Monday, March 24, 2008

Battle Report: Orks vs. Tau Seek & Destroy

Scenario: Seek and Destroy
Ork Forces: Badelaire
Tau Forces: Darkwing

The Scenario
In this mission, the scenario was determined randomly at the time of the battle, and after both players had made their army lists. The random scenario was determined to be Seek and Destroy.

Ork Briefing
Badelaire: Another Tau fight. Ugh. Last time they pretty much butchered my forces to a man without me even getting into the fight until the very last round of the game. Not pretty at all. This time around, I’m going to have to use some more fast attack and long-range firepower options to bring the fight to the Tau so my boyz can survive long enough to get the job done.

I decided to use my mega-armored boss this fight, letting him join the truck boyz I’d be using so that he can get into the thick of things fast. Without power weapons or especially any kind of powerfist attack, the Tau would be pretty much helpless in assault against him, and as long as he didn’t get hammered by a railgun or other AP 1 or 2 attack, he’d be just about unstoppable. Along with the warboss, other changes I made from our last fight were to avoid giving my flash gitz kustom jobs (a waste of points, since there’s no way I want them within 30” of the Tau when they outrange with big shootas). I also added my trio of lobbaz with a couple extra krew and a mekboy, as well as a full-sized unit of ‘ard boyz. While the Tau do have a number of AP 4 weapons, I hoped that at least being able to take a few armor saves, as opposed to nothing at all.

As for tactics, I just hoped I could move my assault units (‘ard boyz, grot mobs, burna boyz) forward into the Tau guns, while being supported by the lobbaz, flash gitz, and shoota boyz, with the ‘ard boyz and slaverz getting off a few rokkit shots on the way in. My stormboyz, skorcha buggy, and truck boyz were what I was really counting on to make the difference. If I could get into assaults quickly enough, I could start tearing up the Tau units from the flanks and force him to start responding to threats piecemeal, rather than hammering one of my units to pieces a turn with concentrated firepower. Tau are great when they can focus fire and melt a unit away, but if you distract them and divide them, they’ll become far less effective. We shall see.

Tau Briefing
Darkwing: When you don’t know what kind of battle you’re going to be playing, you’re forced to make a balanced army. Still, my usual Tau force is more or less balanced already, aside from its complete lack of Kroot. Against Badelaire’s Ork forces, the job was simple, kill as many Orks at range. Without too many heavy vehicles to worry about, I could focus mainly on anti-personnel weapons.

As such I got a Shas’el with two bodyguards, each armed with plasma rifles, missile pods and multi-trackers. I got a second Crisis Team armed with Missile Pods, Burst Cannon and multi-trackers. A Stealth Team would be good to slow down the ork advance, as well as two units of Gun Drones that could deep strike and distract. Four units of 12 Fire Warriors would form my battle line, supported by the Ethereal for moral support, and a Hammerhead for heavy support. With a few points left over, I got two of my Fire Warrior teams Photon Grenades. I planned to position them on the flanks, the most likely place to be assaulted successfully, hoping it might blunt the Ork assault a smidgeon.

When I found out the mission, Seek and Destroy, the plan became simple—kill as many orks as possible. To do this, I would try to give my units the best field of fire and kill him while he approached. My Crisis Suits would likely Deep Strike to support my front line, while I’d drop my more expendable Gun Drones behind Badelaire’s lines to harass his forces and distract them from their objective.

The Forces
Ork ForcesPoints
Warboss (Gorgash Gutmuncha) (1) 135
'Ardboyz with Nob (Pigface's Mob) (20) 288
Flash Gitz with Nob (Dakkaboss' Mob) (17) 185
Stormboyz with Nob (9) 146
Shoota Boyz with Nob (Blackhorn's Mob) (15) 151
Burna Boyz with Mekboy (12)132
Trukk Boyz with Nob (10)142
Gretchin with Slaver & Squighound (22) 84
Gretchin with Slaver & Squighound (22)84
Skorcha Warbuggy (1) 49
Lobbaz (9) 107
Total Points:1499
Tau ForcesPoints
Commander Shas'el & Bodyguards (3)260
Ethereal (1)50
Crisis Battlesuit Team (3)177
Stealth Team (5) 150
Fire Warriors (12) 132
Fire Warriors (12) 132
Fire Warriors (12) 120
Fire Warriors (12) 120
Gun Drones (8) 96
Gun Drones (8) 96
Hammerhead Gunship 165
Total Points:1498

Turn 1
With only basic infantry units able to deploy in the beginning, the Tau formed up four Fire Warrior Teams up front, and a team of Stealth Suits infiltrated to a position to strike a blow on the Ork right flank. The orks set up a pair of Gretchin mobs up front, with a unit of Shootaboyz and a unit of Burnaboyz on the right flank, and a unit of ‘Ard Boyz and Flash Gitz on the left flank.

Tau Stealth Suits prepare to attack from above
Gaining the initiative, the Tau got the first move. The Ethereal took command of Fire Warrior Team 4, and both Teams 3 and 4, the center pair, advanced. The Stealth Team leapt down from their rocky perch and into range of the Shootaboyz on the Ork right flank. Opening fire with their burst cannon, they killed no less than seven of them, forcing them to fall back and mob up with the unit of Burnaboyz. The Gretchin and Pigface’s ‘Ardboyz advanced. Blackhorn’s Shootaboyz fired their big shootas at the Stealth Team, killing one of them. Hornhead, the slaver of one of the Gretchin mobs, fired his rokkit at Fire Warrior Team 3, but missed. The ‘Ardboyz fired their rokkits on Fire Warrior Team 4, and although one hit, it failed to wound. The Flash Gitz fired on Fire Warrior Team 4 with their big shootas and were more successful, killing five of them. With the Ethereal leading them, the Fire Warriors did not even consider falling back.

Turn 2
The Tau Hammerhead arrived, along with the Commander’s Crisis Suit Team and the other Crisis Suit Team, both of which deep struck in front of the Tau lines, landing in range of the approaching Ork army.

The Stealth Team moved into position to fire, shooting at Blackhorn’s Burnaboyz, killing 3 Orks. The Fire Warrior Teams opened up next, with Teams 2 and 3 firing on Hornhead’s Grot Mob, killing seven between them. Teams 4 and 1 fired on Pigface’s ‘Ardboyz, in cover behind some rocks, and killing only a single one. Then both Crisis Teams fired on the ‘Ardboyz with their Plasma Rifles, Burst Cannon, and Missile Pods, and managed to kill four of them.

The Trukkboyz arrived on the left flank, driving fast behind the cover. On the Ork right flank, the Skorcha buggy did the same. The group of three lobbas moved up in the center and setup their big gunz. The Orks left flank advanced, the ‘Ardboyz moving out of cover, the grots to their outside and the Flash Gitz behind.
 The Crisis Suit Team spies the 'Ard Boyz
Blackhorn’s Burnaboyz fired their big shootas on Fire Warrior Team 3, killing 2, and Hornhead killed one more with a rokkit shot. This caused the Team to flee behind the crest of the hill. Pigface’s mob, Snaggletooth and his Grot mob concentrated fire on the Crisis Suit Team, but failed to kill any of them. The Flash Gitz once again fired on Fire Warrior Team 4 with their big shootas, killing 3 of them.

Turn 3
Both units of Gun Drones arrived, landing on either side of the Lobbas, apparently with the intention of silencing them before they got a chance to fire. A pair of Gun Drones in unit 1 crashed on landing. Fire Warrior Team 3 regrouped and consolidated. Gun Drones 1 fired on the Lobbas, killing four crewmembers and wrecking one of the big gunz. Gun Drones 2 failed to do any damage at all. The Stealth Team fired on Hornhead’s grots, killing one of them. Fire Warrior Team 2 did better, killing six more of the grots. The Crisis Suit Team, the Commander’s Crisis Suit Team, and Fire Warrior Teams 1 and 4 all fired on the ‘Ardboyz, killing eleven of them, leaving Pigface as the sole wounded survivor. He fell back, heading towards the Flash Gitz, only to see the Hammerhead’s submunition explode over them, killing no less than eight of them. The Flash Gitz also began to fall back.

The Flash Gitz and Pigface mobbed up together, but continued to fall back. The Ork right flank advanced, getting desperate to bring the fight to the Tau. The Lobbas opened fire on Fire Warrior Team 3, but both shots scattered wide and failed to hit anything. Snaggletooth fired his rokkit at the Crisis Suit Team, but missed. His Grots fired with their blastas, and managed to wound one of the suits. The Flash Gitz, although falling back, could still shoot, and fired their big shootas at Gun Drones 1, destroying two of them, forcing the unit to fall back. Blackhorn’s Burnaboyz fired on Gun Drones 2, destroying one of them. Finally Hornhead fired a rokkit at the Stealth Team, killing one, while his Grots opened fire and killed one more.

Turn 4

Things were not looking good for the Orks, as the majority of their units had taken a pounding, and most of the Tau army was still in good shape.

Gun Drones 1 regrouped, and took up positions to fire on Pigface and the Flash Gitz. The drones opened up, killing one ork and finishing off Pigface. Gun Drones 2 fired on the Lobbas again, but failed to kill anything. The Stealth Team fired on Hornhead’s Gretchin, but only managed to kill a single grot. Fire Warrior Team 2 fired on Blackhorn’s Burnaboyz, killing a single ork. The Hammerhead, backing up, fired its Smart Missile System at the ork Skorcha, lurking behind some rocks, but failed to damage it. The motion must have been too much for the railgun’s stabilization system as well, as the submunition it fired on Blackhorn’s Burnaboyz also missed. The Crisis Suit Team managed to kill one of Blackhorn’s Orks with a Missile Pod. The Commander and his bodyguard fired on Hornhead’s grots, killing three of them. Fire Warrior Team 4 fired on Snaggletooth’s Grots, killing one. Fire Warrior Team 1 moved off the crest of their hill to their right, hoping to take out the ork trukk before the truck unloaded its cargo of orks and slaughtered them. Having moved into rapid fire range, the Tau opened fire with their pulse rifles, but failed to damage the trukk.

After several rounds of excellent firing, the Tau fusillade was beginning to fall off, but the damage they had done was horrendous. The Orks were determined to make them pay, and their time had come.

Fire Warrior Team 1 gets slaughtered by the Warboss and the Trukkboyz
The Stormboyz arrived, landing right by Gun Drones 1. The Trukkboyz roared around the flank, disembarking the Trukkboyz and the Warboss right by Fire Warrior Team 1. The Skorcha buggy drove around the flank, ready to unleash its heavy flamer on Fire Warrior Team 2. Both units of grots advanced in the center. To top it off, the Dakkaboss’ Flash Gitz regrouped and advanced.

Blackhorn’s Burnaboyz fired on Gun Drones 2, destroying three, and causing the unit to fall back. The Lobbas fired their shells at Fire Warriors 3, killing one of them. Both units of Grots opened fire on the Crisis Suit Team, and although they scored several hits, none of them brought down a Crisis Suit. The Skorcha unloaded gouts of heavy flame upon Fire Warrior Team 2, killing six of them.

The Stormboyz fired on Gun Drones 1, failed to kill any of them, then assaulted the drones. The Nob failed to bring any down, but the boyz, with no less than 32 attacks, easily wiped out the six drones.

The Trukkboyz opened fire on Fire Warrior Team 1, but failed to kill any of them. Things would be different in the assault. Roaring their battlecry, the Orks and the Warboss charged in, while the Tau peppered them ineffectually with their photon grenades. The Orks delivered six casualties—all that they could reach, while not suffering any casualties in return, and piled in.

Turn 5

With new threats on their flanks, the Tau redirected their fire. Fire Warrior Team 2 fired on the Skorcha buggy, immobilizing it, while the Stealth Team destroyed it. Fire Warrior Team 4 moved left out of the woods, hoping to put it between them and the Trukkboyz, who were busily wiping out Fire Warrior Team 1. Fire Warrior Team 3 fired on Snaggletooth’s Grots, killing six of them. The Crisis Suit Team and the Commander’s Team all fired on the Stormboyz, delivering eight casualties, leaving the Nob as the sole survivor. The Hammerhead fired its Smart Missile System on Hornhead’s mob, killing three Grots, leaving only Hornhead and the squig hound left. Then the railgun fired a submunition on Snaggletooth’s Grots, killing ten of them. Gun Drones 2, falling back, fired on Blackhorn’s boyz, but failed to kill any of them.
 The Orks slaughter the Tau in close combat
In the assault, the Fire Warriors bravely managed to take down two of the Trukkboyz, but after the burnaboy, the Trukkboyz, and finally the Warboss attacked, all five of the Fire Warriors were killed. Eager to kill even more, they surged forward, the Trukkboyz towards the Crisis Suits, and the Warboss towards Fire Warrior Team 4.

All of the Orks converged on the Crisis Suits, except for the Warboss, who smashed his way at full speed through the trees and into Fire Warrior Squad 4.

The Orks in the center opened fire with everything they had at the Crisis Suit Team, bringing two of them down, leaving the team leader as the sole member left to face the oncoming assault. Blackhorn’s Burnaboyz fired their big shootas at Fire Warrior Team 3, killing three of them.

The Warboss tore apart the only two fire warriors he could get his powerklaw on, while the Ethereal stepped forward to take him on. The Stormboyz Nob and Snaggletooth and his grots assaulted the Crisis Suit Team Leader—the Crisis Suit wounded the nob, only to be killed by the swarm of grots that dragged it to the ground. The Trukkboyz assaulted the Commander’s Crisis Suit Team. The Commander killed one of the Trukkboyz, but the Trukkboyz destroyed one of the suits, and the Commander and his one bodyguard turned to flee, but the Trukkboyz ran them down and destroyed them both. The Orks consolidated. The battle had clearly and decisively swung in favor of the Orks.

Turn 6

The situation had suddenly become desperate for the Tau. Fire Warrior Teams 2 and 3 and the Stealth Team all fired of Blackhorn’s Burnaboyz, but only managed to kill two of them. The Hammerhead kill two more with its Smart Missile System, and killed four of the Trukkboyz with a submunition. Perhaps sensing their imminent victory, the Orks all refused to run away.
The Warboss destroys the Hammerhead
In the assault, the Ethereal was hopelessly outmatched and was mercilessly crushed by the Warboss’ power klaw, and the Warboss killed the last Fire Warrior in the unit as well. In response to the Ethereal’s death, both Fire Warrior Teams 2 and 3 began to fall back, leaving only the Stealth Team and the Hammerhead left on the field.

The Warboss powered forward again at maximum possible speed, and despite it hovering in the sky above, tore into its hull and detonated its engine, causing the vehicle in a fireball. Out of the wreckage the Warboss emerged completely unscathed, stood atop the hill, raised his power klaw to the sky. “Waaagh!”

Victory Point Totals:
Orks: 1357
Tau: 871.5

Ork Debriefing
Badelaire: Whew! By the end of Turn 3, I was just getting ready to see the fight out to its inevitable conclusion – me getting slaughtered almost to a man like the last fight. My shooting had caused a few casualties here and there, but his forces were just tearing me apart, and with the total loss of my ‘ard boyz, my hopes of getting into an effective assault depended almost entirely on the luck of my WarTrukk.

And then my luck started to soar. The Trukk survived the half-dozen or so shots that got fired at it, and dumped out my boyz and the Boss into the fight. At the same time, my skorcha buggy got in and flamed a squad of Fire Warriors, and my Stormboyz arrived and wiped out a squad of gun drones. Suddenly I found myself a whole lot closer to Darkwing’s lines than I had been before, and those grot units that had still survived were dangerously close to his crisis suit teams. Grots might not be all that much muscle, but plasma rifles and missile pods, great against tough targets, were massive overkill against my 3-point pipsqueaks. The suits are very mobile, and have great weapons, but Darkwing had been boxed in among the threats of my truck boyz and the grot mobs. In the end, I was just able to get at him a chunk at a time and tear him apart.

And finally, the Warboss. Between the mega-armor, mega-boosta, and the powerklaw, he was able to just wade through those Fire Warriors, snipping them in half and shrugging off the occasional rife-butt smash with a laugh and a snarl. Getting the dice rolls I needed (there were witnesses!) was a godsend, but tearing the guts out of that accursed hammerhead (who survived the last battle almost unscathed) was just gravy, especially after suffering his constant submunition barrages and being almost completely unable to retaliate (an ork with a rokkit would need, on average, 18 dice of shooting to score even a single damage roll). All in all, a much happier ending for the Green Tide.

Tau Debriefing
Darkwing: Well, that battle was a demonstration of how rapidly and decisively that the tide of battle can turn. My Tau did excellently in the early stages, with my Stealth Team nearly wiping out the Shoota Boyz early, and my Hammerhead dealing out serious punishment, with its railgun crippling the Flash Gitz and other tightly packed units. My shooting in the first three turns was just a little above average, while Badelaire was probably average or a little bit less. After turn three, mine went downhill while his climbed—this was helped tremendously by Badelaire getting his Trukkboyz into close combat, which completely turned the tide.

That one unit of Trukkboyz wiped out a unit of Fire Warriors (which was to be expected), rolled a 6 to consolidate, setting it up to assault and wipe out my Commander and his bodyguards. The Warboss did even better. He helped out in wiping out the Fire Warrior Team, rolled a 6 to consolidate, rolled a 6 to get through the woods, wiped out the Ethereal and a second unit of Fire Warriors, rolled a 6 to consolidate, setting him up to attack the Hammerhead, rolled the required 6 to hit it (it being a skimmer), and rolled a 6 for the armor penetration (despite needing only a 3 to penetrate), and rolled a 6 for the damage roll, exploding it. Ouch.

What have I learned from this fiasco? I just assumed that Badelaire was going to succeed in outflanking me with his Skorcha buggy and his wartrukk. I was hoping I could contain the damage and weather it. I did that on my left flank against the Skorcha—it flamed some of my Fire Warriors, then I blew it away. On the right flank, I got off a few ineffective pulse rifle shots at the wartrukk on the turn it was to assault, and then it proceeded to unload its cargo which promptly destroyed half my army. I really needed to take those flank threats more seriously than I did.

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