Saturday, 29 September 2012

First 6th ed Tournament

I’ve decided on my list for the tournament on 7th October. I’m going with ork allies. I tried to work something out with the bikes but it just wasn’t working.

Here’s the list.


Shasel, Missile Pod, Plasma Rifle, Multitracker, HW Black Sun Filter, HW Drone Controller, 2 Gun Drones
                2 Bodyguards, Missile Pod, Plasma Rifle, Targeting Array, HW Multitracker

Shasel, Missile Pod, Plasma Rifle, Multitracker, HW Black Sun Filter, HW Drone Controller, 2 Gun Drones
                2 Bodyguards, Missile Pod, Plasma Rifle, Targeting Array, HW Multitracker


Team 1 XV8 TL Missile Pod, Drone Controller, Gun Drone
XV8 TL Missile Pod, Drone Controller, Gun Drone
XV8 TL Missile Pod, Black Sun Filter

Team 2 XV8 TL Missile Pod, Drone Controller, Gun Drone
XV8 TL Missile Pod, Drone Controller, Gun Drone
XV8 TL Missile Pod, Black Sun Filter


                6 Fire Warriors
                10 Kroot
                10 Kroot

                XV88, team leader, Targeting Array, HW Drone Controller, HW Black Sun Filter, 2 Shield Drones
                XV88, Targeting Array
                XV88, Targeting Array


                Big Mech, KFF
                29 Boyz
28 Boyz

The main difference from the list I played last Saturday is I’ve swapped out an XV88, and some boyz for some Fireknives. This gives me 6 BS4 Fireknives, 6 Deathrains, 3  XV88s, and a bunch of troops. My thinking is that fewer people will be taking armour so one less XV88 shouldn’t be a problem, particularly when it’s backed up by all the missile pods.  Also I suspect that there will be more infantry with 3+ or 2+ saves, hence the Fireknives.

Strategy is still pretty simple. The boyz push forward and try and take and hold midfield, protecting the suits, while the suits kill everything! Meanwhile the fire warriors and the kroot take objectives. If the boyz can take some objectives, that’s great, but their main role is to give my opponent something to worry about, and shoot at. I don’t expect them to survive, but they will shield my gunline and take the heat off my suits. In many ways they serve the same function as my Kroot Screen in 5th, but they are way better. Looking simply at their stats, Kroot and orks are comparable, with Kroot perhaps having the edge (better strength, BS and initiative). However, 2 things make orks so much better – the 5+ save from the KFF, and the fact they’re fearless (unless brought below 11 models).  They are also of course 1 point each cheaper….! They’re the ideal meat shield for the suits.

I also like the idea of ork allies. I can just imagine the Shasel giving them a rousing pre battle speech (in my mind he speaks like an old Etonian!)

“OK chaps, you’ve all done really well so far. Just one more big effort. Off you go and charge the guns again… that’s it…. on you go, it’s  for the Greater Good! We’re right behind you.”


Sunday, 23 September 2012

Saturday Day of Gaming

Great day of gaming on Saturday. There were 12 of us and we all got to play 3 games each, eat pizza and drink beer.

As I mentioned I ran 3 different lists to try and decide which are the best allies for Tau. What I'm going to do post up three brief battle reports, and then my thoughts on each list.


I decided to use the orks first. I was drawn against a foot slogging eldar list, with a wraith guard deathstar (10 guard backed up by Eldrad and another farseer), a squad of dire avengers, pathfinders, warp spiders, 3 war walkers, harlequins and 2 wraith lords. We played seize ground and vanguard deployment. I had first turn.

I deployed the orks up front, covered by the KFF, with kroot and suits running behind them the idea was to rush the wraith guard with the orks, bog them down, kill everything else with my suits, and preserve the kroot to take objectives.

It worked reasonably well. The rail guns killed the war walkers and wraith lords, the orks killed the harlies (over watch is pretty nasty if you're rolling 40+ dice!), and the death rains dealt with everything else.....except the wraith guard. Fortuned wraith guard are really difficult to kill. It was a draw on objectives, but I got first blood for the win

The army concept worked really well. It's pretty simple. Run the boys at your opponent, while your suits kill stuff, the fire warriors camp the home objective, and the kroot snatch other objectives. Your opponent can not ignore 60 boyz running at him, and while he's killing them, he's not killing your suits. The whole game I lost one suit.

The only problem was the lack of low AP weapons. Need to work some fire knives into the list.

Game 2

Eldar allies this time. Was drawn against sisters. Two 20 "man" units of sisters, 2 units of seraphim, with St Celestine, unit of mixed crusaders and assassins (with some guy that buffs them, not sure which one), 2 of the organ pipe rocket launcher thingies. Played the Scouring, vanguard deployment, and my opponent got first turn.

My opponents tactics were obvious I thought. He only had 2 scoring units and they couldn't combat squad, so he was really forced to camp 2 objectives, and rush me with the seraphim, while pounding me with the organ pipes. There was little chance of me chewing through two 20 man units with 3+ saves, so I would have to concede 2 objectives, but that left 3 others. But I might struggle to put down both squads of seraphim before they got to me.

So I castle up on one objective and infiltrate one kroot squad all by itself on another one. I reserve the other kroot squad and the jet bikes. The hope was that he will be tempted to send one seraphim squad after the infiltrating kroot and rush my castle with the other, plus the crusaders. I assumed he would put one squad of sisters on each of the objectives on his side. I would hopefully kill the one seraphim squad and the crusaders, before it got to the gunline, and then snatch the 2 other objectives with the outflanking kroot and/or the jetbikes.

It worked like a charm. It was helped by the fact that the objective that I infiltrated the kroot onto was the 4 point one, and one of the objectives in his side was a 2 pointer, forcing him to try and take the 4 pointer. It was pretty close though. His first turn of shooting wiped out a full broadside squad for first blood. In response the remaining broadsides missed completely! In his second round of shooting he killed my commander for “kill the warlord”.  It was a bit of an uphill struggle from there.

However, Eldrad casting prescience on fire knives was absolutely devastating, and neither the seraphim squad not the crusaders reached the gun line. St Celestine did. I killed her every round, but she just kept getting back up again and again. Eventually I put her down with a gun drone in close combat!

The stars of the game however, we're the kroot. Two squads of them combined managed to hold the 4 point objective, kill the seraphim squad, before it reached them (it failed to get into combat twice, rolling too low on 2d6) and, with help from some missile pods, broke one of the 20 "man" sister squads, seeing it off the objective!

So another win. I really liked this list. It's fragile but utterly devastating, providing Eldrad gets the powers he needs on the divination chart. But it is a classic "finese" list, and probably too fragile for tournaments, particularly the scoring units.

Game 3

So "top table" (we were running a swiss pairing system) against dark eldar, and eldar allies. Squad of witches in a raider, squad of incubi in a raider, 3 venoms with scoring units in them, a squad of dire avengers with a farseer, 2 flyers, a ravager and a wraith lord. Big guns never tire, with Hammer and anvil, and me getting to go first.

I have never had a game where dice luck was so imbalanced! My dice were on fire (well except when it came to " to hit" rolls with hammer head rail guns!) and my opponent's we're cold, cold, cold.

For example, his turn one he moves both raiders flat out at my gun line. I move my bike squads forward to counter, and to rapid fire anything that gets out. First death rain team scores 3 penetrating hits on one raider, my opponent fails all 3 cover saves, and i blow up the raider, killing 4 witches. The remainder are pinned. Next death rain team blow up the other raider killing an incubi. My bike squads then proceed to kill the rest of the incubi, my opponent failing four 3+ armour saves in a row!

Next turn I roll for mysterious objectives, and get a sky fire nexus (or whatever it's called). Because it's big guns never tire, my Hammerhead controls that objective, and has sky fire!

My opponents flyers come on and at one point hit my commandeer with 3 dark lances, and then he rolls 3 ones to wound! One of his flyers is then downed by rapid firing fire warriors controlling the sky fire nexus!

It really was a bit of a travesty! Basically I couldn't miss, or fail a saving throw, and he couldn't hit or pass one!

However, more important than the outcome (I won!), was it taught me something about this list. Tau vehicles, while now really hard to kill (my HHs had 2+ saves hiding behind ruins, and my Devilish had 2+ save moving flat out), they just do not kill stuff! It’s the same story as always with Hammerheads, while the large blast is nice, it’s a lot of points for a one shot S10 AP1 round. But there is another problem – giving the Dpod shrouding actually makes the vehicles too hard to kill. My opponent just ignored them and concentrated on killing my suits – exactly what you do not want to happen! And now needing to get the fire warriors out of the devilfish before they can score, kinda defeats the purpose of have a really survivable transport vehicle.


So 3 very different lists.

The Ork list isn’t subtle, but I suspect it will be reasonably effective. The only problem was the lack of low AP weapons. I only had 4 railguns with an AP lower than 4 – that made taking out the Wraith Guard hard – and I suspect it would make terminators and marines hard too. I need to rejig things to get some plasma into the list,

The Eldar list is lots of fun to play – it is the list that reminds me most of “old style” Tau gun line lists, where everything is entirely dependant on killing stuff before it gets to you. The list does this far better than the old lists, and the jet bikes give you some very mobile scoring units. However, it is still very fragile, particularly the scoring units. I really don’t think it’s the best list.

The bike list didn’t really work. I think I need to swap out the Hammerheads for broadsides, and drop the Devilfish. However, I think it has the potential to be the strongest list. The problem might be that it will only work at higher points levels….need to think this one through a bit more. It may be that a mech Tau list works better as a pure Tau list, rather than with allies.


Thursday, 20 September 2012

Tau in 6th, Part 3

I’ve already written a little about allies for Tau, mostly focusing on Eldar, but I’m thinking about 2 others – orks and SM bikes. Brief thoughts below, followed by a list for each army. These will be the list I’ll take to the gaming day this Saturday.


I have already written quite a bit about this. Broadly speaking Eldrad uses his 4 rolls on the Divination table to buff the army’s shooting. Last time I played a version of this list I ran Eldar Pathfinders. As reported the list lacked fast scoring units.  The next iteration will run jet bikes instead. The list will be

Shasel – death rain with iridium armour, black sun filter and 2 shield drones

3 XV8s -  death rains, with black sun filters and 2 gun drones
3 XV8s – Fireknives, with BSF and 2 gun drones
3 XV8s – Fireknives, with BSF and 2 gun drones

12 Fire Warriors
10 Kroot
10 Kroot

2 Broadsides, targeting arrays, 2 shield drones, BSF
2 Broadsides, targeting arrays, 2 shield drones, BSF

3 Guardian Jet Bikes
3 Guardian Jet Bikes


The problem with the Eldar list is that it doesn’t solve the main problem with Tau – crappy troops, and their inability to take and hold objectives. Adding a big mek with KFF and 60 shoota boys with power claw nob might solve that problem!  The list will be

Shasel – death rain with iridium armour, black sun filter and 2 shield drones

3 XV8s -  death rains, with black sun filters and 2 gun drones
3 XV8s -  death rains, with black sun filters and 2 gun drones
3 XV8s -  death rains, with black sun filters and 2 gun drones

12 Fire Warriors
10 Kroot
10 Kroot

2 Broadsides, targeting arrays, 2 shield drones, BSF
2 Broadsides, targeting arrays, 2 shield drones, BSF

Big Mek with KFF
29 boyz and a power claw nob with a boss pole
29 boyz and a power claw nob with a boss pole

SM Bikes

Again, this is an attempt to solve the “crappy troops” problem, but also the difficulty of where one should put ones plasma (!). The list will be

Shasel Deathrain 2 Shield Drones

2 XV8s -  death rains, with black sun filters
3 XV8s -  death rains, with black sun filters and 2 gun drones
3 XV8s -  death rains, with black sun filters and 2 gun drones

6 Fire Warriors
6 Fire Warriors


2 x Hammerhead

SM Captain, Bike, Artificer Armour, Power First, Lightening Claw

8 Bikes, 1 MM Attack Bike, 2 Plasma Gun, Combi Plasma
8 Bikes, 1 MM Attack Bike, 2 Plasma Gun, Combi Plasma

So, the choice between Eldar and Orks is between boosting Tau’s strength (with Eldar), or shoring up their weakness (with Orks). The SM Biker option tries to do a bit of both, but also significantly increases the armies mobility.

I’ll be playing all three lists on Saturday.


The Devil in the Detail: Hull Point Markers

Hello and welcome to the second instalment of Devil in the Detail.
First an apology: What was supposed to be a regular series kind of got pushed to the wayside once Bede and I started attending tournaments on a regular basis.
However a change in job location (I’m now in Cardiff during the week) has left me with little time for gaming but a fair ammount of time for modelling so hopefully the series will pick up again.
Not that anyone really cares about that, you all want to know about making hull points so I’ll get on with the tutorial now.
Like everyone else in the universe I was really excited about the prospect of hull points and their effect on the game but I was unsure how to represent them on the table top. Just remembering how many hull points a vehicle has left isn’t really an option in competitive play in my opinion.
Whatever you use needs to be readily identifiable, cheap, portable and robust.
I did consider using dice, it’s the one thing all gamers will have plenty of but resting dice on top of vehicles could lead to confusion if the dice get picked up by accident, fall off during a game or a knocked off during a roll. The only way dice could really work I think is if you have a set of dice totally different to the one’s your using for the game. The GW Munitorum special edition dice work quite well for this though not everyone will be able to pick up a pack.
I also considered using the tokens from WarmaHordes and using a marker to write on how many hull points a vehicle has lost. Again they are a little pricy for just this one use and may not go down to well if you are playing in a GW store.
These are what I settled on:

They are blast markers from Battlefleet Gothic. You can find them at:
If the link doesn’t work for some reason go to Specialist Games on the GW website, Battle Fleet Gothic, Battle Fleet Gothic Resources. They are in the document marked Blast Markers and Asteroids
You get 16 on the sheet and I’ve never needed more than that, even in games of 2000pts. I would recommend printing the blast markers out onto card or laminating them to add a bit of durability. I laminated mine and they’ve been going strong for the last 6 weeks of gaming.  
I feel they illustrate hull points quite well. Every time a vehicle looses a hull point you place one blast marker on the model. They look like an explosion and shouldn’t get confused with anything else on the table.
I hope that was useful to some people and will hopefully stop a few arguments in the future!

Wednesday, 19 September 2012

Plans for the Autumn

Thought I would post this up as it will give a bit of a structure to my ramblings over the next few months.
I have a number of Tournaments (and events)  lined up this autumn. Five in total. First this Saturday a bunch of friends are getting together for a day of gaming. There will be 12 of us, three games at 1750 – designated as tournament prep so 2.30hr games, swiss pairing, but flexible lists. I plan to take 3 different lists to “try out”.
Next I have a one day 1750 tournament at the beginning of October. Allies allowed. Next at the end of October I have a 2 day Tournament. Six game at 1750pts. Bit disappointed that they are not allowing allies. Also the scenarios seems to be an odd combination of 5th and 6th ed, which might cause confusion. Finally, they are only allowing 2 hours per game which, IMHO is not enough time for 1750pts, particularly with a new system with new rules. Still it’s one of the bigger tournaments locally and I still want to go.
In November I’m heading south to the 3rd Heat for the UKGT, hopefully to qualify for the final in March. I’m excited about this one as it will probably be the first outing for my new improved (with allies) Tau list, including forge world Tetras…!
Finally, in December there is a 2 day Games of War Tournament.
My focus will be on the GT Heat. Between then and now I need to finalise a “rock hard” Tau list, that will be as competitive as it can be. The problem is I also need to sort out a single faction list for the 2 day Tournament at the end of October. Finally, I would really like to win a Games of War Tournament. I’ve come second a couple of times, but never won one (CLANG  - that was the sound of a gauntlet being thrown down  - a number of readers, not to mention Sir67 and Bede, attend these tournaments!)
What I think I’ll do is run a Tau Allies list for the one day tournament in October, an SM biker list for the 2 day tournament at the end of October (although the FAQ made my triple Stormraven list playable again!), and a Tau Allies list for the GT. I’ll keep the Games of War list a secret!
The most pressing question then is, what Allies to run with Tau – and whether to continue with a footslogging list, or revert to a mech list given the recent FAQ
The first stage in the decision process is the gaming day this Saturday. I think I’ll run Tau with Eldar, Tau with Orks (if I get them built in time – need to build 40 of them plus the Big Mek by Saturday!) , and Tau with SM bikes (need to paint 4 of them for Saturday!).
Next post will be some thoughts on Tau Allies, and the lists I’m running on Saturday.

Tuesday, 11 September 2012

Tau and the FAQ

By now all of you will know that Tau got their target locks back, and disruption pods now give tau vehicles shrouding if they are more than 12 inches away.

Target locks are nice to have back, but their loss did not have a huge impact (other than in Farsight lists). However, Dpods giving shrouding is pretty huge. Take a moment to think about this. What it means is that Tau Vehicles now get a 3+ cover save if they moved at all (via “jink”). They get a 2+ cover save if they are more than 25% obscured by ruins (and with sensor spines they ignore difficult terrain, so they can move in and out of cover at will). They get a 2+ cover save if they move flat out.

Now that Holo Field Falcons are pretty rubbish, I suspect this makes Tau vehicles the most resilient in the game at range (can anybody thing of anything tougher to kill than a hammer head behind a ruin – I can’t). I’m no maths guy but I suspect a HH with a 2+ cover save will be harder to kill than a Landraider with a 4+ cover save…!

I’m pretty excited about this, given my previously expressed views on how static gun lines are dead, and how a more mechanised list might be the way to go. I love the idea of Hammer Heads, Piranhas and ‘Fish “dancing” just outside of 12” (supported by suits), shrugging of shots and blowing the enemy away, before “swooping” in to grab objectives. It is exactly how I envision Tau fighting in the fluff. The tantalising prospect is whether you might just get “Fish of Fury” to work again!

Thinking about how this effect Tau Vehicles

·         Hammer Heads. This makes Hammer Heads extremely hard to kill. They are not cheap – 180pts, with Railgun, SMS, target lock, and Dpod. However this gives you a Railgun (and remember it has the sub-munition large blast), 4 S5 shots that don’t need LOS, an AV13 platform, the ability to target 2 separate units (one with the Railgun and another with the SMS) and all after moving 12”.  Couple that with a 3+ cover save in the open if you’re more than 12” away, and it’s not too bad! My only concern is that they are so resilient, your opponent might just ignore them and shoot your suits instead!
·         Piranhas. I don’t think that Dpods are that great on Piranhas. To be effective Piranhas need to be up close, usually within 12”. Not a huge boost here.
·         Devilfish. Dpods on Fish make them pretty resilient. They are AV12, rather than 13, but a 3+ or a 2+ cover save will bounce of most hits. The problem is they don’t contribute that much to the armies fire power for their points. If you kit them out as a warfish (Smart Missile Systems, Multitracker, Targeting Array) you only put out 7 s5 shots, and 3 of them (the burst cannon) only have an 18” range. That’s not much for 120pts. I wonder if it would be better to run them as Dumbfish (i.e. Dpod only) and just use them as troop transports/protection? The difference is being able to move 12” and shoot seven BS4 strength 5 shots, as opposed to moving 6” and shooting 3 strength 5 shots as BS3. Is that worth 35pts?
·         Tetras. If you are running forgeworld stuff then tetras with shrouding is are just even more awesome. There is never any need to get closer than 12 inches with a Tetra. It makes them much more resilient.

So, the big question is – how best to run Devilfish? As gunboats with Firewarriors actually doing something for a change, or as a way to protect your scoring units until such time as they need to get out and grab an objective.

What do you think?


Thursday, 6 September 2012

Tau and Eldar

Played a game last night with Tau and Eldar allies against tyranids.

Fireknife Shasel with Iridium Armour and 2 shield drones,

Deathrains x3 plus 2 gun drones.

Fireknives x3 plus 2 gun drones

Fireknives x3 plus 2 gun drones

12 Fire warriors (yes really!)

2x10 kroot

2x2 Broadsides with 2 shield drones


5 Pathfinders

Opponent's list was a work in progress and not optimal (not that I know much about tyranids!). He's just starting out with 'nids, having got bored with wolves and grey knights. We called it at the end of turn 4. From memory he had a handful of little bugs left and one of the big ones - the one that spawns little ones (Tervigon?). I had lost one gun drone, 4 kroot and 2 pathfinders.

Highlight - killing his Hivetyrant with Railguns turn 1 for both first blood and Kill the Warlord!

Eldrad with Tau is awesome. I rolled on divination, getting re rolls to hit, 4+ invulnerable save, ignore cover, forcing enemies to re roll successful saves. All of them just fantastic for Tau. Twelve rapid firing FWs re rolling missed hits and ignoring cover just minced the little bugs. Fireknives re rolling missed hits, minced the big ones.

Interestingly we played hammer and anvil - and as I hoped, the added space, and the ability to premeasure easily kept me safe from assaults.

The one disappointment were the pathfinders - on paper they are nice, but they just didn't pull their weight. The other problem were a lack mobile scoring units. Kroot just don't cut it. I think the solution to both of these problems are guardian jet bikes. For just a few more points than the pathfinders, I can get 2 squads of 3 bikes. Not by any stretch of the imagination are the durable, but they are incredibly fast. Kept off the board with a positional relay until turn 4, they might just work...!

I'll try them our next week.

I've also just order 40 boyz....another option.