Friday, May 28, 2010

Tau Help Desk: Tau at Small Points Levels

Help Desk Query:

I just thought I'd shoot an email to you about my interest in Tau and see if you have some free time to help me out a bit. As you know I play BA now, but I've been thinking about having a shooty army to mix things up from my assault bubbles of doom. Came down to Guard and Tau, and while Guard are updated, awesomesauce and all, I want a real sci-fi feeling army. With the tau mech, energy weapons, skimmers, and multiple alien races, seems a better fit for me. While I keep building up my Angels, my friend is going to learn Tau and build a list that I could fight, but I want to make sure it's fair and tough to beat. It'll give my Angels a challenge for the first time in a while plus it'll help sell the fact to me that Tau can still be competitive and that I should put them next in line for a future project. I was hoping to get an insight on what you'd field for a 750pt game. We're starting small to get used to units, not really being competitive at this level.

For a quick 750 list I made, it revolves around a minimum unit of FW and a unit of Kroot (just cause they are cheaper), a couple cheap Shas'els as HQs and a couple squads of Shas'uis in Elites. That'd be 6 suits total and I'm mostly looking at the Missile Launchers as a good weapon on each, and not sure if I should TL them and what second weapon would be good. It seems they have great short ranged power, but that you want to stay away a lot, but only the Missiles are that long of a range. :-\ Seemed like Hammerheads and Broadsides were an expensive choice at this level as well. I currently have the FW in a DF for protection and to zip around to get an objective as well. Anything else you could suggest would be great. I've watched over your deployment vid and circling the wagons, so that should help out.

Help Desk Response:

750 is a nice level I love playing games like that.

I would say that any games above 500 points I still try to include at least one broadside. You need the fear of railguns on the table no matter what size of game.

1 Broadside Shas'UI Teamleader with Targetting Array and 2 shield drones, bonding knife (so you can still regroup if you lose your drones) is about 120 points. Not bad. He sets up and snipes vehicles and characters if they're on their own. Targeting array is important if you have to switch to using your smart missiles.

3 Daethrain XV8s with Twin-linked Missile Pods and Flamers are about 141 points. So far we have some great ranged firepower and only 261 points spent.

6 Fire Warriors with Dfish, Dpods and Multitracer (or Sensor Spines which are important for capturing objectives in terrain) comes in at 155. so now we're at 416, that's 334 points left.

On to kroot, I like field 10 kroot and 5 hounds for nice round points cost of 100. Outflank to grab objectives or use as a screening unit. 234 left.

We need a commander to join the XV8s. Shas'El with Targeting Array (bs5 yes!) and Plasma Rifle and Fusion Blaster, plus a 'tracker is 97 points. Armed with melta and plasma, terminators watch out! These days I really like this config. It gives you a nice close range counter.

There is your core force so far.

Now we have 137 points left. That's a pretty odd number. Let's get some more ranged firepower. Maybe another broadside, no, we need some more mobility. What about a budgethead? Hammerhead with Ion Cannon, Burstcannons, Dpod, Tracker and Target lock is 135 points (burstcannons can fire at close range stuff, while the ion cannon hits farther off stuff or combine fire for 9 shots!)...or we could get two Fire Knife suits (plasma, missile pod, multitracker) to accompany the shas'el They're 67 points pop, but only BS3. We could get two and give the Shas'El a gun drone....its up to you at this point. The core of this list is sound. Without markerlights though (too expensive at this level) we'll need to either get BS4 stuff or twinlink the weapons. If you shave off a hound from the kroot you can get another squad of 3 Deathrains XV8s. Honestly I personally would go for the budgethead. 135 points for AV13 skimmer that can protect your suits, contest objectives and knock out Rhinos and Space Marines with 3 S7, AP3 range 60 shots.

Hope that helps.


CounterFett said...

Shatterhands advice is more comprehensive than what I was going to post, but I would echo going with different weapons On the suits, you have more flexibility with different weapons, and those twin links are not that helpful in my experience.

SynnerG said...

Hey OSH, had I known I would end up as a help desk email I woulda kept it short and sweet, lol. But thanks for the help! I've altered my list a bit to get in the broadsides (2) for the AV support, plus SMS is nothing to scoff at for anti-infantry. But I went with basically the same sort of elite suits and the 1 HQ and near the same FW/Kroot choice.

I'll field this as soon as I can and let you know how it goes!

Wadmaasi said...

I've fielded a small-points cadre very close to the list OSH recommended. Not that either my opponent or I have much experience (we've played all of 3 games together), but it's punchy and effective. A little bit too effective; I've had Kroot and a lone Broadside in separate games refuse to die or break, with assaults dragging on for 3+ rounds as a result. Once my HQ shas'els and Hammerhead finish off the majority of the rest of my opponent's vanilla SM forces, they sit around picking mudballs out of their jetpack thruster ports since you can't shoot into a melee skirmish.

We played this past Thursday, though the game was cut short when my 4-month-old puked all over my wife right in the middle of my Turn 5 shooting phase. We're still learning the rules, so there are some goofs on both sides:

Here's a recorded livestream of the game (NWS language alert, mostly from me):

I modified the list a bit to cram some Stealthsuits in there, just to see what playing them was like:

Shameless plug:

Individual8580 said...


I was going to also email you about small point levels but since someone beat me to it I'll just ask it here.

I'm thinking of taking part in a summer campaign that GW Finland is organizing. It is going to start with 500pt battles and then escalate upwards to 1500. I've never played 500 points with Tau and I was wondering if you could give me some advice for such a point level?

I have the contents of the battleforce, 1 box of Fire Warriors, 2 Kroot Hounds, a Hammerhead and a Skyray, a Broadside and two extra XV8's. The XV8's are: 1 standard fireknife, 1 ABFP/PR and 1 CIB/Mpod one.

There's a twist to the campaign. It apparently has some kind of a hero development element and I'm not yet sure how it's done. So there might be a need for a strong and versatile commander. I was thinking of putting a missile pod to the PR/AFP suit to make a versatile commander, but this would of course be a tremendous point sink. Also, I have no idea what kind of armies I will be facing as this would be my first organized campaign and the GW store is in an entirely different city.

I can probably buy some extra models before the points start to escalate in the campaign, but I'm quite unsure about what to do with 500 points and my current models.

Thanks in advance.

- Individual8580

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