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"Pink isn't a color. It's a lifestyle." - Chumbalaya
"...generalship should be informing list building." - Sir Biscuit
"I buy models with my excess money" - Valkyrie whilst a waitress leans over him

Friday, April 22, 2011

Reply to Prometheus: Tau

Prometheus has recently commented on the Tau review for Crisis suits and it was rather lengthy and in-depth so I'm doing a post about it. First I'm going to refer you to VT2's ranty yet insightful post about saying things like "you're not using it right", "it's a finesse unit" or "it works for me", etc. I'm also going to ignore the misnomers about my skill level and understanding of Tau. I've played them extensively and understand they operate differently, like nearly every single codex in existence. Now then let's take a look at the bulk of the argument. Fusion/Plasma Rifle suits as MEQ killers compared to Plasma/Missile Pod suits as a "wasteful combination."

In regards to Fusion/Plasma being MEQ killers this is absolutely correct. Point for point they are the best MEQ killers in terms of what Crisis suits can produce. However, why are you needing help killing these? I've never had issues in terms of killing MEQs with PR/MP suits backed up by the rest of my force and markerlights. This is obviously personal experience but if you can't drop 40-50 MEQ bodies with 10 plasma rifles, 10 missile pods, 30+ S5 shots, 20-40 S4 shots, 2 S6 5" blasts combined with associated markerlights, railguns and fusion blasters then there's something wrong with your dice! If the MEQ units are getting into your lines too quickly well bubble-wrap helps with that. I'll get to that later.

So let's say we do take the Fusion/Plasma. We now have a huge issue of range because sitting at 24" is terrible for these guys and grossly inefficient. That means you need to get within 12" and whilst JSJ takes you back to 18", you are much more vulnerable to assaults and rapid firing from a lot more targets as you are being far more aggressive. There shouldn't be that much LoS blocking terrain that you can always hide whilst playing so aggressively. You site this as a reason against PR/MP suits yet it applies much more readily to Fusion/Plasma. PR/MP suits are quite happy to stay in that 24-36" range. You're not getting maximum use out of the Plasma Rifle obviously but you are still firing 3 S6+ shots downfield. Sounds nice to me. And this is where I don't get "wasteful combination." Let's look at this further.

The missile pod is great. It's an autocannon on a JSJ platform. I'm sold. I think we should take advantage of this because this is what really gives Tau the ability to pop lots of lightly armored tanks early. Railguns can only do so much unless we're taking 9 Broadsides with team leaders and target locks which is a ghastly amount of points (700-800). I'm pretty sure you agree with me here on the effectiveness of the missile pod. Now let's look at its stats. S7, 2 shots, range 36". The only gun which is comparable in range and strength on Crisis suits is the plasma rifle. Yes they have different target ideals (light armor compared to MCs/MEQs) but they are the most comparable in output in strength and importantly can operate at roughly the same ranges. The only real other option when using the missile pod is to twin-link them. This is viable though I'm not a fan as you lose a lot of potential firepower and anti-infantry ability.

What PR/MP then does is become a dualistic unit. It's anti-infantry through torrent (not specifically MEQs; any unit which puts out 12 high strength shots is good anti-infantry) and anti-light armor. Whilst the TL-MP is better at anti-armor and the PR/Fusion is going to kill more marines, the PR/MP combo sits in the middle and does both roles well. If it did both roles poorly then yes it would be a wasteful combination as you're trying to diversify where diversification isn't the answer and you're also not paying a ridiculus amount of points or buying useless guns. Both are being effective when fired at light armor or infantry. Certainly some of it's potential is lost but not a overwhelming amount, particularly since I am happy and content to use the range of the weapons to my advantage. I don't have to get into double-tap range with the plasma rifle quickly because I know I have the firepower to take MEQ units out and have delaying units in place to ensure I can use my firepower for as long as possible. When they do get close then I can start JSJ and rapid-firing already weakened squads whilst Fusion/Plasma have had to go out and access those squads aggressively with less anti-tank behind them to back them up (since there are less missile pods). 

Oh and S5 isn't stopping Rhinos. It can suppress them but it certainly isn't reliable in doing so. This makes those missile pods really handy as discussed above. Also the problem with splitting your suits into so many configurations means you have very little redundancy and your opponent can target the suits which threaten them the most early. That's poor army design I'm afraid and I know repeating units sucks and gets boring but that's all Tau really have atm. PR/MP or TL-MP and even then I wouldn't take whole squads of both in the same army.

Now let's take a look at Kroot bubble-wrap. First you're implying bubble-wrap makes you immobile (or less mobile) yet you chuck in Tyranids...who simply walk across the board generally unrestricted by their bubble-wrap. Bubble-wrap can certainly hinder certain aspects of Guard mobility but adds a huge amount of survivability to the army as well so is well worth it. Kroot also do this. Why do I need to press forward with my Tau army? I need to have lateral and backwards movement early on and then the ability to push midfield as the game wears on and I need to capture objectives. This is the biggest issue for Tau in most settings because most armies are much better than them the closer you are. Proper Kroot layers + Piranha and drone blocking mean my army shouldn't be assaulted until Turn 4 at the earliest and that's early. This forces my opponent to rely on shooting kill my threatening units (Suits, Broadsides and Railheads), roles at which my units excel (ranged firepower) and thus playing into Tau hands. As the enemy gets tied up in the blocking/wrapping units I can start to re-mobilise to a different section of the board, all the while firing as I go. My mobility may be restricted going forward but I rarely want to go forward and play into Tau weaknesses.

Hope that makes things clearer. Oh and Stealth Suits work wonders when they get missile pods and their stealth fields are usable rather than being expensive markerlight platforms or S5 platforms which your whole army has access to. They also are not Crisis suits which is a pretty big negative against them.

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