The Relic (it's in two big LOS blockers in the middle)
I had my fourth game of 8th edition last night, Militarum Tempestus vs my Tau. The only pictures included in this one are the battlefield itself as your frame of reference because my friend was just proxying his army to see if he wanted to buy it. Mission was The Relic, never really liked that one but it is simple and allowed us to focus on not making rules mistakes. Deployment was Dawn of War, again, to keep it simple.
Militarum Tempestus Battalion Detachment:
Scion Command Squad, Plasmas, Vox Caster
3x10 Scions w/ 4 Plasma Guns
1x10 Scions w/ 4 Hotshot Volley Gun
3x1 Taurox: Gatling Cannon, 2 Autocannons
Tau Empire Battallion Detachment
Cadre Fireblade: Markerlight
Commander: 4x Fusion Blaster
2x1 Ghostkeel: Collider, 2x Fusion Blaster
6x Crisis: 9x Plasma, 9x Flamer
3x Stealths: Homing Beacon
2x5 Pathfinders: 2x Grav Inhibitor Drones, 2x Pulse Accelerator Drones
1x8 Marker Drones
Stormsurge: Pulse Driver, D Missiles, Cluster Rockets, Airburst, SMS, Shields, Stims, Advanced Targeting
I had one fewer drop and chose to go first. This was my first mistake. I then maneuvered as aggressively as I possibly could have for an Alpha strike I imagined would be very effective.....which turned out to be a total dud. I moved my Stealth suits forward on my left flank and dropped their Homing Beacon within a couple of inches of a Taurox and a Banewolf, I pushed my Ghostkeels upfield, one on each side of the big LOS blockers in the middle of the table; positioning them to fire on the Baneblade (This was mistake number 3). I also dropped my Commander in on top of one of the buildings at table center to also shoot at the Baneblade thus making him the closest unit to half my opponent's army (mistake number 4!). I moved my Stormsurge up 6", anticipating dropping my anchors at the end of my shooting phase. My Pathfinders and Marker Drones moved up to target the Baneblade from their hiding spots on the extreme flanks. My Firewarriors stayed hidden with my Fireblade in the small ruins near my table edge, looking for a late Relic grab. Okay, shooting: I did 10 wounds on the Baneblade, and 8 on a Taurox. That's it. A feeling of dread and self-loathing welled within me, while my opponent and I laughed at how dumb everything I just did appeared to be. My one tactically sensible move in the entire turn was to charge a Taurox in such a way that I surrounded it with Crisis and Stealths such that he could not disembark, and we decided he couldn't fall back. The rules are unclear as to whether a non-flying unit can fall-back when surrounded, but we guessed not. I wanted to hide the Crisis in combat, and I would at least accomplish that.
On his Turn 1 he dumped all his infantry out and killed my Stealth suits, my Ghostkeels, and my Commander. He also dropped a team from orbit next to my Stormsurge, but actually they helped kill a Ghostkeel. Not much more to say there, it was a devastating counterattack.
I had to regroup. I fell back with my Crisis, positioning to wipe out some infantry. I moved up with my Pathfinders on the extreme right to shoot and charge his command squad and my Pathfinders on the extreme left to shoot and charge some Scions. I also moved my remaining Drones on the left flank to charge his Scions who'd entered from Orbit. The Crisis suits wiped out two infantry squads and one of his Primes, the Pathfinders each polished off their charging targets and consolidated and the Surge killed all but two of the Orbit squad and took some more wounds off of a Banewolf. Really, charging Tau is so fun in 8th edition; and can accomplish more than one might expect.
His turn, he killed all the Pathfinders, and after falling back with a Taurox from the Crisis' second charge (I couldn't surround him this time, I only rolled a 3" on the charge), he wiped them clean with the Baneblade. Ouch. The Manticores whiffed on my firewarriors for the most part and he still hadn't targeted my Stormsurge because he's a better player than me
. He also piled his warlord and a remaining Scion bodyguard back in a Taurox and began moving his transports towards the relic.
I advanced my firewarriors out from their hiding places in the small ruins and moved my remaining drones towards the center as well. The Stormsurge was my only meaningful damage dealer and he killed a Taurox and a Banewolf.
His turn 3 he killed a unit of firewarriors and 3 more from the unit screening for my Fireblade. He also grabbed the relic with 4 Scions who were about to die for the Emperor.
Yeah, they died. I kept the anchors down because my only prayer was to kill all his vehicles not named Baneblade. But I whiffed a lot and only managed to overkill one with 4 wounds left. I moved my remaining firewarriors and drones closer to the relic.
His turn 4 he killed my Fireblade and all but 7 firewarriors and 1 grav inhibitor drone, and still my Stormsurge sat unscathed, and as yet untargeted. He piled his tanks as close as possible to the relic, with the Baneblade hanging in the back so its shooting was unaffected by movement.
I shot and charged an unwounded Taurox with everything and killed it, surrounding the relic in the process with all my remaining infantry and a drone.
His turn 5 he killed them all and moved in with 2 wounded Tauroxes, and an unwounded Banewolf. He also started shooting the Surge and took off 9 wounds.
I killed a Taurox.
He took 8 more wounds from the Surge.
I killed a Taurox.
He killed the Stormsurge and seized the Relic with his Warlord and bodyguard, scoring a Major Victory for the Emperor! Wow, 4 models left on the table. 8th edition is a charnel house of gore.
Postgame Thoughts, and 8th Edition Musings
First of all, what a fun game. It was 40k-as-Rugby match and we had lots of laughs. Obviously, I overextended myself and that lost me the game. Had I played to my army's theme, which I think is cagey, mobile short-range firepower, I think I could have won. But it would have required a defensive mindset from the beginning. And a Major Victory may not have been realistic for me. My opponent is smart and would have wiped out my infantry; so it's worth including 1 Devilfish if only for the Relic. Anyway, once we figure out what all our armies do, we'll all be more capable of honestly assessing their capabilities pre-game, depending on the mission objectives.
Also, I amended my list at the last minute because I realized I was way over points, only to over-correct and end up way under points. I don't think that was super-impactful, but don't rush.
Also, 8th edition is an absolute bloodbath. Keep in mind I always set up my house boards with lots of LOS blocking terrain, as you have seen in the pictures. Way beyond the old recommendation of 25% coverage. I think closer to 50% should be the norm because it's a shooting gallery out there. One point on terrain. As we read it, a unit must be wholly within terrain to gain its benefit, and a vehicle of monster type model must not only be wholly within, but must also be obscured to gain the benefit. We found this functionally impossible so most models did not benefit from cover even with all the cover on the board. If it didn't block LOS, it was useless. I intend on basing my terrain again like 4th edition, but it's annoying because it looks terrible. I think they nailed 95% of the decision points with their overhaul of the rules but returning to area cover is stupid. Pure LOS cover was intuitive and easy; requiring zero interpretation. Ugh.
I'm going to continue to try units until I've played with all the units that I own, but so far I have to say the Stormsurge is mediocre. It kills things, but it's main gun is what you pay all those points for, the rest can be replicated. And the Pulse Driver is too unreliable. It should be a straight 3 shots. But I always seem to roll 1 or 2 on a D3 and then hit with just 1. It sucks. And I haven't tried the Blastcannon yet, but with how slow the Surge is now, that seems worse. D missiles are also unreliable. I should have been more patient with them, waiting until I was anchored to fire them for +1 to hit, and using markerlights for possibly +1 more and rerolling 1s. That is almost a necessity to get your money's worth. But even then, it's D3 mortal wounds! All these D3s! Terrible. Not worth nearly 500 points. I'd rather have more Crisis, or more Commanders, or more Vespid, or more....you get my point. More anything.
Also, a final note on Flamers and Crisis suits as I know it's a hot topic in another thread. They're good, but they're soo good that you're going to wipe out any infantry they target, which is going to leave you with only distant assault targets, which makes it harder to charge and certainly harder to surround an enemy tank/transport, which is your ideal assault target because they deal little damage. Also, it's worth noting that they essentially require either a Commander to call Mont'ka, in my opinion the inferior of the two command traits, in order to get up the table, or a Homing Beacon, which is expensive. And in the latter case, as you saw, that left my Crisis team over-exposed and they were slaughtered to a man having done perhaps 300 points of damage to their 439 points of cost. So your mileage may vary, and I'm going to try them again, but there you have it.