Tuesday, 20 January 2015

Caledonian Uprising - After Action Report


Just back from Cally. What a weekend! Never been to such a big tournament. One hundred and eighty people registered. I think something like 175 people played in the end. Haven’t’ drunk so much beer in a very long time, laughed so much, or played so many challenging games of 40k. 

For those of you who haven’t seen it, this is the Facebook sight with all the information (https://www.facebook.com/events/542549995871068/646210672171666/?notif_t=plan_mall_activity)

I can not recommend this event enough. Incredibly well organised, and professionally run. It’s probably the closets thing we have to the big GTs in the US (Adeptacon, Nova etc), although without all the side events.


The list I took was Farsight Enclaves, with Tau allies. 

Farsight

Commander, Twin Pods, Target Lock

XV8 Pod, Twin Linked Pod x 3
XV8 Pod, Twin Linked Pod x 3
XV8 Plasma Rifle, Twin Linked Fusion Blaster x 3
XV8 Fusion Blaster, Twin Linked Fusion Blaster x 3
XV8 Twin Burst Cannons x 3
XV8 Twin Burst Cannons x 3

Tetra x 2
Tetra x 2
Tetra x 2

Skyray
Skyray
Skyray

Tau Allies

Commander Twin Pods, Target Lock, Iridium Armour, Puretide Chip

10 Kroot

So, pretty balanced, and as close as I could get to a take all comer list. It’s probably not the “best” tau list out there. I suspect if I swapped out the 3rd skyray, reduced the number or XV8s and put in 2 Iontides, it would be stronger, but I was building to a theme …. I wanted to run a whole bunch of XV8s for a suit army. I’ll review how it did at the end of the post.

Game 1

One cool thing about Cally is you get the draw a couple of days before hand so you know who you’re playing game 1. I drew a Tau list with 15 broadsides!! He was running 3 full units (with drones) in heavy support, and the Fire Base Cadre formation, with an Ion accelerator Riptide, a couple of small units of pathfinders, and 2 minimal units of fire warriors. His HQ was an Ethereal.

Fifteen broadsides is brutal fire power – 120 S7 shots (60 of which are twin linked), and 60 twin linked S5 shots that ignore cover and don’t need line of sight….!  I was scratching my head about how to deal with this, but 3 things were in my favour. He didn’t have early warning overrides on anything (so not interceptor), the deployment was hammer an anvil, and he had an ageis defence line. The first 2 are reasonably obvious – my suits don’t get shot of the board before they do anything and I can deploy my skyrays out of range of everything bar the Riptide’s Ion Accelerator. The defence line is perhaps a little less obvious, and was more a hope than anything else.

If you play massed broadsides, one of the problems you have is range, especially in Hammer and Anvil. Your opponent can stay out side your 36” range. However, the way around that is to keep your Broadsides moving. It means they snap fire, but with a few marker lights, and twin linked weapons, its not too bad, and once you’re in the centre of the board, you pretty much command the board. However, the fact that he had an aegis made me wonder whether he would play a more static game.

So, the game begins and he takes first turn. He sets up his aegis, lines up his pathfinders immediately behind the aegis, with the Broadsides behind them.  Hmmm …. doesn’t’ look like he’ll be moving them forward. My concern was that he might use the Ethereal power, Zephyr’s Grace (allowing you to snap shoot after you run), move them forward 6” and then run them. If he was lucky with his snap shots (and remember 6 of his broadsides have tank hunter) he might just get enough shots to kill a  Skyray or 2. He could certainly kill some suits. But with his ability to move restricted by the aegis and the pathfinders, I suspected he was planning on sitting there and waiting for me to come to him. Hoping I was right, I decided to deploy the Skyrays and keep everything else in reserve, deep striking the suits and outflanking the tetras.

The plan was to fire off all the Seeker Missiles turn one, hoping to kill a broadside or 2,  before moving them up aggressively to take mid field objectives, and kill pathfinders who no doubt will have gone to ground behind the aegis. I would then (hopefully) get decent reserve rolls and deep strike all the suits. The plan would be to try and kill/supress the pathfinder with the Burst Cannon suits, strip away drones with the missile pods, before doubling out the Broadsides with Fusion Blasters.

My opponents turn was uneventful – everything was out of range. In my turn I fired off all the Seeker Missiles and I think I might have killed some missile drones and a Broadside or 2, but I cant remember. His turn 2 was similarly uneventful, crucially, he did not move forward.

In my turn 2 I had perfect reserve rolls, everything came in bar the Kroot! To cut a long story short, the plan worked like a dream. Even better, I managed to kill the Ethereal, which was exposed at the rear of this lines, by deep striking behind his gun line. I managed to weather the (much reduced) return fire reasonably well, and pinned him in his deployment zone while scooping up the objectives. Twenty nil to me.

Game 2

Eldar and Tau. Two Summoning seers, loads of jet bikes, a couple of hornets (I got of lightly – some lists had 9!), and 3  Wraithknights. Tau allies were a commander and 3 XV8’s with pods, and a pack of Kroot. Kill points primary. Dawn of War.  Not the hardest Eldar list around, but 3 Wraithknights aren’t much fun!

My opponent rolled the warlord trait that allowed him to infiltrate his Wraithknights! Hmmm….! Even less fun! He also won first turn. Hmmm… ! Going down hill.

However, I decided to infiltrate my Kroot, and won the roll to infiltrate first. That allowed me to push the Wraithknights far enough back so they weren’t too much of a problem. I deployed the Skyrays and nothing else. I decided to outflank the Tetras and as usual, deep struck everything else. 

My opponent gave me first turn, which I think was a mistake. It allowed me to kill one Wraithknigt with my Skyrays for first strike (I saved some Seeker missiles, because I had a plan!).  He killed my Kroot in response, winning each of us first strike.

In my turn 2, everything came on. I deep struck everything into optimal positions and killed loads of stuff. One particularly pleasing kill was his Warlord. He was hiding behind some LOS blocking terrain, summoning daemons (or trying to). I outflanked some tetras behind him, light him up with 3 marker lights, and called in 3 seeker missiles to kill him. Nice!

The rest of the game was back and forth. On turn 6 I was 2 kill points ahead, and way ahead on Malestrom points. I was also winning on tertiary (Seeker Missiles FTW). However, in turn 6 he managed to draw a bead on an XV8’s arm, and killed it. His last remaining Wraithknight fired its Cannons at 2 XVs rolling a 1 and a 3, and then a 1 for nothing! I thought I had it in the bag, because even if we drew the Primary, I would win 15 – 5. However, the bloody Wraithknight made a 9” charge, wiped out the remaining suits, and the game ended. Bugger!

So  a winning draw – i.e. drawn Tournament Points, but I had more victory points. 10 points to me.

Game 3

Against a weird hybrid of Orcs and Eldar, summoning demons! I was well beaten in this game. I haven’t played new orcs at all and there was so much about them I didn’t know anything about. Couple that with the usually demon summing nonsense and I really screwed up my target priority. Crushed 20 – nil!

Having said that, now I know what his list does, if I played it tomorrow, I would fancy my chances. 

Game 4

Adamantine Lance, with a Riptide, 2 skyrays and some suits.

One of the guys at the club plays lance, so I’ve had a few practice games against it. What I’ve found is that Fusion blasters are a pretty rubbish way to kill Knights in formation. The problem is you deep strike down, fire 6 blasters, which are blocked by shield saves. Ironically I’ve found that the best way to deal with them is the “worry” of Fusion blasters, rather than the blasters themselves. It forces the Lance to bunch into a corner to stop you getting shots on multiple facings, and if you can do that, it takes them out of the game for a couple of turns. Alternatively, if they don’t bunch up, I put a Skyray in each corner, and try and deeps strike the Fusion blasters on a different facing from a Skyray and/or deep strike some missile suits on a different facing than both! Tank hunting missiles suits do a very good job of stripping hull points from Knights!

Scouring and Dawn of War. My opponent won the roll (I think) and chose to deploy first. He also got the infiltrating Warlord trait, but yet again I won the roll off to see who infiltrated first, and the Kroot were all stars in controlling where he could infiltrate his Riptide.  My opponent deployed the Knights on the left, and his Skyrays on the right, behind a large ruin. The Riptide infiltrated forward, but not so far forward that he could get side shots on my Skyrays. As usual I deployed the Skyrays and deep struck all the suits. The Tetras weren’t outflanking this time as there wasn’t really anything hiding.

Both First Turns were pretty uneventful, neither of us doing anything to the other. However, in fear of my suits, my opponent bunched his knights up in the far left corner, trying to make sure I could only get shots at one facing when my Fusion Suits came in. By doing this IMHO, he exposed his right flank, moving the Knights further away from his Skyrays. In addition, most of the points on the scouring tokens were on the left. My plan then was to come in, kill everything on the left, and hide suits in the big ruin (it was partially LOS blocking), jumping out at the end of the game to get the objectives. I would keep a Skyray with all its missiles on the left, threatening a side facing shot if the Knights advanced. In the meantime, I would Deep Strike the Plasma/ Fusion unit on the right to deal with the Riptide, but also to threaten the Knights, giving them another target they needed to deal with before pushing forward.

I got reasonable reserve rolls, with the exception of my Tetras – none of which came in! I deep struck as planned, and the Skyrays evaporated! However, the plasma Fusion Suits were unable to down the Riptide! My warlord trait was the one that gives the Warlord’s unit shred, so 6 plasma shots and 3 Fusions shots, all of which re-rolled failed wounds, failed to kill it. The lack of marker lights was telling (both Skyrays in range missed!). However, I managed to rack up a few Maelstrom points!

Over the next few turns the planned worked. My opponent was pinned on the far side of the board by the Skyray, that just refused to die. I eventually killed everything bar 2 knights, and was secure on 8 points worth of scouring objectives to my opponents 5. He was one maelstrom point ahead and we had drawn tertiary. So a narrow 12- 8 win to me, or so I thought. What I had totally forgotten was the extra points earned from killing fast attack choices. My opponent had killed all my tetras, thus drawing primary, winning secondary and giving him a 13 – 7 win. Bugger!

However, I wasn’t too disappointed. My tactics had been sound, and I lost because of a stupid mistake.

Game 5

Against Tau. Three Riptides, 4 XV8s, 2 Commanders in units of Marker Drones, and a Fire Base Cadre! So 4 Riptides and 6 Broadsides, but all 4 Riptides had Early Warning Overrides! Hmmm ….! Not a great match up for a bunch of deep striking XV8s!

I wasn’t really sure how to deal with this to be honest. The Iontides just murder my suits, and with the EWOs can wipe out a whole unit before they even fire. The dilemma was whether to deploy the suits or deeptrike them. After some thought I decided there was no point in deploying. I needed to get close with the Fusions Blasters and Plasma Guns, and the Ion Accelerators outranged me (it was Hammer and Anvil deployment). Sadly I needed to go to him! However, I did decide to deploy the Tetras, thinking it would be better to have them on the board than subject to Interceptor fire. This might have been a mistake – three more targets coming in would have increased target saturation and perhaps taken some heat of my suits.

So  I tried my best! I had some luck with deepstrikes. I managed to get out of LOS with 2 units, and too close to put a blast on with another. However I still lost 1 full squad before they did anything, and 2 members of another. At the end of the day I managed to kill most of his army, bar 2 Riptides, 2 Broadsides and his Commander, but it cost me most of mine. If the game had ended on turn 5, I would have won, but it went on. My opponent won Primary, I won secondary, and we drew tertiary. 12 – 8 win to him.

Of all my games this one irritated my the most. I always find it frustrating when I’m beaten by a list rather than a player. But that’s the dilemma of trying to build an all comers list in 7th ed!.

Conclusion

Cally is a fantastic tournament, and I would recommend it to anybody. Tim the TO, is a top bloke, everything runs like clockwork. There have been a few gripes about time keeping on the facebook page, but don’t let that put you off. I'm quite certain 99% of people who went had a great time. Be aware, however, it’s one of the most competitive tournaments in the UK - be prepared for filth and very hard lists!

Having said that, there is a Highlander tournament integrated into the main tournament (a club-mate won this, and took home a very nice aluminium KR case), and everybody (even at the bottom tables) seemed to be having a blast.

In the end I was in the top half of the field (given my losses were mostly narrow ones), and came 5th in the best army vote – so that was nice.

List

I really enjoyed playing the list. Its exciting and dynamic, but it has limitations. In the run up to the tournament everybody was saying I should find points for 2 Riptides (drop a Skyray and some XV8s), but I wanted to work to a theme. I’ve always liked the idea of a raining XV8s on people, and it was fun.

But I’m looking to review the list for my next tournament (Clan Wars in February), so hears a run down of what worked and what didn’t

What worked

·         Tetras –are fantastic.  Three units of 2 were just the right number. Fast reliable marker lights are so much better than Pathfinders or marker drones, and being able to scout and outflank is just gravy!
·         Missiles Pods suits. They were really the all stars, particularly with the Puretide chip giving them Monster or tank hunter.
·         Commanders – really are the stand out HQ for Tau (at least this army). I just wish I could get 2 Puretide Chips and 2 suits of Iridium armour!
·         Fusion Suits – they just kill stuff.
·         Twin Linking. It’s really worth the extra 5pts on a suit to twin link one of the weapons. It just makes them that little bit more reliable, and that little bit more independent of marker light support. I really missed the twin linked weapon on the Burst Suits. 
·         Deep Striking – I deep struck my suits in every game and didn’t have one mishap, neither was I every out of range. Lucky I know, but that’s 30 deep strikes, so not a bad sample size. I just wish there was a way to manipulate reserve rolls (other than a random warlord trait).

What was OK

·         Skyrays – I never played against any flyers this tournament, so they didn’t really shine. However, being able to deploy 3 AV13 hulls on the table made me reasonably relaxed about not deploying anything but them most games.
·         Kroot. They had 2 great games, blocking competing infiltrators, but other than that didn’t do much. Still a useful tool in the box, but not as essential to this Cadre as in others.   

What didn’t work so well?

·         Range – after you shoot the Skyray’s missiles, everything (except the Missile pods) are very close range.
·         Interceptor – i.e. game 5.
·         Durability – once the XV8 teams are down, they’re pretty fragile.
·         Plasma rifles – being strength 6 really limits their ability. I suspect I would be better with 2 units of twin Fusion Blasters.

The big question is whether to add in Riptides or not. To be honest, that would be the better army …. I just need to get over myself with the theme!

Further thoughts to follow.

EYIG

5 comments:

  1. Great report, thanks for sharing.

    As I haven't been to a tournament (let alone a competitive one) it was very interesting to see what the meta is like. A sign I've been going to less competitive tournament is the way I winched each time I read each list you faced.

    I can't believe more people do not use Zephyr’s Grace, it's such a great ability. If your first opponent had put his defence line 8" or 9" from his deployment line and the used Zephyr’s Grace it would have helped to control the middle of the board.

    I'll have take inspiration from you to try out a couple of suits with fusion and twin fusion (in place of a 2nd Skyray in my list). I've always been too scared. As kind of an inbetween solution I'm been tempted with (but haven't tried yet) 2 Pihranas with Fusion guns and 2 Seeker missiles each (that they would fire off first turn), so you think they could work ?

    Rathstar

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  2. lol - the lists i faced were by no stretch of the imagination the worse ones there. There were way worse!

    Re Zephyrs grace - not sure you can deploy a fortification outside your deployment zone any more. Used to in 6th, but think that changed in 7th.

    I've never tried piranhas in this edition. I played them a lot last edition as movement blockers. Ive always thought they would be good, but there is so much other good stuff!

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  3. I think you're right about the fortification placement (I was obviously still in 6th edition train of thought).

    What were the worse lists ? I imagine they included Invisibility Deathstars and Lance Formation Imperial Knights with Eldar Wrightknights and WaveSerpents :)

    Piranhas seem such a steal at 40 pts base, but their not needed for the anti infantry firepower which the rest of the army does fine, and the points start adding up fast for anti tank and makes them comparable to fusion crisis suits. 2 Piranhas with Fusion guns and 2 seeker missiles each is 132 pts against 2 crisis suits with fusion and twin fusion at 114 pts. The piranha get the long ranged alpha strike from 4 seekers missiles on turn 1 and the free drones, but have much less tank killing (1 fusion hit per turn compared to 2.5 for the crisis team) and can't deep-strike. I like the idea of them, but can see them being effective over fusion crisis suits for anti-tank :(

    Rathstar

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  4. The real nasty ones had 9 hornets backed up by as many wave serpents as they could fit in, and a farseer, summoning demons! There were a few Centstars, and a lot of bike stars. One nasty one was 2 wolf lords on Twolves, 3 Iron Priests on Twolves, all with 4 Cyber Wolves, attached to a Ravening command squad with a chaplin toting a power filed generator ...... just think of all the USRs stacking on this unit! The worse one is probably scout!

    The thing that might make seeker missile piranhas shine are Tetras. With a 12" scout move followed by a 12" move, and then firing their MLs 36" you're probably going to hit most things with MLs first turn, calling in seekers on those hits. If you're going second you have the option of outflanking the tetras and calling the seekers down on stuff hiding out of los.

    I agree re-anti tank. I think it's as torrent of fire and movement blocking/maelstrom objective snatching, That piranhas shine. They are more or less the same price as burst suits and kick out much the same fire power.

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