Saturday, August 22, 2009

Battle Summary: Death Guard vs. Tau (1500 points)

On an outing with my Death Guard, I had the (relatively rare) opportunity to play against a Tau army. Here's the battle report.

Mission: Capture and Control (i.e. 2 objectives).
Deployment: Pitched Battle (i.e. long table edges).
Board: rectangular 6' x 4'.
Terrain: A forested moon... basically lots of area terrain consisting of 4+ cover saves that is also considered as difficult terrain.

Usual Caveat: I might not have got the report 100% accurate and I've skipped over some bits. And yes, it lacks pictures.

Pre-emptive Confession and Caveats: Truthfully, I don't get to play against Tau all that often. As a result, I'm not very familiar at all with Tau army lists, or how they play. I do know I hate those marker lights and I do know the sheer amount of high strength shots they're capable of pumping out though. So, if you've any advice or criticisms about this battle report, then let me know! My opponent was really nice though and did spend a bit of time explaining to me / reminding me about a few of the mechanics. In return, I explained in detail about feel no pain, blight grenades and so forth (similarly he had had little experience against Death Guard marines).

Here's the army lists:

Death Guard Army List (me), as per my list from a while ago:
HQ: Daemon Prince with mark of Nurgle, aura of decay and wings
Elites: Dreadnought with plasma cannon
Troops 1: 7 plague marines: 1 flamer, 1 melta, 1 plague champion with power fist, rhino with havoc launcher
Troops 2: 7 plague marines: 1 flamer, 1 melta, 1 plague champion with power fist, rhino with havoc launcher
Troops 3: 7 plague marines: 2 plasma guns, 1 plague champion with power fist, rhino with havoc launcher
Heavy Support 1: Vindicator with daemonic possession
Heavy Support 2: Vindicator with daemonic possession
Heavy Support 3: Predator with autocannon, heavy bolters, dozer blade and havoc launcher

Tau Army List:
(NB: this might not be 100 per cent accurate!)
HQ: Shas'el with plasma rifle, missile pod, & multi-tracker(?)
Elites 1: XV8-Crisis Team (2 suits with missle pods and flamer)
Elites 2: XV8-Crisis Team (2 suits with missle pods and flamer)
Elites 3: 3 stealth suits
Troops 1: Firewarriors - 11 firewarriors, 1 shas'ui
Troops 2: Firewarriors - 11 firewarriors, 1 shas'ui
Troops 3: 10 Kroot
Troops 4: 10 Kroot
Fast Attack 1: 5 Pathfinders plus devilfish and disruption pods
Fast Attack 2: 5 Pathfinders plus devilfish and disruption pods
Fast Attack 3: Gun drone squadron consisting of 6 gun drones
Haevy Support 1: Hammerhead with railgun, gun drones and disruption pods
Heavy Support 2: Skyray with smart missile system, targeters and disruption pods
Heavy Support 3: 1 Broadside

Setup:
Gah, I've no idea what to do here! I figure my priority is probably to take down the fast moving things (devilfish, hammerhead, etc.) that could potentially swoop in at the last moment to contest my HQ. But, I also want to ensure my HQ objective is secure, with at least a rhino full of plague marines on top of it and a vindicator nearby. This is probably stupid of me, but I place my objective in the corner of the board!!! In turn, the Tau player locates his in the centre of some shrubbery near the diagonally opposite side of the board.

Next question: Do I reserve everything? I know those Kroot are going to be infiltrating at the very least. Hmmmm. Perhaps that's a bit of a plan! Okay - I'm going to reserve everything in the hopes that the Tau player will willingly spread out his forces across the board - thereby letting me concentrate my firepower on one small unit at a time. I'm also in luck - I force the Tau player to take the first turn. So far so good.

During the Tau player's actual setup, he does indeed spread the kroot far and wide. The rest of his army is deployed in his main deployment zone, but is also spread out along the long table edge. On top of his objective, he locates one of his firewarrior squads and the broadside. Given the density of the woodlands between him and me, there aren't going to be many table edge to table edge shots going off - the lines of sight will be clogged up if I deploy correctly.

Turn 1.
Nothing of much significance happens for the Tau player. He moves the Kroot closer to my home objective. The rest of the army either stay put, or take a few strides forward from his deployment zone.

I've got everything in reserve still!

Turn 2.
The Kroot come closer, as do a number of other Tau squads.

Finally its my turn to do something. I start rolling for reserves. I get a respectable number of squads coming in to the game: Troops number 2, and all of my Heavy Support choices.

As per the plan, I move Troops 2 and a vindicator on to the board near to my home objective in the corner. The second vindicator and the predator deploy a little way off from that location. I intend to slowly roll the vindicator forward (hopefully supported by another troops squad in later turns), but leave the predator pretty much stationary from now on as it has a reasonable line of sight. I move them all forward and am in range for a good number of shots on some Kroot.

In the shooting phase, I hit the left hand Kroot squad with a direct vindicator cannon shot and a some shots from my rhino mounted squad. The cover saves help the Kroot out immensely, but I manage to reduce them to 3 survivors. They subsequently fail a morale check and are running away!

The other vindicator misses. I roll 6 for the scatter, which means the template goes 3 inches away from the intended target (daemonic possession gives BS=3 instead of the usual BS=4 for marines). It is still hitting most of the squad. Four Kroot perish. Another two die from the predator's autocannon. That'll suffice for one turn!

Turn 3:
At this point, my opponent realizes that there's little his Kroot can do against my mechanized marine force. Moreover, there's few decent lines of sight. So, he moves most of his army to try to gain a better line of sight. The broadside and the firewarriors on his home objective stay still, but can't see much.

In the shooting phase, he has a good attempt at taking out my central vindicator (the one next to the predator). The incoming shots arrive from the Crisis suits and the hammerhead. One penetrates and one glances. Luckily for me, both result in crew stunned. Since the vindicator is possessed, it shrugs them both off! That was really lucky (considering the strength of the railgun!). Nothing of any further consequence occurs.

In my turn, my Deamon Prince and Troops 1 arrive from reserve.
I roll in troops 1 behind the shot-at vindicator and follow up closely behind. The daemon prince also deploys nearby. I move everything forward. It is now my intent that troops 3 (when they arrive on a subsequent turn) will claim my home objective. The dreadnought might be a problem in turn 5, though!

The stationary predator makes short work of the surviving Kroot. They're all dead. My opponent has now realized how good havoc launchers actually are.

Meanwhile, my vindicator completely misses the hammerhead, but scatters a long way on to some crisis suits! Splat. Two dead crisis suits. Ah well - happy accidents!

One the left hand side of the board, my rhino has gained a line of sight to the Shas'el. Havoc launchers away and its one wound on the HQ! Brilliant. The other vindicator misses everything. (I mean completely - the shot scattered off the board entirely!!!).

Turn 4.
Things start to get messy for me. With the lines of sight that I've exposed to my own vehicles, the Tau let rip. One vindicator explodes, the other gets immobilized. The rhino on the left hand edge also explodes. Bye bye. The plague marines weather a subsequent storm of incoming fire, taking only 1 casualty.

In my turn, the immobile vindicator manages to wreck the hammerhead. Finally! The plague marines from the dead rhino run in to cover. The predator takes out a number of tau fire warriors.

At this stage in the game, I know I need to get one of my units over to the opposing objective pretty soon. I'm probably going to need turn 6 if its available. Conversely, my opponent seems to be gunning for a draw. He doesn't seem to want to advance on my objective. I think that's a mistake.

Turn 5.
Blazing away, the Tau take down my immobile vindicator once and for all. They also blow up the autocannon on my predator. The rest of them seem obsessed with blazing away at the plague marines who are in cover. Fair enough, methinks! They're not doing much, so if they can take some of the heat off my other (intact) rhino and crew so much the better. Five die and I'm left with only the plague champion.

My last reserves come on to the board in my turn. I plonk troops 3 down over my objective and sit smugly. I then race rhino number 2 toward their lines and pop its smoke launchers. My predator also joins in with this merry race toward their lines, with my daemon prince following up behind them. I don't really kill anything much to be honest.

The game fails to end here -- if it had, it would have been a draw.

Turn 6.
One devilfish moves to corner my tanks (ram me if you dare!). Predator explodes. Rhino also explodes from the broadside. Plague marines who were on board get wiped out to the man. Daemon prince is reduced down to 1 wound. Did I mention I hate marker lights? The other devilfish swoops in on my home objective, contesting it.

But their failure to finish off my daemon prince (or concentrate on reaching my objective) will be their undoing at their side of the board. With his mighty wings, the daemon prince leaps toward their objective. Letting off his stinky aura of decay, he kills 2 fire warriors. He then charges the firewarrior squad, getting in to contesting range of the objective. The prince slaughters a good number of the fire warriors and survives. The rest of the fire warriors fail their morale check and race backward ... off the board in fact.

The game ends here. I'm contesting my opponents home objective with my single wound daemon prince. Almost everything else of mine has gone up in smoke at this stage. My opponent has many more troops (and both devilfish) still intact, and is contesting my objective. Game Drawn.

Concluding thoughts.
Death Guard struggle to pump out the firepower against Tau! I think I should have deep-striked my daemon prince in to his lines for a bit of distraction and thought about my moves more carefully (but time was a factor and I don't like to hold things up!). I'm starting to think I need Chosen!

The Tau player messed up with the Kroot somewhat, but tore most of my force apart in the later turns regardless! Ouch.

6 comments:

Adam said...

Not the kind of Tau list I would run personally, but not bad. I would suggest you get some Obliterators.

jabberjabber said...

Indeed - I'm certainly thinking about tweaking my lists by including selections like obliterators and chosen.

Raptor1313 said...

I'm a little surprised at the Tau build. I would probably go for one unit of Fire Warriors.

Kroot...don't take casualties well. I think you'd worry more about larger Kroot squads, but I feel they're better at area denial (can't put your meltaguns where Kroots are, y'know...) and are decent in melee. They won't stop marines, but they have Fieldcraft, don't roll for difficult terrain and therefore aren't slowed in terms of initiative.

He also went a bit heavy on Fire Warriors. To be honest, Fire Warriors aren't that useful; they're too easy to break and if you let me kill your troops...Fire Warriors can drop pretty quickly, and are only so-so at dropping shots and wounds.

Also, you are a bit lucky you didn't see Plasma Rifles on the suits. I assume he had twin-linked missile pods on the suits, which lets them crank out lots of shots with some accuracy (as the missile pod is basically a 36" ranged autocannon). Plasma Rifles are for just such an occasion as plague marines or terminators; they deny you your durability.

As for target priority in his army...

His big anti-tank is anything with a rail gun on it. Broadsides are more accurate but can only engage tanks/MCs; but do have a 2+ save and two wounds each. They'll often come in 2-man teams with a pair of shield drones (which will be 2+/4+) and may gain Slow and Purposeful with the Advanced Stabilization System.

The Hammerhead is a little less accurate with the gun (BS4 vs. BS3 twin-linked). But, it can fire an S6, AP4 large blast as well, so the Hammerhead is a bit more versatile.

Raptor1313 said...

Past that, if you can get shots at his suits, they're not too durable. T4, 3+ saves, and 2 wounds each aren't bad, but they come in teams of 1-3 and have Ld8. They are his source of medium-weight fire; they bridge the gap between the heaps of S5 vehicle weapons and troop guns and the S10 rail guns. Ideally, they pack the missile pod, and usually some utility weapon. I favor plasma rifles for their range over the other options, and their ability to deny armor saves.

Stealth suits...low-level shooty. They can provide a stealthy source of markerlights, but hoenstly, they're much less scary than anything else.

The Skyray is a cheapo alternative to the other heavy support choices; it brings a couple markerlights and is dependent on markerlights to deliver its Seeker Missiles. It's also a matter of whether or not the Seeker Missiles it fires are subject to the normal vehicle rules, or if it's just 'spend a markerlight, fire a missile.'

Pathfinders are more of force multipliers and a "I want that dead, now," guys. There's nothing like a few markerlight hits turning his suits into BS5 nightmares, or removing your cover saves and making that Rail-head BS5. They're nasty, but killing them might divert you from killing the stuff with guns, and

Fire Warriors...can be run off easily enough. Not so much a priority, but they can threaten you if they rapid-fire you.

Kroot? If taken in greater numbers than 10 and given cover, they can stay around for a while. Against marines, you don't really have to worry about them much; they can theoretically harm vehicles with S4 hits and do a decent job of rapid-firing stuff, but beyond that? They're meat shields.

Crisis Suit Commanders are mostly there as mobile leadership boosters, and can attach theiemselvs and their shield drones to units for added durability.

Your worry with a list like that is range. Your best bet is to slap your objective where you can claim it out of LOS, since they can do a decent job of shooting you off it with Suits and/or Railguns. Thing is, he can take Disruption Pods on all his vehicles and give them a cover save if you're shooting at him outside of 12". Meltaguns at point-blank range are your best bet for killing Tau vehicles, outside of massed autocannons for the Devilfish.

Also, you can kill his troops pretty easily. Knock Fire Warriors out of transports, and Kroot? Deny them cover, and T3 with no save will fold, amazingly enough.

I offer this as I've just begun playing my Tau boys, and am learning about 'em a bit. Man, all those guns are AWESOME. Not so much the troop squishiness.

jabberjabber said...

wow :) Thanks for the extensive comments Raptor1313!!!!!!

Old School Terminator said...

If you are worried about shots, get oblitz so you can utilize their Las and Melta for the suits and Fish or for their flamers and fists in a deep strike attack or walking through the kroot. Oblitz really shine against Tau.

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