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[Sorry that this is posted very late again... this week's been crazy.]
The Xeno conglomerate fighting for some pathetic absurdity they call the 'Greater Good'. They are one of the youngest additions to the galactic war for supremacy, and yet their numbers grow every larger as more and more worlds succumb to their lies and propaganda. As the Tau and their allies aspire to glory, the Imperial Guard struggles to keep them at bay: equipped with superior technology, the Tau's skimmer tanks navigate any terrain and bear weaponry that easily tears the hulls of the sacred Leman Russ tanks.
The enemy arguably surpassing even the firepower of the Emperor's Hammer, though fortunately not yet in numbers, it is -once again- up to the elite Adeptus Astartes to effectively crush this threat. Their power armor withstands the precisely guided shots, their bolters tear through the enemy's fragile anatomy, their chainswords slaughter the enemy's allies haunting the woods, and their melta guns take down the hovering tanks and transports.
Tau. How do you go about beating them with your Space Marine army? What army do you use, how do you deploy, what tactics bring you victory? What to watch out for, what to prioritize as a target? Discuss and share your experience.
I'll try and post up some early stuff from flipping through the Blood Angels, all pertaining to the type of army I want to build.
So when I originally went through the Blood Angels codex I had two thoughts: One, armies that can ignore multiple leaderships tests will give us some small issues. Two, we will freakin' hose Tau.
I am in the process of building and painting a flying circus BA army, as everyone else seems to be getting their kicks off on Dreadnought spam.
Let's start with some HQ choices, which BA's have an abundant number of options. Going for personal look I want to field the Sanguinor, his fluff and rules are excellent for the style of army I want to play, plus it's been a while since I've played a beatstick hero.
Stat wise he is above and beyond whatever any Tau HQ can bring, but that isn't their main strength. With a jump pack he has an easier time chasing down Battlesuits, and once he's got the charge there isn't much that can survive 6 weapon skill 8 attacks at Strength 6 (If I remember correctly furious charge grants you +1 strength and initiative). With Eternal Warrior, a 2+/3++, and the ability to get re-rolls to hit and wound against a choice HQ you can relax with him, hell even running him solo would be great. (And unless I am mistaken, if a Sanguinary Priest is near him, he'll get FNP to boot.)
There are many choices to compliment him, but I was going to personally go with a Librarian to mess around with the cool powers they can bring. To keep up with the rest of my army, I'll equip him with jet pack. It's tempting to make him an epistolary, but I hardly think the extra power would be worth it since the Sanguinor is eating up a chunk of my points. First power to take will be the Blood Lance, with the majority of my army focused on killing troops and light vehicles, anything with an armour value of 12 or higher is going to be difficult to deal with. Blood Lance is a very forgiving power, which can destroy vehicles or suits alike with comparable ease. Plus I thought it would be funny if I could jump pack on the flanks, draw a line and catch a few vehicles in the line of death.
If there is one thing Tau do well, it's shoot. So for my second choice I'll take Shackle Soul. Fear of Darkness seems better on the surface, but I think Shackle Soul brings more options to the table. So anytime a unit of Fire Warriors gets a good lane of shooting on me, they'd have to pass a Leadership test. Try to fall back so my Assault Marines can't get the assault next turn? Leadership test! For some reason try to assault me? Well you get the point. With a Force weapon and WS5, 3 attacks on the charge he can mix it up quite well when I need him to.
For Elite's I want to ideally field two squads of Sanguinary Guard, with one unit of Priest so I'll write up some basic stuff for them.
Guard: They make my Assault troops look bad, and that is saying something. Honestly I want to use them to purely assault troops, so all options for anti-tank aren't going to be taken and increase that point value. Against Tau personally I don't believe Death Masks are even necessary, so looking at that the point cost isn't all that bad. On the charge they each get 2 assault bolter shots before going in, if anything happens to survive they'll be eating 3 WS4 power sword blows. If the Priests and Sanguinor happen to be nearby, they'll get Furious Charge, FNP, and an additional attack. Really, what Tau unit can fight that?
The Priests are just a great unit, max them out to three and spread them out, any friendly unit inside their bubble of death gets Furious Charge and FNP. Not only does this make the army as a whole more survivable to get in close, it also means once they get there they pack a nasty punch.
For the rest of the force I'd spam Assault Squads (Two max and one min), Land Speeder squad with MM's, a dynasty warriors style Vanguard squad, etc. When I have more time I'll come back and edit these options in.
What to look out for? Obviously the Tau have a variety of stuff to kill you from range. Being a somewhat small force you need to not be so reckless with the army, anything that is mistakenly left in the open or isn't sufficiently supported will be targeted and destroyed. Their heavy support vehicles are a priority target that only a few units I'll be fielding can deal with, they can make a mockery of Space Marine saves and FNP in general. Large units (Specifically Kroot) That can bog down Assault squads in combat would be a problem as well, stifling the unit in a way. Suit squads would be annoying, a good player will continually keep them back and still be able to draw a bead on you, leading your forces on a futile chase that'll just deplete their numbers.
Overall though I think BA's could handle Tau well, more so than say 'Nids or Orks at least. Once I have more than just Theoryhammer I'll edit all of this, their is a tournament in a few weeks that has a pretty confident Tau player and I can get some first hand experience there.
So, I play Tau, they were my first army, and now I play SM as well (with GK) so I have pretty good view point on this.
First of all, yes, Blood Angels looks custom built to wreck Tau, in like 10 different ways. It's ridiculous. For one thing, Tau really hate Feel no pain, since they have no power weapons, and there are hard limits on how much ap1 and 2 you can take. It's just dirty, and that's a big part of why I've been complaining about Sanguinary priests.
But what if you're not a dirty beardy crack monkey who wants to play BA?
There are basically two ways to go, you can try to engage them quickly in CC. Assault marines, some kinds of bikes (doesn't matter much that reg bikes are bad in CC now, They'll beat anything Tau) whatever. I wouldn't go with terminators in a LR, though. First it's overkill with the termies, second Railguns love to shoot LRs.
Or.....you can actually out shoot them. Sounds silly, but lots of tac marines on the gorund actually by an large make more effective shooters than firewarriors. THis depends a lot on the special/heavy weapons though, as you have to take out the transports.
More generally, psychic abilities work well. Tau have no way to fight psykers at present.
- Take fast assaulting units
- OR lots of low-cost troops for shooting
- meltas to shoot vehicles, they all have 4+ cover outside 12", so meltas are ideal
- Falmers (for the kroot)
- Scouts (cheap, and Tau are very pinnable)
- missles (very good against crisis suits, which is their backbone
- Take any real expensive vehicles (really anything more expensive than a rhino, I'm serious!)
- Any units that are expensive per wound (termies, bikes unless they're in mass, sternguard vanguard or honor/command squads) Tau have enough special weapons they'll cut that stuff down real quick
- Overclassed killy units of any kind, it doesn't take much to beat Tau in CC
I think once everyone figures the book out, 'Nids and Orks will still hold that king of 40k crown over BA's, since hordes and monsters aren't all that fun to attack and they by and large ignore most of the leadership based abilities that BA has.
Only thing that will make me worry in a Tau army are large, cheap groups of Kroot to hold up my small assault squads.
I don't mind the new BA codex too much except the sang priests. Those really are broken. Some of the rest I feel is out of place, like they shouldn't get sternguard, and it makes no sense to me why they should be able to get so many dreadnoughts or librarian dreads.
But no......Tau totally would love it if you took lots of dreads. Even if they're (relatively) fast Tau will kill those things right quick. Same as if you're necrons, they love it if you take monoliths.
SirP put up good stuff, apart from the BA being broken bit (lol).
Tau don't like assault, that's pretty obvious. Tau also don't like getting shot up, which isn't as hard as you might think.
Typically a Tau army is very reliant on 4 things to get the job done at range: Crisis Suits, Hammerheads, Broadsides, and Markerlights (typically on Pathfinders). If you can get rid of these, you've pretty much declawed the army. This is, of course, easier said that done.
Basically, Crisis Suits are multi-wound marines, so S8+ and AP3 loves them. They'll be in cover more often than not, so high RoF weaponry is your friend. Broadsides are Termies, so take the usual measures. Hammerheads are Predators that always have cover outside of 12" (6"?). Meltas love it, otherwise feel free to keep them shaken until you can close.
Tau hate assault, they really do. But they also like it, oddly enough. Tau can employ layers of defensive screens and tarpits, and marines blowing through them in 1 turn just leaves you open to get shot. Kroot are notorious for bubblewrap duty, often Tau can field enough to surround their entire force. Kroot love cover, and as a result hate flamers. Piranhas and Devilfish are another blocking unit, using their speed and vehicle-ness to clog movement lanes and keep your HtH units occupied. Piranhas are easy to pop, but not if they moved 12" and you need 6's to hit. These units don't do much damage themselves, but they stall you, slow you down, and give the Tau more time to shoot. Take Piranhas out like Speeders, medium S high RoF guns, and kroot with flamers or assault.
Don't Drop Pod against Tau, it will end badly. They can put enough bubblewrap to give you poor drop zones and enough mobility to simply flee while blowing you away as you come in piecemeal. Dreads in particular are basically gifts.
If you want to get up close, Rhinos/Razors are the way to go. Make sure you have sufficient fire support, namely Preds, Typhoons and Rifleman Dreads to go after their medium armor or stick wounds on the Crisis suits. Up close, even Tactical Marines can beat down Fire Warriors, and massed bolters/flamers/melta will send the rest packing.
If you want to shoot, mech is always useful. Rifleman Dreads, Dakka Preds, Speeders, Razorbacks, Bikers, and so on give you lots of mobile firepower on cheap and/or durable platforms. Foot marines that aren't SW just can't generate enough firepower for the points.
As far as specific builds/archetypes, here's what you can do
Vanilla Mech: Pop Crisis suits, Hammerheads, Broadsides, run through screens, charge/burn everything else.
Vanilla Bikers: Same as mech, use your mobility and speed to close and blow up.
BA: FNP en masse is handy, as are accurate Deep Strikes and lots of melta and boosted HtH capabilities. Fast mech helps even more. Blood Lance will ruin poorly placed Crisis Teams.
SW: TWC hate railguns, use cover, otherwise they will devour the entire army. Long Fangs rock as Tau have difficulties getting lots of AP3/2 at 48". Cover is your friend, psychic powers rock, and cav are always good.
BT: Foot can and will close quickly, but DPs and LRCs will have problems.
DA: Why are you still playing this army? DWA can work, but walking Termies or AV14 Speeders don't mean much here.
No, not silly at all. Tau shooting ability is dismal and they have the worst leadership of any 40k army on top of their CC weakness. Consider that, against MEQs, the Firewarrior's pulse rifle is statistically equal to a Marine bolter. Nobody is scared of bolter-only tactical squads and the ability to barely glance a Rhino doesn't offset the lower leadership. Pathfinders are expensive, fragile, stationary and not scoring. One expects them to have good shooting to offset their other weaknesses but they just can't hold a firing line the way Guard can.Originally Posted by SirPrometheus
Tau also have very few special weapons, and what they do have are all mounted on Battlesuits that underperform with 5th Edition's jump infantry and LOS rules. If you can put a couple krak missiles into their suits and take out their Hammerheads then they've got nothing.
Frankly, Tau need a massive dose of Codex Creep for their next revision. My observation is that Tau are very popular with new players; GW is doing themselves no favors when the newbies find out that the Tau are actually a major handicap army.
"My tanks have names, my men have numbers." -Col. Edmund Grahvess, 23rd Kronecker Prison Guard
Fire Warriors do blow mightily, but Crisis Suits, Broadsides and Hammerheads can put out plenty of firepower, especially when buffed by markerlights. If somebody's massing FW or Stealth Suits on you, you have pretty much nothing to worry about. Tau are to the point where they have a few really good builds and a whole bunch of crap otherwise, but what little that does work is extremely potent when used well.
Hey now, I wouldn't say that. I guess this will sound like bullshit, but I've semi retired with them because I was winning fairly consistently. (GK with SM also just seems a lot more characteful).
Let us say that Tau are an easy army to mess up with. But if you don't, they can be pretty awesome. They also tend to win against certain armies and just lose against others. IN some ways they're more eldar than the eldar. They can be very devastating, but unlike the eldar they don't really have any "I win" units.
Take the shooting crisis with krak missiles example. That's great......but almost all suits will have shield drones, and it will actually take quite a few missiles to whittle them down. Likewise the Hammerhead "shoot it down" you say. Of course......but it's got AV13, that due to it's range you almost never can get a side shot. And it always has a 4+ cover save. In practice, I find them to be about as tough as LRs, but at about 2/3 the cost. Can't transport killy termies though, of course.
Tau were my first army and I played them for a year and a half. The models were ideal for a novice wargamer to paint and I still remember the fun of magnetized battlesuits, but on the tabletop they were always underpowered--I would typically kill my opponent's vehicles and then run out of space to avoid close combat with. When I then played against Tau with Chaos Marines and Imperial Guard, I crushed them as badly as I once was, so I doubt it was my being a bad player. Your mileage may differ, of course, but I find that Tau have no significant counter to bum rushing, CQB tactics or drop pod/outflank armies. Unless a player relies heavily on Landspeeders, he should simply play to the strengths of his particular Marine list. There's no real need for tailored lists or specialist tactics.
"My tanks have names, my men have numbers." -Col. Edmund Grahvess, 23rd Kronecker Prison Guard