A Post Chapter Approved (2) Deathwatch Battle Report VS. Tau (2000 pts)

I wanted to put out a quick battle report as we head into the Christmas season, and what better way to celebrate the holidays than to bash some space fish up into a fresh chowder to be enjoyed by all citizens of the Imperium!

I can’t go into as much depth as I normally do but hopefully this gives an idea of what we can see developing for Space Marines, and Deathwatch now it with Chapter Approved 2 out this December.

DW Bikes vs Tau

Vrooom Vroom. Let’s skewer some fish!

The List Basics:

WatchmasterTerminator Captain w/Bane Bolts, meltafistPrimaris Libby (null zone/Might of Heroes)

  • Mortis Squad – Hellblasters/Inceptor/Intercessors
  • Vet squad 1 – Vanguard Hammer, 3 shields, 2 Frag Cannons, Xenophase, Black Shield (ride in Corvus with  Watchmaster)
  • Vet squad 2 – 3 Stalker Bolters, 1 Missile Launcher, 1 IHB, 1 Stormshield

Terminators x 5. Meltafist x 2, Cyclone, hammer/shield.Corvus Blackstar
Bikes x4 Stormshield

Tau: (excuse my lack of knowing the actual names):

Fish commander Ethereal?
Coldstar Commander
Fish with marker lights x2
Fish with rifles x2
Fish Aquarium with Breacher fish
Kroot with sticks
Drones x?
Ghost Keel
Crisis Suits x3 with many, many flamers
Crisis Melta Suits x 3
Crisis Suits x3 with Cyclonic Ion something or other.
2 x Riptides

The Game:

  • Our Modified Maelstrom type with 6 objectives. Deployment was Vanguard Strike.
  • Tau get first turn.

Early Turns:

  • The Deathwatch deploy very conservative. The Terrain is setup to a good tournament standard and does not allow a lot of line of sight, especially in this deployment. The Deathwatch Repulsor and Redeptor are very hard to see, however the Corvus Blackstar is impossible to hide but remains deep in my zone to stay out of range.
  • Tau start off by moving some Riptides to the corners of the board to gain some line of sight. The Ghost Keel also moves up and gains a front and center position to grab objectives.
  • Shooting is light, and the Repulsor can’t be targeted, but the Redemptor takes a few wounds, and I lose some of the ‘shooty’ Veteran squad with the Missile Launchers. The Shield is big here and the Tau do not get First Strike but do get some objective points for easy Objective control.
Repulsor deploy

Deathwatch Deployment is conservative but keeps the Repulsor alive.

  • Not surprisingly, the Deathwatch first turn is far more aggressive; the Repulsor moves up gaining some firing positions. The Corvus blasts to sit in front of fish hell which is lead by a Ghost Keel. I have to keep the Redemptor back for an objective.


Repulsor rounding the corner

The Deathwatch advance. The Repulsor has limited visibility around the corner while the bikes advance into a crossfire deathzone.

  • Tau take a few wounds but the overcharged Riptide has a 3++ and I can only get a few wounds through. The Corvus flies right up, knowing its days are numbered. The Corvus fires everything but cannot kill enough drones, and barely puts a dent into the Ghost Keel. I score one point to tie the game but can’t get anything close to First Strike. The Librarian puts Might of Heroes on the Repulsor.
Corvus rough landing

The Corvus deep in hostile territory.

  • As suspected the Corvus would proved to be a very tempting target for the Tau. The marker lights would be swept by the Objective (not sure I did this right post FAQ on the marker light objective, but for the record I swept 5 Marker Lights off the Corvus from one volley of firepower). It didn’t work. The Corvus took a ton of firepower, but it went down hard, and crashed at the feet of the above pictured Ghost Keel.
  • By the time the Corvus is down, the Tau don’t have a lot of shooting left and save some of the firepower for the Repulsor which only takes 2 wounds.
  • In this turn the two Crisis Suit units come in with the Coldstar Commander which I think is a misplay on the HQ (I’ll get to that later.) The flamer shots roast half my bikes… there’s a LOT of flamer hits. I lose some infantry from the Corvus but overall not bad.
  • The Tau record a few points, and have a 2 point lead.

Mid-Late Game:

I realize at this point I have to somewhat forgo objectives, however I do pull some “kill” type Maelstrom cards but regardless I decide with the Corvus down, and the Repulsor getting lit up, it’s time to flood the board with what little infantry I have and try target saturation….. It’s now or never.


Ghost Keel in trouble

The Watchmaster orders the execution of the big fish. Where’s your Aquaman now Fish-people?!?!


  • The Deathwatch make a hard push to get deep into Tau territory. The shooting is quite bad though when targeting the Riptides. Also I need to kill something with Fly, and Big Game Hunter so the Riptides really need to go. I combine firepower from the Repulsor, and missile squad using as much as I can and I realize I simply cannot touch the Riptide. Also this turn the Terminator Squad dropped in and annihilated a Cyclonic Cannon Squad….and as mentioned before, due to the poor positioning of the Coldstar Commander, my Deathwatch Captain would kill him with Bolts of Eryxia powering his Stormbolter.
endgame termies

The Terminators sit in ruins and destroy the Coldstar Commander, and take a chunk out of the second Riptide.

  • It’s a good amount of damage. The Vetsquad splits fire, and takes the Cyclonic squad out with Fragcannons. The Stormbolters, try to put down the Ghost Keel but just can’t with that save. Finally the Missile Launcher/IHB team try Mortal Wounds (flakk Cannon) strat to finally kill the Ghost Keel but fail to hit with the -1. This slows things down a lot. The Deathwatch are forced to assault the Ghost Keel and it is hammered to oblivion.
  • The Tau Retaliate: Since I fail to take down the Riptides, his firing is diminished but using strategems, he’s able to fire without penalty. He needs to kill the Repulsor to get multiple points: Kill Something, Kill Fly, Steal my Repulsor’s Objective. He through the kitchen sink at that Repulsor but it lived with… 2 Wounds! Might of Heroes was huge.
  • The Bikes were a secondary target, but with his remaining flamer Crisis Suits he just could not take the last wound off the last bike!
  • With the Tau’s Riptides spent on my Repulsor, the Breachers and Transport tried to kill the Fortis Team, but it would hold… barely.
  • The Tau tried widdling down the Veteran squad with these -1, 2 Damage cannons firing 18 times each. Wow. The Stormshields were HUGE. A squad of Melta Crisis Suits could not get past the shields.
Termination of Crisis and Koldstar

The Terminators remove the Coldstar and Crisis suit threat.

  • The Terminators remain untouched. Moving into Turn 3 it’s a huge chance to swing things into my favour…
endgame Breachers

Severely depleted Primaris are still a deadly threat to the Fish-people.

  • I overcharged Plasma in a desperate attempt to finally kill a Riptide. His front lines were falling, but one Riptide needed to die now as all infantry was now exposed in an attempt to push him back and retain board control.
  • The Overcharged Hellblasters only get one shot through. This calls for poison Bolt Rifles! With Chapter Tactics targeting Elites, the -1 AP, Poison rounds from the humble Intercessors down the heinous Riptide!
  • The Death of Riptide nets me big points, and seems to be a catalyst. The other Riptide is killed by the Terminator squad scoring a ‘5’ damage Missile shot.
  • The Breachers are assaulted with the remaining Fortis squad and fail moral.
  • Back in my zone a squad of jump suits was trying to threaten my Redemptor. He was down to 6 wounds by this point, but managed to auto-flame the suits to death before charging.
  • Now my main Vet squad with the Watchmaster was deep in the Tau zone. They took on the front lines and were ready to crash into the Kroot when my opponent conceded.
  • Victory for Deathwatch. The points were 8-7 for Deathwatch but turn 5 would have surely seen a near tabling of the Tau.

Post Game:

I was shocked at the results. This Tau army is a tough go for me. We were both experimenting with units. I increased/used more bikes, and the Termies were something I put away a while ago. The Corvus is just plain fun. All in all I was really impressed with the Storm Shields.

When I made this list it was with point leaks, and I figured I was about 15-20 points under 2K. I redid this list with Chapter Approved in hand and sure enough I could have sprinkled 8 more shields into the army. It’s certainly nice having saves vs Tau!

Thanks for checking this out!

Happy Holidays. May your stocking be filled with Special Issue Ammo!






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