Saturday, 27 March 2010

Progress Update

Well it’s been busy since I last posted, so here’s a quick update of the things I’ve been up to:


My Skaven team got in a friendly match against an Orc team. I lost the match 2-1 after some good luck (blitz) followed by bad luck (2 turns of gutter runners failing to pick up the ball for an easy touchdown) at 1-0 up. I failed to top the typical bashy team vs agile team 2-1 grind. However as the match didn’t count towards the league I’m not too concerned. What is a pain is my run of poor winnings, and injuries. Another linerat died and my winnings were so low that after buying a apothecary I don’t have much in the treasury towards buying a 12th player. I’ll be playing with 11 players (including journeyrats) for my next game, not a fun prospect for skaven.

I think skaven really need 14 players to survive the knock-outs and casualties they receive and still compete in 2nd half. I need to get another friendly game in to give me any chance of winning my next team game against Ogres.

Next purchases for the team will be a 4th gutter runner or linerat (which ever I can afford first). Hopefully it’ll be the gutter runner but I need my winnings dice rolls to improve 


For the tournament I’m going to on the 8th May (Small Matter of Honour), my mate and I tried out our 1250 pt lists.

I lost (definitely a trend against my mates), but learnt a bit.

I need to be more cautious with my pathfinders (especially as I only have one unit in my 1250 pt list), and to use the kroot as a screen rather than being more aggressive with them.

The mission was kill points with the quarters set-up. My pathfinders used their scout move to get into a corner adjacent to my deployment zone which meant they were the closest unit to the enemy, and my kroot came on from reserve away from my own quarter to threaten some objectives. Both units were unsupported and gave no support to my main army. As my main army struggled to kill a waveserpent with scorpions in it they couldn’t advance to support the kroot who were left stranded.

I’m finding if I can’t kill what my opponent sends towards my firebase it not only stops my main army advancing but also normally loses me the game. I need to prioritise stopping the enemy getting to my firebase and then move towards objectives. I’ll also have to see if this is only an issue against fast armies such as Eldar, it’s so much easier to use the width of the deployment zone to outmanoeuvre other armies such as marines.

After many army list tweaks I've finally decided how to fit piranhas into my list to give them a try out. Just adding them to my existing two units of pathfinders made the list look like it had too much support and not enough firepower, therefore I have decided to reduce the pathfinder to just one unit of 8, and also lose the suit with a missile pod and twin-linked flamers. This allowed me to up afford a unit of 2 piranhas and upgrade the small kroot unit with 5 hounds (as they wouldn't have a pathfinder devilfish to hide in).

Painting & Army Building

Taking inspiration from here, I have tried to fit in some painting to slowly get my Tau finished and make progress on my space wolves (I’m really slow at getting stuff painted).

A couple of evenings this week I’ve been painting for about an hour and I took my paint case on a work trip to Birmingham which allowed me to paint a bit on the train and in the hotel in the evening. I’ll start taking my paint case to work as I should be able to fit in 30 minutes painting at GW during my lunch hour.

I’ve started to paint a dreadnaught for my space wolves / marine army, and I have to say I’m impressed with the grey foundation paint. Even though it was slightly watered down it went over a red base coat very smoothly.

Also I think I’ve been lucky with my secondary and tertiary colours (space wolves grey and grey), as they go over my main colour (red) very smoothly with only one coat. This is surprising for the space wolves grey with it being such a light colour.

The main block colours are now done, and I have a bit more base colours and tidying up to do before I move onto the detail.

In my painting case I now have 3 crisis suits I bought off ebay that I have to paint up to my army’s colour scheme. My Tau army is fully painted, but as I bought a few units off ebay over the last couple of years it has slightly lost the cohesiveness of the paint scheme, so I’m painting up some crisis suits, broadsides & piranhas to match the main army (colour scheme in pic above).

This will also lead to me selling off some spare models when I’ve finished (crisis suits, broadsides and a hammerhead). I’ve set myself the goal of my birthday (July) to finish all the work on my Tau, and if I succeed I’ll treat my army to a new case that will fit the whole army rather the just the stuff I usually use.

If there’s anything you want me to elaborate on please leave a comment.


Wednesday, 17 March 2010

Dark Eldar in 5th Edition - Initial Thoughts

My mates are running a campaign where we pick a 1000 point starting army, and get extra points or force organisation slots depending on the results of the battle. Each battle is at the same points and at the moment that ranges from 700-900 points. The campaigns allows us to get a bigger number of games in each gaming night we have, so we can try out new stuff rather than continuously playing with our tweaked tournament armies.

So finally my Dark Eldar were dusted off and hit the gaming table, if only a part of it, for their first games of 5th edition.

My initial thoughts are that they are still very much a glass hammer army (very fragile but can hit hard).

Compared with 4th edition the vehicles did seem a bit more resilient with the new damage table, but the big thing I found was that I hated scattering blast templates.

Ravagers used to hit on 3+ with their template, so unless you roll 4 or less for the scatter they only get a direct hit a third of the time. With opponents used to playing against the new blast template rules they spread out so even a direct hit was not getting too many models, plus the increased cover saves in 5th edition really put a dent in the disintegrator firepower. I was so ready to rush out and buy my 3rd ravager, but I'll probably stick to my previous heavy support of 2 ravagers and a Talos and see how it goes.

One thing I did like about the disintegrator was the lower powered shot, on many occasions I fired the low powered shot which allowed me to move 12” rather than 6”, this allowed me to manoeuvre so as not to give the enemy a cover save (eg. from their drop pod).

On the assault side wyches seemed only ok, a squad charged and killed (over 2 turns) 15 guardsmen, but when you consider the cost of guardsmen compared to wyches and their transport it doesn't seem so hot.

I used to run a pretty shooty Dark Eldar list at 1500 pts, however I like the idea of fast assaults, so now that the standard sized game seems to be 1750 pts I used the extra points to add some assault elements.

I'm wondering whether a hybrid list can work ? Do Dark Eldar only work as either wych assault or kabel shooty or can a hybrid list be viable ? I'll hopefully get some more ideas when I bring out the full list (in the next few weeks).


PS. Below is the current list I'll be taking to any games:

Archon - 137
Punisher, Tormentor Helm
Plasma Grenades
Shadow Field, Combat Drugs

Dracon with 5 Warrior Retinue – 105
2 Dark Lances

8 Wyches (incl Succubus) - 189
Succubus: Agoniser
2 Blasters

8 Wyches (incl Succubus) - 194
Succubus: Agoniser
2 Blasters
Raider with Disintegrator

Beastmaster & 5 Warp Beasts - 75

5 Warriors - 115
Dark Lance & Blaster
Raider with Disintegrator

8 Warriors (incl Sybarite) - 165
Sybarite: Agoniser
Blaster & Splinter Cannon
Raider with Disintegrator

5 Warriors - 110
Blaster & Splinter Cannon

10 Warriors – 110
2 Dark Lances & 2 Blasters

10 Warriors - 100
2 Dark Lances

5 Warriors - 110
Dark Lance & Blaster

Ravager (3 Distintegrators) - 120

Ravager (3 Distintegrators) - 120

Talos – 100

1750 Points, 81 Models, and a horrendous 20 Kill Points
11 Dark Lances, 9 Disintegrators, 10 Blasters, 2 Splinter Cannons
6 models with close combat weapons that ignore armour saves

Friday, 12 March 2010

Bloodbowl - Club League Game Three (Skaven vs Norse)

With a nice game 2, my team was in an ok position with 12 players, my team for game 3 was:

Rat Ogre
2 Storm Vermin (one with Guard, one with -1 Mv)
3 Gutter Runners (one with Block)
6 Linerats
Fan Factor 2
3 Rerolls
12Players, Team Value 1110

Unfortunately I hadn’t been able to play and (un)friendly games in the league which may have allowed me to get a much needed apothecary.

For the third game of the league I was playing Norse

A str 4 big wolf
1 Blitzer that had gained tackle
1 Thrower
2 Runners
6 Linemen

11 players, slightly lower team rating which allowed my opponent to purchase the bloodwiser babes inducement (which didn’t have any effect on the game).

Now 2 advantages I had was that my rat ogre was the strongest player on the field and my opponent only had 11 players, so if I started taking them off I’d have numbers advantage for the rest of the match which might make up for facing an army with block everywhere.

My opponent won the toss and decided to kick. My tactic to avoid the 2-1 grind was to score late in the 1st half hope to stop him equalising in the same half.
First turn the rat ogre surfed a lineman, and the crowd badly hurt him, a few norse were knocked over, and a gutter runner picked up the ball staying in my half out of range of his players, while another gutter runner sprinted down the right hand flank. Not a bad start the norse were down to 10 players for the rest of the game and I still had 12.

The norse responded my stunning a few players and knocking over a few more, but importantly the norse blitzer who had stayed back as a safety blitzed the gutter runner who had made a break for it knocking him over. I responded by creating another crowd surfing opportunity for the rat ogre (but this time the crowd only tickled the victim, and he would return for the next drive). The gutter runner passed the ball to another gutter runner on the left flank who sprinted into the norse half on the left hand flank (out of range of the blitzer), and all norse in range to get to him were knocked over.

The norse moved 2 players down towards the gutter runner, while another round of pick on the lineman that had stood up in the norse tackle zones, luckily no-one was permenantly hurt. However a linerat was badly hurt evening up the players on the pitch to 10 each.
I decided to stall a bit, with the ball carrying gutter runner moving to one square away from the end zone. I knocked over one of the norse sent towards the gutter runner, and put two tackle zones on the other one.

The norse had had enough of the rat ogre, and I had forgot that their runners had dauntless. A dauntless runner stood up and blitzed the rat ogre (with the help of an assist), and badly hurt the rat ogre. There goes my main advantages for the match :(

With the norse surrounding my weakened LOS and the threat of them blitzing the ball carrier soon I scored turn 4, a bit earlier than I would have liked.

I set-up 3 rats on the LOS, but put the rest aggressively forwards as I needed to pressure the ball carrier. 2 gutter runners were on either flank 3 squares from the centre line and one square away from the sideline, but a linerat was put one square forwards and inwards to prevent a crowd surf.

The norse hit a gutter runner and knocked him over, however the thrower failed to pick up the ball, and my opponent didn’t want to waste a reroll this early in the half.

My storm vermin made a hole, and two gutter runner sprinted through, one was able to go for it twice to get a tackle zone on the thrower next to the ball, and another was a couple of squares behind.

The norse responded by blitzing the second gutter runner (knocking him over), and the thrower blocked the gutter runner, pushing him (but not knocking him over) into another norse tackle zone. The gutter runner dodged away from the norse covering him, ran round the thrower, picked up the ball, and then dodged away for a lightning fast touchdown.

I did roughly the same set-up again for the third drive, and a lucky kick put the ball on the end zone line. This time the norse thrower picked up the ball, but he was still deep in the norse half. The norse smashed the skaven front line (stunning a few), but also blitzed another linerat into the badly hurt bin.

The skaven responded as before with the storm vermin making a whole (guard really helped here) and 2 gutter runners stormed through. The gutter runners were still a few squares away from the norse thrower.

The norse consolidated their control of the mid field, and had a safe pocket ready for the ball. The norse thrower moved up, but fumbled the throw. Feeling it would be rude not to, a gutter runner dodged out of a tackle zone, picked up the ball in the thrower’s tackle zone, and dodged out to run the ball in for a turn 8 score.

I was running out of players fast (with the rat ogre and linerats badly hurt), but with a 3-0 half time lead I should win, I just had to win with no serious injuries.

Last turn of the half the norse beat up the 3 linerats on the LOS as much as possible, one linerat that was knocked out but returned for the second half, and with that it was onto the second half.

I was down to 8 players, and my storm vermin and gutter runners did their best, but couldn’t stop the norse line. However with gutsy blocking and dodging from the gutter runners and stormvermin, and selfless sacrifice of the linerats (one was killed during the half), the skaven were able to knock the ball lose, but didn’t get the nice scatter needed. However it was enough because the norse still hadn’t scored by turn 5, making the match in the bag, so any skaven left alive (most were off the pitch by now) ran away chased by angry norse. The norse scored turn 8, and a stormvermin failed to get a completion on the last turn of the match to get a skill.

A gutter runner that scored in the last game scored two more this game, so now has the block still. The rat ogre got the MVP (obviously for his 3 crowd surfs in 3 turns) and got Juggernaut.

Winnings were quite poor at 40,000, so not new purchases. The 2 skills and increase in fan factor offset the death of a linerat to keep my team rating at 1110, however with only 11 players next match will be nerve racking (as if it isn’t always with skaven).

I now have a (un)friendly game booked for next week against Orcs, and my essential purchases (if I can ever get good winnings) over the next few games are:

4th Gutter runner
1st Thrower
6th Linerat

I think I need to learn to play a bit more defensively against hitty teams, because if I don't score 2 early I never seem to have enough players to respond later.


Wednesday, 10 March 2010

Tau Army Review – Devilfish Transport

After looking at Fire Warriors, lets turn our attention on one of the best ways to keep them alive, mobile and useful; making available a devilfish transport.

Following the format of the previous article on Fire Warriors I'll quickly go through the basic strengths and weaknesses, the equipment they can be upgraded with, and typical unit loadouts, and finally my opinion of them.


Good transport capacity
Good armour for a transport (resilience helped further by the disruption pod upgrade)
Good mobility
Good protection for the fragile Tau troops


Expensive compared to other codexs (especially compared to the newer codex such as the Space Marine Rhino or the Imperial Guard Chimera)
Either has drones which make it 2 kill points in anniltion missions or much take the Smart Missile System upgrade which can make the transport get even more expensive


Disruption Pod

Excellent increase in the tank’s survivability for a very small cost. There should never be a Tau tank that doesn’t have it.

Targeting Array

A cheap upgrade that increases the shooting damage by 33% (excluding any gun drones which are not affected by it.

It really depends on the weapons on the devilfish and whether it has the multi-tracker as to whether the +1 BS is worth it. For the cost of a fire warrior (rather than half the cost on a devilfish) you could increase the firepower of a crisis suit firing a missile pod and a plasma rifle. If the devilfish only has a burst cannon it’s not worth it.

Also consider how often the devilfish will fire. If you use the devilfish to ferry Fire Warrior or Kroot towards objectives you’ll probably be moving more than 6” a lot, meaning that the most the devilfish will be able to fire is 4 Str 5 SMS shots, is it worth making that small amount of firepower better ?


Increases the firepower of the devilfish while on the move. For gun drone equipped devilfishes it means you can fire 5 str 5 shots while moving 12” rather than none. On SMS equipped devilfishes it allows the vehicle to move 6” and put out an impressive 7 Str 5 shots at longer range to the standard devilfish. A nice useful upgrade


Removes a kill point from the devilfish, increases the range and amount of firepower, however it comes at a price (25% increase to the base cost). Adding a SMS also makes other upgrades useful for making the best use of it (ie. the multi-tracker and targeting array).

The decision on whether to add the SMS depends on your view of the devilfish in anniliation missions, and what you want your devilfish to do during a game, and particularly how often it will be moving more than 6” a turn (ie. can only fire one weapon if upgraded with a multi-tracker).

Sensor Spines

This will avoid the dreaded 1 on a differcult terrain, which can be a nice benefit. However you have to weigh up how often this will come up, as being a skimmer a differcult terrain test is only needed if the devilfish starts or ends it’s move in differcult terrain. Even if an objective is in difficult terrain you can make your full move to be right on top of the objective and even if you immobolise the devilfish it’s still a nice bunker for the troops inside. Overall I would skip this upgrade especially when considering how much it would cost to add to all vehicles in an army list (normally 3-6)

Flechette Discharger

An interesting upgrade. If the skimmer moves over 6” assaulters need a 6 to hit it, but the dischargers will put a str 5 hit on half of them. Against an ork mob of 30 boyz this means that 10 will die before they get to strike. However in reality this will have little effect as it’s the nob with a powerclaw that is the real threat, so the main advantage is that it might deter small units wishing to assault the vehicle.

You also have to consider the cost of upgrading all devilfishes, and the fact that if an enemy unit is close enough to assault they are close enough to use short ranged anti-tank guns such as meltaguns which would also ignore the disruption pod. Ideally you shouldn’t be getting the devilfish that near the enemy apart from a late turn dash to contest/claim an objective. Would it be better to spend the points elsewhere to help kill the enemy near the objective rather than hoping on flechette dischargers to save the devilfish.

Decoy Launchers

This wargear took a hit in 5th edition. Skimmers moving over 6” used to only get glancing blows from shooting, now this is not the case. In most cases a hit will be a penetrating hit more likely than a glancing hit (meaning the decoy launchers are useless) or you’d rather have the vehicle immobolised rather than risk losing the main weapon (particularly in the case of hammerheads). In general I would advice against adding decoy launchers and spending the points elsewhere.

Blacksun Filter

With the short range & only medium strength of the devilfish weapons this is not worth it. To spend points on blacksun filters it needs to be on something that can really affect them game in a night fight, ie. do something significant turn 1, eg. pop a key transport at range. Killing a couple of infantry if there is a unit that has deployed forwards is not worth it, especially when you are putting the devilfish more at risk by moving it close to the enemy early.

Target Lock

With only a few str 5 shots it’s not worth being able to split fire, better to spend the points elsewhere

I will cover seeker missiles in a separate article.

Be Ruthless

Tau have a lot of very good cheap upgrades, and it’s essential to weigh up the benefits of making the devilfish better against other cheap upgrades that could be bought to aid your army list. For 5 pts would could:
  • Allow 2 Broadsides to fire at separate targets
  • Allow a shas’el or team leader to fire at a separate target
  • Give a Skyray a Blacksun Filter (can be a game winner in Dawn of War, eg. a Skyray allows a broadside team to fire on a landraider full of terminators turn 1 forcing them to walk all game)
  • Be half way to extra drone protection for a crisis suit unit
  • 1 point away from an extra kroot hound
Tau are an army that can spend way to much on upgrades, and you must be ruthless and only take what you think will really help your army in a worthwhile way in the majority of your games

What Do You Want Your Devilfish To Do

Before I move on to typical set-ups, when choosing the set-up you must give thought to what you want the devilfish will be doing.

A main role will be to protect troops inside and give them much needed mobility, so this question is what else.
  • Do you want the devilfish to be part of your main firepower ?
  • Do you want it to keep a low profile until late in the game when you want to dash troops to objectives ?
  • Do you need to reach objectives far away with the devilfish (which would mean moving 12” most turns and be more at risk being of destroyed) ?
  • Can you get enemy transports destroyed and keep enemy infantry in the 18”-24” range, so you can move forwards 6” and fire all weapons at them ?
All these questions will determine which devilfish set-up is best for you and your army list.

Typical Devilfish Set-ups

Cheap Transport (sometimes refered to as the Dumbfish) – 85 Pts

Upgrades: Disruption Pod only

This is the cheapest version. It’s still worth 2 kill points due to it’s drones. In non annihilation missions the drones can be a useful distraction unit and even move to contest objectives on turn 5. Lets look at the contesting threat of drones on a devilfish:
  • Devilfish moves 12”
  • Drones disembark with the back of the drone base 2” from the devilfish, ie. gaing 3” forward movement
  • Drones run d6” in the shooting phase
  • Drones make a 6” assault movement to get 3” from the objective
In total the drones on a devilfish can contest an objective 25-30 inches away. Not only will the enemy rarely expect this, but if the game continues the enemy on the objective will probably be forced to shoot the drones rather than firing on the approaching devilfish.

This devilfish focuses on being a cheap transport and nothing else. No temptation to engage the enemy to make use of expensive upgrades, and no temptation to move slowly to get more shots off. Keeps the fragile troops protected and keeps them moving to where they need to be.

Cheap Devilfish Plus – 95 Pts

Upgrades: Disruption Pod & Multi-tracker

The addition of the multi-tracker allows the cheap fish to fire 5 str 5 shots while moving 12” (as the drones are allowed to fire if the vehicle can fire at least one gun). 10 pts for 5 str 5 shots a turn is not bad. However if you need to fire the drones you can always disembark them.

One disadvantage is that moving within 18” to fire gives the enemy the change to move forwards and fire meltaguns or rapid fire plasmaguns which can be dangerous to the devilfish.

Warfish / Gunboat – 120 Pts

Upgrades: SMS, Targeting Array, Multi-tracker, Disruption Pod

With the ability to fire 7 Str 5 shots at BS4 the devilfish can more meaningfully contribute to the army's firepower, plus it can still transport troops to objectives, and lastly is only worth one kill point in annihilation missions. A couple of warfishs packed with fire warriors can deliver a torret of str 5 shots.

However it does suck up a lot of points. To fire the maximum 7 shots the devilfish also needs to only move 6”, and it can be hard to coordinate multiple devilfishs onto the same target without losing some of the firepower because a devilfish has to move over 6”.

There is also the danger of moving with 18”, which will allow an enemy that isn't wiped to move to within 12” to fire meltaguns or rapid fire plasmaguns.

My Experiences with the Devilfish

I started using the warfish in 5th edition, and it's firepower output was impressive, but even with the addition of fire warriors rapid firing it's didn't seem to kill enough, and was exposed to enemy counter attack.

As soon as the devilfish was destroyed the troop unit inside normally followed soon afterwards (if not the same turn).

My use of the devilfish is now to keep it mainly to transport the fire warriors or a small unit of kroot. Staying further away from the action makes it much more likely to last till turn 4/5 where it is essential for getting the troop units to objectives (or just keeping them alive in annihilation missions. Therefore I have moved to using the Dumbfish configuration. I found the extra 70 pts from downgrading my 2 devilfishes much better spent on crisis suits and/or broadsides.

This is not say that I think this is the only way to use the devilfish. It will really depend on what you need your devilfish for. If you are light on str 5 fire power you might the warfish argmenting that. If you have larger fire warrior squads you may not be so concerns with engaging the enemy with their devilfish.

The Dumbfish is just what's working for me at the moment.

Well there's the end of my devilfish overview, hopefully it has been useful and/or interesting. If you think there's anything I've missed or wish to let me know anything please leave a comment.


Monday, 8 March 2010

Quick Battle Summary - Tau vs Orks, & Reflections on Kroot & Pathfinders

Last Thursday I got in a game with my Tau against an Ork army. The Ork player was a long time fantasy player that was getting back into 40k. Unfortunately he didn’t have 1750 pts, so I had to cut my army down to 1500 pts. Below is the list I used (basically I lost one of the pathfinder units, 1 broadside, and downgraded a plasma rifle to a missile pod on my shas’el):

Shas'el Commander – 102
Missile Pod, 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

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 - 195
2 Broadsides with Advanced Stabilisation System
one upgraded to a Team Leader with Hard-Wired Drone Controller with 2 Shield Drones

Total Points: 1500 (57 Models and 13 Kill Points)

I was playing against a double battle wagon army, led by a warboss with mega armoured nobz, grots to hold home objectives, and the usual support of lootas and a dreadnaught, with the less common choices of tandbusta boyz and a looted wagon with boomgun to round out the list. The full list was:

Warboss with 6 Mega armoured Nobz in Battlewagon
Mek with Kustom Forcefield (who joined the Warboss and Nobz)

15 Slugga Boyz, including Nobz and Rokkit in Battlewagon

6 Lootas

6 Tank Busters (with a few bomb squigs)

2 x 10 Grots

Looted Wagon with Boomgun (same as a battlecannon)

Dreadnaught (with the 24” range, Str8, gun, a big shoota & 2 powerclaws)

We rolled up a killpoint mission with normal pitched battle deployment. I won the roll for sides and let my opponent choose the sides and go first.

Main points from the game were:

  • Looted Wagon was exploded by broadsides turn 1 (there was no way I wanted a battle cannon template firing on me, especially when it was only on a armour 11 chassis).
  • My hammerheads failed to hurt either battlewagon for the 1st 3 turns (even with markerlight support, and half the shots being against side armour).
  • I killed the dread turn 2 which allowed the missile/burst crisis suit team to move up the flank and finish off the lootas in turn 5
  • The warboss and nobz hit my line turn 3 unscathed. They fisted a hammerhead out of the sky, killed the pathfinders the next turn, and then killed a kroot squad the turn after (more on the kroot later)
  • The boyz on the second battlewagon followed closely behind the warboss, but their fate was completely different. Turn 3 I killed the battlewagon, 5 guys died in the explosion, a few more were killed by twin missile crisis suits, and after firing a few pistol shots the rest were killed the following turn.
  • At the end of my opponent’s 5th turn it was 4-4 on kill points (Hammerhead, Pathfinders & both Kroot units vs Battlewagon, Slugga Boyz, Looted Wagon & Dreadnaught). On my 5th turn killed the last tankbusta boy, and the last of the lootas, meaning that when my opponent rolled a 2 for whether the game continued I won 6-4.

Thoughts on the Tau performance

The volume of missile pod fire was really nice, and the drone protection on the crisis suits worked perfectly, I lost all the drones by the end of the battle (half of them from shots that would have instant killed a crisis suit), but my main firepower was intact.

The firewariors did nothing as expected. They came on from reserve went into the pathfinder devilfish and ran like girls for an empty corner than nothing in it apart from a hammerhead taking side shots (and later rear shots) at battlewagons all game.

The kroot on the other hand surprised me. They killed nothing, but what they did could really be put to good use in future games.

The large kroot unit came on turn 2, and came on where the crisis suits and broadsides were. In turn 4 the mega nobz were finished with the pathfinders and were looking menacingly at the crisis suits. The kroot moved forwards to restrict their forward movement and the crisis suits were able to jump behind the kroot. In the next turn the smaller unit of kroot came on, and they formed a second line for the crisis suits to jump behind. Unfortunately the small unit of kroot took 3 wounds from long range fire and ran off the board, meaning the cheapest crisis suit had to more forwards to make it too long a route to go round them and get the other crisis suits in combat (the orks still hadn’t called the waargh so had a 18” threat range).

The way the kroot formed a double layer of protection meant that by turn 5 the orks hadn’t got to the crisis suits or broadsides allowing them to fire all game. Seeing this I will have to deploy the kroot on the board more often because if the kroot hadn’t come on from reserve when they did the orks may have got at least one of the crisis suit units before the protective line could be formed.

The kroot running from 3 casualties showed the vulnerability of this tactic when using small units. To mitigate this risk I’m considering equalising the kroot units to 10 with 3 hounds, or at 1750 pts I could make both kroot units 10 with 5 hounds at the expense of reducing the pathfinders to 2 units of 5.

My hammerheads were poor again, it’s probably just bad dice rolls. At 1750 points I’m tempted to change one to a skyray (same points cost), as I’ll still have 4 railguns that can fire at 3 different targets, and having 2 vehicle markerlights would make me more comfortable dropping 2 pathfinders to afford a 2nd larger kroot squad.

How do you use your kroot ? What unit composition and tactics work best for you ?


Thursday, 4 March 2010

Battle Report - Tau vs Choas Space Marines - 1750 Pts


I managed to get a game in at my local club, I was playing a friendly chaos list. Dave (my opponent) hasn't played with his chaos in a while and wanted to give them a whirl.
Dave hates cheesy spam and is more of a painter than a hard-core win at all costs hobbyist, so I wasn't facing dual lash or anything like that, actually in my eyes the list appeared quite tame. Here's his list:

Chaos Lord (4+ inv save, and other stuff that I never found out about)
6 Possessed (that rolled Feel No Pain, as there special ability)

10 Chaos Space Marines (with 2 special weapons, and champion with icon*, but importantly no heavy weapon)

8 Khrone Berserkers (Champion & 2 Plasma pistols with icon*)
in Rhino

13 Daemons

5 Chaos Terminators with Combi Bolters and a Heav y Flamer
in a Land Raider with possession**
Vindicator with possession**

Defiler armed with Battlecannon & Aut ocannon with possession**

* this allowed the daemons to not scatter if they deep-striked within 6"
** this allows the vehicle to ignore crew stunned and crew shaken results

There's bound to be wargear I don't remember (such as whether the champion has powerfists or powerweapons). As a Tau player you look at units like a chaos lord and you know what ever he's armed with he'll kill what ever he charges in close combat :) So when reading an army list I fly over those units, and am more concerned with no. of transports and number of long ranged guns. In game I'd ask what specific weapons assault units have when it would affect my decision on what to shoot, or run away from :)

No lash, no obliterators, only 2 transports, and not too much long range firepower, although the terminators in a land raider and the 2 ordnance templates were scary it could have been

I was using my new list:
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)

We rolled up a table quarter deployment, and Annihilation (kill points) mission. I had 16 kill points to Dave's 10, and Dave won the roll off for 1st turn and decided to take it. He choose the top right hand corner of the map.

Terrain (from my point of view) was:

The building in the centre of the battlefield was open on the ground floor, and the dotted line showed where line of sight was visible to the middle area on the ground floor.

The small ruin in my deployment zone had some high walls so that it was just possible to put the deathrain suits in while being out of sight of the chaos army starting position.

The rectangular terrain pieces are small walls and/or tank traps, while the L-shaped pieces are ruined walls with rumble (which we counted as area terrain).


The choas space marine squad deployed in the ruin in the top right hand corner. To the right of that building the landraider with the terminators in deployed ready to race towards my line.

The choas lord deployed with the possessed out of sight behind the central building. While the rest of the armour deployed to the north of the central building as far forwards as possible, nearest the central building towards the top of the map there was defiler, vindicator & rhino with khorne berkserkers in.

In the bottom right hand corner of my deployment zone I placed one of the pathfinder devilfish (to extract the pathfinders if trouble game along), followed by both pathfinders in the two L-shaped ruined walls in the bottom right hand corner of my deployment zone, giving them perfect views of the approach of the landraider and where the defiler, vindicator and khrone rhino.

The missile pod and burst cannon crisis suits deployed between the two L-shaped walls, gaining a cover save from the walls and the pathfinders. The broadsides deployed to the left of the L-shaped ruins. The twin missile pod crisis suits deployed in the ruin in my deployment zone (out of line of sight), and the shas'el with the plamsa & missile crisis suits deployed behind the building.

The hammerheads deployed back in my back corner, with the devilfish.

Thoughts on Deployment

I was suprised the terminator land raider was so far away, so my aim was to stop or kill the landraider early which should give me time to kill the rest of the choas army before the terminators finished the long walk to my lines. With 5 railgun and 18 missile pod shots my aim was to destroy or immobilise the land raider, then deal with the rhino, vindicator & defiler before moving forwards to pick one squad at a time to rack up the kill points. My fragile troosp would stay in reserve, and the kroot would either hide or form a sacrifical screen if the enemy got to my lines. Lets see you it went ...

I failed to steal the initiative, so it's was onto Dave's 1st turn.

Choas Turn One

The landraider moved forwards 12". The khorne rhino moved left behind the L-shaped wall, gaining a cover save. The vindicator moved passed the walls, and the defiler moved forward as well. Everything stayed still.

The defiler couldn't see the crisis suits, but could just see the devilfish over part of the ruin in my deployment zone. The shot scattered onto my (out of line of sight) shas'el' and crisis unit. I took two wounds, and put them on the drones who both failed their cover save, however I passed my morale test.

Tau Turn One

The devilfish and the a hammerhead moved up the left flank, giving line of sight for the hammerhead to fire on the vindicator. The other hammerhead and the broadsides had line of sight to both the landraider and the enemy vehicles in the centre of the board. Crisis suits moved to put missile pods into the defiler.

The right hand pathfinders lit up the landraider, and the three broadsides could only immobolise it.

The hammerhead on the left flank tried a shot at the vindicator but didn't do anything, the remaining railguin and all the missile pods failed to do anything to the defiler (even with the help of markerlight hits from the other pathfinder squad.

So the net result of 5 railguns and 9 missile pods (guided by 12 markerlights) was 0 kill points :(

Choas Turn 2

The deamons arrived from deepstrike. Dave could risk deepstriking them forwards, but if they couldn't assault they'd be an easy kill point. Dave eventually decided to conserve the kill point by deepstriking them within 6" of the choas marines on the building in his deployment zone. They landed behind the building out of line of sight and both them and the choas space marines would play no further part in the battle.

The Khorne rhino immobolised itself going over the ruined wall, so the khorne berserkers decided to get out in the cover. The vindicator and the defiler continued advancing towards the Tau lines, and the terminators got out of the landraider and started the slow walk towards the Tau.

The rest of the choas army stayed still, not willing to advance into the open.

The Choas could only fire a BS3 twin-linked lascannon from the landraider, and the two ordnace templates; what's the worse that could happen...

The landraider targeted the devilfish near the pathfinders (it only only fire one lascannon because of the way the landraider was facing, but managed to wreak the devilfish, as I failed my diruption poid save.

The vindicator fired on a hammerhead, didn't scatter and I failed by disruption pod save again, and one explosion later I was down 2-0 on kill points.

The defiler fired on the devilfish (which to the behind and to the left of the ruin in my deployment zone). It did a huge scatter right onto the shas'el and the crisis suit unit. Hitting all four, but only wounding 3 times, I was lucky to make 2 cover saves and only lose 1 suit. However I failed my ld9 morale test and 14" right off the board.

With the bad moraole test followed by a lightning fast withdrawl I was 4-0 down, and had lost the plasma rifles that were hiding to deal with the choas lord and the possessed :(

Tau Turn 2

The broadside team leader (the highest ranking Tau on the battlefield) came over the comm-link "Our shas'el is only withdrawing to establish contact our extraction team, hold the line, help is on the way".

The fire warrior unit and one of the kroot units came on the board in the back corner of my deployment zone. There wasn't much movement for the Tau apart from the usual jump-shoot-jump of the crisis teams.

The pathfinders markerlighted the defiler, and 2 of the broadsides opened up on it, doing no damage at all. The broadside leader shot at the landraider and blew off the lascannon closest to the the Tau board edge, meaning the pathfinders and missile/burst crisis team were safe from lascannon fire.

The missile/burst crisis team could see the side armour of the vindicator, put again their fire did nothing. The deathrain/flamer team fired at the defiler and also did nothing (so they made their assault move backwards behind the ruin in my deployment zone to get more distance between themselves and the defiler. The remaining hamerhead shot the vindicator and immolised it.

Still 4-0 to choas on kill points.

Choas Turn 3

Like a shark sensing blood in the water the choas army approached with everything, apart from the choas space marines and the daemons.

The lord and possessed, moved and ran through the building popping out within 12" of the right hand pathfinders. The terminators advanced into boltgun range of the right hand pathfinders.

The khorne berserkers advanced towards the forest, and the defiler continued it's advance towards the Tau lines.

The heavy bolter from the landraider and 4 combi bolters from the terminators kill 5 of the 6 pathfinders on the right. The pathfinders promtly ran making it 5-0 to choas.

The defiler shot at the devilfish hoping for a 3rd lucky scatter but this it scattered into the open and did nothing.

The immobolised vindicator couldn't see past the ruin, and some kroot it could see near my table edge were out of range.

Tau Turn 3

The last unit of kroot arrived and joined the other troop choices and the devilfish gun drones in the back corner of my deployment zone.
Seeing the lord and 5 possessed at 2 kill points I decided to fire at them. Hopeing railguns could instant kill the lord the next turn. However I still started by fireing the pathfinders and then the broadsides at the defiler. the defiler at last exploded.

A hammerhead submunition and the missile/burst crisis suits killed 3 of the possessed, while the deathains blew the storm bolter off the immobolised rhino.

Still 5-1 in kill points to choas, things were looking desperate, but at least my base was safe with the vindicator nothaving line of sight and the defiler dead.

Choas Turn 4

The khorne berserkers made it to the forest, and the terminators advanced into range of the remainging pathfinder squad. The lord and 2 remaining possessed decided the retreat was the better part of value (particularly as the only unit that they were in charge range of had run off the turn before.

The heavy bolter from the landraider only killed a pathfinder, finishing a quick choas turn.

Tau Turn 4

This turn was the last chance to kill the lord and possessed to get 2 kill points beofre they reached the safety of the other side of the central ruin. The pathfinders lit them up, and both crisis teams fired on them, but did not casualties. The broadsides used the markerlight hits to give the +1 BS, and reduce their cover save to 6+, 3 hits and 3 wounds later it was looking good, however the lord passed his 4+ inv save, and one of the possessed passed their 6+ cover save - Darn it !!

The hammerhead which couldn't see the possessed fired on the land raider but didn't do anything.

Choas Turn 5

The lord and remaining possessed made it to the safe side of the central ruin, and the rhino managed to un-immobolise itself.

The khorne berserkers stayed in the forest.

The landraider's heavy bolter and the terminators bolters killed another pathfinder.

Tau Turn 5

The game could end, so I had to get some kill points.

The missile/burst crisis team fired on the side armour of the vindicator but couldn't do anything, so the pathfinders lit up the vindicator, and two of the broadsides shot and wreaked it. The broadside team leader and the hammerhead fired at the landraider but could do anything to it.

The remaining crisis team fired at the rhino and immobolised it again (if it hadn't un-immobolised itself the previous turn it would have been wreaked).

The battlefield situation had been stablised. The landraider couldn't move and could only fire it's heavy bolter (while facing 4 railguns). The terminators were in the walking in the open. The lord and last possessed were in hiding, and the khorne berserkers could either be engaged or outrun.

However at the moment the shas'el contacted the broadside leader giving the order to retreat to the extration point. Tthe broadside leader relayed the order to the rest of the Tau troops, and with that the game ended 5-2 to choas.


I still think with the choas army list and their deployment this should have been an easy game for the Tau. My 5 railguns, 9 missile pods and 4 plasma rifles were outshoot by a defiler, vindicator, landraider and 4 terminator combi-bolters.

The pivotal moments were the defiler shot scattering onto the shas'el unit and them running 14" off the board, and the inability to kill the defiler and vindicator to turns 4 & 5, even with markerlights and side shots on the vindicator.

Even though the shas'el and fireknifes (plasma/missile suits) didn't do anything, this game showed their potential, if they survived they would been able to deal with the berserkers and/or the lord/possessed if they approached. With 2 markerlight hits they should kill 7.8 marines on average, and their plasma rifles would have been great to ignore the possessed feel no pain.

I could upgrade the shas'el to a shas'o to help with leadership checks, but I don't think the 25 pts is worth it. It wouldn't have helped in this game because I rolled an 11, and it only halves the chance (from 1 in 6 to 1 in 12) that they fail a morale check, ie. on average the leadership increase will only make a difference in 1 in 12 leadership checks. Plus in the situation of this game if they had fled any less they would still have been on the board and would have an 83% chance to rally and stay in the game.

The devilfish drones again didn't change the outcome of a kill points game, in this game they immediately left the devilfish and hid. Also having more firepower (although it couldn't damage much for the first 3 turns) was better than having more troops.
One thing I could do is spread out the plasma rifles. losing the shas'el and the plasma/missile team was such a blow because it was all of my plasma rifles. Two solutions are:

1) Change the missile/burst team and the plasma/missile team to:

Team 1:
1 Shas'ui with Twin Missile & 2 Gun drones
2 Shas'ui with Plasma & Missile

Team 2:
1 Shas'ui with Plasma/Missile
2 Shas'ui with Missile/Burst

The shas'el would join team 2.

Although this would split up the plasma rifles it wouldn't allow me to make use of markerlights for all the plasma without having twice the markerlight hits. It's a trade of between redundancy and efficientcy.

2) Another solution would be to have more plasma rifles. I could reduce the pathfinders to two units of 5, while upgrading the 2 missile/burst crisis suits to missile/plasma.

The drop in markerlights could be offset by changing a hammerhead to a skyray (making the change more plasma for 1 less railgun rather than more plasma for 2 less markerlights).

This option would be fine against MEQ armies, but having the burst cannons help to torrent to death enemies in cover and GEQ armies.
Both options are tempting, but I don't like make tweaks based on one game (particularly when I thought my performance more due to my dice rather than the way I played or the army list), so I will play with my current list for at least the next few games, while keeping these thoughts in mind.

Feel free to throw in your thoughts on the Tau performance, the way I used them, and what I should change. Also any feedback on the format of the report (eg. too long/short. more/less narrative style etc.) would be appreciated.

Next game will be against Orks, with probably a rematch against Lysander at the weekend.



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