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Tau & the Emerging Meta

On this inauspicious day north of the 49th parallel, snowflakes are drifting past my window (I could have sworn it was +20C the other day…) and things are also looking grim on the web, as both BoLS and Faeit are currently down. This seems to be a DMCA issue, based on posting photos from unreleased books/White Dwarf issues. Yikes! Hopefully they get back up with the majority of their content intact.

Tau -- more than just anime level missile spam after all.

Tau — more than just anime level missile spam after all.

Elsewhere on the web, reports are starting to come in on the Tau — what kinds of army lists are showing up and how people are doing. So far it looks like the army book is holding up well, as people are having decent success with a huge variety of builds. We’re talking everything from 6xFire Warrior teams in Devilfish with Ethereal bubbles for more bullets to unapologetic S7 missile spam and Farsight bombs. The only consensus is that there are countless ways of building a workable army, even before factoring in Allies.

Some Personal Favorites

Even with the huge variety of units available, a few still stand out to yours truly. First among them is still the Riptide, which I fully expect to sell like hotcakes for the foreseeable future.

With the Ion Accelerator setup and an Early Warning Override (Interceptor), this guy can ruin the day of almost anyone who comes out of reserves. It can’t protect you from everything (i.e., mass Deathwing Assault or a full drop pod list) but the threat of a S8 AP2 blast firing in the enemy movement phase is good insurance against many deep striking threats.

If you have both Skyfire and Interceptor (Velocity Tracker and Early Warning Override), Nova charging the secondary Fusion blasters could also give you a decent “Don’t come near me, flyers!” bubble. A pair of twin-linked S8 AP1 melta shots is enough to make even a Heldrake nervous, and it still allows you to fire the big gun in your turn. Probably little more than a plan B anti-flyer scheme, however. Other units can do it better.

In any configuration, the Riptide pairs mobility, durability and offense in one pretty hard to resist package. All the out of sequence shenanigans are just icing on the cake.

Another favorite is the humble Crisis Commander. I know a lot of folks are still weighting the benefits of various special characters and the cheaper HQs (Fireblade and Ethereals), but I really do like the utility of the Commander. Instead of making your Troops slightly better, he can make your heavy hitters significantly stronger while also tanking wounds via Iridium Armor. I just think that’s too good to pass up.

Something I pitched on Warseer the other day: Commander with Drone Controller leading a 3-man Crisis team and a boatload of Marker Drones. The Shas’vre gets the MSSS/C&CN setup for re-roll to hit and ignore cover saves, and everybody else loads up on your heavy hitting weapons of choice and Target Locks. If you splurge on the fully defended Commander, then he can tank wounds, dump out shots and grant his BS5 to the Marker Drones, who light up another target with extreme reliability. Vectored Retro-thrusters on the Shas’vre will also give you I4 Hit and Run, which can keep you out of trouble.

All in all, an extremely versatile unit — one of the few markerlight options that provides some durability and doesn’t take up a Fast Attack slot.

The full loadout (note that any two of the heavy hitting weapons (plasma, fusion or missile) can be chosen in any combination for the same cost):

Commander w/ 2x Marker Drones and Iridium Armor; Drone Controller, Plasma, Fusion Blaster, Target Lock and Stimulant Injector

Crisis Squad w/ 6x Marker Drones; Shas’vre w/ Multi-spectrum Sensor Suite, Command and Control Node, Vectored Thrusters; 2x Shas’ui with Target Lock, Plasma and Fusion Blaster

Sadly, missile Broadsides are still as ugly as they are dangerous. Can’t win ’em all, I guess.

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