So, uh, wow, the Tau. The AI Tau. Don’t let them climb the tech tree and crank out their economy.
Just played a game as the Astra Militarum on a large map. I set up six AI opponents in 3 alliances of 2 AIs each, with everyone on regular difficulty, including me. Since I’m a solo power against 3 opposing AI alliances, that’s a good level of challenge for me. The 3 alliances opposing are Tau/Space Marines, Orks/Tyrranids and Necron/Chaos (I more or less sorted them by superficial appearance of good/evil).
I start out, get some Sentinels working to help my initial Guardsmen clear the local area of creeps and have terrible luck with the Slaver things. I finally got up to Leman Russ, clear the local area, establish a second city, then tech up to Thunderbolts, roll out with 4 each of Sentinels, Leman Russ and T-Bolts, find the Ork/Tyrranid alliance, fight back and forth with them. While that’s going on, Chaos and the Necrons go down. Killed by other AIs, not sure who. Finally the Ork resistance slackens and I am moving in on them. Just as I am about to wipe out the Orks, the Tyrranids get defeated, and not by me. Which means the Space Marine/Tau alliance have whomped Chaos, the Necrons AND the Tyrranids while I’ve been faffing about with the creeps and the Orks.
A bunch of light fast Space Marine units show up to hit the Orks just as I am wiping out the last Ork city. I manage to kill the Orks and get the experience for the city kill and I’m like, “Haha Space Marines, you and your glass cannon Tau allies are TOO SLOW! Now watch me roll forth!” (I had just teched up to Baneblades.) I start to counter attack the light Space Marine units, figuring by the time their Tau allies show up, I’ll have Baneblades. Unfortunately, Baneblades take a long time to manufacture…
While my first Baneblade is being assembled at the Forge/Hive, the Tau show up to help out their Space Marine buddies. And boy do they show up. I’ve got Leman Russ, T-Bolts and Sentinels which is in most cases good enough for government work, know what I’m sayin’? But these Tau, they don’t just bring their little killable warrior dudes… Oh no, they show up with hover tanks, and dudes in battle suits, including some of those big nasty creatures in big mech suits. AND they bring air support. I don’t know the Tau units well yet but they have some kind of vicious anti-tank hovertank unit that just PWNed my Leman Russ squad. And when my T-Bolts swoop in to counter, the Tau unleash this other kind of hovertank (Skyhammer?) that just swatted my T-Bolts down like flies (never seen that happen - usually a swarm of 4 or more T-Bolts is game over man). I had 4 T-Bolts on contact and was building 4 more, and managed to get a couple more out of the Forge and into battle, but the Tau just swarmed the crap out of my second city, with hovertanks, battle suits and air power out the ass. I haven’t really looked at the Tau air units but they seem very mean.
I retreated all of my units and vectored all of my new production to my second city but it was too late. The Tau were rolling something like a half a dozen each of battlesuits and hover tanks plus another few air attackers, plus supporting infantry, a couple of Commanders, and a bunch of Space Marine groupies. My second city died while my first Baneblade rolled out, and I built another T-Bolt before they rolled into my starting city, but 1 T-Bolt and 1 Baneblade didn’t do much more than slow them. Seriously, those Hammerheads swarmed my Baneblade and took it down in 3 turns.
150 turns in, I was defeated, utterly.
I may have to try playing the Tau again.