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.
But 3 squads of foot slogging Fire Warriors isn’t enough scoring and it’s very static, so let’s add two 10 “man” units of Kroot with a Kroot Hound each which can outflank and grab objectives.
Next you can’t avoid a squad of Broadsides with all the missiles!  Three Broadsides with HYMPs, Velocity Trackers and Missile Drones. The squad pumps out 24 S7 and 12 S5 missiles per turn, on average hitting with 13 S7 shots and 9 S5 shots.  

An XV8 Commander synergises well with this squad. Give him Iridium Armour, and a Puretide Chip to start. A Command and Control Node and a Multi Spectrum Analyser Suite are options, but, as pointed out by Mike in his comment to my last post, if he uses them he can’t shoot, and that’s a waste of BS5. So give him 2 missile pods, and a Velocity Tracker . You now have something to “tank” wounds and can choose between Tank Hunter and Monster Hunter. The Commander will also of course man the quad gun. Give him 2 Shield Drones for ablative wounds and we’re done.
The unit now pumps out 30 S7 shots (if you include the quad gun) and on average will hit around 20 times. With Monster Hunter activated it will probably kill a Tervigon in one round of shooting. With Tank Hunter activated it will down a Helldrake, and probably strip an AV13 vehicle of hull points! Firing as one unit, it can be “over kill”, so let’s give the Commander a target lock. That allows me to fire one of his pods and the quad gun at a separate target from the Broadsides in the shooting phase, or he can shoot the Quad Gun using Interceptor, and finish off the (hopefully damaged) Flyer with both Missile Pods in the shooting phase.  
So far we have
XV8 Commander. Iridium Armour, Puretide Chip, 2 Missile Pods, Target Lock, Velocity Tracker. 2 Shield Drones
 12 Fire Warriors. Shas’ui. Marker Light, 2 Marker Drones

12 Fire Warriors. Shas’ui. Marker Light

12 Fire Warriors. Shas’ui. Marker Light

 10 Kroot 1 Hound

10 Kroot 1 Hound
 3 Broadsides with HYMPs, 6 Missile Drones

Aegis with a Quad Gun

For a total of 1,304pts. How does it measure up?

·         Multiple Flyers,  Can I deal with 2-3 AV12 flyers, or 3 – 4 AV11 ones – i.e. Vendettas, Night Scythes or Stormravens. Or 2 Winged Hive Tyrants? Can the army shoot them down, or can it ignore them and still compete?
Not bad. The Commander on the Quad Gun, with the Broadsides with Tank Hunter activiated has a reasonable chance of killing 2 AV12 flyers in one turn of shooting, and they have a chance (not a great one) of killing 3 AV11 flyers – one using the quad gun at the end of the enemy’s movement phase, one from the commander’s missile pods in my shooting phase, and another from the Broadsides themselves.  
·         Guard Blobs. Can I kill 40+ T3 models, who may have FNP, or a 2+ cover save?
I’ve got some Marker Lights to strip cover, and volume of fire from the Fire Warriors. The tricky thing is that the real volume of fire comes when the blob gets within 15”.  More Marker Light support would help here.

·         Deep Strikers. Can I deal with 3-4 drop pods in your face turn one, or maybe Deathwing?

A Vulcan pod list with loads of flamers would murder me. I need some deep strike protection
·         MEQ Horde. Can I kill 60+ marines that are advancing on my objectives?
The Fire Warriors will help, and the Broadsides can produce a huge volume of fire, so I think this is OK.
·         Monstrous Creatures. Can I kill 3 Tervigons?.

The Broadsides can kill a Tervigon per turn. The Fire Warriors can put 10 wounds on it at 30”. OK, but not great.
·         Deathstars. Can I kill a squad of TH/SS Terminators – Nob Bikers – Paladins – Harliestars? What about a squad of Wraiths with a destroyer lord tanking wounds up front, while not quite a deathstar, he’s probably got 2 more of them!

Reasonably confident here. With Marker Light support the Fire Warriors provide huge volume of fire. With assuming the marker light cascade works, I can put 20 wounds on T4 models at 30”. At 15” I can put 60 wound on T4 models.
·         Mech. Can I kill 3-4 AV11-12 Vehicles?

The Broadsides can kill 2 per turn.
·         Hordes. Can I kill enough orks to stop being overwhelmed by a green tide – can I kill enough Seekers or Khorne Hounds to stop them wiping me turn 3?

Again, reasonably confident here with the Fire Warriors’ torrent of fire.
·         AV13 and 14. Land Raiders, but more common, at least in UK based Tournaments, 3 Annihilation Barges.

Nothing at all that can hurt AV14!

So, I see 3 problems with this list at the moment
·         The Broadsides are doing a lot of the heavy lifting, and they are only one unit.

·         I need something to deal with heavy armour

·         I have no deep strike defence

 Riptides are the obvious answer to these issues. Let’s add 2 of them with Early Warning Overrides and Velocity Trackers. They help with all 3 problems! I can drop S8 AP2 pie plates on MEQ and TEQ, shoot MC’s (flying or otherwise) with 6 S7 AP2 shots and (hopefully!) drop S9 AP2 Ordinance pie plates on armour.  I can intercept flyers, and anything that wants to deep strike close will eat S8 AP2 large blasts. They also take some of the heat off the Broadsides.

That brings us to 1,640pts, so 210pts to play with.
When I look at this list I worry about 2 things – a lack of mobile (durable) scoring units and a lack of Marker Light support. In particular the Riptides are only BS3, and the Marker Lights embedded in the Fire Warrior Squads will do nothing for them.

So, if I drop 1 Fire Warrior from each squad I can add in another unit of 10 Kroot with a Hound, and add 2 Sniper Drone Teams with 3 Marksmen each. The extra Kroot Squad is self explanatory. The idea behind the Sniper Drones Squads is that they give me 6 very accurate marker lights that I can more or less dedicate to the Riptides. Assuming 3 hits, that has them shooting at BS6 (allowing me to reroll “gets hot” rolls) or probably better, shooting at BS4, and ignoring cover. They also benefit from the Ethereal’s Storm of Fire power so will shoot 9 BS5 sniper shots each at 24”. Not their main purpose, but a nice extra!

So in the end it comes to this

XV8 Commander. Iridium Armour, Puretide Chip, 2 Missile Pods, Target Lock, Velocity Tracker. 2 Shield Drones
Ethereal (Warlord)

12 Fire Warriors. Shas’ui. Marker Light, 2 Marker Drones

12 Fire Warriors. Shas’ui. Marker Light

12 Fire Warriors. Shas’ui. Marker Light

10 Kroot 1 Hound

10 Kroot 1 Hound

10 Kroot 1 Hound

Riptide, Fusion Gun, Ion Accelerator, Early Warning Override, Velocity Tracker.

Riptide, Fusion Gun, Ion Accelerator, Early Warning Override, Velocity Tracker.

3 Broadsides with HYMPs, velocity trackers and 6 Missile Drones

Sniper Drone Unit with 3 Marksmen

Sniper Drone Unit with 3 Marksmen

Aegis with a Quad Gun


I’ve made the Ethereal the Warlord because of the Tau Warlord traits. The Ethereal can only get 3 out of the 6 traits. If he roles the three other traits, he gets to reroll. The 3 traits he can get are
  • Through Unity Devistation. One use only. All friendly units within 12 inches re roll 1’s to hit.
  • Exemplar of the Selfless Cause. One use only. All friendly units from this codex that have goen to ground, can jump straight back up with no penalty!
  • Predator of the Skies. One use only. The warlord and his unit has Skyfire.

Predator of the Skies is OK, but Sky Firing Fire Warriors are not that interesting (all other units in the list have Velocity Trackers anyway). However, the other 2 are pretty good. Through Unity Devastation, is self explanatory and would be pretty devastating in that crucial round of shooting when the green horde is in rapid fire range. Exemplar of the Selfless Cause is a little more situational, but still good. I must confess I didn’t see this one, I heard Franco on the 40kUK Podcast talk about it.

 In a gun line army, you want to go first and try and cripple your opponents army first turn. The reason is that you’re pretty vulnerable to a first turn alpha strike yourself. Fire Warriors outside their D’fish are pretty squishy. However, there are big advantages to going second. It gives you the last turn to grab objectives, or to get that final kill point, and it allows you to deploy in response to your opponents deployment (particularly helpful now you can measure ranges).  If you can jump up and move and fire as normal after going to ground, you can give your opponent first turn, weather his alpha strike by going to ground behind your Aegis for a 2+ save, and then jump up and move and shoot as normal in your turn. In this way you (hopefully) survive his first turn of shooting reasonably intact, jump up and deliver your alpha strike, while having all the advantages of going second.


 The list has weaknesses. It’s very static and will have problems getting to distant objectives. It’s also vulnerable to barrage weapons, or weapons that ignore cover. A guard army with Manticores and Griffons or Space Marines with Thunder Fire Cannons, would murder your Fire Warriors. Making the Ethereal your Warlord means you could give away 4 Victory points in a kill point game if that Manticore shell landed on his head first turn (First Blood, Slay the Warlord, a normal kill point, and an extra VP ‘casue he’s an Ethereal).

 But more than that, for me, it’s a bit dull. Essentially you stand there and shoot stuff until either you or they die. There’s not a lot of movement, and the only really tactical thought is on deployment, and target priority.

 I’ll try it out, but it doesn’t excite me!


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