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I am new to Tau and I am tinkering with some XV8 builds...
And I stumbled upon the "Centurion" build (Cyclic Ion Blaster, Plasma Rifle, Targeting array and HW Multi-tracker) Not only on the Shas'el but also on two Shas'vre. It comes to 246 pts.
I think this would work as a MEQ killer. On a sidenote my army design consists of another two XV8 "Deathrain" builds, two team of two XV88's and a core of kroot and fire warriors...
I am only game testing them and doin a bit of math hammering...
Has anyone tried this in an actual battle? and do they work?
I go for the Shas'El Fireknife (Plasma/Missile pod, Targeting array and HW multi) 97pts. BS5 MP and Plasma per turn. Plasma is good for killing or hurting just about everything and the BS5 means you hit with it, the MP is an awesome weapon and much more reliable and useful against a much larger array of targets than the underpowered and expensive CIB. Most Tau players will tell you the same thing and it is no coincidence the vast majority of Tau players use the FK El.
If you are confident with target selection, judging distances and using units together then the Helios is a good build (Plasma/Fusion/TA and HW multi), this is good solid anti MEQ and anti any AV transport killer. You have to be good to avoid it dying quickly though due to its short ranged nature.
Riki's right: The Fireknife (PR/MP) is the most well-rounded suit, and is probably the best for newer Tau players to handle. It's got decent strength and AP, good range, and can take on multiple types of units.
The Helios (PR/FB) is a real Terminator/Marine killer, can put a dent into most Monsterous Creatures, and even hit vehicles pretty hard. It puts out three high strenght/ low AP shots a turn, and with a Targetting Array, can do it failry accurately. You must be within 12" to use it effectively, however (to be in range with the FB, and in Rapid Fire range for the PR), and even within 6" to benefit from the Melta rule of the FB. At ranges further than 12", you can only put out a single PR shot a turn, and that's just not efficient for the price you pay per suit. Jump-Shoot-Jump helps to keep these guys alive, but the Helios Suit really requires a huge amount of skill to use properly.
The Deathrain (TL-MP) is probably the most cost-effective suit out there. For a mere 53pts per suit (for TL-MP and a TA), you get MPs that are 90% accurate. These MPs can then bust most vehicles easily, take out high-value targest from range, and even for Marines to take a whole bunch of saves (and they're bound to fail some!), all at 36". Probably the most survivable and reliable suit, it's also my personal favorite.
Anything else plays a real niche role in a list, and must be examined on a case-by-case basis, based on army synergy, personal play-style, most common opponents, etc. For example, I take a Shas'vre in my list with the AFP and CIB, but only becasue my main opponents is a Gaunt-based Tyranid army, and I need a dedicated suit to wipe out his swarms.
In your case, I'd advise against the Centurion build. It you want a marine killer, use either the Fireknife, or the Helios (if you think you can handle it).
Ah... that settles it quite easy if the build is illigal... Then my second choice would be the Fireknife build!... a bit of MEQ killing and a bit of light vehicle killing ain't to shabby!... Thanks for the advise guys!
Cyclic Ion Blaster - DON't use it - trust me i have been testing it out hoping it will work but its just not worth the 20 points.
Go with fireknifes
or try the Airfragment projector (the other special) with a MP, TA, HWMT.
I would recoment a shield drone to stop instant kills (so worth it)
I would then add the AFP/MP HQ onto a torch squad - the shield drone will also help them and just add a HWTL onto the HQ - 8 MP shots and 3 TL-flamers + a s4 large blast temple with the blast template and 2 MP being able to fire at a different target which they should be: cost:
3 x torch squad = 129 points
+ HQ (+1 SDrone) = 117 points
so at 246 points that is a very useful and multi purposeful unit. that does damage to all armies and allows you to compete against horde armies too. I always use this unit but others won't agree A BS5 large template will hit almost everytime as long as you dont put it over one man but a unit and it will most likely hit a lot of things.
Tau: 6K - W17-D3-L4, Orks: 4K - W9-D0-L2, SM: 7K - W7-D3-L4,CSM: 4K W5-D1-L1, Nids: 3.2K W3-D0-L2
Apoc games (mixture of armies used): W5-D0-L1