Friday, March 7, 2008

Battle Report: Orks vs. Tau Take and Hold

Scenario: Take & Hold
Ork Forces: Badelaire
Tau Forces: Darkwing

The Forces
Ork ForcesPoints
Warboss Gorgrim Skulkraka II (1)93
Pigface's Mob: Skarboyz (20)276
Flash Gitz with Nob (20)326
Stormboyz with Nob (9) 146
Burnaboyz with Mekboy (11) 127
Burnaboyz with Mekboy (11)126
Klawfreek's Mob: Slugga Boyz with Nob (24) 280
Shoota Boyz with Nob (19) 220
Gretchin with Slaver and Squighound (22) 84
Gretchin with Slaver and Squighound (22) 84
Wartrak Skorcha 43
Warbuggy 46
Total Points:1851
Tau ForcesPoints
Commander Shas'o (1) 135
Ethereal (1)50
Crisis Battlesuit Team (3) 214
Crisis Battlesuit Team (3) 215
Stealth Team (6) 190
Fire Warriors (12)130
Fire Warriors (12) 130
Fire Warriors (12) 130
Fire Warriors (12) 130
Gun Drones (8) 96
Gun Drones (8) 96
Pathfinders (5) 175
Hammerhead Gunship 165
Total Points: 1856
Turn 1
The sun had not risen yet, so the opening of the battle would take place in the semi-dark of the morning twilight. The Hammerhead’s commander, knowing that there were hordes of orks ahead, trained his sights, but could not pick out anything in the darkness. Neither could the Tau Commander in his Crisis suit. The Stealth team, in its forward position, could, however, and opened fire, killing eight Gretchin before using their jetpacks to hop back behind cover.

The Orks advance
On the Tau right flank, the pathfinders could barely make out some Shoota Boyz beginning to climb a hill, and the rail rifles picked off one of them. Another Ork had a red laser dot appear on his chest, and ignored it. Luckily for him, none of the other Tau were able to see the Shoota Boyz, so the Ork survived a little longer.

The Orks advanced on all sides, and despite their peering efforts, could not spot any of the Tau ahead.

Turn 2
Now it was light enough to make out targets.

A unit of Gun Drones descended from the sky, and landed right in front of the unit of Stormboyz, who were moving behind cover in the early stages of a flanking maneuver against the Tau left flank. The Drones landed in perfect firing position, but their twin-linked pulse carbines were lacking in both accuracy and damage, and only a single ork was killed by their short range fusillade.

Fire Warrior Team 1 and the Stealth Suit Team both opened fire on the Gretchin, hoping to clear lanes of fire for other teams to take out the Orks behind. Fire Warrior Team 1 killed six, while the Stealth Team killed nine. The Hammerhead dropped a Submunition in the middle of the pack, killing ten Slugga Boyz, while the Commander killed one more with his Missile Pod.

The Hammerhead aims at the oncoming Ork horde
On the Tau right flank, most of the fire went towards the Shoota Boyz, with Fire Warrior Team 4 killing one of them, The Missile Pod Crisis Team killing two, and the Burst Cannon Crisis Team killing four.

The Ork Warbuggy whipped around cover to the right flank, maneuvering to outflank the Tau. The Skorcha Wartrak and the Stormboyz moved into position to wipe out the Gun Drones that had tried to kill the Stormboyz. The rest of the Orks advanced steadily forward.

The Wartrak’s Skorcha flamed the Gun Drones, wiping out six of them and causing them to begin to fall back. The Stormboyz then assaulted them—and wiped them out as they began to flee.

The Ork Rokkits were still just out of range of the Hammerhead, but would not remain so for long. The Shoota Boyz opened fire on the Pathfinders with their Big Shootas, and managed to kill one. The Flash Gitz did the same, and killed one more.

Turn 3
A second squadron of Gun Drones arrived, this time right next to the Warbuggy threatening the Tau left flank. They opened fire at point blank range and blew it away.

On the right flank Fire Warrior Team 4 killed three Shoota Boyz, while the nearby Mek’s Kustom Force Field protected the Shoota Boyz from the fire of the Crisis Suits.

In the center the Hammerhead missed the Skarboyz with its submunition, and succeeded in killing a single grot with its Smart Missile System. The Commander killed a single Skarboy with his Plasma Rifle, and attempted to kill another with his Missile Pod, but a Grot got in the way and made the supreme sacrifice to save its larger brethren. Fire Warrior Teams 2 and 3 opened fire, killing eleven Gretchin from one of the mobs.

All of the Orks passed their morale checks and continued to advance.

The Skorcha Wartrak and the Stormboyz took up positions behind a huge rock formation, preparing to launch a flank attack of their own.

Five rokkits were fired at the Hammerhead, and one connected, stunning the crew. The Shoota Boyz opened up on the Pathfinders with their big shootas, killing three and wiping out the team. The Flash Gitz fired their big shootas on Fire Warrior Team 4, but only managed to kill a single Fire Warrior.

Turn 4
The Gun Drones fired at the Skorcha Wartrak behind the rocks, but failed to damage it. Fire Warrior Team 1 did the same, also to no effect. The Burst Cannon Crisis Suits and Fire Warrior Team 4 fired at the Burna Boyz on the Ork left, killing eight of them. The Crisis Suits fired at the Flash Gitz, killing six. Fire Warrior Team 2 fired on the Slugga Boyz, caused no casualties.
The Stormboyz assault the gun drones
The Burna Boyz turned to flee, but promptly mobbed up with the Flash Gitz. The Skorcha Wartrak burst out of cover and unleashed its Skorcha on Fire Warrior Team 1, which had been taking cover in a copse of trees. The trees did them no good, however, and no less than nine Fire Warriors were killed.

Four rokkits were fired on the Hammerhead, but this time none did any damage. The Shoota Boyz and the Flash Gitz fired on the Crisis Suits, and delivered a single wound to one of the Suits.

The Stormboyz leapt over the rocks and assaulted the Gun Drones, killing five of them. The remaining three teetered on the edge of fleeing, needing a double 1 to stay in the fight, and they got it. Brave little drones, they fought on for the Greater Good.

Turn 5
The Devilfish and remnants of Fire Warrior Team 1 opened fire on the Skorcha, desperate to kill it before it unleashed its fury on another team, but all failed to damage it. This drew the wrath of the Hammerhead, which swiveled its railgun at the hapless Skorcha and fired a hypersonic slug through the Skorcha’s fuel tank. The Orks gaped in astonishment for a millisecond before being engulfed in flames. The Hammerhead’s Smart Missile System then fired on the Slugga Boyz ahead, killing one of them.

The Missile Pod Crisis Suits, Fire Warrior Teams 2 and 3, and the Commander all fired on the Slugga Boyz, killing two, zero, one, and two, respectively. The Burst Cannon Crisis Suits fired on the Shoota Boyz, killing four and wiping out the mob. Fire Warrior Team 4 and the Stealth Suit Team fired on the Skarboyz, killing one and two respectively.

The Stealth Team emerges from cover to engage the Orks
In the assault the Gun Drones valiantly killed a single ork before the sluggas and choppas of the Stormboyz tore them apart.

Four more rokkits fired on the Hammerhead, with two hits, but again caused no damage. The Flash Gitz fired on the Burst Cannon Crisis Suits, wounding one of them again and killing him. The Warboss fired on the Stealth Team and missed.

The Stormboyz, victorious, jumped again, this time towards Fire Warrior Team 2. They plowed into the Team, the Nob killing two while the Orks killed three more. The seven Fire Warriors who got to attack failed to kill any of their adversaries.

Turn 6
The Tau moved in towards the center, bringing the Orks into close range. Fire Warrior Team four wiped out the nearest Gretchin mob. The Devilfish, Fire Warrior Team 3, and the Hammerhead’s Smart Missile System targeted the Slugga Boyz, killing two, two, and one respectively. The Hammerhead’s submunition exploded over the Skarboyz, killing no less than six. More fire from the Tau further depleted the ranks of the Orks. When smoke cleared, only Pigface, Klawfreek, the Warboss, one rokkit boy, and four Burnaboyz had survived.

The Tau Commander moved to aid Fire Warrior Team 2, and assaulted the Stormboyz. The Commander killed one of them, while the Orks killed a pair of Fire Warriors, while again the Fire Warriors were ineffective.

The Orks make their final assault on the Tau lines
The Orks began their final advance, with the surviving Ork Nobz and the Warboss advancing on the Tau line, facing off against the Missile Pod Crisis Suit Team. The Warboss unleashed his one-shot Skorcha on the Crisis Suits, engulfing three Stealth Suits and a shield drone, but only succeeded in destroying the drone. Klawfreek, the Burnaboyz, Pigface, the Sluggas, and the one rokkit boy all fired, and all either missed or failed to wound. Roaring in rage, all the Orks then charged the Crisis Suit Team.

The Warboss delivered six attacks, wounded four times, but three of those were saved by the resilience of the Crisis Suits, leaving one only wounded. The Rokkit boy finished that one. Pigface wounded another, while the Slugga Boyz and Burnaboyz did no damage. The Shield Drone and two Crisis Suits focused on Klawfreek, and although they scored three hits, they failed to wound. Then Klawfreek attacked, killing both Crisis Suits and the Shield Drone with his power klaw.

The Tau Commander killed another Stormboy, while the Orks killed another Fire Warrior. Both the Nob and the Fire Warriors remained ineffective, and the fight would continue on.

Despite their final efforts, the battle was clearly lost for the Orks, and they fled to fight another day, leaving the Tau the on the field as the clear victors.

Final Victory Points:
Tau: 1463
Orks: 632

Ork Debriefing
Badelaire: Well, that was pretty ugly. I started the game with 161 models, and I ended it with about 19. That’s around 85% casualties for the battle. Footslogging Ork armies can work, but what mine really lacked was the ability do significant damage to Darkwing’s forces while on the way in. I had hoped that my shoota boys, the flash gitz, and the five rokkits among the infantry could do enough harm to blunt the effectiveness of his shooting, but unfortunately my big shoota fire was little more than a nuisance, and my five rokkits all told only stunned his tank for a turn. Beyond that, the majority of my Orks did nothing but run and die – it was “Zulu” and the Somme all rolled into one this battle.

So, did I do anything right? Well, the small force of fast-movers I did bring to the field was far and away the most effective part of my army. That lone skorcha trak earned back the value of itself and the rokkit buggy with points to spare. The stormboyz were also the champions of the day – the only Orks in my entire army to get into assault before turn 6. They also helped wipe out two units of drones and mauled a unit of fire warriors. My only complaint is that with such a small squad, and stranded so far from support, the nob needed a much heftier punch. I plan on building a stormboyz nob of my own in the future to give the unit more “oomph”, letting it really do some damage before the squad’s small numbers and almost non-existent armor betray them.

If I was to re-fight the battle with the same army list, I don’t really know what I could have done to improve the outcome that much. My shoota boys and flash gitz would probably have held back and relied almost entirely on their big shoota fire, keeping the units out of range of the Tau burst cannons and pulse rifles. They might not cause many casualties that way, but the units would have lived a lot longer under the shield of the kustom force field. As for the center flank, I really don’t know what else they could have done. Slugga boyz can only earn their keep in assault, and if they all die before they get there…

Now, if I was to fight this battle again, and I could re-do my army list, I would definitely make some changes. The warboss would have probably worn mega-armor, rode in a trukk, and would have slammed home into a crisis suit team ASAP. His trukk might have died, but if I played it smart, maybe not. He did almost nothing on his own the entire fight. Beyond that, I would have pulled the “kustom job” from the flash gitz – it was 80 points that earned almost nothing – in fact, it forced me to either waste the points and sit back out of shoota range, or get close and be cut to pieces. I chose the latter, and suffered for it. I would have also ditched the skarboyz packing burnas in favor of ‘ard boyz toting rokkits, since the skarboyz higher strength was completely wasted. The 4+ saves of the ‘ard boyz, on the other hand, would have been a godsend. On top of this, I would have traded in the rokkit buggy for another skorcha vehicle, and put it to good use. The rokkit buggy really gets only one shot before it’s exposed to return fire from the target, and anyone else who happens to be nearby. And finally, the stormboyz needed a tougher, nastier nob, perhaps one with a power klaw or a shoota-skorcha to lay down some burny goodness.

All in all, I have to say it was a great battle. If more of my boyz had made it to Darkwing’s lines a little earlier in the fight, even just a turn earlier, I could have made a much bigger impact on the battle. As it was, my poor mobility and lack of assault firepower just meant I provided Darkwing’s Tau with a lot of target practice.

Tau Debriefing
Darkwing: Well, that went more or less to plan. I was surprised that Badelaire did not take more fast attack choices—apparently he was going for a more pure horde army, hoping to just swamp me with bodies, getting enough in there to secure victory. Luckily my firepower was good enough to win the day.

Once the battle lines were drawn, my biggest fear, was his left flank. He had far more cover there, and was able to use it to his advantage with his Stormboyz, his warbuggy, and his Skorcha Wartrak. I was afraid that he’d sneak up with his Stormboyz and Skorcha and start rolling up my flank. My efforts to stop him got progressively better: my first drop of gun drones was a dismal failure, my second drop was better as it took out the warbuggy, while my final moves—the Hammerhead taking out the Skorcha and my Commander moving to aid the Fire Warriors against the Stormboyz, were able to put an end to that threat. Of course, by the time that really happened, the battle was all but over anyway.

Badelaire’s lack of fast attack choices really allowed my Tau to use their mobility to get better firing positions, rather than me using it to evade his troops. This allowed me force Badelaire to play my game. The Stealth Team--for the first time, I believe--actually survived the battle!

Other than that, I really only have to thank the firepower of the Tau to help me carry the day.

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