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I started Tau a little while back, and was thinking at first that they would be no match against a Dark Eldar army because of the speed with which they can get into close combat and overwhelm.
When I brought it up with the boys at the Tau boards, they flipped my perception on its head. Tau have a massive number of S5 shots (although my army doesn't have nearly enough yet), which swat Raiders down fairly easily. They can also field Smart Missle Systems which is 4 S5 shots that don't need LOS, so even hidden Raiders are not safe.
I pose the question to you:
How would you combat these annoying problems?
My experience with Tau is that although they have a lot of shootery, they only get to use it once or twice at most before the close combat starts - and in this they just lose. The 5th ed flavour of assault is even more deadly for Tau due to their pitiful WS and I and mediocre leadership - single phase destructions of entire units are not unlikely.
Sure the Tau can easily shoot down raiders, but unless they get an explosion from this, it just creates terrain that breaks their line of sight and allows the dark eldar cover saves.
I combat Tau mainly through numbers - they can't shoot everything before the dark eldar reach their lines, and when they do, the Tau are screwed.
My record vs Tau is 2 wins, 2 draws, 1 loss (and that was combat patrol - stealthsuits own CP).
Now you cannot consolidate from combat to combat anymore, what save do wyches have against shooting?
Same as everybody else - assault on a broad front so there's nothing left to shoot, or psych the Tau into deploying their warriors in cover so when you finish assaulting them, you're still in cover.
But when you are T3 with a 5+ or worse save, you are not the same as everyone else.
More seriously though, most Tau players I know tend to "have it easy" against DE armies. So I am very curious to hear about it from the other side of the fence. I used to be a DE player when they first came out, but got rid of them for a WHFB army.
Not to hijack the thread, but in line with the OP's line of questioning; what kind of track record do you guys have against Tau?
I lost against them once when they got their new codex and had a load of stuff I hadn't seen before other than that I haven't lost to them ever.
With a coven list Ha ha immune to your wepaons works quite well . As S5 can't hurt the grots and has trouble agianst taloi.
With my normal lists I can ussually kee a squad with a WWP alive long enough to deploy within 20" of the tau line which means they never get a chance to shoot the things coming out of the portal and in 5th I find simply declaring an assault against multiple squdas to be highly effective as eitehr I take out 2 squads or am still in combat and can finsh whats left on the Tau turn.
I haven't played Tau with my modified 5th force yet so have no idea how it will fair. In 4th though using my "standard" list I found judicious use of cover to allow me to close most of the time and sometimes I just outshot the buggers, yes Tau have nice hsooting, but Ravagers are filfthy too.
Mainly I have found simply hiding behind cover and tehn assaulting has worked a treat, against MEchtau blowing up all their 'fish works well as then you can take them apart piecemeal (and lance weapons are fine for the task.) I've not got an yparticular anti tau tactics I just treat them as a shooty meq force thats easier to carve up when I arrive.
Actually I find what works really well for me is the traditional Pin EVERYTHING army. Raiders with Horrorfexes, Syrabites with Terrorfexes and a Haemonculus in every squad with another Horrorfex. Unless there's an Ethereal (which there generally isn't), it's actually really easy to pin most of the units on the board as we just chill right next to them and blast away.
Mandrakes are always really mean to Broadside teams, as well. All it takes is one lucky Dark Lance hit to knock the whole thing down as well. All that's in the way are the shield drones.
CC against Tau is overrated, unless you can assault very, very safely because balance and momentum can switch really fast. In my opinion, Wyches shouldn't be fighting Tau anyway. They don't have any power weapons so their invuln save is lost, so you might as well get two warriors for every wych (+ wych weapons +plasma grenades)
For me I always enjoyed playing Tau – they make some of our less popular choices not only usable but preferred. A good example is mandrakes, jetbikes and grotesques as they both have abilities that seem like they were created to play against the Tau.
The strategy I use is no different than the basic marine “stand & shoot” army other than you are a little more “squishy” than the marines. Simply, minimal force on the ground, drop portal and sit back and watch the fireworks. Not a “sure thing” by any stretch of the imagination as some Tau players really know how to execute their game plan.
In 4th edition I thought the DE had the upper hand due to cover and close combat – hide your wwp carriers and get into CC and “roll” the gun-line. Now, in 5th, they changed both cover and close combat so in this relationship I think it has evened out, Tau have better shooting and we have better close combat. The other dimension worth noting is mobility and I think both armies are somewhat even as we use mobility to get into close combat but the Tau use mobility to get into shooting lanes.
So I would think we are close to being even in 5th – I do envy your newer codex (just that you have a newer one) and if I had to choose a winner based on “theory” I would say the Tau have the edge but that is only until the DE have a comparable codex to match. In other words, the player with the most experience and understanding of the game mechanics will win every time (which I think is what GW wanted).
As for my experiences in 5th I have only played against the Tau once and it was before the rule book came out – we tried to play it the best we can but there was a tremendous amount of “oops, I forgot” or “I didn’t know that” going on that it was more of a 4.5 edition game. We ended up in a draw, I got the crap shot out of me and if this had been “kill points” or “victory points” I would have lost but I had a better feel for the mission and easily managed the game into a draw – not being able to hide was the moral of that story and a definite “eye opener”.
"On a hunch, I melted them down and inhaled the fumes and read the dark eldar codex again, AND FOUND A BUNCH OF NEW RULES HIDDEN BEHIND THE OTHER WORDS..." [Gardeth on modelling & interpreting the DE Codex]
Good call on the pinning darkspawn. You all know where I stand on the Horrorfex rules, so even the Ethereal doesn't pose a problem for that tactic. He only allows them to re-roll Morale Checks, and the unit he joins uses the Fearless rule.
Darkspawn: What do you mean, the Wyches lose their invulnerable save as Tau don't have power weapons? I'm fairly sure they can choose to use whichever's best, out of cover, armour and/or invulnerable saves, unless there's been some rules change I've not seen, or I've misunderstood what you meant.
FABRICATI DIEM, PVNC