Goatboy here again and I've learned a lot this weekend about where 40K really is right now.
I'm just coming down from having playing at the Alamo 40k GT in San Antonio, TX. It is a fun event, with a cheap bar in the same hall run by Mr. Jonathan Bailey. I ended up coming in 2nd place for the overall out of a field of about 70 players. Not to bad after getting my butt kicked by some fishheads. Lucky for me I only played them once and was able to come in second heh. Still I learned a lot from the game and will be testing out lists to deal with the next annoying competitive army to hit the table top.
First things - Tau shoot a lot. I know this is pretty obvious but they will be peppering you with bullets all day long. It makes it extremely difficult to survive 2 rounds of fire. Yup no matter how fast you move you will get shot at least 2 times. Most of the time it is 3 times but just know that you will always get two rounds of shooting at you. This is pretty nuts as with that amount of shooting coming at you, don't expect much of your army to get into assault. This amount of firepower is pretty intense and the only other army that resembles this sheer shooting mass would be IG. Which Tau have some advantages over.
Besides the shooting phase the Tau also have some of the best utility IC's in the game. In fact - if you are not taking an Ethereal + Super Commander then you might be doing something wrong. These guys give so much to your army. You have the ability to control your Warlord trait, be extremely effective in the shooting phase, and keep your guys from running away. The other nutty thing is that if they die, it still doesn't make you crappier - it just makes you a little bit more fair hah.
It is interesting in that looking at the new book you see they really didn't change that much. Yes they added some bells and whistles but the big thing is they fixed some point costs, changed up a few options, and just brought them in line with the shooting phase they needed to have. It isn't the end of the world but it is still going to make you rethink your army build if you want to survive the shooting phase vs the blue upstarts.
Speaking of shooting, the Tau Smart Missile System is the death of throw away scoring units. They are twin-linked, ignores cover, and great at killing cultists units. Zombies at least have a save but these guys are just going to shoot you all day every day. If you are not playing a few of these on some Devilfish then you need to rethink your army.
Against the Fishmen
Now this army is still not an auto win. I think the Necrons are still the strongest book out there right now but this will definitely (hooray bad spelling and auto correct!!!) be a kick in the teeth for most fun game nights. Tau players will still forget to move as the army itself is pretty static (thus the need of Devil Fish) and that will end up "losing" them games as it ends on 5 and they are left stuck behind Aegis lines or hiding up in the Sky Shield.
The army suffers from the Alpha strike as well. Most Tau on Tau match ups will be extremely dependent on who gets the first crippling blows as Hammer Heads rain down and the Marker Lights cover you in disco. The massed Slaanesh Daemon rush or Khorne-Dog bomb might have a chance as well due to how you set up your assaults to avoid the ultimate Tau Triangle of Overwatching doom. I think a terrain heavy table mixed with Barrage is also a pain in the butt for the Tau (so stock up on Manticores).
Psychic powers are also extremely difficult for Tau to get around. A few Iron Arms mixed with Telepathy bombs could spell trouble for the army. It really comes down to the first few turns as whoever is playing the Tau list will just have to survive and hope to strike back in a crippling attack. The use of Blacksun filters is also frustrating as Night Fight would be a big help for an opponent but the fishmen have bit of power with their awesome night time sunglasses.
The New Meta?
Is this the end of the Assault phase? It kind of is. I know a lot of people think Assault is dead but it still wins games for myself and others. This army just has enough throw away units that anything punchy gets in, falls into the trap, and gets shot as it punts that unit of crap away. It will make me rethink some strategies for lists and hope that all the Tau players kill themselves in the first few rounds.
What are your thoughts on the new Tau? Do you find them annoying to play against? The winner of the Event was a Tau player and he was bored throughout most of the games as he thought it wasn't really that fair. I think it is lucky the army is expensive as we would have another few months of Grey Tau hitting the table tops.
All I know is if I was playing a Tau army it would have to be Farsight bomb as that is the only way I think I will have fun with it. I would probably use 3 Riptides and have an Angry Tau paint scheme. Look for some yellow random Tau coming soon in a few weeks (maybe during WargamesCon).
For the Great Goat! How are the Tau shaking up your local meta?