AAR: Astra Militarum vs. Tau (1,850 pts)

I was challenged!  By a Tau player, who is relatively new to 7th (with maybe 5-10 games under his belt).  Unfortunately time wasn’t our ally and we had to truncate the game, and I wasn’t able to take too many pictures or notes as well, to facilitate a full battle report.

So rather than a full Batrep, I’ll call this an After Action Report (AAR).

The Combatants:

  • Pask in Punisher, Multi-Meltas, Lascannons & Camo Nets
    • Vanilla Russ Bro
  • Company Command Squad, 3x Plasma, Melta Bomb, Chimera
  • Priest
  • Commissar
  • Bullgryns [x3]
  • Demolition Grenadiers, 3x Melta, Chimera [x2]
  • Infantry Platoon
    • PCS – 3x Flamers
    • Infantry Squads [x2] – Krak Grenades, Melta Bomb
  • Armoured Sentinels [x3] – Multilasers
  • Vendetta Gunship
  • Basilisk – Enclosed Crew Compartment
  • Wyvern

I’ve been using a variation on this list expecting delivery of a Forge World Armageddon pattern Basilisk sometime in the near future.  In this list, the Basilisk was proxied by the Manticore.  This would be the second time I’ve used a Basilisk, the first time was playtesting Blood Angels at 1,850, where it really put the fear of god into the Marine player (and rightly so — hurr hurr hurr).

A big thing I learned in a previous game is having morale control in the Infantry is an important thing.  Absorbing casualties and keeping on keeping on is huge, particularly if you don’t want your blocking units falling back after taking 5 casualties, which WILL happen.  Thus I’ve kind of shuffled some wargear around, took the camo nets off of the Vanilla Russ, and put in a naked Commissar with the Infantry Platoon.  A priest would have made more sense (because Hatred and re-rolling wounds is AWESOME, combined with Krak grenades and meltabombs).

Bullgryns are back in, they’ve proven paydirt for me, giving another variable for people to consider what *needs* to die on my side of the table.

The rest is a pretty standard guard list for me.

Tau

  • Ethereal [x2]
  • Riptide – FNP, Ion, SMS
  • Riptide – FNP, Ion, Fusion
  • Crisis Team [x2] – DUAL Fusion
  • Fire Warriors [x11] – Devilfish, Disruption Pod [x2]
  • Piranhas [x2] – Fusion, Disruption Pod [x2]
  • Missilesides [x3] – SMS, 2x Target Lock, Drone Controller, 6x Marker drones [x2]

This Tau list had me really pooping my pants.  It had everything I really hated about them (*SO* much)….

  1. 2 Riptides (Friggin’ won’t DIE, lobbing ordinance around willy-nilly, jumping behind cover, smashing my tanks… grrr… it wouldn’t be so bad if this was an artillery piece, but NO, it has to be a friggin’ GUNDAM)
  2. 6 Broadsides can murder AV12, infantry, fliers, anything (except AV 14 =.=)
  3. SMS Shenanigans (so you’re telling me you don’t need LOS, and you ignore cover, and you ignore my armour save?  Furthermore, you hit on the arc that you’re facing, so my Chimeras have to look derpy, putting the front armour towards the wall in a hull-down position!  Piss off!)
  4. Skimmer transports jinking at a 3+ (can you imagine how much easier my life would be if Chimeras could JINK?!)

Anyways… all this aside, it’ll make a great test to see how I’ve come in learning how to fight the dreaded Tau…

My battle plan:

  1. Saturate the broadsides with wounds (wyvern & basilisk).  Since the drones count as being part of the unit, you can stack wounds on one of the teams head.  Barrage sniping.  God it’s so handy…
  2. Stay outside the 30″ SMS range.  Sometimes easier said than done.
  3. If possible, stay outside the 36″ Missile Pod range (Unless you’re a Russ, then give zero f*** and charge head-long)
  4. Bubble Wrap against Fusion alpha-strikes (Piranhas & XV8’s)

The Battle:

Deadlock, Vanguard Strike

I lost the roll-off for first turn, but the Tau player gave me the opportunity to deploy first anyways.

I deployed conservatively, expecting a Fusion Blaster Piranha alpha-strike if I were to get seized on.  The threat of deep-striking XV-8’s with 4x Fusion blasters was also very real.  The Russes were therefore positioned behind cover, and behind Bullgryn support.  They would advance through to the center of the table and begin bullying things around with their AV14 and clever use of cover.

Guard Deployment.  The idea is to protect against both the piranha rush up front and the deep-strikers potentially from behind.  I would comment that I definitely screwed up the Wyvern's location, I had to move it several times in order to keep targets in range.  Vets are top and bottom, CCS middle.
Guard Deployment. The idea is to protect against both the piranha rush up front and the deep-strikers potentially from behind. I would comment that I definitely screwed up the Wyvern’s location, I had to move it several times in order to keep targets in range. Vets are top and bottom, CCS middle.
In an interesting deployment, the Broadsides were positioned up the middle at the front lines.  One of the squads was in the open.  Unfortunately the table didn't have many more favourable locations to put them in terms of firing lanes, and Riptides are generally more maneuverable, and positioned on the flanks.  I thought the Piranhas would have been pushed up the middle for an alpha-strike, but this didn't materialize.  Thus, my Russes were deployed too conservatively.  Ho hum.  =(
In an interesting deployment, the Broadsides were positioned up the middle at the front lines. One of the squads was in the open. Unfortunately the table didn’t have many more favourable locations to put them in terms of firing lanes, and Riptides are generally more maneuverable, and positioned on the flanks. I thought the Piranhas would have been pushed up the middle for an alpha-strike, but this didn’t materialize. Thus, my Russes were deployed too conservatively. Ho hum. =(

FIGHTAN is joined:

Guard took the first turn, and on the first two dice I roll, I can tell that this battle is going to be one of “THOSE” battles.

The russes tried to cut the corner in order to get a better Vantage at the Broadsides up the middle.  No biggie, I’ll just roll some dangerous and…

Wait… Snake-eyes?  THEY’RE BOTH IMMOBILIZED?!?!?  Jesus jumping christ, I had 1,845 points on my list, I could have given Pask a dozer blade.  =.=

The CCS then celebrates the game being pretty much decided in the first two dice throws of the game by immobilizing itself AS WELL.  Et tu, Brute?

What is the atmosphere on this planet?  FRIGGIN' JELLO?
What is the atmosphere on this planet? FRIGGIN’ JELLO?  Are there tank-traps hiding in the Foliage?!  What the hell is going on here?!?!?!?

Despite these… errr… mishaps, early-on, the battle is going the Guard’s way.  Two broadsides are knocked out by Multi-laser fire from the Armoured Sentinels and Basilisk.

Both units of veterans swing out wide to capture their objectives, although one of them is greeted by a full volley from the Broadsides on the frontal arc.  It was a phenominal wreck.  The Veterans bailed out the back without incident.

The Vendetta finally came on without incident, on Turn 2, and vaporizes another Broadside in the middle, leaving 3 remaining across two squads.

Despite being immobilized, Pask wasn’t without anything to do, as some of the Tau units wandered into range and line of site along one of the axes of advance.

One of the Devilfish lands awkwardly at the end of its move, and immobilizes itself (HA!  Doesn’t feel good, does it?!).  Pask chalks up that transport to the kill-chart (the contents of said Devilfish were quickly bombarded into a paste by the Wyvern), and later perforates both of the Piranhas that try to break through the Bullgryns on his right flank.

Other than that, he’s setting up a lawn chair in that piece of cover, enjoying some mojitos as the Riptides do their thing, blowing away his Vanilla Russ squad-mate with a nova-charged Ion Accelerator blast.

The Riptides?  They weren’t shot at once.  THAT WAS PASK’S JOB.

=.=

Meanwhile, the Veterans on the left flank are having a bit of a rough day at the office.  They spend 2 turns on foot trying to work around the SMS systems on the remaining broadsides in order to get into assault range on the Riptide operating in the area.  They didn’t get that far.  They get wiped out by an Ethereal and Fire Warriors, who did the best Tau impersonation of First Rank, Second Rank I’ve ever seen outside of the Imperial Guard.

Unfortunately for the Tau however, they left themselves vulnerable to counter-fire, and the Veterans were able to call in an artillery barrage on their position.  The Wyvern claims 7, the Basilisk claims the rest, including the Warlord Ethereal, which worked out to be a 2 point gain.

Craziness.  The Guard are back in the game!

As this insanity is going ahead, the 2 remaining armoured Sentinels are tangoing with some XV8 suits which deep-struck (?) right in front of them, hoping to cause some damage with their Fusion Blasters.

The XV8’s land in front of the Sentinels!  They line up their shots!  **DRAMATIC PAUSE**  Every single shot missed.  **EXHALE**  They flee into cover…  The sentinels survive, and pursue the battlesuits… charging them in cover…

Mr. Stompy has his multilaser ripped off by a Fusion blaster in Overwatch….  The Shas’ui is proud, having finally accomplished (partially) what he set out to do…

but that might not have been a good idea…  Mr. Stompy is pissed, like a momma ostriche or something (I hear those things are vicious, man).

This guy was likely killed.  I hope whatever he did to piss it off was worth it.
This guy was likely killed. I hope whatever he did to piss it off was worth it.

The XV8’s are routed, and the survivor flees and isn’t seen again for 3 turns.

Veterans advance along the left table edge, trying to get into the Riptide and possibly the Devilfish, while carefully tip-toeing outside of SMS range (from the Broadsides).  Vendetta and Artillery fire continues to whittle down the Broadsides in the center of the Tau lines.  Sentinels preparing to assault the XV8's which are in cover in the ruins.
Veterans advance along the left table edge, trying to get into the Riptide and possibly the Devilfish, while carefully tip-toeing outside of SMS range (from the Broadsides). Vendetta and Artillery fire continues to whittle down the Broadsides in the center of the Tau lines. Sentinels preparing to assault the XV8’s which are in cover in the ruins.

Late Game:

Late game, we’re settling in for some pretty awesome epicness.

The Broadsides are now down to their last body (having been victimized further by the Basilisk and Vendetta), accompanied by an Ethereal.  Riptide battlesuits continue to take pot-shots at advancing Bullgryns and the Chimera on the right flank, but can’t seem to put the dagger in anything.

Mr. Stompy is all that remains of his squad now, and he’s out for blood, hunting the survivor of the routed Crisis Team (Crisis team is RIGHT.  They’re in the middle of a crisis in that Mr. Stompy will lay the HURT).

In a fantastic show of dexterity, the Sentinel crushes the XV8, earning the Guard a Victory Point for “Blood and Guts” (Kill a unit in assault).  I have literally never felt so happy in my career in table-top gaming when this happened.  SENTINELS FTW!

The Platoon Command Squad, having disembarked from a now hovering Vendetta, clears one of the Tau’s back-field objectives, and secures the objective from a Riptide, who appears to be pre-occupied shooting bullgryns to notice that his objective has been pilfered.

After a bit of derring-do, the Platoon Command Squad pilfers the objective from the Riptide, while the Vendetta clears away the heavy suits.  The Ethereal looks on, in horror.
After a bit of derring-do, the Platoon Command Squad pilfers the objective from the Riptide, while the Vendetta clears away the heavy suits. The Ethereal looks on, in horror.

The same daring PCS, then proceeds to assault and challenge the last Ethereal in close combat (in the next turn, mind you, I’m not a cheater!)  It takes two rounds of combat (top and bottom) but ultimately he goes down, and the Guard secure a 1 VP win over the Tau.

Talk about snatching victory from the jaws of defeat.

Final score was 13-12.

Debrief:

Oof, that was an interesting game… Being robbed of my Mobility, I’m surprised I was able to fan out and contain the mobile elements of the Tau forces.

I think that the Tau were robbed of a victory here on 3 points:

  1. They had some crucial whiffs at some pretty key moments
  2. Not enough attention was given to the Guard artillery (The Riptides could have easily sniped them out, but didn’t)
  3. Markerlight support was sparse.
  4. In fact, adding models to the Broadsides in this case were actually hurting the teams, because it helped stack up the wounds on a S9 AP3 hit, causing instant death with a single failed armour save.
  5. SMS was mitigated by armour facing and range issues.

Perhaps this boils down to mobility, perhaps this also to do with no cross-fire being set up between the Broadside teams.  I’m not sure exactly, but I learned something about beating Tau, and the Tau learned something about beating Guard.

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7 Replies to “AAR: Astra Militarum vs. Tau (1,850 pts)”

    1. Thanks! Was a fun battle over-all. I didn’t intend for this write-up to get so detailed when I started writing it, but I think it captured the jist of what happened.

  1. Waddayou- running a gunline army naow?
    😀

    I had to laugh at the early game immobilizations, cuz that shows the difference between how people with normal dice vs people with cursed dice play.
    I would never, EVER consider moving units through cover like that. There is no other possible outcome if I do. People with normal dice, or lucky people (who I hate and hafta die) think, ‘Oh, I’ve got a 1 in 6 chance of getting immobilized,’ but people with cursed dice just know what’ll happen.
    That’s pretty funny.

    On another point entirely I’m not so sure moving vehicles through cover is advisable with Tau anyway- they largely ignore cover and then sumpthin’ like turn one happens.
    😛
    Pask is so awesome he still gets kills. Even sippin’ on a cocktail in a lawn chair.
    😀

    1. What was really funny is that it was running that way at both ends of the table. He was jumping his drones around and landing them in difficult terrain — at one point he lost two marker drones landing in some ruins. We were both looking at each other like: “Don’t even say it. Don’t even.”

      I think immobilizing myself has happened often enough now that I’ll be smarter about it. I really had no business being behind that cover in the first place, when I had bullgryns up front providing better cover than the ruins provided in the first place. I think my deployment zone just didn’t leave many options, so I had to make do. any other spot would have left me open to the alpha strike…

      When you only have 6″ of movement per turn, you want to be as aggressive as possible, and getting that bullet hose into range of a Riptide was one of my highest priorities. That didn’t pan out, though, obviously. Worked out for the best too. I think I might be able to safely ignore riptides, given certain contingencies, but it’s always good having the tools to deal with them if it comes to that.

  2. Dude, you never leave the russ parking garage without dozer blades! What were you thinking!?

    I’m glad to see the closed Basilisk working out for you!

    1. The list I made was honestly 1,845 points on the button. I could have afforded one Dozer Blade. Of course, now I need to model them as well. =.=

      I actually really liked the Basilisk. Firing directly gives you more accuracy than I’m used to with the Manticore, which always fires indirectly. Handy!

      I’ll be at the shop again on Sunday, btw. They’re starting up a Highlander league on FB. I can send you the deets via E-mail, if you like.

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