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"Pink isn't a color. It's a lifestyle." - Chumbalaya
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"I buy models with my excess money" - Valkyrie whilst a waitress leans over him

Saturday, February 13, 2010

Armies in 5th: Tau Part 1: Crisis suits

Well I'm still at the missus' so don't have full time on my hands ^^ but she's sick on the couch atm :( so I decided I'd go over to Warseer and see what I missed (bunch of whining really). A few comments irked me, like this:

Wisdom like silence:
"No and this is one of the reasons that Tau aren't competitive in 5th - they don't have any effective, efficient method for dealing with MEQs that isn't also suicidal."

Uh ya, 10 RF plasma, 10 autocannons, 6 SMS, 5 railguns (2 w/submunition), 4 fusions, 20 kroot rifles, 6 FWs, 1 burst cannon + 8 MLs can't deal with MEQs or in that matter, any horde? *facepalm*

Anyways, this plus a few other posts that have bothered me have taken me to write some posts on specific armies that don't get a lot of love or get too much love in relation to their effectiveness on the table. The first one is obviously Tau. This will be broken down into sections that I believe are the most...wrong in the eyes of the forums.

First off for Tau are their Elites, specifically Crisis Suits. We'll take a quick look at Stealths at the end.

So what do Crisis suits offer the Tau army? A mobile shooting platform able to take most of the guns the Tau have at their disposal (some special weapons are exempt, Markerlights, Railguns and Ion Cannons as well) and coupled with their relentless ability allows them to shoot heavy and rapid fire weapons to their full potential. We obviously want to take advantage of this if we can.

So quickly looking at each gun:
Burst Cannon: the same S and AP that is built into the Tau list from the ground up, we don't want our Elites using 'basic' guns though 3 shots is nice
Flamer: the only template weapon the Tau have access to but its short range is a huge liability and with the Tau's ability to pump out shots, not really needed though can be good for a cheap tack-on
Fusion Gun: there are better platforms for a meltagun (piranhas) but are another good tack-on weapon to an HQ but suffer from the short-range of the flamer
Plasma Rifle: expensive for a RF S6 AP2 gun where cover saves are common in 5th which wipes out the advantage you get for AP2
Missile Pod: same as an autocannon but on a relentless, JSJ platform? priceless

So looking at these we want to take advantage of the MP as much as possible. Since we can't take two separate MPs (aw :() we'll start off with one. Now the flamer and fusion gun are completely incompatible with the range of this gun and bring the suit into "I'm dead" range where they are much more easily charged. The burstcannon also has a shorter range but is again the staple of the Tau army and we don't want our Elite JSJ units carrying these babies. So that leaves us with the PR. It's expensive but matches relatively well in terms of strength, range and has the added benefit of a good AP and an extra shot at closer range. Since we have two weapons we want to fire at once we need to buy a multi-tracker.

Now, this is the "staple" Crisis suit for most Tau players yet forum-goers in particular try to advocate a different out-load and claim it is far better than a PR/MP suit. This is the TL'd-MP suit w/varying wargear (sometimes it's cheap to make them cheap and sometimes it's the expensive targeting array to up the accuracy of the unit). The build however is inferior to the PR/MP suit. Why? Their advantage is in taking out tanks. Even with the targeting array raising their BS they are not significantly better than PR/MP suits. They are substantially better at damaging lower AVs but with the rest of the Tau army that is often not necessary (Broadsides, Piranhas and Railheads are generally going to be disabling/destroying the bigger targets from T2) so whilst the improved ability against Tanks is warranted a Tau army has to be able to deal with what comes out of the transports, namely infantry. This is where the PR/MP suit really shines. It has 9-12 shots compared to 6. Whilst the TL'd factor and improved BS can often leave the amount of hits similar across the board, anyone who knows some basic statistics is going to take the 9-12 shots over the more reliable 6 shots. Add in markerlight support and the AP2 and in that respect it should be pretty clear.

To reiterate, the crisis suits add a mobile torrent and light anti-tank unit to the Tau army which needs medium strength weaponry. They have a big "hit me" sign on them but with their mobility (they should never not have a 4+ save and can often get quite good LoS blocking with their tanks) they aren't rolling over anytime soon. Even with them gone the Tau still have a significant amount of fire power to throw across the board at you.

Now why not Stealth Suits? They are worse in every way compared to Crisis Suits except they can take MLs in greater numbers but PF are better for that and I'd like more firepower in my army list thanks. The inability to take weapons which could take advantage of their defensive field (i.e. something 24" or greater) across the board is what limits this unit. Tau don't need more S5 AP5 guns.

Next up I'll do Piranhas.

4 pinkments:

MagicJuggler said...

I've seen it so many times. "Tau are underpowered. Full mech is the only way to go. Why do you use Kroot? You brought Piranhas?"

Then the markerlights start firing, and everything dies.

My theory is a Tau are the equal of Space Marines in attracting unwashed masses..."Cool toys, big robots, Greater animu", etc. Then they create these giant gunlines which any properly built list can roll up the flanks of...or go for pure mech with no bubblewrap then complain about being underpowered then *Daemons* kill their Hammerheads on turn 1...

Raptor1313 said...

I'm with MJ up there.

Tau look cool, but have ZERO forgiveness and crap leadership, so when you fold, you fold HARD. On the other hand, marines have solid troops and ignore a lot of the morale issues, so tey'll let you hang by virtue of that.

I did my own analysis of Crisis Suits and hit the same conclusion as you.

The Missile Pod is pretty much mandatory, as it's the only thing in the army really in between the Railgun and the horde of S5 dakka out there. You don't really want to HAVE to choose between light and heavy armor with the railguns, right? I'd rather have the missile pods to help out.

Plasma rifles are actually a little less lethal against hordes than burst cannons in the 13-18 range, but that's the only time I'd want one.

Plasma solves these problems for you:
-marine armor
-terminator armor
-feel no pain
-monstrous creatures

Oh, and wounds most infantry on 2+.

What else fills THIS gap in your army?

Sure, there are some cutesy tricks you can pull with stealth suits, but come on.

You will WISH you had the plasma rifles if terminators or marines get close to your lines. Furious-charging, lightning-claw-wielding Black Templar terminators are frightening, but kroot shields + crisis suits = problem solved.

Unknown said...

I actually posted something on Warseer I liked in regards to TL-MP and MP/PR. I'll boil it down:

TL-MP will always get you better results against tanks but their improved ability to do so isn't worth it when you factor in the improved duality MP/PR gives you.

Take an extreme case of Shrike TH/SS x15. Without those MP/PR suits, you're screwed. Even with 50 FWs you're going to have trouble (that's the type of list I more commonly see when TL-MPs are taken, more FoF). And when you come up against a balanced list those mass FW become a huge liability and your army gets split into "anti-tank" and "anti-infantry."

That's bad.

Rathstar said...


First I'd like to say great blog, and I agree with nearly everything you say. Two quick questions:

Q1: What's you opinion on drones for crisis suits ? I like adding gun drones to crisis suits for extra survivability. With use of cover they have the 4+ cover save to offset the invunverable save of the shield drone, and with only 2 gun drones in the unit they don't lower the overall unit toughness.

Q2: I'm surprised you immediately right off burst cannons on crisis suits.

Fleeting TH/SS Termies would be a good example. To operate at peak effeciency the MP/PR suits have to get in charge range while the MP/BC can safely operate outside charge range.

Against marines MP/BC normally require less markerlights to operate at peak effeciency (ie. only boosting BS, rather than having to remove cover as well).

Against both TH/SS terminators, marines in cover or marines outside 12" the MP/BC does more damage per point spent on them than MP/PR.

With lots of infantry seeming to carry meltaguns, the MP/BC can operate much safer (ie. at peak effeceincy range, without the risk of return meltagun or rapid fire response).

Now I'd like to point out that I agree that MP/PR are great and as a battle's points value increased past 1500-1750 I would upgrade all my crisis suits to MP/PR to get the most bang for each elite slot.

However I think making one team MP/BC is a valid choice at lower points values (especially when markerlights can't be everywhere to strip cover saves for the MP/PR).


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