Thursday, 22 April 2010

Recent Battles Review - Part One (Tau vs Mech Guard)

It’s a busy few weeks both on and off the 40k battlefield. In real life I’m going to be made redundant from my job, so I’ve been meeting with the solicitor, rewriting my CV and registering with recruitment agencies.

However war stops for no-one and my Tau have seen a new unit of crisis suits fully painted join their cadre (a second new unit is in the workshops). They have also been on 4 training exercises in preparation for the tournament on the 8th May (A Small Matter of Honour)

For these new training exercises Shas’el Ra’star was experimenting with increased firepower (more expensive crisis suits) and more bubblewrap (kroot) at the expense of less support (only 1 unit of pathfinders and no piranhas). The lists I used in these games were:

1750 List

Shas’el Ra’star (Plasma, CIB, M-Tracker, 2 Gun Drones) - 110

3 Crisis Suits with Plasma, Missile & M-tracker (one was given the team leader upgrade for wound allocation as I had 5 pts spare) - 191
3 Crisis Suits with Plasma, Missile & M-Tracker including Leader with 2 Gun Drones - 211
3 Crisis Suits, 1 with Twin-Missile & 2 Gun Drones, 2 with Missile, Burst, M-Tracker - 163

6 Fire Warriors - 60
10 Kroot & 7 Kroot Hounds - 112
10 Kroot & 7 Kroot Hounds - 112

8 Pathfinders - 96Devilfish with D.Pod - 85

Hammerhead (Railgun, Burst, M-Tracker, D.Pod) - 165
Hammerhead (Railgun, Burst, M-Tracker, D.Pod) - 165
3 Broadsides (SMS, ASS) including Leader with 2 Shield Drones and Target Lock - 280

1750 Points, 74 Models & 13 Kill Points

1250 List – I lose 1 Hammerhead, the Missile/Burst Crisis team and the Pathfinders with their devilfish bringing the totals down to 1241 Points, 57 models & 8 Kill Points

Training Simulation One

My first game was actually a 1500 pts against Mech Guard at my local GW store. My opponent only had 1500 pts wih him, so I had to do some heavy cutting to my 1750 list.
• I replaced the new crisis team (of plasma/missile, team leader with drones) for a mssile/flamer team
• The kroot were cut heavyily to 1 unit of 10, and another unit of 10 with 5 hounds
• 2 pathfinders were cut
• and finally a broadside was cut

My opponent was using roughly:

Command Team in Chimera

Psyker Battle Squad (only 7 models and no transport)

Platoon Command
2 Squads of Infantry (which joined together) with an attached commissair
1 further infantry squad

Vets with 3 plasmaguns in Chimera
Vets with 3 meltaguns in Chimera

2 Devildogs (Hellhound variants that have a flamer turret that wounds on 2+ and is AP3, plus they’re fast vehicles)

2 Squadrons of 2 Hydras (8 twin-linked str 7 shots from each squadron)
1 Manticore (only 4 shots a game, but each does D3 barrage Str10 AP4 Ordnance templates)

So 10 vehicles, not as mech as his list could have been, but still very daunting to face.

We rolled for mission and got capture and control (1 objective each) with spearhead (corners) deployment. With 2 shooty armies this game had draw written all over it. To give myself the chance of a win I put the missile/flamer team in reserve to deepstrike near his objective to clear some of the guard out, hopefully for the large unit of kroot to outflank and claim/contest his objective or just slaugher the remaining troops before dying.

The manticore was deployed out of sight in his corner behind a three story building, and the 2 infantry squads spread out in his back corner to stop the kroot outflanking straight onto his objective who was being held by the platoon command hiding in the building hiding the manticore.

With good use of terrain, smoke launchers and positioning the veteran chimera behind the devildogs the guard minimised the effect of the incoming Tau firepower to their vehicles,. However my main early target was the psyker battle squad. I am used to facing a full squad in a chimera, so 7 models in ruin was a opportunity to rid myself of this broken unit early, and all my missile pods fired into them turns 1 and 2 reducing them to 1 model.

One hammerhead moved mid table to try to get line of sight without giving cover saves to some hydras, but was nailed by the manticore, str 10 ordnance hitting against side armour (barrage rules) was just too much. The manticore also stripped drones from my crisis suits however I was lucky to save any instant kill wounds that went on the crisis suits themselves.

Turn 4 the game totally changed. My kroot finally arrived and outflanked to the wrong side of the board, and my deepstriking crisis suits still hadn’t arrived, practically making it impossible to get his objective. So my objective changed to ensure the draw by keeping him away from my objective. To that end I stopped firing at the hydras and concentrated on the outflanking force of the remaining devildog and 2 chimeras filled with veterans.

When the missile/flamer crisis suits turned up they assisted in the destruction of the melta veterans who were now on foot after their chimera was killed. The plasma vets got out of their chimera and immobilised the devilfish carrying the fire warriors, and then the chimera was exploded by missile pods and the vets charged by kroot, just as the game ended on turn 5.

The guard ended with a platoon command squad on his objective, 20 infantry with a commassair next to them, the manticore, 3 hydras (with 4 twin-linked autocannons between them), and a last infantry squad sitting midfield (that last squad did pretty much nothing all game). Oh and the HQ command squad was hiding somewhere still alive as well.

I’d lost a hammerhead, and half of the small kroot squad after they charged the plasma vets at the end, all the crisis drones and 1 or 2 crisis suits. My objective was held by the outflanking kroot and the fire warriors sitting in the immobolised pathfinder devilfish.

Main thing I got from this is that deepstriking and outflanking, are so unreliable because of the reserve rolls, and that manticores, devildogs and hydras are nasty for their cost (however vendettas would have been nasty as well if he had them).

I’m not sure out to do better in secure and control with spearhead deployment, and suggestions ? Or should I ignore this as at least it’s not a loss, and the mission and deployment combination should only come up 1 in 9 games.

As this has turned into a long post I’ll split the rest of battle reports into later posts. 2 1750 games against Nurgle Daemons and Nurgle Marines, plus a 1250 game against guard to come.



  1. I think you did right on turn 4, if you can't win try not to lose.
    Have you tried using positional relay on your Shas’el? Reserves coming in on a 2+ from turn 2 is great, and because you can choose 1 unit a turn you can choose the right unit for that part of the game.
    Holding units in reserve made your opponent react which is what you want as long as you have enough on board to deal with the rest.
    Finished building Kroot, just have to paint them now.

  2. I tried using a positional relay, it works well if you only have one squad you need to deep strike or out flank, but it hurts your army if too many of your units are held in reserve, since you can only bring in one unit at a time with it, you ending up fighting more of their army with less of yours which, in a ranged build, is not optimal.

    I do use outflanking kroot, and I generally try to keep a devilfish on the non-optimal side in case the kroot come in on the wrong side, that way the pathfinder's devilfish can pick them up and move them closer to where they need to be, or during an objective game just use it as a score fish.

  3. For outflanking to be reliable you just need more units that outflank. You have a 60% chance they will come in on the side you want them to. It can be frustrating relying on reserve rolls though. Remember the markerlights to take away cover saves!

  4. I think your thoughts on the positional relay are spot on, particularly not having too much of the army off the board at the start.

    What I'm finding is that I need my kroot on the board to be a layer of defense to stop fast armies getting to my crisis suits. Many times I would like to outflank, but feel I need to have them on the board to ensure the crisis suits and broadsides survive.

    Maybe I should try to take a 3rd unit of kroot ?


  5. I run 3 units of kroot, but they don't have hounds at 1750. I use them less as speed bumps and more as objective takers or so my opponent knows that the sides of the table are threatened. Realistically, Kroot may not be able to make a big impact by themselves, but the psychology of " I could eat 30 Strength 4 attacks if I am too close to a table edge" really helps put pressure on the opponent's deployment and positioning throughout the game until those kroot come in.




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