Tau Unit Tactica: Human Auxiliaries

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This Tau human auxiliary tactica introduces you into the world of Human auxiliaries, an oftenly overlooked, and undervalued unit. In this article I will analyze, and show you various adaptions, in which this unit can be employed. Their rules may be found at:
 http://us.games-workshop.com/games/40k/tau/gaming/auxilliary/chap_tau_auxiliaries.htm
It is the leader's duty to understand what weapons he has at his disposal. So in this chapter we examine the most common weapon available to Tau human auxiliaries.



"Know thyself, or know thy Lasgun."

Weapon summary: Lasgun

As is, the weapon is not designed to be overpowering, relying on its capability of midrange and short range firing mechanisms to make up for shortcomings. It is often best to be employed against units with similar tolerances of pain to that of a human, in game terms T 3 or lower.
While T3 creatures vary in armor scheme, 5+ saves are in majority, and 3+ and 4+ are privileged to a select few. The Lasgun capable of wounding creatures in each category of armor will require enemies to roll more often, as is why the Lasgun should be employed against such troops.
However you won't always get this privilege. While T3 units cover many different armies, they do not make up the bulk (in the case of marines). So in this next piece I will cover the beasts that are harder to fell.



"Shoot the sea, or shoot the rock"

(Outcomes of shooting tougher creatures)
Many a story tells that Lasguns have downed almost anything in the right situation, but for some reason can't do the same on the board.
You found previously that creatures with T3 were within your capable rolls, you had at most times wounded on one or more occasions, unfortunately at this point T4 to T6 wounding will be up to the whims of fate.
When you start to encounter units to this degree it will become a game of chance when a unit will actually fall. The fact of the matter is as T goes up, it can start to associate with a better armor save (though note there are some exceptions). Or a specialty creature with more then one wound.
Recommendations will be variable at this point; Since the Tau human auxiliaries in most cases won't be fielded as the only troop choice. You may find it proper to engage in a skirmishing fashion. If you are left to this, use the Lasguns farthest range, and aid in the number of shots being outputted. While casualties inflicted will not be staggering, it may be one or two less men shooting that you won't have to worry about.

Death or glory

Spartans!

(Notice the rapid-fire)
Many a time I wondered, should I stand and shoot, or charge the enemy? In most cases youll find shooting more advantageous.
Because most things that assault you, either kill you outright (tyranid warriors in my experience) or sweep you. As such if you cant get combat initiative,shoot the hell out of them.
This tactic gives the humans their redemption (if not manly honor back) and makes use of their rapid-fire weapons. While S 3 weapons do not necessarily constitute killers, massed lasguns are no laughing matter. I have taken genestealers with me (at times worth half my auxiliary squad in the first place) If you realize how cheap human auxiliaries are then youll understand that you may die, but youll havemade up more if not half of your squads points.

Weapon summary: Pulse rifle

The Tau pulse rifle is standard amongst firewarrior kind; it boasts long range, and short-range capabilities. This gun was meant to reduce close combat encounters, and still produce a powerful enough charge to devastate weaker creatures, or provide suitable firepower against tougher troops.



"This thang' is very shooty! Hehehehe"

(Gifts of the pulserifle)
You may have noticed that the human auxiliaries have the option to take two pulserifles. While they do come on the cheap, remember how they can act on the battlefield.

Long range

If long-range infantry support is your goal, two pulserifles do the job; they allow the tau doctrine of staying back, preserving lives, and complements the lasgun 2 foot range.

Lucky engine strikers

The pulserifle is capable of striking skimmers, light tanks/walkers, and transports with its S 5. Albeit the job isnt guaranteed, lucky engine strikers is here for a reason.

Death or glory

Lasguns are rapid fire, pulsefiles are rapid fire, and it was meant to be. Consider the 3pt upgrade worth the S5 weapon (you do fire with the same BS Definition: Battle Sister or Ballistic Skillas a firewarrior)

Weapon summary: Pulse carbine

A weapon boasting similar power characteristics of a pulserfile, it is designed for short-range conflicts, and for tau on the move. It is capable of pinning enemy troops under the volley of its barrel.



What's that?

(Why a pulsecarbine?)
If you noticed this, you wonder why would an auxiliary unit use a short-range weapon?
One simple fact, it's pinning!
Imagine the potential of keeping some hoarde foes at bay, by taking advantage of their low leadership?
Or even this factor.
Imagine using pulse carbines in combination with Tau markerlights? (Reference Tau empire codex if you need to)



Stopz shooting at tus

(Pinning, and if you cant get it alternatives)
Pulsecarbines were meant to disrupt the enemy, and if you can make sure the tau human auxiliaries are not the juiciest targets, the 18-inch range will not be a tremendous factor (especialy if the enemy is coming to you) The pulsecarbine takes advantge of its assault, and S 5 ap5 character traits. Against horde foes you'll typically have no trouble killing one, and often one is all you need to insure a pinning check.
This tactic is not recommended against higher armored troops, but worth the effort if you are forced to it. You could add human carbine fire, on top of drone/fire warrior carbine fire if need be.
However be sure to tell the difference between pinnable units and fearless units.
And lastly if can't get a pin, use tau markerlights to decrease leadership values for pinning. If you have some marker lights to spare that is.

Weapon summary: Markerlight

Boasting a primary logistical support, it allows infantry to request anti vehicle support by means of seeker missile, or allow increased increased accuracy. It has the downside of being a standstill weapon, but the support factor more then makes up for it.



Shiny flashlight

Why a markerlight?
Tau human auxiliaries are cheap, can be deployed on the lowest terms, and still field a markerlight. They offer long-range infantry, AND heavy support. Something their kroot bretheran can't always provide readily.
Some of the advantages of marker lights to the humans:
  • Coexistence with the tau weaponry, support.
  • It helps with tanks (seeker missiles)
  • Can be deployed in such a way as to be easily overlooked
  • Long range
  • Liberating to the mobility of the fire warriors.
And in my opinion allows for firewarrior teams to move on demand!
(Note: however most cases, the markerlight is still firing on BS Definition: Battle Sister or Ballistic Skill3, while this does have great potential, don't rely on it without a decent number of a markerlights fielded)

Weapon summary: EMP

The EMP grenade, it is an energy disruption weapon designed primarily for disrupting enemy vehicles.



Would you like wine with that?

(Points cost, to arguable situations)
The infamous suicide EMP grenade team repuation still stands as a popular tactic (altough I don't see why) for 3 points an auxiliary you have the potential of glancing even penetrating an armor 14 vehicle, granted if your enemy lets you near their tanks, and survive hell and back to touch one..
The tactic comes as a surprise because no one expects humans to go on suicide bombings; they expect them to die standing, but in turn that may be advantageous to you.
Considering this route, don't give your unit anything else but the EMP grenades and keep them at a moderate number 6-8 (generally acceptable) some people could argue for the ui veteran upgrade, however ill leave that to you.
If the enemy brings tanks to you, spring the humans, and if you cannot get tanks to come to you, 3pts paid for each grenade becomes a slight liability. So plan accordingly, each battlefield is different.

Roles of the human auxiliary

Unorthodox methods to the conventional
With the summary of weapons, hopefully we have inspired some ideas to bring upon your human auxiliary uses. If you haven't been inspired by some of the weapon ideas, let's bring out tactical uses of the human auxiliary that can cater to an all around game plan.

Have you deployed all your units yet?

The advantage of bulking up your troop slots.
In the force organization chart, we have elite slots, fast attack slots, HQ slots etc... each are deployed in their order based on the mission. For some players, the order of deployment dictates the prediction of how the battle will develop.
The tactic this employs uses human auxiliaries in empty troop slots so that the enemy will have deployed its heavier hitters before you have even deployed yours. While this leaves room to chance in some missions you'll find that deploying more units then he has can buy you more time to find out his/her game plan.
And at a morale modifier, it is disheartening to see a player have more units then his own, confuse and daze your opponent with the humans! Do not become predictable!

Sir, what is the 5th order to the sentry?

Sir, to quit my post only when properly relieved, sir
In the books humans can be stubborn in cover, fortifications, and other scenarios related, but the reoccurring pattern here is, sentry duty.
Deployed on the left and right flanks, the human auxiliaries can often stall most infiltrated units with at least a turn or two. And since infiltrating in front of the firing lines is out of the question, infiltrating at the sides becomes the next pick.
 So you'll come down to these options:
  • Assault to stall
  • Rapid fire
  • or Pin

Assault to stall

Human auxiliaries should not be underestimated in mass, but their close combat is best suited to support. I would not recommend this route, however their maybe a small advantage to assaulting.
If the enemy does massacre you (in most cases may be), they will get the extra d6 movement granted by the kill bonuses, so instead of letting the infiltrators move to you and get a bonus, shorten the length and give them a consolidation result instead. Sweeping advances should not incur a massacre result.

Rapid fire

Human auxiliaries have weapons to meet the bill in each situation. Lasguns, and pulse rifles for instance add a considerable amount of rapid fire. In this they will take away from the infiltrated unit's strength, while only being a minor sacrifice on their part.

Pinning

If you find that cannon fodder is against your creed, why not attempt the pulse carbine pin scenario?
Throw two carbines the human's way and add a tau fire drone unit to supplement fire. If at all the slight chance you do pin the enemy infiltrator, they will just be sitting ducks to rapid fire and in my favorite case a rail gun sub munition shot. But note the pinning method does not entirely protect you; tyranids can be a big exception.

Way of the warrior

Who said Tau can't be decent at close combat?
In strait out results fire warriors, or human auxiliaries can not win combat alone, in fact most of the Taus`s units require a bit of unity.
The first method you could employ in human auxiliary combat is the road block method.

Road block

This employs a unit of fire warriors with photon grenades, and an eight to twelve man auxiliary squad lined up behind them. (Experimenting with an ethereal honor guard could be interesting.)
As the enemy nears let the them charge you (granted a rapid fire wouldn't hurt before they get to you), take whatever hits you get, then charge with human auxiliaries.
On the charge twelve men get 25 attacks, if you included the veteran upgrade. And don't forget to add this on top of the hopefully mad fish people.

Humanity chicken soup method

Though I despise kroot, kroot and humans complement each other on this one thing, the number of bodies they can throw on an enemy unit.
In this method, kroot and humans wait in cover, acting as a counter attack unit. While the humans and kroot have little to nothing armor wise, one must not forget that the weight of bodies can easily outweigh the number of wounded attacks.
So as you count 12 humans, and 20 kroot, do not forget the hounds! The sheer number of attacks will make even a marine think twice.
(as more methods come I will be updating them)



For now hopefully this have helped you, this tactica has come from the analysis of human auxiliaries and my extensive use of them. If you find people who think they are useless, just smile to yourself, obviously they have insecurities as humans themselves :-)




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