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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I have a dilemma, well, actually, my brother has a dilemma. It seems that no matter how hard he tries, he can never seem to avoid getting beaten by Marine Equivalent armies especially beacuse of CC. The reason I bring this up is beacuse a week or so ago was when the proverbial black armored straw broke the camel's back. While playing against some Black Templars in a mission that should have been ideal for him, my brother lost, mainly due to the power armored CC. In particular my brother has no character defence.

I watched on in an equal mix of amazement and horror as a single Black Templars Chaplain on a Bike torpedoed across the table like a blender on wheels, leaving nothing but a gory soup of mangled tau armor and grey flesh in his wake.
Suffice it to say that my poor bro was a little put off by the fact of how easily his army was bowled over and crushed underfoot practically by one dude alone(the stats were something like, Initiates=2 massacres, Chaplain=4 count 'em 4 massacres 3 consolidations and averaged 4 wounds a turn) And it seemed as if he was powerless to stop it.

Any advice/input/opinions etc. will be greatly appreciated. Thx
 

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The ORIGINAL Sniper Puss
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It would be really helpful if you could give us a bit of detail concerning your brother's army list and his style of play, because that way we could direct our answers a bit more accurately for you/him.

BTs are a major thorn in my own Tau army's side, and it really does help to know what they are able to do. The "Run At You" move they get if you kill one of their number, for example, or the Sword Brethren unit, or the darn Terminators who pour forth out of Drop Pods or Crusaders, to mention but a few things! :0 So if your brother faces these guys on a more regular basis, then he should really be trying to get hold of a copy of their codex. "Know Thine Enemy" is a cliche but it is a very valid one.

Sorry I haven't put up a larger number of suggestions than these, but once you supply more details as I mentioned in the first paragraph, I'm sure the help will come flooding in from the guys on the boards.

E.
 

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running
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Tau are very bad in close combat, and as a Tau general one of your primary goals is to avoid it at all costs. If there is something fast that is trying to assault you, it should be shot at until it is dead. From turn 1, Tau units should have been shooting at, or moving to get shots on that Chaplain, and they should have continued to do that until he was dead.

If combat is inevitable (and sometimes it is), try and throw a cheap unit at it as a stall. Also, try to keep your units spaced out so that assaulting units can't hop from unit to unit after massacring.

Those are some general tips to minimize damage, but it would help a lot to know what the Tau list looks like. I'm sure there are specific pieces of advice that we could offer, but without knowing the list composition it is difficult to give anything other than general suggestions.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Well the mission was a 'Blitz' so his force was altered a bit from his usual list, but he typically takes a rather 'troop heavy' approach with 2 units minimum of 12 fire warriors, 1 unit minimum of Kroot, and an etherial with honor guard to form the core of his army.
He then fleshes out the list with a hammerhead w/ railgun, a rather heafty unit of stealth suits( full unit, all w/ drones) usually deploying via deep strike(if Im not mistaken), and a battlesuit hq w/ plasma and missle pod and a couple of suits to back him up. Hope that wasn't too specific, but again, this is merely his usual composition, sometimes he packs broadsides some times he packs more Kroot, but he usually doesn't stray too much from the general force above.
 

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As far as pretty much anything in the Tau army getting into CC with anything MEQ or better, it's all pretty much toast. Ironically, I was playing against Black Templar myself the other day. A huge victory for myself was pretty much guaranteed by turn 4, so I decided to make things more entertaining. I joined my HQ with a full Crisis Suit squad and threw them at a semi-specialized CC unit that was down to 4 guys and hadn't even got to shoot at anything. What do you get when you have 3 Shield Drones, 3 Crisis Suits, and a Shas'el Commander assault? Everything dies without killing a single marine. Frankly, that's what I expected, but it's still disappointing.

My main defense against CC is just avoid it. Suits can outrun most infantry units and Firewarriors can button up inside a Devilfish. I nearly always lose all my Kroot regardless of what I do since they're good at CC, but have no armor save to speak of. If they don't get to assault, chances are they'll lose whatever fight they're in.

Against anything on a bike with a power weapon, try to block them with a skimmer wall (probably at least 2-3 skimmers) and then hit them with everything you can. Also, keep in mind that even though anything on a bike gets +1 to Toughness, that doesn't count towards Instant Death. All you need is one good railgun shot on a bike-mounted character to knock 150-200 points out of commission.

Of course, if it's a Nob Bike Squad with a Warboss and you haven't built the army list to specifically fight that squad, you're probably toast. Apparently Games Workshop thinks that 20+ Strength 9-10 power weapon attacks is completely balanced out by going at Initiative 1.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Thats actually alot of good advice. I'd never even thought of suggesting blocking the Chap with a tank or two, that would have been devastating to him. The problem is, that it's not just the problem of MEQ CC, but rather the inevitability of it. My brother just can't seem to kill 3+ saves quckly enough or at a high enough rate. And sadly, once the Marines make it "in", even if it's piecemeal, the Tau are done for. God forbid he face any savvy Marine player who loads up on tons of troops, I would think that even the desperate tactic of merly avoiding them wouldn't really help in that situation. Isn't there some secret strategy for removing droves of 3+ armored hulks?
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Tau are very bad in close combat, and as a Tau general one of your primary goals is to avoid it at all costs. If there is something fast that is trying to assault you, it should be shot at until it is dead. From turn 1, Tau units should have been shooting at, or moving to get shots on that Chaplain, and they should have continued to do that until he was dead.

If combat is inevitable (and sometimes it is), try and throw a cheap unit at it as a stall. Also, try to keep your units spaced out so that assaulting units can't hop from unit to unit after massacring.

Those are some general tips to minimize damage, but it would help a lot to know what the Tau list looks like. I'm sure there are specific pieces of advice that we could offer, but without knowing the list composition it is difficult to give anything other than general suggestions.
As a matter of fact, my Bro did shoot at the Chaplain from turn 1, him and all his bike toting croneys. What happened was, everyone got shot to kibble around the Chap, but he stayed alive, long enough to over quintuple his weight in points! Leaving my brother, understandably, a little upset.

It wasn't so much that he killed some tau, but rather the sheer mythologean way that he went about it, it seemed almost not-right. Solo, this raving black armored lunatic accounted for more kills than anything else, in either army!
But, so as not to get carried away(not that I probably haven't already), my response to your post is that he did try a couple of the above mentioned tactics and, even in a mission and situation practically designed for him, they still did nothing. Is there something my brother is missing?
 

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The Orange Grey Knight
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More Railheads?

Sacrifice a couple of fire warriors at the beginning of the game to the dice Gods?

Plasma?

Some Times its not just the tactics, but the equipment, based on what you said about his army other than the Railhead he didn't have anything that could punch through Power Armor. Maybe if he tries a couple of Fireknife/Deathrain type suits, I know the Missile pod isn't AP3, but it can do some nasty things to the enemy while still being in 'support' range of the rest of his army.

Mike
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
Sounds great, but, remind me what fireknifes and deathrains are again? also why should he sacrifice some Tau to the dice gods? And how would one go about doing that? It doesn't involve any headless chickens does it? Sorry for all of the questions but I'm confused.
 

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The Orange Grey Knight
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For sacrificing Fire Warriors, I'd be a a snack size bowl, toss the FW in then just throw all your dice in until the bowl is full, then grab dice from there, the Fire Warrior's 'death' empowers the dice. Or you could just smash the model with your fist and let any blood drip on your dice, but that works better for Chaos....

Fireknife = Plasma Rifle + Missile Pod + Multi-tracker

Deathrain = Twin-Linked Missile Pods + Target Lock

Mike
 

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The ORIGINAL Sniper Puss
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Yes, I was just going to mention that fact about not having sufficient anti-MEq weaponry. From what you listed, Mr Blonde, your brother has plenty of AP5 weapons but not enough of the lower bracket ones which will do the damage.

He obviously was playing a very static-based list, which is probably why he got so easily caught by the Chaplain. He may also have had his units placed too closely together which again plays completely into the Chaplain's hands - he can consolidate/massacre move into the next unit an so create a domino effect. Fire Warriors vs Chaplain = no contest!

One unit I would not tend to take in smaller games is the Ethereal+Honour Guard HQ. That is an expensive-ish unit whose points could be used elsewhere. Again, it also contains no anti-MEq weapons.

It might do no harm if your brother took a step back and looked at where his problems are stemming from. As far as I can see, mobility is one of his major difficulties. Blitz would indeed be a good mission for Tau, but is one which also requires an ability to move pretty sharpish when necessary. As already stated, the lack of anti-MEq firepower is not going to help either! Fireknives and Deathrains have already been suggested, and possibly considering BASS with Plasma as well would add to the arsenal.

Against Marines, I find that playing Mech Tau is a more resilient form of tactics, as the bolters cannot hurt the Tau vehicles unless they shoot at the rear armour, so much of the firepower of the basic troops can be neutralised in the shooting phase. CC-wise, using Flechettes on the vehicles and placing them so that enemy units are forced to charge them rather than the squishier fleshy things can result in amusing scenes for the Tau side (Berserkers getting ripped to shreds by the vehicles! Lovely stuff). As BT are also required to run at the nearest enemy unit in certain situations, placing a Flechette-armed DF in their path can brighten their day (not).

Another thing for your brother to learn is this: practise judging the 6", 12" and 18" distances. This can help in several ways, but one of the best is "sniping". Only models within the range of a weapon may be removed if they fail their armour save, so if you can judge those distances well you can end up picking off the dangerous guys in the enemy army. This could mean taking out the guy with the power weapon, which can only be good news!

Hope some of this was of help.

E.
 

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No Rest For the Righteous
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Being the player who owns this bastard of a Chaplain, I can honestly say that I didn't percieve any wrongdoings on the part of his list. A healthy dose of marine killing weaponry such as plasma cannons on suits and an ion cannon armed hammerfish, combined with the the sheer firepower I faced (several big squads of fire warriors, 2 kroot squads, another hamfish, and a few crisis suits) combined with the amount of ground I had to cover on foot was daunting, even for Black Templars. His army list was definitely not at fault, nor was his unit placement.

What did it was the speed at which a Chaplain on a bike covers ground. His threat range for zealous, hate filled righteous fury is 18 inches. Show me a Tau player that has all his units 18 inches away from each other and I will show you a Tau player who is measuring in centimeters not inches.

The thing is, that chaplain was bare bones compared to the way I've seen other people normally take him. He was only armed with a hot set of wheels, a crozius, and a sharp tongue. Being a minimalist, I often take my characters like this to maximise on troops, but I have heard tales of monster Chaplains with piles of upgrades.

I'm talking an artificer armor flaunting, terminator honor sporting, plasma pistol waving, master crafted crozius swinging abomination with 3 wounds that requires a monthly payment plan to get. Not to mention a squad of biker buddies with which he can laugh off the likes of plasma and battle cannons because of their turbo boost invulnerable save.

Its something not only Tau players have trouble with, but IG players as well, from what I have heard.
 
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For a unit like the Biker Chaplain and friends, one nice advantage in dealing with it is that it will almost invariable be attacking ahead of the main army. A couple markerlights combined with two Fish of Fury attacks will down roughly 7-8 biker marines (they may have an invulnerable save, but it's gotta be the unit majority which is, of course, a 3+) leaving the Chaplain exposed to whatever else you want to hit him with.

At this point, Missile Pods work very well (good number of shots and a very high strength to almost guarantee wounds) especially since the save will become a 2+ invulnerable. On top of that, all it takes is one good railgun slug to put the Chaplain down for good, although I wouldn't really recommend it due to the nasty invulnerable save.

If you have a Kroot squad with the right placement, you could actually go ahead and assault him if he's lost his buddies by that point. You'll probably only get a couple wounds on him, but the Chaplain will likely be tied up for at least his game turn and let you get in the final volley to kill him.

Now, if there is another biker squad, well, have fun getting trashed in CC!
 

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No Rest For the Righteous
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Ironically, kroot shooting was what did the most damage to the bike squad. Other units peppered them and they took it fine, but probability catches up sooner or later. It seems to me the best way to kill the bikes is like Ninja said, massed firepower. Just like Land Speeders, lots of low or medium strength shots is better than a few high strength shots. Theres only a few bikes so they suffer that much more when they take alot of saves.

Mixed armor rules means that even with majority 3+ saves the chaplain keeps his save. Still its the same strategy- just wound him alot and keep forcing him to take saves.
 

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Gone
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The problem is that he is using too many troops. He should lose the ethereal and honor guard, and instead get some crisis suits that can avoid CC very well, and take out MEQ's.

Pulse Rifles are good, but they aren't a replacement for plasma. Also, if your brother gets a couple of devilfish, he won't have to worry too much about CC.

He needs to move to avoid CC. Sometimes you can't just shoot every enemy unit to death before they hit you. You need to slowly circle, running from his troops while shooting him as he pursues. In order to do this, he needs devilfish, and gundrones.
 

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I feel there are a couple of tricks and rules mechanics in this regard that may need to be discussed, given the 'new player' seemingness of the original question. After just discussing how these rules work, it should give you and your brother plenty of new things to think about.. or... several things that were played wrongly in the game, so that you can feel better about getting slaughtered... as you may have been slaughtered inproperly.

First, the whole Massacre thing. When played properly, they shouldnt happen all that often, especially when one side is a CC monster and the other side is a CC kitten. The all important rule to know about, regards Swweping Advances. So break out the BBB, and turn to Pg43, and read paragraph 2 under sweeping advances. This is a very important paragraph, that tends to be 'forgotten' or, more innocently: new players are unaware of it.

What it ultimately means is: If the chaplain biker monster roars in and kills all the firewarriors that he is in base to base with (and assuming you removed THEM as the casualties!!), then, when/if the firewarriros panic and fallback.. they get away scott free, as they fall back 2d6", while chappy can only consolidate 1d6". Because there was no one in base to base during the fallback, then there is no sweeping advance, and therefore no massacre! VERY important rule, as I said. Add to this falling back scott free, the firewarriors may find themselves in rapid fire range of the monster that assaulted them last turn, and may still fire, if they rallied or not!


OK, that was one of the points I wanted to make, and should make your or any new player who was previously unaware of its' eyes gleam with eager anticipation for the next time they play the game, or at least much less panic. :)


Next, is the rules of assaulting, and whos engaged and how max coherency can mitigate damages. Again, lets use the monster Chappie biker charging in. Now, he has to charge the nearest model of that target unit until he is in base to base with some unfortunate firewarrior. Now, if the rest of that firewarriors buddy's are spread out with a 1.99" gap between them, then the only firewarriros that the chappie can kill are the one in Base2Base, and the any others within 2" of that poor sucker. Which means that, even if the chappies power weapon causes 6 wounds with no armor saves... only 3 models are eligible to take them, and the rest are discarded. The rules covering this are Pg 38, under "who can fight?"

Its a bit unclear when first reading over it, but here are the implications: Out of the Firewarrior group, the poor fellow in Base2Base, and all within 2" of HIM are labeled "engaged".. all others are labeled "locked". Then, as you resolve the combat, the only ones who can be killed are the 'engaged' group, and likewise, only the engaged firewarriors may fight back. If the chappie was killing 6-10 firewarriors a turn, then either they were all in a tight group, or it was played out improperly. Either way is a way that will be set up differently next time, now that you are forewarned, right? :)

So, those are the rule mechanics of how the CC system works. New players may not be fully aware of the mechanics, and older players may be stuck in 3rd edition play habits. But if you play it properly, and spread out a bit, then one single CC monster is no longer quite so scary.

Now for a bit of a trick, to use those mechanics to get the least amount of damage: since the assaulter needs to charge the nearest model... then send one firewarrior out in front, for the greater good (of the squad, not necissarily his own). Better yet, send two out on 'point'. Have your firing line set up, with 1 firewarrior (or gun drone) 2" out in front, with another 2" in front of him. So that when the assaulters charge, they have to charge that guy on point. And in that case the worst that the assaulter can to to you is kill the 2 guys on point, and leave a 4" gap between the two forces. This was a tactic I thought up loooong ago (search for "possible use for gun drones" , or "Tau brace"- as in 'brace for a charge'-over in TO, if youre curious), when I first studied the close combat mechanics.

Now, the important thing to realise, with all of this, is that you indeed fervently wish to FAIL that morale check... because if you pass it, then the combat finishess with the "pile in" move... which would be a death sentance to the firewarriors. This I think is the secret purpose of taking an Ethereal along.. as you get to reroll those morale checks... even the ones you accidentally pass.... ;)


So, anyways, this concludes this dicussion on how the rules work for us Tau players, and how, if worked out properly, and if you are forewarned enough and prepared enough, things really wont be so bad. And definately how massacres and sweeping advances will be a thing of the past, at the very least!!
 

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No Rest For the Righteous
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I really have to hand it to you Calaban, that makes for some good tactica.

Kill zone clearing is one of the reasons I take characters like that chaplain, who had only the modest 3 attacks in his base profile. (Another being excessive cheapness. "Smoke Launchers? What, you think points grow on trees?!") It's a wonder people don't pay more attention to rules that really help out, like the most overlooked rule, the torrent of fire rule (pg 26, last paragraph). Small things like that can be lots of fun and even the playing field by turning a one sided massacre into a good fight.
 

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The Brother Speaks!

Yes, it is I, Aun'la the supreme commander of the Tau force so handily defeated by the black templars. I thank you all for your help. I think it will be most beneficial. As a newer player I realize that some of these lessons have to be learned the hard way. I will try to keep you all posted as to how your suggestions fare in my army. Thanks to my Brother for rallying to my aid. And thanks to EbonHand for a battle well fought.

See you soon.
 

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First, the whole Massacre thing. When played properly, they shouldnt happen all that often, especially when one side is a CC monster and the other side is a CC kitten. The all important rule to know about, regards Swweping Advances. So break out the BBB, and turn to Pg43, and read paragraph 2 under sweeping advances. This is a very important paragraph, that tends to be 'forgotten' or, more innocently: new players are unaware of it.
this is something that I have looked at alot after getting peed off with getting swept!!

and I have to say it works a treat!!!

Rep'd.

on a side note were does it say they have to charge the closest model in a straight line?? I can never find that reference!!
 

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RAWR! KROXIGOR!!
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on a side note were does it say they have to charge the closest model in a straight line?? I can never find that reference!!
Page 37 paragraph 2. There is nothing about 'having to go in a straight line' though. The first model simple moves into contact with the nearest enemy model via the shortest distance (which is usually a straight line anyway).
 
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