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Light Mechanized - A new way of thinking...
Old 14 Mar 2007, 21:49   #1 (permalink)
Kroot Shaper
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Default Light Mechanized - A new way of thinking...

[size=12pt]Light Mechanized Forces[/size]

When considering a Mechtau force, many a commander automatically starts off building his (or her) army list by filling up the Heavy Support slots in the Force Organization Charts with various builds of Hammerhead or Skyray tanks. The undeniable sexiness of the Hammerhead mounted railgun makes many swear that a full set of 3 Railheads in a Mechtau army is the only way to go, and any other option is unthinkable.

It is my opinion that this method is self-limiting, and potentially self-defeating.

My thoughts on this revolve around my experiences in my last game. I played against a friend's Nurgle marines and had the unhappy experience of having all my tanks shaken/stunned the majority of the game. My Skyray, Ionhead and Railhead all sat around while his Annihilator Predator and Dreadnought walked around the board with impunity, since I had tied up all of my antitank firepower into platforms that could not fire. Even though I didn't actually lose any of my tanks, they were ineffective through 3/4 of the game. As Malveaux said (and I paraphrase), "It one takes one glance to render a Hammerhead useless..."

This experience got me to think about how we design Mechtau forces, and if there are any other options that may not have been explored to their fullest extent. Is a full Railhead loadout the only true option Tau commanders have, or is there another way. I thought about it, and came up with-

Light Mechanized

The basic concept behind a light mechanized force is that all troops are under armor and the force has an integral anti-tank capability, but the traditional heavy armor that would normally be taken is dropped in favor of additional, lighter units.

In context for a Tau force, the Heavy slots in the FOC would not be used at all. Instead, the points saved in this section of the FOC could be spread around to adjust/increase the quantities of units taken elsewhere. Without the advantages of the railgun, seeker missiles & fusion blasters would be a necessity. Along with seeker missiles would come the requirement of markerlights, in any form. XV8 suits are of added importance to this concept, since they will become the "load bearers" for the army, adding in the essential heavy weapons that Tau troops lack.

Basics of the army:
Commander XV8
XV8 suits, primarily Helios, Sunforge & Deathrain configurations.
XV15/XV25 Stealth suits
Firewarrior teams, all mounted in Warfish/Devilfish.
Pathfinder squads, preferably more than one.
Tetras, if you can afford them.
Phirana squads, FB mounted & carrying seeker missiles.

Naturally, when a Tau commander would deploy a Light Mech detachment on the battlefield, there would be a number of considerations to be mindful of. Available of cover and other terrain features would need to be utilized to keep out of range/LOS from enemy shooting in the first turn. Pathfinder teams if deployed, need to set up in available cover & conversely have good fields of fire for their markerlights. Phirana teams would need to be centrally deployed so as to be able to react to either edge of the battlefield in a minimum amount of time. Other options, including starting FW teams mounted/dismounted would need to be determined based on the scenario. Deepstriking suits become a necessity to take out entrenched enemy armor in locations too far/too exposed for the Phirana teams to reach effectively or in a suitably timely fashion.

Unit Specific:

The XV8 Commander:
The commander suit can be set up in any configuration, but a couple pieces of wargear should be mentioned that are of particular value.

C & C Node- Since accurate firepower becomes more essential to this list, the C & C Node makes it much easier for FW squads & XV suits to pass the TP check.

Positional relay- Since a natural tactic for the Light Mech detachment would be a Monat deepstrike of a Helios or Sunforge XV8 for antitank work, this piece of wargear would be important when combined with the marker beacon on the Pathfinder DF.

I envision the XV8 Commander as playing a support role in this army, staying with the mounted FW teams to lend fire support and the benefits of the C&C node, etc.

XV8 Suits:
This is the area where most of the variation in this type of list would come into play. Initial ideas for this area would include 1-2 Monat deepstriking Sunforge units and a pair of Deathrain suits to support the Warfish. The sky is the limit, with the only potential limiting factor being the available FOC slots.

XV15/25 Suits
Always useful for harassment, anti-infantry fire in large quantities. Take as often as possible, though in competition for FOC slots with the XV8s.

FW teams
As standard in all Mechanized lists, the FW teams should be mounted in Devilfish troop carriers, preferably in the Warfish (SMS, TA, MT, Decoy) variant for added firepower. The Warfish can be supplied optionally with Seeker missiles if points are available. Additional care must be taken during deployment/movement to keep the Warfish out of range/LOS to antitank units since the traditional "fire magnet" Hammerheads are not present.

Pathfinder teams
Since accurate firepower will have a disproportionate value in the Light Mech format, Pathfinders, Tetras, and even Shas'ui on Stealth and FW teams equipped with markerlights are very important, both for the BS boost for shooting and the need for Seeker missile guidance. Proper placement of pathfinders portends possible pulse pleasure. (Sorry, it's getting late in the day).

Phirana teams
Phiranas, especially seeker missile carrying ones with FB's, come into their own. This is where the majority of antitank firepower resides in the Light Mech concept. The Phirana team will have the responsibility of trying to take out the heavy units of our opponents, using speed and cover to reach their targets quickly.

[size=12pt]Sample list (1500 pts)[/size]

HQ - Shas'el w/PR, positional relay, C&C node: 95 pts

Elite- (1)XV8 TLFB, TA: 53 pts
(1)XV8 TLFB, TA: 53 pts
(2)XV8 TLMP, TA: 106 pts

Troops- (3)8-man FW squads in Warfish (200 pts ea.)

Fast Attack- (2)6-man Pathfinder squads in Warfish (192 pts ea)
(1)2x Phirana skimmer team, FB, 2xseeker missiles each200 pts)

[size=11pt]Total points: 1491[/size]

In conclusion:
This is an attempt to codify an idea I have been working on for a while now. I know this will be controversial, especially with the Mechtau crowd, where railguns are a way of life. In my opinion, this is a truly viable alternative to the standard Mech list.

I welcome all comments/suggestions regarding my observations.

I am now going to leave you all to bar the door against the hoard of pitchfork waving peasants calling for my head.

-See ya

The only element in this universe more common than Hydrogen is Stupidity!

Friendly fire, isn't...

The diversionary attack you are ignoring is the enemy's main assault!

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Old 14 Mar 2007, 22:42   #2 (permalink)
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Default Re: Light Mechanized - A new way of thinking...

Well, I'd say that, if you want to put in some Heavy support, I believe a Skyray would work great in this kind of list, providing numerous seekers, and mobile, durable, markerlights to support the other elements of the army. Aside from that, which of course, is just a matter of preference, I find that sort of list excellent, and fairly effective.

Great Job!
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Old 14 Mar 2007, 23:08   #3 (permalink)
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Default Re: Light Mechanized - A new way of thinking...

I must admit that I like the feeling of that aproach to mechtau, but I really think it is just as limiting as "always 3 railheads, or nuthinŽ", if you say "no hammerheads at all".
One hammerhead or skyray could do very good in your list.

Personally, while I really like the idea, I still doubt that this way of playing mech will really proof to be a viable option in a strong competetive environment.
In accasional gaming it should do pretty good.

But I do not see the point of taking the C&C-Node. Most units in your list are vehicles, and the firewarriors will most surely want to perform the FOF, so no problem with target-priority either.

And, now that you have given the enemies anti-infantry-weaponry new targets (12 pathfinders, all the piranhas) and your (missing) hammerheads cannot soak all the anti-tank-fire in you will become a fair bit more vulnerable.

Well, IŽd actually like to read some experiences with those lists. How about a review of one of your games?

Greetz, Trogdor

Gamestatistics Ž07:

[WHFB] Dwarfs
9 victorious slaughters/ 7wins/ 5 draws/ 7 losses

[WH40k] Tau
17victorious slaughters/ 10wins/ 2draw/ 1 loss
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Old 14 Mar 2007, 23:15   #4 (permalink)
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Default Re: Light Mechanized - A new way of thinking...

I like the idea of using well placed seeker missles instead of depending on railguns for anti tank (My 2 railheads are notorious in my gaming circle for missing).

I concur with Mr Trulybored as to the effectiveness of Skyrays in this kind of list. The whole shaken stunned thing doesn't completly negate there effectiveness as the pathfinders can still fire their missles. It can absorb the same amount of punishment the hammer head can.
And rovides you with even more markerlights. Not to pricey either points wise.
Also I play with a sky ray in about 50% of my games and it has always done well. If nothing else it is an AV 13 scoring unit that people ignore when it is out of seekers.

Oh and I love the "Proper placement of Pathfinders portends possible pulse pleasure."
Proper placement of pathfinders portends possible pulse pleasure. - Darklord

"I have taken great pains not to laugh at the actions of aliens, nor to weep at them or to hate them, but to understand them."- Aun'shi
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Old 15 Mar 2007, 00:02   #5 (permalink)
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Default Re: Light Mechanized - A new way of thinking...

I do like seekers but I also found that S8 doesnt do too much against land raider armour 14.
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Old 15 Mar 2007, 02:07   #6 (permalink)
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Default Re: Light Mechanized - A new way of thinking...

Originally Posted by guillaume
I do like seekers but I also found that S8 doesnt do too much against land raider armour 14.
That's what the piranhas, stealth suits, and battlesuits are for. Really, I cannot overstate the usefulness of those weapons, expecially when used omnipurpose. My stealth teams love starting on the table, harassing with anti infantry fire as my transports and Rays move up, then jumping up to vaporize enemy armor out of the blue. Those 2D6 only need double-threes or better to severely rape that tank. Run them in squads of 4: you get two burst, two fusion, taking advantage of the 1:3 ratio rule. The stealth field insures that if they are unlucky in their attempt, enemy shooters will not do too much from across the field, and assaulters will strike after your normally I2 suits.

Nothing but love for the Sky Ray. ;D
"I have exactly one-hundred men under my command counting on ME to lead that charge, you two-bit mechanic. I have five seige tanks, eight APC's, an artillery platform and a light mech that need resupply and repair by dusk. I need remote mines set, trenches dug, and my men fed and rested, or those Marines are going to be using us for toothpicks. Get it done, Fio'vre." Officer Sherwin Jackson, 13th Dal'yth Company, to Fio'vre D'nan

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Old 15 Mar 2007, 02:12   #7 (permalink)
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Default Re: Light Mechanized - A new way of thinking...

Intestesting. Might be a fun thing to try out since I'm getting a lil bored of running the same old mech tau blitzkrieg sorta list
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Old 15 Mar 2007, 02:38   #8 (permalink)
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Default Re: Light Mechanized - A new way of thinking...

Railgun free lists can do well in the hands of a skilled player. The only thing you absolutely need Railguns for is taking down Monoliths and killing speedy Deamon Princes. So keep in mind that Necrons and Chaos will be your toughest fights and you should be OK if you can find a way to play to the objectives against these opponents.

I find it interesting that the reason you advocate not bringing any Railheads at all is that they can be stunned/shaken. Frequently that point is used to argue why 3 are necessary. If your opponent kills one and stuns the other, you've still got a third to pick up the slack.
"i like to think of playing against my list as being like punching jelly. you put all your effort in but it just moves out of the way and you cause no damage. then your arm is covered in jelly. and the chicks come out and start wrestling in the jelly, and i drink a beer with stone cold steve austin, and we watch the chicks jelly wrestling, and then the slap-bass funk starts wakka chakka wakka wakka woh" -- Spooky, describing Mech Tau

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Old 15 Mar 2007, 03:00   #9 (permalink)
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Default Re: Light Mechanized - A new way of thinking...

This is very close to my own army style. I go more hybrid, so my 3-man teams of 8 aren't mounted, and have MLs in them. I would suggest doing the same with your army, and if you still want them to be "Mech" then mount them in the list, but have them in Warfish with 2 Seekers each, so they can fly around as small Gunships. Also, a Skyray would be perfect in this list as well (for the above mentioned reasons.) and make sure you load at least one Seeker on every vehicle possible.

As far as guillaume's comment. Personally, I love seeing a Monolith or Landraider on the table. That means my opponent has sunk a bunch of points into something that's not more infantry, so there's less for my Pulse weapons to hit. So wipe out the infantry with massed Pulse fire, and leave the big tank stranded with no support. IGNORE IT! Also, this will throw off your opponent big time, because he'll be used to his opponents trying to kill the big armour, instead you ignore it and wipe out his other units. If he's got no scoring units left because you did something he didn't expect and it threw him off and he made mistakes, then you win, right? Doubly Vs. Necrons, because then you make him phase out and you really win!

I have no fear of Landraiders, you know why? When I played Salamanders, I had two LRs, one Crusader and one Prometheus (the TL Heavy Bolter kind) and got owned by an Ork army that only had a couple of Zzap Gunz and no other heavy anti-armour. Both LRs were on the board, but every thing else got killed, and so he got all 4 corners in the Cleanse mission because those landraiders couldn't contest anything. The one thing the Orks could do that Tau can't was get into HtH quickly, which really protected them, but still...

So that battle changed my mind about AV14. It's great if your opponent takes the bait and tries his hardest to kill it, but is an enormous setback when ignored. The other thing that changed my mind was playing Armoured Company. Quite frankly, armour is crap without infantry to back it up. A hammer can't swing without feet planted firmly on the ground...
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Old 15 Mar 2007, 03:31   #10 (permalink)
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Default Re: Light Mechanized - A new way of thinking...

Originally Posted by Damian_Alpha
Run them in squads of 4: you get two burst, two fusion, taking advantage of the 1:3 ratio rule.
Hate to burst your bubble, but it's 1 in 3. You can only get 2 FB in a stealth squad if it has 6 memebers, so you've sort of been cheating your opponent.
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