Army: (1850 pts) -- Russ Squadron (2xLR and 1xDemolisher), H-Hound Squadron (3xBanewolf), 3xVeterans in Chimeras, Creed + Squad in Chimera, Inquisitor + 2xMystics in Chimera
Terrain: A desert board with many low ruins and low hills scattered about the middle of the board. Neither Pete nor I felt a huge need to move the terrain about, as it gave us both plenty of cover and didn’t really block LOS in any direction.
Mission: Pitched Battle, Annihilation
Summary: Pete won the roll-off to go first, so I set up in a class ‘refused flank’, with my entire army facing his softest flank, the one with the three Banewolves. I also placed most of my Fire Warriors in Reserve, as against all-mech, there was very little they could do at the start of the game.
Pete then used his Scout move (courtesy of Creed) to move his Banewolves right up to my firebase. I had completely forgotten that they could do this. What can I say? I was very tired. I failed to grab the initiative, and so I got a load of Banewolf love in the first turn, losing a Fire Warrior unit, and killing 1/3 of my Crisis Suits before the game even started. Fortunately, that was all that happened – Pete managed to immobilize one Banewolf getting the other two into position (did I mention that there was a lot of terrain?) and so I only had to deal with two in the squadron.
Freed of any worries because of the conviction that I had lost the game already, I spent the next several turns going after all his AV12 vehicles, while his Russ Squadron slowly (ever so slowly) whittled down the Shield Drones of one Broadside team. Note: a 2xBroadside, 2xShield Drone team is ridiculously resilient. I didn’t lose a single Broadside in my army all game, though I did take wounds and lose most of my Shield drones.
Demonstrating the sick amount of firepower at their disposal, the suits had destroyed all of Pete’s vehicles by the end of the fourth turn, and wiped out nearly all of the infantry units as well. All Pete had left at the end of the game was Creed himself, and the Inquisitor’s small unit that he joined for safety’s sake (yes, we know now that Creed isn’t an IC, but we’ve been gaming since 3rd edition and didn’t know that things had changed) -- but both characters were down to their last wound. The Fire Warriors in reserve walked onto the table just in time to shred one Chimera, before being chased off the table by a unit of Veterans. Oh, the shame! In the end, it was a slaughter, and Pete was almost totally tabled – but because I had lost all my ‘expendable’ units – commander, fire warriors, and devil-fish, it was a tie on Kill Points.
A tie. Ay, caramba.
What Should I Have Done?: This last game demonstrated rather conclusively how sub-par Fire Warriors have become in the new edition – they are the weak spot of the Tau army list. My Suits were astounding, performing like real champs, and pretty much doing all the damage (supported by Pathfinder markerlights, of course), but the notion of “sacrificial units” no longer works in 5th edition the way it may have worked in 4th edition. Although my list did perfectly in wiping out the enemy, I gave away far too many Kill Points, and in general trade off too much firepower.
In other words, if I want to go with Tau firepower, I really need to concentrate on an “Alpha Strike” mentality, and pour as many points as possible into suits, and use the Troops slots purely for mission objective grabbing. Which seems to be what the 5th edition army design philosophy appears to be in general.
More specific to this game, it was real dumb of me to forget that Creed allows one unit to have a Scout move. I was very lucky that Pete’s Banewolves didn’t do far more damage to me than they did.