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Tactica: Mechanized Tau
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Old 16 Jan 2008, 00:55   #1 (permalink)
Shas'Ui
 
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Default Tactica: Mechanized Tau

Tactica : Mechanized Tau

Welcome one and all to the wonderful world of Mechanized Tau. Here I intend to enlighten Tau players on the intricacies of Mechanized Tau. There seem to be a lack of tacticas regarding Mech Tau around here, and I intend to solve that problem.

DISCLAIMER: I am not a particularly veteran player. I do lose. My record currently stands at over 3 times as many wins as losses, which is good in my opinion, but still nowhere near a Grand Tournament record. I am not providing any kind of Gospel truths here, I am just trying to help out players who are considering playing a Mechanized Tau army. But firstÖ

What are Mechanized Tau?

Well, most people already know the general concept behind Mech Tau. In essence, Mech Tau is an army composition available to any Tau player that sacrifices heavy firepower and numbers for the ability to run circles around opponents and greatly increase the durability of your warriors. A Mech Tau army is characterized by a lack of Broadsides, Sniper Drones and Static Fire Warrior squads that other Tau lists seem to enjoy so much. I personally havenít played any kind of Tau other than Mechanized, so I guess I never got caught up in the hype of Broadsides or Sniper Drone Teams.

Being Mechanized, essentially, means that you have nothing that isnít moving at least 12 inches on your side of the table before you drop infiltrators down on the table. So youíre generally left with Battlesuits, Devilfish-mounted Fire Warriors, Piranhas, Hammerheads, Skyrays, Stealth Suits, Kroot to an extent, and Gun Drones.

So what am I using in my Mech Tau army?

Pretty much everything Iíve stated above. Iím going to break down specific uses here though.

Battlesuits - These form your more "Elitey" units. Being Elite choices, this is no wonder. However, they are difficult to classify as just Battlesuits, so some explanation may be needed as to the different ways to use them. We will go by pattern.

Fireknife - Plasma Rifle, Missile Pod, Multi-Tracker - My personal favorite in a take-all-comers list, these babies have good range, mild AP power, and anti-terminator shots. With a maximum range of 36", and an effective safe range of 24", these are rarely likely to be charged. Coupled with the Jetpack, these present almost no target and can rain death all over your enemies.

Deathrain - Twin-linked Missile Pods - I donít use this one nearly as often, as I prefer number of shots over accuracy most of the time. However, they never need to be closer than 36" for maximum effectiveness, and are slightly more capable of busting low-armor tanks due to their increased accuracy. In short reliable, but a lucky round of shooting may not be much more effective than a normal round. Reliability is always a great deal for any army though.

Sunforge - Twin-linked Fusion Blasters - Ick. I realize that a lot of people swear by these, but I canít stand them. Having to be within 6" to be effective in their main role is just downright disgusting. However, as a suicide unit to one-hit-wonder a tank, these can be effective. However, Math-hammer says that they are less than 50% effective at actually removing a tank from play. In short, very unreliable. If you feel lucky and donít mind having your suit blown off the table the turn it deep-strikes, then by all means take this pattern. Otherwise, I suggest just leaving it alone, it offers nothing to the Mech Tau player that they donít already have.

Helios - Fusion Blaster, Plasma Rifle, Multi-Tracker - I like these only a little bit more than Sunforges. Theyíre still only effective inside 6" against vehicles, but they are built to wipe out terminators at a 12" range, where they can theoretically force 3 invulnerable saves in one shooting phase (usually resulting in 2 dead terminators). As far as the Mech Tau player is concerned, it can be a valuable addition if you can keep the heat off it. I personally never use them, but I imagine a Deathwing army might be scared of them (How about that $1,100 Deathwing set, eh? Iím sure at that price any player would want these things dead!).

Blinding Spear - Burst Cannon, Plasma Rifle, Multi-Tracker - OK, weíre into the obscure patterns now. Blinding Spear is used for anti-ground troops of all flavors, but specializes against none. Against Tyranids using both hordes of little bugs and some Monstrous Creatures I could see these as not being so much of a waste of points, but otherwise I advise you to stay away. They offer little that a Mech Tau player wonít have anyway.

Iím not interested in turning this into a Crisis Suit Tactica, letís keep going onto practical applications.

Crisis suits are fast - they can keep up with the rest of your army with little trouble. However, they can also provide a Static Anchor that will tie the whole force together as opposed to just having it split into multiple pockets on the table (more on these Static Anchors and why theyíre important later). Their Jetpack keeps them alive, and their weaponry is strong enough to be felt across the whole table. I find Deep-Striking to be a poor option personally because itís too random and those Static Anchors I talked about arenít going to exist. Itís OK for Sunforges to deep-strike of course (they practically have to in order to be effective!), but other suits will get less use this way.

Your mandatory ShasíO/ShasíEl is in much less danger when moving with the rest of your army than other suits due to Independent Character status. Take him with no drones and no bodyguard, and just run him behind your tanks where he canít be shot. Of course, keeping him back is, as always, a perfectly reasonable option as well, itís just always good to have options.

Fire Warriors - As suggested by the fact that they're mandatory, you're going to be taking a lot of these. Theyíre just that good.

Having said that, these guys end up being ludicrously expensive. On average, Devilfish included, Iím spending 230 points on every squad of these I take. Thatís maximum squad size with a Shasíui, bonding, and a few upgrades on the Devilfish. To be perfectly honest, though, the Shasíui and bonding arenít necessary at all. The Warriors inside will spend maybe a turn or two outside of the transport unless itís shot down, and when they are out, they are hardly ever shot at. A lot of players will get stuck on trying to bring down scarier things like Hammerheads for turns at a time because those are the things that get annoying. Most squads would cut through the Fire Warriors like a knife through butter, but not when theyíre fixed on bringing down something that they just canít touch. Of course, after the first FoF your opponent will probably yell "Cheese!" and spend the rest of the game trying to wipe out the Fire Warriors only to be brought down by the Hammerheads heís not shooting anymore, but thatís just all the better for you.

Generally I like to pair squads of these up so that they can FoF together (Itís really that much more devastating when 2 squads do it at once). Multi-Trackers come as mandatory on all vehicle besides Piranhas in my opinion, and Devilfish are no exception. I usually donít take the Warfish though (A Devilfish with Smart Missiles), as thereís a lot to be said for drones (particularly the kind that save you loads of points on Smart Missile Systems). Not only do drones add to the firepower of the Devilfish, they also jump out and extend the 1" zone your opponent canít pass through, keeping you warrior even more safe, and they can then shoot at separate targets from the Devilfish, not to mention being extra squads the opponent must wade through to remove your presence, albeit non-scoring squads.

Weapon choices are not so hard to make here - Carbines are just not worth sacrificing the shots. You have enough drones on your Devilfish to force pinning checks reliably against most armies that would care. Besides, your objective is to kill, not to pin. Suppressing one unit is worthless when you canít kill them and thereís another squad closing in.

Finally, a word of warning. Do not make the mistake of FoFíing the first squad of opportunity. Thereís a fine art to coordination and timing, and a single false move can ruin the entire game. Unload the Fire Warriors only when itís either completely necessary (i.e., a unit of Fire Dragons is fast approaching the Devilfish and need to be exterminated, no ifs ands or buts), or when itís tactically safe and advantageous to do so, such as when you reach your intended targets and now need to wipe them out.

Drone Squadrons - These little Frisbees are about the most useful things you can field. They are more accurate than Fire Warriors, theyíre faster, they can deep-strike, and they actually have an initiative value for when they really need it.

For a couple points more than a Fire Warrior you get a Gun Drone. These are just the coolest things ever, and I make it a point to always field at least one unit in my army. Why? Theyíre just so tactically flexible! They may not get as many shots as an FoFíing squad of Fire Warriors, but thatís not a big deal because theyíre shooting more often, not being stuffed into transports for 66% of the game.

Deep-striking is a serious option to consider here. More times than I can count Iíve blown holes in the rear armor of transports or knocked Heavy Weapon Teams off the table on the turn I deepstrike (For that, I once not only blew 2 teams of heavy weapons away, but also a Heroic Senior Officer along with his squad AND a Grey Knight, all with 2 squadrons of drones). This is an option I only recommend to Drones, as they will either be ignored and survive the mission, or be blown to pieces in which case you donít care because a full squadron is less than 100 points. Not a bad deal, eh?

Another less common role for Drones is to use them as a bodyguard for your commander. Donít attach him, to preserve his Independent Character status, just keep him amongst the swarm of drones to keep him safe. Essentially the commander will have 8 ablative wounds that the opponent will have to grind though in order to even have the ability to touch the commander. Add any random drones that find their way to the commander to that, and youíve got LOTS of wounds the opponent is going to have to deal with in order to hurt your character. By then, itís just not worth trying.

Treat these as you would Fire Warriors - donít go shooting targets of opportunity to pass up your primary target. Incidental fire is just fine, of course, but given the option, always strive to keep to your original plan for them. Despite what Sun Tzu may have said, my argument is "If a planís not worth keeping, itís not worth making", and rushing headlong into battle with no plan is asking to lose.

Piranhas - These offer a reliable, fast, one-hit-wonder against armor. These are the reason Sunforges are useless, they perform the same role in greater numbers more reliably. Yes, they are more points, but not many (running through a Sunforge built to possibly survive for a turn - twin-linked Fusion Blasters, Shield Generator, it comes out to 63 points as opposed to a Piranha with a Fusion Blaster and Targeting Array which is 70). Itís also MUCH more survivable (immune to bolters on the front and can only be glanced), leading to it being far more reliable. And guess what. Those gun drones? Pop Ďem off to deal with infantry or just to be a general nuisance (or more than a nuisance with a squadron of 5 Piranhas - thatís 10 gun drones, split into 5 squads! Way hard to kill!).

I generally have 2 in a 2,000 point list, but more can certainly be taken for only 70 points a pop. I mean, at that price tag who can resist? I once took 4 in a 1500 point game, for a total of 9 skimmers on my side of the table at deployment. On the first turn they rushed forward and blew up my opponentís Land Raider Crusader, at which point he nearly conceded.

These are your most vulnerable vehicles though. Donít fool yourself into thinking that these will survive. Invariably, by third turn they will all end up dead. This is because opponents will have an irrational fear of Piranhas due to the fact that they can close with vehicles quickly and are equipped with Fusion Blasters. Yes, yes, they do have the option to take Burst Cannons, but Mech Tau have Burst Cannons coming out the wazoo as it is, there is no particular need for any more. In any case, they will be the first things targeted, and can be brought down by Heavy Bolters, so expect them to go down fast.

Hammerheads - Iím sure the suspense has been murder up till now. You all wanted to hear my take on the infamous Hammerhead, right? Well, here goes.

These are the beasts that everyone makes them out to be. When you use them properly. They are capable of taking on anything your opponent can field, be it hordes of tiny munchy Gaunts, Necron Monoliths, or Marines. Of course, this flexibility is not the easiest thing to take advantage of in a Mech Tau army. Itís absolutely necessary for a Hammerhead to be in the right place to be effective or to even get a return on its points. Why? Because the Hammerhead is a supporting unit, not your main weapon. It runs around with your Devilfish and keeps them alive by both taking out potential threats and soaking up fire. In this way it forms the rock-hard backbone of your army. Appropriately, if they die, your army falls apart quickly as your other vehicles have little support and canít fight well for themselves.

Railguns are good, of course, and I do suggest taking them. In fact, in a 3 Hammerhead list, I suggest running 2 for the sake of repetition, because one will inevitably get blown up. However, itís difficult for them to get a return on their points. Theyíre going to have to go vehicle hunting in order to make their points back, as anything small-game is just not going to cut it. Of course, the game isnít about point returns, itís about which army has the most utility and which player can function better tactically, which means if you took the Railgun to shoot submunitions into a Guard horde, then shoot the little peons as opposed to the Tanks they brought with them if itís more tactically sound!

Ion Cannons are just as useful if used properly, if not moreso. They absolutely devastate MEQs, as everyone knows, but arenít so useful against other things. Saved for armor 3+ or 4+ they perform better for a lower cost than railheads, but at a sacrifice of anti-vehicle and anti-horde firepower. Absolutely worth it against Marines or Inquisition armies though, never discount this useful option.

Vespid - Ah, the never-used Vespid. Why are they never used? This is something I may never know exactly. They certainly fit well with Mech, with only a few minor problems. First of all, theyíre fragile with only a 5+ save. On the other hand, why are they out of cover? Theyíre fast enough that they can hop from cover to cover, and itís obvious from the Skilled Fliers rule that theyíre meant to do so. That, and the anti- MEQ fire they deliver makes them very useful.

I have limited experience with these myself. They are vulnerable as far as a Mech army goes however, as they can be assaulted after they shoot something. Itís obvious from their stats that theyíre not meant for assault, barring their high initiative value and good toughness. If these shoot something, make sure that they have the support to kill what they shoot, that way they arenít assaulted.

If, in the event you donít kill your target, the Vespid are assaulted, donít waste your time trying to keep them alive. Let them fight and buy your other troops time to reposition themselves and exterminate whatever the Vespid are fighting once the Vespid are all dead. Itís more important at that point to simply eliminate the threat and let the Vespid die.

Overall, Vespid can be a good addition to Mech Tau if only people played them the way they were intended to be used! I see no reason not to use them unless youíre up against an army with all 5+ saves or worse, or all 2+ saves like a Deathwing.
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Old 16 Jan 2008, 00:57   #2 (permalink)
Shas'Ui
 
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Default Re: Tactica: Mechanized Tau

Durhurhur, I couldn't fit it all in 20,000 characters...

Static Anchors

I talked a little about these before, but just what are they? What role do they play in a Mech army, and how are they used? Well, itís all very simple, and itís a little something I devised myself.

In my younger days I dabbled in Warhammer Fantasy. My chosen army was the Empire. One thing I learned from that army is that all units must be supported by other units to be effective. Static Anchors use that idea by essentially tying your entire army to a couple points on your side of the table. These Anchors are able to provide support anywhere on the table while the opponent is occupied with your more mobile elements. With use of Static Anchors you can effectively break large battles into a few small skirmishes, but with you having the advantage of being able to support each engagement with a single unit or group of units. Fore example, say youíre playing a 2,000 point game. Thatís a fairly large battle, yes? Well, with mild amounts of baiting and spreading units out you can probably break that game down into two 1,000 point skirmishes on either side of the table. The advantage you have is that your Anchor units can support either engagement as necessary because they are able to draw sight and range to both, whereas the two engagements are operating completely independently of each other with no incidental fire across the table. You, then, have the advantage of not only choosing your battles but also being able to outgun your opponent on either side as necessary. This is how I play my games and is not necessarily the best way to go about playing, as a loss on either side puts you Anchor units at risk (theyíre not meant to fight a battle by themselves!), but in general being able to outgun your opponent makes victories on either side possible if not easy.

Now, some of you are probably thinking that although the Anchor can support either side and help to tip the scales, that means that one side will still be outgunned. This is very true, and itís one of the problems this tactic faces. A player needs a sound tactical mind in order to manage both sides while being outgunned. Generally, your advantage is this - you are choosing your battles. You should try to have the advantage of being able to choose individual units your opponent has and pit them against units you have to counter them. For instance, if you were to attract a squad of Terminators to one side of a table with, say, a squad of angry Vespid, then you would lay an ambush for them with Crisis Suits armed with Plasma Rifles. On the other hand, should an Armoured Fist squad chase after your annoying Stealth Suits, a Hammerhead with Railgun just might use its mobility and range to pop the transport and lay a submunitions template on top of them.

Of course, this conflicts with fluff, in a way, but only with fluff. Those familiar with Tau tactics know that the Tau use one of two teachings in battle; either Montíka or Kauyon. Montíka is also known as "The Killing Blow", and emphasizes on heavy, mobile firepower. Sounds a lot like Mechanized Tau doesnít it? Kauyon is "The Patient Hunter", and is known to use baits and lures to catch opponents unawares. Well, wait, weíre using both arenít we? Kind of like the best of both worlds!

Sounds InterestingÖ What units do I use for Anchors?

Iím glad you asked! Certain units work better as Anchors than others, and some simply wonít cut the mustard. Hereís where you get to use that little bit of static firepower you know you want to mess around with, secretly.

Fire Warriors - This is your Anchor of choice, really. These little blighters are cheap, durable, and strong. They can take up residence in cover and rain strength 5 all across the table, and the little Marker Drones you never take? They just found a home. A lot of people seem to think that static Fire Warriors = Easy VPs, but this simply isnít true. Honestly, your opponent is going to be so worried about dealing with the rest of your army that a rag-tag band of Fire Warriors is the least of his worries. If he gets any ideas though, a couple shots in the back will remind him just where the fight is!

Sniper Drones - These can work in higher-point games, but you only want maybe a tenth of your army as an Anchor unit. This means in a thousand point game take a one hundred point Anchor. In a 2K game take a two hundred point Anchor. Markerlights are useful, and the drones are strong, but they donít lay down a lot of firepower and ought to be reserved as a support for Fire Warriors in higher-point games (Hmm, 12 Fire Warriors plus 1 Drone Squad is exactly 200 pointsÖ 2K anybody?)

Broadsides - You might be thinking of adding one of these implacable behemoths in to help hold the line, right? Well, donít. A single twin-linked Railgun will make next to no contribution to the game, as Anti-Armour firepower ought to be on both sides of the game anyway. I canít stop you from experimenting though, and if it works out for you, great. Otherwise, best not to try.

Crisis Suits - Yes, it does say Crisis Suits. Why? Very simple. Crisis suits can have 36" range and JSJ, meaning that they can lay some havoc down on the enemy and thereís no chance that theyíll suffer any fire in return. Effectively theyíre a strong, implacable Anchor that costs a lot of points (but theyíre worth every point). The Deathrain really comes into its own here, with its longer-than-average range and its ability to deal with light to medium infantry and light vehicles. I favor using Crisis Suits over Broadsides simply because of the increased number of shots, but that does make all the difference here. I use my ShasíO in Fireknife and support him with a few more Fireknives to Anchor, personally.

Pathfinders - Well, what can I say. They donít influence battles directly, but they can be the greatest Anchor you could hope for. I generally disdain Pathfinders because I have little use for markerlights myself, but I cannot deny that Markerlights are handy in any and every situation, and Pathfinders are full of Ďem. Then you can deck out the mandatory Devilfish with real weapons and maybe a couple of seekers, and put those Markerlights to good use. The only reason I donít use them is because I donít have a spare Devilfish at the moment, but if I did, by god, Iíd use Pathfinders every game.

Whatís Left?

I want to leave you with a thought here. What exactly makes a Mech army? Itís not necessarily vehicles, although thatís the first answer most player will give. No, itís much more basic than that. Itís the ability to move. In all honesty, a Mech Tau list doesnít necessarily need any vehicles. In fact, every time you see an all-Battlesuit army, thatí just a version of Mechanized Tau. Army Composition and playing style is entirely up to the player, not anyone else. But, by god, if youíve got the urge to move, then move! Thatís what this army is all about, moving faster than the other player. Once youíve established that you control the pace of the game, youíve won. It doesnít matter if it takes all 6 turns to prove it.

Alright, there you have it. This is my first ever "real" tactica, and I'm pretty proud of it. I may add more on soon, I may not, it depends on how I feel. This thing didn't take entirely too long to write up, just a couple days. I had the thoughts swimming in my head for a while and I just let them out.

Comments, please.

EDIT by Ravager Zero: Great article for starting MechTau. +1
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Old 16 Jan 2008, 02:42   #3 (permalink)
Shas'Vre
 
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Default Re: Tactica: Mechanized Tau

I'm a fairly new player, but as I've gotten the feel for the game, my list has become steadily more mechanized. It will never be pure mech-tau, though, unless somebody comes up with a way to mechanize broadsides. Expensive and slow-moving as they are, I think they're still the best way to deal with heavy armor, and not just the biggies like landraider and monolith. I know the mech-tau answer to that is the railhead, but it's almost 2/3 the cost of a full broadside squad, and it completely misses 1/3 of the time. A complete miss from both barrels of 3 broadsides is 1 chance in 64 if I did the math right. Plus, hammerheads can not jump-shoot-jump behind cover, so they're going to be fired at. They are tough, but a single lucky shot will destroy one. A full broadside squad with 2 drones will need an absolute minimum of 5 hits, although unlike the hammerhead they can be tied up in assault. (5 hits is assuming 2 failed invulnerable saves and 3 Instant Death hits.) The lucky shot that takes out a hammerhead against all probability happens to me far more often than somebody managing to wound with 5 lascannons at once.

As flexible as the fireknife configuration is, I am one of the few players that doesn't like it. I use the deathrain and the helios far more often. Deathrain is a good cheap config that puts out a lot of firepower. Its main weakness is poor AP. The helios is about the only place I put a plasma rifle on a crisis suit. A PR is so expensive I never want it to sit idle, so I multi-track it with a weapon that has similar characteristics. Sometimes a helios will hang back and only fire the plasma, but if there's a target that's worth a Fusion Blaster shot it's likely worth two Plasma Rifle shots too!
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Old 16 Jan 2008, 02:47   #4 (permalink)
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Default Re: Tactica: Mechanized Tau

You did the math wrong.

The Broadside will miss 1/4 of the time.
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Old 16 Jan 2008, 03:12   #5 (permalink)
Shas'Saal
 
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Default Re: Tactica: Mechanized Tau

great article ;D
very thorough and well balanced.
i have been working towards a sort of mobile firebase army myself, though i think i might alter my battle plan to accommodate some of your suggestions (like dividing my force around some static anchors)
all in all, a really great article
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Old 16 Jan 2008, 03:39   #6 (permalink)
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Default Re: Tactica: Mechanized Tau

Quote:
Originally Posted by knightperson
Plus, hammerheads can not jump-shoot-jump behind cover, so they're going to be fired at.
I could be wrong, as I do not have my codex with me, but Broadsides give up their jetpacks in order to field railguns. Wouldn't that mean that they cannot JSJ?
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Old 16 Jan 2008, 04:55   #7 (permalink)
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Default Re: Tactica: Mechanized Tau

Broadsides can definitely not JSJ.
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Old 16 Jan 2008, 07:18   #8 (permalink)
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Default Re: Tactica: Mechanized Tau

Just two comments.

Quote:
(or more than a nuisance with a squadron of 5 Piranhas - thatís 10 gun drones, split into 5 squads! Way hard to kill!).
They form a single unit of 10 gun drones, not 5 units of 2.

Edit: Which is why it's better to always spread out them if possible. Better two units of 1 than one of 2, and two of 2 is better than one of 4. Of course assuming you have any free fast attack slots.

Quote:
Vespids: If these shoot something, make sure that they have the support to kill what they shoot, that way they arenít assaulted.
Why not just assault with them then? Their weapons as Assault 1, and with their high I they often get to strike first. It might just deal the finishing blow to the already crippled unit, and if nothing else it's better that you get the extra attack from assaulting than your opponent (as long as your fairly sure you won't get wiped immediately and thus giving him a free consolidate towards your ranks).
I don't use them myself so I have no experience with their effectiveness in combat against the different armies.

Other than that, a very nice and classic tutorial about mech Tau!
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Old 16 Jan 2008, 09:13   #9 (permalink)
Shas'Ui
 
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Default Re: Tactica: Mechanized Tau

I play mech tau and there are only basically 3 units you will need under the current rules-
hammerheads, crisis suits and devilfish(pick whatever number of firewarriors or pathfinders you need to get them)

everything else is either to slow and subject to assault(snipers, broadsides, etc..) or to fragile(piranha's, and drone teams).

the key to making it work is to remember that while you do have troops in those tanks, the tanks are the true killing power in your army(backed up by the crisis suits) and should have every upgrade available to them except sensor spines and black sun filters.

In VP based games objectives are not important, sacrifice toops as need be to protect your tanks. or unload them near the end of the game to hold objectives if neccisary. its a tactic that has always worked well for me againt every opponant save old iron warriors and necrons.
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Old 16 Jan 2008, 19:53   #10 (permalink)
Shas'Ui
 
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Default Re: Tactica: Mechanized Tau

Quote:
Originally Posted by Seregon
Just two comments.

Quote:
(or more than a nuisance with a squadron of 5 Piranhas - thatís 10 gun drones, split into 5 squads! Way hard to kill!).
They form a single unit of 10 gun drones, not 5 units of 2.

Edit: Which is why it's better to always spread out them if possible. Better two units of 1 than one of 2, and two of 2 is better than one of 4. Of course assuming you have any free fast attack slots.
Wrong, they form 5 units of 2. Otherwise when one Piranha took a penetrating hit (not likely, I know, but still possible) or when one Piranha blows up (much more likely) all the drones would have to come out at once. No, drones are by vehicle, NOT by vehicle squadron. Therefore, 5 units of 2, not 1 unit of 10.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Seregon
Other than that, a very nice and classic tutorial about mech Tau!
Thanks!

Quote:
Originally Posted by mughi3
I play mech tau and there are only basically 3 units you will need under the current rules-
hammerheads, crisis suits and devilfish(pick whatever number of firewarriors or pathfinders you need to get them)

everything else is either to slow and subject to assault(snipers, broadsides, etc..) or to fragile(piranha's, and drone teams).

the key to making it work is to remember that while you do have troops in those tanks, the tanks are the true killing power in your army(backed up by the crisis suits) and should have every upgrade available to them except sensor spines and black sun filters.

In VP based games objectives are not important, sacrifice toops as need be to protect your tanks. or unload them near the end of the game to hold objectives if neccisary. its a tactic that has always worked well for me againt every opponant save old iron warriors and necrons.
Erm... huh? Fragility in units is something that you have to overcome, but it's necessary to have units like Gun Drones and Piranhas honestly, they perform their role too well to pass up for their low point cost. Besides that, Piranhas are generally going to be able to fulfill their intended role before they get shot down, and Gun Drones are mobile enough to keep themselves alive in the same way as battlesuits.

As far as loading up on things like Devilfish, I can tell you that they're NOT the powerhouse units of the army. They stand up to nothing on their own, and rely very, very heavily on the troops inside to do the dirty work. Compare the maximum possible 7 shots per turn a single devilfish can put out to the maximum 24 shots that a Fire Warrior squad inside the Devilfish puts out. Seeing what I mean??? Troops are just as important as Vehicles in a Mech Tau army, guys, often times moreso. Don't overlook them!
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