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Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Holding Ground! Troops, Part 2 (The Noble Fire Warrior)

Fire Warriors are one of the most conflicted units in the game, and as such are rarely fielded en masse anymore.
Fire Warriors hold the best basic gun in the game, both in terms of range and strength. On the other hand, their Weapon Skill, Initiative, and Attack stats leave them in the dust for melee; their weakness to close combat is in fact the source of the meme that Tau suck at close combat.
Many players simply take this in stride, falling back on the seemingly above par shooting skills of the Tau. This is, in itself a folly, however. While Fire Warriors do excel in tearing apart light infantry targets at range, their shooting can't really match up to the posterboy of 40k; the Space Marine. If Space Marines and Fire Warriors fought at 24", simply plonking shots at each other, the Marines would cause more hits, equal wounds per hits, and cause more deaths per wound. I'm well aware that I am comparing to a more costly unit, but to be honest, this is assuming a fight on the Tau's turf; shooting. The Marines could cut down the Tau with ease if they moved in; not that they'd have to.

Fire Warriors aren't the toughest thing in the game, with MEDI-class (Medium Infantry Equivalent) toughness and armor, but they aren't the weakest, they can survive against a good amount of basic rounds, and can outlast enemies such as guardsmen and orks, but these forces tend to outnumber them almost two-to-one, and can outmaneuver/mob your Warriors if they ever reach close combat.

When Fire Warriors gain Markerlight support, they gain a fearsome new set of teeth. Being able to strip cover away from light infantry and boost accuracy makes long range warfare a deadly nuisance for opposing forces, and a bloodbath when the Fire Warriors close to rapidfire range. However, there are downsides to this. The use of Markerlights for Fire Warriors is generally a waste unless the Fire Warriors are facing their favorite form of enemy; light infantry. The cost of Pathfinders or a similar Markerlight source is also a factor, as is their survival.

What do Fire Warriors bring to the table that make them more favourable than Kroot? To me, it's rather simple; they can bring a Tank.
The Devilfish is expensive, and has a slight deficiency due to starting with an extra killpoint attached, but they can become a very powerful asset for your army; from the SMS, a rather rare cover-ignoring weapon for the Tau, to the chassis itself blocking off lines of fire and assaults to your Crisis Suits. The durability of AV12 combined with a near constant cover save makes this vehicle one of the more difficult targets to kill; meaning that tossing a small squad inside and using the vehicle as a scoring unit is an effective tactic. Using the vehicle in this way gives it a great role; early game it blocks paths, drops SMS fire, keeps your shooters alive. Late game, it moves in to score, able to deploy a relatively healthy Fire Warrior squad out for a rapidfire if the enemy gets within range.

Flechettes on the Devilfish cement their role as a wall and allow them to dissuade light hordes from trying to reach your Fire Warriors inside; and also protect the Fire Warriors from the enemies using your Devilfish as extra movement without a large penalty. And if you are moving at cruising speed, you are incredibly durable against all but some of the best equipped vehicle shredders.

Basically, I see Fire Warriors not as a unit in and of themselves, but almost as symbiotically connected to their vehicle; they give it extra firepower and the ability to score, and it gives them protection and speed. As a quick example, the Fire Warrior unit I've been using most lately is:
6x Shas'la w/ Rifles; Devilfish w/ SMS, Multitracker, Targeting Array, Flechette Discharger, Disruption Pods -190

I run three of these and a small squad of Kroot in 1850. They are more than capable of keeping my suits alive, withstanding enemy firepower, and shredding light infantry. Their cover-denying capability and good Ballistic Skill allows more to forego a lot of need for Markerlights. They can Tank-shock onto heavily protected objectives, and they can simply drift onto any objectives that are not. They are a valuable asset in my army.

Any of the readers use a different build? Any static players? Anyone who throws six Fire Warriors in a Pathfinder fish and grabs Kroot instead?


Old Shatter Hands said...

I like to field 2 units of 6 fire warriors in Dumbfish (DP and SS). I've found that all I use them for is claiming objectives so the Disruption Pod keeps them alive while the Sensor Spines allow them to ignore terrain tests. It works and has won me countless games. However, coming from the days of 4th edition I've got 48 painted Fire Warriors that I so badly want to field again someday. Here's to hoping for a new Codex soon.

opiewan-kanopie said...

How about Fire Warriors going commando? (bet that armor chafes something wicked)

I have been considering running a small squad (6 or 8), bonded, with pulse carbines and EMP grenades mounted in a Dumbfish just for the novelty of getting to assault, not to mention the suprise factor.
"Wait... Your assaulting me? With Fire warriors?"
Yea. Fire Warriors who can mushroom cloud a Land Raider.

Str 5 assault weapons make them a threat to light tanks while EMP makes them a threat to heavy. Tau have other, more effective anti-tank assets, but I prefer my Railguns popping light vehicals, and my Pirahnas harrasing flanks/last turn objective contesting. A small team of Fire Warriors jumping right down the opponents throat sounds like fun.

Commander Enclave said...

In my area, all tournaments are at 1500pts. For that reason my brother, our friends, and I always run 1500pt games.

My troop selection is as follows:
6 Fire Warriors + Devilfish (Multitracker + Disruption Pod)
6 Fire Warriors + Devilfish (Multitracker + Disruption Pod)
6 Fire Warriors + Devilfish (Multitracker + Disruption Pod)
I usually leave them in reserve. My Shas'vre Monat has a Position Relay allowing me to slowly apply psychological pressure on the enemy ("WHAT?!? ANOTHER unit of Fire Warriors?!?"). I greatly agree with Old Shatter Hands' mantra "Reserve to Preserve" =)

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