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How do you kill marines?
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Old 07 Jul 2005, 03:23   #1 (permalink)
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Default How do you kill marines?

Humans. The galactic cockroaches. They just won't die. They have 3+ armor (and 2+). One single marine can destroy a fire warrior squad in close combat. On top of that, we aren't much better at shooting. Bolters hit more often and wound as often against our toughness as ours against theirs. For every weapon in our arsenal, they have some nasty plasma doohickey or las-obliterator or psychic cluster bomb that is just as effective, if not more.

As a new player, this is really bothering me. Maybe my army sucks. Maybe I suck. Maybe I would lose against everyone... I can't tell because I've only played marines so far! (ok... I've played twice against guard, a Winning Draw and Narrow loss, unlike the usual marine slaughter.) Every goddamn player plays some kind of marines. Blue marines and black marines and red marines and girl marines and psycho chaos marines. It's beginning to make me regret starting the hobby.

For how unbelieveably bad Tau are in close combat, you would think they should have a substantial advantage at shooting. If even one marine from any squad makes it to your lines, even the chapter latrine-digger, you are toast. He'll hit you with his Power shovel and kill an average of 10 fire warriors a turn. I can't remember the last time I saw a single fire warrior shoot down a marine squad. For that matter, I can't remember the last time a FW squad, or two, shot down a space marine squad. Sure, you can make them take a morale test. What is their leadership again? 12? 13? I've played at least 10 games against marines, and I've never seen them fail a morale check. And more than half your shots bounce off his armor while bolters, heavy bolters, and ubiquitous plasma and psychic weaponry cut you apart constantly.

How often do you get into combat with marines in a winning game? How do you shoot them without getting shot? The only thing that seems to work for me is twin-linked plasma. I'm thinking of fielding two six-man FW squads with 15 crisis suits. And broadsides. They can damage marines, sometimes.
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Old 07 Jul 2005, 03:43   #2 (permalink)
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Default Re: How the $#@% do you kill marines?

Firewarriors shooting marines is bad. Shoot them with Ion Cannons and your plasma rifles. Also focus all your firepower at one squad and take them down one by one. Another thing about marines is that they are very slow on foot, you shouldn't have trouble dancing around them then. If they're in rhinos, take out the rhinos. Pretty much every gun in our arsenal can shoot down a rhino. They'll be like a stick in the mud for you to shoot at without their transports.
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Old 07 Jul 2005, 03:44   #3 (permalink)
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Default Re: How the $#@% do you kill marines?


A noteable problem for many players. However, it would be very helpful if you described what all you have in your army, what you're facing off against (ie: What do these marine players generally field against you that is hurting so bad?). Also, a full line up of what models you have.

The next thing to talk about, would be how you're fighting already. Do you follow a target priority scheme, or just split up fire and shoot whatever tempts you? And on that note, do you use the Tau to focus your firepower, or do you indeed split it up? Are you playing a mechanized, more hybrid or even a stationary force?

Usually, it's not a problem of what units you have in your army, or what your enemy has in his army, but more a problem of how you're using those units to select targets in this army in a better fashion.

So with that, the more information that you can give us, the better we can develop a good layout of help for you

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Old 07 Jul 2005, 03:47   #4 (permalink)
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Default Re: How the $#@% do you kill marines?

I have to ask, are you playing by the rules that a WS 2 Tau only hits a Marine on a 6? *If so, you should check the revised hit tables; a Fire Warrior still hits a Marine on a 4+, thank Aun'O for small graces. *Under the old hit tables, I actually used my Shas'Ui to kill the Sarge - after he killed the rest of my whole squad!

As far as crisis goes, TLPR is always the way to go, as plasma wounds on a 2+ and negates pesky power armour (PPA).

Some other things that kill marines dead (I sound like a mosquito-spray infomercial) are Seeker Missiles (Instant Kill, negates powr armour, hits on a 2+ etc.) and Ion Cannons - AP3 is your friend!

Lastly, don't beat yourself up, you don't suck. *GW loves Marines and doesn't give a flying Gaunt detritus about anything else, but unless you want to break into GW headquarters with a nuke strapped to your chest, nothing we can do about it.

Hope this helps!
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Old 07 Jul 2005, 04:20   #5 (permalink)
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Default Re: How the $#@% do you kill marines?

Well technically 5+ was the worst 'to hit' you could get in close combat in 3rd edition. But it's true, they've changed the tables slightly so only models with more then double WS get hit on a 5+ now. Sure, they'll still hit you on a 3+, which would hurt, but every little helps...

Maybe you should try using Kroot to screen your Fire Warriors - it sounds like your opponants just charge at you rather then shoot, so maybe that's the answer.

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Old 07 Jul 2005, 04:21   #6 (permalink)
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Default Re: How the $#@% do you kill marines?

Auin'Myrrath: No, I play with 4th ed rules. Still, I generally get 1 or 2 hits through to wound in combat, and 3+ armor makes that useless. I know, the laws of probability say that one marine should die some time, but it never happens for me. My commanders have had better luck, but that means they're not shooting.

My models:

1 Ethereal

3 Crisis suits, magnetic (with a fourth cannibalized for weapons)

24 fire warriors
12 more fire warriors, who had their trial by fire today

16 kroot, also brand new

6 Stealth suits who can't hit the broad side of a broadside

1 devilfish

1 hammerhead

12 gun drones or so... may be some more floating around

2 borrowed broadsides, sans-shield drones.

I know how to prioritize targets and focus fire, but there is not enough firepower. I tend to play a more static force because a mech one seems even more complicated to use, and I must be doing something wrong with this one.

Mostly these are marines without vehicles. There is nothing for my big guns to shoot at. My medium guns are constantly firing, and my small guns are ineffective. I played a sisters player with an exorcist and a transport, blew up the transport, couldn't get the exorcist. Jetpack assault got me there.

One guy has cursed founding... toughness 5. Small guns even less effective. Another player has been sniping my crisis suits with vortex of doom - which I just learned is supposed to scatter. In today's game he deepstruck a termie squad with a librarian into my FW. They all had invulnerable saves, too. I managed to kill all but the librarian, who assaulted. Combat ended on my turn, so he got to shoot me again.

Basically what I see over and over is loads of marines with zero, one or at most two vehicles. Too many marines come walking down the field, and by turn 3 or 4 I'm in combat with a mostly intact squad. I have usually killed a squad or two, sometimes the remnants of these vanguard squads will survive and kill me. If not, the reinforcing squads are more than enough - by the time the front squads die, the others are within charging range. At the end of the game, My whole army is dead and he has 1-3 squads dead or damaged, with most of his army remaining.

I would like to know, I guess:
-What should my army consist of? Should I get more crisis suits?
-Where should my fire warriors be? When do I fire long range, when do I move into or out of rapid fire range, when do I run? I don't understand how to use the devilfish effectively, I find it nearly useless. What do I do with it? Without it?
-What should my forward troops, Kroot and Stealth Suits, be doing?
-How should my army be deployed? (as the units relate to each other, and the opponent)
-What should be in cover? Behind cover? When choosing board sides or placing terrain, what sort of things am I looking for?

I know all of this will come with experience, but I am sick of spending all day standing around at GW just to rack up another marine loss or two. It's very hard to figure out what's working and what's not when everything results in a loss.
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Old 07 Jul 2005, 04:56   #7 (permalink)
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Default Re: How the $#@% do you kill marines?

I find that the single most important thing that newer players tend to forget about is the fact that SMurfs cost significantly more than Tau. Their Tactical Marines cost 15 pts, while our Fire Warriors cost 10. We save five points on our regular troops by bypassing our CC abilities, while we can dish out simular amounts of damage as a SMurf with a bolter. With this in mind, for every bolter shot that comes your way, you should have at least two or three Pulse fire back at them. We have a significant numerical advantage over the SMurfs with our FWs, as they tend to bulk out their squads with Las/Plas, as well as who knows what else. SMurf players like to deck out their guys, bringing our tally up to something like five to one at times when it comes to sheer shot count at 18+ range, and often even more at 12".
Our pulse weapons are our saviors. They're powerful against anything, as they are numorous enough to take down power armour, as well as swarms, and have the power to punch through even the thoughese infantry, and at least 60% of all vehicles' front armour in the game.
Another thing that is forgotten is that Static Tau is often a losing strategy, unless if you can find some uber strategy and model combination, and that's generally not recommended, as it is still weak against fast assaulters.
Take advantage of your vehicles, as they're cheap, durable, and have a reasonable amount of firepower. Of course, "reasonable" is as big of an understatement as saying the US has a reasonable number of bombs when it comes to Hammer Heads. Remember that skimmers can block model movement, but don't block line of sight.
Also remember that Tau generally work best when you move 90% of your army to face off against 50% of theirs. Block LOS by manouvering around terrain, and engage isolated groups. We're fast. Not Eldar fast, but we're still fast, and that means we're still faster than SMurfs.
Tau is also a team army. Tau works like a machine. A well maintained, well oiled machine can work towards greater results than the sum of it's parts. That is what Tau is, and that is what you need to keep in mind when you play Tau. Use one squad to assist another. Every other army can either out-weather us, or out-number us, so we need to work our armies like a proper team to function to it's greatest extent. Support one squad with another, as squad against squad, they'll beat us when we're brought to that level of combat.
A good example is actually, if you take three ten model squads of FWs, against two ten model squads of SMurfs, you don't split your fire at both squads. You take one down, passing the baton from one squad to another, moving in tandem, supporting each other to eliminate them. Unlike them, we suffer moral problems constantly if you let them whittle down your squads one at a time. Don't let them. When one squad takes a beating, move them away into cover or something, and let the others take over, until the same happens, then you rotate. There are varying degrees you can take this, but this ensures that you have maximum fighting capacity, while having no support from a tank-shocking Devil-Fish, a pie-plate throwing RailHead, a hopping Stealth squad, a Marker-lighting Pathfinder squad, or any number of other options you have. You can even use drones to assault one of the SMurf squads to keep it occupied or something. But even if you don't have that, there are still many options available, as long as you don't split up your squads meaninglessly.
Remember the Mont'ka and the Kauyon. They are the basis of every effective battle strategy.

Work as a team, and you will start to wonder why the SMurfs gave you such a hard time in the first place ^_^.

Originally Posted by DireStrike
I would like to know, I guess:
-What should my army consist of? Should I get more crisis suits?
-Where should my fire warriors be? When do I fire long range, when do I move into or out of rapid fire range, when do I run? I don't understand how to use the devilfish effectively, I find it nearly useless. What do I do with it? Without it?
-What should my forward troops, Kroot and Stealth Suits, be doing?
-How should my army be deployed? (as the units relate to each other, and the opponent)
-What should be in cover? Behind cover? When choosing board sides or placing terrain, what sort of things am I looking for?
I presume you play at 1k pts?
1 - Quite simply, avoid the BS for now, as well as the Ethereal.
As well, you should have at least two squads of FWs, and your Kroot as well. Stealths are great, but only if you take maximum advantage of the rules about them. JSJ whenever you can, and use them as support, or as the initial volley before the others start to pound at the SMurfs.
Take the DF with 12 FWs, and use it as reaction support. The transport alone can stop assaults if positioned properly.
HH is good with either configurations (Ion or Rail), but the Ion is generally better in this situation.
Your crisis should take Plasma, including your Shas'el. Missile pods or burst cannons for the second weapon, or you can just Twin Link the Plasma on your Shas'ui.
2 - Your FWs should take maximum advantage of their range for as long as you can. Move backwards while firing, skoot sideways when fireing. Do anything to stay out of LOS of as many squads as you can, while firing at a single squad when you can. They should only rapid-fire when you're sure that you can kill that squad that particular turn. Don't risk them into assault if you don't have to.
The DF is not just a vehicle to move a squad to a better location to kill. It's a vehicle that protects that squad, as well as a object of fury for your opponent. Use it to block movement. Tank-shock a squad that's getting close to more vulnerable units. There's a variety of things you can do if you just use your imagination.
3 - Forward troops should be only far enough forward to target your opponent's forward troops. Otherwise, they will be assaulted on turn one. When assault is eminent, don't engage yourself. For Kroot, stay in cover. Stealths can just hop wherever they want, as long as it's not disadvantagous. If they assault your guys, you still have a chance, as you still get to attack first in CC. Whittle down their numbers enough so that you won't die immediately. Kroot are also good as counter-chargers. This is when you're opponent assaults your guys, then the Kroot assaults that squad to assist those who need it the most.
4 - Deployment is up to you. Look at what's being fielded, as well as where. Also take into considerations the cover. Tau vehicles are vulnerable during the first turn, as they havn't moved yet, so they can be good units to cover like that.
5 - Cover is also up to your discression. The only thing that HAVES to be in cover is Kroot, as they die quickly without it.

Well, take your leave and enjoy yourself. Remember, that learning your strengths and weaknesses is essential to any commander, but it is the one who turns their weaknesses into their strength is the one who becomes a general.
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Old 07 Jul 2005, 05:42   #8 (permalink)
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Default Re: How do you kill marines?

ok, this will be fun ;D! I've played my fair share of SMurfs as I'm sure most everyone on this forum will agree with me. First off, your army list. Your looking for other things you should get? I would suggest getting another Crisis so you can put him on HQ duty, probably a Shas'el with WLMP/PR/HWMT for less then 1000 points. For anything over 1k or preferablly at or over 1.5k use a Shas'o with MP/PR/FB/HWMT. As Crossfc mentioned, on foot SMurfs are slooww. This is a great asset to you. The Tau (aside from the Dark Eldar), are kings of mobility. It's kinda hard for the power weapon weilding SMurfs to get to you if your constantly out of their range. For this you need to get another Devilfish or two if possible. Then load them up, the Devilfish is an excellent transport since it moves far, has decent armour for a transport and since it is a skimmer there is this neat lil tactic called Fish of Fury that I'm sure you'll have no problem finding a thread to teach you all about it. I would recomment Seeker Missiles for your vehicles, but since I don't see any Pathfinder, well that won't work.
You wanted to know what models to put in cover? Kroot, that would be my number 1 choice. It you get the option to use forrests, definately go for it, Kroot may not have the Sv out in the open, but put them in cover and they become just as good and in many cases better then Firewarriors.
Stealth Suits are also your friend in so many ways. Infillrating gets them way up in front of your main lines and with a full squad of 6 like what you have, you can pump out some serious shots. Stealths, because of their packs, have far better mobility then SMurfs to you should be able to jump in and out of cover never allowing your opponent a shot at them. Plus because they can move twice as fast as any basic troop, if they look like they're getting in trouble, just run them out of there, the nice thing about that too is that you can run and shoot at the same time, praise the Burst Cannon.
Between your Hammerhead and Broadsides, for smaller games with not many vehicles, you have more then enough heavy support to punch through even the hardest 2+ Sv. Plus the HH being a skimmer as well, it extremely mobile for the weapons it can have...just keep that Multi-tracker on it.
As far as terrain, for firing avenues, obviously you're going to want to minimize any cover Sv's your oppenent can get. Try to look for obstacles at a mid range, something so you can jump your Crisis and Stealth suits in and out of.
For those Termites your facing. Using Devilfish to mobilitze your troops as well as your suits will fix that, just keep them moving. If he DS's just load up and get the heck out of there, then start working on them.
As far as your small arms, namely the Pulse Rifle and Carbine...never underestimate them. For a basic troop weapon that costs nothing for a warrior that only costs 10 points, they are a heck of a deal. Most of the guys I play with my Tau fear my Pulse Rifles with a passion. A testement to them took place just last night for me. One squad of Fire Warriors dropped a jazzed up Hive Tyrannt at Rapid fire range. Given it was alittle bit of luck on my part, but the ability of a basic troop to be able to drop a Monsterous Creature with Toughness of 6 and a 2+ Sv really says something.

When going against SMurfs, using a static army would probably work better at the 1.5k+ point level. Up the that point the Tau really don't have the massive fire power they have the potential for. For lower point games, I would strongly suggest keeping mobile.

Keep us in touch with how the battles are going, and if you can, get us lists of the oppenents that are giving trouble, I'm sure we'll find a solution to them.

Good Luck!
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Old 07 Jul 2005, 05:59   #9 (permalink)
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Default Re: How do you kill marines?

ion cannons three of them can really mess up some SM
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Old 07 Jul 2005, 07:37   #10 (permalink)
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Default Re: How do you kill marines?

I find shooting at marines kills them, personally.

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