1500 Tau Vs Orks: Vital Intelligence
This is a pretty brief report, so no little vignette to start off this time--couldn't think of anything especially cool. I broke out the Tau to give them a whirl after a year or two of sitting on the shelf. I saw that Crisis Suits had their costs slashed and I figured I'd give them a little test to see how they work these days. Accordingly, the list I've got down there is very much sub-optimal for the Tau--not enough Strike Teams, not enough Drones, and a lot of wasted points on stupid stuff. I took on the Orks, who the Tau have long had a very good record of blowing off the table. Of course, this is a new edition and a new day...Tau Hunter CadreBork'an BattalionHQ
Commander w/2x Missile Pod, Cyclic Ion Blaster, Drone Controller, Warlord: Through Boldness, Victory
3 Crisis Suits w/2x Burst Cannon, Advanced Targeting System
3 Crisis Suits w/Fusion Blaster, Missile Pod
Riptide w/Ion Accelerator, Smart Missiles, Target LockTroops
10-strong Strike Team w/Pulse Rifles
10-strong Strike Team w/Pulse Rifles
DevilfishBork'an Outrider DetachmentHQ
Commander w/Plasma Rifle, Plasma Accelerator Rifle, Drone ControllerFast Attack
10 Gun Drones
6 Pathfinders w/2 Rail Rifles, Grav Inhibitor Drone
6 Pathfinders w/2 Rail Rifles, Grav Inhibitor Drone Ork Green TideBad Moons BattalionHQ
Warboss w/Killa Klaw, Kustom Shoota
Big Mek w/KFFElites
30 Shoota Boyz
30 Shoota Boyz
10 Shoota BoyzFast Attack
10 Warbikes (Nob w/Klaw)Heavy Support
2 Smasha Gunz
2 Smasha GunzFlyer
Dakkajet w/6 Supa ShootazBad Moons BattalionHQ
Warphead w/Da Jump
10 GrotsMission, Terrain, and Deployment
Terrain was a ruined, overgrown village--lots of ruins scattered around and trees, as well. A lot of LOS-blocking terrain. The Mission we rolled was Vital Intelligence--5 objectives in a fixed X pattern across the board, each scoring 1 point to the holder at the end of each battle round except for one determined at random that scores 2 points.
I won the roll-off and was forced to pick deployment and deploy second, giving my opponent second turn (I really wish you had the option to defer that roll--"no thanks, you can pick, and I'll go first"). Deployment was Front-Line Assault, which is also terrible. Anyway, as I would be going second and I knew the orks were going to be all over me in one turn, I elected to castle up in the SE corner of the board. The strike teams hid between their transports with the fireblade, the Kroot screened ahead of them, the drones and plasma commander sat behind the strike teams, the Riptide took up the SE corner, and the pathfinder squads spread on on either flank, their grav inhibitor drones hopefully sufficient to defray any first turn assaults from tellyportas, Da Jump, or similar. The Crisis teams and Warlord went in the Manta for a deepstrike later.
The orks spread across their DZ, with grots on either flank securing objectives, the big guns and the shoota boyz holding the middle with the command staff, the Dakka Jet in the NW corner, and the Warbikers in the Tellyporta.
DeploymentOrk DeploymentThe Tau DeploymentEast PathfindersWest PathfindersTurn 1
I don't seize the initiative and the orks go first. They drop the Warbikers on my western flank and shoot the pathfinders off the board in short order (though the Grav Drone survives). They use Da Jump to move the Tankbustas from the center/west of the board over to my eastern flank and *just* close enough to target and blow up one of my devilfish. A 30-boy mob of Shootas and the 10-boy mob all advance up the center and fire haphazardly at the Kroot, killing four. The artillery pounds the Riptide, who defrays the damage onto a number of unsuspecting drones. This also happens to one of the strike teams, who get strafed by the Dakka Jet and they also bleed off some hits to the drones, resulting in me losing 8 of my 10 gun drones in total (I spend CP to keep those last two around). The Ork artillery is unable to do much damage to my remaining devilfish or Riptide. The tankbustas try to charge the Pathfinders, but are foiled by the Grav Inhibitor drone and lose two boyz to overwatch.
Top of Turn 1Uh-ohGet Down!
In my first turn, I see about stemming the incoming tide. I drop the two teams of crisis suits along my west flank as well as the Warlord. The remaining Devilfish disembarks its drones to support them/soak hits. In the center, my plasma commander declares Kauyon, since I was a *bit* too far out to reliably use Mont'ka and wanted to give the Riptide re-rolls, too. My big mistake here was to not move the devilfish forward to assault and tie-up the 30-boy mob encroaching on my position--a bad call. I was assuming my shooting phase would go better than it did.
In said phase, the Riptide's Ion Accelerator (nova-charged) and the missile/fusion suits shot down the Dakkajet in short order. The Pathfinders managed to get a markerlight hit on the distant bikes, allowing the combined firepower of the burst cannon suits and the Warlord to kill 7 of the 10 bikers. The Riptide scores 7 hits on the Tankbustas with smart missiles and wounds with 0 of them. Zero. In the center, one strike team wipes out the 10-boy mob while the other one kills maybe 5-6 orks in the 30 boy mob. The Kroot do nothing. Now, this was not
a bad shooting phase by any means, but it was insufficient to stop the orks by any real measure. This is why I needed to move that Devilfish forward and assault--I was thinking too much about avoiding
assault that I forgot about Ork shooting.
Bottom of Turn 1The Crisis Suits blunt the western attackThe Kroot retreat inside the ruins
At the end of the battle round, we tally points. The Orks got first blood and are sitting on 4 objectives, one of which generates double, so they score 6 points. I am sitting on one objective and also scored first blood, giving me 2. This is obviously an unsustainable situation. Turn 2
The orks send in their second wave. The wounded shoota boy unit moves closer and the other 30-boy mob uses Da Jump to bounce right behind them. The front mob shoots one Strike team with 50-some odd bullets, killing them all, then uses Showin' Off to fire again at the other strike team unit, killing all but one. The next group fires 60 shots at the Kroot, wiping them out. The Ork Artillery remains ineffective, doing nothing except killing the two drones guarding the crisis suits in the west. The Tankbustas move forward and shoot the riptide, causing it to shunt two hits off on the drones (wiping them out) and taking 3 wounds. The tankbustas then charge the pathfinders and the grav drone, killing 3 pathfinders.
In the west, the remaining bikes shoot the Crisis suits, doing just 1 wound, then charge. They lose two bikes to overwatch and then kill 1 burst cannon suit, but the remaining ork elects to flee in the morale phase, leaving the crisis suits free and clear with minimal damage.
Top of Turn 2
The damage has been done. With the loss of all my troops, I have no conceivable way of scoring enough points to catch up with the orks, even assuming I can wipe their guys off the board (which I totally can't). The Pathfinders fall back so the Riptide can kill another 4 tankbustas with smart missiles, leaving 3 (who don't flee). It's Ion Accelerator (useless gun unless there are vehicles to hunt) kills 3 stupid orks in the closest mob. The rest of the crisis suits drill the closest mob, killing maybe a total of 15 orks, but they don't break since they are backed up by another mob of 30. They just don't do enough damage and aren't accurate enough to possibly stop the encroaching tide.
Thinking about it now, I could have also charged the Tankbustas with the Riptide, but the odds of it successfully scoring hits weren't great and all that would have done is prolonged the inevitable.
Bottom of Turn 2 Last Stand
At the end of this turn, the orks score *another* 4 points. I earn 1. I concede, as this is ridiculous. Final Score
Other than the obviously sub-par list I brought (more on that later), I made one crucial mistake here, which was not using my Devilfish to charge would-be assaulters/close range shooters. That would have saved my guys a good 100+ shoota bullets coming their way, which may have totally changed the game. I wasn't thinking of avoiding ork shooting
, though, just assault--which I actually did manage, even though it didn't matter much.
As for the list, Crisis Suits are *still* not worth it. I would have been vastly better served by more strike teams, more drones, and possible something like a Stormsurge. From this outing I can *totally* see how a Tau gunline would work just fine in this edition, but that isn't really how I want to play Tau--I've got my Vostroyans for all my gunline needs. This remains really disappointing, since Crisis Suits are my favorite part of the Tau arsenal and not taking them just seems wrong. I maintain they need a seriously improved datasheet (a BS 3+ at minimum!) and more offensively-oriented stratagems.
As for the rest of the list, I can't say they didn't do their jobs--everybody did okay. The Riptide is stupid with the Ion Accelerator, which is just a crappy, crappy gun these days. I didn't actually do anything with the Devilfish, so that was on me. As a final note, I don't see how in hell I was supposed to possibly contest the orks in a mission like this--there was no way I was going to wrest board-control from him unless I was gifted with vastly, vastly deadlier weaponry than the Tau actually have.
Anyway, it was an interesting game which has gotten me thinking about how to make a mobile or aggressive Tau army viable. So far, I haven't come up with anything. Thanks for reading and thanks, as always, to my opponent!