1500 points - ANTI-Tau Tactica - as Space Marines

A review of past Cadre formations from tau'cyr before.
Posts: 36

1500 points - ANTI-Tau Tactica - as Space Marines

Post#1 » Feb 15 2013 06:13

Hi there, fellow Tau players. I'd like to ask you about something which you may see as a little peculiar and unusual. I need you to tell me how to fight AGAINST my army, which armylist I will present here. Here is how it goes: me and my friend are playing a narration and fluff-based campaign over an Imperial system (maybe I'll post battle report somedays) - he plays as Space Marines and I'm, obviously, the Tau.

But, in the first battle, he was kind of mauled, so badly that I actually feel a little bad for him as he seems to not enjoy playing anymore. So, could you please help me to instruct him how should he cope with Tau?

My list was:

1500pts Army List
by [Littledwarf]

HQ - Shas'o Commander: 162 points
Plasma Rifle, Missle Pod, HW-Multitracker, HW- Drone Controller (2 gun drones), Stim Injector, Shield Generator

2x Shas'Vre Bodyguard with Plasma Rifle, Missle Pod, HW-Multitracker, Targetting Array: 164 points
HQ - Shas'O R'alai: 190 points

ELITES - XV8 Crisis Battlesuit: 195 points
3x Crisis with: Twin-Linked Plasma Rifle, Drone Controller with one gun drone

TROOPS - Fire Warrior Team: 60 Points
6 x Fire Warriors with pulse rifles.

TROOPS - Gue'Vesa Auxilliary Team: 36 points
6x Gue'Vesa Auxilliaries

TROOPS - Gue'Vesa Auxilliary Team: 36 points
6x Gue'Vesa Auxilliaries

TROOPS - Devilfish Armored Personnel Carrier: 95 points
Disruption Pod, Multitracker

TROOPS - Devilfish Armored Personnel Carrier: 85 points
Disruption Pod

TROOPS - Devilfish Armored Personnel Carrier: 85 points
Disruption Pod

FAST ATTACK - XV-9 "Hazard" Suits: 220 points
2x XV-9 "Hazard" Suit with Fusion Cascades and Blacksun Filters

HEAVY SUPPORT - Hammerhead Gunship: 165 Points
Railgun, burst cannons; multi-tracker; disruption pod.

Total : 1493 points

As for my opponents list, I do not remember it correctly but he had something along those -

-Space Marine Captain

-2 tactical squads divided into four combat squads in Drop Pods

-Contemptor Pattern Dreadnought in a Drop Pod, with assault cannon and cyclone missle launcher

-5 Assault Terminators with Storm Shields and Thunderhammers

-2x5 Sternguard (those shooting ones) in two razorbacks: one with assault cannon and one with twin-linked lascannon
Last edited by Littledwarf on Feb 15 2013 06:32, edited 1 time in total.

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Posts: 131

Re: 1500 points - ANTI-Tau Tactica - as Space Marines

Post#2 » Feb 15 2013 06:31

i think you mean sternguards? they are veteran tac marine units, while vanguards are veteran assault units.

anyways, maybe use points on sniper scouts instead of drop pods? that way, he\she can use the tac marines as reserve units, and infiltrate scoutss to the most vulnerable areas of you line?
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Posts: 1636

Re: 1500 points - ANTI-Tau Tactica - as Space Marines

Post#3 » Feb 15 2013 07:41

What does he have in the way of extra figures?

At first glance the CC terminators can go / swap to ranged weapons as it is hard to close in to a vehicle mounted army like yours. They will tend to deep strike then be taken out by suit mounted Plasma.

The main problem seems to be he is not very mobile.

I am assuming that the Tactical squads have the usual ML/Flamer combo?

If so combat squad them - put the Sgt/flamer of both units into the razor backs and leave the ML +4 tacticals as a fire base or objective holder.

Put the Sternguard into 2 of the drop pods along with the Dread to deep strike in turn 1 behind the HH or DF (2 drop pods can come in on turn 1 and the other 2 follow normal reserves) - one of the drop pods can be deployed empty as a block/harassment unit.

The Razor backs are mobile fire support but do not hesitate to use smoke if need be. The mounted tactical squads can be used to sieze objectives or to take out dismounted FW and Gue or kick in transports back doors with grenades or bolters from close range (I have had a flamer finish off one of my DF before).

Just some ideas - I'm sure others will have better ones ;)

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Posts: 1161

Re: 1500 points - ANTI-Tau Tactica - as Space Marines

Post#4 » Feb 15 2013 12:41

Unfortunately, your army seems almost perfectly designed to counter his list: lots of low AP weaponry, mechanized to stay clear of his termies and Deepstriking rapid fire bolters. Plus fusion cascades make termies cry :::(

He needs more anti-tank weaponry, such as ML's or Lascannons for grounding your scoring units, and some plasma/meltaguns for roasting your suits. Until he grounds your troops, all he can shoot at are 3+ save units, so he needs to bring guns that can cut through your armor. Fortunately for him, most of those weapons are also effective vs. transports.

The termies are great if he can get them into contact with you, but they will have a hard time catching you with jet packs and devilfishes, so he should trade them out for something else.
The drop pods could be ok as long as he's packing plasma or melta. Drop those next to your Railhead or suits and they can do some damage.

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Cas'val Dei'kun
Posts: 118

Re: 1500 points - ANTI-Tau Tactica - as Space Marines

Post#5 » Feb 15 2013 01:28

The terminators definatly need to go, he's making a common mistake by taking them. The fact is that he dosn't need a powerfull close combat squad to beat tau in melee, assault marines or bikers would be FAR more effective because they are fast enough to actualy get TO the melee. The terminators may be more powerful in close combat but a squad at less than half the cost could do the same thing. Also, while the ability to split up tactical squads into combat squads is very usefull for holding backfield objectives they could instead be used to deal with tanks or crisis suits easily. If he still wants to use a drop pod list he would be better served by loading a full tactical squad into the "meltabunker" build and putting them into a drop pod as a full team. Meltabunker= sarg. with combimelta and meltabomb, tac. with meltagun, other tac. with multimelta. this loads the whole group for heavy antitank duty and in a drop pod they have some HEAVY alpha-strike capability. This meltabunker squad could easily down a tank or full crisis team on turn one and taking two such squads basicaly covers the army's anti-tank needs by themselves. Sternguard in a razorback are good but since he has enough drop pods he could load them into some as well, sternies can kill just about any infantry without a 2+ save and the drop pod will make sure they get to a good firing position.

Finaly the captain is a bad choice. Anything he can do another HQ in that book that can do it better. Pedro Kantor makes those sternguard scoring, which could make up for not combat squading the tacticals. A librarian has nearly unlimited usefulness as a support character, while some of the biomancy powers are cool the powers in the space marine codex are more reliable, he can make opponants reroll invulnerable saves, teleport his squad around the field, use a powerfull heavy flamer, shoot a strength 10 ap1 blast, The librarian is an excelent "all comers list" choice because he will always find a way to be usefull. A chaplain with a jump pack or bike could make either assault marines or bikers much scarrier in melee although this is probably unnecessary. The only real reason to take a normal captain is to put him on a bike and make some bikers troops, another way to compensate for not combat squading the tacticals.
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Posts: 524

Re: 1500 points - ANTI-Tau Tactica - as Space Marines

Post#6 » Feb 16 2013 06:49

What other supplemental figures does he have? does he have a variety of equipment available on his captain or is it pretty much locked in whatever configuration it has now? same question for the dread.

the XV9's are a beast for any space marine player to deal with, especially if you kit them out with shield drones. Even alone, they really take their toll. and the gigantic crisis suit team plus ral'ai? Thats a lot for 2 tacticals to handle. Considering the toughness and strength of the crisis suits, even getting into close combat isnt much of a guarantee after atleast 1 round of tau shooting.

I think this list could be shifted around so that the sternguards get the drop pods, and the tacticals get the razorback.

If there is a selection of units you can choose from, or if he is willing to proxy or buy more units, consider the following as an assault alternative:

Drop the captain for a librarian, and the assault terminators for assault marines, and take force dome so that there is a fast moving jet pack equipped assault force that still has decent survivability against the plasma and fusion, but much greater numbers and threat range. Also give the librarian jet packs, epistolary, and might of ancients for S6 + 2d6 armor pen, and force staff (the librarians power maul equivalent) or power axe. Either option makes him a serious threat to both suits and vehicles, as one allows the librarian to double out crisis suits with each hit, and the other allows him to cleave through 2+ armor while still wounding on 2's.

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Posts: 1780

Re: 1500 points - ANTI-Tau Tactica - as Space Marines

Post#7 » Feb 17 2013 12:21

with the amount of anti-tank you carry, any armored list would be the bane of you.

That being said, I really don't unerstand his list, the problem is not in it's anti-tau capabilities, but in its very core. it does not look like a good list against anything at all, and lacks the fundmentals of SM lists.

Two drop-pod combat squads are little threats, the dread is a shooty dread, so why bother podding it?, the sernguard do not belong in razorbacks, a captain is a horrible HQ choice, assault termies are pretty bad without anything to move them around, and in general his list lacks any focus of play-style.

Your list is pretty good, quite balanced. a bit lacking on anti-tank, and runs the "questionable if exsisting" Gue'Vesa, but overall good.
His just looks like a random mash-up of whatever he had available, rather then a well-tought list made for a battle, that he knew was against Tau, where most his units range between overkill, and non-threats.

My advice, and please don't take it the wrong way, is for him to study his codex, learn SM tactics and listbuilding online, and prepare a proper list later, because this one cannot be salvaged, only scrapped and made anew.

Posts: 36

Re: 1500 points - ANTI-Tau Tactica - as Space Marines

Post#8 » Feb 17 2013 10:37

boomwolf wrote:That being said, I really don't unerstand his list, the problem is not in it's anti-tau capabilities, but in its very core. it does not look like a good list against anything at all, and lacks the fundmentals of SM lists.

I have to concur. The list you posted for your friend has the "beginners mistakes" so to speak. It looks somewhat cool, maybe even fluffy, but is very poorly optimized. We have all been there and done that. Only by playing those games that we lose do we learn from our mistakes.

If you want a captain type of character I always recomend one of the space marine special characters. Remember they can be used to describe your own customer characters!

Also as everyone else has pointed out his army suffers from mobility, which is actually one of their strongest features. Stuff in drop pods should either be the scariest things in the army or he should be fielding his whole army for a defensive drop pod list. Sternguard are one of the best units for this role, 5-10 dudes that drop before you can shoot them either with all combi-melta or combi-plasma that cannot mishap unless they go off the board are crazy good. Even after they have used their combi-weapons they can still be dangerous with their special ammunition.

Dreadnoughts are rough in this edition. They suffer as all vehicles due from the changes to damaging. And with only taking the one it is going to suffer all of the anti-tank shooting alone guaranteeing its destruction. He either needs to take multiples for redundancy or keep it cheap enough that losing it is not a huge investment.

Space Marines is an army about having a purpose. Their units are broad enough to fill just about any role, but expensive enough that you have to make tough choices when making a list. His list doesn't have a direction and it shows when he faces a list like yours that has its focus and is good at it (mobility and shooting).

What I might suggest is having some trial games before starting your campaign. This way he can get enough games in to feel confident about changing his list. It also doesn't hurt you having more practice playing against Space Marines, there are enough of them out there! ;)

Posts: 452

Re: 1500 points - ANTI-Tau Tactica - as Space Marines

Post#9 » Feb 19 2013 09:16

First off, captains are generally pretty mediocre HQs unless a bike army is being used. They don't buff the army at all and are not very good at fighting either. Replace with librarian for best results.

Also, another more general point is that he has a low model count army, and is using it against an army filled with plasma and ap 1-3. That is generally not a favourable situation.

He also lacks long range weapons, barring the cyclone missile launcher and the one TL lascannon.

More troops are definitely needed as well; two tactical squads is a very small number of models to carve through in order to make him unable to score.

If models aren't an issue, I would suggest going for a biker army here; it is fast, it is shooty, it is tough and it is still better than you in CC.

But without even including any radically different models, he can swap the captain for a librarian, give every sternguard either a combi-melta or combi-plasma (both would do well against your tau build) and trade the drop pods with the razorbacks; have the tactical squads combat squad, with one half (with the heavy weapon) sit on an objective and plug away at your guys, with the other half going into the razorbacks (give the razorbacks multi-meltas, since you're obviously not above using FW and they are 25 points cheaper than the As.Can and TLLC razorbacks, which neutralizes the cost increase for using combi-weapons). If you make the 10 sternguard into one squad which combat squads after landing, you save enough points to swap the assault terminators for shooty terminators with a CML and one chainfist.
Though having them in two pods does prevent you from landing them both near two different tanks and melta-ing both, without them being super close. Either way, that should put some teeth back into this list. The points saved switching the captain to a librarian (he probably has SOME kind of gear, right?) could also be used for terminator upgrades if you want the terminators shooting stuff and still having two drop pods.

Also, just a note, contemptors can only take lucius drop pods, not sure if you just didn't write that out or if your opponent made a mistake.
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