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Warhammer 40K, Short Battle Report: School Tau vs. Teacher Tau

This is it. The first battle report of the club!

In hindsight, throwing every piece of terrain we had on the board was probably a mistake. A little overzealous on the part of the students involved, but we were all young once!

The armies were the school club's Tau against the Tau Empire army which we have as a reserve for students who can't afford their own models. It was kindly donated by a friend of mine, and frankly is far better painted than anything I could make.

The armies:

Teacher's Tau - Run by the teacher (me)

School Ta: 1 Ethereal, 4x Six man Firewarrior squads, Riptide with Heavy Burst Canon and Smart missile launcher - Run by the students

The Mission

Eternal War: Purge the Alien.
Deployment: Vanguard Strike

So good, an easy kill mission. The students won the roll off, and decided to force teacher to deploy first. The Teacher Tau ended up strung along their deployment line, eager to get all their guns on targets in the first turn. The student Tau did likewise.

What followed was the most tactically ill-advised and non-Tau skirmish in the records of the Empire.

Right away the Tau commander's drones dropped two marker lights on a Firewarrior squad. The commander himself managed to drop two more warriors from a different squad, despite some fairly strong cover saves.

Following up from the commanders lead, the Nova-charged Riptide poured heavy burst canon fire into the marker-lit unit, evaporating all but 1 into blue-blooded confetti. So effective was the initial strike that the crisis suit teams were left without a target, leading to a wasted turn for them.

The return fire was equally devastating, a crisis suit team simply disappearing under combined fire from the enemy Riptide and a firewarrior squad. I had completely misplaced him after a thrust move, leaving him and his drones totally exposed.

The slower moving School army stuck to their deployment, making very clever use of a burnt out Imperial building as cover, whittling down the Teacher Tau as they made their way up the battlefield.

The two Riptides met in the center of the field, and in a bid to deny the Teachers firepower, the Student's Riptide charged in. They would spend the rest of the battle trading blows, neither able to dislodge the other from their mechanical fist fight.

As the metal behemoths boxed in the center, the Teacher Tau commander zipped up an unoccupied flank, and settled into the enemy deployment zone. The Students finished off the remaining crisis suit team, and there were a few tense turns trading shots with the commander.

Despite gaining First Blood, and very good use of terrain to deny the Teacher Tau the advantage of it's mobility, the Students lost on points: 4:3, the deciding point coming down to line-breaker from the commander's blitz.

It was a devastating battle, with both Riptides down to their last wound, the Ethereal escaping death twice due to look out sir rolls, and even the Teacher commander bruised and bloodied. No drones survived, and Tau bodies were strewn across the field.

Lessons learned

The Riptide is an utter beast, but the solution for neutering it's effectiveness was shown in this battle. Tar-pitting the behemoth with a fearless melee squad is the best way to render what is essentially half the opponents army useless. I'm not sure how practical it would be in a 450 point army to have a speed bump unit like that, but as long as it can last a few turns it should do the trick.

The crisis suits showed themselves to be very, very weak in defense. I will need to make sure they deep strike in the future, to keep them protected until they are needed.

The Commander and Riptide made for a devastating combo, but with the Riptide in combat and the crisis suit teams gone, the marker drones were wasted points. I think that would be true for any army in a similar situation.

Personally, I must learn how to use cover as effectively as my students did. Towards the end of the match they brilliantly used line of sight blocking to keep their Ethereal out of harms way whilst still allowing him to use his buff aura's on the Firewarriors.

Overall, a good match. The end result was the group heading off to the local Games Workshop together happily chatting about tactics and how awesome Riptides were. You can't put a value on that kind of bonding between students.

Even though the narrow win for me personally is good for my ego, I much more happy that the students are building rapport and relationships with each other. It's basically why I run the club!

Until next time...

Thanks for reading.

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