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XV8 'Crisis' Battlesuits
Lots of Credit should go to Tonka Truck Driver. Some credit should also go to Shasel Tael and prclimber.
This article is inspired through my experience with using army lists ranging from one crisis suit to seven.
When I first started tau, it was a simple line that got me hooked on to crisis suits. "Well, no, what you need most desperately is Crisis suits. No Tau army should be without Crisis suits." Catching my eye, I soon found myself with seven crisis suits.
The codex entry XV8 'Crisis' Battlesuit team is more like four entries, with capabilities of filling out almost every role in the game. Such a versatile choice of weaponry inspired me to take an army based around the different configurations I could give my crisis suits. It didn’t take long before I realised that the role of crisis suits was much smaller than taking on the whole battlefield.
Crisis suits, commander and elite, are essential to the Tau army. However, you can have too much of a good thing. Army lists with 6+ crisis suits start becoming inefficient. Even with multitrackers, they simply do not provide the volume of firepower needed in a tau army. Army lists are best with 2-5 crisis suits.
The importance of crisis suits arises from the fact that Tau have the most powerful basic weapon in the game as well as the most powerful weapon, but it lacks weapons in between. Crisis suits are our answer to what S5 AP5 weapons and S10 AP1 weapons aren't designed to take out. Medium infantry, heavy infantry, light vehicles, medium vehicles. While both S5 AP5 and S10 AP1 weapons can do well against some of these unit types, it is not their speciality. They require the assistance of the XV8 ‘Crisis’ Battlesuit.
The fireknife: plasma rifle, missile pod, multitracker.
This configuration is very popular as it fits into the role of a crisis suit perfectly. It is useful against medium and heavy infantry and light and medium vehicles. The fireknife is in fact excellent against light and very light vehicles, and has a decent range too. The fireknife’s weakness is that it's too versatile. It doesn’t kill or destroy medium and heavy infantry and medium vehicles with the greatest efficiency. Fireknive’s are recommended if you don't know what army you're playing against, but it is often a good idea to specialise a little even then.
The deathrain: twinlinked missile pod (target lock/flamer/shield generator).
This configuration is probably the second most popular, if not the most. It is useful against medium infantry and light to medium vehicles. The deathrain’s range plus its assault move keeps it safe from a lot of weaponry, and gives it a lot of choice to what scenery it can use to jump shoot jump from. The deathrain’s weakness is that it is horrible against heavy and very heavy infantry because of its high cost and low volume of shots. Deathrain’s are recommended if you are facing any medium vehicles (AV12 transports and artillery) or powerful medium infantry (tyranids, eldar).
The helios: plasma rifle, fusion blaster, multitracker.
This configuration is very popular, especially on commanders. It is useful against heavy and very heavy infantry. The helios’s weakness is that it has a very short range, relying completely on the assault move and surrounding terrain to protect it. Helios’ are recommended if you are facing heavy infantry, or as a complement to a deathrain in a balanced list.
The burning eye: twinlinked plasma rifle (target lock/flamer/shield generator).
This configuration works well in a unit lead by a helios-6 team leader. It is useful against heavy and very heavy infantry. The burning eye is just as good as a standard helios against heavy infantry within 12”, and is better between 12” and 24” for its increased accuracy. Its weakness is its low volume of shots. Burning eye’s are recommended in crisis teams if you are facing a lot of heavy infantry.
The bladestorm: plasma rifle, burst cannon, multitracker.
This configuration sees some play on the battlefield. It is useful against heavy infantry. The bladestorm is more efficient than stealths and firewarriors against heavy infantry, and can keep a safer distance than helios suits. Its weakness’ are that it’s less powerful than a helios or a burning eye against heavy infantry at short range and is inefficient against anything else. Bladestorm’s are recommended if you are facing heavy infantry and would like more range than a helios provides.
The sunforge: twinlinked fusion blaster, (target lock/flamer/shield generator).
This configuration is doesn’t belong in a general list. It is useful for heavy and very heavy vehicles. Its weakness’ are it’s very short range and extremely low volume of shots. Sunforge’s are recommended when you're facing a couple of heavy non-skimmer tanks and can deep strike.
The firesurge: missile pod, fusion blaster, multitracker.
This configuration is taken as a tankhunter, and should only be taken if you really need it. The firesurge does not fill the role of the regular crisis suit. Its strengths and weaknesses looked at from a crisis suit perspective are irrelevant, this crisis suit effectively replaces the railgun. Not recommended in a conventional tau army.
The sunfire: plasma rifle, missile pod, fusion blaster.
This configuration is and interesting one many beginners create. It is a fireknife that can pop tanks. The sunfire is very inefficient and I recommend against it.
The stormsurge: fusion blaster, burst cannon, multitracker.
This configuration is not a good suit to take. Its weapons are for completely different targets. Its weakness’ include short range and lack of speciality. It’s an assault configuration if you’re thinking of using farsight.
The firestorm: missile pod, burst cannon, multitracker.
This configuration is popular amongst beginners for its 5 shots. It’s not a great suit because you have other units that can do its job. Crisis are for what S5 AP5 can't do. The firestorm is the second last suit I’d recommend taking.
The last suit I’d recommend taking, a twinlinked burst cannon suit, isn’t even given a name as it makes even less sense.
Lastly, flamers on crisis are usually a no-go. They can be fun, and are very effective when used right, but their short range usually puts the suit in assault range. Flamers are put on suits often for the wrong reasons. They are for suits designed to harass, not to kill lots of gaunts or guardsmen. They are effectively 1p on deathrains, sunforges, and burning eyes, and even then I would only do it if you have that 1p to spare.
To name a twinlinked suit you give it the number of the strength of the gun you have twinlinked. The multitrackers are therefore hardwired, and the crisis suit is either a team leader or shas’vre/el/o.
I have listed the configurations I recommend to be twinlinked. Highly recommended means I would always do it. Mildly recommended means do it if you have points to spare.
Highly recommended: helios-6, firesurge-8
Mildly recommend: fireknife-6, fireknife-7
I have 5 rules to crisis suits.
1. Never configure crisis in the same unit for different purposes.
2. Never field them in units of three if you can avoid it.
3. Never give them gun drones.
4. Never give a shield generator to a suit with 2 weapons.
5. Never upgrade to a shas'vre.
1. Crisis suits are taken for a specialised purpose, not to take on the whole battlefield. They do not provide the volume of shots required for that. This is a common mistake I see with lots of new players, taking units similar to a sunfire, helios, and firestorm. Whatever this unit shoots at, they will be inefficient. Equip crisis suits in a team with the same configuration or one built for the same purpose.
2. The second rule isn't as strict as it sounds. When you are fielding a large army, you need units of three because stealths take up your other elite slots. However, if you field a unit of three when it can be reduced, you should do so for the following reasons.
Three crisis with the same configuration is usually overkill. The two main exceptions to this are two fireknives with a fireknife-6/7, and two burning eyes with a helios-6.
Units of 1 and 2 save the 10p bonding upgrade that I highly recommend for units of 3. If one crisis is left from a unit of 3, or is left with one wound from a unit of 2, it is no longer a scoring unit.
Losing 1 crisis suit from shooting triggers a moral test, losing 2 means you’re taking that moral test at ld7.
A monat crisis suit never has to take last man standing moral tests.
3. The main reason for not giving crisis suits gun drones is because it takes up a hard point that could be used for another weapon or twinlinking. If it’s a hardwired option then it costs 27p, which is not worth paying for 2 gun drones. Also, if it’s hardwired you must take a multitracker on a hard point instead of hardwiring, again denying twinlinking options. If you don’t need a multitracker, then you shouldn’t be using gun drones because deathrains stay out of a gun drone’s range, and sunforges don’t target units gun drone’s can damage.
Giving crisis suits gun drones hurts you with the mixed armour and toughness rules. This is why it is also not recommended for burning eye’s.
Gun drones take away a commander’s IC status, so aren’t recommended on a commander either, even though he can have both a hardwired multitracker and hardwired drone controller.
Gun drones are bad for moral reasons. As losing drones is a lot easier than crisis suits; the unit will be taking more moral tests from losing 25% models, moral tests for last man standing for monats, and a greater chance of losing more than 50% and no longer be a scoring unit.
It is widely believed that the extra wounds the gun drones give a crisis suit, and the save shield drones give their commander are worth it. However crisis suits rarely get open fired upon where the gun drones would provide such a benefit. Often they will die when you wouldn't have lost a wound on the crisis anyway, either because of extra toughness, extra save, or IC status.
Gun drones are highly recommended on pathfinders, and mildly recommended on static fire warriors and broadsides. Never give stealths gun drones because 2 gun drones are not worth 27p, and never give an ethereal gun drones because the extra wounds are not worth losing IC status.
4. This costs 30p, and you lose any twinlinking options. It is not worth it. A little cheaper on a commander, at 25p, it still denies him any twinlinking options.
5. Shas’vre have useless upgrades to WS and I that are never worth 5p, unless you are using farsight and wish to pay 10p for +2WS and +2I.
Follow these rules and the configuration advice above and you can't go wrong.
An example of a Crisis Suit Heavy Army:
-twinlinked plasma rifle, fusion blaster, hardwired multitracker
-twinlinked plasma rifle, fusion blaster, hardwired multitracker
2 Crisis 148
-team leader, twinlinked plasma rifle, missile pod, hardwired multitracker
-plasma rifle, missile pod, multitracker
2 Crisis 113
-twinlinked missile pod, flamer
-twinlinked missile pod, target lock
6 Stealths 180
12 Fire Warriors 2 Gun Drones 152
12 Fire Warriors 2 Gun Drones 152
12 Fire Warriors 2 Gun Drones 152
Generally, crisis suit numbers range from 1-4 in 1500p armies.
This is army list tactica, as opposed to strategy. The strategy depends entirely on what the suit is equipped for.
The deathrain is the easiest to use. Using a piece of terrain in your own deployment, you can usually jump out to hit any vehicles coming your way. If those vehicles are hidden then you can fire at other targets, using the safety of the range of the suit.
The helios is a lot harder to use, as you must pick the right targets. Often a commander, it’s hard to not be the closest unit at such a small range. The helios-6 commander must use cover against the units he is shooting at, while IC protects him from the nastier heavy weaponry further away.
For the fireknife, if there's an annoying whirlwind or basilisk, deep-strike them. If there is no reason for deep strike, use the crisis suit's superior range to hit at a distance your stealths fail to cover.
Interesting post, psteve.
I disagree with your point #3 above, but all your other info is really good!
A Monat Teamleader with one twinlinked weapon, another weapon and a hardwired multitracker is one of the most efficient suits available.
Great post, this definately clears a few things up for me.
I dissagree with #2 but the other two make sense.
There once was a Lord named Vlad,
Who's fighting skillz really were mad.
He killed and he maimed,
He spilled blood in Khorne's name.
And the fact that he's legal makes me glad
(special thanks to Uriel Zarium for the last line/touching it up)
i agree with number one but the others i find are stupid. 3 crisis suits offer a lot more fire power than 1.
Which Halo character are you?
You talk alot, you don't do much, but at times you can be invaluable.
After some calculations damn you tonka! i have edited #3 from:
3. Never upgrade one to a team leader or shas'vre and should never give them hardwiring options.
3. Never upgrade one to a shas'vre and the only hardwiring option you should take is a multi and that's only if you have a twinlinked weapon and another weapon.
As for the replies, thanks. I still stand by my leadership reasoning for #2.
I also have to slightly disagree with #2, mainly because I interpret the rules differentlyOriginally Posted by psteve
The -1 to Leadership for being below half strength only applies to morale checks for shooting casualties, Tank Shock or losing close combat. They are grouped under the Morale Check section under A), and C).
For Last Man Standing, you simply take a Leadership Test without modifiers. I believe it is pretty clear in the rules.
I'm really glad you did this psteve, now we can just quote this instead of arguing for 5 posts with newbies!!!
I see your reasonning with #2 but in large lists (2000 +) where your already taking a Stealth squad and you want more suits, you will have to field them in groups of 3, of course, it all depends on all kinds of circumstances and such but generally #2 is 'bendable' IMO.
You're absolutely right. *editedOriginally Posted by dethray
I still stand by my leadership reasoning for #2. You're still taking that one casualty test at ld7. The unit still loses it's scoring unit status if there's only 1 left.
You still must pay an extra 10p for the last crisis suit for bonding.
That alone means it's cheaper to field 2 units of 2, and most times better to spend points elsewhere.
But oh my I did read the rules wrong...I think I'll be a little more lenient on this rule.
Miketehfox, you're absolutely right.
Psteve, I think the first problem you describe is a problem of play style rather than a problem with gun drones. Crisis suits should be picking off vulnerable elements of an army, not trying to stand up to massed bolter fire. That said, your example shows a unit that is better off with gun drones. In order to even get a wound on a crisis suit, the marines would have to get seven wounds on the unit. Even with the lowered toughness, you have to be hit with 10.5 attacks, which would mean the marines would have to be taking 15.75 shots. I don't play marines, so I don't know what their squad limits are, but I've never seen a squad capable of shooting that much outside of rapid-fire range. To complete the comparison, 10.5 hits against a unit of crisis suits without drones (and, therefore, with toughness four) would inflict 5.25 wounds, all of which would be on suits.
There is the possibility that a suit will be destroyed before its drones are. There is also the possibility that a suit will be destroyed before it can fire its weapons, but that's not a good reason to always take the cheapest weapons. The real problems with drones arise when they're in small numbers, but a bit of decent math can tell you whether they're worth it in any given situation.
Personally, I like drones for the pinning test; six drones will force one about 75% of the time against marines. Since a crisis unit will usually inflict enough wounds to force a morale check if the pinning test is passed, that squad will usually take two leadership tests. This is a particularly effective way of dealing with small heavy-weapons and similar squads.
But, as I said, it's a matter of play style.
thank you and good night