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  1. #1
    Junior Member Assaultguardsman's Avatar
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    Battlesuits on a Budget: Shas'el's in under 1000pts.

    Hi guys.

    This is a short article encapsulating my musings on some shas'el battlesuit combinations for a specific points level, that of 1000pts and under. I believe that some combinations that are overlooked are far more useful at this points level. It's still a bit WiP, please leave your thoughts.

    General Principles

    The 1000pt or less 40k game is a very different beast to 40k at higher points levels. You are forced to make difficult decisions when designing an army, and play a very tight game. Barring something unusual, a game at this points level is usually decided by turn 4 at the latest. Keeping scoring units alive is very important.

    What does this mean for the Tau commander? Because he is non scoring we can afford to be a bit more cavalier with him. In fact, we must be more cavalier with him in order to keep our valuable scoring units alive. Because the game is decided early on, we want him to specialise in doing something that will be devastating to the enemy in a short period of time. This means that, unlike at other points levels, we want him to be a one-trick wonder. Because we want him to be a one-trick wonder, and expect him to die, we have to build him cheap.

    Here are some battlesuit configurations intended specifically for use at under 1,000pts.

    Each configuration is designed with the cheaper shas'el in mind.

    Suits with Twin Linked Weapons
    All multi trackers in this category are hard-wired.

    Blastwave (Brimstone)/Heatwave
    Heatwave: TL Flamer, Support system of your choice (56+ Support System)
    Blastwave (Brimstone): TL Flamer, Airbursting Fragmentation Projector, Multi-Tracker (81)

    Heatwave is the cheapest possible battlesuit. Twin flamers come in as the cheapest weapon option. This configuration also borders on the useless in games above 1,000pts because the commander will not be given a chance to influence the game.

    Under 1k though, twin flamers are not a bad investment. If you manage to get up close, a case which is more likely at under 1k because your opponent will be desperately trying to take down your scoring units, the twin flamers can usually make a mess of whatever that template touches. In fact, you need to cover only 4.4 marines with the template to match the killing power of a rapid firing plasma rifle. Not only that but the flamers ignore cover.

    Blastwave is a pretty simple and obvious extension of Heatwave; The AFP matches the flamer in strength and AP, gives a large template, ignores cover and causes pinning. Its 18'' range is more of a bonus than a main attribute in this configuration, but again only 5 marines need to fall under the template to match the rapid firing plasma rifle for killing power. This kitout also lets you hide the commander, since the AFP doesn't require LOS.

    Both of these fitouts ignore the BS of the firer: essentially, this is as good as bypassing armour since it's one less roll that needs to be made before the other guy falls over.

    Cloudburst
    TL Burst Cannons, Airbursting Fragmentation Projector, Multi-Tracker (87)

    An upgrade to Blastwave, the TL Burst Cannons let you stay at 18'' range to deliver death to your foes, allowing the Tau to make their signature Jump/Shoot/Jump maneuver and stay out of range of retribution. The TL burst cannon is not that great in terms of stopping power though, and the suit is more expensive than Blastwave. Given our objectives as outlined in 'general principles', I would avoid this configuration. That said, this isn't a completely awful combination if you really want to keep your commander alive, since you can use it to support more distant units, meaning he'll never be able to be targetted.

    Ion Storm
    TL Burst Cannons, Cyclic Ion Blaster, Multi-Tracker (82)

    A shift in the thinking on Cloudburst, Ion Storm replaces the AFP with a CIB. This makes the suit both cheaper and more dangerous to heavy infantry. It also gives you an impressive 8 shots all up, something to give light infantry pause. This suit also lets you remain at 18'', allowing you to execute JSJ and support more distant units while at the same time keeping the Shas'el from being targetted.

    The low S on the CIB is a negative, but the AP4 and chance of AP1 can be worth it. This suit costs only 1 point more than blastwave, but provides greater flexibility at range.

    Sunforge
    TL Fusion Blasters, Targetting Array (7

    Simply put, tank killer and zookeeper. It will miss once in every 36 shots, that's once every 6 games. This suit is best used in a deepstriking configuration, and is designed to assasinate dreanoughts, armour and monstrous creatures. Given the Tau's mobility, and if you can throw out some drones to keep enemy fire off him, this is a pretty potent Shas'el configuration, worth considering. It is also pretty cheap. If you wanted to help him stay alive, Stim Injectors would not be out of place, though it does kick his cost up.

    There's something in every opponent's army (except guard on foot) which this guy can take on, and it's usually big and expensive.

    Burning Eye
    TL Plasma Rifles, Targetting Array (90)

    Burning eye is the most expensive suit considered. It is the ultimate in anti-Teq battlesuits, in particular when it uses it's JSJ move to close into rapid fire range then jump out again. It's not bad for hunting monstrous creatures and wraithlords either, so can be used in the zookeeper role. It is lacking in anti armour weaponry however, making it specialised against only one type of opponent. I believe that this suit is over specialised, even at the 1k and lower level, as most armies can field armour but not all field heavy infantry. Against a Dire Avenger heavy Eldar army for example, the Ion Storm is far more effective while against Big Bugs or Mech Anything, the Sunforge has the upper hand.

    Suits with different weapons

    All of these suits have a base cost of 55 pts, 50 for the Shas'el and 5 for the absolutely necessary multi-tracker.

    Fireknife
    Missile Pod, Plasma Rifle, Multi Tracker (87)

    The fireknife is the mid-range, default tournament level suit. It is the most optimised configuration, and is a jack of all trades, designed for taking on Meq and light armour such as skimmers, while having some capability to take on Monstrous Creatures and Teq. It has a lot going for it at higher points values where the longer decision length of the game puts it into play in a big way, but I don't think it's specialised enough for the 1000pts - game. It's a true jack of all trades. A lot has been written about this configuration, so I won't go into much detail about it.

    Firestorm
    Burst Cannon, Plasma Rifle, Multi Tracker (83)

    Firestorm is gaining some popularity, but is still a rare configuration to see. At the 1k or lower level, it delivers less flexibility than the Fireknife, but increases the suit's target range to include most infantry units. It is not bad against Meq, not bad against light infantry and can potentially take on Monstrous Creatures when the need arises. It has 5 shots a turn, letting it force morale checks on Geq squads all on it's own.

    Conclusion

    At low points levels, you can't afford the general nature and cost of the popular Fireknife configuration, it's necessary in my opinion to pick a task and stick to it. This should be done by looking at the holes in your particular army list, and working to patch them up.

    For example, my 750pt Hybrid Tau list has two XV88 battlesuits that are most vulnerable to plasma and starcannon fire; Starcannons tend to be vehicle mounted while plasma guns are infantry portable. I look to the rest of my list to see if I can deal with one threat or the other anyway (the XV88's probably have the ability to take on vehicles on their own and win), and build my commander accordingly. .

    Twin linked weapons are a great way to squeeze more value out of your suits, and help to cement the specific nature of the shas'el's mission at this points level. Twin Linked weapons don't require a multi-tracker either, so that's a further cost reduction

    Last edited by Assaultguardsman; August 17th, 2007 at 15:34.

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  3. #2
    Nerf Dave's avatar The Loki's Avatar
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    Blastwave: TL Flamer, Airbursting Fragmentation Projector, Multi-Tracker


    I thought that was called a brimstone O_o. If not then what am i thinkin of
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    Junior Member Assaultguardsman's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by The Loki View Post
    Blastwave: TL Flamer, Airbursting Fragmentation Projector, Multi-Tracker


    I thought that was called a brimstone O_o. If not then what am i thinkin of
    Oops, pardon me. I looked for this combination online, couldn't find it named, so decided to name it as best I could. I think if twin flamers is the heatwave, it would make sense for TL-Flamers, AFP to be the Blastwave.

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    Nerf Dave's avatar The Loki's Avatar
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    yea i agree that makes sense. But since when did anything having ANYTHING to do with Games workshop make any damned sense >.>




    Ion Storm
    TL Burst Cannons, Cyclic Ion Blaster, Multi-Tracker (82)


    That would have to be a Hard Wired Multi -Tracker mate.



    Fireknife
    Missile Pod, Plasma Rifle, Multi Tracker (87)

    Firestorm
    Burst Cannon, Plasma Rifle, Multi Tracker (83)


    Now i know that the point is Suits on a budget but i would like to point something out. By adding a few points to those suits you can get a Targeting array and hard wired Multi tracker. By doing this you make your suit MUCH more effective at killing which is turn helps you earn its points back since you will be hitting on 2's.


    and on that same note you should include the Helios Suit. Its the exact same cost as the Fireknife.

    Helios
    Plasma Rifle, Fusion Blaster , Targeting array, HW-Multi Tracker. (97)

    Minus a few if you dont take the targeting array
    Last edited by The Loki; August 17th, 2007 at 15:37.
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  6. #5
    Mr. Tau onlainari's Avatar
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    Onto the article, I would take a twin missile commander for 71pts or would stick with FK5 for 97pts. The reason is I need S7. All the other options don't give me what I need.
    Quote Originally Posted by rikimaru View Post
    You have the option for instance of infiltrating, outflanking, pillboxing, or anti assault.


    And that's just with the Kroot.

  7. #6
    The deep down truth Rikimaru's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Assaultguardsman View Post

    Twin linked weapons are a great way to squeeze more value out of your suits, and help to cement the specific nature of the shas'el's mission at this points level. Twin Linked weapons don't require a multi-tracker either, so that's a further cost reduction
    It does not matter what points level your playing at, the HQ XV8 is compulsory, cheapness gets you a less productive Shas'El.

    The Shas'El/O (usually El if your sensible) is probably the main power component of any Tau 1000pts list, a Fireknife with multi has range power and will deal with pretty much anythig thrown its way, the same goes for Helios multi only the Helios is better at insta killing those inevitable TGH4 characters like Chaplains. Shas'El with TA and HW multi is the cheapest you should go for an HQ(FK or helios)

    The Tau list is very well catered for at anti infantry (FW, Kroot, Stealths and HH raiguns all do the job very well) so with this in mind we have the anti infantry and anti tough unit catered for, so what is left, well most lists will have transports and things like dreads, Kans and wraithlord level type units, the XV8 Fireknife is good for dealing with these, especially monat team leaders with targeting and multi, however an XV88 fit thats just as good at this is the Deathrain, awesome accuracy, STR7 shots and best of all cheap.

    A 1000pts list with a Shas'El (helios or Fireknife), 2 Deathrains and a unit of stealths with a FW squad in basic DF, Kroot squad and Hammerhead will deal with most 1000pt lists no problem and no silly CIB, burst cannons or flamers in sight.:shifty:
    1984

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    Member israfel420's Avatar
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    Contrary to Riki's opinions, the CIB is one of the weapons you should always take on your SHas'El commander. It is one of the better weapons against every model in the game that is not T6 or higher and/or a vehicle. MEQ, TEQ, GEQ all get pasted by the CIB better than by any other single crisis weapon(with possibly the exception of AFP/flamer if many many models are caught under their templates). Add to the CIB a Plasma Rifle and you have a suit that fills the anti-MEQ/Anti-TEQ role better than a plasma/fusion or plasma/missile combo and still has the dakka to kill blocks of squishier troops.

    Sure it sacrifices the ability to kill vehicles(well the plamsa can kill AV12 but...) but we can get vehicle killing in the form of deathrains, railguns, seekers, and fusion toting Piranhas. So I personally wouldn't listen to Rikimaru's assesment that CIB's on Shas'Els are silly.

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    Gone LittleBlueMan's Avatar
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    One thing I have to say is this: Burst Cannons are absolutely wasted on crisis suits.
    Turtles For the Turtle God!
    Shells For the Shell Throne!

  10. #9
    Nerf Dave's avatar The Loki's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by LittleBlueMan View Post
    One thing I have to say is this: Burst Cannons are absolutely wasted on crisis suits.
    agreed. Since Stealths do it better cheaper.
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    Junior Member Assaultguardsman's Avatar
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    All valid points gentlemen, however I disagree with some of them. I am working on the 'deathrain' entry now, in between pinning railguns to my new broadsides.

    Rikimaru: I have to disagree. I stated in my conclusion that the shas'el should be the counterpoint to whatever else is in the army. Obviously if you have a team of stealth suits, you'd be looking to other roles to fill. In my 750 hybrid army I have both stealths and broadsides, so what I'm looking to the Shas'el for is defending against particular threats to those units. I'm looking to use him to dispatch assault cannon armed speeders, BL Vypers, anything that moves too fast to be targetted by the broadsides, or is too tough for the Stealths to handle. In retrospect, this is exactly what Deathrain is for, so I'll be writing it up.

    I wrote this article with the intention of exploring some of these 'counterpoint' combinations. For example, though it's unlikely that a Tau army won't be able to deal with hordes at this level, the Ion Storm can force morale checks on Geq squads all on it's own, making it a good choice to take on armies composed of many small units, as a typical mounted Tau army will not be able to target every enemy unit on the board. It's got some capacity to take on MeQ too, meaning it can be good in support of FW squads.

    Blastwave is good if you are playing on dense tables, facing horde, or really desperately needing to hit the other guy before he hits you.

    Blanket statements like "burst cannons are better on stealths" are not worth much in this discussion, because, as I have said, the shas'el's configuration depends on the setup of the rest of the army. Burst cannons aren't worth much if you've got stealths and fire warriors, but if you're leaning towards kroot and broadsides for example, it may be useful to consider them.
    Last edited by Assaultguardsman; August 18th, 2007 at 07:14.

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