Re-Evaluating My Tau Strategy

Just because I’ve been devoting a lot of time to painting and revising my Chaos Marines doesn’t mean I’ve completely ignored my Tau. They’re still my first, best, and favorite army, if a bit dated and static. I don’t intend them to remain static, though. Every now and again, it’s good to re-examine and re-evaluate your battle plan, to see what’s going on in the environment, and to change things up a bit. And so it is with my Tau; it’s time to switch things around a little.

Some recent battle reports I’ve seen, such as this one on BoLS, or these two on Imperius Dominatus, have reflected a Tau army that varies somewhat from what I normally run, but is similar enough to my style that I should have little trouble adapting. The main differences I’m seeing include:

  • 2-man Crisis Teams, Including HQs – Rather than the 3-man squads and solo commanders I usually run, these lists are running 2-man squads in every available slot. This includes bodyguards for the commanders. While the net result tends to be slightly fewer suits than I usually run (10 versus the 11 I squeeze into my army), the logic is sound. First, you’ve got an increased ability to divide fire as necessary without buying target locks. Also, it games the morale system a bit; a 2-man squad is never below 50%, so it can always reform. A 3-man team can fall to 33%, break, and never come back.
  • Dual Pathfinder Squads. There’s nothing unusual about Pathfinders in a Tau army, but I never really make use of them. In my last games with my Tau, though, I’ve had moments where I’m screwed by my merely-average BS or by the ever-present cover saves, and Pathfinders are still the best way to get markerlights into a list and counter those situations. They’re also taking advantage of Marker Beacons to allow the Crisis Suit teams to deep strike more accurately. Two squads helps guarantee that you’ve got decent markerlight saturation, and that you’re not screwed if one squad goes away.
  • Unmounted Fire Warriors. Two 6-man Fire Warrior squads on foot, ready to take advantage of the Pathfinders’ Devilfishes for taxi service. This is more a matter of economy, since you’re already paying for the Pathfinder transports. I still don’t like the temporary loss of tempo, since you have to do the disembark/embark shuffle sometimes, but what else was I going to do with those Fire Warriors? They’re not making up a gunline.

There’s differences between the lists – all MP/PR suits versus having a squad of TLFL/FB suits, and having standard Kroot/Hound squads versus having one big blob squad of 20 – but overall, they’re very similar. They’re also both 2000-point lists, which is more than I normally play. However, our local area is starting to shift towards 1750 being the “standard” army size, so could this concept be adjusted down to that point level, especially with what I currently have available? Here’s my take on it:

HQ: Commander Shas’el w/Missile Pod, Plasma Rifle, Multi-Tracker; Bodyguard w/Missile Pod, Plasma Rifle, Multi-Tracker (159 pts)
HQ: Commander Shas’el w/Twin-Linked Missile Pod, Flamer, Hard-wired Blacksun Filter; Bodyguard w/Twin-Linked Missile Pod, Flamer, Hard-wired Blacksun Filter (135 pts)
Elite: 2 Crisis Suits w/Missile Pod, Plasma Rifle, Multi-Tracker (124 pts)
Elite: 2 Crisis Suits w/Missile Pod, Plasma Rifle, Multi-Tracker (124 pts)
Elite: 2 Crisis Suits w/ Twin-Linked Missile Pod, Flamer (94 pts)
Troops: 17 Kroot Carnivores (119 pts)
Troops: 6 Fire Warriors (60 pts)
Troops: 6 Fire Warriors (60 pts)
Fast Attack: 5 Pathfinders; Devilfish w/Disruption Pd (145 pts)
Fast Attack: 5 Pathfinders; Devilfish w/Disruption Pd (145 pts)
Heavy Support: Broadside Team Leader w/Advanced Stabilization System, Hard-Wired Blacksun Filter, Hard-Wired Drone Controller, Shield Drone; 2 Broadsides w/Advanced Stabilization System (263 pts)
Heavy Support: Hammerhead Gunship w/Railgun, Blacksun Filter, Disruption Pod (160pts)
Heavy Support: Hammerhead Gunship w/Railgun, Blacksun Filter, Disruption Pod (160pts)

Total: 1748 points

The only thing that’s really missing, as far as I’m concerned, is a Piranha or two. I just don’t have the points to fit them in at this level, although at 2000 points I’d definitely put one in (and maybe a squadron of 2). Alternately, I can drop one of the Broadsides from the squad, fit in a Piranha, and still have points for a couple of Kroot Hounds. The extra blocking is good; I just don’t know if it’s worth the loss of a railgun. I suppose testing will tell.

I was originally planning on taking my soon-to-be-completely-painted Chaos Marines to a local tournament on April 1st, but I’m wondering if I shouldn’t take the above list (or a variant) instead…

  • MarshalWilhelm

    Is there some way I can email you?

  • You can get me at either nockergeek at gmail dot com, or rob at preferredenemies dot com.