First Battle Ever: Tau vs Dark Eldar

Battle Reports and debriefing thoughts about your Tau in action
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Shas'la Cali Nate
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First Battle Ever: Tau vs Dark Eldar

Post#1 » Dec 22 2017 02:47

I had my first battle last night. We each deployed 100 power and fought until I was defeated (But what do you expect for your first battle :roll:) My Goals were: not to get tabled (failed), learn how to play (Probably succeeded), Begin memorizing my stat lines (definitely a learning process), and of course have fun with my friend (Well and truly succeeded)

My deployment was as follows
1x Coldstar Suit
2x Commanders w/ 4 fusion blasters each
1x Commander Farsight (Deployed in the Manta)
1x Cadre Fireblade
1x Stealth Team w/ burst cannons
1x Crisis Team w/ flamers (Deployed in the Manta)
2x Pathfinders (Markerlight teams)
2x Pathfinders (Rail Rifle Teams)
2x Breachers
3x Firewarriors
1x Broadside w/ Heavy Rail Rifle
(All infantry squads were 5-strong)

His Dark Eldar
Archon
3 Raiders each with 10 warriors (cannon/blaster loadout)
3 ravagers (2 Lance heavy, 1 disintegrator heavy)
FW Reaper Gunship
2 Talos Pain Engines
Cronos pain engine
Venom (2 cannons) w/ 5 Incubi

We decided to play kill points as it was simpler and allowed for me to learn mechanics and concentrate on knowing how to use my units.
I placed my Suits on top of terrain and my firewarriors in a set of two lines with the breachers and pathfinders hugging terrain on either side.

DE Turn 1
I took longer to deploy so he got the first turn and began skimming over terrain closing half our field and hiding from my broadside (which sat perched with a commanding view of the field). His shots were few and lacking in effect, thanks in part to terrain and bad dice (only killing three fire warriors and and three pathfinders from a rail rifle squad) but during the fight phase his Pain Engines charged my stealth team and wiped all but one of them out.
I passed my morale checks.

Tau Turn 1
I moved my coldstar to block the advance of most of his ships through clear areas and moved my marker pathfinders to get clear fire lanes at some of his ships. My breachers moved from cover and took up positions on the flanks of my army. The lone stealth suit dropped the Homing Beacon (Knowing that he was doomed anyway). The Flamer crisis team dropped in a gap in his advance thanks to the homing beacon and Farsight dropped on the left flank.
Shooting phase was relatively ineffective as I forgot to do markerlights first (a mistake I never made again). My rail rifles took several wounds off two of his raiders (one on either side of his advance) and all my commanders and broadside failed to wound. The crisis team however seriously threatened one of his Ravagers. Fight phase the stealth team died and my coldstar charged a wounded raider but failed to damage it.

DE Turn 2
His damaged reaver retreated, but everything else kept closing in. and the venom dropped off the Inucbi. Shooting phase was concentrated on the coldstar and one of my commanders. The coldstar died, the commander was brought to 3 wounds, and a few remaining shots wiped out the depleted pathfinders. During the fight phase the one of his talos and the cronos pain engines charged the crisis team, no luck on overwatch and they were all slaughtered. The Incubi charged Farsight and thanks to a breacher team's Greater Good they were eliminated mid-charge. The Talos that had slaughtered the poor stealth team then charged the other breacher squad, but thanks to a commander, pathfinders, a firewarrior team, and the breachers it died from overkill, I mean overwatch.

Tau Turn 2
I declared Kauyon this turn. Farsight moved to enter combat with a raider and his team of heroic breachers moved to accompany/support him. Then the shooting got going. Everything was in half range and sight of most of my infantry, which meant with the Cadre Fireblade and kauyon there was much firepower to be had. Unfortunately I didn't remember that things can explode so I lost a commander, a full makerlight pathfinder team, all my breachers, and farsight when the the firewarriors destroyed two raiders and the venom. Oops :dead:

DE Turn 3
His Pain Machines began attempting to negotiate terrain to line up charges but everything else just sat back and took shots at me. The remaining commander died, so did the broadside, as did all but one model of my remaining pathfinders, and the depleted fire warriors. He attempted charges with the pain engines, but failed them. The Pathfinder failed his morale test and fled.

Tau Turn 3
The Cadre fireblade and two remaining squads of Firewarriors attempted at the last to bring down the last of the raider ships, but alas, left it with one wound. Recognizing that I was defeated, My buddy and I shook hands and packed up for drinks and the AAR.

Take-away: My first battle went better than expected if not as well as I hoped. I need to learn to focus my firepower on single targets and bring them down, and put marker lights on those rather than wasting them on various targets that I didn't even shoot at some turns. oh and explosions, I don't like explosions. For units I'm torn between the 10 and 5 man squads, because losing the first turn against the Dark Eldar is not pleasant. But I learned how to play and had a lot of fun, so that means it was a good thing.

Next Up: We do another battle (after a little army editing), and then we swap and I play his Dark Eldar (Know thyself, know thy enemy). Then I go buy another crisis team or a ghostkeel.

I'd like input on my army composition (specifically regarding my decisions to run in 5-strong squads rather than 10-strong) and my tactics (specifically: Should I have been more aggressive?). My army list may be found as my first posts on this forum.

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Serahl
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Re: First Battle Ever: Tau vs Dark Eldar

Post#2 » Dec 23 2017 08:49

Heya, first up congrats on your first game! Hope you had a great time :)

Here are my 2 cents on the army and the game:


    Army:

    First up (and I'm sure other people will tell you this too): Needs more drones! Especially the units arriving via Manta Strike. A Crisis team can bring a full load of six drones with them, which means a lot of dakka (Gun Drones) or a very resilient Crisis squad. Use the Saviour Protocol ability of the drones to soak heavy hits that do multiple wounds or to shift mortal wounds that you don't want on your characters.

    Farsight is a cool character, story-wise. Points-wise, he currently isn't that strong. So if you like the lore, go take him! Otherwise, another Commander with Fusion Blasters or Ion Blasters is more point efficient.

    Railfinders are veeery expensive for what they do, in my opinion. One of these guys is worth more than three normal pathfinders and almost as much as a stealth suit. Given that they are expected to get to shoot only once per game before they are removed by some small arms fire, and only hit 50% of their shots, it generally is not a good deal. If you absolutely love the rifles, try putting three of them in a 10-man squad supported by drones so they can survive longer.

    Broadside battlesuits right now are HEAVILY overcosted in my opinion. I don't know why Games Workshop did this, but even one suit is more expensive than a hammerhead, which has more toughness and wounds, is more mobile and has a better BS. And since Tau in 8th are more of a mid-range skirmish alpha-strike army, the slow and steady, long-range approach of the broadsides doesn't really have much synergy.

    Personally I'm a big fan of the "firebomb" (as I call it) you did: Stealth Suits with homing beacon, bringing in Crisis with flamers. It's high risk, high reward. Paired with the fusion Commanders, I think this is a very fine and more importantly fun choice to play. As mentioned above: Take drones with these squads to make them more durable.

    I also like the breachers and the firewarriors with a fireblade. You might consider a devilfish for the breachers. The devilfish itself is a great, fast and durable vehicle, even when empty. You can get to heavy long range shooting units and charge them to stop them from using their heavy weapons. Another tip: When using much infantry (>20) on foot, consider taking an Ethereal for his Sense of Stone ability and the leadership-boost.

    Tactics

    Please take all these comments as constructive criticism :)

    You said that in your turn 1, your Stealth Suit died in the fight phase. Since they have the "Fly" keyword, they could have fallen back and still shoot. Even better, you could have shot at the pain engine with other units!

    Are you sure if the explosions in your turn 2 were handled correctly? Vehicles only explode on a roll of a 6, not always. And when they do, they deal mortal wounds in a 6" bubble around them. The maximum number of wounds that the two raiders and the venom could have caused this way are 7. To have killed SO many models/units, you must have had REALLY bad luck with the dice gods. This was a big turning point, you might have won the game otherwise.
    Normally, exploding vehicles are not a big issue. To be sure, just keep your units more than 6" away (only breachers would benefit from being nearer anyway) :)


That's it, have fun in the future fighting for the Greater Good!

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Shas'la Cali Nate
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Posts: 45

Re: First Battle Ever: Tau vs Dark Eldar

Post#3 » Dec 23 2017 03:44

Second battle report was forgotten as I was too caught up in the fun, which is a shame because it was much better in all departments, but you definitely raise points that are great for my understanding and learning.

Serahl wrote:Heya, first up congrats on your first game! Hope you had a great time :)

Here are my 2 cents on the army and the game:


    Army:

    First up (and I'm sure other people will tell you this too): Needs more drones! Especially the units arriving via Manta Strike. A Crisis team can bring a full load of six drones with them, which means a lot of dakka (Gun Drones) or a very resilient Crisis squad. Use the Saviour Protocol ability of the drones to soak heavy hits that do multiple wounds or to shift mortal wounds that you don't want on your characters.


I didn't post the report for my second battle (mainly because I forgot to record stuff) but yes! I'm in love with shield drones and their invul saves!

Serahl wrote:Farsight is a cool character, story-wise. Points-wise, he currently isn't that strong. So if you like the lore, go take him! Otherwise, another Commander with Fusion Blasters or Ion Blasters is more point efficient.


I do love the lore so he may wind up being a "Playing with friends for fun" model

Serahl wrote:Railfinders are veeery expensive for what they do, in my opinion. One of these guys is worth more than three normal pathfinders and almost as much as a stealth suit. Given that they are expected to get to shoot only once per game before they are removed by some small arms fire, and only hit 50% of their shots, it generally is not a good deal. If you absolutely love the rifles, try putting three of them in a 10-man squad supported by drones so they can survive longer.


I was lucky in that the they mainly got left alone I guess, so I'm not sure I agree. They really punch armored targets and I tend to lack in that department. I'll try it with the 10-strong squads because I'm not sure I want to give them up. (I moved all my units to 10-strong, and that really helped)

Serahl wrote:Broadside battlesuits right now are HEAVILY overcosted in my opinion. I don't know why Games Workshop did this, but even one suit is more expensive than a hammerhead, which has more toughness and wounds, is more mobile and has a better BS. And since Tau in 8th are more of a mid-range skirmish alpha-strike army, the slow and steady, long-range approach of the broadsides doesn't really have much synergy.

Personally I'm a big fan of the "firebomb" (as I call it) you did: Stealth Suits with homing beacon, bringing in Crisis with flamers. It's high risk, high reward. Paired with the fusion Commanders, I think this is a very fine and more importantly fun choice to play. As mentioned above: Take drones with these squads to make them more durable.


I looooove my broadsides (I actually have 2) and judging by the reaction of my friend (IE: KILL THEM FIRST) I don't actually know how effective they are, but they don't seem to get many kills even when they are alive. I love their idea and look, but I'm afraid that you may be right. Especially if they're just going to get killed straight out.

And the Firebomb is waaaay too much fun. My second game it slaughtered his back field (including his Warlord!) and coupled with drones took both back objectives (Until the I realized the mistake of separating the drones from my suits and paid the price).

Serahl wrote:I also like the breachers and the firewarriors with a fireblade. You might consider a devilfish for the breachers. The devilfish itself is a great, fast and durable vehicle, even when empty. You can get to heavy long range shooting units and charge them to stop them from using their heavy weapons. Another tip: When using much infantry (>20) on foot, consider taking an Ethereal for his Sense of Stone ability and the leadership-boost.


Volley fire with two 10-strong squads of fire warriors at half range is devastating! And an ethereal might be a good move, but I'll have to wait for post holiday cash for one (or hope for gift certs), because that leadership buff is sounding good. I also discovered (in my second game) that forming a napoleonic infantry square with my fire warriors and markerfinders around my Fireblade (and a Commander declaring Kauyon) makes for some really powerful output/overwatch.

And I do have a fish! It is lovingly painted with model car red paint for that "Red ones go faster" feel (And because farsight), and got used to put breachers on a hilltop objective in my second game (wherein they re-enacted Little Round Top). Those breachers are getting some extra detail when I have time to paint them more, they held the hill against a Wraith Lord, they stopped charges everywhere, and they need some extra love for it.

Serahl wrote:Tactics

Please take all these comments as constructive criticism :)

You said that in your turn 1, your Stealth Suit died in the fight phase. Since they have the "Fly" keyword, they could have fallen back and still shoot. Even better, you could have shot at the pain engine with other units!

All but one of them died in the fight phase and I was too preoccupied by making sure they got the beacon out to think of much else.
Unfortunately the suits were too far forward to be supported by other units (they were hiding around some terrain from most things as well, so that pain engine made a 10 inch charge to get them after moving around the intervening ground), and my friend and I disagreed on the rules around "jetpack" and "fly" so I trusted his understanding since he has more experience. This came up again in the second game when he started swamping a command suit. We decided it meant that I could ignore that I was surrounded and fall back, but not shoot. I was not really pleased with this but...

Serahl wrote:Are you sure if the explosions in your turn 2 were handled correctly? Vehicles only explode on a roll of a 6, not always. And when they do, they deal mortal wounds in a 6" bubble around them. The maximum number of wounds that the two raiders and the venom could have caused this way are 7. To have killed SO many models/units, you must have had REALLY bad luck with the dice gods. This was a big turning point, you might have won the game otherwise.
Normally, exploding vehicles are not a big issue. To be sure, just keep your units more than 6" away (only breachers would benefit from being nearer anyway) :)

Yup, the explosions were all on 6's and then he rolled 6's on my mortal wounds (while I rolled a one on his mortal wounds for the troops inside). I actually tried to utilize the explosions next game and got some nice effects when a Raider blew up in the middle of his formation. But yeah the dice gods were not kind on the explosion front.

Pretty sure I'd have still lost, since I hadn't done enough to his gun-boats which were tearing into me and hadn't even started on his warriors... but that's how you learn and I learned A LOT from our matches.

Serahl wrote:That's it, have fun in the future fighting for the Greater Good!


It's all fun and the Greater Good is served by learning! (and I have never seen anyone on this forum be other than friendly and trying to be helpful.

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Re: First Battle Ever: Tau vs Dark Eldar

Post#4 » Dec 24 2017 11:34

Just a note, fly works how you thought. You can "fly" out of a mob to blast it. Is what makes our suits hard to pin.

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Arka0415
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Re: First Battle Ever: Tau vs Dark Eldar

Post#5 » Dec 24 2017 09:06

Shas'la Cali Nate wrote:I was lucky in that the they mainly got left alone I guess, so I'm not sure I agree. They really punch armored targets and I tend to lack in that department. I'll try it with the 10-strong squads because I'm not sure I want to give them up. (I moved all my units to 10-strong, and that really helped)

Before you experiment with more models, try 6 Pathfinders + 2 Shield Drones. You get a bit more durability at no additional cost.

Shas'la Cali Nate wrote:I looooove my broadsides (I actually have 2) and judging by the reaction of my friend (IE: KILL THEM FIRST) I don't actually know how effective they are, but they don't seem to get many kills even when they are alive. I love their idea and look, but I'm afraid that you may be right. Especially if they're just going to get killed straight out.

No offense to your friend, but they're probably still thinking about previous editions. Even against Dark Eldar Raiders, Broadsides can barely manage a statistical wound (avg. 1.037). They're possibly the weakest anti-vehicle option in our Index, and one of the most expensive. In fact, the only thing redeeming about them is the fact that opponent's who don't realize their impotence tend to focus-fire them.

Shas'la Cali Nate wrote:And the Firebomb is waaaay too much fun. My second game it slaughtered his back field (including his Warlord!) and coupled with drones took both back objectives (Until the I realized the mistake of separating the drones from my suits and paid the price).

Good work with the Flamer XV8s! How did you get them into the back though, since Stealthsuits cannot deploy there?

Shas'la Cali Nate wrote:Volley fire with two 10-strong squads of fire warriors at half range is devastating! And an ethereal might be a good move, but I'll have to wait for post holiday cash for one (or hope for gift certs), because that leadership buff is sounding good. I also discovered (in my second game) that forming a napoleonic infantry square with my fire warriors and markerfinders around my Fireblade (and a Commander declaring Kauyon) makes for some really powerful output/overwatch.

If you split the Fire Warriors down into 5-model squads you won't need to worry about morale!

Shas'la Cali Nate wrote:...my friend and I disagreed on the rules around "jetpack" and "fly" so I trusted his understanding since he has more experience. This came up again in the second game when he started swamping a command suit. We decided it meant that I could ignore that I was surrounded and fall back, but not shoot. I was not really pleased with this but...

What was the misunderstanding? Did you guys not have the books on hand?

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Shas'la Cali Nate
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Re: First Battle Ever: Tau vs Dark Eldar

Post#6 » Dec 24 2017 09:41

Arka0415 wrote:Before you experiment with more models, try 6 Pathfinders + 2 Shield Drones. You get a bit more durability at no additional cost.


I'll give it a shot!

Arka0415 wrote:No offense to your friend, but they're probably still thinking about previous editions. Even against Dark Eldar Raiders, Broadsides can barely manage a statistical wound (avg. 1.037). They're possibly the weakest anti-vehicle option in our Index, and one of the most expensive. In fact, the only thing redeeming about them is the fact that opponent's who don't realize their impotence tend to focus-fire them.


Ah that's a shame, oh well, they're still pretty and fun to make

Arka0415 wrote:Good work with the Flamer XV8s! How did you get them into the back though, since Stealthsuits cannot deploy there?


He got the first turn and rushed forward with his vehicles/transports to engage me in melee quickly, so I was able to manta strike into his backfield. I'm really falling in love with dropping suit teams into places that seriously threaten or inconvenience my opponent.

Arka0415 wrote:If you split the Fire Warriors down into 5-model squads you won't need to worry about morale!


I found that they got torn apart squad by squad when I tried that (no need for a morale check if they're all dead). I'm going back and forth on sizes but leaning towards the larger groupings.

Arka0415 wrote:
Shas'la Cali Nate wrote:...my friend and I disagreed on the rules around "jetpack" and "fly" so I trusted his understanding since he has more experience. This came up again in the second game when he started swamping a command suit. We decided it meant that I could ignore that I was surrounded and fall back, but not shoot. I was not really pleased with this but...

What was the misunderstanding? Did you guys not have the books on hand?


No, we both forgot our books. I swore I remembered it letting me shoot after falling back. but he swore the other way, and as I'm very new, I trusted his memory. Oh well, I'll never forget my book again.
Last edited by Shas'la Cali Nate on Dec 24 2017 09:47, edited 2 times in total.

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Arka0415
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Re: First Battle Ever: Tau vs Dark Eldar

Post#7 » Dec 24 2017 09:46

Shas'la Cali Nate wrote:Ah that's a shame, oh well, they're still pretty and fun to make.

I think I've said this before but they're some of my favorite models. Let's hope the Codex is kind to them!

Arka0415 wrote:He got the first turn and rushed forward with his vehicles/transports to engage me in melee quickly, so I was able to manta strike into his backfield. I'm really falling in love with dropping suit teams into places that seriously threaten or inconvenience my opponent.

Makes sense. Always keep in mind that Flamer XV8s can't fire on the turn they arrive unless they're supported by a Homing Beacon. That's why I prefer CIBs. However, if you can get the Stealthsuits placed just right, they can deal horrendous damage.

Arka0415 wrote:I found that they got torn apart squad by squad when I tried that (no need for a morale check if they're all dead). I'm going back and forth on sizes but leaning towards the larger groupings.

It's not like they lose more models when the squads are smaller though. What would you prefer- one half-dead squad that has the potential of losing models to morale, or one fully-dead squad and one squad that's perfectly fine?

Arka0415 wrote:No, we both forgot our books. I swore I remembered it letting me shoot after falling back. but he swore the other way, and as I'm very new, I trusted his memory. Oh well

Ah, gotcha. As a Dark Eldar player his army is heavily weighted toward units that have the Fly keyword, and is a big part of Dark Eldar strategy, so you'd figure he'd know :D

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Shas'la Cali Nate
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Re: First Battle Ever: Tau vs Dark Eldar

Post#8 » Dec 24 2017 10:05

Arka0415 wrote:Makes sense. Always keep in mind that Flamer XV8s can't fire on the turn they arrive unless they're supported by a Homing Beacon. That's why I prefer CIBs. However, if you can get the Stealthsuits placed just right, they can deal horrendous damage.

I'd have preferred to drop them on a beacon, but the stealth team is a priority target... Wonder why ;)
So I made do and hid them behind some terrain so they'd be safer until they could move, at which point they were having lots of fun splitting his attention.

Arka0415 wrote:It's not like they lose more models when the squads are smaller though. What would you prefer- one half-dead squad that has the potential of losing models to morale, or one fully-dead squad and one squad that's perfectly fine?


Hahaha fair point, especially since I'm not going to beat him for turn 1, minus seizing initiative.

Arka0415 wrote:Ah, gotcha. As a Dark Eldar player his army is heavily weighted toward units that have the Fly keyword, and is a big part of Dark Eldar strategy, so you'd figure he'd know :D


Hmm, well he actually usually plays Black Templars and was using this as an opportunity to get to know his Eldar better. So I'll point it out to him, it will probably help at some point.

Thanks again for helping me break down my experience, i learned more than I would have done just doing my own analysis.
I think I'm going to buy more crisis suits or an Ethereal next. More drop teams or the leadership buff will help immensely.

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Arka0415
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Re: First Battle Ever: Tau vs Dark Eldar

Post#9 » Dec 24 2017 10:27

Shas'la Cali Nate wrote:So I made do and hid them behind some terrain so they'd be safer until they could move, at which point they were having lots of fun splitting his attention.

That's a good trick! Always good to adapt to setbacks like losing your Stealthsuits.

Shas'la Cali Nate wrote:He actually usually plays Black Templars and was using this as an opportunity to get to know his Eldar better. So I'll point it out to him, it will probably help at some point.

Black Templars (think melee Marines with no particular buffs) are a great matchup for Tau- knock out the Rhinos and Land Raiders and then skirmish the Neophyte blobs.

Shas'la Cali Nate wrote:I think I'm going to buy more crisis suits or an Ethereal next. More drop teams or the leadership buff will help immensely.

Ethereals, with the combination of the LD buff and Sense of Stone for the bonus 6+ save, can "save" a handful of Fire Warriors (maybe 2-3) every turn. After a few turns of shooting, if you save 5-6 Fire Warriors then the Ethereal has paid for himself!

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Shas'la Cali Nate
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Re: First Battle Ever: Tau vs Dark Eldar

Post#10 » Dec 24 2017 11:03

Sounds like the start collecting box is in my future then!

Thanks again, you've been fantasticly helpful!

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Arka0415
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Re: First Battle Ever: Tau vs Dark Eldar

Post#11 » Dec 25 2017 12:03

Shas'la Cali Nate wrote:Sounds like the start collecting box is in my future then!

Thanks again, you've been fantasticly helpful!

Add the Fire Warriors, XV8s, and Ethereal (and take out the Broadside and Farsight) and you'll only be a few points over. Shouldn't be too hard to make that list work.

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