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Archive Tau Interlude: Tau vs IG! (Part 1)

Started by BigToof, October 27, 2018, 11:01:25 AM

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Tau vs. Imperial Guard in "Guards and Gunlines" (1500)

Hi All,
Take two.

The Tau are back again, this time Post-FAQ so gunlines got a bit of a boost and the shakeup from my local meta is quite pleasing.
At least for the Tau and IG.
And that is what I bring today, as I was able to get in a pair of games vs the same IG list.
The Tau did... better than they did vs the Dark Eldar (shiver), and since I did a massive list re-tool, that made me feel better.
Hope you all like the rep, and yes, there is fluff!


P.S.  Critiques and Comments are greatly appreciated!


The Lists

Tau Empire (1500): 48 Infantry, 14 Drones, 2 MCs, 9 CPs
Bork'an Battalion
-Commander w/Coldstar, Fusion Blastersx2, CIBx2
-Fireblade w/Markerlight, Puretide Chip
-Riptide w/HBurst Cannon, SMSx2, ATS, TL
-Riptide w/HBurst Cannon, SMSx2, ATS, TL
-Fire Warriorsx5
-Fire Warriorsx5
-Fire Warriorsx5
-Pathfindersx5 w/Markerlights, PAccel Drone
-Pathfindersx5 w/Markerlights, PAccel Drone
Farsight Enclaves Outriders
-Commander w/Coldstar, Fusion Blastersx2 (Fusion Blades), CIBx2
-Shield Dronesx4
-Shield Dronesx4
-Shield Dronesx4
Vior'la Patrol
-Commander w/Coldstar, Fusion Blastersx2, CIBx2
Signiture Systems (Relics): Fusion Blades, Puretide Chip

Imperial Guard (1500): 59 Infantry, 9 Vehicles; 15 CPs
Cadian Brigade
-Company Commander w/Kurov's Aquilla (Warlord)
-Tank Commander w/Battle Cannon, Lascannon
-Tank Commander w/Battle Cannon, Lascannon
-Primaris Psyker w/Force Staff
-Infantry Squad w/Mortar
-Infantry Squad w/Mortar
-Infantry Squad w/Mortar
-Infantry Squad w/Mortar
-Infantry Squad w/Mortar
-Infantry Squad w/Mortar
-Scout Sentinel w/HFlamer
-Scout Sentinel w/HFlamer
-Scout Sentinel w/HFlamer
Warlord: Grand Strategist

Chapter Two: Any Landing You Can Walk Away From...

"... And that's how I ended up here."

The mostly bandaged Tau being tended on by multiple medical drones seemed chipper enough.  Shas'O Shi'va sighed, holding her head.  It had been a rough dozen or so days.  Waking up in the wreckage of her battlesuit was bad enough, but when she was told about their situation, that was enough to make the sturdiest Tau fall into the depths of depression.

Instead of doing the tactically intelligent thing of simply annihilating them, the Eldar had let them live.  It had taken three Fire Warriors to pull her off Kor'va when she had found out the identity of their assalients.  It was just like the Eldar to fake one of their own being kidnapped and then attack when their targets had bumbled their way into a trap.

But, after reviewing the data logs, the truth was perhaps even worse.  The Great Databases had records of Dark Raiders, a faction of the Eldar that were like shadows that could snatch away entire populaces in a single night.  She had always thought that the records were exaggerations caused by survivor's guilt, but the truth was sadly true.  There was a race of entirely malevolent beings that existed only to cause pain and suffering, and they had not killed them because they had enacted a plan.  A sadly masterstroke of one. 

By bringing them to a planet held on the edge of Imperial space, the local Imperial settlements had been altered to their presence and the Eldar were sending out a surprisingly accurate set of transmissions to both Tau and Imperial bandwidths that the Tau had landed and combat was fierce.  And when ships had gone into orbit to attempt to evaluate the situation, they were set upon by the Dark Eldar. 

Their ship, though without sufficient fuel to attempt a breakthrough of their own, had been able to watch the entire affair.  Two ships, one Tau and one Imperial had fallen to the trap so far, and they had luckily rescued survivors from the Tau crash.  Or rather Survivor.  Singlular.  Shi'va had to admit that he was perhaps the luckiest Tau she had ever met, as the rolling fireball that broke up half-way into the atmosphere was most assuradly a death sentence.

But, this Tau, a Shas'O of all things, had survived.  The bandaged Tau pushed away a Drone and said with a grin, "Well, your situation has improved after all."

Shi'va pulled her head out of her hands and said, "And how exactly is that, Shas'O?  The Imperial crash also had survivors and they are coming this way.  They vastly outnumber us, and we have little in the way of troops or weapons."

The Shas'O smirked, "You've got the best Battlesuit pilot in all the Empire, pretty one.  Don't worry, Shas'O Vior'la Saum'ka will put these Imperial scum to the torch."

Shi'va rolled her eyes.  Not another one.  "Right, you can't even get out of..."

And with some surprise, Saum'ka jumped off the bed, winced a bit, and then started pulling bandages off.  He was young, Shi'va had to admit, younger than her by more than a bit, and had a number of scars criss-crossing his body.

Saum'ka noticed her watchful gaze and grinned.  "You like what you see?  Besides being the handsomest thing you'll see in the Fifth Sphere, I've also got most of my nerve endings replaced.  Souveniers of a bad crash or five.  Turn off the pain notifiers and BAM.  I'm back in business."

Shi'va thought for a bit, nodded and said, "Alright then, Shas'O, I'm not going to deny you a chance at a last stand.  Just don't let your Vior'la blood get the best of you."

With a snort, Saum'ka nodded, "You'll have to keep up with me.  Now, where did they put my Coldstar?  I want to make sure I didn't lose any kill markings in all of this..."


Newly minted Company Commander Terrance Featherstone checked the last of his men.  The gangly, bespectacled man was the least threatening man amongst the Cadian 555th, and it was perhaps by the most aggressive battlefield promotions ever recorded had Terrance assumed command.  It wasn't that he really wanted it, he had to admit.  He was the aide of the least senior Junior Commander, it was just that he happened to be in the supply closet when their ship made planetfall.  99% of the crew had perished, but, as was perhaps normal for Imperial-made vessels, much more in the way of muntions and vehicles had come out surprisingly in working shape.  Or at least, nearly so.

Terrance did a head count, and wrote down names on his mostly singed paper.  Six Squads, Nine Vehicles, and an enemy beacon that they had to find and silence.

For the Good of the Imperium.

Terrance had considered perhaps falling back to shelter or waiting for reinforcements, but one of the Guardsmen had dared to question that possibility out-loud.  A bolt pistol round later, nobody was asking questions around the three Commissars that had survived.

He swallowed at the thought of the rather nonchalant summary execution, and thought to himself that it was almost comically appropriate that the only people who were allowed to voluntarily lower their own manpower had surivived through the rather brutal affair.

Fair enough though.  It wasn't as if the universe dealt anyone anything resembling a decent hand.  You just had to learn to roll with the punches.

Who knows, he thought, maybe the Xenos thought they were all dead and weren't going to try anything.  He did think it was rather odd that they weren't being orbitally bombarded yet, but he decided just to count that as a blessing from the Emperor.

Also, it was probably a sign that they should get to cover quickly.  And if the Xenos had a suitably reinforced and lightly-guarded place, all the better.


Setup: Dawn of War
Mission: Big Guns Never Tire

Oof.  And I thought I brought a lot of guns.  The Guard outnumber me in manpower, tanks and sheer weight of well... everything.  But, they thankfully need to pull me off my objectives.

The board is fairly even with small ruins in the corners, a big LoS blocker in the middle and craters (yay cover!) in the remaining areas.

It's going to be very nice for my Tau that don't like to move a terrible amount.

The IG have plenty of drops, and make almost parade lines with their 60 guys up front and the Manticores in the corners.  One also goes in the center next to the Command Chimera that has the Commander and the Psyker.  The Lemun Russes are also in the center next to them.  The Sentinels are near the front and will be scouting forwards.

I also deploy centrally, with Kroot in the front (also going to scout out) Fire Warriors behind them, and the Riptides behind that with all of the Characters sort of in the middle.

My opponent is quite eager to blow me off the table, and indeed wins the roll to go first! (Why is it that +1 doesn't seem to help the Tau with these things...)

I fail to seize (sigh) and the game begins!

Picture Caption: Now THAT'S a gunline...


BigToof Points:

Cammerz: 8
Waaaghpower: 1
The Man They Call Jayne: 3
Mabbz: 6
Archon Sharrek: 3


Turn 1: Imperial Guard

Never before had Terrance Featherstone been so happy that Chimeras existed.  The signal was coming from a broken outpost that was full of craggy outcroppings that were full of sniper outpockets that held all manner of potential Officer killing Xenos weaponry.  Or at least, so it seemed like it.

So it was that he was nestled in his very safe tank on the very edge of the wide, but narrow column of tanks hoping that the Tau weren't here.

But, as was typical, there was a bark over the Comms.

"Contact!  Contact!  Xenos sighting!"

Terrance coughed and said as clearly as possible, "Everyone, keep your positions.  Manticores, shoot.  A lot.  Thank you."

There was a pause before the Artillery crew answered back, "Yes... sir."

Terrance waited for the few seconds before the ground shook with the impact and subsequent explosion of Storm-Eagle Rockets.

Riddle the ground until nothing can shoot back.  It was the Imperial way.


After verifying that I don't have any deep-strikers, my opponent decides to push his entire army forwards.  The Lemun Russ Commanders move to the flanks to line up shots.  Two of the Sentinels, having scooted forwards, get within Heavy Flamer range.

Shooting is kind of brutal with my opponent using his tanks and artillery using the Cadian Strategem to produce a rather shocking number of wounds.  It nearly kills one of the Riptides, who barely survives just by the judicious use of Shield Drones.  The Heavy Flamers don't roll that well, and my Kroot screens survived.
Sadly though, enough of my drones have died (nearly all actually), which is enough for First Blood!

Picture Caption: OW... that's a painful First Blood...

Turn 1: Tau

Shas'ui Kai'nan howled over the comms.

Bang grabbed the nearly toppling Riptide and righted it.  Some people had all the bad luck.

"I thought..." coughed Kai'nan, "I thought these Battlesuits were the ones that didn't riddled with shots as soon as the battle began."

Bang shrugged, "Takes some getting used to.  The Ghostkeel may be hard to see, but I'll take armor plating over a stealth field any day.  Now, warm up your Nova Reactors and let's show 'em how real shooting is done!"

There was a flicker on his screen as Shi'va appeared, looking her usual dour self.  "Kor'va, link up with my suit.  One of the Heavy Tanks is out of cover, we need to take it out."

Bang smiled, fingers whipping across the terminal  to setup the Command and Control nodule, "No problem.  Just like old times, right?  That's a Lemun Russ, by the way, beautiful craftsmenship.  For the Imperium anyway.  I think it might be a Mars Alpha Pattern...  Sort of a shame to destroy it."

The Commander sighed and rolled her eyes, tapping her display that was automatically targeting the vulnerable points of the enemy vehicle, "Yes, beautiful for an alien tank about to blow us off our feet.  Now, let's give them something to worry about..."


Time for payback!

We have a large LoS blocker in the middle, so I move to the left to block tank shots and then move the Fire Warriors to the right.
Markerlights go out, getting some Markerlight shots on most everything that I'm worried I might not be able to easily destroy (i.e. the right Sentinel and the Lemun Russ on the left).
The Commanders have moved out and Shi'va stays in the back.

Li'myr and our new Vior'la friend roast a Sentinel each (not too hard as they don't have a lot of wounds) and the Fire Warriors take out the Sentinel on the right (barely) and a few Guardsmen.  Branched Nova Charge goes off on Bang.

I then use the C&C Node from Shi'va (re-roll wounds for 1 CP and a turn of the Commander who is out of range of everyone doing nothing?  I'll take it!) on Bang and go to town on the Lemun Russ.  I knock it down to basically dead and then finish off with the other Riptide (who is on Stimms and has a few points back from the Automated Repair strategem).

I also thin out a Guardsmen squad on the left thanks to SMS fire.

Picture Caption: Note to self: Use more Stratagems!

Turn 2: Imperial Guard

There was an explosion behind the Command Chimera, nearly knocking Terrance Featherstone off of his feet.  He ran to the back hatch and confirmed that indeed, the Lemun Russ on their flank was now a pile of rubble.  How had the Tau managed that from this distance?  No matter.  A few more volleys and even they would have to capitulate.  Either that or there wouldn't be anything left of them...


The Guard continue to move up and return fire, taking down the badly hurt Riptide and trying to hurt Bang, but I've got my 3++ thanks to Branched Nova Charge, and am just fine though it does expend the last of the Shield Drones.  The Lemun Russ zooms to the center using orders, moving quite a bit faster than I expected...

I also lose the last of my Kroot on the left due to Orders and well, even Lasguns can be effective when a squad is pumping out 40-odd shots each...

Picture Caption: Well, it's a good thing I brought TWO Riptides...

Turn 2: Tau

Shas'nel Cal'nan nodded to himself.  Things were going all according to plan.  Thanks to the superior weaponry of the Bork'an, the enemy was within their reach and could slowly be whittled down.  Even the simple Pulse Rifle could be the means of defeating the sturdiest tank if used with precision.  All they needed was patience and to absolutely keep their positions.  Nothing would...

"This is Shas'O Vior'la Li'myr of the Farsight Eclaves.  The time is nigh!  The Wild Blade calls!  MONT'KA!"

There was a pause amongst the assembled Tau as the veteran Enclave Commander roared into the sky, falling deep into the enemy backfield.

The confusion amongst the comms was audible, and Cal'nan tried to keep order.
"This is Shas'nel Cal'nan.  Belay that order.  I am the leader of the..."

"Sorry, can't hear you," said the newcomer Vior'la.  "Must be the comms...  For the Greater Good!  Mont'ka!"

The violet Battlesuit leapt forwards, following Li'myr in this near suicidal charge.

Cal'nan was beside himself, but then gasped when he saw his own Commander Shi'va take flight.

"Apologies, Shas'nel," said Shi'va, "But I can't let those two idiots get themselves killed for nothing.  I respectfully request support fire.  Did you hear that, Bang?"

Bang nodded, "You got it, Shi'va.  Hey you alien scum!  Take a look at my Greater Goods!"

The Riptide hummed as the Nova Reactor flipped into overdrive and a massive gout of Heavy Burst Cannon roared across the battlefield.

Shas'nel Cal'nan shook his head.  How had things unraveled so quickly?


My opponent is a bit shocked when I declare MONT'KA.

All three Commanders zoom up 40" and park next to tanks.
Shi'va flies to the left and the two others fly to the Center.
Bang and everyone move up.

Shooting has the newcomer Commander show off with his Vior'la strategem, wiping out a Lemun Russ BY HIMSELF.  Li'myr settles with destroying a Manticore.  Shi'va also destroys a Manticore.  Bang puts the hurt on more Guardsmen, as does the Fire Warriors, who are now in triple tap range.

On the side, it's hard to tell who did more damage, but the Guardsmen are running a bit thin on the flanks now.

Picture Caption: MONT'KA!!!

Turn 3: Imperial Guard

There was a trio of thuds behind the Chimera.  At first, Terrance thought that they were artillery shells or something, but the crackle of tell-tale energy across his scanners told him something quite different.  The enemy had breached their front lines.  But how?  The Tau weren't supposed to be this fast!  Could his intelligence be off?

Before he had a chance to question things more, a pair of explosions told him all he needed to know.  The Tau were here and things were going to be quite dangerous.


Shocked that well... their numbers have thinned a bit, the Guard consolidate towards the center, and shoot the pants off the Vior'la Commander.

They try to do some damage to Li'myr, but the old man is not having it taking basically no wounds.

Assault is attempted as well, but no damage is really done.

Picture Caption: To no one's surprise Crash bites the dust.

Turn 3: Tau

Shas'O Li'myr took a moment to confirm that the youngster Vior'la Commander wasn't dead before pushing away the horde of humans that had surrounded him, trying to stab at him with their rifle-knives.

He shook his head as he activated his Fusion Blades, twin lances of pure energy forming into deadly weapons as he swung them with precision timing, turning the nearest Guardsmen into ash as his fellows howled and fell away with fear filling their eyes.


No wonder the Fifth Sphere had done so well if this was the extent of their enemies.  He frowned as another bombardment flew threw the air, a massive rocket turning into a cluster of explosions.  There was still another one of those ungainy weapons on the field.  And it had the audacity to let Li'myr know it's location.  Fair enough, he thought, as he warmed up his engines.  Better use of his time then.


I pull Li'myr out of assault and zoom him over to the last of the Manticores.
Shiva moves up to threaten the Command Chimera.

Fire Warriors and Kroot begin to move up with the Fireblade.

Shooting has more Guardsman fall and I almost take out the Manticore.
The Chimera proves a bit hard of a nut to crack, but both suits manage it.
The Psyker and Company Commander get out none the worse for wear though...

Picture Caption: Almost turning things around...

Turn 4: Imperial Guard

Shi'va frowned as she watched the old human struggle out of the wrecked tank.  Her weapons targeted on the hunched figure, scanners running over the alien.  No weapons save for a simple pistol and staff.  Perhaps a non-combatant?

She snorted and turned back to the main fight, weathering another barrange of las-fire.

Which, in hindsight, was her mistake as Primaris Psyker Gideon Ortean opened his mind to the Warp.  There was a howling sound as crackling Warp-Lightning raced from his fingers, frying the Battlesuit in front of him.  The old man let go with a crackling laugh as the Xenos fell.  Purge the Alien.  Let it's own weakness be it's downfall...


The Guard continue to consolidate, taking out Shi'va with a huge Smite (he periled for it...) and concentrated Lasgun fire.  However, it's getting to be a bit too late, as he's hemorrhaged so many Guardsmen, it's not looking good for the Imperium.

Turn 4: Tau


Bang launched his Riptide forwards, spraying a massive rain of Burst Cannon fire that melted the line of Guardsmen around the fallen Commander.  He checked the suit and let go a sigh of relief when he noted that life-signs were still intact, but the suit's engines and weapons were down.  Shi'va wasn't going anywhere anytime soon.

"Bang," grunted Shi'va over the comms, "I'm alright.  Go and finish them off."

Kor'va nodded, "Yeah, what's the old Imperium saying... 'That's how we'll win. Not by fighting what we hate, by saving what we love.'"

There was a pause as Shi'va blushed and said, "That's a stupid saying."

"I think it must make sense in the original Gothic.  In any case," said Bang, warming up his Heavy Burst Cannon, "I have to show an old man his retirement gift."


Bang and Fire Warriors move up and shoot more Guardsmen.  Li'myr finishes off his Manticore.  Bang personally goes in and slaps the last wound off the Primaris!

Picture Caption: Vengeance for Shi'va!

Turn 5: Imperial Guard

I take some shots from the last of the Guard, but it's not looking good for the Imperium.

Picture Caption: Running out of time...

Turn 5: Tau

Li'myr and Bang put an end to the last of the Guard.

Picture Caption: I see your Laspistol and raise you a Heavy Burst Cannon!


Post-Game Thoughts: FINALLY.

After the beatdown of last game, I reworked the Tau list and it feels much better.
Needs some fine tuning still as I struggled some against the IG list as it felt like I was more fragile than before, but maybe that's just the feeling that fighting the Guard gives you.  You can't beat them in numbers, that's for certain.
But... let's go over units:

1.  Coldstar Commanders
Yeah...  I love 'em.  I was a bit apprehensive before, but their 20"/40" move/advance just lets them surgically insert themselves and dissolve armor or heavy infantry with easy.  Plus, they can use strategems like C&C that gives the Riptides re-roll wounds (SO KEY in this game), and they can be hard to reach for your opponents in the early game as they are Characters.  I liked the double Ion/ double Fusion suits as they gave me enough of a kick while letting me have some rate of fire if I want to go Infantry whittling, but I've found out that you can't take Ion with Coldstars...  So Quad Fusion we go!  Overall great units.
Grade: A

2.  Riptide
Taking two is still somewhat questionable, but 12" move and Heavy Burst Cannon is just so good.  With a buff from the Commander they are nearly unstoppable.  Also, the Branching Nova Charge is hella amazing.
Grade: A

3.  Fireblade
Not bad, but his aura is a bit small and felt kind of limited this game.  Still, he's an untargetable markerlight that hits on 2+ and a good Warlord that can sit in the backfield and keep farming CPs with the Puretide Chip.
Grade: B

4.  Fire Warriors
What can I say?  Triple tapping is fun and the ability to stay in my 21" sweet spot was pretty nice, but they didn't do all THAT much damage as they still have a mediocre BS and no AP on their weapons.  Just don't know how long they would last in a real gunfight...
Grade: B

5.  Pathfinders
I'm finding Markerlight more and more of an unnecessary commodity.  One hit is great, but you need FIVE to really do anything more meaningful.  As the Pathfinders have mediocre BS, you really either have to take a lot of the fragile guys or keep them hidden, which kind of makes them less useful.
Grade: C

6.  Shield Drones
I would have lost BOTH Riptides turn one without them.  Cheap and god-like resiliant.  I would take more, but their less-than-stellar Morale is a big issue.
Grade: A-

7.  Kroot
Don't do much, but hella cheap and kept Heavy Flamers from being pushed into my face.  Love 'em.  Just wish they had better Leadership sometimes...
Grade: A-

So the list is shaping up.  I like the triple Commander build.  All three feel like they add a lot to the overall army.  The Bork'an Commander can buff the Riptide, the Vior'la Commander is just an unguided missile of suicidal backfield destruction and the Farsight Commander is a boss in close-combat.  I love the Riptide as well, but maybe just one?  Hard to tell if I can't take more drones.  The Kroot are also keepers.  As for the others?  I'm less set on them.  The Pathfinders, Fire Warriors and Fireblade are ok, but I'm not sure how good the 21" triple tap is for it's points.  Seems like a lot for a one-trick pony that falls on it's face if any of the units are lost or out of position.  I'm tempted to take something like Broadsides or Stealth suits for my anti-infantry, as I can feel the stirrings of the great Imperial Guard Horde a-coming...

Let me know how you thought the fight went, and any suggestions are greatly appreciated!



Shas'nel Cal'nan was pacing angrily as the remaining Riptide and Coldstar brought over the ruined Battlesuits.

"You two!" he barked, causing Li'myr and Bang to halt in mid-stride.  Even though the Fireblade was dwarfed by the two enormous machines, Cal'nan showed no sign of letting up.  "How dare you undermine my command!"

Li'myr snorted, "Your command was going to get us all killed!  Perhaps if you listened less to the Ethereal-damned device in your skull and more to your own instincts, you'd realize that I just saved us all!"

Cal'nan shook his head.  "Saved us?  From what?  A modicum of a force that the Imperium can throw our way with impunity?  Look at our losses.  Coldstars just don't just grow on trees!  Better for us to have quit the field than..."

"Quit.  The.  Field?"  growled Li'myr, "Just like the Bork'an to think of numbers than appreciate a hard-won victory.  No wonder you're not a Shas'O."

Cal'nan scowled and his hand went for his Pulse Rifle, but was stopped by the massive form of Kor'va sliding between the two.

"Get out of the way, boy," said Cal'nan, "I have a lesson to teach this traitor about respect."

Bang held up his hands, "Listen, Cal.  I understand.  You're mad.  We took some pretty bad hits, but...  Li'myr's right."

Both of the other Tau looked up at Bang with surprise.

Cal'nan frowned, "You're siding... with the Separatists?  Against me?  I thought we were friends!"

Kor'va nodded, "Uh... yeah...  We are...  But... This isn't an Imperial invasion.  They're getting hammered up there by whatever crazy Eldar that did a number on us.  All we have to do is move fast, get our ship repaired and find a window out of here."

Li'myr thought for a moment and then nodded as well, "The youngster's right.  Our time grows short and we need to work together if we want to survive.  Truce for the moment?"

Cal'nan frowned and nodded in assent, "Very well, Enclavist.  But know that our conversation isn't over by a long shot."

The two older Tau turned and left, leaving Bang to thankfully release the breath that he didn't realize he had been holding.  Things were maybe looking up after all?

"Well done."

Bang turned to see that odd Farsight Drone floating near him again.  "Voxi, right?  Uh, you... saw all that?"

The Drone floated forwards, getting a bit too close for comfort, "Quite right.  Li'myr can be handful when he's worked up.  Vior'la blood you know.  You'll make a fine Shas'O one day."

At that compliment, Bang brightened, "Do you really think so?"

"Oh, yes," Voxi said, floating closer and then whispering, "If you ever give any thought to joining the Enclaves, I'll be sure to put in a good word for you."

"Uh... thanks," said Kor'va not sure how to take an offer of sedition from an artificial intelligence, "I'll take that as a compliment.  Now, let's see how we can get off this rock..."
BigToof Points:

Cammerz: 8
Waaaghpower: 1
The Man They Call Jayne: 3
Mabbz: 6
Archon Sharrek: 3