friday 40k humor

friday 40k humor

Tuesday, April 9, 2013

A look at the Tau Codex Part 1: HQ

I found this review on the new Tau codex. While it has just come out the internet is a blaze with them. I pick up my codex tonight and am excited about it. But for you who want more info first here ya go. Enjoy!

original post by: Furstenburg on Dark Mechanicum.

In this brief series of posts I'll be having a look at the new Codex, now that I've had my hands on it for a few days. Feel free to commen t as it's always good to have other peoples opinions of units too.

I never played Tau in their first incarnation. I got back into 40k, after about a 15 year break, in my early 30's and the look of the Tau units meant they were the army for me. We all love Space Marines and I think every 40k player should have at least some, but I always loved the anime look of Tau Battlesuits and the rather Samurai look of the Firewarriors. I've always advised new players (and some existing ones!) to choose their armies based on looks, fluff and sometimes playstyle if you want to really enjoy playing games with them, not just thrashing other people off the table. It promotes emotional attachment to tiny painted soldiers and makes you really care about getting a good paint job on them.

Now I'll admit to it. I started to dislike playing Tau...The lack of variety in builds in the last couple of years has meant that I boxed them up for the 12 months or so and stuck them in the back of a cupboard or, as I now refer to it after reading the Tau fluff, placed them in stasis following the Second Sphere Expansion for when they would be needed again. I took to building a Space Marine army, because who doesn't like fanatic religious nutcases in Power Armour. Space Marines just had more variety...

But now we are back! The Third Sphere Expansion is underway and Hunter Cadre Spear of Destiny, led by the rather young Commander Warspite is needed!

When most well established codexes get updated they get a few new units. 'Newer' ranges like Necrons, got a total revamp when they got done at the end of 5th. Tau are odd...They seem to have only had a small number of additional units introduced, but the tweaks, wargear and new rules seem to have injected alot of life into the army, and as we have seen from stock issues, everyone wants in. The internal balance of the codex seems great. Gone are the overpriced units that are a waste of points (well, mainly...more later), and instead we have a codex full of units that all vie competitively with each other for inclusion in our lists. How the book balances externally, when compared to the other Codex releases of 6th, remains to be seen. I for one don't want tau to be the new Necrons, Grey Knights or Cheese Wolves of 6th...

Anyway enough waffle, on to the HQ choices!

I'll start off with the named characters as they appear in the army list..

Commander Farsight
I've always loved Farsight, although I think I've always loved his fluff more than his rules. Hence my army being painted in Farsight Enclave colours. I've never really used him, the restriction on FoC just didn't seem worth it. I had high hopes for him in 6th. I'm a little disappointed and I don't know why. He just seems a little off from the rest of the army.

At 165pts he's slightly cheaper than he was before, comes with a free Markerlight and BSF, as do all battlesuits, has the ability to take 7 bodyguards and automatically comes with the Warlord Trait 'Through Boldness, Victory', which means when he deep strikes he doesn't scatter.

With the new rules on Bodyguards automatically passing Look out Sir! rolls he has alot of extra wounds if you stick him in a large unit. But in my mind he wants to be in CC and they do not and a large unit of 7 Shas'vre Battlesuits is a huge point investment just waiting for Battle Cannons to target or Long Fangs to sink their teeth into. I can see him being used alot more for his precision deep strikes than for anything else and 165 points is quite alot to pay for this, especially with the increased number of units with Interceptor (Especially Railgun/TL Plasma equipped XV88s!). Although it does offer tactical flexibility and peace of mind when Deep Striking. Personally if I use him it will probably be with Assault Terminators, rather than having him attached to a Tau unit. Sticking 10 of them right behind my opponents lines, exactly where you want them, could cause havoc. Possibly with Farsight, I just expected a little too much as he is my favourite Tau character, fluff wise. I would however have liked him to have Eternal Warrior, as our one and only model to do so. It would have suited his long-living backstory.

Commander Shadowsun
Shadowsun on the other hand I was never a fan of. Maybe it's because she's the Tau Luke Skywalker to Farsights rebellious Han Solo. In the previous codex her rules just didn't work. She was 175pts with a shield system that required her to be as far away as possible and fusion blasters that meant she had to be within 12". Even jumping back the full 6" to 18" meant your opponent only needed to roll 6 on 2d6 to see her, and with 3 drones she wasn't easy to hide.

Shes had a massive overhaul in 6th. 4 points cheaper, before drones, with a host of special rules that make her a much more versatile (in my opinion) special character option than Farsight. She gets Stealth, Shrouded and Infiltrate, all of which are transferable to the unit she joins, along with a 3+/5++ save, 3d6 jet pack move, 5+ precision fire with 18" Fusion blasters and stealth suits automatically pass Look out Sir! rolls if she is in a unit.

Her new rules are going to make for some interesting combinations. Once again terminators spring to mind, either shooty or assault, granting them infiltrate and with a +3 Cover Save, or Sternguard. Slap them on an objective before the game even starts and force your opponent to deal with them while your army moves up. Or put her with a Broadside team, simply so you can place them after your opponent puts down his whole army and boosting their cover. Her Infiltrate ability also means there's outflanking Shinnanigans to be had, especially when combined with Positional Relays. Like Farsight she gives the opportunity to put a nasty unit on your opponents flank or rear, forcing them to change whatever strategy was in their head and giving you tactical options. There are disadvantages and advantages to both entry methods. Neither can assault on arrival, Deep Strike isn't restricted to a board edge like Infiltrate, but Infiltrate isn't restricted to bringing on a tight cluster of models ready for pie-plating. All in all she opens up new things to do and try out and is a much better character than she was before. At 135 points she is well worth the cost.

This Ethereal is weird, he can stand up to high AP weaponry no problem, but not being an independent character and having that strange shield he is just asking to be torrented to death, and although his guard may be decent in CC, against any dedicated CC unit they are going to get minced...Quickly...

At 100 pts he's half the price he was previously and gets some nice abilities. he can use 2 Invocations (more later), grants an excellent Morale buff to all Tau Codex units, although they can only re-roll failed, not all, and he has this strange shield that equals the AP of a weapon. He even automatically passes the save from AP1 hits.

Unfortunately being Very Bulky and not being an IC he's going to need hiding somewhere. None of his abilities are ranged, hes going to get shot at alot otherwise and hes worth 2 Victory points. If you are using him though you are always going to have a fluctuating save, based on AP, and a 6+ FNP from Invocation. I can just see him getting Barraged indirectly alot though for the VPs attacked by a deep striking unit.

This HQ choice, seems to me, to be massively overcosted. His Blademaster ability is average at best and is mainly going to be used to boost his save and keep him alive alot in Challenges.

Coming in at a whopping 110pts Aun'Shi comes with Photon and EMP grenades, a Shield Generator and the ability to choose between re-roll saves or rending when in a challenge, which if he's going to be in CC you are going to want all the time. he also gets the usual rules for Ethereals, but at 60pts extra I really can't see him as being worth it. I know alot of people were wishing for his return in this codex, but I cant see many taking him for anything other than nostalgia. Even an Autarch is better in CC than this guy (sorry panzermonkey), and they usually don't last long. Also being 2VPs he could put you on the backfoot in a VP race fairly quickly if someone gets into CC and Challenges him. Aun'Shi, unfortunately, is my least favourite of the new HQ choices.

I like this guy although I'm not sure why it stresses he has Scouts and Outflank. Scouts allows you to outflank anyway.

For 100pts you get a BS5 pathfinder with Blacksun filter. He also allow the unit he is with to consolidate move after overwatch and enemy units are at -1T from his and his units shooting. Fairly nifty if you ask me.

I like the idea of sitting him in the middle of 3 Firewarrior gunline units. Whenever one looks to be in danger of being charged he can move units so they get the consolidate move. His -1T means that Firewarriors become that bit more dangerous against any target, Tyranid MCs down to T5? or SM Bikes down to 4? With other buffs from the Tau army such as increased BS or Ignore Cover this could go a long way. Unfortunately he's got some stiff competition in the HQ slots..

Wow...These guys have come on alot. In the previous edition I used my Ethereal as an Objective Marker. In one tournament in Wexford I was praised for my balls of steel as a passing player noticed my Ethereal out in the middle of the table on his own. That's how shit they were...

Their cost is unchanged, at 50pts. Their stat line is as rubbish as ever and with no access (other than drones) to a save and he gives up 2VPs when killed. Ouch. Models within 12" use his Ld10. But its the Invocation of Elements that makes these guys stand out. For an entire turn they give a 12" buff with one of the following effects. Calm of Tides: Grant Stubborn, Storm of Fire: all pulse weapons get an extra shot under half range, Sense of Stone: FNP 6+ or Zephyr's grace:fire snap shots while after running.

Of all these, in an army that discourages being charged, and quite frankly doesn't want to be, this is huge. Firewarrior units within 12" of the Ethereal are now firing 3 shots up to 15". If, or rather when, I field one of these he's going straight into a Devilfish. It doesn't say he can't use the ability when embarked on a transport. Not just for the extra protection, but also it will allow you to measure the buff range from the rather large hull of the transport. Stick him behind your gunline and give them all a crappy FNP save at the start of the game and then an extra shot once opponents close.

Cadre Fireblade
I was excited about the rumours for these guys. I just wish they had been 1-2 or 1-3 per HQ slot. I would have even been happy with them being 1-2 wounds. they could have been attached out to units where needed then, but restricted to Firewarriors and Pathfinders, like Darkstrider.

For 60pts you get a 3 wound BS5 firewarrior with Ld9 and a Markerlight, not networked unfortunately, which would have been nice. He can also take 2 drones. If nobody in his unit moved he grants +1 shot to Pulse Rifles and Pulse Carbines. If you stick him in a gunline and your opponent has the option to shoot at 2-3 firewarrior units his is going to get targetted first...

Aahhh...The tau Commander..The epitome of ranged weapon shooting. These guys only come in one variety now, due to the increased number of HQ choices I assume, and they resemble the Shas'O of old.

They are now 10pts more expensive than they used to be but get their free battlesuit systems. They get to take 2 Drones. Now the big one. They can take 4 items from the Ranged Weapon and Support Systems...4!... and take items from Signature Systems...

Pretty much every Commander is going to have the new Iridium armour and Puretide Engram Neurochip as standard, making them 125pts before weapons and a host of special rules to choose from each turn. Expect to be paying 160+ for these guys, but they're worth it. With the large array of systems that Commanders can take you can expect to see a large variety of combinations and tactics on the battlefield with them getting 5+ precision strikes, hit and run, fleet, skyfire, interceptor etc. We will also be seeing alot of Commanders huddled in a flock of drones, with a Drone Controller giving all drones in the unit BS5. The Engram Neurochip will be extremely useful for a commander in a unit of Broadsides, granting them unit Tank Hunter or Monster Hunter for their shooting. And I haven't even begun to think yet about how he will fit into SM allies. The Commander is going to be one of the most versatile HQ choices out there and is going to have a large number of uses.

XV8 Crisis Bodyguard Team
Other than a points reduction and extra attack over +1I (yay!) these guys haven't changed much.

Each model can take 2 drones, Signature Systems and 3 items from the Ranged Weapon and Support System lists. If with a character with the IC rule (not specified Tau Codex!) joins them it automatically passes Look out Sir! rolls. Unlike the previous codex it isn't stated that they have to be deployed with, and stay with, a Tau Commander. The unit is probably a place for an Ethereal deployed behind Firewarriors as they can provide ranged support with TL Missile Pods and Supporting Fire with flamers...

I'm sure people will mathhammer it to death (like always) and refine it down to one build but for the moment these guys can be used for a variety of roles and will be used more than they were in the past. Its just a pity they don't have access to the Target Array to boost their BS anymore, but there's plenty of more options for that in the new book.

So that's the end of this first part of a look into the new Tau Codex. Next up is a look at all the Wargear options, including Drones, before we get stuck into the FoC proper.
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