Guest Editorial by Stormcrow: Farsight Bomb!

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Greetings! I’m Stormcrow and today I would like to discuss Commander Farsight and his uses in the new Tau Codex.

Specifically, I will be discussing how to use him and his bodyguards (or “Saz’nami” in the Tau language), sometimes known colloquially as the “Farsight Bomb.” While he is usually a situational pick, I believe Farsight and bodyguards can be a devastating tool if used correctly and can shore up several weaknesses in a list.

There are several methods floating around the internet of how to load out Farsight and his bodyguards. Some ideas include outfitting his Saz’nami with lots of missile pods. Some include lots of flamers, while others simply have plasma. Before we dive into the different loadout options, let me go over what I perceive to be the main weaknesses of a Farsight “bomb.”

One weakness is that they are only toughness four with a 3+ save, including Farsight. Ergo, anything with S8 is going to give you a hard time, not to mention any AP3 or below. Another weakness is that the footprint of  this unit is quite large, so you may wind up having to deep strike them somewhere less than advantageous. Yet another weakness is that you must give up a Warlord trait to obtain his “no scatter” one. If you use your Etherial as your Warlord, you are guaranteed three very useful ones (as you can reroll half of them with an Etherial), so you’ll be giving up something like “skyfire for the unit”. Finally, you can only shoot so many targets at once with this unit and the game WILL end before you can kill their whole army with his Goon Squad.

local variables

So what are the different ideas for loaouts? Before I begin discussing different possibilities I would like to run down what I believe to be the three basic Metagames you may encounter in your area.

In my opinion, there are essentially three basic Metagames you will probably encounter in your local areas (which can be expanded upon to fit specifics). One such meta is an infantry-dominated one, such as lots of Imperial Guard blobs, lots of Space Marine bodies, and lots of Orks in addition to the occasional Eldar footlist. This meta can be further broken down into lots of MEQ power armor saves or a lot of xenos footlists.

Another meta is vehicle heavy. This usually includes lists lots of Annihilation Barges and Ghost Arks with Night Scythes, Chimeras alongside Battletanks/artillery/Vendettas, or Land Raiders, and other tanks. I have seen an interesting bell curve of this meta in 6th edition; lots of tanks went by the wayside soon after 6th hit but now vehicle-heavy lists are finding their niche due to more strength 7 existing and less melta guns being taken. Finally, the third basic meta is a healthy mix of both, with battle tanks shoring up weaknesses as needed. This is a rough summary of different types of lists you are going to be gearing up against.

My point is that I will be writing this article on the assumption that each region often has a different meta than another (sometimes I will see totally different types of lists when driving to a tournament mere hours away), and so taking one loadout over another based on what some stranger on the internet tells you is not always the best idea; it really depends on your local meta (unless you travel often to tournaments). Think about what your region plays and plan from there if you are lost as to what to do, in my opinion.

Anyway, on to Farsight!

ultraman

Farsight and his bodyguards are very versatile, due to being able to take anywhere from zero to seven suits. This allows you to center a list around him, use him to bring some much needed meltas or plasma guns, or bring some of everything. It’s really only limited by what you can imagine. I have played quite a few games with different lists of the new Tau codex, and so far have had great success with using Farsight and his bodyguards. I personally do not feel that Farsight and his thugs should be the focus of any list. What I mean is that I feel that it is an error to base your strategy around letting him do the dirty work and putting all your eggs in one basket. The nice thing about the new Tau codex is that there are so many options available that you can use him almost as an afterthought.

Take a look at this older thread by Dakka Dakka user Cottonjaw detailing the math behind different suit loadouts. Keep in mind that with the new FAQ, you may take two of one weapon on a suit, but the basic math here holds true.

http://www.dakkadakka.com/dakkaforum/posts/list/360480.page

The first thing I want to point out is that each bodyguard may take any amount of “Signature Systems.” This allows for you to make one suit weaponless but an electronic warfare nightmare. I personally believe including one in every Farsight Bodyguard list is a great idea. Here’s an example of a basic “core loadout” to start each of these:

Puretide Neurochip (or PNC for short)

Multi-Spectrum Sensor Suite (MSS)

Command and Control Node (CCNode)

This will run you 50 points for the gear alone. However, since you don’t have any guns on this one dude he won’t fire and will allow his unit to ignore cover and re-roll all misses during that shooting phase. Plus, you can get tank hunter or re-rolls against those Monstrous Creatures that are popping up everywhere.

Farisght's goon squad!

Farisght’s goon squad!

Let me throw out some interesting ideas for running him and his saz’namis.

One option I have seen is to outfit his squad as an “Anti-Vehicle” tool. This option includes taking double missile pods on your bodyguards. A possible variant to this is two to three taking double fusion blasters. You can drop this behind their lines and get some side/rear armor shots on the missiles and pop some tanks. Perhaps throw in some interceptor or skyfire for an interesting mix. Consider this:

Suit One: Missile Pod x2 (30 Points)

Suit Two: Missile Pod x2 (30 Points)

Suit Three: Missile Pod x2 (30 Points)

Suit Four: Missile Pod x2 (30 Points)

Suit Five: Fusion Blaster x2, Target Lock (35 Points)

Suit Six: Fusion Blaster x2, Target Lock (35 Points)

Suit Seven: PNC, MSS, CCNode

This is all 464 points, including points for the bodyguards themselves. This option allows you to deep strike somewhere and unload on some vehicles. You can also use the pods to put 16 Strength 7 twin-linked shots on a unit. Plus four Strength 8 AP 1. Furthermore, if you give yourself Tank Hunter or MC Hunter it transfers to the unit and you will be re-rolling those wounds or failed penetrate/glancing results. Not bad at all.

Another variant is loading them out into “Anti-Infantry” suits. Consider this:

Suit One: Burst Cannon x2 (20 points)

Suit Two: Burst Cannon x2 (20 points)

Suit Three: Burst Cannon x2 (20 points)

Suit Four: Flamer x2, Target Lock (15 points)

Suit Five: Flamer x2, Target Lock (15 points)

Suit Six: Flamer x2, Target Lock (15 points)

Suit Seven: MSS, CCNode

This will run you 364 points. You’ll be erasing horde armies and non-MEQ blobs with ease. This is not nearly as potent at killing MEQ armies, but against horde xenos armies, or those pesky guard blobs (sans Azreal or however it’s spelled), this is a great choice. And it’s cheap!

Here’s another option for some “Anti-MEQ:”

Suit One: Plasma Rifle x2 (30 points)

Suit Two: Plasma Rifle x2 (30 points)

Suit Three: Plasma Rifle x2 (30 points)

Suit Four: Plasma Rifle x2, Target Lock (35 points)

Suit Five: Plasma Rifle x2, Target Lock (35 points)

Suit Six: Plasma Rifle x2, Target Lock (35 points)

Suit Seven: MSS, CCNode, PNC

This is going to cost 419 points. If you split fire into two squads of marines you’ll be putting out 14 S6 AP2 onto one squad (Farsight’s Plasma) and 12 onto another. These are all twin-linked and ignore cover, allowing you to blast apart those pesky marines with ease. A different approach is to give three of them one plasma and one burst cannon, which will allow you to still put the hurt on marines but give you some more volume of fire against lists with a mix of bodies, such as Guard Blobs with marine allies, or visa-versa. Finally, putting Fusion Blasters on three suits will allow you to potentially double out some Paladins or T4 characters. Or wraiths.

These are three basic frameworks for different roles. Each of these are relatively inexpensive (compared to how much you can actually load onto these guys). You can give each one different (or more) gear depending on what you want. Some schools of thought postulate taking advantage of “always pass look out sir rolls” and giving a few Iridium Armor and even an invuln save to soak those wounds. This is not a bad idea as it makes your squad very resilient. Another idea is to give everyone Iridium Armor. You can even equip your suits with Early Warning Overrides or Skyfire to rule a table quarter or the skies.

overkill

I believe spending too much on this squad is a mistake for the aforementioned reasons, but if you are looking for a theme then this will certainly be interesting. As you can see you can use Farsight’s bodyguards to fill in areas of your Tau army that are weak, such as AP 1-3, reliable ways to eliminate vehicles over 36 inches away, or roasting a small unit hiding behind LOS and scoring their home base objective.

Here is something I have been finding great success with:

Suit One: Plasma Rifle x2 (30 points)

Suit Two: Plasma Rifle x2 (30 points)

Suit Three: Plasma Rifle x2 (30 points)

Suit Four: Plasma Rifle, Fusion Blaster, Target Lock (35 points)

Suit Five: Plasma Rifle, Fusion Blaster, Target Lock (35 points)

Suit Six: Plasma Rifle, Fusion Blaster, Target Lock (35 points)

Suit Seven: MSS, CCNode, PNC, Positional Relay, Vectored Retro-Thrusters.

All of this costs 479 points. This has allowed me to take out nasty tanks while still putting the hurt on marines. That much plasma still puts pain on horde armies as well. This unit also has hit and run, so you can’t really tie this unit down in assault. Finally, the Positional relay is a nice trick. You can come down within 6 inches of their edge and let your outflanking Kroot come on his back edge, like wolf scouts. I have essentially swapped bases using this method. This may be FAQ’d in the future, as one could argue that you must declare where each unit is arriving before they actually are put down on the table, but I haven’t encountered a problem. This is also more of a gimmick and not truly a reliable tactic.

Another few ideas are to only give him a few bodyguards, such as 3-4, and use those to eliminate something of your choice relatively easily. This is a more moderate approach, but I feel that you might as well take three regular suits and take another Etherial, a Drone Commander, or something else, honestly.

knowledge-worker

So how do we actually use Farsight and his bodyguards? I believe that he is more of a final puzzle piece to an overall solid list. Instead of relying on him to do most of the dirty work, allow him to surgically accomplish tasks in an almost guaranteed manner. Need to wipe out a few tanks and a marine squad/scout squad/Necron Warrior unit hiding in the rear in a table quarter on an objective? Send him in to eliminate that squad. Or a grouping of devastators and a tank or two. Need to wipe out a few marine squads that are threatening your flank? Send him in and let him go to work. He is great at area denial.

You can also use him to shore up weakness in your battle lines. Perhaps you are about to be run over by some Demons with hounds or seekers who have eaten up your Kroot? Drop him somewhere close to eliminate a squad, or at least neuter it. Or, drop him near your advancing Riptides to help them storm the enemy lines/objectives; when he comes down your opponent will have to decide to fight him or run away. If they choose to fight, they’ll have to commit some serious firepower or assault elements to take him down. If they ignore you, however, then you can really put the hurt on him. Remember, however, that you can only realistically target one to two squads effectively at a time (provided you have some Target Locks). You must also be careful where you deep strike him, as a few melta guns/plasma guns/missile launchers will ruin your day.

However, the great thing about this unit is that you can still thrust move, so if you drop off in a table quarter to eliminate some scary or pesky units, you can still thrust move to threaten another table quarter. Don’t forget to thrust move in the assault phase after deep striking so you spread out!

Another issue is other Tau players with Ion Accelerator Riptides with Interceptor. This will really mess you up. Ergo, be careful where you deploy. What about the Comms Relay you ask? This is an issue that I am unsure on. I have had two games where, even with re-rolls, he doesn’t come in when I need him to. This is incredibly annoying. Ergo, give it a try and see how many times that re-roll works. This gear gets more useful if you have outflanking kroot or more units in reserve. I would say if you are only using Farsight in reserve then this may not be worth it; let him come on when he can. Later in the game isn’t so bad as your opponent will have lost some units and moved up/out and you can then decimate his back lines if needed.

Remember that Farsight is an Independent character, too. You can break him off (I haven’t seen a rule forcing him to stick with the unit once they arrive, but I could be wrong) and take on MSU MEQ units easily. He isn’t too bad at all in assault. Oh; don’t forget he has Armourbane.

diary-of-a-wimp-39-1

This also leads me to another thing: this unit is not so bad in the assault phase. You have a bevy of overwatch shooting, and each bodyguard has three attacks at Strength 5. While not amazing, you will be throwing out 21 strength 5 hits plus Farsight’s AP 2 weapon. While getting assaulted is rarely advised for Tau, it is not the end of the world for this unit to get assaulted.

Finally, remember that it really comes down to what kind of armies you fight on a regular basis. Don’t let someone tell you that “their way is the way to equip these suits” because you may wind up wondering why you spent over 500 points on a unit that only kills 15 or 16 orks a turn because you took lots of plasma, or gets blasted away by Leman Russes or Vendettas if you aren’t careful.

Farsight also has a multitude of uses alongside allies or with other characters such as Shadowsun, but that’s another discussion for another day.

So there you have it. My math may be slightly off and I apologize if it is, but I doubt it. Whatever the issues may be, using Farsight is just plain fun! Oh, and he looks awesome, too. There are plenty of ways to play Farsight and I’m sure certain loadouts will be generally more successful than others, but I hope I have given you some starting points and have generated some ideas for my fellow Tau players.

 

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About Reecius

The fearless leader of the intrepid group of gamers gone retailers at Frontline Gaming!

14 Responses to “Guest Editorial by Stormcrow: Farsight Bomb!”

  1. Son of Dorn May 9, 2013 9:57 am
    #

    Some solid builds, but again, 1 suit per detachment can have Iridium armor.

    • Son of Dorn May 9, 2013 10:06 am
      #

      Whoops, per army. My bad.

  2. fluger May 9, 2013 12:17 pm
    #

    After reading this, I thought up THIS

    Farsight: 165

    Bodyguards: 656
    4x double plasma rifle and ATS
    2x double fusion blaster and Target Lock
    1x Drone Controller, Neuroweb System Jammer, C&CN, PEN,
    and MSSS
    14 Gun Drones

    Ethereal: 50

    Kroot Squad: 140
    10 kroot
    3 krootox
    1 kroot hound

    Kroot Squad: 140
    10 kroot
    3 krootox
    1 kroot hound

    12 Fire Warriors: 132
    2 Gun Drones

    12 Fire Warriors: 132
    2 Gun Drones

    12 Fire Warriors: 132
    2 Gun Drones

    Hammerhead: 190
    Longstrike, Submunitions, TL SMS, Disruption Pod

    Sky Ray: 130
    TL SMS, Disruption Pod

    Sky Ray: 130
    TL SMS, Disruption Pod

    1997

    • fluger May 9, 2013 12:22 pm
      #

      Edited it:

      Farsight: 165

      Bodyguards: 584
      4x double plasma rifle and ATS
      2x double fusion blaster and Target Lock
      1x Drone Controller, Neuroweb System Jammer, C&CN, PEN,
      and MSSS
      8 Gun Drones

      Ethereal: 50

      Kroot Squad: 140
      10 kroot
      3 krootox
      1 kroot hound

      Kroot Squad: 140
      10 kroot
      3 krootox
      1 kroot hound

      12 Fire Warriors: 132
      2 Gun Drones

      12 Fire Warriors: 132
      2 Gun Drones

      12 Fire Warriors: 132
      2 Gun Drones

      Hammerhead: 195
      Longstrike, Submunitions, TL SMS, Disruption Pod, Sensor Spines

      Sky Ray: 130
      TL SMS, Disruption Pod

      Sky Ray: 130
      TL SMS, Disruption Pod

      Aegis Defense Line: 70
      Comms Relay

      2000

  3. Casey H May 9, 2013 5:45 pm
    #

    I’ve been having success with the mini-version of this, just a Regular Elite Crew, MSS+CCn on one, two Helios (flamer, too) and an HQ to match. The flamers help for when the inevitable assault occurs.

    Only a few games, but every unit they have been pointed at, died.

    Doing it full Farsight, with some Target Locks, has been on my horizon.

  4. Reecius
    Reecius May 9, 2013 7:34 pm
    #

    I’m really curious to see how this plays out because that unit looks like it can be absolutely devastating. We just painted up a sweet ass Farsight Bomb unit too, we might have to give it a whirl in a video bat rep.

  5. bob May 10, 2013 8:15 am
    #

    Just a heads up you know this post is spelled wrong correct (farisght)?

    • Reecius
      Reecius May 10, 2013 9:14 am
      #

      hahahaham sure is! Thanks for point that out, and here I am, an English major =P

  6. Invok93 May 10, 2013 11:02 am
    #

    I think the farsight bomb is really gimped by anyone who has decent board control, for example your nid list would fill so much real estate with the minimum of one turn of spawning and moving that would really limit the damage that could be done

    • Reecius
      Reecius May 10, 2013 11:08 am
      #

      I was thinking that, too. They drop down, nuke some little bugs, nothing too important, and then get eaten by my counter assault. That said, I think Tau are really going to struggle against Nids and Daemons no matter what list they build.

  7. Invok93 May 10, 2013 11:16 am
    #

    Horde orks would spoil the party aswell, realistically you could drop down and do damage to two squads then get swamped by boys. I think you would have to take a coms relay to get it in turn two, having 1/4 of your army off until turn 4 wouldn’t be pretty

    • Reecius
      Reecius May 10, 2013 12:36 pm
      #

      Yeah, that is a good idea. The Farsight Bomb does have H&R, which might save them from the Orks, but with Nids they will likely get destroyed outright before they can make a break for it.

  8. Invok93 May 10, 2013 2:24 pm
    #

    Have I missed something? Farsight isn’t forced to deep strike is he? sit 7 suits and farsight behind and aegis with 2x burst cannon each 56 S5 shots is nothing to be sniffed at. Especially with the abundance of marker lights in a good tau army

  9. Stormcrow May 10, 2013 10:53 pm
    #

    Yeah, bugs will be strong against this concept I think. However, also consider that in order to spread out and deny a solid deep strike location that you will have to devote a lof of bugs in the process and may wind up leaving yourself out of a solid position if you arent careful. Also, one salvo at 24inches, while only doing 1 shot per plasma, will still kill a Spawning Bug and you will be in a good position to be safe/run away after a thrust move, so it isn’t a terrible matchup.

    Also, that list seems like a solid idea to try as it would have a solid anchor to hold while you wait for farsight.

    I also do not think Bugs are going to be a “Bad” matchup for Tau, honestly. I believe the amount of ignore cover and high strength shots will be excellent against Bugs. A Sky Ray will annilate flyrants with their missiles and skyfire, and something like a HYMP broadside unit will erase a MC or unit. Throw in some plasma and markerlights and you have even more options against them. This is another topic for another time, however, but in my opinion bugs are not a bad matchup at all for Tau. Perhaps with time I will find out the hard way lol.