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Monday, August 30, 2010

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.


Old Shatter Hands said...

Shadowsun should be thought of an ethereal with some kit. She's just there to improve leadership and can in a pinch be used to defend your lines from approaching vehicles and dreadnoughts. she's expensive and overcosted but I could see her working in a list where everything is optimized to the max. However, I'd just rather have a 50 point ethereal. Does that sound stupid? Yes. Does it work? Only if you're careful.

Aloh'Nan'El said...

My main problems with the use of an Ethereal are:
a) Doesn't take up your Command spot, meaning two HQs.
b) A reroll is worse than Ld10 with base Ld7, which is the unmodified value of our Fire Warriors, and more importantly, our Pathfinders.
c) Shadowsun has more durability; even hidden in a squad the Ethereal is still not too difficult to kill, whereas Shadowsun has two shield drones AND a stealth field.
It can be argued that an Ethereal with Broadsides and Drones is tougher, but torrent of fire or assault will wreck him, especially with the low maneuverability of the 'sides.
d) Ethereal has significant drawbacks upon death, and if your opponent targets him there isn't much you can do but say goodbye to 30% or so of of your army.
e) Shadowsun has a gun, meaning she can act as an interceptor for troublesome vehicles.

NockerGeek said...

One problem with Shadowsun is with 5th Edition's wound allocation. In 4th, you could take the shield drones first, and then the command drone. In 5th, it just takes 4 wounds at AP3-/ignore armor to guarantee its loss, regardless of how the rest of the unit fares.

There are other problems as well - Strength 6 weapons double her out, her unit's majority weapon skill is 2, and her guns are only good within assault range. The leadership bubble is nice, but she's far too fragile for the points cost.

Aloh'Nan'El said...

The thing is, Nocker...
The majority of things that would kill her quickly are melta spam and lascannon/missile spam... The former won't get close enough thanks to the Kroot Walls, and the latter will have trouble targeting her.
If my opponent is forcing 4+ plasma or worse wounds on me, I am dead, but that saves my actual guns the pain of dealing with that instead.

I've actually used a DSing Shadowsun before, and she's gone toe to toe with 3 Oblits and other holders of powerful weapons, and she has done admirably. She is more durable than most give her credit for.

NockerGeek said...
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NockerGeek said...
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NockerGeek said...

It seems like an increasing percentage of your army seems to be devoted to fragile support units (Pathfinders, Kroot, Shadowsun) that try to make up for shrinking your offensive capabilities and mobility. Is that a fair assessment of your strategy?

I'm curious as to what armies you're generally playing against as well. I know you've mentioned Oblits, so obviously Chaos is involved. What else are you running against, where this tactic seems to fit?

Aloh'Nan'El said...

Not precisely it; look at the firepower in a normal mechanized list, and then look at the firepower in mine. Most mechanized lists lose points paying for SMS, Hammerheads, SMTs, Skyrays, etc..
My list takes the points I otherwise save and uses them to build a strong support system around my offensive core; boosting their offensive ability, protecting them from damage, preventing leadership problems...
My offensive capabilities are not shrunk at all. Your 1500 list for Mont'ka (here: second list, right?)
mentions that Pathfinders and Piranhas will likely be included at higher points, and I assume the Hammerhead gets its Railgun back?

Your list would thus have more suits than me by two Deathrains, and would have one more Hammerhead Railgun. Your Broadside Railguns would also be more accurate.
HOWEVER, my list would have redundant markerlight support, meaning that my Broadside's lack of TA is negligible, and that my 6 Crisis Suits would likely be on par with your 8 in terms of shooting.
Defensively, you are in a worse position than I am; Kroot give me cover, I have ablative Drone wounds, assured cover from Kroot, etc.
My list has better defensive whilst maintaining the same offense; your mobility probably won't help you enough to make up for anything but scoring.

I don't sacrifice firepower; I just support it better.

Aloh'Nan'El said...

As for armies:
Chaos Daemons
Chaos Marines
Space Marines Vanilla
Space Marines (Custom chapter)
Imperial Guard

These are my most frequent opponents.

Kroxitau said...

I wish that we could all have a Tau-Off. Where everyone takes the Tau build they like to use and we just have a crazy all Tau Tournament. I live in Minneapolis, anyone else anywhere near that?

I do use Shadowsun in some lists, but I do not think she is competitive.
Competitive Tau generally looks like this at the tournaments I have seen Tau rank in the top ten:
Fireknife 'El
Some Fireknives
some Kroot with hounds
a Fw squad
A pathfinder squad
2 units of 2 piranhas
Some Broadsides and a Railhead.

I really like playing mobile Tau, and initially I was against pathfinders and kroot and broadsides.

Then I started using them and they are pretty fun.

Then I realized that a lot of my points are spent on stuff that gets caught.

I have still won games where all my kroot and pathfinders die, and I have lost games where they survived.

But then again what do I know? I don't win 60% of the matches I play and a lot of my lists are inspired by silly ideas. What I do know is...

Everyone needs to post more battle reports!


Kroxitau said...

The Shadowsun model is pretty nice.

Aloh'Nan'El said...

A Tau tourney would be nice... But Farsight lists would tear others apart, with its one power weapon ;)

Kroxitau said...

That's why you kill him first. Plenty of armies have more mobile power weapons. With an all Tau tourney we don't have to worry about varied power levels because its all the same codex.

Aloh'Nan'El said...

Yeah I know. That was a joke.

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