Wednesday, 21 November 2012

GT List Performance

The list needs work. Some things worked, but others didn’t.

What worked

·         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!



  1. Hi,

    Yeah-it would have been good to have a chat about our lists, theres not many tau players around at the moment-and even less with ork allies!

    Everything that works in your list is the same in mine. plasma tanks & broadsides are massive threats, and when supported by tetras they become almost unstoppable. throw in d-pods & it's just plain nasty. I think a plasma hammerhead with a d-pod might be the best point-for-point tank in the game right now.

    I agree with only needing the 3 broadsides too. there have been very few games where I've wished I had the full 6 I used to run, and even then I dont' think they would have changed how the game went. Maybe if AV14 starts to come back in a big way they might make a reappearance.

    on to what didnt work...

    orks. its interesting that you say the two big squads were difficult to move around, as I was thinking baout running two big squads in non-forgeworld tournies. Sometimes I find mine getting in the way a bit (usually when I'm facing blast weapons/flamers & all spread out), I'd not considered how bad this might get with 2 squads.
    A major difference between our lists i think, irs that i've got Ghazkghkull in my boys squad. i don't need to worry about fleeing in the wrong turn becasue I can Waagh at any point, and I'm usually trying to win the combat! People are slating him at the moment because of the way fleet has changed, but if your running him as a counter attack unit-he still kicks ass! (plus he can tank wounds if you need to slog across the table)

    firewarriors: i only run the compulsary squad of 6, but I've been considering max sqauds in fish. Im disapointed to see them not quite working! the main issue in my list is manouverability, and I thought maybe d-fish were the answer. Its a v.good point about the d-pods though, almost pointless when your advancing.

    flyers: always a problem. broadsides might take one out, but then usually eat a load of lascannons. if my lootas aren't alrady dead, they rip through any flyers. Most armies have trouble with them though-and I just dont think one quad gun is ever the answer! So many lists take it, but if its your only anti-flyer, its going to die fast. I find the best tactic is to try and ignore them. it doesnt always work obviously!

    broadsides plasma: I used to run it, but I had to scrape off points everywhere to "optimise" my list. I've got my plasma crisis suits, so its not really needed on my broadsides. plus 3x4 SMS shots can do some damage!

    commmander: mine is a little different, I run him with 3 plas/miss/m-track suits. I started off 6th running him the same as 5th: dirt cheap, but found he was an easy warlord VP for my opponent. He's now a 195pt monster. If my broadsides are going to be pivotal to a game, I do sometimes run him with them.

    I've written so many lists with other allies, but nothing gives you the bubblewrap & combat potential that the orks do. I suppose it comes down to what are the main weaknesses you see in the Tau dex? i think they're poor troops & being terrible in assault. orks are a perfect match in my opinion!

    Saying that-i've been really tempted by something simlar to your drop pod allies. I think that could work really well backed up by firewarriors in devilfish & broadsides (or rail-heads. A much more mobile army? especially if its a non-forgeworld tourny?

    sorry for the essay-its not often I get to talk to someone on the ins-and-outs of a tau/ork list!


  2. my list might help....

    Shas'o: plasma, missile, shield generator, HW blacksun, HW m-tracker, HW drone controller (2xshield drones), Iridium armour, stim-injector

    3x Crisis suits: plasmas, missile, m-tracker

    6x fire warirors
    2xsensor towers

    tetra: targetting array
    tetra: targetting array

    3x broadides: SMS, m-trackers (prob swap for t-lock in future)
    hammerhead, plasma turret, d-pod, gun drones
    hammerhead, plasma turret, d-pod, gun drones

    aegis defence line

    10 lootas
    25 shoota boys, nob

  3. I really like the idea of Lootas and the sensor tower (BTW how to you play the BS of 2(3)!). Thirty twin linked S7 shots makes me smile, even at BS2!

    Yeah, the fire warriors were a big disappointment. I think if you are going to run them you do it on foot, with an Iridium Armour Commander up front, tanking wounds and boosting their leadership (have you tried an Ethereal in 6th?). Or possible in a very mobile mechanized army (see below).

    Ghazgull is an interesting option. I was beginning to think about some Mega Nobs, or even just some normal ones as a counter attack force. Does he make the Orks Fearless all the time, or just on the Waaagh? The reason I went for the Mek, was the KFF. How survivable were your boyz without the KFF? Have you thought about Nob Bikers with a Biker Boss as a counter assault unit?

    I know what you mean about static lists, it’s a real problem with Tau gunlines, together with unwieldy bubble wrap. The Drop Pod list is a recent idea, and might work to project power into the opponents deployment zone, but I’ve yet to play it. Have you tried Stealth Suits in 6th for this purpose? I hear some saying they are good now, but I have my doubts.

    As for more mobile armies, in the past I’ve played around with taking SM allies, with a Captain on a Bike and Biker troops (I’ve posted about it here). The idea was to create a very mobile mechanized army that had no “base”. The problem was that Tau Vehicles just didn’t deal enough damage. However, in Forge World legal tournaments the Plasma Turrets may make it better. The idea was to leave the Broadsides at home (hersay I know, but hear me out!), take 2 Plasma Heads, and a couple of fish with F’warriors inside, and back it up with SM bikes, loaded with some melta to take the place of the Broadsides.

    However, the problem I see is flyers. Because they can close distance to you very quickly, and get inside your Dpod range, they are very effective at taking down your vehicles, especially Vendettas. You might be able to run interference with the bikes, but it would be tricky.

    So something like

    Deathrain Shasel

    2 or 3 Deathrains for the Shasel to hang with

    2x12 F’warriors in Dumbfish (Warfish if your could work the points)

    2 Tetras

    2 Plasma Heads

    Captain on Bike

    2x9 man bike squads with MM attack bikes.

    At higher points levels (up to 2000pts) you could run 2 squads of 3 Deathrains who lurk behind the Plasmaheads, adding their fire power as appropriate. It would be tricky to play, especially against Flyers, or other in your face, quick armies (i.e. anything that gets inside your Dpods), but I think it might be fun!

  4. Really think you should re look at 2 things... and I'm not saying I'm right on this.

    1.) ork warbikers w/ dakkajet and wazdakka

    2.) Not enough FW's and too much of a focus on keeping them alive (main point there) and not effective as they could be. More 9-10 man squads that deploy on the table and that are constantly shooting at something. I think a 90 point bubble wrap that shoots the hell out of whats attacking it starting at 30" away then dies promptly is better than kroot/"fearless" ork bloob at 70-? points.

    1. also number 3

      as you mentioned above.. Techmarine with broadsides, maybe a more FW heavy defensive line, and a Nice Big drop pod with some fun heavy hitters to screw up thier backfield.

      either way good stuff Like reading your evolution of thought, really helps me in turn.

  5. yeah-the twin linked looats are amazing-but I've found they're a huge target in my army at the moment, they're the easiest first blood i give away-so i've been thinking about buying them a battlewagon to use as a bunker. They'd have to start outside, but If i put ghazzy with them I can give them slow & purposeful, move into the wagon turn 1, then move ghazzy out in turn 2 to re-join the orks. I'd have to get a ruling as to whether I can twin link them if they're in a vehicle though! (I run the sensor towers as BS3, its never been a problem-but I'd argue that any value in a bracket is supposed to be used!)

    I've not tried an ethereal yet (in 5th or 6th!) as I just can't bring myself to run the risk of failing multiple leadership tests. he might work well if you run a heavily mechanised list as i don't think u take the tests if you're in a vehicle. i think it would come down to a matter of effiency though. You want to get maximum shooting to make the most of prefered enemy, and that means lots of units outside of tanks! could it work with ninja tau? If your units arent on the table when he dies then they wont be taking tests, and would still get prefered enemy when they show up?

    No, ghazzy isnt fearless (apart from when affected by the mob rule special rule) the kustom force field is a tempting option, but my boys are usually sitting behind the aegis for a 4+ anyway, and the few times I do advance-under-fire with them I have Ghazzy tanking the wounds at the front. flamers still hurt (but a KFF doesnt help here), the main problem I have is barage weapons. They make mincemeat of me. If you just want bubble wrap, then an aegis does all the work a KFF does-but better! If you want them moving forward then i guess its a harder decision.

    I've definitely thought about nob bikers, but by the time you've kitted them out they come out a bit pricey for allies in my opinion. Whenever I start writing lists with deathstars, the tau end up being the allied detachment-and i'm determined to stay a Tau player at heart!

    Stealth suits look good now, you can make a tough unit with alot of S5 shots. but their range means they're one bad JSJ roll from being assaulted, and they're soooo expensive! cost out a full size unit with gun drones, and you find you can get 6 plas/miss/m-tracker suits for the almost the same cost. i'll be trying them out in a friendly game soon.

    the SM bike/tau army sounds like it could really work. If you're taking SM though you just can't pass up on a libby with null zone. it would change how the list ran, but with the rise of daemons & all those damn wraiths around he gives you a massive boost. plus he can take divination powers when null zone isnt needed. then you could either go with a few drop pod troop choices, or scouts with tellion? i definitely get what your saying about the broadsides in that list though, they just dont work if they're left behind (unless you put them in a bastion?)

    I do really like that list though, and i think it would be a lot of fun to play with. It might struggle with the current meta, but if you can find a way fo getting that libby in there I think you'll be on to a winner!

    (flash of inspiration-i wonder how well a farsight bomb with ATSKNF would work?!)

    Out of interest, what do you run in non-forgeworld tournies? I ran a similar list at Northern Warlords, but with 3xTL missile crisis suits instead of the plasma-heads, an icarus lascannon, and a dakkajet. It did ok, but games are a lot tougher without those tetras 7 sensor towers!

  6. Arrgyle:

    Fire warrior shooting is better in this edition, but not by much. they really aren't the best option for bubble wrapping. Ok so the range is better, but Shoota boys have an 18" assault 2 weapon-so they beat the fire warriors there. pulse rifles are a higher strength, but orks can assault after they fire, and can take much bigger squads-and they're cheaper!

    they are better than kroot as bubble wrap now though. I use my two units for infiltrating on to the relic, or outflanking onto objectives &/or linebreaker. they give me a little mobility in a very static list, and they force my opponent to leave things in his back field to deal with them.

  7. @Argyle

    I’ve thought about War bikes, but thy are the same price as marine bikes and I think marine bikes are better. Dakkajets are fine unless (and I’m guessing here as I’ve never run them)your opponent has anything with interceptor, and then I suspect they will die t he moment they fly on the board!


    Lootas in a wagon would be good, however 90pts for the wagon? A lot of points to keep a 150pt unit alive. If they are taking fire I would be tempted to just go to ground behind the aegis for the 2+ cover save and rely on weight of fire and the twin linked dakka guns to roll lots of 6’s. AS you say, barrage weapons are a problem though!

    I used to run an Ethereal in 5th if I went XV8 heavy. I hid him in a 3 man Broadside squad, with a couple of shield drones and 2 gun drones for the Ethereal. He was never shot to death, but of course when the unit was assaulted he died horribly – but then again if somebody was assaulting my broadsides it was usually game over anyway. I’ve not used him is 6th yet, but I’ve thought about it, especially as you say if you have a couple of big squads of F’warriors in D’fish. Never thought about using him in a Ninja army. However, it would rely on you opponent being stupid and killing him before the rest of the army comes on turn 4.

    I’m beginning to think you’re right about the Aegis being better than the KFF. I’ve been playing my Orks aggressively, pushing them forward to threaten my opponent, hence the KFF. However, most opponents have enough fire power to deal with 60 boys, even with the KFF. If I’m reducing the number of boys, and keeping them for bubble wrap only, then they would be OK behind the Aegis. Again, Barrage weapons wold be a pain. I wish we had something that could get into our opponents deployment zone and deal with Manticores and the like. Pity they stopped assault from reserve, as Snikrot and friends would have been awesome at that.

    I know what you mean about “being a Tau player at heart”. You want to keep the core “style” of a Tau army, while adding in a little help, without overpowering that style. Maybe 3 Megga Nobs and a Warboss as a counter assault unit? Something to sort out scary stuff if it gets to your gun line. If I had had them in my 2 games against the Nids player, I would certainly have won.

    Farsight with ATSKNF is interesting. Being able to auto rally and shoot in the same turn would be great. The problem I see would be the libby (which I assume you would use) limiting your mobility, by slowing down the jet pack move. Also, what you really need is Combat Tactics (as well ATSKNF), which would allow you to automatically fall back if you were being shot to pieces or beaten up, but I don’t think that transfers to the squad. Actually, what about putting Vectored Retro Thrusters on one of the body guards to give them all hit and run! That would be fun! Especially as it would work off Farsight’s I5….!

    Actually, I quite like that. The problem would be scoring, and bubble wrap without Kroot. And only one Plasmahead! Hmmmm…! Let me think on that one. I’ve never run a Farsight Bomb – is there a “standard” load out? I’m assuming it involves a lot of Target Locks!

    I’ve only played one 6th ed Tourni using the Tau and Orks combo. Two big squads of Orks, KFF Mek, 6 Fireknives (Shasel’s and Bodyguards for Targetting Arrays and HW Multitrakers), 6 Deathrains and 3 Broadsides. It was OK, but Tetras and Plasmaheads make a Tau list so much stronger. I suspect that Eldar and Tau might be a stronger combination where you don’t have access to Tetra marker light support. Being able to cast double prescience per turn from Eldrad is golden. And having 2 units of guardian jet bikes give you 2 very fast (although pretty fragile) scoring units!