1750 Tau / Orks vs White Scars Battle Report, Competitive Tournament Preparation

Welcome to another Warhammer 40k battle report in my series of tournament preparation for the Las Vegas Open. This week, I’ll be piloting my White Scars with Tau allies against General Mawr playing Tau/Orks. The next mission on the list is Big Guns Never Tire primary with The Relic secondary.

Tau/Orks List

HQ
Commander (Command and Control Node, Multi-spectrum Sensor Suite, Puretide Engram Neurochip, Shield Generator, Drone Controller, Marker Drone x2)

Troops
Firewarriors x12
Kroot (Sniper) x13

Elites
Riptide Battlesuit (Ion Accelerator, Stimulant Injector)

Heavy Support
Broadside Battlesuit (TL High Yeild Missile Pod) x3
-Missile Drone x3
-Marker Drone x3
Broadside Battlesuit (TL Rail Rifle) x3

HQ
Warboss (Mega-Armour, Cybork Body, Bosspole)

Troops
Ork Boyz (Choppa) x20
-Nob (Power Klaw, Heavy Armour, Bosspole)
Mega-Nobs x5
-Battlewagon (Big Shoota, Reinforced Ram)
Heavy Support
Battlewagon (Big Shoota, Reinforce Ram)

White Scars List

HQ
Chapter Master (Artificer Armor, Bike, Power Fist, The Shield Eternal)
Librarian (Terminator Armor, Storm Shield, ML2)
Commander (Command and Control Node, Multi-spectrum Sensor Suite, Puretide Engram Neurochip, Vectored Retro-thrusters, Shield Generator)

Troops
Bike Squad (5 Bikers, 2x Grav-gun)
Bike Squad (5 Bikers, 2x Grav-gun)
Bike Squad (5 Bikers, 2x Meltagun)
Kroot Carnivore Squad (10 Kroot)

Heavy Support
Centurion Devastator Squad (4 Centurions, Omniscope, 4x with Grav-cannon, Grav-amp, and Missile Launcher)
Thunderfire Cannon
XV88 Broadside Team (3 Broadsides with Twin-linked High-Yield Missile Pods and EWO, 5 Missile Drones)

I roll for my Warlord trait and pick Conqueror of Cities, since there are a few ruins on the board I’ll probably move through and the other two traits aren’t useful to me at all. The Librarian gets Invisibility and Puppet Master, giving him two tactical options. Both powers actually have use – Invisibility will be very useful against the Orks in assault, while Puppet Master is fantastic against Riptides. Maybe we’ll see a game where the Librarian pulls his weight!

Mission Information

Mission is drawn from Scenario 5 of the LVO.
Mission: Big Guns Never Tire (4 pts) and The Relicl (3 pts)
Deployment: Vanguard Strike
Warlord Traits:
Tau (Commander): Immovable Object
White Scars (Chapter Master): Conqueror of Cities

Tau/Orks Pre-Game Thoughts

I have been playing Ricter for several weeks using a variety of lists. Despite it not being a deathstar or power list I am pretty happy with the combination of Tau and Orks. They complement each other well. Tau brings some nice tools that Orks simply do not have including the ability to crack high armour (Rail Rifle Broadsides), a nice way to take out infantry (blast weapons and massed fire), and a new codex. That being said Orks bring a strong melee threat that Tau lacks as well as assault vehicles. I am hoping by putting these two together I can get the best of both worlds. As simple as it is my plan is to assault Ricter’s more dangerous shooting squads, namely his Centurions and Broadsides, and shoot his bikes. I will need to be careful about how I go about assaulting him. If he puts his Broadsides near his Centurions then he will get supporting fire.

The plan is to charge the Broadsides with the Meganobz since their weapons will have trouble cracking the Meganobz armour and then charge the Centurions with the Ork boyz since their Grav-cannons will essentially be wasted on the 6+ save. Of course this plan hinges on me getting the Orks within assault range. The front armour of 14 on the battlewagon means that the Centurions with their Grav-cannons are the only shooting threat. While the Orks try to to tie up the Centurions and the Broadsides, my Tau forces will try to systematically eliminate Ricter’s troops, eliminating his scoring potential. Depending on the proximity of the Broadsides and the Centurions I may need to have the Tau fire at the Broadsides. The combination of the marker drones with a BS of 5 due to the drone controller on the Tau Commander should allow me to put down at least 4 markerlights per turn. Combining the ability to ignore cover from the markerlights with the Rail Rifle Broadsides and the Riptide should allow me to easily blast through Ricter’s Broadsides. I have a feeling this game is really going to hinge on who goes first.

White Scars Pre-Game Thoughts

I’m not sure what to think about this list at first, to be honest. I know Orks are kind of looked down upon, but this list basically takes only the units that I consider good from the Ork codex (basically Battle Wagons, Lootas, and Nob Bikerz). Further, it covers their weakness against 2+ armor saves quite well with the Tau Riptide and Broadsides and I have no AV 14 to make their life difficult. Further, I can’t really pop AV 14 at range – I’m going to have to use barrage weapons or Graviton damage to bring them down.

The Tau stuff is pretty standard fare that I’m used to dealing with. However, what I do find interesting is that because of the Orks, I won’t have nearly as easy of a time rushing the Tau components and putting my Graviton weapons to work – the short range of my weapons mean that inevitably I’ll be in range of the Orks as well.

I get the roll for first turn and struggle a lot with the choice. This isn’t as clear cut as other matchups, I feel. Objective grabbing is always important, especially against Tau. And because of the Orks, this list doesn’t have nearly as powerful of an alpha strike as other lists. But on the other hand… the Orks mean that I want as many turns of shooting as possible before they get to move. The Battle Wagons represent a tempting first blood, and I pretty much know how his deployment is going to look anyways. I decide to make him go first.

We don’t get Nightfighting, and here’s Deployment:

Deployment

He reserves his Fire Warriors, and Outflanks his Kroot. I Outflank my Kroot in response and put both Graviton Biker squads into reserves.
Now, after seeing deployment, I realize that I should have gone first. My plan was to outrange his Missilesides and kill his Orks as they come into range, and then sweep in to clear out the Tau units after the Orks were done. But I didn’t quite have enough room to stay in cover and out of range of the Missilesides, and the Ignores Cover Riptide will be problematic. I decide to Seize the Initiative and get it!

White Scars T1

SM T1

The Librarian makes the Centurions invisible, in case somehow I make a mistake and put them in assault range on the first turn. The Centurions and my Bikers advance cautiously, both units wanting to stay far enough away to prevent a first turn assault from the Battlewagon-carried Orks. It doesn’t matter.

I target the Meganobz’s Battlewagon with my Centurions, and the Orbital Strike scatters… right on to the Boyz’s Battlewagon! Thanks to Tank Hunter and Open Topped I easily explode it, killing many of the Boyz. The Centurions show their worth and wreck the Meganobz’s Battlewagon easily. First Blood to the White Scars! And I’ve only fired one unit so far – very lucky. The Thunderfire Cannon mops up most of the remaining Boyz, but he passes his Morale.

The Broadsides, left without a vehicle to wreck, instead open fire on their cheap imitations in the opposing army. Two drones get wrecked and they put a wound on the Tau Commander. Pretty good first turn of shooting. Unfortunately, since I moved so conservatively, I’m not really in a good position to pressure the Tau before their reinforcements show up.

Tau/Orks T1

Tau T1

Well, the Orks are certainly upset about losing their rides. The hoof it towards the Centurions but do little else.

The Tau, on the other hand, show why they are one of the dominant codices. Despite only having 3 units on the board to shoot with, they still cause significant damage. The Railsides open up on my Missilesides, and manage to kill one despite the heavy cover save (Ruins + Stealth: Ruins + Reinforcement from Tech Marine). I make a blunder here and Go to Ground (GtG), as I forget about the Stealth:Ruins I have from my Warlord trait. His Missilesides open up on my Chapter Master (CM) + Centurions, using their Marker Lights to enhance the Riptide’s shooting. Combined, they manage to cause 3-4 wounds despite 2+/3++, which I split up with Look Out Sir (LOS) after the CM fails his first save, only for him to fail a LOS and a save!

At this point I’m a bit concerned. Despite only technically losing one model, another round of shooting like that means I’m giving up Slay the Warlord, and I’m not really in any position to cause significant damage to the Tau forces next turn. I need to play more aggressive; I’m not going to win a long range shooting battle.

White Scars T2

SM T2

The Librarian again manifests Invisibility on the Centurions, anticipating an assault with the Mega Nobz. Almost everything pushes forward, in an attempt to pressure the Tau elements before their reserves show up. My teal Biker squad comes on and advances towards the Relic and enemy Missilesides, while the black squad goes after the Broadsides. My Centurions advance boldly, looking to draw as much fire next turn as possible.

In shooting, the Centurions wipe out the Mega Nobz, leaving just the Warboss with 1 Wound remaining. A subsequent assault from the squad wipes him out (smashed under the wheels of my Chapter Master’s bike – thanks Hammer of Wrath!) and puts the Centurions critically closer to the Broadsides. Both Biker squads Turbo-boost to get closer to the Tau. My Missilesides still do work, putting a couple wounds on the enemy Missilesides and killing a drone, despite them having GtG.

Tau/Orks T2

 

Tau T2

Tau Fire Warriors come on the board, critically clumping with the Riptide and Broadsides to make for a nasty Overwatch blob. Nothing else moves.

The Railsides start by trying to blast the Biker squad boosting towards them, but can’t manage to get a lock thanks to their speed. Not going to get another to turn to make up for that mistake, either. The Fire Warriors try to salvage some pride for the Tau and fail.
Of course, the Missilesides and Riptide pull their 1-2 combo on the Centurions… and manage to put another wound on the CM and 3 on the Centurions. I fail 4 out of 8 2+ saves (guess my luck is turning the other way) as well as a LOS. Invisibility continues to not matter as I either have a 2+ armor or my cover save is ignored. At least I pass Morale.

Again, I didn’t lose too many models, but my Centurion squad is getting dangerously thin. My Chapter Master is down to a wound and I’ve lost half the firepower of the squad. Critically, however, I have almost my entire army in ideal striking distance for next turn.

White Scars T3

SM T3

The Kroot come in, and thanks to Acute Senses they come in on the correct table edge. Everything pushes forward towards the nearest Tau unit, expecting to shoot/assault. Teal Biker squad picks up the Relic.

The Meltaguns from my black Biker squad pop a Broadside, making the Overwatch a little less scary. Librarian opens up on the Riptide with Puppet Master and … gets Deny the Witch’d. Damn it! The Centurions add the cry of their Grav-cannons, but only manage to cause 7 Wounds, which are knocked down to 3 after saves since the Riptide has a 5++ and 5+ Feel No Pain. I was really hoping to kill him this turn. The Kroot manage to shred 3 Firewarriors, making that back corner look a bit weaker.

Next up, the big guy – the Thunderfire Cannon now has a great target. Causes 7 Wounds to the Fire Warriors… and 6 are saved. Ugh. Still enough dead for a Morale check, which they pass. The rest of my shooting fires on the Missilesides, but every wound is saved.

My black Biker squad goes for the assault, and draws the Overwatch of nearly every Tau unit on the board. Miraculously, they all manage to survive to get into assault (the odds aren’t that against me, but it was still a lot of high S shots, even hitting on 6’s). Of course, in their disbelief, they only cause one wound and are locked in combat with the Broadsides. I try the assault with the Centurions against the Riptide since it’s already fired Overwatch, but fail to get the roll of 12 I’d need to make it.

That turn… did not go so well. I expected to kill a lot more with my shooting. About all that did go well is that I tied up the Railsides in assault.

Tau/Orks T3

Tau T3

The last unit of the Tau comes in, their Kroot. And it comes in next to my Kroot, unsurprisingly. I was really hoping they would come on the other side of the board, but oh well. Nothing else moves, as is typical in a Tau list.

This time, however, the Tau 1+2 combo has finally run out of steam. The Missilesides are now stuck firing on the Tau Commander (who can LOS to the Librarian) and only the Riptide is available to force wounds through on the Chapter Master. I think the Commander takes 1 wound and that’s it. His Fire Warriors nearly obliterate my Kroot, leaving his Kroot without a good target.

I feel pretty good about the game at this point. I’ll be able to bring down the Riptide soon, and I have a Biker squad in reserves to bully his Kroot. My home base is pretty secure, and I have the Relic I can scoot away with if need be. I have First Blood and he won’t get Linebreaker, but he may get Slay the Warlord and I’m going to struggle to get it myself.

White Scars T4

SM T4

My last Biker squad shows up, and pushes to harass the Kroot. I struggle with deciding if I should push with the Relic-carrying teal, but decide to go for it to make the Tau struggle with number of targets.

The Centurions go after the Riptide while the Librarian uses Puppet Master and gets it off! Only to kill a missile drone and nothing else, thanks to cover saves. Ugh. The Riptide goes down, while combined fire scares the Fire Warriors off of the board. The enemy Kroot lose only 4 to Boltguns, while I manage to kill the Tau Commander and several drones with some hot shooting.

Assault grants me most of the Tau elements crumpling to my attacks. The Railsides are wiped out, while the Missilesides are down to two. I lose several members of the teal Biker squad, but them manage to hold the Missilesides, preventing their shooting.

Tau/Orks T4

Tau T4

The Kroot move to attack my Biker squad, and manage to kill two and I fail Morale, fleeing off the board. Besides that, my teal Biker squad uses Hit & Run to get out of assault.

White Scars T5

SM T5

At this point it’s just clean up. I wipe out both the Kroot and Missilesides with the rest of my remaining firepower, tabling the Tau/Orks.

Final Score

Tau/Orks: 0
White Scars: 10

White Scars Win!

Tau/Orks Post-Game Thoughts

I really don’t have much to say other than that was brutal. Ricter got extremely lucky. He deployed second and went first. His orbital bombardment scattered onto the second battlewagon, so he was able to kill them both first turn. If I had been able to get even one of my Ork squads into melee with the Centurions, they would have been tied up long enough for me to have blown his Broadsides and Thunderfire cannon off the board. Without their support his bikes would not have posed much of a threat.

I would love to take another crack against Ricter with this list. I may make some changes before that happens. I am still having mixed feelings about the Riptide. It is really expensive but brings a solid threat. It is heavily dependent on markerlight support though, which can be difficult to must at times.

White Scars Post-Game Thoughts

Most importantly, I should have taken first turn from the start. Those Battle Wagons are relatively easy for my list to drop at range. Besides that, I had a crucial bit of luck at the beginning of the game. Nailing that second Battlewagon really disrupted my opponent’s strategy, as I would have struggled to kill the Boyz inside nearly as easily. Maybe I still would have won handily, but it likely wouldn’t have been a 10-0 tabling. However, I think in that case I would have played a lot more defensively, making the enemy Missilesides struggle to have a good target (which was my plan from the start). Alternatively, perhaps I should have played aggressively and put all my bikes on the board and pushed forward into the Orks. I likely would have been assaulted by the Boyz (which may have eaten a Biker squad, at worst), but I would have given the Tau one less turn of shooting.

White Scars List Thoughts
Chapter Master was a champ as always. Orbital Strike continues to pull its weight, and his tanking ability draws enormous amounts of firepower every game, even without Feel No Pain. And he killed an Ork Warboss underneath his treads. Modeling opportunity?

Tau Commander brought his buffs, but they weren’t as needed this game. I wouldn’t consider cutting him, but just this game he wasn’t as useful.

The Librarian… one game I will both get useful powers and roll well. Having Invisibility not matter both turns I manifested it was actually good luck on my part, since I didn’t need end up needing it. And Puppet Master had huge potential, I just got bad luck both times. I just really want one game where he feels worth the points.

The Bikers, well, I’m pretty experienced with them now so I’m pretty confident in how they’ll perform. The Kroot I’m struggling to use as well… they’re just so fragile. They seem to be a good distraction unit for a turn and that’s about it. I really would like to get them sniper rounds and park them in cover somewhere.

The Centurions were champs of the match, no doubt. The brought down a Battlewagon, a Mega Nobz squad, a Warboss, a Riptide, and a unit of Broadsides. Well-supported, these guys are fantastic. The Missilesides didn’t do as well as usual, but like the Librarian, it’s because their best use of the turn wasn’t needed and they shot at weaker targets. The Thunderfire Cannon did about par to keep its spot – killing a unit of Boyz and a handful of Fire Warriors, but more importantly, keeping the Tau from clumping.

Tau/Ork List Thoughts
I think the Tau/Ork combination is still interesting, even if it is not as competitive as Tau/Eldar or Tau/Tau. I think this matchup wasn’t a great showing for the list more because of its components rather than the strategy or dice rolls. The Riptide is the only scary thing in the enemy shooting phase, and that’s only when it has Ignores Cover… which it needs the Missilesides to do. And I had the perfect weapon to bring the Riptide down (besides Jaws of the World Wolf, of course). The Orks are pretty scary against my assault-weak list, but their Battle Wagons are easily disabled thanks to my grav-heavy marines, and many of my units either have scary Overwatch or can’t be reliably tied down assault (or both).

Thanks for reading. Feel free to add your comments! Especially appreciated are playstyle/tactic criticisms, as this is the army (if not the list) I plan on bringing to several tournaments this year.

4 thoughts on “1750 Tau / Orks vs White Scars Battle Report, Competitive Tournament Preparation

  1. Let me just start by saying that I really like both of these lists, in particular the white scars one. I recently ran a variant of this list, but with Tau as the main army. While this meant that I only had a single bike squad, and no librarian, it also meant that I had access to Shadowsun. Now while i don’t think that Shadowsun is as good as the buff commander, when taking tau as primary, I could take both, and therefore, I got to experience the joy of giving my deathstar stealth, shrouded and infiltrate. This enables me to play a lot more aggressively with my deathstar, as they get to deploy in response to enemy deployments anywhere further than 18 from the enemy, and they are practically invincible in area terrain. I play at 1500, and I backed up the four centurions, chapter master, buff commander and shadowsun with 3 individual missile crisis suits (cheaper and with JSJ and more maneuverability over broadsides, which I felt was important for this list), 2 bike squads and 3 moderately sized units of kroot. I can imagine it having a little trouble with anti-air, but considering the deathstar can drop a flier a turn, and the missile suits can whittle away at them, I think I should be fine. One important note about switching to Tau primary is that it means that I am lacking a librarian. However, you never seem to have that much luck with yours, so I feel I can justify this loss for the guaranteed awesomeness of Shadowsun

    • Awesome, thank you! I’m glad you liked the lists.

      I’ve strongly considered the Tau primary as well. Both standard Tau and Farsight Enclave (I’ll get to that later). Shadowsun is obviously fantastic for the reasons you’ve mentioned, and is definitely worth considering. My biggest complaint about running Shadowsun isn’t Shadowsun, but rather it sticks you with Kroot as troops. Kroot, I feel like, are a big disadvantage for this list. They vastly decrease your target saturation, have a much harder time hiding, and can’t get to objectives anywhere near as fast. Granted, your deathstar is much more effective, but it comes at the expense of your troops.

      The broadsides are definitely removable. As you’ve stated, their maneuverability is a real issue. Anti-air I haven’t had too many issues with. Even Helldrakes get removed just by the sheer firepower of the gravstar. And you’re 100% correct, losing the librarian isn’t really a loss. I ran it at the advice of a player I respect, but the librarian never really did anything for me in about a dozen games so far.

      My other thought is combine with a Farsight Enclave primary and Inqusition allies. Not always allowed, but an Inquistor brings similar capability of the buff commander. Farsight Enclave allows you to add in O’vesa (who can splitfire out) and crisis suits as troop, which fit the lists desires much, much better. I’m still testing alternatives.

      The biggest loss I see switching from SM primary isn’t the loss of the librarian, but rather the loss of the Thunderfire Cannon. It’s ability to reach out and touch almost any target is very useful.

      • You make some very good points re Farsight over normal Tau. I’ve never tried using Farsight for this list, it’s something that I’ll have to consider. Would you mind posting your Farsight version? Would you say that the loss of the Thunderfire Cannon is outweighed by the benefits?

        • I’m still working out the details of a Farsight primary list that I like, but it looks something like this:

          HQ
          Farsight
          O’vesa
          Tank Chapter Master
          Coteaz
          Generic Inquisitor

          Troops
          2x 5-man bike grav squads
          1x 3-man crisis suit squad
          ?x 1-man crisis suits
          1x smallish henchman squad

          Heavy
          Centurion Devastators (4x with the trimmings)

          If no Inquisition, swap in Torchstar (for Ignores Cover) and get more troops. This star has drastically increased combat potential (thanks to Farsight, O’Vesa, and Coteaz), can support other squads much better (thanks to divination), stops enemy deepstrikers (thanks to Coteaz & O’Vesa), and can wreck two targets at range a turn instead of one. Of course, it’s significantly more points, and Farsight is generally dead weight.

          Crisis suits as troops are super-nice, and I like them much better than Kroot in almost every situation. The TFC is really the biggest loss – you just can’t easily replace such a fantastic barrage weapon. But it does remove the biggest weakness of the gravstar, which was getting chewed up in assault by tough enemy units. On top of this, the tank CM is no longer the warlord, so you can throw him away if need be.

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