Tuesday, 31 January 2012

Tau from the ground up.

So, this is the post I promised about some fundamental changes to my Tau list. It’s a long one, so I’ll split it into 2 or 3 installments. The First installment will deal with some thoughts on list design generally. The second with some thoughts on the various units in the Tau Codex that can provide what you need in a list and the third will try and draw it all together.

It’s going to be quite interesting, as I’m not sure where the analysis is going to end – I have a few ideas, but nothing is set in stone. So, I’m going to start from scratch, throw away all preconceptions, and try and redesign it from the ground up.

OK – first a few ground rules. Firstly, I am no expert. I’ve only been playing for a couple of years, I’ve only been playing Tau for a year, and I still feal I’m on a pretty steep learning curve. So take this for what it is, a pretty average player trying to think through a list making process.

Second, this will not be a fluffy list, or a themed list. It is a list designed to win competitive games at tournaments. As a result it has to be an “all comers” list.

So with that out of the way, how do you go about designing a competitive list? Well I always think you need to design a list like a Swiss Army Knife. It needs the tools to deal with everything. In other words it needs to deal with

· Light Armour – AV10-12 (possibly in large numbers i.e 6+)

· Heavy Armour AV13 – 14

· Light Infantry (e.g. guardsmen, elder, small tyranids, possibly in large numbers i.e. a horde list)

· Medium Infantry (e.g. marines, necrons)

· Heavy Infantry (e.g. Terminators)

· Monstrous Creatures.

There are also 2 other things it needs to do, and 2 things you need to consider.

· It needs to have “adequate” scoring units. I think you can break “adequate” into 3 elements – numerous, fast and survivable. If you can have all 3, great. However, normally you need to strike a balance between the three. For example 6 squads of 10 kroot are not fast, nor (individually) are they survivable, but they are numerous (which makes them survivable) so that might work. Another example - 2 squads of 6 Firewarriors in Devilfish are not numerous but they are reasonably survivable (inside an AV12 vehicle with disruption pods) and reasonably fast.

· The army must be – as a whole, survivable. If you can, I think it’s better to avoid the “glass cannon” army.

Finally you need to think about duality and redundancy. Now I’m sure everybody has read articles on duality and redundancy in army list design, so I wont go over that in detail – but briefly, duality means that a unit does more than one thing – a classic example in a Tau list is a Deathrain suit. Its missile pods (S7 AP4) are good against light armour and OK agasint Monstrous Creatures and Medium Infantry. Redundancy means you bring more than one tool to do the same job. So, in my list as it stands railguns are the answer to all types of armour. However, if I only had one squad of Broadsides, and they were taken out first turn by lascannon shots, I would have no way to take out Heavy Armour. So that’s why I have Hammerheads in the list.

OK with the basics out of the way, in the next post I’ll talk about the tools a Tau army has to build its Swiss Army Knife.

All comments welcome - as I said I'm no expert, so perhaps you can help me with the process.


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