Sunday, July 31, 2011

Feast of Blades recap, or, Tau are pretty dang good.

Firstly, if you've read my site, which advocate Tau as pretty dang good, and thought "eh, they suck": I'm right. I told you so. I may or may not remove this paragraph, I'm just pretty excited by the events of yesterday. To make sure you read the whole thing, i'll sprinkle the pics and main points in with the descriptions of the missions. Mua-ha-ha.

So firstly, I brought my Tau. I burned a couple days painting and converting to make sure I had everything. I even built a Missile Pod and a pair of SMS launchers from cardboard and greenstuff. Talk about low-tech. To make sure I pulled at least the max points from painting to be added to my score, I painted everything. And based it. And slept less than usual. But, I had one of the better painted armies there, so that makes me happy. Painting is a lot of work, but you're rewarded with beautiful models on the table. So, on to the games. I took the list I mentioned in my previous post, with some modifications. Essentially, I accidentally undercosted the Hammerheads and so I had to retweak it. My list looked like so:

Crisis Shas'el: mp, pr, mt, tl
3x3 Crisis: mp, pr, mt
x6 FW
2x10/7 Kroot/hounds
2x2 Piranhas: fusion blaster, ta, dp
x8 pathfinders
devilfish: sms, ta, mt, dp
2x Hammerheads: railgun, sms, mt, dp
x2 Broadsides: ass, team leader w/ tl, x2 SD

as my last competitor said, (SPOILER: he was running dual-Land Raiders, backed up by x2 preds, x2 Baals, x2 las-plas rzbacks, mephy and a Furioso-laden Drop Pod) "wow thats a mean list."

GAME 1: vs Pre-Heresy Thousand Sons (counts-as Grey Knights)
Mission: modified Capture and Control (2 objectives 18" from short edge, 24" from long; 2 placed by players.)
Deployment: Pitched Battle (night fighting turns 5-7)

The goal of this game was to control more objectives than your opponent as primary, score more KP's than your opponent as secondary, and there were a series of Battle Point modifiers. Things such as not going voluntarily to ground, or having highest-costed unit survive, or being in the enemy's deployment zone, etc.

My opponent was using a heavily converted pre-heresy 1kSons army using Grey Knights rules. He put his marker on one corner, and i put mine towards the middle. The table we were using was one of the last ones setup, and it had some bad issues with terrain setup. As in the-middle-was-open-and-only-one-person-got-BLoS-terrain kind of bad. So we had to burn time re-arraigning the table to make it reasonable.  This resulted in us only making it turn 3. It was an enjoyable game, and we wound up tying for objective control, with a tie for secondary kill-points, and winning modifications 3-2.

As far as game-play goes: he split his army between both corners, one of which had his objective, and put a dread, hero and retinue in a storm raven reserved. I deployed entirely in one corner, deployed kroot within running distance of one of the middle objectives. And i put the other kroot squad directly into partially los-blocking area terrain on another objective close to his other corner. Then I seized. First turn went well, with me obliterating a large chunk of the forces on my side of the board. his other bunker scored a stunned on my hammerhead his turn one, but was out of range of everything but a kroot squad the next two turns. his storm raven came in turn 2, and forced a leadership check on the kroot that forced them off the board. AND, he got a lucky hit in on my dfish and immobilized it. My turn, i wrecked the storm raven and killed off the dread and most of the retinue of the GK hero. I tried running the FW but couldnt get close enough before end of time call.The frustrating part is, the only three units left on my side of the board were mostly-dead. Coteaz still had one henchman alive, and one GK squad had a member out of LoS and another squad that was half-gone that was outside LoS.

Closing thoughts: as far as deployment goes, I rate myself as "stellar." It went off as it was supposed to. A squad of Kroot on the closest objective, going to ground every round, provided a 17-body squad with a 3+ save to soak his firepower. And the turbo-boosting Piranhas kept his Rhino squad busy when it eventualy got out of terrain that wanted to pulverize them. Everyone else on my end of the table, focusing firepower on half his force while rendering his other forces mostly useless by virtue of range. As far as target priority/movement: "pretty good." I did not keep up with the time, and should have had the Fire Warriors close to the objective before time was called. That was an error on my part. One Piranha was close enough to contest the middle objective by him, and kept him from being close enough to contest my objective there. And his forces on my end of the table did not do anything significant. Other than one lost piranha, a lost Pirahna squadron, and the Gun Drone squadron that ran off the table, the only squad i lost was due to running off the table. (freakin Kroot leadership.) I contained him well, and nearly killed two squads and killed a good number of other units. But I forgot about my Fire Warriors, which cost me a "Minor Victory," instead winning by modifiers.

Game 2: vs Space Wolves
Mission: Table Quarters
Deployment: Spearhead

The goal of this game was to control the most table-quarters, based on VP in that quarter. The catch was that troops counted double as far as VP were concerned. Secondary was Kill Points, and the modifiers mentioned earlier were also present.

This was probably my least favorite game, and yet the most informative. I say least favorite because the guy I played against was not that great of a sportsman. Not the throwing-things-and-cheating kind, more of the opinionated-always-right-arrogant type. But, the game itself went well. Due to the slowness resulting from Long Fangs being able to pick different targets for each individual, again we only made it to turn 3. We tied in primary objectives (quarters controlled), tied in secondary (kill points), and i lost by 2-1 his favor for modifiers.

We setup quarters, me going first. I setup on one side, he deployed everything but his Scouts on the opposite quarter. Turn one, I either (a) failed almost half of my rolls or (b) he made every cover save from the shots I did make. Most annoying, and since he didn't seize and never advanced my Pathfinders were useless. His turn 1 resulted in killing a Piranha from the southern squad. Turn two, i popped Rhinos and Razorbacks, and wiped out some troops, and he killed a Piranha from the northern squad and immobilized the other in the southern, and whittled my huddled Kroot down. Turn 3, I got my Kroot up top in the center of the map, and was assaulted but stuck in. Oh, and lost my pathfinders to scouts who outflanked, and then summarily wiped them out with combined arms fire. His troops huddled in the middle and left terrain, one by my Kroot climbing up center, and psyker and LF squads top left. Here is a pic:

Closing thoughts: Overall, this battle was very informative. firstly: READ THE RULES FOR THE SCENARIO THREE TIMES. Once for an overview, once to make sure you understand everything, and once for anything you might have missed. We both naturally assumed that the quarters were like deployment: rectangles. However, it wasn't. draw two lines bisecting the table forming 4 triangles, not squares, and those are the quarters. I just realized it wasnt. GGGRR. Essentially, by shifting those Kroot right instead of center, and advancing my Devilfish 8 inches or so, I could have claimed the right quarter, and I already had the bottom and left quarters. As it was, since we thought it was squares, I had the bottom two and he had top two. But if we'd done it right, we would have each had two left and right. But, I could have had 3 if I'd paid more attention. The lesson here is play Tau more aggressively. I played defensively, and did well. I lost a squad of Crisis suits to accidentally leaving one in LOS to an unpopped Vindicator, lost a squad of Kroot to three turns of shooting, and a Piranha squadron and two Gun Drone squadrons to shooting/CC, plus pathfinders to out-flanking Scouts. However, I popped a Rhino, two Razorbacks, wiped out his Lord and squad, a Vindicator, Scouts, and mangled two of his remaining three troops badly, leaving only a kroot squad in range of anything he had. But, since I played defensively, I didnt get that quarter to my right. A little harder push and I could have taken it, since I already had two. But, live and learn. I'm solid on defense, but I don't kick it into offensive gear well. Also... TALLY UP YOUR OPPONENTS KILL POINTS TOO. It just occurred to me that he failed to tally his Scouts into the kill points. Blah. I'm hoping that it was by accident. So that means that I should have reported this as a win by secondary, since I lost modifiers by 1.

GAME 3: vs Blood Angels
Mission: Annhilation
Deployment: Dawn of War

This one was good ol-fashioned kill-everything goodness that everyone loves. I was facing a mechanized Blood Angels list. It featured 2 Baal Preds in reserve, 2 Preds, two Land Raiders, a Furioso in a DP, 2 lasplas Rbacks and Mephiston. Yikes. The primary objective was kill points, secondary was Seize Ground, with 5 objectives scattered around the map. And the usual modifiers.

I won roll-off and opted to go second. So he placed a Land Raider center with Mephiston slightly to his right. You may notice from the picture I deployed rather close to the blood angels player. why? Other than the above mentioned Mephy and LR, everything came rolling on t1. And, what you can't see from this picture is the other corner didn't have area terrain. I seized (yes, second time for those of you counting) went first, bringing everyone on and huddling in the corner Tau-style: Piranhas in front and side, Kroot behind, everything else behind them, Broadsides furthest back. He hit me with Mephy and the DP'd Furioso which did nothing, and killed a piranha and missed the other due to only hitting on 6's. Turn two, i killed his LR, the Furioso and Mephy. Yes, I did. One piranha popped the LR, one squad of Crisis suits popped the Furioso, and everyone else and their mother shot Mephy. He took 6 of 5 possible wounds and left the field. The next 4 turns consisted of him bringing everyone on and moving closer, my failing to have my pathfinders in an ideal location for two turns, but me managing to kill off one razorback and one of four troop squads. I also rendered one Pred turretless, one troop killed down to the sarge, another at half stregnth, and a Razorback turretless/immobilized. And failing to kill the Baal preds or the drop pod.I kid you not. Turn 4 everyone tried popping Baals, Turn 5 everyone tried popping the Drop Pod for an easy kill point. I lost a Crisis squad, three Piranhas, my Broadsides and a Hammerhead turn 5 to CC.So I won a minor victory. Secondary, I was perched on an objective all game, and turn 5 blasted my Devilfish foward for the Fire Warriors could claim one. And, the only full stregnth troop squad of his spread out enough to claim two. That was sad bananas. So a tie for secondary objective. and he won modifiers 6-4. So this was a close game but I got a victory out of it.

Closing thoughts:  This match scared me a bit starting out. Firstly, DoW sucks for Tau. If you go first, the other guy gets to deploy wherever. But if you second, the other guy opens the night fighting-less salvos. But, since i deployed second then seized to go first, that worked out. However, with the way the terrain was setup, my pathfinders didn't come into play till third turn. first couple turns everything went as planned, killing everything in threat-range of CC. Turns 3 and 4 I did a lot of shaking/stunning, but nothing significant. Turn 5 I ignored the actual threats to add some extra padding to my KP by popping the Drop Pod. That was dumb. Especially since it didn't work. Don't get me wrong, I hit almost every time. I just couldn't roll more than a 2 on my damage roll. Which... since I forgot that Drop Pods count as open-topped, meant that i wasted two of my suit squads shots on a Pod that should have been destroyed it. Overall, I would say that it went very well. I pulled off defensive-Tau "mostly good." As far as deployment goes, it was solid. Everything but pathfinders had a solid place to be. Pathfinders burned two turns going through terrain. he top area was blocked by a dead Piranha, but was rolled over by the other Land Raider, which dumped Assault Marines on my HH, killing it. That should have been better protected. Especially since the sarge survived the returning salvo, which killed everyone else. Next time, I need to keep shooting scary things to the end, rather than doing what I did, which cost me the last member of a Crisis squad.

Overall, I'd say the qualifier went very well. The tables were mostly solid, with me only having to really fix the first one I played on. I had a couple mistakes on my part, culminating in a win-by-tertiary on the first game, reporting second game as loss-by-tertiary, even though it should have been win-by-secondary, and third was a win-by-primary. The people were very chill, and a pleasure to compete with. Playing Tau, I really feel the limits of the codex design. Every Heavy and every Elite slot is critical, losing a unit is a huge blow. However, I feel I did a good job killing my opponents forces while minimizing their chances to kill mine. Also, the money I spent on Piranhas was worth every bit. They totally change the game dynamic by bringing threatening weaponry and a difficult to hit target that MUST be dealt with to the opponent's side of the field t1. I feel I have defensive-Tau figured out, I need to work on offensive. Where objectives are concerned, I need to be more aware of time and make sure I have a way to jump an objective or two the last turn of the game.

Shas'el Mike out.
Join the hunt

No comments:

Post a Comment