I recently got a lot of BFG Tau stuff (in theory enough for 2000 points), and I'd like to know if I am on the right track. I am having a lot of trouble finding up to date information on the matter, but I figured I might as well post here and see what other people think.
I am using the most up to date rules from the 2010 Compendium FAQ, and Tau Commerce Protection Fleet, which rounds out some of the issues I've been reading about, but I'm still a little leery of the whole thing, and would be very interested to discuss my findings of BFG, the Tau, and my fleet.
Kor'El (LD8) - 50 points
Explorer Class - 230 points
2 Merchant Class - 2 x 110 points
2 Hero Class - 2 x 180 points
-unsure if I want standard or Tolku version (1 has 4 lances with a 30cm range, the other has 8 broadside batteries with range 45cm... I suppose I can playtest this out)
6 Castellans - 6 x 50 points
3 Messengers - 3 x 50 points
7 Orcas - 3 x 25 points
(3 Squadrons of 3 Castellans, 2(3) orcas, and 1 Messenger each)
Total: 1485 points (of a possible 1500)
So that's that. Some cool rules all things considered. Tau are really strong in the ordinance phase, with lots of strong bombers and fighters, accompanying missiles that steer themselves. I've only got a maximum of 12 fighters/bombers, but I've also got 24 self guiding missiles. They also have the messenger ships, which as long as a ship is within 10cm of one, allows them to fire above 30cm without a penalty (nice when your whole fleet is designed around staying away from things), and also allows them to reroll their turrets when stopping incoming ordinance. Finally, while Tau on paper are pretty lacking in the larger ships, I have a fair number of escorts to back them up... and this is where the problems start...
I did do some research... and sadly this doesn't look to be a very good fleet. It has some cool rules, but from what I hear its not really competitive as Tau go. The main problem is that escorts are too fragile and unsustainable compared to just taking more ordinance. Reading the BFG articles and tactics (written by the makers of BFG) it is clear to me that everyone involved in the compendium really tried their best to balance out the issues of escort ships... but even now I'm not entirely convinced. The escort ships typically have 1 shield and 1 structure point, meaning that every 2 hits they take will destroy them outright and reduce the firepower of the army overall. Further, bombers can deal direct damage to that ship's 1 structure point, so all it takes is 1 bomber to take out an escort ship; if the bomber fails, more can be sent out, if it succeeds... the escort is lost... To try and help balance this out, escorts are 1 shift harder to hit than regular ships, and bombers only wound them 50% of the time; further, squadrons now stack their turrets (to a maximum of +3), which helps shoot down a few more ordinance pieces before they strike (especially thanks to the messengers).
The merchants have also been argued as being a bad choice... but they look pretty similar to other army's light cruisers in my opinion...
So I'm wondering... is there any hope for this list?