Monday, February 1, 2010

Cities of Death Battle Report vs Old Shatter Hands.

Hey everyone, here is my first battle report of the year.

After our last tangle on his 4x4 urban board (see OSH and I decided that we needed to scale the game down for a better experience (and a shorter game length). We settled on a 1000 point cities of death game. Braving the icy chill of the snowstorm that hit the DC area on saturday (20 deg F/-6 deg celcius) I hopped on the metro and struggled the few blocks to OSH's place in the snow.

Now OSH has been playing with his Blood Angels a bit more recently and so wanted to stay with a fast assault army. By contrast, I've been using marines and I jumped at the chance to have a go with some Tau. Fortunately OSH has plenty of Tau models so I could flesh out my guys with some of his to make the force I wanted.

My list:
- Shas El with Fusion and Plama, 2 gun drones.
- 3 Deathrains (Twin Linked Missiles and flamer)
- 3 Stealth suits with marker drone
- 12 Fire Warriors
- 12 Kroot
- 6 Pathfinders with Devilfish (Multitracker, Disruption Pod)
- Broadside with Targetting Array and 2 gun drones
- Skyray with Smart Missile System, Targetting array, Target Lock, Multitracker.

I was partly playing around with some different options but I think it is a reasonably solid list. It felt weird not to have hammerheads running around but they are just too vulnerable in city terrain for me and can't always make the most of their firepower. I was hoping that with a decent amount of markerlights I could drop seeker missiles on OSH and boost firing effectiveness enought that I could torrent through his armour saves.

OSH's List (from memory, may be slightly wrong).
- Jump pack Chaplain (plasma pistol)
- 5 Assault Marines (Plasma pistols, 1 power weapon)
- 5 Assault Marines (Plasma pistols, 1 power weapon)
- 10 Tactical marines (Missile and Flamer)
- 10 Tactical marines (plasma cannon and plasma gun) combat squadded.
- 5 Scouts (Missile Launcher)
- 3 Death company marines.

The mission we rolled was to control the city ruins. There was one in OSH's deployment zone, 1 in the centre and 2 in my deployment. For strategems, OSH took infiltrate so his scouts could get close and I took Rapelling lines (can deploy out of a skimmer along its move path with a dangerous terrain check). It was partly just for the cool factor but also I thought that the Fire warriors could make a later game rush for one of the buildings.

OSH rolled first turn and deployed forwards towards the centre with everything except the plasma combat squad, which held his home ruin, and the scouts who snuck round the building on my far left. I put the broadside, Shas'El, Kroot and Skyray on my left, the pathfinders and devilfish behind a barricade in the centre, and my Fire Warriors, Stealth suits and Deathrains holding the right. Then I was lucky enough to sieze the initiative...OSH didn't look so happy.

I figured that I needed to make the most of my 2 turns of shooting before the blood angels ripped me apart in assault so I moved to do this. The kroot took position behind the barricade, the skyray moved to open LOS to the assault squad with the chaplain and my stealth and deathrains jumped out to shoot. For firing, we managed to put three markerlights on the assault marines, the firewarriors dropped one, my shas'el plasma rifled one and then I popped three seeker missiles into them from the Skyray (I was determined to fire all of the missiles this game). Sadly the broadside rolled a 1 to wound. On the other side, the deathrains didn't kill any marines and the stealth suits were about 1" out of range. OSH mostly just moved forwards towards the central building. His chaplain jumped out of sight on my left, the scout missile man peeked around the corner, and a plasma cannon blast melted four kroot.

My second turn let me open up with a bit more firepower but I didn't kill as much as I would have liked. The pathfinders did manage to remove the cover save of the marines in the centre and my broadside splatted one. In reply, OSH failed to damage the skyray with a krak missile, but killed a broadside drone with plasma fire. His chaplain jumped over the building and into combat with the kroot, killing four, losing one wound and then sweeping up the survivors...ouch.

For the third turn I moved the skyray out in front of my barricades, looking to block off the mass of marines heading my way. I also shuffled the devilfish out as well ready to pick up the fire warriors. I knocked out a couple of the assault marines in the centre after markerlighting their cover away for the broadside and hitting them with various small arms. My Shas'el blasts the chaplain with plasma and fusion fire and moves down to go for the scouts. OSH gets his tactical marines into the central building to claim that objective and sends his assault marines after the stealth suits. The suits hold out, losing only the marker drone. The death company must go for the Skyray but fail to break through its armour.

Fourth turn sees me needing to make a real push for the objectives as OSH is holding two and close to getting a third if his assault marines beat up my suits. I send the fire warriors into the devilfish and they go skywards, leaping out on the rapelling lines to land on the top of the central ruin. The deathrains pop some of the marines in OSH's home ruin and my skyray pushes forwards to clear my front lines. With some markerlight help, my fire warriors, skyray and broadside gun down one of OSH's tactical squads. Only two marines left in the middle ruin now. In assault, OSH's assault marines cut down the stealth suits. In his turn the death company chop up the skyray (furious charge and rending are nasty) and the assault marines get into combat with the deathrains, killing one.

Fifth turn I really lay on the firepower to try and clear OSH off the objectives. My Shas'el shoots and assaults the scouts, killing them. My fire warriors and devilfish manage to torrent OSH's home plasma squad to death, the pathfinders finish off the other tac marines in the centre and my broadside splats a death company marine. In the assault phase I lose another wound from the deathrains. OSH's turn is short as he only has 4 models remaining. His death company charge at the devilfish but don't reach it and the assault marines kill the deathrains and consolidate onto the nearby ruin.

OSH rolls a 2 and the game ends in a draw with one objective each, though OSH gives me the moral victory for holding another ruin (though not with troops). I later realised that I'd forgotten to make a dangerous terrain check for the rapelling Fire Warriors so I give him the moral win as well.

Whew. Well that was a blast to play. I really like Cities of Death!

Game wise, there was a lot of luck swinging my way. Rolling to sieze the initiative was a real kicker as I got to pummel OSH's troops while they were out in the open. Knocking out one assault squad before it could move was great for not getting overwhelmed too early. I think that my army choice overall wasn't too bad. The markerlights were really key for forcing OSH to take certain saves or to boost my shooting. It's the first game where I've actually really fired off the seekers from my skyray so that was a cool use of markerlights too. The stealth team suffered with their short range and the speed of OSH's assault troops so next time I might swap them for another squad of fire warriors. Overall it was really fun to play on such a constricted board where every turn was key and I loved the tight fire lanes and movement zones etc.

I will add photos tonight probably when OSH sends them to me.


  1. Good Batrep Pete, would have loved to see some pics of the game though!

    was that you first game using Tau?

    I know you have tau but you said you were just starting the army.

  2. Hey Pearly. OSH got some great pictures of the game but hasn't had a chance to email them to me yet. I'll put them up as soon as I get them from him. There is a particularly cool improv of the Fire Warriors rapelling onto the building top.

    It was my second game as tau overall. I've previously played ~2000 pts with my buddy's army (got me interested in Tau) and then used my fledgling force as allies. In the end, my colour scheme and OSH's really worked well together. I can see great potential for an apocalypse game with both of our tau on one side (and both of our marines on the other?).

    My Tau force is quite lacking at the moment and really needs another battleforce, hammerhead and two piranhas. I just don't have the money or time for that right now. Hence why Cities of Death is a great way to keep playing.

    I was amazed at the firepower of the Tau though. There was a lot of lucky rolling on my part but but in 5 turns we'd managed to kill 35 out of 39 marines. It reminds me of all of the times OSH has slowly pounded my marines into the dirt even though it doesn't seem like much at any one time.

    How's your blog coming?

  3. Yep, when you're knock out 5-6 marines per turn, it adds up over the course of the game. The Tau are just really good at putting wounds on things. Their range means you can target what you want and focus your whole army on that point. Thats why I love them!

    Nice write-up...I think I need a rematch to clear my name. I've nearly completed another piece of terrain too, a ruined rhino! Next time we should cluster the buildings in closer, too.

  4. Definitely. We need to play out some more games on both sides. Remember too that you're still getting used to playing with marines and not Tau so there is a learning curve. I, on the other hand, have been learning a lot on how to play tau from your games and insights.

    We should definitely culminate with a disgustingly large apocalypse game at Dream Wizards or something. :-)