Friday, April 30, 2010

Tau Help Desk: A Decimated Cadre

Shas’o Old Shatter Hands—

Greetings and salutations.  It is with regret that I add this missive at the end of the long list of next-of-kin letters I have just finished composing.

A bare 4 rotaa have passed since my first command was handed a stinging defeat at the chainswords of the human Imperium; casualties were so high that my cadre was in danger of being disbanded altogether.  By the grace of the Greater Good, however, I have successfully argued my case before the Ethereal Council and have been granted a reprieve.  As I enter the closing phases of my period of mourning, I must look to the future and determine how best to avenge my fallen comrades.

Though the wisdom of the Ethereals has authorized my cadre to be reconstituted, it is not without strictures and limitations.  The decision to allow me to retain my command was close, and I must earn back the trust of the Council before I can regain unfettered access to the armoury; in the meantime I must make do with what is available or unwanted by other cadres with higher requisition authority.  To that end I have been able to recruit my two Fire Warrior teams back up to full strength, have promoted a Shas’ui to lead each, and repairs to the single Devilfish’s antigrav engines are proceeding apace.  My bodyguard was only wounded in the action against the Space Marines and a replacement XV8 as well as Shield Drone have already arrived.

In addition, the team of XV25 Stealthsuits I had requisitioned prior to the engagement, but which had not yet arrived, are now available, and the Air Caste have finally seen fit to deliver the Shas’ui for the XV88 which has so far sat unpiloted.  The Earth Caste technicians assure me that the Hammerhead will finally be combat-capable before we ship out again, and they have also suggested that enough spare parts are available to cobble together a jury-rigged Sniper Drone Team.  I believe there may also be enough Kroot idling about to assemble a small force of carnivores, but honesty forces me to admit that I put little stock in our alien brethren.

Given the above limitations, and a requisition budget limited to 750, what might you suggest for a cadre list capable of a reprisal against a generic Space Marine chapter?  I would be grateful to hear any input you may have, as our geographic areas of responsibility are in such proximity that I feel a wholly-unearned sense of kinship despite my lowly rank and your exalted achievements.  If the long-swirling rumors of the imminence of the Fourth Sphere Expansion are true, I am compelled to prove my worth to the Ethereal Council so that I may fully participate in the nobility of those grand plans.

Your comrade-in-arms for the cause of the Greater Good,
Shas’el Wadmaasi

At our Disposal:
 ·         1 Devilfish
·         24 Fire Warriors
·         12 Kroot (I think, however many come in the Battleforce; they’re not assembled)
·         3 Stealthsuits
·         2 XV8 Crisis Suits (1 Commander)
·         1 XV88 Broadside
·         1 Sky Ray ( to be assembled as a Hammerhead)
·         1 Shield Drone
·         a bunch of leftover Gun Drones that my opponent is OK with pretending are a Sniper Drone Team

Tau Help Desk:
Shas'el Wadmaasi, Your request to be re-instated did not come lightly by the Ethereal. Such spectacular failures are not quickly forgotten. Certainly the Ethereals see a flicker of the light of the undying spirit in you. Be at ease to know each of your warriors possess it too.

Fortunately for you, the Tau do excel in lower point games because our troops choices will not take up a majority of the points that would for a Space Marine army. Unfortunately for you, the models are your disposal are limited. 

There are a couple things to bear in mind with Space Marines. Not only do you have get some AP3 or better weaponry but you need to have S7 or better weapons to knock out their rhinos and razorbacks. With only 1 Broadside, we'll need to also count on our Crisis Suits for long range fire that can punch through marine tanks. 

Here is the list I would field:

HQ- 1 Shas'El Commander, Missile Pod, Plasma Rifle, Targeting Array (gaining BS5), Hard-Wired Multitracker (allowing you to fire both weapons per turn) and Hard-Wired Drone Controller with 2 Gun Drones

HQ- 1 Shas'El Commander, Missile Pod, Plasma Rifle, Targeting Array, Hard-Wired Multitracker, Hard-Wired Drone Controller with 2 Gun Drones 

TR- 6 Fire Warriors in Devilfish with Disruption Pod, Multitracker (go in reserve and come on later to claim objectives)

TR- 10 Kroot (go in reserve and outflank to claim an objective or hide in a forest)

HVY- Broadside , upgraded to Team Leader with Targeting Array, Plasma Rifles and Hard-wired Multi-tracker and Hard-Wired Drone Controller and Shield Drone.(set up in cover and target transports)

HVY- Hammerhead Gunship, with Railgun, Smart Missile System, Disruption Pod, Multitracker and Target Lock. (set with Commanders behind, targets infantry mostly)

The idea behind this army is durability and fire power. Although you are mobile, you aren't fast so bear that in mind. With 2 railguns on the board you should be pretty intimidating too. Set up your broadside with a good range of fire in cover. His job is shoot rhinos and razorbacks and then blast away at Marines and Terminators if they get close. With his twin-linked weapons and Target Array, you can be guaranteed he'll hit what he shoots. The plasma also has a chance of penetrating rhinos and with the 'tracker he can fire both each turn. 

Troops go in reserve and come on later to claim objectives. This is very important. Do not set them up during deployment as they won't survive long that way. Hammerhead gets set up and the Commander will set up behind it, jump out to fire and then leaping back for cover. The Hammerhead should primarily target infantry with its submunition while the Commanders should shoot rhinos and razorback with their pods and then the infantry as they pour out. 

That's it. I think you'll find your opponent surprised by the amount of accurate fire power you can dish out in a 750 game. This list actually come to 744 so you have 6 points to spend where you want.  Enjoy!


Sholto said...

If you are tailoring your army to Spess Muhreens then consider an Ion Cannon instead of a Railgun on your Hammerhead. It will chew through tac and assault squads, and also perform just as well as missile pods against AV10/11. Those 3 S7 shots are pretty handy against the right opponent.

Not sure about the plasma on the Broadside, but why not? It will certainly give deepstriking termies something to think about.

Remember you can attach your HQs to other units, so why not spend those 6 points on a target lock for the Broadside and attach one (or both) HQs to him, giving him a large survivability boost against Turn 1 fire and a Ld boost as well. As it is, all he has to do is lose his shield drone and you might see him running off the table.

Old Shatter Hands said...

Great points, Sholto! The ion cannon would also give you better rhino punching power. (yes, 3 S7 shots are better than 1 S10 shot against rhinos).

Then you can use the extra points from the railgun to boost your troops squads.

Wadmaasi said...

Thanks guys! I'm not terribly excited about the idea of Kroot (more assembly, drat), but I've also got only a single game under my belt so I'm not about to buck experienced wisdom. We're scheduled for a rematch this coming Thursday, so I'll report back to the Council afterwards. Hopefully with better news.

Rathstar said...


I fully agree with Old Shatter Hand's list and tactics.

I advise keeping the railgun. If you want to kill an AV11 tank the railgun is better than 3 str 7 shots when you factor in the AP1 of the railgun. Against marines in the open the railgun submunition is almost as good as the ion cannon, and against marines in cover the submunition will be better.

Another tactic for the kroot is to act as a bubble wrap unit if you face a fast assaulter. You surround the broadside and HQs behind the kroot to give you another turn of firing at rapid fire range. It's a pain to lose a troop unit but if it saves the broadsides and HQs from death it's probably worth it. Against units which aren't fast assaulters it's best to follow Old Shatter Hand's tactics and outflank the kroot and let the HQs hide behind the advancing hammerhead.

Good luck in the rematch.


suneokun said...

I like the lists ... but I would take the Stealth team. The lack of plasma is easily compensated by their tactical flexibility. At a 750pt battle they can infiltrate or flank ... plus they give you another fast contester for the end of the game.

As such I'd run:

Shas'El: Plasma, Missile Pod, Targetter Array, HWMT, 1 gundrone - 107pts.

Shas'El: Plasma, Missile Pod, Targetter Array, HWMT, 1 gundrone - 107pts.

Stealth Team: 3 stealthers and a gundrone - 100pts

Firewarriors [6] in Devilfish (disruption pod) - 145pts

Kroot [10] - 70pts

Broadside, targetting array, team leader and 2 gun drones - 105pts

Ion Cannon Hammerhead, burst cannons and disruption pod - 115pts

TOTAL - 749pts

Diehard2501 said...

I was thinking the same thing with the stealth team. They give a small foot print team that still is very effective. That smaller size combined with JSJ they are a mobile firepoint that can easily be hidden in terrain. The downside is they will be closer to the enemy and more vulnerable to charges but this could actually be a good thing. Delay is a valid tactic in games this size and every turn they spend dealing with them is one less they can get objectives. Neither list is capable of going toe to toe with marines in an extended fight but if you can force them to chase you down or get them in a shifting fire fight where you both move to the short edges of the table you should be able to win or at least hurt your opponent enough that you don't lose.

Pearlygates said...

I think I agree with using the Ion cannon instead of Rail for a game of this size; even though you get both an anti-tank and anti-infantry weapon with the Rail, you are garanteed to kill space marines outright and surely 1 out of 3 hits on a tank should do some conciderable damage.

I think i'd change the kroot (along with points saved by using Ion instead of Rail) to get some stealths in.
Survivability tells me that the stealths would last longer with - 1, being stealth (obviously)
2, being able to jump-shoot-jump from the enemy will play out better than relying on +2 coversave until you get charged!
You lose a objective grabbing unit, but may have better advantage over space marines - including S5 weapons and always shooting at 18"

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Wadmaasi said...

Given that my opponent has seen this blog post, I don't feel bad tossing up a rough of his current list and asking for additional advice in the face of it.

10 TSM
5 Scouts
10 ASM

I've got the Kroot assembled and the Hammerhead is snipped and trimmed; I'm going to begin assembly tonight (but have a pin vice and some neodymium magnets on the way). Currently I'm leaning toward the Ionhead and hoping my XV88 can take care of the Pred; 20 SMs is a lot of 3+ armor saves to chew through. I'm left with 31 points that I'm not sure how to spend.

Three more Shas'la? Two more Shas'la and a Shaper? Squeeze 10 more points from somewhere and get a Shas'ui + markerlight + Seeker Missiles?

Old Shatter Hands said...

Seeker missiles won't help you much when you only have one markerlight. I would try to squeeze in more Ap2 weapons. I dunno how...maybe the stealth squad with a Fusion Blaster might help.

Wadmaasi said...

It would be fun to bring more battle suits, since my infatuation with powered armor in general is a large part of why I picked Tau in the first place. suneokun's modified list would work for that, but now I'm starting to second-guess myself and I'm worried about the Predator...


Old Shatter Hands said...

I would keep the railgun on the Hammerhead. buts just me. Both lists will work well. the predator won;t be too difficult. If you can move the Ionhead up a flank you can hit the weaker side armor (av11) of the pred.

Wadmaasi said...

Then the railgun it is. It's not like I'm trying to craft a perfect list the first (or second) time anyhow, and I'll have plenty of opportunities to try various configurations, loadouts, and lists in the future. For now, though...I really want to win this rematch.