Wednesday, 27 January 2010

Tau Army Review - Intro

A little project for me over the next month or so, will be to do a series of posts reviewing the Tau Army units.

I will go through each unit in turn, commenting on how effective I think they are, what equipment combinations are useful, and what my experiences have been with them.

To the right of my blog will be a section showing all of the sections I intend to cover, and links to each article. Rather than just putting out theory-hammer I will stick to my own experiences of using units, therefore unfortunately there will not be a review of Vespids, Sniper Drone teams, or Skyrays. On occassion the review will refer to a forum discussion that either supports or gives an alternative view to my own.

So before I start my review I'll give a brief history of my Tau playing career.

I started back in 3rd edition. I had a fully painted Dark Eldar army, and wanted another challenge. In my area no-one really played Tau, and there was a lot of trash talk against the Tau, particularly the Fire Warriors. I've always liked being the underdog, and I'm was confident that a army made up of lots of Fire Warriors could work. So I started out with a heavy fire warrior army, supported by an Etheral to hold the army together, supported by crisis suits & stealths.

When 4th edition came round I still used many fire warriors, but as people came more and more wise to my army I started to add more mobility into my army with hammerheads and more crisis suits.

By the time 5th edition started I was using what was probably a pretty standard tournament army, few troops, with more crisis suits, hammerheads and broadsides. I even won my first tournament, a 35-40ish person tournament that is held at the Colours Convention in Newbury each year. After coming 2nd and 3rd with my Dark Eldar it was nice to finally win it. However the tournament was the first I went to in 5th edition, and it was lots of 4th edition armies trying to come to terms with 5th edition.

As people got more and more used to 5th edition I've found it harder to win games, especially against my mates tournament armies (Mech Eldar, Twin-Lash Chaos & Mech Guard), which has led to more experimentation in army list structure, unit composition and weapon loadouts.

And so I enter 2010 with the intention to make my Tau more competitive with regard to the list I use and my use of them. I look back at the list I used for the tournament I won, and think how much stronger my list is now, and how much better I know how to use the Tau. It just goes to show how much 40k has moved on with stronger armies (Marines, Orks & Guard particularly) and they way people have learnt to adapt to 5th edition.

If there's anything in particular you'd like to see in the Army Review, just leave a comment, and I'll try and incorporate it.


Picture Credit: I found the picture at the top of this post on google. It shows Adam's (also known as Darkseer on many forums) Tau army at Warhammer World on some wonderful Tau terrain. To see more of Adam's army and his read his experiences with them please see his blog, Warhammer Tau

Tuesday, 19 January 2010

Army Rankings


I was surfing the blogs I frequently visit, and came upon an interesting post I thought I'd share. The post is from Stelek's "Yes the Truth Hurts" blog, and is about the ranking of 40k armies.

Now Stelek's blog is a very cut-throat affair, ie. don't post if you're easily offended, it does have some views that are different to the rest of the community, and some comment discussion can devolve into extreme RAW (rules as written) discussions, however there are lots of good army lists and reasonings behind why certain units were picked. The comment debates can be a bit "full on", as Stelek has both fans and people who strongly disagree with him commenting, but it useful to see other views which can challenge your thinking.

Well here's the a link to the post

The post gave Tau the top slot, and Dark Eldar a top-tier rating (rated the same as Mech Eldar). There's hope for me yet (even though my mates would laugh at the suggestion that Tau are a top-tier army).

Tactics/Units that reading Stelek's blog has challenged me to try out are:

  • Using less troops to get more firepower - this is the inspiration for my new army list

  • Kroot as a speedbump - normally I only use my kroot to outflank to get objectives, hoping my mobility can stop the enemy getting to me before they are dead

  • Piranhas - using them not only for their anti-tank ability, but also to control movement (put two in them in front of a transport, and see the opponent either do a 1" tank shock or take a much longer route to your main army)

I definitely recommend a browse of Stelek's blog, even if it's only with the intention of not liking what you see. You never know there may be something which challenges you try something new.


NB: The post mentioned an army ranking that was quite different on BoLS, but I couldn't find it, if anyone has a link I'd love to compare their view.

Monday, 18 January 2010

Tyranid Fever

Tyranid Fever is upon us, everyone is bringing their nids out to play. Many players who were never going to play the monstrous creature list to be competitive are looking at their tyranid armies again.

The people who did do the tyranid monstrous creature list have been scr*wed in the new book. Spinegants are inferior to the cheaper termagants, and the ond elite carnifex (twin devourers) for 113 pts now costs 200 pts. GW have also done their usual, and the new monstrous creatures are just plain better than the existing ones. Tyrgons, Mawlocs, Tervigons, Hive Guard all seem good for their points, however the book seems quite balanced, with alot of discussion happening on what units are best rather than a quick glance down the list of units crossing half out that will never see the light of day in a competitive lists. It also appears that different themes of lists will be competitive rather than all competitive lists looking very simular. Overall I like the book.

I make well too many army lists, rather than getting on and painting, so here is my starter for 10 tyranid list:

Tyranid Prime - 100
Bonesword, Talons, Furious Charge

3 Zoanthropes - 180
3 Hive Guard - 150
3 Hive Guard - 150

13 Termagants - 65
13 Termagants - 65
15 Hormagaunts (with Poison) - 120
15 Hormagaunts (with Poison) - 120
Tervigon - 195
Furious Charge, Poison, Catalyst Psyker Power (gives Feel No Pain to one unit)
Tervigon - 195
Furious Charge, Poison, Catalyst Psyker Power (gives Feel No Pain to one unit)

5 Ravenors (Talons & Rending Claws) - 175

Tyrgon (with Furious Charge & Regeneration) - 235

Total Points: 1,750

The list isn't meant to be super competitive, and it's based on models I have. I couldn't fit in many of the unit's I'd like such a lictors, a mawloc or a hive tyrant (which seem expensive for how tough they are, but add a lot to the army with their psyhic powers).

I think this will be a good list to start out with. I've already got a converted tyrgon, and will convert the tervigons out of carnifexs. I've even got a model ready to be a tyranid prime, it's an old 2nd edition tyrant that I was previously going to use as tyrant guard.


EDIT: I noticed I had only paid 1 pt rather than 2 pt for the hormagaunt poison, so i quickly lost the tyranid prime's poison and 2 hormagaunts and 1 termagant.

Quick Update


It's been a very busy couple of weeks, but I'm determined that things will return to normal on my blog.

The new year eve's battle reports will be finsihed soon, along with comments on what I thought worked, and the future of my the new crisis suit config I was trying out (2 helios suits with a deathrain leader with 2 gun drones for protection).

Also Tyranid fever is here, and my mate has just bought some boxsets, and another mate may be tempted to return to his nids (he's being playing mech guard recently). The Tau will have their hands full with nids returning to it's group of regualr opponents. I keep telling myself that my nids have to wait until I've finished the last of my Tau and make progress with my Space Wolves, but I may be tempted to borrow my mates models so I can take my list out for a spin :)

Regarding my Tau, I just purchased 10 kroot hounds from ebay, so I'm might try out the massive kroot unit (Shaper, 19 Kroot, 10 Hounds, only 221 pts) to see how it performs, I may just go mid way and use 11 kroot with 10 hounds at first.

Until next time, may your railguns never miss, and your enemy get pinned within rapid fire range :)


Friday, 15 January 2010

Bloodbowl - Club League Game One (Skaven vs Ogres)


As I posted earlier I was heading down to my local club for the first game of a bloodbowl league.

In my view Skaven need a few games under their belt to get good in a league. A few too many casulties in the early games can kill them. Therefore you can imagine my horror to find out I was playing ogres in my first game. I was facing:
5 Ogres
6 Snotlings
with 2 Rerolls and 4 Fan Factor

Thats's a lot of Ogres in a starting team, but the team had the minimum 11 players. I wouldn't have minded playing this team later in the league once I'd got a few block skills in my team, and maybe the odd tackle, but taking them on immediately would make it hard to get down the snotlings even though they are Str1.

Recapping my team it was:
1 Rat Ogre
2 Stormvermin
3 Gutter Runners
5 Linerats
3 Rerolls
0 Fan Factor

I lost the coin flip and was receiving. Tthe kick-off event was get the ref (giving us a bribe each).

I spread out intending to avoid the ogres as much as possible and blitz a snotling a turn with my stormvermin. An opportunity arose turn 2, my opponent had left the snotling carrying the ball slightly exposed, as in the diagram below:


O = Ogre
s = snotling with the ball

If I was willing to put models to cancel out assists, I could blitz the ball carrier with a stormvermin, and there were 2 gutter runners near by to pick up the ball and run. If it worked I would be 1-0 up as the ogre team had left no-one deep. It's was risky because if it went wrong I would be left with a lot of players in ogre tactkle zones.

I took the risk and knocked over the snotling and the ball scattered, first onto an ogre who didn't catch it, but then onto another ogre who caught it while being in two tactkle zones. I couldn't get it off the ogre that turn, and was facing a battering from the ogres.

Rats started heading to the dead and injured box. A couple of turns later a gutter runner gave an assist, and the rat ogre blitz the ball carrying ogre and knocked him down on the second hit. The ball scattered to an ogre in tactkle zones who couldn't catch it, and it scattered to a snotling in two tactkle zones, and, you guessed it, he caught on a 6+.

My team was now really getting a pounding, as I needed to get the ball and score to stop the pain. Just after half way through the 1st half (after already having two linemen badly hurt), an ogre took a real dislike to one of my gutter runners, and killed him with a vicious blitz. My decision to only start with 3 gutter runners was going to hurt.

Around turn 6 I was able to hit the snotling with the ball and a gutter runner was able to get it to safety, but not before the rat ogre was knocked down and fouled into the knocked out box. Once the ogres got a numbers advantage they fouled every turn.

I scored turn 7 (so I would have 2 rather than 1 rolls to recover 4 models from the knocked out box before the second half started). However not one of the 4 models decided to recover, nor did they recover before the start of the second half. I had 4 players for the second half !!

With 2 storm vermin, a gutter runner and a linemen to start with vs 10 opponents it was looking bad. I needed to score quickly (if possible at all) to stand ny chance of winning. Luckily I got perfect defensive against the ogres extremely agressive set-up (5 Ogres in the middle of the line of scrimage and the snotlings lined up either side.

Against this I put my gutter runner, linemen, and stormvermin on the line of scrimage as far to one side as possible. My idea was to get the ball with the remaining stormvermin, while the other stormvermin hit a whole for the gutter runners to run through (while you have to dodge away from snotlings they don't give a -1 modifier if you dodge into their tackle zone, so the gutter runner would be on 2+ with a reroll to dodge).

The linemen and stormvermin on the line knocked a hole, but them the stormvermin left to pick up the ball failed (even using a team reroll). This left the 3 on the line in a bad place, and the blocking, blitzinf and fouling continued. Next turn the gutter runner got up, sprinted round the edge of the opponent players, while the stormvermin at the back picked up the ball, ran forwards and threw to the gutter runner. He only had to stay on his feet and it was a touchdown. Unfortunately a ogre blitz later and the gutter runner was taken off (knocked out), and an ogre was standing next to the ball (I was down to 3 players now).

The storm vermin that threw the ball, raced up and blitzed the ogre standing next to the ball, kncoked him over, and picked up the ball. However he was still in range to be ganged up on, and he was and he was not only knocked out, but was send to the injured box and would be taking no further part in this or the next game, and was also a bit slower now (-1 movement).

Turn 5, and the ogres had my remaining players on the floor, and an ogre picked up the ball. He was exactly 3 turns of movement from scoring. In turn 6 and 7 my remaing two players were removed from the pitch while the ogre sprinted for the end zone. Turn 7 he reolled a 1 for bonehead, but was able to use a reroll. In turn 8 he rolled a 1 again, and was stuck 5 squares from the end zone.

A very lucky 1-0 win for the skaven, but what a price they had to pay.

And the gate was a tiny 20k, so team rebuilding will have to wait a while.

Hope you enjoyed the match report. Next game is in February.


Thursday, 14 January 2010

New Year, New Bloodbowl Season


My local club, Spiky Club, is organising a bloodbowl league, using the LRB5 with the 2008 experimental rules. 1st game is tonight and I'm taking my skaven.

Skaven are fragile so just need a couple of games to get a spare player or two to cover the certain deaths they will face. However my first game is against an Ogre team :( Ogres are known for the ability to win, but with lots of str5 and mighty blow I'm concerned whether my team will be in any condition to be competitive for the rest of the league season.

With the attitiute of "nothing risked, nothing gained" I've gone with a do or die type roster, also knowning that I'll still have 11 players for next match with the 5th edition Journeymen rule :) Here's the lambs to the slaughter that I'll be taking to the pitch:

1 Rat Ogre
2 Stormvermin
3 Gutter Runners
5 Linerats
3 Rerolls
0 Fan Factor

I'll post later how my brave rats get on.


Wednesday, 6 January 2010

New Tau Army List Gets A Test Run - Part Two


After a successful first game it was onto game 2, and this time I was up against Mr Marine himself, Lysander.

I didn't change my list from the first game, and I faced the following list:

Lysander (who joined the drop podding tactical squad)

10 Tactical Marines
Missile Launcher and Meltagun
Powerfist, Combi-melta on Sergeant
Drop Pod

5 Scouts with Sniper Rifles and Camo cloaks (one had a missile launcher)

5 with close combat weapons, including a sergeant with a powerfist
Landspeeder storm with a heavy flamer

10 Tactical Marines
Lascannon, Flamer
Sergeant with Powerfist

6 Assault Terminators (2 Lightning claws, 4 Thunderhammers)


Dreadnaught with Twin Lascannon & Powerfist with built in heavy flamer
Drop Pod

Ironclad Dreadnaught with Hammer & Powerfist, with built-in Meltagun & Heavy Flamer
Drop Pod


This time we rolled up pitched battle deployment again, but this time is was multiple objectives (4 in this case). This time my opponent won the roll to go first or second and choose to go first again.

To recap, the battlefield set up was:

The table had (from my side's point of view) a forest in the top right and bottom left, with the rest of the board having ruins scattered across it. In the top right was a standard 3-tier city fight ruin, to the right was the GW scenery with the stained glass window. In the top-middle was one of the card building GW made in the 90's, it was 3 tiers and quite large (about 10” across at the base). In the middle, about 20” from the left of the table was one of the new bastions, directly in the middle of the table was another of the 3-tier city fight ruins, and on the left was a group of mordiem card buildings, roughly 6” from the right table edge and strething from 10” away from my board edge to about 20” from my board edge. In my deployment zone there was the forest on the left, a small ruin (2 tier) slightly left of the middle, and then a selection of mordiem card buildings in the right ending about 10” from the mordiem buildings on the far right that stretched out of my deployment zone.

The objectives were located:

In the ruin in top left hand corner

In the forest in the bottom right hand corner

In the forest in the top right hand corner

Just behind the ruin in the middle of the table, on what turned out to be my opponents side of the table. My opponent choose the same table edge as before (not surprising the top edge with the most objectives).

Marine Deployment

My opponent kept the close combat scouts in their landspeeder storm in reserve, along with the three drop pods, Lysander went with the tactical squad in a drop pod.

The sniper scout squad started behind the ruin in the centre. The tactical combat squaded, with the sergeant and flamer going in the rhino to the right of the big ruin in the middle of my opponents deployment zone, while the rest of the squad with the lascannon went on the left hand side of the second level of the big ruin. Unlike the lootas in the last game they wouldn't need to go up to the top level to get good line of sight for all of the squad because only the lascannon was important. The vindicator went to the left of the big ruin in the centre.

Tau Deployment

I put a empty devilfish on the far left flank (with the intention of claiming the top right hand objective once a troop choice embarked). Next to the devilfish went a hammerhead. I left the forest next to the hammerhead (with an objective in it) empty and put my broadsides just left of the centre of my deployment. I wanted to give the broadsides space to run either left or right as I expected Lysander and Tacticals or at least a dreadnaught to deepstrike near them to take out the majority of my railguns in one swift close combat. On my centre right I placed my missile/fusion suits in cover, followed by the missile/burst suits and lastly the missile/flamer suits. On the right flank I placed a second devilfish and then the second hammerhead in the right hand corner. One unit of pathfinders was in a building in my centre-right that the missile/fusion crisis suits were behind, and the other unit of pathfinders were deployed on the right flank in buildings.

Marine Turn 1

As expected Lysander and the Tactical squad decided to come down turn 1, along with the Ironclad dreadnaught. Lysander tried to go directly on top of the objective in the forest on the left hand side of my deployment. The drop pod scattered slightly and landed straight in front of the hammerhead, they got out on the side nearest the forest (Lysander's eventual target was the broadsides). Two meltagun shots later and I was down one hammerhead. The Ironclad dreadnaught tried to deepstrike in front of the crisis suits, but scattered back a bit, the heavy flamer roasted all but one pathfinder in the building the crisis suits were behind. A lascannon shot from the combat squad in the top central building bounced off a hammerhead. The vindicator, assault terminators and rhino with a combat squad in all raced forwards, while the sniper scouts moved into the central building.

Tau Turn 1

I got a poor role on the broadside movement, so decided to put the devilfish in the way to stop Lysander from assaulting them next turn. Unfortunately the devilfish was immobilised in the forest doing this. The pathfinders lit up the vindicator but all the three broadsides couldn’t kill it, but they did take off the demolisher cannon and stun it for a turn. The railgun from my remaining hammerhead missed, and my missile/flamer crisis suits couldn't hurt the rhino. Lastly the two fusion guns from the missile/fusion suits could only immobilise the ironclad that had landed in front of them. With markerlight support the missile/burst crisis suits with the shas’el took the scouts down to 2 models. Not a good start for the Tau.

Marine Turn Two

The dreadnaught and landspeeder storm did not turn up. Lysander moved round the immobilised devilfish, and used his bolter drill ability on tactical squads to rapid fire at the broadsides to no effect.

The combat squad in the rhino and the vindicator stayed roughly where they were.

In the marine shooting phase the brave last pathfinders in the bottom central ruin dodged several storm bolter shots trying to finish him off, and the crisis suits lost a couple of drones.

Tau Turn Two

Annoyingly all the Tau reserves arrived. Shas’el Ra’star could have sworn he had instructed them to wait, they would now have to survive the whirlwind barrages. The fire warriors popped into the devilfish on the right hand flank, the large kroot unit outflanked towards the unguarded objective in the top left hand corner, and the smaller unit outflanked near the objective in the top right hand corner. Both units spread out to minimise whirlwind barrages.

Tau firepower took out the last of the scouts (that’s one scoring unit gone), the dread and a drop pod.

Marine Turn Three

The marine attack hit home hard this turn. The landspeeder storm hoped over the hammerhead on far right flank, so that the scouts could hop off and charge the plasma/fusion crisis suits (bad positioning from me there). The dreadnaught deepstruck by the objective in the top right hand forest, perfectly in flamer range of the kroot that outflanked last turn. To help them out the combat squad in the rhino (carrying another flamer) came over to flame and shoot the kroot as well.

Lysander left the tactical squad and joined the assault terminators with their rush towards the broadsides. The tactical squad stayed in the bottom left and forest with the objective and my crashed devilfish.

The vindicator moved across toward the large kroot unit approaching the objective in the top left hand corner to contest it.

In the shooting phase the small kroot unit on the right flank was reduced to two models and broke. The drop pod on the right flank took out the devilfish’s two gun drones while the other drop pod finished off the last pathfinder from the squad in the centre. The whirlwind shot at the large kroot unit killing a few due to their spaced formation.

The scouts that came in off the landspeeder storm assaulted and the serg fisted the life out of the unit.

The marines were now firmly in control of the game. Lysander and assault terminators in the middle of the board not far from my deployment zone edge. A full tactical squad on one objective, a combat squad inches from another, and one in the middle of the table that the combat squad with a lascannon could move to take by the end of the game.

Tau Turn Three

I had to clear a path for the fire warriors in a devilfish to get to the top right hand objective. The hammerhead moved forwards but missed the dread. The broadsides knowing there time was soon to end decided to shoot rather than run (leaving lysander in charge range). I really missed having a target lock, so all three overkilled a drop pod (couldn’t get LOS to the dread). The crisis suits fired ineffectively at the terminators (should have concentrated on the tactical marines)

Marine Turn Four

The marines just needed to the troops to dig in on the objective while the terminators and dread ran after me. Lysander charged the broadsides and dispatched them easily. The combat squad with a lascannon moved and then ran down the building to hopefully get in range of the centre objective in turn 5. The dread did nothing against the Tau disruption pod protected vehicles.

Tau Turn Four

The hammerhead moved forwards and killed the combat squad’s rhino in the top right hand corner. The crisis suits whittled down the combat squad on the objective in the forest in the top right hand corner, they then moved up behind the devilfish which would have to do a mad dash for the objective turn 5.

I was running out of time

Marine Turn Five

The terminators vainly tried the run after the crisis suits. The dreadnaught failed to bring down the devilfish. The whirlwind again killed a couple of the kroot near the objective in the top left hand corner. The vindicator moved to contest the in that corner, it immobolised itself but was still in range of the objective. The combat squad with the lascannon made it to the objective in the middle of the table.

Tau Turn Five

The Tau wiped out the combat squad over the top right hand objective. The devilfish moved the full distance to claim the objective in the top right hand forest. However the hammerhead missed the dread again (luckily it was a bit to far forward and wasn’t in a position to contest). The last of the Tau firepower took one of the marines holding the centre objective. The (now not so large) kroot squad attacked the vindicator but couldn’t kill it.

Big Tau Error: In turns 4 and 5 the gun drones on the devilfish disembarked and fired at tactical marines. What it should have done turn 5 was: Devilfish 12” move forwards, disembark 3” (if you include the size of the base), run D6”, and assault phase move 6” to contest the centre objective. Alternatively they could have disembarked turn 4 to make the contesting easier turn 5.

Unfortunately the game ended. 2-1 to the marines in objectives and 1 objective contested.

Although it was a loss for the Tau, it wasn't to fair away from a draw. Obvious things I could have improved was not wasting shots on the terminators. I should have continued with my early focus on the marine troops choices, it always the case that you can't lose if you kill all the opponent's troops choices and aren't wiped out.

Again I wasn't too impressed with the fusion guns on the crisis suits, and basic missile pods would have had many more shots in the game. The main advantage of fusion guns is against tanks and I think I should just leave that to railguns (or side shots with multiple missile pods).

Part Three will follow shortly, with a wrap of how I thought the list performed.


Returning to my Dark Eldar


With my Tau and Space Wolf army left round my mates I was tempted to take my Dark Eldar down my LGS for a try out. When I last played with my Dark Eldar army the normal sized game was 1500 pts, but now it has moved up to 1750 pts. After a few minutes on excel I updated the list. However it now looks like I won't be going into town now that it's been snowing heavily all afternoon and evening and it doesn't show any sign of stopping.

Well anyway here's my new list:

Archon - 137
Punisher, Tormentor Helm
Plasma Grenades
Shadow Field, Combat Drugs

8 Wyches (incl Succubus) - 189
Succubus: Agoniser
2 Blasters

8 Wyches (incl Succubus) - 194
Succubus: Agoniser
2 Blasters
Raider with Disintegrator

Beastmaster & 5 Warp Beasts - 75

5 Warriors - 115
Dark Lance & Blaster
Raider with Disintegrator

8 Warriors (incl Sybarite) - 165
Sybarite: Agoniser
Blaster & Splinter Cannon
Raider with Disintegrator

6 Warriors - 118
Blaster & Splinter Cannon

10 Warriors – 110
2 Dark Lances & 2 Blasters

10 Warriors - 100
2 Dark Lances

5 Warriors - 110
Dark Lance & Blaster

3 Reaver Jetbikes (2 Blasters) - 95

Ravager (3 Distintegrators) - 120

Ravager (3 Distintegrators) - 120

Talos – 100

1748 Points, 79 Models, and a horrendous 20 Kill Points
18 Heavy Weapons
30 Ap2 Weapons & 6 Ignoring saves close combat weapons

My old list was a straight shooty list, with the Wychs being a mini ravager that deepstriked. Now that wychs can't shoot the turn the raider deepstrikes, and the fact I saw that wychs in numbers can be ok in combat I used the extra pts to turn one small unit of wychs into 2 medium sized units each with agoniser succubus.

In my old list my HQ was just a dracon with some warriors carrying 2 more dark lances, but I though at 1750 pts a close combat archon was due.

Finally to support the wyches and archon I also upgraded one of the warrior squads to a combat one with 2 extra warriors and a agoniser carrying sybarite.

There's definitely things I don't like about the list (apart from the horrendous kill point total, which I don't think I can do much about). I wanted to try and fit in some horrorfexs after seeing them used to good effect. I also had to trim some of the raider squads to their minimum size which I don't like doing. Lastly I'm not sure how effective the bikes will be.

An alternative idea I had was to put the archon on a bike and make the bikes an assault unit with the addition of extra bikes and a succubus with punisher. Only having games with them will help me decide, along with any comments you make.

Other ideas I was contemplating was to try out the webway portal, but at the moment I don't have the models for 2 reasonable sized warrior squads with sybarites to carry them.

I'll definitely have to give the Dark Eldar a few games before I'll be happy with a final list.


Monday, 4 January 2010

New Tau Army List Gets A Test Run - Part One


Over the xmas break I got to play 3 games that would help see how my new thinking on my army list would fair on the field of battle.

The list I used was:

Shas'el Commander – 102
Cyclic Ion Blaster, Missile Pod, 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

Crisis Battle Suit Team - 187
1 Crisis Battlesuit with
Twin-linked Missile Pods
Drone Controller with 2 Gun Drones
2 Crisis Battlesuits with
Plasma Rifle, Fusion Gun, Multi-tracker

6 Fire Warriors – 60

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 - 275
Broadside Team Leader with
Advanced Stabilisation System
Hard-Wired Drone Controller with 2 Shield Drones
2 Broadsides with Advanced Stabilisation Systems

Total Points: 1750 (74 Models and 16 Kill Points)

First up was a fluffy Ork army, it consisted of:

Big Mek with Shock Attack Gun

10 Nobs with Heavy Armour, including Painboy, couple of Powerclaws, and a few other upgrades such as big choppas that had no effect on the game
Battlewagon with Deathrolla

Large Grot Mob (who the Big Mek joined)
20 Shoota Boyz, including Nob & 2 Big Shootas
20 Shoota Boyz, including Nob & 2 Big Shootas
20 Shoota Boyz, including Nob & 2 Big Shootas
12 Slugga Boyz on a Truck including a Nob
5 or 6 Commandos led by the Special Character upgrade that allowed them to outflank from any board edge
12 Stormboyz including Nob

10 Lootas
1 Deffdread
2 units of a single Killa Kan with Grot Zookas

We rolled up normal 12” deployment, and Annihilation. Normally Annihilation is normally a pain for my Tau with it's high kill point total of 16, but against the Orks who had a simular kill point total (of 15) it wasn't so bad.

I won the roll to go first or second, and allowed my opponent to choose board edges and go first.

The table had (from my side's point of view) a forest in the top right and bottom left, with the rest of the board having ruins scattered across it. In the top right was a standard 3-tier city fight ruin, to the right was the GW scenery with the stained glass window. In the top-middle was one of the card building GW made in the 90's, it was 3 tiers and quite large (about 10” across at the base). In the middle, about 20” from the left of the table was one of the new bastions, directly in the middle of the table was another of the 3-tier city fight ruins, and on the left was a group of mordiem card buildings, roughly 6” from the right table edge and strething from 10” away from my board edge to about 20” from my board edge. In my deployment zone there was the forest on the left, a small ruin (2 tier) slightly left of the middle, and then a selection of mordiem card buildings in the right ending about 10” from the mordiem buildings on the far right that stretched out of my deployment zone.

Going first my opponent had to spread his deployment out, but with such a large ork army it's almost impossible not to. Going from left to right he deployed.

Unit of 20 Boys
Truck Boys
In and behind the scenary with the stained glass window was the Big Mek with the Grots
Deffdread and 2 Kill Kans
Battlewagon with Nobs just to the left of the large centre ruin
Lootas deployed in the central ruin (however the top level was slightly out of the deployment zone so they would have to move up to the top on the first turn)
Hidding behind the central ruin was the storm boyz
To the right of the centre ruin was 2 units of 20 boys (1 behind the other)
and finally the Commandos were outflanking

I placed a Hammerhead on the far left flank.
In the ruin slight left of centre I placed 6 pathfinders
My twin-missile suits, then missile/burst suits, and finally plasma/fusion suits deployed from left to right behind the ruins in my centre-right.
2nd Hammerhead
2nd Pathfinders just fit in the ruins on the right
2 pathfinder devilfihs in the bottom right hand corner (trying not to be noticed – when one of my small troop units get in they are the easiest 3 kill points an army can get)
The larger kroot unit outflanking, and the small kroot unit and the fire warriors went in reserve.

The karma gods smiled on me and I stole the initiative.


The middle pathfinders lit up the battle wagon, stripping it's cover save and giving +2 BS to the broadsides. After 3 railguns on 2+ to hit with rerolls and no cover for the battlewagon I'd...NOT EVEN SCRATCHED IT !! What the karma dice god give they can easily take away :)

The rest of my shooting stunned a deffdread and killed a couple of boyz. A bad shooting phase, but then again I shouldn't have had it yet.

The Ork turn was simple as everyone charged forwards apart from the stunned dread and the lootas which went to the top of the large ruin. The Big Mek aslo stayed still to shoot but scattered.


The Tau 2nd turn started with the all the Tau troop choices turning up from reserve. The large kroot squad outflanked on the left to support the hammerhead. The moved in in half way up the board as the the hammerhead which wanted to get a side shot on the battlewagon which had headed toward my right flank. The other troop choices moved on and went straight in the pathfinder devilfishs on the far right flank. Crisis suit jostled for LOS, and the hammerhead and broadsides on the right moved back while ensuring that the battlewagon had no cover from their shots.

I started my using the deathrain team against the wagon on the left flank (if they killed it the hammerhead on that flank would be free to try a side shot at the battlewagon). The deathrains killed the wagon, only killing 1 boy in the damage. The hammerhead on the left hit the battlewagon, but rolled a 1 against the side armour. I was therefore forced to use a pathfinder team to light up the battlewagon, and the broadsides did their job this time and blew it up. The 2nd unit of pathfinders lit up the forward boyz unit on the right and the firestorms (with the shas'el) unloaded into them. The hammerhead on the right took out a killa kan for an easy killpoint. The rest of my shooting was minimal.

The orks continued to move forward in their turn. The storm boyz and the 2 units of boyz on the right moved towards my broadsides and hammerheads. The nobs (the ork unit the furthest forwards) moved towards the broadsides and crisis suits. The deads moved straight forwards towards the pathfinders (who had the deathrains behind them). The foot slogging boyz on the left moved towards the middle. The boyz who had got out of the trukk moved to assault the kroot.

In the shooting phase the Big Mek and lootas took a few wounds and the occassional drone from the crisis suits. The boyz that had come out of the trukk assaulted the large kroot unit, and the kroot were broken and run down, but not before they had killed all the boyz apart from the Nob.


In my turn there was only one main target, the Nobs, everything apart from the hammerhead on the left flank and the troop units in the devilfishs, in my army opened up on them and wiped them out. The hammerhead on the left was forced to kill the Nob from the unit that had killed the kroot. Some remaining firepower took a few wounds from the front boyz unit on the right flank. Everything moved back in the assault phase to ensure they were more than 18” from the front boyz unit. The right flank pathfinders were in range to be charged by the storm boyz (but I wanted their markerlights to ensure the destruction of the nob unit).

The orks stormed forwards once again. The stormboyz 1” away from the pathfinders after their move (but importantly they would have to also move up a level, so would need a 4+ on their assault phase difficult terrain test). The deff dread in the centre was now next to the pathfinders in the centre with the boyz on the left only slightly behind due to good run rolls.

Shooting was painful. The Big Mek finally earnt his points by getting a double 6 for his shot with the shock attack gun, and killed the last 2 members of the deathrain team, plus a drone and a suit from the firestorm team. The lootas added a few wounds to the firestorm team. Then the deff dread roasted all of the pathfinders in the centre with a heavy flamer. I passed my break tests and it was on to the ork assault phase.

I got lucky and the stormboyz failed their difficult terrain roll and were left in full view of the main Tau firepower.


In my turn I obliged the stormboyz by blowing them away. However I was a bit zealous and disembarked both the fire warriors and the kroot to add to the firepower, when they probably weren't needed, especially the fire warriors who didn't get to fire because my opponent took off the stormboyz in range from the first unit that shot at them. The hammerhead on the left took out the deff dread.

The commandos finally outflanked, they didn't wanted to go for the firebase of all the crisis suits for fear they'd just get wiped out the following turn, so went on the right flank to get an easy kill point of the kroot who had disembarked. The orks called the Waargh which allowed the front boyz unit on the right flank to charge the disembarked fire warriors and the devilfish they were in. The unit of boyz behind them on the right flank didn't fleet so they could fire on the 6 pathfinders on the right flank.

The pathfinders went to ground (for a 3+ cover save from the boyz shooting), and luckily only lost 1 model. The kroot and fire warriors were killed in assault.

NB: The boyz in the centre were effectively out of the game as they wouldn't catch the crisis suits.


The broadside smart missiles took out most of the small commando unit, and the pathfinders aided by the devilfishs took out the rest including the character.

The crisis suits took out the remainder of the boyz who had assaulted the fire warriors.

Everybody moved back towards the corner away from the remaining ork units.

The remaining foot orks moved vainly forwards, while the big mek and lootas shooting again did more wounds, but I passed by morale test on the crisis suits.

And with that the game ended with a decisive win for the Tau

Tau Kill Points (10)
2 Killa Kans
Deff Dread
Storm Boyz
2 units of Boyz

Ork Kill Points (5)
2 Kroot units
Fire Warriors
Deathrain Crisis Team
1 Pathfinder Team

Thoughts on my new list

The extra crisis team were helpful, and they definitely needed their drones to survive, and the melta shots were nice when I was shooting at the Nobs (instant death), but playing orcs also showed their weakness of the short range of the fusion gun, as I rarely fired them as I couldn't risk getting close.

Battles 2 and 3 will follow over the next few days.


Tau Army List Evolution


From my preious post you'll guess my main issue with my army was that it didn't have the firepower to stop armies not only getting to me, but also moving to get my fragile troops as well before the game had ended.

The first place to get more fire power is to drop fire warriors down to 6 models. I've tried to hold out against the trend of using the minimum fire warriors and have given them every chance to shine, whether it's using a full squad, or giving them a shas'ui with a bonding knife, they just never perform, so I'm joining the trend and stripping them down to the minimum I have to take.

Next place to get points is to reduce the troops to 3 units. I debated long and hard and decided to lose one of the larger kroot units.

Although the positional relay worked well and kept my troops alive I'm going to see how it goes leaving it out. One of the reasons I put it in was that my outflanking troops would turn up too soon. One tournament game example was against a full outflanking marine force where I was given 1st turn. They turned up turn 2 when there was no enemy on the board and were slaughtered his turn 2 when some of his units came on. I'll have to see how not having as much control of my reserves will have.

Lastly the broadside leader's plasma rifle and multi-tracker were nice, but most of the time I really needed the anti-tank firepower of the unit, and in lots of circumstances the SMS is better. Also I found the broadsides would all target the same vehicle, and therefore one last casaulty was the target lock, however the target lock is something I may put back in if experience shows I do need to split targets. Against multiple light vehciles I could fire the broadsides without markerlight support into one vehcile and use he markerlights to improve my hammerhead railguns and missile pods (I'll have to see how it goes).

All this cutting gave me 187 pts to use. The obvious choice is a 3rd crisis unit. I feel the main thing lacking in the list is AP2 firepower, so a unit with some plasma is essential. My first test games of this new evolution used a mixed unit with two plasma/fusion suits and a cheap suit with missile pods and drones. The army list used and how is faired will be an upcoming post shortly.

The crisis suit configs I'm considering are (any opinions would be greatly appreciated):

1 Crisis Suit with Twin-linked Missile Pods
2 Crisis Suit with Plasma Rifle, Fusion Gun* & Multi-tracker
Cost: 187 Pts

1 Crisis Suit Team Leader with Plasma Rifle, Burst Cannon, Multi-tracker & HW Drone Controller with 2 Gun Drones
2 Crisis Suit with Plasma Rifle, Burst Cannon & Multi-tracker
Cost 199 Pts (this would require me to reduce the larger kroot unit to 10 Kroot and 5 Hounds)

3 Crisis Suit with Plasma Rifle, Fusion Gun* & Multi-tracker
Cost: 186 Pts (but with no drone protection I would have to either join my shas'el or hug cover and accept the losses)

* In all configerations it's also a direct swap of fusion gun for missile pod I'm considering. Missile Pod has the range, and early game effect, while the fusion really kills marines and terminators up close and can help against vehicles at short range.

Any comments on which choice you think is best or any experiances you have with similar configerations would be appreciated.


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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