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Sunday, August 29, 2010

The Kauyon; past the walls

A lot of stress has been put into the Kroot Wall aspect of the Kauyon; if it is best, how it works in most lists, its survivability, etc. I thought it would be worthwhile to look beyond the wall for a bit, and highlight how key units to the Tau army fight in context of it, and how they fare outside. I will be looking at two units specifically; Broadsides and Pathfinders.

-Broadsides: Outside of Kauyon, Broadsides make a big show of themselves; the often deploy centrally, drawing attention to themselves whilst maintaining a cover save. They attempt to abuse the enemy's fear of Railguns; making them target the 'Sides before anything else, leaving you time to maneuver away.
The downside of this is that the Broadsides are likely to be eaten alive unless thoroughly defended; in Mont'ka lists, small Broadside firebases are left in the dust, meaning the silencing of your railguns immediately.
In the Kauyon, however, they remain. Broadsides are often placed very far behind protective lines, leaving them among the last of your units to fall, only sacrificed to save Crisis Suits and your Fire Warriors. This means that opposed to a near maximum of three turns shooting, Broadsides can last 5 or 6, easily. This effectively doubles your anti-tank; something you can't see when just glancing at your list's weapons.

-Pathfinders: Regardless of the style, Pathfinders will receive the same treatment; newer players will ignore their non-damaging guns, only to be wiped by your buffed suits, while veterans will target them early and hit them with enough shots to send them packing... which is not a great many.
Pathfinders are constantly in danger in a good game. In the Mont'ka, the player must choose between setting them up in cover and camping until death, or continually redeploying them via transport to avoid enemy assaults. They either suffer the same problem as Broadsides, or they lose turns of firepower to stay around. Either way, they get in around 3 turns of shooting in MAX if they are under pressure.
In the Kauyon, they suffer the same problem; they are relatively easy to shoot out of the game. But the Kauyon offers a slightly better alternative to sticking them in area terrain or ferrying them; putting them behind a Kroot Wall. This may seem trivial, but it adds two major changes to the playing style of the pathies:
1) The Pathies get a choice of the best possible lane of fire. This is due to the fact that the Kroot wall can stretch to give them cover regardless of where they are. Instead of anchoring into terrain, they benefit from freedom and cover.
2) Assault protection. The Pathfinders no longer have to relocate to avoid assault; the Kroot have that covered. Without having to relocate, they avoid assault completely, allowing a focus on shooting; critical, as during the first few turns they have a large amount to support.

Why did I choose these two units specifically? Again the answer is two-fold:
1) They are the best of their role: They are the cheapest renditions of their incredibly useful and limited weapons. While others exist, they are inferior for that specific role; Hammerheads are inaccurate and expensive, while Stealth Marker Teams and Skyrays cost far too much for the 'lights they bring.
2) They work better in the Kauyon. These units both suffer from one drawback in comparison to their more expensive and less effective counterparts; they lack mobility. In the Mont'ka, this regulates them to an Alpha-strike followed by their inevitable demise. In the Kauyon, a solid system of blockading, trapping, and cover synergy leave them strong and firing.


NockerGeek said...

You pretty much have my use of Broadsides down pat - they're a bait unit. They pose enough of a threat that they draw a lot of enemy attention, forcing my opponent to choose on spending resources to deal with them, or ignoring them at their peril. They may not be the longest-lived unit in the army (although they're tough enough to stick around for a while), but they do their job well.

As far as Pathfinders go, there's a third option: not taking them. You rightly point out that Stealth Marker Teams and Skyrays aren't as cost-efficient (but more importantly, they're in FOC slots that are better used for other things), but that doesn't necessarily make Pathfinders much better for a mobile player. I keep wanting to use them, and in high-point games I will, but at 1500 points the opportunity cost of giving up damaging guns just isn't worth it. It's the fact that Markerlights are heavy weapons that hurts them; it screws up the tempo of the mobile player's game, and it doesn't fit the mobile play style. If there were Fast Attack equivalents of Stealth Marker Teams, I'd take them in a heartbeat, but the fact that Pathfinders can't move if they want to be useful just ruins their utility for my playstyle (and honestly, the effects of Markerlights are okay, but it's nigh impossible to run enough to make a huge difference in mid-sized games.)

Aloh'Nan'El said...

The thing with lights though; the Tau need them.
We get too few shots at such a poor accuracy without them. Markerlights can easily make the difference between breaking down an enemy unit, and wiping them out.
In fact, you should honestly be using some Pathfinders in your Kauyon list; they'll help immensely.

Gredus said...

Personally I find Markerlights worth their weight in gold. My opponents are always worried about them in combination with the Broadsides. I run a squad of 5 in my 1500 list and 2 squads of 5 in my 1750 list. On average I get 3 hits a unit, taking a coversave down by 2 and giving a Broadside 4 BS (or a Hammerhead 5) really helps make your early shots count.
My friend made a really good point with Tau, we may not be the best shots but we have advanced technology to make us the best shots and we should be using it as much as we can.

NockerGeek said...

Markerlights are good in concept as a force multiplier, but every time I've used them they just don't perform well enough long enough to justify the cost. At 2000 points, I'll take them, but at 1500 points my experience has been that more guns that might do damage are a better investment than "guns" that might make a gun I already have be more likely to do damage. Your mileage may vary, but in my lists and with my playstyle, they're not a good fit.

Aloh'Nan'El said...

That's my point; Most Mont'ka lists have an intolerance for Pathfinders, and thus can't carry them well.
I went through a no light phase, as well as once running all three forms; an SMT, a small 'finder Team, and Skyray. None worked well for their points.

In a Kauyon strat they are amazing though.They are protected and hold clean LOS,and give us a huge punch if they stay alive.

Old Shatter Hands said...

Solid Article. I can't seem to get pathies to gel with my playstyle though. It's the freaking devilfish that has to tag along that messes it up. I hate that requirement.

NockerGeek said...

Not to be completely snarky, but I find it interesting that you've gone from being unsure about playing a static style to being an expert evangelist for it in the span of two weeks. Has it just panned out that amazingly well in that short a time for you? I know OSH has found it to be a mid-tier strategy that occasionally suffers from its lack of mobility in about the same amount of time, so I'm curious if your experience has been different, and how it's performed on the field.

Aloh'Nan'El said...

I believe you are referring to my recent post, "Kauton or Mont'ka?".
Nowhere in it did I say I was at all inexperienced with the list,and the only thing I was unsure of at the time of posting (as evidenced by "preliminary tests have come up well") was the exact deployment of the walls in which they'd be most effective, and how many in number.Many players play with a single line, while I've seen a list with up to 4 available. I've settled in on two.
I'm not inexperienced with it; I simply would rather my gaming group didn't play incredibly powerful lists, as opposed to the vehicular Cadres I enjoy more, and I know will be more fun to play against.

As to lack of mobility, I find that to normally be inconsequential. I normally start rather far forward, and fall back onto my objective, while surviving Piranhas, Devilfish, Hammerhead, and even Kroot can move up once I've cleared the field.

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