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 Post subject: Short Batrep: 1500 Kraken double-battalion vs. new Tau
PostPosted: Sat Mar 24, 2018 6:45 pm 
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Joined: Sun Jan 30, 2005 6:17 pm
Posts: 2257
Location: San Diego, California, USA
Hi all!
Long hiatus from the game, I'm finally getting a game in every couple of weeks now that Tyranids are competitive again (7th edition kinda burned me out).

I didn't take any pictures because it massively slows down play (a problem I have anyway) and it makes posting a lot more time consuming (and therefore less likely when I run out of time).

For those who don't like reading long posts; 1500 points, 2x Kraken Battalions on my side, a mixed Tau sept / Sacsea sept force on my opponent's side.

I brought:
HQ: (Warlord) Flyrant w/ MRC, HVC, TS, Chameleonic Mutation, WL Trait: Instinctive Killer (Crisis Suits), Catalyst, Onslaught
HQ: Neurothrope w/ Horror
HQ: Broodlord w/ Catalyst
HQ: Old One Eye
EL: 3x Hive Guard w/ impalers
TR: 5x3 Rippers
TR: 20x Genestealers w/ 5x Acid Maws
FA: 30x Gargoyles w/ AG
FA: 3x Spore Mines
HS: 3x Biovores

He brought (from memory; I will probably get some of the names and numbers wrong):

Tau Sept (overwatch on 5+ instead of 6+)
- (Warlord) Ethereal w/ two-handed blade thing
- Cadre Fireblade
- 4x5 Fire Warriors
- 5x Pathfinders
- 2x4 shield drones
- Broadside w/ missile launchers
- Riptide w/ heavy burst cannon and suicide bomb

Sacsea Sept (one shooting to hit reroll per unit per shooting phase)
- Cold Star commander w/ fusion blasters and air-bursting frag projector
- 4x Crisis Suits w/ fusion blasters and shield drones
- 4x Crisis Suits w/ burst cannons and shield drones

It was my second 8e Nid codex game and his first 8e Tau codex game. We played standard matched play maelstrom with chapter approved ruling for determining who goes first (roll off with +1 for the first fully deployed). We rolled mission randomly and got Cloak and Dagger, which meant hidden tactical objectives (revealed only when they were scored) and -1 to hit with shooting at targets over 18" away.

I won the initial roll-off and picked the table side and deployment type (standard 12" DZ pitched battle, always my favorite for Nids) I picked what I will call the south long board edge for my DZ, putting the Tau on the north. I started with null deployment on my first six drops (all rippers and spore mines in deepstrike reserve) while he put most of his Tau sept force (fire warriors, ethereal, fireblade, pathfinders, drones, and broadside) in the northeast corner. By the time I started putting things on the table, he had only one drop left, his riptide, which went in the northwest corner in a ruin. He had both units of crisis suits and the cold star in deepstrike reserve.

I had a single rank of gargoyles extending across the whole width of the board right to the front of my DZ, with the genestealers, broodlord, and flyrant in the southeast corner right behind. The neurothrope and OOE were in the middle just behind the gargoyle screen, with the biovores behind a hill south center and the hive guard behind a ruin in the southwest, just in range of the riptide.

Despite finishing deployment last, I won the roll off and got to go first; he did not seize the initiative.

Short version of the game:
- gargoyles advance across the width of the board with the BL/GS and HT behind in the southeast; BL gives them catalyst and HT gives them onslaught, then they shoot (ineffective) and charge (also ineffective) the fire warriors in the northeast, taking a fair amount of damage from overwatch and melee (really depressing when shield drones are causing casualties by bumping into you), but locking up everything in that corner except the pathfinders (which get shot down to a single model by smites, fleshborers, and venom cannon fire).

- neurothrope advances up the middle just far enough that HG (southwest) and biovores (south) are still in 24". Biovores drop some mines on the riptide, reserve spore mines drop 12" away from riptide, hive guard shoot riptide and whiff completely.

- OOE advances up the middle, shielded by gargoyles and two drops of rippers on two mid-board objectives.

- His infantry force in the northeast spends the rest of the game falling back, overwatching, and getting charged again, by the genestealers (opportunistic advance) in turn 2 and then the broodlord in turn 3. By the end of turn 4, they had finally all been cut down, albeit with only the broodlord and five genestealers left.

- His riptide flew south turn one and took a bunch of shots at the biovores (killing two) and rippers, then charged the rippers and did very little. This put him in close combat and in easy charge range for OOE and the brood of three deepstriking spore mines, and without the ability to overwatch because of already being in combat (I think he thought the rippers would be a lot more fragile). The spore mines charging in took two wounds off of it, then OOE had a perfect CC round, hitting with all five MST attacks and generating five more attacks, all of which hit as well. Ten MST hits put enough damage by the 3+ invul save to kill it outright.

- He dropped his fusion suits and cold star in the southwest where they incinerated the hive guard, then worked their way towards the board center killing ripper broods that were sitting on objectives. I never did any significant damage to those suits, but they really didn't do much other than taking out the hive guard.

- The cold star flew to near board center on turn 2, right next to where OOE was standing after his one-punch kill of the riptide. Fusion guns easily took OOE out in a single salvo, after which the cold star went for the southeast where my flyrant was (see below). The neurothrope popped him a few wounds with smite on the way through, but was surrounded by rippers so he couldn't be a target.

- He dropped his burst cannon crisis suits in the southeast, behind the genestealers and flyrant. They split fire between the biovores in board center (successful, knocking brood down to a single biovore with 1 wound) and the genestealers (disappointing; cover helped them and they only lost two). The flyrant flew south, shot (HVC, ineffective) and charged (MRC, also ineffective), and they spend the next two turns doing the fall-back, shoot burst cannons (no damage), HT shoots/charges (do a couple wounds to the drones) until all of the drones were finally dead at the end of Tyranid turn 3; then I burned my last 3 command points to give the HT one more round of melee, where he tore apart the two remaining suits. By this point, the coldstar had advanced into point blank range, but was -1 for advance, -1 for horror from the neurothrope, and -1 for chameleonic mutation; he still hit with both fusion blasters, but whiffed both wound rolls (and was out of CP)! The HT took him apart with HVC and melee for no damage in return in turn 4.

- Rippers dropped 1-2 broods per turn on the objectives between turn 1 and 4; when I had drawn a tactical "secure" objective, I put one brood on that one and one on another so he would have a harder time opposing me (since objective cards were hidden until scored). By the end of the game, his crisis suits were working across the board exterminating them one brood at a time.

At the end of turn 4 he conceded. I had scored 8 VPs to his 4 or 5, but I had obsec rippers on nearly all the objectives, my HT (9W left, and all damage done by a 3W perils on turn 1), neurothrope, and broodlord still fully functional, and five acid maw genestealers, against four fusion crisis suits with four shield drones.

Some lessons I learned:

- I do not have full command of the strategems yet. I was repeatedly going back and realizing that I had missed an opportunity to cast an extra psychic power or regain CP (genestealers killing warlord).

- I allocated my psychic powers poorly, wasting a lot of potential. I did not foresee the game devolving into separate fights in three corners of the board, so buff powers (beside catalyst on the broodlord) were mostly wasted. That said, onslaught on the gargoyles was absolutely critical on turn 1 (as I knew it would be) in order to charge and lock up the Tau infantry.

- Sometimes, impaler cannons are not awesome.

- Spore mines are really nice as augmentation to combat; they are lousy for charging because overwatch ruins them, but having a bunch coming in after the target has already been charged (or into an ongoing close combat) is really really awesome.

- Shield drones make me sad. Having a hive tyrant do a bunch of wounds only to have them reallocated to drones and then negated with a 5+ FNP is what made the HT's close combat against the crisis suits and the genestealers against the fire warriors take so long. Once the drones were gone, the fragile fish people were put down within a single round of melee.

- Once the infantry was backed into a corner, the Ethereal shifted his power over to Earth (6+ Feel No Pain to everything in 6"). It did a lot of work preventing casualties, more than I would have expected. This gives me more confidence that the Leviathan hive fleet trait might actually be worthwhile, especially against things that +1 cover (Jormungandr, the main contender for a "durability" hive fleet) won't help, like high-AP attacks and mortal wounds.

- I really like Kraken, but it's so well adapted to genestealers (and one unit additional melee per turn with onslaught) that it really skews list construction. I want to branch out into different army list possibilities for my next few games so I don't get myself stuck in one way of playing Nids.

Thanks for reading, and I hope my lessons help others. Looking forward to any critique of my list, tactics, or specific ways to make Tau die more quickly.

"And Darkness and Decay and the Red Death held illimitable dominion over all."
- Edgar Allen Poe, The Masque of the Red Death

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