Tuesday, 6 March 2012

Re worked Tau List - the Results

So in the last 2 weeks I have played 8 games with my new look tau list – 3 at 1750pts, 2 at 2250pts and 3 at 2000pts. I’ve gone 4-1-3. At Chaos of the Warp at the weekend I went 1-0-2.
I’m not going to put up detailed battle reports. They take too long, and to do them properly you need to take notes and photos, which I always think spoils the game. It’s hard to immerse yourself in the experience when you’re taking photos and make notes.

But the burning question – how did the list perform?

Well – sadly, after all that analysis, it didn’t perform that much better than the old lists( L), but there were some stand out performances. Let’s look at the major changes I made and assess them.


At the weekend I played an Ethereal for the first time. Frankly the rerolls to leadership tests were fantastic. They saved suits running on numerous occasions. It also allowed me to re roll passed tests if units got locked in combat, so I could break away in my opponents turn, and dakka the assaulting unti down in my turn. He was only killed once, and believe it or not everything passed their leadership!

My only concern would be vindicare assassins picking him out. But if I’m facing a vindicare I would keep him in reserve.

Burning Eye XV8s

Frankly these were a disappointment. On paper they are awesome kill heavy infantry killers. The problem is range. For the first 2 turns of the game you have 2 very expensive units doing nothing. To win Tau must devastate the other army in those 2 turns. If all those points are tied up in Burning Eyes, they are doing nothing first 2 turns. The problem is that they have no duality – i.e. they do one thing very well, but that’s all they do. If they can not do that one thing (kill heavy infantry), they are a waste of points.

Positional Relay

This was great. Combined with a 10 man outflanking kroot squad, and 2 Devilfish full of fire warriors, it made getting the right thing in the right place at the right time to take objectives, so much easier.

More Broadsides

Having 6 (or 9 in the 2250 games) Broadsides was fantastic. Armour just dies, particularly light armour. The one downside is Dawn of War. Having all these points doing nothing for a turn is a pain. The other time when they let me down was when I played a twin land raider list. Even with 6 Broadsides I could not stop the land raiders crashing my lines.

More Troops

Combined with the Positional Relay having 3 scoring units (I’m not counting 2 kroot squads, as they are designated bubble wrap/speed bumps) made objective games much easier. The only thing I would change is I might drop the kroot hounds. When I played the 2 Hammerheads rather than Broadsides, I felt I needed more bodies in my bubblewrap, but with the smaller footprint of teh Broadsides, 2 squads of 10 are fine.

Gun Drones

Having gun drones with my suits was great. Those 2 ablative wounds made the squads much more resilient. Combined with the Ethereal’s reroll, in the 4 games I played with an Ethereal, I don’t think I had one unit run of the board.

They also add fire power. It’s not significant, but it helps. In one game a Wolf Lord on a Thunder Wolf was about to tear through my gun line when an unsaved wound from a gun drone pinned him, allowing me to kill him next turn.


I missed my Hammerheads……sort of! If you remember previous posts, the HH brought 3 things to my old list (i) a S6 AP4 large blast template, (ii) a fire magnet, drawing fire from my suits, and (iii) mobility.

I only really missed the large blast template in one game – the game agastin Sir67 at Games of War. He had a whole bunch of Hellions camped on an objective in cover. Dropping 2 large blast templates on them which denied them FNP, might have shifted themout (then again, maybe not – they had stealth from the Baron so would go to ground for a 2+ save). Having said that, I never played a Horde army, so it wasn’t really tested.

As for taking the heat off my suits, I think I countered that reasonably well with the Gun Drones and the Ethereal.

The only thing I really missed was the mobility. One of my favourite tactics was to split deploy with the Hammer Heads on one corner, and the Broadsides in the other. The Hammerheads were the mobile fire base (perhaps with some Deathrains), the Broadsides were the static one. Alternatively if I set up in a single fire base, the HH would break away turn one or 2 to get side armour shots, or to be in a position to contest objectives late game. Having only Broadsides makes that very difficult.


I missed the Piranhas. I had nothing to block armour, or Monstrous Creatures, or to entice away death company. This resulted directly in me losing my first game at Chaos of the Warp. He was running a twin Landraider list. If I had had my Piranhas, I could have blocked one Radier first turn and killed the other one, and then killed the 2nd one turn 2, leaving the scary stuff inside footslogging into my gun line. As it was I immobilised one first turn but the other Railguns bounced of the 2nd one, he then tank shocked through my Kroot and assaulted the juicy stuff. The Piranhas need to go back in.


I missed my Pathfinders. Or to be more accurate I missed marker lights. Not for boosting ballistic skill Everything was either BS4, or Twin Linked (or both), but for stripping cover saves. Because I don’t have assault units, nor mobile flamers, stuff in cover with a 3+ (or even a 2+) save are a nightmare. Also, super units usually come with cover saves e.g. landraiders with smoke (even worse GK raiders with a shrouding librarian), Storm Raven’s going flat out, Nob Bikers, or even normal turbo boosting bikes, KFF Orks .… the list goes on and on. In one game against Mech Eldar I could not kill anything because of treble Fortune per turn cast on skimmers that were going flat out. I need to get Marker Lights back into my list.

So, that’s the after game analysis. In a nut shell I need to get rid of the Burning Eyes (but for what!), keep the 3 scoring units, add in Piranhas and marker lights, keep the Ethereal, and think again about Hammerheads.

But that’s for another post.


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