ITC Standings / Top Lists Update

Discuss tactical and strategic development for 40K/Tau.
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Arka0415
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Re: ITC Standings / Top Lists Update

Post#19 » Jan 24 2018 09:21

PeeJ wrote:Eleven commanders..... Eleven.

When your winning army lists consist almost purely of Commanders and 'bubble wrap' units, someone at GW must notice that there is something seriously wrong with the army.

No heavy support, No LOW, No vehicles of any kind (Tanks, Fliers, Transports), No Markerlights (which are meant to be a key mechanic of the army) and the only 'fast attack' used is 'points paid for ablative wounds'.

That is not an army I would ever want to play, I feel kind of dirty just looking at it.

See, this is what's so funny about the whole Tau situation. Months ago we were shocked by how much worse 8th Edition made the Tau, but now we're about used to being bottom tier and we're making do. Seeing this list though is a nice wake-up call that, yeah, the Index is an absolute unbalanced monobuild mess! :-(

Blinx wrote:Ah, fair enough. I guess in an all commander list you don't really need more than reroll ones. Is it one marker light per target or just one? I.e. If I target 2 units with the pods and hit both, does each one get a markerlight?

Just checked the rule- it's one Markerlight per phase. So you would need to choose one of the two targets to apply the Markerlight hit to.

Edit: JancoBCN, you posted the answer to this question one minute before I did! :D

Blinx
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Re: ITC Standings / Top Lists Update

Post#20 » Jan 24 2018 09:39

JancoBCN wrote:I quote the ruling:
"If any attack in the Shooting phase from this model successfully hits its target, regardless of whether it passes its wound roll, it automatically applies a single markerlight counter to the target unit. This ability may only apply a maximum of one Markerlight counter per phase"

I wonder why they put in the max 1 if you can only take 2 weapons (and therefore only target 2 units). I wouldn't have thought that an extra markerlight would make that much difference

Commander lists annoy me for 2 reasons. The first is that I don't want to spam a single model to be 'competitive'. The second is that the people I play against seem to have the view 'The model is spammed because it's so good' rather than 'The model is spammed because it's just more viable that the rest'. Nobody believe T'au are in a

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Aspiring Commander
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Re: ITC Standings / Top Lists Update

Post#21 » Jan 24 2018 12:07

Blinx wrote:I wonder why they put in the max 1 if you can only take 2 weapons (and therefore only target 2 units). I wouldn't have thought that an extra markerlight would make that much difference



I think it's more to do with shooting the same squad and applying multiple tokens- for example if it had 2 burst cannons and shot them all at one squad, it only leaves 1 and not 5+. Which I figure is more a fluff reason on how the system is meant to work.
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gunrock
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Re: ITC Standings / Top Lists Update

Post#22 » Jan 25 2018 01:35

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. Mention a multi-tracker build as a competitive pick and many people will pounce on you. 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.

From the look of it, the Nichols list looks like a null start build with the coldstar + shield bubble +fluff opening. It's nice to see that that opening works in a competitive environment. It's also interesting that this list takes MP commanders without shield drones, which are displaced to the opening setup.

So is that what 'optimal' tau really looks like? 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 + AFP commander to deal with infantry. Am I missing something?
All the rivers run into the sea, Yet the sea is not full; Unto the place whither the rivers go, Thither they go again.

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Arka0415
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Re: ITC Standings / Top Lists Update

Post#23 » Jan 25 2018 01:55

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).

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gunrock
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Re: ITC Standings / Top Lists Update

Post#24 » Jan 25 2018 03:49

Arka0415 wrote:
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).


Yes, that makes a lot of sense that is list built towards the current meta, which in the time span of 6 months has changed considerably. It also makes sense that the list is specifically tailored to the rules and scoring system of ITC, not general play. I also didn't intend it as a personal attack or accusation of ignorance on the part of any of the list builders, more just a critique of what we assume is good and bad in list building. Clearly, these are experienced players putting a lot of thought into their choices, and that fact that they've succeeded in a competitive enviorment lends validity to those choices. I guess I'm just sort of taken aback by the disparity between conventional and competitive. With hollingsworth and Mcklevey you can still see the frame of conventional army. From the Bartkiewicz list, there's nowhere left to go. Good god we need a codex.
All the rivers run into the sea, Yet the sea is not full; Unto the place whither the rivers go, Thither they go again.

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Arka0415
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Re: ITC Standings / Top Lists Update

Post#25 » Jan 25 2018 03:58

gunrock wrote:It also makes sense that the list is specifically tailored to the rules and scoring system of ITC, not general play. I also didn't intend it as a personal attack or accusation of ignorance on the part of any of the list builders, more just a critique of what we assume is good and bad in list building.

That's why I started the "optimal Tau list" thread a while back. ATT is basically a forum that helps players interested in competitive tactics up their game primarily through theory and list-building. We don't do a lot of hard-core optimization, mainly because that information would not be relevant nor useful for the vast majority of users. Thinking about pure, competitive optimization would be an interesting mental exercise though.

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JancoBCN
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Re: ITC Standings / Top Lists Update

Post#26 » Jan 25 2018 04:44

Arka0415 wrote:
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).




Yeah, I basically agree on everything Arka just said. I, myself, started to play ITC missions this last weekend, and what I can tell you is that elite factions with rough vehicles and 7-9model, hard-to-deal-with squads are very usefull. Use many 10+/20+ swarm units can put you behind in scoring pretty easily.
That said, I think the ATT recommended lists or list-styles are still viable and apply to ITC missions, althoug what really changes there is the availability of other people lists. That's why, instead of changing theeir T'au lists towards the mission, they tune them because they expect specific things to show up way more than others.

At least that is what I would do anyway.

PeeJ
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Re: ITC Standings / Top Lists Update

Post#27 » Jan 25 2018 06:46

There's also the fact that these are very good players.

What may not work effectively for you or me, may become particularly powerful with more refined movement, timing or synergies, or a different style of play/deeper understanding of the meta and game.

I know from competing in other areas, that when I talk to people who play casually, they can't grasp why I give them certain bit's of advice/say or do certain things because they don't have the depth of understanding or experience at the level that I have.

It's not an identical situation but I would not be in the least bit surprised if the same premise applies.

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steelmanf
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Re: ITC Standings / Top Lists Update

Post#28 » Jan 25 2018 09:46

JancoBCN wrote:Yeah, I basically agree on everything Arka just said. I, myself, started to play ITC missions this last weekend, and what I can tell you is that elite factions with rough vehicles and 7-9model, hard-to-deal-with squads are very usefull. Use many 10+/20+ swarm units can put you behind in scoring pretty easily.
That said, I think the ATT recommended lists or list-styles are still viable and apply to ITC missions, althoug what really changes there is the availability of other people lists. That's why, instead of changing theeir T'au lists towards the mission, they tune them because they expect specific things to show up way more than others.

At least that is what I would do anyway.


I also played my first ITC missions this last weekend. My team (2v2 event) was not really prepared to handle secondary objectives. As you said, 7-9 man units are good since it denies a whole scoring avenue for your opponent (VP for destroying a unit with 10 or more models). Had we known that, we would have plucked a single Rubrik Marine from each of my teammate's squads.

We spent a lot of time setting up our list, but we did it all in the mindset of the standard Matched Play missions that we usually use against each other. We did ok, but it always felt like we were trying to adjust our approach on the fly. I also wished I could have brought more tank-popping firepower, but the Adepticon detachment rules didn't allow for Commander spam, which brings us full circle back to the idea that I know we would have done better had I spammed QFBs all day and night.

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nic
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Re: ITC Standings / Top Lists Update

Post#29 » Jan 25 2018 01:49

Regarding the debates around the AFP commander. I have stripped all quotes because with them in this felt like it could be taken as criticism of individuals which it is most firmly not intended to be.

The most likely reason to take the AFP would be because it ignores LOS. In an ITC setting where the ground level of all ruins blocks LOS that can be a tool worth having. I think in that setting the need to shoot light infantry through walls might be pretty common because every table has walls and it is likely that opponents will want to hide their light infantry there if they have any.

In general I think that "X is better than Y" statements are too often made in a vacuum and when you look at them closely they turn out only to be true over the average of a vast number of games on planet bowling ball. Any statement about Bust Cannon or Flamers being better than AFP is a perfect example, neither the Burst Cannon nor the Flamer will do anything to a target which can hide out of sight which your opponent can use to gain objectives or deny them to you. Situationally - where the situation is that you lack LOS - the AFP is clearly superior. An AFP commander might not "make its points back" in the units it kills but it might earn a swing on VP which ultimately is what the game is about.

I much prefer a discussion around "can this solve a tactical problem" and if it can there is a further thought process of "what do I give up by taking this tool to solve that one specific problem, is it worth the opportunity cost". This approach gives us a much better mental toolkit for building towards certain formats or scenarios than a more simplistic (and usually very binary) statement of what is good or bad. The fact that some very good players are taking things the internet says are "bad" and doing well with them should tell us that the good/bad measurements we are using are not especially helpful.

One commander out of 11 armed with AFP? Interesting idea worth bearing in mind for the future.

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Lostroninsoul
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Re: ITC Standings / Top Lists Update

Post#30 » Jan 25 2018 05:02

I was thinking about this post last night. An idea occurred to me. An AFP commander is a great unit to harrass an enemy while hiding out of line of sight. This would be a great unit to use as bait. Hitting on twos out of sight may tempt an opponent to miss play and try to eliminate it. This may create a bigger opening for the rest of the commanders in reserve to capitalize on. A low point investment too for such a diversionary tactic. Just my opinion and thoughts

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JancoBCN
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Re: ITC Standings / Top Lists Update

Post#31 » Jan 26 2018 03:24

nic wrote:Regarding the debates around the AFP commander. I have stripped all quotes because with them in this felt like it could be taken as criticism of individuals which it is most firmly not intended to be.

The most likely reason to take the AFP would be because it ignores LOS. In an ITC setting where the ground level of all ruins blocks LOS that can be a tool worth having. I think in that setting the need to shoot light infantry through walls might be pretty common because every table has walls and it is likely that opponents will want to hide their light infantry there if they have any.

In general I think that "X is better than Y" statements are too often made in a vacuum and when you look at them closely they turn out only to be true over the average of a vast number of games on planet bowling ball. Any statement about Bust Cannon or Flamers being better than AFP is a perfect example, neither the Burst Cannon nor the Flamer will do anything to a target which can hide out of sight which your opponent can use to gain objectives or deny them to you. Situationally - where the situation is that you lack LOS - the AFP is clearly superior. An AFP commander might not "make its points back" in the units it kills but it might earn a swing on VP which ultimately is what the game is about.

I much prefer a discussion around "can this solve a tactical problem" and if it can there is a further thought process of "what do I give up by taking this tool to solve that one specific problem, is it worth the opportunity cost". This approach gives us a much better mental toolkit for building towards certain formats or scenarios than a more simplistic (and usually very binary) statement of what is good or bad. The fact that some very good players are taking things the internet says are "bad" and doing well with them should tell us that the good/bad measurements we are using are not especially helpful.

One commander out of 11 armed with AFP? Interesting idea worth bearing in mind for the future.


Very, VERY well put. I have to agree on everything, and those are things that are challenging for me to say and write, even though I actually thing that way.

I will try harder next time!

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nic
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Re: ITC Standings / Top Lists Update

Post#32 » Jan 26 2018 02:20

On this topic it might be relevant to look at the T'au lists entered into the LVO.

Looking at the BCP app I think there are probably 21 T'au lists so depending on what the final turnout is that would be in the region of 4% of entries.

Paul McKelvey usually puts together interesting lists and he does not disappoint this time:
7 Commanders, 4 quad fusion, 3 quad CIB each with either 2 gun drones or 2 marker drones
5 Firesight Marksmen
3 Stealth Teams
1 Crisis Bodyguard team, flamers and stims mostly

Curious design concept but it will definitely hit hard and play fast and presumably puts everything that can go in the Manta hold off-table for the turn 1 survivability.

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nic
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Re: ITC Standings / Top Lists Update

Post#33 » Jan 27 2018 01:22

Just to add in some more data points, I believe Brad Nichols put in some strong wins on LVO day one with an interesting twist on the usual Commander Spam

5 Coldstar Commanders with ATS + shield generator
2 Commanders with 3 AFP and ATS
1 XV84 with 2 Missile Pod
4 Commanders with quad fusion
3 units of 9 shield drones

If that goes up on one of the streams I wouldn't mind seeing how he gets the most out of all those Coldstar commanders.

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nic
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Re: ITC Standings / Top Lists Update

Post#34 » Jan 28 2018 06:24

To complete my little snapshot of T'au at the end of the Index era with this list that came in just outside the top 10% from Anthony Bellm

15 units of drones each with 3 gun drones and 3 or 4 shield drones
2 x Cadre fireblade
2 x Ethereal
2 x Commander with Drone controller and flamer
2 x Y'vahra

So unlike Commander spam this one maximises the other two units which are good in the Index - Drones and Y'vahras

Between them those are the top 3 T'au lists at LVO. Paul McKelvey was the top T'au player in 17th place overall, well played sir.

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Krospgnasker
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Re: ITC Standings / Top Lists Update

Post#35 » Jan 28 2018 11:41

nic wrote:To complete my little snapshot of T'au at the end of the Index era with this list that came in just outside the top 10% from Anthony Bellm

15 units of drones each with 3 gun drones and 3 or 4 shield drones
2 x Cadre fireblade
2 x Ethereal
2 x Commander with Drone controller and flamer
2 x Y'vahra

So unlike Commander spam this one maximises the other two units which are good in the Index - Drones and Y'vahras

Between them those are the top 3 T'au lists at LVO. Paul McKelvey was the top T'au player in 17th place overall, well played sir.


Oh, that's really interesting. Any idea what the flamers on the commanders are for?

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JancoBCN
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Re: ITC Standings / Top Lists Update

Post#36 » Jan 29 2018 05:46

Krospgnasker wrote:
Oh, that's really interesting. Any idea what the flamers on the commanders are for?


I thought about that, and my guess is that he just took those Flamers as the cheapest useful mandatory system.
Remember Comanders HAVE to pick at least 2 weapon/support systems in order to be picked (we always pick them with 4, so we already forgot that, lol), and I guess he took them, as the other suport systems are either to shoot better (useless without any weapon) or to be better protected (with already a 100-drone bubble for the job). I am sure he would picked a Burst cannon / Plasma Rifle if he had 2-4 points to spare, but he was already at exactly 2000 points.

Of course, that making sense as he ONLY wanted those Commanders as Drone Controller bearers with the Character Rule.

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