My Initial Thoughts on Mech Tau

May 13, 2013 ·

Hello! For my first post I'll be talking about the direction I chose to take my Tau cadre: Mech Tau.

When I was looking to get back into the 40k scene after I finished college, I did a little bit of research. I'm more of a hobbyist than a gamer and so I was looking for an army that wouldn't be too hard to paint, offered a challenge, and would be fun to convert. Tau.

I'd always thought they looked like fun, and a conversion addict like myself just couldn't resist those XV-8's. My friend had dabbled with the Tau back in the day so I hit him up for his old models. I sold off all of my Ultramarines and started in on buying my own force. But what did I want my force to look like? Then I found Warhammer Tau. Adam Smith's Army Lists and tournament Battle Reports won me over and I decided that I too would walk the path of the Mech Tau. True, Adam's experiences were a little out of date, but the concept was still there and it had style.
Just in case some people are not sure exactly what Mech Tau (Mechanized Tau) is; this site privides a great description. I sure do hope T0nkaTruckDriver decides to revive it and update it for 6th edition. The short definition from this site reads:

Mech Tau is a Hunter Cadre that can be dropped from a Manta.

The New Codex

I was in the process of putting my mechanized force together when the new Tau codex hit, and I was devastated. Only a very quick glance at the codex made it very apparent that Mech Tau as we knew it was taking a big hit. There are many pieces of the codex that contribute to the discouragement of Mech Tau but there are two that stand out most in my mind:
  • No Vehicle Multi-trackers
  • No decrease in Devilfish cost
These were not necessarily killer blows to Mech Tau, but they do send a message: "Tau aren't fast." An odd message, since our codex specifically describes Tau as a race that excels at mobile warfare, feints and powerful lightning attacks.

Our tanks can't move and shoot any faster than a Leman Russ. Our devilfishes aren't faster than any other transports. Our fliers aren't fast for fliers either. So where are we mobile while our opponents are not? There are a few small areas:
  • Our elite battlesuit units can deep strike and get a thrust move in the assault phase. It is not incredibly reliable, but it is something.
  • Markerlight hits can improve snapshots. It is a poor substitute for the Multi-tracker, but a Tau army with alot of markerlight support can boost the snapshots of a crusing hammerhead. The downside here is that we are paying more for markerlights instead of multitrackers and none of our markerlight sources are very survivable.
  • Our vehicles are all skimmers. If your board has impassible terrain on it, then our skimmers can fly over them, even if they don't fly over them very fast.
So we are ever so slightly more mobile than any other treadhead army. Not much, but I'll take it. Dark Eldar, Ravenwing and Eldar were all way faster anyways.

Now What?

It is apparent that our vehicles took a hit. Thankfully, Mech Tau also has alot to do with battlesuits. Not many armies have elite firing platforms that can keep up with their mobile cover vehicles at crusing speed. This is where Mech Tau will pick up the slack of its gimped vehicles.

Battlesuits are cheaper overall and can pack much more firepower. Riptides are one of the most powerful units in our codex and are already very popular for their AP2 Large Ordnance blasts wiping entire units off the board. Our gunships are also a bit cheaper, leaving more points to spend on battlesuits. I am currently working on a 2000 pt single primary detachment Mech List that has over a dozen crisis suits and at least 6 vehicles. Hopefully I can test it out in the next couple weeks.

In general, I am excited for the future of Mech Tau. The loss of multitrackers hurts, but it just opens up the opportunity to adapt. Some new changes like reasonable point costs, Longstrike, Skyrays and Ion blasts all make Mech Tau deadlier. The question is how much deadlier?
I will post more of my thoughts on Mech Tau as I get some games in, but those will not be anywhere near as often as I'd like.

Let me know what you think! Is anyone else planning on fielding pure mech forces? Any particular units they are excited to use?


TheGraveMind said...
May 13, 2013 at 7:35 PM  

Right before their new book, I faced against a mech heavy tau list. As a tyranid player it was very rough. It is a little sad the devil fish didn't drop in points, but I think he real loss really is the multi-tracker.

Anonymous said...
May 13, 2013 at 11:15 PM  

I play TAU still as a mech force. And yes the loss of a multitracker is something you need to handle with when you play. On the other side our disruption pod is better. The enemy want to be at short range and we can still claim a 4+ cover save with minimal moving. The result is less mobile when shooting but a increase in survivalbility. A devilfish got also more shots and twin-linked weapons so rolling a 6 for snap fire will increase.

Mech TAU is not dead and with support of battlesuits you will be a deadly force.

A lot of players think 6ED is notthing for vehicles cause you can glance things to dead. But I prefer losing a hullpoint with a glancing hit instead of the main weapon or being stunned.

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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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