Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Fritz's 750-Point Challenge: Tau Vs Space Marines

After reading this post over at Fritz 40k, I had been waiting for my chance to play a small-scale game with my Tau. This weekend, I had a couple hours out of the house to throw some dice with some friends. This post is one of the two games we played this weekend. The second installment will come later in the week. This first game pitted my small Tau Cadre against my friend, Pete, and his loyal Space Marines. We played on a 4x4 board as there was a magic tournament at Dream Wizards that day and we were relegated to the corner of the store. I was happy to oblige as I feel these small games are just fine a smaller board and also because we   were by the windows and sunlight which is great for photos. 

Tau Army List 750 Points
When I was pointing up units for this game, I wanted to make a micro version of my 2,000 point army. I knew I wanted a good amount of missile pods, at least one railgun and one or two piranhas. Kroot were going to be a necessity at this points level, as their cheap points cost means you can fill up the board with models and get more dakka as well. I also wanted a good sized unit of Fire Warriors as I've found their Pulse Rifles really come into their own in small games as well. Here's what I came up with. 

Commander Shas'El with Twin-Linked Missile Pods, Flamer and HW-Target Lock
3x Shas'ui Crisis Battlesuits with Missile Pods, Burst Cannons and Multitrackers (more dakka! haha!)
10 Kroot
10 Kroot
10 Fire Warriors
Piranha with Fusion Blaster, Disruption Pod
4 Pathfinders, Devilfish with Disruption Pod
 Shas'UI Broadside Battlesuit with Targeting Array (let's make those shots count!)

Space Marine Army List 750 Points by Pete. 
Facing off against Old Shatter Hands at 750 I knew that I would be outnumbered as the Tau can really put out a decent model count for low points (plus I'd seen his list). I considered running 2 squads of tactical marines but the points investment along with an obligatory 100+pt HQ choice was bugging me. I wanted to use my recently painted Calgar model and so I started pointing up a captain with two power fists. Partway through this I realised it wasn't ideal as he would be facing a railgun and fusion blaster that could ID him and he wouldn't hit hard enough to justify the points. Then inspiration struck and I decided that I would use those oft-abused (IMHO) counts-as rules to bring Marneus Calgar himself. Eternal warrior (hah, railgun-schmailgun), God of war (morale? Not here), Titanic might (rerolled wounds) twin power fists, a power sword, AP2 bolters and an orbital bombardment...nice. I decided to fork out the points to add his terminator armour just to make it harder for OSH to torrent him to death. For the rest of the army I kept it simple. Tactical marines and scouts gave me scoring, the sternguard are just fun and I haven't played them in a while, and the dreadnought was there to crack open tanks and cause trouble for OSH.

Marneus Calgar (250) with terminator armour (15)
Dreadnought w/ Multi-melta (105)
5 Sternguard (125)10 Tactical Marines w/ML and flamer (170)
5 scouts w/ Heavy bolter (85

Mission: Seize Ground, 3 Objectives
Deployment Pitched Battle

Winning the roll to go first and facing a small squad of scouts 12 inches from my lines, I decided to take first turn. I deployed a firebase with a skirmish line of kroot out in the front. Everything was set up for Pete's foot-slogging marines to come to me. 
First things first, I dropped the drones from both the Devilfish and the Piranha and moved them to screen the Kroot line. I then unleashed all the fire power I had at the scouts. The Drones took some shots, the Battlesuits moved into line of sight and my Kroot also opened fire on the scouts. The scouts hit the dust but were slain by the concentrated fire. They'll never earn their powerarmor dead now will they? The Warriors positioned on the hill moved up sightly to take advantage of cover

The Space Marines let out a bellowing battlecry and surged forward. Marneus Calgar, seeing his oppportunity, called to the great warships in orbit to unleash a precision bombardment on the Tau Battlesuits. Direct hit! The Battlesuits leaped for cover but two were blown to pieces by the blast.  Inspired by the spectacle, the Dread nought moved up to take fire on the Piranha, missing his target complete but burning a firey hole through the vegetation. 

With the Space Marines marching into a withering ail of fire, the piranha made it's move. It zoomed forward and let loose it's fusion blaster, wrecking the mobility systems of the Space Marine Dreadnought. The drones hovered up to take more shots on the Space Marines, which simply bounced off their armor. 
A combat squad took cover behind a low hill by the centrally located objective, ready to seize it when the moment is ripe. Calgar pressed on following up where the Dreadnoughts advance had been halted. Sternguard too took positions of attack on the Tau left flank. To the right, a small team of marines fired rockets at the Tau warriors, but failed to cause any casualties. 

Bird's Eye View Turn 2

Piranha immobilizes the Dread!

With the marines closing to secure the mid-field, the Kroot skirmish line pressed forward as well, ready to meet the Gue'la in the open. Fire Warriors reacted to the closing marines by embarking in the Devilfish and the Crisis Team positioned themselves for better lanes of fire. Flickering fire the Tau lines, killed a number of marines this turn, in an on-going effort to whittle them down to nothing. 


That's when Calgar began his rampage. He ripped through my Kroot and consolodated towards my Pathfinders and Broadside. This was actually a relief for me, as it kept him away from my main plan. At this point I need to kill all of Pete's troops or contest the objectives. He had one squad of troops by the central objective marker and a single Tactical Marine by the left objective marker. 

Calgar approaches, Old Shatter gets ready for a fish of fury. 

Calgar mauls my Broadside. 

Fish of Fury!
For the first time in a long while, I got execute a "Fish of Fury"attack. My Devilfish scooted up and Fire Warriors lept out. My Piranha turbo boosted to complete a nice skimmer wall and my Crisis Suits joined in a gunfight. 20 Pulse Rifle rounds and 4 Missiles resulted in  not a single Marine death. Fish of complete failure more like. The good thing is it didn't matter, my troops were still save behind their skimmer wall. To try and finish the job, my Crisis Suits assaulted the marines to keep them from claiming an objective. 

At the end of the game, Pete had one objective and I had one, DRAW! 

This game was loads of fun. Playing at 750 points you still get plenty of toys and the turns are quick. It's more casual, as you can just chill and throw dice. You'll notice that we filled this little 4x4 board with tons of terrain. We did that to add more tactical depth and I think it worked. Pete was able to get into position and I had to maneuver to get shots off at him. In the end it came down final last minute grabs and tactics to pull out a draw. 
Great game, Pete!

1 comment:

Pete W said...

Hey OSH, great battle report and very interesting to hear your thoughts.

I'm all for smaller games now, especially when there isn't cutthroat play. This was a great example of how to play tactically, efficiently and competitively without going all out and making it a harsh experience. The lists were well balanced (yours was better in that regard though) and the game flowed very nicely. The small table is just perfect for this kind of game.

As far as the game went, I think I played a bit too aggressively with my troops units and in doing so nearly lost my scoring ability. Marneus is a complete beast on the table but he is only one unit and can only kill one thing per turn. I'm not knocking him for his power (10 kroot, 4 pathfinders, broadside) but he is a relatively slow moving unit in this game. Your tactical redeployment towards the right flank was a great reaction to his attack and leaving the broadside right there was perfect to keep me focused. If it hadn't been for sneaking that single marine across the table earlier on I would have lost this game.

My list was distinctly weak when it came to busting armour, which I learned quickly when the dread was immobilised facing the wrong way. Originally my plan was for 2 tactical squads, an HQ and a set of devastators but I decided that I've played too much of the mass footslogger list recently and wanted to bring something different.

Tactically I probably should have sent Marneus over towards your main scoring force earlier on once it became apparent I'd lost my other anti tank. The sternguard spent too much time hiding behind the rock and should have stepped out and used their bolters. True they might have died but as it was they spent much of the game getting picked to death in cover anyway.

Great game nonetheless and I look forward to our next matchup. I might even bring the asshat list of Chaplain, 2 min scouts and 2 land raiders ;-) Nah, I wouldn't do that to you.....