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Fire Warrior Tactica
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Old 07 Nov 2005, 15:55   #1 (permalink)
Shas'Vre
 
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Default Fire Warrior Tactica

Here’s a little tactica of my gathered thoughts around fire warriors, primarily focusing on their role in a mechanised Tau army.


Firstly, we need to know a few things.


1. What will our fire warriors do?
2. What will be their purpose?
3. What use can I put them to?


When we have made these things clear, we can start to look at their battlefield role, and how to achieve success with them.
  • Our fire warriors will do, mostly, the same as space marines, in the shooting phase. They lack the high BS, but they have a high-strength weapon, which makes up for this in terms of effectiveness. For example: Space Marine rapid-fires bolter at a unit of Imperial Guardsmen. Hits on 3+, wounds on 3+, no save as the bolt will pierce the armour, 2 shots. Probability math shows us that he will, on average, kill around 0.89 guards. Doing the same with a fire warrior, we see that he hits on 4+, and wounds on 2+, no save as the pulse shot will pierce the armour, 2 shots. Probability math, on average: 0.83 guards. Now, this is almost the same result as the space marine achieved, but then again, our fire warrior is a lot cheaper. He does not have the same statline, nor does he have access to other weapons (bar the carbine), but in terms of sheer offensive capability with the same weapon, the two are quite similar. If you do this same example vs a chaos marine, you’ll see that the results will be entirely equal, whilst the fire warrior will be better off vs higher toughness value, ie, 5 and more. So, a unit of 12 fire warriors rapid-firing into a unit of Guardsmen will kill 10 guardsmen on average. Not bad!
  • Our fire warriors will have several purposes. To start with, their main role is to be the core of our line. They are the cornerstone of our army, and every Tau army includes at least one, whilst most mechanised lists has at least 2. What purpose do they serve here? Well, they have the best basic trooper weapon in the game, can stand a bit more than normal guard, and are not too expensive for what they do. They are very efficient against light infantry (read: 6+/5+), they do well against medium infantry (read: 4+/3+), but can’t hope to really threaten heavy infantry (read: 2+). These terms are based upon effectiveness, not fluff etc, as I’d classify a space marine as heavy if I were to use the fluff as a source. So, they are generally good, cheap infantry cleaners, but they won’t stand up against too much, so putting them out in the open like tactical marines will most likely see their death. They can also be used to kill of light vehicles (primarily AV 10, sometimes 11), and if they can get a shot at the rear armour, they are quite often lethal (as it’s the only basic gun which can penetrate AV 10).
  • While they pack a punch, they can’t stand to much themselves, and will fall like flies to heavy bolters, immortals etc. This means that you will really have to think through what purpose you’ll want them to do. Firstly, you can use them as front-liners, and anchor of your lines. While they don’t excel at this, they can do pretty well if you can find them a nice piece of cover to hide them in. Secondly, you can use them as bait, or as expendable units. In squads of 6, they can be quite cheap, and equipping them with EMP grenades will force your opponent to pay attention to them, which can, sometimes, relieve the rest of your army. Thirdly, you can mount them in a devilfish, and use them aggressively. This is where our fire warriors excel. They are hard to get to, and once unloaded, will deliver quite a punch, especially if you can get them some support, for example in the form of a couple of crisis suits.

Okay, so now we’ve made a couple of points, and to summarize them before I continue:
  • Fire warriors are very effective against light infantry, and will do a decent job against medium infantry.
  • While they have the strongest basic weapon in the game, they lack specialised equipment. As such, you need to focus their fire upon something they are effective against, and do not attempt to go toe to toe against enemies that are really hard for fire warriors to take out, for example a souped-up carnifex.
  • While fire warriors can stand up and shoot quite powerful, they can’t receive very much fire before their numbers starts falling. True, their armour is very healthy against standard weapons, but they can’t cope with the good ol’ heavy bolter and the-likes.

Bearing these points in mind, I find fire warriors best used in a devilfish APC. Here, they can be transported quickly around, so they can get to choose what target to engage- vital if you want to have them achieve their battlefield role.

Okay, so our basic warriors should be mounted, not used recklessly (unless it’s an expendable squad) and they should be shooting at either light or medium infantry, or even light vehicles.

How are we to accomplish this without spending too much points on these fire warriors, and without loosing them?

Well, I prefer to not have all the eggs in one basket. For example, say you want 24 fire warriors, mounted. Sure, many will want to load up on 2x12 in 2 ‘fishes, performing the famous Fish of Fury attack. However, I really think this is putting too many eggs in too few baskets. I think it’s better to use some more points, and take 3x8 in 3 ‘fishes, or just lower their number to 16, using 2x8 in 2 ‘fishes. Why? They are still strong enough to deliver quite a punch, but their relative low costs ensures that you can use them offensively without having to worry about loosing too much of your army (2x12 FW’s are quite a bit more expensive than 2x8). For example, if our devilfish falls to a couple of autocannon shots, chances are our FW’s will be doomed. So, as long as we keep their numbers low, but still high enough to pack a punch, they will be powerful but not too expensive. Personally I find 8 being a great number, but 9-man teams have also performed very well indeed.

Many people believe that if you buy a unit to, say, 60 pts, that unit won’t be worth it unless it kills 60 pts of enemy units. This is wrong, and it couldn’t be more wrong than it is with our fire warriors. In example, try to whittle down 300pts of necron warriors with 300pts of fire warriors. It won’t happen, I’ll tell you that for sure. The key to using a unit successfully is to understand its use. When you buy a broadside, you don’t buy it because you expect it to kill 0.3 land raiders? You buy it because you want some anti-tank weaponry.
The same goes with fire warriors. You don’t buy a squad of 12 men to kill 8 space marines, you buy it because you want anti-infantry. True, they will try to be killing space marines, but not just like that, straightaway. No, you need to understand how to make them accomplish this task, else you’ll be screwed from turn one. I’ve heard a lot of people say that a shooty unit that doesn’t shoot is inefficient every turn it doesn’t shoot. Wrong. Our fire warriors will often be most efficient in the movement phase, when they move to counter, move to defend, move to attack and so on and so forth. My fire warriors generally see 2 or 3 turns of fire in a 6 turn game, the remaining being spent in the ‘fish, awaiting action. Killing 4 Space marines is not the necessarily the same as killing 4 space marines!
For example, 10 tac’s are advancing on me. If I whittle down four of them before I lose my fire warriors, I’ve lost my fire warriors to killing 4 tac’s. But, let’s say the tac’s are dangerously close to something important, and I have to kill them. Now, if that same squad kills those remaining 4, but dies the next turn, they have still killed 4 marines, but it’s not the same. Did you get that? It sounds awkward to say the least, but killing 4 models ain’t necessarily killing 4 models

So, to conclude, here’s how I view fire warriors:
  • They will hurt what-ever light/medium infantry they point their guns at, but won’t be able to cope with concentrated return fire.
  • They will need to be fast in order to be used efficiently, so you get to choose where and when to use them.
  • They work best in medium-sized squads, were they are strong enough to be a threat, and cheap enough to be expendable, if that situation will arise.

Remember, this is just my plain thoughts on the subject, and I sincerely wish that you make your own. However, I hope you’ve learned something from this guide, and I also hope you’ll bear some of these points in your mind later on.

Last, but not least, I’ve written a short piece of fluff to go with this tactica:

Shas’la Or’es, leader of a Special Tactics Fire Unit (STFU) squad of fire warriors, thought of the battle which was to commence. The 7 men under his command knew their comrades in and out, as he did as well. Today, there was an uncomfortable silence inside the devilfish, as the APC drove towards the front lines. They knew they were to face the space marines of the Imperium, which the Sa’cea forces had had trouble coping with lately. They did not fear death, because if they did indeed die, it would be for the greater good. They feared failure, for that could not be allowed to happen.
“Ready to drop out men? On my count 3….2…1…NOW”
La’Or’es’ squad jumped out of their devilfish carrier, and even before they hit the ground, they started to pump out shots towards the nearest squad. Their target, a battle-hardened unit of assault marines, proved resilient, even though their numbers were falling, it seemed like some of them would reach melee, and Or’es knew the outcome of that fight. Or’es called for back-up over the inter-com, but even before his request was spoken, Ui’Kais started pouring plasma death from his battlesuit into the remnants of the assault squad. The last marines fell dead, and Or’es felt relieved. “Thanks for your quick action Ui’Kais”, he said. “Nothing to thank for, I’ve had that squad targeted for a long time, but I couldn’t engage it on my own. Remember La’Or’es, we cannot accomplish tasks by our selves, but if we work together, we can make the impossible possible.”
The battle was over, it was a bloody mess. The Tau had won, and as his fellow soldiers celebrated, La’Or’es contemplated Ui’Kais’ words. He eventually understood the importance of his squad, but he also saw that neither he, nor Ui’Kais, could handle everything on their own. He felt like a part of the greater whole, and knew that together, the elements of the Tau army were unstoppable, as long as the commanders knew how to use them, and the different elements knew when, where and how to support each other. For the greater good he said, inside his head, as he walked with a smile on his face, and a new-found confidence in the fire-power of the basic elements in the Sa’cean cadres.


Thanks for reading, hope you enjoyed it friends

~Olannon
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Old 07 Nov 2005, 16:08   #2 (permalink)
Shas'El
 
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Default Re: Fire Warrior Tactica

excellent post. I honestly can't add anything to it!

I work by the ethos of 8man FW teams in devilfish, and i would have made the point that you dont take 12-pts of firwarrior to kill 120pts of marine. but you did it. kudos.

All i will add is that the FW APC squad is more effective when the APC is kitted out with a multi tracker and targetting array. i had huge success last time i used them. 60 shots a game from 2 AV12 units is nothing to sneeze at, plus a heavy volley from fire warriors if its needed.

And lets make the STFU squad official. All we need are LOL and LMAO, and OMFG squaddies. genius! ;D
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Old 07 Nov 2005, 16:32   #3 (permalink)
Shas'El
 
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Default Re: Fire Warrior Tactica

oi!* Long and deep.

it is a very good piece of work.* I would say that 10 man is the optimum size only because of the return fire your FW will receive after shooting.* 20 shots vs 16 from your side, while return fire will be 12 to 16.* 12 shots will get an 8 man FW squad to run.* 9 saves you 10 points over 10 considering they both needs to loose 3 to run, but 10 gives 2 extra shots initially.

Configuring FW squads based on stat lines is not about matchups.* matchups are worthless, as anyone wanting to hurt an enemy unit will poor as much as possible into the target unit.* In 40K, numbers are king.* The reason to configure the squad size by stat line is to insure maximized return on investment.* Consider 2 8 man units rapid firing on a single target; this gives you 32 shots.* Not bad.* However, 2 10 man units give you 40 shots.* that is 8 more dice per shooting.* Odds show that 8 dice will render an additional kill at the least.* Taking units under 50% and/or forcing leadership checks is the only means Tau have of defeating Necrons, Chaos, and SM in many missions.

Good work
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Old 07 Nov 2005, 20:40   #4 (permalink)
Shas'Vre
 
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Default Re: Fire Warrior Tactica

thank you thank you Nice feedback. I'll edit some devilfish upgrades later on, perhaps I'll have time tomorrow? Anyway, any feedback is greatly appreciated, as I'm trying to build a theoretical tactica for each Tau unit, then combine it into a word.doc later

So, any more thoughts on the subject will be gladly received

Cheers!
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Old 07 Nov 2005, 21:33   #5 (permalink)
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Default Re: Fire Warrior Tactica

Very nice post. Just as good as Tonka's works. Keep up the good work.
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Old 07 Nov 2005, 22:33   #6 (permalink)
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Default Re: Fire Warrior Tactica

A very nicely done post! I quite enjoyed reading that one! Have a Karma Cookie! +1
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Old 07 Nov 2005, 23:19   #7 (permalink)
Shas'La
 
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Default Re: Fire Warrior Tactica

Not a bad summary of the 'ole firewarrior. I don't think much of the information is anything new, but it's a nicely consolidated review of the ramblings of various other posts (the "Firewarriors: Why you shouldn't take them" thread coming to mind most readily).

Let's review the points:

Quote:
Originally Posted by Olannon
Here’s a little tactica of my gathered thoughts around fire warriors, primarily focusing on their role in a mechanised Tau army.
  • Our fire warriors will do, mostly, the same as space marines, in the shooting phase. They lack the high BS, but they have a high-strength weapon, which makes up for this in terms of effectiveness. For example: Space Marine rapid-fires bolter at a unit of Imperial Guardsmen. Hits on 3+, wounds on 3+, no save as the bolt will pierce the armour, 2 shots. Probability math shows us that he will, on average, kill around 0.89 guards. Doing the same with a fire warrior, we see that he hits on 4+, and wounds on 2+, no save as the pulse shot will pierce the armour, 2 shots. Probability math, on average: 0.83 guards. Now, this is almost the same result as the space marine achieved, but then again, our fire warrior is a lot cheaper. He does not have the same statline, nor does he have access to other weapons (bar the carbine), but in terms of sheer offensive capability with the same weapon, the two are quite similar. If you do this same example vs a chaos marine, you’ll see that the results will be entirely equal, whilst the fire warrior will be better off vs higher toughness value, ie, 5 and more. So, a unit of 12 fire warriors rapid-firing into a unit of* Guardsmen will kill 10 guardsmen on average. Not bad!
This is an odd comparison, despite the fact that it seems normal enough to compare to the universal 40K standard: the space marine. The fact is firewarriors will not do what marines do in the shooting phase, because marines' target will be dictated primarily by the heavy/special weapons carried by the squad. The squad with the lascannon is going to shoot at tanks first, regardless of whether a IG squad is nearby (usually). The ability to min/max marine squads to get many heavy/special weapons on the table is what makes them so nasty in the shootiness department, and is ultimately why a shooty/static marine army has a good chance of killing a shooty/static Tau army. Additionally, to get firewarriors (or marines) in rapid fire range of IG means you'll need a transport to get there, as they IG guys probably aren't coming to you. With the devilfish costing more, it reduces the cost effectiveness of the firewarrior's shooting somewhat. I know, I know, the devilfish can shoot more than the rhino, but the razorback shoots more than the devilfish....it's tough to figure out exactly who wins, but taking transports and/or heavy/special weapons into the mix, I think firewarriors start to lose out.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Olannon
  • Our fire warriors will have several purposes. To start with, their main role is to be the core of our line. They are the cornerstone of our army, and every Tau army includes at least one, whilst most mechanised lists has at least 2. What purpose do they serve here? Well, they have the best basic trooper weapon in the game, can stand a bit more than normal guard, and are not too expensive for what they do. They are very efficient against light infantry (read: 6+/5+), they do well against medium infantry (read: 4+/3+), but can’t hope to really threaten heavy infantry (read: 2+). These terms are based upon effectiveness, not fluff etc, as I’d classify a space marine as heavy if I were to use the fluff as a source. So, they are generally good, cheap infantry cleaners, but they won’t stand up against too much, so putting them out in the open like tactical marines will most likely see their death. They can also be used to kill of light vehicles (primarily AV 10, sometimes 11), and if they can get a shot at the rear armour, they are quite often lethal (as it’s the only basic gun which can penetrate AV 10).
It's interesting that you conclude that firewarriors can stand a bit more than guard (I'm assuming you're talking about receiving enemy fire), because I'd disagree. One squad vs. one squad, I'd say your correct, just as 1 firewarrior model, all things considered, is a pretty good deal at 10 points compared to other basic models. However, when looking at what to expect from a typical IG army, you'll end up with many more model of IG for the same cost as firewarriors, and they'll all have leadership boosting abilities of some sort (command platoon, company standard, iron discipline) that make it very difficult to actually make the units go away. Tau have poor leadership overall, and the only real way to boost it to IG level is to take an ethereal, and we all know how common that is. I agree with your assessments on targets, although adding in the bit about shooting rear armor is a bit extreme (it's possible, mind you, and I've done it before....usually with broken squads running to the board edge that get behind an enemy vehicle, but it's so rare I wouldn't say it's a real advantage I'd consider).

Quote:
Originally Posted by Olannon
  • While they pack a punch, they can’t stand to much themselves, and will fall like flies to heavy bolters, immortals etc. This means that you will really have to think through what purpose you’ll want them to do. Firstly, you can use them as front-liners, and anchor of your lines. While they don’t excel at this, they can do pretty well if you can find them a nice piece of cover to hide them in. Secondly, you can use them as bait, or as expendable units. In squads of 6, they can be quite cheap, and equipping them with EMP grenades will force your opponent to pay attention to them, which can, sometimes, relieve the rest of your army. Thirdly, you can mount them in a devilfish, and use them aggressively. This is where our fire warriors excel. They are hard to get to, and once unloaded, will deliver quite a punch, especially if you can get them some support, for example in the form of a couple of crisis suits.
I don't think they do well at all as front liners, at least after the first round or two. After my tournament (using 3 squads of 10 for that purpose), I can tell you my worst fears were confirmed....setting up in terrain means that they quickly find themselves out of targets in range (against most armies....tyranids, for exemple, would be different), and end up receiving all the heavy weapons fire of the enemy that can't reach my hammerheads, stealth suits and hidden crisis suits. I don't think I've ever seen a unit with EMP grenades use them, scare someone with them....anything but waste points on the grenades part. I don't think mech firewarriors are great, either, but I'd agree they're definately the most effective way to use them (which I believe you conclude later on here).

Quote:
Originally Posted by Olannon
Bearing these points in mind, I find fire warriors best used in a devilfish APC. Here, they can be transported quickly around, so they can get to choose what target to engage- vital if you want to have them achieve their battlefield role.
Yup, right there.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Olannon
Okay, so our basic warriors should be mounted, not used recklessly (unless it’s an expendable squad) and they should be shooting at either light or medium infantry, or even light vehicles.
Agreed, although I don't think firewarriors are a good candidate for expendable squad status, at least not on a regular basis.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Olannon
How are we to accomplish this without spending too much points on these fire warriors, and without loosing them?

Well, I prefer to not have all the eggs in one basket. For example, say you want 24 fire warriors, mounted. Sure, many will want to load up on 2x12 in 2 ‘fishes, performing the famous Fish of Fury attack. However, I really think this is putting too many eggs in too few baskets. I think it’s better to use some more points, and take 3x8 in 3 ‘fishes, or just lower their number to 16, using 2x8 in 2 ‘fishes. Why? They are still strong enough to deliver quite a punch, but their relative low costs ensures that you can use them offensively without having to worry about loosing too much of your army (2x12 FW’s are quite a bit more expensive than 2x8). For example, if our devilfish falls to a couple of autocannon shots, chances are our FW’s will be doomed. So, as long as we keep their numbers low, but still high enough to pack a punch, they will be powerful but not too expensive. Personally I find 8 being a great number, but 9-man teams have also performed very well indeed.
I'm shocked to see this is the way many people see mech Tau going, honestly. If there's anything I learned from my last tournament, it's that it's not so important that units earn back their points (which you mention next, and I believe to some degree), it's that seizing objectives is the most important thing an army can do. Going this direction with mech Tau puts your eggs (points...about 540) in only 3 baskets (3 x 8-tau scoring squads).

Quote:
Originally Posted by Olannon
So, to conclude, here’s how I view fire warriors:
  • They will hurt what-ever light/medium infantry they point their guns at, but won’t be able to cope with concentrated return fire.
  • They will need to be fast in order to be used efficiently, so you get to choose where and when to use them.
  • They work best in medium-sized squads, were they are strong enough to be a threat, and cheap enough to be expendable, if that situation will arise.
I think your first point shows why static Tau won't work....firewarrior will get more concentrated firepower than they can dish out against other shooty armies, and with mediocre morale, they'll break first.
Your next two points show the very real danger of mech Tau....they need to be fast to be effective, and they need numbers to be effective. The problem is, the more devilfish you take, the fewer scoring units you get for your points, and the more fragile those scoring units are, as they get reduced from 2 X 12 Tau squads to 3 X 8 Tau squads.

I'm stuck on the fence, personally, between two extremes on the firewarrior subject. I'll either take a 6 man squad to sit on nearby objectives (or hide deep in my quarter in something like clense) or take a full 12 man squad in devilfish. The former is to reduce the amount of points I have to commit to a unit I don't see as particularly effective, the latter option makes a mandatory choice as effective as possible, but much more expensive, and still not as efffective as I'd like. The rest would be filled with lots of kroot....probably 3 squads of 16 or so at 1500 points. But that's another discussion...


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Old 07 Nov 2005, 23:56   #8 (permalink)
Shas'Saal
 
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Default Re: Fire Warrior Tactica

Excellent! sums up everything there is about FWs, only one problem...bolters, fleshborers, and shrunken catapults are all basic weapons with str. 4, and in thus can Glance AV 10.
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Old 08 Nov 2005, 01:18   #9 (permalink)
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Default Re: Fire Warrior Tactica

Very nice, the STFU especially! You covered every point well, some can argue otherwise but you got the major points of the Firewarriors in place good and proper. Nice job!
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Old 08 Nov 2005, 03:08   #10 (permalink)
Shas'La
 
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Default Re: Fire Warrior Tactica

Excellent post, very helpful for a noob. Thanks!
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