Friday, 28 June 2013
The Tau Problem
Now, this happens a lot for me as I own a lot of armies haha...but I acknowledge it isn't the same for all.
Tau. Well.. they've really made us all rethink a few things haven't they?
When constructing an army - at list building stage, you consider a number of things (in no particular order):
1) Objective grabbing - it's 5/6 missions in the rulebook afterall
2) Mobility - linked to both objective grabbing and 3 below
3) Firepower - its a futuristic war game about dudes with guns. Seriously, you know this is a shooting game, right?
4) Resilience - you're gonna get shot at!
5) Line Break, Warlord and First Blood - these MUST be considered to create a competitive army
6) Psychic Defence and Offence (if applicable)
7) Assault - if you want it, how to get it... if you want to avoid it, how to!
8) Fliers - can you bring them down? But not at the expense of balanced firepower? Ignore them?
11) Heavy Tanks
I personally then consider the top meta builds and think how the armies would handle them:
- Crons with balanced Air, Wraiths etc
- IG Blobs w Azrael or dual Rune Priest Prescience
- Heldrakes + Allies (often IG or Demons)
- Nids - for this I use the common build (not my own...) - Dual Flyrants, Dual Tervigons, Doom
- Demons - FMC Spam and super casty builds
Now, as a very strong army we must build in Tau. Now, this wouldn't be a big deal except that Tau are not JUST a build to consider when constructing your army, they also have a strong Ripple Effect....
The Tau Ripple Effect:
You don't just need to consider the potential Tau match ups at club or perhaps more importantly (for this article anyway) at tournament level.
You don't just need to have a solid target priority in place - Markerlights, Markerlights, Markerlights!
You don't just need a solid bait and hammer combined with ordnance or large blast barrage weaponry to seperate the Storm of Bollocks from the Ethereal.
You don't just need high strength, low AP weaponry to take down Riptides and Skyrays/Longstrike (maybe) quickly
You don't just need to be able to take out Broadsides FAST!
You MUST also consider the significant shift in the meta that Tau WILL and HAVE create.
AV13 Wall of Steel Necrons will and are emerging - Ghost Arks at range with cover and carrying multiple S8 AP2 weapons - plenty of firepower to remove infantry based Markerlight units - Drones and Pathfinders. Combine this with the usual Necron toys and this army is solid vs Tau and vs many others.
"So what?" I hear you ask - when was the last time you faced off against 11 Av13 vehicles? More realistically 9 Av13, quantum shielded bad boys..with Cron Air support.. I'd suggest 7 plus Fliers at 1850 could be very nasty whilst maintaining its strengths vs other builds.
Can your army kill it? I think about the armies I am running competitively and I know that whilt Tau may get there eventually, Nids definitely will struggle, FMC Demons will get there eventually IF they are grounded and slaughtered by rapid fire Gauss (psychic power dependent here)... It's a tough nut to crack.
Note: I am NOT saying this is the ultimate Tau beater, nor am I saying it is a tournament winner, not consistently at least.
IG can Mech up once more - as more and more Tau armies hit the tournament scene there is less likelihood of all those vehicles being multi assaulted off the board.. shot off sure.. but Av12 vs S7 is an interesting trade off - always has been. They also possess many of the tools stated above for dealing with Tau and for satisfying the usual "can I win a game?" questions up top.
Again, this changes up the army building equation that we run through when building for tournaments - just how many mech IG builds will we see? Can I deal with 15 Av12 vehicles?
What about the concept of Russes on the return?
Demolishers moving forward bubblewrapped by platoons is a horrid image for Tau - crap load of Av14 fronted vehicles lobbing S10 shots at you.. horrid.
What about Mech BA? Random I know.. BUT Flamer Baal Preds, Fast Vindicators, Drop Pod AV13 Furioso's with the triple flamer templates.. thats a tough deal for Tau.
Sure.. it's quite limited against other builds..BUT what if...
Pure Drop Pod armies? There is only so much Interceptor in a Tau list..
Ultimately, Tau counters will emerge and as a top player.. you need to think ahead of the game - predict what's going to be popular in the anti-Tau war and bring something that can beat the snot out of that AS WELL AS Tau and the regular builds.. whatever they are.. cause times they are a changing!