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Thinking of re-starting Tau
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Old 30 Jul 2007, 02:26   #1 (permalink)
Ethereal
 
Join Date: Jul 2004
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Default Thinking of re-starting Tau

Hi guys.
Some of you may know that I used to have a very small force during 3rd Ed, only about 800pts worth I think, and I kinda gave up on them to continue with my Eldar. Recently I've been playing Dark Crusade as Tau and they have gotten back into my system!

So as soon as I have a full-time job I will be looking at getting a 1000pt army going, for starters.
I'm not particularly familiar with Tau in 4th Ed, and don't have the Codex yet - although I will do next week hopefully. So, any advice for a new Tau player?

Particularly I would like to hear about different styles of play/forces that I could gear my force towards - though I'm pretty much set on a mobile force, as sitting still vs Blood Angels is rarely a good idea! Also any good inks would be appreciated, though I've already been through the stickied topics.
I will post up a list based on suggestions etc when I get the codex.
Thanks for your time!
- Rezzy
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Old 30 Jul 2007, 04:28   #2 (permalink)
Shas'Saal
 
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Default Re: Thinking of re-starting Tau

ATT has a great article on tactica, I think it was posted on TO too, but I cant find it. Here it is:
http://advancedtautactica.com/viewtopic.php?t=4661

hope that helps.

For the Greater Good!
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Old 30 Jul 2007, 04:47   #3 (permalink)
Shas'Vre
 
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Default Re: Thinking of re-starting Tau

Well, as one that has been playing Tau since they came out, and that has played all the different types of Tau there are to play (besides massed Vespids...), going for mech Tau or hybrid is the way to go.

Mech Tau is basically the approach that everything can either infiltrate or move 12" a turn. This means no foot slogging fire warriors, and skimmers out the D'yi Basically, it takes out the power of enemy anti-infantry weapons in one fell swoop, and taxes the enemy anti-tank units to the max. The main idea is that you are so fast that you kill enemy units one at a time, with them not being able to attack back. Reading the articles over at the Advanced Tau Tactica (known as the ATT) is very helpful. However, I'll also direct you to the the The Guide to Mech Tau as a starting point. While it is not 4th ed, the concepts are still extremely valid to using Mech Armies.

Hybrid is the approach that you have both foot based units as a fire base and fast units. This allows for more flexibility in army choice, such as opening up broadsides, sniper drones, and things like that. However, I personally do not use this play style as it requires a great degree of units working together, and generally, if one dies, the whole becomes exponentially weaker. However, it is a very solid play style, and while is vulnerable to assault armies, it can deal with a larger variety of problems, and is generally more balanced.

If you want a sample list, I give a variety of them, whether you want tanks, no tanks, mech, hyrbid, or whatever. Good luck with starting a cadre.

Cheers!
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Old 30 Jul 2007, 16:32   #4 (permalink)
Shas'Vre
 
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Default Re: Thinking of re-starting Tau

Just look at the top of this board section under "background articles" and "important topics". So many links there to so much good material I wouldn't do it justice here if I tried to relay it.
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Old 30 Jul 2007, 17:26   #5 (permalink)
Shas'Vre
 
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Default Re: Thinking of re-starting Tau

Here's an article I had been considering submitting to White Dwarf. I don't think it'll ever make it that far; too many people have contributed ideas and portions of the text that I could never credit them all. But it sounds like it's exactly what you're looking for


[hr]

[size=18pt]Tau Playstyles[/size]

Most successful Tau lists will generally have one principal in common. Whether the list consists of large numbers of hulking Battlesuits, or maneuverable formations of heavy skimmers, the Tau codex was designed around the principal of victory point preservation. Synergistic vehicle upgrades such as the Multitracker and Decoy Launchers make Tau Hammerheads and Devilfish exceptionally difficult to bring down. Ready access to durable ablative wounds in the form of Shield Drones ensures reliable protection for Battlesuit equipped warriors. Stealth armor, Kroot Fieldcraft, and an abundance of indirect-fire weaponry (Smart Missile Systems and the new Airbursting Fragmentation Projector) round out our available compliment of victory point denial special abilities. In a straight up fist fight, any Tau army will fall to even modest assault threats; in a straight up fire fight, any Tau army will succumb to a dedicated shooty Imperial force. What we have however, is denial; the maneuverability to deny assaults and a multitude of tools to deny the opponent shooting opportunities.

With knowledge of these tools at our disposal and the codex fluff as a guide, several effective methodologies for building and playing a Tau list become apparent. All of the playstyles listed below can be characterized as some relative combination of the two preferred Tau strategies: the Kau’yon and the Mont’ka. While one of these strategies may appeal to you more than another, it’s important to realize that none of these playstyles is intrinsically better than another. Each of them excels in a particular environment of terrain and opponents (collectively referred to as the Metagame). Some of these playstyles were made possible (or significantly more viable) with the realease of Codex: Tau Empire, while others have been around since the initial release of the Tau in INSERT DATE.


Static Tau

A Static Tau army focuses on raw shooting efficiency to the exclusion of all else. The mantra of the Static Tau player is always 'buy more shots'. Quantity over quality. The territory is yours for the taking if your opponent has been wiped wholesale from the field of battle.

Large numbers of Rifle toting Firewarriors form the bulk of the army with a solid contingent of Broadsides in the backfield. Markerlight carriers can bolster the shooting efficiency of Firewarrior units under threat of assault. Individual squads of Shas'la are deployed far enough apart so that assaulters who end up making it into close combat will be unable to consolidate from one to another. An Ethereal is a tremendous help in controlling the morale of your line troopers, and his bodyguard is an efficient anti-infantry squad unto itself. Kroot offer good countercharge potential in the event things go awry. With this in mind, a typical 1750 Static Tau army might look something like the following:

Quote:
*** HQ ***
Shas’o (177)
- [Plasma Rifle, Missile Pod, Command and Control Node, Iridium Armor, Hardwired Multitracker, Hardwired Target Lock, Hardwired Drone Controller + 2 Shield Drones]

Ethereal (194)
- [12 Bodyguard with BS upgrade and Pulse Rifles]

*** Elites ***
1 XV8 Crisis Battlesuit (69)
- [Teamleader, Fusion Blaster, Missile Pod, Target Array, Hardwired Multitracker]

*** Troops ***
10 Firewarriors (133)
- [Pulse Rifles]
- [Shas’ui, Markerlight, Hardwired Target Lock, Hardwired Blacksun Filter, Bonding Knife]

10 Firewarriors (133)
- [Pulse Rifles]
- [Shas’ui, Markerlight, Hardwired Target Lock, Hardwired Blacksun Filter, Bonding Knife]

10 Firewarriors (133)
- [Pulse Rifles]
- [Shas’ui, Markerlight, Hardwired Target Lock, Hardwired Blacksun Filter, Bonding Knife]

10 Firewarriors (115)
- [Pulse Rifles]
- [Shas’ui, Bonding Knife]

10 Kroot (88)
- 3 Hounds

10 Kroot (88)
- 3 Hounds

*** Fast Attack ***
5 Gun Drones (60)

5 Gun Drones (60)

*** Heavy Support ***
2 XV88 Broadside Battlesuits (210)
- [Teamleader, Target Array, Hardwired Target Lock, Hardwired Drone Controller + 2 Shield Drones]
- [Target Array]

2 XV88 Broadside Battlesuits (210)
- [Drone Controller + 2 Shield Drones]
- [Drone Controller + 2 Shield Drones]

1 Sniper Team (80)

Total: 1750
Much of the strategy required to successfully play a Static Tau army will be exorcised during deployment. It’s important to position your units close enough together so they can offer each other mutual support, yet not so close as to allow enemy assaulters to consolidate from one to another. As you might expect, this style army fits neatly into the rock-paper-scissors paradigm of list design, defeating certain lists handily while having a much more difficult time with others.

Clever use of infiltrate and deep strike can mitigate movement deficiencies. By infiltrating into distant table quarters or directly onto objectives, you can eliminate the need to move to capture them. Additionally, a small unit of Gun Drones is inexpensive enough to be able to justify its inclusion simply by claiming a table quarter or contesting an objective. In spite of the static nature of most of your army, if there is a tactical advantage to relocating a squad or two (especially if they don’t have any targets!), don’t hesitate to give up a few shots to do so. You’ve certainly got plenty to spare.


Mechanized Tau

In fluff terms, a Mechanized (Mech) Tau army is a Cadre that can be rapidly deployed from a Manta. Any units that can’t infiltrate will be equipped with jet packs or have gravitic capabilities.

The army consists of Crisis and Stealth Suits, Firewarriors in Devilfish, Pathfinders in Devilfish, Gun Drones, Vespid, Piranha and Hammerheads. Additionally, Kroot can be used as pre-positioned ground assets in addition to any available air support.

Against most shooty armies a Mech Tau force plays more aggressively right out of the gate. Many opponents won’t expect a Tau army to come zipping up and unload on their doorstep. Against aggressive armies, Mech Tau Cadres tend to give ground while using Battlesuits and Hammerheads to disable and destroy enemy mobile elements. The Shas’la bide their time inside their protective Devilfish until an enemy formation has been disrupted to the point that a decisive rapid fire deployment can swing the tide. A typical 1750 point Mech Tau army might look something like this:

Quote:
*** HQ ***
Shas’el (97)
- [Plasma Rifle, Missile Pod, Target Array, Hardwired Multitracker]

Shas'el (100)
- [Plasma Rifle, Cyclic Ion Blaster, Target Array, Hardwired Multitracker]

*** Elites ***
2 XV8 Crisis Battlesuits (159)
- [Team leader, Plasma Rifle, Missile Pod, Multitracker, Hardwired Drone Controller + 2 Shield Drones]
- [Plasma, Missile Pod, Multitracker]

2 XV8 Crisis Battlesuits (159)
- [Team leader, Plasma Rifle, Missile Pod, Multitracker, Hardwired Drone Controller + 2 Shield Drones]
- [Plasma, Missile Pod, Multitracker]

6 XV25 Stealth Battlesuits (180)

*** Troops ***
12 Firewarriors in Devilfish (240)
- [Smart Missile System, Target Array, Multitracker, Decoy Launchers]

12 Firewarriors in Devilfish (240)
- [Smart Missile System, Target Array, Multitracker, Decoy Launchers]

10 Kroot (70)

*** Fast Attack ***

*** Heavy Support ***
1 Hammerhead Gunship (180)
- [Railgun, Smart Missile System, Target Lock, Multitracker, Decoy Launchers]

1 Hammerhead Gunship (180)
- [Railgun, Smart Missile System, Target Lock, Multitracker, Decoy Launchers]

1 Hammerhead Gunship (145)
- [Ion Cannon, Smart Missile System, Target Lock, Multitracker, Decoy Launchers]

Total: 1750
The key to playing a Mech Tau list successfully is choosing where and when to conduct the Mont’ka. All of your units can move 12” per turn; with so many points invested in mobility, the game will frequently be decided by your ability to exploit your maneuver advantage. You will usually be outgunned and will almost always have fewer models than your opponent. It’s vital that you use your mobility to create pockets of local fire superiority, attacking a third of your opponent’s army with all of yours. Your mobility allows you to exploit terrain to shield your attack from the bulk of your opponent’s forces and create these kill zones where the enemy is weakest.

Those Devilfish are Expensive!

In order to win a game of Warhammer 40K you necessarily need to dominate certain phases. Some army lists are geared to completely dominate one phase, without any attention given to the others. They use their extreme advantage in that one phase to overwhelm their opponent thereby minimizing their disadvantages in the other phases. The fully Static Tau army discussed above is one example of this, attempting to dominate the shooting phase at the exclusion of movement and close combat.

Alternatively, a more balanced army could try to be dominant in one phase while being competent enough in the others so as to not be completely overwhelmed. Most Necron armies fit into this category, excelling at shooting while having some nifty tricks to assist with movement and assault. When designing an army, a general has the opportunity to choose which phases he/she wants to dominate. In general, the points are not available to design a list that dominates all phases of the game. Compromises must be made. Considering the 3 primary phases to be movement, shooting and close combat, then it is clear that Mech Tau is aimed at dominating the movement phase with shooting being a close second.

The novice Tau player will now be asking himself, “Why would any intelligent general choose to put points into dominating a phase that doesn’t kill anything?!” This is a valid point, the killing happens during the other two phases of the game. However both shooting and assault require proper positioning of troops in order to be effective. The best assault troops are those with some sort of movement enhancement (jump packs, bikes, cavalry, etc) while the best firing platforms are those that can maneuver to draw line of sight to worthwhile targets. By investing in mobility, you make your weapons more efficient by ensuring they can engage a suitable target each turn. You can simultaneously make your opponent’s weapons less efficient by denying them suitable targets (or any target at all!).


Hybrid Tau

The Hybrid Tau army aims to strike a balance between mobility and firepower. Mobility is essential in 4th edition, for maneuvering around terrain, claiming objectives, and controlling firing lanes. However, a 100% mechanized force is expensive and often overkill in the context of the above requirements. The Hybrid approach aims to include just enough mobility to achieve these goals while maintaining a solid firebase of efficient static firepower. A typical 1750 point Hybrid Tau army might look something like this:

Quote:
*** HQ ***
Shas’el (97)
- [Plasma Rifle, Missile Pod, Target Array, Hardwired Multitracker]

Shas'el (100)
- [Plasma Rifle, Cyclic Ion Blaster, Target Array, Hardwired Multitracker]

*** Elites ***
2 XV8 Crisis Battlesuits (159)
- [Team leader, Plasma Rifle, Missile Pod, Multitracker, Hardwired Drone Controller + 2 Shield Drones]
- [Plasma, Missile Pod, Multitracker]

1 XV8 Crisis Battlesuit (62)
- [Plasma Rifle, Missile Pod, Hardwired Multitracker]

1 XV8 Crisis Battlesuit (62)
- [Plasma Rifle, Missile Pod, Hardwired Multitracker]

*** Troops ***
12 Firewarriors in Devilfish (245)
- [Smart Missile System, Target Array, Multitracker, Decoy Launchers, Disruption Pod]

10 Firewarriors (130)
- [Pulse Rifles]
- [Shas’ui, Markerlight, Hardwired Target Lock, Bonding Knife]

10 Firewarriors (130)
- [Pulse Rifles]
- [Shas’ui, Markerlight, Hardwired Target Lock, Bonding Knife]

10 Kroot (70)

10 Kroot (70)

*** Fast Attack ***
1 Piranha (70)
- [Fusion Blaster, Target Array]

*** Heavy Support ***
2 XV88 Broadside Battlesuits (195)
- [Teamleader, A.S.S., Hardwired Drone Controller + 2 Shield Drones]
- [A.S.S.]

1 Hammerhead Gunship (180)
- [Railgun, Smart Missile System, Target Lock, Multitracker, Decoy Launchers]

1 Hammerhead Gunship (180)
- [Railgun, Smart Missile System, Target Lock, Multitracker, Decoy Launchers]

Total: 1750
One of the important features of a Hybrid Tau list is the fact that success does not depend on Broadside support. While a valuable asset to the list, the heavy XV88s are not absolutely required and can be deployed and played in a more tactical role, denying firing lanes, as deep strike insurance, and even as a lure for assault troops. However, if you decide during the game that the Broadsides are important to your battle plan, you have enough skimmer chassis to form an impromptu skimmer wall to delay incoming assaults for an additional turn or two.

The Mont'Ka and Kau’yon

Hybrid Tau is Commander Puretide's textbook army. Games with this sort of list often begin as a lesson in Kau’yon. The mobile portion of the force is nigh uncatchable, leaving your opponent to focus on the only thing he has any hope being able to deal with... your slow Firewarriors, Broadsides, Pathfinders and/or Kroot. As your opponent closes, the larger more powerful mobile element chooses an opportune time to conduct a Mont'Ka on the advancing foe. The bait was taken, the trap is sprung and the enemy is destroyed.

Alternately, since the Kau’yon lure only represents 15% - 20% of your force, you can simply elect to have them hold their ground and deal as much damage as possible before succumbing for the Greater Good. It's more than likely that your opponent invested much more than 15% - 20% of his army in the assault giving your mobile forces numerical superiority as they systematically dismantle the rest of his army.

The popularity of a Hybrid Tau list comes from its inherent flexibility. A single list can be played in a multitude of ways depending on the opponent you find yourself facing. This makes it ideal for a tournament 'take-all-comers' type setting since the same set of units can be deployed and played in different ways.



Mobile Infantry Tau

Mobile Infantry (MI) Tau is to the Kau’yon 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. 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/or a Leadership boost.

The basic idea is that a pair of shielded 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 (a Hammerhead Gunship equipped with an Ion Cannon) and a medium sized (5-7) unit of Vespid. A pair of Kroot units will usually stand ready 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 typical 1750 point MI Tau army might look something like this:

Quote:
*** HQ ***
Commander Shadowsun (175)

Shas'el (100)
- [Plasma Rifle, Cyclic Ion Blaster, Target Array, Hardwired Multitracker]

*** Elites ***
2 XV8 Crisis Battlesuits (158)
- [Shas'vre, Airbursting Fragmentation Projector, Twinlinked Missile Pod, Hardwired Multitracker, Hardwired Drone Controller + 2 Shield Drones]
- [Burst Cannon, Missile Pod, Multitracker]

2 XV8 Crisis Battlesuits (159)
- [Team leader, Plasma, Missile Pod, Multitracker, Hardwired Drone Controller + 2 Shield Drones]
- [Plasma, Missile Pod, Multitracker]

5 XV25 Stealth Battlesuits (150)

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

10 Kroot (88)
- 3 Hounds

10 Kroot (88)
- 3 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., Twinlinked Plasma Rifles, Hardwired Multitracker, Hardwired Drone Controller + 2 Shield Drones]
- [A.S.S.]

2 XV88 Broadside Battlesuits (195)
- [Teamleader, A.S.S., Hardwired Multitracker, Hardwired Drone Controller + 2 Shield Drones]
- [A.S.S.]

1 Hammerhead Gunship (145)
- [Ion Cannon, Smart Missile System, Target Lock, Multitracker, Decoy Launchers]

Total: 1750
As you can see, the differences between MI Tau and Hybrid Tau are subtle yet important. Unlike a Hybrid list, MI Tau relies exclusively on it’s XV88 support for taking on heavy armor. This necessarily requires that we include sufficient assets to protect them against shooting and assault threats. A plethora of Shield Drones and Shadowsun’s Leadership boost mitigate most shooting threats; however, unlike Hybrid Tau, we don’t have enough skimmer chassis to reliably block assaults and must instead turn to other tactics to deal with fast moving close combat threats.

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 as well as one or two units that can move 12" and fire (Hammerhead, Piranha, Vespid) in order to be able to whittle down approaching assault troops. Kroot provide effective countercharge potential in the event the Broadsides are engaged.

In spite of its vulnerability to assault, an MI Tau 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.
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Old 30 Jul 2007, 17:36   #6 (permalink)
Ethereal
 
Join Date: Jul 2004
Location: UK
Posts: 12,488
Default Re: Thinking of re-starting Tau

Wow, looks great, I'll finish reading it in a sec.
Although it may be an idea to replace that post with a link to it in a new topic, so it's more visible to other new players if you want! (Sorry, always on mod-duty lol).
Unless you've posted it elsewhere of course. :P
Worthy of an applaud, unless you have already recieved one for this?

Edit - Hmmm, right now an MI Tau list looks like what I had in mind, as I love Stealth Suits, Pathfinders etc. Small squads of elite troops are great. Although is it feasible to replace Broadsides with anti-armour Crisis suits to remain more mobile?

The alternative is Mech Tau, which would probably be most effective against my mates BA close combat squads - but he has two devastator squads to hand and Mech tau is also quite expensive so I'm shying away from that approach. 8)
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Old 30 Jul 2007, 18:48   #7 (permalink)
Shas'Vre
 
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Default Re: Thinking of re-starting Tau

Nice article Tonka. I'm keeping this one too ;D

As for BA devastators, if his heavy weapons are focused in them, it is relatively easy for Tau to kill 10 marines a turn, if done right. You really should be more worried about the fact that each squad can have a lascannon or missile launcher, each capable of destroying our tanks.

Cheers!
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"The gue'la will either except our destiny, or die!"
-Shas'o Castris
Quote:
Originally Posted by Faolin
"Human nature" only prevents a better future if we accept it as unchangeable.
Quote:
Originally Posted by MechTau
Shasocastris, since my return to these boards, nothing has made a bigger impression than you and your views.
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Old 30 Jul 2007, 18:57   #8 (permalink)
Ethereal
 
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Default Re: Thinking of re-starting Tau

Yeah that can be a nuisance, but he doesn't have too many troop squads to bury weapons in, most of his force is geared for cc. I.e. Assault Marines, Honour Guard, Deep Striking Termies etc
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Old 30 Jul 2007, 19:24   #9 (permalink)
Shas'Vre
 
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Default Re: Thinking of re-starting Tau

Oh, well in that case, the priority for the first turn is the enemy devastators, and then whatever is closest :P
Good luck, because I've yet to have much against the BA, but maybe that's because he's the best in our group... grrr....

Cheers!
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"The gue'la will either except our destiny, or die!"
-Shas'o Castris
Quote:
Originally Posted by Faolin
"Human nature" only prevents a better future if we accept it as unchangeable.
Quote:
Originally Posted by MechTau
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Old 30 Jul 2007, 20:07   #10 (permalink)
Ethereal
 
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Default Re: Thinking of re-starting Tau

Aganst BA I'd suggest taking out powerfists/weapons above all else. Once your opponent has to fight against your armour saves it will take him a while to get through 12 Fire Warriors, despite their combat prowess.
Don't worry too much about his heavy weapons taking out your troops, because most relatively average players will engage you in combat before they can cause significant damage with their weapons.

Watch out for Librarians too. Ouch.
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