Just by way of a bit of a follow up I've recently played against this list again.
This time I took:
Sh'as El, Deathrain, target lock, 2 shield drones
2 x 3 + 1 x 2
Deathrains with blacksunfilters, Team leader with target lock
2 x 2 + 1
Broadsides - ASS, 2 shield drones, team leader with target lock - one unit took targeting arrays instead
2 Tetras with targeting arrays
2 x 6 firewarriors with Devlifish and disruption pods
1 x 10 Kroot
1 x 10 Kroot + 6 Kroot hounds
We also set up the terrain as per Stelek's tournament terrain guide:http://yesthetruthhurts.com/2012/02/ste ... t-terrain/
He seems to be a bit like marmite, you either love him or hate him, but his advice here made for a far more enjoyable game.
Needless to say I did a lot better... I still lost, 2 objectives to 1, but it came right down to the wire with his dreadknight doing most of the damage and essentially pinning a chunk of my army in the corner of the board where I had to feed him successively more powerful units to keep him under control. I really missed some AP2 in this game - I thought I could pretty much ignore the DK and take him out with railguns as and when the opportunity arose - which may have worked better if I rolled less 1's at critical points in the game!!
At least this is a list I feel I can build from - I'm going to be removing the monat broadside and swap in a two man helios configuration of some kind, also running the broadside team leaders with plasma and multi trackers. I'm also toying with the idea of a Shield El and a unit of 9 firewarriors on foot instead of one of the devilfish. The mathammer says they should be fairly durable and I could really have done with being able to throw a handful of dice at str5 in the endgame. I think I'm also going to swap the deathrains for Firestorms for more firepower - I might regret that when I start to miss with the missile pods though... I might keep one unit of deathrains and swap one out to firestorms
1. Overkill and focus fire where possible. And target priority... I know this is old news to more experienced players but it really makes a difference. If there was one piece of advice I would give to a new player, it would be that in each turn decide what you want to take out - and keep firing at it until it's been neutralised. If you manage to do this to more than one unit per turn, take that as a bonus. In my case, this was reducing a unit of psykers to bring them from str 8, AP1 to at least str 7, AP2. I was successful against two of the units and they suddenly became a lot less scary. But I kept putting my missile pods against his transports and railguns against the dreadnoughts. This meant his chimera with his command squad in it survived the whole game whilst the dreadnoughts were kept fairly well in check - one of them spent a lot of the game immobilsed behind the buttress of a building. The dreadnoughts really aren't that scary when there's plenty of terrain on the board. In retrospect I'd have been better of railgunning the chimera and mopping up with the missile pods and leaving the dreadnoughts alone until I'd taken out the squishier units.
2. Crisis suits are ultimately expendable - I don't think I suffered greatly from sacrificing them at the right moment "For the Greater Good" so to speak! It was actually quite liberating being less attached to them, they have a job to do, and once that's done you shouldn't be afraid of feeding them to close combat units if it's going to protect something more important - or keep your troops alive in objective games.
3. Cover and terrain is good, in fact it's completely essential to the Tau. You simply don't have enough units (or large enough units) to withstand a sustained amount of insta killing blast weapons for example!! This game had much more varied terrain and it made the world of difference - I was JSJ'ing with the best of them! We both enjoyed the game a lot more and we had to employ real tactics. Once the first couple of turns worth of targets had been taken out or manoeuvred out of the way, we both had to think carefully about how we were going to redeploy.
4. Large units of Kroot are cool - ok so the unit of ten pretty much got wiped out in turn one, but the couple that remain could at least get in the way of the dreadknight and attracted fire if nothing else. The large unit outflanked in the just the right spot though and almost managed to steal an objective right at the end. If I'd have had some more long range anti-infantry firepower I could have removed a unit of psykers from one objective, and if I could have taken down a dreadnought I'd have captured a second - hence the thinking behind some of the changes I'm thinking of making.
5. Make your markerlights count - they may well not be around the turn after they put themselves into a firing position. I'm still undecided if the extra wounds you'd get from a pathfinder team make them a better choice than the tetras. The problem is the exact equivalent would be two units of four pathfinders, coming in at around 150 points more than two tetras. Even the psuedo equivalent, 8 pathfinders, is about 70 points more and I think that pretty much prices them out. I'd rather take the one guaranteed turn of more accurate markerlight support where I need it thank you very much.
Anyway - this has turned into a bit of a brain fart but I thought it was only fair to report back on my progress after getting so much help from the ATT community.