Kroot Mercenaries go to war (tournament report)

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Kroot Mercenaries go to war (tournament report)

Post#1 » Sep 08 2015 04:58

On the weekend I took a couple of the younger members of the Orbital with me to a local tournament. This was a Combat Patrol tournament with a 600 point limit - so no 2+ saves, no models with more than 2 wounds and no vehicles with front/side/rear armour adding up to over 33.

As we have had a couple of threads about low point lists recently I thought I would post something fairly brief about how this went.

My list is a cut down version of my 1500 list and went like this:
Kroot techno-shaman - Ethereal (79pts)
2x Gun Drone , Homing beacon

Kroot suit - XV8 Crisis Team (37pts)
Crisis Shas'ui Flamer, Twin-linked Flamer
Kroot suit - XV8 Crisis Team (37pts)
Crisis Shas'ui 2x Flamer, Positional Relay

Big game hunters - Kroot Carnivore Squad (135pts)
10x Kroot, 3x Krootox Rider
Big game hunters - Kroot Carnivore Squad (135pts)
10x Kroot, 3x Krootox Rider
Kroot Carnivore Squad (89pts)
14x Kroot, Kroot Hound

Meatfinders - Pathfinder Team (44pts)
4x Pathfinder Shas'la
Meatfinders - Pathfinder Team (44pts)
4x Pathfinder Shas'la

The positional relay was a mistake, a copy and paste error from my 1500 point list that I never used.

All games were the same scenario. A 4x4 table with 3 objectives spread evenly across the centre-line worth 3 points each at the end of the game, normal secondaries applied. There was plentiful terrain, usually some line of sight blocking and lots of ruins.

Game 1 vs Necrons

So my first opposition is a very simple Necron list that aims for the classic unstoppable robots feel:
Cryptek, Veil of darkness
20 Warriors
19 Warriors

I was going first so seeing the Veil I opted to deploy defensively. I ended up with the larger kroot blob infiltrated across the central and almost across the right hand side objectives to discourage a deep strike there. Everything else was in multi-level ruins just forward of my deployment zone.

Turn 1 was an inconclusive long range exchange of fire. Killing necrons is hard even with S7 AP4, they moved forward towards the left objective.

Turn 2 my crisis suits declined to come out of reserves. Not much effect from shooting. He then performed deep strike into my deployment zone and poured gauss fire into a big game hunter squad which went to ground to minimize damage to 4 kroot.

Turn 3 my crisis suits arrived but one scattered uselessly out of flamer range. I moved my unengaged big game hunters out of cover to move towards my flank that was under attack. My shooting killed little but a defensive grenade blinded the necrons behind me. The necrons shot with not too much effect, killing the scattered crisis for first blood and to deny me linebreaker later.

Turn 4 My pathfinders on the right hand side moved out to claim the objective and my ethereal moved with the undamaged big game hunters towards my weakened flank that was under attack. I shot most of my army at the HQ necron squad again - beginning to whittle them down now and I blinded them again. He gave up on BS1 shooting and charged into my kroot and out of my deployment zone to get away from the blind grenades. His other unit plinked away in a mutual ineffective firefight with my central kroot unit who had scraps of aegis line for excellent cover. An inconclusive combat left us locked.

Turn 5 The central kroot continued their ineffective firefight with the necrons which were now each camping on an objective. I grabbed the other objective with pathfinders. I charged my fresh big game hunter unit into combat to help out their kindred and turned the combat killing the Cryptek. As we came to roll for me sweeping the necrons it was dice down.

I held 2 objectives to one and had slay the warlord to his first blood. 7-3 win for the kroot. Without a doubt the MVP was the pathfinder with the blind grenades and a good throwing arm.

Game 2 vs Astra Militarum - Death Corps of Krieg

Malcolm had a really lovely evocative Death Corps army which on the face of it looked almost like a mirror match - lots of bodies on the ground with some heavy and special weapons sprinkled in. If it looked like an even contest from the number of bodies and firepower it did not turn out that way.

I put my pathfinders in well placed ruins left of centre. He the deployed a big infantry blob on the front of his deployment zone and then arranged special and heavy teams behind them; grenade launchers and lascannon on his right, command squad and mortars centre, flamer squad on the right. I infiltrated one big game hunter into the ruins with the pathfinders and the other strung out in a big kroot conga along the right table edge. The ethereal went into outflank reserves with the last kroot squad and the crisis were in deep strike reserves.

Turn 1 I played a careful patient game of Kauyon moving my conga forward a little and whittling him down with shooting. He took the bait and moved his flamers to kill a few kroot, his grenades and mortars killed a krootox and a couple of kroot in the ruins.

Turn 2 I made my reserve rolls for the kroot squad and one crisis suit. The kroot outflanked into the space behind the flamer squad with the ethereal and his locator beacon and the crisis perfect deep-strike was right next to the mortars. The flamer squad was eliminated and the mortar squad left with a couple of charred stragglers. He fought gamely on but frankly we both knew at this point the game was over as a contest, I had delivered a devastating strike and his static position was impossible to defend from my more mobile pincer attack.

Turn 4 i assaulted the last of his infantry squad off an objective while my outflankers with the last of the crisis had been rolling up his flank eliminating his HQ squad and anything else in their way. We stopped there as walking a long way round to play my army from opposite table corners had slowed things down; not quite enough turns for my pathfinders to grab that last objective so I won 9-0.

Positional play was everything in this game and the subtle advantages of kroot were decisive. The combination of outflank plus the ability of my heavy weapons to move while his could not meant that once I had the positional advantage he simply could not fight his way back out of it. MVP definitely went to the combination of a Kroot Hound and the Locator Beacon - that space was small but I hit it with deadly precision. It was a mismatch so bad that I really could not feel that good about the result.

Game 3 vs Space Marines Ultramarines

Shane brought a nicely balanced marine list with a good amount of Objective Secured
Librarian lvl 2
10 tactical marines in a rhino, melta, multimelta
5 tactical marines with a missile launcher
5 tactical marines with a plasma gun
Land speeder with missile launchers
Land speeder with assault cannon

He went first and deployed (from his right to left) the Missile squad, the assault cannon speeder, the rhino, his librarian with the plasma gun squad and the missile speeder.
I set up my pathfinders on the edge of my deployment zone behind aegis line fragments with good firing lanes down the middle of the table from a central and left position. Then I infiltrated the 2 big game hunters into solid cover (ruined bastions) ahead of them. I had the warlord trait for re-roll reserves so off went everything else into outflank and deep strike reserve.

Turn 1. His rhino swung forward and to his right out of my main firing lane, his HQ squad started the long slow march from its corner of the table where it was a long way from the action. His shooting killed a few kroot but 4+ cover saves are great. My return fire popped open his rhino for first blood and scored a weapon destroyed on the missile speeder knocking out the missile launchers (phew!)

Turn 2. His big tactical squad moved right to get fully away from one pathfinder squad's sight and opened up on the nearest kroot, 4+ saves kept casualties to a modest level and they held. He whittled away at my other big game hunters and the number of normal kroot in the centre was running low now. I made all my reserve rolls and brought my kroot out right behind his tactical squad which was now nice and close to the table edge, the crisis suits dropped in perfect position to flame his missile tactical squad. The smaller tactical squad did that typical marine thing and saved a mountain of wounds to lose only one marine. The larger squad did the other typical marine thing and died horribly to the 30 shots coming from right behind them with failed saves.

Turn 3. He kept moving up his HQ onto the central objective who killed one of my crisis with Biomancy and kept killing kroot in the centre, his unwounded speeder went flat out into my deployment zone while the damaged one came out of hiding to grab the unguarded objective. The missile squad assaulted my remaining crisis, they remained locked. I moved my surviving big game hunter up to capture one objective and contest the other. My ethereal split off from the squad to claim linebreaker. One pathfinder team opened up on the nearby speeder with pulse carbines and downed it, the other markerlit the damaged speeder and stripping its cover save I finished it off with kroot gun fire from the opposite side of the table (Tau cheese!) I counter-charged my last kroot squad into the marines/crisis combat but was unable to finish them off.

5-3 to the kroot. MVP again the Hound/Beacon combination that put me in a perfect firing position.

I will not really report on Game 4. This was against PeculiarFireWarrior as we were the two unbeaten players at this stage.

What I will say is that we play each other all the time and he knows my tricks and countered them, as I know his and countered those too. We neutralised each other. We both ended up having to play from both table sides due to infiltration which put us under time pressure because it was a long way round - when we normally play it is a short walk and we are a lot quicker. Turn 4 had been a little rushed with perhaps a rule mistake or two so when we had only 4 minutes left I really did not want to rush even more (or take unfair advantage of the impending dice down) by starting my turn 5, we shook hands on a 5-5 draw.

Game 5 vs Dark Angels

My last opponent was James with his Dark Angels.
Librarian lvl2
5 tactical marines with plasma cannon
5 tactical marines with plasma gun
3 Ravenwing bikers with plasma guns
land speeder with assault cannon
nephilim jetfighter

Although this is a slightly different list to game 3 the game played out so uncannily the same that I think you can go back and read that again and its close enough. My reserves came on in turn 2 and wrecked his right flank and all I really had to do was throw enough shots at his flyer to keep it jinking while I mopped up two of the objectives - his librarian squad went and took the other. 8-3 to the kroot.

At the end I was level with PeculiarFireWarrior on results but 51-49 ahead on VP for the tournament win.

Unit assessment

Ethereal - we all know what he does and it is good. Although yet again I do not think I made a single 6+ FNP all day - ho hum. The Homing Beacon was stellar, this is the best 5 points in the army. The drones tanked a couple of shots and shot some stuff, worth their points but never being very special.

Crisis suits - I have loved flamer crisis suits for a while but they have always been erratic fun rather than a rational choice. The homing beacon changes all that, they were always solid and sometimes ludicrously devastating when you consider how cheap they are. Almost any infantry should fear flamer crisis suits if they have a reliable means of arriving in firing position.

Big Game Hunters - in larger games the krootox need more protection than this but at 600 points a kroot meatshield using cover saves was enough to see these teams survive to the end of every game in the dangerous role of Kauyon bait. Their damage output is consistently good and they did their anti-vehicle duties well when required, they lured opponents into the position I wanted in 3 games out of 5.

Kroot squad - when in the right place and with an ethereal buffing them up they are brutal. Simply brutal. They also had the flexibility to be used as area denial when I needed it. I usually take hounds on all my squads even if only to save them from being swept but the value of those re-rolls for table edge will be a surprise to nobody who has used kroot for their ambush capability.

Pathfinders - I like the flexibility of pathfinders with their pulse carbines and grenades to mix it up when markerlights are not what you want. In smaller games they perfectly embody the flexibility you need for a TAC list. Obviously they are squishy and need to be given first choice of what cover and firing positions the table gives you. Marker drones are more mobile and tougher but at this points level the pathfinders do just fine and sometimes stand out as exceptional.

Tactical analysis

Increasingly my game style is inspired by Kauyon and I built my list on the kroot infiltrate abilities with the aid of the homing beacon and hound. Even when I explained what these items did to my opponent before the game they saw a few kroot in reserve and just did not treat them as the serious threat they are. The edges of the table are a dangerous place to be but with krootox firing lanes down the middle of the table moving into cover away from that S7 shooting is just too tempting. The key to all of this was having multiple threats - kroot and crisis suits - arriving and overwhelming one flank to deliver a crippling blow. Ultimately I think the setup looks like a caricature of a Tau gunline and unconsciously opponents start playing to that stereotype - but that is not really the style I am playing and they are caught out.

This has its issues - time problems when you have to walk round other tables to get to the other end of your table for one - but when the reserve rolls work it is a game winner. In larger games I am still looking at my best options for reserve manipulation but at this points level it is too much of a stretch, I just had to take my chances on either getting the right warlord trait or just rolling well. My luck held on that when it mattered.

More than all that the sheer number of bodies I put on the table was a challenge for most opponents. At this points level 50+ models with decent cover saves are really survivable and hard to remove, only one opponent managed to wipe out any unit larger than a monat crisis. That many bodies also bring a lot of firepower and the general attrition effect - especially of those big kroot guns - sets up the killing stroke and shuts down key threats in the early game.

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