Tuesday, 29 June 2010

Tau at 1500...Can I get bonus points now please?

I think this army will be under represented at ToS – meaning that I will have a solid shot at gaining a greater than average score…providing of course that I perform and any other Tau armies don’t….it has a solid chance of performing and will not be frowned upon – increasing my chances of getting ‘blowjob points’…

Shas’El – PR, MP, MT, HWDC – Gun Drone, Shield Drone 112 points
Shas’Vre Bodyguard x2 – PR, MP, HWMT, TA 164 points

3x Crisis – PR,MP,MT 186 points
3x Crisis – TLMP, TA 159 points

10 x Kroot 70 points
5 x Kroot Hounds 30 points

10 x Kroot 70 points
5 x Kroot Hounds 30

6 x FW 60 points
Devilfish -MT, DP, Gun Drones – 95 points

Piranha – Fusion Blaster, Gun Drones, DP, TA 75 points
Piranha – Fusion Blaster, Gun Drones, DP, TA 75 points

1x XV88 Team Leader; SMS, A.S.S, HWDC – 1xSD, HWTL,
1x XV88; SMS, A.S.S 190 points

Hammerhead – Railgun, 2xBC, DP, TA, MT 165 points
Hammerhead – Railgun, 2xBC, DP, TA, MT 165 points

Total Points 1496 points
KPs: A million. Or 15.

How does this work then? Well, this is the Tau list I was running quite a way back. It was an evolution of six months of Tau play and online discussion and research at ATT and YTTH plus Warhammer Tau.

Whilst I may have a different view to running a Tau army to some sites, I did gain massively from Warhammer Tau’s modelling and painting of Tau…So much so that I completely stole his paint scheme (sorry Adam)
Since that time he has sold on his Tau army to fund his new Space Wolves blog here. Its an excellent site for all kinds of gamers.

Anyway, several potentially controversial elements in the list;
- The Kroot. Over on Warseer and some other blogs, the use of Kroot is frowned upon. I have found them indispensible. Some argue they are a utility unit, I find they fail in this role, lacking the specialisation and stats to cope with multiple roles. My use for them is as ‘bubblewrap’ – a term I leant of from Stelek over at YTTH. By using two good sized units to protect my XV’s, Hammerheads and Piranhas from several key things;
o Deep Striking units – this includes Chaos Demons, Drop Pod Assault, SW Logan & MM Long Fangs etc.
o Melta – not deep struck melta, but general melta range. A couple of fantastic articles from Kirby at 3++ are brilliant at explaining the correct set up and deployment of bubblewrap to prevent Melta from getting inside its crucial 2D6 range.
The Kroot are also to be used as road blocks; slowing the advance of any assault based units for a turn whilst the rest of the army redeploys whilst still laying down its nasty, nasty Tau firepower.
If one unit of Tau can do this, then why take 2? Redundancy and efficiency. One unit of Kroot plus Hounds can hold up an assault unit for a turn, blocking the path to their true target. Two units mean that that killer unit can be held up for 2 turns whilst the skimmers and crisis units move even further.
One unit of Kroot can spread out around the Tau deployment zone, ensuring that certain areas are too risky to deep strike, or forcing drop pods laden with melta back out of range. However, 2 units of Kroot can make sure that the same Deep Striking units cannot DS near the meat of the army. It ensures that MM’s are also out of range…for enough time to destroy crucial threats.

The massive downside of running the Kroot in this role (which I view as their only viable one) is that they will inevitably die. Crushed beneath heel of inexorable advances.
This leaves only 1 min sized squad of FW in a Devilfish to survive and claim AN objective. Are the Piranha’s likely to survive long enough to contest? Not in the role I have planned for them…This will leave me in a very hard place. Whilst Tau can shoot like a fast vehicle, we cannot move like a fast vehicle. At 1500 points, sacrificing some of the firepower will not work as Tau’s best defence is a very solid offence.

So I will have to work on midfield objective clustering. As I destroy the opponent vehicle or unit at a time, focussing fire as all good Tau should, I need to be moving slowly up to the midfield. Clearly, this has issues of its own. Certain SW builds love to hold the midfield, and in cover, all the plasma in the world will not help! Play testing once again will reveal counters and schemes….

Back to the ‘odd’ unit selection…

– The Piranhas…hmmm…not popular at all with a lot of forums and the general online opinion. But then, Tau are viewed as very, very low on the competitive scale by the vast majority of the online community. What does this tell us though? Certainly not to trust drivel like this…

Movement blockers primarily. Drop off drones as they form another layer of roadblockers to be assaulted out of the way. Slowing down those units a bit more. With only an effective 24” range, more than likely the Piranha’s will need to be turboboosted into solid blocking positions, using their turbo boost cover save to keep them alive…half the time! If one survives then it can use its melta weapon to nuke a tank or transport. Bearing in mind that they cannot really be damaged from a Ram if positioned correctly, and have a turboboost cover save, AV11 at the front dictates something more than small arms fire to be used to counteract them. This dilutes further the stream of anti-tank fire heading into your skimmers, broadsides and maybe crisis suits – although torrent of fire is far more efficient vs XV’s.

I have toyed in the past with the use of Seeker Missiles to be turboboosted first turn and use Pathfinders to launch the missiles into side armour, but this is far from consistent. Only one has limited effectiveness and accuracy, more than one and it requires a second markerlight squad (most likely pathfinders) which also happen to fall in the same FOC as the Piranha’s…so we can see that 4 choices from a 3 slot max FOC is not going to fit….even if it were a judicious use of points.

So what about everything else in the list? Pretty standard set up. No flamers on suits. This is the law, or should be. Maybe as a cheap third hard point to be used on a TLMP Deathrain suit. Maybe, but a Targeting Array is a far better use of points. Granted flamers give a little utility, but they also encourage you to use that utility when really, your suits should be nowhere near flamer template range.

The PR/MP combo, or Fireknife I am sure is to be debated due to the excess of cover in 5ed. However, for that time – and its actually pretty frequent if you can get the drop, when that sternguard squad has been dumped out of their razorback, or the Grey Hunters are footslogging as their rhino has been left a smouldering wreck…the Fireknife boys come in very handy. Until Power Armour is no longer the norm at tournaments I believe we will continue to have a very solid use for them. OK, and if you don’t buy that, then they can be used to pop a transport here or there, however the MP half of the suit does this job far better.

As I cannot seem to bing a Tau list without a unit of TLMP, TA suits I have rolled one into this list. For 159 points they can pop out 6 TL-S7 attacks at 42” (effective). Cheap as chips – we know that this will come in handy taking out all those rhinos. ..

Ok. Next step is to playtest once again. I have not played this army since before IG, SW, Tyranids and BA were released. As a result this list needs to be played regularly against these forces to see if it still holds weight…

Whilst I do this, if anyone has any thoughts please let me know!


  1. I think it looks great. Stelly/Kirby style Tau is the way to go.

  2. It'll get a playtest later in the week and I'll feed back what I think. There a few new dominant species out there than the last time this list got aired, although I do note that this has not slowed down Stelek...

  3. <3 the plug. Only thing I'd prefer to see would be 3x2 PR/MP suits instead of 3x PR/MP + 3x TLMP but otherwise a solid Tau list.

    Thanks Chumb? lol

  4. I think it looks good, and makes me almost want to but Tau. But I hate the models.

    Maybe Orks as Tau? Hrmm...

  5. @Kirby - No worries on plug...minimal traffic through dude so not sure how much of a plug it is!!
    To make the change suggested I'd have to lose the more accurate, and therefore costly, bodyguard suits, demote them then I could do it I think. I may give it a whirl this Thursday and see what happens... Cheers for thoughts.

    @ TKE - Hows that break from blogging working out for you? Still seeing content and comments! lol.
    Models? The Crisis Suits themselves are garbage IMHO apart from the lovely FW ones. But the rest of the range I quite like. Piranha's, tanks and Kroot I like alot. Broadsides I dislike at the head of the queue...
    Roll on a revamp! Or just pay out for all FW...
    With 11 Suits in the list that will be an expensive army!
    TKE, you do seem to love your Counts As Orks...lol.