Of course this being my first game of the new edition there was no other army to choose than my beloved Space Wolves who had been collecting dust for a few months while I've been messing around with some other projects. My son who has decided to start a Tau army, borrowed some of my models so that he could try them out in this new edition. (I should note here, that I am not attempting to club a baby seal for this battle report, my son who is 19, has been playing WH40k for about 9 years, and is quite an accomplished player in his own right.)
Here is the list I decided on:
Wolf Guard Battle Leader, "Erik the Master of the Hunt" on a bike with a Frost Blade (sword)
The Blood Claws x7 with a Power Axe, and a Flamer, led by Wolf Guard Hagar, with Power Axe, and Flamer. Rhino Transport
The Grey Hunters x10 with a Power Sword, Plasma pistol, 2x Plasma guns, Standard, Mark of the Wulfen, led by Wolf Guard Boris in Terminator Armor, with a Power Axe and Storm Bolter
The Long Fangs x6 with 5x Heavy Bolters
Blood Claw Biker Pack (sorry, can't get used to calling them Swift Claws) x3+1 Attack Bike with Heavy Botler, one pack member has a Power Fist, and another a Melta-gun, led by Wolf Guard Dorgar of the Hill People, on a bike with a Power Fist.
As a fortification choice I took the Aegis Defense Line with the Quad-Gun upgrade.
My son took:
Commander Shas'o, with 2x bodyguards and 2x shield drones with an assortment of Plasma and Missile Pods
A Battle Suit Team of 3 with an assortment of Missile Pods and Burst Cannons with some more Shield Drones
3x Fire Warrior Squads of 10 each
Hammer Head Gunship (which he used one of my Devil Fish as Proxy)
(Please note here that neither list is optimized, we simply wanted to take a variety of units in an effort to see how different units and rules interacted with one another during the course of game play while getting used to the new rules.)
We rolled for the mission and ended up with The Relic, that is a single Objective in the middle of the board, rolling for deployment type we ended up with Vanguard Strike (I like this deployment)
I rolled for my Warlord ability, taking the personal traits, rolling a one I got "Master of Defense" really? WTF?!! So my Battle Leader on a bike, gets to give himself and the unit he is with (more bikes by the way) the Counter Attack Special rule (which they already have) while in their own deployment zone...
My son, being the sporting fellow, offered me a re-roll, but I declined, it is what it is. Sometimes the ability will be cool, other times, not so much.
My son deployed with his Fire Warriors center, his Hammer Head in support behind them, and the Missile Pod, Burst Cannon Suit squad on his left, the Commander and Body Guard were in reserve for a deep strike operation.
Below you can see my deployment, I set up my defense line in the center with the Quad gun and the Grey Hunters holding the fort, my Blood Claws in their Rhino were on my left and the Long Fangs on the right. My Bikers with the Battle leader were as far up and left as they could go, out of line of site to most of the Tau due to intervening terrain.
(Fire Warriors got a huge boost in this edition, the ability to move and still fire at 30" is a great boon for this unit, maybe more people will start using them in their armies now) and his battle suits he then sends a massive amount of Fire Power into my Long Fangs killing four of them. They make their moral check, Chucky makes a shift with the Battle suits in the Assault phase in an effort to prepare for the inevitable Biker attack.
In my first turn, I move my bikers forward 12" to behind the building right in front of them. I rush my rhino forward and left to the far side of the Landing pad, attempting to place the Tau in a pincer move, hopefully causing him to split his fire power on the two units.
My Grey Hunters and the Long Fangs stay put.
I open up with my Long Fangs into the Fire Warriors that are hiding in the ruins, as I didn't have a good field of fire on his Battle Suits, I kill a couple, most making their cover saves.
The Quad gun opens up on the Hammer head, as I was able to draw a line of sight under the landing pad.
He passes two of the cover saves afforded to the Hammer Head, and in the end I strip 2 hull points with glances (all four shots glanced) my dice were hot...
I then Turbo boost my Bikers around the corner of the Building preparing for what will hopefully be a turn two assault, and I also move my Rhino up in the shooting phase to take cover behind a wall and to prepare to get into his lines as quickly as possible.(I would have popped smoke, but I don't think I can if I move flat out)
Chucky then rolls for reserves, and finds that his Commander is going to come in and attempt to save the day, he drops him in Deep Striking right onto the landing pad in a position to turn my Blood Claws into slag.(he knows all too well that those bikers need to die, if he is to have any chance of winning)
The fire power he unleashes on the Blood Claws in the Rhino is truly an impressive sight, the Rhino explodes, leaving nothing but a smoking crater, and after the support fire is finished only 2x Blood Claws remain, one with a Flamer and one with a Power Axe. They pass their pinning check and their moral, so are still a threat to the Greater Good.
On the other side of the board the Tau did not fare as well, killing a single biker, and stripping a wound from the Attack Bike was all the Tau were able to accomplish on that side of the Battle Field.
In my Turn my Bikers go straight for the Battle Suit Squad with Missile Pods and burst, while the Biker Pack goes forward towards the Fire Warriors (I was careful here to split the Character off from the pack, I could have kept him with them and multi-charged, but I didn't want to lose my attack bonuses)
I positioned the last few Blood Claws to shoot with their flamers at the commander and then make a charge attempt. While my Grey Hunters clambered over the Aegis Wall, and advanced on the Landing Pad, the Long Fangs would take some shots on the Battle Suits to soften them up for Erik.
My shooting being a little lack luster, I decide to do things the old fashioned way, with a howl, I charge with everything I can. My Blood Claws roll box cars and make the assault to the Battle Suits on the Landing Pad (we made a mistake here, I was supposed to roll 3 dice and take the highest out, but as I was only seven inches away and rolled box cars we decided not to worry about it, as I would have made the charge anyway)
Erik, smashes into the Battle Suit Squad while my Bikers smash into the Fire Warriors, literally as one of them crashes his bike charging into the ruin...Over Watch takes a wound off of my Battle Leader, takes out a Bike from the Swift Claws, and kills the Wolf Guard in the Landing pad charge. (Over Watch is another great boon for some armies, even with needing sixes to hit, it is intimidating to have all that fire power come your way when you are trying to get into someones battle lines)
Most of the combats were short and bloody, with Erik finishing off the Battle Suits, the Blood Claw bikers killing the Fire Warriors to a man (Hammer of Wrath is just a cool rule). The Tau commander however, puts up a fight, killing the Blood Claw with the Flamer, I cause enough wounds however with my Power Axe to swing the battle into my favor, the Tau commander passes his leadership and the fight will continue.
As Chucky starts his next turn, he realizes he needs to do something about those damn Bikes. He shifts his remaining Fire Warrior packs and his Hammer Head into a position to deal with this threat. He pours everything he has into the Biker pack, when the smoke clears all that remains is my Attack Bike with a single wound remaining, who then promptly fails his leadership check and flees back about 11 inches. At this point he is quite pleased with himself, but realizes this will cost him, my Battle Leader is still alive, as are 3 Long Fangs, all with Heavy Bolters. Things are not looking so good for the Tau...
In the Close Combat phase he manages to finish off the last Blood Claw before he even gets to swing, freeing up his Commander and Bodyguards. ( like the new rules for Power Weapons, I really think this is a bad example, because I had so few survive to the combat, but in a larger combat the S5 AP2 will really come in handy I think. as another note, I played another game after this with my DeathWing, and had a Sgt. with a Power Maul walk through quite a few Orks. S6 AP4 isn't so bad)
The Tau are in trouble, I push hard with my Battle Leader and prepare to assault a large group of Fire Warriors, riding right through the ruin, a gamble I know, I have to remember that IC do not have skilled rider anymore. My Lone Attack bike positions himself on another Fire Warrior squad out of the way of the Long Fangs so they can soften them up a bit before the charge.
My Grey Hunters continue their advance and climb onto the Landing Pad.
In my shooting phase the combined fire power of the Long Fangs and the Attack Bike kill 8 Fire Warriors out of the ten, they pass their Moral and decide to stick around for the face smash, I fire with my Bolters on the bike of the Battle leader to no effect, Erik just likes to swing his Frost Blade I think, (he is a lousy shot)
The Grey Hunters open up fire, trusting in their close range fire power to win them through the day, killing the Shield Drones one of the Body Guard and causing a wound on the commander.
I declare my charges, the Battle Leader smashes into the full squad of ten Fire Warriors and my Attack bike, well, uhm, he rolls a pair of twos and falls short of making the charge. This would prove fatal for the Attack bikers...(I originally thought I would hate the new charge rules, but I find the uncertainty exciting.)
Of course Erik, wins combat, the Tau break and are promptly run down.
Not much left, Chucky uses the Hammer Head to try and stop Erik, to no avail. The remaining Fire Warriors do manage to kill the Attack Bike, but the Tau Commanders shooting isn't as effective against the Grey Hunters as he needs it to be. In his assault phase he abandons the Landing pad in an effort to preserve the life of his commander.
In this last turn, I move my Grey Hunters onto the objective, and open fire on the Tau Battle suits, Erik finishes off the Hammer Head (it only had one hull point left, and didn't move in the previous turn), and my Long Fangs finish off the last of the Fire Warriors.
a Victory for the Space Wolves. Not a bad first outing.
Chucky has since improved the list, his new 1000 point Tau list is much deadlier, I will post it here soon.
I am really not happy with the performance of the Rhino, very fragile now. I think Mech may finally be dead. Long live the Blood Claw Biker!!!
Oh, and I know most of you disagree, but the Heavy Bolter is even more awesome than before. Missile Spam? Pffft.... 15 Heavy Bolters baby...
I do hope you all enjoyed the read, please feel free to post any and all comments you may have. Especially if you note any rules mistakes, this was our first game with this new edition.