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I have been trying to build a 1500pts list for competitive use in th5 5th edition. I have used a few preliminary lists with mixed results. 5Th edition has brought some quite major changes to gameplay so I thought I would post the list but also show my thinking behind the choices I made. With this in mind I thought an analysis of the 5th missions and what is needed to succeed when playing them is a good place to start.
I think a list of what is needed regarding 5th rules is a good start:
(1) Objective claiming and holding
(2) Denying the opponent the opportunity to hurt our forces
(4) Denying line of sight and reducing/removing the abundant cover save
(5) Preventing or slowing down the movement of the opponents forces
Ok so now we need to look at the missions and what they entail.
(1) Seize ground
Relies on the control of objectives. Only units from the troops allowance can claim and control an objective. Other units can contest objectives.
(2) Capture and Control
Relies on controlling your objective while doing everything possible to take the opponents. Relies on troops allowance to control objectives and the means to inflict severe damage on the opponent and the means to clear objectives.
Basically destroy before you get destroyed. Each unit destroyed is worth 1 kill point. Basically keep your army in one piece while inflicting as much damage as possible on theirs.
Next we have the deployment types.
(1) Pitched battle
The most basic deployment type, just deploy on anywhere the table as long as it is 12” away from the centre of the table.
Deployment is in a quarter of the table 12” away from the centre, the opponent deploys in the diagonally opposite quarter
(3) Dawn of war
This is quite a complicated scenario. The player can deploy up to one HQ and up to two of his troops. Units that can infiltrate can do so but the restriction to deployment above still applies. Units can be held in reserve but any that are not must be deployed in the movement phase of the first turn from the player’s table edge. Night fight is in effect on turn one
In all the missions and scenarios above the deep strike and reserves rules are in effect.
Right so we can see we have two missions where the overriding need is to claim and control objectives and one where we have to kill everything that moves.
The one common factor to the missions is troops, we need troops in the two objective scenarios and two troops choices are obligatory in all missions. So we need troops and Tau have two choices ‘Fire Warriors’ and ‘Kroot’.
The overriding need is for troops to take and hold objectives. To do this we need to ensure a few things.
First that our troops can actually survive while on the objective and ensuring that we utilise any cover on objectives. Luckily we have the ability to take our own very effective cover with out troops in the form of the Ddevilfish. Objectives can be taken and held by Fire Warriors or Kroot in a Devilfish and provides very durable protection for the troop unit.
So we know we need troops to take and contest objectives and we should be using the Devilfish to ensure some survivability. There are two schools of thought regarding the Fire Warrior unit and its role as objective taker/contester.
Option (a) the minimised six-man squad. The thinking behind this unit is that the Fire Warrior squad should never voluntarily leave the Devilfish; it is basically an offensively redundant unit. Fire Warrior squads can take and hold objectives even when carried inside a Devilfish so why disembark them. While this has some virtue it falls down in one respect ‘what happens when the inevitable happens and the Fire Warriors lose the Devilfish?’
The small FW unit has by virtue of its size very limited offensive output and also will not fare well if assaulted. Taking an Ui upgrade for the leadership boost and a Bonding Knife can help but somewhat defeats the purpose of taking cheap minimised squads
Another problem arises with the fact that a third of all missions are not objective based but rely on offensive ability. The small FW units are not going to offer much offensively and keeping them safe is only going to be of limited benefit in these annihilation type games.
Option (b) the larger FW squad with Ui upgrade and Bonding knife. This option has all the same benefits of option (a) in so far as protection of the unit, taking and holding objectives but also has the added benefits of significantly improved firepower and durability when that inevitable loss of the Devilfish happens. The other plus to this unit is it is much more useful in the non-objective based mission. A full 12 man unit is much more effective in the offensive role but is expensive when points are tight in 1500pt lists.
So after a lot of consideration I decided to go with option b and take two units of 10 Fire Warriors with Ui upgrade and Bonding knife 135pts x 2 = 230pts
Deciding to use the Devilfish to take and contest objectives I decided to take the following upgrades: Disruption Pod, Multi tracker and Flechette launcher. Taking these upgrades will allow the Devilfish to (a) Have a better chance of surviving long-range fire (Disruption Pod), (b) Make it dangerous for any unit to assault the Devilfish (flechettes). (c) To add firepower, the Multi tracker allows the DF to fire its Burst cannon and Gun Drones even when moving 12”, (d) Gun Drones can be disembarked to contest objectives, prevent assaults and provide cover save screening if needed.
So Devilfish with Disruption pods, Multi tracker and Flechettes 105pts (running total = 335pts)
Two troops choices is simply not enough because the opponent simply has to concentrate on these two units to win the majority of games! No troops means no objective control, simple math. Luckily we have another excellent troops choice in Kroot. If an objective is comprised of wooded or jungle type terrain then the Kroot are an excellent choice for holding such objectives. The Kroot get +1 to any cover save in wooded and jungle type terrain and they also suffer no penalties when assaulting through, into or out of this type of cover. The only downside to this is Kroot cannot take a Bonding Knife.
Kroot are able to utilise Devilfish as well and this can be used to good effect in capture and control missions were a Fire warrior unit can be left on the home objective where their 30” rifles offer a good range advantage over the Kroot and the Kroot can benefit from Devilfish’s protection but are still capable of dealing out significant damage if needed.
Kroot also have the infiltrate. With these benefits in mind I decided to take two cheap 10-man squads. The squad with Hounds will be used to infiltrate and skirmish or to provide protection for the home objective in capture and control missions. All in all they will add significant offensive ability in the non-objective based missions and also be versatile in the objective based ones.
So that’s 140pts (running total= 475)
Ok that is the core of the list sorted and a third of the points used. Next we need HQ
Well for me it has to be the Shas’El Fire Knife. Plasma has taken a real hit in 5th the abundance of cover saves has meant the AP of the Plasma is not the advantage it once was. However having some available is always a good thing and the BS5 of the Shas’El makes it a reliable place to take it. The Missile pod adds range and punch. So far so ordinary but I have been trying to incorporate more mobile Markerlights into my lists but have been swayed away from the Stealth squad as a choice in smaller point lists.
I have been using the following: Shas’El with Missile pod, Plasma, targeting array, HW Multi tracker, HW Drone controller, HW Target lock and Marker Drone 132pts
Sounds expensive but when you consider it costs 125pts minimum for a Stealth team with ML Drone that will usually be held back to provide the ML support and not add much offensive power the Shas’El offers independent ML support (the target lock) and significant ranged fire power for nearly the same cost.
Two Shas’Els with Marker-lights 264pts (running total = 739)
Now for the elites! In 5th we need to do two things (1) slow down the opponent (2) negate cover advantages. In my 2000pt list I use a Flamer XV8 squad, which is very effective against hoards and very good at clearing objectives. I have decided to use a simplified version in the 1500pts list comprising of 3 XV8 suits equipped with twin linked Flamers, Drone controllers and 3 Gun Drones for 123pts. This unit is primarily taken to attack and clear objectives but is also surprisingly effective against all target; the Drones offer cheap additional firepower and the chance of pinning units. Again the unit is also effective in non-objective missions; however the unit suffers from short range and are very little use against vehicles.
In 5th armies are faster, troops can run and transports can be utilised by any infantry unit (unless the codex specifies differently). I like to have the ability to slow down or destroy transports and the Death-rain is still the best way to stop mid AV transports due to accuracy and shot volume.
I am not taking Stealth’s so I have two elite slots to use so I am taking two monat Death-rains with twin linked Missile pods and targeting array for 53pts each. They can work individually or concentrate their firepower. Being monat means they can utilise cover effectively and stay viable.
Running total = 950
So I have the objective taking covered, I have some decent fire power for non objective missions, I have long range firepower that can handle armour up to and including AV13 and a little bit of Marker light support.
What I do not have is enough Marker light support. This is a problem because in 5th cover saves need to be negated as much as possible and firepower needs maximising to (a) get the full benefit from the firepower after the cover saves have been reduced and (b) to maximise our main advantage ‘the application of firepower’.
With this in mind I have elected to take the Skyray. With a Targeting array and Multi tracker it offers two mobile BS3 Marker light sources and 6 Seeker Missiles. The ability to offer an effective 48” ML coverage and unlimited field coverage from the Missiles is to good to be ignored. I am equipping it with the above plus Burst cannons and Disruption pod for a cost of 155pts
I am going to take a Hammerhead with Railgun, Burst cannons,multi tracker and Disruption pods. This is taken to offer anti armour and for its submunnition capability. This costs 165pts so the running total including Skyray is 1270pts.
This leaves me with 230pts to find some extra Marker light support; however I have one problem with the list, I need another Devilfish! Now Pathfinders seem the logical choice but I always find that in lower point games the Pathfinders are subjected to proportionately greater amount of attacks then in higher points games and tend to suffer a corresponding reduction in effectiveness.
I want the Devilfish and I want some Markerlight support but I do not want to take a full unit of Pathfinders, hmmm a quandary.
Luckily enough I have been experimenting with a new unit configuration for the Pathfinders detailed in depth in this thread (put in link). The idea is to take a four-man squad equipped as follows:
3 Pathfinders equipped with Railrifles
1 Team leader with Drone controller and Marker light Drone
This unit offers 3 STR6 shots a turn at three separate units if needed, MEQ killing AP and pinning. It also offers two marker lights one of which can be utilised by the Pathfinder unit. The unit is nice and small so can utilise cover effectively, the range of the Railrifles and Markerlights are beautifully matched and the unit also gets the scout rule. The scout rule can be used to respond to the opponent’s deployment or to gain favourable cover.
With this unit and the other Markerlight sources I get six Markerlights a turn which can be used against 6 separate targets, 4 of these are mobile and all are extremely durable, either being able to utilise cover or having the advantage of being attached to a Skyray.
So the list goes as follows
2 x Shas’El’s one with Plasma, Missile Pod, Targeting array, one with Fusion, Missile pod, both with following HW items: Multi tracker, Drone controller, Target lock and Marker Drone 256pts
3 x XV8’s all equipped with twin linked Flamers, Drone controller and Gun Drone 123pts
2 Monat XV8’s equipped with twin linked Misile pods and Targeting array 106pts
2 units of 10 Fire Warriors, 1 upgraded to Shas’Ui with Bonding knife 230pts
2 units of 10 Kroot 140pts
2 Devilfish equipped with Disruption pods, Flechettes and Multi tracker 210pts (one Devilfish is purchased with the Pathfinder squad)
3 Pathfinders equipped with Railrifles
1 Team leader with Drone controller and Marker light Drone 118pts
Hammerhead with Railgun, Burst cannons, Multi tracker and disruption pod 165pts
Skyray with Burst cannons, Targeting array, Multi tracker and Disruption Pod 155pts
Total cost 1498pts
I think the list will work because it is capable of handling all the mission types in 5th. The Fire Warriors can contest objectives in the Devilfish and should still be effective if the Devilfish is destroyed. In non-objective missions the Fire Warriors are an effective offensive resource utilising the Fish of fury and Marker light support.
The list has a powerful XV8 contingent. The flamer squad is taken to clear objectives, the Flamers ignore cover saves and when used on units packed into cover they cause a horrific amount of wounds, the Gun Drones offer the chance of pinning and this can help reduce returned damage.
The Markerlight Drones attached to the El’s are not there to help the El’s, because of the Target lock on the El the Drones can Marker light a different target to the EL. This makes them essentially independent for the purposes of targeting.
The Deathrains are included because they are the best way of stopping transports. The list has 4 Missile pods firing per turn at BS4 (twin linked) and BS5 which makes them frighteningly effective.
The Markerlights as a whole are there to reduce cover saves in objective missions and if enough tokens are available up the BS of any units that need it.
The Hammerhead does what Hammerheads do and the Skyray is taken as much for the Seekers as the Markerlights; having mobile ML’s means it is going to be more than possible to gain line of sight on vehicles tucked behind cover or in the opponents table half.
Hopefully the Pathfinder squad will provide decent Markerlight support and some hard-hitting firepower. However if it doesn’t I will simply swap it out for a normal Pathfinder squad.
I hate creating 1500pt lists they are always a compromise and Tau get worse the lower the points level. I think this is a well-balanced list and will deal with all the mission types that 5th have thrown up. I think it packs in a decent amount of ML support, which is hard to achieve in 1500pts games without compromising some other part of the list. I Landraiders and Monoliths have all round AV14 with the other vehicles only having AV14 frontal armour, so the Seekers and Missile pods are more than capable of dealing with most vehicles.
I hope this article has not bored you too much. I thought it would be an interesting idea to go into some depth about what goes through a players mind when creating a list
Last edited by Rikimaru; April 17th, 2009 at 20:28.
Wow i've never thought this thoroughly about a list but i guess on paper its a bit more elaborate.
The list is very balanced and i cannot see any glaring flaws in it. Using the devilfishes to claim objectives are very nice because your fw's stay safe and you measure from the hull for scoring. If you really want to bring the fight to them. you can have your kroot sit on your objective hopefully somewhere difficult to get to or somewhere, where you can claim the 3+ cover save in thw woods.
The nice thing about kroot in woods holding an objective is that they can go to ground and claim a better save!! its lovely seeing my opponents gawk at my 2+ cover save kroot. Now for your 70-100 pt squad you are making a nice bunker out of leaves and twigs.
If you feel your FW's ever need to be more static your devilfishes can go on fire bait duty.
With the devilfishes you can contest objectives. Or choke enemy forces from reaching you.
One game i had with some orks i had some devilfishes wandering the board because i felt that my fw's would do better shooting every turn at the ork squads. So i forced my opponent to go around my devilfishes. Slowing them down for a good turn
The hammer head should be able to deal with most hordes... The skyray makes a nice mobile Markerlight..
Just a few strategies you could use.
Other than that.. your least seems very clean and flexible.
I've recently taken to dropping all markerlight support from my 1500 lists. it hurts some, yes, but the exclusion allows me to put far, far more into the rest of the list (I run 2 Railheads and a 2-man Broadside team in 1500). That's just personal preference, though.
In your lists's case, the only thing I don't much like is the Rail Rifle Pathfinder team. I have yet to see them be worth the investment when carring Rail Rifles, and as a whole the team just works out better for the army if you forget about direct offense and stick to their original purpose. For the same points you spent there, the team can instead have 3-4 more pathfinders by dropping the rifles and the drone (pointless without the rifles), perhaps giving the team leader a Hard Wired Target Lock if you wish. Even if you decide to keep the rifles themselves, the drone's points are better utilized as two Pathfinders and change, since it will be static.
I fight for the Greater Good. Too bad for you it's MY Greater Good.
Snow Forces of T'olku W/L/D : 3-4-2... I like to think I'm learning, though.
I count i thin.. 5 markerlights. In my games i normally just run 1 squad of 8 pathfinders for markerlights and those are sufficient given that they are targeting one unit. The markerlight drones are somewhat a points sink. But they have almost 5 times more survivability, being able toh ide behind cover
2 on the Shas'Els
2 On the Pathfinder squad
2 on the Skyray
All the Markerlights can target separate units.
I do not think of the ML's as a point sink because they can be used by the unit taking them and also to help other units, they are also mobile (the PF Drone isn't but I can live with that).
I like Pathfinders but sometimes I find the amount of ML tokens they generate is overkill and often some are even wasted. I would rather have 6 separate ML units because you can concentrate the ML's if needed but they can target multiple units if needed. For instance I could launch all six of the Skyrays seekers at six separate units in one turn if so inclined, you can not do this with one unit of Pathfinders (though I repeat I do like the Pathfinder squad).
The store near me had 40k blister packs 50% off and I picked up a bunch of Pathfinder rail riflers. I too noticed that they have the exact range of the MLs so I thought an ideal unit would be 3 rail guys and 3 regular PFs (i play against a lot of Space Marines so the Rails will work great against them, AND terminators)... That way you get at worst case 0-1 of the 3 MLs and if your lucky all 3 MLs hitting. I think I will experiment with your 3 rails, 1 leader and one ML dronethough...
Your PF unit is 118 (plus 80 for devilfish).
A PF unit of 3 rails and 3 regular PFs is 102 (plus 80 for devilfish).
The benefit of your ML drone config is the NETWORKED ML (ML benefits can be used by same unit) but the maximum potential ML hits is only 2 (1 for drone and 1 for Leader). Where in my config the benefit is POTENTIAL amount of ML hits is 3 (and also greater chance of multi ML hits) but those MLs have to be used on other units if not used on cover save reduction. I guess it comes down to A) how lucky you feel you are and b) what portion of your ML hits you actually use to raise BS of units.... Rikimaru, of the 6 MLs you normally use with this army, how many do you think you normally use to raise BS vs reducing cover saves?
I think I'll be experimenting with both unit configs in the near future... curious to see your results in playing with them, so please update us. I love railguns and any excuse to use more is good in my book. Thanks for the thoughtful post...
I'm just musing about that markerdrone in the pathfinder squad... seeing how you could just have two pathfinders for less points, and I'm thinking that the networked drone might be busy providing markers to other targets anyways?
Sure the footprint is increased by 1, but you get a better chance of getting a marker hit with those two shas'la, and a bonus chance of getting two markers (which might be a waste, and yet 2 markers for the price of 1 can't be considered that bad, hm?)... of course, you might be planning on using that drone for your own squad, but still, a markerdrone... or two shas'la and points to spare for a kroothound...
As for antiarmour, I'm just musing if 1 hammerhead is actually going to do much... of course, your strategy and experiences might not be too concerned with armour, just like my strategy and lack of experience dislikes risking XV8s with flamers (silly thought: if only stealthsuits can use them... maybe then the fusion gun would see more use as well)...
(Regarding flamers, I'm just of the opinion that I could have a fireteam dedicated to taking out infantry in cover, or get the same results with a couple of markers and pulsefire.)
So yeah, there's my two quips.
No, wait, three... if you get rid of those two HQ marker drones, that would be a (basic) 5 man pathfinder squad for you (with the other devilfish acquired from your firewarrior stocks)... mind you that's just musing, not an actual suggestion.
I like the ability of the ML Drone to target other units as well. Another thing is the unit can Marker light two targets and shoot 3 separate units "in one turn", with the possibility of pinning anyone of those units. I could up the BS of the unit with the Drone and reduce the cover save of the target, I cannot do this with standard Pathfinders so no i do not think the Drones points will be better utilised on another two Pathfinders.
As for the anti armour. I have four anti armour units, two at BS4 twin linked and 2 at BS5 all with STR7 shots and six Seeker missiles at STR8. That will deal with all armour up to and including AV14 (destroying is not always needed). AV14 is relatively rare and like I said earlier only two vehicles are all AV14 which means the others have armour that that can be hurt with Missile pods. I usually use the Hammerhead for the subs anyway but its solid shot is there if I need it and I have plenty of ML's to help it hit.
The Flamer squads do not need Marker lights to reduce cover saves and they do not need marker lights to hit, they also re-roll all failed wounds. The Flamer unit is by far and away the most efficient way of clearing an objective. Using this unit means those ML's can be utilised by other units.
The Drones are staying on the HQ. I have used these in a few games and they perform really well. I love having easily hidden, mobile and essentially independent (for targeting purposes) Marker light. Again the ML Drone can be used to reduce cover saves for the Shas'El when targeting vehicles or other units (usually vehicles because a 5+ save is much better than a 4+ for me).
This may not be your thing, but I highly suggest finding points somewhere to upgrade 2 of your Kroot to Shapers. You can cut down your casualty rate by allocating small arms wounds to him.. In addition, the Leadership boost gives you much better odds when forced to test. I have never regretted taking Shapers, especially when my Kroot get into combat and the Leadership becomes very important.
Just some food for thought.
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