The orks come back !
Magen’ta had made an error of judgement. He should have known that leaving the Nob bikers alive at the last battle would result in further ork battles, but he ignored it at the time and now it came back to haunt him. This day, the Nob bikers came back, and they brought the rest of their group on this planet with them!
Magen’ta had started to withdraw his forces to a nearby city meanwhile, with the intent of repairing any damage occurred, but found himself trapped in the suburbs of the city. Magen’ta himself still had not fully recovered from the last battle, and his battle suit still suffered from some malfunctions. A quick (and the only) spy report told him that the orks were after the fuel he had captured last battle and intended to blow it up, going for a “mega-fireball”. They had brought along their own fuel as well offcourse, to power all the bikes and vehicles they brought along, but it’s the fueltank from Magen’ta that they wanted to blow up. The spy finished his report by saying that, in the ork timeline, today was 31st of December, and that they had brought along all kinds of fireworks. *sigh*, that Ork way of life, he would never understand it.
Luckily, Magen’ta was not alone in this battle. Other Tau reinforcements quickly rushed to the scene, more or less evening the odds. Amongst them, one of the newest battle suits was commanded by an old friend of his: the shiny new armour almost made him jealous, and the 2 accompanying shield drones completed the neat picture.
Battle: spearhead, 2 objectives.
- Magen’ta (Shas’El, missile pod, plasma rifle, positional relay, HW, multi-tracker, HW drone controller, one gun drone)
- HQ (Shas’O, missile pod, plasma rifle, multi-tracker, iridium armour (2+ armour save), stim injectors (feel no pain), HW Drone controller, 2 shield drones
- 3 deathrains (twin missile pod, drone controller, 4 gun drones + 2 shield drone, 1 failsafe detonator)
- 6 stealthsuits (burstcannon only, no upgrades)
- 4 piranha’s (one team, 2 disruption pod, 4 flechette dischargers, 4 targetting arrays, 4 fusion blasters)
- 4 pathfinders (+ devilfish with multi-tracker and disruption pod)
- 20 kroot
- 20 kroot
- 3 hammerheads (rail gun, 2x burst cannon, disruption pod)
This army contains only 15 kill points at a 2k game, this is a quite low for Tau. The iridium armour HQ was something to try out (was it worth it’s 172 points?), as well as the group of 6 stealthsuits and the 4 piranha’s in one team. 4 fusion blasters aimed at one target could prove to be overkill, but the idea of 4 flechette dischargers in one team sounded to good to pass by. The failsafe detonator in the deathrain team represents Magen’ta’s army caught falling back, and prepared to make a desperate stand.
- 5 nob bikers + HQ (all with diff equipment, including pain boy)
- 5 nob bikers + HQ (all with diff equipment, including pain boy)
- battle wagon with death rolla (20 boys + nob with powerklaw)
- trukk (10 boys + nob with powerklaw)
- 2 deth kopta’s (one with a buzzsaw), both with rokkits
- 2 deth kopta’s (one with a buzzsaw), both with rokkits
- 2 buggies (rokkits)
- 10 shootas (with 2 big shootas)
- 10 gretchin (with boss to reroll morale tests)
- 2 killa kans (rokkit, powerklaw)
This ork army was basically the expanded version of the previous battle. The orks had brought along a LOT of fireworks in the shape of rokkits, in addition to their usual “in your face on turn 1, on top of your dead body in turn 2” strategy with bikers and transports.
The ork roll highest, and decided to go first. They deploy their entire army as close to the Tau as possible, leaving only the gretchin and 2 deth kopta’s behind in reserve. The idea was quite obvious: the deth kopta’s would serve a role to take out specific targets (either by scout move+move+assault or by reserve+assault) while the gretchin were to be used as a late objective-grabber. The rest of the army would roll forward and mess up the Tau.
Tau army deployment is much more conservative. The piranha’s are still being fuelled up and stay in reserve, as well as one group of 20 Kroot reinforcements. 6 firewarriors are kept in reserve as they too need to rush in from the city, and the 6 stealth suits decide to come in by deep strike, hoping to make a big dent when they land. 3 hammerheads are deployed near the short table edge, accompanied by Magen’ta. 4 pathfinders set up in a central piece of terrain, with their devilfish behind them to provide an escape route as soon as necessary. The deathrains choose a position nearby. Then, 20 Kroot are spanned from short table edge to long table edge, encircling the entire Tau army (with lots of room to spare). The iridium HQ joins them, beefing up their leadership: the Kroot never had such a shiny leader !
The Tau try to seize initiative (blowing up a battlewagon or trukk early on might have a big impact), but fail to roll a 6.
The 2 deth kopta’s make their 24” scout move and end up 12-13” from the Kroot. It’s completely impossible to go around or over the Kroot, so they move closer intending to assault this very turn. The rest of the Ork army surges forward: Nob bikers make a 24” move, carefull to avoid any terrain. The battlewagon moves 13” (numerous battles have left the red paint job stained with black scars, but it’s engines still work fine), while the truck moves up 19”. The buggies also rush forward, as do the Killa kans. The tin cans even make a run for it, foregoing the shooting phase. Shootas occupy a building 4” from the ork objective, ready to repel any invaders. Ork shooting is low-in-number (only the buggies get to shoot but they miss) or ineffective: the two deth koptas take aim at the Kroot and wound 3 times, only to see their wounds soaked up by the 2+ armour feel-no-pain iridium HQ and his drones.
No matter the shooting, the deth kopta’s would clean up some kroot in close combat ! They carefully choose an assault path that is free of any cover, and gang up on 3 Kroot nearly at the end of their line. The birdmen quickly rush to the aid of their comrades, resulting in 8 Kroot that can take part in the battle. Sadly, this also leaves a gap open at the other end where a group of Nob bikers might seap through next turn! Luckily, it was not to be: the ordinary deth kopta swings 3 times but only hits twice and only wounds once. The wound is allocated to a drone, which ignores it by passing it’s armour save. 8 birdmen then strike back, hitting 7 out of 16 times and wounding 3 times. The deth kopta’s armour save proves solid though, and only one wound gets through. Then the buzzsaw sweeps violenty over the Kroot, who duck down yielding only one hit and one wound. Once again, the wound goes to a drone, successfully field-testing its invulnerable save. The deth kopta’s lost combat, but roll low enough to stay in combat and the kroot line moves another 6” closer to the combat resulting in 12 involved birdmen.
(P.S.: it is only afterwards that we realised that the wounds could not be allocated to the drones, which would have yielded 2 dead Kroot and them loosing battle with a -1 modifier. However, with the Ld10 from iridium HQ, this was unlikely to have an effect on the outcome)
The Tau are extatic to see the Kroot holding their own, but the gap on the left side of the table is horribly large, and there is a group of nob bikers to closeby for comfort ! The 3 hammerheads move 12” and 2 of them slide an accelerated piece of ‘eavy metal in the bikers’ direction. One of the bikers is to late to jump of his bike and is insta-killed by the explosion between his legs. The deathrains aim for the trukk, but hear a strange cracking sound in their drone controllers as they fire their missile pods, with a sad result: only 3 out of 6 shots hit, and none of them penetrated the trukk’s weak armour. The drones try to make things right, but only succeed in making the trukk driver giggle as he sees the flying discs fail to do any harm to the trukk. The driver is then lit up by the pathfinders’s markerlights, quickly followed by 2 penetrating hits from the guided Magen’ta. One hit shakes the vehicle, but the other explodes it ! The ork player rolls to see how the damage is resolved, with a nasty side-effect: the trucks flies 7” forward, almost in the kroot line, before finally blowing up. 8 boys get out of the trukk alive, while the nob seems to have lost a wound as well. The kroot also got battered by the exploding trukk, but loose only one of their own as the iridium HQ and his drones once again soak up the wounds and ignore them with a powerful 2+ save. In an attempt to releave pressure, the last hammerhead throws a pie plate at the ork group, downing 2 of them.
The Kroot look angry at the remaining boys, but cannot charge them just yet as the 2 deth kopta’s still have to be dealth with. This time, the kroot strike first, downing both kopta’s before they could do anything. The 5” consolidation move nearly closes the gap in the left flank, restoring order in the Tau camp.
The orks had hope for more damage in the first turn, but still face a long stretch of Kroot ahead of them and cannot reach most of the juicy targets. Their reserve roll seems promising, as both the gretchin and the deth kopta’s show up. Sadly, the kopta’s end up on the wrong side of the terrain, making it hopeless for them to ever see battle. Instead, they decide to reinforce the ork objective. One of the killa kans makes the same calculation and also heads back for his own objective.
In the middle, mayhem ensues as 8boys + nob and 20boys + nob charge the kroot. A few minutes and many dice later, 20 Kroot lie dead but not before they took out 8 from the large group of 20. The dice gods truly were with them. The shiny HQ was unreachable after all the Kroot had fallen (he was nearly 5” away from combat), and decided to make a run for it, falling back 6”. The boys consolidate partly in terrain. The nob bikers on the right were unable to do anything this turn as they could not drive through their own boys, but the left group was bound to take vengeance on the hammerhead that killed on of them. The painboy struck first, hitting twice (2 sixes in 4 rolls) and penetrating once but only shakes the hammerhead. 19 powerklaw hits later, the hammerhead driver looks surprised out of his lead-shielded window as the orks didn’t even hit once !
In the Tau turn, the hammerhead driver quickly gets away from the angry bikers, while the remaining 2 hammerheads scatter 12” to avoid being caught together. They both aim for the nobs but fail to do a succesfull wound. The right and centre field look horrible: the kroot line had been shattered, and 3 dangerous units of orks were in reach of nearly anything. Magen’ta calls for his piranha’s and brings them in just behind the right group of nob bikers, forcing them to make a choice next turn: go for the centre, or for the dangerous piranha’s ? Piranha fusion firepower, enhanced by the pathfinders markerlights, hit 4 times and wound thrice, but only one nob fails his cover save and bites the dust. The heroes of the day are the drones on the piranha’s however: they hit on average and wound on average (twice), but the orks fail both saves AND both feel no pain rolls AND are pinned by the drones’ weapons. This allows the rest of the Tau army to take aim at the 2 groups of boys. Those originating from the trukk are now down to 3 (including the nob), while from the originally 20 boys only 7 are left. The orks panic at the sight of so much firepower aimed solely at them, and decide to take a run for it.
The orks may have lost a lot of boyz, but they still have a lot of dangerous units very near to Tau units. The battlewagon charges into the pathfinders, killing 3 with the deff rolla and see the fourth running of the field. On the left, the nob bikers shoot and charge Magen’ta with 2 of their bikes, while the HQ and 2 other bikes go for devilfish right next to it. Once again, the bikers miss all attacks against the vehicle, but magen’ta is not so lucky. One biker hits him on the head to hard and he feels himself going down, hearing the bikers laughing “and stay down this time”. One the right, a killa kan and 2 buggies shoot the piranha’s, taking a fusion blaster of one of them. The killa kan then charges in, but he too is unable to roll any sixes today. The pinned nob biker unit grims at the killa kan, asking how he could possibly miss such tiny vehicles with his big powerklaws, but cannot do anything themselves this turn. The orks near their own objective (killa kan, 2 deth kopta’s, shootas, gretchin) decide to wait it out: this objective was theirs and theirs only!
The Tau scramble to deal with the nob biker threat: if left unchecked these bikers would eat up their entire army. With the positional relay gone, all units enter from reserve as normal, and they all decide to take part in the battle: 20 kroot outflank but on the wrong side of the battle, ending up perilously close to the nob bikers. They rapid fire the Orks, but there isn’t much they manage to do against toughness 6 (HQ has 6, painboy 5 and there are no other models) 6 firewarriors move straight into the devilfish which quickly rushes them in the direction of the ork objective: if the kroot did not get there, perhaps they might get there just in time. The stealth suits land in front of the Ork objective, smiling as they gun down the 2 deth kopta’s. There were still 3 hammerheads left: they all moves 12” to avoid dying the subsequent turn, and fire their railguns into the nob bikers leaving only the HQ and the painboy standing. The shiny HQ adds another wound to both the biker HQ and the painboy. On the right, the piranha’s aim for the buggies whose open-topped framework is no match for dedicated anti-tank firepower and they are both wrecked. The devilfish, flying towards the orks, seizes the opportunity as it spots the killa kan rear armour, stunning it and destroying its rokkit. That leaves the deathrain team to take care of the pinned nob bikers: an uneven battle to go into. The combined firepower of the suits and the drones puts a wound on every biker, but none of the bikers actually dies. Resorting to the last choice, the death rains assault with expectable results: although one biker dies, the returning hits see all the drones destroyed and leaves the suits with only one wound each. At ld8 with a -6 modifier, the deathrains choose to run for it. But one. One deathrain stands firm, preventing the bikers from pursuing his comrades, and activates his failsafe detonator (S8, AP-). The resulting large blast hits 4 bikers, sending 2 of them to eternal biker heaven.
The orks are in dire straits. At the beginning of turn 3, they were firmly in control of their own objective and had 2 very strong scoring units in the vicinity of the Tau objective. Now, there are stealth suits standing closeby to their objective, and their groups of nob bikers had almost dwindled down completely. Nevertheless, the stealth suits were only that: 6 guys that could be dealth with; while the 2 biker HQ’s were still alive and kicking and capable of dishing out a lot of hurt around them. The left biker group shoots and assaults the kroot, winning combat convincingly and sweeping advance them. The right biker group decides to intercept the devilfish, but the painboy looses his last wound as he drives through difficult terrain. The HQ and the remaining nob biker uphold the tradition of biker-hits against vehicles today, and fail to roll any sixes. The shootas take aim at the stealth suits, downing 2 of them but they stand firm.
In the Tau turn, the plans from the end of turn 3 have to be adjusted. With the kroot gone, the fire warriors are needed to take the home objective after all. The stealth suits jump next to the ork objective, contesting it. 3 hammerheads, the shiny HQ, the devilfish and 6 firewarriors that disembarked within 3” from the objective, murder the left nob biker group.
At this point, the ork player concedes (it was time to go home anyway). He could not possibly win the game anymore, and perhaps, perhaps, force a draw if he got lucky with the 2 remaining bikers contest the Tau objective, but that was it. He’s a fair sport (he’s used to winning against Tau), and decides to grant the victory to the Tau.
Result: victory for the Tau (1:0)
Aftermath: The Kroot wall probably saved the day, as it bought the Tau army a turn worth of shooting into the Orks. That, combined with the poor to-hit rolls against vehicles, spelled a clear loss for the Orks. The killa kans had little participation in the battle as all Tau units zipped away soon enough to avoid interception. The deth kopta’s scout move was foiled by the kroot line, while the deth kopta’s coming in from reserve ended up on the wrong side of the battle, rendering them nearly useless. The stealth suits did their job, although I’m convinced that an equally priced battle suit unit would have achieved the same result. The 4 piranha’s in one unit were nice to play with, but hard to use as they take up a LOT of space and can only really fire at one unit at a time, this is a change that will not be followed through.
Magen’ta could get back up on his feet again. It was sure the Orks weren’t coming back anymore, now he could retreat his army and fix what needed fixing.