Help needed - 2000 point tournament

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CMO
Shas
Posts: 9

Help needed - 2000 point tournament

Post#1 » Jan 23 2018 03:35

Hello all, in January I took part in a 2000 point tournament (my first). I scored 26th out of 60, and only lost one game badly vs Eldar. In March I’ve entered the same format of tournament and I’m struggling to change my list to improve. As it’s probably the last tournament for me before codex drops I don’t really want to buy anything else, but I’ve got access to about 15000 points of tau.

The tournament format is: 3 detachment max, no repeated detachments (so can’t use 2 outriders) and max of 50% of points can go on forge world models.

My list:

Battalion Detachment +3CP (T'au Empire) [34 PL, 574pts] ++

+ Fast Attack +

Tactical Drones []: 4x MV1 Gun Drone

+ HQ +

Cadre Fireblade []: Markerlight

Cadre Fireblade []: Markerlight

+ Troops +

Strike Team []: 5x Fire Warrior w/ Pulse Rifle

Strike Team []: 5x Fire Warrior w/ Pulse Rifle

Strike Team []: 5x Fire Warrior w/ Pulse Rifle

+ Heavy Support +

TX7 Hammerhead Gunship []: 2x MV1 Gun Drone, Railgun

+ Flyer +

AX39 Sun Shark Bomber []: Markerlight, Missile pod, 2x MV17 Interceptor Drone, 2x Seeker missile

++ Outrider Detachment +1CP (T'au Empire) [49 PL, 897pts] ++

+ Fast Attack +

Tactical Drones []: 4x MV1 Gun Drone

Tactical Drones []: 4x MV1 Gun Drone

Tactical Drones []: 4x MV1 Gun Drone

Tactical Drones []: 4x MV1 Gun Drone

XV109 Y'vahra Battlesuit []: Target lock

+ HQ +

Longstrike []: 2x MV1 Gun Drone, Railgun

+ Heavy Support +

TX7 Hammerhead Gunship ]: 2x MV1 Gun Drone, Railgun

++ Supreme Command Detachment +1CP (T'au Empire) [21 PL, 528pts] ++

+ HQ +

Commander 4x Fusion blaster, 2x MV1 Gun Drone

Commander 4x Fusion blaster, 2x MV1 Gun Drone

Commander: 4x Fusion blaster, 2x MV1 Gun Drone

++ Total: [104 PL, 1999pts] ++

I didn’t miss marker lights at all, using the stratagem when I felt it was necessary to get d3+1. I was mobile enough, and felt like I had enough threats on the board. I possibly want to make bigger units of drones - I found they were so useful in board control, but two of the three missions had kill points as a primary or secondary condition.

Any thoughts?

User avatar
Yojimbob
Shas'Saal
Posts: 559

Re: Help needed - 2000 point tournament

Post#2 » Jan 23 2018 03:45

CMO wrote:Hello all, in January I took part in a 2000 point tournament (my first). I scored 26th out of 60, and only lost one game badly vs Eldar. In March I’ve entered the same format of tournament and I’m struggling to change my list to improve. As it’s probably the last tournament for me before codex drops I don’t really want to buy anything else, but I’ve got access to about 15000 points of tau.

The tournament format is: 3 detachment max, no repeated detachments (so can’t use 2 outriders) and max of 50% of points can go on forge world models.

My list:

Battalion Detachment +3CP (T'au Empire) [34 PL, 574pts] ++

+ Fast Attack +

Tactical Drones []: 4x MV1 Gun Drone

+ HQ +

Cadre Fireblade []: Markerlight

Cadre Fireblade []: Markerlight

+ Troops +

Strike Team []: 5x Fire Warrior w/ Pulse Rifle

Strike Team []: 5x Fire Warrior w/ Pulse Rifle

Strike Team []: 5x Fire Warrior w/ Pulse Rifle

+ Heavy Support +

TX7 Hammerhead Gunship []: 2x MV1 Gun Drone, Railgun

+ Flyer +

AX39 Sun Shark Bomber []: Markerlight, Missile pod, 2x MV17 Interceptor Drone, 2x Seeker missile

++ Outrider Detachment +1CP (T'au Empire) [49 PL, 897pts] ++

+ Fast Attack +

Tactical Drones []: 4x MV1 Gun Drone

Tactical Drones []: 4x MV1 Gun Drone

Tactical Drones []: 4x MV1 Gun Drone

Tactical Drones []: 4x MV1 Gun Drone

XV109 Y'vahra Battlesuit []: Target lock

+ HQ +

Longstrike []: 2x MV1 Gun Drone, Railgun

+ Heavy Support +

TX7 Hammerhead Gunship ]: 2x MV1 Gun Drone, Railgun

++ Supreme Command Detachment +1CP (T'au Empire) [21 PL, 528pts] ++

+ HQ +

Commander 4x Fusion blaster, 2x MV1 Gun Drone

Commander 4x Fusion blaster, 2x MV1 Gun Drone

Commander: 4x Fusion blaster, 2x MV1 Gun Drone

++ Total: [104 PL, 1999pts] ++

I didn’t miss marker lights at all, using the stratagem when I felt it was necessary to get d3+1. I was mobile enough, and felt like I had enough threats on the board. I possibly want to make bigger units of drones - I found they were so useful in board control, but two of the three missions had kill points as a primary or secondary condition.

Any thoughts?


To min/max this I suggest dropping the sun shark and all the hammerheads. Go with more commanders or XV8's with CIB's and sprinkle in some marker drones or multiple squads of pathfinders. I think you have it right with the detachments you've taken to maximize CP but I also wouldn't be hurt if you dropped the firewarriors and went with a vanguard formation, depending on how many suits you'll use.

CMO
Shas
Posts: 9

Re: Help needed - 2000 point tournament

Post#3 » Jan 23 2018 05:11

Thank you for the quick reply! I can see the value in dropping hammerheads for commanders, though the amount of attention people paid to the hammerheads was surprising. Admittedly, it was the one time the stars aligned, but the hammerhead wing absolutely carved up a storm talon list in a single turn in game 2, and I had a glimpse of what I think GW thinks hammerheads should be.

The sunshark I’m reluctant to leave out. It’s firepower is less than impressive, but in every game it cleared out squad after squad of irritating snipers, dark reapers, plasma scions and the like with the mortal wound bomb. I’ll play test a replacement commander with cyclic ion in its place to fulfil the same role.

I dislike pathfinders - they’re points wasted in my opinion. I’d rather try to add a third fireblade, if I need more marker lights. If I’m running 6-7 commanders, all I’m really looking for is a reroll of 1s to hit, since 2-4 on the marker light table is so situational and unreliable and getting 5 is simply a nice bonus. The fire warriors pulled in a nice tally in back field objectives and denied deepstrike opportunities.

Have you got any positive experience with crisis suits? I’ve played 3 suit squads with 6 shield drones, and alternately with 6 gun drones, with a variety of weapons, and no matter what I do with them, they’ve failed to kill a single high value target in 8 games. They’ve always died the turn they manta strike for me. I rate them on a par with riptides currently - I love them because i love battlesuits, but they’re pretty poor in game.

Really appreciate your thoughts.

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Arka0415
Shas'Vre
Shas'Vre
Posts: 3168

Re: Help needed - 2000 point tournament

Post#4 » Jan 23 2018 07:45

CMO wrote:Thank you for the quick reply! I can see the value in dropping hammerheads for commanders, though the amount of attention people paid to the hammerheads was surprising. Admittedly, it was the one time the stars aligned, but the hammerhead wing absolutely carved up a storm talon list in a single turn in game 2, and I had a glimpse of what I think GW thinks hammerheads should be.

I think the idea of an armor list is great. It may not be as good as just more Commander spam, but it offers some serious firepower especially when backed up by CPs. I think the list overall has too much anti-armor (3 Fusion Commanders, 3 Hammerheads, and a Y'vahra is 75% of your list!). I also think that getting PEN support could be great on the Hammerheads. It's a shame that named characters like Longstrike cant't take it, but maybe a backfield Commander could?

CMO wrote:The sunshark I’m reluctant to leave out. It’s firepower is less than impressive, but in every game it cleared out squad after squad of irritating snipers, dark reapers, plasma scions and the like with the mortal wound bomb. I’ll play test a replacement commander with cyclic ion in its place to fulfil the same role.

I think the Sun Shark should work well in this list too. When you're fielding multiple armored threats, i.e. the Hammerheads, the Sun Shark isn't a priority target and should do well I think. Especially, it adds more Seeker Missiles, which is great for alpha strike.

CMO wrote:I dislike pathfinders - they’re points wasted in my opinion. I’d rather try to add a third fireblade, if I need more marker lights. If I’m running 6-7 commanders, all I’m really looking for is a reroll of 1s to hit, since 2-4 on the marker light table is so situational and unreliable and getting 5 is simply a nice bonus. The fire warriors pulled in a nice tally in back field objectives and denied deepstrike opportunities.

Pathfinders might be a priority target in this list since they'd essentially be the only relevant infantry models. However I think you're really underestimating buffs 2-4. In a non-armor list they're worthless, but your're playing armor, which makes those buffs invaluable. #2 lets yous shoot Seekers, #3 lets you fire your Heavy weapons while moving, #4 ignores cover. Those buffs are great, especially when you're playing at range. You're right that a third Fireblade may be your best option for another Markerlight if you're worried that Pathfinders would be targeted too easily. Remember that Firesight Marksmen aren't a bad option either.

CMO wrote:Have you got any positive experience with crisis suits? I’ve played 3 suit squads with 6 shield drones, and alternately with 6 gun drones, with a variety of weapons, and no matter what I do with them, they’ve failed to kill a single high value target in 8 games. They’ve always died the turn they manta strike for me. I rate them on a par with riptides currently - I love them because i love battlesuits, but they’re pretty poor in game.

If you don't have enough Commanders and are waiting for the Index to drop, then XV8s can be great stopgap units. However, from a fully competitive standpoint, no, they're not good.

-

I love your style of list and I'm glad its doing well. My big suggestions, though, would be to increase the number of Markerlights, add Seeker Missiles (!!!), and maybe get MoW/PEN support for the Hammerheads. Here's the list as I'm imagining it:

-

HQ - Commander w/ 4x Fusion Blasters; 2x Gun Drones (176)
HQ - Commander w/ 4x Fusion Blasters; 2x Gun Drones (176)
HQ - Cadre Fireblade w/ Markerlight (42)
HQ - Cadre Fireblade w/ Markerlight (42)
HQ - Cadre Fireblade w/ Markerlight (42)
HQ - Longstrike w/ Railgun, 2x Seeker Missiles; 2x Gun Drones (201)
Troops - 5x Fire Warriors w/ Markerlight (43)
Troops - 5x Fire Warriors w/ Markerlight (43)
Troops - 5x Fire Warriors w/ Markerlight (43)
Fast Attack - 4x Gun Drones (32)
Fast Attack - 4x Gun Drones (32)
Fast Attack - 4x Gun Drones (32)
Fast Attack - 4x Gun Drones (32)
Fast Attack - 4x Gun Drones (32)
Fast Attack - Y'vahra w/ Target Lock, ATS (415)
Heavy Support - Hammerhead w/ Railgun, 2x Seeker Missiles; 2x Gun Drones (181)
Heavy Support - Hammerhead w/ Railgun, 2x Seeker Missiles; 2x Gun Drones (181)
Flyer - Sun Shark Bomber w/ Markerlight, Missile Pod, 2x Seeker Missiles; 2x Interceptor Drones (167)

Total: 1922 - Command Points: 8 (1 Battalion, 1 Supreme Command Detachment, 1 Outrider Detachment)

[Not finished]

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I'll leave it here for now, with 78 points open. Seeker Missiles give you extra alpha strike, the third Fireblade gets you extra Markerlight support. I think, at the moment, the list lacks enough anti-infantry and drones to guard units like the Y'vahra though. What do you think?

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Yojimbob
Shas'Saal
Posts: 559

Re: Help needed - 2000 point tournament

Post#5 » Jan 24 2018 10:51

CMO wrote:Thank you for the quick reply! I can see the value in dropping hammerheads for commanders, though the amount of attention people paid to the hammerheads was surprising. Admittedly, it was the one time the stars aligned, but the hammerhead wing absolutely carved up a storm talon list in a single turn in game 2, and I had a glimpse of what I think GW thinks hammerheads should be.

The sunshark I’m reluctant to leave out. It’s firepower is less than impressive, but in every game it cleared out squad after squad of irritating snipers, dark reapers, plasma scions and the like with the mortal wound bomb. I’ll play test a replacement commander with cyclic ion in its place to fulfil the same role.

I dislike pathfinders - they’re points wasted in my opinion. I’d rather try to add a third fireblade, if I need more marker lights. If I’m running 6-7 commanders, all I’m really looking for is a reroll of 1s to hit, since 2-4 on the marker light table is so situational and unreliable and getting 5 is simply a nice bonus. The fire warriors pulled in a nice tally in back field objectives and denied deepstrike opportunities.

Have you got any positive experience with crisis suits? I’ve played 3 suit squads with 6 shield drones, and alternately with 6 gun drones, with a variety of weapons, and no matter what I do with them, they’ve failed to kill a single high value target in 8 games. They’ve always died the turn they manta strike for me. I rate them on a par with riptides currently - I love them because i love battlesuits, but they’re pretty poor in game.

Really appreciate your thoughts.


Pathfinders are good units in my opinion but they're 5+ save really does suck. Yes, with a fully commander list you'll only need RR1's but that's not what you currently have. In my opinion if you're running a Y'varha I still go for as many lights as I can get and use ATS stims relying on lights for moving and shooting heavy weapons. If I'm running suit heavy lists I have hidden lights in min FW teams and markerdrones with DC support mixed in with gun and shield drones.

I've definitely done work with crisis suits but I still think commander spam is the way to go, I just know some people have issues with it so I don't really suggest it to people anymore. Honestly, the most competitive I think we can be is a list of commanders, y'varha, and drones. That's it.

CMO
Shas
Posts: 9

Re: Help needed - 2000 point tournament

Post#6 » Jan 24 2018 01:14

Thanks Arka, always quality list feedback from you and I like your alternate list, though losing a commander makes me nervous about board control. I see your point about the anti-armour, but honestly, I faced an AM list with conscript spam and drones and yvahra cleared it all out. The blood angels infantry list I faced I tabled by turn 3, again, the yvahra and drones hauling their weight. I did toy with CIB crisis suits that are almost take all comers, and definitely blow away infantry squads, but I think two commanders would do the same role better for a 25% increase in points invested.

I’m unsure about the seeker missile idea: alpha strike notwithstanding, how many one use only single mortal wound missiles do I include, given that I went second in each of my games and, with 20+ drops, am likely to go second in 2/3 games in March?

I took 32 gun drones total, and lost the yvahra once (to an Eldar Cobra rolling a huge amount of mortal wounds which cleared out two full squads of drones before dealing 17 unsaved wounds to the poor riptide). What anti infantry would you suggest?

Yojimbob - thank you, I agree on the three competitive units. I’m reluctant to buy three more commanders because I expect the codex to significantly nerf them or up their cost, and the likelihood of ever fielding 6 commanders in a game after March is very slim! Perhaps my local meta and regular opponents are just wise to markerlight support and take out my squishy 5+ save force multipliers before they get a chance to perform. I’m just so used to pulling pathfinders off the board turn 1 that they’re actually painted with “squad Firstblood” on the undersides of the bases. The hammerheads performed well as turn 1 wound sinks. Between them, there are 39 T7 wounds to deal with, and if not for them, turn 1 alpha strikes would have concentrated on my sunshark, yvahra, and clearing drones, all of which I need later game. It’s definitely a balancing act, and I could put 6 commanders, a yvahra and 50 gun drones down, but I wondered what anti infantry we can actually field.

Really appreciate the fine tuning and clear thought, and the variety of responses.

User avatar
Arka0415
Shas'Vre
Shas'Vre
Posts: 3168

Re: Help needed - 2000 point tournament

Post#7 » Jan 24 2018 07:11

CMO wrote:I’m unsure about the seeker missile idea: alpha strike notwithstanding, how many one use only single mortal wound missiles do I include, given that I went second in each of my games and, with 20+ drops, am likely to go second in 2/3 games in March?

With 8 Seekers for 40 points, get just 3 Markerlight hits on a target and you're probably going to get 6-7 mortal wounds. That's almost the damage of a Fusion Commander, against any target (even 2++, even Magnus) at any range. To me, in an armor list, that's a great alpha strike tool.

Also, what's wrong with going second? I mean technically it might be "beta" strike but you get the idea- it makes your opening salvo even nastier.

CMO wrote:I see your point about the anti-armour, but honestly, I faced an AM list with conscript spam and drones and yvahra cleared it all out.

I took 32 gun drones total, and lost the yvahra once (to an Eldar Cobra rolling a huge amount of mortal wounds which cleared out two full squads of drones before dealing 17 unsaved wounds to the poor riptide). What anti infantry would you suggest?

If the Y'vahra works for you, then that's what matters. However, I guess my issue is that the Y'vahra might be good at killing Conscripts, but how would it stack up against T4 Cultist spam, or Poxwalker spam, or Horrors, Plaguebearers/Bloodletters, Vexilla blobs, that sort of thing? Hard to know what infantry-based lists will be competitive in the future, but you can probably see why I'd be hesitant to depend on the Y'vahra for anti-infantry.

As Tau are so limited right now, the only real anti-infantry solution we have is Gun Drones and buffs- 5 Markerlights or a Drone Controller each increase Gun Drone firepower by 50%, a Fireblade also increases by 50%, and all three buffs stacked together make Gun Drones upwards of 300% more powerful. Pretty cool!

So, I'd suggest more Gun Drones, and larger squads could be okay as well. With so many I'd suggest trying to squeeze a Drone Controller in there somewhere, but that might not be possible.

Also, since you're using Fusion Commanders as forward units, have you noticed whether or not Shield Generators could be useful on them?





I have very little experience running a list like yours, as I'm not really an armor player, so do take my thoughts with a grain of salt. That said, what do you think?

CMO
Shas
Posts: 9

Re: Help needed - 2000 point tournament

Post#8 » Jan 25 2018 04:58

Good points, well made. My concern with beta strikes is that at least one hammerhead is likely to be dead turn 1, since other targets aren’t on the board to aim at. Investing 10 points on seekers and then enough marker lights to really implement them as alpha strike wounds means losing firepower that lasts beyond turn 1, or reducing anti infantry for the wider list.

I’ll play test with some pathfinders, perhaps 3 squads of 5 in order to gain enough lights to improve the efficiency of drones in particular and try the seeker idea for sure. I like the elegance of the mortal wound alpha strike, and your comparison with the damage a commander puts out was an excellent illustration. My lingering concern is how much efficiency do I lose from the list when the pathfinders inevitably die and I’m already a commander down to pay for them and seekers? Only play testing to find a balance will tell I suspect. Perhaps I should replace the fire warriors with pathfinders and lose the battalion - 6 or 7 CPs should be enough.

Thanks very much for your help, I like that you haven’t just told me to put 11 commanders down, but have worked with my playstyle to suggest improvements.

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Arka0415
Shas'Vre
Shas'Vre
Posts: 3168

Re: Help needed - 2000 point tournament

Post#9 » Jan 25 2018 07:20

CMO wrote:My concern with beta strikes is that at least one hammerhead is likely to be dead turn 1, since other targets aren’t on the board to aim at. Investing 10 points on seekers and then enough marker lights to really implement them as alpha strike wounds means losing firepower that lasts beyond turn 1, or reducing anti infantry for the wider list.

Sorry, I was using "beta strike" loosely. I don't mean that you're shooting on the second turn, I mean that either way you're less-than-likely to actually go first. So your shooting is going to happen after your opponent's, probably. Also, you only need one Markerlight hit plus that stratagem to shoot your salvo of BS2+ re-rolling 1s Seeker Missiles, so you don't need any additional Markerlight investment besides one Fireblade, maybe two for redundancy.

CMO wrote:I’ll play test with some pathfinders, perhaps 3 squads of 5 in order to gain enough lights to improve the efficiency of drones in particular and try the seeker idea for sure. I like the elegance of the mortal wound alpha strike, and your comparison with the damage a commander puts out was an excellent illustration. My lingering concern is how much efficiency do I lose from the list when the pathfinders inevitably die and I’m already a commander down to pay for them and seekers?

I would't add Pathfinders. You have all the Markerlights you need with the Fireblades and Sun Shark. One solution to the anti-infantry problem would be a Burst Cannon Commander or a CIB Commander. Here's a sample list that keeps the Seeker advantage and the board control Commanders:

-

Triple Commander List:

HQ - Commander w/ 4x Fusion Blasters; 2x Gun Drones (176)
HQ - Commander w/ 4x Fusion Blasters; 2x Gun Drones (176)
HQ - Commander w/ 4x Cyclic Ion Blasters; 2x Gun Drones (164)
HQ - Cadre Fireblade w/ Markerlight (42)
HQ - Cadre Fireblade w/ Markerlight (42)
HQ - Longstrike w/ Railgun, 2x Seeker Missiles; 2x Gun Drones (201)
Troops - 5x Fire Warriors w/ Markerlight (43)
Troops - 5x Fire Warriors w/ Markerlight (43)
Troops - 5x Fire Warriors w/ Markerlight (43)
Fast Attack - 4x Gun Drones (32)
Fast Attack - 4x Gun Drones (32)
Fast Attack - 4x Gun Drones (32)
Fast Attack - 4x Gun Drones (32)
Fast Attack - Y'vahra w/ Target Lock, ATS (415)
Heavy Support - Hammerhead w/ Railgun, 2x Seeker Missiles; 2x Gun Drones (181)
Heavy Support - Hammerhead w/ Railgun, 2x Seeker Missiles; 2x Gun Drones (181)
Flyer - Sun Shark Bomber w/ Markerlight, Missile Pod, 2x Seeker Missiles; 2x Interceptor Drones (167)

Total: 2002 - CP: 8 (1 Battalion Detachment, 1 Supreme Command Detachment, 1 Outrider Detachment)

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What do you think?

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