Monday, 4 January 2010

Tau Army Used For Last Tournament (November 2009)


To show the type of Tau army I have been playing up to recently below is the army list I took to a tournament in November '09, with comments on why I choose the units and how they performed.

1750 Point Tau Empire Army List

Shas'el Commander – 117
Cyclic Ion Blaster, Missile Pod, Positional Relay
Hard-wired Multi-tracker, Hard-wired Drone Controller with 2 Gun Drones

Crisis Battle Suit Team - 137
1 Crisis Battlesuit with
Twin-linked Flamers, Missile Pod
2 Crisis Battlesuit with
Twin-linked Missile Pods, Flamer

Crisis Battle Suit Team - 163
1 Crisis Battlesuit with
Twin-linked Missile Pods
Drone Controller with 2 Gun Drones
2 Crisis Battlesuits with
Missile Pod, Burst Cannon, Multi-tracker

10 Fire Warriors – 100

10 Kroot & 7 Kroot Hounds – 112

10 Kroot & 7 Kroot Hounds – 112

10 Kroot – 70

6 Pathfinders – 72
Devilfish with Disruption Pods – 85

6 Pathfinders – 72
Devilfish with Disruption Pods – 85

Hammerhead Battle Tank – 165
Railgun, Burst Cannons, Multi-tracker, Disruption Pods

Hammerhead Battle Tank – 165
Railgun, Burst Cannons, Multi-tracker, Disruption Pods

Broadside Battlesuit Team - 295
Broadside Team Leader with
Advanced Stabilisation System, Twin-linked Plasma Rifles
Hard-wired: Multi-tracker, Target Lock, Drone Controller with 2 Shield Drones
2 Broadsides with Advanced Stabilisation Systems

Total Points: 1750 (90 Models and 16 Kill Points)

Before I go into how I thought each unit performed I'll go through my thinking on why I took them.

Overall Strategy

I was finding in 5th edition that with the increased level of cover and the change to true LOS, it meant that crisis suits weren't the beasts they were in 4th edition. Added to this the increased toughness of vehicles and I was finding it very difficult to stop armies from getting across the table to me.

This army list is to try to immobilise the enemy force's mobility with the use of railguns and missile pods guided by pathfinders, and then bring on the troops late with the use of the positional relay, the fire warriors and the small kroot unit entering the pathfinder's devilfishs and the larger kroot units outflanking.

Tournament Performance

Overall the tactic worked against most opponents but the top tournament lists still gave me great trouble trying to stop them, however the use of the positional relay allowed the troops to be around at the end of the game. With the top tournament armies tending to have good speed a lot of the time they still were able to get to the fragile Tau troops by the end of the game.

A note on the positional relay; There are some websites promoting leaving the majority of the army in reserve and then bringing it on late to try and contest/capture objectives. I don't agree with this tactic because the units on the board will be obliterated as they will be heavily outnumbered, and units sent on in the early turns of the game will come on piecemeal and be destroyed as well. When the majority of your army arrives it will face an enemy dug in on multiple objectives with not enough time to shift them. I only use the positional relay to delay the arrive of the fragile Tau troops choices. The only unit I occasionally consider putting in reserve apart from the troop choices are the missile pod and flamer crisis suit unit, and only if there is a good deepstrike target (such as flaming Eldar pathfinders in cover, which the rest of the army might have trouble with, such as 2+ cover save)

What follows is a unit by unit summary of what I thought of the units.

Shas'el: Always performed well, and usually started with the broadsides or pathfinders to give them more drone protection, but then always joined the missile pod and burst cannon team. When joined to the crisis team they put out 24 shots at 18” and were a great unit to markerlight for.

Missile Pod & Burst Cannon Crisis Team: They really surprised me with how good they were. With an optimum range of 18” rather than the 12” of a crisis suit with a plasma rifle they were safer to use in the faster environment of 5th edition, and the volume of shots was useful in thinning hordes and even killing marines for their cost.

Missile Pod & Flamer Crisis Team: They were a nice cheap and manoeuvrable source of missile pods, and the option to deepstrike them was useful, and if not deepstriked the range on the missile pods meant they were useful from turn 1.

Fire Warriors: I used to use a unit of 6, but was trying out a unit of 10. Basically they're still too fragile, and so I will go back to 6 and just keep them in a devilfish unless the situation really merits them getting out.

Kroot: The kroot were great in every game. The small unit being small enough to get in a devilfish was extremely useful. Most opponents didn't fire at an empty devilfish on a far flank early in the game with the other threats around, but then a the small kroot unit would outflank and get into the devilfish giving me a scoring unit with good mobility away from the main fight. The large units were perfect for outflanking and assaulting weakened units on the flanks and then going to ground in cover. Placing objectives on both flanks as close to the board edge as possible also helped splitting the enemy up and giving the kroot units a target to outflank to.

Troops in General: Using the positional relay to bring the troops on late worked well, almost too well. They normally got to objectives but there weren't enough of the rest of the army to protect them until the game ended. My current thinking is to try reducing the troops to allow more firepower into the list allowing the fewer troops to have support left at the end of the game.

Pathfinders: I previously tried a single unit of 8 pathfinders with a shas'ui upgrade and ablative gun drones. It was only a few points extra to have 2 units of 6 rather than one unit of 8 with ld8 and drones (18 points extra if I exclude the cost of the devilfish which is used by the troop choices). Although they usually died their markerlights were invaluable, and will always be in my lists now.

Devilfishs: These were essential for carrying the the 2 smaller troops units. Not upgrading the devilfish saved points, but did mean they were worth two kill points in annihilation games. The extra kill points while annoying were worth the risk for the things the gun drones could do, such as moving near objectives to contest them and making the devilfish and drones a bigger obstacle for enemy troops to get round to get to the main Tau firepower.

Heavy Support: These were worked well, but with mech armies being so good in 5th edition, 4 railguns were overworked, and more or more missile pods or fusion guns would have been really useful.

The hammerhead submunitions were excellent for killing infantry, and the mobility of the hammerhead railgun was great for getting side shots on vehicles (such as vindicators and battlewagons), and getting to hidden vehicles (such as whirlwinds). Although their anti-tank firepower is nowhere as good as the broadsides they were very useful.

The broadsides also did great, no-one liked the 1-2 punch of pathfinders and broadsides against their vehicles. The Advanced Stabilisation system was useful in keeping them alive for longer by moving away from any close combat threat, and getting better line of sight. I could increase their accurancy (by swapping the Advanced Stabilisation system for targetting arrays) or more AP2 (by swapping the Advanced Stabilisation system for multi-trackers and giving them twin plasma rifles) I think the ability to move is very useful.

Well there you have it, there's my thoughts on how my army list has performed over the last few months. A new line of thought I'm moving to for 2010 is less troops and more firepower. Tomorrow I'll list my new army list and how it has faired in the test games I've had over the xmas break.

As always feel free to leave comments, questions, criticism or anything you like.


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