As I’ve mentioned before Boyz are great bubble wrap for a Tau Gunline, with one exception – they are too resilient in assault!
The whole point of a Kroot bubble wrap was that it stopped stuff getting to your suits by getting in the way i.e. the scary stuff had to assault your Kroot first, before getting to your suits. The Kroot were never supposed to survive. The idea was that they stopped the scary stuff, broke in your opponent’s assault phase, leaving the scary stuff to be shot to death in your shooting phase.
The problem with 30 fearless boyz, is that this seldom happens. There are few assault units that can put out enough attacks to kill 20 boyz in one round of assault. What that means is the boyz remain fearless and hold into your assault phase. If they break in your assault phase you’re in trouble, because it means they can then assault your suits in their assault phase. Now if they hold until your opponents next assault phase that’s great, because you have now had 2 turns of shooting while the scary stuff waded through the boys. The problem is that it’s unpredictable.
But I think I’ve found a solution in the rules, and I want everybody’s view on whether I have it right. It's all about Pile In Moves.
As we all know in 6th ed models pile in at their initiative step. Boyz are initiative 2, so most things will go before them. So imagine this. A thirty man horde of Boyz are assaulted by 10 blood angle assault marines. The Boyz are bubble wrap, so are well spread out. The marines are able to get into base to base with say 5 boys. So that’s 5 Hammer of Wrath attacks and say 3 dead boyz. Which are taken from the front. So the marines are now only in contact with 3 boys. But then they get their 3 inch pile in move at I4, which brings them back into contact with say 6 boys. The marines then swing at initiative 5 killing 10 boys (assuming Furious Charge from a priest and no Ork saves). Again I remove the 10 nearest boyz. But because the boyz are well spread out my 3“ pile in move at initiative 2 does not bring me into base to base. Accordingly to p23 the combat comes to an end and both units get to consolidate. You must role combat resolution as normal, but because the Boyz are still fearless, it has no effect.
So is this a way to get boys to break away after one round of combat, leaving most of the squad intact to counter charge in your turn and, more importantly, leaving your opponents scary unit out in the open to be shot by the Tau?
Now I know it’s not as reliable as Kroot, and it will need some careful positioning (much easier now because of premeasuring), but according to the rules it seems to work.
What do you think – do I have it all wrong?