The Latest Iteration of the Shining Long Strike Cadre

Well, after no small amount of back-and-forth, I've finally settled on what I'm taking to the tournament on Saturday.  And there's no going back, now; I've already printed my lists!  Truly, the Rubicon has been crossed!

Seriously, though.  Here's what I'll be taking with me:

Shas'el w/AFP, Missile Pod, Multi-Tracker

3 x XV8 w/Twin-Linked Missile Pod, Flamer

3 x XV8 w/Plasma Rifle, Missile Pod, Multi-Tracker

3 x XV8 w/Plasma Rifle, Missile Pod, Multi-Tracker

6 x Fire Warriors w/Devilfish, Disruption Pod, Flechette Discharger

9 x Fire Warriors

9 x Fire Warriors

5 x Pathfinders w/Devilfish, Disruption Pod, Flechette Discharger

Piranha w/Fusion Blaster, Targeting Array, Disruption Pod, Flechette Discharger

XV88 w/Advanced Stabilization System

XV88 w/Advanced Stabilization System

Hammerhed w/Railgun, 2 x Burst Cannon, Disruption Pod, Multi-Tracker

My strategy is going to be fairly straightforward, I think; I'm not yet experienced enough to get fancy.

My heavy support choices have basically never let me down, so I intend to go right on using them the way I always do.  My XV88s will be deployed on opposite ends of my zone, to get at least one of them a good field of fire on anything running around out there, with as much cover as I can find for them.  My hammerhead, meanwhile, will set up fairly openly, to extend the first-turn cover for my infantry units with its AV13 front and disruption pod, since its multi-tracker will allow it to fire like a 'fast' vehicle, making it pretty safe from close combat and capable of getting into position to drop its pie plate on pretty much anything on the field.

My elites and headquarters choices have been a little less reliable, though that's in part because I require so much more of them.  I plan to attach my shas'el to the Deathrain unit, since BS4 and BS3 twin-linked are close enough to make them work well together, and if they get close to anything three flamer templates and the AFP large blast should force so many saves even Marines will have to worry about failing them.  The Fireknives will largely operate independently, hunting down whatever most requires AP2 to remove; best case scenario, they'll chip away at MEq threats from range and then close to wipe out survivors, worst case scenario, the two squads will combine their fire to deal with a particularly tenacious unit (probably deepstriking Blood Angels assault squads with a Priest/FNP), throwing everything they have at it.

In terms of my fast attack choices, their arms and equipment pretty much defines their roles.  The pathfinders will be deployed a fair way inside my zone, since pretty much every enemy will want to close with me, and with 36" range they should be able to light up whatever I need them to while staying safer, longer.  I don't intend for them to keep their Devilfish, so they'll probably just get deployed or dropped off first turn, while the tank goes off to block, provide cover, and act as a bunker on objectives (if they last long enough).  The Piranha, on the other hand, has a little more flexibility.  As a fast skimmer with a fusion blaster and a targeting array, it can do solid duty hunting heavy armour hiding out in cover; at the same time, with its wide front profile, disruption pod and flechette discharger, it can shield other units and seize chokepoints, as well as contest objectives (again, if it lasts long enough).  Plus, it comes with a pair of gun drones, who will be dropped off early on for the two games that aren't kill points-based, to offer another little source of harassment and mobile unit cover.

Finally, my troops choices.  I have to admit, these aren't units I've got a lot of experience in using; up until now, I've basically taken three minimum-sized fire warrior squads, put them in reserve to either deny kill points or protect them for objective grabbing later, and hoped my dice wouldn't betray me and bring them running on second turn.  But I'm pretty sure that's a part of why I've been struggling, tournament after tournament.  Because what that strategy really amounts to is voluntarily handicapping myself, slicing a hundred and eighty points out of my army and hoping that I can beat often-stronger codices with an already-weakened force weakened further.  So, instead, I'll leave the 6-tau squad in reserve, while my two 9-tau squads operate more aggressively.  Of course, 'more aggressively' than hiding in reserve still leaves a lot of wiggle room.  What I'm planning is to set the two squads up, fairly far apart from each other, and just shoot and shoot and shoot; force as many saves as I can, because the dice giveth, and the dice taketh away.  They're also going to be available as roadblocks to give my battlesuits an extra turn of shooting, and I'm going to try to link them up with the pathfinders' markerlights whenever possible, especially if they're in rapid fire range; 18 S5 shots at BS5 can definitely wreck someone's day.

So, that's my strategy.  Basically, it's a more mobile version of the Tau gunline, using the hulls of my tanks and Piranha to shield my battlesuits and fire warriors, while they blast away at whatever I can find for them to concentrate their fire on. Focused fire, I have to keep reminding myself, is absolutely essential; even terminators and FNP marines will go down, if you force them to make enough saves.  I just have to keep up the pressure, and keep forcing those saves.  And if I run into someone like Guard, or Orks, or Tyranids, who don't have those saves to begin with in the face of superior Tau weapons technology?

Well, so much the better...

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