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Monday, May 3, 2010

Leading the Charge! (Crisis Commanders and their Bodyguards)

Crisis Command Teams are a highly debated subject. The roles of the two Shas'vre bodyguards could easily be filled by Shas'ui purchased in the Elite slot, sporting the same number of wounds, same ballistic skill, and same mobility as the more costly Shas'ui. So why do many Tau generals insist on the use of bodyguards?
Bodyguards bring to the table three advantages that shas'ui do not. Sadly, the first two of these advantages are so miniscule that they are not deciding factors in the slightest:
1. They take up an HQ slot. This means that if you enjoy taking masses of Crisis or Stealth Suits, you may need a spot to fit more Crisis firepower. This only comes into play with larger point games, and rarely with any army builds but Crisis-spam.
2. They are better at combat. Bodyguards not only have an easier time hitting in combat, but they don't allow the Commander to be singled out (or vice-versa) by things that could easily kill it.
3. They have access to Wargear and Special Issue Weapons. This is the big one. This allows a plethora of options not otherwise seen. Want a team made to crush infantry? Plasma, CIB, AFB, Missiles, all in one squad. Do you want to have three weapon systems on each suit? Go ahead, you can hardwire multitrackers. Want Fireknives with backup flamers? Do it up.
The big thing here though; with the ability to hardwire multitrackers, you can finally give your whole team access to Targetting Arrays, which is key in lists that run few to zero markerlights.

A word to the wise, however. Bodyguards are expensive. You should only use a bodyguard team if you have reason to. Taking bodyguards only is worth the cost when:
a) you are out of Elite slots
b) you have a Special Issue team planned
c) you lack Markerlights
If you do not meet these criteria, stick to the shas'ui.


Rathstar said...

Completely agree, the price of a shav're over a shas'ui is quite significant.

On your critera for taking bodyguards I think only the first point is truely valid.

On special issue I think the Air Frag could easily go on a elite crisis team shas'vre, and the CIB could easily go on a shas'el/o.

Even without markerlights I guestion the need for BS4 suits, as an example it costs 62 pts for a fireknife (plasma/missile) suit, and costs 82 pts for a BS4 fireknife bodyguard. The bodyguard is a third better at shooting for a third more pts, yet is no more survivable to return firepower. IMHO I think it's better to spend the pts on more suits. In many lists I see 2 BS4 bodyguards and in all cases I think saving a few pts to get an elite unit of 3 crisis suits would be better, eg. 164 pts for 2 BS4 fireknife bodyguards or 186 for 3 elite fireknifes.

The nail in the coffin for me is that the shas'el/o can't leave the bodyguard, putting so many points in one place. Tau Commanders can be used to bolster so many other places, eg. kroot screens increased to ld9/10, extra drone protection added to pathfinders or broadsides.


Aloh'Nan'El said...

My rebuttal to that would be that as the two bodyguards cost 22 points more, I can thus buy two Drones to give the Bodyguards more durability than the Elite Suits.
I do, however, note that a IC Shas'el is great for leadership boosting purposes, specifically in the cases of Kroot, Broadsides, and Pathfinders. I personally, however, run a very heavy mechanized army, and the use of Kroot or Pathfinders nearly forces me to run a semi-static castle. So while Shas'els give this bonus in some armies, note that they do not in all.

Rathstar said...

I think a fair comparison would be to either give the bodyguards & the crisis team drones or not. I'd say in either case the extra pts for the full crisis team (compared to 2 BS4 bodyguards) is well worth it, mainly:
1) 12% more damage output (3 guys hitting on 4+ against 2 guys hitting on 3+)
2) 2 extra wounds & 1 extra model (so the first crisis suit that is killed only loses a third of the unit's firepower rather than half)
3) The option of the shas'el to leave the unit, either to support another unit, or what I've very useful is, to split so an enemy can only kill either the shas'el or the unit rather than both at the same time.


Aloh'Nan'El said...

However the comparison of Drones is fair, from a points perspective, and fairness of points-> durability/firepower is the point. You also have to factor in unit footprint, marker support, etc.
Point being, the unit has its ups and downs but it comes down to player choice; my unit works well as a spearhead that can work alone, yours works far better than mine ever could in conjunction with Markerlights.

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