How long has it been since once of these!?
We are still missing a few rules it looks like but what ever stopped us from doing things early!? We decided to give 8th a go just to try out some lists and get the feel of the game. I really wanted to see how the new Drone mechanics work and try out the Sunshark bomber and Vinsanity just did not want to play Tau. So I picked Tau.
Be prepared for mistakes but I’ll try and cover them off if I notice we did them. Lists after the break.
And sorry for some blurry pictures – Macro kept turning off…
I took the following:
Longstrike with Ion Cannon, Smart Missile Systems
4x Crisis Suits w/2x Missile Pods and ATS each
Riptide w/Heavy Burst Cannon, SMS, ATS, Target Lock
6x Fire Warriors
6x Fire Warriors w/2 Gun Drones
6x Pathfinders w/Grav Drone, 2x Shield Drones
6x Pathfinders w/Pulse Drone, 2x Shield Drones
Totals: 1500 points, 6 CP
2 vehicles, 60 ‘infantry’, 8 Drones and 1 MC
Edit: I have one too many Crisis Suits in this list so was playing basically 100 points up >.<.
Warboss in Mega Armor, Kombi Skorcha, Power Klaw
Big Mek on Warbike, KFF
3x Meganobz, 3 Kustoma Shoota, 3 Power Klaws
3x12x Boyz w/Nob w/Power Klaw
3x Trukk w/Big Shoota
20x Boyz w/Nob w/Power Klaw
2x Battlewagon w/Deffrolla, Big Shoota
First off the bat going to play rulebook missions despite their glaring issues. We rolled up Secure and Control (one objective each) on Cleanse deployment. Not using Maelstrom because a) don’t have the cards so keeping track is tedious and b) while I enjoy their concept I find them too random, even with a strategic re-roll. We randomly rolled for deployment rather than let losing player of a roll-off pick, it’s a slight deviation from rulebook but given tournaments will not use this was comfortable making this choice. Rolled Cleanse anyway which was probably the best deployment option for Orks.
I won the roll-off and picked a corner which gave me the best LoS around the middle ruin (there were some windows) and didn’t give Vince much terrain to use (not that it mattered with KFF). Alternating deployment was really a wash here. Vince deployed Trukks and Mek in the middle with Wagons (holding Gretchin, Nobz and Warboss in one and 20 Boyz in the other) on the flanks. My Kroot deployed in two waves and a secondary wave to protect a fast outflank on the left with the Pathfinders and Fire Warriors secure in ruins. Drones in the middle near Longstrike to hide and support Crisis Suits as needed. They weren’t going to be much use as ablative wounds except in combat this game. My objective was in the back corner of my deployment zone behind the ruins while Orks was underneath where the Trukks started.
Orks choose to go first and I attempted to seize, failing. Kroot moved forward.
Orks Turn 1 –
Orks move up and around the Ruins with one Trukk staying tucked away behind. The Mek goes on the opposite flank of the Battlewagon with the Boss / Nobz and a trukk and left Battlewagon get into combat with the Kroot, killing a handful with Morale taking one more. The Battlewagon on the right with all the Boyz attempts a 6″ charge on the Kroot but fails even with a Command Point re-roll, losing 3 wounds to Overwatch. Big Shootas and Pistols all shot at Drones or Fire Warriors – lost two shield Drones and a Gun Drone but kept the important Pulse and Grav drones and three Fire Warriors (1 from Morale). Cover makes these guys tougher than they appear.
I feel the Orks needed to be more aggressive. I could not stop a full move + Advance around the first Ork line and getting the Battlewagon(s) and Trukks closer to me would have made Kroot walling a lot harder. As it was, the Orks basically drove up to the Kroot and hammered them rather than trying to get around them or engage the second line. The second Battlewagon did fail a 6″ charge but even with a D6 re-roll, it’s not outside the realm of possibility. This left both Kroot lines intact with only vehicles in combat (i.e. minimal damage potential even with Deffrollas).
Tau Turn 1 –
Orks had their mistakes, now Tau will make some. Let the front line Kroot fall back but kept their line intact, stalling the middle Orks further (only needing to be 1″ away from the enemy gives you a lot of flexibility here. If the Orks had let out some Boyz, they could have potentially surrounded a single model to prevent this. Second line of Kroot on the right moved up to further block the Orks on that flank while remaining spread out to ensure For the Greater Good had lots of juicy options but my other Kroot remained stationary when I should have started to bring them over. The Sunshark flew over the battlefield without anything fun to poke and did a Mortal wound to the leftmost Battlewagon. Everything else repositions for optimum shooting with the Burstide skipping up the left flank. Shooting time!
Pathfinders, Sunshark and Fireblade all used their Markerlights. Fireblade goes first to drop a Markerlight on target 1 (in this case the right most Battle Wagon), followed by the Sunshark on Target 2 (the left most Battlewagon). Pathfinders then wave fire at each target (3 apiece) and I get five hits on the right most and four on the leftmost. This gives me the greatest chance to ensure re-rolling 1’s for my Pathfinders but also flexibility if I whiff a roll to load up all the pathfinders on one target to ensure it gets 5+ markerlights. I may take a second Fireblade in the future for this as a 2+ markerlight is nice… Anyway. Here’s where I make some mistakes in terms of shooting order and not having a full grasp of vehicle durability or the damage function of some weapons (i.e. Ion Cannon and Missile Pods). Because of this, and being greedy, I’m thinking leave the Missile Crisis and Burstide to the end. This leaves the right most Battlewagon still on seven wounds before they go (silly KFF saves on the Ion Cannon) so I unload all of the Crisis Suits into the same target and very easily destroying it (First Blood to Tau, 1VP; about half the boyz then died from the explosion and Morale). The Burstide then does two wounds to the left most battlewagon.
By leaving the Crisis Suits and Burstide to last, a lot more my efficient firepower was wasted plinking wounds off the Battlewagon when I could have had a bunch more shooting wipe out that Boyz squad. My Markerlights should also have been split across the Battlewagon and Trukk allowing the Burstide to either delete a Boyz squad if the Ionhead could destroy it or delete the Trukk rather than hoping for 5s against the Battlewagon. First shooting phase of 8th edition, many lessons.
Orks Turn 2 –
Because the Orks have not attempted to move around the Kroot in Turn 1 or unload any Boyz, they are still stuck behind the Kroot wall and again do not try and move around. This leads to a wall of Green and mangled metal wiping out both Kroot squads (with Morale) but still having not engaged the Tau main army and about to suffer another round of shooting. The Big Mek has moved into the middle of the table to cover the entire army.
Ork shooting did drop the final Gun Drone and remaining members of the reduced Fire Warrior squad.
Tau Turn 2 –
This is where the Kroot having not moved last turn are now out of position and a poor Advance roll leaves them well short of the necessary coverage so the Fire Warriors in the ruins fall back to ensure the Orks are dealing with -2″ of charge time. The Ionhead keeps his butt in a nice position as well so the Grav drone will make any Orks that get too close suffer -D3″ as well. The Burstide keeps moving up the left flank. Sunshark flies over dismebarked Boyz and kills a handful and then I incorrectly pivot the flyer again so he’s pointing in the wrong direction.
Markerlight waves light up the remaining Battlewagon and the middle Trukk – I am very unlikely to have the firepower to drop the Trukk as I’ll want to put damage on the Meganobz after the jump out but again, I did not do target priority right here and should have had the Burstide delete something rather than plink off a Wound. Anyway, Missile Crisis go first this time (wisely) and pop the Battlewagon pretty easily. The Ionhead then drops two of the Meganobz and puts a couple of Wounds on the middle Trukk with the Burstide taking another ineffectual Wound off the Meganobz (silly me) rather than trusting the Kroot wall. Fire Warriors do some incidental damage to the Trukk even though some of them could have shot the disembarked Boyz (forgetting each unit can Split Fire!).
The game hangs in the balance here – there’s still 36 Boyz in Trukks and my right flank is open to the charge…
Orks Turn 3 –
Very wisely (IMO) only the central Trukk drops their payload of Boyz rather than all 36 (which would have given me lots of targets) and the Gretchin hop in. Everything else moves up and finally the Orks start to go around the flanks (though I think the Gretchin trukk should have high tailed it back to their objective). Incidental shooting kills a Pathfinder. The Meganob, Big Mek and Warboss all converge on the Kroot line while the right most Trukk and Boyz on foot move towards the Fire Warriors. Both squads get deleted including the Fireblade (well kroot have 3 models left) with the Ork characters illegally stepping back in their consolidate moves to avoid being shot while the Boyz on the right moved into the Crisis Suits and Ionhead.
Tau Turn 3 –
Luckily Tau fly so no shooting will be lost on the right flank and even though I illegally pivoted the Sunshark last turn, he could still fly over the disembarked Boyz to kill four (he just ends up 20 degrees further north than he should be). The Burstide starts to move into the middle of the board from my left flank while the Crisis Suits and Ionhead jump into the middle of the scrum to target the characters (which should have been a bit further forward but I digress). The weakened unit of Pathfinders along with the remaining Drones form a body wall on the right hand side of the Suits and Ionhead to force shooting on them if the Orks want to engage the more important units.
Another option here was just moving backwards and leaving a unit of Pathfinders strung out in front of the ruins. This would have likely most me both Pathfinder squads but would not have put the Crisis Suits or Ionhead in harms way. I could have likely then destroyed at least one more Trukk, maybe two, and the Boyz inside and left the Big Mek to a later turn without Markerlight Support.
With less markerlight support, shooting sees all the Boyz on foot reduced to two remaining, the Big Mek killed and the Meganob gone. The Warboss passed three saves from the Ionhead keeping him alive and on full wounds while the left most Trukk survived with a couple of Wounds remaining. I elected not to charge.
Orks Turn 4 –
I forgot pictures from here on out sorry!
The Boyz are unleashed. The remaining 24 Boyz get out and surround the Tau firebase with shooting finally dropping the Grav and Pulse drones along with the remaining Kroot. A big multi-combat ensues with every Ork unit charging, Trukks first to absorb Overwatch firepower which kills the leftmost Trukk which Explodes! causing Mortal Wounds all around (one on the Ionhead, one on Crisis, three on Gretchin, two on Orks nearby, 2 on Pathfinders). I used two Command Points to allow the Crisis to go first which killed a handful of Boyz and reduced the incoming attacks there.
Combat sees the Pathfinders protecting the Ionhead on the right deleted and multiple Power Klaws hacking into the Ionhead, taking him down to four wounds remaining (phew). Attacks off the Crisis Suits bounce off. Gretchin were wiped out.
Tau Turn 4 –
Thankfully with Fly and my Ionhead having 4 wounds left (ergo 6″ move instead of 3″), everything moved out of combat with the Orks. All the remaining Boyz were deleted but the Warboss again passed multiple 4+ saves from the Ionhead to have three wounds remaining. The Burstide continued on its merry way towards the Ork objective.
Ork Turn 5 –
Trukks and Warboss charge the Ionhead (Slay the Warlord to Orks, 1VP), killing it which Explodes! which kills the Warboss (Slay the Warlord to Tau, 2VP). Talk about Slaying the Warlord…
Tau Turn 5 –
Burstide moves onto objective (Linebreaker to Tau, 3VP), Tau delete two Trukks, tabling the Orks and hold both objectives (Two objectives to Tau, 9 VP).
Tau Victory – 9 VP to 1 VP.
A lot of things to discuss here – including some rules errors.
- Having only ever used a single flyer before (Stormraven), getting my flyer pivots wrong was a bit silly as they are largely the same rules. Pivoting twice did not really change the game as he would have continued flying in the diamond formation but the extra degrees here and there would have been a much bigger issue if the units weren’t neatly lined up for me.
- Characters are a pain in the ass to access and the combat movement mechanics, while simple, are really open ended and vague in many circumstances with moves that seem RAW but are counter-intuitive. Expect a post on this once the official release has been done.
- There were a few times I fired by Sunshark and Ionhead without the -1 for heavy weapons which is going to be an easy thing to forget. Not a huge issue as I don’t recall any of those hits missing but something that’s going to be very easy to forget for vehicles. I also fired my Ionhead re-rolling 1’s not reading Longstrikes rule correctly. Luckily each time he did roll a 1 I think I had a markerlight hit on the target but I also would have been very less liberal with Overcharging that Ion.
Those are all the rule booboos I can think of…
So onto the actual analysis!
Orks made several errors in the way they handled the Kroot wall I believe and while it was always going to be effective, it was too effective, even with my mistake on the third Kroot unit. Breaking bubble-wrap is going to be a whole different ballgame (except another post on this) and very, very important to make combat effective. I’ve already seen a couple of games on Vassal where people are just lining units up next to each other. Tau have Fly which is huge for escaping combat and shooting but, while combat may not be as deadly as it has been made out to be (not having +1A for charging or two weapons is huge), it can drastically impact the opponent’s shooting output. That being said, I felt under pressure from Turn 1 from Combat and although I was dictating engagements, the overall strategy was being dictated by the Orks. A few more appropriate moves and flanking speed, and this could have been a lot tighter affair.
That being said as well, combat is not going to win games by itself. You need shooting (see future post about breaking bubble-wrap). My Burstide, Ionhead and Crisis Suits were under no shooting pressure ever and while the Ionhead eventually dropped to combat, with Power Klaws only doing D3 damage, he is able to soak a minimum of five PK hits (4s to hit, 3s to wound); that’s a lot of PK attacks needed.
Command Points were not amazing but great for a handful of re-rolls and the one time I activated Crisis out of sequence in the Fight phase. I’d really like to see more specialised Command Points from army books in the future but I wouldn’t bend over backwards to get the Brigade FoC at this point in time. One re-roll per phase is nice and limiting – you can ensure you’re maximising your chances on that very important roll but aren’t going to be re-rolling everything.
Jury is still out for me on the Riptide. He struggled against vehicles but was great against Ork boyz. The Sunshark seemed like it provided more even though it only ever once got to drop a Pulse Bomb on a unit of 10+ and mortal wounds against Orks aren’t exactly that important (compared to say MEQ models). Crisis Suits though, hands down just did damage. KFF reduced a lot of the impact ATS would have had but they obliterated what they shot at. I hate we cannot take units of 2 anymore, even with split fire the unit just feels weird, but they are I think my replacement for Missilesides. Missilesides are certainly up there with the number of shots but 200 points and -1 to shoot if you move compared to the firepower of 3 Crisis Suits heavily favours the Crisis IMO at this point in time – my tune may change.
Anyway, from this one battle I feel Tau are in a good place, lots more to experiment with. Orks felt fine too, just not the best list out of the gate but again, I was under pressure from the getgo. 8th felt a much smoother game and the most time was spent running back to the computer to check model stats or Tau overwatch (still).