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The reality of the Crisis suit
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Old 19 Dec 2005, 14:41   #1 (permalink)
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Default The reality of the Crisis suit

In my campaign game last week, I had a revelation about the role of the crisis suit that belies its force org designation.

While considered an elite, and indeed supported by fluff and cost, I always tended to support my crisis with my infantry considering the FW expendible.* However, the inverse is the reality.* Let me explain in clear terms.* FW are sans weapons systems other than basic issue.* Crisis have no real battlefield role since they are marginal at all tasks, masters of none, and decrease the size of any army exponentially the more you use.* For my entire time of playing Tau, I have recognized and at the same time denied the obvious:* Crisis are expendible support weapons platforms.

Facts:* You can have up to 9 crisis suits in elite slots.* They come with BS3.* They have a range of weapons from anti-horde (BC and flamer) to anti heavy infantry (plasma rifle) to anti armor (fuision blaster).* They come with a decent all around weapon in the missle pod.

Where the confusion on reality sets in is with the "system" upgrades.* Multi track lets the suit fire more than one weapon at the same target.* TL allows one suit to fire at a different target.* These enhancements are often seen as essential, yet they are why people are so driven to buy the expensive version of the suits and attempt to multitask the suits into a generally independant battlefield role. People tend to think in terms of buying fewer suits, each with more shots, in order to conserve points for other items.* It should be just the opposite, more suits with fewer weapons for maximized shot per point.

Look at some other armies:* Eldar have weapons platforms, as to IG, that accompany thier infantry.* Given the role of the squad the weapons platform may be destroyed first in order to preserve troops.* Look at SM.* The versatility of weapons means that rarely will there be a squad without some form of special weapon to support it's role.* The crisis is that support weapon for Tau.

The reality is that suits are to be used just like stealth suits, but in support of the firewarriors.* numbers generate numbers.* 3 TL BC armed suits crank out 9 shots at BS3.5.* Better than 3 slealths and and extra wound each.

A cheap fireknife will cost 65 points, so already the desire to take 3 in one slot is undesirable since they would cost 195 points.* Typically the fireknife will actually only produce 2/3 shots per turn per suit.* So at best a team of 3 would produce 6/9 shots outside 12" per turn at a cost of 195pts.* This is at best 3.6 points per shot over the life of the game.* In comparison, a unit of 12 FW will cost 1.6 points per shot over the life of the game.* The firewarriors will produce at average of 12 shots per turn outside of 12".* The math is a major indicator as to why the suits are expendible as support elements for the infantry.

As such, crisis teams should be configured to support the infantry in the designated role of the infantry rather than as an independant role as the use of the fireknife might suggest.

Roles of the infantry--objective hold/claim,* objective assault, flanker, FoF, etc--are the driving force for Tau to function successfully.* It doen't matter if the army is static, hybrid, or mech, the infantry are the basis for all firepower and mobility operations.*

Recommended Crisis suit configurations for various roles suggested:

Supporting static line/hybrid line vs. horde or shooty mass armies:*
1 unit of 3 crisis all with flamer, burstcannon, multitrack:* 153pts
1 unit of 3 crisis all with TL BC, flamer:* 153pts
1 unit of 2 crisis all with TL MP, BC:* 122pts

Supporting mobile infantry vs. powerarmor:
1 unit of 2 crisis all with TL Plasma rifle, flamer: 120pts

Support any vs. light armor:
1 unit of 3 crisis suits all with TLMP, flamer, 1 w/TL hardwired as leader:* 181

Deep strikers:
1 unit of 1 crisis with TL fuision blaster, flamer:* 54pts

These are just some suggestions on how to maximize the reality of the crisis.


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Old 19 Dec 2005, 17:12   #2 (permalink)
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Default Re: The reality of the crisis suit

I think you bring this up a lot because I have 8 XV's, and its really sick.* Man the fire power is really sick, but not overly powerful.* I mean*Space Marines, they have have Bolters, Las Cannons and a lot of Rocket Launches.* Tau really don't have that kind of fire power.

Please take more time with your posts.* GOD
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Old 19 Dec 2005, 17:13   #3 (permalink)
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Default Re: The reality of the crisis suit

I agree that one of the main mistakes with crisis is to give them too many roles, but I try not to considerate them as an expendable support for FWs.
Don't forget that they are the only units that can use the only weapons with high penetration (Plasma and Fusion), without being a heavy support. That's why I never thought about TL-BC; I want my crisis to be the middle ranged Terminator hunters >.
I prefer Stealths for Burst cannon, they cost less (you can get 2 of them for about 1 crisis), and they are good at "getting close" to the enemy and survive.

I think Crisis have their own role: hunt down heavy armoured infantry and light vehicles, ie the things that aren't the good targets for hammerheads/broadsides or for FWs/stealths.

Against power armours I use Helios: PR, FB, MT. It costs 4 points more than yours, but has 2-3 shots per turn, higher penetration. Same max range as yours, better when the enemy approaches.
With BS 3 it hits 50%, yours 75% (thanks to TL-PR) over 12".
Yours is better when the opponent is more than 12" away, because causes 0.75 hits per turn, helios does 0.5, but for "long distances" I prefer deathrains.

Inside 12" helios has 3 shots hitting 50%, yours 2 shots hitting 75%, both makes 1.5 hits per turn, but helios has better penetration and strength if the FB hits, and so scores more wounds.
(All this is true theoretically. In practice, they are very very similar ).

Using only 1 TL-weapon on a suit is a great temptation, but it limits its versatility: with 2 weapons (and multi) you can still be focused in an objective, but have the opportunity to switch to one main role to a secondary one . *
I'm not saying that every 2 weapons combo is good, (far from it!!), and I'm not saying that every crisis must have 2 roles, but sometimes it is possible and is an option to be kept in mind. (to continue talking about helios, they are good both for tank hunting and heavy infantry. The important thing is to focus on one of those roles and act consequently).

This is only my opinion. I am opened to suggestions and critics.
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Old 19 Dec 2005, 17:44   #4 (permalink)
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Default Re: The reality of the crisis suit

And this was just my opinion. By expendible I mean "of less importance" than FW. They excell only at getting killed IMO, as with BS3 they are just a FW with a heavy weapon that doesn't have the advantages other races have of meatsheild squads to hide in. So people adopt the stand back, JSJ, and roll 3 out of 6 turns on the "whiff" table. A better use of 50 pts IMO is to JSJ against targets that are confronting the valuable FW units.

I've had more success punching enemy side and rear armor with 15 shots of 5/5 weapons than with 1 shot of plasma or 2 shots of missiles. Of course, I'm also a firm believer in using BS to take out as much as possible in 2 turns, since they will be burning broadsides by the end of turn 3 .

I also don't believe in the midrange game any more. I have yet to play on a field where I have had to shoot over 36". To me, 24" is near. Anything over that is far. I have SMS, RG, PR and MP for "far". I have everything else for near. I just don't see boards open enough, and tables flat enough to feel the 3 tier battle is a reality in 40k.

again an opinion

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Old 19 Dec 2005, 17:55   #5 (permalink)
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Default Re: The reality of the crisis suit

I agree with Ballaz: Crisis are there do do what other parts of your army, um, opposite of excel at.
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Old 19 Dec 2005, 18:10   #6 (permalink)
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Default Re: The reality of the Crisis suit

"Suck." The word you're looking for is "Suck."

I.E. Fire Warriors "Suck" at killing Terminators and tanks <3
'Till the window burns...
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Old 19 Dec 2005, 18:17   #7 (permalink)
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Default Re: The reality of the Crisis suit

I think this is an interesting topic. Your saying that crisis suits are expendable in the sense that they need to protect the fire warriors. Now maybe it's just me and my mechTau style of play, but my fire warriors rarely do anything but preserve VPs. Now, while that is important, they don't kill much, and that is okay. They live. my crisis suits are the killie things in my army. each squad is assigned something very specifc to do. Kill marines and terminators or tanks, everything has a purpose. They are never seen as expendable units. They are to expensive for that. Now on your crisis configurations,they are interesting. Why do you give burst cannons to the XV8s. One thing we, as Tau have enough of is 5/5 weapons. Now, you can never have enough, but they don't need to go on crisis suits. They are there to get specific weapons. To me, 5/5 isn't specific enough. it is fora variety of things.Plus, stealths get them for so much cheaper. And one last thing, crisis teams set for AV 11 killing with MPs, should be in squads of two. No need for bonding, and they need to kill the squad to keep it from being a scoring unit. Downside, you need to take AOYO tests alot. Thungs for thinking about, bye now.
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Old 19 Dec 2005, 18:31   #8 (permalink)
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Default Re: The reality of the Crisis suit


You have a good point about the crisis suits supporting the warriors, but I disagree with you on how they can best do that. Our infantry are quite capable of defending themselves (so long as they can move) against little gribbles (read; gaunts) and enemy transports. As a matter of fact, if planted in a good position, they can glance the side armor of many common imperial tanks, such as the predator.

The only things that the warriors can;t effectively protect themselves against are heavy armor (AV13+) and heavy infantry (2+ saves). We have the strongest, most mobile anti-armor weapon in the game (hammerhead tanks) so we can scratch that off our list.

The only thing that isn't really covered elsewhere in the list is heavy infantry. We only have three weapons AP 2 or better, and one of those is the rail gun, which will always have something else to shoot. The other two weapons are only available on crisis suits.

This obviously means that we are very dependent on crisis suits when it comes to hunting down enemy heavy infantry and such. Of corse, that may change with the new codex, but I highly doubt it.

So the real question is: which configuration is the most efficient for taking out enemy heavies? The helios is probably the most efficient (I have;t actually done the math, feel free to prove me wrong) but its only really effective inside 12", and most people just don't want to get that close to a bunch of terminators and ork nobs. The fire-knife configuration has better range, but it can only put out a maximum of 2 save denying shots, and thats at 12" again. And of course, those shots aren't even twin-linked.

Because of all this, I feel that their is serious hole in our firepower. All our AP 2 weapons are either:Needed elsewhere (rail-gun)short ranged (fusion blaster) or only points efficient at close range (plasma rifle).

The best tactic I can come up with is to just move away from the enemy heavies. A couple of burring eye suits (TL PR + whatever, I like to put a M pod in the third slot) will slow them down but probably not be enough to eliminate the completely.

Whoops, went of topic. Sorry *:-[
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Old 19 Dec 2005, 18:52   #9 (permalink)
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Default Re: The reality of the Crisis suit

And I would agree with you. On the surface, the crisis as a weapon's platform is the only means of dealing with powerarmor. However, they do it very ineffeciently at best. 1 shot per turn at BS3 will not bring down a terminator squad of 5, so a suit with plasma rifle is the empitome of inefficiency. MP give you 2 extra shots, but the termies get saves. Turn to 12" and you now get 2 shots at "whiffing" with the BS3.5 TL plasma rifles. The numbers just aren't there. Now take the same suit, give him TL BC. He gets 3 shots at 18" at BS3.5 Sure the terimes get a save, but it is 1 extra shot than MP and 2 more than plasma at that range. In addition, you get to stay out of terminator assault range of 12" forever.

Volume of shots is what I consider important. Dice are fickle and will dissapoint if reliance is on a single roll. Many rolls will give both a better change of wounding and a better chance of armor save failures. Thus 10 FW and 2 TLBC suits at 18" gives 16 shots. Those 16 shots will bring down more termies than 6 crisis shots alone. Many dice means greater chance of armor save failure plain and simple.

Strength only matters in 2 ways in this game. Double toughness and vs armor. crisis have only 1 weapon that doubles SM toughness and it requires you to be at 12". Vs armor, the only realistic threat is the same weapon that again requires 12". MP just cannot be relied upon to bring in armor over 11 since a 12 requires a "5" and 13 requires "6" to glance. So 1/3 chance to glance a standard front armor rhino? Bah, better to buy broadsides at that rate.

I do agree that buying heavy weapons systems for crisis is key, but they should support the infantry efforts. Shasocratis said much the same, and my answer is this. If youre FW are not fighting, then you will not win consistently. The FoF tactic is dead. A major cost of your army is sitting in a vehicle that can burst into flames and kill them all more easily than a SM tac squad can get to them dismounted. Most armies have 9/2 weapons that eat DF up. If you don't move 12" a turn with DF, it will not be of any more use than foot slogging FW. They move 6" by themselves.

I dismount my FW 24-18" away from enemy, not to FoF but to DoL (Drone of leadership). FoF tactic relies upon the enemy not effectively returning fire, but I find this wishful thinking. The DoL relies upon the enemy having to shoot down my "free" detached drones first, and they do block LOS unless he passes a leadership test first. My FW use transports to transport, then to support their advance. Why? If I dismount at 18", I move forward 6" next turn and rapid fire. If I dismount 24", I stand still and shoot it out next turn. It all depends on the enemy, the number of lascannon type weapons, and the support my Fw have at hand from my crisis.

It is all just part of my style of play.

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Old 19 Dec 2005, 19:18   #10 (permalink)
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Default Re: The reality of the Crisis suit

Good topic, but I also believe that you are somewhat off the mark with your comparison of their relative value in the army. I cannot say that I like crisis more or less than FWs, my love is probably about equal, just different. At various times, my opponents have stated their dislike of almost all my units except Kroot(even my drone squads!?, but they all have stated a dislike for the crisis suits, especially the HQ suits who can't be shot easily. The key to ANY unit is using it the way it was intended.

Wanax, your suggestions for fighting specific 'type' armies are viable, but the problem I encounter is that I don't generally know which army I'm going to battle at any given time. So tailoring my crisis suits just isn't an option. I have to go with what works against any (or most) opponents.

You're right, massed fire is the best way to eliminate the theoretically random dice rolling, but Firewarriors are not an army by themselves. Lately I've been trying several suit configs. I've been playing around a bit lately I have 1 'O HG as designated Tank Hunter with FB and MP, 1 Fireknife 'O (general purpose), 1 squad of 2 crisis with massfire weapons (1 Flamer/BC/multi, 1 BC/plasma/multi+target lock), and one sqad of 2 fireknife. I don't get massed fire, but I use them for different purposes. The massfire crisis are used to support my bulk firing line along with stealths if necessary. This way my FWs are backed up with a LOAD of burst cannon fire (which is often augmented by fireknife shots). The Fireknife configs are fringe fire support, hitting tanks and other targets of opportunity when they present themselves.

I'm still learning how to use them effectively, but JSJ often keeps them alive longer which keeps them shooting longer than many other high priority targets.
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