For reference of rules that are covered elsewhere i have included their links here.
Tactica Draft 2
Mech Tau Tactica
I have used a Necron list that I have seen quite a few variants of, with the cores being the Monolith, the Destroyers, and the Scarabs. We will use this list in an attempt to discuss tactics that are used with these units, counters to these tactics, priority targets, reactions and last ditch efforts, and unit selection.
Lord, orb, veil of darkness = 200
Lord, warscythe, orb, destroyer body = 180
6 immortals 168
6 immortals 168
10 warriors 180
10 warriors 180
10 warriors 180
4 destroyers 200
4 destroyers 200
3 scarab bases, DR fields = 48
Tomb Spyder 55
Total points =1994
A Tau list not designed to counter this list but one that has a variety of specialized and general units. This is a bench mark to try different tactics.
Shas'el - FK- 87
2x Vre - FK, TA - 164
Ethereal - 50
10x FW - Ui, BK, ML - 125
10x FW - Ui, BK, ML - 125
10x Kroot - 70
10x Kroot - 70
2x crisis- FK, MT - 124
2x crisis- FK, MT - 124
3x stealth - TLdr, ML, HWDC, 2x MD - 165
Piranha - TA, FB - 70
Piranha - TA, FB - 70
6x Path - Ui, BK - 99
Fish - MT, DL- 95
Sky Ray - DL, TA, MT, BC - 155
Hammer - DL, TL, MT, SMS, 1xSM - 190
2x Broad - BASS, Tldr, TL, BK, 2x SD - 205
Sparse Terrain - approximately 1/3 terrain. 4x Trees , 2 buildings, 3x hills
1 building, 1 tree in each deployment zone rest scattered near edges of deployment and center.
The Necron Deployment
1 Warrior unit in the Trees, 1 unit in the building, 1 in the open, lord on foot near the unit in the tree
Both squads of Destroyers out of LOS behind the trees unit of Scarabs deployed in the open across from broadsides Lord on Destroyer body near them
Lord on foot near unit of immortals near trees, other immortal unit on flank in building
Now a tactical choice:
Monolith deployed in the center of all the necrons - M.1
Monolith Held off the table to DS turn 2/3 (hopefully) - M.2
Hammerhead behind trees out of LOS, Skyray behind building out of LOS, broadsides behind buildings out of LOS
1xunit of firewarriors in trees, 1x unit of kroot in trees behind FW, 1 x firewarrior on far side of hill, 1x kroot infiltrated in the building on the right to support against Scarabs
Fireknife unit in the center to use hill for JSJ, other HQ and FK by the trees for JSJ, Stealth Marker Team Infiltrated on top of hill in DZ
Shas'el and squad behind trees out of LOS for JSJ, Ethereal in building to join Pathfinders, to help LD and be visible across the board try to keep him 6" deep on the front end of the building so he can't be hit from torrents of fire from Destroyers. If it is too much of a risk just deploy him near the PF so that he can join them your first turn, you are going to need those extra marker lights to take out the higher priorities.
Path finders in building, Fish near by out of LOS, Piranha on either flank to come out Monolith or Destroyers
These deployments are how I have set up in these situations, going on the assumption that I had to deploy first, and that I like to minimize impact/importance of first turn.
With the broadsides new to my list I have learned that it is best to deploy them last (out of 3 HS choices) so that they can focus on 2/3 Tanks. Tank deployment, they move 12" and fire fire fire, so I try to keep them behind cover first turn. Warriors, I usually try to give them some cover and in this case 4 units can eat right through their armor 3+ to hit 2+ to kill.
Infiltrate, Deep strike
This is going to be a standard VP scenario(cleanse) as objectives would make it more difficult to look at responses etc. For now we will just try and combat the few major tactics used by the necrons in this engagement. We will also look at worse case scenarios a lot to keep with a precautionary side of playing and well nothing ever goes to plan right?! Ya gotta be flexible!
Turn 1 moves, responses, and potential results.
We are going to presume we lost the roll for first turn! OH NO! Happens right? Luckily we have deployed to minimize casualties and can see where our opponent's first moves might be. Expect your necron opponent to move every unit in his army. Why? Because of how we have deployed, he will need to move at least turn 1 to get his basic warriors and immortals into play.
I am going to label common tactics for defeating/ countering so that when we are discussing them we can refer back to them easier.
Against necrons and most armies it is difficult to select what classifies as TOP priorities and what must be killed. In this scenario I will use proximity of threat, plus mobility, plus potential damage output to define my threat/target priority.
Necron Tactica :
Cheap, fast, fearless, what else do you need?
The scarabs will most likely be used to Turbo boost as far forward as they can turn 1. They get an invulnerable save which is needed against S6 weapons and are meant to tie up and harass enemy units. In this scenario, our deployment was paramount to how we can react to this unit. Kroot are going to be our best counter to this unit. The reason being we can deploy them as a response to the scarabs and can in turn tie them up from reaching our most valuable shooting units in this list, Pathfinders and Broadsides. A suitable response if you do not take Kroot is to use your fire warriors. They will most likely lose in HTH against the scarabs but they can buy you some time.
In this scenario lets assume they turbo boos t right up into the front of our entrenched Pathfinders. They can't make it into the building because of the difficult terrain + turbo boosting. Their placement is going to bump their threat factor to the top 2 priority on turn 1 if not priority 1. This is because they will cause a Target priority check and can wreck havoc if not controlled/countered. Use the High LD of the ethereal to pass this check (hopefully he is still alive and so are they) to fire at target priority number one. In some cases, very rarely, the scarabs will be the number one priority. They will make the top spot if there are more than 1 squad, you can get the jump on them (they didn't turbo or are out of cover) or there are a lot of bases. They will fall to target priority 3 in this case however as we have a counter to them at hand because we were so smart with our deployment! B)
1.b Countering the scarabs in this scenario
Hopefully the kroot didn't suffer too many casualties from the immortals and stuck around, lets presume they did and then presume they didn't.
- i. Move disembark your drones from the Devilfish to support the kroot, move your Devilfish up to the flank of the scarabs, position the Piranha drones to strike at them by disembarking them and following the DF drones example. Move your Sky ray up to fire its BC into them as well to the right of the building if you can make LOS or on top of the building, this is a tad dangerous as those Destroyers are still out there and the Ray will become their priority. After ripping the drones with Carbine(drones) and BC(Ray+DF) fire assault them with your kroot and drones. Hope to win the first round of combat. You should wound and hit them easier but die just as quickly! GO KROOT!
ii. Damn kroot! Always getting wiped out first turn! Oh well, as per i. get the drones into position to assault. Bring the Railhead towards the hill with FW+SMT to fire SMS onto them, instead of moving your SR and DF to the flank create a wall with them. DF where the Kroot used to be, SR infront of the PF, and Piranha on the left side of the PF. Hold those Path finders firm we will need them.
1.c Countering Scarabs in general - best practices
Kroot as I mentioned will be our best response to this unit. They are our dedicated speed bump unit, while I rarely recommend charging with this unit I recommend charging against scarabs. This is because it allows us more attacks , keeps them further from our lines, and allows us to prevent the HTH from potentially blocking LOS.
High strength shots from Submunition rounds or Ionheads. Try to take out whole bases rather than inflicting a lot of wounds The submunition round will also take 2 bases for every wound it inflicts as scarabs have the "Vulnerable to Blast" Rule, making it an excellent choice for taking out swarms.
Free drones from your piranha, devilfish and drones by themselves make good units to try and stem the turn 2 assault from scarabs.
Shots on the Fireknives and Pathfinders will be the point of order for the destroyers in this list. They are going to want to get some shots on the FK on the left side of the board because they've deployed after the Elites and can hopefully flank to get some shot. To do this they will most likely bring the Destroyer Lord and one unit straight over the top of the forest while bringing the other unit behind the trees to the left for cover. Passing their Target Priority on LD 10 they will be able to maximize their 36" range on to the PF and plugging away at our valuable FK unit and supportive PF. They will most likely force a check on the FK suits and the PF unit. These guys are our Target priority numero uno. Their long range, quick movement and volume of shots, makes these guys a serious early threat. The majority of our shots are going to go against these 2 units (discounting the shots against the scarabs). They will put some serious hurt on our other units if we don't handle them quickly. Because of the positioning of the DL, they are GOING to get their WBB and having a Monolith on the table will ensure that they can get a second chance of getting their boys back up. The answer? Focus fire power. If he keeps the two units close together it is going to be very difficult to take out 8 destroyers in one turn. You are going to have to try... hard. If they are not kept together such as this case, focus on the unit you can see with the majority of your units
2.b Countering Destroyers in this scenario
It seems to be common sense that if something is tough and has a good save, take a high strength weapon with a low AP. Seekers, Plasma, Ion weaponry and mounds of high powered shots are going to be our answer here. We will need to take these guys out ASAP, especially because it means we can fire at the DL sooner rather than later. Something to keep in mind when shooting at them however is: plan out the shots you are going to take in order so that if the unit goes down you can still use your firepower on the other unit. The PF (hopefully still around) are going to Marker Light the closer of the 2 units. Presume they yield 2ML, this means you will also want to fire your Stealth Marker Team at the same unit, yielding 2 ML (we hope) and your Fire warriors get 1 ML, the SR gets 1 ML. Alpha Strike. Launch as many seekers as you can at these suckers, firing the Railheads first, and then whatever else. This should be enough to knock them out. If its not, and some unlucky dice roll are occurring, be sure to save 1/2 ML for you FK behind the hill, you are going to want to get those PR to hit. Depending on how many seekers have killed Destroyers be sure you fire one at a time to maximize your useful ML. As the Firewarriors have already been used to shoot at the Destroyer unit their guns are as good as any to take out the High Toughness Destroyers. Where the Seekers fail try to pick up the slack with Plasma from the FK squad and the HQ. The good BS of the one squad enables 1 ML to go a long way. USE IT! B)
If you are unsuccessful with the ML Alpha Strike, lets presume you hit with very few. You are going to have to use your Railhead and Broadsides to take out those buggers in conjunction with the rest of your army. Hitting these 2 units as hard as you can, with everything you've got will yield 2 results: Your skimmers will have a little more freedom to move around, and you can adjust quickly and accordingly.
If you are unable to take out a unit in the first round or are unable to get into range with them focus your Railhead shots into the monolith. Turn 2 these guys become your number 1 priority, but may take priority 2 because of the DL.
2.c Dealing with Destroyers in general
These guys are going to usually have the range and the fire power, Plasma, to fire back at these guys. They are going to really do the majority of your kills in most lists against the destroyers. Again focus the fire of 2 units to take out 1 before moving on to the next. Leaving 1 destroyer left is as good as leaving them all up.
Ionheads and Sky Rays
The amount of high strenght AP3 shots coming out of these 2 units should be enough to knock down a substantial portion of the unit leaving other units to pick off the remainder. They make good choices when dealing with a lot of destroyers.
There are two ways this scenario will play out. One it will be deployed turn 1 and present a juicy target for our 3 Railguns, or 2 they will deepstrike it and pull a unit of warriors through to rapid fire our suits and get additional shots from the flux arc.
- i. Deployed
A necron player might start with this on the table(M.1) because he will want to get the washing effect for his high point destroyer units. The first turn you should expect a shot into your firewarriors on the hill. The short range of the large template means they will be likely targets. While the survival of this monstrosity is a something we need to address quickly it is not a priority that will require the majority of your attention turn 1. This list has 4 units dedicated to taking down the monolith, the railhead, the Broadsides, and the Piranha. You can wait until turn 2 to really focus on this puppy if he deploys it turn 1, because turn 2 he will most likely be washing units through it.
ii. Counter to Deployed
Shoot it. 3 railguns should be enough to take it out in 2 turns, and if not ML and swoop in with your Piranha. They can only penetrate the Monolith (need a 6) but it is worth it.
A necron player that sees 3 railguns in a list will highly consider deepstriking (M.2). This will allow him to pull warriors/immortals through as early as turn 2 and allow him to get into your face much quicker. Plus it means less shooting at this giant. Doing this will allow a unit that has not moved, the ability to teleport through the monolith, move, shoot and potentially assault(immortals).
iv. Counter to Deepstrike
Taking out the monolith becomes a much higher priority at this point, the last thing you want to do is leave this sucker alone in your ranks. The Flux arc will decimate your lines and potentially take out your skimmers to boot. To prevent units from getting too close to you, a worthy sacrifice would be the piranha. Sometimes its better to give up a small unit then suffer the losses of multiple squads. Positioning the Piranha, from the left flanks, in front of the area where you expect the monolith to come down does 3 things: allows your piranha(if it survives) good range to hit back at the monolith, forces a target priority check for your other units, and prevents an assault against one squad. In your turn use markerlights to buff your Broadsides, and fire them and the Railhead at it(presuming it is alive and/or can fire). If that fails hit it with Seekers and Fusion Guns. You have to get it down. 2 turns of it in your lines will allow 2 units to come through and mess you up.
3.b General counters to the monolith are obvious.
Railguns are the best choice but you don't always need to take it down immediately. Manage the threat level.
4.a Destroyer Lord
His quick movement, potentially turbo, high toughness 6, and power weapon in close combat means you do not want him to hit your lines. In this case he is a support unit to maximize the Destroyers while inching closer to your lines. Ion cannons and Seeker missiles are going to be your best chance at taking him out. In this scenario you should have 1 turn to get some shots onto him. He like the monolith are much more potent against our lines so you cannot allow him to go unmolested towards us.
4.b Countering the Destroyer Lord
In the event that he turbo boosts right at you turn 1, you are left little choice but to haul off with your closest units in trying to take him out. Accurate volumes of S5 weapons should put a damper on his effect next turn. At this stage unfortunately you can't do much but hope he fails his 50/50 will be back roll.
5.a Veil+Res Orb Lord on foot
This is your token 200 pt lord. You will see him a lot, in addition to being a support for his surrounding nasty warriors and immortals he represents a huge threat to our tanks and valuable suits. The veil will allow him to suddenly move a warrior squad within rapid fire of your Railhead, SkyRay, or Crisis Suits. This tactic will almost guarantee him a kill of your vehicle or unit. Its important to keep your units supported. I can't stress this enough. Think of it like chess, you don't want to have a piece taken without being able to take his piece.
5.b Countering VoD Lord
Devilfish tank shock anybody? If you have one available this tactic is great. You run a small chance of breaking the squad, leaving the lord exposed, make sure to ask if the lord has joined the squad before you do, and you also gain the benefit of putting your fish right between your warriors and the undead. Proper support of your units is important when dealing with this guy. Too often I have had a fish/unit/vehicle wiped with this tactic without a proper chance to respond. Support support support.
6.a Dealing with Lords in General
You do not want to get into hand to hand ever but you also do not want these guys doing their nasty little tricks. T5/6 and having only 3+ save means that the more hits you put on these guys the better. Tricky ways to deal with these guys is doing your best to separate the surrounding units from them leaving the baddies exposed. The DL in this scenario is a prime example because he would become the closest target if you were successful in taking out a unit of Destroyers. This forces the necron player to decide if he wants to risk his lord in a full out blitz or keep him moving with the other destroyers. Use your troop choices to whittle away his supporting units to try and get shots at the IC. You can also use tank shock to separate him from units that he hasn't joined. Don't forget this!
Utilizing these tactics you can pick out the larger threats in his army and then focus on reducing him to phase out over turns 3-6.
I will add Responding to failed counters later as well as the Warrior and Immortal uses.
Tomb Spyders, Wraiths, heavy Destroyers, Warriors, Pariahs, Immortals and C'tan are next.
(to be continued)