Monday, October 5, 2009

An actual battle report AND post-game analysis?

There's a first time for everything I suppose.

Since I wrote this up for discussion with Tim, an ex-40k player, and, in fact, the previous owner the Tau army that was played - I decided it would also make for an excellent post to this poor rarely-used site.

So here goes.

Please note that since this did originate as a discussion from someone who doesn't play 40k anymore but is a strong opponent in a variety of other games, some points highlight stuff that Tim might have forgotten about 40k and/or the Tau. And other points are just how we converse.


Met at the Games Workshop Columbia store to play Ryan, a local player who I have actually only played one other game of 40k with - a very embarassing run for my Chaos Marines. We opted this time to play a 1500 point battle, his Red Scorpions versus my Tau.

My list, approximately:

HQ:
Crisis Suit Shas-O with Cyclic Ionic Blaster, Fusion Blaster and Shield Generator

Elites:
2 Crisis Suits with Missile Pods, Plasma Rifles, and Drone Controllers. Each with 2 Gun Drones (so 4 total Gun Drones)
3 Stealth Suits with Burst Cannons

Troops:
3 x 12 Fire Caste Warriors in Devilfish
11 Kroot + 2 Hounds

Heavy Support:
2x Hammerheads with Railcannons, and Smart Missile Systems

Ryan's List:

HQ: Space Marine Chaplain (1#, 115 Pts)
1 Space Marine Chaplain @ 115 Pts
...in Power Armour
1 ...in Power Armour @ [115] Pts
Bolt Pistol; Crozius Arcanum; Frag Grenades; Krak Grenades; Power Armour; Rosarius; Jump Pack

HQ: Space Marine Captain (1#, 130 Pts)
1 Space Marine Captain @ 130 Pts
...in Power Armour
1 ...in Power Armour @ [130] Pts
Frag Grenades; Iron Halo; Krak Grenades; Power Armour; Plasma Pistol (x1); Power Sword (x1)

Troops: Tactical Squad (10#, 195 Pts)
9 Tactical Squad @ 195 Pts
Bolt Pistol (x9); Bolter (x7); Frag Grenades; Krak Grenades; Power Armour; Plasmagun; Missile Launcher
1 Sergeant @ [38] Pts
Bolt Pistol; Frag Grenades; Krak Grenades; Power Weapon

Troops: Tactical Squad (11#, 250 Pts)
9 Tactical Squad @ 250 Pts
Bolt Pistol (x9); Bolter (x7); Frag Grenades; Krak Grenades; Power Armour; Flamer; Heavy Bolter; Rhino
1 Sergeant @ [58] Pts
Frag Grenades; Krak Grenades; Storm Bolter; Power Fist
1 Rhino @ [45] Pts
Searchlight; Smoke Launchers; Storm Bolter; Hunter Killer Missile

Troops: Tactical Squad (10#, 200 Pts)
9 Tactical Squad @ 200 Pts
Bolt Pistol (x9); Bolter (x7); Frag Grenades; Krak Grenades; Power Armour; Meltagun; Lascannon
1 Sergeant @ [38] Pts
Bolt Pistol; Frag Grenades; Krak Grenades; Power Weapon

Fast Attack: Assault Squad (10#, 260 Pts)
9 Assault Squad @ 260 Pts
Bolt Pistol (x7); Chainsword (x9); Frag Grenades; Jump Packs; Krak Grenades; Power Armour; Plasma Pistol; Plasma Pistol
1 Jump Packs @ [0] Pts
1 Sergeant @ [68] Pts
Frag Grenades; Jump Packs; Krak Grenades; Power Armour; Power Fist; Plasma Pistol
1 Jump Packs @ [0] Pts

Heavy Support: Devastator Squad (10#, 250 Pts)
9 Devastator Squad @ 250 Pts
Bolt Pistol (x9); Bolter (x5); Frag Grenades; Krak Grenades; Power Armour; Missile Launcher (x2); Plasma Cannon (x2)
1 Sergeant @ [23] Pts
Bolter; Frag Grenades; Krak Grenades; Signum; Chainsword
1 Signum @ [0] Pts

Elite: Dreadnought (1#, 105 Pts)
1 Dreadnought @ 105 Pts
Dreadnought CCW; Multi-Melta; Searchlight; Smoke Launchers; Storm Bolter

Total Roster Cost: 1505

(Yes, I allowed his to go 5 points over. I was one point under, and I did note that if he won, I would complain that the 6-point difference was the entire cause for my loss)

We played a 6'x4' table, with the GW rolling terrain table thingy. (I discovered this rolling hill-style is actually a PITA for big plastic models on flying bases, like, oh, say, ALL OF MY TANKS)

Terrain was all buildings, and there were two on my side of the table, three on his.

I rolled up the mission and deployment. Command And Control was the mission - that means D3+2 objectives, and Ryan rolled a 1 so it was 3 - and Dawn of War deployment, which meant that we set up on half and half of the table, but limited to up to 1 HQ and 2 Troops, everything else in reserve.

Ryan placed two of the objectives - one next to my building on my left, and one in his building on my right-hand side. I placed my single objective next to my building on my right. In the beginning of the game, I owned two of the three objectives - interesting choice for him, but I assume he meant to force his way across the field at one or both of mine as well as hold his own.

We had a rules dispute (not an argument at all, just read something differently) about how the 2 Troop choices work - the example in the rulebook SEEMS to say that transports are counted separately, which is NEVER how I/the Disorderlies have played it, but in the interest of moving things along I went with Ryan's interpretation and left the Devilfish for one of my Fire Caste Warriors in reserve while the FCW's themselves started on the board.

So I started on the board with my Kroot (12 Kroot and 2 Hounds) 12 FCWs and my HQ.

Ryan started on the board with four combat squads - two tactical squads broken down into 5-man squads. There was one with Lascannon, one with a Missile Launcher, one with a Plasma Gun and I think one with a Flamer.

I had first turn.


It quickly occurs to me that I don't really have all of the action plotted out from turn to turn. I'll just cover the highlights I guess.

1. Hammerheads - killed a few Marines with their submunition rounds (big template, but not enough to ignore their armor saves) and cratered his Dreadnought - although it took two shots to kill the Dread. They both survived the entire game.
2. Kroot - the Kroot stayed in my right-side building the entire game, shooting mostly at his one combat squad with the Lascannon. I could have been more aggressive with them but largely I suspect they deterred him from launching any assault on that objective, which did earn me the tie.
3. Fire Caste Warriors - The one squad that had started on the board finally died to the last man on turn 5, allowing him to seize the objective they had been guarding. The two other squads I used very aggressively - one of them flew up in their Devilfish to kill his last man on the objective on his side, but who were then mauled (lost 7 of their 12 men) in a round of shooting from his full-strength Devastator Squad and then routed. I didn't pay the points to bond them, so they could not rally - they spent the rest of the game routing back to my table edge. The third squad attacked his two combat squads in his table quarter on my left side, but unfortunately A) had a terrible round of shooting and B) then got assaulted by his full-strength Assault Squad AND Chaplain who arrived just-in-time from reserve to jump on the table and assault them. (I ended up being literally JUST in their range from the board edge - 18") They got absolutely flattened by that assault.
4. Crisis Suit Commander - He picked off a few marines with his Cyclic Ionic Blaster but really I was very afraid to get him dead so he wasn't that effective. He hung with the Kroot all game - again dissuading anything coming over there, but also not helping me WIN per se.
5. Crisis Suits - my one squad really played almost no role. Stuck in reserve, I tried to deep strike them where they would threaten not only the objective on his side of the board but ALSO, hopefully, maul his Devastator Squad which was definitely causing me worry. They scattered onto one of his buildings, which is a Deep Strike Mishap - gotta roll the on table. 1-2, they are DESTROYED, 3-4, opponent places them, 5-6 they go back into Reserve and try and come in again next turn. I rolled a 3. WHEW. Ryan placed them on my leftmost corner, where they did pretty much nothing for the rest of the game. I believe they killed a couple his Assault Marines who were fresh from killing my FCW squad. But that was it. A lot of points, neutralized.
6. Stealth Suits - tried something different with these guys and OUTFLANKED. They got a couple of rounds of shooting on the Devastators and did no casualities. (Ryan's dice where hot in the 2nd half of the game, mine were not). The Devastators then turned the 3 of them into a red mist.

Stuff I think I would do differently:

1. I would probably have swapped the Kroot and one of the FCW squads. Having the FCW squads shooting from the buildings would have been longer range (as it was two of the Kroot never actually got to shoot being over their max range) and better strength guns, so would have forced more saves. 2. Send the Kroot to Outflank and make a play for his objective
3. Send in the 3rd FCW squad to reinforce whatever objective of mine he was pressing on - in this case my left one - instead of going on the attack. If I had just been there to contest my left building, I would have won.
4. NOT have Deep Strike'd the Crisis Suits, instead used them either to support the Kroot attack on his objective or to attack his foreward elements
5. Been a little more aggressive with my commander. I DID pay for the Shield Generator, but never took a single shot on him - yes, the Lascannon could have cratered him, but it also meant that the short range of his guns resulted in him not being very effective.

And if I could change my list for this mission:

1. Dropped most of the Devilfish. I didn't need the mobility.
2. Ran one Hammerhead with an Ion Cannon. Better at picking off Marines.

Regardless of all of this, it was fun and often tense game for us - I do feel like with a few army tweaks and some better decisions this could have been a win for the Tau.

Discussion follows:

TIM:

I'm curious what you would have done differently with the initial Fire Warrior Squad if they had their Devilfish? It seems to me, with no basis in the rules, that a unit's transport is part of the unit. But whatever.

It seems that the Commander was a massive waste. Do you still have the option of giving him a bodyguard as part of the HQ unit choice? If I recall correctly it helped protect him from the stray Las Cannon shot and also gave a pretty effective forward strike force. Then you ca afford be more aggressive with him as the risks go down a bit and the overall fire power of his unit goes up.

It seems like mounting at least one of the Fire Warrior squads in a Devilfish helped out quite a bit. Allowing you to be more aggressive with that combined arms force. Also the Crisis Cuits could have kept up with Devilfish If I remember speed correctly.

The Ion cannon has pretty good utility all around. It won't destroy heavy vehicles but was pretty good against marines, heavier Infantry and light - medium vehicles. If running two Hammerheads 1x Ion Cannon and 1x Rail Gun seems like a reasonable choice, unless facing an IG tank battalion. Then I'm thinking All Railgun and bringing Broadside suits as well.


ME:

Having the initial Devilfish would just meant a few more shots on the board. Really I didn't use my Gun Drones well at all - I meant to have them run solo all the time, and really only did that with one of the three Devilfish. More shots is more shots and I screwed that up.

Yes, I can give him bodyguards, but didn't have the points to do so.

I was aggressive but the left-side attack was semi-pointless - I was being aggressive to scare him and it A) failed and B) had nothing to do with the mission. The units I attacked really had no chance of getting into scoring position anyway so it wasn't smart. The right-side attack had it's heart in the right place but I needed to go all-in on the attack or not bother.

I'm not sure what role a Broadside or two would have played - the only vehicles he had were one Dread and one Rhino. Broadsides are a very expensive way to kill infantry, especially when the infantry is in cover.


TIM:

So you made a poor tactical decision of where to bring your force to bear? What were you hope to accomplish by scaring him off the left side? Put more pressure where the rest of your force was?

Indeed unless they come up with new options for Broadside weaponry they aren't very useful against marines. There just aren't enough really touch targets for them to engage over the course of the game. I brought them up as being useful against armies that use a lot of heavy tanks (like the IG)


ME:

My thinking was that I needed to eliminate his tactical squads so he had no scoring units. But I was focusing on the wrong ones- largely because I THOUGHT I could eliminate the ones that were the more immediate threat. It didn't hurt that I also thought I'd distract him - and I did; the Assault Marines attacking me meant they were pretty much not playing any role in the game that counted - so I guess that was was a mistake on my part that made him screw up too. Go me.

Broadsides do scare Marines that bring Land Raiders. But that's not the usual MO for Marines these days - most of them are either Rhinos or Drop Pods.

TIM:

So does this review of performance mean yo think you need new stuff, or are you happy where you are at?


SIDE NOTE: Tim painted these Tau for me, and we have been discussing him painting more, which is part of larger discussion here.


ME:

ALWAYS NEED NEW STUFF

Actually I want to play a few more games before making a determination. But....how hard where the Kroot to paint? I think I might want to get another two squads of them, at some point, and a unit of Stingwings. I definately felt like I could have used the Stingwings on Saturday, because they are REAL jump troops.




So there's a good bit to chew on here. All from one relatively quick game!

4 comments:

Ryan said...

Good read, always enlightening to see what your opponent says about a game!

Im still looking for something regarding the transport deployment issue, either for or against... as usual, the GW FAQ is lacking.

We will have to get another game in soon, so you can test the Tau out some more. :)

Disorderlies Tyrant said...

This is a lot more detailed than I typically go for battles - but A) I feel like I am still struggling with the Tau and B) Well, we needed something to talk about on a Monday morning...

Stahler77 said...

Wow I recognized long ago I wasn't worried about grammar or spelling when killing time over e-mail... But Jesus How do you read ANYTHING I type out to you.

Personally I'm glad I harassed you early on Monday for a Batrep. I'm also very disappointed that I'm going to end up having to paint more crap for you

Disorderlies Tyrant said...

What's sadder is that I DID clean up some of the stuff you typed. Everything else, apparently I just glazed over.