Tau Versus Eldar
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Warlock Longinus stepped down the rough mason stairs of the temple, shuriken pistol in hand. Accompanying him was Katheil, a young seer in training and his squad of Guardians, the web wanderers. Besides them a group of monkeigh villagers cautiously stalked about the columns to the side of the stairs, armed with an assortment of spears, clubs and shuriken catapults given to them by Eldars. He knew the village elders meant well, but these men were more of a hindrance than a protection.
A man armed with a rough blade and a crossbow greeted their group from a side passage; he spoke in heavily accented gothic. "Fire hair and Man in dress, they attacked again from the west, we lost 24 of our men, but we drove them off, however, I must ask, when will your troops be directly assisting us? We are losing this war" Longinus was coolly amused by their new nickname affectionately given by the mon keighs. "Do not waver, your men did not die in vain, they are inadvertently preventing a catastrophe"
For a while he felt sorry for them, they were a simple and peace loving community of harmless humans, but aeons past Eldar seers saw this world would be a staging post for a Tyranid invasion, thus constructed a massive weapon capable of hindering the great devourer when it arrives. However, the seers were unsure as to when the devourer was to attack, but it's impossible for Eldars to stay on the world and guard the weapon as it would be too easily detected by authorities, thus they trusted the safe keeping of the weapon, placed in this very temple, to the nearby villages and armed the villagers with weapons.
All was well until a rogue group of Tau arrived, calling themselves the faded legion, they made short work of the local authorities and converted most of the monkeighs into the greater good. The few remaining villages loyal to the Eldar were ordered to convert and hand over the temple. When they refused the other villages loyal to the Tau attacked. Up until now Farseer Illandria forbade any direct intervention. Longinus had been ordered to liaise with these villagers once every decade, the simple and kind villagers have learnt to love and respect him as a guardian, he is in charge to supply with guns and ammos. The mon-keigh further complained "But it is not just, the infidels had invisible beasts from the grey faced aliens aiding them, why must we fight alone? I do not know much of your people, but I saw you possess monstrous metallic birds which spit fire, why can you not aid us?"
Longinus was suddenly alert, if stealth suits aided the enemy, it foretells a large coordinated attack by the Tau, and his squad would not be able to defend the villages, in reality, he doubted if they could even stave off their assaults from the temple itself. Still, better he confirm the Tau's presence himself, moving his hand in a series of patterns through the air, he drew a glyph, seconds later it turned red. With the utmost urgency in his voice, he ordered "Katheil, instruct the Farseer the Tau are out in force and preparing an attack, Void Wanderers, stay alert and seize the parameters, I want the forests cleared for the landing parties, its time to greet an old friend called death" he turned to the mon keighs, knowing they might not survive the coming battle "return to your dwellings, drink, eat, stay with your loved ones, and remember, your loyalty will be remembered".
Pregame: EldarThis game is a 1000-point cleanse between my hard-bitten Eldar Areivaul Craftworld and Andrew's newly assembled Tau Faded Legion. With my string of victories over the recent years, it would be embarrassing to lose to this new upstart army, all the more reason not to grow complacent.
So then, if I'm to fight the Tau, I must first think like a Tau, but because I can't think in whatever the hell it is the language they speak, thus I'll have to take a wild guess and just assume that's how they think. And I'm not actually going to confirm my guess because that's just being unconfident, I'll just assume everything will go to plan (36 losses and still the same logic, at what point can this no longer be counted as optimism?).
So then, what do I know? I know Andrew's army hold superiority over firepower, I know he lacks anti tank capabilities, I know he's army is very mobile, I also know one last thing, his crisis team is his greatest strength and weakest link. To further expand, he's crisis suits is the only unit capable of taking care of my falcon, easily my most lethal unit as it also carries the killer banshees and he has no long range anti-armor weapons.
However, this can also be used to my advantage, he needs to get in range with his fusion blaster, so what if, instead of heading for his battle line, I deposit the banshee as quickly as possible, then rush to a far quarter, carrying them away from the fight and vulnerable to my counter attack?
My falcon does not lead my advance, but his crisis suit certainly leads his defense. With my advance still haughty and his defense crippled, my plan is starting to look up. However, before the cat is truly in the bag (or is that out of the bag? I'm not very good with these common sayings that are never very common) there's another of Andrew's unit that will give me some worry is his stealth suit.
15 strength 5 shots, mobility, and resistance to firepower will spell doom for my Avatar led advance and more importantly, my supporting fire (dark reapers) as they can leap in, shoot the dark reapers and quickly withdraw, repeating the same trick on my troops.
To counter this I bought a unit of swooping hawks led by a killer exarch. They're fast and good in combat; I just have to make sure they're fast enough to catch the stealth suits before they get shot down. To this end, I'll keep them within my advance for cover, until they're close enough, when they shall break cover and pounce on the stealth suits.
So to revise my plan, the guardians, led by the Avatar and acting as shield for the swooping hawks, will advance under fire. The falcon will unload the banshees close enough to the enemy lines who will assault the most expensive enemy unit in sight before getting shot down.
The falcon will then retreat in an attempt to draw the crisis suits to them. At this point the swooping hawks (what's left of them) will hunt down the stealth suits. All the while the guided dark reapers give covering fire. If the crisis suit doesn't take the bait, then the falcon will use its mobility to hunt down either them or the stealth suits.
Pregame: TauThe cleanse scenario is still unfamiliar to my newbie-ness to 40k so I'm just going to dive right into the units I'm using and ignore the fact that previous games on this scenario involved my Tau getting slaughtered..
Well, being the first major battle I have ever fought - all previous ones were close to 500 points... in which I lost. Except surprisingly the last game I had against the small minority from the Eldar, Areivaul Craftworld, where I managed to bring down his falcon and avatar. I'm sure that this time he'll be dedicating a few more points to protecting those.
From my *ahem* experience, against the elder the stealth suits were a big annoyance to his dark reapers, which I hope, they will be, again. Their unit has been beefed up a bit with 2 extra gun drones that gain stealth cover at no extra cost. From my experience of the dark reapers (from Dawn of War!) they can do a lot from very far away. Keeping that in mind, I don't plan on putting my fire warriors in their direct view, whilst allowing myself clear shots at any advancing enemy from a distance.
The stationary part of my army will mainly be the two fire warrior teams, each will be far enough apart to avoid being consolidated into after close combat. Depending on deployment, the team with the photon grenades will be closest to the enemy. Initially I considered placing the kroot directly between these two squads, to counter charge with cheap efficiency, however, I overlooked a certain rule that these cheap seven point mercenaries have - Infiltrate.
So, they will be placed in a forest somewhere, hopefully close to enemy lines (where my stealthies can take cover and be protected from assaults) or at least in some unclaimed table quarter other then the one I have my fire warriors in (I'm not expecting to win any table quarters, but I have a chance of contesting them).
That's my troops covered, on to the more mobile of the Tau...
Initial army lists had my crisis suits kitted out with fusion blasters, in fact, 3 spread across the four suits. I realised that I only had on vehicle to face and choose otherwise - a single tank hunter with twin linked fusion and shield generators to take care of that falcon before getting up close and personal with anything that decides to get in the way - namely that avatar I'm expecting him to take..
A slight break from the crisis suits, a small squad of gun drones will advance to another table quarter, and hopefully - cause a big distraction. If they get ignored - good for them, they get to shoot back, if they get shot at, good for them, the rest of my tau army doesn't get shot to pieces and gets to shoot back. Only problem is - 1 drone down and the squad flees. So much for a distraction.
Back to Battlesuits - My HQ slot is taken up by a suit with plasma rifle, missile pod, shield generator, and hard wired multi tracker. This is essentially, a really, really expensive suit, but with BS Definition: Battle Sister or Ballistic Skillof 5, independent character and a 4+ inv save. It might be worth it... Just might. It will advance along with the final squad of 2 suits, both with pretty much the same kit out as the commander, except that instead of shield generators, they got drone controller, multi-tracker and hard wired target lock.
Any hits on the commander will be allocated to the drones, the rest to the suits, the suits themselves will shoot at 2 different targets at once, one suit shooting both weapons and the other shooting one whilst directing the drones fire. The choice of weapons here is clear (to me anyway) - range and versatility. Missiles provide the range, whilst the plasma rifle provides the power and the option to rapid fire when the enemy gets too close.
Last but not least - my favourite in fact - stealth suits - these will take up a forward position near the enemy, hopefully in some cover, even better if they're with the kroot, and will basically just bounce in and out of cover whilst unleashing 15 shots and 2 twin linked shots (from the 2 accompanying drones) hopefully at those dreaded dark reapers.
So to summarise, Stealth suits annoy the living daylights out of the dark reapers, drone squadron provides a 1 turn distraction, tank hunter suit takes care of falcon and gets outta there before its contents find out who did it, fire warriors create static firebases to take care of anything advancing, and provide a 'home' base at which the rest of the army can retreat to for a final stand, the kroot get in forward positions to support the stealth and/or claim table quarters, and finally a squad of two battlesuits to support the commander in the offensive. Hopefully I'll have something left by the end to alert that ethereal, who's still stuck in a hole from the last battle so that it can alert the rest of the legion and avenge the faded.
Tau Turn OneSensing a defensive flaw to the west of the temple, the drones flew down to support the kroot. The 2 man crisis suits armed with missile pods took up position beside the blockhouse as the stealth suits leapt out of cover.
The shooting phase was important, Andrew needed to see how much damage his troops can do to better adapt his strategy. The practice game taught him one thing: the falcon's lifespan is inversely proportional to his chance of winning. With this 4 missiles streaked across the board, impacting upon the side of the falcon, stunning it.
With this threat currently nullified, the stealth suits levelled their burst cannons and steadily fired into the distant ruin where the dark reapers were housed, bringing down two of the aspect warriors. The fire warriors on both levels of the blockhouse opened fire upon the guardians advancing towards them, killing three, whilst a burst of slugs from the kroot saw 2 swooping hawks drop like flies.
In the assault phase Andrew pulled both his stealth suits and crisis suits back into cover.
Eldar Turn One[gal_img]1311[/gal_img]
That wasn't the most pleasant experience, but knowing Tau, I should be content. Led by Longinus, the guardians near the temple advanced to the woods on the left to greet the kroots. The Farseer performed guide on the nearby dark reapers, whilst the Avatar led the rest of the units forward.
The Dark Reapers rolled to see if they could target the stealth suits, but the dice was against them and their shots were all lost before they reached their intended targets. The guardians' fleet of footed further towards the enemy blockhouse, and the swooping hawks took aim at the drones.
Hansen could not afford for the Tau's left flank to break through his defences. Only the Exarch could reach the drones, and he promptly dispatched one in a burst of laser, whilst the woods around the kroot fell apart as they were ripped to shreds by shuriken catapults from the guardian. After the dust cleared, two kroot were no longer standing. To Hansen's insult, the drones passed their leadership test. Not a good turn overall.
Tau Turn Two[gal_img]1313[/gal_img]
The Eldar's performance last turn was at best unsatisfactory, and Andrew was determined to make the most out of this. With this in mind, Andrew sent forth every mobile unit at his disposal, in hope of delivering a fell blow.
The two man crisis suit team unleashed torrents of plasma and missile upon the squad of guardians accompanying the Avatar, and killed four, blowing a neat hole through which the stealth suits could fire into the swooping hawks with. A fire they did, the entire unit was wiped out within a few heartbeats.
The commander opened fire upon the falcon but failed to do any damage, whilst the one-man crisis suit dubbed "tank hunter" was out of range of the falcon. Clearly Andrew is doing everything in his power to stop this behemoth (understandable given that it ran circles around his army in the practice game), but he has not yet come close to succeeding. The fire warriors failed to make any real impact upon the Avatar heading its way.
On the left flank, a fierce exchange of fire left two guardians dead from the kroot and one from the drones. Not wishing to miss this chance, the kroot pounced upon the guardians. The ensuing furious combat left one kroot and five guardians dead. However, as the Avatar was present, Warlock Longinus did not falter and continued to fight.
Pleased with this turn's results, the suits all withdrew back into cover, with the exception of the commander, who moved out to reinforce the left flank (which currently looked like it might break through, effectively taking the Eldar's home quarter).
Eldar Turn Two[gal_img]1315[/gal_img]
The steady advance was taking its toll and the casualties were really beginning to mount. The advance continued and Hansen sent the lone warlock and the banshees to deal with the stealth suits whilst the Avatar, flanked by the Falcon, continued to advance upon the blockhouse. The Farseer once again performed guide on the Dark reapers, who were now surrounded by the screams of their dying comrade, and knew their turn will be soon.
The dark reapers scanned the woods for any movement, upon the command of the Farseer, missiles streaked across the field of battle and twin impacting explosions told the Farseer that the drones were no more.
Warlock Liadria leapt up the ruins accompanied by a squad of fearsome Howling Banshees, before he could raise his blade above his head, the Banshees have completely wiped out the defenders of the ruin to the last Tau as they disposed of drones and Tau with equal ease.
On the other flank however, things looked grim for the Eldar, warlock Longinus pushed his spear into a kroot gut at full force, but realized his folly too late as he saw the dying kroot smile, stubbornly holding the spear in his stomach no matter how hard Longinus tried to pull it out. Soon the other kroot were upon him, and he disappeared under a sea of limbs as the kroot consolidate further into the temple grounds.
Tau Turn Three[gal_img]1317[/gal_img]
Despite the loss of both the drones and the stealth suits, victory was in sight for Andrew. He sent forth all his crisis suits and his commander to deliver one final blow. The kroot surrounded the beleaguered dark reaper's position whilst the fire warriors readied their pulse rifles.
A pair of missiles soaring into the Avatar began the signal for attack as both squads of fire warriors fired upon the Avatar. The crimson giant looked like he would make it for one moment, but fell; the ground shook both from his weight and the moan of the Eldar, who tore their hair as they swore vengeance. On the temple grounds itself, what was a originally an ensured victory turned into a massacre as two dark reapers fell to the kroots' shooting.
The assault saw the kroot clambering over the last dark reaper and ripping him apart in savage triumph as some leapt over the ruin walls to hunt for the Farseer.
Eldar Turn ThreeHansen finally realized the magnitude of his failure. Things looked bad, but there is still a very slim chance for a draw. The banshees and warlock Liandria broke cover and made a suicidal dash to the Blockhouse whilst the falcon swayed widely to turn and face the two-man crisis suit.
The uneventful shooting phase consisted of the Falcon's pulse laser instantly vaporized a drone, whilst both the banshees and the warlock used fleet of foot to desperately get into combat.
The banshees charged into the two-man crisis team, their power weapons cutting through XV-8 armor with ease. Minute's later blood flowed neatly the cracks of the first crisis suit. Liandria sprinted into the blockhouse, beheading the first fire warrior before he could react, but soon he was overwhelmed as the entire enemy squad bears down upon him. Meanwhile, on the temple grounds, the Farseer, the last Eldar defending the temple, fights for his life, killing one kroot as he skillfully blocks the others assault.
Tau Turn FourAndrew was now very excited, at this point victory looked very possible, this will be his first victory in a proper game, and considering Hansen's incredible win ratio, besting him would be the icing on the cake.
Promptly every Tau who could fire fired at the falcon, but only scratching its armor.
The second crisis suit was also dealt with as the Banshees consolidated into the one-man crisis team close by. The Farseer continues to stave off the kroot, who all seemed to be eager to get at his flesh.
Eldar Turn FourHansen still wears a look of disbelief as his defeat is almost assured. The falcon, sensing defeat in this quarter, flew straight back to its home quarter, all the while its scatter lasers managed to wound the commander, but its pulse laser couldn't get pass its invulnerable save.
In the assault phase, the combat between the kroot and the farseer finally came to a close as the farseer was finally overcome in battle, but the banshees made short work of the last crisis suit as predicted and gathered themselves for one last heroic charge at the blockhouse.
Tau Turn FiveThe kroot moved to face the rear armor of the falcon, whilst the commander jumped swiftly from one cluster of trees to another, firing all of its weapons upon the falcon, with less than glorious results. The fire warriors' pulse rifle proved to be the end of the Banshees. The exarch finally conceded they lost this quarter, and shook her fist in frustration before taking off into the night.
Eldar Turn FiveWith only one model left and still a full quarter behind, defeat looked inevitable for Hansen. However, Hansen still had one last chance. In a desperate gamble, the falcon dived low, tank shocking the kroot causing them to flee. He had done it! It's a draw!
The end looked truly cinematic, the falcon diving over the fleeing kroots, the falcon's pulse laser shone brightly, relentlessly hammering energy bolts into the Tau commander's buckling energy shields, moments later, the commander was no more.
[ Falcon Goes Kroot Hunting ]
Result: Eldar 1 Quarter, Tau 1 Quarter, Draw (Moral Victory to Tau)
Post Battle EldarI'm at a lost for words really, well done to Andrew first of all, he learnt from his mistakes in the practice battle (which saw me slaughter his army to the last Tau), but I must say that easy win in the practice battle made me overly complacent, and led my army downhill for the first few turns. Such it was that I really had to test the limits of both my army and me and win back a draw when on the 4th turn or so, it started to get through my thick head that I might lose this game.
My first great mistake was setting the dark reapers in cover, what use was cover saves against AP5 shots when you had armor save of 4? Also, I left most of my units unsupported and cut off, very stupid of me. I also failed to see the threat of the kroot, which caused me to loose 2 entire quarters (I lost one quarter, and had to withdraw forces from another to deal with the kroot).
The biggest mistake however, would be my assault of the stealth suits. I came at a crossroad, rather than focusing my effort on the main group of enemies, I split the assault, so that they could tackle my advance piecemeal, a very easy mistake to make when you have stealth suit-o-phobia.
Had I charged the lone warlock at the stealth suits and held them up, and everything else at the Tau, the result would be that I controlled 2 quarters whilst Andrew had 1 with his stealth suits, which would have earned me a victory despite all my other mistakes.
Another lesson I learnt is that Dark Reapers aren't good against Andrew. Because his army hides away shooting, I can't really pick off his elites, and I should know this by now, but when you buy elite troops, you must make sure they are worth their points, for a squad over 200 points, they did jack all in every game I had against Andrew, and even more annoying is the fact that I usually devote an entire detachment to protect them.
Next time, I think I'll choose some speedier elements against Andrew to make sure I can get in assault. Currently I'm thinking about trading in the Dark Reapers for a fire prism and a unit of jet bikes. The jet bikes are excellent at holding up annoying flanks like drones, kroots and stealth suits (something which I desperately needed to do) whilst the Fire prism would give Andrew serious headache as another heavily armored and armed tank.
Next time, things will be very different, or will it? Yes, it would... And by yes I mean it wouldn't, but it will be more flamboyant, and after all, isn't that the real difference? The answer is no.
Post Battle TauThe battle against the Eldar was more of a newbie learning experience for me, and testing out newly assembled and painted units, mainly the kroot.
The practice battle didn't go too well, I got slaughtered, but the actual game, turned out much the opposite. Most of my units did what I wanted them to, with the exception of the Tank hunter suit, that was just pure rubbish, as it didn't do anything but get hunted by the Falcon - indeed, the hunter became the hunted.
The other crisis suits didn't do too well either, but at least they managed to pull off a few shots and get a few kills, before sacrificing themselves to the banshees, inevitably for the greater good and allowing the 24 fire warriors stacked in the building to rapid fire off as many shots as possible to avenge the deaths of the crisis suits. Apart from that, everything else went fine, in my opinion anyway.
The stealth suits shot the dark reapers down to a more, pliable squad of 3, and then shot to pieces the swooping hawks, which in the practice game, the sole remaining exarch pulled off an amazing 26 attacks and pretty much reduced my squad to nothingness. Either way they accomplished wiping out their targets, but due to the tank hunters lack of tank hunting, the falcon unloaded banshees pretty much right next to my stealth suits.
The result was pretty obvious, banshees wiped out my stealth, consolidated into my nearby crisis suits, my commander evaded them using his jetpack moves, and my tank hunter didn't get another chance to finish his job. I guess the good thing that resulted from this is that the banshees ended out in the open next to my fire warriors, next to two full squads of rapid firing goodness.
All the while this was happening, my fire warriors shot the avatar down before it could do any real damage, and my kroot, exceeded all expectations. Firstly, they're infiltrate rule worked wonders getting into a wood in an empty quarter, right on Hansen's flank, after that, they swept through the more stationary Eldar with relative ease.
The nearby guardian squad didn't stand a chance against 36 oncoming attacks after a charge, then taking on the Farseer and then taking on the dark reapers. After that, they had done all they could, and proceeded to take on the rear armour of the falcon. But they didn't think it was worth what the Tau we're paying them and fled into the sights of the falcon's guns.
With that aside, most of my units had done their job, except in a desperate attempt to claim an empty table quarter in the final turn, the commander bounced off into the quarter that the kroot started in and the fire warrior squad in the lower levels of the building dashed for the other quarter whilst under fire from the falcon. Still ended in a draw, but at least it wasn't a major slaughter like the practice game, I was content with that.
Longinus sat in the main chamber of the temple, as the ten thousand year old shook and walled began to collapse. He had escaped from the kroot, death was by now an old friend and he shall face it many more times. What remained of his comrades hurriedly rushed to make shift barricades, shuriken catapults readied.
Outside the roar of a hundred Tau war machines echoed across the world itself, even now the enemy converged at the gates. Longinus sank his head into his hands. he has failed, the weapon would be lost, this world would fall, his craftworld has given the order of withdrawal, their human allies were slaughtered to the last man without ever knowing what they died for.
"Hurry! The Alath Falchu waits outside! We must leave now!" Shouted Atonyth, one of their younger comrades.
Longinus did not move, tapping into what remained of their human allies' thoughts, he saw. amidst a ruined village, a weeping child cradled the head of his dead mother as enemy humans armed with pulse rifles advanced upon him the last of their allies, this world had nothing left after ten thousands years.
"Ay, let us make haste, every minute we do not kill means an extra enemy facing us, for Areivaul and for Khaine!!" he shouted with renewed vigor as he broke into a run.