8th Ed debut game

As the Manta drew close to the drop zone Shas’O Kho’Lyn prepared himself for battle. The Guer’la colonies were being torn apart by civil war, since the emergence of the cultists. This meant both an opportunity and a new threat for the forces of the T’au. It left the planetary defences disorganized, allowing an easier attack, but it also meant that the planet was at risk of being overrun by tyrranids; something which the T’au could not risk.

An alarm klaxon sounded, signalling the drop and Kho’Lyn plunged into the abyss below, followed by his strike team. Relayed information from the fire warriors below showed that the Guer’la had a tank batallion moving through the drop area. A stealth team was located nearby. 

“Shas’O Kholin to Shas’Vre Aum’ka, I need a beacon close to that armour. We are inbound.”

“Roger that.” replied the Shas’vre. 

As the battlefield drew closer, Kho’Lyn’s suit registered a marker beacon and he fired his guidance thrusters, to manouver towards it. They were coming in fast, but kicked in the landing thrusters, just in time, to bring them to a stop within a few dozen meters of the tank column. Immediately, he and the supporting crisis squad opened fire with their fusion blasters, turning the first tank into molten slag before the guer’la knew what had hit them. The tanks tried to retaliate, but the gun drones supporting the squad jetted forward, to screen the suits from weapon fire. Several of them were incinerated by bolter and plasma fire, but neither Kho’Lyn or his Crisis squad took any damage.

Hitting their thrusters, they jetted forward, closing with the other tanks and causing the closest to explode in a gout of plasma and flame.

This battle would not take long.  

I have been very excited by everything I had read about 8th Edition and so, although I was bust preparing to move country, I desperately wanted to have a game of 8th Ed before I left. My opponent was the same GSC player who I had overwhelmingly defeated a few weeks earlier. We were playing a quick power levels game, with 50 points each.

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My force was led by a commander and a Cadre Fireblade. The fireblade started in a Devilfish, with a breacher team. I had a stealth suit squad infiltrating and a pathfinder team with rail guns. My commander had four fusion blasters. Each crisis suit had two fusion blasters. One had adrone controller and the other had a flamer each. I had a squad of 12 gun drones and both the commander and the crisis suits had marker drones. The commander, the crisis suits and the drones were held for a manta strike.

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My opponent had 3 Leman Russ tanks armed with lots of plasma. One of them had a tank commander. He also had a very large conscript force led by an officer, a commissar and a lord commissar. His force was rounded off by a squad of armoured sentinels armed with plasma. Although themed as part of his GSC force, they were using the regular Astra Militarum rules.

Turn 1: This was a learning game for both of us. I think it was Leon’s third game and my first. I’m really not sure if we did the set up properly, but I managed to finish deployment first. I think that we should have set up each squad, one at a time, rather than allowing my Devilfish and passengers to be set up as 1 unit. All Leon’s force was placed on the board and my army had 3 units in reserve and just over half on the board. We did have a scenario with objectives, but we both quickly forgot all about them, being more interested in seeing how the armies can fight under the new rules.

I got to go first and moved my stealth suits forwards, staying in a building, to set up their beacon. My devilfish also raced forward. Then my crisis suits and commander dropped down, close to the stealth suits, but within 9″ of the closest tank. My drones also came down close to the tanks, and the sentinels.

cof

My marker drones got 1 hit on a tank and then my crisis suits opened fire. They scored 3 hits on the tank and rolling twice for damage, destroyed it outright. The commander fired at another tank, damaging it, but not badly. The drones targeted the sentinels, but only inflicted 1 wound, despite a huge number of shots. The rail rifle pathfinders killed 1 of the conscripts.

My opponent retaliated, overcharging his plasma weapons and blasting my crisis suits. He rolled badly and only scored a few hits, but 2 drones got in the way, taking the damage. His sentinels advanced on my drones, firing their plasma weapons and then assaulted, destroying 3 drones and routing 2 more. His conscripts advanced an fired at the Devilfish, but only inflicted 1 wound.

Turn 2:

mde

My drones fell back from melee and my crisis suits and stealth suits advanced. The remaining marker light drones got 1 hit on the closest tank and the crisis suits blasted it, causing it to explode. The Cadre Fireblade, from the right flank, was able to score a marker light hit on the sentinels. The remaining drones fired at the sentinels, destroying One. My commander blasted another sentinel, causing it to explode, damaging another and killing a drone. The stealth suits shot the last sentinel, but didn’t quite destroy it..

Across the battlefield the breacher team and fireblade deployed in front of the conscripts and moved forward. The pathfinders scored 1 hit on the conscripts. I only then realised that the cadre fireblade could not give extra shots to the breacher time. His ability only worked for pulse rifles and carbines, such as the drones had. Despite this, they opened fire, killing many of the 30 conscripts. The rail rifles killed a few more and the devilfish, with it’s drones boosted by the fireblade, killed many more. The Lord Commisar shot a single man, preventing the last few conscripts from running.

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My opponent shot at my breacher team, killing 2 of them. The sentinel killed 1 more drone and the tank commander’s shots were soaked by another 2 drones.

Turn 3:

By this point it was hardly worth continuing. My forces advanced again. The breacher team finished off the last few conscripts. The fireblade lit up the sentinel, allowing the commander to easily kill it. Before the rest of my units had fired at the remaining officers and tank my opponent surrendered.

Result: Overwhelming T’au victory

Analysis: There are probably some things that we were doing wrong. For example, I definitely forgot to add the +1 to hit to my marker drones a few times and forgot about Montka etc. My opponent decided to give his tanks more infantry support in later games and found them far more effective that way. Despite any mistakes, the battle was clearly one sided. If we were playing a points game, I probably had about 40% more than my opponent, which shows that the power levels are not an accurate way to balance games for units with lots of upgrade options.

The army I used was very similar to the sort of force I would generally use and it worked extremely well. Previously my commander would usually have acted as a shield for the drones and boosted them a lot. Now it was the drones serving as a shield. Fusion blasters are still the best weapon for tank hunters and having such effective drone bodyguards keeps the crisis suits alive a lot more. I love the way drones work in the new rules. 4 shots each. 6 is close to a fireblade.

Despite them doing badly, there was a lot I liked about my opponent’s army. The armoured sentinels were very hard to kill. I think they would have done really well if they were armed with flamers instead of plasma. The lord commissar’s ability to stop a route by only killing 1 person was very cool and worked very well with his cheap troop option. 

I had heard a lot of speculation that T’au would be nerfed in the new edition. The crazy overpowered deathballs are gone, crisis suits are more expensive and more tactical play is needed, but it seems that T’au work very well fighting exactly the way T’au should. Shooting, falling back and shooting some more.

 

 

Mega battle mayhem

Once every month the 40K club at Fatmantis Gaming in Shekou, Shenzhen, try to have a mega battle for the players, to give them the chance to break out the big Lord of War models that they don’t usually get a chance to play with. It usually involves 6-8 players with between 6,000-12,000 points total a side. Each month has a different theme and different scenarios for the game.

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Sunday 25th was the first time that I had been available to participate. We were playing a 4 by 4 battle, with 1850 points each. The idea was to have older players vs younger players, as the “good” vs “evil” or Empire vs others alliances tended to result in the same teams on either side. However one of the new young guys was unable to get an army together in time, so it was 4 vs 3 with larger forces on the young side and an extra person helping out.

016009006004The alliances really made no sense. The old team has Skitarii, Slanesh chaos marines, Tyranids and my Tau (the white are mine. The other ones I had borrowed from another player). The youngsters had Imperial guard, Raven wing and a Chaos force with a mix of chaos space marines and khorne demons (the demons were actually lizard men, being played as demons, because the player preferred the look of them).

012015011We had two gaming tables set up end to end, with us setting up along the long edges. We had six objectives that we were fighting over, but each player also had three personal objectives to try to claim. Mine, for example were:

Primary: Completely destroy a unit that started your turn within 9″ and is not in its deployment zone.

Secondary: Destroy a unit using a unit that is within your own deployment zone.

Tertiary: Claim objective 1.

As well as having a team objectives, for victory in the battle, we were competing to see who could claim all their personal objectives.

Setting up: Phil, who runs the store, advised us to spread out and not have everything in one area, as we would not know our objectives until after set-up and also so that we didn’t end up each fighting our own separate battles.  I think I was the only one on our side to listen to him. The Skitarii were nearly all on the left, the chaos marines were nearly all on the right and the tyranids were nearly all in the middle. This did prove a very bad decision for the chaos player, as his objective was on the furthest edge of the board and he had no reserves. His warlord spent nearly the whole battle trying to race about 80″ to the objective. I feel that I made a mistake by spreading my Tau across the whole table length. This prevented my force from using any of their formation abilities, which only apply when 3 or more of them are targeting the same unit. It was only when setting up that I discovered that the buffmander that I had intended to put with my riptides could not be put with monstrous creatures, so I put him with my crisis suits, which was a complete waste of points.

Our opponents were spread out a lot more, which worked really well for them, but had held a very large part of their force in reserve, which I think was a good decision.

030Turn 1: We achieved very little with our shooting. My riptides were badly positioned, with cover blocking their line of sight and the str 7 missiles on the broadsides were not good enough to damage to the tanks. I completely forgot about my pathfinder marker lights until after I had fired everything else. The guard army devastated the tyranids, completely wiping out a huge horde of harpies and the creature leading them.

035Turn 2: This started off a bit better, but demonstrated my lack of understanding of the system. We had a lot of scary tyranids come down and threaten the enemy. My breacher team transport got close enough to deploy my breachers within 5″ of the enemy. I could have tried to gun down the robots, but I asked one of the more experienced players if he wanted me to try to assault the tanks or the robots. He didn’t tell me that I could not assault on the turn I disembark. So I wasted my attacks by throwing 1 EMP grenade, disabling the big plasma cannon, leaving my squad completely exposed. If I had known this then 18 str 6, AP3 attacks might have taken out those robots.

051On the other side of the board my crisis suits came down. They easily wiped out a mauler fiend with 12 plasma rifles, twin linked, ignoring cover and having tank hunters. Unfortunately I did mot give them the ability to split fire, having made the mistake of paying for higher accuracy against charges. My other pathfinders took out a manticore, more than making up their points.

The enemy then came on, with two Chimeras tank shocking my unit, splitting the force and taking out half the unit. My commander failed a leadership roll and the squad started to flee, straight into a waiting force of chaos marines. My skink breachers were predictably wiped out by artillery fire. Three marine bikers outflanked and shot up my broadsides, killing 1. Things were also going badly elsewhere. The chaos knight was taken out by Imperial Guard tanks, the skitarii ironstriders were shot to pieces and the land raider was wrecked in melee by a defiler. A bunch of demons and terminators also teleported onto the board

After turn 2 we took a break for lunch and cake, as it was Luke’s birthday earlier in the week.

Turn 3: Our turn 3 was not very effective. I think the Skitarii were doing pretty well, as the player was finally starting to learn the abilities of his new army. He had paid for the force to be built and assembled and it was his first time playing it, so he had been making mistakes about what each think had. He had completely neglected the ability of the dunecrawlers to skyfire until it was too late. However, most of my surviving forces were on other parts of the board. I shot up the demons with my riptides, amazed myself by killing 2 terminators with a devilfish transport and moved my other breachers to try to secure objective 1. I took out a badly injured demon prince with my fire warriors (within 9″) and a hydra with my broadside (still in my deployment zone), claiming 2 of my personal objectives.

A group of flyers came in and shot up our forces, taking out a lot of skitarii and nyds. The tanks tried to shoot mt empty transport that was sitting on an objective, but it jinked out of the way of everything. The squad of 3 bikers took out a squad of the chaos marines. Two squads of terminators attacked my broadsides and pathfinders. A squad of 3 men attacked my broadsides, losing 2 men to opportunity fire, but doing ok in melee. The last survivor of the other squad attacked the pathfinders, but by luck he inflicted no damage.

Turn 4: by now it was clear that we were going to lose, but the skitarii were not going down without a fight. Neither were my pathfinders. The Skitarii knight reached the tank line and attacked, wrecking one tank, exploding a second and hurling a it at a nearby rhino, before stamping a third, destroying a war robot in the explosion.

115My riptides took out a guard transport and my broadside destroyed an enemy rhino, after my ally’s noise marines had completely wasted their shots trying to damage it. (To be honest, the chaos marines had been doing almost nothing for most of the battle.) The  breachers tried to take out the defiler, but only reduced it to 1 wound (making me regret not shooting it with the broadside too). My commander’s squad was being pounded in close combat (I had forgotten about the upgrade which should have given him free hits against all the attackers) and my other units were ineffectively shooting at the bikes. which had the ability to re-roll jink saves. As my transport was at 1 hull point and had lost its weapon in a defiler attack, I decided to try to ram a transport but only shook it and destroyed itself. This was even more foolish, as it allowed the defiler easier access to my breachers. The most interesting shooting was when the skitarii shot down a flyer, causing it to crash into the allied chaos warlord (who made his armour save).

My riptides were sitting on an objective, so virtually every tank and flyer tried to gun them down, but my overcharged shields saved against almost everything. Two squads of terminators attacked my broadsides and pathfinders. One of the terminators routed my broadsides in melee. By luck the pathfinders managed to kill one terminator on our melee turn. On my opponent’s turn his other terminator shot, failing to harm anyone and assaulted, but again failed to harm the pathfinders.

The defiler and marine bikers wanted to assault my breachers and the nearby marines. They intended to have the marines assault me and the defiler attack the marines, but after the marines shot (the player forgot that he had jinked the turn before, so I took too many casualties) I still had survivors in the way and he didn’t think he could charge around them, so he turned his flamers on my squad of breachers. They didn’t stand a chance; especially as template weapons can apparently now shoot people on multiple levels at once. Elsewhere a combination of marines and demons were killing off the skitarii.

Turn 5: Our death throes continued as we struggled on.  We managed to do a bit of damage and once again my riptides with overcharge shields resisted every attempt to destroy them, but an enemy transport got close enough to contest the objective. There was very little that we could do, but there were a few surprises still in store. In the first assault phase my pathfinders once again managed to kill a terminator. Two terminator squads killed by 4 pathfinders, without suffering any casualties!

134In our opponent’s shooting phase the pathfinders took a lot of fire, but went to ground and only suffered 1 casualty.

The chaos marines managed to hold objective 1, but our opponents managed to get 4 objectives and contest another.

Victory to the youngsters

Analysis: It was a very good game and not too overwhelming, but there were clearly quite a few bad tactical decisions. The first of which was not understanding the rules, then deploying with my forces too spread out. It was pointed out that this did help me to get to my objective, but without playing more games I couldn’t say if that benefit was worse the inability to use any formation abilities. Giving missile pod drones to the broadsides does give a few extra shots, but makes the squad easier to hurt and made it almost impossible for my last guy to rally. I think that it would have been a good idea to hold my breacher teams and transports back, until there were more targets for them and it was clearer where they needed to be. The commander was pretty useless. A Shas’vre could provide all the buffs to the crisis suits for far fewer points. Being able to split fire would have helped too. I also need more units with skyfire and ignores cover, or else more marker lights, to bestow similar abilities where they are needed.

The guard tank line was by far the most effective army and the chaos marines were probably the least effective. The skitarii did ok and the knight was amazing in melee. The defiler was the most effective of the opposing chaos units. The flying demon princes were not very effective. Hard to hit while flying, but not that hard to kill on the turn they landed. The riptides were very hard to kill and did ok at earning back their points. The marine bikers being able to reroll 3+ jink saves made them almost impossible to kill.

The personal objectives were pretty easy to achieve. everybody managed everything except securing the designated objectives, which only 2 people managed.

There were a few times when one player (naming no names) forgot that hid vehicles had jinked, or been shaken etc. It seems that proper tokens for such things, along with immobilized, weapon destroyed etc. would be a great idea. Since wrecked vehicles are also left on the board, a wreck marker, so that we can assess threats more easily will help avoid confusion.

With so much going on across the battlefield the judge broke up the battle a bit more, insisting that running was done after all shooting and that jet pack moves were done after all assaults were completed. Towards the start of the game I forgot to jet pack my riptides forward and at the end of the game, the enemy started their move before I was aware that the assaults were over, preventing me from moving my riptides back to better protect the objective and costing us a victory point. (although we would have still lost the game)

Before the match Phil, the judge, looked over my army list and said to me that the second pathfinder team with no special weapons were a waste of points and served no purpose. He said they would probably be killed in turn 1. They survived the match, lit up units as intended (when I remembered them) and took out 2 terminators in melee. In my opinion they were definitely worth 44 points.