Thursday, 11 July 2013

Tau Farsight Bomb - ETC Lists

This week I'll be looking at the next "common denominator" in the multitude of ETC lists I've been scouring my critical eye over.
In the last week, since the release of the ETC lists submitted, I've been particpating in a team exercise to analyse the ETC lists and line up some playtesting against lists which we are unsure of.

Just like the post about Tzeentch Screamer Councils, here I am looking at another cross-border popular list - the Tau Farsight Bomb.

Personally, I think the Farsight Bomb too 'match-up sensitive' (in the context of the ETC) but we still need to look at how it works:

The list is, of course, built around Commander O'shovah or Farsight. He allows a 7-strong bodyguard of Crisis Suits. He also has a semi-OK assault element and a plasma rifle. Meh. But see above...7 Crisis Suits!

The next elements is to add Commander Shadowsun - she grants Stealth and Shrouding to the Bomb and the immense Warlord trait - Ghost Who Walks (or whatever, I feel the Phantom's moniker fits well for it :) ) which allows a 3D6" assault move rather than 2D6". This allows the Bomb to drop in and scuttle away a decent distance to get to relative safety or simply to make the opponent have to work to get it killed. We'll discuss here other attributes later, but mainly she also has 2 very accurate Fusion Blasters which she can fire at two seperate targets.

In normal circumstances, this choice of Warlord with the list every game would provide for superb tactical manouevring. However, in the ETC Warlord's must be listed and set in stone when the lists are submitted...apparently the Europeans do not like decision making or thought...

In the case of the Farsight Bomb's... Farsight is listed as the Warlord in all the lists. Why? His Warlord trait means that the unit does not scatter if it Deep Strikes.

What does this tell us? It tells us the Bomb will be Deep Striking in and causing mass havoc from Turn 2. To further evidence the use of this strategy, the lists include the Aegis Defence Line with a Comms Relay - rerolling reserve rolls assuming there is a controlled model within 2/3". So yeah, the Bomb is Derp Striking for sure.

In that case, we'd best look at the rest of the list and see if we can table the fuck out of it in a turn!

OK, so here is the "common" ETC Farsight Bomb list:

Warlord : Commander Farsight
Commander Shadowsun 

 XV8 Crisis Bodyguard Team [655]
1 xCrisis Bodyguard - Command and Control Node, Puretide Engram Neurochip , Multi-spectrum Sensor Suite, Drone controller, Vectored retro-thrusters, 1*Gun drone
1 x Crisis Bodyguard - 2*fusion blaster, target lock, Neuroweb System Jammer, 2*Gun drones
3 x Crisis Bodyguard - 2*plasma rifle, target lock, 2*Gun drones
2 x Crisis Bodyguard - 2*missile pod, target lock, 2*Gun drones
Fire Warrior Team, 6*fire warriors
Kroot Carnivore Squad, 10*kroots, 1*kroot hound
Kroot Carnivore Squad, 10*kroots, 1*kroot hound
XV88 Broadside -  2*Broadside Shas'ui, 1*Broadside Shas'vre, TLSMS, TLHYMP, 5 Missile Drones, Bonding Knives
Skyray Missile Defense Gunship, tl-smart missile system,blacksun filter
Skyray Missile Defense Gunship, tl-smart missile system,blacksun filter
Fortifications: Aegis Defense Line -  Communications Relay

Space Marine Librarian -  Gate of Infinity, Nullzone
Scout Squad - 5 Scouts inc Serg.
I've tried to space it out as the Crisis Bodyguard team can be a bit of pain in the arse to read.
And yes....
A shitty scoring unit and a Librarian to join them and infiltrate perhaps to pop off Null Zone for the shooting phase when the Bomb hits? Or to Gate in and onto objectives at the last turn...

Or perhaps more likely..It'd be better if it joined the bomb so it could drop in and pop Null Zone off to further enhance the impact of the Bomb. But...if you are making Farsight the Warlord AND buying an Aegis w. Comms.. then you ARE deep striking, which the Librarian CANNOT do without a jump pack!

Which is a shame, as the Libbie carries a Psychic Hood which can greatly aid in the safety of the Bomb from Psychic attacks - Pyschic Shriek comes to cover, no armour..Tau leadership.

Of course, there is nothing to stop the Libbie from being deployed on table, infiltrating into position, then the Bomb dropping Turn 2 with no scatter (courtesy of Farsight) an the Libbie walking into coherency wth the Bomb.

So this poor Libbie has to either hang out with Scouts and Infiltrate to get a decent Null Zone off.. or he has to outflank or infiltrate with Kroot in order to get into position to aid the impact of the Bomb. I'd rather see him with Kroot as he is more likely to survive if he is off board too.. but then.. how many units CAN be off the board to start with?

So what does deployment look like for the Farsight Bomb.
Comms Relay Defence line central and within reasonable range for the Broadsides.
Both Sky Ray's hang out behind it for a 4+ cover save.
The Broads command the Relay to make sure those reserves come in.
The Fire Warriors and Scouts could hang out here too...maybe a unit of Kroot.. but most likely one of the units that can infiltrate, will do so with the Librarian attached (this feels inherently unsafe).

Off board we have the Farsight/Shadowsun/Bodyguard unit - the 'Bomb'. Due to the purchase of Kroot Hounds, we have the indication of intent to outflank, this could be a good place for the Librarian to hang out as he will not get shot and when the Bomb drops, there will be a lot of fire headed their way and not towards that shitty little Kroot/Scout unit that carries the Null Zone.

A solid firebase of long range MC/Flier solutions (Sky Rays) along with some limited but resilient Markerlight support from them as well. The Broadsides lend superb fire support into the enemy deployment zone and also a fire magnet behind solid cover. These threats are enough of a distraction and pain in the arse to warrant attention, attention which will hopefully be away from the Bomb. The firebase also has some infantry firepower and scoring units, although I think the scoring should be hiding in most games.. these guys are highly susceptible to Biovorees, Heldrakes, barrage and general weight of fire.. could be a very scary time to be a Trooper in this army.

What can we say about this fucker? Potentially 5 different target groups, with potential for 8 different targets... I think.. let's work this out!
1) Farsight, Shadowsun (with 1 FB) and Gun Drones have no target locks and therefore are to be shooting at one.
2 ) Shadowsun with her other FB can elect a seperate target.
3) Dual FB Bodyguard
4/5/6) 3 Target Locked Dual Plasma Rifles
7/8) 2 Target Locked Dual Missile Pods
Each of these benefits from a wide number of USRs and buffs from the various equipment on the Number 1 Suit:

1 xCrisis Bodyguard - Command and Control Node, Puretide Engram Neurochip , Multi-spectrum Sensor Suite, Drone controller, Vectored retro-thrusters, 1*Gun drone

A truly extensive range of shit.
- Hit and Run (VRT) - stops the unit getting utterly slaughtered and bogged down in protracted or deadly assaults.
- Monster Hunter, Tank Hunters, Counter Attack, Stubborn, Furious Charge.
- Rerolls To Hit (C&CN) - wonderful for getting the TL feeling whilst still rocking dual weapon systems i.e. 2 Missile Pods rather than one TLMP for the same 2 hard points. 4 TL shots per suit over 2. Makes the unit more accurate, more deadly and wholly more independent, weenign them off the markerlight crack they are used to.
- Ignores Cover (MSSS) - this is great for all the weapon systems being used here..the Gun Drones can smash up shitty troops behind an aegis, the fusion blasters can smash tanks or MCs taking cover, the plasmas... well, you get the idea lol!

It does have a very large footprint though..8/9 suits and 13 Drones. Despite the lack of scatter, this is not going to be easy to place on boards against some enemies, but the beauty is that it doesn't have to Derp Strike to get into position, with aggressive deployment & JSJ tactics we can see this lot getting into a solid position on T2 whilst still providing some serious firepower down range - if only from the Missile Pods for T1.

On the otherhand, this means the Bomb has to suffer the effects of attrition for potentially 2 turns before really making a splash. Especially when you consider the investment in Comms Relay and the position of Farsight as Warlord, it strongly intimates DS. I'd prefer Ghost Who Walks to be Warlord anyway... let's consider movement..We are after all no more than 24" (minimum I know) from the enemy. Tau jet pack move 6", plus an assault jump of around 11" on 3D6 is 17", plus T2 we are 23" forward and then can still 3D6" jump back to safety. In Turn 1, you also got a chance to lob 8 TL Tank Hunting S7 shots down range. That's 8 more than when you deep strike.
 It also stops you getting tabled.
Or DS defences being employed.

Meh.. overall, to wrap up this post like a big ass burrito and wolf it down...Can you kill a whole army's worth of 2+ cover save Terminators? They'll stay in cover, maximise saves, they'll flit about shooting fuck out of you and running away.. Because on their side of the board...there is lots of room. They'll kill a lot of stuff.. Really, this army is about management - let them kill what you want them to kill whilst slowly gunning/assaulting the crap outta them. If they are all off board and you possess say, a fast horde assault army... then cover the board and keep them DS'ing in their own DZ. Keep those outflanking wankers in their own DZ too. It's easy when your flood of biomass literally covers the board... however, if you can control what it kills, maximise your own use of pre measuring and range, board control in T1/2 before the Bomb.. it's a much easier game.

Thoughts on the Farsight Bomb?


  1. Why deepstrike? Why not just have the Librarian be apart of the bomb which is on table from turn one? The 24 in Gate is normally more than enough to get in a position to cause havok. No need for the comms relay then.

    Also why all gun drones? I prefer shield drones to save you from helldrake.

    The bomb isnt forced to be max size either since the body guards are 10 points more expensive (15 is you count being force to TLs if they wanna shoot other things). I would pull take the 2 ML bodyguards and jsut make them their own crisis squad.

    1. Hey Bottom Banana...think you misunderstand the purpose of the post dude.
      These are not MY lists...these are lists submitted and now fixed in place for this years ETC competition in August.
      They are written by other countries ETC teams and now, as part of the England team... I am just examining them..

      I fully agree with you on the majority of the points you make.

      The librarian with Gate is a likely tactical option for when there is no valid deep strike option, and of course as using the deep strike rules, there is no scatter... BUT in this list...(there are several teams that have built almost this list with very slight variations) the Aegis is purchased with the Comms Relay ..

      The gun drones I assume are there to blow away troop units -they are BS3, TL'ed and ignore cover.. 26 S5 shots is not bad...

      Re heldrakes.. I assume spacing is about as good as it gets for heldrakes defence, but I think if they can survive the initial hit then the skyways and tank hunting bastards can smash them.. Plus, the most important consideration is that the ETC pairings are not like a traditional tournaments... If the Tau guy thinks he can't take the list, he can avoid it as a prey list or as a late put forward he has a solid chance of avoiding heldrakes, afterall in any given ETC team there is a maximum of two Chaos armies - one as a primary and one as a allied force.

      Re max sized bomb.. Like I said in bold in the opening bit.. I think the Farsight bomb is unbalanced.. But it's not me running it lol!

    2. Ah, woops my bad, reading comprehension for the win eh?

      On the upside if they have ruled that Shadowsun will let the bomb infiltrate that gives alot of options for deploying the bomb. Makes me want to try and cram her in my list.

    3. Haha, no worries.
      I like Shadowsun, in my Tau she just doesn't fit... But in the Bomb... She is extremely useful.

  2. Does the ETC FAQ resolve whether or not Shadowsun can take the bomb with her when she infiltrates? If it does, and the answer is "yes" that's another option.


    1. Hey Geek..
      It's not in the ETC FAQ, no. I didn't think ICs conferred infil/scout to the unit they join, but the unit could confer it to any ICs that have joined the unit. Didn't think this was a "thing" ...
      If its possible, then why the Farsight Warlord over Shadowsun, the investment in Comms Relay, the allied Gate librarian.

      On the other hand, the ETC FAQ. does state that allied gate librarians do not scatter with Farsight.

      This makes a solid argument for the Bomb starting on the board and gating in turn 1 for maximum damage... I think the comms relay is there to keep the outflanking Kroot OFFmthe board til it's "safe" to do so...

    2. I don't think it works either mate, but others do (wasn't it ruled that way at the home nations?). But to answer the question - why the comms relay, and the libby -options I guess. If the bomb can deep strike, infiltrate, and start on the table and gate, that's some pretty flexible deployment options.


    3. I think flexibility is the key to this army... It will be matched up against lists that team and that player thinks he can curb stomp..

      I would suggest that this is an excellent prey list for the heavy flier lists..those with 6/7 fliers and bugger all on the table.. They consist of scythes/drakes off with troops in scythes, also death marks when it's Necrons as allies and a doom scythe quite often.. On board though, few cultists, few nurgle oblits, annihilation barge perhaps.. The bomb can take that over two turns if they go first or one turn if chaos crons go first. Good match up for the bomb.

    4. Latest version of the ETC FAQ .... DOES .... State that sc's can confer their infiltrate to a unit they join before deployment .. Yet another tactical option .. Gate, deep strike no scatter, infiltrate, normal... Sweet

  3. played this exact list with FMC Deamons (slaanesh heavy). I rolled on all telepathy. Hallucination was very, very bad to the bomb and made the game a massacre.

    In my game, the bomb deployed with the a termie libby and then used gate to jump into my back field.


    1. Hey BDS,
      Good to hear from you...the Librarian at least provides the unit with a 4+ deny the witch...but yeah, totally see massed psy powers being a pain..high mastery level Telepathy spammers like demons would be a real pita for it. Shrieks would even prove useful, plus I would suggest that a round of assault charges by all the FMCs would utterly cripple the unit...if you don't totally sweep them, then there will be no more 'bomb' more a 'damp firework' left...

    2. Thanks for the kinds words. That Farsight bomb is nasty....9/10 times.

      When you bring a big basket full of eggs, it's messy when some one kicks a hole in it.

      I definitely see that monster giving many lists fits though. And like you said, ETC is very match specific. The captain plays such a huge role for their team.

      I would imagine some games are over after match ups and table choices are done, really. Whole extra layer of strategy and tactics.


  4. few things, the libby also stops the unit from being swept, one of the biggest issues with the bomb IMO, espically as they cannot use the stubborn option turn they deepstrike!. Also its going to be a 5 plus DTW for a normal libby unless they are level 2 and caster is lvl1. Still it is better then not.

    I have faced farsight bombs three times now with the daemons, most I lost was friday night losing 12 hounds just to the gun drones, the screamers then went in, with perfect timing on them (heralds that is) misfortune on the bomb and tzeentch combo (save one!) I took out all the drones and all bar shadow sun (full wounds) farsight (2 wounds left) and 2 suits (1 with a wound). Next turn bolt of change and the warp storm table finished them off. First game I faced them sent lord of change in and he insta gibbed farsight then swept the unit.

    1. Hey mark.. I'm not too worried about it with what I'm running at the ETC, but it is a popular build with the ETC teams, hence the article..
      Not being swept is a big thing for the Bomb, have to agree that cc is its most obvious weakness... You enjoying those screamers then buddy? Lol

  5. I'm not a Tau player, but if I was using this list, in most missions I would be using the comms relay to keep all my Tau troops (and possibly even scouts) off the board as long as possible while the bomb went to town. Outflank the kroot for forward objective grabbing, fire warriors and scouts backfield for deck chair duty.

    Against the bomb I would be looking to use ignores cover shots and barrage snipping, targeting the PENchip buffer first if possible. Unfortunately, the usual anti-deathstar tactics like MSU, blocking, hiding and running away really aren't that good due to the bomb's mobility, portable cover and ability to shoot multiple targets. Sure, it's vulnerable to certain builds, but I'd say it's generally the hardest deathstar to deal with that I've ever seen!

    Just hope I can get Jaws off against it. No attached libby would help...

    1. I guess Shadowsun would be next on the target priority list, then work through the drones with AP4 and then hit the suits with any missiles you've got left! Interceptor is of course very handy too.

      Any tips on disarming the bomb or playing against the list?

    2. Reserves manipulation on the troops is definitely the way, as well as the option for reserving the bomb.
      As for using ap4 to kill the drones, they'll have better cover anyway ... Torrent away mate, torrent away.

      Re strategy... It depends what army you use?

    3. Aha, comments work again!

      Good advice with the torrenting over AP4.

      I'm running my SW&IG list from my blog (link below) for Brighton in a couple of weeks and up to the GT. I'm expecting loads of Tau, so any strategic thoughts are welcome!

  6. Better late than never... The bomb was played very successfully in one of Germany´s biggest tournaments at 1750 pts: It finished third place, only losing to an Eldar Serpent list. Tau were allied with Eldar and a jetseer with Anaris was placed inside the bomb, to give them the fearless special rule. Also, the bomb would always be placed on the table right from the start, so no deepstriking. Ss is warlord, of course. The support slot is filled with a wraithknight to have something against the screamerstar. Worked pretty well!