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Monday, February 22, 2010

Armies in 5th: Tau Part 6: Summary




Sorry for the hiatus, life calls on the weekends generally for me :O.

Well I've had some pretty good feedback on these articles so thanks to everyone who posted a comment, sent e-mails, told me online in person or simply ignored me for the positive feedback. Glad I can be of some help.

So to wrap up the Tau series. We've looked at all the units that are your best investment in points within the Tau codex. They either do something nothing else in the army can (Piranhas) or do it a premium points cost (Crisis suits). The units we haven't looked in depth at don't do enough for what you are paying for them, are too singular in their purpose (like Fire warriors, TL-MP suits, etc. [though we looked at these]) or something else in the codex does it better at a better points ratio (i.e. Stealth suits compared to Crisis suits).

Some of these units are more usable than others (such as the FW and TL-MP suits we touched on) but the list you get is a lot less flexible and units have a lot more defined roles. Remember an army with units A,B,C to take out infantry and D,E,F for anti-tank is worse than an army with L,M,N,O all capable of both. As a general you are less confined in your choices and your battle plan is a lot more flexible.

Whilst the Tau army book has limited choices in what you can take (even if you include TL-MPs and FW) the ability for a Tau army to keep firing through it's defensive screens, delay super units and deny cover makes it one of the best armies in the game. The main weakness is it's obvious reliance on shooting (wow! :O). A poor showing in the early rounds of shooting against lists like Eldar and IG can spell doom for Tau as these armies are able to break through the Tau's army lines. This needs to be kept in mind when making your army list and playing these armies. So let's look at my army list:

HQ -
Shas’el w/TL’d Missile Pod, Target-lock

Elites -
Crisis x3 w/Plasma Rifle, Missile Pod, Multi-tracker

Crisis x3 w/Plasma Rifle, Missile Pod, Multi-tracker

Crisis x3 w/Plasma Rifle, Missile Pod, Multi-tracker

Troops -
Fire Warriors x6

Kroot x10
Hounds

Kroot x10
Hounds x7

Fast Attack -
Pathfinders x8
Devilfish w/SMS, Multi-tracker, Disruption Pods, Targeting Array

Piranhas x2 w/Fusion Blasters, Targeting Array, 1 Disruption Pod

Piranhas x2 w/Fusion Blasters, Targeting Array, 1 Disruption Pod

Heavy Support -
Broadsides x3 w/Advanced Stablisation System, Team Leader w/hard-wired Drone controller, 2 shield drones & hard-wired TL

Hammerhead w/Railgun, SMS, Multi-tracker, Disruption Pod

Hammerhead w/Railgun, SMS, Multi-tracker, Disruption Pod

Total: 1999
13 suits (+2 drones)
41 infantry
7 tanks

This is a bit different from what I commonly see (2 full 17 Kroot squads, only 2 Broadsides and a PR/MP HQ) but I've been using this list lately for the extra broadside (I think it's worth the less Hounds and less efficient HQ). You can obviously fiddle here and there to make things different and I will often run the setup I just spoke of amongst others.

So the analysis;

This list has one clear mono-role unit in the broadsides (+ the HQ & FWs but they are mandatory choices and don't impact the list too significantly). It's task is anti-tank and really only has minimal anti-infantry through SMS. ASS is a must to try and stay as mobile as possible and hopefully get some shots off in DoW. Every other unit runs as a dual purpose unit.

Kroot -> defense and anti-infantry
Piranha -> defense and anti-tank
Suits -> anti-infantry and anti-light tank
Devilfish -> defense, anti-infantry and scoring APC
Hammerheads -> anti-infantry and anti-tank

With this list it becomes a lot clearer in why Broadsides are more popular in 5th and a "must have" in your 5th edition army. Every unit that is anti-tank is better at anti-infantry or defense. Mech generally does not scare Tau (except during poor T1/T2 shooting days) but imagine a list without those 2-3 Broadsides. Suddenly mech becomes a lot more potent against Tau. Whilst a mono-style unit like Broadsides runs against the trend of 5th edition 40k and the way balanced armies work, they are so good at what they do + have the ability to split fire and the staying power of W2/T4/2+ (with 4+ cover) to be worth it.

Lists like these therefore take advantage of what the current army book has to offer. It's very hard to assault Tau early on due to their defensive blocks and screens which are able to target your more important units and delay them. By having guns which decimate lighter targets and enough anti-infantry firepower to scare anything that pops out Tau are very hard to advance against and other than relying on their shooting have no "auto-lose" match-ups (for example on a bad shooting day Tau are going to suffer against Mech spam armies but IG have a much bigger midfield presence and can hope their shooting is much better later in game, etc.).

Overall Tau is one of the better armies in 5th though I eagerly await their new book whenever it comes out and hope GW doesn't botch it too badly (from their latest 4 books I have high hopes for Tau). I hope people have walked away from these articles wanting to play Tau or at least understanding what they can do in 5th under a competent general. Overall I hope you enjoyed these articles and if you have any questions ask away.

12 pinkments:

Rathstar said...

Really good set of articles on the Tau, it's a shame you've finished them. I suppose other armies need a help too :)

I'm still to try out pihranas, so my comments may change after I use them, but I thought a second unit of pathfinders would help more than a second pihrana squadron, just the fact the it splits the markerlights up into 2 units.

I'm also surpirsed at the upgrades on the devilfish, cutting back to just a disruption pod would allow you to increase the kroot back to what they were, improving the defense line.

My personally favorite would be to drop the devilfish upgrades (apart from the d.pod), add 2 kroot hounds to the small squad, and you'd still have pts to change a pihrana sqradron to a 2nd unit of pathfinders (8 plus fish with disruption pod).

Are these ideas worthwhile ?

Rathstar

Kirby said...

Glad you enjoyed them Rathstar.

In regards to fish upgrades, the 120 pt "Warfish" gives a very good torrent platform with 7 S5 BS4 shots on the move (and also doesn't count as 2 KP but we don't really care about that). If you don't run SMS you certainly don't need the rest bar D-pods but it becomes much more defensive in its use but 7 S5 shots is nothing to sneer at.

With the second PF unit you really need another 6 man FW squad to make it scoring but as I mentioned in my PF article it does come down to wanting PF or Piranhas. At lower point levels more markerlights is worse as you don't have enough guns to take advantage of it. The trade-off at 2k points is improving twice as many guns or having 2 more fusion guns threaten and be able to block another unit.

IMO being able to block another unit is very important (or against a Horde army which according to Warseer is the bane of Tau..wtf? you can block 2/3 of their army with correct spacing). Rarely do you see single LRs with termies so being able to block two raiders becomes more important. The fact that the Tau army has so many guns outside of the FA slot also means not being able to raise BS or remove cover for twice as many guns isn't huge.

Again though if you can fit in 6 FW for that second fish it certainly isn't a bad list. Here's an example:

HQ -
Shas’el w/Plasma Rifle, Missile Pod, Multi-tracker, HW target lock

Elites -
Crisis x3 w/Plasma Rifle, Missile Pod, Multi-tracker

Crisis x3 w/Plasma Rifle, Missile Pod, Multi-tracker

Crisis x3 w/Plasma Rifle, Missile Pod, Multi-tracker

Troops -
Fire Warriors x6

Fire Warriors x6

Kroot x10

Kroot x10
Hounds x3

Fast Attack -
Pathfinders x8
Devilfish w/SMS, Multi-tracker, Disruption Pods, Targeting Array

Pathfinders x8
Devilfish w/SMS, Multi-tracker, Disruption Pods, Targeting Array

Piranhas x2 w/Fusion Blasters, Targeting Array, 1 Disruption Pod

Heavy Support -
Broadsides x2 w/Advanced Stablisation System, Team Leader w/hard-wired Drone controller, 2 shield drones & hard-wired TL

Hammerhead w/Railgun, SMS, Multi-tracker, Disruption Pod

Hammerhead w/Railgun, SMS, Multi-tracker, Disruption Pod

Total: 1985
12 suits (+2 drones)
52 infantry
6 tanks

More to your liking? 15 pts to play with.

Rathstar said...

Nice alternative list, however I can see that both the anti-tank (9 down to 6 AP1 weapons) and the kroot defense is a lot less.

I'm trim pts to get the 3rd broadside back (eg. stripping the devilfish upgrades together with the spare pts).

Also is the second unit of fire warriors worth it. If the 4th unit of troops is useful I prefer 10 kroot for 10 more pts. Even without a 4th troop choice to carry the 2nd devilfish can still be used for:
1) delaying tactics like the pihranas
2) picking up the small kroot unit if it's not needed to delay an assault
3) contesting objectives
4) being a reserve if the first devilfish is destroyed

I only play 1750 pt games, so I'm wondering what to lose to fit in pihranas in my list; what do you think would be better to lose: Either 1 broadside and 1 fireknife or losing one of my two units of 6 pathfinders (incl their devilfish) ?

Rathstar

GWvsJohn said...

Totally off topic, but would you be up for a Tyranid list review/critique if I emailed you a list I've been working on?

Kirby said...

Sure John.

@1750 points I'd immediately say the 6 PF and up the other PF to 8 just because you have that many less guns.

I agree the alternate list isn't as good but with the extra FW fish you'll find objective missions where you're not wiping your enemy

Anonymous said...

I agree with Kirby

Anonymous said...

Are you a fanboi of Stelek?

Kirby said...

Nope but I know how 40k works, isn't that nice Anon?

ryan said...

What do you think about 9 broadsides?

Broadsides x3 w/TA's, Team leader W/HW-Drone Control 2 shield drones and target lock?
840pts for 3 squads

I would say drop the piranhas and with the other 2 hammerheads gone this only cost 10 more points. If you can't take down the armor with 9 TL-railguns that hit on 3's then with that bad of dice your going to lose anyways and being able to block with the piranhas wouldn't make any difference.

Kirby said...

At 2000 pts, not a fan as you lose a lot of anti-infantry and defenses. Whilst you'll be popping all tanks early, most Tau armies do this anyway and you don't have enough firepower to drop all the infantry coming at you. Against foot based lists like Jumpers you'll also have a hard time.

As an upgrade to 2.5k, sounds good.

Roger said...

I've been totting for here, reading a lot of great and useful articles, specially those concerning TAU, but i'm surprised that none of them covers objective grabbing/holding. 2/3 of games are about holding objectives, wich Tau are some ill-suited for. Also it seems difficult with only one scoring unit (FW),surviving the late game...
What about some tips about objective holding with TAU?

Kirby said...

I'll write up a general post about that Roger this week sometime (in relation to all armies). Can apply it to Tau and if need further assistance let me know.

Glad you've enjoyed the articles.

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