1500 Points Tau Army List

August 11, 2009 ·

Here's the 1500 points Tau army list I intend to take to this year's Warhammer 40K Grand Tournament.

Tau aren't one of the strongest tournament armies under 5th edition 40K, but they can give a good account of themselves and that's what I intend to do with them.

Last year I wasn't happy with my Tau, so I borrowed James's Deathwing army and had a blast, coming 1 position away from qualifying, which wasn't bad considering how badly I played.

This year, a lot more competitive players are attending Heat 1 of the 40K Grand Tournament, so things are expected to be a lot tougher.

All the same, I'll do my best with the Tau and pray for as many Annihilation missions as possible :)

1500 points Tau army list

Tau Shas’el with Plasma Rifle, Missile Pod, Multitracker, Hardwired Drone Controller with 2 shield drones
2 Bodyguards with Plasma Rifle, Missile Pod, Hardwired Multitracker, Targeting Array

Tau Battlesuit Team
2 with Twin Linked Flamer, Missile Pod
1 Leader with Twin Linked Flamer, Missile pod, Hardwired Drone Controller with 2 shield drones

(X3) 6 man Fire warrior Team
Devilfish with Smart Missile System, Targeting Array, Multitracker, Disruption Pod

Hammerhead with Railgun, 2 Burst Cannons, Multitracker and Disruption Pod

Skyray with 2 Burst Cannons, Target Lock (comes as standard), Targeting Array, Multitracker and Disruption Pod

2 man Broadside Team with advanced stabilization
Leader, Hardwired Drone Controller with 2 shield drones

NOTE: some of my eagle eyed readers have pointed out that my usual list was 10 points over, having unintentionally added a bonding knife to the Broadside team and a Target Lock to the Hammerhead. Fortunately I haven't had to use either of these upgrades in any of my games!

ANOTHER NOTE: Please also note that the Tau Battlesuit team in this army photo are armed with missile pods and burst cannons. I'm currently painting the unit with missile pods and twin linked flamers.

ONE MORE NOTE: I'm sick of playing James's space marines, dark angels, deathwing and ravenwing. I need to get some games in against other opponents with different armies. Am currently pestering a Tyranid player from Essex for a game.

I need to do a lot of work on my Tau army. Not only does it need to triple in size, it needs a lot of Battlesuits, commander variants, troops and most importantly...Commander Farsight!

After the Grand Tournament, I'm contemplating fielding a similar army to this, but with another Hammerhead instead of the Broadsides and another Firewarrior team in a Devilfish instead of the twin linked flamer battlesuit team...or instead of the commander's bodyguard. There are plenty of options to play around with.


CJ said...
August 11, 2009 at 2:54 PM  

List looks nice Adam the shield drones should help you shun some hard artilary shots from the IG guys. Looking forward to seeing you try the flamers battlesuits against something like Eldar other Tau or Orks/ Nids. They should be very cool. oh and to bust those pesky IG platoons from cover.

Anyways best of luck to you with your experience you should do well !

Cheers CJ

Adam said...
August 11, 2009 at 3:03 PM  

Cheers CJ! I'm looking forward to 'cooking some fools'.

Mik said...
August 11, 2009 at 3:40 PM  

Thanks for posting this list, your site gives me a lot of inspiration with my own Tau. Probably the reason I've held on to them thus far...

Anonymous said...
August 11, 2009 at 5:14 PM  

SinSynn here-
Farsight is an interesting character, but as the lone 'tough guy' in the Tau Codex, I've had a hard time building a list around him. Bodyguards are expensive, but deadly, as we all know. But the cost is prohibitive for a group of 7!! (the infamous 'Farsight Bomb' from 4th ed., was one list that centered on him.)
Having an insta-kill template dropped on the squad can suck, as well, and there are a few armies that can do it. Too many points, IMO, to risk. And by himself I honestly don't know what to do with him. I'm interested in seeing what you come up with.
Now Shadowsun is a different story. I've had much success running her and her lovely leadership boost. Who would figure that the most badass Tau besides Farsight would be a chick? Your Broadsides will never run off the board after getting torrented when she's around. Funny how people will fire their entire army at the B'sides (after the team blazes something expensive and/or important), and 9 times outta 10, the drones die (bless their hearts), leaving my team of 3 standing there with maybe the odd scratch, or paint chip. Friend of mine doesn't even shoot at them anymore- but he'll do everything he can to engage them in assault...stupid Blood Angels.....stupid jump packs.
Anyway- keep up the good work and looking foward to a Farsight Tactica (just putting it out there..)and thanx for the blog!
So, did you think the Tau Tacticas (they did a 'general' type one and a Devilfish one) they posted a while back at BoLS where as bad as I thought they were? I love how the author of the 'general' tactica proclaimed crisis suits were useless in 5th ed.!! When many of us replied opposing his views, he responded that it was 'sad that so many people are stuck in 4th edition.'
Sad, but funny at the same time.
I believe you posted with a link to this site, or someone did. Now THAT'S good avice!
Again, thanks for your efforts- they DO make a difference!!
Sorry for rambling, BTW ;)

Oh, it's you, Bob... said...
August 11, 2009 at 5:28 PM  

Since I am a novice, I depend on veterans to be my starting point for army lists. I have been using yours with slight variations here and there to see what I like to play. Anyway, I would warn you that, while extremely entertaining, the flamers vs. Eldar leave a horrible grey haze in the air. And that SMELL...

Raptor1313 said...
August 11, 2009 at 7:20 PM  

I am curious why you roll with a Bodyguard team over simply another crisis suit team.

That team's paying 20 points to have two guys upped to WS3/I3. I don't think you're getting that much out of it for 20 points.

I'm also a bit surprised at the flamer/missile pod combo. It helps you deal with enemies who get in your face, but it's only a token threat for killing transports at range. Have you pondered TL Missile Pods and single flamers, at the least? You're getting the most out of the TL flamers when you're in the most trouble; which is when the enemy is right up on you. I'd think it better to shore up your ability to drop transports than to plan for them to hit you.

The Skyray is the other question. Has it really been performing that well? I see how it's not so vulnerable to 'I got a weapon-destroyed and you're not a threat', but losing both your markerlights kills its ability to use Seeker missiles.

Beyond that, luck to you.

reggie N said...
August 11, 2009 at 10:28 PM  

nice list. good idea planning to cut the broadside because to me they arent effective anough where as the firewarriors gives you more shots.But keep the twin linked flamers.hope you win the tourament good luck :)

Adam said...
August 11, 2009 at 11:17 PM  

SinSynn - you know what I think about the Tau advice given at BOLS ;)

Raptor - you'd be amazed at how much of a difference the enhanced WS makes when you NEED to charge something.

The bodyguards also have access to targeting arrays, letting the whole squad hit on 3+. Sometimes you need to combine this with markerlights to take out things like Lictors in a single turn.

Yes I have pondered TL Missile Pods and single flamers. But twin linked flamers have been a fantastic deterrent for people wanting to get right up close to my tanks. I do need the twin linked missiles for more accurate long range firepower though.

The Skyray is massively overlooked. I've been firing seeker missiles lately, but for the past year I didn't fire a single one and used the markerlights to boost my Battlesuits, Broadsides or whatever needed boosting at the time. It's often overlooked, but helps other units to guarantee kills when you really need them. Take one for a spin and see how you get on. Lots of people don't shoot at them, because they think they're rubbish...then realise that the markerlights on a tough and mobile tank won me the game.

Reggie - Broadsides not effective? What are you talking about man! I think they're brilliant and very survivable. Have you been playing them right? :)

Anthony Yeates said...
August 12, 2009 at 12:54 AM  

I'd recommend dropping a squad of FW and their fish for a squad of Kroot with Hounds. If you deploy right they will remove the threat of an alpha strike at your suits and tanks, and once thats done can provide a home objective holder and or a cover save for you XV-88s. I find 10 Kroot and 7 Hounds makes for a intimidating unit to charge, and people don't tend to shoot at them as they think they are crap.

And yeah, the BoLS tacticas all around are crap, although GoatBoy's stuff is good.

Hedzer said...
August 12, 2009 at 4:05 AM  

Isn't it risky to run 2 BASS with 2 shield drones? One drone dies, ld check....

Adam said...
August 12, 2009 at 4:13 AM  

The usually pass the test. And thanks to ASS, they can fire as they fall back if need be.

Damon said...
August 12, 2009 at 8:09 AM  

I agree with Raptor's comments about the list. I think just bringing more guns to the party is more effective than trying to make fewer guns hit 17% more often than the others. ;)

I used to always take two commanders ("BS 5, how awesome!"), but since reducing down to just 1 commander and taking more suits, I've been much deadlier ... and more successful.

I also use -- and like -- the skyray, but if you really want to ensure hits and get rid of cover saves, the skyray just isn't good enough. You need more markerlights than that.

At 1500 pts, you can usually get away with a single hammerhead and a set of broadsides like you've got. (At least, you can if you take more MP-equipped crisis suits than you currently carry.) Consider a unit of 8 Pathfinders and giving their devilfish to one of your FW units.

With the points savings, you can get some Kroot with Hounds and a pair of Piranhas. Seriously, these units are absolutely vital to making Tau competitive in 5th edition. Without them, you are completely at the mercy of your opponent's movement phase, and Tau are neither fast enough nor shooty enough just on their own to survive really optimized 5th edition armies.

But WITH Kroot and piranhas, YOU are in control of your opponent's movement phase. This is key.

And if you also chop points out of your HQ, you can easily afford more Crisis suits. Get fireknives if you can -- they're most utilitarian -- but TL MP wiht a single flamer are dirt cheap. As Raptor said, if you're depending on the flamers to kill infantry, you're probably already losing. It's much more effective to just torrent incoming infantry with plasma and missiles and deny them cover saves with markerlights.

Adam said...
August 12, 2009 at 10:41 AM  

Damon, I agree with you that I need to experiment more and try out the new units.

But with my current painting speed and other time consuming things in my life, I need to decided what my GT army will be now and roll with it.

I am keen to ditch the Skyray and get another Hammerhead in there. However, the markerlights hitting on 3s have been a godsend when my Fireknife command team has had to cripple a terminator squad, kill a monstrous creature or try to take out a Lictor, which would otherwise require most of my army to shoot at.

Murphy said...
August 12, 2009 at 6:39 PM  

Good luck for the tournament dude.
Looking forward to reading up on how youd do and reading the battle reports

Anonymous said...
September 5, 2009 at 11:10 PM  

The only question i have is how you can have a twin linked flamer and a missle pod on one crises suit that is three weapon systems. i am understanding that they can have 2 weapon systems and a support system. can someone explain this to me.

Adam said...
September 6, 2009 at 12:18 AM  

Tau Battlesuits have 3 'hard points'.

Go read the codex :)

Oh, it's you, Bob... said...
September 6, 2009 at 9:47 AM  

@ Anonymous:

As Adam said, 3 hard points. So, unless you have a 'team leader' or other upgrade that can us Hard Wired goodies, you are left with all weapons and no enhancements.

Anonymous said...
February 6, 2010 at 11:29 AM  

Adam i see where your trying to come from with the TL Flamers i have a Shas'o with 2 bodyguards in my army and the bodyguards have TL Flamers and MP plus alot of extra war gear and hard-wired items, this HQ team can only be killed by weapons such as a Las-cannon you just give your commander and bodyguards (Stimulant Injector) this is a GODSEND for just 10pts... i just use this team as close range shooting and you may want to take some SD with them for the Inv 4+ Save. In the last game i played VS Tyranids my Commander and Bodyguards just took out everything in sight Genestealers, Homogaunts, Termagaunts, Warriors everything. TL Flamers OWN !

Anonymous said...
December 30, 2012 at 11:54 AM  

It's a descent list. Few things though:

Markerlightsare the currency of the Tau army. They're its most important element, so you need at least a unit of Pathfinders.
Also the SkyRay. It's cool, I know, all those S8 AP3 anywhere on the field is very tempting, but Seeker Missiles should only be used when you're not increasing your ballistic skill (saves on the expensive Targeting Arrays)or removing your opponents cover save (wuth its prevelence in 6E)
Lastly, I personally agree with how you've gone with fewer Fire Warriors, but if the list isn't working then never be afraid to take more Fire Warriors, they're actually one of the best units that you've got in the Tau codex.
Your Battlesuit configuation is good. I underestimated the usefulness of TW Flamers, and stay Missile Pod heavy. You could possibly not take the Crisis suits as a Bodyguard unit, and instead afford 3 Elite suits.

I hope you find others to play then SM...they get so boring I know how you feel, but I wouldn't go hoping for a Tyranid match, haha, horde is still terrifying.

David Drage said...
December 31, 2012 at 2:48 AM  

Thanks for your insight. I am the new owner of this Blogger, and and your response refers to Adams list.
I am still using 5th ed.,in fact I am quite new to 5th as I stopped playing when 4th ed. was published. Also we have started our campaign with smaller forces. I have been playing with a 500pt army which has forced me to really rationalise my army. We are moving up to 600pts after the festive season. I have been using a couple of 6 man Fire Warrior squads but concentrating on battle suits for the main punch... I had to leave out Pathfinders but will probably put them in with the increase to 600pts.

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