Old Shatter Hands studied the data and statistics on his xv8's inner helmet computer. Diagrams of enemy weapon loadouts and various codes scrolled before his eyes. A three dimensional map of the battlefield appeared before his ponderous eyes. "Pathfinder feeds are coming through now. Relays are online."
"Confirmed, Shas'O." responded his accompanying Shas'Ui battlesuit pilots.
The digital battlefield map rotated horizontally and vertically to give him all perspectives. He searched it for an advantageous avenue of approach on the attacking forces. He zoomed in on potential LZs and calculated enemy threats.
Patrolling piranha pilots had located enemy forces less then 10 clicks ago and sent digital messages to the Orca for support. Garrisoned Broadsides and Hammerheads were the first to arrive while Old Shatter Hands prepared for the drop from the safety of the Tau Orca. Devilfish APCs remained cloaked until well-positioned. Old Shatter Hands sent commands to ground forces via radio and cellular communication waves.
His cousin, nicknamed Centurion by his cadre due to racking up 100 kills of Gue'la regulars during the Taros Campaign, stood by with his bonded team of Shas'ui. They anxiously awaited the command to execute the drop and studied the incoming datafeeds from ground forces.
Then the bay doors of the Tau Orca slid open, the glow of the red planet below lighting up the stocky build of their XV8 suits. As their visual sensors filtered out the dust and smoke of the battlefield below. A rocket flew up and whizzed towards them only to explode on the Orca's energy shield, Shas'Ui pilots flinched at the explosion.
"Ho! Looks like a feeding frenzy at a Kroot bridal shower down there!" bellowed Centurion.
Old Shatter Hands turned to his cousin, "Centurion! Prepare your Shas"Ui. We drop on my command."
"Aye, Old Shatter." He nodded. "Listen up, Shas'Ui, the time is now. Our blood is forfeit for the Tau'Va. You didn't want to live forever did you? FOR THE TAU"VA!"
Old Shatter Hand surveyed the field, he linked his hard-wired visual systems to the Orca's sophisticated sensory systems and pondered the best moment to strike. He saw an opening. "Centurion, coordinates Q253465, E983781. Deliver the Mont'Ka!" The bulky yet nimble XV8s leaped from the Orca to descend on the chaos of the firefight below...
So how cool is the idea of deepstriking? I simply love surprising my opponent by dropping XV8 Battlesuits from the sky, unleashing a flurry of plasma and missile fire
in a pin-point attack. The problem is, it's difficult to know exactly which is the best landing zone and where to strike. Do I go for safety or do I go for the glory? Most players will choose a spot that gets them a big kill while simultaneously putting their 'Suits in harm's way. They fear scattering too close ot the enemy or over impassable terrain or even off the board so they position the unit 12 inches away from any terrain, enemies or board edges. This type of deepstriking often leaves deepstrikers out in the open and vulnerable to a concentrated reprisals by enemy troops. I'm different. I risk it all and position my XV8s where they are safe and hope for the best rolls. Of course a marker beacon helps.
Consider proximity to the enemy. You don't want to get too close so that your unit will get assaulted in the next turn but you want to be close enough that your weapons are in range. You want to cause damage but you also have to prevent your units from dying. Consider too that the surprise element is a weapon in itself. You may be better off saving your guns for the next turn in order to survive the drop.
Take cover, Shas'la! Deepstrike to a position that allows your deepstrikers to take cover and protect themselves rather than putting them in a position to get the biggest kill.
Stick together. Don't isolate your XV8s. While clad in sophisticated and advanced battlesuit armor, XV8s still need supporting units. I tend to deepstrike my units close to a piranha squadron, that way if I fear an enemy assault, I can turbo-boost my piranha in the way to create a skimmer-wall of defense. This also means that if the enemy decides to shoot my XV8s, they'll get a cover save from the blocking piranhas. By turbo-boosting, the piranhas will be getting one as well. This can also be done with Devilfish upgraded with disruption pods. In addition, a supporting unit will also be able to assist by providing supporting fire.
Look before you leap. Don't get surprised, be the surprise. Know thy enemy. Before placing your XV8s, carefully consider which enemy units can threaten your Battlesuit pilots. Choose a spot that looks good and then quickly survey your opponents army and see which units are capable of mounting a successful counter-attack. If it looks bad, choose another spot.
Delivery the Mont'Ka with the utmost confidence and enthusiasm. Ok, we all know how dangerous deepstriking can be, but remember fortune favors the bold. Not only that but it's game, have fun and be adventurous, ya nerd!
Bearing all this in mind, you should have some spectacular successes with deepstriking. It can really throw your enemy off and get your battlesuits exactly where you need them. A couple pieces of wargear to consider are the Positional Relay and the Pathfinder's Devilfish Marker Beacon. Both of these items can be extremely useful when deepstriking, one allowing you to control reserves and the other allowing you re-roll poor deepstrike scatter.
It's my belief that one day, the Tau will have a new Codex that makes them the best deepstrikers in the game. With marker beacons on all devilfish and XV8s getting the pinning ability on all their weapons the turn they deepstrike. Until that day, let's get some practice.
I'd love to hear any suggestions, stories or tall-tales of great successes with XV8s deepstriking. Any recommendations? Any lists built around deepstriking? I kindly request that readers refrain from comments discouraging deepstriking as this isn't what this post is about.