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[Playstyles] Mobile Infantry: Slow and Steady
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Old 03 May 2007, 17:28   #1 (permalink)
Shas'Vre
 
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Default [Playstyles] Mobile Infantry: Slow and Steady

[size=14pt]Mobile Infantry Tau[/size]

The pedulum began to swing when the 4th edition 40K rulebook was released. More momentum was gained when Codex: Tau Empire hit the shelves. Now that Codex: Eldar is on the streets, we've all but reached critical mass. No longer are all-skimmer armies a novelty. Nobody's afraid or surprised when they see 4-5 AV12/13 skimmers across the table from them. Tankhunting Autocannons, Missile Launchers and Assault Cannons are being snatched up at bulk discount rates from Squats all over the galaxy. It's time for a change.

[hr]

Mobile Infantry (MI) Tau is to the Kauyon what Mech Tau is to the Mont'ka. MI Tau begins with a durable firebase of A.S.S.-mobile Broadside teams and then supports these keystones with fast response assets. All (or most) of the MI Tau army will be composed of foot/jet-mobile infantry that can fire on the move. A pair of Shas Commanders (one of whom may be Commander Shadowsun) frequently support the Broadsides with additional Shield Drones and a Leadership boost.

The basic idea is that a pair of Broadside teams can reasonably soak anti-tank fire from just about any unit in the game, while giving better than they get. Supported by terrain hopping XV8 teams and Stealthed XV25s, these expensive Kau'yon lures provide something for your opponent to futilely fixate on while the remainder of your untouchable army pounds them into dust. Several inexpensive offensive rapid response units stand ready to intercept any fast assaulters who might try to engage the XV88's; frequently these take the form of an Ionhead and a medium sized (5-7) unit of Vespid. A pair of Kroot units will usually stand ready out of sight to countercharge whatever remnants make it into close combat with either of the Broadside teams.

Rounding out a MI Tau list is one or two small Gun Drone squadrons who assist with additional anti infantry firepower as well as provide inexpensive objective grabbing and anti ordinance potential. A standard 1750 point MI Tau army looks something like this:

*** HQ ***
Commander Shadowsun (175)

Shas'el (100)
- [Plasma, CIB, Target Array, HWMT]

*** Elites ***
2 XV8 Crisis Battlesuits (158)
- [Shas'vre, AFP, Twinlinked Missile Pod, HWMT, HWDC + 2 SD's]
- [Burst Cannon, Missile Pod, MT]

2 XV8 Crisis Battlesuits (159)
- [Teamleader, Plasma, Missile Pod, MT, HWDC + 2 SD's]
- [Plasma, Missile Pod, MT]

5 Stealths (150)

*** Troops ***
6 Firewarriors (60)
- [Pulse Rifles]

10 Kroot (88)
- 4 Hounds

10 Kroot (88)
- 4 Hounds

*** Fast Attack ***
6 Vespid (102)
- [Strain Leader]

5 Gun Drones (60)

5 Gun Drones (60)

*** Heavy Support ***
2 XV88 Broadside Battlesuits (210)
- [Teamleader, A.S.S., Plasma Rifles, HWMT, HWDC + 2 SD's]
- [A.S.S.]

2 XV88 Broadside Battlesuits (195)
- [Teamleader, A.S.S., HWDC + 2 SD's]
- [A.S.S.]

1 Hammerhead Gunship (145)
- [Ion Cannon, SMS, Target Lock, Multitracker, Decoys]

Total: 1750


One of the biggest weaknesses of any MI Tau army is fast assaulters approaching behind midfield terrain. Any centrally located LoS blocking terrain piece can potentially hide an assault squad, a unit of Warp Spiders, or even a flying Hive Tyrant. With that in mind, a Commander designing a MI Tau army should be careful to include adequate indirect firing weaponry (SMS and AFP) as well as one or two units that can move 12" and fire (Hammerhead, Piranha, Vespid) in order to be able whittle down approaching assault troops. If the XV88 lure cannot be relocated sufficiently far in order to avoid assault, a medium sized unit of Kroot should be positioned 8"-10" away in order to countercharge in the event the Broadsides hold in combat (substantially more likely if Shadowsun is nearby).

An MI Tau army needs to always be wary of assault, much more so than a Hybrid Tau army that can form an impromptu skimmer wall to ward off encroaching close combat troops. On the upside however, the above list has little to worry about enemy shooting. Kroot and Vespid deploy out of sight (or in cover) waiting to counter enemy assaulters; Jet Pack equipped units use their assault move to end their turn out of enemy firing lanes; the Hammerhead plays a lurking, sniping role around backfield terrain; and the Broadsides have sufficient Shield Drone protection (and Ld 10) to whether all but the most concentrated heavy weapons fire.

Aside from deep striking the Gun Drones, the above style list has little to combat enemy indirect assets. However, it also has little to fear from them on account of the heavy proliferation of Shield Drones. Units hit by indirect ordinance aren't likely to be pinned on account of Shadowsun's Ld 10. The above style list also has little to fear from other common threats to typical Tau armies such as Fear of the Darkness, Fury of the Ancients, and tankhunting Devistators.

At its core, a MI Tau army aims to achieve the same goal as Mech Tau, namely Victory Point denial. Where Mech Tau goes about this with AV12/13 Decoy Launcher equipped Skimmers, MI Tau takes the opposite approach making heavy use of 2+/4+ saves, Jet Pack equipped troops, and Stealth Fields. Mech Tau works best in terrain heavy environments against opponents geared for assault, while MI Tau excels in terrain light environments against shootier enemies. At first glance these two playstyles seem as different as night and day, although when viewed in context of the Tau army as a whole, they are really two sides of the same coin. Kau'yon and Mont'ka.
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"i like to think of playing against my list as being like punching jelly. you put all your effort in but it just moves out of the way and you cause no damage. then your arm is covered in jelly. and the chicks come out and start wrestling in the jelly, and i drink a beer with stone cold steve austin, and we watch the chicks jelly wrestling, and then the slap-bass funk starts wakka chakka wakka wakka woh" -- Spooky, describing Mech Tau

"You can of course make a list that attempts to work via fragility and easy VP donation and Pathfinders fit into that just fine." -- kai
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Old 03 May 2007, 17:41   #2 (permalink)
Shas'La
 
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Default Re: [Playstyles] Mobile Infantry: Slow and Steady

Certain scenarios (relief0 would kill this army, your troops are small in number. I LIKE this idea and I will see how it plays with CoD stuff. Nice work.
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Old 03 May 2007, 18:06   #3 (permalink)
Shas'Vre
 
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Default Re: [Playstyles] Mobile Infantry: Slow and Steady

I love what you are trying to do here. The idea of a Tau list for the Kauyon makes me happy. That said, I've got a quibble.

First off, I'm uncertain as to the validity of the idea that the Broadsides can give better than they get vs. anti-tank. Let's use the classic comparison, a lascannon devastator squad vs. the 210 Broadsides. I think the devs are a bit cheaper. Both can have 5+ cover, I'm thinking of the classic shooty game where everyone huddles in buildings. Over a 2 round period the Broadsides will score 3 hits with their railguns, all of which will wound, 2 of which will result in failed cover saves, so 2 dead bolter marines and a morale test. The lasguns will have scored 5 hits, of which 4 will wound, 2 will be saved by the force field, so 2 dead shield drones, I'm not sure if the broadsides would have to take a morale test, but I think they do. To this point things are equal, but over another 2 round period the broadsides will kill another 2 bolter marines, and they will both be killed in return.

This is a critical point, since you are list has no capacity beyond the broadsides and the one hammerhead to take the fight to the enemy. Your ideal prey is the shooty marine list, but you only have 4 railguns, 1 ion cannon, and maybe the crisis suits, if there is cover in the middle. Your opponent by contrast has more than 10 lascannons, mounted in devastator squads (if you are unlucky), on dreadnoughts (if you are lucky) and in the ubquitous las/plas tac (very unlucky) squad.

Basically, you want the opponent to cower at long range for fear of your kroot and vespid, but ~600 points of your army can't work at that range.

As an aside, how are you protected from Fear the Darkness? Heck I play Necrons and I'm not protected from that dang spell. Tigurius and his wonder pals drop into your army in a drop pod and he shouts Boo! Its a 4 foot circle, you are going to be making at least 8 leadership tests at leadership 8, and that's being generous.

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Old 03 May 2007, 18:21   #4 (permalink)
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Default Re: [Playstyles] Mobile Infantry: Slow and Steady

I am still not sure there would be a good way to protect against Fear the Darkness. An Ethereal could help, but that would inevitably be where the Drop Pod would be going. Then you would probably end up having to take the BOO! test right after the Price of Failure test. It was a stupid idea on GW's part, and one they failed to balance correctly. I think you just have to make sure that he only gets a chance to do it once, and hope that you get lucky the first time.
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Old 03 May 2007, 18:32   #5 (permalink)
Shas'La
 
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Default Re: [Playstyles] Mobile Infantry: Slow and Steady

Unless I'm wrong, not impossible, but a 5 man Dev squad with 4 LC are 215 so slightly more expensive not cheaper. Also just because XV-88 may not be quite as great at shooting down marines in a Dev v xv-88s, you have to look at other factors as well. There are loads more AP3 guns then AP2 so against these and other guns with lower AP xv-88 easily win, think about it lots of Dev's use ML instead of LC and if you check those odds they favour the tau, secondly look at primary targets IE Tanks. Against AV 14 2 broadsides have a 75% chance of a penetrating hit. 2 shots 1.5 hits 0.75 pen. 4 LC costing more have a 44% chance of a pen an 44% chance of a glance overall broadsides will have a greater chance of destroying the tank.
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Old 03 May 2007, 18:42   #6 (permalink)
Shas'Vre
 
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Default Re: [Playstyles] Mobile Infantry: Slow and Steady

Hmm, I don't think I've ever seen a Dev squad with a LasCannon in it. They're far more efficient in Tac squads. I see plenty of Missile Devs, plenty of Heavy Bolter Devs, and the occaisional Plasma Cannon Dev, but never LasCannons. The advantage here is that I can move and fire and he can't. So at deployment I've got 2 options: I can either focus fire on the Devs with XV8's, XV88's, and the Hammerhead in order to remove them early, or I can shuffle around a piece of terrain and deny him LoS while I plink away at the rest of his army.

You're right though, long range AP 2/1 firepower will hurt. Fortunately most of that kind of thing are either mounted on stationary platforms (see above), on vehicles (which Broadsides can deal with), or on Oblits/Dreads (which Broadsides can also deal with). Obviously though if I'm facing off against a shooty Marine list with lots of LasCannons, there'd be no reason to deploy my Broadsides in the open at all. I've got 2 XV8 units, 4 SMS systems and a Stealth team all of which can fire at full effectiveness with little fear of retaliation. In this scenario I'd just plink for 6 turns, hide the rest, kill 3 Tac squads and claim a minor victory. Sure, more than 600 points of my army will be doing nothing, but the entirety of his army will be doing nothing

Regarding Fear of the Darkness, Ld 8 is a fair bit better than Ld 6. It's not a sure thing, but it's better than most Tau armies can claim. My hope would be that I'd have enough left in the subsequent turn to wipe the offending command squad from the table... with a S10 shot to finish the Libby. (I'd rather not discuss it in this thread, but I've seen some pretty strong RAW arguments that Tigerius doesn't get 24" radius FotD. Fear doesn't have a "range", rather it has an "area of effect", and therefore Tiggy's special rule doesn't apply)

Thanks for the comments guys. I realize this concept isn't perfect; mostly I'm interested in debating pros and cons as well as identifying weaknesses with the goal of improving the product.
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"i like to think of playing against my list as being like punching jelly. you put all your effort in but it just moves out of the way and you cause no damage. then your arm is covered in jelly. and the chicks come out and start wrestling in the jelly, and i drink a beer with stone cold steve austin, and we watch the chicks jelly wrestling, and then the slap-bass funk starts wakka chakka wakka wakka woh" -- Spooky, describing Mech Tau

"You can of course make a list that attempts to work via fragility and easy VP donation and Pathfinders fit into that just fine." -- kai
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Old 03 May 2007, 21:16   #7 (permalink)
Shas'O
 
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Default Re: [Playstyles] Mobile Infantry: Slow and Steady

Heya,

Quote:
Thanks for the comments guys. I realize this concept isn't perfect; mostly I'm interested in debating pros and cons as well as identifying weaknesses with the goal of improving the product.
Largely this is going to be heavily based on metagame of the local area (or event). Most of the pros & cons are going to be evident and many already listed in the thread, but again, the subtle ones are metagame from your home town. For example, my local influence has me thinking this:

Pros:

- You shoot until you die, or until you can't shoot due to assault or LOS denial. No (or limited) stunned & shaken turns.
- Reduction of efficiency of anti-tank weapons that are single shot (typically).
- Fire power increase per point spent.
- Increased scoring unit count (typically).

Cons:

- The evident vulnerability to assault.
- Morale attacks & pinning tests.
- Deep strike and summoning, from Drop Pods, Drop Troops to Daemons.
- Bikes of all kinds. Turboboost is a nightmare. Chaos & SM with 2+ invulnerable save HQs are a menace.
- Enemy non-anti-tank guns are fully effective (compared to completely ineffective against an armored hull).
- Enemy anti-tank guns are not totally ineffective, they still remove models, simply less efficient.
- Callidus Assassin, more than ever (Shadowsun, the Cent, etc, deflates leadership network).
- Limited ability to deal with Swarms.
- Limited ability to deal critical damage to massed Monstrous Creatures, like Zilla (not that Mech Tau can).

A few things are really going to put nails into the list, that are mainly Imperial based. These things range from Fear of Darkness to Callidus Assassins, to Whirlwind or any barrage punishment, from Drop Pods to Bikes. Anything that disrupts leadership levels, disrupts shooting turns and of course anything that can level multiple models per shot is a serious problem. Local metagame will influence this heavily, but taking a list (as exampled above) up against someone who's playing with Whirlwinds, Drop Pods with double Melta or Plasma and a token Fear of Darkness Codicier, Inquisition allied in with a Callidus Assassin would cause critical mayhem for less points. All lists are going to have absolute nemeses, but a lot more threats open the door here.

The main thing here in my opinion, is that while avoiding being shut down by locals with increased anti-tank capability, the list guards against that more, but it opens itself up to a horde of new vulnerabilities including the weakest models in the game like Grots & Nurglings, to fast moving assault units, summoned units and your typical standard firearm of every basic trooper in the game. So all of this basically balances out based on your metagame--and of course, if it too evolves a little after you start bringing in the skimmers and start bringing in the 2+ saves. Those lascannons are still effective I'm afraid at removing battlesuits.

-- One of my biggest gripes about the new codex is the lower count of seeker missiles available per skimmer. Pathfinders really make the more infantry / battlesuit prone Tau army fantastic, even though they're a huge expense. But when they made it 2 seekers per hull, it was a really hard blow for me. Before, two skimmers meant I could get two turns of totally trashing heavy weapon teams, or low model count high threat value models (destroyers for example), and of course, increase my ability to immediately and reliably crush a monstrous creature early before I have to suffer the stun & shaken game turn to turn. Piranha are still fantastic to have since they move so quickly, score, and can bring a seeker or two to the board, but I'm still disappointed in the now 50% access to seeker missiles, with such an increase in markerlights. In other words, I don't want to use a Sky Ray just to get the most seekers per point I can and at the cost of a heavy slot, where XV88's need be.

Anyhow, for me, the above example would likely be modified a bit to include Pathfinders (or stealth markerlights) and a Sky Ray and possibly a Piranha with seekers. The rest is doable, though I'd probably go a little more on the Fire Warriors & Kroot, while tinkering with some monat XV8's (I'm still a death rain loving git, and deep striking fusion git).

Cheers,
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Old 03 May 2007, 22:05   #8 (permalink)
Shas'Vre
 
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Default Re: [Playstyles] Mobile Infantry: Slow and Steady

Quote:
Originally Posted by MalVeauX
- Bikes of all kinds. Turboboost is a nightmare. Chaos & SM with 2+ invulnerable save HQs are a menace.
Yeah, ever since I've first begun thinking of this, those 100 pt/model Chosen Bikers have got me stumped. I've been trying to figure out a way to deal with them and I just can't. Those guys are just silly...
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"i like to think of playing against my list as being like punching jelly. you put all your effort in but it just moves out of the way and you cause no damage. then your arm is covered in jelly. and the chicks come out and start wrestling in the jelly, and i drink a beer with stone cold steve austin, and we watch the chicks jelly wrestling, and then the slap-bass funk starts wakka chakka wakka wakka woh" -- Spooky, describing Mech Tau

"You can of course make a list that attempts to work via fragility and easy VP donation and Pathfinders fit into that just fine." -- kai
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Old 03 May 2007, 22:30   #9 (permalink)
Shas'El
 
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Default Re: [Playstyles] Mobile Infantry: Slow and Steady

I find the best way is to mob them with kroot and make the bikers roll so many dice they are bound to fail eventually and failing that the kroot will tie up the bikere long enough for the rest of your army to reposition.
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Old 03 May 2007, 23:01   #10 (permalink)
Shas'Vre
 
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Default Re: [Playstyles] Mobile Infantry: Slow and Steady

Quote:
Originally Posted by Walrus man (formerly Shas'o Mont'yr)
I find the best way is to mob them with kroot and make the bikers roll so many dice they are bound to fail eventually and failing that the kroot will tie up the bikere long enough for the rest of your army to reposition.
Kroot will be hitting on 4's, wounding on 5's, and then the bikes have a 2+ armor save and a 4+ Feel No Pain save. Each Kroot attack has a 1.4% chance of killing a biker. It therefore statistically takes 72 Kroot attacks to kill a single enemy model. With 3 attacks each on the charge, you therefore need 24 Kroot to kill a single biker. Then you lose combat and are testing on Ld7/8 to avoid being run down and killed.

Unfortunately, Kroot aren't a good answer to Chosen bikers :-\
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"i like to think of playing against my list as being like punching jelly. you put all your effort in but it just moves out of the way and you cause no damage. then your arm is covered in jelly. and the chicks come out and start wrestling in the jelly, and i drink a beer with stone cold steve austin, and we watch the chicks jelly wrestling, and then the slap-bass funk starts wakka chakka wakka wakka woh" -- Spooky, describing Mech Tau

"You can of course make a list that attempts to work via fragility and easy VP donation and Pathfinders fit into that just fine." -- kai
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