Tag Archives: tau

So I Went to DieCon…

die_con_imageLife has finally settled to the point where I can actually get back to blogging!

A couple of weeks ago, I had a chance to go to DieCon 13 in Collinsville, IL (in the greater St. Louis area) to attend the Gateway Grand Tournament there. I’d gone two years ago, so I was looking forward to going back and playing in a large event. Well, I didn’t quite get a large event. Apparently, there’d been some cock-ups with marketing and getting the word out, and they only managed to get 14 players, mostly locals. I think I was one of the few people who’d traveled more than an hour to get there. A bit disheartening, to be sure, especially considering that they had around 20 tables worth of terrain set up, but I still managed to get 5 good games in over two days, so I won’t complain too much.

Once again, I brought my Tau. Unlike 2011, when I was pretty much playing with a handicap by taking Tau, this time I was playing one of the stronger codexes in the game. My list was a 2000-point variation of the list I’d made with my fellow hosts on Preferred Enemies. The main changes were changing one mounted 6-man Fire Warrior squad for a 12-man squad on foot, and adding a trio of dual missile pod Crisis Suits with a Puretide Engram Chip on the squad leader. It (and smaller versions) had proven solid in testing, so I felt confident that I would be able to handle most of what was thrown at me. The list was specifically made to handle AirCron, but with enough shooting versatility that it wasn’t limited to just being anti-air.

The tournament itself followed the Bay Area Open model – all three book missions from 5th edition on the table simultaneously, each worth 8 victory points if won and 4 if tied. 2 points were awarded for each of the normal secondary objectives. A couple of missions also used alternate scoring units (Fast Attack and Heavy Support) like 6th Edition’s Scouring and Big Guns missions. Deployment was always Dawn of War or Vanguard Strike – the tables were set up in such a way that Hammer and Anvil wouldn’t work terribly well.

My matches went as follows:

  1. Imperial Guard: We don’t have many IG players in our immediate area, so this was a bit of a great unknown. He was running a mix of foot platoons and mounted melta vets, with one Medusa, one Manticore, and one Leman Russ Executioner for heavy firepower, and a Vendetta for air support. He also had a set of Sabre Platforms thrown into the mix as well. His deployment was surprisingly piecemeal – he left the Manticore and Leman Russ off the board – and that gave me the time to pick apart his armor. The Sabres didn’t give me too much trouble in this game, either, so I downplayed them in my mind. By the end, I had him down to just one or two units remaining and won a solid win.
  2. Imperial Guard/Space Marines: Another IG list, but this one couldn’t have been more different. He went very heavy on the Forge World artillery, with 3 units of 4 twin-linked lascannon Sabre Platforms and 3 units of 3 Heavy Quad Cannons (or, for the old-schoolers out there, Thudd Guns). His command squad was in a Chimera, as was a unit of Veterans. He rounded out the list with a Vulture with its 20-shot cannon, and an allied contingent of thunder hammer/storm shield Terminators led by a Librarian (along with a few Sniper Scouts). He managed to get the first turn and pounded me into the dust. My infantry, even in cover, couldn’t stand up to the cannon barrage (especially with his orders that forced me to re-roll successful cover saves), and the Sabres picked apart anything heavier. He even managed to kill a Riptide with a nova-charged shield by catching it just inside the Librarian’s Null Zone, forcing me to re-roll the invulnerable saves, whereupon I proceeded to roll 5 ones. The Artillery rules just made it all but impossible to wound his gunner crews, and my lack of useful assault capability meant I couldn’t rush them off the board. I was all but tabled in this game, and he went on to go undefeated and take 1st place.
  3. Eldar/Dark Eldar: This game was interesting, because he was fielding something I hadn’t yet seen used in games – Beastmasters. He had a large pack of them and their beasts, along with two Eldar Farseers on jetbikes and Baron Sathonyx, as a massive fast-rushing assault unit. He charged at my Ethereal and his entourage of Fire Warriors, but thanks to being Stubborn and having 4+ armor, I was able to hold him for 3 rounds of combat. He won on his turn, leaving me free to pick apart his force with firepower. Eventually, only Razorwing Flocks were left (due to their high number of wounds), and their low leadership caused them to run away. The rest of his army – Wyches in a venom, and Dire Avengers in (pre-update) Wave Serpents – were easy pickings. The only unit that was otherwise an issue was his Fire Dragons, located behind an Aegis Line and with the Exarch manning the quad gun. With his Crack Shot ability, he was ignoring cover, but he wasn’t able to do a lot of damage before I started pressing in on all sides with my Riptides and Kroot. Again, a solid win in this round for me.
  4. Necrons/Tau: This list was the acid test for my list: 4 Night Scythes with 5 Warriors each, 3 Annihilation Barges, and a Destroyer Lord accompanied by 2 units of 6 Wraiths – a standard AirCron-style tournament list. He tried mixing it up with a bit of Tau – a Cadre Fireblade, 12 Fire Warriors, a Sky Ray, and a Riptide. However, between dice, deployment, and delivery, I had the upper hand for most of the game. The Sky Ray died first turn. The Riptide never managed to do much of anything – he failed the Nova Charge 3 times in the game, and his large blast from the Ion Accelerator got hot at least twice. Even the Wraiths didn’t perform as well as he needed – I managed to funnel them into a kill zone with enough overlapping bubbles of Supporting Fire that they only managed one round of assault against the Riptide I’d thrown in the way to delay them. The Riptide died, but by their next assault phase only 3 Wraiths were left between 2 units, neither of which survived Overwatch when they next tried assaulting. The flyers were trickier, but even being down one Riptide I had the tools to deal with them, and by the end I had him down to just a handful of models on the table while half of my army was still standing.
  5. Tau: The final match, and it was against nearly a mirror match – but the differences between the lists defined the game. Instead of tanks, he’d thrown his points into an über-Commander, equipped much like The Guide concept I’d been playing with. Iridium Armor, a Drone Controller, a Puretide Engram Chip, a Command and Control Node, and a Multi-Spectrum Sensor Suite made him a tough, successful helper – that he then dropped into a unit of Broadsides and Missile Drones. He would just sit back and make all of them twin-linked and ignore cover. We both knew that whoever got the first turn would take the day, and that’s just how it played out. The alpha strike he put out crippled my army, and it never recovered. By the end, I was tabled on turn 6, and the win propelled him into 2nd place.

In the end, I went 3-2. Considering that I lost to the top two players, I don’t consider that a bad result at all. If I’d managed to get first turn in game 5, it’s very possible that I might have made 2nd place. In the end, I took fifth, missing fourth place by one victory point. Hopefully, next year they can get the word out to more players, because I’m definitely interested in going back for a third go at the event!

 

What I’ve Been Doing In June

june_tau_paintingPainting! So much painting! I’m normally a slow painter, but I had one month to paint up my new Tau acquisitions and army list adjustments to get them ready for the Gateway Grand Tournament this weekend at DieCon 13. Some old, some new, all purchased, and a little bit of blue. There’s not as many details painted as I would normally like, but I can always go through and touch them up a bit after the event (and I have been already since arriving at my hotel room).

june_tau_painting_skyrayI’ve had the Sky Ray since the days of the Apocalypse bundles, but I just sat on it for the longest time. It’s been primed for years, but never painted. However, now that they’re good again and there’s one in my list, I finally got around to painting it up. If the missile pods look a bit off-color, that’s just because they’re from a different batch of paints, back when I had Knarloc Green and Vallejo Game Color Goblin Green. Using newer Citadel paints now, and they’re a bit cooler color-wise.

june_tau_painting_riptide_01

june_tau_painting_riptide_02Not one, but two Riptides. They painted up surprisingly fast; they’re basically huge Crisis Suits, and painting them is the same process, more or less.

june_tau_painting_broadsidesA trio of Missile Broadsides. I tried to mimic the color scheme on my old Railgun Broadsides, although again, the colors won’t match exactly. Same general pattern, though, with one painted with more red in case I want to make it a team leader.

june_tau_painting_hqsMy Ethereal and Fireblade. Nothing much to report here, other than having to reteach myself how to paint Tau skintones. 🙂

june_tau_painting_fire_warriors9 Rifle and 6 Carbine Fire Warriors. The basing on them is different so that the Rifle warriors will match the other 27 older models I have. I do prefer how the texture paint/shade/drybrush basing looks, though.

june_tau_painting_pathfindersFinally, 8 more Pathfinders. Half of these are the older metal models that I’d had sitting around for years, and half are the new plastic models. I much prefer the plastics. They’re lighter, generally more dynamic (although the metal Pathfinders always had decently dynamic poses), and have sharper, cleaner details. I absolutely love that kit. Love it, love it, love it.

Next week, I’m taking a break from painting anything, and then I’ll hit July running by starting on a pair of Black Templar Land Speeders. I got to field what I had so far at a tournament last week, and I love how the entire army comes together.

Tau: More Adventures in Magnetizing

broadside_magnet_01After magnetizing my Riptide more-or-less successfully, it was time to try another model – one of the new Broadsides. I love the look of the new Broadside, and the idea of magnetizing it so I can swap between the two primary weapon loadouts was very appealing. In practice, though… it’s a pain in the ass, much moreso than the Riptide. There are two major reasons for this. The first is that the arms are heavy as far as plastic goes, so if you just try to magnetize them at the ball joints with the magnets pointing directly out to the sides, they’ll pivot down as they lose the fight against gravity. Fortunately, there is a relatively simple solution: mount the magnets on the tops of the ball joints:

 

broadside_magnet_02This leads to the second issue, though: the two sets of arms do not sit at the same angle on the joint. The High-Yield Missile Pod arms sit independently and swing a bit outward, while the Railgun arms join together and angle inward and a bit downward. This leads to some interesting magnet positions inside the sockets, and is really, really easy to mess up. This is one case where I wish I had a larger hand drill, rather than just my cordless Dremel; trying to get fine control with a high-speed drill is not a skill I’ve mastered. In the end, I had to cut one of the missile arms apart just above the elbow and re-point it because the magnet had it swinging too far inside. The railgun arms had their own issues. For ease of attachment, I had the two separate, with another pair of magnets joining them at the gun – but some excess glue that I thought had already dried stuck the two magnets together permanently, leaving me with glued-together arms. Not unworkable, but not what I wanted. In all honesty, though, the final results, while a bit chewed by the Dremel, aren’t horrible:

broadside_magnet_03_missiles

broadside_magnet_03_railgunsI also managed to magnetize the back equipment hookups so that I can change up the weapons and wargear as needed. Getting these magnets placed was a bit difficult because of the small area and the necessity of getting them flush. I had to pull out and redo one of the magnets just to get it to sit right. Since I didn’t have smaller magnets for the gear, I used my finishing nail trick to put small pieces of metal into their bases. It doesn’t “click” as solidly as another magnet, but it works. The Dremel was a big aid here, as I could switch to a sanding bit and grind down the excess nail and get it flush with the plastic.

broadside_magnet_04They’re a little wobbly, but overall they look fine.

The question I was left with last night was, “Would I do this again?” The answer right now is, “I don’t know”. Magnetizing this suit was harder with the equipment I had, and the results weren’t what I’d originally pictured in my mind. The time spent in trying to get magnet angles just right and trying to clean up the resulting damage to the plastic, such as filling in the sockets with material to keep the arms from swinging wildly (yes, the top-mounted magnets only worked somewhat) made me doubt that magnetizing the arms was a good idea. If they were a bit easier to do, then sure, but I don’t know if I’d want to do it again as they are. The secondary weapons and gear, I might do again with smaller magnets and my pin vice. Still, there comes a point where the time spent outweighs the money saved. I might just make my next 2 Broadsides static.

Without smaller magnets, though, I am not touching any more Crisis Suits. I’m really feeling the limitations of 1/8″ magnets, and as much as I love my Dremel, I need the finer control of my pin vice for that task.

Tau: 1000 Points, Second Draft

With the tournament on the 18th coming up soon, I’ve been working on revising my 1000-point Tau list, and I’ve decided on a couple of tweaks and revisions:

NOTE:  Thanks to Rathstar’s catching one illegal model which threw off the entire list, I’ve reworked this. Consider this draft 2.1. Thanks, Rathstar!

HQ (55 pts)

  • Ethereal [Honour Blade] (55 pts)

Elites (401 pts)

  • XV8 Crisis Team [2x Shas’Ui w/2x Missile Pod, Flamer; Shas’vre w/2x Missile Pod, Puretide Engram Chip] (191 pts)
  • XV104 Riptide [Ion Accelerator, Twin-linked Fusion Blaster, Early Warning Override, Velocity Tracker] (210 pts)

Troops (255 pts)

  • 10x Fire Warriors with Pulse Rifles (90 pts)
  • 10x Fire Warriors with Pulse Rifles (90 pts)
  • Kroot Carnivore Squad [10x Kroot, 1 Kroot Hound, Sniper Rounds] (75 pts)

Fast Attack (132 pts)

  • 6x Pathfinders (66pts)
  • 6x Pathfinders (66pts)

Heavy Support (156 pts)

  • Hammerhead Gunship [Railgun, Submunition Rounds, Twin-linked Smart Missile System, Disruption pod, Point Defense System, Blacksun Filter] (146 pts)

Total: 999 pts

The changes:

  • Dropped the two Stealth Suit teams in exchange for one Crisis Suit squad. Instead of Burst Cannons and a pair of Fusion Blasters, I’ve decided to pack a set of Deathrains instead. The Early Warning Override and Twin-Linked Missile Pods will allow the team to act as an almost-Skyfire anti-flier team, and the shas’vre with his Puretide chip allows them to be flexible and deadly to just about anything on the table. Bonding knife ritual? Technically useless (I’ll never be below 25% with 3 suits), but I had 3 points left over. The list could just as easily sit at 997 points. I know I could drop the EWO and un-twin-link the pods (and I still might), but for right now we’ll see how this does. I’ve got double missile pods on the suits to try to maximize their firepower, and a Puretide chip on the shas’vre to make the unit a threat to both MCs and vehicles. A pair of flamers gives the unit tools for overwatch as well.
  • Swapped the Riptide’s SMS for Fusion Blasters. Trading shots for armor-cracking capabilities.
  • Gave the Riptide a Velocity Tracker. Having a true Skyfire unit on the table can’t hurt.
  • Added a Blacksun Filter to the Hammerhead. No Hammerhead should be without it, and for only 1 point, why skip it?
  • Dropping the Fireblade. 2 HQs for 1000 points is a bit much, and I can use those points to improve the Crisis Team and the Pathfinders. I lose firepower from one unit, but gain the freedom to move that unit as needed.
  • Using up the extra points. A Point Defense System for the Hammerhead, and an Honour Blade for the Ethereal. I’m running out of things to spend the points on. I suppose I could add one Fire Warrior instead, but I think I’m good with what I’ve got.

I’m hoping that I can get a test game in this week. If not, this variation will go in cold, but I’m familiar enough with Tau toys that I think it’ll have a good run.

In other news, I’m planning on going to the Gateway Grand Tournament in June, and I need to put together a 2,000 single-FOC point list. I’m thinking about expanding upon the list we built on Preferred Enemies. After all, I should put my money where my mouth is, shouldn’t I? And it will be money, because the extra Broadside and Riptide, along with some Fire Warrior bodies to slap Pulse Carbines onto, will cost me a bit of cash.

1000 Point Tau: First Draft

I’ve got a 1000-point tournament on May 18th at our local store, so I think it’ll be a good opportunity to take the new Tau codex out for a spin. I’m wanting to do something a bit different than my older Tau lists, so I’m thinking about going Crisis Suit-less. Fortunately, this is pretty easy to do with the new book. I also want to make sure I have plenty of Markerlight support and a fair amount of anti-infantry firepower while still being able to handle vehicles should they appear. Right now, this is what I’m toying around with:

HQ (110 pts)

  • Cadre Fireblade (60 pts)
  • Ethereal (50 pts)

Elites (380 pts)

  • 3x Stealthsuits [2x Burst Cannon, Fusion Blaster] (95 pts)
  • 3x Stealthsuits [2x Burst Cannon, Fusion Blaster] (95 pts)
  • XV104 Riptide [Ion Accelerator, Twin-linked Smart Missile System, Early warning override] (190 pts)

Troops (255pts)

  • 10x Fire Warriors with Pulse Rifles (90 pts)
  • 10x Fire Warriors with Pulse Rifles (90 pts)
  • Kroot Carnivore Squad [10x Kroot, 1 Kroot Hound, Sniper Rounds] (75 pts)

Fast Attack (110pts)

  • 5x Pathfinders (55 pts)
  • 5x Pathfinders (55 pts)

Heavy Support (145 pts)

  • Hammerhead Gunship [Railgun, Submunition Rounds, Twin-linked Smart Missile System, Disruption pod] (145 pts)

Total: 1000 pts

The Fireblade and Ethereal support the Firewarrior gunline that’s holding the backfield (or moving up, as necessary), the Pathfinders mark targets as needed and stay nearby as well, and the more mobile elements – the stealth teams, Riptide, and Hammerhead – go where needed and put as much fire out as necessary. The Kroot serve either as infiltrating snipers or outflanking objective grabbers, depending on the mission and board layout.

I’m still kicking around ideas and tweaks, though. I’m not sure about 2 HQs in a 1000-point game, but considering how inexpensive these are and how much they support the rest of the force, I think they’re worthwhile. Still, I could maybe drop either the Fireblade or the Ethereal and use the points savings elsewhere. For example, I could a drop the Fireblade, a Pathfinder from each team, and one Stealthsuit (merging the two squads into one) and use the points to drop in a Skyray for some Skyfire capability. Or, even better, just drop the Fireblade and Stealthsuit and put in a single Broadside with Missile Pods, a Velocity Tracker, and a Seeker missile. I’d trade off the Fireblade’s Volley Fire, but It’d trade it for much stronger, more versatile firepower overall.

Anyway, still tossing around ideas. Meanwhile, I have a halfway-built Riptide sitting on my hobby table (waiting for some magnets) and a couple of new Broadside boxes on my hobby shelves waiting to be assembled, along with some plastic Pathfinders. I just need to track down an Ethereal, and I should be golden. I’ve never actually owned one  – there was no point before the new codex!