Friday, 23 November 2012

6th Edition Changes that Dark Eldar Do Care About

Sir#67 here with the second half of the Dark Eldar in 6th series.

If you missed the first article: Things in 6th Dark Eldar Don’t Care About it can be found here:

This time round I’ll be talking about the things in 6th edition that Dark Eldar do care about.


The biggest one for me here is not hull points as you might expect, our vehicles always went down to a couple of decent shots anyway. The biggest change for me is explosion damage. Previously occupants would only take a S3 hit when an open topped vehicle exploded, now its strength 4. This means a lot more casualties when one of our transport vehicles inevitably explodes. When the dust settles expect half your unit to be off the table.

Now we can talk about hull points. In 5th I used to bemoan by Dark Lances. They always seemed to get the pen rolls but never did anything of note. Now through the hull points system every pen roll counts for something. The manoeuvrability of the ravenger also makes it fairly easy to deny cover saves. 

Shaken and Stunned results have changed things a little bit. A few months ago if my venom full of trueborn was shaken/stunned I’d hop the guys out into some terrain and keep shooting away. Now of course your left with the choice of hunker down in the vehicle or get out and hunker down somewhere else. I’d still be tempted to get out and hide to avoid the explosion damage.

The changes to disembark have cut down on our threat range. Only being able to move 6” then disembark completely within 6” leaves our squad 2-3” further back than where they would have been in 5th. This may not seem like much but in a tight game between 2 good players 2” is an eternity. It could be argued that the changes to assault and fleet have minimised this change but assault distance is random and therefore can’t be counted on.


Webways took quite a hard hit with the nerf bat. In case anyone has missed it: you can no longer assault out of a webway portal. Whereas I understand that this change brings the portal into line with the reserves rules I think its overkill. For the record I think that the no assaulting out of reserves rules in general were a bit much. I think this has killed off the Web Way style of army. The only use I can think for it now is a Reaver/Scourge delivery mechanism. If anyone has had any success with a webway build let me know.

The Random assault distance has changed things up a bit but not as much as I thought it would. I find myself being a little more cautious with my assault ranges and even going so far as to charge through cover to get extra dice to re-roll with fleet. Snap fire has only added to this. I tend to position my units so that at least 3 models are within average assault range to allow for losses.

One of the stranger things to come out of 6th edition is the rise of whyches as an amazing anti-tank unit. 10 of these girls with haywire grenades will take down any tank in the game bar now when they assault it. It’s even possible to take down 2 tanks with a multi-charge if you have a decently sized squad. Don’t forget to throw a grenade on the way in!


The changes to the shooting rules have altered how a couple of units behave. The 10man warrior unit in a raider with splinter racks was never one of my favourite units in 5th but being able to move and still shoot splinter rifles 24” opens up quite a few options. The downside of this is that everyone else can move 6” and shoot 24” to. Given that raiders and venoms are only armour 10 I find that a lot of savvy marine players are moving the non-heavy weapon carrying models in their tac sqauads into range to try to get a few glancing hits on top of what their heavy weapon can do.   

The changes to wound allocation have had a profound effect on one unit: The Beast Pack. In 5th a Baron led beast pack was quite a common unit in a lot of Dark Elder armies for good reason. The unit could absorb quite a bit of punishment and hit fairly hard. In 6th your opponent gets to allocate when wounds of different strengths are allocated. This means it’s no longer possible to take low strength hits on razorwings and high strength hits on kymeare. I think you need to either invest in a large pack to make it across the board now or you tank all the wounds on the Baron if he’s with the unit.
The Rest

Night Fight is now fantastic for Dark Eldar. If night fight is in play and you’ve got first turn you can use pre measure to hang at the edge of your ranges and enjoy a good cover save for the opponents shooting phase. If you’re lucky it’s almost like having an additional shooting phase.

Allies are something that you need to take into account now. They really have changed the game. Cleaver use of allies can cover up the weakness in an opponent’s army and exploiting those weakness is how we used to win games. To put this in perspective in 5th when I played Geek’s Tau we both knew that at its’ core the game would come down to how much damage Geek can do before I get into assault and beat face. Now the situation is pretty similar but I have to chew my way through 40 Orks before I get to the Tau.

The changes to Feel no Pain have effected Dark Eldar a lot more than the other races. In the past FNP was a buffer against small arms fire, now it’s only a 5+ save so not as nearly as effective and the ability to take saves against non-instant death ap2 shooting that marine players love doesn’t matter to us because these weapons are inevitably St6 and above.

For my last segment I was going to talk about cover saves only being a 5+ in area terrain now but to be honest I haven’t found it that much of a difference yet. It could just be my meta but a lot of terrain on the boards I play on regularly are ruins so give a 5+ cover save anyway. The only real impact I’ve found is vehicle craters now only give a 5+ save. This is a bit of a bummer but you can sill go to ground for a 3+ cover save the same as before.

I hope that’s been interesting reading. I’d love to hear comments from other Dark Eldar generals with regards to what changes they’re making to their armies to adapt to 6th.

Until next time



Wednesday, 21 November 2012

GT List Performance

The list needs work. Some things worked, but others didn’t.

What worked

·         Tetras. Adding the sensor spines was a great move. Being able to move in and out of terrain at will, without worring about immobilization, was invaluable in all my games.

·         Plasma Cannons. I’ve fallen back in love with Hammerheads. The Plasma Cannons synergise so well with Tetras. With a few marker light hits, anything that doesn’t have a 2+ save just evaporates, whether it’s in cover or not.

·         Broadsides. They did their job very well as always. In game 4 I was on the receiving end of 6 Broadsides, and it’s not a lot of fun! Again, they synergise really well with Tetras. However, I’m glad I only had 3. There was a marked lack of armour, and I suspect that might be more common.

·         Dpods. Having a 3+ cover save on an AV13 tank is just great! But…you need to be careful to keep more than 12 inches away, and flyers can close that gap really easily.

What didn’t work

·         Orks. Or at least the 2 big mobs.  There were 2 problems, both of which I’ve mentioned before – first they take up too much space, and second they hold too long in combat. It was a pain to move them around, and it was a pain to move things around them. The number of times they were just “in the way” was annoying. The second problem probably lost me Game 6, and Game 4 , but it was a concern in other games too. If I’m using a squad for bubble wrap, they need to break, so I can shoot assaulting squad in my turn. And boys are rubbish in combat if they don’t get the charge (I2, S3 – really S3 for an Ork!). And they just take too long to play in a tournament setting. If Game 6 had gone onto turn 5 I might have won, but we only got to turn 4 largely because combats where you are throwing 50+ dice just take too long.

·         Fire Warriors. It makes me really sad to admit this. I thought I had cracked how to use fire warriors, but I haven’t. In all the games I played they made a significant contribution once. In game 5 they jumped out their fish and blew away a 5 man strike squad. In all their other games they either didn’t get out their fish at all (Game 6), got out, didn’t do very much and were massacred and/or ran away (Game 4), or were blow out their fish and mostly died in the explosion (Game 2). Part of the problem was positioning. With all the Orks around it was difficult to get them into the right place at the right time to jump out and shoot stuff. The other problem was fragility – once they’re out their fish a stiff breeze blows them away. In addition, to get them out into optimum range, you’re Devilfish is exposed to fire that is usually under 12”, so the Dpods don’t work. I think ‘Warriors in ‘Fish have their place (maybe in a highly mobile army where they’re supported by SM  bikes?), but it’s not in this army.

·         Flyers. I need something other than Twin Linked rail guns to deal with Flyers.

·         Plasma rifles on the Broadsides. I only used them once, in Game 5. Generally speaking stuff didn’t get close enough. I think this was a function of stuff getting caught up in the boyz.

·         Commander with the Broadsides. He sort of worked. The additional shield drones, the additional body with 3 wonds and a 2+ save, and (in particular) the Advanced Stabilisation System were good, but I think he fired his plasma gun and Fusion Blaster maybe 2 or three times all tournament?

So, back to the drawing board.

My initial thoughts are to keep the Tetras the Hammerheads and the Broadsides, but to replace the Firewarriors with Deathrains. However, the big question is over the Orks. Are they the best allies for Tau?

If I’m keeping the Orks, then one option would be to cut the squad sizes to perhaps 15 boyz. I could then perhaps take a dakka jet or maybe some Nobs as a counter assault unit. An interesting alternative might be a squad of burna boyz to hang out behind the Aegis line, but just in front of the Broadsides. Most units will think twice before charging them!

However, the most intriguing option might be Space Marines.

One option might be a couple of Tac Squads and a Librarian. The Tac Squads do what they do, and give me 2 very sound scoring units, and a degree of bubble wrapping. The Librarian however, could attach to a big squad of Kroot and grant them And They Shall Know No Fear and Leadership 10. Also if he took Force Dome he could give them a 5+ invulnerable save. Couple this with Null Zone, and it would help against Demons! Finally, a Techmarine could attach to the Broadsides giving them leadership 10, ATSKNF, and 2 power fist attacks! That would free up the XV8 Commander so he doesn’t need to baby sit the Broadsides. If I gave him Vectored Retro Thrusters and attached him to the Kroot Squad, that would give the squad Hit and Run….at the Librarian’s initiative.

So my Kroot Bubble wrap has a 4+ cover save behind the Aegis (2+ if I go to ground), a 5+ invulnerable save from anything that ignores cover and leadership 10. If the scary stuff assaults it they take 40 S4 shots on Overwatch (assuming everything is in rapid fire range). If they lose combat, they fall back but immediately regroup and fire at full effect. If they win combat (which might just happen – each of them has 2 WS4, S4 attacks, and I could mix in some Kroot Hounds at initiative 5, much better than Orks) the Commander allows them to hit and run out of the combat, so I can shoot the scary stuff in my turn.

The only problem might be mobility. Foot slogging Tac squads aren’t very mobile. However, something occurred to me during the tournament. I only need mobile scoring units in 1 out of six book missions. In Purge the Alien I’ll do what Tau do best and kill stuff at range. In Big Guns, I have my Hammerheads and Broadsides. In the Scouring I have the Tetras. In the Emperors Will I go for First Blood and Kill the Warlord then bunker down. And in the Relic I just rage quit ‘casue it’s such a stupid mission. Only in Seize Ground (or whatever it’s called now) do I actually need to go and get an objective. Maybe I could take a couple of drop pods?

A crazier option would be to take a Master of the Forge (to go in the Kroot bubble wrap), an Iron Clad Dreadnaught in a Drop Pod as an elite choice, another one as a Heavy Support Choice, a Scout Squad, a Tac squad in a drop pod and give the Tau Commander a Positional Relay. The scouts baby sit the home objective (hopefully in a bolstered ruin)  both Ironclads come down first turn to “distract” the opposition, the Tau contingent shoot the shit out of everything, staying safe behind their Kroot bubble wrap, while the Tau Commander’s Positional Relay keeps the Tac squad off the table until turn 4 when it can drop onto an objective!  

Now that sounds like a plan!


Thoughts on the Tournament

This was my first real 6thed tournament, and my first one where Forge World units were allowed. If I’m honest I’m not sure I really enjoyed the gaming. The game against guard I found intensely frustrating, and the first Tyranid game likewise. Having no real counter to the list you’re fighting is annoying.

Now I could rant about how Vendettas are horribly under priced, about how Flyers and FMCs have created huge imbalance, and about how allowing Forge World units to counter that imbalance may have created more problems than solutions etc. etc., and some of it may even be true. However, if I’m honest, the real problem is that all the old certainties have been swept away. What worked in 5th, sometimes struggles in 6th, and what works in 6th you might never have come across in 5th. The fact of the matter is I have played too few games in 6th ed, to be able to deal with some of the stuff that’s on the table, or to build a list that has all the necessary tools.

And if I’m honest, that’s what I found most frustrating. So, much as I would like to blame the game, games workshop, forge world and “broken” lists, that’s not the real problem. The real problem is my own inexperience in this edition….at the moment.

And that’s an important qualification. It may well be that the games is imbalanced, that forge world do write crappy rules, and that flyers have broken the game, but only time will tell. If I go to the same tournament in a year's time and it’s still just as frustrating, then maybe we have a problem!

Only time will tell.


Tuesday, 20 November 2012

GT Heat Report Part 2

Game 4

Tyranids. 2 winged Tyrants, 2 Harpy’s, 2 Tervigaunts, 6 Hive Guard and loads of gaunts. Hammer and Anvil, Emperor’s will.

In 5th I never lost to Tyranids. The weight of high strength low AP fire just killed them before they got anywhere near my gunline. Oh how things have changed…!

And the change is flying monstrous creatures. I simply could not kill them. I managed to get first blood and (eventually) kill the warlord (one of the Hive tyrants). So I decided to hunker down and weather the storm. However, the FMC’s just flew up, shot me, and then charged…and I just could not ground them. It was close. I eventually managed to kill all but one Hive Tyrant. However, I lost because a squad of Kroot held up a Hive Tyrant in Combat for 4 turns – if the little buggers had broke and run, as they usually do, I would have been able to kill the Tyrant, and keep my objective, but as it was the combat was smack bang on the objective and the Tyrant contested. The Kroot lost 4 rounds of combat but made very single moral check…..!

Again, I found this game intensely frustrating, but to be fair, I should have won this. I made some really stupid mistakes (getting my fire warriors out their fish too soon, to have them pie plated from the Harpies and flee off the board, not keeping the Ork Squad on the objective and allowing the Hive Tyrant near it in the first place, etc etc)

Learning points – FMCs are a pain. What you need is some “throw away” fire from smallish units to ground them. The problem was that all my units were big chunky ones, so I was “wasting” a lot of shots to ground the FMC, before I could kill it. Who said MSU is dead!

And I need a quad gun.  That would have made a big difference. The Quad gun could have taken out the Harpies (they only have a 4+ save) while everything else focused on the Tyrants.

Game 5

Against Tau and Grey Knights. Shasel, 2x6 firewarrios, 3x2 Broadsides (no drones!), Coteaz, 10 man strike squad, 5 man interceptor squad, minimal henchman squad, and a Stormraven. Kill points, Vanguard strike.

Spot the deliberate mistake? He had 2 fast attack choices in his allies. So after pointing this out and some (i'm pretty sure) genuine surprise (by this time he had played 4 games and nobody had pointed it out!)… the TO said he should bin the Henchman and play the interceptors as an additional strike squad. He would be docked points for all his games.

Anyway….he got first turn and took it. I was able to hide my Broadsides and one Hammerhead out of LOS from his Broadsides, and I spread out the orks to discourage deep striking. Everything else in reserve. In his turn he was able to move one of his broadside units and snap fire his team leader at my Broadsides. Because it was a precision shot, he allocated it to my Commander. However I managed to Look Out Sir onto one of the Broadsides and lose him instead. Phew!

My turn I killed a Broadside squad for first blood. We then had a squabble over whether one Black Sun Filter in a team gave Night Vision to all other models in the team (it does). So a 2nd trip to the TO for rules clarification. In my opponents 2nd turn all his reserves came on. He then proceeded to deep strike both Strike Squads into the smallest of holes in my bubble wrap. If he had scattered at all they would have misshaped, but he hit with both of them. This meant a 3rd trip to the TO. My recollection was that when you deep strike, the second circle needed to be in base to base with the first circle, and with other models in the 2nd circle.  My opponent was arguing that only the first one had to be in base to base, the second one only needed to be in base to base with the first circle, but did not need to be in base to base with each other i.e. he wanted to choose where he put the models in the 2nd circle. I’m pretty sure I was right (read the rule – it depends on the meaning of “concentric circles”), but this one went his way.

Didn’t matter because he opened up on my Broadsides with everything and they made an insane number of 2+ saves, more than making up for their poor performance in game 3! In my next turn I blew away all 15 marines, without really breaking sweat.

Finally, he jumped Coteaz out of the storm raven and charged a squad of orks. This lead to the 4th trip to the TO when he argued that after jumping out of the Stormraven he could still go flat out. To my surprise the TO ruled in his favour (it clear says you can’t do it), but after a brief discussion, that decision was reversed.

Long story short I won.

Learning points…..leaving holes for people to deep strike into can at times work in your favour.  Dpod cover saves are awesome against ranged shooting. He shot at my vehicles with his Broadsides all game and only downed one Hammerhead. Finally, I really need to get to know the rules better. While I was right on all the rules calls (except perhaps the deep strike one), I wasn’t able to point to the exact page and the exact rule to convince the guy I was right.

Game 6

Against the same Tyranid player as in game 4. Won’t bore you with the detail, but it went pretty much as before. I set up, he charged me. I eventually managed to kill 3 of the 4 FMCs but the Tyrants bogged me down in combat (again!) to contest an objective.

It sounds a bit tedious, but it was actually a lot more fun than the last game. I dare say I was a bit more relaxed, and because I knew what to expect, I became less frustrated about all the grounding tests he passed.

Next, some general thoughts on the tournamnet before some list reviews.


Monday, 19 November 2012

GT Reports Part 1.

Just back from the GT. Had a fun weekend, and learned a lot. Same as usual. Brief Bat Reps and a summary.

Game One

Hammer and Anvil, Seize Ground 5 objectives. Against a drop podding Space Marine list. Vulcan, Lysander, 1 full tac squad, 1 half tac squad, a scout squad, 2 Iron Clads, 1 normal Dread, 2 MM Attack Bikes, 2 Auto Laz Preds and a Thunder Fire Cannon. My opponents was somebody I have played before (at the gaming day report a while back). In that game he was playing Dark Eldar and had appalling luck. Things didn’t go very well this game either!

My Opponent had first turn. I spread out all my squads and pretty much filled up my deployment zone in an attempt to push his pods back as far as possible. However, I made a mistake. I left a gap over on my left flank. It was tight, and the risk was he might scatter off the board…you can see where this is going?

First turn my opponent decides to pod Lysander and a Tac squad into the gap, he scatters of the board and rolls a “1” on the mishap table…..! This is a huge blow 400pts of his army destroyed first turn. I offer to let him have a “misplaced” result instead, but nobly he declines. His luck did not improve. It included Vulcan being killed by Orks, all his Twin Linked melta guns missing repeatedly, and his Iron Clads being one shotted by Rail Guns.

I think I’m a jinx! Win to me.

Learning points – you can really spread a big unit of boys out a long way, but it makes them really cumbersome. They spent a lot of time getting in the way! I need to be more careful with my deep strike defence. While it worked out for me (!) I should not have left the gap. Ironclads do not like Railguns.

Oh and Thunder Fire Cannons are pretty good now!

Game 2

But of course, winning your first game pushes you up the tables….!

Next game was against Necrons. Stormlord, big blob of warriors, some cryptecs, 3 night scythes with 5 guys inside and 9 (9!) spiders.

Long story short…. I just could not kill enough scarabs. I tried to hold them up with the Boyz, but he just kept spawning more and more. At one point he was rolling 108 dice to hit in a combat with my Broadsides. It did not end well!

However, I also made a huge mistake. I moved my hammerheads too far forward, which allowed him to zoom on with the night scythes, get out the guys and Gauss them to death. While the Dpods on my Hammerheads make them great at range (3+ cover), flyers can close that distance really quickly if you don’t block them with something to keep the flyer more that 12” away. If I had saved the Hammerheads I might have had a chance at killing the spyders and slowing down the scarab production. But then again….with 9 of them I doubt I could have done much about it.

Learning points – scarabs are horrible. I thought my Boyz squads were tar pits…they are nothing compared to scarabs. I really need something to deal with this sort of horde army. Maybe burna boyz as bubble wrap… Overwatch from that would hurt the swarm.

Still it was a good game against a fun opponent.

Game 3

Guard. Blob squad, with Librarian, manticore, psykers, 6 Hydra Defence Platforms, and 3 Vendettas. Big guns never tire, Vanguard Strike.

Hmmm… I can’t make my mind up about this game. I’ll say up front, I really didn’t enjoy it. It was nothing to do with my opponent, he was a nice guy, but his list was just so brutal that after turn one (and we will get to why!) I felt I never had a chance. He just had a counter to everything, and I had a counter to nothing….!

So, anyway, he got first turn. He set up in the corner, hiding his manticore and spreading out the Hydra Platforms. My warlord trait was the one that lets me re-roll reserves. With that trait, and all those auto cannons, not to mention the manticore, I decided to keep all my vehicles off the table. The plan was to come in off the table edge with the Hammerheads, opposite his set up, and use the Plasma Cannons to kill the platforms. With AV13, and a 3+ cover save I thought I had a good chance of taking out the platforms. I also planned to get the Firewarrior out and rapid fire the platforms (they re only AV10). I reckoned my Broadsides could stay on the table behind the Aegis, and weather the fire with their 2+ and 4 shield drones, and havea good chance of poping the manticore.

So first shot of the game he lands 3 Manticore pie plates on the Broadsides. One scatters onto the Big Mek. He kills the Bik Mek and I proceed to roll four ones in a row for the Broadside saves, killing 2 Broadsides the Commander and a Shield Drone. The last guy runs off the board…..! Next turn when my Hammerheads and devilfish come on, he explains the Auto targeting rule, which allows him to ignore jink saves, and that the interceptor rule, which lets him fire at anything coming in from reserve (I thought it was just things that deep struck). He proceeds to autocannon my Hammerheads and Devilfish to death (admittedly over a few turns, but the outcome was never in doubt). And that was before he even started with his Vendettas. I think i destroyed 2 Hydra Platforms all game! To be fair, he did offer me the chance to redeploy the Devilfish and the Hammerheads once he explained Interceptor and Auto targetting, but I didn't think that was right, I should know the rules. 

These are the games I find the most Frustrating – where you lose and you just can’t see how you could have won. Maybe if my Broadsides had survived, I would have had a chance, but I doubt it. Once his Vendettas came on the board the Broadsides would have been toast. The only thing I can think of is if I had taken 2 squads of Broadsides. I might have been able to take down the Hydras before the skimmers came on, and then simply gone to ground behind the Aegis and snap fired the Railguns hoping for a 6.

What I wont do is complain about him taking a “broken” list. It’s a GT – that’s what you should expect, and what he had was within the codex, and within the rules.

So that's the first three games. End of day one. If I had any chance of qualifying, I would have to win at least 2 of my games tomorrow, perhaps all three.

More reports tomorrow.


Wednesday, 14 November 2012

More Rules stuff - Are Broadsidesthe best Anti Flyer unit in the Game?

Are Broadsides the Best Anti Flyer unit in the game?

This came up in the comments during an exchange with Rathstar. I thought I would post something about it to give it more coverage.

First of all, this is an argument about Rules as Written (RAW), based on an interpretation of what’s in the 6thed rule book and the Tau Codex, as amended. I’m not really talking about Rules as Intended (RAI). So I'm not interested in what you think the rules should be - just what they are! If you disagree withthe interpretatin tell me why, quoting rules.

The argument is that a Broadside Team Leader, fitted with a Hard Wired Multitracker, and manning a Quad Gun, can shoot both the Quad Gun, and his TL Railgun at a Flyer using his normal Ballistic Skill. This is based on a reading of the Skyfire Rule, and the Multitracker rule as amended by the 6th Ed Tau FAQ.

The Skyfire Rule says “A model with this special rule, or that fires a weapon with this special rule, fires using its normal Ballistic Skill when shooting at Flyers”. The Multitracker rule in the Tau Codex said (i.e. past tense) that it allowed the wearer to shoot 2 battlesuit weapons. Now that would not let it fire the Quad Gun and the Railgun. However, in the 6th ed FAQ, this was specifically changed to read that the Multitracker “enables the model to fire two weapons in the same turn”.

So, does this mean that the Broadside Team Leader can fire both the Quadgun, and his Railgun, at a flyer using his normal ballistic skill?

Arguably, and unexpectedly, the answer might be “yes”! The Key phrase is “A model with this special rule, or that fires a weapon with this special rule, fires using its normal Ballistic Skill”. So if he fires the Quad gun, he is firing a weapon with the Skyfire Special Rule, and as the rule is written, he can then fire at flyers using his normal Ballistic Skill. There is no restriction that says he can only fire the Quad Gun using the Skyfire rule.

And also think – why make this very specific change to the multitracker rule, if not to allow the model to shoot a quad gun and a battlesuit weapon.

So, to repeat the question, is a Broadsides with a Targeting array and a HW Multitracker, manning a quad gun, the best anti flyer unit in the game? If you also give him a HW target Lock, he can kill flyers, while the rest of his team kill armour on the ground.

Have I got this all wrong?


Tuesday, 13 November 2012

Bubble Wrapping Ork Boyz

As I’ve mentioned before Boyz are great bubble wrap for a Tau Gunline, with one exception – they are too resilient in assault!

The whole point of a Kroot bubble wrap was that it stopped stuff getting to your suits by getting in the way i.e. the scary stuff had to assault your Kroot first, before getting to your suits. The Kroot were never supposed to survive. The idea was that they stopped the scary stuff, broke in your opponent’s assault phase, leaving the scary stuff to be shot to death in your shooting phase.

The problem with 30 fearless boyz, is that this seldom happens. There are few assault units that can put out enough attacks to kill 20 boyz in one round of assault. What that means is the boyz remain fearless and hold into your assault phase. If they break in your assault phase you’re in trouble, because it means they can then assault your suits in their assault phase. Now if they hold until your opponents next assault phase that’s great, because you have now had 2 turns of shooting while the scary stuff waded through the boys. The problem is that it’s unpredictable.

But I think I’ve found a solution in the rules, and I want everybody’s view on whether I have it right. It's all about Pile In Moves.

As we all know in 6th ed models pile in at their initiative step. Boyz are initiative 2, so most things will go before them. So imagine this. A thirty man horde of Boyz are assaulted by 10 blood angle assault marines. The Boyz are bubble wrap, so are well spread out. The marines are able to get into base to base with say 5 boys. So that’s 5 Hammer of Wrath attacks and say 3 dead boyz. Which are taken from the front. So the marines are now only in contact with 3 boys. But then they get their 3 inch pile in move at I4, which brings them back into contact with say 6 boys. The marines then swing at initiative 5 killing 10 boys (assuming Furious Charge from a priest and no Ork saves). Again I remove the 10 nearest boyz. But because the boyz are well spread out my 3“ pile in move at initiative 2 does not bring me into base to base. Accordingly to p23 the combat comes to an end and both units get to consolidate. You must role combat resolution as normal, but because the Boyz are still fearless, it has no effect.

So is this a way to get boys to break away after one round of combat, leaving most of the squad intact to counter charge in your turn and, more importantly, leaving your opponents scary unit out in the open to be shot by the Tau?

Now I know it’s not as reliable as Kroot, and it will need some careful positioning (much easier now because of premeasuring), but according to the rules it seems to work.

What do you think – do I have it all wrong?


Monday, 12 November 2012

Evolution of the GT List

I’ve now played 5 games with the list I posted last week and I’m beginning to get the hang of it. I’ve played one game against grey knights, one against wolves, one against biker marines, one against a Wraithguard Army, and finally one against Necron Flying Circus (I’ll talk about this is a separate post).

The Good

It’s super resilient. Everything in the list is hard to kill. The Hammerheads are AV13 and usually have a 3+ save. The D’fish are AV12 and usually have a 2+ cover save. The Fire warriors are in their fish until they need to get out. The Broadsides have six 4++ ablative wounds (their Shield Drones, and the shield drones from both commanders) a 2+ armour save, a 4+ cover save, and leadership 9. Twenty eight fearless boyz with a 5+ cover save from the KFF are pretty hard to shift. And finally, the tetras are often hard to draw LOS to (they are very low to the ground), and usually have a 2+ cover save.

The Boyz are fantastic bubble wrap, much better than Kroot. In only one of my games did something assault anything other than the Orks.

The plasma cannons on the Hammerheads, combined with the Tetras stripping cover saves, are just death to marines. In the game against the biker army, I was wiping out a unit of bikes per turn with the Hammerheads alone (Usually 6 marker light hits, each Hammerhead picks up 3, 2 to strip cover and one to make them BS5. This meant that usually all 8 shots hit, and (allowing for a couple of 1 on the “to wound” rolls) it produced 6-7 dead bikes!

The Broadsides were, as usual, great at taking out heavy armour (in the biker list he had 2 Predators, both of which died very quickly, before they did very much at all). However, having them fitted with the TL plasma guns, and combining them with both commanders makes them absolutely deadly at close range too. In the game against wolves, my opponents was running three thunder wolves with 2 battle leaders on wolves. They had just murdered a unit of boyz, and were inches away from the Broadsides. With the help of a rapid firing squad of fire warriors, and some marker lights from the Tetras, they evaporated in a hail of Railgun slugs and plasma shots.

Tetras. What can I say – they are just amazing. Marker lights were always awesome, but the platforms on which you could buy them (essentially Pathfinders, Skyrays, and Stealth suits) were pretty rubbish. They combine so well with the Hammerhead’s plasma cannons. In the game against the wraith guard army, being able to strip cover from fortuned wraith guard, and then just punching straight through their 3+ armour save was golden! Same against the bikes. One highlight was stripping all the cover from a Harlequin Deathstar and turning them into a red mist with a unit of rapid firing fire warriors! And they are so resilient….in all 5 games I only lost one, even against people who knew what they did and were targeting them from the get go.

Firewarriors. I take it all back. Fire warriors in D’fish with 2+ cover saves, and reliable marker light support are now pretty good. They aren’t fantastic, but they provide good torrent of fire which my list was lacking before. In my game against the bike marines, 2 squads (with marker light support), rapid firing into a bike squad killed it.

The not so good

The Commanders. The Shasels were there to do 2 things. First to hang out with the Broadsides in the first turn or 2 to provide 4 more shield drones, and a leadership boost, and second to support the  fire warriors when they got out of their ‘fish. They worked well in the first role, however it was hard to get them to work in the second. Nine times out of 10 the Fire warriors were getting out some distance from the commanders, and they were not in a position to attach to the squad. In one game I ran them behind the Devilfish until the warriors got out, which sort of worked. However, I found I typically wasn’t getting out until turn 2 or 3, which meant that for 2 or 3 turn the Commanders were doing very little.

Where they did work well was as fire support for the broadsides when things came in close and needed to be hit hard with plasma, but his only happened in 2 of the 5 games.

The boyz. I know I said they were great, and they really were. However, they had 2 draw backs. Firstly, they are very unwieldy. Moving 30 boyz around is really hard, and they’re slow. Inevitably some of them are in cover and are slowed down by needing to move through that cover. Getting them to far away objectives is difficult. Also, as bubble wrap, they are almost too good. The beauty of Kroot is that they stopped an assaulting unit and then evaporated in one assault phase, leaving the assaulting unit to be rapid fired to death in my next  turn. The trouble with a 25+ man squad of boyz is that they are too resilient. Against a lot of assaulting units they will get held up in combat for too long. That’s fine if you can reposition out of charge range – but that’s kinda hard with broadsides. The problem is unpredictability – you do not know when they will break.

Scoring. The list only has 4 scoring units, and all of them have other jobs to do (torrent of fire for the Fire warriors, and bubble wrap for the boyz). If possible I need other units to do nothing but score.

Reliance on Tetras. The units that makes everything work are the Tetras. Without marker light support the Plasma Cannons are OK, but not great, and the fire warriors become pretty mediocre again. If as a result of poor positioning by me, or lucky/unluck dice I lose the Tetras in the first 2 turns, my army is severely crippled. The other problem with the Tetras is that you want to keep them in terrain as much as possible, preferably ruins. In one game, the first time I flew them into ruins I rolled double ones and immobilised both of them!

The Changes

After a deal of thought I’m going to drop one Shasel and replace him with 2 squads of Kroot. I’ll upgrade the remaining Shasel with Iridium Armour (giving him and his Drones a 2+ armour save), and will re-task him simply baby sitting the Broadsides and adding fire support when things get too close. That leaves my Firewarrior squads more mobile, although a little more fragile.

Also, the addition of 2 squads of 10 kroot gives me more scoring options, leaving the Boyz and the Fire warriors to focus more on their jobs of bubble wrap (and maybe getting an objective) and torrent of fire (and maybe getting an objective). Thanks to the Ork FAQ, the Kroot also benefit from the KFF’s 5+ cover save.

I’m also going to give the Tetras Sensor Spines, allowing them to ignore difficult terrain.

As for the problem with Boyz being too good in assault, I think I’ve fund a way round that in the rules…..more on that in a later post.

So the final list is


Shasel, XV81, Fusion Blaster, Plasma Rifle, Multitracker, Iridium Armour, HW Shield Drone Generator, 2 Shield Drones.


12 Fire warriors, Devil Fish with Disruption Pods
12 Fire Warriors, Devil Fish with Disruption Pods
10 Kroot
10 Kroot

Fast Attack

Tetra with Targeting Array, Disruption Pods and Sensor Spines
Tetra with Targeting Array, Disruption Pods and Sensor Spines

Heavy Support

Hammerhead Gunship. Plasma Cannons, Burst Cannons, Multitracker, Disruption Pods, Black Sun Filter.
Hammerhead Gunship. Plasma Cannons, Burst Cannons, Multitracker, Disruption Pods, Black Sun Filter.

Broadside Team Leader with TL Plasma Rifles, Multitracker, HW Drone Controller, HW Black Sun Filter, HW Target Lock, 2 Shield Drones
Broadside with TL Plasma Rifles, Multitracker
Broadside with TL Plasma Rifles, Multitracker


Aegis Defence Line


Big Mek KFF

25 Shoota Boyz
26 Shoota Boyz

The only change I might make is to the Shasel. I don’t think there is any point in running an XV81 any more (i.e. the forge world variant with SMS). I might just run him as a standard Sunforge i.e. with plasma rifle and fusion gun. That would give me 20 points to spend on more boyz!


Wednesday, 7 November 2012

GT List 1850pts

I’ve been thinking long and hard about the list I want to take to the GT in 2 weeks time. To recap, Forge World is allowed, and it’s at 1850pts. I want to take Tau with Ork allies

The List I’m thinking about is


Shasel XV81 – Smart Missile System, Plasma Rifle, Fusion Gun, HW Multitracker, HW Drone Controller, 2 Shield Drones

Shasel XV81 – Smart Missile System, Plasma Rifle, Fusion Gun, HW Multitracker, HW Drone Controller, 2 Shield Drones


12 Fire Warriors, Devil Fish with Dpod
12 Fire Warriors, Devil Fish with Dpod


Aegis Defence Line

Fast Attack

Tetra with Targeting Array
Tetra with Targeting Array


Broadside team leader, with TL plasma rifle, Multi tracker, HW Target Lock, HW Black Sun Filter, HW Drone Controler, 2 Shield Drones
2x Broadsides with TL plasma rifle and Multi Trackers

Hammerhead, TL Plasma Cannons (R48, S7, AP3 Heavy 4), Dpod, Mult tracker, Black Sun Filter

Hammerhead, TL Plasma Cannons (R48, S7, AP3 Heavy 4), Dpod, Mult tracker, Black Sun Filter


Big Mek with KFF

28 Shoots Boyz

28 Shoota Boyz

Tactics are pretty simple. First Turn Broadsides with attached XV81s sit behind the Aegis Defence Line. FW’s in their ‘fish. Boyz spread out to protect the gunline. All vehicles in cover for a 3+ cover save (2+ if there are in ruins). The Tetras can get a 2+ cover save behind the Aegis. Boyz run forward to create a threat that really can’t be ignored. Broadsides target heavy armour, or stuff that’s killing the boyz, and might threaten my F’warriors, Hammer heads target light armour or medium infantry (i.e. anything with a 3+ save or worse). Turn 2, if a suitable target presents itself (i.e. anything that’s not in a vehicle), FW’s get out and, supported by the Tetras, torrent it away. Mid game, providing all threats to the gunline are dispatched, the boyz head for objectives, and the F’warriors get back in their fish and do the same.

It’s designed with survivability in mind, and to an extent sacrifices killing power to achieve that. Twenty eight fearless, T4 models with a 5+ cover save take a lot of getting rid of. All vehicles should have at least a 3+ save, however, with luck the Hammerheads can find some ruins for a 2+, and, after turn one, the D’fish can simply move flat out for a 2+. The Broadsides are their usual robust selves, but boosted by a 4+ cover save from the Aegis, and if necessary leadership 9 and 4 additional Shield Drones from the XV81s. The F’warriors are in their fish until a target presents itself. The plan then is that they empty out (hopefully) behind the Aegis, and attach themselves to one of the VX81s (which has detached from the Broadsides), for leadership 9 and a couple of Shield Drones. The XV81’s load out is designed to support the Fire Warriors with SMS and plasma at 24”, and Fusion and Plasma under 12”.

While it is pretty static at the outset, it can remobilise if it needs to (providing the FW’s survive).

Ironically for a Tau list, it’s weakness is anti armour only having  3 railguns. But I’m not seeing vehicles spam like I used to. The alternative would be to swap out the 2 Hammerheads for 3 more Broadsides, running 2 squads of 3.

I’ve played this list once so far, last week at the non-club against a footslogging Grey Knights list. Three strike squads, Mordrak with some ghost knights, a Librarian and 5 paladins with an apothecary. First turn he deep struck the Ghost Knights behind the gunline (didn’t know they came in first turn automatically or I would have deployed to stop that happening). The FW’s jumped out and, with marker lights support, blew the ghost knights off the table, really without breaking sweat. Rolls weren’t spectacular, pretty average in fact, but 24 rapid firing BS5 pulse rifles put something like 30 wounds on the squad. Combined with the plasma and Fusion guns on the XV81s, and the squad plus Mordrak and the Libby died. And I still had around 50 Shoota shots to fire and a charge from the boyz lined up, if necessary. Which of course left the Broadsides and the Hammerheads to seriously deplete one of the strike squads. When the Paladins came in, they were also blown away, not so much by the Fire Warriors, but by the Broadsides.

A reasonably easy win, but it was a good match up for me. Thinking through the various “meta” lists, I suspect it will do reasonably well against most lists that want to get close. However, it might struggle a bit against more shooty lists. Guard with Manticores and Vendettas for example, or long fang spam. If the grey knight list had swapped out the ghost knights for Psyfilmen dreadnaughts it might have been harder.

What to people think – where are the weaknesses?