Tuesday, 13 April 2010

Support vs Firepower (Tau dilema)

It's always a tough call (particularly for my Tau army I'm finding) in getting the right balance between direct firepower units and support units. By support units I mean units that (for their points cost) don't add that much to the armies firepower but are essential in allowing the main firepower units to deal the most damage.

Support units for the Tau are split into two main types, ones which delay the enemy from getting to the Tau firepower units (such as Kroot bubble wraps, and piranha vehicle blocking), and units which make the Tau firepower even deadlier (mainly markerlights).

A third type of support is defensive wargear (such as drones, iridium armour, stims etc.). All three types of support must be balanced with the amount of firepower in the Tau army. To much support and it takes too much away from the army's firepower and you can't delay the enemy for ever and they either reach you or the army are shot down because it couldn't weaken the enemy force enough. Too little support and the enemy can get to the firepower units quickly and (particularly with too little defensive wargear) enemy firepower will start to kill the Tau firepower much too quickly.

One area I'm concerned about in my Tau army is the fast attack choices. Up till recently I've been using 2 units of 6 pathfinders. Recently I've been trying out piranhas (by dropping one unit of pathfinders and upping the remaining one to 8 models). When I tried to come up with a list containing two units of pathfinders and a squadron of two piranhas it really seemed like it took too much firepower away from the rest of the list. Yesterday thought I'd draft a list using one of unit of pathfinders (no piranhas) and the amount of firepower in the list looked down right scary.

So I'll open it up to you, how much markerlight and piranhas are too much (for a 1750 pt army) ?

Must get back to my painting, my new crisis suit unit is almost done :)



  1. In my experience (basic) piranhas are great. With drones you effectively have five anti-personnel shots on a fast vehicle is very annoying (and capable of taking on AV10 vehicles). In my experience fusion blasters are a bit hit or miss, and make the piranhas quite a high priority target.
    Personally I like Pathfinders, but I think mobile marklighters on a Skyray are far better. This said, if you are going to use your Crisis suits offensively (deep striking them), the Pathfinder Fish is essential; and if combined with a Skyray, Pathfinders can be awesome.
    In theory, piranhas with seeker missiles can be good for side hits, but I have only pulled this off once or twice.
    In summary, (burst cannon) piranhas good, and I would only have one unit of Pathfinders (maximum). And consider a Skyray.

  2. I'm trying something a little different for the comp. In the 1250 list no Railguns and lots of Kroot, then add Railguns in all their forms in the 1750 list.
    I haven't tried Piranhas yet so can't comment on them, but I'm having good success with my Pathfinder sqd. I add one railrifle to the unit as a surprise for side shots at light armour. : )

  3. @Neath: Never considered using pirahas without fusion guns. I'll have to try it, however in my experiement in using less support I have dropped my piranhas from my list at the moment. I'm really considering the skyray. I'm thinking the alpha striking by using all the seekers as soon as possible would be advantageous, plus by adding a blacksun filter the skyray would allow a unit of three broadsides to fire at a distant target in dawn of war turn 1.

    @redtroop: This is what I love about the Tau, I have gone completely the opposite direction in my 1250 list. I still have 4 railguns. My final list still isn't decided yet, but I'm tending towards:
    3 units of 3 crisis suits
    6 fire warriors
    2 units of 10 kroot and 7 hounds
    8 pathfinder with devilfish
    2 hammerheads (one may be switched for skyray)
    3 broadsides
    I got a game in yesterday against deamons and I'm playing my mate's eldar tonight, so expect a blog post soon on how I got on.


  4. I'm looking at
    Shas'o (twin-linked missile) to keep him out of harms way but still with some support.
    1 unit 3 crisis suits (burst/missile).
    1 unit 1 crisis suit (twin-linked fusion) deep-strike tank hunter.
    2 units 15 Kroot.
    1 unit 6 fw + fish
    1 unit 6 pathfinders + 1 rifle
    Depending on the mission more or less will be in reserve and outflanking.
    Had good game against IG with lots of Armor and Valkyrie.

  5. I like to use 2 units of pathfinders so that they can be dropped off and my 2 FW squads get picked up for some score fish action, but that may just be me.

    The Skyray is definitely a huge help, and make sure to use all those missiles as fast as possible.

    My current 1750 list has

    Shas'El MP, CIB, PR with a hard wired multitracker

    2 groups of 3 deathrains

    2x 6 FW
    3x 10 Kroot
    2x 6 pathfinders
    2 Piranhas
    2 Broadsides

    seeker missiles on every tank (10, for a total of 16)

    The 2 pathfinder units and plethora of seekers means that whatever you shoot with them will be dead.

    Very handy to get rid of major problems, like hive commander tyrants, lash sor in plague marine units etc.

  6. Nice seeker alpha strike list there krozitau, it's interesting to see you've got 5 troops choices as well, rather than going down to 3 like Redtroop and I.

    The pathfinders as usual are the linchpin, have you played any battles where the opponents has put serious firepower into the pathfinders turns 1 and 2. It could mean it's the end of the battle before you fire off all the seekers.

    The concern I have with the seeker missile alpha strike is that it's good at killing infantry put not that good at vehicles. If the enemy mechs up, will there be good targets for the seekers until turn 2 or maybe even 3 ? Also I don't like that the seekers are only AP3 (Terminators give me fits as it is).

    Still looks like a fun list to play though, and your blog post (http://kroxitau.blogspot.com/2010/04/seeker-missiles-go-big-or-go-home.html) does show how good it could be.

    The final nail in the coffin against seeker missiles (IMHO) is that the enemy can get coversaves for being behind terrain (unlike Smart Missiles).


  7. the enemy won't get cover saves against them, with 18 markerlight shots coming in at BS3 I always use three markelight hits to take away their cover save.

    Strength 8 is great against vehicles, as is the number of shots from death rains. The piranhas can get behind the enemy lines fairly quickly and seeker rear army if I really need to get it done.

    Haven't had too many problems yet, but with posting at least one battle report a week I will see what I can do. I have moved away from 2 fire warriors and now I just take 1 squad and 3 squads of kroot.




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