Thursday, 25 February 2010

My 1st 40k Tournament of 2010 - Ticket Purchased


With one tournament moved from February to late May, and the other tournaments early in the year being very far away, I have finally bought my first tournament ticket of 2010.

I'll be attending a 1 day tournament run by the Sad Muppets Society, called "A Small Matter of Honour" on 8th May. It's 2 games at 1250 pts followed by 2 games at 1750 pts (if you're interested here's the rulespack).

I've already got my draft army lists, and will getting some practice games with them over the next few weeks to ensure I like how they work, particularly the 1250 pt list as haven't played that points value before.

My 1750 list is the one I posted here, which I still haven't had a chance to field test yet. For the 1250 pt list I dropped a Hammerhead, one of the Pathfinder units, and the Fireknife Crisis Suits (I had to drop a heavy support and an elite choice because of the force organisation chart allowed for the smaller games).

Wish me Luck, and look forward to practice game battle reports, and the eventual tournament report.


Friday, 19 February 2010

Tau Army Review - Fire Warriors

Tau Army Review - Fire Warriors

Rather than starting with HQ I'm going to start with the unit that will be in every Tau Army. At least one unit of Fire Warriors must be taken in any Tau list. I'll quickly go through their basic strengths and weaknesses, the equipment they can be upgraded with, and various typical unit loadouts, and finally my opinion of them.


Obviously the 30” range on their pulse rifles are a good strength, but in 5th edition I think the strength 5 and rapid fire ability of their pulse rifles is more of a strength than the range. Fire Warriors also have a decent (but not good) armour save of 4+ which means they get a save against most basic weapons, however heavy bolters and autocannons rip straight through their armour.

Fire Warriors are also one of the two units that can claim objectives in 5th edition, and it’s essential to have enough scoring units.


Fire Warriors have only leadership 7 and can only be upgraded to leadership 8. This is one of the lowest leaderships in the game, and nearly all other low leadership troops have some rule to help them against it (Tyranid Snapse, Imperial Guard Orders, Orc Mob Size etc.)

I also believe that Fire Warriors are quite overcoated for their abilities, with the release of each new codex Fire Warriors just don’t compete with other armies troop choices in term of effectiveness for their cost.


Below is a quick run down of the upgrades fire warriors can take and their usefulness:

Bonding Knife (Shas’ui only): Useful for large squads, particularly if they either don’t have a transport or intend to be out of a transport for most of the game

Photon Grenades: Never take them, in close combat a Fire Warrior will still lose (and you want them to lose on the turn they are charged), Photon grenades only increase the chance that the Fire Warriors may stay in combat the turn they are charged, but the survivors will probably lose and get cut down in the Tau turn, meaning the assaulters have escaped the Tau firepower response.

EMP Grenades: Some people suggest having a small specialised EMP grenade squad. However there are much better vehicle killers in the Tau list, and the chance is still quite slim of a small EMP squad killing a moving vehicle. I would advice against using grenades at all, keep the Fire Warriors with little equipment to keep them cheap and focused on what they do best (firing str 5 shots into the enemy).

Carbines: Allows the Fire Warriors to move and fire, however what ever they fire at is in range to move forward and rapid fire at the them, or if they have fleet, jump packs or are beasts/cavalry they can still charge the Fire Warriors. In 4th edition they could be used well, but in 5th edition the rifle is better, as you want to either shoot from far away or get 2 shots at 12” with the intention of wiping the enemy out. The secondary effect of pinning with carbines comes up rarely due to the high leadership of most armies or special rules they can use to offset their poor leadership. If you want carbine I’d recommend that you use gun drones instead that are jet pack infantry and can move back after shooting.

Markerlight (Shas’ui only): Can be useful in a gun-line squad, especially if the shas’ui has a target lock so he can fire at a different target to the rest of his unit, eg. lighting up a vehicle for a broadside unit to use the markerlight while the rest of the squad can still fire at infantry.

Gun Drones: These are the same toughness and armour save as the Tau, another fire warrior is better than gun drones, unless you want to bring the largest squad you can. A maximum sized unit with drones takes 4 rather than 3 casualties to require a morale test, however they now can't fit in a transport, and the gun drones can’t fire at the same range as rifle equipped fire warriors. I wouldn’t recommend gun drones.

Shield Drones: A bit of extra survivability, but on the whole I recommend sticking with just fire warriors.

Marker Drones: A very expensive source of markerlights. If you want markerlights I recommend you use Pathfinders, Skyrays, or Stealth Teams with Marker drones (in that order)

Typical Unit Set-ups

Gun-line Squad

A typical squad that is meant to be part of a gun-line type army needs to be big and have good leadership because it will be taking casualties (plus it can make the best use of markerlights if you have any). Also because they are a scoring unit a bonding knife is useful because the enemy has to kill every last one to ensure they can’t take an objective.

12 Fire warriors, incl Shas’ui with Bonding Knife – 135 Pts

Optional Extras: Markerlight and a Target Lock for the Shas’ui, bringing the cost up to 150 Pts.

Devilfish Scoring Unit Upgrade

6 Fire Warriors – 60 Pts

Optional Extras: None

This squad is meant to fulfil the minimum requirement of one unit of fire warriors. They should spend most of the game either in reserve or in a devilfish. Starting in reserve and then embarking onto a pathfinder devilfish when they arrive is a good way to keep them alive.

The squad should only occassionly get out of a devilfish to rapid fire at the small remnants of an enemy squad. You have to be careful with this squad (particularly if they you have a small number of scoring units) as they will die to enemy fire very easily.

Fish of Fury

This unit is designed to move around the battlefield in a devilfish and then get out and rapid fire enemy squads, supported by markerlights, and other fire warrior units doing the same. Protected inside a devilfish the unit has mobility and resilience.

10-12 Fire Warriors – 100-120 Pts

Optional Extras: Shas'ui with Bonding Knife

10 is sometimes better than 12, as it allows you more units, and it can sometimes be hard to disembark 12 warriors within 12” of the enemy while still being safe from assault. The way to be safe from assault is to fire at the enemy under the devilfish (the enemy won't reach the fire warriors because they have to go round devilfish, and they will need 6's to hit the devilfish in combat, as it should have moved 12”). Alternatively the devilfish drones and be used to get between the fire warriors and the enemy so the enemy can't reach the fire warriors.

A full fire warrior unit with a devilfish (upgraded with an SMS) will put out 31 str 5 shots (or 28 shots if the devilfish moved more than 6”). However without markerlight hits that will only kill 3.7 marines on average, therefore to take out a tactical squad you will need to do this with two units and have other firepower to take out the remaining 3 marines.

This tactic therefore needs to whittle down enemy squads to a manageable size and then coordinate attacks of multiple units, and losing a devilfish to enemy fire will hamper the coordination of this manoeuvre. A full fire warrior squad with an upgraded devilfish will cost around 240 pts, and if it does the rapid fire manoeuvre 3 times a game (optimistic) it will kill roughly 11 marines, much less than it's points cost. So a final point of this tactic is that it's more about keeping the fire warriors safe and mobile to capture objectives rather than it's damage output.

My Experiences with Fire Warriors

I'm sure most people would agree that fire warriors are a bit overcoated for their abilities in the current environment. 5th edition has made 40k a faster game, due to transports being more survivable and the run rule.

Their leadership is poor, and the change in the meta game to a more even mix of MEQ (Toughness 4, 3+ save enemy) and Horde (Guard, Nids, Orks), and increase in cover saves has increased the use of weapons such as heavy bolters, autocannons, whirlwinds, and scatterlasers etc. These weapons are the bane of a fire warriors existence.

In 3rd and 4th edition I always used 30+ fire warriors, but the 40k game was slower and more predictable. In 5th edition I have tried to find a tactic that makes fire warriors good. Gun-line type lists didn't do enough damage before the enemy got to them, a mix of gun-line and Fish of Fury took so many points away from the rest of the army and the fire warriors still couldn't pull their weight.

Fire Warriors give a hard choice for the Tau player in 5th edition. They are fragile, but you need troops to capture objectives. My solution at the moment is to use just one unit (Devilfish Scoring Unit Upgrade configuration), rather than have a second unit I use 10 kroot to go into a second pathfinder devilfish because I think they are so much more flexible for the 10 extra points.

I could advice against taking many gun-line type units, however even though I don't use it, I have seen multiple Fish of Fury units used well. My concern is that 3 units of Fish of Fury takes so many points away from the army, and I prefer to spend the points on more Hammerheads, Broadsides & Crisis Suits.

For an alternative view point and a very good example of a Fish of Fury type army played well, I recommend you view the battle reports of Adam from Warhammer Tau.

Lastly it's also important to pick the style of Tau army you will like playing, and I think that starts with the type, number and configuration of your troop choices. All successful Tau armies outmanoeuvre the enemy while bring firepower to bear. If you like the idea of outmanoeuvring your opponent while bring devastating pin-point fire power to a section of the enemy force before moving off again you may prefer the Fish of Fury type lists. If you like manoeuvring, but prefer to do your killing from further away, and don't mind sacrificing a unit for the greater good to do more devastating firepower from turn one, you may prefer sticking with less troops and putting more points in Broadsides & Crisis Suits.

If you have any questions, comments, or areas you think I have missed out please leave a comment.


Related Army Review Articles

Devilfish Review

[Army Styles – Link to Article will be added shortly]

[Kroot – Link to Article will be added shortly]

Tuesday, 16 February 2010

Bloodbowl - Club League Game Two (Skaven vs Lizardmen)

After the mauling I got in game one of the league, my team for the second game was as follows:

Rat Ogre

Storm Vermin

2 Gutter Runners

5 Linerats

2 Linerat Journeymen

Fan Factor 1

3 Rerolls

11 Players (including Journeymen), No gained skills, and Team Value 940

I was playing a Lizardmen team that also hadn't got any skills in their first match. They consisted of:

5 Saurus Warriors

7 Skinks

Fan Factor 0

3 Rerolls

12 Players, No gained skills, and Team Value 1000

Main tactic was to hit the skinks as often as possible, hoping to even up the numbers, and score as often as possible to stop the saurus turning the game into a mid pitch brawl. However without facing mighty blow my rats hopefully wouldn't die so easily.

For my inducement I was tempted to spend 20k of my treasury to buy the 80k ball and chain star player, but eventually decided that it was better to save all the money I had to hopefully buy back the gutter runner that died in the first game, so I picked the inducement that gave me +1 to my knock out recovery rolls.

I can't remember who won the toss, but I was receiving. The lizardmen set up an aggressive set-up, 5 saurus on the line of scrimage (LOS), with most of the skinks behind and on the wings 3-4 squares back from the LOS.

I set-up the rat ogre for a first turn crowd push on the skink nearest the sideline. I weighted the side with the rat ogre with my stormvermin, and a gutter runner (one square away from the wide zone). The other gutter runner (who was on 5 star player pts) stayed back to collect the ball. His only goal was to get a completion and survive the match !! Journeyrats on the LOS with one other linerat joining them. The rest of the linerats spread out to make sure there was no gap to get through without dodge rolls.

Weather was fine, kick-off table gave us both a 4th reroll, and the ball stayed on the pitch, moving slightly towards the flank that I had weighted.

I started with the crowd push, but the rat ogre stood and roared rather than blitzing. I really wanted to get the crowd push to reduce the lizardmen numbers (at least for this drive), so I attempted a reroll, which of course I failed the 4+ roll to use the reroll; stupid rat ogre !!

Linerats moved up to give the linerat on the LOS enough assists to knock over the saurus nearest the flank I had weighted. Finally I tried to pick up the ball with the gutter runner, who promptly fluffed the pick-up on 2+. Not a good start to the drive :)

The Lizardmen responded by rushing through my tactle zones with skinks to leave 3 skinks only a few squares from the ball (lucky the ball hadn't scattered forwards on the kick-off or the fast skinks would have been able to reach it). The saurus did want they should and flattened my front line, put a tactic zone on my stormvermin and stunned the gutter runner up the field.

A very nervous turn followed for the skaven, one wrong move and it was likely to be a fast skink touchdown.

The Rat Ogre blitzed to assist the stormvermin, and knocked down the saurus on the stormvermin. The gutter runner at the back picked up the ball, he moved up and threw a short pass to the stormvermin (now the gutter runner only had to survive the game to get his skill). The stormvermin moved up the field. A few spare linerats moved up to help, so that the ball carrier could only be blocked by a skink. The rest of the linerats bravely put tackle zones on saurus.

With the saurus all in tackle zones they could only get skinks back to threaten the ball carrier. The saurus showed the linerats the error of their ways, and flattened most of them, but luckily no injuries yet.

With only skinks threatening the ball carrier's guards. The skaven took revenge on the skinks with the storm vermin flattening one and moving down the field. A semi cage was put round the ball carrier close to the end zone. Even the rat ogre managed to move up the field.

Another turn of hits by the saurus still didn't produce any injuries, the gutter runner who did the completion was knocked down by a saurus, and the skinks finished the job by fouling him into the knocked out box (I think he feigned the knock-out just so he could get off the pitch, as any skaven who weren't near the lizardmen end zone were being unmercilessly hunted down by saurus).

A few quick blocks on skinks, which badly hurt another, and the stormvermin strolled into the end zone. I would have liked to stall a bit more, but my players remaining near the LOS were taking a battering, including the last gutter runner on the field.

The +1 modifer on knock-out recovery allowed the knocked out gutter runner to return for the second drive.

The saurus set up very aggressively for the second drive. All the saurus were on the LOS, with most of the skinks 2 squares back on a group.

The skaven set-up for a fast counter attack, I needed a second td to secure the match or I could be facing the dreaded hitting team 2-1 grind*

The skaven set-up was 3 linerats on the LOS, a gutter runner each flank supported by a linerat, and the storm vermin and rat ogre a few squares behind the LOS one on each side.

One saurus was heard cursing nuffle, as the two sides starting setting up, and demanded the saurus were allowed to teach these rodents a lesson in pain. Before the lizardmen player coach could say “wait until I've got the ball” the saurus started the hitting. As the hitting began the ball sailed far into the back corner of the lizardmen half, and scattered one square towards the LOS.

The first saurus attempted to smack the first linerat, and almost stumbled, but a bit of team training (reroll) helped him avoid this and he pushed the linerat back. Up next the middle saurus attempted to hit a linerat, a skaven fan from the sidelines taking advantage of the sunny lustrian day, held up a shiny gem reflecting the sun's light into the saurus' eye. Blinded the saurus lunged forwards to where the linerat was, however the linerat quicky dodged aside and bought up his spiked shoulder guard which tore into saurus chest, blood spurting everywhere.

Before the skink medical staff had even got on the field to stretcher off the badly hurt saurus, the skaven were off dashing down the field the 2 gutter runners went after the ball, one pushing himself to the limit that only some team sprint training stopped him from falling over (reroll on failed Go Fot It). With the skinks bunched in the middle, the rat ogre blitzed the skink nearest the ball, then stood next to three others. The storm vermin also moved to the skinks. Linerats put tackle zones on the saurus, and the rest surrounded the skinks just behind the LOS.

Over the next couple of turns, a skink who went after the ball was unmercifully taken out by gutter runners and the ball was made safe near the lizardmen end zone. Linerats continued to stay next to saurus and take hits, which allowed the stormvermin, rat ogre and remaining linerats to pick on the skinks. The rat ogre and stormvermin particularly having fun. The skaven scored the second touchdown in turn 8.

At half time with 4 players out for the rest of the match, including a saurus, the lizardmen coach threw in the towel. I tried to persuade my opponent to continue, as he's only lost a skink permanently, and he'd got some SPPs over his first two games, but he insisted that he's got the starting team set-up wrong (which I disagreed with), and that he would restart.

So although a gutter runner was one touchdown away from getting a skill, at least the team had come threw unscathed. Plus getting the opponents MVP and winnings would help with team building. I got 100k winnings in total, which when added to my existing treasury allowed me to buy back the gutter runner, and buy one of the journeymen I was using (as he received an MVP). I would have liked to buy the other journeymen as well as he was the one that took out the saurus and got 2 SPPs, but I thought getting a third gutter runner was more important.

So after two games and two wins, my team is now:

Rat Ogre

2 Storm Vermin (One with Guard, One with -1 Movement)

3 Gutter Runners (One with Block)

6 Linerats

3 Rerolls

2 Fan Factor

Team Value 1110

With the rat ogre needing another casualty for a skill, the unskilled stormvermin and a gutter runner needing 1 SPP to get a skill, and the last gutter runner needing one touchdown for skill, the team is looking good. I just need one more nice game to get a few more skills and afford an apothecary. If one of the linerats could get a skill to give me the kick skill I'll have a team that can really have a chance of doing well.

Until next time, may your opponent only roll skulls.


* The 2-1 grind is a classic tactic for hitting teams against agile team. Let them receive, pressure them (ie. Beat up their team) so they score early. Then form a solid cage moving down the field causing as much pain (and hopefully casualties) as possible, and score in turn 8. For the second half form a good cage again, and repeat the process of slowing marching down the field and score in turn 8 again for a 2-1 win.

Monday, 1 February 2010

New Tau Army List Gets A Test Run - Part Three (Wrap Up)


Well I finally finished my battle report for my second new year's eve game (apologies for the delay).

That day I managed to get a 3rd game in, against another mate's ork army. He had a more mech army than the one I faced in my first game. He had 3 trucks (one carrying a mek with a custom forcefield giving everything cover saves), however he didn't have a battlewagon. He had a large unit of lootas, large unit of grots to sit on an objective, and the ork jump packers with the special character that allows them to assault the turn they charge. To round the army off he had a warboss with normal bikers, and a unit of deff koptas.

Apart from a bit of bad luck first turn, when I reduced the cover save on a truck to 6+ and he rolled a 6 everything else went textbook style.

My opponent was an inch out charging kroot, so instead was charged by a unit of 17 and wiped out. The jump pack orks has a mishap when they eventually turned up, and were placed in the far corner (we were playing quarters). The warboss and bikes didn't blow up either of the devilfish or hammerhead they charged, and then were wiped out by railgun, missile pods and burst cannon fire.

Basically everything went wrong for my mate.

Army Performance Over the Day

Looking at how my army performed, the extra firepower from going down to 3 troops choices definitely worked.

I will miss the positional relay, a couple of games my troops all came on early when ideally I would have liked to delay them as long as possible. I will try a few more games without the positional relay before I decide to put it back in, especially as I'm finding it better most of the time to have all the crisis suits on the table from the start and having less troop units means using the positional relay wouldn't delay my troops as much as when I was previously using it.

The Broadside team leader target lock will have to come back into the list. Previously I'd been having games where there was a main target that had to go down that I would fire all 3 railguns at. However against the marines there was 2 turns I would have really liked to split the broadside firepower, eg, 1 shot against the side armour of a weaponless vindicator (who eventually contested an objective stopping kroot from getting it), with the other two shots against a drop pod, rather than having to put all three shots into the drop pod which was contesting an objective (a bit of overkill).

Plasma & Fusion Suits; nearly every turn I wished I just had longer ranged guns. It didn't help that it took the 2 fusion guns two turns to kill an ironclad dreadnaught. If the unit has plasma & missile they would have ignored and run away from the dread while firing into the Marine troop choices, which probably would have been much more worthwhile.

Drone Protection: I found the protection the drones on my crisis suits very useful. However I found that particularly against the marines at one point they almost seemed too protected when my shas'el joined a unit. The mixed unit would have three different types of crisis suits for wound allocation and 4 drones between them.

Against marines I still think I need a bit more plasma. If I swap the fusion guns for missile pods, my shas'el can go back to plasma & CIB for the ultimate anti-marine loadout. To make the changes I'll have to drop 2 kroot hounds, so I'll have to see how the 6 less attacks will affect them.

Overall I like the way my army list is going. For my next iteration I'm going to drop the fusion guns, maybe I'll bring them back into the list on pihranas later.

Below is the list I will be taking to my next few games:

Shas'el Commander – 110
Plasma Rifle, Cyclic Ion Blaster, Multi-tracker,
Hard-wired Drone Controller with 2 Gun Drones

Crisis Battle Suit Team - 137
1 Crisis Battlesuit with
Twin-linked Flamers, Missile Pod
2 Crisis Battlesuit with
Twin-linked Missile Pods, Flamer

Crisis Battle Suit Team - 163
1 Crisis Battlesuit with
Twin-linked Missile Pods
Drone Controller with 2 Gun Drones
2 Crisis Battlesuits with
Missile Pod, Burst Cannon, Multi-tracker

Crisis Battle Suit Team - 186
3 Crisis Battlesuits with
Plasma Rifle, Missile Pod, Multi-tracker

6 Fire Warriors – 60

10 Kroot & 5 Kroot Hounds – 100

10 Kroot – 70

6 Pathfinders – 72
Devilfish with Disruption Pods – 85

6 Pathfinders – 72
Devilfish with Disruption Pods – 85

Hammerhead Battle Tank – 165
Railgun, Burst Cannons, Multi-tracker, Disruption Pods

Hammerhead Battle Tank – 165
Railgun, Burst Cannons, Multi-tracker, Disruption Pods

Broadside Battlesuit Team - 280
Broadside Team Leader with
Advanced Stabilisation System, Hard-Wired Target Lock
Hard-Wired Drone Controller with 2 Shield Drones
2 Broadsides with Advanced Stabilisation Systems

Total Points: 1750 (70 Models and 16 Kill Points)

The main changes are in the crisis suits weapon systems and the number of drones protecting the crisis suits. The new crisis suit unit will now be a basic fireknife unit (it's funny how things come full circle, plasma/missile used be my main weapon load out in 4th edition, and the plasma/CIB shas'el was the commander i used the most then).

The shas'el will now join join the plasma/missile unit so they have some drone protection. Not giving the new crisis unit drones allowed me to put in an extra plasma rifle than before, and losing the 2 kroot hounds allowed me to put plasma on my shas'el and give the broadside leader a target lock.

My crisis suit (including shas'el) high strength (6+) weapons have gone from:

8 Missile Pods
2 Plasma Rifles
2 Fusion Guns


9 Missile Pods
4 Plasma Rifles

More high strength weapons and more range, but at the expense of less ablative drones. I'm looking forward to field testing the new list, which should hopefully be next week, as my mates and I have a few days off next week, so will probably do a bit of gaming one day.



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