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ive been a fantasy player for my whole TT life but im finally branching out into 40K
i was looking at starting either of 2 armies based on what i believe are the best looks, painting, modeling, history and race ethics/belefs etc...
it has come down to the Eldar or the Tau
Im basically wanting to ask what are the strong points of the Tau (in all aspects of their gaming world from their units, strengths, what weaknesses to watch out for, intersting myhtology etc) and why i should collect one.
There is the challenge... Now convince me to see the greater good!
OK, I'll accept that challenge! Lets see; how to best describe Tau? I will state things that to other Tau players is super DUH, but should be a good descriptor showing the good points of Tau to a wide eyed newcomer.
-Tau are the Good Guys
In the dark future, where all is war and death... The Tau are the glimmering light of good. They are altruistic, selfless, and open to others. They live by a concept of "The Greater Good", and anyone who embraces this Greater Good is welcome and treated to all the benefits of the advanced technological Tau Empire.
-Tau Are Shooty
Tau focuses on application of firepower to win battles. If you like blasting things away before they can even get to you, then Tau is for you!
-Tau basic weapons are strong, and long ranged.
When Tau weapons hit, their strength means that they will 'wound' more often than other races weaponry. By way of comparison, Space Marines wound other space marines 50% of the time, but Tau guns wound them 66% of the time. When a Space Marines wounds an Ork, its 66%, and the Tau are 84%.
In addition to the strength, The Range is a full bracket longer than others as well. Where almost all other trooper weapons reach out to 24", Tau reach out to 30"
- Tau Battlesuits are customizeable
Tau Crisis Suits have a variety of weapons that it can mount, and can mount up to 3 of them. The spread of weapons has an excellent one fit for each type of role: Infantry killing, Power Armor Killing, Vehicle Killing, and Kill Anything Killing[at short range].
Other wargear is available to further specialize your Crisis suit: such as being able to shoot 2 weapons each turn, or an invulnerble save, or a better armor save, etc. If you like tinkering with different configurations, then Tau Battlesuits are your thing!
- Tau can move-shoot-move
Tau elite units have jetpacks, which allow a move in the assault phase, that doesnt have to be an assault. Basically its a free move. Tau Battlesuits may begin hidden behind cover, move out, shoot, and then move back behind cover. Something no one else can do (there are certain rare exceptions, of course). Additionally, all jetpack units may deepstrike.. coming down from the sky anywhere on the board.
- Tau feature Stealth
Stealth is an ability where they may be immune to enemy fire. Its not perfect, but its more than anyone else gets. Only some units get them, but one of them has a jetpack, and may move-shoot-move. The other is a sniper team. makes sense, eh?
-Tau vehicles are all skimmers
Skimmers, or hovering tanks, have several benefits. They ignore terrain, when they move fast all shots that hit them auto glance (as opposed to penetrating), and they dont block line of sight (helpfull when you have a shooty army)
-Tau are a Mixed Race Empire
While you can fully stick with clean and technological Tau, there are other alien races that are available: Primitive Kroot, who have a decent gun, and are good in combat (but are too primitive to wear armor), and Buggy Vespid, who are Fast, with Special guns (penetrate powerarmor), and some nominal combat abilites as well, yet again: no armor to speak of. Further, there is the option (not in the codex, but in chapter approved) of fielding human soldiers... which are basically Imperial Guardsmen.
-Tau are lousy at close combat
Tau are shooty, not choppy. If they get in combat, they are in trouble. They do have some specialist units that are quite decent in combat (kroot), but they are fragile and evaporate rather quickly. All in all, if Tau get caught in a massive melee, they simply die. When you face an army that is designed to get into a massive melee, then you are in trouble, and better hope your gunsights are dead on! Which brings me to the next point:
-Tau are Mediocre Shots
While the guns are top-notch, the firers of those guns are a bit nearsighted. They only hit 50% of the time. Even their elite units only hit half the time (but they can equip a special targetting array)
-the technical mystery
Mankind surveyed the Tau homeworld back in the day, and only saw primitive hunter-gatherers, with no tool use. Te slotted the planet to be purged and colonized. But when the fleet went to take the planet, it was lost in a mysterious warp storm.. that lasted for an unusually long time, keeping the tau homeworld inaccessible for around 6000 years, up until relatively recently. The amazing thing: after that mere 6000 years, Tau emerged from the clearing Warp Storm very, very advanced. Arguably more advanced than the human Imperium. Anti Grav hover Tanks, Plasma rifles, Interstelat space fleets. Weird, eh?
-The Ethereal conspiracy
Tau evolved into 4 races: Fire, Earth, Water and Air. These 4 races evolved up to gunpowder technology, and were about to tear themselves apart in constant war. When everything came to a climax, a mysterious 5th race- the Ethereals, literally walked in out of nowhere, and instantly took over the entire planets race. Putting an end to the conflict, and starting 'The Greater Good'. today they are the Empires spiritual leaders, yet, still seem to control other Tau with a form of pheromone mind control, when he wishes to. So, the mystery, and point of much discussion: WHAT is their DEAL? Who are they really, what are they really up to? What does the Greater Good, secretly mean?? No one knows.
-The Farsight Story
Commander Farsight was once a great General of the Tau army. But one day, he discovered a mysterious sword in some ancient ruins. Shortly after his Ethereal was killed.. and he 'went rebel', forsaking his Recolonization Mission, and struck off on his own, to form a fringe group of fortress worlds called the Farsight Enclaves. To this day he is an independant faction, who fights hisown battles for his own purposes. And mystery sourround him as well: what was the sword he found (and still uses today)? How did his ethereal die (something that should have heartbroken the army)? Why did he go off and form his own little empire (does he know something the empire doesnt?)? Why hasnt the Empire taken steps to deal with this exile, and his potentially dngerous army?
OK, thats about all I can muster in one sitting... And I think I satisfied the challenge, no?? I certainly hope I didnt state anything overly biased, and further hope that an eldar player can do the equal effort in describing them as well! ;Y
An elementary particle of the lepton family, having a mass about 3,550 times that of the electron, a negative electric charge, and a mean lifetime of 3 x 10-13 seconds in close combat.
One important thing to note is this:
The Tau army codex offers little in the way of variety, relatively speaking.
It is my one gripe with my army. I am forced to endure lecture after lecture from my best friend about all the millions of different choices his Dark Angels offer him in terms of army customizability. I then look at my army and make the tiniest of tweaks and marvel and my miraculous individuality.
If you're looking for an army that you can really make your own by way of your army list, I would not suggest Tau.
I would suggest getting your hands on both the Eldar Codex and the Tau Empire Codex, give them both read through and even make up your ow mock-combat patrol list and 1500pt lists and see what you prefer. You can probably find them cheap, and the investment of time is not wholy unreasonable considering the expense associated with developing your army.
What do you do when it's 5 in the morning, you're exhausted and you only have 3 hours until your alarm clock goes off?
good explanation calaban!
that was itense...
i think ill just buy both codex's and sort through them.
Do you have any friends who play Tau and/or Eldar? I'm sure they would be willing to lend you their codex for a short while to allow you to read through it. That way you would be able to get a fair idea of how each army owrks, and would save yourself buying two codices, one of which you may not use which would thus be a waste of money.
"Tau Commandment #226: Participants who use Velocity Trackers in the Tau Clay Pigeon Tournament will be disqualified"
I wouldn't go so far as to call them good..
There are no good guys in 40k
The Tau are an invading empire who give you the option of join us or die.
They attempt to put their own strict ideas on the new alien auxilleries.
And while they may not purge a planet in a viscous bloodbath, they have no issue with simply sterilizing the population and waiting for them to die out. (See the Tau DOW Dark Crusade Ending)
Tau are forced into strict Caste and social ordering. A Air Caste can't go out with a Fire Caste for example.
Of course, when compared to the other races, they can seem quite nice. They give their basic
troopers good armour, good guns and don't throw away lives like Nids, orks or the Imperium.
They understand their technology and use it to protect Tau lives.
Best of a bad bunch is probably the most accurate I think..
Arch Overfiend & Grand Despot
I currently play:
Doom Eagle Space Marines
Hive Fleet Omega Tyranids
Goff Ork Boyz(dead)
Tau of O'me
Inquisitorial Xeno Hunters
and my attempted foray into fantasy
'Dark Angel Green' Dark Elves in need of fluff
Also when races are integrated the tau go out of thier way to improve and benefit the worlds who join them. The Tau think nothing of using their tech to improve the lot of any race who join them, be it weaponry, agricultural, industry and so on.
Also as far as I understand it auxiliaries are pretty much left to their own devices and the command structure of units is pretty much left as is, the IG type worlds are a good example with troops using their own preferred weapons and the officer structure left in tact (obviously with the Tau as the upper echelons of command).
The Tau believe totally that their own ideals are the best for the universe, however misguided this is, at least they are trying to improve the lot of other races and not just killing anything that is classed as Xenos (as per the empire).
On the 'are Tau good or evil' thing, well, surely that's pretty much up to you, and how you see good and evil. Personally, I think everyone's as bad as each other.. The Imperium doesn't tollerate different races to them, the Tau don't tollerate different ideas to them.
The British government in the 19th century was a lot like the Tau. "Look, we're improving the lot of these people, we're giving them our superior technology and more highly evolved systems of government." Noone actually ever throught to ask the people involved if they wanted those things, as clearly, if they didn't, they were too primitive to make their own decisions.
Not very fair, is it.. I remember the way to hell being paved with something..
Anyway, on to Tau..
The main thematic difference between Tau and Eldar can basically be summed up as: Eldar are a superhuman race whose technology is focused around their individual skills. Tau are a subhuman race whose technology is focused on compensating for their weaknesses, and who fight as a team rather than depending on skills.
Hence, statwise, the fire warrior is a pretty poor choice, with bad weapon skill and initiative, and only mediocre stats in other areas, but they are made competative by their technology. Good armour and weapons, excellent transport vehicles, and the synergy they can build up with other units in the army. They can use markerlights, for example, to jack up their ballistic skill, or have kroot shield them from close combat.
I'd say Tau in general are both more and less forgiving. On one level, the whole army is geared towards a specific general style of play, at which they excell, while Eldar have units for just about any situation, but who are harder to pull together into an overall strategy.
I think the major fluff thing with them is that they're young.. They're an up and coming race who are incredibly naive about the galaxy as a whole, and who are only just starting to realize that it's bigger and more horrible than they previously thought. Tau think a lot like many of us, really.. They believe in rationality and order, anhor superstition, uneccesary violence and egotism, and see it as their mission to bring their civilizing influence to the other poor, misguided races of the galaxy. We can often emphasise with them a lot more easily than we can with most of the other races, who are frankly downright inhuman. At the same time, the Tau also have a definate dark side, and a lot of mystery surrounding their origins and social system..
I started out as a complete Tau hater, myself.. But in reality they do have a fascinating and amazingly controversial (for GW) backstory, some fantastic ideas, and a very interesting and rarely seen premise to their army playstyle (how many mobile firepower armies are there?) I'd pick them over Eldar any day.
That, really, is the main difference. When the Tau set about to conquer a planet, they'll brook no opposition. On the other hand, the will let you sign up, as long as you live by their rules.
Compare this to the Imperium, who will conquer your planet and purge you from its face with fire--whether you surrender or not.
The Tau aren't nice, but they're basically nicer than anyone else.
They don't even set out to conquer you, just your planet. They don't take people into slavery, they give people the option of both accepting slavery and staying in their homes, rather than just forcing them out of their homes, which is a mindset which is quite divorced from the slavery practiced by Europe in the 1700s. I'm guessing it's 'cause they breed like rabbits, but that's not really established in the fluff...
Also not in the fluff is a whole lot of detail regarding how the Tau treat subjugated species and planets. "Slavery" might not be the best term. It may actually be very pleasant to live on a Tau subjugated world. They might, for the most part, just let you get about your business so long as you don't mess up theirs. If they're willing to do that while giving you neat technological toys and the highest standard of living in the Galaxy, is there really much ground for complaint?
Anyway, I like the Tau. They're misguided, overly idealistic, and, basically, doomed to be crushed, someday, by the first species who actually bothers to get its shit together and go do it, but I like them. They're plucky. For all their creepiness, they are sorta nice.
And they have railguns.
How can you miss?
Once again, the conservative, sandwich-heavy portfolio pays off for the hungry investor!