Hello, fellow worshippers of ranged, blue-glowing dakka.
As my previous army projects reach a conclusion, I'm now starting Tau. I've loved the unit design since my first contact with 40k, which is DoW1. The only things I don't like about the typical Tau armies out there are twofold:
1. The clean look. Be it Tron, clean edge highlighting or bright colors, this doesn't fit into my view of the 40k universe. The 4th sphere expansion serves as a template in that regard: With no way of just pulling back when facing overwhelming opposition, things don't go as cleanly as they should. Hasty field repairs, damaged equipment, injured warriors is what I'm aiming for, instead of comic-y poster boys.
2. The part where tactics might become problematic: I don't like GW's recent trend of just building even bigger battlesuits, with ever more obvious disregards for engineering principles. Like the gigantic battlesuits, with huge thrusters, connected to the suit by what could have been a space marine's lower leg. Add to that the ever-more agile and dancer-like poses, and this heavily contradicts the style I'm aiming for. Ghosts are okay, they look more realistic and bulky anyway.
After reading through the codex for a while, this is my first draft of an army composition:
Infantry (mainly lots of firewarriors and pathfinders), tanks (hammerhead, even if inferior to suits), drones, flyers (preferrably FW, awesome design). Few or no suits, no allies. It should look like a battle-hardened army, not a gundam comic.
Firewarriors with Bork'an, fireblade and grav accelerator drone seem ridiculously useful, while being as cheap as it gets. Some infantry in devilfishs, drones and piranhas to cover the midfield. Hammerheads only seem useful combined with Longstrike, so the vehicles might get shifted to T'au, and maybe include a few of the FW turret variants to cover the broadside's roles. With that much long-ranged S5, AT seems my primary concern. Would it work out to just slap seeker missiles to every possible vehicle, markerlight something big turn 1, and drown it in seekers? Especially Hammerheads with Longstrike seem useful in that situation, hitting on rerollable 2+ even when moving.
Deep striking drones seem fun too, but require drone controllers to be anywhere near effective, how could that be done? Ghosts can take one AFAIK, but those probably won't stick around for a few turns until the drones can DS outside of the deployment zone.
As for flyers, I intend to include both new FW flyers for aesthetics alone. The GW ones look okay too, but which would be really useful?
What is your experience on this approach, could it work without suits? Have I overlooked something, or is something missing in that army?