Tuesday, 28 December 2010

Reports From The Front Lines 2: Delayed In The Warp

Right, so.  As most of you know, I have "recently" been experimenting by borrowing my friend's Tau and using them for the first time in 5th Edition.  Or ever, actually.

With a little help from Stelek, the post roughly outlining the first game became my highest ever viewed, according to Blogger Stats.  So, thanks.

It was both my first ever game as Tau, and my first game for a couple months though, so I felt myself capable of much much better.  Even this game, that I am about to report on...I can do better than this, for sure.  ...But it *was* better than before.  lol

Going into this game, I knew already exactly what the list I was facing was capable of, and I knew only roughly the capabilities of my own.  While I can't pretend this didn't give me something of an advantage, my opponent is also very familiar with his list, while being slightly more familiar than I with Tau.  Overall, I think the advantage largely null, because you should get a chance to read your opponents army before the game anyway, and at this level (both of us being competitive players) a fair grasp of the enemy list is expected.

With my list, I decided to try something rather different from the previous game.  Previously, I had given my opponent for this game license to trim down one of Stelek's lists to 1750.  This may have been quite a mistake - when you don't write your own list there are likely to be little things you'll forget., things you might not have done yourself, and things you just plain don't understand.  Since I didn't bother to read the list until an hour before the game, this left me little time to acclimatise myself with it, and ultimately to understand it.

I was determined not to repeat this, and spent a good couple of hours with the PDF the day of the game, reading and rereading, looking for the good, the bad, and the horribad in the book.  I saw a lot of things about tau that I'd like to be better (Burst Cannons, Fire Warriors, Farsight armies) a lot that I'd like to be cheaper (Crisis, DevilFish, SMS) and a lot that I thought would have been good in most other Codexes or FoC slots (Krootox, Ion Cannon, Deep Striking Fusion Blasters)

The list I started by settling on was as follows (the process can partly be seen here) :

 One Commander w/ Plasma Rifle and Missile pod
Three of (2x)Battlesuit w/Plasma Rifle and Missile Pod
6 Fire Warriors
Two of (10x)Kroot with (3x)Hounds
8 Pathfinders w/cover save Fish
Two of (2x)Piranha w/Fusion Blaster
3 Broadsides
2 Hammerheads w/Railguns, cover saves.

Or, rather, it WAS my list...until I decided to up and rewrite.

By dropping 2 Piranhas, and using 2 Squadrons of 1, I was able to get 4 Broadsides (after also dropping a HH) and then fit enough extra Battlesuits in to make all my wildest fantasies of Mecha Shootiness come true.  Of course, I've never really been a fan of the anime style of Tau, which is why I don't own them.  But that is by-the-by.  lol

As I could not reach a file block from my very comfy position when writing the list, I used the only paper to hand - an envelope I had recently opened.  No joke, this is what I brought :
- If you zoom in or view it on my Photobucket, you can read it more easily. lol

For ease though, the FINALISED list:

Plasma Rifle, Missile pod, Multi-Tracker - 87
Plasma Rifle, Missile pod, Multi-Tracker - 87

6 Fire Warriors - 60
10 Kroot:
3 Hounds - 88
10 Kroot:
3 Hounds - 88

3 Crisis Suits:
Plasma Rifle, Missile Pod, Multi-Tracker - 186
3 Crisis Suits:
Plasma Rifle, Missile Pod, Multi-Tracker - 186
3 Crisis Suits:
Plasma Rifle, Missile Pod, Multi-Tracker - 186

6 Pathfinders:
Devilfish [Disruption Pods, SMS] - 177
Fusion Blaster, Targetting Array - 70
Fusion Blaster, Targetting Array - 70

2 Broadsides:
Target Locks, Multi-Trackers - 150
2 Broadsides:
Target Locks, Multi-Trackers - 150
Railgun, Disruption Pod, Burst Cannons, Multi-Tracker - 165

The Space Marines I was facing were using the list mentioned in the linked post slightly above mine.

Now, I know the Advanced Stabilisation System is firmly advocated by many Tau players, most notably for Dawn of War deployments (I disagree to an extent with this conclusion, but that's another post entirely.)
I have never really heard anyone strongly advocate the Long Fang-esque ability to shoot multiple enemy units...but having tried it I am not surprised...it's neat, but not as good as I would have hoped due to lack of adequate squad size.  Some people prefer the taking of Team Leaders and stuff...to be honest, I see little tangible benefit from those either.

So, with armies picked and everything, we headed up to Arkham Gaming Centre for our game.  My overall basic strategy was already outlined (didn't you click that link?!? :p ) and didn't really change with this new list.  To an extent, Tau don't care about mission, as their army is built in such a way that their aim is always to kill, kill and kill again, until the game ends.

That said, the Mission obviously has SOME impact - but less so than on a truly balanced list.  Oh, and, in case you never read the previous 'Reports', or just forgot...we don't actually own enough Kroot or Hounds, so we fill out the gaps with convenient similarly sized things, or appropriate alternatives...Cold Ones for Hounds, and 3 old Orks and an old metal Catachan.  The following pic is the table after I opted to Infiltrate with my Kroot (shocker, I know!)

Oh.  And we rolled Capture and Control Dawn of War.  Yeah, brilliant.  lol

100_1511.jpg The Positioning of my Objective, in hindsight, perhaps a little off.  I put it there in order to give my 'Fish somewhere to be while my Crisis bounced in and out from behind it.  With my only realistic attempt at holding the objective being the FW inside, it needed to be in a position to maximise the effectiveness of itself, but also the units it synergises well with.  Still.  Not convinced, in retrospect, despite my determination to remove the enemy mobile Melta first.

A close-up of both my own, and my opponent's Objective placement follows.
100_1511.jpg 100_1511.jpg

 Mark decided to fortify his Objective with his Telion squad, and his MotF stand-in:
The Tactical Combat Squad were positioned less to push onto my Objective, but more to force back my Kroot on my left flank.  As the following oddly pale photo shows, he largely succeeded in this.

 As you may have gathered from my earlier decision to Infiltrate - I was going first.  While in many ways that is a benefit to my opponent (a much more mobile army, and therefore more able to use the very last turn of the game much more efficiently to contest or capture objectives than I.) I thought the opportunity to get the first unhindered Shooting Phase a much more tangible early game benefit.  While the Tau are the kind of army that can continue firing to much of the same effect throughout the game, if doing well, it is obviously a huge benefit to be able to reduce enemy firepower early on and then work on eliminating other targets with ease.

That was my end of movement Turn One.  Sadly, nothing was in range, but this wasn't really a surprise.
To anyone who doesn't already get it, the positioning of the Piranhas is twofold.  Firstly, this is the almost exact centre of the table - giving them the highest possible threat radius.  Secondly, the nice LoS block in front of them both serves to shield them from enemy fire and to force the enemy movement.  I will use Vassal to demonstrate somewhat.

While not an amazing representation (couldn't figure out how to put up a threat bubble...) this pic does somewhat demonstrate the massive field advantage having Fast Skimmers with Melta in the middle of the board first generates.

By forcing my opponent's movement in such a way I obtain a level of Board Control that is hugely important to Tau.  Well...it's important to most lists.  Note also the commanding lanes of fire I have managed to set up for all my Railguns.

Back to the game itself, my Pathfinders had been moved deliberately up to the side of the Ruin, so they could get a nice Run into a decent place to start lighting stuff up...then, this happened.
- Barely got to move at all.  :(
So, I get a Cover Save for the area terrain (it has a base, y'see) but a poor lane of fire.  Damn.

Sadly, the Marines had a lot of units to move on -

As you can see, they moved on in force to try and contest or even seize my objective, while bulking their up just in case my Kroot got lucky.  I consider the weight of force on their own Objective far too strong, and would in fact have committed either a lone Dread with the Combat Squad, or a squadron of Speeders, to remove my meddlesome Kroot (who, as it turned out, pretty much just stayed GtG all game.)

Since I don't want this post to be tl;dr, I will fill it out with some more pretty pictures of a non-spoiler nature.

Part Two to come...!
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