Stick to Yours Guns! Another PuppyPants List Review

August 3, 2016 ftnadmin No comments exist

 Tau Army

Hey team, Andrew “PuppyPants” Whittaker here with another review of a list submitted by an FTN subscriber. As my usual reminder, we at FTN are happy to do list reviews for anyone wanting some input, so if you have a list idea you’re excited about but would like some input, hit me up on social media, email, or comment below! @awhitt_thetall on Twitter and Instagram or Andrew.whittaker89@yahoo.com for email submissions.

Alright, enough of that intro stuff let’s get to that good-good. This week’s submission comes from the other side of the globe (literally) as one of our Kiwi listeners Edmund W. wanted some feedback on a Tau list he had ginned up. Considering how cool our gaming community is, such that a dude from New Zealand can talk to a dude in the USA about warhams, this list should be read with your best New Zealander accent:

Edmund’s Tau: 1850

Hunter Contingent:

XV8 Commander Crisis Suit – Command and Control Node, Puretide Engram Neurochip, Velocity Tracker, XV8-02 Crisis ‘Iridium’ Battlesuit

XV104 Riptide Battlesuit – MV84 Shielded Missile Drone, Riptide Shas’vre, Early Warning Override, Ion Accelerator, Stimulant Injector, Twin-linked Smart Missile System

Crisis Shas’ui –  2x Fusion Blaster

Crisis Shas’ui –  2x Fusion Blaster

Crisis Shas’ui –  2x Fusion Blaster

TX4 Piranha (50pts) – Fusion Blaster

XV88 Broadside Battlesuits (2) – 4x MV8 Missile Drone, Twin-linked Heavy Rail Rifle, Twin-linked Smart Missile System

XV88 Broadside Battlesuits (2)  – 4x MV8 Missile Drone, Twin-linked Heavy Rail Rifle, Twin-linked Smart Missile System

Strike Team (3) – 5x Fire Warrior with Pulse Rifle

Infiltration Cadre

Pathfinder Team (3) – 6x Pathfinder

TX4 Piranha – Fusion Blaster

XV25 Stealth Battlesuits – 2x Burst Cannon, 1x Fusion Blaster

XV25 Stealth Battlesuits – 2x Burst Cannon, 1x Fusion Blaster

 

CAD

Ethereal – Homing beacon

Kroot Carnivores – 10x Kroot

Kroot Carnivores – 10x Kroot

Kroot Carnivores – 20x Kroot, x2 Hounds

 

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(Edmund’s actual Riptide. He “flicked” me a couple pictures with the list submission)

 [Had to use context clues to figure out what he meant when he said he would “flick” me some pictures. Not the common vernacular in Atlanta, Georgia, USA.]

Ok. Lot’s to digest here. And if you’re part of the 70% of 40K players who despise Tau and wish they’d die in a fire, you’re eyes are probably glassy just from reading those names and you’re clicking over to a Beyond the Brush painting tutorial. That’s fine. Get out of here!!!

But if you’re still locked in, there a ton here, (Tonne, maybe?) but before I break out my list scalpel I just want to remind you of my list review ethos – stay true to the spirit of the list. Far too often do list-reviews turn into list-revamps and it kills what the player was originally going for. I hate that. So even though this might not be the list I came up with if I was starting from scratch, I will review it with the goal of maintaining its spirit and intent.

For the benefit of those who don’t know, the Hunter Contingent is a Tau Detachment akin to the Necron Decurion in that it’s a Detachment of Formations. Its primary benefit is Coordinated Firepower, which allows any number of units to “combine firepower” against a single target and if 3 or more units do so, they are each +1 BS. Not too shabby.

The Infiltration Cadre is the Auxiliary formation chosen as part of the Hunter Contingent.  It has two fancy pants abilities. First, if a unit from the formation is killed, you can automatically everything you have in reserves to automatically come in on the next turn. No need to roll for them at all. Second, the Neutralization Lattice ability says that if you put three marker lights onto a single target, that target automatically takes a hit from a seeker missile.

With those overarching formation bonuses in mind, these are my thoughts:

 

  1. I haven’t seen a rail rifle broadside since 5th Get that jank out of here!! High-Yield Missile Pods for Lyfe!!! This is especially true given how much Fusion is in this list. You don’t need the additional anti-armor, you need the volume of shooting to clear out swarms of demons, shoot down bug flyers, or clear out gladius squads. I won’t do it here because im sure it’s been hashed out on the interwebs more than a few times, but the math on HYMP’s is wayyyyyy better than Rail Rifles, so if you’re trying to be competitive that’s an easy first step.

 

  1. I actually don’t see a lot Missile Drones taken with Broadsides in high-end competition lists, but I don’t hate it here. I think if you’re committed to them its Ok to leave them in, but if you switch over to the Missile-sides, then taking out the missile drone will be a good place to shave points for re-allocation elsewhere.

 

  1. The Kroot should be 4 x 10 plus Hound, not 2 x 10 and 1 x20. There is always some benefit to having the big 20 man squad but given the battle field utility of kroot having more small squads is the way to go. This is especially true given their proclivity to run the &*^% away if they ever get assaulted. Kroot hound should be an auto-include 5-point upgrade.

 

  1. Probably too much Fusion and not enough plasma/other stuff. This could be fairly meta dependent, but that much fusion will often be overkill or will be too scattered to do what you need it to do. By my count there’s 10 Fusion Guns in this list across 7 units. That’s puts you in a tough position as a player having to position units properly in order to be in range to effectively use their weapons, while not putting too many units into that spot. All that while knowing that much fusion on that many units won’t help you against high model count armies like demons, or long range armies like Guard or Eldar (look at me putting those two books into the same sentence like they’re equal!). And finally, it’s just expensive. That many fusion guns is a 100+ point hard commit to anti-armor. In a world where Broad Sides can tear things down with pure volume and the Land Raider is dead… I don’t know if that’s where a tau army should be headed.

 

  1. I actually really like the Hunter Contingent but I’m not sold on the Infiltration Cadre being used with it. I’ll go into a little more detail below, but in a list like this, which is predominantly foot slogging gun-line tau, the ability to manipulate reserves is not as important as it could be. And the number of points spent on making other units shooting better seems to preclude taking good shooting to begin with. There is 430+ points in this Infiltration Cadre and it just doesn’t pack enough oomph to justify in this list. I would/will pull this formation in its entirety.

 

  1. Riptide looks fine, though I question the shielded missile drone. I think 25 points on missile drones for the broadsides would be better, if you want more drones. Maybe put them on the Hunter Cadre broadside team.

 

  1. I think the 3 man crisis team is a point sink, but if you want to do it, give them target locks (maybe drone or fusion points here) so they can shoot more than one thing on the drop.

 

  1. Inside the Hunter Contingent, take the Velocity Tracker off of the Commander (it applies to his guns not the squad’s guns, and he doesn’t have any guns). Besides that he’s fine, but could use a Multi Spectrum Sensor Suite for the ignores cover (it’s an even swap in points for the VT, so yay for that).

 

Overall I think I’ve ID’d some places where the list can be min/maxed for more optimized shooting output and better overall efficiency. But the biggest change would be to eliminate the Infiltration Cadre and add a Firebase Support Cadre. And before anyone says “Andrew, you’re not remaining true to the spirit of the list!!” please know that I asked Edmund about how attached he was to the Infiltration cadre specifically.

Andrew:  Do you feel like you’d lose the spirit of the list without the infiltration cadre? Namely, is it essential to what you want to play?

Edmund: I am not attached to the infiltration cadre at all, but I do like having a decent number of marker lights. The stealth suits for me were pretty much a tax.

That is as close to a “Yeah it can burn for all I care” response as one can get. So I’m sleeping easy removing it from the list.  Here is what I would have after my changes:

Pathfinder

Andrew’s Proposed Tau: 1850

Hunter Contingent:

XV8 Commander Crisis Suit – Command and Control Node, Puretide Engram Neurochip, MSS, XV8-02 Crisis ‘Iridium’ Battlesuit

XV104 Riptide Battlesuit – Riptide Shas’vre, Early Warning Override, Ion Accelerator, Stimulant Injector, Twin-linked Smart Missile System

Crisis Shas’ui –  2x Fusion Blaster, Target Lock

Crisis Shas’ui –  2x Fusion Blaster, Target Lock

Crisis Shas’ui –  2x Fusion Blaster

 

TX4 Piranha

XV88 Broadside Battlesuits (2) – 2x MV8 Missile Drone, HYMP, Twin-linked Smart Missile System, EWO

XV88 Broadside Battlesuits (2) – 2x MV8 Missile Drone, HYMP, Twin-linked Smart Missile System, EWO

Strike Team (3) – 5x Fire Warrior with Pulse Rifle

Firebase Support Cadre

XV104 Riptide Battlesuit – Riptide Shas’vre, Early Warning Override, Ion Accelerator, Stimulant Injector, Twin-linked Smart Missile System

XV88 Broadside Battlesuits – HYMP, Twin-linked Smart Missile System, EWO

XV88 Broadside Battlesuits – HYMP, Twin-linked Smart Missile System, EWO

 

CAD

Ethereal

(4) Kroot Carnivores  – 10x Kroot, x1 Hound

Pathfinder Team – 5x Pathfinder

Pathfinder Team – 6x Pathfinder

 

 

OK so, in my version we’ve still got the Hunter Contingent, we’ve still got plenty of fusion for taking on mean stuff, we’ve got a good amount of marker lights that Edmund wanted, but we’ve cut taxes faster than [INSERT TAX CUTTING NEW ZEALAND POLITICIAN HERE].

 

By swapping the Infiltration Cadre for a Firebase Support Cadre we’ve upped the fire power by a tonne. Like an actual tonne (approximately 2,204.6 pounds). The FSC and the Hunter both promote the ground shooting synergy Edmund was going for as they both have the capacity to focus down high priority enemy units.

 

I’ve also moved points around to put Interceptor on every single broadside. This should give flyer heavy or drop pod opponents a tough time as the list can now target SIX units with interceptor.

 

Finally, with target locks on the crisis suits that Iridium Commander can really go to work creating a miniature death blossom. Up to 3 separate targets, twin linked and ignoring cover with 6 fusion guns getting buffed by the puretide chip. Lethal.

 

 

In conclusion I felt like the initial list was a very gunline/heavy infantry shooting army with Kroot on objectives backed by some suits. But there was too much tax in the stealth suits and not enough shooting to really pour it on as only the Tau can.   With the changes I think Edmund will still have that heavy infantry shooting with Marker support, but things will be tighter and more efficient.

 

With many armies, but especially Tau, committing to an army wide theme is essential. While auxiliary units are essential to helping that central theme work, if the points cost for those buffing units gets too high, the whole premise fails. As a guy who list designs with Tau always in the back of my mind, I know I that if done properly, a themed, focused, and streamlined Tau army can and will win a lot of games.As the title says, a list designer has to stick to his guns in that he/she needs to find what he wants his list to do well and then maximize it. Or, at the very least, don’t waste too much effort or points on things that will actively hinder your primary theme. Stick to your guns people!

As always, I hope someone read through this entire post and found it useful! If you’d like your list reviewed or have input on this one please let us know!!

And finally, I’d like to give a special thanks to my friend Collin Watts who took time out of his day to help me review Edmund’s list and provide some feedback. Collin is an excellent tau player and a member of my ATC team so his input on all matter Tau is always taken seriously (PSA: our respect for his opinion begins and ends with Tau). Much of what I’ve written here was animated by his insight!

 

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