Very Short Battle Report No.2 Black Legion vs. Tau (competitive)

To set this up, let me start by saying this was part 2 because my first game was so incredibly successful, my opponent then believed my list to be stellar. I disagreed, but things had changed points wise since my first tournament with the Black Legion in 8th edition. So if you are interested, here are some important links leading up to this: A Very Short Black Legion Battle Report: Best Intentions gone wrong!

If you are curious to go further back, the ITC GT I took this list to and did poorly at is reported here: Black Legion Chaos at ITC. Day 1

I had done better with my other Chaos armies, but with this one I simply took what I liked and wanted to challenge myself.

Fast forward to today. The Black Legion take on a very formidable opponent in the Post Psychic Awakening Tau. Although I consider this Tau list fairly competitive, it could have been made far stronger with a second Riptide, instead of a Stormsurge/Riptide Combo. (I fought that list and beat it with my Eldar and AdMech in the previous two weeks.)

From memory the Tau list was basically:

  • Shadowsun w2/drones. A couple more HQ’s which gave some sort of ability to add marker lights. There’s a Coldstar as well loaded with Fusion and protected by deep striking Drones.
  • Various squads of Firewarriors
  • Drones: Shield drones, Sniper Drones. There was a drone commander or two, and I guess this odd shaped trash can drone gun.
  • Longstrike (Such an annoying unit for my Chaos to wrestle with)
  • Riptide with Relic (Psychic Awakening) guns that are 6 shots, S10, Damage 3 + D3.
  • Stormsurge
  • Stealth Suits x 3 (Fusion)
  • Medium Battlesuit squad with Relic (Psychic Awakening ) guns.

I don’t know if I’ve missed anything, but the playstyle of these Tau armies rarely change. It’s constantly a battle of trying to gain real estate against an army with fly, and incredible shooting phases. You rarely can touch Riptides with Drones and 3++ invulns.

My List is identical to my previous game against Dark Angels:

++ Battalion Detachment +5CP (Chaos – Chaos Space Marines) [68 PL, , 1,110pts] ++

+ Configuration +

Battle-forged CP [3CP]

Legion: Black Legion

+ Stratagems +

Council of Traitors [-1CP]

Gifts of Chaos (1 Relic) [-1CP]

Specialist Detachment [-1CP]: Devastation Battery

+ No Force Org Slot +

Dark Disciples [1 PL, 10pts]: Mark of Slaanesh

. 2x Dark Disciple: 2x Close combat weapon

+ HQ +

Abaddon the Despoiler [12 PL, 210pts]

Dark Apostle [5 PL, 72pts]: 5. Trusted War-leader, Benediction of Darkness, Council of Traitors, No Chaos Mark, The Black Mace

Sorcerer [6 PL, 88pts]: Bolt pistol, Council of Traitors, Death Hex, Delightful Agonies, Force stave, Mark of Slaanesh, Warp Lord

+ Troops +

Chaos Cultists [3 PL, 40pts]: No Chaos Mark

. 9x Chaos Cultist w/ Autogun: 9x Autogun

. Cultist Champion: Autogun

Chaos Cultists [3 PL, 40pts]: No Chaos Mark

. 9x Chaos Cultist w/ Autogun: 9x Autogun

. Cultist Champion: Autogun

Chaos Cultists [3 PL, 40pts]: No Chaos Mark

. 9x Chaos Cultist w/ Autogun: 9x Autogun

. Cultist Champion: Autogun

+ Elites +

Chaos Terminators [10 PL, 165pts]: No Chaos Mark

. Chaos Terminator Champion: Combi-plasma, Power fist

. Terminator: Chainaxe, Combi-plasma

. Terminator: Chainaxe, Combi-plasma

. Terminator: Chainaxe, Combi-bolter

. Terminator: Chainaxe, Combi-bolter

+ Heavy Support +

Havocs [7 PL, 160pts]: Mark of Slaanesh

. Aspiring Champion: Boltgun, Chainsword

. 2x Havoc w/ lascannon: 2x Frag & Krak grenades, 2x Lascannon

. 2x Havoc w/ missile launcher: 2x Frag & Krak grenades, 2x Missile launcher

Obliterators [18 PL, 285pts]: Mark of Slaanesh

. 3x Obliterator: 3x Crushing fists, 3x Fleshmetal guns

++ Battalion Detachment +5CP (Chaos – Chaos Space Marines) [52 PL, -2CP, 887pts] ++

+ Configuration +

Legion: Black Legion

+ Stratagems +

Field Commander [-1CP]

Specialist Detachment [-1CP]: Soulforged Pack

+ HQ +

Lord Discordant on Helstalker [9 PL, 170pts]: Baleflamer, Master of the Soulforges, No Chaos Mark

. Helstalker: Techno-virus injector

Lord Discordant on Helstalker [9 PL, 170pts]: Baleflamer, No Chaos Mark

. Helstalker: Techno-virus injector

Lord Discordant on Helstalker [9 PL, 160pts]: Autocannon, No Chaos Mark

. Helstalker: Techno-virus injector

+ Troops +

Chaos Cultists [3 PL, 40pts]: No Chaos Mark

. 9x Chaos Cultist w/ Autogun: 9x Autogun

. Cultist Champion: Autogun

Chaos Space Marines [4 PL, 61pts]: No Chaos Mark

. Aspiring Champion: Chainaxe, Plasma pistol

. 4x Marine w/ Chainsword: 4x Bolt pistol, 4x Chainsword, 4x Frag & Krak grenades

Chaos Space Marines [4 PL, 56pts]: No Chaos Mark

. Aspiring Champion: Boltgun, Chainaxe

. 4x Marine w/ Chainsword: 4x Bolt pistol, 4x Chainsword, 4x Frag & Krak grenades

+ Heavy Support +

Venomcrawler [7 PL, 115pts]: Mark of Khorne

Venomcrawler [7 PL, 115pts]: Mark of Khorne

++ Total: [120 PL, -2CP, 1,997pts] ++

Created with BattleScribe

The Game:

We enjoy Maelstom with a twist. We use the 2020 ITC rule of NO SEIZE ROLL. This means if you choose Attacker, that’s it.. you’re going first no matter what. This has been a very interesting experiment and I’d recommend you try it.

The Tau win the roll off, and predictably choose Attacker. I choose the map and roll 2 D6, and choose: Front Line Assault:

Pre Game:

  • A dude with a marker light gun is his Warlord hidden among little fish people on a ruin.
  • I go with Council of Traitors to gain a few extra Warlord Traits, but my Warlord is Abaddon of course. (For 2 CP, but the Trait sucks)
  • Tau took multiple Psychic Awakening Relics for the Riptide guns and the Battlesuit weapons.
  • Black Legion relic goes on one of the 3 Disco Lords with MoK: Talisman of Burning Blood (advance and charge.)

The Game:

The Tau deploy in two distinct castles on opposite corners of his table edge. Essentially Shadow Sun and the Stormsurge with some Firewarriors and then everything else on the other corner.

I had to deploy my 3 Disco Lords aggressively. They are at the top of the “V” in my deployment. The Dark Apostle casts -1 to hit on the ‘Warlord” Disco Lord.

  • Tau shoot like Tau, and my Havocs are dead without getting a shot off. This was incredibly stupid on my part. I don’t know what I was thinking, but I should have hid them because they can move and shoot without penalty. Regardless, I don’t know if it would have made a difference.
  • His shooting is focused on my MoK Disco Lord and I am incredibly lucky with invuln saves and the -1 to hit comes in just enough to keep him healthy. Unfortunately between the Havocs, and the pile of dead Cultists, I’m really struggling for a course of action. Tau only Score 1 point for the First Strike.
  • The Black Legion Disco Lords fly full tilt forward. My shooting is predictably lethargic. My Oblits/Termies/Abe is in reserve so it’s really up to a few Baleflamers and the lethargic Venom Crawler shooting.
Black Legion Deployment. Hugging cover, and using two mid-table ruins to my best advantage.
  • I try something very, very risky but going second against Tau with an assault army pretty much forced my hand. Here’s my crazy plan:
I move my Disco Lords full tilt, as seen from the Tau side of the table. NOTE: The red circle is partially showing us where my “HQ”, Khornate Disco Lord is sitting.
  • So here’s the crazy play… The red circle above shows where my MoK Disco Lord is. I’m sitting here after everything else moved and took advantage of my 2″ move bonus. Now the Sorcerer casts Warp Time on the Disco Lord and he moves again + Advances 5″ putting me at a T1, 5″ charge against his Shadowsun which is standing right beside his Stormsurge! 5″!!!
  • My shooting is terrible. A few fish people die, and without my Havocs I’m just shooting from the hip. The Venom Crawler (not seen behind the Disco Lord) is actually putting in 5-6 damage into his Long Strike.
  • Black Legion Charge phase, I only have 1 target!! The ShadowSun. I know the Tau player is pooping his pants, but he overwatches me as I announce my charge and the bloody Disco Lord in question takes 11 WOUNDS!!! He has 1 left, because I CP re-rolled one of his invuln saves to keep him alive. Wow that Stormsurge is sick, and my stupid ‘spear’ allowed all of his Fire Warriors to help out. OUCH.
  • The severely damaged Disco Lord rolls SNAKE EYES for the charge. I had to use a CP to save him from overwatch, so I can’t re roll. That felt pretty bad. He’s sitting out there waiting to die, 5″ from his ultimate target.
  • I end my turn though getting 3 points because of my board control.

Mid Game: Fish with Guns.

  • The Tau firepower is stellar. This turn I lost 2 and a half Disco Lords, and most of my Cultists, and a Venomcrawler was severely damaged. There was almost no hope of the Black Legion reaching close combat at this point.
  • As good as the Tau shooting was, he had to go get an objective at mid table on his side in order to score another point.
Black Legion troops taking a beating.
  • In the Black Legion turn Abaddon, the Terminators and 3 Obliterators come down.

Abaddon is here with Oblits and the Termies. Is it enough?
  • After Deepstrike, the Termies with Mark of Tzeentch receive a +1 to their invulnerable saves from my Tzeentch Sorc. giving them a 3++.
  • The Terminators Kill Shadowsun (she’s the closest). The Obliterators have to shoot twice at the Stormsurge, but they do kill it. Finally a major couple of units go down for the Tau.
  • The remaining Venomcrawler takes 4 wounds in overwatch and has to charge a mass of drones, and the points had to be prevented from being scored by the Tau and this would also score me one point. Killing drones is really boring, but it’s the only way to ‘interact’ with Tau.
He will die for his efforts against units with fly, but he does his job.
  • I end the turn making a few points jump in score, but my best units are very vulnerable and the Black Legion table presence is disappearing.

In this turn the Tau can focus fire fairly easily and they try their best to table the Black Legion.

  • All the Drones and Coldstar just detach from my Venomcrawler. Between the Coldstar and Battlesuits, Riptide, Warriors, Drones, Stealth Suits, and Longstrike, the Black Legion take a horrendous beating in T3. Even the Terminators have lost a couple simply because he didn’t have better targets. Most of my troops are dead, including most of my Marines.
  • The biggest blow: The Obliterators are all one shooted by 4 hits, and 4 wounds from the Tau Riptide main relic gun. Each failed 5++ invuln save translated into 3 damage +D3 meaning each wound kills a full model. This really stinks and puts me in a serious bind going into my T3.
  • Basically that’s his turn and while he’s getting a few points, the Tau still aren’t pushing out that much and need space and time to catch up to the Black Legion score.

Late Game:

How much can Abaddon do? How much abuse can he take? How many fish can he tank? Stay tuned.
  • The Black Legion half of T3 is critical. I calculate I can run up a few points, then try not to die off from being tabled, or just having no table presence.
  • Abaddon moves towards his Battle Suits sitting on ruins/Mechanicus terrain. The Terminators follow suit, and try to kill off some Stealth Suit guys, but at -1 to hit, there’s no way I’m overcharging so I barely touch them.
  • The Sorc gives Warp Time to Abaddon. This puts Abaddon RIGHT underneath the heinous Battle Suits so he can’t be overwatched. BUT… I still need 5″ to make that charge considering the height of the terrain. The Sorc also gives Abaddon +1 to his invuln since I have no army left, and he will be shot by almost any angle!
After Warp Time, Abaddon demands to push onward, even with no army to speak of.
  • This move forces a super aggressive play by Abaddon. Should he make the charge, he still faces down a TON of firepower. And on that tower he will be seen by anything. Ah…. screw it, the Warmaster never hesitated on this decision… let’s go make some fish sticks!
Abaddon makes the T3, suicide charge, and makes a 3rd grade biology experiment out of the fish on the tower.
  • Abaddon crunches and slices the fish into tiny cubes for an old school Terran BBQ after the war. The Terminators cheer on from the ground, and although this is a small victory, removing several shots from the Tower, this sets up a horrible opportunity for the Tau in T4….
  • The Black Legion take a strong lead, but need it. We go into T4 with a 4 point lead.

Tau Chop the Head of the Warmaster… or do they?

  • Abaddon finishes off the Battlesuits, and stands alone on top of the tower. Ironically, below him, is the Tau Warlord. He has retreated as far as he can, as Abaddon had consolidated into him at the end of the Black Legion turn.
  • Now fully re-positioned, the Tau have very few targets, and the most prized of them is the Warmaster…. He screams from the top of that tower taunting them…. the Black Legion terminators squeal in delight as the words, “Bring me Tar-tar sauce” are bellowed from the Warmaster.
  • Sure enough every single gun that can really do anything to the Warmaster is targeted on him. The other guns that are out of range, or too spread out simply wipe out minimal squads of Cultists. I make one other big boo-boo in this game and leave my Sorc, who is left on one wound, slightly too close to the corner of Fire Warriors where the Stormsurge was located, and he is brought down.
  • The smoke clears, and Abaddon stands. Unscathed. His cape billows in the breeze, and he is laughing. My opponent is crying. For one brief moment, all is right in the world.
Abaddon climbs down the ladder to show the Tau Warlord the Talon of Horus.
  • Abaddon makes it down the Tower, and annihilates the Tau Warlord. Terminators try to shoot into the Stealth Suits, but again the -1 causes their Plasma to missfire and they are fairly useless again.
  • With the Sorc dying this turn, Abaddon and the Terminators will be on their base saves.

The Tau Re-Group, in small, yet dodgy schools of fish.

  • The Tau pull away again. The Termies are the only thing saving Abaddon.
  • The Tau reposition and fire as little as they can at the Terminators to get rid of them. And they still have almost every damaging model they need to do it. The Termies finally fall, and now Abaddon faces it all alone.
  • The Dark Gods approve of this situation. Abbadon does not die, but suffers a few wounds. Somehow he stands.
Abaddon doesn’t laugh very often, but when he does… fish start to cry.
  • At this point quite honestly I tried to concede. My opponent needed 3 points to tie me.
  • Tau have: about 15-20 drones. Coldstar. Riptide. Sniper drones. Various Firewarriors, and StealthSuits.
  • We roll off and have a Turn 6. Abaddon goes for a kill, but I realize his drones can absorb everything I do….
And here it is…. Abaddon clings to life, victory in the balance.
  • Abaddon tries to shoot some drones, but they laugh off his shots. The one point Black Legion can score is to charge, and kill the 4 Firewarrors, and take control of that Objective they are sitting on.
  • It is with extreme disappointment that Abaddon would die to 400 billion overwatch shots by assaulting the 4 Fire Warriors. Overwatch is such a dishonourable way to die, and it happened really to two of my main assault units.
  • I tried to conceded, but my opponent claimed he couldn’t catch up unless certain cards showed up…
  • He played a T6 and T7 when I had really only 10 Cultists on the table! He ended the game with 19 to the Black Legion’s 20 points.
  • Crazy, crazy game. I never felt in it, and although the score says I won, I felt like I took it in the face all game while just trying to score points.

Post Game:

A Hollow Victory? Or a Shameful Defeat? It depends on how you feel about fish.
  • I’m not going to diminish my ‘win’ but talk about a win in name only. It’s really one of my least favourite match ups in all of 40K. Chasing drones is incredibly boring and non-interactive. Chasing drones with an assault army is just that much worse. I can do it with Eldar and Admech, but this is a grindy match up. Chaos really can’t out shoot anyone, so while trying to stay true to Black Legion, there aren’t a lot of options.
  • So I put the untouched list to bed. I need to make alterations and I will. Some unit thoughts:
    • Disco Lords. Still fun, but talk about relying so heavily on something. With T6 and shootable all the time (12 wound characters) they really hold the army together. Venomcrawlers and any other Daemon Engine really relies on these guys to work so taking less than 3 is really hard.
    • Abaddon. He’s just always in my lists. Should he be accompanied with something different other than termies? Perhaps.
    • Oblits. So fickle, but so necessary in my list. I don’t have many options in this army, and the list aside from the Daemon Engines is painfully slow against most armies. But still I keep them in even though I see the competitive scene has moved away from them.
  • I will try to stick these guys out. I hear 9th edition is that far away, and maybe we get usable troops? The Marines in this list are fairly useless, but it’s a shame to field 60 cultists. The also don’t do much and die quickly, but cost less when they do.
  • The game was fun for my opponent. I really hoped he would win. My next challenge will be getting this army to feel ‘in the game’ with this sort of match up.

Thanks for checking it out.

Prot.

One comment

  • “The game was fun for my opponent” – lol
    I really liked reading this and want to thank you for posting these. I live in China and in a city without a 40k scene to boot, so I need to get my fix in other ways haha. Post more bat reps. Also I play Thousand Sons, I understand you recently got into them? I’m getting mine painted up; I’ve got two 10 man rubric squads, a 20 man squad of Tzaangors, a regular Sorc and an Exalted Sorc painted so far and can’t wait to finish the rest of my 2k list. Maybe we’ll finish our armies at similar times? Cheers mate!

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