On our way to nova, me and Jack set out to test scenarios, top tier armies and table styles. Check out the tau empire take on a gladius.
The top dog right now in the NOVA mission format seems to be the Gladius in one variation or another. Since no one at our club plays the Gladius , and we needed to see what it can do, I went ahead and found some lists online and proxied one i liked. The ammount and quality of the proxys is absurd ( I took to writing down exactly what unit was and where it was coming from), hence the little to no pictures. But testing is all that mattered.
Enough chatter, heres the action.
Jack's Farsight Bomb
Commander Farsight 7x Crisis Bodyguard - 3x 2 Fusion Blaster, 4x 2 Missile Pods 7x Target Lock 12x Gun Drones Buffmander - Command and Control Node, Multi-Spectrum Sensor Suit, Neuroweb System Jammer, Puretide Engram Neurochip, Drone Controller, Vectored Retro-Thrusters Riptide - Ion Accelerator, TL Fusion Blaster, Early Warning Override Riptide - Ion Accelerator, TL SMS, Early Warning Override 10x Kroot - Kroot Hound 10x Kroot - Kroot Hound Skyray - Blacksun Filter, Disruption Pod 3x Broadsides - 3x TL SMS, 3x TL HY Missile Pod, 2x Target Lock Imperial Bunker - Comms Relay Total = 1849 pts
Max - Sketchy Gladius
6 5-man pods, Melta/CombiMelta
2 Assault Pods 1 Meltabomb
2 Devastator Pods, Combi Melta only
3x 5 scouts
Assault squads with Melta Bombs
10 man devastators with 4 Multimeltas /combimelta
I think it's one of the decent variants to the Gladius, mind you, I spend roughly 7 minutes to build it, so a fine tuned list of this must be better. I would rather play a Razorback/Rhino type Gladius with the Culexus Assassin, but as this was a playtest for Jack, I picked and army better vs him, as the culexus plane package is wasted points on Tau.
Mission was relic/double emperors will in hammer & anvil
Jack picked endgame scoring, fb, slay the warlord and line breaker. I picked first blood also, last blood and kill all troops. First Blood is a big deal here because its the only objective we have both picked and cant tie. My primary was progressive scoring, obviously.
Jack won the roll, deployed first in a corner with both riptides in ruins. He left the farsight star in deepstrike to counter my own ds. I started with nothing on the board and the scputs on outflank. Jack chose to go first to get a better position with his riptides and blob more around the bunker and skyray.
My turn one, I picked 3 tactical pods and the 2 assault pods to come in with the strikeforce. This serves 2 purposes, 1- having some firepower left for other turns and and the assault marines might get a lucky t2 charge on the star if i can or if jacks too daring. In retrospect, I could have landed a unit in my dep zone to clinch 2 points on turn 2, but i wanted to max out the alpha strike and aggression potential the army had.
I didnt lose units to interceptor and in return take out a wound on a riptide, kill both kroot units and the skyray for FB and destroy all troops. Wham! 4 points gladius.
Jack gets his reserved unit, lands it behind my alpha striking units, which are now trapped between the broadsides and the star. His return fire slays my multi melta units from the annhil force and 2 tactical squads. One riptides charges in some marines, which i dont really mind because i will tarpit it there for the rest of the game with 3 units.
My turn 2, I score only 1 point because i placed my units to inflict maximum damage. I get 4 of the 5 remaining pods and place them around the objectives in my zone to force jacks bomb to either voltron out to contest my points ( and possible losing key characters in my following turn ) or spread out and give me lots of points next turn, which is what he did.
3 more points Gladius
Jack needs to stop me from getting points, and the bomb moves closer to the relic ( also worth more at the end of the game ) While Farsight leaves the unit to contest objectives in my dep zone and slaughter helpless marines and scouts, they obliterate Vulkan, the Chappy and their unit with shooting. The riptide not locked in CC and the Broadsides are clearing my Obsec units from the objectives in his deployment zone little by little. 2 points for the Tau in Slay the Warlord
My turn 3, my reserves come in, with the exception of a scout unit, which is nice because they can clinch points later to stop Jack from scoring endgame points. The other pod mishaps and is placed in the far end of my deployement zone where I already control an objective and no action is going on. Not much going on for me besides working out how to get the last 3 points next turn as I'm already 6 in.
The game is pretty much over at this point. At least the playtest part. It's practically impossible for Jack to get more than 7 on Primary, and can't outscore me on Secondaries, so we call it a day.
Key learning points:
1- Gladius takes a lot of time to play. The 7 pods +2 units turn one is long to place and long to play. if you are in a tournament, manage your time effectively, wether you're playing the Gladius yourself ( as you need a good 4-5 turns to cap all the turn by turn points ) and against it ( once the alpha strike is over, there's not much it does, so if you only get to turn 3, you dont get to have the big end of the stick )
2- Going first is not a great plan if you don't have something gamechanger to do ie: cast a shitton of spells to defend yourself and /or fly with FMC
3- Keep your obsec units safe. You most likely don't have enough firepower to blow up all the marines, and keeping your ob sec units alive to deny the galdius his points is key.
4- Playing 400 free points is fun!
TL;DR: I proxy'd drop pods using soda bottles and tottally pwnd my buddy Jack. Word.