Last Stand - Tau Commander

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The Tau Shas'O Commander is a DLC Character for Last Stand, and as such, locked behind a pay-gate. If this reminds you of something, then congrats - you too, are aware of the irony.

At any rate, the Tau Commander is an immensely fun and useful character, with the ability to be set up in any of dozens of different fashions, making him somewhat unique as far as Last Stand heroes go. He always has a jet ability of some sort, and can fulfill many different tactical roles, depending on loadout and situation. His biggest drawback is that he has no melee attack whatsoever and if engaged, can do little but try to helplessly block enemy melee attacks or try to flee. Bearing this in mind is crucial to getting the most out of the Shas'O Commander.

IMPORTANT NOTE: The Tau Commander has no melee attack. If he is engaged in melee, he will try to block enemy melee attacks, but he has no ability to fight back in close-combat without the aid of wargear options, so do your best to get the fuck out of dodge using your Jet ability if enemies close in, unless, of course, you're packing the Flamer and/or Kinetic Shield. Also note that, like the Hive Tyrant, the Tau Commander is too obese to enter buildings or take direct cover.

Weapon Options[edit]

The Tau Commander has 2 weapon slots - one for weapons, one for shields. All options for both are listed below.

Weapons[edit]

Uniquely, all of the Tau Commander's primary weapons are ranged - he has no options for close-combat. As such, it's vitally important that you keep him out of close-combat with enemy units, though the Flamer is an excellent choice for the rare, intrepid Tau Commander who isn't afraid to shorten his reach.

  • Plasma Rifle - Default
    • Ranged Weapon
    • 10.0 DPS
      • The Default plasma rifle is, like all default weapons, utter shit and should never be used except as part of a joke. Its sole purpose is as a place-holder so that the Tau Commander cannot be sent into combat unarmed and thus unable to do anything.
  • Command Issue Plasma Rifle - Level 1
    • Ranged Weapon
    • 23.3 DPS
    • Traits: Armor Piercing (Attacks from this weapon ignore 100 armor rating)
      • Unlocked from the start, this basic, no-frills weapon is a central Tau Commander weapon. It does good damage, has decent range, can be fired on the run, has a decent rate of fire, and has the armor-piercing trait - all wonderful things to have in a weapon. It tends to be very middle-of-the-road and is invariably out-performed by other weapons at various ranges, but it makes for a damned fine "all comers" weapon that has relatively few drawbacks to speak of, though it tends to flag a bit when facing crowds and its 75% accuracy can result in periodic bouts of doing no damage when you absolutely need it to. Best when backed by Targeting Cluster, though tolerable without. Useful all game long, and works well on any variety of target.
  • Flamer - Level 1
    • Ranged Weapon
    • 6.0 DPS
    • Traits: Area of Effect (Flamer attacks in large radius), Ignore Cover (Enemies do not get cover defense bonuses against this weapon).
    • Notes: This weapon, like most Flamer-type weapons, has an undocumented minor Armor-Piercing trait that causes it to ignore 20 points of armor.
      • A criminally-under-used unlocked-from-start weapon that does only modest damage, but has a huge area of effect, ignores cover, and has no accuracy loss when fired on the run. The Flamer is excellent for killing packs of mooks, especially cover-camping shits like Eldar Guardians and Grav Platform Teams. It also makes a great weapon when using the Tau Commander's jets; the Tau Commander will start firing even before he hits the ground, giving a truly unpleasant surprise to anyone that happens to be near his landing zone. Perhaps most importantly, the Flamer is one of the only guns that the Tau Commander will reliably try to fire in close-combat, so don't be put off by the Flamer's relatively poor damage. Works especially well when twin-linked, since the damage loss from twin-linking is virtually nil.
  • Fusion Blaster - Level 3
    • Ranged Weapon
    • 30.0 DPS
    • Traits: Armor Piercing (Attacks from this weapon ignore 150 armor rating)
      • This belter of a weapon unlocks at level 3. Boasting vastly higher damage and scarily high DPS, as well as the Armor-Piercing trait, the Fusion Blaster, at a glance, seems too good to be true... And it sadly is. Firing only a little slower than the Plasma Rifle for a vastly higher damage output seems like a great trade-off... And, likewise, it is, in some situations. Unfortunately, the Fusion Blaster has much shorter range than the Plasma Rifle, and with a slower refire rate, the Fusion Blaster, when it does miss, will sting all the more - meaning that Targeting Cluster is borderline-essentially for maximizing this thing. Also, unlike the Plasma Rifle, it cannot be fired while moving. The Fusion Blaster absolutely excels at fighting heavily-armored foes, though - tanks, walkers, wraithlords, enemy Heroes, and the errant Carnifex - virtually nothing can stand in this thing's way when put on the right build, especially when Twin-Linked, but its ridiculously slow recycle rate and accuracy issues can make it a losing proposition for some situations. A weapon to be used with care.
  • Airbursting Fragmentation Projector - Level 9
    • Ranged Weapon
    • 6.0 DPS
    • Traits: Area of Effect (AFP shells have a blast radius), Ignore Cover (Enemies do not get cover defense bonuses against this weapon)
      • This overly-elaborate Tau Grenade Launcher unlocks at level 9. Firing powerful, long-ranged shells, the Airbursting Fragmentation Projector does only mediocre DPS, owing to its sluggish refire rate, but it affects an area, ignores cover saves, and does fairly good damage when it fires and can fire on the move. Rather poor in close-combat and somewhat weak against fast-moving foes, the biggest upside to this beast is that it's an indirect-fire weapon - there's nothing stopping you from launching Airburst shells over intervening terrain to hit enemies hiding behind - something incredibly helpful since the Airbursting Fragmentation Projector is one of the Tau Commander's longest-ranged weapons as well. Bear in mind its weaknesses in close-combat and targeting highly-mobile foes, however, and it will serve you well - especially if you have an ally that can cause suppression or Snare Mines. It functions like a lower-grade version of the Fragmentation Missile Pod, one that doesn't always take as much time to fire and doesn't hit allies in melee.
  • Burst Cannon - Level 16
    • Ranged Weapon
    • 15.0 DPS
    • Traits: Suppressive (This weapon suppresses infantry, slowing their movement speed and ranged attack speed)
      • Gatling fetishists rejoice - your favorite weapon in the Tau Armory is available once more, and at level 16. A somewhat easy-to-underestimate weapon, the Burst Cannon does pretty decent damage at long range, but is far better for its suppressive fire effects, which slow and cripple foes under the effects, and it boasts both long range, and the ability to fire on the move. Its main drawback: it essentially does chip damage to armored foes. With proper upgrades, the Burst Cannon can actually become quite effective against most infantry, and is a huge boon to teams that are lacking in anti-infantry punch - it's the longest-ranged primary weapon the Shas'O gets and has excellent crowd control capability, especially when twin-linked.

Shields[edit]

The Tau Commander's shield slot is normally used for equipping Shields that boost his health and armor rating, and provide other useful benefits. It can also be used to equip the Networked Weapon Interface, in case you want to scream: "fuck shields!!" and go for even more shooty goodness.

  • Shield Hardpoint - Default
    • Shield
      • Like all default weapons, the Shield Hardpoint is a place-holder and should not, under any circumstances, be used on its own merits. It offers no benefits, and solely exists to have items replace it. Avoid.
  • Shield Generator - Level 1
    • Shield
    • +50 Armor
    • +25 Health
    • Abilities: Energy Shield (Activates a powered shield that absorbs incoming damage in the form of energy)
      • Unlocked from the start, this little shield gives a good health and armor boost - 50 Armor, 25 Health - and it makes available the Energy Shield ability -

Don't underestimate this early-game shield, especially when backed with Ion Batteries and/or Coolant Injectors. It adds a surprisingly heavy amount of survivability to what is already a phenomenally-durable class (only the Mekboy and Necron Overlord can withstand anywhere near as much abuse). It works the same way as the Hive Tyrant's Warp field. This can actually be amazingly utilitarian when backed with the "Agile" Crisis Suit and works very well for waves against heavily-shooty opposition (such as Space Marine Scouts). This said, the Tau Commander tends to use energy a lot, which makes this ability more of a "get out of death free" card rather than the mass survivability boost of the Hive Tyrant. The health and armor boosts are welcome, and make this worth taking even if you don't want to spend the energy on the bubble shield.

  • Repulser Shield - Level 7
    • Shield
    • +50 Armor
    • +25 Health
    • Abilities: Kinetic Pulse (15 Energy; Discharges stored kinetic energy, knocking back and dealing damage to nearby enemies)
      • Unlocking at Level 7, This shield gives the same health and armor boosts as the Shield Generator (+50 Armor, +25 Health), but instead has the incredibly useful Kinetic Pulse ability. For 15 energy, the Tau Commander generates a short-ranged shockwave that deals decent damage and hurls away lighter foes. This can be used offensively (jump into a crowd and activate it to hurl them away), or defensively (bunker down and use it to throw away enemies that love crowding you, like Sluggas and Banshees). This versatility makes it one of the best overall shields in the game, and a staple of many builds. The only drawback: Can't be used with Networked Weapon Interface.
  • Iridium Shield - Level 11
    • Shield
    • +75 Armor
    • +50 Health
    • Traits: Heavy (Lowers range of Jet, but increases damage of impact and adds stun effect)
      • Unlocked at Level 11, and boasting the largest health and armor boost of the shields, the Iridium Shield is all about defense. Having the Iridium Shield equipped, due to its mass, gives the Tau Commander the trait Heavy, which increases the damage done by jumping on foes, but cuts the range of the Tau Commander's jump. This same trait is given by the XV8 "Armored" Crisis Battlesuit Armor, and if both are used, a Double Heavy state is acquired, which further boosts the damage and impact of the Tau Commander's jumps (the other effects, such as the range and stun duration, are unchanged). It does, however, lack the Kinetic Pulse of the Repulser Shield, the Energy Shield of the Shield Generator, and the always-useful Twin-Linked trait of the Networked Weapon Interface, so bear this in mind.
  • Networked Weapon Interface - Achievement Unlock: Kill 100 Enemies by Jumping on them
    • Shield
    • Traits: Twin-Linked
      • Not really a shield, this achievement unlock, earned by getting the Dynamic Entry achievement, gives no health or armor, and instead duplicates whatever weapon your commander had in the primary weapon slot in his shield slot, allowing the Commander to fire 2 of whatever his weapon of choice was. A side-effect of the twin-linking is that both weapons are about 25% weaker - so you trade 25% of one gun's firepower to gain a second 75% damage gun. This upgrade benefits the Tau Commander's various weapons in different ways - the Burst Cannon and Flamer lose almost no damage from being twin-linked, so the upgrade is a flat damage improvement, whereas the primary benefit to the Fusion Blaster and Plasma Rifle is being able to fire at more than one one round per cooldown cycle, compensating for some of their accuracy issues. The Airburst Fragmentation Projector and Flamer get a second pieplate/flamerplate to drop. You're trading defense for offense here, so make sure that whatever weapon you choose, to make the choice worth it.

Armor[edit]

All armors for the Tau Commander provide the Unshakable trait, meaning that the Tau Commander cannot be knocked down. Additionally, all of the armors provide some variation of the Jet ability, so getting around the battlefield is never a problem for the Tau Commander. His available armors are as follows:

  • XV8 Crisis Battlesuit - Default
    • Armor Rating: 50
    • Traits: Unshakable
    • Abilities: Jet (10 Energy; Jumps to target location, flying through the air and knocking enemies back on impact)
      • Like all default armors, this one sucks. It gives 50 Armor Rating, Unshakable, and the Jet ability, however, so it sucks slightly less than other default armors. Uhm.... Yay?
  • XV8 "Light" Crisis Battlesuit - Level 1
    • Armor Rating: 90
    • +25 Health
    • Traits: Unshakable (Immune to Knockdown), Low-Weight Composites (+1 Speed)
    • Abilities: Jet (10 Energy; Jumps to target location, flying through the air and knocking enemies back on impact)
      • This starting armor tends to be under-used, which is a shame because it's also incredibly useful. Giving 90 Armor, +25 Health, and the Jet ability, it also grants the Unshakable trait and a notable movement speed boost. This can be deceptively helpful, and is definitely worth it for mobile offensive builds. This is especially good for Shas'Os using the Fusion Blaster or Shield Generator.
  • XV8 "Armored" Crisis Battlesuit - Level 1
    • Armor Rating: 120
    • +50 Health
    • Traits: Unshakable (Immune to Knockdown), Heavy (Lowers range of Jet, but increases damage of impact and adds stun effect)
    • Abilities: Heavy Jet (10 Energy; Jumps to target location, flying through the air and knocking enemies back on impact)
      • Unequivocally the most-common armor used for the Tau Commander, and with damned good reason - it gives the best defense, as well as the Heavy trait, which replaces your standard Jet ability with the Heavy Jet ability. This jet variant has a slower speed and shorter range, but does more damage when it lands and a longer stun effect. The survivability of this armor alone makes it a solid choice, and definitely worth using.
  • XV8 "Agile" Crisis Battlesuit - Level 13
    • Armor Rating: 90
    • +25 Health
    • Traits: Unshakable (Immune to Knockdown), Superior Stabilizers (Increases range and lowers cooldown of Jet)
    • Abilities: Stabilized Jet (10 Energy; Jumps to target location, flying through the air and knocking enemies back on impact)
      • A deceptively powerful armor. Statistically almost-identical to the "Light" Crisis Suit, the "Agile" Crisis Suit unlocks at level 13. It gives 90 Armor, 25 Health, Unshakable, and the Stabilized Jet ability, which is both faster and longer-ranged than the standard Jet ability. Of all the Tau Commander armors, this one is arguably the most survivable - not for its armor or health boosts, but for its ability to get the hell out of dodge when things get too scary. The Golden Egg of Last Stand is mobility, and this armor has it in spades.
  • XV8 "Command" Crisis Battlesuit - Level 17
    • Armor Rating: 110
    • Traits: Unshakable (Immune to Knockdown), Fearless (Makes the wearer of this suit and allies around him immune to suppression), Improved Targeting (Increases the wearer’s and nearby allies’ ranged damage by 15%).
    • Abilities: Jet (10 Energy; Jumps to target location, flying through the air and knocking enemies back on impact)
      • This rarely-used - but exceptionally-powerful - armor is the last one to be unlocked, at level 17. It has no health boosts, but the passive upgrades it gives are obscenely useful, and it has better armor than most Tau Armors at 110. It gives the Jet ability, Unshakable, and two incredibly handy auras - one that boosts the Tau Commander's (and all nearby allies') ranged damage by 15%, and a second one that makes the Tau Commander and all nearby allies Fearless (and thus immune to Suppression). These traits conspire to make the "Command" suit one of the best supporting armors available to the Tau Commander, and a veritable magnum upgrade if he's placed alongside an allied Lord General, ranged-focused Hive Tyrant, or Mekboy. It can also effectively offset the damage loss of Twin-Linking.

Accessories[edit]

The Tau Commander has a number of useful accessories - some bringing back fond memories of Shas'o Kais from Dawn of War: Dark Crusade, and much of it all new. It's these items that form the meat-and-potatoes of the Tau Commander's playstyle, as with these a Shas'O can serve as either a front-line slugger, ranged fighter, or support soldier.

  • Photon Grenade - Level 1
    • Ability: Photon Grenade (25 Energy; Project a photon grenade at the targeted location. Photon grenades temporarily disorient and confuse enemies, causing them to attack random targets or walk around aimlessly for a short time)
      • An old Tau favorite, and a wargear option you start with. Photon Grenade allows you to, for 25 energy, launch a grenade that induces the Confusion status. At a glance, this seems very similar to the Eldar Farseer's Runes of the Harlequin ability, but it costs more, has a slower start-up, and, perhaps most notably, has a blast radius, which means it can confuse a whole crowd of clustered enemies. Even better, it also effects vehicles, and even the wave 16 clones! Extremely useful for disrupting enemy attacks, the Photon Grenade is an excellent early upgrade and works extremely well as a support option.
  • Snare Mine - Level 1
    • Ability: Snare Mine(10 Energy; Places a Tau snare mine at the targeted location. When an enemy moves near it the mine detonates, slowing the target and other enemies nearby)
      • A classic from the first Dawn of War - and one you start with, no less - Snare Mines let you place, for 10 energy, a mine that, when triggered by an enemy getting too close, explodes, slowing the enemy considerably for several seconds. Compared to the Mekboy's similar Booby Traps ability, the Snare Mine costs less, only places one mine, and each mine has a blast radius. However, unlike Booby Trap, Snare Mine's effect lasts quite a while, and effectively immobilizes those effected by five seconds (they can still move a bit and attack, but their movement is pretty much crippled). Better, it effects vehicles whereas Booby Traps do not. Absolutely worth your time and one of the most versatile wargear options the Tau Commander gets.
  • Energy Core - Level 2
    • +25 Energy
      • The first unlock you get at level 2, and also the first passive accessory, the Energy Core improves your energy max by 25, letting you use more abilities before running out. How useful this is primarily depends on the user; many prefer the more-ubiquitous Ion Battery ability, though it sees quite a bit of use with players using more energy-hungry abilities, such as Fragmentation Missile Pod.
  • Stimulant Injector - Level 4
    • Traits: Resuscitation (When the Commander’s health slips below 20 he automatically revives 100 health. Resuscitation can only trigger once every 30 seconds. If an attack is powerful enough to lower the Commander’s health to 0 from above 20 it will bypass the injectors and be fatal)
      • An incredible survivability tool unlocked at level 4, this nifty little wargear allows the Tau Commander, once every 30 seconds, to restore 100 health automatically if he tips below 20 health. This may be only a small buffer if you truly get screwed, but it can keep a player in a fight for an almost embarrassingly long time considering how early it becomes available. Extremely common with many Tau Commander players, and with good reason.
  • Ion Battery - Level 6
    • Ability: Ion Battery (10 Energy; Places an ion battery at the targeted location. The ion battery quickly resupplies the energy of nearby allies)
      • An incredibly useful item unlocked at level 6, the Ion battery allows the Tau Commander to, for 10 Energy, plunk down a battery that rapidly recharges the energy of all allies (the Tau Commander included) in a wide radius. This is an incredibly handy upgrade, allowing for rapid recharging of abilities for not only the Commander, but his teammates - Sorcerers, for example, love Ion Batteries something fierce, and every Lord General loves the ability to use Sniper Shot, Solid Slug, and Take Aim! more often. This wargear tends to have a very harsh rivalry going on with the Energy Core; many players agonize over which is the better choice. Uniquely, the Ion Battery is the only wargear not effected by Coolant Injectors.
  • Fragmentation Missile Pod - Level 8
    • Ability: Fragmentation Missile Barrage (30 Energy; Fires a large salvo of fragmentation missiles at the targeted location, dealing damage and knocking back enemies)
      • Players who remember the Missile Barrage of the Skyray Missile Gunship in Dawn of War will be pleased to learn that they can fit a smaller version of this ability on their crisis suits. For 30 energy, the Crisis Suit can fire, after a small delay, a barrage of frag missiles that rain destruction down on a wide radius and from a very long range. This does huge damage and excels at destroying mobs of enemies though it can be tricky to aim. Unfortunately, the missiles themselves are not very good against vehicles, though the warheads can still cause a bit of damage. The warhead scatter tends to be somewhat random, but it's nonetheless a strong ability and a favorite of many a Shas'O. Benefits heavily from Coolant Injectors and either Ion Battery or Energy Core. Note that this weapon is capable of friendly fire, so be careful firing off at an ally surrounded by enemies, unless he or she is beefy enough to shrug off the damage with armor.
  • Coolant Injectors - Level 10
    • Trait: Cooled Systems Cooled Systems (Decreases the cool down of abilities by 5 seconds and the cost by 5 energy)
      • One of the most subtle - and useful - passive accessories for the Shas'O, the Coolant Injectors reduces the energy costs of every ability - Except Ion Battery - by 5 energy, and reduces their cooldown by 5 seconds. This allows the Crisis Suit to more frequently fire off its jets, and renders many abilities much less costly; Skyray Missiles only cost 35 Energy under this upgrade, Missile Barrage 25, and even Drones cost less. It cannot be understated just how incredibly useful this upgrade is; many players consider it a must-have.
  • Anti-Armor Missile Pod - Level 12
    • Ability: Anti-Armor Missile (15 Energy; Fires a salvo of anti-armor missiles at the target. These missiles deal high damage to single targets with high armor)
      • This shoulder-fired dingus is unlocked at level 12. Costing 15 energy a volley, the Anti-Armor Missile Pod fires off a trio of anti-armor missiles that are extremely effective against enemy heavy armor and vehicles. One of the more unilaterally fun weapon options, it gives Shas'Os using anti-infantry weapons some serious anti-vehicle punch. It's often compared to the Lord General's High-Powered Shot, and with good reason; they're both uniquely good priority target killers, though spreading it across three warheads does have its disadvantages. Note that the Anti-Armor Missile Pod does have a blast radius (albeit a very small one) and IS capable of friendly fire, so be careful when firing on targets trying to melee your allies, but timed properly you can wipe out those three Zoanthropes sticking a little too close together. Flanking enemies in melee before taking the shot will usually remove the danger.
  • Targetting Cluster - Level 14
    • +25% Accuracy
      • This accessory, unlocked at level 14, increases the accuracy of the Crisis Suit's ranged weapon by 25% (of its current value). This is worthless for the Airbursting Fragmentation Projector and Flamer, which will generally always hit what they are firing at, and of questionable value for the Burst Cannon, but is a magnum upgrade for the Plasma Rifle and Fusion Blaster, making them infinitely more reliable and, in the latter case, much more worth using. It actually amplifies both weapons DPS considerably due to how big the accuracy buff is. Combine with Networked Weapon Interface and Command armor for a truly rapetastic damage output. If you're going to use the Plasma Rifle or especially the Fusion Blaster, strongly consider using this!
  • Markerlight - Level 18
    • Abilities: Mark Target (5 Energy; Mark a target using the markerlight - Marked targets receive additional ranged damage and will be the target of Skyray Seeker Missiles when the Sky Ray Barrage is activated), Sky Ray Barrage (40 Energy: Drops a seeker missile on any targets marked by either Markerlights or Marker Drones)
      • YES. Unlocked at level 18, the Markerlight lets you mark targets for 5 energy, which seriously increases the ranged damage they take and lasts for an incredibly long period of time. Even better, it also lets you call down Smart Missiles from an outside-of-map Skyray, dealing massive area-of-effect damage to anything unfortunate enough to be in the area - on every single target currently marked with a Markerlight. This includes units marked by you, by a Marker Drone, and by other Tau Players and their Marker Drones. Yes, this is exactly as fun as it sounds, and can reduce the entire map to a moonscape. Even better, Mark Target is free to cast if you have Coolant Injectors. Note that the Skyray Barrage costs a ton of energy, however, and can easily kill both yourself and your allies, so be aware of this.
  • Nano Technology - Level 19
    • Traits: Nano Machines (Increases the health regeneration of the Tau Commander and any allies nearby by 1.0/second)
      • NANOMACHINES, SON. Unlocked at level 19, this accessory grants you a 1.0/sec regeneration boost, and grants it to nearby allies too. In essence, a weaker, but wider-ranging, version of the Space Marine Captain's Larraman's Blessing Commander Item. A decent survival upgrade, especially for Tau that will be working in close-support with allies, but is generally outclassed by Stimulant Injectors.
  • Advanced Drone Controller - Achievement Unlock: Kill all Three Doppelgangers on Wave 16 of Bloodied Coliseum within 5 seconds of one another
    • Grants an ability based on the equipped Drone. This ability costs a different amount of energy depending on the drone.
    • Ability (Shield Drone): EMP Field (25 Energy; Locks down all Shield Drones and any enemy under their radii; anything locked down cannot attack, move, take damage, or use abilities for the duration)
    • Ability (Heavy Gun Drone): Overdrive (15 Energy; For a short time, all Gun Drones gain boosted damage and massively increased rates of fire)
    • Ability (Marker Drone): Self-Destruct (10 Energy); All Marker Drones violently explode after several seconds, causing immense damage to anything close by)
      • The single hardest piece of wargear in the entire game to unlock, but totally worth your time and patience once you get it - especially considering that it works with multiple Tau Commanders at once. What order your Commander can give depends on what drone you have equipped; when engaged your orders will effect all drones of that type on the field (so if you have a Heavy Gun Drone, the order will go to all Heavy Gun Drones deployed). This makes the Drone Controller extremely potent with multiple Tau Commanders, and opens up a number of very versatile tactical options. These effects are covered under the individual drones.

Commander Items[edit]

The Tau Commander's Commander Items are all, interestingly enough, Drones. Once placed, they will roam about, doing their thing until destroyed or they move far enough away from the controller. Each Drone is useful, either with or without the drone controller accessory, so the key is in their individual abilities. Note that, due to a bizarre coding algorithm issue, drones will cheerfully wreck most cover they come into contact with - this can be either advantageous or not, depending on the map and what your team composition is.

  • Shield Drone: - Level 5
    • Ability: Shield Drone (35 Energy; Summon a Tau shield drone to the battlefield. Shield drones emit a protective field that reduces incoming ranged damage by 50% to allies within range.)
      • Deceptively powerful, especially given how early it unlocks. The Shield drone generates a (surprisingly large) shield that cuts the ranged damage all allies within the shield take by half. For a predominantly-ranged team (or one that has a Hive Tyrant with Toxin Cysts), this can effectively make for a mobile firebase - provided the drone doesn't derp out and wander off, which, like all Drones, it of course has a legendary propensity for doing, unless you leash it (such as using the Southern corner of Bloodied Colosseum). It does, however, cost the most at 35 energy a pop, so bear that in mind.
      • The EMP Field ability, used by the Drone Controller, functionally takes both the Drone and any enemies near it out of the fight for the duration; they cannot move or attack, nor can they take damage, but for the duration, you've effectively cut a huge chunk of enemy forces out of the fight - a ridiculously powerful advantage. This can easily be one of the most powerful of the Drone abilities tactically, since correctly used it can divide an enemy force significantly. Bear in mind, however, that it won't last too long - a mere five seconds.
  • Heavy Gun Drone: - Level 15
    • Ability: Heavy Gun Drone (25 Energy; Summon a Tau heavy gun drone to the battlefield. Gun drones are equipped with twin-linked burst cannons and fire on the enemy.)
      • Simple but effective, the heavy gun drone is tougher health-wise (although, without the benefits of the shield, it tends to die quicker when targeted) and packs twin-linked Burst Cannons. Sadly, unlike the Burst Cannons the Shas'O can equip, they don't cause suppression, but it's still a very good infantry-killer, especially when paired up with Markerlights and/or the Command Aura. It's less expensive than the Shield Drone, but still rather pricey.
      • When the Advanced Drone Controller is used, it gains the Overdrive ability, which boosts the damage of the drone and massively kicks up its fire rate, causing it to do phenomenal amounts of damage to infantry targets - its actual DPS essentially doubles due to this, making its damage rival the damage output of the Tau Commander himself in many builds, but it doesn't last very long. Best when used with multiple gun drone-equipped Commanders.
  • Marker Drone: - Level 20
    • Ability: Marker Drone (15 Energy; Summon a Tau marker drone to the battlefield. Marker drones automatically mark targets. Marked targets receive increased ranged damage and can be targeted by Skyray Missile Barrages.)
      • Ironically for a Drone you get at level 20, this is one of the least consistently useful drones.... At first. All it does normally is drop Markerlights (albeit for free) as it roams the battlefield. On one hand, this means it's vastly easier to mark targets, and the marked targets can be blown up by your Skyray Barrage ability (you still need the Markerlight to do so, however). Considering that Markerlight drops can be free with Coolant Injectors, this seems like a gimmicky - if useful - piece of wargear, though obviously best used alongside the Markerlight itself for Skyray compatibility. It is, however, the cheapest drone.
      • The Drone Controller turns this gimmicky little drone into a devastatingly powerful impromptu weapon; it overloads the core and causes the drone to explode in an almost ludicrously powerful explosion that will instantly gib heavy infantry, deal heavy damage to vehicles, and punch your clones right into space. It can just as easily kill you or your allies, however, so be extremely careful in its use. It can easily be used offensively (jump into crowds, deploy, jump away) or as a trap for pursuing foes. Be wary of using it if your allies are using Marker Drones too.

Tactics & Strategy[edit]

A few tricks of the trade are discussed below.

Drone Tactica[edit]

Drones are a major part of Tau Commander strategy, and they offer major benefits. If you don't use your drone, you're doing it wrong.

Shield Drone:

  • This drone is actually arguably the strongest of the three - if your goal is party support. It essentially halves incoming ranged damage, and in a fairly substantial radius. The drone's aura is clearly marked, and is selective enough to not effect friendly fire directed at enemies inside the shield range. Shield Drones do not stack with one another; they simply boost the radius.
    • The Shield Drone is ironically the most durable drone; it takes a huge amount of ranged damage to actually kill one, though it tends to go down pretty quick in close-combat against tougher foes.
    • Immediately, the obvious teammates that should come to mind with this drone is the Lord General and Hive Tyrant. The former gets minions and an emplacement, all of which can be protected by the bubble, whereas the latter offers not only minions, but potential screening against threats, especially with Poison Cysts. Other beneficiaries include the Chaos Sorcerer and the Mekboy, who either can support the front line, add minions for a firing line, or help buff the team.
    • For the most durable team in Last Stand, pair a Mekboy with a Trophy Rack with a Hive Tyrant with Psychic Scream and a Tau Commander with shield drones. You'll be looking at well over 80% damage reduction to ranged damage!
      • The Shield Drone's EMP Field is best-used as a last-ditch "get out of trouble free" card; it will immediately lock down the shield drone (and indeed, all shield drones) for five seconds, essentially taking the enemies stunned by the stasis field out of the fight. It's extremely handy for backing up less mobile teammates, allowing them to get clear of incoming threats. The EMP field can actually be extremely powerful with Multiple Shield Drones and Controllers; If each Tau Commander fires one off right as the effect ends, you can essentially keep a massive area completely locked down indefinitely with some Ion Batteries.

Heavy Gun Drone:

  • This simple piece of hardware fires off a barrage of burst cannon fire. Not all that strong - about as effective as one single Burst Cannon with no upgrades or suppression - but can help whittle foes down. Of the three drones, it's the most prone to drawing aggro and it's the only one capable of actually engaging in combat.
    • Don't expect miracles from this drone, though it can be quite effective with a solid team behind it. Boosted by a Sorcerer's Icon of Pain, a Tau Commander's Command Aura, or an Imperial General's Take Aim!, it can inflict surprisingly heavy damage, making it a bit more killy if that's what's called for. It's otherwise best for just directing more Dakka downrange.
    • It lacks the defense of the Shield Drone and tends to draw fire which means it's also the drone most likely to die in combat (other than the Markerlight Drone with the controller, of course). It's a cheaper drone, however, which makes it a bit more utilitarian. It's quite handy for getting enemies that are chasing you off your back (by giving them something else to concern themselves with).
      • All bets are off when the Overdrive of the Gun Drone is online; the Heavy Gun Drone fires much faster and is much more powerful, dealing roughly double its DPS. Whilst this isn't enough to make it as powerful as say, the Hive Tyrant's Ravener, but it's way better at cutting down single targets than it was before, especially ones that lack heavy armor. It's also even more likely to draw attention with this ability going. Even better, the ability is relatively cheap and has outstanding synergy with multiple drones; one drone controller can mean 3 gun drones that are now all in buzzsaw mode, firing a hilarious number of shots at once.

Marker Drone:

  • This drone's the cheapest one and has the most clear-cut advantages and use. It flies around, marking targets with a markerlight for you. The benefits are obvious; it debuffs enemies against ranged damage, of which virtually all the Tau Commander's weapons are.
    • The obvious benefits of pairing Marker Drone with Markerlight is obvious, but it's even better with multiple Tau Commanders, since you can all contribute to the Skyray Party. The benefits of the Markerlight are also handy for ranged heroes like the Lord General or Mekboy. Bear in mind that calling in a Skyray strike will also shut off all currently-active markerlights.
      • Marker Drone's benefit from the Controller is self-destructing; it goes off in roughly the radius of a Kinetic Shield pulse and deals enormous damage - and it's quite capable of friendly fire. As such, it's the only drone better off used singly with the controller; whilst other Tau Commanders can plant drones for you to explode, your control of them is relatively minimal and imparts too much risk. Use it sparingly with teammates! That said, it's extremely destructive and arguably usable as a de facto demo charge for the Tau Commander.


Drone Tethering[edit]

A Tau Commander Tethers his Drone.

The Drones have a notorious tendency to wander off in Last Stand, mostly because they try to keep up with you. Unfortunately, because the Drone also destroys cover when it moves around (the Tau commander doesn't give a shit, since he can't benefit anyway, but other heroes might), you may want to find a way to keep the drone in one spot. Thankfully, there is a way to do this, and it's known as Drone Tethering.

Sadly, it's also only possible in a few spots in each arena. If you pull it off, and position it right, the Drone will spawn and be unable to move from its one spot.

It is completely impervious to melee enemies in this spot, and only enemies that can shoot (or throw grenades) can hurt it in any way.

For the Shield Drone, this makes the tether spot a premium camping position, especially when backed with either a Mekboy with a Trophy Rack or Hive Tyrant with Psychic Scream and/or Poison Cysts.

For the Heavy Gun Drone, this essentially makes it a turret.

The Marker Drone will continue to do its time-honored tactic of marking things, completely unaffected by the nearby cover.

Note that the rocks can be destroyed by explosive damage, advancing monstrous creatures or walkers, and players who teleport/jump in.


Known Tether Spots are:

Bloodied Colosseum:

  • The large pile of rocks in the southern corner, specifically the fallen pillar. This is probably the best-known tether spot.
  • The large pile of rocks in the northern corner is also usable but takes more practice. Between the top gate's right side and the rocks only found it cause using that spot to make melee guys stop I cloned the force commander and he spawned in it couldn't move or attack but use his ground slam to kill so I though to try putting a drone there and it works though it didn't shoot till they had got out into the middle of the map.
  • (Insert Additional Tether Spots Found Here)

Anvil of Khorne:

  • * (Insert Additional Tether Spots Found Here)

Achievement Tactica[edit]

  • Dynamic Entry (Which unlocks the Networked Weapon Interface) is unlocked by killing 100 people by jumping on them. Know that under no circumstances can you defeat any enemy, even a gaunt, with a mere jump.... Without help, at least. The Flamer is a good choice for accomplishing this achievements, as it's area of effect damage can cover entire crowds so you can stomp on them later. When you have both the Armored Crisis Suit and Iridium shield, however, you will reliably one-shot low-level mooks like Guardsmen and Shootas. Use it well.
  • Tau Efficiency (Which unlocks the Advanced Drone Controller) is probably the hardest achievement to get, as the constraints for it (Killing the Doppelgangers of Wave 16 within 5 seconds of each other) are nearly impossible without coordinating intentionally flawed builds that Relic specifically designed to not be able to beat the game mode. The most reliable way to do it is to coordinate with allies using intentionally gimped builds, stun the clones (such as with Snare Mines or Frag Grenades) and then finish them off with focused fire, a Kinetic Pulse, or a Skyray Barrage. YOU have to be the one to strike the killing blow; simply alpha striking the spawn with Rocket Run or the like won't work!.

Progression[edit]

The Tau progression is extremely balanced and measured, with equipment distributed quite evenly throughout. At no point does the Tau Commander ever really have a "struggle point" like the Captain before the Jump Pack or Lord General before Guardsmen. Out the gate, the Tau Commander is a versatile, effective hero that excels at fire support. Initially in his career, however, he is better used as an offensive support unit, debuffing, controlling, and bringing down tough enemies, but later he can be kitted out for everything from line support to long-range, high-damage combat or infantry destruction.

At the start of your career as a Shas'o, you have two decent gun options - the Flamer and the Plasma Rifle, a usable-if-not-overwhelming shield in the Shield Generator, and a very useful pair of starting wargear options - the Photon Grenade and Snare Trap. Both of these items are usable all game long and unlike many similar options in other classes retain their usefulness no matter how high in level the Shas'o is; consider them if you don't necessarily need another tactical option (for example, if you are running Dual Fusion Blasters, Photon Grenade and Snare Trap are generally a better choice than Anti-Armor Missiles). You should stick with the Armored Chassis - at least for the first few levels - so you can work towards the Dynamic Entry achievement and so you have a bit more survivability, since you don't have the usual degree of flexibility a Shas'o will later have yet.

Levels 2 through 4 bring you, in order, the Energy Core, Fusion Blaster, and Stimulant Injector. The Energy Core should be used immediately, whereas the Fusion Blaster is more of a tactical choice - huge damage, but a very slow reload, making the Shas'o better at wiping out heavy targets at the cost of everything else. It's better to shelve the Fusion Blaster (for now), because it becomes way better later on. The Stimulant Injector comes next, and should ideally replace the accessory of your choice if you plan to use the other crisis suit - the Agile suit will give you plenty of mobility and really helps the Flamer; it'll be even better later on with some additional gear. Though the Stimulant Injector's a great survivability upgrade, try to learn to get by without it - you'll train yourself better and be more able to avoid over-relying on it for when accessories are scarce!

Level 5 brings you the Shield Drone, and a great option it is. Use it immediately and familiarize yourself with using it as mobile cover, since the Tau Commander lacks the ability to gain cover saves.

Levels 6, 7, and 8 are characterized by major utility upgrades. Level 6 brings you the Ion Battery, which is one of the most useful wargear items in the game if you're packing a lot of heavy drain equipment (Photon Grenades, Shield Drone) and are great for allies as well. Level 7 brings you the Kinetic Shield, a great defensive enhancement that makes the Tau Commander a threat at close combat and synergizes beautifully with the Fusion Blaster and Plasma Rifle. Level 8 brings you your first legitimate anti-squad option in Fragmentation Missile Pod - Use this weapon sparingly - it's both energy-hungry and hard to aim, but its firepower is excellent.

With Level 9 and 10, you get the Airbursting Fragmentation Projector, which is your first long-ranged weapon and extremely handy for fighting from afar. This is then chased by the Coolant Injectors - arguably the most important and powerful item in all of Last Stand for the Tau Commander, reducing the cost of everything by five and reducing your cooldowns. Virtually every quality Tau Commander build needs this piece of hardware, but it isn't critical if you're focused on weapon use, so bear this in mind.

Level 11 brings the Iridium Shield, giving you an alternate way to get the Heavy trait for lighter chassis builds, and giving major survivability to any build that doesn't need sheer mobility. You can now run a heavy defense build, or use it to bolster light builds. Anti-Armor Missile comes next, arguably the most useful offensive option the Tau Commander gets for almost six levels, and one of the most useful weapons of its type, making anti-infantry weapon builds much more viable. 13 then chases this with the Agile Crisis Suit, giving you a substantial boost to airmobility and making most long range offensive builds viable. 14 then brings Targeting Cluster - now you can get the most out of Plasma Rifle and Fusion Blaster builds. Score!

Level 15 gives you the Heavy Gun Drone. Get used to using it - it's less survivable and less helpful to allies than the Shield Drone, but it's way more self-sufficient and can help you stay alive that much longer. Very handy for fire support and as a distraction, and it becomes lethal if you can get Drone Controller - more on that later.

Level 16 finally starts to bring the Tau Commander up to his zenith as far as power goes, unlocking the Burst Cannon. This weapon offers suppression, high damage, and long-range - it's hard to find a more efficient weapon for infantry-killing, though it struggles with high armor. Fortunately, you have an option for heavy armor by now (you got it at level 12). 17 then gives you the Command Armor, the only Shas'o armor with Fearless and a unique aura that boosts your ranged damage. Unfortunately, it's also the only suit without a health boost, so it also makes both the Shields and Stimulant Injector highly desirable.

Level 18 brings Markerlight - pretty much the best "utility" ability the Shas'o gets, because it debuffs enemy defense significantly against ranged attacks, which every single primary you carry is. It also gives you your most powerful offensive option, the Skyray Barrage, though it's nowhere near as strong as other nukes (such as Rocket Run or even Eldritch Storm).

Level 19 gives you Nano Technology - your only health regen boost in the game and an advantage the Tau Commander seriously benefits from. Better, it bolsters teammates, so it can help keep nearby allies in the field. It's a reasonable alternative to Stimulant Injector if your build is durable enough already, and can easily pay for itself if you're on the move often enough.

Level 20 then wraps things up by giving you Marker Drone. Not much to say here - it's a great option that works best with Markerlight.

Special note needs to be placed on the achievement wargear. Networked Weapon Interface is absolutely amazing, giving the Tau Commander remarkably high damage, even early on. This weapon costs some of your primary's damage, but in exchange, clones the weapon in your alternate slot, giving you, on average, a 50% increase in overall damage. Use it well.

The Drone Controller is the hardest-to-get item in the entire game, but is also ridiculously useful, opening up tons of new tactics for an enterprising Tau Commander. The Shield Drone becomes an amazing lockdown and control device, the Gun Drone a fire support minion par excellence, and the Marker Drone becomes a ridiculously powerful suicide device. If you can get this item, consider using it - it has many advantages and few drawbacks to speak of.

Build Options[edit]

  • Note* The Tau Commander is by far the most diverse hero in the game, being able to easily switch between all rounder, tanks, fire support, and blob counters with a switch of only one or two items.


BUILD 1 - GOOMBA STOMPER

Min Level: 12

Maps: Any

  • Weapons: Command Issue Plasma Rifle, Iridium Plated Shield
  • Armor: XV8 'Armored' Crisis Battlesuit
  • Accessories: Stimulant Injector, Coolant Injectors, Anti Armor Missile Pod
  • Commander Item: Shield Drone Controller

You are a short range, damage tanking jump trooper. Combining the heavy crisis suit with the Iridium shield gives you a double "heavy" trait, allowing you to instakill some blobs on impact from your jump (Tyranids in particular are vulnerable to this). The damage resistance provided makes the Commander nearly impervious to small arms fire, while the Stimulant Injector gives you a chance if any heavy melee units like Nobz get too close. Your main strategy will be disrupting blobs with your jumps while focusing on hard targets with your plasma rifle and missile pod. The Shield Drone will draw fire and provide damage resistance, while the Coolant Injectors allow you to hop around the map like a hyperactive frog that crushes blobs underfoot when it lands. This build is excellent for achieving the "Dynamic Entry" achievement, and for kiting mobs while slowly whittling them down in dire situations where your other two teammates are down and it is too risky to revive them.


BUILD 2 - HAILSTORM

Min Level: 17 (requires "Dynamic Entry" achievement)

Maps: Any

  • Weapons: Burst Cannon, Networked Weapon Interface
  • Armor: XV8 'Command' Crisis Battlesuit
  • Accessories: Stimulant Injector, Coolant Injectors, Anti Armor Missile Pod
  • Commander Item: Heavy Gun Drone

This build gives you the most DPS you could hope for, essentially giving you almost the equivalent firepower of a single medium-wave: the double burst cannon combined with the "command" suit deals more damage than a Plasma Rifle (without armor piercing, though) making the commander literally shred to pieces any kind of light and medium infantry in a matter of seconds. The Heavy Gun Drone also synergies extremely well with the armor, making your combined DPS almost insane! You also got anti-armor missile pod to engage the bigger targets, although they shouldn't be your first objective (this is one of the two "weak points" of this build, the other being toughness. But you got team mates for a reason!). The coolant injectors make you able to spam more rockets, drones and to jump a lot more freely, and this alone makes you a much bigger threat and significantly bolster your survivability. Lastly, Stimulant Injectors are key to survive the latest waves; in this build you are quite squishy, meaning even a single squad of plasma rifle marines could easily kill you in a single volley if caught in the open. The SI provides you with an extremely solid heal effects that will easily mitigate the biggest weak point of the build. But remember that it doesn't make you tanky, so you shouldn't rely on it unless compelled!


BUILD 3 - SWISS KNIFE

Min Level: 17

Maps: Any

  • Weapons: Command Issue Plasma Rifle, Repulsor Shield
  • Armor: XV8 'Command' Crisis Battlesuit
  • Accessories: Ion Battery, Coolant Injectors, Anti Armor Missile Pod
  • Commander Item: Heavy Gun Drone

With this build you compromise between survivability and DPS, becoming an effective Jack of All Trades and offsetting the only limitation the Tau Commander has: hand to hand combat. All right, let me clarify myself: you still suck in close combat and your attacks still do shit. But you can effectively keep melee enemies at bay thanks to your kinetic pulse (which also do a lot of damage to light armoured enemies) and the Ion Battery and Coolant Injectors make you able to spam it with little to no concern, while your Heavy Gun Drone wreck light-medium infantry squads from distance and you destroy armoured foes thanks to the Plasma Rifle and the Anti Armor Missile Pod. If an enemy that you can't knock back comes dangerously close, you can just jump away, place down your Ion Battery and re engage from a safe distance. Rinse and repeat until they're all dead.

  • You can also use this build more aggressively by jumping on infantry squads and swiftly activating the Kinetic pulse, knocking them back and dealing heavy damage to the entire squad, then retreat away and finishing them from range (if they're still alive, that is). You could also use the 'armoured' suit instead of the 'command' one, dealing a lot more damage and gaining some more tankiness. Only remember that, by doing this, you are losing some mobility and ranged damage but, depending on your team mates, it could work better than the original build.
  • Variant: Replace Gun Drone with Marker Drone to debuff heavier enemies and take Fragmentation Missile Pod to clear out mobs as soon as possible, reloading your energy with the Ion Battery. Don' t waste time shooting down light mobs with your plasma rifles. Stay near shooty or energy hungry team mates (e.g. Guard) and buff them with Battery/Command Battlesuit effects. The downside is that some players will always jump right into your missiles all the time (Marines, Sorcs).


BUILD 4 - SKY RAY PARTY

Min Level: 20 (requires "Dynamic Entry" achievement)

Maps: Bloodied Colosseum (It is effectively viable on both maps, but a lot more difficult in Anvil of Khorne because of its lowered dimensions)

  • Weapons: Command Issue Plasma Rifle, Network Weapon Interface
  • Armor: XV8 'Agile' Crisis Battlesuit
  • Accessories: Ion Battery, Coolant Injectors, Markerlight
  • Commander Item: Marker Drone

A tricky (and not so simple to use) build, but really effective with the right team mates. With this, the tactic is to nimbly bounce around the map, thanks to your superior stabilizers, remaining out of range from enemy fire while marking everything in sight. Then you obliterate any marked target with your Sky Ray Barrage! You can effectively remain airborne almost at any time thanks to the Coolant Injectors, and the Ion Battery will help you recharge your energy after a barrage. You equip the Plasma Rifle in this build because it's got great range and a lot of punch, keeping you safe while you maintain your distance and target armored enemies that your barrage would have problems dealing with. Although you could exchange the NWI with a Repulsor Shield, making you less of a Glass Cannon, you shouldn't do that for two reasons: number one being that, by doing so, you aren't properly taking advantage of the markerlights, who increase your ranged damage by a lot, and, number two, you are already sufficiently energy hungry as it is, so you wouldn't want to waste other energy on the kinetic pulse. Besides, with this build you should avoid melee anyway, jumping from point to point.


BUILD 5 - PLASMA MASSACRE (added by: Warptrooper)

Min Level: 17 (requires "Dynamic Entry" achievement)

Maps: Any

  • Weapons: Command Issue Plasma Rifle, Network Weapon Interface
  • Armor: XV8 'Command' Crisis Battlesuit
  • Accessories: Stimulant Injector, Targeting Clusters, Coolant Injectors
  • Commander Item: Heavy Gun Drone

Simply massive amounts of ranged damage to Light Infantry, Heavy Infantry and Armor. Dual Plasmas + Command Suit (+15% damage) + Targeting Clusters (93%, Accuracy would be 75% without it) = Retarded amounts of damage on anything. Stimulant injectors help keep you alive in case you get low. The Heavy gun drone is just icing on the cake and adds additional damage plus helps draw fire away from you. Strategy: Stay mobile. No Heavy trait means you have good jump range. Use this to your advantage. Keep moving, ideally getting in cover at your next jump position and use your plasma's range to kill everything. Don't let melee get close. The downsides to this build: No anti-armor missiles (but you don't really need them with 2x Plasmas @ 93% accuracy with +15% command buff). Tanks die in just a few volleys plus you save energy that can be saved for gun drone or jet pack. Again, use and abuse your mobility and kill everything with your range. I have never seen anyone else using this and I do not understand why. Getting 500-600+ kills is fun and you pretty much NEVER miss with both plasmas thanks to Targeting Clusters. PS: If your ally Tau Commander has Command armor already, you could replace your Command armor for Armored for extra 50 HP + 10 Armor plus stronger jump but you lose a bit of range on jump. Could also do Agile for 25 more HP and additional Jump range at the cost of 20 armor. The jump range could be helpful but again this is only if you already have an ally Tau with Command armor.


BUILD 6 - DISCO INFERNO (Burn Baby Burn)

Min Level: 17 (requires "Dynamic Entry" achievement)

Maps: Any

  • Weapons: Flamer, Network Weapon Interface
  • Armor: XV8 'Command' Crisis Battlesuit
  • Accessories: Stimulant Injector, Anti Armor Missile Pod, Coolant Injectors
  • Commander Item: Heavy Gun Drone

Do you like roasting chestnuts over a roasting fire? What about guardsmen, nids, or any other inf squad. The name of the game with this suit is rapid response. Jump in cook a squad and move on with the coolant you are able to move quickly across the battlefield. The Anti-Armor Missile Pod will allow you to target anything big and bad such as 'Uge Hammers or Zoanthrope at a huge range. Keep in mind since your Missile pods take energy that you should balance out your shooting and moving try to boost into position for a good shot and while in the air target with the pods. It is also worth noting that your pods are great against your clone on wave 16 of the Colosseum and the AI will also try to make use of them, a single volley is enough to trigger the Stim which should be followed with a jump and fire to finish them off. Mobility is your friend with this build helping an ally if they start to get over whelmed by normal or putting a rocket in a threat before boosting off. make use of any rest time you can to keep your energy up. You should also make sure to keep up your gun drone while it is effective to do so (other wise your just wasting energy to let it die in one shot) to help with the groups either for drawing them in for your jump and burn or to being helpful if you need to let your energy build back up. Don't be afraid to seek cover away from the action or dance around the map if your stims trigger for the cool down to go away.


BUILD 7 - FIREKNIFE CONFIG (added by: Jaimas)

Min Level: 15 (requires "Dynamic Entry" and "Tau Efficiency" achievements)

Maps: Any

  • Weapons: Fusion Blaster, Network Weapon Interface
  • Armor: XV8 'Light' Crisis Battlesuit
  • Accessories: Targeting Clusters, Fragmentation Missile Pod, Advanced Drone Controller (if you do not have this, go with Stimulant Injector, Nano Technology, or Ion Battery)
  • Commander Item: Heavy Gun Drone

This build, named for its counterpart in the tabletop game, is a heavily-armed brute. Fusion Blasters basically need Targeting Clusters and and the Networked Weapon interface for ideal performance, and with the increased movement speed of the Light crisis suit, you can control your distance well - necessary for any use of this brutal weapon. Your main role in the fireteam is killing priority targets - heavy vehicles, monstrous creatures, and the errant walker. You lack much anti-mob damage so you'll be relying on your gun drone and your teammates as a screener; Advanced Drone Controller really helps by letting this thing whittle down enemy mobs. Frag missiles are included to help you whittle down mobs from afar but the bulk of your work is mostly going to be punching holes in big threatening things, and at this, you will excel - you're packing the kind of firepower that allows you to take out a more-or-less intact Ork Nob in one direct hit of your dual guns. Expect to kill Kans in 2-3 volleys and Dreadnoughts in the same. Rear armor shots on tanks or APCs will blow them apart in record time.


BUILD 8 - AERIAL BOMBARDMENT (added by: Jaimas)

Min Level: 15 (requires "Dynamic Entry" achievement)

Maps: Any

  • Weapons: Airbursting Fragmentation Projector, Network Weapon Interface
  • Armor: XV8 'Agile' Crisis Battlesuit
  • Accessories: Coolant Injectors, Stimulant Injector, Anti-Armor Missile Pod
  • Commander Item: Heavy Gun Drone

A build designed to exploit mobility, this absolute bastard of a tactical build isn't for the faint of heart. Agile Suit and Coolant Injectors give you something no other build has: instant jump jet cooldowns. You cover enough ground to cross the entirety of Anvil in a single jet, or cover close to 60% of Colosseum in a single bound. The tactical advantage his provides is fucking huge. To work with this, you'll be using the AFP, which has the longest range of any Tau Commander weapon, doesn't give a shit about cover or intervening terrain, and twin-linking the goddamned thing for good measure. Back this up with Anti-Armor missiles (for hole-punching armored targets) and a Heavy Gun Drone (to draw fire whilst you zip around the battlefield) and this thing is an absolute monster in practiced hands. You're less durable than many builds but that doesn't really matter when you have no intention of getting into close-combat in the first place and have instant cooldowns on your jets.


BUILD 9 - DRONE DEVASTATION (added by: Harkonnen)

Min Level: 20 (requires "Tau Efficiency" achievement)

Maps: Any

  • Weapons: Command Issue Plasma Rifle, Repulsor Shield
  • Armor: XV8 'Armored' Crisis Battlesuit
  • Accessories: Coolant Injectors, Ion Battery Advanced Drone Controller
  • Commander Item: Marker Drone

This build is named for the ability of your drones to be absolutely devastating. Advanced Drone Controller is essential and allows you to self-destruct your Marker Drone with a large explosion that does massive damage to anything nearby (including allies, be wary.) Use the Tau Commander's mobility and heavy trait to jump on groups of enemies and activate kinetic pulse, killing most weak enemy blobs with ease. For tougher enemies you jump on them and stun them, deploy your marker drone in their face and calmly walk away or jump as you leave devastation in your wake. Running low on energy? Drop an Ion Battery at your feet and watch most of it come rushing back and your energy intensive allies also get these benefits. Which is probably the least you can do for jumping around and stealing most of the kills. 600+ is not uncommon, depending on your allies. What about the clones on wave 16 you ask? Pfft, what clones? Determine their spawn location based off where the large horde of Banshees comes from at the end of Wave 9 and when Wave 16 comes around, wait at the gate and jump on them as they spawn, stunning them before dropping a Marker Drone on top of them and triggering the self-destruct. When stunned, your clone will summon his own drone and both will go off in their faces, leaving your allies to wonder what happened as the clones are turned to dust. Only the beefiest tanky heroes are likely to survive, but not for long as you jump-stun them again and re-introduce them to your little friend.

One of the best parts about this build is that you will always have something to do. Use Kinetic Pulse to relieve your beleaugered allies of melee hordes. Lead your enemies around the battlefield while turning to drop a drone surprise and revive your allies as they focus on how cool it looks as it spins for the greater good. Not for them though. The downsides of this build are that it can be fairly micro-intensive and you have no Stimulant Injectors to fall back on when things get rough so it's important to keep on the move. But if you pay attention, nothing will be a challenge except for Wave 17 and 20 on Colosseum and the final waves on Anvil.

  • The downside is that the playstyle is very hectic and it does not work with team mates that are ignorant of this build. Also, the detonation radius of the drone is not visible.


BUILD 10 - BURST CANNON? HOW ABOUT SOME BURST DAMAGE?

Min Level: 17

Maps: Any

  • Weapons: Fusion Blaster, Repulsor Shield
  • Armor: XV8 'Command' Crisis Battlesuit
  • Accessories: Targeting Cluster, Coolant Injectors, Anti Armor Missile Pod
  • Commander Item: Heavy Gun Drone

The fusion blaster and anti armor missiles give you plenty of single target dps (thanks to the targeting cluster preventing the fusion from missing every shot), while the repulsor shield and gun drone give you some options to deal with hordes in a pinch. The important thing to remember with this build is your targets, your commander is only meant to directly target bigger, tougher models, leave hordes to your teammates. The advantage of this build is that you can quickly snipe out medium infantry like tyranid warriors, raveners and tactical marines in one shot while also remaining mobile enough to get behind vehicles and let off some tasty rear armor shots with missiles or fusion. You need to stay mobile and pick your firing positions carefully with this build to take advantage of the repulsor shield and counteract the stationary fire of the fusion blaster. This build can also get a little energy hungry in later levels so don't be afraid to run away and kite blobs while regenerating energy and health if you need to.


BUILD 11 - THE WEBSPINNER

Min Level: 10

Maps: Any

  • Weapons: Command Issue Plasma Rifle, Repulsor Shield
  • Armor: XV8 'Armored' Crisis Battlesuit
  • Accessories: Snare Mines, Coolant Injectors, Ion Battery
  • Commander Item: Shield Drone

One of the more original builds, revolving around a virtually unseen piece of kit - the humble snare mines. Place 'em here, place 'em there, place 'em everywhere! Watch as entire waves of enemies slow to a crawl while you pick them off from the relative safety of your shield drone. The Heavy trait and Repulser Shield allow you to be aggressive against blobs, making up somewhat for the piddly damage of your Plasma Rifle. In addition, Kinetic Pulse gives you breathing room when enemies breach your safe space. Coolant Injectors make it possible to spam enough mines to cover every possible approach, ensuring you always have a button to press. Ion Battery is there mainly to recover energy between shield drones, but when fast AoE damage is critical, it enables you to spam Kinetic Pulse in fits of desperation. (If you can keep your shield drone alive, consider substituting Ion Battery for Stimulant Injector to recover from withering ranged fire.) Be mindful to replace triggered mines and drop more in front of slowed enemies before the effect wears off. As long as you have teammates laying on the damage and your shield drone doesn't wander off like a dumbass, there's not much that can threaten you.


The heroes of Last Stand
Space Marine Captain - Chaos Sorcerer - Eldar Farseer - Hive Tyrant
Lord General - Ork Mekboy - Tau Commander - Necron Overlord