone (or that might have been turn 2, I forget).

OSH boosts his Piranhas 24” and neatly boxes my Land Raider in against the terrain behind it; no moving for him next turn! The shaken hammerhead pulls back slightly letting the other one come forward. A submunition blast drops a tactical marine then the broadsides kill two more. Realising that scouts have Krak grenades and Hammerheads are rear armour 10 the Deathrains drop one with missile fire.

This was a pretty strong turn one for me. Hopefully I will come through the railgun and fusion fire next turn without too much damage.

Turn 2

Everything moved forwards again, except those units around the Piranhas. Everybody else hunkers down behind their guns to (in the words of Russell Crowe) ‘Unleash Hell’.

The sternguards bolter the flank of the nearest Piranha but get no glances. The Land Raider fires everything and knocks off a fusion blaster. All other fire against the Piranhas is deflected by cover saves except for one shaken result which OSH puts on the gunless vehicle. With a combination of plasma, lascannon and heavy bolter fire, I put three wounds on the broadsides. OSH rolls high and they flee off the table. At this point I have to comment on his great sportsmanship. I offered him 3+ cover saves because my lascannons were firing through woods and he was behind a wall, but he stayed with 4+. My scouts charge into the HH but get no damage with krak grenades.

OSH gets a devilfish from reserve and brings it in on my right flank. His Hammerheads pop forwards and submunition a bunch of marine off the edge of the hill in his deployment zone. Two squads break and run but will auto rally next turn. The Piranhas drop drones off near the scouts and pull back against the rock formation near their deployment. Unfortunately for OSH, they both roll 2s to hit and so don’t get to melt the Land Raider. His Deathrains kill another marine (or two, I forget) and the devilfish gets a terminator. Gun Drones miss the scouts.

Well that went a lot better than I thought. Having my Land Raider still in the game is great and hopefully it can survive another turn of fusion fire. The broadside team running was a real blessing as they were providing a pretty solid bulwark on the hill in the centre. I’m worried about how quickly my wall of marines in the centre is running out though. Two more turns and we should be on the objective though.

Turn 3

Time to make the most of OSH not having his scary crisis team and get onto objective. The pounding that my tactical squads have taken on their way across the board is leaving me with only a few guys left who can hold his objective. Still, the terminators can contest so it’s not so bad.

My broken squads rally and make up the lost ground of the last turn towards the big hill accompanied by the terminators. The lack of targets for my bolters and is limiting for me but at least I can run the marines. My Land Raider rolls up beside the Piranhas, hoping to flame them down and shoot the gun drones. The sternguard are a little lost and move back a bit towards the centre. The dreadnought heads for the Piranhas, hoping to assault them since it’s immune to Flechettes. The combination of cover saves, front armour 11 and flechette launchers is really starting to bug me as it’s a lot more resilient than I expected. I send the chapter master forward now that the risk of instant death has gone down. Maybe he can reach the hill in time to help hold it. I move my heavy bolter devastator squad out to give a better LOS to the devilfish in case they deploy FW next turn.

Shooting is mixed. The Land Raider bags four gun drones out of six but the survivors don’t run. The flamestorm does nothing to the Piranhas but the dreadnought kills one with the a multi-melta shot. OSH wisely pulls the one vehicle in assault range of the walker and my dread can’t smash them up. My firepower on the right only manages to immobilize the devilfish as the Deathrains are neatly out of sight behind the hill. My indomitable scouts attack the HH again but they either did no damage or perhaps shook it. They were after the tanks all game I forget the details.

OSH gets the rest of his devilfish and they form a neat trio with the immobilized one. They all fire but no casualties ensue (that I remember). The Hammerheads move towards the centre of OSH’s backfield and blow away some more marines. The Piranhas make a turbo boost break into my rear-left corner. Why won’t these things stay still and let me kill them? Deathrains kill a marine or two. Gun drones assault the scouts but lose combat and run off the field.

Well it’s looking more solid now. The terminators and remaining tactical marines are ready to take the central hill and objective or go for the devilfish as needed. The Land Raider has got some space to maneuver and can try for the Hammerheads with the assault cannons. I’m still struggling with the Piranhas but they haven’t done too much damage at least.

Turn 4

Okay, time to make a real push for the objective. I get my marines up the hill and send the terminators towards the devilfish. With any luck we can pop them open with the lascannons and then storm bolter the fire warriors down. My Land Raider and dreadnought both move to get LOS on the Hammerheads. Power of the Machine Spirit is being very useful to let me move the full 12” and still fire.

In the shooting phase the first HH survives an assault cannon volley in the flank but the second is blown to pieces by a lucky shot from the dreadnought. My firepower on the devilfish shakes a single one. Front armour twelve is nothing to be sniffed at. The annoying Piranhas continue their trend of surviving lots of firepower. This turn they took two krak missiles, ten bolter shots to the flank and a plasma cannon with no ill effects.

Finally Tim gets his big Crisis team. They deep strike near the devilfish and scatter right next to the terminators. I’m a little worried at this point as they are toting a lot of plasma and fusion, and 5+ invulnerable saves are never reliable. The Piranhas skip shooting and boost over to put their backs to the rock pile in the centre. Looks like they’ll suck up another round of shooting. At the end of OSH’s shooting phase, all of my terminators save one have bitten the dust. The firepower of the crisis team was quite terrifying against heavy armour. I roll for leadership before the end of the phase (my mistake) and I failed so I insisted that we take that roll (OSH said I could reroll at the end of the phase). The sole terminator runs 12” back. The Hammerhead didn’t shoot that I remember so perhaps I shook it in my turn.

Well that blunts my attack a lot. I’m pretty confident with my position for the most part but losing the terminators really hurt. I was hoping to use their power fists to pull apart the devilfish and expose the FW. At this point I have two realizations. I can turn the Chapter Master around and get him into contact with the Piranhas. Even with the worst rolling, he can only take two wounds from the flechettes and so will get to swing with his power fist. The second point I realize is that I’m not holding my own objective. I was so distracted by all my marines that I only just realized that it’s a devastator combat squad on my home objective, not tactical.

Turn 5

My terminator auto rallies and I send him through the woods to assault the devilfish. My Land Raider rumbles another 12” to get a rear armour shot on the Hammerhead. The scouts go charging after it also (they must have run out of Krak grenades by now surely?). My tactical squad in the building at my back left ran out. By next turn they should be on my home objective. My three survivors in the front made it to the top of the hill near to OSH’s objective.

My shooting claimed the Hammerhead (assault cannons to the backside), which exploded and took out a scout. I must remember not to run infantry until after I shoot the big guns at vehicles near them. I put a bunch of fire on OSH’s big squad but only take out a drone…

….then the game ends. In a stunning lack of attention to the clock I forgot to round up the game in a more timely way and my ride home has arrived. OSH and I shake hands and declare it a hard fought draw.

From where he stood, Gabriel could see the flimsy Tau skimmers zipping across the marine lines. Bolts, missiles and plasma blasts chased them but the strange shimmering outlines and sheer speed was too much protection. Gabriel mentally calculated their path and smiled grimly. They would pass right by the rock spire and that’s where he would catch them and tear through their flimsy armour.

‘Master Gabriel?’

The hulking form of the Sons of Anteus chapter paused in his mighty stride to listen the commlink. It was a message from Shipmaster Vega in orbit and Gabriel knew that he would never broadcast into a battle without good reason.

‘Go ahead, Vega,’ he growled, flexing the fingers of his power fist, impatient to destroy the Xenos skimmers.

There is message from Segmentum command. They have a confirmed sighting of the Blackheart’s fleet passing Illiah.’

‘Huron?’ Gabriel spat, ‘we must pursue him. I will not let his stain on our honour remain.’

Much as it galled him to do so, the Chapter master knew there was only one course of action.

‘This is Chapter Master Gabriel Anteus to the Tau commander.’ He broadcast on open frequency.

There was a crackle and then an alien voice sounded. It spoke passable Gothic, though Gabriel detested hearing an alien speak it at all.

‘Well met, Gabriel Anteus. I am Shas’El…Old Shatter Hands. Why do you hail me now? Have you seen the folly of opposing the greater good?’

‘The only good in this universe, Xenos,’ Gabriel spat, ‘is the light of the Emperor of Mankind and I would be happy to show you his grace at the end of my bolter.’

‘Tell that to your finest warriors,’ Old Shatter Hands said.

Gabriel glanced to the right flank and saw, with horror, the twisted remains of terminator squad Decimus. Behind them was a group of the Tau’s large battlesuits and in the centre, flexing its hands was, Gabriel knew, the commander. He ground his teeth, aching to destroy the Xenos for killing his brethren, yet he knew that they must go.

‘Shas’El, I propose a truce. You are beaten on this field, you must know that.’

‘The Greater Good will prevail, Gue’la,’ the Tau said, though Gabriel could hear concession in his tone.

‘That is something we can decide another day. I will spare your lives if you allow my forces to withdraw and leave this planet unharried. If you do not, I will call upon every resource at my command to grind this colony of yours into the dust.’

‘This truce will not be the end of it, Master Anteus,’ Old Shatter Hands said, ‘this planet belongs to the Tau Empire.’

‘We will decide that soon enough, Tau. Order your troops to cease fire and I will do the same.’

‘Very well, Gue’la. Until next time.


Well that was a blast to play. First of all, OSH (Tim) was a fantastic opponent, very gracious, polite and generous with rulings (I really thought I was out of range once or twice). His army was painted extremely well also. I know that many people run short of time for painting but it really does look better to see the Sons of Anteus going up against the elite cadre of Old Shatter Hands rather than the grey plastic marines attacking the grey plastic tau.

The tau are a really interesting foe to face when their commander knows how to use them. I spent a lot of the game with no real targets that I could hurt and Tim really played well to keep his vehicles either safe behind their disruption pods or though cover saves. His firepower didn’t seem too ferocious (except the crisis team melting the terminators) but it really started to take its toll a lot by the end.

Tim’s decision to reserve a lot of his force was pretty effective, except for OSH not showing up until turn 4. It really played well in neutralizing a bunch of my units that ended up stuck on the wrong side of the board. By the end, I’d cleared my left flank of units (except the two piranhas which ran to the centre) but only the Land Raider was likely to get anywhere near close enough to do anything to the block of devilfish and crisis suits if the game had gone another turn or two. It also kept the large footprint crisis team safe from my heavy weapons that might have killed off the commanders with Instant Death.

I had a lot of good luck in this game: Tim’s broadsides running off the field, the piranhas failing to melt the Land Raider, lots of saves made etc. Overall I was pretty happy with my playing though forgetting to keep any troops on the objective was pretty silly.

Now I think back on it, for all of my firepower, I didn’t actually kill that much. My final tally was : 2 hammerheads, 3 broadsides, 1 piranha and 6 gun drones. Aside from the immobilized Devilfish, Tim had all of his scoring units ready to move around and cause problems for me. His big crisis team was also ready to cause havoc and probably keep his home objective clear (my 3 tactical marines probably wouldn’t have lasted long). The Piranhas were real stars all in all. They essentially took up75% + of the firepower of my Land Raider, Sternguard, and three tactical/devastator combat squads and lost only a single member (plus drones).

Overall I think it would have probably gone my way or to a draw if the game had gone on but that could have turned around. If I’d killed the Piranhas in turn 5, my Land Raider and Dreadnought could have boxed the Tau survivors in place and contested OSH’s home objective. Of course, if (as through the other 4 turns) I failed to kill the Piranhas they could have melted the LR, the Deathrains could kill the dread and now OSH could use his scary crisis team to batter through my lines to take my home objective.

It was a great game that really went both ways at times and I look forward to settling the issue in a future game.


Raptor1313 said...

I'm somewhat amazed the Piranhas didn't melt the Land Raider, but sometimes the dice do that.

Terrain-wise, in principle I think you're supposed to have about 25% coverage. You don't really want to see what a heavy shooty army like Tau or IG can do to you if they go first and you can't hide.

On the Tau side, I think I would've tried to hide my suits in a wall o' tanks, rather than reserving them. I thin reserves have a place, but that's a call to make on the spot. In principle, though, with Tau I'm leaning towards not reserving, but the terrain on his side looked a bit sparse.

At any rate, fun was had and lessons were learned, and that's what's important.

The Guest Poster admits the army was a bit of a mish-mash, but I think if you're going to try to footslog marines, you might as well go all the way and split up combat squads to split fire.

The only other thing about it (given the constraints) that had me scratching my head was why Sternguard got a Land Raider to ride in; Land Raiders are for delivering assaulty units and Sternguard...are not assaulty.

Old Shatter Hands said...

Raptor, I asked that same questions too. I expected the terminators to be put in the land raider but he told me he preferred it to be used as a stern-guard delivery vehicle...all those nifty bolter rounds...

Old Shatter Hands said...

I'm also thinking I am reserving too much. I think next time I might just reserve the Dfish...and maybe the piranhas...

Pete W said...

Hey Raptor.

I haven't really had that much play time with my land raider but so far it's been quite interesting.

I don't really have any heavy assault units in my army and I like footslogging the terminators in order to make the most of their Cyclone and Storm bolters. Also it puts a solid unit on the table to suck up firepower. The sternguard ride the Land Raider because they are really nasty up close with their bolters but drop like expensive normal marines if you footslog them. I bailed them out early because last time I played tau they got blown up with the Land raider. If I'd thought about it more, I would have reembarked them to speed over to the other side but those damn piranhas just kept sucking up firepower.

I did combat squad everything that was big enough to do so, exactly for the fire splitting reason you mentioned.

OSH's reserving was pretty effective in some ways. It certainly denied me a bunch of targets early on in the game but that did let me focus fire on what i could see. On the other hand, he got to bring in some undamaged units to face my own battered forces.

An interesting game all in all and one i look forward to trying again to a more decisive end.

Speaking of which, are you interested in going to Dream Wizards this coming thursday, Tim?

Pearlygates said...

I think, even though the piranhas held out well, you should have held them in reserve for a round or two.

sounds like you both had a great game!

Maybe Pete should have deepstriked his terminators in too if he didn't use them in the landraider!

OSH, did you even TRY to go for the objectives?

Old Shatter Hands said...

Pearlygates, of course I went for the objectives (this was capture and control-2 bases), Ol'Shatter never forgets the mission. My plan here was to move a Dfish on my objective on turn 5, I wanted to be sure it moved at cruising speed to avoid getting messed up assault, then to move the piranha squadron to contest the opposing objective. Unfortunately we got cut short by time...(Pete, I was thinking of calling the post "when wives attack" hehehehe)

Pete, we can meet at DW again for sure! This Thursday works fine...

Pete W said...

Haha, good post name. I'll make sure this time to set a later pick up time. I got my driving license on Saturday (yay) but with only one car and my job being on a metro line (and her grad school placement being far from one), I don't think I'm going to win that argument. Do you want to play the same lists etc.? I know you're gearing up for that tournament so I'm happy to try and push out something different if you want.

Pearlygates, I think OSH and I were in similar positions as far as objectives went. I was close to contesting his objective but would have been lucky to hold it and he could have contested mine if the annoyingly resilient Piranhas had made it through another turn.

Good game though and we will see how it pans out next time around.