Wednesday, February 22, 2012

After Action Thoughts about Tau

THIS POST IS BASED ON THE OLD TAU CODEX - PLEASE BEAR THAT IN MIND

So as you'll have read here I played my first tournament with Tau. Since it wasn't a complete disaster (yes I lost 4/5 but there was promise) and because my Dark Eldar won't be ready in time, I'm going to take them to Open War in April as well.

Therefore I need to look at the list from Jolly Toys and figure out what needs to be dropped, what I should tweak and if there's any units I need to add. Before start it's worth noting that Open War is 1,750pts so obviously something must go. Bear in mind that I don't want to be buying much (if anything) for the new list because with a new codex on the (perhaps distant) horizon it would be a shame to waste money on stuff I no longer need. In addition, I got a bit sick of painting after 5 solid weeks of it so the thought of new units fills me with dread. Let's have a look at the list's performance at Jolly Toys and figure it out from there.


Things to Keep (with changes)
So looking at my list there are a few units that really stood out for me. Obviously, the broadsides did their job well at times but struggled to destroy vehicles (despite penetrating). They took a lot of fire, as you'd expect, and I think an extra shield drone would be useful with so much S8/9 out there. I'd also like to throw in a target lock for the team leader so I can deal with razor/chimera/venom spam better. Even if I'm not blowing up a vehicle with each broadside at least I should be stopping them getting to me as quick.

The commanders and their bodyguards were excellent in every game I played. Having something deep striking helps to prevent it descending into a pure sit and shoot scenario. It also helps in objective games as the rest of my list can be quite static. At the moment the entire squad has 4++ saves with the logic being that they'll take a lot of fire when they deep strike. However, by losing them that's 2x40pts I can throw on something else. Similarly, I like having BS5 and 4 wounds with my commander but 2x25pts is a big saving. I think giving the bodyguard targeting arrays will help bring up the hit count without a reliance on markerlights. The commanders can keep their invulnerable save though. I might give the squad some gun drones as ablative wounds and still save points on the shield generators.

The "deathrain" crisis teams did a decent job but I found them missing more shots than I'd like. The flamers make a nice back-up but I can't say I got to use them much and when I did they really weren't effective. Therefore I'll probably swap them for targeting arrays. In order to sort out a bit of wound allocation I'm considering making one a team leader. I think it's also a good idea to have a bonding knife and target lock on him too. Again this will help when faced with lots of transports and hopefully I'll prevent them running (over 90% of the time).


Things to Drop or Swap
The fire warriors by no means had a bad tournament but they were never really in a position to do a lot of damage. They had a couple of games where they stayed in their transports throughout. Therefore, much as it pains me to say it I'm probably better with the basic 6-man teams. If I've got the points spare I'll aim for 9-man but there are better things to splurge on.

This raises the question of kroot as bubble-wrap. One of the other Tau players used this to great effect against Matt's Grey Knights but you really need them in big numbers (we're talking 40+). I might play test with some proxies but I don't really fancy buying 3 squads of them, even from eBay. I've talked before about my feelings bubble-wrapping and the thought of it doesn't thrill me. Don't get me wrong they can be nasty but I'm just not a fan.

The skyray performed well and it's missiles and markerlights were crucial at times. I maintain that a hammerhead wouldn't have done as well, you might disagree but I'm convinced. Having said that it's the easiest way of saving over half of the 250pts I need to lose from the list to take it to Open War so, with regret, "You're Fired!"

The pathfinders were awesome in most of my games especially in helping deathrains/broadsides muller vehicles and the commanders annihilate troops. However, with no sky ray I can see markerlight hits being wasted so I'm considering a straight swap for piranhas. Very few of my opponents appreciated their role enough to target them but I might not be as lucky again. Most people with experience against Tau would take them out early as their pretty easy to kill and make my job that bit harder when they die. Piranhas on the other hand make great distraction, contest objectives and can melta vehicles if ignored.

Building the New List
Let's start with the obvious first, broadsides are staying. I like having the stabilisation systems on them for DoW and making sure they've got line of sight/avoiding cover saves. They need another shield drone and a target lock which brings them upto 200pts each. That's 4 twin-linked S10 AP1 shots with wound allocation and 2 ablative 2+/4++ wounds. Nice.

I'm going to need some scoring units and since at the moment I'm not going to buy kroot we'll go with the basic 3x6-man fire warriors in devilfish with disruption pods. That's 3 AV12 vehicles with a cover save at over 12". The squads inside are pretty squishy but that's fairly unavoidable. At 145pts each that's 435pts in total and 835pts so far. This gives me 1,015 to spend on toys.

As I said I'll keep the commanders but drop them to Shas'els. The commanders armament will stay the same apart from the addition of a target lock to split fire when deep striking behind vehicles. The teams will swap their shield generators for targeting arrays and one will take a bonding knife to prevent any embarassing running away like I had a couple of times. It might also help them hold up a unit in combat. With the addition of the knifes I think I'll throw in 2 shield drones per commander to add ablative wounds to compensate for the loss of the 4++ saves and maybe some flukey pinning. The suits themselves can put out 9 low-AP shots with hopefully 6 hits. That should be enough to kill 5-man marine squads and with three meltas some vehicles might die too. All that little lot comes to 602pts giving me a total of 1,437 so far.

Last but not least we need some deathrains for transport popping. As I said I'll switch the flamers for targeting arrays and make one a team leader adding a target lock and bonding knife for good measure. Each suit should be able to damage a transport on it's own and the bonding knife should prevent any running away. That's 121pts each and brings my total to 1,679pts. How handy, that's 70 pts spare. Let's throw in a piranha with fusion gun and disruption pod for some irritation and we're up to 1,749 and done.

To summarise, this list puts out 4 separate S10 AP1 shots (BS3 twin-linked), 4 lots of 2 S7 AP4 shots (BS4 twin-linked), 1 BS4 melta mounted on a fast skimmer, 6 melta shots on suits and 12 S6 AP2 shots from the same. Vehicle-wise there's 3 AV12 tanks with 4+ saves and an AV11 skimmer with a 4+ too.

Seems pretty good to me. It addresses most of the problems with my Jolly Toys list and actually puts out more firepower at more targets. What have I lost? 3x3 fire warriors, a skyray and the pathfinders. I can live with that. My only concern is that 15 KPs is quite a lot at 1,750pts. Hopefully they'll pull their weight so it won't matter. Here's the final list:

1,749 pts of Tau
Shas'el (fusion, plasma, shield, HWMT, HWTL, 2 drones)
2x Shas'vre (fusion, plasma, TA, knife, HWMT)
Shas'el (fusion, plasma, shield, HWMT, HWTL, 2 drones)
2x Shas'vre (fusion, plasma, TA, knife, HWMT)

2 Crisis Shas'ui (T-L missile pod, TA, knife, HWTL)
2 Crisis Shas'ui (T-L missile pod, TA, knife, HWTL)

6 Fire Warriors (Devilfish with disrupt. pod)
6 Fire Warriors (Devilfish with disrupt. pod)
6 Fire Warriors (Devilfish with disrupt. pod)

Piranha (disrupt. pod, fusion blaster)

2x Broadsides (ASS, 2 shield drones and HWTL)
2x Broadsides (ASS, 2 shield drones and HWTL)

What do you lot reckon?

10 comments:

  1. I'm still building my army, but I have to say the 'suit and 'fish heavy list is what I am currently trying to gather myself.

    From reading not only your reports, but those of many others as well, this might do fairly well.

    I enjoy reading battle reports, so keep them coming!

    Good Luck and Tau'va!!!

    ReplyDelete
  2. Be careful what you wish for, with Stab. systems for DoW. If you roll a 1 for your movement, they cant make it on the board completely, and die.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Well it's guaranteed to happen at some point but it's a 1/36 chance assuming I have to play DoW anyway.

      Delete
  3. With all due respect... the list is a bit bland and spammy no?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Well I can't deny it but given the limited options in the codex it's hard not to spam.

      There's still plenty of testing before open war so it'll change no doubt.

      Delete
    2. Of course, the concern however is that you will sacrifice enjoyability of play for (perhaps perceived) effectiveness.

      Delete
    3. with Tau, you have to take what you can get, otherwise you lose literally all the time, and i don't see much enjoyment in that!

      Delete
  4. Not a bad list at all though I think you were too quick to dismiss or change a few things:

    -Your list is very top heavy though I understand the concept behind you list. In the end though you might be able to wiggle out a few more points if you go with regular Crisis Suits as opposed to body guards, even if it is just one units worth. Any extra points you can squeeze out of your list is well worth it.

    -You might not need the Knives on so many of your units, especially the Deathrain duos. You might try out the list a few times and see if you can drop them and get a few more points free. Extra points you can get you might use to buy up some drones for a few extra ablative wounds.

    -I think you dismissed your Pathfinders too quickly. I'm totally with you on the idea that they will draw fire like crazy however the Markerlights are just brilliant and can drastically effect combat. More to the point, the more your opponents focus on killing off your Pathfinders the less they will be able to focus on your other units.

    -You have a ton of high strength weapons, nothing bad with that, however what you don't have is anti-infantry fire. Helios suits are powerful against vehicles for sure though a Bladestorm Suit (BurstCannon/PlasmaRifle/MT) is surprisingly deadly. There is a fantastic indepth analysis of all of the different weapon combinations and BC/PR will put out more wounds against everything from GEQ to SS Terminators. They are also cheaper than Fireknives which is nice. I would suggest possibly changing one of the 'EL/Bodyguard teams to this format. On the 'El unit you can take a Cascade to really up the killing power against just about everything under the sun.

    -The ASS units on the Broadsides, this is mainly just a play style issue but you might be able instead use a TA on each unit and then take a HWTL on the Leader allowing you to target up to 4 units with your Broadsides with a TL BS4 Railgun, which is BRILLIANT. This will considerably up your ability to deal with many vehicles each turn in addition to your 4 Deathrain Units.

    That's all I got!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. There's a fair bit of play testing to do before Open War so it's all likely to change anyway. Bear in mind I can't put my entire thought process down on the blog without it turning into a wall of text. It was far from a snap decision to drop the pathfinders. They may well find their way back in.

      Delete
    2. I'm with you mate, I was just posing a counter argument is all. I'm confident that you know your play style best so please take my comments with some salt.

      Delete

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