The list needs work. Some things worked, but others didn’t.
· Tetras. Adding the sensor spines was a great move. Being able to move in and out of terrain at will, without worring about immobilization, was invaluable in all my games.
· Plasma Cannons. I’ve fallen back in love with Hammerheads. The Plasma Cannons synergise so well with Tetras. With a few marker light hits, anything that doesn’t have a 2+ save just evaporates, whether it’s in cover or not.
· Broadsides. They did their job very well as always. In game 4 I was on the receiving end of 6 Broadsides, and it’s not a lot of fun! Again, they synergise really well with Tetras. However, I’m glad I only had 3. There was a marked lack of armour, and I suspect that might be more common.
· Dpods. Having a 3+ cover save on an AV13 tank is just great! But…you need to be careful to keep more than 12 inches away, and flyers can close that gap really easily.
What didn’t work
· Orks. Or at least the 2 big mobs. There were 2 problems, both of which I’ve mentioned before – first they take up too much space, and second they hold too long in combat. It was a pain to move them around, and it was a pain to move things around them. The number of times they were just “in the way” was annoying. The second problem probably lost me Game 6, and Game 4 , but it was a concern in other games too. If I’m using a squad for bubble wrap, they need to break, so I can shoot assaulting squad in my turn. And boys are rubbish in combat if they don’t get the charge (I2, S3 – really S3 for an Ork!). And they just take too long to play in a tournament setting. If Game 6 had gone onto turn 5 I might have won, but we only got to turn 4 largely because combats where you are throwing 50+ dice just take too long.
· Fire Warriors. It makes me really sad to admit this. I thought I had cracked how to use fire warriors, but I haven’t. In all the games I played they made a significant contribution once. In game 5 they jumped out their fish and blew away a 5 man strike squad. In all their other games they either didn’t get out their fish at all (Game 6), got out, didn’t do very much and were massacred and/or ran away (Game 4), or were blow out their fish and mostly died in the explosion (Game 2). Part of the problem was positioning. With all the Orks around it was difficult to get them into the right place at the right time to jump out and shoot stuff. The other problem was fragility – once they’re out their fish a stiff breeze blows them away. In addition, to get them out into optimum range, you’re Devilfish is exposed to fire that is usually under 12”, so the Dpods don’t work. I think ‘Warriors in ‘Fish have their place (maybe in a highly mobile army where they’re supported by SM bikes?), but it’s not in this army.
· Flyers. I need something other than Twin Linked rail guns to deal with Flyers.
· Plasma rifles on the Broadsides. I only used them once, in Game 5. Generally speaking stuff didn’t get close enough. I think this was a function of stuff getting caught up in the boyz.
· Commander with the Broadsides. He sort of worked. The additional shield drones, the additional body with 3 wonds and a 2+ save, and (in particular) the Advanced Stabilisation System were good, but I think he fired his plasma gun and Fusion Blaster maybe 2 or three times all tournament?
So, back to the drawing board.
My initial thoughts are to keep the Tetras the Hammerheads and the Broadsides, but to replace the Firewarriors with Deathrains. However, the big question is over the Orks. Are they the best allies for Tau?
If I’m keeping the Orks, then one option would be to cut the squad sizes to perhaps 15 boyz. I could then perhaps take a dakka jet or maybe some Nobs as a counter assault unit. An interesting alternative might be a squad of burna boyz to hang out behind the Aegis line, but just in front of the Broadsides. Most units will think twice before charging them!
However, the most intriguing option might be Space Marines.
One option might be a couple of Tac Squads and a Librarian. The Tac Squads do what they do, and give me 2 very sound scoring units, and a degree of bubble wrapping. The Librarian however, could attach to a big squad of Kroot and grant them And They Shall Know No Fear and Leadership 10. Also if he took Force Dome he could give them a 5+ invulnerable save. Couple this with Null Zone, and it would help against Demons! Finally, a Techmarine could attach to the Broadsides giving them leadership 10, ATSKNF, and 2 power fist attacks! That would free up the XV8 Commander so he doesn’t need to baby sit the Broadsides. If I gave him Vectored Retro Thrusters and attached him to the Kroot Squad, that would give the squad Hit and Run….at the Librarian’s initiative.
So my Kroot Bubble wrap has a 4+ cover save behind the Aegis (2+ if I go to ground), a 5+ invulnerable save from anything that ignores cover and leadership 10. If the scary stuff assaults it they take 40 S4 shots on Overwatch (assuming everything is in rapid fire range). If they lose combat, they fall back but immediately regroup and fire at full effect. If they win combat (which might just happen – each of them has 2 WS4, S4 attacks, and I could mix in some Kroot Hounds at initiative 5, much better than Orks) the Commander allows them to hit and run out of the combat, so I can shoot the scary stuff in my turn.
The only problem might be mobility. Foot slogging Tac squads aren’t very mobile. However, something occurred to me during the tournament. I only need mobile scoring units in 1 out of six book missions. In Purge the Alien I’ll do what Tau do best and kill stuff at range. In Big Guns, I have my Hammerheads and Broadsides. In the Scouring I have the Tetras. In the Emperors Will I go for First Blood and Kill the Warlord then bunker down. And in the Relic I just rage quit ‘casue it’s such a stupid mission. Only in Seize Ground (or whatever it’s called now) do I actually need to go and get an objective. Maybe I could take a couple of drop pods?
A crazier option would be to take a Master of the Forge (to go in the Kroot bubble wrap), an Iron Clad Dreadnaught in a Drop Pod as an elite choice, another one as a Heavy Support Choice, a Scout Squad, a Tac squad in a drop pod and give the Tau Commander a Positional Relay. The scouts baby sit the home objective (hopefully in a bolstered ruin) both Ironclads come down first turn to “distract” the opposition, the Tau contingent shoot the shit out of everything, staying safe behind their Kroot bubble wrap, while the Tau Commander’s Positional Relay keeps the Tac squad off the table until turn 4 when it can drop onto an objective!
Now that sounds like a plan!