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I'm going crazy man. I mean, I just started getting into warhammer over this Christmas, but I'm in this crazy ultra absorbed phase where I can't get enough of it. Of COURSE I chose an army and learn it's getting an overhaul 2 months from now. It's absolutely killing me that I can't really design lists and pour over the manual and devise tactics.
Most of all I wanna finish my budding army and play some GAMES! >_< Hah, I've only got like 500 pts..
Well, yeah Im sure you feel my pain, but I wanted to vent a bit.
It seems most of the new units will be suuport squads at best so the core of a Tau army shouldn't change much. This means the armies overall tactics should stay the same just w/ a few new tricks. This means firewarriors and hammerheads should still be mainstays in your army (whether you play mech, static, or hybrid).
NOT STEALTHS! ( Ill spare you a rant of my own)
For now, just use Proxies. You can easily play 3000+ games with only buy the Rule book.
You can't go to Tournaments.....but turst, Its much better to wait until you know exactly what your plans are before jumping me.
The stories I could tell.....
but you cant go wrong when buying tau. all units are great (exept kroot and pathfinders i cant make those units to work) but overall just look in the army list section and you will see a red line. hammerheads stealths and XV8 and lots of them.
I went through the same thing over christmas si i know where you are coming from. I got the army based on the current codex and I got it together and played acouple games with it. Im sure nothing from the new codex is going to drastically change a current army list(at least not for the worse). I think you should get the stuff now and build on it when the new stuff comes out. Worked for me.
Member of the United States Army (45B)
Given we're getting a new codex soon, I'd just like to wrap up tactics I use, using our current codex. Parts of it are agreed on in some way or another, but it is still a biased article and definetely not necessarily all true.
Army list building:
Commanders: There are 5 good configurations: plasma-missile-multi, twinplasma-missile-hwmulti, twinmissile-plasma-hwmulti, twinplasma-fusion-hwmulti, plasma-fusion-multi. Don't get any other upgrades.
Ethereal: Don't give it any upgrades. An ethereal is useful for static fire warriors and broadsides.
Bodyguards: Not a good choice until you've maxed your elite spots with stealths. Similar to commanders.
Crisis suits: There are 3 good configurations: plasma-missile-multi, twinmissile-tlock/flamer, twinplasma-tlock/flamer. Best in units of 1, don't use in units of 3. Don't get any other upgrades.
Stealths: Only field in a unit of 4 or a unit of 6, with no upgrades.
Fire Warriors: Give them a shas'ui if not mechanised, no upgrades (or other weapons) otherwise.
Devilfish: You should take decoys, multi, and tarray.
Kroot: Don't give them any upgrades, they should only be fielded in units of 10. See kroot hounds for an exception.
Gun Drones: Not great, not useless. Use them if you like them.
Pathfinders: Hard to use. Don't give them any upgrades (or other weapons) other than a shas'ui, and maybe 2 gun drones. They are best fielded in a unit of 6.
Kroot hounds: A useful combat unit can be made with a unit or two in a unit of 14-20 kroot with shaper and save.
Broadsides: Not as good as the hammerhead, but still ok. Best with 2 shield drones, with an ethereal on the board for the moral checks.
Hammerhead: The best Tau unit, it must have decoy launchers and a multitracker, and it's ok to have target lock and disruption pod. The first two railheads are superior to an ionhead, the third is about even. Smart missiles are better than burst cannons, but require target locks to be useful, and should only taken if you have the spare points.
Krootox: A fairly useless unit, lets hope the new codex will do it some justice.
Fire warriors, kroot, or stealths?
The decisions made why playing tau, generally, involve trying to keep out of charge range. On the other hand, getting within range to shoot is also a priority.
This is a common conflict of interest for tau players. They want to get close enough to shoot, but you want to stay far away enough so they won't be charged. Tau deals with this well by having mobile firepower.
There is a third decision to be made, which is how to get to the objective. Warhammer in space is no longer about putting men down and rolling dice. It's not about who kills the most, or if a unit can make its points back. In 4th edition, the objective now plays a big part in who wins a battle.
Similarly to the way combat and range conflict, moving towards the ojective and defending deployed forces conflict. When you sit a unit of fire warriors down, you now have a unit you want to protect. You want to keep elite tau units closer in order to save them from any threat.
Remove the static fire warriors, remove the broadsides, and you now no longer have anything to defend. The board is the limit, your Tau are free to move. They can now concentrate on capturing objectives, without static elements to tie them down.
That's the general argument for why mechanised tau outperforms trench tau. When building mechanised tau army lists, however, there is still the decision on what balance of mechanised fire warriors, kroot, and stealths should be taken for the army's anti-infantry role.
So, lets look at the tactics of each one seperately.
Fire Warriors in Devilfish:
Taking a look at the fire warrior, I notice a few things. They can survive a single average round of firepower with their decent armour, but are not likely to survive a round of combat with their low initiative. They shoot the enemy very efficiently at a close range. And they can take a very durable transport that has a high capacity.
Put these together, and you get a tactic called the Fish of Fury.
What is the FoF?
The FoF is a manouvre where fire warriors are unloaded from a devilfish, rapid fire at their enemy, and are then unable to be assaulted due to the enemy having to move around the devilfish.
I'm not going to start praising this tactic as a game winner, it is far from that. The FoF is a highly overated manouvre that will never get the results you expect. It is however still a viable tactic that can be used at the right time to gain a small advantage.
There are better uses for fire warriors in devilfish.
The most common use for fire warriors is the rapid fire drop. The FoF is a varient of the rapid fire drop, but it assumes there are enemy left. The best rapid fire drops are those where the enemy unit is finished off. Work out how many you should kill, and have a HQ or elite unit or two to backup just in case luck goes against you. Rapid fire drops should be done on 3 marines, 6 storm troopers, or 8 guardsmen in cover, no more. Double rapid fire drops are safer, and can be done on up to 6 marines, with backup if needed.
That's the damage side of fire warriors, the rest of their uses are tactical advantages that benefit your whole army.
Fire warriors in devilfish are great anti-tank dilution. Give the devilfish decoy launchers, multitracker, and targetting array, and you have a tank that can shoot as well as 6.2 fire warriors, and more importantly, will absorb some anti-tank fire that is now no longer directed at your hammerheads. This works in practice more than in theory.
Lastly, fire warriors in devilfish are scoring units. They can move 12" a turn and ignore terrain, they are an expensive scoring unit, but one that can be relied upon to stay alive until the end of the game, and then able to make a dash for the objective.
After all that, we've come to the conclusion that fire warriors are an impact unit, designed to apply a concentration of firepower when needed, and otherwise get shot at instead of hammerheads, and if they survive, they can score relatively easily.
So, what is the best combination?
12 Fire Warriors in Devilfish - decoys, multi, targetting array 220
A unit of 6 can also effectively be fielded, acting as a purely tactical unit rather than an impact one.
All other upgrades are not worth their cost, they're solutions you can avoid by not making a mistake in the first place.
Kroot are not a combat unit. Kroot are about par to fire warriors when shooting at the wider range of targets. Kroot offer little damage advantage, what kroot offer is their tactical advantage.
Tactical advantages of Kroot:
Kroot need to be taken to push back infiltrators. This is not a hard strategy to understand, you put them in an area where you don't want the enemy to infiltrate, sacrificing the kroot for more space.
If there is no need to push back infiltrators, kroot are a very good distraction unit. The opponent will often shoot at them just because they are there, what you need to do is take advantage of that by putting them somewhere to get the rest of your army into a better position.
Kroot are also a good scoring unit, especially in alpha mission, or cleanse and secure and control, where the cost of the unit doesn't matter. Kroot are able to sit behind forests, then move through them in the last few turns without movement penalty.
If there is little tactical use for the kroot, they are best as a pillbox unit, sit them in a forest and shoot.
None of these advantages get any better than more kroot you have in a unit. The best combination?
10 Kroot 70
Stealths are a fantastic unit. Stealths are incredibly hard to kill if your main focus is on keeping them alive.
When using stealths, it is usually best to keep them alive as a first priority, shooting them at something is less important. This doesn't mean hide them for 6 turns, they can often shoot and hide back behind terrain, what it means is that there may be one or two turns where it's best to stay back and use their stealth armour to protect them, or to stay behind cover and wait for the enemy to advance.
Stealths are designed to stay alive, and score objectives. The best combinations are:
4 stealths 120
6 stealths 180
What's the right balance?
It generally doesn't matter what balance you have, you will have a good army that will win battles. The only way to convince yourself which is the better balance is to find out for yourself.
Crisis suits are required to offer the range and the high strength shots that fire warriors, kroot, and stealths fail to cover. They help against what S5 AP5 and S10 AP1 fail to specialise killing, 2+ saves and medium vehicles. You do not need a lot of crisis suits to cover this area, in 1500pts 2-4, including commanders, will cover a basic army.
The fireknife: plasma rifle, missile pod, multitracker. While unspecialised towards both 2+ saves and medium vehicles, is the best configuration to use as it covers both well enough.
The fireknife is best used to deny victory points to the opponent just like the stealths. Commanders achieve this well, being able to avoid being shot unless they are the closest. They should focus precisely on the targets they were taken for, rather than an anti-infantry role.
The deathrain: twinlinked missile pod (target lock/flamer). Specialised against medium vehicles, it is the best tau unit in taking out AV10-13 skimmers and AV10-11 non-skimmers, with only the broadside better than it against AV12.
Only elites should be deathrains. The deathrain is the easiest crisis to use, as it has the longest range.
The burning eye: twinlinked plasma rifle (target lock/flamer).
Specialised against 2+ saves. It's not a great marine killer, stealths are better unless it gets into rapid fire range.
Only elites should be burning eyes. The burning eye isn't taking to not get into rapid fire range, nor to score. It needs to hit hard and fast, using the superior mobility of the crisis suit to increase its survivability.
The helios: plasma rifle, fusion blaster, multitracker. Also specialised against 2+ saves, it can also help against vehicles.
The helios is not better than the burning eye within 12". It is better on commanders, being able to use IC to protect it from most enemy. It is still highly suicidal.
Twinlinking is not a priority, and should only be done on shas'el if the spare points are available. Shas'el should always have 2 weapons, you should always max out your commanders before you start using elite crisis.
Fit in as many as you can, hammerheads are absolutely fantastic unit, and are quite easy to use. A point a shoot tactic will work, just make sure to stay near terrain so you can hide if shaken next turn.
And it's concluded. I'm willing to hear your thoughts on how wrong I am .
In onlainari's defense he has posted this before and has been ripped to shreads by alot of people. I feel that all of his info is in some way correct and is a good focal point for beginners to find out how to play a half decent Tau army. I based my army on his comments and although ive made some changes to fit my own style still used his info. Just throwin that out their.
Member of the United States Army (45B)
that was great,totally agree with everything you said
-A tau, dark eldar and slaanesh csm player
-And always on LO chat..
Oh, dont worry I've been reading up enough on the basic tactics to understand and regurgitate them. I just havnt got the actual play time under my belt. Miketehfox has got it down, I'm dying waiting for this codex.
As for the units not changing much, I dunno about that either. I've heard those markerlight squads might be changing so that each markerhit will confur +1BS to one friendly UNIT or reduce the targets leadership by 1 for that turn. I dunno about you guys but that small change makes them about 3 times more desirable to me. :w00t:
That, and vespids. I know a lot of yah hate vespids and auxillaries in general but I <3 em! Oh yeah! And they'll probably fix controller drones too, I hope.
Every time I go to design an army list, I get disgusted because I know the list will be more or less useless to me once the codex is released!