Monday, April 09, 2012

Battle Report: Tau vs Tyranids

Whilst I'm focussing on testing my Dark Eldar list, there is the matter of Open War the weekend after next. I'm taking my Tau along with a list that's not too disimilar from the one I took to Jolly Toys. Obviously I've ditched 250pts but what's left is a lot more streamlined and in actual fact it has more firepower, both more accurate and at more targets. On Saturday last week I tested it against Scott's tyranids. With the release of the winged hive tyrant, swarmlord and tervigon models he was keen to throw a 1,750pt "big stuff" list together and see how it performed.

He's got the Swarmlord with 3 tyrant guard (essentially 11 T6 wounds!), winged tyrant, 2 lots of 2 hive guard, two lots of genestealers, two lots of termagants with a tervigon, some gargoyles and a mawloc. Now for tyranids that's a pretty low model count but if either the swarmlord or tyrant get to your lines, and chances are they will, you're going to lose units fast.

Battle Report
We'd be playing Pitched Battle and Annihilation. Scott won the roll off and elected to infiltrate his genestealers and deep strike the gargoyles and winged tyrant. Everything else was plonked in the middle of his deployment zone with hive guard at each side. I spread my forces along my lines with some nice overlapping fire and decided to deploy my commanders instead of their usual deep strike.

Scott infiltrated his genestealers and luckily for me I stole the initiative. I gunned down a total of 8 'stealers leaving a couple in one brood and half a dozen in the other. Otherwise I caused a couple of wounds on the tervigon but little else. The tervigon spawned a brood of termagants but a double meant it would sit impotent for the rest of the game. This meant Scott decided to advance the mighty creature alongside the termagants in order to make the most of it's effects. The mawloc burrowed ready to emerge next turn.

The Tau held the line and opened up with their weaponry once more. This time a combination of markerlights and massed fire meant all the genestealers were gone. The tervigon found itself on a single wound and one of the tyrant guard fell. With a a terrible rumble the ground beneath the commander tore open as the mawloc sprung its trap. The drones fell victim to the attack and all three of the battlesuits were wounded. The tyranids were now at the tau lines and both sets of pathfinders were ripped apart by termagants. The winged hive tyrant descended from high in the skies and with help from the gargoyles it spat venomous fire at the broadsides.

The hive guard were the next target of the tau attacks with one brood dying out and one of the other pair just hanging on to life. The fire warriors finally disembarked from their transports hoping to gun down swathes of termagants but their fire proved largely ineffective thanks to the tervigon's influence. The broadsides wounded the hive tyrant but it was clear what was coming. The tyrant charged in and easily cleaved the battlesuits in two with his bonesword. The mawloc elected not to burrow and instead charged the broadsides who held on despite losing a couple of drones. The swarmlord was almost upon the tau but they'd get another chance to fire upon him before being charged.

The tervigon was finally felled but not before a squad of fire warriors had met a painful fate. With the tyranids charging squads along the tau lines they'd be lucky to hang on. A combination of fire meant the winged tyrant was slain but again another squad of fire warriors and a devilfish were the price. The swarmlord charged in to finish off the broadsides allowing the mawloc to burrow once again. Unfortunately the firepower of the remaining tau was enough to stop it having chance.

At the point there was only the swarmlord left fighting a squad of fire warriors, two devilfish and both commanders (with bodyguards). The swarmlord charged in on one commander but a triple 1 meant he failed to win what should've been an easy combat in my turn. This meant that in his turn he was unable to charge the suits which certainly cost him the game. The game finished here and we totted up the scores by looking down the army lists. Initially we worked out it was an 11-11 draw but half way through the next game we remembered that one of the termagant broods I'd killed off was an extra point (since it was spawned by the tervigon) and hence I won 12-11.

The tau performed fairly well but it was clear that focussed fire was necessary to bring down any of the big things. The main mistake I made was not getting my fire warriors out straight away. They could've then been pumping out 30" S5 shots for a couple more turns rather than sitting pretty in their transports until the tyranids were too close.

I think Scott should've dropped a few upgrades here and there and tried to squeeze in a second tervigon as I'd have really struggled to bring down two of them all off of the termagants they can spawn. I think we figured out there's something like a 44% chance of rolling a double/triple which means with two of them you should get one that gets more than one spawn. This means the exhausted one can advance and the other can sit back spawning. Mind you, against Tau (or any ranged gun-line) you probably want to have both moving forwards.

It was a close run thing and Scott was unlucky to not kill off the suits with his swarmlord. Just goes to show that no matter how good something is there's always the chance that your rolling will fail you at a crucial moment. The question is, how would this list fare against my wolves with their missiles? I think in that case Scott would be best deploying all of his big stuff (i.e. not deep striking the winged tyrant) as I'd have too many targets to choose from. Something would make it to my lines and even with power fists I'd be lucky to win out in combat.

I know the Tau list is week against massed infantry but were I to adjust it to compensate then I'd lose my ability to defeat mechanised armies. There isn't enough flexibility in the codex. Hammerheads are nice against hordes but really lose out to broadsides for anti-tank. Other crisis team builds have a good shot against hordes but can't then reliably bring down transports. Essentially the Tau want their opponents to be walking towards them having lost their transports early on. It's at this point that they can focus their fire squad by squad and force enough saves to bring down the troops.

1 comment:

  1. I enjoy your Tau batreps. I look forward to more of them.


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