The new Tau are beast and downright intimidating, so I thought about jumping on that wagon and riding it from the beneficial side. But my group has enough Tau players already. I pulled out my Blood Angels, as you remember from my last battle report, but that army is supposed to be fun and instead is too easy to play. And that's a big deal with you consider that I'm one of only two people I know that chooses to take Tactical Squads and Rhinos, rather than footslogging Assault Squads in Razorspam. I remembered that my Dark Angels are just asking to be finished and are already Deathwing-heavy. But we already have two Dark Angel players in my group. Ultramarines? Too much stuff for that; I don't even know where to begin. Grey Knights, Daemons, and Sisters of Battle collections are all too small to keep my interest long. Eldar are getting released in a couple of months, so I'll save those. Which left me with Imperial Guard.
What's that? Imperial Guard and Tau are both great armies in this new, 'shooty' edition? Oh yeah!!! And so I pulled them out. First off the block was my Death Korps of Krieg (aka, Carrasquillo's Own). I set up a 1250 point battle with a buddy and played against his tiny Black Templars, and had a blast! The game was really close in the end, but the conclusion was easy to come to early on. Here's what we used:
My Death Korps
HQ- Commissar Lord w/Bolter, Power Sword, and Carapace Armor
Elite- 3 Heavy Mortars
Elite- 3 Quad Mortars
Troop- Infantry Platoon Command with Power Sword and Plasma Gunner
3x Infantry Squads with Plasma Gunners in each
Troop- Infantry Platoon Command with Power Sword, Plasma Pistol, and 2 Meltagunners
2x Infantry Squads with Meltagunners in each, one Sergeant had a Power Sword
Heavy- Leman Russ with Lascannon, Plasma Cannon Sponsons, and Heavy Stubber
Heavy- Demolisher with Heavy Flamer, Heavy Bolter Sponsons, and Heavy Stubber
His Black Templars
HQ- Master of Sanctity with Plasma Pistol and Holy Orb of Antioch
HQ- Reclusiarch with Jump Pack, Plasma Pistol, and Holy Orb of Antioch
--- Emporer's Champion with 'Accept any Challenge' vow
Elite- 5 Terminators with Thunder-hammer and Storm Shields
Troop- 5 Marines with Plasma Cannon and Plasma Gun(?)
Troop- 5 Marines with Flamer and 2 Neophytes
Troop- 5 Marines with Meltagun(?) and a Neophyte
Fast Attack- 5 Assault Marines with Power Axe
Normal disclaimer: I didn't write the army list, so I could be wrong on what he has
The battle started off with Night Fight, which I duly ignored with my artillery (yeah, I broke a rule here, but neither of thought about it and it was too late by the time our resident rules-lawyer intervened) and basically killed off half his infantry. Then his Marines and Master of Sanctity rushed right at me. The next turn saw some more artillery and some more tank shooting, and some desperate lasgun-spray by my guys trying to stop his infantry from getting to me. It didn't work. Especially when the squad of Terminators showed up. Then, a turn later, the Assault squad showed up and blew up a Russ. And onwards the battle went... Needless to say, the game ended with a Black Templar victory, but graciously only by a single victory point. It was a fun fight, and an expected result. After all, aren't Space Marines supposed to defeat normal humans on the battlefield?
But, and here's the real point of this post, I found out that the build I had on my Leman Russ was poop. Just like the lesson I learned with Lightning Claws against Terminators, it was a rule which I knew but was reinforced with PRACTICAL experience. If you don't know how, let me share:
You see, a Leman Russ is armed with a Battle Cannon. A Battle Cannon is a terrifying weapon for Space Marines to face. It's got a strength high enough to 'instant kill' marines, and an AP low enough to ignore their armor. Better, it's a blast weapon, so the average Ballistic Skill of the human gunner doesn't much matter. And finally, it's Ordnance, so it's also powerful enough to break open heavily-armoured targets. And then you get to add other weapons to it.
I have mine with a tank-busting Lascannon, and Terminator-killing Plasma Cannons. But wait, I can't possibly fire that many weapons from a vehicle, right? Yes and no. A Leman Russ is a 'Heavy' vehicle, which means it can fire all of its weapons all the time. However, a Battle Cannon is Ordnance, which means all other weapons may only be fired as 'snap shots' if the main cannon is used. And here's where we get tricksy. Plasma Cannons are 'Blast' type weapons. Blast weapons may not shoot in 'snap fire' mode. Which meant that every turn I planned to shoot, I had to choose which guns I wanted to fire. It was a conundrum that I hadn't thought about. Of course, I can blame that on the new 6th edition rules, while this tank was built during 5th...
Having learned that lesson the hard way (or at least been reminded at a very inopportune time), I pulled out the rest of my IG and started looking through the bitz to see what I might want to replace it with. Not wanting to snap the sponson-weapons off, I looked through to see what I have for new turrets. Here's what I've got and the breakdown of what they can do:
Vanquisher Cannon: Very long-range, tank-busting Heavy gun with Armour-bane. It's not 'blast' and is not meant to deal with Infantry AT ALL, so it's a bit specialized. But I do like big guns.
Exterminator Gun: It's a twin-linked, 4 shot Autocannon. It's made for dropping light vehicles and wounding a goodly number of even heavy infantry. The added benefit of it is that it can serve, reliably, as a flyer-killer in a pinch. But this is my least favorite since the dirty Space Wolves claimed it for so long...
Eradicator Cannon: It's a mid-range, cover-busting, tactical nuclear shell. It's powerful enough to easily wound even Marines, and has the AP value necessary to ignore all BUT marine and Terminator armour, is a 'Large Blast' type weapon, and additionally ignores any cover. This one is probably very useful against Tau, but requires a close approach, which isn't always wise.
Finally, the Punisher Cannon: Who likes giant Gatling Guns? This guy! It's a 20-shot, Str 5 gun. It doesn't penetrate armor at all and certainly can't kill anything more than a car, but it lays down a ton of rounds. Did I mention I like big Gatling Guns?
And therein lies my conundrum. I have the turret, and I certainly have the chassis, now I just have to choose a gun. Knowing that I already have a Lascannon and Plasma Cannons on the vehicle, these are the only options available to take full advantage of the tank. Which main gun would you choose?
Let me know your ideas and why, and that's the direction I'll go. I'll even make a blog about it! Not that I need a reason, it seems... As always, Happy Gaming!