Sunday, November 15, 2009

Firepower On Hoof: The Tau Mobile Infantry Army


It's always interesting to find an army that is completely original, one that you've never seen before, composed of seldom-used units in large numbers and played with it's own unique strategy. My friend, Dale, is one the those players who constantly comes up with lists like this in whatever game he plays. Dale is not at all interested in theory-hammer and his lists are built with no outside influence other than game play. This past Friday I was able to witness his unorthodox Tau army in action.

Dale's army has 3 full squads of drones, 9 or more Crisis Suits, 5 Broadsides and a number of 6-strong Fire Warrior squads on foot. Not a single vehicle. Essentially, Dale has packed in a lot of firepower on foot. His Crisis Suits sport either Burst Cannons and Plasma Rifles or PLasma Rifles and Fusion Blasters. Dale has also invested a lot of point in shield drones and Marker Drones to accompany his various XV8 and XV88 squads. It's a total opposite approach to army building than most players take, but it does render all those melta-crazed warriors ineffective.

Dale uses the drone squads to protect his large XV8s and fire warriors, as they move to control or contest objectives. Drones will surround and protect valuable units from assault and shooting (by providing a cover save), while in the Tau shooting phase the drones will move out of the way so as not to confer a cover save to the enemy. The smaller foot-slogging units of Fire Warriors tend to get ignored because of their size and low threat level.

It is risky to get too close to this army. With that many heavily armed crisis suits, anything that comes within 24 inches of them gets fried. In one turn of shooting during this game, a full squad of Legion of the Damned was wiped out, regardless of their invulnerable save. This was not the only time in this game when this happened.

This was not a Tau victory in the end, as Dale needed one more turn to move his troops onto the objectives. The Marine player was able to hold two objectives and contest one of the Tau's with a speeder for the win. However, Dale Tau Mobile Infantry army caused much more damage and certainly won the war of attrition.

8 comments:

Raptor1313 said...

I have to disagree that melta is useless against that build, as melta is still capable of insta-killing suits.

That aside, I think Tau are perfectly capable of mounting a nasty, nasty foot army. Personal tastes dictate missile pods on the Crisis Sits, but so it goes. It is a creative use of the Gun Drones; it's probably the ONLY use you'd get out of them.

Were there Markerlights in the Fire Warrior squads, or not?

Old Shatter Hands said...

I can't remember...I don't think that there were any markerlights in the FW squads.

True meltas can insta-death suits but thing about meltas is, if you shoot a melta at a Suit Unit, he'll just assign the wound to a shield drone...so you have to peel away those before melta starts becoming effective. I know in the early stages of this game, the marine player had nothing worthwhile to shoot with his melta guns or lascannons with...every shot just got assigned to shield drone...

Tau can make effective foot-sloggers. It's got me thinking about fielding an army like this one day. Could be fun. Although I don't own enough suits...

Old Shatter Hands said...

By the way, Raptor thanks for following this blog. I enjoy the comments.

Cheers!

Jacob said...

This is an interesting army. However, I feel like it would suffer in objective missions. Without any transports or Kroot, how can he claim or contest any objectives?

suneokun said...

I like the concept of the Tau extra-mobile infantry. The only problem is that the only 'objective' grabbers are the only unit that can't move 18" a turn (move-run-assault move).

That said, I love the idea of a 'lighter' build offering lots of bodies. I frequently use lots of drones in squads and opponents find it very frustrating as that 'instantkill' shot that should deter my crisis suit doesn't.

This army does struggle against a chomping horde (like Orks or Nids) and against a anti Saim Hann/Space Marine dakka build where lots of strength 4-6 dakka is essential and no low AP shots, you just get attritioned to death!

Sholto said...

That's a good looking army, althoug I don't envy him painting all that white.

This is similar to a foot Tau army I saw at a tourny a few weeks ago. He ran 4 12-man FW squads with markerlights and broadsides (basic gunline), and combined that with deepstriking suits and gun drone squads as mobile cover. He did pretty well with it.

He should have taken out that speeder sooner, though. Either that or ensured it could not get within 3" of his objectives by spreading his models around. I often play people who get their own troops within 3" of their own objective, but never spread out to deny my piranha the space to contest on Turn 5. Not even horde armies - they just get close enough and stop moving.

Chuckles said...

There was a second speeder that Dale blew up. After that, I kept the remaining, disarmed speeder alive to contest objectives, as I have seen Old Shatter and Fritz do to great effect. If I hadn't gotten lucky with the Game Continuation roll, I would have lost, and lost BAD.

The Vanguard Vets deepstriking and annihilating one unit of broadsides was fun, even if they were sublimated by the Tau fusion and plasma fire the next turn. I would have liked them to get locked into a two turn close combat, but oh well. My terminators mishap-ing into the rear of my deployment area was not ideal, but they were able to shoot a whole two drones in the last round of shooting...so yeah.

The Legion getting roasted was fun to watch, it took almost every gun in the Tau army to kill them. I have only won with this Legion of the Damned Army (vanilla marines with one squad of LoTD) against Dale and both times due to objectives and a lucky turn roll.

Muskie said...

This evening I made up an odd Tau list for the Greater good. Basically fire warriors on foot and piranhas. About 900 points worth then add Crisis suits to taste, no tanks, no broadsides, no kroot was my theory. Of course buying and painting it...

Anyway insomnia or whatever, nice website.