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Old 04 Apr 2008, 00:43   #1 (permalink)
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Default AggroTau

[size=16pt]AggroTau[/size]

Strike fast and hard, without warning, leave nothing in your wake but ruin and death. This is the essence of Shas'mont'ka [War]
–Commander Puretide, 1st Meditation on the way of the warrior.


Now, you may be asking yourself, just what is AggroTau. Similar to MechTau, it is not just an army list or playstyle, but a paradigm. The essence is simlpe: You pack enough speed an firepower to annihilate your opponent wherever they may try to hide. You will not be using J-S-J or area/solid/impassable terrain to block return fire (although you may be using terrain limit incoming fire lanes). You will instead be relying on the fact that either a) you have obliterated the enemy units in LoS with sheer firepower, or b) have charged in to finish the job, and are thus immune to shooting.

Why are you scoffing at the idea of Tau entering close combat. Just because the Tau are bad against dedicated combat squads, does not mean they cannot at least hold their own in close combat. As combat resolution is worked out on wounds dealt now, that means with good, even decent rolls, we can win combat, if we choose our time correctly. Fire Warriors will not be used for this purpose, unless armed with carbines. Crisis suits, and Broadsides, are essentially 2 wound, S5 space marines with low initiative. We'll hit any non-dedicated close combat troops on a 4+, no worse, about the same that we hit with ranged weapons.

[hr]

Combat Doctrine
Most of the time you'll be starting in a refused flank formation, or at least a tight spread. You want to do this because you need to concentrate firepower on one point to maximise the effectiveness of an AggroTau army. Everything will be moving forward at top speed, to meet the enemy head on.

During deployment and the enemy movement phase, you need to determine a focus. Everything in your army will be concentrating on this point, and any enemy unit(s) within a set distance from this point will become the only target(s) you worry about [admittedly, there are some targets that need to be killed no matter where they are]. This focus will change from turn to turn. Ideally the focus will be a point that all your aggro elements can reach in one turn's movement. By the end of the turn the focus should be empty of enemy units, or all that remain should be nothing but stragglers or models stuck in close combat.

You will be engaging in close combat [no, you will not be attempting to fight dedicated CC troops]. There are two reasons for this. Firstly, you are denying a crippled enemy the opportunity to charge or fire back at you. If they're fleeing, there's always a chance they'll fail their morale test and die instantly. Secondly, Tau do not suck at CC. Mass of attacks, or reasonably good attacks from battlesuits, can and will make a difference. It doesn't matter if you lose a few models here and there if you've just managed to finish off a good chunk of your opponents points.

The timing and choice of what to engage in combat in 5th edition is now critical to your success when using AggroTau. As you never really had to worry about consolidating in to other units before, that should not be problem. Also remember that we want combat to end on our terms, not the enemy's. This means that combats should be at least a full turn of movement away from the fastest enemy units, and that it should hopefully present a target to as few enemies as possible if you're lucky enough to wipe out the enemy unit in your turn.

Another way to control the focus is to have some units in reserve for deep strike. These should ideally be short-medium range units, so that if they scatter they won't be completely out of range. The trade-off with this is the fact that you're losing some early game firepower while hoping for a well timed alpha strike later. If you really want an Alpha Strike on a particular turn I'd suggest taking a positional relay, that way your reserves can be ready off the bat. If you don't need the suits yet, drip feed in some gun drones. There is one unit, from Taros Campaign, that seems almost perfect for the duty of deep strike focus control, and that is the drone sentry turret. Essentially an AV12 crisis suit, and you can have up to four of them in a team. After the first strike they can also serve as a good distraction or anchor for your forces to move around. In addition, these turrets can attempt to deep strike on top of enemy vehicles, causing a glancing hit on both themselves and the other vehicle.


There is a preconception that CC is resolved only blades and melee weapons. Short ranged firing is a from of close combat, and so are reaction shots. Tau would probably be very good at the latter two. If you don't think it fits with Tau fluff, try thinking of as a tactical denial of enemy assets through use of close range medium risk tactics.


[hr]

Army List

AggroTau will use a slightly different set of equipment and units to what most Tau players normally would.

HQ
You will not be using an Ethereal, unless the sole reason for taking him is to watch him die, thus granting you preferred enemy. Shadowsun is a much more effective Ld booster, more survivable, is stealthed, and counts as the 1+ Tau Commander for the army. If you don't like Shadowsun, or want a second HQ, a Ninj'O (although his effectiveness in 5th edition is rather debateable), or CQB/Mid-range (Helios, Firesurge, Hailstorm[AFP, Burst], etc) suit is highly recommended.

Commander Farsight is another excellent option for an AggroTau army. The restrictions imposed upon the army can be somewhat aggravating, but AggroTau can work around that. Especially useful is Farsight's seven strong bodyguard. These guys might not be a dedicated assault unit, but they can be treated as a slightly harder hitting squad of space marines with an assault tooled leader. The lack of Vespid could hurt, but you still have access to Piranhas, Drones and Pathfinders, so you just need to make a few different choices. Heavy Support becomes almost perfectly refined for a Farsight Enclave army: 2 Tanks and a squad of Broadsides. That's pretty much it.

Survivable Ninj'O
Shas'O, Plasma Rifle, Shield Generator, Vectored Retro Thrusters, Iridium Armour, Stimulant Injector.
145 pts

This guy is just not going to die any time soon. Think of him as a terminator on steroids in terms of defense, and a buffed crisis suit in terms of offense.

CQB/Mid-range Shas'el
Shas'el, Airbursting Fragmentation Projector, Missile Pod, [any third hard-point option you like] Hard-wired Multi-tracker.

This guy has missile pod for long range combat, or popping transports, and the AFP for closer range horde elimination. The missile pod can be switched to a fusion blaster for a more in-your-face feel.

Other commander builds remain valid, but those with shorter range, high power or high rate of fire weapons are more effective in an AggroTau army.

Elites
Helios & Firesurge suits are your friends. So are Deathrains. Why?
Helios suits have a short optimal range, and with their high strength weapons are likely to decimate a squad of MEQ's easily. If their weaponry does not work, you may be close enough to pull off a charge, and hammer those last nails in.

Stealthsuits lose a lot of their usefulness, because our average engagement range isn't going to be higher 18-24". Fusion Blaster suits may work, but the S5 pulse dakka is best left to fire warriors. However, as pointed out below, these guys still have 3+ armour, and do get 3 S4 attacks on the charge. They could be used well as a lure, or for minor mopping up.

There is another option with stealthsuits, and that's to take a full 6 man squad. As has been rightly pointed out they get 18 S5 shots from shooting, and if they charge that's another 18 S4 attacks. Anything but the most heavily armoured troops or the largest of hordes would be worried by the sheer number of attacks that is in total. Only a Kroot squad has a higher number of attacks per turn, which is something to ponder carefully when choosing between crisis and stealthsuits.

Troops
We're going to have three flavours of troops, those that can assault, those that can't, and those that will definitely assault.
Fire Warriors with pulse rifles obviously fall in to the 'those that can't' category. They may transported via Warfish to the engagement zone.

Fire Warriors with pulse carbines and/or EMP grenades (also known as 'Blackout' teams) belong in the 'those that can' category. Carbines allow them the mobility to charge in and mop up tiny pockets of resistance. EMP grenades mean that they will most likely be assaulting at some point, towards a vehicle. Don't bother with photon grenades for these guys. They should be kept as cheap as possible, as they are quite likely to get hammered just after they achieve their objective.

Krootoxen are going to be left behind. Enough said.
The basic Kroot pillbox unit falls in to the 'those that can' category. They shouldn't really, but can fight aggressively in a pinch.
Kroot with hounds, lots of hounds, are 'those that will'. We want them in combat. I5 on the hounds should do quite nicely. S4/WS4 just sweetens the pot a little.

Warfish will be taken for as many squads as you like. The SMS is not for firing over cover, but for the fact it grants us 2 more S5/AP5 shots at BS4. With the new vehicle firing rules this is a moot point when moving at maximum speed, as drones get more (albeit slightly less accurate) shots than a 'fish with SMS. When moving at combat speed though, the warfish performs just as well as it ever did. A new concept could be the warfish rush, where on the first turn the warfishes move at top speed to somewhere close to the focus, then on the next turn they close in at low speed, unleashing hell.

Fast Attack
Take some Tetras if you've got them. This playstyle does need a moderate amount of 'lights to ensure that everyone is shooting well, and that the target can do very little about it. The free disruption pod is also a godsend on these little babies for when they aren't moving flat out.

Piranhas with fusion blasters are good. They're fast, and they hit hard. Fragile means nothing when the only enemies left don't have line of sight to you. You could also mount seekers on these sleek little fish, but what markerlights you have will most probably be for reducing enemies' cover saves.

Pathfinders, railfinders especially, get a little better for AggroTau. Of course they got a ton better for 5th edition as a whole, in fact the advantages their massed markerlights offer may offset the disadvantages of their generally static nature. You now have a bonus warfish, and some lovely anti-MEQ firepower, with, hopefully, a good field of fire.

The devilfish that the pathfinders have to take is also going to be very useful to us. It has a marker beacon, allowing any deep striking unit that lands within its line of sight to re-roll the scatter dice. Combined with hot-dropping sentry drones or helios suits this becomes a very useful power to have.

Drones are fun. They are essentially throwaway aggro units. They can shoot, they can move, they can even assault. They might not be good at anything, but make a cheap jack of all trades unit. Worth considering for any AggroTau army.

Kroot Knarloc riders are a good choice here too, if you have access to them. Their speed on the charge coupled with their high strength and multiple wounds make them a force to be reckoned with. The fact they have 4 attacks on the charge is just awesome. (2 base, +1 for KRifle, +1 for charging). They still only have regular Kroot initiative, so you do need to pick a combat where you at least stand a good chance of winning even if you take casualties.

Vespid are the shiniest unit here though. While they look fragile, they can speed through cover and certainly do some damage in close combat. Ideally they should be charging with any suits, to soften the enemy further, and to force them to decide between hitting hitting fragile but deadly vespid, or durable and deadlier crisis suits. It also means you have more chance of eliminating a whole unit of enemies in one turn. In addition, I5 means that they will be striking before almost all non-dedicated combat units, something to consider for the really aggressive commander.

Heavy Support
Tanks. Lots and lots of Tanks. We want at least 2 of our three HS slots to have AV 13 skimmers. Because tanks hit hard and can take lots of punishment, they go right at the top of the AggroTau list. If you have access to Taros Campaign, I highly recommend using either Plasma Cannons or Fusion Cannons on your tanks. Sky Rays are fun too, capable of alpha striking a small squad with markerlight support.

Broadsides with A.S.S., and TL plasma are our second choice for heavy support. If we have a team leader we'll take a HW Multi-tracker and fire both systems on the move. 2 anti-TEQ, and 1 railgun shot on the move can be absolutely devastating. If you're going to be fighting hordes, keeping the SMS may be a better idea, as a 4 shots on the move at that strength is scary for any large, lightly armoured squad.

Again with unique units from Taros campaign, are the drone sentry turrets mentioned earlier. These are nice little bunker units, and have the ability to use almost any crisis weapon system, and they come in groups of up to 4. With the additional fact that they can be upgraded to deep strike for a small points cost, and that they can also take shield generators (albeit for rather more than the cost to deep strike) makes them an ideal unit to anchor your focus on when they arrive.

General Army Upgrades
Shield Generators: We'll be in combat a bit, and taking a fair amount of fire. These help us survive longer.
Targeting Arrays: Help us hit better, a must on vehicles.
Vehicle Multi-tracker: Take it. We need to be able to fire while moving at speed to chase down the enemy.
Sensor Spines: We now have the freedom to move anywhere. Don't underestimate what this can allow you to do, especially with the new terrain/cover rules.
Flechette Dischargers: Your vehicles will eventually get assaulted. This fun toy can really mess with those trying to attack your vehicle.

[hr]

And that, my friends, is AggroTau.
Half MechTau, half Mobile Infantry Tau, All in your face.
Questions, comments?

Updated for 5th Edition rules.

Nice work! +1 - Khanaris
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Old 04 Apr 2008, 01:18   #2 (permalink)
Shas'La
 
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Default Re: AggroTau

Wow, that is sweet. I've always wanted to see this done with the Tau.

I think the stealth suits may still have some roll in an aggro list. They could still be used as bait when the time is right to close that distance and direct where YOU want the opponent to go. They'll most likely become a cleaning crew mopping things up.

Also, could drone squads become viable with this list? I mean you could use them to tie up units that you don't want shooting back and are still in LOS range of your units. And then hope they either lose combat on the opponents assault phase and shoot them to oblivion on your turn or have them win combat all together (can be done against IG heavy weapons squads :P).
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Old 04 Apr 2008, 01:24   #3 (permalink)
Shas'La
 
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Default Re: AggroTau

Stealth suits are awesome for this type of army. They have three attacks on the charge, not to mention all the dakka they have before they charge in. Who cares if the stealth field isn't going to benefit them at that close range, they have a 3+ save just like the crisis, and they have a larger unit strength.

Also, the drones would be a good choice as they can keep up with the convoy of death, they're cheap and they have a high initiative compared to the rest of the army.

All in all, it sounds like a good plan. Big thing here is that I can see massed casualties happening before the effective units can get close enough to really tear down the enemy. I'll give it a shot though, sounds like fun.
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Old 04 Apr 2008, 01:41   #4 (permalink)
Shas'O
 
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Default Re: AggroTau

I edited in your points.
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Old 04 Apr 2008, 01:58   #5 (permalink)
Shas'La
 
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Default Re: AggroTau

That's awesome... I'll definitely try that setup, it'd go great with the Farsight enclaves army that I'm working on. Actually, I've frequently used Crisis suits in CC; they'll decimate nearly anything without a power weapon... well, not including monsterous creatures.
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Old 04 Apr 2008, 03:17   #6 (permalink)
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Default Re: AggroTau

hmm...I was thinking of using a strategy similar to this, minus the close combat, but the main idea of my strategy was to get as close to the enemy's flank as possible, use terrain to block line of sight, and kill the closets thing that is a threat.
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Old 04 Apr 2008, 04:26   #7 (permalink)
Shas'O
 
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Default Re: AggroTau

I love the article for the most part. One thing nags at me. The naysayers about combat always claim what you do (not saying you are one, I don't know if you are) about close range shots. When my Tau strike back at S5 I'll believe that pro-cc garbage.

Up against another Mech-Tau army using the battle tested and viable tactics available to the Tau army, do you really think this has that good of a chance at winning?
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Old 04 Apr 2008, 05:02   #8 (permalink)
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Default Re: AggroTau

Quote:
Originally Posted by enderwiggin
I love the article for the most part. One thing nags at me. The naysayers about combat always claim what you do (not saying you are one, I don't know if you are) about close range shots. When my Tau strike back at S5 I'll believe that pro-cc garbage.
You have a point.
Maybe pulse rifles have a low-power setting for safety. Scorch marks on your armour from your own gun aren't exactly nice.
Or maybe they have the 'Wargamer Safety' which reduces them to S3 whenever an enemy closes to within 10 feet. :P

Quote:
Up against another Mech-Tau army using the battle tested and viable tactics available to the Tau army, do you really think this has that good of a chance at winning?
I haven't played against MechTau yet, but in theory this should be an even match, with a slight edge in favour of AggroTau. We don't mind if we lose a few models here there, especially if we're going to concentrate our firepower on 2-3 units at a time. Remember, we can also deep strike throwaway gun drones behind annoying skimmers that are AV 10 on the back…

EDIT: Added notes about Deep Strike, Drone Sentry Turrets and Knarloc Riders.
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Old 04 Apr 2008, 12:49   #9 (permalink)
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Default Re: AggroTau

Nice list. I just wanted to say it is nice to see someone who thinks the Tau can fight in hand to hand. As a new Tau Player I was wondering why they have such a bad rep as I have been chargeing with suits and carbines and getting fair results. While they aren't my Templars they really don't do as bad as everyone said they would. Also while many talk bad about the carbine I have been using a 12 man squad with carbines as a maneuver element and it has been doing great.
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Old 04 Apr 2008, 14:25   #10 (permalink)
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Default Re: AggroTau

Ha. Tau in close combat. Once had a game against a terrible Space Marine player, I wiped his entire army out in about 4 turns and all that was left was his Terminators. I was bored. So I charged upwards of twenty firewarriors + 3 battlesuits into close combat to kill them. It was rather amusing.

Not very Tau-ish, but amusing. Nice play style, I might try this out sometime.
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