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Warmonger

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PostSubject: Don't Fear the Space Commies   Thu Jul 18, 2013 7:19 am

by Reece Robbins


Tau seem to have everyone ducking for cover these days, and running for the hills. Time to get tough--Uncle Sam style--and sock it to those fish faced socialists!

Reecius here from Frontline Gaming to show you how to overcome the Red Scare of the 41st millennium! They've been kicking butt at tournaments and locally we've seen them steamrolling a lot of players.

The seldom seen red-headed step child of 5th edition is back with a vengeance to show the capitalists the error of their ways. Those of you who remember 4th edition will know how good Tau can be as they were a powerful force in the tournament scene back then. However with the core changes to 5th, Tau saw themselves go from THE shooty army from hell to a sad faced second fiddle. In the hands of a skilled general they could still perform fairly well but in general everything out-shoot them.

Come 6th ed and WOW! Tau are back in force. At Frontline one of the most common questions we get from folks is how to tweak their list to deal with Tau. Tau pack in an absurd amount of firepower and can easily overwhelm an opponent that is unprepared. More than that, it is a sobering experience to play Tau for the first time as it feels like you may as well not even use any terrain the way Tau ignore cover and LoS.



On top of that, Tau essentially shut down reserve tactics with their 5pt interceptor upgrades that can be had so easily throughout the army. Devastating overwatch abilities, cheap leadership buffs (oh how Chaos Space Marines wish they could get Ethereals!) and more unit/wargear combos than you can shake a stick at, Tau really do bring the heat. It is easy to feel a bit helpless when playing against a good Tau army.

But fear not, my fellow champions of democracy! The Reds will never overcome good old fashioned freedom!!! Freedom Imperium style, where if you don't do exactly what we say you're burned as a heretic....

But let's not get caught up in petty details. Let's look at what makes Tau good and how to counter it.

Tau Strengths:

Firepower. A bit of a duh! here I know, but this is what Tau is built around. Devastating firepower. 
Marker Lights. Marker Lights are what take Tau from good to great. A Riptide for example, sans Marker Lights is a solid unit, with them he is devastating. Marker Lights also mean that Tau can go to ground behind an Aegis for the crazy defense but then shoot in the subsequent shooting phase almost as well as normal due to those pesky marker lights. One of the tricks to building a good Tau list is striking the right ratio between offensive assets and support assets (largely Marker Lights). Too much support means your offensive assets become easy to take out leaving you unable to strike a killing blow. Too many offensive assets and your support assets are easy to eliminate which will dramatically reduce Tau Firepower.
Offensive defense. Tau defense is brutal. Their overwatch can be as potent as many armies shooting. Charging into a Tau castle is often suicidal.
Interceptor and Skyfire galore. Tau can absolutely devastate reserves and/or flyer armies. 
Powerful unit/wargear combos. Tau can pull off some crazy combinations through the use of wargear and unit abilities. Ignoring cover, Monster Hunter, Tank Hunter, Infiltrate, ignoring LoS, Deep Striking without scattering, etc. etc. etc. You really have to ask questions about your opponent's army list when playing Tau to make sure you understand what everything does.


Tau Weaknesses:

Taking objectives. Tau stink at it. Their troops are for sitting and shooting, not so much the going out and taking objectives. Kroot can get sneaky with outflanking and such, but they still are not very tough nor do they excel at taking a held objective. Allies helps Tau out with this immensely, but pure Tau definitely struggle in this regard. We have had several games here where we were just getting pummeled by Tau but still won due to playing to the objectives. Tau often do not like to leave their castle.
Close Combat. While it may be very difficult to get into combat with Tau, once there, they die like vermin! Little communist vermin! The suits can pack a surprising punch but generally this is where Tau die horribly. You don't need much here, either. Assault troops with nothing but two flamers is great (and that is actually a great unit in general for all the wimpy backfield objective holding units we see these days). 
Long Range shootouts. Tau don't have amazing range. They tend to hang out in the 30" to 36" range. If your army packs in a lot of firepower that exceeds that range, you can leverage that to your advantage.
Ignores Cover. Tau are champs at ignoring cover but they do not like it when others pull the same trick on them. Weapons that ignore cover and bypass their armor will really do a number on many Tau builds which rely on the Aegis. Barrage weapons, template weapons, etc. are great for this. Hellhounds, shunting Dreadknights, etc. are great.
Leadership. While the Tau can be really buffed up through leadership enhancements such as Ethereals, these provide key targets to eliminate. Taking out leadership buffs is extremely important to beating Tau as once gone, the little blue space men run like girly men! Also, Riptides are not fearless. Shoot them with pinning weapons, etc. and help to neutralize them. 
Instant Death! A lot of the Tau heavy hitters are only toughness 4. By using weapons that can one shot them, or comboing psychic powers such as Enfeeble, you can take these annoying little Evangelion wannabes out much faster.
Psychic defense. They have none. Use that to your advantage. Psychic Shriek, Terrify, Enfeeble, Dominate, Fear of the Darkness, Null Zone, etc. are all devastating to Tau. Use them.
Heavy Armor. Somewhat ironically, typical Tau builds lack any really reliable way of dealing with AV14. 


How to whip the commies!

It's all about target priority. You have to know what to kill, when. With Tau, the key is to look for the linchpin units that must be taken out first in order to make everything else weaker and more manageable. Now, there will never be a truly hard and fast rule to this as every game is different (terrain, mission, lists, etc.) but generally speaking, I have found the following to work for who to nuke and when:
Ethereals. These little blue buggers are so good! They make the Tau gunline viable by ensuring that the rest of the army is unlikely to run away. If you can reliably take this commie rabble-rouser out early in the game, do not hesitate to do so. Not only is he worth double VPs, but he makes it immensely easier to scatter the rest of the roaches. I have found barrage weapons are excellent for this.
Marker Lights. As stated previously, these are the key to taking Tau shooting from good to holy $#!^ good. Ignore the Riptides, Broadsides, etc. if at all possible until the Marker Lights are gone. This will dramatically reduce Tau firepower. 
Troops. Tau troops are squishy. Even if Tau are shooting you to Hades and back, they can't win an objective based mission if they don't have any troops left. 
T4 suits. These pack in huge firepower for their points but are relatively easy to kill compared to Riptides, Hammerheads or Skyrays. Again, double these jerks out with Las Cannons, Melta Guns, etc. 
Everything else. Riptides, tanks, etc. which are relatively hard targets require a lot more attention in general to destroy and as such, don't worry about them as much. All of these units go way down in efficacy sans Marker Lights. Again, Riptides are not fearless, pin those suckers or get them to run away!


Generally you don't want to fight Tau straight up unless you can reliably get into combat (Daemons) or you can straight up out-shoot them. Don't play their game. Don't stand and duke it out with them if you can't win the shootout. Don't charge them head on unless you know you can get your assaulters into combat.

Look at the Tau list you can facing and from the beginning of the game determine what your course of action will be. Is it an objective game and you are just going to hide, going for objectives last turn? Can you outshoot them? Do you need to go hellbent for leather and send your entire army in a headlong charge knowing that even your weakest units or the few warriors that actually do make it can probably win a fistfight with Tau? No matter your course of action, you need to decide make the choice early and go for it because if you don't, you too will fall victim to the red tide!

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PostSubject: Re: Don't Fear the Space Commies   Thu Jul 18, 2013 8:31 am

I beat tau with mass AV 12 and 13.
I ignored the Riptides.
I took 2 demolishers but was wishing i took 2 collossus as originally planned.
Kill all troops and pathfinders...i stayed out of range of the markerlights which helped.

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PostSubject: Re: Don't Fear the Space Commies   Thu Jul 18, 2013 9:05 am

I beat my Tau opponent by playing the mission and doing a last turn objective grab catching him completely off guard, other than that he was shooting the piss out of me.

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PostSubject: reply   Fri Jul 19, 2013 12:29 am

as a tau player, all i read was "Tau can shoot, you've been warned."

i think the most significant portion of this article is the emphasis he put on the troops being garbage for seiging objectives. it's the truth. i think it's the only reason they haven't needed a faq for being "OP".

you need lots o troops to make sure you have 1-2 left at the end of the game to hold your own objectives and likely another 2-3 more to shove out in harms way towards their objectives.

they are balanced. anything worth putting in the column of "deadly, do not engage" doesn't score. worse, they all have a sticker price of 200+ points per unit. 3-4 of those will run you 600-800 points. you likely need 580ish points of scoring troops. (that's 5 max sized units of both kroot and FW). He mentioned the ADL, that's another 85-100 as he touched on AV14 being a pain.

a cheap commander w/minimal buffs will run you 100-150. An essential ethereal another 50.

That's 1680. leaving you 170ish on markerlights. which is around two units of 8.

talking about anything over 1850 as a list is just silly IMO as double force org makes about anything possible.

I really wanted to take Tau to the 500pt. escalation tournament but of all the weeks they pick a tournament, it falls on the one saturday i'm not available the next 3 weeks! I think Tau are even better at low level point values. Too many points for your opponent and they can cripple either your Offence or Defence waaay too easily.
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PostSubject: Re: Don't Fear the Space Commies   Fri Jul 19, 2013 7:46 am

Does the sticker price include transports? I have yet to see the dex to know.

So at an 1850 list, you couldn't afford suits or hammerheads?

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PostSubject: Re: Don't Fear the Space Commies   Fri Jul 19, 2013 10:35 am

painnen wrote:
Quote :
i think the most significant portion of this article is the emphasis he put on the troops being garbage for seizing objectives.

agreed, very squishy in cc Laughing 


HoD wrote:
Quote :
I have yet to see the dex to know.

I know, I know, I forgot to give it to you last weekend pale  Stop by work one day next week if you can and I'll bring it and leave it in my desk so you can get it.

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PostSubject: Re: Don't Fear the Space Commies   Fri Jul 19, 2013 12:05 pm

KO

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PostSubject: Reply   Fri Jul 19, 2013 3:05 pm

Price is 600-800 for elites and heavies. Riptides will run you 210 at best. You could get a hammerhead in there with the other 170 or do. Or a small BS unit w/out drones.

The troop total has no 'fish in it. That's x3 20 man kroot squads and x2 12 man FW. All bare bones.
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PostSubject: Re: Don't Fear the Space Commies   Fri Jul 19, 2013 3:54 pm

"Welcome Saffring", thanks for posting the info. Smile 

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PostSubject: reply   Fri Jul 19, 2013 7:27 pm

oooops, saffring is painnen. so many forum names i mix'em up. thanks anyways! lol

I just can't wrap my head around how people think Tau are OP and it makes me a bit saucy when I see people try to make them out to be more than they are. IMO, that's balanced if not weaksauce.

1) They bleed KPs. Ethereals yield 2pts alone (3 if they are your warlord). They'll have 1-3 support units with either T3 and a 5+ or through vehicles with AV10 and 2 HPs. Where does that get hard to kill?

2) Their troop choices are absurdly bad. They are glorified squatters that get rolled up by a basic HtH squad w/out any upgrades needed. To make them mobile, you gotta buy a 80-100pt. AV12 Skimmer Tank w/ 3HP. Again, not hard to kill these days. If you want to go another route and outflank, well then you are missing out on 20-60 bodies to help Defend your deployment zone from being assaulted.

3) Your elites either suicide drop in, or get picked off by Str8+ instant death shots. To save them, you gotta jump behind your TROOP Choices...that's a big win win...The only elite that can dish out damage and take it is the Riptide. Almost a must to take 3 competitively. Price tag for 3, moderately equipped, LD8 MCs? 630pts. That's 1/3 of your list. They flop, you lose. You can't even risk running the drones because of the LD test.



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PostSubject: Re: Don't Fear the Space Commies   Sat Jul 20, 2013 7:17 am

I've been running a max unit of Missile-sides with missile drones. Attach a support commander and there's nothing they can't deal with. For scoring units I use Eldar jetbikes.

Problems still exist. Low leadership. I have the Exarch in the back casting guide and prescience on the Iontides, while the bikes look for weakened units to destroy. Still only Ld8 on most units. Big problem I'm having are snipers. Pick off the sgt. And force an ld7 pinning test. There's also a number of Psyker powers to force ld tests as well.

I'm not seeing how they're so op.
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PostSubject: reply   Sat Jul 20, 2013 7:58 am

yeah, the misslesides & drones are a good unit. maxed out like that and they come with a 300+ point price tag. you mentioned iontides. so, i assume you take 2. that would be consistant with my guess that Tau can spend roughly 600-800 points on killy stuff.

something that i can't test anymore (since i sold off some of my devilfish) is the old Fish-O-Fury lists. could be effective once again but i'm guessing not since you are effectively "taxed" by spending 400+ points on devilfish that are not even remotely killy like waveserpents, nightscyths, chims, or razorbacks.

if d'fish provided something other than just a metal coffin or a turbo boosting screen then I'd seriously consider them useful.
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PostSubject: reply   Mon Jul 22, 2013 4:58 pm

So...the Farsight codex is out and for a measly 5pt. tax per model(bonding knives), you can take suits as troops. The only other penalty is no signature systems from the Tau Codex book. If you want them, you gotta buy them from the suppliment. IMO, the suits don't use them anyways.

Now I guess we get to look at this all over again. As you can take Farsight Codex and add Tau Codex allies and visa versa.

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PostSubject: Re: Don't Fear the Space Commies   Mon Jul 22, 2013 5:33 pm

painnen wrote:
Quote :
Now I guess we get to look at this all over again. As you can take Farsight Codex and add Tau Codex allies and visa versa.

Really? Are the units that different? or is it just another way to get an additional force slot.

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PostSubject: Reply   Mon Jul 22, 2013 6:56 pm

Well, it's its now "codex" but it uses Tau units. It has its own warlord traits and you can choose to take farsight with a different bodyguard. (A bunch of overpriced suits). Everything that can take knives must take knives. Suits are troops. And you have to take at least one unit of 3. You cannot take Tau signature systems. This codex has their own. The riptide system is pretty nice. (Reroll 1's, and failed nova charge rolls)
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PostSubject: reply   Tue Jul 23, 2013 10:16 am

ok, here's what i came up with in my first go at an Enclaive/Tau 1850 list. the focus wasn't so much stacking Riptides (which you should always want to do right now) but to get the most out of the enclaive's scoring troops.

Enclaive Main/Tau allies:

HQ:Ethereal w/Blacksun Filter
Troop1: XV8 Suits x3 w/x2 Missile Pods, Bonding Knives, x6 Gun Drones
Troop2: XV8 Suits x3 w/x2 Missile Pods, Bonding Knives, x6 Gun Drones
Troop3: XV8 Suits x3 w/x2 Missile Pods, Bonding Knives, x6 Gun Drones
Fortification: Aegis Defence Line w/Quad Gun

Allied HQ: Commander w/C&C Node, SmSS, Puretide Chip, Iridium Armor
Allied Troop1: x12 FireWarriors w/'Ui, Devilfish, Disruption Pod
Allied Troop2: x20 Kroot
Allied Elite: Riptide w/Ion Accelerator, Early Warning Override, Velocity Tracker
Allied Fast Attack: x8 Pathfinders
Allied Heavy Support: x3 XV88 Broadsides w/TL-Rail Rifles, TL-Smart Missile Systems, Early Warning Override, x6 Missile Drones


This has x5 scoring troops. 3 being suits and the other two having some amount of mobility with outflank/vehicle. It's real light on AV14 threats but has 52 Str7 shots. Feels pretty vanilla but is a nice list to throw down against tactically.
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PostSubject: Re: Don't Fear the Space Commies   Tue Jul 23, 2013 12:11 pm

painnen wrote:
Quote :
...x3 XV88 Broadsides w/TL-Rail Rifles...

Are those supposed to be Heavy? Interesting list, will have to look at this a bit.

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PostSubject: reply   Tue Jul 23, 2013 1:40 pm

they are not the old Str10 ones, they are the new nerf-bat-stepchilderen Str8 Ap1 versions. i really prefer the double TL-Missile Pods they have but that would leave all the AV14 to the riptide.

the word on the street is 6th keeps going in the Rock/Paper/Scissors direction and with the glaring lack of Str9+ with Tau, i'd guess AV14 delivery systems are intended to give assault based armies a shot vs. that nasty gunline.
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PostSubject: Re: Don't Fear the Space Commies   Tue Jul 23, 2013 2:21 pm

Ok, so they are the heavy rail rifle then as the regular rail rifle is str. 6 ap 1 and the rail gun is str. 10 ap 1.

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PostSubject: reply   Sun Jul 28, 2013 12:09 am

Took that Tau list out for a run today and went 2-0. Winning vs. Necrons w/out wraiths in a Big Guns mission and then another one vs. Crusade.

Also got two games in on Friday with the list and nearly tabled a Dark Angels player (had a LR with 2 hps left) but lost a Purge mission due to back to back 11" charges going off.

Surprisingly, I rolled like complete crap in the big guns game but dominated. All those shots, some being cover denying, added up to a slice and dice game of intercept the flyer and then intercept the contents plodding on the next turn after blowing it up. And there were LOTS of french pasteries to blow up.

Overall, I was down on the Broadside team but the crowd said it was my MVP. I guess the Commander tagging along for those buffs made them potent. I think the comp of the army was key to victory. Those suits throwing out x12 Str7 shots and then the drones another 6-12 Str5 just kept the harassment up. The solo Riptide was slightly average. Only died one game (Force Weoponed) and just kept making a mockery of foot troops out of cover. The Kroot were very nice as well. Outflanking the enemy with a unit that sprays up to 40 shots a turn is surprisingly effecient. They are also big enough unit that my Ethereal can often move over to cover them with LD10 before running off the board if broken.

Each game felt like I was litterally a general moving my men strategically across the battlefield. Felt great to play again. Felt like a balanced army that wasn't so much OP as it was constantly adapting to new priorities.

Oh, and my fun Farsight bomb list (which I haven't posted here yet) was a hoot to play. Wish there was a way to get them ignoring cover or skyfire without losing weopons or the splitfire option. Only "real" change I would make to it would be to add the Hit and Run specialization. Don't know why I overlooked it since the unit can use Shadowsun/Farsight's Int.
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PostSubject: Re: Don't Fear the Space Commies   Sun Jul 28, 2013 7:18 am

Thanks for the report Pain. I have yet to play the new Tau, but with what you and others are posting, I'm starting to get a feel for what I have to go up against.

Did you go to the Bookery?

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PostSubject: Reply   Sun Jul 28, 2013 8:17 am

I did. Was a packed house with all the rain we got. It did get disgustingly hot I left around 3. I wasn't the only person toting tau either. Another guy was curb stomping mureens like no bodies business. You know it's bad when Tau take the relic and just keep on marching into blood angel assault troops.
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PostSubject: Re: Don't Fear the Space Commies   Sun Jul 28, 2013 9:36 am

Good stuff, I would like to get a game in against your Tau sometime, let me know when you can game next and maybe I can meet you at the Bookery!

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PostSubject: reply   Tue Jul 30, 2013 11:05 pm

the family is going away this weekend. i thought about heading to epic loot or bookery on friday. (epic loot is open later) but only if i really thought i could get a game in. otherwise we can just try and get a day next week that you are available.

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PostSubject: Reply   Wed Jul 31, 2013 8:14 pm

Got in two unexpected games today. Played GKs in "the relic". He conceded after my first round of shooting. Infiltrating kroot swarmed the relic and I took out 3 of. His 7 units turn one.

The second game was vs. the other tau player. Triptide w/4units of double plasma suits, a small farsight bomb, and stealth suits w/melta. We played purge the alien and I won 9-0. He just couldn't deal with Tau MSM. Could only kill 1-3 drones per shot, then I'd hide the kp's. was "closer" than that but he ignored the pathfinders and all they did was give about 2 units per squad BS5 and loads of shots.
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