Saturday, 14 March 2009

Tau Cadre J'Etsu

By Suneokun.

My Fledging Tau have all grown up and are now a significant (albeit not particularly well balanced) army. I've completed every model except for the last four stealth suits and a multitude of gundrones. That said, here's my favourite setup so far:

Tau Cadre J'Etsu

HQ Options: After trying out the ethereal a couple of times, I've realised he's just a huge (although pretty) waste of space. His 'honour guard' are overpriced and attract far too much heat! As such I've plumped for the standard option of a couple of Shas'Els. This has the advantage of giving me two dependable and effective warriors with powerful firepower and additionally giving me

Apart from the 'special issue' weaponry, I'm not a big fan (yet) of taking many expensive defensive upgrades. With the move-fire-move ability of the Crisis Suits (and Stealth suits), my objective would be to dominate a particular sphere of the board and then move across. There is no excuse for not having access to cover and my objective should be to a LOS deniance (ie: don't give them a target) rather than invulnerable saves. One thing I really like is the addition of Drones to a unit. The Crisis Suit commander doesn't count as a montrous creature, meaning he can happily join a normal fire warrior or Kroot squad and not get 'targetted' - in addition when 'on his own' he's got 2 instantkill deaths floating around with him.
  1. Shas'El: Missile Pod, Plasma Rifle, Flamer, Hard Wired Multitracker, Hard Wired Drone Controller and 2 gundrones.
  2. Shas'El: Missile Pod, Air Fragmentation Projector, Flamer, Hard Wired Multitracker Hard Wired Drone Controller and 2 gundrones.
Elite Options: I see my elites as lone wolves. The two groups of stealthsuits (3*XV15 and 3*XV25) form the flanking or deep striking unit. They move together, but the combination of target lock and different squads allows them to attack many targets. The Crisis Suit Team play mid-range fire support to the Stealth team. All are capable of extreme anti-tank predjudice and the combined plasma rifle/missile pod and fusion gun action is enough to make any enemy think twice. Again with the gun drones, giving me a little more depth, plus only 2 gun drones per unit ensures that the 3+ saving throw and T4 (for the crisis suits) is prevalent. If I'm feeling points wasteful, I'm also keen on the stealthteam 'uber-unit' comprising up to 12 gundrones with the 6 man stealth team (but that's expensive)!
  • Crisis Suit Team [2], Team Leader with Twin Linked Plasma Rifle, Fusion Gun and Multitracker. Shas'la with Twin Linked Missile Pod and Fusion Gun. Hard Wired drone controller and 2 gun drones.
  • Stealth Team [3], 2 Burst Cannons, team leader with fusion gun and target lock. Hard Wired drone controller and 2 gun drones.
  • Stealth Team [3], 3 Burst Cannons. team leader with hard wired drone controller and 2 gun drones.
Troops Choices: After playing the numbers multiple times I've opted for 3 squads of fire warriors. I'm a big fan of fire warriors, Their pulse rifles are lethal and volleys of pulse rifle fire can be devastating to the enemy. The only problem with fire warriors is maneuverability, and I need to look into purchasing more devilfish to overcome this. I'm not a big fan of the Shas'Ui upgrade (that's 10 points for Ld8!) but you can underestimate the benefit of knowing you'll probably pass your leadership tests in a fierce firefight. Markerlights are a waste for fire warriors, as are padding with gundrones. I keep them simple, a devilfish would be my only upgrade here.

The fire warriors I inherited came with two squads of 9 armed with Pulse rifles and a squad of 6 armed with pulse carbines. Iive not been very impressed with the carbine so far. Yes it 'can' pin, but without markerlight hits, that's next to useless against anything but charging orks or Guard (who lets face it, shouldn't be charging). I'm keeping them really for variety, and the ability to charge into close combat to challenge my own objectives gotta be worth a laugh.
  • Fire Warriors [9] Pulse Rifles, Shas'Ui.
  • Fire Warriors [9] Pulse Rifles, Shas'Ui.
  • Fire Warriors [6], Pulse Carbines, Shas'Ui.
Fast Attack: I'll put this simply, I love pathfinders! They give me huge tactical options without costing the earth and put the wind up all the tough units out there. They are particularly useful against crafty enemies like the Eldar. Undoing jammy +2 saving throws for the Eldar pathfinders, removing 'turbo boost' saving throws, reducing the Eldar Autarch threatening your lines to a blubbering wreck - Ld10, I don't think so - now you're leadership 5! They are great. They will quickly become the hottest unit on the board, unless you can distract the enemy with your 'disposable yet tasty' HQ and Elite options. I'm seriously considering just purchasing more pathfinders and maxing out on the little beauties. After a couple of attempts with Rail Rifles I have to agree with Dustin from Gifts for Geeks - they're a point sink. Great models, meh performance.

The only other fast attack option I would consider buying next would be piranha's, but they are very flimsy... the pathfinder devilfish rocks as it inhibits close combat, fletchette dischargers have the best close combat ability in the game and if they move over 6" they can be only hit on a 6?!? What's not to like? The devilfish also allows a reroll on deep striking, and with the newer, more forgiving deepstriking rules - we're good to go! Additionally, most Tau vehicles come with a pair of 'free' gun drones. These small squads are brilliant, giving pester power or mini speed bumps to your army. 'Are you really gonna waste a turn firing on 2 gun drones?' One of the best examples of how a 'low heat' score makes them invulnerable. The two gun drone squadrons in there are just for points usage. These units are very useful for deep striking pester power and additionally can be 'linked' with the Shas'Els giving you a Shas'El with 9 wounds!
  • Pathfinders [8] with pulse carbines and markerlights. One pathfinder with Rail Rifle.
  • Devilfish with burst cannon, 2 gun drones, fletchette dischargers and multitracker.
  • Gun Drone Squadron [4]
  • Gun Drone Squadron [4]
Heavy Support: yes, at some point I will buy a Hammerhead, although I'm quite fond of the SkyRay too. The Hammerhead is awesome, but all I've got is a little Broadside... I really like the broadside, although the forgeworld one makes the standard one look pants! It's tank killing ability is second to none. At BS3 it hits 75% of the time, with one markerlight bonus to BS that's 99% and it comes with a smart missile system too (which is effectively a big Heavy4 pulse rifle which doesn't need LOS). The 2+ save is great, but the vulerability to deep striking and REALLY heavy ordinance is obvious. As such I'm still playing with my 'tank killer'.

The advanced stabilisation system is a must for these boys, meaning they can 'choose' to move and fire, they can also choose to walk AND run, remember that! This is particularly essential if they are 'forced' on from reserve, giving them first turn firepower.

The addition of a couple of shield drones to this unit is essential, giving them 2 extra wounds at T4, Sv2+ and Inv Sv 4+. I'd eventually like to field three of these boys as a heavy support choice. By spacing them: Broadside - Gundrone - Broadside - GunDrone - BroadSide I can minimise casualties. At that point target lock will become the system of choice, allowing me to target 3 tanks a turn!
  • Broadside Battlesuit: twin-linked railguns, smart missile system, advanced stabilisation system, team leader, Hard wired drone controller and 2 shield drones.
Conclusion: And that's my Tau army so far, a busy little work in progress and (nearly) fully painted since Christmas. I've found playing such a versatile army really good fun, the mix of vulnerability and firepower makes them a keen sword.

I've given some hints over what I'd like to get next, but what do you think?