Hello folks. I've recently returned to 40K after several years and decided to kick the dust off of my Tau. I lost about half of my army when I moved, so I'm starting off with just about 1000 points of models, all of which I put on the field for this game. So here is my first battle report for your review and perusal.
Tau Army (just under 1000 points)
-Core: Hunter Cadre
-Commander w/ x2 MPs, ATS, Neuroweb Sys Jam, Iridium Armor
Crisis Team #1
-x2 Crisis, both with MP, TL MP
Crisis Team #2
-x1 Crisis, MP, TL MP
-Shas'vre w/x2 Gun Drones
-x3 other Stealth Suits
x4 5-man FW Strike Teams
Pathfinder Team: x5 PFs
-DF Transport w/ SMS, PDTA, BSF
Ionhead w/SMS, PDTA, BSF
Marker Drone Squad: x4 Marker Drones
Skitarri Opponent: (best guess as I don't have his Army List)
Vanguard Squad: x10 men (the Sgt was his warlord)
-x2 Plasma Calivers, regular guns on the rest
Ranger Squad: x10 men
-x2 Transauranic Arquebus, regular guns on the rest
Ruststalker Squad: x5 men, basic loadout
Infiltrator Squad: x5 men
Dunecrawler Squad: x2 Dunecrawlers
I'll apologize in advance for not having a turn by turn breakdown. I was focused on trying to remember all of the rules and didn't take notes, so I really just have a basic summary of what happened. I plan on taking notes and pictures for future battle reports.
Eternal War: The Emperor's Will
(No Night Fighting or Mysterious Objectives to keep things simple)
Deployment: Dawn of War
First Turn: Tau (Skitarri failed to seize)
My opponent set up the table and terrain before I got there. There was LOTS of terrain...mostly ruins, and a very large castle-type structure smack in the middle of the board. There weren't a lot of fire-lanes, and there was plenty of cover. After the game, we both agreed that there was probably too much terrain, and we will probably play our next game with less of it.
This is where I made my first major mistake. I spread my forces out too much, so I couldn't make use of Coordinated Firepower and Supporting Fire as much as I would have liked. I also didn't hide units behind LOS-blocking terrain like I should have. I planned to rely on cover saves, which didn't work out as well as I would have liked. I also placed my backfield objective in the center of my deployment zone. It would have been smarter to place it near one of the corners and encircle it with my units since I knew he would be coming to me.
The Skitarri deployed mostly behind LOS blocking terrain which helped to screen their movement.
Early on, I was able to shoot my Ionhead at his Ballistarri and Stun the Crew/Strip a HP. It ended up taking several turns of shooting to finally kill the thing, but I did keep it from shooting/moving the whole game.
Most of his units moved around to the right of the center terrain piece, with only his Vanguard squad moving around the other side. I only had marker drones and two Strike teams covering that side, but that didn't help much. The marker drones couldn't score more than a single ML hit each turn, and the FW shooting was pretty abysmal on top of that. The one shining moment for that group was when I took the one remaining drone in that squad and moved it 2 inches in front of the Vanguard squad. He ended up using his last shooting turn to kill the drone, which spared some of my other units that would have died to those plasma guns.
His Infiltrators pushed up the middle of the board, and ended up killing my commander (JSJ fail on my part), earning him FB & StW in one turn. Those S2 guns seem wimpy, but he gets SO MANY shots at a very good BS and gets to re-roll failed wounds.
He rushed his Ruststalkers up the far right side of the board, but I killed the entire squad with overwatch fire from my Stealth Team and Crisis suits. As I anticipated, MPs absolutely wreck Skitarri infantry, even when shooting at BS3. I did a much better job of JSJ with my crisis teams, and kept them out of LOS for pretty much the whole game, though they didn't really accomplish much after killing the Ruststalkers.
My PF Devilfish bought the farm early on from shooting from the Dunecrawlers. These things were toting something called an Icarus Array. It's a weapon array that contains a TL AC, a S7/AP2 missile, and a gatling rocket launcher that is S6, five shots, and ignores cover (no jink saves!). The whole thing has Skyfire, but can shoot at skimmers at full BS. Yeah, this sucks for us. Even if they shoot at non-skimmer/non-flyer units, they can get a BS boost from the Skitarri Doctrina Imperatives.
And speaking of the Dunecrawlers, those things are SUPER resilient. I threw 12 MP shots (half were TL) at them for 4 turns in a row and only managed to strip two HP off of one that actually succeeded on a repair roll so was really only down 1 HP. I didn't have any Fusion or Railguns in my list, and he kept them well positioned so I couldn't get any rear armor shots with my MPs, so I felt pretty ineffectual against them. What I SHOULD have done is ignore them and shot my MPs at the rest of the Skitarri infantry.
The one shot I thought I had was getting my Stealth Suits behind the Dunecrawlers for a rear armor shot. Unfortunately, the Dunecrawlers weren't having any of that and vaporized my Stealth team with a single turn of shooting.
My opponent's Infiltrators killed more of my FW with shooting and assault and managed to camp out on my backfield objective. Thankfully, I was able to wipe them out next turn, but that one 5-man until probably killed more Tau than any of his other units.
Believe it or not, my Ionhead wasn't killed by the Dunecrawlers. It was killed by the Rangers and those two sniper/armorbane guns. I totally underestimated them, and it cost me my one heavy support unit.
After turn 5, the roll came up for no more turns, so the game was over.
I kept him from controlling/contesting my backfield objective, so that was 3 VP for me. I never got close to his backfield objective, and he got 2 additional VPs for StW and FB.
So it was a loss, which I pretty much expected in my first game back, but I felt like it was a really good game. I feel like I learned a lot, and will be much better prepared for my second match.
1. I make some serious deployment mistakes. My units were too spread out and not close enough to support each other. As a side note, my opponent really wasn't carrying any templates, so clustering would have been the smart thing to do.
2. Make better use of LOS Blocking terrain. I left too many units exposed. Better use of LOS Blocking would have kept more of my units alive early on. Weight of fire will be able to compromise cover saves, so don't rely on it.
3. Ignore units you can't hurt. After the first turn of good rolls from my Crisis teams not stripping a single HP from those Dunecrawlers, I should have shifted targets. The MP shots would have made a complete mess of his infantry. Instead, I wasted 4 turns of shooting with zero return.
4. Don't forget the Ion Cannon's overcharged pie-plate shot. Yeah, that alone probably would have been a game changer. If I could have earned enough marker tokens to strip cover, I probably could have iced a whole squad each turn.
5. Don't leave your Stealth Suits out in the open. In my rush to get them positioned for a rear shot on the Dunecrawlers, I left them totally exposed. Their 4+ cover save was just not good enough to keep them alive. Not only did this cost me the whole team, but it also cost me LB, which I was well positioned for before I jumped out in the open.
6. Make sure you deploy all crisis suits (even your commander) to take advantage of JSJ. I placed my commander in cover, but not behind LOS blocking terrain, so he was simply shot to death by S2 weight of fire. Since he was equipped with MPs, I could have placed him just about anywhere on the board and have him contribute. Plus, he needs to be protected, lest I give up an easy VP.