Saturday, 4 May 2013

Tau XV8 Wargear overview

Foreword

A few days ago, I posted a few notes on XV8 builds, mostly on their tactics and their weapons. I rarely looked at the weapons themselves, but more looked at the tactics of specific builds. With this article, I plan to look into the wargear options themselves, their pros and their cons. 

Ranged Weapons

So, these are the Shooty Killy weapons that XV8 suits make use of. I'll be going through the weapons good and bad points, where to use them and with what support. 

Without further adieu:

Anti-infantry Weapons

Flamer

Cheap Anti-infantry weapon. Ignores cover and is 100% accurate, at the cost of an extremely short (and thus dangerous) range. When using these, it is recommended that the suits each use this loadout:

3 suits with 2 flamers and Stimulant injectors each, 6 Gun Drones - launch them into assault and watch them hide - probably a good idea to give one suit a VRT, so they can hit and run in their opponent's shooting phase.

Also, if you have a support suit (MSSS and C&CN) run him with a flamer for overwatch.

Note that this is an anti-light infantry role. Tau Firewarriors are already awesome at this, so this is probably wasteful.

Burst Cannon

Cheap Anti-infantry weapon. Good Weight of fire, with decent range. Very versatile weapon with lots of roles that it is capable of fulfilling, none of which an XV8 should. 

BurstSuits can be run as anti-air. Take either a burst cannon and a missile pod with gun drones.
BurstSuits can  be run as Precision shot anti-infantry. Give Shas'vre a VRT and the other two an ATS with 2 burst cannons each and watch the sixes infuriate your opponent's lascannon squaddies.

I'm joking by the way. Disown your son if he runs burst cannons on his battlesuits.  

There's something better.

A note on anti-infantry suit weapons:

Both of these weapons are actually mediocre, not particularly bad. The two pieces simply suffer from "better option-itus", whence there is always something that can do it better. 

6 stealth suits can do this, being in range for it turn 1. They can also outflank, which is neat. More importantly, Fire warriors are far better at both of these roles, making burst cannons on Suits a joke and a half. 

Special Issue Weapons

Airbursting Fragmentation Projector

A flamer that has far longer range, works as a large blast and has pinning. Would be an awesome anti-infantry weapon, like the highlander, there can only ever be one. A decent price means that a Shas'ui might take it alongside Dakkasuits, but this weapon methinks would be better suited to a stealth suit than to an XV8 of any description. 

Cyclic Ion Blaster

Short range 3 shot autocannon, or a mediocre S8 blast. Maybe useful as an anti-infantry weapon, or anti-monster at a stretch, but this weapon is realistically a poor tool in the XV8 arsenal. Its AP4 is ill suited to killing its targets (Monsters like Trygons, XV104's and Paladins on overcharge.) and it is a poower anti-air option as it can only be taken once and pales in comparison to HYMP on the XV88 suits. Maybe useful ona commander, if you decide to go full missile pods?

Anti-Armour and Vehicle Weapons

Fusion Blaster

Fusion Blasters are a weapon to be feared. They are unmatched against vehicles, being the marriage of (I was going to say fusion here, I didn't feel like leaving the world with another horrid pun) of a meltagun's versatility and a multi-melta's ranged offensive capabilities. Furthermore, Fusion guns are possibly the best candidate against terminators, surpassed only by plasma guns; they are actually better against Paladins and other T4 multi-wound characters.

On the other hand, Fusion blasters suffer a similar problem to that of burst cannons and flamers; there's simply a better. Against armour, the sure-firing Hammerhead is possibly the most deadly single-shot anti-tank weapon in existence, with a 11% chance of killing a land Raider outright. Against terminators, the weight of fire put out by the plasmagun/gun drone build of the XV8 Plasma Nomad squad is undeniably king.

So it is that a Fusion Blaster is the offspring of two roles; Anti-heavy infantry and anti-armour. It creates a weapon that is competent at both roles, but suffers as a jack-of-some-trades-master-of-none kind of weapon. It is recommended that they're run in pairs on a set of 3 suits. Markerlighting ensures efficiency, and can allow them to fulfil any role very well. These units are surefire ways to hurt their main targets and won't disappoint.

Plasma Rifles

Tau have a knack for creating powerful, high strength weapons capable of eliminating the best combat monsters at short range. Suitable for ruining Terminators, Coteaz (A very memorable Failed Look Out Sir won me one particular game.) and anything that's survivable to small arms fire at the T3/4 mark. These weapons will ruin your opponent's hardest hitters before they have a chance to come to grips with close combat.

Plasma Rifles, spammed have only one weakness: Armour. They cannot deal with anything above AV11. This, of course, is a laughable weakness as Tau, as the army has the power of Fusion Blasters, Rail guns (to an extent, Heavy Rail Rifles too.) as well as a Jet-monster with a 2+5++/3++5+++. Truly, plasma rifles are the best option for the XV8 suit. With a Commander and 3 suits, 8 drones you can reliably kill most squads - if you take the time to weaken them with pulse rifle fire first (Dark Eldar Beast squads make this very important) and set up marker-light support, this unit will Flatten any infantry it comes up against. The only question is, which one do you take down first?

What's next?

My next article will cover the powers of support systems, showing readers how to create flexibility and increase effectiveness within their Tau Battlesuits.