Top Tier Terror

Discuss both Auxiliary, Allied and Aliens tactics
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Top Tier Terror

Post#1 » Dec 01 2014 02:28

Greetings my fellow Commanders!
I love and respect ALL things Tau so when one of my Meta members (the dude with the most history with 40K) was commenting that Tau are no longer a Top Tier Army ("Competitively" speaking), I felt an incredibly strong urge to prove him wrong (or throw him off the porch). Alas, my arguments fell a bit short of convincing him, (as arguments between geeks often do) so I thought I'd bring it up HERE, a.k.a. the most Thriving Tau community on this planet!

We have New Toys and we have studied Theirs (still studying & analyzing). The Rules have both detracted and enhanced our units and their abilities (See Here). There have been Articles (well) written solely to illustrate weakness in Our Empire's Forces, in order to avoid getting utterly destroyed before Turn 3. We have some of the best weapons, units, and Special Rules in the game! We even have the option to use heavily-armed, techno-ninja Battlesuits as Scoring Units!
So, What is the problem then!?

I've followed several local threads that discussed Weaknesses/Lack of Strength in certain areas....
1. Weak Scoring Units
2. Lack of Psykers
3. Lack of Anti-Knight.

However, I refute these by pointing out...
1. Devilfish Can Score. Y'know, that Tough, Over-Watching, Smart-Missile Firing, Super-Jinking, 'Heavily-Armored' Hover Tank that every army wish they had? :fear:
Also, we have Fire Warriors (Good Objective Defense), Crisis Suits (Good Objective Acquisition/Contention), and Kroot (Cheap with Decent Ability to Hold Objectives) giving us three additional Options for Maelstrom Mash-Ups.

2. Ok. It actually made me sad when I finally understood that my Army (I started with Tau) will NEVER have numinous fire flowing from his eyeballs (or "nose vent") to flame enemies to a crisp, while previewing the future through interpretation of a mystic deck of cards. Bummer. However, everyone else wishes they had a few Ethereals to buff their units out! No Warp-risk rewards! And of course, for defense, how cool is the Talisman?! Those of you, who wind up sharing the battlefield with Psykers on the daily, can even work Two Talismans into your List! If all else fails, shoot those suckers in the head from 4' away.

3. Welp. I wouldn't know yet. Haven't faced one,but I have been reading certain threads (already linked above) on how to reliably take them down and I do have Fusion Piranhas and Sunforge Trifectas galore (plus some XV{100<} units in the pipes) so I think I'll be alright.
TLDR; Tau are biggity-bomb, y'all

What I am asking you, my fellow Commanders, is this: What do you think? Describe your recent experiences playing the Circuit! Do you believe that the Tau are Gutter-Snipe Droppings now? Are we?! Or are we gonna bounce back!

Don't get me wrong! I'm happy the Tau are not considered the cheesiest army anymore! I'm really glad I don't get The Evil Eye every time my opponent is about to role a cover save, and I have to interrupt with an 'Ummm....'.
However, I'm about to take the plunge into Tournaments after playing "friendly" for two years,and I want, (edit) NEED to know if anyone else believes as I do.
That the Tau is the most versatile faction in the game, with more options (and the ability to implement them) for tactical synergy, strategic flexibility, and calculated deception.

That singular aspect: The Ability to Adapt to the Mutable State of (Simulated) War, Instantly with Adroitness and Tenacity, is what will guarantee that the Tau will always retain the capacity to conquer.

Who's with me?!
Mystify, mislead, and surprise the enemy

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Re: Top Tier Terror

Post#2 » Dec 01 2014 03:56

Tau is one of the strongest codexes out there. Taus play style is very unique and hard for most opponents in friendly games to counter.

1. Weak scoring units
Now this makes me wonder... how many units of fire warriors do you field? And what other aspects do you have in your army that draws the enemies attention away from them?
A 4+ armour soldier as a standard is nothing that is weak in my book. Only the space marines have better armour. AM, Nids, Orks, Eldar have worse armour on their basic infantry soldier. Necrons have the same as us.
Highest strength standard weapon on infantry soldiers... Again... how is this weak? Sure Dark eldar have poison, but we can tear through lighter vehicles and wound better against normal infantry units.
Longest range of basic weapon... again... not weak.

Now keeping them alive might be the problem. But as I said, only the space marines have better armour on their scoring units (of course there are others, but not in mass standard like the space marines).
Comparing them to other armies and points costs might be the issue for many Tau players. Necron warriors cost more than our warriors, in fact the same costs as a space marine. Sure they have fancy rules, but there are ways around them.
AM, Nids, Orks... they fall even faster than our Fire warriors in the open. Lets face it, unless your playing a very static army (hard with Maelstrom missions) you won't be hugging ruins with every single unit you have in your army. Some will be in the open, and will be targeted by standard guns of the opponent.

So to summarise, don't have the minimum amount of warriors, and have other units that draws their attention away from them.

2. Lack of Psykers
We have the games best psykers in WH40k!
And they are called Markerlights.

Lets look at it, the most common school is divination. Most people (not all!) are after the primaris power that allows you to re-roll. Getting no cover save is also nice, and of course 4++ save.

Looking now at the marker lights. you get increased BS and/or remove cover saves. Best part is, we can never suffer perils of the warp. We cannot be countered by enemy psykers, and we don't have to pay a huge amount of points to add this effect.

Another great source of effects is the Ethereal. Additional shots, feel no pain etc. And all of this with no chance of perils of the warp.

Now if you really want psykers and throw magic fire balls and whatnot on the enemy, ally with Eldar. Nothing stops us from doing it in 7th edition. Convert him to look like a Tau model.

3. Lack of Anti-Knight
Well you answered that question your self.
But most armies have the same problem really. If you feel that a Knight is a standard when you play, I wouldn't hesitate to add a unit of dual wielding fusion blaster suits. Markerlight support to increase the BS of the unit and drop them so two of them are in the back and one on the side (so he can only protect against some of the shots).

If you really want something hard hitting and expensive, get Farsight and build up a farsight bomb. Target locks on the guys with union blasters, and the rest with plasmas or what ever you feel is good on them. With a Farsight drop you won't scatter and can precision place your suits on the side and rear equally. Also from the rear the plasmas have a decent chance to hurt it.

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Vector Strike
Posts: 643

Re: Top Tier Terror

Post#3 » Dec 01 2014 06:59

Weak scoring units isn't because of 4+ (quite acceptable), but because of T3. As Marines are the standard everything is compared to, T3 is quite frowned upon by the community. AP4 stuff is pretty common, so you'll need cover.
Crisis suits take that weak away (T4 3+), and now that they socre (anda are more mobile than FW), they're preferable (the strongest thing in Farsight lists is the amount of Crisis you can bring)

No psykers is a bigger problem to deny than to use (you need a lot of psykers to cast a lot of powers now) Talisman helps a bit, but what helps even better is to kill their psykers. And yes, Markerlights repeats Divination by 505, but no Biomancy/Telepathy.

Anti-Knight... Piranhas/Crisis with melta and Y'Vahra; or, if you want to laugh, tarpit it with Kroot (be sure to have an Ethereal nearby giving Stubborn). There are armies in worse condition than us regarding Knights

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Re: Top Tier Terror

Post#4 » Dec 01 2014 09:52

I guess it depends on the definition of "top tier". I'd say a top tier army has: 1) a chance at winning any match; 2) multiple tools every job; and 3) a counter for every possible enemy. We have all of that. Though, admittedly, it's hard to field a single list that can beat all other lists... particularly in a tournament setting when you face a diverse set of foes with a single list.

I'm surprised anyone would say Tau is "not top tier", but they're right in the sense that Tau is arguably not the best army, though people still make that argument as well. Tau aren't the "auto-win" button they once could be, but the codex is strong because they have a tool for every job, which several codices lack. At the very least, Tau is a top-tier ally.

Regarding your points...
1. Weak Scoring Units
- Simply false. We don't have a problem getting to where we need to be to score... unless your list is weak. And those mobile, scoring units can be pretty survivable. No explanation required, right? Almost everything scores now anyway.

2. Lack of Psykers
- Agreed here, to a point. Vash has already made great points. Apart from Invisibility (arguably broken), there isn't much that those Psychic powers do that completely ruin the Tau Empire's playability.

3. Lack of Anti-Knight.
- 1) We can ally a Knight too (or 3+ Knights)... we just need to keep it 6" away. So what?
- 2) I've never struggled to kill a Knight. No Tau player should. Killing 3+ Knights, yes that's a problem, but all armies struggle there... so that shouldn't be a ding against our "top tier" status.

As far as anecdotal evidence goes... I win ~75% of the time in causal games and have always been top 3 in my tournaments. When I play, my opponent (right or wrong) generally feels like they have an up-hill battle on their hands.

I'm curious... what armies are "top tier" then? How many/what armies would be ranked above Tau? Or, are they talking strictly "tournament lists"? Flying circus, wave serpent spam... okay, fine... those are better. But those are "lists" not "armies", and top tournament lists change rapidly.

SIDE NOTE: how do you get two Talismans?

Frankly, I hope the entire 40k community ranks the Tau as a sub-par army. That'd be great... I love to be underestimated. And, instead of more nerfing in future codices and rule sets, we'll get a sympathetic boost.

My Cadre Log - [need better pictures]

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Vector Strike
Posts: 643

Re: Top Tier Terror

Post#5 » Dec 01 2014 07:06

reconjsh wrote:I'm curious... what armies are "top tier" then? How many/what armies would be ranked above Tau? Or, are they talking strictly "tournament lists"? Flying circus, wave serpent spam... okay, fine... those are better. But those are "lists" not "armies", and top tournament lists change rapidly.

Eldar, Chaos Daemons, Space Marines and Necrons are, alongside us, the best armies around (Tyranids got quite the boost but there were no tourneys with the new units to see their influence). Eldar and CD are better than Tau; SM and Necrons, at least on the same level.
I say this after reading many, many threads on dakka dakka. Of course one's meta can be quite different from others.

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Re: Top Tier Terror

Post#6 » Dec 01 2014 07:13

@Vector Strike. Completely agree.

My Cadre Log - [need better pictures]

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Re: Top Tier Terror

Post#7 » Dec 02 2014 08:43

Well I am always in the Tau corner, even when my numbers are depleted and moral is at it's lowest.

However, I would say we are in the top five codex just not the "Top Tier" anymore. To really argue either way though, you would have to first define 'Top Tier'. Does that mean most wins in regional tourneys? Does that mean most complained about army? What is the definition of top tier?

To me, 'top tier' means best couple codexes in terms of no holds barred competitive power. The codex with the most cheese in the smallest amount of space is to me, the 'top tier' army. That doesn't mean the most fun to play, or the coolest models, or anything else in my mind.

That said, the 'top tier' also then is an issue of local meta. What I mean by that is, does your local tourney allow Forgeworld units? Does your local tourney have force org restrictions? Do they comp their tourney's? Are you planning on going to the larger tourney scene in the future? All of those questions play into the equation IMO.

1.) Weak Scoring Units
~ I think there is a misunderstanding among those who have posted here with the main point I have heard cited by those arguing this. The main point people usually level against my troops, is that they are not as utilitarian as a lot of other troops in other books. As in... Tacticals can be scoring -and- provide long range heavy weapons. Necron Warriors can glance vehicles to death pretty easy and can be extremely hard to remove even with AP 4 due to reanimation. Eldar have special rules. Tyranid Warriors can be kitted in all kinds of specializations. Tau scoring units (Troops) are very vanilla in their abilities. Our firewarriors are basically guardsmen with carapace and pulse weapons. Awesome combinations can be had with ethereals and markerlights sure, but they really are not able to fill more roles other than scoring pulse weapons. Kroot are basically just snipers and deployment denials. XV-8 suits in Farsight's lists are more scoring Elites than true troops, and while they are extremely effective and -can- be setup to do all sorts of things, they are not as survivable as a blob of kroot in cover.

~This is not to say I agree with these arguments myself, but the point is there and they are not baseless opinions. When I field my Enclaves, my 'troops' are deep-striking around and preforming the duties of elites and I only score near the end of the game with my assault moves. When playing FSE I am always going for the Mont'Ka and I rarely have XV-8's holding objectives.

2.) Lack of Psykers
~This is what annoys me to no end when people want to argue that Multi-trackers don't operate in overwatch. The Psychic Phase is basically an entire phase of the game that Tau do not get to play in, and when our faction is given the 'overwatch mini-phase' as our unique thing, people have to go and try and take that away from us also.
~I don't really mind the lack of Psykers, and as others have pointed out we have more than enough support options to counter this. I don't agree with nor see how a lack of Psykers hits our competitive level at all. To be frank, I feel like the Psykic phase and psykers as a group are so much of a random element that building any strategy on them is a toss up that is not something us Tau players would enjoy anyways. Pragmatic application of trusty technology is the name of our game. This leaves us without Iron-Armed, Warp Speed, buffed combat demi-gods but really, that isn't our cup of tea anyways and getting all the powers you need to make characters like that is all on a dice roll on a chart. No thanks.

3.) Lack of Anti-Knight
~For the sake of my sanity I will not delve into this topic very deeply. Knights are one of the most broken additions to this game and I cannot detail my opinions without rabies like symptoms.
~However, countering a single Imperial Knight is laughably easy for the Tau. We have the weapons and the means to get them where they need to be. We can remove an Imperial Knight in a single shooting phase. Our offensive capabilities in the removal of vehicles, super-heavy or otherwise, is close ranged but extremely effective and easy to position with some practice. Our 'weakness' against the Imperial Knight is our lack of staying power against retaliation. Therefore, as the number of Imperial Knights increases, our ability to defeat them and win declines exponentially. One is easy... two is a challenge but well within Tau capabilities. Three is pushing our luck, but I think with good dice rolls, the right amount of AT and correct application the Tau can come out on top. Once the fourth Knight is added however, I feel we are holding our breath if we think we can pull a win. Is it impossible? No. Play the objectives, try to cling to survival with ever last roll of the dice, avoid melee as long as you can... but in the end it will be the dice and mistakes of the Knight player that will mean victory even if you play at the top of your game. Five Imperial Knights is just crushing... our goal against five knights is to bring as many down with us as possible and try not to get tabled by turn 3.

As to my credentials as anecdotal evidence, I play nearly exclusively as Farsight Enclaves with a heavy suit focus (as any self respecting Enclave would) and I rarely lose games that don't include multiple Imperial Knights. To be fair, my failures against Imperial Knights might only encourage the purchase and proliferation of the hated things in my area. Before they arrived, my Enclaves and Farsight himself was picking apart other armies including 'enemy' Tau formations in the Battle Domes.

As usual, local Meta is everything, and so when you are deciding on lists and what to expect, consider your intended 'meta'. Local group? Regionals? Special Event? Knowing the rules and proliferation of enemy formations in your selected 'meta' is extremely important when considering how 'top tier' your army is.


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Re: Top Tier Terror

Post#8 » Dec 02 2014 09:53

Anti-knight is definitely it's own thing, but I really don't think any armies are particularly set up for killing three or more knights - and whilst I've not had the pleasure of facing a Knight across the table yet, from what I've seen of the Knight tactica threads on other forums, a triple knight list can be actually quite difficult to use in a multi-objective game. Whilst it's very unlikely that you'll end up losing all your knights, it can be a struggle to keep up with the objectives game.

Trying to kill an Adamantine Lance is the wrong way to go about it, but with Ob Sec Devilfish and the fact we're not that dependant on getting into close combat in order to deliver our primary AT damage (unlike orks and nids), I'd have thought the Tau have got a bit of an advantage here.

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Re: Top Tier Terror

Post#9 » Dec 02 2014 10:34

The issue is not just that Imperial Knights are mean. It's not that they are resilient. It's not their profile on it's own.

Imperial Knights are fast moving, hard hitting, resilient super-heavy walkers. They get to fight you in melee as a walker with a D weapon. They get to double tap you with a two shot battle cannon, or worse weapons. They are AV13 on the front and AV12 on the squishy sides, so slipping damage on them requires at least missile pods in all reality. They have a one arc only 4++ shield, which wouldn't be so bad... except they get to select which side it's on at the start of -your- shooting phase. This means they can evaluate and gauge the risks of your shooting -after- you have out maneuvered them and setup the perfect kill shots but before you actually pull the trigger. Even a perfect fusion deep-strike right behind one is nearly -always- going to see a 4++. The best way to counter the shield is to split the arc (harder to do) or use two elements on different arcs (more costly in assets).

All of these things makes one Knight dangerous, but we have the tools to deal with them.

The real issue is that they are not a LoW that Imperials can bring in their LoW slot... oh no... they are their own codex, which means they can be allied detachments or even their own army. This means five of them are easy at 2000 points.

With five scoring super-heavy walkers that can shoot as many plates as ten leman russ tanks, and the base movement speed of 12" without running and a large base and massive threat area... simply playing keep away is not as viable as it theoretically seems. I face this often enough, though the three knight formation is more prolific. That formation makes those 4++ saves re-rollable and makes the lead knight a 3++ re-rollable.

If you build an army with six devilfish and all fusion suits... you could kill two of them and possible have enough devilfish alive to win by objective. How many TAC lists use max troop slots with Firewarriors and Devilfish however? Tau are masters of countering enemy tactics if we can list tailor, but the true test of a codex is the ability to take all comers with a balanced list. I have built my Enclaves list around destroying Imperial Knights specifically and succeeded in silencing three of them for a great morale victory... but the rest of my opponents were abysmal defeats as I did not have the tools to deal with hordes and flier spam since I invested so much in defeating the Knights players. I suppose it was a long term victory as I helped knock those players out of winning brackets.

Anyways, this is not a Imperial Knight thread, though I do think they are a heavy influence on our 'drop' in rankings. Not even JSJ can keep our suits away from a raging Imperial Knight... unless you use Shadowsun and her 3d6 assault move, and even then her life is in the hands of the d6 gods.

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Re: Top Tier Terror

Post#10 » Dec 02 2014 12:36

I pretty much like most of the points Nevar makes.

As far as Tau being not the top tier.... i laugh at that. Seriously. We were the elites of 6th edition and once the Taudar kombo and Taurines battle brothers came, we were THE king, it was always TAU + allies, never Allies + Tau for a succesfull combo.
With 7th ed, that made all of this change (which is stupid at the very least - as the 7th ed. autor, could have tweaked some of the allied rules, rather than just overwriting the factions as no longer being battle brothers!)
It makes my blood boil, as we are ment to be the guys that are composed of multile races, and "make friends" so to say. Instead we got slapped on both cheeks.
But still its not like we are weak ! Tau codex could be considered one of the top 3. I think Only Eldar are currently better than Tau, so i would rate us 2nd, but even if not, top 3 it is.

Never mind that though. Even without the broken Taudar the Tau themself are very competent player on the field. Yes we lack, psykers, and any type of even remotely reliable CC. The scoring units are not much of a problem in 7th.

Now for some points:
Psykers - i would love to see some FW Kroot Shamans. Something dirty cheap, that could be added either to any unit of 10+ Kroot, or not use FOC and be their own guy, same as the Warlock Councel of the Eldar. Biomancy would make most sense for them being kroot. Maybe divination. But i would like to see something like this mostly for the added bonus of dispelling enemy powers, rather than boosting our own stuff.
Yes, we lack psykers, and as such we lack one whole phase of the game. I don't like this. And i feel this is pretty strong point. I mean Psykers are supposed to be the "fun new thing". We got none of that. But we have shooting !
No we don't NEED a psyker, but it would be nice to get SOME love in this department as i simly feel cheated, for having to sit silently while my opponent rolls his magic. Still we got shooting !
Talisman of Arthas Moloch does simply not cut it i dare to say. Yet loose no hope, "coz wez got da dakka!.... uh sorri wrong dialect" :D
*Though we can always ally the Anti psyker Assassin but thats.... meh -____-

Anti Kniht - In his previous post Nevar pretty much said it all. Not going to deep into this. Knights as they are are bollocks, and should be trimmed down to either have NO battle brothers (doesnt really do that much, but is something), or even better - the shield should be declared during Knights player turn, not enemy shooting phase.
Also.... that D-weapon really pisses me off, but hey at least he is LoW ! ...Ah wait....riiiiight .....

Scoring Units - and here comes the moment i every time wish Vespids would be an actual troop choice. Or Dfish was -20 points.
Otherwise on a more common note though - why the heck are Fire Warriors limited by 12 max ? You would expect them to be at least 15 max. Considering they are weaker than marines, one would expect at least the numbers (plus 15 with Fireblade sounds so much sweater). These guys are subpar to anything. They only pack a big guns (no other meaning intended :D ). The save standard. Yes eldar have 3+ saves on their infantry but no on their troops.
As someone stated, 3+ go mostly for SM, Sister and such.
Now does that however mean these guys are bad ? Well.... there are worse things, but i def. don't feel like "woah the Fire W. are insanely good". They could use little something, like special weapon choices (i mean pathfinders can do that... unless they are "picky and don't wanna them rail rifle mumbojumbo" :D to make them really worthwile.)

I strongly feel our Troops choices deserves some attention. Are they abysmall ? No.
But they could use some loving (Vespids - even if a troop still overpriced, and cheaper transport would be a start)

sorri for grammar errors, i am writing this from work, and as such have limited attention i can put into this. :)
Last edited by Myrdin on Dec 02 2014 02:25, edited 1 time in total.

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