Richard Siegler on T’au Empire in the Art of War Streamhouse RTT

The Streamhouse RTT is an annual event run by the Art of War team in which their team gets together to play in an eight-person tournament on stream. We’re covering the event this year and previewing the players and lists taking part. Today we’re joined by Richard Siegler, who is back on his T’au Bullshit and ready to show the world he’s still The Machine when it comes to 40k.

Hey everyone, Richard Siegler here from the Art of War to talk about the list I designed for our annual Streamhouse RTT! I’ve been experimenting a lot with Bork’an Sept after Arks of Omen nerfed my favored Farsight Enclaves four commander list. If you want to see any of that experimentation and the list being stressed tested in a match, check out our War Room where there is a free 3-day trial and free access to our dedicated mobile apps with a subscription

Let’s start with my decision to take T’au Empire as my faction. Simply put, I just enjoy playing the faction and I think in the hands of a top player they are still one of the stronger armies in the game.  Very punishing on mistakes, but rewarding when a complex game plan comes together since T’au have some of the best screening and delaying units in the game.  Admech was the other army I considered, but I think they have an even harder matchup into Astra Militarum and I assumed they would be taken by John.  

What list did I decide to submit?

+++ Sept Choice: Bork’an Sept +++

+HQ+

Aun’Va [4 PL, 100pts]: Sense of Stone, Zephyr’s Grace, Wisdom of the Guides

Commander in Coldstar Battlesuit [9 PL, -2CP, 205pts]: Seeker of Perfection, Burst Cannon, Burst Cannon, DW-02 Advanced Burst Cannon, High-output Burst Cannon, Missile Pod, Solid-image Projection Unit, 2x Marker Drone

Commander in Crisis Battlesuit [9 PL, -2CP, 205pts]: Precision of the Hunter, Cyclic Ion Blaster, Cyclic Ion Blaster, Iridium battlesuit, Missile Pod, T’au Flamer, The Be’gel Hunter’s Plate, Thermoneutronic Projector, Warlord, 2x Marker Drone

Kroot Shaper [2 PL, -1CP, 25pts]: Advanced EM Scrambler

+Troops+

10 Breacher Team [5 PL, 85pts]

+Elites+

5 Crisis Battlesuits [24 PL, 550pts]
. Crisis Shas’ui: Burst Cannon, Cyclic Ion Blaster, Cyclic Ion Blaster, Target Lock
. Crisis Shas’ui: Burst Cannon, Cyclic Ion Blaster, Cyclic Ion Blaster, Target Lock
. Crisis Shas’ui: Burst Cannon, Cyclic Ion Blaster, Cyclic Ion Blaster, Target Lock
. Crisis Shas’ui: Burst Cannon, Cyclic Ion Blaster, Cyclic Ion Blaster, Early Warning Override
. Crisis Shas’vre: Burst Cannon, Cyclic Ion Blaster, Cyclic Ion Blaster, Iridium battlesuit, Shield Generator, Stimm Injectors, 6x Marker Drone, 4x Shield Drone

4 Stealth Battlesuits [9 PL, 125pts] Marker Drone, Shield Drone

3 Stealth Battlesuits [4 PL, 75pts]

+Fast Attack+

4 Kroot Hounds [1 PL, 24pts]

4 Kroot Hounds [1 PL, 24pts]

+Heavy Support+

Hammerhead Gunship [8 PL, 155pts]: 2x Accelerator Burst Cannon, Railgun

+Flyer+

Sun Shark Bomber [9 PL, 165pts]: 2x Missile Pod

Sun Shark Bomber [9 PL, 165pts]: 2x Missile Pod

+Dedicated Transport+

Devilfish [6 PL, 95pts]
2x Gun Drones

+++ 100 PL, 1,998pts +++

TX7 Hammerhead Gunship. Credit: Rockfish
TX7 Hammerhead Gunship. Credit: Rockfish

The Bork’an Sept Choice

We have seen a lot of unique T’au lists doing well in Arks of Omen and I’m throwing this one into the mix.  Bork’an over T’au Sept or FSE, and not a single Riptide in sight.  

I think with the return of Mirror Architect and the old Death Jester, Harlequins are once more problematic for traditional T’au lists.  Bork’an is best positioned to alleviate both their offense and defense with an extra +4” range and -1 to incoming strength 7 or less weapons, which is particularly strong against massed shuriken firepower.  

Then you have Astra Militarum mortars that can quickly kill kroot hounds and other cheap screening units that want to hold objectives and keep kasrkin units at bay.  Bork’an makes the best use out of Stealthsuits as defensive objective holders that can withstand 5 turns of indirect and barely care.  The -1 strength being especially useful against strength 5 indirect fire.  

Not only that but, usually in the late game (assuming good terrain, if it’s player placed or spare, go kill them!) T’au needs something relatively durable that can stand on objectives and that also protects the commanders, which are the late game Queen type pieces.  Bork’an Crisis suits can take quite a bunch especially when combo’d with minuses to hit from either dense terrain, which is common on our new terrain format as well as Zephyr’s Grace, Sense of Stone for a 5+ FNP, once per game Stim Injector, shield generators, Iridium armor+light cover, and a handful of drones.  That’s a tough nut to crack and it has the speed to get angles and clear out ruins when needed.  Even with the points increases, Crisis suits are still the key consistent damage dealer outside of the Precision Commander and, if Bork’an the Seeker of Perfection.  Which brings me to the final reason, Bork’an offers a Shas’O two fantastic commanders who anchor the list and are the key late game tool.

Credit: Kevin Stillman

Unit Choices

Since we are playing with common tournament rulings, I can run Aun’Va without breaking Philosophies of War.  Likely an oversight with the ol’ GW rules team, but a ruling I haven’t really used before.  Additionally, I will be able to take advantage of the WTC ruling that marker light drone and vehicle models can advance and still complete the action since the rule does not specify “normal move.”  Both are influencing the choices here, but check with your local TO.

HQs

Aun’Va was the chosen ethereal because I have no CP to buy the Humble Stave on a regular Ethereal.  Additionally his aura of unity provides a 9” bubble of leadership 10 for Sept units, which is quite a big deal against both Daemons and Chaos Knights.  His main purpose is to generate additional CP and buff the Crisis unit defensively as needed.

The two Commanders speak for themselves.  They are a major part of Bork’an’s power.  Precision of the Hunter is in every list, but I like adding in the extra defense on him with Iridium Armor and Be’gel Hunter’s Plate as late game he can still tank quite a bit of damage and keep on killing.  The Coldstar is the Seeker of Perfection and is kitted out with nearly all volume of fire weapons that love the extra AP and consistently proc the 3 mortal wounds.  I tested Overdrive Power Systems for that sweet plus one to wound in half range, but found playing cagey with the Commanders early meant it wasn’t used too often or the target was obliterated without needing it.  Instead, I’ve gone for additional defense on him too with the Solid-Image Projection Unit.  Helps against enemy snipers and he can still take a decent punch with that relic and two drones to keep him fighting.

Troops

One unit of Breachers.  Enough to contest primary on a key turn or to be used to get Aerospace Targeting Relays, or hold down primary as needed.  Their damage is fairly mediocre outside of a dedicated FSE rush build with full support and I think that’s too many points.

XV8 Crisis Battlesuit Team. Credit: Rockfish
XV8 Crisis Battlesuit Team. Credit: Rockfish

Elites

The Crisis unit is the key damage dealer in the army with a pure volume approach here.  I’ve found the traditional 5 plasma shots to be woefully underwhelming so taking advantage of that +4” range, I’ve gone for massed cyclic and burst, great into some of T’au’s trickier matchups.  Instead of going for Pathfinder teams, I’ve primarily added my marker drones to the Crisis brick and the commanders.

The Stealthsuits are there as mentioned to slow down enemy forward deploy units or pre-game moves, to hold down objectives even in the face of indirect, and to secure Aerospace, raise banners, or do RBD as needed.  As battlesuits can also utilize the -2 to charge stratagem on the flanks unlike Kroot units.

Fast Attack

Two units of kroot hounds.  Cheap and fast screen that can be sacrificed for decisive action or hold down your backfield as the army takes the center.

Heavy Support

One Hammerhead as a support piece to sit back and target down titanic units.  But it’s primarily here to access the submunitions stratagem, which I think is critical to playing against units like Pink Horrors that are otherwise tricky to deal with.  Great into big block units like Skitarii, Necron Warriors, or GSC Neophytes as well.

No Riptides to be seen.  I’ve played and won plenty of games with them. But every time they are wildly inconsistent in damage output, especially on the AoW or WTC boards where dense cover is blocking most firing lanes.  I think T’au wants to be as consistent as possible and I just prefer putting 750 points into a lot of tools as that’s a more fun way to play T’au for me.  I don’t want the game to come down to whether I table my opponent in the first 3 turns or not.  

Aircraft

Two sunshark bombers?  You thought they were dead?  They are still one of the most efficient shooting platforms T’au have once you add in a markerlight.  I experimented with Ion and Rail Pathfinders out of reserves, but the Sunsharks outperform them consistently and at t6 they benefit quite a bit from the Bork’an trait.  Generally, T’au needs some sort of reserve threat to force out enemy screens and this is still a unit that achieves that even if it does not offer the ultimate alpha strike anymore.  Against armies without long range guns, they can come in turn two and shoot at something and then one turn 3 apply devastating damage in the same manner as previously, but a bit later on and with Kauyon active!

TY7 Devilfish. Credit: Rockfish
TY7 Devilfish. Credit: Rockfish

Dedicated Transport

One solo devilfish to support the Breachers, pop out drones, be a screen, soak mortal wounds, and charge into stuff as needed.  Good unit to force out real enemy guns and threaten to disembark the breachers onto an objective to secure additional primary.

And that’s the list!  Check out the video version of my breakdown on the Art of War 40k Youtube channel and if you want to see more of my testing in action along with tons of other high level 40k content, check out the War Room, which offers a free 3-day trial to test it out! And, of course, follow along with the streamhouse RTT brought to you live by Joe from WarGames Live on the Art of War 40k Youtube channel March 31st to April 2nd!

Shas’O Siegler

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