Sunday, February 12, 2012

Battle Report: Tau vs Blood Angels (2000 pts) - Twice!

The last in a series of warm up games for Jolly Toys saw my Tau facing off against Dave's Blood Angels. I know that at a tournament I'll really struggle against BA thanks to their FNP and high manoeuvrability. The same can be said of other fast armies but most other speedy armies e.g. Dark Eldar are pretty flimsy too. BA are anything but flimsy. Unlike the other battle reports in this little series I forgot to take any photos so you'll have to make do with some army shots.

Game 1 - Tau vs Blood Angels
Dave brought a couple of different lists for us to try out. The first of which was a jumper heavy list with three big squads of assault marines, a couple of dreads, some vanguard, some sniper scouts and Dante with his honour guard. This was never going to be easy. We rolled Pitched Battle and Capture and Control. I won the roll off and spread my forces out in the usual way with broadsides in the corners for crossfire fun, sky ray in the centre and everything else in between. Only one of the two low-AP squads stayed in reserve. Dave chose to combat squad two of his assault marine units so that they could be assaulting multiple targets when they got to my lines. The dreads were in cover at the back with the vanguard, Dante and one of the other assault squads in deep strike reserve.

Rather brilliantly, Dave seized the initiative! Oh dear. Dave brought his four combat squads forwards up the flanks, running them to get as close as he could. The dreads opened up on a couple of targets but could only claim a shield drone from the broadsides. Knowing full well that the front combat squad on each flank would be in combat with my broadsides in turn two I had to deal with them. With the railguns as my best hope of getting rid of the dreads I needed to use hit them hard now before I inevitably lost the broadsides. Unfortunately I could only shake the one on the left and the other one made both of it's cover saves with defiant double sixes. Thanks to their run the marines were well within range of one of my commanders and his bodyguard. A combination of low AP fire and support from the other units saw me wipe out the first combat squad on the right. On the left I could only kill a couple of marines but this was enough to make them flee. Sadly they only moved 7" so they'd be back pretty quickly.

Dave's turn two saw the arrival of all of his deep strikers. The vanguard smashed straight into combat with the commander and despite failing to do much damage they swept them away taking a single loss themselves. The large assault squad dropped in right before one of my pathfinder teams with Dante close by so the novitiate could lend them FNP. The assault squad melta'd  the sky ray into oblivion. The dread that could fire opened up on one of the crisis teams and I managed to fail all four 3+ saves killing the squad. The remaining assault squad on the left leapt forward and blew up a devilfish with their melta. Luckily I was able to keep the fire warriors out of assault range.

Crunch time. I was hoping Dave's reserves would arrive in dribs and drabs but with Descent of Angels that's never likely. I swung a devilfish towards the vanguard and disembarked the fire warriors. A couple of markerlights made them BS5 and this was enough to land an impressive 14 wounds on the veterans killing them off. My remaining commander landed behind Dante. I hoped I'd be able to kill off the entire honour guard so that the broadsides could instant kill the chapter master. I managed to kill all but the novitiate and so the broadsides had to finish him off. Dante passed his invulnerable save much to Dave's delight. With no FNP to help them I flamed the 10 man assault squad with my crisis suits. Thanks to their clustered deep strike formation I was able to get 10 hits with each flamer. Sadly I only scored 9 wounds and Dave passed all but 1!! Another fire warrior team opened up on the regrouped combat squad but could only claim a single marine without markerlight support. My other broadsides again failed to hurt one of the dreads.

The game was pretty much over now. With space marines right in front of me and my fire warriors out of their transports I knew it wasn't going to be pretty. Dante jumped in on one of the FW teams but only killed one! Unfortunately he passed both saves he needed to make and swept up the survivors. The dwindled combat squad assaulted the broadsides and the power fist easily dealt with them. The large assault squad was joined by the other combat squad and annihilated my remaining commander. On the right the final combat squad hit my broadsides and they fell to power weapon hits.

With just a couple of fire warrior teams against 20+ marines I knew there was little point continuing so I decided to concede so we could move onto the next game.

Game 2 - Tau vs Blood Angels
Now here was a list I knew how to deal with. Dave had two land raiders, two razorbacks, 2 dreads, a squad of scouts, two assault squads, some sternguard and Gabriel Seth with an honour guard. We got Pitched Battle and Seize Ground. Again I was lucky enough to get first turn but this time Dave didn't seize.

With markerlights stripping the land raiders of their cover saves the broadsides blew one up and immobilised the other. A crisis team got rid of one of the razorbacks too. Dave was forced to walk with his assault squads which is never nice. Both ran forwards but the only action came from the scouts killing a couple of pathfinders. In my second turn one of my two reserved commanders came in and sat firmly in rapid fire range of Seth's honour guard. With help from broadsides they easily killed off the honour guard and left Seth wounded. I largely ignored the assault squad on the right as they'd have a long way to go before they'd be assaulting me. I withdrew my forces over to the left so that just the broadsides would be at risk.

Dave had very little to do again with Seth retreating to the safety of a nearby assault squad rather than assault the crisis suits alone. The sternguard's razorback which had been previously stunned now moved up the field. The scouts killed a couple more pathfinders and a combination of dreadnought and lascannon from the immobile land raider left one broadside looking lonely.

Despite having popped smoke the sternguard's razorback was destroyed by crisis fire with a marine or two dying in the explosion. The broadside teams both claimed a dreadnought each. The remaining commander deep struck in on Seth's assault squad and with help from the other commander and nearby fire warriors Seth found himself alone again. I now put some fire on the assault squad on the right which was edging closer. Thanks to FNP they only took a couple of casualties.

Seth now had no choice but to charge one of the commanders and thanks to his S8 he instant killed the squad over a couple of rounds of combat. The sternguard killed a few fire warriors with help from the scouts and the survivors fled. The land raider killed off the lonely broadside with a lascannon. I killed off the sternguard in the next turn but it was too late for the fire warriors who ran from the battlefield. Seth was eventually killed by a couple of crisis suits who made their saves and stripped him of his remaining wound. The remaining commander employed his squads fusion blasters to strip the weapons from the land raider which they then wrecked in the next turn. I now had two fire warrior teams in devilfish on two of the 5 objectives and Dave had an assault squad and scout squad claiming two for him.

Dave's assault squad hunkered down in the hope of clinging onto an objective. I swung the sky ray around and, with help from the pathfinders, seeker missiles finished off some of the marines. I parked a devilfish nearby to contest the objective. In turn 6. The assault marines eventually succumbed to sheer weight of fire leaving only the scouts claiming an objective with a shas'o breathing down their neck. I killed a couple of the scouts off but they held their nerve. If it'd gone to turn 7 I think they'd have been annihilated giving me the tabling. As it was I won 2-1 on objectives.

Conclusion
Two very different games which demonstrated the strengths and weaknesses of my Tau list. I've no doubt in my mind that if I come up against BA jump packers I may as well forfeit! However, againt most other armies I feel like I stand a chance if I play well.

In both games markerlights made a big difference whether they stripped cover saves or made fire warriors deadly accurate. I think they were allowed to live a bit too long by Dave and certainly most tournament opponents will know to get rid of them early on. Having said that they were one of the few units around when I conceded the first game and they'd be pretty useless on their own unless I got lucky with pinning!

I've considered whether or not bonding knives on my fire warriors might've been a good move. As they're my scoring units and I only have 3 of them it'd be good to try and prevent them running. Sadly I don't have the points spare and even if I did they're probably spent better elsewhere.

I've now got to concentrate on getting my army painted in time for Jolly Toys and with only two weeks to go I've got my work cut out. I've still got to paint 4 tanks, 39 infantry and 10 suits! At least it's only three colours!! Wish me luck!

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