Merchant Fleet is awlful, change my mind.

Am I missing something here or what?
What is the point of playing the merchant fleet? They look like worse Protectors in pretty much everything.

The #1 merchant player plays a list that can be played as Protectors, but better. He just handicaps himself for fun I guess.

I get it they have more HP, but what use is that when they're so vulnerable to boarding and morale damage, especially the battleships.

Look at the Tolku, it has to fire from broadside but has an adaptive deflector at the front, like really?
You pay for that yet you will get very little use out of it.
The torps come out the front so you either do a high energy turn before launching them or risk hitting your own ships with it while the missiles are arcing towards the target.

The Vash'ya cruiser does way less dps, yet is more expensive, has 5 LESS troops and has the same problems as the Tolku

The light cruisers would be good if they were not so god damn slow.

The builds are awkward when compared to the Protectors, for comparison:
The Custodian build has 12 bays, the 5x Protectors has 10.

To match that as the Merchant Fleet you need at least 3x Vash'ya BS, and have some change to spare, but you have NO MISSILES AT ALL, which you know... actually kill things.
If you go 4x Vash'ya BS, you get 16 bays and no missiles, so you damage comes over a long period of time through bombing runs and 30 dps worth of escorts, which is a crippling weakness for a faction so slow and vulnerable to boarding and morale damage.

Let's not forget they get no Tau warfare either, which is HUGE.

tldr; Design is all over the place, the only thing they specialize in is being bad.

last edited by elfyy

They have good battleships and escorts. In particular, the Defender costs 35 points for 2.5 DPS and 2 torps. It is a very good escort. Wardens are also not bad due to the crit buff to lances. I suggest you play Merchant Tau very ord heavy with lots of escorts, otherwise you are right that Tau Prot does everything else better.

Their Cruisers are pretty much worse versions of Protector ones, so I just avoid them entirely. Using more than 1 Demiurg or Kroot is also pointless since Prot does that better. Don't play either Tau for max bays, their torps are generally more valuable but you still need some bays to screen for the torps. Tau bombers hit for 90 max dmg while most factions hit for 120, but your fighters are on par.

Overall they are probably a bit on the weak side, but not by much.

last edited by CowGoMoo

@cowgomoo That's the thing though, to get max torps, you're also going for max bays(or close) because the only ship with torps and no bays is the escort, so you're kind of forced to use the same playstyle as most Tau Protector fleets, but worse.

As for their guns, the advantage of broadsides is that you can hit with both sides at the same time with careful positioning, that means that most times you got to be real close, but then you lose cause your boarding is trash tier. That's the common theme with 90% of their ships, there is no solid game plan like other factions have, there is always a crippling weakness for everything "good" they have.
On top of that, Tau gun damage is awlful to begin with, so that's out the window as well.

Staying out of range is not a solid plan against anyone that want to get close to you because you're even slower than Protectors, which are already slow as hell.

last edited by elfyy

Except for the battleships and escorts I mentioned...

Some Merchant fleets i have ran before:

4x Bor'Kan 2x Defender = 8 bays, 34 torps
3x Bor'Kan 10x Defenders = 6 bays, 44 torps
3x Bor'Kan 1x Demiurg Fortress = 9 bays, 24/6 Torps
3x Vash'Ya 9x Defenders = 12 bays, 18 torps (90 DPS)

If you run a similar fleet with Prot, to match the ordnance, you will often get less DPS and have much less HP in comparison.

5x Protectors 5x Castellans = 10 bays, 35 torps, 62.5 DPS (10 Lance), 7k total HP (~83 armor).
3x Borkans 10x Defenders = 6 bays, 44 torps, 75 DPS (27 Lance), 13k HP (~67 armor).

There are just some stat differences, but there are many other things u could consider comparing fleets as well.

I just don't think its as bad as you make it out to be.

another example; a vashya BB list has 60dps macros with the line ships and only 3x6 less troops than 5x protector (3x54 line ship troops vs 3x60). your free escorts add 12 lance dps and 18 macro dps (and another 3x36 troops vs 3x20 from the castellans). you have 12k hp fleet-wide and 16 hangars. even if you use all your hangars only as anti-ordnance fighter cover, you beat the protector list pretty handily just by advancing towards them.

For me the main concern about Merchant is that their guns are splitted into so many arcs you can t focus anything (except for BB that can go front face like a Protector). Cruisers and LCs (slower than CR wtf?) have low dps outside ordnances and splitted into front/side and front-side

agreed, the terrible arcs on those ships is one reason why I never use them. The Cruiser line definitely could use some tweaks.

last edited by CowGoMoo

I think at the moment boarding and crit rates is any factions biggest problem. Once the devs fix crits etc. High HP pool ships will benifit alot.

Crit rate is not a big issue for Merchant running all BBs though... BBs ignore 80% of crits. Boarding and moral is bad for them i can agree to that.