What Should I Buy Now? - Phase II

August 8, 2013 ·

August 9, 2013

Phase 2: Your First 1000 points or so (+ $250)

This is where you can expect the others in the circle start to disagree with me.

This article assumes that you have acquired the items in Part I.  If you don't want to go back and read it, you basically need

  • 40k rulebook
  • Weapon Templates
  • Dice
  • Scatter dice
  • Tape measure
  • Some maker tokens
  • Tau codex
  • Tau battle Box.
You could and probably should pick up a second battle box because it really is all good and you will use it every single thing in it.

First, you get three more crisis battlesuits.  Yay!  Battlesuits are signature Tau of the first order.   Three from the first box, and three from the second gives you two full units of crisis suits.  These are the cornerstone of the Tau way of war.  They are loaded with weapon and support options making them highly flexible, highly capable, powerful, and relatively inexpensive points wise.  More on these in the tactica, but trust me, three battlesuits in the battle box is way better than what used to come in this box (though I do miss the Kroot).

In addition to crisis suits, you get three additional stealth suits.  Along with those you already have from the first battle box.  This will give you a complete team of six -which is potent.  That's 24 burst cannon shots or 16 burst cannon shots and two 18-inch range meltas.  You can also throw a markerlight on the team leader. 

The stealth suits also come with optional marker drones (use them, you can spare the points and the markerlights are crucial at this point).   I push the markerlights a lot, but that is because they are brilliant and you really, really need them.  Without pathfinders, you need to stick markerlight support into your army wherever you can.  Heck, for that matter, you need to stick them in wherever you can even with pathfinders.  Yeah, get nasty.

(there's more below, just click the article's title to see it)

The two crisis teams and the stealth team fill your Elites FOC (Force Organization Chart) slots with a nice mix of highly capable crisis suits and markerlights, as well as the absolute irritation factor of a stealth team (keep an eye on our tactica section for how Crisis Suits and Stealth Suits work together).

This second box also gives you another piranha, some more gun drones, and another full squad of fire warriors (and you must have two).  It's not just about the suits...

Running two piranhas in a team is much better than running two units of one alone.  You can also create drone squadrons to really irritate your opponent. 

The drones can be run in units of their own in a Fast Attack FOC slot.  Eight of these babies virtually ignore difficult terrain, and with their twin-linked, strength 5, assault 2 pulse carbines these can really mess up someone's day.  And they have the jet pack infantry special rule, and jump-shoot-jump makes them a pain in your opponent's butt.  Plus they have pinning, so... skeet skeet skeet!

You can model the few drones you have left over as marker drones and give yourself some more easy markerlight love. Tau'va! 

There's three Fast Attack and three Elites FOC slots right out of the Battle Boxes (2 piranha, 8 gun drones, and 4-8 marker drones).  

The battle box rocks!  Again, you could stop right here, use one of the crisis suits as your commander and continue playing.  But those two crisis teams work best in three-man squads.  Now for some real leadership.

Cadre Fireblade ($20)
You do need a commander, and though this guy doesn't have to be it, you really should consider him (especially if you skipped him before). He gives tremendous boosts to your fire warriors and has a markerlight he can fire at anything he can see at ballistic skill 5. This means he gives each trooper in his squad an extra shot at short range as well as giving the other squad of fire warriors a bump in their ballistic skill. He's well worth the 60 points and price.   

Ethereal  ($20)
The other, other, HQ.
I know they seem kinda lame, but they have their purposes.  Put one between two squads of fire warriors (one of which has the fireblade), and one squad will pump out a whopping 52 strength 5 shots at 15 inches, and the other will get 36, plus supporting fire in overwatch...  That is some pretty awesome shooting if you think about it.  Don't like his lousy armor save?  That's ok, put him in a devilfish and add the guns and drones on the 'fish. 

Battlesuit Commander ($40)
This guy can be the awesome XV-805 Enforcer Battlesuit or a regular crisis battlesuit in a pinch, just mark him appropriately. Though the actual commander model is pretty sweet for $40. 

Tau armies need this guy for the buffs he brings and he also has his own goodies. Attach him to one of  your crisis battlesuit teams from the battle box and watch the four of them rain hell on anything that gets in their way. 85-200 points, depending on how much crap you strap on him.  Just be sure to give him drones for their ablative wounds buff (they can even be marker drones at BS 5, hint hint...).

Also be sure to look closely at the warlord traits and signature gear this guy can take with him.  Just restrain yourself, try not to spend more than 20% of your total points limit on your commander.  Without the proper support from the rest of your army your commander will die way too soon to use it all.

I know, you can only use two HQ units in a 1000-point game, and I have recommended three.  Trust me, your game play will be more interesting if you give each of them a go or in different combinations.  Each one is unique and brings such different variations to the game they are all worth what you pay for them.  Skip the re-runs, I try to never play the same game twice. 

Ok, let's get heavy...

Hammerhead/(Skyray) ($60)
Yep, you absolutely need to be able to hit stuff from six feet away with a strength ten rail guns or with seeker missiles.  Signature Tau -part deux. Your opponents will cry and that will make you feel better, much better about dropping $60 on a tank. around 150 points, and one is enough for 1000-point games.

The skyray and hammerhead come in the same box now.  Just be careful if you buy it off eBay or some other online site, as the older hammerhead kits did not have the skyray parts in the box (but still cost the same price).  I recommend getting the kit with both. The skyray is actually a good Heavy Support option (ignore what the Internet trolls say about it).  Besides, it's one kit and you can just change the turrets for a completely different vehicle.  What's not to like about options -especially if you play Tau?

Commander Longstrike ($16)
I would really recommend picking up Commander Longstrike for the tank. He's a nice little model, doesn't occupy an FOC slot, and he pumps the tank's ballistic skill up to 5 --and that will make enemy tears really flow for 45 points. 

And you're gonna love those lips...  I mean check out that face...

So that sets you up for some more challenging games from the last post and lots more options. 

To summarize what you should buy so far: 
  • Tau Battle Box (2 of these)
  • Cadre Fireblade (optional)
  • Ethereal (optional)
  • Battlesuit Commander (Enforcer Armor)
  • Hammerhead/Skyray
  • Longstrike (optional)
And to summarize the units you get from this haul, you get

      •  Ethereal   (50 points)
      •  Cadre Fireblade with markerlight  (60 points)
      •  Battlesuit Commander  with drones (110 points)

      •  Crisis Team (3)   (66 points)
      •  Crisis Team (3)   (66 points)
      •  Stealth Team (6) with 2 marker drones and a markerlight (220 points)

Fast Attack:
      •  Piranha Team (2)  (80 points)
      •  Gun Drone Squadron (8)  (112 points)
      •  Marker Drone Squadron (4-8)  (56-112 points)
      •  Fire Warriors (12)  Shas'ui markerlight  (133 points)
      •  Fire Warriors (12)  Shas'ui markerlight  (133 points)

Heavy Support:
      •  Hammerhead (with Commander Longstrike) or Skyray   (130 +45 points)

Now, that's about 1200 points base if you take every single thing listed (I estimated values a point or two for the easy math).  Your army will be organized to fit the number of points and style you want to play.   You need to go in and figure out weapon, system, wargear, drone, and markerlight choices.  If you go for broke, you could easily bump this point total up to 1500 points, but you may want to consider different unit options for that level.

**Update for 7th edition codex:

So our new codex has dropped, and amazingly, very little has changed.  For the Core of a battle-forged army you will need exactly what is listed here.

Stay tuned for Part III.

I play Tau!


17yearoldhobbyist said...
August 8, 2013 at 11:47 PM  

Great series, really enjoying it. It's fun to see how my own choices compare to yours. I mostly pick models I like sooo... Yeh, I'm not the best gamer ever. Who cares though!! Love to see the stealth suit tactics because I absoloutely love them!

Werner Fernando Oroxon Ramirez said...
August 9, 2013 at 10:01 AM  

Congratulations, excellent post, easy to demostrate you dont need to go bankrupt to start from zero. keep going.

Anonymous said...
August 9, 2013 at 8:37 PM  

You mention having to pick up a Far strike character... If your opponent isn't too lame, I'm fairly certain they'll let you use a normal tank commander in the tank as him, that will save you the $20 for a non essential model.

Also, point of fact, the Sky Ray model has ALWAYS come worth the hammerhead guns as well as its normal compliment of missle turret etc. if you see an older skyray model on eBay, pick it up... It's the EXACT same model they are using for the ha,,reheard now and charging much mor for.

Hu Jin Tau said...
August 9, 2013 at 9:36 PM  

Yes, you could use the devilfish commander as a "counts as" model for commander, but I recommend against it for three reasons:

1) The model exists. Your opponent is not lame if he purchased all the models for his army and you proxy something (or a lot of somethings). It's a WYSIWYG game, so technically he does not have to allow it. And you can't take proxies to a tournament

I would allow it if someone were play-testing a model before plunging into the investment. But not if he shows up week after week with something like 20 genestealers from his giant nid army proxied as kroot because they're non-essential. If they're non-essential, don't use them..

2) I model the devilfish commanders to designate command vehicles for formations. This solution for saving money would complicate matters.

3) Either ALL models are non-essential, or none of them are. This is a cool model and IMHO considering it non-essential diminishes the hobby. I want more cool models.

I'm not rich, I teach junior high school. But my entertainment allowance for this hobby is enough to keep me happy, and fully equip my five armies with all they need. $100 per month is all my wife allows me to spend. The intent of this article was not to play Tau I expensively, but to ease into it step by step, learn the units and rules, and not go broke your first month. That will make you hate the game.

Plus, about half of what you pay for a model goes to games workshop, the other half is margin for the store you buy it from. I will almost always encourage you (all) to support your local shop, or they will go away. eBay and other online retailers are great for some things, but they are killing small businesses. Then who loses?

We do, that's who.

Next point, you are correct that the skyway always had the Hammerhead inside the box, but the hammerhead did NOT always have the skyray in the box (please read the article carefully).

That, and some folks on eBay pull one of the sprues from the combined kits and sell them separately. And that practice honestly makes sense, it maximizes potential profit for the vendor, customer gets exactly what he or she pays for.

Lastly, anything worth writing is worth putting your name on. I'm not trying to slam you here, I simply disagree with most of what you wrote.

Anonymous said...
August 10, 2013 at 12:09 AM  

Fair enough... Your points are valid, mostly because you play tournament... I don't, nor do I have a desire to.

As for proxiing, I tend to do conversions for models that I believe are redundant as I like that part of the hobby. However much it may,support the store, there is no way it can support me with the prices as high as they are now. I haven't had a chance to covert my commander at this time, but it will get done and he will be different enough from the generic commander to make him visible. (Not to mention I don't generally have my commanders in the turret.)

Speaking of fire warriors, I have also converted one successfully, very easily I MIT add, to a Tau Commander as well. Of you have the parts, it's very easy to do, for the basic body that is. I still have to make his cloak/cape, but other than that, he's noticeable.

You're trying to get people in for low cost... Granted not everybody can convert, however, you're suggesting they purchase models that only need minimal conversion, for models that they already have. Now, after saying all that, you would need to have the parts to make the conversions, or extra materials (green stuff, plastic card, etc), but this is still cheaper than purchasing two fine cast models.

As for posting anonymously, that is because I don't have an account with any of the ones available, other than google, which has my real name on it. As I don't intend to have anyone know my full real name, that isn't going to happen.

Regardless of my suggestions, your articles have Ben interesting and I do agree with your choices overall, just the one particular choice (far strike) and I suppose to a lesser extent the tau commander.

I should mention however, if someone on eBay has the item listed as still in box and sealed, which the reputable ones usually do, (for the sky ray), the the purchaser will be fine. Some sellers also mention all parts included etc... They don't normally take that sprue out as it has the smart missile system on it, which is why it was included in the first place... It's easier to include the whole sprue of a few extra pieces than to make en entire new mold, which is probably why they did it in the foirst place I suppose...

You can call me chip

Hu Jin Tau said...
August 10, 2013 at 2:40 AM  

Thanks Chip!

Fair dialog, and I don't dislike you or intend to disrespect you at all, but sometimes I come across a little strong. We can disagree, and not be hurt, I hope.

I would really like to see some of your conversions. Can you send me a photo bucket address or link and I will post them. We can even do a feature article if you like. Seriously, send me something.

I am not a pro or anything, but I do some conversions myself --particularly when a model is not available. For example, I built a Kroot army a while back and almost all of it was conversions because the models did not exist.

And I buy from eBay, too, mostly bits. I do not need two unarmed Broadsides just because I wanted to use the rail rifles to make gun emplacements. So I do get it.

On another note, I do not go to tournaments either, at least not to compete. I grow tired of those WAAC (win at all costs) guys. I mentioned tournaments because it was an honest point.

And yes, you're right, the SMS is on the railgun sprue, now that you mention it.

Thanks for continuing the dialog. I look forward to butting heads again sometime! And send me those pics and maybe a little write-up. I think you can get my email by clicking my avatar, if not, post here and I will gladly provide it.

My name is actually Will.

Anonymous said...
August 10, 2013 at 10:08 AM  


Cheers Will, no worries and no harm, no foul.

I'll see what I can scrounge together as I have several projects on the go, the Cadre Commander, my version of Dark Strider, some "counts as" Barracudas and severs
Other projects on the go, not to mention some real world projects, meaning house stuff,

I should mention that I am by no means the greatest conversion it's, but my ideas definitely get the point across. ;-)

Anonymous said...
August 10, 2013 at 10:17 AM  

Hey Will, it would seem that I can't send an email directly to you... Clicking on your icon doesn't give me an email addy.

I'll see if I can't get some pics up on photo bucket.


Anonymous said...
August 10, 2013 at 10:37 AM  


Try this ink, see if it goes through... If not, I'll try something else


Hu Jin Tau said...
August 10, 2013 at 10:37 AM  


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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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