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People had made it sound like Tau are dangerous now.
However I just got to play a game against Tau and just massacred them, and I think they might just not be a codex well suited for fighting mech Eldar. I'm wondering if this is the case or if I should be on the lookout for something else in a future game.
The fundamental issue I believe was that they just don't have good anti armor capabilities when you get down to it. Not that he didn't try. Even at 1250 points he had all his heavy choices filled with rail guns (two hammerheads and a broadside).
However this troop choices had the same problem our DA do. They can slaughter infantry, but have a hard time against vehicles. He bemoaned repeatedly the side armor of 12 on our transports that prevented even glancing hits from his devilfish and fire warriors (and you can bet I was using them to keep those units from being able to fire at my infantry).
His crisis suits could have used deep strike to probably take out a serpent. However that would have been the last thing they did as they'd then be swarmed by all sorts of nasty Eldar units. As it was they plinked away from behind cover.
His pathfinder sniper rail whatevers didn't really help in the vehicle fight either. So once I knocked out a hammerhead and the broadside and kept at least shaking the other hammerhead it was like I was playing chess against a guy who only had pawns.
Since at higher point totals it doesn't seem like they really have much more room to add anti tank aside from filling out the broadside unit more, is the Tau army just in a bad spot when it comes to fighting mech eldar?
I think the main problem that Tau have when fighting mech Eldar, is that due to our Wave Serpent shields, their few in number, but usually tank crippling railguns are reduced to basically meltas outside of half range, leaving them somewhat lacking in high powered AT weapons due to the only other true tank busting option being a melta on either Pirahnas or XV8s.
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What did the Tau player field? You really can't base your assumptions of an army on one battle against one player; the dice could have gone your way, the player could have designed a poor list to cope with Eldar, or the player himself could have been below par. I'm curious what his list was, but I'm beginning to think it wasn't the most solid of lists, since Rail Rifles on Pathfinders (and Pathfinders in general in games less than 1500, at least in my opinion) tend to be a huge waste of points.
You could nitpick his list I'm sure.
But fundamentally what could he have done to take down my skimmers? I had three waves and a falcon at 1250.
Or more to the point what if we had been playing at 2000 points. At which point I intend to field seven serpents. With his heavy choices already filled up, what could a Tau player add that can cope with that many serpents?
I could believe the issue is that to a railgun every serpent feels like a land raider. Except it can move 24" and get a 4+ cover save (with reroll since I use fortune seers). And so while maybe the Tau have enough anti armor against most armies Eldar are just hard.
A common misconception about Tau vs. vehicles is that there is a reliance on Railguns; this is not true, at least not in the case of the Hammerheads. Hammerhead Railguns tend to be far more effective against infantry than tanks, and while naturally it is good against vehicles, it is not necessarily relied upon. Eldar skimmers, at least the Wave Serpents, reduce the Strength of any weapon higher than X Strength, correct? Well, one of the most reliable anti-transport weapons in the Tau arsenal is the Missile Pod, which bypasses that Strength reduction. Sure, it's still.. what... a 5 to glance and a 6 to penetrate, but with 4 BS4 shots out of your typical Deathrain squad per turn, it's not unfeasible to consider some Wave Serpents falling with relative ease.
A typical Mech Tau list that I field will have up to two Hammerheads and at least four Crisis Suits, including a BS5 HQ, two Deathrains, and another BS4 Fireknife suit (Plasma and Missile Pod), plus Kroot and Fire Warriors in Devilfish. I think a list like that would be capable of taking out your Mech Eldar list, hypothetically, or at least make it a much more difficult battle than if you were facing a static list (with Pathfinders and Rail Rifles...).
In theoryhammer such as this, it is easy to find counters to every point the person you're 'battling' makes, and while I realise that's what I'm doing and that's what you could do to me, we both have to understand that there will come a point where we're both right and we're both wrong, since we're simply discussing a hypothetical situation that relies on many things; deployment, tactics, dice rolls, etc.
I think, if you face a wider variety of Tau lists and players as time goes on, you might find that it won't be quite as easy as this one battle with this one player.
On the flip side, the only Eldar player I've ever played against (the only one in my smallish gaming group) has never beaten me when I've borrowed my friend's Tau army, and I wasn't even running a Mech army (the guy doesn't have enough Devilfish, curses). It's a purely situational sort of deal, based on the quality of player, quality of list, and the other things I mentioned above.
Hmmm well I can get the point of using more missile pods. And then the markerlights in other squads could be relevant giving BS bonuses and reducing vehicle cover saves. Can only the Crisis suits carry those?
Also what about that missile defense thing. I don't know anyone who actually owns one, but should I be worried about them?
Tau have been having a hard time recently with all the new codex's and while the rail gun is awesome against heavy army, the ion cannon shines against eldar. They certainly have the ability to take down eldar
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Tau are more nerfed than people think. Eldar have the lovely shields on our wave serpents that guarentee the opponent will need at least a 4 to even glance. Our bright lance special ability is kinda useless against Tau tanks that are not that to my knowledge have to AV 13-14 vehicles. Against tau id stick with EML and/or pulse laser depending if you use a falcon or Wave serpent. Eldar can easily match tau at their own game. Mech eldar beat mech tau since our tanks/transports are better. Our weapons may be roughly the same, but we get Spirit Stones and Holo fields. Things that increase their longevity.
We are just as mobile as them. unlaod avengers, fire. load up, move somewhere else, repeat. Granted pulse rifles are better shot for shot to Avanger catapults, but we can throw more shots at them. Plus they have to hope of putting a dent in out tanks with anything less than their weaker plasma, which is the same as ours. S6 with no overheat. I prefer SM/CSM plasma myself but I digress.
Tau suck in Close combat, and if we go mechainzed. Some banshees, scorpions or even Harlequins in a Falcon, it will reach their deployment zone in the first turn If our deployment is good. I know these units are not mech, but Reapers and Wraithlords make good support. I like sending a wraithlord with fortune on it after Tau, It will pretty much Not die. As for Reapers. Well they CAN be in a falcon, tyr to get it into range, and unload the Reapers. If you feel lucky enough to survive any fire sent their way, They can shoot up any firewarriors, kroot, Vespids and even Threaten battlesuits.
If a Million Guardsmen die, that's a statistic. If one marine dies, that's a tragedy.
It is very rare in this game to have a clear cut "we will always beat them" scenario, and I don't think any army, not even Mech Eldar, can claim to always beat Tau. They are not as nerfed as most people seem to think. If you want a nerfed army, check out Dark Eldar or Daemon Hunters; Tau are still reasonably balanced and more than capable under 5th edition rules.