Not gonna lie I like the set up and the opening story (why stealth suit when you have no stealth in your army though ) still fun to read. I'm looking forward to the game. I like these list.
Because their job is to hide, not engage. I'm pretty certain a Stealth Team has a lot of jobs that don't involve attack. Anyway...Continued from AboveMission, Terrain, and Deployment
We rolled The Scouring for mission, which seems to always be the mission we roll, but whatever - the Scouring it is. Terrain was fairly well distributed, with the theme being an old abandoned power station in some arctic wilderness. The NE quadrant of the board was mostly forest, with a river running from the SE to the N-center. The river began in a large waterfall (obscuring terrain). In the center of the board was a large reactor (also obscuring and impassable). There was an abandoned building in the SW corner (obscuring) and a small bunker and a watchtower in the NW (also both obscuring, but also small). Along the southern edge of the board was a defense line.
Secondary objectives went as follows:
Tau (me) took Stranglehold
, Investigate Signal,
and To the Last
(which included my Crisis Bodyguards and the two Hammerheads). I didn't anticipate it would be easy to score Stranglehold and I've never had much luck (or need) to complete action-based objectives, but they were all I could really come up with.
The Eldar took Bring it Down
(for obvious reasons), Raise the Banners
(why not, I guess), and Scout the Enemy
, which is an Eldar-specific "your rangers score free points" objective.
The Eldar won the roll-off for deployment zone and chose the eastern DZ. His deployment was pretty simple: the Hawks were in reserve, the four grav tanks with their various cargo clustered in the center (to be obscured by the reactor) closely followed by the Farseer, and the rangers infiltrated into the NE corner of the board, out of their own DZ, and where I would probably never bother with them. If the game went five turns, they would probably earn 10 VP with no trouble.
On my end, since the reactor was a huge LOS blocker for me, my forces wound up a little split. In the north, the four piranha were backed up by the foot Strike Team and one Hammerhead towards the back. In the south, the two Devilfish (w/strike teams and Cadre Fireblade aboard) were backed by the other
Hammerhead, which deployed out of LOS behind the building down there. The Tetra deployed center-front of my DZ, obscured behind the reactor, since their status as vehicles would allow them to move and still successfully pull off the Markerlight action afterwards. Finally, the Crisis Commander and the Crisis Bodyguards planned to drop in via Manta Strike.
For my Tactical Philosophy, I chose Mont'ka. This battle would be over by turn 3, of that I was fairly certain.
DeploymentTau Deployment Zone Eldar DeploymentThe battlefieldTurn 1
The Eldar won the roll-off for first turn. One Wave Serpent full of Guardians broke north to take the forest objective, one Wave Serpent w/Guardians broke south to take the eastern trench objective. The Wraithguard Serpent jetted straight ahead to claim the center objective, just next to the reactor. Finally, the Falcon w/Dragons aboard moved forward a little bit to the river, where it's high-powered weaponry blew apart one (Doomed) Piranha and damaged another. The second in that group was polished off by the northern wave serpent. In the south, the wave serpent there shaved a few wounds off the Fireblade's Devilfish.
Of note, throughout the battle I misused a stratagem, since I thought the new Docking ability of drones enabled me to use them for Savior protocols to cancel one hit by sacrificing one of the docked drones. At the time, I couldn't find the rule that said I couldn't do this, but I see how I missed it. I don't think this affected the game much, though - the Eldar were over-killing my Piranha with shuricannons to the point where they were dead regardless. But is was an error, and one I won't make in the future.
The Eldar scored Scout the Enemy this turn and two Bring it Down points.
Top of Turn 1
I was too excited to be playing the game and forgot to take photos this turn, alas.
In the bottom of Turn 1, I scooted the Tetras over and marked both the Falcon and the Serpent full of Wraithguard, since I wanted the opportunity to kill their respective cargo before they killed me. The Hammerhead in the north absolutely DELETED the Falcon with one brutal railgun shot (holy amphetamine parrot, that gun), doing 3 moral wounds to the nearby Farseer in the process. The Hammerhead in the south did the exact same to southern wave serpent, serpent shield be damned. Hammerheads are BACK, baby! It's been literal ages since they were last effective. 5th edition, was it? Anywho...
In the south the Devilfish moved forward and brought their punishing firepower to bear on the guardians, who had been forced to dismount after their wave serpent was split open like a fortune cookie. I killed 9 of the 10, leaving one left, though that one was stubbornly sticking to the objective.
In the north, the two remaining piranha zoomed forward, ready to wipe out the Wraithguard serpent but the serpent engaged Lightning Reflexes, which cancelled out my Markerlight token and the piranha fusion blasters missed once and failed to damage with the other. Oh! And they used Designated Tasking at the start of the turn to let their drones bail out and I had them float in my backfield, warding off any Swooping Hawks that got some bright ideas about killing my Tetras or harassing my Hammerheads.
The foot Strike Team seized the NW (tower) objective and threw most of their firepower at the closest Wave Serpent, shaving off 2-3 wounds or so. Three of the team, however, had LOS to that final guardian way in the south and, with a 40" pulse rifle range (thanks, Bork'an scientists!) and the use of Relentless Fusillade, but 6 shots on that LONE guardian with AP -2. And then what does the little bastard do? He only fails ONE save (on a 6! A SIX!) and my opponent spends for a Command Re-roll and HE GETS ANOTHER SIX. Goddammit!
Things went a bit better with the dismounted Fire Dragons, who were hiding in the woods up north after their transport was perforated like a punchcard ballot in a Florida election (i.e. "messily"). They lost one guy in the explosion and then the northern hammerhead's 22" range Acclerator Burst cannons (thanks, Bork'an scientists!) raked the remaining ones, killing another 2. They then failed their morale check, causing another guy to bail and leaving the Exarch and one random fire dragon. The exarch then fails his combat attrition test
, meaning he skedaddles and leaves his buddy high and dry, hiding behind a pine tree with the massed firepower of the Tau Empire bearing down on him. What a jerk!
For all the damage I inflicted, though, I only held 2 objectives, which isn't enough for stranglehold to kick in, and I sure as hell wasn't performing any actions, so...here we are. I'm beginning to see why Vespid might actually be useful, vis-a-vis these "action" things.
Bottom of Turn 1The Piranha get aggressive!The Guardians disembark as their ride splits in halfThen there's this lucky jerk.And this decidedly un-lucky jerk.Score in Turn 1
Tau: 0Turn 2
The Eldar's turn to lay on the pain! The Guardians in the northern Wave Serpent disembark and close in on the foot strike team, the river making very little difference to their nimble advance. They open fire at point blank range and wipe out seven of the ten firewarriors (I pay for Insane Courage so the last three don't run). The two remaining wave serpents toss their firepower at the remaining Piranha, killing one and badly damaging another. The last Fire Dragon moves behind the northern wave serpent and raises a banner on the forest objective.
In the south, the Swooping Hawks drop in to reinforce the SE objective while that lone guardian raises a banner on that self-same objective. The Wraithguard and their Spirit Seer, meanwhile, disembark from their serpent and amble down to vaporize one of my Devilfish. It explodes! I assume it explodes like everything else, so I check the entry in the book. Imagine my surprise when I learn that the Tau vehicles BLOW BIG. A d6 mortal wounds! Holy crap! The thunderous explosion kills the Spirit Seer, the Farseer (who had moved closer for cover, ironically), and knocks out one Wraithguard. That transport truly gave its life for the Greater Good. What are they packing those things with, anyway?
My Strike team spills out and they are then shot up by the Hawks, losing five or so. The Wraithguard charge them and I lose another one, but the gutsy little bastards don't break and pass their morale test.
The eldar score the primary objective 3 times over, which hurts, and also pick up more Bring it Down and Scout the Enemy points.
Top of Turn 2He raises a banner?! The absolute gall. "When you're a Jet you're a Jet from your first cigarette til your last dying day..."Picture these Wraithguard covered in soot with a shocked, Wile E Coyote expression.Oooo, beating the Tau in close combat. HOW ORIGINAL.
In the bottom of turn 2, I bring the hammer down again. My primary objective here is...objectives. So, yeah. Tactical genius, right?
Anyway, I want to take back the tower objective, keep the SW objective, take
the SE objective, and knock the Serpent off the central objective. If possible (a stretch), I want to contest the forest objective in the NE. Doable? Maybe. Here we go:
The Tetra fall back behind the reactor, giving them LOS to the Wraithguard, who they mark up after the strike team they were facing falls back onto the SW objective. After disembarking its strike team and Cadre Fireblade, the remaining Devilfish moves forward and guns down that stubborn little guardian and no strands of fate or anything saves his sorry little but from pulse-related incineration.
The Crisis Commander and Bodyguards drop into the Eldar DZ and open fire. The plasma rifles and burst cannons fire at the Wraithguard and, when joined with the remaining strike team and the cadre fireblade AND the burst cannons on the Commander AND the burst cannons on the southern Hammerhead, I manage to wipe the unit of stubborn wraith constructs out. The Bodyguard flamers burn the Hawks to ash in short order, meaning that SE objective is mine. We throw down their stupid little flag.
In the north, the northern Hammerhead puts a railgun slug through the central Wave Serpent and kills it dead (I will never, ever get tired of killing Wave Serpents this easily. It's been decades, friends. DECADES!). The southern Hammerhead throws a submunition onto the Guardians, killing more than half of them, and the rest is taken care of by a combination of drones, Hammerhead burst cannons, and the strike team--the tower objective is mine!
Having achieved all of my aims, I go for the stretch goal--having the remaining piranha contest the forest objective. My commander's Ion Blaster tries to take out that lone fire dragon, but no good--the little guy makes all his saves. The piranha then has the choice between trying to blow up the wave serpent (very unlikely) or killing the lone fire dragon (not bad odds). I go for the latter, but I miss, so nothing-doing.
I scored no primary objectives this turn (I only held one objective), but by the end of the turn I've scored Stranglehold, at least, and am set up to sweep the board on all future turns.
Bottom of Turn 2The cavalry have arrived! Tower objective = mineSE objective = mineCentral objective = nobodyScore in Turn 2
At this point, the Eldar are far ahead on points, but there's no way he can actually win the game, even if we play one more turn--I will get 15 points next turn, he lacks the ability to stop me with his 1 transport and 6 infantry, and I'm scoring 15 for To the Last no matter what. My opponent elects to concede. If we're being generous, his score would work out to another +3 points (Scout the Enemy and Bring it Down) for a final of 27. Mine would be a minimum of 33 (15 for having 3 objective next turn and 15 for To the Last). He concedes the game. Post Mortem
This was a fun game, if brief. The Tau hit like a ton of bricks, are pretty mobile (in this build), and crisis suits and hammerheads are back as very effective units. I could have managed my markerlights better, but I've never emphasized markerlights in all my Tau playing career (going back now, what, 18 years?!
) and I've never felt their lack. This is especially true now, where most units are effective on their own even without that handy little +1 to hit and, seeing how that's all markerlights do these days, there are times I can pretty easily live without it.
Honestly, the Crisis Bodyguards felt like overkill, but that's mostly because of how fast this game went. Honestly, I don't think I've ever played a 9th edition game that went past Turn 3 in any meaningful sense. Is that just me? Everything these days is just SO deadly that I have trouble seeing how one side or the other just isn't decimated in the early game. Either that or one side of the other has such a commanding point lead that continuing is pointless. This can be fun, sure, but it doesn't really make a super healthy edition and I haven't really felt like 9th is working very well. Granted, I've only played a handful of games (screw you, COVID!), but that's the sense I get.
As for this specific game, I think probably my opponent would have been better served concentrating all of his forces in one direction, rather than splitting them the way he did. As it stood, I was able to take his army apart piecemeal and the Tau are always going to have more stuff than the Eldar in a full-board battle. He might have jetted south (or north) and focused his attack and done better. Maybe not, though, given how mobile my army is, but who knows?
I will be playing Tau again, that much I do know. This was a fun game and I look forward to future challenges. Thanks for reading and thanks, as always, to my opponent!
(Finished this report, btw)Double post merged - Iris.