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Warhammer 40K, Path to Glory: Starting Tau

For most people, starting Tau involves getting the Start Collecting! Tau box, which gives you a seriously good discount on models alongside a formation to use.

For the Tau, this started formation gives you Firewarriors, an Ethereal, and three crisis suits with a posse of drones. The formation is excellent in terms of maneuverability, and is a great way to introduce players to the Tau ideal of massive firepower on the move.

Which most new players throw out in favour of massive firepower camped in the corner of the map with plenty of Interceptor to deal with any irritating Deep Strikers that dare to avoid your shooting gallery.

I have avoided this entirely, as I was fortunate enough to pick up a Retaliation Cadre box set, which is all suits. A lovely bunch of mecha and drones!

In my current stable of robots, I have three crisis suits, a broadside, a commander, and a gaggle of drones. The king piece is the Riptide, which is both the most expensive and closest to essential model the Tau have.

Whilst I'd like to include every model and field a full Retaliation Cadre, 450 points is too tight to fit anything meaningful. The units barebones fit, but barebones crisis suits and commanders are essentially terrible melee troops. There are no guns that come as standard, so you need to pick your weapons wisely.

After a great deal of time spent with the calculator (and spreadsheets), I've come up with the following list:

Combined Arms Detachment: Tau, Farsight Enclave

Commander - 2x Missile pods, Drone Controller, Target Lock, 2x Marker drones

Riptide - Heavy Burst Canon, Twin-Linked Fusion gun, Advanced Targeting System

Crisis suit - Burst canon, 2x Gun drones
Crisis suit - Burst canon, 2x Gun drones

Starting with the Crisis suits, their role is purely objective grabbing, with some serious potential to harm other units. The gun drones are there to soak up fire, and pin anything that may want to assault the suit, but these units should never be in danger of any sort of retaliation. Their jetpack moves, and the comfortable range of the burst canon should ensure they stay out of trouble.

The commander is a bit of Tau fun, in the familiar Marker-mander set up. The drone controller ensures that at least one of the marker lights will hit, acting well with the main source of firepower from this army; the Riptide. The two missile pods are there to put holes into transports as they roll up the field, the target lock allowing the commander to pick his targets. He will stick at the back, using his thrust moves to stay well out of sight in between shooting rounds.

The Riptide is the heavy hitter, and somewhat the anchor of the whole army, From experience, just one Riptide is ridiculously hard for any 450 points army to remove. I actually feel somewhat bad for fielding it, but the whole point of this army is to provide an end boss for the students to strategise against. The heavy burst canon can deal with almost anything on the field, and in the event of a surprise heavy tank, the fusion gun is there to at least make the opponent worry. This will be the main recipient of marker light tokens, and will basically move right to the center of the field.

With a few points left to spare, I threw the Advanced Targeting System on the Riptide. This means Precision shots and a 12 shot Gatling gun. That'll make any hidden characters in units sweat, particularly Farseers who only need to fail their invulnerable save once.

The Riptide is a great distraction,whilst the Commander pops key targets from the back lines. The two crisis suits will do the heavy lifting in terms of actually completing objectives.

Now the fun bit!

All of these units are available for you to name. A donation to my Patreon page will give you the chance to name the units, with the Riptide and the Commander being at somewhat of a higher rate. These names will be permanent, and will be featured somewhere on the model. It could be your model that wins the next battle report, and if you pledge enough for the Commander, you will be literally crafting the identity of this army!

The caveat is that the names have to be clean. I will have to introduce these heroes to the students, and I shouldn't set a bad example.

Photos with the colour scheme to follow.

Until next time!

Thanks for reading.

If you liked what you saw, and you want to help out, please visit and donate at my Patreon. Every Little helps!


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