Saturday, 22 January 2011

Don't be a Blackbird!

The internet is awash with fantastic Tau resources. I don't want to simply repeat what is already out there so please check out ATT and Adam's site at least.

Tau are very much seen as a lower tier army. They suck in CC. They have odd weapon options, their weapons generally are either too costly or have poor AP. Their transports are over priced by a fair margin, worse even than the Eldar ones.

So why are Tau an army that experienced players get attracted to? I mean you can bet that when someone in a tournament puts down Tau they've been playing a fair while. It's not just robot fan-boy syndrome, though frankly this doesn't hurt - despite being old the models are great in my opinion.

Primarily its because they do funky things.

From deep strike fake outs via 'ninja tau' to JSJ crazyness to Flechette Discharging vehicles and 2+ cover save Kroot Tau do crazy better than Britney. The problem people have here is what I call Blackbird syndrome.

Its nasty. I've seen it in Dark Eldar lists, Nid lists heck the world is riddled with Blackbird Blood Angels lists. See a blackbird likes shiny things, its a meme we all know and love from nursery rhymes. Blackbird lists gravitate toward these elements irrationally.

What do I mean here? Well here is a perfectly irrational choice I see a lot. BA Sgt's with Power Fists. See conventional wisdom says a Fist is good but sadly since your squad has Krak grenades and the potential to get to magic initiative of 5 what does your Fist do for its ten extra points than that nice simple blue sword is? Sure monstrous creatures and doubling out characters. How often does that come up for you?

In lists without a 3+ you have to think all these things through because the advantage you have is in points. Yesterday when I talked about how over priced power armor is what I didn't voice out loud is that these wasted points are a weakness in those armies waiting to be exploited.

Heres another example, this time Tau. D-Pods on Piranha's. I mean its sacrosanct to take a D-Pod right? Sure I agree 5 points for a cover save at 12"+ is possibly the best item of vehicle wargear ever.

My Piranha's are in two board positions. Right after deployment they're vulnerable and greater than 12" away. Fantastic time for your D-Pod. Well I personally think people won't shoot them much but if your worried why not park at least half of your unit behind terrain, or tougher vehicles, like everyone else's army has to.

Later on the game they're up field providing a cover save to things behind and blocking advances your opponent is making towards CC, as well as shooting stuff. At this point your D-Pod would be fairly useless.

So don't be a blackbird! Make sure you have a plan for your units, buy items and models that suit the plan and most importantly make sure you do the funky things that only your army can do. What 3+ armies have going for them is they're generic efficiency - they play very well by the rules. So if your not interdicting that your not playing right.

Later today I'm going to introduce the iconic unit of Tau. The XV8 Crisis suit. I want to talk about my fave two configurations a bit and also there will be photos of my units.


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