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The Crisis Series: Helios
Old 01 Sep 2008, 08:42   #1 (permalink)
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Default The Crisis Series: Helios

Well, my Crisis series is up to its sixth part now, all about the Helios.

The Helios
A guide to the most lethal weapon in the Tau arsenal

The term Helios refers to the build of an XV Crisis Battlesuit compromised of a Plasma Rifle, Fusion Blaster and a Multi Tracker. This build is optimized to inflict the maximum possible damage against the hardest to kill of targets, and often most expensive. This is disadvantaged by a high cost and very low range. Because of these factors, the Helios requires a solid grasp of tactics to use effectively and supporting units are crucial. As the build doesn't use twinlinked weaponry, markerlights are essential to maximize damage on a group of Helios in a Elite slot of the Force Organization chart.

Two of the Helios's hard points will be taken by its Plasma Rifle and Fusion Blaster. On a standard Shas'ui rank battlesuit, the third hard point will be taken by a Multi Tracker.

Thus, a Shas'ui Helios will look like this:
Shas'ui in XV8 Crisis Battlesuit-Plasma Rifle, Fusion Blaster, Multi Tracker
-62 Points

But, when above the rank Shas'ui, access to the wargear section of the armoury allows for a much greater flexibility in the battle suit.

A Shas'ui team leader may look like this:
Shas'ui Team Leader in XV8 Crisis Battlesuit-Plasma Rifle, Fusion Blaster, Targeting Array, Hardwired Multi Tracker
-82 Points

While it is much more expensive, the battlesuit has a crucial extra point in its Ballistic Skill, lessening its need for support. A Shas'vre would be similarly equiped.

Above this, the Shas'el rank would seem obvious, as

Shas'el in XV8 Crisis Battlesuit-Plasma Rifle, Fusion Blaster, Targeting Array, Hardwired Multi Tracker.
-97 Points

But, as the Shas'el has a base BS of 4, it doesn't benefit from the Targeting Array as much as a lower rank. After unleashing its devestating firepower for the first time, the Helios becomes a target for every heavy weapon the opponent has. So, it favours the Shas'el to be equiped with a Shield Generator instead of a Targeting Array, as there are always markerlights to support its BS.

Shas'el in XV8 Crisis Battlesuit-Plasma Rifle, Fusion Blaster, Shield Generator, Hardwired Multi Tracker.
-107 Points

Stimulant Injectors are optional.

The Shas'o is also deceptive in its amount of builds. As it doesn't need a targeting array, the obvious choice is a shield generator. But there is also the Vectored Retro Thrusters, allowing the battlesuit to take the devestating role of the Ninja'O, a tactic for another tactica. Again, Stimulant Injectors are optional.

Shas'o in XV8 Crisis Battlesuit-Plasma Rifle, Fusion Blaster, Shield Generator, Hardwired Multi Tracker.
-132 Points


Shas'o in XV8 Crisis Battlesuit-Plasma Rifle, Fusion Blaster, Vectored Retro Thrusters, Hardwired Multi Tracker.
-122 Points

What squad size
My reccomended squad size is two battlesuits, as they are easier to hide than three, suffer less morale problems, are cheaper and very few targets require the extreme firepower of three Helios.

The Helios is absolutely devestating when it unloads its firepower. The hardest of targets crack, be they Terminators, a Carnifex, or even a Dreadnaught. Due to its very low range and high target priority, it is essential that the Helios is protected until its time to strike. Also, as it may only fire two or three times in a battle, markerlight support is reccomended for optimal performance.
It is also reccomended that whatever target you choose to destroy, it alone. Less allies means less chances for the Helios to be killed after unleashing its first volley. There are several tactics to allow a Helios to engage its prey alone.

In this scenario, Terminators have deployed with a marine guard. The Tau player must seperate the two groups. Red dots are Helios, Green are Stealth, Blue are Pathfinders, Brown is Terminators, Purple is Marines, Red lines are firing.

The Stealth suits move up to engage the marines, while markerlights allow them to inflict enough damage for the marine player to be unable to ignore them.

The stealth have retreated, harrassing the marines who are chasing them. The terminators have continued advancing.

The Helios jump out at their target, while pathfinders use their markerlights to allow them to kill all the terminators. The stealth continue to harrass marines. With the Terminators dead, the Helios will be able to engage the marines next. This is an example of the Kau'yon.

In this scenario, the target has deployed in a Landraider, with two Rhinos flanking it full of guards.
The Tau player must isolate the Landraider and kill its contents. The Kau'yon is again being used.
Green are broadsides, with surrounding pathfinders. Red a Helios, Blue squares are the Land Raider and Rhinos.

The Tau must focus on the Rhinos, and allow the Landraider to continue forward.

The Landraider must now be destroyed. The targets are likely to disembark forwards, isolating themselves from the army.

The Helios may now engage and destroy.

There are many other tactics for isolation, some more effective than others, some more unorthodox though still expensive.
Such examples include:
Blue is dreadnaught, green is devestator, red is Helios, lines are shooting and devestator Line of Sight

Synapse hunter
Blue Hive Tyrant is unable to chase the Helios without taking the green gaunts out of synapse. If the tyrant chases, the gaunts just lost their turn and are no longer threatening an objective/army
As it has babysitting duties, it is unlikely for the Hive Tyrant to be winged, so the Helios should be able to stay out of assault range unless the tyrant rolls a six for run. The reward of a dead Hive Tyrant is worth the risk is most cases.

On the topic of risk versus reward, it is not that uncommon for a Helios or two to engage such targets as a winged Hive Tyrant, as they are very likely to be able to kill it or make it weak enough to be killed by other means before it devours the Helios. A winged Hive Tyrant with warp field is much more expensive than two Helios, so the risk has been worth the reward in most cases.

Kills and Helios vs Burning Eye
Here is a link to the straight Mathammer
Even if you don't read that, it shows the Helios kills consistantly makes kills against all targets, so it is best used against the targets whose fancy, often expensive 2+ saves make no difference.
Against the Burning Eye (Twinlinked Plasma Rifle), The Helios is the lesser suit at BS3, but the greater suit at BS4 and dominates at BS5. The two are in the same price bracket as well.
As there are more types of Monstrous Creatures than is countable (Daemons and Tyranids being the main blame here), I didn't do a section on them, but it is safe to say that the High Strength, Low AP weapons of the Helios are able to put easy wounds on them.

Thus ends the sixth part of my Crisis series, also the first on a specific suit. Expect more to the series later.
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Old 01 Sep 2008, 15:01   #2 (permalink)
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Default Re: The Crisis Series: Helios

Interesting stuff, I may consider Helios as something more than a one-shot deal
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Old 02 Sep 2008, 05:53   #3 (permalink)
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Default Re: The Crisis Series: Helios

Aye. The Helios is also murderously effective when Marines are just running up the field towards you. Whittle them down with but a single Helios suit until you can focus fire. Make it two and you might just finish them off.
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Old 02 Sep 2008, 07:06   #4 (permalink)
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Default Re: The Crisis Series: Helios

How do the changes to LoS in 5th ed effect this?
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Old 03 Sep 2008, 11:56   #5 (permalink)
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Default Re: The Crisis Series: Helios

True LoS in 5th ed simply makes it harder to hide your battlesuits. If they are seen before they shoot, they tend to die very quickly. Hence why they're unshootable in all my examples.
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Old 03 Sep 2008, 16:31   #6 (permalink)
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Default Re: The Crisis Series: Helios

Great article, Korill. The Helios is incredibly effective against Meqs of all types. I have had a lot of success against my Necron opponents using this layout. The fact that you have to get a little closer can make some folks a little queesy about it, but, unlike some suits, it's killing power actually gets better the closer the enemy gets, which is what most meqs are going to be trying to do.
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Old 03 Sep 2008, 21:11   #7 (permalink)
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Default Re: The Crisis Series: Helios

Nice work there on one of my favourite suit builds. I would add that the range judging is absolutely critical on such a short-ranged configuration. You can dance with your enemy and pick at them with just the plasma rifles, but when you close to rapid fire distance it must be on your terms, not his. Against slow-moving terminators this isn't terribly hard, but if your opponent has jump infantry or anything fleet it can very dangerous. There are few better ways to ruin a tau army's day than attempting to jump into RF range, discovering that only 1 of your suits is close enough, and being unable to get out of that magic 18 inch range to avoid the assault.

I use the helios only as a command squad so all the suits can hard-wire the multi-tracker and drone controller. A couple of shield drones are almost mandatory unless you have very cooperative cover. A marker drone would be worth considering also, as the amount of firepower coming from a helios squad needs to hit, and the enemy is likely to only have cover saves available.
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Old 04 Sep 2008, 16:53   #8 (permalink)
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Default Re: The Crisis Series: Helios

Hey guys, I'm needing some (more) help with my battlesuits.

Currently I'm using three battlesuits all equipped with a fusion blaster and missile pod. Plus a targeting array and hard-wired multi-tracker. Two of them are bodyguards and the third is a shas'el. I'm considering changing the targeting array on the shas'el to a shield generator and using markerlights to give it that +1 BS as it already has BS4 (as mentioned above )

I need to know if I've perhaps over done the anti-tank a bit and what should I do about getting more infantry-busting troops.
I have one broadside and one hammerhead with a railgun and smart missiles. Also 2 of my 6 Stealth suits have fusion blasters. I have 24 FW and 12 Kroot.
Is this enough anti-tank? If so I could free up my battlesuits and give them plasma rifles Would you recommend this?

I'm against SM and Necrons, with usually only 2 or 3 enemy vehicles on the table.

Within 12", twin-linked plasma rifles would give me four hits per suit with a BS5 (+1 from markerlight, +1 from targeting array) against SM hitting and wounding on rolls of 2+ and negating their armour saves correct? Not to forget the re-rolls on hitting from being twin-linked. That sounds pretty kick D'yi to me...Given that the majority of the enemy are infantry would giving all three suits twin-linked plasma rifles be recommended? And how would the Plasma Rifles fare against Necrons?

Is the flamer actually decent against SM or Necrons? What about against Dark Eldar warriors?

Sorry that it's a lot of possibly quite dumb questions. Thanks in advance!

Oh and one thing I forgot, good work Korill!
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Old 05 Sep 2008, 01:08   #9 (permalink)
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Default Re: The Crisis Series: Helios

Very nice seeing some of your tactics. I have two full groups of Helios suits as I love them so much. Everyone I play with loves taking Termies and so I in turn love watching those points dissapear. Good stuff. I'll remember it!
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Old 05 Sep 2008, 01:12   #10 (permalink)
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Default Re: The Crisis Series: Helios

This makes me feel old, very old...

Anyway a nice article regardless of how much it makes me feel ancient .

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