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The Tau Blind Spot and thoughts on the gaps in our ranged capability
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Old 04 Jan 2006, 05:23   #1 (permalink)
Shas'Saal
 
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Default The Tau Blind Spot and thoughts on the gaps in our ranged capability

Recently I was considering the Tau capabilities, particularly in regards to 'threat' reach. Consider 200 points in the simplest/cheapest possible config (Ranges include possible movement):

28 Kroot Rifle (28 shots) - Max threat range 24" with 2x threat up to 18"
20 FW P-Rifle (20 shots) - Max threat range 30" with 2x threat up to 18"
16 G-drones (16 shots) - Max threat range 24" equal threat all ranges
6 Stealth (18 shots)- Max threat range 24" equal threat all ranges
Crisis with:
4 Flamer (4 shots)- Max threat range 6"+ range template (8")
4 Burst Cannon (12 shots) - Max threat range 24" equal threat all ranges
3 Plasma Rifle (3 shots) - Max threat range 30" with 2x threat up to 18"
3 Fusion Blaster (3 shots) - Max threat range 18" with double armor pen up to 12"
3 Missile Pod (6 shots) - Max threat range 42" equal threat all ranges

I realize that these price/configs may not be realistic, they are merely provided to elaborate a point. I also did not include Tanks, Broadsides, Krootox, or Pathfinders. Since Tanks and broadsides are heavy support and designed to reach the entire board, Krootox are largely unused, and Pathfinders have a very different role in the army. I may not be pointing out anything new to anyone but I'm just looking at it slightly differently.

Tau have enormous firepower capability at up to 18" away, with effectiveness somewhat reduced at a max of 24". From 24" - 30" away the ONLY possible threats come from our Firewarrior pulse rifles, and Crisis Suits bearing Plasma Rifles and/or Missile Pods. As soon as we hit the 30" mark, we are left the lonely Missile Pod, which is effective up to 42" max with jumping. With the exception of our Broadsides and Hammerheads (both of which have low # of shots), we have NO reach beyond 42" from a unit.

Second, and the reason I included an arbitrary point value like 200 is that we must also consider the costs/effectiveness at the given ranges. In this we see the same trend, it is fairly inexpensive to provide significant fire support up to 18" and up to 24". But only our FireWarrior and Crisis (HQ and Elite) have the ability to reach beyond this point. While our Firewarriors are a definite bargain at their cost, their max reach is still only 30". Crisis suits are (very) expensive when equipped with thier longest reaching weapons, the Plasma Rifle (only to 30") and the Missile Pod. Granted they can be hard to kill with the right terrain and tactics, they aren't very hardy, and they produce a small number of shots per model, which only underlines the real gaps in Tau ranged capability.

I recognize that this is the way the Tau were designed, though I'm not entirely sure that this large of a gap (generally beyond 30" except for good ol' Missile Pods) was really what the designers were going for. I cannot help but be a little envious of my opponents (nearly all of them) rules allowing them to equip longer reach weapons in troops, or the ability to bring multiple platforms of highly mobile fairly high yield firepower. I also find it a strange juxtaposition that we are more effective shooters the closer we are to the enemy, particularly within charge range, which is exactly where I never want to be.

Just some thoughts....agree? Disagree?
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Old 04 Jan 2006, 05:46   #2 (permalink)
Shas'Saal
 
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Default Re: The Tau Blind Spot and thoughts on the gaps in our ranged capability


For a "shooty" army that can't deal with CC, Tau sure have a lot of short range weaponry. I did this illustration a while ago because I was frustrated at my Tau and why they kept getting out shot by other armies when their Pulse Rifle is supposed to be some long range wonder weapon. I also have an interactive version under construction, but all it does at the moment is spawn Stealth Suits and measures distance. Not quite sure what I want to do with that one...

In general, I find Tau standard range to be quite short. We have to put our Elites into harm's way to take out enemy squad weaponry that can easily kill, maim and outrange our guns. Our heavy units are quite acceptable though.
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Old 04 Jan 2006, 06:00   #3 (permalink)
Shas'O
 
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Default Re: The Tau Blind Spot and thoughts on the gaps in our ranged capability

Nice Diagram UN17 :P

I've had a look into this, although I was focusing on firing arcs in combination with ranges etc (and where the 'killzones' and safe zones are on a standard 6x4 board) - and that I was working that out on a hand drawn diagram...

Though Tau are generally seen as a 'shooty' army, they tend to be outranged and out-shot a lot of the time, namely by the likes of space marine missile launchers and heavy bolters etc. It seems, by the ranges given above, Tau are leaning more towards localized fire superiority, rather than ranged superiority, although railguns and other heavy support mounted weapons seem to fill this area.

I would agree that there does tend to be a gap in ranged weaponry, the further away the target is, the rarer the weapon there is to reach it. We have plenty of weaponry and units with an effective range of 24" or higher, but after that, the only long ranged weaponry are that of missile pods, kroot guns, ion cannons, and railguns (apart from pulse rifles that is).
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Old 04 Jan 2006, 07:11   #4 (permalink)
Kroot Shaper
 
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Default Re: The Tau Blind Spot and thoughts on the gaps in our ranged capability

I have seen many time in writing people describe the tau as a mobile army but I have always wondered why our transports only have a range of 12 inches. Yes I am aware that they are much hardier when it comes to armour as some of their counterparts such as rinos and they are skimmers but they lack the ability to take our troops where they need to be. I hvave always dealt with the question of keep the my forces buttoned up in a transport while also fighting with haveing them in one place. At some times it seems that I can't find a usefull spot for them to fill.

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Old 04 Jan 2006, 08:14   #5 (permalink)
Shas'Vre
 
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Default Re: The Tau Blind Spot and thoughts on the gaps in our ranged capability

I tend to see the mobility of the tau as being very local, and limited to elites choices. As in, JSJ-related. Stealth suits have the ability to pump 3 shots appiece, then end their turn 19-23" away, effectively out of charge range of pretty much everything alive. Even the shortest ranged crisis suits can end their turns in the 13-17" rangeband....seriously limiting the number of units that can charge them.

Firewarriors, on the other hand, are no more mobile than anyone else's basic troops. They move 6", and have a transport that moves 12". The slight mobility advantage that they have is that their transports are more durable than anyone else's (well, except the elves, they're the same, really), and that their transports can, for a price, move their full 12" and shoot...a rare benefit in 40k.

The real advantage of firewarriors is not in mobility. It's in the 30". They are the only basic troops choice in the game that has the potential to shoot at the enemy on turn one with all weapons without moving or infiltrating. On a stardard 4'x(6-8)' board, they can depoly on the forward edge of their deployment zone and shoot 6" (halfway!!!) into the enemy deployment zone. Every other basic troop weapon has a max range of 24", making them completely unable to shoot into the enemy deployment zone at all on turn one without infiltrating. This effectively gives the enemy squad a choice between giving the tau a free shooting phase or two (by spending the first turn marching into 24" range) or settling for only being able to fire their heavy weapon at them.

Bottom line? Tau have agility, not speed. They don't particularly move faster than anyone else is capable of, in fact some enemies are considerably faster (turbo-boosting marines?). The ability to move (for some units) both before and after the shooting phase is what makes tau special.
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Old 04 Jan 2006, 10:44   #6 (permalink)
Shas'Vre
 
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Default Re: The Tau Blind Spot and thoughts on the gaps in our ranged capability

A) Standard board sizes and deployment zones say you don't need stuff between 40 inches and 60.
B) The standard rifle has a 30 inch range, effectively giving you a turn advantage over ever other basic troop in the game.
C) Anything hiding as far back as 40 + inches (which is corner to corner) wouldn't be worth firing massed shots at anyways, only the stuff that can *gasp* already reach it. Marines holding lascannons or missile launchers in a corner seem to be your main complaint.
D) Nice graph UN17 ;D

"I also find it a strange juxtaposition that we are more effective shooters the closer we are to the enemy, particularly within charge range, which is exactly where I never want to be."

E) You said it yourself. It's just the way tau were designed. They have massive superiority over guard in terms of shooting, but only on the troop level.

I personally have no issues with tau ranges and efficiency at various levels of range. I have actually thought quite a bit about this kind of stuff, being that I view games in terms of math, but the real question is - do you really want your pulse rifle to fire at something that's effective range is 36+ inches to begin with?

Conclusion? Stand your firewarriors 5 inches back from the 12 inch deployment in those missions, and wait for them to come to you. Railguns will neutralize any (vehicle) threats that can outrange you quickly, and Ion cannons can be shot at troops that do so.
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Old 04 Jan 2006, 11:42   #7 (permalink)
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Default Re: The Tau Blind Spot and thoughts on the gaps in our ranged capability

I believe - in the Mech Tau doctrine. If the Tau would have been designed as a fire superiority army we never would have been given the degree of "agility" that the army do posses. Now all we hope for is something that really makes those fishes move a little faster. Some kind of turbo-booster or possibility to function as a fast vehicle.
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Old 04 Jan 2006, 13:54   #8 (permalink)
Shas'La
 
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Default Re: The Tau Blind Spot and thoughts on the gaps in our ranged capability

I think it makes sense that the Tau can concentrate the most firepower in the short-medium range. How else are you going to wipe out that unit of Jump Pack marines prepping to charge you?

I hate being outranged, but I know my opponents hate my ability to JSJ a lot more. So it evens out.
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Old 04 Jan 2006, 14:24   #9 (permalink)
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Default Re: The Tau Blind Spot and thoughts on the gaps in our ranged capability

I have no problem with the short range firing as my army tends to get up close very fast. Its extremely funny to see an opponents reaction when Tau of all things are charging into their face. It works though, when used right Tau can be extremely deadly at close range and live to tell the tale. The Tau as a weak cc army are going to need to put up a lot of fire and it would be too overpowered if we had such immence capabilities at longer ranges, instead we simply put out a withering salvo at close range. As the enemy closes the distance the amount of fire they recieve just keeps increasing and making good use of this one can blast them to oblivion before they can ever do anything.

Also we are a very mobile army, compare our transport in coste and abilities to those of any other armies dedicated transport and it is really rather impressive. The Wave Serpent can put out a good bit of fire but it is also a fair bit more expencive, the razorback has some nice guns but is not nearly as surviveable as a well equipped devilfish. The rhino is well... moving terrain, I dont need to say more. Keep going with any other transports you can think of (my a lot of armies use rhinos dont they...) and you can see. Plus our elites are all ultra mobile and our battle tanks are quite good. We dont just have a lot of long range guns, we have a lot of very nice mobile guns. Thats what counts.

I myself am rarely outgunned by my enemies, you just need to learn where and when and how to apply the close range firepower to best effect. Some people say Tau should never try and get close, however I think we operate quite well at close range, its a bit more risky but it also is a lot more fun in my oppinion.
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Old 04 Jan 2006, 15:05   #10 (permalink)
Shas'Vre
 
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Default Re: The Tau Blind Spot and thoughts on the gaps in our ranged capability

Plus, we're only really outranged by weapons with more oomph, our volume of fire within the 6" "safe zone" that our rifles give us *provide more kill chances than even a Heavy Bolter. And we're hitting with the same strength as a Heavy B anyways. We only fall 6" short of a Dev. squad of 4 HBs, cost 15 points less and have 2.4 times the wounds. And I can't think of any Marine player (or Guard player) that would pass up 24 Heavy Bolters in units for 720 points, and have 72 wounds to keep them shooting. Add SSs to the mix, that adds another 18 Deathwatch HBs, at 5 points less each, who can only be hit with Nightfight rules, and move 6" away after shooting.

Sure, there's no 48" weapons we can load up on, but with our faster tanks, if the enemy decided to sit back and pick us off with thier overkill weapons, we can put some hurt on them. Or run some Stealths up to take care of the issue, since they can't really be hit until they're within kill range, anyways. Have the Stealths do thier job, clear a path for the rest of the army.
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