New army is almost here, now what

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Meshuggah
Shas
Posts: 12

New army is almost here, now what

Post#1 » Mar 29 2017 11:16

In Tau, we are strong!

To set this post up, I am very new to the tabletop of WH40k. I'm learning the rules, i've played a game using my friends Blood Angels just to get my feet wet. I purchased the "Start Collecting! Tau Empire" GW set and have built them all. I have a friend who has specialized in painting mini's and won awards. Although I have messed up a few trying to clean up the sprue remnants(aka battle damage. haha), i've done pretty well compared to some of the ones i've seen. I was ready to make my next purchase so I can begin taking down those who oppose the greater good. I came across a blessing in disguise. For a very low price, i'm getting an unpainted army that will allow me to play for real AND paint it the way that I want to. I won't tell you how much I paid for it because I don't want to trigger anyone. :D

The reason for my post is that I want to understand good composition for a 2000 point army based on what I have. 2000 is what a couple of my friends who are helping me learn the tabletop have in total. I want a set up for mobility because the people I will be practicing against have Orks, BA, and Nids. Here is my army:

1 x Stormsurge
1 x Riptide
2 x Ghost Keel
5 x Broadside
Commander
9 x Crisis Suit
12 x Stealth Suit
2 x Ethereal on drone
35 x Fire Warrior
30 x Pathfinders
4 x Missile Turrets
2 x Hammerheads
2 x Devilfish
2 x Piranha
50 x drones
10 x kroot

I understand some aspects of the Tau (don't get in close combat ever), but the experience of anyone on this forum is something I seek. I mastered Dawn of War, but this is a whole different beast. I'm open to suggestions. Thank you in advance.

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Mirth
Shas'La
Posts: 83

Re: New army is almost here, now what

Post#2 » Mar 29 2017 12:56

Meshuggah, welcome to tabletop 40k! :)

With the models you have, Orks don't really have a prayer once you gain some experience with the best way to run your army. Most 'Nid builds will crumple too, with the exception of Flying Hive Tyrant Spam. Blood Angels could be a problem, but even they will fall to the might of firepower that you can put out in their movement phase.

So, for a quick rundown on some of the elements of your list-
1. Stormsurge- one of our two Gargantuan creatures, this thing puts out so much firepower it is completely ridiculous. Give it a Shield Generator (for survivability) and an Early Warning Override and (personally) the Airburst Fragmentation Projector and the lovely main gun with the 5' range. BA that try to deepstrike near you will simply vanish under the weight of fire they get hit by during their movement phase. Anything that has to walk across the table will wilt. It is quite effective, particularly if you pair it with some markerlights- without them, the Stormsurge does not live up to its potential.

2. Riptide- since you have one at your disposal, I would advocate giving it the Ion Accelerator, as well as a Smart Missile System, Stimulant Injector, and Early Warning Override. Overcharging the Ion Accelerator makes most anything vanish when you throw a couple markerlights in there.

3. Ghostkeels- these are wonderful items in your list- personally I would pick up a third and run them as the Optimized Stealth Cadre, while giving two Ghostkeels target locks so your unit can engage three targets. The Cyclic Ion Raker is the superior main gun, while for secondaries it is a toss-up between the Fusion Blaster for more anti-tank, or hte Burst Cannon for more firepower. With your regular opponents being what they are, I would go burst cannon, but that's just me. :)

4. Broadsides- love the broadsides with the rail rifle, but the missile pods are superior in almost every way, sadly. With Smart Missile Systems, these things put out a lot of shots per turn and make an effective core for a gun line, but aren't the pinnacle of Tau meta atm. Still one of my favorite units, though.

5. Drones- personally, I would convert 24+ of your drones to be marker drones. As wonderful as pathfinders are, marker drones are the bread-and-butter of all things markerlight these days. In the Drone Net formation they come with Interceptor, which complements all the other models you can give interceptor too and thoroughly ruin the BA's player's day.

I'll leave the piece-by-piece analysis off there, but that's a really nice collection you have and you'll definitely be able to make some very, very good lists out of it.
When we forget we are soldiers, we stop fighting.

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Bloodknife92
Shas'La
Posts: 441

Re: New army is almost here, now what

Post#3 » Mar 29 2017 07:28

Meshuggah! First of all, epic name :D

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 :P

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.
The days of goodly English is went

Meshuggah
Shas
Posts: 12

Re: New army is almost here, now what

Post#4 » Mar 30 2017 12:00

@Mirth and @Bloodknife92, thank you both for the wisdom.

@Mirth, thanks for the introduction to the tabletop! I loved the Tau in DoW and i'm even MORE excited now. What infantry would you recommend to go along with those beasts? I was thinking of putting some Stealth Suits with the Ghostkeels for holding objectives. I was thinking with the cover saves bonuses and how fast the Ghostkeel can run through enemies, this could be a good combination while holding the objectives with minimal issue. What do you recommend in general for basic infantry? Are the kroot viable because of their ability to melee better than the rest of the Tau?

@bloodknife92, firstly, thanks!!!! It is one of my favorite bands. :D Researching has always been what worked well for me in other games I played so I am looking over what you advised. The Pathfinders seem to have been replaced with markerlight drones. I can only see them being viable if i'm needing to take an objective AND set up markerlights. Other than that, I don't want to take them. You mentioned the Crisis Suits. I see a lot of people sticking with missiles. I know it's better to be adaptive, but sometimes you can keep weapons on the same one because they do it all.

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Mirth
Shas'La
Posts: 83

Re: New army is almost here, now what

Post#5 » Mar 30 2017 12:57

You're welcome! :)

Well, if you want infantry you can take either the Kroot or Firewarriors. However, the important thing to keep in mind with either of them is that for your large suits they are primarily bubble wrap, or screening units. That isn't to say they can't put out damage- they can- but their purpose is to keep your large suits/units from getting locked in combat. Kroot, due to their low initiative, are rather poor melee, but due to their low points cost, are bubble wrap with equals only in Orks and Imperial Guard.

As for Crisis Suits, the Missile Pod is the does it all weapon from range, the Cyclic Ion Blaster is the does it all up close and personal, and the plasma rifle is the anti-marine gun. If you're looking for single weapons, generally people have a couple guys with two fusion blasters who operate on their own, deepstrike in, and look to take out heavy armor, and then pick which weapon suits your playstyle best for the rest. :)

Cover saves are good, but like armor saves, you don't want to rely on them to keep you alive. The reason Ghostkeels are truly a pain is their Countermeasures- making things snapfire that either ignore your cover save or could inflict Instant Death upon you is a very, very good thing. If you really want to make them annoying, give them Stimulant injectors, but those are not required by any stretch of the imagination.

Hope that helps a bit. :)
When we forget we are soldiers, we stop fighting.

Meshuggah
Shas
Posts: 12

Re: New army is almost here, now what

Post#6 » Mar 30 2017 04:17

Mirth wrote:You're welcome! :)

Well, if you want infantry you can take either the Kroot or Firewarriors. However, the important thing to keep in mind with either of them is that for your large suits they are primarily bubble wrap, or screening units. That isn't to say they can't put out damage- they can- but their purpose is to keep your large suits/units from getting locked in combat. Kroot, due to their low initiative, are rather poor melee, but due to their low points cost, are bubble wrap with equals only in Orks and Imperial Guard.

As for Crisis Suits, the Missile Pod is the does it all weapon from range, the Cyclic Ion Blaster is the does it all up close and personal, and the plasma rifle is the anti-marine gun. If you're looking for single weapons, generally people have a couple guys with two fusion blasters who operate on their own, deepstrike in, and look to take out heavy armor, and then pick which weapon suits your playstyle best for the rest. :)

Cover saves are good, but like armor saves, you don't want to rely on them to keep you alive. The reason Ghostkeels are truly a pain is their Countermeasures- making things snapfire that either ignore your cover save or could inflict Instant Death upon you is a very, very good thing. If you really want to make them annoying, give them Stimulant injectors, but those are not required by any stretch of the imagination.

Hope that helps a bit. :)


This helps provide perspective a LOT. Translating from theory to what actually works is my biggest hurdle. It won't be long until i'm in game with some friends. They will help me learn, but i'm wanting to show up armed with my knowledge as well as my army. Once I play, i'll post an update here with what transpired.

User avatar
Mirth
Shas'La
Posts: 83

Re: New army is almost here, now what

Post#7 » Mar 30 2017 05:42

The one other thing that is highly important with Tau is positioning (which we tend to forget a lot when simply talking shop). Actually, it might be the most important thing for us.

See, it's all well and good to have massive guns that simply delete enemy units, but when one model of that enemy deathstar survives, makes it to combat, and single-handedly wipes out your entire gunline because space marines on wolves are ridiculous and you've got a Knight smashing into the other side of your line (had that happen once- basically lost to two models getting through the firestorm). :sad:

Bubble wrap can help immensely in overcoming this issue, of course. Your only other option is going with a highly maneuverable army (which is what I transitioned to after the gun line fiasco). Either way, definitely find what works best for you with some experimentation, and always watch your positioning.

Ghostkeels come to mind as an example of a unit you really have to position well- since they don't have any innate escape methods (like a Riptide thrust move), you want to do your best to not rely on their thrust move and keep them at maximum range- that way you can deny as many charges as possible while still putting out the most firepower you can. Always have an escape option ready for your battlesuits, and don't be afraid to block enemy movement with a unit if you need to so your heavy-hitters can escape.
When we forget we are soldiers, we stop fighting.

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