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Role Of The Commander
Old 08 Sep 2008, 05:29   #1 (permalink)
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Default Role Of The Commander

Hey Guys,

I did a search on this topic, but the only thing I found was a topic on how the role of the Tau commander could be improved.

My question is, right now, what are some of the ways you use your Tau Commander for? I ask this because I am on the verge of buying a Commander suit and I want to know what weapons to load him up with.

At first, I wanted a Farsight style Commander - excelling at close combat - the Ninja'O I believe it is called - going in to stop charges, score a couple casualties, and then jump out. I thought about this more and decided I would rather avoid combat altogether.

Then I wanted to make my Tau Commander a 'sniper' - with a 5 BS, he hits on 2+, and with my choice of weapons - a Plasma Rifle and a Missile Pod, it gave him at least a 24'' inch range. Which means from that distance he almost is guaranteed to hit. He would basically chill back a bitand blast apart elites and light vehicles.

Then I wanted to make use of the very cool CIB, and my new found appreciation for the Burst Cannon, and make him an Infantry chewing machine. 8 shots hitting on 2+? Most light infantry would be denied any armor saves, and even if not, there is some strength behind that BC. I would give him a Shield Generator to be able to shrug off any shots he takes due to being kind of close to the enemy.

I was wondering what you guys use your commanders for? What roles do they fill in your army - either going solo, or with a bodyguard or two.

This if for the standard Tau commander - not Farsight or Shadowsun, as they do have more specific roles.
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Old 08 Sep 2008, 10:36   #2 (permalink)
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Default Re: Role Of The Commander

Well for the most part Tau Commanders are little more than Crisis suits with special weapons and upgrades. 5th edition made all commanders more vulnerable due to the loss of some Independent Character rules. Fireknife (Plasma/Missile/multi) has been a common well rounded setup for commanders for years. It really depends on what you're fighting. Just make sure he has a well defined role and don't put too many upgrades on him. More upgrades does not necessarily equal a better character.

Depending on what points level you're playing at this may or may not matter but, anything a Shas'O can do, generally a Shas'el can do for 25 points less. Unless you're using Farsight I would strongly advise against trying to make a "CC" HQ. Vectored Thrusters are nice but situational.

Since the advent of 5th edition it's become better practice to either have body guards for your HQ or have him join up with an elite unit.

Lately I've been using a variation on the Centurion configuration.

Shield Gen
HW Multi

He'll set you back 145 points but is generally quite survivable while pumping out 6 shots at 18" and 7 in rapid fire. Given this range puts him in harms way but that's what some of the other upgrades are for.

Formerly (4th edition) I would have said make your HQ as cheap as possible and hide him in your troops. But since that is no longer an option unless you plan on keeping him behind your units (and thus rendering plasma's AP moot) it's become more necessary to protect him.
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Old 08 Sep 2008, 10:57   #3 (permalink)
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Default Re: Role Of The Commander

Generally speaking, I tend to see the Tau Commander as a point-sink used only to get a legal army.

This is, in fairness, born of two factors - first is my general hatred of any Tactic that is not appropriate for the Tau (ie: Deep-Striking your Commander alone behind enemy lines), and the second is the fact most of my games against Tau end with said Commander being splattered over the countryside, often because of the aforementioned Deep Striking stupidity.

I've not actually used Tau in 5th yet (not had half as many games as I'd like to), so I'm undecided on how I feel they should be used. I suppose my default of "stick 'em in a Crisis Team" will still work.
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Old 08 Sep 2008, 12:30   #4 (permalink)
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Default Re: Role Of The Commander

Indeed, once you get to Apoc, you have a choice to make a pletora of Crisis leader monats that come with a Target Lock free while working exactly like a Shas'vre or 'el, but costing so much less. Deepstriking would become a little like a bitch, but then each individual crash is not so bad a point sink.

In a normal game, I use my Commander as a killing blow that slams into place when the main army engages a front, with support very close by. Other times, I have a support 'el in cover coordinating drops and lobbing frag projectiles from safety. In both situations, my Commander is my special weapons platform, the only unit in the entire force able to HWMT + TA 2 weapon systems for more BS4 shots, or carry an SG in more close-in fights.

Then comes Apoc. :

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Old 08 Sep 2008, 18:03   #5 (permalink)
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Default Re: Role Of The Commander

I use my commander because I have to in the army list! Because of this I look for a hole the rest of the army has.

Over a few games at the local store I found that I didn't like terminators (Don't want to waste railguns on the, but don't want to fire a bunch of pulse shots either :-\). To counter, and because I like the name, I made a commander that has fusion blaster, and CIB (I realize that this gun is risky, but I never expect much from it in the first place). He usually runs a bit over 120, and might kill 2 or 3 termintors or the like before getting wiped.

Like Wargamer said, its basically a point sink, you can make him into a highly equiped powerful point sink, but I find that at the end of the day, he's still dead.
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Old 08 Sep 2008, 18:26   #6 (permalink)
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Default Re: Role Of The Commander

I say strip his points down as far as you can, put him in a regular Crisis unit, and hope your opponent doesn't pick him out if you are playing victory points or a scenario where the general matters. The Ninja'o configuration doesn't work any more, and a commander on his own is just as easy to snipe down as any other Crisis Suit.

There is no special role for the commander in 5th Edition. He is a liability you have to make the most of.
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Old 08 Sep 2008, 19:28   #7 (permalink)
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Default Re: Role Of The Commander

I tend to run a Fireknife config on him with a Air Frag/Missle on one of his body guard and Fire Knife on the other body guard.

I use this unit as a all purpose, bounce around and cover the board type of backup for the troop units as I either find they need support, or when I make a mistake on a flank and need to fix it. (Usually the later)

To make Wargamer feel better, I find that this also very Tauish, since I could see a commander striding into combat to save a few Fire Warriors.
So what you are saying is that your Ground Cadre has lots of Air Support?

No. What I am saying is that my Air Support has lots of Ground Cadre.

If a Land Raider dies to a rail gun, and no one was around to see it, does the kill point still exist?
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Old 08 Sep 2008, 19:48   #8 (permalink)
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Default Re: Role Of The Commander

This is slightly off topic, but from what I've heard about the Fire Knife, it's not the sort of thing you'd want on your Shas'O. It doesn't stop me (namely because I just like how it looks :P) but the argument against them is quite compelling.
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Old 08 Sep 2008, 20:20   #9 (permalink)
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Default Re: Role Of The Commander

I've like running my Shas'el as a Fusion Blaster-Airbursting Fragmentation Projector and Shield setup.

Some people say it's a waster because you need to buy the multi-tracker HW and that it's 'wasting' the BS of a commander, but then it's a fusion blaster if it hits which doesn't need to be twinlinked to be effective, and the AFP has always been worth it in my mind (but then I often do play terrain heavy boards, and flamers are not always that good).

The shield generator is actually a fluff hang back for my army, but it's useful to have an invulnerable save and generally is useful! (Even if it is costly.)

At the end of the day the Shas'O isn't much of an upgrade on an El, because for 25pts your getting +1BS +1W and screams; "target!". An El while being less accurate allows you still to take a bodyguard escort with specail issue wargear if you want to without becoming prohibitory expensive on the pts side. You can use these models for the Stim injector to soak wounds up or a failsafe such that it can be the most annoying team on the block:

Shas'El: 107pts
Bodyguards outfit with Specail Issue and T/L FB & Flamer/FB/TA: 144

Total: 251pts

As much AT and Anti-beastie firepower as you could hope for. Because is a non-LOS requisite unit it does J-S-J perfectly and can because it's nature soak up attacks like no other unit. I guarantee it will survive the game (even if a big nasty catches it in CC, which the unit is designed to counter).

The thing is my outfit is entirely dependant on how I personally play, lots of buildings lots of ruins/trees. There is generally little purpose for me to use the Missile Pod when my engagement range is so small when I have the Fusion Blaster and Coversaves negate shots anyhow. So I'd rather have those weapons than anyother.

Also DSing your leader...? Of course you do/don't. Depends on the mood! Generally I don't. A 24" Zone of threat is good enough for most games to be able to get around and hog a nice building wall out of LOS or set down behind a tank on the second turn.


On the fluffside I run my El with a bodyguard because they are the destruction for the enemy while the El makes the decisions on how to fight.

For those who have read Starship Troopers, the first chapter where Juan is jumping about the Skinnie city laying waste to it while picking out targets to drop an atomic missile on is how I envisage my Shas'El. The bodyguards keep the enemy pinning down around him with their big nasty blasters while the El picks out troop consentrations to guild his 'Y-rack' (AFP) onto, or commands the mechanised infantry unto their targets. Really I should invest in the Markerlight command suit and put in an ASS with that fit to really get that feeling of Mr. El

See AFP, ASS add to hardpoints, but does the Markerlight add to one as well? My mate Mark has said it doesn't. But I'm not too sure, because you would want a TA/Second Weapon to make best use of that suit and it comes at a +45pts for the three anyhow, while cheaper and more fluffy that my current commander I've been loathe to change it just yet as it would mean me having to change my commander model and make a new one to cover the 'attachments' with WYSIWIG.

Commanders aren't a points sink, they are a costly investment.


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Old 08 Sep 2008, 20:44   #10 (permalink)
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Default Re: Role Of The Commander

I take my commander (Shas'O, fusion blaster, plasma riftle, MT, Sheild gen and Stims) Then I let him deepstrike in with my one suit, (Twin fusion, plasma riftle, Hard wired MT) about 12 inches away from the nearest combat squad, guided by my pathfinders. Or my a squad of devilfish armed fire warriors will team up with them to take out a squad of marines or termies.
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