Monday, 21 January 2013

Caledonian Uprising 2013

Back from Cally. Great weekend (even with all the snow!) My aim for the weekend was to do better than last year (2-0-4), and better than at the GT Heat (2-0-4).

Usual format, brief Bat reps and an overview.

Points were 1850, 5 games with primary and secondary objectives scoring slightly differently. It’s the qualifier for the Scottish ETC team – top 4 scots qualify automatically, the rest are picked by the captain.

Game 1

Game one was the scouring and vanguard strike. Up against grey knights. Coteaz, 2 strike squads, 3 dakka dreads, 5 razorbacks with psybolt ammo (3 of them with 3 man henchman squads), aegis with quad gun and 10 terminators. It was a very “5th edition” list. My 5th edition Tau list (6 Broadsides, loads of missile pods) would have ripped it apart, my “new” 6th edition list, not so much. It’s still a good counter, but not the hard counter it would have been in 5th.

I got first turn, and gave it to him. I wanted to see whether he was going to deep strike his terminators so I knew whether to set up a deep strike defense or not. He deployed everything behind his Aegis. That meant I was able to deploy in a more open formation, giving me more flexibility of movement. So I set up as far away as possible, hiding the Tetras behind a building, and getting the Hammer Heads out of range of his Preds. I gambled on him simply advancing his termies across the table (what else was he going to do with them and their 24” range!), so I reserved the Firewarriors in their fish, hoping that they would come in turn 2, hop our, and dakka down the termies.

Well, everything went to plan. The Railguns killed the armour, the Plasma Cannons killed the strike squads, the Tetras refused to die (must have passed about 20 2+ saves on them!)  and the fire warriors came on, jumped out and (with marker light support) blew away 6 terminators in one round of shooting. The remaining termis promptly failed their leadership tests and ran for it. While they rallied next turn, it stalled their advance, and I was able to kill them all before they got anywhere near my gun line.

A 19 – 1 win to me.

Game 2

As always, the problem with winning your first game is that you are then on the top tables! Next was a combination of the relic and Emperors will. I was up against an odd army of Eldar and Dark Eldar. Farseer on a bike with a 7 man seer council, two 9 man squads of reaver jet bikes, 2 squads of 3 guardian jet bikes, a Phoneix bomber and a jet wing fighter, and some foot sloggers who where just there to camp the home objective.

I was at bit at a loss to know what to do against this army. It’s so fast I didn’t think I could stop him snatching the Relic. And he could “lurk” at the other end of the board until turn 5 and then snatch it. Hmmm…!

So I decided that there was very little prospect of me getting his objective, and that getting and keeping the Relic was pretty impossible. The plan (such as it was) was to deploy everything in range of the relic, try and get first blood, hold my own objective, and kill anything that goes anywhere near the relic.

It didn’t really work! The problem was the phonix bomber. My opponent had explained what it did, but I didn’t really listen well enough. It’s missiles decimated the orks and the Fire warriors, and the reavers did the rest. In the end I was lucky. I eventually killed the seer council, and the reavers, and the guardian jet bikes broke and ran off the board. So in the end, nobody had the relic, he held his home objective, and I managed to pass enough leadership tests on orks and fire warriors to hang on to my own objective with one remaining ork! So a loss, but not a huge one. Think it was 17 – 3.

Lesson learned – do not get fire warriors out of their fish until absolutely necessary! They are just too fragile to start on the board.

Game 3

Kill points against Guard with space wolves. He had Company Command Squad, Platoon Command Squad, Primaris Psyker, 50 man blob with Axes and melta bombs, 3 Vendettas, 2 Rune priests, 2 squads of grey hunters with Wolf Guard and a Hyperion Missile Battery. He rolled on divination and got the power which grants a 4+ invulnerable save!

Hmmmm….. my list really has no answer to Vendettas and a blob squad with a 4++. So the plan was to kill everything else and ignore the Vendettas and the blob.

And that’s what I did….. but he killed 2 units more than I did. I made one huge mistake which lost me the game.  I hadn’t clocked that the blob had melta bombs, and I got a Hammerhead and a Devilfish too close. He assaulted both and killed them (small conciliation was that I killed a bunch of guardsman in the explosion!)

Lesson learned – blobs are even more terrifying than I thought, and I really need something in the list that will deal with AV12 flyers and guard blobs. The difficulty is what!

Game 4

Eldar and dark elder again. Eldrad, 10 Wraithguard, Harlies with a shadowseer, the Baron and 2 Venoms with kabalite warriors, 3 squads of Guardian Jet Bikes and 9 (9!) war walkers. Mission was Crusade with 5 objectives, Dawn of War.

On paper I should win this one. He has nothing that can damage my Hammerheads at range, and he can only glance the Devilfish. As long as I keep away from the Wraithguard and the Harlies, and kill the bikes and the Warriors it should be good. I’m a little concerned about the weight of fire the War Walkers can put out, but not really. My main concern is the Barron tanking wounds for the Wraithguard on his 2++. However, the TO ruled that fortune doesn’t effect the Baron, so it’s not too bad.

He gets first turn and takes it. He sets up Eldrad, the Wraithguard, the Hariles and both Venoms and leaves everything else in reserve (just realised he had too much in reserve, ah well!). Oddly, he does not set up the Baron to tank wounds. The Walkers are outflanking. I set up the Broadsides in the middle behind the aegis, surrounded by orks. Everything else is on my left. I thought about lining  that board edge with infiltrating  to Kroot stop him coming on there, However, he had that covered by his 2 venoms which would have toasted the Kroot, so instead I put the Hammerheads there, with a plan to move them up the board edge and outflank the Kroot, hoping they would come in on that edge to block the rest of it.

I then seized the initiative! So taking advantage of the Wraithguard not being fortuned, I pour everything into them in that first turn, killing 6 of them. A good start. In his turn 1 nothing really happens, I think his venoms kill some orks. My turn 2 one squad of Kroot come on, but come on on the wrong side! They are isolated way over on the right, so I bring them on, on my side of the table and hide them. I move up the Fire Warrior’s ‘Fish. The plan is to strip the Harlies cover with the Tetras, and blow them away with rapid firing, pulse rifles next turn.  I kill 2 more Wraithguard, but my shots are then stalled by Eldrad’s re-rollable 3++. I think I take a hull point of a Venom, the Broadsides failing miserably to kill paper aeroplanes!

In his Turn 2 all the War Walkers come on. One squad comes on, on the right, and 2 on the left. He keeps his bikes of with his warlord trait (the one that allows you to re-roll reserves). And then disaster, he opens up with everything on the Broadsides, kills 2 Drones and they fail a leadership test and run off the board, giving him first blood and kill the warlord….bugger!

It was a bit of a blow! I was beginning to feel I had this one in the bag, but without the Broadsides it was going to be tricky, and giving up first blood and kill the warlord was a disaster! But, I swallowed hard, sucked it up, and pressed on with the plan!

Over the next few turns I managed to squeak out the narrowest of wins. Highlights were one squad of Firewarriors jumping out their ‘Fish, and killing 2 War Walkers, getting charged next turn by the remaining Walker, and killing it with Overwatch! The other squad of fire warriors getting charged by the Baron, blowing away his Shadow Field with Overwatch, and then slapping him down in the ensuing combat!  And finally, a pack of Kroot holding up a squad of jet bikes long enough in assault, so they could not snatch an objective

When the smoke settled, I held 2 objectives and he held one. However, because he had slay the warlord, first blood and line breaker, we drew on tournament points 10 each. However because I also had line breaker (gun drones FTW) I won on 6th ed VPs 7 -6. The very (very) narrowest of wins.

Lessons learned – don’t panic! But also – I wonder if it is worth that extra 25pts for the Shas’o and his leadership 10!

Game 5

Big guns never tire, hammer and anvil, against Space Marines. Captain on a bike with a squad of scoring bikes, 3 pods, one with a tac squad and 2 with Ironclads, 2 more tac squads (one in a Rhino) and 2 Thunderfire cannons.

Hmmm… when I saw his list and the mission I knew I would have to try quite hard to lose this one (or be very unlucky!). I gave him first turn, so I had last turn to grab some objectives, and set up the 30 orks to bubble wrap my gun line.

He podded in one ‘clad and one tac squad, and killed some orks. In my turn I killed the tac squad and immobilised the ‘clad.

In his turn 2 the second ‘clad came in and managed to immobilise one of my Hammerheads (a very risky deep strike right on the edge of the board which I did not think he would go for!). His scout squad outflanked on my side, and ran into a ruin, and his bikes moved up. He killed some more orks. In my turn 2 I killed the ‘clad, and most of the bikes. The small squad of orks and one of the Kroot squads came in and failed to kill the scout squad (it went to ground in a ruin for a 2+ cover save).

In his turn 3 he killed some more orks, and a shield drone. The remaining bikes failed their charge on a pack of Kroot. In my turn I moved up both ‘fish heading for the central objective. I killed the remaining bikes, but not the captain. The Kroot charged the scout squad and wiped them out.

In his turn his quad gun fired at one of my ‘fish, he rolled a 6 to pen, I rolled a 1 to failed my 2+ cover save, and he then rolled a 6 to blow it up. He then smacked the Fire warriors with the Thunder fire cannons and the survivors ran…..! A blow, but not a disaster as the other fish moved up to reach the objective in my turn. His captain also charged a pack of Kroot, wiping them out, but he was not able to consolidate into cover. In my turn 4 I killed his captain and the remaining devilfish moved onto the 2nd objective, with the Firewarriors ready to hop out and claim it in turn 5. At that point we were running out of time, and we agreed turn 5 would be the last turn.

In his turn five I had an anxious moment. He killed enough shield drones to force a leadership test on my Broadsides who were holding the home objective…but they passed this time! In my turn 5 I claimed the middle objective, and finally killed a Thunderfire cannon for an extra point!

A 16-4 win to me!

This game was closer than I thought it was going to be – the problem were the Thunderfire cannons. I just could not risk getting my Firewarriors out their fish as they would have been pounded by the cannons. Without their fire power, it was trickier putting down the captain (with his artificer armour) than it would have been if they could have simply torrented him away.

So, I went 3-0-2 and ended up with 55 tournament points, enough for best Tau general. I also came 23rd out of 87. Very pleased with that. Sadly however, I was not in the top 4 Scottish players (think I came 5th or 6th, but not sure) so didn’t qualify for the ETC team…..!

List analysis

This list performed much better than at the GT, but it still has problems.

The reason for improved performance is partly greater experience in playing the list. I played a much more fluid game, and really only castled up in game 5, to counter the podding Dreads. I still made mistakes of course (deploying the Firewarriors out their fish in game 2, allowing the melta bomb wielding blob squad to assault my vehicles in game 3), but I had more comprehensive plans for all my games than at the GT.

However, the list was also improved. The biggest change was the quad gun and fewer orks. The quad gun was OK, but is laughable against AV12 flyers. Fewer Orks was a big improvement. The 30 “man” mob was ideal for bubble wrapping when needed, and was much more manageable than the 2 30 man mobs I took to the GT. Interestingly, one change made a big difference – the sensor spines on the D’fish. I put them there as an afterthought really, but when you don’t need to worry about terrain, it makes deploying the Firewarriors so much easier.

The other thing was that the Firewarriors worked much better this tournament. In game one they blew away a 6 terminators, in game 3 they blew away a pack of Grey Hunters, and in Game 5 they killed the War Walkers (and the Baron in assault – although that was a bit of a fluke!). They are still very vulnerable once thet are out their ‘fish (Game 2 and Game 5, where they stayed in their ‘fish almost the whole game for fear of the 2 T’fire Cannons). But if you get your timing and your positioning right, they’re OK (still not great, but OK).

Having said that, I was kinda lucky in my match ups. I didn’t play Wraith Spam Necrons, nor flamer/screamer spam demons. Against Demons I think I might stand a chance, providing I managed to get the ork bubble wrap right. Not sure what I would have done against Wraith Spam however.   

I also have no answer to AV12 flyers, nor really to a guard blob.

Further thought required.



  1. Nice write up. Dan's Eldar / Dark Eldar you played in Game 2 is tricky, fast as hell and very deadly. Played it in my Game 4 and managed to fight out a draw.

  2. Thanks mate. Yeah - the jet bike army threw me for sure. It's so unusual. But that's what makes it interesting. nothing worse than playing the same army again and again.