Wednesday, November 30, 2016

Resurgence - and a return to fighting for the Greater Good

Rumors of my death and/or dismemberment have been somewhat exaggerated, though there was a break from the tabletop scene.  An old buddy of mine convinced me to come back in, so I looked at what I had, and decided "hey, space-commies in robots...with BIGGER robots?! SOLD!"  So I dusted off my old 5th Edition Tau, added some new stuff, and wandered back into the fray with 1500 points of mecha goodness.

The List - as a Standard Bit, none of those Formation Whatsits
HQ/Warlord Fellow
Coldstar Commander w/ 2x Shield Drones
3-man Crisis Suit Team w/ Plasma rifles & missile pods
Riptide w/ SMS, Burst Cannon,Skyfire-granting gear, 2x Shielded Missile Drones
Riptide w/ SMS, Ion Accelerator, SKyfire-granting gear, 2x Shielded Missile Drones
8-man fire warrior squad
6-man fire warrior squad w/ Devilfish packing SMS, Disruption Pods
Fast Attack
8-man Pathfinder squad
Piranha w/ Fusion Gun
Heavy Support
Hammerhead w/ Disruption Pods, Railgun w/ submunitions, twin-linked SMS
Hammerhead w/ Disruption Pods, Railgun w/ submunitions, twin-linked SMS

First Company deep-striking insanity formation, consisting of -
Terminator Captain
2x footslogging terminator shooty squads (1 assault cannon, 1 heavy flamer)
Land Raider Crusader w/ assaulty terminator squad
Stormraven, lugging assaulty terminator squad, Venerable Dread w/ Assault Cannon

Game Summary
Short version - I lost, about 9-13 VP in Maelstrom - the one where either of us can score the visible numbered objective cards.

Longer version - I elect to make him go first - no sense in me sitting around for a turn, twiddling my thumbs.

Opening - he gets everything but the Stormraven in on the first go.  His heavy flamer terminators make a bold decision and stick the landing - this ends with my Pathfinders being BBQ'ed.  Turns out being able to double-tap due to formation bonuses is helpful, and I'm reminded that most infantry really, really doesn't like fire. His other terminator squad manages a decent landing but does nothing spectacular.

Lots of gunfire happens - lots of saves happen.  His gutsy terminator squad ends up dying, while the other one walks to a ruined building and finds the '+1 to cover saves' objective, which is somewhat less than amusing for my AP2 shooting.

His Stormraven doesn't come in until turn 3 - which helps, but not as much as his ability to repeatedly make saves.  My Coldstar commander ends up taking potshots at it, ends up baiting Land Raider fire, laughing as his assault dice fail him, and even capturing an objective.  (Then dies horribly and forks over VP as my warlord.)  This is after my Pirahna runs around trying to cap objectives, and never actually shoots anything before developing a severe assault cannon allergy and dying in a fire.

Around turn 3 or 4, my Ion Accelerator Riptide loses a drone, box-cars his morale check, and promptly runs off the board.  His terminators eventually sweep in (very slowly and angrily) and kill my Fire Warriors, then the Dread immobilizes the 'fish, punches it to death, and eventually gets to the squishy squad inside, who are wholly unprepared to punch a dreadnought to death.  (Spoiler alert - Tau still don't really belong in assault...)

By the end of the game, he's got the Stormraven, a Dread, about 3-4 terminators, an empty Land Raider Crusader, and too many objectives.  I've got a Riptide (that's awfully close to his dread), both Hammerheads (who've jinked a crap-ton of shots), and

Logic behind my army
To be honest, it was "grab some stuff that used to work, add some new stuff."  So, here's what drove the choices, and how they felt after taking it -

Coldstar Commander
I thought - "Let's try out flyers, and have some fun with mobility!"
Now I think - "detaching the warlord from a squad and running him around the field seems like a great way to lose VP."  I'm not sure I'd want to pay that much for someone tooling around that ultimately is going to get shot to death.

3-Man Crisis Suit Team
I Thought - "Hey, these used to work, let's see if they still do. They're less expensive than I remember."
Now I think - "Hey, still decent."  They're plenty of gunfire for the points, but still need some protection from small arms.  And certainly from rending cannons and S8 AP3 missiles of death.  I can see trying to use these again.  Also, maybe they need some drones, or if I'm only gonna take one squad then the Commander hangs with them.

I Think - "I'm gonna need to test these guys more to really get the most out of them."
-I like the SMS for the volume of fire - fusion blaster seems a bit close-ranged, and the plasma rifle trades the volume of fire for the AP.
-I like the volume of fire from the heavy-duty burst cannon, though that 18" range had drawbacks against someone who could see where it was deployed and then avoid it.  That being said, it can throw plenty of dice, and turning into a Heavy 12 assault cannon is hilarious.
-I can see leaning towards the Ion Accelerator - seems a LOT more versatile than the burst cannon and has more range - this gun can contribute the whole time.
-The drones are interesting for wounds and token dakka, but I wonder if I could get better versatility out of things like the FNP gear or a nova-charged 3++ save.
-I really, really hate rolling a 1 or 2 with the Nova Reactor.
-Overall, it's a chunk of points - not sure a pair of them was the way to go in 1500, but T6 and 2+/5++ with four wounds is not the easiest of takedowns.

Fire Warriors & Fish
I Thought - "Hey, it used to work."
I think - "Kinda wish I'd brought bubble wrap (read - Kroot)"
-Fire Warriors still have decent basic infantry weapons, and a Fish squad can do some objective work.
-That being said, given that assault is 2d6, having some cheap bubble wrap wouldn't have been a bad thing

I Thought - Markerlights are awesome!
I think - they're probably still awesome, but having a single source in the army renders them vulnerable to, y'know, being prioritized and shot off the table.  I probably would've gotten one good turn out of 'em and that would've meant dead termies sooner.  Possibly two rounds, but who knows.

I thought - "Hey, used to work, plus mobility for objectives is probably important"
I think - "Not so sure suicide-melta works, and I wish I'd brought that disruption pod."
-didn't shoot once; pretty sure the meltagun is more of a bluff now than a death-or-glory attack.
-Jinking is awesome.
-Not sure if I'll end up taking them again or not; we'll see.

I Thought - "Hey, it used to work - plus huge guns."
I Think - "Probably not a bad thing still."
-...also, to be honest, I totally derp'ed out and thought they had BS3, because clearly I'm not literate enough to read my reference page. (Also, that 10-hour work day didn't help, but seriously, I could have RTFM...but it's funny now.)
-vehicles in general are tougher - but the versatility is still there.
-Not off the list yet - and jinking is hilarious.  That, and if I'd had markerlights, jinking isn't always as big a deal.

The Other Guy's List
-Setting up against all reserves is nasty - I'm used to having the luxury of reacting to the other guy, not vice-versa.
-He had excellent target priority - my Pathfinders got deleted ASAP, and then the Crisis Suits were next - thus depriving me of accuracy and then a ton of my AP2.

Up Next
-More blogging!
-A whole lot of learning - much of my habits are based out of 5th edition, so...yeah.  Gonna have to unlearn and relearn.
-Painting up the converted Riptides
-Looking into dusting off my Eldar
-Figuring out what to do with the ~25 terminators and heap of las/plas space bobs from my old Black Templar Termie-Spam Army (not really sure I want to go Deathwing; debating between converting them to Grey Knights and converting Dreadknights, OR doing up a first company list like the one I faced.)