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December 7, 2011 by darrell
Video Sponsors: Wayland Games – Infinity
Darrell and Andy take a scathing look through the Tau Codex and discuss what they need to improve… for the greater good!
Thanks guys for having Codex Tau in spotlight.
I’ve got a bunch of these guys sitting in the loft waiting for a decent ‘dex, and I really hope they get it as I think they look cool. I really hope they don’t get any decent close combat units at all, as that to me doesn’t really fit with their style. I hope markerlights become more effective, much cheaper points all round (especially battlesuits), and methods of slowing the enemy and disrupting deep strikes etc..
Good vid guys thanks for some tau coverage. They do need some help, you really have to build especially for each enemy to have any chance of being competitive.
Marker lights can make a big difference. Just one marker hit can give a whole unit the bonus.
My biggest challenge with them is to get the shooting order right. If it all goes well you can really peel away the nearest threats and keep the enemy at arms length. The new books, blood angels onwards, make life difficult with so much fast/deep strike. A tau player can use the kroot as speed bumpers, if you keep enough alive, plus the hounds can really bite…
Devil fish are big and effective enough. You have to buy one with the pathfinder option, which is dumb as 99% of the time you’ll want the finders holed up lighting up the bad guys. So I use the must have fish to run down a flank and look to block units or chase down artillery units.
My all time fav is the hammerhead. Shame you can’t buy them as squadrons… With the disruption pods you can sit these bad boys in the open and pound the enemy vehicles and really slow the rush. Then submunition the troops that bail out. Remember to use the marker lights to improve the bs so you can pull back the deviated blast template.
Still enjoy playing tau, the loses can be complete white washes, but a well co ordinated game, with the dice gods on your side, you can wither away the enemy and crush the left overs.
the army is suposed to be made of sharp-shooters, because fluff-wise that’s what they do best. Vespids could very well be a fast paced assault group to tie an enemy squad in combat while the rest of the army deploy very nice on the battlefield. Kroot are currently very weak and useless ( i got 12 of them blown to bits in ONE large blast attack by an IG army). They could suite the role of a support shooters and support melee team if it’s required. The codex is so weak now that the only way to get more mobile and shooty with the tau is resorting to Mech Tau, but even that doesn’t ensure your survivability, just gives you more manuverability and makes you resort to armored transports, hammerheads,crisis and stealth suits to shoot and hide. Commander Farsight is the only unit/ character in the army that can do damage and take some punch. Not only does he have a plasma rifle, he has a CC almost-power weapon that can shred through vehicles and is compatible with Mech Tau. The down side to that is that you can’t field him in armies smaller than 1500 pts. In my opinion, tau players should wait and hope to see what the new codex and troops can put this army on a floating level if not to make it the army it IS SUPPOSED TO BE.
Vote 1 Darrell for codex writer
More Shots! More Twin-Linked! Longer Range! Less AP!
For a Tau we can all live with.
I think you want the Tau to be Grey Knights? I agree that its an old codex and needs a rewrite to deal with the gaps, but these guys should stay shooty. (This is in response to the changes you wanted to see to the fast attack flyers & the melee Kroot – power halberds & death cult assassins?)
Covered in grease as a defense against close combat weapons? Have you tried this yourself?
Given that the new design concept for both 40k and fantasy placed a greater emphasis on special characters, I see huge changes for the Tau special characters.
Just out of curiosity, why not have an actual Tau player comment about the army? Where’s Lloyd? His POV might have added to the discussion?
i’ve been a tau player for a couple years, weathering who knows how many crushing defeats before i started winning games. In terms of overall feel, they hit some points right on both others they missed hard on. One of the aspects I didn’t feel got enough attention was cost. A crisis suit is 62 pts with a plasma rifle, missile pod, and multi-tracker, which makes the best use of its abilities. The devilfish is 85 pts and has the firepower of 3 carbine-wielding marines as its only weapon. All over the codex you see stuff like that. Both crisis suits and hammerheads come with X base price and then a list of upgrades that are actually required. no quotation marks there. The biggest aspect they didn’t touch on was the dependence on combos. Its been said on 3++ that marine armies get statlines, xenos get gimmicks. That is so true. Tau depend on markerlights to allow for heavy hitting firepower, they depend on piranhas and kroot for roadbumps and diversions. they depend on generating cover saves for everything. Fluff-wise they are physically inferior, so they use technology to compensate. That is cool, but the lichpin piece, the markerlight, only hits 50% of the time, and only at 36″ or less.
With that being said, they didn’t highlight the positives. The biggest positive being the amount of firepower that Tau can generate without damage in return for multiple rounds. All tau vehicles can have a 4+ cover save for 5 pts, and crisis suits can move 6″, shoot, then move 6″ into cover or somewhere that blocks los. Also, all tau vehicles can shoot as if they were fast vehicles for 10 pts. Combines with the 36″ range on missile pods, 24″ of plasma rifles, and 72″ or railgun range, and you have a lot of firepower backed by a lot of cover saves. Indeed, space marine armies can whither under it. At 1850 points, with the tau monobuild, there is a 25% chance that a standard grey knight army will be completely demeched if they are not in cover.
While the bs3 can leave much to be desired at range, often the most important units have a way around it. Broadsides are bs3, but are twin-linked. Hammerheads are bs4 for free. Gun drones are twin-linked. Crisis suits can either be twin-linked or shoot multiple weapons. The other big positive to tau is that close combat is not as crucial if you follow the golden rule: don’t get multi-assaulted. Tau are weak in CC, and can be counted on to die on your opponents turn. This means that on your turn, the offending unit can be targetted by the entire remainder of your army. No unit other than other tau can count on being ‘stuck in’ to protect against return fire. Also, all the points your opponent puts into CC weapons are wasted. 25 pts for a powerfist or 30 pts for a thunderhammer are meaningless against ws2/3 and t3/4. Those are points that you’ve denied the enemy any value for, as you can generally count on filling up the foc with Tau. Additionally, there are many speedbumps. Kroot are the best, as they can infiltrate. Put them in cover, and they become a threat that will eat a turn or two of your opponents game. Additionally, piranhas can move 18″ to create a mobile barrier and threaten tanks. with av11 front, its gonna take heavy weapons to kill them. And, every vehicle comes with drones that can either jump-shoot-jump, or jump-run-jump. A devilfish can move 12 inches, discharge the drones 2″ foward, which can then run d6 inches and then in the assault phase move 6″. 21-26 inches of movement to block the other person from moving where they want or assaulting who they want. Tau aren’t a meq army, you cannot play them as a meq army. The important stuff shoots, everything else moves so that it dies in separate waves. Its a tough life, but its for the greater good.
as far as stuff i would love to see changed, for me the list isn’t as long as that of someone used to MEQ playstyle. And some of what i’d like to see is a step backward. In the 3rd edition codex, in adition to getting the 6+ save, the extra point spent per kroot carnivore upped their squad leadership by 1, which was phenomenal as they awful leadership. Additionally, wounds had to be first put on drones, then could they could be put on suits. And i dont remember if they counted for combat resolution or not.
i’d like to see drones be able to alter wound allocation for assaults, in addition to not being counted for kp’s or combat resolution. If the tau can’t fight in cc, why not wire the drones to get in the way? perhaps you could put x additional wounds on the drones to test for before spreading the rest out on the squad, but only in cc. Additionally, why should the tau care if they die? having them puts tau at a terrible disadvantage in CC.
the next atrocity that needs to be fixed is half-baked combos. namely, stealthsuits and sky rays. stealth suits carry burst cannons, s5ap5 r18″. their gimmick is that you have to use nightfighting rules to target them. however, 2d6x3 is an average range of 18″. so if they can shoot you have a 50% chance of being hit. and for t3 and a 3+, all for 30pts per dude, they’re gonna die if they’re in range to be effective. They’re horrible. And then there are the missiles. Sky rays carry a limited supply of them, and each one can only fire with a markerlight hit. so, thats a 50% of the markerlight hitting. Then, they have to roll to hit 50%, then roll for damage, then roll on the damage chart. In other words, thats a 16% chance of glancing a rhino’s front armor. and this is a finite-use weapon on a heavy support tank. Not even hunter-killer missiles are that bad.
with all this being said, the single easiest chance to revolutionize tau would be changing markerlights to bs4/5 assault weapons due to being glorified flashlights. They are the lichpin of the good tau combos, but aren’t reliable enough. if they could be mobile and “probably” hit, that would push tau to where they should be shooting wise, which would make the lack of dedicated cc an acceptable tradeoff. Between that and point reductions for plasma, stealth suits, devilfish, marker drones, hammerheads, skyrays, and broadsides, the army would be back on top again.
I would counter the statement: “The biggest positive being the amount of firepower that Tau can generate without damage in return for multiple rounds.” Every recent codex will be on you turn 2 at the latest.
As usualy, only little adjustment is actualy neaded but it will be completely remastered and cause a lot of new problems.
Cool, to bad Tau are pretty terrible now.
Oh, you know a gun drone with BS2 and twin-linked weapons is more accurate than BS3 pathfinders/fire warriors.
its kinda sad how the tau are probably the most hated race i may play blood angels but i think the tau are the only good guys becuse the tau give a chance to surrender
i want to see just very cheap marker lites. and that once a unit is lit they stay litt for the whole army not just for one unit. kongo line of kroots behind that kongo line fire woriors behind that kongoline fire woriors or somthing. put the markerlites in the sides and then the unit of kroots your fw troop have to fire throu dont provide cover to the enemy and is a chaep meat block. and in the second the enemy got to you he hase to knife down each rteam one by one. that would be nice i think
Ah, all the stuff I like about the Tau is the stuff that sucks. Kroot mostly – the krootox and the hounds are great figures and apparently almost useless in game terms. I tell myself I’ll buy some for tabletop atmosphere when I eventually get around to really playing Rogue Trader…
BS3 almost across the board for a shooting army really is bizarre though. It would be like having a character select in a video game where the big slow guy had a weak weapon, it’s against the natural order of things.
The krootoxs really do hamstring a unit now by removing its infiltration, in fact they, the hounds and the master shaper(the shaper has his stats now, but the shaper in a carnivore squad was pretty much just the same as the rest with options) used to be separate units altogether from the carnivores, which allowed you to field an all kroot army since the master shaper was HQ.
BS3 does hurt them a bit in 5th, it comes from the fact that when the codex was written there were fewer charge across the whole board on turn one armies, so the extra 6″ range that tau get was almost like a free turn of shooting, with generally only heavy weapons being able to shoot back, it meant most comparable units would have to chose between moving forward for next turn or firing one gun back.
Ah, that makes much more sense, I hadn’t considered that they were a fancy-guns kind of shooting army and not a crack shot sort of deal. I pretty much missed third and fourth editions entirely and I find every now and then some of their finer points got streamlined a little too much in fifth…
Thanks for the vid guys.
With the new book, I’d like to see how heavily they theme it. If they follow up with something similar to Necrons, who went Egyptian, I could see Tau going Japanese. With that in mind you could add a “ninja” or samurai units for close combat. Maybe something in between a battlesuit and a warrior. Something that could jump around, not be overly expensive but have a decent kick to it. Give it a twin linked assault weapon and a shield to improve saves with options to change it to something heavier.
Like Tinracer, I really enjoy the Tau. They look great (aside from the Skyray) and the fluff is on the ‘good-guy” side with just enough to see how abusive The Greater Good could be. They just need to look threatening again.
I have been playing Tau for years and own a pretty massive army. I can say, without hesitation, that it is currently impossible to win with them when you opponent knows they are playing you in advance. Land Speeder Storms, Thunder-fire Cannons, Heroic Intervention, Stormravens, Myloc/Trygon, outflanking genestealers, mycetic spore/drop pod storms, bike armies, jet bike armies, Raider/Venom armies, orbital strikes, Marbo, and Leaman Russ spam just to start naming the armies that will limit you to one shooting phase. Your only hope is to layer your Kroot and detached gun drones then pray to the dice gods for epic round 1 and 2 shooting.
I agree with Stebloke and the other guys… the army doesn’t need more close combat. they have ways to deal with that already. Small drone squads, markerlight & pinning weapon combos, kroot meat shieds. What needs to be addressed are some of the issues which make make the book less competitive. I think you addressed some of them. Adjustment of some of the rules like heavy markerlights and lack of good AP weapons to start. Seems they’ve intentionally made low AP hard to access by overpricing them and limiting them in options. The markerlights are great rules wise for their effects it’s employing them that is a pain. Range for one and mobility for another. They really do need to be assault. Markerlights are the one thing that make Tau a true shooty army. Increase odds to hit, remove cover saves and increase odds of pinning and falling back. But the main thing the army needs is a point readjustment. The army is designed for 3rd edition, and slightly updated for 4th in this, their 2nd book. Everything should be cheaper overall, in particular battlesuits, seeker missiles and vehicles, especially piranhas. The whole point of the piranha, in my opinion, is to be seeker missile carriers. Zoom behind cover to get a side or rear shot, launch missiles with markerlights and after missiles are depleted they can harrass the enemy. But at 60 points bare it’s kind of a tough cookie to swallow. 50 points would be good 40 or 45 would be the sweet spot. Some other ideas off the top of my head are pathfinders being able to split fire, a mobile shooty walker vehicle to keep with japanese manga theme, a drone rewrite… way cheaper and with some options like hit and run rules or failsafe detonators. I mean come on, having one drone stay behind and go nuclear totally fits with the greater good. And generally a few other bits of new wargear to help mess with the enemies assaulting. Like concussion grenades that cause your opponent to move as if moving through cover for example. It slows most units down but units with move through cover or fleet aren’t nearly as affected. Generally the firewarriors need a lot more standard gear. If they included photon grenades, something like concussion grenades and the team leader for 60 points for 6.. then they might be worth it, especially if they had a few more upgrades to give them tactical options. And tell me why they can make an emp grenade to be thrown by weedy little firewarriors but can’t figure out how to mount one on a rocket?
I don’t think there’s a problem with the standard Tau soldier being BS3. Just so long as their weapons have a little higher range and the points cost is reflected. Kroot seem fine, they’re meant to be cannon fodder, they have a good stat line, they just need a better transport vehicle, or the ability to deep strike them (in some sort of drop pod perhaps).
The Tau should remain a shooting army. But they could do with some sort of infantry on a 40mm base that is more combat-apt, part of their merc legions or what not. That would sort things out and not be too over the too.
All the battle suits should and probably will be reworked and made into plastic, which is great. You’ll see a host of different weapons as well. I think the whole idea of marker-lights is stupid for this sort of game, they would do good to just get rid of them. I don’t think the battlesuits should have any combat weapons but they should have some sort of defensive weapon, maybe a stun weapon that takes away the enemies attacks in some form. The new Codex will have many options to fill in potential gaps anyway. 6th edition will be all about wargear options.
You will see no doubt some sort of larger battlesuit/dreadnaught/mini-titan I suspect, which will be an efficient tar pit rather than a combat machine.
Give the Vespid S4 and allow you take 20 + a nice plastic kit with an officer with options and you’re sorted. A heavy weapon team kit akin to the IG set, would be nice too.
I would wager an “honour guard” of some sort, with power weapons, will appear next year I bet. Designed to protect your Ethereals. Ethereals I’d bet anything will have a lot of magical power options next codex, they will be key to your army.
One direction GW might consider going in, is giving the Tau a LOT of air support – making them “the” flier army. With maybe as many as 2 plastic kits, making 4 different air vehicles. In addition some sort of kit that is used specifically by the Ethereals, a religious icon that they can sell for £41, with some sort of debilitating large weapon.
Oh and a dubious rumour going around is the “squats” in another form will appear, as a Tau merc force. Dumb idea if that’s true imo.
I think to fit in with the castes have psychic ability’s that relate to the elements used by the ethereals.
Such as a water blast that pushes the enemy unit back back 2D6″ and does D6 strength 4 AP 5 hits.
Fire wave that creates volcanic eruptions in a large blast making the terrain dangerous for D3 turns.
Earth Tremor that uses a similar mechanic to Worldscape in the new cron book.
Ice blast that slows the enemy’s advance by halfing there movement and also there assault range.
These could be used to keep the enemy at bay so the long range weapons could dwindle the forces down like a war of attrition.
Bit different but seeing as the crons talk and own art gallerys since the last book why not I say…
you guys forgot marker lights, they are very useful.
One of the people I play against a lot has only lost twice total and he plays Tau. We don’t know how he does so well with a codex people say sucks. We have tried all sorts of Darrel’s cheesy tactics and still lose. The thing about the Fire Warriors that makes them nasty is the S5 guns. That causes too many wounds on Eldar for them to get across the field to engage in close combat. The Vehicles are wrecked by Rail guns to my guys always have to foot slog it.
2:59: yes the 50pt commander is bs4 and the 75 pt version is bs5. However, you can get a hardwired targetting array on the 50pt commander to boost him to bs5 for only 10 points. So, you get the higher ballistic skill for 15 points less. Since tau suck at cc the extra ws doesn’t matter
5:52: crisis suits, stealth suits, and gun drones all have jetpacks. they can all move 6″ in the movement phase and then another 6″ in the assault phase. The thrusters he’s referring to are vectored thrusters, which give the hit and run special rule to the model. however, you can only get them on an ic or monat. you can’t get them for a group.
6:59 he’s right on about plasma. but he skips the missle pod. r36″, s7ap4 assault 2 goodness for 12/18 pts depending on twin-linking. better against vehicles than the plasma rifle, and with the 5pt multi-tracker can be fired alongside the plasma rifle!
do kroot suck at shooting? yes. should you pay that extra point for a 6+ save? no. every tau player will tell you that kroot and piranhas are cheap for a reason: cannon fodder! kroot can infiltrate, and piranhas are fast skimmers. If they get close enough to be a problem, they will tie up 1-2 turns of your opponents game, giving your h support and crisis suits more time to do their thing.
A look at the tau options from the Imperial Armor Apocalypse Second Edition book would be nice. especially the one meant not for apocalypse but for standard 40k games!
I suspect that initially the Pulse carbine “pinning” rule was meant to provide the slowing effect against horde armies that would storm across the board. The problem is that these days with rewrites most horde armies are fearless, negating the effect of such weapons.
Having to paying an additional 21 points just to gain access to an armour save for the Kroot and then paying an additional point for that said armour is poor. In general against shooting the armour will be negated and have no value, in hand to hand it provides an outside chance of tying up a unit past one round of combat.
It would be nice to see the inclusion of some of the IA3 vehicles into a future codex, especially the Hammer head turret load outs to help deal with other armies. As mentioned previously, should you gents revisit this topic it would be nice to hear from Lloyd and review the inclusion of the IA Appoc second addition rules.
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