New Tau Rumours

December 30, 2010 · 4 comments

The new Tau Codex is still a long way off, so take these with a pinch of salt.But if I'm honest, I can't wait for the Tau Empire's third sphere expansion.

New Heavy Support Platform
Basically immobile deep striked! heavy weapon and crew. Rail and Ion Cannon, and missile launcher are all obvious options here, but nothing solid with the rumor.

Assault Skimmer
Something between size of piranha and hammerhead, fast skimmer open topped, assault on disembark.

It's assault after a flat out move, and has the "drop troops along path" option similar to the storm raven.

New Drop Ship
Not the FW one, but something new. Holds a boatload of fire warriors, or a few battle suits.

New Battle Suits
Not sure if these are the "next gen" suits or just heavy suits redone with out metal bits.

Based on the recent GW Tau artwork, I'd expect a completely new look for the Tau Battlesuit. Something sleeker that in keeping with the latest FW models, the current Fire Warriors and Tau tanks.

I really miss playing my old Tau army. I think Tau Empire will be a nice alternative to playing Space Wolves and considering how far off the new Tau Codex is, I could well finish my Space Wolf army in time!

The Best of Warhammer Tau's First Year

January 31, 2010 · 6 comments

January 31, 2010

Warhammer Tau is on a brief hiatus until the release of the new Tau Warhammer 40K Codex. So in the meantime, here is the Best of Warhammer Tau from the past year.

Playing the Tau in Warhammer 40K for the past few years has been a real blast. I've laughed, I've cried and I've blown big gaping holes in things with railgun slugs.

And you've been here throughout my amazing journey, reading my weekly battle reports, sharing your thoughts and giving me encouragement to carry on when the chips are down.

But fear not, for Warhammer Tau shall return with a new layout, new interactive features and a new army built by yours truly.

Without further ado, it's time to look back on the history of Warhammer Tau and it's many highlights...

Back To The Start

One of the defining things about Warhammer Tau were my Tau Battlesuit conversions. Inspired by the great Tael of the Advanced Tau Tactica, I drew my ideas from many of his Tau Battlesuits, working my own thoughts into the mix to create something derivative, yet unique and with considerably less scratch building, greenstuff and plasticard. Tau Battlesuit conversions for the lazy if you will.

Fortunately most of the conversion parts needed were easy to acquire or came in the Tau Battlesuit boxed set already. All it took was an extra flamer tank, a section of chopped up Devilfish interior detail that wouldn't be missed and a pair of Fire Warrior shoulder pads for the knees. So long as you were happy to make Pathfinders out of the leftover Fire Warriors, nothing would be left to waste.

Originally my Tau Battlesuit conversion was intended for the army commanders, but drew so much attention that I was persuaded to convert the rest of my battlesuits in the same way.

Orange Stripes
Before Games Workshop released their range of Foundation paints, I had developed a fondness for Privateer Press (P3) Paints. I was also playing a lot of Dawn of War.

So one day, I kept hitting the 'random colour selection' until I saw a colourscheme I liked. Somehow military green, deep brown details and orange stripes seemed like a good idea! Soon enough I was painting painting Tau Fire Warriors and then had to apply my unusual new colour scheme to painting Tau tanks as well.

Favourite Games
Despite having played my Tau army for over 2 years solid, many of my favourite games are my more recent ones in the 5th edition of Warhammer 40K.

What really helped me to nail Tau tactics was the 2009 Carnage tournament, but the really memorable games came shortly afterwards when I began to employ the Tank Wall Tactics to greater effect.

ORKS VS TAU
One particularly memorable game in this instance was facing Simon Thorne's Ork Nobz Biker army. A truly horrible and very specialist army designed to speed towards the enemy, absorbing massive amounts of firepower and losing only a few models before ploughing into close combat. Obviously a problem for Tau with their lack of high strength, low AP weapons.

So, making the most of my fire power, I set up and opened fire upon the advancing Orks. How hard could it be to take down just 2 enemy units?

Well, I found out the hard way and soon my lines were overrun with Ork Nobz, ripping apart my tanks with power klaws before moving onto my Battlesuits.

So, the second time I played against Simon Thorne's Ork Nob Biker army a month or so later, my tactics had developed and I had a way to counter his army.

I'd accepted that it was improbable for the Tau to be able to actually hold on to objectives. It was far better to let the opponent move their forces to claim your objectives while you wheel round with the Tau Tank Wall to clean/contest their objectives instead.

So in this instance Simon took the bait and deployed to easily grab the left objective in my deployment zone, while I deployed on the opposite side, with the intention to gradually wheel round over the course of 5 turns and claim his objective.

There was a quote in the 3rd edition Tau Codex, which is about "Shortening your reach". But essentially what it means is that you will not always be able to engage the enemy at a distance, so you must be prepared to hammer them if they get up close.

The Tank Wall constantly wheeled around 12", firing off smart missiles into the Ork Nob Bikers, inflicting light damage while the heavy weapons on the army inflicted the casualties.

However, Si couldn't plough the Orks in because I was outside of his 18" attack range. If he did, he'd be out in the open for my whole army to move in and rapid fire one of his squads. So with really nowhere to go, he sat in the middle of the board, taking hits.

Through the course of the game, this resulted in the death of one Ork Nob Biker unit and Warboss, allowing the Tau to continue their wheeling Tank Wall manoeuvre and claim the Ork objective while the remaining (depleted) Ork Biker Nobz fell back to claim the Tau objective.

Yes, the game was still a draw, but it was the best I could do against his army.

TAU VS TYRANIDS
My greatest victory with the Tau army came against at the Grand Tournament itself, which wasn't bad considering how I expected to be overwhelmed by an endless tied of creatures.

This tactic is what I like to call the Bait & Reserve. You place your high firepower units which are quite resilient on one flank (out of charge range from any Outflanking units) to bait in the enemy army while inflicting as many casualties as possible. Meanwhile, you put the rest of your army into reserve and use it to reinforce your Bait or bring it on from the other flank to fire at the enemy army as it makes its way towards your Bait. By the end of the game nearly all of the Tyranids had been wiped out.

I'm interested to see how this would work against the new Tyranid Codex as Mawlocs and Trygons will test the Tau's short ranged firepower to its limit. But on the bright side, the countless turns I spent firing high strength weapons at Tyranid Warriors would now kill them outright.

TAU VS RAVENWING
Without a doubt the most close fought game of my life.Having played my Tau army many times, James had a good idea of how to beat me. He also knew that driving his very fast, hard hitting and incredibly tough to kill army straight down my throat was the surest way to secure victory. So that's what he did!

James won the roll off, placing his objective to the right, while I placed mine to the left. He placed Sammael in the centre of the board with a bike squad either side. The Land Speeders would arrive on Turn 1, while the 3 attack bikes and another bike squad were held in reserve.

He used his scout move to move the two bike squads 12" forward.
I wanted to mess his day up by seizing the initiative, but failed the roll.

In his first turn, his 3 Land Speeders turbo boosted down the left flank towards my objective. Sammael held position in the middle while the two bike squads turbo boosted to my board edge and spread out along it.

While the tactic had worked against Luke's foot slogging Tau, my mechanised army of skimmers and jet pack Tau Battlesuits could simply fly over the line of bikes...apart from the Broadsides who walked on to the objective on the left, meanwhile the rest of the Tau army arrived on the right, intent on capturing James' objective. He certainly didn't see that coming!

Firewarriors piled out of Devilfish as the entire Tau army opened fire on the two bike squads, wiping out one squad and reducing the other to 3 men.

James Charged two of the Firewarrior teams with the 3 remaining bikes, killed one of the twin linked flamer Battlesuits with Sammael's assault cannon while his bike squad in reserve arrived from the right flank along with 1 attack bike.

The attack bike used its multimelta on the Skyray, immobilising it, then charged it and suffered and wound from the flechette dischargers.

The bike squad failed to kill a Devilfish with their meltaguns, but charged it for good measure, shaking it so it couldn't shoot, but not after losing 2 of their number to its flechette dischargers. I like flechette dischargers!

The Tau Broadsides on my left objective were mercilessly gunned down the the three Landspeeders and another Attack Bike which outflanked.

On the far right, my Battlesuits jumped over the immobilised Skyray to deal some serious damage to the bike that had arrived.

With nearly all the bikes wiped out, but 1 Attack Bike which was sitting on my objective, the Tau army mobilised for the abandoned Ravenwing objective.

What then ensued was the gradual annihilation of both Land Speeders and Tau tanks, although the Tau smart missiles couldn't compare with the assault cannons of the Land Speeders. I also failed to wound with a railgun solid slug on the Attack Bike which was claiming my objective. This roll of a 1 completely swung the game.

By Turn 5, only the Tau Battlesuit command team, an immobilised Skyray and 6 Firewarriors were left (to claim the Ravenwing objective). All the other vehicles were smoking wrecks. Thankfully that's when the game ended. Turn 6 I would have been fine, but if the game had continued until Turn 7, I would have been wiped out.

THANK YOU
To round up The Best of Warhammer Tau, I'd like to thank you all for reading my blog, sharing your thoughts, lending your advice and supporting me on my journey with the Tau Empire army in the hobby of Warhammer 40K.

There's a lot of love for the Tau and I'm always inspired whenever someone comes up to talk to me about the army when I'm spending a day at Warhammer World with friends.

As most of you will know, I'm currently writing the Space Wolves blog with a few web buddies. But one thing that's really struck me is the difference in the audiences for the two blogs and in many ways, the two Warhammer 40K armies.

Without going into too much detail, I can definitely say that I prefer the Tau players, readers and bloggers. Maybe it's because we're smaller that we have to stick together? Maybe it's because we're forever thinking up ways to improve the basic Tau Battlesuit kit? Or perhaps it's simply because Space Wolves have always been one of the big armies and when everyone and his dog is doing a Space Wolves army, maybe a blog about them isn't so amazing.

Either way, thank you for all your support. You've made writing this blog a lot of fun and I can't wait for the day that a new Tau Empire Codex is released so that I can do it all over again.

Warhammer Tau Will Return!
You didn't think that was the end did you? Warhammer Tau will return when there's a new Tau Codex, which has been rumoured for 2011.

Judging by the current trend in Warhammer 40K army books and the funky Forgeworld rules, a lot of change is coming our way for the Tau Empire.

I for one expect more new weapons, lots more units, a stronger emphasis on Tau Battlesuit variants and both new Tau Battlesuit and Broadside Battlesuit plastic miniatures.

So until then, keep your ear to the ground for the new Tau Empire Codex and Warhammer Tau will be back to help lead the 4th Sphere Expansion.

Tau Colour Schemes

January 16, 2010 · 24 comments

Warhammer Tau will return, but first I need your help to pick a colour scheme for my Tau army.

I sadly sold my last Tau army because I simply couldn't paint it fast enough and alter my army to keep up with the constantly changing Warhammer 40K tournament game.

So, like my Space Wolves army, my Tau will need to be basecoated, washed and drybrushed. Painting painstakingly perfect highlights was far too time consuming. I don't think the orange stripes were a good idea either, but I really enjoyed painting those.

I've come up with 4 possible colour schemes.

There's a poll on the right for you to vote -->

I'll explain my thoughts behind each of the colour schemes and why I like them, what's good about them and what's potentially bad about them.


Tau Colourscheme 1: District 9
I think we were all blown away by the battlesuit in District 9. What was more amazing was that it had orange stripes, much like my first Tau army. The colour is a dark grey military blue. Interestingly enough, Tael from The Advanced Tau Tactica has painted a number of Tau Firewarriors in a very similar colour scheme.

If I wanted to paint this army, I'd need to find a suitable base colour, mix my own highlight (probably the basecoat + Bleached Bone) and drybrush it on, then paint the stripes and other details later.

Darker coloured armies tend to look better drybrushed and I probably wouldn't need a wash for the extra shading.

Tau Colourscheme 2: Wee Men
Ever since the Wee Men blog painted this Hellhound, I've been a keen follower. He's currently doing a big batch of tanks where he spray undercoats them red, covers part of them in masking tape and sprays the rest beige for a camo effect, then applies Army Painter Medium, a kind of glaze that's like coating a model in Devlan Mud wash apparently. Once dry, then them gives them a quick drybrush highlight, painted the details and done. For someone like me who wishes they could do all their tanks in one big batch, this is very appealing. I'd have to do the same for my Battlesuits and Firewarriors, but I'd spray them beige, use Army Painter on them, then paint the red and other details afterwards.

I like the colour scheme, but the only thing putting me off is my lack of experience with Army Painter. I'll also need to borrow my parents garage as there's nowhere to do this messy stuff in my flat.

Tau Colourscheme 3: Dirty Desert
Don't be fooled, this is actually a very carefully painted model. But, there's a less careful way to achieve the same effect and that's with spray cans and washes. Back in 2006, when I used to write FIREBASE magazine, I sprayed up a Star Wars imperial shuttle for a scenario, then painted certain panels Scorched Brown, then painted the other small details and it looked surprisingly a lot like this Forgeworld Battlesuit.

This was achieved using 3 spray cans from Halfords. A brown, a beige and a lighter beige (like Bleached Bone. The brown was the basecoat, then the beige and lighter beige colours were carefully 'dusted' on from a distance.

The army would be extremely quick to paint if I went for this approach. I'd just have to use some washes to bring out certain details, like gaps in armour plates. I'd also be in big trouble if I made any serious mistakes in painting the details as it would be impossible to mimic the rough sprayed effect with a paintbrush.

Tau Colourscheme 4: Classic Warhammer Tau
Alternatively, I stick with my original colourscheme. The biggest problem with this is that painting the highlights carefully by hand took far too long. The other problem is that before the highlights the models looked very muddy due to my choice of colours. So naturally, I'm concerned that drybrushing won't pick out the details and make the paint scheme look very muddy indeed.

I think that this scheme is out of the question unless I paint everything neatly by hand, which caused problems as it took far, far too long. The long orange stripes really made the scheme work and these were incredibly time consuming to paint as well.

The Tyranid List to Beat

January 12, 2010 · 9 comments

The standard Tyranid tournament list has emerged!

The Tyranid Codex has only been publicly available for a few days and the final cut is quite different to the Tyranid rumours.

However, the army is still every bit as dangerous as many of us imagined, combining a sea of tiny creatures with terrifying monstrous creatures that aren't just a threat in themselves, but augment the abilities of the lesser creatures.

After complaining for a good half hour that the new Tyranid Codex was "a bit beige", here's the 1500 points army list that my friend and sometimes mentor (or tormentor) Neil Kerr came up with.

HQ
Alpha Warrior: Scything Talons, Boneswords, Toxin Sacs - 100
Alpha Warrior: Scything Talons, Boneswords, Toxin Sacs - 100

Elite
3 Hive Guard - 150

Troops
18 Termaguants - 90
18 Termaguants - 90

Tervigon: Adrenal Glands, Toxin Sacs, Catalyst - 195
Tervigon: Adrenal Glands, Toxin Sacs, Catalyst - 195

Heavy Support
Trygon Prime - 250
Mawloc - 165
Mawloc - 165

THOUGHTS

Neil's biggest concern for the new Tyranid army is the plethora of melta guns and other high strength, low AP weaponry that's abundant in 5th edition Warhammer 40K.

But, as the Tau seem to have a limited number of these, favouring lots of S5 basic weapons shots instead, I think the Tau might have a seriously problem, especially if all 3 of the burrowing monstrous creatures arrive on the same turn.

In fact, it's these three monstrosities which are going to cause the biggest threat until the Tervigons are taken are of.

The problem I see with this army is the Hormagaunts with Feel No Pain, the Tervigons with 6 wounds and all the burrowing monstrous creatures with 6 wounds each. Combined with a Toughness of 6 and a 3+ save, it's going to take all the firepower from my entire Tau army to bring one of those down in a single turn. Unfortunately, with 6 Turns in the game and presuming I don't take any casualties, claiming objectives will be out of the question.

I could be all arrogant and say "Ha! My Space Wolves will tear those foul xenos assunder", but this is my Tau blog and if the Tau can fight off Hive Fleet Gorgon in the new Tyranid Codex in a long campaign of biological evolution VS technical adaptation, then why can't they do so on the tabletop.

The Hive Fleet Gorgon campaign in the Tyranid Codex is well worth a read for any Tau player by the way.

So without melta guns and powerfists galore, what can the Tau do to put down this new threat? I keep finding myself looking at the more aggressive Tau armies people were fielding at the Grand Tournament in October, because it had more melta guns, plasma guns, railguns and markerlights, but only 2 Troops.

It's a tough time for the Tau and other armies in 5th edition who are still waiting for their Codex.

But anyone who's looked at Tyranid Codex will noticed some interesting new Tau Battlesuits illustrated fighting a Tyranid swarm.

The Tau Firewarriors also have two shoulder pads and the Tau domed buildings are far more organic looking in a similar style to Adrian Smith's illustration of Space Wolves battling the Tau.

Interesting...

Need More Plasma

January 2, 2010 · 23 comments

Happy New Year from Warhammer Tau! If there's one resolution any Tau army should make, it's for more plasma and more railguns too.

Since the seeing a lot of aggressive Tau armies at the Grand Tournament and building my Space Wolves army, it's clear to see how the Tau are being left behind in 5th edition due to their plethora of basic S5 guns and apparent lack of plasma gun, melta gun and lascannon equivalents.

Missile pods are cool, but they're not going to be destroying any tanks in a hurry without a little bit of luck.

So as I ponder a return to the Tau ahead of schedule, my sights are set on fielding more Battlesuits than before and more Broadsides too.

In particular, I will be arming my Broadsides with the Advanced Stabilisation System and twin linked plasma rifles.

Why the sudden move towards plasma?
Because I'm sick of outflanking space marines, deepstriking terminators and other nasty targets with a high armour save jumping straight down my throat.

Let's see how they cope with a unit of 3 Broadsides putting out 6 twin linked plasma shots followed by a charge!

I'm also going to give the plasma rifle/fusion blaster combo a try on 2 Battlesuit Command Teams as well. If supported by Pathfinders in a Devilfish, their Deepstrike should be safer...

Here's a rough army list:

plasma rifle/fusion blaster Battlesuits
plasma rifle/missile pod Battlesuits
twin linked missile pod, single flamer Battlesuits
firewarriors
kroot
pathfinders + devilfish
Broadsides
Broadsides

Thoughts
Overall, this provides better anti-tank and harder hitting units. The loss of massed basic weapons fire isn't going to have too much of an impact, because it never seemed to actually kill much anyway due to the poor AP.

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About Warhammer Tau

Warhammer Tau is a group of wargamers who feel that they have a little something different to offer other Tau Empire, Kroot, and allied players... even if it's just a starting point for discussion! Our goal is to produce at least one article per week to inform and encourage the Tau and Warhammer gamer community. For the Greater Good, of course!


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