It seems I’ve been lucky in my skirmishes. Maybe I’m actually not lucky at all, but have been secretly snoozing on the secret. I have a tendency, when playing Tau Empire, to build the ALL the available commander units and lean on them as the backbone of the military. This is a great idea, because that backbone is hard to break. Take your tier II command squad:
XV89 Bodyguards. Level 8. 10847 HP. Squad size = 3 + 1 (Shield Drone). Ranged 150-200 damage. Cost: 450R\150P
Why am I bringing this up? I’ve been winning a lot. I want to know why, so, I found myself maxing-out the commanders’ research options, and then flipping on their shields; to have them go squat somewhere and obliterate every single thing around them. It worked. I could roll them up to a relic or other defensive position, and they would then proceed to hammer every single structure until it was rubble. Then scorch any unit that wandered by. I’m baffled by the 150-200 damage. I think that after both ranged Tau weapons upgrades, they would be hitting a bit harder than the damage indicator would say. They smash structures when given 3 Fusion Blaster upgrades. Smash. Recall their price, being quite high. The requisition alone is equal to the tech I transition. Times two.
Ok, we get it. They’re good. But why? They are beatable. They can’t take an immense amount of punishment. They will drop off, one by one, to concussive rockets and similar such immobilizing weapons. In a cluster with his buddies, the XV89 Bodyguard squad does well. Wonder why?
XV89 Commander. Level 8. 5812 HP. Squad size = 1. Ranged 130-160 damage. Cost: 335R\80P
Right. He’s slow as fuck. Jumping him around is, like, the only option. I give him the Plasma Rifle / Airburst Fragmentation on each arm. Every time. Cutting infantry is what these commander units are made to do, and they do it well when properly equipped. The primary commander is frail, but has a dps like nothing else. I try to compare him to other commanders, and he’s much easier to lose, but a lot of fun if you can have him, tearing through structures and vehicles. Once fully upgraded, he’s hard to stop.
XV22 Commander. Level 8. 3674 HP. Squad size = 1. Ranged 130-160 damage. Cost: 280R\50P
He’s not an early-game option, because he can’t hold any ground while not upgraded. He has a pathetic intolerance to taking damage, and dies rapidly under stress. Dark Eldar usually get him once or twice if I’m not being careful. Tyranids as well. He can move FAST without jumping. He’s deadly when given all his accoutrements. Place him well, with delicate fingers. Speaking of delicate:
Great Ethereal. Level 8. 1415 HP. Squad size = 1. Melee 208-282 damage. Cost: 305R\100P
If you let him go hit stuff, there’s a good chance he’s gonna die. And it’s probably to a fixed defense somewhere too far away for him to get to before being shot to pieces. This is bad, because his death is marked by some sort of morale reducing debuf that affects all units and buildings. Bummer. They don’t fight as hard when you let their “God” go run out into the fray and get pulverized. Not a sound plan. But building a sound foundation is precisely key to success. Having a faster way to get between tiers with Tau would be a start. The Heavy Builder is the fucking answer. And it cranks Tau up a notch. I’m happy to confess, I have yet to lose a game with them since I started using the unit.
XV30 Heavy Builder. Level 8? 1779 HP. Squad size = 1. Melee 75-92 damage. Cost: 170R\60P
Perhaps not your cup of tea. I love that unit. It can lob grenades, in a pinch. I have found that to be useful on more than one occasion. I enjoy using these units. They are tremendous, in combination, and I’ve found them to be nearly impossible to stop. I can supplement the core of commander units with Skyrays, Barracudas, or waiting for Hammerheads and Sunfire Suits. It’s over at that point.
I don’t know if I’ve addressed the question. I can literally crush anything with the XV89 Bodyguards. It’s hard as fuck to stop. I wonder if this will be true in the event that I play a human opponent? I tend to believe the computer to be, fundamentally, a more acute challenge than a human player. Humans forget to do things, computers do not.
I continue forward, carving successes from the great pine of glory. I just figured you’d like to hear about how I’ve been soullessly crushing my artificial foes to putty. It’s just another day in recovery-town.