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Ninja Tau - Tactica
Old 26 Apr 2009, 23:40   #1 (permalink)
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Default Ninja Tau - Tactica

Ninja Tau – A Tactica

This Tactica will attempt to explain the concept and strategy behind the Ninja Tau list, and playing a Reserve Based Army. How it works, what it does – and what can go wrong!

So first:

What is Ninja Tau?

Essentially Ninja Tau is a Reserve Based army, which uses the 5th edition reserve rules and positional relay (and the plethora of Units in the Tau Codex that can Deep strike, Outflank, Infiltrate, and Scout) to delay your armies’ arrival on the table until the later stages of the game. Allowing your Troops to come in as part of a focused attack wave to claim/contest objectives, score Kill points and generally cause as much trouble as possible within a very short time frame – leaving your opponent very little time to react to your presence or counter your attack plan.

In build it is very much a Hybrid Tau Army, but with a greater focus on the Reserve elements available to you, the Mission selection/Objective placement and Deployment phase. The versatility of the list is that generally it can be played in lots of different ways, the list contains all the elements of a normal Tau army and depending on the Mission, Opponents Army/Unit Choices you can opt in the deployment phase to deploy and play the list in a normal manner or to play full Ninja Tau, or even to play part Ninja (as a sort of ultimate Kauyon).

It can be a very difficult list to play, it requires a lot of planning and control, and a comprehensive knowledge of your units strengths and abilities (as your units will be required to do most of there work in the final turns of the battle, you need to send the right units against the right targets – and be able to rely on them to do there job). It also requires you to stick rigidly to the mission objectives, you are not there to destroy your opponent’s army – In an Objectives game you need to concentrate on the objectives, only engaging your opponent to take an objective or contest one. In Kill points you are there simply to get more Kill Points than your opponent, and remember, just 1KP will win you the game.

However, that aside, it can also be devastatingly effective, and very hard to counter.

Against certain armies (Drop Pod Marines, Daemons, Eldar Double Autarch, Dark Eldar lists etc) it can also be a superb form of defence, as these armies are designed to strike your lines in the first few turns of battle and cause the maximum amount of damage (shock tactics), while Ninja Tau is the diametric opposite of these lists. It is designed to remain off the Table in the first few turns of the battle (and so avoid that first devastating hit) and to come on in the later stages when your opponents Army/Reserves are fully committed to the Table and hit them in the same way they planned to hit you. It basically turns the tables on them and turns there assault based army into a defensive one.

There is no other Army in the 40K universe that can match the Tau’s control over there Reserves (thanks to the Positional Relay) and that can copy/use this Tactic as effectively as the Tau, with the same degree of versatility in the way you deploy and play the battle – in effect it is a Tactic that is unique to Tau, and it can catch the unwary opponent completely by surprise.

The Key Tau Units
Out of the 16 available Tau Units from the Codex we have 6 viable Deep strikers. 3 Out flankers, 2 Infiltrators and 1 Scout. (Obviously with some of those units’ abilities doubling up).

The Breakdown works like this:

Scout Infiltrate Deepstrike Out Flank

XV8 Commander No No Yes No

XV8 Bodyguard No No Yes No

XV8 No No Yes No

Stealth Suits No Yes Yes Yes

Kroot No Yes No Yes

PathFinders* Yes No No Yes

Gun Drones No No Yes No

Vespid No No Yes No

* Pathfinders Devilfish can also Outflank if the Pathfinders are inside and held in reserve.

The above units are the key components of a Ninja Tau list, because they can all be held in Reserve and enter the battlefield in a variety of different ways (Taking the fight to your Enemy).

The rest of your Army (in some cases the Core) forms a separate Reserve Group that we call – Table Edge Reserves or TER’s. Under 5th edition rules any unit can be held in Reserve (just like the units above) but when it enters the Battle it comes on from the Long Table Edge. Generally this core will hold you Heavy Support (Hammerheads and Broadsides[with A.S.S]), your Fire Warriors (normally in Devilfish to stay mobile/Tank Shock objectives etc), and a mixture of your other units. Special mention should be given to the Piranha which due to its speed is a very useful TER, able effectively to reach anywhere on the table in 2 Turns, making it an excellent (if somewhat fragile) objective contester in the later stages of the game.

There are some units that do not fit into a Ninja Tau list at all, and should be avoided (unless you are planning to play a Hybrid Ninja list with some static elements deployed at the start of the battle). These are:

Skyray – Table Edge Reserve. Good support unit can pop light vehicles, carries Seekers. Not that useful because its Marker lights are fairly short range, and you are unlikely to have much Marker light Support in the rest of your Army (Ninja Tau does not really utilise Markerlights to any heavy degree).

Ethereal – Fairly useless in any army load out.

Sniper Drones – Mainly static. – Bad reserve unit because they cannot fire the turn they come in. Could be worked into the list as bait if deployed at start. But generally not recommended.

The Positional Relay.

The Positional Relay is one of the most integral parts of the Ninja Tau list – Simply put; if you want to play Ninja Tau you need the Relay. Basically, from turn 2 onwards it allows you to select 1 unit from units held in reserve and bring it into play on a roll of a 2+, however – when you use the Relay this way it means you do not roll to bring any of your other units onto the table. So you can choose to use the Relay and bring on 1 Unit of your choice, or you can Roll for all your reserves and bring them on randomly depending on the turn and dice roll.

The offshoot of this (which makes Ninja Tau possible) is that you can use the relay to deliberately DELAY the arrival of your main army to the Table. – By selecting 1 unit on turns 2 and 3 of the battle and using the relay to bring them into play the rest of your Army is held in reserve and cannot enter the table. Then in turn 4 you can stop using the Relay and bring in the rest of your Army on a 2+ as a focused attack wave (unless you have really angered the Dice Gods). Or if you wanted you could use the relay again to bring on 1 unit and hold the rest of your Army off till turn 5 (when they come in automatically).

So, the Positional Relay is the vital tool that enables you to keep your Army in reserve until your enemy’s reserves are fully committed and the odds are on your side that the rest of your Army will come on at the same time (rather in dribs and drabs from turn 2 onwards).

You’re Commander and the Positional Relay

In a Ninja Tau list your Commander is one of your most important units, your Relay’O/El – Because generally he will be carrying your Positional Relay and as a result will be the only unit deployed on the Table at the start of a game (so he can use the relay). The only time when you will possibly not deploy your Commander is during a Dawn of War game, where you can just opt for him to walk on from TER in turn 1 (so he will still be on the Table at the start of turn 2).

Most battles however will see your Commander alone on the Table for turn one, possibly facing your opponents entire army. Ideally you want your Commander to stay alive until at least your Turn 3 – anything after this is a bonus. This requires you to maximise your Commander’s chances of survival, because if he dies early your strategy for holding your troops off the table will not work.

There are several things you can do to ensure your Commander has the best possible chance of survival – First, ‘O or ‘El ? I normally go for the ‘O – for the simple reason that he has 1 extra wound – which may not seem like much, but this can be very helpful.(especially if you have a few unlucky saves). The key is maximising survival so the extra wound can be a big plus point.

Next, Wargear. There are several items that help will help your Relay’O considerably.

Stimulant Injectors. – Gives your Commander Feel No Pain.

Drone Controller and 2 Shield Drones. – Gives your Commander 2 additional wounds (effectively) and also 2 Models to allocate hits from weapons that cause Instant Death. – Also they give you 2 4+ Inv Saves.

Iridium Armour – This one is more of a personal choice, on the one hand it gives your Commander (and his Drones) a 2+ save, and on the other hand it limits your speed to D6 in the assault move. It’s a trade off – Extra Armour V the potential to make a quick get away from assault (potentially an 18” move with run” - In an all comers list it really depends on your play style and what you feel comfortable with. In a tailored list I would never take it against an opponent with fast assaulters, but I would choose it against an army that had heavy fire power (such as another Tau army).

Shield Generator – Gives you a 4+ Inv save. It’s another optional one, it can be useful but the Shield Drones and Cover Saves generally cover your needs in this situation.

Next we can look at Body Guards – In a higher points game (at least 2000 Pts) you could include Bodyguards with your Commander, giving him extra Wounds and Models for allocation purposes – also you can up the number of Shield Drones – giving you even more Wounds and Saves before your Commander gets hurt.- This unit, properly equipped can take an insane amount of Fire Power to take down, but it also has a very large Foot Print, so it’s harder to hide the Unit out of LOS.

General Survival Tips.

Wargear and Bodyguard options aside there are plenty of things you can do to maximise your Commanders chances of survival.

Deploy in cover. – Cover Saves.

Deploy out of LOS – If possible.

Deploy in a building – Your opponent would have to destroy the building before he can hurt your Commander.

Deploy with a Unit – If there is no Cover, LOS blocking terrain, building etc to help your Commander, deploy him with a Unit. A Commander with 10 Kroot for example has 10 ablative Wounds before he can be hurt, and can leave the unit to run away in his movement phase. – Again, maximise your survival.

If your enemy has out flankers never deploy within 12 Inches of the Flanks, this means that he cannot be assaulted etc on turn 2 by Out flankers.

Jump Run Jump away from any units that get to close.

Create your own cover – Bring on a Devilfish on turn 2 and park your Commander behind it.

Assault a weak unit - Assault a weak unit that’s close and your opponent can't shoot you, you just end up locked in combat for a few turns.

The most important thing to remember is that your Relay’O is NOT there to engage the enemy – He is there to hold your Army off the Table with the Positional Relay. Ideally you want to stay as far away from the enemy with him as possible (at least till he has done his job) so there is no point in giving him close range weapons! Give him a Missile Pod and he will be able to take long range pot shots, destroy light vehicles etc as he dodges around the table.

Keep him safe at all costs – but if he does die early, don’t despair! It does not mean you have auto lost the battle, it just means that your battle has got harder – we will cover this occurrence later in the Tactica.

Alternative Relay Carriers

The other options for carrying your Positional Relay are XV8 Bodyguards, and Crisis ‘Vre’s. From conversations with other Ninja Players I know that some people prefer to give there Relay to a beefed up Crisis Suit Vre Monat or Team Member and use there Commander in a more offensive role. Or equip 2 Bodyguards (one with the Relay) and use the Commander as a wound sink to help protect the Relay.

These are both viable options, personally I prefer to use the full Relay’O. Ninja Tau is all about flexibility (both in battle and deployment ) and the Relay’O fits that flexible profile – It lends itself to the versatility of the list and provides more options for keeping it safe in a variety of different situations. For example – deploying attached to another squad (for ablative wounds) when there is no cover/LOS blocking terrain in your deployment zone. Or joining units that you bring on with the Relay to protect you from unexpected attacks. At the same time the Stat line and Wargear Options available to the ‘O make it much harder to kill than either of the above options. – The Vre and the Bodyguard are both more vulnerable (especially to things like the Vindicaire assassin and Telion, who can select who they allocate wounds too in a unit).

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Old 26 Apr 2009, 23:42   #2 (permalink)
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Default Re: Ninja Tau - Tactica

Missions and Placing Objectives

One of the most important parts of a successful Ninja Tau Army is before the battle has even started! The type of mission you roll and the way you place objectives for example will directly affect your tactics and chances of victory.

Seize Ground.

With Seize Ground you place D3+2 Objectives before you choose deployment zones etc. For Ninja Tau you want to place these objectives with the strength of your forces in mind. The table edges are your friend. When placing your objective you (ideally) want to avoid the centre of the table – as the only units able to reach this quickly will be Deep strikers. The best placement is diagonally opposite counters, so –

1 objective exactly 12 inches from the long table edge and 12 inches from the short table edge, then repeat this on the diagonally opposite side of the table. So that both flanks/long table edges have an objective 12 inches away from the long table edge and the short. If you have a 3rd objective to place put it in a similar position on the opposite side of the table to one of the already place objectives.

This means that whatever side you choose (except maybe Table Quarters) you will have a Objective in your deployment zone (close to the flank, so Out flankers will be able to get to it, and within easy reach of your Table Edge reserves). And 1 Objective in your opponent’s deployment zone – again within easy reach of your Out flankers. This is important – Because Kroot outflank, and Kroot can claim objectives!

Also, Outflank is normally rolled for randomly – so with objectives on both flanks your Out flankers will “ALWAYS” come on in an effective position (Backed up by your Deep strikers and Table Edge reserves).

This also helps spit up your opponents army – with 2 objectives so far away from each other it becomes hard for him to guard/attack both with any significant amount of force (bear in mind he will also be trying to guard the other objectives that your DS’ers or Table Edge reserves should be able to contest)

Capture and Control

This is the hardest fight for a Ninja Tau Army (unless it’s a Table Quarters Game), because you have no control over the placement of your opponents objective. You can obviously place your Objective close to a flank (making it easy for your out flankers to help hold it) but your opponent can place his in the centre of his deployment zone – making it very hard for you to get a scoring unit in place. This is negated in a Table Quarters game where the objective will be in the opponents table quarter – making a rear assault very possible. When you deploy it may be an idea to deploy more of your force on the table than normal in a defensive role. Your Deep strikers should be able to contest the enemy objective, while you hold yours. It very much depends what sort of list you choose – but as a tip Tank Shock can be a very effective way of driving your enemy off an objective. Another Tip, if your opponent places his objective first try to place yours in such a position that the Units holding/guarding his Objective cannot support the units attacking your objective easily. Also, don’t deploy your Commander anywhere near your objective. This is for two reasons:

1. Your Opponent may send Troops after your Commander (which means they are not guarding his objective or assaulting yours). Splitting his forces and making him commit Troops to a section of the Battlefield which strategically speaking – is Dead Ground. In this way your Commander acts as a Lure (it’s the only thing on the Table for him to go after) and if it diverts part of your opponents Army away from the Objectives then it means your Troops will have less opposition when they arrive.

2. The second reason is the exact opposite as the 1st – If your Commander is far away from the mission objectives your opponent may decide to ignore him/send less Troops after him, and instead focus on the Mission. If this happens then your Commander’s chance of survival go up – less is targeting him which gives him better odds of survival.

These are the significant advantages of deploying far away from the Objectives, and whatever option your opponent takes is a good result for you – either way you benefit.

If you equip him with long range weaponry (such as the MP) he will still be able to fire and take a semi active part in the battle (just remember his job is to keep the Positional Relay safe, not fight).

The only time you might decide to deploy your Commander onto an objective is if you are using the Commander to draw your opponent deliberately towards it (for the purposes of a trap) or if you are deploying part of your Army in a hybrid fashion, to defend the base, while waiting for your reserves to come on in support.


This is where Ninja Tau truly excels – Denial of Kill points (This will be covered more fully below). As your force is mostly off the table your opponent has nothing to shoot, and when your troops come on you should be able to selectively kill vehicles (long range fire) and isolated units, while your opponent will have little chance to respond. There are no objectives to place here so you really only need to concentrate on your battle strategy. And pay very careful attention to what units you bring on in the first few turns of the battle, even if you have to just bring something on and hide it faraway from your enemy. Or a Hammerhead to blow up one of your opponents Tanks at maximum range. The Idea is to end up with more Kill Points than your opponent – That’s it, so go for the soft targets, and try to ensure that each of your units destroys at least 1 Enemy unit before it’s destroyed! Keep your Units safe and cause the maximum damage you can to the enemy – If you are ahead in Kill points don’t give your opponent an easy chance to level the score, run away, hide, and keep your lead! (It is very helpful however if the Units you bring on with the Relay are capable of claiming a KP when they arrive [Heavy support can do this at range] – That way if they do die you will remain level in KP’s until your main Army arrives).

Deployment/who goes first.

As a rule with Ninja Tau you always want your opponent to go first! This is for several reasons.

1. When he deploys he will spread his forces out, whereas you are only placing 1 (maybe 2/3) Units – Flank denial. Your opponent will have already placed a lot of his army outside of effective support range. If you go first he will know you have a large portion of your army in reserve, and his deployment will be less advantageous to you.

2. It means any reserves your opponent has will generally come onto the table BEFORE yours. This is a good thing, it gives you a chance to focus your response to his reserves and gives him no focus/targets for his assault. When he deep strikes in – you want him to have nothing to do, when you deep strike in you want to destroy him. For example he drop pods in a dreadnaught equipped for tank killing – you have nothing on the table. You then drive your hammerhead onto the table 60 inches away and blow it up with a rail gun.

3. It will always be good to get the last turn, for last minute objective grabs etc – while your opponents advantage of going first is negated because he has nothing to do/shoot.

4. The most important thing about going second however is this – If your opponent goes first and everything goes to plan with your Positional Relay, then it is possible to deny your opponent the chance to fight back effectively. When your Army comes on in turn 4 of the Battle your opponent will have already played his turn 4. So you come on and play your turn, it is then your opponents turn 5 – the first chance he has had to actually fight your full Army. If you give your opponent first Turn and bring your Troops on in Turn 4 then effectively you will have one more turn of firing than him – You get Turn 4 and 5 to move, fire and prepare your attacks/take objectives. Your opponent only has turn 5 to fight back, severely limiting his ability to get into position and damage your army. If the Battle ends on Turn 5 your opponent will only have had one turn of effective firing!

This gets even nastier if you delay your Army to Turn 5, your opponent plays his turn, your Army floods onto the Table and you play your Turn 5. If the Battle ends on Turn 5 your opponent DOES NOT GET a chance to actually fight back against your forces.
However, I would be careful of this Tactic in anything but Kill Points Battles, If you need to take/claim objectives than you may well need more than 1 turn to effectively achieve the mission objectives. Its very high risk in an objectives mission, but extremely good for Kill Points (depending on your opponents army).

This is one of the strength of the Ninja Tau list, you are not only practising Flank Denial, you are also using Turn Denial (and we are the only Army List that can do this).

When you deploy (for a Full Ninja Tau strategy) – generally you want to deploy as few units as possible (especially in a Kill Points game. What you really want/need to deploy is the Commander with the POSITIONAL RELAY. Your commanders job is to survive and use his positional relay to delay your reserves (i.e. Use it to bring on a selected unit as required and delay you rolling for your full reserve list until turn 3 / 4. This means that your army will come on with a 3+ or 2+ - so as much as possible will come in on an attack wave at the same time). Remember – Deploy your Commander safely as detailed above in the Commander Section, and always deploy him away from the objectives in an objective mission (unless doing so means that he is stood out in the open with no cover, keeping him alive is the primary consideration at the start of the battle, everything else is secondary)

The Battle

Playing the Battle.

Ninja Tau are designed not to be on the table at the start of the battle. They are designed for a series of focused, sneak attack – surgical strikes and objective grabbing later in the game.

As above you want to keep your commander and your Positional relay up and running. Otherwise you will have to randomly roll for ALL of your reserves on the 2nd turn – which as this is on a 4+ means that your army will come on piecemeal (probably). This will make it harder to focus your assaults.

So: You deploy your commander.

Turn 1. For you – stay out of trouble.

Turn 2.
For him and his reserves (if he has any) will start to arrive (on average rolls 50% of the units he holds in reserve). With most of your army off the table you are denying him targets and forcing him to spread out his forces.

Turn 2. For you - Use Positional Relay to bring in one unit, holding the rest off the table.

Turn 3.
For him, and 2/3rds of what he has left in reserve (if he has reserves) should now be on the Table.

Turn 3. For you- you have a choice, either use your Positional Relay again and bring in a unit of your choice on a 2 +, or randomly roll for everything (3+). I would make this decision based on several factors - what reserves he has left to come on, if you are playing Kill Points or whether you need to bring a particular unit into the fray to counter the threat. Basically you only want your Army to come on if it advantageous for you – If you’re going for an objective grab it is probably worth waiting till at least Turn 4.

Turn 4 - All his reserves will probably be in play now, and his army spread out - so you can just let yourself roll for all your remaining units (coming in on a 2 +). You can then bring your troops/tanks on where they are needed (including outflanking or Deep striking units) and grab objectives, blow up tanks etc. – Or you can wait for turn 5 when your Army will come on automatically. – It depends what’s happening in the battle, and what you feel the best turn to arrive on will be (keeping in mind the Mission Objectives).

Generally with Nina Tau you have only 2/3 turns with forces on the table (maybe 5 if game goes to full random turn length). So you want to destroy as much as possible in one go – this limits what he can fire/assault back at you and also his time to respond to the suddenly appearing threat. Remember to send as much as possible against the same targets, Focus your fire power.

What Can go wrong.

Ninja Tau is not an instant win button, it can go wrong, and it can even go disastrously wrong! It’s a hard tactical fight, and it requires you to make the right choices at the right time, plan you assaults on the Objectives so the maximum amount of troops can reach the objectives [or kill the required number of Units] in the time you have available [You can’t count on there being a sixth turn]. In this section we will look at what can go wrong (and hopefully some ways to swing these problems to your advantage).

First up:

Your Commander dies on the 1st turn.

Probably the most immediate concern in a Ninja Tau Commanders mind at the start of a Battle is keeping the Relay’O alive to do his job. If he dies (and no matter how much you maximise your chances of survival this can, and does, happen) then you have to adapt your plans – and quickly. Basically one of the main components of the Ninja Army is using the Positional Relay to delay your army coming onto the table, if the Relay is down you lose all control over your Reserves and your battle plan. Your Reserves will start to arrive from turn 2 onwards on a 4+ (totally randomly) and this can have several different effects on your battle.

Ironically its not good or bad dice rolls that are your enemy here – Its average rolls.

If you roll really badly (3 or less), the majority of your forces will stay off the table. – this is good for you because essentially you are still following the original plan – IE. Keeping your forces in reserve until later in the game.

If you roll really well (4 or above), the majority of your forces will hit the table, this is not precisely good for you (your original plan was to delay your entry onto the table), but neither is it bad. Basically you will have a Hybrid army hitting the table in force on turn 2 of the game – if you are going second you still benefit from an extra turn of firing on your opponent, and his reserves will have already started to hit the table before yours arrive. So you just switch from playing a Ninja Tau army and fall back on standard Hybrid Tactics with a slight advantage (all the components to do this should be in your list). It’s a blow to your original plan, but if you adapt quickly you will still have a competitive army, and hopefully a slight turn advantage.

The Problem is Average Rolls – and what with them being average rolls the most probable result is that only 50 % of your Army will hit the Table/Stay in reserve on turn 2. This means that from turn 2 onwards your reserves will be arriving randomly on the table, your focused attack wave will not be happening and you will have lost all control over what you bring onto the table.

That particular result is possibly the worst problem for Ninja Tau (unless your enemy is also playing a reserve army, in which case you will both be coming on randomly) – but not an insurmountable one. Individual Tactics are hard to discuss, without know what units will be hitting the table – but there are some general tactics that can help here. The main problem with this is the fact that your forces will be coming on piecemeal and possibly facing the entire enemy army. This could mean that you have small pockets of Troops hitting the table and being swiftly overwhelmed. The key here is to think ahead, in turn 3 the rest of your Troops will arrive on a 3+, so (on average rolls) 70 to 80% of your forces will be on the table. So when you bring your forces on in turn 2+ the key is not engaging the enemy, but survivability and positioning. You may have lost control of WHEN your forces arrive but you still control WHERE they arrive. With this in mind bring your forces in to stay away from the enemy, but able to lend support to your Turn 3 and 4 reserves. You can still divert units to take out a specific threat, but otherwise bring them in out of LOS, out of range, in Cover – do what ever it takes not to actually fight the enemy, but to ensure your force remains virtually untouched until the next turn.

From turn 3 onwards you will have full licence and ability (hopefully) to engage the enemy on more or less equal terms – and your ability to control WHERE your forces arrive should still enable you to engage the enemy on your terms (when you do engage).

To be fair if the O’Relay does drop early the fight gets a lot harder, not necessarily in terms of the Battle, but in terms of your Game Plan – all bets are off, and until you start rolling the Reserve Dice on Turn 2 you will have no idea how the Battle is going to play out. But if you are adaptive, and react quickly to your changing circumstances you still have a competitive force in play, able to win the Battle. The worst thing you can do is give up just because your Original Plan has been neutered – just change the focus of your plan and deal with the battle as it progresses.

Not getting Second Turn.

With Ninja Tau, the Standard Doctrine is that you want to take 2nd turn (for all the reasons described above), the only exception to this might be a Capture and Control mission where you might choose to deploy some of your force rather than go full Ninja, in this case you might choose to sacrifice the advantages of going second for the advantage of getting the first turn of firing (but this will be largely dependant on what type of enemy you are fighting – Against Drop Pod Marines for example this would be a bad plan!). So what happens if end up with the first turn? Nothing really changes with your battle plan, but you lose the advantages that going second gives you (Extra Turn, Reaction to Reserves, last turn Objective grabbing etc). You play the battle in the same way, it’s just that your enemy has more time (an extra turn) to organise his response/counterattack.

It makes it a tougher fight but it does not massively effect your tactics, other then the fact that you have to be a lot more precise about how and where you attack, you have to keep in mind that your opponent has more reacting time and can cause a counter offensive if you don’t take into account that he has an extra turn to respond.

Other Problems

Above are the Two most common problems with a Ninja List, at least based on the List itself. – Other problems come from the Type of Army / List you are playing against, so it’s hard to talk in general terms about ways to counter these. The best thing to do is analyse your Opponents List and choose to play your Ninja Tau in the best way to counter them – The list is versatile enough to be played in a variety of different ways, so just play to maximise your abilities and minimise/counter your opponents. Be Sneaky

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Old 26 Apr 2009, 23:42   #3 (permalink)
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Default Re: Ninja Tau - Tactica


There is no correct way to play Ninja Tau – but you can play them to maximise your chances of victory, and take full advantage or there abilities. It’s more of a Play Style than a specific list, and you can make a Ninja Tau army with many different components. The only thing you HAVE to take is the Positional Relay (however you decide to carry it into battle).

All the above is a Guide to Playing Ninja Tau in such a way to maximise your advantages – but its not set in stone, there will be many different approaches depending on what sort of list you are adapting to the Ninja Tau play style (Farsight, Full Ninja, Ninja Mech etc).

It gives you a Tactical, unpredictable Army that fights a completely different battle to any other 40K race. It is capable of inflicting crushing defeats, and also of being crushingly defeated! But always remember you do not play Ninja Tau to Table your opponent, you play it to fulfil the mission objectives. – In a Kill points game focus on staying ahead of your opponent, as soon as you have more Kill Points you play safe, delay and hide, because you will be too fragile to guarantee winning a straight slugfest. In an Objectives game – You go purely for the Objectives, that’s your focus. Engaging the enemy is part of this – but only when the enemy stands in the way of you completing your mission.

Your Strengths are your unpredictability, your ability to avoid attacks and punishment (it is virtually impossible for a CC army to engage Ninja Tau if they don’t want to). You also have a psychological advantage, as its completely alien to a normal 40K Battle/Slugfest – Your enemy has to adapt his plans to you and if unfamiliar with Ninja Tau will have no idea what to expect. Also if things go to plan you should effectively gain a one turn advantage on your opponent. Put all these aspects together, and you have a very potent force, but you also have weaknesses. You have a very short amount of time to fulfil your mission objectives and it requires careful planning on your part to ensure that you can reach your designated targets effectively. You will be outnumbered for the first 3 – 4 turns of the battle, and have to work hard to protect/use the units that do come in effectively. Like all Tau forces you will be fragile, so you have to make sure you commit enough of your forces to do the job. Also for your strategy to be guarunteed of going to plan you have to keep your Relay’O alive for the first few turns, this can be the weakest link of your Army but on the plus side he is a very survivable figure (as long as you play the odds).

Essentially Ninja Tau is an intensively tactical fight – you don’t just consider the battle, you consider every single aspect of the battle – from deployment to turn order. Its biggest weakness is if it goes badly wrong you sometimes don’t have enough troops in play to reverse this. And this can happen – If your commander dies (you lose your relay), or you could just be tremendously unlucky with your reserve rolls. If it works though (and like any Tau army you need to support your units) you can really destroy your enemy and give him no chance to react/do anything about it.

Ninja Tau is a gamblers army, although the odds of your reserves working as you intend are far more in your favour than against. – But its great fun to play, and can be devastating.
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Old 27 Apr 2009, 14:59   #4 (permalink)
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Default Re: Ninja Tau - Tactica

+1 and added to the Stickie.

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Old 27 Apr 2009, 21:58   #5 (permalink)
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AWSOME! I'm making notes in my TAU notebook on these tactics.
"While the races of the galaxy tear one another apart, the Tau grow stronger and stronger." Ummm, not until they get a new codex.
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Old 28 Apr 2009, 00:09   #6 (permalink)
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This is the only thing Tau has going for them. Excellent article. I've been using your tactica for a bit now and am very happy with the results.
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Old 28 Apr 2009, 00:52   #7 (permalink)
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Be warned: as I understand it, a pair of naval officers in an IG army affects your roll; and therefore you need a 4+ for a unit to show up under the positional relay as long as those two are on the table (and they WILL be on the table, along with two masters of ordnance). This may in fact be what you want; no one showing up till everything suddenly automatically does on turn 5, but just so you know...
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Old 28 Apr 2009, 01:53   #8 (permalink)
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Originally Posted by Nova
Be warned: as I understand it, a pair of naval officers in an IG army affects your roll; and therefore you need a 4+ for a unit to show up under the positional relay as long as those two are on the table (and they WILL be on the table, along with two masters of ordnance). This may in fact be what you want; no one showing up till everything suddenly automatically does on turn 5, but just so you know...
Has anybody looked at the fine print of that rule and tried to determine if his modification to the roll overrules the positional relay or how they interact? I'll peek at the IG codex next time I get a chance, but it seems to me that it should only be able to fiddle with the standard roll you get when not using the positional relay. Positional Relay rolls shouldn't be affected, but this is an Imperium codex we're dealing with, and they tend to have fine print in them that states "these special rules are more special than anybody else's special rules."
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Old 28 Apr 2009, 01:57   #9 (permalink)
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Default Re: Ninja Tau - Tactica

From what I see, its applied to your roll.

Thefore, if you roll, say, a 3... -1, that's a 1, nothing shows up.

This is exceptionally nasty in their favor if you're getting one unit trickling in every turn and getting multi-barraged

This isn't so fun for them if it means they've virtually nothing to shoot at and all of a sudden your whole army shows up and blows them out of the ... er... sky???
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Old 28 Apr 2009, 06:53   #10 (permalink)
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Default Re: Ninja Tau - Tactica

I _really_ wouldn't mind a couple of Naval officers in an opposing list I can virtually save all my units, for a massive turn 5 assault (since reserves rules state, that on turn 5+, reserves enter automatically, ie. no roll for the officers to modify), thus denying him anything to shoot at

But it would probably require a shield'o to survive 4 rounds of IG shooting... :P
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Victories: 1 vs Tyranid, 1 vs IG
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