Hello fellow shas's and shas'ettes.
Wanted to share my recent battle report with the board. This was a friendly game with a friendly friend (who is amazingly still my friend after the game). 1850 points. My Tau using the new Hunter Contingent vs. his CAD of Supess Wulves (no, that's how it is spelled - I'm sure of it).
His forces consisted of a couple of rhinos loaded to the teeth with all the space marines they could carry, plus 8 more because I honestly think those things can only carry "2" at most. Full complement of scouts, jumping troops, some dudes riding cyborg wolves (which I'm told are not on Fenris), a landraider, Njal Wjolf Cjaller, A droppod carrying a Dreadnought with a Mighty Axe, and his custom wolf lord named Snarl Riphound or something. I joke, but I should really learn the names of his troops. I think I just add Wolf- as an adjective for everything.
My awesome Tau forces included the standard Hunter Cadre and a bare-bones Retaliation Cadre. I brought a full BS Buffmander (The BS stands for Ballistic Skill - I assure you!) armed with a Flamer (because... well, he had the option), 2 strike teams, 1 breacher team, 1 team of 3 crisis suits, 1 team of pathfinders, and a Railhead for the Hunter Cadre. The Retaliation Cadre had its set forces (3 Crisis suits in 1 unit each, Riptide, a pair of broadsides (1 missile, 1 rail), and a Coldstar Commander because I just finished painting him). Pretty much everything was at its minimum as this was a points-hungry force. No Stormsurge - I'm not using my Garg until my friends also have a Garg to respond with. No Ghostkeels either - the Optimized Infiltration Cadre wouldn't have done much with the stupid 14/14/14 metal bawxes.
We roll off for everything when we play - makes the game more interesting. We ended up with Maelstrom mission Spoils of War - the one where 'Secure Objective X' cards can be achieved by either player. Map was long table edges for home turf, and I deployed and went first.
Turn 1 - Tau)
Everything moves into position save for my Pathfinders (who are right on the edge of a ruins), my Buffmander (who was directing traffic), and my Tau Strike squad armed with a DS8 turret (because I wanted to deploy it). Pathfinders use the run-and-shoot move (which, oddly enough, does not cause snapshots for Heavy weapons) and head up into the ruins for a view of the Wolfraider - which is positioned behind a rock so that only the front is visible. They light it up, and I get the 2 MLs I needed. My railhead moves up, aims, Ignores Cover using MLs, and fires. Mark of the Beast on it - 6 to hit, 6 to penetrate, 6 to explode.
This, by the way, is the one bit of 'cheese' my friend fussed about the entire time. Not the buffmander or the contingent rules - literally it was the fact that I rolled a 1/216 chance to nuke his newly-assembled first-time-ever-used Wolfraider. Actually I think the fact that he spent $70 on a model that lasted all of 8 seconds made him sore more than anything else.
Anyway, the remainder of my forces teamed up to launch a metric ton of firepower into his infiltrated scouts in a nearby tower. I was worried that I should have ML'd them first, but the severe amount of dakka coupled with my poor friend's miserable dice luck meant the end for his scouts.
First blood for me, plus another for the objective I deployed on top of (yay for random cards). I discard two cards for 'kill someone in an assault' and 'issue a challenge.'
Turn 1 - Woofs)
Riptooth Snarlhowl and his band of Merry Wolfmen burn out of the smoldering remains of their *BAD WORD DELETED*' new ride to enact terrible claw-shaped vengeance upon my Railhead. Not to get ahead of myself, but they moved, then ran, then charged and stabbed that poor tank to death.
Rhino1 (Wolf-no? Rhinwolf? Need to think of a Wolfy name for them) moved up the west side of the map. Rhino2 hid behind a rock. There-are-no-wolves-on-Fenris-riders moved up the east side. Njal mjoved ujp ajs wjell. Drop pod lands about 12 inches from my Buffmander, Wolfnaught striding out majestically, awesome metal music in the background as he strums his mighty axe.
Psyker phase was interesting - Njal used his Sjtormcalling ability to completely and utterly murder the crap out of my poor breacher team (which was also brand new to me, so we declared ourselves "even" for killing off new units).
For the shooting phase, he didn't have anything with guns in range (we both forgot about the pod's bolter, and the wolfnaught has CC-only, so it had nothing to shoot with since it was carrying a giant shield).
Assault phase was, as I said, the utter decimation of my tank at the hands of Riphowl Wolftooth. He consolidated onto the ruins where my pathfinders were hiding. Apparently they too were going to pay a hefty price for the destruction of the chrome-and-gold plated beauty. With spinners.
My friend did get two VPs thanks to some timely objective cards. We're even!
Turn 2 - Tau)
ORCA INCOMING, BEGIN LOW ALTITUDE DROP.
Here comes the Retaliation Cadre.
7 - count 'em - 7 deep strikes. Not a SINGLE ONE mishapped. 4 of them were on target. The commander scattered two inches. A crisis suit went 8 towards the edge but was safe. The broadsides were the scariest - a single half-inch saved them from the board edge. But they all made it.
(Cue pause in game for friend to yell about my stupid dice luck)
Riptide and Crisis suit team up to squash Njal like a bjug. Broadsides decimated Rhino1 - wrecked only. The troops hide behind a rock to avoid Fire Warrior Strike team fire. Crisis suit team moves and runs to get to the Wolfnaught's side armor (his big shield gave him a 3++ to frontal attacks). 6 plasma and 6 missiles later, it went down. Other strike team, two crisis suits, Coldstar, and the buffmander unleash heck upon the Wolf lord and his cronies. I managed to pick all of them off and deal a single wound to the lord. Pathfinders flee for their lives - and take pot shots at the lord, but don't cause any real damage.
No victory points this round. My two new cards? Secure Objective X and Y. X is under my friends Rhino2, and Y is next to his drop pod. Vunderbar.
Turn 2 - Wuffs)
The first big team of Wolfmandos come out of cover and proceed to blow away 3/4 of my broadside team - the railgunner and two missile drones down. Luckily I got a 4 on the leadership test for that one.
Rhino2 unloads its furious forces and they fire at my Coldstar - but he rolls garbage for both hits and wounds, and my 3+ save is sufficient to keep it unwounded.
(Note: I also realized afterwards that as a deep striking FMC, he was technically swooping still, so all of those shots would have been snap)
Wolfcav moves to a Crisis suit and assaults it. My nearby strike team and the crisis suit ACTUALLY managed to put 3 wounds into the wolves - downing 1 and putting a single wound on the other. Crisis suit loses his two beloved drones (Blinky and AJAX4412211-B). In angry response, he manages to KILL SOMETHING IN CLOSE COMBAT. Jeepers, that never happened before. 3rd wolf cav finishes him off, however.
Snaggletooth Wolfchucker assaults another crisis suit. He manages to take out a single drone.
Friend grabs FOUR more VPs for his cards. 2-6. Not looking so hot for me.
Turn 3 - Tau)
TIME TO GET SERIOUS.
Actually it was time for me to go for a friendly neighborhood game of "Let's play Purge the Alien instead" and hope for the best.
My Riptide overcharges his Ion Cannon and lands a direct hit on 3/4 of his full squad of troops. All wounds. Coldstar finishes them.
Missileside and fire warriors bring the second set of troops from 10 to 3.
Fire warriors on the other wide bring down the last of the wolf cav.
Crisis team nukes the drop pod.
Crisis suit attacking Gromgrimble Wolfcruncher gets himself killed. Well, not really - he tried his best. His best was just WS2 vs WS6. And the Wolf had a frost axe, so... yeah.
No new VPs. I draw... 2 more Secure cards. On objectives. THAT HE STILL CONTROLS. Gwar...
Turn 3 - Whuffs)
At this point, it is painfully clear that I have the ability to table my friend. The riptide is utterly undamaged. The buffmander is still handing out free slices of cheddar to anyone willing to eat them. The Coldstar is zipping around unleashing an incredible amount of TL dakka on things.
My friend, however, is not one to surrender - he just goes for the throat.
TANK SHOCK ON MY CRISIS SUIT WITH RHINO2!
(Cue pausing the game for 15 minutes while we try and figure out what the stupid tank shock rules are - had this been a real tournament, this would have been the perfect game-delaying maneuver to allow him to win)
I roll a 12 for my Crisis suit, and he begins to jet it back towards my line.
Wolfnibble Grumblebottom moves towards my buffmander. Uh oh...
The final 3 Wolfmandos take potshots at my missiletide, unable to get past its 2+.
The Wolflord charges. EVERYTHING within 12" of the buffmander fires. 35 shots later, he is down.
1 more VP! Not that it matters.
Turn 4 - Tau)
It's over. With only a rhino and 3 troops remaining, not much can stop me. The coldstar nukes the rhino. The Riptide takes care of the troops.
So what did I learn?
Well, for starters, the reason the Tau codex didn't really change from 6e is that, thanks to the new formations, it didn't need to. There is a lot of possible cheese to use - I didn't go whole-hog with Target Locks and a Darkstrider CAD like some people discussed. My friend did agree that - next time - he's going to bring an MSU force instead of 3 massive blobs of Wulves. My ability to focus fire and eliminate 1/3 of his forces was what won me the game. Had I not gotten the option to burn through his forces so easily, the 3-6 VP count would have given him an easy win.
He still fusses about that first rail shot.
Honestly, I had too much incredible dice luck this game to account for much. 7 deep strikes without mishap? My ability to make saves on my warlords and Riptide? All luck. Next game I could lose the entire cadre to mishaps and a ton of 1's.
Honestly, what I've learned is that I love the new formations, because I get to build my army and utilize it without having to worry about what is and isn't optimal. Fire Warriors and Breachers are awesome now. Well, awesome-r than people let on. Skyrays are super tempting - a pair of networked markerlights using coordinated firepower with anything else on the board? Yes please. I must have built 30+ different armies in Battlescribe using the new rules.
For the Greater Good, indeed.