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Friday, June 24, 2011

Email in: Tau vs DE WWP advice

Mordian 7th

I’ve been into 40k for about a year (Tau), and have only recently discovered your blog. I’ve been going through the archives looking up all the goodies I’ve missed. Compared to Advanced Tau Tactica, for all of it’s pretense of being high-brow, I find the content on your site much more useful. You actually say whether or not a unit is rubbish or has a place in a competitive list.

At my 2000 point FLGS tournaments, I’ve been having trouble recently with Dark Eldar in general, and with one list in particular. I faced this same opponent two weeks in a row and was stomped both times. Going from memory, his list is something like this (I might be missing something):

1 Raider w/ Dark Lance carrying 1 Haemonculus and 8 Wyches with attached Succubus
1 Raider w/ Dark Lance carrying 1 Haemonculus with 9 Wyches
2 Talos Pain Engines
3 Venoms, each carrying a Trueborn squad with Blasters
2 Warp Beast squads with Beastmaster, Flocks, and Khymeras
2 5-man Kabalite Warrior squads
1 10-man Kabalite Warrior squad
My list for our second match is as follows:
Crisis Shas’O, Airburst Frag Projector, Missile Pod, Multi Tracker, HW Target Lock, HW Drone Controller, 2 Shield Drones
Crisis Shas’El, TL Missile Pods, Target Lock
3-man Crisis squad with team leader, each with Plasma Rifle, Missile Pod, Multi Tracker
3-man Crisis squad with team leader, each with TL_Missile Pods and Targeting Arrays
6-man Fire Warrior squad, mounted in Devilfish with SMS, Multi Tracker, Disruption Pod, Targeting Array
6-man Fire Warrior squad, mounted in Devilfish with SMS, Multi Tracker, Disruption Pod, Targeting Array
Squad of 12 Kroot and 4 Hounds
Squad of 12 Kroot and 4 Hounds
Squadron of 3 Piranhas with Fusion Blasters, Disruption Pods, and Targeting Arrays
3-man Broadside squad with team leader, each with SMS and ASS, team leader has Target Lock, HW Drone Controller, and 2 Shield Drones
2 Hammerheads with Burst Cannons, Disruption Pods, Targeting Arrays, and Multi Trackers

Spearhead deployment both times. I lost the roll to go first in the first match, and won the roll in the second match but got seized on. My deployment strategy is to park the Broadsides in a ruin in my quarter, with the TL-Missile Pod Shas’El attached for leadership and extra longer range firepower. Kroot squads surround this fire base as bubble wrap. Hammerheads and Devilfish Parked against the table edge, with the Crisis squads in front of the Kroot line out of LOS. The Shas’O is attached to the Plasma/Missile Crisis team. Piranhas positioned to zoom ahead mid-field (although blocking is dubious versus Dark Eldar because of their skimmers).

My opponent’s strategy is to park his Raiders as close to the front edge of his deployment zone as possible, move them forward, debark the Haemonculi, and throw down Webway Portals on Turn 1, with the Venoms advancing as fire support. I’m in assault on Turn 2 from the Wyches and from the Beast squads that come out of the Webway Portals, and by then I’m ready to concede because the writing’s on the wall. Warriors come in from reserve to grab objectives while I’m bottled up and dying in assault.

I know that I’m going to be at a disadvantage playing as Tau versus Dark Eldar from the outset. DE can tear through my guys in assault, and supposedly my guys can do the same to DE in shooting. But DE can fly up the board to get into assault with me at will, with no way for me to stop them, and I only have one turn to shoot, which doesn’t come until AFTER the Webway portals are down inside my deployment zone. It’s very frustrating. So, besides getting another army, what can I do with the army I have to give myself more of an edge? Thanks for your time.


Hey Tom,

Sorry late reply but here! First I'm glad you like the site and have hopefully left ATT behind :P. Secondly, both the lists are solid, there are a few changes I would recommend for yours but we'll deal with tactics first.

The Piranhas and Kroot are what are going to win you these games. Now you've been unlucky both times in that the DE player has gone first so gets to put those Portals down pretty aggressively but what you need to do is limit the portals. You can do this two ways. First is blocking where they want to go and this is based on you going first. You're not going to block the Raiders themselves as they are skimmers but you can park yourself where they want to go. Do this properly and you'll push the Portals back from your army. If he gets the first turn though this is less useful so the next thing you need to do is block the Portals themselves.

You can do this when going first as well in subsequent turns but basically use your Piranhas (and drones) to force units out the back of the Portal (or not be able to come in at all) and then use those units + the 1" rule to make them run a long way round. This is going to drastically reduce the speed with which they can close with the rest of your army and gives you time to kill them. The Devilfish btw can help the Piranhas in this role. All the way during this as well you want to be parking units (such as the Piranhas and Devilfish) in places where the Raiders want to move (this is how you 'block' skimmers) to limit their ability to assault your army willy nilly.

This is where your Kroot come in. Not only can they also block where the Raiders land (though shock prows limit this) but they are there to take the charges from the enemy's assault units. They'll die for sure but that leaves the enemy in the open for you to shoot them dead. Make sure each assault unit can only target one Kroot unit at a time though so you get maximum delay.

With all this in mind here are the list changes I would recommend. You want some more Crisis Suits and Piranhas. As it is, your Piranhas are going to be overworked as they have so many jobs. The Devilfish can help but aren't as fast. What I'd look to do then is get 2x2 Piranhas rather than the 1x3 you currently have. I'd also look to get another PR/MP Crisis Suit squad in so you have more firepower as you delay the enemy. To get these points I'd drop the Shas'O. He's got a lot of gear and whilst the extra stats are nice over the 'El, not really needed most of the time. Then the Devilfish should be changed to bare bones with just disruption pods and perhaps a multi-tracker. With the new FAQ you are no longer bleeding kill points with those Drones and it'll save you about 30-35 points per Fish. I'd then change the TL-MP suits to have flamers or blacksun filters rather than targeting arrays for cheapness. I'd rather have more guys with more guns than less guys with a better ballistic skill, especially when they are twin-linked already.

In the end you could have a list looking something like...

Shas'El w/TL-MP, Target lock
3x Crisis w/TL-MP, flamers, team leader with target lock
3x Crisis w/MP, PR, multi-tracker, team leader
3x Crisis w/MP, PR, multi-tracker, team leader
6x FW, Devilfish w/DPods
6x FW, Devilfish w/DPods
Squad of 12 Kroot and 4 Hounds
Squad of 12 Kroot and 4 Hounds
2x Piranhas, Fusion Blaster, Dpods, Targeting Array
2x Piranhas, Fusion Blaster, Dpods, Targeting Array
3x Broadsides w/ASS, team leader w/HW target lock, HW Drone controller, 1x shield drone, 1x gun drone
2x Hammerhead w/Railgun, Burst Cannons, multi-tracker, DPods

This is 1999 points ( according to Puppy) and other changes are possible. I know you may not have all these models and may be playing with what you have but these are some pretty minimal changes I would aim towards which would help your list out overall and in particular against the webway list (though these tactics can obviously be applied to all opponents). With these changes you'd also only need to buy three Crisis Suits and one Piranha if you didn't have them.

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