The Best of Warhammer Tau's First Year

January 31, 2010 ·

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.


levi said...
February 7, 2010 at 5:40 AM  

Sorry to hear that the pause is now official. I've learned many things about the Tau here and I wait for your blog to return. 2011 You say? Maybe even BS4 for a shooty army? I can't wait! :D

Old Shatter Hands said...
February 7, 2010 at 8:42 AM  

2011? I don't know if I can wait that long! I'm also on a side project right now, finishing off work on my Blood Angels army and gearing up to paint a massive Warriors of Chaos army for fantasy. Both of these will likely end up on eBay after a few games. The one army I will never give up is the Tau Empire.

I think when it comes blogging about Tau vs Space Wolves, on the one hand you have an army that is pretty straight forward, shoot assault, fight, fire off psychic powers, rinse repeat. On the other hand you have an army that looks like a gunline army but can't be played effectively like that so people search the internet for help. Tau are just not as clear to play. Plus the codex is plain complicated.

One thing is true, I think there is more camaraderie among tau players because they aren't one of the big armies as you mentioned.

I love reading the space wolves blog and I looking forward to battle reports when you guys have got your armies painted.

Anonymous said...
February 7, 2010 at 8:26 PM  

The best of luck until then... it's too bad, with the right combination of things, the Tau can still be very competitive up to a regional level, imho. Anyway, thanks for the good reads!

Adam said...
February 7, 2010 at 11:08 PM  

That's good OSH, because I played two games yesterday :)

david_padwick said...
March 11, 2010 at 1:58 AM  

It's a shame that you feel you can't play your tau using the current codex anymore.

Whilst I am not a tau player (I used to be before my break from
40K a few years back - now I play eldar) but I think that used well they can be a formidable foe.

5th edition seems centered largely around transports and use of cover. Who else has wargear that can strip away enemy cover saves before nailing them with high strength long range weaponry (railguns, missile pods against av12 or below)?

I would personally enjoy the challenge of trying to cope with one of the older or 'worse' codexes against the newer ones until they are updated, but then I only play 40K with friends and not in tournaments like your good self.

Anyway, after all that, may the new Tau codex speed its way to us so that we can see a revival to this excellent blog!

Carson said...
February 28, 2011 at 6:00 PM  

You know, your blog has really helped me understand how my newbie Tau army needs to be played in order to win, along with have fun! I was wondering what you thought a good 700 point (Odd number? There are only a few close knit people i play with, and we buy products at the same time to keep it even) army would look like, as i like the way you use your Tau and would like a similar army. Sorry about asking this in a comment, but your email isn't on the page :D

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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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