gunrock wrote:Truthfully, all of the the placing ITC tau lists from the 2017-2018 look weird to me or seem to contradict a lot of the common wisdom list building guidelines on ATT. Hollingsworth's 3rd place list uses plasma rifle commanders, plasma crisis teams with CDS, and the TX7 Hammerhead, all of which are considered 'bad'. The Bartkiewicz list is a multitracker build, and also a gun drone commander build which is usually summarily characterized as inferior to shield versions.
Remember, there are a couple of things at work here. First, these lists are optimized for the highest levels of competitive gameplay, in a meta environment where the vast majority of lists are similar, using similar tactics, similar units, and similar armies. Second, we here on ATT don't tend to build lists for ITC play, which uses a number of unique scoring conditions, scenarios, and restrictions that we do not consider for normal play. Finally, the vast majority of lists made and discussed here on ATT are for users without massive collections or otherwise limited by owned models, preference, or other restrictions.
gunrock wrote:The most normal looking list is Pual McKevley's list which I'm actually very fond of. It looks very similar to many ATT style lists with the strike teams dropped for an additional stealth team. He also does some oddness in taking minimum drone squads on pathfinder teams, taking a DC/CIB commander w. marker drones (which I think is actually almost reasonable), and again, taking a gun drone commander build. He also has the fireblade+Drone+Fish combo which seems to have declined in popularity.
Paul McKelvey's list was used early in the ITC season, and things have changed since then. His list style has declined in popularity as the meta has shifted further and further toward Codex armies.
gunrock wrote:So is that what 'optimal' tau really looks like?
No, not really. These are optimized (not optimal) lists for ITC play based on assumptions about what other players will be using. The players who submit them also aren't perfect (no offense to them) and neither are their lists- remember it's always easier to critique than to build from scratch.
gunrock wrote:Some of the choices just look sub-optimal. Why kroot instead of two strike teams and PF? Why the XV-84 commander given the weakness of MP without ATS, and having only one marker light source? This list should theoretically get wrecked by swarms with no gun drones, a non-functional gun line, the limitations of MP, and only the cold stars to deal with infantry. Am I missing something?
Kroot are used for the post-deployment scout move which can be vital for scoring points in ITC. The XV-84 is used because it's the only way to get a guaranteed Markerlight hit (99.9992%) and the only way to put a Markerlight on a Commander. Remember that in a Commander-only list, Markerlights are essentially not necessary, and because of that Multi-Trackers become viable. And about swarms, people basically don't play swarms in ITC.
Does that make sense? It's not that these lists are bad, it's that they're optimized for hyper-specific scenarios and lists that most of us would never really field or discuss (i.e. 10+ Commanders).