Friday, 26 April 2013

XV8 Builds

XV8 Crisis Suit Builds


With the FAQ out finally allowing the hallmark XV8 suits to double up on most weapons, builds have changed a lot. No longer is a Helios build the only good legal build, as now we serve direct roles with our suits. So, I’ve been devising some builds. Here I will list strengths, weaknesses and what is actually involved in the build. I won’t include prices I’m afraid, because I don’t want to get sued for giving away copyrighted Arabic script.

I'm often left finding that these builds have almost always used pure weapon combinations (two of the same), and that the main focus in Suits has become "What's the best support to give my troop?"

In an upcoming article I hope to look at the Tau weapons available, as well as their support and signature systems to give an answer to these queries.

Dakkasuits


3 XV8 Crisis suits, each with 2 Burst Cannons and ATS as well as 6 Gun drones
Dakkasuit

Strong Points: 

This build has a lot of potential against most forms of infantry. At just over 200 points, it is one of the cheapest builds available and puts out a huge amount of firepower (comparable to a stealth-suit squad, although more with gun drones.)  

Dakkasuits perform exceptionally well against guard and other T3 5+ models. Dealing roughly 17 unsaved wounds per round, they are enough to remove a unit from the table – they will wipe termagant squads outside of cover without Markerlight support.

Dakkasuits can be used to efficient effect against most T43+ units. Dealing roughly 4 wounds a turn. It is worth noting in this case, most of the damage is coming from the Drones – who do roughly 2 wounds, while suits only do 2 as well. With this in mind, it is better to use your dakkasuits against another target Note that XV8s are suited to this role with their ATS, as they can pick out the unit’s Heavy Weapons specialists

Dakkasuits can also be used against terminators (Thunder hammer storm shields especially), where their weight of fire can bring down an average of two terminators a shooting round.

Cons:

For all their abilities, they have a hard time making back their points. Their main target type tends to be cheap, and against expensive targets they struggle to get the necessary wounds to cause sufficient damage. If these units are used, they should be used in tandem with Markerlight supports – this only drives their price up.
The weapons are also incapable of causing ID for even T3 models.

Notes:

It is considerable to twin-link one burst cannon on each XV8, as this will increase accuracy to some degree, but will sacrifice the ability to target units like Sergeants and Heavy Specialists. Finally, This role is far better suited to Stealth suits - they can't pack the punch of six drones, but they make it up for it by being marginally more survivable and being able to come to grips with their targets sooner. 


Crysis Nomads



Commander with 2 Plasma guns, Drone Controller and Stimulant injector. Neuroweb System Jammer and XV8-02 suit. 2 Gun Drones
3x XV8s with 2 Plasma Guns. Shas'ui have ATS and Shas'vre has a VRT.

Strengths

This unit is the killer. It will tear terminators apart and wreck infantry in one turn. at just under 400 points, you'd expect it to.

Firstly, there's deployment. Correctly deployed with the commander in front (remember he's T5 with 4 wounds and 2+5+ as well as a 2+ LOS). and drones crowded behind him, blanketing Crisis suits, in a protective coating. This unit makes itself almost impervious to small arms fire, simply through using the commander as a meatshield - who can't be IDed by anything with S8, like suits can. Anything the Commander can't deal with, he simply look Out Sirs off to a drone - simple.

Secondly, there's damage output. This is like a swift kick in the 'nads for most enemy deathstars. (if anyone runs them anymore, that is.) Shoot 16 plasma guns, hit roughly 9 times (6 from 12 at BS3, 3 from 4 at BS5.) and wound 7.5 times - already enough to put a tactical squad away a turn. (remembering a 10 man tactical squad from vanilla marines is about 180 points average, so this unit makes its points back just on these targets in a little over two turns.) Add to this 16 pulse shots - a conservative 15 should hit, and cause 3.3 unsaved wounds, you should be able to kill a TAC squad a turn. IF you don't of course, you can at least snipe out the important targets - the Sergeant, Heavy Weapons Specialist and Special Weapon specialist. Against terminators, it should do roughly 7.5 wounds total - enough to kill a Terminator squad of 5, or kill 3.75 Paladins. (Note that all shooting assumed that the squad had not taken a casualty, was not in cover and was not impacted by Marker Lights. With no cover and +2 BS from marker lights, this squad's efficiency only goes up.)

This unit also allows itself to do just a little bit more damage using its NSJ. This little dity may do nothing, or it may add insult to injury as it causes marine's boltguns to explode and kill them. Not very expensive, only needs to kill one model to get its points back - when every model is forced to fire Gets Hot!, this isn't as rare as it seems.

Fire Selection:

This unit is your opponent's heavy infantry's biggest threat. If your opponent dares run something in a 2+ save, you have almost no choice but to throw this unit against them. This isn't really a problem, however - as long as your target takes more pain from AP2 than from AP4, you're assured to do some massive damage - on that note, it actually performs a similar role as the Dakkasuits, although it's more expensive - it can deal with any grade of infantry effectively.

You shouldn't throw this unit against a tank. If you have to, you've either screwed up really badly, drawn a mech army or have beaten your opponents effective troops already.

Cons:

Aside from the price (or maybe because of it) this unit is a huge target. It scares the living daylights out of anything with a 2+ save and your opponent will know that. Either hide them well, or use them boldly. They will most likely be killed. IF you can, don't make this commander your HQ.

Other Options:

you could run this without a Commander, though I think it would suffer considerably - it would do far less wounds and be less efficient, but may be cheap enough that this doesn't matter.
Alternatively, try a commander with a pair of Fusion guns, Target lock, Drone Controller and a PEC, as this will allow the commander to engage tanks efficiently without relying on a separate Tank Hunters Squad or Hammerheads/Broadsides.

Tank Hunters

A tank Hunter

3 Crisis Battlesuits with 2 fusion guns and a Target Lock each. The Shas'vre has a Puretide Engram Chip in place of his Target Lock. 6x Shield drones.

Note I've said Shield drones, but this is just to ensure they get their save. IF you would prefer to take gun drones, that's your prerogative, I just believe that given the targets these weapons will be firing at, S5AP5 tends to be a little pointless.

Strengths: 


This unit will make armoured vehicles cry. The unit should shoot it's Shas'vre at the most important target first. IF he fails to blow this one up, then fire the second and third fusion gun. If you succeed and still have suits left to shoot, great! focus on another piece of armour. Potentially, this unit can destroy a land Raider outright with one set of shooting (it should make it explode - if you give the squad markerlight support, it will make it explode, or wreck at the very least.) It should be able to destroy 3 separate small targets a turn, such as Land Speeders or War Walkers - or even rhinos. As always, Markerlight support is very important.

The squad can also turn against infantry efficiently. While not as well kitted to take on tactical marines or anything lighter, it should kill 2.7 terminators a turn - it is also more useful against monsters than a plasma gun squad (note that a plasma gun squad should kill a T6 3+ monsterous creature a turn anyway.)

Cons:

This unit isn't as expensive as the Crysis Nomad squad, but it is still a huge, expensive target. A
t more than 250 points, this unit will be a sizeable portion of your army. IF your opponent has even a single land raider, it is dead meat to this squad - just get them in close enough.

Notes:

This build can vary greatly. Sometimes it may be expedient to give your suits a Shield Generator in place of a Target lock - this may make the squad more survivable, but isn't flexibility key to Suits? Other options include taking away the shas'vre's weapons in favour of an MSSS and a C&CN - this will maximise the effectiveness of the other two suits fusion guns, while avoiding the need to use markerlight support. - 4 fusion guns hitting 3 times and ignoring cover is better than 6 fusion guns hitting 3 times and not!

Flamer Nuke

3 Crisis Suits each with 2 Flamers and Stimulant Injectors 6 gun drones - one guy has a VRT instead of Stimulant Injectors

Strengths:

This unit is especially strange for Tau. It is actually an assault unit. Yes, you read that right. Tau in Assault. The idea is the unit flames the squad and then charges them, using the impact of their charge to break squads in their own assault phase. 

The unit works thus: One gets close enough to his target to use his flamer efficiently. Apply depending on the size of the enemy squad - get into range for maximum damage if the squad is 30 or more, and keep your distance if the squad is less than 15 - you want to keep yourself in combat, so do as much damage from range while leaving enough models that the enemy will not be dead in his own shooting phase (keeping your Suits safe.) In your opponent's shooting phase, use the VRT to hit and run*.

rinse and repeat until you kill large portions of large troop squads. 

Cons:

Although this is the cheapest build, but is possibly the weakest. Although it makes use of unorthodox tactics (Please don't use this tactic with an Ethereal in your army. Farsight? sure. Not an Ethereal.), it can prove very effective at clearing house of a few isolated but sizable squads. This unit is also next to useless against anything that can has power fists in close combat (A Power Klaw Nob, for example.) that could potentially squash entire suits in a single blow - at least you killed their numbers advantage at range, right? It also doesn't work at all against tactical marines, and simply fails against terminators and anything that causes instant death with a decent save.

Notes:

* note: I believe you can hit and run using the Drone's I of 4. I'm not sure, so check before trying, but this means you will successfully run away 50% more often.

Other Builds

I've only listed 4 builds here, but there's a lot to work with. Mixed builds like Helios are still validly useful for their flexibility, although they suffer from Jack-of-all-trades-Master-of-none-itus

IF you think there're builds that have been missed that are too vital to ignore, be sure to leave a comment with the build - Everyone's a friendly here.