For the Greater Good...third time lucky?

Retrogamer!
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April 7th, 2013, 5:44 pm #1

So I managed to get a hold on the new Codex, I'll just be posting thoughts as it goes.

- More filled out fluff, apparently they keep their best commanders in stasis now, Shadowsun included who is now their great resurrected hero. She still sucks in the game though.

- No news on Farsight at all, other than him becoming emo with lines like "I'm an outcast now...". He's still cool rules wise and is if anything the epitome of what special characters should be. A couple of unique features but otherwise just a varient on an HQ. He's just that, good, solid and a fun idea to have in there. He gets a 7 man Crisis bodyguard team that doesn't scatter on landing. That is a brutal alpha strike ability on an enemy of your choosing, albeit a very expensive one.

- Apparently the Imperium did a lot more damage in the Damocles Crusade than before. Gotta love that Pro-Imperium retconning!

- New army wide ability to overwatch into friendly units within 6" to aid them against chargers. In theory it sounds borderline OP, but only an idiot keeps their units that close so in practice I doubt we'll see it all that much. It encourages gunlining and that's something Tau by their very nature are terrible at.

- Fire Warriors are cheaper and also have photon grenades as standard. That's very good, brings them better in line with what's required of troops these days to hold positions a little better. The counterfire ability above helps but I still can't see them being good at taking ground. Pulse carbines are assault 2 now though, so that's a wonderful boost. Mobile 18 inch assault 2 pinning troops? That's just wonderful and agile.

- Fusion Blasters increased to 18 inches. Stealth Suits will love this but really it's not that big a change. You need to be within 9 inches still for decent AP and that's far too close for Tau.

- Kroot got slammed so hard with the nerf bat I think I heard my models implode. They are now only strength 3 and lost their 12" shoot through woods ability. Krootox dropped to only 2 wounds, 2 attacks and toughness 3. Hounds get to move as beasts...but can't separate from the unit. The hell does that even mean? One way or another Kroot are effectively useless now unless you pay for their sniper rounds...even then they are kinda rubbish with only a 24" range. Can't see these being used.

- Vespid still suck. Yes, they have a good anti-marine weapon. But the marines have a better anti-Vespid weapon. It's called a Bolter.

- Broadsides have been HEAVILY nerfed to the point they're basically useless now. They go down to strength 8 on their railguns and essentially become an anti-light vehicle unit that's slow, clumsy and better served by the masses of strength 7 weapons the rest of the army has anyway. Worthless unit now.

- Ethereals don't have their "everyone runs away" thing anymore. They just make very limited tiny aura abilities. Essentially useless. As always. Space Pope returns and isn't much better, Aun'Shi also makes a return and got a large nerf. He only gets his close combat boosts in challenges now and he lost his parry ability entirely.

- Darkstrider and Longstrike are two new characters. The former a pathfinder hero who reduces the enemy's toughness (basically pointless given the high strength of Tau anyway) and Longstrike makes a BS5 Hammerhead. Again pointless given markerlights and their use. He also lets the Hammerhead make repeated snapshots on any enemies charging units within 6 inches. Tell me when the hell is that ever going to occur? Both of them are very underwhelming. Although Longstrike's tank hunter ability is pretty handy and almost required of every army. More on that later.

- Chaos and orks are no longer the random army that can hurt themselves. There are eight weapons that can harm their user and a battlesuit that can kill the pilot now. So much for "preferring safe technology", huh? This feels distinctly un-Tau.

- Sniper Drones are worthless now. They went from a S6 AP3 railrifle to a S:X AP5 sniper round.

- Pathfinders got a lot of new toys. They may be my favourite unit now. Rail Rifles got buffed to AP1, new Ion Rifles that (at the cost of getting hot) fire S8 AP4 blast templates and numerous new drone types that help them reduce enemy charge ranges, extend their weapon range and allow deep striking on their position. They no longer need to take a devilfish too. So they can work as a sniper team, a fluid fire support, a markerteam or positioning scouts. I imagine we'll see a lot of these.

- Vehicles have been destroyed. They no longer get multi-trackers so they can now only move 6 inches and fire rather than 12. So much for Tau agility, they really want this to just be a gunline army now. This makes Hammerheads sitting ducks, effectively. They are no more agile than Imperial Guard vehicles now. In fact, they are less so. Imperial Guard have that "move D6 and still shoot" ability. Urgh.

- Lots more "ignores cover". Markerlights do this with 2 counters entirely now, seeker missiles ignore it, smart missiles ignore it and commanders can take kit that at the cost of not shooting lets their unit do it. That will be brutal against some enemies.

- An ability to make enemy weapons get hot. No matter what they are. This makes no sense at all. They can make crossbows get hot.

- New infantry character to use in place of battlesuit commanders. He's pretty naff. Just gets an extra shot from his unit. Sounds crazy but remember you're paying 60 points for that. You could almost afford an entire separate team.

- The flyers are meh. They are unreliable (more of this "roll to not kill yourself" stuff here) and have pretty weak weaponry by Tau standards.

So in looking at all this I'm seeing something emerge.

The Tau are the worst tank hunters in the entire game.

Their only reliable tank hunter has been nerfed to Strength 8 instead of 10. Tau rely on those railguns, they always did. Because they have nothing else worthwhile to take care of Land Raiders, Monoliths, Leman Russ, Battlewagons and all the rest that's emerging. Without Broadsides they only have one platform, the Hammerhead. The only other tank hunting strength weapon they have is the Nova Charged Ion thingy on the new Riptide suit and that's strength 9 with a scatter...and a 1/3 chance of killing your suit. The hammerhead is now the only model that can counter heavy armour available and its not exactly reliable at its job. (One third of shots miss, with even taking your maximum of three hammerheads that still only means you're getting a chance at two vehicles a turn) Given vehicles are significantly tougher this edition the Tau army has quite a conumdrum now.

The only solution is "Take Longstrike" which means every Tau player is forced into taking a specific character who apparently will be in every battle the Empire ever fights from now on. But even then the Hammerheads are majorly nerfed. They lost their ability to fire on the move, decoy launchers no longer do their job as they once did and disruption pods...don't. They are now slow moving, clumsy and unreliable tanks.

Yes, the Tau have had a general buff in how they take care of opposing infantry but frankly that was never the problem. The real issue that plagued the Tau was that many of their units were too static. (Pathfinders, Broadsides, Sniper Teams, Fire Warriors) That issue has been made worse here while also stripping their ability to combat tanks. (And no, strength 8 is not enough. That only has a chance to glance a Land Raider for crying out loud) Someone might point to the Fusion Blaster range increase to aid, but that's only by three inches.

No wonder they made them face Nids in their inaugaral battle report.
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Hercule Pyro
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April 7th, 2013, 6:09 pm #2

Retro, give your Broadsides the upgrade that gives them Skyfire. Proceed to fuck your opponents air assets into oblivion. The air assets that everyone and their mother has been picking up since they're the new hot thing for 6th edition. I imagine that Broadsides are designed to be anti light-vehicle/anti-aircraft, rather than as tank hunters.

Experimental weapons do fit, but they're not inherently dangerous. Using the overcharged setting is. You can play it safe and use the weapon as the Earth caste intended, or you can push it to the limit and take the hit like a man. But you can't, because you're a disgusting xenos, or a puny fish 'ead.

And to be fair all I've heard from this edition is how crap vehicles are in general. Tau are not the kings of tank-hunting, but they can and will fuck up armour that isn't a Russ or Land Raider. Take my Dreadbash. Tau will be able to easily table them inside a single turn.

You forgot the Lagan System as well. :p

I'd say the fluff and presentation for this book is top-notch.
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Kaempfer
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April 7th, 2013, 6:19 pm #3

Well Tau artillery being nerfed sucks. Good thing I field a Tau/Space Marine army, guess I'll have to invest in some anti armor marine units.
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Retrogamer!
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April 7th, 2013, 6:35 pm #4

Eastwood,Apr 7 2013 wrote: Retro, give your Broadsides the upgrade that gives them Skyfire. Proceed to fuck your opponents air assets into oblivion. The air assets that everyone and their mother has been picking up since they're the new hot thing for 6th edition. I imagine that Broadsides are designed to be anti light-vehicle/anti-aircraft, rather than as tank hunters.

Experimental weapons do fit, but they're not inherently dangerous. Using the overcharged setting is. You can play it safe and use the weapon as the Earth caste intended, or you can push it to the limit and take the hit like a man. But you can't, because you're a disgusting xenos, or a puny fish 'ead.

And to be fair all I've heard from this edition is how crap vehicles are in general. Tau are not the kings of tank-hunting, but they can and will fuck up armour that isn't a Russ or Land Raider. Take my Dreadbash. Tau will be able to easily table them inside a single turn.

You forgot the Lagan System as well. :P

I'd say the fluff and presentation for this book is top-notch.
Broadsides with a velocity tracker is incredibly impractical. You're using a very expensive unit (Skyfire is +60 points for a 3 man unit) to counter something that could be countered by any other unit in the game. Any battlesuit can take a Velocity Tracker to gain Skyfire. Any of them. Missile Pods are much more efficient at this or failing that, take a Skyray. It's more agile than Broadsides and wrecks flyers even harder.

Spreading Skyfire out to missile pods allows you to take more Railguns on Hammerheads, as will be required. The issue isn't that they aren't kings of anti armour but rather that they literally have no worthwhile counter. At all. Three max possible guns in your army that are higher than strength 8 is just not enough to counter the mass of Armour 13/14 vehicles out there before they drop Thunder Hammer Terminators on your doorstep. That was always a Tau player's problem, stopping those heavy armour elements coming in to the point that Skyrays and Sniper Teams never got used because we needed those railguns. Now there's even less.

I can buy the experimental weapons idea. Back when the Railrifle came in and had gets hot if it used the target lock...that was cool! It reflected a moral grey area of the Tau technology. But now it's on Pathfinders, Drones, Bombers, Riptide's, Hammerheads, Fighters and more. The enhanced modes are pretty much required for them to make up their points value. For example, the Ion Rifle is just a Railrifle but worse if you don't use its enhanced stat line, yet it costs about the same as a Railrifle.

the real problem, the more I think about it is simply that lack of mobility now. Despite a canny reference to the "Fish of Fury" in the fluff, such a move is now no longer practical with the multiple charge rule. Hammerheads that last Codex were noted as being more agile than Leman Russ are now actually less mobile than a clunking fortress on treads. For Tau to make use of their only close in advantage with covering fire they must gunline. That's suicide with Tau. They were never kings of shooting, they were intended to be the kings of mobile ranged warfare. Subtle but important difference and one that separates the good Tau players from the weeaboos who gunline it up and expect to win...then act surprised when Guard armies table them in turn 1.

Don't get me wrong, they haven't broken the Codex for or against. It's just that it still has the same design problems as it did last time and some of them are even worse while buffing things that didn't need buffing in some cases. Light armour forces will find Tau almost impossible to fight now while the same counter that worked last time (simply out shooting them or rushing with heavy armour) works even better.

They've simply taken their metagame to its extremes, making them an army that isn't very variable and will inevitably end up with the same issue as last time. That every Tau army ends up a cookie cutter mix of units exactly the same as each other.

- Commander
- Bunch of Fire Warrior
- Some markerlights
- Couple of small Crisis teams
- 1 Stealth team
- Max out heavy support on Hammerheads.
- Anything left over goes to as many Devilfish as you can afford

The only change from last edition was that "Hammerhead" used to be "Broadside."
Last edited by Retrogamer! on April 7th, 2013, 6:36 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Retrogamer!
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April 7th, 2013, 8:31 pm #5

Just another small thing I've noticed. While I think the Codex looks amazing visually and the fluff is well written with nice little expansions they really need to sort out their organising for building lists from it.

Say I want to get an HQ.

I go to the army list, look at the HQ's.

"Hmm, I don't know what these rules precisely do."

So I go back to the first third of the book to check their individual rules.

"Okay, I'll take the Commander."

Go back to army list, check his points and what he can take.

"Hmm, I don't know what weapons he can take."

Go to another entirely separate bit to find out what the weapons listed are.

"Okay, Cyclic Ion Blaster and Missile pod seems a good combo, but how much are they?"

Check the army list, it's not there. Check the summary, not there. I need to go to a third entirely separate section of the Codex.

Just too much faffing around. Why not just have each unit's special rules detailed on the damn unit entry and have the armour with full weapon stats just at the start of the army list like they used to? That was way more efficient.
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Hercule Pyro
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April 7th, 2013, 8:55 pm #6

The layout is, if a positively ancient rumour is to be believe, to do with making life difficult for people pirating the book, because it means you need to scan more pages. No, I have no idea how accurate the is either. The reintroduction of the armoury system with the arrival of the hardback codexes is no doubt because people wanted a return to that old system, although the demands had faded over time so, I dunno. Probably ties in with the Fantasy army book layout.
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Retrogamer!
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April 7th, 2013, 9:17 pm #7

Eastwood,Apr 7 2013 wrote: The layout is, if a positively ancient rumour is to be believe, to do with making life difficult for people pirating the book, because it means you need to scan more pages. No, I have no idea how accurate the is either. The reintroduction of the armoury system with the arrival of the hardback codexes is no doubt because people wanted a return to that old system, although the demands had faded over time so, I dunno. Probably ties in with the Fantasy army book layout.
Wouldn't surprise me.

I've made up a quick list of 1500 points just to test the waters.

---

Commander - 143
- Plasma Rifle
- Missile Pod
- Drone Controller
- Advanced Targeting System
- 2 Missile Drones

3 Crisis Suits - 181
- Shas'Vre w/ Command and Control, Multi-Spectrum Sensor Suite, 2 Shield Drones
- Shas'Ui w/ Plasma Rifle, Missile Pod, Advanced Targeting System
- Shas'Ui w/ Plasma Rifle, Missile Pod, Advanced targeting System

2 Crisis Suits - 99
- Shas'Ui w/ Airbursting Fragmentation Projector, Burst Cannon
- Shas'Ui w/ Cyclic Ion Blaster, Burst Cannon, Advanced targeting System
- Bonding Ritual

6 Stealth Suits - 210
- Counterfire Defence Systems

12 Fire Warriors - 108

12 Fire Warriors - 108

12 Fire Warriors - 108
- Carbines

12 Fire Warriors - 108
- Carbines

4 Pathfinders - 44

3 x Hammerhead Gunship - 390
- Submunitions
- Smart Missiles

---

The Drone Controller is downright nasty now. Making all drones fire at your ballistic skill? On a Ballistic Skill 5 commander? Give him the two missile drones and watch as he puts out 6 S7 AP4 shots a turn hitting on a 2+ out to 48 inches (factoring in suit jump).

His team, the first Crisis group has an interesting thing. I've made their leader not even carry any guns. His entire purpose is as a force multiplier. He makes them ignore all cover saves and reroll all misses while providing two more drone bodies. (Shield drones are crazy cheap now, I have noticed, plus they got a toughness buff) This unit will thus do the following:

1 Plasma Shot hitting on 2+
2 Plasma Shots hitting on 4+
6 Missile Pod Shots hitting on 2+
4 Missile Pod Shots hitting on 4+
All of it ignoring cover entirely, rerolling all misses and sniping off heavy weapons and sergeants on any roll of a six to hit.

325 points. But given that's an HQ and an Elite in one...that's pretty damn good. I can always break the Commander off if I need to and have two separate units given he has his Missile Drone shields with him. His BS doesn't need the reroll much.

I've also added a love of mine, the ultra-cheap Crisis team for countering any enemy that's leapt from a vehicle to attack my forces. Their job is entirely the sit around, hide in cover and respond to any nearby enemy threat from deep strike or coming on the board edge. Hence the Airburster template. They're a good anti-horde too.

6 Stealth Suits can never go wrong. Ever. Best unit in the game. They've got epic cover saves with the shroud and stealth and if you tire and try to charge them, welcome to the wonder of 24 BS2 shots in your face.

I've divided my Fire Warriors into 'Kauyon' and 'Mont'Ka' teams. Kauyon as their theory goes is the Patient Hunter, two teams of sniping rifle armed FW's. Then Mont'ka as the killing blow, two teams of carbine armed FWs. The former's duty is to roost up on any friendly territory/objectives and pick off what they can from cover. The latter's job is to take the ground that the heavier weapons clear. Being able to put out good fire as they move should help this a lot now.

4 Pathfinders. Markerlights have never been a bit emphasis to me because like the last Codex...all the things which carry them kinda suck for them as that purpose. Especially now that Pathfinders are very weak. I may have been preemptive in saying how good they were as they can no longer split fire by taking target locks anymore. I may have to consider putting a Fireblade into a unit of ten to let them have a sniping and marketlight role to various places. I'd likely reduce the stealth team to afford him and replace one of the Hammerheads to get the expanded team. But never-the-less, having 4 markerlights to point at whatever I don't like each turn is very handy indeed.

3 Hammerheads. The only worthwhile anti-tank in the whole Codex so these were always going to appear. I hadn't realised how outrageously highly costed Longstrike was till I looked. 45 points for basically +1 ballistic skill and no extra survivability! He doesn't even get to leap off the vehicle like Chronus. That's why you need three. Going by the old formula of 40K. One tank is vulnerable. Two tanks forces a choice. Three tanks is a threat.

Total - 1499. But then things are usually 2000 these days, that American influence creeping in. (I hear they run 2500 as standard now)
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Retrogamer!
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April 8th, 2013, 3:23 pm #8

And they've already been FAQ nerfed to obliterate my list I made.

FAQ'ed, missile drones may only be taken by Broadside suits.

...what the hell is the point of taking them on Broadside suits that try to engage at ultra long ranges?
Last edited by Retrogamer! on April 8th, 2013, 3:23 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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SixShotSamurai
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April 8th, 2013, 9:06 pm #9

I just happened to catch glance of the new Tau Codex the other day, and from what I saw Riptide battlesuits look pretty nice.

What are your guys opinions on those? I think they were something like T6, W6, 2+Armour and 4+Inv., for something like 180pts. I don't think their weapons are particularly outstanding, but as an Imperial Guard player I just gotta ask, how worried should I be about my ability to take these guys down?

I just expect we'll be seeing a new increase in Tau players, so if theres any Tau players out there I'd really appreciate it if you could give me a brief overview about what I can expect to see from this new codex, in terms of what you think the 'hot' new units to field might be.
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Retrogamer!
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April 9th, 2013, 3:39 am #10

SixShotSamurai,Apr 8 2013 wrote: I just happened to catch glance of the new Tau Codex the other day, and from what I saw Riptide battlesuits look pretty nice.

What are your guys opinions on those? I think they were something like T6, W6, 2+Armour and 4+Inv., for something like 180pts. I don't think their weapons are particularly outstanding, but as an Imperial Guard player I just gotta ask, how worried should I be about my ability to take these guys down?

I just expect we'll be seeing a new increase in Tau players, so if theres any Tau players out there I'd really appreciate it if you could give me a brief overview about what I can expect to see from this new codex, in terms of what you think the 'hot' new units to field might be.
Don't be worried at all. Its weapons are "eh" at best, it gets shafted by the masses of autocannons and other such weapons that can blat its toughness and it can't even use its full abilities without standing a 1/3rd chance to loss a wound.

They're fast, but speed doesn't matter jack on such a platform. They're big expensive toys and are surprisingly easy to break. You even get to enjoy watching the player dreary as his prized overpriced model is easily obliterated and realise that he just wasted an elite slot.
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