Monday, April 22, 2013

Tau Codex Overview by Heretic Steve from the SMG/19th Legion

 
Well we have an amazing codex on our hands.  One might even say it is Tauriffic.  This Codex gives us everything we wanted from the Tau Empire.  But are the points to shot ratio enough in their favor to make this army a major contender or just an ally...I say it will be impressive as both.

The codex special rules open up with a major player.  Do not overlook supporting fire's ability to deny the majority of your opponent's charges by slaying all models in charge range.

Wargear combos are many with this codex.  There are no points limits on how many you can give the Crisis Commanders.  Their system upgrades allow for cool abilities or USRs.  But the Signature Systems grant unique abilities and combos that can make your commander a mini Riptide for about 200pts.  Many like drone controller with a squad of drones from the fast attack slot...I do not like that combo due to the fast attack slots being all too important for pathfinders and flyers.

Marker lights will make or brake this codex since most of your units and all of your non HQ suits have BS3.  You will need to play effective marker light units like Pathfinders, drones, or skyrays to mark units enough to increase your BS.  Each hit with a marker light puts a token on a unit.  Each token can be removed to add 1 to ALL units BS that are shooting at that unit.  Or 2 tokens can be removed to either remove a cover save completely or shoot a seeker missile automatically.  4 marker light hits is the magic number here.  This will allow you to hit with a 2+ and deny all cover saves.  Marker lights also increase your BS when shooting snap shots and overwatch so you will not need skyfire on most units to take down flyers or shoot charging models with supporting fire or other units.

The Riptide is simply amazing.  This is one of my favorite GW models ever made.  It is a JUMP PACK monstrous creature with a possibility of 24 shots, 2+, 5++, T6, W5, and a combo of system upgrades that you can customize to your specific needs.  It also cuts tomatoes and cleans windows for under 250pts.  Don't forget his 3 S6 attacks can be traded in for 2 S10 attacks since he is monstrous. And...he looks like a transformer.

The Troops in this codex both dropped in points which automatically makes them better.  The Fire Warriors can still take a leader with target lock, a marker light, and drones.  Fire Warriors also come with grenades.  The Kroot lose some strength but can take sniper rounds as a trade off.  Not a bad option to kill off banners, special weapons, heavy weapons, sargeants, etc.  I think I would stick with Fire Warriors in this codex to get S5 shots, grenades, 4+, and supporting fire.  The devisfish is still too expensive even though it is MUCH improved so expect to see large walking gun lines.

The flyers are on a lot of people's minds.  I prefer the bomber due to rate of fire and the template shot each turn.  However, neither flyer wows me as much as the Pathfinders in the Fast Attack slot.  You will see them played of course but not as much as you might think.  Too bad it is not a transport then you would see 2-3 in every Tau army.  At 2000pts you will see more flyers than at 1850 due to the ability to take Pathfinders and Flyers.Suits are all better in this codex.  Crisis, Stealth, and Broadside all became cheaper and have higher rate of fire.  However, the Riptide leaves them all behind.  Well, GW has to sell models don't they.  I will give you reasons not to play them all.  Stealth suits have an extra shot, stealth, and shrouding.  But baleflamers, 2 markerlight hits, abyssal staff, flamers, etc all ignore cover.  Crisis suits are elite slots...so are Riptides, nuff said.  As for Broadsides, the rail gun is now S8.  They do get a ton of shots but you need hand to hand capability, they do not grant that.  You need scoring models, they do not grant that.  You need mobility, they do not grant that.  You need lots of shots, so does your entire army.  Save them for fun games not tournaments.  The commander suites, including unique characters, are useable and so are the bodyguard crisis suits.  I would stick to decked out commander to fill list holes and be an overall tool box of abilities.
Both named characters have hard hitting capabilities due to special rules or weapon load outs.  Both will see tournament play.  Every character in this codex could see major play time.  The ethereals are back and better as are their abilities.  The Cadre Fireblade and Darkstrider are both great cost effective purchases that give unit rules and flexibility.
The hammerhead is the best vehicle in this codex.  The ability to shoot the S10 AP1 rail shot at BS4, at least, is devastating to flying demon princes, flyers, vehicles, or any T5 or less model.  The disruption pod now grants +1 to your cover save so you get a 3+ if behind ruins.  Black Sun filters let you ignore night fighting for 1 point so it is a must have.  The submunition is a must purchase as well due to the ability to shoot a template in case you play horde.  The character upgrade is useable but unnecessary as he is pricey and not entirely useful due to the weapon's already impressive stats.
The Skyray is now highly useful with 2 markerlights at BS4 and increased shot potential due to weapon improvements in the codex.
The second PRIZE UNIT in this codex after the Riptide is the Pathfinders.  Their cheap points cost, free grenades, improved weapon, marker lights, supporting fire, and 3 new drones make them the second best unit in the codex.  The carbine is not S5 AP5 Assault 2 at 18" range and pinning.  The pulse accelerator drone increases their range to 24".  They can purchase a drone that drops your charge range by D3 and another that could allow you to bring reserves from any board edge.  You can upgrade up to 3 carbines to rail rifles but I would stay with the carbine for more shots that cause pinning.  They can also purchase a Devilfish and EMP (haywire) grenades.  But these are probably not necessary.
I think you can tell from this article how I would field my Tau army.  Now I am thinking how to beat them with my Necron army since they can have interceptor and skyfire everywhere.  All of their weapons are also S5 or greater so they can all take hull points from my flyers.  We have work ahead of us to fend off this threat.

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