friday 40k humor

friday 40k humor

Saturday, April 13, 2013

A look at the Tau Codex Part 4: Fast Attack

original post: The Dark Mechanicum

In Part 3 I'm going to have a look into the Fast Attack section of the FoC.

Fast attack has the most number of choices for those slots, other than HQ, with 6 in total. 4 were in the old codex and 2, the flyers, are new to this book.

Pathfinder Team
These guys were both brilliant and crap in the old codex. Their moderately long range of 36" meant that they could sit back in cover and use Markerlights to aid the rest of the armies shooting. Unfortunately their T3 and crappy leadership often meant they were butchered fairly early in the game, forcing your army to rely on its BS3, as opponents learnt to hate them and target them first. So whats changed?

They went down by a point to 11 and, like the Firewarrior, now come with photon grenades as standard. They also lost a point of armour save to 5+ and their carbine became assault 2. They come in units of 4 and can be upped to 10, 2 more than previously. There's a lot of options for them to take if wanted. Up to three models can change their carbines and markerlights with Ion rifles for 10pts (S7 AP4 Rapid Fire - Overcharge S8 AP4 Heavy 1Blast Gets Hot!) or Rail rifles for 15pts (S6 AP1 Rapid fire). Like the firewarriors its 2pts a model for EMP grenades. they can take a Recon Drone (When embarked on a Devilfish it gets homing beacon and positional relay), with burst cannon, for 28pts, A grav-inhibitor Drone (slows a charging opponent by D3") for 15pts and a Pulse-Accelerator Drone (Increase range of Pulse weapons by 6") for 15pts. A Shas'ui can be taken with ld8 and he can take drones and blacksun filter. they can also take a devilfish.

So lets go through that again without the jargon. they now have photon grenades. As mentioned in the Firewarrior post this isn't necessarily a good thing, unlike units getting frag grenades as standard. their armour is now 5+ so they die even faster than before. Their carbine is assault 2, but these guys should really be firing markerlights for the rest of the army, otherwise you may as well give Firewarriors carbines. They come in units of up to 10. So basically they last a bit longer on the field, needing 3 deaths to force a rout check, but they die much faster now as their armour is worse. 

They can take up to 3 heavy weapons...Hmmm...I'm just not sure about this. Pathfinders have a crappy BS of 3 and you want as many markerlight hits on an enemy unit instead to boost the killy stuff. 5 potential markerlight hits is much better than 3.5. The rest of your army then do the killing. This isn't normally what you buy Pathfinders for. They can take EMP grenades. If you feel like you want to be getting close and personal to vehicles with these guys then by all means spend 20pts for every 10 man unit. Otherwise dont buy these. Your pathfinders should be behind any gunline you have if you are using them for markerlights. 

They get a recon drone? What does this do for 28pts? If you embark the entire unit (unless I'm missing something somewhere) onto a Devilfish it allows you to outflank more easily, if against an edge, and it becomes a homing beacon for deep strike. About the only use I can see for this is bringing your Pathfinder in on a flank close to your opponents edge and then using it to guide other reserves in. This would have been great with the old wargear that allowed you to bring on 1 reserve on a 1+ a turn. but that's gone. This tactic would require you to A. get the Devilfish and Pathfinders on first and B. get any other units on in subsequent turns. Seems like a bit of a waste of time to me when your pathfinders should be lighting targets up for shooting. I cant see myself taking one of these drones, although it does look nice nestled in a Devilfish. Grav-Inhibitor Drone. This seems like another one that is a waste of points, as does the Pulse Accelerator Drone. If you want to be shooting Pulse weapons out to 24" then buy firewarriors. They're cheaper. Pathfinders are there to act as your main source of Markerlights. I cant stress that enough. This drone would be amazing if you could take it in Firewarrior units. I'd be taking one in every unit. But you can't..

I'm going to field Pathfinders, and I'm probably going to try 2 units of 10, with Shas'ui, for a while. They will probably be taken with no upgrades other than a BSF for the Shas'ui, making them a fairly cheap 121pts. All the bells and whistles on them soon rack up the points and to be honest, I don't think they are worth it. Those ion and Rail rifles would have been much better off in Firewarrior units, even if only 1 could be taken.

Vespid Stingwings
Aahh the pariah of the tau. Loved by many but forever crappy. They are now 18pts each (hold on they went up?) with 4-12 in a unit and are jump infantry. Their weapons are 18" S5 AP3 and they have a 4+ save, are T4 with the fleet, hit and run, move through cover and stealth (ruins rule). Now that seems not bad you might say. For the price of a tactical squad (well..226 with leader, see below) you get a highly mobile unit with a MEQ killer weapon that gets a 4+ cover in ruins (the most common type of terrain in our games). However they are Ld6...and it costs 10pts to upgrade a sergeant to Ld9. One precision shot later and they are back to Ld6.

On average these guys are going to kill 4 marines a turn in the open, more if boosted with markerlights, which they couldn't use before. And they may even last a while against return fire. For quite a bit cheaper though your Elite choices are doing as good if not better job for cheaper. They cost as much as a kitted out Riptide after all. The 6" range boost and +1 armour is a big deal for Vespids and I'm going to try them out at least once. I think once opponents realize their rather fragile nature compared to points they aren't going to last long though. Also there's other units in the Fast Attack FoC that are probably worth the points much much more.

Drone Squadron
No I didn't mean these. First off the main problem for me is you are paying 14 points for an infantry model that cant score or deny objectives and you want to be able to spend points on things that can.

You have the choice of taking Marker Drones, Shield Drones and Gun Drones and there can be up to 12 in a Squadron in any numbers. We have already spoken about the different drones so I'm not going to go into more detail. About the only use I can see for this unit is as a large bodyguard for a Drone Controller equipped Commander, granting the entire unit BS5, which is great. It would fire out 24 18" S5 shots with BS5. Plus the Commanders shooting. All you would need is 2 markerlight hits for Ignores Cover. I can't see myself using this much. I like my Commander and want him elsewhere in the army doing things. Or you could give the Commander the Multi-Spectrum Sensor Suite and have him do nothing if you really need to get rid of cover. they could also benefit from the Puretide Engram Neurochip to be transport and monster hunters, but missile pos XV88s are probably better, if more expensive. 

The Piranha itself has changed very little in this edition. Its the same AV and equipment. but it's the little things that make this brilliant. It's dropped in price to a measly 40pts and units up to 5. With the increase to burst cannons this means you now get 8 shots per piranha, or 40 18" S5 shots for 200pts, on something that cant be killed by basic infantry weapons and has a 5+ save if it moves, which it should always be doing. Now this is the main reason not to take Vespids. Boost them with markerlights and you will be scything down infantry. Or you can drop a 10 Drone Gun Squadron on your enemies flank. The Fusion blaster is now 10pts and with no target array to boost BS to 4, but even so you now get 4 with Fusion blasters for the price of 3 before. Vehicles are a bit more thin on the ground in 6th though and Broadsides and Crisis Suits probably do the same thing but better. You still need to be within 9" for melta to kick in and anything that gets out of a destroyed transport is going to be well in charge range. In my opinion these have changed from a blocking anti-vehicle role in 5th to an anti-infantry role in the new Codex. Still I'll be trying them as both to see how they work out.

Sun Shark Bomber
There's alot of tau flyer sentiments out there at the minute. The problem is people are comparing all these 6th flyers to the overpowered ones we are dragging with us from 5th. It seems GW doesn't want flyers to be like that and are reining them in, but obviously there's the Helldrake anomaly.

This flyer has the same armour as a Piranha, but with 3 Hullpoints and costs 160pts. It comes with a pulse bomb generator, which drops S5 AP5 large blast bombs once a turn. On a 1 no more bombs can be dropped afterwards. It also has missile pods that can be Twin linked for 5pts, a networked markerlight and 2 seeker missiles. It also comes with 2 Interceptor Drones, which are almost its main armament. they can disembark anywhere along its move, have interceptor and skyfire and come with TL Ion rifles (See pathfinder description above). Not bad but I can see me rolling 1's on the pulse bombs way too often early on. Having crappy armour you would pretty much always have to buy Decoy launchers for the 4++ vs Interceptor, or they will get shot down before you do anything. At the moment i can't see me taking one of these. The meta is so flyer orientated and to overcompensate lists are fielding large amounts of anti-air units, which means they aren't going to last long and probably cost 168pts. Once GW does a nerfing job on all the OP flyers, as they will eventually (when sales drop), anti-air units will decrease and this might be worth giving a try.

Razorshark Fighter
This is the Tau's main fighter according to the fluff in the book (Wheres the Barracuda). like the Sun Shark its got light armour, although I'm expecting all flyers to be reduced to AV11 maximum. for 145pts it comes with a burst cannon, which can be changed for missile pod or 5pts (recommended) and a Quad Ion Turret (30" S7 AP4 Heavy 4. Overcharge S8 AP4 Heavy 1 Gets Hot! Large Blast). In a way this is a better bomber than the Sun Shark. On a 1 it just takes a HP and can fire again next turn, with a much more dangerous blast and range. Of course the Sun Shark also has 2 small blasts from the drones, but for me I can see me taking this over the bomber. With the missile pods it gets 6 S7 AP4 shots, making it decent against flyers too, although unlike the Interceptor Drones it doesn't have the Interceptor rule or twin linked. It is however BS3 instead of BS2. With missile pod and decoy launcher this is likely to cost you 153pts and from now on I'll probably be fielding one occasionally. Its a pity it can't be accompanied by a Stormtalon when allied, but they are in different detachments.

So that wraps up the look at Fast Attack slots. I'll be trying to field 2 pathfinder units and Piranhas/Razorshark initially, before deciding on what I want to eventually settle on.

For the last installment I'll be looking at the very popular Heavy Support slot.

Posted by Furstenburg
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