Saturday, 21 December 2013

Space Marines for 2014

This year was the year of the Tau, 2014 will be the year of the Marine.

Well, maybe! I feel the need for a change and I’m getting excited about a new marine army.

I already have a bike army and a drop pod army, so I fancy something a bit different. I’m thinking about a heavy mechanised list, with at least one Land Raider!

Saturday, 14 December 2013

Throne of Skulls RIP

Warhammer World have announced that they will be allowing Escalation and Stronghold in their events.

I can not express how sad this makes me. As readers of this blogg know, I have been a huge fan of TOS in the past. When they introduced the "best blow job" points, I stuck with it. When the introduced the crazy scoring system where the winner need not have won all 5 games, I stuck with it. When they ditched swiss paring, I stuck with it. But this is a step too far.

Wednesday, 11 December 2013

Bike Marines

A bit of a break from Tau ramblings, and a few thoughts on bikes.

Long term readers of this blog (!) will know I have an SM biker army. It was built to take to Throne of Skulls last year, so it runs at 1500pts. I haven’t played it since the new Codex came out, and haven’t really thought about it much either. But I have a 4 man team tourney at the beginning of January, and my brother will be playing my Tau…… so time to bring on the bikes.

Monday, 9 December 2013

Counter Attack Tournament Report.

My faith in 40k is restored (despite GW’s determination to break the game!). Had a great weekend at Counter Attack, 5 great, pretty tough games against fun opponents.

My list was the one I posted in the last post, 2 Mark’O’Rain teams, 2 teams of Double Burst Cannon XV8s, a team of 2 double fusion gun XV8s, 2 packs of Kroot, 2 Skyrays and 2 Hammer Heads with Plasma Cannons.

Friday, 6 December 2013

Tournament List, Counter Attack 2013

This weekend a buddy and I are off to Counter Attack a 5 game, 1750pt, Forge World allowed Tournament in Edinburgh.

In my continuing quest to take something a little different (!), I’m taking Tau, with no Ethereals, no Firewarriors, no Riptides, and no Batman Commander. Trying out a Farsight XV8 army.

Thursday, 28 November 2013

Things I miss about 5th Edition

In 5th edition I used to have lots of fun running a 3 Stormraven Blood Angels  list. It wasn’t super competitive, but it was OK, and a lot of fun to run. I won “best Blood Angles player at Throne of Skulls using it (going 4-1), came third at the WPS Club Challenge, and won a local RTT.

The whole idea was to stuff 3 Storm Ravens full of Furioso Dreadnaughts and Death Company, take minimal scoring units, and rush my opponent. I tended to win big or lose big, depending on how many Storm ravens my opponent downed in his first turn. I knew it was weaker in 6th edition, but I had no idea how weak until I took it to a recent 3 game tournament … man it really sucks now! I went 1-1-1, and really should have lost the game I won. Ironically I won best BA player (out of 3 of us), which I think speaks volumes about how weak BA are now.

Tuesday, 12 November 2013

Common Ground Tourni 10 November

Went to a fun tournament at Common Ground Gaming in Stirling  at the Weekend.

Took a list that I thought would be “fun”, but it turned out to be just really bad!

Commander, Twin Fusion, target lock, Stim Injectors. Warscraper Drone

Riptide, HBC, ECPA, Talisman, VT, EWO

3 - XV8s. One with twin Fusions and Target Lock, 2 with Twin Plasma, one with a positional relay and the other with Vectored Retro Thrusters

3 XV8s all with Twin Burst Cannons and Stim Injectors.

2 Skyrays

Allied Tau Commander with all the toys

2 packs of 10 Kroot, plus a hound.

Friday, 1 November 2013

Hobby Killers

The observant will see that I haven't posted up my report from Rapid Fire (brief summary I went 3-1-2 and came 10th out of about 30 people). Well, I'm not going to post up detailed reports, rather I'm going to post up some thoughts which have crystallised as a result of going to that tournament, and the Warrington GT.

Tuesday, 15 October 2013

List For Rapid Fire

I’ve almost settled on my list for Rapid Fire, and thought I would throw it out there for comments.

As I mentioned in my last post, I wanted to try something a little different from the list I ran at the Warrington GT. The GT was pretty brutal, and I was spanked 3 games out of 6. I’m not expecting Rapid Fire to be quite so bad, although I think it’s being used as one of the qualifiers for the Scottish ETC team, so the top tables will be tough.

What I wanted to change” were the Fire Warriors in Devilfish, which were a little lack lustre at the GT. To recap, the problem was that they would hang around for 2-3 turns, before jumping out and killing something, and then dieing to return fire pretty easily. It was also sometimes hard to work out where they needed to be, and often they were hopelessly out of position, particularly if their Devilfish was killed or immobilised.

Monday, 16 September 2013

Something a Little Different

My next tournament is at the end of October, 1850pts with no allies allowed. I want to try something a little different, and thought I would post it up for your thoughts.

As I’ve explained here in the past I have a new found love for Fire Warriors, particularly in Devilfish, driving around and jumping out to kill stuff. However, I've been finding that they tend to stay in theri Devilfish for fear of being blown off the table. So, I’m wondering if there might be an alternative way to provide a Cadre with mobile torrent of fire, and flexible scoring units.

Friday, 13 September 2013

Warrington GT Tournament Report

Had a great weekend at the Warrington GT, played 6 tough games against 6 fun opponents, but man it was hard.

I had read before that this was one of the most competitive tournaments in the UK, and I can see why. It seemed like about a third of the field had played in the ETC at one time or another, and the lists were just brutal (I played a 3 Wraithknight list, and a 9 Broadside one … neither of which went well!). Still, didn’t play any idiots and had 6 fun games. When the dust settled I went 3-0-3 and came 27th out of (I think) about 50 people … what can I say – mid table obscurity! I was nominated for best painted however, and I came 3rd on player voting, which was pleasing.

Usual format, (very) brief bat reps, and some general thoughts.

Tuesday, 3 September 2013

List for Warrington GT

XV8 Commander

Well it's submitted now, so here it is for what it's worth.

I’ve decided not to change my list radically to deal with “Tau Hunters” e.g. Tzeentch Screamer Stars, Seer Councils etc. The more racial options I came up with (Grey Knight Allies, with Coteaz and a Vindicare) seemed too extreme. I think they weakened my list too much, and I really wasn’t going to have time to practise with it.

The list is an evolution of the list I took to Clan Wars. Here it is

Tuesday, 20 August 2013

List Evolution - Killing the Tau Hunters

I’m going to the Northern Warlords GT at the beginning of September, which is one of the bigger and more competitive GT’s in the UK (so I’m told – I’ve never been before). I’m expecting all sorts of “filth”, and I need to prepare.

My list as it stands can deal with most “conventional” lists. By that I mean the sort of list you might see at your local FLGS, or of an evening at your local club. I don’t really fear anything in power armour (podding wolves being an exception), nor really guard. Flyers no longer worry me, and I’ve learned to deal with demon FMC spam (still a tough game though).
However, I'm an avid follower of 40k podcasts. I listen to them when I run, and when I’m painting (sadly too much of the latter recently and not enough of the former !). One of the reasons I listen so avidly is to get a feel for the current “meta” and what people are taking to tournaments.

I’m becoming concerned with the super durable units I’m hearing about, which some are suggesting are specifically designed as “Tau Hunters”.  However, I think I’ve come up with a plan, and I thought I would throw it out there for discussion.

Monday, 12 August 2013

Day of Gaming at the Non-club

Had a great day of gaming at the non-club. Sixteen people came along, about as many as we can comfortably handle in the area we have. I thoroughly enjoy these days. While we run a swiss paring system, they are deliberately non competitive. We had some pretty dedicated tournament players (2 who made the GT final last year), some lovely armies (my brothers Necrons in particular deserve a shout out), and some youngsters as well (one of the guys 10 year old son took part in his first event).

The spread of armies was also interesting  - going by primary detachment only there were 5 Tau (!) Cadres, one Necron Dynasty, a Demon Horde, 3 Craftworld forces, a detachment of Death Wing, some Ravenwing, a Sisters force, a Company of Space Marines, some Black Templars and a detachment of Chaos Space Marines. 

I miss the days when I was the only Tau player at tournaments!

Anyway, onto the games.

Friday, 9 August 2013

List for the Warrington GT

I’m trying to settle on a list for the Warrington GT at the beginning of September. As part of that prep the non-club is hosting a day of gaming tomorrow.
Three games over the day with 16 people coming along. The first game is a random draw, but after that we swiss pair. While we try and making these days reasonably relaxed, it’s a pretty competitive bunch that come along. Most of them are regular tourney goers and standards are reasonably high.

Monday, 5 August 2013

Struggling with the Farsight Supplement

I am planning to write a review of the Farsight supplement, but I’m struggling - specifically, I’m struggling with the way it interacts with a Codex army when allied. I’m horribly confused!

An example - the bit about signature systems says

Any Character in your army that may select Signature Systems may not select from those listed in Codex: Tau Empire, but may instead select from the Signature Systems of the Farsight Enclave.

So, on the face of it it’s quite clear. Army is defined in the rules as including both your primary and secondary detachment. So, if you take either a primary or an allied detachment from the Farsight Supplement, then you can only take the Farsight Signature Systems, even if you take a Codex force either as an allied or a primary detachment.

However - another example

“In a Farsight Enclave Army, all XV8 Crisis Teams are troops choices instead of elite choices”

So if “army” includes both primary and allied detachments, does this mean that I can take a minimum Farsight allied detachment  (a Fireblade and one unit of Kroot) and then all XV8s in my primary Codex detachment are scoring? That doesn’t seem right. So does “Farsight Enclave Army” really mean Farsight Enclave Detachment”?

So if "Farsight Enclave Army” really means “Farsight Enclave Detachment” should the first quote really read

Any Character in your [Farsight Enclave Detachment] that may select Signature Systems may not select from those listed in Codex: Tau Empire, but may instead select from the Signature Systems of the Farsight Enclave.

Buggered if I know!

Do you?


Tuesday, 9 July 2013

Clan Wars Lessons Learned

My XV8 Commander - Man of the Match!

What did I learn at the weekend?

·         Flyers. I no longer fear flyers! Two of the games I won (one against twin Helldrakes, the other against twin Stormravens) would have given my marine army fits. This army simply swatted them out the sky. Twin or triple Vendettas might still cause problems, but I think the time of flyer dominance is over (thank god!).

·         Newdar. Eldar are much improved with their new codex. The outstanding units (of the ones I played at the weekend at least) are Wave Serpents, Guardians, Warp Spiders and Guardian Jet Bikes. War Walkers put out a lot of shots, but are fragile (a squad of Fire Warriors blew 2 of them away with ease). Night spinners are also pretty effective. However, the main change I think elder will bring to the meta is an increase in mechanised armies. This is hardly news I know, but I saw it first hand at the weekend. Scatter Laser, Shuriken Cannon Wave Serpents are really good, mowing down infantry and light vehicles reasonably easily. Add in blade storming guardians, and maybe some fire dragons and you have a pretty effective mechanised base. If you also include a mix of night spinners, Fire Prisim’s and some reserved Guardian Jet Bikes ….. well, that becomes pretty scary! Ask yourself this – in the present meta of anti infantry fire, does you list have enough fire power to take out 6+ AV12 hulls that all have a 4+ cover save simply from moving … and are unlikely to die to one shot! My list certainly doesn’t.

Monday, 8 July 2013

Clan Wars Tournament Report

Just back from Clan Wars, great tournament at a fantastic new facility in Stirling, Scotland (Common Ground Gaming). Five very varied games against cool opponents. New Tau’s second tournament.

Although it wasn’t a big field (about 20 or so people) Competition was pretty tough, with a good few of the Scottish ETC team among the 20.

So, usual format, brief summary of games, and lessons learned.

Monday, 1 July 2013

List for Clan Wars 2013

OK, after much wailing and gnashing of teeth (and some excellent input from Rathstar and Bottom Banana) I’ve settled on a list for Clan Wars next weekend. Here it is

Monday, 24 June 2013

Marker Drone Platforms

I have a 2 day tournament in 2 weeks time, and I need to think about my list. It’s 1750pts, no forge world, 5 games. Most of the Scottish ETC team will be there, together with a bunch of regular Scottish tournament goers, so, it’ll be reasonably competitive.

Friday, 14 June 2013

Beating Drop Pod Lists.

There’s lots of chatter on the intertubes about Tau being the new “broken” army, and more talk about building lists that will counter Tau. 

Now I’m sure things will change as people adjust to the new codex and get used to playing Tau, but my fear is that my beloved Tau will become the new “hate dex” like grey knights used to be, or demons before their new dex, or like cron air is now. That would make me sad!

So on that note, I would like to give a shout out to the 40k Global pod cast, and their web site (operating under the delusion that people reading my obscure blog won’t have heard of them!). They have put up a few posts on “how to beat tau” that I think are great. In particular this week’s pod cast has a battle report by BJ where he would appear to have smashed a Tau army using drop podding wolves.

However, in the interests of continuing the arms race, here are a few thoughts on how I would try and counter a podding wolves list!

Thursday, 6 June 2013

Learning Points from Games of War Tourni.

So what did I learn at this tournament?

Infiltration - the argument continues!

I tried to post this as a reply to a comment to my last post but it was too long - so here it is as a separate post. To make sense of it you'll need to read it in conjunction with my last post on Infiltrating ICs conferring infiltrate on non infiltrating units. The comment was

Wednesday, 5 June 2013

Independant Characters and Infiltrate

I’m seeing this all over the internet and its just wrong!

ICs with infiltrate can not confer infiltrate to units that do not have it. There is no grey area, it simply can not happen. It’s got nothing to do with the Infiltrate rule and whether of not infiltrate confers. The rule says that it does. However, there is no way to attach an IC to a non infiltrating unit which will allow the combined unit to take advantage of the rule.

Tuesday, 4 June 2013

Games of War Summer Tournament

Just back from the Games of War Summer Tournament. As always, I had a blast. Of more interest, it was New Tau’s first Tournament…. could be very interesting.

The tournament is 1750pts on day one, and 2000pts on day 2. Here are the lists I took

Sunday, 19 May 2013

Farsight List - does if really work?

Just because I don't think the bomb works, doesn't mean I wont paint the model!

Using Commander Farsight to create a large unit of suits that deep strikes into your opponents lines is a classic Tau List – often called the “Farsight Bomb”. Firstly I should say I have never used this sort of list. In the old codex the problem was that Farsight gimped your FOC, in that he limited the other choices you could take. As well as that, I always doubted the wisdom of (a) keeping so many points off the table for possibly 2 turns, and then (b) delivering it (including your warlord) into your opponents lines – sure he’ll kill 3 units, but what happens next? Most armies will have enough left over to retaliate effectively.

Wednesday, 15 May 2013

Gun Line Tau

This list is a counter point to the last one – i.e. no tanks!
The core of this list will be a bunch of guns behind an Aegis Defence Line. So, let’s get a bunch of guns.
Three full squads of Fire Warriors are a good start. Add in an Ethereal to use Storm of Fire, and buff their leadership and that’s a lot of dakka at 15”. I also want to try cascading marker light support. The idea is that one unit fires with an embedded marker light, and then the next unit picks it up. So you give the first Fire Warrior Squad a Shas’ui with a Marker light and 2 Marker Drones. You’ll probably get at least 1 Marker Light hit, maybe 2. The next Fire Warriors Squad also has a Shas’ui with a Marker Light. When they fire they pick up the marker lights from the first squad, to boost their BS. In this way the gun line “passes” the Marker Light hits to the next unit, increasing the gunline’s  BS as a whole. It might be tricky to organise, but I would like to try it.

Thursday, 9 May 2013

Mech Tau

So the first list I want to go through is a Mech Tau list.

I’ve always tried to build “all comer” lists with my Tau armies. Tau were the army I took to most tournaments all the way through 5th, and in the first few months of 6th, and I still think an all comer army is the way to go for tournament. The problem has been in 6th that building an all comers list is harder. The sheer variety of armies, with allies thrown in, and of course flyers has made it much harder. However, of all the Codices in 6th, I think Tau has the best chance of doing this… so let’s see.

Monday, 6 May 2013

Hobby Progress

I know, I know, not something I usually post, but I’m really getting into painting and modelling my new Tau army.

As I think I mentioned earlier on the blog, I’m selling my old Tau army and starting from scratch. While my old army was fully painted and “OK”, I painted if for speed rather than beauty. I’ve also come a long way in terms of skill level when it comes to painting and modelling since I painted it (almost 3 years ago), and I know I could do better. So, it will be on the eBay sales block shortly and with the money I make from selling it (plus a Black Templars and Grey Knights  army I never use!) I’m starting from scratch.

Its all About the Tau - Lists from the New Codex.

Having gone through the Codex in some detail, the next step is to put it all together and come up with some lists.

As I’ve been going through the codex 4 potential list have been rattling around in my head, 2 of them I think will be more competitive than the others, but the less competitive ones might be more fun. The lists are

Mech Tau. Mobile Fire Warrior Squads in D’fish.
Gunline Tau. Lots and Lots of Dakka blowing everything off the board.
Farsight Bomb. Farsight and his 7 Samurai deep striking in an blowing stuff away, and
Shadowsun’s Ghost Cadre, Stealth Suits, Pathfinders and Kroot….. lots of Kroot.

Now of course there are a loads of variations on these themes, but you need to start somewhere!

Saturday, 4 May 2013

It's all About the Tau - Marker Lights

I've already posted this on Warhammer Tau, but thought I would also post here for completness.

Marker Lights are very useful. They can do 3 things 

·      Any unit can use a Marker Light hit to boost their BS by one point, this works on snap shots, and for other Marker Lights.
·      2 Marker Lights hits can grant any firing unit Ignores Cover, and
·      You can use a Marker Lights hit to fire a Seeker Missile.

So in an army when most units are BS3, and in a game where many death stars use (abuse!) boosted cover saves, that’s pretty useful. This post is about Marker Lights and how best to field them. But first…… do you need them at all?

Tuesday, 30 April 2013

I have a confession!

I feel a little like I'm confessing to having an affair!

David over on Warhammer Tau put out a call for help. He wanted contributors. Now, Warhammer Tau is a blog ive read regulalry in the past, and its a fantastic resource, so I offered to help, and I'm happy to say tht, despite my ramblings on AA, David agreed!

So expect to see some content over on WT from me from time to time. I'll still be posting here of course, but there might be more Space Marine content here, and a little more Tau content on WT.

However, for completeness I want to finish of my initial thoughts on the Tau codex here as well, so I'll be posting up some of my Warhammer Tau content here, so all my ramblings can be found in one place.

So, next up is a post on Marker Lights and the various ML platforms in the new codex, and then I want to go through my thought process on a couple of lists, to see if I can come up with something that will work in the new 'dex.

Marker Light post soon.


Monday, 22 April 2013

It's all About the Tau. Part 8, Heavy Support (Cont)


I never saw anybody use a Skyray in the old codex. The problem was the way Seeker Missiles worked. It just didn’t make sense to use them when you had Broadsides. However, Seeker Missiles have changed, and made Skyrays much more viable.

The Skyray is a Tank, Skimmer BS4  F13 S12 R10. It comes with 6 Seeker Missiles (SM), 2 Networked Marker Lights and 2 Gun Drones as standard. You can swap the Gun Drones for twin linked Burst Cannons or TL Smart Missiles System for free. And it comes with a Velocity Tracker as standard i.e. it gets Skyfire. All for 115pts.

I guess the key to understanding the Skyray, is understanding how Seeker Missiles work. SMs can be fired in 2 ways – using marker lights, or using the Skyray’s BS. If you fire them using the Skyray’s BS, then the also benefit from the Networked Marker Lights. Unlike standard Marker Lights, the unit that fires the ML can use it. So the first thing that fires is the marker light, and the 2nd thing is the SMs. Given the Skyray is BS4, chances are you will get at least one ML hit, in which case, the Skyray can then fire all its missiles as BS5. That’s quite a barrage! The draw back is that the Skyray will need to have stayed stationary to be able to fire everything in one turn.

The second way to fire the SMs is the “old” way, i.e picking up a marker light token. The benefit of doing that is that the SM doesn’t need LOS, ignores cover and fires as BS5, irrespective of the firing units BS. The unit can also move and fire.

The problem with the Skyray is that it’s a bit of a one trick pony. It can unleash a pretty impressive one turn barrage, and has a good chance of killing any flyer in the game in one turn of shooting, but after that, its role is a bit limited!  The only real benefit it has is its Skyfire Marker light. So you can fire the Skyray’s marker light at a flyer, and then use the hits to boost the snap fire of other units (or indeed other marker lights) to kill the flyer. It’s an interesting option if you want to run Broadsides without Velocity Trackers, but still want to use their fire power against Flyers.
Another use for the Skyrays after the shoot their missiles, is as the catalyst for a marker light chain reaction. I’ll talk about this in more detail when I post about marker lights in general, but the basic idea is that you use one or 2 high BS marker lights, to boost a higher number of low BS marker lights, to increase the total number of marker light hits. So, fire the Skyray’s BS4 marker lights at the death star unit for 2 hits, and then your Marker Drones pick up those 2 marker lights, and fire their marker lights at BS4 for lots more hits. You can also do this with Flyers – so the Skyray fires its Skyfire Marker light at the Stormraven, getting 2 hits, and the Marker Drones then pick up the 2 marker lights and fire their marker lights at BS3, generating enough hits for a Hammerhead to fire at the Stormraven at BS5, and, with luck, also ignore cover/jink saves.

But it’s still a pretty expensive platform for 2 marker lights and an SMS!

Sniper Drones

In the last Codex you never saw Sniper Drones, Broadsides were just so much better. Sniper Drones are better in the new Codex, but I’m still not sure they’re better than other options.

Base the unit comes with one Marksman and 3 Sniper Drones. The Drone’s stats are the same as other Drones, but they come with a Long Shot Pulse Rifle. This is a 48” Rapid Fire, AP5 Sniper Rifle. The Marksman is the same as “Standard” Tau, but he has BS5. He comes with a Maker Light and a Drone Controller. You can get 2 extra Marksmen, and 3 extra Sniper Drones. The unit also has Stealth.

There are 3 points to note – you get a BS5 Marker Light, the Drone Controller makes the Sniper Drones BS5, and the rifles are Rapid Fire Sniper Rifles, not Heavy. So 2 shots at 24”. And one added bonus, if you’re running an Ethereal, that’s 3 shots at 24” using Storm of Fire. Not bad for 58pts!

But, if you really want Sniper Shots you’re probably better off with Sniper Kroot.

The use I can see for them is taking 3 Marksmen for 97pts, and having 3 very accurate Marker Lights. They would then be useful for starting Marker Light Chain Reactions, as described above. But, TBH, for 18pts more I would rather have a Skyray!

Maybe in a Shadowsun Ghost Cadre?

Summary, Heavy Support

Yet again IMO, Broadsides are the stand out performer. Hammerheads are OK, but not great. Skyrays are viable now, and may see some use, and Sniper Drones are interesting, but I’m still not persuaded.

OK, that’s the run down of the units completed. I want to do one more “generic” post on marker lights, and then I’ll start thinking about lists.


Sunday, 21 April 2013

It's all About the Tau. Part 7. Heavy Support.

Ahh….now we’re talking. This was always the strength of the of dex (this and XV8s), and it doesn’t disappoint. There are 4 very viable entries, all of which have their place.


In the old ‘dex Hammerheads were my great unrequited love – they really needed to be better than they were for their points… but they were so cool! Well they are essentially the same, although a bit cheaper.  

For 125pts base you get a BS 4,  Tank, that’s also a skimmer with armour F13  S12  R10 that comes with a S10 AP1 Railgun and 2 gun drones. You can upgrade the main gun with a sub-munitions round for 5pts to give you a S6 AP4 large blast. You can upgrade the Gun Drones to either twin linked Burst Cannons, or TL Smart Missile Systems for free. You can also take all the Vehicle Support options I discussed in the Devilfish Review. Upgrading to the sub-munition round (which was free in the old ‘dex) makes it 20pts cheaper than in the old Codex!

Essential load out IMHO is a D’pd and a Black Sun Filter. In the old ‘dex this came to an additional 10pts. In the new dex it comes to 16pts. So it’s really only 14pts cheaper.

So are they worth it? 

Sadly, I’m really not persuaded they are. The question you need to ask yourself is, what can the Rail Gun toting HH do that other options can’t. The only answer really is dealing with AV13+ at range. The problem is they’re one shot wonders. One third of the time it will miss, and, against AV13, it will fail to do anything one third of the time and against AV14, it will do nothing 50% of the time.  

The sad truth is that a Railhead is pretty rubbish at killing heavy armour at range. That’s why until now, most Tau Players brought Broadsides.

One option to make it better is bring Longstrike, the special character Hammerhead upgrade. He makes the HH BS5 and gives Tank Hunter and Preferred Enemy IG. That makes the HH much more reliable at killing heavy armour. However he’s 45pts. So your HH now costs 190pts…… and what if your opponent has no heavy armour!

Sorry, but it’s just not worth it IMHO. Which makes me a sad!

The other option is to take an Ion Cannon. This is S7 AP3 Range 60” Heavy 3. Like all Ion weapons you can Overcharge . An overcharged Ion Cannon is Range 60”,S8 AP3 Large Blast, Gets hot. It’s an interesting option. The down side is that Gets Hot is more dangerous for vehicles (stripping a hull point with no save). Might be an option if you aren’t taking Riptides with Ion Accelerators.


Lots of people complained when Broadsides lost the Rail Gun. While this makes me sad, IMHO the High Yield Missile Pod more than makes up for it.

So stats stay the same as before WS2  BS3  S5  T4  W2  Ld8  Sv2+. Basic cost is 5pts cheaper, but they come with Twin Linked Heavy Rail Rifles (HRR) rather than Rail Guns, so Range 60”  S8  AP1 Heavy 1. Smart Missiles systems are still standard, but they are now twin linked. You can swap the Rail Rifles to High Yield Missile Pods (HYMP) (Range 36” S7  AP4  Heavy 4, Twin Linked) for free, and pay 5pts to upgrade the SMS to TL Plasma Rifles. You can upgrade one to a Shas’vre (importantly brings Ld9), and each of them can take (sadly only) one support system. Finally, each of them can take 2 Drones, and crucially, thanks to the FAQ, Broadsides are the only units that can take Missile Drones.

I’ve seen a lot of debate on HRR versus HYMPs. Of course it depends on what you want the Broadsides to do. If you want to murder light vehicles at extreme range (36”+) HRRs are the way to go. If you want to kill TEQ, then HRRs with Plasma Rifles are probably better (although there are better ways to do this than HRR Broadsides). However, for pretty much everything else they HYMPs are better.

The thing is, Broadsides with HYMPs and SMS are just so much more flexible. For 195pts you get a unit that spits out 12 S7 and 12 S5, Twin Linked missiles per turn. That’s a lot to high strength firepower. But here’s the thing, add in an XV8 Commander with Iridium Armour and a Puretied Engram Chip and you get a 4 wound, T5 model with a 2+ save to tank wounds, and your Broadsides can have Tank Hunter or Monster Hunter every turn…..! On average, that’s 13 wounds on a Tervigon if the SMS is in range, or 5 glances/pens on an AV12 vehicle.

And here’s the thing…give them a Velocity Tracker and that’s 5 glances/pens on a Helldrake, or 13 wounds on a Winged Hive Tyrant…..!

Here’s what I was thinking about for the ultimate anti flyer unit. Three HYMP Broadsides with Velocity Trackers and an attached Commander. Give the Commander 2 Missile Pods, a velocity tracker a Target Lock, 2 Shield Drones, the Puretide Engram Chip and the Multi Spectrum Sensor Suite (ignores cover USR). Put them behind an Aegis, with the Commander on the Quad Gun.

Here’s the scenario. You’re playing guard and you have first turn. On your Turn 1 activate the Puretide Chip and select Tank Hunter – kill 2 tanks (remember the Commander has a target lock). On his turn 1 he will shoot at your Broadsides. However, you can tank a lot of wounds on the Commander (remember he’s T5 so Lazcannons do not double him out), and you can also pass 2 onto your shield Drones. It would take roughly 24 BS3 lascannon shots to kill the Commander. He’s likely to survive.

On your turn 2 activate the chip again, and kill 2 more tanks. The chip remains active until the beginning of your next movement phase. On your opponent’s turn 2, two Vendettas come in. The Commander fires the Quad Gun using interceptor and Tank Hunter. He’s unlikely to down the Vendetta but he’ll probably strip a hull point or 2. The other Vendetta will no doubt shoot at your Broadsides. But again, chances are he’ll survive. In your turn 3 the Broadsides will probably kill the undamaged Vendetta, and the Commander (using his missile pods, not the Quad Gun) will probably finish off the damaged one.

Not many units that can kill 2 AV12 flyers in 1 game turn. Now of course this is an expensive unit – almost 550pts if you include the Aegis. However, it’s not like you’re bringing it just to kill flyers. Chances are you’re bringing the commander anyway, and your probably bringing the Aegis as well. The Broadsides are good at killing other things, not just flyers. The only things you’re bringing specifically to kill flyers are the Quad gun, and 4 velocity trackers …. 130 pts to kill 2 AV12 flyers in one turn! Seems worth it to me….!

The only problem is range. The Vendettas outrange you. In theory it’s possible for them to come onto the board and be out of range. In practice this would be tricky, providing you position your Broadsides sensibly. In addition it would screw up their LOS, and may even force them to hover. All good things!

Finally, missile Drones. If you really want to load up on S7 hits take 6 missile Drones with your Broadsides. You’re only getting 4 hits on average, but for 72pts, its not bad. They also provide ablative wounds for your Broadsides. Note, that missile drones do not benefit from a Drone Controller, so no BS5 missile drones! If you want to make them more accurate, give the Commander a Command and Control Node to make them twin linked! If you do that, for an extra 87pts, you then have a unit that puts out 30 s7 shots (including the commander and the Quad Gun), averaging 21 hits (that can re roll to wound MCs or to penetrate tanks!). If you put target locks on the Broadsides rather than Velocity Trackers, the unit can target 3 separate units (Commander and Quad Gun, one unit, the 3 Broadsides another, and the Drones a third).

Of course it snap fires against flyers now, but with that many twin linked shots it’s still averaging around 7 hits…… with tank hunter….. and ignores cover … and you could take a Skyray!

The downside is of course the cost… around 650pts, if you include the Aegis and the Commander. But it’s not just the points cost, it’s the opportunity cost … is it the best use of a Commander and all the signature systems tied up in the one unit?

Skyray and Sniper Drones next.


Saturday, 20 April 2013

It's all About the Tau. Part 6, Fast Attack

Fast Attack is the jam packed slot in the Tau dex – you can take Pathfinders, Piranhas, Drones Squadrons, the Sun Shark Bomber or the Razor Shark Fighter. With so much choice, the 3 slots will be hotly contested.


Basic stats have stayed the same – with one change, they now have recon armour so have a 5+ save rather than a 4+. However, they’ve dropped a point in price and no longer need to take a Devilfish. They come with Pulse Carbines, a marker light and photon grenades as standard. They have Scout and Outflank, but irritatingly not infiltrate!

They come with some interesting upgrade possibilities. Firstly, 3 of them can take either Rail Rifles or Ion Rifles. Secondly they can take 3 new types of Drone.

Rail Rifles are S6  AP1 Range 30” Rapid Fire. Ion Rifles are S7 AP4 Range 30”, Rapid Fire, but can over charge to become S8  AP4 Range 30” Heavy 1, Blast, Gets Hot.

The Drones are - Recon, which gives you a Homing Beacon a Positional Relay and a Burst Cannon, a Pulse Accelerator Drone, which increases the range of Pulse Weapons by 6 inches, and a Gravity Inhibitor which takes d3” from an opponent’s charge range.

In the old ‘dex Pathfinders were your main provider of marker lights (unless you ran Tetras). However, even although marker lights are awesome, towards the end of 5th I didn’t take pathfinders. They had 3 serious limitations – you needed to take a Devilfish, the marker lights were heavy weapons so could not move and shoot, and they were very fragile.

The new ‘dex has “cured” 1 out of 3. You no longer need to take a Devilfish. However, marker lights remain Heavy, and Pathfinders became even more fragile. So they still have serious limitations. I suspect the key with Pathfinders is to decide whether they are marker light platforms or special weapons platforms.

As a marker light platform I’m doubtful. Even although you don’t need to take the D’fish anymore, they still have all the problems they used to have, in particular they are still really fragile – 10 T3 Sv5+ models will evaporate in a  stiff breeze. And you better be sure that anybody who has played Tau will target them turn one. I don’t know about your meta, but I see lots of Thunder Fire Cannons, which will murder Pathfinders.

It’s their role as special weapons platforms that intrigues me. With marker light support, Rail and Ion Rifles are pretty good. And a lack of marker lights makes them a much lower priority target. In particular I think this would work well in Shadowsun’s Ghost Cadre. Three Rail Rifles (for 89pts!) or 3 Ion Rifles (for 74 points) coming in of a positional relay on your opponent’s board edge might be interesting. Alternatively, using Pathfinders with a Pulse Accelerator Drone (supported by Rail Rifles) as a Fish of Fury unit, allowing their Pulse Carbines to fire 2 shots out to 24”, is an interesting option. Add in Rail Rifles for a heavy weapon kick, and that’s a pretty interesting option.


Drone squadrons start off as Gun Drones, but can be swapped to Marker Drones or Shield Drones for no cost. Units of 4-12 for 14pts per drone. So far so dull…however, what makes them interesting is the ability to use a Drone Controller to boost their BS. If you attach an XV8 Commander with a Drone Controller to a squadron of gun drones they all become BS5. Even more interesting is that if you do the same with Marker Drones, they also become BS5.

So 12 BS5 marker lights that can jump shoot jump…..! Give him a Command and Control Node and they’re twin linked…..! Oh and they are toughness 4 and have a 4+ save….! And ybecasue they are relentless, they can move and shoot…! Still think Pathfinders are great marker light platforms?  

A quick comparison – 10 pathfinder will on average get 5 hits so 22pts per hit. Twelve BS5 Marker Drones will on average get 10 hits, so 14pts per hit. And they are way more mobile and way more survivable than the Pathfinders.

This of course does not take into account the cost of the Commander, not does it take into account that you need to tie up an HQ slot to do it. However, chances are you’ll be taking a Commander anyway…..and the drone controller only costs 8pts.

You would need to think this through carefully, in particular, how would it synergise with the rest of your army (i.e. where else do you need the Commander), but it certainly has potential.


Piranhas were a staple of my 5th edition lists as a blocking unit. Zoom it in front of a Land Raider and pin it in place. However, with the introduction of hull points, the loss of the speeder’s 3+ dodge save, and how easy it is to kill them in assault, they’ve stayed in their case since 6th edition came out. But they might make a come back!

Piranhas are a fast, open topped skimmer (F11 S10 R 10) with 2 hull points. They come in squadrons of up to 5 units and come standard with a burst cannon and 2 Gun Drones. For 40pts…….! You can upgrade them from the Vehicle Support System list and give the 2 Seeker Missiles. They can also get a Fusion Blaster for 5pts.

I have the sneaking suspicion that Piranhas might be pretty good! If you keep the Gun Drones on they get 8 S5 shots each. On average 5 of them will hit! They are also highly mobile – move 6” and shoot everything, or move 12”, shoot the Burst Cannon and snap fire the Drones. That’s a lot of mobile Dakka. Compare them to Fire Warriors. A unit of 5 Piranhas cost 200pts and will on average score 25 hits, 8pts per hit! For Fire Warriors to generate 25 hits at 18” you need 50 Fire Warriors, which works out at 18pts per hit.

This of course doesn’t take into account the longer range of the Pulse rifle, and the fact that Fire Warriors score. However, the point is, if all you want is mass dakka, Piranhas are pretty efficient.

Alternatively, give Piranhas Fusion guns for 5pts, and they are a threat to heavy armour. And unlike Land Speeders you need to shoot them with something more than S4 weapons to bring them down.

And they can still block. A unit of 5 Piranhas has a huge footprint (they’re big models), giving you lots of options for getting in the way and blocking enemy movement. They also have a detachable Drone Squadron for even more blocking and movement control. Detachable Drones are better now as they no longer give up an extra kill point if killed after they detach. You could even detach them and then attach an XV8 Commander with a Drone controller making them BS5!

And finally, for 56pts you can get one with 2 Seeker Missiles. Now normally I wouldn’t take one shot weapons – they are a bit hit or miss for me (see what I did there!). However, if you’re taking a squadron anyway, and can guarantee a bunch of marker light hits (say for example you’re running a squadron of Marker Drones with an XV8 Commander with a Drone Controller), that’s a hell of an alpha strike!

Say you’re playing Tyranids, and like 99% of ‘nid lists he’s running a Tervigon or 2. Use the Drone Squadron to light up a Tervigon. If you’re using an XV8 Commander with Drone Controller in a full squad of Marker Drones, on average you should get 10 hits. Then use those marker hits to fire 10 seeker missiles from the Piranhas … at BS5….ignoring cover ….not needing line of sight… while still moving the Piranhas up to 12” for their jink save. Chances are that’s one dead Tervigon (or Manticore, or what ever).

Not saying you should take this combo specifically to create an alpha strike….. but if you’re taking Piranahs anyway (not a bad choice) …… and you’re taking an XV8 Commander with Drone Controller to buff a squad of marker Drones (again, not a bad choice, in fact a pretty good one), 80 extra points for 10 seeker missiles that will nuke one key unit is OK!

Finally, upgrades. I’ve read some people suggesting taking Disruption Pods on Piranhas. Not a good idea IMHO. Problem is you need to take a D’pod on each of them, almost a 50% increase in their points. You can’t (as I’ve heard some people suggest) take it on one Piranha and put it out front to “tank” wounds on its boosted cover save. You’re opponent will just Focus Fire on the Piranhas with normal saves.

 As for other upgrades Flechette Discharges and the ability to fire Overwatch are interesting, but again IMHO, its too many points invested in a unit that should be “disposable”.

So, for their price Piranhas are pretty good, and bring some interesting tactical options.


I have never seen Vespids on the table and do not expect to now. Pass…!

Sun Shark Bomber

I think GW have finally got the message that the “legacy” flyers (i.e. those that were introduced in 5th edition) are over powered. It seems that new flyers are destined to be lack luster at best (god knows what they were thinking with the Helldrake!), and the Sun Shark is exactly that. With competition so tight in Fast Attack, I just don’t see a place for it in my Cadre. It just doesn’t bring anything to the army I can’t get elsewhere.

It’s F11 S10  R 10, so pretty fragile. It can’t hover, so unlike the Stormtallon can’t sneak on in a corner to avoid Quad Guns. Its Pulse Bomb is just silly.

I suppose it can take a decoy launcher (4++ from interceptor fire), and D’pods (4+ jink save) to make it reasonably resilient. It also has a Skyfire marker light which is helpful (the Skyray has 2 however!). The interceptor Drones are interesting, but not that interesting. In an army that has no problem getting interceptor and skyfire in lots of units, it’s not that big a deal.

And the model is a bit naff!

What am I missing?


Another lack lustre flyer. The 360 degree turret with Quad Ion Rifles is an OK weapon, and you can upgrade the Burst Cannon to a missile pod – but that’s still on average only 3 S7 hits per turn. Vendettas are hardly flying off the board in terror!

Again, what am I missing?


A hotly contested slot. I still think Vespids are silly, and I really can’t see the point in the Flyers, which leaves Pathfinders, Drones and Piranhas. If you want massed marker lights IMHO Marker Drones (with a Commander and Drone Controller) are the best option. If you’re looking for special weapons, then perhaps Pathfinders. Finally, if you’re looking for fast Dakka, or a fast threat to Heavy Armour (e.g. you’re not taking Hammerheads), or board control, or even a devastating Alpha Strike, think about Piranhas.