EDIT: This article uses point values found in the Index. To read the most up to date version with Codex point values, read here.
Last time we compared Riptides to Ghostkeels to see how each suit fared in 8th edition. This time, we will continue our discussion of Tau Commanders found here. In our previous discussion, we looked at the lethality of the different loadout, regardless of the point cost. In this post, we will factor in the cost of each loadout to determine what the most efficient Commander loadouts are for various roles.
Let’s get our assumptions out of the way:
- A GEQ is defined as a model with T3 and Sv5+, one wound
- A MEQ is defined as a model with T4 and Sv3+, one wound
- A Tank is defined as a model with T8 and Sv3+, multiple wounds
- For weapons that do multiple damage, we will assume it does average damage (3.5 for D6 damage and 2 for D3)
- Weapons considered were
- Airbursting fragmentation projector (AFP), Burst cannon, Cyclic ion blaster (CIB), Flamer, Fusion blaster (FB), Missile pod (MP), and Plasma rifle (PR)
- Plasma rifle math assumes NOT in rapid fire range (one shots per weapon)
- PPW stands for “points per wound” and PPD is “points per damage”
We will focus on loadouts of four of the same weapon type and three of the same weapon with ATS. Because the Coldstar Commander does not allow for weapon loadout customization, we will focus purely on the standard Commander, NOT the Coldstar Commander. So without further ado, let’s dive in.
Remembering that the GEQ and MEQ profiles are considered to have one wound, while the Tank has multiple, the most beneficial columns to look at are “GEQ PPW”, “MEQ PPW”, and “Tank PPD”, but I included all my math such that you might could infer more from it for other cases. I’ve had Excel automatically highlight the lowest points-per-metric in green and highlighted blue cells that represent comments worth making.
Starting at the GEQ PPW column, the most post efficient loadout is four flamers. That’s just looking at the raw math and because you probably won’t always be within their 8″ range, it’s not realistically the best loadout. Second-best is four BC’s followed very closely by four CIB’s. However, the four-CIB-toting Commander is 22 points more than the four-BC Commander, for very nearly the same point efficiency so if you’re tight on points and need a GEQ-killer, the four BC Commander is your best bet. If points are not tight, keep in mind from our previous analysis that the four CIB Commander does have a higher average number of wounds per turn (6.94 versus 5.93) so will output higher average wounds.
Moving on to the MEQ PPW column, three BC with ATS is the most point-efficient loadout, with four BC’s next in line. If Burst Cannon’s aren’t your style, three CIB’s with ATS provide a similar MEQ-killing efficiency that also offers better potential in dealing with varied-strength targets. The greater the target’s save value, the more important -AP is, which is why we see the 3 CIB and ATS Commander slightly edge out the four-CIB-wielding Commander.
Finally, looking at the Tank PPD column, the obvious choice of four FB’s is the most efficient source of damage. The second-most efficient weapon loadout (besides three FB with ATS which is straight up inferior to four FB) is three overcharged CIB’s with ATS, followed closely by four overcharged CIB’s. The general trend of point efficiency is identical to the trend we saw when we analyzed lethality alone which is to say: a Commander with four CIB’s ends up being a great all-around choice.
One note – rapid fire range does make somewhat of a difference and since you can Manta-strike a commander in rapid fire range, it’s worth noting. When we consider the plasma rifle to be in rapid fire range, we see the PR nearly tie the four-flamer wielding Commander in point efficiency and lead the pack in the MEQ PPW column.
The four-wielding CIB Commander remains a solid pick in terms of both raw lethality and point efficiency. If points are tight, three Burst Cannons with an ATS is a more affordable and in some cases slightly more point-efficient choice.
Next time we will bring you a the beginning of a series analyzing the choices available for each battle role like HQ, Troop, Flier, etc. for the Tau army.
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Thanks for reading – happy dice rolls!