My Orks have hit a Brick Wall, and Tau be thy name!



I wanted to start a discussion on how to deal with the fish-faced space commies!

Orks have always struggled with Tau, and this edition is no different.

Long ranged, high volume of high strength shots at range is rough. When those ignore cover and line of sight? Ouch, the poor Orks just melt. Plus, Tau supporting fire over-watch is incredibly tough for the Orks to get through due to their low armor. Lastly, their ability to destroy units that come out of reserves with so much access to cheap interceptor and sky-fire is brutal.

The end result is that many normal Ork units get brutalized. Even a 30 strong unit of Boyz will get blown to bits by a single Missileside unit’s shooting. It’s tough bein a Greenskin!

So, I have been thinking about solutions that don’t involve hyper specialization. The first thing that jumped out at me was battlewagons. With AV14, they straight up ignore a lot of Tau weaponry, and can deliver an assault unit into the guts of the Tau army. If you are smart, you can tank shock and  position them to cut off LoS from supporting fire units, too.

Kustom Mega-Kannons can smoke Missilesides, too, if they get to shoot first, but that often just comes down to luck.

Playing to the missions would be my normal response to a hard-counter, and that is a good idea, but SMS systems are quite literally the bane of Ork existence and make it tough to focus on taking objectives as they do so much damage to the Orks and there’s no hiding from them.

I am sure there is a way to break the Tau with orks, but that and Wave Serpent Spam Eldar are certainly the toughest match-ups. What are you all doing to take on the Tau?


About Reecius

The fearless leader of the intrepid group of gamers gone retailers at Frontline Gaming!

45 Responses to “My Orks have hit a Brick Wall, and Tau be thy name!”

  1. Chip July 11, 2014 8:41 am #

    Balanced Tau is back in a big way this edition, and it definitely presents an issue for Orks.

    There are two things I think could be helpful facing a Tau army, though.

    First, threat saturation. If you have so many units arriving that they or rushing upfield, through points delta between cheap orks and expensive broadsides, hopefully you can get enough value of points through to assault to make a difference. This situation changes when you’re using more expensive units like meganobz, though, which may not be “elite enough” to justify their points value when in the face of broadside shooting.

    The second is stormboyz. I really think these are the gem of the new codex. If you shove 30-60 down your opponents throat, even if one or two get through to assault, they eat the overwatch for your harder hitting, heavier units that are right on their heels.

    • Reecius July 11, 2014 8:57 am #

      Yeah, Tau lost a lot but gained so much in their other units becoming much more viable. Threat saturation is how my Scout Army beats Tau, I simply overwhelm them with targets and that helps a lot.

      I am not totally sold on Stormboyz, personally. They are fast as hell, but they die like Orks at a 50% increase in price. I keep looking for viable options that are more cost efficient but Stormboyz may be a good tool in the tool box to help, for sure.

      Meganobz are really hamstrung against Tau, you said it. They are a top target priority and while yes, a single Meganboz walks through anything in the tau army baring a Riptide, they struggle to get there.

  2. edwin July 11, 2014 8:44 am #

    They tailor made a formation for orks to deal with this issue. 5 battle wagons and they all gain scout. Have fun with that one XD

    • Reecius July 11, 2014 8:54 am #

      Yeah, I thought about that right away, too, but then the question is if it leaves you too one dimensional to deal with other armies.

  3. nick July 11, 2014 8:53 am #

    Ya. Agree 100% with stormboys. Loved them last codex and really love them 3 points cheaper

  4. nick July 11, 2014 8:53 am #

    Ya. Agree 100% with stormboys. Loved them last codex and really love them 3 points cheaper

  5. Rob Morris July 11, 2014 8:53 am #

    Yeah agree with the with what was. Said above . In addition I think waaagh makes a huge difference and ere we go. You can’t hit tau all scattered if you hit their lines with 2-3huge mobs plus bikes and ard stuff they will break.

    • Reecius July 11, 2014 9:15 am #

      Yeah, I am looking for the right balance of units to actually get there in one piece. The list I was running stood no chance, lol!

  6. Dash2021 July 11, 2014 9:06 am #

    Kommando’s formation might do it. Not an ork player, but having 4 units outflank right behind/beside my gun line would put a lot of pressure on me.

    • Reecius July 11, 2014 9:16 am #

      Most of the Tau players here have interceptor on everything and so, often, your reserves die right as they come in =(

      • Chip July 11, 2014 9:23 am #

        Yeah, vs Tau in my area, coming in from reserve is a death sentence. Although, you could be cagey and force intercept on a unit that you need to not shoot the next phase. Situational though.

        • Reecius July 11, 2014 9:35 am #

          Yeah, often that is the best use: sacrifice the unit to force a key Tau unit to use up their shooting.

          Bit of a Pyrrhic victory, though.

          • Dash2021 July 11, 2014 10:01 am

            Yea, that was pretty much where I was going with that. Force the interceptor on the kommandos, letting the rest of the army close in. One turn of no shooting from 4 units on 4 min man kommandos let’s you breathe some. Interceptor tends to be high str, so forcing the shots vs the kommandos removes shots from battle wagons.

          • Reecius July 11, 2014 2:42 pm

            Yeah, I suppose that is a good strategy for making the best of a bad situation, for sure.

  7. Slaede July 11, 2014 9:23 am #

    Unrelated, but are you guys using the NOVA FAQ for BAO?

    • Reecius July 11, 2014 9:36 am #

      We have our own FAQ but it is extremely similar to the NOVA FAQ.

  8. Mush July 11, 2014 9:29 am #

    Battlewagons filled with slugga boyz in heavy armour. Multi-assault as much as possible turn 2.

    • Reecius July 11, 2014 9:37 am #

      Eavy Armor is so expensive though. Often it is better to just take more Boyz. That said, it does help though, unless AP4 or better weapons are blasting you to bitz, haha!

      • Mush July 11, 2014 10:10 am #

        “Often it is better to just take more Boyz” at a glance yes. But at a closer look it not so clear cut.

        It about density though. In terms of mathshammer more boyz is more cost effective than getting heavy armour. But in practice I find it plays out differently.

        -Battlewagons have a finite carry capacity of 20 models.
        -More boyz means a bigger footprint, meaning your opponent can bring more of his army to bear on your boyz.
        -A larger squad without armour will take more casualties from overwatch as a result shortening your charge range more.
        -More boyz means more templates and blasts hits.
        -More boyz makes your units harder to manoeuvre.
        -More boyz can make you do more damage than you need to.

        ‘eavy armour increases your density, by increasing your survivability without increasing your armies footprint. Meaning you get more force concentration.

        Thanks to the AV14 of battlewagons being immune to most Tau weapons I find I can get a solid turn 2 charge (with Waaagh!, boarding blanks and ‘ere we go).

        The key though is that there’s only so much space on the board, and 20 boyz in a battle wagon large enough to get a multi-charge (increasing your chance of staying locked in combat by engaging more units and denying your charge bonuses).

        ‘Eavy armour halves you casualties from overwatch, meaning your charge range won’t be shortened as making your more likely to engage more units. More often than not with good positioning I can engage 2-3 units.

        The key to try and stay locked in combat with at least 1 and finish combat in their turn. That means trying to lose combat or not win by too much. Opt to use your sluggas instead of power klaw with all power klaw models (so they strike at S4-5 with AP-). Try to keep as many models from being engaged in combat when charging as possible (move the models furthest back first once the initial charger has been moved). Opt to attack the tougher models you have charged(when you have the choice) eg: riptides, vehicles etc.

        But again that’s just my experience with ‘eavy armour/battlewagons.

        • Reecius July 11, 2014 11:08 am #

          I totally understand your argument with local superiority, but, I find it often doesn’t play out perfectly. When you are there, in the fight, you are glad you have it, but when you face AP4+ overwatch or shooting, that 66% increase in cost per boy is wasted. Plus, the 80pts you spent could have bought you an entire squad of Boyz.

          However, you make a good point that perhaps, 1 unit with a Painboy and Eavy Armor will serve as a good unit to break through the overwatch as they are so much more durable and won’t get owned so hard by exploding vehicles, too!

  9. dalymiddleboro July 11, 2014 9:44 am #

    Stompa, that is all

    • Reecius July 11, 2014 11:09 am #

      Tank Hunting Missilesides with marker lights are actually one of the best units in the game for smoking a Stompa.

      But, you are right, that would help a lot. We have a fully painted Stompa here, too. I should give it a whirl.

      • Pascal Roggen July 11, 2014 1:10 pm #

        give a guy inside it the 4++kff from the ghazzy book throw in some meks from lootas or burnas and some boys or grotz to make the thing pseudo objsec, should make the darn thing pretty hard to mash:) would love to see a bat rep with a stompa kitted out:)

  10. Nuln-Oil July 11, 2014 10:16 am #

    I was really considering picking up an Ork army, but it seems as though I would just be at a disadvantage from the start. Are there any armies that Orks work great against?

    • Reecius July 11, 2014 11:10 am #

      So far the Orks have done great against every army but Tau and certain Eldar builds. I think they will do just fine in a competitive environment.

  11. iNcontroL July 11, 2014 10:36 am #

    It’s ok Reece. I will bring my nids back in and build up your confidence.

    • Reecius July 11, 2014 11:09 am #

      Lol, you are a gentleman and a scholar, good sir!

  12. Johnny kryptonite July 11, 2014 11:08 am #

    I haven’t played the match up yet but I agree with the notion of av14. At least 2-3 fully tooled and preferably filled with tank bustas. Stormboyz will work but you’ll want more than a single unit, and adding a pain boy to a couple units would be a good investment. Trading fire with tau IMO won’t work except from av14 platforms and even then just long enough to get to grips with them. This is one of the few instances where I feel bikes are worse than stormboyz.

    • Reecius July 11, 2014 11:11 am #

      Yeah, I agree that Bikes, while in general amazing, will really hit a hard counter in Tau missilesides, that ignore their cover, armor and toughness. They die like Boyz to them at triple the cost.

  13. Jason Brown July 11, 2014 12:53 pm #

    That Battlewagon Formation inst half bad. As you stated in your article, AV14 makes Tau cry. It also plays alot like your scouting SM, so You already think the right way. You can apply a ton of threat with them either filled with boyz, or with kill kannonz.

    Regardless of the specific units used, you need a few key aspects covered:
    You need to move fast
    You need to eat over watch
    You need to multi charge.

    If you cover those bases, I think you can make them fold. Truks are a no go. Its Battlewagons or bust. There are some other great support type units but they start eating your HS choices. Lobas are amazing across the board, anything that has barrage really.

    • Reecius July 11, 2014 2:44 pm #

      Yeah, Trukks suck hard now, which makes me sad as I loved running my 6 Trukk list. Oh well.

      Battlewagons are not ultra durable, either. I just played the 5 Formation against Raw Dogger’s Astra Militarum and got OWNED. 4/5 were out of commission by the top of turn 2. Yikes.

  14. rexscarlet July 11, 2014 2:26 pm #

    SM vs. TAU;
    Hammer and Anvil (the best for a TAU army)
    TAU All suits (as Troops) Eldar minimum Ally for Psy, even though the Warlord had that wonderful item that helps nullify within 12″ and has UNLIMITED range on Psy that does not target anything);
    Enemy SM (me) never made it out of deployment zone;
    TAU moved up into range or from behind cover, moved back out of my range or out of LoS (new LoS only what can been seen can be killed), repeat.
    Anything I tried to deep strike was intercepted with TAU deep strike suits.
    Was still fun, to “watch” as we are friends, but in a start-up game, I would not have played past turn one or two.

    • Reecius July 11, 2014 2:45 pm #

      Yeah, Tau are a bear to play against. They ignore/hard-counter too many strategies.

    • rexscarlet July 11, 2014 2:53 pm #

      GW FaQ Farsight Enclaves;
      pg 51; Talisman of Arthas Moloch
      Then look up Deny The Witch Roll in The Rules Book pg 26
      “If none of your units were the target…”
      “…follow the SAME process, but apply no modifiers…” (This means the process above IF there IS a target)
      But since the “Modifiers” are listed on pg 26.
      The items +2 is not a “Modifier.”
      Thus 4+ to deny almost everything.

      • Jural July 11, 2014 4:54 pm #

        Modifiers is a general topic described on page 8 of the rulebook; I paraphrase, but basically it’s anything that adds or subtracts from a roll.

        • rexscarlet July 11, 2014 5:19 pm #


  15. Gregorius42 July 11, 2014 2:55 pm #

    I have the Bully Boyz meganobz formation, having just finished painting two chainsaw meganobz to give me my 15 total needed. I think that unit with its 2+ save can do some work. I need one more Battlewagon and then I can scout them all forward and assault in turn 2, maybe even turn 1.

    Meganobz kill what they touch and 5 in a unit with 2 wounds each is tough. I have 3 skorchas in each unit too in case to really get into tau lines and do some damage.

    • Blightstar July 12, 2014 9:02 am #

      Cant assault on turn1 if you scout. But its basically guaranteed turn2 assault.

      • Reecius July 12, 2014 11:07 am #

        Yeah, and the other nice thing is that if you do go second and get blown up first turn, you start out much closer to the other player than you would have which is very nice.

  16. rob July 12, 2014 12:40 am #

    Walking two morkanauts up with meks inside and grot riggers would give u quite a bit of target problems for the tau player. You start marching a massive blob of green up with a 12 inch 360 kff invul and then u start dropping in kommandos behind him its going to present some tough decisions for the tau player.

    • Reecius July 12, 2014 11:03 am #

      True, but that is also like 600pts! You could take 100 more boys for that. I am just not sold on the Nauts, they look rad but they just seem bad on paper. I will have to try one out, though. Hard to really say until you have used one.

  17. Baz July 12, 2014 1:34 am #

    OMG 6pt boyz can’t kill everything in the game! I wish all armies had access to troops as versatile and cheap. They move fast, they shoot, they get a ton of attacks, they are kinda fearless. What else do they need for the points?

    • Reecius July 12, 2014 11:06 am #

      No need to be sarcastic, we’re just discussing the pros and cons of Orks vs. Tau, not condemning the book.

      Boyz with support are quite good, Boyz on their own are not so hot. The issue is that they start to fall apart, fast, and while an individual Boy is cheap, a unit of them with all the things you need to make them actually effective is not. Once they start the downward slide, they fall apart quickly.

      I would be fine with Mob Rule if it was 1-2 auto wounds, but when you pick up 5-6 of your own models more than once in the same turn, that is no fun.

  18. TableTopJosh July 12, 2014 4:16 am #

    Maybe we need to start tp using the 4++ kff. Its just hard because you want to bring painboyz and warbosses and mad doc. There are too many important hqs.

  19. Gonka Koff July 12, 2014 1:25 pm #

    Orks have always had a hard game against Eldar & Tau, nothing new here! ;). I think that an msu approach with Kommando and Koptas in reserve. A big unit of Stormboyz, A BW with meganobs and some bikes deplyed far back. The stormboys, meganobs and bikes hold still and starts to advance when the reserves arrive. Feed the Tau with cheap boys until your reserves come in and then surprise them with dangerous threats from all around.

    This is theoryhammer at its worsest, I’have no experience with the new greenskins whatsoever, but that … could work. But… Orks are not supposed to win against Eldar, thats one of the wh40k basics you learn as a newbee, right?

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