Tau Unit Tactica: Kroot

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This tactica has two sections:
 Kroot - The Unit
 Kroot Charge

Kroot - The Unit

Some basic points about the Kroot to get us started:

  • What are the Kroot capable of?
  • How can the Kroot be used in a Tau army?
  • What tasks do the Kroot excel at?
  • What are the advantages/disadvantages of the Kroot?
  • Unit size?

Looking at these main points and considering them, we should get a good overview of the Kroot.

  • Kroot are capable of dealing out a lot of punishment. Their trustworthy Kroot rifle is nearly as strong as a bolter at range. The Kroot are a lot less expensive than a Marine, but this has a reason. Kroot cannot stand up to nearly as much as a Marine, unless they are in a good piece of cover (which they can generally are). Kroot can easily put the pressure on any unit closing in, with their high amount of good melee attacks. Even marines will fear this, if there are enough Kroot, that is. They can also threaten any unit at range, as they will sport a powerful gun at less than half the cost of a Marine. Since their guns do not have a high AP value, nor do they sport powerful close combat weapons such as power weapons, they will be good against targets with a low armour save, or elite models if the Kroot can swarm them in great numbers. Let us say we have 2 units of 10 kroot. These guys fire upon some T4, 6+ save guys. 5 Guys would fall (on average).

     For the same cost, we could've brought ~5 Stealths, which would've downed 5 as well. So, instead of using a valuable elite unit (or occupy the very valuable elite slot), you could have a troop choice able to do the same thing against these guys, allowing the Stealth's to fire upon what they excel against- light infantry (T3, 5+ save).
     In close combat, kroot really pack a punch too. Whether you stay in cover of the trees or assault, they will most likely hurt anything they can get to grips with. Let's continue our 2x10 Kroot example from earlier. This time they are assaulting 10 marines. The Kroot will, on average kill 4.5 of them (assuming no kroot falls. On average the marines would kill 3.34 kroot) This is pretty strong for a cheap core unit. Besides, with 20 kroot you should be able to last a couple of turns as well.
  • In a Tau army, a typical problem is the incapability to fend off enemy assault troops. While the Kroot do not possess insane close combat skills like terminators/genestealers, they can still pack a punch, and hold off enemy units for at least a few turns, provided you have the numbers. Kroot are cheap, but going overkill will result in a waste. The Kroot can also be used to hold off key points. That eldar player will think twice before moving his guardians close to the woods guarded by some kroot. Kroot are often seen as a defensive unit, which I must admit they usually end up as when I'm using them as well, but their special deployment skills make them good on the offense as well. If you have a few units to spare, or there are lots of wood close to some vulnerable enemies, think about moving the kroot up close and personal instead of blocking paths/waiting for the assault. A Tau army is very adapt at dodging assaults (at least Mech), so you might want to have them on the offense sometimes.

     Like Vespid, Kroot can threaten a preferred enemy way-of-approach. While they do not possess the speed nor the guns of the Vespid, they are stronger in assault and far more. For a Vespid you can get over 2 Kroot! Besides, if there are woods nearby, the Kroot can be a real diamond (hard and shining) when it comes to holding off enemies. Kroot, used with either Vespid (anti-medium infantry) and/or Stealth suits (fast, resilient anti-light infantry)[resilience comes from the field] can hold just about any approach and force your enemy to take another route. The Kroot pack a (relatively) powerful gun, but it is in assault phase they really shine. I once saw this list with 40 kroot (the odd/cool thing is that this ends up below 300pts!!). In the assault phase, these guys could put out over 100 attacks when assaulting. This is 10 dead marines on average, or 5 terminators. Surprised? The Kroot are really strong, but it can be hard to keep them alive. Even Guardsmen can stand more punishment than the Kroot, unless you can find them some woods. What do the Kroot excel at? I'd say all above, but the good thing about Kroot is their cost. They are very cheap, so you will almost always be able to include a few of them. However, you need to consider what you are lacking in your army. For example, if do not have a dodgy army, Kroot will always be handy when the enemy reaches you.

     If you have a mobile and dodgy Mech list, you might want the Kroot (often in conjunction with Stealths) to distract a portion of the enemy while the rest of your army engages his flank. IE, the Kroot and the Stealth teams will keep one side busy, while the rest will totally pound his other flank like there's no tomorrow. In other words, if you can pull this off, chances are he'll be totally annihilated. Kroot excel at this because they usually have the numbers, and once in assault they can put out a serious amount of damage. However, if you play static, you will usually find that they work best defensively, since you need to counter the inevitable assault squads. Essentially, what you need to do is find out if your army lack anything the Kroot can contribute with. If your army lacks anti-tank capability, buy Railguns instead, of Helios suits. If you lack mobility, buy Battlesuits/vehicles. If you lack numbers/a block unit/expendable squads, buy some Kroot.
  • The main advantage of the Kroot are their awesome damage potential. Equal to a charging marine with cc weapon and bolt pistol, in offensive terms, he can really put on the hurt. Another great thing about Kroot is their Fieldcraft ability. Combined, we have a unit who is horribly strong, but will drop like flies to any and all focused enemy fire. When in woods, they can stand a little, but then they'll probably end up pretty static (unless it's a big area of trees, in which case the Kroot excel). They are cheap, which means you can get many of them. Their 2 support units, hound and ox specifically, have been made better in the new codex, so a special note on them. Hounds are now insanely fast in cc, and the ox received a pretty large revision as well. Although they are in general the same as ever, they are now both cheaper and better. Hounds add the speed in close combat, while ox' provides some firepower if you'd like. Beware though, taking too many ox' will result in the points cost increasing fairly quick, without the squad's survival potential increasing much. This is fine if you have some woods nearby, and you want a fairly static unit with cc potential. The ox can also improve your cc potential, however you pay for it mainly because of its shooting ability (or you will throw lots of points away!).
  • On the subject of unit size, I think I will not say too much. However, bear a few things in mind. If you have 40 Kroot, remember the options you have and consider them. 2x20, 1x40 and 4x10. A huge squad is unwieldy, a small squad will have to take moral tests if a few Kroot die. Taking a few Kroot might be worthwhile, others prefare lots. Oh, and 40 Kroot is not that expensive either. This has been debated to death before, andit is really up to what you like, and what works for you. I tend to like them in squads of 10 (usually 2 squads). This way, they stay cheap, expendable, and the enemy needs to kill 3 to force a moral test (if I were to increase this, I would have to do a squad of 13).
-A last nasty tip is deploying Kroot 7" in a forest. Watch your opponent's faceArticle image

A short summary

  • Kroot are cheap
  • They can have very varied roles, depending on what your army needs
  • Kroot often have the numbers
  • Sometimes they will do wonders thanks to their offensive capabilities, other times they will drop like flies because of their poor defense.
  • Know when to use them and how to use them
  • Hounds can really add to the assault potential...
  • ...while ox will increase some assault potential as well, they pay a lot of points for their guns. If you don't intend to shoot, buy hounds instead
  • Kroot are one of the few units we have against assaulters
  • The more woods, the more the Kroot will shine
  • Deployment abilities can really help you out when it comes to how to use them
Learn to use the Kroot, and they will be a great addition to your army. They can be tricky to get used to, but stick with them!

Kroot Charge

It's no secret that Tau are bad in combat. However it shouldn't mean game-over for you if your Fire warriors get charged, hence the kroot charge tactic:

Kroot Charge - Basic

Position a full squad of 20 kroot close to a Fire warrior squad(s). Make sure you position them within 12" of your Fire warriors but not so close that the enemy can charge them instead. If one of the Fire warrior squad(s) gets charged, the next available assault turn by the Tau, charge the kroot forwards and hopefully get them all into combat.
This will achieve 3 attacks per model (1 for the standard attacks, 1 additional from kroot rifle, 1 extra for charging.) This adds up to 60 attacks from the Kroot! This should be enough to repel the assault and allow your Fire warriors to live another day!

Kroot Charge - Extra

If you have some spare points and fast attack and heavy support options, you might want to consider the following two ideas which will hopefully improve the effectiveness of the Kroot Charge tactic.
Replace some of the kroot with kroot hounds.
  • Advantages: This means 1 less point per model replaced, hounds get 2 attacks normally +1 for charging and if the enemy breaks, the kroot hounds inflict an automatic hit.
  • Disadvantages: No kroot rifle, they can't shoot back.
Replace some of the kroot with krootox.
  • Advantages: One extra attack and a better gun then the rest of the squad.
  • Disadvantages: Takes up a heavy support slot, could be better used for broadsides and hammerheads. Expensive as well.

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