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attempting my first tau build, no 40k experience, 500pt army list:
Shas'O [twin linked Missile pods+multitracker]= 98pts
11 fire warriors+ shas'ui[marker light + drone controller + shield drone]= 155
2pathfinders+ 3pathfinders[rail guns]+ shas'ui[multitracker + target lock] + devilfish[smart missiles+ sensor spires+ target lock+ multitracker]= 247
the intent is to have small skirmish battles with my friend, he intends to build a 500pt Imperial Guard army. basically we're both in the design phases of our armies. If maybe someone could suggest two starter armies i could use, both @ 500 pts each 1 tau and 1 IG that are relatively equivalent it'd be much appreciated
Sorry to say, but that list isn't very good. Tau don't have many options in terms of viable lists, but I'll walk you through yours and how to improve.
HQ: Always take the Shas'El. The Shas'O is nice, but the only real benefit you get from it is a better BS, but even then you could just take a Targeting Array on an 'El to give them the same BS.
I'd recommend against Twin-Linked Missile Pods on an HQ; save that for your Elite slot suits. Also, your Multi-Tracker is useless as you only have one weapon (a TL weapon takes up two hard-points, but only counts as one weapon).
The only real 'good' configuration for an HQ suit right now it Plasma Rifle + Missile Pod + Multi-Tracker. You can choose to add a TA or not, if you have the points.
The high-strength and long-range shots from the PR + MP are great at taking down light vehicles, walkers, transports and Marine-type units.
Troops: Usually you want to avoid gun-line style Fire Warriors, but at the 500 point level you should be alright. Just remember, in higher point games, mobility is key. I'd recommend dropping the Marker Light and Drone, though, to keep things a bit cheaper, and because you won't use them much.
You also need at least two Troop choices in your army for your list to be legal.
Fast Attack: Pathfinders are great, but not in such a low-points game. You should (maybe) take a squad in 1000+ point games, and two squads in 1750+ point games. But none at this points level.
I can't really help you with an IG list (though you could ask in the IG forum), but I'll work out a good 500 point Tau list for you.
Last edited by Illegal Carrot; February 1st, 2011 at 00:55. Reason: Grammar
Do you guys have any restrictions on what you can or can't take? Do you have any models already? How much are you looking to spend on your first force? Knowing these things would help me make a list better suited to you.
Anyways, here's the list I made up:
XV8 Shas'El Commander [100 Points]
w/ Plasma Rifle, Missile Pod, Targeting Array, Hard-Wired Multi-Tracker, Hard-Wired Blacksun Filter
Fire Warrior Squad 
11 FWs + 1 Shas'Ui
Shas'Ui w/ Bonding Knife
Kroot Carnivore Squad 
10 Kroot Carnivores + 5 Kroot Hounds
w/ Rail Gun, 2x Burst Cannons, Disruption Pods, Multi-Tracker
I feel this list would be very competitive at such a points level. It uses models that you will still use in larger point games, and packs quite a punch while also being quite survivable.
Oh, and welcome to the Greater Good!
HQ: XV8'el///TLMP, AFP, HWMT= 93
E1: 2x XV8///TLMP, TA= 106
T1: 10x Fire Warrior///PR x10, PG x1= 101
T2: 10x Kroot///Hounds x5=100
H1: XV88///Leader, ASS(or TA), TLPR, HWMT=100
500pts is very limiting but the above should do some good damage.
Deploy standard corner castle.
*Have the HQ join the deathrain squad(elites) aim at fast or large groups and completely destroy them if able if not whittle them down for your kroot and fire warriors, make sure to use terrain and the JSJ maneuver to good effect.
*Use your kroot as a speed bump and have your fire warriors back them up(8" behind the kroot), ONLY THE KROOT SHOULD INITIATE OR JOIN ASSAULTS WILLINGLY! If your kroot end up in CC then have your firewarriors retreat if they are within 6" of the kroot, keep a GOOD distance away if able.
*The broadside is for tough targets, high armor save units or vehicles deserve this units attention.
Tips: IG's armor saves focus on 5+ and 4+ so your weapons should go un-saved often. Remember; kroot=6+, Fire Warrior=5+, XV8=4+, XV88=2+
Dont ever bother with upgrading firewarrior squads, its not worth it. Neither is it worth the points for blacksun filters.
Last edited by Blood Seriph; February 1st, 2011 at 06:11.
@Illegal Carrot : I'd say $200 high end[the list i made up works out to $145]
no restrictions, but being new to the whole universe i'd like to stick with the Bread and Butter Tau units.
I was reading the tau lists threads and from what i could glean, Pathfinders[+marker lights] were a "must" at the 500 pnt lvl? thoughts? had to do with "run shoot run" tactics.
Last edited by 1r0qu012; February 1st, 2011 at 10:28. Reason: not finished?!
Pathfinders are definitely good, but rather ineffective at such a points level. Markerlights are great, but don't actually do any damage themselves, and in a list like this, you hardly have anything to use them. Just take more guns.
Also keep in mind that you must take an 85+ point Devilish with them, which is a huge portion of your army at this level.
If you order online, you can get a Battleforce for $72, and a Hammerhead for $35, leaving you to spend the remaining ~$100 wherever you want.
A couple of things, though: 1) Always buy online. Librarium has a great online store ranking to check out, and you'll save a bundle. Usually 20-30% off standard retail prices, which is huge.
2) Also, never buy Hammerhead vehicle kits, always buy Sky Ray kits. For some reason, the HH kit only comes with HH weapons, but the SR kit comes with both HH and SR weapons, but they both cost the exact same. Always buy Sky Rays.
@Blood Seriph has a good list, but I think it has a bit too much AT. All the MPs are good, but I don't think the Broadside is necessary against all the small vehicles you may face. The HH is both more survivable, and offers awesome sub munition rounds.
thanks for the Help, the IG lists people are coming up with on a similar post are rather in the Mechanized infantry side so yeah i will end up needing more guns and heavier support...
I HAVE to buy from games-workshop though... just as a matter of principle thanks for the pointers i still appreciate any input you can give me.
why aren't marker lights effective in a "skirmish"? [point cost?]
If you have a large force, and you place markerlights on a unit of bad guys you want dead. You can increase the BS of SEVERAL different firing units.
Bad guy gets 5 markerlights on him, You now have 3 units that can fire at him. Sure you get use for all 3 units, but you sort of have two go to waste. And that is assuming all units are in range. If you have a bigger force you will almost always have enough units in range.
It's also just a math thing. If you have 500 points, and 150 of it goes to assisting and the other 70% is killy you are at a much worse ratio than if you have 150 points out of 1500 you now have 90% killyness thats a 20% increase!
Hope that makes it clear as mud.
@Illegal Carrot In that case the best thing to do is to drop the broadside, 4 FW and 3hounds to accommodate a base priced Railhead(RG+BC+DP=155).
I wouldn't do it unless I saw something in his list that bothered me enough to consider a pricey vehicle at this point range, at the 750pt range my lists always have a Railhead but for 500pts I usually do a toss up.
Normally I'd agree that sureness of shots (Death Rain, Broadside) is better than survivability of the platform/variety of fire (Hammerhead), but I just could not justify it in such a small point game versus a Guard player.
Even in a mechanized IG list, you're unlikely to see more than two or three light vehicles, which a FK Commander and a HH could deal with easily enough. Any light AT the IG player takes would be near useless, Meltas (S8 AP1, which would own a Broadside) will never catch it and Lascannons cannot be fielded in enough numbers to pose a major threat.
Plus, once enemy armor is gone, the BS is near useless, while the Hammerhead could still drop those amazing S6 templates everywhere.