Tuesday, 18 January 2011

Tau UK Best General

The UK Masters 40k tournament has just been and gone, however looking round the Rankings HQ site I noticed that I have the icon for the UK Tau Best General.

Now this is not going to be an ego stroking blog post because I know I am far from the best Tau player in the UK, so I'd rather look at the reasons behind this state of affairs.

One possible reason is that a lot of tournaments aren't on Rankings HQ. However I don't believe this to be true, as looking at the site it has the majority of tournaments on it. Strangely enough my two best tournament results from last year (Basingstoke's ASMoH & Bracknell's 40k Online) where I came 3rd (out of 40) and 5th (out of 24) aren't on the website. Given that including those results would have made my ranking even higher, it must be something else.

The answer is actually quite obvious. Players with Tau armies are either not attending tournaments or using other armies when they attend tournaments.

Two good UK examples of very good Tau players taking other armies to tournaments are Adam of Warhammer Tau and Stu who came 3rd at the 40k Masters with his Dark Eldar.

Adam is waiting till a new codex to redo his Tau. He likes the way they play and their fluff, but thinks it's hard for Tau to compete at the top levels. Adam is currently concentrating on his Space Wolves and heads up the excellent Space Wolves Grey Blog.

Stu recently went back to his Tau for the recent (Oct) Rapid Strike tournament. Stu came an impressive 10th (out of 52). The other three Tau players came 42nd, 44th (me) and 50th. I was interested to talk to Stu and see what his take on Tau was. Speaking with him before the tournament I knew he took more broadsides than me and also used a large kroot squad. However he said he thought there were too many armies the Tau struggle with, and that he would be returning to his Dark Eldar.

But what do you do if you still want to play Tau ? My advice is to go ahead and play them. The armies you face in the top half of competitive tournaments is nowhere near the normal army you'll face in a shop or against your mates. I still won more than I lost of my tournament games over the year. I just found they struggled against certain armies and when they got to the top tables, however that may have been because I was facing better players (as well as better lists) rather than just the Tau couldn't compete.

So why can't Tau compete at the top ? Well to me it's partially the increase in mech armies (particularly Guard, Wolves and Angels). Tau have the wonderful railgun but only in small numbers, and the missile pod is best at suppression rather than actual tank killing. Also some armies are just faster than we're use to (eg. blood angels) or have more firepower than our expensive crisis suits can handle (eg. Guard or missile heavy wolves).

There is some disagreement against the common view that Tau aren't that competitive. Both Stelek and Kirby rate them. However I believe Tau can compete better as you get to closer to 2000 pts. At that points level you can have 3 units of broadsides, 3 units of fireknifes & kroot screens, while still having points to have pihranas to run interference to add a further layer of defense and stalling time.

So what's your few on Tau performance in tournaments ? Are.they really struggling in your area, or do the Tau in your area.hold their own ? It would be great to hear ideas on how to reverse this trend of less and less Tau seen at tournaments.



  1. Bugger it, you've made me pick them up again along side my Bretonnians.

  2. Congratulations on your best general.

    I think the reason Tau struggle is their points cost to firepower ratio. When you consider the following examplas:
    3 x Deathrains: = 141 points
    2 x Hydra battery = 150 points (more shots, longer range, vehicle, ignore flatout saves)
    5 x Longfangs 4 missiles = 115 points instant killing crisis suits
    3 x Hiveguard = 150 points, better BS, better strength, and no loS required, and hardier.

    In all cases I think the crisis suits are lacking, other armies can do what the Taus main strength is, for less points, more effectively and still not suffer from the Taus weaknesses quite so much.
    This is not to say I don't think the Tau can't compete. It just takes a certain amount of cunning/tactics/luck and a willingness to sacrifice Kroot for the greater good to try to even the tables on the newer codexes. When you meet an equally experienced player, playing a new codex, it comes down to luck. yours needs to be good and theirs bad.

  3. Firewasp has the right of it; our codex was written and point-costed for the previous edition. Compared to more recently updated armies, Tau are too expensive for what they bring to the field. They're still a solid army - I think Stelek and Kirby are right in their analysis - but they're also a less forgiving one, because the higher cost and absolute failure in assault leaves little room for error.

    (I'm still not a fan of Kroot screens, but I just picked up 6 Kroot Hounds, so there you go.)

  4. Hi,

    t's nice to see a Tau post getting so many comments :)

    @Gredus: It's so easy to get drawn back to them, they have a nice playstyle for a shooty army, much more enjoyable that most top shooty armies which can expect to not move most of their army and just blast the enemy away. Even this post has got me thinking about a new list - I'll be moving up to 6 railguns in 1750 pts.

    @Firewasp: It's a far comparison (and the long fangs could even have their 5th missile launcher and still cost less than the deathrains. The only advantage crisis suits have is mobility, and it's hard to make the best use of that with true LOS making it more differcult to be completely out of LOS.

    @NockerGeek: I think that's why I keep being drawn back to them, they aren't as bad as most of the interweb makes them out to be.

    Now I've had a while to think about my Tau performance I'll be posting a new blog post soon on how I think I need to change my list to make it a better. New post will be called De-Mech ot Die, and will be up in the day day or so - working makes the weekends so busy :)


  5. Congrats on your Best General man!!! I hope that some people read your post and start playing Tau more, I have read the codex multiple times, and once I have everything I want for my Dark Eldar, I was really thinking of starting up a Tau Army. Any tips for a good starter Army of Tau at about 500 pts?

  6. Tau will be fine in 5th edition, it's just hard to get a good economy of firepower rolling against current codeces.

  7. What did your list look like?

  8. Hi Bdix,

    The list I used last year was roughly:

    Shas'el with 2 Drones
    2 Fireknifes
    3 Fireknifes with 2 Drones
    3 Missile/Burst Suits with 2 Drones
    6 Fire Warriors
    10 Kroot & 7 Hounds
    10 Kroot & 7 Hounds
    10 Kroot
    8 Pathfinders
    3 Broadsides with Advanced Stabilisation Systems, Leader with Target Lock, Blacksun Filter & 2 Shield Drones

    The full list can be found here: http://rathstarramblings.blogspot.com/p/my-tau.html

    Since last year I have since decided to drop one railhead, and downgrade the other to an ionhead to get a 2nd unit of 3 (cheaper) broadsides. I also lost the hounds from the second unit of kroot to make the points.

    My new list and the thinking behind it can be found in the following two posts:


  9. Your new list sounds like what I have been running. Do you have any battle reports anywhere?

  10. Unfortunately not, as I've only had one game with the new list. The list performed well, and the extra accurate railguns helped clear the board or enemy armour very efficiently.



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