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Crisis Suit Configuration Names

Submitted By: Date: December 13, 2007, 04:39:11 AM Views: 13422
Summary: Veteran Tau players can easily tell you that a Fireknife is a good all-round Crisis Suit and that the cost of a Sunforge is best kept to a minimum, but what is it that they mean?

Most people who are familiar with the Tau, either as an opponent or as a player, are aware that Crisis Suits are one of the most customizable units in the game, with over 500 possible combinations for a single Suit. Veteran players have been using special names for common configurations since will before Codex: Tau Empire had even been considered. Since its release many more combinations have appeared and have gained their own names as well. In an effort to avoid confusion, a naming convention and a list of common configurations is presented here.

This article is loosely based on Crisis! - Tau Battlesuit Configurations ( and repeats some information therein.

How do you name a configuration?
The convention used most often to name a Crisis Suit configuration is to examine the weapons used and to replace the weapons' names with a word or syllable. (There are some exceptions to this, however, as will be seen later.) For example, a Suit equipped with a Missile Pod, Plasma Rifle and Multi-Tracker is called a Fireknife ("Fire" for the Missile Pod and "knife" for the Plasma Rifle). Support Systems are usually ignored when naming configurations.

What words signify what weapons?
Airbursting Fragmentaion ProjectorHail/Thunder
Burst CannonStorm
Cyclic Ion BlasterIon
Fusion BlasterForge
Missile PodFire
Plasma RifleKnife/Blade
Twin-Linked Burst CannonCloudburst/Tempest
Twin-Linked FlamerHeatwave
Twin-Linked Fusion BlasterSunforge
Twin-Linked Missile PodDeathrain
Twin-Linked Plasma RifleBurning Eye
Often, when using words with several syllables in conjunction with another, only one syllable is taken from the longer word. For example, a Suit with a Burst Cannon and a Twin-Linked Plasma Rifle would be a Stormeye.

In addition to the name determined by the weapons, there is sometimes a number that will follow the configuration, for example Deathrain-4. Whenever a number follows the name, it indicates the Ballistic Skill of the Suit. This is often a sign that a Targeting Array has been taken as a Support System. Using our example of Deathrain-4 would be an elite Crisis Suit with a Twin-Linked Missile Pod and a Targeting Array. Note: If no number is indicated, it is assumed that the Suit's Ballistic Skill has not been modified.

A list of Several Configurations.
FireknifeMissile Pod, Plasma Rifle, Multi-Tracker*This is an "official" name.
FirestormMissile Pod, Burst Cannon, Multi-Tracker
Burst Cannon, Fusion Blaster, Multi-Tracker
SoulforgeFlamer, Fusion Blaster, Shield Generator*Also known as "Soul Cleanse". (This is the "official" name)
Specialist (anti-tank):
ForgefireFusion Blaster, Missile Pod, Multi-Tracker*Anti-med. tank.
DeathrainTwin-Linked Missile Pod & other*This is an "official" name. -Targeting Array: Deathrain-4. -Blacksun Filter: Darkfall. -Flamer: Souldeath. Anti-light tank. (Esp. skimmers)
SunforgeTwin-Linked Fusion Blaster & other*This is an "official" name. -Targetting Array: Sunforge-4. -Flamer: Sunsoul. Anti-heavy tank.
Specialist (anti-infantry):
BladestormPlasma Rifle, Burst Cannon, Multi-Tracker*Also known as "Blinding Spear" or "Aurora". (These are "official" names) Anti-light/heavy infantry.
ForgeknifeFusion Blaster, Plasma Rifle, Multi-Tracker*Also known as "Helios". (This is an "official" name) Anti-heavy infantry.
SoulstormFlamer, Burst Cannon, Multi-Tracker*Anti-light infantry
Burning EyeTwin-Linked Plasma Rifle & other*This is an "official" name. -Targetting Array: Burning Eye-4. -Fusion Blaster: Forge Eye. Anti-heavy infantry.
HeatwaveTwin-Linked Flamer & other*-Burst Cannon: Stormwave. Anti-light infantry (esp. swarms).
CloudburstTwin-Linked Burst Cannon & other*Also known as "Tempest". -Flamer: Soulburst. Anti-light infantry.
Shas'Vre (or higher) only:
IonknifeCyclic Ion Blaster, Plasma Rifle, Multi-Tracker*Anti-heavy infantry
IonstormCyclic Ion Blaster, Burst Cannon, Multi-Tracker*Anti-light infantry
HailstormAirbursting Fragmentation Projector, Burst Cannon, Multi-Tracker*Anti-light infantry
HailsoulAirbursting Fragmentation Projector, Flamer, Multi-Tracker*Anti-light infantry (esp. swarms)

What configurations should I use?
Picking a configuration really depends on the contents of the rest of your army, but below are some suggestions and explanations, written in part by Derikari, about how to use some of the configurations listed above:


Fireknife (MP/PR/MT)
The "industrial standard", a Fireknife can consistently tackle different situations while remaining somewhat effective. It has medium strength to take on light vehicles, good AP to take on tough things and 3-4 shots to take on hordes. It excels against nothing, but is decent against everything. Used heavily in a tournament setting and many people swear by it.

A very good general build but overused and thus boring. A safer build since it also uses the two longest ranged Crisis Suit weapons.

Firestorm (MP/BC/MT)
Another generalist unit, sacrificing quality for quantity. It is generally more point efficient than the Fireknife at range, but does not have the option of taking a risk to boost performance with rapid fire. It is good at cutting down hordes, engaging light vehicles, attacking targets in cover and forcing armour save rolls.

Another very good general unit, it deals consistent damage at a smaller effective range, at the sacrifice of extra punch. This is very good in my completely unbiased opinion...

Stormforge (BC/FB/MT)
Initially, sticking two weapons on a Crisis Suit so that it can deal with anything thrown at it may seem like a good idea, but it leaves the Crisis Suit incapable of engaging anything reliably. Using the Fusion Blaster can get you into some sticky situations as it leaves you at the mercy of anything with extra movement, and if you want to engage something tough you're better off with either the Burning Eye, Forgeknife or Sunforge configurations.

At a first glance, it may look like a good build, but it can't really tackle much reliably. It must get quite close to risk using that Fusion Blaster and if you only use the Burst Cannon you're better off with another build. The Fireknife and Firestorm configurations are better generalists.

Soulforge (Flamer/FB/Shield Gen.)
All-rounder. This configuration is designed to take on anything at close range. This suit is best deployed via Deep Strike and is one of the most forgiving for that. If it scatters too far away from a target tank it could end up near infantry, where its flamer would be useful (or vice-versa). If it scatters away from the enemy altogether then the Shield Generator can keep the Suit alive long enough to move up in later turns. That is the theory at least.

A Sunsoul (Twin-FB/Flamer) is cheaper and is arguably much better. With its increased accuracy and lower price tag it can destroy its targets more effectively. Both configurations are suicide Suits, but the Shield Generator on the Soulforge will only serve to give your opponent more victory points. If you would rather an anti-infantry focus, use a Heatforge (Twin-Flamer/FB). Either of those suits would be a better choice than the Soulforge.

Specialist (anti-tank):
Forgefire (FB/MP/MT)
This configuration is not the best anti-tank configuration but it is one of the safer ones and one of the most versatile. Able to shoot down skimmers at a distance or to fry heavy tanks at close range. It is able to handle any type of vehicle it faces and, with some Markerlight support, can do so almost as reliably as other anti-tank configurations, like the Sunforge or Deathrain. Unlike the Sunforge, however, this suit does not always need to Deep Strike to within 6" of a tank before dying; with the extra range provided by the Missile Pod, the Forgefire can be more survivable.

Sunforge-4 and Deathrain-4 configurations cost one point less than a Forgefire. At point-blank range a Sunforge will do much better and at long range (especially against skimmers) the Deathrain is the configuration of choice. The Forgefire is not as good at either task. You should consider using the other two configurations before choosing this one.

Deathrain (Twin-MP/???)
The most reliable anti-skimmer weapon we have, it's pretty good at knocking out light vehicles and transports too. It is usually equipped with Targeting Arrays, to boost its damage output, Target Locks, if it is teams, or Flamers, to either flame entangled survivors of downed transports or add extra oomph to the firebase when the enemies draw very close. It's also cheap to boot!

If you are lacking in ways to counter light vehicles, especially armour 12 skimmers, this is a very good choice. Because skimmers can generally only be glanced (as per the "Skimmers Moving Fast" rule), the lower strength of the Missile Pods (compared to a Railgun or Fusion Blaster) is not a large issue and the higher volume of shots compensates well for this.

Sunforge (Twin-FB/???)
The anti-tank build for Crisis Suits. He charges right up to the tanks before letting loose his gun. He's usually deployed via Deep Strike because of the crippling range of the Melta effect of his weapons. There are three different ways that the third hard point can be filled. Firstly, most people see that this guy indeed only has a single chance to do his job, so they give him a Targeting Array. He is still quite cheap and now has a comfortable 8/9 chance of actually hitting. The next way is to keep him cheap and versatile. This is achieved by giving him a simple Flamer. The last way is to make him more survivable, through either Shield Drones or a Shield Generator. Some people like to have him both efficient and survivable, but this bogs him down too much and throws way too many points into a guy who will die.

If you want to take some heavy support choices that don't carry Railguns, this is a way to compensate the lost anti-tank. I don't see much point in giving him survivability upgrades because, seriously, jumping in next to an expensive tank with a serious chance of succeeding and no way to retreat, means he will get a LOT of attention. He will die. If you are not into suicidal units, or are a conservative player, the Fusion Blaster is not a weapon for you.

Specialist (anti-infantry):
Bladestorm (PR/BC/MT)
Specialised to tackle all infantry types, it is more point efficient than the Fireknife against MEQ, TEQ and GEQ targets and bests Firetorm in all but GEQ. But this is at the expense of reliable anti-light vehicle capabilities.

As a dedicated anti-infantry configuration it could work. I haven't had a detailed look at it so I won't draw conclusions, but as it stands it looks promising.

Forgeknife (FB/PR/MT)
Anti-big thing configuration. Packs high strength, low AP weapons, bringing a world of hurt to anthing that comes in range. It has an effective range of 18" due to the Crisis Suits Jump Pack. This build is at the mercy of anything with additional movement, as if it has Fleet of whatever you will be in the maximum charge range, unless you cleared the kill zone of course. If can reliably engage lighter vehicles, but only go after heavy tanks if the opportunity presents itself. Actively seeking such situations may lead to the early death of the pilot because of the short range of the Melta effect and this guy is more expensive than a Sunforge.

This is very good against tough things and is easily a counter for light or medium vehicles. It can also engage heavy vehicles with a realistic chance of success. It rewards risk taking but is not a build for "safe" players.

Soulstorm (Flamer/BC/MT)
Anti-horde configuration. This suit can deal quite handily with Orks or other forces with a poor save. However, due to the close range required by the Flamer, a counter-charge or a high volume of counter-fire should be expected. Teams with this configuration should therefore be kept inexpensive so as to reduce the amount of victory points put at risk, so additions such as Drones or Shield Generators should be avoided. Targeting Arrays and Blacksun Filters are also next to useless.

This is one of the cheapest configurations available, so cost can easily be kept to a minimum without hurting performance. However, a potentially worthwhile upgrade for a Team Leader would be to Twin-Link the Flamer and Hard-Wire the Multi-Tracker (for less than the cost of a Blacksun Filter). Against almost all opponents Twin-Flamers are statistically better than twin Burst Cannons, that is, so long as you can get at least two enemies under the template.

Burning Eye (Twin-PR/???)
Built to engage MEQs and TEQs, this configuration can bring hurt to any Marine force. With a little risk taking it can double its rate of fire.

It's more reliable at taking down a Marine or Terminator than a Fireknife, but unfortunately only has a single shot at range. Personally, I'd look at something else because of that.

Heatwave (Twin-Flamer/???)
One of the best (and cheapest) anti-infantry configurations available; its major drawback is its short range. This means that whenever it shoots it will likely be charged on the following turn. Giving it a long-range weapon like a Missile Pod on its third hard-point is often a good idea, as it gives the suit something to do as it advances (or if it scatters badly when being deployed via Deep Strike). It also makes the suit more diverse, being able to deal with other targets. It is also worth noting that Targeting Arrays and Blacksun Filters are useless on a Suit such as this.

Hordes will be very afraid of a team of these Suits, especially after they fire. However, Soulstorm Suits will likely do more damage. The biggest advantage of the Heatwave is that it can be easily given a secondary role without wasting many points. However, for their multi-purpose Suits many prefer to use Souldeath Suits instaed of Firewave (Twin-Flamer/MP) ones. That said, if facing fewer vehicles and more light troops the latter may be the better option instead. Also note that a Team Leader with a Stormwave and Hard-Wired Multi-Tracker is one of the best anti-infantry Suits available.

Cloudburst (Twin-BC/???)
The longer-range cousin of the Heatwave, this configuration is also very effective against infantry. If can benefit from a Targeting Array, making it very accurate. With three shots that can make it very irritating. Giving this configuration another weapon is not as good an idea as with the Heatwave, since the Burst Cannon can work well with almost any other weapon (and having a single BC and Multi-Tracker would be better).

Two words: Stealth Suits. While Cloudburst-4 Suits can be more efficient per-shot, Stealth Suits can do the same job just as well (not to mention the numerous advantages they gain with their Stealth Field Generators).

Shas'Vre (or higher) only:
Ionknife (CIB/PR/MT)
The CIB is only good against low toughness infantry, where it's shot count shines, and against heavy hitters, where the AP1 rolls come into play. Ionknife is a configuration that specifically goes after the latter, aiming to smash anything that depends on its armour save. Best used on a Shas'El with a Targeting Array to improve the chance of getting wounds, these will generally be AP1.

The CIB is a temperamental weapon, but it can be devastating. Against Toughness 4 targets, half of the wounds dealt will be AP1, against Toughness 5 and 6 every wounding hit will be AP1. Best used with BS5 commanders.

This build is geared to have the CIB cut down light infantry. This build is not as dependent on BS since the AP1 rolls should not be necessary against Toughness 3 models, but I still recommend sticking it on a commander as it is quite weak.

It is the weakest weapon available to us stat wise, but who wouldn't like 5 shots? It is not as dependent on BS as the Ionknife as AP1 shouldn't matter often, but that BS increase can help to counter its weak strength. This is only recommended for use on commanders.

Hailstorm (AFB/BC/MT)
Since it does not rely on BS, the AFP is best used by Shas'Vres to limit the BS wastage. Twin-Linking the Burst Cannon is not particularly necessary, but if you want to hit more often with this configuration it is better than a Targeting Array as only it can benefit. This configuration is very good against light infantry and units that are reliant on cover saves because of the AFP, not to mention that a large blast template can be intimidating. This naughty thing also does unspeakably evil things to Orks.

Large blast, ignores cover saves, can't "miss" since it scatters, pretty good. Only do this on Shas'Vres because of the lack of BS usage. Terrific in urban combat because it doesn't require line-of-sight to the target.

Hailsoul (AFP/Flamer/MT)
Anti-horde configuration. This configuration does not rely on BS at all, so giving it to any Commander would be a waste; keep it for a Shas'Vre only. The shorter range of the Flamer means that there will be more of a chance of scattering onto yourself, but the danger is minimal against large units since the blast template can be placed at the far end of the unit. This configuration is ideal against swarms (which are Vulnerable to Blasts and Templates) and units that rely heavily on cover, such as Eldar Rangers.

Like the Hailstorm, this is a good configuration to use on boards with a lot of cover. Twin-Linking the Flamer increases the effectiveness of the suit greatly (especially against things with a high toughness), and does not cost very much at all. The largest drawback is the short range of the Flamer, meaning a counter-charge can be expected if the target is not wiped out or broken.

Hopefully the above has proven useful in understanding and writing army list posts. It is encouraged that one uses this naming convention when describing which configuration one wishes to use, but it should not come as a surprise if others are still at a loss for what is meant. For this reason, it is strongly recommended that, even if using this naming convention, that one lists the Battlesuits Systems when it is not obvious. A quick abbreviation works well: for example, "Fireknife (PR/MP/MT)". This quick addition to ones posts saves much confusion for everyone, but is still very quick and easy to use.

Happy Gaming!

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