Tau Themed Army Ideas
Tau Air Cavalry
by Patrick Eibel
Much to the consternation of Imperial
forces, the Tau continue to experiment with new weapons and new styles
of fighting. Tau Air Cavalry forces were first spotted shortly after the
beginning of Abaddon’s 13th Black Crusade, which the Tau exploited to expand
their own empire. While the resources necessary to field highly mobile
forces are great, their success on the battlefield will guarantee their
Ethereal Aun’ui Elsy’eir Kor is
the leading proponent of a type of fighting that the Tau in particular
excel at: highly mobile strikeforces with plenty of upgraded vehicles.
A typical strikeforce of 2,000 points might include as many as five Devilfish
and three Hammerheads, providing excellent firepower and mobility.
Mobility and air superiority are
key priorities. Close combat should be avoided at all costs, as the Tau
Air Cavalry are even more vulnerable than conventional Tau armies because
they will inherently have fewer troops available to withstand an assault.
Crisis Suits are used by an Air Cavalry force as Deep-Striking specialists,
deployed to take out specific targets. As Tau Air Cavalry members are volunteers
in an experimental project, all are extremely dedicated, and consider themselves
members of a caste unto themselves. The leader of each unit that can be,
must have a bonding knife (see bonding knife,” pages 26 and 28 of Codex:
An Ethereal (such as Aun’ui Elsy’eir
Kor) must be taken. He acts as the inspirational leader of the air
corps and will outrank the Crisis Suit Commander. A Fire Warrior
honour guard may be taken, but if not, the Ethereal may be attached to
a regular Fire Warrior unit.
As per Codex: Tau Empire,
a Commander must be taken. Either Shas’o or Shas’el may be taken
and include a bodyguard. All Crisis battlesuits must Deep Strike
if the mission allows for it
Crisis Battlesuit Team, as per Codex:
Tau Empire. Battlesuits taken must be held in reserve to Deep
Strike if the mission allows for it.
Only Fire Warrior Teams may be taken,
and each must be mounted in a Devilfish APC. All teams must be bonded.
Shas’ui team leaders may each be equipped with a marker light and target
lock. All Devilfish should be equipped decoy launchers, disruption pods,
and multi-trackers. Additional equipment may be chosen as points allow.
Pathfinder Teams are the only unit
in the air corps that may begin outside their APC. They act as a
forward unit to direct the Tau attack towards strategic points in the opponent’s
line. As such, Pathfinder units may not take the rail gun upgrades
to maximize the markerlights available. You may give the team leader
a target lock, a drone controller and some markerlight drones to increase
the number of hits the unit can get. As with other units in the corps,
a bonding knife must be taken. The Pathfinder’s Devilfish will help
the Deep-Striking units land on target to take out strategic objectives.
Piranha and Gun Drone Squadrons may
be taken as per Codex: Tau Empire. Vespid Stingwings
may not be taken.
Only Hammerhead gunships and Sky
Rays may be used, and they should take the same upgrades as the Devilfish.
Modeling and Painting
Tau Air Cavalry favor the colors
of the sky: blues, grays, and yellows. Earth tones such as browns and greens
are never used, but fiery colors such as red and orange may be incorporated
into vehicle color schemes to produce a sunburst pattern (best done by
using an airbrush).
The Tau Air Cavalry forces are very
delicate and cannot stand up to prolonged fights. They prefer missions
(such as “Rescue”) where speed and mobility are essential. Typically, the
Fire Warrior Devilfish form a wedge and speed toward the enemy line (if
in range). If possible, the Devilfish would stop within 1" of the
enemy and deposit the Fire Warriors unit out the back to rapid fire.
Enemy units may be targeted with markerlights to increase the chance of
being hit (by raising the Fire Warriors’ BS) or reduce the unit’s cover
save. Crisis Suits act as independent strike teams that attack specific
targets in the enemy line that the Air Corp might not otherwise be able
to take out – Devastator Squads, Whirlwinds, sniper teams, etc.
Some players prefer not to spend
many points on vehicles, but upgrades are critically important and should
not be overlooked. Devilfish and Hammerheads are the workhorses of the
Tau Air Cavalry: invest some points in them. Transports should be used
for firepower and to evacuate Fire Teams that are in danger of being overrun
by the enemy.
The Tau Air Cavalry can deliver a
swift blow to your opponent’s line. That does not mean they will
always succeed. Armies that can mount an effective counter-assault
once the Tau have engaged will be able to negate the Tau mobility and firepower.
Finding the balance of how many Fire Warrior teams to allocate to taking
out an enemy unit without getting over extended will take some playing
to determine. However, the expression on your opponent’s face when you
unpack all of those Devilfish will be priceless.
Tau Themed Army Ideas
Originally posted November
2003. Revised March 2008