Frankie and his new Tau list!

Hello everyone, Frankie here to talk about my new list using the new Tau.

Most interesting man in 40k

Here is the list first of all:



Commander- Drone Commander, Suit


Firewarrior x5

Firewarrior x5

Fast Attack

Drone x8- Marker

Lord of War

Stormsurge x2- Early Warning, Twin-linked Burst Cannon, Shield

Riptide Wing

Riptide- Early Warning, Stim, Twin-linked Smart Missile

Riptide- Early Warning, Stim, Twin-linked Smart Missile

Riptide- Early Warning, Stim, Twin-linked Smart Missile


So the list has changed a bit from what I started with. I used to use the Hunter Contingent for the +1 BS as low accuracy can be a big weakness for Tau. After a few games though I realized I didn’t want to pay the points for the Pathfinders plus no objective secured was a little rough. So I started playing around with a Tau CAD and was pretty happy with it. I took a few Dronemanders and a bunch of drones and was having some success but felt like I didn’t have enough firepower.


Then the new Montka book dropped and I stumbled upon the Ripetide Wing detachment. The detachment allows the Riptides to re-roll Nova charge as long as they are withing 6″ of each other. It also gives them +1 BS if they shoot at a target another Riptide did from the detachment. Lastly, they can once per game shoot all there weapons twice and each time at a different target. This addition to my list sounded like the right choice.


I ended up trying out the new list this weekend and was amazed at how much damage it deals. The turn the Riptides do there double shot is insane. They deal so much damage to so many different targets that it really gives you a commanding advantage in the firepower department. The Riptide formation paired up with the double Stormsurges is straight nasty. We played a mini RTT this weekend and I was able to win all 3 of my games commandingly against good players with good lists. I have a feeling you will be seeing a list like this at most of the tournaments so be prepared.


I am having a lot of fun with the new Tau and always finding new tricks and formations that rock. Let me know what formations you guys are using and which ones you think I should try out. Tau are amazing and will be on the top tables of the upcoming events so make sure your list can handle them. Thank you for reading.


About White925

Frankie is the greatest 40K player on the planet. Nuff Said.

68 Responses to “Frankie and his new Tau list!”

  1. Avatar
    Nightman December 7, 2015 1:11 pm #

    Played one game against the Riptide wing, the re-roll nova charge is really strong, makes them so reliable. You should try it against your own battle company, scouting grav should be a good benchmark vs grav spam.

    • Avatar
      White925 December 7, 2015 2:48 pm #

      Yeah I think Battle Company would be a really tough match-up.

  2. Avatar
    jmanj123 December 7, 2015 1:21 pm #

    I am really glad Tau has now turned into play as many of the big monsters as possible. Good thing they got a new book with two expansion books with formations, so that they can use all the cool suits and different variety in the army. Oh wait…

    It is so ironic how so many armies are becoming monster spam, yet Tyranids still only have one monster worth playing.

    • Avatar
      Arrias December 7, 2015 1:41 pm #

      And this is why, as much as I love 40k, my Tyranids are gathering dust (along with my farsight/all crisis suit army), and I’m painting up Infinity stuff. I just can’t get excited to play anymore. Everything is getting so freaking ridiculous, I feel like the ONLY way to play anymore (outside of meta-chasing) is for all players involved to craft their lists together at the table, just to make sure everyone is on the same page.

      Hell, I went to the Nova Narrative this year, and even within what you would assume was a “for funsies” group, there were quite a few BRUTAL lists.

      (I should say, I still had fun at NOVA and will most likely be going again in 2016, but there were a couple games I feel like I couldn’t sit down after.)

      • Avatar
        Kuragh December 7, 2015 2:36 pm #

        Dude, I’m now on a 6 game winning streak in tourney level games with my Nids, and using units that are considered “crap” like gaunt swarms. Fearless gaunt swarms can tie up rip tides pretty damned well, you don’t have to “kill” them, rendering them useless is just as effective. With a malanthrope giving them shroud they generally get in combat relatively effectively too. A massive stream of devourer fire from flyrants will take down storm surges pretty ok too.

        The funny thing is I think people are forgetting to look out side the square, and actually come up with a strategy. People play purely tactically. They feel they have to chase the meta, when. In reality you can throw some serious curve balls at “OP” armies and using strategy / PTFOing can take them down!

        This is PROVEN by The tyranids taking top spot @ LVO this year, with a scout heavy army coming in second!!

        Get out of the mindset of having to have answers for all the Death Stars / meta units and play your own game. There’s a good chance that your lists are lacking, not neccesarily needing to chase the meta.

        If infinity is your bag cool, I have 2 infinity armies and whilst its for the most part well balanced, it comes off feeling dry and I am not a fan of the community in my area, it tends to attract the win at all cost GW haters. Im not sure if you’ve given up on 40k so much why you are on here, in some vain attempt to convert us? Won’t work for me I’m afraid. I’ll just play both!

        40k does not neccesarily have inherit balance all the time, there are match ups you won’t be able to deal with, but that’s what makes it fun! Balance is introduced by the sheer amount of possibilities available to people these days. The “meta” as you put it is so diverse I don’t actually understand the concept of it. There are a handful of players going really well by playing “out there” lists that simply do their own thing rather than follow a “meta”

        TLDR: shhh, go back to your precious infinity and let the adults talk 😉

        • Avatar
          Arrias December 7, 2015 10:19 pm #

          Dude… Projection much?

          I love me some 40k. I love my Nids. That doesn’t mean I have to love everything about it. The power ramp in these formations is getting ridiculous. Free stuff everywhere for the chosen few. The recent Tau releases have been insane. Let’s not even start on the Eldar. And keep in mind, not everyone is lucky enough to have ITC minded players, so some of us get to deal with 40k “unfiltered”.
          As for Nids? I’m freaking sick of flyrants. Yeah, they won LVO. I was at the 11th Co. where Sean really debuted his list. Lictor-shame is a one off gimick list out of a largely lack luster codex. It’s a brilliant gimmick, but a gimmick none the less, and it still requires the freaking flyrant. And thats what bothers me. I want to play Tyranids. I want to have warriors on the field. I want hormogaunts swarming en-masse. I want trygons and raveners burrowing up to rip-and-tear. I would kill for the toxicrine to be worth his weight in plastic. but I can’t. I have to play Codex:Flyrant. If I wanted to spend all my time zooming flyers around, I’d play X-Wing.
          Also, at the risk if outing myself, I didn’t take my Nids to NOVA, I took a fun Tau list. It wasn’t super optimal, but it was far from a bad list. 24 crisis suits of varying loadouts, some drones, and a hammerhead pair. I had some good fun games. I had some great games. Twice, I faced invisistar gravcents. There was absolutely jack I could do about that. My singular option was to run away. Let me tell you, that is just a super fun way to spend 2 hours.
          Finally, I gotta say, assuming tactical ignorance of another based on their assessment of a system, is an absolute cop out, and one that makes you sound like a jackass. Yeah, I’m aware you can tie up big guys, with little cheap stuff. Thanks for the real words of wisdom there.

          (Posting from mobile. If all the grammar and spelling is correct, praise the Omnissiah.)

        • Avatar
          AbusePuppy December 7, 2015 10:20 pm #

          Oh yeah well I have one TEN THOUSAND MILLION games in a row and never lost and also hot ladies are all over me when they see my cool paint scheme, so that proves that Militarum Tempestus is the best army and people just don’t understand how to use them.

          • Avatar
            Arrias December 7, 2015 10:41 pm

            AP = unholy spawn of Creed and Yorick: confirmed.

      • Avatar
        White925 December 7, 2015 2:52 pm #

        Arrias im sorry to hear you are not enjoying 40k. I think it is actually more diverse than it has ever been. When I say diverse I mean faction wise. Most armies are seen at events and all of them seem to do quite well with a few exceptions. In my opinion there isnt a single codex that is dominating and list wise there are a ton of options. But this is just my point of view.

        • Avatar
          Arrias December 7, 2015 10:39 pm #

          I wholeheartedly agree the diversity has grown vastly since my old roomates brought me in during 5th ed. It’s been fun in that sense to see who comes out on top at what tournament. And I do enjoy most of my games, when I can get one in. Though, I have felt like the “sucky” games (the ones where you feel like you’ve got maybe one option for counter play, if that) seem to feel suckier. My stance is usually, win or lose, if I got a hit in that bloodied your nose, I had a good game, but too much lately the deathstar and less often the hyper-alpha strike style lists have denied that fun.

          All that said, my Nids may be gathering some dust currently, but they’re not dead, just…hibernating.

    • Avatar
      White925 December 7, 2015 2:50 pm #

      Jmanj123 I think the new book can be played so many different ways and be just as effective. There are a ton of great formations and the main detachments are great as well. This is just the way I decided to play.

  3. Avatar
    X078 December 7, 2015 1:25 pm #

    You could possibly improve the list:

    Farsight Enclaves (CAD)

    Commander XV8, Drone Controller, 2x Missile Pod, Target Lock, XV8-02, Iridium

    XV8 Crisis, Bonding Knife Ritual, Flamer
    XV8 Crisis, Bonding Knife Ritual, Flamer

    Lord of War
    2x KV128 Stormsurges, Advanced Targeting System, Early Warning Override, Pulse Driver Cannon, Shield Generator, Twin-linked Burst Cannon

    Formation Drone-net VX1-0
    16x MV7 Marker Drones

    Formation Riptide Wing
    3x XV104 Riptides, Bonding Knife Ritual Early Warning Override, Ion Accelerator, Twin-linked Fusion Blasters

    • Avatar
      RyanTSG December 7, 2015 1:29 pm #

      Cant take Iridium on a FSE detachment character its a Tau Empire Signature system.

      Similar to what I was thinking but I love the idea off 4 different drone squads.

      • Avatar
        X078 December 7, 2015 1:36 pm #

        Oops missed that when editing, should be FSE Talisman.

        • Avatar
          masos December 9, 2015 9:12 am #

          Also ITC is 3 detachments. So that list would be good. But not ITC legal

          • Avatar
            X078 December 9, 2015 3:22 pm

            This list is 3 detachments.
            1 CAD
            2 Formations

    • Avatar
      EmbraceYourInnerGeek December 7, 2015 1:34 pm #

      I also suspect this is a stronger list, largely because of the intercepting drones (assume that’s what the 16 drones are – i.e. 4×4 drones). Not sure you can take Iridium armour on an Enclaves Commander though.

      • Avatar
        X078 December 7, 2015 1:41 pm #

        Yup its the drone net formation with intercept jink slitfire outflank etc

        The iridium should red FSE Talisman, missed that edit.

        I have played this list and it is truly awesome, the Talisman gives you (besides and invuln) some psychic protection which can be saver for tau.

      • Avatar
        Thejughead December 8, 2015 5:12 pm #

        Played something similar on Saturday. It has two problems. Using the drone net makes you remove fnp on the tides. There is no feasible protection for the drones. Lastly using interceptor with the wing doesn’t have as much punch as the double tap rule. You only need it for the storm surges. Just my 2 cents

    • Avatar
      White925 December 7, 2015 2:54 pm #

      Dang that looks like a better variation haha. So many options in this darn book. Im loving it 🙂

    • Avatar
      Narfwak December 7, 2015 4:43 pm #

      The new formations in Mont’ka don’t have to be taken as a Farsight Enclaves army (pg 182 – “This book includes background and rules for a number of new Formations that can be used by *any* Tau army”) so you don’t have to take Bonding Knife Ritual on the Riptides. It’s only 3pts, but hey, every bit counts, right?

      Also, adding the points up that’s still 29 points over 1850 unless I’m making a mistake somewhere? It’s close enough that you can make some small cuts and get it there, though, and it does look like a better basis overall. I think I like Frankie’s version of using all Heavy Burst Cannons and SMS on the Riptides since you’re probably going to need the extra shots against some lists but the Drone-Net VX1-0 is too good not to take in a list like this.

      • Avatar
        X078 December 8, 2015 12:02 am #

        It is exactly 1850, you probably have something added that i don’t.

      • Avatar
        X078 December 8, 2015 12:19 am #

        I believe i can choose to have the Riptide formation as a “Farsight detachment” choice and thus gain the preferred enemy orks rule, hence the Bonding Knives.

        • Avatar
          X078 December 8, 2015 12:53 am #

          And yes its only for close combat but I did not have a better use for those 3 points. Hey they might even prove useful against leadership altering abilties, not sure though.

  4. Avatar
    RyanTSG December 7, 2015 1:27 pm #

    I am surprised you kept with 2 Firewarrior squads. I would look at doing a few suits for troops as a FSE CAD. Try Target lock and 2 missile pods instead and 2 Single crisis suits with Missiles as your troop suits. It gives everything JSJ and 36″ range.

  5. Avatar
    DirtyDeeds December 7, 2015 1:37 pm #

    Frankie, why did you pick Burst Cannons over Fragmentation Projector?

    • Avatar
      White925 December 7, 2015 2:55 pm #

      I like using the burst just for charge options. But a lot of people have been saying I should try out the Fragmentation Projectors so I guess Ill have to try them out.

  6. Avatar
    Narfwak December 7, 2015 1:48 pm #

    Heavy Burst Cannon or Ion on the Riptide wing?

    • Avatar
      EmbraceYourInnerGeek December 7, 2015 2:00 pm #

      2 Ion, one HBC would be my choice. Ion .. well because their awesome, and one HBC with a Velocity Tracker if possible for flyers and FMCs.

      My question is what main weapons on the stormsurges?

      • Avatar
        White925 December 7, 2015 2:56 pm #

        Pulse Driver Cannon forgot to put that on the list.

    • Avatar
      White925 December 7, 2015 2:55 pm #

      3 HBC

  7. Avatar
    Aythir December 7, 2015 2:06 pm #

    How does this list play against heavy psyker? I was making a list similar to this but I have added a culexis assassin. Have not actually gave it a try yet to see if its worth it. Thoughts on losing a tide adding the assassin and some more drones?

    • Avatar
      White925 December 7, 2015 2:57 pm #

      I dont think you would have any issues with Psykers but that is just a guess. I would have to try it out against a Psyker army first.

  8. Avatar
    AbusePuppy December 7, 2015 2:06 pm #

    It’s got some alpha strike potential, but there’s a lot of decisions in there I don’t like. The Commander is just a placeholder- giving him some Missile Pods and a Target Lock would make his points cost a lot more bearable. (Also, shift two of the Drones from the unit to the Commander- they’re 2pts cheaper that way.)

    I guess you’re using the Pulse Blastcannon on the Stormsurges? I liked the look of it first, but the more I thought about it the less I liked that 30″ range and variable weapon profile- too easy for the enemy to dictate what gun you get to use, rather than you being able to. I can see it having some more value with an aggressive Stormsurge list, but I’m still leery of it. (Also, why Burst rather than AFP?)

    You complained about not having ObSec in your Cadre list, but with only two units of Fire Warriors in this one you may as well not have any ObSec- because if anything gets close enough to contest the objective, it’s gonna charge them and kill them.

    Stims on the Riptides, while not a bad buy if you have the support slot, feel like the wrong choice here. You’re already overloading the enemy with big targets and will be able to easily get the 3++ any time you want it thanks to the Networked Reactors- those 105pts would be better spent taking upgrades (and extra units) elsewhere, I think.

    Lastly, with only one source of Markerlights I’d be worried about your ability to target and destroy multiple enemy units in a turn- without their aid, both the Riptides and Stormsurges are going to be WAY less effective. Having some onesy-twosy Markerlight sources (such as Tetras) could help you out a lot, I think.

  9. Avatar
    1PlusArmour December 7, 2015 2:19 pm #

    Damn Frankie, you stole my list 😛

    My debate at this point is Riptide Wing vs Drone Net.. I’m thinking Riptide Wing is better, but 16 intercepting BS3 Markerlights is pretty nuts.

    • Avatar
      1PlusArmour December 7, 2015 2:22 pm #

      I ran very nearly this exact list against a friend running heavy drop-pod/obsec spam… I lost 4-5 drones and a Crisis Suit (farsight detachment) and he only had a single model left at the end of the game :/

      It is absolutely brutal.

    • Avatar
      X078 December 7, 2015 2:36 pm #

      Why choose:)

      Farsight Enclaves (CAD)

      Commander XV8, Drone Controller, 2x Missile Pod, Target Lock, XV8-02, Talisman

      XV8 Crisis, Bonding Knife Ritual, Flamer
      XV8 Crisis, Bonding Knife Ritual, Flamer

      Lord of War
      2x KV128 Stormsurges, Advanced Targeting System, Early Warning Override, Pulse Driver Cannon, Shield Generator, Twin-linked Burst Cannon

      Formation Drone-net VX1-0
      16x MV7 Marker Drones

      Formation Riptide Wing
      3x XV104 Riptides, Bonding Knife Ritual Early Warning Override, Ion Accelerator, Twin-linked Fusion Blasters

      • Avatar
        1PlusArmour December 7, 2015 2:44 pm #

        Basically what it comes down to, is that I really like having FNP on my Riptides 😛 I do suspect what you’ve outlined is pretty close to the best setup possible though.

        Currently I’m running:

        Commander – Drone Controller
        Troops – 2x Crisis w/ Flamer
        6x Marker Drone
        2x Tetra (separate units)
        2x Stormsurge – Pulse Driver, ABFP, EWO, 4++, ATS

        Riptide Wing
        2x Ion Tide w/ FNP, EWO, SMS
        1x Burst Tide w/ FNP, EWO, SMS

        • Avatar
          X078 December 7, 2015 2:51 pm #

          For me the drones outweigh the need for the costly HBC-STIMS tide, multiple intercepting markerlights against flyers has worked fine.

          The Nova reactor reroll also replaces the need for stims, for me atleast.

          • Avatar
            1PlusArmour December 7, 2015 3:03 pm

            Just thinking vs Grav – If you take the 3++ you’re taking ~3 wounds from 3 grav Cents.

            If you take FNP, you’re taking ~4, and ensuring you can use whatever other bonus you want/need for that turn.

            Maybe it’s just my meta here, but there aren’t many flyers that I’m worried about when playing my Tau. The flyers that can reliably punch through 2+ armour are generally fragile enough that even Snap Firing can deal with them quickly, and even then flyers aren’t going to be scoring unless they drop down to Gliding/Hover, so most can be ignored.

            At the end of the day, though, I think either option will be extremely good.

      • Avatar
        Crusade December 7, 2015 3:59 pm #

        Regarding this list, in order to take the drone-net formation, wouldn’t you need to take the Retaliation Cadre? I was under the impression that you needed that to unlock the drone-net formation.

        • Avatar
          Narfwak December 7, 2015 4:51 pm #

          That was in the context of the list Jeremy posted earlier which had four formations total – in order to make that work in the ITC rules he had to package at least two of them inside the Dawn Blade Contingent so they’d only count as one formations.

          In this context it’s just a CAD plus two formations taken from the Mont’ka book. Nothing special needed to take those formations – they’re just normal formations like any other.

      • Avatar
        Luke December 8, 2015 2:11 pm #

        I would sooner run an OSC over that riptide wing in this list. Almost exactly the same amount of points (depending on what you upgrade) and needs no ML (or very few), so you can keep putting them on the stormsurges.

  10. Avatar
    T6ted December 7, 2015 2:28 pm #

    Frankie, are you running all Ion riptides or mixing in heavy burst cannons?

    • Reecius
      Reecius December 7, 2015 3:24 pm #

      He runs all Burst. It’s savage!

      • Avatar
        AbusePuppy December 7, 2015 11:30 pm #

        Benefits a lot more from the +1BS, definitely, as well as the ability to consistently Nova Charge. HBC isn’t worth it if you aren’t Nova’ing every turn.

      • Avatar
        Narfwak December 8, 2015 2:41 am #

        How bad is Gets Hot! on the HBCs when you’re using Nova Charge every turn, especially on the turn when you fire twice? I’ve never really considered spamming it like that without the Earth Caste Pilot Array to help by re-rolling 1s and it’s not like you can take three of them. I suppose it’s not too terrible with a 2+/5+++ but with my luck I wouldn’t be surprised if a Riptide exploded himself in one turn trying that trick.

        • Avatar
          1PlusArmour December 8, 2015 6:14 am #

          On average over a 6 turn game, firing twice one turn, you’d get 13 Gets Hot results, which should translate into ~1W (2+, followed by FNP).

        • Avatar
          white925 December 8, 2015 10:37 am #

          It hasnt been to bad. Like 1plus says the math is in your favor.

  11. Avatar
    Hotsauceman1 December 7, 2015 2:55 pm #

    Man dude, you change armies alot, what happened to the Battle Company?

    • Reecius
      Reecius December 7, 2015 3:24 pm #

      He still plays it, but in order for us to keep up with the meta and the new releases people want to see, we need to essentially have every army.

      • Avatar
        AbusePuppy December 7, 2015 11:29 pm #

        >.> That’s my excuse, too.

        • Reecius
          Reecius December 8, 2015 9:55 am #

          Yeah, it’s hard to keep up, honestly.

  12. Avatar
    iNcontroL December 7, 2015 5:10 pm #

    Awesome list! I think it definitely has tougher matchups but I also think those matchchups are fewer and further between than ever before for tau these days.. they are really strong.

  13. Avatar
    NotreDameGuy December 7, 2015 6:48 pm #

    Stim on Riptide wing are kind of a waste imo. Main reason to take Stims was to help eliminate self damage from Nova Charge, which isn’t a problem in the formation.

    • Reecius
      Reecius December 7, 2015 7:07 pm #

      FnP isn’t worth it? I strongly disagree, it increases the durability of a Riptide by 33%, protecting every point invested into that unit significantly.

      I never understood this argument from Tau players, honestly. It doesn’t just protect from Nova charge wounds, but ALL wounds, haha, it effectively gives them an extra 2.3 wounds.

      • Avatar
        DirtyDeeds December 7, 2015 9:06 pm #

        I think the reason why many Tau players recommend against Stimulant Injectors is due to their meta. Mine is relatively lax and most of my opponent’s rarely have the capability to handle a Riptide or two (Like I normally run), so Feel No Pain is redundant. It furthers the argument of avoiding such a difficult beast to tame and tackle the rest of the Tau army. So instead of purchasing a reasoning for my opponent to attack my Riptide, why not spend those points on a Skyray or more troops.

      • Avatar
        AbusePuppy December 7, 2015 10:26 pm #

        The thing is, against stuff that is killing the Riptide effectively (massed Grav, AP2 melee, etc) the Stims won’t be enough to keep you alive- and against stuff that is bad at killing you, they aren’t needed. Most players realize that it’s not the Riptide but the support units (Markerlights, etc) that are _enabling_ the Riptide that are the true threat, and those are a lot easier to kill. Once they’re dead, you can lock up the Riptide in combat and grind it down (or just ignore it) at your leisure.

      • Avatar
        Nightman December 7, 2015 11:50 pm #

        I think it’s close, really depends on what you are giving up to take them.

  14. Avatar
    Kevin lantz December 7, 2015 10:30 pm #

    For me it wasn’t about survivability but increasing output of fire early in the game.

    Honestly I think this list would benefit from. Kroot in the cad than firewarriors

  15. Avatar
    Kevin lantz December 8, 2015 1:10 am #

    Also if you can find the points for 8 more drones you can run the drone net formation… Bs 3 drones everywhere and those would then get some nice perks.

    • Avatar
      white925 December 8, 2015 10:39 am #

      Yeah I would love to have the drone net in the list. There are a few list changes people suggested up top that might be worth looking at.

    • Avatar
      Thejughead December 8, 2015 5:27 pm #

      The drone net is not effective without some IC to help tank wounds. Sure interceptor marker lights is awesome, but if forced to kink its effectiveness goes down drastically . And if there is minimal terrain or a drop pod list with flamers the you better reserve them.

      • Avatar
        Kevin lantz December 8, 2015 9:57 pm #

        Jump shoot jump… They are agile small buggers. Throwing commanders in em is silly when you can simply get lots more…

        • Avatar
          abusepuppy December 8, 2015 11:27 pm #

          Actually being able to attach an IC to the Drone units is really, really helpful because it makes them scoring. (Only units composed _entirely_ of drones are nonscoring.) However, the cost to get that commander is unfortunately a bit on the high side in most cases. Wish Tau got a good “two to four ICs” formation like several of the other factions do…

      • Avatar
        X078 December 9, 2015 1:24 am #

        Could maybe be worth running it with the Ghostkeel formation for stealth.

  16. Avatar
    Donkey Punch December 10, 2015 1:56 pm #

    Absolute shit list. Of course what did you expect after they nerf the Tau codex. Nothing to use expect for a CAD.

  17. Avatar
    tiberius183 December 10, 2015 2:30 pm #

    How about you drop the stims on the riptides, and instead of taking a unit of 8 marker drones, use the points to take a Drone Net Vx-1 formation, and have 4x 4 units of marker drones that shoot at BS 3 and have interceptor?

Leave a Reply