Tag Archives: space marines

DieCon Day 2 Coverage

The second half of my DieCon 11 audio battle report is now up on the Preferred Enemies website. Click here to listen. ¬†Again, it’s about 20 minutes long, and it covers rounds 4 and 5, as well as my overall feelings about the event.

The short version – firmly in the bottom of the pack thanks to going 0-3 before, I managed to get both wins on day 2. I still didn’t face anything but Marines, though – vanilla Marines in round 4, and another Space Wolves player in round 5. Day 2 had interesting objectives and unusual deployments, and I managed to use both to my advantage. Would I go back to DieCon 12 for next year’s GT? I think I would, and I’d still be playing Tau whether they get a new codex or not in the interim.

DieCon Day 1 Coverage

Rather than write out a battle report for today’s performance, I recorded some bonus content for the Preferred Enemies podcast. Click here to give it a listen; it’s about 20 minutes long, and covers all three games played today.

For those with shorter attention spans, here’s the summary – faced off against three different flavors of marines (Raven Guard, Black Templars, and Space Wolves), and went 0-3. I’m already noting the tactical errors made and determining ways to correct them. Games 2 and 3 both turned on one event that changed the momentum of the game. Hoping for a better day tomorrow win-wise, but I still had a great time.

 

Four, four, four games in two…

Work has kept me too busy to get much in the way of painting or photography, but I was able to get in a couple of very cool games this past Friday. Well, four games. Well, two games, but playing four different armies, only one of which was mine.

My three friends (Dan, Dennis, and Richard) and I wanted to do something a bit different, so we got the materials together to set up a second table last week, all ready for two simultaneous games. On table 1, I faced off against Dan. Table 2 had Dennis and Richard. Each of us brought a 1500-point army of our choice:

  • Me: my 1500-point Khorne list
  • Dan: his Salamander list: Vulkan He’stan, a Master of the Forge, two dreads w/multi-meltas, an Ironclad dread, 2 5-man Terminator squads, and 2 10-man Tactical Squads
  • Dennis: his “Sampler Platter” Eldar list: basically, a Court of the Young King (Avatar plus one of squad of each of the following w/exarch: Dire Avengers, Dark Reapers, Fire Dragons, Howling Banshees, and Shining Spears), a unit of Pathfinders, a unit of Jetbike Guardians, a unit of Harlequins, and a Fire Prism
  • Richard: his new Tyranid list: Swarmlord with two Tyrant Guards, a unit of Gargoyles, a small squad of Hormagaunts, a unit of Genestealers w/ a Broodlord, a Warrior Alpha with three extra Warriors, and 6 Raveners in reserve

To keep things relatively simple (which will become important in a moment), we went with Pitched Battle/Annihilation for our mission. Lists in hand and armies deployed, we each took our first turns. For Dan and I, it mostly involved a bit of movement, along with some fire from my Defiler that immobilized one of his dreads. On Dennis and Richard’s table, the Eldar unleashed a fusillade of fire that wiped out the Gargoyles and the Tyrant Guards, and put three wounds on the Broodlord.

With everyone’s first turn wrapped up, we then each shifted one place to the left. Our armies stayed where they were, but the players changed. I moved to the Eldar position, Dennis was now facing off against his own Eldar as the Tyranids, Richard went across the room to play as the Salamanders, and Dan took control of my Khorne Marines. Keeping things simple with the mission made it easy to pick up a new army, since the only goal was to kill your opponent’s force. On our table, the second turn saw a lot of killing. The Raveners came out of reserves, but suffered a mishap and ended up burrowing from the ground at their own board edge. The Genestealers made quick work of the Shining Spears, the Hormagaunts tore into the Fire Dragons, and the Swarmlord leeched life from the Howling Banshees right before he charged into them and finished them off. In return, I sent the Avatar forward to get into a Monstrous-Creature-on-Monstrous-Creature fight with the Swarmlord, but my dice betrayed me. Two bonesaber hits later, the Avatar fell. Meanwhile, the Harlequins managed to go toe-to-toe with the Warriors and survive, at least for a little while.

On the next turn, we switched again, and now I was in the ‘Nid’s spot, facing off against Dan again. The Swarmlord once again tried to leech life, this time from the Jetbiker Guardian squad, but couldn’t manage to land a hit. Instead, the Raveners made good use of their beastly speed to assault the jetbikers, devouring them in one turn. The Warriors managed to finish off the Harlequins, but were down to half their former numbers, and the Genestealers, stranded across the length of the table, began the steady slog to get into assault range of anything. The last Fire Dragon fell against the Hormagaunts as well. However, the Eldar began to strike back in seriousness. Bladestorming Dire Avengers cut down the Hormagaunts, and the Swarmlord fell to Pathfinder fire, including 3(!) AP1 sniper hits. The Fire Prism took fire as it could, picking off some of the Genestealers.

Turn four saw me in the Salamanders position, fighting against my own Khorne army (now in Dennis’s hands). The Ironclad and the formerly-immobilized Dreadnought (repaired by the Master of the Forge) had closed into assault with the Defiler, and all three had ended immobilized, locked in combat until one side or the other was destroyed. Fortunately, on the Chaos turn, the Ironclad slammed into the Dreadnought with a Seismic Hammer, causing it to explode and clearing line-of-sight. Across the table, Vulkan was swarmed by Chaos Terminators (his own Terminators having died the turn before), but before they could close in he and the Chaos Lord slew one another. The other Dreadnought was in the combat as well and picked off one of the remaining Chaos Terminators. With the Ironclad out of assault, it took the chance on the Loyalists’s turn to open fire with its hurricane bolters at one of the Berzerker squads that had just disembarked on its way to cut down the remnants of the last Tactical Squad. By the time the smoked cleared (with extra fire from the Master of the Forge and the other MM Dread), only one Berzerker remained in that squad. Back on Vulkan’s side of the table, the other Berzerkers had disembarked, ready to run at the Dreadnought.

On the fifth turn, everyone was back at their original positions, and I had to make the best of what I had left. From my original force, I still had:

  • Two Rhinos
  • One Land Raider
  • Two Terminators
  • One squad of one Berzerker
  • One untouched squad of Berzerkers

I ran the whole Berzerker squad up to assault the Dreadnought attacking their Terminator brothers, and the Skull Champion’s power fist made short work of the metal foe (although one Berzerker did die in the resulting explosion). The lone Berzerker on the other side of the table ran up to assault the three remaining Tactical marines, killing one with bolt pistol fire. In assault, though, all were equally matched and no wounds were struck by either side. The Land Raider pulled forward and fired on one of the remaining Dreadnoughts, but failed to damage it.

Both games ended up ending on Turn 5, and the final tallies were:

  • Khorne Marines v. Salamanders: Khorne wins, 5 kill points to 3
  • Eldar v. Tyranids: Tyranids win, 8 kill points to 4 (the Eldar had only the Dark Reapers and the Fire Prism remaining, while the Tyranids still had their Warriors, Raveners, and Genestealers standing)

It was a really interesting and fun night. Having to suddenly jump into a new army gives you a new perspective into how that army plays and what its strengths and weaknesses are. I also really enjoyed getting a chance to see the new ‘Nids in action, both as the player and as the opponent. I’m glad I’m not facing them with my Tau; they have to be one of the fastest assault armies I’ve ever seen, and I don’t think I could do enough damage to them before they closed in and made short work of me. In the end, a good time was had by all, and I have a feeling this won’t be the last time we do this. If you get a chance to try out this sort of player shuffling, I highly recommend it; it’s really fun!

Stepping Into a Nest of Salamanders…

This Saturday, I got in a 1500 point game to test my latest Tau list. My opponent this week was my friend Dan, and his Salamander successor chapter army. Dan’s relatively new to the game, and this was his first 1500 point list. It was also the first list where he got to play with the new toys he received for his birthday: Vulkan He’stan, an Ironclad Dreadnought and a Thunderfire Cannon. Considering that Dan’s had his entire army gifted to him, mostly out of Black Reach boxes, he’s not doing too shabbily. Here’s what he brought to the table:

HQ: Forgefather Vulkan He’stan (1#, 190 pts)
1 Forgefather Vulkan He’stan

HQ: Space Marine Chapter Master (1#, 190 pts)
1 Space Marine Chapter Master (Artificer Armour; Bolter x1; Power Sword x1; Auxiliary Grenade Launcher; Digital Weapons; Hellfire Rounds)

Troops: Tactical Squad (10#, 175 pts)
9 Tactical Squad (Bolter x7; Flamer; Missile Launcher)
1 Sergeant (Melta Bombs; Bolt Pistol; Chainsword)

Troops: Tactical Squad (10#, 175 pts)
9 Tactical Squad (Bolter x7; Flamer; Missile Launcher)
1 Sergeant (Melta Bombs; Bolt Pistol; Chainsword)

Elite: Dreadnought (1#, 120 pts)
Dreadnought (Extra Armor; Dreadnought CCW; Storm Bolter; Twin Linked Heavy Flamer)

Elite: Dreadnought (1#, 120 pts)
Dreadnought (Extra Armor; Dreadnought CCW; Storm Bolter; Twin Linked Heavy Flamer)

Elite: Ironclad Dreadnought (1#, 175 pts)
Ironclad Dreadnought (Hunter-Killer Missile(s) x2; Ironclad Assault Launchers; Seismic Hammer; Heavy Flamer; Hurricane Bolter)

Fast Attack: Assault Squad (10#, 255 pts)
9 Assault Squad (Bolt Pistol x7; Flamer x2)
1 Sergeant (Thunder Hammer; Storm Shield)

Heavy Support: Thunderfire Cannon (1#, 100 pts)
1 Thunderfire Cannon
1 Techmarine Gunner

Total Roster Cost: 1500

Note that there are no transports, or really any mechanized capability. That’s mostly because Dan doesn’t own any yet, but something that we may rectify before the end of the year. For now, it’s all foot slogging.

Anyway, the mission was Seize Ground (4 objectives), with a Spearhead deployment. He put almost everything on the table – a tac squad on each of his two objectives, a fan of HQs and elites between them, and the cannon perched on top of a hill. Meanwhile, the assault squad was held in reserve. I paired up my Devilfish with my Railheads, and kept all my suits in reserve. I went first, and he chose not to attempt seizing the initiative.

Tau Turn 1: I move my ‘fish out towards two objectives – one unclaimed, one currently held. I fire submunitions with my Railheads; one shot scatters off-target, while the other ends up taking out 3 marines from a tac squad.

Space Marine Turn 1: His fan of heavy hitters spreads out a bit. He tries landing shots from his Thunderfire on one of my Railheads. All either scatter off or fail to penetrate armor, a trend that continues for most of the game.

Tau Turn 2: 3 of my 4 Crisis Suit units come in from reserves, leaving only the two Deathrains remaining. I want to focus fire as much as possible, but his forces are still clustered in one quarter of the board. I make a gamble and start deep-striking my suits around the far end of the “fan”, near one of the held objectives. The HQ squad scatters near the heart of the fan, next to his Ironclad. The Fireknives scatter near Vulkan. The fusion suits scatter little. I bring up the oncoming fish and disembark my FWs within rapid fire range. The Fire Warriors unload on the Tac Squad, and leave only one survivor – the marine with the flamer. He breaks and starts running for the nearest long table edge. The fusion team fires on the nearest Dreadnought, which explodes – catching 3 of the FWs in the blast. The shooting falls apart after that. The Fireknives are unable to land but one wound on Vulkan, and the HQ team only manages to clear out 3 more marines from the other objective. Meanwhile the Hammerheads fail to do anything useful.

Space Marine Turn 2: Things start to fall apart for me here. The lone flamer marine rallies, and the fan of elites reverses itself, closing in on the HQ team. The Thunderfire cannon takes out two of the three fusion suits with a 4-shot barrage. My FWs are lined up neatly under the Devilfish – all within flamer range, and the marines claim revenge. Only 2 FWs from that team remain. The heavy flamers and hurricane bolters on the remaining dreadnoughts fail to make much of a dent in the HQ team, but they more than make up for it in assault, along with the Chapter Master, who slaughter that squad. Vulkan cuts down one Fireknife and catches the other two in a sweeping advance. The flamer marine charges the remaining FWs, and they lock each other up in combat.

Tau Turn 3: My gamble has backfired, and now most of my firepower is dead or unavailable. Vulkan shrugs off a railgun round thanks to his mantle, but is not so lucky against the gun drones on the Devilfish – a second wound is inflicted. The remaining fusion suit is unable to land a wound on him, though, and tries to jump away. More submunitions from the other Hammerhead, but still 4 marines stubbornly sit on the other objective. All this time, the other ‘fish is sitting on an uncontested objective across the board.

Space Marine Turn 3: The Assault Team comes in from reserve, deep-striking near the rest of the carnage and within assault range of the empty Devilfish. The dreadnoughts flank around the bastion in the middle of the table and each start moving towards a different Hammerhead. Vulkan ducks behind the bastion, hoping to avoid taking any more fire. The Ironclad launches an HK missile at a Railhead, but misses. The fusion suit is finished off by a krak missile shot from the remaining Tac Squad. Assault, on the other hand, does not go as well – a Fire Warrior falls, but his last remaining squadmate takes out the final marine.

Tau Turn 4: The Deathrain team still refuses to come in from reserves. The lone Fire Warrior re-embarks in his ‘fish and tries to move away from the Assault Team. The Hammerheads reposition and fire, but no damage is dealt.

Space Marine Turn 4: The fan closes in on its targets and goes straight into assault (prefixed by a second ineffectual HK shot). The thunder hammer in the assault squad makes short work of the Devilfish, causing it to explode and kill its passenger. The Ironclad drops its Hammerhead with one solid blow. The Chapter Master tries to get into a good position to drop an Orbital Bombardment on the remaining Devilfish. Vulkan remains near the bastion, biding his time.

Tau Turn 5: The Deathrain team drops in within flamer range of the remaining 4 Tac Squad members in hopes of clearing them out. Another railgun round misses, but the Deathrain flamers do not – two marines die, and the squad breaks and moves off of the objective. The Devilfish swings around behind a building, but still within capture range of the objective, denying the Chapter Master line of sight.

Space Marine Turn 5: The last two marines rally and move back onto the objective. Vulkan charges the Deathrains, finishing them off in assault. Meanwhile, the normal Dreadnought and the Assault Squad catch the remaining Hammerhead in a pincer move. The Dreadnought lands a hit, immobilizing the tank, and the assault squad’s thunder hammer finishes the job.

The game ends after Turn 5, with each of us holding an objective. Falling back to kill points to resolve the tie, he clearly came out ahead. So, what important lessons did I learn?

  1. Don’t underestimate Dreadnoughts. I ignored these early on because they were focused on assault, something that I didn’t consider to be a threat to my tanks. In the end, my tanks fell to them in assault. That’s a mistake I won’t be making again.
  2. Deep-striking within assault range is a bad idea. I thought I had enough firepower to seal the deal and clear out what was in my deep strike target zone. I didn’t, and it left me with my pants down. I lost almost all my heavy hitters in one turn because of it. I had firepower, sure, but the targets I couldn’t clear survived because they were just that resilient. I needed more turns of firepower, and that meant that I needed to deep strike further away.
  3. Better control of reserves is necessary. I’m considering modifying the list to fit in a positional relay for the command suit. Having most of my suits come in on turn 2 wasn’t to my advantage, and neither was having the Deathrains coming in on the last turn. It would require me to keep my HQ suit out of reserve, but I think it might just be worthwhile. Alternately, I may just keep a couple of units in reserve (probably the fusion suits and the Deathrains), and keep the rest out and able to harass from turn one.
  4. Vulkan He’stan is a bad-ass. He’s killer in assault, he’s damn near impossible to kill, and his special ability does great things for the army. He is not to be underestimated.

So, I dust myself off, tweak my tactics, and try again… and just remember that next time, Dan might be Drop Podding that army into place.