Ultimate Apocalypse Build Order: Tau Empire

It’s been a long time since I wrote one of these, but I know the others I published years ago are long irrelevant due to many many patches since they were written. The newest version of UA at the time of this post is the one we will be focusing on. THB.

So Tau have long been my favorite faction because I like the units and build order plus the melee to ranged ratio is very nice in my opinion. I have a preference to play them, but against the Hard and Harder AIs I have a little trouble, or, had. I have since implemented a new build order which maximizes the potential for success while limiting the vulnerability to the rush. Orks and IG will hit hard and within the first five minutes so it is important to have a strat that compensates.

The goal of the strat is to balance tech with unit production and timely units as well. Transition to vehicles quickly. Backloads armies with elite ranged.

I still think there’s no defense to an Ork rush, but every other faction can fall victim to this sequence.

Within the first few minutes:

Go barracks (ranged) then as many requisition nodes as possible until 4 – 5 are capped and listening posts are built. Then hit the first two power plants to quickly go tier 2. While all of that is going on. you need a commander and 1 melee or ranged squad (whichever is better). The military units should come out of the barracks not HQ building. These steps are core to any future build order because they enable fast leveling for the commander unit.

As Tau, I choose the ranged commander, the XV22 and a squad of Fire Warriors. Keep them together at some central point so they can act on intrusions. I also get a Kroot Alpha squad out and hold the next front with them. I need to get to tier 2 very fast. I’ll back up a second squad of FW and max out their squad size.

Next is a mad dash to tier 3. Try to build some Hounds out to beef up a unit presence and I will drop a Devilfish or two since the AI will have vehicles at this point as well. I stay away from the Skyrays since they don’t really mature as decent artillery until tier 3. So I do the best I can to hold ground until I get to both types of tier 3 that the Tau have (melee and ranged). I crank on tier 3 units and the new commanders/squads. I The secondary ranged commander and the command squad for ranged are good enough to hold a front by themselves with limited interaction from units and vehicles. They pack quite a punch once the base-level is up above 5.

Also, get that Ethereal out as soon as possible and flip on the create bodyguards function on all the time. Set the Ethereal somewhere where it isn’t in immediate peril and let it keep popping out free Fire Warriors in the backline somewhere. Those three unit squads pack a hefty punch, can capture nodes and are reinforceable if they lose members.

I get the Kroot Commander out on that massive beast and just let him tank the shit out of any melee that is happening on the battlefield. The Kroot Alphas are usually pretty strong by then too, and I do make sure to have them cannibalize as much as possible along the way so they end up with some late game relevance. The final push should be made when the commanders are all at max level. I typically go to production increases when it comes to the passive upgrades.

Barracudas are good at holding the sky and pummeling vehicles which is needed in my infantry-heavy approach. Since Knarloc Riders count as vehicles I’d say 50/50.

All along the way, I buy my technologies once the units I need are in play. I work on making them stronger only after I have secured some ground. I’ll spend up-front money on units and then make them stronger as they are in play, hopefully creating an instantaneous advantage. I think this start works, with the 4 or 5 requisition nodes first thing and then tiering up as fast as possible. The command units can hold ground for the most part, and I’ll combine the Kroot Alphas and the XV22 if I need to in order to hold a point. I value the Tau since they have multiple ways of countering.

ECONOMY UPGRADES YES: As soon as they are available since nodes and generators have limited yields. Get the economy upgrades to power your push and maximize your resources. Decay is based on time.

Try that and see if it works for you. A real hardcoire Ork rusher will still kill you. There’s no stopping an Ork rush. I’ve decided.

Edain 4.4

A friend at work inspired me to start gaming, so I patched up to 4.4. Imladris I have yet to fully comprehend, but I’m getting there. However the one thing I did notice since the patch is a significant increase in AI difficulty for Brutal and Hard. So significant that I can’t beat Brutal in maps I already beat on Brutal. I look at the aftergame data and something really sticks out. Right from the get go, I spend most of my resources on buildings, and my line plummets. AI on the other hand, starts gaining resources right from the get go, steadily increasing. Source unknown. But he doesn’t spend resources until a few minutes in. What this looks like on the receiving end is approximately 500% more units than I have to defend with. Overwhelming sums of low level battalions, escalating rapidly. It’s probably possible to develop a fast turtle strategy to defend against it, but that poses the question: why play the AI? It aught to be that the AI behaves like a human player and has a few different strategies to employ. It’s not realistic that a human player can come up with as many units as the Brutal AI can. Why practice defending yourself from something you are not likely to face in a multiplayer setting? 

Medium however, has a much more realistic chart. Medium has to spend the first thousand and work on getting it back with resource buildings. That I like. So I started playing Medium and had some great games. 

I had one game where silverthorns and Ents were the crushing blow. Those hero battalions for Lothlorien are deadly. There was another where Rohan farmhands and heroes swarmed over everything. The one faction I can’t seem to get a hold of is Gondor. I love them, but I can’t win with them. I can’t figure out what I’m doing wrong. I’m dead long before I get to hero battalions, or sequestered in my base waiting to die. My early and mid game strategies are lacking. I need to rethink the whole thing. Hero first approach doesn’t work because of Boromir’s cost, and Beregond doesn’t last long for the 1000 he costs. No, no, I need to rethink the way I use Gondor. We shall see what comes of it. 

I’m eagerly awaiting 4.5, as the final race will be added: Misty Mountains. Or Goblins. They haven’t decided, I think. It’s actually a tad overdue already. It makes me wonder what they are toiling over. Is it the unique mechanics of the race? Or are there any? Many questions. But we only need 1 more and then Edain is complete. It was a long time ago that Edain first came out. Several years. But well worth the wait. Gameplay is fantastic, graphically stunning, ingenuous mechanics, ample unique races to fit every style, I could go on. Point being, they’ve worked hard on providing a genuinely fantastic product. It is classy and polished. EA better take note of how the professionals handle things. 

I’m going to update the RTS preferences right after I post this. It’s time. 

Click

Score: +2.5

It took me a while to clear the cobwebs this morning. I did party pretty hard Sunday. One coffee proved to not be enough. 

I’m doing fine. I just had a really slow start today, and my shift seemed to drag on at times. I did manage to hang in there, despite increasing desires to flee. It’s really hard Monday morning. Gets easier from there. 

I’ve been gaming and looking after my fantasy teams. Things are going well. I’m working my way through the map list in Edain with the AI on brutal. I’m stuck on a map that seems ludicrously stacked against me. Not sure how to win on that one. I’m going to the post season in both leagues again this year. I have the lead in one two-week game. The farther I lead the more secure my next week. Gotta win four games in a row to be a champion. 

Amanda is still having a hard time. She didn’t go in today, and may not go in tomorrow. She’s missed almost two weeks. It’s a bummer to see her suffering so badly. If it’s not one thing it’s another. She’s been through hell, and deserves a break. I feel like winter is going to be tough on her. More so than most. I wish I could take her pain away. 

Well blog, I’ve got no complaints. My life is a marshmallow; warm, soft and inviting. I’ve got to keep doing my job, and putting my feet in front of each other every day. 

Things

Score: +3

9.5 hours is best spent busy, so that minutes do not agonize forward at an insufficient speed. I’m much better off that way. Boredom is frustrating. 

I think things are going well. I have no complaints about the way my life is going. My energy has been ok. I avoid smoking after 4:00 pm or so on weekdays. I’ve found that it’s significantly harder to get up and go the next morning. I need allies during those first few moments of awareness, not enemies. If I get to sleep in I say fuck it and smoke till I pass out. This is a gross exaggeration of the facts. 

I’ve gotten back into Edain now that a couple new factions have been patched (Dwarves and Lothlorien). I really like the elves. Getting to silverthorn arrows quickly is key to victory. They have no cavalry, which I am pleased with, and three different types of archer. The top tier one is gross. They knockback cavalry before they can be trampled. It’s fun to watch. Dwarves I’m still figuring out. I don’t like MMing battlewagons. It’s irritating.

I worked my way through the entire 1 v 1 map list with the AI set on hard, and I’m starting from the top with it set for brutal. I have won five games, but I’m stuck on Brandywine. Brutal gets after you pretty fast. They just dial up the flow and hope they can smother you in bottom tier units. I’ve found victory in holing off my destruction long enough to get elite units out in devastating quantities. I won most with Gondor/Arnor. 

I have been trying to keep myself entertained so that I don’t slide. I’m afraid of my mood dipping because of my circumstances and depreciating energy levels. I’m doing the best I can to stay proactive. Games help. They allow me to develop a plan and fund its creation. RTS is truly my genre for this reason. And to have one so deeply entrenched in a fantasy universe that I adore? Perfection. And the game is only getting better as time goes on, with Angmar waiting in the wings to be released soon. 

Will is just now getting back into WoW. I’m kinda over it for the time being. I did a lot of work in that game. I leveled my professions to max, and then dropped one, and leveled the new one to max. I’m not in to never ending RPG right now. Not the right kind of thinking involved. I need something more encompassing and grandiose. 

Well, anyway. I have to work tomorrow. But I get the rest of the month off. I get an extra hour of sleep. At least. 

Sickies

Score: +2.5

I was out all day yesterday and only worked a half day today. I was in a blurry tired place all day. My head has been pounding, my throat is scratchy and I’ve been sneezing/coughing constantly. I have now run out of sick leave. Sadly. 

But I think I really needed the break. My energy has been in the crapper. I slogged through four hours today and barely held it together. Amanda and I both are fighting something off. She stayed home today too. I intend on an early bedtime, with some much needed battery recharging. 

Other than the illness, things have been fine. Amanda and I are having fun on our mine craft server. Though recently I died and lost everything I had saved up: diamond tools, ender pearls, tons of food and arrows… all because a creeper got through the portal and detonated as soon as I came through, casting me into lava where I perished rapidly. It sucked. The nether is one horrible burning hell dimension with scores of bad things aiming to kill you. I went back shortly after losing all 37 of my levels and died right away to a horde of pig zombies on a futile mining mission. I have not been back there since. I have, instead, expanded my mineshaft to great lengths, so much so that a cart will almost certainly be needed to get in and out of it because the walking distance is insane. 

I’m tired. There’s a football game on tonight, but I probably won’t watch much of it. 

Busy

Score: +3

I am striding forward this week, and today was largely positive. It was crazy busy again, and I had a period of about 10 minutes where I was caught up on tickets. I took 3 incoming phone calls in my “down-time” and then my queue was full again. It was busy. Time really did zoom by though. 

It rained today and was about 85 degrees, making it a monsoonal type event. Yuck. But my truck got all the dirt knocked off it. 

Amanda and I are really enjoying this week so far. We just sat down and had a productive session in our Minecraft server. We built a portal to the Nether, but I’m afraid to go through it. Last time I went to the nether a Ghast set me on fire and I died. I have 37 levels and it would be sad to lose most of them in the domain of chaos. We also built a powered rail for our mine cart so it can haul things up to the house rapidly. We are having fun building our little empire. 

Things are stable again. I’m doing really well. I can’t complain. 

Flaming Death March

Score: +2

Today capped what has been a very difficult week. I did not bring much energy to it and I suffered almost every agonizing minute like it was a minor eternity. Today was the hardest day of the four, as I spent the first full 4 hours of my  shift in a dream-like haze. I drank my coffee, and then another… no measurable change. I pondered escaping yet again but decided that I would push myself through regardless. I was in turmoil, grinding away my energy and polluting the mind with depressed thoughts. Music was impacting be in a largely negative way, which is a sign that I am symptomatic. So today was hard. 

I entertained myself with thoughts of going home, and being with Amanda. I wanted to sit with her and just relax. We got on to our dedicated Minecraft server and traveled two continents over and left the snowy land far behind. We traveled the ocean and found some desert islands but found no food there, so we continued to sail west. We crossed an even larger ocean expanse and found a forested continent with an abundance of food. It was home. This is what I enjoy about Minecraft: the map is never-ending. As limitless as the imagination. Albeit, there are only so many terrain variations and textures…

I’m thinking my mental health has deteriorated over this week. Not sure what the culprit is, but I certainly know it’s happening. I need to hunker-down this next week and get back into a healthy pattern, I’ve been over-eating lately. Part of that is that I’ve been too tired to cook much, and it’s been so hot that turning the oven I was an ill-advised maneuver. But I can do better. I’ve lost so much weight that I’d like to be able to have it stay lost. 

Things could be better in my brain. But this weekend is just what I need. I will sleep in tomorrow and have a relaxing day, aside from taking care of my responsibilities. Sunday is the first full slate of NFL games, which I have been looking forward to immensely. It’s going to be a lot of fun this year. And I mean to have fun, not necessarily for any outcome. Whatever happens, happens. I’m not raising my expectations like I did last year. 

Goodnight blog.