Friday, August 28, 2009

Necrons vs Tau 750pt Battle Report (Laertes perspective)

Before the game began:

The list I brought, after some internal debate (okay, not a heck of a lot of internal debate, given that it's kind of tricky at this point level to have very many options with the Necrons):

1 unit of 10 Necron Warriors

1 unit of 11 Necron Warriors

1 unit of 3 Necron Destroyers

1 unit of a single Necron Heavy Destroyer

1 Necron Lord with Res Orb

I knew the Tau forces I would be facing would be highly mobile, so I was somewhat relieved when he rolled "Annihilation" for the mission. I figured that was the only mission that favored my foot troops, as I knew now that he would have to come to me, instead of having the Necrons march across the board and try to contest objectives. I rolled highest and elected to go first, and then subsequently deployed my forces in the far corner of the board, with the larger unit of Warriors and the Lord inside the small forest (area terrain). The Destroyers and the Heavy Destroyer grouped themselves together to the left, and the other unit of Warriors positioned themselves behind the small forest, kind of in a clump ready to move and protect the other flank. The Tau were kind of spread out across the deployment zone, with a Devilfish on either end (containing Firewarriors), with the 'Fish furthest away from the Necrons supported by the Hammerhead and the overall Tau Commander, joined to the unit of Crisis suits.

The first turn was fairly uneventful, as I moved the Destroyer block forward and moved the smaller unit of Warriors out to my right flank. The shooting phase went fairly well, although I was hoping the Heavy Destroyer could do better, it still managed to glance the Hammerheard so it would not be returning fire next turn. The unit of Destroyers reached out to the unit of Crisis suits, as they could just see the Tau Commander beyond the one hill. They managed to cause four wounds to the unit -- this is where things went astray a bit. Z divided the hits in to two on the Crisis suits and two on the Commander, as we were both a little shaky on the rules for dividing up wounds on multi-wound units. While certainly a legal way to do things (allocating the extra wound to the Commander), it was probably less than optimal, as the unsaved wounds end up going through to the Commander and contributes to his early demise. As he was armed similarly to the other Crisis suits, Z tells me he think it wouldn't make much of a difference, but it would still likely have been nice for the Tau to have their Commander around for more of the game.

The first Tau turn is largely movement, with the Devilfish sweeping around the flanks and the Hammerhead moving out near the center of the table. The Crisis suit unit slinks around behind the one 'Fish, but is now within easy sight of the Destroyers. Most of the Tau weapons are out of range, but a few of the burst cannon shells bounce off of the Destroyers.

On my second turn I admit to succumbing to target fixation. The big tempting target of the Hammerhead in the middle of the table is too much for me, and I have the Heavy Destroyer break off from the pack of Destroyers and work in to position to take a shot with the Heavy Gauss Cannon . . . only to a roll a one to hit. The Destroyers stay after the unit of the Crisis suits, and manage to wound one and finish off the Commander this turn. I've mixed feelings, as I've killed the Tau commander but left myself wide open in the middle of the table. The Crisis suits break and start to run, but they're a long way from the table edge so I think they will likely rally.

The second Tau turn has the Hammerhead turn and take a shot at the Heavy Destroyer . . . only to miss with the massive railgun. The Crisis suits, after rallying predictably, turn on the Destroyers and manage to down one . . . but he stands up at the beginning of the next Necron turn. The Devilfish on my left finally discharges the Fire Warriors, but most end up slightly out of range and so only a few shots get through to the unit of Warriors taking cover in the forest.

The third Necron turn saw the unit in the forest finally returning fire, albeit in a somewhat limited capacity, as not all could get a line of sight to the Fire Warriors. They manage to do fairly well, though, killing 3-4 of the Tau. In the center, I attempt to maneuver the Heavy Destroyer to gain a shot at the rear armor of the Hammerhead. I don't take advantage of all of the jetbike rules, and then look it up to my chagrin, as I am only in the side arc. Z offers to let me re-make the move, but I figured I will try the side shot . . . and the Heavy Destroyer misses again, making the point fairly moot. More shooting on the left takes down a few Fire Warriors.

The next Tau turn sees the Devilfish on my right flank finally disgorge the Fire Warrior unit, this time a bit more in range, and the unit of Necron Warriors on my right flank takes the brunt of the fire, downing three. The Hammerhead decides to stop playing with the Heavy Destroyer and holes the ancient machine with a point blank railgun shot. The Crisis suits return fire on the Destroyers, downing one.

The Necron turn starts with all but one of the Warriors standing back up (the Destroyer stays down). The Destroyers move back to within range of the Lord's Res Orb, and the unit of Warriors move forward to get the Fire Warriors within Rapid Fire range. In the Shooting phase, the fusillade from the Warriors almost wipes out that unit, even with cover behind the 'Fish. The Destroyers add to the fire, and kill off the unit.

I'm not quite as sure on the last few turns (I'd had a few beverages by then) -- basically, the Tau on my left flank embark on the Devilfish and move out of range. The burst cannon (from the second Devilfish) and the Hammerhead finish off the unit of Destroyers, but return fire from the unit of Necron Warriors destroys the burst cannon then immobilizes the Devilfish. The Gun Drones are also shot to pieces. The last Crisis suit chooses to move out of range, and the game doesn't end until turn 7, with the Necron forces prevailing by a 3-2 margin in kill points (Tau kill the unit of Destroyers and Heavy Destroyers, Necrons kill the Commander, a unit of Fire Warriors, and the unit of Gun Drones).

In retrospect the "target fixation" did not hurt me too much, as you ended up with a Hammerhead also essentially fixated upon a Heavy Destroyer that was less than half of it's point total. I was also so paranoid with regards to cover saves that the unit of Warriors with the Necron Lord never moved out of the forest, and their shooting only served to whittle down the one unit of Fire Warriors a little (and a few of the models never got to fire they Gauss weapons in anger). In hindsight, the Tau weren't really carrying that many AP3 weapons, a Lord with a Res Orb was standing in their midst . . . clinging to a 4+ cover save may NOT have been the most useful thing they could have done.

I thought the luck was kind of average -- in three turns of shooting I could only get the Heavy Destroyer to hit the Hammerhead once (and could not score a penetrating hit), but I did roll fairly well on the "We'll Be Back" rolls and I thought the unit of Warriors on my right flank rolled well against the Devilfish and the unit of Fire Warriors (then again, just rolling 18-20 dice might also have something to do with that!).

We'll need a few more games to get things to go more smoothly (and doubtless discover more), but I did like that, every time we seemed to have a rules question, we could look it up quickly and the answer was pretty much there. That is, there was not the ambiguity that sometimes accompanied our games of 4th edition.

And now . . . who knows? Perhaps I'll paint more Necrons!.