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Tau Commander coming for Dawn of War 2: Last Stand

Not much to say here, other than to make various happy noises from my chair here. I haven’t played much Last Stand – and that’s been almost entirely as a Chaos Sorcerer – but this would get me back into it with a vengeance. What I’m really enjoying is all the various weapon systems and wargear being pictured. It looks like a Tau player will really be able to customize their commander in Last Stand nearly as much as they can on the tabletop. Also, bonus points for both the GW and Forgeworld head options, although those may be tied to wargear options.

It’s not a new model, sure. Still, it’s good to see some love for the Tau one way or another. 🙂

‘Ard Boyz, Option 2: The Tau

Right now, I’m mainly planning on running my Chaos Marines for ‘Ard Boyz. Sure, Tau are my primary army, but I don’t know if they’re tough enough to compete well in this setting. One thing I’ve noticed with the Tau, similar to a lot of older armies, is that it feels like they start running out of options at higher point levels. Mechanized Tau does, at least. Now, if I started swapping out Hammerheads for more Broadsides, I could probably fill up points quickly, but that’s hardly an inexpensive option dollar-wise.

So, what can I field with what I have with a minimum number of new purchases? Well, I can take my 2000 point list from DieCon and build on it. What I end up with is something like this:

HQ: Commander Shas’el ( 95 pts)
1 Commander Shas’el (Hard-wired Blacksun Filter; Hard-wired Target Lock; Missile Pod; Plasma Rifle; Multi-Tracker)

HQ: Commander Shas’el (80 pts)
1 Commander Shas’el (Flamer; Hard-wired Blacksun Filter; Hard-wired Target Lock; Twin Linked Missile Pod)

Elite: Crisis Battlesuits (216 pts)
1 Crisis Battlesuit (Hard-wired Drone Controller; Hard-wired Target Lock; Missile Pod; Plasma Rifle; Multi-Tracker; Team Leader)
2 Gun Drones
2 Crisis Battlesuits (Missile Pod; Plasma Rifle; Multi-Tracker)

Elite: Crisis Battlesuits (216 pts)
1 Crisis Battlesuit (Hard-wired Drone Controller; Hard-wired Target Lock; Missile Pod; Plasma Rifle; Multi-Tracker; Team Leader)
2 Gun Drones
2 Crisis Battlesuits (Missile Pod; Plasma Rifle; Multi-Tracker)

Elite: Crisis Battlesuits (151 pts)
1 Crisis Battlesuit (Flamer; Hard-wired Target Lock; Twin Linked Missile Pod; Team Leader)
2 Crisis Battlesuits (Flamer; Twin Linked Missile Pod)

Troops: Fire Warriors (155 pts)
6 Fire Warriors
1 Devilfish (Disruption Pod; Multi-Tracker)

Troops: Fire Warriors (155 pts)
6 Fire Warriors
1 Devilfish (Disruption Pod; Multi-Tracker)

Troops: Fire Warriors (155 pts)
6 Fire Warriors
1 Devilfish (Disruption Pod; Multi-Tracker)

Troops: Fire Warriors (60 pts)
6 Fire Warriors

Troops: Kroot Carnivore Squad (88 pts)
10 Kroot Carnivores
3 Kroot Hounds

Troops: Kroot Carnivore Squad (88 pts)
10 Kroot Carnivores
3 Kroot Hounds

Fast Attack: Piranha Light Skimmer (75 pts)
1 Piranha Light Skimmer (Disruption Pod x1; Targeting Array x1; Fusion Blaster x1)

Fast Attack: Piranha Light Skimmers (150 pts)
2 Piranha Light Skimmers (Disruption Pod x2; Targeting Array x2; Fusion Blaster x2)

Fast Attack: Pathfinders (206 pts)
7 Pathfinders
1 Shas’ui (Bonding Knife)
1 Devilfish (Disruption Pod; Multi-Tracker)

Heavy Support: Broadside Battlesuits (280 pts)
1 Broadside Battlesuit (Hard-wired Drone Controller; Hard-wired Target Lock; Targeting Array; Team Leader)
2 Broadside Battlesuits (Targeting Array)
2 Shield Drone (Shield Generator)

Heavy Support: Hammerhead Gunship (165 pts)
1 Hammerhead Gunship (Railgun; Two Burst Cannons; Disruption Pod; Multi-Tracker)

Heavy Support: Hammerhead Gunship (165 pts)
1 Hammerhead Gunship (Railgun; Two Burst Cannons; Disruption Pod; Multi-Tracker)

Total Points: 2500

It’s got 6 units of troops, markerlight support, and an extra Piranha for providing a bit more anti-armor and blocking capability. I’m not convinced, though. The list that this one is built on didn’t perform well at DieCon, and I don’t see the additions making a huge difference. To make this list harder, it would require some major revisions, and that means cash that I’d like to avoid spending. The list above, on the other hand, only requires me to buy one more Devilfish (which I can get on the cheap); otherwise, it’s built entirely out of models I already have.

I think that Chaos is the better choice (even though I’m not going with the most competitive of builds). I’ll still keep this list around, though, and maybe I can play around with it and/or use it to help friends playtest a bit.

“But I Can’t Paint Like That!”

While at this weekend’s tournament, I tweeted a picture of my army all set up on the display tray (you can see a cleaned-up version on my tournament post). A friend of mine (who also plays Tau) promptly responded:

see this is why my army isn’t painted. I cant make it look like that…

I have one thing to say to that: Nonsense. There’s nothing that I’m doing that anyone else can’t do. I’m not a professional-level painter by any means, or even likely to win any competitions. I’d be lucky to score a 6.0 on CoolMiniOrNot. All I’m doing is going for a decent tabletop-quality army, something that looks good at arm’s length. Believe it or not, it’s no hard to do. While the actual painting takes time, it’s what comes before that – the mental preparation – that’s the most important part. It’s a combination of inspiration, planning, study, and focus.

Here’s what I would recommend to first-time painters:

  1. Figure out what want to do. If you really want to frustrate yourself, stare at your unpainted army with no clue how you want it to look, and sit down to paint it. It’s best to come to the painting table with at least a rough idea of what you want to do. It might be as simple as picking a Space Marine chapter and following their color scheme, or you might come up with a custom theme all your own. You can plot out every detail, using something like Bolter and Chainsword’s army painters, or you might just pick a few colors to use. In the case of my Tau, I had paint that I was originally going to use for a Cryx army for Warmachine. I ended up going down the 40K path instead, and had a couple of bottles of Vallejo Goblin Green. Figuring I would make do with what I had, I came up with a basic green-on-gray color scheme for my Fire Warriors. Everything else came from that.
  2. Research how to do it. You can certainly just break out a paint pot and slap paint down on your minis, but you probably won’t be happy with the results, which is another way to frustrate yourself into thinking you can’t paint. Instead, do a little bit of study and figure out some basic techniques. I’m not talking about advanced effects; don’t get hung up on sourced lighting, non-metallic metals, or the like. Just focus on the fundamentals, like:
    • Priming your minis
    • Thinning your paints
    • Basecoating
    • Using washes (especially GW’s line)
    • Drybrushing and highlighting
    • Cleaning your brushes

    If you can get your minis painted with flat colors, and then throw a wash on them, you’re already well on your way to having something decent for the table. Do a little searching online and find guides on how to handle the basics (or if you prefer having a hardcopy available, look into something like GW’s How to Paint Citadel Miniatures), and you’ll be able to do just that.

  3. Don’t psych yourself out. It’s tempting to look at other minis out there, especially the really well-painted display pieces, or even the models that GW’s ‘Eavy Metal team paints for the codexes/rulebooks, and decide, “No, I can’t do that.” Thing is, you’re probably right – but realize that you’re also looking at the work of people who have been painting minis professionally for years. If you’re learning to ride a bike, you wouldn’t expect to immediately compete in the Tour de France. Likewise, if you’re painting your first mini, don’t expect to end up with something that’ll win a Golden Daemon. That’s perfectly okay. Your first few minis are going to be trial-and-error as you try out the techniques you studied. Don’t worry about having the perfect paint job when you’re done. Also, start small – don’t sit down with your entire army and try to paint it in one go. Start with one mini. Then another. Then one more. If you’re feeling confident at this stage, set aside a squad, and see if you can work on two or three figures at a time. By this point, you should be figuring out a process that works for you; keep at it!
  4. Be ready for unexpected results. Obviously, you can’t be expecting the unexpected. Just be ready to shift your painting plan if what you planned out in step #1 doesn’t work out the way you’d hoped. Sometimes, things you hoped would work don’t. My original army painting plan was to have yellow sept markings. However, the yellows I had (all Vallejo Game Colors) were too thin/not opaque enough to serve my purposes at the time. I was frustrated because my plan didn’t work. Then I tried a red color, and it was just opaque enough to work. Since then, I’ve stuck with the green/red theme for my Tau army, rather than green/yellow. Sometimes, you’ll have happy accidents and do something that ends up working even better than you’d planned; if that happens, take it and run with it!
  5. Don’t worry about having the best/most expensive tools. Painting and basing can be just as expensive as the minis themselves if you go for the very best tools. Imported resin bases, Windsor and Newton Brushes, a full assortment of Citadel, Reaper, or P3 paints – you can easily go nuts trying to get a full hobby setup. If you have the means, go for it, but don’t stress yourself out if you don’t. I started out painting minis (before my GW days) with Apple Barrel craft acrylics and cheap store-brand brushes from Hobby Lobby. I moved up when I wanted to take my painting to the next level, but what I had was perfectly good for starting out. Keeping the initial investment small can keep that feeling that you wasted your money at bay, especially if it isn’t quite turning out as planned.

I’ve been painting my minis for the last 3 years or so, and I still see things that make me wish I was better, but I strive not to let it discourage me from doing what I’m doing now. I keep my focus on the tabletop and how my army will look when it gets there. By doing that, I got confident enough to try new techniques, such as edge highlighting and painting lenses. However, it all comes back to knowing the basics, having a plan, and sticking to it as much as is reasonable.

So, my friends, go forth and paint! And don’t worry if you mess up a bit at first. Practice makes perfect!