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Tactica: Armored Assault
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Old 01 Feb 2006, 23:36   #1 (permalink)
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Default Tactica: Armored Assault

We all know what a Mechanized Tau army is or we all should. Anyone who is around these boards for any amount of time will soon know the style. However mechanized simply means everything can move 12". Therefore there can be numerous variants on this. The tactic I am about to describe (or actually strategem as a tactic is more an on the fly trick where as this can be used to build an entire army) is about one particular aspect of Mechanized warfare.

The concept is simple, lots and lots of tanks on the offencive. I have seen numerous Mech Tau armies that fight defencively or use mounted Firewarrior squads as VP denial and almost never un mount them. This strategy is offencive at its core and is all about close range fire fights. In short the strategy revolves around 3 units, the Hammerhead, Devilfish mounted Firewarriors and Crisis suits. This may be expanded to include the skyray and piranha with the new codex release. Until then it is just these 3. They fill the following roles:

The Hammerhead: Is the first strike and long range support unit that can also draw a lot of fire. It provides the main hitting power until the main bulk of the army gets close enough to let loose in rapid fire range. For the first few turns it is the primary attack unit and will be doing the most shooting and inflicting the most damage.

Mounted Firewarriors: These are the core and bulk of the army. They are not about to sit inside their Devilfish either. They move up the field, preferably in pairs and use the Devilfish as a wall to rapid fire their weapons behind. The Devilfish carries them to their enemy quickly and lets them come to grips with the enemy hopefully unscathed and finish off those units weakened by the long range fire.

Crisis Suits: These fill 2 roles, close range anti-armor and heavy infantry, and medium range fire support. The key suit configurations that shine with this strategy are the helios, deathrain and burning eye. A Helios commander and deathrain/fireknife crisis suits help fill in the gaps. Deathrain and Fireknife provide the lacking medium range fire helping to soften the enemy while the Devilfish get close. The Helios help take down pesky units like terminators and help against enemy armor once the army has closed the distance. In this way they act as the fire link between the Hammerheads and Devilfish.

So how does this come together as a whole to form a battle strategy?

The army focus' on getting close and getting there fast. This is a more agressive style of play. Using the Devilfish walls you can force close ranged gunfights on your terms. Also the Hammerheads are going to need to get close aswell to draw fire away from the weaker Devilfish and bring their secondary weapons to bear in support of the Firewarriors. All the while crisis suits keep pace with the tanks providing light anti armor and medium ranged fire support while the HQ/helios are there as an insurance policy to help protect the Firewarriors once they get in close, adding to the anti-heavy infantry and armor capabilities in case things get a bit too hot. Railheads work especially well with the versatility to drop pie plates and fire solid slugs with a pair of them losing one wont leave you lacking either anti hord or anti armor capabilities minimizing the damage. This army works because the enemy is faced with a fast moving and hard hitting army. A lot of firepower is brought to bear at long range, with proper target priority you can cripple the enemy before your main rapid fire strike.

With all that in mind lets move on to the aspect of mobility a key strength of this army. With such speed you can segment off and issolate parts of the enemy army, destroy them and move on. This can be done with more mobile infantry type mechanized armies but the key here is in using the tanks to screen the enemy from reaching you and give even your basic infantry the speed they need to re-locate and face any threat. Going on the assault helps to split the enemy forces. Once the opponent has begun to split your entire army can sweep away to take full advantage of this break in coherency and drive a wedge into the enemy. You can use your tanks as a physical hammer to break your opponents army in half. A divided foe is easier to defeat. Secondly you also can react to any tricks your opponent pulls. Deep striking, drop pods and other threats arent so great when you can issolate it and destroy it using speed to escape traps and turn it against your enemy.

Now let me say this, this strategy is deffinetly one for agressive players. You must be willing to trust in your tanks and be willing to get up close and personal. With multi trackers and decoy launchers Tau skimmers are extremely survivable, if a tank is stunned dont be disheartened, continue on and draw your opponents attention from the vulnerable tank until it is up and moving again. You can do similar things with battlesuits but I find that such a tactic works best with a majority of tanks. This is because tanks have a greater chance of surviving enemy heavy weapons fire and do not need to hug terrain for their protections like JSJ suits do. Because of this you can take a more direct rout and the tanks serve well to cordon off specific threats.

Well Im not entirely sure Ive presented the idea as well as it deserves but I hope you all get the jist of it. I started doing this out of frustration. I got sick of waiting around all day for my opponent to attack or for my units to get into position. It is also immensly satisfying to see your opponents face when Tau, TAU come rushing into their face. Most of my opponents relish the idea of "forcing" Tau to come ot them, the idea of Tau on the assault seems laughable to them. This tactic turns that in their face.

As a note because of the agressive use of the Firewarriors bonding and the shas'ui upgrade help greatly making them far more stubborn and less likely to flee, possibly putting them into more danger and hurting your battle plan by taking them away from their transports and tank wall. Using this tactic it is quite common for me to keep my tanks engine to engine, dont be afraid to do so especially once you have reached the enemy. The longer the wall the more difficult it is for the enemy to get around it and re-establish their battle plan. Use roads/alleys and open spaces to your advantage, the terrain can help to block the enemy in even more.

Well now that you hopefully have the idea I hope it helps and put another possible strategy in your repetoir as Tau players. Even if you dont use it knowledge is after all power and the ability to be flexible can be a real strength. Good luck!
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Old 01 Feb 2006, 23:39   #2 (permalink)
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Default Re: Tactica: Armored Assault

I don't think this has been tried, mainly since Devilfishs are pretty expensive for transports. Marines and Imperial Guard do this better because they have either cheap transports (marine Rhinos) or cheap models (Imperial Guardsmen). It could work, but wouldn't be as effective IMO right now.
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Old 01 Feb 2006, 23:44   #3 (permalink)
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Default Re: Tactica: Armored Assault

I have tried it. It works and is very effective, not because of cheap transports but because of mobile firepower and skimmer status. Marines transports are cheap yes but not as effective and ours can be very surviveable. For 100 points or less we can get a tank that can move 12" a turn, fire its weapons and transport full infantry squads. Plus it is a skimmer allowing us to shoot under it, is protected by skimmer moving fast and can just fly over annoying terrain to get into position.

As examples just take a look at some of my recent battle reports, you can find them all here to save the trouble of searching through pages and pages of these forums:

http://squaliix.tripod.com/index.html
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Old 01 Feb 2006, 23:51   #4 (permalink)
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Default Re: Tactica: Armored Assault

and the Tau transports may soon be much more shooty with the SMS upgrade... a Burst cannon and an SMS on my transport? why, thank you!
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Old 01 Feb 2006, 23:54   #5 (permalink)
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Default Re: Tactica: Armored Assault

With me being a conservative Tau player. I am a bit worried to charge with my fishes since most players mix some form of heavy weapon into their squad that could take down my fishes (even with decoy launchers there's still a 12/5% chance of a downed fish)
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Old 02 Feb 2006, 00:04   #6 (permalink)
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Default Re: Tactica: Armored Assault

Sounds very interesting but like Behemoth said the devilfish and firewarriors are pretty expensive for a mech rush. Plus they do not have heavy weapons so they'll face trouble if they run in to some high toughness or armor.

The strategy is great for troop heavy armies you might face. However, I must advise players don't try this on an opponent who also has a mech army (Imperial Guard, Marines, Eldar). Driving your skimmers in to heavy weapons like meltaguns and fusion guns will spell doom. They'll just cheer for joy as you deliver your expensive skimmers as easy VPs. If you do, you'll need to rely heavily on Crisis suits and your hammerheads to crack open their transports.

I also wouldn't do this on a necron army either. Gauss weapons will make swiss cheese of our skimmers.
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Old 02 Feb 2006, 00:10   #7 (permalink)
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Default Re: Tactica: Armored Assault

That is what the helios suits are there for. For Necrons one must use their imagination. Swap out railguns for ion cannons perhaps, more plasma rifles, etc. Ive faced mechanized lists with this strategy before and it works. The slower gue'la armor cant keep pace and their rear armor is quite often very susseptible to massed pulse fire.

Also even meltas and other heavy weapons such as lascannons have trouble taking down our tanks. Which is why such a tactic works well.

However a straight rush is not always what this tactic involves. A flank assault, a forward feint and then withdraw to pull the enemy out. Either way the end result is getting right up close, it just might vary as to when you do this. There have been games where I held my tanks back for a few turns before the actual rush occured. Sometimes you have to use timing. Nevertheless it is an agressive strategem to use.
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Old 02 Feb 2006, 00:13   #8 (permalink)
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Default Re: Tactica: Armored Assault

i like the tactic quite a bit
 
Old 02 Feb 2006, 00:15   #9 (permalink)
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Default Re: Tactica: Armored Assault

I enjoy the fun of aggressive Tau. However, I prefer the variation that allows the enemy to come to me while I shoot for a turn (or two if I'm lucky) and then go on a full on armoured assault.

This allows:
1) better exploitation of weak enemy areas (how he spreads his force)
2) surprise (when you start running, nobody expects you to turn around and bring the hurt)
3) better co-ordination (your units are more likely to arrive at the same time)
4) you to weaken your enemy with shooting before getting so close.

Tau are good runners, and everyone knows that. They are also good rushers, and that is our secret.
Great post Vash.
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Old 02 Feb 2006, 00:24   #10 (permalink)
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Default Re: Tactica: Armored Assault

Good points and that is a variation that works quite well and one I do sometimes. Again it comes down to some timing and planning. Mostly though I find co-ordination not a problem as all 3 units can move 12" a turn. Where it gets tricky is when shifting an already un mounted squad/s, keeping the IC protection and the integrity of the tank wall without exposing rear armor. That can be tricky though if you wish to be more patient you can mount up again and shift away.

Deffinetly good points though. Agressive Tau is very fun if for no other reason the look on your opponents face when Tau are moving fast and not in the other direction.
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