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An Army Concept Based on Complete Denial of LoS
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Old 31 Mar 2005, 14:13   #1 (permalink)
Shas'Vre
 
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Default An Army Concept Based on Complete Denial of LoS

In some senses, this is a completely new play style that revolves around the unique ability of the Tau to field firing platforms that either don't require LoS, or have JSJ abilities. Mech Tau revolves around the protection of our soft forces with durable vehicles. What I'm proposing revolves around the protection of our soft forces by not allowing anything to shoot at them... at all... because they never have LoS.

This strategy initially formed in my mind after playing a few games against Dark Angels (all-infantry, VERY shooty) and SoB's (all-infantry, VERY shooty) and realizing that while our Hammerheads and FoF are awesome tools, they CAN be taken down... and that made me sad. Furthermore, there are just some armies that a Mechanised Tau army isn't well suited to fighting... and all infantry armies are tough, either because they can bring lots of heavy weapons (all infantry IG or Dark Angels) or because they've got 120+ models all with 3+ saves (Sisters). Anway, onto my rambling.

[hr]

A small unit of Broadsides (1 or 2) can easily hide behind some LoS blocking forward terrain piece, say ~10" from your table edge, and from there command a large portion of the table without ANY fear of return fire. Furthermore, if that LoS blocking terrain is Height 2 area terrain, you can fire above the terrain at enemy vehicles with your Railguns for the first turn or two while your opponent dutifully moves their foot-sloggers towards you within range of your SMS to fire at them on turns 3-6.

In this role, your 70 pt Broadside is essentially a vehicle for delivering 4 S5 shots per turn. Yeah, not too impressive on the point/kill scale. But I would imagine that these 4 shots per turn would attract a lot of attention from your opponent and the Broadside could be used as 'bait' to dictate your enemy's movement. There's just something attractive about being able to shoot without fear of return fire.

With its 4 shots and BS 3, the Broadside SMS is a prime candidate for markerlight guidance, and a unit of Pathfinders guiding 3 Broadside SMS could put some serious hurt on T3 troops. If that doesn't get their attention (and attract their assault troops) I don't know what will!

A small unit of Firewarriors could deploy with the Broadsides to act as their bodyguard. In this role, they would jump out from behind cover and rapid fire their rifles the turn before the enemy closes to assault range. Hopefully the enemy will have been whittled down by now and the 'final push' of these firewarriors should help finish them off.

Of course a Fish of Fury or two also hidden behind terrain could react to any larger threats which the small bodyguard Firewarriors might not be able to handle on their own.

The second part of this strategy involves the heavy use of Battlesuits. With their JSJ ability, they can also hide behind terrain and pepper the enemy from afar, only to return behind their respective terrain pieces in the assault phase. A number of XV-8 units should be used in this role with different goals. At least one squad should be equipped with long range weaponry, able to deal enough damage to the enemy to force him to come to you. One or two missile pods isn't going to scare anyone or dictate a battle plan. One or two squads of Fireknives seem like they could do the trick, especially if one's a teamleader with a TL missile pod. Once you've lured the enemy into coming into range, a third Crisis Team (perhaps HQ with bodyguard), equipped with devastating short ranged weaponry (plasma/fusion/flamer/burst cannon/etc) is lying in wait to finish them off.

Of course Stealths will fit into this style of play since they really need no terrain to hide behind and their stealth field keeps them relatively safe from harm even out in the open.

Kroot could be used instead of Firewarriors as the bodyguard for the Broadsides, charging in to combat instead of rapid-firing. Their ability to see through 12" of forest could be useful as well if the terrain you're hiding behind is a woods.

[hr]

So basically, the picture I'm envisioning is a number of Broadside 'firing batteries' scattered around your deployment zone, each protected by a small squad of Kroot or Firewarriors. Crisis Teams jumping in and out of terrain, always ending their move out of LoS. Stealths operating much more freely, engaging targets of opportunity and largely relying on their Stealth Field for protection. One or two FoF to react to serious incoming enemy threats. Possibly a squad of Pathfinders or Tetras to guide the Broadside SMS. Going along with the theme of 'denying return fire', Tetras seem like the better choice since they come with a Disruption Pod. Hammerheads seem out of place here, simply because they can't end their move out of LoS if they want to use their main gun. Although one Hammerhead could be useful to help with enemy vehicles or assault troops that make it to your side of the table, while its SMS would enable it to be marginally useful during the rest of the game.

The idea is that any shooty section of an opponents army is entirely wasted because they have nothing to shoot at! All heavy weapons go to waste, all 'bolter squads' go to waste, the only thing this army fears is assault troops... which hopefully can be dealt with through our shooting. Turn 1 and 2 passes with him taking 3 or 4 casualties a turn, and finally on turn 3 he realises that if he's going to be able to kill anything at all, he's going to have to come to us. At which point his heavy weapons teams start trudging across the board 6" a turn and not shooting their guns.

Deep-strike poses some interesting problems, but I feel an army like this has enough mobility (FoF, Battlesuits, potentially a HH) to be able to counter each threat as it arrives. Of course 15 Grey Knight Terminators dropping in would spell trouble, but that would be bad for any army! Although interestingly, the possibility of facing 6 railgun shots from the Broadsides could help deter Terminators from deep striking in the backfield.

Finally, I admit this play style depends heavily on the terrain setup. Furthermore, I don't anticipate it being terribly fun to play after the first few games, or being terribly fun to play against after the first game. Even so, I think it potentially has some merit and wanted to propose it and see what people thought.
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Old 31 Mar 2005, 14:55   #2 (permalink)
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Default Re: An Army Concept Based on Complete Denial of LoS

I like the idea! If I had the number of XV-88's to give it a go, I'd probably try it.

What I see though, is after the first game, my opponent would start fielding nothing but Whirlwinds and Assault marines.

It his conceptual or have you tried it out a few times yet?
I think it would work fine against the low save armies, of Guard, for example. But as you pointed out, against a sea or power armor, the Sisters of Battle, it would really need a miracle (pun intended).

A stealth team could be a pretty good condadite for a markerlight, at that range, not much will see them while protected by their stealth armor.

I think Kroot would be the best unit to "guard" those broadsides. Firewarriors in Fish would be a good way to intercept fast threats that aren't easily knocked off by a few S5 hits at the 24" range (such as an Assault Marine squad of 10 members with a Chappy in there, who only lose a single model after two turns of being hit by 20 S5 hits and rolling those armor saves and passing them). At least the Firewarriors could roadblock while the Kroot get ready to charge them. But by then, I think we're already in trouble in that situation.

I would like to see some battle reports on this though. Could be a fun way to play, though an annoying one for the opponent. It would definately shift them into wanting to alter their army list. It wouldn't work terribly well against Tyranid either (flesh hooks allowing them to just go right over the terrain and assaulting you for example).

More thoughts?
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Old 31 Mar 2005, 15:01   #3 (permalink)
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Default Re: An Army Concept Based on Complete Denial of LoS

So essentially, we are playing a mech-tau army but replacing the Hammerheads with Broadsides, relying on terrain to deny the enemy the opportunity to return fire.

It seems like all that terrain is going to make it very easy for most armies to get close without you ever having any line of fire on them. *If they can hide in the trees, your crisis suits won't be able to target them and you will have to hope you have some Broadsides or Kroot nearby. You are also going to waste a few turns marching the Broadsides into position, which may be a problem. *Relying on the SMS is a dicey proposition, as it is still just 4 strength 5 shots at BS 3. *A full unit of broadsides is reduced to the firepower of a single Fire Warrior squad (that can't move-and-fire or rapid-fire and has shorter range). *It seems there is a subtle difference between "bait" and "free food" in this case that I am not seeing.

This is an interesting way to take on a few specific armies (Iron Warriors comes to mind). *Typical shooty Guard have more weapons that benefit from indirect fire than we do, so I am not sure they would be an optimal opponent. *The trouble is that it looks like this idea relies on well over 25% terrain coverage. *An opponent who fields the type of army this might work against might not agree to ~50% coverage. *Would you let a Tyranid player cover 75% of the table with jungle?
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Old 31 Mar 2005, 15:06   #4 (permalink)
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Default Re: An Army Concept Based on Complete Denial of LoS

an interesting tactic, especially conserning the broadsides which i will most certainly use myself!

However going totally into ones shell and playing with a complete denial of LoS isnt going to work in all scenarios, and i dont think its really in the right spirit of the game. Sure tau do play this way a bit in the fluff, very defensive and minimilising casualites...but you and your opponents may get a bit tird of this after a while.

Don't get me wrong, i would do it myself sometimes, just not hiding absolutly all of my army away and relying on broadisdes, some good tactics and an interesting way to play all the same.

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Old 31 Mar 2005, 15:18   #5 (permalink)
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Default Re: An Army Concept Based on Complete Denial of LoS

Don't get me wrong guys, I agree with all your points. I don't think this is an "effective" list by any stretch of the imagination. However, it is interesting to think about, and thoughts like this can lead to an alteration in how you play your normal list. Really, it was a knee-jerk reaction to losing horribly to two all-infantry power armor wearing armies in a tournament a few months ago

That being said, I think a list like this could be pulled off with 2 small buildings and a forest in your deployment zone. I hardly consider this to be more than the standard GW recommended terrain coverage. Most of our games have 8 - 10 terrain pieces on the table, 3 of which are in each deployment zone.
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"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 31 Mar 2005, 15:22   #6 (permalink)
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Default Re: An Army Concept Based on Complete Denial of LoS

the ideas you have shared about utilisign terrain, especially with broadsides are very interesting as shall be acted upon hencforth...i just need to be sure that i get to place all the terrain >

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Old 31 Mar 2005, 19:37   #7 (permalink)
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Default Re: An Army Concept Based on Complete Denial of LoS

now it has been said that this wont be more effective than normal mechtau on normal boards due to the fact it needs a heinous amount of terrain ........... cityfight anyone?
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Old 31 Mar 2005, 19:54   #8 (permalink)
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Default Re: An Army Concept Based on Complete Denial of LoS

i wouldnt have said that was totally necessery, all it needs is one piece of this size two scenery, farily centerally based would help but it doesnt take much for the broadside to really come into its own as an armorued target hunter IMO. You should try it sometime!

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Old 31 Mar 2005, 19:59   #9 (permalink)
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Default Re: An Army Concept Based on Complete Denial of LoS

really? one peice? for how big a game 42? :P

and if you only get one peice your deployment is going to be almost 100% predictable.

my Tau are OOC ATM so Feild testing isnt an option ^-^
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