Frankie’s Tournament Tau: Perfect Score at GE RTT

Hello everyone Frankie here with a warhammer 40k tournament report with the new Tau.

Most interesting man in 40k

A few weeks ago we grabbed all of our stuff and headed up to Pasadena for a 3 round RTT. It was a large turnout with 32 players. I brought the Tau list that I have been talking about for a while. The list is:


Commander Drone Controller, Armor, 2x Marker Drone  x1


Fire Warriors _  x5

Fire Warriors _  x5

Riptide Wing

Riptide Early Warning Override, Stimulant Injector  x1

Riptide Early Warning Override, Stimulant Injector  x1

Riptide Early Warning Override, Stimulant Injector  x1

Fast Attack

Drones Marker  x6

Lord of War

Stormsurge x 2: Burst Cannon, Pulse Driver Cannon, Early Warning Override, Shield Generator, Precision x1


Round one I pulled a nasty Daemon list with a Khorne Chaos Knight, Fateweaver, Drone Star, and a Screamer Star. I knew that if I wasn’t able to kill the Drone Star that it would wreck my Stormsurge’s. I got first turn and was able to bring the Dronestar down to just the Hearld with the Riptides using ripple fire and with the Stormsurge’s shooting everything they had into them. I left my Marker lights out of range of the screamers sweep attacks and moved the Stormsurges forward a little. On his turn he tosses the grim onto his Knight and moves the Screamers next to my Stormsurge’s doing one wound with sweep attacks. His battle cannon shoots at my Markerlights but the Commander tanks all the wounds. My turn two I finish off the Nurgle Hearld, get three D shots into the knight and roll 2 lucky 6’s. The poor knight didn’t get to do anything due to my luck…ouch! I then fired the Riptides into two units that he had summoned and wipe them both out. My surges charge into the Screamer Star and the 6’s continue, I end up stomping out the grim Hearld and all but one Screamer. At this point my opponent is ready to throw in the towel, unfortunately. But he brings Fateweaver in which I intercept with all the Riptides and am able to kill with some good rolling on my part and poor rolling on my opponents, leaving Fatey dead having done nothing. We call it after that craziness. Tau win 11-0

d missile

Round two I pull an Eldar player. This should be fun because I haven’t had a whole lot of practice against Eldar. He has a Wraithknight, 6 Jetbike units, Swooping hawks, Warpsiders, D barrage, and D scythes with a Webway Portal. This should be an interesting match-up. I win the roll to go first again and bring the thunder. I am able to kill the Farseer, Autarch, both Vaul’s Wrath Batteries, Swooping Hawks and 4 units of Jetbikes in my first shooting phase….absolutely brutal! On his turn he is able to do 3 wounds to one of my Riptides and fly one of the Jetbike units out of sight.  My turn both Firewarrior units come in next to the Jetbike’s and are able to bring them down. I also shoot 5 D missiles into the Wraithknight, destroying him. The Riptides bring down the other Jetbike’s and the Dark Reapers leaving the board empty for his reserves. Unfortunately he only gets the D-scythes on the table. We call it at this point since my whole army has interceptor and odds are he wouldn’t survive the drop. We were laughing and having a good time and cannot wait for a re-match. Tau win 11-0

thunder and lightning

Last round I was hoping to pull a Battle Company to see what the list can do against that match-up. Unfortunately I pulled a 3 imperial Knight list… This will be hard since my army struggles against Knights. He was using the new Atropos Knight and had a Stormraven in reserve. I again won the roll to go first: wow 3 for 3 is pretty lucky! My turn one I shoot 4 D missiles into one of the knights and do 5 Hull points. My Riptides do their double shot and strip 3 hull Points off of another one. His turn he moves up the  field and shoots into my Riptides dealing one wound and another 2 wounds to my Drone Commander. Unfortunately for him, he dropped in the Calexus assassin but I was able to kill him with smart missiles and interceptor. On My turn two I am able to kill two of the Knights with the rest of my D missiles and Burst Cannon’s rending. The Atropos is down to 4 hull points out of 7, which I was surprised by.  His turn he is able to kill one of my Riptides in Close combat and kill a bunch of my Markerlight’s with his Storm Raven. My turn three I am able to kill the Atropos and deal two hull points to the Stormraven. My opponent lands the Storm Raven and forges some hard narratives by charging into my Warlord and the Stormsurge’s. Unfortunately my Stormsurge’s do what they do best and stomp out the 5 man Tactical Squad with a Chapter Master that charged me. His Warlord owns mine and all the Markerlight’s though, which was a morale victory for him, haha. We call it at this point as we see whats going to happen to the poor five man unit in front of Stormsurge’s. Great game and a lot closer than it sounded. I had to kill two Knights on turn two other wise he would made close combat and most likely killed the Surges. Tau win 11-0


The list performed better than expected, but a little too good in my opinion. It is a list that I would take to a Large tournament but not to an RTT again. I’d rather my opponent’s have a bunch of fun while killing my models as with Battle Company. Stomps are crazy powerful and are a little too much in my opinion, it’s not a ton of fun to roll 6’s and automatically kill models. But that said, I believe this is one of the top Tau lists you can build. The Stormsurge’s fix a lot of the problems Tau have and the Riptide Wing is beastly. Plus the monstrous creature army looks Badass!!! and has no problem finishing games in the allotted time due to the low model count. How has your experiences been against Stormsurge’s? Do you think a list like this would do well at a GT? Hope you all enjoyed the article and look forward to playing some of you this tournament season.

Tau domination! 33 out of 33 Battle Points!


About White925

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

92 Responses to “Frankie’s Tournament Tau: Perfect Score at GE RTT”

  1. Marandamir March 21, 2016 2:00 pm #

    How often did you use the stormsurge anchor’s? I always thought they’d be anchored most of the game and unable to stomp, but it sounds to me like you didn’t have that problem.

    • Reecius March 21, 2016 2:01 pm #

      He almost never anchors them. He assaults with them pretty much every game.

    • White925 March 21, 2016 2:22 pm #

      I rarely anchor. Against the Imperial knights I did Anchor on turn one so that I could throw some extra strength 10 at the Knights. But that was the only game.

  2. Reecius March 21, 2016 2:00 pm #

    Well done, Francis!

  3. FrequentRespawn March 21, 2016 2:07 pm #

    A friend of mine plays this list as well and the most struggle he has is against Necrons and DA/SW Deathstars. However, any other list just get shot down turn 1. Playing against this Tau list is the least fun I’ve ever had in 40k and I’d play against Eldar jetbike/warpspiders and D spam any day of the week rather than this.
    On the other hand: we don’t play ITC but mostly ETC and I personally think that your rules on cover for gargantuans help a little bit against this MC spam. Nonetheless, I hate Tau and I find it funny that there are people that still think they are underpowered^^

    • White925 March 21, 2016 2:23 pm #

      Fair enough. I am sorry to hear that you dont enjoy playing against them. ETC would for sure make this list stronger but it is still really strong in our format.

      • FrequentRespawn March 21, 2016 3:15 pm #

        Not your fault Frankie, no reason to be sorry 🙂 my buddy skips the 2nd surge for a piranha wing and drone network…insanely annoying. I think the riptide wing is just way too powerful. All in all i think we will see way more deathstars then before because its all about resilience. Either you shoot like crazy, or you build your army as tough as possible. Sadly, its the 2nd Time Tau are causing this problem.

        • Happy_Inquisitor March 22, 2016 10:29 am #

          Stomps are overpowered. Therefore Tau units which can stomp are overpowered, especially when sufficiently supported.

          MSU Tau builds do not really work with ITC rules so you will see a lot of variations of this list. Some form of this list really does look like the most obvious competitive Tau choice in ITC.

          There was a rush towards riptide wings in the UK tournament scene as well but we will have to wait and see if they continue to do well after the initial shock and awe.

          Tau are a big enough codex in competitive play that their best builds do shift the meta. This is what is happening now, lists will have to adjust to the possibility of facing Pacific Rim Tau.

          • white925 March 22, 2016 4:57 pm

            I love it when a codex shakes up the meta. And I do agree that Stomp is a little to much.

    • Marandamir March 21, 2016 2:24 pm #

      I’m confused, are the storm surges shooting all their guns every turn or just 2?

      • Dakkath March 21, 2016 2:49 pm #

        Stormsurges can shoot all their weapons every turn since they are gargantuan creatures.

    • Dakkath March 21, 2016 2:48 pm #

      I hate that everyone thinks Tau as a whole are overpowered when it’s literally just the riptide wing and stormsurge causing problems.

      • White925 March 21, 2016 5:45 pm #

        Yeah I don’t think they are overpowered. I think the Stormsurges are what cause some problems.

      • abusepuppy March 21, 2016 9:12 pm #

        And even those aren’t doing particularly well at GTs and other large events- not a single Tau in the top 16 of LVO, I believe.

        • 1PlusArmour March 22, 2016 2:02 pm #

          Top Tau was 12th:

          Trevor Van Cleave’s List


          5 Breachers with EMP
          Devilfish with sms

          5 Breachers with EMP
          Devilfish with sms

          Y’varna: EW and VT


          3 broadsides with Shasve upgrade, x2 EW X1 Target Lock

          1 Stormsurge with Shield and EW

          Riptide Wing
          Riptide: EWO, VT
          Riptide: Ion Accelerator, EWO
          Riptide: Ion Accelerator, EWO

  4. jy2 March 21, 2016 2:17 pm #

    Your distinctive lack of markerlights from multiple sources has me concerned for your army against the more competitive players.

    • White925 March 21, 2016 2:24 pm #

      After I use my D missiles I rarely need the markerlights. I mean they of course help but are not needed in my opinion.

  5. jy2 March 21, 2016 2:19 pm #

    Consider this. Drop FNP’s on 2 of the tides and now you can get 2 tetras.

    • Reecius March 21, 2016 2:50 pm #

      Never, ever drop FnP, IMO.

      • abusepuppy March 21, 2016 9:13 pm #

        FNP never impressed me on the Riptides. I mean, it’s nice, but 105pts would get some more scoring, more Markerlights, or other much-needed support so that the army isn’t just five units strong.

        • thejughead March 22, 2016 10:08 am #

          Never drop FnP on Riptides. I just played at Crucible (ITC Event) and placed 10th. Only lost my riptides to another Tau Riptide list that went first and I played poorly.

          Marker lights are on weak platforms and only last a couple of turns. Frankie’s setup could use a couple of shield drones to tank AP2-1 hits but its the best at preserving them.

      • 1PlusArmour March 22, 2016 6:06 am #

        I’m with Reece on this one – FNP is a must on Riptides.

      • MikhailLenin March 22, 2016 12:35 pm #

        Mathematically the FNP on Ripides is not worth it.

        35 Points for Stimulant Injector, 19.4% of the Cost of a Riptide, for 1.6 Wounds effectively.
        3 FNP on Riptides equals 5 Wounds or effectively another Riptide without Guns effectively. Thats also 105 Points which is ~60% of a Riptide.

        The questions comes on down to, do I feel like paying for a Discount Riptide that doesn’t have any additional presence on the board and has no gun? Or do I feel like spending 105 points for unit(s) that will have presence and impact on the board?

        For me thats what it boils down to.

        • abusepuppy March 22, 2016 8:11 pm #

          The French Overlord nails it here. You’re paying a lot of points for a thing that doesn’t help you shoot and isn’t another unit on the board. If you’ve got just one Riptide and some points left over? Sure, go for it I guess. But taking it as a mandatory inclusion is kinda just worse than buying more Riptides (or other units.)

        • White925 March 23, 2016 8:06 am #

          Unfortunately 105 points does not get me another Riptide on the table. So I would rather the Riptides I have stay on the table and soak up more fire than throw the points at something that is not as effective.

          • abusepuppy March 23, 2016 9:05 am

            Tetras, better troops (like Kroot or Crisis), a VSG, a Drone Network, or even just more bodies would all serve you better than making a tough unit tougher against certain types of attacks. His fundamental point stands: the FNP isn’t adding any board presence (which the army lacks), isn’t shoring up your weaknesses against stuff like Grav, and isn’t solving any of your other problems.

            Those points would be better spent trying to mitigate your weaknesses rather than slightly improving one of your strengths, because smart players are going to try and hit you in your weak points, not your strong ones.

          • Dakkath March 23, 2016 11:41 pm

            FSE CAD
            Commander: 2+, DC; Marker Drone *2
            Marker Drone *6
            Crisis: flamer *2
            Crisis: flamer *2
            Crisis: flamer *2
            Stormsurge *2: Pulse Driver, Burst, EWO, 4++
            Void Shield: 2 extra shields

            Riptide Wing (Tau Empire)
            Riptide *3: HBC, SMS, EWO

            = exactly 1850
            basically trades fnp on the riptides and 2*5 fire warriors for a VSG and 3*flamer suits.

    • Jason March 21, 2016 5:30 pm #

      Terrible idea

  6. Joshua Death March 21, 2016 2:46 pm #

    I think anything designed to manipulate leadership and/or take advantage of it could be a problem for you, but other than that I think it is an amazing list. I saw a similar build in Arkansas last week and it did really well, caught many people off guard as they didn’t know how to handle the list.

  7. Tfla803 March 21, 2016 3:37 pm #

    I run 1 stormsurge and have never anchored: people are often shocked with how agressive I am with it.

    I just picked up my 3rd riptide and im excited to try out the ripwing. I had been using the OSC with mixed success.

    • White925 March 21, 2016 5:46 pm #

      Yeah I rarely anchor. And you will be very surprised with the Riptide Wing.

    • BobC March 22, 2016 3:00 am #

      I run a similar list: 1 stormsurge, OSC, and riptide wing. I’ve had excellent sucess so far.

  8. Adam ( March 21, 2016 4:24 pm #

    Sounds gross Frankie!

    I can’t tell from your battle report, but were you remembering to nominate all your targets for the Stormsurges before rolling dice? Even with units with the ability to fire at multiple targets, nominating targets happens before you ever roll a single dice. Check out the Shooting Sequence order of operations, step 2 is to pick a target, step 3 is to pick which weapon is firing, then after resolving everything you go back to step 3, which is picking a weapon, not step 2, picking a target.

    • White925 March 21, 2016 5:48 pm #

      Yeah I can see how you read it that way. But what if I nominate all enemy units on the table?

      • abusepuppy March 21, 2016 9:10 pm #

        Yeah, exactly so. You’re not forced to decide what weapons shoot where until you actually fire them, so “I declare every single unit on the table as a target” is a legit decision.

      • Adam ( March 22, 2016 7:52 am #

        Presumably you couldn’t declare more targets than you have weapons. What happens if you nominate all the targets on the board with any other unit? If you nominate per weapon as you go down the list of weapons then you’re disrupting the order of operations in the shooting phase.

        Nominating all your targets before rolling dice doesn’t require making up new rules or changing the rules for the shooting phase sequence. If you do it one at a time you’re totally changing the sequence and having to make up new rules for the shooting phase. The solution that doesn’t require making up new rules should be the one used, don’t you think? 😉

        • abusepuppy March 22, 2016 8:17 am #

          It’s worth pointing out that the Choose a Target section of the shooting rules explicitly says that you choose ONE target (since that’s all normal units can do, of course.) Since you are only mandated to choose one target when you fire your first weapon, it’s perfectly sensible that when firing successive weapons beyond the first, a superheavy vehicle (which is allowed to “fire each weapon at a different target, if desired”) would be allowed to re-choose its target as part of the Select a Weapon step- otherwise, you never have a chance to choose a second or further target.

          Both versions (choose targets before, choose one at a time) require ignoring and/or making up certain parts of the shooting rules. I don’t doubt you think your version is more sensible, but it really has no more of an unambiguous reading of the rules than the other.

          • Gunfex March 22, 2016 8:48 am

            Lol. Exactly…

          • Adam ( March 22, 2016 10:14 am

            I understand that it says that, and the super heavy rules allow you to pick more targets, overriding the limitation of one target, but doesn’t allow you to change the entire order of shooting resolution. You don’t pick the target when you fire your first weapon, you pick your target before firing any weapons, it’s an important distinction.

          • Adam ( March 22, 2016 10:36 am

            I have to say I’m always impressed with the creative ways people find to abuse the rules and apply selective reasoning when interpreting them… Firing with a GMC or SH allows you to TARGET different units with different weapons. Targeting is a specific part of the shooting sequence… lets take a look at that sequence.

            1. Nominate Unit to Shoot. Choose one of your units that is able to shoot but has yet to do so this turn.
            2. Choose a Target. The unit can shoot at an enemy unit that it can see.
            3. Select a Weapon. Select a weapon the firing unit is equipped with. All models equipped with a weapon with the same name can now shoot that weapon at the target. Every model that wishes to shoot must be within range of at least one visible model in the target unit. Models that cannot see the target, or are not in range, cannot shoot.
            4. Roll To Hit. Roll a D6 for each shot fired. A model’s Ballistic Skill determines what it must roll in order to hit the target.
            5. Roll To Wound. For each shot that hit, roll again to see if it wounds the target. The result needed is determined by comparing the Strength of the firing weapon with the majority Toughness of the target unit.
            6. Allocate Wounds & Remove Casualties. Any Wounds caused by the firing unit must now be allocated, one at a time, to the closest model in the target unit. A model with a Wound allocated to it can take a saving throw (if it has one) to avoid being wounded. If a model is reduced to 0 Wounds, it is removed as a casualty. Wounds are then allocated to the next closest model. Continue to allocate Wounds and take saving throws until all Wounds have been resolved.
            7. Select Another Weapon. After resolving all shots from the currently selected weapon, if the firing unit is equipped with differently named weapons that have yet to fire, select another weapon and repeat steps 3 to 6.

            During the 2nd step, “it may fire each of its weapons at a different target if desired” as per the GMC/SH rules. This ability modifies the way you normally target with a unit, and instead allows you to do it on a per-weapon basis if you like. Being a GMC/SH changes how the second step works, but makes no reference to the other steps, so we should assume that they do not change because there is no reason to do so.

            The third step describes firing the weapon at the appropriate target, nothing about the GMC rules modify this, or any other step. Step 7 also tells you to go back to step 3, which if you did not already determine your targets would break.

            As long as you apply the rules in a way which breaks the least amount of additional rules, you’re probably on the right track, but when you start interpreting things in ways which flat out require breaking other rules to support your interpretation, you’re probably not doing it right.

          • abusepuppy March 22, 2016 8:12 pm

            I have to say, I’m always impressed with how people accuse anyone who disagrees with them of intellectual dishonesty.

          • Ja3ko March 28, 2016 2:40 am

            “it may fire each of its weapons at a different target if desired”

            this doesn’t directly reference either step 2 or step 3 of the shooting phase. It’s language eg weapon and target do align with the terminology used in both these steps. Therefore your assumption that this modifies the 2nd step is also equally as valid (and invalid) for assuming that it modifies the 3rd step.

            two other interpretations would be:

            1. when applying this rule step 7 leads into step 2 in order to let weapons choose different targets

            This creates a logical inconsistency according to the main rules since weapons come after targets. this is the inconsistency that you seem to be using as a basis for your interpretation being correct.

            2. that only different units may shoot at different targets therefore to fulfil this rule each weapon is treated as a separate unit.

            this interpretation is in my opinion the loosest but is still valid as the original rule doesn’t actually define where and when the change is made to shooting rules in order to allow for this exception.

            The lack of specificity in the rule as written does leave room for multiple interpretations that can significantly alter the results of the game. In the end for competitive play it is something that should probably be FAQed so that everyone is playing the same game.

        • Gunfex March 22, 2016 8:45 am #

          This has been discussed before. Sadly, the BRB rules are inadequate for describing how to handle shooting with a model such as the Stormsurge or really any single model that can fire at multiple targets without relying on a special rule like Split Fire. If you read carefully, the BRB tells you to pick a single unit as a target. Obviously a Stormsurge is allowed to shoot at multiple targets so you break or modify a rule no matter what.

          Best to submit a question to GW FAQ post lol. I might make this my one question as I do not believe Frontline formally answered it either, except to say that they personally play it as selecting a target as each weapon comes up (if I recall correctly).

          • Reecius March 22, 2016 9:15 am

            You have it right, we haven’t added it to the ITC FAQ formally, as of yet, although we could.

          • Adam ( March 22, 2016 10:16 am

            The super heavy rules override the number of targets but does not override the order of operations in the shooting phase. When you would normally pick one target, you may instead pick multiple if you like, then proceed as normal, you don’t change the entire order of operations because you have a rule thst allows you to change one part of one step.

          • Wargamer Shawn March 24, 2016 11:41 am

            The way Adam is describing it is how it is FAQed for Adepticon. I know that is not the same thing as ITC. I also agree with Adam at his interpretation. I am not saying anyone is right or wrong here. I play Tau and Stormsurges as well as Wraithknights and Imperial Knights, but I do think this interpretation is fair. I think Reece this would be a good FAQ for ITC, because I can see this coming up in tournaments. People are very passionate about the game, we all love it for different reasons, but I think and FAQ would solve a lot of headaches and arguments. Just my 2 cents.

    • White925 March 23, 2016 8:11 am #

      So what happens if when you get to your last gun you have two targets left? Do you have to nominate one weapon to every target you pick?

      Because if you don’t have to shoot a weapon at every target then you can just nominate as many targets as you have weapons. Basically the same thing I said just limiting yourself to as many weapons as you have. Doesn’t actually change anything.

  9. Orwell March 21, 2016 5:00 pm #

    At least it ain’t TauNar!

  10. Jason Wolfe March 21, 2016 5:05 pm #

    The durability of this list is what is so maddening. Whole rounds of shooting taking a few wounds off of a Riptide … resulting in zero lost Tau damage the next turn. And they are weirdly fast and can avoid combat if they feel like it. T6 with a 2+/4+(3+Nova) 5+FNP is just too much. One riptide can easily take more shots than an imperial knight, and is laughably more durable than any actual vehicle.

    Going to throw this out there: haywire should wound riptides/stormsurges. Thematically it would make sense as EMP/ion attacks would destabilize those mecha suits. Wound would be 1: nothing, 2-5: wound, 6: rending wound.

    • westrider March 21, 2016 8:17 pm #

      I was thinking about something like that with the AdMech Kastellans. Haywire instead becomes Fleshbane, Rending.

    • abusepuppy March 21, 2016 9:09 pm #

      It depends a lot on what you’re shooting it with- against Boltguns and whatnot, sure, it laughs them off, but Grav, Destroyer, long-range AP2/3, and other such weapons can actually tear it up in pretty short order, as you only have a _total_ of thirty-one T6 wounds on the big guys. That sounds like a lot, but when you roll four 2s in a row against some Scatter Lasers or Krak Grenades and suddenly your 425pt Stormsurge is already half dead, it can be a lot less amazing.

      (Also, with regards to haywire vs Tau suits: by the fluff, they are quite specifically immune to it. It is referenced in some of the campaign books that the Tau detonate EMP warheads during city-fighting battles to cripple Imperial vehicles while leaving their own suits unscathed, so one can assume that they have hardened electronics- as many modern military vehicles do- or that they use technology that is unaffected by EMP, such as optical circuts or the like.)

    • Dakkath March 21, 2016 9:16 pm #

      2+/5++(3++ nova) w/ fnp (if you buy it) for the ‘tides.

      Buying the shield gen on the ‘surges gives them 3+/4++ w/ fnp.

      • white925 March 22, 2016 9:22 am #

        The shield Generators are a must.

  11. Jason March 21, 2016 5:29 pm #

    “My turn two I finish off the Nurgle Hearld, get three D shots into the knight and roll 2 lucky 6’s. The poor knight didn’t get to do anything due to my luck…ouch! ”

    Pretty much sums up 40k to me, lol.

  12. William Scott March 21, 2016 7:31 pm #


  13. abusepuppy March 21, 2016 9:04 pm #

    >I am able to kill the Farseer, Autarch, both Vaul’s Wrath Batteries, Swooping Hawks and 4 units of Jetbikes in my first shooting phase

    And this, boys and girls, is why you either bring a VSG, go into reserve, or deploy out of range of the other guy when you are going second in a shooty vs. shooty matchup.

    Gratz on the win though, Franky. Glad to see the list working out for you at last.

  14. PFol March 21, 2016 9:53 pm #

    Nasty list

  15. Maeglin March 22, 2016 12:26 am #

    It’s a truly brutal list and I kind of love it because if of it. Especially because it’s deceptively simple.

  16. BobC March 22, 2016 3:04 am #

    Out of curiosity, why burst cannons over ion accelerators?

    • Blightstar March 22, 2016 5:43 am #

      Probably needed massed shooting. Pulse Driver Cannons can handly the AP2 department. And the Burst is fantastic all-arounder weapon, especially in Riptide wing where you can more easily nova-charge them for rending.

    • abusepuppy March 22, 2016 5:53 am #

      I can’t speak for Franky, but I’ve seen a lot of folks using the Riptide wing equip it similarly (although 2x HBC 1x Ion is slightly more common in my experience.) Basically, it boils down to three factors- first off, the HBC is actually a great gun if you can consistently Nova Charge it. On a normal Riptide this is risky, but in the Wing you’re all but guaranteed it. Secondly, with the Stormsurges in the list, you’ve already got a superior AP2 pie plate to fire at things (not to mention Destroyer Missiles for high-AV targets.) Third is Markerlight interactions- the HBC with one or two Markerlights goes up drastically in value, whereas an Ion will still miss, Get Hot, or otherwise fail to function a lot of the time; Iontides really want to be using 5+ ML hits per turn, which the list just can’t support.

      • 1PlusArmour March 22, 2016 6:04 am #

        To build off of Abusepuppy’s post, the HBC are actually more reliable for stripping hull points off AV14 than the Ion Accelerators are – especially when paired with markerlights. Can’t cause Explodes results, but averages more hull points done overall – especially useful against Knights and the like where you also need to get past saves.

    • white925 March 22, 2016 9:25 am #

      I use the HBC because it has more shots. I really like the strength 6 rending and mass strength 6 is always good, just ask Eldar.

  17. 1PlusArmour March 22, 2016 6:02 am #

    Thoughts on dropping the Fire Warriors for Crisis and going FSE? It lets you fit in FNP on the Commander, get a little more mobility, and take an inquisitor with servo skulls 🙂

    This list is definitely an RTT monster, potentially a GT winner, but lacks the knockout punch at the Major level (as we saw at LVO). I’m especially interested to see what happens at Adepticon with access to 8 uncomped ranged D shots from the Stormsurges (albeit against double Wraithknights).

    • white925 March 22, 2016 9:26 am #

      Yeah, with Adepticon going full strength D I decided not to bring a monster bash list haha.

      • 1PlusArmour March 22, 2016 2:01 pm #

        Yeah… I’m hedging my bets heavily on my D being bigger than my opponents D… if you know what I mean 😉

  18. X078 March 22, 2016 7:26 am #

    The list is good and going FSE would probably be a bit better with the Tau sig systems now available. Still I’ve found the reliance on marker lights for D to be a gamble hence why i run this instead:

    Heavy Retribution Cadre
    2x Stormsurge [EWO, Blastcannon, Shield, AFP]
    Ghostkeel [Ion, Fusion]
    Ghostkeel [Ion, EWO, Target Lock, Fusion]
    Ghostkeel [Ion, EWO, Target Lock, Fusion]

    Riptide Wing
    3x XV104 Riptide [EWO, Ion, SMS]

    Knights and other assault units is less of an issue thanks to the Slowing effect from the HRC with which you can Kite them. This in turn lets you use the Blastcannons with lesser risk.

    • thejughead March 22, 2016 10:14 am #

      Sadly, we can’t use this in the ITC format 🙁

      • rulez March 23, 2016 10:17 am #

        why not?

        • westrider March 23, 2016 6:51 pm #

          Because the ITC only allows a single Super-Heavy/Gargantuan Unit. The StormSurges in the Heavy Retribution Cadre are 2 separate Units.

    • ehegner1 March 26, 2016 6:07 am #

      No SMS on the riptides? Your going to have a hard time dealing with warp spiders

  19. Bryan March 22, 2016 11:14 am #

    Nice review, have you tried other tau formations like the optimised stealth cadre, ghostkeel wing etc? Would be cool to see some variety in frontline gaming tau army if yous have it 🙂

    • Reecius March 23, 2016 6:13 pm #

      We have a huge Tau army, actually! Frankie loves them big robots though, might be hard for him to tear himself away from them.

  20. Jacob Kielhorn March 22, 2016 1:59 pm #

    yea im building this list right now just got my first Riptide and trading some Ravenwing for 2 more and a commander! then i just need the drones and storm surges

    • Reecius March 23, 2016 6:12 pm #

      You will find that it obliterates most opponents.

  21. Luke March 22, 2016 5:26 pm #


    Have you tried out a FSE CAD? Basically you trade the fire warriors in for some solo crisis suits. I’ve found that that mobility is really nice for grabbing maelstrom objectives, and it’s not like the fire warriors were going to survive until the end anyhow 😛

    I like it because I can fit more marker drones in, so if I get hammered early on I can get more of my D missiles out at a high ballistic skill.

    • White925 March 23, 2016 8:17 am #

      Yeah. I am messing around with a list that has the Drone Network and two lone crisis suits instead of Firewarriors.

      • White925 March 23, 2016 8:17 am #

        Intercepting marker lights are pretty good haha.

  22. Marandamir March 23, 2016 10:16 am #

    I played this list to get a test of the new tau and I found that this list has alot of holes in it. It is distinctively lacking in AP3 or better. Rending on the nova charge from the burst cannons is not bad, but relying on rolling 6s to get by armor 3+ or 2+ is just a bad plan for tau.

    I played a Necron Decurion that had a destroyer cult in it. Those are T5, 2 wound jet pack models with a 3+ armor save and a 4+ reanimate save. Besides the nova burst cannon and pulse drivers and destroyer missiles, I had nothing but S5 AP5 to bring to bear against these HIGHLY durable models. Long story short, I focused the big guns against the bigger threats and fired over 150 S5 shots into the destroyer cult and maybe killed 2-4 of them. It was quite silly to watch.

    So long story short, you don’t need to spam so much S5 in this list. Mix in some plasma guns or even consider the AP2 large blast on 1 of the riptides.

    • abusepuppy March 23, 2016 4:31 pm #

      “Besides the two strongest guns in my army I had no way to kill them” doesn’t actually seem that bad. Point a few Markerlights at them, fire off the Destroyer Missiles, watch the squad evaporate.

      • marandamir March 24, 2016 2:10 pm #

        Large blasts scatter and aren’t super reliable. Destroyer missiles are an option but the lack of markerlight sources make this tactic difficult in a world chock full of MSU.

    • Reecius March 23, 2016 6:12 pm #

      I think you might be overlooking the melee ability of Tau, now. Frankie defeated a Necron Deathstar in close combat by stomping them out. He also went through an 18 Wraith list by, again, Stomping them out.

      Stormsurges should only be rarely planting their heels and shooting they should almost always be assaulting the killing things by stepping on them which is far more powerful than all their crazy guns, as silly as that sounds.

      • Ibushi March 24, 2016 1:03 pm #

        Helps when your Stormsurges are T8!

      • marandamir March 24, 2016 2:02 pm #

        The math doesn’t pan out in my mind. Stomps are only threatening if you roll a 6 on the stomp table. A S6 ap4 hit to T5 models with 2 wounds and a 3+ armor saves and 4+ reanimation protocols is just not at all threatening. Case in point was my storm surge was assaulted by a necron pratorian unit with 2 warscythes and guess what? I took 5 wounds in the first round of the fight and died before I could stomp in the next round. So unless you are rolling endless 6s on the stomp table, the math just doesn’t work out.

        • Reecius March 24, 2016 2:21 pm #

          If you have two Stormsurges, you spread the wounds between them each round of combat which dramatically lengthens their longevity and allows for more stomps. A single Surge is far less durable than a pair, we’ve found. Perhaps thta is where your experience differs form ours because in actual practice, we’ve found the Surges to be dominating.

  23. Jacob Kielhorn March 23, 2016 8:40 pm #

    Yea i would like to see a list with the drone network in it.!

  24. PFol March 23, 2016 10:27 pm #

    Best part about this list is that it is fairly cheap for a top 40k army. Also pretty straight forward to play.

  25. Sex Panther March 24, 2016 3:46 pm #

    What “armor” is the commander taking?

    • abusepuppy March 24, 2016 5:16 pm #

      Iridium Armor, which makes him T5 and gives a 2+ save.

  26. ehegner1 March 26, 2016 5:11 am #

    Can we get an ITC FAQ on how to resolve GMC shooting?

  27. Jacob Kielhorn April 2, 2016 3:13 am #

    Yea i love this list i played it against an Eldar player running the Aspect host and a Sword and board Wraith Knight with some bikes and war walkers and a lynx it was alot of fun i actually managed to pull out a win!

  28. bentobox722 April 3, 2016 3:59 pm #

    Hey Frankie is there a photo gallery of your tau?

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