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Looking at a Tau army...

1066 Views 20 Replies 9 Participants Last post by  Phase Out
I'm looking to get a new army together and Tau have caught my attention. Soon to be updated, it's a pretty good time to start them (cause all the new stuff will come out fairly soon), however, there are some Tay models I don't like.

I like Stealth/Crisis/Broadside Battlesuits, I like Drones and Fire Warriors, but I don't really like Kroot, Vespids, Ethereals or the Tau tanks. Some fo things I don't like (and thus I'm unwilling to field them in my army) appear to be rather key elements for Tau (namely the tanks). So my real question is: can an army composed only of Battlesuits, Drones and Fire Warriors work well, or will it just get crushed?
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You can make competitive lists without the Kroot, Vespids and Etherals, thats just a matter of play style. However, without the tanks your in a world of hurt.

Hammerheads are the backbone of nearly every Tau army, Mech or Static. Their versatility, mobility, and shear killing power make them one of the best tanks in the entire game. Without the tanks you will lose hard to kill wepons platforms that can shoot either solid slug rail shot (st10, ap1) or the slightly weaker pie plates of doom.

Technically, yes you can make a list with only broadsides and Helios Crisis taking over your anti-armor roles, and in fact they can do the anti-armor better than railheads can, where your gonna find yourself lacking though is in the anti-troop category. Hammerheads can cut swaths through light and medium infantry like they were nothing more than strands of grass, they can thin out horde armies and take some of the heat of your Elities and FW's, thats not an ability or unit that can easily be replaced.

I think we could help you more if you explained to us why you dislike the Hammerhead.
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It's not the Hammerhead itself, it's the Devilfish Chassis that every Tau vehicle (bar that new Pathfinder one) that I don't like. I hate the entire style of it...

As for anti-troop, don't Stealths and Fire Warriors between them fill that roll? They pump out a lot of strong shots, although they don't ignore medium infantry armour, they'll fail their saves due to having to roll so many, surely?
You sound like a good candidate for a Farsight player. Give O'Shovah a look and see if you can build an armylist around him.


1. You will be heavily outnumbered if you bring lots of suits.
2. No vehicles means no seeker missiles, so Broadsides will be your ONLY heavy weapons support. Good luck with the fusion blaster!
At lower point levels, say up to 1000 pts, yes, probably. Over 1000 pts though I think you will really suffer if you don't have DF to move your FWs around in, and HHs to blow things up. THe thing about the HH is, it kills infantry great while not getting killed by enemy infantry. FWs get killed by enemy infantry, sometimes from shooting, nearly always if they get in assault.
Hammerhead look awesome. They're the reason I started Tau. The look, not the stats.
I agree w/ the farsight comment. Regular Tau armies need the tanks to push the enemy around. Battlesuits just can't put enough pressure on by themselves as they die too quickly to return fire/assault if they get too close.

Despite what a lot of beginners think when they see all those high STR guns, a napoleonic style army just doesn't fare well. At least some elements of the Tau army must be manouverable to throw the opponent off balance. The Hammerheads/Develfish are extremely resilient tanks and they draw a lot of attention from battlesuits, drones, and other infantry that die all too quickly w/ a determined enemy.

Farsight, however is THE battlesuit army. His troops are a little better in CC, but they still are in no way a CC army. I own the model but have yet to use him as I find I love our tanks. It seems to me that a Farsight army should still include the 1 Hammerhead allowed and probably a Fire/Fish or two. I think he will get a slight overhaul in the new codex so I would wait for that and see.

I have used all battlesuit armies before (Crisis, Stealths, firewarriors, drones, 3 Broadsides in seperate slots), and as mentioned at 1000 pts they can be pretty competitive, but I usually lost in games any bigger than that.

As for the fusion blaster comment; I've killed more tanks w/ fusions than I probably ever will w/ rails. My subs fire at infantry and fusions work better for everything except a Monolith. Monat soulforges all the way!

Phase Out....
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It can do just fine. Don't use farsight.

Seriously, no tanks can work.

Two commanders with bodyguards, three units of stealths, some fire warriors, and broadsides with slow and purposeful. It can work.
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A lot of people are going to be taking O'Shovah now (my estimate). In the new codex, taking him allows you to give your entire army the preferred enemy rule (now the tau won't need to take kroot to deal with CC if they always hit on 3+'s).

*I have not personally seen the codex, but local GW stores have already received them, and this is what I was told from one of their employees*
Ok, I'm sure it can in certain situations, but fast CC armies will crush it. My buddies Dark Eldar ussually rips all my stealths and crisis up by the end of turn three. Another friends all genestealer army can do it even faster. This is not to say that practice won't overcome this, but it will most likely take quite a few rough lessons. Even more-so than tank-Tau does.

And I think Farsight is the way to go. It will give your Crisis the extra pushing power to help keep the movement phase in your control. He just wants you to take lotsa stealths.

Oh, God, I hope the new codex ruins stealths for you guys. All the preview pics suggest units of 3 instead of six, so maybe these guys will finally be used like they're supposed to. I just tire of all these stealth heavy lists. No real rational reason, just good old, honest spite.

Phase Out....
Well, I'm not particularly keen on O'Shovah anyway, and the idea of Tau going into CC or investing in abilites to increase their effectiveness at CC doesn't wash with me. Special Characters aren't really my cup of tea either. I'll probably stay away from the Farsight Enclaves for just now. :)
Thats your choice. You gotta like the army you play w/. I think I'm gonna stat him now though. I've been meaning to for a long time and I still have 8 unpainted crisis, 20 unpainted fire warriors, and an unpainted hammerhead. Although I use the hammerhead as my 3rd in my regular army, I think I can get away w/ 2. Unfortanately, I've already painted my 3 broadsides in my regular scheme. I have been looking at those Forgeworld XV-88-2's though. They're sweet!

Phase Out....
Phase Out said:
Oh, God, I hope the new codex ruins stealths for you guys. All the preview pics suggest units of 3 instead of six, so maybe these guys will finally be used like they're supposed to. I just tire of all these stealth heavy lists. No real rational reason, just good old, honest spite.

Phase Out....
They definitely didn't ruin em'. They're still units of 6, but now you can take 1 fusion gun for every 3 suits in the squad.

But I still hold out hope!
I have no intention of loading out on Stealths. I do like them, yes, but I'll be fielding 2 squads max, I think my army will need the support from Crisis rather than Stealths, cause my Fire Warriors will be packing the same kind of firepower as Stealths.
Why in the world do you want to see stealths reduced to squads of 3, phase? At that size they really aren't viable infantry killers at all. And the fusion blaster option is plain stupid because Tau have much more effective armor killers at their disposal. You wouldn't be seeing people fielding them in whatever way you think is "the right way," because they wouldn't get fielded at all.

Back on topic, I think you can put together a fun list with nothing but suits and FW and that it would work fine for friendly play, but that any serious, optimized list would really mess you up something bad. You're sacrificing two of Tau's biggest strengths: mobility and versatile heavy weaponry.
Without (fairly) expensive tanks and transports that'll give me more room for Suits, which allow both versatile weapon kits and good mobility (to an extent). Obviously their not in the same league as a Hammerhead, but they are cheaper too.
I'm actually looking forward to fusion guns in a stealth team. Against most low armored troops, yeah, fusion guns are kinda useless, but against most opponents (MEQ armies), I find myself yearing for more low AP weaponry. Sure fusion guns have short range, but so do burst cannons.

On the other hand, the release of the new sniper drones (you can include up to three squads of 3 railgun drones + the controller for one heavy support choice), and with the advent of the vespid and their marine killing weapons (though I cant mention stats, i'll just say that it can wound marines on a 3+ and ignores their armor), and not to mention the fact that broadsides can now fire railguns after moving, the fusion guns might not be as necessary for stealth teams anymore.
All I'm sayin' is that the fusion blaster makes a stealth team into a jack-of-all, master-of-none type outfit. Any turn it shoots at a vehicle, it's wasting its anti-personnel fire and vice versa. Right tool, right job.
I understand what you're saying 100%. I personally rarely ever use my fusion guns against vehicles due to their extremely short range (that's what railguns are for). I prefere the fusion guns for their ability to crack hive tyrants/carnifexes, and to take care of pesky terminators/enemy commanders stranded in the open. The burst cannons can still hurt both targets, but the odds of them wounding are slim. Fusion gun almost guarantees a wound if it hits, but if I do cause a wound on a terminator/tyrant with a burst cannon, its a nice added bonus.

Just my personal playing preference. Heed my words or take em' with a grain of salt. Do what works best for you.
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