Thursday, July 8, 2010

Battle report vs Old Shatter Hands. Blood Angels against tau.

Hey all,

So I've been lax in reporting on my game last saturday with OSH but I've finally got some energy to get typing. No pictures sadly because I forgot my camera. OSH got some on his phone so if he passes them over I will upload.

EDIT: A photo has come. This shows the critical moment before my Lib Dread got the charge.

So Blood Angels vs Tau. This was a chance for me to try assaulty marines and for OSH to get some field experience on the Multitrackers versus Targeting arrays debate seen here.

OSH took (roughly, this is from memory) the following, based on his 2k list brought down to 1500.

HQ - Shas'El: plasma rifle, missile pod, targeting array, target lock + 2 gun drones
HQ - Shas'El: plasma rifle, missile pod, targeting array, target lock + 2 gun drones

Elites - 3 Crisis suits, 2 fireknives (plas/missile), 1 fireforge (fusion/missile), all with targetting arrays.
Elites - 3 Crisis suits, 2 fireknives (plas/missile), 1 fireforge (fusion/missile), all with targetting arrays

Troops - 6 Fire warriors in devilfish
Troops - 6 Fire warriors
Troops - 10 kroot and 5 kroot hounds

Fast Attack - 8 pathfinders with devilfish
Fast Attack - 2 Fusion Piranhas

Heavy Support - Broadside + 2 shield drones
Heavy Support - Broadside + 2 shield drones

After dealing with the blood angel codex organisation issues discussed here I came up with a list to fight against the Tau.

HQ - Librarian with Blood Lance (4d6" S8 AP1 Lance) and Wings of Sanguinus (move like a jump pack).

Elites - 5 Sanguinary guard with banner, because they are very cool.
Elites - 3 Sanguinary priests to give my troops Feel No Pain and Furious Charge.
Elites - Librarian Dreadnough with the aforementioned Wings of Sanguinius and Might of Ancients (+D3 attacks).

Troops - 5 assault marines with meltagun and power weapon on the sergeant. No jump packs and in a rhino.
Troops - 5 assault marines with meltagun and power weapon on the sergeant. No jump packs and in a rhino.
Troops - 5 assault marines with meltagun and power weapon on the sergeant. No jump packs and in a rhino.

Fast Attack - Baal Predator with twin-linked assault cannons and heavy bolters.
Fast Attack - Baal Predator with twin-linked assault cannons and heavy bolters.
Fast Attack - 3 Land Speeders. Multi-melta and flamer, multi-melta, assault cannon and heavy bolter.

I was trying to play a nasty tournament-style list. It's a long way from what I would usually play but I went with it to give OSH practise for the NOVA open he's going to, where BA will undoubtedly be well represented. I did choose sanguinary guard because they are cool though, and I equipped the landspeeders WYSIWYG rather than just going melta/flamer. A bit more expensive but more characterful in my view.

I will go generally over the game as it's been a few days and I can't remember exactly what happened on what turn.

OSH goes first. My Sang Guard are deep striking, Baals outflanking. His firepower blows up one rhino and knocks the storm bolter from another. In my first turn everybody hustles forwards at high speed (woah, fast marines) with my speeders turbo boosting and my librarian dread jump pack running some 15"+. The foot librarian hits the piranhas with blood lance but no penetration (S8 vs AV11).
OSH proceeds to immobilise my damaged rhino, kill 2 speeders, blow the MM from the third, knock off the dreads DCCW and kill a marine who is on foot. In my turn I get the Sang Guard and pull off a critical move. Thinking like I'm playing warmachine, where clearing a charge lane to the caster can win the game, I jump my lib dread into a small gap between a devilfish, fire warriors and drones. My speeder then comes up and flames the troops, opening a charge gap to the crisis suits behind the drones. The sang guard blow up the devilfish with their inferno pistol and the dread charges into combat. Even with only a S6 force weapon, he wins combat. Doesn't catch the crisis team though, but sadly for OSH, they run from the board. One flank is now collapsed.
OSH retaliates next turn by killing the dread and shooting a couple of sang guard with the piranhas. His broadside also pastes my librarian who'd moved out to get a blood lance shot. Otherwise, he's pretty backed into a corner on the 4x4 board. My turn gets me both Baals, one on each flank. I basically grind forwards with my marines, one squad assaulting and beating the kroot over a couple of turns, the speeder flames out the pathfinders and I move forwards.
OSH keeps fighting and downing marines but he's too hemmed in and my pincer movement ends up having only his crisis team still alive by turn 5 and facing a lot of foes.

Victory for the Blood Angels.

So BA thoughts...

- Blood Angels are fast! Having up to 18" movement on all rhino chassis vehicles is a huge deal and let me clear the board with ease. I was restricted much more by terrain than by distance. Scouting/outflanking Baals are super nasty too.
- Jump pack librarians seem a little unfair, particularly against Tau where they can't damage them in assault.
- Blood Lance is nasty against big tanks but is still a single S8 hit and will roll low on a number of shots. It does better if you can line up multiple units to take a hit. I consider it a powerful but well balanced power.
- Getting furious charge and Feel No Pain is extremely good for assault troops.

Tau thoughts

- I think I'm with OSH on getting +1 BS for crisis suits rather than multitrackers, particularly against MEQ. At range his suits would be almost deathrains (66% hit rate vs 75%) and then when I got into plasma range I'd be hit by BS4 AP2 shots. It is particularly nasty against Blood Angels as I had no wound allocation games to play. If he'd fired missiles too I could have stacked the plasma shots onto particular models and gotten my FNP saves on others. As it was, I had no save at all (see next point) and my marines went down fast.
- Markerlights are great in terrain. OSH got some good hits (5-6) on certain turns and would strip my cover saves as well as boosting his hit rolls. I'm just glad he didn't have any seeker missiles.
- Facing a footslogging Tau army is quite tough as they can put out a lot more firepower than the usual mech force. On a bigger table, I think I would have been a lot more challenged to win. The smaller table and the librarian charge really made it work for me.
- Drones can be used very very effectively as movement and assault blockers. They also carry pinning guns which can be used to penetrate rhino armour. Don't ignore the little guys if they get behind you or you might end up HAVING YOUR BAAL DIE TO TWO LITTLE FLYING TOASTERS WHO GET A PENETRATING REAR ARMOUR SHOT AND ROLL A 6. Ahem, caps lock off. Me and OSH definitely laughed about this one and it was a great comeback moment that weakened my right flank.

We discussed what OSH could have done to change the game and I don't think there were any big failings. The dice and table were kind to me for sure. I suggested that in the tournament he should be willing to break the HQ suit off from the team to take a charge if need be. Had that happened, I would have probably killed the Shas'El but then lost my dread to a full team of Crisis suits with fusion and missiles. Not losing that flank would have let OSH hold me off a lot more effectively.

I look forward to reading about how his tournament goes as at 2k he will have a lot more railguns. We both agreed that heavy tanks should be ignored in favour of rhinos for railguns as a hit will always at least glance and slow the attack.

Thanks for reading and thanks OSH for the game and for loaning me the models.


  1. While I don't doubt the size of the table played a part, Tau don't have much answer to fast mechanised assaulters other than blocking and screening to keep them at a distance while the guns wear them down, and this report shows that to a tee.

    I am undecided on MT v TA, but in general I prefer the greater shots of the MT v the greater accuracy of the TA, since with markerlights I can always boost the latter but not the former.

  2. I think the board was certainly a factor but the speed of the new blood angels is a real problem for the Tau. I've definitely learned from OSH the value of using drones, piranhas or kroot to block off assaults as it is the only good way to give you time to shoot them off the table.

    In this game I think that OSH might have done well to consider sacrficing his HQ to block the assault for an additional turn and save a large portion of his mobile firepower. The ability for an IC to detach is extremely useful for Crisis teams and is something that Tau players should use whenever will benefit them.

    I think that the MT vs TA is not a cut and dried answer. If I was facing a horde army, MT would be on the table as I would use markerlights (like you suggest) to give me accurate volume hitting power. Against MEQ and particularly FNP, mechanised MEQ then the TA can be nasty. It let OSH use the crisis suits as Deathrains-lite early on and then nasty plasma teams later in the game, denying me wound allocation and FNP. His markerlights were mostly used to strip my cover saves (with +1 BS where possible) and it meant that entire teams of marines could be gunned down in a single turn.

    I'm mostly happy to have experienced this new perspective rather than relying on the constantly trotted out mantra of 'Missile, Plasma, Multitracker every time' that many Tau players say. I think that the standard Fireknife is very powerful and useable, but it's not the be all and end all.

    PS: Looking forward to seeing your Shas'O Rymr.