Tuesday 20 August 2013

A Tau Detachment for Your Everyday Needs

As a Space Marine turned Dark Angels player (and most likely a once more converted-to Space Marines Player) there were often things that I had trouble with come 6th edition.

I ran a hybrid, mono Dark Angels army. I didn't have any allies. This included the Devastation Banner, wielded by Thunder Hammer and Storm Shield equipped Terminators in a Venerable Land Raider Crusader, 3 Squads of Tactical Marines, 2 Squads of Bikes, a Suicide Combi-Plasma Veteran Drop Pod squad and various other bits and bobs (transports, unit upgrades, etc etc). The one thing I relied upon was people not killing my Land Raider and alpha striking the opponent's main threat. This gave me an enormous amount of Dakka, but str 4 dakka doesn't really do much against planes.

After the FAQ on the Dark Angels Power Field upgrade (an item that gave ALL MODELS within 3" a 4+ invulnerable) only allowing it to give an invulnerable save to the unit that wields it and not the transport the unit is in, I decided to ditch the Land Raider and beef up the rest of my army as I couldn't have a 4++ invulnerable & venerable Land Raider rolling around anymore - however I was still just getting smashed by flyers.

Then Tau came around, and I thought "Great! I can have a really small Tau Detachment to help me out with Flyers". Some double-missile pod Crisis suits, a Commander with the Puretide Engram Neurochip (which gives a bunch of special rules, but most importantly Tank Hunter and Monster Hunter) and some Broadsides and I'll never be troubled again!

Below is what I came up with:

- 2 Missile Pods
- Velocity Tracker
- Target Lock
- Puretide Chip
- Iridium Armour


2 Crisis Suits 
- 2 Missile Pods each
- Velocity Tracker 


6 Fire Warriors

6 Fire Warriors


3 Broadsides
- High-Yield Missile Pods
- Smart Missile Systems
- Early Warning Override.


Aegis Defence Line
- Quad Gun

I've done a few playtests and boy oh boy, do Broadsides impress me. They impress me so much I'll be doing a completely separate post on them (coming soon).

The beauty of this detachment is that the whole thing comes in at slightly less than 750pts - 742pts to be exact (including the Quad Gun), and you get a very, very versatile detachment. This allows you to spend just over 1100pts on your primary force. 

The main idea here is to have the Broadsides set up behind the Aegis, joined with the Commander. The Suits can hide behind anything they want and still be effective as they can Jump, Shoot and Jump once again to be out of Line of Sight. The Fire Warriors act as late game backfield objective holders, so hold them in reserve for as long as you can, or want too. They can come on from reserve and just hit the defence line for a nice 2+ cover save. 

The Broadsides + the Commander & Quad Gun put down the hurt on just about anything (really, anything bar AV14). To put it into perspective, that group of Suits will put down approximately 18.4 wounds on a Dread Knight or Riptide (with Monster Hunter). That's at least 3 unsaved wounds done straight away, in your first turn. I also don't equip the Broadsides with Velocity Trackers, as with Early Warning Override they still manage 3 - 4 Tank Hunting hits on incoming flyers, plus 4 hits from the Commanders Tank Hunting Quad Gun! So any flyers that enter are met with 7 - 8 str 7 Tank Hunting interceptor shots.

In the subsequent shooting phase the Broadsides can still fire their Smart Missile Systems, and the Commander still has 2 Missile Pods with Target Lock. Whatever the Broadsides don't take out, the Crisis Suits will mop up, such as flyers or other vehicles with 1 or 2 Hull Points left.

Later on in the game, the Commander also joins the Crisis Suits and acts as a really mobile denial unit. It's not a necessarily a bad idea to run into combat with Space Marine/Guard as they will both have trouble getting through the Commanders T5 and 2+ Armour - do whatever you have to do contest those objectives.

And there you have it! A reasonably cheap, hard hitting detachment that I think many armies could benefit from. Give it a playtest if you have the points and see how you find it! The detachment will work wonders if you're having trouble vs hordes, flyers or mech saturation.

And don't forget to let me know what you think. Any detachments you want to share here on the blog?

Alles Gute,


  1. Nice one mate. I run pretty much the same thing except with 2-3 middle drones for a bit of extra protection.

  2. I'm ordering my Broadsides soon too, cause I played Crazy's in the tournament and they are ridiculously good.


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