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Saturday, May 15, 2010

Holding Ground! Troops, Part 1 (Kroot, the Creeping Menace)

Kroot are an odd unit for Tau. Statwise, they seem to be geared for assault, but point for point they are better at shooting than Tau. Unlike the rest of our technologically advanced army, they are unarmored, and use simple weapons. In fluff, they form the role of scouts and shock troops, doing everything from tearing apart advanced Marines, and Eldar to holding off swarms of Hormaguants.
But how to use them in game?

The problem with Kroot is that they are absolutely bad statwise, not making up their points in either shooting or combat against anything else in the game. Kroot can hold their own against guard and smaller squads of Nids, but they fail to hurt anything that is really dedicated to combat, and they are a flamer or blast away from extinction.
Kroot also do not work well in a combatant role in small numbers. A squad of 10 will get knocked out of the game too fast for you to even realize you wasted 70 points. A full horde of 20 Kroot can give some punch, but the combat resolution rules still don't favor our unarmored, uninspired brethren to take out combat specialists. The size increase does help against shooting, however, increasing the amount your opponent has to down before you have to take a moral test; an annoyance for the opponent if you hide them in cover.

Kroot have two buddies that can be brought along with them for the purpose of boosting their abilities in one way or another. The first buddy is the Krootox, sporting the Rapidfire equivalent of a Missile Pod. I would suggest never taking Krootox in your whole life ever as it takes away your Kroot's ability to Infiltrate, drastically reducing their effectiveness (see below). The Krootox is made to increase the effectiveness of "sit and shoot" Kroot. I have never such a monstrosity work, and do not plan to.

The second buddy for Kroot is Kroot Hounds (puppies!). Kroot Puppies cost a point less than the common Kroot, put out equal attacks, with equal Strength, Toughness, Weapon Skill, etc. but with I5! The downside? Kroot Puppies have no guns, as puppies with guns would be to awesome even for 40k to contain. The Puppies also do not benefit from fieldcraft, as they break cover to chase grenades.
Kroot Puppies are very effective for Kroot, as they bring in two boosts via their I5:
1. Sick of your Kroot getting killed before attacking? Take wounds on the Kroot Puppies, who have probably already attacked, to keep your units that have yet to swing alive. This is useful if you want your Kroot to actually have a chance to kill the enemy on the charge.
2. Are your Kroot forming a wall of expendability against a charging foe they cannot hope to defeat? Save the Puppies! If, at the end of combat, you have more Puppies than Kroot, you flee (or sweep) at I5 as opposed to I3. This can keep your Kroot from being run down, allowing them to get away without dying miserably.

Shapers are another upgrade Kroot can grab at. Costing as much as 4 Kroot, a Shaper benefits from getting a free T-Shirt saying "I Love Angkor Prok", which gives him a 6+ save, and has brought a box of spares that he is happy to sell to any Kroot for 1 point. He is slightly less challenged than normal Kroot, bearing a leadership of 8. He has figured out the contraptions of Tau weaponry, allowing him to use a Pulse weapon for free, though that takes away from his total amount of attacks in CC, making it a poor option. Sadly, he does not hold his points weight in neither shooting or CC compared to 4 of his kind and thus is used by Tau players very rarely.

How does one use Kroot to get good effect out of their weak, armor-less hides? The true advantages to Kroot are four-fold, and come from outside their statline.
1. Kroot are Troops. This means Kroot can score objectives, a modern marvel as it was once thought they would simply eat them. A tactic known as pillboxing has evolved from this, and it is the simplest form of objective scoring you will ever see. Place an objective in cover, preferably woods, and sit a massive blob of Kroot on it, who continually go to ground when fired upon. It will annoy anyone who has not brought effective cover-ignoring weapons to know end, as they bring hundreds of fifties of pounds of ordnance down on a difficult to extricate horde. This leaves your opponent's with an irksome choice; dedicate firepower to the 100 or so points of Kroot hiding away, or hit your actual firepower.
2. Kroot hordes take up space. This can be used to make a very annoying wall, circle, etc. that can screw with your opponent's ability to maneuver. In DoW games, you can place your Kroot far forward if you get first deployment, limiting the area your opponent can deploy into. You can form large blocks around vehicles to dissuade deepstriking melta from landing too close. You can circle up around your Broadsides to protect them from quick assaults. They can provide a wall of cover to your Crisis Suits, allowing them to jump behind it after firing freely.
3. Kroot make great outflankers. A 20 or so man squad (with Puppies!) can threaten the flanks very well, tarring up units in assault or killing weakened enemies. If no targets are available, they can come in on a cornered objective and score. Your success with this strategy will vary, but back in the day when I used outflanking Kroot as part of Ninja Tau and Ethereal Tau (I know; ew) they ranked up: 2 Rhinos (1 full of TacMarines that couldn't disembark), a Daemon Prince with 3 wounds, 2 Basilisks, and some Scouts. It can be rather effective.
4. Kroot can INFILTRATE. This is a big deal. You can set up to push back enemy Infiltrators, or stop a first turn rush, or any such nonsense. You can get yourself into shooting range or threaten infantry targets. It is a very reactive ability that can help to remove alpha-strike threats from a less tactical opponent. That being said, I prefer to use Stealth Suits for this role, as their guns have more of a punch, but Kroot are cheap and effective at this.

Tau players, how do you use Kroot? Do you see them as useful or useless?

One last thing; Kroot can win you the game automatically against an all-reserved all-bike/infantry army :D


Kroxitau said...

in objective based mission I use kroot to outflank and take objectives.( I have a lot of battle reports demonstrating this) If anybody puts even a moderate amount of attention into them they will die.(I have a lot of battle reports where this happens too :))

Kroot are tricky to use but I like to think of it this way, any shots or attention going to kroot is attention that is not being used to blast my pathfinders or crisis suits.


P.S. Krootox should totally be Monstrous Creatures, that would be a lot of fun :)

Aloh'Nan'El said...

Silly, but fun.

On the objective scoring; I used to run this tactic, but I dropped based on a few things:
1. The durability of scoring Devilfish
2. The iffyness of outflanking
3. The inability to take objectives out of cover

It works with planning, but to me it seems a lot of planning for a objective that'll probably be contested.

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