Tau Grand Tournament Armies

October 25, 2009 ·

There are 7 Tau armies at the Grand Tournament. Quite an unusually high number it has to be said. But the interesting thing was how they were all completely different from my own Tau army.

Unfortunately, I wasn't able to get photographs of them all or learn their compositions, but there were some general trends that I spotted regarding troops, elites and heavy support choices. Perhaps we need a new Codex sooner than I had thought?

Here is the run down of what I saw.

Army 1: Green Tau with Orange stripes (
plasma rifle/missile pod command team
twin flamer, single missile pod battlesuits
3 Devilfish with Firewarriors squads

Yes, this is my army. I had to include it for completeness. I'd gone for a combination of mechanised with Battlesuits. Mostly so my Battlesuits had some large tanks to hide behind. My main tactic was the Tau Tank Wall, which swings round the flank, firing as it goes, with the Battlesuits doing Jump-Shoot-Jump over and behind it. I finished 56th.

Army 2: Dark Green with Light Green details
plasma rifle/missile pod command team
extra commander with cyclic ion blaster and missile pod
burst cannon/missile pod battlesuits
3 Firewarriors
2 broadsides

This was a really nice looking army. Shame to see it so far down the tables, but it seemed to be designed for 4th edition rather than 5th edition. While it had plenty of Broadsides the 2nd Battlesuit team only had burst cannons. I've tried this unit myself with unhappy results. Loved the guys broadside conversions.

Army 3: Black and Red

I didn't get a good look at this army. But this was also quite far down the tables. Also seemed a throw back to 4th edition.

Army 4: Brown
twin linked missile pod Battlesuits
plasma rifle/fusion blaster Battlesuits
another team of Battlesuits (I think)
pathfinders + devilfish
2 broadsides

I think it was this guy who managed to qualify for the final. Minimal troops, but plenty of railguns and his Battlesuits were armed with both fusion blaster and plasma rifle. I think he had 2 of these units and another unit with twin linked missile pods. He certainly suffered in the objective based missions but when it came to killing things, his 3 Battlesuit units would be able to deepstrike into enemy territory, take out tanks, monstrous creatures and heavily armoured targets with relative ease while the 5 railguns pounded targets from afar. Maybe its just my troops who die easily?

Army 5: Blue
twin linked missile pod Battlesuits
plasma rifle/fusion blaster Battlesuits
another team of Battlesuits (I think)
pathfinders + devilfish
2 broadsides

At first glance this guys army was near the same as the Brown Tau, but he didn't do nearly as well. Then again, he did give his Tau Commander the Airbursting Fragmentation Projector.

Army 5: Pastel brown with red and green

I didn't get a good look at this army, but from what I could see it was mostly mechanised with 3 Hammerheads for heavy support. It ended up quite far down the tables.

Army 6: camo green
2 Battlesuit command teams with plasma rifle/missile pod
stealth suits
3 firewarriors
2 broadsides

This was my friend Luke's army. Not sure where he came in the tournament, although I know he didn't do great. Lost out on objective missions and generally got blasted apart for his troubles. Stealth suits were useless!

With the Brown Tau qualifying and my own force falling short of going through to the final (not that I wanted to), I think it demonstrates what kind of Tau army works well in 5th edition.

In fact, the Brown Tau seem downright nasty.
The Kroot can go hide in some woods to claim an objective (and go to ground).
The Firewarriors can get in the Pathfinder's Devilfish which in turn allows the Deepstriking Battlesuits to reroll their scatter. The Pathfinders light up targets for the Broadsides (and Battlesuits). Then the railguns, plasma rifles, fusion blasters and missile pods annihilate that unit and move on to the next one. The army is screwed when it comes to multiple objectives, but if it can kill everything, then who cares?

As for my army, I think sneakiness may have won out over brute force. My army isn't nearly as hard hitting, but it floats around, using the Tau Tank Wall to protect my troops and Battlesuits while dealing out minor damage here and there. But as you will find when I post my battle reports from the Grand Tournament, it doens't have that punch to clear someone off an objective.

Stay tuned for Warhammer 40K Throne of Skull Grand Tournament battle reports soon!


levi said...
October 25, 2009 at 1:50 AM  

Hello Adam,
How does this tank wall work? I thought You don't get a cover save behind skimmers. I also don't understand how can your suits jump-shoot-jump. I thought they can only move(on feet)-shoot-jump.

Dezartfox said...
October 25, 2009 at 3:10 AM  

Basically in the last edition you could shoot under skimmers making it difficult to hide behind them, in 5th edition they block LOS as normal, meaning you can hide behind them quite easily.
Basttlesuits are jump suits so can jump in the movement phase 6", then in the assault phase can jump another 6", the latter HAS to be a jump move, the former can either be a jump or a walk.

Aww so close to qualifying! I was looking forward to seeing your army at the final too, assuming I qualify that is! Looking forward to the battle reports!

Mr Tiz said...
October 25, 2009 at 3:19 AM  

Gah whats wrong with an Airbursting Projector? That thing is good for a lot of wounds.

levi said...
October 25, 2009 at 6:21 AM  

Thanks for the help Dezartfox! So if I put my suits behind HHs for example, they will get a 4+ cover for being obscured?

Pearlygates said...
October 25, 2009 at 7:47 AM  

All those tau armies, and not an Ethereal in sight!!! Not to mention that you all seem to have roughly the same units, with a little variation to weapon choices.

Just goes to show that the Tau army really needs to be updated and improved.

I don't think I know of any other 40k army where half of the army force is ignored for use. (Nobody ever fields drone squads, vespid, Ethereals, sniper drone squads or Hammerheads with Ion cannons.and then rarely are Piranhas ever used too.)

That is a large chunk of the Tau army that is discarded when it comes down to gaming! GW sort it out!!!

Adam, though you may knock your own fire power i think that your strategy is sound! and offers a variant style of play for your opponents rather than the same old "Tau strategy"

UltraLemming said...
October 25, 2009 at 7:52 AM  

Yeah, I too have drifted from the skirting tank wall and more to the hiding kroot + lots of guns and markerlights route. But for me the tank wall just gets swamped by some of the armies I play at my store... Orks in particular.

Old Shatter Hands said...
October 25, 2009 at 11:38 AM  

Adam, this is really interesting thanks for the run-down on the Tau Armies. It's curious how similar they all are.

And not a single piranha in sight? That's a shame...

No ethereals, no surprise. Huge liability.

Raptor1313 said...
October 25, 2009 at 2:26 PM  

I'm surprised to see no Piranhas. Add in the +BS upgrade, disruption pod, and Fusion Blaster, and it's a bloody disgusting little boggart to deal with, especially in pairs. It's great for blocking movement, and being a general threat.

Past that...Amen on the tau lack of options.

I mean, when I go down the codex list, I'm left with this for options:
Fire Cast Commander (HQ)

Crisis Suit (elites)
(Usually w/ missile/plasma for max utility, screw the cost)

Fire Warriors, because I have to.
Wall o' Kroot (useful AND cheap)

Piranhas and Pathfinders (FA)

Hammerheads w/ Railguns, and Broadsides w/ Advanced Stab. Sys.

I mean, it can be very, very nasty and balanced, but there just really isn't much for options. In a sense, it makes it easier to build an army, but it kills the hell out of our variety.

Maybe GW will actually DO A FREAKING NON-MARINE-CODEX after Tyranids, who need it more than we do. At least we can SHOOT THINGS.

Mike said...
October 25, 2009 at 2:34 PM  

I really find, of all those Tau lists, that yours is the most viable. My list, even before I started reading your blog, was very similar to yours. So many Tau units feel so useless to me. When I'm unwilling to take about 60% of my unit types I really think that its time to get a codex update.

Many people think Tau are still fine in 5th, but the fact of the matter is we work damn hard to still be competitive, yet compared to other lists its very hard to keep up.

P.S. GW, please give me the option to put Ion Cannons on my Broadsides.

Old Shatter Hands said...
October 25, 2009 at 8:29 PM  

Call a whambulence to this pity-party! The Tau army is the best army there is in 40k. Hands down. I won't play any other. (ok thats a lie on two counts, they aren't the best, and I do play another army)

As much as I want a new codex, there is part of me that loves the one we've got now. Where else can you get a 5-point disruption pod, an AV11 speeder or flechette dischargers?

Warrio said...
October 25, 2009 at 9:31 PM  

Adam, didn't you sell your Tau army to some guy from Spain?

Adam said...
October 25, 2009 at 10:49 PM  

Yes and it ships out today!

I am building ANOTHER Tau army with magnetised weapons instead.

levi said...
October 26, 2009 at 1:25 AM  

Please keep us updated! I can't wait to see how you paint your new army FAST. I'm really interested.

Firewasp said...
October 26, 2009 at 2:06 AM  

Yeah magnets are definetly the way to go. I'm starting y tau army with magnetised weapons. Probably take a little longer though worth it in the long run I imagine. Just got to be careful not to lose them.

Pearlygates said...
October 26, 2009 at 4:00 AM  

I wanted to do the same with my crisis battlesuits. I was going to buy a couple packs of the rapid insertion teams but they no longer sell them. infact you can't even buy a box of three battlesuits, which is disgusting seeing as in a full organisation chart you can have up to 15 crisis suits; planet-strike you can have about 27 (plus more with farsight) and an endless amount in Apocalyps.

yet you can only get crisis suit individually. This is just plain wrong!

Skcuzzlebumm said...
October 26, 2009 at 7:15 PM  

Hey Adam!

FYI those Dark Green Tau with the converted Broadsides are Mike from Flame On's.

I agree that his choice of Crisis Suit load out is odd but it did do well for him at TS this year hence running it again at the GT.

Now the real question is when are you getting you're batreps up dude?


Adam said...
October 26, 2009 at 11:52 PM  

I finished writing them last night. They're scheduled for Friday and Saturday.

Skcuzzlebumm said...
October 27, 2009 at 2:06 AM  

Friday and Saturday! That's rubbish! I am away at Gus's and OW all weekend!

What am i going to entertain myself reading?

Oh yeah Uni books....

Pearlygates said...
October 27, 2009 at 6:29 AM  

Adam, are you currently focusing on your space wolf army? or will you be starting your new tau army sooner than we're hoping!

we all love this blog so I hope you dont leave us hanging!

Adam said...
October 27, 2009 at 10:50 AM  

I've only painted 1 space wolf model!

Warrio said...
October 27, 2009 at 9:20 PM  

1 model too many imo but I'm sure it looks spiffy. >.<

James said...
October 28, 2009 at 6:16 AM  

Looking forward to reading your battle reports. Looks like MEQ ruled this heat...

Noveltyboy said...
January 3, 2010 at 2:50 AM  

just thought id drop you guys a list i used at an escalation style tourney. i came 17th out of 30 i think it was. this is in 500pt blocks.


6 FWs - carbines, plasma grenades
devilfish - TA, MT, DP, Decoys, Flechette

6 FWs - carbines, plasma grenades
devilfish - TA, MT, DP, Decoys, Flechette

12 FWs - Pulse rifles, Shas'ui, BK


Shas'o - Cyclic, Plasma, Shield, HWMT, MWTL

Hammerhead - Railgun, MT, DP, Smart Missiles, TL

Hammerhead - Railgun, MT, DP, Smart Missiles, TL


8 Pathfinders - Shas'ui, BK
Devilfish - TA, MT, Flechette, DP, 2x Seeker Missiles

6 Stealth Team - Shas'vre, BK, x2 Fusion Blasters, 6x TA


3 Crisis Team - Shas'vre, BK, Fusion Blaster, HWMT, HWTL, 3x Missile Pods, 2x Plasma, 3x TA

Hammerhead - Ion Cannon, MT, DP, Bursts, TA, Flechette

This isnt far off my normal build I prefere mech tau as troops too fragile but I think battlesuits too fragile for how many poins you sink into them, get hit by a fre krak missile from guard squad for instance and thats alot of instant death. the forgeworld ones are T5 so hopefully they will change that in next codex rather than giving them some pitiful combat ability scrap that completely and go full shooting army with mass mobility the way they should be. I love the ion cannon btw 9 shots on a tank 3 at S7 can take out light tanks and Terminators easy. I dont normally take the decoys but had points to spare within the 500pt blocks. I lost my first game, damn looters in a looted wagon. won my 2nd against knorne list with 2 defilers and couple of rhinos and kharn, the only survivor but never made it into combat. lost my 3rd against a spacemarine bike army, theres no answer for that at all, 1st turn turbo boost 2nd turn kill you, i was lenient with the scenery as we had a largely tree covered board which he abused to the max not taking any dangerous terrain rolls at all the whole game. won my last game full 2k against a dark angels army, so nicely painted i didnt want to kill it but he wasnt the best player and despite me helping him quite alot i pounded him 9kps to 3kps. anyway up the tau :P

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Warhammer Tau is a group of wargamers who feel that they have a little something different to offer other Tau Empire, Kroot, and allied players... even if it's just a starting point for discussion! Our goal is to produce at least one article per week to inform and encourage the Tau and Warhammer gamer community. For the Greater Good, of course!

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