Okay yesterday I played my first SW:A games. With CSM instead of Tau though since my Team isn't fully assembled yet but I still could learn some things.+++ Wall of text incoming +++
+++ If you don't want to know the details scroll down to the tl;dr, afterword and conclusion part +++
But first a short recap.
My list was fairly elite consisting of an Undivided leader gunslinger, a Tzeentch guy with Inferno Ammo, a Slaanesh guy with frag grenate and assault sword, a Khorne guy with Chainsword and Bolt Pistol and a Nurgle specialist with Flamer.
My opponent was playing AM with 8 guys in his team. One sniper guy with BS5, a shotgun guy, a grenade launcher guy and the rest normal lasguns. All with Carapace armor of course.
We randomly rolled for a mission and had to play the first one (simply killing eachother and whoever fails his bottle check first or has all his guys taken out or downed loses). I had to deploy first and he also had the first turn. All in all very unfortunate.
So it went like that: He placed his guys in some great camping spots and with his superior range and the mission forcing us to kill eachother forced me to come to him without he ever really having to move. 3 of my 5 guys were permanently pinned. The Tzeentch guy eventually got -1BS/-1WS, the Leader -2BS/-2WS and the Khorne guy eventually got downed and I rolled a 6 at the end of my turn so he simply died. Khorne wanted some blood after all.
That left me with a melee guy with a frag grenate and a flamer guy. The frag grenate hit two of his guys, wounded one and downed him. The flamer downed another. Both went out of ammo after their first shot leaving me with a pure melee guyy and a specialist with a combat knife. Yay. Oh right, he rolled some 6s but of course made all his ammo checks except for the sniper in the very last round before it ended.
Anyway, he easily managed his bottle checks and after my leader got killed as well I had to roll as well and of course failed my first bottle check and had to retreat. To be fair, there wasn't much I could have done at that point anymore anyway.
What did I learn? Of course that was no Tau list but it made me realise how incredibly good superior range and BS is. My Tau would've gotten slaughtered the same way or even faster due lack of range, only T3 and only a 5+ armor. Could have gone slightly better with more Bolter in my team but not much.
The next game was a really short one. I captured one of his guys in the last game and he wanted to rescue him so we had to play the rescue mission against each other. He had only 4 guys in his team, did nothing except for getting his leader pinned by jumping off of a building and set off the alarm in the first round by shooting a grenade at my Slaanesh guy without downing or killing him so 2 of my 3 reserve guys arrived turn 1 for me (stocked up to 5 guys again after the last match where my Khorne guy died for good. I basically spent the promethium case to get the very same guy back and some upgrades for others. Khorne wants to seem him die again
That's when he decided to give up on the captured guy. Yay easy victory with an additional 100p for upgrades and an additional promethium case for me and one less for him! Felt like a deserved victory after the last match where he got 3 p-cases.
Turns out the captured Guardsmen wasn't exactly captured but went with my team on his own after all (bought a cultist with the points). The rest of the points I spend to give all my guys Camo Gear and the Tzeentch guy a Photo-Visor, Red-dot laser sight and a Telescopic Sight. He now hits on a 2+, has 36" range and reduces cover by 1. For the small upgrade costs of 55p. Definitely worth it I think after seeing how the first match went. Seeing how I could easily do that for every CSM with a simple Bolter...damn that could get real ugly real quick. Oh right and everyone has Camo Gear so the enemy range is reduced by 4" as well.tl;dr
first match I learned that superior range with good BS is devastating if you have nothing that can shoot back properly at that range. Second match I learned how easy it is for some teams to get access to long range high BS shooting.
Tau are pretty f****d so better load up on Rail Rifles, Pulse Accelerator Drones and cheap Carbine guys. Don't expect them to survive much. Hard cover might modifier the to-hit roll by -2 but that doesn't mean much if the enemy can outrange you, with BS4/5 weapons that reduce cover by 1.Afterword
I honestly didn't expect other teams to have such easy access to long range high BS shooting.
Being able to use most of the misc gear makes one hell of a difference on the power level of teams and really hurts us not being able to do the same.
Sure we can get the Pulse Accelerator Drone to buff our range and Markerlights to ignore cover but that still gets us only to 24" range (20" range against Camo Gear which most can buy easily for 5p) so we most likely still have to get to the enemy.Conclusion
As Tau player it's pretty much impossible for us to stay in cover and outshoot the enemy unless it's a rather melee focussed list. We HAVE to get to them and they WILL pin most of our guys if not outright killing them due T3 and 5+ armor. If our guys get pinned it's basically over for them since with I2 they can't even get up early most of the time and it's doubtful you'll pin the enemy with your short range low BS shooting so he can shoot at him next turn again.
We aren't even particularly fast with M4 and we can't climb or jump well to use the terrain to our advantage. In fact it will most of the time act against us since being close to some edge means most of the time he'll fall and take an additional hit at strength X without armor save.
We won't have a problem with teams that want to get close themselves but we will suffer a LOT against teams that just stay away.
The only thing we can do is relying on numbers buffed by markerlights and pulse accelerator drone so we have a chance to get in range and pin some some of enemy before he kills all of ours. Pathfinder are apparently supposed to overwhelm the enemy with a bigger number strong basic weapon (S5 -2 IS strong) without letting them hide in cover backed up by Rail Rifles instead of a rather sneaky and well equipped elite kill team.
Fully expect to lose a lot of your guys during a campaign just because we will have to roll way more often on the injury table than others.
I really don't like that tbh. It feels more like how AM would play. Send in a lot of guys in hope some get there and do something useful while they have some cover fire. It's news to me that Tau battle tactics include sacrificing their soldiers. Especially Pathfinder who are supposed to outsmart the enemy instead of relying on brute force and numbers.
I might have to rethink my list a little bit. I'd like to have 1-2 more Carbine guys in there...