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How Run Away Like a Girl - Teri's Tau Tactica: Ethereals and Morale
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Old 05 Jul 2005, 07:25   #1 (permalink)
Kroot Warrior
 
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Default How Run Away Like a Girl - Teri's Tau Tactica: Ethereals and Morale

We all know our limitations as people - I stand 4'8" and and fairly certain about my chances both in front of the bike racks and on the basketball court. I'm sure we all are aware of certain situations where we aren't at our best (and if not I challenge you to chase a bus in 6" heels).

The fact of the matter is that there are times we just can't win.


As a Tau player, I've come to recognize that as brave, noble, and courageous the Firewarrior is, his lack of depth perception is a real hinderence in close combat. I learned it all the harder - I don't take Kroot. I play ghetto Tau - expensive vehicles are too luxurious for my warriors - they're left with two feet and a heartbeat to get around (which, more often than not, they don't).

But I've faced Blood Angels and their Death Companies and massacred them. How? Because I run away like a girl.

It's ALL about the Ethereal.

IMHO, EVERY Tau player should field one. Particularly those fielding static and hybrid armies. Why?

I may be stating the obvious, but Ethereals allow for you to reroll morale rolls. Redundancy aside, it's important to state. Just because you have a reroll for morale rolls, doesn't mean you have to use the reroll to pass it, and similarly just because you pass it doesn't mean you can't use the reroll.

It is easily assumed the reroll was meant to be used to pass leaderships. I have a theory that the game developers wanted Tau players to use the reroll to fail, with significant evidence from the codex to prove it (small squad sizes, ability to regroup below 50% and even probability leaderships *7 or 8* allowing even odds at passing or failing given a reroll).

So here's why running away like a girl was indeed what the game developers intended and how it can be used as an integral Tau tactic, provided an Ethereal is on the table allowing for the rerolls. Instead of posting how it works in theory I decided to excemplify the situations instead - making the meaning clearer.

Situation 1: A Unit Within Charge Range

A group of 6 Stealth Suits (because they're in a more forward position from infiltrating) ends up being within charge range of 10 Assault Marines. The Marines are equipted with pistols. As they're often in the habit of shooting before charging, they shoot the suits, and are well within sight range. Probability dictates that 2 Stealth Suits will die. That's enough for a morale test.

By using the Ethereal, you almost guarantee that those Stealth Suits will run away. Leadership 8 is easy to fail with a reroll. They run away 3d6 inches, meaning they won't be charged, and those Assault Marines will be standing in the open ready to eat lots of firepower.

Furthermore, with the Ethereal, it's VERY easy to regroup Stealth Suits, again using the reroll. They get 3" of consolidation, and would more than likely be within their own 18" range to open up on those Assault Marines afterwards.

Situation 2: A Unit Gets Assaulted


More often than not, particularly with fast armies, Firewarriors see some sort of combat. This rarely ends well for them.

The good thing about their getting assaulted is that there are ways to make it work for you, or at least cut your losses.
The important thing is to remember that in 99.9% of situations, when firewarriors get charged and are thus engaged in close combat it is a losing situation - completely and totally.

It NEVER a good idea to stay engaged, and it is almost favourable to get run down (if you have to) to get out of that situation when it is going into your turn. Why? If those firewarriors live for another round of combat, they're acting as virtual meat shields, protecting the enemy from shooting, and more likely than not, will be wiped out after the second round, going into their turn and thus allowing them to charge into close combat.

This "Run Away Like A Girl" tactic is actually VERY useful as it usually allows you to cut the losses with minimal damage taken. Here's what you do:

1. After getting charged, with any luck, you shouldn't be charged by much - meaning he had to get across the board and should have taken some damage. Unless the firewarriors are the unit with which an Ethereal is attached, DO NOT GIVE THEM PHOTONS. Why? They don't die as fast, meaning you might not run away, meaning you'll be meat shields. NOT GOOD.

2. You're more than likely going LAST with I 2. Remove dead firewarriors from the bases. With any luck, all those in base should be dead. Remember also that there is a 2" kill zone - remove the other firewarriors from there. If they inflict more wounds than that, they're wasted - don't kill more firewarriors than you need to kill.

Because you have no guys in base, you don't get any attacks. Don't sweat this. If you did have attacks you'd probably be hitting on 4 or 5 and wounding on 5 or 6, as opposed to when you're shooting when you hit on 4s and most likely wound on 2 or 3 (against marines, for example, it's hit on 4 wound on 5 with your fist or hit on 4 wound on 3 with your gun - it's a HUGE difference, and your best position is NOT in combat so you can shoot your gun).

3. So the guys in base contact are dead. Take your morale test. Remember modifiers - with any luck you're above 50% but outnumbered (game developers get kudos for again keeping the squads small and thus allowing for easier 25% casualities and outnumbering, making it easier to get out of bad situations) Take the roll. Did you pass? Roll again. If you failed, good stuff. Run away your 2d6.

Here's the important stuff: because you don't have guys in base, they can't run you down. Because they didn't run you down, they didn't massacre you and thus don't get their d6 massacre move but instead get the 3" consolidate move.

That means they should be standing in the open read to eat the firepower you should be ready to dish out.

Again, it should go into your turn, where your regroup, consolidate 3" and rapid fire like nobody's business, along with opening up with the rest of your army.

And in case it needs to be said, if he doesn't do enough damage for you to kill all the guys in base, don't remove the guys in base. Take the guys in the back off, maximize your attacks and give it a good college effort. Do as much damage as possible - but still try to fail. Firewarriors are good as dead, and when its going into your turn it's much more advantageous to kill them and have a chance at shooting the attacking squad than having them live and acting as meat shields, essentially assisting the enemy, then dying as it goes into his turn. And when you fail you might even get lucky roll bigger than he and run away. Even if you get massacred, with sound deployment there shouldn't be anywhere for him to run with his d6 massacre move, and again he should be standing in the open ready to eat lots of other firepower.

These tactics are Ethereal dependant - without the Ethereal, you can't soundly pull these off because you must guarantee the failure.

I know what you skeptics are thinking: The Ethereal still sucks because the Price of Failure is crazy scary.

In my experience, the only times my Ethereal died was when the rest of my army was pretty much messed up and the game was almost already decided. He should NEVER be in a situation where he's in trouble unless the rest of the army is in even worse trouble.

So how do you minimize Price of Failure?
With the new Independant Character rules, it's easy.
Put him near or with a group of 12 Firewarriors. Done. He's protect from just about everything, essentially has a 12 wound retinue (with cover saves if deployed correctly) and the ONLY thing the game that could possibly do damage is a Callidus Assassin, which, again, must cleave through 12 wounds with smart deployment before hitting the Ethereal, and by that time, should be well on his way to deathsville.

To conclude, assault is never good for Tau. It blocks line of sight for all non-vehicle models (as all things in the Tau Army are size 2) and when comparing to hit and to wound rolls of any model in close combat vs. shooting, the numbers always side with shooting - so choose your guns Tau players. Meat sheilds aren't good. Choose guns, run away and play smart - especially when its going into your turn, as so often is the case when you get assaulted.
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Old 05 Jul 2005, 07:47   #2 (permalink)
Shas'Vre
 
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Default Re: How Run Away Like a Girl - Teri's Tau Tactica: Ethereals and Morale

Quote:
Originally Posted by TeriGirl
We all know our limitations as people - I stand 4'8" and and fairly certain about my chances both in front of the bike racks and on the basketball court. I'm sure we all are aware of certain situations where we aren't at our best (and if not I challenge you to chase a bus in 6" heels).

The fact of the matter is that there are times we just can't win.


As a Tau player, I've come to recognize that as brave, noble, and courageous the Firewarrior is, his lack of depth perception is a real hinderence in close combat. I learned it all the harder - I don't take Kroot. I play ghetto Tau - expensive vehicles are too luxurious for my warriors - they're left with two feet and a heartbeat to get around (which, more often than not, they don't).
I'm with you, sister! (I assume, otherwise that is a very misleading user name and the heels comment is simply disturbing). I also never mount up my firewarriors and would prefer to stand my ground with an Ethereal looming around. Semi-static players seem to be rare these days, at least on the boards here.

One thing I should point out, Ethereals allow you to reroll morale checks. Regrouping is a leadership check, so they don't help you reform your beat up stealth suits. Otherwise, this is a well written article and I think it will benefit less experienced players greatly.

Let's get some Karma and a sticky here mods!
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Old 05 Jul 2005, 09:05   #3 (permalink)
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Default Re: How Run Away Like a Girl - Teri's Tau Tactica: Ethereals and Morale

Quote:
Originally Posted by ShadowDeth
Quote:
Originally Posted by TeriGirl
We all know our limitations as people - I stand 4'8" and and fairly certain about my chances both in front of the bike racks and on the basketball court. I'm sure we all are aware of certain situations where we aren't at our best (and if not I challenge you to chase a bus in 6" heels).

The fact of the matter is that there are times we just can't win.


As a Tau player, I've come to recognize that as brave, noble, and courageous the Firewarrior is, his lack of depth perception is a real hinderence in close combat. I learned it all the harder - I don't take Kroot. I play ghetto Tau - expensive vehicles are too luxurious for my warriors - they're left with two feet and a heartbeat to get around (which, more often than not, they don't).
I'm with you, sister! (I assume, otherwise that is a very misleading user name and the heels comment is simply disturbing).* I also never mount up my firewarriors and would prefer to stand my ground with an Ethereal looming around. Semi-static players seem to be rare these days, at least on the boards here.
Indeed semi-static players are relatively rare, though I am one of those few myself (but I despise Ethereals, and play Farsight). So you can guess this article probably wont be much use to many members here, but it's quite a reasonable article there TeriGirl, so may be worthy of a slot in the tactics link. As such...

Quote:
Originally Posted by ShadowDeth
Let's get some Karma and a sticky here mods!
Done and done, the topic has been linked into the Important Topics thread.
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Old 05 Jul 2005, 10:29   #4 (permalink)
Shas'El
 
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Default Re: How Run Away Like a Girl - Teri's Tau Tactica: Ethereals and Morale

Personally, i never run the risk of engaging my suits in combat. I only field a cowardly shas'el. I find tau elites are too unreliable to be truly effective. no other elite unit requires a 200 point fast attack unit to do its job properly!

Secondly, you should be able to avoid close combat through a few methods:

I play a hybrid force. if im facing an assault army, i deploy all my troops out of the transports. simply put, i shoot the buggers to death.
secondly, target priority should keep you safe. it goes like this
(1) anything that can assault you next turn
(2) anything that can blow up your tanks
(3) support weapon squads (ie shooty)

any assault troop gets close to my lines, they are facing 44+ fire warriors. and 3 hammerheads and 15 kroot. rapid firing turns them to atoms in my experience. and if i don't have a reasonable chance of kinning them, my footsloggers run, and my fish squads mount up.

I agree though on taking the etherial. he's pretty good for 50 points, and your opponent will usually be more worried about other parts of your list to go leader-sniping. i've seen him used to good effect. I do dislike how his rule only allows morale checks to be re-rolled. that is 3 things: 25% casualties. losing an assault. and i can't remember the other one!
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Old 05 Jul 2005, 11:02   #5 (permalink)
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Default Re: How Run Away Like a Girl - Teri's Tau Tactica: Ethereals and Morale

Quote:
Originally Posted by Deadnight


I agree though on taking the etherial. he's pretty good for 50 points, and your opponent will usually be more worried about other parts of your list to go leader-sniping. i've seen him used to good effect. I do dislike how his rule only allows morale checks to be re-rolled. that is 3 things: 25% casualties. losing an assault. and i can't remember the other one!
Tank shock?

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Old 05 Jul 2005, 12:25   #6 (permalink)
Shas'Vre
 
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Default Re: How Run Away Like a Girl - Teri's Tau Tactica: Ethereals and Morale

This is a good, basic article but there are a few instances of slightly wrong math being used in it that might lead some readers to overestimate the effectiveness of the tactics outlined.

Quote:
Originally Posted by TeriGirl
Situation 1: A Unit Within Charge Range

A group of 6 Stealth Suits (because they're in a more forward position from infiltrating) ends up being within charge range of 10 Assault Marines. The Marines are equipted with pistols. As they're often in the habit of shooting before charging, they shoot the suits, and are well within sight range. Probability dictates that 2 Stealth Suits will die. That's enough for a morale test.
Probability actually dictates that less than 1.5 (1.48 to be more precise) stealth suits will die, meaning most of the time you won't get a morale check. In addition, some opponents will choose not to fire if there's a risk of eliminating the models within charge range.

Quote:
By using the Ethereal, you almost guarantee that those Stealth Suits will run away. Leadership 8 is easy to fail with a reroll.
Not really: On a LD 8, you have a 72.2% chance of passing the test. Using the reroll, you still have a 47.8% chance of passing both checks which means it's roughly a 50/50 chance.


Quote:
Furthermore, with the Ethereal, it's VERY easy to regroup Stealth Suits, again using the reroll. They get 3" of consolidation, and would more than likely be within their own 18" range to open up on those Assault Marines afterwards.
The ethereal doesn't help with the regrouping roll though so his presence is irrelevant.


Quote:
Put him near or with a group of 12 Firewarriors. Done. He's protect from just about everything, essentially has a 12 wound retinue (with cover saves if deployed correctly) and the ONLY thing the game that could possibly do damage is a Callidus Assassin, which, again, must cleave through 12 wounds with smart deployment before hitting the Ethereal, and by that time, should be well on his way to deathsville.
That's probably a major over-statement though. If you put the ethereal with a group of FWs he loses his IC status and that makes him prone to any overlapping wounds caused on the FW troop. Things that could do that include massed HB fire (e.g., from devastators) or a pie-plate. He's also targetable in CC. OTOH, leaving him by himself near a group makes him much harder to kill from fire but he could get toasted by a bad deviation from IDF b/c if it happens to land on him he doesn't have anyone to take the wound for him.

I'm a big fan of ethereals though I generally don't play with one nowadays since I play FW-lite. For a static army he's essential though. You might want to check out the "Tau Brace" discussions for other ideas on how you can use him. These are some nice tips though on how to use him.

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Old 05 Jul 2005, 15:20   #7 (permalink)
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Default Re: How Run Away Like a Girl - Teri's Tau Tactica: Ethereals and Morale

Interesting article. It's nice to hear the non-mech Tau players speak up.
I tend to field my FWs on foot, since I play fairly small games, 500-600 points, and can't really justify the cost of Devilfishes for my squads. (2 fish or a stealth squad? I can't say no to the suits ) Also it leaves a hole in the pocket to buy them too.


The ethereal doesn't help with regrouping?that's not good, I'll have to look that one up.
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Old 05 Jul 2005, 15:42   #8 (permalink)
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Default Re: How Run Away Like a Girl - Teri's Tau Tactica: Ethereals and Morale

wow, I never thought about Ethereal's that way!
Maybe I'll win a game now!
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Old 05 Jul 2005, 15:53   #9 (permalink)
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Default Re: How Run Away Like a Girl - Teri's Tau Tactica: Ethereals and Morale

[quote=Waldo_Pepper]
This is a good, basic article but there are a few instances of slightly wrong math being used in it that might lead some readers to overestimate the effectiveness of the tactics outlined.

Quote:
Quote:
A group of 6 Stealth Suits (because they're in a more forward position from infiltrating) ends up being within charge range of 10 Assault Marines. The Marines are equipted with pistols. As they're often in the habit of shooting before charging, they shoot the suits, and are well within sight range. Probability dictates that 2 Stealth Suits will die. That's enough for a morale test.
Probability actually dictates that less than 1.5 (1.48 to be more precise) stealth suits will die, meaning most of the time you won't get a morale check. In addition, some opponents will choose not to fire if there's a risk of eliminating the models within charge range.
10 shoot. 6 or 7 hit. 4 or 5 wound. 1/3rd of that save, meaning about 2. And that's just one stealth squad at full strength. With only one unit shooting at it, which is pretty unlikely.

I've used this specifically with my stealth suits - it only works once, but you'd be surprised on the tournament circuit (meaning experienced, vetran gamers) how often, by force of habit, they shoot before charging.

[quote]
Quote:
By using the Ethereal, you almost guarantee that those Stealth Suits will run away. Leadership 8 is easy to fail with a reroll.
Not really: On a LD 8, you have a 72.2% chance of passing the test. Using the reroll, you still have a 47.8% chance of passing both checks which means it's roughly a 50/50 chance.[quote]
That's exactly it - equal chances of failing or passing with the reroll. So in all probability, you should be either passing or failing on the second roll, if your first roll didn't yeild the result you wanted.

[quote]
Quote:
Furthermore, with the Ethereal, it's VERY easy to regroup Stealth Suits, again using the reroll. They get 3" of consolidation, and would more than likely be within their own 18" range to open up on those Assault Marines afterwards.
The ethereal doesn't help with the regrouping roll though so his presence is irrelevant.[quote]

I'm not sure about that - if falling back is a morale check, you'd think regrouping would be similarly. I'll check the rulebook on it.

Quote:
That's probably a major over-statement though. If you put the ethereal with a group of FWs he loses his IC status and that makes him prone to any overlapping wounds caused on the FW troop.
NOT in close combat. IC rules say specifically that ICs MUST be in base in order for them to attack or be attacked (it applies similarly to Shas'Os and Aus'Shi, though they make it clearer in the FAQ regarding Aun'Shi specifically). Again - its very much about smart deployment - if a pie plate does hit, you can choose models to remove - they don't have to be specifically under the template, and remember that majority rules are in effect now - and the Firewarriors should ALWAYS be in majority.

And I don't play FW-lite. I field a full 72 in games of 1500 or more, and usually 48 in 1000. I think they are the greatest troop choice in the game, though I do wish I could have bigger squads.
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Old 05 Jul 2005, 19:24   #10 (permalink)
Shas'El
 
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Default Re: How Run Away Like a Girl - Teri's Tau Tactica: Ethereals and Morale

Quote:
Originally Posted by TeriGirl

NOT in close combat. IC rules say specifically that ICs MUST be in base in order for them to attack or be attacked (it applies similarly to Shas'Os and Aus'Shi, though they make it clearer in the FAQ regarding Aun'Shi specifically). Again - its very much about smart deployment - if a pie plate does hit, you can choose models to remove - they don't have to be specifically under the template, and remember that majority rules are in effect now - and the Firewarriors should ALWAYS be in majority.

And I don't play FW-lite. I field a full 72 in games of 1500 or more, and usually 48 in 1000. I think they are the greatest troop choice in the game, though I do wish I could have bigger squads.
still, if you get stuck in close combat, the next turn, all your guys must move to be in base-to-base contact. in any case, it should be easy enough to get the etherial in contact if you take a large squad of assault troops. ironically though, i've seen an etherial hold off bloodletters in combat..... still, i never roll high enough for my d6" fall back distance. my fire warriors always tend to get run down.
EDIT: you did forget to mention the close combat morale check modifiers. they usually mean FWs are rolling off ld7, or 6 in any case. making them more likely to run.
and vindicare assassins, or mind war farseers can be....annoying to an etherial.

By the way, im curious. With regard to your fire warriors. i field 40+ in 5 squads in 1000 points. along with 3 hammerheads and an etherial. do you take devilfish for your fire warriors, out of curiosity? or kroot?

I'd agree though, fire warriors,* are among the best basic troops in the game (as opposed to elite troops) and in general, can match elite troops in ranged combat. point for point, they have a kill ratio that is virtually equal to SMs.

and one last question; why did you put your stealthsuits so close to an assault squad?
the smart thing for any tau player to do is to avoid it to the best of their ability, on the first place. except for kroot. they can hold their own against most things. ;D
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