I played another 1850 game with my Tau on Sunday against Hart’s Chaos Space marines/Chaos Daemons hybrid list. It was an Emperor’s Will/Vanguard Strike game. I had little problem shooting the everliving hell out of his army, but it came down to his Nurgle Lord with one wound sliding into home to contest my home objective at the last second, and the game ended on Turn 5, so he took it 4-1 (I got first blood). Some further notes on Tau after this game:
I love gun drones. They seriously put out a ton of shots together with the Ethereal Storm of Fire bubble, and are also handy to have in the same area as your fire warriors for providing supporting fire. BS2 is no big deal when the guns are twin-linked and S5. Plus they can move out, pour shots into enemies, and pull back to serve as assault screens. Since any of the heavy tanks and the devilfish already have one gun, taking SMS instead means one gun would usually be snap-fired (unless you’ve got great cover). I’d rather have the cute little drones to fly around and be annoying, especially since they don’t give up kill points.
Since the Sky Ray is my only unit (currently) with skyfire, and I’ve only played against Chaos armies with dragons so far, it can be a little bit challenging to bring down dragons the first time they show up on the table. But for the second time, at some point the dragon flew over my fire warrior nest, and with help from the Sky Ray markerlights, enough S5 infantry survived to snap fire into the rear armor 10 and wounded or destroyed it. It’s always a tough call on how many Sky Ray seeker missiles to commit to a particular target. I have been throwing 3-4 at a time up at the dragons, and it has not been enough to do the job. It just seems like a waste to go ahead and launch all 6 at once, leaving the Sky Ray to just be a roving double markerlight vehicle (if it doesn’t move). I eagerly anticipate fighting other races’ fliers to see if I can do any better against AV 10 or 11. Flying monstrous creatures have so far not been a problem given the amount of pulse rounds I can put out at close range.
Disruption pods, still worth it. I made plenty of cover saves this game because of them.
I’m iffy on my TL-flamer/burst cannon crisis team, since they are sort of a delicate one-trick pony, but they only cost 126 points, so it’s not like I’d get much by cashing them back in. Plus they give me a deep-strike unit that I can either take to the backfield for contesting and/or the Linebreaker point, or use my Ethereal’s a homing beacons on my gunline for some accurate anti-swarm flames.
Still waiting on my Broadsides to come in… don’t think GW has even shipped them to the states yet. Bah. Playing with a second hammerhead and the stealth suits (especially their homing beacon) is still fun for now.
The Tau firebase is very difficult to get close to and not get the hell blasted out of you. If they don’t make the charge in one fell swoop, they are probably within range of an Ethereal Storm of Fire barrage during the Tau turn, they must then survive all the supporting fire overwatch, which is also enhanced by Storm of Fire. Things that can charge from great distances, such as Maulerfiends or beasts, are high priority targets. But even if an enemy does make it through gun drone screens to a fire warrior squad, the fire warriors will either be wiped out or break, and the assaulters will probably not survive a second turn to take anything else out. It looks like the key to assaulting Tau is either getting them to spread out somehow, or whittling down the firebase with your own shooting before jumping in for up-close carnage. Obviously, heldrakes can be a big problem to keeping up your gunline resilience. I’m trying to get better at model placement to control Heldrake movement over and around my firebase. Again, if you can make them fly past you and get your pulse rifles in the rear armor, bringing them down becomes a much more reasonable proposition.
Having 3d6 jet pack moves with my Shadowsun/low-AP crisis suits is cra-mazing. Given their awesome range, as long as you are within 12 inches, you are putting in 6 S6 AP2 shots and 5 S8 Ap1 shots, re-rolling ones, and then bouncing away up to 18 inches. I wish I could afford to put another few drones with that unit to soak up wounds from things like the baleflamer or krak missiles, but I’m not sure how to get the points. I did give the fusion/plas suits advanced targeting systems this time, but it didn’t do much for this particular game (Hart made great look-out-sir rolls and cover saves for his Nurgle Lord and accompanying plague marine unit).