Thursday, 29 April 2010

1000pt BATREP: Fighting Admiral Drax!

You going down, Drax! You hear me! Just as soon as I get this GPS working!

Dear Diary,

It's been an intense and interesting week so far. A big job dragged me down to Devon in the southwest of England for two nights. Knowing that this would be an ideal opportunity to meet up with my esteemed Admiral Drax, I packed up 1000pts of Tau and started the drive down to Devon.

4 hours later (yes American Friends ... you can drive the length of England in only 8 hours ... I live in the middle!) I had covered the 250 miles plus to Draxville, near Drax City ... Devon. I met the Admiral and Mrs Kate Drax for the first time. I was introduced to the lovely little miss Drax (who at six months ... would repeatedly gave me a piercing glare, not at all reminiscent of Captain Jean Luke Picard, between grins and giggles) ... and Cadfael the dog.

After a nice chat about the Liberal Democrats (FTW!) and a trip to get fish and chips (the Scampi was really good!) ... we all chatted about his job, my job, Parenthood, America and the like. Despite my Fiancée's concern over meeting 'People off the Internet!', we hit it off straight away and I think we all had a thoroughly enjoyable evening.

So much so, that I almost regretted bringing up the option of a game.

As their lovely little girl headed up for a bath and bed with a look of 'make it so!', Drax and I turned their lounge into a warzone.

I'd decided to go 'classic' Tau'Va for 1000pts:
  • Shas'El: Air Fragger, Flamer, Missile Pod, Multitracker and Stimulant System (FNP)
  • Crisis Team #1 [2]: Plasma Rifle and Burst Cannon, 2 Gundrones
  • Crisis Team #2 [2]: Flamer and Missile Pod, 2 Gundrones
  • 10 Kroot plus 6 Hounds
  • Firewarriors [6] in a Warfish: Multitracker, Disruption Pod, Targetting Array and Smart Missile System.
  • Firewarriors [6] in a Warfish: Multitracker, Disruption Pod, Targetting Array and Smart Missile System.
  • Broadsides [2] with team leader, target lock and 2 gundrones.
Drax went for bodies ... so many bodies:
  • Primaris Psyker and Platoon Command #1 (2 Grenades and a Heavy Bolter) in a Chimera (HEavy Flamer/Multilaser)
  • 2 Squads, one with plasma, one with melta.
  • Platoon Command #2 with grenade launcher (3)
  • 2 Squads, both with Grenade Launchers
  • Autocannon Team
  • Mortar Team
  • Missile Team
  • Penal Squad (rolls and get 'rending' and an extra weapon ... nice!)
  • Hydra tank (played by Drax's Wyvern)
  • Leman Russ Battle Tank with Battle Cannon, a lascannon and three heavy bolters.
And of all the missions to roll ... we get annihilation. Drax has lots of killpoints ... but my Tau aren't really built for attrition. We deploy spearhead and Drax wins and has me go first. Drax deploys everything bar the Hydra and penal squad (flanking).

I almost deploy 'just' the Broadsides, in an attempt to exploit the nearside flank. However I bottle it and infiltrate the Kroot (who I should have flanked with)...

Drax steals the initiative (he didn't really want to). Thus starts Drax's run of biblically good luck.


Drax shoot half the Kroot dead (despite going to ground) and kills one gundrone on the broadsides. In revenge the Broadsides both hit the Chimera (which holds 3 kill points!), score hits but one rail shot fails to penetrate (on a 1) and the other pings harmlessly off Drax's cover (where are the markerlights?)


Drax gets all reserves and flanks the rending killers into my Broadsides. Before they hit the Guard pour firepower into the Broadsides and Kroot. All but 3 Kroot die (although they still hold ... my bad rolling being good for something), meanwhile the Broadside lose all but a single wound on one model. He takes out a criminal ... but dies screaming under their frankly terrifying knives. In a change of fortune I roll 4+ for ALL my reserves ... clearly lady luck has changed sides.

My Plasma suits deep strike, while my others and the Warfish move onto the board. The Warfish concentrate fire on the Krak Missile team and despite good hits, the cover saves save all but one wound. The missile team hold. Meanwhile the Missile Pods immobilise and disarm the Hydra...


Drax manages to slaughter the plasma rifle squad with everything in his army and the Leman russ immobilises one Warfish. My squads open up on the troops, hoping to score some important wounds and force lots of pinning and leadership tests. I kill many guardsmen ... who all pass their tests!


Drax immobilises the other warfish and shoots down the other Crisis Team... now only the Shas'El and two immobile Warfish stand between him and ignominious defeat. The Fire Warrior step out and lay down blistering firepower, combined firepower eliminates 3 whole squads. The Missile Launcher team have one wound left and still hold on! The kroot are taken down to two men and break ... shooting at the criminals ... they kill one!


Mortars and Autocannons and Battlecannons make short work of the Tau warriors in the open. One group hold and dies while the other flees. The Shas'El is brough down the one wound. One Kroot is killed by cross fire (from the Hydra), while the remaining Kroot manages to strangle one penal member (ooo saucy!) before being massacred. The Shas'El and Warfish garner a couple more points ... but its academic.


The first turn steal made life an uphill struggle, combined win Drax's squarely biblical rolling. In two rounds he was scoring 75-90% to hit and wound rates. It was awesome to behold! With the Broadside jumped and the Kroot miss-deployed, my remaining army didn't have any answer to the AV14 or AV12 on the board. Add to that the fact that Drax failed ONE leadership test all game, and his army was biblical...


Trust the flank... The Penal Squad was brilliant ... with dirty options all round (either fleet and furious assault, 2 ccw and rending or assault lasguns) they are a real 'pocket battleship' option at 70pts and really good for giggles ... looks like I'll be rolling with one or two next Guard game. Also, 6 man firewarrior squads are useless without their rides and too neutered for only grabbing objectives. I think I'll stick to the 9 man plus Shas'Ui option for maximum durability.

I'm also thinking that Stealth teams definitely have a strong part to play in smaller games... they would have been so powerful deployed where the kroot were and really threatened.

It was great fun and brilliant to be playing against such an awesome opponent. I'll definitely be back ... for round 2!

IF I'd flanked with the Kroot? IF I'd deployed onto the board turn 1. IF Drax wasn't a genius at rolling the dice and coming up trumps ... ? Such is the quandary of 40k ... as I journeyed to my hotel through a dark and foggy night, I smiled to myself.

A damn good day!