Tau VS Astra Militarum Battle Report

Last time we talked about Tau Commanders and analyzed their loadouts for maximum lethality. This time we will take a brief break from our mathhammer and play some actual Warhammer!

I was pretty excited to see the results of the recent BOA with Astra Militarum (AM) taking 1st and 2nd place and Tau walking away with 4th. Both armies seem to possess competitive options. My regular opponent strictly plays AM and it should be obvious what a fanatic I am for the Greater Good, so I was really looking forward to writing this 1500 point battle report up.

Lists and Mission

The Tau list went for what is becoming Charlie’s “go to” of Strike teams supported by a Cadre Fireblade, Ethereal, and a Pulse Accelerator drone. Kroot continue to make a good meat shield and threaten to get into the face of whatever they want. Charlie had not used piranhas in 8th before but liked the tactic of rushing them forward, detaching their drones, shooting at less than half range with their fusion blasters,  and then assaulting with them. He planned on having a Coldstar with drone controller meet up with the drones. Add in a smattering of drones here and there plus a few manta-striking units and a bomber and it seemed like a well-rounded list.

 

 

Tau Army List – Charlie

++ Outrider Detachment +1CP (T’au Empire) ++

+ HQ +

Commander: 4x Fusion blaster, 2x MV4 Shield Drone

+ Fast Attack +

Pathfinder Team: MV31 Pulse Accelerator Drone
2x MV1 Gun Drone: 4x Pulse carbine
5x Pathfinder: 5x Markerlight, 5x Photon grenades, 5x Pulse carbine
Pathfinder Shas’ui: Markerlight, Photon grenades, Pulse carbine

TX4 Piranhas
3x TX4 Piranha w/ FB & 2x SM: 3x Fusion blaster, 6x Seeker missile
6x MV1 Gun Drone: 12x Pulse carbine

Vespid Stingwings
6x Vespid Stingwing: 6x Neutron blaster
Vespid Strain Leader: Neutron blaster

++ Battalion Detachment +3CP (T’au Empire) ++

+ HQ +

Cadre Fireblade: Markerlight, Photon grenades, Pulse rifle
2x MV1 Gun Drone: 4x Pulse carbine

Commander in XV86 Coldstar Battlesuit: Advanced targeting system, Drone controller, High-output burst cannon, Missile pod
2x MV1 Gun Drone: 4x Pulse carbine

Ethereal: Honour blade

+ Troops +

Kroot Carnivores
15x Kroot: 15x Kroot rifle

Kroot Carnivores
15x Kroot: 15x Kroot rifle

Strike Team
Fire Warrior Shas’ui: Photon grenades, Pulse rifle
9x Fire Warrior w/ Pulse Rifle: 9x Photon grenades, 9x Pulse rifle
2x MV1 Gun Drone: 4x Pulse carbine

Strike Team
Fire Warrior Shas’ui: Photon grenades, Pulse rifle
9x Fire Warrior w/ Pulse Rifle: 9x Photon grenades, 9x Pulse rifle
2x MV1 Gun Drone: 4x Pulse carbine

+ Fast Attack +

Pathfinder Team
2x MV1 Gun Drone: 4x Pulse carbine
6x Pathfinder: 6x Markerlight, 6x Photon grenades, 6x Pulse carbine

+ Flyer +

AX39 Sun Shark Bomber: Markerlight, Missile pod, 2x Seeker missile
2x MV17 Interceptor Drone: 2x Ion rifle

++ Total: [86 PL, 1498pts] ++

 

 

With Charlie using Kroot en masse on the regular, Lance found the need to field a decent amount of heavy flamers. Leman Russ punisher with HF around, and two chimeras with dual HF each would do the trick. Within the chimeras were two command squads all with plasma guns and a vet squad with 3 meltas to handle any suits they encountered. Pask in his Demolisher was equipped for some high wound action. ‘Counts as’ Creed was there to maximize his three orders to the 3 infantry squads. Two heavy weapons squads accompanied by an officer would bear down on any type of vehicle threats. Lastly, two wyverns to play their role in the backfield to handle markerlight units.

 

 

Astra Militarum List – Lance

+++ Villaskan Forgotten 5th (Warhammer 40,000 8th Edition) [85 PL, 1500pts] +++

++ Spearhead Detachment +1CP (Imperium – Astra Militarum) ++

+ HQ +

Lord Castellan Creed

+ Heavy Support +

Heavy Weapons Squad
. Heavy Weapon Team: Lascannon
. Heavy Weapon Team: Lascannon
. Heavy Weapon Team: Lascannon

Heavy Weapons Squad
. Heavy Weapon Team: Lascannon
. Heavy Weapon Team: Lascannon
. Heavy Weapon Team: Lascannon

Leman Russ Demolishers
. Leman Russ Punisher: Heavy Flamer, Heavy Flamers, Turret-mounted Punisher Gatling Cannon

Wyverns
. Wyvern: Heavy Bolter
. Wyvern: Heavy Bolter

++ Battalion Detachment +3CP (Imperium – Astra Militarum) ++

+ HQ +

Company Commander: Bolt pistol, Chainsword

Company Commander: Bolt pistol, Chainsword

Knight Commander Pask: Lascannon, Multi-meltas
. Command Demolisher: Turret-mounted Demolisher Siege Cannon

+ Troops +

Infantry Squad: 9x Guardsman
. Sergeant: Chainsword, Laspistol

Infantry Squad: 9x Guardsman
. Sergeant: Chainsword, Laspistol

Infantry Squad: 9x Guardsman
. Sergeant: Chainsword, Laspistol

+ Elites +

Command Squad
. Veteran w/ Special Weapon: Plasma gun
. Veteran w/ Special Weapon: Plasma gun
. Veteran w/ Special Weapon: Plasma gun
. Veteran w/ Special Weapon: Plasma gun

Command Squad
. Veteran w/ Special Weapon: Plasma gun
. Veteran w/ Special Weapon: Plasma gun
. Veteran w/ Special Weapon: Plasma gun
. Veteran w/ Special Weapon: Plasma gun

Platoon Commander: Chainsword, Laspistol

Veterans
. Veteran Sergeant: Chainsword, Laspistol
. 6x Veteran w/ Lasgun
. Veteran w/ Special Weapon: Meltagun
. Veteran w/ Special Weapon: Meltagun
. Veteran w/ Special Weapon: Meltagun

+ Dedicated Transport +

Chimera: Heavy Flamer, Heavy Flamer

Chimera: Heavy Flamer, Heavy Flamer

 

 

The mission was Maelstrom: Cleanse and Control with Dawn of War deployment. 1500 points on a 4’x6′ board. We sectioned off the board into six 2’x2′ areas and rolled D3 terrain pieces for each area. We decided to play with 2 hours eachAM had fewer drops and he was first to finish deploying. Tau’s Vespids, Coldstar and fusion Commanders were deployed in reserves. While Tau did not succeed in stealing the initiative on the first roll, Charlie used a Command Point to reroll the steal and ended up getting first turn!

Looking at the picture below, Marker 1 is all the way to the right, 2 is behind the red building at the top, 3 is just out of sight in the bottom, behind the building, 4 is seen on the left in the pipes and crates area terrain, 5 is in the center, and 6 is in the top left amongst the HWT’s.

img_1721.jpg
After initial deployment.

Turn 1 – Tau

Before the start of the game, the kroot used their vanguard 7″ move to move fully into cover for the foreword-most unit and partially in cover for the unit just behind them. Unfortunately, because he had just used their vanguard move, Charlie overlooked using their regular move which, while not proving catastrophic, was quite embarrassing.

Tau’s first turn cards were:
IMG_1728

He got a good draw for first turn, as none of the enemy units were within 12″ of the center so he’d get D3 VP’s automatically, Tau was already sitting on Marker 3, and was basically already on 1. We counted each player turn as a “turn” needed to defend an objective, a battle round would consist of two turns, one of Tau and one of AM.

Photo Jul 31, 18 47 36Tau’s plan was to advance forward with piranhas and drones (near Marker 1) on one side then sweep towards his heavy weapons team, while Tau infantry held the other end of the board. Drones immediately disembarked from the piranhas to join the mass around the Coldstar with drone controller. Seeker missiles ended up doing 5/6 mortal wounds on his heavy flamer chimeras but then my FB wiffed on all three piranhas. Sad day.

Photo Jul 31, 19 29 53

The fusion commander dropped in on the corner of a building with shield drones in front, and did some real work – helping to finish off one chimera. Charlie decided to leave the Vespids in reserve as they tend to die easily and didn’t know if I’d need them to drop down to take a specific objective next turn.

The bomber didn’t fly directly over anything but was in rapid fire range of a HW team and helped reduce the numbers there a bit.

The infantry blob wasn’t within rapid fire range so they did there best to reduce a couple of the front infantry units of their guardsmen. They moved forward to prepare for rapid fire goodness next turn.

The unit of piranhas ended up taking two or three wounds on the assault into the infantry that popped out of destroyed chimeras and then failed the charge. So much for that plan.

IMG_1730

Tau ended the turn with four victory points at the end of the turn, one from First Blood, one for Marker 3, and two from Area Denial.

Turn 1 – Astra Militarum

Lance drew his cards, determined to destroy the arrogant Xenos. Unfortunately, his draw was unlucky. Markers 3 and 5 were on the Tau side of the board, which meant that it would be hard to score any VP’s this turn.

IMG_1732

The Guard forces were bound and determined to remove the piranhas that were right in their face. Toughness 5 and a relatively small pool of wounds was all the stood against the might of the Astra Militarum and…it was not nearly enough.

After taking out the unit of piranhas, Lance spread several wounds around several units of infantry. His Leman Russ with dual flamers was just in range and did some major work to the two units of kroot.

Photo Jul 31, 20 16 07
Extra crispy

Infantry and tanks had surged forward on the left side of the board, ready to march toward Marker 4 on the next turn, while on the right, several infantry units really struggled to remove the two shield drones that stood in their way to the fusionmander. Ultimately, after passing 4 or five saves, the remaining shield drone was taken out to the Company Commander’s bolt pistol. Now with a clear path and a bad attitude, the vet’s successfully assaulted the fusionmander, though the ensuing combat resulted in no wounds either way.

IMG_1735

One thing Lance might have done differently was tried to focus the drones holding Marker 3, because after all was said and done (and a unit of pathfinders taken out), Marker 3 was still under Tau control and awarded two more VP’s to Charlie. Lance discarded his Defend Marker 3 card.

End of battle round one, 6 to 0 in favor of Tau.

Turn 2 – Tau

Having just achieved his third card, Charlie drew three more cards, drawing “No Prisoners” (kill up to 6 units for 3+D3 VP’s), “Big Game Hunter” (kill enemy units with ten or more wounds), and a card requiring control of all victory markers.

Creed had wandered too close to the center of the board, and the general plan of this turn was to kill the units between the Tau firepower and Creed to try and score six unit kills, Slay the Warlord, and a vehicle to achieve two out of three cards.

IMG_1736
A great use of scatter dice is now to mark the center of the board

The bomber flew over a full squad of guardsman and was rewarded with 4 mortal wounds just from the bomb. Little by little, unit of drones by unit of drones, the Tau removed the obstacles between their gun line and Creed. When finally able to legally target Creed with the remaining three pathfinders in the middle of the field, Charlie scored just enough markerlight tokens to use the two seeker missiles on the bomber to help finish off Creed.

Photo Jul 31, 21 01 43

The kroot were there to be meat shields and to get in people’s faces so naturally they weren’t afraid to assault the Leman Russ with double flamers. While this did prove to be a dangerous move (one unit lost six models on the charge) both kroot units did make it into close combat, forcing the tank to stay and fight next turn or to fall back – either way, it wouldn’t be shooting at the main Tau gun line of firewarriors.

The fusionmander fell back from the vets, but thanks to the Fly rule was still able to target a Wyvern which it was not quite able to destroy. The Vespids came in near the fusion commander to help clean up the two vet squads, but were not able to completely take out both. Trying to get nearer the remaining Wyvern, the fusionmander successfully charged the Company Commander. Unfortunately for Charlie, he didn’t realize that Company Commanders are no pushover in close combat and the combat ended in wounds done of both sides, but both sides remained standing.

Charlie ended the turn achieving one VP for Slay the Warlord, and three plus two for “Take No Prisoners” for a total of twelve VP’s. He discarded the card for securing all objectives.

Turn 2 – Astra Militarum

Needing some points and a lot of revenge, Lance drew his cards for his second turn. Now in place to potentially defend Marker 4 and already on top of Marker 2, things were looking up.

IMG_1742

The Imperial Guard responded to the massive casualties by firing heavily at the bomber with the heavy weapons teams and took it down to seven remaining wounds, unfortunately just one wound above the required amount to deteriorate its stats.

Photo Jul 31, 21 01 58

The flaming Leman Russ fell back toward Marker 4 to claim it but could not shoot as it had fallen back. The Company Commander refused to fall back though and while he wounded the fusion commander once more, he was ultimately slain when the Tau commander struck back.

The Wyverns struggled to kill much more than a few firewarriors, while Pask didn’t have an optimal target and ended up clearing off a few firewarriors as well. The turn ended with AM holding Markers 2, 4, and 6, so Lance rolled a three on the D3 for “Supremacy” and was on the board.

End of battle round two, 12 to 3 in favor of Tau.

Turn 3 – Tau

Hoping to increase his lead, Charlie drew cards and started his third turn. He drew “Mission Critical Objective” with a roll of 4 and a card for killing a unit in close combat to go alongside his existing “Big Game Hunter” card. Mission Critical Objective is a cool card that gives you a VP immediately if you already hold the objective that corresponds to the die you roll, but D3 VP if your opponent hold it and you take it over that turn. Another stroke of luck for Charlie as the flamer Russ had taken control of Marker 4 and there were four kroot nearby for an easy capture for Tau.

The bomber changed course to bring it near the double flamer Leman Russ in hopes that the rapid fire ion cannons on the interceptor drones would help put a dent in it, but only managed to shave off a couple of wounds on the tank.

But on the other side of the board, the fusion commander and the Vespids finished off one of the two Wyverns without issue, both strategically placed 6.5″ away from the Wyvern in case it blew up.

Charlie ended his third turn achieving both “Big Game Hunter” and “Mission Critical Objective” for a total of sixteen points, while AM scored two points for defending Marker 2 for the second turn.

IMG_1743

Turn 3 – Astra Militarum

The card draws for Lance’s third turn were not recorded, unfortunately.

Tired of losing units to the fusion commander, Lance pulled Pask from the center of the battlefield to turn deal with it once and for all. Pask had no trouble at all obliterating the Tau Commander with its high AP reduction weapons.

IMG_1746

However, left with minimal units, control of two out six objectives, and scoring two additional points this turn, the Astra Militarum army conceded at the end of the third battle round with a final score of sixteen to five.

Summary

  • It helps to remember to move your kroot.
  • Losing first turn breaks souls.
  • Company Commanders aren’t pushovers.
  • While possessing the potential to do a lot of damage, the fusion piranhas fold pretty easily and don’t have the luxury of benefitting from drone’s Savior Protocols. The fusion commander stuck around for longer and did more work.
  • It’s beneficial to use command points to immediately discard unattainable cards and redraw. Sometimes it’s easy to forget about this ability, but it’s pretty useful.
  • Save command point for use when rolling big damage rolls.
  • A balanced army that has a decent amount of bodies, firepower, mobility, and toughness is important.

Next time, we will take a look at two of Tau’s most notable monster battlesuits – comparing a ghostkeel and a riptide.

Thanks so much for reading. If you like what you’re reading, please consider following on twitter or via email in the sidebar to your right.

Until next time, happy dice rolls!

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4 thoughts on “Tau VS Astra Militarum Battle Report

  1. Glorious battle report, thanks for sharing. Particularly love your altered photos. Interesting reads elsewhere, keep up the good work!

    Like

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