Saturday, 16 March 2019

Vior'la Tau vs Ulth'we Eldar- 2000 points Epic Armageddon

To playtest the Tau Vior’la list in development, I had a 2000 points game of Epic back in February, so here's a tardy battle report.

The forces

My list was very suit heavy, which is the aim of the Vior’la list. Strangely for Tau it didn’t rely massively on markerlights, which was an interesting change.

Pathfinders- 4x Pathfinders, 2x Devilfish, 3x Tetra- 275
Crisis Cadre (Blue Cadre)- 6x XV8, Shas'El- 325
Crisis Cadre (Green Cadre)- 6x XV8, Shas'El- 325
Heavy Battlesuits- 3x Riptides, Shas'El- 350
Stormsurges- 250
Supremacy- Pulse Ordinance Multi Driver- 275
Razorsharks- 200

Blip, my oppoenet, took an Eldar Ulth’we list, although I think the points are off slightly. I had noted that the Aspect Troupe were the Eldar’s most expensive unit, when they weren’t. And this list is 75 points short. No matter!

BLACK GUARDIAN WARHOST (MOUNTED)- 4 Waveserpents, Farseers, 6 Guardians, Seer Council [475]
BLACK GUARDIAN WARHOST- 2 Farseers, 6 Guardians [175]
RANGER TROUPE- 6 Ranger [150]
ASPECT TROUPE- 2 Dire Avenger, 4 Fire Dragon, 3 Wave Serpent, Exarch [425]
FALCON TROUPE- 3 Falcon, 2 Fire Storm [250]
FALCON TROUPE- 3 Falcon, 2 Fire Storm [250]


Both Blitz objectives were placed pretty central, with the Tau Blitz hidden behind industrial silos and the Eldar Blitz behind hills and rock formations. The Eldar objectives were placed far apart, one way out on the Tau left flank, and the other in front of a settlement by the Tau right flank. I placed my objectives very aggressively around the Eldar Blitz, aiming to strike aggressively with Crisis & Riptides.
In deployment, Blip placed his Mecahnised Guardians and Aspect Troupe centrally, flanked by the Falcon Troupes, with a forward scout screen of Rangers. Approaching at high altitude were more Guardians in a Vampire. I placed both Crisis Cadres on my left flank, to loop round and provide each other with mutual support, with the Eldar held down with fire from the more centrally placed heavy battlesuits. The Pathfinders spread out in the centre too, to ensure maximum markerlight coverage.

Turn 1

1.1- Despite winning initiative, Blip decided to let the Tau make the first move, an opportunity I quickly squandered by failing to place my Razorsharks on CAP.
1.2- The Falcon Troupe on my left flank doubled up towards the centre, triggering overwatch from Pathfinders, but absorbing the damage and taking out a Tetra in response.
1.3- The Tau big guns opened up, with the Supremacy Armour sustaining on the Aspect Troupe, killing a Wave Serpent and a Fire Dragon.
1.4- The Pathfinders were then assaulted by Guardians swooping in in their Vampire. Despite holding on valiantly, with the engagement going on to a second round, the Pathfinders were wiped out.
1.5- Meanwhile, the Crisis Suits performed co-ordinated fire without the fire, doubling up the Tau left flank.
1.6- The second Falcon Troupe doubled up and poured fire into the Riptides, with one of the Tau heavy battlesuits succumbing to the fire.
1.7- In retribution for the loss of their comrades, the Riptides marshalled, killing a Guardian from the foot Guardians and removing their blast markers.
1.8- The Seer Council doubled up on the Tau left flank to counter the Crisis Suits, destroying a stand from Green Cadre.
1.9- Back in the centre, the Stormsurges advanced on their unwelcome visitors, destroying a Falcon and a Fire Storm, breaking the Eldar formation.

At some point in all this, the Rangers remained in overwatch, but I didn’t note down when. Woops! During the End Phase Green Cadre and the foot Guardians rallied, but the broken Falcon Troupe did not.

Battle commences!

The Supemacy Armour opens up its bombardment.

Tau battlesuits stand ready.

Eldar swoop in to elimate the Tau forward scouts.

Crisis suits push up into the Eldar flank.

Turn 2

The Eldar Avatar, incarnation of war appeared in a wrathful blaze on the Tau left flank. Unflinching in pursuit of the Greater Good, the Tau won the vital initiative roll!

2.1- Blue Cadre flanked the Seer Council and inflicted heavy casualties, including the Seer Council itself and 3 other stands.
2.2- Retaining the initiative, Green Cadre engaged the intermingled Avatar and Seer Council formation, killing the Avatar whilst taking no damage themselves. Blue Cadre provided supporting fire. In combat resolution the Eldar nearly held, only losing by 1, but losing nonetheless and fleeing from the corpse of their Avatar.
2.3- The Vampire strafed the Riptides, but the shots bounced off their heavy armour and powerful shields.
2.4- Trying to bring down the heavy battlesuits with focused fire, the unbroken Falcon Troupe retained, doubled towards the Riptides but again their shots were ineffective.
2.5- Continuing its bombardment from the previous turn, the Supremacy Armour attempted to keep the Aspect Troupe with their heads down by sustaining on them but did no damage.
2.6- The Razorsharks failed their attempt to retain. There must have been some fierce dogfighting happening somewhere else to keep them from turning up 2 turns in a row…
2.7- Keeping quiet, the foot Guardians marshalled whilst spreading out into the surrounding town.
2.8- The foot Guardians were not quiet enough, as the Stormsurges stomped towards them, disintegrating a stand of Guardians.
2.9- Back over on the Tau left flank, the Rangers sniped at Green Cadre although they inflicted no damage.
2.10- Having been targeted repeatedly, the Riptides failed to advance, instead holding and shedding all their blast markers.
2.11- Seizing upon the prep fire done by the Rangers, the Aspect Troupe engaged Green Crisis, but were beaten off, losing combat resolution by 1, after losing 2 Wave Serpents but also taking out a Crisis stand.

Bloody but unbowed, the broken Falcons and Aspect Troupe rallied during the end phase.

The Avatar appears!

Crisis Suits fend off the Aspect Troupe.
The board towards the end of turn 2.

Turn 3

3.1- Needing to start securing objectives and support the Crisis Cadres looping in on the flank, the Riptides advanced whilst firing at the Falcon Troupe in the centre of the board, to no avail.
3.2- Retaining, the Supremacy Armour continued to pound the Aspect Troupe for the third time, killing an Exarch and breaking the formation.
3.3- Doubling, the Falcons in the centre of the board popped up, damaged a Riptide and then swooped in on the objective on the Tau left flank.
3.4- Finally the skies saw the arrival of Tau fighters, who mercilessly swooped in on the Aspect Troupe, wiping out the formation and claiming BTS for the Tau!
3.5- My notes don’t say! The Rangers must have activated again, but I’m not quite sure what they did.
3.6- Blue Cadre doubled up towards the Eldar objectives, putting a blast marker on the former Seer Council formation.
3.7- The freshly rallied Falcon Troupe, lurking behind a hillside deep into the Tau right flank, got crossfire against the Stormsurges from the foot Guardians. Bringing down one of the Tau walkers, the remaining Stormsurge broke and fled back towards the Tau Blitz.
3.8- Green Cadre doubled up trying to grab objectives, killing a Ranger in the process.
3.9- Countering the Tau push, the former Seer Council advanced. Pouring firepower into Green Cadre they broke the Crisis suits, forcing them off of the Eldar objectives!
3.10- The Vampire strafed the Riptides, again ineffectually.
3.11- The foot Guardians rallied, securing their foothold on the Tau objective they’d been sat on all game.

Stormsurges hunt for Guardians,

Crisis suits deep into Eldar territory.

Stormsurges caught in a deadly crossfire!

Fierce battle for the Eldar objectives.

And so the game ended 2-1 (I need to double in favour of the Eldar! Both sides had taken a beating, but the Eldar had been able to secure the objectives in their table half whilst seizing the two normal Tau objectives.
Eldar aren’t a force I normally play against, and I appreciated the toughness of the Tau suits compared to the fragile Eldar. I just annoyingly wasn’t able to push from my left flank onto the Eldar centre hard enough to secure the game.
Nonetheless, it was a great game, and running lots of Tau suits is always fun!

Saturday, 9 March 2019

7th Assault Squadron- Epic Death Korps Cavalry Army

The idea of an Imperial Guard cavalry army is something I've been wanting to do for a while, and I've bitten the bullet. Death Korps seem to normally be a mass infantry in Gorgons force, but they also can take Death Rider Companies as a core formation, so you can do stuff like this- waves of cavalry supported by loads of super-heavy tanks!

7th Assault Squadron, 2000 POINTS
Death Korps of Krieg (EpicUK v01122014)
12 Death Korps Rough Rider units, Hellhound Squadron (3 Hellhounds)

Right Troop- DEATH RIDER COMPANY [325]
12 Death Korps Rough Rider units

White Troop- HEAVY TANK PLATOON [325]
3 Macharius Heavy Tanks

3 Macharius Heavy Tanks

3 Bombards


2 Thunderbolts

Left Troop

Right Troop

White Troop

Red Troop

Woe Maker

Battery 1

Alpha Flight

Despite the cavalry having the most effort put into them of any of my Epic formations so far, I actually got these guys painted up in a week, which I'm pretty chuffed with. The cavalry are Baccus Great War German Uhlans, and everything else is from GZG's 6mm & 15 mm sci-fi ranges.

Hellhounds are DF-T06, NOVA tracked battle tank
Macharius are DF-T07, TALOS tracked ultra heavy tank
Bombards are DF-A01, JUPITER tracked heavy SP artillery
Super-heavy is V15-22B, MAWP(T) - Mobile Autonomous Weapons Platform (Tracked) with Plasma Gun
hunderbolts are V15-109, Hornet Drone (Grav Vane Type)

Saturday, 30 December 2017

Epic Armageddon- Tau Proxies Part 2- Vehicles

Whilst Tau infantry and battlesuits are effective, Tau vehicles are some of their star performers. Maneuverable thanks to the Skimmer special rule and bristling with weaponry, you definitely don't want to leave them at home! The Skimmer rule does raise the question of how to base appropriately. I've found it best to prop mine up on bits of cocktail stick- a cheap and effective method of creating an impression of hovering just above the ground.

I almost always run my Fire Warrior Cadres with Devilfish transports. They provide flexibility, mobility and portable cover for their passengers. Their Seeker Missiles add organic AT capability to Fire Warrior Cadres, and mean that they can sit at the back of the board on overwatch to hit out at enemy armour before rushing the cadre forwards in later turns. Combined with Pathfinders or a Skyray for organic Markerlight coverage, those Seeker Missiles are a very useful!
I use Brigade Models M58 Sugama APC for my devilfish. For some variation you could also use the Wiranto Command APC, although it's an option I've not used.

Tetra & Piranha
Tau recon skimmer formations are a popular choice for providing cheap Markerlight coverage and adding to your activation count. They also have some flexibility, thanks to being able to freely mix Tetra and Piranha in the same formation, for some interesting combinations.
I use Brigade Models R35 Bhima Armoured Car for my Piranha. For my Tetra I use the same machine gun which comes with the APCs- Brigade Models were happy to swap out some of the normal turrets for machine guns, just shoot them an email!

The Skyray serves 2 purposes, and does them both very well. Whilst their main purpose is to keep the skies clear of enemy aircraft, I generally find myself actually using Skyrays to extend my Markerlight coverage. This, combined with 2 Seeker Missiles and a Smart Missile System makes them well worth the 100 points. However, with a 5+ save, you do need to be careful where you leave them to stop them from being picked off.
Another simple weapon swap conversion like the Tetra, I use Brigade Models P147 Arjuna AA Vehicle with the turret swapped out for the missiles from the Katiusza MRL. This works well as the Arjuna is clearly based on the Sugama chassis, a visual reminder that the Skyray has the same save as the Devilfish in game.

The Tau MBT is excellent, and comes in 3 different flavours (5 in the Xar'Ka armoured list!). All have the same basic chassis, with 30cm Skimmer move and Seeker Missiles in addition to their other 2 weapons. This again allows them to sit at arms reach peppering the enemy with Seeker Missiles and then jumping forward when the time comes. Not overly survivable, a 4+ save on an Armoured Vehicle is still respectable. Nevertheless I find it's best to take the upgraded formation of 6 Hammerheads to add some ability to soak blast markers. You can theoretically have 4 of one type of Hammerhead and up to 2 of another variant in the same formation, although I'm not sure why you would ever do so. In vanilla Tau you can also add up to 2 Hammerheads to a Fire Warrior Cadre, adding yet more firepower to the cadre; in Xar'ka the Mechanised Cadre is similar, with 2 Hammerheads mixed in with a Skyray and 4 Fire Warrior units mounted in 2 Devilfish.

The star of the Hammerhead show, Railheads can through out a disgusting amount of AT firepower, with a 75cm, AT4+ Lance main gun, supplemented by their Seeker Missiles. Whilst capable of taking down infantry with Rail Gun and Burst Cannons, Railheads are best put to use deleting opposing armour and war engines from across the board.
I use the Brigade Models T14E3 Anjalika MBT for my Railheads.

Were the Railhead is a long range instrument, the Fusionhead is for when you really need to kill something and don't care about getting to close. Fusionheads a particularly useful in vanilla Tau, which has less access to macro weapons than the NetEA Vior'la list. They are also a bit more generalist than Railheads. Whilst a barrage of Seeker Missiles followed up by 6 Twin Fusion Cannon shots can make short work of most war engines, their secondary Smart Missile System is longer ranged than the Railheads Burst Cannons, and have Ignore Cover. Plus, at the end of the day, MW4+ works even better on squishy infantry than it does Reinforced Armour war engines! Add a Skyray for organic Markerlight support and watch your opponents face drop.
I use the Brigade Models T14 Suharto MBT for my Fusionheads. The turrets are actually significantly different from those of the Anjalika, and I've painted the tips of the barrels white to aid tabletop identification.

The unloved child of the Hammerhead family, the Ionhead plays second fiddle to big brother Railhead. The Ionhead does still have its uses. Firstly, if you're short on points, a formation of 6 Ionheads is 50 points cheaper than a formation of 6 Railheads. Secondly, the Ionhead has a definite advantage in the infantry killing business over the Railhead, without the short range of the Fusionhead. I must confess that I haven't used a full formation of Ionheads, but as an upgrade to a Fire Warrior Cadre in vanilla Tau they add the useful ability to shoot beyond 30cm without having to rely on Markerlight coverage to use Seeker Missiles, reaching out and putting blast markers on infantry and vehicles.
The only conversion job among my Tau armour more advanced than a weapon swap, my Ionheads are based on the Anjalika (same as the Railheads), with the weapon snipped off, the turret flipped around and the weapon from the leftover Arjuna turret glued in place.

That's it for vehicles. Next, onto the elite of the Fire Caste- Battlesuits!

Proxy list

Devilfish- M58 Sugama APC and Wiranto Command APC
Piranha- R35 Bhima Armoured Car
Tetra- R35 Bhima Armoured Car with machine gun from M58 Sugama APC
Skyray- P147 Arjuna AA Vehicle with missile turret from Katiusza MRL
Railhead- T14E3Anjalika MBT
Fusionhead- T14 Suharto MBT
Ionhead- T14E3Anjalika MBT with gun from P147 Arjuna AA Vehicle

Epic Armageddon- Tau Proxies Part 1- Infantry

Before starting collecting Tau for Epic I spent a while looking around for suitable models. Hopefully the next few posts will help out others looking to start fighting for the Greater Good in 6mm!

The obvious choice to begin with was Onslaught Miniatures Okami Technocracy Combine, available in the UK from Vanguard Miniatures. There are a few more options out there for suitable 6mm sci-fi however, as the Onslaught models are not cheap, particularly the vehicles. Forumware is also generally too expensive for my budget, so that was also out the picture.
EMP Games Command Horizon has some suitable hover tanks. There's the possibility that Ground Zero Games have some suitable models too, although their 6mm range is devoid of photos, always an unnerving prospect. Eventually I settled on mainly using Brigade Models 6mm range. Cheap, with a wide range of options and a reasonably suitable aesthetic, I'm definitely happy with the decision now. Although it must be said, the majority of the infantry bases I have are from Onslaught, whose infantry are more within budget.

Fire Warriors
Fire Warrior Cadres are a key part of Tau lists- as a core formation, they open up support formation slots whilst carrying a formidable amount of anti-infantry weapons in their own right. They've got a wide range of upgrade options too, and mounted in Devilfish APCs they can plink away at armour when supported by markerlights.
I use Brigade Models PacFed Armoured Infantry, specifically the rifle sprues, for Fire Warriors.

Pathfinders are great! Although available as their own formation, I find the best use for them is attached to Fire Warrior formations so that they have organic markerlight support.
I used the command sprues from the PacFed Armoured Infantry for Pathfinders. The sculpts work well, although it does mean I have a large amount of Pathfinder bases relative to Fire Warriors- you can always mix and match. My Pathfinders are painted a different colour from the Fire Warriors and based in 3s not 4s to make them easier to distinguish on the table.
Fire Warrior formations can have an Ethereal character in the standard Tau list, and the NetEA Vior'la list also allows Shas'O and Fireblade upgrades. They're all useful upgrades, and it's handy being able to easily pick out characters on the tabletop.
The Onslaught OTC Command pack, has a bunch of different sculpts to make Fire Warrior stands unique.

From left to right- Ethereal, Shas'O & Fireblade. The flags are particularly handy for quick identification.

A fairly uncommon choice for most Tau players it seems, I've found Kroot formations to be a very useful addition. As a large formation of 10 cheap Scout bases, when garrisoned they can really hinder your opponents maneuverability, as well as being pretty respectable in an engagement themselves thanks to Infiltrators and CC4+- not what people generally expect from a Tau force!
Again, Onslaught was the best choice here with their Avians. I specifically used the Ghost Walker models, with a sword wielding figure from the OTC command pack to mark out the Master Shaper base.

Kroot can also be upgraded with Kroot Hounds and Krootox, although I've yet to buy suitable models for those options. I think the best choice for Kroot Hounds are Onslaught Mercenary Warhounds, and Microworld Games Minotuar Heavies for Krootox.

Gun Drones
Gun Drones are a quintessentially Tau unit. In Epic they are useful for fleshing out a bunch of different formations (I find they're particularly well suited in Stealth Suit formations), as well as being an deployable from Tiger Sharks as a formation of their own.
Onslaught Attack Drones are the definite way to go for Drones.

That's it from me for now. Up next- vehicles!

Proxy list

Fire Warriors- PacFed Armoured Infantry Rifle sprue
Pathfinders- PacFed Armoured Infantry Command sprue
Characters- Onslaught OTC Command pack
Kroot- Onslaught Avian Ghost Walkers
Gun Drones- Onslaught OTC Attack Drones

Thursday, 21 December 2017

Epic Armageddon- Xar'ka Tau vs. Death Guard 2k

Shas’O Tash’var Ko’vash Kir’qath crouched down to run his fingers through the soil of Phorcys VI. His Scorpionfish also seemed to be crouched down in the distance, the massive bulk of the missile gunship resting on heavy landing gear.

“Something is very wrong with this planet.” O Kir’qath said, turning to his aide, Shas’Vre Tash’var Shi.
“You can smell it in the air. See it in the plants. It is like the planet itself is diseased.” Vre Shi nodded in agreement.
“The Shas’La are unsettled Shas’O. Everyone feels it, especially after Dalhurst.”

O Kir’qath shuddered. His armoured force was on the leading edge of the Tau push on Phorcys VI. After planetfall though, instead of the hostility the Greater Good had come to expect from the Gue’La, the population had warmly welcomed the Tau to the planet. Jubilant crowds had rushed out to meet the Shas- crowds wreathed in swarms of flies, ridden with poxes and contagion. The scientists of the Earth caste had already discovered countless new virulent diseases, which seemed to disregard the complete difference in Tau and Gue’La physiology.
Water caste interpreters made little sense of the populace aside from talk of “The blessings of grandfather Nurgle.” Attempts to communicate with Nurgle had so far been unsuccessful. At Dalhurst the overly enthusiastic population had to be pushed back by flamers, lest the Tau be crushed in the press of filthy civilians, eager to share the blessings of Nurgle.

The earpieces of the Shas’O and Shas’Vre suddenly crackled to life.
“Mechanised Cadre One to Command. We’ve encountered more Gue’La, but these are the worst we’ve seen!” came a distressed voice. “They look like the Mont’au itself!”
Pulling out a set of image magnifiers, O Kir’qath scanned the area held by Mechanised Cadre One. The shambling shapes of Gue’La seemed to be emerging from the ground itself. As the Shas under his command cautiously advanced to meet the Gue’La, the shambling shapes began charging forward. Nerves already on edge, the Fire Warriors and Hammerheads of Mechanised Cadre One began pouring shots towards the charging Plague Zombies before O Kir’qath could respond.


Shas’Ui Tash’var Myr sniffed with distaste. Despite the environmental controls in his XV15 stealth suit, the pervasive stench of decay still caught his nostrils. The woodland his team was advancing through seemed barely alive, yet flourishing at the same time. Putrid slime oozed from trees, and too many species of plants all exhibited the same curious pattern of three interlocking circles. The only battlesuits assigned to O Kir’qath’s armoured force, the stealth suits of the Harassment Cadre were the front of the push into unknown territory. And Ui Myr’s team was at the tip of that spear.

The sound of distant gunfire snapped behind Ui Myr, and confused chatter sounded in his earpiece before the Harassment Cadre’s Shas’Vre brought it under control. To his front, Ui Myr realised he could make out another noise- the throaty roar of promethium engines. Pushing through to the edge of the woodland, his team saw Gue’La armoured vehicles storming down the highway towards their positions. Ui Myr caught his breath as his stealth suits optics enhanced the scene in front of him.
Emerging from the vehicles came giant, looming figures. Clad in sickly green power armour, they stolidly took up combat positions. Strange lumpy creatures cackled and laughed about their feet. The new arrivals took aim through eyes weeping with pus and blood. Bolter fire cracked towards Ui Myr. As his comrades burst cannons began returning fire with a deafening sound like a hundred buzz saws, Ui Myr yelled into his comms mike.
“Contact! Contact!”

I’ve been playing Epic Armageddon for a few months now, with a lot of Tau to show for it and a Sisters of Battle army on the painting table too! I’ve decided to try and do some proper battle reports, starting off with a 2000 points game.
My opponent Ian is the Army Champion for the NetEA Death Guard list and all round Nurgle aficionado. As such he was trying out a few experimental profiles and rules tweaks.
On my part I was trying out the experimental Xar’Ka Armoured Strike list. As the name suggests it’s a list which relies heavily on Hammerheads and mechanised Fire Warriors, which isn’t much different to how I normally play Tau anyway.

Ian slightly forgot that he was playing against Tau when list building, and went for a very engagement heavy force, with lots of Nurgle’s Rot. However, it had precious little ranged ability, which rather handicapped him:
Plague Marine Retinue- 7x Plague Marines, Lord of Contagion character, Biologus Putrifier character, 4x Death Guard Rhinos- 420
Plague Marine Retinue- 7x Plague Marines, Daemon Prince character, Biologus Putrifier character, 3x Chaos Spawn, Plague Hulk- 545 BTS
Plague Marine Chosen- 4x Plague Marine Chosen, 2x Death Guard Rhinos, Daemonic Pact- 220
Plague Marine Chosen- 4x Plague Marine Chosen, 2x Death Guard Assault Dreadnoughts, Daemonic Pact- 300
Walker Horde- 3x Desecrator, Plague Hulk- 275
Plague Zombie Infestation- 2d6+3 Plague Zombies- 175
Daemon Pool- 3x Plaguebearers, 3x Beast of Nurgle MW variant- 60 (2 free from Daemonic Pacts)
Total- 1995

For my part I took the chance to have a massed Railhead formation, and to try out Scorpionfish- a Tau war engine akin to a floating missile submarine. I planned to soften up Ian with ranged fire from the Railheads and Scorpionfish in the first turn, holding back with the Mechanised Cadres and then pushing them through the resulting weak points:
Armoured Cadre- 8x Railhead- 400
Mechanised Cadre- 2x Fusionhead, Skyray, 4x Fire Warriors, 2x Devilfish- 350
Mechanised Cadre- 2x Fusionhead, Skyray, 4x Fire Warriors, 2x Devilfish- 350
Harassment Cadre- 6x Stealth Battlesuits, 2x Gun Drones- 250
Recon Cadre- 3x Tetra, 2x Piranha TX42- 150
Scorpionfish Cadre- 2x Scorpionfish, Xar’Shas’O character- 500 BTS
Total- 2000


Deployment wise Ian placed his Blitz on my far right flank, whereas I placed mine much more centrally. Ian placed his two objectives close to my Blitz, making no bones of his intentions! I placed my objectives far out on either flank, following Ian’s advice from previous games for playing against Death Guard- especially seeing as so much of his force could garrison.
Ian garrisoned a Chosen formation on either flank, and his BTS was daisy chained across from my right most objective to threaten the objectives on my side of the board. My stealth suits and recon skimmers garrisoned in and behind the protection of a section of ruins.
Ian deployed his Rhino Retinue in transports on the road down the middle of the board, ready to push up hard and fast, and put his Walker Horde in the cover of some woodland. I deployed a Mechanised Cadre on either flank, my Railheads on the road for maximum line of fire, and my Scorpionfish centrally so that they could rain missiles upon intruders on the objectives. With deployment finished, it was game on!

Turn 1

At the start of turn 1, Ian’s Plague Zombie Infestation of 12(!) Plague Zombies clawed their way out of the ground on my right flank, gaining a Blast Marker in the process.
The Tau won the initiative. Currently I’ve won 6 consecutive initiative rolls in a row against Ian, split between 2 games- despite the Death Guard having +1 Strategy Rating over the Tau…
With my first activation the Mechanised Cadre on my right flank (from now on Mech Cadre 1) advanced to put down the threat of the Plague Zombies, and accounted well for themselves. The resulting fusillade killed 6 Plague Zombies, breaking the formation. Off to a good start!

State of play after the first activation

Mucking around not one bit, Ian’s Rhino Retinue gunned the engines of their APCs and engaged my stealth suits in a clipping assault. Only 2 of my stealth suits could get in firefight range, however my one overwatch shot killed a Plague Marine unit. In firefight Ian killed a stealth suit unit for no loses. Combat resolution was 2 all- I had 2 for having no blast markers and less blast markers as a result of my overwatch shooting, whereas Ian had a kill and outnumbered me. In the following roll off Ian’s highest roll was a 4 and mine a 6- victory for the Greater Good! The Retinue retreated into the woods broken, losing 2 Rhinos to hack down hits. Nurgles Rot set into the stealth suits, leaving them with 3 blast markers.

Plague Marines assault my strung out Stealth suits

Waiting for the Death Guard to make their next move the Scorpionfish went into overwatch, and then the Rhino Chosen doubled down my right flank. Fearing that a round of shooting or an engagement would ruin my stealth suits, the formation rallied, losing all blast markers and manoeuvring a little. Ian advanced with his Walker Horde, shooting and killing another stealth suit.
Now with a clear target, my Railheads advanced along the road and shot the Rhino Chosen. They destroyed both Rhinos and, in jammy rolling, one of the Chosen, leaving the formation broken. The remaining Chosen fell back into the same ruins as Mech Cadre 1.
The Dreadnought Chosen then doubled into a patch of woodland, after summoning 3 lesser daemons through foul rituals. The Dreadnoughts shot at the Mechanised Cadre on my left flank (from now on Mech Cadre 2), although to no avail. In retribution, Mech Cadre 2 advanced and fired at the Dread Chosen, killing a Chosen, a Dreadnought and a Daemon.

Chosen and Fire Warriors exchange fire

Biding his time, Ian marshalled with his BTS formation, moving and carefully skirting any overwatch fire from my Scorpionfish. My Recon Skimmers advanced, bursting from cover towards the Dread Chosen, although their fire only killed a Daemon.
With all activations for the turn done, Ian’s daemons disappeared back into the warp- meaning that the Dread Chosen broke. Ian however made use of the Scout and Fearless rules, leaving them with their Zone of Control over Mech Cadre 2. In the End Phase the Tau stealth suits and Mech Cadre 2 both rallied, whilst Ian had a rough time of it. Whilst the Dread Chosen rallied, none of his other broken formations did- despite using his Supreme Commander reroll on his Rhino Retinue.

State of play end of turn 1

And from Ian's side

Turn 2

Turn 2 started with the Death Guard very much on the back foot, with half of their formations broken. Unfortunately for Ian, I won the initiative again and tried to do as much damage to his remaining forces as possible. This started with me advancing with Mech Cadre 2, out of the Dread Chosen’s Zone of Control. They then turned their guns on the Chosen once more, killing 2 and breaking the formation again. Persistent despite having only 2 units remaining, the Chosen fell back towards my Scorpionfish, Zone of Control once more over 1 of my formations. Fearless Scouts are a pain!
Ian, now having only 2 formations capable of activating, doubled with his Walker Horde, firing at my stealth suits but not inflicting any kills.
Cleaning up, my Recon skimmers advanced and shot at the broken mechanised Retinue, killing a Plague Marine. Ian’s BTS went into overwatch. My stealth suits attempted to double across to get some markerlights on the Retinue but failed their activation, instead marshalling and shedding all their blast markers.
My Scorpionfish advanced out of the Zone of Control of the Dreadnought Chosen and then rained fire upon the remaining Plague Zombies to allow Mech Cadre 1 to advance, their sub-munition missiles leaving only one unit of zombies standing. Mech Cadre 1 advanced and fired upon the Death Guard BTS, killing 2 Chaos Spawn and a Plague Marine. The Railheads then doubled up the road, trying to draw a bead on the Retinue through the ruins they occupied but mostly failing. Despite firing they didn’t manage to kill any units.
In the End Phase Ian rallied the Rhino Chosen and Rhino Retinue, although club was packing up and we decided to shake hands and call it a match.

End of the game!


In the end we ended up hanging around for nearly another hour, so we could have played on into turn 3. Despite the Tau’s success I think if turn 3 had gone ahead Ian could definitely have done some damage. With both of his Retinues mostly up and running, the Rhino Chosen threatening Mech Cadre 1 and the Walker Horde just getting into Infiltrating firefight range, it could have gotten sticky for the Tau!
As it was though Ian was hindered by his lack of ranged weapons to soften up my formations before engaging, and my firepower smashed his small formations of Chosen. Losing the engagement to my stealth suits early game also took a lot of pressure of my centre, and I think if that combat had gone worse for me it would have been a very different game. As it was I could focus more on the flanks, bringing my firepower to bear on smaller formations. I did enjoy the Xar’ka list, and it did bring me a rare victory. Thanks to Ian, ever the sportsman, for the game!

Thursday, 31 December 2015

Suddenly Firestorm!

So after another long absence I return with a new game I've been getting really into.
I've avoided Firestorm Armada for a long time. Dystopian Wars was always more appealing to me at uni aesthetically.  But in October, with no local DW players, a growing loss streak at Infinity and a really fun trial game of Firestorm Aramada I realised how much of a mistake I'd been making.
Now I have 4 fleets of varying sizes- Ryushi, Hawker, Sorylian & OmniDyne. A lot of them have actually got painted at this stage too!

The majority of my painted Ryushi- the main patrol fleet box of Onnisha Carrier, 4 Hokita Cruisers and 6 Akkarai Corvettes, plus SRS tokens.

A close-up of the first Hokita I painted.

The Onnisha with Hokita's in accompaniment.

For the Ryushi I primed in Halfords Grey Primer; the yellow is Vallejo Yellow Ochre followed by Golden Yellow. Metal is Citadel Boltgun Metal. The yellow received a pin-wash of Vallejo Dark Yellow Wash, everything else a wash of Citadel Nuln Oil. Everything was brought together with a dry-brush of Karak Stone. I think the washes & dry-brushing help make a very bright scheme still look rugged & roughly weathered.

Next up are the Hawker, a nice tanky addition to the Ryushi. A nice change of pace from the nightmare which is painting large expanses of yellow too!

Excelsior Battleship

Resolute Cruiser

The gang all together.

And finally, after rummaging for some old Tau flying stand and stealing some rocks from a Frankie & Benny's flower pot, I now have some asteroids!

All in all I'm really enjoying Firestorm Armada. The ship designs are great, even if there's quite bit of mold slippage which needs tidying up on some ships. Nonetheless Spartan are still masters of resin. And , very pleasingly, FA 2.0 is the best laid out, smoothest running rulebook Spartan have ever made, way surpassing DW 2.0, which in itself was a vast improvement on all that had gone before. Spartan have always been about fun rules, it's pleasing that they've now finally nailed down a rulebook.
FA plays very similarly to DW, but there's enough fluffy differences (mostly simplifications thankfully) to really make it a different, but still very fun experience.