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Deads' Tau Tactica
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Old 25 May 2005, 16:29   #1 (permalink)
Shas'El
 
Join Date: Mar 2005
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Default Deads' Tau Tactica

I was bored today, so i write up a tau tactica based on my experience. I'm gonna post it here, but if any of the mods, or the almighty TO itself want to stick it on the site as an article, I'd be much honoured.


Tau Tactica:

The Tau are a relatively new race to the 40k universe, and come with a theme, and style of play that is unique to them. So, the question most new tau players must ask is “whats good in the tau list” and “how is the best way to use the various units?” This is my own view on the tau army list, and tactics to make it work. My view revolves around Tau in 4th edition 40k, which is a totally different beast to tau in 3rd edition. I am deliberately confining my tactica to those tau units that I regard as the most successful. For that reason, broadsides, gun drones and shas’vre bodyguards do not make a mention. And the krootox doesn’t even rate a thought!

So, you read the codex, look at the stat lines, see the weapon profiles, what do you think? First thing is the poster boys of the tau: the heavy jump infantry. GW pushes these guys as the heart of the tau, when in actual fact, they make up a very small, but arguably crucial element of the list. Tau are similar to Imperial Guard in that their primary strength lies in their tanks, and their light infantry: Hammerheads, and Fire Warriors and Kroot. These 3 units should comprise the backbone of any respectable hunter cadre. So, why are they the armoured fist of the tau?
Hammerheads are rightly regarded as being among the best tanks in the game. Indeed, it is true. Only Predators and Leman Russes can compare. Hammerheads have very decent armour with AVs of 13, 12 and 10. Meaning they have a good chance to shirk off even lascannon fire. And the skimmer rule means only glancing hits if the tank moves over 6”. Secondly, with the exception of Elder Falcons, they are the most manoeuvrable heavy tanks in the game. Hammerheads boast some of the best weapons options in the game. The railgun is the most destructive gun in the game, with the exception of the Forgeworld Vanquisher cannon. It boasts an incredible range, and its str10 ap1 solid shot makes it the best tank buster in the game. Its submunition is an incredibly potent anti-infantry weapon, able to easily decimate whole squads. The ion cannon boasts high rate of fire, good armour penetration and very decent strength. It is perfectly able to take out massed AV10-11 light armour, and expensive sv3+ units, like those pesky destroyers and SM bikers. The secondary systems of the Hammerhead allow for high volume anti-infantry firepower. Twin burst cannons are the most versatile, able to pump out 6 str5 shots, enough to hurt any light infantry unit. The SMS is useful as well, as it is LOS independent. However, what makes the Hammerhead shine above all other tanks is it boasts some of the best tank upgrades in the game. Decoy launchers are obligatory, and allow the re-rolling of those disastrous “immobilised” results. Multi trackers allow the tank to move 12”, and still fire off every shot. Target locks allow you to split your fire between different units. Your one tank can potentially destroy a Leman Russ and cut down half a heavy weapons squad in one turn. It is an ability no other tanks possess.

The tau are renowned for their ability to support their armour. Indeed, the tau light infantry is simply second to none.
Your basic line-trooper has an average stat line with t3, and the often lamented bs3. Still, they are very well equipped. Each has a happy suit of carapace armour giving a healthy 4+ save. Only “elite” infantry can boast better. Secondly, each trooper boasts what is arguably the best infantry gun in the game- the pulse rifle. 30” range, strength 5. As well, they are comparatively cheap, at only 10 points each, so you get a lot of fire warriors for little investment. So, how do you use your fire warriors to maximum efficiency? 4th edition 40K has really strengthened Fire Warriors. Primarily, they exist to put down long range high strength firepower. They excel in this role. Its what they were made for. Forming a defensive line which the more mobile units can run around is their stock in trade, and they can easily destroy incoming infantry units before they can strike. 4th ed also sees Fire Warriors excel at close range. 24 str5 rapid fire shots will put the hurt into anything, and this high volume, high strength mass firepower in critical locations is the hallmark of a good tau strategist. The oft mentioned Fish of Fury relies on this ability, while protecting the troops from assault, though FoF should primarily be used as a finishing off move. Fire Warriors also have good vehicle busting abilities, and can kill a 150 point Predator from a lucky side armour shot. Though that said, they are better off being used to take out AV10 units, like Sentinels, or tanks from behind. Fire Warriors are also the perfect unit to support Hammerhead gunships with the shas’ui markerlight. It costs a bit, but the ability to negate cover(the one thing that can save infantry from the sumbunition or ion cannon) is priceless, and the hitting on 2+ is very handy. Its perfect for one gun attacks like railguns, or ion cannons. 4th ed sees Fire Warriors excel beyond the static defense mentioned above. Mobile mechanised Fire Warrior squads are a real pain, and very powerful. While this was frowned on, and nearly suicidal in 3rd ed, 4th ed allows this tactic. Your mobile squads can put massed high volume firepower into critical units, pick off isolated units, rapidly redeploy to take an objective, reinforce a breach in the lines, or pull back to a safer location. And the Devilfish APC is one of the best transports in the game, outclassed only by the hideously expensive Land Raider and Wave serpent. It has skimmer rules, and all the great hammerhead upgrades open to it.

Kroot are a commonly overlooked, and even more commonly underrated, when in actual fact, when used properly, they can be among the best troops in the game. Kroot are incredibly versatile, both in shooting, and assault Kroot are cheap, and at 7 points, you really get a bargain. You get what is basically a space marine boltgun, 3 ws4 str4 attacks in close combat, and the “everyone within 2” of someone in close combat gets full attacks” rule means a large squad can put in a serious load of attacks in an assault. Kroot get large squads, and 15-20 is pretty much obligatory. They can pound out a hell of a lot of hurting, with either shooting at rapid fire range, or in close combat.
Kroot are vunerable. They never wear armour, and only have t3, meaning they get torn up by any dedicated attack. However, in cover, kroot excel, and can boast a 4+ save in woods, which protects them from any shots as well as the nasty ability to see out up to 12”, while no one is potentially able to see them. Kroot also boast the ability to infiltrate, making them incredibly dangerous as they can decimate an opposing squad with ease. As well, infiltrated squads in cover draw off a large portion of the enemy, and can be notoriously difficult to root out, making them perfect scoring units in your army. And this scoring unit can be insanely cheap.

Kroot and Fire Warriors complement each other admirably in an army and this mutual support makes their combination greater than their two parts. The light infantry also complement the Hammerhead gunship, and these 3 units should form your cadre’s armoured fist and backbone. The ethereal must also make a mention here as his leadership abilities make your army unbreakable so long as he lives. And he’s cheap for what he can give.

So, where do the jump infantry, the poster boys of the tau fit in? They are not a backbone unit, and yes are a bit of a novelty. While your tanks and infantry make up your armoured fist, your crisis and stealth suits exist as your sheathed machete.

Both units have their uses however, but also their faults. Each are insanely expensive. Both are underpowered, and overpriced for what they can do. While other elite units can destroy armies on their own, the tau elite units must rely on support to truly shine.
So, what can they do?
Crisis suits, whether of the shas’ui, shas’vre or commander variety are almost a contradiction in terms. Though their weapon outfits boast a wide variety of roles they can fill, once equipped they are almost excluded to that role. Few weapon combinations allow incredible versatility. Crisis suits are an expensive unit, and very vunerable, both to light infantry fire, and heavy weapons. They must only be “unsheathed” to deliver a crucial blow.
Crisis suits exist primarily to kill:
(1) Elite, and expensive heavy infantry units in the shape of Sv 2+, 3+ units with the plasma rifle
(2) light armour, in the shape of AV10, 11 and 12 with the missile pod
(3) light infantry, in the shape of t3-4 sv4+, 5+,6+ units with missile pod and burst cannon
(4) heavy armour with fusion blasters

Stealthsuits exist as a harassment unit. Each costs a heap, but runs around with handy stealth armour, and a very high volume burst cannon. They exist to kill:
(1)light infantry –massed str5 ap5 shots will decimate t3-4, sv 4+,5+,6+ units)
(2)light armour –massed str5 ap5 shots have a good chance of killing AV10,11 units, and stealth units are happy to kill expensive tanks by fragging their weak side and rear armour.
They are primarily harassment units, and make any opposing general wary. Hw wont want to expose his infantry or armour to them! And the stealth armour makes them incredibly annoying. Plus they can infiltrate.

So, the problem with the above units is the scourge of the tau- bs3. Its often your elite units do nothing but roll 3s for the game, screwing you over royally. And it is for this reason that you must support these units. On their own, yes they can be adequate, but in order to truly shine, they must be supported. Thankfully, a tau unit exists whose primary purpose is making other units more effective-the loved and loathed Pathfinders. Handicapped by an unfair obligatory devilfish restriction, Pathfinders still have a very valuable role to play as spotters. Markerlights have been powered up in 4th ed. Units hit on a 2+ when using a markerlight and shots ignore cover. Making ‘lights the perfext solution to your problem of bs3. And it also lends itself to the preferred tau elite role of “critical strikes in crucial areas”.
While your FW, Kroot and hammerhead backbone exist as a firing line, your pathfinders role is simple: light a particularly high value unit, and your elites systematically destroy it. Light a high value SM devastator, or terminator unit: hit it with rapid firing plasma that hits on a 2+. Light a high value stormboyz mob and then hit it with lots of stealthsuit fire. This critical strike is often enough to turn the battle in your favour. Just make sure you follow the rules of “priority of fire” and target the most valuable units for destruction.

So, how do these two separate forces combine? Your Troops and tanks should exist to systematically pound your enemy to the dirt, while your pathfinders should exist to target those high-priority units that absolutely MUST be destroyed by your elites. Master each discipline of backbone and fist, and sheathed knife in unison, and you will be able to master any battlefield.
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Old 25 May 2005, 16:52   #2 (permalink)
Shas'Vre
 
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Default Re: Deads' Tau Tactica

wow very good info for the greater good i never really use the PF for my crisis im always use them for seekers and for my dam HH to hit becaiuse with out the MK my HH miss like 50 % of the time i think i use the ML once for the stealth it work good too but good post
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