Need Advice For My First Real List

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sandgoblin
Shas'La
Posts: 26

Need Advice For My First Real List

Post#1 » Jan 28 2017 01:48

Hello all, new wargaming/WH40k/Tau player here! I've been lurking on the Fire Academy forums for a while now, as I try to wrap my head around all the different options I can take as I build my Tau army. I love the general feel of the Tau and the tactics they implement. I played my first game yesterday with a more experienced friend at about 500 points in order to get a better grasp on the mechanics and the feel of the Tau army. I was using the Ethereal Honor Guard because it was cheap and simple; I wouldn't consider it a real list of my creation because of its simplicity. Now, we are planning our first "real" game, and I find myself in need of advice on this first rough draft of a list I've created.

This list is a 1500 point Hunter Contingent, consisting of a Hunter Cadre and an Optimized Stealth Cadre. Given I am playing a casual game with a friend, the purpose of my list is to be fun, but also somewhat competitive. By that, I mean that I do want the list to actually be a strong, respectable army, but I don't want to just field 3 Riptides in a fire team or, God forbid, a Stormsurge fire team.

My opponent will be Armies of the Imperium, almost certainly with a primary detachment of space marines, and possibly an allied detachment of grey knights. We are playing with HEAVY PROXY, so pretty much anything is on the table in terms of terrain and models. We are both former Heroscape players, which means we have plenty of terrain and proxy terrain. Similarly, we have plenty of models to proxy with. The only limit is NO FLYERS. We both agreed that we don't want to waste points/force org slots/hard points on dedicated anti-air, so no flyers, FMCs, and the like. Skimmers and jet pack units are obviously fine, because if they weren't, about 3/4 of the codex would be invalid. :D

My list is a Hunter Contingent consisting of two cadres; a Hunter Cadre and an Optimized Stealth cadre. Without further ado, the list:

HUNTER CONTINGENT - 1501 Points


HUNTER CADRE - 1136 Points

Command - Cadre Fireblade: 84 points
1x Cadre Fireblade w/ Markerlight, Photon Grenades, Pulse Rifle, and 2 Gun Drones

Command - Battlesuit Commander: 120 points
1x Shas'O Commander w/ XV8 Suit, Blacksun Filter, Multi-tracker, Command and Control Node, Neuroweb System Jammer, and Multi-Spectrum Sensor Suite

Troops - Fire Warrior Strike Team: 64 points
6x Fire Warrior w/ Pulse Rifles, Photon Grenades, and a DS8 Tactical Support Turret

Troops - Fire Warrior Strike Team: 64 points
6x Fire Warrior w/ Pulse Rifles, Photon Grenades, and a DS8 Tactical Support Turret

Troops - Fire Warrior Strike Team: 64 points
6x Fire Warrior w/ Pulse Rifles, Photon Grenades, and a DS8 Tactical Support Turret

Elite - XV104 Riptide Battlesuit: 270 points
1x Riptide Shas'vre w/ Ion Accelerator, Riptide Shield Generator, Twin-Linked SMS, Stimulant Injector, and 2 Shielded Missile Drones

Elite - XV8 Crisis Battlesuits: 208 points
4x Crisis Shas'ui w/ two Plasma Rifles each

Fast Attack - Pathfinder Team: 44 points
4x Pathfinders w/ Markerlight, Pulse Carbine, and Photon Grenades

Fast Attack - Pathfinder Team: 44 points
4x Pathfinders w/ Markerlight, Pulse Carbine, and Photon Grenades

Fast Attack - Pathfinder Team: 44 points
4x Pathfinders w/ Markerlight, Pulse Carbine, and Photon Grenades

Heavy Support - XV88 Broadside Battlesuit: 65 points
1x Broadside w/ Twin-linked Heavy Rail Rifle and Twin-linked SMS

Heavy Support - XV88 Broadside Battlesuit: 65 points
1x Broadside w/ Twin-linked Heavy Rail Rifle and Twin-linked SMS

OPTIMIZED STEALTH CADRE - 368 Points

Ghostkeel Team - Ghostkeel Battlesuit: 138 Points
1x Ghostkeel w/ Cyclic Ion Raker, Twin-linked Burst Cannon, Advanced Targeting System, and 2 Stealth Drones

Stealth Team - Stealth Battlesuit: 115 Points
2x Stealth Shas'ui w/ Burst cannon, 1x Stealth Shas'vre w/ Fusion Blaster and Homing Beacon

Stealth Team - Stealth Battlesuit: 110 Points
2x Stealth Shas'ui w/ Burst cannon, 1x Stealth Shas'vre w/ Fusion Blaster

Total: 1501 Points

The broad plan that I want to go with is a to put down some threatening firepower to start the game. With this, I want to accomplish two goals; start drawing blood from his forces, and getting him to commit his powerful units to killing my threat units. I don't know a whole lot about, well, anything in this game yet, but I know that Grey Knights are infamous for Deep Striking powerful dedicated melee units, so I'm hoping to lure those out. Then, I want to utilize the Deep Strike rule to put a lot of firepower on his side of the board, where, if my threat unit plan works, his scary dedicated melee units WON'T be.

I created the list around this plan. I will deploy my Riptide, Broadsides, Cadre Fireblade, Pathfinders and Fire Warrior Teams in order to have an immediate impact on the battlefield. I learned from my first game that if you utilize Deep Strike, you need to have some firepower already out. The pathfinders should help compensate for the lack of firepower due to a large portion of my army starting off the board. The Broadsides and Riptide will be my big threat units, especially the Riptide. I saw some thread on this board suggesting the 6-man FW squads with a DS8, which I quite liked. I'm hoping that if my opponent does deepstrike near my Riptide or Broadsides, attacking the Cadre FB to the closest FW squad will give me 12-18 pulse rifle shots on whatever he deepstikes with.

The Stealth suits, all of them, will infiltrate in. Everything else will Deep Strike around the Shas'vre with the homing beacon, which I will be careful to hide so he doesn't die right away. The Commander will join the crisis suit team. He is outfitted with all support gear that will greatly increase the effectiveness of the Crisis Squad, which will go TEQ/MEQ hunting. The Ghostkeel will also deep strike in, and he is outfitted to go hunting for powerful models hidden within squads. The raker has 6 shots, so on average, I will get a precision shot that I can allocate to characters and other such models. It's stats are quite effective against marines.

So, that's my general strategy for this list. I GREATLY appreciate all feedback and criticism, whether positive or negative. You guys know more than me, and I'd like advice on what to do to improve the list in accordance with my strategy. Or, if my strategy sucks against my opponent (which it very well may), please do not refrain from giving me advice on how to alter that as well.

P.S. I apologize if I made any mistakes about what certain models can do or if the points cost is off, I made this list using Battlescribe.

CHANGE LOG: 1. Took out 6x Marker Drones on the Crisis Squad and Drone Controller on Shas'O for an additional Crisis Suit w/ Plasma Rifles and an additional FW in each Strike Team. 2. Removed 2 Pathfinders from each squad and added a third 4-man squad in their place. 3. Added Neuroweb System Jammer to Commander because it's cheap, NSJ is good, and I have the extra points.
Last edited by sandgoblin on Jan 29 2017 02:54, edited 4 times in total.

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Panzer
Shas'La
Posts: 2680

Re: Need Advice For My First Real List

Post#2 » Jan 28 2017 02:29

Looks good enough for a casual game. Obviously there are some things to min-max here and there but overall it's not a weak list at all.
The only thing i'd change is: no Markerlight Drones in Crisis teams (or any other unit really).
Your unit won't be able to use the markerlights themselves and since they are in the same unit (without having Target Locks on every suit) they have to shoot at them same target. Means they likely kill whatever target you wanted to use the Markerlights for essentially wasting them (or the shooting depending on the point of view).

Markerlight Drones are best used in one of the following ways:
- on their own: weakest Drones and comparable to regular Pathfinder in terms of efficiency
- in a unit with a Drone Controller Commander (him and only him!): best or second best way to use them depending on who you ask. Makes them all BS5 and every unit can use their Markerlights because they shoot on their own.
. in a Drone-Net formation (the one with the special rules, not the Hunter Contingent auxiliary): the other 'best' way to use them. They get a bunch of special rules and all become BS3 so they become more durable and mobile Pathfinder.


On a sidenote: If you want to be careful about your lists powerlevel then try not to use those formations together: Optimised Stealth Cadre, Riptide Wing, Drone-Net.
While most of our other formations are pretty strong as well, those are our strongest and can skyrocket your lists powerlevel if you aren't careful. ;)

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sandgoblin
Shas'La
Posts: 26

Re: Need Advice For My First Real List

Post#3 » Jan 28 2017 04:57

Thank you for the reply! What drones do you think I should replace them with, then? Gun or Shield? Or should I drop them altogether for something else, like another suit?

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Panzer
Shas'La
Posts: 2680

Re: Need Advice For My First Real List

Post#4 » Jan 28 2017 05:20

In a Plasma Crisis unit no drone really makes that much sense. They want to hunt TEQs and MEQs. Shield Drones are pretty meh overall except for some very specific situations with Commander.

So yeah I'd drop them completely. You have 2x6 Pathfinder which should be enough in casual games for Markerlights as well so no real need to build a Mark'O (Drone Controller Commander in a Markerlight Drone unit).

That frees like 70p which you could easily use for an additional fully equipped suit, more Firewarrior or whatever. Since you have a Fireblade I'd try to get in a bigger Firewarrior unit. The more they are the better a Fireblade becomes and they die pretty fast with their T3....if you see Wyvern on the other side of the field you can tell your infantry good bye already. :D
Double Flamer Monats (single Crisis Suit unit) to harass the AM infantry if you happen to not want to dedicate your Markerlights for that particular in cover hiding unit would be another option to spend those points since they are pretty cheap but still scary enough for the enemy to dedicate at least some firepower to get rid of them (for maximum fun let them deep strike. It's no big loss if a 32p model comes in late or scatters far away :P ).

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Ifrit
Shas'La
Posts: 147

Re: Need Advice For My First Real List

Post#5 » Jan 28 2017 06:29

If you want to deepstike with all of your suits why not go Retaliation Cadre? Still keep your OSC on the board and drop a bunch of suits in his face. It's fun, and still semi-competitive at the same time.
Just my two cents.

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sandgoblin
Shas'La
Posts: 26

Re: Need Advice For My First Real List

Post#6 » Jan 28 2017 06:38

Thank you for the advice! Taking away all 6 drones and the drone controller on the Shas'O gives me 80 points to work with. I think more troops is definitely a smart way to go, so I added an additional fire warrior to each squad. I also added another plasma suit to the Crisis team because if he's running heavy TEQ armor, which I think I'm safe to assume he will be if he runs Grey Knights, I'll need the extra AP2.

@Ifrit That's actually a really good point, thank you for bringing that up! Automatic T2 deep strike with broadsides seems quite fun. :biggrin: However, I don't want to change this list over to a Retaliation Cadre because I like the Optimized Stealth Cadre and Ghostkeels too much - I think I'll create another list entirely for this strategy using that formation! Yes, then I can compare the two to see which I'll use. Both sound so fun! Man, I love this army! :)

EDIT: Wait a minute. Do you mean I could field an Optimized Stealth Cadre AND a Retaliation in a 1500 point game? As in, use both as two separate detachments without using a Hunter Contingent? Am I allowed to do that? Because if so, that it, well, awesome! I'm sorry, I am new after all, so I suppose asking if that is legal may sound stupid, but I am not entirely sure.

Another thing that may be of note is that I don't have the newest codex, I'm using the 2012 Codex in conjunction with the Kauyon book. I don't know if that's relevant because I would need the 2015 codex to know if it was, but if it is, now you know. :)

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Ifrit
Shas'La
Posts: 147

Re: Need Advice For My First Real List

Post#7 » Jan 28 2017 08:29

I only have the updated Tau codex (so I could be wrong) but I'm pretty sure you can take any of the Aux options whether your Hunter or Dawnblade. They were just listed in different books because, well GW *shrug*

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sandgoblin
Shas'La
Posts: 26

Re: Need Advice For My First Real List

Post#8 » Jan 28 2017 08:58

I know I can use multiple Auxiliaries in a Hunter Contingent, the issue is points. There's no way I can fit an Optimized Stealth Cadre, a Retaliation Cadre, AND a Hunter Cadre for 1500, and the Hunter Cadre is mandatory for a Hunter Contingent. For me to do a OSC/RC at 1500, I would need to take each one as a separate detachment. My question is; is that allowed? Can I take the cadres listed as Hunter Contingent Auxiliaries as a plain ole' detachment, outside of a Hunter Contingent?

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Frederick
Shas
Posts: 10

Re: Need Advice For My First Real List

Post#9 » Jan 28 2017 10:17

So, the Mont'ka book introduces another contingent called the Dawn Blade Contingent, which can use the Retaliation cadre as its core choice. That, plus an auxiliary, plus the OSC in a Formation detachment, will let you take the army you want. The major change is that a Dawn Blade Contingent means your army is now a Farsight Enclaves army.

I believe that you could also just take both formations in separate formation detachments, but you'd have no overarching contingent bonus. Is this the case?

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Panzer
Shas'La
Posts: 2680

Re: Need Advice For My First Real List

Post#10 » Jan 29 2017 02:52

You can combine any number of formations in your army as long as you have enough points, yes. ;)
You can run any formation on their own and in combination of other formations and detachments as long as they have their own datasheet (so not something like the Drone-Net Auxiliary of the Hunter Contingent).
You can also decide for each formation seperately whether it's a Farsight Enclave or a Tau Empire formation.
However taking two Auxiliary formations without a Core formation is invalid in terms of a Hunter Contingent (thanks to the 1+ Core requirement) so if you want to use those without a Hunter Cadre you'd have to take them outside of a Hunter Contingent.

Not much changed from the former version of the Codex. Only the formations and the new units are missing. You should be fine.

Frederick wrote:...The major change is that a Dawn Blade Contingent means your army is now a Farsight Enclaves army.

That's not the major change...in fact switching between FSE and TE is a very minor change for most Tau lists. :D The major change is the meta-detachment benefit. Hunter Contingent allows you to combine fire to increase your BS and share Markerlights while Dawn Blade lets you re-roll to wound rolls against the unit you chose each turn. This and some of the Auxiliaries are different.

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Unicornsilovethem
Shas'Saal
Posts: 278

Re: Need Advice For My First Real List

Post#11 » Jan 29 2017 07:01

You don't have enough spread of your markerlights. It leaves the pathfinders more vulnerable (1 blast = :sad: ) and since Hunter Contingent lets you share markerlights anyway, you probably rarely need a ton of them on the same target. So I would split your 2x6 pathfinders into 3x4.

I realize this makes them liable to a morale test for any casualty they take whereas if you have 5 or more, you need to lose 2 models. But in reality, it never happens that just a single pathfinder dies. Taking 5 in a unit has never saved me from any morale tests.

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sandgoblin
Shas'La
Posts: 26

Re: Need Advice For My First Real List

Post#12 » Jan 29 2017 02:40

OK, thank you for that advice, I'll switch it over now.

As for all the formation stuff, I'll look into all of my options, and knowing myself, I'll probably create a list for each. The Dawnblade Contingent definitely sounds interesting. And it's good to know that I can run both, or one, independently if I so please.

So does my overall strategy sound fine for a casual, but not uncompetitive game against Space Marines and possibly Grey Knights?

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Panzer
Shas'La
Posts: 2680

Re: Need Advice For My First Real List

Post#13 » Jan 29 2017 03:22

I think you'll do fine unless you face a real cheesy list if you are around the same level of experience. Playing the game itself is not exactly rocket science (apart from remembering every rule) and your list is solid with a lot of room to improve for real competetive games. ;)

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