Questions? Comments?

Email me at, and I'll see what I can do.

Monday, August 30, 2010


Just want to give a shout out for Rathstar's new article.
He analyzed the strengths and weaknesses of both sides clearly, and neglected to side, leaving an unbiased and generally true article.

Using Shadowsun

Shadowsun is constantly given flak for her ability. Armed with no mid to long ranged weaponry, but using a Stealth Field, she seems to be even more of a contradiction that Stealth Suits.
Her ability to Deepstrike and still make her assault jump, as well as her twin fusion, makes many view her in a suicide role... though that role can be filled far more easily by a Sunforge or 3, and cheaper as well. Not to mention that Shadowsun sacrificing herself to kill an enemy vehicle is far-fetched (though I've seen fluff assumptions that at her last "wound" she switches on cloaking and vanishes, which makes it seem more like a hit and run).
Shadowsun costs as much as two Commanders, and almost as much as a full Fireknife team. These numbers make her output seem even more unrealistic and worthless. Why would anyone purchase such an overpriced model?

The reason I'm considering her for my lists is not because of her own ability, but the fact that she brings a unique model with her onto the table; the command drone. The command drone is, hands down, THE most effective piece of wargear in the codex. This wargear negates the key weakness all Tau armies have; leadership problems.
Not only does Shadowsun bring the Command Drone into play, she also serves to protect it. Her other two drones are both shield drones, giving important invulnerable saves, whilst thanks to the Stealth Field Generator, she is practically immune to ranged combat.
Though often claimed rather useless, Shadowsun herself does bring some heavy hitting guns to the punch; her two BS5 Fusion Blaster allow her to tear into most tanks. This is incredibly useful for those ridiculous transports that live through 6+ Railgun shots and almost hit your line.

I'm thinking on using Shadowsun over my two Fireforge Commanders; the missiles will be missed, but I think four missiles is a decent price to pay to have my entire firing force at 10 Leadership. Now I just need a stand-in model... may actually be using my winged Commander for this.

Sunday, August 29, 2010

The Kauyon; past the walls

A lot of stress has been put into the Kroot Wall aspect of the Kauyon; if it is best, how it works in most lists, its survivability, etc. I thought it would be worthwhile to look beyond the wall for a bit, and highlight how key units to the Tau army fight in context of it, and how they fare outside. I will be looking at two units specifically; Broadsides and Pathfinders.

-Broadsides: Outside of Kauyon, Broadsides make a big show of themselves; the often deploy centrally, drawing attention to themselves whilst maintaining a cover save. They attempt to abuse the enemy's fear of Railguns; making them target the 'Sides before anything else, leaving you time to maneuver away.
The downside of this is that the Broadsides are likely to be eaten alive unless thoroughly defended; in Mont'ka lists, small Broadside firebases are left in the dust, meaning the silencing of your railguns immediately.
In the Kauyon, however, they remain. Broadsides are often placed very far behind protective lines, leaving them among the last of your units to fall, only sacrificed to save Crisis Suits and your Fire Warriors. This means that opposed to a near maximum of three turns shooting, Broadsides can last 5 or 6, easily. This effectively doubles your anti-tank; something you can't see when just glancing at your list's weapons.

-Pathfinders: Regardless of the style, Pathfinders will receive the same treatment; newer players will ignore their non-damaging guns, only to be wiped by your buffed suits, while veterans will target them early and hit them with enough shots to send them packing... which is not a great many.
Pathfinders are constantly in danger in a good game. In the Mont'ka, the player must choose between setting them up in cover and camping until death, or continually redeploying them via transport to avoid enemy assaults. They either suffer the same problem as Broadsides, or they lose turns of firepower to stay around. Either way, they get in around 3 turns of shooting in MAX if they are under pressure.
In the Kauyon, they suffer the same problem; they are relatively easy to shoot out of the game. But the Kauyon offers a slightly better alternative to sticking them in area terrain or ferrying them; putting them behind a Kroot Wall. This may seem trivial, but it adds two major changes to the playing style of the pathies:
1) The Pathies get a choice of the best possible lane of fire. This is due to the fact that the Kroot wall can stretch to give them cover regardless of where they are. Instead of anchoring into terrain, they benefit from freedom and cover.
2) Assault protection. The Pathfinders no longer have to relocate to avoid assault; the Kroot have that covered. Without having to relocate, they avoid assault completely, allowing a focus on shooting; critical, as during the first few turns they have a large amount to support.

Why did I choose these two units specifically? Again the answer is two-fold:
1) They are the best of their role: They are the cheapest renditions of their incredibly useful and limited weapons. While others exist, they are inferior for that specific role; Hammerheads are inaccurate and expensive, while Stealth Marker Teams and Skyrays cost far too much for the 'lights they bring.
2) They work better in the Kauyon. These units both suffer from one drawback in comparison to their more expensive and less effective counterparts; they lack mobility. In the Mont'ka, this regulates them to an Alpha-strike followed by their inevitable demise. In the Kauyon, a solid system of blockading, trapping, and cover synergy leave them strong and firing.

Thursday, August 26, 2010

750 Castle

Sat down and fleshed out a 750 list as well.
The list is rather similar to how I play 1850; it is a true castle, albeit with only one layer of Kroot, no Markerlight support, and only one Piranha to blackade... but it is still very workable. The Fire Warriors are 10 men strong to help lend some fire support.

Fire Warriors: 10x Shas’la w/ Rifles -100

Devilfish w/ D. Pods -85

Crisis Commander: Shas’el Deathforge (TL-MP, FB) w/ HWMT -85

Crisis Suits: 2x Shas’ui Fireknives (PR, MP, MT) -124

Crisis Suits: 2x Shas’ui Fireknives (PR, MP, MT) -124

Kroot: 13x Mercs-91

Piranha w/ FB, TA -70

Broadsides: 2x Shas’ui w/ Adv.S.S. -160

500 point castle

The net is buzzing with Fritz's new challenges. 500 and 750 lists, an attempt to bring back the old-school armies where there was far less on the table.
I am not fully ready for 750 yet, but I have tossed together a 500 list; the thought process involved tossing together 3 lists that embodied certain styles, and picking the best.
I have settle on a semi-static list with a small line of Kroot, 4 Crisis Suits, and a mobile scoring unit. Meltaguns are held in back; I'll have trouble against guntanks that sit in back, but I can bear the shots or deespstrike.

60pts: 6 Fire Warriors w/ Rifles

85pts: Devilfish w/ D. Pods

91pts: 13x Kroot

88pts: Shas’el Deathforge (TL-MP, FB) w/ HWBSF, HWMT

124pts: 2 Fireknives (PR, MP, MT)

55pts Deathforge (TL-MP, FB)

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

My response to Nocker Geek's Mont'ka article:

Recently, OSH (Old Shatter Hands) tossed down an article about some of the problems with Mont'ka, here:
There was a response defending the Mont'ka and denouncing the Kauyon, posted on Nocker Geek's blog here:

In an attempt to continue this marry-go-round of decent articles, I will be responding to the above article, giving my counter-arguments for the Kauyon.
And so we go:

The first problem with the argument is that Nocker Geek makes light of a cover save, claiming that most armor reducing weapons will be at point blank, or barrage. This is hardly the case. Missiles and Lascannons are still around, and can insta-kill a Crisis Suit. The cover save also makes Gun Drones a better buy, gaining a cover save to make up for the lack of invulnerable save.
Further in the paragraph, Nocker Geek notes you are giving cover to Marines if you shoot through the Kroot Wall; but fails to note that JSJ allows you to clear your skirmish line to deny cover.
This seems to be odd to me, as he later advocates using JSJ in the Mont'ka as a means of breaking LOS; but I'll get to that soon.

His second point, that Kroot are not hardy, is very true. But again, he ignores certain facts that are common knowledge to most Kauyon players; unit composition and the positive aspect of Kroot's low leadership.
He cites the fact that Kroot will likely be sweeped; this is untrue, as an intelligent Kauyon player will have taken a large amount of hounds, meaning you will be hitting first to soften the damage and then making your assumed fallback at initiative 5 once you take off your actual mercs. This means your Kroot's low leadership is actually a boon; the most likely scenario is you absorb a charge, deal some damage, and fall back, leaving an enemy force completely in the open and available to be shot to pieces. Then you have a good chance of your wall regrouping and coming back into the fray. This makes a very useful, though not hardy, walling element; an assault absorber that leaves the attacker in front of a mass of guns and may have a chance to be recycled.

The face-to-face paragraph has a decent point, but I honestly don't see 12" a turn as fast enough to gain side armor shots on experienced players. Even so, the ability to make multiple firebases makes up for this downside, even though I wouldn't recommend that.
The argument becomes silly when trying to point out a static force's weakness to Deep-strike and outflankers; we have Kroot to fully surround our forces against deepstrike heavy armies, while our vehicles can make rough outflanker blockades, which honestly are not needed if we have the middle of the board.
A Mont'ka force should fear such units far more; they provide new and exciting ways for their opponent to box them in with meltaguns.

The next argument brings up breaking line of sight. Honestly, this is the most backwards looking argument in the whole article to me, as it seems to be saying "camp you Crisis Suits behind a wall", which is obviously a much bigger tactic with Kauyon than with Mont'ka; as Mont'ka's supposed claim to fame is its ability to move... an ability not sufficiently abused when chained to one area.

The paragraph on avoiding conflict is also odd to me; he implies that the Kauyon doesn't plan on killing the enemy, which is absolutely false. In fact, the Kauyon can do so better than the Mont'ka, as static lists tend to have far more emphasis on Crisis Suits and Broadsides... thus having a bit more firepower overall. While it is true that a mobile force gets the assistance of Burst Cannon and SMS, the static force gets masses of Kroot Bolters and a mediocre but crushing assault.
Mont'ka forces tend to pay far more for their Troops, Kauyon Walls included, meaning that they tend to have less points for firepower... making the argument that the Mont'ka is a better"killy" army a rather hollow one.

The argument that position can amplify firepower is true... but doesn't apply the way Nocker Geek would assume.
Rarely does side armor make a difference in games... only with Guard and other Tau is there a significant advantage to reaching side armor, as Rhinos, Wave Serpents, Land Raiders, light skimmers, all infantry, all MCs, and many other common threats don't care were you are, while backfield guntanks are nearly impossible to get side armor on anyways.
Meanwhile, as the Mont'ka wheels around to match the opponent's pivots, the Kauyon attackers fire for multiple turns practically uncontested... their safe location amplifying their attacks by giving them multiple turns of optimum capacity firepower.

The next paragraph applies to Kauyon as well; shoot at the actual guns who enjoy cover and support, or shoot at the support units.

I have tried using vehicles as blockades, and it fails miserably for one reason; meltaguns. Melta is a key part of any respectable assault squad, and having vehicles as your main blockading force is destined to fail, as you must contract your position in fear of melta weaponry.
Furthermore, Kauyon builds CAN play mobile... the Kroot outflank and they fight a modified Mont'ka with a higher Crisis:Tank ratio. It just isn't its most effective way of playing.

I don't believe that the Kauyon is the only way to play... the Mont'ka offers the use of the Tau's mobility and it's firepower, the two traits it is supposed to be renowned for. The problem is, by looking into the supposed advantages of the Tau, you may miss the more technical ones... the ones the Tau can base a firm army on.

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Kroot Wall list

The crude vehicles rumbled loudly down the beaten roads of the lost Imperial Sector, the sun rising in the distance to light the shadowy city. The smell of Ork fuel was easily distinguishable, not that it was a necessary marker with the sight of several greenskins protruding out of the topless compartments. The column came to brief stop upon sighting the scouts, but that brief moment was superseded almost immediately by war cries and the revving of engines. The Orks had found a target and would like nothing less than to engage it and tear it to shreds.

The Burnas were the first to reach their target, igniting flames that had proven effective at pushing back the avian forces they had faced earlier in the campaign. Massive swathes of burning fuel cut into the improvised cover of the creatures, killing a handful of the scouting party. Instead of a fleeing party, however, the Burnas were met with furious growls as wolf-like creatures pounced out of the mangled building and tore into them. The Burnas fell back under the onslaught, only to be caught and torn to shreds. The vehicles and their cargo were undeterred by the canines, thundering forward nonetheless.

The next instant can only be described as an explosion. A tremor shook the road, and the dust and soot of battles past obscured the road, shielding the scouts from view. Before the pollutants could fully clear, a bright bolt of energy struck outwards. It connected with the foremost Ork vehicle, reducing it to a smoldering wreck in the path of the Ork advance.

The origin of the blast appeared in the smoke. A hulking walker appeared, much like common weapon platforms of the Ork’s enemies, with a few striking differences. Great wings protruded from the suit, and a large spout of green energy spewed violently from its right fist. The walker was crowned in a helmet-like array of odd technology, including odd smoking areas to the sides of its sensor suite.

The Walker’s voice boomed loudly through its speaker suite, assuming a simplistic but effective Ork tongue, “Enemies of the Empire! This planet is the property of the Tau Empire. There is a cost for your trespass and belligerence, and you shall play it in blood!”

The road was lit by a plethora of lights, followed swiftly and lethally by a burst of plasma and a plethora of missiles. There would be no victory for the Orks that day.

In the post before this, I talked about competitive lists VS fun lists. I thought it would be worthwhile to post my preliminary idea of what such a list would look like, how it would work, etc. This may be the path I take with this army, for better or for worse.
So first, the list:
Fireforge Crisis Commander- Shas'el w/ TL-MP, FB, HWTL -85
Fireforge Crisis Commander- Shas'el w/ TL-MP, FB, HWTL -85
Fireknife Crisis Team- Shas'ui TL w/ PR, MP, MT, HWDC; 2x Shas'ui w/ PR, MP, MT; 2x Gun Drones -211
Fireknife Crisis Team- Shas'ui TL w/ PR, MP, MT, HWDC; 2x Shas'ui w/ PR, MP, MT; 2x Gun Drones -211
Fire Warriors- 6x Shas'la -60
Kroot-10x Mercs; 7x Hounds -112
Kroot-10x Mercs; 7x Hounds -112
Piranha Squadron- Piranha w/ FB, TA, FD, DP; Piranha w/ FB, TA, FD -165
Pathfinders-6x Shas'la; Devilfish w/ SMS, DP -177
Pathfinders-6x Shas'la; Devilfish w/ SMS, DP -177
Broadsides- Shas'ui TL /AdvSS, HWDC, HWTL; 2x Shas'ui w/AdvSS; 2x Sh. Drones -280
Hammerhead w/ Railgun, SMS, MT, DP -175

The list has a lot of synergy in it, and I'll be describing it by layer to help illustrate this.
The outmost layer will be a wall of Kroot, joined by one of my Fireforge Commanders. The attached IC will make them harder to run off, which will be helpful as they won't have too much staying power bar lucky terrain and tricks (see below). The Commander adds a little melta and a tankshock deterrent (I will actually put him directly in front of/assault a tank so they must TS him or go around... which is an auto melta-hit).
The second layer is completely identical except for the fact that their cover is nearly assured by the forward unit. Same deal with melta and such. This unit can function as counter-charge if it needs to, but will mostly stay in place.
Layer three are the Suits, who will be jumping in and out of my castle, ensuring cover for themselves whilst avoiding the enemy gaining the same favor. Their role is rather simple; shooting. Broadsides will sit pretty center stage and blast transports to pieces.
Piranhas will start a little behind the suits, and move out early on to block enemy movements and provide cover for my Kroot; it is unwise to underestimate the durability of AV11+cover; and I can see them absorbing a large amount of shots. If neither role is necessary, they will sit back for contesting duties. Flechettes allow them to be a pain to both hordes and vehicles in their quests to disrupt movement.
Seeing as how Markerlights only need to see a sliver of their target and there is no cover from the Valkyrie's Mark, they will sit farther back, and light targets of priority. They will stay still as long as possible, being my last unit to move into a blocking position, bar the suits. Fire Warriors who refuse to stay in reserve will sit with them as well.
Finally come the vehicles; they sit back and provide minimal fire support, but have two important goals. First and foremost, they will act as outflank blockers, covering my sides from enemy attacks if I am forced into a corner deployment. Secondly, they will act as mobile bunkers and objective takers. In KP games, heavily wounded units can shelter in them, and in objective games, they will pickup any maimed Kroot units or my reserved Fire Warrior squad and ferry them to an objective.

Against mass barrage IG or the such, this entire idea kind of goes in the toilet. I have to play loose in such a case; Kroot Outflanking, Suits moving with a escort Devilfish for cover, Pathies in cover, Broadsides making a big lure of themselves while hitting everything they can, Commanders DSing... not as static of a plan in that case, but I'll do what I can.

That's my take on it at least. I am rather new to the idea of kroot wall armies, so if I missed something big or you have a suggestion, please toss it into the comments.

Monday, August 16, 2010

Kauyon or Mont'ka?

I've been reaching a bit of an impasse here with my army lately.
Recently I have been testing out the effectiveness of Kroot in a walling formation, to help buy some extra turns for my Broadsides and such. Preliminary tests have come up well; Kroot Walls are very effective at buying me time and blunting an enemy's offense.
I have also been using a buffed up Markerlight Network; again with great success. Having double the amount of Markerlights makes my shooting ludicrously powerful for a very small amount of points.
I have put together a list with very few mech elements, dual Kroot Screens, Markerlights everywhere, and a mass congregation of suits that will easily win most of my battles... but I hesitate to use it. Why?
Rule #1.
Playing against an army that can wholesale rip you to shreds without giving you a counter is no fun for anyone. I don't WANT to field this list because I feel it would take the fun out of my games. However, I feel like the choice is between that and losing.
It isn't as if I'm facing themed armies I can afford to handicap myself against; the most themed list I play against involves 12 ATs and Lysander hitting me hard and fast. Thew others range from a heavily mechanized Marine List with no shortage of mid-ranged firepower and, the worst, a dual Prince, 9-Oblit, melta termie deathstrike that excels in ripping apart the sub-competitive lists that make Tau fun while still giving a good game.

So how do I deal with this? I'm honestly thinking of going out to buy some Kroot to make a second line, and leave my 5+ vehicles at home...

Thursday, August 5, 2010

Turbo: Using Pathfinders effectively

This will be my first section on Fast Attack, and it is rather unfitting that the first section is on the rather slow Pathfinders.
Pathfinders give very little to the team in terms of pure firepower; they are more expensive Fire Warriors armed with Carbines, and forced to bring along a Devilfish.
On the other hand, they make great support units; bringing the game's cheapest markerlights to the fray, and their devilfish carries a nice device that allows a reroll to deepstrikes within it's line of sight.
Using Pathfinders is a matter of preference, relying mostly on your army build. Some players go out of the way to relocate them when they are endangered, while some use them as sacrifices so that their guns stay shooting.
Personally, I use them as a bait unit; the stay away from my main force, marking from a distance. If my opponent knows very little about Tau, he might leave them be; which would be great for me, as I'd keep my force multipliers. If my opponent goes for them, he takes pressure off my main guns.
Normally I make a small firebase of Pathfinders and Broadsides to draw attention. These can't normally be killed off until around turn 3-4, and by then they've done their jobs; demeching, bringing pain, then distracting the enemy so my mobile units can move on objectives.
How do you use your Pathfinders? Do you keep them alive as long as possible, or do you use them as late game pawns?

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Gaming tomorrow?

With summer seeping away and college starting up around the corner, I've missed a few opportunities for games, and thus reports for you all.
Luckily, turns out I might be getting in a day of gaming at the LGS, meaning you can watch me get eaten by Daemon Princes.
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