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Friday, October 28, 2011

Oh Tau what will I do with you

I lost a game with my Tau on Thursday. That makes two losses and one draw (and frankly pulled that out of my ass should of been a loss) in the three years that I have been playing them. Unfortunately this last loss and draw came back-to-back and on the heels of several wins that I barely managed.

After every game I tend to look back and try to figure out what I could have done better. As I thought through this latest loss I took into account some of the poorer tactical choices I made, my horrendous reserve rolling (reserved much of everything to minimize the alpha strike and instead had everything come in turn two so I could get hit nonetheless), and the stupid mistakes I made as I tried to salvage the game after an initial onslaught. What I felt most keenly was the lack of unit saturation on the table.

I also play marines (frankly not as well as my Tau) and at similar point levels I just have many more units and options on the table. What does this mean? Well in effect most every unit I field in a Marine army is capable of hurting both vehicles and infantry. I likewise just have a lot more units on the table. As I have been building my Dark Eldar army I also find that I am able to saturate the table with units which can do both. My Tau simply cannot do this my units as all somewhat specialized (outside of my battle suits which make competitive games possible) and I simply don't have as many of them.

This feeling of being overpowered on the table didn't come suddenly, more of a gradual increase in the level of difficulty and base tactics as more and more codices rollout with that challenge or neutralize the ability of Tau to be effective. First came the imperial guard with their ability to outshoot the Tau AND beat them in close combat. DOA blood angels came next forcing the inclusion of bubble wrap Kroot and the reintroduction of fireknife battle suits over deathrains to deal with FNP marines. Space Wolves and Dark Eldar didn't help either. Now I feel forced to play entirely defensive and castled up. I no longer have sufficient mobility to scoot away nor can I play enough hulls on the battlefield to offset the mass of vehicles my opponent lay out.

So what to do? I am loathe to play the same defensive game over and over and not looking forward to shelving them until a new codex. Would love to hear thoughts.


  1. Good to see you joining the crew!

    Tau really seem like they are running out of options. My Deathwing have similar limitations in terms of the number of effective builds the codex contains, but I can still get some mileage out of them because they happen to be an excellent foil for some of the trendy MSU armies. I have, however, been forced to reconcile myself with the fact that I will not do well against certain other builds.

    John is probably better qualified to comment (or commiserate) on list building for the Tau though...

  2. Definitely gets tough and somewhat boring. You really are limited somewhat in terms of what you can actually play if you want a competitive list. So you end up playing the same lists over and over... I am hoping that the Dark Eldar turn out to be a bit more flexible.

    So what's the scoop with Adepticon?

  3. I had exactly the same problem playing Tau, every game felt like it came down to seeing if I could shoot or avoid the opponent before they could assault my army. That's why I whipped up some marines for the NOVA.

    I have been thinking it would be fun to play my Tau again, I'd like to try a fun list using all 48 of my firewarriors. It might be a short game though.

  4. I think the solution might ne to run Tau as counts-as Grey Knights. There's Draigo as Farsight, paladins as crisis suits, strike squads as firewarriors, interceptors as vespids, and riflemen dreadnoughts as broadsides. I almost forgot the death cult assassins as kroot. That'll hold me until a new codex comes out.

    Or I can just play marines as marines.

  5. I am down for Adepticon by the way; I think tickets go on sale today (Oct. 31) some time. I will probably be bringing Deathwing... if someone else wants to bring some Tau I'm sure our outdated armies would smash some face in the team tourney.