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Tau: the good, the (not so) bad, and the ugly?
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Old 25 Sep 2008, 04:26   #1 (permalink)
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Default Tau: the good, the (not so) bad, and the ugly?

Im a veteran wfb player and tactical wargamer diving back into the 40k game with a Tau army. I've read what tactical articles on the Tau I could find (hard to know how up to date they are with the new edition) and am plowing through a copy of 4th ed rules until I can get my hands on a new one.

As a wfb player, I know that most armybooks have the good units, the ok (not so bad) units, and the downright bad (ugly) ones. I havn't yet seen anyone list what those would be in the Tau codex (And if they have, please point me in the right direction!).

So, what in the Tau codex is the good, the (not so)bad, and the ugly? Explain why.
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Old 25 Sep 2008, 04:44   #2 (permalink)
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Default Re: Tau: the good, the (not so) bad, and the ugly?

The Tau simply don't have them off the bat (minus the bastard child Stingwings)

It all depends on your play style, which is the big thing. For example if you're like me and you want to go mechanized, then you will probably be wanting 12"+ movement units, mainly being Crisis Suits, Fire Warriors, Hammerheads and Sky Rays. However you'd likewise be disinclined to take Broadsides or Sniper Drones in a mechanized army, due to their static play style.
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Old 25 Sep 2008, 05:16   #3 (permalink)
Shas'El
 
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Default Re: Tau: the good, the (not so) bad, and the ugly?

Yeah... nearly all our units are awesome. I've probably used them all at one time or another, and they are all good, save for the Stingwings and the Etherial (avoid them like the plague.... they are a waste of points...)
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Old 25 Sep 2008, 06:52   #4 (permalink)
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Default Re: Tau: the good, the (not so) bad, and the ugly?

I disagree about the ethreal...

for 40 points, you can re-roll moral checks....
add that to a bonding knife and your not going anywhere....

If your prepared to pay an extra few points, you can have your honour guard FW's BS4....

Thanks,

scar.
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Old 25 Sep 2008, 08:20   #5 (permalink)
Kroot Warrior
 
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Default Re: Tau: the good, the (not so) bad, and the ugly?

Huh. Whats wrong with vespids? 16 pt jump infantry with T4 and marine cracker guns. Drone squads are 12 pts and have less WS, BS, T, and AP.
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Old 25 Sep 2008, 09:22   #6 (permalink)
Shas'Vre
 
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Default Re: Tau: the good, the (not so) bad, and the ugly?

Combine the T4 with a terrible save, and marine cracker guns with one shot and its BS.
On average had a 1/3 chance of killing a marine, and at the same range a marine has a 2/3 chance of killing a vespid.

The problem with Ethereal's are that they're rather squishy and if they go down, so does your army. Static FW took a nasty hit with running, and if you mount them in a devilfish, you loose the Ethereal's powers as its not in LoS to anything.
They were much better in 3rd ed and took a nasty hit.
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Old 25 Sep 2008, 13:00   #7 (permalink)
Shas'Ui
 
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Default Re: Tau: the good, the (not so) bad, and the ugly?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Korill
Combine the T4 with a terrible save, and marine cracker guns with one shot and its BS.
On average had a 1/3 chance of killing a marine, and at the same range a marine has a 2/3 chance of killing a vespid.

The problem with Ethereal's are that they're rather squishy and if they go down, so does your army. Static FW took a nasty hit with running, and if you mount them in a devilfish, you loose the Ethereal's powers as its not in LoS to anything.
They were much better in 3rd ed and took a nasty hit.
I wouldn't write off the Vespid so quickly...
It's been said before in every Vespid tactica: they are NOT a solitary unit.

I prefer to use them to jump space marine units of 1-5 in size (with a total of 8 Vespid)
Let's also not forget that unlike Kroot, Vespid CAN benefit from markerlights. Suddenly they seem a lot more attractive, don't they, with a potential BS4 or BS5.
The role I have in mind for them ofcourse is more of a scavenging one.

If you want to use them more aggressively, just use them along with another unit, say an Ionhead, a Crisis Suit or whatever strikes your fancy.
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Old 25 Sep 2008, 14:04   #8 (permalink)
Shas'Ui
 
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Default Re: Tau: the good, the (not so) bad, and the ugly?

Talonz,

I'm not familiar enough with WHFB to draw a comparison, but with the Tau, it's hard to truly label their units into such cut and dry categories.

The reason is that the way the Tau work is almost entirely through unit synergy. IMHO individual Tau units on the whole are really mediocre, all having some superior counterpart in some other army list. On the other hand, every Tau unit is a 'specialist' of sorts, so it is (or was) possible to make very creative and powerful combinations regardless of what units you choose.

I suppose the closest things we have to 'good' units are our core units: Firewarriors, Crisis suits/Crisis Commanders, Hammerheads/Broadsides. These guys you can't do without because they're staples. After that, you have Stealth suits, Gun Drones/Piranhas, Sniper Drones, Kroot, etc - these are optional units where choosing one over another is really more about changing your army's character than anything else. I guess 'bad/ugly' units are the ones that are totally situational/lacklustre in most situations: vespid/ethereals.

Vespid are generally considered very poor because their uses are extremely situational. Eg: They are only good against basic MEqs, but those MEqs are equally good against them. Also, Crisis suits can easily be made to fill the same role more efficiently.

The three 'main playstyles' of Tau: Mech, Static, Hybrid are just army builds that emphaisize the kind of shooty tactics you like. Tau are still Tau in the end.

4th ed Tau are pretty different from 5th ed Tau. They have the same options, but the new core rules make for a very different kind of play experience.

Hope that helps.
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Old 26 Sep 2008, 00:40   #9 (permalink)
Shas'Ui
 
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Default Re: Tau: the good, the (not so) bad, and the ugly?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Floobosaurus
The reason is that the way the Tau work is almost entirely through unit synergy. IMHO individual Tau units on the whole are really mediocre, all having some superior counterpart in some other army list. On the other hand, every Tau unit is a 'specialist' of sorts, so it is (or was) possible to make very creative and powerful combinations regardless of what units you choose.
I agree with this (apart from the mediocre and superior counterpart bit - Tau tanks are arguably the best in the game, and for tank killing there are not many better armies).

The Tau work best with individual units supporting each other, fighting as a cohesive whole rather than sending 1 uber hard unit, monstrous creature etc stomping down the table shrugging off fire and reigning death upon the enemy (Commander Farsight and the seven samurai may be an exception to this). I think the hardest thing for any new Tau player is working out there "Style of play" and learning how choose (and play) an army that functions as a "Unit", not a collection of individuals. There are very few Tau choices that can function totally independently on the battlefield, the main exception to this is the Hammerhead, shooty in the extreme and capable of whizzing round on its own as it is so hard to destroy. However - while the Hammerhead can do this, you will find that most of the time it functions best when working closely with the rest of the army.

Commanders - The Crisis Commander can be issued with a variety of handy goodies that support the rest of your army, My favourite personally is the positional relay, which adds a great deal of control to your reserve rolls (eg. bringing in the right tool for the job at the right moment). It is a very good command choice, and depending on the setup can fulfil a variety of different roles (close combat is best avoided however unless its Commander Farsight, or an O'ninja setup. Farsight wins fights, the O'ninja holds units up and generally creates havoc by being so damn difficult to pin down or kill). - Good :P

Etherals - best avoided to be honest, especially in 5The ed. Yes, they give you some useful re rolls and make units fearless, but they are very very fragile - and 1 dieing can have terrible consequences for the rest of your army. In 5th ed Wound allocation means that enough shots can winkle out your ethereal fairly rapidly unless in a big unit. If your unit is attacked in HtH then the ethereal must charge in before anybody else - and is very very likely to die. Opponents like to kill ethereal not because they are a danger to them, but because there death can cause such major malfunctions for the rest of your army. - Downright ugly :P

Troops wise we have Firewarriors and kroot - both excellent at there jobs, but useless if not supported by the rest of your army. Firewarriors - strength 5 weapons, one of the best infantry weapons in the game. Long range and rapid firing. A unit of ten out on there own - next to useless, easily overwhelmed and very brittle. A unit in a gunline, or holding an objective supported by tanks, auxiliaries etc - very good. Kroot - Fantastic, good shooting and the best CC specialists in the Tau army. In the right numbers they can be devastating, especially when supported by other units. (for example - they can assult the unit that's about to attack and destroy your Firewarriors, and even if they lose the new consolidation rules mean the enemy will be stood there waiting to be rapid fired by your trusty firewarrior. So Tau troops are Good, Bad and Ugly, depending on how youplay them, and if you recognise there limitations/strengths.

Elites - Crisis Suits. GOOD. Like the commander can be give different tactical loadouts, JSJ, and hard to kill. Can attack (deepstrike etc), or defend. Can be set up as Anti Tank, Anti Light vehicle, Anti Infantry or all 3. One of the most versatile units in the tau codex, but again - if sent out on there own or deepstriked in the wrong place will be targetted and die quickly.

Stealth Suits - I don't use them much but can be lethal, Very good against light infantry and can be equipped to take on Tanks (markerlight and fusion blaster). Again, in support of other units GOOD, on there own Fragile. With infiltrate and outflank can be a good unit to get close to the action quickly, or come into play at an opportune time and cause havoc for your opponent. Stealth Fields also make them difficult to hit, but there short range weapons mean if you don't wipe out the unit you are firing on you are likely to be shot or assaulted the following turn.

Fast Attack.

Pathfinders - Good - Can out flank in a tank, carry markerlights, rail rifles etc. Very useful in most situations. Predominantly they work best as a support unit, marking targets for other units or driving tanks into the enemy's flanks. Or even just providing long range death wih RR and ML seeker missile goodness.

Drones - Can be useful, can deepstrike, carry a TL pinning weapon, can take out infantry (or Light vehicles with luck). Can be used as a screen or rapid reaction force for other units (especially with JSJ.

Vespid - Bad - for the reasons stated by Floobosaurus. But have become ALOT better in 5the ed. Can deepstrike, cover save makes them more survivable and can be very useful - but mainly against MEQS.

Piranha - Good - Fast moving anti infantry/armour destruction depending on set up. Carry GunDrones and capable of contesting objective due to there speed. They do take a while to learn how to use properly however, the most fragile Tau vehicle.

Heavy support.

Hammerheads (rail and Ion) V V Good. Fast and packs a punch, main reasons stated above.

Skyray - Good. Markerlights (good to support other units firing, strip cover saves etc) Good Anti Vehicle weapon, but low ammo. Good mobile support missile platfrom.l

Broadsides - Best Anti Tank in the game, more survivable than tanks (2+ Save). Also with SMS so good anti infantry. Need to be protected, and kept close to main body of the army as they will be a priority target for the enemy.

Sniper drones - Bad. Yes its a cheap markerlight, and yes RR's are amazing. But now very easy to destroy, stealth offers protection but if the enemy can see them than they only need to do 4 wounds to force a save on the spotter. If the spotter fails his save, you can wave goodbye to eighty points of unit.

The best advice I can offer, is to make a battle plan then fit your army around that plan, and always remember Tau work best when focusing there fire in one area. Most of the units fall in the good catergory IMHO, as long as you don't expect them to win the battle on there own.

Very nice summary for a new player to understand. +1, –RZ
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Old 26 Sep 2008, 01:06   #10 (permalink)
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Default Re: Tau: the good, the (not so) bad, and the ugly?

Vespid look really great on paper but this doesn't translate well onto the battlefield.
The good: they work well for ambushing combat squads alongside crisis suits
The Bad: They have a minimal 12" range and can't benifit from markerlights
The ugly: at 16pts each anything besids marines is a wast, 5+ armour doesn't help when facing bolters, and they'll only really do well in cityfight where they can use cover to surpris units.

I take 8 and a Plasma/fusion suit in larger cityfight games, this runs about 200 points and can wipe out an isolated combat squad or light vehicle easily.
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