Meshuggah! First of all, epic name
Secondly, Let's get to the units.Stormsurges
are something of a death machine. I don't own one, but from what I've read, there are two ways to play with one. The first way, the one I wouldn't be too partial to, is to take the Pulse Blastcannon and take advantage of the beast's 12" movement to get as close to the opponent as you can and smash them with family pie plates. The second, my preferred option, is to anchor down at a good location with as much LoS as possible with a Pulse Driver Cannon and go nuts shooting everything twice. You will NEED Markerlights for this model to work, so I read. Without them, you'll possibly be wasting your time. Finally, take the shield generator. I know it makes this hulking model 410 points before any MORE upgrades, but it WILL get shot at a LOT. Riptides
seem to be the mainstay of everyone's death cohort with Tau these days. I do indeed own one of these models, and from my experience, I can definitely tell you not to underestimate the Heavy Burst Cannon that comes default on this bad boy. I've only used the Ion Accelerator on it in battles, but since I haven't played anymore than 1000pts of models(as I don't own anymore than that) I can comfortably say that I probably would have done better with the Heavy Burst Cannon in some games. The large blast profiles of the Ion Accelerator was fantastic for taking out whole units of infantry, especially when you have enough markerlight tokens to boost his Ballistic Skill AND take away any cover saves the enemy would get, but firing at vehicles like Wave Serpents and Fire Prisms would have benefit more from the extra shots. That's just my opinion though. Your favourite Nova Charge ability will be the Jet Pack boost. Getting that much movement after firing at a dangerous target can be a life saver, and can allow you to setup for a completely different and unpredictable strategy in your next turn. My other favourite, beside that, was the boost to his invulnerable save. That saved me a lot of times from plasma shots and Brightlances. Lastly, don't underestimate the Stimulant Injectors. It is more than possible to harm yourself with the Nova Reactor, and the Stims are the only way of surviving those wounds.Ghostkeels.
These things are amazing. This will be my next purchase, and a damn good one it will be. I can imagine we'll get some kind of nerf to this monster in the new rules release, but right now this thing is amazing! Stay at least 13 inches away from the enemy with a drone alive and well hidden, and you effectively have a 2+ invulnerable save. That, and his normal 3+ save when cover is denied, as well as a good Toughness of 5, and you have a great death dealing stealth machine which, when equipped with the right weaponry, can really distract the enemy, allowing you to move the rest of your army freely almost completely uninterrupted. I've seen battle reports in which whole armies have fired at these battlesuits and not killed it, leaving the rest of the Tau army untouched. Now, I haven't joined any discussions regarding weapons and wargear for this battlesuit, but from what I read, people really don't like the Fusion Collider. The Cyclic Ion Raker just seems like the better option in every circumstance. Secondary weapons seem to be a bit of a personal preference field for everyone, but I'm partial to the idea of giving it dual Fusion Blasters for those times when you Deep Strike behind a tank and really want to give it a bad day. As for wargear, don't give it stimulant injectors, whatever you do. It is already defensive enough, you'd be wasting 35 points. Same goes for the Shield Generator. Its cover save will almost always be better than a 4+ invulnerable save, so there's no point.Commanders
seem to be fantastic at pretty much anything these days. Take it with naught but a drone controller and half a dozen Marker Drones and you have a squad of almost guaranteed Markerlight tokens. Or take it with no weapons, but with the Command and Control Node plus the Multi-spectrum Sensor Suite, and throw it in with a unit of Crisis equipped however you want, and you'll be bouncing around the board wiping out whole units of marines with ease. Lastly, you can give it the Coldstar loadout, and have it fly around causing absolute annoyance for your enemy, especially in lower point games where Skyfire is something of a rarity. This guy is amazing! I own two of them for this reason
If you take an army without Crisis
battlesuits, you're not playing Tau. These guys are your Tactical Marines, even though they take an elite slot. Given that you can take them in units of 9 now, they're more feared than they used to be. I'm a big fan of taking them with a Cyclic Ion Blaster and Plasma Rifle each, with a Shas'vre rocking the no-shooting loadout as described in the commander paragraph above(MSSS+CCN). They wreck infantry units with ease, while leaving my Commander to assume the role of Marker Drone tech support. These guys hardly need the Markerlights when I use them this way as they get to reroll failed shooting hits, giving me redundancy for the extra Ballistic Skill, and all get Ignores Cover, so no need for that Markerlight intervention either. They're also good to take alone with Missile Pods or Fusion Blasters just to act like mosquitoes that annoy your enemy and keep them flailing their arms around everywhere while you do other things. They're so useful its not funny! Give them all a Counterfire Defense System, combined with my preferred loadout above, and you'll seldom get charged, ESPECIALLY when you keep them in range of some Markerlights and a Riptide.Stealthsuits
really come down to personal preference, as you have probably already read in these forums. They serve as a fantastic minimum requirement for the Optimised Stealth Cadre, but outside of that there are too many good alternative options. I personally don't like the idea of giving them Marker Drones and a Drone Controller, because spending all those points for one extra BS on Marker Drones seems counter productive. Nevertheless, I've seen it used before in less hardcore lists.Ethereals
have become much less or a liability for the Tau than they used to be. They're still a delicate model to use and can be annoying for you when killed in a game using Victory Points. That being said, the model itself is cool! The extra shots from Storm of Fire
(which requires Rapid Fire range) can be devastating against Marine equivalents and even Eldar War Walkers or Ork Trukks (I think).Fire Warriors
are your pawns. Give them a Shas'ui and maybe a couple of drones of your choice, and they'll lay down some good ranged fire on your enemy. Having the best basic ranged weapon in the game gives them a fantastic advantage when taking down other armies' troops. You can either give them Pulse Rifles which outrange and outstrength all other troop weapons, or you can give them the closer range Pulse Carbines and pin the hell out of your enemies, or give them the Pulse Blasters, throw them in a Devilfish and rock the 'Fish of Fury. Either way, when properly used, these guys can really turn heads.
I'm not as big a fan of Pathfinders
as I used to be. There are too many Markerlight options better than these guys. I do however like their style and if you take them for their alternate weapons instead of their Markerlights, and give them a Recon Drone, and you can bring down some non-scatter Suits right in front of them. This can really change the tide of battle, quickly, ESPECIALLY if you have multiple squads and a Retaliation Cadre just waiting to come kill stuff.Missile Turrets
. Use them, don't use them. It's up to you. I like the idea of giving a squad a Missile Pod Turret and a Cadre Fireblade and really getting my points worth out of the Fire Warriors. Smart Missile System Turrets are kinda cool ti have in a minimum squad of hidden Fire Warriors, as the Smart Missile System ignores Line of Sight, which can come in handy. Oh, and lets not overlook the fact that they don't count as a casualty, and can be deployed in the turn following their destruction. That's kinda amazing, in my opinion.
I don't own a Hammerhead
, but from what I've learned, there are better anti-vehicle options than these guys unfortunately. If you use Longstrike and a unit of these guys, however, you can cause some good trouble, albiet at a high points cost.Devilfish
are great for moving Fire Warriors around fast. Throw some Smart Missile Systems on them, and they'll still be useful after disembarking your passengers! Add in some Disruption Pods and your enemy will have trouble knocking these over sized minivans down.
I'm not too partial to Piranhas
, but that doesn't mean they're bad. For what they're worth, they can cause some impressive trouble. Add in the fact that they come with two free Gun Drones, you can really count them as undercosted, depending on your point of view.Drones.
DRONES! These bad boys are your ablative wounds, your shield generators, your thorns in your enemies' sides, and are all too often overlooked by non-Tau players. Among my friends and myself, they used to be ignored. Now, they're always the first thing to die because of how useful they are. If you're going to take them alone though, at least only take Gun Drones as they're carrying Twin-linked weapons, whereas the Markerlights just can't benefit enough from the Ballistic Skill of two, and the shields are a tad redundant when not protecting anything. I hear the Drone Network from the Farsight Enclaves supplement is really good too.Kroot.
Not really a fan, but if I do take some, I'll be taking them in the form of German Infantry instead of the Kroot Carnivore models. I don't really like the Carnivores, and since the Tau are a collection of many races, it makes sense to include some less civilized human subordinates in their ranks. I like that idea anyway. If you're not playing on a table with Forests or Jungles, these guys really lose out, but their sniper shots can come in handy when sneaking up on some tough enemies.
There you go. I hope this all helped. I don't actually own many models, as I said, but I've spent a lot of time researching the meta for Tau and trying to be as knowledgeable as I can as these guys are absolutely amazing. I'll never not primarily play these guys as I love everything about them.
I am also open to criticism on my advice from more experienced players. Most of my advice is only speculation, so I could very likely be wrong.