1500 Tau Vs Eldar: Take and Hold
So, I went down to Battlegrounds Games the other day for a game, and met Dan. He's a relatively new Eldar player, but had some experience with other armies. He offered to try out his Eldar against my Tau, and I took him up on it. The Mission was Take and Hold.Aun'ui Bork'an Shuri'an raised his arms and called out to the wrestling Fire Caste children around him. "Class! Settle down now!"
The young Tau immediately stopped their roughhousing and knelt in a semi-circle at the foot of the Ethereal.
Nohar, the class 'ui, raised his hand. Shuri'an nodded for him to speak. "What lesson will we learn today, Aun?"
The other children nodded--Nohar always asked the right questions.
Shuri'an allowed himself a broad smile. "Today, little ones, we shall learn about the importance of sacrifice. Meeno, can you tell us all what sacrifice means?"
Meeno--one of the shyer pupils in the class--played with his hooves for a moment before answering. "It's when you give something up."
"Very good, little Meeno. But why do the Tau give things up?"
Hands shot up all over the room. Shuri'an pointed at Iski, a promising young female. She was quivering with excitement as she yelled "For the Greater Good!"
"Tau'va!" The class repeated as one.
"Very good--very good, all of you. Now, sit still and be good little warriors as I tell you about Shas'el Bork'an Tov'mai and his battle against the selfish Ancient Starfarers." Shuri'an sat crosslegged among the children, and raised his arms. With every pair of onyx eyes upon him, he began, "Long ago, on a sept colony very far from here, El'Tov'mai was called to defend the Empire against the cruel and selfish species known as 'Eldar'. They have no knowledge of Tau'va, for they have arrogantly refused to speak with us. When they come, they come only to take from those who have earned. They are a species of thieves and pirates, and are not to be trusted by any Tau. El'Tov'mai knew this, so he set a trap to catch the Eldar as they planned to invade his colony. Now, the Eldar had with them a..."Eldar Aspect HostHQ
5 Striking Scorpions, Exarch (both powers and Claw)
10 Harlequins w/Kisses, including Troupe Master and Shadowseer, 2 Fusion Pistols
5 Warp Spiders, Exarch w/Spinneret Rifle, Powerblades, Deep StrikeTroops
10 Guardians w/EML
10 Guardians w/EML
5 PathfindersFast Attack
6 Swooping Hawks w/Exarch (Intercept, Sunrifle)Heavy Support
Wraithlord w/EML, Star Cannon
5 Dark ReapersEl'Tov'mai's Intercept CadreHQ
Shas'el w/Plasma Rifle, Cyclic Ion, Targeting Array, HW Multitracker, Stim InjectorElites
3 Crisis Suits w/TL Plasma, Flamer (Team Leader w/Shield Drone)
6 Stealth SuitsTroops
10 FWs w/Shas'ui
--in Devilfish w/Decoy Launchers
10 FWs w/Shas'ui
--in Devilfish w/Decoy Launchers
10 KrootFast Attack
1 Piranha w/Fusion, Targeting Array
1 Piranha w/Fusion, Targeting Array
1 Piranha w/Fusion, Targeting ArrayHeavy Support
1 Hammerhead w/Railgun, Burst Cannons, Target Lock, Multitracker, Decoy Launchers
1 Hammerhead w/Railgun, Burst Cannons, Target Lock, Multitracker, Decoy LaunchersTerrain and Deployment
The Objective, at board center, was a small cluster of ruins. To its east was a series of three buildings, one on the north edge, one on the south edge, and one in the middle (more or less). To its west were a number of hills, one south, and two large ones in the north. There was clearly more cover on the east side than the west, but it was easy to stay out of LOS in the west so long as you didn't charge headlong into no-man's land.
Dan won deployment and took the north edge. His Scorpions and Guardians deployed along and behind the hill in the west, while the Avatar, Dark Reapers, and first group of pathfinders deployed along/behind the hill at the center. His second group of pathfinders infiltrated behind the objective, while his second group of guardians stood in the open between the center hill and the building in the east. The Harlequins took the bottom floor of the building and the Wraithlord clambered to the top, standing, King Kong-like, over the whole battlefield. Both the Spiders and Hawks were set to deep strike.
I split my army into two 'wings'. In the east, behind and within the buildings, went both Devilfish, my Crisis Suits, my Commander, and the Kroot infiltrated ahead to the next building up. My Piranhas didn't have room to fit back there, so they deployed in the open next to the SE building. The other group involved my twin Hammerheads and Stealth Team, who all took up positions behind the SW hill. Having learned my lesson in the past two games about the frequent uselessness of deepstriking, all of my guys started on the field.Eldar Deployment Tau DeploymentTurn 1
I won first turn, but not before Dan's pathfinders scouted into the objective, claiming their cover save. My overall plan was simple--the Hammerheads and Stealths would kick out an enormous amount of firepower and draw the same (hopefully), but stay basically in the same place, while my Devilfish, Piranha, Kroot, and Suits would sweep in towards the objective, blowing up any resistance in their way. I've tried this plan before (see my last game), but I've never stuck to it. Today I was sticking, no matter what.
The turn started out well, with my Hammerheads hovering over the hill and landing two railgun hits, one on each pack of guardians. The western guardians, thanks to some additional burst cannon fire, was reduced to just 1 model. The other group lost 5 out of 10. The stealth team then tore up the Scorpions, killing 3 of 5. Thanks to the fearsome presence of the Avatar, nobody ran. In the east, my Kroot stumbled trying to get into the center building (snake eyes on a difficult terrain roll) and nobody had range to shoot much of anything except the Commander, who sprayed down the Pathfinders on the objective and killed 1. The Piranha jetted forwards to form an assault wall between the Harlequins and the Kroot. The two devilfish wound their way between the city streets, advancing on the enemy while still under cover. The Hammerheads come out swingingThe East Flank Advances
Dan began his turn by advancing his Harlies out of the building and shooting down a piranha with a fusion pistol. This was probably not a great move, but his other option involved legging it *around* the piranha, which would take them out of the fight for two turns at least. One drone survived the skimmer's crash, but the Harlies were unable to assault it, due to the vagaries of 4th edition assault rules. The only other movement was the scorpions and single Guardian in the west, who advanced as far as they could into no-man's land, and the Avatar, who shuffled forward and inch or two to keep the Fearless bubble in range of everybody (a bit of a mistake on my opponent's part--the Avatar should have started to leg it towards my army). Meanwhile, the Dark Reapers gunned down most of my Crisis Suits (oh well, but they weren't going to be clutch in this game, anyway), and a smattering of sniper fire killed a stealth suit. The Wraithlord shot at something, but didn't hit. The Harlies jump into the open.Turn 2
In turn 2, I decided it was time for the Harlies to die. I disembarked all of my Piranha drones and zoomed my first Devilfish into rapid fire range, where it dropped its two drones and 10 FWs. The lone crisis suit, not to be left out, zoomed up to use his flamer (but really got a little *too* close for optimal flamer coverage, but whatever). The ensuing truckload of pusle-weapon fire wiped every single one of the buggers out, but not in the most efficient manner. My 20 shot FWs barrage only hit 5 times for 3 harlie kills, which was terrible. My Commander had to move in to take up the slack, finishing the last of them off with his cyclic ion blaster and plasma rifle.
The Piranhas, their payload delivered, zoomed north to try frying the Wraithlord in the building, doing one wound with their fusion blasters. The Kroot yet again stumbled trying to get into the building (2-inch move this time) and contributed to the slaughter of the Harlies with their shooting. In the west, the Hammerheads annihilated every guardian but one in the eastern group (who passed his test), killed a Dark Reaper, and killed off the remaining Scorpions. The stealths gunned down another pathfinder on the objective.The Harlies get hit with everything I gotHey, where did everybody go?
At this point, Dan's offensive plans seemed to be a bit stalled, as he was banking on the Harlies to make contact. His reserves didn't show up, and his lone guardian fled the field. The only movement was the Avatar, who went full speed towards my western flank, but was just short of a magic-sword shot at a Hammerhead. His two groups of snipers finished off the remaining crisis suit but missed the stealth team (thanks to the stealth field--first time its worked in literally dozens of games). His Wraithlord shot at a Hammerhead, but failed to do any damage. The Dark Reapers shot at...somebody, but didn't do any damage as I recall, or at least not much. Turn 2 wrapped up for Dan with him having done precious little damage to my army.The Eldar cannot stop the Tau encirclementTurn 3
At this point in the game, I couldn't have asked for a better situation. I've taken only minimal casualties and yet have done a lot of damage to the enemy. My only worry is now his Avatar and his deepstriking troops. The turn begins with the Piranha continuing to convince the Wraithlord to stay in the building and keep his head down by shooting at him but with no effect (thanks to cover). My two Devilfish continue to advance, with one of them still keeping its payload of FWs primed and ready (with only one anti-tank weapon still on the board, I was fairly confident it would survive any attacks). My Kroot successfully occupied their building (finally), and tried shooting the Reapers, who were out of range. My disembarked FWs advanced on the objective, gunning down two more pathfinders there with sheer weight of fire. The Commander picked off a Reaper at long range, while the Hammerhead submunition accounted for another one, leaving just two of them on the board. The other Hammerhead along with the Stealths ripped into the Avatar, doing only a wound after a bunch of good armor saves by Dan. Finally, my drones flitted her and there, shooting targets of opportunity--the Reapers, the Wraithlord, etc.--but doing nothing more than making a nuisance of themselves.The Firewarriors charge the objective.
Dan's reserves arrive in this turn, and both at once. The spiders drop behind one of my hammerheads, scoring a lot of glancing hits which all come up 1s and 2s, so lucky for me. His Hawks drop by my disembarked FWs, shooting them up something awful, and kill 4-5 of them. His Avatar shoots and charges the other Hammerhead, but only manages to shake it, as well. The Wraithlord shoots at the un-manned Devilfish (not sure why) and does nothing. Avatar Smash!Turn 4
I split my Hammerheads up, sending them 12" in opposite directions, hoping at least one will survive to shoot again. Meanwhile, my second devilfish drops another lethal payload of FWs on the Hawks doorstep. Their fire, along with the shooting from the Kroot, is enough to wipe them out. My stealth team kills 2 Spiders and my commander, rolling terribly, kills another 1. My Piranhas keep strafing the Wraithlord (I'm fairly surprised they are still alive), but do nothing. My drones and the unmanned Devilfish succeed in wiping out the Reapers. The only things Dan has left now are 2 Warp Spiders, an Avatar, a Wraithlord, and a smattering of pathfinders. Things continue to look good.This is where the Hawks used to be.
Dan uses his Avatar and Warp Spiders to shoot and assault my stealths, wiping them out. Unfortunately, the shooting kept the Avatar from reaching assault, so he continued to languish in the open. The Wraithlord shot at a Devilfish, immobilizing it. The lone pathfinder occupying the objective killed a single FW, while the other 5 shot the front armor of the other unmanned devilfish, accomplishing nothing.This is where the Stealths used to be.Turn 5
I need the Avatar to die, and now. If he hits any of my FW squads, he'll start consolidating from squad to squad until he wipes me out. I shoot him with both teams of FWs, the Hammerheads, and my commander. I do another 2 wounds (again, crazy armor saves), but don't knock him out. A stray burst cannon from my distant Hammerhead along with the Kroot kill off the Warp Spiders. My Piranhas do another wound to the Wraithlord, and the immobilized devilfish bangs the last nail in the coffin, with a lucky shot that kills the Wraithlord dead. It is at this point we realize we had forgotten about wraithsight for the whole game.
The mobile Devilfish tank-shocks the 5 pathfinders (far, far away), but they don't run.
Because there is no other way to save my FWs, my commander moves forward to block the Avatar's assault of my infantry, sacrificing himself for the Greater Good.El'Tov'mai charges into history
The Avatar incinerates the commander with his sword-shot. He twiddles his thumbs. Nothing else happens. Turn 6
The Firewarriors, Hammerheads, and Kroot pile a mountain of fire into the Avatar. After about a billion 3+ saves, he finally dies. As a coup de' grace, drones assault the long pathfinder on the objective, killing him. Only Tau hold the center now.The Objective is Mine!
Dan's pathfinders blow the burst cannon off a Devilfish. Game over.Final Score
Tau: ~1700Post Mortem
After two straight losses, it felt good to get a win under my belt. Dan was inexperienced with the Eldar, and I think this was his downfall. He moved his army too slowly and too recklessly, he chose the wrong targets (why shoot at unmanned Devilfish, anyway), and had some bad luck. For me, everything went according to plan. There were small things I could have improved, but I have no major complaints. My luck, also, wasn't terrible for once. I rolled about par for each of my units, getting some good rolls and bad rolls alike. My Hammerheads performed better than they have for me in a long time. This is, in part, due to the lack of AT Dan brought, but also I was managing to hit with my railguns, which usually doesn't happen for me. I do expect, however, that my next game against Dan will see a lot more anti-tank.
In any case, it was a fun game, and Dan was a gracious and entertaining opponent. Thanks for reading!