Friday, September 13, 2013

Sons of Horus vs Gundamwing Tau

+++ Sons of Horus army list +++

(9 kill points total)

Chaplain - Catap armor
Librarian - Catap armor, force axe
Apothecary - Catap armor, narcethium, power fist

Note that my opponent allowed me run a third HQ and use Pride of the Legion even though I didn't field a Praetor. : )

My Warlord trait makes the Warlord and his retinue cause Fear. The Librarian chooses the Lore of Divination - Prescience, Precognition, Misfortune.

4x Justrearin Terminator
- Power axe, combi-melta
- Power axe
- Pair of lightning claws
- Power fist

Spartan assault tank:
Extra armor, dozer blade, auxiliary drive, ceramite plates, flare shield
Quad lascannon sponsons, twin-linked heavy bolter

5x Legion Terminator - Catap armor
Sergeant - grenade harness, power fist
- Heavy flamer, power axe
- Power axe, combi-melta
- Power axe
- Thunder hammer
- Pair of lightning claws

Land Raider Phobos (dedicated transport):
Extra armor, dozer blade, auxiliary drive, ceramite plates

5x Legion Terminator - Catap armor
Sergeant - grenade harness, power axe
- Heavy flamer, thunder hammer
- Power axe, combi-melta
- Power axe
- Thunder hammer

Land Raider Phobos (dedicated transport):
Extra armor, dozer blade, auxiliary drive, ceramite plates

1) Cataphractii armor confers both a 4++ invulnerable save and Slow & Purposeful
2) Auxiliary drive ignores immobilization on a roll of 4+
3) Ceramite plates prevent melta weaponry from rolling 2d6 for armor penetration
4) Flare shield reduces enemy shooting by -1S for ranged weapons and -2S for templates on the front arc

>>-))o> Gundamwing Tau Empire army list >>-))o>

Iridium battlesuit, drone controller, target lock, blacksun filter, neuroweb system jammer
2x Marker drone
Fusion blaster, missile pod

The Tau Warlord trait is roll 3d6 for the jetpack assault move.

5x Marker drone (attached to Commander)


Riptide No. 1:
Nova reactor, blacksun filter, stimulant injector, multi-tracker, early warning override, riptide shield generator
Twin-linked smart missile system, ion accelerator

Riptide No. 2:
Nova reactor, blacksun filter, stimulant injector, multi-tracker, early warning override, riptide shield generator
Twin-linked smart missile system, ion accelerator

Riptide No. 3:
Nova reactor, blacksun filter, stimulant injector, multi-tracker, early warning override, riptide shield generator
Twin-linked smart missile system, ion accelerator

Riptide No. 4:
Nova reactor, blacksun filter, stimulant injector, multi-tracker, early warning override
Twin-linked smart missile system, heavy burst cannon

XV88 Broadside Team:
2x Twin-linked rail rifle, twin-linked smart missile system
Blacksun filter, multi-tracker, velocity tracker
1x Twin-linked high yield missile pod, twin-linked smart missile system
Blacksun filter, multi-tracker, velocity tracker

5x Pathfinder

15x Kroot - sniper rounds
Kroot hound

15x Kroot - sniper rounds
Kroot hound

11x Fire Warrior

11x Fire Warrior

Railgun, submunition rounds, disruption pod

Aegis Defense Line:
Quad gun

MISSION RULES (taken from an upcoming local GT)

Deployment - Hammer and Anvil

Primary One
King of the Hill - There are three objective markers placed along the mid line of the board (long way). One objective marker is in the center of the table. The other two are 18" on either side. If you control the objective marker in your opponent's deployment zone it's worth 4 battle points. If you control the objective marker in your own table quarter it's worth 2 battle points. The objective marker in the center is worth 3 battle points.

Primary Two
War Zones - Each table quarter you control in your half of the table is worth 1 battle point. Each table quarter you control in your opponent's half of the table is worth 2 battle points. You must have the most scoring units wholly within a table quarter to control it. Dedicated transports don't count and squads must be disembarked.

1st Tie Breaker
If at the end of the game there is a draw on total battle points then use kill points as the first tie breaker.

2nd Tie Breaker
Whoever destroys the most enemy scoring units wins.

Modified Night Fight is automatic the first turn. Units cannot shoot more than 24". Night vision does not work. Barrage automatically scatters 3d6 if the large blast template is placed beyond 24" range - if you roll a HIT then use the small arrow to determine the direction of the scatter.

No battle points for First Blood, Slay the Warlord, or Line Breaker.

There are six turns and then a seventh on a roll of 4+.

Sons of Horus go first.

I deploy as follows.

The rear land raider Phobos is deployed behind the battlement completely out of line of sight from the Tau.

Tau deploy aggressively with Gundamwing forward of the Aegis Defense Line on the other side of the stream.

Both squads of Kroot will outflank. Ethereal is joined to one squad of Fire Warriors and is manning the quad gun. Pathfinders infiltrate into a small thicket to my left of their battle formation.

Pre-Game Analysis

17 of Horus' finest versus the upstart Tau... My plan is to sit back the first half of the game, fire lascannons into Riptides (killing them one at a time) and use Machine Spirit to pepper the Pathfinders then Fire Warriors. The rear land raider is dedicated to sweeping any Kroot that get too close and eliminate their scoring threat. The only two real threats to the Spartan are the Hammerhead or should a Riptide feel a bit frisky and attempt to assault it. I will use the Spartan to cut off enemy line of sight and give cover to the middle land raider Phobos since it is much more vulnerable. By turn 4 I will start pushing forward. My strategy is to end the game holding the middle objective while denying my opponent his objective (King of the Hill). The Spartan is big enough it can prevent enemy infantry from claiming the middle objective.

1st Turn - Sons of Horus

No movement. All lascannons in range target the forward most Riptide and drop three wounds. Heavy bolters vaporize the Pathfinders (remember no First Blood).

1st Turn - Tau

The Riptides shuffle a bit then the shooting commences. The middle land raider Phobos loses one hull point to a glancing blow.

2nd Turn - Sons of Horus

The Spartan and middle land raider Phobos both push forward six inches entering the stream. Again lascannons target the wounded Riptide and bring it down. Heavy bolters kill two to three Fire Warriors. The three remaining Riptides are too far back to launch an assault on the Spartan this turn.

Note that the middle objective is on top of the rocky outcrop located in the middle of the table.

2nd Turn - Tau

Neither Kroot squad arrive from reserve. Riptides cautiously move forward a bit; one hops back behind the Aegis Defense Line. The two forward Riptides bring their shields on line. This turn the Tau are unable to inflict any damage to my armor.

3rd Turn - Sons of Horus

The Spartan holds it ground while the middle land raider Phobos moves six inches over to my left so it has line of sight to fire both its lascannons at the next Riptide. Shooting then recommences dropping three wounds on the toward most Riptide. Heavy bolters drop a couple more Fire Warriors.

3rd Turn - Tau

One squad of Kroot arrive and come in on my right side throwing caution to the wind, approaching the battlement located in my deployment zone. Tau shooting then manages to drop one hull point on the Spartan and another on the middle land raider Phobos (losing one of its lascannon sponsons due to a penetrating hit).

4th Turn - Sons of Horus

The Legionnaires to the rear take the bait and go for the newly emerged Kroot. Their transport moves over six inches to my right behind the battlement and the terminators dismount such that they all have line of sight to the Kroot with the heavy flamer positioned up front. The Spartan and middle land raider Phobos form up into a train with the Spartan pulling on top of the rocky outcrop.

Shooting then recommences again with the lascannons dropping the second Riptide and putting one wound on the third. Heavy bolters fail to kill anything. The rearguard then light up the Kroot followed by a successful charge, killing all but three who then break and fall back. The terminators consolidate back partially behind the battlement for some hard cover.

4th Turn - Tau

The second squad of Kroot automatically arrive from reserve also coming in on my right side entering the battlefield at the center of the table - they will attempt to make a play for the middle objective. The remainder of the first Kroot squad continues to fall back. The two remaining Riptides shuffle such that one is just in front of the Aegis Defense Line while the other is just behind it. One Riptide manages to kill one of the rearguard terminators dropping a pie plate on the one out in plain sight. The rest of the Tau shooting is ineffective.

5th Turn - Sons of Horus

There are possibly only two turns remaining so it's time to make a run at the enemy. The warp caster successfully casts both Precognition and Prescience, saving one warp charge to activate his force axe. The rearguard terminators re-embark in their transport which then moves the full 12" plus a flat out towards my objective. The Spartan moves up 6" - the Chaplain, Apothecary and Librarian detach from the Justrearin moving into position to assault the forward Riptide. The Justrearin dismount to my left towards the Commander with its marker drones. The middle land raider Phobos moves 6" to my right and its terminators dismount another 6" in position to multi assault both squads of Kroot.

All shooting target the marker drones and eliminate them all. w00t !!

The three characters take no wounds from Overwatch and manage to bring the Riptide down to its last wound - it does not break. The Justrearin lose one on the way in to Overwatch and just manage to kill the Commander... Note that another Justrearin is fell in melee. The terminators also lose one on the way in to Overwatch, break the big squad of Kroot but the small squad holds.

So very lucky for me that my that two of units are still locked in combat! The Justrearin will have to take it on the chin.

Turn Five - Tau

Tau shooting drops another hull point on the middle land raider Phobos then melee recommences. The two Justrearin lost another brother to a stray shot... Just one left now (note that while not a Troop the Justrearin do count as a scoring unit). The three characters are unable to finish off the Riptide and remained locked in combat. The terminators are unable to finish off the three remaining Kroot and also remain locked in combat.

If I could have won those two combats it would have game over.

Turn Six - Sons of Horus

This could be the last turn... I won't be able to hold the middle objective so I'll have to make a play for my opponent's - there is no way he can reach mine.

The warp caster succesfully casts Misfortune on the Riptide, botches Precognition then gets off his Prescience. The rear land raider Phobos pulls up beside my objective and the four terminators dismount to claim it. The middle land raider Phobos pulls back and turns sideways to screen them. The lone Justrearin moves onto my opponent's objective using what cover is available... He is all alone now. Shooting is concentrated on the rear Riptide and brings it down to its last wound as well. Heavy bolters manage to clip one Fire Warrior from the squad closest to my solo Justrearin.

Yet again the three characters cannot manage to kill the engaged Riptide, even with the aid of Misfortune. The other squad of terminators finally kill off the last of the first Kroot squad but only consolidate 1"... They are out in the open now.

Turn Six - Tau

The squad of Fire Warriors closest to the lone Justrearin move towards him... They will elect not to shoot so they can charge in an attempt to take back their objective. The Ethereal throws caution to wind and joins them. The Broadsides sit still so they can target my terminators out in the open. The Kroot make a move towards the Spartan to go for the middle objective.

The Broadsides polish off the terminators while the unengaged Riptide drops a pie plate on the terminators holding my objective but only manages to clip one and they pass their break test. The Kroot then run towards the middle objective.

The Fire Warriors launch their assault with the Ethereal versus the lone Justrearin - He rides high in the saddle cutting down three, the Tau are unable to bring him down then break along with the Ethereal! Yet again the engaged Riptide makes all its invulnerable saves and survives... Wow that's one heck of a tenacious Riptide.

We then roll to see if there will be a final seventh turn and the game ends. I lift the Spartan and the Kroot are less than an inch away from claiming the middle objective.


Post-Game Analysis

The Spartan is truly a beast with the right war gear... Even the mighty guns of the Tau could only just manage to just scratch it's paint. If it had been me I would have dedicated one or even two Riptides to charge it and use the Smash attack.

The first four turns progressed quickly with mostly long range fire power traded back and forth across the battlefield then on the fifth turn things got interesting real quick. Some luck was definitely on my side but not everything went my way. My opponent rolled lots of 1s to hit throughout the game which is one thing markerlights cannot alleviate... Heh !

You never know how things are going to play out over the course of any game but I think overall my initial battle plan was solid. The lone Justaerin was my MVP dishing out the key killing blows and sucking up lots of punishment while my three characters had no impact on the game other than holding up the one Riptide. It was definitely a very exciting game right down to the last roll of the dice. If the Fire Warriors had passed their break check and the Kroot had rolled one more inch to run I would have lost... It was just that close.

Thursday, September 5, 2013

30k Terminator Tactical Analysis

Okay no whiny bitching here about losing a lot or how much cc sucks now. This is an article for big boys.

I should first mention that some people mistakenly think that the traitor Legions in the Forge World Betrayal book are Chaos Space Marines but in fact they are all still technically 'Imperial'. In fact except for the Primarchs and units (Apocalypse) from the Lords of War section the book is very much like a Space Marine codex plus there are more units to choose from when designing an army. You have the option to play your army as loyalists or as traitors. In fact there are special characters for each Legion that are either loyalists or traitors (e.g., Loken versus Abbadon).

The period for the Betrayal book is around the time when the Primarchs from four of the original Legions (i.e., Death Guard, Emperor's Children, Sons of Horus and World Eaters) have decided to turn traitor on the Emperor. There are no daemons or other such things from the Warp. A purging of these Legions takes place on the planet Ivstaan III where they kill all the Marines within their rank and file whom are still loyal to the Emperor. The third novel in the Black Library Horus Heresy series covers these events in great detail. Galaxy in Flames describes the virus bombing of Istvaan III and the Warmaster Horus' fall, which resulted in a galactic civil war where brother fought brother. In the virus choked wasteland of death and destruction that was once Istvaan III's Choral City, loyalist elements of the Luna Wolves, World Eaters, Emperor's Children and Death Guard Legions fight against the traitors of those Legions in a final display of defiance as the first part of the Heresy played out.

I finally got to play a couple games this weekend with my new Sons of Horus (SoH) army. I decided to use the trait that allows you to field veteran squads as troops so I can run a pure terminator army much like the conventional 40k Deathwing or Loganwing armies. Here is one of my current builds for a five man Legion terminator squad:

Sergeant - grenade harness, power axe, combi bolter
1x pair of lightning claws
1x power axe, heavy flamer
1x power axe, combi bolter
1x power fist, combi melta

Land Raider Phobos (dedicated transport - 2x twin linked lascannon, twin linked heavy bolter) - dozer blade, auxiliary drive, extra armor, ceramite plates

1) grenade harness counts as assault grenades for the squad
2) auxiliary drive ignores immobilization on a roll of 4+ on 1d6
3) ceramite plates - enemy melta weapons only roll 1d6 on armor penetration

The land raider also has a Machine Spirit and clocks in at 285 points, so you're definitely paying for the goodies.

One of the special rules for a SoH army is that each surviving model in their units get an extra attack at the end of each assault phase, however this does not count for unwieldy weapons such as a power axe. The terminator unit I posted above does not benefit much from this special rule except for the terminator armed with a pair of lightning claws. I prefer to take the AP2 melee weapons. So for my army this special rule is not all that beneficial. Many 40k armies have lots of special rules so I don't see this as overpowering. Just look at all the fantastic special rules for the new eldar and Tau in comparison.

All of my terminators wear suits of Cataphractii armor which confers a 4++ invulnerable save plus the Slow and Purposeful special rule. While I do like the better save I chose this type of terminator suit since it strictly adheres to the Legion's background as opposed to say a suit of Indomitus terminator armor.

I chose the heavy flamer as their special weapon since the main role of this terminator squad is dedicated to melee. You're going to score more wounds with the S5 template charging out of the land raider as opposed to either a plasma blaster or autocannon. The combi meltas help bring down tough multi wound models such as monstrous creatures and provide backup if needed to crack open an enemy transport so they can charge the contents.

Versus a squad of Canoptek Wraiths and a Destroyer Lord during my second game a squad of Legion terminators held them up at least three turns of melee, killing some of the Wraiths and wounded the Destroyer Lord before finally being swept. The terminators inflicted enough damage that I could shoot down the remainder of the enemy unit following combat. I chose to ignore the challenge from the Destroyer Lord in hopes of inflicting some AP2 wounds on The Lord and managed to inflict one. It is important to note that none of the 30k MEQ/TEQ units from the Betrayal book have And They Shall Know No Fear and can be swept if they should lose combat, so it's best if possible to first soften up a tough enemy unit with some serious shooting prior to charging them. In this particular case I was not in a good position to shoot a lot first prior to the charge since the enemy unit was hiding behind a large ruin with high line of sight blocking walls. I needed to hold them up to prevent them from charging my land raiders which the Destroyer Lord could have easily shred with his Warscythe... Thus the reason why I chose to charge the enemy unit when I did. So far I have found this terminator squad able to get the job done but you must wisely pick your targets and shoot a lot first.

My next article in this series will cover Justearin terminators.