Well this morning I read Cullers excellent ork tactica and that gave me the jolt of inspiration to try and write my very own tau tactica I hope this is useful and any heretics that would like to add something. Please feel free.
Their are some excellent articles already on heresy and I will be posting links to them. To the writers of those articles. Thank you those articles were invaluable in helping me build my own tactics.
This is my first tactica so i apologise if it of poor quality. Hope it helps
This is the first section that goes up to the elites more too follow
For the greater good
Warriors of the tau empire. It is your duty to fight in order to illuminate the galaxy to the glories of the greater good. Noble commanders, ready your troops. We attack at dawn
After a suitably cheesy start. There are 3 types of tau army. Mech tau, static tau and crisis heavy.
In mech tau you substitute a smaller degree of your fire power for a greater amount of mobility. This allows you to combat the well known fact that tau are terrible in close combat. You see them coming and run away. It also allows you to make hit and run attacks using the fish of fury tactic.
Main components: Devilfish, Fire Warriors, Hammerheads, Crisis suits, Piranha skimmers
In static tau you rely on the fact that the tau have some of the best weaponry in the game. Therefore you create a static firing line, preferably in cover and try and kill them before they reach your lines. This tactic can be devastating however it is rather risky. If your opponent reaches your lines then you are in serious trouble.
Main Components: Fire warriors, Broadsides
The 3rd tactic is crisis heavy. This is in truth a version of static tau however with the increased number of suit heavy lists I felt it deserved a section on its own. In this list you form your static firing line and the send your crisis suits out to attack the enemy. They use their mobility to get into rapid fire range before fleeing back into cover out of assault range.
Main Components; Crisis suits, Fire warriors, Broadsides
Not used very much. Primarily he is toughness three and so will be easily killed by instant death causing the whole tau army to take a morale check. Though the army gains the preferred enemy special rule (if he dies) which is useful their is always a chance your fire warriors will run off the board which is not.
He cannot shoot and his primary use is close combat. The prerogative of the tau is to avoid CC at all costs and so the ethereal ends up becoming a spectator for most of the battle. He allows tau units to re roll morale checks which is always useful and his honour guard of bs4 fire warriors is a boon. However in general his points cost outweighs his use.
Verdict: Leave him at home
Commander, Bodyguards and Crisis suits also known as XV8's
Each of the above suits are variations of the XV8 suit.
The most basic suit is the shas'ui. He has 3 hardpoints for weaponry and support systems.
Shasv're (team leaders and the commanders bodyguards) also have 3 hardpoints but may take additional wargear and special issue systems. He has weapon skill 3 instead of 2 and costs 10 extra points.
The commander comes in two forms Shas'el and shas'o and they have varied stats and points cost. They are a 1+ unit in your army (you have to take one) and have 3 hardpoints but may take additional wargear and special issue systems.
XV8's- the suit as a whole
XV8's are the most versatile unit in the game. They can be configured to kill troops mEQ and tanks if needed. They have two wounds and though not immune to instant death (beware strength 8 weaponry) which can be a pain they have a rule that means you can guarantee your suits a cover save.
Crisis suits have the jetpack special rule. Though we can only move 6 inches in the movement phase. We can move 6 inches in the assault phase regardless of whether we assault. Also crisis suits can move and still shoot rapid fire weapons as if they had remained stationary.
This is excellent news. It means we can jump into rapid fire range of a group of marines and then jump back into cover and out of assault range. This tactic better known as "Jump Shoot Jump' is exceedingly annoying for opponents and a great advantage for us.
One thing to remember tau players is that even though we have a 3+ save we are not invulnerable against bolter fire. 12 bolter shots will hurt your precious suits so if possible use your Jump back move to stay out of 24 inch range. Pepper your opponent with wounding shots annoy him and force him to come after you. Then when he is exposed move in for the kill.
Also remember,these boys are not as bad in close combat as we think. At strength 5 and toughness 4 with 3 attacks on the charge they are not to be sniffed at. The problem power weapons. A guard captain with a power weapon will slice your shiny suits apart however sometimes it is worth using your suits as sacrificial protection.
I have placed a unit in combat with a daemon prince on turn 4 to protect my failing fire warriors that valiantly held an objective and they lived to tell the tale. Not advised but in dire situations can be worth the risk.
Finally deepstriking suits can be effective. Their is always a risk that you may mishap however the capacity is their and can be devastating. Acute senses is also useful in night fighting scenarios.
An evaluation of the weaponry
Airbusting fragmentation projector: Ap5 large blast ignores cover saves. Brilliant horde killer. Give it to your bs 5 commander (reduces scatter)and watch those guard units sitting safe in a bunker or cowering on the ground fall like flies. Quite pricey but I personally think its better value that a plasma rifle.
I always take one. Pair it with the cyclic ion blaster and watch guardsman fall like flies.
Burst cannon: Great anti infantry. 3 ap5 shots is nothing to be sniffed at. I personally like to see this paired with a missile pod. They are very compatible as they attack similar targets.
When the burst cannon and missile pod are in range beware light infantry.
Cyclic Ion blaster: A lovely piece of special issue weaponry. 5 ap4 shots speaks for itself. Pair it with the AFP as mentioned above and it is an unparalleled anti infantry killer.
Flamer: Speaks for itself. The major problem is the short range. If you dont kill the unit with the flamers prepare to be charged or rapid fired next turn. Very cheap and when twin linked (re roll wounds) are very deadly.
Personally I dont take them however I saw a unit of twin linked flamers and gun drones cause some serious havoc in a marine squad.
It depends however i fell its like condemning 25 points to death however against the right opponent they are exceedingly deadly
Fusion blaster: The melta reincarnate. Great anti tank and the twin fusion targetting array suit is a great tank hunter. At ap1 it can be very useful in killing marines however its problems are the short range. If you fail by some cruel twist of fate to kill the tank you will be suffering from a severe case of deadus next turn.
It is often paired with the missile pod and the plasma rifle however I advise against this. One the ranges are not compatible and you will find your fusion blaster out of range for the majority of the game. Therefore if used I advise twin linking and targeting array. Guarantee the hit and the kills will come
Preferred by many as the cheaper mobile alternative to the broadside it is down to personal preference
Missile Pod: The most versatile weapon in the tau armoury. Can kill light armour, devastate hordes and even knock down a marine. Fantastic range and it is regualrly pared with the plasma rifle in the popular fire knife combination. I would advise the missile pod to anyone however it works best when paired with another weapon. Twin linked missile pods are not advised.
Plasma Rifle: Expensive but deadly. Great marine killer and brilliant when paired with the missile pod. Not regularly used but one of my favourite configurations is the twin linked plasma targeting array. It is so useful against deepstriking terminators. It gives you that security. You can say to yourself those guys are definitely dead and the suits deliver. great that ignores FNP as well. Its downside is low amount of shots but you cant have everything.
Best in the fireknife but a deadly weapon against MEQ.
A few things to bear in mind about weaponry
Range is all important. To put a flamer with a missile pod would be rather silly. The missile pod works at a distance whilst the flamer needs to be close to the enemy. I would always try use weaponry whose max ranges are similar. The exception is the burst cannon missile pod whose compatability I discovered through use.
For example the fusion blaster plasma rifle combination is often suggested. Now I personally use my plasma rifles at 19 inches jumping back to be out of bolter range. Then when the enemy i jump in to 12 inch range. Now whilst you are at 19 inches the fusion blaster is out of range. Hence it is useless until you reach rapid fire range. Hence the compatability of the two are low and it is better to take a missile pod plasma rifle combination.
I would advise taking two weapons on any battle suit. In some cases it is worth twin linking and giving a targetting array to give those guaranteed hits.
An evaluation of the support systems
ASS: pointless dont even consider it except on broadsides
Blacksun filter: with the dawn of war set up it can be useful. Cheap and often ignored. Best when hardwired to use up those extra points.
Command and Control Node: never used it myself as I like to keep my crisis suits mobile. i want them to move towards the enemy not sitting their for morale checks. Not for me personally
Drone controller: Drones will be discussed later in a seperate section
Multitracker: The most amazing piece of wargear and cheap too. Allows us to fire two suit systems in one turn. All suit configurations involving two weapons assume the presence of a multi tracker. A must have
Positional relay: special issue. useful if you use infiltrators especially stealth suits but never used it.
Shield Generator: A difficult choice. A 4+ invun is nothing to be sniffed at but at 20 points its a bit expensive. Generally people prefer to use shield drones for protection. I usually leave this wargear at home but i have used it effectively against marines. Also if you are clever you should be able to guarantee a 4+ cover save for your suits using the jump back move. It's a personal preference choice but my advice is leave it at home.
Target Lock: Useful as it allows you to target a seperate unit. Personally I only take this on missile pod suits as it allows me to target a different light vehicle. Still a good cheap piece of wargear
Targetting array: I love this wargear. Lets me add 1 to my BS. Its great and quite cheap. I personally like my suits at a higher BS so its a must have for me.
Vectored retro thrusters: Special issue. Gives you the hit and run special rule. Could be useful if you take your commander without a bodyguard. Not for me personally but can see its uses.
The target lock, multi tracker, drone controller and blacksun filter can all be hard wired.
Bonding Knife: Allows the team to regroup when under half strength. I don't personally use this and rely on leadership 8 to take me through.
Ejection system: special issue. looks good. Not worth it. A pulse pistol will do very little damage and the opponent will easily claim the kill point.
Iridium armour: Special issue. Not useful for me . i like the guaranteed 6 inch jump back move and a 2+ save will not help that much. i prefer the guaranteed cover save especially with the increase in plasma cannons on the leman russ's.
Stimulant injector: Special issue. Anything that gives feel no pain is not to be sniffed at. Like the iridum armour it is personal preference.
A few tricks with suit configuration
The commander comes in two forms Shas'el and shas'o. The shas'o has bs5 and the shas'el bs4. A clever trick is that using a targetting array (boosts your bs by 1) you can boost your shas'el to bs5 and make a neat saving of 15 points.
The second trick is as you can hard-wire the multi tracker (allows you to shoot two weapon systems at the same time) and the target lock (allows you to shoot at separate units). Therefore you can take two weapons Targetting array multitracker and get a bs5 model that can lay down massive amounts of fire.
This trick can also be applied to the shas'vre body guards and the team leaders of crisis suits. Give them a targetting array and hardwire the multi tracker and you have some bs 4 models with two weapons.
Verdict: The backbone of the tau army in my opinion. versatile and mobile. a must have for me
Though crisis suit where discussed in the previous section they are an elite unit however it seemed convenient to group them
Have the Jet pack, deep strike and acute senses special rule. Thus the JSJ rule can be used accordingly. In addition the stealth suits have the infiltrate special rule. This is useful as it allows you to pop up next to a tank and blow it up with fusion blasters. Fusion blasters are a useful upgrade to the squad for a small points cost. The primary weapon is a burst cannon which is a solid if short range anti infantry killer.
The stealth armour has an integrated stealth field generator which makes the enemy test for sight as if the night fighting special rules was in place. This is not particularly useful as the maximum range of the burst cannon is 18 inches (24 with the jump back move) which makes the stealth field almost redundant.
The stealth suits also have a spare hardpoint in which a support system can be added. The only downside is if you take it on one, you have to fill the hardpoint on all
Blacksun filter: better hardwired
Drone controller: One tactic that is regularly used is to use the stealth suits as a marker light sink. By taking lots of marker drones on stealth suits they gain the relentless special rule and thus can move and shoot their heavy marker lights. Though this is useful their is one downside. The marker drones do not have a target lock and thus can only fire their markerlights at one unit. Thus the tactic is feasible I prefer a different approach.
Shield Generator: Too expensive
Target Lock: Useful if you include fusion blaster and desire to tank hunt
Targetting array: What I usually take
Verdict: Not for me however they most definitely have their uses whether as a markerlight sink or a tankhunter or a light infantry killer.
The Heresy of Tau: The Crisis Suit
by Underground Heretic
Tau Hammerhead Tactica
Forgeworld Tau Crisis suits
Tau tactics for 5th ed
Mathhammer Tactica (or Warhammer Probability 101)
Tactica 101:Thoughts on Appropriate and Reasonable Tactics for Every Situation