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.

So this post comes from a position of skepticism over the basic concept, and (helpfully!) a lack of real experience in running the army. Theory Hammer at it’s worst! What I hope is that somebody who plays a Farsight list can jump in, tell me I’m talking nonsense, and then explain how it all works.

The whole point of a Farsight list is the 7 Shas’vre bodyguards that Farsight can take in one unit. Combined with Farsight’s Warlord trait (i.e. no scatter on deep strike) the basic concept is that Farsight drops in turn 2 and causes sufficient devastation that he cripples your opponent’s army. 

However, it seems to me that this basic concept immediately creates a number of “issues” that you need to build your list around. As I see it they are

·      The bomb is very expensive (500+points), so it limits what else you can take in your army.

·      Because it doesn’t come on until turn 2 (at best), you need to make sure that the rest of your army can survive 2 rounds of shooting/assault, from your opponents army (if they go first) before the Bomb comes on, without being crippled. 

·      And on that point, you need some sort of reserve manipulation to make sure that the Bomb does come in on turn 2.

·      The Bomb needs to have an answer to anti deep strike tactics  i.e. it has to be able to do something about bubble wrapping units, it needs to have an answer to warp quake, to interceptor fire, and to  Cortez’s  “I’ve been expecting you” rule.

·      It has to be utterly devastating when it does come in, and;

·      It needs to be able to survive retaliation.

So with that in mind, lets start thinking about a list.

First take is Farsight (duh!) and his bodyguard. You can take up to 7 Shas’vre all in one unit. You might not want to …. you might want to save some points for the rest of the army, but let’s assume for now that you want to build the “big bomb” and I’ll go with 7 suits. So how to fit out the suits? Well there are 2 criteria it seems to me. The Bomb needs to be (a) devastating, and (b) survivable, in that it needs to be able to survive interceptor fire and return fire/assaults on the turn after it arrives.

If the Bomb is going to cause maximum devastation then it probably needs to kill 2 or 3 targets on the turn it comes down. To do this, at least some of the suits will need to take target locks. Also, you never know what you’re going to be trying to kill when you come in, so you’ll need a variety of weapons to deal with a variety of targets. Finally, you need to be absolutely sure you’ll kill what you shoot at, so as many “buffs” as possible please. As for survivability, you probably need to work in some Iridium Armour for at least one 2+ save, and probably some Drones for ablative wounds, and if one of the suits has Vectored Retro Thrusters so the unit can hit and run out of assaults (at Farsights iniitative) that would be good too.

So, here’s my attempt at a Farsight Bomb.

Bodyguard 1 – Support Shas’vre – 2 Flamer, Command & Control Node, Multi Spectrum Sensor Suit, Vectored Retro Thruster.

This guy is your support suit. The C&CN makes all your weapons twin linked, and the M3S grants the whole unit the Ignores Cover special Rule. The only weapons are the flamers because if he uses the C&CN or the M3S, he can’t fire any weapons in the shooting phase. The flamers are there to fire on overwatch. The VRT is there to give the whole unit hit and run on Farsight’s initiative (5).

Bodyguard 2 – 2 Fusion Blasters, Target Lock, 2 Gun Drones
Bodyguard 3 – 2 Fusion Blasters, Target Lock, 2 Gun Drones

These guys are for killing armour. The target locks are there so they can do it while the rest of the squad targets something else. I’ll come back to the Gun Drones.

                Bodyguard 4 – 2 plasma rifles, Target Lock, 2 Gun Drones
                Bodyguard 5 – 2 plasma rifles, Target Lock, 2 Gun Drones
                Bodyguard 6 – 2 plasma rifles, Target Lock, 2 Gun Drones
                Bodyguard 7 – 2 plasma rifles, Target Lock, 2 Gun Drones

These guys kill heavy infantry or Monstrous Creatures. Again the target locks are there so they can fire at one thing while the Drones and the Fusion suits fire at something else.

The Gun Drones are there because they are cheap (12pts each), Twin Linked, and if we include a Drone Controller (coming to that) they take the users BS.

So the idea of the unit is that it can come down and shoot at 3 different things – the Fusion Suits can melt a vehicle, the Plasma Suits can kill a unit of heavy infantry or an MC, while the Drones can fire 28 S5 twin linked shots at light targets. Everything is twin linked, and everything ignores cover.

So it’s got a hell of a lot of fire power - but what about durability? Well, the unit has to do 3 things to be useful – survive interceptor fire before it can shoot, survive a turn of shooting after it shoots, and then survive an assault so it can do something next turn.

How you play the unit is probably the most important aspect of getting it to survive where you come in, how you position the unit, and what you kill are all crucial…. but as far as list building goes, what could I do to make the unit itself more survivable? Well there are 2 obvious answers – include a Commander with Iridium Armour, or include Shadowsun – the Commander will give you a T5 Independent Character (who automatically passes LOS! Rolls) with a 2+ save and, if you invest even more points, Feel No Pain and a 4++. Shadowsun give the whole unit Stealth and Shrouding.

If I go the Commander route I could give him Iridium Armour, a Puretide Chip, a target lock, a Drone Controller (giving all the Drones BS5) and 2 Shield Drones. For weapons I would give him a Plasma Rifle and a Fusion Blaster for 168pts.

If Shadowsun then I would take her 2, 3++ shield drones, for 175pts.

On balance I think the Commander brings more to the unit, in particular the Puretide Chip and the BS5 Drone Controller .

HOWEVER, the unit with the Commander and Farsight comes to 1004pts…….! Well, I’ll press on with the rest of the army for now, and see what I can do, but I think I need to come back and trim this unit!

The rest of the army needs to do 4 things – it needs to score, provide some sort of reserve manipulation, be durable, and provide long range fire support to the Bomb (which needs to include some AA)…. and all for 846pts!

If we are going to do all of this for 880pts then the units need to multi task. Looking at Tau scoring options it’s not looking good. However, I could ally in some durable scoring. Two squads of 30 orks score and are pretty durable (I know, I know, Orks with Farsight!…. but let’s be clear - fluff’s the stuff between your toes!). Add in a KFF Mek and we tick durability and scoring, for a reasonable price of 445pts. Add in 2 squads of Kroot with a hound each for compulsory Tau troops and we’re OK for scoring (note… not “good!). That brings us to 575pts. Add in an Aegis with a comms relay and we have our reserve manipulation, bringing the total to 645pts. I have 201pts to give the Bomb some fire support.

First question is – does it need fire support? The answer must be “yes”. There is nothing to deal with flyers and 2 Helldrakes will murder the bomb. It would also be good if something (!) could thin out the other side’s army before Farsight comes down, or at least pick out any big threats (e.g. Collosus Mortars, anything with interceptor). The problem is, not much you can do with 201pts!

Best I can come up with is to drop some orks and take a couple of Skyrays. By trying to go second (!) you can get their flyers on the field before the Bomb comes down, pray that your Skyrays survive a flyer alpha strike, and then hope you take down 2 ….! Hmmmm … I think I want to do better than that.

So lets look at the Bomb again. With the Commander the bomb comes in at 839pts.

The easy thing to do would be to lose the Commander. You could put the Puretide chip, the Iridium armour, Drone Controller  and a couple of Shield Drones on a Bodyguard, however. it’s not nearly as effective. You “only” have two 2+ wounds rather than 4, you do not automatically pass LOS! rolls to the drones, and you only have BS3 on the Gun Drones rather than BS5. In addition, to get that Drone Controller you need to drop a target lock from one of the Bodyguards, meaning that he will be firing with the Drones (I would probably give him 2 burst cannons so that he simply adds more weight of fire to the Drones rather than shooting plasma at a target that probably doesn’t warrant it).

Bodyguard 1 – Support Shas’vre – 2 Flamer, Command & Control Node, Multi Spectrum Sensor Suit, Vectored Retro Thruster.
Bodyguard 2 – 2 Fusion Blasters, Target Lock, 2 Gun Drones
Bodyguard 3 – 2 Fusion Blasters, Target Lock, 2 Gun Drones
             Bodyguard 4 – 2 plasma rifles, Target Lock, 2 Gun Drones, Puretide Chip
             Bodyguard 5 – 2 plasma rifles, Target Lock, 2 Gun Drones
             Bodyguard 6 – 2 plasma rifles, Target Lock, 2 Gun Drones
Bodyguard 7 – 2 Burst Cannons, Drone Controller, 2 Shield Drones, Iridium Armour

So you have 6 Plasma Rifles, 4 Melta guns, and 30 S5 shots at light infantry. This version comes in at 676pts, saving you 163pts.

Alternatively you could lose 2 of the Plasma Bodyguards, and swap the Fusion gun on the Commander to a Plasma rifle, keeping up the number of Plasma shots. So it looks like this

Commander, 2 Plasma Rifles, Puretide Chip, Iridium Armour, Target Lock, Drone Controller
Bodyguard 1 – Support Shas’vre – 2 Flamer, Command & Control Node, Multi Spectrum Sensor Suit, Vectored Retro Thruster.
Bodyguard 2 – 2 Fusion Blasters, Target Lock, 2 Gun Drones
Bodyguard 3 – 2 Fusion Blasters, Target Lock, 2 Gun Drones
Bodyguard 4 – 2 plasma rifles, Target Lock, 2 Gun Drones,
Bodyguard 5 – 2 plasma rifles, Target Lock, 2 Gun Drones

So you still have 6 Plasma Rifles and 4 Fusion Guns. The reduction is in S5 shots, down from 30 to 16. However they’re shooting at BS5 rather than BS3. With all of them being twin linked, that’s probably a reduction of around 6 hits in total.

This version costs 657pts, so you save 182pts. For the loss of 6 S5 hits, I think I prefer this version.

So, if I cut 2 Bodyguards from the Bomb, and keep everything else the same, what sort of fire support can I get for 383pts? By dropping a few orks here and there I can come up with 4 options.

3 Skyrays with Black Sun filters and D’pods – 402pts
2 Riptides with Early Warning Overrides and Velocity Trackers 420pts
2x2 Broadsides with Velocity trackers and missile drones 436pts
2x3 XV8’s with 2 missile pods each and velocity trackers. 432pts

The Skyrays are tempting. Bunkered behind the Aegis and surrounded by 60 orks they are pretty resilient. They pump out an impressive alpha strike (18 S8 AP3 missiles at BS5), and will (with a little luck) down a couple of AV12 flyers in a turn of shooting). However, once they’ve shot their missiles they’re pretty worthless. They can support the Bomb with marker lights, but given the Bomb is twin linked, and ignore’s cover anyway, it’s not that helpful.

The Riptides are a threat to everything, and are pretty durable. The only problem is they have no marker light support so they’re inaccurate. Also, not sure how happy I am lobbing inaccurate AP2 large blast at the enemy when the Bomb will be up close and personal!

The Broadsides are the most expensive option (I would need to lose 9 Orks), but are pretty flexible. My concern would be durability without a Commander tanking wounds. I would also have a slight concern about Vendettas staying out of range and picking them off with lazcannons.

Finally, the XV8s push out roughly the same number of hits as the Broadsides. However they sacrifice durability for maneuverability. Not sure I need maneuverability here.

But here’s a thought, what about taking a Skyray and 3 Broadsides, dropping the Velocity Trackers on the Broadsides, relying on the Skyray’s skyfire marker lights to boost the Broadsides snap shots at flyers to BS3. That also helps with the problem of the Broadsides being out of range of sniping Vendettas, and gives more long lasting fire support after the Skyray has shot its missiles. If you added Early Warning Overrides to the Broadsides to discourage deep striking that would bring in the whole lot at 413pts. Boost one of them to a Shas’vre for leadership 9, and you have 423pts. Drop 7 orks and your done.

So the list would be


Commander, 2 Plasma Rifles, Puretide Chip, Iridium Armour, Target Lock, Drone Controller

Bodyguard 1 – Support Shas’vre – 2 Flamer, Command & Control Node, Multi Spectrum Sensor Suit, Vectored Retro Thruster.
Bodyguard 2 – 2 Fusion Blasters, Target Lock, 2 Gun Drones
Bodyguard 3 – 2 Fusion Blasters, Target Lock, 2 Gun Drones
              Bodyguard 4 – 2 Plasma Rifles, Target Lock, 2 Gun Drones,
              Bodyguard 5 – 2 Plasma Rifles, Target Lock, 2 Gun Drones

10 Kroot, 1 Kroot Hound
10 Kroot, 1 Kroot Hound

Skyray, BSF, D’pod

3 Broadsides (one a Shas’vre) , HYMPs, EWO, 6 Missile Drones

Aegis with Comms Relay

Big Mek with KFF

27 Boyz
26 Boyz

It’s the best I can come up with, but I’m still not convinced. It’s too much of a one trick pony, with far too many points invested in one unit, which while devastating, is still just one unit. Also, still not persuaded that the Skyray and the Broadsides are the way to go. The Skyray sticks out like a “sore thumb” as the only vehicle, and would be taken out by a couple of vendettas reasonably easily.

What do you think?

I would love it if somebody with experience of using a Farsight Bomb would chip in and explain how they work their list.



  1. I really enjoyed this post. Even though you've never played the "Taulie-Bomb" list, you covered the ups and downs of it.
    I have a 1375 (weird level, no?) tournament this weekend, and I decided to rock the bomb. (in our tournaments giving up counts as tabling, and tabling grants all objectives)

    Here's the list Im taking:

    Kingfisher BG - (Drone Con, jammer, onager gauntlet, c&c node, MSS sensor, Puretide chip, Iridium b-suit)
    2x Sunforge BG (2x fusion, target lock)
    2x Burning-eye BG (2x plasma rifle)
    10x gun drones
    2x 10 kroot snipers w/ hound
    2x (2suit) Missilsides
    ADL w/ comms relay

    I was thinking of dropping the onager gauntlet for target locks on the Burning-eyes.....
    Overall; I think the kroot will be sitting in reserve waiting to come on late game... haven't had much luck keeping them alive very long.
    Yes, I do realize I'm a little Marker-light (lol...) but with the bomb twin linking, I don't think it will be much of an issue.?
    What do you think?
    The worst of what I expect to see is Cron Anny Barges, though there may be a few demon players.

  2. Although I still contend that the space marine Librarian combo is the way to go, I thoroughly enjoyed reading this. forcing rerolls on Invuls, having marines to aggressively score objectives and starting having the blob rolling form turn 1 is too good to pass up imo.

    I never thought of including all the drones, the ability to pound 3 separate targets in one turn seems to have alot of potential, although in using the drones, I would worry about the size of the blobs footprint and the opponent not giving them a place that they could land.

    A couple questions though, why orcs? Wouldn't you get much more out of a 50 man w/commissar IG blob? they could go to ground behind aegis for a 2+ and then stand up the next turn. Or you could do a 40 man w/commissar and take 4 autocannons too. All for 375.

    Also why the missile drones on the broadsides? is 72 points worth BS 2 Drones that will force a leadership test on your broadsides?

  3. Thanks guys, glad you enjoyed the post.

    @PartyBoy - agree with dropping the gauntlet for target locks. The gauntlet is IMHO a gimmick, and you want to be able to hit as many units as possible when you drop in. Are the drones attached to the bodyguard squad? If not might be an idea to do that, which allows the bomb to hit another unit with pulse fire when it comes in, and then gives it ablative wounds. Also, you are aware that you cant attach Shadowsun to the Bomb and infiltrate them? Think you're ok for marker lights. As you say the Bomb is pretty much self sufficient with the C&CN and M3S.

    More generally I wonder whether the bomb works at such low pants levels? You have so few scoring units that you are really relying on the Bomb killing everything to win.

    @BB I think we maybe discussed whether gate of infinity actually works with Farsight's Warlord Trait over on Warhammer Tau. Re-reading it again, I'm still not sure. The issue is whether being removed from the table and then coming back on via Gate,counts as "arriving" via Deep Strike. I can see it both ways, but it's not really clear.

    I've not tries the gun drones in the bomb yet, and I hear what of say re footprint. Being able to place the unit will help here though.

    As for the orks, well it's what I played under the old codex (ork allies that is rather than an ork army) so it's what I have and what I'm used to. I guess a guard blob would do the same thing. It would be a damn sight more fluffy!

    The missile drones are there to soak up lazcannon shots and anything else that might double out the Broadsides and/or defeat their armour. With the 'vree in the unit they're leadership 9, so I'm not too worried about leadership tests.

  4. The Drones are attached to the BGs... Yes, I know all about the non-infiltration (sucks, but she's there for the cover save).
    I vassal'd out a few games against the Cron nemesis, and won 3 quickly (tabling when I got first turn), won 2 by tabling on turn 5 (going second), and lost 2 (going second and loosing by objectives.).
    I dropped the Gauntlet and 1 hound ,added the Locks.
    I do believe this will be the list I will take.
    Ill have 2 b-side teams deployed behind Aegis, with kroot backup (on objective?), and Skyray floating around the backfield.
    Bomb, and a unit of kroot in reserve (outflank).

    Now, how it will work against Daemons is another story.

  5. OK, so it didn't go so well. Ha!
    Reliably got the bomb turn 2 in all three games.
    Played Team Edward Muhreenz with 2 vindicators and droppod.
    (focused on tanks, then HQ squad... tied up in CC, lost, failed I check to have 4 suits Shadowsun and some drones cut down! LAME!!
    Game 2: Fish on Fish action. Played another tau player rocking 2 hammerheads, a crisis Hq, and another Crisis unit, backed up with a lot of Fwarriors, pathfinders and STEALTH SUITS??
    The Bomb dropped and took out his tanks and concentrated on a unit of fwarriors, crippling his objective holding. Meanwhile his pathfinders in conjunction with STEALTH SUITS did the same to me. TIE.
    Game 3: Vs. Vanilla Muhreenz rocking 2 vindicators, 2 preds, 2 rhinos, stearnguard Cato. I got first turn and pretty much de-tanked him leaving everyone to walk. Almost a table with only an outflanking rhino (empty) and a predator (far far corner) remaining.

    Lessons learned:
    MORE TROOPS!!! (or hide them better)
    the bomb takes ALOT of damage jumping in and out of cover. I lost more to this than anything else!!
    Muhreenz don't care about Missilesides.
    Skyray, while neat on paper, really doesn't do too much for me.

    Anyway, Thanks a lot!!

  6. Thanks for coming back and posting up your experience. I thought that a lack of troops might be an issue. Surprised what you say about missile broadsides amd meq. I've always found weight of fire to be the best way to put marines away, rather than plasma.

    Please come back and let me know how you get on as your list develops.


  7. I actually feel that the way to go is a Libby, some scouts, a heap of kroot, Shadowsun, the blob of doom (outfitted how you did, more or less, although you do realise you can put the PEN on the support suit right? Also, multitracker doesn't work on overwatch, so the support suit doesn't need two flamers), and a few deathrains. Basically, the kroot score and turn up behind enemy lines for harassment, the deathrains JSJ to target light tanks, and the blob teleports to kill whatever it feels like (I personally think that gate does work with Farsight, needs a FAQ though). Loved the article, very engaging