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XV8 Crisis Battlesuit Configurations

Submitted By: Date: May 27, 2006, 12:24:05 PM Views: 3445
Summary: <p class="italic">Note: This is based on the old Codex Tau.</p> <p class="body">The XV8 suits are one of the most important parts in the proverbial machine that is the Tau army. The veterans that pilot the suits are both the teachers of the Tau way of war and the artists of exacting their philosophies on the field of battle. In war they are pivotal instruments to be used wisely and carefully and not to be thrown at the enemy. Given the flexibility of their possible configurations they are equally flexible in their battlefield roles, however, one should always consider the army as a whole before considering the role and needs of your Crisis teams. In my experience your Crisis teams need anti tank support, whichever form it may take be it Broadsides, Hammerheads or Seeker Missiles etc. Many configurations also require close support so that enemy threats can be halted before they consume the crisis team, this will often take the form of Kroot, Human auxiliaries, Gun drone squadrons or Stealth teams. Your XV8 suits should be there to plug gaps in your lines, to minimise its weaknesses while at the same time optimising its strengths and this should always be considered when deciding how your Crisis teams will be fitted. Remember, Tau units have a strong interdependency upon each other and this should never be forgotten, for to lose sight of this is to lose sight of the greater good.<br /><br />

The following will look at many of the Crisis team configurations that I have used in battle and outline some of their strengths and weaknesses. Some of these can be found in the GW Battlesuit Configuration article available to download from the Tau section of their website, though here they are evaluated rather than just appreciated. Now, my personal philosophy is based around fire concentration so few of my Crisis team configurations include target locks. It must be said though, that my experiments with target locks have opened up some interesting ideas into the art of shooting and this has carried through to some of the more successful teams.

Basically, the format for each entry goes as follows:

1. A rundown of the unit, including each XV8, its weapons, equipment and points total.

2. An introduction to the unit and some examples of preferred targets, enemies, tactics etc...

3. Some ideas for variations or upgrades on the team, usually including ways to make them more expensive! These are meant solely as suggestions to get you thinking about ways to customise and make the most out of your Crisis teams.

4. A note on the teams advantages and some more examples of what types of units it tends to perform well against.

5. A note on the teams disadvantages and how you can try to minimise them.</p>

<p class="subheader">Shas’ui; plasma rifle, missile pod, multi-tracker = 62

Shas’ui; plasma rifle, missile pod, multi-tracker = 62</p>

<p class="body">This team is a variation of the T’au Ta’ro’cha Fireknife Crisis team configuration, containing only two Fireknife XV8 suits. Because of this, points are saved having to bond the team as it cannot be driven below half strength. The suits themselves benefit from good long ranged firepower meaning that you can keep them safe whilst still being effective. Plus, the nature of the plasma rifles mean that the closer enemy aggressors get, the more trouble they are going to be in! While in many cases, range is the units safety buffer, one must consider the types of target such a team will likely be engaging. Although some of the more expensive XV8 configurations, I find that these are possibly the most effective, at least, they are in my army. For instance, I tend to use lots of stealth suits and so the weapons fitted here are a good complement to them.

The team can be further upgraded by adding a third member with its hard points equipped the same. However, if you do choose to do this then it is recommended you make him a Team Leader and give him a bonding knife. If you are not finding points to be a tight limit then you may choose to twin link one of the weapons, usually the missile pods in my case, and hard wire the multi tracker, just to increase the firepower potential that little bit. Be warned though, those points do add up!

This configuration works very well against light vehicles and APC’s, using its multiple mid strength shots to good effect. Speed Freaks tend to dislike this configuration given its weapons and range, though its an expensive way to do the job. It can also have some success dealing with dreadnoughts and like wise armoured targets, though it is always preferable to target the weaker rear armour. This configuration also has some success against heavy infantry or high toughness opponents such as Tyranid monstrous creatures and against Tyranids this is definitely the use for them. However, one must still remember that against most of your shots, such creatures are going to get armour saves. It is also good at targeting small or isolated units such as Guard command sections, Gargoyles etc. which will not get any saves from any of your weapons.

On the other hand, this team does have some trouble dealing with hordes and skimmers, for which I prefer to use the support of Stealth suits with their high volume of shots. Something which this team just cannot supply. In that sense, although they tend to perform well against large Tyranid creatures they cannot deal with the smaller gribblies in large numbers and definitely not before the synapse has been destroyed. However, again, their range will be important here, allowing them to stay clear of being overrun as they complete their task.</p>

<p class="subheader">Shas’ui; burst cannon, plasma rifle, multi tracker = 58

Shas’ui; burst cannon, plasma rifle, multi tracker = 58</p>

<p class="body">This team is also fairly flexible. Being able to target heavy infantry or light infantry. It tends to fair pretty well against marines as the plasma weapons ignore their power armour whilst the burst cannons usually cause lots of armour saves, which in turn leads to some being failed. At this size though, the team is only really effective against smaller units. However, I found that this unit worked incredibly well against Tyranid opponents, whose synapse creatures can fall foul of your plasma weapons before your burst cannons can help deal with the smaller bugs. At first, I tried to use a unit which had one suit with twin linked burst cannons and a second with twin linked plasma rifles, but I found that this configuration dealt out twice the amount of firepower and so worked much better.

Further variations on this unit include, as always, adding a third member, again equipped the same. Though a hard wired drone controller with some gun drones will really be beneficial against all enemies, especially Tyranid opponents in order to pin their low leadership horde units in place once synapse coverage has been eliminated. As always, if another member is added, then it is important to give the team a bonding knife so that it may continue to function when below half strength (remember that drones count towards this).

The main advantage with this unit is its flexibility and the fact that its firepower only increases as the unit closes on the enemy. If required, the team can even target light vehicles or APCs, in which case the following turn can be spent dealing with the passengers! Given its complement of mid strength shots it is also quite adept at dealing with enemy light skimmers such as Land Speeders and Vypers, ensuring that you can keep more mobile than your enemy.

On the downside, this team has to watch out that it does not get in too deep. I mean, it can often find itself facing vastly superior numbers or much tougher opponents that alone it cannot finish off. It must be said that one should stay at arms length whilst targeting Tyranid synapse creatures so that you are not overrun by the smaller bugs as they close in on you! Again, your jet pack move must be exploited to its full effect, ensuring that you are keeping at the limits of your range for shooting before jumping back out of enemy range or line of sight. Generally, though you may not be able to always avoid enemy shooting, your aim here is to avoid combat.</p>

<p class="subheader">Shas’ui team leader; twin linked missile pod, target lock, bonding knife = 58

Shas’ui; twin linked burst cannon, drone controller, 2x gun drones = 57

Shas’ui; twin linked burst cannon, drone controller, 2x gun drones = 57</p>

<p class="body">This Crisis team configuration was initially coined in order to deal with Orks in trukks. The idea being that my Hammerheads Railgun could concentrate on any Battlewagons or fire submunition rounds onto Ork hordes.

Firstly the missile pods could concentrate on destroying the actual trukk, the target lock allowing him to target it while the rest of the XV8s could target the Orks inside once it was blown up, all in the same round of shooting. The burst cannons are twin linked firstly to ensure hits and secondly to free up a hard point from needing a multi tracker for the inclusion of a drone controller with gun drones which would not only lend their firepower but also help to pin Orks down... although that is actually very difficult to achieve. Once the Trukks were destroyed, the units firepower could make short work of the dismounted Orks.

Now, although the unit presented above is one of the cheapest variations this team can be adapted further by equipping the team leader with a hard wired drone controller and including two further gun drones, or, if you are being really extravagant with your points, equipping him with a burst cannon to complement his twin linked missile pods and then hard wiring the target lock and a multi tracker, you can even throw in those gun drones if it takes your fancy! I think we should also mention that upgrading the team leader to a Shas’vre gives him access to special issue kit and in this team I like to add an airbursting fragmentation projector as the third hard point. Giving you a really mean unit.

Further use of this configuration lead to the conclusion that it was also quite effective at dealing with Imperial Guard infantry, with the added flexibility of the target lock even allowing it to target other attractive units such as sentinels or command sections. It also proved very effective against Tyranids, being able to deal with Genestealers who have left their extended carapace at home, again, the flexibility afforded by the target lock allowing the missile pods to shoot at bigger beasts.

One of the major drawbacks to this team is its lack of range. In order to minimise the effects of this it is important to make full use of the jet pack movement to ensure that the suits are out of harms way. Being bonded helps them out a fair bit, and is always recommended for any unit that includes three XV8 suits and or drones.</p>


<p class="subheader">Shas’ui team leader; burst cannon, missile pod, multi tracker, bonding knife = 60

Shas’ui; burst cannon, missile pod, multi tracker = 50

Shas’ui; burst cannon, missile pod, multi tracker = 50</p>

<p class="body">This team is nice for a number of reasons. On a purely technical level, it is relatively cheap and totals up to a nice solid round number, as much of the Tau units tend to do. This often allows it to be inserted into your army with ease. The team is also pretty flexible. Being able to target enemy light vehicles at range and using all of its weapons to deal with enemy infantry up close. The AP of the missile pods mean that the team is very good at dealing with mid range armoured infantry, so those Space Marine Scouts and Imperial Storm Troopers are all in trouble, basically, anything with an average toughness and a 4+ save or worse. Again, this is another team that is also good at taking care of enemy light skimmers.
A further twist to the team can be added by fitting the team leader with a hard wired target lock, allowing the team leader to engage other infantry units (which is useful for fighting Imperial Guard infantry) or allowing the leader to target light vehicles such as Ork trukks and then using the rest of the team to engage the passengers.

This team, as with many of the types I tend to make use of, has a particular flexibility and effectiveness against a variety of opponents. As mentioned above, it is also relatively cheap in the grand scheme of things and so usually gives you a good return for your investment. It is a strong team, that can deal with the size of units usually associated with Scouts, Storm Troopers and the like.
As with many of the teams presented here, heavy tanks need to be kept an eye on because this team is powerless against them, though if you can get in at the rear armour you do stand a chance. Again, the jet pack move should be used very wisely to keep your battle suits at arms length of all enemy units while letting you get close enough to use the burst cannons.</p>

<p class="subheader">Shas’ui team leader; twin linked plasma rifle, drone controller, 2x shield drones, bonding knife = 85

Shas’ui; twin linked plasma rifle, drone controller, gun drone = 65

Shas’ui; twin linked plasma rifle, drone controller, gun drone = 65</p>

<p class="body">Right then, this team benefits from some very deadly plasma weaponry and so is capable of hunting even the toughest of heavy infantry, but it comes at a very hefty cost. This team performs very well against units such as Terminators, Incubi, Wraithguard and the like. It can make use of its range to whittle down the targets numbers as they close in before using a final fusillade of shots to destroy the remainder of the target. The plasma weapons can also help you out with Tyranid monstrous creatures, eliminating their armour save and thereafter allowing the rest of your force to easily take care of the synapeless Tyranid creatures. The drones will help defend the unit from the deadly weaponry associated with the teams heavy targets, however, their protection is limited.

Some common variations include the addition of a number of gun drones, providing the unit with some more flexibility and giving them the chance to pin enemy targets in place so that the unit can target them without fear of reprisal. This can be done by using the third hard point to hold the drone controller and inn doing so fitting in up to 6 gun drones for support.
The advantage of this team has to be its weaponry, which allows you to devastate enemy units with good saves. Although it tends works best against small enemy units it can target larger ones at range first before rapid firing up close to really hit home. If the need arises then they can even target light vehicles and tend to perform well against light skimmers, especially up close, using its volume of shots to good effect.

However, for all their ability, the team is still fragile and puts itself at risk as it sits within charge range in the hope that it can destroy the enemy before the enemy destroys it. The jet pack move can help you out to no end here though it is important to give this team some support, either by including some fire support, perhaps by pairing them with another Tau unit, by adding gun drones to the team, or by providing an auxiliary unit that can perhaps hold up a small enemy unit just long enough to allow the Crisis team to retreat and restart. Considering this, the team is obviously very expensive and in many cases seems less worth taking to the battlefield.</p>

<p class="heading">Monat configurations</p>

<p class="body">The following configurations are all Monat Xv8 suits. Monats are single suit units, usually because the other members of the original team have fallen in battle. Some Septs Monats go to battle with a grudge against the particular enemy in question. Either way, Monats are skilled combatants that often work outside of the usual XV8 parameters, some hunt unexpected or unusual targets present in the enemy force, others target enemy armour or enemy battlefield commanders.

With the range of new battlesuit wargear and weaponry, battlesuits, and especially Monats, have been given much more flexibility. Special issue kit such as vectored retro thrusters, stimulant injectors and failsafe detonators are some of my favourites, in terms of new weaponry, the airbursting fragmentation projector is one of the best for deep striking Monats hunting light infantry in my opinion.

Anyway, the following configurations will hopefully help you out with some ideas for equipping Monats, as you will see, my general rule of thumb with these is to keep them cheap.</p>

<p class="subheader">Shas’ui; twin linked fusion blasters, flamer = 47</p>

<p class="body">This Monat configuration is mainly used for targeting enemy APC’s. The twin linked fusion blasters used to crack open the tank itself, hopefully offsetting the average BS of the pilot somewhat. Once the APC is destroyed, and the troops inside entangled, the flamer can be used to get rid of them. The best enemies to use this configuration against tend to be Imperial Guard, Orks and Eldar, though Eldar skimmers are notoriously difficult to down and it should not be hoped that one Monat can do it alone... also, the Eldar Wave Serpent will ignore the Melta rule thanks to its force field. The other use for this configuration is against enemy heavy tanks such as Leman Russes or Land Raiders. In this case, the flamer is there simply to make the Monat as cheap as possible.

The new battlesuit wargear brings up some very interesting options for suits such as this one. Making him a Shas’vre gives access to special issue wargear and for this suit one can swap the flamer for vectored retro thrusters (this takes up a hard point). This piece of kit allows you to use hit an run so you can get away from enemy attackers, assuming you survive the combat that is! However, against “softer” less combat orientated opponents such a piece of kit will allow your battlesuit to continue with its task of tank eradication. Other options such as the failsafe detonator and stimulant injector are always useful for Monats.

Now, in order to be most effective, the Monat has to get in close and this can often be achieved by deep striking the Monat into the right place of the battlefield. This can also be a strong tactic to use as your opponent cannot really defend against it very easily.

In most cases, deploying this guy with the rest of your army will result in him having to move across the battlefield towards his chosen target, which will unveil the threat and allow your opponent time to take it out in any number of possible ways.

While this configuration is very good at taking out tanks, and it can deal with some concentrations of light troops, it will not be able to withstand long on its own. Most often being overwhelmed by numerous opponents. At the end of the day, the hope with this guy is to earn more points than you lose, and by destroying one Leman Russ for instance, you can do just that. There is also the inherent risk with deep striking. In order to get the most out of this guy he needs to land no further than 6” from his target, luckily, the Tau now have a number of pieces of kit that can help you out with deep striking, such as the pathfinder Devilfish, and such pieces of equipment should be strongly considered and exploited.</p>

<p class="subheader">Shas’ui; fusion blaster, missile pod, multi tracker = 54</p>

<p class="body">This Monat configuration is quite obviously fitted for an anti tank role. The combination of weapons means that it has more firepower than many other anti tank set ups such as the Monat above. This configuration does not get disadvantaged as much by starting amongst your lines as the long ranged missile pod can still be effective against most medium tanks. Deep striking behind enemy lines can be useful, being able to get all of your weapons on one particular enemy tank in one go. However, the reprisal for doing so can leave the XV8 in a world of trouble.

Simple modifications to this configuration include upgrading to a team leader and introducing some drones. Gun drones are useful if starting on your lines, shield drones if deep striking into the thick of things. And of course, other options such as the failsafe detonator and stimulant injector are always useful for Monats.

As mentioned previously, this Monat benefits from being able to target tanks at a variety of ranges. Medium and light tanks can be targeted at long range with the missile pod and then clear the route to allow the Monat to get close to heavier tanks to use its fusion blaster. Because it carries with it a missile pod, it can also target light infantry at range, meaning that even with a lack of enemy tanks, there are still some vulnerable enemy units. Though in this role it is far less effective.

The main disadvantages with this Monat is the fact that its average BS can prove to be a problem, missing when you need it to hit most! Of, course, it is also mainly for anti tank use and anti tank options are not exactly few and far between in the tau armoury. The issue with this one being that, unlike the previous Monat, it is probably not best used in an unexpected or surprising deep strike role, making it worth considering using the points to fit in one of the other, more dedicated, anti tank options.</p>


<p class="subheader">Shas’ui; burst cannon, fusion blaster, multi tracker = 50</p>

<p class="body">This Monat configuration gives the ability to target enemy armour or small enemy infantry units such as Imperial Guard command sections. A set up like this tends to be best used against Imperial Guard, whom often like to hide their command sections from your other units. The Monat can also use its fusion blaster to target Imperial tanks such as Leman Russes, which are also found at the rear of the Guard lines. However, without the added survivability of any drones, the XV8 is not usually expected to survive for too long.

There are a number of useful variations on this Monat, the most effective probably being to replace the multi tracker with a targeting array, to hopefully increase your chances of hitting and therefore destroying enemy tanks with the fusion blaster. Another variation is to include either a shield generator or a drone controller and some shield drones, though if you do this, then you will have to spend the necessary points to get a bonding knife for the team.

Once again, it is important to get in close in order to be of any use and in order to get to the back of the enemy lines where its most desirable targets are. To do so it often requires you to make use of the deep strike special rule. However, this may depend on how your opponent plays his army. I know a few Imperial Guard players who like to use their command sections in amongst their mobile squads, and against such an opponent you may find that clever use of cover will provide you with similar results.
Again, like all Monats, being out and alone tends to reduce life expectancy, and again, this Monat tries to offset that by staying cheap, ensuring that you are not gifting lots of points to your opponent. Another major disadvantage is the average BS of the Shas’ui, which means that you cannot always be trusted to destroy enemy tanks. Nowadays this can be offset somewhat by including a targeting array but even then, you still have to be careful, and lucky!</p>

<p class="subheader">Shas’ui; burst cannon, flamer, drone controller, 2x gun drones = 49</p>

<p class="body">This Monat was first used as a means of hunting Imperial Guard command sections and mortar teams, making use of the deep strike rules to get him behind enemy lines to the hiding squads. Now, although I normally don’t like using flamers on my battlesuits, here it proved to be indispensable as it was able to cause more casualties than the burst cannon itself. Usually, the Monat would deep strike too far to use its flamer as it arrived, and so it was down to the gun drones to attempt to pin the enemy target unit, or another close unit that could pose a threat. In the following turn the Monat could move upon its target and unleash the flamer!

Under the new rules, it is now possible to twin link your flamers, and this can prove a useful variation upon this unit. You lose the ability to target enemy units as you deep strike, as you are more than likely not going to be in flamer range. However, you gain the added effectiveness to the flamer, which allows you to re-roll all failed to wound rolls. Its a difficult choice, as what you will be left with is essentially a battlesuit with a single flamer shot. Such a Monat will be best used meeting advancing targets, as a buffer or to mop up enemy units. Of course, if you want to spend the points you can always upgrade him to a Shas’vre and take a twin linked flamer, burst cannon and hard wired drone controller with gun drones.

The strength of this Monat lies in its ability to flush out hard to reach units, specifically those that insist on staying out of line of sight of your main lines. If used from your lines, then it is best used against small, or light enemy advancing units, such as Rough Riders, Imperial Guard Vets, Storm Guardians etc... The drones help the survivability of the Monat to a certain degree, though they won’t save him for long. In most cases, providing him with some sort support will greatly increase his effectiveness and survivability.

This Monat does suffer from a number of disadvantages though. For one, it needs to get very close to the enemy...  often too close for my liking. Against softer units such as Imperial Guard Command sections this is usually not too big an issue, as the target will normally be completely wiped out. However, this can become a problem when required to target larger, tougher units, such as Orks or Mutants etc... where if the unit is not wiped out, or caused to flee by the flamer, then even your jet pack move will not stop the remainder of the unit swamping the Monat.</p>

<p class="subheader">Shas’vre; airbursting fragmentation projector, burst cannon, multi tracker = 68</p>

<p class="body">This Monat is fairly expensive but it is also one of the most devastating as long as he is targeting light infantry. The fragmentation projector can dislodge those resilient units held up in terrain seeing as it ignores the protective effects of terrain. Orks, Imperial Guard, all Eldar light infantry and small Tyranid beasts all hate this set up.

Being a Shas’vre, the possible configurations are very flexible and so this initial set up can be adapted in a wide variety of ways. What should be noted here is that the Monat does not want to be too expensive, as the risk of these points falling into enemy hands is very high. But special issue kit is worth considering as is adding a hard wired drone controller and some gun drones.

Like most Monats, its usually better, though not always necessary, to deep strike, and this can be very good use of the fragmentation projector, which does not require line of sight, allowing you to enter the battlefield in a safe location. Providing him with some back up in the form of a gun drone squad or stealth team for example will further enhance the effectiveness of the Monat.

The weaknesses of this set up are fairly obvious. It has a complete lack of anti tank ability and so will require such support from other units in your army. Although it can come as a shock to your opponent as he deep strikes in behind enemy lines, steps need to be taken to ensure suit and any support does not become too isolated and is not just wiped right out. Generally, this means that sometimes it will actually be better to deploy with the rest of the army and move to cover particular locations. Again, this decision will depend on the enemy force.</p>

Rating: ***** by 1 members.


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