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In need of tactical assistance.
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Old 16 Feb 2006, 05:24   #1 (permalink)
Join Date: Feb 2006
Posts: 257
Default In need of tactical assistance.

Tau is my only army atm(although I'm going to start a khorne army when I have the cash) so after a year of off and on playing them, I've ran into some problems.

Most specificly, this one player. He's really good - either that, or he has loaded dice

anyways, He runs two armies - one space marines, and the other Eldar. He runs the eldar mostly, and he plays the Bel'Tan - or whatever ist he one that can take Aspect warriors as regular troops, and wraithlords.

Anyways, in either case I often get out-shot. He runs his space marines heavy on Devestators, usually two missile squads and a lascannon squad, and he runs lascannons and heavy bolters in his normal groups as addons. I know mobility is key, but there are some things that just have problems with moving (Broadsides, for example). I usually stick things into cover, but that doesnt often help.

Anyways, I cant ignore his wraithlords as the guide on this board suggests, they tend to shoot a lot and rip me apart as they lumber in for the kill.

I'm looking for ways to beat him, and I'm hard press even with ducking and weaving my suits in and out of combat. We usually play in 1000 point armies, or in 1500 to 2000 point armies with more players.

I dont want to hear anything about "12 firewarriors killing 2.5 marines" - I know some people like that but in my experience, You cant remove half a model from a table plus Dice in their own right are very random. There is an average, which you are getting these numbers from, but that average doesnt happen very often.

All that aside, here are the models I have setup.
1 shas'o with a plasma gun, a fusion gun, usually a multi lock, hw if I need a shield generator on him(which I usually do) . His bodyguard retinue usually have twinlinked plasma guns and Missile pods, with a hw multitacker.

1 Shas'el with burst cannon and missile pod, shield gen, HW multitracker. His retinue is equiped the exact same way. Expensive I know, but I value having one more BS 4 unit on the table.

3 crisis suits with twinlinked plasma guns and targetlocks, or Shield generators.
3 to 6 Stealth suits

Troop choices.
Anywere from 12 to 36 some odd firewarriors. I'm putting more together, so that I have enough to make full squads with Pulse rifles, and atleast one full squad with pulse carbines when they are available. Carbine and pulse rifles mixed are ineffecient.
I usually have these with Pulse grenades and sometimes with EMP grenades - I've successfully assaulted and destroyed an opponants vehicle before, which was the best moment of that game.
I tend not to upgrade to shasui's to save point cost.

than for heavy choices, I have two hammer heads and two teams of broadsides(yay for forgeworld broadsides!)

I've taken tau 3 times in testing, and had them all die hidiously before being usefull. The last time I used them though, They did what they were designed to do - they made the opponent waste a turn shooting them to pieces.

Anyways I'm considering options to help my survivability. The biggest one is easy. My Friend relies heavily on cover(as do I), so I am looking for a way to fit my pathfinder squad + devil fish into the army(Possibly drop the second HQ choice, but it IS helpful...)

Anyways, any suggestions?

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Old 16 Feb 2006, 06:10   #2 (permalink)
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Default Re: In need of tactical Assistance

Yo! i'm mew to the site, but i'm somewhat of a vet for tau in 40k.

Anyway, here's some helpful tips i've learned while playing

1) to help with surviving, i use gun drones as bullet soaks, which usually give me an extra turn to turn my enemy into swis cheeze.

2)espically when playing eldar and marines, use pulse rifles beacuse their range can be key for gaining the early advantage.

3)don't underestimate shealths! i personally fill all of my elite slots with them, beacuse they're so schweet! the ability to completely drown your enemy with pulse shots is always a great thing, and with their base 2 attacks, they even proove useful in close combat.

There is more, but it involves new units, and i'm not shure if it'd help. Good luck!
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Old 16 Feb 2006, 14:32   #3 (permalink)
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Default Re: In need of tactical Assistance

Welcome to the forums!

Adding more Markerlights will help quite a bit against Eldar, especially now that they can be applied to entire squads.

Depending on your style of play, you might try mechanizing the Fire Warriors. Tau can be surprisingly bad at range against Heavy Support-based Marine or Eldar armies. While our base-level and upper-level weapons are better, we suffer a bit in the mid-ranges. If your opponent is always loading up on heavy weapons, you should have a pretty significant numerical advantage. This might the time to break out the Kroot. They will help put pressure on small units like Devastators or Dark Reapers.
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Old 16 Feb 2006, 14:36   #4 (permalink)
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Default Re: In need of tactical Assistance


I'll give advise against your opponent's marine army, and then have a think and post later about eldar.

Now the marine army seems full of str 9 and str 8 one shot weapon. Be glad he doesn't invest in heavy bolters against you.

As your opponent tends to just sit in cover and shot you I think there are 2 ways to try and outshoot him. Either you use pathfinders (which cause the shot guided to ignore cover saves - GW FAQ) or you invest in weapons which kill my weight of numbers.

If using markerlights you crisis suits are ok, as will be able to guide them so he doesn't get a cover save. However a pathfinder team is a bit expensive, you could get 20 fire warriors for their cost.

The weapons that are kill by weight of numbers are pulse rifles, kroot rifles, burst cannons on stealths and railgun submunitions.

However the first thing I think you should do is twick your list to make it a bit more efficient.

Your commanders should get rid of their bodyguards. As an indepenent character the commanders can hover around your fire warrior firebase and not be targeted unless they are the closest model. If you are worried about not having enough crisis suits them you can change the bodyguards to an elite slot.

As alot of you opponents army stays back to fire it's probably worth changing the fusion guns and burst cannons on your commanders for missile pods to give you the extra range.

For heavy support broadsides are not that efficient against an all infrantry marine army. I'm be tempted to use 3 hammerheads, 2 with railgun for the submunition and to instant kill characters, and 1 with ion cannon to kill any marines not in cover. If you want to keep this list an all-comers list I'd keep the broadsides but give them both drones for some protection. As you have 3 heavy support and he has 2 place them last so you already know where his devs are placed. Try to place them out of line of sight of the lascannon squad so they survive longer. Drones will also be better in the upcoming codex because the shield drones will take on the toughness 4 and 2+ save of the broadsides.

Removing the bodyguards and reducing their equipment to something like Plasma/Missile/Multi, plus changing the broadsides to a hammerhead would save loads of pts that can be spent on fire warriors, kroot or stealths. Kroot are only ok in combat (and then only in numbers) but are they're good shooting against MEQs in cover.

As you play on well terrained boards try and use it to your advantage, by blocking line of sight of a lot of his army to your hammerheads and then firing most of your army at the only units that can see the hammerheads will keep them alive a lot longer. If he is forced to fire at kroot or fire warriors with a devs squad you're doing great.

This actually should be your aim. Your crisis suits are behind terrain in his turn. You hammerheads can only be shot by a few units (hopefully not the devs) and his main target for his heavy weapons will be kroot in cover or fire warriors (in as much cover as is available). He can't win this shooting match. If he decides to advance he will reduce his firepower and probably move out of cover allowing the plasma on your crisis suits and commanders to punish him.

You probably already do it, but as you don't have an etheral I would put a shas'ui in every fire warrior squad, and don't take bonding or grenades.

Hope my (at times a bit rambling) info is useful.


You crisis suits should use terrain so they can never be fired at unless he advances. If something does advance towards you lines he'll probably be doing it out of cover (otherwise he'll be slowed down), then you plasma rifles from your crisis juming round terrain and your 2 commanders in the middle of your fire warrior firebase are there to kill him.

View my 40k Blog at: http://rathstarramblings.blogspot.com/
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Old 16 Feb 2006, 18:09   #5 (permalink)
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Default Re: In need of tactical Assistance

wairth lords are killed my seeker missle like its going out of season. attualy any thing which hasnt got an invuarable save (cover save are removed by markerlights so ignore the) or a 2+ save are seeker fooder.

body guards are bad to start with but not to give them any sheild tech is just to shoot them in the foot. give them sheild generators instead of twin linked. the second the shasel lose his reunitel you say you like the Extra BS4 then why bother taking body guards and why not boost him up to shas'o with the extra pionts and then hes protected by IC rules.

the 3 TL Plasma with target / sheild i presume you mean that you have 2 with Target locks and 1 with sheild generator. thats a good combionation i've used that my self.

i think you could realy benfit for the use of markerlight thinking the this dex marker for seekers against flaccon (trying to hit the rear armour) and marker plasmas for the marines. a team of pathfinders

have you ever benfited from photon grenades??
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Old 19 Feb 2006, 07:19   #6 (permalink)
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Default Re: In need of tactical assistance.

Well for starters I just had a somewhat good game with markerlights on pathfinders. It started out fine, but ended in a horrible bloodbath, thanks to drop pods. What really killed it was the librarian with "fear the darkness" - it caused my braodsides and a firewarrior squad to run for their lives. My broadside squad was actualyl doing pretty well with saves, since I spent the money for shield gens on them too (yea, shield gen happy, but its really helped)

Personally my Crisis suits are ALWAYS a target of AP3 instagib weaponry, which is why I try to stick shield generators on them for survivability. In light of the new codex my wholesetup my change though, considering that Drones will be helpful once again. Yes, the point is to have them in cover, but Theres always the "Well poop" moment I have when someone breaks out a toy I didnt expect, like a template weapon, or indirect fire.

I am considering just making the bodyguards for the Shas'O into a fireknife configuration, buying three more cirsis suits, and making my commander into a normal crisis suit squad. I would have 12 crisis suits all setup with different things, but it would still be nice to have a choice. Replacing them will be the upcoming Tau commanders, however from what I hear about the new cyclic ion gun being only str 3, They'll probably be fusion/plasma or plasma/Grenade launcher.

I AM planning, howevero, to get a Skyray along with a second devilfish for Pathfinder goodness. I was extremely pleased by the fact that spacemarines were not saved by cover in the battle tonight, as short as that joy lasted when the Droppods of that one army with the Emperors Champion in it hit.

Someone asked me if I've ever found pulse grenades useful, and I have to Say YES. Oh god yes. sure the units that have a bonus on the charge usually have tons of attacks anyways, but thats less attcks Ih ave to worry about. and I have won combat. Shocked, I know. my Firewarrior squads of 6 have beaten 2 squads of Space marines, 2 lictors, and an orcish Warboss. not all in the same game, but still..

So in summery,

A) I will be using pathfinder squads more often. Possibly two max, coupled with the missile tank when it comes out.

B) I will try without bodyguards after some retweaking, however I still find shield generators necessary, which was the whole point of bodyguards with leaders.

-this will put me at one squad w/twinklinked plasma, one squad with missiles and burst cannons, one squad with plasma/missiles, and one squad with fusion/plasma.
ACcessories will vary on playtesting, however with none of them as shas'vre most likely it'll be a multitracker with no shield gen. gibhappy fodder T_T

-2 commanders will be designed using the new codex, however for what I feel are fluff reasons only one will be a Shas'o. The Shas'el would be a second in command at best.

-Drones will be used once the changes are in. However I do not like my Broadsides dying because they are considered toughness 3 armor 4+ because there are simply more drones, and with less drones the Broadsides take the hits first. A very silly rule. Once again, fixed in new codex. 2 weeks to go for that, I'm told! ^^;;

-I am Definatly modeling myself some fusion wielding stealthsuits. I hate the Brutish new stealthsuits(I think someone here called them stealth brutes ^^; so mine will be upgraded.

D)try with more firewarriors and or kroot, however beyond two squads of 6 firewarriors I consider things such as Broadsides, crisis suits, and stealth suits a higher priority.
- I DID playtest an army with tons of firewarriors and broadsides, and it worked well, however as described if I sit still and just shoot I'll have problems.

E) As the guy I played tonight, and two other people play the EXACT same army(black templars! Thats the name!) I may look into using deepstrike rules for commanders with fusion, or a squad of 3 with fusion/plasma for tank killing. woo!

Sorry for the scattered thoughts, its a late night for me
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Old 19 Feb 2006, 15:27   #7 (permalink)
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Default Re: In need of tactical assistance.

Your problem here is that you have more "flashier" battlesuits then you need. Sure TL plasma rifles would kill 1-2 marines, but, your suits WILL die to lascannon fire. Shield generators will not cut it. Solution: NUMBERS.

Basicaly: drop the body gaurds of your commaders and free up pionts for more FW in Devilfish. FoF are amazing against Eldar. Drop the broadsides (at least until the codex comes out) unless his marines has 3 or more vehicles (not including rhinos). Take 3 Hammerheads with ion cannons. Invest heavily in drones. My list always have 2 maxed out squads of drones. They portect your expensive troops and provide some cover fire. Place 1 squad in front of your Hammerheads and another in front of your battlesuits. And finally, 1 full squad of pathfinders, no railrifles. You need the markerlights.
Originally Posted by Wargamer
Aha, a brilliant point Impulse!
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Old 19 Feb 2006, 18:33   #8 (permalink)
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Default Re: In need of tactical assistance.

playing Templars huh? some advice - duck and cover! Marines are tough enough to start with, but the Templars can really take it to extremes. thankfully, i only fought them a few times, and with IG no less. if not for some well-placed Ordnance templates i would've been toast before the game was half over the last time, but that Champion and his Librarian friend put a real hurtin' on my guys. i hate seeing a big, bad dude with a bigger, badder sword and a super-huge ego charging my rather expensive tanks and rolling 6s! at least with my Tau i can avoid the most powerful characters with JSJ-ing Crisis and Stealth and take em down without falling in assaults. i think the rework for broadsides moving and shooting will be awesome for us Railgun fans, and even the most compelling statistics wouldn't stop me from bringing them against foot Marines and such. i find they use the SMS to kill almost as many foes as the railguns, and a couple TL railguns will do a number on a SM commander or champion as nicely as a Tank. being a convert to Tau from IG, i still hold to the theory of massed firepower and overwhelming force on selected targets. if only i was better at prioritizing those targets....
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Old 19 Feb 2006, 21:47   #9 (permalink)
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Default Re: In need of tactical assistance.

my best advice would be to smash infiltrators,transports and then other various threats (dont worry about deep strikers until they are a threat) and just nail the infantry as they footslog through the world
Old 19 Feb 2006, 22:53   #10 (permalink)
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Default Re: In need of tactical assistance.

If I we you, I would re-equip your crisis suits. And buy another one. ^-^

Personally, I use 2 death-rain (TL M-pods, target lock/flamer) and two hellos (plasma, fusion and multi) for most scenarios. against the eldar though, it may be wise to use four death-rain though.

As for the stealth suits, bulk it up to a five man squad.

Of course, these points need to come from somewhere. To skim a bit, I would drop a few of the B-sides. neither of these armies are very AV heavy, so this shouldn't hurt you to much.

Good luck.
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