Monday, December 7, 2009
Battle report against Old Shatter Hands' cadre. December 2nd
Does whatever a spidertank does
Spins a web, superheavy size,
Catches vehicles just like flies
Here comes the Spidertank.
So here comes the battle report that was teased about a little while ago. Old Shatter Hands sent me all of his pictures so hopefully I can get them loaded into the post and formatted properly.
The game was based on the rules for the upcoming Inner Circle tournament on december 12th in Glen Burnie. Basically it's 1850 pts, standard FOC, five objectives (one in each quarter, one in the table centre) then you pick 5 killpoints from the other army that decide the game if objectives are drawn. It's a neat system because you can pick out the squishy bits of your opponent's army and it means that you don't get really penalised for having too many killpoints (since only 5 can be claimed). This will probably help balance IG vs marines etc.
With Old Shatter Hands' encouragement, I brought my Hunstman Spider Tank (HST) out for its first outing since I finished building it. We used the rules in teaser post below and it seemed to work out alright. It's important to note that we're playing on a 4x4 table instead of a 6x4. This turned out to be a big factor in OSHs ability to manouvre.
Army lists were in the teaser as well so let's just get on with the game.
So basically that shows everything that was on the table. My captain is with the central tactical squad to avoid any first turn sniping. Technically it's turn 1 you're seeing but we forgot to do top down photos until then. My scouts are infiltrated behind the central building and the terminators are deep striking. OSH has his Devilfish and Fire warriors in reserve, the kroot are outflanking.
For kill points, OSH chooses my three tactical squads, the dreadnought and my captain. I choose the kroot, the hammerheads, sidestriker and the piranha gun drones. My thinking is that the kroot will go down easily, sidestriker only needs a lucky shot and I'll get a killpoint, the gun drones will pop off easily enough, and the heavy support is something I'll be firing at anyway so it makes sense (I think) to add them.
OSH goes first, boosting the piranhas into the centre of my formation. He keeps them facing outwards so that all shots will be on AV 11 (you must fire at the closest facing of the closest vehicle in a squadron). His firing is pretty good. The hammerheads drop a bunch of marines from each tactical squad on the flanks. The deathrains chip in firing at my left flank and I lose six marines from that squad by the end. The broadsides get no such luck against the HST and miss, even with Targetting arrays.
My turn one is mostly moving. I surge forward with everything. The captain detaches to charge the piranhas and my scouts make a run forwards to try and krak grenade the hammerhead (like last game).
Come on Brothers, we can make it...
My firing is not too hefty. The devastators and spider tank fail to damage the hammerhead on my right flank. My assault phase is good and bad. The scouts fail to do anything, leaving them out in the open to get shot up next turn. However, the captain and spider tank roll three 6s from seven attacks. The captain destroys one piranha and knocks the gun off a second, which the spider tank then shreds. Never forget that super heavy walkers can assault different target to what they shoot. The gun drones break off and form a squad by the central objective, though they are pinned
OSH gets one devilfish from reserve and his kroot come in on my left flank. He uses the devilfish to take the objective in his right quarter and the kroot charge my remaining 4 tactical marines on the far left. The deathrains stun the dread as well, darn it. OSH and bodyguards gun down the scouts. Fortunately the remaining piranha misses with its fusion blaster (good since it had flown over the HST to shoot the rear armour) and the railguns fail to make any impact. Not for the first time, OSH kicks himself for using the hammerheads in an anti tank role. In assault, the marines kill off kroot for no losses (love power armour) but the bird men stay in the fight.
In my turn, the terminators show up. I drop them in OSH right backfield but they scatter into the centre of his lines. Oh well, let's trust in our 2+ save. My left tactical squad moves into combat with the kroot, the right one runs forward, the captain charges the gun drones, the HST and sternguard move forwards. My shooting is pretty good with the HST blowing up a shield drone and broadside, terminators killing OSH's drones and the devastators knocking down the piranha (two lascannons and two krak missiles to the face will do nicely, thanks very much). In assault, the kroot drop and I roll high for my consolidation forwards. I pop smoke on the dread as well.
OSH gets another devilfish (in on his left). His firepower whittles away at my marines but the HST keeps getting saved by his poor rolling or my good luck on 5+ cover saves. That luck flips in spades when OSH turns his fireknives and sidestriker on the terminators. They are wiped out except for the cyclone guy. Ouch, when will I learn how deadly tau plasma/fusion fire can be? Luckily the smoke saves my dread from the attention of the deathrains.
Now that's a big spider infestation...
I surge forwards again. The HST knocks sidestriker down to 1 wound, the cyclone guy brings down one of OSH's bodyguards and the tactical melta stuns the devilfish (I think anyway). I run the captain up to the shrubbery (bring me another shrubbery!) by OSH's backline. Hopefully he can get into combat with that powerfist of his. Some other fire must have gone down too as OSH was on 1 wound by the next turn but I forget when that happened.
OSH gets his last devilfish so everything is on the table now. He pushes one forwards on his left to block up my movement and hold the objective. I lose my reduced tactical squad on the left to OSH and bodyguard and my captain gets melted by Sidestriker (oh well, that didn't work). The HST continues to be elusive and gets missed by the railguns. Maybe those spidey senses are tingling :-)
The HST has ineffective shooting but charges the devilfish in the way. My plasma tactical squad shoots down the broadside gun drone. My other tactical squad misses the devilfish on the objective but the dreadnought wrecks it, forcing the Fire warriors to bail out of the back. The sternguard gun down some fire warriors in the centre (can't remember when they deployed, oh well). The HST hits once on the devilfish and immobilises it. The terminator manages to land a krak missile and a storm bolter wound on OSH and bodyguard. Luck is not on his side as the bodyguard is hit with instant death and OSH fails his 3+ and bites the dust. The tactical squad nearby guns down the fire warriors who bailed out of the devilfish.
With their backs to the giant red tape measure, OSH and his bodyguard have no way out
OSH jumps his hammerheads back and to the side, looking to put fire on my tactical squad holding the objective. He kills off a few but can't get them all. The lone terminator is blasted however. The dreadnought finally succumbs to the hails of missiles that the Deathrains have been sending his way.
My 'stunt thumb' in the photo to show the Deathrain's celebration
Unfortunately for OSH, the HST is still in contact with the devilfish. Three damage rolls later (auto-hit for immobile target, S10 +2D6 penetration on rear armour 10) and the devilfish is a smoking wreck, leaving just two fire warriors alive to face down the rampaging super heavy (see first photo).
The spider tank then rampages forward and opens fire. Its rail rifles bring down two loose gun drones from a devilfish and then the demolisher gets a perfect shot and wipes out the deathrains in one go. My tactical squad nearest the HST charges into combat with the broadside to stop it shooting up the HST. Unfortunately they fluff against the 2+ armour and lose combat, though don't run.
One hammerhead comes to the centre to try and blast off my marines from the objective. The squad is knocked down to 2 members but stays in the fight. The other hammerhead jumps over into my backfield but doesn't get a good hit on the HST. Sidestriker also has a go with his fusion blaster but no luck. He jumps back into cover. I fluff against the broadside again. Drawn combat.
Desperate to hold onto the single objective I tuck my marines as far into the nook of the devilfish and terrain as I can.
And we shall know no fear if there is a great honking wreck to hide behind
The HST has nothing to eat up and the demolisher cannon scatters off the board when I go for the hammerhead. The sternguard do better. They can see sidestriker through the trees and rapid fire 10 S4 AP3 vengeance rounds at him. Enough hit that he fails a cover save and drops, killpoint. My devastators fail to land anything damaging on the hammerhead and, once more, I fail to scratch the broadside.
We roll and the game ends at this point. I win with two marines on an objective. The others are contested (OSH's left flank with the broadside, tac squad and two fire warriors) or not held by troops. For killpoints we end up even at 3 apiece. I claim the kroot, sidestriker and the piranha gun drones and OSH gets the captain, one tactical squad and the dreadnought.
To show how much death was inflicted, here is the board at the end of the game. Note that only the two hammerheads are still functioning. The other Tau vehicles are wrecks we left to look cool and show dangerous terrain.
Thoughts on the game
Well first of all. Big kudos to OSH for hosting the game at his place (thanks for the dinner too) and letting my bring a super heavy to the table for a normal game. We talked through things and decided that the HST is not overpowered, though it is a little bit potent on such a small board. To be honest, that was one problem with the game. On a 4x4 arrangement, OSH was very limited in his ability to get out of the way and use his mechanised mobility. On the other hand, the limited manouvering space meant that I was exposed to his firepower a lot of the time, or had to move into fire zones in order to advance any further.
I feel that OSH's tournament list is strong though we both discussed alternate piranha tactics (since i have two and am going to get two more at some stage). In our first game he used them mostly in a harassing role and avoided my best efforts to take them out. This time around he was much more agressive and perhaps paid the price for that. Overall the little skimmers are very resilient to firepower but can go down quite easily in assault. The trick to beating them is to charge with things that aren't easily affected by flechette launchers. That means walkers and independent, multi-wound characters. Where a squad of 10 marines would take 15 wounds on average (3 flechette launchers wounding on 4+) and lose 5 before getting to attack. My captain on the other hand, would be wounded 1.5 times on average, and only take 0.5 of a wound. In this game, he took one wound and dealt back two hits (good rolling admittedly). Overall, a mixed strategy would seem to be best for the piranhas. Use them to corral and threaten things so that they can soak up firepower and save the aggressive stuff for really critical times in the game. Anyway, just a few thoughts.
I go with my same conclusion for the last game about OSH's firepower. It doesn't seem like too much at any one time (a marine here, two more there) but by the end of the game I'd lost 6 terminators, a dread, captain, 5 scouts and about 25 tactical marines. My units generally performed well and I'm mostly happy. The devastator squad didn't have as much of an impact as I might have liked so I may try something else next game. Thanks to OSH I have a new godhammer land raider so perhaps putting a combat squad of tactical marines in there and holding a home objective is in order. It'd definitely be tough to crack an AV14 bunker with lascannons and heavy bolters that is blazing away at you.
Anyway, thanks for reading and we'll see if the spider tank wants to come out and play again sometime.
PS: I managed to snap off the raised leg of the HST when I got home and put the box down to get my keys out. Damn resin and its brittleness. Fortunately it's a neat break so I'll break out the epoxy and fix it up soon. I need to get carving on some foam for that thing.