Battle Report #2: Tau Sept vs Imperium (1500)

Battle Reports and debriefing thoughts about your Tau in action
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Arka0415
Shas'Vre
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Battle Report #2: Tau Sept vs Imperium (1500)

Post#1 » Jan 08 2018 08:35

For this battle I did not field a good list. My army is currently under construction, and I brought whatever I had painted and available. With that in mind I was basically fielding 1200 points of Tau and 300 points of filler against a hard-as-nails Imperium list. That said, the battle went much better than I was expecting:





Tau Sept vs. Imperium (1500 Points)
Mission Type: Victory Points by PL
Deployment: Dawn of War

Tau Sept Army List:
HQ - Ethereal w/ Honor Blade (45)
HQ - Commander w/ 4x Fusion Blasters; 2x Shield Drones (176)
HQ - Commander w/ 3x Missile Pods, ATS (156)
HQ - Cadre Fireblade w/ 2x Shield Drones (58)
HQ - Cadre Fireblade w/ 2x Gun Drones (58)
Troops - 7x Fire Warriors w/ Markerlight (59)
Troops - 7x Fire Warriors w/ Markerlight (59)
Troops - 7x Fire Warriors w/ Markerlight (59)
Troops - 7x Fire Warriors w/ Markerlight (59)
Dedicated Transport - Devilfish w/ Burst Cannon; 2x Gun Drones (127)
Elites - 3x XV8s w/ 8x Cyclic Ion Blasters, Drone Controller; 6x Gun Drones (323)
Elites - 3x Stealthsuits w/ Fusion Blaster, 2x Burst Cannon, Homing Beacon (121)
Fast Attack - 5x Pathfinders w/ 2x Markerlights, 3x Ion Rifles (52)
Fast Attack - 5x Pathfinders w/ 5x Markerlights (40)
Fast Attack - 5x Pathfinders w/ 5x Markerlights (40)
Fast Attack - 4x Gun Drones (32)
Fast Attack - 5x Gun Drones (40)

Imperium Army List:
HQ - Belisarius Cawl
HQ - Primaris Captain
HQ - Primaris Lieutenant w/ Auto Bolt Rifle
Troops - 5x Primaris Intercessors
Troops - 5x Skitarii Rangers
Troops - 5x Skitarii Vanguard
Elites - Cybernetica Datasmith
Elites - 10x Custodian Guard w/ Guardian Spears and Storm Shields
Heavy Support - 2x Kastelan Robots w/ Heavy Phosphor Blasters





Deployment: As usual I kept my battlesuits in Manta Strike reserve, this meant that the Imperium player had to deploy several units while I had none on the board for a while. However, the final deployment saw my Pathfinders in small amounts of cover while the Fire Warrior gunline stood out in the open. The Devilfish full of Gun Drones was off to one side. We had only two hours to play, and decided to tally the Power Level killed by each side to determine Victory Points. The Imperium took the first turn.

Turn 1:

Imperium Turn 1: The massive Custodes block moved forward while the rest of the army largely stayed put. Imperial shooting aided by Belisarius Cawl took a huge toll, with Skitarii and Kastelans killing 10 Fire Warriors and several drones. No charges were made.

Tau Turn 1: In my movement everything moved to put the Custodes into optimal range- Gun Drones disembarked, Fire Warriors moved up, and battlesuits used Manta Strike to surround the Custodes and hopefully delete them in a single shooting phase. This did not work. Even with 5 Markerlight hits, over 140 S5 shots and 20 S8 shots managed to only cause 7 wounds out of the units' 30. However, after this horrid whiff of an attack the Missile Pod Commander fired a miracle salvo that killed three Custodes while the Fusion Commander killed one, bringing the Custodes tally to six. Afterward the Stealthsuits shot the Kastellans, dealing 5 damage to one of them. In the assault phase the Devilfish charged the Intercessors and 5 Gun Drones charged the Custodes (This was obviously a bad idea, I wasn't paying attention) and were promptly butchered.

Turn 2:

Imperium Turn 2: The Imperium had only more firepower on this turn, with the Kastelans firing twice. After Cawl repaired the damaged one the pair of Kastelans opened fire, killing the XV8s' Gun Drones and 8 more Fire Warriors. The Custodes then charged the XV8s and, taking no damage from Overwatch, removed the squad in close combat.

Tau Turn 2: With the XV8s gone I knew I had to go for broke, so to speak. I moved my ailing gunline up a bit more, pulled the Devilfish out of combat, and moved the Fusion Commander in range of the Kastelans. While moving the Fusion Commander I made a mistake- standing on the wrong side of the table, I put the Shield Drones behind the Commander instead of in front. In my shooting phase I did much better than I expected- the Fire Warriors using Volley Fire cleared out both squads of Skitarii while the Fusion Commander killed both Kastelan Robots. The Stealthsuits fired at the Cybernetica Datasmith but did no damage. The Missile Pod Commander killed another Custodian and left one on one wound, which the Devilfish was able to kill in shooting. No charges were made.

Turn 3:

Imperium Turn 3: The Custodes' backwards assault on the XV8s was effective but left them in the Imperium backfield, meaning they had to turn around and head back toward the Tau lines. Cawl and the Datasmith moved on the Stealthsuits and Fusion Commander while the Intercessors ran after the Devilfish. In shooting Cawl and the Datasmith killed the Stealthsuits but the Custodes were out of range. The Datasmith charged the Fusion Commander and was slagged by Overwatch; Cawl charged next and took 6 wounds in overwatch as well. In combat Cawl caused 4 wounds on the Fusion Commander.

Tau Turn 3: The Fusion Commander fell back, and the rest of the gunline plodded forward. After the Fusion Commander killed Cawl in the shooting phase the Imperium player was left with only 2 Custodes, 5 Intercessors, and the two Primaris HQs. At this point the Imperium player conceded.

End Game: Tau victory 37-35, Imperium surrender.





Conclusions: This was a hard-fought battle, and I made a number of mistakes. First, I assumed I'd be able to kill the Custodes with shooting, and didn't think about the consequences if they didn't. This oversight cost me the XV8s. Second, I charged the Custodes with Gun Drones, which was a lapse of judgement on my part. Third, I brought a number of less-than-optimal units to the fight (such as the Ethereal and mechnized Gun Drones) which had no place in the list. Lastly, I severely underestimated the sheer durability of Custodes. Here are my observations:

1. Custodes are really durable. Enough said, this absolutely threw me for a loop. This, combined with my too-aggressive placement of the XV8s, led me to lose valuable units.

2. The Missile Pod Commander was excellent. I rolled a bit above average using it, but the huge range and pinpoint accuracy of the unit were huge assets. I may bring two next time.

3. Ion Rifles were useless. You may have noticed that I made no mention of them in this battle report; they did nothing. I assume they can be good, under the proper conditions, but at least in this battle report they caused no damage. I would have been better off with Markerlights I think.





Water Caste Photo Log:

Image
A Tau Commander prepares to vaporize two Kastelan Robots. Note the Commander's poor drone placement.

Image
Skitarii Rangers attempt to assassinate a high-ranking Tau Sept Ethereal.

Image
A Fusion Blaster still swiveled and pointing at the crater where Fabricator-General Belisarius Cawl used to be.




Tau'va!

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Shas'O R'Kai
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Re: Battle Report #2: Tau Sept vs Imperium (1500)

Post#2 » Jan 08 2018 09:34

Great battle report! Sounds like it was a good game with some learning had on both sides. I've yet to play custodies but they do look brutal. I actually do think they're a great match up for us though. That's a LOT of points tied up in one unit, and killing specific targets is what we do best. regarding charging them with drones, I think we've all done similar things in the past! Sometimes you just have a brain skip and think terrible ideas sound awesome :D Leaving the drones behind the commander is another mistake I've seen loads of people make. It's not one to be repeated and thankfully you weren't punished for it!

From the sounds of it the ion rifles were a bit lacklustre. They aren't exactly great with their Dmg 1 profile. I think if they did Dmg 2/D3 and were more expensive I'd make use of them. Currently I just take Pathfinders for their oldschool role of Lighting targets up. That's interesting that the missile commander went so well for you. I've found that they're good, but not massively killy. Perhaps I've been shooting the wrong targets. I do love them because they always stay safe and are amazing for sniping the last few wounds off of a key target. 2 of them would be nice to sit in a gunline for a potential Kauyon, but I personally love putting them right on top of a 2 foot tall tower where nobody can charge them!

Excellent and concise report, thanks!

R'Kai
Playing with a short reach since 2007 :crafty:

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Arka0415
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Re: Battle Report #2: Tau Sept vs Imperium (1500)

Post#3 » Jan 08 2018 10:26

Shas'O R'Kai wrote:That's a LOT of points tied up in one unit, and killing specific targets is what we do best.

Absolutely. Had I brought my unpainted units I would have had twice as many XV8s and Commanders, and that Custodes unit definitely would have been dead turn 1. Or so I hope. My opponent did roll about 2 ones in my initial volley that dealt 40+ wounds...

Shas'O R'Kai wrote:Regarding charging them with drones, I think we've all done similar things in the past! Sometimes you just have a brain skip and think terrible ideas sound awesome.

I want to make up some clever-sounding excuse, but in reality I had just charged the Intercessors with the Devilfish, which was a great move. So I figured, if it worked last time... :D Anyway, won't do it again.

Shas'O R'Kai wrote:Leaving the drones behind the commander is another mistake I've seen loads of people make. It's not one to be repeated and thankfully you weren't punished for it!

Definitely. The Commander did take a Solar Atomizer shot directly from Cawl, but as only a single round it only took out one of the Shield Drones behind the Commander via Savior Protocols. So yeah, luckily I wasn't punished for it. I swear though, the setup looked right from the wrong side of the board! :D

Shas'O R'Kai wrote:From the sounds of it the ion rifles were a bit lacklustre. They aren't exactly great with their Dmg 1 profile. I think if they did Dmg 2/D3 and were more expensive I'd make use of them.

Yeah, I was surprised. I think, with D1, they're probably better used against medium infantry, even though they're S8. The problem was, I wanted to fire all of my Markerlights first, but Ion Rifles are the sort of weapon you want to fire at the end of the Shooting Phase. I might write them out of my list, but I don't have enough Pathfinders to run 3x6 regular Markerlight Pathfinders.

Shas'O R'Kai wrote:That's interesting that the missile commander went so well for you. I've found that they're good, but not massively killy. Perhaps I've been shooting the wrong targets. I do love them because they always stay safe and are amazing for sniping the last few wounds off of a key target.

Exactly. Use them later in the shooting phase as "executioner" units (I love this phrasing). They're great at taking down crippled vehicles at long range where other weapons don't have enough reach. They're also good at penetrating the enemy's backfield from a position of relative safety- they do well against things like Hellblasters, Predators, and other tough, backfield units.

However, Missile Pod Commanders are also just a solid damage source. You can expect 6 hits and 3-4 wounds, which hopefully will do 2D3 damage. Not bad at all from 36" away.

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Shas'O R'Kai
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Re: Battle Report #2: Tau Sept vs Imperium (1500)

Post#4 » Jan 09 2018 04:54

Arka0415 wrote:Absolutely. Had I brought my unpainted units I would have had twice as many XV8s and Commanders, and that Custodes unit definitely would have been dead turn 1. Or so I hope. My opponent did roll about 2 ones in my initial volley that dealt 40+ wounds...


Yeah, it's quite the bummer not being able to take the list you want to take! I've no doubt that with the models you want, you would've slagged those golden fancy bois! Wow, 2 1's out of 40 rolls is disgusting... Try as you may, you cant beat good luck.

Arka0415 wrote:I want to make up some clever-sounding excuse, but in reality I had just charged the Intercessors with the Devilfish, which was a great move. So I figured, if it worked last time... :D Anyway, won't do it again.


Ahh I see, don't worry I've done the same thing plenty of times! And hey, sometimes it works out and your mighty drones kill an astartes by some random star aligned luck :D

Arka0415 wrote:Definitely. The Commander did take a Solar Atomizer shot directly from Cawl, but as only a single round it only took out one of the Shield Drones behind the Commander via Savior Protocols. So yeah, luckily I wasn't punished for it. I swear though, the setup looked right from the wrong side of the board! :D


If he only had cawl to shoot at him then you could argue that it was just as planned... ;) Enticing him to shoot the squishy commander only to tank it on the drones and prevent the firepower from being effective elsewhere. Tactical genius I call it!

Arka0415 wrote:Yeah, I was surprised. I think, with D1, they're probably better used against medium infantry, even though they're S8. The problem was, I wanted to fire all of my Markerlights first, but Ion Rifles are the sort of weapon you want to fire at the end of the Shooting Phase. I might write them out of my list, but I don't have enough Pathfinders to run 3x6 regular Markerlight Pathfinders.


They do seem to be in a weird spot. A bit schizophrenic with what they want to fire at. That's an interesting point about the firing order. Seems like you need a dedicated team of them with the spare 2 markerlights being a bonus rather than a focus.

Arka0415 wrote:Exactly. Use them later in the shooting phase as "executioner" units (I love this phrasing). They're great at taking down crippled vehicles at long range where other weapons don't have enough reach. They're also good at penetrating the enemy's backfield from a position of relative safety- they do well against things like Hellblasters, Predators, and other tough, backfield units.

However, Missile Pod Commanders are also just a solid damage source. You can expect 6 hits and 3-4 wounds, which hopefully will do 2D3 damage. Not bad at all from 36" away.


I love that phrasing too! It describes them perfectly. They're the ultimate double tap unit of ours! I may shift them slightly higher up the priority list after considering this. I think the thing I take for granted is the fact that they stay alive all game. They'd only die if you positioned them pretty poorly or the enemy was just getting lava hot dice.

This report has certainly given me some things to consider! Amazing that even after this much time with the index, we're still learning a truckload.

R'Kai
Playing with a short reach since 2007 :crafty:

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Arka0415
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Re: Battle Report #2: Tau Sept vs Imperium (1500)

Post#5 » Jan 10 2018 09:26

Shas'O R'Kai wrote:They're the ultimate double tap unit of ours! I may shift them slightly higher up the priority list after considering this. I think the thing I take for granted is the fact that they stay alive all game. They'd only die if you positioned them pretty poorly or the enemy was just getting lava hot dice.

This report has certainly given me some things to consider! Amazing that even after this much time with the index, we're still learning a truckload.

They're definitely survivable, and currently are our only option for really nailing backfield units. I don't know all of the armies by memory yet but I'm pretty sure there are almost no characters with fewer than 10 wounds that are also long-range threats, besides the probably the Vindicare Assassin. So it's definitely a unique niche to have available- let's just keep our hopes up for Broadside Commanders in the Codex :D

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ErSe0831
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Re: Battle Report #2: Tau Sept vs Imperium (1500)

Post#6 » Jan 10 2018 10:28

I can really see the Custodes being a problem as our codex stands right now. Had a 1000p game against them two weeks ago. 5xML on them and they just shrug our S5 AP0 shots off, even a barrage from a Missileside don't faze them. They didn't take a single wound, and that's just their normal dudes.

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Yojimbob
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Re: Battle Report #2: Tau Sept vs Imperium (1500)

Post#7 » Jan 10 2018 12:49

ErSe0831 wrote:I can really see the Custodes being a problem as our codex stands right now. Had a 1000p game against them two weeks ago. 5xML on them and they just shrug our S5 AP0 shots off, even a barrage from a Missileside don't faze them. They didn't take a single wound, and that's just their normal dudes.


Did you use anything that had -ap? Look to a Y'varha supported by a bucket of shield drones or CIB toting commanders.

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Arka0415
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Re: Battle Report #2: Tau Sept vs Imperium (1500)

Post#8 » Jan 10 2018 07:31

ErSe0831 wrote:I can really see the Custodes being a problem as our codex stands right now. Had a 1000p game against them two weeks ago. 5xML on them and they just shrug our S5 AP0 shots off, even a barrage from a Missileside don't faze them. They didn't take a single wound, and that's just their normal dudes.

I had the same experience. I expected 100+ Pulse shots to do something, but wounding on 4s and saving on 2s is brutal. However, for me it was Missile Pods that ended up bringing the Custodes down. If the HYMP Broadside isn't cutting it, try some Missile Pod Commanders. They worked very well for me.

Yojimbob wrote:Did you use anything that had -ap? Look to a Y'varha supported by a bucket of shield drones or CIB toting commanders.

Most Custodes tend to use the Storm Shield build, making them all 2+/3++. The Y'vahra can do a lot of damage, but the Custodes would ignore most of the Y'vahra's high AP. Not saying it'd be a bad unit, but just something to watch out for. 3 flat damage would be fantastic against Custodes though.

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Yojimbob
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Re: Battle Report #2: Tau Sept vs Imperium (1500)

Post#9 » Jan 11 2018 12:26

Arka0415 wrote: 3 flat damage would be fantastic against Custodes though.


Exactly what I was after since one bad save is a dead guy. Our choices for flat damage are so few that I think this is one of the keys that makes Y'varha viable. That and shield drones.

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CDR_Farsight
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Re: Battle Report #2: Tau Sept vs Imperium (1500)

Post#10 » Jan 11 2018 01:10

Arka0415 wrote:
Shas'O R'Kai wrote:Leaving the drones behind the commander is another mistake I've seen loads of people make. It's not one to be repeated and thankfully you weren't punished for it!

Definitely. The Commander did take a Solar Atomizer shot directly from Cawl, but as only a single round it only took out one of the Shield Drones behind the Commander via Savior Protocols. So yeah, luckily I wasn't punished for it. I swear though, the setup looked right from the wrong side of the board! :D



I like putting my commander out in front in certain situations (repeating IN CERTAIN SITUATIONS in anticipation for the incoming fire from fellow shas :P ) as long as I have enough drones and bodyguards around. It entices them to shoot his T5 frame which allows me to decide if I'm going to pass off the wound or pocket it on the commander or bodyguards. Oddly enough, once you pass off a couple wounds, they will start targeting the drones directly which actually decreases the efficiency of most weapons. I purposefully take my two commanders down to 1 wound quite often then dance them behind my drones and bodyguards, laughing (mostly internally...mostly) as I continue to pump 8 fusion shots into his army a turn.
To secure victory, the wise must adapt ~ Puretide

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