Man, oh man, what a ride! Very recently Tau was the center point of conversation in the 40k community thanks to the latest ITC FAQ (as I discuss here). Then that post happened to get linked to a Dakka thread where 20 pages later people are still whining about how OP Tau are and are being extremely childish about the whole thing. But hey, that's the internet! This isn't another post about that ITC ruling but rather about generalship, practice, and other things I talked about here. So let's dive in; are Tau really overpowered? Should we all call it quits because they can't be beat?
So over the weekend at the LVO we finally got to see the communist fish-people in action with all their new pretty toys, formations, and detachments. They stormed the tournament as foretold, took 5 out of the top 8 spots, including first through third place! ...Oh wait...no they didn't. They didn't even make the top cut! Craziness! Here's the real top 8 lists:
White Scars Gladius Strike Force
Eldar Warp Spider Spam + Inquisitor
Chaos Daemons Double CAD
Eldar CAD + Corpse-Thief Claw
Eldar CAD + Dark Eldar CAD
Ravenwing CAD + Space Wolves CAD
So what's the bottom line?
Seems like the usual suspects (with the exception of the War Conclave, and other Skitarii/Knight/Ad Mech shenanigans). Apparently there were two Tau lists in the top 16 despite one of those going into top 16 undefeated. Well that's great, and I'm happy for those players, but what we're clearly not seeing here is the Tau domination that the guys at Frontline Gaming (and their blind and faithful followers) cried about preemptively. So while this post and my overall attitude about this are full of sarcasm and exaggeration, the data still speaks for itself; Tau are not the 40k-breaking army people whined about. Rather, Eldar won the event with Warp Spider spam (45 of them to be exact). Eldar also made up nearly 40% of the top 8 armies, Necrons made up 25%, and of course we saw a Gladius list and Daemon summoning spam. The 8th place list however was a Dark Angels list that included two death-stars, some Rapiers, some MSU Tac squads in Rhinos, and a Librarius Conclave. Again though, where's the supposed utter domination? Where is it? Where's the clearly OP Tau lists that are annihilating the opposition and deserve the preemptive and baseless nerfs? Where?
Nowhere. It just doesn't happen. But then why do Tau get such a bad rap? Well, can you handle the truth? Inept generals get squashed repeatedly by Tau at their LGS because they don't want to spend the effort learning how to beat them and want instant gratification from auto-include units and net-listing. When the wins don't come, the whining does. They see posts like that Dakka thread about Tau getting nerfed and treat it as an opportunity to post about how deserved those nerfs are to make them feel better about their own failures.
But it doesn't have to be that way. These players could stand to put a bit more effort into their games. I know not everyone has the time to devote to playing multiple games a week let alone per month, but don't be afraid to play against the hard armies with different lists. Bring different units. Try different tactics. If your list and tactics aren't working, then it's time to change something up. If you are playing against some friends, ask them to play a series of games with you with certain lists or models. Take whole turns back. Run scenarios. Reset the entire game after turn 2 (a tactic that players like Darkwynn and others have used to try to get in a lot more experience with deployment and initial target priority). Just practice!