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[ADVICE] Wannabe Tau Player Questions
Old 12 Apr 2008, 10:33   #1 (permalink)
Kroot Warrior
Join Date: Apr 2008
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Default [ADVICE] Wannabe Tau Player Questions


Well I'm pondering which 40K army I wish to start playing, I'm new to Warhammer 40k and I like the Tau models so I thought what the heck!

I'm hoping some of you Tau players will be able to share your wisdom on the ways of the Tau and what the amry is like to play, so I have a couple of questions below which I would be appriciated if you could help me with

1) What are the main strengths and weaknesses of the Tau army (is it good range, bad melee)?

2) My friends play Chaos, Necron, Dark Angels and Imperial Guard. Could you give me an idea of which one of these I'll have problems with and which ones you think the Tau are pretty well set up against?

3) Can I equip the Tau Commander with a stealth field generator? in the codex its listed in the armoury but not give any points.

4) Last question, whats the difference between a Commander Shas'o and a Commander Shas'el? Beside the stats difference, is it because ones simply cheaper than the other for low point battles?

Sorry if these are "noob" questions, I just cant seem to find the answers trawling the forums : /

King regards,

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Old 12 Apr 2008, 10:44   #2 (permalink)
Kroot Shaper
Join Date: Feb 2008
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Default Re: [ADVICE] Wannabe Tau Player Questions

1) check http://forums.tauonline.org/index.php?topic=63541.0 and other topics, there really are heaps and heaps of topics about general Tau tactics etc... just browse the forum for a while ;D
it will pay out, I promise
And if you have the codex already you will quickly notice the general tendency of a Tau army... Just look at the gun a Fire Warrior comes with and you´ll see 8)

2)Any army can be a pain depending on what it is played like, but especially ravenwing and deathwing of the dark angels will be something you have to watch out for because they can get close very quickly which is always something to worry about for Tau, no matter what army - the biggest threats are marine assault armies, tyranids, dark eldar and eldar and orcs... sorry if I forgot to mention an army, but I am sure that the general point is clear...
Imperial Guard is rather nice to play against because your standard weaponry is as deadly against the standard issue Imperial Guardsman as Plasma rifles are against space marines > , however battles tend to be boring because at some point the armies will just digg in and shoot which can be somewhat frustrating...
Necrons can be a pain because they are ridiculously tough and you don´t have the weapon of choice against Necrons: Power Weapons.

3)No. The tau armory simply explains every single bit of equipment that appears in the tau army (pity you can´t, though :P )

4)The stats... but generally it really depends on what you want your commander to do, because if you want him to be a fire support IC model you do not need the LD nor the attacks nor the WS and the BS5 can simply be achieved by getting the commander a targeting array.
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Old 12 Apr 2008, 10:53   #3 (permalink)
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Default Re: [ADVICE] Wannabe Tau Player Questions

4) The stats are different, to represent a difference in ranks. A Shas'o is slightly higher than Shas'el. It is all to do with tau names. They begin with the caste (Shas, Fio, Por, Aun, Kor) followed by the rank (La, Ui, Vre, El, O).

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Old 12 Apr 2008, 11:28   #4 (permalink)
Kroot Warrior
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Default Re: [ADVICE] Wannabe Tau Player Questions

Thanks, pretty much covers what I'm looking for

Shame the commander cant wear stealth armour
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Old 12 Apr 2008, 11:32   #5 (permalink)
Kroot Shaper
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Default Re: [ADVICE] Wannabe Tau Player Questions

If you want a Commander with Stealthfield, you can always take Shadowsun as Commander, she´s got one
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Old 12 Apr 2008, 13:51   #6 (permalink)
Join Date: Mar 2005
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Default Re: [ADVICE] Wannabe Tau Player Questions

I've put together a Tau Army Overview for a publication I'm working on. I think it's exactly what you're looking for!


Tau Army Overview

The Tau Empire codex appeals to 40k players from all walks of the hobby. The clean lines of the Firewarriors and Battlesuits attract painters and modelers looking for something different from the usual grit and grime of the 41st millennium, while the challenge of building and playing a true “combined arms” force appeals to strategically minded gamers.

The Tau are by and large a shooty force, emphasizing ranged combat over other forms of engagement. They are however somewhat unique from other predominantly shooty armies in that they must get close in order to deal significant damage, lacking long range, high rate-of-fire, mid-strength heavy weapons in the 36” - 48” range bracket (Heavy Bolter and Autocannon equivalents). For this reason, the most important skills required for success with the Tau involve the guessing and gauging of 12” and 18”. The more accurately you’re able to hover just inside these range brackets, the better the army will play for you.

The codex describes two methods the Tau favor for making war, namely the Kauyon and the Mont’ka. While the fluff they provide is inspiring and motivational, it’s not much help when trying to translate these descriptions into gameplay elements on the tabletop. Interestingly enough, the ambiguous, almost poetic descriptions we’re given on these two theories of warfare do indeed translate into effective tabletop strategies.

The Kauyon

As a result of the close quarters fire fight nature of the army, it’s important for the Tau to be able to fire on the move. Maintaining mobility allows a skilled Tau player to conduct a four-turn fighting retreat with their army, keeping the enemy just inside the critical 18” range bracket for maximum firepower while avoiding fast moving assault units. In the final turns, the army can close to rapid-fire range for extra offensive punch to finish off weakened squads or push the enemy off an objective. Doing so usually involves a commitment of fragile and/or expensive units, so it’s important that you be confident of the enemy’s destruction before moving to engage.

The challenge of the Kauyon lies in the successful conduction of the fighting retreat during the middle turns of the game without ending up in assault (where your shooty units will be tied up or killed) or taking too many casualties from enemy shooting which will cripple your ability to make the late game rapid-fire push. For this reason, armies built around the Kauyon usually invest heavily in end-loaded defensive upgrades and rely heavily on maneuverability and shot denial tactics.

The Mont’ka

Rather than waiting for the enemy to close to our destructive range bracket, an army built around the Mont’ka can instead take the fight to them. This typically involves the use of multiple Devilfish-mounted Firewarrior teams, Hammerhead Gunships, Vespid Stingwings and Crisis Battlesuits equipped with deadly short ranged weaponry. The successful execution of the Mont’ka requires the mobility to move your deadly force to where it’s needed, especially considering the short range of the weapons that are frequently involved. This mobility comes at a price, and an army built to conduct the Mont’ka will usually find itself outnumbered and outgunned.

The way to overcome this is to use your mobility to your advantage. By bringing 100% of your army to bear against 30% of your opponent’s, you create situations of local fire superiority where you can be victorious. Once you’ve achieved a favorable point disparity, you can move to engage the remainder of your opponent’s army, or position yourself to capture objectives depending on the mission scenario. Success with the Mont’ka can be heavily dependent on terrain, so make sure you’re playing with the full recommended 25% coverage!

When you get right down to it, the Tau are pretty bad at being a shooty army in the traditional sense of the word. We don’t have AP 3 pie plates that decimate entire squads with a single shot, we don’t have large quantities of cheap ablative wounds to shield our heavy weapons, and we don’t have the toughness, armor saves, or solid leadership to keep our firing lines in place.

To compensate for these things, the game designers gave us one thing: victory point denial. 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 like the Multitracker and Decoy Launchers make Tau Hammerheads and Devilfish exceptionally difficult to bring down. Access to durable ablative wounds in the form of Shield Drones, combined with the Jet Pack assault move ensures protection for our Battlesuit equipped warriors. Stealth Field Generators, Kroot Fieldcraft, and indirect-fire weaponry 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 special weapons and abilities to deny the opponent shooting opportunities.

Good overview. Simple to understand and practical. 1+ Karma - C_V
"i like to think of playing against my list as being like punching jelly. you put all your effort in but it just moves out of the way and you cause no damage. then your arm is covered in jelly. and the chicks come out and start wrestling in the jelly, and i drink a beer with stone cold steve austin, and we watch the chicks jelly wrestling, and then the slap-bass funk starts wakka chakka wakka wakka woh" -- Spooky, describing Mech Tau

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