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"Tau need markerlights to work!"
"Only mech Tau armies win!"
"Tau should never, ever get into combat!"
"Vespid/pirahna are useless!"
These are comments I keep hearing and would like to have a discussion about it. I have played Tau since they came out and my army has not changed appreciably since then. The above seem to be the general consensus on some basic cardinal rules for Tau.
Do you abide by the "four rules" or do you play outside the box? Current thinking would have you believe that mech is the only way to play. It may be the easiest way to play, but certainly not the only way.
So I would like you to post those odd ideas for units that you have, what works for you? Lets see some unique builds (battle tested please ) and how they work in your army.
For starters I don't play mech, I don't own a single devilfish. I have no markerlights in my army, I have vespid, I use tri-weapon Shas'Os and I regularly engage in hand to hand combat.
Here is one of my favourite units:
Shas'O: Fusion Blaster, Missile Pod, Plasma Rifle, Hard Wired Multitracker.
This suit is my favourite config. I take two. It gives me missile pods against rhino equivalents and fusion blaster against heavy tanks. It has the ability to fire four shots against 4+ armoured troops and 3 against 2+. It is great at taking out those high toughness critters (carnifex with 2+ save )
I'd love to see some other non-standard builds.
to be honest im just about sick of people who say the tau never have a chance in close combat. in fact just today i beat a necron lord with warscythe in close combat with 6 fire warriors! to be honest vespids arent "useless" just point heavy. i dont really like playing mech tau, and prefer the gunline. and markerlights arent necassary to work at all but a vital asset.
overall, most people make alot of assumptions about the tau that arent true (most of the time)
There are three kinds of people in this world, those who can count and those who cannot.
I find that markerlights are very useful, to the point of my gaming group calling the Pathfinders the most dangerous unit in the Tau arsenal. However, I only ever run one unit of them (MAYBE two of 4-5). I find that they're not critical to win, and opponents generally assume that they are. Thus, I usually get a turn or two of shooting unopposed as they gun for my Pathfinders. Under 1k points I don't even bother with markerlights, I need the points elsewhere.
Mech argument? Well, I happen to mostly agree. In today's environment, you need to be able to move and apply your firepower with precision.I tend to use my Broadsides and Pathfinders as the only Static element, and they are used in much the same way. Do the job, draw massive fire while doing so.
I run Farsight nowadays, so I've had my fair share of close combats. Granted, Tau just lose point-for-point against just about anything, but if you get a battlesuit nearby a badly-mauled unit that isn't a CC specialist one charge will clean up the unit. There will also come times when you suicide-charge a unit into CC against something icky to delay it, this is something I have personally done to good effect in the past (Pathfinders on the charge drawing combat against a Bloodthirster saved me a game).
Vespids, well, they don't SUCK, per se, they're just way too expensive for something that fragile. Now, I want to hear who told you about Piranhas sucking and Dreadsock them. If I could afford it, I'd be using 4-6 in my cadre. They're the best thing we have at controlling space, and TA/FB units of them make good tank hunters. Plus, they can carry Seekers .
I fight for the Greater Good. Too bad for you it's MY Greater Good.
Snow Forces of T'olku W/L/D : 3-4-2... I like to think I'm learning, though.
i actually tested vespid once and they did fairly well, but not near good enough for their points. and i would take that many pirahnas too if i had the points.
There are three kinds of people in this world, those who can count and those who cannot.
I generally don't take markerlights. Though the marker drones got better in 5e for suits to take, that's the points of three fire warriors each, that I may need for objectives.
I used to take three solo fusion piranhas, with great success. Sadly, I kinda need those points now for more fire warriors, again for objectives.
I do play a "mechanized" list, but not because I think its the best way for Tau, but that its the way I play all my armies. If it doesn't have a spiffy mode of movement, it gets a transport.
"It takes a vast amount of self control to be this dangerous."
---Ogvai Ogvai Helmshrot, Jarl of Tra, VI Legion Astartes
Markerlights are not a must have but they do help the Tau perform better. As new codex's come out our competitiveness is getting progressively and steadily eroded (see the new Space Wolves Codex), so having something that gives us an edge (no matter how small) is a bonus.
Ballistic skill increases are always good. You have a Fireknife squad then you need ML's to make it worthwhile. Fire Warriors: 24 shots at BS4 or 5 is better than 24 at BS3 fact. Cover saves which are the bane of any shooting army are much reduced in effectiveness if you have ML's in your list.
The key is balance, you need to take enough to make them worthwhile but not to the point of compromising units or the list as a whole.
Sure you can make a list that does not include them but including them makes life easier.
I do not think anyone has ever said only Mech Tau wins. Of course any Tau list type can win but that is not the point. The point is if you want to win consistently against a wide range of opponents (not just the ones you meet week on week in your local gaming club etc) then Mech is the way to go. Tau needs mobility to win and they need to keep our vulnerable troops safe. It is very hard to keep static forces safe.
Tau combat: Well I tend to agree that Tau should avoid combat if possible. Fire Warriors do not do well in CC and the odd example like Blasterdudes is simply not an accurate picture of how Tau fares in CC. Fact is that most of the time Tau units will lose badly when assaulted. The only unit that does do well it the Kroot/Hound unit.
Most Tau units have awful CC stats and that is fact, we cannot change that and no amount of 'lucky' CC wins is going to change that either.
If Tau units are in CC they are not doing what they do best 'shooting' and that is bad.
Piranhas: Well these were not that good in 4th and they are marginally better in 5th. The tactic of using them to block is valid but it still has its limits (cannot block skimmers or jump pack troops etc). The squadron rules are really bad for Piranhas but using a few in lists to block or objective take can work. I am considering including two in my 2000pt list to work with my Torch and Kroot. One last thing is they are not good anti armour, despite what anyone of the fan-boys say; do not take them for this sole purpose.
Vespid suck. To expensive, to fragile and need support by other Tau untis to work.
yeah he has a habbit of doing that.
i too have had some success in cc with tau, but i do agree with the god man Rikimaru it is a last resort rather than a reliable action, mobile armies are more important than mechanised ones, but obviously mech are a big feature of our dear Tau and as such are almost always included, on the stand point of ML's i'd have to agree their benefits far out weigh their cost and as such are a genius addition to the game, i kinda hope that ml's become a more realistic addition to fire warrior squads in the future, i don't know how, but i can dream, but i don't know why i think of it, i don't have much else in my fast attack menu.
i don't have a problem with piranah's but i haven't used them extensivly enough to say yay or nay to them, and vespid are kinda poor against everything but other assault units, and even then, they don't do that well in combat, just the shooting phase before hand lol.
ah it's good to be back, though i'm sure i haven't been missed too much, had an aniversary to attend to in Japan, and missed the Tau anime thread, dag-nab-it, i'm a huge anime fan (Fanboy alert!), tau are not that close to anime, otherwise they'd have flying dudes with swords, initiative 7 and mystic abilities which would grind marines under their heels (even though they have hooves).
Thanks for the replies.
I agree with most of what has been said. Mech works, markerlights work. But they are not the only way.
Markerlights. Whilst I agree that they are useful, how many points on average are people putting into markerlights? They are a good force multiplier but I found that the points I saved got me more.
Mech. Whilst devilfish may keep troops "safe", as someone infamous once said, "numers have their own quality". I run 3 squads of 12 firewarriors and 2 squads of 15 kroot and it works really well. Just because the troops are not in a fish, does not mean they are static.
Combat. It is not about winning combats really. It is about using combats to achieve an objective. You can pull a unit off an objective, you can pull them out of cover, you can stop them shooting a bigger/better gun at you. Getting into combat is not just about killing enemy models, though suits can.
Vespid. I tend to disagree with the majority view. They are in my tourney list and after twelve games they have become a permanent fixture. They add a great dimension to my tau army.