8th Edition Tau vs. Death Guard (1000)

Battle Reports and debriefing thoughts about your Tau in action
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The Shrike
Shas'La
Shas'La
Posts: 75

8th Edition Tau vs. Death Guard (1000)

Post#1 » Jun 20 2017 07:50

Hello ATT! Another Shrike Battle Report here; I hope you've been enjoying reading them as much as I have playing and writing them. Today we have my friend Jason and his Death Guard. He is a painting savant; a true master, and you can see more of his work at his site: http://www.headwoundminis.com/ . This was Jason's first game of 8th edition, so no alterations, everything is right out of the book.

Mission: The Scouring

Dewployment: Dawn of War (4x4 table)

Lists: Tau Empire

Patrol Detachment:

Darkstrider

10x Breachers, Devilfish
10x Breachers, Devilfish

5x Pathfinders

Superheavy Auxiliary Detachment

Stormsurge: Pulse Driver Cannon, 4x D Missiles, Cluster Rockets, 2x Smart Missile System, 2x Airbursting Fragmentation Projector, Shield Generator, Advanced Targeting System, Stimulant Injector

Chaos (From memory, not familiar with new chaos rules)

Battalion Detachment

Daemon Prince

Sorceror

7x Plague Marines: 2? Meltaguns, Rhino

20? Cultists

Maulerfiend

2x3 Nurglings
3x Chaos Spawn

Deployment

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Just a quick tactical/rules note, I won the roll to decide the deployment map, but it didn't much matter which one I chose because we played on a 4x4. On a 4x6, I surely would have chosen one of the longer deployment maps to put more distance between his forces and mine. We flipped the objective markers up at this point, revealing the superior objective (worth 4) to be right next to my castle, as well as a 2 to the left of it, and another 2 just forward and to the right of my castle. Jason had 2-2-1 near his side of the table. Apparent advantage to me.

Chaos Turn 1:

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I gave him first turn, having finished my deployment first. This was a mistake. I was worried about jumping on objectives on the bottom of turn 5. But allowing his fast elements to get halfway up the board unmolested was an error in judgment I realized in the moment. When it's obvious enough to you immediately, you know you made a bonehead move. Anyway, Jason pushed his Rhino with Plague Marines, 3 Nurglings, 3 Spawn and the Maulerfiend up my left flank towards my castle. His Daemon Prince was lurking in the dark of the ruins on my right flank. I was going to have to maneuver craftily now to buy myself time to blow him off the board.

Tau Turn 1:

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I took a gamble here and disembarked Darkstrider and his Breachers. I guessed that his marines, Maulerfiend and Prince would gun for my Stormsurge. So I figured if I could kill his Spawn and Nurglings, I could get First Blood, remove some threats, and maybe even slip past him in his bloodlust to take the 2 point objective on Jason's side of the map. After shooting, charging (yes!), and morale I wiped out all but one Spawn with 1 wound remaining. What would have helped me polish him off completely would be remembering Darkstrider's -1 Toughness debuff, which I forgot for the entire game. This would not prove consequential, but it is an object lesson in studying your rules! Anyway, hooray for Tau assault! My Stormsurge took some wounds off of the Maulerfiend and dropped his anchors. Learning lessons from previous games, I saved my D Missiles for when I was anchored. I also pushed the blue Devilfish (Sa'Cea for those Tau academics out there, albeit poorly painted) in front of his big nasties as a speedbump.

Chaos Turn 2:

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Jason largely ignored my Breachers, with the exception of a spell that killed 2. He shot and charged the Devilfish, killing it. Now the Daemon Prince and Maulerfiend were locked up with the Sa'Cean Breachers, which was fine with me, because I could always fall back to shoot them up with the Surge. In the background, he was maneuvering his Cultists onto a 2 point objective on top of the church on his side of the map, and some Nurglings were sneaking around in the ruins eyeing the 2-point objective nearer to me in the middle. Zooming out for a moment, it was clear to me that even if I killed his Maulerfiend and Prince in shooting, I was getting whupped in the positioning department. Jason had total control over the board, pushing the Tau into a corner. This is a feeling I'm sure many Tau generals are familiar with.

Tau Turn 2:

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Darkstrider and his Breachers moved through the ruins into 5" range with the Pulse Blasters. They were ready to unleash what in my mind was a devastating fusillade into the Plague Marines. Forgetting the -1 aside, either way I wouldn't have done as much as I'd imagined. This caused the second unforced error on my part. Rather than target the Prince or Maulerfiend, I used the Surge to polish off the Plague Marines, leaving just the Sorceror. It felt good to remove a threat, but it was the wrong target priority. I assaulted the Sorceror, and charged in my second Devilfish to bearhug Jason's big threats a turn longer.

Chaos Turn 3:

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Oh boy. Jason easily murdered the Devilfish (as yet unwounded) and the remaining Breachers. Now I was in trouble. This revealed my assault with the second Devilfish as a third unforced error. I could have held him in combat with the blue Breachers (who'd miraculously survived with 2 the turn before and passed morale), without sacrificing my last remaining speedbump. Now there was nothing between his big nasties and my Stormsurge. Not only that, what exactly did I have that was going to take objectives and try to win this game? Jason also cast some nasty psychic powers that killed a bunch of Darkstrider's Breachers. Smite and some type of pestilence storm of some kind.

Tau Turn 3:

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Here was the moment of truth. If I had any chance to win, I had to come very close to taking his big guys off the table. I hit the Prince with 2 markerlights, just enough to fire my D Missiles at full Ballistic Skill. I fired four D Missiles at him, rolling two 2s and two 1s. I rerolled the 1s and rolled two more 2s. Ouch. A total whiff. I'd declared all remainging Surge weapons against the Maulerfiend, anticipating the D Missiles to cripple the Prince enough on their own, if not kill him. Whoops. I took the Maulerfiend down to 5 wounds, but as we would see throughout the game, a combination of his automatic recovery of 1 wound every turn in addition to a Chaos psychic power that rejuvenates D3 wounds, I would never be able to kill him. Now the writing was on the wall for me, this was going to be one of those "For the Greater Good" defeats.

Chaos Turn 4:

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As you can see, Jason was in complete control of the board. He assaulted my Sotrmsurge with both bug guys, killed my Warlord, R.I.P Darkstrider, and positioned his forces to score most of the objectives. Just a tactical/rules note for you on 8th: He was just barely able to get the Maulerfiend within 1" of my Surge. Had I lifted my anchors and fallen back even half an inch, he would have had to go around the long way. For the record, I think this is stupid, and the terrain rules in general are the only thing I dislike about 8th, but since the rules are what they are, remember that only infantry or flying units can move easily through or over ruins. Monsters and vehicles have to go around. Anyway, the Stormsurge is tough and I think I lost 4 wounds only even from both the big nasties.

Turns 4-6:

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We entered into a routine of the Surge getting charged, and then falling back and shooting. It changed little, and Jason hopped on the superior objective, with the game ending on 6. It was a really fun game, except for how embarrassing my models look next to his haha. It really motivates me to finish painting my Tau, although no matter what I do, they will pale in comparison to the works of art Jason displays. His models are mostly custom conversions. The pictures don't do them justice. The beetle Prince, the Maulerfiend with the oozing cyclops eye, the disgustingly detailed custom Plague Marines and Spawn...Papa Nurgle clearly favors him.

Final Thoughts and more Musings on 8th:

I took a very top-heavy list for 1000 points, but even at 2000 I think there's a lesson here for Tau generals. I've suspected ever since getting my hands on the rules that we had become almost a horde army. I think this game bears that out. A much better list for this match would have been a lot of infantry, some drones and Kroot Hounds to screen against the big stuff, and a Fusion commander or some Crisis to deal some wounds to monsters and vehicles (I'm partial to the former). I have a team tournament coming up this weekend, and I'm going to try that out. I'll let you know how it goes.

As for 8th, as I mentioned the terrain rules are disappointing and run counter to the stated goals of the developers: streamlined and intuitive rules. True LOS terrain rules were not only easy and intuitive, they played well and added to the cinematic feel of 40k at its best. The terrain rules now, which state that a unit must be wholly in terrain, and vehicles and monsters must be wholly in terrain AND be obscured, are rarely fulfilled in-game. It is very difficult to get a cover save now. This also amplifies the importance of big LOS blockers. I try to fill my tables with them, but I know many small tournaments or basement players will struggle to field enough to prevent the tables from becoming shooting galleries. I also find the limitations for monsters and vehicles in 8th terrain rules to deflating. A monster or tank, as in previous editions, should be able to burst through a wall if necessary to get at their quarry. Having a Maulerfiend have to "go around the long way" to charge something is so lame. Anyway, these are quibbles next to all the improvements to the game, but they are significant changes and you must be cognizant of them while playing.

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Lechai Skull
Shas'Saal
Posts: 365

Re: 8th Edition Tau vs. Death Guard (1000)

Post#2 » Jun 20 2017 09:33

Very nice battle report!
Especially loved all the pics to go along with it!!!
Pity about the result, but i don't think you really had the best list to go up against Nurgle...

For your tournament i recommend the Fusion Commander you alluded to. coupled with crisis suits and drones, throw in a riptide for bigger battles to tank some damage if you have one.

Unfortunately the days of Breacher's in fish are gone. The transports are way too expensive to justify the Breacher's effectiveness. And the Breachers are ineffective without the mobility due to short range.


For the same cost of 2 transports and 2 breacher squads, you could have got a MantaCore which has waaaay more dakka, range and mobility.
http://www.advancedtautactica.com/viewtopic.php?f=52&t=25738&p=325032#p325032

Either that or a squad of Vespids have the same output as breachers but much cheaper and faster, longer range and can deep strike too!

Anyway, best of luck with your tournament.

Hopefully we get some of those bat-rep's too!

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The Shrike
Shas'La
Shas'La
Posts: 75

Re: 8th Edition Tau vs. Death Guard (1000)

Post#3 » Jun 20 2017 09:46

I agree about the Breacher/Vespid role swap. My gut read on the new rules was that Vespid usurped Breachers' role. And that's probably true. I just love Breachers so much and every game they do such cinematic stuff haha. Like seriously, even forgetting the -1T debuff, they slaughtered 3 units in this game, some of which was in assault! They are just so freakin' cool and I struggle to relinquish that feeling. Anyway, this weekend I'm going to try out the Manta-core concept with infantry support and see how that does in a tournament setting. I've retired the Stormsurge for the time being. His D Missiles pretty much define his value, but it's devastating when even 2 miss, let alone all of them. And invulnerable saves inevitably tank a lot of his Pulse Driver wounds. He'll be collecting some dust this edition, except, ironically, in narrative play :biggrin:

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Lechai Skull
Shas'Saal
Posts: 365

Re: 8th Edition Tau vs. Death Guard (1000)

Post#4 » Jun 20 2017 09:56

The stormsurge still has it's place. But that place i believe is in games upward of 1500+ points, as it needs some support to justify its role.
Oh and if you have a hammerhead, take Longstrike. He hits and wounds EVERYTHING on a 2+.
So reliable if you can keep him alive.
And with 2 markerlights, his seeker missiles hit on 2+ too.

How many points is your tournament?

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The Shrike
Shas'La
Shas'La
Posts: 75

Re: 8th Edition Tau vs. Death Guard (1000)

Post#5 » Jun 20 2017 10:13

It's 1000. So I figure I have enough to maximize the effect of the Manta-core OR I can try an infantry horde with Lonstrike and maybe a Fusion Commander as dedicated AT. Your thoughts?

Here are two early options:

Tau Empire- 4 Command Points

Vanguard Detachment

Commander: 4x Fusion-160

3x Crisis: 5x Plasma, 4x Fusion, 6x Gun Drones-313
3x Crisis: 9x Flamer, 6x Gun Drones-255
3x Stealths: Homing Beacon-110

2x5 Strikes-80

2x5 Pathfinders-80

Total: 998

Tau Empire-6 Command Points

Battalion Detachment

2x1 Commander: 4x Fusion-320

Longstrike: Railgun, 2x SMS, 2x Seeker Missiles-225

3x12 Strikes, 6x Marker Drones-336

2x5 Pathfinders: 2x Pulse Accelerator Drones, 2x Grav Inhibitor Drone-112

Total: 993

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Arka0415
Shas'Ui
Shas'Ui
Posts: 1588

Re: 8th Edition Tau vs. Death Guard (1000)

Post#6 » Jun 20 2017 07:10

The Shrike wrote:Tau Empire- 4 Command Points

Vanguard Detachment

Commander: 4x Fusion-160

3x Crisis: 5x Plasma, 4x Fusion, 6x Gun Drones-313
3x Crisis: 9x Flamer, 6x Gun Drones-255
3x Stealths: Homing Beacon-110

2x5 Strikes-80

2x5 Pathfinders-80

Total: 998


I wouldn't mix Fusion and Plasma in the same squad- their function is very different now. 9xPR and 9xCIB are good builds for XV8s. If you want to run more Fusion Blasters, I'd take another Commander. Also, I'm not convinced about Stealthsuits at 1000pts. They're good, but I think there are better options for very small games. You could also consider combining the Strike Teams to minimize Kill Points for the army.

The Shrike wrote:Tau Empire-6 Command Points

Battalion Detachment

2x1 Commander: 4x Fusion-320

Longstrike: Railgun, 2x SMS, 2x Seeker Missiles-225

3x12 Strikes, 6x Marker Drones-336

2x5 Pathfinders: 2x Pulse Accelerator Drones, 2x Grav Inhibitor Drone-112

Total: 993


This is a cool list! I like the heavy infantry deployment at 1000 points, it could be difficult for your enemy to hande. However, I think there are too many free Kill Points floating around. I would remove all of the Drones that come with your Infantry squads. That would save you 80 points, which you could invest in a Piranha or in a unit of 10 Gun Drones.

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Lechai Skull
Shas'Saal
Posts: 365

Re: 8th Edition Tau vs. Death Guard (1000)

Post#7 » Jun 20 2017 07:26

I agree somewhat with Arka, if your taking a commander with 4 fusion, just stick with spamming plasma's on your crisis suits. I doubt you'll need that many fusions in a 1000pt battle. Plus plasma's are half the cost of a fusion, so it gives you nearly 40 points for 5 more drones (or something else).

Also make sure you drop 1 weapon from your plasma team for a drone controller. +1 to hit for drones is a BIG deal (includes melee).

Also, if you end up using the flamer suits, let me know how you go with them, I'm curious (don't forget they can advance for free every turn. Exept after mantadrop.)

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The Shrike
Shas'La
Shas'La
Posts: 75

Re: 8th Edition Tau vs. Death Guard (1000)

Post#8 » Jun 20 2017 08:08

The plasma/fusion mix is sub-optimal based on what I have magnetized. I'll probably glue the loadouts I want on once I'm 100% sure.

I have already run flamer suits; they're great but require the Stealths, which I consider a tax until they prove me wrong. I think they're fun, not sure yet whether they're good.

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Lechai Skull
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Posts: 365

Re: 8th Edition Tau vs. Death Guard (1000)

Post#9 » Jun 20 2017 08:53

You don't need the homing beacon at all

suits move 8"
range is 8"
advance is d6" and doesn't affect flamers at all (assault + autohit)

Don't manta drop them. Start with them on the board behind terrain with a few drones.
they have an effective engagement range of 17" - 22" (depending on d6 roll) and are independent of stealth suits beacons.

remember you roll your d6 advance before you move them at all. So if there is a squad 20" away, roll your advance roll before you decide to move towards them. If you fluff your roll, engage something else that's closer, OR just stay there, or move to different cover.

But we're Tau, 9/10 the enemy come straight at us! You'd be hard pressed to find 0 targets inside 18"

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thesnailmaster
Shas'Saal
Posts: 137

Re: 8th Edition Tau vs. Death Guard (1000)

Post#10 » Jun 20 2017 08:56

Just a quick point, when it says determine the deployment map, that player rolls for it, they don't choose, the reason it specifies a player (for this and who rolls for end of game) is because you can spend CP's to reroll.

Also on the Stormsurge you probably want at least one makerlight on the missile target, so you have 3+ re rolling 1's.

As you said you yourself realised that giving T1 was a bad mistake, but we are all learning together so its good to see how it played out anyway.

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Lechai Skull
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Posts: 365

Re: 8th Edition Tau vs. Death Guard (1000)

Post#11 » Jun 20 2017 08:59

I've never relinquished Turn 1.... ever.
9/10 of my victories have been through destroying the enemy rather than capturing objectives.

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Arka0415
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Posts: 1588

Re: 8th Edition Tau vs. Death Guard (1000)

Post#12 » Jun 20 2017 10:21

Lechai Skull wrote:I've never relinquished Turn 1.... ever.
9/10 of my victories have been through destroying the enemy rather than capturing objectives.


Most Tau lists posted here on ATT seem to have 15 drops or so, at 2000 points. Lots of armies can field mechanized squads which combine 3 drops into 1, or massive hordes that deploy 20-30 models as 1 drop. Looking at the MSU playstyle for Tau, and our need to take at least a half-dozen single-model units, I doubt a normal Tau army will ever be getting first turn.

It's a shame that first turn is so decided now.

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Lechai Skull
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Posts: 365

Re: 8th Edition Tau vs. Death Guard (1000)

Post#13 » Jun 20 2017 10:38

Yep, i pretty much just assume that i will never have 1st turn when building lists/deploying.

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Arka0415
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Posts: 1588

Re: 8th Edition Tau vs. Death Guard (1000)

Post#14 » Jun 20 2017 11:39

Lechai Skull wrote:Yep, i pretty much just assume that i will never have 1st turn when building lists/deploying.


I'm starting to wonder if just giving up the first turn is the right idea. In the past, playing as Tau, I've never particularly minded going second. First is better of course, but then you're going second the enemy is (usually) closer, you can get into rapid-fire range more easily, and you can even deep strike to counter their deep strike units. I think the latter is an especially good tactic- you can null-deploy your most valuable units, and then counter their opening moves.

Let the enemy hamstring themselves by trying to cram their army into as few drops as possible. We Tau can take a leisurely second turn. Also, if we just deploy units into Mantas etc, we might be able to hide our real deployment for a long time compared to our enemy during the deployment phase!

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Lechai Skull
Shas'Saal
Posts: 365

Re: 8th Edition Tau vs. Death Guard (1000)

Post#15 » Jun 21 2017 01:11

Yes there can can be tactical benefits to going second, but i have found that having lots of firepower with a limited table size hurts, space is the big issue.

Any kind of damage you can put on the enemy before they close the distance is a huge advantage.

I've lost track of the number of games where my pathfinders have been obliterated before i even picked up a dice or ruler.

Past experience of mine just screams ALWAYS TRY TO GO 1st.

The only situation where 2nd is better is in assault vs assault armies.

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The Shrike
Shas'La
Shas'La
Posts: 75

Re: 8th Edition Tau vs. Death Guard (1000)

Post#16 » Jun 21 2017 06:51

Good discussion. I want to try a heavy Manta drop, but I'm wondering if 1000 points is the wrong medium for that approach. Infantry horde might be better. Besides, I don't have enough infantry to try horde-ing at 2000, so I'll exercise the concept now, report on how it does, and then I'll try a more top heavy, lower drop, manta strike army at higher points levels.

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Lechai Skull
Shas'Saal
Posts: 365

Re: 8th Edition Tau vs. Death Guard (1000)

Post#17 » Jun 21 2017 07:19

The Shrike wrote:Good discussion. I want to try a heavy Manta drop, but I'm wondering if 1000 points is the wrong medium for that approach. Infantry horde might be better. Besides, I don't have enough infantry to try horde-ing at 2000, so I'll exercise the concept now, report on how it does, and then I'll try a more top heavy, lower drop, manta strike army at higher points levels.


Try this...

1000pts 4CP (Vanguard detachment)

HQ

Commander [7 PL, 166pts]
3x Fusion blaster, 2x MV1 Gun Drone, Plasma rifle

Longstrike [11 PL, 225pts]
Railgun, 2x Seeker missile
2 smart missile systems

Troops

Strike Team [3 PL, 40pts]
5x Fire Warrior w/ Pulse Rifle

Elites

XV25 Stealth Battlesuits [6 PL, 103pts]
Stealth Shas'ui (no upgrade)
Burst cannon
Stealth Shas'ui w/ Fusion blaster
Fusion blaster, Velocity tracker
Stealth Shas'vre
Burst cannon

XV25 Stealth Battlesuits [6 PL, 103pts]
Stealth Shas'ui (no upgrade)
Burst cannon
Stealth Shas'ui w/ Fusion blaster
Fusion blaster, Velocity tracker
Stealth Shas'vre
Burst cannon

XV8 Crisis Battlesuits [14 PL, 267pts]
6x MV1 Gun Drone
Crisis Shas'ui
3x Plasma rifle
Crisis Shas'ui
3x Plasma rifle
Crisis Shas'vre
Drone controller, 2x Plasma rifle

Fast Attack

Pathfinder Team [3 PL, 40pts]
4x Pathfinder
4x Markerlight
Pathfinder Shas'ui
Markerlight

Tactical Drones [4 PL, 56pts]
7x MV1 Gun Drone

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Arka0415
Shas'Ui
Shas'Ui
Posts: 1588

Re: 8th Edition Tau vs. Death Guard (1000)

Post#18 » Jun 21 2017 08:09

Lechai Skull wrote:Commander [7 PL, 166pts]
3x Fusion blaster, 2x MV1 Gun Drone, Plasma rifle


Commander with a rogue Plasma Rifle huh. Not sure I agree but having a 'backup' weapon could be an interesting idea. Any particular reason why you chose this loadout?

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