Sunday, December 18, 2011

1850 Tournament!

Love this pic.
And now for an overdue update: Last weekend I had the privilege of playing in an 1850 tournament at Texas Toy Solider. It cost $15 for entry, and was a success. Sisters of Battle, Eldar, Chaos Demons, Grey Knights, Imperial Guard, Chaos Marines, Blood Angels, Space Wolves, another Tau and two Vulcan Marines were present competing for success, plus whatever other armies slipped my mind. Oddly absent were Dark Eldar and Necrons, considering they are the newest of the zenos books. Also, (with no surprise) there was no Tyranids present.

While previously I have mentioned that the traditional monobuild of Tau is the only way to go, I've been playing around with a different setup. Basically, two-man Crisis squads and two 5-man Fire Warriors in Devilfishes. The reason for the Crisis squad setup is their abysmal leadership and the expense of squad upgrades. Crisis suits are jump infantry with poor leadership, and should they break less than 50% then they can never rally. Also, if vehicles are the target often one of the suits is wasting its shots. And lastly, 3 suits are tough to hid behind cover or vehicles, as one of them is bound to have something hanging out. So, i've been playing two-man squads. They may break, but they will never run off the map unable to rally due to squad size. Also, they're easier to hide. So, I used this strategy in my 1850 list. Heres the list, in case you are wondering:

x1 Shas'o: missile pod, plasma rifle, multi-tracker
3x2 Crisis: missile pod, plasma rifle, multi-tracker
2x5 Fire Warriors: x1 pulse carbine
2x10/5 Kroot/hounds (one squad had 4)
x1 Devilfish: disruption pod
x6 Pathfinders
x1 Devilfish: disruption pod
2x2 Piranhas: fusion blaster, targeting array, disruption pod
2x1 Hammerhead: railgun, sms, multi-tracker, disruption pod
x2 Broadsides: advanced stabilization system, squad leader w/ target lock, x1 shield drone

With this list I wanted to make sure I had lots of blockers and bubble-wrap, but kept almost all the firepower of the 2k list. Overall, I feel this is a pretty solid list. The downside of this list is the killpoint count: 20. 20 kill points if i've popped all the drones, 16 if I keep them attached. That is beyond silly. The worst part is, there is no other way for Tau to do it. But, whatever. With two Fire Warrior squads I could potentially claim two objectives, and contest the others with what was left of my force.

Game 1: Me vs Chaos Demons: Major Loss

his list:
x8 Bloodcrushers: iron shield (or whatever its called, 3+ armor save)
6x9 Nurglings
2x1 Demon Princes

thanks Google!
So I can't find my pictures, so I wont give you a play-by-play, as that can get boring. So summaries away! I was facing a Fatecrusher List, with a modified Dawn of War mission. As usual, nightfighting on turn 1, up to 1 HQ and 2 Troop choices for initial deployment. However, there were a couple modifications. First, night-fighting stayed in effect until we rolled a 4+ at the start of the turn. Additionally, we had to divide our remaining army into three segments, which had to be reserved. The first would come in at the normal difficulty for the squad, and the next two segments would also be tested for, but at a +1 and +2 difficulty compared to the first wave. Our mission was to get as many of our Troops and Elites into the other persons deployment zone as possible, bonus points for most expensive unit surviving, killing the others elites, and something else I forget.

So I brought in my kroot and my commander, and put them in cover. Demons dropped, I shot some, killed a demon prince. He assaulted and killed everyone over two turns. Thats when things took a turn for the worse. Nightfighting stayed in place for 3 more turns! We had 4 turns of nightfighting, so I didn't start dropping his models until turn 5.  It took me a couple turns to get everything in, which was no big deal. Basically though, it was a massacre. The nurglings deep-struck into my zone, and 27 fearless swarm wounds per squad was not something I could feasibly take down. So he chased me across the map, devouring my squads, and I ended the game in the top left corner of the map, when i came in bottom middle. Final Score: i got blown away. I lost 8 kill-points, and he had 9 troops in my deployment zone. And his most expensive unit survived. He lost 3 kill points, and had 1 of my troops in his deployment zone. It was brutal.

Game 2: Me vs Eldar: Draw

His list was somewhere along the lines of the following. I dont remember most of the details, as this was my first game to ever actualy fight an eldar army. so the weapon upgrades are pretty much lost to the mists of history.

only pics i could find were game2 deployment
2x1 farseer: runes of warding, fortune
x6 harlequins: x2 fusion pistols
3x10 dire avengers: exarch
3x1 wave serpents
x6 warp spiders
2x2 War Walkers: eldar missiles

my side of the field
Game 2 was against the Eldar player, which was pretty sweet. I knew Eldar had fast vehicles, and high initative, but having never flipped through their codex I was very unprepared for how this game should have been played. Deployment was spearhead, with a 24" no-mans land running from the top-left corner of the table down to the bottom right. Mission was inverted kill-points: we would total up however many were left at the end of the battle, with HQ's being 3, elites/troops being 2, and everything else being worth 1, and the person with the highest points winning. Oh, and units created in-game didn't count. Yay for KP-free drones!

end of turn 2?
So basically the game involved him shooting, hitting, and me making every cover or disruption pod save that did not involve piranhas. Then, i'd fire, hit and wound/penetrate, but then he'd make his cover saves or i'd roll shaken on the damage chart respectively. I kid you not, this is how the entire game went. At the end of the game, i'd had a squad of kroot run off the map after loosing 4 guys from it (sad face. stupid kroot leadership), and both piranha squads and their respective drones died sparkly deaths. He'd lost two transports, and had two squads of dire avengers and his warp spiders mauled. So we tied, and that was that. I played far too defensively this game. When I got home, I started flipping through the codex. Basically, his entire army had str4 or 6 weaponry, and no model had a toughness score over 3. Seeing as Tau firepower is str5 and up, and t4 for my suits, and av11+ for vehicles, I should have advanced, hammerheads first, fish flanking and piranhas screening, suits jumping behind, and rolled his army up. As it was, we pretty much duked it out ineffectively and then called it a draw. What a silly result.

Game 3: Me vs Grey Knights: Massacre

His list was as follows, i think:
2x5 Paladins
x5 Interceptors
x5 purgations: x2 psycannons
Nemesis Dreadknight: greatsword, h. incinerator

Prob GK Skulls
So i've commented a couple times that I think Tau are a great foil for grand cheese known as Grey Knights. They're expensive, have awesome CC weapons and powers, and their vehicles are difficult to suppress. However, Tau don't engage in close combat, love smaller-sized armies, and use weapons that kill vehicles rather than suppressing them. This mission was a 3rd edition throwback, oddly like capture the flag with guns. Which, btw, is as weirdly awesome as it sounds. There were 6 tokens scattered around the board, with a number on the underside. If you landed a model on it and stopped moving, you could flip it over. If the number matched the number rolled before deployment, that was the objective you were trying to capture. Then, you're goal was to keep that unit alive to retain possession of the marker. No secondaries, this was all-or-nothing. Spearhead deployment, kroot infiltrating into cover about 24" from the GK deployment zone up top, other infiltrating as screen below.

So turn 1, he moves foward. This map has a lot of of blos cover about as tall as half-a-dreadknight. However tall that actually is. But, none tall enough to block a Stormraven. So he moves foward, flips a couple tokens: nothing. He moves the purgation squad and whatever the other was foward, uses astral aim to be able to shoot my kroot, and then i go to ground for a 3+ and nobody dies.  My turn, i explode his Stormraven, put a wound on his dreadnight, my piranha squad moves 18" and drops the drones on a marker: its the one! at this point, i run it back 4", and then assault move it another 6". His turn involves moving foward, and the dreadknight killing a piranha and the drones. meh. The rest of the game involves him moving foward towards me, shooting kroot pointlessly, me using Devilfish drones to keep the objective out of firing range of him turn 3 on, and me shooting everything to death besides 8 paladins and draigo. Turn 6 they barely reached the middle of the table, and i rolled a 1 for every wound i put on them! I kid you not, a 1 for every missile pod, every rapidfire plasma gun, every railgun, you name it. It was a massacre in my favor. As mentioned, i dropped everything but the remaining 8 termies and draigo, and he killed 3 piranhas, 6 drones, and 9 kroot from one squad. It was beautiful.

they forgot the rinse step
Overall, I felt the stregnth and weakness of my codex, and the limitness of my knowledge. It was quite a rollercoaster day for me. The first game showed some glaring problems with Codex: Tau Empire. Namely: Necrons. Night-fighting is a terror that keeps Ethereals up at night, fearing to close their eyes and dream. Its terrible. Sure markerlights can allow you to ignore the rule, but your lights have to see to hit first! And since they're heavy weapons that means that squad can't move. That is a brutal combination when combined with a meaty assault army. Depending on how the meta goes, this could cause me to stop playing Tau at tournaments for the next couple months. Between solar pulses and that one HQ, it could get real nasty, and I have nothing to counter it with. In terms of knowledge, my defensiveness against the Eldar force really held me back. I played very defensively, keeping everyone alive and him out of threat range, but nothing really got accomplished. If I could play that game again, I definitely would have risked my forces more. Last game was pure gold. Using my archaic codex to hammer Cheese Marines into the ground just makes me happy inside, I cant really describe that glow. Additionally, Tau are boss at keep away. 18" move, 2" disembark, followed by a d6 run and 6" assault move means that if I find the token first you'll never see it again. Odd thing for Tau to be good at, but whatever.

So yes, there it is. I didn't place as high as I wanted, due to loss-draw-win, but it was fun. Until nextime!

Shas'El Mike
"Metal Boxes!"

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