Monday, 26 March 2012

Imperial Armour Tau Units

OK – this will be an odd one. I wanted to talk about the Imperial Armour Tau units now “approved” for 40k. I’ve been thinking about them a lot recently, and I’m pretty excited about how they can change the way the army plays. I was going to share some thoughts on the various units, but got a bit bogged down in drafting the post. The reason why I think is that I needed to do a “pre review” post with some more general thoughts, before getting into the detail.
So this is the “pre review” post.

Much as it pains me to say so, the options in the Tau codex are pretty limited. If you want to build a competitive list, then you need to take the somewhat limited “good” units, and you have to play them in a similar way. For example, and as I hope I have explained in previous posts, the key units are Broadsides, Crisis suits, Kroot, Piranhas and (perhaps) pathfinders. You need the Broadsides because Railguns are awesome, the Crisis suits because it’s the only other platform on which you can mount other useful guns (missile pods and plasma rifles), pathfinders because they are the most efficient way to take marker lights, and Kroot and Piranhas simply to stop stuff getting to you.
However, this makes for a very static army. I get teased at my local FLGS for always hiding in a corner. But the fact of the matter is that, perhaps 8 times out of 10, it’s the most effective tactic, and the other 2 times, you might want to hide in 2 corners!
It makes for an army with little tactical flexibility.
Now, I can hear the howls of protest from dedicated Tau players “what about deep striking suits, what about “Ninja Tau”” blah blah blah. But fact of the matter is, 8 times out of 10 the most effective tactic for a Tau army is a static gunline, with Piranhas and Kroot blocking access to your suits. There are 2 analogies I like. First one is that a well built and played Tau army is like an onion – it has lots of layers, and it makes you cry – i.e. to get to the stuff that’s killing you (the suits) you need to get through/past the piranhas, and maybe 2 lines of kroot. The other one is a coiled spring – the army contracts in on itself, but all the time it is gathering and preserving power, before it uncoils and blows you off the table.
The trouble is that both analogies call for similar tactics, which, after a while, can be a little dull!
What I really want for my army is tactical flexibility – being able to vary my tactics to deal with different battle field situations, without losing effectiveness. Sadly the Tau Codex as it currently stands, makes that difficult.
And that’s where we come on to the new IA units. I think they could make a difference. Properly combined I think you could run a much more dynamic army, with far more tactical flexibility.
So next post (or 2) a review of the units and then a few thoughts on a list using them.

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