I am back! Last week saw this blog extremely quiet as I was away for work. But I am back with some ideas for blog posts this week. I haven't gotten the chance to play my Tau lately and I haven't had time to work on my little short story The Survivor of Fourth Squad but the ideas are there so tune in this Friday for the third installment.
Right here I'd like to talk about the Tau troops choices and how they work in your army. Fire Warriors at 10 points gets you a midget with elephant gun, yes, but with LD7. You could upgrade one of them to a Shas'Ui LD8 and 2 attacks but is that really worth 10 points?
What role are your Fire Warriors playing in your games? How are you using them?
My guess is, if you're using them in a fighting role you're having a tough time with that and probably not winning lots of games.
I try hard not to spend too many points on them. A unit of 6 in a 'Fish with Pod and Tracker comes in at 155 points. This leaves me plenty of points to spend on units and vehicles that are actually going to cause some damage. Keep them cheap and keep them mobile.
Fire Warriors have a couple of options in the codex. You can trade any pulse rifles for pulse carbines and both options are viable. Fire Warriors also have access to two kinds of grenades, EMP and Photon. Photon Grenades prevent assaulting enemies from getting the additional attack when they assault the three-fingered warriors. This is against what I want to happen. If my Fire Warriors are getting assaulted, I want them wiped out in the first round, leaving the attackers open to fire from the rest of my army. As Photon Grenades can prevent this from happening, I don't choose them.
EMP Grenades are ridiculously over-priced for what you get. Sure you can surprise your opponent by fielding them once and while, but overall 3 points per model makes them an expensive option. You'll need to take them on a big squad to make them worth it too. I've used them on occasion with some success but they are too situational to justify purchasing them. Your Fire Warriors need to be able to assault a vehicle that has only moved at combat (so you hit on 4+) to cause any real damage with them. If it's moving at cruising speed (when you only hit on 6+), forget it, the odds are against you. On top of that, if our opponent knows you've got them, he'll just keep his distance with any price tanks.
I've seen beginning Tau players purchase big units of Fire Warriors on foot. This is a mistake, and a bigger mistake if you do not have plenty of Markerlights. Somehow players get the idea that the Tau are a gunline army when they aren't, they are a mobile firepower army and that's what they do best so don't ruin that by leaving your Fire Warriors on foot. Plus a foot slogging Fire Warrior unit will have troubling playing a major role in the battle. Most players would be tempted to place them in cover to bring their 30 inch range pulse rifles to bear. This creates two problems a) you lose a few turns of movement and b) you're now in difficult terrain which slows you down more. If you want a big squad of Fire Warriors, mount them in a 'Fish, take the first turn to shoot, then mount up and move out to fish of fury targets of opportunity. Support them with Markerlights and then they'll see some glory in battle.
Leadership 7 or 8 is a big problem for Tau Fire Warriors. I once played a new Tau player in a tournament with my Mechanized Blood Angels Assault Force and I had great success tank shocking Fire Warriors. They were set up in a static gun line close to the table edge so I just ran my Rhinos into them and they fled off the board. Don't let this happen to you.
I suppose the Tau Ethereal was created to give a boost of leadership to the Tau so their gun lines could work but I've never had any reason to choose an Ethereal over a Shas'El Crisis Suit so if you have please share your insights.
One thing about Fire Warriors is that it only cost 60 points to make a Devilfish scoring. Devilfish are perhaps one of the best transports out there. With Multitracker and Drones, they can punp out five shots a turn at 18 inches and with the Disruption Pod they will almost always claim a 4+ cover save. The Devilfish APC is the real gem of the Tau troops choices so capitalize on that and learn to use them. Keep them in reserve and move out to claim objectives.