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 How to Kill New Tau!

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Posts : 1840
Join date : 2010-06-20
Age : 54
Location : Springfield

PostSubject: How to Kill New Tau!    Mon Nov 11, 2013 3:14 pm

Top Ten Tips for beating Tau

Judging by a combination of anecdotal reports and international tournament results, Tau are currently the top-dog in 40K. They aren't unbeatable, but it's hard to argue that they aren't the most competitive army in the game, with a uniquely high level of versatility in their wargear, hot-swappable ballistic skills, buffs and a vast array of options to fill their remaining weaknesses.

This mini-series isn't going to focus on their strengths though. Most 3++ readers will know that Kirby and AbusePuppy loves themselves some Tau. I don't, I hate the poxy little blue fish people and their lego models. We're going to talk about killing Tau. Nooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooo *breathes* oooooooooooooooooooooo.

I've been planning this for a while but wanted to get enough games in first. I've now completed 30 games against Tau, including about eight against local tournament champion Roleplayer (Aaron) who's had such a reign of terror he's never lost with Tau to anyone else. I've been using Guard, Chaos Daemons, Grey Knights and Eldar and record is currently 28 wins, 1 loss (Canada's “LordDrakon”) 1 draw (Western Australia's “Roleplayer”). I don't kid myself that they are anything but a difficult opponent though, and wouldn't be surprised to take a second loss to them at the State Masters this month.

This is going to be an in-depth series, to the degree that we won't even get to move the first model today, and won't even talk about Army Lists until the end. Stick around though, and there will be diagrams, battle-reports, photos, rules, wargear-analysis, tips and maybe even some of that animation some people love so much.


1) Winning Starts before Deployment

It turns out Tau are just another army, just one that happens to have a lot of guns. Like any other army, you start to win or lose before the first model hits the table. Drill this into your head: you could lose the game if you pick the wrong board edge, place objectives incorrectly, or deploy poorly.

2) Pick the right board edge

In half of your games you should pick the board edge, which could be a long edge, short edge or one of four corners. Do you know what you want against Tau?
The ideal would be enough LOS blocking terrain to hide your whole army. You're not going to get that at all but the most masochistic tournaments, so instead
•If you have barrage weapons – Don't give them multiple level ruins. Don't give them anything with a roof an Ethereal can stand under.
•If you have blast weapons – give them the side with minimal area terrain
•If there is minimal LOS blocking terrain, take the side with the blockers that cover weaker side armour, or are placed where they can protect your most vulnerable/vital unit(s)
•If you have a fast assault army with light armour, plan where you want your assault units to be on turn 1 and 2, and try pick the side that will provide cover at those times. This usually means cover right on the front of your deployment zone, and cover 12″ in front of that.
•If you have a fast assault army with heavy armour, you may want a clear path to avoid getting slowed down.
•If you have a slow assault army, you probably don't really have an assault army. I hope you kept the receipt.

These are general guidelines only. The important thing is to know your army, know what it needs and have an idea in advance what you are looking for from a table's terrain.

Practical Examples:
•Imperial Guard – I want LOS blockers for 2 chimera size hulls (fine, we're all friends here, let's just call them manticores), area terrain around the front of the deployment zone, area terrain 6″ in front of the deployment zone (where my little idiots are likely to run to get all their guns in range). I will settle for minimal LOS if if blocks side armour, and will give up all other requirements on this list if it means the Tau don't get multiple level ruins.
•Daemons – I want a clear path sufficiently wide to fit models through without slowing them down, area terrain for FMC to dip their toes in, don't mind 8812_md-Dawn_Of_War_Humor_Motivational_Poster_Poster_The_Greater_Goodnearly as much what terrain the opponent gets and plan to place an Aegis 12″ in front of my lines and run vast amounts of Hounds to it. If running screamers, I want one LOS blocker in turbo range of the tau area for when everything goes wrong.
•Eldar – I want some low-height cover in case Tau win turn 1 before vehicles move, but not too much dense area terrain; skimmers don't like being placed in terrain and need to be placed reasonably far apart to ensure multiple vehicles aren't hit by Riptide Ordnance blasts. Some area terrain where I plan to place the objective(s) would be handy, since the troops are squishy once disembarked. Good eldar lists almost always run Bikes, and these need at least one LOS blocker that can block vision to them in the MOVEMENT phase when they have only moved 12″ from my board edge, rather than deeper into the table after their turbo boosts. (Why? The end of movement, before they turbo boost, is when EWO Blasts come raining down.)


Today’s Exercise:
In the comments section below, try post as clearly as you can what you look for when picking a table edge under time-pressure at a local tournament. There’s no shame if the answer is “whichever edge is closest to my tray of models”, but even just trying to write a basic idea might improve your games in future.

3) Placement of Objectives

Next, the placement of Objectives. The diagram below shows about two thirds of a tabletop, with 7 potential locations for objectives picked from the almost infinite amount of table-space and marked for use as examples.


1) The Corner objective: Common wisdom is that Tau are slow, so if you're also running a shooting army you should place objectives as far from them as possible – especially in Vanguard and Hammer and Anvil. This is often a big mistake, and one I've made myself. If the Tau army contains Kroot, odds are good that they plan to outflank, and the closer you place the objective to the corner the easier it is for them to reach it.

If the Tau army contains kroot, place objectives near the centre of your board edge and they may never reach it. If the army doesn't contain Kroot, corners are often fine. (Coming soon: Kroot will have a section in this series)

2) 6+12 Placement: This is placement of a second objective 18″ from the short edge, so that you can get two objectives as close to a corner as possible. Again this is only usually a good idea if the enemy doesn't contain Kroot, but even then placement near/in cover is more important than placing them a precise distance from edges.

3) Out of Line of Sight: Tau are better than most at killing enemies out of Line of Sight thanks to their Smart Missile Systems, but even so if there is an opportunity to place an objective out of LOS near your edge you should almost always take it. The vast majority of Tau weapons require line of sight, so neglecting to take advantage of LOS blockers is just helping your opponent.

4) Corner-Blocker: This is a great placement for a fast moving / assault army. If you plan to be on the other side of the board anyway, placing your objecticornerblockerve 15″ from the opponent's short edge and 15″ from their short edge can be a very good idea. Objectives need to be 6″ from the edges and 12″ from other objectives, so this can effectively prevent the opponent from placing their own objective in a nice, safe corner position. This is a particularly good placement for a Drop Pod army since they want to be more than 12″ from the objectives, and plan to have most of their troops in the enemy deployment zone.

5) Dead Centre: This is the Orkiest of objective placements. Some armies should almost never use it (it would be terrible for a shooting army with low side armour like Guard), but armies who use troops for their assaults tend to favour it. Even then, it's worth considering placing any additional objectives deep in your own zone for cheap troops (grots, horrors) to hold.

6) 12-18″ Forward: This is a deployment I've started to enjoy with several armies, particularly those with 24″ range troops (Grey Knights, Guard, Necrons). The idea is that you need to move into range to bring your small-arms to bear on the Tau Pathfinders and Firewarriors, so placing the objectives in front of your deployment zone and moving to them gives the opponent a lot more to deal with. I find this considerably more effective than hanging back to hold an objective while firing 1 Autocannon from a Guard squad for example.

It's simply a matter of finding an area of cover around 6″ in front of your deployment area and moving to it. If most of your bolters/lasguns/gauss/whatever are in range of pathfinders and firewarriors, you greatly improve your chances of winning. Tau are good at markerlighting and murdering a few units per turn, but less good at firefights against entire armies.

7) Central Out of Sight: Your mileage may vary, but I find placing objectives centrally just because there is a piece of Line of Sight blocking terrain less effective for men on foot; if the troops are shooters they need to see the enemy, and if they are assault orientated they need to be charging the enemy. The exception is when running classic Mech, where the LOS blocker can provide cover or even better, block views of side armour.

This would be a great place for a rhino to park, or for a Chimera to park at an angle that allows the squad to fire out of the hatch while blocking sight to the side. Just be sure to tumble out of the vehicle before the game ends – fortunately Tau guns usually help with this requirement!

These are some of the locations for objective deployment I've used enough to note down and name to help with planning before games. If you have some you use yourself, feel free to add them in comments below and contribute the the discussion.

Coming soon in this mini-series:
•The Art of Deploying vs Tau
•The Weakness at the Heart of Tau
•Interpreting a Tau Tournament List
•Dealing with Riptides
•Dealing with Kroot
•Taking out those Commanders
•Armies to beat Tau

I hope you find it useful. In the meantime, feel free to join the discussion about how you choose your table edge and place objectives.


Martial Law-Salute
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PostSubject: Re: How to Kill New Tau!    Mon Nov 11, 2013 10:38 pm

Funny thing was today I beat another Tau player with my Palacrons. Very close and had it ended turn 6+ then I might very well have been tabled but a victory is a victory.
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PostSubject: Re: How to Kill New Tau!    Tue Nov 12, 2013 10:44 am

Hey Painnen are you busy tonight. My wife is going out with the office girls tonight didn't know if you could throw some dice. I got a couple of hours after work to kill and I could get your shirt to you also.

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