Tau Merchant & Protector Escort Tactics and Strategy

Hey everyone.

Haven't had a chance to seriously delve into BFG Multiplayer, but Tau would be main faction.
I have several questions regarding the two Tau fleets.
Is an escort heavy/focused build viable for damage and point control?
How would the Tau use their escorts vs brawler and/or kiting fleets?

A related but an aside question: Would Necrons benefit from an escort focused build, since their capital ships get critted to death?

Let's keep the Necron discussion in their thread 😉

Regarding Escorts: I think Escorts are paramount to Tau survival. First, they can spot sneaky Tyranids and Aeldari stuff, which is invaluable against them. Dark Eldar can shoot further than normal ships scanning range (the closer dark blue circle), meaning that without scouts you won't ahve much chance to attack them.

Also, a fleet upgrade make Railguns much more accurate, as long as you keep Escorts nearby your ships (and the latter must be in Lock On stance). You only damage something if you hit it, so...

Sorry about the Necrons. I've seen how explosive and intense Necron balancing discussions can get.

So for Tau fleets, what would be an optimal number of escorts to bring?
Is it worth bringing the Custodian or the carrier Emssairy LC's for the free Wardens?
Is there a particular formation or spread of escorts that wud maximize Tau scouting range?

Thanks for the answers @VectorStrike !

@primuspilus123 said in Tau Merchant & Protector Escort Tactics and Strategy:

Sorry about the Necrons. I've seen how explosive and intense Necron balancing discussions can get.

So for Tau fleets, what would be an optimal number of escorts to bring?
Is it worth bringing the Custodian or the carrier Emssairy LC's for the free Wardens?
Is there a particular formation or spread of escorts that wud maximize Tau scouting range?

Thanks for the answers @VectorStrike !

On Tau Protector Fleet:
From what I've read around the net, The Custodian seems to be quite expensive for what it does. People rather use 5 Protectors and bring Castellans as escorts, instead of Wardens. The Tau Missiles are really good and such build is quite packed with them!
I don't like the Emissary that much, tbh... the Protector does a better job, is more resilient and isn't overcosted by having gravitic hooks (the 110ish Emissary isn't that bad and can use Run Silient stance).

Now, the actual number of escorts... I'd say something close to 1:1. Although their basic attacks are generally weak, lots of them will add quickly. Their Scanner is invaluable!
Well, the best way to maximize scanner range is to fly them in front of your main fleet, with some distance between them. However, it's not safe to leave your behind exposed - one or 2 doing the back watch would be wise. As soon as battle starts, bring them close to your big ships, because the enemy WILL try to kill them.

I can't say much about the Merchant fleet, as I rarely play them.

The competitive lists for Tau Potector are:
5x Protectors + 5x Castellans
or 1 Custodian 3x Protectors and escorts

As of now, everything else doesn't work well in higher leagues
I think the 5x Protector list much more versatile and has less weaknesses, the custodian has a lot of problems, cost and low mobility being the 2 biggest ones. The #1 Tau protector player uses the Custodian though, so its not all that bad.

Having a couple of escorts in silent running and cease fire in the front lines helps a lot in some matchups or certain map layouts(Castellans still fire missiles if you order them to)

the protector build is an easy win for all brawling fleets, if you do the simple trick of keeping several braced ships together (the meta builds are all brawler / or semi-brawler like zapp-orks). I would really not rely on it. if you want to go protector tau, take kroot balls and shooty escort spam together with water caste. the custodian is a trash ship in 1v1, avoid it.

merchant tau have the only half-working 16 hangars build in the game with 4 BBs and I think 90 raw fleet dps railguns. the problem with ordnance is that after the novice level, everybody learns how to kite and kill it with massed turrets. you can only use them as a point-blank brawling tool or as a defensive tool to mitigate torp spreads. their fighters are great for map-scouting against stealth fleets too. keep your fighters on your BB as cover until you get dived (you only waste your charge against a competent opponent). switch to braced with the BBs, frontal ram against targets of opportunity (less HP, no ramming spur), drop your mantas on top of them, while their turrets still attack your defensive fighters. be stingy with emergency repairs, keep your morale ability available, keep your admiral as a reserve and focuse fire with most of your escorts in the second line (you can send some to back-cap, but most of the time it is better to keep your firepower together). take the repair and the 300dmg skill shot as your skills and the holo-shield boost and speed increase as your upgrades. the accuracy increase is not really worth it, because most of the time you will be forced to fight at 13.500 range and less.

last edited by Fosil

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