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
- 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.
Played at a small tournament - well, ran a small tournament, and played to fill in the odd number spot - with my Slaanesh CSM/Daemons army, and I'm pretty satisfied with the results. I ended up going 2-1, with wins against Khorne CSM and Nurgle CSM, and a loss against my friend (and cohost) Dennis and his Eldar. This is not surprising; he can never beat my Tau with Eldar, and I've yet to beat his Eldar with my Chaos armies. After three games with the new force, I feel like I'm in the right direction for the most part. Here's what I took:
HQ: Chaos Lord w/Mark of Slaanesh, Sigil of Corruption, Power Sword, Chaos Bike, Gift of Mutation, Veterans of the Long War - 155
Troops: 9 Noise Marines w/8 Sonic Blasters, 1 Blastmaster; Noise Champion - 234
Troops: 9 Noise Marines w/8 Sonic Blasters, 1 Blastmaster; Noise Champion - 234
Troops: 19 Cultists w/17 Autoguns, 2 Flamers, Mark of Slaanesh; Cultist Champion - 137
Fast Attack: 4 Chaos Bikers w/Mark of Slaanesh, Icon of Excess, 2 Meltaguns,Veterans of the Long War; Biker Champion w/Combi-Melta, Meltabombs - 195
Heavy Support: 4 Chaos Havocs w/4 Autocannons, Mark of Slaanesh, Veterans of the Long War; Aspiring Champion - 130
Fortification: Aegis Defense Line w/Quad Gun - 100
HQ: Herald of Slaanesh w/Transfixing Gaze, Soporific Musk, Pavane of Slaanesh - 90
Troops: 16 Daemonettes of Slaanesh - 224
Here are my take-aways from the weekend.
- Bikes work as a Lord delivery system, but... Being on a bike ensures that the Lord will get somewhere quickly, and it keeps him alive due to the increased toughness. The rest of the bikes provide melta for cracking open vehicles and act as ablative wounds. They don't bring a whole lot else, though, besides someone carrying an Icon of Excess. They just don't have enough attacks to make a sizable dent in an enemy unit when assaulting. Still, the speed and toughness are really nice. I'm going to keep trying these guys for a bit longer and get used to them before I decide their fate. Putting the Lord on a Steed of Slaanesh is tempting to give the whole unit Outflank, but then I lose the extra toughness.
- Shooty Noise Marine units are great. Fearless. Power armor. Cranks out tons of shots. Ignore cover. High Initiative if they get assaulted. What's not to like? Also, the Blastmaster is fantastic now, because of two reasons: ignoring cover and being able to keep it stationary while the rest of the squad moves. It's totally worth the points now, especially when you consider how easy it is for vehicles to get cover now. If I can see you, I can kill you, and there's nothing you can do about it. Also awesome for killing other power armor units.
- Shooty Cultists are good. Okay, their guns aren't great, but with so many shots you can manage a lot of mischief. I actually managed to have them shoot a Bloodthirster to death (results not typical). They're risky to assault, especially with the flamers, and with the Mark of Slaanesh they've got a good chance to attack in kind once you close. In combination with a decent piece of cover, like an Aegis Defense Line, you can keep them nice and safe. Out in the open, though, they'll take wounds and likely run off the board, so use them wisely if you don't want to babysit them with a Lord.
- Havocs are great. Especially with autocannons. A lot of strong shots for a low cost. Sure, they won't scratch AV14, but that's what the bikers are for. Setting the champ at the defense line's Quad Gun almost doubles your firepower and gives you access to a Skyfire Interceptor weapon. I had faith that they would serve me well, and they delivered.
- Daemonettes worked! The Daemonettes did exactly what I'd chosen them for - a fast assault unit that I could drop into my opponent's back lines to cause havoc and assault scoring units camping in the rear. They're fragile, but with the sheer volume of attacks they can put out makes up for their deficiencies. I never did use Hit and Run, so the Herald's Musk might be on the chopping block, but Gaze and Pavane are staying. The only game where they didn't directly contribute was against the Eldar (ironic, that), but they still pulled Dennis's entire army's attention for that one turn, leaving the rest to act without being bothered for a turn. Even against a tarpit unit like Plague Zombies, they managed to just out-wound their opponents. They don't stand up to shooting, but I knew they wouldn't. If nothing else, though, they forced my opponent to make bad decisions: keep pressing forward and ignore the blender I just dropped in your lines, or turn around and deal with it and let me stall out your momentum. I wouldn't run them much smaller than I have them in this list; they need the bodies to get where you want them.
I will say it's odd to run an army devoid of vehicles, but at higher point levels (1750-2000), I might figure out a way to pad out that involves metal boxes of one form or another, or maybe pick up a Heldrake and fit it into the list. Also, possibly more Daemons; they're just fun to play around with.
So, what lessons did I take away from the Midwest Massacre, especially as regards my Tau?
Aegis Defense Lines are a must-have right now: Easily one-third of all armies at the tournament were running Aegis Defense Lines, and I can't say I blame them. Between the extra cover available, the ability to lay a speed bump across a section of open board, and being able to take a twin-linked double autocannon with Skyfire and Interceptor, the ADL fills several gaps that armies can use to their advantage. Even the Tyranid player that took third place took a defense line (although without taking the gun emplacement) just to get the extra cover. I personally had a lot of trouble dealing with enemy fliers, so having the gun available would make a huge difference, and at only 100 points, it's not horribly hard to shift things around to afford one.
Prescience is totally worth it: Being able to grant re-rolls to any friendly unit within 12" of the psyker is fantastic; between that and Markerlights, I was able to make my shooting very reliable. Well, the hitting, anyway; making wounds stick was something completely different, but that's neither here nor there. I have no regrets taking a Farseer in my army. However...
Eldrad might not be totally worth it: Eldrad's a huge chunk of points, and if that chunk of points runs off the board or dies (which happened more often than not), I'm screwed in any scenario that uses Victory Points. While he brings a nice array of powers, I only ever used two with any frequency - Prescience and Misfortune. I also like Scrier's Gaze, but the timing on that power is wonky, since it conflicts with the rules as written and doesn't appear to actually be usable for Reserve and Outflank rolls. If I'm only using the Primaris power regularly and reliably, having all the extra powers doesn't really help me. Taking a Farseer instead with both Runes and one power costs just under half as much and gets me most of the same utility. I would lack the ability to use a power twice, but I can cope with that. The points saved can go into buying that Aegis Defense Line. I'll play around with lists both with and without Eldrad, and see how the power difference plays out.
Rethink War Walkers: I like the concept of War Walkers, but they're kind of a 6th Edition solution to a 5th Edition problem. Sure, it's easy to glance vehicles to death, but if there aren't that many vehicles on the board, they're less useful. Not useless, just not as useful. More often than not, they end up as a suicide unit, and without Scrier's Gaze or Acute Senses, it's a bit harder to guarantee they'll be on the side of the board where they'll do the most harm to the enemy before dying. I can't help but think that those extra 120 points would be better spent somewhere else. Also, with Interceptor guns on the table, they tend to disappear as soon as they appear. That makes starting them on the table the better option, and at that point I might as well buy a better unit. I'll still give them some more runs on the table, though, to see how they do; they do bring a nice volume of fire, especially against hordes.
Tau Pathfinders are awesome (I finally admit it): I've hemmed and hawed about whether or not I like Tau Pathfinders, but in 6th Edition I finally have to admit that they're the best Fast Attack choice we have, as well as the best way to get Markerlights in volume. In 6th Ed's vehicle-light environment, making your shots more reliable is better than having a pair of suicide melta speeders. I still wish there was a way to take them without the Devilfish, but even then they're still worth the points. Also, they're still helpful with flyers; even though they can't raise BS on snapfire shots, they can still eliminate cover saves, and that includes those Jink saves from flyer evasion.
Friday night, I finished up my painting for the Midwest Massacre, and here's how everything came out. The basing is a bit rudimentary, and not all the details are done, but the minis themselves are at a decent tabletop standard. For a week and a half's worth of nightly painting sessions, I won't complain. I even managed to cram in those 3 Fire Warriors who you can see poking around on the right, so figure that I lost a night's worth of Eldar time to work on more Tau.
I even managed to get my Eldrad to look like this in that time:
And that includes his magic technicolor star coat. He's got talismans to paint, but he's 95% awesome. (And actually, the infantry bases were drybrushed after I took this picture, so they're not so plain as they look here). Speaking of bases, since I switched up my list at the last minute to put in a unit of Pathfinders, I decided that after three years of running around on naked bases, I would give them the love they deserve. It was also an opportunity to try out some of GW's textured paints. Here's the results:
The bases were done in a combination of Armageddon Dust texture paint, Seraphim Sepia shade, and Terminatus Stone drybrush. Working with the texture paint was odd at first. It's very (for lack of a better word) gloppy, and working it onto the bases without obscuring the feet of the minis is a challenge. Remember, it's still a paint, so be prepared to repaint feet even after you clear the material off. When it's wet, it doesn't look like it has much texture at all; it just looks thick and sticky. Once it dries, though, the texture becomes more noticeable (I hit the bases with a hairdryer to speed up the process). Adding a wash and drybrush, though, makes them really pop, and you see the organic earth feel that the texture paint creates. I have to say I'm impressed with the product. It creates a more varied look than the traditional "painted sand" approach to quick basing, and once you get a feel for how to work it around the base, it's not difficult to use at all. Add foliage (flock, static grass, grass clumps, etc.) to taste, and you can end up with a very natural looking base without a lot of work.
That was the end of my painting for the tournament. Next up: the tournament itself!
I've got about 48 hours until the Midwest Massacre, and I'm trying to finish up everything I can in that time. First up are my War Walkers, which are looking pretty solid. I think I just need to paint the bases, and they'll be done. I'm sure there are small details that I could add, but for Saturday I'm not worried about having them perfect. Just good enough. And I did make sure to give the pilots some love too (sorry for the blurriness; camera was a bit too close).
I also painted up three Fire Warriors last night, as I realized my collection of painted ones was three shy of what my list needs. The priming job on these was a bit rough, but these have been sitting primed and unpainted in my collection for a few years now. Fortunately, painting these guys was like riding a bicycle; once I started, I remembered exactly what colors to use and where. I even broke out my micron pen to line the armor. One thing that did change, though, was that I used the new Citadel paints, except for the Goblin Green; I don't think Warboss Green is quite the right shade, but fortunately I have plenty of GG left over. I did find that Skarsnik Green is the same color I used to custom blend for doing edge highlights, though, so that was a happy discovery that saved me time.
I will say that the base paints performed as promised. I used Waaagh! Flesh and Mechanicus Standard Grey for the armor and undercloth, respectively, before layering on Goblin Green. I did cheat a bit on the red - I had already painted Mechrite Red on the shas'ui a year or so back so I could mark that mini apart; since the color was already there, I just used it.
Finally, there's my Dire Avengers. This picture is a couple of days out of date, but you can see how my progress was coming along:
I'm in the "bits and bobs" stage of detail painting now. All the little dangly bits on guns, all the belt items (ammo clips, gems, grenades they don't actually use in game) are next on my painting list, but they should go rather quickly. I'm using tonight to finish up what details I can, and then Friday night is painting the bases and calling them done enough for the tournament. They're a few steps beyond three-colors-and-based, and I'll finish all of these little details after the tournament... but probably after I've taken a break for a few weeks so I don't burn out. And then, this winter, it's Templar Time!