It's been a long hiatus since my Tau hit the gaming tables. Hitting the Tau label on this blog takes you back a while. There was a game (here) at the University gaming club, when I didn't want the first game they saw me play to be with my, very tuned by multiple tournaments, Dark Eldar list. Then you would be sent back to 2011 when the Dark Eldar codex was released, and Dark Eldar were added to the painting log. It was a time where Tau were struggling, but also a time where I had many years of experience of taking them to tournaments, and could still surprise a few people with how effective they could be.
Now the same is happening with my Dark Eldar. They are not struggling as much as my Tau were back in 2011, but the inclusion of Tau & Eldar which bring av12 & 13 vehicles, plus high rate of fire medium strength guns to the meta is making it harder (but more on that in a later post).
Before the new Tau codex came out I took them to a 500 point tournament at the local GW as part of a final send off to the old codex.
I took a list that had lots of models, but was a bit lacking in low ap and anti tank, so I got a swift lesson when I faced this in my first game:
Overall I learnt that although there was lots of blob squads and cheap troops allied in you still needed to have decent low ap for when heavy infantry turned, plus you still needed to ensure you can crack an av13/14 tank. On the plus side I continued to enjoy the improvement 6th edition had given rapid fire weapons, and my fire warriors and kroot were very effective over the day.
Next I tried a before and after pair of games against my mates Dark Angels. I took the following army:
It was a close loss for the Tau, so when the new codex came out it was no surprise that I got a good (but not excessive) win. My initial army was below:
Quick changes I made was changing 2 broadside units for 2 hammerheads, and swapped a pathfinder devilfish for a second unit of pathfinders. Not surprisingly a unit of crisis suits got upgraded to a Riptide. A new addition was a unit of Piranhas for more str 5 firepower. Also trying something new out I dropped the commander for an Etheral as he wasn't compulsory anymore. You can see the Moray Battlesuit, that I have had since I first started Tau standing in for the Riptide in the above pic.
Other changes that have since happened to my list, because I didn't appreciate the change after my first read of the codex include:
1) Not being limited to 2 drones a crisis/broadside team. This is huge and allows some cheap ablative wounds that can take the first str8 shots that would instant kill the suits. The drones are worth it for that let alone what they add to the unit's firepower, particularly if they compliment the units role and range that they want to operate.
2) After the knee jerk reaction of removing broadsides from my list due to drop in the strength of their rail weapons I added a small unit of 2 with high yield missile pods back in the list along with 4 missile drones. In my first few games they have done well, and will be a stable of the my lists going forward, and points permitting I would expand the unit, but I am wary of having a lot of points tied up in the same unt. Too many battle reports I have seen on Youtube of big units being killed/decimated completely turning the battle. The last example was a full broadside team with maximum drones and attached commander and etheral; when a close combat unit weathered the counter fire and massacred the unit it combat it was immediately game over.
3) If pathfinders were fragile and an opponents first easy target before they are even more now with improved markerlights and worse armour save. Although I haven't had a game with them yet I am going to try out Tetras, now that their markerlights are a reasonable Heavy2 rather the ridiculous Heavy4 they used to be.
4) I have fallen in love with Ion weapons. Although risky (which can be mitigated by using markerlights to raise BS to 6) having low ap large blasts is lovely. Initially I had 2 Ion weapons in the army, and I'm considering increasing that.
5) I've added a skyray, which helps with anti air wonderfully. In most games I will just markerlight turn one, and then unleash all or most of it's missile against a key flyer on turn 2. So far the skyray is my only skyfire model, relying on a few markerlights hits and twin-linking on my str7 firepower to help out. However I haven't faced a heavy flyer list or the dreaded Helldrakes, so I may need to revise this.
At the moment I am rushing to paint up my new additions (Broadsides, Tetras, loads of Drones) to be able to take the Tau to their first tournament in nearly 3 years. Time will tell if I can quickly adapt to the new playstyle compared to my Dark Eldar in such a sort length of time with a lack of test games.
So here's a close up picture of my Moray Battlesuit:
I got him at the same time I started my Tau, and for a few games I proxied him as a Hammerhead against my mates until I painted up the proper model. His weapons of Ion Cannon and 2 Burst Cannons then, would need to change to Ion with Fusion Blasters. The fusion blasters were already under the shoulder pads, so the burst cannons just needed to be removed for WYSIWYG.
He'd suffered a bit of battle damage, so I had to find a new gun for his right forearm mini drone. It's only cosmetic but I wanted the model looking for his new outting. Finally I could use the model as I wanted, as a large crisis suit, now that the codex had Riptides in it.
Comparing him to the Riptide model, he needed bigger thusters. I dithered over using piranha or tetra engines, but eventually decided on hammerhead engines with some crisis circular shields to cover where they attached to the hammerhead..
Like the Riptide I placed them higher than the shoulders. I removed the burst cannon barrels, leaving the nibs to make it look like they were tracking the sky. Finally my Moray is reborn as a Riptide. Here's a picture of the final model against a normal Riptide:
What do you think of the model ? Would you be happy playing against him ? I think it's got the right height and size. The big difference being the existing Riptide model has the gun outstretched, but as a gun doesn't count for Line of Sight it shouldn't be an issue.
All comments are greatly appreciated.
Next time, it'll be back to Dark Eldar, and my experiences facing the Wraithknight along with the rest of the new Eldar codex