« on: April 09, 2013, 01:00:18 PM »
Tau players finally have a new book! Rejoice! About bloody time. Been talking, planning, scheming and even playing with the new stuff and I thought that I would share my thoughts.
Don't take this as the final, absolute definitive plan for an army, just some general thoughts. This topic will be amended and reworked when I get more games under my belt.
So lets start with HQ
Commander: The commander is a weird one. He can go from ridiculously cheap, with just a plasma rifle and a few pieces of special issue wargear, to something that rivals most other books special characters and monstrous creatures. The thing that you have to bear in mind is "What do I want my commander to do?". If you try to make him do everything then he is going to cost a large chunk of your points value, whilst simultaneously wasting points. Keep him lean, keep him mean. If you find that you have points left over at the end of the game, then go back and add a few pieces of gear to him to make him more effective in his role, or to provide a little more defense for him.
Out of everything that the commander has, the most important stat is BS 5. In an army that has relatively low ballistic skill without markerlight support, BS5 means that the commander can be left to his own devices if needs be, taking the fight to the enemy or hunting after squads on his own. A jet pack also helps, allowing him to dodge out of line of sight in order to keep himself away from most of the returning fire, couple that with his basic toughness, a good armour save and his high amount of wounds and he will last longer than most Space marine captains trying to operate in such a similar role. But rather than dithering around and actually break the armoury up into defensive and offensive wargear options for the Crisis suits:
Flamer: Ah the basic flamer. Always been something that has been a controversial issue with some tau players. Three crisis suits with flamers can dish out alot of firepower, and with the new overwatch rules they provide some type of defensive fire. However, on the commander, I'd leave it at home. Theres better options out there if you want to hurt something up close, and it takes up a slot that could be better served by a support system. Not worth it, avoid it unless you have something very clever in mind.
Burst cannon: Well, they got a nice little bonus in the form of an additional shot. Combine this with a missile pod and you will have a crisis suit that has 6 shots a piece. However, theres better places to get what is essentially the same weapon elsewhere in the army. If you want a plethora of S5 shots then take more firewarriors, Crisis suits are one of the few places you can get hold of Plasma and Melta weaponry. Make sure that you don't waste that chance!
Airbusting Fragmentation projector: Say goodbye to Eldar Pathfinders!! Lets just get this out of the way: Yes, it isnt a marine killer, not by a long, long way. It is, however, a guard killer, eldar killer, Ork killer, nid killer. The weaker elements of these armies rely on cover saves in order to keep their troops alive, all of a sudden a BS5 cover ignoring large blast marker and there's cannibal ragu everywhere. And with the uprising of infantry lists a large blast marker is going to be asking questions of even heavy infantry. I wouldn't consider this as the main weapon for your commander, more of something to give him a little extra kick when it's needed. Would make for a really good weapon for a shas'vre if you decide to not take it.
Cyclic Ion blaster: A missile pod on steroids. No where near the same amount of range, but who can complain at a 3 shot Autocannon? Give it to your commander as he will make the best use of it with his BS5, and unlike most other pieces of weaponry only one can be taken per detachment. Make the best of it. I must admit that I wasn't too sure whether i would like the changes to the CIB compared to the older book. The old one was unreliable to say the least, but could hurt a squad of space marines if lady luck prevailed. This one, however, reminds me of the triple barreled rocket launcher from Unreal Tournament. Just for that reason alone it's worth taking. If you're expecting alot of light vehicles (such as guard or Dark eldar) then combining this with the missile pod will provide a storm of autocannon equivalents. Also bear in mind that it comes with a S8 overcharge version, should you need to got hunting down Ork nobz or to lend more fire to trying to destroy a tank.
Fusion blaster: You gotta love an 18" range meltagun! Previously, the old Fusion blaster meant that your crisis suits were dancing with death, as you were continuously being threatened by an assault at such close distances if the unit that got hit didn't die. I've been pairing this little beauty up with the plasma rifle and been having good results. A squad of three of these suits is usually enough to counter what comes my way in the form of Drop pods or land raiders. The thing to bear in mind is that your battle suits follow their name really well, they are crisis management. And as such should always be tackling the most important target that is threatening your own plans. And that usually comes in the form of a 2+ armour save. Maybe 3+. Firewarriors, stealth teams and hammerheads can go toe to toe with the bulk of your opponents army, but the Crisis suits should be countering your opponents beat stick.
One thing to add here is on the subject of Monat teams, or lone crisis suits. In the past, the most common for of Monat was the suicidal duel Fusion blaster load out, deepstriking and sending a wave of melta fire at your opponents deathstar transport. Now we have the plan to be able to not worry about deepstrike so much as we have an extra 3" over the usual melta distance. While I would personally forgo this tactic, as every suit counts in my opinion, it is something worth thinking about if you are having tank issues.
Missile pod: The humble missile pod. I wonder how many games over the years have been saved by this little gem of a gun? It is a shorter ranged Autocannon, but one that can be moved and fired. It hunts down transports, obliterates light tanks, makes red mist out of medium infantry and can even have a crack at popping AV13. Arguably the best damn weapon in the entire damn armoury for the damn points that you pay for it. Damn. If you're struggling for what to take on your crisis suits, take this. It will save your bacon more times than you realise. It does have some flaws, however, as it cannot gib space marines as easily as a Plasma rifle. Nor will it pop land raiders and leman russ hulls like a Fusion blaster. But this workhorse of a weapon system is straight down the middle, jack of all trades, master of some. Get it, use it, love it.
Plasma rifle: Probably the most feared weapon ever to be put onto a Battlesuit. Kills Terminators, Space marines, Ork nobz, aspect warriors and can still have a go at gunning down AV10 vehicles. Bear in mind that there is only 4 places that can actually get plasma rifles in your entire army: Crisis Commanders, Battlesuits, The Riptide and Broadsides. Make every shot count. This weapon, right here, is the reason to avoid Flamers and Burst cannons.
It's also worth mentioning here that the price of Plasma rifles, Fusion blasters and missile pods are all the same. Feel free to experiment whilst you are building up your list, you won't have to remove anything else in the list to accommodate a swap over in the "Big 3" weapons for crisis suits. Also, try leaving yourself 200 points or so when you come to write the list. Take a good solid look at your army and find out what you are missing. Need something to reliably pop transports before they reach your lines? Twin-linked missile pods. Worried about Terminators making a mess of your deployment zone? Show them the fury of Plasma weaponry.
[Still needs work doing - General Commander builds, Ethereals, Cadre fireblades and special characters to be added to this post.]