Ride shiny and chrome!
I just finished another two Tauros vehicles for my Elysian project. This time I painted up a Venator and a second Assault buggy, and I must admit that their role in the army has grown on me. After an initial look at their entry they may seem a bit misplaced, and although they could need a points drop to make them on par with the current edition and similar units, they will work wonders for you if used right. Don’t expect them to return home though, with an armor value equal to a xenos surfboard they are dead men riding after all. In this post I’ll talk you through the two types of Tauros’, how they can be outfitted for different tasks, and how I try to maximize their impact on the game.
A scalpel for your battlefield surgery.
The Tauros start out at 40 points a piece and for that you get an open topped jeep with an armor value of 10 all around and only 2 HPs. This means that even a bullet from a standard issue boltgun can chew through its armor with the potential of wrecking it if you’re unlucky. It is equipped with a heavy flamer which can be replaced with a two shot grenade launcher. I really want the grenade launcher to be useful as it looks way better and is somewhat similar to what modern day patrol vehicles use. The sad fact is that most of the time you will either scatter off target with your templates or just miss the krak rounds so it’s hard to justify increasing the costs of your toy cars. The chassis can be upgraded to a Venator for the cost of four meltabombs, which not only gives the front plates a boost to AV11 but also allows the Tauros to carry heavier weapons. Don’t be fooled by the increase of of front armor as the vehicle’s footprint is fairly long and not that wide, meaning that most fire will hit the sides if the enemy is dedicated on taking it out. The Tauros’ are by no means meant for regular ground combat. If you repeat the mantra “Eldar scatbikes will give these jeeps a really bad day for almost half the cost per model” a couple of times before each game you might get into the right mindset. Add a bit of ancient chinese wisdom and these V8 fanatics will be a very nasty thorn in the side of any mediocre opponent.
As noted earlier, the Tauros is a fast vehicle which means that it can scramble across the field and be wherever it wants in reasonably few turns. Unfortunately, when the Imperial Armour books updated the Elysians to 6th ed. the Tauros lost the ability to bring homing beacons, thus limiting its use in a deep strike-dependent army. This used to be a fast way to secure your drop sites by using its scout move and going flat out in turn one, allowing flyers or infantry to arrive in turn two withouth scattering, only to continue harrassing the opponent once all reserves had arrived from turn three and on. I would argue that the loss of the homing beacon changed the way the Tauros would perform on the field dramatically, pushing it’s role from a synergetic support unit to a fully comitted mid-game threat to the enemy backfield. This means that you cannot simply deploy the Tauros and race it towards a certain death hoping to reach the enemy lines before they shower it with enough bolter or pulse rifle fire. As a whise old sage once said: if at first you don’t succeed, get yourself back into reserves and try again.
So instead of using the ability to scout ahead of your deployed army the safest way to the enemy lines is via a reserves roll on turn two. Since the Tauros can scout, placing it in reserves aso allows it to outflank and arrive from the short table edges during the game. Here’s the trick, a successfull outflank with this type of unit is always achieved in the pre-game step when objectives are placed. Since you and your opponent take turns to place objectives, always make sure to have at least one objective roughly 12-15″ from one of the corners (or both depending on what you are facing) in each deployment zone. If your opponent puts an objective close to a corner go for the opposite and so on. This means two things. First fo all, if you get a side with an objective in each corner you have two objectives that you should be able to defend and score for a couple of game turns. Secondly, if your opponent gets a side with an objective or two close to the corners they will almost always make sure to do the same: defend it and score it with some sort of backfield unit – either with long range weapons or simply by camping on it. I can write a long list of units that you will almost always see holding an objective in the deployment zone but here are some examples of campers: Grots, Cultists, 20-man Guard platoons, Eldar guardians, and sometimes Marine scout squads. Long range support units: Fire warriors, Eldar rangers or equivelent, 5-man Tactical marines with a heavy weapon, Ork lootas and so on.
With the ability to modify your reserve rolls using a Master of the Fleet (I know it’s just a rough 50% chance but still) chances are you will be able to bring the engines to bear on the roll of a 2+ to punish said units holding corner objectives from the second game turn and on. It is important that you didn’t place the objectives as close as possible (6″) from the table edges as this will allow the opponent to counter your threat by spreading out along the edges once he figures out that he’s been tricked, thus blocking any movement and maximizing his unit coherency. Once your Tauros Assaults arrive, being fast vehicles, they can scoot up to 12″ towards the objectives and lay down 1-3 heavy flamer templates that covers an additional 8″. Remember that there’s a 1/3 chance of choosing which side you arrive from, as well as 1/3 chance of actually arriving on the side with the right target, giving you a 2/3 chance of arriving exactly where you want to. Now imagine those 5-10 Fire warriors or those 20 Lootas hugging a ruin to get cover next to an objective. 3 heavy flamers will clear out any foxhole all while leaving a nice smell of prometheum in the morning. I’ve done this numerous times, even if you’re up against a combat squad of Marines you’ll average 3-4 dead marines on a maximized tripple flame template!
Once you have cleared the area, the objective is up for grabs should you get the right Tactical Objective card. A great way to keep your opponent busy is to park your buggies in terrain and give him or her the choice of going after them to deny your Linebreaker-point or ignore them and give you an extra point when the game ends. On a last note, be aggressive with your movement when you arrive. Don’t avoid units that hide deep within terrain because of the fear of getting immobilized while driving through it. The galvanic motors allows your buggies to ignore Immobilized results on the roll of a 4+ (they still suffer a HP damage though) and if you drive at combat speed the wide tires gives you re-rolls on your dangerous terrain tests.
Landships tally ho!
Let’s turn our attention to the Venator type. As I noted earlier it is profiled as the “heavier” of the two with the ability to bolster your anti-tank arsenal with a heavy weapon-mounted turret of two kinds. The Venator comes stock with a twin-linked multilaser which can be switched out for a twin-linked lascannon. This brings the total cost up to either 60 or 75 points which is a bit on the high end considering what similar vehicles from other factions can bring. Comparing it to a Landspeeder gives a rough idea of the direction the game has taken since the Elysians got their own armylist. A landspeeder can cover more ground to utilize its two multimeltas for 70 points which places it in a somewhat similar combat role. I’m not saying the Venator should cost less than a Landspeeder but it would help if the two optional hunter killer missiles didn’t cost 10 points per shot…
The Venator should be used with care as you pay roughly the cost of a veteran squad to field one. You are allowed to mix and match the two types in a squadron but mixing Assault and Venator types within a unit should be avoided. These vehicles have a specific task and every turn you don’t use them is a waste of valuable points. Getting a “cheap” squad with three twin-linked multilasers arriving from reserves is a viable way of threatening the rear and side armor of enemy tanks. I haven’t tried this tactic yet as I don’t own enough Venators for it to be efficient. I would suggest not buying the HKM’s as they are only hitting on 4+ meaning that you average one missile hit for 20 points of one use upgrades.
The other way to use the Venator is to go full monty and buy the lascannons. You could either go for a squadron of two or two single squads of one Venator each here. It really depends on your local meta, how much armor, and how many hull points you generally face off against. Since the Elysians lack the ability to field lascannon teams or Sentinels, I think the best way to make sure you get your points worth of shots before turn six is to deploy them on the field to avoid waiting for reserves that may not turn up on time. Being fast all-terrain vehicles the Venators are fairly simple to hide from incomming fire should you go second, only to get out of cover and into a good firing position on your turn. Try not to expose them to too many threats though as the last thing you want to is to get baited into taking a shot at a juicy target only to get blown sky high from returning fire. Avoid duels with Predators and other vehicles that can out-shoot you unless you have good cover. With a bit of luck, night fighting and a low wall you might be able to put two lascannon shots through a Predator before you have to disengage. Remember that the main gun is turret mounted which allows you to face on threat and fire at another. I never buy the HKM’s as they bring the total price up to almost a hundred, but if you have the extra points go for it. You are commited anyway if you field the Venators as your only long range anti-tank.
That’s all for now. If you have any questions or would like to discuss the article please leave a comment below!
Here’s a 360 spin of the Venators (in bad lighting).