Wednesday, 1 January 2020

Damocles Crusade Campaign Battle 2

Maelstrom of War - Covert Maneuvers

Mission Source: 2019 Chapter Approved
Mission: Maelstrom of War - Covert Maneuvers
Points: 2000
Armies: Imperial Fists / Tau Empire

Having managed to fight their way through the initial Tau resistance, the Imperial Fists continue their dogged advance. Shadowsun is still opposing them, and has received additional troops to replace the losses after the last battle.



This is the first game played under the new Schemes of War rules, with regards to deck building and card usage. Interesting concept, we'll see how it goes. Straight up rematch from the last game, trying to see if mech Tau is a viable concept, rather than Riptides and Drone spam. Last game was close enough that a rematch seemed worthwhile.

Army Lists

Space Marines - Imperial Fists - 111 PL - 2000 points
Imperial Fists Battalion
HQ Chaplain Krysaor, Bolter, Crozius Arcanum, Rosarius, Catechism of Fire, Litany of Hate
HQ Chapter Master Hektor, Grav Pistol, Relic Blade, Iron Halo

T Tactical Squad - 5 Marines, Melta Bombs, Gravgun
T Tactical Squad - 5 Marines, Melta Bombs, Gravgun
T Tactical Squad - 5 Marines, Melta Bombs

EL Relic Deredeo Dreadnought, Anvillus AC, Twin Heavy Bolters, Aiolos Missiles
EL Venerable Dreadnought, Assault Cannon, Dreadnought CCW, Storm Bolter

Imperial Fists Spearhead
HQ Librarian Xenocrates, Bolt Pistol, Force Stave, Wrack & Ruin, Chasm, Smite
HQ Master of the Forge Dexomenon, Bolt Pistol, Power Axe, Servo-arm
       The Eye of Hypnoth <WARLORD>

Devastator Squad, 3 Heavy Bolters, Missile Launcher, Armorium Cherub
Land Raider Achilles, Quad Launcher, 2 Twin Multi-meltas
Land Raider Crusader, 2 Hurricane Bolters, Twin Assault Cannon, Multi-Melta, Storm Bolter
Predator, Twin Lascannon, 2 Heavy Bolters, Storm Bolter, Hunter Killer Missile
Predator, Twin Lascannon, 2 Heavy Bolters, Storm Bolter, Hunter Killer Missile
Thunderfire Cannon
Imperial Fists Mechanized Task Force


Tau Empire - Tau Sept - 120 PL - 1998 points
Tau Brigade
HQ Commander Shadowsun, 2 Fusion Blasters <WARLORD>
HQ Darkstrider, Markerlight, Pulse Carbine
HQ Longstrike, Smart Missile System (SMS), Ion Cannon, 2 Seeker Missiles

T  Strike Team (Shas'ui w/ Markerlight, Pulse Rifle, 5 Fire Warriors w/ Pulse Rifles
T  Strike Team (Shas'ui w/ Markerlight, Pulse Rifle, 5 Fire Warriors w/ Pulse Rifles
T  Strike Team (Shas'ui w/ Markerlight, Pulse Rifle, 5 Fire Warriors w/ Pulse Rifles
T  Strike Team (Shas'ui w/ Markerlight, Pulse Rifle, 5 Fire Warriors w/ Pulse Rifles
T  Strike Team (Shas'ui w/ Markerlight, Pulse Rifle, 5 Fire Warriors w/ Pulse Rifles
T  Strike Team (Shas'ui w/ Markerlight, Pulse Rifle, 5 Fire Warriors w/ Pulse Rifles

EL Dahyak Grekh
EL Firesight Marksman, Markerlight
EL Firesight Marksman, Markerlight
EL Firesight Marksman, Markerlight

FA Pathfinder Team (10 Pathfinders, Pulse Carbine, Markerlight)
FA Piranha Squadron (4 Piranhas, Fusion Blaster, 2 Gun Drones, 2 Seeker Missiles)
FA Tactical Drones (5 Gun Drones)

HS Hammerhead, Railgun, SMS, 2 Seeker Missiles
HS Hammerhead, Railgun, SMS, 2 Seeker Missiles
HS Hammerhead, Railgun, SMS, 2 Seeker Missiles

DT Devilfish, Burst Cannon, 2 Gun Drones
DT Devilfish, Burst Cannon, 2 Gun Drones
DT Devilfish, Burst Cannon, 2 Gun Drones

Tau Sept Mechanized Quick Response Cadre


Pregame

Warlord Traits
Imperial Fists - Master of the Machine: +1 to hit for VEHICLES within 6"
Tau Sept - Exemplar of the Kauyon: WL re-roll failed hits when immobile

Psyker Powers
Librarian Xenocrates: Wrack and Ruin, Chasm, Smite


Deployment
The Tau are trying the "corner deployment" and castle technique. With this, when placing objectives, you place one right in the corner, 6" in from both edges, and then one 12" up the short board edge, and one 12" up the long board edge.

This forces your opponent to make some choices. If you win the roll off and get to choose deployment map and zones, you'll choose whatever deployment map best suits the mission, and you'll get to start sitting on three objectives with a Tau gunline, and won't have to move right away.

If your opponent wins that roll off, he has to decide whether he wants to "steal" that corner away from you. If he has more long range guns, he probably will. If he doesn't though, he's in a bit of a bind.

The Marines could drop three tactical squads on the corner objectives, but they aren't hard to push off an objective in the open. They could drop two Predators and the Thunderfire on them, though the sight lines are limited. It wouldn't really bother the Tau, since they want to sit at range and pound away with long range firepower anyway.

I just wanted to explain why Objectives 1, 3 and 5 are clustered in the Tau deployment corner. On to the game!


Armoured fist deployed on far left side, directly opposite
from the three Tau objectives, which are straight down the
street. Chapter Master and Master of the Forge are standing
between the Land Raiders.

The Pathfinders (upper right) are on Obj 5, Obj 1 is between
the two front Hammerheads, and Obj 3 is under the center
Devilfish.


Seize the Initiative
The Tau won the roll off, chose Hammer and Anvil deployment, picked the end they wanted, and made the Imperial Fists the Attacker. Attacker gets first turn unless Seized, but Defender gets to pick deployment type and deployment zone.

The Tau did not Seize, and we are off!


Turn 1 - Imperial Fists


Two objectives can be done. Hard to make a tank fail a
Leadership test.

Roaring down the street, the fist prepares to claim the Tau
objectives.

Chaplain Krysaor escorts the two dreadnoughts into the
central ruins.

Thunderfire Cannon preparing to dole out the pain...

...twice, to a Vehicle.

This is all that is left after the Imperial Fists are done shooting.


So, a brief recap of what was an incredibly brutal shooting phase.

A Predator wrecked Longstrike, no explosion. (First Strike)

The other Predator took 12 of 13 wounds off the Hammerhead beside Longstrike.

The Land Raider Crusader killed all four Piranhas in a single volley, and the last one to die did explode, but there wasn't anything in range to take damage.

The Thunderfire Cannon fired first at the Hammerhead that was beside where Longstrike had been, and wrecked it, no explosion. It fired second at one of the two remaining Hammerheads, contributing additional damage.

The Achilles fired at the closest Devilfish, putting 17 (!) wounds on it, no explosion, and  killing 2 Fire Warriors as they disembarked.


Score
Imperial Fists: 2 (No Prisoners (1 VP), First Strike (1 VP))
Tau:                  0

Turn 1 - Tau

Here we see the benefits of the Tau deployment. They are
sitting on Obj 1 and 5, and they just have to kill a tank. No
problem.

A Strike Team heading out towards an Objective, around
 the corner to the right.

The Drones from the wrecked Piranhas move up to add
their firepower.

Those six damage are the total sum of 2 Railguns and
8 Seeker missiles, as well as various small arms. Grim.


Score


Imperial Fists: 2 (No Prisoners (1 VP), First Strike (1 VP))
Tau:                  2 (Sec Obj 1, 5)


Turn 2 - Imperial Fists


Apparently I forgot to take a picture of the Imperial Fists active objectives this turn, but as you are about to see, it didn't really matter. 

Dismount...

...advance...

...die to massed Overwatch fire. That's what happens when
you under-estimate the army whose ass you are currently
 whipping.

Let's try this again now that the Drones can't Overwatch
again.

So far so good...

...and two Drones down, many more to go.

Consolidate into whatever we can reach.

The Deredeo makes short work of the 5 Fire Warriors who
just couldn't clear the gap, thanks to a "1" on their Advance
roll.

State of the board at the end of the Imperial Fists turn. Note
there are no vehicles left, and only a handful of Fire Warriors.
And the Pathfinders (upper left) are actually dead already, I
was just disgusted and took the picture before removing their
mangled bodies.

The Tau tap, having suffered horrendous losses while managing to inflict a whole 6 damage to a single Imperial Fists vehicle. It's games like this that I really don't like. That alpha strike was just crippling, and the Tau were likely to be tabled in the next turn, leaving 3 turns for the marines to drive around and gather up VP's for objectives. This wasn't really fun, but it was eye opening.

Score


Imperial Fists: 6 (No Prisoners (1 VP), First Strike (1 VP), Scour the Skies (1 VP, Area                                 Denial (3 VP))
Tau:                  2 (Sec Obj 1, 5)

Summary



Well, it turns out that telegraphing where you are planning on deploying doesn't really hinder your opponent when you make him deploy first. In hindsight, I think it would have been better for the Tau to deploy on the opposite table edge, with the ruins complex between them to slow down that Imperial Fist firepower. 

That Thunderfire Cannon is just pure murder, both on Vehicles and Infantry. Also Predators with a Hunter Killer missile, next to a Chapter Master and a Master of the Forge are ridiculously efficient at killing tanks. hitting on a re-rollable 2+ is just so good. And moving and hitting on a re-rollable 3+ makes the armoured fist actually maneuverable to take ground with.

On the Tau side, that huge ruins complex in the center of the board really messes with the traditional Tau gunline. Even Riptides/drone spam would have a problem. 

Until next time, happy gaming!

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