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My primary opponent just started playing Tau. I started sweating when I flipped through his codex and realized that our strengths and weaknesses fit each other exactly. Tau specialize in long range, and Nids have crap all for armor saves. Tyrands slaughter in close combat, and Tau have no Toughness. The only problem is that he's likely to knock off half of my army before I make it across the table into assault range. Even worse, most of my units are Genestealers, and I don't relish the thought of redoing a third or more of my army. Is that my only choice? Will my Nids be able to stand against the Greater Good?! Somebody help me!
Tau may have high power shooting, but they generally don't throw as many shots as other armies. If your worried about getting shot up, just put more bodies on the field. Also, you'll need speed to make CC, so load up on fast units, which Nids have a wide selection of.
"It takes a vast amount of self control to be this dangerous."
---Ogvai Ogvai Helmshrot, Jarl of Tra, VI Legion Astartes
Yep, speed is of the essence. Gargs, Hormas, Ravs, Winged Tyrant... These are your friends. The problem with 'Stealers is that they are basically overkill against Tau: A Gaunt can whoop Tau heinies easily, so why pay the points for 'Stealers? Not saying 'Stealers won't work, but you really need to have the terrain on your side as you'll be having less disposable carcasses to throw away.
Also, fast creatures make it easier to evade the Fish of Fury tactic... Do a search on the Tau forums to see what I'm talking about.
Be wary of Hammerheads with Railguns, as if they have Submunitions they can kill masses of anything up to and including Warriors while retaining the capability to damage big monsters.
Also be certain to follow the basic guidelines for terrain on-table, as without it you will get decimated. 4thEd pages 78-79. I recommend both players placing pieces in turns, and when a piece is placed roll scatter: Hit stays there, Arrow takes the piece D6 (or 2D6) inches in the direction of the arrow, stopping at board edge.
"The meat things seek to destroy ourselves. They hunt us as we hunt them but they are weak and uncertain. The inferior flesh will be entirely destroyed, all biomatter consumed. Ourselves will fight to the last, all weak flesh must be devoured."
Hmm I would say you have to be carefull, there are varrious forms of Tau, mechanised is a different kettle of fish than static gun line, the latter is comparably easy, as Uzi and others pointed out, they dont throw out quite the volume of shots as other armies, a fast unit, even if it has taken a kicking, can take out more of their shots (even if you dont wipe out the squad, you stop it shooting) so stuff like gargoils or other fast units are a godsend.
Against mech tau, FOF is a recognised tactic but cant deal with swarms, it opperates at a one on one scale, with groups of squads, he lacks the firepower to take them out, your rending stuff can really ruin his skimmers days and your beasts can close far faster than he likes.
Against a Suit heavy list again, your gribbleys are your friends
Think of tau like this, they have pretty powerful guns, they have a fair amount of them but the number fluctuates, therefore dont give him expensive targets that his powerfull guns can shoot, let him waste his shots on fast cheap stuff and you should have a fun time
Everything you have been told is a lie!
Since I play both Mech/Mobil infantry Tau and Zilla/Genestealer Nid lists I will comment.
As Cheredanine mentioned there many various Mech Tau list, it all depends.
The cheesiest Tau list boasts 3 Rail Heads, 3 Kroot squads, and maxed out Fire Knife kill teams. The Tau Holy Trinity is very deadly, but a Zilla list shouldn't have a problem trouncing this list since you are only likely to take 2 wounds a turn! The only thing you should sweat is an unconventional Mech Tau, which would have Broadsides, Ion Heads, etc...Which could down a Fex a turn if not properly tooled up. Over all though, in serious matches you won’t see many original lists, just Holy Trinities running about.
All things considered, 90% of his army can be eliminated by CC. Hence, I recommend the SUPER FAST things, maybe followed by tons of hormagaunts, or even just hordes of spinegaunts. I would recommend Sniperfexs for his vehicles, as skimmers can be a real pain for CC. Otherwise, just go for tons of fast close combat, make good use of cover, and be sure not to lose your synapse. And remember, no instakills on synapse.
My gaming group's new motto: That army you're using is overpowered because it hurts my guys, codex is broken and needs a rewrite.
My opponent's army will be a little heavy on the suits. He will have the contents of the Tau Megaforce (2 crisis suits, three stealth suits plus marker drone, twenty Fire Warriors, six gun drones, three Piranhas, one Devilfish, and one Hammerhead), plus another box(3) of stealth suits, and two Broadside battlesuits.
any form of nids will crush that, but frankly, just build what you like. if you get crushed, ohh well, just improve it.
I have pitted various tyranid lists against Tau and what I find to be a common theme is that you will loose about half of your army getting across the table, however, once you make it to close combat you will have the upper hand.
The key in doing this is to have fast units that are good in hand to hand, enough synapse, and going first. A good anti-Tau list will have genestealers, hormagaunts, raveners, gargoyles, winged warriors, winged tyrants, and a carnifex.
The winged warriors will give you the synapse to keep up with the hormagaunts. The carnifex and tyrant will draw fire from your really nasty units like the genestealers, hormagaunts, and raveners.
The carnifex is best used as a weapons platform with a venom cannon to take down vehicles. The vehicle can take flechete pod upgrades that will destroy infantry that try to assult them, very nasty weapons, so it will be best to shoot them down. Also, you want to go after his commander, if you take him out, then you have a chance of making the Tau break and run off the table.
Don't take termagaunts, they are not good enough in hand to hand as hormagaunts, and you won't need their guns.
If you don't have winged warriors or tyrant, then take genestealers, raveners. They have a high enough leadership to manage on their own.
Lucky for you, he's going the suit-heavy route, which in my opinion is the worst way to go when facing tyranids. It's also the only way to go that will give genestealers a viable role in the army.
I recommend building a list that is generally good at GEQ's, with plenty of gaunts, a few genestealers, and... well basically whatever you want. Numbers are going to be important, like everyone's said, so a genestealer-heavy army might not be the most effective (but then, it rarely is). As long as you have a few units of gaunts to bolster your numbers, and some anti-tank firepower, you'll be fine.
Tyranids: 2500 pts
Imperial Guard: 1000 pts
Witch Hunters: 1000 pts