1000pts Against Chaos

Battles and discussion of tactics from the earliest days of our Academy.
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Sa'cea Mont'yr
Shas'El
Shas'El
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1000pts Against Chaos

Post#1 » May 02 2011 12:04

So, after not being able to get in a game with lostinnm, I headed over to our LGS to meet up with a buddy that I work with. He's decided to stray from the overabundance of loyalist marines and switch to Chaos Marines. I helped him build a list, and here's what our two lists looked like:

Tau

Shas'el
-[Plasma, Missile, TA, HW: Multi]

Shas'el
-[Plasma, Missile, TA, HW: Multi]

XV8 Team
-[TL: Plasma, TA]
-[TL: Missile, TA]

XV8 Team
-[TL: Plasma, TA]
-[TL: Missile, TA]

Fire Warrior Team
-[6 FW w/ PR]
-[1 DF w/ D-pod, SMS, Multi, TA]

Fire Warrior Team
-[6 FW w/ PR]
-[1 DF w/ D-pod, SMS, Multi, TA]

XV88 Team
-[1 Shas'ui w/ TL, SMS, ASS, HW: DC + 1 SD]

XV88 Team
-[1 Shas'ui w/ TL, SMS, ASS, HW: DC + 1 SD]


Notes: Redundancy was the name of the game here. In retrospect, after having integrated some suggestions from my last list, I definitely did not have enough shooty. I wanted to ensure that I would have enough plasma redundancy to work over any marines that came close enough, and didn't bring enough shooty period. I'll have some reflections at the end of the post, once you've had a chance to see his list as well.

Chaos
Chaos Sorcerer
-[1 Sorcerer w/ Force Weapon, Bolt Pistol, Frags/Kraks]

Chaos Marine Squad
-[1 Aspiring Champion w/ PW, BP, Bolter, Frags/Kraks]
-[1 Marine w/ Flamer, BP, CCW, Frags/Kraks]
-[1 Marine w/ HB, BP, CCW, Frags/Kraks]
-[7 Marines w/ Bolter, BP, CCW, Frags/Kraks]

Nurgle Marine Squad
-[1 Plague Champion w/ PW, Bolter, BP, Blight/Frags/Kraks]
-[1 Marine w/ Flamer, BP, CCW, Blight/Frags/Kraks]
-[1 Marine w/ Plasma Rifle, BP, CCW, Blight/Frags/Kraks]
-[7 Marines w/ Bolter, BP, CCW, Blight/Frags/Kraks]

Chaos Biker Squad
-[1 Aspiring Champion w PW, BP, Melta Bombs, Frags/Kraks]
-[2 Chaos Bikers w/ CCW, BP, Frags/Kraks]

Havoc Squad
-[1 Aspiring Champion w/ PW, Bolter, BP, Frags/Kraks]
-[2 Marines w/ Lascannon, BP, CCW, Frags/Kraks]
-[2 Marines w/ Missile Launchers, BP, CCW, Frags/Kraks]
-[5 Marines w/ Bolter, BP, CCW, Frags/Kraks]


Mission: Annihilation
Deployment: Pitched Battle (12" deployment zones)
Kill Points Available:
-Tau: 8
-Chaos: 5

Game highlights:
-Whoo, boy. Nurgle Marines are bloody hard to kill. I spent five turns hammering them with plasma while the Havoc squad worked my army over. Other than the Chaos sorcerer getting into hand-to-hand on turn seven, the Havocs accounted for one XV88 Team, one Shas'el and attached Elite team and a Devilfish. I lost the Shas'el with attached team in turn four after failing two leadership checks in a row. I rolled a ten to see if they broke, and then a ten again on the regroup, meaning I was down half my suits by the midpoint of the game due to a single failed cover save.

On the other hand, while he had taken the lead with a 4-1 KP score by turn 3, I very nearly ended up making it even by the end of the game with a 4-3 lead for him, only failing the tie by rolling a one to wound from my remaining Broadside on his sorcerer. I had spent five turns jumping in and out of terrain, hammering his Nurgle squad, and failed to tie because my XV88 refused to kill anything. I'm not even mad, just frustrated. I've been on a bit of a high because of the new dice, and now that I'm rolling averages, a couple ones messed up my day something fierce.

In regards to my list, I should've at the very least dropped the extra Devilfish, dropped the upgrades on the single one I had left, and taken a third XV8 Team to really mess up his day. That way, if I had to lose an HQ and an Elite team, I would've only lost a third of my Crisis firepower as opposed to a full half, which would've allowed me to finish off the Nurgle squad a full turn earlier and kill that annoying sorcerer, tying up the game and letting me pull a draw as opposed to the loss.

Trying to re-learn to play your army when it works like it's supposed to is also hard. I've discovered that I'm having a hard time letting go of my twin-linked suits with shield generators because it's all I've used for several years. I'm trying to integrate some of the suggestions put forward by both Peregrine and lostinnm in my Tournament Cut Short thread, but going with what most tournament-oriented Tau players use and what I've become accustomed to is definitely taking some getting used too. If I get to have a rematch, here's what I'm thinking of doing with my list:

Shas'el (97)
-[Plasma, Missile, TA, HW: Multi]

Shas'el (97)
-[Plasma, Missile, TA, HW: Multi]

XV8 Team (118)
-[1 Shas'ui w/ TL: Plasma, TA]
-[1 Shas'ui w/ TL: Missile, TA]

XV8 Team (118)
-[1 Shas'ui w/ TL: Plasma, TA]
-[1 Shas'ui w/ TL: Missile, TA]

XV8 Team (118)
-[1 Shas'ui w/ TL: Plasma, TA]
-[1 Shas'ui w/ TL: Missile, TA]

Fire Warrior Team (145)
-[6 FW w/ PR]
-[1 DF w/ D-pod]

Fire Warrior Team (60)
-[6 FW w/ PR]

XV88 Team (100)
-[1 Shas'ui w/ TL, SMS, ASS, HW: DC + 1 SD]

XV88 Team (100)
-[1 Shas'ui w/ TL, SMS, ASS, HW: DC + 1 SD]


My only issue is, this leaves me with 47 points, which I have no clue what to do with. I could give FNP to one of my Shas'el suits, which would leave me with slightly less points, or add some more Fire Warriors to the squad on foot. My only issue though, is trying to add more killy to this list. Not sure where else to go with it. I know a lot of people are going to say "drop the Burning Eye suits, they're point sinks," but I don't think I'm ready too just yet, and here's why: if I drop the twin-linked plasma in favor of a fireknife, I gain two more missile shots, but lose out on a TEQ/MEQ-killer re-roll, which I have found to be a big boon, especially when someone brings a death star unit to a small-points game, which a lot of BA players like to do. I'm not saying I won't ever not drop them, but I'm curious to see how this config works out.

One other thing I was considering is taking a couple of Piranha for more movement-blocking, as both the one I used and the one I'm considering have absolutely none. With one or two Piranha and a Kroot Squad in lieu of the second FW squad instead of the third squad of suits, I would have the movement-blocking it seems like I might need but lose out on the shooting from the third squad of XV8's.

Comments, thoughts and/or suggestions?
Shas'el Sa'cea Cal'Ka Mon'tyr

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Peregrine
Kor
Posts: 1378

Re: 1000pts Against Chaos

Post#2 » May 02 2011 12:26

Sa'cea Mont'yr wrote:I know a lot of people are going to say "drop the Burning Eye suits, they're point sinks," but I don't think I'm ready too just yet, and here's why: if I drop the twin-linked plasma in favor of a fireknife, I gain two more missile shots, but lose out on a TEQ/MEQ-killer re-roll, which I have found to be a big boon, especially when someone brings a death star unit to a small-points game, which a lot of BA players like to do.


The problem with this approach is that the total increase in firepower isn't all that great. Sure, TL BS 4 plasma shots are high quality shots, but you just have so few of them (especially at over 12") that you're going to have a hard time killing anything even with near-100% accuracy. Meanwhile, by removing the missile pods, you lose your vital early-game firepower. Transports need to die, and die ASAP. Without plenty of missile pods, you aren't going to be able to stop them in time. With missile pods, those tough death star units are soon moving only 6" a turn and a lot less of a threat.


If you're really concerned about death stars, I'd suggest two things:

1) Put the plasma and missile pods in separate squads, not mixed together. As you have it now, when you shoot at transports, you waste the plasma, and when you shoot at heavy infantry you waste the missile pods.

2) Consider replacing the TL plasma squads with fusion/plasma squads. When a FNP death star absolutely needs to die, our best weapon is 9x BS 5 shots wounding on a 2+ with no saves or FNP allowed. Expensive? Yes. Specialized? Yes. But if you know the specific threat you're going to face, it's the best tool for the job.

3) Consider buying the plasma upgrade for your Broadsides (with HWMT). When the vehicles are dead (or, like in this game, not present at all), they will significantly boost your firepower against heavy infantry.

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Sa'cea Mont'yr
Shas'El
Shas'El
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Re: 1000pts Against Chaos

Post#3 » May 02 2011 01:16

Doh! Totally forgot about the plasma upgrades to the suits! Thank you, Peregrine.

Re the mixing and matching, the big reason I have my suits set up like they are is the redundancy. I don't want the loss of a suit squad to remove my entire capability at one thing or another, and I'm willing to take the hit in efficiency for that redundancy. That being said,what do you think about specializing the third squad into plasma, and setting the other two squads up like so:

-[1 Shas'ui w/ TL: Missile, Fusion]
-[1 Shas'ui w/ TL: Fusion, Missile]

This still gives me plenty of anti-vehicle punch, but also allows for relatively reliable anti-death star at short ranges, and my XV88's can assist with heavy infantry killing after being outfitted with multi-trackers.
Shas'el Sa'cea Cal'Ka Mon'tyr

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Ramulas
Shas
Posts: 9

Re: 1000pts Against Chaos

Post#4 » May 02 2011 05:43

Now I'm no expert, but from what I have learnt death star units rely heavily on support to win games. Remove that support and whilst they may still be a threat and you may still be unable to remove them, they are unlikely to win a game by themselves. So you need to focus on killing the rest of your opponents army as chances are they want you to focus on the big scary unit.

Take your game against chaos for example. Your friend was likely very pleased that you spent so much of your firepower trying to wipe out his Nurgle Marines, even though plasma and rail shots are very effective and perfect for engaging them. It sounds like it drew so much of your shooting that it left the rest of his army relatively unmolested. Especially when you consider that without transports, I can't really see how they or the regular Marines posed much of a threat compared to the Havocs.

Also the inclusion of just one unit seemed to force you to tailor your list to specifically engage them. You thus seemed under equipped to deal with the rest of his list. I understand your love of twin-linking your suits weapons, but would you have taken so many plasma rifles over other options if he hadn't brought Nurgle marines? I know table size can play a big role and at 1000pts it was likely a small table. It was however an annihilation game, so you would probably have fared better (you didn't after all need that much more for a win) if you had focused on wiping out the rest of his force instead on the the unit designed to tank.

I would also say that your right on the Piranha front, as you expand your force and face other armies (especially when they start fielding transports or other enhanced movement units) they should prove a sound points investment.
There's no such thing as a sweeping statement.

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Sa'cea Mont'yr
Shas'El
Shas'El
Posts: 1302
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Re: 1000pts Against Chaos

Post#5 » May 03 2011 01:17

Now I'm no expert, but from what I have learnt death star units rely heavily on support to win games. Remove that support and whilst they may still be a threat and you may still be unable to remove them, they are unlikely to win a game by themselves. So you need to focus on killing the rest of your opponents army as chances are they want you to focus on the big scary unit.


Agreed, but a single Nurlge squad is not a death star unit. I'm referring mainly to Thunderstorm Terminators, Astorath, Mephiston, and any other DS unit designed to survive a stupid amount of firepower and then still do something. I don't consider his squad of Nurgle Marines a DS unit, as they are only slightly harder to kill than normal Marines. What I didn't want was for them to get into H2H and completely remove a squad from the fight. That ended up happening anyway with a couple of unlucky dice rolls, but had either one of those leadership checks been passed, the game would've gone much differently.

Your friend was likely very pleased that you spent so much of your firepower trying to wipe out his Nurgle Marines, even though plasma and rail shots are very effective and perfect for engaging them. It sounds like it drew so much of your shooting that it left the rest of his army relatively unmolested.


He very much so enjoyed the fact that I spent the entire game shooting at a single squad. I also deployed so that was the only squad that was supposed to be able to affect my army. My original goal had been to destroy that squad and the sorcerer that was tagging along (but not joined) and then force him to come to me, out of range. However, terrain dictated that I was unable to perform a refused flank, as I would've had to cross nearly three feet total of completely open terrain, in range of his Havocs, and I was unwilling to risk taking that much fire on only two Devilfish while trying to hide six XV8's. His tactical squad ended up not doing anything until turn five, as it had to cross the entire board. Once it reached a range where I could double tap with both FW squads with support from the remaining XV8 squad, they disappeared over the course of a turn or two.

Also the inclusion of just one unit seemed to force you to tailor your list to specifically engage them. You thus seemed under equipped to deal with the rest of his list. I understand your love of twin-linking your suits weapons, but would you have taken so many plasma rifles over other options if he hadn't brought Nurgle marines? I know table size can play a big role and at 1000pts it was likely a small table. It was however an annihilation game, so you would probably have fared better (you didn't after all need that much more for a win) if you had focused on wiping out the rest of his force instead on the the unit designed to tank.


I've been taking twin-linked suits for almost eight years, and I've been playing for ten. I used to take nothing but twin-linked weapons with shields generators, but new dice that actually roll averages have allowed me to drop the shield generators and go with target arrays. I'm still feeling my way into something other than twin-linked weapon systems, or twin-linked systems with a target array. As for table size, it was a full 4x6 table, and again, the way I set up was to go after his Nurgle Marines first.

Addressing the question about plasma, I always take two suits of plasma. It's just too useful. Sure I could fit more missile pods or more fusion guns, but Plasma is just too useful. I spend too much time with MEQ's inside 12-18" for it not to be useful. And it's not transports that put them there. It's BA using Descent of Angels, Termies using teleport or drop pods, etc.

I would also say that your right on the Piranha front, as you expand your force and face other armies (especially when they start fielding transports or other enhanced movement units) they should prove a sound points investment.


I've got four Piranha; I've been collecting for a while and have approximately 5-6K worth of Tau. As previously mentioned, I've been playing for 10 years, though I've never considered myself a good player, merely low-end mediocre. Now that I'm rolling better than I have for the last decade, I'm trying to get a feel for how my army performs. Reading about what it's supposed to do and experiencing it are two completely different things.

Disclaimer: Nothing in this post is meant to cause offense. If I have, I apologize.

My opponent for this game is switching over from Marines to Chaos Marines, and I'm helping him learn to play and at the same time as re-learning to play with my army.
Shas'el Sa'cea Cal'Ka Mon'tyr

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