Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Tau Help Desk: List Musings and Tyranids

Dear OSH,

I'm a big fan of your blog, and until recently have been in a state of denial that Tau have become a mono-build. After your initial post on the subject, I played my mechanized, killing-blow Tau for several months more, trying to prove to myself that it is as viable as the list you posted. After twice ending with 2 wins, 2 losses at local tournaments, I decided to change to the new Tau a couple weeks ago. So far, I have been extremely pleased that I can use my Kroot in mass again, and have greater firepower. I use a list almost identical to your 1850 (sorry about that, but it is a mono-build you say!) with full sized firewarriors and one fireknife team instead of a deathrain squad. Thank you for all the tactics and articles on the new strategy! I greatly enjoy them and it has helped my Tau win most of their games with the new list. I will try this at a tournament coming up.

I've been meaning to ask you about your tactics versus Tyranids for some time now. I have had the most trouble against them, and its the only army I haven't beat. The Patient Hunter list should be better at keeping them away from my firepower, but I still fear genestealer heavy lists with backup large gaunt squads. I can't focus on such a large squad when the genestealers will require all my firepower. Are there any tactics or tips you keep in mind when fighting 'nids?

Also, based off your 1850 list, what do you drop when lowering to 1500? I ended up dropping piranhas and a deathrain squad, but they are both pretty essential units for the army. I won that 1500 game, but with less screens, it was harder to hold off the attackers. In addition, what is the first unit you'd add for a 2000 list? The army fits too well at 1850, and I don't know what else I need more of.

Thanks, and good luck on Heroes of Armageddon! I can't wait to see how awesome your models will be!
------Reply out: 

Sorry I haven't emailed you sooner. My internet has been down at my house and I don't have much time at work to write emails. I'm glad you've been having fun with your Tau army. Honestly mine has been shelved due to time constraints with my daughter. Parenting takes time, it really does. 

I can't wait for the new codex which isn't too far off. The anticipation is brewing, believe me. 

The Tau aren't 100% locked into a mono-build. Stelek from Yes the Truth Hurts has been producing some great new builds to play with. Although they are soundly founded on the mono-build, they have some interesting elements. 

Check this link for a genius list from Stelek: 

Also, have you seen the new Tau FAQ on the GW website? Seeker missiles now pretty ignore cover except for area terrain and smoke launchers. There is some potential there. Drone are now destroyed if attached to a vehicle when it's wrecked but they don't give up kill points in that situation. I'd like to think my emails to Jervis helped get this done, but who knows?

Kroot in great numbers are still extremely useful. Keep using them and learning how to get the most out of them. 

Going down to 1500 points from my 1850 list is quite hard. You start getting into an area where you don't have enough points to build the backbone of the Tau army, which is kroot, prianhas and broadsides. I think I would start from scratch, but ensure that I have at least 10 Crisis Suits with Missile Pods, 2 squads of 10 kroot and at least 2 piranhas. Be sure to fit in at least 4 railguns somehow. Keep the upgrades to a minimum, for example, if you get fire warriors take 6 of them and put them into a stock devilfish with only the Disruption Pod upgrade. That's only 145 points. Not bad at all. 

For 2000 points I would try to combine my Broadsides into 2 squads and try to fit in a Hammerhead with Railgun. You start needing the large blast at that point. Lately I went to a tournament without any large blasts and faced two horde armies, that simply ignored most of my shooting. Large blasts are an essential tool in most lists, so do consider including a Hammerhead or even a Airburster on your commander. 

Against Nids, honestly I haven't ever played against the new codex but I'd say to be sure you have some flamers on your suits, a Hammerhead with railgun (for large blasts) and a good screen of kroot and vehicle dropped drones. Even drones can slow up a tervigon. Make sure you kill any flying guys early. 

To sum up, screen your firing line with kroot and drones, with crisis suits with flamers and missile pods close behind. With a good mix of blasts, templates, and S6.S7 weapons, you should have all the tools you'll need. 

Heroes of Armageddon is about to get going. I moved into a new place this weekend and I am working on setting up my paint station. First to come is a unit of Blood Angels Scouts


suneokun said...

I run both Nids and Tau and have some insights on the new codex. Nids have to threaten to survive.

Playing Nids is actually one of the best combo's going, you need the firepower to deal with the Genestealers early on and then the speed to keep out of the clutches of their deepstrikers/flankers/runners.

Check out the following battle report:

And think about going old school. Fish of fury is a great way to get the drop on those Genestealers in the open, remember your fletchette dischargers and support in ranks. Flamers are an absolute must, and alongside missile pods they make for a useful combo.

Also don't discount Stealth suits, as a cluster of stealth suits with drones will always 'hit first' thanks to the stealth, can avoid a lot of firepower, threaten the 'backfield' tervigon and can distract a Tyranid player mightily.

NockerGeek said...

@suneokun: Just be warned, the "always hit first" thing is still up for debate, because GW has never clarified whether 4th edition's "assault through cover" is the same as 5th edition's "assault through difficult terrain", and Stealth Field Generators specify the former (since the latter didn't matter at the time). I'd like to say that they're equivalent, but be ready for it to be argued both ways.

NockerGeek said...

Stelek's list is interesting. I don't know if I'd call it "genius", but it's interesting, and has possibilities. At least this time he bothered explaining the intended tactics behind it (and bonus points for making it fluffy!). Not sure how well it'd scale down to 1500 points, though, and I still like MP/PR suits in my army, just because they come in so handy.

Xyhelm said...

I noticed in the new Tau FAQ that if Piranhas take a D-Pod, the entire squadron has to take them.

No longer can you put one D-Pod on a squadron of two Piranhas in order to get the cover save on 50% of the squadron (which in affect gives a cover save on the the entire squadron).


The trade off for no longer giving up a kill point for drones attached to a vehicle is worth it.

Marshal Wilhelm said...

I think they were "not generous" when they FAQed the Tau.
I play Templars and love our FAQ. DA similarly like theirs.

They tampered with Templar points cost, yet they didn't with the Tau. Boo!

Seekers would have been better as HK missiles, imo.
15/36 to hit with a seeker. 24/36 with the HK. Plus the HK doesn't need two shots to hit. Even if they made them bs5 HKs, it wouldn't have been too beardy in an overpriced Dex.

Stealth suits, Vespid, Warriors and Fish could all have taken a points drop too.

Oh well....


I think the way to play Nids is the same as with any other foe - set up speed bumps to slow the rush [and only RF with the Kroot, don't assault and be in cover!] and deploy your guys to push Infiltrators far away.

Keep Piranhas [plus Drones] ready to contest his Objectives.
Otherwise just send them right into the face of his guys. If he blows them up, they might even kill a few more ^^,

As long as you are away from Monsters, use the Fish on cruising speed to tank shock his Gaunts. He needs 6s to hit and can only glance if he has adrenal glands.
Then you drop a submunition onto the bunched up bugs ;)

Marshal Wilhelm said...

Commander. Shas'El – 107 pts
plasma rifle, missile pod, multi-tracker. HW drone controller – 2 Gun drones.

Crisis suit team. 3 – 186 pts
• team leader: HW multi tracker. plasma rifle, missile pod, targeting array.
• twin linked missile pod, flamer.
• plasma rifle, missile pod, multi-tracker

Crisis suit team. 3 + 2 – 196 pts
• team leader: HW drone controller – 2 Gun drones. plasma rifle, missile pod, multi-tracker.
• twin linked missile pod, flamer.
• plasma rifle, missile pod, multi-tracker.

Crisis suit team. 3 + 2 – 167 pts
• team leader: HW drone controller – 2 Gun drones. twin linked missile pod, flamer.
• twin linked missile pod, flamer.
• twin linked missile pod, target lock.

Warrior team. 6 – 60 pts

Pathfinder team. 8 – 96 pts
Fish – 85 pts

Kroot flock. 10 + 3 – 88 pts
3 hounds

Kroot flock. 10 + 3 – 88 pts
3 hounds

Piranha. 75 pts
fusion blaster. Dpod. targeting array

Piranha. 75 pts
fusion blaster. Dpod. targeting array

Broadside team. 3 + 2 – 275 pts
• team leader: targeting array. HW target lock. HW drone controller – 2 shield drones
• targeting array
• target lock

1498 pts

All Suits are unique.
Drones on all teams to eat s8 death.
Deathrain in two teams are to die first. By T3, hopefully I have already de-meched the foe, so losing a cheaper Suit with missile is better than plasma
5 Deathrains in the list for increased de-mech ability, essential for getting the foe on foot during T1-2
Kroot are at 13 strong - 4 deaths for morale check
Broadsides can all shoot at different targets.


Druthu said...

First of all...Email thru blogger sucks. 300 characters...really?

Ok, my question to OSH is how do you compare Stelek's list to the list you last used (as explained on YouTube)?

I am returning to 40k and going to go Tau. I wanted to get some perspective. I still have a lot to read up on, assemble...etc.

Old Shatter Hands said...

@druthu. Stelek's list is way better. The one I posted on YouTube is out of date. Say what you will about his negative attitude, that creep can make some killer lists.

Druthu said...

Yea, you may not like his delivery, but the package gets to you intact.