Thursday, January 3, 2013

Vassal Tau vs Imperial Guard 1500 pts Batrep! Also, How I Managed to Not Lose to the Flyer!

Hello and good morning!

I am excited, as I finally got around to getting my first vassal game of 6th edition in. As I am at heart a tau-fan, I played my favorite blue-skinned feudalists. I don't know that I can honestly call them communists, but that is a discussion for another time.

As I approached list-building for this game, I had no idea what I was getting myself into. Consequently, I built the most balanced list I could and hoped for a competitor that wasn't running a fighter wing. And... I was in luck! I drew a dude playing a cadian Imperial Guard list!

As far as lists go, my force composition did actually change from my traditional 5th edition list. I dropped piranhas as 3+ to hit in combat kind of negates their blocking role and 2hp is not much for 75 pts apiece. I also dropped kroot hounds as my goal was to shoot as much as possible. Shooting is king and all that. I also added some more blast marker goodness and Fire Warriors! I love the models, and with the changes to rapid fire shooting I can actually justify their use! So, lists after the break.

I ran the following:

Shas'el: x2 MP, ADV-SS, HW-BSF
x2 Crisis: MP, PR, MT, Tleader w/ HW-BSF
x2 Crisis: MP, PR, MT, Tleader w/ HW-BSF
x9 FW
Dfish: DP
x14 Kroot Carnivores
x14 Kroot Carnivores
x8 Pathfinders
Dfish: DP
HH: Rail, BC, MT, DP
HH: Rail, BC, MT, DP
x2 Broadsides: x1 TL, x1 BSF, Tleader w/ HW-DC, x2 SD

He ran the following:
x5 Vets w/ plasma
x2 guard blobs w/ x2 flamers, vox
x2 platoon command squads w/ vox
HWT w/ 3 lascannons
vendetta w/ 3 tl-lascannons
x2 armored Sentinels w/ plasma cannons

Warlord traits: me: Night Attacker, him: Coordinated Assault
Deployment: hammer and anvil
Mission: purge the alien

I won the rolloff and chose to go first, and chose the left side. I placed the broadsides where they had LoS to almost the entire map, and the two hammerheads midmap to ensure clear shots in any direction. I put one squad of FW in terrain near the Broadsides, and deployed the devilfish mid-top with Pathfinders and Fire Warriors inside, and crisis suits behind. I infiltrated the kroot forward mid-map into the forests and scouted the pathfinders down to to where they had clear LoS to the Leman Russ. He deployed his troop blobs split, top and bottom, with most of his forces focused around his top blob. The LR provided a physical shield to everyone, and the Sentinels were coming on from reserve. He attempted to seize and did not succeed. I forgot to take a pic, but its pretty easy to deduce from the Turn 1 pic.

With this game, my goal was to put what I've learned over the last couple years, and play actively. I wanted to control the pace of battle, where it happened, and how it happened. Consequently, as I had an immunity to nightfighting built into my list, got lucky and rolled control of it for my warlord trait, had better mobility, and had essentially refused flanked his line deployment, I wanted to focus on one half of the army while delaying the other half.

So, turn 1 I popped nightfighting on, and went to town. I wiffed my LR-killing shots from the broadsides, put my Hammerheads went to down on the squishy IG blobs. Because of nightfighting he did no damage. Below is a pic at the end of turn 1. I had scored 1vp for First Blood, 1vp for the LR, and he had scored 0.

be careful, ITS A TRAP!

Turn 2 was going to be important because that flyer might come on, and I had nothing to counter it with. So, I decided to VP race and shoot everything else. Flyers have restrictive movement rules, so I shuffled my vehicles to minimize shots, and also to allow for Jink to be used. Because of the way flat out works now, I moved my Devilfish back to shoot, and then flat-outed them back into place for a 2+ save on av11 or 12 depending on facing. This allowed me to block LoS to all my important stuff. I wound up focusing on the top half of the army, but killed a couple of the troops from the bottom with the kroot who had no better target. On his turn, he was able to get the Valkyrie on, and zoomed it up the middle. It targetted the closest Hammerhead and stripped a single hullpoint off. The Sentinels came in and did nothing, with the top devilfish absorbing an attempted shot without affect. The top half of his force was able to kill 2 kroot with their crazy cover save, and noone else died. Lots of absorbed shots by the devilfish. At the end of turn 2, it was still 2-0 in my favor.
this bodes well

The important thing on the third turn was the flyer rules. The flyer rules dictate that flyers move a minimum of 18" or they immediately are destroyed. And they have to delcare whether they are zooming or hovering before movement. And, since I am allowed to pre-measure, I knew exactly how far was too close for the plane to target. So, I scooted my Hammerheads closer to the flyer, knowing that if he stayed zooming he couldn't hit anything meaningful, and if he switched to hover mode that my Broadsides would gladly collect that VP. Then, I killed one Sentinel and wiffed on the other, and killed more of the top troop blob, the remainder of the heavy weapons team, and most of the vets, and put a wound on Yarrik. On his turn, he disconnected silently and quit. So, the story ends there. I won 4-0 with three kills and First Blood.

my HH's suck at making railshots. so they only got marker-duty this game

This game was unique, because I played aggressively. While I did not deviate much from my starting position, that was all that was needed to ensure that I had the strategic advantage and he had to come to me. Keeping mid-map under control allowed me to reach the targets I needed to, and minimize his flyers usefulness. Because of the movement rules of flyers, the have a huge safe zone where models inside can't be harmed without exposing the unit to return fire in hover mode. As can be seen from the picture, my crucial Hammerheads were protected by placement rather than having to roll dice and hope failure doesn't ambush me.
the bubble is the safe zone of 18" in vassal-inches

While this game was fun, and it was refreshing to see the power Tau can project on the table, the biggest reason I put this batrep up is to show how I managed to deal with a very powerful flyer without Skyfire or flyers. The Answer is to use their movement against them, and continue pushing the VP counter up. If you can't reliably shoot the flyer, shoot something else. That way you can stay ahead enough in VP's that maybe the inevitable deaths to flyer-shots won't be game changing.

Until next time!

~ Shas'el Mike
(not listening to anything currently)

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