This article took over a week of intermittent writing to finish because I'm so damn busy/lazy
The context of these playtests is for an upcoming escalation tournament I am probably going to attend (summer plans permitting). It's primarily a 'fun' format with some interesting rules and secret missions, with some guys I used to play with when I last played (2 years ago?). Most of my Tau models are 'counts as' for now, those things that look like Vespid are actually Stealth Suits, honest
The Rules of BotCh: Dr. Chump
If you're interested in the rules, here they are [spoiler=]Organised this year by 'mike' of "Flame On", the rules are geared away from the more competitive 'spam and cheese' lists and more towards exploring the more interesting ways of fielding an army. Which, to me at least, makes Tau an interesting choice.The main points being:
- Each HQ choice can only be taken once. (this somewhat hampers my crisis numbers, allowing only the 1 Crisis Commander)
No more than 2 of any other non-Troops codex unit entry (i.e. only 2 crisis slots, if I want more Elites, I'll have to explore Stealths. Maximum of 2 squads of 3 Broadsides :/)
No more than 3 of ANY vehicle, including those in squadrons, with all variants of a vehicle counting towards the number. (I can't have a massive squad of Piranhas )
Only 3 of any Troops codex unit entry (not a problem)
Named Characters take up an extra FOC slot of their type (i.e. Farsight counts as 2 HQ, effectively removing him, and Shadowsun from use due to points restrictions.)
'Forgeworld' units are allowed providing they do not have structure/mass points and are not flyer type.
1000 pts, 1500 pts, 2000 pts. 2 games at each tier.
Extra points cannot be spent on existing units and must contribute solely to new FOC choices. The only exclusion is the allowance to buy a dedicated transport, for balance issues.
Drones count towards the number of models in a squad, because that's right.
Flechette Dischargers proc for each vehicle eligible for assault by each model, by extension of squadron rules.[/spoiler]
So, with the specifics out of the way, let's talk Army Composition
Helios Shas'El w/Missile Pods, HW-MT, Shield Drone, BK (purple)
Helios Shas'Vre w/TA, HW-MT
these guys are present in the 1k list to deal with heavy infantry and vehicles. The pods are for utility.
2 Deathrain+ (green)
long range light vehicle punishment, also useful for heavier infantry
1 Sunforge (red)
because who doesn't like a deep-striking 88% to hit melta?
5 Stealth Suits, one as Shas'vre w/TA, Markerlight, HW-TL, BK (grey)
I've never really fielded Stealths before so I want to explore their use for providing a Light if they're out of range (at the cost of 30 points [Shas'Vre upgrade to allow access to the Light, the light itself, then the TA for accuracy, should probably just get a drone...)
9 Firewarriors (red)
Because you have to kill 5 to make them run and they fit nicely into the 1k list
10 Kroot + 8 Hounds (yellow)
10 Kroot + 8 Hounds
greater utility than Firewarriors IMO and can provide some distracting numbers
3 Broadsides, 3 ASS, Team Leader w/ 2 Shield Drones, HW-TL, HW-MT, BK (cyan)
these don't really need explaining, apart from possibly the generous wargear allowance. They're in the 1k list and the wargear is a spare point sink.
3 Plasmasides, 3 MT, Team Leader w/ 2 Shield Drones, HW-TL, BK (blue)
Anti-Heavy, Anti-Tank. These guys are a massive psychological nightmare for anyone who isn't a seasoned veteran, in my experience.
So, there's my list, in probably a bit more detail than required, but there we are.
Warboss w/ Bike, Klaw, Big Shoota, Cybork Body, Attack Squig (purple)
Oh crap, this dude needs to die ASAP!
10 Nobs, all uniquely armed with wargear
3 Klaws, 2 Bosspoles, 2 Big Choppas, 1 Combi-Rokkit, 1 Combi-Skorcha, Painboy (4+ FNP), 'Eavy Armour
Hard. As. Nails. A real damage sponge and a total nightmare if they get anywhere near anything valuable #Battlesuits
20 Shootas, 2 have Big Shootas + Nob w/ Klaw, Bosspole (cyan)
20 Sluggas + Nob w/ Klaw, Bosspole (blue)
20 Sluggas + Nob w/ Klaw, Bosspole (yellow)
Ok, that's a lot of Horde for me to mince. And I don't really have a lot to deal with it, let's hope I can work around that.
10 Kommandos, Burna + Snikrot (no colour)
HAHAHA, so, they can come on from ANY board edge and are masters (moreso than any Tau at least...) in combat, Kroot screen to protect my flank and rear?... When they appear they will cause no end of trouble :/
4 Deffkoptas (no colour)
I have a LOT of plasma to deal with these if they get too close, and Missile Pods otherwise, Railguns in an emergency. They'll hurt but they'll be priority targets
Battlewagon w/ Cannon, Deffrolla' (red)
Onto the bit why you're here:
We rolled for Deployment and Mission Type, the Dice Gods observed and delivered a 1 and 4 respectively. The conflict became a matter of Capture and Control for 6 Objectives, causing the Tau to curse under their breath. The Orks, with hugely superior numbers and, quite frankly, staying power, decided that the rules of engagement were in their favour. The predicted battlefield was near devoid of features or cover, something the Tau at least could find useful.
Next was the matter of arranging the skirmish. The Tau found the upper hand in planning and felt it in their best interests to pre-empt the Orkish horde's arrival and exercise Kauyon. Having determined the horde would likely arrive from the east side of the battlefield with marble-white mesas they set up on the west behind some odd, apparently delapidated, fortifications. Ensuring clear firing lanes the broadsides moved into position, the Kroot would keep watch of the flanks and rear of the detachment, and the Commander would play bait. Intel suggested that Snikrot, master of subterfuge and infiltration was amongst their ranks, or at least a skilled disciple of. The Commander felt it wise to send the remaining Kroot unit to scout and patrol the surrounding region and return during the conflict to, hopefully, counter any foul play. The monat was assigned to deepstrike, hopefully not his final mission. Suspecting that the Orks would simply charge at the nearest unit, the Stealth suits were to infiltrate and provide a distraction (something remarkably easily achieved against Orks)
Barry the Warboss would lead the charge from his central position, partially concealed by the Battlewagon which would act as a moving shield. The Nobs decided to stay close and scout out a nearby objective, also occupying any space a bold deep striking suit may consider. The horde of Boyz were ordered to hang left, claiming an objective from the off, and to claim any other local objectives, hoping their sheer numbers would keep them alive. The Deffkoptas were ordered to stay off-field and to arrive later to deal with any stray suits.
It's worth noting at this point that there appeared to be some massive communication error with the Stealth Suits. They hadn't been infiltrating, they'd been sitting aboard a ship in orbit, waiting for orders in the canteen... As such, their failure to infiltrate meant they had to perform an unexpected Deep Strike manoeuvre. (I forgot to infiltrate after Ork deployment...)
As the two commanders' gazes met across the battlefield, a sense of honour and regard was held. Soon their would be upon each other, failure was not an option.
The Orks failed to rob the Tau of their precious first move and the battle began. In an attempt to either distract Barry from the main contingent, or lure some Boyz within firing range the commander's unit sprinted towards the horde. The Deathrains cautiously approached the Nobs in a vain attempt to take them down. The broadsides ambled forwards to try get their SMS in range.
After a punishing round of Railguns, the meagre cover proved no saviour for Barry and suffered Instant Death as a result. No Ork is so tough a Railgun to the face won't take them down A sense of almost disappointment washed over the commander, Barry had caused such ruin for the Tau people so far that he could no longer suppress his urge for vengeance. He would have to find himself another worthwhile target. The plasmasides had a less successful volley of fire, managing to merely stun the Battlewagon. The Nobs sustained 2 wounds from the Deathrains. Nothing else was in range.
The Ork response was swift, but lacking any real coherency now the Warboss was deceased, some sauntered towards objectives, others thought it best to merely seek cover and castle.
The sunforge descended from on high, bringing the sheer power of the melta to bear on the Battlewagon's hull. Snake-eyes for armour penetration
Eager for closer range combat the broadsides made a more spritely move, however their railguns failed to even glance the Wagon's armour. Again, all 1s for armour penetration
The Deathrains continued to harass the Nobs, to no avail. The commander made a further move towards the horde, who seemed uninterested in anything but the shiny loot at the objectives. The Firewarriors became restless, the horde showed no signs of wanting to advance, and eventually the commander allowed their advance to reposition. After a less than eventful turn the Stealth suits manifested, a mere 16 inches from the Shoota Boyz, and let rip a torrent of Burst Cannon fire, slaying an impressive 8 Orks!
The Orks made their move. Deffkoptas arrived, in response to the Sunforge, to the far south near the Tau commander. Their rokkits destroyed only the commander's shield drone, a lucky escape he may not be granted again. The Shoota Boyz marched on towards the Stealth team, now desperate to taste combat, but not before filling the air with a hail of shoota and big shoota ammunition. The majority of the shots failed to find their mark, and those that did were shrugged off by the impressive Tau armour. Their burn cannon retort was no so ineffective, felling another 7(!) Boyz. The Slugga Boyz showed immense self control and actually managed to fire off a volley of pistol fire into the Sunforge, severely damaging the suit... before assaulting it. Swarmed by nearly two dozen angry green-skinned monsters the battlesuit was ripped part from part before the helpless pilot could even react. With no failsafe detonator or means of escape, he was dragged from his cockpit and his frail physique savaged at the hands of the Boyz as they consolidated back to their objective. The Tau could only look on with horror at the atrocity, their opponents out of range.
Faced with the threat of more Rokkits the Commander and his partner opened fire on the 4 Deffkoptas. Their fusion blasters were out of range, and both battlesuit pilots failed to hit their marks. This would not end well for them. The Stealth suits turned momentarily to counter the flying threat, but the commander insisted that they focus on removing the last of the Boyz from the severely damaged squad. They did so with much regret, knowing that this may well doom their commander to an unforgiving Rokkit barrage. Making every burst cannon round count they again tore into the 5 remaining Boyz, 4 fell to the ground leaving only the Nob. Badly wounded and demoralised the Nob ran for his life. One less unit to claim an objective, but at what cost? Advancing again further forward the broadsides turned to open fire on the Koptas, utterly annihilating 2. Would that be enough to save the commander's unit? The deathrains finally realised the futility of launching missiles on the entrenched and naturally stoic Nobs and changed tact, joining the Firewarriors with their endeavour. The Boyz in the mesas exploded and succumbed to pulse fire again and again as their armour proved no protection against the Tau arsenal, their cover no better. Their morale suffered badly and it took the Nob 3 attempts at 'pacifying' his comrades before they bent to his command. A dire, but necessary cost if they are to hold the objective.
The remaining Deffkoptas unleashed a flurry of Rokkits towards the Tau commander with defiance. The commander spoke briefly over the comms, his voice unwavering and strong, instructing his force to continue as planned and to let the light of the Empire shine brightly. Each Rokkit found its target as the 2 suits failed to dodge them, unceremoniously annihilating them. The Orks had found vengeance for Barry. One of the Slugga Boyz squads made a run to get further into the mesas, they welcomed the much needed protection. The Battlewagon moved to screen the other Boyz whilst the Nobs again held their ground.
Spurred by the loss of their leader the Stealth suits laid waste to the Deffkoptas, leaving naught but twisted wreckage and mangled bodies. All other latent threats destroyed, the entire Tau army turned its armaments to the Boyz in the mesas. Pulse rifle, missile pod and rail gun hammered into stone and Ork alike, turning both to pulp. Again, suffering heavy casualties the Boyz could no longer hold their ground and began to rout. Repeatedly the Nob disciplined his squad and repeatedly they would not stand, until eventually only the Nob stood, surrounded by the corpses of his bloodied comrades. He fled.
Distracted by the now uncontrolled comm-chatter and their triumphs against the Koptas the Stealths didn't even notice Boss Snikrot and his Kommandos sneak up on them. Snikrot had finally arrived at the battle, if a little too late.
The Boyz in the mesas sought further cover behind the towering stone, desperate to cling on to their objective.
Not wanting to cause the Jump Infantry suits to flee (and thus risk being shot to shreds by) the Kommandos managed to stay their firearms, saving their furor for a more personal engagement. But, at the last moment the Kommandos were baffled by the Stealth Fields. Shimmering holograms caused them to massively misjudge the terrain in front of themselves, their primal cortices unable to comprehend the actual distance they advanced slowly, second guessing every footfall. Alas, this was simultaneously the most hilarious and terrifying sight the Stealth team had ever witnessed; 11 heavily armed, blood-thirsty Orks, mere feet away their unit totally bewildered by a simple mirage, stumbling every step like drunk dogs. Stupid Orks
Steath Field Generator -> always as if in cover = hilarious
Whilst not wanting to break the illusion, the Stealths knew that the Orks would eventually reach them and they would have to open fire before then. At such close range the Kommandos stood no chance, their armour mere paper before their Burst Cannons. 7 fell, Snikrot bailed.
Meanwhile in the nearby mesas the Boyz were still having a tough time keeping safe. More heavy casualties forced the group to an ever dwindling number until there was only the Nob left, who finally manifested a little intelligence and abandoned the objective.
With all other viable targets eliminated (the Wagon was merely screening the objective-holding Boyz) the Broadsides sailed railfire into the last remaining unit of Boyz. The intervening terrain provided some cover, but railguns always find their mark eventually. Failing to lose any noticeable casualties the Boyz held fast.
http://s1013.photobucket.com/albums/af2 ... ture12.png
There was no Ork response. The Nobs and Boyz continued to turtle, with the aid of the Wagon screen resting neatly in front of the Boyz.
The game was to continue to a 6th Turn but here the game ended as the Ork player was bored. We mocked up a quick 6th turn and decided that I would have probably knocked him off the objective with the Kroot FINALLY arriving from Outflanking reserve.
Tau 2 Objective 4 KP ~1200 VP
Orks 1 Objective 1 KP ~200 VP
This is the first time I've used stealths in a tournament army and they were by far the most impressive unit, likely entirely by circumstance.
The Commander ended up being sacrificial. I knew he wanted him dead, I'd bigged up his weapon loadout and made a point that the unit would obliterate the Deffkoptas given the chance. By that point I needed the Stealths alive instead so wasn't too fussed at diverting fire.
I wasted a unit of 10 Kroot 8 Hounds protecting my flank/rear from Snikrot the entire game. He may have arrive at my main force if they weren't there, but I can't help thinking they would have been much more use elsewhere on the field. Especially considering the lax attitude of the second Kroot unit.
If I was the Ork player I wouldn't have turtled. The larger number of Fire Warriors, screening Kroot and Plasmasides were enough of a deterrent against this player, not sure how that would play out in a tournament. Although, despite the Orks suffering huge losses both in KP and VP, we nearly drew 2-2 on objectives. Which would have been a minor victory.
I would love to hear specific criticisms of the list (please don't go off topic, it's not productive or something ATT tolerates), but particularly comments and criticisms on the playstyle. I'm far from being a good player and would like to know what the best moves would have been at some times, especially at wiping Orks off objectives altogether.
Thanks for reading and I hope it was entertaining.
Edit; almost forgot,
I own all images apart from the 'meme faces' which are open source, and the skull icon under free license of http://www.webweaver.nu/clipart/pirates ... ones.shtml