Buying too much...
I agree, don't buy too much at once. I've made this mistake myself and would warn others against it. It's nice to have a lot of models to choose from to craft an army that can play well in a given situation, but not when you lack the experience to make sound decisions when doing so. Plus the grey tide can be overwhelming when there is a lot and painting may become too much of a chore. Buy what you can manage to paint and play in a short time span and then grow from there.Forgeworld
Stay away from Forgeworld for now. Build out the core of your army and accent with Forgeworld models later. Some units are great, but they are typically more costly (base price + shipping) and you'd need to purchase yet another book. I can offer one suggestion if you want to have Tetras. Buy these and do some minor conversions with some Tau bits from other boxes. The jet bikes are not expensive (plus the box comes with 4!!!) and could be run as Tetras, credit to another member on here for posting a thread about them. http://www.manticgames.com/mantic-shop/ ... bikes.htmlFirewarriors & Get Started Box
You've mentioned you don't want Firewarriors , I can understand this. I have a Tyranid army which was my first and Tau is my second army. My Tau are geared towards an elite low model count army, to minimize painting (which I'm not a fan of tbh). I would still suggest you consider buying the Tau get started box. It comes with: 3 Crisis suits, 10 Firewarriors [FWs], & an Etherial.
This box is only $10 more than a box of 3 Crisis suits, so why not pay 10$ more to get an the Etherial and Firewarriors plus a few more drones. Plus you may need a few FWs in the future to run certain formations or fill a troops slot.Side note, it will cost you a lot to buy the FW-Drone Sentry Turret Team models and have them shipped. As I see you've used these to fill your troops choice. Again a good reason why the get started box is a good deal for you here. Drones
You have a lot of drones in your working list. I'm not against them, but they way you have chosen to include them isn't going to be efficient. Adding drones to squads is not the way to go nowadays.
I would suggest looking up the VX-1 Drone Net formation (at least I beliebe that's the correct name). It is a formation with 4 squads of 4 drones and with that comes a number of benefits. This is the best way to take drones. It's ~230 pts for the Drone formation. I would not include drones in any of the squads, whether they are Firewarrior or crisis suit squads. Suggestions for your starting force
2x Tau Get Started box: each box includes
...3x Crisis suits
...~8x Drones (I believe it's 8 per box, 6 from Crisis sprues and 2 from FW sprues)
1x Commander, don't use 'Cold Star' load out, if takes wound from a groundting test = death, S9 vs T4
1x pick one: Riptide
1x pick one:
Hammerhead OR BroadsideBolded options are my preferences, but either option works.
You armies Markerlight source choice:
Here is a significant choice to make, based on the source of Markerlights you choose to go with.
Option 1: Have the commander in a squad of 4-6 Drones with drone controller. All Markelight drones.
Option 2: Grab drones as needed to run the drone net formation, run 2 squads as ML and 2 as Gun drones. May not need to buy many extras as I believe 2x Get Started box should provide the 16 you need to use the formation.
Option 3: 1x Mantic Enforcer Jetbikes box, comes with 4 jetbikes, model these as Tetras with some minor conversion work & bits from other Tau boxes you happen to buy.
Total cost of above in CAD: ~$420-440.As you can see even a small force will add up quick. Hence why I suggest against the typically more expensive Forgeworld models. Your money is better spent on the above at this time.
Even if you don't ever end up using the 20x Firewarriors & 2 Etherials, you at least have the option. Plus it only costs an extra $20 at the end of the day. A number of the Tau formations will require FWs, so having them only expands your options.
I'd start with the list I suggested above with your specific choices. It will give you enough of a force to run between 750-1000 pts easily enough. I'd start with this, paint it, get 20+ games in and expand from there.
Cheers and happy war gaming.