Thursday, June 6, 2013

Jumping on the Tau bandwagon

Hi guys (and gals?), I'm Ron, I'll be posting here from time to time on FTGT; as much as time allows since I am a single dad of an amazing 3.5 year old.  I first got in to 40K with the Battle for Macragge set at the end of fourth, and have been buying up as much plastic crack as money has allowed since.  My main army is Tyranids - which you will see me showcase a bit here on the blog.  I also have a healthy (ok, probably unhealthy) amount of Space Wolves and Warriors of Chaos for Fantasy.  As with most wargamers who own three plus armies, I have a large amount of bits, on-the-sprue minis, and unopened kits lining every inch of free space available in my place that I will likely never get to in my life.  So when Tau came out with an awesome book (thanks Vetock!), and even better looking minis naturally I set about buying another closet or two worth of bulk plastic.

Inverse Pyramid O' Sprues

Evan, Chandler, and I have another gaming weekend set up for the 29th of June, so I have very little time to get a full army built.  Instead of conservatively shooting for a 1000 or 1500 tau "taste test", I set my sights on a full 2k army experience.  Evan has been very helpful in this process for me as I hope this and future articles will be for new Tau generals out there as well; we can all learn from my mistakes/successes.  I will have a follow up post after our gaming weekend with what I liked, what worked, and which elements were For The Greater Terribad (FTGT??).

My first course of action was to buy the Tau codex, and read it cover to cover several times.  I love the gundam/robot vibe of tau battle suits - and the first suit that stood out to me was the Tau commander.  Even the artwork for him jumped out while flipping through the beautiful, full-color, semi-gloss pages of the codex.  The model is fantastic too - albeit finecast, and fairly limited in posing without conversion.  This guy is the swiss army knife of Tau - and he can be quite the force multiplier depending on how you outfit him and who you attach him to.

And speaking of outfitting him, the Tau codex isn't short of wargear/options.  He can take up to four of a host of weapons and support systems, and as many signature systems as you want (provided you don't duplicate any in your army).  If you've never played Tau, it's easy to look at the fairly small amount of codex entries and assume they don't have many unique army builds.  This couldn't be further from the truth with the sheer amount of options available to almost every unit.  This also leads to a ton of page turning to see what everything does.  There are a few summary tables in the back that help, but I found myself tabbing pages in the first few minutes to help with the flipping and flopping.  

Back to the Tau Commander.  With 4 wounds, but only T4 and a 3+ save, he became the obvious choice for Iridium Armor.  It would be quite disappointing to kit out an almost 200 point commander to have him removed turn one due to a single missile launcher.  Making him my warlord was also an easy choice.  Almost all of the Warlord traits are amazing.  I also chose to give him a  Purtide Engram Neurochip and stick him with 3 Missilesides (broadsides with high yield missile pods + smart missile system).  I love the new broadside model, so 3 in a squad with missile drones was where I started my tau, and it evolved in to this 2k list:

HQ:
Commander (Iridium Armor, Missile Pod x2, Shield Drone x2 for random strength 10 shot absorption on the unit, Puretide Engram Neurochip, Warlord)
Ethereal

Elite
Riptide (Ion Accelerator, Early Warning Override, Velocity Tracker)
XV8 Crisis Team #1 (3 Shas'ui, each suit outfitted with 2xplasma and a shield drone)
XV8 Crisis Team #2 (3 Shas'ui, each suit outfitted with 2xfusion, a flamer, and a shield drone)

Troops:
3x12 Firewarrior squads (each with a Shas'ui equipped with a targetlock/markerlight)

Fast Attack:
3x7 Pathfinder squad

Heavy Support:
Hammerhead Gunship (TL SMS, Railgun, Submunition Rounds, Longstrike, Disruption Pod)
Broadside Team (3 each with HYMP, SMS, 2xmissile drones, target lock)

Fortification:
Aegis Defense Line

Firewarriors put out a respectable amount of S5 shots at range, and an INSANE number at 15" due to rapid fire and ethereal buff.  In the future I may try to squeeze more of these guys in.  I put a target locked, marker light shas'ui in each squad just to get another laser pointer here and there.  These guys are my troop killers, and in addition to pathfinders, will hopefully shake troops in cover off objectives.

Pathfinders provide the majority of the markerlighting with several small cheap squads.  I may try to free up points to put in grav-drones prior to our game to give them some more protection from the charge.  Markerlights are incredible, and I may try to find a way to get more in across my list (maybe some drones?)

If you can't tell already, I love suits!  6 crisis suits, 3 broadsides, a riptide, and a commander, phew that's a lot of Gundam style (that joke's not overplayed at all, am I right?).  The plasma crisis suit team is on 2+ armor a la terminators and monstrous creature duty - though I am worried about the fancy new T8 wraithknight (and to a lesser degree, wraithlords).  These guys will own most other MCs/terminator equivalents with 12 s6 ap2 shots at half range, and hopefully JSJ away to live and tell their blue friends about it.

The second Crisis team, with 6 s8 ap1 melta shots, along with the Longstrike hammerhead (who is absolutely nasty), will be on heavy armor duty (and to a degree T8 MC duty).  So Team 2 blows up the landraider, team 1 gives the guys inside a welcome to the tabletop barbecue (at least that's what I hope happens...).  I threw some flamers on the fusion suits (team 2) for overwatch, and for versatility if high armor targets aren't readily available.  I may swap these out for target locks for the inevitable game against 3 or more AV14 targets.  

The Riptide is my Anti-flyer/Deepstriking deterrent, as well as an MC melter with the ion accelerator.  He is big, tough, and in all honesty, a distraction unit no one can resist shooting at.

The Broadsides are my modular fire.  I put target locks on the 'sides and attach the commander.  If I'm doing the math right, in total, that squad puts out 28 (12 TL) s7 AP4 shots and 12 TL S5 ap5 no cover/no los shots per round at up to 4 different targets.  Ouch.  What makes this even more disgusting is that the Commander can give them Monster Hunter or Tank Hunter at the start of each turn (along with some other abilities which are less useful).  So if my opponent loaded up on MCs or light vehicles (skimmers/transports/buggies etc), there is a good chance I'm taking out more than one per turn.  Should the need arise, I can even have the commander join another unit and provide his abilities to them.
 
The broadside unit is very durable with 2+ saves for everyone but the drones, a commander to soak s8/9 fire, and a couple shield drones to LO,S s10 wounds.  I can see this unit drawing a LOT of enemy fire, and honestly that is fine.  Sure it's 500 points that can fill several roles (heck even anti troop with ap4, some cover save ignoring, and high volume), but the rest of my army has strengths in those roles already.  If my opponent is using all of his fire at my one, tough broadside spam deathstar, my pathfinders, fire warriors, Suits, Riptide, and hammerhead are all free to have their way with enemy units.

So that's my gameplan, and consequently what I have bought and hope to have assembled for our game.

So... Much.... Plastic.....
Thanks for sticking all the way to the end of this long post!  I'd love to hear your thoughts/suggestions in the comment section below.

-Ron