Thursday, September 13, 2012

My Tau Army in 6th Edition

So the next of my armies that needs to be looked at is Tau.  The Tau of languished for most of 5th edition so it would sure be nice to get them back on the table and not be horrible.

The biggest problem Tau had in 5th edition was the troops.  They just are not survivable and you really needed the most from other slots to kill vehicles.

Now there are a lot of changes to 6th editions that affect how good Tau can be.

+ Shooting is generally better (rapid fire at distance, overwatch, random charges).
+ You can regroup a bit easier.  It isn't much, but for Tau that are prone to LD failings it is pretty big.
+ Tau Vehicles can essentially have a 3+ jink save.
+ Stealth suits get shrouding and stealth, meaning in light cover of 5+ they have a 2+ save.
+ Allies can fill gaps.
- Can't score from inside vehicles, nor contest with fast moving Piranha.
- Can't assault out of reserves, which was an option for Kroot (that usually did not go well).
+/- Cover is generally worse.

So it looks like more pros than cons, but there are lots of qualifiers I'm unsure of in there.  For instance it is great that moving Tau vehicles can get 3+ cover saves, but they are arguably expensive for what you get.  Would I rather have a Hammerhead with one rail gun or a Broadside with Shield Drones and save 70ish points?  Sure the hammerhead can drop a big blast... but can't I get anti infantry shooting elsewhere?   Devilfish add nothing but some mobility to troops, but are still 85 pts to not contribute to the firepower so desperately needed.

Pirahna are the one skimmer I'm unsure about keeping or not.  The fast vehicle is great for getting that melta up close quickly, and it is AV 11 with that 3+ save (2+ if you go flat out!).  That is pretty tempting.  At 75 points it is still reasonably priced but you still likely only really get one shot.  You are still AV 11 and open topped with two hull points.  If you aren't going first these are possibly the easiest first blood target in the army.  So for now I'm going to drop them and see if I can manage enough anti tank elsewhere.

So if I'm not going to go with vehicles that leaves me with a Foot Tau army.   That means I'm going to need to load up on troops.  Right now I'm leaning towards units of 8 Firewarriors + Shas'ui w/ Blacksun Filter (BSF ignores nightfight).  So that means killing 3 before a LD 8 test and possibly being able to shoot turn 1 if there is night fight and range.


What about the kroot?  Well I still like them, and they do provide some options, but I think the small 10 man pillbox units of yesteryear are gone.  I think take a big unit of 20 kroot with 12 hounds.   I think you drop them behind the aegis with the HQ and just make people shoot them over and over or have to charge them eventually.  Alternatively they could be used to infiltrate against a deep strike army (Daemons, Drop Pods) or a Necron Airforce type army.

So I've mentioned the preference to Broadsides, and I think going 3 units of 1 is my current plan.  With the key upgrades of two shield drones, Target Array (BS4), and BSF clocks in under 120 pts and lets you pretty much still spread out lanes for long range anti tank shots.  I'd love to add plasma guns, multracker, but that's 20 more points x3 that I'm not sure I'll need.  It's great for killing marines as they close but I think the Broadsides are best focused on the Heavy Armor.  Advanced stabalization would be great too so you could overwatch in that config, but I think the TA for BS 4 is probably still better.  You have to make sure these guys are landing hits!

File:Tau empire.jpg

Which brings us to the suits section.  5th edition was all about Crisis suits, stealth suits just didn't have a place.  I'm not sure if they do now either.   I think you have two options if you are taking stealth suits.
- Take a big squad, infiltrate into cover on a flank and just harrass the hell out of the army.
- Take a min squad with a fusion (melta) and either try the above or Deep strike into cover and get that one melta shot off and then get killed.
I'm going to try out one big squad some more and see how it goes.  The one 6th edition game I played was against a Deathwing list, so I would have rather had the melta, but at least they netted me line breaker.

Which leaves two crisis suit teams.  I usually always went Plasma/Missile as it gave a good option for range and light vehicles.  Twin linked missiles were a good point saver and more accurate but I often found myself wanting plasma.  With fliers out and about the twin linked sounds tempting.  So for now I'm going to try a squad of each.

In the HQ section there is also debate as to what to do.   Previously I would generally never from straying from a cheap Crisis commander.  Clocking in at 100 pts he was basically just a slightly better Crisis suit.

However with Warlord now being a big deal I'm wondering if it is better to look into some of the many flavorfull bits of wargear that we'd currently never look at taking.   You can get FNP, 2+ armor (though now a D6 in the assault instead of 2D6), and a 4+ invulnerable.  Plus shield drones which are great.  The downside is this all adds up to a pricey 200ish point HQ.  Is that better than two cheap HQs, probably not from a killing power stand point.  Still I'm going to try him out and see if all this extra crap actually helps keep this guy alive/suck up wounds for another unit.  I'm even going to try out some of the special weapons (cyclonic blaster and airburst) and see if the blast/rate of fire way is the way to go.

Of course I'm taking an Aegis and quad gun.  Defacto choice for a gun line.

Which leaves the maligned fast attack slot.  I'd love to take pathfinders but I don't want to pay for the Devilfish.  Why that isn't just an option is just beyond words.  I've aleady mentioned the Piranha debate, I'm passing on them for now and hoping my crisis and broadsides can handle the anti tank.  Gun drone squads are still horrible and useless.

Which leaves Vespid.  Vespid are always one of those 'man they are fast and that gun is great' units that sounds tempting, but then you look at the points cost, range of the gun, and their save and it gets bad in a hurry.  The only thing I could think to do is Deepstike a large squad in close to marines and blast them, you reroll any dangerous terrain tests and get that cover save... but you still probably get blasted to death.  I think for the same points spent on that big squad the full stealth team offers more flexibility, range, and survivability.   Assuming the 11 vespid did land close enough to shoot marines in the open they kill 3-4.  The stealth team should kill 3, but get to probably end the turn 20-30" away.  That's a big deal.

The only thing left to talk about is allies.   Tau have some great allies in that battle brothers can be marines and eldar, and have options for everybody else but bugs.   Even just looking at marines and eldar give them some great options.  Marines in particular bring some more durable scoring bodies.   Eldar can bring mobility and fantastic psychic protection.

For me I'm leaning toward Eldar.  I think taking a Marine Captain on a bike and two full squads of troop bikes is a GREAT option.   But at that point, why not just play the bikes which have proven to be a great army already?  So I think the jetseer with the min jetbike squad is what I'll try first.

So what does my new 6th edition army end up shaping up to look like?

HQ: Commander Shas'o + Airbursting Fragmentation Projector 2 + Cyclic Ion Blaster + Hard-wired Multi-tracker + Iridium Armour + Stimulant Injector + Shield Generator + 2 Shield Drones
Elite: Crisis Battlesuit x3;  Missile Pod + Plasma Rifle + Multi-Tracker
Elite: Crisis Battlesuit x3; Twin Linked Missile Pod + Targeting Array
Elite: Stealthsuits x 6
Troops: Fire Warrior x8 + Shas'ui, + Hard-wired Blacksun Filter
Troops: Fire Warrior x8 + Shas'ui, + Hard-wired Blacksun Filter
Troops: Fire Warrior x8 + Shas'ui, + Hard-wired Blacksun Filter
Troops: Fire Warrior x8 + Shas'ui, + Hard-wired Blacksun Filter
Troops: Kroot Carnivore Squad x20, Kroot Hounds x12
Heavy Support: Broadside Battlesuit + Hard-wired Blacksun Filter  + Targeting Array + Team Leader + 2 Shield Drones
Heavy Support: Broadside Battlesuit + Hard-wired Blacksun Filter  + Targeting Array + Team Leader + 2 Shield Drones
Heavy Support: Broadside Battlesuit + Hard-wired Blacksun Filter  + Targeting Array + Team Leader + 2 Shield Drones

HQ: Farseer + Runes of Warding + Runes of Witnessing + Eldar Jetbike +  Doom 
Troops: Guardian Jetbike Squadron x3

Aegis Defence Line + Quad Gun

The Aegis is missing from the picture but I obviously have it.  Not for the first time to I wonder why GW hasn't put out any Xenos fortifications.

There are a few bits I'm missing but one Crisis suit pickup fills that out and means I don't have to use one of my HQs as an elite Crisis.  

The army is mostly painted, though it was my first 'done' army and looks really sad to me now.  I've never liked the kroot paint job and I'm tempted to replace them before starting on the hounds.  But it is hard to see committing time to this army beyond a few tweaks to make it playable. 

But is it any good?  Sure it looks like it has a lot of bodies, but I'm still suffering from lackluster LD so I risk running or being pinned (and can't bring myself to add an ethereal).  It is an awfully static army really, and the jetbikes are the only mobile scoring unit.   The army will crumble once engaged in CC.

Unless the army performs amazingly or the current meta shift dramatically, I think this will be a fun army to bring out once in awhile, but nothing I'd want to take to a tournament.


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