Friday, 12 April 2013

Unit Analysis: XV104 Riptide Part I

Here we are, our new codex, and many new models, released.  Now, it's up to us to figure out how to use them.  Where better to start than the heretofore uncharted territory of the Riptide?

To begin with the obvious, it is extremely durable, being tougher than dreadknights, with the ability to overcharge it's shields and take drones who share it's toughness value.  It is also as mobile as a crisis suit, while toting guns that make hammerheads blush.  Being a monstrous creature also means that while it is not great in CC, it can still smash tanks and well armoured shooty units (i.e. devastators).

But how to optimize it's use?  There are three key points, really:

A good start would be to make sure it's main gun and secondary gun synergize well.  A tank-melting secondary paired with an infantry shredding primary would not, for example, have that synergy.

Furthermore, it is tough, but not indestructible.  Keep it away from things like Grey knights, librarians and any other creative ways your opponents can think of to take away all it's wounds at once.

Finally, remember which army it is a part of: it is not designed for lone-wolf combat, diving into the thick of it and turning the battle on it's own.  It is designed to be excellent in both giving support, and receiving support.

As for it's guns, we have a lot to think about.

Heavy Burst Cannon

-High Shot count
-Effective against flyers with a velocity tracker
-Gains rending and an even higher shot count when nova charged
-Decent strength

-The Riptide has mediocre Ballistic Skill, and you will REALLY feel it while using this particular weapon
-High shot count, Gets Hot! and nova charging all add up to a lot of self-inflicted pain
-Not especially useful against heavy vehicle/infantry/monsters
-Mediocre even against hordes, which it is supposed to be really, really good against
-Middling range

Overall the Heavy Burst Cannon isn't terrible, but paying the points for a riptide to score a handful of medium strength, poor AP hits a turn from closer than it is usually advisable to be?  Requires playtesting, but I don't think I'll ever feel the need to use it.

Ion Accelerator:

-Can penetrate terminator armour
-Can fire blasts equivalent to battlecannons, except these also have enough AP to beat terminators
-Can Nova Charge to fire blasts that would feel at home amongst IG artillery.
-Great for monster hunting
-High Strength
-Long Range

-Lower shot count than the Heavy Burst Cannon
-Gets Hot! on blast weapons can really screw you over
-Less effecting against most aircraft than the Heavy Burst Cannon

The Ion Accelerator seems to be, overall, a better choice than the Heavy Burst Cannon, except against aircraft, though the Heavy Burst Cannon is a bit less random, being able to roll a Gets Hot!, fail, and still get some shots off.

Now, let's look at what has synergies with what.  The Riptide's secondary weapon options are TLPR, TLFB and TLSMS.  The SMS work best with the Heavy Burst Cannon, and the plasma rifle works decently with it.  Avoid FB+HBC though, as their roles are a bit TOO different.  The Ion Accelerator, on the other hand, works exceptionally well with FB, as well as with PR, for anti-tank boosting and anti-monster/TEQ busting, respectively.  The SMS could work somewhat decently with it if you intend to use it to clear out mass cover-camping light infantry, but if that is the case then you should probably be relying on more appropriately equipped units for your anti-GEQ.

TL:DR, the XV104 Riptide can be used in a variety of roles, with different configs being suited to different tasks.  Make sure you keep your monsters supported, so that they can continue to support you.

Sunday, 24 March 2013

Waiting for the New Tau Codex: Excited and Scared

With the new tau codex scheduled to (apparently) drop on the fifth of April, I am both worried and excited about what it may hold for the Tau Empire.  Rumours abound of broadsides going up 15 points and their railguns going down to S8, of the new tau flyers having only burst cannons and of many awesome, awesome new models for the tau empire.  You can find a great thread compiling rumours and pictures of the new tau here.

My biggest fears for the tau, right now, are for our precious broadsides, for our funny-looking new flyers and  for the future of our crisis suits.  Broadsides having their weapons turned into glorified krak missiles, while ALSO having a significant price increase terrifies me.  They may be the best unit in our codex right now, and certainly a top-tier option by any army's standard.  They can put serious hurt on tank, MC, paladins and even flyers (a team of three will usually score at least one hit due to twin-linked, and most flyers can't survive railgun hits reliably).  With S8, even if they gain skyfire, it will be a major blow to them, one that may see them taken out of competitive lists (especially if the Skyray finally gains the Skyfire it so obviously deserves). It will mean Leman Russes being almost impervious to their weapons, nurgle obliterators annihilating them in shootouts, rhinos regularly shrugging off hits and, unfortunately, daemon princes being all but impossible for them to kill.  The flyer, I am worried will end up faring worse than the Nephilim if it only has S5 weapons, particularly if it has the tragic 10/10/10 armour typical of tau flyers.  Crisis suits, I am scared for because I noticed they are now going to be sold in boxes of three.  This would indicate they may become individually weaker, and cheaper, and spammable.  That is the last thing I want to happen to them; I like them the way they are.  If anything, giving them T5 and a price increase would be a better option.  I don't want what happen to lesser daemons to happen to them.

Overall, I am hoping this doesn't prove to be the nerf that shelves my tau.  But it's not all bad; I have seen some new things that DO give me some hope for the tau.

-Upgrade characters.  Upgrade characters are just fantastic, and apparently we are getting two+! One for our tanks (apparently, Hammerheads with this tank commander cost 170, together) who gives them Tank Hunters, A cover boost and the ability to overwatch (Holy Hell! Overwatching with Burst Cannons and a TL PC turret? Ohmygodthat'ssocool).  Apparently there's one for pathfinders too, and maybe even a FW one.

-Ion weapons seem to be getting a face lift.  S8AP2 blast? Cool! Instead of having a sort-of-rending thing on the blaster, all ion weapons can choose to supercharge, but at a risk to themselves.

-Riptide (MC suit) will be T6 2+/5+, 4-5W and with the ability to supercharge movement, shooting or shields.

-Stealth Suits overwatch at BS2

-All kinds of new drones! This is awesome, I would love to be able to have swarms of drones in a semi-competitive list.

-Markerlights can buff overwatch!

-New weapons with awesome names ("Pulse Accelerator", "Repulsor Field")

Also, going off of the Riptide picture, it seems to have a plethora of guns on it; it had it's main arm gun, a shield generator, a twin-linked plasma rifle and what looked like either two SMS or two FW missile pods on it's shoulders.

All in all, I am thinking that some of the stuff we like about the tau is about to get hit with the nerf stick, but in return we are going to receive some awesome new toys (provided, of course, they are not too expensive [points AND money]).

Wednesday, 23 January 2013

Tau as Allies

We've talked about how to use allies with a Codex: Tau Empire army.  Now, we'll go into how to use them as an allied contingent for armies of other codices, which units do/don't work, and what rules can be exploited for maximum benefit.

Again, not an image I own.

Tau Wargear, and Allies.

Now, tau have a wide range of wargear available to them, and very distinctive wargear at that.  I am not going to go into the personal wargear (such as targeting arrays and multi-trackers) as those only affect the tau model itself.  That means that this section is mostly tau allies as they relate to their battle brothers, eldar and space marines.

Most of these wargear items you should be attaching to a squad through a cheap shas'el.

-Advanced Stabilization System: It's a support system, rather than a hard-wired option, but grants the shas'el (and, by extension, his squad) Slow and Purposeful for a player turn (NOT a game turn).  What does this mean? Grant any squad relentless, and an inability to run, for your turn, and then since it doesn't apply in your opponent's turn, they can still overwatch.  Pretty awesome, yes? You can choose whether or not to activate it too, so you can still run if you need to.  Since you don't need to run while you're shooting, and you can still overwatch, it effectively just grants relentless.

-Blacksun Filter: A real gem, it costs almost nothing, can be hardwired (or not, if you want a really cheap suit) and grants nightfighting to the entire unit.  Not much else to say about it, use it.  There are always points for this, especially since it, like the Adv.S.S, is transferred over to whole the squad.  Works well with Devastators and Eldar heavy weapon squads.

-Positional Relay: Source of the ninja tau tactic, and would apply to allies as well.  One unit comes in from reserves on a 2+, the rest don't come in at all.  Gives you great control over your reserves.  Also, the way it is worded means it is not your reserve roll becoming a 2+, it is simply you rolling a d6 and them coming in on a 2.  This means people with wargear/rules that mess with your reserves can't do anything to modify it.

-Target Lock: This one IS a personal item for a battlesuit, but can benefit the squad by firing the emplaced weapon at a different target, since they have split-fire.  Can be hard-wired.

-Vectored Retro Thrusters: Gives the squad Hit-and-run.  Can be very helpful for more assault-y squads, especially since you would be using their I4 to HaR.

-Failsafe Detonator: Not sure whether or not this would pan out super well, but it let's you disengage from combat automatically (helpful for eldar who don't have ATSKNF and can be swept), works well with VRT. The S8 LBT that doesn't scatter is just icing.

Units That Do/Don't Work

While this would need to be examined in the context of the particular allied list you are using, it should hold true in most instances.  Also, you don't need to be battle-brothers to benefit from this section.

Crisis Battlesuit Commander: You really should use him.  Why? Because on top of him being awesome, it's mandatory.  So there's that.  Anyways, Crisis commanders are fairly cheap (cheaper than SM Captains, and by a fair ways, usually), can pack serious fire power and can be made into unkillable beasts (4W T4 2+/4++ FNP w/2 Shield Drones and thrust moves, and heavy weapons? Yes.)

Named Tau Characters: They count as your mandatory Commander, except Aun'va, who I suppose you couldn't take as an ally below 2000pts. Generally, don't do it.  None of them can confer Stealth/shrouded to your units (unless shadowsun's drones ALL die).  The exception is if you're already not battle-brothers, since you can't benefit from tau wargear, in which case taking either of the FW characters would be awesome, since they're monstrous.  Maybe Farsight in an assault-y army, since his special rules wouldn't affect you too harshly, and his weapon is still S5 AP2 armourbane.

Crisis Bodyguard unit: Bodyguard for the commander, again don't do it.  It stops you from helping out your main force with tau wargear shenanigans.  The exception, again, is when you are not battlebrothers, in which case they are not a terrible option.

Crisis suits: Yes.  Amazing 2W jet pack infantry would can take, and use, two heavy/special weapon equivalents a turn.  Some classic configurations are Plasma Rifle, Missile Pod, Multi-tracker (firing a plasma weapon and an autocannon a turn? x3 per unit? Sick. Turns monstrous creatures and terminators to mush) Missile Pod, Burst Cannon, Multi-tracker (allows for an autocannon and half-range heavy bolter to be fired per turn/suit) and TL Missile pod, flamer/BSF (Allows a TL autocannon per turn/suit, and either night vision or a flamer as a backup.).  Just watch out for S8 and assaults.

Stealth Suits: The other Yes.  1 W each, and T3, but they have 3+ armour, half range heavy bolters, jetpacks, stealth and shrouded.  4+ cover save in the open? 2+ cover save in just about any cover? Stick an eldar farseer with them if you want your farseer to live forever, SM might find this tactic less useful as their HQs are by and large shooty.

Firewarriors: The other mandatory choice.  30" S5 AP5 rapid fire guns is nice.  So is 4+ armour.  The rest of their stats are pretty much guardsman or worse though, and they're double the price of one.  Either way, not a terrible unit, take them in medium size squads, as a high volume of shots will do a lot for them.  They do suffer from lack of special/heavy weapons, but it doesn't matter much since their guns are already so strong.

Devilfish: Great transport, but make sure you keep it from getting TOO expensive. They come stock more expensive then predators, but don't throw on points as quickly, get 3+ cover saves in the open for 5 points and they are 12/11/10 skimmer, tank 12 model transports with some cool wargear available, some gun drones for screening and a burst cannon.  Probably not worth it for allies as they are expensive enough to take up a fair piece of the army list, without benefiting from saturation of targets.

Skipping kroot, they're not worth mentioning anymore.

The whole fast attack selection, barring the piranha and variants and the tetra aren't worth mentioning either, either due to sucking (vespid;gun drone squadron etc.) not being practical for an allied contingent (i.e. pathfinders) or being too many points for just an allied contingent (XV9 hazard suits).

Piranha: 11/10/10 fast open-topped skimmer, has access to 3+ cover saves and BS4, as well as the rest of the tau vehicle armoury.  Comes in squadrons of 1-5, which is hilarious when you have 5 flechette dischargers and someone decides to charge you. Consider them the tau answer to the Land Speeder.  They get either burst cannons or fusion blasters.  Yeah, a somewhat more lightly armed, but considerably tougher land speeder.

Piranha TX-42: A more heavily armoured piranha, 11/11/10 putting it on par with a rhino for armour.  It also gets better weapons than the piranha, all for a marginal price increase.  It gets a TL fusion blaster instead of a regular one, but can take a TL Railrifle or Missile pod for more long-ranged supprt, or a TL Plasma rifle for more mid-ranged, anti-TEQ fire.  Has access to all the tau vehicle goodies.

Tetra: A very lightly armoured, 10/10/10 fast skimmer with a heavy 4 markerlight (!!!) and a TL pulse Rifle.  Has access to the tau vehicle upgrades, including flechettes, disruption pods and targeting arrays/locks.  Not so useful for tau allies, as it only tau units benefit from markerlights, and nothing sucks more than markerlight overkill.

These fast attack vehicles are all fairly useful, in large part because they come in (potentially very large) squadrons, meaning you can saturate them even in an allied contingent.

Broadside Battlesuit: There's about a 2/3 chance that if you're taking allies for tau, it's for these guys.  They can pack an entire army's worth of long range anti-tank (especially in 6th) into one unit, and they can be made very, very hard to kill.  Take two, give them targeting arrays, make one a team leader with 2 shield drones.  You now have 6 T4 2+ wounds, two of which are expendable and have 4++ saves.  The two broadsides then have a TL BS4 S10 AP1 72" shot each.  They can also be made mobile with Adv.S.S. Don't forget their SMS (S5 AP5 24" Heavy 4 doesn't need line of sight, ignores nightfighting) each, which they can swap for TL PR for very few points.  For lulz, attach your librarian to them, and cast endurance. FnP IWND relentless broadsides with a defensive close combat character is terrifying.

Hammerhead: One of the best tanks in the game, 13/12/10 armour, it is a skimmer tank with BS4 by default, which must select either 2 burst cannons, 1 SMS or 2 drones as a secondary weapon, and either a Railgun, Ion Cannon, Plasma Cannon, Fusion Cannon, Missile Pods or Long Barreled burst cannons.  The latter four can be seen here, and are awesome (especially the Plasma cannon).  It really comes down between the Plasma cannon and the Railgun for main weapon.  The railgun can either fire like the broadside version, or use a S6 AP4 LBT.  The plasma is considerably cheaper, and just as good, but for different things.  Either way, this thing is like a predator, with upgraded weapons and armour, skimmer, 3+ cover saves and access to tau goodies.  The one problem with using it in an allied list is that, only being able to use one, it is one hell of a target.  3+ Av13 does mitigate that, however.

Skyray: Don't.  Not that good even in tau lists, this is terrible in allied lists.  It relies on other units getting markerlight hits to fire.  See why that sucks in a small allied contingent? It also has limited ammo, and no other primary weapon options.  Contrary to the name, this is probably the worst anti-air unit in ANY codex.

How to Use Tau as Allies

Now the big question: How do you actually apply all that, and use the tau as your allies?  Well, it depends on what your army list is and what your allied contingent is, is the answer.  Generally though, tau units have pretty clear-cut purposes.  If you take broadsides, keep them in the backfield with long sight lines (unless it's Big Guns Never Tire and you have a gate librarian, in which case teleport them onto an objective and laugh maniacally), crisis suits jump in and out of cover etc.  If you take a cheap Crisis suit commander with some wargear to help your force, make sure you put him where his wargear and playstyle will do well (i.e. put an Adv.SS commander with squads like devastators and tac squads, not assault squads or termies where he'll actually be a detriment to the unit).  Generally though, units which have my gold star of approval for use in allied contingents (see below) are anything in a battlesuit, piranha TX-42, hammerheads and firewarriors.  Pretty much all the units I bothered to write up about are good, both for mono-tau and tau allies, but some are just better suited than others.
Remember: allied tau don't bring markerlights.  Enjoy the golden star

Wednesday, 31 October 2012

Tau and Allies

Tau, like most armies, benefit enormously from the addition of allies.  There are simply some things certain armies can't do, that other armies can.  Tau purists, this post isn't for you.

Just like to point out I don't own that image.

Anyways, I have seen people try a number of things: Grab some cheese units from other codices, and add them to our army list (Vendettas, Scythes, Paladins etc.), units that do what we do (shoot), heavily armoured assault units (TH/SS terminators, paladins again, Nob Bikers), disposable wounds (orks, IG) and psychic heavy hitters.  While they all work in their own way, what we really want is synergy.  I have tried allies from a number of different codices, and drawn certain conclusions about them.

Space Marines:  Ah, our imperial battle brothers.  Popular for several reasons, one being that everyone and their grandma has a SM army, so simply adding it to a tau force is only natural, right?  Admittedly, some of their units have great synergy with ours (scouts, sternguard) and others are good for filling niches tau can't (pushing into their deployment zone and keeping them out of ours, ASM and either variety of terminator works).  There are really two units I want to give a little bit extra emphasis to however: Librarians and scouts.  Librarians are good for all the obvious reasons, yes, but also have some interesting tactics when mixed with our army, particularly broadsides.  Three power really stand out here: Force Dome, it isn't a great invul. but it makes the broadsides less dependent on cover and so increases tactical flexibility.  Gate of infinity is great for several reasons: Get broadsides out of harm's way, get side/rear armour shots, and last minute objective grabs in Big Guns Never Tire.  The other one needs to be rolled for, it is the biomancy power 'Endurance'...FNP, IWND, Relentless broadsides? Yes, please.  Scouts are great because they have the range of tau troops and so mesh with our play style, have sniper weapons which is now a big deal, and are a cheap way to fill the troops slot.  I usually add a lascannon stormtalon to round off the allied contingent here.

Eldar:  Don't mesh with our style of play very well.  We are mobile, they are fast.  Big difference.  Their speed means they will get near the enemy, and we won't be able to keep up.  Unsupported eldar=dead eldar.  The good things, though, are that they have divination so can boost our shooting, eldar jetbikes so they can have T4 farseers keep up with our crisis suits and JSJ with them, monstrous creatures if that's your thing, and can have jetbike troops.  So while you can play around with them to make them mesh, you will really just be shaping them into a tau list with different models, so really what is the point? Farseers are all that comes to mind.

Necrons: Lots of people are trying them thanks to us having access to cheap nightvision, and them having their night-causing rules.  Or for their flyers.  Both are not the greatest reasons.  Most armies have access to nightvision, either in the form of searchlights, blacksun filters or simply being dark eldar, other armies either us short ranged fire or are assault oriented.  Nightfighting isn't that big a deal.  As for their flyers, a lucky volley of bolters could down them.  Pass.  I am sure there are other ways to run them with tau, but they are not immediately obvious, or appealing.

Grey Knights: It is tempting to take Draigo and a bunch of paladins.  Don't.  If you run grey knights alongside tau, I would recommend either a henchmen list with psyfleman dreads, or a PA list, because warp quake really is a great rule for an army that does NOT want anything coming that close to it, especially at full strength, having not crossed the board while getting chewed by pulse and burst cannon fire.  Librarian would be pointless for the most part, what with us not being battlebrothers, however it could be useful for psychic defense or buffing other GK.

Chaos:  I see potential here.  The new chaos codex can really create just about any army type, which is good.  It also has access to some ridiculously tough units, and if you run out of slots for broadsides, take obliterators!  Being so new, I will need to playtest, I am however thinking of either a daemon prince with some oblits and cult marines, or a Tzeentch chaos lord with the sigil of corruption, 2+/3+ with a terminator unit attached, standard marines as troops and again, oblits.  Bonus since people haven't figured out how to counter it yet, due to newness.

BA/SW.  These are both gimmicky codices.  If you use either as allies, you may as well just take their cheese units.  I wouldn't recommend them though unless you REALLY want a runepriest in a drop pod with some GH.

IG: Same as above, don't mesh too well, being simply a "brute force" kind of army.  If you take them, may as well load up on vendettas and hydras I suppose.

DE: Wouldn't suggest it.  Suffers from the same drawbacks as elder, don't have battlebrother psykers to compensate.

Daemons: Could be fun, can't see it working out.  Would be hilarious to have An'ggrath fighting alongside the tau too.

Well that pretty much covers specific armies.  Not to sound like a broken record, but I will repeat myself; strive for synergy.  A force that works in a way similar to the core force, yet accomplishes things it can't and covering some of it's weaknesses, is what you should be aiming for.

Saturday, 27 October 2012

Tournament Results

Ended up taking 2nd place overall, of about two dozen players.  Played Four games.

Game 1:
My opponent for the first game brought a true horde army: Chaos cultists allied with orks.  Among the more interesting bits of the list were abaddon and two maulerfiends.  We got Vanguard Strike and the emperor's will, on a terrain heavy board. Has some abominable rolling for my shooting for the first two turns, and he got most of the way across the table.  Top of turn three, my three suit units deepstrike and hit right where they need to, and some unholy good luck sees his army ripped to shreds.  Abaddon was killed trying to death or glory my hammerhead when it, with only one burst cannon left, tank shocked his unit.  The best moment was when one cultist unit charged my broadsides, and the aspiring champion issued a challenge.  I accepted with my broadside team leader because I believed in him, and he lost.  The cultist rolled on the boon tabled and became a prince.  He then challenged again and I accepted with my librarian, who he also killed.  He rolled and got D3+1 more rolls, of course getting four.  He gained THREE additional wounds and 1T.  Thank goodness the game ended there, with firewarriors on my objective and nothing on his.

Game 2:
Faced a necron army with two flyers, Zahndrekh and a whole lotta mech.  We rolled dawn of war and Emperor's Will for mission and deployment.  He got first turn, but I stole the initiative.  I had my stealthsuits, tank and scouts deployed way up the field, and moved them further up, hoping to keep him away from my heavy, long ranged fire support in the backfield.  For the first few turns, I was sweeping through his weak backfield, and then his flyers came on.  They wrecked the broadsides and firewarriors, so we had basically swapped ends of the field and started to head back towards our own ends.  His flyers deployed their troops, and I wrecked most of them, eventually whittling one squad of warriors to 2 men and the other to three.  My suits choose now to come in, and shoot down one flyer and the squad beneath it.  The stealthsuits destroy the other flyer, which crashes and kills the warriors beneath it, meaning he was tabled.

Game 3:
Faced a Chaos Space Marine/Daemon alliance, epidemius and plague marines.  Wasn't the most exciting game, we rolled Dawn of War and crusade.  3 objectives, one in each deployment zone and one in the middle.  I held mine, and advanced a firewarrior squad up to the central one, with my stealthsuits in his deployment zone harrassing him and soaking up a silly amount of firepower with their 2+ cover save. They were the only unit slain to a man on either side this game, almost nothing died.  I still got first blood for fusion blasting a rhino though!

Game 4:
The final round, I faced a Blood Angels/Space wolves allied list.  Hammer and Anvil, Purge the Alien.  Runepriest with grey hunters drop podded into my deployment zone, Mephiston and death company were the blood angels contingent.  They killed all three squads of firewarriors in the first two turns, and thunderhammered my poor hammerhead to death (after it claimed half the GH squad that podded in).  My Warlord and the fireknives I attached him to scattered onto mephiston (he was alone too, hard to hit a lone 25mm base) and mishaped to death.  The other unit dropped nearby, and by this point I REALLY wanted mephiston dead, so I fired them at him.  The burst cannon shots ALL missed, except one which managed to wound and also beat his armour, imagine that.  The plasma shot all hit, and NONE OF THEM WOUNDED.  Next round, mephiston charged and they actually killed him with overwatch.  Then death company with 3x thunderhammers happened.

All in all, it wasn't the hardest tournament I've ever played, but it was certainly fun.  Especially killing Mephiston, and watching Bruce the Cultist (he earned a name today) become an unstoppable force of nature.  The dice gods favoured me today.

Thursday, 25 October 2012

Upcoming Tournament: Oct 27, 2012

Coming up on Saturday at my friendly local games workshop is a 1500pt Warhammer 40k tourney.

I've been running permutations of different lists through my head for the past several days, and have finally chosen an army roster!

First though, I REALLY wanted to run a mono-tau list, something along the lines of:

Shas'el w/ MP+PR+VRT+HWMT-97

6x Stealth Suits, 2x FB-184
3x Crisis Suits w/ MP+PR+MT-186
3x Crisis Suits w/ PR+BC+MT-174

10x Firewarriors-100
10x Firewarriors-100
10x Firewarriors-100

Heavy Support:
1x Hammerhead w/ railgun, Burst Cannons, Multi-tracker, Disruption Pod-165
1x Hammerhead w/ railgun, Burst Cannons, Multi-tracker, Disruption Pod-165
2x Broadsides w/ TA, Team Leader w/ 2x Shield Drones-195

Total: 1456.  Would have thrown in some hard-wired blacksun filters for a few units, maybe another shield drone somewhere.  The commander would have joined the scouts for a 2+ save and to give them H&R.

However, I decided that while that list may suit me well in terms of what I like to field, it wasn't quite a tournament list.  I decided to bring along SM allies, for psychic powers and stormtalons!

Shas'el w/MP+PR+MT-87
Terminator Librarian-125

6x Stealthsuits w/ 2x FB-184
3x Crisis Suits w/ TLMP, Flamers-141
2x Crisis Suits w/ MP+BC+MT-100

10x Firewarriors-100
10x Firewarriors-100
10x Firewarriors-100
5x Scouts w/ Sniper Rifles-75

Fast Attack:
Stormtalon w/ TL Lascannons-150

Heavy Support:
2x Broadsides, 2x TA, 2x Shield Drones-190
1x Hammerhead w/ Plasma Cannons, Burst Cannons, Multi-tracker, Disruption Pod-130

This list has a lot more anti-flyer firepower, between the deathrains, hammerhead, broadsides and stormtalon. Once again, the commander is going with the stealthsuits.  Terminator with the broadsides [to make sure they never, ever die...biomancy is great ;)]

Another thing I was thinking of maybe doing, due to the poor anti-meq/teq of this list, was to put plasma rifles on the broadsides and give one an A.S.S, put them with the librarian and select the powers 'gate of infinity' and 'null zone'.  Alternatively, I could swap out the three deathrains to two fireknives, and use the extra points to upgrade the second crisis unit's missile pods to plasma rifles.

So much to consider!  I'll post the results once the tournament is done.

Saturday, 15 September 2012

Unit Analysis: Crisis Suits part III

So, we've talked about why crisis suits are good, we've talked about how to build a solid crisis suits, now we need to talk about how to use them.

Now, the first thing you need to know are that how to use a crisis suits depends on the play style, the weapons of the suits, and the scenario.  Despite that, there are some truisms that encompass nearly all playstyles.

First off, stay back.  It can be tempting to move to 12" and make use of the rapid fire rule on the plasma rifle, but this should only be done when you are more or less certain you can destroy your target (i.e. 2 tactical marines against 3 fireknives).  The other time it may be useful is if you are intentionally using the fireknives to draw the attention of the target unit, to protect something more important (i.e. firewarriors, anything on an objective), which brings us to our next point.

Crisis suits are expendable.  Don't be wreckless, try and keep them around as much as is feasible, but don't protect them to the point of relying on their survival.  They are great for killing, and perfect as a harassment unit, but don't fill up the more important tactical roles of being scoring and being tough.

Anyways, on the battlefield there are a solid number of ways to use crisis suits.

First off, they are aggressive suits.  Get a wedge of 6+ crisis suits and just carve a path through your enemy, and sweep them off of objectives.  Open up gaps for your other units, and just generally take the fight to the enemy.  Manticore in the background making you rage? Introduce it to enough melta to wreck a baneblade.  Blob squad causing you trouble? Get some markerlight support, and just chew through them with burst cannons.  Most weapons do okay here, the missile pod may be out of place though, not because it wouldn't excel, but simply because you would be wasting it's awesome range.

Next off is defensive, hanging back and popping transports, thinning squads etc. gunline style, so that they are weak by the time they get to you, and then you just thrust away from them.  Crisis suits filling this role are generally the greatest source of anti-transports we tau can get, also works well against flyers.  Deathrains and Fireknives work well in this capacity, as missile pods and plasma rifles are the only weapons that really lend themselves to this role, due to their range.

Another common way is as a harassment unit.  Do not be engaging in full on firefights so much as just wearing away at a unit's edge and boosting away on your jetpack to avoid retaliation.  The purpose is not so much to be smashing units, as an aggressive suit would do, but weaking them.  The main difference between this and the other suits are that aggressive suits move in for point-blank carnage, and usually have more than one squad teaming up, and defensive units generally stick to their table edge, whereas harassment units may deploy forward or deepstrike behind enemy lines, but generally still work independantly from the other teams and stay an arm's length away from the enemy.  Missile pods, Burst Cannons and Plasma Rifles are the optimal weapons for this role, though both special issue weapons may also have their uses in this capacity.

The fourth and easily least common way of running a crisis suits is as a suicide suit.  TL flamer, TL fusion blasters, flamer+fusion blaster etc., just to disrupt the enemy and hopefully recover more points than was invested in them, which they usually will, at the cost of a FOC slot. Not often used, and with good reason.  I just thought I'd include it for the sake of completeness.

Now something you may have noticed, most crisis suit weapons are suitable for most roles.  If you stick tot he more versatile weapons and builds, you can switch roles mid game.  An example of how might work is that I usually take my suits (1 team of 3 with MP+BC+MT, 1 team of three with MP+PR+MT, 1 stealth team with 2x FB, most often) and start them out as harassment units, either deepstriking or moving up the flanks, and then once all my suits are behind the enemy, who will almost always be pushing towards your home base against tau, and suddenly pinch in from the rear/sides, using the classic hammer and anvil style with my firewarriors and broadsides and railheads on one side, and the suits on the other.

This also works because it can be varied based on the scenario, for example a green tide is moving up the board, covering enough space I can't move around it.  The suits I was planning on moving up the sides can be played as defensive suits, with the deepstriking ones waiting until the greenskins move forwards and open up some room in their backfield for my suits to drop, at which point they would either start clearing the ork backfield of any lootas or what have you, or choosing to move forwards and harass the rear of the green horde.