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Looking for Anti Guard and Tau Tactics
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Old 22 Jul 2006, 21:04   #1 (permalink)
Shas'El
 
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Default Looking for Anti Guard and Tau Tactics

I've been looking at the IG and Tau lists, and what I see scares me. Between the Amazing saves of IG Tanks and the awesome power and range of tau weapons, i'm starting to lose hope of ever doing serious damage with my assault heavy Marine army. I mean Basilisks can be upgraded so they can basically attack anywhere on the board and pathfinders can infiltrate with rail rifles and blow up the soft side armour of my tanks. and even if i get close to a guard army i still have to deal with endless meatshield before i can meltabomb the tanks. I'll admit that I havent finished my army yet, but i still see a dark future of being pounded into dust by artillery and pulse rifles. Help a battle brother out and give some advice on how to avoid this
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Old 22 Jul 2006, 21:53   #2 (permalink)
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Default Re: Looking for Anti Guard and Tau Tactics

Alright, I can't say I have much experience fighting Tau, but I do have some against the Guard. I use a balanced army, however I've also used an assault army against them (albeit more with a firefighting tinge). Anyways, a few things to remember about the Guard:

-The Imperial Guard can field an absolutely massive amount of troops, armor, and guns. This is actually a good thing for you. If there is any terrain on the board, chances are good that the IG won't be able to bring all of its guns to bear on you. Use this advantage and move up where you can minimize their firepower or completely negate it.

-Since you seem to be fearing Basilisks, let me put that fear to rest. You are an assault army. If I recall correctly, a Basilisk that has the upgrade to fire indirectly has a minimum firing range that happens to be quite large. If you can get under this range (which is fairly simple to do, considering you will always be closing on the IG) then you can render this big gun ineffective or at least force it to move to a less advantageous position.

-For Tank busting, you have a few options with an assault oriented army. If you have Eye To Eye, small 5-man squads with two meltaguns in Drop Pods are perfect Tank busters, although they will accomplish little else during the game (although they may be able to hold a table quarter or chop up an IG squad in assault). Terminators can also bust tanks in this manner and have the survivability to keep on going once they come down, which the first option is sorely lacking. Assault Marine squads can take up to three Plasma Pistols (one from the Vet), which make very effective counter to all vehicles of the IG, as they have the mobility to get to the juicy rear armor of the tanks. If infantry aren't your thing when tank hunting, Landspeeders and Attack Bikes can get the job done as well. Put some Multimeltas on the Attack Bikes, and either Multimeltas or Assault Cannons and Heavy Bolters on the Speeders. Multimeltas if you want the Speeders to be cheap, Assault Cannons and Heavy Bolters if you want something more versatile. I've also had some success with using Independent Characters equipped with Thunder Hammers/Melta Bombs/Powerfists/Bolter-Meltas and Jump Packs against Tanks. This has the advantage of freeing up one of your units for a different job.

-If you have fast moving assault units (Assault Squads come to mind), then you can block line of sight to a good portion of IG firepower by engaging a unit in the front ranks of the IG army in close combat. Everything behind them will have a hard time finding a target to shoot at.

-Target those command sections! Take a page out of Space Marine fluff and target the enemy backbone. IG Command units keep the army together by keeping them on the table. Once you take these out, the going gets a lot tougher for the IG player, as their leadership just went from around 9-10 with a reroll to 7. This allows you to scare off quite a few squads of Guardsmen off the table, as many IG players will deploy very close to their own table edge.

-Use morale against the IG. This follows the above. Once you take out Command Sections, forcing morale checks on the IG player are a good way to take care of the infantry. A Librarian with Fear Of The Darkness can be horrifyingly effective in this role.

-Divide and conquer. Take on isolated portions of the IG army and crush them. A Platoon of Guardmen is a match for a Tactical Squad...a squad of Guardsmen is not. Once again, use the terrain to your advantage and hit squads that either you have isolated or that have become isolated from the rest of the army.

Keeping those in mind should help you against the IG. Since I don't have much experience against Tau, I'll let someone else deal with that topic. Good luck.
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Old 22 Jul 2006, 22:18   #3 (permalink)
Shas'La
 
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Default Re: Looking for Anti Guard and Tau Tactics

Hey man, welcome to the boards.

Before we can give specific, detailed help we'd really need to see the 'normal' composition of your army; whay units you field, vehicles, transports etc... 'Assault Heavy' could cover a broad range of things.

EDIT: Pragma's advice on 'Guard is great, but I've spent a while typing this up, so I may as well post anyway.

However, there are a couple of different 'types' of Tau and 'Gaurd armies that you could face, each requiring different tactics to counter effectively:

Mech Tau - Basically Tau armies which field large numbers of fast, mechanised units. Hammerheads, Devilfishes (with their Fire Warrior / Pathfinder cargo), Battlesuits, Piranhas and Skyrays. Due to the large number of powerful, fast moving and resiliant skimmer vehicles, typical Assault armies have a very tough time dealing with Mech Tau. They can be totally out-maneuvered and out-shot, and even the faster assault squads will simply be chasing Devilfishes around the board, as they slowly but surely wear you down with burst cannon fire. Typical anti-tank gear - meltaguns, meltabombs are short range and woefully inadequate at dealing with skimmers.

The best way in my experience is not to go totally assault based against armies like these. Take a few squads with lascannons (veterans with Tank Hunters are ideal). Pop the skimmers nice and early so that your assault elements have something slow and squishy to charge. Mech Tau armies tend to be quite small, so with some concentrated and coordinated firepower and assault power, they aren't as difficult to deal with as you would first thing. Long range tank busting gear is the key.

Static Tau - Generally Tau armies that have a static firing line. Lots of pulse-rifle armed Fire Warriors, a few Battlesuits, Sniper Drones, kroot etc... The problem with typical assaulty marine armies against this type is that they can get (very) shot up before they reach charging distance. Assault squads are expensive, fast and deadly to static Tau - so they are singled out quickly and destroyed. Transports will also be targetted, and with puny AV11 will fall to mass pulse-rifle fire,, entangling or killing their cargo. Even if some squads do make it to combat, the rest of the line can retreat, and you'll be left in the open for another pummelling.

Again, best way to deal with this is to fight Fire with Fire. Load up on AP4 weaponry. Take heavy bolters, both on tactical squads and on nice cheap landspeeders or predator destructors. Heavy Bolters rip though Fire Warrior squads like it's nobody's business. Use a deep striking Librarian with Fear of the Darkness to scare away Fire Warriors, Battlesuits and Sniper Drones alike. Take Whirlwinds, and land AP4 ordnance goodness on those Fire Warriors, kroot and Sniper Drones. Provide covering fire for your assault units, and give the enemy something else to think about besides your transports, assault squads and bikes. Bikes are excellent assault units to take against Static Tau. They are fast, tough, and can often get a 2nd turn assault with the 'Turbo Boost' rule, which also makes them superbly resiliant to a first turn Tau salvo.

Hybrid Tau - A mix of the above - some static firing elements, but also a number of skimmers and battlesuits. You pretty much need a range of the options described above. AP4 dakka weaponry for dealing with Fire Warriors / kroot, high-strength weaponry for taking down skimmers.

Static Guard (SIGAFH) - Shooty Imperial Guard Army From Hell. These things can pack a hell of alot of firepower, even more so than static Tau on occasions. Lots (and lots) of Imperial Guard squads with heavy weapons, grenade launchers and plasma everywhere. Often includes tanks as well, Basilisks, Leman Russes, Sentinels, Hellhounds, you name it. The firing line can be very difficult to get near, and vehicles are often hidden in behind, making them difficult to get to with short ranged anti-tank weapons.

Same really applies as with static Tau, except more extreme. Lots of heavy bolters for dakka. Lots of Whirlwinds for ordnance templates and pinning. Splat and blast up those meatshields to soften them up before your assault troops get to them. Eliminate the most serious anti-Power Armour threats first, plasma guns and missile launchers. Use lascannons and missile launchers yourself to deal with the Tanks. Drop-podding Tactical squads are also very useful here - even bolters will rip though guardsmans 5+ armour save easily, before you charge next turn. Take meltaguns to provide yourself with some up-close tank-busting power if the opportunity arises. Deep stike Terminator squads with assault cannons and heavy flamers to mop up Guard and vehicles alike. Deep strike a Librarian with Fear of the Darkness to send the infantry fleeing - great if your opponent 'edge-hogs'. Massed Rhino charges can be effective, unless your opponent brings out obscene amounts of autocannons or missile launchers. A single, or even two rhinos on their own however will not stand much of a chance.

Mechanised Guard - Usually low model count, but lots of vehicles. Every 'gaurd infantry unit must take a chimera, so expect lots. This type of army is not nearly as dangerous as Mech Tau, due to lack of skimmers, but can still be nasty. Same rules apply though really - pop the transports with long-range lascannons / missiles, or multi-melta landspeeders, and assault the occupants which come tumbling out.

Drop Guard - When piled high with plasma guns and meltaguns, this type can be sickeningly effective against Marines. Typically contains very few vehicles, except the odd basilisk and sentinels. Again, a good combination of heavy bolter dakka and close combat power is needed. Whirlwinds are useful for dropping templates on deep striking units.


~~ So what Assaulty things will I actually use? ~~

Most of my advice so far is to take long ranged units. Pure assault armies will have a tough time beating any of the types I give above. Short range anti-tank for example, is extremely unreliable. You have to get your units within range, alive, which is a very difficult task with the sort of firepower that armies like Static Guard and Tau can chuck at you. It's even less reliable against things like Hammerheads, which can zoom around the board out of range, whittling you down gradually. Your assault force has to be balanced and supported by longer range units, so that they can actually make it into combat. Taking both static shooty (tactical squads with heavy weapons, devastators, whirlwinds) and mobile shooty (predators, landspeeders, attack bikes) units is ideal, so that you can adjust to whatever the situation demands, and you have a wide variety of choice.

Tactical squads are obviously the default way to go. Give some squads a heavy weapon, and stick other squads in transports to assist your more specialist assault troops. Rhino transports tend to be destroyed quickly by foes like these, even with the extra armour / smoke launcher gear, unless you take them en masse, or load up on other armour. However, they can still be useful as a first turn 'jump' to 12'', and then you can disembark and use the thing as mobile cover. Drop Pods are exceptionally useful, the only problem being reliability. You cannot control when your squads turn up. They may turn up on turn 2, even if you don't want them to. Or they may not appear until turn 4 or 5, at which point your other assault troops have been left completely unsupported. Often a mix between drop-podding and Rhino squads is good.

Assault Squads are the number one fast assault choice. However, they are expensive and are just as easy to kill as their cheaper tactical brethren. Keep these guys in largish squads, using cover (hiding behind smoke-launching rhino's is useful) to keep enemy fire to a minimum. I prefer not to deep strike mine if I can really help it - nothing ruins your day more than your assault squad finally arriving on turn 5, only for half of them to scatter into that Imperial Guard conscript horde, and the rest to be shot to pieces before they get a chance to assault.

Bikes are also nice and fast, however are very expensive, and can quite often be outnumbered and overwhelmed by the likes of Imperial Guard. Terminators are great if your opponent is not expecting them, and assault cannons can really do some damage to both infantry and vehicles alike. Assault Terminators aren't as useful - they're slow, expensive, and will get eaten up by plasma and meltaguns. Getting them into combat is difficult at the best of times - Land Raiders and Drop Pods being handy, although expensive again. However, against foes like Imperial Guard and Tau, where armour saves are 5+ / 4+ most of the time, and Toughness at a paltry 3, Assault Terminators are overkill. You could get a fully armed Tactical or Assault squad for their points instead.


Most importantly however, it's vital not to be scared by what enemy units look like on paper. Pathfinders with rail-rifles may take pot-shots at your weaker side armour, but other units can do much worse. Lets see how those pathfinders work now, having missed and failed to damage your tank with their rifles, isolated from the rest of their army, and looking down the barrel of an angry predator destructor. The famed 'Fish of Fury' tactic sounds absolutely devastating and amazing against marines, but once your squads open up on those vulnerable Fire Warriors with Heavy Bolters, who's laughing now? Basilisk and Leman Russ ordnance weapons are scary, but they often scatter wildly, and if you space your models out, then they will only hit 4 or 5 models, maximum. Don't be distracted by things like this, keep calm and look for their real weaknesses, instead of their imaginary strengths.


Cheers (I actually hope some of that above was helpful :P).
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Old 22 Jul 2006, 22:37   #4 (permalink)
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Default Re: Looking for Anti Guard and Tau Tactics

Im not gonna write you an essay since its hardly going to improve what charn posted, but ill give you some advice:

Against static tau nikers are a God send. They can assault on turn two and wont get splattered by ion cannons and pulse rifles.

Against mech tau id go for small marine squads with missile launchers.

Against IG id mount everything you have on rhinos, give them melta guns and smoke launchers and charge forward.
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Old 22 Jul 2006, 23:53   #5 (permalink)
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Default Re: Looking for Anti Guard and Tau Tactics

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Originally Posted by Elessar
Against IG id mount everything you have on rhinos, give them melta guns and smoke launchers and charge forward.
*COUGH*Drop-pods*COUGH*

Rhinos are useless for closing the gap, especially against Guard and even more so when they're all on their own. Your Rhino rush won't get ten feet before the lead vehicles get shredded by autocannon fire and the disoriented passengers stumble out of the wreckage and get turned to mush by a demolisher/earthshaker/battle cannon shell. As the surviving vehicles battle on to turn two, picking a path around the ruined vehicles, they'll get some too. You'll be damned lucky to get a single worthwhile charge in because those few who are able to debuss close enough to the enemy will be cut to ribbons by concentrated lasgun and special weapons fire. Don't anyone tell me you can mount and effective Rhino assault against Guard by using cover to your advantage, because on the battlefield, Guard are everywhere! I agree with closing the distance against the Imperial Guard, but do it with drop pods because Rhinos don't stand a chance.
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Old 23 Jul 2006, 00:23   #6 (permalink)
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Default Re: Looking for Anti Guard and Tau Tactics

Rhino's certainly aren't useless, they do have their uses. Obviously depending on the points level, the more you have, the more likey they're going to be able to survive. But say you have the 2-3 Rhino's, a supporting Predator, some bikes and an assault squad all charging forward, as well as a couple of supporting lascannon teams, the autocannon fire is not going to be solely directed at the Rhinos (and if it is, all the better for your other troops). Of course, they should all be armed with smoke launchers and extra armour.


Deployment - Deploy Rhinos behind cover if possible, but not too far away from the enemy, so that you don't have as far to go. Deploy passengers behind vehicle to prevent a possible Turn 1 transport destruction from entangling them.

Turn 1 - If transports aren't immobilised, passengers embark, and race off 12''. Pop smoke launchers. You would have to be fairly unlucky to lose a smoked rhino on the first turn to a couple of autocannons and grenade launchers, nevermind 2 or 3 of the vehicles. Sure, you could, but any number of things could also happen, not least with Drop Pods.

Turn 2 - If transports are still capable, perform another 12'' (or whatever) jump. Disembark passengers, either behind the vehicle for cover or withing rapid fire range of the enemy if you want to fire bolters (and if you're close enough). At this point, the transport has done it's job. Hopefully next turn you can charge, or rapid fire again.


In missions like Cleanse, they are exceptionally useful. Once a drop pod is used, it can't be used again. The transported unit is stuck with footslogging for the rest of the game. In cleanse, I like to use both against SIGAFH. I use drop pods to drop right in front of the enemy firing line, shooting them up with bolters, and scaring them off with FotD. I also use Rhino's to hunt pesky infiltrating Storm Troopers and mobile armoured fist squads, and of course some foot-slogging and fire support squads, landspeeders and predators. With the right use of cover, and presenting more tasty targets to the big guns, you can keep Rhinos alive for most of the game - vital for quickly seizing or neutralising that all-important table quarter at the last minute.
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Old 23 Jul 2006, 01:53   #7 (permalink)
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Default Re: Looking for Anti Guard and Tau Tactics

Rhinos, in my opinion, have some very useful roles to play against IG. For one, they are mobile cover, that you control. This means you can isolate IG units simply by moving a Rhino in the line of fire. This gives Marine units invaluable cover and allows them to take out squads piecemeal. The Rhino is also capable of Tank Shock. I forgot to mention this before, but it can be a surprisingly effective tactic once IG command has been eliminated. Remove the command and Tank Shock to your heart's content. It can remove entire squads from the table and generally cause quite a bit of trouble. This does, however, work better with more of them, as having only one or two vehicles (light vehicles at that), is just asking for them to be shreaded.
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Old 23 Jul 2006, 10:03   #8 (permalink)
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Default Re: Looking for Anti Guard and Tau Tactics

i have played a few games against tau where my oponent feilded full squads of FW with a 70/30 mix of rifles and carbines. to deal with these i used a cheap expendable scout squad with bolt pistols and cc weapons infiltrating into trees or near by cover i then used a decoy move with some scout bikes infront of their army (they got blown to bits) and charged them on turn 2 with the tau stuck in cc i moved my army forward and here is where assult squads are usefull bang into the other side of the tau, i had heavy weapons in a few of my tactical squads which i used against the hammerhead but not before a submunition shot slamed into my sniper squad........................ so what i'm trying to say is scouts, heavy weapon marines, assult squads and what is also useful is a predator destructor with heavy bolters
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Old 23 Jul 2006, 10:21   #9 (permalink)
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Default Re: Looking for Anti Guard and Tau Tactics

Remember cover is your best friend to avoid all those pulse rifles and lasguns and try to get into CC as soon as possible. have a few cheap scout squads as meatshields against the huge wall of fire you're going to face.
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Old 23 Jul 2006, 10:39   #10 (permalink)
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Default Re: Looking for Anti Guard and Tau Tactics

Actually, one of the things that I forgot to mention was that close combat scouts are horrible against Tau in most cases. You won't be able to get into combat with them until turn 2 at the very earliest, and if the Tau player has any sense, you never will.

With their puny 4+ armour save, scouts die very quickly to weapons like railgun submunition and AP4 missile pods. When not in cover (you have to come out some time though), weapons like this kill scouts three times more quickly than power armoured Marines. Even pulse rifles and burst cannons will devastate them in a small amout of time. You need lots and lots of them to get near combat, but when they win and are left out in the open again, they are vulnerable to another devastating round of shooting. The best way to field scouts against Tau is as long range units - take missile launchers, heavy bolters and sniper rifles. Infiltrate to get side shots at vehicles, or to draw line of sight to battlesuits lurking behind woods.

There are simply other, more effective things you can spend your points on.
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