Monday, April 8, 2013

Tau - First Impression and Some Actual Play Experience

There's a bunch of new Tau codex haters on a certain blue website and a certain black and orange forum.  I honestly don't get it.  The new codex is not perfect, but it is a huge improvement.  Maybe my expectations where lower, but the codex went up measurably in play-ability.

There are still some weaknesses.  The loss of ST10 on broadsides hurt a bit.  It leaves the codex a little light on weapons that can reliably hurt armor 13 and 14 at longer ranges.  The troops slot is also still pretty weak.  A bit improved, but it's still pretty hard to take or hold objectives with Firewarriors and Kroot.  And if you spend enough points on troops to make a difference, you really degrade the efficiency of the rest of the army.   They needed a third troop option, or at least some minor force org shifting.  Crisis Suits as Troops would be a bit much, but a single Stealth Suit or Pathfinder squad as troops would have been nice.

There are a bunch of junk wargear options, but have you ever seen a Xenos codex that wasn't full of junk wargear that no one ever takes?  At least the majority is good.  And Puretide Neurochips and Early Warning Overrides make up for all the fail gear.

List building has been tough.  Mostly because it's hard to fit in all the cool stuff I want.  Very easy to overspend on a unit due to how customizable some of the entries are.  Pathfinders especially.  They get access to a lot of cool new gear, but you have to remember these guys only have 5+ saves now.  Their core competency is marker lights, anything that takes away from that is wasted points.  I end up just going with basic guys in almost every list I've built.  If only I could take those Ion Rifles with my Fire Warriors...

I played two games on Saturday with the new codex.  Once against Demons, the other against Space Marines.  Both opponents called it by the end of the second round of Tau shooting.  The volume and quality of shooting in the list is much better than before.  You can now take all the markerlights that always had to be cut for more suits in the old codex.

Supporting fire is freaking amazing.  You just don't assault a Tau gun line with a single unit anymore.  Between the Counter-fire Defensive System upgrades and marker lights affecting overwatch, it takes a very beefy unit to make it into melee unscathed.

Riptides with a Ion Accelerator and interceptor are also brutal.  Don't come in from reserve within line-of-sight of these guys unless you want a ST8 AP2 large blast to the face.  Not sold on 20 pt skyfire for these guys though.  In standard fire mode 3 BS3 ST7 AP2 shots in't terribly great at taking down flyers.

The bomber is kinda cool.  I like its little interceptor drones, but the rest of its firepower is weak for a 160 point flyer.    

I think the go to AA in my lists is going to be a pair of railsides with a seeker missile each and a Skyray.  If my Commander isn't doing anything better, he'll attach to the broadsides to give them tank hunter and a T5 bullet catcher.  That should be good for at least a flyer a turn.  Maybe two with a little luck.  I've been trying to work in a third broadside to the unit, but I can't seem to find the points.

The current list I've settled on:

Tau 1850 with Space Marine Allies
Commander w/ Misslile Pod, Plasma Rifle, Target Lock, Drone Controller, Iridium Armor, Puretide
Neurochip, 2x Marker Drones
Librarian w/ Null Zone, Gate of Infinity
Crisis Suit Team, 3x Suits w/ Missile Pod, Plasma Rifle
Riptide Suit w/ Ion Accelerator, Counterfire Defensive System, Early Warning Override
Riptide Suit w/ Ion Accelerator, Counterfire Defensive System, Early Warning Override
Fire Warrior squad w/ 12x Fire Warriors
Kroot Squad w/ 10 Warriors
Tactical Squad w/10 Marines, Combi-Melta, Melta, Multi-Melta, Rhino
Tactical Squad w/10 Marines, Combi-Melta, Melta, Multi-Melta, Rhino
Pathfinder Team w/8 Pathfinders
Broadside Team w/2 Broadsides, Velocity Trackers, Seeker Missiles
Skyray w/Smart Missile System, Disruption Pods


  1. I have just started reading the new codex, and was considering making a Commander and bodyguard team into an interceptor/skyfire unit. TL missle pods, early warning override, velocity tracker. Seems to me like a good (but expensive) way to prevent helldrakes from ruining your day.

    1. Too expensive for body guards and the commander. Maybe Crisis teams. I like body guards with fusion blasters for when you occasionally roll up the sky fire warlord trait on the commander.

  2. I may have to consider a Tau detachment for my IG.

  3. Quite different than tau lists I've been thinking about. Gives credit to the flexibility of the codex.

    How are riptides with ion? really that good, they are my next project.

    1. Pretty impressive, but I havn't faced a list tooled to fight them yet. They are fairly expensive and if people start teching against them, it may end up being better to take more crisis suits instead.

      I'm still playing around with lists. I'm thinking Kroot shapers and Kroot Ox may be worth taking. Just need to figure out a model to proxy for them.