Sunday, 29 August 2010

Kauyon vs Mont'Ka: The Key Difference

There has been much debate in the blogshere recently over the merits of Kauyon vs Mont'Ka. The debate has centred around the use of kroot, as a speedbump or sacrifical unit.

Supporters of both methods tend to use 3 units of crisis suits. The Mont'Ka favouring Hammerheads in heavy support over Broadsides the favorite of the Kauyon.

I find hammerheads are essential in taking heat off the more fragile devilfishs which are transporting the fragile Tau troops, to give mobility to railgun shots to allow some side shots on enemy vehicles, and lastly as good objective contesters. Therefore I have always used two, backed up by a unit of broadsides, and I believe that most people start with that set-up.

Given that alot of armies tend to have 3 units of crisis suits in elites, and 2 hammerheads and a broadside unit in heavy support, it seems to be the troops and fast attack slots that makes the tactics of the army differ.

Tau troops are fragile and not that good for their points from a shooting point of view, both types of army will tend to take as few as possible for the objective taking that they think they need. So whether it's a fire warrior unit in a devilfishs or 2 kroot units both methods try to keep their troops cheap as required to capture objectives so they do not take away too many points from the firepower of the army.

If Mont'ka is supposed to sacrifice firepower for mobility, what extra does the Kauyon have that should give it much more firepower. Although the first easy answer is Broadsides instead of Hammerheads I believe the real answer is Pathfinders. Mont'ka doesn't want to add static elements to the army which has to defended or can't move to where the enemy is, while Kauyon loves the extra damage the Pathfinders allows the rest of the army to do.

If you think of the pathfinders without their devilfish (which should be given to a unit of fire warriors), then the extra damage 8 of them will add, for less than 100 points, is remarkable. The change in tactics they demand is that sometimes you will be forced to protect them which will tether at least some of your army to be near their location. This will force you to use kroot as sacrifical /speedbumps units. Not only do you not want the enemy to get to the pathfinders you don't want them to get to any nearby units.

With the most cost effective firepower units left in the Tau codex being mobile (apart from one), ie. Shas'el, Crisis Suits, Hammerheads, the Kauyon way is to increase that firepower more, and to me the best way is mainly Pathfinders (aided by considering switching to second unit of broadsides at the expense of a hamerhead).

The use of Pathfinders and the tethering of some of your army nearby (due to their static nature) will require kroot screens (and if you like them, piranha blockers). Pathfinders require you guess where the enemy will come to ensure the pathfinders have line of sight to contruct the perfect killing zone (Kauyon). Without being restricted by the static area of effect of pathfinders an army can be free-er to hunt down their enemy (Mont'ka).


As a parting note, as army size increases (at 1850 pts and beyond) even crisis suits will run out of space to run and may require kroot screens. Also if LOS blocking terrain is commonplace then the effectiveness of pathfinders and broadsides could be serverly weakened. These two points show that this analysis could be flawed when looking at your local playing environment, but should give some food for thought on the style of army list you want to use.

Late Edit: Although Broadsides also add static elements to the army, they only add better anti-tank, and can normally be allowed to die after the first three turns of the game by when the essential tank killings needs to happen. However pathfinders add to the type of firepower that is needed that turn, eg. against a tank strip it's cover save for broadsides, for a horde guide missile & burst cannon suits, against MEQ guide Fireknifes or Helios in rapid fire range. If you can protect them you can improve the element of your army that is most required turn by turn. Broadsides also don't tether part of your army nearby as much as pathfinders.

Saturday, 21 August 2010

9th 40k Online Tournament Results

I've just got back from the 9th 40k Online Tournament, and we're about to head into town to celebrate, and relax after a hard day's gaming; 4 games squeesed into one day is tiring.

A quick update to let you know the results I got 3 wins and a loss, and came 5th. I played:

Deathwing - I tabled him
Farsight Tau - I tabled him
Eldar - I won 9-7 on kill points (getting 1050 victory points, which were used for ties)
Tyranid - I underestimated the list and lost 1-0 on objectives, after my line was cracked wide open and I had to change my tactics to killing the enemy troops, 5 hormagaunts and a broodlord (sitting on a objective) were still left after 7 turns, all I had left was 2 devilfish gun drones :)

I knew the armies for the top 3 players, which were Guard, Tyranids & Eldar, so unless the 4th place person was Tau this would make it 3 tournaments in a row that I have been the highest placed Tau player :)

Battle reports for this and the 2 previous tournaments will follow soon.


Pre Tournament Army Inspection

So later this morning (after too few hours of sleep) I'll be heading to the 9th 40k Online Tournament.

One of the final checks is always for damage to any of the models. For this tournament I only had two repairs to do.

One of the legs of my shas'el had broken off. The break is in the shin of one of the legs (rather than usual break for crisis suits which is the feet coming off). This break is an old one, and as it's plastic against plastic it was a very quick repair.

The other issue was one of my converted broadsides had come of it's base. This repair required superglue to glue the plastic legs to the base. I almost smashed the model to pieces when I eased my hold to test if the repair was holding and the model feel out of my hand. Luckily after the model had done a double somersaut I caught the model, and found that although the glue hadn't repaired the model it was easy enough to stick the model to my hand :( That catch was essential because the model would have hit the floor and probably shattered into many pieces.

After prying the model out of my hand a second attempt worked, and both models are ready. To allow the repairs a bit of time to take hold both models will be spending the night on my desk before being packed in the case later for the trip to the tournament.

I wish I had posted my previous post on my musing on what to take a bit earlier, as the advice I got has really tempted me to use piranhas, rather the extra unit of kroot I will be using. To make matter worse I had to send in my list for the Oxford tournament (4th Sept) so I'll won't be using piranhas there either :( Thanks to all of you that posted in the comments about my musing about my army list. I've added a reply on how I will include piranhas in the comments to that post.

I better get some sleep, and I'll report later how I get on at the tournament.


Wednesday, 18 August 2010

Expanding 3rd Edition Space Wolf Army

The above pic shows the state of my space wolf infantry assembly. Before my Dark Eldar, before my Tau I was a Space Wolves player, but that was many many years ago.

The (all painted) army I had contained:

Wolf Lord
Rune Priest
2 units of 8 Bloodclaws in Rhinos
1 small unit of 6 Grey Hunters in a Rhino
A spare Razorback (the old one with Lascannon & twin Plasmaguns)
A Predator
A Whirlwind
A Vindicator
A Dreadnaught
A Landspeeder

Now back then I didn't even need all of this to reach 1500 points. With my Dark Eldar & Tau complete, and the arrival of the new Space Wolves codex the wolves got the nod for my next project. Hoping to have 2 armies for the cost of one I wanted to build my army so it could be used as both vanilla marines and space wolves, I therefore started by buying some black reach models on ebay, but after seeing the lovely new grey hunter models I decided to use them (with the black reach models now being rejected to extra devastator marines in a vanilla list).

With the improvement in grey hunters, and my decision to use the new grey hunter models meant that I didn't have any of the infantry models needed for my army, so although alot of the vehicles would be used in my new army all the infantry would need to be painted up. The only infantry models to make the new list was the Rune Priest, and the Wolf Lord (who is now younger and is only a Wolf Guard now).

There are some ideas that I wouldn't mind trying out with the bloodclaws, eg. 14 bloodclaws, wolf guard & wolf priest in a landraider crusader as a hammer unit, but they haven't made the cut for the first army list I'm aiming for. My first list is a mech grey hunter list supported by long fangs and a unit of thunderwolf cavalry, then I'll be adding Canis and 25 hounds to try a more aggressive list.

So from having a fully painted army that I was just added a bit to, to having only a few vehicles ready :) I'm determined to play my next space wolf battle using my own models rather than having to model rep with my mates marine army, so I'm busy assembling. In all out of the 59 models in the army list I'm heading towards I have over 50 to build and paint from scratch.

Although I have lots of assembly still to do, and loads of painting it's nice to have that new army feeling :) To keep me motivated I'll be adding an army progress widget to the blog, so feel free to berate me if it's not moving fast enough :)


Saturday, 14 August 2010

9th Annual 40k Online Tournament (1 Week to Go)

In a week's time my Tau will be battling against 4 opponents at the 9th Annual 40k Online Tournament in Bracknell (yep, I decided to go with Tau rather than the untested Dark Eldar).

The tournament is a straight forward affair of 4 games, 1750 pts. The only non-standard thing about the tournament is that they allow forgeworld stuff, however in the 16 games myself and my mate Mike have attended over the last 2 years only one game involved anything forgeworld (touch wood). Most forgeworld stuff is overcosted, but there are a few things which are evil.

As I have previously said I didn't think there was much wrong with the list I took to the last 1750 Point Tournament (A Small Matter of Honour) and have been using over the last few months (generally I just need to play better), but I wanted to make a small tweak. The only place I thought I could drop something is to drop 1 crisis suit, namely the unit which my shas'el normally joins, as with the shas'el and his drones they would still be 5 models. By changing the shas'el's Cyclic Ion Blaster (which I still like) for the reliability of a Missile Pod and 2 spare points I was able to free up 70 points.

The main weakness of my list (imho) are:
  • The fragile and few scoring units, especially with the majority (kroot) needed for blocking duty
  • Only 2 kroot units to block the enemy getting to my lines
  • The poor leadership of the army
Therefore I'm considering 3 things I could add for 70 points to the army are:
  • A unit of 10 kroot
  • A Piranha with Fusion Gun and Targeting Array
  • An Etheral with 2 Gun Drones
The kroot were my first thought and my top choice at the moment. They add a 4th scoring unit, and a 3rd unit to surround key units to delay assault. I have heard great things about piranhas, but I'm dubious of how effective a blocker a single piranha would be, and think a more effective unit would be 2 piranhas (one with a disruption pod), but that would cost 145 points and I can't see where to lose another 75 points.

A new idea is an etheral with 2 gun drones (to join the broadsides). They normally set-up far back, and I've normally lost the game already if anything assaults the broadsides. He would make the broadsides fearless (helpful against a bad leadership check or Guard Psyker Battle Squads), plus he would probably allow the crisis suits to reroll morale tests making them much more resilence to losing their drones. I have a mate who uses 3 war walkers with 2 scatter lasers each, once guided by a farseer they put (on average) 15 str 6 wounds on a unit, which would mean 1 would have to allocated on the etheral if he was with the broadsides, instant killing him if he failed his cover save. However only eldar can put out that volume of str 6+ firepower from one single unit, so the etheral would be safe from most armies.

My two mates who are also going to the tournament want to have a few practice games next week, so I'll try to get some games in with the 2 options I'm considering.

What do you think would be better: 10 Kroot, Etheral with Drones, or put a fireknife crisis suit back in. Here's the current list with the 10 kroot added:

Shas'el - 107
Plasma Rifle, Missile Pod, Multi-tracker, 2 Gun Drones

3 Crisis Suits - 211
Plasma Rifle, Missile Pod, Multi-tracker
Team Leader upgrade with 2 Gun Drones

2 Crisis Suits - 124
Plasma Rifle, Missile Pod, Multi-tracker
(joined by Shas'el)

3 Crsisi Suits - 163
1 with Twin-linked Missile Pods & 2 Gun Drones
2 with Missile Pod, Burst Cannon, Multi-tracker

6 Fire Warriors - 60

10 Kroot with 7 Hounds - 112

10 Kroot with 7 Hounds - 112

10 Kroot - 70

8 Pathfinders - 96
in Devilfish with Disruption Pod - 85

Hammerhead - 165
Railgun, 2 Burst Cannons, Multi-tracker, Disruption Pod

Hammerhead - 165
Railgun, 2 Burst Cannons, Multi-tracker, Disruption Pod

3 Broadsides - 280
Advanced Stabilisation Systems
Leader Upgrade with Target Lock & 2 Shield Drones

1750 Points, 83 models, 14 Kill Points

Let me know what you think.


Wednesday, 11 August 2010

Kabel of Darkness - List Redesign and Nids Battle

I'd been musing over my Dark Eldar, my main concern being their kill point total. The list I used to use was a dark lance, disintegrator, & blaster spam, so it had a number of small squads (warriors with raiders, bikes and even warp beasts) which were nice support units and were fine in 4th edition because they didn't cost many points, but are a nightmare in 5th edition kill point games.

To try and bring my kill point total down a bit I decided to go a bit more assault heavy which would allow more expensive squads, and combine 2 of my small dark lance, blaster, raider squads into one foot squad and give one of the raiders away. My new list looked like this:

Archon (Punisher, Helm, Combat Drugs, Shadow Field, Plasma Grenades)
Dracon (Agoniser) with 3 warriors & 4 Incubi (2 Blasters) on Raider

8 Wyches with Succubus (Agoniser, 2 Blasters) on Raider
8 Wyches with Succubus (Agoniser, 2 Blasters) on Raider

8 Warriors with Sybarite on Raider (Agoniser, Splinter Cannon, Blaster)
7 Warriors with Sybarite (Agoniser, Splinter Cannon, Blaster) on Raider (joined by Archon)
10 Warriors with 2 Lances
10 Warriors with 2 Lances & 2 Blasters
10 Warriors with 2 Lances & 2 Blasters

Ravager (3 Disintegrators)
Ravager (3 Disintegrators)

Total: 1744 Pts

My kill points dropped to a managable 16, and I would have 5 raiders moving forwards with assault elements in them.

For my first game I played a tyranid army consisting of:

3 Zoanthropes
3 Hive Guard
3 Hive Guard
10 Termagants
10 Termagants
4 Strikes
5 Raveners
18 Gargoyles

The game ended in a draw on turn 6 with both sides having no troop choices left, but I had loads of fun.

My mate deployed mainly on one flank, so I deployed my vehicles in the other corner as his firepower was only 24" or less ranged. It didn't help that I stole the initiative and killed a tervigon on turn 1 which killed half a gaunt unit in front of it.

2nd turn I got the trygon down to 2 wounds and the other tervigon (which had spawned 12 termagants and run out in turn 1) to 3 wounds. Some wyches which were left as a diversion on the flank the tyranids were on charged into 18 gargoyles, and killed 8, but failing 6 out of the 8 wounds from the return attacks meant that I hadn't dented them enough, and they wyches would die over the next few turns.

Turn 3 I killed the trygon with my first 3 shots, but the remaining tervigon made all it's cover saves or I rolled 1's to wound for the stots with no cover :( To make matters worse I failed a charge from wyches on the other flank by millmetres which left them exposed.

I underestimated the speed of raveners and they charged a unit of warriors on my board edge, shredding them. After finding my firing ineffective against gaunts going to ground in cover I sent in the talos, while my archon sped off to kill the prime who was with the zoanthropes. Both the talos and archon whiffed but both survived unharmed. The Strikes counter charged the archon, and he just managed to kill the prime before the strikes rended him to pieces (he'd already lost 2 wounds to drugs).

My Dracon and retinue went in to free up the talos and clear up the centre. they charged the zoanthropes (with one warrior to tie them up), the termagants and the 8 remaining gargoyles. They won easily and the termagants and gargoyles popped due to being fearless. The strikes charged in the following turn to stop the talos killing the last 2 gants (only remaining troops), but eventually died over a few turns, due to me allocating wounds to the 3+ armour save incubi, and the talos finally remembering how to hit.

The raveners meanwhile cleared by back line of the 2 remaining units of warriors with dark lances. One was in a building, and in my effort to spread them between the floors (to reduce the effect of blast templates) I left 2 on the ground floor (otherwise the raveners who are beasts wouldn't have been able to charge them). The other unit rolled poorly to leave differcult terrain to get in a raider, so were promtly shreded by the raveners as well. The raveners were finally taken out by a raider, ravager and falling back wyches (2 blasters help). I also gunned down the last 2 gaunts who were going to ground on an objective.

Hive guard made the match a draw by killing the last of my troops which were going to ground on an objective after killing the the last model from one of the hive guard units.

As usual a very bloody game against the nids. The models left on the board were 3 Hive Guard, 2 Zoanthropes who were in combat with half of my Dracon's retinue, a Ravager & 2 Raiders. I was helped by stealing the initiative, but made a few mistakes which cost me badly:
  • Underestimating the charge of the raveners
  • Leaving 2 models from a unit on the bottom floor of a building allowing the raveners to charge
  • Being too aggressive with the 2nd unit of wyches
  • Not concentrating on the objectives and therefore not evacuating my last warrior squad with dark lances into a nearby raider (and zooming to an objective) early enough
Now my decision on whether to take Dark Eldar or Tau to the tournament in 11 days is even more differcult.


Saturday, 7 August 2010

Dark Eldar, a lure away from the Greater Good

Well gaming life has been very empty over the last week or so, loads of interviews, interview prep & organising my son's birthday party getting priority. It's mainly been reading blogs & forums, and considering what army I should use for my upcoming tournament in 2 weeks.

My Space Wolves will not be ready for months, and more like a year at my current pace, which is pretty pad considering that all the vehicles are already painted and I only need to paint grey hunters and thunder wolves.

Therefore the choice is between my Tau and Dark Eldar. Going over my Tau army's performance I'm happy with all the units in there, my only idea is to lose 1 crisis suit to gain 10 kroot to give me a 4th scoring unit. My Dark Eldar have been calling to me, as a option that would give me a break from the Tau. Sometimes a small break from an army can allow you to return refreshed with new enthusiasm.

On ebay I picked up some models that would allow me try out some different options with the dark eldar. My current army only has 2 wych units and 1 warp beast unit, so I couldn't try out a wych cult, and it also didn't have any Haemonculi or Grotesques. Three things I have never tried out with my dark eldar are:

1) Web way portals (which I think are best carried by Haemonculi)

2) A more assault based army

3) A lord with grotesques (the lord wins the combat and the grotesques make the enemy run away)

With that in mind I bought the contents of the following picture, and 10 choas hounds I have (to use as Space Wolf hounds) could be used as 2 units of warp beasts.

My one reservation with dark eldar at tournaments is that they bleed kill points, the last 1750 point army list I made had 20 kill points in it, however the list did have some very small squads, and going more assault orientated I'd have less but more expensive squads which would lower the kill point total a few.

So should I continue with the Tau, or try out the Dark Eldar ? The Tried & Tested (but found wanting) or the Call of the Dark Side (which needs massacres to win annihilation games). I should just get back to building and painting some models :)



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