Saturday, September 15, 2012

Battle Report: Tau vs Dark Angels

Greetings!  I'm here with another Battle Report.  Yet again, I have the Tau against a force of Space Marines.  This time, the Tau army list is a familiar one to me, while I'm testing out a new Dark Angels Deathwing army list.  As such, I will make some mistakes, and you won't be seeing the best example of Deathwing strategy.  Even so, this is a pretty interesting game, and MUCH closer than my previous one!

Dark Angels Deathwing Army
Tau Mech Army

To the left is my Dark Angels army.  It's a balanced Deathwing army consisting of three units of Deathwing Terminators with Belial and an Apothecary, two units of Ravenwing Bikers (I forgot to add the second at the beginning of the game.  They'll show up early in the game when I remembered them!), and a Dreadnought with Plasma Cannon and Missile Launcher in a Drop Pod.  The Terminators are equipped mainly for shooting.  The Ravenwing Bikers are in the list to provide a teleport homer for a Deathwing Assaault.  This army is very slow, and small, but quite powerful.

To the right is my Tau army.  It's a balanced army making use of a ton of firepower and mobility, with a good number of vehicles.  I have a Shas'el Crisis Team outfitted in fireknife configuration, and a normal Crisis Team outfitted as a mixture of Fireknife and a Fusion blaster with target lock on the team leader.  There are two 12-man Firewarrior squads with devilfish transports.  I have a squadron of three Piranha skimmers, one with fusion blaster and target lock.  My heavy support consists of a Hammerhead and two Broadsides.

The Map

I elected to make a custom map for today's battle.  There are some ruins and trees that confer 5+ cover saves.  I decided that the generators at the top are short enough that battlesuits and dreadnoughts can fire over them, but not infantry.  There are enough obstacles for units to hide behind if necessary, but also enough line of sight for a shooty army like the Tau to do a lot of damage, in a good position.

The mission rolled was The Emperor's Will, where two objectives are placed on either side of the table, each worth three Victory Points.  I actually wasn't very clear on this particular mission until I read it in more detail. Until near the end of this game, I thought you only got points from capturing the enemy's objective, not the one near to you.  In reality, either objective grants either army three Victory Points.

The first turn is also night fighting, although it made no difference in this game.


The Tau won the roll-off, and elected to deploy first.  While in general, I prefer deploying second with Tau, on this map and against this Dark Angels army I think deploying first was best.  The Dark Angels are going to employ a Deathwing Assault, deep-striking most of their terminators in on the first turn.  Because of this, I didn't want to let the Bikers deploy far into the center of the map and allow the Terminators to deep strike halfway toward the Tau army.  By deploying first, I ensure that the middle of the map is far more dangerous for the Dark Angels, driving them into a more conservative deployment and gaining the Tau some time.

The Dark Angels left every part of the army in reserve except the Bikers.  Again, there should be a second Biker Squad, but I forgot it.  I'll remember it soon!  I deployed the bikes back here because it's the only reliable cover they can have against the Tau's first turn shooting.  I think I could have deployed them farther to the right of this warehouse, and then used their scout move to get the Terminators up a little faster.  As it happened, I forgot about their scout move too.

Turn 1 - Tau Movement

Tau can't really get any shots off this turn, so they decide to move Piranhas and Devilfish forward to block and screen.  All gun pods disembark from the vehicles as well, moving forward to form a skirmish line.

Turn 1 - Dark Angels Deep Strike

A Hammerhead had some line of sight with a Ravenwing Biker, and killed it with a railgun shot, despite a cover save.

Two Deathwing Terminators deep strike within the range of the Teleport Homers equipped to the Bikers.  They'd have been better off deploying normally, without the scout-move of the Bikers.

Turn 1 - Dark Angels Movement

The Bikers moved up.  Pretty straightforward!

Turn 2 - Tau Movement

Seeing that the Dark Angels deployed far to the east, the main fire base of the Tau army moves away, to keep distance from the dangerous Terminators.  The more mobile skirmishers, the gun drones, Piranhas and Crisis suits, advance forward to target or block the choke point from which the Terminators must pass to get at the objective.

Turn 2 - Tau Shooting and Assault

Nothing was in line of sight for the Tau to shoot.  The Devilfish moved Flat Out, while the Crisis Suits made jet pack movements.

Turn 2 - Dark Angels Deep Strike

The Dreadnought deep strikes onto the battlefield to defend the close objective.  With the ability to charge in close combat, and two potent anti-vehicle weapons, it's a dangerous foe for the Devilfish or Piranhas currently in mid-field.

Turn 2 and 3 - Dark Angels and Tau Movement

On the right, the Dark Angels moved forward.  I added the forgotten Bike Squad, finally, to the rear.

In Turn 3, the Tau moved into a strong position.  The Hammerhead and Broadsides moved to cover the choke point between the warehouse and the northeast building.  Gun drones moved forward in a wide line to block movement and stall the Space Marines.  Piranhas moved to cover the choke point as well, but the skimmer equipped with a fusion blaster turned to face the rear armor of the Dreadnought, in melta range.  Crisis Suits moved into ruins to the west and onto a rooftop to the east, ready to deal some damage to the armored foes.  One Devilfish disembarked its Firewarriors, preparing to capture the objective.  The second Devilfish arrives in mid-field, adding to the defense of the vital choke point but still within reach of the near objective.

Turn 3 - Tau Shooting

Crisis Suits fired at the Ravenwing Bikers, killing one, and the Piranhas finish off the unit.  The Tau earn a Victory Point for First Blood.  The third Piranha, with the fusion blaster, fires at the rear armor of the Dreadnought, but misses the crucial shot.  The Shas'el Crisis Team to the west fires at the drop pod, dealing two glancing hits.  Finally, one Broadside has line of sight with a Terminator and kills one with a well-placed rail shot.

Turn 3 - Dark Angels Deep Strike

That's right, more deep striking!  Last one, I promise!  The final squad of Deathwing Terminators arrives, looking to contest the southern objective.

Turn 3 - Dark Angels movement

The Terminators advanced forward steadily, while the Dreadnought moved close to the Piranha.

Turn 3 and 4 - Dark Angels and Tau Movement

Dark Angels Terminators shot at the gun drones, killing most of them.  The Dreadnought shot at the Piranha, exploding it with a well placed plasma cannon and missile shot.  Cyclone Missiles killed a Firewarrior, while the Terminators to the east wounded a few Crisis Suits with an Assault Cannon.  The Dreadnought charges the rest of the Piranha squadron, scoring a penetrating hit and stunning a Piranha.

During the Tau turn, Firewarriors disembarked from the Devilfish in midfield, ready to concentrate fire at the enemy Terminators.  Meanwhile, the Firewarriors moved to claim the southern objective, identifying it as a Targeting Array, which permits them to re-roll To-Hit rolls of one.

Turn 4 - Tau Shooting

Despite their bonus, Firewarriors failed to wound any bikers they shoot at.  The Shas'el Crisis Team, however, is lucker, and kills two of them.  The other Crisis Team manages to kill a Terminator with a fusion blaster shot, penetrating his armor.  The Piranhas fired but  did no damage to the Terminators.

Turn 4 - Dark Angels Movement

The Dark Angels advanced forward yet again, pushing relentlessly toward the objective.

Turn 4 - Dark Angels Shooting

The Dreadnought fired its Plasma Cannon at the Devilfish, but the cannon Got Hot!  The shot failed.  It was able to inflict a glancing hit with a missile launcher, though.  The Bikers fired a multimelta at the same Devilfish, causing a penetrating hit and stunning the crew.  The Terminators fire at the Firewarriors, killing a number of them with bolters.  To the east, the Terminators fire at the Crisis Suits, but cause no damage.  They elect NOT to fire on the gun drones, because of the rule that prevents a unit from charging if it fired at a different unit.  Shooting at the gun drones would surely kill them before the Terminators got a chance to charge at anything.  They would much rather wait, charge the gun drones and kill them in assault, and then make a consolidate move to get closer to the Tau.

Turn 4 - Dark Angels Charge

The Dark Angels charge!  A Dreadnought charges the Devilfish while Belial's Deathwing Terminators charge at the gun drones.

Turn 4 - Dark Angels Assault

The Dreadnought wrecks the Devilfish while the Terminators easily kill the gun drones, getting a consolidate move forward as planned.

Turn 5 - Tau Movement

The stunned effect expired on the Piranha, letting it close into range with the Terminators and Bikers, blocking their path somewhat.  The Firewarriors in midfield moved into formation to fire on Belial's Deathwing Terminators, as did the Hammerhead Gunship.

Turn 5 - Tau Shooting

The Shas'el has line of sight with the Bikers, and fires a plasma rifle.  They're saved by Jinking.  The Shas'el's missiles do manage to hit them, killing one.  Piranhas finish them off.  The Firewarriors in midfield land 10 shots on Belial's Deathwing Terminator squad.  All of them are saved by armor or by Feel No Pain.  A lucky little gun drone, however, manages to land a single shot, and kills a Terminator!  Clearly, this drone deserves a promotion!  Finally, a Crisis Suit kills a Terminator with a missile, although all plasma rifle shots are saved by Feel No Pain.

Turn 5 - Dark Angels Movement

The Terminator Squads advance forward yet again.  The Dreadnought moves around the wreck of the Devilfish to threaten the Firewarriors and deny the objective.

Turn 5 - Dark Angels Shooting

The Dreadnought makes short work of the Firewarriors between Plasma Cannon and Missile Launcher shots.  The Terminators open fire on Firewarriors, killing two; and Crisis Suits, killing one.

Turn 5 - Dark Angels Charge

The Dreadnought charges the Firewarriors in close combat, while the Terminators charge the Piranhas.

Turn 5 - Dark Angels Assault

The Terminators wreck both Piranhas easily.

The Dreadnought actually does no damage to the lucky squad of Firewarriors.  They elect, however, to flee from combat using the Our Weapons are Useless rule.  Not so luckily, they are killed by the Dreadnought's sweeping advance.

Turn 6 - Tau Movement

With the southern objective stolen, and the game nearly over, the Tau turn their attention toward the northern one.  It was around this point I realized you could control either, or I think I'd have gone for the northern objective sooner with Tau.  Regardless, Firewarriors embark onto the Devilfish and head toward it at cruise speed.  Every other Tau unit moved north to assist and cover.

Turn 6 - Tau Shooting

Broadsides fire their powerful railguns at Belial's Terminator Squad.  A railgun shot made it through a Terminator's formidable armor to kill him, as he nobly saved Belial with a Look Out Sir!  The Hammerhead similarly targets the enemy Warlord, but the Apothecary uses Look Out Sir and makes his invulnerable save, surviving.  The Crisis Team fires on Belial as well, and the Apothecary again uses Look Out Sir, but this time fails his invulnerable save as well as Feel No Pain, and dies.  Finally, the Shas'el and his Crisis Team fire on the Dreadnought, wrecking it.

Turn 6 - Dark Angels Movement

The Dark Angels Terminators advance toward each objective, seizing the southern one.  Belial joins another unit.

Turn 6 - Dark Angels Shooting

No damage is done.

I rolled a 1 and the game ended here.

The Tau earned: Linebreaker; First Blood: 2 Victory Points.
The Dark Angels earned: Primary Objective: 3 Victory Points.

And the Dark Angels are victorious in an extremely close game!  A single dice roll could easily have changed this result, not to mention the number of errors on my part!

The game was so close, in fact, that I decided to find out just what would have happened had it continued to a seventh turn...

Turn 7 - Tau Movement

Firewarriors disembark, seizing the northern objective.  The Devilfish moves aside to give them a clear firing lane.

Turn 7 - Tau Shooting

Broadsides, Crisis Suits and the Hammerhead shoot into the Terminator squad, killing all of them including Belial!  Tau gain the Slay the Warlord objective.

Turn 7 - Dark Angels Movement

The Terminators move forward.  Their only hope is to kill the Shas'el Crisis Team, leading to a drawn game.

Turn 7 - Dark Angels Shooting

Although one Crisis Suit is killed by a Krak missile, the Commander survives, and the game ends.

The Tau earned: Linebreaker, First Blood, Slay the Warlord, and a Primary Objective: 6 Victory Points.
The Dark Angels earned: a Primary Objective: 3 Victory Points.

Tau win!  Clearly this game could have gone either way, as the Tau could have won a nailbiting victory in the seventh turn.  Lucky for the Dark Angels that the game ended earlier!

Thanks so much for reading, and stay tuned to this blog for more battle reports, including online games as soon as I can find people to play with!

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Battle Report: Tau vs Black Templar Space Marines

The following is a FULL battle report for Warhammer 40k.  It's a rather short game in which I played against myself, testing out two new 1500 point army lists.  Enjoy!

Black Templar "Black Tide" Army
Tau "Kauyon" Army

On the left, my Black Templar army.  I have two 20-man Crusade squads, one led by a Chaplain and the other led by the Emperor's Champion (with Accept Any Challenge).  They are armed with frag and krak grenades, and a mixture of bolt pistols and bolt guns.  They have no special or heavy weapons.  One Initiate in each army has a power fist.  Next, I have a 10-man Assault Squad led by another Chaplain with a jump pack.  This entire squad has melta bombs.  Finally, my single vehicle, a Predator Annihilator, equipped with a twin-linked lascannon and two side sponsons with lascannons on each, along with Power of the Machine Spirit.  Total model count is 54.  There are no transports, heavy weapons, or terminators.  The goal is to rush down the table using Righteous Zeal and kill things quickly, using the Predator to take out key targets at long range early.  This is my first attempt at a "Black Tide" army, using lots of models and tons of attacks to create something somewhat akin to an Ork "Green Tide", but with smaller numbers and higher skilled units.

On the right, my Tau army.  This is a old style army I'm trying out called a "Kauyon" army.  The goal is to use skirmish lines of Kroot, Piranhas and Gun Drones to delay the enemy advance and give the main fire base of Fire Warriors, Battlesuits and Hammerheads a full opportunity to deal maximum damage each turn.  The goal is to essentially sacrifice these front line units, but make them as annoying as possible, and make sure the enemy ends an assault on his turn so you can fire freely during yours.

I have a Shas'el Commander attached to a full Crisis team, all in Fireknife configuration (missile pods and plasma rifles).  Next is a stealth team with two marker drones, and a team leader with a markerlight and target lock.  Then, two full 12-man squads of Fire Warriors.  Then, two Kroot units with 12 Kroot Carnivores, and 4 and 5 Kroot Hounds, respectively.  There is a 3-vehicle squadron of Piranhas, all with Fusion blasters and gun pods.  For Heavy Support, I included a Hammerhead and two Broadside battlesuits, one target locked to fire at a separate target.

The Map

Here is the map I'll be using.  It's deep jungle, with some water and hills.  Nothing blocks line of sight nor is impassible on this map.  I am treating jungle as 5+ cover and difficult terrain.  Water is difficult terrain, but grants no cover.  Roads, of course, are open terrain.

This map presents interesting challenges as well as benefits to both armies.  The Tau have full field of view, as well as full range, to fire their weapons from turn 1.  And the forest grants the Kroot their Fieldcraft cover bonus.  But there is also nowhere for Crisis suits to hide behind, or terrain to block and slow the enemy's approach  The Black Templar can move toward the Tau at full speed, in a straight line, letting them close the distance quickly.  But they must move slowly through the difficult terrain, and they are exposed to gun fire every step of the way.


I rolled for Warlord traits, but they never came into play during this game so I'll ignore them in this battle report.  I find they don't usually matter much.  The mission I rolled was "The Relic".  The objective sits in the middle of the map, and each army must attempt to seize it by the end of the game.

The Black Templar won the roll-off, and chose Tau to deploy first.  Tau is, I believe, at a disadvantage deploying first, as it lets them get trapped and outmaneuvered easier.  For Tau's deployment, I set up a fire base as far from the enemy as possible, with battlesuits able to take cover behind the Hammerhead, and Piranhas off to the side for harassment.  The Black Templar deployment consisted mainly of covering enough ground to charge across the map, leaving no escape route for the mobile Tau.  Note that had Tau deployed second, it could have set up a far more efficient position, perhaps splitting its forces or focusing them into a corner for better skirmish position.  Because Tau went first, they had to prepare for a multitude of deployment responses from the Black Templar.

Black Templar rolled to seize the initiative and got a 6!  They were able to both deploy second and still go first - a decided advantage, although a rare one.  Had Tau gone first, this battle report would look decidedly different, you can be sure!

Turn 1 - Black Templar Movement

Pretty simple movement phase.  Everything moved forward as much as they could.  Because I'm moving through difficult terrain, it's slow going.  The Assault Squad used their jump packs, and passed three difficult terrain tests.

Turn 1 - Black Templar Shooting

The Predator Annihilator fired twice at the Hammerhead with lascannons at full ballistic skill but did no damage.  With Power of the Machine Spirit, it then fired a snap shot at a Piranha, scoring a glancing hit, but saved by the forest cover.  The infantry squads chose to run rather than shoot, trying to get into close combat as fast as possible.

Turn 1 - Tau Movement

The Tau mobilized its skirmish line, advancing Kroot lines forward and jumping up with battlesuits.  The Piranhas have decided to move flat out and get behind the enemy lines, hoping to slow the Marines' advance.  The Tau plan right now is a delaying action.  Note that the main guns, the Firewarriors, Broadsides and Hammerhead, do not need to move much at all with this strategy.

Turn 1 - Tau Shooting

The Piranhas move flat out behind the enemy army.  The Tau know that if the Black Templar want to deal with 3 skimmers with fusion blasters, they'll need to halt part of the forward advance to do so.  The Kroot, Battlesuits and Hammerhead fire on the Crusader squads marching toward them through the jungle.  Several were killed.  As a result, due to the Righteous Zeal of the Black Templar, the Marines advance forward yet again.

Although the Kroot are within charge range, they elect not to assault the enemy in close combat.  They know they're likely to lose against such skilled foes, and if the Marines get to assault and win during this turn, they'll immediately have additional movement next turn and another potential assault, with no chance to shoot.  By stalling, they give the Tau fire base a turn to shoot once the Kroot have been wiped out.

Turn 2 - Black Templar Movement

The Black Templar continued the forward march through the jungle.  The Assault Squad decides to double back, using jump packs to close with the enemy Piranhas.  They pass two dangerous terrain tests

Turn 2 - Black Templar Shooting.

The entire front line of each Kroot Squad is killed by bolter fire.

The Predator lands a penetrating hit on the Hammerhead, causing it to explode!  This explosion also killed a Fire Warrior, a Crisis Battlesuit and a Stealth battlesuit, puncturing their armor.  One of the most unlucky vehicle explosions I've ever witnessed!

Turn 2 - Black Templars Charge

The Black Templars do what they love most: charge into close combat with the enemies of the Emperor!

The Assault Squad charged the Piranha squadron, and managed to avoid any wounds from the dangerous Flachette launchers on their hull.  One Crusade squad, led by the Chaplain, fail the charge distance roll, but the second Crusade squad led by the Emperor's Champion is luckier.  They charge ahead and clash with the Kroot.

Turn 2 - Black Templars Assault

As it is their specialty, the Black Templars rarely fail when they assault the enemy.  The Assault Squad, using Melta Bombs, took out the entire Piranha squadron with ease.  The Emperor's Champion led his assault squad against the Kroot, wiping them out without a single casualty.  The Champion alone killed 4 Kroot Hounds.

Turn 2 - Tau Shoting

You can see I skipped the movement phase.  That's because the Tau did as well.  They have nothing to do now but fire as many guns as they can.

Every Tau gun trained itself on the Emperor's Champion and his Crusade Squad, and opened fire.  Three Markerlights hit and marked the target for the rest of the army to fire at an increased Ballistic Skill.  10 Marines were killed, and the Black Templar passed their morale check.  Again, they moved forward with Righteous Zeal, closing the distance with the Fire Warriors.

Turn 3 - Black Templar Movement and Shooting

The Black Templar continue their forward march.  The Assault Squad jumped forward, suffering one casualty from a dangerous terrain test.  The two Crusade Squads moved forward.  A Chaplain controls the relic.

The Kroot lose 5 units from bolter fire, and fail the morale check, falling back.  Meanwhile, the Predator fires on the Crisis suits.  He hits the Shas'el Commander with a lascannon, causing instant death.  Demoralized, the other Crisis suits retreat off the board.

Turn 3 - Black Templar Assault

The Emperor's Champion and his Crusade Squad charge the enemy Fire Warriors.  They kill all but two of them, and perform a Sweeping Advance to finish the rest of the unit.

Turn 3 - Tau Movement and Shooting

Once again, the Tau have little choice but to shoot with everything they have.  Firewarriors and Broadsides retreat as much as they can while the Kroot continue to fall back.  The Fire Warriors land 10 shots on the Emperor's Champion, but every one is saved by the armor of himself or a selfless compatriot.  The Broadsides fire both twin-linked railguns, aiming at the Emperor's Champion yet again.  A nearby Initiate jumps in the way and saves the Champion with a Look Out Sir!

Turn 4 - Black Templar Movement

The infantry continue to advance.

Turn 4 - Black Templar Shooting

All squads fire at the Fire Warriors and Kroot, killing many of them.  The Fire Warriors pass their morale checks.

The Predator fires at the Stealth squad, killing two marker drones and causing the squad to fall back.  It retreats off the table and is gone.

Turn 4 - Black Templar Charge

The Emperor's Champion and his Crusade Squad charge into the Fire Warriors in close combat.

Turn 4 - Black Templar Assault

The Emperor's Champion Crusade Squad wipes out the Tau Fire Warriors without much of a fight.

Turn 4 - Tau Shooting

The Broadsides are the only Tau unit left on the board, as the Kroot retreat off the table.  The battlesuits fire both railguns at the Emperor's Champion.  One misses despite being twin-linked, while the other hits but is saved by his Armor of Faith invulnerable save.

Turn 4 - Tau Assault and Turn 5 - Black Templar Movement

The game is rapidly coming to a conclusion, but the Tau has some desperation left.  The surviving Broadsides realize that if they do nothing, they will lose the combat and die in the next turn.  As a last-ditch effort, they charge the Emperor's Champion in assault!  Although strong and tough to kill, Broadsides are very slow, and attack at Initiative step 2.  One was killed before it got a chance to attack by overwatch fire.  The other managed to wound and kill the Emperor's Champion, at last!  At one wound against one wound, the combat is tied and the Broadsides do not retreat, remaining locked in combat.

The remaining Black Templar forces closed in around the dramatic melee, unable to shoot for fear of hitting a comrade.

Turn 5 - Black Templar Charge

The Assault Squad assaults the rear of the Broadside battlesuit, jumping into the combat to assist their fellow Crusaders.

Turn 5 - Black Templar Assault

The Chaplain attached to the Assault Squad dealt the killing blow to the Broadside battlesuit with his Crozius Arcanum (a power axe).

The battle concluded with 4 objectives won by the Black Templar, against 1 of the Tau, and without the Black Templar losing a single unit.