Monday, 7 October 2013

Tau Empire: Riptide v Crisis Battlesuit Team

Crisis Team
So I have this little dilemma, Lots of people are saying that I should include a Riptide in my Tau army, most people saying to take them because they are awesome. But here is my problem. I would rather take a loaded unit of Crisis Battlesuit’s instead, as I think it would be more beneficial in game.

So I am putting this out there for a little help with making my decision. Below is my list of pros and cons for both unit types, after reading them, please feel free to comment with your own views and indeed if you think I have it all wrong or not. Try to avoid (I would give them these weapons instead) as this is the options I would take and the comparison in hand.


Ok, let’s start off by saying yes, it is an awesome model and I would like to own one someday. But is it worth taking in a game?

Here is how I would arm it if I was to take one

Ion Accelerator
Twin-linked Smart Missile system
Stimulant Injector
Target Lock
X 2 Shielded Missile Drones

The idea is that I would keep it at the back end of mid-field, keeping all of its weapons in ranges of the enemy. The Stimulant Injector would serve to keep it alive longer, especially with the volatile nature of the Nova Reactor and the Target lock would enable it to shoot as a different target to the Shielded Missile Drones. It would be able to take on tanks at long range as well as light and heavy infantry.

  • Powerful main weapon, especially when nova charged.
  • Tough with a good basic save.
  • A good amount of wounds with Feel No Pain added in.
  • Possible Storm Shield equivalent saves if needed.
  • The ability to crack open any tank or kill infantry units.
  • An imposing model in its own right.
  • Immune to instant death (subject to weapon used on it).

  • With a low BS, I would always overcharge / Nova charge the main weapon, leaving it open to get hot and a Nova wound (potentially you could cause yourself 2 wound without event doing anything).
  • With the inclusion of the drones, you cannot use the Nova Charge to jump further as the drones cannot jump further than normal.
  • The weapons my opponent will be firing at it, will most often force invulnerable saves negating a decent normal save. This would also mean most of the time Nova charging to get the better save.
  • Having to Nova charge the shield would negate the extra power of the main weapon.
  • 33.333% chance of wounding yourself with Nova, with only a 33.333% chance of saving it, that’s a 22.222% chance of wounding yourself before you even move.
  • It’s a big model to hide from harm’s way.
There are probably a few more pros and Cons that I forgot to mention but you get the idea.

Crisis Battlesuit Team

So here is my contender and what I am finding hard to replace with a Riptide.

This is my preferred load out. Obviously other people may choose different weapons etc., but this is how my cake is made.

X 3 Crisis Shas’ui
All with two Plasma Rifles
X 2 Gun Drones
X 2 Shield Drones
All bonded

Being cheaper than the Riptide, I would have most likely have some Markerlight Support from Pathfinders and on most occasions that would up my BS skill by 1 and hopefully let the weapons ignore cover (awesome right). They would hang around mid-field, targeting ANY infantry unit, most often starting with assault troops first, and with the fire power output would seriously dent or destroy said units. They will also hang around ready to shoot at any troops disembarking from Railgun / seeker missile popped transports.
  • At arm’s length 6 shots, at short range 12 shots, good strength weapon negating the ‘Get’s Hot’ rule.
  • Potential of 12 Terminator armour negating shots, wounding most units on anything over a 1.
  • Drones can possibly pin the unit as well after firing.
  • Easier to hide in cover and inside buildings.
  • Lots of wounds.
  • Their bonded.
  • 68 points cheaper than the Riptide above.

  •  Low BS skill so would need Markerlight support to aid them.
  • Can succumb to instant death with an average toughness.
  • Only two invulnerable save on the drones.
  • Shorter range weapons, so need placing carefully.
  • Cannot take on tanks.
  • Without Markerlight support, statistically only 50% of the shots will hit home, with an additional 33.333% hits from the Gun Drones.
The list is far from exhaustive, but they are the Pros and Cons I have in my head at the moment.

So please comment and feedback with your own thoughts, which should I take, a Riptide or Crisis Team? I know there are lots of variables that can affect the outcome of what one should take but I am trying to decide between these two specific units, one or the other.

~ The alien is not intrinsically evil. Do not hate him. Pity him his ignorance. Seek to understand his differences, and acquaint him with his inadequacies. Only then will he accept his place, in the Greater Good ~


  1. What are the Shield Drones for on the Riptide? They just force killer LD tests, you already have the ripshield. You really should take EWO instead of a Target Lock w useless Drones.

    Anyways, Riptide is good because it offers something you can't get anywhere else in the Tau codex. A though, durable counter-assault/linebreaker that can protect against deepstrikers and fliers (tl fusion pls). With marker support, that Ion Cannon is also a very scary and versatile weapon.. Even if it isn't points efficient. Crisis suits only offer you more of the same you can get anywhere in the Tau codex.

    Let me ask you this; if you're opponent has an objective advantage on his side, what are you currently reaching out with to take/contest it? And this; if your opponent DOES get into your lines, what is your gameplan?

    You cannot rely on tabling every opponent. Riptides offer you the versatility to win games in other ways. And odds are they'll get more than 1-2 turns of shooting before they die, unlike the Crisis team. When was the last time you had any trouble killing 6 marines?


    1. I cannot fault your comment Hippo. And I am starting to agree with people that the Drones are not they way to go.

      I think I will have to hit the book again a look at the synergy between units and maybe stop comparing the two unit types. If I cannot decide, take both may be?

      I suppose I have it in my head at the moment, that everyone is expecting a Riptide, so go the other way. But then they are being taken for a reason.

      Thanks for your comment and insight!

  2. For the last couple of months I have been running two Riptides with the Farsight Enclave supplement. My advice is the same as the previous poster, drop the drones and take Early Warning Override. The result is an impressive amount of firepower before your opponent can play his unit.

    My second piece of advice was given to me by one of my opponents. I held both of my Riptides back throughout the game while he tore the rest of my army to pieces. Afterward, he told me that he did not want to invest any units into killing them because they were too far away and out of sight. He recommended that I play my Riptides more aggressively and have them closer to my opponent. For the Greater Good, right?

    Since then my Riptides have become quite a sore topic at my store (I like to run my Ion Accelerator model with an allied Tau Codex support commander) and they have caused my opponent to invest more time in killing my Riptides then my troops, markerlights, or other models.

    1. And removing the incredibly expensive Shielded Missile Drones and Stimulant Injector will solve the point issue.

    2. And then enter Grav weapons... Drones force them to wound on a 4+ vs the Rip's 2+... Even just 1 Drone behind the Rip will do the trick, while the FNP gives you 2x5+ saves vs those weapons

      Just saying people are spamming ways to kill the Rip, and the Grav is one of them... I do agree that skip the TL, and get ether the VT, or EWO, and only add the FNP IF you can burn the points, or if your running a solo Rip.

    3. Or you can just stay out of their killbox. The Ion Accelerator has a much longer range than their Grav weapons.

    4. Yes it does, I'm just pointing out there is merit in the humble(?) Shielded Missile Drone. Also many are crafting ways to ram that thing down Tau throats... Drop Pods, Bikes, and very tough Deathstars.

      Range is Tau's best tool, but there is only so much board.

    5. As everyone has said drop the Shielded Missile drones, and the support sustem to be added are: Early Warning Overraide Velocity Tracker and Pain injector, the last one is specially great as it will offer a modicum of protection agains the failed nova rectors, my model hasnt see as much damage due to it as only 4 wounds have been auto inflicted in the last 10 games and only one it has been removed of the game with Jaws, so in brief you should play your riptide agresively (as TAU standar not SM standard) so dont have it at the rear, have it in the middle where it is away from Assaults but in close rango to go forward or backward as the flow of battle requires it.

    6. I am now agreeing with the dropping of the Drones, but I see a lot of people taking Enclave Riptide's, Are these better then the normal?

      And are Enclave Crisis teams better too?

    7. At Keith...

      "My second piece of advice was given to me by one of my opponents. I held both of my Riptides back throughout the game while he tore the rest of my army to pieces. Afterward, he told me that he did not want to invest any units into killing them because they were too far away and out of sight. He recommended that I play my Riptides more aggressively and have them closer to my opponent. For the Greater Good, right?"

      That is a good piece of advise, I use Dreadknight's quite a bit and very aggressively, I guess I have compare the Riptide to a Dreadknight a little making me think it is soft, where actually it is just different.

      Thanks for your comment.

    8. At Leon...

      Great comment regarding the Drones, I originally took them to add extra wound onto the Riptide plus that little extra fire power. And with Grav weapons running loose, your point is even more valid.

      Looking at it now, for the points side of things and the chance or breaking, I would drop them. But they are very useful in their own right. Shame the Riptide does not have a higher leadership!

    9. At Dale,

      The Farsight Enclave supplement adds some interesting elements to the typical Tau army. The first and foremost is that Crisis Battlesuits are troops. This gives you stronger, more survivable, and flexible troops selections. This also opens up the elite slots for two or more Riptides.

      In my opinion, the Special Wargear available in the supplement are overpriced for what they have to offer, but there is one that stands out. I won't list the entire rule, but it allows the Riptide to reroll failed Nova Charges. I've been equipping my Heavy Burst Cannon Riptide with this wargear to increase his damage output.

      The downside is that you cannot take special wargear from the original codex, and all models that can take the Bonding Knife Ritual must do so. You can counter this by allying with a regular Tau Codex commander (the supplement specifically states that this is allowed).

      I like it, but it's a slightly different play-style than typical Tau, which is a turn off for most.


    10. It really comes down to the meta in your area... Most take 2 riptides, and keep them lean, others go solo rip, and pack on extra protection (FNP).

      Grav being a huge pain? Add Drone(s), but keep them behind the Rip so he takes wounds first and preventing that chance to lose a drone and run.

    11. Leon - I will agree with you on this, the Meta in my area is quite strong, mainly Marine, Farsight Bomb and Wraith Eldar. So not all MC's but a lot of strong units. I guess I will have to take at least 1 to counter that.

    12. Indeed, it all comes down to your club's playstyle... My biggest kick is SM players going "We got grav, Rips are trash now!"

      And I'm just like Drone, and/or FNP = huge drop in the weapon's effectiveness... Hell really wanna mess with them have Shadowsun join a Riptide, suddenly stealth Riptide.

      FNP is the safest option, Drones is a extra precaution if grav spam is that big a deal in your area.

  3. Bah, Google ate my comment. Anyway, I know you said you didn't want "equip him differently" arguments, but honestly, EWO and or Velocity tracker (if you're worried about flyers) ups his value significantly, particularly with TL Fusion (though SMS aren't bad). While the drones add some wounds and saves (pro), they also open up the possibility of him taking morale checks for losing drones (con).

    Both units need markerlight support to excel, so that's a wash. Both will do well against TEQ, but the difference is that the Ion Cannon can also be used to take out tanks where Plasma Rifles are much less effective in this regard.

    While you said you'd use the Riptide in the backfield, something is to be said for being more aggressive with him. He can take a bit of punishment and blunt a charge like the rest of your units cannot (MC Smash attacks are no joke).

    1. Bloody Google, Spit that comment out lol.

      Thanks Evan, I am starting to agree with the aggressive tactics, its the unit the Tau have that can put up a fight I suppose.

    2. just be carefull as to the diference between agresive for TAU and other units, it means that you should put it into the forefront away of Close combat but dont be afraid of using the Hammer of wrath for example against vehicles were you arent stook on CC.

    3. Evan - Your not right, Markerlight is the best way to make them awesome, its just hard finding a balance. I played Tau a lot back in 5th Ed, but have only had one game in 6th with the new codex and I am already missing the Targeting array.

      How do you take your Markerlights, via Pathfinders units or added onto Firewarrior teams?

      Werner - It will be a bit of trial and error, as I have only ever played with CC MC's, I will probably get a good kicking in my first game or two with it. That's if I get one for my birthday lol.

    4. Late response - I would say both can be effective without markers, but are definitely better with them. One of the most annoying (as an opponent) markerlight platforms were Marker Drones with an attached commander and drone controller/target lock. A unit of Markers that can JSJ to stay out of the way and are BS5 are no joke, and they're a bit tougher than your Pathfinders, particularly with the commander tanking wounds. That said, if I had to pick, I might prefer to use a buff commander to accompany the Riptide instead, giving him Tank/Monster Hunter and Ignore Cover without need for markerlights. In that case, a cheap Monat Crisis suit could be a bargain version, though only buffing them to BS3.

      Also, Werner, that is definitely an important caveat. Aggressive for Tau. You don't want him getting bogged by an infantry blob. If accompanied by a buff commander, Vectored Retro thrusters might not be bad, allowing the two of them to Hit&Run to avoid getting bogged down.

    5. Evan - Late reply lol. I agree, definitely need marker support and I never really though about swapping Pathfinders for Drones. I will have to look into that.

      As to Vectored Retro Thrusters (Hit and Run), I have never Really been a fan, most probably due to the low Initiative the Tau have, I usually fail when I have Practice rolled.