Saturday, February 4, 2017

BatRep: Warhammer 40K: Tau vs Imperial Guard – 1500pts

So, Graham and I started to dip our toes into the wild world of 40K (after ignoring GW for years).  After a couple of smaller 1K games, so we thought it was time to escalate to a 1500 point game.
My Tau have been suffering against Graham’s Guards until I added a Riptide.  Then Graham insisted I keep the same force (plus 500pts) until he beats the Tau.  I tried, but he didn’t keep the same forces at all.

So, first we setup the table.  We ended up with, well, sort of “Main Street” with a bunch of cargo containers “strategically placed” to provide cover so armies could cross the street.  At least, that was my plan.

So, we rolled for missions and layout.  Mission was “Emperor’s Wrath” - 2 objectives within each deployment zone worth 3 Victory Points each at the end of the game.  When we rolled for Deployment Zones, we rolled “Hammer & Anvil” – deployment zones 12” from table center, playing LENGTH-Wise!  Right down the highway!  Neither of us were fond of this turn of events but I insisted: you have to learn how to play the game.  Right?

Also, I wanted to use Night-Fighting, so we rolled and confirmed – 1st turn was in the dark.  Everyone gets +1 to their Cover Saves for the 1st turn.  We rolled to see who deployed first, and it was me (Tau).

That’s when Graham played out the surprise.

Instead of the Imperial Guard Infantry Swarm I had been expecting, he brought an Armour Company!

Tau Forces:

Hunter Cadre (Core Detachment)
  • Commander with Shield, Plasma Rifle and Missile Pod
  • 2 X Crisis Suit with Twin-Linked Missile Pods and Plasma Rifle 
  • 1 X Riptide with 2 Shield-Drones, Smart Missiles and Ion Accelerator
  • 8 man (Alien?) Strike Teams with Shas’ui, Marker Light & all Bonded
  • 8 man Strike Teams with Shas’ui, Marker Light & all Bonded 
  • 8 man Strike Teams with Shas’ui, Marker Light & all Bonded 
  • 8 man Pathfinder Team with Shas’ui & all Bonded
  • 3 X Piranha with Burst Cannon & 1 Seeker Missile each
  • 1 Hammerhead Gunship with Smart Missiles, Submunition Rounds, Disruption Pods & Auto Repair
  • 1 Hammerhead Gunship with Smart Missiles, Submunition Rounds, Disruption Pods & Auto Repair

Drone Network (Auxiliary)
  • 1 Unit of 9 Drones

I was trying to setup a “Battle-Forge” Army per the 7th Edition rule.  I think this was a good 1st try!

Before you knock my Piranha having Burst Cannons instead of Fusion Guns, I was expecting an INFANTRY Company (and they were the only Piranha I had)!

For the Warlord Trait, I drew “Predator of the Skies”; for 1 turn the Commander and his unit would have the Skyfire special rule.  Not really any use in this game – I put the card to the side and forgot about it.

Imperial Army

Core Detachment:
  • 1 Leman Russ with Company Commander
  • 1st Platoon:
    - Exterminator w/ Side Sponsons w/Heavy Bolters + Hull Heavy Bolter
    - Demolishers w/ Side Sponsons w/Heavy Bolters + Hull Heavy Bolter
    - Executioner Side Sponsons w/Plasma Cannons + Hull Heavy Bolter
  • 2nd Platoon:
    - 3 X Vanquisher with Hull Heavy Bolter (no Side Sponsons)
Auxiliary Detachment:
  • Mechanized Platoon in 3 Chimeras
    - Commander Squad w/ Vox
    - 2 X Vet Squads
    - 1 Engineer (added to the Command Squad’s Chmera)


Tau deployed first.  Playing length-wise with a wide road I felt things were kinda exposed.  Placed a Hammerhead on each side of the road, each behind a building.  Pathfinders setup on top of the building on the right, a squad of Firewarriors on the left.  A squad of Firewarriors setup between buildings on each side.  The Command Crisis Suit setup on the right, the Crisis suit team on the left.
That left the Piranha, Riptide 7 the Drones.  With the cover “lacking”, I decided to keep them back in reserves.  Better safe than sorry.

Guard setup the Tanks first.

Commander’s tank joined the 1st Platoon.  They setup the Executioner on the left of the buildings, taking aim at the Hammerhead on the left. The rest of the squad setup on the Road, between both roads of buildings.  This brought up the question about the cargo containers and maneuvering.  We decided that we would treat them as “Difficult Terrain” – roll a D6 to see how far a tank could push it around.

The Vanquisher Squadron deployed on the right side of the buildings, taking aim at the other Hammerhead.

This left the Guard with a similar problem of the Tau; where does he deploy the “Armoured Fist”?  In the end, Graham kept the Chimeras off able in the Reserves.

Game Play:

Graham tried to seize turn 1, but failed.  So, Tau took 1st turn.

Tau Turn 1:
During move phase, both Tau Firewarrior squads on the ground moved forward.  The Hammerhead on the left moved forward, hiding partially behind a building for increased cover as the Railgun drew line to the Executioner.  The Hammerhead on the right moved sideways, away from the Forewarriors and drew Line-of-Sight to the command Squad.  The Firewarriors on the building moved to the forward edge, as did the Pathfinders.  The Tau Commander jumped around uselessly in the back while Crisis Suits on the left moved forward with the Firewarriors, between the buildings.

Shooting Phase started with the Hammerhead on the left taking a shot at the Executioner.  To everyone’s surprise, the Executioner Exploded in spite of a 3+ save for Partial Cover and +1 for the cover of night!  First Blood for the Tau!

The Pathfinders took snapshots with their Markerlights at the rest of the 1st Tank Squad and still managed to hit them 3 times – despite needing 6’s!  The Second Hammerhead used the Markerlights to Cancel Cover saves and increase his Ballistic skill.  The shot is fired and hit, No save possible..Successfully Penetrated the armour..STUNNED!  (Oh well, at least I took off a hull point.)

At the end of the turn, the Firewarriors on the left-side roof were within 3”, so we rolled for the Mysterious Objective – Sabotage!  The Objective would explode at the end of the turn on a roll of 1.  Fortunately, it didn’t explode this turn.

Guard Turn 1:
The Guard didn’t panic in spite of their loss.  The Company Commander calmly gave the order “Gunners – Kill On Site”.  The Commander fired at the Firewarriors and killed 1, while the Demolisher fired at the Pathfinders, killing 1.  

The Vindicators moved forward, but were unable to draw line of sight to the Hammerheads, so they fired on the Firewarriors crawling through a ruin.  Unfortunately, the ruins provided too much cover and only a couple of the Firewarriors were killed.

The Command squad was within the 3” of their Objective and rolled “Nothing of Note”.  Still, it was 3 VPs if they could hold onto it.  At least their Objective wasn’t trying to kill them!

Tau Turn 2:
First, Night was over – no more +1 Bonus to cover!

I didn’t really want to roll for Reserves yet, but the rules don’t seem to give the option to skip it.  So I rolled – Both Piranhas and Drones arrived.  Not the Riptide.

Drones did a Deep Strike between two buildings on the Imperial side on the left.  That left the Piranha.  I didn’t relish the idea of Piranha in front of tanks, not to mention an Exterminator with its 4 shot Autocannon.  Looking at the board, there was really only 1 choice.  I dropped them via Deep Strike BEHIND the First Tank Squad!  I rolled for scatter and somehow, they didn’t!  Three Piranha in the rear-arcs of the 3 Leman Russ!  The Piranha even passed a Dangerous Terrain test as all 3 landed in Craters!

The Piranha immediately ejected their Drones, effectively giving me 2 squads behind the tanks.  The Pathfinders lit-up the 1st Tank Platoon and the Piranha launched their seekers!  Now, if I had my way, it would have been one seeker at each tank, but the rules didn’t allow for that as it was Vehicle Squadron vs Vehicle Squadron.  So, we started with the Seeker Missiles, then the Piranha’s Burst Guns and finally ended with the Drones all firing into the weaker armour of the Tanks!  When the smoke cleared, The Commander’s tank was destroyed (Warlord Kill – 1VP) and the Demolisher was down to a single hull point!

Meanwhile, the Firewarriors and Crisis Suits had continued to move forward on each side while the Hammerhead on the left moved forward and shot at the Exterminator while the other moved to the right-side of the buildings, keeping in cover and fired at one of the Vanquishers.  Both Hammerheads failed to damage their targets.

In the end of the phase – the Objective decided to explode and killed a Firewarrior that was closest.  Of course, the rules said the Objective wouldn’t go away and that there was still a chance it would keep exploding…

Guard Turn 2:
Imperial Infantry Platoon in their Chimeras arrived.  There wasn’t room to fit them on the table behind the Piranha and still maintain their 1” distance, so they were forced to deploy on the right, behind the Vanquishers.  The infantry all disembarked from their Chimeras.

The Demolisher from the First Tank Platoon turned around and fired on the Piranha, tanking one out while the blast marker from the Demolisher also took out two Drones that were a little too close to the Piranha.  Sadly, one of the Demolisher’s Plasma side sponsons overheated, the energy discharge taking away the last hull point and wrecking the tank!

The Chimeras damaged another Piranha, shaking up the crew.  The Exterminator and one of the Vanquishers used a special order of some sort that let them split fire from the rest of their squads and killed 1 Crisis Suit and wounded the other.  The other Vanquisers shot at a Hammerhead but failed to damage it.

Tau Turn 3:
Still no Riptide – it would be forced to appear next turn.
The Tau Hammerheads stayed pretty much where they were – keeping in cover while drawing Line-of-Sight to enemy tanks.  The Firewarriors on the groung on the Tau Left were trapped behind the Hammerhead while the remaining Crisis Suit and Drones moved forward under cover on the Tau Left.  The remaining (mobile) Piranha moved over a building but failed its Dangerous Terrain test and crashed through the roof, getting stuck!

Though the Piranha was immobilized, its Burst Cannon took out one of the Guardsmen from the Command Squad.  The drones from the Piranha slipped behind the Exterminator and removed another Hull Point with their combined fire.  The Hammerheads managed to hit and destroy another Vanquisher with a tremendous explosion that, sadly, did no damage to anything nearby.

Finally, the Sabotaged Objective that the Tau had claimed, did not explode.  (WHEW!)

Guard Turn 3:
Guard movement on the Tau Right Flank (The Left flank was a Tau-Only zone), slowly advancing towards the Tau Deployment Zone, while the Infantry Command squad moved out behind the destroyed Company Command Tank in an attempt to re-claim the objective.

One of the Vanquishers finally hit a Hammerhead, but only Stunned the crew!  Using the Split fire command again, one Chimeras fired on the Auxiliary Detachment’s Drones but only managed to destroy 1.  The other two Chimeras fired at and destroyed the remaining Piranha!

Tau Turn 4:
So, the Riptide finally dropped in to play!  It landed pretty much dead center on the table, in the middle of the street.  The Missile Shield drones deployed in between the Riptide and the Guard tanks.  The entire Drone squad popped out between the buildings – drawing Line of Sight to the Guard Infantry Command Squad.  The Drones from the Piranha stayed in the rear arc of the Exterminator.  The Crisis Suit jumped on top of a building so it could draw LoS to both the Command Squad and another Squad coming around the corner of a building.

Guns blazing, the Drones wiped out the Command Squad in one volley!  The Crisis Suit fired at the other squad, but did no damage.  The other Drones finally ground out the last hull point of the Exterminator, wrecking it.  The Hammerheads and Riptide fired at the remaining tanks, but failed to damage any.

Ending the Tau Turn, we rolled for the Sabotaged Objective, but once again, it did not explode.

Guard Turn 4:
The one infantry platoon moved into the crater near their objective and claimed it.
Looking at what remained on the table, the Guard commander realized the futility of continuing.  Up until then, they had only managed to destroy the Piranha squad, a couple of drones and Firewarriors and 1 Crisis Suit.  He conceded the Match.

Tau Victory!


Once more, the Tau have succeeded and continue to spread the word of the “Greater Good”!

Looking at my force, there really wasn’t anything out of the ordinary in it.  It was a fairly “typical” Tau list.  The only difference between my old 6th edition lists and 7th was the addition of a Riptide which, frankly, I didn’t have back then and am not sure if they were even around back then!

Regardless of the complaints I hear about the Riptide in a Tau force, the simple fact is that in this game - it did NOTHING!  It didn't show up until Turn 4 and when it did show up, it (and the missile drones) did no damage.

My Hammerheads finally proved to be useful against other tanks.  This is the first time in this edition a Hammerhead did more than Infantry with Submunitions!  I'm glad I took them!  (Come to think of it, I can't remember my Hammerheads taking out ANY tanks before!  TGhis game, they took out 2 on their own!)

The Heroes of the match have to be the Piranha Squadron.  Through their self-sacrifice and bravery, they completely disrupted the one tank platoon, appearing in the rear and blasting away with the Seeker Missiles.While the Piranha were all destroyed, the Drones they dropped off survived the game and were a major distraction and threat.


On the Guard side, well, what can we say?

I was surprised that Graham brought a Tank Company (which made me very nervous), the Terrain was definitely against him.  This was a very crowded battlefield with buildings and cargo containers everywhere.  The armour really had no where to maneuver as it should.

Graham and I discussed what happened quite a bit after the game.  Probably what hurt the Guard the most (besides the terrain layout) was the choice of deployment.  Both of us think he really should have deployed the armoured fist/infantry platoon instead and held back one tank platoon as Reserves (or deploy everything).  I don't know the rules regarding the way it deploys, but if he could have deployed a rifle squad of the Armoured Platoon on each side of the "road", the Guard could have made it much harder for the Tau to advance up the left side, not to mention preventing the Piranha from deploying behind his tank squadron.  I would probably been forced to deploy the Piranha in front of the Tanks and simply watched them "evaporate" under all that heavy fire...

The only other weakness I could think of (and it's a preference, not based on fact), I think I wouldn't have put all the Vanquishers in one squad.  The Vanquisher-Only squad was so specialised, it couldn't really deal with the Firewarriors sneaking through the Ruins. A regular Leman Russ with a normal Battle cannon and Heavy Bolter(s) would have been devastating against the Firewarriors, protecting the Vanquishers from Infantry.  Also, a Vanquisher with the other squad could have helped protect the other squad from a Hammerhead.

On the other hand, The 1st Tank Platoon really didn't get the opportunity to really show how good it was against an Infantry assault.  If that squad hadn't been "pruned" before the Riptide showed up, I think they probably could have destroyed it VERY quickly.  Maybe too much shooty in the wrong spot?