Tuesday, 4 June 2013

Games of War Summer Tournament

Just back from the Games of War Summer Tournament. As always, I had a blast. Of more interest, it was New Tau’s first Tournament…. could be very interesting.

The tournament is 1750pts on day one, and 2000pts on day 2. Here are the lists I took

The 1750pt one was

XV8 Commander, 2 Missile Pods, Target Lock, Drone Controller, Puretide Chip, Iridium Armour, 2 Shield Drones

Riptide, Fusion Blasters, Ion Accelerator, Early Warning Override, Velocity Tracker
Riptide, Fusion Blasters, Ion Accelerator, Early Warning Override, Velocity Tracker           

12 Fire Warriors, Devilfish, Sensor Spines, Disruption Pods                                                           
11 Fire Warriors, Devilfish, Sensor Spines, Disruption Pods                                                           
10 Kroot, 1 Kroot Hound                                                                                               
10 Kroot, 1 Kroot Hound                                                                                               

7 Marker Drones                                                                                                                       

Hammer Head, Rail Gun, Sub-munition Blast, Longstrike, Disruption Pod, Smart Missile System           
Skyray, Black Sun Filter, Smart Missile Systems, Disruption Pod.                                               
Skyray, Black Sun Filter, Smart Missile Systems, Disruption Pod.

And the 2000pt one was

XV8 Commander, 2 Missile Pods, Target Lock, Drone Controller, Puretide Chip, Iridium Armour, 2 Marker Drone 

Riptide, Fusion Blasters, Ion Accelerator, Early Warning Override, Velocity Tracker            
Riptide, Fusion Blasters, Ion Accelerator, Early Warning Override, Velocity Tracker
3 XV8s each with 2 missile pods, a Target Lock and 2 Marker Drones                                               

12 Fire Warriors, Devilfish, Sensor Spines, Disruption Pods, 2 Seeker Missiles                                    
11 Fire Warriors, Devilfish, Sensor Spines, Disruption Pods, 2 Seeker Missiles                                   
10 Kroot, 1 Kroot Hound                                                                                               
10 Kroot, 1 Kroot Hound                                                                                                                       
10 Kroot, 1 Kroot Hound                                                                                                           

Hammer Head, Rail Gun, Sub-munition Blast, Longstrike, Disruption Pod, Smart Missile System, 1 Seeker Missile           
Skyray, Black Sun Filter, Smart Missile Systems, Disruption Pod.                                               
Skyray, Black Sun Filter, Smart Missile Systems, Disruption Pod.                                   

I’m afraid I’m not terribly good at detailed battle reports. I’ve found in the past that to do them properly you need to take notes and pictures at the time. The problem with that is I find it “spoils” the game in that you’re distracted from the immersive experience by worrying about something else. So I don’t do it. What follows then is a brief run down of the games.

Game 1

Against Deathwing – 3 squads of terminators with Mordrak some Ghost Knights and some GKT allies. We were playing the scouring and I had first turn. My opponent deployed one unit of DW termies, with Mordrak and 2 squads of DW coming down first turn. The GKTs were in reserve.

Strategically this was going to be a very simple game! He would deep strike in front of my gunline trying to overwhelm me with targets. Either I would kill all his terminators before they got into assault, or they would run through my army! Tactially however, it’s trickier, and takes a lot of thought in coordinating marker light use, firing sequences and blocking. The key I find is focusing on one or 2 units per turn until they are dead, while blocking the others until it’s their turn to die … and always having a “plan B” if you’re dice go south and you don’t kill that one unit… had to use a lot of “plan Bs” in this game!

So I set up in a castle on the objectives in my half and prepare to repel boarders! My Kroot are in reserve. Normally I would use them as bubble wrap, but there were a lot of objectives to grab and I wanted to preserve them. I was banking on having enough fire power to kill a lot of his army in one turn, while using the tank hulls to block any assaults. In my turn I shuffle my vehicles around for 3+ Jink saves. The 2 Deathwing units have assault cannons and although they need to rend to kill any of my grav-tanks, better safe than sorry!

So he brings in Mordrak and his ghost knights, Belial and his command squad and a squad of DW termies. Deathwing are front and centre, and the Ghost Knights are of to the right. I decide not to intercept as he has stormshields at the front. I save the Riptides Ion accelerators until I can (a) get marker light support and/or (b) kill the storm shield guy with pulse fire, so the rest of the termies only have a 5++ from the Ion Accelerator’s AP2. He shoots and everything bounces off.

In my turn both my Kroot squads come on…. really didn’t want that to happen TBH, but they run for objectives and hide. I move my D’fish to block any assaults and get my Firewarriros out behind the tanks. I also unload the gun drones to create further assault road blocks. This is what I mean by a “plan B”. I was pretty sure I could kill one death wing squad with 72 BS5 S5 pulse rifle shots, (re-rolling ones from my Ethereals warlord trait) but “just in case” I wanted to block any assaults if I don’t. I block both of the other squads with my Skyrays (which are pretty useless this game – no flyers, no armour and everything with 2+ saves) and the Hammerhead.

I drown one squad of DW with Marker Lights and both squads of fire warriors open up on it “just to be sure” ….. and my opponent proceeds to make forty five 2+ saves! I then shoot a BS5 Riptide at it and roll three 1s to hit for the Ion accelerator, and a 1 to wound for the Fusion Gun….! Oh dear…..! Thank goodness for plan B!

The game continued in a similar vein. I eventually scrape a win, having lost all my grav tanks a Riptide and most of my fire warriors. My opponent must have made something like 90 two up saves over the course of the game. A close one.

One thing I learned however was that Riptideds are OK in assault (not great, but OK). In one turn, my “plan B” was to assault a unit of Grey Knight terminators with a Riptide if I failed to shoot it to death. Of course (!), I did fail to shoot it to death, and preceded to beat down the terminators with the Riptide supported by a desperate pack of Kroot (the Termies didn’t have a Demon Hammer).

The other thing I learned is that Death Wing can easily counter Riptides with Interceptor by simply putting a storm shield guy at the front!

So a win and onto game 2.

Game 2

Against Codex Marines. Libby, Dreadnaught in a pod, Sternguard with 2 laz cannons, assault terminators, 2 tac squads in pods, Scouts with Telion on a quad gun, a Thunder fire Cannon and a devastator squad. Big guns never tire, 5 objectives.

I had first turn and set up in deep strike defense mode, but not as castled up as last time. He only had a couple of melta guns in each tac squad and I fancied my chances at making my 3+ jink saves. However, what I also did was infiltrate a sacrificial Kroot squad onto a forward objective in the hope that would tempt him to bring his pods down further away to kill them, and give me more time to maneuver.

In my first turn I killed his Thunder Fire Cannon and his Quad Gun. The TFC was target number one. I can’t get my Fire Warriros out their ’fish while it’s still alive. They come out too clumped up and the TFC would murder them….. and I’ll need them to kill his termies.

In his turn he doesn’t fall for the “Kroot trap” but his pods scatter so far away from my other units that he’s beside the Kroot anyway and decides to shoot them. The little feathered hero’s duck and I lose only a handful from the combined fire power of the dread, and an (almost) full tac squad (I think he lost a couple of guys from an intercepting Riptide). Of course they then failed their leadership and ran away …!

Long story short over the next few turns – I kill everything and he killed very little. When the dust settled I’ve lost a Kroot squad, and he had the Sternguard and the Devastators left. It might have gone differently if his Terminators hadn’t misshaped when they deep struck, and he hadn’t rolled a “1” on the mishap table!

Learning point – Riptdies are actually pretty rubbish at intercepting as they get no marker light support! However, they would be better if you remembered to Nova Charge them the turn before you expect something to deep strike, so you could fire the Fusion Gun twice!

Game 3

On table 1 against a Demon flying circus. Fateweaver, Greater Demon of Tzeench, 3 Demon Princes a squad of pink horrors and a squad of Demonetts.  Crusade 5 objectives.

Hmmmmm…..! This looked tricky. Little Geek had played this army in round 1, and had talked about how hard it was all through lunch. The person who played the Demons in Game 2 rage quit after turn 2 and walked out of the tournament!

Normally at the start of tournament games I ask my opponent to run through his army, and that’s what I did here. Waste of time! The army is so complicated; it’s impossible to get everything straight in your head. Everything is rolling on psychic tables and/or gift tables etc etc. It was impossible to remember what everything had, let alone what it all did.

Note this is not a complaint about my opponent – he was very clear with all his powers and very patient about explaining everything … repeatedly! He kept very good records (helped by a very impressive app on his iPad) and I have absolutely no complaints about him or how he played ….. but man it was an annoying army to play! I have no objection to people bringing hard lists to tournaments, that’s what you should expect, but it was sooo … random!

Anyway… on to the game.

I think (!) I was lucky, in that he didn’t roll Iron Arm on any of the demons, but he did roll a plethora of other stuff that I could not even begin to remember, let alone understand. I decided that I would just had to rely on the standard Tau Tactics of shooting stuff till it dies!

It helped that I got first turn (well at least I thought it did!) – if he deployed his FMCs they wouldn’t be flying and I would get a “free” round of shooting, and that’s what happened. It didn’t make much difference however as I only managed to kill one of them!

The rest of the game was a desperate struggle to kill the big Demons before they slaughtered me. It was really, really close, but I managed it. It almost flip flopped on the final turn when he rolled double 6 on the warp storm table and spawned a whole unit of demonetts. He planned to deep strike them onto an objective and that would probably have won him the game. Thankfully he misshaped and I was able to place them miles away.

In retrospect this was the game of the tournament (although game 4 was tense too!). It was really tense and close right down to the last turn. However, it’s a frustrating army to play because it’s so random, and the FMC’s are so hard to kill (thank god I had loads of Skyfire). The warp storm table is also annoying. Twice in the game it generated random powers where I had to roll for each of my units and on a 6 I suffered damage. This is a game mechanic I really hate, because it’s so random. There is no skill involved in deploying it, and nothing you can do as an opponent to counter it. One of them dropped a random large blast template on a pack of Kroot sitting on an objective. Luckily it scattered, however if it had hit it would have probably killed enough to force a moral test and the unit might have broken and run off the board, losing me the game!

I know, I know, demons are random that’s the way they work blah blah blah….still hate it, still think it’s a stupid game mechanic!

Anyway, a win, but one I had to work really hard for. My opponent was a great guy, but his army was horrible!

Game 4

Day 2 and the points limit goes up to 2000pts. First game on day 2 I’m playing CSM. Lord on a bike with a bunch of bikes, Typhus, 4 squads of 20 plague zombies, squad of 5 plague marines, an obliterator, 3 (maybe more, can’t remember) terminators, 2 Forge Fiends and 2 Helldrakes. Kill points, Hammer and Anvil.

I was feeling quietly confident about this game, especially with Hammer and Anvil deployment. All I needed to do was castle up and kill his Forgefiends. That would force him to come to me to get his kill points. For sure the Helldrakes are a pain, and I would need to kill the bikes quickly or they would run straight through my army, but I reckoned I could do that reasonably easily.

My opponent got first turn and set up bubble wrapping his Forgefiends in zombies (no idea why, don’t think I’ve every deep struck a crisis suits in all the games I’ve played with Tau!). He deploys the plague marines (who will do nothing all game) and the bikes… but IMHO he makes a mistake with his bikes. He deploys them over on the right side of his deployment zone, behind his zombies. This blocks their movement and allows me to castle up in the left hand corner of my deployment zone, as far away as possible. It will be turn 4 before his bikes get into assault range of my army!

And then one of those horrible things happen that sometime happen in tournaments ….. he places Typhus, the Obliterator and the Terminators in reserve, but does not declare they will deep striking! RAW, you must declare a deep strike, or they’re walking on from the board edge…… and it’s hammer and anvil! In my head I’m thinking …..”please remember to say they’re deep striking, please remember to say they’re deep striking” because if he doesn’t I have a difficult choice.

Now, in a casual game I would have no problem with this… of course I would let him Deep Strike his units even if he didn’t declare they were going to deep strike, but this is on top table in day2 of a tournament …. Oh dear….!

I have a bit of a character flaw when it comes to rules! Maybe its because I’m a lawyer in real life, but I find it really hard to let things like this go. The rules of the game are there to make the game fair for everybody, if you don’t stick to the rules then what’s the point of playing the game…. you might as well line up your soldiers and ping rubber bands at them like you did whey you were 7!

So I say something like …. Is that your deployment finished…. And he says “yes”, and I say, “sorry mate but you didn’t declare that you were deep striking Typhus and the Termies, you need to do that when you deploy or they’re walking on”. Stunned silence …. and I replay what I just said in my mind and realise what a dick I’m being, and immediately apologise and tell him that of course he can deep strike the units…… a moment of personal growth perhaps!

So the game goes on and plays out much as I expected. I set up to repel deep strikers. In our respective first turns he shoots some Kroot, I knock some hull points off his Forgefiends, and his bikes turbo boost forward.

In his turn 2 both his Helldrakes come on, but nothing else. His bikes are still too far away to do any damage. His drakes BBQ some Kroot and I think put a wound on some XV8s. In return my Skyrays swat one drake out of the sky and I kill a Forgefiend. The other drake is out of marker light range so I decide to keep the other Skyray until next turn.

In his turn 3 Typhus and the obliterator come on and the terminators still fail to turn up. He deep strikes them down in front of my gun line. The Helldrake vector strike a Devilfish, but fails to do anything. It then BBQs some Kroot and again, puts some wounds on the XV8 unit. His bikes move up, but I’ve blocked them with some Kroot so they can’t get to the juicy bits. They are in charge range, but it’s a long charge range and he decides not to go for it.

In my turn 2 I move the Kroot in front of the bikes a little further forward. They will stop the bikes charging anything in his turn 4. I position my D’fish a little way behind the Kroot so the F’warriors can get out in my turn 4 and blow away the bikes that just killed the kroot. All I then need to do is kill Typhus, an obliterator and a Helldrake, as nothing else is really in range. The Drake and Typhus die surprisingly easily, but I just can’t take the last wound of the oblit’. In the end I charge him with some Kroot to hold him in place and stop him shooting anything next turn, which they do successfully.

Going through this now, I realise we made a mistake in turn 4 – he rolled for his terminators, when they should have come in automatically. He rolled a “1” and they stayed off – both of us still in 5th edition! But that stage I don’t think it would have made much difference.

Time was running out and we agreed turn 4 would be our last one. He split his Lord from the bikes to assault the Kroot who were assaulting the Obliterator. His bikes shot the Kroot that were blocking their way, but could only kill 2 as the others were out of sight. To my amazement they passed their leadership test and held. He tried to assault them, but as he couldn’t see the rest of the squad, he couldn’t assault them. He should have shot the Kroot with something else clearing them out of the way, and then assaulted the Devilfish behind them ….. but it was a very long assault, doubt he would have made it.

The Lord killed all the Kroot and the Oblit’ and the Lord tried to consolidate out of LOS, but failed. In my turn I killed the Oblit’, the Lord and the bikes. So I’ve killed everything in his army except the Plague Marines and 3 squads of zombies. He’s killed 2 units of Kroot!

This was a text book example of how not to assault a Tau Gunline. His threats hit me in ones and twos which I could easily deal with. I can usually kill 1 threat, and with luck 2. I can then block other threats until next turn, before I kill them. You need to hit me with multiple threats all at once to make me sweat – like my first round opponent did with 3 units of terminators deep striking in my lines , or my 2nd with 3 FMCs in my teeth turn 2. However, if there are only 3 or 4, they need to be tough threats (e.g. Flying MCs or terminators with stormshields) or I’ll kill them all, or threats I can’t block (jump infantry). Otherwise there needs to be more than 4.

To be fair to my opponent, he did try to do this, but his reserve rolls let him down. If he had positioned his bikes centrally and in front of his zombies, and all his reserves had come in on turn 2, he would have been hitting me with 2 ‘drakes, 5 terminators, 5 bikes with a Lord, Typhus and an Obliterator all at the same time, and, I would have really struggled.  

Game 5

Up against Little Geek and his demons! Two tooled up Bloodthirsters, 20 seekers, 2 soul grinders 30 plague bearers and a big bunch of screamers. Emperors will.

I always enjoy playing Little Geek. Our records is mixed! In 5th edition his demons regularly kicked my butt – in fact I don’t think I ever won against them with Tau. At the height of the screamer and flamer silliness, before demons got their new dex, I only ever beat him once with anything, and that was a very lucky win with drop podding marines. If it had gone on to a 6th turn I suspect he would have tabled me! I had never played him with his new demons, or with the new Tau.

BTW – I never let him win! Or at least not since he was about 8…!

Cutting a very long post short, I won killing most of his army. He could have beat me, but played too cautiously. He should have rushed everything at my lines turn one presenting me with 2 Flying Bloodthirsters, 2 soulgrinders 20 seekers and 10 screamers that I had to kill or block (much harder to do with FMCs and screamers) before they murdered my army in turn 2. I might still have won, but it would have been a hell of a lot harder. As it was he reserved both ‘Thirsters and the Seekers, and held the Soul Grinder back to shoot me with. I killed the soul grinders turn one, the Thirsters turn 2 while blocking the Screamers, and then killed the screamers and seekers turn 3 when the seekers came in from reserve.

So an unbeaten record and a win for New Tau.

I got a Crimson Hunter with my winnings – expect incoming Eldar allies shortly!



  1. Wow, nice report, congrats on the wins :) and thanks for sharing

  2. "and I replay what I just said in my mind and realise what a dick I’m being, and immediately apologise and tell him that of course he can deep strike the units…… a moment of personal growth perhaps!"

    This is important, and you made the right move. The fine line between when you should hold the line in following rules and when not should, in my opinion, should always be drawn around if the mistake that was made can be undone without effecting anything else in the game. Had you gone to Turn 3 thinking they were walking on and they weren't, well, that's a problem. But, if it's right at the start of the game, no reason to not let him do the take back. Sets you up for an honest and friendly game, and a game in which you will be allowed some do-overs when you make a dumb mistake, which is way more valuable to you than otherwise. :)

    Your lists look very similar to ones I have been chasing around. ( I think all tau lists end up looking the same which is no surprise ). Glad to see you did well with it.

    And to Tzeentch Demons, I totally feel your pain on the randomness and confusion, lol! My new strategy now is after he gets done rolling all that crap, when it's my turn to shoot, work your way across the line of them asking this:

    - "Does this one have FnP?"
    - "Does he re-roll anything?"
    - "Did you Iron Arm this thing?"
    - "Does this thing have any powers that will allow it regenerate wounds?"

    Everything else is just confusing and mostly irrelevant, lol.

    Since they all have nearly identical CC power, especially compared to Tau, then the best strategy is "shortest job next". So, target the weakest one of the group, then the next, etc.

    Thanks for he reports! Very good read.

  3. @neil - that's exactly what it did - kill the one that doesn't have iron arm, or FNP or rerolls etc etc. Then move on.

    BTW, what are your thoughts on XV8s versus Riptides? Can't make up my mind.


  4. Jury still out for me on that too.

    The Riptide definitely is not nearly as killy as Crisis Suit teams can be. But he's way, way more durable, and he's more of a multi-tool, able to better contest objectives, hold up HtH combats, smash attacks, etc.

    I almost always have one Riptide just because they are useful in many more ways than just for killing stuff. Past that, crap shoot based on the list and what I think I need.

  5. @EYIG, I know that particular daemon player, I see him from time to time at the GW in the metrocentre, his lists are mind boggling to say the least, but he's everything a gamer should be. Kind, patient and above all a sportsman.

    You got of lucky, last time I played him, pretty much his whole army had 3 up save crazyness. His flying manta\surfboard things tanked 2 crisis suit teams with dual plasma, no problems.