First time Tau advice

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Surestrike
Shas
Posts: 6

First time Tau advice

Post#1 » Aug 10 2017 09:32

Greetings

As the title suggests I'm new to Tau and modern 40k (I played 2nd Ed. way back when). I regularly attend a wargaming club and would like to put together a 1,000-2,000 (lets say 1,500) point force for some fun games.

At this stage the models I have are as follows (mostly still on the sprue awaiting magnets):
1 Pathfinder kit + extra recon drone, 2x metal Rail rifle pathfinders and 3 with carbines
1 XV25 Stealth Unit
1 Cadre Fireblade
1 Coalition Command
2x Start Collecting boxes.

My first question is regarding the XV8s and whether i'm best running them all as crisis units (either 2x3 or 1x6) or can/should I use 3 to count as commanders? The commander from the coalition I intend to build as Coldstar but will be magnetised.

I have assumed that I can use 3 suits to count as and put together a force, I'm a bit unsure on weapon purpose so have based loadouts on what I've read here on ATT trying to make an universal force. The majority of players at the club seem to play SM or CSM but there are a couple of long time players with multiple force options.


Total Points of Force 1510 pts

Battalion Detachment - 1024pts
HQ - 201pts
Cadre Fireblade with marker light and shield drone 50pts
Ethereal on drone with equalisers 51pts
Coldstar Commander with High output burst cannon, Missile pod Shield Generator and ATS 150pts

Troops 160pts
4x Strike Teams 1x shas'ui and 4x warriors with pulse rifles 40pts (each)

Fast Attack 184pts
2x Pathfinder Teams 1xShaus'ui and 4x Pathfinders with Pulse Carbine, Marker lights and Photon grenades 40pts each
1x Tactical Drones 4x Markerlight Drones and 8x Gun Drones 104pts

Elites 429pts
1 Crisis Suit unit 5x Fusion Blasters 3x Flamers 1x Drone Controller and 6x Gun Drones 311pts
1 Stealth Suit unit 3x Burst Cannon 1x ATS 1x Homing Beacon 118pts

Supreme Command Detachment - 486pts
HQ 486pts
1 Commander with 3x Missile Pod and 1x ATS 156pts
1 Commander with 4x Fusion Blaster and 2x Shield Drones 176pts
1 Commander with 3x CIB, 1x ATS and 2x Shield Drones 154pts

Please pull it apart and tell me where I'm going wrong....
(Also any tips for acquiring additional CIBs)


Tau'va

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Vector Strike
Shas'La
Shas'La
Posts: 955

Re: First time Tau advice

Post#2 » Aug 10 2017 10:03

Surestrike wrote:My first question is regarding the XV8s and whether i'm best running them all as crisis units (either 2x3 or 1x6) or can/should I use 3 to count as commanders? The commander from the coalition I intend to build as Coldstar but will be magnetised.


2x3, because the new Morale mechanics punish big units without Ld-mess rules.
You can use the 3 as commanders. Technically they'll be better than 3 Crisis!

Surestrike wrote:I have assumed that I can use 3 suits to count as and put together a force, I'm a bit unsure on weapon purpose so have based loadouts on what I've read here on ATT trying to make an universal force. The majority of players at the club seem to play SM or CSM but there are a couple of long time players with multiple force options.

If you'll keep them as Crisis, flamers work best (with Stealth Suits + Homing Beacons to help). As Commanders, Cyclic Ion Blasters and Fusion Blasters seem to be the best options.

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Arka0415
Shas'Ui
Shas'Ui
Posts: 1579

Re: First time Tau advice

Post#3 » Aug 10 2017 10:32

Surestrike wrote:At this stage the models I have are as follows (mostly still on the sprue awaiting magnets):
1 Pathfinder kit + extra recon drone, 2x metal Rail rifle pathfinders and 3 with carbines
1 XV25 Stealth Unit
1 Cadre Fireblade
1 Coalition Command
2x Start Collecting boxes.

My first question is regarding the XV8s and whether i'm best running them all as crisis units (either 2x3 or 1x6) or can/should I use 3 to count as commanders? The commander from the coalition I intend to build as Coldstar but will be magnetised.

I have assumed that I can use 3 suits to count as and put together a force, I'm a bit unsure on weapon purpose so have based loadouts on what I've read here on ATT trying to make an universal force. The majority of players at the club seem to play SM or CSM but there are a couple of long time players with multiple force options.

Feel free to use your XV8s as Commanders! Just be sure to explain that to your opponent. If you end up liking Commanders, make some cool XV8 Commander conversions with different paint schemes etc.!

Surestrike wrote:Total Points of Force 1510 pts

Just so you know, in most games it's considered okay to be +1 or +2 points over, but never go over the limit by more than that.

For your list, it looks like a good start! You're adapting to 8th well! There are a few things we can remove right off the bat though. First, the Shield Drone on the Fireblade- that's First Blood waiting to happen and your Fireblade can't even be targeted anyway. Second, I wouldn't bother with Equalizers on the Ethereal- you're never going to want him in close combat. Next, you're bringing a lot of Markerlights at 1500 points. Two Pathfinder squads is plenty, let alone 4 more Marker Drones. Also, not a problem but, what s the function of that Drone squad? Will it be getting Drone Controller support somewhere? Next, I'd try to get 6 Fusion Blasters on the XV8 squad- the Flamers are just for overwatch, right? Finally, why the single ATS on the Stealthsuit squad? It only affects one unit.

If we trim the list down a bit, it'd look like this:

HQ - Cadre Fireblade w/ Markerlight (42)
HQ - Ethereal on Hover Drone (50)
HQ - Commander w/ 4x Fusion Blasters; 2x Shield Drones (176)
HQ - Commander w/ 3x CIBs, ATS; 2x Shield Drones (154)
HQ - Commander w/ 3x Missile Pods, ATS (156)
HQ - Coldstar Commander w/ Shield Generator, ATS (150)
Troops - 5x Fire Warriors (40)
Troops - 5x Fire Warriors (40)
Troops - 5x Fire Warriors (40)
Troops - 5x Fire Warriors (40)
Elites - 3x XV8s w/ 6x Fusion Blasters, 2x Flamers, 1x Drone Controller; 6x Gun Drones (323)
Elites - 3x Stealthsuits w/ 3x Burst Cannons, Homing Beacon (110)
Fast Attack - 5x Pathfinders (40)
Fast Attack - 5x Pathfinders (40)
Fast Attack - 6x Gun Drones (48)
Fast Attack - 6x Gun Drones (48)

Total: 1497 - Command Points: 8 (1 Battalion Detachment, 1 Supreme Command Detachment, 1 Outrider Detachment)

-

What do you think? Personally though, seeing the number of Commanders that you have, I'd try to consolidate the gunline element of the army, try CIBs, and I'd also get those Rail Rifles in there to give you a little more range. Here's another version of your list. (By the way, looking at your collection I assume you have 20 Drones?)

-

HQ - Cadre Fireblade w/ Markerlight (42)
HQ - Ethereal on Hover Drone (50)
HQ - Commander w/ 4x Fusion Blasters; 2x Shield Drones (176)
HQ - Commander w/ 3x CIBs, ATS; 2x Shield Drones (154)
HQ - Commander w/ 3x Missile Pods, ATS (156)
HQ - Coldstar Commander w/ Shield Generator, ATS (150)
Troops - 6x Fire Warriors (48)
Troops - 6x Fire Warriors (48)
Troops - 6x Fire Warriors (48)
Elites - 3x XV8s w/ 8x CIBs, 1x Drone Controller; 6x Gun Drones (323)
Elites - 3x Stealthsuits w/ 3x Burst Cannons, Homing Beacon; 2x Shield Drones (126)
Fast Attack - 6x Pathfinders w/ 4x Markerlights, 2x Rail Rifles (86)
Fast Attack - 6x Pathfinders w/ 6x Markerlights (48)
Fast Attack - 6x Gun Drones (48)

Total: 1503 - Command Points: 8 (1 Battalion Detachment, 1 Supreme Command Detachment, 1 Outrider Detachment)

How about that?

-

(Also any tips for acquiring additional CIBs)[/quote]

Check this out! http://www.reddogminis.com/catalog/item ... 338245.htm

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Surestrike
Shas
Posts: 6

Re: First time Tau advice

Post#4 » Aug 11 2017 02:25

Thank you both for the feedback, sorry for the long reply but there was a lot of information to process..

In response to Vector strike:
2x3, because the new Morale mechanics punish big units without Ld-mess rules.
You can use the 3 as commanders. Technically they'll be better than 3 Crisis!


Good to know, I'm not 100% familiar with rules and this goes some way to explaining the smaller strike team numbers.

If you'll keep them as Crisis, flamers work best (with Stealth Suits + Homing Beacons to help). As Commanders, Cyclic Ion Blasters and Fusion Blasters seem to be the best options.


I've read a lot about the crisis suits on here and Flamer's, and they do seem to have a roll. However due to limitations in what I have available I was looking to create a Fusion unit to take out some of the tougher units i may face and then over-watch with the flamers. Down the line I may invest in more suits to create a pure flamer team to support the gun-line or get in amongst it.

In response to Arka
Feel free to use your XV8s as Commanders! Just be sure to explain that to your opponent. If you end up liking Commanders, make some cool XV8 Commander conversions with different paint schemes etc.!


Already looking at conversion options and other ways (in addition to paint) to make them identifiable

Just so you know, in most games it's considered okay to be +1 or +2 points over, but never go over the limit by more than that.


A rookie mistake ;)

For your list, it looks like a good start! You're adapting to 8th well!


I think it helps that i'm returning after a long absence so not carrying any preconceived ideas.

There are a few things we can remove right off the bat though. First, the Shield Drone on the Fireblade- that's First Blood waiting to happen and your Fireblade can't even be targeted anyway. Second, I wouldn't bother with Equalizers on the Ethereal- you're never going to want him in close combat.


Both silly mistakes and probably down to unfamiliarity with rules/ victory point designation.

Next, you're bringing a lot of Markerlights at 1500 points. Two Pathfinder squads is plenty, let alone 4 more Marker Drones. Also, not a problem but, what s the function of that Drone squad? Will it be getting Drone Controller support somewhere?


Initially I had the drones scattered between units (FW and pathfinders) so thought it better to create a cohesive unit, initially i was building it with the idea of a drone controller but that will limit my deployment as the only one is with the crisis unit. My 2nd option was to use them as a bubble wrap for FW or Fireblade and to gain the Fireblades buff.

Next, I'd try to get 6 Fusion Blasters on the XV8 squad- the Flamers are just for overwatch, right? Finally, why the single ATS on the Stealthsuit squad? It only affects one unit.


Exactly flamers are for overwatch although im uncertain as to whether they should they be on one suit or distributed across all three. Wasn't aware the ATS only affects one unit if there is no benefit then i'll drop it.

Total: 1497 - Command Points: 8 (1 Battalion Detachment, 1 Supreme Command Detachment, 1 Outrider Detachment)

-

What do you think?


The first option definitely looks more defined and I hadn't even considered the fact I could be making 3 detachments for 8 CP.

By the way, looking at your collection I assume you have 20 Drones?


I have 21 all magnetised so have options on each and I don't mind sourcing extras if I need to.

HQ - Cadre Fireblade w/ Markerlight (42)
HQ - Ethereal on Hover Drone (50)
HQ - Commander w/ 4x Fusion Blasters; 2x Shield Drones (176)
HQ - Commander w/ 3x CIBs, ATS; 2x Shield Drones (154)
HQ - Commander w/ 3x Missile Pods, ATS (156)
HQ - Coldstar Commander w/ Shield Generator, ATS (150)
Troops - 6x Fire Warriors (48)
Troops - 6x Fire Warriors (48)
Troops - 6x Fire Warriors (48)
Elites - 3x XV8s w/ 8x CIBs, 1x Drone Controller; 6x Gun Drones (323)
Elites - 3x Stealthsuits w/ 3x Burst Cannons, Homing Beacon; 2x Shield Drones (126)
Fast Attack - 6x Pathfinders w/ 4x Markerlights, 2x Rail Rifles (86)
Fast Attack - 6x Pathfinders w/ 6x Markerlights (48)
Fast Attack - 6x Gun Drones (48)

Total: 1503 - Command Points: 8 (1 Battalion Detachment, 1 Supreme Command Detachment, 1 Outrider Detachment)


This looks to be a very refined and optimised list, and probably something I wouldn't have got too my own. Should I take all the FW with pulse rifles or would a Breacher unit be useful in the mix? How would my target priority work, e.g. which units should I target characters with, which for TEQ, MEQ and tanks? Apart from CIBs this list looks very achievable with units I have available and the balance between gun-line and suits appeals to me. As I don't have the CIBs (at the moment) would switching back to fusion/flamer combos be an issue?


Once again sorry for the loooong reply, but all your input is greatly appreciated and it's reassuring to know that I'm not a million miles away with my initial ideas. :D

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Arka0415
Shas'Ui
Shas'Ui
Posts: 1579

Re: First time Tau advice

Post#5 » Aug 11 2017 09:55

Surestrike wrote:Once again sorry for the loooong reply, but all your input is greatly appreciated and it's reassuring to know that I'm not a million miles away with my initial ideas. :D

No, thank you! I love talking tactics and list-building, the longer the reply the better :D Let me answer some of your questions!

Surestrike wrote:Should I take all the FW with pulse rifles or would a Breacher unit be useful in the mix?

Aha, you found me out. I've been playing Tau for too long and I can't stop calling Strike Teams "Fire Warriors," as that's what they used to be called. Before Breachers came out. All of the Fire Warrior Teams in the list should be Strike Teams, not Breacher Teams. If they were Breachers, then Devilfish would be needed, and the tactics of the list would feel very different. If you love Breachers we can re-write the list a bit, but when I wrote it I was thinking about ordinary Fire Warriors (er, Strike Teams).

Surestrike wrote:How would my target priority work, e.g. which units should I target characters with, which for TEQ, MEQ and tanks?

Of course, it depends on the game, but here are the (rough) tactics of this list.

0. This is step zero because it's a a but counter-intuitive. First, deploy everything you can in Manta Strike. This way, you'll have no units on the field while your opponent deploys many units, depriving your opponent of valuable information.

1. Deploy the Fire Warriors in a defensive formation with the Ethereal and Fireblade in the center, and Gun Drones out front. For best results, make sure the HQs' buffs cover every unit, Gun Drones included.

2. Deploy the Pathfinders in cover, ruins, or in otherwise hard-to-reach and fortified positions. Hopefully your enemy forgets about them!

3. Deploy the Stealthsuits in a safe, but aggressive, location. They're your Manta Strike insurance. You can use the Homing Beacon to drop units up to 15+D6" away (8+D6" move, 1" placement, 6" range), so place them close enough to enemy heavy units to use the Homing Beacon, but far enough away for them to not be killed if you don't get first turn. It's tricky, but you'll get used to it.

- Okay, game start! Hopefully you got 1st turn, or at least survived the enemy's first turn. -

4. It's time to Manta Strike! First, deploy your Fusion Commander 18" away from the enemy's biggest, baddest thing. We'll call it "target alpha" because that sounds cool. Then deploy your XV8s in front of the Fusion Commander, in a place where they can shoot "target alpha" if need be, or something else if it gets destroyed. Finally, Manta Strike the Missile Pod Commander in a position that's far away from enemy units, but still a place where he has many targets to choose from. The Coldstar is a bit of a wild card- it's a skirmisher, not a target hunter.

- From here on out, let's talk target priority. This is, basically, what you'll do every turn. -

5. First, identify 2 target units. "Target alpha" is the biggest, baddest thing. "Target beta" is the thing you'll shoot in the case "target alpha" is destroyed. Use your Pathfinders to place 1 Markerlight on "target alpha" and 1 Markerlight on "target beta." You'll have to shoot your Rail Rifles too (due to unit activation) so fire them wherever they'll be most effective- usually very light tanks, or heavy infantry.

6. Shoot with your Fusion Commander at "target alpha".

7. Shoot with your XV8s at "target alpha," or "target beta" if "target alpha" has been destroyed by the Fusion Commander. CIB XV8s can damage any target- but they prefer T7 tanks and T4 infantry!

8. Shoot with your Missile Pod Commander at any tank/monster/character that you think you can finish off. The Missile Pod Commander is just that- finisher damage. Prioritize your marked targets of course.

9. From here on out, use your gunline units, Drones, and Stealthsuits to hold down the fort while your big bad Battlesuits do the real work!

Surestrike wrote:How would my target priority work, e.g. which units should I target characters with, which for TEQ, MEQ and tanks?

I didn't really answer your question in that last response, so I'll explain here:

GEQ (T3/5+) - Use Pulse weapons
Necron (T4/4+/Annoying) - Use Pulse weapons, or Cyclic Ion Blasters if no better targets are available
MEQ (T4/3+) - Use Pulse weapons, or Cyclic Ion Blasters if no better targets are available
Primaris (T4/2W/3+) Use Pulse weapons or Rail Rifles, or Cyclic Ion Blasters if no better targets are available
TEQ (T4/2W/2+/5++) - Use Cyclic Ion Blasters or Rail Rifles, or Fusion Blasters if no better targets are available
Centurion (T5/3W/2+) - Use Cyclic Ion Blasters or Rail Rifles, or Fusion Blasters if no better targets are available
Ghost Ark (T6/4+) - Use Cyclic Ion Blasters, Missile Pods, or Rail Rifles, DO NOT use Fusion Blasters
Rhino (T7/3+) - Use Cyclic Ion Blasters or Missile Pods, or Fusion Blasters if no better targets are available
Leman Russ (T8/3+) - Use Cyclic Ion Blasters or Fusion Blasters, or Missile Pods if no better targets are available
Land Raider (T8/2+) - Use Cyclic Ion Blasters or Fusion Blasters, maybe also shout "Tau'va!" for good luck

When it comes to Cyclic Ion Blasters, use the following guide:

Does the target have a Markerlight on it?
Is the target T4 or T7 with multiple wounds? (If so, it should probably have a Markerlight on it)
Is the target really, really scary? (If so, it should probably have a Markerlight on it)

If the answer to any of these questions is yes, see your doctor overcharge your Cyclic Ion Blasters!

Surestrike wrote:Apart from CIBs this list looks very achievable with units I have available and the balance between gun-line and suits appeals to me. As I don't have the CIBs (at the moment) would switching back to fusion/flamer combos be an issue?


Switching back to Fusion/Flamer wouldn't be much of a problem. Amusingly, the squads have the exact same points cost- 323. Anyway though, just remember- a squad with the Fusion/Flamer loadout is truly dedicated anti-tank/anti-monster. Check out the target priority list I made- you'll notice that a squad armed with Fusion Blasters has a narrower range of preferred targets. If you bring that many Fusion Blasters, your list will perform better against tank-heavy lists, but will suffer against elite infantry.

Hope that helped!

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Surestrike
Shas
Posts: 6

Re: First time Tau advice

Post#6 » Aug 11 2017 10:36

Wow, thank you Arka.

This is exactly what I needed, so far I've only looked at optimum builds and not had a clue about what strategies and how to deploy effectively. I was aware of the Manta strike option as an information denial tactic/ anti flank option so had planned to use that, but beyond that I was clueless.

Switching back to Fusion/Flamer wouldn't be much of a problem. Amusingly, the squads have the exact same points cost- 323. Anyway though, just remember- a squad with the Fusion/Flamer loadout is truly dedicated anti-tank/anti-monster. Check out the target priority list I made- you'll notice that a squad armed with Fusion Blasters has a narrower range of preferred targets. If you bring that many Fusion Blasters, your list will perform better against tank-heavy lists, but will suffer against elite infantry.


So in short its viable but the CIB provides a broader effective target option so would be optimum against an unknown force.

I assume the next purchase should be some sort of heavy support for the real big nasties?

Now I need to get on with assembly/painting so I can get them on the table :D .....hopefully as its a friendly club I can 'count as' for the CIBs until I've sourced the extra 10 I need.

Thanks once again!

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Arka0415
Shas'Ui
Shas'Ui
Posts: 1579

Re: First time Tau advice

Post#7 » Aug 11 2017 11:02

Surestrike wrote:Wow, thank you Arka.

This is exactly what I needed, so far I've only looked at optimum builds and not had a clue about what strategies and how to deploy effectively. I was aware of the Manta strike option as an information denial tactic/ anti flank option so had planned to use that, but beyond that I was clueless.

Happy to help! And hey, you weren't clueless! You definitely had the right idea when you first wrote your list. We just helped refine it! :biggrin:

Surestrike wrote:So in short its viable but the CIB provides a broader effective target option so would be optimum against an unknown force.

Bingo. There's really nothing that the Cyclic Ion Blaster can't handle, although its effectiveness drops against T9 (doesn't exist yet) and Sv2+ (use Fusion Blasters). Bonus points if you shoot T3/Sv6+ with it... they won't know what hit them!

Surestrike wrote:I assume the next purchase should be some sort of heavy support for the real big nasties?

If you like Lords of War, the Stormsurge is always a cool option, though not 100% competetive. Longstrike and a buddy Hammerhead are very viable too. Of course, another squad of Cyclic Ion Blaster XV8s would never hurt either !Check out my competitive list if you want, for a good sense of a balanced/take-all-comers list at 2000pts:
viewtopic.php?f=48&t=26233

There are only two "weird" things in the list- a bonus Marker Drone in each XV8 squad for redundancy, and Aun'va instead of an Ethereal, but that's personal preference.

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Surestrike
Shas
Posts: 6

Re: First time Tau advice

Post#8 » Aug 12 2017 12:49

If you like Lords of War, the Stormsurge is always a cool option, though not 100% competetive. Longstrike and a buddy Hammerhead are very viable too. Of course, another squad of Cyclic Ion Blaster XV8s would never hurt either !Check out my competitive list if you want, for a good sense of a balanced/take-all-comers list at 2000pts:


The stormsurge is a real centrepiece model, but I think I'd rather put the money towards more suits and a couple of Hammer heads. Are broadsides considered ineffective in 8th?

I really like the look of your list. Aun'va is a really cool looking model and on my to buy list, as is a darkstrider. I can really see how the Gunline benefits with the combination of those two and the Fire blade. Interestingly you mention something I was going to ask following you strategy advice: Deploying a MP commander with the gun line for the kauyon or mont'ka option.

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Arka0415
Shas'Ui
Shas'Ui
Posts: 1579

Re: First time Tau advice

Post#9 » Aug 12 2017 10:45

Surestrike wrote:The stormsurge is a real centrepiece model, but I think I'd rather put the money towards more suits and a couple of Hammer heads. Are broadsides considered ineffective in 8th?

I'd agree with you- better to invest the money in more solid core units than in one big thing like a Stormsurge. For the time being, Hammerheads are decent but only really powerful when paired up with Longstrike. Just remember to avoid shooting stuff with Invulnerable saves. Longstrike is fantastic though. Broadsides, on the other hand, offer middling firepower for an extremely high points cost. Unless they get a points decrease in the future, they're presently not worty it. That makes me sad to admit, because I love the old Broadside models.

Surestrike wrote:I really like the look of your list. Aun'va is a really cool looking model and on my to buy list, as is a darkstrider. I can really see how the Gunline benefits with the combination of those two and the Fire blade. Interestingly you mention something I was going to ask following you strategy advice: Deploying a MP commander with the gun line for the kauyon or mont'ka option.

Thanks! The list is a little deceptive, in that the gunline is quite big but only 1/3 the points cost for the army! So the real killing power is the battlesuits but most opponents won't realize it!
About the 3xMP Commander- I call it a "wild card" in my writeup because you can do all sorts of different things with it. If you're playing against an infantry horde and you know you want that Master of War on turn 1, then deploy it. If you're unsure, keep it in Manta Strike reserve but remember that you can only use Master of War the turn after you come down.

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