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Ok. In the hypothetical, say I had 550 points to spend on Mech Tau. Say, also, that I'm playing Space Marines, with all the 3+ saves that that entails.
So, to make the Fire Warriors fit into Mech Tau, you'd be putting them in Devilfish. Ok, got that. But then you end up have two squads of firewarriors in Devilfish, a Shas'o and... no, that's it.
Now, if you make the squads 6 Tau each, you free up enough points for the Shas'o, two Crisis suits and a Railhead. That gives vastly more anti-SM firepower than does the force with two squads and the - very isolated - Shas'o. But, then, you've got two puny Fire Warriors squads who A) aren't particularly effective against SMs in the first place, and need to stay still to fire to full effect, which is itself A) against the whole premise of Mech Tau, and forcing you to, essentially, abandon the Fire Warriors in order to go hunting with your mobile elements.
As I see it, you must be taking two troop squads. So, are you filling them out as small as possible in order to max out on mobile, hard-hitting units, or are you bulking them up and cramming them in Devilfish?
Thanks in advance for any thoughtful replies.
You are correct by all accounts. However, I'm curious? Have you ever played a Mechanized Tau army?
Your post contains a lot of negative overtones... and your questions are those of a beginner... suggesting to me that you are criticizing something you don't know very much about? I'm not trying to flame here, I'm just trying to understand where you're coming from.
I have played (looks at signiture) 16 games of mech tau, and I've found 2 squads of 8 fire warriors to be perfect, in low point games i'll still put one unit in a devilfish. That's 260p, which is still quite low, but gives you the benefits of mech tau, and you get a cannon fodder squad with 30" range.
I think I can remeber a 600p game where all I had on the field was 2 devilfish and a hammerhead, 8 fire warriors worked great again.
having two full decked out units of fire warriors in a devil fish can acutally be quite effective against SMurfs in a small point game, it enables the use of the double Fish of Fury attack (see the mech tau page) which can work wonders against even heavy armored units without having to rely on judging 1/2" distances. As long as you concetrate the fire warriors on one unit at a time, you should be able to take them down. Besides which, Devilfish are great in small point games because the opponent rarely has anything able to take them down with ease.
Also, why would you bother with a Shas'o in a 550 pt. army, use a shas'el at most or otherwise just skip it and use an ethereal instead and spend the points on some o-so-lovely steath suites, who are incredebly effective in almost all circumstances. Or, one or two Monat crisis suites work well in small games. Give them fire knife or sunforge configs, they'll tear up SMurfs.
"I love this job more than I love taffy, and I'm a man who loves his taffy."
500pt game? why dont you have combat patrol instead then don't have a HQ at all? only 100pt difference, and you could probably mod the rules...
The avatar is the emperor as a pimp. Well, i like it.
Ooh. Lots of replies. Ok.
T0nka - Yes, I am a begginer, and have not played Mech Tau before. At the same time, I'm not criticizing as such - I love Tau units and the Mech Tau concept. I'm just trying to ascertain which gives the most bang for the buck in a small game - full squads of Fire Warriors in Devilfish, or tiny troop squads and more heavy equipment. I've read all of the Mech Tau literature thuroughly, including yours, and am just trying to decide which of the two options that appear to be available are truer to the Mech Tau concept.
psteve - Sounds interesting, but you don't think that's sort of a half-way point between the two ideas? FoF against SM is less mathematically condoneable (new word?) with smaller squads. The dratted 3+ save means you want as many shots as possible.
O Shi Ukos - FoF x2 sounds both like fun and a tactical challenge, so that's certainly an option. See, though, in my case, my opponent has stuck his SMs in Razorbacks, so they're not going to be as vulnerable to this tactic, which I've considered. The two choices are, once again to have two bulky units of FW, and do the double FoF, or have two tiny units and load up on Crisis suits. What makes me leary about using the Devilfish is A) his transports, which put his FoF-vulnerable units out of harms way, and the two Missile launchers he's got, which have not insignificant chances of crippling or destroying a Devilfish. I guess is just part of the risk and a fact of life for Mech Tau commanders and that I've simply got to limit LoS to the 'fish. But A) worries me, because it seems to negate entirely the FoF tactic. Your point about the Shas'o is well taken.
MiketehFox - If I have the 'fish, I'm probably going to be using them in FoF attacks, since the inability of the firing line to hold up to assault troops seems like the reason a lot of people go for Mech Tau in the first place.
willysnow - Certainly an idea.
It seems to be the general consensus that I should take two full squads of Fire Warriors in Devilfish. Sound about right?
Sounds good to me, i reckon maxed out squads are better in just about every respect. I would much rather have one squad of 12 than two squads of six. Are you just learning the rules of 40k, or are you just a tau begginer?
The avatar is the emperor as a pimp. Well, i like it.
I'm in the process of putting together an 1850 list for the Chicago GT in July. It only has 1 mounted Firewarrior Team. Don't forget Kroot are a viable (and quite good) choice available to Mech Tau Commanders! Here's a good read:
In 550 points I'd suggest something like:
Shas'el [Plasma, Missile Pod, Multitracker] (85)
4 Stealths (120)
1 Crisis [TL Missile Pod, Flamer] (57)
12 Firewarriors in Devilfish [Multitracker, Decoy] (215)
10 Kroot (70)
I'm just new to Tau, willysnow. But the question is not so much small squads vs. large squads as it is, small squads and a bunch of suits and a tank, or large squads in Devilfish and not really any of the bigger stuff. Everyone does seem to be saying the big squads with the 'fish, though.
As far as the list goes, T0nka, I think the Fire Warriors in the 'fish and the Shas'el are both solid choices, but I'd be avoiding both the small squad of Kroot and the Stealth suits because they don't seem like they'd be particularly splendid against SMs.
Anyway, all of this advice, all of it, has been extremely helpful. I'll probably be throwing a list together either today or tomorrow.