Questions? Comments?

Email me at, and I'll see what I can do.

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Leading the Charge! (Crisis Commanders and the Positional Relay)

The Crisis Commander is a rather broad subject. He can be run in a variety of ways, forming a lynchpin or a spearhead for your army. With access to all of the equipment a Crisis Suit can don he can fill almost any role given to him.
Today I'll be focusing on Commanders with the Positional Relay; a game changing device that can manipulate your reserves and thus give you unprecedented control of the battlefield. Flip open your codices and take a look at the Positional Relay and its abilities. It allows you to call in a single unit on a 2+ from reserves, denying all other reserved units from coming in that turn. This helps you in two ways:
1. You will (almost always) get the right man for the job at the right time. Whether it be a unit of outflanking kroot, a piranha squadron to wall off the opposition or bust a tank, railguns (either of the Hammerhead or AdvSS Broadside variety) marching in on the other flank to hit side armor, or deepstriking suits, you are almost assured that the unit will arrive right when needed.
2. On the exact opposite end of the spectrum, the Positional Relay can keep your reserves off the table. This is useful for players who use minimal troop choices; your valuable scoring units are kept off the board until late game when they sit on an objective. You can also keep your entire army off the board (save the Positinal Relay user) to lower the sting of drop pop or daemonic assault armies; half the army drops on a cheap unit in a corner, allowing you to outmaneuver him when your reserves come on elsewhere. This tactic is called Ninja Tau, and while useful sometimes, is prone to random fluctuations based on the insanity of reserves, and a good opponent's ability to pick you of piecemeal as you send in bait units turn by turn.
An example of a Positional Relay army would have powerful Heavy support options on a flank with a Crisis Team with Positional Relay. They would draw opponent's units across the diagonal towards a faux firebase, as they take heavy fire. Second and third tur reserves would slow or bother the units trying to reach your firebase, forcing the commitment of more resources. Your reserved Troops and a support unit or two come on the side they abandoned, landing on softened or deserted objectives late game, in a similar way to Fritz's (PLEASE look him up if you haven't ever heard of him) Eldar Jetbike Contesting/Capturing.
The great part about this is that if your opponent sits on the side of the board with the objectives and ignores your firebase, he is looking at massive Rail, Missile, and ranged Plasma fire hitting him as he hunkers down, which does not bode well; Tau are second only to the Imperial Guard at removing entrenched units from a range.
Those are the basics of Positional Relay tricks. Next up is the Commander's Bodyguard; a look at if they should be taken, and how to equip them.

Monday, April 5, 2010

The Few, The Proud... The Elites PT4 (Crisis Teams: The Ta'ro'cha)

The Ta'ro'cha is loosely translated from Tau language as "three minds, one purpose" from the Tau language. One would be wise to keep this in mind when setting up their unit; the Team will do well if their purpose (and weapons) are one.

Ta'ro'cha teams are the greatest amount of special/heavy firepower that can be achieved in a single unit for our army. They are similar to Duo teams in that taking long range builds is an effective use of points, and very far from Monats in the sense that a suicide drop with them will be costly (though still acceptable with the dirt-cheap Heatwaves).

The biggest change is their notoriety; experienced enemies will know to target unprotected Ta'ro'cha teams early on, as each death will cause a massive loss of firepower. Thus the major change over duos is not how you use the team offensively; but how you keep it alive.

Drone support. I am a firm believer in Drone Support. For a very small amount, you can add more wounds to your unit, and in the case of Shield Drones, a useful invulnerable save. Marker Drones are an expensive way to do this (with a few added boons), but I'd recommend against it in most cases, as it makes your unit a bigger target. Unless of course you want to make the unit a target, in which case go ahead.

Wound allocation. I spoke of this in the section on Duos, but a Ta'ro'cha team needs the allocation far more; while Duos gain an extra wound of preserved firepower, the Ta'ro'cha gains two (not counting ablative Drones). The way to gain difference in the models varies, however, and may mess with coherent firepower. For example, take a Deathrain squad as follows:

Shas'ui Team Leader w/ TL-MP, Flamer; Shas'ui w/ TL-MP, Flamer; Shas'ui w/ TL-Flamer, MP -142

This squad is fully different, meaning that it can take full use of wound allocation rules to its advantage. The is little firepower compromise either; one suit has lost its twin-linking on its main gun, but has gained a twin-linked flamer for its secondary role of burning away infantry. If I wanted to solidify the unit's role as Missile dakka, I could have given said Shas'ui his Twin-linked Missile and a Black Sun Filter, thus keeping the unit "different". If Drones wish to be added to the unit, than I simply give the Team Leader a Hard-wired Drone Controller.

This effect is more difficult to achieve with suits that use multitrackers, however. Take the standard unit of Firestorm Suits, for example:

Shas'ui Team Leader w/ BC, MP, MT; Shas'ui w/ BC, MP, MT; Shas'ui w/ BC, MP, MT -155

The general idea of using Burst Cannons and Missile Pods in unison cannot be kept here. We will either have to change a weapon (see example 1) or Twin-link a weapon and drop the other entirely (example 2):

1. ...; Shas'ui w/ PR, MP, MT (Adding in a Fireknife as opposed to a Firestorm allows you to keep full wound allocation but loses a Burst Cannon.)

2. ...; Shas'ui w/ TL-MP, BSF (Using this suit moves the purpose of the unit to be more Missile Centric. Giving the Shas'ui a TL-BC would do the opposite.)

Cover Saves. Even with Drones, Crisis Suits can take heavy casualties from low AP weapons (which good players will almost always direct at your suits). There are two effective ways I have seen for generating cover saves besides the simple JSJ tactics. I cannot take credit for either however.

The first tactic is the use of Piranhas moving fast or Kroot walls to get cover saves. To use te latter, place 50% of your Kroot in area terrain and form a line with the other half. Jump your suits over this line to shoot and then back again. Enemies returning fire are shooting through a unit, thus granting you saves. Shooting the Kroot allows you to take saves with them (or go to ground), but the Kroot are expendable in this tactic generally. With the former, you move the Piranhas fast near the suits (the Piranhas get saves) and then using the Piranhas as mobile terrain and moving behind them. This tactic is based heavily on Fritz's tactics using Guardian Jetbikes and Vypers to generate coversaves. For those of you who no little of Fritz and hisvarious 40k blogs, I suggest visiting his youtube page as a start. Sifting through the older tactics videos will give you a look at his unorthodox but effective playstyles. Check out:

The second tactic is also someone else's. It is called Circling the Wagon, and is the brainchild of one of the only two other active Tau blogs of found on the net. You use a Devilfish or other battletank as a moving chunk of cover. For mutual support, Crisis Suits with flamers are a good reason for assaulters to stay clear of your vehicles. You can check out Tau of War's youtube page here:

Next up on my list of posts will be looking into Crisis Commander tricks and the Positional Relay.
MMORPG Games - MMORPG List - Video Game Music