Review of Units for Competitive List

Discuss tactical and strategic development for 40K/Tau.
turtlesoup
Shas
Posts: 12

Review of Units for Competitive List

Post#1 » Aug 04 2017 12:40

After several games withthe y'vahra, commanders, cold star, drones longstrike and pathfinders, i am confident that only the quad fusion commander and drones are close to being overpowered. here is my take on the units.

y'vahra - the initial reaction from my opponent is always negative, accusing it of being overpowered. I will then analyse the game afterwards with them and see in what way it is overpowered. After the game, none of my y'vahra has gotten back its points worth in damage dealt despite of it melting a few units left and right. The true value of y'vahra is being tau distraction carnifex. The only time its worth taking is when it is paired with drones and absorb enemy fire power and take their focus away from the real glass cannon of my army, the quad fusion commander. The y'vahra augments opponent shooting, movements and their entire strategy outlook of the game It is priced correctly at just over 400 pts. As an example, today i went up against a dreadnought deathwatch list with flyers and killteam support. The two y'vahra i fielded melted a 5 man killteam and 3 dreadnaughts for the entire game. It does not make it points worthwhile if we just analyse kill, but it along with a few drones absorb an entire firepower of my opponent for the rest of the game. One ended along with a dozen drones died in the first two turns. In another game, it killed a 8 flamer nobs and one boyz before being vaporized...way underperform, but it did take the brunt of half of the opponent firepower and assault for two turns before dying....see the pattern. This vs my two quad fusion commander which manage two eliminate two corvusblackstar flyers and two dreadnaughts in two turns of shooting.....thats close to 900pts of enemy unit dead by a 320 pts for the two commander that did the dirty work. If i exchanged my two y'vahra for 5 additional quad fusion commanders, the game would have been over on the first turn instead of 3rd turn. Conclusion: Semi competitive, use y'vahra if you want to have fun or love their looks, but leave it on the shelf if you want a competitive army.

commander (quad fusion) - I only use two in my list to not anger my opponent and have a fun list to play with. This is the real deal and one of the few unit that can be considered overpowered as it is a character and has ungodly fire power. between the two of them, they usually killed 400 - 800 pts worth of enemy units easily each game (even vs ork hordes). Brutal and is ussualy the last few unit standing in the game. My opponent always focused on taking down y'vahra while the commander points and erase units behind drones and y'vahra. once my opponent destroyed the y'vahra, they realized who the real glass cannons are, but its most likely too late for them since their star unit would have been erased already by the commander. Having said that, the unit is not overly OP. Smart opponent can easily focus on it if they can somehow forget about the hulking y' vahra spewing scary plasma flamers at their front line units. Personally, i see a huge weakness in commander spam army in that its possible for armies such as astra militarum to prevent the quad commander from shooting their hard target. Commander also don't hold the line well as they are quite fragile for their points without dozens of drones supporting them. a 5-7 commander in a 2k list is probably more optimal. Conclusion: very competitive, don't leave home without it if you are playing tau....but we all know this already. The only stand alone tau units that works independently without much use of buffs.

Drones (gun and shield) - the other MVP of almost every game. My opponent hate them to their guts. It made their high-quality shooting into garbage. Drones made the commander the star and made y'vahra a viable unit to play. without them there is no viable/competitive 8th edition tau army. Conclusion: very competitive if used correctly with buff and important units to protect.

Pathfinders - i bring them to screen attacks like what most people use kroots and hounds. Their 7 inches scout move is golden. The special drones they bring can sometimes be an MVP against certain army build. For example in one of my games vs orks, the grav inhibitor drones which stays hidden in ruins managed to stop four charges which will be deadly if they are successful. At other games they are entirely useless. The ml that the pathfinder provide is rather situational. I probably use ml for the first two turns and fires its pulse carbine for the rest of their game...if they survived since they are a fire magnets. I still don't see them using special weapons as they are too fragile and unreliable shooting. Conclusion: Semi competitive, it takes up a lot of the niche in tau army such as ml support, special drones, bubble wrapping etc.

Longstrike - a very mediocre unit that dies rather quickly there is no good way to protect it. In the game that it survives, it does insignificant amount of damage. I rather use it as fire magnets for first turn opponent shooting since most of my opponent happily shoots a character tanks without any extra drone protection. I am really considering its usage in my list. Conclusion: not competitive....far from it. Bad damage output and no way to protect it with drones. Does not synergize well with drone heavy list. Only use is to sit back and take backfield or midfield objectives in early game turns while taking pot shot at target of opportunity.

devilfish - not bad, reduces my deployment setup significantly and gets the drone where they need to be. even an extra 3inch of extra movement for the disembarking drones matters a lot in the first two turn of the game. my opponent tend to ignore it, so it gets free reign on midfield and up-field to take points and so on. if you can charge them into enemy tanks such as predators then its even better. Conclusion: Semi competitive. If you take drones then it got some use...if not then it can only serve to reduce unit deployments or protect vulnerable infantry from first blood.

cold star- i use one as a drone nanny/character slayer/ objective grabber/ first turn aura/orders. super useful in term of utility. every tau list must include at least one. usually my warlord since it can run rather fast and opponent tend to ignore or being unable to shoot at it for the entire game. Conclusion: competitive. Jack of all trade for a modest price, give huge flexibility to an army depending on its built.

Fireblade - his usefulness is rather situational. I felt that he is a more defensive oriented units. In my list he boost drones and pathfinders well when the opponent moves close to my deployment zones for assault. Using him with the army to move closer to enemy deployment zone for close quarter shootings usually results in being unable to keep up with the rest of the advancing army and ended up just shooting his bs2+ marker light. During a defensive oriented game play he is a 42point beast that boost anti infantry fire power by more than 33% in most cases. You will need a devilfish to position him midfield in a close quarter shooting army or just shove him in the back field with the other infantry gunlines.

What do you guys think?

Playing an assault/aggressive tau is a fresh change from my 7th edition battlesuit gunline tau. Its definitely much more challenging and more rewarding if it manage to outmaneuver and surprise the enemy. lots of potential mistake in term of positioning and firing order, but most of my opponent is totally unprepared to see an entire army shift more than 10 inches towards one direction in a turn, raining down tons of short-ranged firepower on them. I shelved my space marine army ever since i discovered this new tau playstyle.
Last edited by turtlesoup on Aug 04 2017 12:51, edited 1 time in total.

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Vay
Shas'Ui
Shas'Ui
Posts: 882

Re: Review of Units for Competitive List

Post#2 » Aug 04 2017 12:46

I agree with your points, good stuff.
Shas'O Kais Vay Shone’nan

Sheeb
Shas'Saal
Posts: 44

Re: Review of Units for Competitive List

Post#3 » Aug 04 2017 02:42

Definitely 100% agree with the Cold Star Commander, the Gun Drones and the Quad FB Commander. I would add...

Breacher Teams with DS in a DF with a guardian drone melt elite infantry and scary units. And if you are taking a DF you want to take a unit of 10 of these bad boys.

I really like how T'au are not just a gunline, and that they can be very offensive instead of being very "cagey". Yeah there are more efficient things to bring, but if you want good looking models that are a whole lot of fun to play with you'd be happy playing breachers!

turtlesoup
Shas
Posts: 12

Re: Review of Units for Competitive List

Post#4 » Aug 04 2017 10:24

regarding breacher, i have never used them in a game so i am definitely not the authority on breachers. The reason i don't field them because on paper it does not show potential to be a mobile army. It is to reliant on transport and could never put out alpha strike effectively on first turn unless going second with enemy units moving in on your defense position. To me, like the striker, breacher is more suitable for a defensive gunline suitable to fight assaulting hordes such as orks, tyranids, etc. There is too much in our arsenal that can melt heavy infantry in a turn of shooting. Taking breacher to fight heavy infantry is in my opinion not a necessity, rather it is a question of preference in a non competitive environment. 10 breachers + darkstrider screaming across the battle field at first turn towards enemy position is similar to a y'vahra jumping into position and nova charging. It certainly get the attention of the opponent and acts as a distraction carnifex. The difference is that the breacher+DS+DF is half the price of an y'vahra, but they are significantly more fragile and easier to stop them at their path by destroying the devilfish. The breacher would then melt under light fire. The y'vahra enjoys the luxury of much sturdier and mobile drone support.

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Dark Hope
Gue'La
Gue'La
Posts: 99

Re: Review of Units for Competitive List

Post#5 » Aug 05 2017 12:36

You can protect longstrike with crisis bodyguards. Stick some missile pods and sit at range, or flamers and protect from charges, depending on what you think you're going up against.
If kroot eat orks, doesn't that make them omvivores?

Bouboukis
Shas
Posts: 40

Re: Review of Units for Competitive List

Post#6 » Aug 05 2017 12:41

I agree with you.
In my local tournament. 1000 points not so much I was really surprised with the combo of Fireblade and Drones.
I had 2 units of 10drones just for wounds to be honest. And then people start assaulting my precious Fw. The drones just started to shine 6 shots each with the buff of Fireblade... I got bored of rolling dice to be honest.
Long story sort, I was in the top table and lost only to IG....I hate the Chimeras, just plain stupid for their points.

At my next friendly games I used more aggressive tactics. 2x Devilfish with 1 fireblade and 11 drones each... A big deathstar( not just the old times but still good enough) unit of 5 or 6 Crisis with 3x plasmas, 10 drones and a commander 4fb for Manta strike of pure evil. A lot of points but this unit can kill anything. And the drones omg , I put them as close as possible my opponents just hate them.

turtlesoup
Shas
Posts: 12

Re: Review of Units for Competitive List

Post#7 » Aug 05 2017 01:24

regarding longstrike protection by body guard suits, i personally think its not worth it. The body guard suits are even more expensive than long strike and equiping them with missile pod are ineffective in term of offensive power. bs4+ to shoot is just not cutting it at the points required to take them. There are far too many things out there in the meta that reduces bs by one or two making the unit entirely useless. I don't use xv8 for this reason alone. The only use of xv8 in my opinion is using them as a flamer platform, but this is very difficult to use properly without proper practice.

turtlesoup
Shas
Posts: 12

Re: Review of Units for Competitive List

Post#8 » Aug 05 2017 01:32

regarding drones + fireblade + devil fish combo, its quite versatile at setting up defensive position in te first two turns. Since most army wants to assault in this edition, the settup is ussually not complicated. Yesterday, i had a game with long range dreadnaught gunline army with smart opponent controlling them. The drones only ended up running around protecting priority targets such as commander and y'vahra. I suggest you bring the pulse accelerator drones along as well to increase their pulse carbine range to 24 inch to be more effective. Also, as i mentioned before, fireblade tend to get left behind after a turn or two especally if he stops and shoot markerlight...really annoying. I wish he could take a drone platform like the ethereals....that would be cool and useful. Tau army now a days is more about careful positioning rather than raw fire power or even target priority like in 7th edition.

Antao
Shas'Saal
Posts: 46

Re: Review of Units for Competitive List

Post#9 » Aug 08 2017 06:03

turtlesoup wrote: I suggest you bring the pulse accelerator drones along as well to increase their pulse carbine range to 24 inch to be more effective.


Unless there is an FAQ somewhere I missed the Pulse Accelerator Drone does not affect Drones carrying Carbines as they do not have the INFANTRY keyword.

That aside, what do you suggest, or normally use as the core of your competitive lists? What would you substitute for the Y'vahara for someone that has not been able to get one yet? Do you feel the Tank/Damage soak role the Y'vahara plays is needed? Do you use fire warriors in your lists at all, or stick strictly to Outrider/Vanguard detachments?

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Vector Strike
Shas'La
Shas'La
Posts: 955

Re: Review of Units for Competitive List

Post#10 » Aug 08 2017 07:30

Longstrike by himself isn't good at all, as you've posted. However, he works wonders with a Hammerhead firebase around him.

It's an expensive setup, but it will do stuff!

turtlesoup
Shas
Posts: 12

Re: Review of Units for Competitive List

Post#11 » Aug 08 2017 09:36

You are correct, the pulse accelerator only effect infantry. Though i still take them in my list to boost pathfinders and more importantly to protect my y'vahra and commanders more effectively as it has the vanguard move like the pathfinders and can be positioned midfield and up in turn one. It is also worth it as an ablative wound for the grav inhibitor drones when fighting assaulting army.

As for weather you need the y'vahra distraction carnifex strategy, you certainly can subtitute it with much cheaper units. I suggest use a fusion + ion raker ghostkeel combo that infiltrate upfield and threatens opponent's vehicles/monsters/heavy infantry units that are too expensive to ignore loosing. For one y'vahra you can get two ghostkeel, which is much tougher to remove. However, two ghostkeel firepower is not on par with an y'vahra. Also, ghostkeel must be supported by markerlight to be used effectively, where else i feel that the y'vahra's plasma flamer is destructive enough to make its point worthwhile. Ghostkeel are smaller models as well and easier to hide behind los terrain and gain benefit of cover which makes it even harder to kill. Being so close to enemy deployment zone at the beginning of the game makes ghostkeel impossible to ignore especially if it can threaten their expensive elite units. The ghostkeel also have the advantage of range compared to the y'vahra. Horde armies can easily create buble to force yvahra shoot at cheap units where else the ghost keel is more likely to be able to get a first turn shot at its intended target.

I need to stress the importance of distraction carnifex in competitive tau list as we primarily rely on commanders to do the real damage and must protect it the best we can by either making it less targetable or becoming less of a focus for opponent to shoot and assault.

As for longstrike, try not to take him with other hammerheads to even increase the tax further. Taking more hammerheads does not increase longstrikes's survival....actually it makes it even more of a juicy target and is most likely dead after first turn. The rest of the hammerheads will simply be paperweight after longstrike is gone....

Instead of a hammerhead strike group, consider using railside units of 2 or 3 with at least 10 drones support + ethereal. Its not exactly competitive but i feel that it will be more durable and has more firepower than hammerhead strike group. A 2+ armor in cover is nothing to scoff at and you can even add in shield generator or stim to add durability. ethereals nearby will boost morales, 6+ fnp and reroll to wounds. as for drones you can use either marker drones or shield drones. shield drones for durability and markerdrones + drone controller for firepower. Another longrange fire power option is cold star. the mobility means that they rarely get boxed and can effectively shoot at any units they want on the battle field. They can also easily hide behind stronger units for extra protection. It can kill elite infantry well but it will have a hardtime killing vehicles.

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Panzer
Shas'Saal
Posts: 3548

Re: Review of Units for Competitive List

Post#12 » Aug 08 2017 11:34

turtlesoup wrote:Though i still take them in my list to boost pathfinders and more importantly to protect my y'vahra and commanders more effectively as it has the vanguard move like the pathfinders and can be positioned midfield and up in turn one.

Careful with that.
GW still hasn't answered the question whether Drones have the same special rules as their parent Datasheet. If we say yes they'll get a bunch of other special rules as well (like Sunshark Interceptor Drones being hard to hit, not being able to get charged by non-Fly units, advancing 20" and exploding on a 6).

turtlesoup
Shas
Posts: 12

Re: Review of Units for Competitive List

Post#13 » Aug 09 2017 03:56

valid point, but for now i continue to play it that way because to me it made sense that the drones of a scout units can scout ahead too especially with a recon drones. The rules are similar to manta strike rules so i do not see a conflict unless the FAQ clears this up. As for the sunshark...well i don't use them but i guess the rule also did not prohibit the drones from getting the same rule with the sunshark. If someone plays it that way i would not complain as it does not break the game and to a certain extend it makes sense because it is a special drone with a special engine that moves 20". Since gw mess up i guess we can only rely on the community's decision on which rule to use. Its just a game after all.

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ghostancisco
Shas
Posts: 16

Re: Review of Units for Competitive List

Post#14 » Aug 09 2017 02:37

I think breachers are pretty underrated by most opponents. i had a space marine player laugh when i said i was going to shoot his ven dread. Ds and the breachers then deleted it and he was very salty for the rest of the game. the Df was also so versatile, assulting a dev squad and even supplying 2 drones to help save my quadmander in one game and a ghostkeel in the another.

the breacher + ds in a fish is an auto include in all my losts for now.

i also had some really surprising success with the railrifle pathfinder squad. in my first game, they survived a manta strike 3x 3 burst cannon xv8 squad and then erased the suits the following turn.

just my 2 cents :fear:
For the Gooder Great!

turtlesoup
Shas
Posts: 12

Re: Review of Units for Competitive List

Post#15 » Aug 09 2017 08:50

For breachers it depends on the opponent that you are playing. I am assuming tournament level opponent in post here and they will know what breacher can and cannot do. For me the range for breachers is just too problematic and unreliable. I used y'vahra and i am already frustrated with the range of its flamers and how short range my entire armies of drones and quadmanders are. Y'vahra is much more mobile and has longer range than breachers in a dfish. In my opinion, breachers are only good against assault list like orks or tyranids. They will most likely present themselves in optimal range for breachers to maximize their effectiveness especially with darkstriders. there is no way you can get good first turn shooting unless you go second against assaulting armies that will try to charge you. Playing Tau, If you don't get good first turn shooting when opportunities arrive, then in my opinion you have much higher chance to loose to a competitive opponent already.

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Panzer
Shas'Saal
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Re: Review of Units for Competitive List

Post#16 » Aug 10 2017 12:47

turtlesoup wrote:Playing Tau, If you don't get good first turn shooting when opportunities arrive, then in my opinion you have much higher chance to loose to a competitive opponent already.

That's true for everyone though. If you don't get a good alpha strike in before the enemy does you are at a disadvantage for the rest of the game.

Newtauplayer2016
Shas
Posts: 16

Re: Review of Units for Competitive List

Post#17 » Aug 10 2017 05:52

turtlesoup wrote:ethereals nearby will boost morales, 6+ fnp and reroll to wounds.


How exactly can Ethereals make Broadsides reroll To wound?

Also - The way I read the rules, drones do no gain the special rules of vehicles they are embarked on.
If so - you could argue Gun Drones dropped from a Longstrike both boost Hammerheads and have the Monster hunter/Vehicle hunter rules... and they don't.

Stealth-moving pathfinder drones is outright cheating, and so is supersonic Sunshark drones.
Or thats how I see it.

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Panzer
Shas'Saal
Posts: 3548

Re: Review of Units for Competitive List

Post#18 » Aug 10 2017 06:08

Newtauplayer2016 wrote:Also - The way I read the rules, drones do no gain the special rules of vehicles they are embarked on.
If so - you could argue Gun Drones dropped from a Longstrike both boost Hammerheads and have the Monster hunter/Vehicle hunter rules... and they don't.

Stealth-moving pathfinder drones is outright cheating, and so is supersonic Sunshark drones.
Or thats how I see it.

It's not outright cheating. They share the same Datasheet and the rules on the Datasheet only says "this unit" or similar. That's why we really need a clarification from GW.

I agree though that it's very unlikely to be the case for Longstrikes Gun Drones since those are Tactical Drones who have their fix set of rules on their own Datasheet already (also the Tank Ace rule specifically says that Longstrike gets the +1 to-wound modifier).

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