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OK list tailoring is a bad idea, so I'll just focus on tailoring the codex in general by putting the units into tiers.
This is a work in progress, right now I'm writing off the top of my head so any contributions would be great. I'll try to be unbiased.
1. FireKnives: The trusty fireknife (Crisis w\ Plasma+MPod+Multitracker) is found in pretty much all lists posted and for good reason; high strength low ap long range shots on a durable affordable mobile unit that can jump back into cover and can hit them harder if they get close. Your Shas'el should usually be one of these. I won't go into anymore detail as every other thread has 2-3 essays written about them. Arguably our best unit, almost makes you forget about the BS3.
2. Kroot: 2 squads of 10 with varying Hounds being the norm. The reason we use them is because they aren't Tau and the opponent wants to kill Tau so we give them kroot. The key to proper kroot use begins with deployment; 'infiltrate' them as wax coating for your Tau. That's all I will say, there's plenty of info on these frail beasts on the board.
3. Pathfinders: The primary (and cheap) source of markerlights, using them efficiently is the tricky part (although no one likes to admit it). There's a certain finesse in deploying these guys and you need to take into account the following: initial placement, scout move into the vantage zone and 'Cab ride over where are the fire warriors?'.
4. Fire Warriors: The final piece of the Tau Foot soldier trinity. The fabled FW is probably the biggest problem unit for new players; MASSED SCATTERED BLOBS DO NOT WORK IN 5TH even if you bond them, if you want to do this, get off the tabletop and go play dawn of war 1. Either does the 'ergh I'll just take 6 because I have to' attitude. The true answer lies somewhere in between and you should put a fair bit of thought into how you balance the numbers out. These guys are our only reliable scoring unit and will usually resort to hijacking the Pathfinders' Devilfish to succeed. Oh yeah, the fish of fury still works just try not to be a hero about it.
5. RailHead: Self explanatory really. Submunition is king, most people take two.
6. Deathrains: Twin-linked Missile pod, there tends to be a third hard point dilemma, I take Targeting array. These guys offer a nice breath of simplicity, just jump around outside the fray hitting whatever needs it.
7. Devilfish: Once again you don't really have a choice. Luckily the DF is actually pretty reliable even if it is a bit expensive by 5th standards. Leave the Drones on, take a multi to fire your burst and drones after cruising.
8. Piranhas: I actually don't use these much but I won't deny how useful they are for reinforcing the Tau blockade. Plenty of tactics on here regarding them,some say they are almost mandatory, depends on your play style really. Take fusion.
Wargear: Disruption pod, Multi-Tracker, Vehicle Burst cannons, Targeting array
1. Broadsides: 'Why is this not a staple' some will say, but in reality some match-ups render these guys useless. You always have the RailHead. Take advanced stabilisation system, team leader w/ target lock isn't a bad idea either. It should also be noted that these guys are probably the only unit worth taking a shield drone for if you have a team leader (15pts for a passive model w/ T4 2+ 4+inv armor)
2. SkyRay: This isn't a death machine, it's an excellent utility. It's usually a toss up between this and the above for the heavy slot. Lights up an extra two units, adds seekers to the battle and one BC can always fire at something else when cruising.
3. IonHead: Used to hate the idea of the Ionhead until I played the new nids with one. Throw a markerlight counter down and you will consistently chop MC wounds in half. This usually guarantees a kill if you have Fireknives nearby. Smart priorities need to be made with this one.
4. Torch Squad: Use Rikis build (Twin flamers and Missile pod). Probably best to go to that thread for info on this unit.
5. Helios: Plasma Fusion Multi. He has a dangerous job (even more so than the torches IMO). Bit of a hit and miss unit, use wisely. That's the last crisis build I'll mention.
6. Stealths: By the look of current trends these guys are moving towards limbo. Take 6 vanilla, Team leader with drones if you want more shots.
Wargear: Target lock, Bonding Knife, Flechette Discharger, Stimulant Injector, Rail Rifle, Smart Missile System
1. Vespids: I like these guys, purely because of what they can do to a meq squad with a ML, and that's where the fun ends.
2. Marker Drones: I used to take these with stealths or Fireknives. Then I started using my Pathfinders right and tried the SkyRay and suddenly 30pts seems ridiculous
3. O'Shovah: The cons outweigh the pros. No kroot and caps on pathfinders/hammerheads kills it for me.
Wargear: Blacksun filter, Positional relay, Cyclonic Ion Blaster, Airbursting Fragmentation Projector,
1. Ethereal: Why are these guys even on the battlefield? Enjoy having your army sob and flee.
2. Sniper Drones: Waste of a crucial heavy slot. If you like rail rifles that much use pathfinders.
3. Krootox: Kroot infiltrate as expendable bubblewrap. The Ox kills infiltration and at 35pts a saveless model, they are by no means expendable.
4. Drone Squadron/Drone spamming: More than enough end up hitching a ride onto the battlefield anyway. Cut down on the frisbee cameos.
5. Shas'O: 25pts for what really? For 5pts less you can get a targeting array and a stimulant injector which is actually better.
6. Shadowsun: 175pts for this crap? Really cool looking model though, better off converting her into a shas'el.
7. Aun'va: A 205 point ethereal unit.
8. Wandering too far from suit builds
I have to go do something, I'll finish this later....
Last edited by Zodiac; March 7th, 2010 at 23:33.
Please do not encourage list tailoring. It's a very bad habit and it would be best to avoid giving the wrong idea to new players.
EDIT: That was a bit harsh; sorry. The advice you have here on the units themselves is a very good, succint overall guide to the Tau army. List tailoring is a bad idea though.
Last edited by MorbidlyObeseMonkey; March 4th, 2010 at 05:42.
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i duno if i would consider a Death rain a staple, a strong optional sure, but not "oh you gotta have this!". i put >7 FKs in my lists, so i got enuf longrange firepower.
and a broadside is neva useless. Railhead is great, but it only hits 66% of the time, broadsides hit 75% of the time and can have drones buzzing around them making them more difficlt to wound. you can also have about 2 broadsides + drones for every one Railhead.
but the rest of your points are sound, i especially like you you say how after starting to use PFs correctly you stopped using MDs. this is a good point for begining players, as MDs are really shiny.
BS3 Fireknives do not cut it when faced by lots of units in light transports. Consider this for example, you are facing off against a Marine army with massed Rhinos all full of Tac squads backed up by bikes/speeders or even LR's well try stopping the movement of those transports with three units of BS3 FK's, you will be hard pushed, same goes for Eldar with multiple transports or IG with Chimeras and Valks etc.
In my list I have 5 units all equipped with MP's that hit on 4 or 5+. I can stop (note stop and not kill) multiple vehicles even without using the Railguns which gives me breathing space and the Deathrain units do this on their own with no ML backup. That is the beauty of the DR with TA, its ability to work autonomously and is why they can be considered a staple and also why BS4/5 Fireknives should be considered a staple.
Whenever I play against anyone who uses XV88's you can pretty much be assured the XV88's will be doing nothing after turn two, they are just so easy to counter or avoid (even with A'S'S).
Also Hammerheads should not be hitting on BS4 if you can help it, they should always be utilising ML's to up to BS5 or to reduce scatter of the Subs. HH's are a priority for ML support and this is why you should be building your XV8 contingent with minimum BS4 (or minimising the XV8's that need ML support).
A common misconception is that the DeathRain are the cheaper 'little brothers' of the FireKnife. They are two separate units with separate tasks to carry out, and until people realize this they will waste their FireKnife shots on things the DeathRain should be hitting and vice-versa, sure they will be focus firing together under some circumstances but from different vantage points.
In 1500pt games, one DeathRain by himself is an efficient unit.
i probably shoulda mentioned all my lists are >1000 and <1500, since i don't have to many models
and all my 7 FKs are BS4
but i understand what you say about DRs, thanks for the advice
Close combat is a problem, but so are drop-podded or deepstriking melta's. A melta within 12" will spell the doom of a hammerhead. I think XV88's are a great, resilient unit.
List tailoring is one of my pet peeves. I totally agree with MoM, you should not need to tailor if you build a good "take all comers" list. It shows no ability to actually play your army well. When facing different armies your tactics should change, not your list.
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The "A Smart Player Will..." theory is a complete paradox. If we make an assumption that everything we do is outsmarted, then theoretically we can never win.
in my experience a shas'o can be totally worth it. and broadsides should be a staple, they pack vehicle killing prowess like almost no other and they can now instant kill warriors and brains and many other important synapse creatures to the nids and at that get it twin-linked, this i cant pass up. id avoid skyrays in any game that doesnt involve flyers like in apoc. (seekers are good at that). i also avoid ionhead, it rarely gives anything a railgun cant give, with its solid vehicle destroying shot, and infantry busting submunition round. other than that i agree.
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Well written article. For a starting Tau player it would give him a place to start and what units to build/buy without wasting his money. Good job.
I don't actully see this as a list tailoring build piece, more of a informative piece.
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