Wednesday, February 24, 2010

XV88s Essential to the Plan?

Funny thing about XV88 Broadsides is that I've found that I can't live without them. That's not to say that I am going to throw a fit when they die in a game, on the contrary, I expect them to die. But simply having them in my list, set up centrally to dish out punishment and soak up fire is almost essential to my plans. I generally need a good lure so that I can manage the distances between my opponent force and mine.
There is something about having a unit of 3 XV88s with Targeting Arrays and 2 shield drones. It's hard to explain, your opponent just acts differently. The fear instilled by 3 BS4 Twin-Linked Railguns is worth lots more than their actual fire power. I need that unit on the board to cause panic and disarray among my opponents. It seems to make them second-guess their deployment, panic when their land raider comes into line of sight from them and get sweaty palms when they have just unloaded all their fire power into the unit and I only remove one shield drone. It's almost as if I need them to look scary more than I need them to kill stuff. It really helps to continually check line of sight with them and smile to yourself when you find targets. Gets him real nervous.

Somehow, the collective mind of 40k gamers has developed an unnatural fear of railguns. I almost feel like I am letting the secret out by blogging about it.

Then again there is something to it. Ignore my railguns at your peril.

I just got back from a game where I intentionally left Broadsides out of my list and I couldn't believe the audacity of that Gue'la commander. Without the fear of railguns, his confidence was downright offensive! I guess what I am saying that is that with our current codex, Tau XV88s are essential to success. Heck I've even considered building a army based around Stealth Suits and Pathfinders, but I can't seem to envision it working without a healthy supply of Broadsides. Anybody out know what I'm talking about?

18 comments:

Pete W said...

I can see where you are coming from. The sheer power of having the railguns looking out of the field is impressive. In our games I know that that I've been very aware of the broadsides; either by fearing for my Land Raider etc. if playing marines, or by relishing the chance to shoot up your guys with railguns if playing tau.

I'm thinking for my tau army that I will play broadside free to start with. My heavy support will be 2 railheads and a skyray so we'll have to see how well that works out in practise. I think that having 2 railheads will provide some of the psychological effect but I know that my anti tank will have to mostly come from the deathrains and fusion piranhas. Partly I'm just being cheap as the broadsides are pricey but I'm sure I'll get some eventually.

MonkeyLeader said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
MonkeyLeader said...

I never play a force without a batch of them.

Not only do they provide an effective and efficient way to dispatch hardened targets and monstrous creatures, they are also an effective psychological tool.

In my gaming group, all of my friends know the power and destructive force they can dish out. Because of this healthy respect, I can use them to dictate where I want my opposition to set up. Since the XV88's are avoided like the plague, I can a tactical advantage when I set them up.

Pearlygates said...

Naturally the Broadsides are a must!

With upto 3units in a team, each armed with twin-link 'Railers' that is pure tank-killing strength 10 at AP1, not to mention that the broadside is the ONLY guy in our Tau force that has an amour save of 2 as standard, we all feel the need to have them as a constant!

To not take a Broadside is like to also choose not to take a crisis suit!

Every opponent we face WILL have some form of Tank or APC in their army; Their standard troops will have more variety of weapons in each squad (some capable of killing a character of +2 amour save out right, others capable of killing tanks too.)

We rely heavily on our Broadsides being present, even if it is for fear tactics!

Pearlygates said...

Naturally the Broadsides are a must!

With upto 3units in a team, each armed with twin-link 'Railers' that is pure tank-killing strength 10 at AP1, not to mention that the broadside is the ONLY guy in our Tau force that has an amour save of 2 as standard, we all feel the need to have them as a constant!

To not take a Broadside is like to also choose not to take a crisis suit!

Every opponent we face WILL have some form of Tank or APC in their army; Their standard troops will have more variety of weapons in each squad (some capable of killing a character of +2 amour save out right, others capable of killing tanks too.)

We rely heavily on our Broadsides being present, even if it is for fear tactics!

Pete W said...

I am still interested to see how well an army can play without them, if only for being cheap on the wallet. $35 per model really adds up quickly, even if you get it at discount. Three of them will cost more than a battleforce worth of models.

Still, we'll see whether I can handle enemy mech with piranhas, crisis suits and railheads. It will be interesting and tactically challenging.

Old Shatter Hands said...

GW really needs to release plastic XV88s. You can probably convert your own plastic XV88s. I've seen people doubling up on fusion blaster barrels for them. Or you could even use plasticard for modeling the railguns.

Soundwave said...

Wahey, I can finally plug my theories somewhere. I know exactly what you mean about the fear causing Railguns, and here's why:

http://miniacademics.blogspot.com/2010/02/scholastica-psykana-framing.html

Feel free to delete my comment if you don't want me plugging things, but do give it a quick read and let me know what you think.

Sholto said...

I like your comment about looking down the sights of the railgun. I'll need to remember that!

I played a couple of games without railguns just to see what it would be like. My opponents could hardly believe it - where were the Tau's signature weapons? I managed to get a win and a draw, both times against mechanised armies. Fun games, too.

slxiii said...

Railguns are almost an entirely psychological weapon. Space marines hide their land raiders behind anything they can(at least the second time around...), they pop smoke on all of their vehicles first turn, and they pump as much fire as possible into them.

Mon-keigh Reaper said...

I will say I was happy when we played and I noticed only two railguns on the table versus my paper thin rhinos. My strategy probably would have changed with the introduction of broadsides. I would have pushed my plasma spam towards your broadsides in hope of taking them out before they blew up all my transports.

That being said, broadsides are good/bad. They draw _a lot_ of attention away from all the other units. They are also dead hard to kill (unless they have to do a morale check). The bad thing is they are static, making setup key. They need to be there to deny movement. Sometimes forcing the other guy to change his advance is better then the actual damage the railguns do. I noticed this in our game. I had setup a combat squad with plasmacannon to over look the mid field and that made you deploy everything on the other side for fear of the AP2 blast on your suits.

Raptor1313 said...

Frankly, the Broadsides are just too reliable in terms of putting slugs on-target. Throw in the advanced stabilization system and go to town so even if you move, you can take the shot.

In a pinch, you can split fire with the proper wargear. If you need something to die, you have twin-linked railguns.

Hammerheads are well and good, but are seriously neutered by a single weapon-destroyed result, and can be silenced by glancing hits as well.

Infantry doesn't stop shooting 'til dead, and there aren't that many long-range S8+ AP2 weapons out there to try to cap broadsides with, AND you have shield drones to absorb some of that.

I mean, they're just that big of an asset.

I agree on the cost, though, and I made mine out of plastic. I did mine out of XV-8s with some mechwarrior bits. Pictures, for them as wants it (assuming links don't annoy folks) http://4.bp.blogspot.com/_q-7OMhbEG2s/Snt19IamUzI/AAAAAAAAAME/-0gy2bb-QWY/s1600-h/Broadisde+Team+Front.JPG Plasticard tubing + shield generator + fusion blaster bits, plus mechwarrior legs/missile pods, but those shouldn't be impossible to duplicate or replace.

johnnycageam said...

Broadsides are an essential tool I use against any army. I find a lot of people hiding their vehicles and monstrous creatures and at that point I can just deep strike a crisis team designed to kill those units. They can also be deadly against infantry units with the SMS.

Old Shatter Hands said...

@Raptor, awesome broadsides man! love the batttletech look and feel.

Firewasp said...

I think broadsides are awesome. Even if they don't succeed in killing a lot of the enemy, they attract an awful lot of attention.

Just got to get my other two painted up now.

gimmefour said...

I have played tau since my son thought they looked cool but then realized how fast firewarriors die. He's off to college now, and I've got about 5000 points worth.
In all that time, I can't think of a single game that I've played without my trusty broadsides. It amazes me how they live through torrents of fire and keep dishing out that S10 love.
Last weekend they got assaulted by 8 Fiends of Slaanesh and I died a little inside.

Xanadu said...

Even if the broadsides tend to be targeted by opponents first, due to their durability, they are nigh impossible to wipe out. In my experience any marines send out huge units of assault squads or attack bikes to take them out with plasma or power weapons.

Railguns are scary to play against, but I can assure you that they are not as bad or scary as a battery of earthshaker cannons, which can cause horrific amounts of damage very quickly (have now been twice tabled by an IG army using it).

However, they aren't that powerful or reliable in my own experience, consistently failing to penetrate or hit despite being TLed or even using the targeting array.

Spanking Ape said...

Hi guys, just found this today and started reading your blogs.

I went to the 2007 uk grand tournament with a 2000 point list of tau with NO broadsides!!!

I know!! you must think im crazy because everybody else did.

For the points cost of 2 basic broadsides you can have a railhead with a couple of upgrades. So instead of my usual 4 broadsides i swapped them out for 2 railheads.

The list i had worked really well and i only lost 1 game. Winning all the rest. The hammerheads worked fine as anti tank with the added benefit of the ap4 ordnance template from the railheads too.

I think broadsides aren't nessecery in a tau army as long as you have the railheads to supplement heavy tank destroying duty and have missle pods to take down transports.

In my list i had 8 crisis suits in total, 1 commander who had twin linked fusion blaster and shield genny to deepstrike and a variation of missle pod plasma, and missle pod fusion blaster on the rest of the suits.

thats my angle anyway guys :)