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Hi everyone! I just started a Tau army, and here's some tactics I'd like to discuss regarding being assaulted (after watching several Tau losses to enemy CC units).
Being a new Tau player, I am not trying to invent tactical doctrines, so please forgive my lack of experience, and feel free to post your thoughts
Fending Assault troops (Hormagaunts, Assault Marines and equivalent): What I see as the greatest threat to FW teams are any units that can bypass the unit's rapid fire range and still continue to assault. There are several ways to minimise your losses depending on your style, but here are my personal observations.
Solution 1: Kroot
Kroot and Kroot hounds are my natural choice and simplest choice- keep some of these guys close to your firebase, and charge the enemy before they can charge you, but typically, an enemy jump unit or beast will get the first charge, and by then, kroot will do little to help your guys in trouble.
POSITIVES- Cheap points cost, relatively good weapon skill, large units that can tie up enemies for several turns. Kroot hounds and ranged weapons make it a versatile unit. Can hold objectives well, especially in woods.
NEGATIVES- Short charge distance. Still underperforms against many enemy CC units.
Vespid stingwings appear to be an odd unit in the Tau army- they have powerful guns, but unfortunately they are very fragile, and do not survive assaults very well. However, they are have the longest charge of the Tau army, which makes them ideal for interupting enemies trying to position for a charge past your rapid fire units. Make a 12'' jump into the enemy, fire a volley and then lock them in combat. The gamble is that your vespids will lock the enemy for the rest of the turn so that when the Vespids eventually get killed, you can fire on the enemy again- so don't charge if you don't think they'll survive the initial CC round!
POSITIVES- Most likely unit to interrupt fast assaulters. Bait unit that doesn't occupy a Troops choice.
NEGATIVES- Expensive, dependant on luck, only effective against small units. May buy enough time for just a single extra round of shooting.
Pulse carbines, markerlights, rail rifles, gun drones, sniper drones can add up to excellent pinning power. Keeping the enemy in place for a turn is often all you need to do rather than kill them, they won't be able to assault if they're cowering in fear! The only concern is the great number of Fearless units in every other army (tyranids in Synapse will be completely immune). Another problem is that you will need to focus the fire of many units to give you the best chance of pinning a typical unit.
POSITIVES- Makes use of many existing units that you'd normally take anyway (pathfinders, gun drones). Fantastic against small enemy armies like Marines.
NEGATIVES- Occupies many of your units just to pin one enemy unit. Can become very expensive to field. No effect against Fearless units.
Solution4: Small Squads
Having small squads of firewarriors means the enemy will very likely kill your unit in a single assault, which in turn allows you to fire back on them since they cannot consolidate into a fresh assault. The problem is that troops are now very important in 5th ed, and it also decreases your firepower. If you can make up for this with other units (burst cannon suits come to mind), this can still be a viable tactic.
POSITIVES- Denies the enemy a chance to tie up a large part of your force in an assault.
NEGATIVES- Weakens your overall firepower, diverts enemy assaults to your other, more important units.
Solution5: Leadership Gamble
The key to this Imperial Guard Vox tactic is to include units that allows your army to choose whether or not to use a higher leadership value for their tests and/or re-rolls (Ethereals, Shadowsun etc). The idea is to force your troops to fall-back and regroup <i>on command</i>. When an enemy unit assaults your firewarriors and win combat, you force the unit to fallback by re-rolling and/or not using a nearby leader's leadership value- and then in the subsequent turn, use the higher leadership value and bonding knife to force them to regroup and fire on the assaulter.
The bonding knife gives your units prolonged endurance compared to the Imperial Guard, but this is countered by the fact that your units have a lower initiative value than humans- meaning there's a larger chance that your firewarriors will get destroyed in a Sweeping Advance, and not survive to regroup.
POSITIVE- Fun when it works!
NEGATIVES- requires special characters, or the unpopular Ethereal characters. Relies heavily on chance. Not good against high-initiative opponents.
By looking at all these solutions- I think we can safely conclude that Tau armies should simply avoid close combat! A combination of these solutions will lower your losses, but most important of all is to keep the enemy at a distance. Use transports, separate your troops and just keep shooting~
I am not a tau player but I do have the codex. My logic for defending against close combat is only theory, but viable thory none the less. Use gun drones on vehicles and then detach them at beggining of game. Then use these to get in way of assaulters who have to kill two measly drones and loose a whole turn, cause if they shoot they cant charge another target and if they charge, they can not consolidate anymore.
Anyway just my thoughts
Heya Kelloggs! Yea, I thought about that for a while, but unfortunately unlike 4th Edition, the enemy doesn't need to make target priority tests anymore, so they can simply ignore your drones altogether and either shoot or assault past them. It would be nicer if the drones could lock the enemy unit in place by assaulting them, but unfortunately it has dismal CC ability, which makes Vespids a better choice for doing the same thing- don't you think so?
I agree that gun drones should be a viable tactic. Unfortunately the new Kill Point rules make this tactic a very bad idea. In fact, using any unit as a "suicide" unit is a bad idea. Because no matter the point cost, the unit will bring your opponent one step closer to victory.
With that in mind, i'm starting to think that static tau is less and less viable than it once was. Mobility will be key in avoiding assault.
-Thread Killer Bryan
Tyranid Hive Fleet Typhoeus
T'au Empire, Bork'an Sept
For a while, I prided (??) myself of being able to avoid close combat with my Tau army, even against nids. But I recently met my match and I now understand some of Rikimaru concerns about nids and other close combat specialists. Still, I found out that psychological tricks (I like psychological warfare and I wrote an article about it a few years back) can be effective too against some players.
What I like to do is to sacrifice some of my battle suits (usualy equiped to fight elite infantry) in order to divert some ennemy units. All you have to do is to push them always forward and appart from the main bulk of your army. As XV8 battlesuits have a fearsome reputation, there are great chance your opponent will feel compeled to send something after them. Even if the send some big monster such as carnifex or big boss, this a good deal. You might even kill it. And by removing these units from the main bulk of the force, you reduce the chance of being assaulted by units that otherwise would have been coverd in the mass of models.
Now, I know that this is not always possible to go by nids when the table is full of critters, so you might just want to divide your force in order to force your opponent to divide his or to chose one side to the other. Either way, you might want to concentrate the killing stuff on one side, and the "use less" / less usefull stuff on the other side. If the bait works, the guy will separate his army in 2 even groups and one of them will reach the less usefull portion of your army with some losses as the other will be crushed by the good one. Then, Hlaf of his army will have to make it way back to your good half and will get shot on it way.
Finaly, deepstriking gun drones and stealth suits behind the lines of advancing orks or critter may be an efficient way to 1. kill big monsters from behind and 2. help to divide your opponent army as he will probably send some units after your deepstriking units.
There are a lot of other techniques to be used, but I don't remember all those I used over the time.
Good Luck !
Last edited by MindRaked; September 26th, 2008 at 17:59.
CHAOS Undiv.: won 14/22 games EC: 4/7 WE: 6/9 DG: 10/15, TS: 3/7 Orks : 13/20 SM NL : 1/6 TAU: 14 of 24 IG: 3/7