500 point escalation army list against grey Knights and marines

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Cgreeves
Shas
Posts: 52

500 point escalation army list against grey Knights and marines

Post#1 » Jan 14 2018 08:07

One of my local clubs is hosting an escalation tournament to encourage new players to get armies painted and built up. I figured as a returning player this would be good for me also. Now we have been asked by the organiser to not bring cheesy lists however I have heard rumours that my next two opponents are bringing some cheese (as hard as that is at 500 points) because tau are “overpowered”

The following is the list I played in my first game against genestealer cult. It tabled the opponent at the start of turn 3. I didn’t want to be the guy who was changing my list each game but I’m also not wanting to be flattened by a tailored list.


++ Battalion Detachment +3CP (T'au Empire) [28 PL, 500pts] ++

+ HQ +

Cadre Fireblade [3 PL, 60pts]: Markerlight, MV4 Shield Drone, MV7 Marker Drone

Commander [7 PL, 176pts]: 4x Fusion blaster, 2x MV4 Shield Drone

+ Troops +

Strike Team [4 PL, 63pts]: 2x MV7 Marker Drone
. Fire Warrior Shas'ui: Markerlight, Pulse pistol, Pulse rifle
. 4x Fire Warrior w/ Pulse Rifle

Strike Team [4 PL, 63pts]: 2x MV7 Marker Drone
. Fire Warrior Shas'ui: Markerlight, Pulse pistol, Pulse rifle
. 4x Fire Warrior w/ Pulse Rifle

Strike Team [4 PL, 48pts]: MV4 Shield Drone
. Fire Warrior Shas'ui: Pulse pistol, Pulse rifle
. 4x Fire Warrior w/ Pulse Rifle

+ Fast Attack +

Vespid Stingwings [6 PL, 90pts]: 5x Vespid Stingwing, Vespid Strain Leader

++ Total: [28 PL, 500pts] ++

I plan to use uplink markerlights after my cadre fireblade starts the chan and then fill in with drones.

The vespid and commander will be deployed during the game for some targeted high ap (commander at high toughness and the vespid at MEQ)

I have a good sized model collection and am willing to buy more models also.

I did consider breaches but short range and no way to protect them put me off.

Can anyone make any suggestions?

Thanks in advance

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Arka0415
Shas'Vre
Shas'Vre
Posts: 3120

Re: 500 point escalation army list against grey Knights and marines

Post#2 » Jan 14 2018 08:43

Cgreeves wrote:I have heard rumours that my next two opponents are bringing some cheese (as hard as that is at 500 points) because tau are “overpowered”

Yikes, what a situation to be in. Overpowered lists are definitely possible at 500 points, especially with elite armies. Do let us know what lists they end up using.

Cgreeves wrote:The following is the list I played in my first game against genestealer cult. It tabled the opponent at the start of turn 3. I didn’t want to be the guy who was changing my list each game but I’m also not wanting to be flattened by a tailored list.

It looks like a solid list. However, I'm curious why you've decided to run a Battalion at 500 points? An Outrider with 1-2 Commanders and some Pathfinders/Gun Drones/Vespid might also be viable. I feel like in small games Fire Warriors might not be worth it. Here's a total shot in the dark, but maybe something like this?

-

HQ - Commander w/ 4x Fusion Blasters; 2x Gun Drones (176)
HQ - Commander w/ 3x Cyclic Ion Blasters, ATS; 2x Gun Drones (154)
Fast Attack - 5x Pathfinders w/ 5x Markerlights (40)
Fast Attack - 5x Gun Drones (40)
Fast Attack - 6x Vespid Stingwings (90)

Total: 500 - Command Points: 4 (1 Outrider Detachment)

-

No idea if this is actually viable, but I think the idea of a non-Battalion list at 500 points warrants discussion. What do you think?

Cgreeves
Shas
Posts: 52

Re: 500 point escalation army list against grey Knights and marines

Post#3 » Jan 14 2018 09:26

My original thought was being able to spam the uplink would guarantee 5 lights on priority targets, also I want to still try to play for objectives (even although i accept it’ll probably end in a tabling)

I do like the idea of 2 commAnders though ;)

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Arka0415
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Shas'Vre
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Re: 500 point escalation army list against grey Knights and marines

Post#4 » Jan 14 2018 09:33

Cgreeves wrote:My original thought was being able to spam the uplink would guarantee 5 lights on priority targets, also I want to still try to play for objectives (even although i accept it’ll probably end in a tabling)

I do like the idea of 2 commAnders though ;)

Here's the issue though- you're spending 46 points on Markerlights that will help only six Vespid and probably 12 Fire Warriors. The Commanders would only need one each, and they're the bulk of your firepower.

If you want a ton of Markerlights, at least just buy a squad of Pathfinders, they'd be cheaper.

-

Edit: Here's two more sample 2x Commander lists by the way:

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HQ - Commander w/ 4x Fusion Blasters; 2x Gun Drones (176)
HQ - Commander w/ 3x Cyclic Ion Blasters, ATS; 2x Gun Drones (154)
HQ - Cadre Fireblade w/ Markerlight; 2x Gun Drones (58)
Elites - 3x Stealthsuits w/ 3x Burst Cannons, Drone Controller; 2x Gun Drones (111)

Total: 499 - Command Points: 4 (1 Supreme Command Detachment)

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HQ - Commander w/ 3x Fusion Blasters, Multi-Tracker; 2x Gun Drones (157)
HQ - Commander w/ 3x Cyclic Ion Blasters, Multi-Tracker; 2x Gun Drones (148)
Elites - 3x Stealthsuits w/ 3x Burst Cannons, Drone Controller (95)
Fast Attack - 4x Gun Drones (32)
Fast Attack - 4x Gun Drones (32)
Fast Attack - 4x Gun Drones (32)

Total: 496 - Command Points: 1 (1 Outrider Detachment)

-

Should be able to give you some ideas! :D

Cgreeves
Shas
Posts: 52

Re: 500 point escalation army list against grey Knights and marines

Post#5 » Jan 14 2018 04:01

How about this, building on your idea Arka.

I’m a little worried about objective holding and durability but


++ Outrider Detachment +1CP (T'au Empire) [26 PL, 499pts] ++

+ HQ +

Commander [6 PL, 160pts]: 4x Fusion blaster

Commander [6 PL, 138pts]: Advanced targeting system, 3x Cyclic ion blaster

+ Fast Attack +

Tactical Drones [4 PL, 48pts]: 6x MV1 Gun Drone

Tactical Drones [4 PL, 48pts]: 6x MV1 Gun Drone

Vespid Stingwings [6 PL, 105pts]: 6x Vespid Stingwing, Vespid Strain Leader

++ Total: [26 PL, 499pts] ++

The idea being that the vespid and QFC would stay in manta(in the skies and the CIB would deploy in the drone blob.

The blob would move up and the vespid and QFC would deploy 18” away from priority targets (hopefully I can stretch the drone blob out to the commander this way)

]

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Arka0415
Shas'Vre
Shas'Vre
Posts: 3120

Re: 500 point escalation army list against grey Knights and marines

Post#6 » Jan 14 2018 06:30

Cgreeves wrote:++ Outrider Detachment +1CP (T'au Empire) [26 PL, 499pts] ++

+ HQ +

Commander [6 PL, 160pts]: 4x Fusion blaster

Commander [6 PL, 138pts]: Advanced targeting system, 3x Cyclic ion blaster

+ Fast Attack +

Tactical Drones [4 PL, 48pts]: 6x MV1 Gun Drone

Tactical Drones [4 PL, 48pts]: 6x MV1 Gun Drone

Vespid Stingwings [6 PL, 105pts]: 6x Vespid Stingwing, Vespid Strain Leader

++ Total: [26 PL, 499pts] ++

Looks solid! However, I'd drop one Gun Drone from each Tactical Drone unit, and add those two Gun Drones to the Fusion Commander. He's a valuable unit and needs to be kept alive. Also, will you be okay with no Markerlights? One Markerlight hit increases a Commander's accuracy from 83% to 97%.

Cgreeves wrote:I’m a little worried about objective holding and durability.

Remember though that Gun Drones are more durable than Fire Warriors! :D

Cgreeves
Shas
Posts: 52

Re: 500 point escalation army list against grey Knights and marines

Post#7 » Jan 15 2018 03:05

I’m considering making those 2 gun drones shield drones.

I think at this power level you are right in that marker lights at not as effective. I may drop a gun drone/vespid for a marker drone but realistically that is only going to help 1/3 of the time so maybe even 4 gun drones 1 marker drone in each squad. That gives me a 66% chance of landing the marker hit.

It’s such a hard points level to work to.

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Arka0415
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Shas'Vre
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Re: 500 point escalation army list against grey Knights and marines

Post#8 » Jan 15 2018 03:30

Cgreeves wrote:I’m considering making those 2 gun drones shield drones.

Sure! It's a little reduction in firepower but if it keeps your Commanders alive then it'll be worth it.

Cgreeves wrote:I think at this power level you are right in that marker lights at not as effective. I may drop a gun drone/vespid for a marker drone but realistically that is only going to help 1/3 of the time so maybe even 4 gun drones 1 marker drone in each squad. That gives me a 66% chance of landing the marker hit.

That's why I suggested the Supreme Command list, which has a single reliable Markerlight, and the Multi-Tracker list that has no lights all. Getting your one hit in where it counts is important at 500 points.

If you still want Vespid, how about this?

-

HQ - Commander w/ 3x Fusion Blasters, Multi-Tracker; 2x Gun Drones (157)
HQ - Commander w/ 3x Cyclic Ion Blasters, Multi-Tracker; 2x Gun Drones (148)
Fast Attack - 6x Vespid Stingwings (90)
Fast Attack - 5x Gun Drones (40)
Fast Attack - 4x Gun Drones (32)
Fast Attack - 4x Gun Drones (32)

Total: 499 - Command Points: 1 (1 Outrider Detachment)

-

What do you think? We can switch the Multi-Trackers for a few Markerlights if you want but the list would need to drop a few models.

Cgreeves
Shas
Posts: 52

Re: 500 point escalation army list against grey Knights and marines

Post#9 » Jan 15 2018 04:39

Thanks for all your help arka. I hope Im not coming across as contradictory I am really enjoying this bit of list crafting :)

Im wondering if statistically I would be better with the 4 fusions and no marker or the 3+Multi tracker, similar with the cyclic ion commander, wondering if it would be better to take the ats to get -2. or if the Multi tracker allowing re-roll 1's would be better for the reliable overcharge

I'm not massively set on vespid i just really love the fact the can just appear and do some serious damage.

what do you think would be better 2 gun drones or 2 shield drones? the 5+ ignore the wound seems like it could be a game saver but at the same time it may never happen and then i was 8 shots worse off.

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Arka0415
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Re: 500 point escalation army list against grey Knights and marines

Post#10 » Jan 15 2018 05:16

Cgreeves wrote:Thanks for all your help arka. I hope Im not coming across as contradictory I am really enjoying this bit of list crafting :)

No problem at all- it's always good to check and second-guess list ideas.

Cgreeves wrote:Im wondering if statistically I would be better with the 4 fusions and no marker or the 3+Multi tracker, similar with the cyclic ion commander, wondering if it would be better to take the ats to get -2. or if the Multi tracker allowing re-roll 1's would be better for the reliable overcharge

In any game at 750+, I'd say to absolutely go for dedicated Markerlight units. At 500, I'd say it's up in the air. Four weapons are better than three plus a Multi-Tracker, but the Multi-Tracker build is statistically stronger as long as you don't have Markerlights. Basically it comes down to this- do you want to cut Markerlights and maximize the overall statistical damage output of the army, or do you want to add Markerlights and maximize the damage output against individual targets? Honestly it all comes down to the way you want to use the army.

However, unless you think your opponent is going to have a ranged advantage, maybe try out the Markerlights.

Cgreeves wrote:what do you think would be better 2 gun drones or 2 shield drones? the 5+ ignore the wound seems like it could be a game saver but at the same time it may never happen and then i was 8 shots worse off.

In general, in large games pairs of Shield Drones are good (larger games mean more guns pointed at you) whereas Gun Drones are more viable in pairs in very small games.

-

Commanders + Vespid:

HQ - Commander w/ 4x Fusion Blasters; 2x Gun Drones (176)
HQ - Commander w/ 3x Cyclic Ion Blasters, ATS; 2x Gun Drones (154)
Fast Attack - 4x Vespid Stingwings (60)
Fast Attack - 4x Gun Drones, 1x Marker Drone (42)
Fast Attack - 3x Gun Drones, 1x Marker Drone (34)
Fast Attack - 3x Gun Drones, 1x Marker Drone (34)

Total: 500 - Command Points: 1 (1 Outrider Detachment)

-

Commanders + Drones:

HQ - Commander w/ 4x Fusion Blasters; 2x Gun Drones (176)
HQ - Commander w/ 3x Cyclic Ion Blasters, Drone Controller; 2x Gun Drones (151)
Fast Attack - 4x Gun Drones, 1x Marker Drone (42)
Fast Attack - 4x Gun Drones, 1x Marker Drone (42)
Fast Attack - 4x Gun Drones, 1x Marker Drone (42)
Fast Attack - 4x Gun Drones, 1x Marker Drone (42)

Total: 495 - Command Points: 1 (1 Outrider Detachment)

-

After some thought I don't think Pathfinders are worth it at 500 points, but a few buried Marker Drones could do the trick.

What do you think?

Cgreeves
Shas
Posts: 52

Re: 500 point escalation army list against grey Knights and marines

Post#11 » Jan 15 2018 07:09

I'm actually tempted by this list. It seems to capture my original intent with quite a high output of fire and the markerlight support.

quick question, do drones benefit from markerlights?

Although I am losing the ap-2 from the vespid I am gaining durability and mobility and the CIB commander can sting quite badly.

Arka0415 wrote:
Commanders + Drones:

HQ - Commander w/ 4x Fusion Blasters; 2x Gun Drones (176)
HQ - Commander w/ 3x Cyclic Ion Blasters, Drone Controller; 2x Gun Drones (151)
Fast Attack - 4x Gun Drones, 1x Marker Drone (42)
Fast Attack - 4x Gun Drones, 1x Marker Drone (42)
Fast Attack - 4x Gun Drones, 1x Marker Drone (42)
Fast Attack - 4x Gun Drones, 1x Marker Drone (42)

Total: 495 - Command Points: 1 (1 Outrider Detachment)




I'm now getting really lost in the maths lol. I was wondering about whether I would be better served with the CIB commander taking an ATS, but assuming all drones were within range this would result in 8 less inflicted wounds from the drones. So it seems that the DC is much nicer.

would you play this list as a death star? all supporting each other with savior protocols etc? it seems a waste to have DC and not have every drone benefitting from it. on another note with markerlight uplink, if drones benefit from the buffs then getting 5 markers on an infantry unit would be a frightening prospect...

also would you just deploy the drone and keep both commanders in reserve to protect them a little longer? and would you give the opponent first turn in this scenario? being quite close range weapons maybe it would be good to allow that fist move to come closer to me and then unleash fury.

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Arka0415
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Re: 500 point escalation army list against grey Knights and marines

Post#12 » Jan 15 2018 07:25

Cgreeves wrote:quick question, do drones benefit from markerlights?

Normally, no. BS5+ re-rolling ones does almost nothing, it's +5% hit chance. BS4+ re-rolling ones isn't even all that good either, as it's only +8% hit chance. It's BS3+ re-rolling ones that finally gets good, as it's +11%.

Cgreeves wrote:Although I am losing the ap-2 from the vespid I am gaining durability and mobility and the CIB commander can sting quite badly.

I'm now getting really lost in the maths lol. I was wondering about whether I would be better served with the CIB commander taking an ATS, but assuming all drones were within range this would result in 8 less inflicted wounds from the drones. So it seems that the DC is much nicer.

Sorry for the misunderstanding. In this list there are a ton of Gun Drones- AP-2 is better than AP-1, but the Drone Controller increases hits by 50% for regular Gun Drones- it's fantastic. If you intend for the Commander to work solo though, then the ATS is better of course.

Cgreeves wrote:also would you just deploy the drone and keep both commanders in reserve to protect them a little longer? and would you give the opponent first turn in this scenario? being quite close range weapons maybe it would be good to allow that fist move to come closer to me and then unleash fury.

Yeah, I'd probably give the opponent the second turn. Let them move and shoot a couple of drones, then you come down with the real firepower. In fact, that might be a good argument for ATS over the Drone Controller, if you intend to spread the drones out and essentially hide on turn one. If we do a list like that, we'd end up with:

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HQ - Commander w/ 4x Fusion Blasters; 2x Gun Drones (176)
HQ - Commander w/ 3x Cyclic Ion Blasters, ATS; 2x Gun Drones (154)
Fast Attack - 4x Gun Drones, 1x Marker Drone (42)
Fast Attack - 4x Gun Drones, 1x Marker Drone (42)
Fast Attack - 4x Gun Drones, 1x Marker Drone (42)
Fast Attack - 4x Gun Drones, 1x Marker Drone (42)

Total: 498 - Command Points: 4 (1 Outrider Detachment)

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Definitely a solid 500-point list. If you want a few more Markerlights though you could try this instead, though it does have the 'all your eggs in one basket' feel:

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HQ - Commander w/ 4x Fusion Blasters; 2x Gun Drones (176)
HQ - Commander w/ 3x Cyclic Ion Blasters, ATS; 2x Gun Drones (154)
Fast Attack - 5x Pathfinders w/ 5x Markerlights (40)
Fast Attack - 4x Gun Drones (32)
Fast Attack - 4x Gun Drones (32)
Fast Attack - 4x Gun Drones (32)
Fast Attack - 4x Gun Drones (32)

Total: 498 - Command Points: 4 (1 Outrider Detachment)

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What do you think?

Cgreeves
Shas
Posts: 52

Re: 500 point escalation army list against grey Knights and marines

Post#13 » Jan 15 2018 07:44

Arka0415 wrote:Yeah, I'd probably give the opponent the second turn. Let them move and shoot a couple of drones, then you come down with the real firepower. In fact, that might be a good argument for ATS over the Drone Controller, if you intend to spread the drones out and essentially hide on turn one. If we do a list like that, we'd end up with:



I definitely prefer spreading the marker lights in separate units.

My thought was. Give the opponent first turn and hide the drones spread out. Then on my turn move the drones to a central location and drop the commanders 18" away from the main targets but hopefully in range of the drone blob? is this feasible? If not i can take the ATS and just have the drones as ablative wounds and the occasional pot shots.

Although if, using uplinks it was possible to drop 5 lights on a marine unit and get all drones shooting then it would be BS3 + re-rolls as the drone controller would bring them to BS 4 and then +1 form the marker stack would mean a load of hurt. I am still tempted to go for the DC, i could deploy the CIB commander inside the blob of drones and move things up.

I would love to test this list before wednesday lol.

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Arka0415
Shas'Vre
Shas'Vre
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Re: 500 point escalation army list against grey Knights and marines

Post#14 » Jan 15 2018 07:49

Cgreeves wrote:My thought was. Give the opponent first turn and hide the drones spread out. Then on my turn move the drones to a central location and drop the commanders 18" away from the main targets but hopefully in range of the drone blob? is this feasible? If not i can take the ATS and just have the drones as ablative wounds and the occasional pot shots.

Sounds good- and use the ATS Commander for that. With no need to ball up the drones, you can shoot and skirmish from different directions. If the opponent, say, has a group of Terminators or something, they'll have to choose which tiny unit to move toward, leaving them exposed from other flanks.

Cgreeves wrote:Although if, using uplinks it was possible to drop 5 lights on a marine unit and get all drones shooting then it would be BS3 + re-rolls as the drone controller would bring them to BS 4 and then +1 form the marker stack would mean a load of hurt. I am still tempted to go for the DC, i could deploy the CIB commander inside the blob of drones and move things up.

If you want to ball up, then getting BS3+ on Gun Drones makes them absolutely killer. However, the chance of pulling it off is pretty low- probably 30% or less. You need to land 2-3 hits with the Pathfinders and then score 2-3 extra with the Uplinked Markerlight stratagem. If that falls through, you would have been better off with more Gun Drones, which is what leads me back to the embedded Marker Drone idea.

Cgreeves
Shas
Posts: 52

Re: 500 point escalation army list against grey Knights and marines

Post#15 » Jan 15 2018 08:06

Yeah, I Think Im set on the embedded marker drones and keeping the commanders in reserves. We are playing on 6' x 4' at 500 points to there is plenty of room for me to spread him thin and then punch hard with the manta strike.

i'm still withering between ATS and DC. the DC would require me to bunch all of the drones up but that could happen quite quickly after the manta strike.

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Arka0415
Shas'Vre
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Re: 500 point escalation army list against grey Knights and marines

Post#16 » Jan 15 2018 08:19

Cgreeves wrote:i'm still withering between ATS and DC. the DC would require me to bunch all of the drones up but that could happen quite quickly after the manta strike.

There isn't really a hard answer to that question. Ultimately I think I'm leaning toward ATS, since the Gun Drones will probably die quickly.

Cgreeves
Shas
Posts: 52

Re: 500 point escalation army list against grey Knights and marines

Post#17 » Jan 15 2018 09:19

You are right. I’m getting myself all starry eyed about 20 drones causing an average of 20 wounds per turn lol. In reality there will be much fewer than 20. ATS it is. I had better get working on a CIB commander for Wednesday lol (or just use a magnetised commander and say it has CIBs on it ;) )

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Arka0415
Shas'Vre
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Re: 500 point escalation army list against grey Knights and marines

Post#18 » Jan 15 2018 09:22

Cgreeves wrote:You are right. I’m getting myself all starry eyed about 20 drones causing an average of 20 wounds per turn lol. In reality there will be much fewer than 20. ATS it is. I had better get working on a CIB commander for Wednesday lol (or just use a magnetised commander and say it has CIBs on it ;) )

Realistically, it's probably 10 drones that survive turn one, and output about 40 shots. At decent efficiency you're looking at ~10 wounds and 3-4 Space Marine kills. Not bad, but they're going to be dishing plenty of damage back at you. It's the Commanders you want to focus on.

Honestly what I'm more worried about would be a GK cheese list that uses a buffed up 2++ Dreadknight...

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