Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Kauyon: The Patient Hunter Gets the Prey


After years of trying to execute a flawless Mont'Ka, I've settled into the Kauyon way of war. The Mont'ka is what I call a Mechanized Tau Army Build. Multiple Devilfish, Hammerheads and Piranha, very few kroot and a couple squads of Crisis Suits to move along with the flowing Cadre. The army can move, but isn't necessarily fast. It can shoot but isn't noted for its firepower. Instead the army relies on focusing firepower in specific points on the battle field, destroying them while misdirecting the enemy with Broadsides and blocking the enemy with Piranhas. Just pure gun 'n' run.

With each new codex, units are cheaper. (My own Blood Angels Army went from 1750 to 1500 with the new codex) This means more models on the tabletop and less space to gun n' run.
The Mont'Ka is great for pick-up games and "casual" play (shouldn't all games be casual?), it lacks the weaponry and staying power of the Kauyon Army Build. The Kauyon is what's known in the blogosphere as the Tau Mono Build and .

The army is largely an infantry force that fights like its the Revolutionary War. There are numerous variations on it due to personal preference, but you'll find these armies with 2 large units of Kroot, Piranhas and Drones to protect the heavy weapons of the 10+ Crisis Suits and Broadsides that are castled up behind. It's called the mono build because it's believed that this is the only army build that is competitive.

There are nuances to the play-style that I am still learning. It seems to have to this amazing ability to block approaching units, thereby winning time for your heavy-hitters to keep firing. Deployment is very important. You set up your Kroot in a long line out in front and make sure they can claim a cover save by having most of their models in area terrain. Behind them is the rest of the army. Piranhas set up in the middle of the board so they can quickly move out to block the enemy. Their drones drop and move behind the Kroot, only to move out to block the enemy from charging the Kroot. Although there is a Kroot screen that is meant to die, it's still very wise to keep the enemy from killing your Kroot for as long as possible so use those drones as best you can.

In this picture you can see the army set up as a fire base. The Piranha has moved out to block the rhino while the drones have dropped earlier to sit behind the Kroot, ready to pounce out to their protection at the right moment.

As I said there are nuances to this list I am still learning. Timing and knowing where to block the enemy are very important. In one game my Piranhas were too good at blocking and I ended up keeping the enemy out of sight so I couldn't shoot at them.

I'm also finding that setting up 2 firebases like the one above deployed in both corners of the board is most effective. Because it isn't possible to set up two equally strong fire bases with my list, I want the larger of the two fire bases to take the brunt of the fighting, so it sets up directly across from my opponents heaviest flank. Seems counter intuitive I know but its works. The smaller one supports from a good distance but survives longer with whole units at full strength to escort the Devilfish to claim objectives.

Once you start clearing the board, it's important to press the attack. Move your fire base up to start to secure the midfield. Maintain a strong defensive screen at all times and it will be nearly impossible for certain opponents to get anywhere near you. The Kauyon seems to crush certain armies, while struggling against others, leading me to believe that it's a middle of the road army, not a top dog but not a slouch either.

I've only played 6 games with this type of army and I'm by no means an expert. Part of me still wishes the Mont'Ka could work in a tournament setting. I'll have to save my Mont'Ka lists for pick-up games with old friends but for tournaments, it's the patient hunter that gets the prey.

16 comments:

Antisocialnerd said...

I'm a complete Noob to tau haven't really played much yet though i do read this blog and this is pretty much the list i settled on early as the "natural" way to play tau no offense but i always kinda thought you were doing it wroung.

Though i'm pretty sure this is a 4th to 5th transition type of thing and to be honest it wasn't so much about strategy as getting as many of those awesome suits on the field combined with not liking the hammerhead.

i do plan to have my suits a lot more mobile and not having any piranha.

set up my kroot in the middle suits behind them broadside firebases on either side behind them sort of thing and fall back or push forward as necessary where necessary.

ehemkeh said...

Two questions.

How do you position your pathfinders in this type of setup? Behind the Kroot?

What do you do against template armies (IG, SW longfang missile spam, etc), outflanking armies (genestealers)?

On a side note, I took my BA to the last local tournament near me. I lost in the 3rd round to.... TAU! It was wierd losing to the army I've been playing for two years. Anyway, he had a 4th edition fish of fury list (3x10 FW in Devilfish). His rolling was awesome even without markerlights, I couldn't make an armor or FNP save at all and lost on KP. I think the dice gods wanted to punish me for not taking my Tau.

Old Shatter Hands said...

@Antisocialnerd, yeah that's pretty much the conclusion I've come to as well. The Mont'Ka can work against certain armies, but folds horribly in competitive environments. I don't think I was doing anything "wrong" because I still managed to win games but that was in spite of the inefficient lists I used to field. I was winning games here and there and enjoying the way the army played. The thing is, I want the Mont'Ka to work, I want to play that way.

But tactically, you're right. There was something wrong with it. You simply cannot let your enemy have full reign of the board and unfortunately that is what the Mont'Ka builds do.

Old Shatter Hands said...

@Ehemkeh,

Templates. There are two things you can do about templates. 1) shoot them until they are silences. 5+ Railguns can handle that while your crisis suits target transports. 2) Deploy close to the table edges, so templates scatter off the board. I used this list against 3 manticores and didn't lose much to them.

Outflankers. Not an issue. Just be prepared for them by making sure they can't move into your castle by occuring the space along the board edge.

Pathfinders are great behind the kroot as they can act as a blocking unit too. Or you can set them up as far back as possible, even right near the table edge. 36 inch range is fine when the enemy is trying to get to you. They'll quickly be in range of your lights.

Antisocialnerd said...

@oldshatterhands i hope i didn't offend you or anything i can honestly say i learned practically everything about Tau and warhammer 40k tactics from this blog it's a really good blog

I think your a great player a "champion" of the tau both as a player and for encouraging people to play tau in general.

so here a toast to the glory and long life of shatterhands.

Old Shatter Hands said...

@antisocialnerd, none taken at all. Thanks for the kudos. I appreciate your comments 100%. Readers like you are what keep me motivated to post my thoughts and experiences with 40k.

NockerGeek said...

Why Kroot for your gunline? Is it the because they're cheaper, or is because they're semi-competent in assault? I ask because I've used Kroot only once, and that was as outflankers, and they promptly got destroyed by the next enemy unit to come along.

I'll admit, though - this article is a hard sell for me. I just enjoy the playstyle of Mechanized Tau too much to give it up, and I've tailored all my purchases towards supporting it. While I'm not against some static elements - I have a squad of 3 Broadsides that both dishes out fire and draws attention - I enjoy the ability to quickly reposition my army and take advantage of cover without sacrificing firepower. Sitting still and waiting for the enemy to smash into me (or drop right in front of me, in the case of BA) just seems... wrong. Granted, I'm not a tournament player, but is it that different an environment?

In the end, I may just be a bit stuck in my jump-shoot-jumping ways. :)

Old Shatter Hands said...

@Nockergeek,

I hear you, man, a mobile army is MUCH more fun to play. This type of list however is very effective.

Kroot are not really a gunline so much as a skirmish line. Their doesn't matter, its more of a bonus when you get to use it.

They provide cover to the units behind them, while claiming cover themselves and possibly getting the +1 if they are in woods. That's why they are used. Plus they are cheap and can be fielded in huge squads.

I am really interested in making the Mont'Ka work and I dreaming up some ways I can take what I learned from this build and translate it over to a Mechanized Cadre. I am thinking about 3 units of 2 piranhas each and their drones as screens for the meatier stuff. This would be key! You need something to block the enemy approach. Spammed deathrain suits and 3 hammerheads. It would be so cool.

Nocker, what list are running these days? Would you like to do a counterpoint article? I love to hear different perspectives.

Anonymous said...

Hey Shatter, what kind of list are you using to implement this? Similar to your NOVA list?

NockerGeek said...

I think I may just take you up on that counterpoint challenge. I'm still running mechanized Tau, and while I'm not a tournament player, it holds its own decently well against the various lists in our play group.

NockerGeek said...

And now, my counterpoint:

Mont'ka: We Will Strike the Killing Blow

Feel free to pick it apart. :)

Gus said...

I have been a big fan and follower of your blog for quite some time, I take a peek for new stuff nearly every day. I found this article to be the most interesting and also game changing for me of all your articles so far. I took a lot of inspiration from your mechanized cadre and my overall army list is very similar to what you've supported for a long time. The sudden change really brings me the question, do I try to change my list too? I'm still a bit confused, this style of play sounds an awful lot like how I started out playing Tau and 40k in general. I won a few games against rhino spam (it was kill points) but as soon as something faster and tougher came along I found myself getting destroyed before swapping to my current build. I think your new method is very possible but I'd really like to get some more info on it. Perhaps a "template list" to see what the build is like, with just an explanation of the core units involved as well maybe a battle report with a Patient Hunter walk through. Its a lot to ask, but just an idea for a few articles. I'd really love to see "gunline" Tau come back, just because I know people will laugh before (hopefully) getting owned by the new strategy. Still, mech would be the ideal way as you said. While I await some more of your thoughts on the Patient Hunter, I'm still going to work on my Killing Blow. Thank you!

Old Shatter Hands said...

@Gus, here is my most recent list that uses this style of play:


1 Ethereal
1 Shas'El Commander with Twin-linked Missile Pods, Flamer and Hard Wired Target Lock.

Crisis Team - Deathrain
1 Shas'Ui Teamleader with Twin-linked Missile Pods, Flamer and Hard Wired Drone Controller
2 Shas'Ui with Twin-linked Missile Pods, Flamer
2 Gun Drones

Crisis Team - Fireknife
1 Shas'Ui Team Leader with Missile Pod, Plasma Rifle, Multitracker and Hard Wired Drone Controller
2 Shas;Ui with Missile Pod, Plasma Rifle, Multitracker
2 Gun Drones

Crisis Team - Fireknife
1 Shas'Ui Team Leader with Missile Pod, Plasma Rifle, Multitracker and Hard Wired Drone Controller
2 Shas;Ui with Missile Pod, Plasma Rifle, Multitracker
2 Gun Drone

6 Fire Warriors
Devilfish with Burst Cannon, Disruption Pod

6 Fire Warriors
Devilfish with Burst Cannon, Disruption Pod

10 Fire Warriors

10 Kroot, 5 Hounds

10 Kroot, 5 Hounds

Piranha with Fusion Blaster

Piranha with Fusion Blaster

Piranha with Fusion Blaster

Broadside Team with Advanced Stabilization System
1 Shas'Ui Team Leader with Drone Controller
2 Shas'Ui
2 Shield Drones

Broadside Team with Advanced Stabilization System
1 Shas'Ui Team Leader with Drone Controller
1 Shas'Ui
2 Shield Drones

Gus said...

Looks legit, and plenty of railgun, but what happens to the devilfish? do you reserve them to have them survive a bit, or is it assumed the enemy is using their anti-tank weaponry on the Piranhas?

NockerGeek said...

Interesting. Compared to my 2000-point list, this is surprisingly similar. I've opted for Pathfinders and Hammerheads, and slightly larger mounted FW units, but what I would consider the backbone of the army - the elite slots - are almost identical, and there's overlap in the Fast Attack (2 Piranhas w/FB) and Heavy Support (3 Broadsides, although I went for Targeting Arrays over the Stabilization System).

The Kroot hounds do make up for some of the deficiencies of the Kroot in combat (namely, initiative), so I'm not surprised to see them there. I was a bit surprised to see the foot-slogging Fire Warriors, but I imagine they're mainly for sitting on an objective within your deployment zone and holding onto it. Not sure about the Ethereal, though. I still feel like they're too much risk for too little reward.

I must say, there's more mobility in the list than I would have expected. However, I can't imagine that the Crisis Suits stay behind the skirmish line much - or are you JSJ-ing them behind the Kroot?

Marshal Wilhelm said...

ehemkeh:

As OSH said, you can deploy the Pathfinders behind the Kroot.
Remember that Marker lights do not allow a saving throw [so the Kroot don't give the baddies a cover save]
And then the Kroot give the Pathfinders a cover save
:D

OSH:
What happened to your Targeting Array FireKnives?

My name changes bombed on ATT. FireKnife and DeathRain are too popular to be changed and so a system that is actually systematic was not received.
Oh well, I tried!