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Monday, March 1, 2010

Email in: Ninja tau

Email in from MagicJuggler:

This is MagicJuggler btw.

The internet is retarded. People still believe in Ninja Tau...up to write an article on how to bust it?

I've done this a few times on the forums and agree with you. So I'll gladly hit down on Ninja Tau again :p.

Ninja Tau uses the special wargear positional relay to delay the majority of the army by allowing a unit to come on from reserve very reliably (first failure, most Ninja tau lists who get the bad roll and screw this up, are screwed). They do this to deny damage to their units and come on en masse late game for an alpha strike with 2/3 of their army.

So this fails for a lot of reasons.

1) tau are a great shooting army. You're stopping them from shooting. That's bad. You're doing your opponent's job
2) Tau are a great shooting army and not shooting at your opponent allows him to get close to your side of the board unmolested. This is a win for the other army
3) combined with 2 it's hard to utilises blocking and screens which means in those couple of turns Tau are on the board, they are in combat or being melta'd
4) the Ninja tau are relying on their unit with the special wargear option to survive and when it doesn't, lots of short-ranged guys come in and can get pummelled by long ranged armies
5) Ninja tau bleed units. It's designed to minimise KPs but you're sending in single units for the first 4 turns (plus what starts on the table). The enemy is quite capable of dealing with a unit a turn tyvm
6) how do you get to midfield objectives? oh right Ninja tau doesn't unless you want to DS contest with Suits or something (which is stupid)
7) if you get bad rolls and fail to pop those transports that alpha strike is pretty fail am I right?
8) lack of efficient markerlight support which means to get MLs you're using up slots better suited for something else

See? bad.

Let's put this into context. Tau are very good at shooting and defending themselves from alpha strikes and assaults/RF. By trying to force your army to come on later you're removing the biggest advantages Tau have in 5th and expose their weaknesses. That is not a recipe for success.

Even if you take a good Tau list and add a Positional Relay it gives you ZERO advantages. You're shooting less and can't set up your deployment how you'd like it (and unlike in DoW you don't have night fight to protect you) whilst your opponent advances across the table claiming midfield and gaining your deployment zone.

Viability in 5th? Zero.
Fun factor? Zero.
Ever been a good idea? No.
Will it stop? No.
Should you beat it to a pulp when you see it? Hell yes.

That help MJ :P?

14 pinkments:

Rathstar said...


I completely agree with Ninja Tau being bad (and boring), however can you see the positional relay itself being useful at all ?

I used to use it to delay my troops (Tau troops are very fragile). I'd start with all my long range firepower on the board (hammerheads, pathfinders, crisis suits, broadsides), but drip feed the troops one at a time.

For the occassion that I'd deep strike one (and only ever one) of my crisis suit units the turn reserves would be:
Turn 2: Crisis Suit unit deepstrike aided by pathfinder devilfish beacon
Turns 3-5 wound be (depending on the situation, which could also mean I wouldn't use the positional relay in turn 4):
6 Fire Warriors who hop into an empty pathfinder devilfish
10 Kroot & 7 Hounds
10 Kroot & 7 Hounds

I found kroot outflanking too early was a pain, plus having broadsides in cover without a kroot bubblewrap was a nice lure only for the broadsides to move back to the board edge and a reserve kroot unit to move on and surround the broadsides.

In my current list I've taken the Pos.Relay out because I've gone down to 3 troop units, and don't intend to deepstrike any units, so it's less useful.

Positional relay (only useful) to delay the Tau's fragile troops, or still not worth it - your thoughts ?


Why Write this Blog? said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
MagicJuggler said...

Yep. That pretty much sums up everything wrong with Ninja Tau. That and the "Durr, I deep-strike my Fusion suits in your rear armor." assumes the opponent doesn't know how to set up Deep Strike Defenses, and that you have enough luck to become a Vegas player.

Kirby said...

Apparently someone thinks they are better than the rest yet won't even post <3.

@Rathstar; In the situations you explained first you're losing out on firepower from T1 (Crisis suits, etc.) to protect your Troops (one of which should be ina vehicle anyways). The problem with this (other than the loss in firepower) is most games you want those Troops (kroot) defending the rest of your army. Tau are going to table opponents quite often and if not should have neutralised all of your Troops anyways. In the rare occasions Kroot aren't neccessary (generally against fail lists or for fun) as a bubble-wrap and you wish to outflank them the positional relay can be worth it but 99.9999% of the time it's a waste of points. It just doesn't bring enough to the table.

So I'd say not worth it in the current army book. Take more guns!

But this does briefly touch on Tau's main weakness, their Troops suck worse than most armies in relation to capturing midfield objectives (Kroot are essentially "kill me" screens leaving most Tau armies with 1 or 2 Mech'd up FW). They compensate with this from sickening firepower :).

The Wolf's Lunch said...

Are the people that actually play ninja tau? I've always seen them as an army that spends the entire game blasting away at the enemy until they smoulder and stop moving

MagicJuggler said...

Kirby, that someone was me. I had accidentally changed my blogspot name to "Why Post this Blog" and I went "DURR" and deleted it before reosting it undre my current name.

And yes, Kroot are only useful against...Guard? (Ha, Guard melee is Stubborn). Ork Hordes (Who fields *those?*).

Kirby said...

Lol well that makes me look silly! Guess I should of figured with post times.

Ive had Kroot assault rangers in cover (non trees). This is 10/7 Kroot/Hounds against 5 Rangers. The rangers won. Enough said lol.

@Wolf's Lunch; I've seen it played a couple times and played against it as well. They generally don't play it again because it gets crushed by anyone with a brainstem.

Anonymous said...

1. With Codex creep the Tau simply are not that great at shooting anymore - They are good, but lots of other armies are better, and more resiliant to incoming fire. Plus they are very vunerable to armies designed to hit hard in the first couple of turns. Solution, dont be on the table for the first couple of turns reserves have hit the table. - Besides which you dont have to stay off till turn 5.

2. As above - Some Armies are in your lines on turn 1 and 2, disrupting your shooting and taking out key units. Plus, you are bringing in units (well away from your opponent) from turn 2 onwards - I would argue that while you are sending less shots intitally the shots you are sending are more effcicent and you have less problems return fire.

3. You arent using screens as much with a ninja list - thats kind of the point. Plus you choose where you strike and where your Troops come on - if you play it right this really is not a problem

4) And this is different to the short range guys starting on the table and being pummled by long range armies how? - Tau are fragile and easy to kill (especially Fire Warriors) Generally reserves come on ok anyway (unless your unlucky) and the turn you stop using the relay on is your choice. In many cases your opponent is so fixated on killing your relay carrier that it can leave his army totally out of position when the main force arrives. If he wants to drop pod marines down beside him - fine, because the commander should have been placed as far away from any game objectives as possible, and thos marines are now just slow moving footsloggers.

5. You may not be sending in units singley for 4 turns, you can stop using the relay at anytime - Either way, generally if you do decide to use the relay for 4 turns you are normally bringing on your HS first, which tends to be very survivable - as you choose where it comes onto the table and with a 72" Rail Gun range dont need to be anywhere near your opponent.

6. A Devilfish coming on in turn 4 can move 24" in 2 turn of movement - with 3" on the objective Marker that gives it a contestation range of 27". A Piranha can come on and move 24" in one turn, contestation range of 27" - Plus if you kill the piranha (which has a flat out save and 6's to hit in CC) the Drones still disembark onto the objective.

Or that Hammerhead thats been on the table for quite some time could make a drive for it.

On top of this you place objectives too - and pregame set up is important to a Ninja list, you tend to put your objectives on the flanks of the table (where your Army can reach them).

7. Your Heavy Support is normally hitting the table from turn 2 onwards - so you have plenty of opportunity to target those transports before the rest of your guys arrive - A key to Ninja is shutting down your opponets mobility - so with intelligent target selection from the start this is not to much of a problem.

8. Markerlights are not really a prime unit for a Ninja List - They cant move onto the table and fire, unless you take a Sky Ray, which is a choice in any tau list or equip suits with expensive marker drones.

Generally they are not really needed either, as the Ninja key units dont really benefit greatly from them. Kroot cant use them, your suits normally have TL weapons or target arrays, and Fire Warriors are normally at a minimum and in scorefish. Hammerheads come with BS4 standard.

The only marker ability you really miss is coversave removal, but as you control your entrance to the battle you can get round that quite easily.

Generally a Ninja Army is less reliant on Marker Lights then any other build.

You see these sort of comments all the time and they are generally from people that dont understand the build, and who have played against players that dont understand it. Really a Ninja list is just a hybrid list with the option of going Ninja (to a greater or lesser extent) when its needed, and is strategically viable to do so - And all for the cost of a 15 point positional relay.

Kirby said...

I'll reply to this quickl as off to uni but I assume others will elaborate.

1) Yes they are. What likes 10 RF S6 AP2, 20 S7 AP4, 5 S10 AP1 (inc 2 Large Blast), 2 Meltas, 6 SMS, 18 S5 anti-personal guns (which are rarely used), 8 Makerlights and 20 RF S4 AP5 guns? Not much. What can put out that firepower from T1 which mostly has a 24"+ range andthe most significant firepower is on mobile platforms? In that volume, not much. Eldar can but when they go for such huge torrents they are based on S6 and Tau have the edge in anti-tank.

2) If you use screens this T1/T2 disruption doesn't happen. I've never had an opponent in my lines before T3 with my Tau. It simply takes time to get around Piranhas and through Kroot before I have to start saccing my Fish.

3) So you get more firepower? Okay that's fine but you can't alpha-strike like other lists (i.e. Air-Cav) and what happens when the opponent is smart and doesn't spread out?

4) What short-ranged guys? Most good lists for tau don't use Firewarriors/Stealth suits/etc. Any short-ranged guy is either a defensive screen or taken out of necessity. See reply to point 1. I see Ninja Tau all the time with lots of FWs to maximise on the "mass firepower late turns."

5) The premise for the tactics, bleeds KP. Bringing on a single tank is bleeding a KP. Tanks are super survivable in 5th but when all of your opponent's anti-tank is shooting at it. Well a) it's not shooting and b) it's going to die soon

6) You have to push your opponent off. And units coming in before your army are likely to die, there is no way around this unless your opponent is playing Orks or another crappy army.

7) Your heavy support is alone and shooting? Impressive. You want to shut down mobility with less firepower? P.S. Hammerheads are anti-infantry first, anti-mech 2nd.

8) Oh I 've seen lots of people massing out Stealth suits w/MLs or taking Sky Rays with Ninja Tau but I digress, it's not needed. Suits don't have TL or TA because Fireknife is better. It's not easy to get around coversaves in 5th. Most armies take their cover with them through other units or special abilities.

I see these comments all the time about Ninja Tau and Tau in general and it's generally from people who don't know how to play Tau properly. Take my Tau list and go play someone. Then take your Ninja Tau list and go play someone. You have a much higher chance of success against all armies with my Tau than Ninja Tau ever can.

I would never ever go Ninja because if I want to reserve, I'll just suck it up like the rest of the armies out there or because I have awesome defensive screens I'll just let them suffer the alpha strike then pound the army with my return fire. Ninja tau is based on the premise of coming on late game (if you make your army attempt to come on earlier that's fine, you're still basing your tactic on this premise at some point) which requires you to bleed units. If you want to play 1500 vs 2000 pts just play that rather than give your opponent turns to move up the field.

Kirby said...

P.S. Muffin or anyone who wants to do those Warseer lists against proper lists. Here is a prime example, use Ninja Tau ^^.

Anonymous said...

1. Tau can pump out a lot of fire early in the game yes, but so can alot of other armies nowdays. The main difference is that Tau are alot worse at withstanding that incoming fire than other armies, and if your enemy is smart and targets the right units that erosion becomes faster. We rely on our suits for decent midrange weaponry, but they are highly expensive and far less survivable in 5th due to the changes in LOS rules. Tau are good at shooting yes, but i suspect not as good as they were - and each new Codex seems to enforce this further.

2. Screens are an option, certainly they work for the type of list you play (and its a good tactic I have used in similar lists myself - including my ninja Tau list when I have decided to deploy normally and not use my 15pt peice of wargear). But against some opponents the world of hurt is coming that screening is not so effective, especially with the variety of DS and OF, not to mention infiltration options on the table right now.

3. The purpose of NT is that you are not planning to alpha strike, so not sure how thats relative. Also you dont get more Fire Power but you target the firepower you have more selectively - your not trying to wipe your opponent out but disrupt them - the real assualt comes later.

4.Well you were the one that mentioned the short ranged guys - I wasent sure either :p Personally I play Ninja, dont use stealths as I dont rate them (In a normal or NT list) and have just 6 Fire Warriors in a devilfish - because I have to take one unit (bah) and the only thing to do is put them in a fish. - Fire Warriors really dont fit well in a properly made NT lis to be honest - Outflanking Kroot (Kroot and hounds) are a much better option and can be utilised as a screen if u deploy normally. - Multi Functional.

5. As you yourself point out Tau have decent range, alot of other lists now rely on Melta's, assualt etc as there main anti tank - You choose where your heavy support comes on, and bring it on in the most advantageous location to you - not right in front of a melta. - However, the first unit I normally bring on is Broadsides will ASS and a TL with HWTL and SHield Drones - Very hard to take out with longe range AT and very survivable - in turn 3 I could bring on a hammerhead or maybe stop using the relay altogether. Heavy Support does not always mean tank :)

6. Not if you position yourself well, make good use of the terrain and use distraction tactics and survivable units. Sometimes you sacrifice a unit to draw your enemy to a new location or just hold them up/draw fire. And you can stop using the relay at anypoint, on turn 3 your troops come in on a 3+ (so statistically 2/3rd of your reserves should arrive) - Just because you play NT does not mean you hold everything off for 4 turns.

7. And Broadsides are anti mech first ;) - Shutting down mobility in key areas in easily achievable, targeting the transports - even if it just holds up one unit is disrupting mobility - and drop pod lists etc are disrupted just by you not being on the table, that alpha strike just went bye bye :)

8. Well skyrays are a bad choice in any list imo, but i have seen plenty of people who rely on your sort of tactics take them too. - Markers on stealths is generally a bad idea, its better (in a good ninja list) to just bite the bullet and forgo the markerlights. Fireknives are a good configuration granted, but not the only configuration for a crisis suit. They work well with your tactics but another sort of list could well favour a different load out.

Ive been playing Tau for years - And ive used your sort of tactics, honestly I enjoy the challenge of a good Ninja list more and have had more success against a variety of opponents - mainly because I can play it in so many different ways. I can even deploy normally and use a bastardised version of your tactics if i wish. I like the versatility that my NT list gives me, i can tailor my play style to best suit the list I am playing. Ninja Tau is based on the premise of versatitly and thats what it offers.

Anonymous said...

Oh, and if you have just been playing people that try to come on in turn 5 every single game, and load up on Fire Warriors, Skyrays and Stealths, you havent been playing a very effective Ninja Commander - or list.

Swede said...

Umm, things that are fun for some people are not to others, and v.v.?

You've got a great blog here, mate - why so condescending and self-righteous here and there?

I'm fairly certain there are people out there that might get a kick out completely random and very difficult to pull off tricks with stuff you think isn't viable in competitive play. Why not let them have their fun?

Kirby said...

Play what you like, I'll never frown upon that, but don't try and say a crappy list is competitive when it's not. That's the issue here.

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