Battle Review: Tau Empire


Greetings all heroes and villains of the Warhammer 40k universe.

It has been a long haitus from 40k and I am not sure I am back yet but I can say I have never left. Many friends are still playing and enjoying this game. Many things has happened and a quick summary has below:

  • Sold my Necron Army.
  • Sold my Tyranids Army.
  • Bought and painted 3 Imperial Knights.
  • Expended Dark Angels with many bikes and 1 speeder.
  • Expended Tau Empire with new models (new plastic commander, Ghostkeel, new Crisis suits, Stealth suits, Broadsides, Riptides etc)

Played a friendly game with a long time friend last saturday (12nov2015) to try out the new Tau formations and is indeed very game changing. I will share and explain more below.

His list (1850 points):

Hunter Contigent

Hunter Cadre:
01-Cadre Fireblade
01-Dark Strider
01-Riptide(Ion w/ TL fusion, ews)
04-12 man Strike Team
02-10man Breacher Team w/ Devilfish(no upgrades)
01-Stormsurge(Pulse Driver)

04-Marker Drones

01-New Tau Mobile Defence Wall(Complete set)

My list:

Retaliation Cadre:
01-Coldstar(02 gun drones, DC)
01-Riptide(Ion, TL fusion, VT, stim)01-Crisis(02 fusion)
01-Crisis(02 fusion)
02-Crisis(02 burst cannon, 02 gun drones)
02-Broadsides(TL RG, TL plasma)

Optimised Stealth:
01-Ghostkeel(Cyclic, TL fusion)
04-Stealth suits(fusion, markerlights/target lock, locator, 02 marker drones.| burst cannon, target lock)
04-Stealth suits(fusion, markerlights/target lock, locator, 02 marker drones.| burst cannon, target lock)

Firesupport Cadre:
01-Riptide(Ion, TL fusion, VT, stim)
02-Broadside(High yield, SMS, ewo)
02-Broadside(High yield, SMS, ewo)

Battle Summary

  • I chose to let opponent go first but unfortunately I seized. But all of my models are not in position to shoot. (first mistake)
  • Coordinated fire is pretty terrifying. BS4 Tau army. Tau has many high strength weapons but the balance to it was lower BS. With this formation benefit of bringing up the BS to base nominal value of 4, Tau gunline gets a huge boost. An example, I had 70+ pulse rifle shots hits, near 50 armor saves to make on a single unit. Needless to say, my unit didn’t survive when close.
  • Stormsurge took down Riptides very easily. 1 markerlight for D profile, 2 markerlights for remove cover is all it takes. Combine with coordinated fire for BS4.
  • 12″ support fire are irritating.
  • Run and shoot for Breacher Team.
  • Ghostkeel are very survivable due to easy 2+ cover almost anywhere.
  • Did not get to test Coldstar. Got shot down the following turn it deep striked in.

Lesson Learn

  • Stormsurge are not impossible to shoot down in 1 turn. 8W, T6 with 3+ save/5+++. In my game, I focus on taking out markerlight units first. After game review, I realized he only have 2 units who can shoot far. Should have kept distance and shoot down Stormsurge first.
  • Ghostkeel and Stealth in Optimized Stealth formation with ignore cover bonus, should pack in as many low AP weapons as possible.
  • Double burst cannon Crisis can surprisingly generate a lot of armor saves for opponent. These are my new go to weapon of choice for TEQ and MEQ.
  • Do not go too near to multiple Strike Team double tap range. They WILL shoot you down. Clear them from range.
  • Most of the formation grants Tau units to become BS4 thus the primary role of Markerlights  is to strip cover. Vastly reducing the need of units relying on markerlight support.
  • In the retaliation cadre formation, Broadsides can move and shoot on full BS due to relentless USR. It is amazing!

Thank you. I hope I can share more as I learn more.



5 thoughts on “Battle Review: Tau Empire

  1. Thanks for your review, The D Missiles from the Stormsurge costs 1 markerlight per missile you want to change into D, so it’s bit markerlight intensive, but I think your right in that the upping of BS due to the formations means less markerlights are required elsewhere than before..

    I recently played against the new Tau recently and he combined 2 units of 5 pathfinders and a marker drone squad together and due to the +1 BS they were putting 10 markerlights on a unit (effective but a bit overkill).

    What did you think of the breacher teams ? I’m put off by the fact they are only better at shooting than pulse rifle armed fire warriors at less than 5″ range, and their inv save is not going to do much.

    I’m looking forward to getting my Tau on the battlefield again 🙂

    1. Forgot to mention that the Hunter Cadre doesn’t allow Dark Strider and it needs a Commander. It’s a pain that there’s a bit of a tax on Ethereals (have to have the Command formation), but it’s still a very flexible and powerful formation.

    2. IMO, Breacher Teams are hard to use because of the range they are effective. Even with fish of fury tactic, it is still out of their good range. Might be good only vs drop pod marines? Thus it is too situational.

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