Author Topic: How to get Tau to work under 8th?  (Read 1962 times)

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Offline Eryx_UK

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How to get Tau to work under 8th?
« on: July 20, 2017, 06:34:02 PM »
One of my local players has a Tau army. Under 7th it was fantastic but under 8th he is feeling it has lost the shooting capabilities that it had and he is feeling that markerlights don't help as you so many to get the +1 to shooting. I'm trying to find ways to explain to him how Tau work now under 8th. Any suggestions on what I can point out to help him? Thanks.
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Offline Eryx_UK

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Re: How to get Tau to work under 8th?
« Reply #1 on: July 25, 2017, 05:51:41 PM »
Are Tau actually that bad that no one has any suggestions?  :(
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Offline MiniTV

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Re: How to get Tau to work under 8th?
« Reply #2 on: July 26, 2017, 12:11:30 AM »
I know quite a few people in my local GW that have either never won a Tau game yet or just put them down entirely
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Offline NoMoshing

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Re: How to get Tau to work under 8th?
« Reply #3 on: August 29, 2017, 03:31:15 PM »
Every army got reshuffled in terms of what's good and what's bad, and while T'au got nerfed pretty hard, here's some things I've learned in my 8th ed experiences.

Great Unit

Commander: Firing up to four weapons at a 2+ is pretty great, especially with markerlight support to reroll 1's. Buffmander is dead, so having commanders as hard-hitting gunships is great. They make the Supreme Command detachment (or whatever it's called) very worth it for T'au.

Ghostkeel: Not quite the powerhouse it used to be, but -2 to hit with all incoming fire is pretty good. Unfortunately, the OSC build isn't as good as going straight AP (flamers + Ion) or AT (fusion + fusion) so be ready to pry off some of your weapons. Target Locks are must-takes now, and then decide if you want to improve your survivability with a Stim Injector, or improve your shooting with an ATS.

Stealth Battlesuits: -1 to hit with all attacks (!) and 2+ save in cover makes them a great firebase unit. Remember they also have the infantry keyword, and use that to you advantage with positioning with regard to cover. They're also relatively quick, and putting the one fusion blaster in each squad is very worth it because you can split that shot or two out to toast a hard target. Investing in ATSes for your burst cannons is fantastic, your fusion blasters can carry an ATS, maybe a drone controller or velocity tracker or something, but can just as easily run naked.

Good Units

Fire Warriors with Pulse Rifles: When supported by a Fireblade, Fire Warriors can pump out three shots per model under half range, and the benefits of volley fire also apply to overwatch. Now that cramming together models is less of an issue because templates are gone, you can easily cram two or three dozens models within 6" of the Fireblade and use FTGG to fire 90+ shots on overwatch.

Pathfinders: Dunno about ion rifles, as the loss of templates makes ion weapons just overall worse. Rail rifles are a real threat though, if your opponent underestimates your pathfinders and parks a light vehicle or walker near you that model is toast. Having 7-10 markerlights in a unit also makes getting over the markerlight "dead zone" a possibility. Also also, the support drones that come with the pathfinders are pretty great- with Fire Warriors. So either deploy them together or send your drones over to your fire warriors, and now the aforementioned Fireblade death bubble is rapid firing at 18", reduces charge ranges by D3, and if your pathfinders are right next door you can arrange it so that the recon drone grants them Ignore Cover. At this point, though, you're spending so many points for these synergies that this a significant part of your army.

Drones: Cheap support for expensive models like suits or commanders. Now that every gun drones pumps out 4 shots each, that can be a pretty significant field of fire. However, you have to balance whether you want to use support drones for your other units and put lots of easy VP on the board, or have big blobs of tactical drone squads that might ruin your chances of going first. The errata makes shield drones --- once more, though, and markerlight drones need a drone controller nearby to be any good, really.

Fireblade: See Fire Warriors, above. Also, a Fireblade on his own is an easy 2+ Markerlight token, and is a lot more powerful in close combat than many people will expect. Don't be afraid to declare a charge against a weak character like a medic, commissar, or psyker with your Fireblade is it suits the situation.

Ethereal: First off, ignore every ability on the Ethereal except for Failure is Not an Option and Sense of Stone. Calm of Tides is worthless because of Failure is Not an Option (an additional -1 on morale checks when I'm already rolling against Ld 9? And I ignore die rolls of 6 because of Bonding Knife Ritual.) and Storm of Fire and Zephyr's Grace are situational at best. Sense of Stone is pretty great, and Failure is Not an Option is good, so buy an Ethereal to sit beside your Fireblade and make that gun blob death bubble that much harder to pop.

Sun Shark Bomber: It doesn't carry an impressive array of weapons, but that's not what you care about. Pulse Bombs are awesome for anti-infantry, and are a great source of mortal wounds for heavy infantry. Space marines with shields? Genestealers? Lychguard? No problem. On average dice, that's five mortal wounds a turn provided you keep hitting units of at least ten models. It can be tricky to steer, so just try and remember that every kill after turn 3 is just gravy.

Coldstar Commander: I don't have one myself yet, but they are fast and can pack a decent punch. My opponents who field them use them for putting a hard(ish) unit on an objective and then Advancing to grab linebreaker in the last turn or two of a game.

Situational Units

Pirahnas: I haven't tried them yet, but in theory they are fast and reasonably sturdy. With a burst cannon they can dish out 12 S5 AP- shots a turn, which makes for a pretty good AP gunship in smaller games. Maybe it's just my local meta, but most people who have strategies hinging on characters seem to put them in the rear rather than properly bubblewrapping them, so a couple pirahnas with fusion blasters flying straight to the enemy backfield to start toasting support characters might do your opponent a concern and disrupt their plans. If you're playing for objectives, you can also zip to an important location and poop out a couple drones on a marker before heading out to give fire support to the rest of your army.

Broadsides: They're fantastic units, but are very expensive. Equipped with a target lock, a broadside can advance alongside your gunline and provide some much needed AT support. Equipped with an ATS, they can sit back, make a mockery of your opponent's tanks and walkers, and take out vast swarms of infantry with AP -1 SMS spam. Nailing a hard target with multiple heavy rail rifle shots just feels good, too. They feel a little less pricey when playing with power points for some reason, so you might want to hold off on rolling out the Cadillacs until then.

Crisis Suits: The problem here is that they're not nearly as tough as they should be, and it really feels like they should have just one more wound or something. That said, they can fire up to three weapons now, so that's something. A personal favourite is 2 Missile Pods and ATS, because the extra -1 AP is decisive in turning MPs from overcosted trash to great. I haven't experimented a lot yet, except to say that Airbusters went from "situationally good" to "utter garbage". You do want to deep strike them, even if it's just to do a defensive deep strike on turn two to support a critical unit in danger. I also want to try doing a crisis suit "assault squad" at one point, putting two flamers and an ATS on some and using that unit to intercept chargers and such, since the -1 AP from the ATS also applies in close combat.

Bad Units

Sniper Drones/Firesight Marksman: Hands down the worst snipers in the game. With a drone controller nearby and a Firesight Marksman to spot, they move up to BS 3+. Wow! Finally my snipers shoot as well as almost every other sniper in the game after I've dedicated two other models to supporting them! The rate of fire of the longshot pulse rifle does not make up for the lack of an AP value or the ability to do mortal wounds. They're also overpriced as hell.
Seriously, though, this is a huge problem. They're the only snipers in our entire faction now, and they blow. We have a major weakness to armies that rely on support characters, because short of throwing fast units into the backfield and hoping your opponent is negligent with their bubble wrap, we have no other way of singling them out. Get ready to be spanked by IG, Ultramarines, and Eldar.

Support Turrets: They they can't move and get destroyed once your gunline moves out of formation with them. And they're pretty expensive. At least they can be broken down for decent terrain bits.

Fire Warriors with Pulse Carbines: Utterly useless, unless you're advancing around the board like crazy for some reason, and even then we have better units for that (Stealth battlesuits, pirahnas, etc.)

Markerlights

Here's the thing about markerlights- they're simultaneously the cornerstone of your army and totally trash at the same time. Since the only things in the entire faction that shoot at a 3+ or better are special characters, Commanders, Fireblades, and Hammerheads (and two other totally useless units), you need all the help with accuracy that you can get. The extra ~5% hit rate you get out of rerolling 1's is pretty important. But almost every other markerlight value is bad.
At 2 tokens, you can fire Seeker Missiles at full BS... so, great, the five points I spent on a weapon that can inflict one mortal wound per game hits with ~55% accuracy instead of ~18% or ~23%. Woo. Admittedly, this would be pretty great if you could get it on a character, but that's almost never going to happen.
At 3 tokens, I can ignore the penalty for moving and firing heavy weapons, or for Advancing and firing assault weapons. That would have been great to know in the Movement phase when I could make decisions based on that.
At 4 tokens, you ignore cover, which is pretty good but you're relying on a bit of luck to get there considering that every individual markerlight lands at ~55% to hit.
Finally at 5 tokens, you get a real benefit, a flat +1 to hit, which is great- when you can get it.
So we're trapped in this situation where having 2-4 markerlights are only situationally useful, and compromise your ability to fire accurately at other targets. That's a big dead zone to overcome if you want to lay hands on that delicious +1 to hit. So, either spread your markerlights around and help out your whole army, or focus all your markerlights on one unit that must die now now now NOW. Every other potential use for them is situational at best.

So, to summarize- we've been nerfed, but if you know the new T'au weaknesses and can work around the problems with the army, we can still score some victories.
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Offline PepeTykki

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Re: How to get Tau to work under 8th?
« Reply #4 on: September 04, 2017, 08:28:22 AM »
I don't play T'au but i have a friend who does. He wasn't very good playing in 7th and I'm afraid that now in 8th he'll do so much worse. It is truely sad how short the moment of glory was for T'au. And my friend didn't even get to taste thos "Fish and Cheese" tactics.
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Offline NoMoshing

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Re: How to get Tau to work under 8th?
« Reply #5 on: September 04, 2017, 03:38:24 PM »
I don't play T'au but i have a friend who does. He wasn't very good playing in 7th and I'm afraid that now in 8th he'll do so much worse. It is truely sad how short the moment of glory was for T'au. And my friend didn't even get to taste thos "Fish and Cheese" tactics.

Well, I'd argue that they weren't "good" in 7th, it's just that the Riptide was incredible. Most Tau units were just okay.
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Offline Eryx_UK

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Re: How to get Tau to work under 8th?
« Reply #6 on: September 05, 2017, 05:58:26 PM »
My friend has had a few games since I posted this and he slowly coming around to the idea that he can't play as he used to. New edition new ways of doing things and it has made him realise that Tau can be played well now.  :)
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Offline Jawyvern

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Re: How to get Tau to work under 8th?
« Reply #7 on: September 19, 2017, 10:36:08 PM »
Just a thought. It's a bit spammy but how about a Tau railhead tank force. T7, 13 wounds, good gun... all for a similar price to one broadside. You could easily field 6 or 7 of these plus longstrike, and still have points for a screening force (in a normal 2000pt game.)
Seems the only way to have decent firepower with decent BS on semi durable units. Don't know about going full mechanized tho. Possibly buy those force field walls to help give cover...
Other than that pulse rifles or burstcannons to help thin out large amounts of light infantry. And a counter to lascannon team types. Either deep strike units or something fast. You don't need to kill them, but you need to keep them from shooting so assault may be called for. Coldstar commander, piranha, etc.
Also the drone screen is important. Put your drones right next to your opponent but don't assault. If they assault, great. If they don't destroy the drones fly out of there and reposition in front again.