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Fish 'ead's grande tau codex review!
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Old 01 Apr 2006, 16:46   #1 (permalink)
Shas'O
 
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Default Fish 'ead's grande tau codex review!

Right, well I've got my hands on the new codex, so I reckon its time to go through it unit by unit. For some units I've included my favourite gear combinations under the title "Fishy's picks"

Commander: These have got a whole hell of a lot more options than they used to. As before they have access to a whole truckload of weapon options, but the new wargear and special issue systems give the player a LOT more options. The debate between 'El and 'O has gotten a LOT more complicated due to the new targeting array. One popular option i've heard discussed lately is the "unkillable" commander. There are different takes on it, but shield generators, stimm injectors and an ejection system are usually involved. The only thing is, just like with the nid carnifex, its easy to go overboard and pay more points than you should for 1 model. For that reason the old "budget" commander is still a good option.

Fishy's picks:
-Shas'El with Plasma Rifle, Missile pod, targeting arrray and HW multi tracker-97pts
-Shas'O with Plasma Rifle, Missile Pod, Shield Generator and HW multi Tracker-132pts

Bodyguards: Good news! These guys are no longer just useful for cramming a few more suits into your army in large games. Since the new special issue gear is only available to Shas'vre and up, a tau player can create a very interesting unit with these guys. However, just like the commander its easy to go overboard, so watch those point totals. Overall I still think crisis suits are a better option, but these guys are are alot better than in the old book. Plus the new drone rules mean that they are actually more survivable, so those extra points are less likely to go to waste.

Fishy's pick:
2X bodyguards with Plasma Rifle, Missile pod, Targeting array, HW multi tracker. one has HW drone controller and 2 shield drones-194pts

Ethereal: To be honest this guy has taken a pretty hard hit in the new codex. The requirement for LoS to use his re-roll has made it a LOT easier to kill him. Necron Destroyers are probably the biggest threat to him nowadays. However there is still an upside and its called BS4 fire warriors! At the cost of a gun drone, these guys can dish out even more pain than a regular FW unit. The downside here is that the ethereal HAS to remain with the unit, making him an easier target for assaults. The new HTH bonus given to units if the ethereal bites the dust is frankly not very useful. Remember we're TAU, if things are going right, we're not gonna be doing much combat. Still it might be helpful for the battlesuits (especially stealths) as their str is actually high enough to do SOME damage in combat. Still if your ethereal dies, its not recommended to go running into combat just because you have a good chance to hit now.

Crisis suits: HOO-RAH! The new drone rules have made these guys a lot more survivable than they were in the old codex (with the 4th ed. FAQ in effect). The changes to their points cost and weapon costs can make your suits anywhere from a little cheaper, to a LOT cheaper, depending on how much you like plasma rifles. Im not gonna go into too much detail on weapon configurations, since thats been done alot, but suffice to say you can tool these guys up to do almost everything. Did I mention they can get BS4 now? Now you cant get a multi tracker with it, but if you're using a suit with twin linked weapons it could be a thing of beauty. Even with the new drone rules, dont expect them to stand up to the kind of firepower a terminator squad can, but at least they can actually risk spending a turn in sight without getting blown away.

Fishy's Picks:
-2 crisis suits with plasma rifle, missile pod, multi tracker. One upgraded to team leader with HW drone controller and 2 shield drones.-159pts for 2
-2 crisis suits with TL missile pods and targeting arrays. One upgrade to team leader, wih HW target lock and maybe HW drone controller with 2 shield drones 146pts with drones, 116 without

Stealthsuits: Even more drool-worthy than they were in the old book! Infiltrating melta weaponry is a good thing! Plus now that you can take support systems on them means that they can be even nastier than before. I reckon the Drone controller is probably the best support system option as it allows you to bulk out the squad and the targeter equipped stealths actually have the same kills-per-point ratio as non targeter ones. However, I personally think that the best value for points is in the basic "stock" stealths. If you start adding all kinds of toys to the stealths they get expensive real fast and I for one would rather have more guns to point at my opponent than fancy bling. Dont let this stop you from tyring out the new options. Just cause I'm a rather old-school commander doesnt mean you have to be As before the range is a lil short, but this is nicely made up for by their JSJ capability. Another interesting thing about stealths is that they are probably one of the better tau units in HTH. Now im not saying that you should throw them into combat, but that they actually have a chance at hurting lightly armoured units in combat if there aren't too many of them. Striking first helps...

Fishy's Picks:
-6xstealthsuits, stock equipment-180pts

Fire warriors: Ahhhh... The old staple of the tau codex. I mean seriously, who doesnt love a unit with the basic weapons we have. Not much has changed here, except that the new markerlight rules mean that carbine equipped units may be worth taking again. Oh, and did I mention that the whole unit can take them? Whether static or mobile, these guys are the heart ans soul of any tau army. Look around for any one of a number of articles on the famed "Fish of Fury" tactic

Kroot: Hurray! We can pursue people now! The removal of "eaters of the dead" (depsite it being a nice fluffy rule) is quite the boost for the kroot, especially against marines (who would just rally and rapid fire them to death). Krootox still arent that useful since they lost their enhanced T against non insta-death hits, but hounds are better than ever! Tau actually have a unit that can strike before marines now! And remember, these 2 options no longer take up an extra FoC slot.

Gun Drones: Ahh yes, these guys. Well rejoice, because their wierd morale rule is gone! I always liked to see the looks on people's faces when I used deep strike to mess with their firing line while they attacked me. Or pour firepower into their backsides as they ran toward my fire warriors. Remember, the pinning on the carbines can be enhanced by markerlights now. Dont let the low BS fool you, these guys are actually more accurate with their weapons than a fire warrior (non honour guard of course). Finally, who doesnt love JSJ weaponry for only a couple more pts than a FW

Pathfinders: Well, well, the new markerlights really have made these guys more popular, now have they? They still suffer from being fairly vulnerable, and can get quite expensive if you give them upgrades such as rail rifles, but overall I expect to see them much more often than I used to.

Vespid: Fast, fragile, but look out when they fire (especially with markerlights). I believe the secrey to these is combined arms tactics. If they team up with some infiltrating kroot, the vespids can fire at a marine unit, cause 3 or 4 casualties so the kroot can pummel them in assault. Guess what? That combat blocks LoS now! This can also be done with pirhanas and their drones, although the drones arent nearly as effective in combat as the kroot (though the image of drones repeatedly running into people is rather funny).

Pirhanas: One of the new Forgeworld vehciles that made it to the codex. These babies have impressive armour for what is essentially the tau's answer to the land speeder. Now they dont have very good range and dont have JSJ ability to make up for it like stealths, but they can actually pour out some decent firepower, especially when you factor in the drones. Also you might be able to catch an opponent by surprise by suddenly detatching the drones from the pirhanas and essentially create a fairly substantial new unit "out of nowhere". Remember though, detatched drones arent scoring units.

Broadsides: These guys are probably the best anti-tank unit we have. TL railguns make land raiders look like a tissue box. Also, these probably benefit the most from the new drone rules since a shield drone hanging out with them becomes almost as hard to kill as a terminator! These guys will probably attract a ton of fire, especially after they fire their big guns for the first time. Target locks are highly recommended here. Of special note is the new advanced stabilization system (A.S.S. for short). Now you have move and shoot broadsides! This can at the very least protect your unit from shooting if the enemy gets first turn, since you can simply walk up from behind terrain and still shoot. Also you may be able to use this ability to fire at a unit your enemy thought was safe and out of sight from your big guns.

Fishy's Pick:
2x braodsides. One with target lock, the other with drone controller and 2 shield drones

Hammerhead: Probably my favourite all-time tau unit! This bad boy is widely regarded as one of the best tanks in 40k. With the right upgrades they can move and fire ALL their weapons as well as become incredibly difficult to kill. Worth mentioning is the new Disruption pod. This baby can now protect you in case you cant find cover to hide it behind during setup, or if you get stunned. it doesnt work all the time, but its a nice cheap upgrade, so why not.

Fishy's Pick:
Hammerhead with Railgun, 2 burst cannons, multi tracker, target lock, decoy launchers and disruption pod.-175pts

Sniper Drones: A nice new unit. Railf rifle equiped drones and a markerlight equiped spotter. Take enough of these and you can lay down some serious anti MEQ fire. They also have stealth fields too which means that if your careful about thwere you deploy the enemy will rarely get to shoot at you! The only downside is that they are competing with Broadsides and Hammerheads for a heavy slot and those big railguns only come on those 2 units.

Skyray: An interesting unit to be sure! One of the few units left in 40k with limited ammo for its main weapon system. This tank really has some multi-role capability. It can be just as survivable as a hammerhead and give the tau army a legitimate indirect fire option. Now the logistics of this are a lil more complicated, but the fact of the matter is, its main weapon can be used from out of sight. However once those seeker missiles are gone, they're gone and the skyray loses a lot of its teeth. It still has its secondary weapons and those lovely markerlights though, so you could use it as a VERY tough marker platform. Its gonna be fun seeing how people use this. The biggest problem though, is that like the sniper drones, it competes for a heavy slot with hammerheads and broadsides.

Well thats it for now. I may do an update with an analysis of some of the weapons and wargear in the new codex soon, so keep your eyes peeled!
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Old 01 Apr 2006, 17:04   #2 (permalink)
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Default Re: Fish 'ead's grande tau codex review!

Looks wel thought out an useful. With the new Stealth we can now field an 18-model stealth unit! (drone controller and 2 drones as the support sustem for each suit) If all are Shield Drones the enemy'd have a heck of a time cutting through them all, especially with the stealth field.
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Old 01 Apr 2006, 17:05   #3 (permalink)
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Default Re: Fish 'ead's grande tau codex review!

nice review.i mostly read through the new stuff,piranhas and vespids and so on
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Old 01 Apr 2006, 17:06   #4 (permalink)
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Default Re: Fish 'ead's grande tau codex review!

Praise be to Fish Ead for another glorious review! ;D
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Old 01 Apr 2006, 17:16   #5 (permalink)
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Default Re: Fish 'ead's grande tau codex review!

Soem mod should give Fish here some karma for his hard work.
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Old 01 Apr 2006, 17:21   #6 (permalink)
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Default Re: Fish 'ead's grande tau codex review!

sweet article Fish Ead... It has proven quite useful
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Old 01 Apr 2006, 20:13   #7 (permalink)
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Default Re: Fish 'ead's grande tau codex review!

Nice summary. Too bad the actual proofing and editing in the new codex is so lousy - I'm amazed at all the mistakes, oddities, and oversights. Some of my favorites:
1) The Cyclonic Kaka Blaster - A roll of a "6" to wound gives you AP 1... regardless of the target's To? What does one have to do with the other? As written they've given us a weapon that will defeat terminator armor and little else. Oh wait, we already have plasma and it wounds on 2's. >
2) The sniper drone units combining to form a team... what is a team? Is that a unit? I can see fist-fights breaking out at tourney's over that one. :
3) Drones either have a LD of 7 or it's n/a.... does that mean they're fearless? Do they use my DF's LD? Oh wait... it's a vehicle and so doesn't make LD checks... that means neither do they.

Other rules oddities:
1) Disruption pods now basically do the same thing as moving your skimmer >6" except only 50% of the time... so you're paying extra points for something you might benefit from versus getting the same result 100% of the time for free. I can see those being real useful... :
2) What does the last line under "Landing Gear" mean? During the first turn you haven't moved yet anyways so what does it matter if you're landed or just sitting still? Either way an immobilized result yields the same thing.
3) Sensor spines are of really marginal value - in fact they're only slightly more useful than disruption pods.... hmmm, maybe I'll take both. Oh wait, once again I could just move my skimmer 6+" and be guaranteed the same result! At least you don't need to make dangerous terrain checks for those times you just HAVE to drive your DF through the forest. ^-^
4) What is the purpose of the ejection system? Somebody shoots your suit and kills it and you then replace it with a single wound model with no armor save and a pulse pistol? Oh boy, he'll last real long... They could have at least had him appear at the beginning of the tau player's next turn (e.g., he's still falling back to earth...). I guess they didn't realize that for 3 points less you could buy another FW instead. Cool idea, idiotic implementation. >
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Old 01 Apr 2006, 20:53   #8 (permalink)
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Default Re: Fish 'ead's grande tau codex review!

I think one of my favourite new things, is the change made to the Flechette Discharger. Now it's acyually useful against Assault armies, or players who would assault your vehicles to gain some extra movement.
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Old 02 Apr 2006, 04:36   #9 (permalink)
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Default Re: Fish 'ead's grande tau codex review!

Fish Ead,

Excellent review of the new codex. I would be interested to know what your Fishy Pick for a Stealthsuit unit would be?

Also, as a 'take on all comers' army, what would your initial Fishy pick be for the Heavy Support slots involved in a 1500 point army?

Still, a nice summing up of new codex units.
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Old 02 Apr 2006, 15:51   #10 (permalink)
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Default Re: Fish 'ead's grande tau codex review!

I added a Fishy's Pick for stealthsuits, but its nothing really special. In fact I left it out of the origional because of that. However, you asked for it so here it is. I personally think that the best value for points is in the basic "stock" stealths. If you start adding all kinds of toys to the stealths they get expensive real fast and I for one would rather have more guns to point at my opponent than fancy bling. Dont let this stop you from tyring out the new options. Just cause I'm a rather old-school commander doesnt mean you have to be (I think I'll add that section too)

As for my heavy support picks for a 1500pointer, I'd definately start off with either 2 hammerheads (especially if Im going mech) or a hammerhead and a broadside team. Heavy Support is the only place you can get those big railguns and in my experience, you'll need them. In 1500pts I would consider the other options once I'm comfortable with the number of railguns. I reckon my most like third choice would be the sniper drones as you can get a few of them fairly cheap and even 1 team can rack up a similar amount of MEQ kills as a plasma-toting crisis unit (outside rapid fire range of course).

I think I'll get started on a wargear review soon
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