Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Tau Armory: The Next Crisis Suit Build?

With a  couple packs of Crisis Suits kicking around my apartment, I am consider what my next weapon loadout should be for this unit. I plan on doing some heavy conversion work on them to set them apart from the rest but I still have not decided on their armament.

Cruising the web, I found a couple articles that I found very interesting and intrigueing. First off, we’ll start with a regular reader’s blog, Sufic Contingent, Shas”o D’Narb has an interesting army build that I really like. It packs in loads of firepower and relies on Kroot to claim and hold objectives.  He fields a total of 10 Crisis Suits with an original loadout,

1 Shas’Ui Team Leader with Twin-linked Flamer, Missile Pod, Blacksun Filter, Target Lock, 2 Shield Drones
2 Shas’Ui XV8s with Missile Pods, Plasma Rifles and Multitracker.

His army fields 3 of these units and a Shas’el with an Airbursting Fragmentation Launcher. This army thus has 6 AP2 weapons and 10 Missile Pods in units that can fire on two targets each per turn. The twin-linked flamer gives this unit some versatility. It can fire effectively at range and only gets better at shooting the closer the enemy gets. Note that this Build is effective mostly because Shas’O D’Narb fields a unit of pathfinders for markerlight support.

However, this isn’t the unit I’m looking for. Part of what makes this work in his army is what is in the rest of it.

What I am looking for is some volume of fire. So what first comes to mind is the Firestorm XV8. This buildout has a missile pod, burst cannon and multitracker. It sacrifices accuracy for more shots and is well-costed at 50 points. A full unit of three of them will be pumping out 6 S7 shots from range and 15 S5-S7 shots as the enemy closes. Obviously this is a build that will benefit greatly from markerlights. I’ve been thinking about this unit and tweaking it a bit from some inspiration from Sufic Contingent. My buildout would be deployed as follows:

1 Shas’Ui Team Leader with Twin-linked Flamer, Missile Pod, Hard-Wired ‘Tracker, Hard-Wired Drone Controller and 2 Gun Drones
2 Shas’Ui XV8s with Burst Cannons, Missile Pods and ‘Trackers.

This unit can pump out 6 S7 shots, 8 S5 shots and one S4 Template, re-rollable wounds. It also has a higher model count and the small (very small almost not worth mentioning) chance of pinning. Model count at 5 means losing one model will not cause a Morale Check and I’ve got three different types of models for wound allocation. I think it would fit well in a list that incorporates markerlights (which is something I am working back into my list). This unit should be able to start the game popping transports and only gets better as the game goes on and the firefights get more intense. I feel it is a pretty versatile build while keeping the points cost down. The unit also means that my FireKnives will be able to focus more on hunting down heavy infantry like terminators and monstrous creatures.

That said, I’ve never fielded this unit. Only the tests of battle can tell. More on that later in the week.

What kind of crisis suits are you all fielding? Have you discovered an usual loadout you’ve found particularly effective?  


Oh, it's you, Bob... said...

I'll be interested to see how these play out. My only suggestion would be to change the 2 'Uis just slightly so you benefit from no like models when wounds get spread. Maybe give the flamer from the Leader to one of them and the burst-cannon to the Leader? Same weapons, no like models - something like that.

Old Shatter Hands said...

Great suggestion!Definitely going to do that.

Daedalus Nix said...

My question is - why do you feel you have to decide on the load out? Magnetizing is a simple feat with minimal (about $20 US at the worst) investment to get going on a few suits.

I've got some video tutorials I can email you if you want (I don't want to spam your blog). I hope to re-shoot the video on weapons next week when I have more downtime but what I have is a good start for anyone.

Anonymous said...

I got my second XV8 suit today, havent decided on a loadout yet. My first suit (wich has been my hq choice) has a fusin blaster, plasma rifle, shield generator and a HW target lock. Its kinda short ranged and heavy outfitted but my regular opponents are nids and orks and they got tough guys with many wounds. Any tips on what to put on my new suit? I want a deathrain of some sort. Any ideas?

Michael said...

Ok, here's my two cents. IMHO, all suits should be Fireknives. I know you want to do something different than fireknives, but they are the most effective as far as the strenght/range/AP/rate of fire balance goes. Granted 3 str 5 shots are good on paper, but AP5 is lacklustre, and when limited to 18", its even worse. I personally would rather not have to rapid fire my plasma at all in a game, then try to squeeze in a few extra shots. If they are 24" away, they aren't assaulting me.

That said, I can answer your question ;) For ahile I would run a squad of 2 suits with Fusion Blaster and TL flamer. They would deepstrike behind enemy lines and cause all kinds of bedlam. Fusion for tanks and flamers for hordes. And even 2 TL flamers are rough for MEQ. The distraction they cause is great. The opponent will have to redirect some of his force to deal with them, because they are too deadly to leave just knocking about. I like to put a target lock on the team leader so I can split fire also, although the chances for tank poppoing drop, but against hordes of nids say, it's fantastic.

Pete W said...

I'm having varying thoughts with crisis suits and if I could get off my butt (and I didn't have so much else to do) I would magnetise just to have choice. Generally, I don't think there are many bad choices of crisis suit, just ones that are more or less forgiving.

Fireknife - Good all-rounded with high strength but I prefer a little more specialisations

Helios - Scary for anything with high T or good armour but you'd better be able to judge 12" really well! I love these babies.

Deathrain - I like these and can't see much downside, unless you face a horde. Even then you can smack down a number of models per turn and flame them up close (going with TLMP and Flamer)

Firestorm - Good amount of dakka here and volume of fire has come into its own in 5th edition with all of the cover saves. OSH has good thoughts with these.

Fireforge - I'd never thought of this one but actualyl it's quite nasty. OSH used it to hammer my vehicles from range, and if they come close they get melted. You could consider this a Deathrain-lite that seques into anti-heavy armour with range decrease.

Blinding Spear - I can't see the cost of TL plasma being worth it with the amount of cover out there. Also it requires getting within 12" to really take advantage of the shots. Could be good against something like Deathwing but I'd probably stick to Helios so I could put out more shots and melt the Land Raiders if need be.

Those are all that I can think of now but there are definitely more. I like the way that the suits can be played so differently and given different gear to let you play the wound allocation game.

There was a thread on ATT about making a 5 man team (2 Shas'els) with drones, target locks and different weapons so you could put out sickening firepower all over the field and had to take a bunch of wounds before anybody went down. Tasty idea.

Pearlygates said...

I must agree with Micheal; When you should already have so many other units with pulse weapons at stregth5 AP5, you should really be giving all your battlesuits weapons with better 'ka-boom!'

I don't tend to field 'Based' units - meaning that I don't take a squad of Helios or deathrains, I have combo - units; the weapon loadouts are different to each member in the squad. #1 has plasma and fusion #2 has plasma and pod #3 has fusion and pod.

Though I am yet to try a squad that has a fireknife, a deathrain and a helios in the same squad, writing this has given me thought for my next game!

Anonymous said...

Kudos and thanks for the mention!

I just wanted to comment on your inclusion of Gun Drones. Regarding the chances of pinning, the conventional wisdom is that it's pointless to pursue. I disagree and think the inclusion of pinning weapons can actually be a viable choice.

The probability (not common MathHammer) of a single Gun Drone pinning a Ld9 Marine squad is extremely low: something along the lines of 1/65. Two Gun Drones, attached to a Crisis controller, turn this into 1/36 or so. You get the general idea...

However, consider a Tau army that might have 6 Gun Drones from Crisis squads, 4 from Devilfish, and 4 from Piranhas. Now, depending on target selection, the probability of something getting pinned becomes roughly 1/5. Still sounds fairly unimpressive. However, that's 1/5 per turn.

Therefore, with those forces, over the period of a full game, even considering losses by enemy fire, you can probably expect to pin one or two susceptible enemy squads.

For me, the lesson was that I should be aware that my vehicles' GDs will sometimes have a reasonable chance to pin something at some point during the game.

In other words, I need to remember to always be ready to exploit the opportunity it might create.

Rathstar said...


I have used a unit simular to the burst cannon unit, and it has always performed well.

The slight difference in the unit I use is that I forget about the flamer which allows me to drop the team leader upgrade and the multi-tracker while twin-linking the missile pod and saving pts.

I've never used fireknifes rather than firestorms with the drone carrying crisis suit, I'll have to try out using fireknifes as well.


Craig said...

I started using the firestorm build a few years back and haven't considered going back since. You spoke if synergy with the rest of the list working for the build that sparked this article and I attribute this to most of my success with this build to just that.

If you are into mathammer you can check out this link,, it's a great article on the viability of the firestorm vs fireknife. I am not knocking the fireknife build as it is indeed a very versitile build.

Consider this, you take a small stealth squad with a markerlight team leader and two marker drones giving you a reasonable expectation of two ml hits per turn and some harrassment capability from the squad for only 170 pts. Another great thing about this little squad is that the stealth field makes weapons essentially have a 36 in range even if a perfect roll is made, handy since the ml range is 36 in.

Use those two ml hits to beef a three strong firestorm squad and viola! you are pumping out 15-17 (depending on drones) str 5-7 shots at a quite high bs. I subscribe to the school of thought that if you fill the air with shots, eventually even that terminator will fall over.

My standard loadout is Shas'vre team lead with Airburst, missile pod, flamer, hw multitracker, 2x gun drones and bonding accompanied by two Shas'ui with burst cannons, missile pods, and multitrackers. This weighs in at 201 total. The airburst has the potential to do quite a bit of damage against any target with all those possible hits and the flamer is there for when things get hairy and my guys need a warm and toasty ork to munch. Obviously this squad is great against hodre armies but this build seriously works great against meq armies as the don't care about cover saves when the best ap is 4. These guys can pop transports with reliable efficiency and are an excellent crowd control unit.

Try them out for a few games, give them a good run in say, three test games just to get a good look and I promise, you won't be disappointed.

Anonymous said...

I'm curious if anyone has had the chance to test out the effectiveness of FireStorms against a competitive list of the new Tyranids, with all those T6 creatures.

Craig said...

Ive gone up against a decently effective tyranid build that had five of the said creatures in it. The firestorm performed as expected against their monstrous creatures. The missile pods wounding on threes was nice and the burst cannons were a spray and pray excersise. I didn't rely on my firestorms to bring them down, just harrass after their main targets were dead. Idthey caused a wound it was more a bonus than anything else. I have five railcannons and four fusion blasters fo taking these big guys out.

Craig said...

Sorry for the double post but the game turned out with three dead creatures, two dead tyrant guard, and one trygon that had run out of eggs. The tyrant was still stomping around. Most of the rest of both armies were wiped out. I still had my commander and one bodyguard, my other crisis team leader, a half strength stealth squad, and six firewarriors. We play 2000 point games normally.

Anonymous said...

Right on, sounds pretty solid. Did you happen to face any FNP? That's one reason I'm hesitant to abandon plasma rifles: the ability to easily deal with things like Plague Marines.

Anonymous said...

I'm with D'Narb on this one. The Tau have plenty of ability to handle low-T hordes. It's the nasty targets with FNP and/or T6 with armor (Tyranid MC) that I would want to keep the Plasma Rifles around for.

Craig said...

One of my former local opponents ran plague marines and I will be honest, these things give me fits. It wouldn't be a bad idea to have a couple plasma rifles in the army to assist with these targets. Fusion and rail guns are always good too.

Old Shatter Hands said...

Oh I've got plasma. My shas'el and his body guard are all armed with plasma. It's just that 20 points seems like too much to pay for plasma on a bs3 model when marines get it with higher strength on a bs4 model for 15.

Craig said...

I completely agree that it is overcosted. It's ridiculous and I believe gw doesn't actually do any game testing to see if costs are relavent, more like a dart board with arbitrary points costs that they take turns throwing darts at. Whatever it happens to land on is what gets put down. I don't dislike plasma at all, I just think it's ridiculous how the price is worked out.

Anonymous said...

Aye, definitely no disagreement from me on that point. Based on newer codices, I'm very keen on seeing how GW handles the next installment of Tau.

As an aside, I hope they give me an option for a Special Issue Multitracker that lets me equip two weapons systems and fire them both (without twin-linking), much like Eldar War Walkers. Imagine BS5 double plasma... probably for cheaper too!

Craig said...

Oh yes sir! Hi amazing would that be?! Anyway I'm guessing we will get one next year. I am looking forward to it if the codexes continue on their current path.

ehemkeh said...

This is blog is a great read for me. Thanks for the postings.

I was just putting together my first escalation league list for this weekend and keep changing my XV8 loadouts (yay magnets!). I've wanted to try firestorms, but usually just stick with fireknives and deathrains...

Aloh'Nan'El said...

As of now I run a unit of Fireknives (third member has TL-MP, DC to give wound allocation) and a duo of Bladestorms that runs with a Centurion Commander.
I don't enjoy paying for all the plasma, but I need it in more than one squad. When I used to run a Fireknife Command Squad my opponent would send his fastest, killiest assault squad after them until my plasma was ripped off the board.
And trust me, A nurgleprince and lashprince are not an avoidable team.