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Mech Tau Army Construction Basics
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Old 08 Jun 2005, 21:25   #1 (permalink)
Shas'Vre
 
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Default Mech Tau Army Construction Basics

Nothing earth shaking, just trying to get down a few of the rules of thumb that many of us probably use without even knowing it in an attempt to "shorten the Tau learning curve".

I've tried very hard to provide useful advice to newer players without saying "this is the best way to do it" or "this is the only way to do it". Unfortunately, with any article featuring 'rules of thumb', there will be an element of that, but I've tried to keep it to a minimum and to provide for variation.

Let me know what you think!

[hr]

[size=14pt]Mech Tau Army Construction Basics[/size]

Although daunting at first, the process of creating an effective Mech Tau army list is really quite simple. While it's certainly possible to tailor an army list to defeat a specific opponent, this article attempts to guide the reader through the process of creating a more general 'take all comers' list.

Vehicles

The place to start is with the anti-tank weaponry. In order to determine how much anti-tank capacity we need, we first must get a handle on how many and what type of vehicles we're likely to be facing. Once you've played a few games in your area, you can usually begin to get a feel for the prevalence of enemy armor in different sized games. The number of tanks you'll be 'typically' facing is a surprisingly geographically dependent variable, that can be influenced by many factors. Is there a lot of terrain at your gaming store? Do you usually play larger or smaller games? On what sized tables? Do you normally play objective based missions, or simple slugfests? All these things have an impact on how many vehicles are 'typically' seen.

As a general rule of thumb, in an average 1850 game we can usually expect to be facing two AV13+ Main Battle Tanks (MBT's) and 2-4 lighter vehicles. While this can sometimes vary wildly (Ravenwing or Armored Co are two good examples), it's impractical to design an 'all comers' list around these exceptions. Our primary weapon against MBT's is the Railgun. Fusion Blasters on Deep Striking XV8's can provide a decent secondary anti-tank unit, but their 'one shot' nature decreases their reliability in this role. Since enemy tanks are usually themselves bristling with anti-tank weaponry, they're often a high priority, and we therefore want to rid ourselves of these prominent threats as soon as possible, preferably within the first two turns. In order to accomplish this, we should plan on bringing: 1 - 1.5 Railguns/Sunforge XV8's per AV13+ target you expect to see.

When discussing light vehicles (AV10 - AV12), Missile Pods and Seeker Missiles are the first things that come to mind. An IonCannon can help pick up some slack here, but its valuable AP3 rating means it's usually got other things on its mind. That being said, a good rule of thumb here is: 1 - 1.5 Missile Pods per light vehicle and/or 2.5 - 3 Seeker Missiles per light vehicle you expect to see.

As was hinted at above, various means can be used to fudge these numbers slightly. For example, the inclusion of additional Seekers or Missile Pods can help compensate for a lack of Railguns by using their extra firepower to 'stun' a target or two until the Railguns can give them their full attention. Deep Striking Gun Drones can also be used in this role as well. However, be warned that there's no way to guarantee they'll arrive when you need them.

Heavy Infantry

Heavy infantry means 2+ saves. As we'll see later, although Plasma is effective at killing 3+ troops, it's really not necessary. As with vehicles, the amount of Plasma weaponry we bring is dependent on how much heavy infantry we're expecting to face. Again, this can vary drastically from game to game, but there are some averages we can consider. While some armies have no 2+ capability (Eldar, Dark Eldar, Necron, etc), most armies have the ability to field a few large heavy infantry units. While it certainly is possible to counter these threats with massed pulse fire, it's a lot more efficient to include some AP2 and/or AP1 weapons to deal with them.

When considering our options, it quickly becomes apparent that they're rather limited. With no power weapons available to us, we're restricted to the Railgun, Fusion Blaster and Plasma Rifle for dealing with 2+ saves. Furthermore, the latter two options are rather short ranged meaning if we decide to include them; we're going to need a plan for getting in close. Fortunately, 2+ save troops are markedly less dangerous to Mech Tau since many of them are close combat assault teams which we can reliably out maneuver for a few turns. This means we generally don't need to bring as many AP2 or AP1 weapons to deal with them since they're much lower on the priority list and don't require such immediate attention. Regarding quantity, a good rule of thumb is: 0.5 - 1 AP2 or AP1 weapon per wound of 2+ save you expect to see. Feel free to include Railguns and/or Fusion Blasters brought for anti-tank duty above in this calculation since armies that are heavy on 2+ saves are usually light on vehicles (Deathwing, Nids, etc).

As we saw with our anti-tank weapons, this number can be fudged a bit. For example, Plasma Rifles are more valuable than Fusion Blasters on account of their longer range and Rapid-Fire characteristic. Plasma mounted on a Commander is more valuable than Plasma mounted on an Elite XV8 on account of his improved BS, etc. Because of this, the exact number of AP2 and/or AP1 weapons that we need to effectively deal with heavy infantry is a bit harder to get a handle on than our guestimates made for anti-tank weapons. However, these basic rules are a good starting point.

Standard Infantry

While this role can be filled by many different units in our army, it's still important to spend some time considering it, since heavy horde armies like the Nids or Kroot Mercs can give you trouble if you can't thin them fast enough. Furthermore, Power Armored Space Marines (who also fit into this category) generally require the allocation of much more firepower in this department than many people realize. In general, there are 3 primary options open to us for tackling standard infantry. Each has its pros and cons which implies that a combination of several units can potentially cover their weaknesses better than simply loading up on one of them. They include:
  • Devilfish mounted Firewarriors
  • Stealth Suits
  • Kroot

While all of these units can fill the same general role, some are more mobile, some are more durable, some are more expensive and some are more versatile. As with everything else in the Tau list, the decision of which to bring depends heavily on how the rest of your army is constructed. Fortunately for us, we have a huge advantage associated with our primary anti-infantry weapon in that it is strong enough to fill a multi-purpose role. In a pinch, Pulse weaponry can help with light vehicles or heavy infantry if the situation demands. This implies that it's usually a good idea to overload on these units wherever possible since even against non-horde armies, your investment will still prove valuable. Therefore, our rule of thumb for standard infantry is, you can never have too many S5 shots!

It's important to note that there are other units in the Tau list that are useful in the anti-standard infantry role. Gun Drones, Crisis Suits, Hammerheads, etc are all useful in this role as well. However these units are either better suited to other tasks or too expensive to be brought in sufficient quantity in order to comprise our primary defense against standard infantry. However, these units offer an excellent reserve that can be called on in a pinch to help out against infantry based armies.

Summary

Once you have these three main roles filled, the remaining army choices and wargear is really a matter of personal preference. There are literally endless ways to construct an army from the Tau Codex, and as long as it includes provisions for filling these three roles and is commanded by an experienced general, any one of them can be effective. The number one rule of thumb is therefore: bring the units you have fun using!

In conclusion:
  • Include 1 - 1.5 Railguns/Sunforge XV8's per AV13+ target you expect to see.
  • Include 1 - 1.5 Missile Pods per light vehicle and/or 2.5 - 3 Seeker Missiles per light vehicle you expect to see.
  • Include 0.5 - 1 AP2 or AP1 weapon per wound of 2+ save you expect to see.
  • You can never have too many S5 shots.
  • Bring the units you have fun using.
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"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

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Old 09 Jun 2005, 01:37   #2 (permalink)
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Default Re: Mech Tau Army Construction Basics

Very nice and well put together! Somebody give him some karma!
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Old 09 Jun 2005, 05:57   #3 (permalink)
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Default Re: Mech Tau Army Construction Basics

very good job lot of good info to take in ;D
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Old 09 Jun 2005, 20:32   #4 (permalink)
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Wow... I'm going to print that out... Somebody give him karma
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Old 12 Jun 2005, 07:19   #5 (permalink)
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Default Re: Mech Tau Army Construction Basics

like when u say 1.5 for a rail gun do just round up or down l? let say my enemy has three AV13 so 1-1.5 is either 3 railguns or 4.5 what the half ?
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Old 12 Jun 2005, 16:05   #6 (permalink)
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Default Re: Mech Tau Army Construction Basics

It all depends on what else you have in your army, Frank. If you have Pathfinders, your Railguns will be more accurate and you won't need as many. If you've got a Gun Drone squad or two and use them as Deep Strikers against vehicles, you can probably tie up a tank for a turn or two by keeping it stunned/shaken, and probably don't need as many Railguns. Or, if you have lots of Missiles or Seekers, you can probably get away by rounding down. It's really all up to you. Give it a try both ways and see what works for you!
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"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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Old 12 Jun 2005, 16:19   #7 (permalink)
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Default Re: Mech Tau Army Construction Basics

Quote:
Originally Posted by frankthetank
like when u say 1.5 for a rail gun do just round up or down l? let say my enemy has three AV13 so 1-1.5 is either 3 railguns or 4.5 what the half ?
The half is only a reccomendation. It means that it can be compensated by another unit that is good, but not great against that particular target, but you can just round up or down to suit your own playstyle. 1.5 is also particular when he mentions wounds specifically. This means that you're most likely to face more than just one, so you'd need more than one or two for sure in a lot of sutiations. In anti-2+ saves, for example, when you face it, you're going to face several wounds of it at once. 3 or so from an HQ, five or more againt Terminators, ect. So the recommended in average would be to take on about five wounds, since SMurfs are really likely targets, and that means more oppretunities to face them (for some people, a good percentage of SMurf players just don't use Termies). This would mean that to face five of them, you nead five times 1.5, which is 7.5. So the recommended of the weapon is about 7-8 of, but a few can be compensated by other weapons, like a large number of pulse fire, or a few other weapons.
Did this help?
^_^.
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Old 12 Jun 2005, 16:37   #8 (permalink)
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Default Re: Mech Tau Army Construction Basics

Quote:
Originally Posted by Tsumishi
Quote:
Originally Posted by frankthetank
like when u say 1.5 for a rail gun do just round up or down l? let say my enemy has three AV13 so 1-1.5 is either 3 railguns or 4.5 what the half ?
The half is only a reccomendation. It means that it can be compensated by another unit that is good, but not great against that particular target, but you can just round up or down to suit your own playstyle. 1.5 is also particular when he mentions wounds specifically. This means that you're most likely to face more than just one, so you'd need more than one or two for sure in a lot of sutiations. In anti-2+ saves, for example, when you face it, you're going to face several wounds of it at once. 3 or so from an HQ, five or more againt Terminators, ect. So the recommended in average would be to take on about five wounds, since SMurfs are really likely targets, and that means more oppretunities to face them (for some people, a good percentage of SMurf players just don't use Termies). This would mean that to face five of them, you nead five times 1.5, which is 7.5. So the recommended of the weapon is about 7-8 of, but a few can be compensated by other weapons, like a large number of pulse fire, or a few other weapons.
Did this help?
^_^.
yes rounding is all about playstyle since i think i roll bad i will round up ;D
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Old 12 Jun 2005, 17:35   #9 (permalink)
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Default Re: Mech Tau Army Construction Basics

Kudos T0nka! You really gave me something to think about...now my brain hurts... ;D
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Old 12 Jun 2005, 21:35   #10 (permalink)
Shas'Saal
 
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Default Re: Mech Tau Army Construction Basics

Well done AGAIN Tonka. I cant believe you still have material after all those articles on L-O! ;D
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