Monday, 23 January 2012

Caledonian Bat Reps, Day 1.

Well, as predicted, I got my butt kicked at Caledonian! I played a Tau army, 2 Guard armies, one Dark Elder army a Chaos Marine army, and one “normal” Elder army. Strength of army list, and skill levels were way higher than at Throne of Skulls. But, I had a blast, and had (mostly) 6 excellent games against fun opponents. Won 2, lost 4.

The results are here I came 75th out of 110. But interestingly, if you ignore sports scores (!), I was best Tau general. So that’s something at least.

I learned lots (and I’ll come back to that), but mostly I learned that if you are going to do detailed battle reports you need a camera and a note book (duh!). So my reports will be a bit “truncated”!

First up, to understand the reports you will need to look at the mission briefs here . They’re a bit unusual, but they made for far more challenging games.

Game 1

What are the chances – there were 4 Tau players at the tourney, and first game I draw one of them.
So first game had annihilation as the primary objective, and seize
ground as secondary (5 markers). We deploy the markers spread out across the board and he gets first turn, but gives it to me (I think I might have won it and taken it). My opponent’s list had 6 squads of fire warriors on foot (!), 2 squads of 3 suits and 3 Hammerheads.
So – pre game thoughts! Well in a previous post I expressed my view on fire warriors (IMHO they’re rubbish). However, I’ve never seen an army with so many of them (72!). That’s a lot of s5 shots. If they get into range, it’s gonna hurt! I’ve also expressed my view on Hammerheads…. one shot wonders, that usually miss. Also, it’s Dawn of War, and his FWs have no Transports. As most of them will be walking on first turn, he is going to have to move and run at least once before he will be in range, and twice before he is in rapid fire range (if he’s lucky with his run rolls). All my stuff (bar the Kroot) are going to outrange him for at least 1 turn (admittedly of night fighting), but probably 2. So going into the game I’m feeling pretty confident.

He deploys 2 FW squads on the board one in one corner and one in another (on an objective) and that’s it (his HQ is attached to an elite unit and doesn’t deploy). I deploy 2 squads of Kroot in cover near or on objectives, along with my commander and bodyguard). My army bounces on, and I open up on one of the FW squads (all my suits have acute senses, and 3 of them have black sun filters, which doubles your night fighting roll). After throwing some dice I kill enough to force a moral check and they run off the board.

In his turn he brings everything on. As expected the FW’s move and run. The suits stay behind the FWs for a cover save. He shoots but I don’t think he kills anything (nothing important or I would remember).

The rest of the game was a bit inevitable. I won’t go through it all, but I killed all but one of his Fire Warrior squads (maybe 2!), all but one of his suits and I think a Hammerhead. I think he killed a squad of Kroot and a suit or 2. The funniest part of the game was the Special Olympics of close combat where a squad of Kroot and a squad of Fire Warriors spend 3 rounds of combat trying to kill each other. My Kroot eventually won, but were gunned down next turn!

I won primary and secondary objectives and the VP differential was a big one. So a win 17 points to me, 3 to him.

To be fair to my opponent, Dawn of War did screw him. If he had been able to deploy his gun line at 24 inches things might have been a bit different. Still a fun game, with a fun opponent. I’m always a bit nervous in the first game of a big tourney when I don’t know people. If you draw an idiot, that can spoil the whole tourney. Certainly didn’t happen here. Good guy.

Learning point – FWs are rubbish!

Game 2

The problem with winning your first game is that you then get paired against somebody who won their first game! This would be my one and only visit to the “top” tables.

Next opponent was a guard player with a (sort off) “leaf blower” list. Command Squad, 4 Veteran Squads and 2 squads of Storm Troopers (all in Chimeras – this is important as you will see later), Psycher battle squad, 2 Vendettas and 3 Hydra’s. There might have been a couple more squads in Chimeras, as I remember lots of them!

So, the Mission was “Cleanse” from the rules pack – spearhead deployment, table quarter primary objective, capture and control secondary and the third being based on VP differential. He won first turn and took it.

Pre game thoughts. Well, it didn’t look too bad. I’ve seen guard armies with way more fire power then this. The only things that worry me are the vendettas and their TL Lazcannons as they insta kill my suits and cut through even my Broadsides armour. The Hydras wouldn’t do anything ….. would they!

So he sets up everything on the board except the Storm Troopers, who are going to outflank, and a vet squad who are just coming on as normal. I decide to set up on the board and cross my fingers, after all my Broadsides have 2 shield drones and are in cover, and the Hydras have to hit my Hammerheads, get through the Disruption Pods cover save, and roll a 6 to glance (you can see where this is going can’t you!). I decide to outflank a Kroot squad for late turn contesting (there’s a wood in one quarter - if I can get in there I can go to ground for a 2+ cover save). I stay away from the board edge so that if the ST walk on from “my” edge they’ll be out of double dice range for the melta, and I’ll dakka them down that turn. I reserve my Piranhas for contesting in the last few rounds, after I kill the Hydras (!).

So first shot of the game he shoots a vendetta at my Broadsides and kills both shield drones and a Broadside! Bugger! Thankfully the other one (which targets a Hammerhead) misses or fails to get through. And then the Hydra’s blow the Railguns off both Hammerheads! Not good – my main method of killing armour at range has just been reduced by 50%. At least the Broadsides make their leadership and stay on the board!

In return I bounce my suits forward to get into range (making sure they are hidden behind my Hammerheads as best I can) and to get them away from the possibility of outflanking Storm Troopers. In shooting I down a Vendetta, and I think I stunned the other one. I need to preserve my 2 remaining Broadsides.

In his turn 2 the Storm Troopers come on and outflank behind me (bugger!), but worse still they come on in their Chimeras…..! I had forgotten about that (double bugger!). So rather than having 12 T3 guys in my lines, I’ve got 12 T3 guys and 2 Chimeras in my lines. Bugger. To be fair everything opens up but, thanks to some appalling rolling on my opponents part, and some inspired cover saves, I only lose one suit.

So I have to decide what to do…..and it’s not a hard decision. If I have any hope of winning (or even drawing) the primary objective (table quarters) I need to kill the guys behind me. So the advance stops dead while everything turns round to kill them. But it appears this corner of the board is cursed – because I can’t kill anything either. In my shooting phase I cannot kill 2 Chimeras, even with my suits getting side armour shots! I can blow off their guns, and I can stun them, but I can’t get the contents out…. Even when shooting 2 fusion guns into side armour (my Piranhas came on that turn) the best I can do is immobilise one of them!

And that was it really. I had to spend another 2 turns killing the Storm Troopers and their Chimeras, while my opponent mobilized and took all the other quarters. My Kroot came on the side with the woods, but my opponent was way ahead of me and had parked a Chimera with a heavy flamer and 3 guys with flamers inside it, right beside the wood…. So the Kroot glanced a Hydra to death, before dieing horribly. His Hydras killed my Pirannahs, so any chance I had to contest last turn evaporated. At one point I thought I might just scrape a draw (in a round of inspired shooting my Broadsides split fire and killed 2 Chimeras), but then the psykers targeteted my Kroot and I didn’t roll snake eyes!

So he won the primary and the secondary. I think it ended 17 - 3 to him

Lessons learned. Well luck did play a part in this game to be fair (Hydras glancing off two railguns for a start!), but my big mistake was forgetting that Storm Troopers come in Chimeras and outflank with them. If I had remembered that I could have deployed differently, to block the Chimeras coming on. Ah well….! I need to read my opponents list much more carefully pre game.

Game 3

Against Dark Eldar. By this time I was beginning to get tired. It’s a long drive from Scotland after work, and I hadn’t gotten to bed until about 1am. And I’ve never yet won against dark elder! They just get into my gun line too quickly.

This one was modified spearhead (again!) Recon in the rules pack. Objectives primary and annihilation secondary. His list was 5 squads of witches in raiders, three Ravagers, The Duke and a big squad of warriors.

He got first turn and set up.

Pre-game thoughts. Well I was struggling a bit – beginning to lose the will to live (play!). So to make things easy I decided to ignore the primary objective and simply blow him of the board. His army is so fast and with so many troop choices the chances of me winning the primary was remote. I set up as far away from him as possible and prepared to repel boarders!

And I seized the initative……!

First turn I blew up one Raider and immobilized 2 others. A bunch of witches died in the explosion. So 3 squads of witches out and walking into my gun line. His shooting did nothing I can remember. Next turn I blew up another Raider and killed stunned the last one – I think I might have killed a Ravager as well. I also killed a few of the foot slogging witches.

And here’s the thing about my army. If you get 2 good turns of shooting, it’s pretty discouraging. My opponent was pretty down about it. It’s easy to mentally “give up” and he admitted after the game that he almost did! But it only takes a few combat units in my gunline and it goes down like a £10 whore!

And to cut a long story short, that’s exactly what happened. Seven witches eventually got into my gun line and I was almost tabled by the end of the game…..! Bugger.

I did make a big mistake, which I have only now realized. I moved my Kroot screen out to meet his witches, thinking I would stop them further away from my gun line, giving me more time to shoot them down. The problem of course was that with his charge move, and then the consolidation move after killing the Kroot, his Witches were almost 12 inches closer to my gun line. School boy error.

Really should have won this one.

Learning point - positioning of the Kroot screen is crucial.

Also, while my army kills marines very well, it struggles against more horde like armies (50 witches), especially if they are in multiple units, and in cover.

So that’s the first day over. I was knackered, and had a blinding headache. An early night beckoned…..!

Day 2 latter in the week.



  1. i was your opponent in Game 2. Great report from that battle, and i think all your assessments are completely fair.

    if it makes you feel any better, you were not alone in either underestimating or misunderstanding how important and useful stormtroopers are. those guys (literally) won me three of my games, and made fantastic contributions to the others as well. guard players don't like them because they only see the points cost, but i think they are great.

    regardless, i was lucky when it mattered with a few vital dice rolls in that game (hammerheads). plus, the age of the tau codex does show with the lack of viable troop choices, and really, that is what won it for me. when you could only contest and i could claim, it was pretty much game over.

    thanks for the game anyway, i enjoyed it a great deal.

  2. Nice use of the word bugger :)

    Big Fan xD

  3. Atreides - thanks for posting. It's always good to get the other side of the story. Troops are a perennial problem with my army - Kroot are fantastic, but their only purpose is to die for the greater good. Fire warriors are just awful. If you invest points in them all you get is a scoring unit and that's it, they bring nothing else to the table. To be viable at all you need these points for guns.

    BTW - one thing I didn't say is that Atreides Vendettas are really cool conversions - think the flyers in avatar - really nice.

    Cheers Ratwolf - sorry for my stupidity, but what does xD mean?