Monday, February 18, 2008

Battle Report: Dark Eldar vs. Tau Rules of Engagement

Scenario: Rules of Engagement
Dark Eldar Forces: Archite
Dark Eldar Mission: Foothold; Objective: Control both enemy Objective Markers (Objectives 1 and 3)
Tau Forces: Darkwing
Tau Mission: Rescue; Objective: Primary: One non-vehicle unit must spend one full movement phase in base to base with an enemy objective (2 or 4). Secondary: Control any one of your own objective markers (1 or 3)

The Forces
Dark Eldar ForcesPoints
Dracite with Jetbike (1)156
Reaver Jetbikes (4)120
Wyches with Succubus and Raider (Green) (9)215
Wyches with Succubus and Raider (Steel) (9)215
Wyches with Succubus and Raider (Ruby) (10)218
Wyches with Succubus and Raider (Purple) (10)228
Warpbeasts with Beastmaster (6)75
Warpbeasts with Beastmaster (5)63
Warpbeasts with Beastmaster (5)63
Hellions with Succubus (5)127
Total Points:1600
Tau ForcesPoints
Commander Shas'el (1)113
Ethereal (1)50
Crisis Battlesuit Team (3)187
Crisis Battlesuit Team (2)112
Stealth Team (6)190
Fire Warriors (12)120
Fire Warriors (12)120
Fire Warriors (12)120
Fire Warriors (12)120
Gun Drones (8)96
Pathfinders (6)192
Hammerhead Gunship 180
Total Points:1600
Turn 1
The Dark Eldar moved first. They had two Raiders on their left flank, along with a pack of Warp Beasts. Another Warp Beast pack held the center, while a third was on the right flank. A Ravager, several Raiders, and a squadron of Reaver jetbikes made up the Dark Eldar right flank.

On the Dark Eldar left, the two Raiders advanced and disembarked their Wych Squads. The Green Wyches disembarked behind the trees, while the Steel Wyches disembarked on an objective. All the Warp Beast Packs advanced forward. The Raiders on the right flank boosted forward, attempting to remain within cover, while the Reavers gunned their engines and flew forward right into the sights of their Tau opponents.

The Raiders on the left flank fired their disintegrators at the Stealth Suits, but neither hit their targets. The Ravager had moved to square off against the Hammerhead Gunship, but was out of range.

The Stealth Suits moved out of the trees, their burst cannon aiming at the Steel Wych Squad. Their shots mowed down six of them, and the Fire Warrior Squad to the rear finished off the remaining three, wiping out the squad. The Stealth Suits then moved further back to lengthen the range between them and their enemies. The Crisis Team on the Tau right flank fired on the Steel Wyches’ Raider with their Missile Pods, destroying it.

The Hammerhead made the Ravager pay for exposing itself, firing a Railgun shot that tore into the Ravager and blew it up in a spectacular explosion. The second Crisis Team fired their twin-linked missile pods on the Ruby Wyches’ Raider, shaking up the crew, with the Tau Commander destroyed its disintegrator armament.

On the Tau left flank, the pathfinders missed with their rail rifles, while Fire Warrior Squad 1 picked up the slack, shooting at the Reaver Jetbikes and killing four of them, leaving the Dracite as the sole survivor. The Gun Drones then opened fire on the Dracite, and luckily they penetrated his Shadow Field, leaving him very vulnerable.

Fire Warrior Squad 2 then opened fire, bringing the Archite and his jetbike crashing to the ground, a flaming wreck.

Turn 2
The Hellions arrived, deep striking on the Tau right flank. The Green Wyches advanced into the trees, while their Raider moved forward in front of the objective.

The center and right Warp Beasts advanced. The Green Wyches’ Raider fired its disintegrator on the Stealth Team and missed. The Hellions also fired on the Stealth Team, killing one of them.

The left Warp Beast pack assaulted the Stealth Team, the Beastmaster killing two with his agonizer, the Warp Beasts killing one more. The Stealth Team caused no casualties in return.

The Warp Beasts attack the Stealth Suits
The Ruby Wyches, their Raider merely damaged, flew forward and disembarked, then charged into Fire Warrior Squad 2. The Sybarite killed two of the Fire Warriors, while the Wyches killed another nine, leaving a single survivor who bravely continued the fight.

The Pathfinders found themselves out of range. Fire Warrior Squad 1, however, was not, and opened fire on the right Warp Beast Squad, killing the four Warp Beasts and the Beastmaster, wiping out the squad. The Gun Drones fired on the Purple Wyches’ Raider, stunning the crew. The Hammerhead’s railgun missed, but its Smart Missile System hit the unengaged members of the Ruby Wyches, killing two of them. The Commander fired his Missile Pod, killing two more. Crisis Team 2 fired their twin-linked missile pods at the Ruby Wych Raider, destroying it. Fire Warrior Squad 4 fired at the Hellions, killing five and wiping out the squad.

In the assault, the Ruby Wyches killed the last Fire Warrior and consolidated. The Warp Beasts fighting the Stealth Suits slaughtered the last two of them, and the pack consolidated.

Turn 3
The left Warp Beast Pack sidestepped in front of the Tau lines, bypassing Fire Warrior Squad 4 and heading towards Fire Warrior Squad 3. The Green Wyches’ Raider moved forward to plug a gap in the trees, screening the Green Wyches from any Tau fire.

The Ruby Wyches assaulted Fire Warrior Squad 1, killing six Fire Warriors while suffering no casualties of their own. The center Warp Beasts assaulted the Gun Drones, killing a single drone. The left Warp Beasts assaulted Fire Warrior Squad 3, killing five of the Fire Warriors while not suffering any casualties.

The Pathfinders embarked on their Devilfish and advanced up the left flank.

The Green Wyches take cover in the trees
Crisis Team 1 fired their missile pods on the Green Wyches Raider, destroying and it causing it to crash. The Hammerhead, unable to detect the Purple Wyches’ Raider behind the wreck of the Ruby Wyches’ Raider, fired its Smart Missile System at it, and succeeded in destroying it. The Sybarite and four Wyches were killed in the crash.

In the assault the Ruby Wyches killed two more FireWarriors, again suffering no casualties. The center Warp Beasts destroyed a single Gun Drone, while the Drones killed a pair of Warp Beasts.

The Tau Commander, Crisis Team 2, and Fire Warrior Squad 4 charged into combat with the Warp Beasts that were ripping apart Fire Warrior Squad 3. The Beastmaster killed one Fire Warrior, the Warp Beasts killed another four. For their part, the Commander, the Ethereal, and the Crisis team did nothing, while the Fire Warriors killed two Warp Beasts.

Turn 4
The Purple Wyches charged into the assault with the Gun Drones, destroying five of them, while the Warp Beasts destroyed the last one. The Ruby Wyches continued to fight Fire Warrior Squad 1, the Sybarite killing one, the Wyches killing two.

In the massive fight in the Tau center, the Beastmaster killed two Fire Warriors, the Warp Beasts another two, while all the Tau did absolutely nothing.

The Pathfinders disembarked, and together with the Devilfish, opened fire on the Purple Wyches, now in the open, killing all five and wiping them out. The Hammerhead missed with its Railgun, and fired its Smart Missile System on the center Warp Beasts, killing one of them. Crisis Team 1 fired at the Green Wyches, killing three of them.

The Warp Beasts attack Fire Warrior Squad 3
The Ruby Wyches continued to fight against Fire Warrior Squad 1, killing another one of them. The Warp Beasts in the center continued to fight—the Beastmaster missed, but the Warp Beasts themselves killed the Tau Ethereal. The Commander then killed one Warp Beast, while Crisis Team 2 killed the last Warp Beast and the Beastmaster, the Tau consolidated.

Turn 5
The center Warp Beasts assaulted the Pathfinders, killing two of them, but the Pathfinders managed to bring down a Warp Beast. The Ruby Wyches killed the last Fire Warrior in Fire Warrior Squad 1.

Due to the death of the Ethereal, the entire Tau army had to make the “Price of Failure” checks, which all of them succeeded. The Devilfish moved forward and killed three of the Ruby Wyches with its gun drones and its Burst Cannon, while Crisis Team 2 killed three more, wiping out the squad. In the assault, the Pathfinders killed the Beastmaster, wiping out that squad.

Turn 6
All that was left for the Dark Eldar was the Green Wyches, who had been behind cover for most of the battle. Now they charged out of cover, howling in rage, but they were not in range to do any damage. The Tau opened fire, wiping out the Wyches under sheer volume of fire.

The Crisis Suits charge into the fray against the Warp Beasts

Dark Eldar: Objectives not completed
Tau: Primary Objective Failed, Secondary Objective achieved.
Result: Tau Minor Victory
Dark Eldar Debriefing
Archite: Overall It was quite a cool battle, and one where I was really kept on my feet. Using the Wych Cult is always a challenge, its always a matter of full throttle, a little careful maneuvering, and then roll the bones.

Basically my whole plan was to dump enough squads at you to cause you to split your fire enough so that I could close in for the kill, hopefully using my downed raiders as makeshift terrain.

The Ravager was meant more to draw fire than to take out enemy vehicles. The three disintegrators was a snafu on my part, I actually meant to bring 3 Dark Lances but didn't realize it until I printed [my army list] out. I stuck with it as an "unexpected" factor.

Again, the Warpbeasts did a good job, getting in quickly and tying down units until others could arrive.. And to think, I still have some I haven't painted yet.

The raiders got shot down pretty quickly, but one unit managed to get in an deal out the damage.

The moderate number of Tau and their 4+ saves makes them really effective against DE. Especially seen as the weapons I have in abundance are AP5. They held up better in CC than I thought they would. Granted the two warp beast packs + a pack and a half of wyches I managed to get into hand-to-hand can only do so much to an entire 1600 pt army.

Tau Debriefing
Darkwing: The vaunted Tau firepower prevailed, this time.

I've come to the conclusion that I must be a trying player to play against. As soon as Archite got some of his Wyches and Warp Beasts into close combat despite my efforts to eradicate them, I started lamenting my almost sure defeat. There's nothing I can do to stop them now! Well, my whining was premature, as I was able to overwhelm the Warp Beasts in close combat, and shoot up the Wyches and other Warp Beast unit after they had finished massacring the units they were fighting. My fear at the time was that Archite's troops would wipe out my units in my turn, then consolidate, and then plow into another target in Archite's turn. That happened in the beginning--with Archite's Warp Beasts killing my Stealth Suits and then plowing into Fire Warrior Squad 3, and also with the Ruby Wyches killing Fire Warrior Squad 2 and then charging Fire Warrior Squad 1. But Fire Warrior Squad 1 proved a tougher nut to crack, and Fire Warrior Squad 3 ended up with allies as I charged in my Crisis Suits and Fire Warrior Squad 4.

I was really lucky that Archite misjudged the distance for his Ravager to fire--as soon as he got the first turn I was sure he'd take out my Hammerhead. As it happened he was out of range and exposed, and I blew it out of the sky. Other than that, my Hammerhead mainly held its position, on the objective. Its Smart Missile System did a good job, firing over the wreck of one Raider to take out another, and killing 4 Wyches and a Succubus to boot!

I was also very lucky to kill off Archite's Dracite in the first turn. I had no problem killing his retinue of Reaver Jetbikes, but getting through his Shadow Field (with that sick 2+ Invulnerable save) was a stroke of luck. If I hadn't done that, his Dracite would had eaten my left flank alive, all on his own.

I still haven't learned to manage my Stealth Suits well enough yet--it seems like in every battle they close in, cripple a unit with Burst Cannon Fire, then fall back--but never quite far enough, so they always end up getting assaulted and wiped out in short order. Perhaps I need to try to send them against more shooty adversaries rather than trying to tackle enemy assault units. Playing the "bait" may be an honor to a Tau, but it's dangerous!

My Pathfinders did not accomplish much this battle--if I played this mission again I probably would exchange them for another Gun Drone Squad and maybe another Crisis Suit.

All in all things went to plan--I was able to take out enough of Archite's forces to cripple his assault, so that he couldn't take out my army with what he had left.

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