‘Whats the Time Mr. Wolf? Feeding time!’ Tau Empire vs Champions of Fenris

Hello there fellow warmongers!  Another batrep for you today, this time a game against William and his Space Wolves, who have also bought a knight along for the ride!

William is what I like to call a very efficient gamer – he doesn’t go out and religiously buy all the new shiny for his factions (unlike some of us…cough cough *stormsurge on way* cough cough), but rather he very sensibly considers each model on its own merits and only adds it if he feels it will complement his style of play as well as army aesthetic.  As such, his locker is almost bare but for a very elite force of Space Wolves and an even more elite troop of Grey Knights.  He also has a Knight of course, because it is an irresistible ‘band aid’ for addressing the short comings of such small elite lists.  I envy him, and the money he has saved in being so restrained (shoots evil sideways glance at vespids.  Stupid bugs…)

The Opposing Forces

Tau Battle Forged CAD 1749pts

HQ
– Commander, Dual  Missile Pods, Drone Controller, Target Lock, Iridium Battlesuit, Marker Drones (2)
– Crisis Bodyguard (1), PENchip, Dual Missile Pods, Target Lock
– Cadre Fireblade

Troops
– Kroot Carnivore Squad (10), sniper rounds
– Fire Warrior Team (12)
– Fire Warrior Team (6)

Elites
– Crisis Suits (2), Dual Plasma Rifle, VRT
– Stealth Suit (3), Burst Cannons
– Riptide, Ion Accelerator, Fusion Blaster, Stim Injector, EWO

Fast Attack
– Pathfinder Team (5)
– Pathfinder Team (5)
– Piranha (1), Fusion Blaster

Heavy
– Broadside Suit (2), High Yield Missile Pods, Smart Missiles, EWO
– Broadside Suit (2), Heavy Rail Rifle, Plasma Rifle, EWO
– Hammerhead (1), Railgun w/subs, Longstrike, Smart Missiles

Fortifications
– Aegis Defense Line, Quadgun, 2x barricades

1

Yeah, look, there is no getting away from the fact that some of these guys are still grey. I know, I am ashamed of it too.  However, at the time I was waiting for Black spray paint to be in stock, and in Hong Kong it takes a while for stuff to arrive.  What am I gonna do, stop playing?

Oh, right. Really?  Gosh, that’s hardcore.  Fair enough I suppose…

Company of the Great Wolf Detachment / Wolfguard Thunderstrike Formation / Knight Ally Detachments 1750pts

Company of the Great Wolf Detachment

– Wolf Lord, Thunderwolf Mount, Runic Armour, Krakenbone Sword
– Lone Wolf (1), Terminator Armour, Thunder Hammer & Storm Shield
– Lone Wolf (1), Terminator Armour, Thunder Hammer & Storm Shield
– Thunderwolf Cavalry (5), Chainsword & Storm Shields
– Stormfang Gunship, Multimetla, Hellfrost Destructor, Stormstrike Missile x2,

Wolfguard Thunderstrike Formation

– Wolf Guard (10), combi-plasma x6, Drop Pod
– Wolf Guard Terminators (5), Storm Sheild x5, combi-plasma x4, Thunder Hammer & Cyclone Missile Launcher

Knight Detachment

– Imperial Knight Paladin, Rapid-fire battle cannon, Heavy Stubbers

2

No, your eyes do not deceive you.  They are in fact painted up in Black Templars Heraldry, not Space Wolves. Williams reasoning for this is that he likes the look of Templars, but not the Space Wolves. I find it hard to argue with that, especially when presented with ‘Space Santa on his sled’.  It is also a handy strategy for dealing with the ‘disappearance’ of his beloved chapter from the marines codex.

Setup

We decide to play Eternal War (because no one seems to anymore) and roll Purge the Alien (Kill Points, ouch), while deployment type rolls up as  Hammer and Anvil (yay for shooting wolves in a narrow barrel!)  I roll on Strategy Traits and get ‘Master of Ambush’, but since I want to put as much space between me and the wolves as possible I decided to re-roll and get ‘The Night Fighting one’ (which I entirely forget about).

The Wolf Lord rolls on Champions of Fenris supplement traits and gets ‘Fire in the Blood’ (Warlord re-rolls a single failed save once per turn – nice!).  I also win the roll off and choose to go first. Good start for the boys in blue skin.

3

I start by deploying everything except the crisis team, who stay in reserve.  The Kroot and Stealth suits will infiltrate.  The 12 man Fire warriors, Quadgun, pathfinders and broadsides castle up behind the Aegis and ruins

The Riptide goes in centre, with the Hammerhead and other pathfinder team going on right back flank. The Piranha and smaller fire warrior squad push up to the deployment line on right flank.  The Commander’s squad push up to the line in centre to try and provide Marker Lights early doors, before hopefully assault jumping back to join up with others behind the Aegis.

The Space Wolves deployment is pretty quick, Thunderwolves and Wolf Lord on left, Knight on right.  Everything else in reserve.

9

Tau infiltrators come in, with Kroot going in the centre to screen (for ‘screen’ read ‘speed bump’) while the stealth team get in behind the knight.  I mistakenly think knights are AV10 on the rear and look forward to some burst cannon fun.  They are obviously not, so these guys play no further part in the game and just stick around for line breaker.

My deployment is slightly aggressive, with my commander and riptide a bit exposed to try and counter the alpha strike when it comes.  But it should be ok, ‘cos I’m going first.  So, the Champions of Fenris roll to seize….. and of course, SUCCEED!

Related Reading  Rules Question: Multiple Combats

Turn 1

Bam!  Drop pod comes in for the marines, scatters slightly off but still manages to put 6 twin linked combi-plasmas in rapid fire range of the riptide.   Terminators come in as part of the same formation, and deep strike right alongside looking to dish some pain to either Missilesides or the Commander.  Wolves and Knight move up, Flyer and lone wolves still in reserve.

Interception time for the Tau! Firstly, Riptide overcharges the IA and uses EWO to target the tightly packed wolf guard…. only to scatter off 12 inches and almost hit the commander! Not quite the contribution I was looking for from the big fella.  Broadsides fire everything they have at the Terminators, and have better luck – reducing them to two.

14

Wolf guard take aim with 12 plasma rounds, and don’t miss a single one due to being twin linked thanks to the formation.  However, some amazing 5++ / FNP saves from the riptide sees it only take 2 wounds!  The knight then plinks a further two wounds from the Riptide with the battle cannon, while the remaining wolf guard kill two marker drones in the commanders unit.

Poor placement by me means the Thunderwolves charge the kroot, munching through the most ineffective speed bump ever, and consolidate behind cover.  This gives the space wolves First Blood.

Time for the Tau to react!  The Piranha drops his drones and shoots up the right flank, along with the smaller fire warriors squad.  Riptide, having no weapons to shoot after intercepting, tries to back off.  Everything else stays still, with the Commander’s suit optimistically chooses furious charge for his unit from the PENchip this turn.

Pathfinders light up the Thunderwolves, and both sets of fire warriors (including the unit buffed by the fireblade) and the hammerhead (using sub-munitions) take aim, managing to kill all but two.  Pathfinders on right flank and gun drones then shoot at the wolf guard, killing three between them.  They would hold.

Broadsides have nothing to contribute having intercepted, so the commanders unit shoot at the remaining terminators, killing one.  They then charge the last one, loosing both remaining marker drones and a wound on the bodyguard in combat but eventually taking him down.  Ha!  Who says Tau know nothing about the assault phase…

Turn 2

Marines reserve rolls result in the Stormclaw and one lonewolf coming in, the former making a beeline directly for the riptide.  I intercept the stormclaw with the quadgun and get a pen, but only roll a 1 on the damage table.

Stormclaw then gets its revenge, shooting everything at the riptide and killing him stone dead.  Not the best game for the big fella, shooting one shot which scattered wildly off target, but he did at least soak up a lot of fire.  Probably got what he deserved for being so GREY! (Yes, yes, I get it.  Will try harder next time)  The Knight got in on the action too and charged the smaller unit of fire warriors on the right flank, utterly annihilating them.

23

Thunderwolves and Wolfguard charged the commanders unit, surviving some poor supporting fire roles from the Tau to lose only two wolfguard in overwatch.  They then killed the Bodyguard and put three wounds on the commander, who survived mostly thanks to his iridium battle suit (although, in retrospect, it would have been better if he had died)  He would hold, and combat would continue.

My Crisis team arrived from reserves and land near the knight.  With the thunderwolves and wolfguard tied up in combat, there is not much for the Tau to shoot at.  Quadgun and railsides shoot at the Stormclaw, but it jinks its way out of trouble.

My intention with the knight was to ignore it until everything else was taken care of, but since that plan is quickly unraveling and there not being much else to shoot at, I decide to have a go.  Crisis team, Missilesides, Hammerhead and piranha all have a pop… and manage to take it down between them!  Missilesides doing solid work stripping the last three hull points between them!  It falls on the crisis and almost kills them, but they and the Drop Pod emerge from the explosion unscathed.

Combat, and it predictably goes rather badly for the commander, who gives up Slay the Warlord.  The Wolves them consolidate right in front of the fire warriors, while the Wolfguard consolidate towards the missilesides.

Nightmare scenario for the Tau is now in place – Space Wolves Black Templars rampaging around in their lines.

Turn 3

The Final Lone wolf comes in for the marines, deep striking next to the Missilesides.  Stormclaw drops into hover mode and goes after the crisis suit (which it fails to hurt due to snap shooting).   Thunderwolves charge the Fire warriors, loosing the remaining Thunderwolf cavalry to overwatch.  The Wolf Lord doesn’t need him though, as he sweeps the 12 man unit and the fireblade all on his own.  He then consolidates into the ruin.  The Wolfguard don’t fair quite as well though, losing four to the Missilesides in overwatch and drawing the combat.

Lone wolf then charges the hammerhead, taking a wound to longstrike’s overwatch but dealing two penetrating hits of his own, immobilizing and stunning the tank.

My opponent has opened up an uncatchable lead in the kill points now, so I am just playing for the pride of the Empire!

Related Reading  Random: The Dark Gods Have Answered

Railsides come down to give the wolf lord some rail and plasma shots to the face.  However, they only deal one wound due to snap shooting the Rail rifles and the Wolf lords Warlord trait coming in handy for once, rerolling a failed save on the Ap1 rifle shot.  Crisis and Piranha shoot at the hovering Stormclaw, but only manage a glance between them

Pathfinders also get in on the combat action – they rush in to help the beleaguered Hammerhead, tying up the lone wolf in combat for a turn with the loss of one pathfinder.  They would hold.

34

Turn 4

The Stormclaw goes back into flying mode, heads over to the Hammerhead and finished the Job.  The Lone wolf fails to defeat the Pathfinders, killing one but still remaining tied up – go tiny blue fists of fury!  The Wolf Lord puts the Tau back in their place though, charging the Railsides and easily sweeping them before consolidating back into the ruins.

The Missilesides actually manage to kill off the remaining wolfguard in combat, but not before the other lone wolf piles in and kills one of the broadsides.  Combat would be a draw.

With only a handful of units left, and being well behind in the VPs, the Tau Empire decide to call it a day and tactfully withdraw from the field of battle.

39

Result:

Final score was 12:4 in the Space Wolves Black Templars favour, after a brutal display of close combat proficiency that left the little blue dudes in no doubt as to the level of their skill with a blade (not very high.  Maybe slightly better than a snotling on a good day)  The Marines racked up a whopping 9 kill points, along with the trio of bonus objectives.  The Tau only managed 3 kill points (although one of them was a knight!)  and line breaker, the stealth team doing their job from the get go.  Well done lads, 90 points well spent.

Decisive moment: A lot of mistakes from me, and having the initiative seized didn’t help, but really this game was lost on rolling Purge the Alien as the random mission.  Despite having more than double the points on offer, it also meant the space wolves didn’t have to leave anyone guarding objectives and could just smash everything into the Tau lines with reckless abandon, which they did very effectively.

Tau MVP: Missilesides – They kept the Tau in fight while others were falling around them – not only killed the majority of the Wolf Guard Terminators when they arrived, but did most of the damage to the wolfguard unit and eventually beat them in close combat, as well as provided the killing blow to the Knight.

Space Wolves Black Templars MVP:  Wolf Lord.  Quite simply chewed through everything the Tau had to offer.  Poor placement of the Kroot helped get these guys up the board, and seizing the initiative meant the Tau only had one round of firing before they got into their lines, but he contributed to a massive 8 out of the 12 VPs for the Space Wolves, and only suffered a single wound in exchange.  Great work.

Well that was a really tough game, but my opponent was great fun and it was played in a very casual manner which is always nice.  In hindsight I think my list might have been a bit too casual, I wasn’t really expecting to face a knight and that Wolfguard Thunderstrike Formation is pretty hard hitting. And of course, the bad luck in rolling for the mission and being seized on didn’t help me none either, but that’s just part of the game and you have to learn to take these things in your stride – sure enough it will fall in my favour one day too ;)

Save

  • Any sort of super heavy, or gargantuan creature, should be valued more than 1 KP. I think Escalation, that supplement nobody bought, made them 3 KPs. It wouldn’t have changed your outcome, but 1 KP is just silly for those things.

    Good job with close combat ;) I’ve lost a Daemon Prince to Fire Warriors in close combat before. Granted, I only had 1 wound left, but still it’s a sore spot for me.

    You did well under the circumstances, but yeah, that early charge was the undoing for you.

    • iapedus

      Thanks man – I think you always get the ‘moral victory’ if you take down a super heavy without one of your own, even if the ‘actual’ result is somewhat different :D

      Some units in the Tau forces can be a bit of a surprise for assault troops – my Broadsides have beaten off moe than their fair share of Assault marines in their time. Its just a shame the supposed melee specialists – kroot – are utterly useless at it.

      • I agree. Once I wipe a super heavy off the board I tend to sigh in relief.

        Are Kroot touted as melee specialists though in the codex by fluff? I know as I’ve read about them in other sources that’s how they are represented. Typical fluff not translating to rules scenario. So many units are subject to that issue for so many armies.

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