Thursday, May 6, 2010

Blood Angels: What the new codex means for Tau Players

The new Blood Angels Codex is the new best thing for in Warhammer 40,000. It offers the Space Marine Player the chance to field dream lists. and I do mean Space Marine Player (not just Blood Angels players and hobbyists) as I am sure you, like me, are seeing lots of blue, grey and yellow Space Marines running around with Sanguinary Priests. This weekend alone a gathering of 8 gamers means 4 Blood Angels armies hit the field. Hordes of gamers are now running Armored Spearheads with lots of fast Razorbacks and power-armored infantry with furious charge, dual meltaguns, and near army-wide Feel No Pain.

The Razorbacks and Sanguinary Priests are something to be concerned about as Marines can now close on Tau positions quickly and unharmed, only to disgorge Space Marines that are very difficult to kill. The codex makes fielding massed S5, AP5 weaponry an exercise in futility. Long range fire is also nerfed as it becomes more difficult to keep your distance when all transports are moving 18 inches a turn and Space Marines are dropping from the skies with the Decent of Angels special rule.

Such times call for improved firepower and the Fio'la of Tau are quickly arming stocks of Battlesuits with crucial Plasma Rifles, Fusion Blasters and Missile Pod in order to deal with such threats. It is becoming increasing important for Tau players to have devastating short range firepower at hand. I am talking about working more plasma and fusion into your list. So that means more Fire Knife Suits or Helios Suits (Fusion Blasters and Plasma Rifles) at this juncture. A good strong unit of Broadsides, maybe with a target lock on their teamleader, is also needed to knock out transports so your Crisis Suits can to focus on wiping out exposed Marines with their plasma and fusion weaponry.

When a unit of Assault troops leaps from a Rhino, you need to be there with high-tech alien weaponry to fry them. When Angels clad in red or black decent on you from the skies, your Crisis Suits should be there, posed to strike the killing blow, completely an utterly. I have been working more plasma into my list and my Deathrains are left in the Battledome for training. A good healthy supply of AP2 weaponry is what you need. Any thing less and your positions will be overrun!
What are you doing to combat this new threat? How have the Blood Angels changed your game?


suneokun said...

Good advice OSH, Unfortunately the impact of the FNP is dirt. That said, remember Kroot, overlooked and underpaid, you don't get FNP if your medic is in H2H ... although this may be incorrect for Sainguinary Priests as the 'and they shall know no rules' rule applies.

For the Greater Good.

Shas'la Suneokun of the Joetsu.

Old Shatter Hands said...

With the new Codex, Sanguinary Priest confer Feel No Pain and Furious Charge to all unit within 6 inches of the priest. Whether he is in CC doesn't affect this. so Kroot won't help you. You can try to kill blood angels with torrents, but after rolling to hit, rolling to wound, him rolling armor saves and then him rolling feel no pain. the damage will be minimal.

NockerGeek said...

That high-strength/low AP weaponry advice is consistent with my experiences against Blood Angels. Fireknives tear their units apart, but massed pulse rifle fire is just about useless. It doesn't help that one of the balancing features of Sanguinary Priests is that they can be singled out in assault, which helps us not at all.

I just wish that plasma wasn't the most expensive battlesuit weapon; fitting more plasma into a 1500-point list is rather tricky.

Wadmaasi said...

Given the rate of Codex releases, what are the odds Tau are going to get a new one before 6th Edition is (eventually) released? I guess we can look forward to being at the front-end of the power curve at the start of 6e's life, anyhow.

Old Shatter Hands said...

A new codex will take some time I am sure. I've sent a letter to Jervis about this and so far have gotten no response. Maybe its time to send another one! haha!

You're right. Tau plasma is overcosted. 20 points is ridiculous when marines are getting them for 15 (sometimes less) on a BS4 model. But it is essentially nowadays. At least you can be certain that at least you look cooler shooting plasma from a Battlesuit than from primitive tin-can armor space marines are running around in. hahahaha!

Seriously, I've actually been considering the previously shunned Burning Eye Configuration - twin-linked plasma. Suits like that cost about 59 points a pop with a flamer. (of course you'd prolly never use the flamer).

Michael said...

Like OSH I play both Blood Angels and Tau, and I will tell you that one of the few things my Blood Angels fear is Plasma. Terrible thing that. I played a Chaos army that list-hammered me by putting in loads of plasma, 2x guns in each squad and a pistol on his Champions. It was ugly for sure. The worst loss I have ever had.

So when you come up against Blood Angels, or imo any army, pack all the plasma that you can. Negating FNP is the only way Tau will be able to come out on top.

Back to what Suneokun said, Kroot are a great defense, but not for the reason he said. If you don't have a Kroot bubblewrap around your suits, then expect them to get assulted fairly quickly. Blood Angels are so fast that without some protection they will be on top of you before your plasma will even be effective.

I don't think the twin-linked plasma is the best bet though. The more shots you can put out the better. Weight of fire is the only other option for you, because there is no hope in assault.

My 2 cents . . .

Xyhelm said...

Indeed. Plasma is the key! I agree with Michael about twin-linked plasma. I tend to go for the number of shots over rerolling misses. Plus you'll have more units to speed bump:

I cannot stand Blood Angels because they can outrun the Tau--something the Tau usually rely on. Since the Tau aren't going to win at speed, the best thing I do is have many small units. I use gun drone squads, Kroot, single or double crisis suits, and small squads of Fire Warriors (even piranhas!) to speed bump BAs. You make a wall with these smaller units with the idea that the BAs will assault one or two. Just pray they wipe out your unit out during their turn! (If you think your unit will be wiped out on your turn, I would dare to assault them with one unit so this doesn't happen.) When they wipe out your unit on their turn, their unit is in the open to be pounded on by plasma and rapid fire on your turn. Surround them with with lots of fire power from your Fire Warriors, gun drone squads, crisis suits, and Kroot. As before, hope they will assault another one of your small units. Since each BA unit is worth far more points than your smaller units, you will gain ground in the long run.

Of course, the big problem with this is if the game is annihilation or if you don't have many other troop choices to focus on objectives. I'm still learning how to use speed bumping against BAs. It's very difficult to pull off effectively.

Bring one or two Ionheads. Railheads are worthless against BAs unless you're going to use it to pop their rhinos (which is what the Broadsides are for). Use the ion cannon (Heavy=3, AP=3) to negate their armor saves!

Get some plasma, use that ion, and speed bump those Blood Angels!

ehemkeh said...

While I agree, plasma all the way on suits, don't forget about AP3 weapons. Granted, they are not common options, but at least AP3 means at least skipping the armor save and going straight to FNP.

I've recently been running some Sniper Drone teams and small units of Vespids in my lists recently and having some success against marine armies. They are rarely fielded and my opponents constantly ask what these units are as most Tau players don't use them.

Old Shatter Hands said...

great comments so far. I have indeed added an dakkahead to my list (ion cannon, bursts) and beefed up on Fire knives. the comment about the small units as speed bumps is interesting. I don't normally use this tactic, as I usually don't have the points around for that. I do wonder how it would work when Blood Angels have lots of mobile firepower and could simple shoot those speed bump squads and make them run away...I guess my point is, a good player won't be fooled by them. As a BA player, I've been able to get around the speed bump tactic with a couple rounds from a Baal Pred.

Michael said...

I'd rather have my speed bump get shot up by that Baal Pred, then it firing at my suits or my tanks.

Bubblewrap is underrated. Don't forget it.

Anonymous said...

Once upon a time, a wise young Shas'El defended FireKnives when they were most critized.

If you count yourselves among those stalwart visionaries, give yourself a 4-fingered pat on the shoulder as worthy congratulations.


Flex said...

Long time reader, first time poster.

I got a very "subversive" feeling on this post-- much like one of our fellow Shas'el managed to spy upon the Blood Angel ranks and provide us information from the inside =)

But of course, you're a BA player-- so you're able to relate this info quite easily.

This Shas'el humbly thanks OSH for allowing me to learn these lessons the hard way versus the Blood Angels.

Kroxitau said...

Not all blood angel players go the CC route. Played a game against super shooty Blood angels, 5 razorbacks with lascannons, an auto cannon pred, a TL lascannon pred, 2 baal preds and a vindicator.

I think helios suits are good as well as Black eyes (twin linked plasma black sun filter) just because they are cheaper by a couple points.

However the danger arises when you want to make the most of your suits and get into rapid fire range. Against a CC oriented army being in rapid fire range means you are probably going to get charged next turn unless you eliminate all the threats.

in 1750 I have been running deathrains but if I go up to 2000 i switch to fireknives.

Pathfinder units with seeker missiles have been working pretty good for a massive single turn alpha strike as well.


The_King_Elessar said...

Personally, as a non-Tau player, I would fear MP/Plasma, just like I would with my regular SM, or my Eldar, or my Orks... ;)

Xanadu said...

I tend to run 2 helios teams with a helios command... but I back them up with some fusion cascade XV9s which tend to make absolute mincemeat out of any unit that hits them. I take two hammerheads with ion cannon as well or sometimes the melta cannon turret.- blast melta is my friend.

However, I have started to defect to eldar (for shame!), packing in my future lists lots of more capable CC units (JB mounted seer council here i come!)

Michael said...

TKE, as usual, is spot on. Fireknives are the most versatile, hardest hitting configuration available. You need plasma shots vs FNP and Termies. MP realiably wounds any infantry unit forcing saves. Both weapons can be effective vs transports like rhinos and Razorback. And both of them have a respectable range, meaning there are few things that can assualt you when you are at max distance. I have played around with funky suit configs, but I always come back to the plasma/MP. They are just too good.

tdogp said...

Fireknives are awesome, but which do you guys think is better Helios or Burning Eye? The former has more versatility, but the latter is much better at range.

Pete W said...

I think Fireknives certainly are cool suits and have their great versatility but I do have a fondness for some specialists (Helios and Deathrain in particular).

Helios at close range is just great in my experience. You get to hit with 3 S6/8 Ap1/2 shots under 12" and you can then jump out. It's important to be able to judge 12" very closely though. They key point is that you must move to engage what you can kill in one round. I would use these guys to hit a Sanguinary guard unit or anything under the influence of FNP.

Burning eye is nicely accurate but I think that at >12" the odds of cover being present is fairly hight and at under 12" it's great to have that extra shot. Being able to melt armour is also a nice thing too as it puts that little bit more hesitation into your opponent's movement.

I think that Piranhas can be really useful against fast assaulters too. Use them to Fusion FNP troops then drop off your gun drones in a long line to block assaults. It gives you an extra turn to kills off those assaulting troops and with some careful vehicle and drone positioning you might even prevent jump troops from jumping over you.

That said, I haven't played the new Blood Angels yet but OSH's FNP units in cityfight were particularly tough. I worked at them mostly with low AP weapons but threw any spare S5 shots I had just for the low-odds chance of bringing down extra troops.