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Beating the stupid Tau
Old 11 Jan 2008, 10:56   #1 (permalink)
Kroot Warrior
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Default Beating the stupid Tau

Stupid, stupid, stupid Tau!


A friend of mine has been regularly dusting my chaos marines off the table. His rough army list consists of a tau commander with two battlesuit bodyguards (all with plasma, two shield drones), a twelve man squad of fire warriors, a twelve man squad of kroot, three squads of sniper drones and a pair of broadside battlesuits.

I'm fielding something like a termie lord w/ lightning claws, two full squads of marines, five termies set to deep strike, a squad of possessed, a defiler and one rhino to stick with whomever I please.

I routinely get shot to pieces.

So I had an ephiphany, and I wanted you to evaluate my plan, in theory. I decided I'm simply moving at him too slowly, and sometimes my faster units get annihilated due to the fact that they come in range first. Thus I endeavored to build an army consisting entirely of 12" movers, centered around melee, melee and more melee. To this end, I'm considering a winged demon prince, two raptor squads at about eight or so, and two rhinos loaded with eight zerks each. Mayhaps I'll even add demon possession to the rhinos to esure they cross the table. I figure if he had this many targets in range at once, something will slip through and cause him problems. I'm fielding a demon prince specifically because I need to catch his fire commander. The commander always flies in, pops plasma at me and flits out of melee range.

Thoughts are appreciated.
"I had a squad of sniper drones score 3 wounds on a daemon prince in CC. Almost killed him. How embarrasing to be wounded by a robot and your an immortal prince of darkness." -LtCmdrTyler

Pretty embarassing indeed. Even more so had it actually happened.
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Old 11 Jan 2008, 11:04   #2 (permalink)
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Default Re: Beating the stupid Tau

deep strike is the best tactic, but as a tau player our biggest weakness is assault units, throw in ALOT of Khorne berserker's (i used to collect world eaters >), they will mince anything that they get close two, use your defiler to fleet up to the fire warrior and mince them up, the recomended berserker's should be targeting the kroot or even the broadsides (if you have enough beserkers the broadsides won't do all that much damage), get some havocs to reak havoc in with the sniper drones.

I hope this helped
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Old 11 Jan 2008, 11:10   #3 (permalink)
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Default Re: Beating the stupid Tau

Welcome to the forums!

Yes, I would say your previous problem is definitely that you were moving too slowly. Foot-slogging just doesn't work against Tau.

I think your current plan is a good one. The Rhinos will give you some brief protection against the Sniper Drones, although you will need to be careful not to expose them to the Broadsides unless they are in a decent position. However, I am not sure I would use Berzerkers against Tau unless you really like the models or have a lot of other opponents. They are a little overkill against the Tau, who will be slaughtered pretty easily even by basic marines. You might consider adding in some bikes, since they are a nice unit for chasing down Crisis Suits. If your opponent has Bodyguards then he isn't using Retro-thrusters, meaning he can't get out of close combat once you are in. Then you just need to hold his commander long enough for one of your other units to charge in. The same thing goes for the Broadsides. The important thing is not being able to beat him in close combat with fast units, but rather holding him in close combat until your support units can get there.
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Old 11 Jan 2008, 11:32   #4 (permalink)
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Default Re: Beating the stupid Tau

Originally Posted by Khanaris
The important thing is not being able to beat him in close combat with fast units, but rather holding him in close combat until your support units can get there.
I've found the best "glue" to get the Tau bogged down are Spawn. Take 2 groups of three, and have them hug cover/make a bee-line straight for the Tau. He'll probably waste most of them on their way in, but it's much better to have the Spawn slaughtered than your Marines... And if they DO make it to the Tau- the fun is just beginning.


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Old 11 Jan 2008, 13:00   #5 (permalink)
Kroot Shaper
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Default Re: Beating the stupid Tau

I agree. There is nothing that my brother hates more than my spawn. They can tie any one of his tau units down for turns on end.
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Old 11 Jan 2008, 13:05   #6 (permalink)
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Default Re: Beating the stupid Tau

Originally Posted by Bleeding Rage
Thoughts are appreciated.

For starters, terminators are not a great choice vs. Tau unless you can deliver them quickly and safely. Tau are totally impotent in melee so terminators are vast overkill there. Your Lord/Princes are some of your most powerful tools vs. Tau because they can be made to be so fast and so good in melee. That helps you to really hammer into those Tau boys. Based on what you're facing, you've got some good strong low AP guns. Your tanks are going to disappear without a doubt with those broadsides on the table. I wouldn't even bring vehicles, except the Rhino. The Rhino is useful for a first turn 12" full throttle followed by smoke launcher to essentially just be used to block line of sight to give you a check point to get to with your models safely. It will promptly be destroyed and provide 4+ cover saves. It's worth it. Mobile terrain feature. Use it.


Lord with Bike or Jump Pack. The Bike lets you get there faster. You can turbo boost right into melee. Those little Tau can't do squat to you on your Bike. Your WS6 is means his WS2 Firewarriors hit on 5's. Your T5 means his S3 wounds on 6's. They simply will rarely ever hit nor hurt you. And when they do, you have plenty of wounds and a great armor save to bounce it off. Mean while, you hit on 3's, and wound on 3's or even 2's depending what you have. They're dead. The Jump Pack version is useful if you have terrain to hop around. It's just a fast way to get to melee if you can't use a bike. I would use the bike.

The Daemon Prince is a new found terror for facing Tau. No longer can a rail gun insta kill a prince. They're immune to it now. So they're awesome now vs. Tau. Give him Wings and he deep strikes, or just hide him behind the Rhino first turn and zip him up 12" behind it, next turn, again, move 12". He can get there alive. Once in melee, he simply cannot be stopped. Shooting phase, you're pretty tough, but not invincible. But for the cost, he's a very powerful thing to have.

Overall, take the Lord on a Bike. He's your best possible HQ choice vs. Tau.

Tip: Give your Lord a personal icon for cheap and anything with termi armor or obliterators, or daemons, can deep strike or summon without scattering right there in the middle of where he is, safely, and get right to work on those Tau heads. Oblits can drop down with flamers, as can Termis, Oblits though can drop down with melta/plasma/lascannon etc for blasting battle suits and instakilling them and broadsides with melta or lascannon action. Very handy.


If you take anything, Chosen or Terminators are basically it. Everything else has a problem with the shooting phase. Chosen can infantrate so that's good for getting closer to melee, but it's not reliable with those Kroot around as they can keep you from getting too close. Terminators are not great vs. Tau, but they can be a good tool if your list is setup to get to him fast with someone with a personal icon (like the Lord on a bike). This allows your termis to arrive perfectly safe and go straight to shooting. Heavy flamers are very potent vs. Tau. Otherwise, he now has a big problem that he can't kill them all and when they charge, Tau die. Once stuck in melee, Tau cannot take out the termis fast enough. Delivery is the main issue. But if you're using Bike characters with personal icons, it's easy to drop them in and already have units stuck in melee to limit what shoots at them. Don't forget melee screens shooting so you can avoid being picked off with smart placement.


Plague Marines are one of your best troopers vs. Tau. Their massive Toughness and feel no pain makes them incredibly durable. But do not discount something that is ultra useful vs. Tau: Daemons. Summoning daemons is a very quick way to stop Tau shooting. Daemons got cheaper, they're easy to summon with cheap personal icons, and they go straight to assault the turn they arrive. Daemon bombing is a great way to stomp a shooty infantry based Tau player because Tau are so rotten in melee. Daemons are not super in melee themselves, but they're better than Tau and the Tau who are not shooting are useless Tau while the rest of your army is doing what they want. Again, Lords on Bikes can summon daemons. It would be great to have a squad or two of lesser daemons to summon in and attack.


Havocs with Autocannons or Heavy Bolters are a huge thing to have. Tau range is limited without their vehicles. Your range with Autocannons is great. You will mow through his infantry. Heavy bolters do it best, but Autocannons give you the range advantage. Heavy bolters are shorter range, but have more shots. Depends what the terrain is like. You can mix the two and be fine. Autocannons have the advantage of also being good at spanking skimmer transports like devilfish & light skimmers like piranha, so they get an extra perk in that sense. His FireWarriors & Kroot are nothing in melee, but they're easy to shoot down too. Plus they're not fearless. Kill enough and they can flee sometimes.

Obliterators are so nice vs. Tau as a heavy support choice. Based on what you're using, you can easily drop them down with deep strike and then target his battle suits. Twinlinked melta kills a suit in one shot. Take out his broadsides, and he will have very little to cut down your Oblits with, other than plasma and fusion. Twinlinked plasma is also there for you to shoot back with. Flamer for killing Kroot & Warriors. And if all else fails, just get the Oblit in melee and watch him have a really hard time as he simply cannot hurt the thing. You can take Oblits as single heavy supports and separate them to give you the most ability to bring them in one at a time to use separately and to target separate targets. Up to 3 heavies can be oblits, and each one can have 1 to 3 oblits, so you could take 3 heavy slots with 1 oblit each and they're separate. Very helpful. They can deep strike to a person icon for perfect landing and go straight to damage dealing. At range they're also nice. Walking lascannons can take out broadsides.

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Old 11 Jan 2008, 19:39   #7 (permalink)
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Default Re: Beating the stupid Tau

I've played a few Tau armies with my Chaos and play Tau myself anyway. :P One of the most effective things I've found is to take a Havoc squad loaded with Heavy Bolters, this'll tear up those FWs. Also, playing as Tau it's pretty terrifying to see fast assaulting units tearing down one of your flanks.

People will probably disagree with me here, but I'd say as he's taking a Broadside team, don't take any Rhinos, Defilers, DPs or Termy Lords. I would only consider taking the Termy Lord if you gave him a nice retinue. This would effectively make those nasty twin-linked Railguns useless, as they'd only be taking out one 15pts marine every turn. But you could probably manage to keep the DP alive till he reached the Tau lines due to that lovely Eternal Warrior special rule. Also, I've found deep-striking in front of Tau lines to be very risky. Depending on where you land you'll most probably end up right in rapid fire range of 12 pulse rifles, even at AP5, 24 S5 shots can be pretty damaging.
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Old 11 Jan 2008, 20:06   #8 (permalink)
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Default Re: Beating the stupid Tau

I play "the stupid Tau" rather than Chaos so I can't advise you on specific units, but your theory of getting across the board quickly and assaulting is a good one. With broadsides and sniper teams as you mentioned, your opponent is going to have a fairly immobile force, pretty tightly packed on his side of the table. Static Tau's weakness is that once an assault squad makes it to my side of the table, they can keep consolidating from one squad to the next, and we never get to shoot at them. Deep strike and/or fast moving assault squads will up a list like that. I would make the broadsides and sniper teams your first priority as they can punch through your armor. Once they're done you can work on pinning down the command squad or whatever is the next greatest threat.

Beware the broadsides, though. They have 2+ armor saves and usually two 4+ invulnerables, so you'll need power weapons or similar to take them down. If you can't come up with something that ignores armor, you can still tie them up in assault for most of the game and keep the deadly railguns out of action.
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Old 11 Jan 2008, 22:52   #9 (permalink)
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Default Re: Beating the stupid Tau

And then of course, when you prepare this list and get ready to play him, it'll be the one time he plays Mech Tau.
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Old 11 Jan 2008, 23:07   #10 (permalink)
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Default Re: Beating the stupid Tau

"A friend of mine has been regularly dusting my chaos marines off the table. His rough army list consists of a tau commander with two battlesuit bodyguards (all with plasma, two shield drones), a twelve man squad of fire warriors, a twelve man squad of kroot, three squads of sniper drones and a pair of broadside battlesuits."

I don't understand how your friend can field that army when Sniper drone squads, and Broadside battlesuit teams are both Heavy Support squads. With three Sniper drone squads, and a pair of Broadsides, he's fielding too many HS squads.
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