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Tau in Combat Patrol (Mini-Tourney/RTT Report)


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#1
Alcyon

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Greetings fellow Shas,
 
I just finished playing the qualifier round for a little tournament my gaming group is running online, and I wanted to share my list and results for discussion. I have the opportunity to tune my list a little before the elimination round and would love to hear your input. There are some constraints; we have to run a single Patrol detachment, rule of 1 except for Troops and Dedicated Transports and no single units worth more than 229pts. We're also playing just the 3 Combat Patrol missions from the big rule book without the revised Secondaries available in the GT mission pack. 
 
I built this list with a couple things in mind; first, I wanted to seize two objectives as quickly as possible, because our melee is very weak and it can be hard to "turn" them once an opponent has landed on one. I also wanted a robust Overwatch threat to be able to get a second shooting phase in my opponent's turn, and help deter charges. Finally I wanted enough units and flexibility to play to objectives even if my heavy hitters got knocked out.
 
++ Patrol Detachment 0CP (T'au Empire) ++
Sept Choice: T'au Sept
 
+ HQ +
 
Commander in XV8 Crisis Battlesuit: 4. Through Boldness, Victory, 4x Fusion blaster, Warlord
MV1 Gun Drone
MV4 Shield Drone
 
+ Troops +
 
Strike Team
Fire Warrior Shas'ui: Pulse pistol, Pulse rifle
4x Fire Warrior w/ Pulse Pistol + Pulse Rifle: 4x Photon grenades, 4x Pulse pistol, 4x Pulse rifle
 
+ Elites +
 
XV25 Stealth Battlesuits
2x MV4 Shield Drone: 2x Shield generator
Stealth Shas'ui w/ Burst Cannon: Burst cannon
Stealth Shas'ui w/ Burst Cannon: Burst cannon
Stealth Shas'vre: Burst cannon, Drone controller
 
+ Fast Attack +
 
Pathfinder Team: Accelerated-photon grenades, MV33 Grav-inhibitor Drone
MB3 Recon Drone
2x MV1 Gun Drone: 4x Pulse carbine
Pathfinder
Pathfinder Shas'ui: Pulse pistol
3x Pathfinder w/ Rail Rifle: 3x Photon grenades, 3x Rail rifle
 
Tactical Drones
4x MV1 Gun Drone: 8x Pulse carbine
 
The plan was to deploy the Stealth Suits on a midboard objective, then move the Pathfinders up to within 6" using their pre-game move. That'd let me overwatch with both units and their drones in case of a charge, and on my turn I can bring up the Commander and extra drones behind that blob to join the castle while the Strike Team holds a backline objective and provides some 30" fire support. If I get locked, my plan was to use Mont'ka on turn 2 to scatter and still shoot.
 
Picking Secondaries was tough because few armies presented good targets for Purge or No Mercy, so I planned to mostly run Linebreaker, the mission objectives and in a pinch, First Strike, though I wasn't happy about it. It really didn't seem like I could afford to do any action-based ones given how few guns you get in this format.
 
I ended up beating Drukhari and Harlequins(!) in the Outriders and Incisive Attack missions respectively. I don't remember a ton about how they played out, but the Drukhari player had 3 Venoms and 15 Wracks plus a Haemonculus running Dark Technomancers, and the Harlies brought a Starweaver with 5 Troupe Players and a Troupe Master, plus a Solitaire and 2 Skyweavers. The invulns meant my lack of AP didn't matter much and the Str 6 Rail Rifles were very strong against the T3 models. 
 
My Commander didn't roll super well with his fusion but in both games I managed to burn the transports pretty early on and then clean up the infantry with multiple rounds of Overwatch and shooting. I tabled both armies, Drukhari on turn 4 and Harlies on 5. The scores were 71-37 v. Drukhari and 82-33 v. Harlequins with the Stealth Suits and drones with their 8" move coming in clutch for Linebreaker and the mission objectives Surgical Assault and Survey.
 
I was feeling surprisingly confident after that, but I didn't think either player had had much experience in Combat Patrol and they didn't play to the objectives very much. My third match was much tougher, playing Encircle against Necrons running the now-classic Eternal Conquerers/Relentlessly Expansionist. This mission was tougher for my strategy because I couldn't just leave the Fire Warriors in my DZ holding an objective (as they're all outside both DZs) and yet I didn't want to split up my castle, AND I needed a unit wholly within my own DZ to score the mission objective. I ended up taking Deploy Teleport Homer as well since my Stealths kept ending up in the enemy DZ with no targets to shoot at, so I figured it was worth a try.
 
I ended up deploying the Stealth Suits far away from the castle in the hopes of moving into the enemy DZ as early as possible and avoiding a charge. This was critical because my opponent brought a Skorpekh Lord with a wound regen relic and some other buff, plus 5 Immortals, 3 Lokhust Destroyers and a ton of Scarabs, like 8 or 9 bases worth. Having my Stealths so far away meant their Drone Controller never improved any drone BS, and I didn't deploy my screen far enough away from my castle which allowed him to consolidate easily into my lines. I spent a lot of firepower on Scarabs but couldn't deplete his army quick enough to prevent them from scoring tons of primary points with ObSec, and his Destroyers kept reanimating after my Commander blew his wound rolls. I lost this one miserably with only 33pts. 
 
I didn't feel too bad about that given that Necrons have a high-tier competitive codex now, I mean, I just don't think there's a list in our book with enough firepower to fully delete a Necron unit each turn to prevent reanimation while also competing with army-wide ObSec. It did make me reconsider my list a bit given how tough the mission was, however.
 
For the event, the organizer has allowed us to delete 1 unit from our roster and add up to 2 to replace it between the qualifier and elimination rounds, so I figured I'd put an alternate list together and try to get a test game in. I ended up dumping the Commander for a Broadside w/ Plasma Guns, Heavy Rail, Drone Controller, Seeker Missile and 2 Gun Drones plus a Cadre Fireblade with a single Gun Drone; I figured I could run two smaller castles, the Stealth & Pathfinder combo and then another one with the Strike Team and Drones screening the Fireblade and Broadside. 
 
I got in a test game today against a Speed Freeks list running a Trukk with a bunch of Boyz and a Mek, a Kustom Boosta-Blasta, a Boomdakka Snazzwagon and a buffed up Warboss on a Bike; not a great matchup after I'd just swapped my 4 Fusion Blasters for a Broadside. I did have some solid luck though, rolling a ton of 4+ saves and blowing up his Trukk on turn 1 in his own DZ. The Broadside managed to blow up the Kustom Boosta-Blasta as well but then it started going downhill quick. I managed to devastate his Boyz with shooting and overwatch but they beat up my Pathfinders enough to make them die to morale, and his Warboss got down to 2 wounds before finishing off my castle. I was left with the Stealth Suits in his DZ who were eventually wiped themselves at the bottom of turn 4. 
 
Overall I think my strategy is generally solid, and my opponents and I have been repeatedly impressed by the weight of overlapping 5+ Overwatch and the effectiveness of Str 5 infantry weapons. If I could, I think I'd like to try a list with as many Gun Drones and Fire Warriors as possible, but with the constraints of the event there's only so much I can change before the final round. I'd love to hear suggestions for what you might cut and sub in! I've been thinking about a Piranha for Engage On All Fronts and maybe another Troops unit, maybe some Breachers in lieu of the Stealth Suits but I'm not sure. So far their -1 to hit and 12 BS4 Burst Cannon shots have been pretty strong!

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#2
Alcyon

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A note I forgot to add - I was really hopeful about the Accelerated-photon Grenades and Grav-Inhibitor Drone, but so far they haven't mattered much. I got charged by the Skorpekh Lord and Warboss on Warbike pretty immediately on the tiny board with their long move distances, and I never really want to spend one of my Overwatch attacks throwing a grenade that probably won't actually prevent a charge by a canny player. I did manage to get it off once against the Harlequins and it was decent vs. the Solitaire but I think the options are better spent elsewhere - I wish I had given the Commander Cross-linked Stabilizer Jets to help reduce his 1s to wound.
 
I'd definitely be open to ideas on swapping these out but keep in mind we'd have to drop the Pathfinders unit to do so and add something that can take a Prototype Weapons System or relic; not sure what that'd be.


#3
AenarIT

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With these restrictions, the list I'd probably take would be something like this:

 

Farsight Enclaves Patrol 

HQ1 - XV8 Commander [4x CIB, Iridium] + 1x Shield Drone

HQ2 - XV85 Commander [4x CIB] + 1x Shield Drone

TR1 - 5 Breachers [Shas'ui, Pulse Pistols] + 1x Shield Drone, 1x Guardian Drone

TR2 - 5 Breachers [Shas'ui, Pulse Pistols] + 1x Shield Drone, 1x Guardian Drone

499 points

 

 

Alternatively:

 

Farsight Enclaves Patrol 

HQ1 - XV8 Commander [3x CIB, ATS, Iridium] + 1x Shield Drone

HQ2 - XV85 Commander [4x CIB] + 1x Shield Drone

TR1 - 5 Breachers [Shas'ui, Pulse Pistols] + 1x Shield Drone, 1x Guardian Drone

EL1 - 3 Stealth Suits

494 points

 

As for the relic, I'd get the Talisman of Arthas Moloch on the Enforcer Commander. Warlord trait: whatever you like most. 

The CIB commanders are the most efficient unit we have, at 500 points two of them can wreak havoc. 4x CIB is statistically better than 3x CIB + ATS and works efficiently vs all targets. 
The Breachers with a 5++ save offer some moderately tough bodies to take the field. I'd rather take 2 units of them with the accompanying drones rather than 3 Stealth Suits as they are tougher (inv save) and the drones help the Commanders even more. The Stealth Suits suffer from the current meta, as marines are everywhere so everyone lists with anti-marine weapons in mind.

This would imply playing a different strategy: shoot your opponent off the table asap and try to win the game this way. At 500 points it's possible.


Some basic math.

A 4x CIB Commander with reroll 1s to hit (like from the FSE tenet by being close enough to the target) deals on average 9.72 unsaved wounds to a SM infantry unit, killing roughly 100 points in a single shooting phase. Once you add in other bonuses (Through Unity Devastation, reroll 1s to wound, reroll all to wound, ...) from stratagems and so on, you deal even more damage. 
With a reroll all to wound (using the FSE stratagem), such a Commander would deal on average 10.37 unsaved wounds to a SM Rhino equivalent. Two of them can take on any vehicle your opponents may bring at 500 points. 

 

The only kind of lists you may struggle against are hordes. If you face horde orks, tyr, guard or similar armies, you may find it difficult to clear them off the table and therefore you'd have to play the mission a bit more, by focusing down their scary units first. 

 

 

EDIT: I replied without having read all your comment so I realize now that you may be restricted from changing your list in its entirety. Anywyay, this is what I would've done with a 500 pts tournament. 


Edited by AenarIT, 03 January 2021 - 10:01 AM.

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#4
Alcyon

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Thanks Aenar. I did consider FSE and dual Commanders but I think it's a lot of points to invest in units that are pretty vulnerable out on their own, and I think you need a fair bit of MSU to be successful with Secondaries at 500pts. I do think Breachers would be the way to go if you were running FSE and Guardian Drones do seem like a good option for that extra survivability. If I was going that way I think I'd try to run 1 Coldstar with the Talisman and Fusion Blasters (since he can outrun any drones) and an Iridium XV8 Commander with drones. 

 

I actually don't think CIB Commanders are especially points efficient, it's true it's one of the few ways to affordably jam CIBs into a 500pt list but the base unit pays a lot for BS2+, Master of War which you can only trigger once, WS3+ and 4 attacks you don't want to use, etc. If you can afford to run them, Crisis Teams with CIBs are more points efficient IF you are running 2x CIB with ATS. The difference between 3 w/ better AP and 4 is negligible and you run a significantly lower risk of mortal wounds, which is why the combo is so common - plus, in a pinch, ATS applies to your close combat attacks too. Against MEQ there is no difference at all statistically, 3 CIB w/ ATS also deals 9.72 unsaved wounds with re-roll 1s to hit. The numbers are identical against Rhinos too whether you use re-roll all wounds or not.

 

I hear you on the Stealth Suits suffering from an anti-MEQ meta. So far they have been tougher than Breachers because of T4, and with a 3+ it takes AP2 for their save to be as bad as the Breachers' 5+ invuln off the Guardian Drone, plus -1 to hit. Granted I'd rather someone be firing their high AP weapons into my Breachers than anything else, but if they are it's probably wounding on 2s given T3 and with no minus to hit. 

 

Right now my plan is just to swap the Pathfinders Squad with another Squad that's simply respec'd to the following:

 

Pathfinder Team: Networked markerlights
MB3 Recon Drone
MV1 Gun Drone
3x Pathfinder: 3x Markerlight, 3x Photon grenades, 3x Pulse carbine
Pathfinder Shas'ui: Pulse pistol
3x Pathfinder w/ Rail Rifle: 3x Photon grenades, 3x Rail rifle

 

Basically dropping the Grav-inhibitor Drone and Accelerated-photon grenades for Networked Markerlights and another couple bodies in the squad. That gives me three BS4 markerlights in the army even on the move, which should let me use Aerial Targeting and Uplinked Markerlight to get up to 5 on a unit if I need to in a pinch. Also brings me to 500pts exactly which I think is sweet, at this level every point counts. 

 

Alternatively I could just run 5 Pathfinders with no Rail Rifles and 2 Gun Drones, and add a Cadre Fireblade with 1 Gun Drone. If I castle everything up that'd give me 93 Pulse shots within half range and that'd actually be more than the other list with the Rail Rifles added (or about the same if you count the extra mortal from the Rail Rifles I guess.) Not sure which way to go on that one.



#5
AenarIT

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Considering how squishy Pathfinders are, I'd avoid taking expensive upgrades on them like the Rail Rifles. More bodies would probably be the way to go imho.


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#6
Alcyon

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I was thinking similarly. RIght now my planned list drops them altogether for a Piranha and a squad of 5 Breachers with Guardian and Gun Drones. That gives me more ObSec and should help with EoAF/Linebreaker without reducing my firepower too much. Kinda regret not going with FSE at this point but I think I should be able to keep a castle together for the first couple turns then split off once I can get units into the enemy DZ.



#7
Alcyon

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In the end I stuck with T'au Sept since I couldn't switch my sept, and ended up just swapping two drones in the Pathfinder squad for two more Pathfinders so I could have a hope of 5 markerlights with the uplinked strat. I also swapped Accelerated-photon grenades for Networked Markerlights.

 

Unfortunately I was paired against Custodes round 1 in the elimination bracket, pretty horrible matchup as the Overwatch hasn't a chance of actually killing anything. Even my Commander's meltaguns were in a bad spot with the WLT halving any damage his Captain received on top of a 3+ invulnerable. He got first turn and seized the midfield objectives, I had to move out to have a hope of scoring anything and he tabled me at the top of round 2. 

 

Overall I think this build is playable against some of the toughness 3 and low-tier armies out there, but against a tournament meta probably something more like Aenar's list is much better. If I could do it again I would probably run 3 XV8 Veteran Bodyguards with CIB/ATS, 9 Breachers with Guardian and Shield drones and a CIB/ATS Commander. 






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