Thursday, October 1, 2009

Trying to Tau the Line

For the second round our forces were pretty much the same as the previous game, although this time we rolled the secure and control mission. I knew this was going to be a challenge: how to get a scoring unit of Necron Warriors across the board and then contest the Tau objective in their deployment zone?

I won the roll and set up first, putting my objective on a low hill in the southwest section of my deployment zone. I naturally chose a squad of Necron Warriors to baby-sit the objective (hey, two objectives and two scoring units! I do so much better when I don't really have to think that much!). I deployed the Lord with the other unit of Warriors as far forward as I could, ready to dash across the table towards the Tau. The destroyers and heavy destroyer were deployed more or less as a unit guarding the flank.

However, the Tau seized the initiative and the Hammerhead opened up on the heavy destroyer. Yes, it was going to be this kind of cat-and-mouse kind of game again -- again with heavy destroyer filling the part of the rodent. I should consider painting a series of concentric circles on it and then convincing folks that it was some sort of ancient Necron glyph. There was little other shooting as he had reserved his Troops choices and no others were in range.

The battle unfolded from there: again, the Tau Commander and Crisis Suits were early casualties thanks to the destroyer unit. At this point level, I think it is going to tend to go that way as, with this unit combination, the destroyer unit simply does not have a better target (especially early in the game) than the Crisis suits. They could only glance the Hammerhead or the Devilfish, the Fire Warriors are all safely ensconced aboard their transports, so what's a Necron to do? The destroyers then turned their attention to the Fire Warriors guarding the Tau objective, eventually causing one squad to break (but rallied immediately in the following turn).

Again, the Hammerhead and heavy destroyer each tried to be less effective against each other. In 3 or 4 rounds of shooting, the BS4 heavy destroyer only hit the Hammerhead twice, and failed to glance or penetrate each time. In return, the Hammerhead also only hit the heavy destroyer twice, once failing to wound, and the second time killing the big jetbike.

The unit of Warriors with the Lord never made it across the table -- indeed, they only basically made it in to killing range when the game ended on turn 5. One of the Devilfish attempted to tank shock the squad guarding the Necron objective, but the squad easily passed it's Leadership test and then sprayed the Devilfish with Gauss fire.

Unlike the last game, this time I did not roll so well and the game ended on turn 5, in a complete draw, 1 - 1. The Necrons had only lost a Warrior and the heavy destroyer, while the Tau had lost the Commander, both Crisis Suits, and almost a half dozen Fire Warriors.

I'm not sure what I could have done differently -- wish only two (walking) scoring units my only strategy had been to try and force the Tau off of their objective once the Crisis suits were eliminated, but it would still likely have taken a few more turns of firing to achieve that goal. For the Tau . . . well, I'm not sure what they could have done. With smaller squads of Fire Warriors, they cannot go toe to toe with the Necron Warrior units. The Crisis suits are rarely getting in to range, and I think that's a key factor. I don't think Z is going to bring the Hammerhead with a Railgun again -- it's nice in case I had a Grey Knight Land Raider, but against the Necrons I think he's going to want to outfit it with the Ion Cannon.