Monday, July 30, 2012

Tau with Space Marine Allies

As you know, the author is a big fan of the Tau and I have been playing them for as long as I have played 40K.  So you can imagine my excitement when I got to see the impact of having Space Marine and Eldar Battle Buddies in my force.

As a Tau player, the kroot have been, literally, the only melee presence in the force.  Of all the races, we are the only one that lacks a legitimate way to combat other armies in hand to hand.  Now this was fine as it pretty well stuck to the fluff.  On occassion the Kroot would rise to the occasion and on some even more rare occasions against Orcs, necrons, Tau and other very low INIT units, they would actually shine.  Their mobility was of primary value over theie melee ability, but at least it was something.

The inability to charge from reserves, while it helped the Tau, also harmed their ONLY melee threat.  It made what was a borderline unit that you always felt you needed for stunning and shaking backfield artillery to death or jumping 5 man LongFang units, to a nearly indefensible unit to take.  At 140 points, you can have a unit that can hit and kill 1 2/3 Marines per round in shooting, 3 1/3 at short (and therefore deadly) range in the best of cases when shooting.  By comparison Fire Warrior Squad can kill the same, have better armor, better range and of course, they can use Markerlights, turning them into a far deadlier unit.  In melee, 12 Fire Warriors on the charge against marines if lucky enough to lose 3 before they swing, can kill 1 Marine.  They only lose by 2.  Not terrible if you're trying to hold the line and want a chance at stopping them from advancing on their turn and with Either an Ethereal or Shadowsun around, or perhaps the right Warlord Trait, it can even be a decent gambit, given worse would have happened if they multicharged YOU and rampaged across the line.

So Kroot are just out.

Which brings us back to allies. Tau are the race that allies make the most sense for for all th obvious fluff reasons.  In Chapter Approved, they had access to Imperial Guardsman as FireWarrior like squads with lasguns.  I even had some modeled but never used them.  And that feature is now back for the Tau.  But more significantly, The Tau have the Space Marines and the Eldar as battle Buddies and this is going to change the Tau Empire forever.

My first experiment was with Darnath Lysander.  I liked this guy because I could model him as a Broadside battlesuit with the Lysander StormShield plastered to the Broadsides arm, a Space marine head glaring from atop it.  Such a simple conversion and in keeping with the Tau theme.

My next idea was to take the extra (newer version) stealth suits which I really don't use (I like the older model better), put Space Marine shoulder pads and bolter arms coming from them and call them Space marine converts.  They look sufficiently unlike my normal Stealth suits to be clearly bigger and distinguishable to my opponents eyes.

Lastly  I decided to put five Tactical Terminators in the list with an Assault Cannon.  Still working on what I can do to convert that.

This combination took on a Dante-led Sanguinary guard type army, and tabled it in its first foray.

Tau firepower coupled with just those three units was amazing.  Two hammers the likes of which Tau have never known, coupled with their fairpower and a unit for close defense to keep the line firing was nothing short of fantastic.  it is a combination I intend to try again, possibly with Marneus Calgar next time.

Tau with allies are going to be a force in the galaxy and as the other races come to heel behind their banner, each according to his strengths adding to the greater whole, it may not be long before the imperium of man is liberated from its slavery and dark age.

What combinations would you like to see in a Tau force?


  1. i really like the idea of tau with terminator squads. I was just thinking about it and googled tau with space marine allies and this popped up. will have to try it

  2. Yes, do that, and follow the blog if you like it.

    I personally have gotten a ton of mileage from the combination. A lack of practice is the only issue for me, but the new Tau codex is on its way. I have a feeling that it will have no better answers in it for Tau in the melee department than before and that is just fine by me. But it does mean that Terminators will likely feature prominently in my Tau force in the new codex as well. The RipTide suit looks like a nominally "ok" combatant in close combat but nothing to write home about. I certainly won't pin my Close Combat hopes on that!


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