Tuesday, August 25, 2009

1850 Tau vs. Mech Chaos, Picture Lovin'

Today's treat? Picture-heavy batrep. I was playing my (AKA Stelek brand) Hybrid Tau. My opponent was good ol' Boc, one of my original Disciples of Spite. Boc happens to fail at blogging, though, since he doesn't update. I managed to hand him a moral defeat today, one of his first in a few months.

Boc's List
2 Khorne-Tacs in Rhinos (Mark of Khorne, 2x Meltagun, POwerfist Champ)
1 Berserker Squad w/ Skull Champ (and Kharn) in Rhino
5 Plague Marines w/ 2 plasma guns
8-manish Raptor Squad w/ Khorne Mark, Lightning Claw Champ, 2x Flamers
3 Oblits

Scenario: 5 Objectives
Deployment: Pitched Battle
This shot is from the Chaos DZ; the Pepsi machine filled with Coke is hogging my angle. I camera-failed and forgot to take a picture at deployment, so you see Chaos' first move. The red boxes are taken around objectives. Boc had first turn, and I failed to seize the initiative (amazingly. Somewhere Jon is cursing and wondering why it only happens to him). One Rhino of his promptly immobilized itself in terrain, while another one and the Vindicator moved up. He spent the Defiler shot on Pathfinders, killed two, and failed to cause a morale check. He spent a Vindicator shot on Kroot rather than grab a 12" move and smoke.

That aside, though, Boc opted for a more tactical objective-oriented game. He's played Tau a few times before, though I think I brought a nastier Tau build than he's seen before. At any rate, I can't disagree with the notion of 'that's a lotta rail guns.'

And you can see my Tau do the shuffle. Kroot deployed all around the back to kind of discourage Oblit-striking, since he held those in reserve. I maneuver, kick off some missile shots, and send railguns out. Missiles knock the cannon off the Vindicator (as a rail gun from the hammerhead without a complete turret managed to roll a '2' to hit the front armor...go figure). Broadsides light his Defiler up and pop it. So long, big guns.

Turn 2, he...hides things. Can't say as I blame him. He does manage to pop the Piranhas I moved up to threaten him, as he pulled the troops out of his immobilized Rhino. His Raptors only took a few casualties from the sporadic missile pod shots. They assault my Kroot; I kill a few with hounds, pull them as casualties to maximize my return attacks...then promptly make the leadership check.

The next turn? Unspectacular, as his Vindi is promoted to 'mobile cover for Rhino' and he's planning on preserving troops and grabbing objectives. Raptors and Kroot go at it during my turn, and...I pass a ld4 check.

I pass a ld6 check. Kroot hold.
Turn 4. I've kept my suits and such shuffling around, making it hard to deep strike. More, it's been a game of 'man, I don't want to lose the kroot holding my home objective.' Boc decides 'no guts, no glory' for the deepstrike.
Boc proceeds to roll a 5, 5, and...a HIT on the deep strike. Boc proceeds to forget to shoot them that turn, rather than BBQ the kroot. A critical error, but then again, that Deep Strike had a 66% chance of going to hell in a handbasket.
Kroot FOR THE FREAKIN' WIN. Only took them...3 full turns? They beat down the Raptors. I shed a tear for my namesake unit, and the kroot enjoy fast food on the stick.
Turn four rolls around; time for that claiming roll. Berserkers get out, his remaining tac squad breaks out of cover. Recall there's an objective in the middle (next to the big blue turn dice) and in the upper right corner where the Kroot are hiding. I...decide I should do something, since I really only have two troops choices left. Oh, and that little crater? That used to be the Piranhas. Their gun drones ran away to annoy someone else.
I move the Devilfish up to claim with its Warriors, and...nuke his guys off the objective. His guys on the objective to my far side have lost their rhino and taken some casualties to submunition shots.

Pistols prepare to go into the kroot...
But Kroot just want to hold that objective against...um....way too many Berserkers and Kharn who have come uncomfortably close.
Slightly out-of-order picture, showing the Plague Marines and his push towards the central objective.

Berserkers pistol down the Kroot...and lose the assault. Well, turn 5. If there's a turn 6, maybe.
Kharn does the happy dance because he cooked Kroot. Kharn will then promptly be placed back with his boys. You see the front of my Hammerhead in a position to move 12" and contest.
Ignore the Eldar Jetbikes; those are CRISIS SUITS. Hammerhead moves up to ensure I'm contesting and force them to hit me on a 6+ in assault. All for naught, as the Berserkers get nuked to a last man, and Kharn flubs all three saves he's called on to make. Boc is a sad panda.
Endgame. Game terminates at turn 6. Fire Warriors on the central objective; Kroot on my 'home' objective. He has a tattered Khorne-Tac on the far left objective (relative to my side) and Plague Marine Campers on his home objective. Objectives are color-coded; Green for him and Blue for me. As we have tied, it goes to the carnage.

Objectives: 2 to 2 Tie

Chaos: 3 (Piranhas, Gun Drone Squad, Kroot Squad)
Tau: 9 (2 Rhinos, Raptors, Vindicator, Defiler, Kharn, Berzerker Squad, Tactical Squad, Obliterators)

I believe if we'd totalled it in VP, I would've been well ahead. I lost about...300 points. I believe I killed approximately 1,100 or so.

Closing Thoughts
Tau Troops are Crunchy
Buncha T3 4+ Ld7 guys, or T3, Sv-, ld7 guys whose durability is numbers. I think I've hit on this before, but it's a change from Eldar, where I roll with either bikers/cover/fortune, snipers with Stealth, or guns in Wave Serpents/Falcons.

Crunchy Troops Make For More Tactical Play
I pulled a draw in objectives. It's just a change in armies: I must hammer the enemy into death/immobility, and make sure I hold more objectives that way. This game was a sample of it.

Smart Missiles are Fun
The Devilfish with Smart Missiles (I suppose they're called 'Warfish' in other parlance) did a decent job keeping pressure on stuff that ducked out of LOS. I think I'm sold on these for more than their 'oh, Gun Drones give up a KP'.

Kill those S8, AP3 Guns
Big guns are a priority for their ability to ruin my suits, and generate penetrating hits on my vehicles. I'd rather they die, and there's a reason I've prioritized the battle cannons/artillery whenever it's on the table. I admit I'm a bit worried about facing Guard just for the sheer quantity of this stuff they can send off.

Hiding is a Legitimate Strategy
Considering there were a couple Rhinos and light armor for the most part? I'm not surprised most of the stuff went down in a hurry. Rail Guns and missile pods can mince up light armor, and then it's crossing the open to the Tau. Not a place you want to be.

WTF, Kroot?
I have no idea how they held that long. I would've been fine had they folded that turn, since I was looking at a Ld4 check on that first turn. I would've just nuked his Raptors then. Still, it worked out.

Deep Strike Shields
Kroot were deployed better as both claimers and as 'DO NOT DEEP STRIKE HERE' screens. Which my opponent promptly ignored, and landed his Oblits anyway. Thank the False Emperor he forgot to shoot them. Still, had he scattered, he probably would have mis-happed.

Plasma Rifles Rock
Again, this lesson. Missile pods are mandatory Crisis Suit gear, and plasma rifles? Best point-defense weapon ever. If something's in plasma rifle range, it needs to be dead now. With plasma rifles, I can pretty much make sure it's dead. Beyond that, it reduces you to a cover save, or burns monstrous creatures pretty hard.


SpartanTau said...

I saw that you took a squadron of Piranha, but they were taken out very early in the game... What was your reasoning behind including them, what did you want them to do, and would they be more effective against a different army or with different equipment options? Note that I have no idea how you actually ran them, since that information isn't in this post.

Nice job on the win, and learning a few more things in the process!

Raptor1313 said...

Ah. I did omit the Piranhas.

I take the Piranhas for two reasons:
1) BS4 Meltaguns I can split fire
2) Harass the enemy; be where he wants to move

This game...I'd deployed them near the middle, and moved them up to potentially grab shots against his rear armor if he advanced. I'd moved them Flat Out, to get them the cover saves..which they promptly failed.

I think they run me about 160. Still, I could probably get mileage out of detaching the Gun Drones earlier as harassers. Overall, though, they're a swift melta platform and a target/blocker.

This game...they just kind of didn't have a lot of targets, and drew fire. I could probably have been less aggressive with them, though his remaining targets all had meltaguns, which was unhealthy for them in that regard. Had either the Vindicator or the Defiler survived, I would've engaged them with the melatugns, but both targets ended up without their big guns, so...yeah.

I'm getting a feel for them still. I would probably shoe-horn in another Troops unit, perhaps...though I think I'll find I want to keep the Piranhas against more horde-type foes, or foes with more armor. Four railguns go a ways against a guy without so many vehicles, but once the population increases...

The other thing is that I've had similar mileage out of Vypers. I ran them at the enemy artillery and threatened a heap of flank shots. They can buy me time, if nothing else. It's that whole 'going up to BS4 Meltagun' deal. Plus, they can multi-target with the right gear, so I could potentially zap two lighter targets with them in a turn.

jabberjabber said...

I like your concluding thought about hiding being a legitimate tactic! My plague marines have used it multiple times to be sneaky -- especially in objective based missions.

SpartanTau said...

You could potentially engage three or more targets! The Target Lock allows the vehicle's weapons to fire at separate targets, and since Gun Drone shots are treated as being "part of the vehicle," two Target Locks could engage four targets, while a single target lock would allow a squadron of two to fire at three targets. Tricky, eh?

Agreed with keeping them in against certain enemies. I've found that having a fast skimmer with five anti-infantry shots goes a long way towards helping keep hordes at bay, and not always because of their shooting. If you have open Elites slots, you also might want to consider using some Stealth suits. You can throw in the Fusion Blasters if need be, or make them purely anti-infantry with Burst Cannons.

Of course, whatever works for you is best, after all. It will be interesting to see how this same army fares against different opponents.

Raptor1313 said...

You have a point about being able to use the gun drones on the Piranhas with the trackers. If I'm lucky enough to be near infantry when I'm engaging tanks, then I can get the spare shots. Mostly, though, the Gun Drones get use when the Piranha goes BOOM.

I'm rolling all 3 Elite slots with 3 Crisis Suits w/ missile/plasma/multi-tracker.

My problem with stealth suits is that they're only anti-infantry. Fusion Blasters must get very close, and the one lesson I've learned from Marines is that you're never going to reliably get shots off with short-ranged weapons unless you're transported or a fast skimmer.

The Suits give me that crucial middle-range strength of fire. S5 does nothing against armor more than 10. Missile pods down light transports, so I can rely on those and rail guns whereas bringing Stealth Suits means I have all of 3-4 Rail Guns in my army to get rid of armor with.