I'm a big fan of your blog, and until recently have been in a state of denial that Tau have become a mono-build. After your initial post on the subject, I played my mechanized, killing-blow Tau for several months more, trying to prove to myself that it is as viable as the list you posted. After twice ending with 2 wins, 2 losses at local tournaments, I decided to change to the new Tau a couple weeks ago. So far, I have been extremely pleased that I can use my Kroot in mass again, and have greater firepower. I use a list almost identical to your 1850 (sorry about that, but it is a mono-build you say!) with full sized firewarriors and one fireknife team instead of a deathrain squad. Thank you for all the tactics and articles on the new strategy! I greatly enjoy them and it has helped my Tau win most of their games with the new list. I will try this at a tournament coming up.
I've been meaning to ask you about your tactics versus Tyranids for some time now. I have had the most trouble against them, and its the only army I haven't beat. The Patient Hunter list should be better at keeping them away from my firepower, but I still fear genestealer heavy lists with backup large gaunt squads. I can't focus on such a large squad when the genestealers will require all my firepower. Are there any tactics or tips you keep in mind when fighting 'nids?
Also, based off your 1850 list, what do you drop when lowering to 1500? I ended up dropping piranhas and a deathrain squad, but they are both pretty essential units for the army. I won that 1500 game, but with less screens, it was harder to hold off the attackers. In addition, what is the first unit you'd add for a 2000 list? The army fits too well at 1850, and I don't know what else I need more of.
Thanks, and good luck on Heroes of Armageddon! I can't wait to see how awesome your models will be!
Sorry I haven't emailed you sooner. My internet has been down at my house and I don't have much time at work to write emails. I'm glad you've been having fun with your Tau army. Honestly mine has been shelved due to time constraints with my daughter. Parenting takes time, it really does.
I can't wait for the new codex which isn't too far off. The anticipation is brewing, believe me.
The Tau aren't 100% locked into a mono-build. Stelek from Yes the Truth Hurts has been producing some great new builds to play with. Although they are soundly founded on the mono-build, they have some interesting elements.
Also, have you seen the new Tau FAQ on the GW website? Seeker missiles now pretty ignore cover except for area terrain and smoke launchers. There is some potential there. Drone are now destroyed if attached to a vehicle when it's wrecked but they don't give up kill points in that situation. I'd like to think my emails to Jervis helped get this done, but who knows?
Kroot in great numbers are still extremely useful. Keep using them and learning how to get the most out of them.
Going down to 1500 points from my 1850 list is quite hard. You start getting into an area where you don't have enough points to build the backbone of the Tau army, which is kroot, prianhas and broadsides. I think I would start from scratch, but ensure that I have at least 10 Crisis Suits with Missile Pods, 2 squads of 10 kroot and at least 2 piranhas. Be sure to fit in at least 4 railguns somehow. Keep the upgrades to a minimum, for example, if you get fire warriors take 6 of them and put them into a stock devilfish with only the Disruption Pod upgrade. That's only 145 points. Not bad at all.
For 2000 points I would try to combine my Broadsides into 2 squads and try to fit in a Hammerhead with Railgun. You start needing the large blast at that point. Lately I went to a tournament without any large blasts and faced two horde armies, that simply ignored most of my shooting. Large blasts are an essential tool in most lists, so do consider including a Hammerhead or even a Airburster on your commander.
Against Nids, honestly I haven't ever played against the new codex but I'd say to be sure you have some flamers on your suits, a Hammerhead with railgun (for large blasts) and a good screen of kroot and vehicle dropped drones. Even drones can slow up a tervigon. Make sure you kill any flying guys early.
To sum up, screen your firing line with kroot and drones, with crisis suits with flamers and missile pods close behind. With a good mix of blasts, templates, and S6.S7 weapons, you should have all the tools you'll need.
Heroes of Armageddon is about to get going. I moved into a new place this weekend and I am working on setting up my paint station. First to come is a unit of Blood Angels Scouts