Saturday, March 27th, I drove up to Glen Burnie with a friend to throw down at a Frederick Area Gamers Tournament. There were roughly 18 players present, 9 tables and pretty much good times all around. I took a cadre that I posted previously. I had little time to practice with this list in advance but I did fairly well with the army.
First game I was matched up with my long time adversary, Brian F., known on blogger as Mon-Keigh Reaper. The mission was old-school. Table Quarters and Victory Points and aptly named Cleanse, a throw-back from 3rd and 4th edition.
Brian brought his Ravenwing army with him and while thought it was going to be an easy kill, he did some things that I didn't expect. First of all he outflanked two or three attack bikes with multimeltas. Although I took first turn by seizing the initiative, turns one and two used the nightfight rules and he was able to pounce on my lines under the cover of darkness.
I must say that I really like how Brian's army is turning out. He's kept it strictly Ravenwing and he's nearly completed painting the majority of his Bikers. He's also learning how to protect his "weak" units like his Speeders and attack bikes, making them more effective and dangerous. I'm not going to go into too much details as I've already gone loads of Battle Reports against this army.
Although it was a loss for me, I had claimed just shy of 1,000 points of victory points. I knew my army had the potential to rip marines to shreds and preliminary tests of the Tau Null Deployment are promising. So I was excited about the next game.
My new match-up against the Fabulous Orcboy, a regular reader here and an all around nice guy, had my Cadre meeting the Hammer of the Emperor in Urban Warfare. The game was a great time. Guardsmen poured fire from rooftops, infantry crawled across mangled ruins and the outnumbered Tau Battlesuits and grav-tanks desperately weathering the horrendous pummeling from the Imperial Guard. Very cinematic.
The Imperial Guardsmen seemed to have a seasoned distaste for the Valkyrie's mark as the Pathfinders were the first to meet their hot lead. Once eliminated the Broadsides took on the brunt of IG shooting. They held out to enemy fire, autocannon and las fire ricocheting off their battlesuit armor. Evenutally they fell to the weight of fire, the last of their team fell around turn 4 or so. The Imperial Guard can really pump out the shots but with luck, Disruption Pods and careful use of terrain, the Tau army can be surprisingly resilient. my Grav-tanks managed to hold out till the end, with the exception of a Devilfish or two.
End game kill point 7-6, Orcboy victory. What really lost me the game were the detached Gun Drones. Easy kills for the massed of autocannon fire peppering the ruined city. However. I did manage to get the secondary and tertiary objectives, bumping me up to table 6!
This table, once again a Cityfight themed board, had me matched up against Space Wolves. There were tall buildings and loads of cover in the deployment zone, but surprising little out in no-man's land. My opponent, Tom, showed me his list but I was too tired at this point to read it and instead went by the visual account of his army. He won first turn deployed a line of Rhinos and 'speeders and told me something about reserves but I didn't catch it.
This game's mission was to claim an objective in the center of the board. There were two other objectives that oly gave you bonus points. Whoever claimed the middle objective, won the game. With that task, I decided to deploy all of my non-essential units: the Pathfinders, the Skyray, the Crisis suits and Broadsides. I reserved my piranhas, all of my Devilfish and my Hammerhead for some help late game.
It was a good thing too because Tom had 4 pods in reserve which he didn't tell me about! Wolf Guard and Dreadnoughts rained from the sky and wrecked some key units. My Skyray was turned to white-hot molten metal. Old Shatter Hands and his boys had holes ripped through their torsos in the flurry of fire from the Wolf Guard. My Broadsides got punked by Jaws of the World Wolf and my hope of wearing a wolf-pelt home was shattered.
To be honest I was a little ticked at myself because Tom had told me units were in reserve but he did not show me what they were. I was tired and I failed to query any further. He had his pods in cases during deployment and I had not made a point of inspecting further. He gave me his list which was a little hard to read, (does anyone else find the Army Builder printouts difficult to look at?). In his run down of the army, he didn't say anything about pods. Was he keeping it secret? Or was it my fault that I failed to ask?
No matter what surprises Tom had for me, I was going to stick to the plan. Play the mission, keep moving and be smart. My first turn out, I decided to take out his fast units. My Broadside were at the top of a building with a wide range of fire. I could choose my targets. Who would it be?
The Broadside Team Leader called out, "Shas'Ui! The trap is set, you know your task." The hulking suits took aim and let loose with their particle accelerators In an instant, three flaming wrecks fell from the sky. Three Space Wolf Speeders were done for.
Next order of business, knock out the rhinos. My Deathrains had one chance and one chance only. The following turn they would be dead. They let fly their missiles and immobilized a Rhino. Sidestriker too took aim and wrecked a Rhino. The next turn, one more Rhino got wreck by my fire. The first phase of the plan was complete. I had lured Tom to my board edge and knocked out his mobility. Now it mattered little what deaths were in store for my Elites and Heavy Support. Only my troops mattered now
On to the next phase.
Tom liked to spring surprises so I sprung one of my own. My Pathfinder's Devilfish, which was empty, made a mock-play for the objective. Assuming this decoy 'Fish was moving to claim the objective, the Space Wolves moved out to attack it. When it was wrecked and nothing piled out, the Space Wolves paused a moment in disbelief.
Then my Hammerhead came on and took aim. It downed the final Speeder, removing th threat of any Turn 5 objective grabs. I made a couple attacks with Sidestriker to draw attention. Crisis Suits act like magnets and the wolves went after Sidestriker and away from the objective. All the while my troop carriers moved into position.
The Space Wolves had been so pre-occupied with and successful at destroying my army that my opponent did not try to claim the objectve.
Turn 4 came and the 20-minute warning was made. Time to bomb the only objective that mattered. My troop carriers glided over the heads of Grey Hunters to the objective. These Grey Hunter were the only unit able to contest the objective at this point. The Fire Warriors on the objective disembarked to rapid fire. I knew it wouldn't be enough. I called on the one strength the Tau Empire has that no other army can claim as well as us. Mobile Firepower: the ability to bring the weight of your entire army on one point of the battle field. My piranhas moved into range. Another squad of Fire Warriors disembarked and set up shots. Remnant drones, scattered across the board, moved into position. There were 8 Grey Hunters to kill. I had no AP3 wepaons. Just massed S5, AP5 weapons.
I rolled the dice. Again and again. When I was finished, the wolves were gone. Game over, Tau victory! While I complain about the poor state of Tau in 5th edition, I must say that only in 5th edition can you get your ass kicked for 5 turns and still win the game!