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The xv9 and what it means for the future of tau empire and its players
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Old 12 Jun 2010, 17:15   #1 (permalink)
Kroot Warrior
 
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Default The xv9 and what it means for the future of tau empire and its players

I can recall back when the tau codex first dropped in 3rd ed. I was in seventh-grade at the time and i had less than a year of table-top gaming experience. In those days I was still slowly cultivating my very first army (orks), and the idea of games workshop releasing a whole new army was not something that peaked my attention in any particular way. I had a good number of friends who were also just testing the water that was warhammer 40k, and between the seven of us, we had just about every army covered by one player. So when the new codex came out another friend of mine wanted to get into the game, but didn't want to play the same army as someone else or play sisters of battle, so it seemed a no-brainer that he pick up the tau. His interest in the game didn't last long, but him purchasing the codex gave me the opportunity to read through it, and i was sold almost immediately.

It wasn't the actual look of the models that did it for me, in fact, early on i was not a big fan of the battlesuit design. Instead it was the idea's behind the fluff. They were different, they weren't some massive superstitious empire that purged all that they came across, nor were they some faceless alien menace. They were a force that fought for unity, there practices were guided by reason, not hate. They were just to cool not to get into.

Fast-forward almost 9 years and about 7000pts of tau empire later and you come to today. Back in those days playing tau meant playing a unique and exciting army, but now things have changed quite considerably. The niche that tau once triumphantly held alone has long since been filled with other more effective shooty armies. Tau have been left in the dust, so to speak, that is 5th edition. This post isn't meant to go into all the gameplay reasons that tau are an underpowered army, at this point anyone reading this post is fully aware of our armies numerous weak-points. Instead, this is a post of hope for the future.

Just yesterday i received the three xv9 hazard battlesuits that i ordered from forge-world, and in about 4 hours i had all three built up and ready for action. I must say that when i first saw them on the website i was skeptical. I have long since grown accustomed to the blocky-looking design of the xv8 suits, and when i saw what a large departure these new suits were from that i wasn't to keen to pick them up. However, when i got to glance at the rules for these puppies i changed my mind. Not because i thought they were some serious all-star unit, but because of what they represented.

For some years now our army has gone without so much as a glance from the GW creative team, no updates (aside from the supplement stuff, apoc, battle missions, etc), no new models, no nothing. It was very depressing and i couldn't help but start to feel that maybe they had really given up on my beloved tau, and never again would they be a force to be rightfully feared on the table top. But these rules changed that. They provided clarification that our multi-tracker upgrade is still viable, as well as giving us a fun new mechanic to use the otherwise worthless VRT upgrade. If anything, this bit of effort that the folks over at forgeworld (who if i'm not mistaken report directly to the folks at GW) put into the tau race shows that they aren't giving up on them. This release has given me hope that there may well be a future for the tau.

All that being said, now that i have built the xv9s i see how wrong i was about their appearance. The models look FANTASTIC! They take the design concepts of the tau's clean lines and graceful curves to a whole new level of awesomeness. I can really imagine these guys moving and fighting on the battlefield, unlike the xv8s which always seemed a bit blocky and awkward. And being fully poseable means the xv9's have some potential for some really dynamic and altogether bad-ass looking poses. Quite frankly these things make my xv8's look like a bunch of clunky-little-losers. Seeing these three suits standing on the display shelf in front of the rest of my army suddenly makes all the tau behind them seem outdated and behind the curve. I can only feel that what i am looking at is the future of the tau empire. I'm getting hopeful images in my mind of a future mass tau release featuring plastic kits for xv9's and the new xv6's that i've read rumors about. It's a very exciting prospect and i think that within the next year or so, once games workshop gets around to it, we tau players will see a very exciting revamp to the army that we play.

Among the tau players i know at my local game store there is pretty universal consensus on the fact that we play an army that is outdated and gimped. Playing with tau is an uphill battle nowadays and while wins are certainly not impossible, it requires a much greater degree of planning and skill to make it work. Those of us who continue to play them, do it not because they are overly competitive, but because we love them. The xv9's are, to me, a reassurance that our continued love of the army will eventually be rewarded with a newer, better tau empire force that is not only fun and interesting to play, but can contend with the newer bigger guns of 5th edition on a more balanced playing field.
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Old 12 Jun 2010, 18:01   #2 (permalink)
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Default Re: The xv9 and what it means for the future of tau empire and its players

I do like the XV9s. But Forge World has generally been a little more supportive of the Tau than the Studio has. The real test is going to come with the Studio has to write for them again.
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Old 13 Jun 2010, 06:26   #3 (permalink)
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Default Re: The xv9 and what it means for the future of tau empire and its players

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Originally Posted by Khanaris
I do like the XV9s. But Forge World has generally been a little more supportive of the Tau than the Studio has. The real test is going to come with the Studio has to write for them again.
And sculpt. Really, only the blocky XV-8's have been an oddity when comparing to the rest of the smooth lines of the Tau units. Even Fire Warrior armor has a smooth, graceful appearance to it. It will be interesting to see if Citadel takes the Forgeworld approach with the XV-8s in coming codex.
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Old 13 Jun 2010, 13:07   #4 (permalink)
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Default Re: The xv9 and what it means for the future of tau empire and its players

my only (admittedly minor) issue with them is that they're a very short range in your face type of unit. tau are supposed to be the long range shooty, keep the other guy at arms length kind of army.

Now if XV9s are the sole holders of the "get in close" niche for the tau, i'll have no problems. But if this represents a new design concept for the tau as a whole of "get in close" i will have issues. And sadly, with the gaming metas the way they are, on the table top if you want to make the most of your crummy firepower, you gotta get into rapid fire range. and its kinda dodgy that you're asking for a race to excel in the one place where they're also at their most vulnerable...

Another minor issue i have is xv9s have "pick and mix" weapons. Is it too much to ask for one gun with different ammo types a la sternguard?
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Old 13 Jun 2010, 13:28   #5 (permalink)
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Default Re: The xv9 and what it means for the future of tau empire and its players

i care little for the rules and representations. the irony with the games workshop xv8 is that the battle suit is the most tau thing in the army but the least tau looking thing in the tau army. infact it's funny how both those elements separate us from the sleek, fast and shooty eldar. the xv9 doesn't look too eldar (thankfully) but it does fit the army. it's like the xv88-2 to the normal broadside but xv8 to xv9 much much better. i don't care about the weapons or even if they're just a new way it represent the xv8 but i want this in the new codex because it's such a good alternative model. as for the rules and weapons - i like them but the base cost could be 5 to 10 points cheaper. other than that i have no problem with the rules and have tried them out in the normal game. they are just a better model (i have mixed feeling about o'r'alai's head but nothings perfect). the xv8 is probably the biggest letdown in tau aesthetics.
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Old 13 Jun 2010, 18:42   #6 (permalink)
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Default Re: The xv9 and what it means for the future of tau empire and its players

I have mixed feeling about O'Reilly anyway. apparently he has a big shield and a PSR, although im not sure if thats his final loadout.

As for the XV9 itself, its a nice model, and its Toughness boost will be invaluble especially at the ranges the XV9 operates, And the weapons it has will provide, frankly, face melting firepower.
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Old 16 Jun 2010, 03:24   #7 (permalink)
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Default Re: The xv9 and what it means for the future of tau empire and its players

the toughness will only be useful against being instakilled by melta. but at those ranges it doesn't have much of a chance to survive. what would have made these things a fright on the battlefield is if they had a 2+ save instead of the regular 3+ save.

After proxying these things, all i can say is they have a huge 'kill me' sign over their heads. I'd have to say for these things to be successful at all, you have to build the army around THEM.
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Old 16 Jun 2010, 03:53   #8 (permalink)
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Default Re: The xv9 and what it means for the future of tau empire and its players

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Originally Posted by Froenx
the toughness will only be useful against being instakilled by melta.
And Lascannons. And Krak Missiles. And Battle Cannons. and a whole mess of Strength 8 and 9 weaponry that slaughter Crisis Suits like nobody's business.

I have some partial conversions that I've playtested a few times. They're surprisingly tough, in my mind, and I've utilized the "Lascannon? Okay, that one is down 1 wound," a few times to decent effect. Their low leadership is a bit of an issue for me (One 275 point unit decided to run off the table after it lost a drone... *whimper*), but their weaponry sufficiently potent that what you shoot at has a good chance of being seriously hurt.
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Old 16 Jun 2010, 13:45   #9 (permalink)
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Default Re: The xv9 and what it means for the future of tau empire and its players

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Originally Posted by Froenx
After proxying these things, all i can say is they have a huge 'kill me' sign over their heads. I'd have to say for these things to be successful at all, you have to build the army around THEM.
I disagree here. I've gotten a couple games in with these guys against orks, dark eldar, and salamanders. In all three cases the higher resilience to shooting really pushes these guys into the A-game unit department. Don't take them in squads, its a point sink and there's always the risk of fleeing with their so-so leadership. ive found they are for more effective as a pair of deep-striking monats each with a pair of sheild drones. I've run them with all three weapon load-outs and i gotta say im hoplessly in love with the dual-pulse submunition rifle, two large blasts a turn that ignore cover=many many dead DE warriors and ork boyz. Use them like a scalpel in combination with the pos-relay and the pathfinder d-fish marker beacon. So far ive never seen one die to retaliation fire after deepstriking, not even darklance spam (a notoriously anti-battlesuit build) could bring even one of these guys down on the turn they entered.

All in all they play right into their fluff. Just pick the proper weapons for the situation and drop them right into the danger zone, the enemy will, as you say, pour all thier attention into them, which is a good thing. With the t5 they even have a good shot of surviving combat long enough to get the chance to VRT out of there, although i have found that often the drones will die to cc before you get the chance.
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Old 16 Jun 2010, 15:55   #10 (permalink)
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Default Re: The xv9 and what it means for the future of tau empire and its players

Hate to seem like a newb, but is there some link somewhere that shows the full rules for this model? And am I correct in assuming this is one of the models that is legal but requires your oppents permision first?
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