Thursday, 10 August 2017

2000pt Tau list - comments and critique requested!

Greetings all, so after asking for advice and comments on my Genestealer Cult list, here's the other list that I've written that I'm looking for help on, this time it's my Tau force.


Following some input on that Genestealer Cult army, I'm going to start this article off with the list I've actually come up with, then go into my thinking behind taking each of the individual choices.

Battalion detachment

Cadre fireblade
Aun'Va

10-man strike team with pulse rifles
10-man strike team with pulse rifles
10-man strike team with pulse rifles

2 Razorshark strike fighters with missile pods, quad ion turrets

Super heavy auxiliary detachment

Stormsurge, pulse driver cannon, cluster rockets, destroyer missiles, 2 smart missile systems, 2 burst cannons. Early warning override, shield generator and stimulant injector.

Vanguard detachment

Commander, 2 missile pods, shield generator, advanced targeting system, 2 shield drones

3-man crisis suit team, fusion blasters, plasma rifles and multi trackers
Ghostkeel with fusion collider, 2 fusion blasters, 2 stealth drones. Multi tracker and shield generator
Ghostkeel with cyclic ion raker, 2 burst cannons, 2 stealth drones. Multi tracker and shield generator

Discussion

So, what's all this about then?

First up (I've got a forthcoming post about this) I sat down and figured out my army's theme and strategy. For the first of those, it's pretty simple as Tau are the definitive shooting army in 40k so the focus would have to be on taking down my opponents with firepower rather than swords.

The second part is a little more complicated however, since sitting back with your whole army and just blasting away is a) pretty dull and b) not likely to win you many maelstrom games unless you table the opponent. Added to that, you may have noticed that combat orientated armies are pretty good at getting into combat now, even if they do get a bit battered on the way in. As such, I needed some method of continuing my fire even once the enemy makes contact, or by slowing them down in the first place.

Thankfully, Tau do have that option available to them, thanks to the ability of units that fly to fall back from combat whilst still shooting in the same turn. I'd probably therefore want to include a fair few options for units that could stall the enemy advance but then fall back and allow shooting of those units without reducing my firepower too much. First on the list then was a vanguard detachment, which would allow me 3 elite choices (which are mainly where the battlesuit units with the fly keyword are to be found). I would need an HQ choice, so in came a commander in a battlesuit. The bewildering array of weapon types and options that are available to the commander made my head spin, but in the end I plumped for a pair of missile pods for some pretty powerful shooting, combined with an advanced targeting system to make them even nastier against armoured units, whilst a shield generator and 2 shield drones would give him a measure of protection. You might wonder why I didn't go for the stimulant injector, but one of the warlord traits available basically replicates that wargear without paying points for it.

Next up was a unit of crisis suits. Now these guys have gotten very expensive in the current book, and my strategy dictated that they would be used for objective grabbing and speedbump duties, so I didn't want to go overboard on cost. Each took a fusion blaster and a plasma rifle to give me a nice mix of anti-tank and anti-elite shooting, whilst multi trackers would make their shooting a bit more reliable.

The next two required choices were a couple of ghostkeels, one kitted out with all the fusion options to go tank hunting, and the other with the cyclic ion raker and burst cannons to start horde thinning early. Again, both of these units got multi trackers, and I also added shield generators to keep them alive a bit longer.

That gave me 4 units that were potentially able to go hunting for objectives, linebreaker etc. so the next task was to build myself a formidable firebase.

First up, having seen one in action elsewhere, was the stormsurge. This thing puts out an obscene amount of firepower when you factor in all the smaller weapon systems and so it was an absolute must to act as the central pillar of my firebase. I replaced the flamers with burst cannons simply because if my opponents get close enough for me to use them then I'm going to be in serious trouble that a pair of flamers isn't going to solve, and the pulse driver cannon not only looks better but would also serve in the same static role making the most of its range (the stabilising anchors actually make this thing one of the more reliable shooting units in the Tau list). I could take up to 3 support systems, which was nice! So I added in a shield generator for a decent invulnerable save - it wouldn't help against the inevitable smite attacks it would face, but it would help against other shooting. To further increase it's resilience I added the stimulant injector - the combination of these two items should significantly increase the amount of punishment it could take. Then lastly, because I'm a bad, bad man and I really wanted to guard my firebase against mobile reserves, I took the Early Warning Override. This would mean that any sneaky units trying to get close enough to charge on the turn they arrive would in turn get hit by an absolute storm of fire able to drop all but the heaviest targets.

Of course the main problem that the stormsurge would have would be getting swamped, so to make sure that wouldn't happen, and to fill out my required 3 troops choices, I took a trio of fire warrior squads with pulse rifles. These guys could kick out a lot of fire against anything looking to threaten my backfield, and with S5 they'd at worst wound on 5's against any unit in the game that we've seen so far. That wasn't quite enough for me though, so I took Aun'Va to support them, who would allow them to re-roll rolls to hit of a 1 and also effectively grant feel no pain (there are other options, but I can't see myself using them). It's a shame he doesn't also grant these to the stormsurge but that might be a bit broken anyway!

I needed another HQ to fill out the battalion requirements, so in came a cadre fireblade, the cheapest option. That did mean of course that potentially, those three fire warrior units could put out up to 90 shots in the shooting phase, which if my maths is right with the re-rolls granted by the ethereal would mean over 30 wounds against marines in a single round of shooting, more if I declared kauyon that turn.

Finally, having had great success with my stormhawk interceptor in my games so far, and having seen the devastation caused by flyers in 8th edition, I added in a couple of Razorsharks, swapping out their burst cannons for missile pods. Now I realise these aren't quite in the same league as a stormhawk, but the ability to overcharge their weapons for a single mortal wound regardless of how many ones you roll seemed like a pretty nice bonus when each wound you cause does D3 damage, peraticularly seeing as the razorshark comes with 12 wounds basic. That little change would mean that it's potential damage output would be 24 wounds. Even accounting for misses that's pretty substantial, and with clever placement of my commander when I declare Kauyon I could increase that potential even more.

Conclusions

So what do you all think? It's a pretty elite list I realise, but it seems to have plenty of damage output potential. A few thoughts of mine so far on things I could do to improve it:

Markerlights: I don't think they're anything like as effective as before, but if I had some then even a couple of hits would make my destroyer missiles a much more significant threat.

More stuff: It's a very elite list, which so far doesn't seem to be the way to go this edition on the whole. I think it certainly has the firepower to deal with such armies, but I do wonder if perhaps sacrificing one of the ghostkeels and maybe a razorshark might make things a bit better all round.

Let me know what you think in the comments section below.