Wednesday, April 3, 2013

More Painting, First Tau Thoughts

So I've still been plugging away at painting both Helldrakes.  I'm trying to paint them both at the same time by paint color, so that makes a tough job even slower.  Here is the one I've just finished the gold base coat that will be now ready for washes after I get the gold done on the second turkey.

Of course as I discovered after my last blog post Kublacon is now a 1500 point event.  This isn't my favorite point level for a few reasons.  For one I like to play with as many toys as possible!  I just like getting as much use out of the collection whenever I can.   The second, and more practical reason, is that in 6th edition it is tough to field a balanced all comer list at 1500.   At 1750 and higher you have a bit more room to build a balanced list.  This was a bit more possible in 5th edition, but with the introduction of fliers in 6th edition I find 1500 is rough to build a list that is able to deal with mass infantry, death stars, MSU, heavy tanks, and of course fliers.

So I feel in the end 1500, especially in a 3 game tournament, usually tends to build a 'rock' list that is bound to beat the crap out of other balanced lists, but will just crumble to that one other 'paper' list out there.

This is one reason I think my bike list was actually more successful at 1500 last year.  Granted there were no Helldrakes so that probably helped, but even against necron fliers I fared ok.  The list has lots of troops and can deal with a wide range of units, fliers (AV 12 in particular) is the biggest rough spot.

My 1ksons on the other hand just don't scale down lower than 1750 very well.  A 'normal' CSM list actually is not bad as you can still take helldrakes and oblits and still have a CSM/Cultist combo for some flexible scoring.  The 1ksons are just such a point sink (and admittedly not the greatest choice) plus they have the double sorc tax (aspiring sorc plus HQ to make them troops) that it just isn't going to work.

So what does that leave me?  Of course I have lots of options.  I could easily just take a full bike list.  We know it does well against most lists, but the hellturkey spam will be challenging.

I've also thought about bringing my Imperial Fists without termies, or even converting it over to Dark Angels which can save a lot of points.  With a few tweaks I think it can also be pretty good, but it crumbles once an assault force can reach the mech parking lot.

Of course Tau are released this weekend and that could possibly be an option.  I have plenty of Tau painted, though they really can use a good going over to improve the quality.  I had painted them quickly and I never dullcoated them.  So they are banged up and not very good, but they look ok on the table top.  A bit of cleanup and some highlights (and some friggin dullcoate) and I think they can look a lot better.

Now the Tau rules are all over the internet and can be found everywhere, though there are still all kinds of little niggling questions about wargear and specific rules for units.  Opinions are pretty much all over the place, from people claiming this is a great update to other who say this is the death of Tau.

I'm less convinced either way, as it is hard to draw a conclusion with a book to really understand all the rules.  But that doesn't stop me from having an opinion of course!

First off I think the fliers are crap.  We know enough now to know that front armor 11 fliers are sucky and side armor 10 is a joke.  So yes they are cheaper but they are killed easily by quad guns unless there is some secret wargear that is keeping them alive.  They could have awesome guns/bombs but they still wouldn't be worth it.  People think the drones are going to make them worth it if they get interceptor but I'm still not sold as Str 7 guns against fliers isn't that exciting (and the str 8 overcharge is a blast so no shooting at fliers).  So I'm sad that these things look like they are trash, but at the same time hooray I don't see myself bying those horrible models.

The Riptide I'm also not so sure about really.  He's a nice jetpack MC that jumps around and shoots things and he looks pretty tough to shoot down being 2+/5++ T6 and 5 W.  The problem I have is his guns just don't impress me that much, and failing 1/3 of your overcharges is not exciting either.  A great game and he is super, a bad game and he is taking off critical wounds.   Did I mention that his point cost and being and elite is a downer also?

The new HQs look like they might be cheap enough to try out a little.  The etheral is much improved in what he adds to the army and is still cheap, though giving up 1 extra VP is pretty big in tight games.  Of course if he's died then you've probably been mowed down in combat and you've probably lost anyway.  Fireblades look like cheap HQs that add functionality.  We'll see if any of the named guys bring anything worth it to the table but it is looking like for the point costs the answer is going to be no.  No FoC changes is a little sad panda also.

So I think the new and shiny bits are a bit of a let down and a trap actually.  However I think the rest of the army is looking pretty good.  Cheaper troops, cheaper crisis suits, cheaper vehicles (for the most part) and some nice army wide rules.  Sure there are some nerfs in there (Broadsides Str8 AP1 gun, Kroot Str decrease) but I think these are helped balanced by some of the other changes (Braodsides get Skyfire option we think, Fusion guns 18", etc).

So oddly my Tau lists might look very similar to what I've already tried in 6th edition.  Let's take a look at the last 1850 list I updated which is based more on volume of fire that tricky Crisis suit configs.

Commander Shas'o, Fusion Blaster, Plasma Rifle, Hard-wired Blacksun Filter, Hard-wired Multi-tracker, Hard-wired Target Lock, + Iridium Armour, Stimulant Injector, Shield Generator, 2 Shield Drones
2 Crisis Battlesuit, Twin Linked Missile Pod, Targeting Array
2 Crisis Battlesuit, Twin Linked Missile Pod, Targeting Array
5 Stealthsuits
9 Fire Warrior, 1 Shas'ui
9 Fire Warrior, 1 Shas'ui
9 Fire Warrior, 1 Shas'ui
20 Kroot Carnivore, 7 Kroot Hounds
Piranha Light Skimmer, Fusion Blaster, Targeting Array
Piranha Light Skimmer, Fusion Blaster, Targeting Array
Broadside Battlesuit, HW Blacksun Filter, Targeting Array, Team Leader 2 Shield Drones
Broadside Battlesuit, HW Blacksun Filter, Targeting Array, Team Leader 2 Shield Drones
Broadside Battlesuit, HW Blacksun Filter, Targeting Array, Team Leader 2 Shield Drones
Aegis, Icarus Lascannon
Farseer, Runes of Warding, Jetbike, Doom
3 Guardian Jetbike Squadron

The HQ was expensive but a tough nut to shoot down.  2+/4++ with FNP and shield drones is a lot to get through.  He was there to shoot the icarus early on and equiped to deal with TEQ as they closed in a bit.

The Crisis suits were for MC and light armor purely.

The Stealths usually infiltrated to harass the flanks and be annoying with stealth and shrouded.

The troop bricked up behind the wall and provided a pretty good anti infantry firebase.

The Piranha were used to pop tough armor and also as blockers (mobile terrain).

The Broadside I found worked great when split up and were ok at anti air but also great anti vehicle.

The farseer usually joined the Kroot to give a big LD buff and to toss out doom to help kill incoming targets.

The jetbikes I kept in reseve and tried to keep alive for last minute objective grabs.

I think on paper the list had a lot covered.  It's biggest problem was really kill points.  The army is also painted (to that not great standard as mentioned) with the exception of the Kroot hounds.

So how does this look to change with the rules we're hearing with the new book?

It looks like Crisis HQ might end up being a touch more expensive if not close to the same cost.  Irridium armor is more expensive but has no downside and is +1 T.  Very nice!

The Crisis suits look to get BSF and Multitrackers for free and be a touch cheaper though it looks like they lose target arrays which does stink if true.  Some weapon costs go up (Missile pods a bit) while other down (Plasma) so we'll see what makes sense on these guys.

Stealth suits cost the same but will get an extra shot per model (and hopefully still have both stealth and shrouded).

All the troops get cheaper, Firwarrios gain defensive grenades, and the army special rule helps the overwatch when charged.  Kroot get worse in combat but really they were never very good either.  The option to make them snipers or add cheaper Krootox is interesting.

Pirahna get cheaper and have better range (and in theory now are 1 KP with drones vs 2).  Drones, or rather carbines, are Assault 2 vs rapid fire.

The Broadsides I say are still good.  They are less great against normal vehicles but better against fliers a little bit.  You are now only penning AV12 roughly 30% of the time, and outright killing 15%.  Against a flier before you were hitting less but penning more, meaning killing AV12 fliers about 12%.  That isn't really a huge upgrade, and of course we're now killing tanks worse than before so that's not great.

The wall and the Eldar have much the same function.

So I'd have a bit of points to play with but I'm not sure what other changes I would make.  The cheap HQs might be an easy add with some of those point that free up from the cost reductions.   Maybe a Hammerhead would step in for a Broadside to get that Str 10 shot in there, but that is always the shot I end up missing!  Pathfinders are always tempting, but always (and still look like) they die to a stiff breeze.

So we'll see what the dex actually ends up providing.   I think the army based around volume of fire is still good, but maybe there will be new builds that will be viable as well.  This is of course a lot of theory and also 1850.  There would have to be considerable cuts to get down to 1500.  Maybe a cheap HQ and the points reduction will be enough and could still function in a similar manner.

A few more days and we'll have some facts, and then of course we'll need to get some games to put the theories to the test!

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