Tau in Close Combat & Traditional Tau Martial Arts

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TauMan
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Tau in Close Combat & Traditional Tau Martial Arts

Post#1 » Jan 30 2018 02:07

Dear Shas'fann,
In another discussion thread Cadre Fireblades with Honour Blades, the discussion veered off into a discussion of martial arts and Tau combat abilities. So, I am starting this tread for those who would like to discuss what a realistic assessment of Tau firewarrior capabilities would be in be in the WH40k universe.

Here is a link to the current U.S. Army hand-to-hand course. It's my assertion that something like this would be the basis of a Tau close combat system. Basic Combatives Course (level i) Handbook

Things to keep in mind
  • Tau training emphasizes ranged combat, it doesn't mean they ignores close combat
  • Tau eyesight cannot be a factor, regardless of the original lore giving this as an explanation, due to advanced Tau optics
  • The Tau fire caste were once the tribal warriors and men-at-arms during the mont'au. They use to do close combat.
  • It would therefore follow that there would be several traditional Tau martial arts, and a modern 3rd Sphere close combat system. (See Basic Combatives Course)
  • That firewarriors are not weaker than humans, they having essentially the same strength as an average human; which is reflected in the statline wof S-3 for both firewarriors and guardsmen.
  • That Tau weapon skill is therefore (back to the top of the list) a reflection of the fire caste tactical doctrine that emphasizes ranged combat over close combat, and not due to any other factor.

    And lastly
  • The Farsight Enclave most likely would emphasize close combat as least as much as range combat, due to two factors: a) 230 years (320 tau'cyrs) history of warfare with Orks, and b) the importance of Mont'ka in Enclave tactical doctrine.

Thoughts shas'fann?

TauMan
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Krospgnasker
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Re: Tau in Close Combat & Traditional Tau Martial Arts

Post#2 » Jan 30 2018 02:42

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=U02E2sjwlLM

...Kidding. Sort of.

To be honest, it's not that unlikely that Tau martial arts - the practical variety - would incorporate their rifles or sidearms. I doubt they'd ever rely on taking down enemies by punches and super sick leaping axe kicks, but rather by deflecting the enemy's attacks long enough to bring a firearm to bear on them. Very interesting subject, TauMan! I'll be very interested in hearing other people's ideas and theories.

Edit: And yes, completely agree that the Basic Combatives Course manual would serve the Tau extremely well. Swift, efficient and no showing off.

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Temennigru
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Re: Tau in Close Combat & Traditional Tau Martial Arts

Post#3 » Jan 30 2018 04:45

I've said this once and I'll say it again:
GW should give pistols to ALL models in ALL infantry squads. It would give us a reason to stay in CC, even though we aren't hitting them with swords.
Marines have it, so why can't we?
It would even be something similar to the equilibrium video posted by Krospgnasker :P

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Orion7
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Re: Tau in Close Combat & Traditional Tau Martial Arts

Post#4 » Jan 30 2018 04:59

Temennigru wrote:I've said this once and I'll say it again:
GW should give pistols to ALL models in ALL infantry squads. It would give us a reason to stay in CC, even though we aren't hitting them with swords.
Marines have it, so why can't we?
It would even be something similar to the equilibrium video posted by Krospgnasker :P

And having seen what they can do with this pistols... I meet twelve dual plasma pistol wielding (primaris?) Marines at my local store in a 25 power game. Minced y'varha hard :/


Limitations? You mean you don't want Fido the kroot hound as a character?

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gunrock
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Re: Tau in Close Combat & Traditional Tau Martial Arts

Post#5 » Jan 30 2018 06:34

I'm very pro melee weapons for tau units. I find it completely implausible that an entire caste of society devoted to military service would not have a well developed martial arts system. I see what you're getting at with the modern analogy to basic army combat training, but I think a more involved martial tradition is even more likely. Basic combat training is intended as a crash course in hand to hand combat for an adult recruit. Assuming that fire warriors are socialized through most of their lives for military service it follows that they would begin training at a young age and have time to develop considerable skills. I think a closer analogy would be samurai, individuals born into a class system and socialized throughout their lives in a range of interrelated combat skills. Or in a more modern equivalent the Israeli defense forces who also have a dedicated martial arts system.

I also completely don't buy the argument that tau find hand-to-hand combat 'dishonorable', perhaps in the sense that astra militarium practices it, dismembering enemies with chain swords, but not intrinsically. The fact that the physical object (honor blades) is held in cultural esteem, and is also the badge of office of the ruling class (ethereal) seems to indicate positive social connotations. The assistance and esteem of hero's like aun'shi also suggest that the culture values martial combat skills beyond some practical value, and that the knowledge and expertise in these practices exists and are practiced even if they are not the primary aspect of fire warrior training. The implication of mont'ka as an outgrowth of hunting practices also suggests the existence of rudimentary weapons such as spears and some knowledge of their application.

I'm not sure I'm remembering the ruling correctly (I think it was brought up in relation to ATS), but I seem to recall something from that even if a model is not explicitly listed as possessing a melee weapon they are implied to be carrying one. In that spirit I've drilled out all of my battlesuits that have hands so they can carry a spear. If it becomes contentious I'll attach flags to them and call them pointy standards.
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Re: Tau in Close Combat & Traditional Tau Martial Arts

Post#6 » Jan 30 2018 06:44

gunrock wrote:I'm very pro melee weapons for tau units. I find it completely implausible that an entire caste of society devoted to military service would not have a well developed martial arts system. I see what you're getting at with the modern analogy to basic army combat training, but I think a more involved martial tradition is even more likely. Basic combat training is intended as a crash course in hand to hand combat for an adult recruit. Assuming that fire warriors are socialized through most of their lives for military service it follows that they would begin training at a young age and have time to develop considerable skills. I think a closer analogy would be samurai, individuals born into a class system and socialized throughout their lives in a range of interrelated combat skills. Or in a more modern equivalent the Israeli defense forces who also have a dedicated martial arts system.

I also completely don't buy the argument that tau find hand-to-hand combat 'dishonorable', perhaps in the sense that astra militarium practices it, dismembering enemies with chain swords, but not intrinsically. The fact that the physical object (honor blades) is held in cultural esteem, and is also the badge of office of the ruling class (ethereal) seems to indicate positive social connotations. The assistance and esteem of hero's like aun'shi also suggest that the culture values martial combat skills beyond some practical value, and that the knowledge and expertise in these practices exists and are practiced even if they are not the primary aspect of fire warrior training. The implication of mont'ka as an outgrowth of hunting practices also suggests the existence of rudimentary weapons such as spears and some knowledge of their application.

I'm not sure I'm remembering the ruling correctly (I think it was brought up in relation to ATS), but I seem to recall something from that even if a model is not explicitly listed as possessing a melee weapon they are implied to be carrying one. In that spirit I've drilled out all of my battlesuits that have hands so they can carry a spear. If it becomes contentious I'll attach flags to them and call them pointy standards.

I'm pretty sure the tau have a knife of sorts on them.
They could always add a rule like "martial arts training: -1 to hit for enemies in melee" or something like that, but I highly doubt they will ever do that unfortunately, because GW explicitly thinks we are monkeys with machine guns.
Sometimes I think I should apply for CEO of GW just to fix this.

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Re: Tau in Close Combat & Traditional Tau Martial Arts

Post#7 » Jan 30 2018 07:56

Is it true that the lore is Tau have slower physical reflexes than humans? Even if true, it would seem that a caste devoted to war and the military would have high levels of physical training that would compensate, at least compared to grunts not raised in a lifelong military caste.

The Facebook post about Tau being "given" their weapons makes it sound like shas'la are conscripted slaves being rushed to the front lines for an evil regime, which doesn't jive with my understanding of the Tau caste system or fire caste training, even if there are some shades of gray in the whole mysterious appearance of the ethereal caste and their sway over other Tau.

Anyway, for balance and playstyle reasons, I'm okay with Tau being mostly ineffective in CC and not giving Tau infantry pistols, with maybe the exception of breacher teams.
Last edited by Wes on Jan 30 2018 08:03, edited 1 time in total.

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Arka0415
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Re: Tau in Close Combat & Traditional Tau Martial Arts

Post#8 » Jan 30 2018 07:59

Orion7 wrote:
Temennigru wrote:I've said this once and I'll say it again:
GW should give pistols to ALL models in ALL infantry squads. It would give us a reason to stay in CC, even though we aren't hitting them with swords.
Marines have it, so why can't we?
It would even be something similar to the equilibrium video posted by Krospgnasker :P

And having seen what they can do with this pistols... I meet twelve dual plasma pistol wielding (primaris?) Marines at my local store in a 25 power game. Minced y'varha hard :/

Unless you have a colossally-strong pistol, you will never want to stay in combat. Doing so would prevent you from shooting at the enemy unit with other units in your army.

Also, a Y'vahra should never be shot by pistols in the shooting phase by locked-in-combat units, unless the Y'vahra charged them.

-

At any rate, I agree with the lore points that Tau probably have some form of close-combat training. I can see why they still give us WS5+ though, as it fits the faction design characteristics.

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Re: Tau in Close Combat & Traditional Tau Martial Arts

Post#9 » Jan 30 2018 08:13

Arka0415 wrote:
Orion7 wrote:
Temennigru wrote:I've said this once and I'll say it again:
GW should give pistols to ALL models in ALL infantry squads. It would give us a reason to stay in CC, even though we aren't hitting them with swords.
Marines have it, so why can't we?
It would even be something similar to the equilibrium video posted by Krospgnasker :P

And having seen what they can do with this pistols... I meet twelve dual plasma pistol wielding (primaris?) Marines at my local store in a 25 power game. Minced y'varha hard :/

Unless you have a colossally-strong pistol, you will never want to stay in combat. Doing so would prevent you from shooting at the enemy unit with other units in your army.

Also, a Y'vahra should never be shot by pistols in the shooting phase by locked-in-combat units, unless the Y'vahra charged them.

-

At any rate, I agree with the lore points that Tau probably have some form of close-combat training. I can see why they still give us WS5+ though, as it fits the faction design characteristics.

You could for instance charge the enemy snipers and surround them with fire warriors, then pew pew them to death with pulse pistols the next turn. Or if tactical marines charge you, instead of falling back and not shooting, you could shoot them with pistols and have to deal with fewer of them during the fight phase.
My point is, there is no reason NOT to give them all pistols. They added the pistol mechanic which we can't use.
As for CC weapons, the tau have been testing fusion blades and onager gauntlets for over 300 years. I think it's about damn time they become mainstream weapons for battlesuits at least. Just like the space marines got an upgrade for their plasma guns, we could get an upgrade for our fusion blasters that adds the melee profile.

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Re: Tau in Close Combat & Traditional Tau Martial Arts

Post#10 » Jan 30 2018 08:24

The way I understand it, T'au troops avoid combat because they are physically weaker than the majority of their opponents: Orks, Space Marines, Tyranids, Necrons etc... As such it would make sense to avoid close encounters because the Tau would be crushed despite any amount of training.

However, I do not believe it makes sense for Fire Warriors to be worse than Astra militarum troops as far as WS goes. They are roughly the same size (humans are a bit larger) so strength is about right. But, the Fire Caste actively practices all aspects of war and, despite their short lifespans, T'au can become competent in close combat against evenly sized opponents (such as humans), but they cannot excel in it the way Kroot do because they are not built that way.

If we want to take the Samurai comparison; the preferred weapons for Samurai were bows and spears. The Katana was used as a sidearm if something went wrong (much like a pistol). The bow was preferred because it didn't involve risking your life in the chaos of a melee (no matter how good you are, a lucky hit will kill you). As such the Samurai could be better preserved for other battles. The spear follows similar logic; keep the enemy as far as possible to reduce risk to yourself (it also keeps from getting overwhelmed). In either case, the Samurai practiced all forms of combat just to be ready for anything (Katana, Wakizashi, and unarmed combat). Plus it was his only job, so he might as well. Much like the Fire Caste.

So the Fire Caste may prefer guns to close combat (like every army since the invention of guns) but that does not mean they are fumbling fools in close combat. They should be on par with Astra Militarum infantry who are trained soldiers. (not conscripts; they aren't trained).

Now, we have the question of whether melee is viewed as dishonorable, or at least savage. To me, the fact that Ethereals have Honor Blades indicates that close combat is in fact honorable, at least when done right. Ethereals settle disputes with a duel, so close combat is certainly not stigmatized. Just look at Aun'Va's bodyguards; they have blades too. There must therefore be some sort of prestige associated with the idea of close combat, and not revulsion.

It may still be possible that T'au are uncomfortable dismembering people in a giant gory mess, but they should know how to fight to survive. So they would have an aversion to chainswords and powerfists (as gunrock pointed out) but they should still hold their own long enough to escape.

Lastly, battlesuits should be the great equalizers for close combat. All of a sudden those Orks aren't so tough. A Crisis Suit should be able to crush infantry thanks to its size. With the new retreat mechanics, we can use our suits to disrupt enemy units, and it would make sense for them to have a better WS.

In 3rd edition (when I played), battlesuits had the equivalent of WS 4+ ( Shas'O had 3+ which is where that comes from), and Farsight troops could pay 1pt to get +1 WS. When I played against Astra Militarum, my Fire Warriors could hit on 4s against infantry squads (with the old table). And I would love to see that come back.

TL;DR T'au are competent in melee and should get WS 4+ as their base as well as pistols on all their infantry. (maybe with a point cost)

Temennigru wrote:Sometimes I think I should apply for CEO of GW just to fix this.


I'd support you. ;)

Arka0415 wrote:Unless you have a colossally-strong pistol, you will never want to stay in combat. Doing so would prevent you from shooting at the enemy unit with other units in your army.

At any rate, I agree with the lore points that Tau probably have some form of close-combat training. I can see why they still give us WS5+ though, as it fits the faction design characteristics.


1) It doesn't have to be amazing, just useful. It's just an extra attack per turn that is even stronger than an Ork swing. Breachers can charge devastators and then pepper them with pistols incessantly. Or Guard Infantry. Or Eldar Rangers etc... Basically, tie up shooty units with a bonus chance to kill them. (don't stay with Berzerkers though...)

2) As a faction characteristic, it's extremely shallow (and bad design IMO). Every faction should have ways to approach ranged and close combat with reasonable success if you build around it. If it were up to me I would also give Orks BS 4+. WS 5+ and BS 5+ is just frustratingly inept. 4+ should just be the standard, with 3+ and 2+ reserved for elite units, especially with to hit modifiers.

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Re: Tau in Close Combat & Traditional Tau Martial Arts

Post#11 » Jan 30 2018 08:51

Torch wrote:TL;DR T'au are competent in melee and should get WS 4+ as their base as well as pistols on all their infantry. (maybe with a point cost)

I'm not saying this would be bad, I'm saying this will just never happen. Tau, as a faction, have bad melee. It's how we've been designed for basically the last decade.

Torch wrote:
Arka0415 wrote:Unless you have a colossally-strong pistol, you will never want to stay in combat. Doing so would prevent you from shooting at the enemy unit with other units in your army.

It doesn't have to be amazing, just useful. It's just an extra attack per turn that is even stronger than an Ork swing. Breachers can charge devastators and then pepper them with pistols incessantly. Or Guard Infantry. Or Eldar Rangers etc... Basically, tie up shooty units with a bonus chance to kill them. (don't stay with Berzerkers though...)

It's not an extra attack though, it's a shooting attack that can only be used in the shooting phase. You cannot shoot pistols in the Fight phase. So you would need to charge, take the enemy CC attacks, not fall back, and then get the shots in with your pistols (takes a long time and is horribly inefficient) or you would get charged, take the enemy CC attacks, not fall back, and then shoot with your pistols (not a good idea tactically).

Torch wrote:Every faction should have ways to approach ranged and close combat with reasonable success if you build around it. If it were up to me I would also give Orks BS 4+. WS 5+ and BS 5+ is just frustratingly inept. 4+ should just be the standard, with 3+ and 2+ reserved for elite units, especially with to hit modifiers.

True! However, not every unit should have ranged and close combat ability. We Tau have Kroot, Commanders, Farsight, and Vespids that all offer decent close combat ability with WS4+ or better. Orks, on the other hand, have plenty of BS4+ options including Grot mobs, Killa Kanz, Big Gunz, Flash Gitz, Mek Gunz, and many others.

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Re: Tau in Close Combat & Traditional Tau Martial Arts

Post#12 » Jan 30 2018 10:51

gunrock wrote:I'm very pro melee weapons for tau units. I find it completely implausible that an entire caste of society devoted to military service would not have a well developed martial arts system. I see what you're getting at with the modern analogy to basic army combat training, but I think a more involved martial tradition is even more likely. Basic combat training is intended as a crash course in hand to hand combat for an adult recruit. Assuming that fire warriors are socialized through most of their lives for military service it follows that they would begin training at a young age and have time to develop considerable skills. I think a closer analogy would be samurai, individuals born into a class system and socialized throughout their lives in a range of interrelated combat skills. Or in a more modern equivalent the Israeli defense forces who also have a dedicated martial arts system.


Gunrock you're a man after my own heart! Regardless of what their weapons skill is for the game, the fire caste culture must be very something like this. I have been working on a list of Tau martial art schools and techniques, which I will share in a later post.

Wes wrote:Is it true that the lore is Tau have slower physical reflexes than humans? Even if true, it would seem that a caste devoted to war and the military would have high levels of physical training that would compensate, at least compared to grunts not raised in a lifelong military caste.


**Sigh** Yet another WH40K urban legend! It's a far too lengthy subject, but this comes from the original Codex Tau, and is a 3rd Edition game mechanic. When each army had a STRATEGY RATING, this took into consideration such things as tactical doctrine, training, physical ability, basically a lot of stuff. This is why Tau had an Initiative of 2. The fire caste use to be described as having 'combat formations', and were so ingrained to fight in these set formations, that it was difficult for them to switch back and forth quickly. Read Fire Warrior by Simon Spurrier and you'll see lots of Tau use 'combat formations'. This should have died with 4th edition, but no it's still around! **Sigh**

Wes wrote:The Facebook post about Tau being "given" their weapons makes it sound like shas'la are conscripted slaves being rushed to the front lines for an evil regime, which doesn't jive with my understanding of the Tau caste system or fire caste training, even if there are some shades of gray in the whole mysterious appearance of the ethereal caste and their sway over other Tau.


Many warrior cultures have traditions like this, where a warrior is given his weapons upon coming of age; or when the pass the required test of kills. The ancient Spartans had a similar custom. There are some places in the U.S. where coming of age a boy gets a rifle or shot gun.

Torch wrote:In 3rd edition (when I played), battlesuits had the equivalent of WS 4+ ( Shas'O had 3+ which is where that comes from), and Farsight troops could pay 1pt to get +1 WS. When I played against Astra Militarum, my Fire Warriors could hit on 4s against infantry squads (with the old table). And I would love to see that come back.


True, but that rule was only for Crisis Battlesuit teams, and not all firewarriors. Although since 5th edition I gave a +1 WS to all my Enclave Firewarriors. :fear: Maybe it should come back for the Enclaves?

Torch wrote:It may still be possible that T'au are uncomfortable dismembering people in a giant gory mess, but they should know how to fight to survive. So they would have an aversion to chainswords and powerfists (as gunrock pointed out) but they should still hold their own long enough to escape.


Hmm, you do know that all pulse weapons, rifles, carbines, pistols are equivalent to a heavy bolter as far as strength and penetration? And if a Space Marine bolter is almost a 20mm cannon round. Then what is a pulse rifle the same as? A 25mm or a 30mm cannon round? Hitting an unarmored Ork with a single pulse round would be horrible to see. The shot would literally dismember his body!

"War is hell" - General Tecumseh Sherman



So we're right back to the beginning, regardless of what the basic Tau WS is:
  • Tau aren't weaker
  • Tau don't have a slower reaction time
  • Tau don't have "bad" eye sight
  • Tau don't find it barbaric to fight in close combat
  • Tau don't find it dishonorable to fight in close combat

"Train as you fight," was a phrase I heard a lot in the Army; which means to train as expect to fight. And since the Tau fire caste tactical doctrine emphasizes ranged combat over close combat; they don't expect to fight in CC very much. In other words, they don't train as much in close combat.


Training! Training! Training!

73


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Re: Tau in Close Combat & Traditional Tau Martial Arts

Post#13 » Jan 30 2018 11:18

TauMan wrote:

So we're right back to the beginning, regardless of what the basic Tau WS is:
  • Tau aren't weaker
  • Tau don't have a slower reaction time
  • Tau don't have "bad" eye sight
  • Tau don't find it barbaric to fight in close combat
  • Tau don't find it dishonorable to fight in close combat

"Train as you fight," was a phrase I heard a lot in the Army; which means to train as expect to fight. And since the Tau fire caste tactical doctrine emphasizes ranged combat over close combat; they don't expect to fight in CC very much. In other words, they don't train as much in close combat.


Training! Training! Training!

73


TauMan

To me that is an argument for tau to have a 3+ Ballistic skill, since they are obviously more trained in ranged combar than a guardsman :P

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Re: Tau in Close Combat & Traditional Tau Martial Arts

Post#14 » Jan 30 2018 11:27

Temennigru wrote:To me that is an argument for tau to have a 3+ Ballistic skill, since they are obviously more trained in ranged combat than a guardsman.

I guess you have to imagine BS4+ as a broad range of skill, from barely-competent Guardsmen to Fire Warriors with superior training. BS3+ is everything from the super-elite Scions to Aspect Warriors to transhuman Space Marines with centuries of experience.

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Re: Tau in Close Combat & Traditional Tau Martial Arts

Post#15 » Jan 30 2018 11:44

Arka0415 wrote:
Torch wrote:TL;DR T'au are competent in melee and should get WS 4+ as their base as well as pistols on all their infantry. (maybe with a point cost)

I'm not saying this would be bad, I'm saying this will just never happen. Tau, as a faction, have bad melee. It's how we've been designed for basically the last decade.


There is a precedent for WS 4+ though. Namely battlesuits way back in 3rd at least, and Farsight armies. Maybe I can discuss the possibility with the design team... ;) (It probably won't happen though)

Arka0415 wrote:
Torch wrote:
Arka0415 wrote:Unless you have a colossally-strong pistol, you will never want to stay in combat. Doing so would prevent you from shooting at the enemy unit with other units in your army.

It doesn't have to be amazing, just useful. It's just an extra attack per turn that is even stronger than an Ork swing. Breachers can charge devastators and then pepper them with pistols incessantly. Or Guard Infantry. Or Eldar Rangers etc... Basically, tie up shooty units with a bonus chance to kill them. (don't stay with Berzerkers though...)

It's not an extra attack though, it's a shooting attack that can only be used in the shooting phase. You cannot shoot pistols in the Fight phase. So you would need to charge, take the enemy CC attacks, not fall back, and then get the shots in with your pistols (takes a long time and is horribly inefficient) or you would get charged, take the enemy CC attacks, not fall back, and then shoot with your pistols (not a good idea tactically).


It's an extra S5 attack over the course of a whole turn if we stay in that other units don't get in their fight phase.
Now, a devastator team, for example, is not scary in close combat. With 5 attacks they get 5*2/3*2/3*1/2= 1(ish) dead fire warrior per turn. If we retreat we lose a shooting phase and they can fire (not my first choice). If they retreat we get to shoot them normally and charge them again. If they stay we get 10 *1/2*2/3*1/3= 1(ish) dead devastator per turn. Plus whatever we get in the fight phase. Since devastators are 30+ points a piece I think we win that fight. Not to mention they're no longer firing their cannons at our suits and tanks (which is a huge win). We would need to be selective of course (avoid berzerkers), but it's still very useful.
Guard are even more vulnerable (I already charge them all the time).

Arka0415 wrote:
Torch wrote:Every faction should have ways to approach ranged and close combat with reasonable success if you build around it. If it were up to me I would also give Orks BS 4+. WS 5+ and BS 5+ is just frustratingly inept. 4+ should just be the standard, with 3+ and 2+ reserved for elite units, especially with to hit modifiers.

True! However, not every unit should have ranged and close combat ability. We Tau have Kroot, Commanders, Farsight, and Vespids that all offer decent close combat ability with WS4+ or better. Orks, on the other hand, have plenty of BS4+ options including Grot mobs, Killa Kanz, Big Gunz, Flash Gitz, Mek Gunz, and many others.


I agree that units should specialize, but not the army as a whole. T'au and Orks are in a rough spot because "they should be bad at X" which is terrible design. It reeks of an RPG mentality, which are cool, but it doesn't translate well to entire armies.
People honestly think that Orks should never have good ranged options (i.e. worth their points) because "that's not how Orks fight" even though Bad Moons actively form gunlines in the fluff... :-?
Meanwhile T'au just prefer ranged but they clearly are not opposed to CC *cough* Aun'Shi *cough*, and people still think T'au should be bad at melee even if they hate how that impacts the game.

Kroot don't do much. Commanders are ok but they are a huge outlier in our army anyway.
Flash Gitz have heavy weapons and so they hit on 5s if they move. Everything else costs too much. Lootas pay marine prices for guns and only hit on 5s, if they move they hit in 6s. Ork Morkanauts pay loads of points for ranged weapons, only to hit on 5s... and they degrade on top of that. And those are the dedicated ranged units... :dead:

To conclude, I think it would help the game overall to normalize T'au and Orks. Right now both are one-dimendional. T'au run away, Orks run at you. If our troops were more capable in CC, we would be more willing to push up the board which makes for a more interactive game. Also, Orks have been forced into melee armies despite the fact that many players would like good shooting to change things up. I heard Orks used to have BS 4+ across the board and Warbosses had BS 3+ in 2nd edition... So it's not out of the question. If they changed it then they can change it back.

Arka0415 wrote:
Temennigru wrote:To me that is an argument for tau to have a 3+ Ballistic skill, since they are obviously more trained in ranged combat than a guardsman.

I guess you have to imagine BS4+ as a broad range of skill, from barely-competent Guardsmen to Fire Warriors with superior training. BS3+ is everything from the super-elite Scions to Aspect Warriors to transhuman Space Marines with centuries of experience.


Guardsmen are actually really competent troops. Ever heard of "Cadian Shock Troops" who spend their entire lives in the army? Or Steel Legion troopers who have fought 3 wars against the largest Ork WAAGHH in the galaxy and are now fighting chaos incursions at the same time... BS 4+. They only seem "weak" because they're fighting demons, space elves, undying robots, super humans etc... BS 4+ is representative of competent troops, much like WS4+. While 3+ is reserved for elites and veterans. Guard Infantry units are on par with Fire Warriors in terms of training, conscripts are a different story.

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Re: Tau in Close Combat & Traditional Tau Martial Arts

Post#16 » Jan 31 2018 01:45

Regarding modern Tau hand to hand proficiency:

It's very clear in the original Tau background that their lesser close combat stats are entirely due to training and experience factor. This is why the Farsight Enclaves, who have much more extensive training and experience in hand to hand combat, have Fire Warriors with close combat stats equal to Guardsmen in 3rd edition (and Battlesuit Shas'Vre and Commanders with close combat stats that come close to a Space Marine!) for the low low cost of 5 points per model.

Thus, it can be assumed that whatever physiological deficiencies Tau might have in the context of hand to hand combat, they are either so minor their effect is negligible or are offset by physiological attributes that provide other advantages (like having a nice hard set of hooves to kick into things like shins and other more sensitive areas).

It should also be noted in the context of 'modern' Tau that my own Kakapo Canon(tm) holds that the Farsight Enclaves have in their isolation developed their own set of martial arts and hand to hand combat techniques independent of anything in the Tau Empire proper.

Regarding Ancient (pre-Ethereal) Tau:

When discussing Tau civilisation before the advent of the Ethereals (and even after), one must always remember this: Tau are not humans. They may have some similarities, but they are ultimately an entirely distinct alien species, with an entirely distinct alien civilisation, originating from an entirely distinct alien history on an alien world.

This is important, because Tau warfare appears to have evolved along a very different path to how it did in most human societies. Going by official GW design notes, pre-Ethereal Tau still fought using mostly ranged combat:

Jess Goodwin, White Dwarf issue 400 (AU), pg 82, 'Battlesuits: The Beginning' wrote:Tau combat doctrine turns [the significance of hand to hand combat] firmly on its head. Instead the Tau conform to ancient principles that liken their foe to the prey on a hunt and focus entirely on slaying it with ranged weapons. In their ancient history that will have been with bows, and we imagined situations where the use of a bow would become and almost ceremonial affair, with warriors spending years honing the perfect way to draw and loose an arrow.


Going by this, it seems the principle weapon of choice for the proto-Fire Caste Plains Tau in battle was the bow and arrow. This actually makes a lot of sense when you stop to think about it - after all the Fire Tribe plains Tau were, before anything else, hunters, so it's only logical that when they needed to go to war and fight battles they would simply bring their hunting bows (which would presumably be readily available to them and something they had years of practice using, since being a nomadic hunter-gatherer society means they would be one of their main ways of getting food) and fight with them.

As a result, it's likely that any hand-to-hand combat methods used by the Fire Tribe Tau would have been largely if not entirely secondary to archery (and later musketry once firearms started proliferating across T'au). As an aside, this has some implications on the kind of weaponry used - Kakapo Canon(tm) includes Ancient Fire Tribe weapons such as the 'hand-spear', a small single-handed stabbing weapon with a pointed tip and colourful set of rear feathering to distract opponents and fashioned from surplus arrows as well as various flexible fighting staffs based on a combination of bow limbs an a riser (I.E. a bow without the bowstring), both created as logical assumptions about what kinds of weapons might be produced by a society whose main focus in weapon construction and practice is the bow an arrow. Spears would also be likely to find use by Fire Tribe warriors, as they also have use in hunting, but again would be of secondary importance.

Thus, as I see it, there are two potential ways to approach Ancient Fire Tribe martial arts. The first would be as a largely defensive practice intended to facilitate further ranged combat. In this case most techniques would revolve around getting the enemy away or pushing them back far enough to shoot them with an arrow (or later on a gun), and would likely use the bow and arrow as a central part with an emphasis on quick close range archery. A Fire Tribe warrior fighting in close combat this way would probably look something like Legolas in the climax of The Fellowship of The Ring (this scene); hand-to-hand fighting yes, but largely as a means to push away an opponent back to arms length and still secondary to close-range archery/shooting. Further support for this school of thought can also be seen in Dawn of War: Dark Crusade and its sister game Dawn of War: Soulstorm, where the close combat animations of Tau Fire Warriors suggest that 'push the enemy back to arms' length so you can shoot them in the face' is exactly what they try to do in close combat situations.

The alternative idea is to consider the Fire Tribe Tau's roots as hunters. Much of the Fire Tribe (and by extension the Fire Caste) art of war and combat is derived from hunting, and it's likely that any traditional martial arts practised by them would be no exception. Therefore it's likely that at least a few traditional Fire Tribe martial arts would be based on techniques used to subdue or take down large dangerous animals, and were likely first used for that before being re-purposed on enemy warriors. If you wish to pursue this path look to techniques for capturing wild boar or cattle for inspiration. Such martial arts would also likely include more non-lethal techniques, making them useful for capturing prisoners and high-value targets that need to be taken alive.

It is even possible that both schools of thought were practised by Fire Tribe Tau, forming two separate classes or schools of martial arts the way Mont'ka and Kau'yon are two separate combat doctrines.

It should be noted that there are two limitations in this world-building exercise. The first is that it is primarily focused on the Fire Tribe of plains-dwelling Tau that would later become the Fire Caste. All of the different tribes of Tau on Ancient T'au would have fought in conflicts before The Ethereals appeared, and thus it's likely that they would have developed their own different styles of martial arts, some of which may have been taken up by the Fire Caste following the end of the Mont'au. The Earth Tribe of Tau in particular warrant further consideration, given their position as the main rivals of the Fire Tribe and their entirely different cultural development. With their greater emphasis on defence of static locations (like the ramparts of their city-fortresses), it's likely that the Earth Tribe developed distinct martial arts more in line with what you might find in a human civilisation, and would presumably have a more extensive arsenal of hand-to-hand weapons for repelling attackers trying to storm their fortifications (polearms seem especially useful to me here, given their potential uses in pushing attackers off siege ladders and impaling multiple enemies packed together inside a siege tower), since their more static methods of warfare would leave them in more hand-to-hand combat situations - if a warband of nomadic Fire Tribe Tau are attacked, they can simply pack up and move away before riddling you with arrows, but if an Earth Tribe Tau settlement is attacked, the defenders a kind of stuck in one spot unless they want to abandon their fortifications.

The other factor to consider is that the above has been primarily focused on the Tau Empire proper. As I mentioned earlier (and include as Kakapo Canon(tm)), the Enclave Tau are almost certain to have developed their own hand-to-hand combat techniques.
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Arka0415
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Re: Tau in Close Combat & Traditional Tau Martial Arts

Post#17 » Jan 31 2018 02:36

Torch wrote:It's an extra S5 attack over the course of a whole turn if we stay in that other units don't get in their fight phase. Now, a devastator team, for example, is not scary in close combat. With 5 attacks they get 5*2/3*2/3*1/2= 1(ish) dead fire warrior per turn. If we retreat we lose a shooting phase and they can fire (not my first choice). If they retreat we get to shoot them normally and charge them again. If they stay we get 10 *1/2*2/3*1/3= 1(ish) dead devastator per turn. Plus whatever we get in the fight phase. Since devastators are 30+ points a piece I think we win that fight. Not to mention they're no longer firing their cannons at our suits and tanks (which is a huge win).

The Space Marine player could just fall back though, and shoot your Fire Warriors. Either you end up in combat with a weaker unit than you (in which case the opponent's unit falls back) or you end up in combat with a stronger unit than you (in which case you die or fall back). The only cases where pistols are viable is where two equally-matched units end up in combat, each trying to kill the other in that combat. In that case pistols work well. It's the rare case where Tau end up in combat for more than one turn and don't fall back or die, or the opponent doesn't fall back. The two cases where we could end up in this situation would be against Eldar (who have the option to shoot after falling back) and Guard (who have the option to shoot after falling back).

Pistols would be a cool and fluffy option, but tactically they would be very limited, I think.

Torch wrote:I agree that units should specialize, but not the army as a whole. T'au and Orks are in a rough spot because "they should be bad at X" which is terrible design. It reeks of an RPG mentality, which are cool, but it doesn't translate well to entire armies.

From a realistic standpoint it's probably bad design, but I think it's just how the game works. If it saved one point to have Fire Warriors drop to WS6+ or S2 or something like that I think lots of people would do it. RPG-style features help armies like Tau stay competitive. A cheaper Fire Warrior with WS7+, S0, A0, etc. would be superior to the current variety.

Torch wrote:Guardsmen are actually really competent troops. Ever heard of "Cadian Shock Troops" who spend their entire lives in the army? Or Steel Legion troopers who have fought 3 wars against the largest Ork WAAGHH in the galaxy and are now fighting chaos incursions at the same time... BS 4+.

True, some Guardsmen are very competent! And some aren't. Yet they all get BS4+. No Guardsman has BS3+ with the exception of the elite Schola Progenium-trained Tempestus Scions. That's why I'm saying Fire Warriors shouldn't have BS3+.

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Re: Tau in Close Combat & Traditional Tau Martial Arts

Post#18 » Jan 31 2018 03:56

Torch wrote:I agree that units should specialize, but not the army as a whole. T'au and Orks are in a rough spot because "they should be bad at X" which is terrible design. It reeks of an RPG mentality, which are cool, but it doesn't translate well to entire armies.
People honestly think that Orks should never have good ranged options (i.e. worth their points) because "that's not how Orks fight" even though Bad Moons actively form gunlines in the fluff... :-?

But orks SHOULD be bad at shooting. But to make up for it they SHOULD also have cheap spammable shooting options (that whole moar dakka thing), which should make ork shooting as much worth it as melee.
The tau on the other hand, don't get something similar. They have nothing they can spam to make up for their bad melee aside from kroot. Orks have plenty of interesting ranged options, on the other hand (or at least should).
In other words, orks should hit on a 5+ but should also be putting out 20 weak shots while we put out 6 strong ones.

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