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Iron Warriors v3.1 vs. Tau Third Sphere (3000 points)

 Post subject: Iron Warriors v3.1 vs. Tau Third Sphere (3000 points)
PostPosted: Sun Feb 10, 2019 6:03 am 
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Joined: Mon Dec 26, 2011 9:55 pm
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Location: Boston, MA
I figure it's about time I started contributing battle reports toward Iron Warriors approval ;)

I managed to get a game in this weekend at a local game store with a buddy who lives in the area. We played 3,000 points of Iron Warriors and Tau, taking it to points after turn three with the Iron Warriors coming out ahead, 1375 to 885.

Things that worked well for the Iron Warriors:
- Sustained Fire
- Chosen & Dreadnoughts in Dreadclaws
- 1+ initiative & high strategy rating rolls
- My opponent failing a few activations in sequence at the end of Turn Two

Things that didn't work out so well:
- Charging Crisis Suits on Overwatch (doh!)
- So many crossfires
- Plotting orbital bombardment for where my opponent was, not where he was likely to be
- Playing too conservatively with Dreadclaw drops

Photos are on my blog here: https://armiger84.blogspot.com/2019/02/20190209-battle-report-iron-warriors.html

====================================================================+

Iron Warriors (2990pts; 10 activations)

Iron Warriors Company A (440; BTS)
- 6x Chaos Space Marines, 2x Havocs,
- Warsmith (Supreme Commander)
- 4x Chaos Rhinos
- 1x Stalker

Iron Warriors Company B (390)
- 6x Chaos Space Marines, 2x Havocs,
- Iron Warriors Lord
- 4x Chaos Rhinos
- 1x Stalker

Armored Assault Company A (250)
- 6x Vindicators

Armored Assault Company B (250)
- 6x Vindicators

Artillery Battery A (400)
- 4x Chaos Basilisks
- 1x Stalker
- Emplacements

Artillery Battery B (400)
- 4x Chaos Basilisks
- 1x Stalker
- Emplacements

Chosen A (255)
- 4x Chaos Chosen Scouts
- 2x Dreadnoughts
- Dreadclaw Drop Pods

Chosen B (255)
- 4x Chaos Chosen Scouts
- 2x Dreadnoughts
- Dreadclaw Drop Pods

Devastation Class Cruiser (150)

Hellblade Flight (200)
- 3x Hellblades

=====================================================================

Tau Third Phase Expansion (3000pts; 12 activations)

Crisis Battlesuit Cadre A (250)
- 4x XV8 Crisis Battlesuits
- Shas'el

Crisis Battlesuit Cadre B (250)
- 4x XV8 Crisis Battlesuits
- Shas'el

Fire Warrior Cadre A (250)
- 8x Fire Warriors, 2x Gun Drones

Fire Warrior Cadre B (325; BTS)
- 6x Fire Warriors
- 3x Devilfish
- Skyray

Pathfinder Group A (200)
- 4x Pathfinders, 2x Devilfish

Pathfinder Group B (200)
- 4x Pathfinders, 2x Devilfish

Broadside Group A (300)
- 6x XV88 Broadsides

Broadside Group B (300)
- 6x XV88 Broadsides

Recon Skimmer Group (175)
- 6x Tetras

Stealth Group A (225)
- 6x XV15 Stealth Suits

Stealth Group B (225)
- 6x XV15 Stealth Suits

Barracuda Squadron (150)
- 2x Barracuda Fighters

Orca Dropship (150)

=====================================================================

PREGAME DEPLOYMENT

I won initiative, and placed my Blitz roughly 60cm in from my left board corner. Matt placed his about 15cm in from his right board corner. I opted to place my two other objectives in the center of the board, close to the midfield line along the slopes of a pair of hills, one near a wood. Matt put his in open clearings on my side, one about a 30cm in and 30 cm up from my back left corner, and the other along the same line, roughly 60cm in from my back right corner.

One formation of Pathfinders started garrisoned off my left-hand objective, just cresting the hill, one Fire Warrior Cadre started off-board in the Orca, the Stealth Suits began their careful advance across the board to arrive on turn two, and my two Chosen retinues waited in their Dreadclaws' launch cradles; the cruiser planning to make its low orbit pass on Turn one...

=====================================================================

TURN ONE

The Iron Warriors win the initiative, but elect to let the Tau make the first move.

The Tau Tetras advance. The Iron Warriors' Basilisk battery alpha lays down a barrage on the Pathfinder formation holding the Tau's far left flank, killing one. The Tau Crisis suits in the central woods opt to go on overwatch, perhaps receiving intel that an Iron Warriors strike cruiser has entered low orbit. Basilisk battery beta opens fire on the BTS Fire Warrior formation, wiping out two units. The Pathfinders marshal under the bombardment, pulling back behind the crest of the hill and shedding two blast markers. Streaking in across the battlefield, a flight of Hellblades tear down the right flank to light up the other Pathfinder formation before it can even move out of its jumping-off point, killing one more and breaking the formation. The Tau Barracudas retaliate, sweeping down to attack the Iron Warriors company on my right flank, but causing no casualties. Vindicator squadron alpha advances into the middle of the board, taking Overwatch fire from the garrisoned Pathfinder formation, losing one tank and killing one unit of Pathfinders. In response, the Tau Broadsides on the Tau's right flank double up and light up the Vindicators, killing two more and pushing them back behind the hill.

The Iron Warriors commander curses inwardly, as the Broadsides advanced out of his pre-plotted orbital strike; waiting too long means missing opportunities. Concerned about the Pathfinder force on the hill, the Iron Warriors send their second Vindicator squadron forward on a double, although it fails to cause any real harm. At the very least, the Pathfinders are prepped enough for the impending drop... Under pressure, the garrisoned Pathfinder formation fails their activation and falls back behind the hill, out of direct fire range of the Iron Warriors. Concerned about reports of an inbound Orca dropship, and watching his left flank fill up with advancing tau skimmers and battlesuits, the Iron Warriors commander moves his company (BTS) laterally into the treeline between the Pathfinders' hill and Basilisk battery alpha, taking up what he thought was a reasonably supported position in cover. The second Crisis suit formation, on the Tau's left flank, begins its advance by moving off from the second Broadsides formation and into the copse near the chaos shrine objective. At this point, the Iron Warriors' cruiser cuts across the battlespace, raining high explosive shells into the first Broadsides' vacated position... followed by a rain of clawed drop pods.

Reading the battlefield on the way down, the two Forlorn Hopes, a mix of Chosen and Dreadnoughts, redirect themselves to land near the shrine, and next to the wooded hill where the first Crisis suit formation waits on Overwatch. The formation landing near the shrine immediately charge into the Crisis suits formation before them, wiping them out in a storm of blades and fists. Incensed at their brothers' deaths, the Broadside team retaliates, lighting up the treeline. two squads of Chosen simply evaporate under a hail of hypervelocity gauss rounds, and one Dreadnought falls, utterly perforated. The strike team falls back over the hill to their backs, putting solid rock between themselves and another volley. The second Forlorn Hope attempts to charge the Crisis suits before them, but lose two squads to plasma fire and fall back in disarray toward friendly lines.

At this point the Orca comes screaming across the battlefield, landing on the Iron Warriors' left flank and disgorging a fresh company of Fire Warriors. The Iron Warriors commander's grin disappears in a hail of pulse rifle fire as his command squad and two others burn under the withering fire. Hearing their commander's order cut out suddenly, the Iron Warriors' Bravo Company begins to sweep around to shore up the battleline and interpose themselves between the Basilisks and the advancing Tau. Their hasty fire largely fails to impress the Pathfinder garrison.

End Phase

As the first turn ends, Basilisk battery beta's Stalker manages to rip one of the Barracudas out of the sky, while the Hellblades circle around for another pass. The more savaged Forlorn Hope rallies, while the fools who charged the Crisis Suits stay disordered, as do the shot up Vindicator alpha company who lost half their strength early on the turn. As the second Iron Warriors Company's commander finally regains command over his mauled forces, reports begin to filter in of moving shadows and half-seen contacts...and two Stealth Suit formations appear in the rear of the chewed-up BTS Company, and in the midst of the artillery batteries.

=====================================================================

TURN TWO

The Iron Warriors win the initiative.

The relatively intact Vindicator formation rounds the hill, positioning themselves to support a planned assault on the Fire Warriors who'd piled out of the Orca while lighting up the Stealth Suits threatening the mauled Iron Warriors Company's rear. Three Stealth Suits squads go down under a hail of high explosive rounds, and the remainder break, running toward their objective on the Iron Warriors' left flank. Seizing the initiative, the now-freed Basilisk battery alpha cranks their barrels to near vertical and pours everything they have into the air-dropped Fire Warriors company, shells and heavy bolters claiming four kills but failing to break either formation. In response, the Tetras sweep around behind the beleaguered BTS Company, setting up a crossfire but failing to score any kills. The air-assaulting Fire Warriors dig in and sustain fire on the BTS Company as well, but only succeed in killing a Havoc team too close to the treeline.

In response, Bravo Company turns and sustains fire on the Tetras, obliterating the light skimmers. Seeing the opportunity, BTS Company attempts to retain the initiative and marshal, but coming under fire from three directions proves too much, and the NCOs fail to rally their troops. Seeing their opportunity, the Pathfinder garrison comes back over the crest of the hill, pouring fire into the BTS company and breaking them (without casualties). The NCOs finally manage to get their men under control, and they pile into their Rhinos before sprinting into cover in the woods on the far left of their initial battleline. It isn't glorious, but at least it wasn't a disorderly retreat. At this point, Basilisk battery beta's commander's screamed requests for air support are answered, and the Hellblade flight loops back around, suppressing the Stealth Suits in the treeline next to the battery and ripping apart the squad in the open. This buys the artillery crews enough time to slew their tanks around in their dugouts and drop their barrels. The woods splinter under the impact of direct-fire artillery, and two more Stealth Suit teams perish in the hellstorm. The remainder break and fall back to link up with the other Stealth Suit team.

Seeing an opportunity, the Fire Warrior BTS company looses missiles from their Skyray and Devilfish, and guided by the garrison Pathfinders' markerlights, knock out two more Vindicators, reducing the unbroken formation to three tanks and leaving them reeling. The unbroken Forlorn Hope formation realizes they're currently holding the right flank against a formation of Crisis Suits and a formation of Broadsides, and elects to Overwatch on their side of the hill rather than charge into those guns. The broken Forelorn Hope becomes the Tau's new target of opportunity, and while the Broadside formation fails to activate, the Crisis Suit team advances and wipes out all but one Dreadnought, sending it reeling back over the hill under fire to seek shelter near its buddies. The lone Barracuda lines up another ground attack on the broken BTS company, killing a Rhino with a blast marker. The Orca fails to activate, and the final Broadside formation similarly fails to activate, perhaps glorying overmuch in the superiority of Tau firepower.

End Phase

This was the big one for the Iron Warriors. After a series of failed Tau activations, the momentum shifts - especially with every broken Iron Warriors formation managing to rally. The broken Pathfinder unit on the Tau's left flank fails to rally again, and one of the Stealth Suit formations fails as well. Everyone else sheds blast markers, checks ammo levels, and prepares for turn three...

=====================================================================

TURN THREE

The Iron Warriors win the initiative again.

The Iron Warriors' BTS company elects to marshal, laying a blast marker on the rallied Stealth Suit formation and clearing their blast markers, denying the Tau any realistic chance at scoring BTS. Basilisk battery alpha retains the initiative and rips into the remains of the Pathfinder garrison on the hill, killing four and breaking the formation. The air-assault Fire Warrior formation moves to contest the Iron Warriors' Blitz, only to come under fire from one of the rallied Vindicator formations (who fail to do any damage). The second Vindicator formation engages the air-assault Fire Warriors, killing four with fire support from the first formation and the Basilisks, but losing two tanks in return. Both formations break. The Tau Crisis suits come over the hill, holding the chaos altar objective but taking Overwatch fire from the entrenched Forlorn Hope and denying TSNP to the Iron Warriors. The Crisis Suits lose one of their own in exchange for the Dreadnought, breaking the formation. The Broadsides on their flank advance as well, opening up on the Iron Warriors' Bravo Company. Four Rhinos, the Stalker, and a squad of Chaos Marines brew up in quick succession under the hail of pinpoint fire, although it's not enough to break them. The Hellblades come around for another pass and wipe out another squad of Stealth Suits, ensuring both formations are broken. The Fire Warriors BTS formation advances to lock down their own Blitz and spread out enough to minimize the potential threat of artillery fire but the second formation of Broadsides fail to activate as the Tau attempt to retain initiative.

The Iron Warriors' Bravo Company marshals and advances, denying TSNP to the Tau. The Tau Orca comes around for another attack on Bravo Company, wiping out another squad but failing to break the formation. Basilisk battery beta opens fire on the Broadsides and Orca danger close to Bravo Company, but only manages to punch a hole in the Orca. Finally, the Barracuda comes around for another pass and breaks the lone surviving Dreadnought of the second Forlorn Hope.

=====================================================================

ENDGAME

Neither of us really wanted to go to turn four, and with neither of us scoring victory conditions on the other, it went to kill points.

In the end, after a last attempt to rally broken units, the Tau managed to claim full points for both Chosen formations (broken, under half strength), one Vindicator formation (broken, under half strength), and half of the other Vindicator formation (at half strength). Both basilisk batteries were in rude health, and neither the BTS company (8/13 units remaining, unbroken) nor Bravo company (7/13 units remaining, unbroken), took enough damage to offer up points.

As for the Iron Warriors, they'd managed to wipe out one Crisis Suit Cadre, break the air-assault Fire Warrior Cadre, break both Pathfinder Cadres (one under half strength), wipe out the Tetras, break both Stealth Suit groups (both under half strength), and kill a Barracuda.

Final Score: Iron Warriors 1375, Tau 885.

=====================================================================

Parting Thoughts

I'm still not used to fighting Tau. Sitting in mortal fear of Teleporting Stealth Suits or air-dropped Fire Warriors engaging my units rather than shooting them tells you how used to fighting Marines, Orks, and Eldar I am.

1+ base activations and high strategy rating are killer. Winning each strategy role and consistently bringing back broken formations, compared to the number of activations Matt unfortunately failed, made a huge difference in just how much of my army stayed alive at the end of the game. If a few of those Turn Two failures had gone off, I'd have many, many fewer models on the table at the end of Turn Three.

Fearless Dreadnoughts are fun, but I should NEVER have tried engaging the Overwatched Crisis Suit formation. What was I thinking? Sustained Fire would have allowed me to ignore the Overwatch (no move), and I might, *might* have killed something. I just got greedy and wanted those MW punches.

I still don't know the right way or the right time to send in the drop pods. Granted, I've really only used them twice now. Still, I think I like the idea of landing a cheap mixed Chosen & Dreadnought formation over attempting to teleport Terminators. I am way too good at collecting blast markers on those teleports, and honestly, Chosen & Dreadnoughts have better fire range and board control if I fail to land them in a good assault position. The real challenge is figuring out *when* to land them, both which turn and when in the turn. I think the furthest I'd wait would be Turn Two... I'm not sure I could handle being down two more activations all the way into Turn Three. Honestly, I think I underutilized both formations as mid-field spoilers. One should have landed on the Tau Blitz and wreaked havoc there.

I had a very canny opponent, and I definitely see how Tau play to his style. Markerlights are brutal, and while I did everything I could to shut down the units wielding them in Turns One & Two, I might have dedicated too much firepower toward killing harassing units rather than going after his BTS, or the Broadsides. As always, it was a great game and I enjoyed being pushed to try to counter him.

I still feel like the Iron Warriors lack the shooting range (other than artillery) to really effectively self-support and project threat while advancing. I feel like I need to get across the midline, and it's damned hard to do with Rhinos, Vindicators, and Predators against most armies. Then again, I haven't popcorned the heck out of my opponent's backfield with drop pods yet, so that's something to explore further...

_________________
My General Modelling Blog: http://armiger84.blogspot.com/

My Battlefleet Gothic Project Log: http://www.forum.specialist-arms.com/index.php?topic=5318.0


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