Astra Militarum Vs. Tau – Rebel Grots Batrep

Rebel GrotsHello all,

Last week I reported my first game with the new Astra Militarum codex, my Rebel Grots against Thor’s Disciples of Twilight.  I made some poor choices in deployment and ultimately paid for them even though the army functioned well.  This week I’m reporting my second game with the new codex, this time against a friend of mine who plays Tau. This was also 1500 points. His list was (roughly) as follows:

  • Utility Commander attached to three Broadsides (one Railguns and missiles, 2 full missile) and 4 missile drones
  • Fireblade attached to 10 Fire Warriors
  • 10 Fire Warriors
  • 10 Fire Warriors
  • Sniper drone team with 5 drones
  • Riptide with ion accelerator and stimulant injector
  • Longstrike
  • 5 pathfinders
  • 5 marker drones
  • Aegis Defense Line with Icarus Lascannon

I ran this list.

It’s almost the same list as before, but I removed the CCS’ chimera because it didn’t seem to be doing much without a troop choice to hijack it. I used the points add carapace and krak to the vets, heavy bolter sponsons on one Leman Russ, and multimelta sponsons on the other Leman Russ.

We played “The Big Guns Never Tire” on Hammer and Anvil deployment. Night fight was in effect and my opponent had first turn. He got to place two of the three objectives so two were in his deployment and one was in mine. He put the ADL about 12″ from his table edge starting on the long edge to my right, with the Icarus on a hill. The Fireblade was manning the gun while attached to the Fire Warrior squad guarding one objective. The Sniper Team and one other Fire Warrior squad were also behind the ADL. He had placed the second objective nearer the front of his deployment and was holding this with the Broadside team and Commander. The Pathfinders and third Fire Warrior squad were on my left. Longstrike, the Riptide, and the Marker Drones were on my right.

I rolled the Grand Strategist warlord trait and a 6 on the “D3” allowing me to outflank three units. My Primaris Psyker had Prescience and Scrier’s Gaze, so my outflankers would have a good chance of showing up when I wanted them. I put the Conscripts with Priest and both Leman Russes in reserves to outflank. The basilisk was holding the objective in the back left of my deployment zone. In front of that was the infantry blob with psyker. The ratlings started near some area terrain on my left a little beyond my deployment zone. I put the Devil Dog on my right and everything else in the middle, hiding behind or riding in the chimeras.

I seized the initiative and the Devil Dog managed to blow up Longstrike’s hammerhead on turn one. Everything else shot at what it could see best and I put wounds on the Riptide, Broadsides, and Pathfinders. His retaliation took two hull points off the Devil Dog and stunned it, wrecked one sentinel, killed 4 of the 5 ratlings, and took a hull point from one of the chimeras.

On turn 2 I managed to outflank both Leman Russes, one on each side, but not the conscripts. The heavy bolter russ tore apart most of one fire warrior squad while the multimelta russ made a dent in the broadside unit. The Basilisk scored a direct hit on his sniper team killing four drones, one fire warrior, the Fireblade and putting a wound on the Icarus lascannon. Pretty much everything else focused on the Riptide and managed a few wounds. Two of the plasma vets got hot but carapace saved one. In return he wrecked another sentinel and the veterans’ chimera.

On turn 3 I outflanked the conscripts from the left side where they lasgunned down half a fire warrior squad. The melta Russ chewed up a second broadside and the commander while the heavy bolter Russ finished off the sniper team leaving the Icarus unmanned. Everything else focused on the Riptide and brought it down to one wound. The Riptide wiped out my Company Command Squad and the remaining broadside and missile drone took a hull point off of the remaining chimera.

In turn 4 the heavy bolter russ finished one squad of Fire Warriors while the conscripts wiped another in assault.  The melta russ finished off the broadsides and a veteran lasgun took the last wound from the riptide (after shrugging off large amounts of lascannon and plasma fire, it fell to a flashlight!)  This left him with half a fire warrior squad and three marker drones so he conceded.

In this game I set up an aggressive deployment again knowing that this time he was not going to come at me for a brawl.  I was concerned about the amount of firepower I expected to face from a Tau force but it didn’t turn out as brutal as I expected.  It might have been different with a different warlord trait.  This was the perfect situation to be able to outflank into and I got lucky again by maxing out the number of units.  Rolling Scrier’s Gaze on top of that was just frosting as it maximized my chance to get those units in early.  It might have been a different story if I’d had to shoot it out across the table.

Then again it might not have been too bad.  He had plenty of missile fire but it takes a lot of strength 7 hits to chew through the wall of AV12 I had.  His fire warriors were useless with nothing but tanks in range and he had fairly little to deal with the russes.  What he really needed was to get into my side armor but I wasn’t giving him much opportunity there.  First turn would have given Longstrike a chance to knock out a tank but it’s not likely he’d have survived to turn two.  The riptide was a pain to deal with; I should have tied it up with the conscripts and focused my firepower elsewhere but ultimately the few units I didn’t dedicate to it were able to handle the rest of his army well enough.

The psyker was, unsurprisingly, well worth the points.  The blob he was attached to was never targeted so his leadership boost didn’t come into play but passing out a re-roll to hit is great for guard.  It’s hard to say if he was a game changer as the units that did the most damage did so without his help.  He helped get the russes in on turn two but they might have managed that on their own.

I was really happy with the sponsons added to the russes.  The Leman Russ Exterminator with heavy bolter or multi melta sponsons is the same cost as the Leman Russ Battle Tank (the one with the battle cannon.)  Because the Exterminator Autocannons aren’t ordinance and the Leman Russ is a Heavy Vehicle it can fire everything at full ballistic skill while moving.  It’s an impressive amount of firepower.

Carapace armor on the vets was helpful but I still managed to smoke two of my own plasma gunners.  Prescience turned a 1 and 2 to hit into snake eyes so that wasn’t much help :P  I’m starting to think the plasma vets are a bit overrated.  I might be better off giving them a less expensive load out and letting the more durable/reliable units do the damage dealing while the vets focus on objective grabbing.  Without plasma they would be less of a target, and I’d be less likely to throw them into the thick of things.

Anyway, that’s two games under the new book and I feel it’s a solid codex at the least.  In more capable hands I think it can be very competitive.  Of course, with 7th edition looming we’ll have to wait and see how the power balance settles out.



  • I think you just have terrible luck with plasma, period. Plasma Vets are good but you can certainly run them in different, and safer, ways :)

    You’ll probably find the psyker helped you more than you realized. I have games like that where it seems they do very little, and some times it’s true, but most of the time it’s just that their impact is small on any given turn but when you look at the accumulation of effect you realize it was pretty significant. Of course there’s the times where it’s blatantly obvious, they get off the power you need at the right time against the right unit but I find that to be the exception.

    • I do have terrible luck with plasma. Plasma vets should be good, strength 7 and AP2 with rapid fire good, but mine seem to kill themselves more than anything else. I’ll probably keep them as is until the Fratris because I should spend my remaining time painting instead of weapon swapping. After that I plan to play with different options a bit.

      Don’t get me wrong on the psyker, he is definitely worth having in the army! In this particular battle he just didn’t come out as one of the MVPs. Rolling three dice for arrival from reserves is nice but for each russ I rolled three dice at 4+ (so in no matter what) and for the conscripts it was three dice below 4. Prescience scored me more lasgun hits that were saved on the riptide and turned one hot plasma into two. I tried it on the basilisk one turn but rolled a hit the first time. I’ll just say that his impact was statistically ambiguous this time around. I expect he’ll pull his weight very well overall though.

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