Episode 75: Riptides are F****** Broken [Not As Many Pictures As Normal]

Missed my previous posts? Check them out below!


Guess who's back, back again. I've stopped posting again for a bit because I'm trying to get my Imperium list together through never ending changes. While I have some more stuff in the mail and a few models being painted it's probably better to get these games up. While testing this list I've had very tight games against some legitimately punishing lists. I didn't know what I was in for before showing up to this game but it ended up being very enjoyable, although I got super salty at several points.

So far my list has been somewhat confusing to play. It feels very powerful but keeps going up against things which feel like harder counters. Most of those games I was able to pull out but they were pretty low point wins. I don't really know what that means in the end but I'm enjoying the play-style and I feel that the list is pretty unique while being successful, which matters quite a bit to me. It definitely has some counter-play available that I didn't see when working on the army but I think those can be smoothed out.

Today's game was against Joey, someone I know from our local group but have not played personally. I was extremely happy to see that he was bringing Tau as I've not been able to play against them in 8th Edition. My only experience was from playing them very early in the Edition but they're completely different now with their Codex so that's not much help. I think Tau are one of the harder matchups for this list, along with Dark Eldar, but both vary on composition. Fortunately Joey was packing three Riptides which is very brutal against me so I'd get to see my worst case scenario.


Battalion Detachment - Imperial Guard (Tallarn)

Company Commander w/ Shotgun, Karov's Aquila [Warlord w/ Grand Strategist]
Primaris Psyker [Psychic Malestrom, Terrifying Visions]
Primaris Psyker [Psychic Malestrom, Terrifying Visions]

Astropath [Psychic Maelstrom]

Infantry Squad
Infantry Squad w/ Mortar
Infantry Squad w/ Mortar
Infantry Squad w/ Mortar
Infantry Squad w/ Mortar

Battalion Detachment - Blood Angels

Captain w/ Jump Pack, Thunder Hammer, Storm Shield
Captain w/ Jump Pack, Thunder Hammer, Storm Shield
Captain w/ Jump Pack, Thunder Hammer, Storm Shield [The Angel's Wings]

5 Scouts w/ Bolters
5 Scouts w/ Bolters
5 Scouts w/ Bolters

Battalion Detachment - Deathwatch

Librarian [Null Zone, Might of Heroes]
Watch Captain w/ Jump Pack, Stormbolter, Thunder Hammer
Watch Captain w/ Jump Pack, Stormbolter, Thunder Hammer

5 Intercessors, 3 Hell Blasters, 1 Inceptor
5 Intercessors, 3 Hell Blasters, 1 Inceptor
5 Intercessors, 3 Hell Blasters, 1 Inceptor


Battalion Detachment - Bor'kan

Cadre Fireblade w/ Puretide Engram Neurochip [Warlord w/ Through Unity, Devastation]
Enforcer Commander w/ ATS, 3x Cyclic Ion Blaster

Riptide w/ Ion Accelerator, Target Lock
Riptide w/ ATS, Target Lock
Riptide w/ ATS, Target Lock

5 Fire Warriors
5 Fire Warriors
5 Fire Warriors

4 Marker Drones
4 Marker Drones

Battalion Detachment - Bor'kan

Cadre Fireblade
Enforcer Commander w/ ATS, 3x Cyclic Ion Blasters

3 Crisis Bodyguards [2 w/ 3x Cyclic Ion Blasters, 1 w/ 2 Cyclic Ion Blasters and Drone Controller]
(5 Marker Drones Attached)
 10 Fire Warriors
10 Fire Warriors
10 Fire Warriors

Mission and Deployment
ITC Mission #6
Hammer and Anvil

 Imperium Secondary Objectives
Headhunter, Recon, Old School

Tau Secondary Objectives
Kingslayer (Relic Captain), Headhunter, Old School

 Readers of this blog will recognize my terrain setup, two biggish pieces in the center to break up Line of Sight with some more minimal terrain in the Deployment Zones and flanks. I think a bigger circle of three pieces in the center, with gaps, would be better and more interesting to play with. Overall the terrain wasn't going to give me much reprieve from the shooting so I figured I'd be better off going for cover.

While Joey's list isn't perfectly optimized it's going to be good at keeping me out and has so many guns which just rip my Primaris Marines apart. It's also going to be nearly impossible dealing with the Riptides unless I go first, a 3++ on such a tough model is very hard to handle, plus Savior Protocols. The rest of the threats are also high output, multiple damage attacks where other lists might have more anti-Infantry or lower output e.g. Fusion Blasters.

The Deployment was also quite bad for me, Tau loves to clump up and this makes it much easier. The Mission would normally be good for me but there's very little opportunity cost to Tau while covering them both. In most of Deployments they'd be forced to spread out a little, meaning a weak flank to an army that's not very fast (but can shoot far!)

My strategy of denying Secondaries seemed to work as Joey was uncomfortable taking Death By A Thousand Cuts, leaving some harder options. Kingslayer would only give up two as again Joey didn't think he could kill the Commander off and I don't think Old School will yield more than 2/4. On my side I was pretty sure I could get at least three from Recon, Old School was a bit optimistic though. Joey has the models to defend his Cadre, as well as terrain to hide him, and me ending the game in his deployment zone isn't likely unless the game is a stomp. In hindsight I should have taken The Reaper as it's an easy three points. Headhunter was also somewhat optimistic but I was running out of options.

For Deployment my plan was to be somewhat aggressive as I couldn't see any way to defend the Guardsmen or Scouts and get any use out of them. My hope was to put a hole in the Drones and Fire Warriors before all those units died and then finish up with the Deathwatch. Punchy Captains would mop up and try to handle the Characters/Suits but I didn't have the highest hopes for them. 3++ Saves are just too good on big models and Riptides lose nothing from Falling Back. One Blood Angel Captain and all the Deathwatch went into Deep Strike while the Guardsmen and Scouts pressed a bit forward, all having Cover, with one Mortar unit hanging back to protect the Commander and Librarian. I reasoned that if Joey brought some of his own Deep Strike down back there I could probably counter with a Captain.

The Tau deployed further up than I expected with their range advantage, hoping to keep my Deep Strike units out of the action. All the small Fire Warrior units grabbed the backfield while the bigger units held the front. Riptides deployed in a line, along with one Commander and the Cadres. Drones also spread evenly except the larger unit that went into Reserves with the remaining Commander and Bodyguards. Overall this set a stage for first turn to have a huge impact, if I got to go first then I could get the Scouts into Combat by using the center building to protect from Overwatch, I'd also likely get a Captain into a Riptide and possibly kill it, assuming I could remove the Drones with Mortars/Bolters. If I went second I expected to lose most of my front-line and have a very uphill battle. Turns out I went second which put me in a disadvantaged mindset right away.

Tau Turn 1

 Joey moved up fairly conservatively, getting his Riptides into Line of Sight of more targets. The bigger Fire Warrior units also moved up, one climbing the ruins but the other two not able to claim Cover. All the Riptides correctly activated the 3++ Nova Reactor, Joey had no need for extra shots at this point.

Shooting got a Markerlight onto each Scout unit and one Infantry Squad, Joey spread them instead of focusing on one unit and didn't wind up using Uplinked Markerlight. One Cadre (the Warlord) was also hiding on Joey's declared Objective and didn't contribute. Actual shots killed one Scout unit, left another on two models, and the last on three while removing the Infantry Squad.

With my front line sufficiently butchered and no Charges in sight I passed both my Morale checks. My Scouts are now pretty useless because of how much Overwatch Joey will get off my Charges, there's not much I can do except try sadly.

3-0 for Tau

Imperium Turn 1

 Looking over the board I did not think I could drop the Deatchwatch in, this is one of the areas Tau makes my life hard because they don't come forward which will keep me out of Rapid Fire range. Going first I may have risked it because I could go for a Riptide and limit the counter-attack but my Marines are going to have to win the game for me so I have to put them in a position to do so.

I used Upon Wings of Fire on the Relic Captain and Advanced all of the Guardsmen, which was a mistake as it didn't gain me much Rapid Fire but stopped all my Mortars from shooting. My Scouts also moved up as the Librarian Advanced out of his hole and the other Blood Angel Captain moved up. While this did expose them both I figured a trade with the Commander/Bodyguards would be fine.

Shooting removed some Marker Drones and Fire Warriors but not many, I didn't have too many attacks to even throw out. Charges saw one of my Scout units get chewed up, and one just not make it even with a re-roll. The Captain had come down along the front-lines after a lot of consideration and made his Charge after I declared everything as a target. Ultimately I decided to put him into the Marker Drones as I needed a Turn 1 kill for Old School. He was able to remove them all using Red Fury and then Consolidated into the Commander and fought again with Honor the Chapter. Unfortunately I rolled poorly and Joey made two 6+ Saves, leaving the Commander on half health. This was pretty tilting as the math on killing that model is about 96% with my extra attacks and I would have been able to force a Fall Back on a Fire Warrior unit along with taking out a huge threat to my Primaris.

Morale saw one Fire Warrior flee, leaving a unit of three from a 10 man. With some better decisions I would have been able to get Kill More as the Commander should have died and if I didn't Advance my Mortars probably see that Fire Warrior unit finished off. As it was that went to Joey and we split on Objectives.

This is also when my camera went screwy so apologies for the lack of pictures!

4-3 for Tau 

Tau Turn 2

Emboldened but still aware that I had a lot in Reserves Joey fell back with the Commander and moved forward a bit more with the Riptides and bigger Fire Warrior units. Everything else largely held still, waiting on me to commit. Again all the Riptides used the 3++ for their Nova Reactor. Joey also used Automated Repair System on the Commander, healing it for a wound. After some contemplation Joey put all his Reserves on my right flank.

 Shooting finished off the Scout unit and spread out into a few Infantry Squads, taking bodies out of three. My Relic Captain was mercilessly gunned down by the Commander and my other Captain took two wounds from a Riptide. I really didn't take much damage here but there wasn't much for Joey to shoot.

I managed to pass all my Morale Checks, using one instance of Fight to the Death, this was all fairly lucky as it kept me in the round for Kill More.

9-3 for Tau

Imperium Turn 2

Well it's basically do or die time for me, my goal is now to kill everything but the Riptides over hopefully the next two turns. I don't think I can kill them period so I need to focus on Objectives and score, Joey has pretty much gotten all the Secondaries he can get (minus more Characters) but I have a lot more available to me.

My Captain jumped up into the ruins on Joey's side while the Librarian moved up to prepare for a trick play. My last Blood Angel Captain came down on the left, 9" from a Riptide that the Librarian was near. I split the Deathwatch up, dropping two units and a Captain on the right to handle all of Joey's recent arrivals while the other unit with Captain went left to keep Recon alive and to help with Fire Warriors.

In the Psychic Phase I was able to get Null Zone off on the Librarian and Smite/Psychic Maelstrom the Marker Drones away and put a wound on the Crisis Bodyguards. Null Zone was the most important part of the turn so far, next I needed to get the Librarian to make a Charge near the Riptide.

Shooting was pretty strong as I killed off all the Crisis Suits with Joey forgetting to use Neuroweb System Jammer, I didn't have the shots leftover to put into the Commander though. I was also able to remove two units of Fire Warriors and get another fairly low. While this wasn't the most damage ever it removes all of Joey's front line which weakens his Objective game and opens things up for me.

Charges mostly my way as the Librarian made it into the Fire Warriors, getting within 6" of the Riptide to strip its Invulnerable. My Blood Angel Captain made it into the Riptide unscathed and the Watch Captain on the left also made it into the Fire Warriors. Stupidly I didn't declare the Fireblade there as a target and even worse I forgot to Charge with my center Blood Angel Captain. He just blended into the Terrain and I forgot about him, this was a huge mistake as that would have likely finished off the damaged Commander, really damaging Joey's ability to fight back against my Primaris.

Combat went horribly, I finished the Fire Warriors off but left the Cadre alive, tying him up. The Riptide also survived with 3 Wounds as I rolled poorly again, despite using Red Fury and Honor the Chapter, which invalidated my whole plan. Now Joey can just heal it and use Stimulant Injector, there's no point in hurting Riptides unless you finish them off.

At this point I was super on tilt, not only had every important dice roll not gone my way but I'd made a huge mistake. I expected to lose all my forward Captains and Librarian which would probably seal the game. Both Commanders still being alive is also a huge threat to my Deathwatch, nine shots at near perfect accuracy with d3 Damage is just too much. On a positive note I was able to contest Joey's left Objective, giving me Score More and Kill More as well as Recon.

9-8 for Tau

Tau Turn 3

With the path to victory pretty clear Joey fell back again with the Riptide and the Fireblade. The smaller Fire Warrior units moved up but the Warlord Cadre continued to hide. All the Riptides went with a 3++ again although one used Branched Nova Charge for shots as well and the damaged one continued to heal.

Shooting killed all my forward Characters, as expected, and took out most of the Intercessors from all three units. This probably would have been wore but Joey only had one Marker Drone left and it kept missing. Overall I had some thing to fight back with but not much and all the Riptides are still kicking. Fortunately my remaining Psykers were spared so maybe I could do something with them.

 Once again I lost nothing from Morale but Joey regained control of his Objective and had essentially maxed out Secondaries except for Last Strike, it was very unlikely he'd ever be able to get to my Warlord.

14-8 for Tau

Imperium Turn 3

Winning by attrition is no longer an option so I have to play for Scenario. To that end I hunkered down on the left and moved up with my remaining Deathwatch Captain. My few remaining Guardsmen moved back to hide and hold my right Objective, as well and try and not give up kills. My Psykers ran up to kill the Commander on the right, if possible.

In the Psychic Phase my bad rolls continued and I left the Commander with 2 Wounds. Shooting was able to finish him off as well as the last Marker Drone and one of the small Fire Warrior units. Finally I shot the Fireblade off the Objective, netting me Kill More and Hold More once again. Being able to get an extra 6" with remaining Intercessors was extremely helpful for reaching out and touching some of those units.

With no Charges and no Morale losses I managed to squeak out a narrow lead on Secondaries. I may be able to get one more instance of Score More via the Watch Captain contesting something but Kill More will be an uphill battle.

15-14 for Imperium

Tau Turn 4

Joey moved a Riptide onto his Objective and all of them Nova'd for shots, continuing to heal and have one of them pick shots as well via Stratagem. The remaining Commander flew left to help get my Deathwatch down and remove Recon.

Shooting was less than amazing for Joey as I was left with three Hellblasters and the Tau Commander took 2 Wounds from Overcharge, leaving him with one. One of my other units went down to just one Hellblaster as well. My Psykers were also basically ignored which leaves the possibility for sniping out the remaining Commander. One forward unit of Guardsmen was finished off though, giving Joey a kill for the turn.

Once again I passed all my Morale setting up for a decent Turn 4 but the game was getting very tight and I couldn't count on the Riptides to just keep missing forever.

16-15 for Tau

Imperium Turn 4

My remaining Deathwatch Captain jumped up into the center ruins, hoping for a Charge into the last Commander for more points. All my Psykers Advanced but none were able to get a bead on the Cadre Fireblade, meaning I probably wouldn't be able to kill him this game. After some consideration I went to hide with the Deathwatch I had on the left, hoping to limit Joey's kills.

In the Psychic Phase I put 4 Wounds on a Riptide but failed to cast Psychic Maelstrom on the Commander. I also wasn't able to finish him with shooting, doing one wound with the Captain as the Hellblasters and Mortars finished off a Firewarrior unit for a kill. If I'd Advanced them I could have likely contested the left Objective but a kill was the better plan.

 My Charge failed even with a re-roll although the Commander came out unscathed. Regaining a slight lead I didn't feel like I had enough steam to finish the game, my Commander was likely dead along with the Hellblasters which would remove Recon from being maxed out and surrender Kill More for the last two rounds.

18-15 for the Imperium

Tau Turn 5

 Once again the damaged Riptide healed and everyone Nova'd for extra shots with the Plasma Riptide also getting a 3++. One Riptide went to the right Objective (my perspective) just to reinforce and help kill the Psykers. The Commander stayed back as if he jumped the wall I'd likely be able to finish him with my remaining Deathwatch.

Shooting killed the Astropath and one Primaris Psyker but the Captain lived with one wound, rolling well for his Iron Halo. I also lost all the Hellblasters on the left but being able to still max out Recon is a big deal.

18-17 for the Imperium

Imperium Turn 5

With a slight lead and the game really winding down I went for a series of plays that would seal the win, having no other real option. The last Primaris Psyker moved up to Charge the Cadre through the wall, avoiding Overwatch. My Captain also hopped down and made use of a wall to only take Overwatch from one Riptide.

In the Pyschic Phase I was finally able to finish the Commander off, netting a Headhunter point. Shooting did nothing of value, as expected. Finally I made both my Charges, with the Captain living after making a few saves and using a re-roll.

I elected to start with the Captain as he had the better odds of doing something, I also used Dominatus Doctrine to have him wound on 2's, re-rolling 1's thanks to Mission Tactics. Unfortunately I wasn't able to finish it off but I did leave it with three wounds.

Joey interrupted with the Cadre but I made my saves on the Primaris Psyker, leaving it alive with one wound. I only did a single wound back to the Cadre but then was able to finish off the Riptide with Honor Your Brothers, equaling the kill score. I was also able to score Recon again as both Characters had lived, which I needed them too, maxing that out.

22-17 for the Imperium

Round 6

Joey and I decided to talk out the last turn, we both agreed I'd lose the two Characters up front which would give him Last Strike and Kill More. We would also split Objectives but to get into my Deployment Zone he'd have to Nova Reactor and Advance which would leave my Death Watch Captain alive, making Kill More not certain and not splitting on Objectives. No matter what I would win by at least 1 Point assuming I scored nothing on my turn but I had one Objective locked in.

This gave me a very narrow victory, likely by a 23-21 margin if we were reporting the game.


Post-Game Thoughts

 While I unfortunately don't have the pictures to illustrate this, I shouldn't have won the game for numerous reasons. Besides the mistakes I mentioned Joey was a bit too reserved with his movement as there were a few times he could have had redundancy on his left Objective. The Commanders probably should have also just ran away during the later portions of the game, one could have been saved for sure. Finally the Riptides should have been moving forward to guarantee Linebreaker while retaining their 3++, me being able to kill one late in the game was an anomaly. Unity Through Devastation also never got used which isn't the most gigantic ability but it would have helped with the Primaris Marines in cover, although putting the Warlord in danger could have been bad.

Even with all that I played very poorly in some respects and was only able to pull the game out at the end because of some things finally going my way and capitalizing on Joey's mistakes. I went on tilt very hard this game after all the important rolls went against me, both the Commander living on Turn 1 and the Riptide living on Turn 2 had an enormous impact on the game and were very much in my favor to not go down that way. Forgetting a Charge and losing a Character for nothing just compounded that.

Looking back on the game now I should have played extremely defensively with most of my units to limit Joey's ability to kill stuff and then just edged him out by as often as I could, slowly making units smaller so I could finish them off when needed. I should have also been more aggressive with some of the Characters, going for a Deep Strike snipe on the Warlord early on and maybe pre-game moving.

I did learn a lot about Tau, I was unfamiliar with their Stratagems and in some ways Joey's composition was better against me than a normal list would be. He had a lot more multiple Damage guns than I see from Tau, usually they opt for Fusion Commanders and Stealth Suits. He had less Characters than normal and more Fire Warriors which just chewed up my Guardsmen early. I think against the more cookie-cutter Tau builds I'd have done a bit better. This was also the worst Deployment option for me, a middle of the road Mission, and I went second.

Besides tightening up my play I learned a few things about my list this game. One is that the Infantry Squads are useless, I'm cutting two of them and replacing with Mortar Teams. This will let me double wrap the Company Commander and give his Orders more use. It also takes easy kills off the table for my opponents and gives me more screen clearing. I'll probably go with Cadian instead of Tallarn as a result.

The Deathwatch provide plenty of bodies to keep my Characters safe until they commit, and while pricey I like the second Captain for allowing me to spread out. I may see about getting them Storm Shields instead of Stormbolters, the extra shots aren't that big of a deal and I'd rather have more fighters. I also really want a Jump Pack on the Librarian, Veil of Time and Might of Heroes get a lot more done with him being able to zip around and Null Zone becomes better against shooty armies. Finally I'm not feeling the Astropath anymore, Psychic Maelstrom is really hard to cast and it's so variable. With my change to the Guard Battalion I'll also never use his cover stripping ability.

So far I really like this version of the list. It is vulnerable to armies with lots of multiple damage attacks but I have the tools to shut a lot of that down and I almost always get the first meaningful hits of the game. Adding Inceptors and better Mortars should help keep my anti-Infantry game going but also surrender less kills and not make me vulnerable to being tied up. While Watch Captains are not as good in Combat as a Blood Angels Captain they're still great, particularly with Mission Tactics and Stratagems. With those tweaks I think I'd have done better this game, although I need to tighten up my play.

Next weekend I have an RTT and then two GTs in June, which is insane. I'm trying to find time to practice but I also have to get a lot of painting done so it's going to be tight. I'll try to get a full Battle Report up this week now that I have my camera fixed but thank you for reading in any case. :]


  1. Thanks for the report! Finally :D

    I am really looking forward for the GT reports, good luck!

    1. This weekend will be my trial run before those events, I'm hoping to take first. There's a local Dark Eldar player who might give me some trouble though, I don't know what he's running. I'll have reports for those games though. :]