Monday, November 16, 2009

Cloaking Device Operational: Reserves in Objective Based Missions

Just a quick post about how I’ve been using reserves in my army. Up until lately I have been reserving everything save for 2 Hammerheads and my Broadsides. It basically meant I started out thin and while it preserved a lot of my force for later stages of the game, I just wasn’t able to cause enough damage to cripple my opponents plan early on nor was I able to throw units out to block his movements. Any rhino rush army would have gotten too close. Now I’ve been thinking of deploying all of my early game killers, units with long range high strength fire power; Deathrains, Broadsides, Hammerheads, Shas’Els, and Fireknives while reserving my units that claim and contest objectives: three devilfish and my piranha squadron. Of course, situations dictate adaptation and there is no formula you can repeat against all armies.

I’ve also been considering giving my commander the Positional Relay so I can control my reserves better. Ideally I want first to have the piranhas in turn 2 so they can start running amok and causing havoc, then have the Devilfish trickle in to claim and contest objectives themselves. The forces I want to preserve for late game objective-grabbing/contesting are the Devilfish, Piranhas and at least one Hammerhead. The rest of my army can die horrible deaths for all I care. XV8s and 88s are not going to be contesting objectives anyway. There is a part of me that will miss deepstriking my FireKnives. It’s just so much fun to drop down and toast something up close!

Against an all drop pod army, I am not going to deploy anything and keep it all in reserve! Can’t say the much about daemon armies, as I’ve never faced one. I'd be interested in hearing how other Mech Tau players are using reserves. Are they worth it? Do we need all of our fire power in on Turn 1? Am I reserving too much?


Sholto said...

I think it is a mistake to start a game with your long range weapons off the table unless you have a very good reason (deep strike/ daemons being the main one).

I generally keep my Fire Warriors in reserve and hussle them into the PF's d/fish when they come on. They are more likely to survive till Turn 5 the longer they spend off the table. I might also keep my piranha in reserve, and a unit or two of Kroot if I don't need them for roadblock duty.

Apart from that, I like to form up and blast away from Turn 1 :)

Adam said...

Sholto is spot on. You need your big guns on from the start.

Go read some of my battle reports from the Grand Tournament to see how this tactic works.

It worked best for me against the Tyranids.

Pearlygates said...

As agreed with Sholto and Adam, with all your Heavies on the table from the start, your oppenent will try to filter around them.

keep perhaps one HQ or Elite choice in reserve along with piranhas; that way you can continue to harass your opponent's planning and tactics, forcing him to rethink his strategy or double-back on himself as you present new dangers in behind his lines. (will he continue forward to the objective, or be forced to take on your reserves that have appeared behind him threatening to overwhelm him).

This tactic will go well if you really are willing to sacrifice your Elites just to withdraw him from objectives or from units that you feel you need to last the game.(afterall you did state you were willing to sacrifice some of your Elites in this new post. hope this little strategy may work in your favour if you try it out)

Definately take the Position Relay, I thought you used to use it before so I'm sure you know wot your doing with it!

I always tend to wait until turns 3 and 4 before bringing on my reserves (usually by this time I only have two in reserve) as there is nothing like having a 100% strong deathrain/fireknife squad jumping in on your oppenents units that should, by now, be slightly whittled down...easy pickings!

As I have mentioned to you before OSH, you play your Piranhas well in your matches (certainly better than I have luck with) but I still think you should hold them in reserve.
When your opponent has moved those vehicles forward (and no doubt out of sight from your railguns, you can speed those Piranhas in behind them for more easy pickings!

Hope my comments will be of help, though you seem to be the MASTER of tau! wot's a simple Shas'la like me got to comment on the Shas'El strategy?

Raptor1313 said...

One thing folks often underestimate is the power of a fresh view. In principle, never be afraid to speak up to folks who sound more experienced.

That aside, I'm with Adam.

Tau need all the ranged power we can get on the table as early as possible. The further away the enemy transports die, the better off we are.

The only thing I reliably keep in reserves are my Fire Warriors; the Pathfinder D-fish ends up as a moving wall for Crisis Suits.

Tau firepower breaks down something like this, I feel...
1) Railguns
Start them on the table. Kill the enemy before it moves more than once, if possible.
2) Missile pods
We need these to fill the gaps Railguns leave; S7 isn't the end-all against light/medium armor but if you bring a good 6-9 missile pods, you can start putting dents into things.
3) Plasma/shorter-ranged anti-personnel weapons
Last resort?

I agree with Old Shatterhands; your suits are, up to a point, expendable. They'll never hold an objective. If Broadsides are contesting your home objective, you've probably lost. Crisis Suits are unlikely to contest objectives, but you want their guns around as long as possible.

As far as Piranhas go...I want them on early as well. I'd like to be able to react to enemy movement and funnel it; it's amazing what some speedy fusion blasters do in that regard. (And amazing the amount of fire they'll draw, and rightfully so; the enemy gets maybe 1 turn to stop them before they're at danger-close)

I just don't feel like there's enough use to justify the Positional Relay. You want all your guns on the table, so what are you reserving? Fire Warriors? Let those guys come on whenever.

There ARE a few times I'd think about going full reserves:
1) I'm going second and have crap for cover. I'd like to at least get ONE good volley off.
2) Drop Pod Army
Provided it's a CSM or CSW one with mandatory early arrival, and depending on what's in it/if they brought lots of pods, I'll consider it. But, if I brought Kroot as screens, I don't care quite so much.

3) Daemons
this one's iffy, as I'm almost fine trying to torrent down half his army, provided I brought my Kroot shield.

Old Shatter Hands said...

Raptor, well said! You could've written this post with no trouble. I'm kind of with you on positional relay. I used it for a bit and then ditched it (funny how 15 points seems like a lot, even with 1850 to use).

Pearlygates, you always have good points to make so I think YOU are well on your way to mastering the Tau. I have to say I am by no means a master of Tau yet. The Tau are a force you constantly have to readjust and think...there are no autopilots in the Tau Empire. I still struggle with some of the power builds these days. Maybe the upcoming tournament will learn me some new tricks...With such a fragile army (one wrong move and it's over), I feel like the complexities of the army keep me learning all the time. That's why I love this kind of feedback....keep it coming! I agree with you about reserving the piranhas, devilfish and perhaps one squad of Fireknives.

So as a round I might start the game with
3 broadsides, 2 shield drones
2 Hammerheads with Railguns
Full squad of deathrains
Fire Knife Shas'el
Maybe the piranhas, if my opponent is sporting a land raider with assault termies or equivalent (battlewagon with nobz).

In reserve:
3 devilfish with fire warriors
maybe the piranhas, if I need speed later in the game.
1 Shas'el Fusion/Missile pods, 2 shield drones.

Pearlygates said...

I played a 2000pts game last night using the Hazardsuit rules from Forgeworld; and I have to say that once the rules are official, and especially if they become available in the new codex (along with sales at gameworkshop) they will be the next unit you will ALWAYS take.

I managed to finish the game with 2 out of the 3 in my squad (I gave them shield generators as theywould have been too expensive with drones) and when you pair them up to fight alongside your crisis, as a support group, the firepower was phonomenal!

OSH, you will definately be using them I guarantee!!!!

In my last several games I've been playing with Tau I have been using Adams 'Tankwall'tactic. And though it keeps my crisis suits alive, I lost last night's game as it was capture and hold.

The problems I keep repeating is;
- The wall is set up one side of the field with my broadsides on the opposite side, to ensure they have line of site.
- The wall is reliable as a DEFENCIVE strategy, but I don't inflict enough casaulties to break the wall to be able to capture the other objectives, leaving the game usually as follows.. tau objective to me, enemy objective to enemy, 3rd objective either contested or falls to enemy.

I should probably put this to Adam's blog as he plays this tactic in most of his games. But I think I may change my tactics of dropping the tankwall if I'm playing capture and hold.

Adam, if you read this I have left a comment on your blog too! and would like you to offer me some feedback on how I should correct my tactics. thanks

Old Shatter Hands said...

Pearlygates, I have incorporated the tank-wall into my tactics as one of many tricks in a bag but I don't use it as an over-arching strategy. I don't like to be tied to one area of the battlefield but to be working the moving game. I tend to follow the Way of Saim Hann style of attack-support-defend. Much of what I do is me adapting those tactics to the Tau army. The Tank-Wall (circling the wagons) seems to be mostly the support and defend and is missing the attack component. All you need to do from there is incorporate attack, maybe in the form of those XV9s and you'll be pushing the borders of the Third Phase Expansion. I would love to see a battle report using the XV9s. You got a blog?

Pearlygates said...

No I don't have a blog I'm afraid! Maybe one day I'll sit down and write a blog, for now I just browse others. Infact I only signed up to just to leave a few comments on Adam's blog.

I may go back to my old strategy as I used to have my broadsides in the middle of my line-up, with a tank to one side and my sniper-drons to the other-slowly moving forward.

The XV-9 Hazard suits played exceptionally well, especially tagging them alongside a fellow crisis squad; their toughness made a marginal difference, but they could do with shield drones rather than generator. Only 'con' is you have to pay 10pts for a drone controller aswell. ouch!

They're twinlink bursters managed to get between 14 and 18 hits on average, and still took down a few spacemarines too. Alongside the crisis suits, my opponent (Mr Kenzo)lost 3tactical squads, 1 each round, that's when the concentrated firepower came back at them. We are looking at a new formiddable unit to take to war!
So much so that I'm going against wot I said earlier and will prob buy the Forgeworld models. (crisis-suits with extra burst cannons held in place with blu-tac doesn't quite look so great!)

Am I the only person who likes Sniper-drones. I rarely play a game without them, never lose the whole squad, and they are an awesome squad eater. round 2 8-marines...round 3 0-marines!!!