T’au at Heat 4

T’au Empire and Surprising Success

Hi everyone, Garfield here.  I am going to do a quick write up of my recent experience at Games Workshop’s Heat 4.  

On the long drive up from Kent on Friday (15/02) if someone had told me how well I was going to do I would have told them where to go.  The list I decided to take was barely even play tested and to be honest, the weekend was going to be used as a bit of fun and a decent practice for the upcoming SN GT in Gibraltar, and even further in the future, No Retreat in September.  So with no further ado, here is my list:

Tom Spear – T’au Empire (T’au Sept) – 1747 Points.  13 CP (minus 1 for additional Relic)

Battalion Detachment


Cadre Fireblade – 42pts

Ethereal Warlord – Through Unity, Devastation. Puretide Engram Chip – 50pts


Strike Team – 6 Firewarriors (Shas’ui Markerlight) – 45pts

Strike Team – 6 Firewarriors (Shas’ui Markerlight) – 45pts

Strike Team – 6 Firewarriors (Shas’ui Markerlight) – 45pts

Fast Attack

4 x Shield Drones – 40pts

4 x Shield Drones, 4 x Marker Drones – 80pts

Battalion Detachment

Cadre Fireblade & Shield Drone – 52pts

Coldstar Commander – ATS, Burst Cannon, HO Burst Cannon, Missile Pod, VMT (Extra Relic) – 135pts


Strike Team – 6 Firewarriors (Shas’ui Markerlight) – 45pts

Strike Team – 6 Firewarriors (Shas’ui Markerlight) – 45pts

Strike Team – 6 Firewarriors (Shas’ui Markerlight) – 45pts


Riptide Battle Suit – SMS, Heavy Burst Cannon, ATS, Target Lock – 280pts

Riptide Battle Suit – SMS, Heavy Burst Cannon, ATS, Target Lock – 280pts

Fast Attack

6 x Pathfinders – 6 x Markerlights, Pulse Accelerator Drone – 56

Vanguard Detachment


Commander Shadowsun – 2 x Shield Drone, Command Drone – 138


3 Stealth Suit – Burst Cannons – 84pts

3 Stealth Suit – Burst Cannons – 84pts

Ghostkeel Battlesuit – 2 x Burst Cannon, Fusion Collider, 2 x Stealth Drone, Shield Generator, TL – 156

The Plan

My aim was to deploy in the standard Tau Castle.  Everything within 6’’ of Shadowsun and each other or at least as close as I could.

I would deploy my Stealth Suits and Ghostkeel in forward position as both a screen and some pretty tough units for early game objective grabbing.

Shadowsun’s ability to launch two Kau’yon is truly devastating.  Linking it with two Nova Charged Riptides and a sprinkle of C&C Node makes the castle truly powerful.

Also, my aim of keeping everything within 6’’ of each other would allow my Tau Castle to fire withering amounts of overwatch on 5+.

Other than what I’ve written above I had no other plans.

Game 1 – Imperial Knights & Grey Knights


My opponent in game 1 was a great chap called Rob Peck who eventually went on to win Favourite Opponent for the whole event.

His list comprised of a Castellan, 2 x Helverins, a Culexus, 2 Nemesis Dreadknights and Drago.

The first mission was from Chapter Approved and was The Four Pillars.  As you can see from the above short list, it was always going to be tough for Rob to score well as he had no Troop units.

Turn 1 started, I had first go and I activated Sense of Stone.  That was my movement phase. Short and sweet.

I couldn’t have 2 Nemesis Dreadknights rampaging through my lines so I focused my firepower on one of them.  I lit it up with 5 markerlights and thanks to Kau’yon, everything hit which allowed me to light up the second Dreadknight too.  I chipped a wound off with a unit of Firewarriors and used the Tau Stratagem of Focused Fire. Even with a 3++ I was able to destroy the first Dreadknight and seriously wound the second.

I had Rob on the backfoot and he retreated his Knights in the hope to try and outshoot me from afar.

Rob’s returning fire was decent, but thanks to my drones I was able to keep my Riptide’s safe and I lost a handful of Firewarriors.  My Ethereal even survived a sniper missile. I did manage to lose my Ghostkeel and a unit a Stealth Suits. Throughout the tournament these units would die but they’re tough little cookies and take dedicated fire to remove thus taking more pressure from my castle.

In Rob’s charge phase, he sent in his second Dreadknight in to my castle.  To be fair, he had little choice and the final Dreadknight was killed to overwatch.

My turn 2.  I broke my castle and moved forward with everything and again tried to keep as much as I could within 6’’ all in preparation of a potential charge and turn 3 Kau’yon.

In my second shooting phase I threw everything into the Castellan.  My second Kau’yon linked with CnC Node is withering and the noble knight fell.

Rob’s turn 2, it was already pretty much a foregone conclusion by this stage so he charged Draigo, Leroy Jenkin’s style, in to my castle and the brave hero of the imperium was cut down.

Turn 3 was mop up.

This is the first time I met Rob and our game was great.  He thoroughly deserved his award and look forward to playing him again in the future.

Game 2 – T’au, mixture of Sa’cea and Farsight


Game 2 was against a lovely looking Sa’cea army played by a top bloke and the mission was Beachhead.

My opponent had 24 Gun drones.  A big unit of Crisis Suits all armed with CiB’s.  3 Coldstars. 3 Firesight Marksman, a smattering of Firewarriors and an Ethereal.

Again, I set up my castle.  Forward deployed my Ghostkeel and Stealthies.

I was lucky enough to get first turn.  I did the standard, launch Kau’yon, light everything up, CnC Node…..standard.

Turn 1 I wiped out all the drones to stop all his Saviour Protocols.  My opponent was really unluckily, he failed all his charge rolls for his Crisis Suits turn 1.  In doing so meant it was pretty much game over as I had free reign with the shooting going forward.

Turn 2 wiped out all 9 of the Crisis Suits.  Having 9 Crisis suits in 1 units is awesome and fluffy and great for launching CnC Node.  The flip side was that it meant I easily lit it up, plinked a wound, focus fire, CnC Node myself.

Turn 3 Killed what was left.

Short write up on this one.  Again, my opponent was a top bloke with a lovely looking army.  Unfortunately he suffered from me having first turn and being outrageously unlucky on his charge rolls.

Another great opponent.

Game 3 – Chaos Soup

This was my toughest game my far.  A very good Chaos player with Mortarion, Ahriman, Nurgle Sorcerors, 40 Tzaangors, 20 Brimstone Horrors, unit of DeathShroud, 10 Cultists and a Daemon Prince.

The mission was Narrow the Search.  This would eventually play right in to my hands due to the massive Null Zone in the middle of the field.

Turn 1 I managed to kill a unit of Deathshroud, who tanked the wounds for Mortarion and a unit of Cultists.

My opponents turn 1 – he advanced and made a charge with Mortarion in to my Ghostkeel and a units of Stealthies.  Mortarion wrecked face and smashed them to bits. This did leave him in the open though.

My turn 2, Mortarion 12’’ from my lines with -1 to hit and a 4++ in his pocket.  I played the tried and tested rapid fire Fire Warriors in to him, plinked a wound.  Focused Fire. Kau’yon. CnC Node. Mortorion fell.

This is when it almost fell apart for me.  I left my right flank open for his Tzaangors.  20 dropped in and managed to tie up 2 units of Firewarriors.  He played it to absolute perfection for two turns, piling in and consolidating in to unit after unit all the while racking up the points.  I couldn’t fall back because my units were wrapped.

My turn 3, I tried to get some space in between him and his tzaangors but there wasn’t much I could do.

His turn 3, ANOTHER UNIT OF TZAANGORS came in and wrapped up even more firewarriors.

Turn 4 and I suddenly realised the only way for me to break out was to sacrifice a few units of Warriors and put in a drone wall in between the remnants of my castle.  This worked a treat and I was able to break loose with my remaining jump units and firewarriors. Once I had done this, I had 2 turns to turn around a 4-1 deficit. I managed to kill all the remaining Tzaangors.  Due to the Null Field, daemons had appalling saves and die in droves.

The game actually went to turn 6 by which time I had killed what remained of his army.  

Amazing army, expertly played by a great guy.  I shook his hand twice.

Day 1 was over.  I was 3-0 and buzzing.  To be fair, I pulled Game 3 out of the bag with a touch of luck.

Day 2

Game 4 – Tyranid, Kraken


Game 4 was against the man himself, Steven Pardo of SN Battle Reports.  His amazing army of circa 60 Genesteelers, 3 Broodlords, Venomthrope, a blob of Termagants and 5 Hive Guard.

I bumped in to Pardo the night before this game and he said playing my list would be his worst match up and it would be.  Playing a low save Nid horde against a Tau Castle is always going to be an uphill struggle.


So turn 1 – Pardo launches the first 20 Genesteelers at my lines and my overwatch kills them to a bug.

I launch Kauyon and kill another unit and 4 Hive Guard.

Turn 2 – Pardo kills my Ghostkeel and a unit of Steathies.

My turn two, I advance my whole castle, kill the remaining Genesteelers, 3 Broodlords and remaining Hive Guard.

At this stage Pardo called it.  This game is no reflection on Pardo.  He is twice the player I am and was always going to struggle.  I’ll catch up with him again at the SN GT!


I couldn’t truly believe it had come to this stage.

I had 4 games, 4 wins, 4 tablelings.  I was a max points going in to the final game with an opponent who had the exact same.

My opponent played a Guilleman castle with 3 Dakka Preds, 2 Slam Captains, 20 Intercessors and a blob of scouts.

In my previous 4 games, I had deployed well and stuck to my plan.  In this game however, I made mistake after mistake. I put flimsy Warriors on objectives that were easy to kill when I should have put untargetable characters on them instead.  I deployed a Riptide outside of LoS of 2 of his Preds. I forward deployed my Ghostkeel so that he could use it as a springboard in to my lines.

The game was high pressure and I’m not going to dwell on it too much but the new Bolter Drill rule of Intercessors shreds Warriors like nobody’s business.

My opponent was very experienced, an excellent player and used every tactic, both good and bad, to his advantage.  Put it this way, I hope to never have another game have to be spectated by a judge.

Due to my poor deployment he was able to shoot off the flimsy Warriors from objectives and get around the back of me with his Slam Captains.

After 2.5 hours and me only finishing 3 turns I called it.  All the Kudos goes to the winner.


Wow – what an event.  Going in, I would have been happy with 2 from 5.  To come away with 4-1 and the bronze trophy, I am over the moon.  The issue I have now is that I want to go back and try for gold.

I also got 5 votes for favourite army and 2 votes for favourite opponent.  Mind….officially…..blown

Thanks to everyone who is involved in organising such a seamless event.  I will return.

Everyone I met was great.  Hobby is the winner and remember kids, we are playing toy soldiers.

MVP – yes my Riptides and Shadowsun were amazing.  But I think I have to give it to the Ghostkeel. Why?!  I hear you asking from the cheap seats. Distraction. People seemed obsessed with a -2 to hit unit with 2 Burst Cannons and Collider.  People would divert valuable shooting and assault resource to try and get rid of it, because if they didn’t it would jump around deleting important units.  The 4++ was as awesome late additional and target lock goes without saying.

Subs – I will be getting rid of the marker drones.  They’re ok. We live and breathe from marker light hits so I will be moving in the “quality over quantity” of marker lights.  So in come some Firesight Marksmen and the drones can go.

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