Well, the deathstar got its outing last night against Old Shatter Hands' Tau Cadre. I was trying out a big assaulty unit as a spearhead and OSH was giving pathfinders and firestorms a go.
We played a 1330 points game because I grabbed models in a hurry took more than 1250. My list was:
- Captain with powerfist leading 10 Grey Knights (2 Incinerators)
- MM Dread
- TL-AC Dread
- 10 Tactical Marines (Missile launcher and flamer)
- 10 Tactical Marines (Missile launcher and meltagun)
- Land Raider
And OSH brought:
- Old Shatter hands (Fireknife) with two gun drones
- 3 Fireknives
- 3 Firestorms + 2 Gun drones
- 12 Fire warriors with a devilfish
- 12 Fire warriors
- 8 Pathfinders with a devilfish
- 3 Broadsides with Targetting arrays and 2 shield drones.
The table setup was an urban board and we set it up so that basically I was going to head for OSH's gunline. There was one roadway space for the Land Raider to deploy in and the Tau had plenty of barricades. I was aiming to get as many troops as possible inside OSH's deployment zone. He chose to hold back his crisis suits to deepstrike while OSH and the Broadsides anchored the central barricade. I was nervous setting up my LR in front of the broadsides but there was no choice and I figured that fear was not becoming for marines :-)
So how did it go?
....in short, aggressive movement and poor rolling for OSH meant it was a slaughter of the Tau.
I was lucky in my first turn as I moved forwards on all fronts (LR with deathstar in the middle, one combat squad on the right, one in the middle, dreads and full tac squad on the left) and didn't do much firing. OSH used his pathfinders to boost the broadsides and take away my smoke cover save but the railguns only managed to stun the raider. Turn 2 I dropped my deathstar and moved them up. Two incinerators (S5,AP4,no cover or invuln. saves) later and the pathfinders were gone. My other forces carried on sweeping around.
OSH gets both crisis teams in but they both scatter into buildings. He rolls three 1s on the dangerous terrain for the fireknives and loses and wound on the other squad too. One set of fire warriors jump out of the devilfish to rapid fire the deathstar. They are joined by OSH, the broadsides firing SMS and the fireknives. By putting as many plasma shots as possible on the captain, having cover and good rolling, I lose 4 Grey Knights and a wound on the captain. The firestorms don't have much luck on the flanking combat squad either.
What follows is basically a series of nasty assaults from the Captain, Grey Knights and Dreadnoughts to wipe out the centre of OSH's lines. The Land Raider keeps popping shots into the devilfish and Fire warriors, and my full tactical squad sweeps into the deployment zone of OSH. We end the game after 4 turns. I lose 6-7 Grey Knights, my captain and 5 marines. OSH loses himself (bizarre but true), 4 crisis suits, 3 broadsides, a devilfish and a few fire warriors.
Lessons from the match:
- A basic MEQ deathstar is actually quite vulnerable. If OSH had rolled better, or I rolled worse (passed 7 saves on the captain in one turn) then the Grey Knights would have been badly thinned out. Also, their combat success was against Tau forces. A real assault opponent would have been tougher, though striking at S6, I4 is still powerful.
- Land Raiders can be really mean once you have taken out threats to them. By the end of the game it was literally invulnerable to OSH's shots.
- Railguns are not as powerful against AV14 as you might first think. We talked about their effect (or lack of) and then decided that they were possibly better used against Rhinos as they will always glance at the worst. Still, bad luck on this unit was the problem for this game.
- Pinning can sneak up on you. OSH's devilfish popped a tactical marine with a gun drone and the squad then hit the deck, giving me one fewer missile shots during the game.
- Markerlight support is a really key element for many units in the Tau codex. OSH was unlucky to get roasted by the heavy flamer equivalents that Grey Knights have as just boosting his shooting by a little might have spelled the end for my deathstar.
- OSH is one of the most gracious and fun guys to play against, win or lose. We had a fun time and it was so easy to play with someone who knows the rules, doesn't argue over awkward points and just wants to enjoy a game of toy soldiers.
Thanks for the game OSH.
PS: I may have unintentionally cheated at one point. My fearless Grey Knights were joined by the captain when they got shot up. I believe that the addition of such a character removes their fearless status and so I should have taken a leadership check when they got shot up. My bad.