Thursday, July 19, 2012

Tau 6th Edition: First Impressions

Sammy here and like all tau players I have been just praying that my favorite army would get something in the new rules to help them out. While indeed they did get some help, it was not in the way I expected. As follows I will detail a few of the bonuses that I think may bring back Tau as a playable and possibly more competitive army. I do recognize however that as no local tournaments have been run yet this all just on a observational basis.

Alright the first thing that has been a huge help is the fact that rapid fire is now half range and no longer requires that you stand still in order to get full range. This in turn means that fire warriors don't have to just stand and wait to die in assault. We can maneuver and get into good position and not miss a beat on shooting. This also means we get a bit more utility out of kroot. They die just as easy and can't assault on the outflank, but basically have bolters and can now move and shoot farther. I still won't be taking any but for all the fans of the carnivores out there, they've only gotten better for you.

Next snap fire means that markerlights are even better than before. We can move and fire them which is perfect because as some might recall taking marker lights pretty much meant that were you deployed them, that's were they would stay.

Next up stealth suits, holy crap these got good. They get both shroud and stealth and are jet pack infantry. This means that minimum stealth suits are getting a 4+ cover save (2+ depending on cover) and now they can jet pack 2d6 in the assault phase. Yep these dudes are freaking Allstars.

There are a lot of things that really helped the tau in 6th but oddly enough preferred enemy getting buffed to include shooting is pretty cool. This relates to the ethereal in that if he dies all tau get preferred enemy which means all shooting improves across the army. Let's be honest it's pretty easy to get an ethereal killed when he has no armor save. This is one thing I'm going to explore as a possible strategy in the future.

Standard battle suits are just as good as ever in that all the weapon options make them a very reliable and versatile unit for your particular strategies. Jet pack, deeps strike, acute senses, all good in my opinion. Defiantly check out flamers as a possible choice for these guys now epically since overwatch works the way it does. Perhaps better than the pathfinders+seekers for shooting fliers, the twin-linked missile launcher suit may also be able to shoot at fliers, but for the price of these suits, I'd rather kill the enemy I can deal with on the ground.

Devilish are now auto equipped with a cover save due to jink so the standard of taking disruption pods is likely over which means we are saving more points per vehicle in our list building now .

Rail guns. Well I didn't think these could get any better but I was wrong. Rail guns now receive +2 on the pen chart, so yeah now they kill vehicles even better. Also the submunitions shot gets full strength vs. armor, that's only helpful.

Also take another look at Vespid while still super squishy the extra slam attack as they assault in is helpful. I do acknowledge that they are only strength 3 so take it or leave it. I certainly will be giving those bugs another try.

And last but not least wound allocation means that drones are your new friend. Those drones right out front could save a lot of tau life with the invul save.

Now for some bad: target lock has been axed. Yes target lock has been removed entirely. Which sucks but doesn't mean that we have lost anything vital to the army just a convenience with broadsides really. Also outflanking kroot now can't assault the turn they come in and that blows for sure.

All in all it seems that tau got very few nerfs and a whole lot more decent. I am really excited to see if the fish heads have managed to become a more playable army and possibly a more competitive friendly army as well. I will be hitting the blog up with some battle reports over the next couple weeks. So stay tuned.

Samsquanch out!


  1. I think that drones are even more helpful now. Vehicles can't deny objectives in 6th. But tau vehicles come with passengers even when "empty"! Being able to drop off gun drones from a devilfish to deny should win tau a number of games. The possibility also keeps the target priority of those vehicles higher, potentially sparing other units from some firepower.

    1. I totally agree drones are now as good as they were in fourth if not better.

  2. You get a 4+ cover save as minimum with Stealth Suits since Stealth and Shrouding stacks.

    1. By golly I think your right I will make that edit after some checking

  3. I think it's still debatable if seeker missiles get BS5 against fliers hit by markerlights. They do not have Skyfire.

    In the few games of 6th so far, Fire warriors on foot with defense grenades have been fun along with Stealthsuits. The new assault jump has worked good for me so far, especially using dismembarked gun drones to block charge lanes.

    1. A little re reading on my part has made me question my assessment on seeker missiles. I think I'll edit it that out for now thanks for the double check.

  4. What is actually kind of interesting is that railguns are actually slightly worse in 6th than in 5th. In 5th, railguns killed vehicles outright with a 6 on a glance, and 4,5,6 on a pen. Now they only kill vehicles on a 4,5,6 on a pen. Not sure it makes a huge difference but it is interesting.

    1. I actually played a game last night just before this got posted and in that game rail guns proved to be even more deadly. Now the question is whether or not it will continue to be true in the future.

  5. Krootoxes (toxen?) rapid firing @ 24" is pretty cool I think.

  6. Tau really are an attractive army option now.

  7. @da master chef: I didn't even consider krootoxen well maybe the kroot will make an appearance in a soon to come list.

    @lead legion: yeah here at the flgs I keep hearing "well I'll just take a unit of broadsides as allies" so yeah I think at the very least we will be seeing some ray elements in a lot of armies

  8. The art here is all amazing! the drawing is really cool, beat out only by the crackling riplle effect on the stealth suit model. awesome work.

  9. Hey Sammy,

    I like the article and I agree on many points. I think you are going to like playing the Tau in the weeks to come!

    Some notes from my twisted mind:

    I think kroot are going to find their place in providing directional fire that can clip out those special weapons and such in a squad via their ability to outflank or infiltrate. I think Krootoxen are usefull here being able to either add more wounds to the pool or to pop transports.

    Stealth teams can be run in conjuction with firewarriors for the FW protection or runn up the flanks for more of that directional fire.

    Crisis suits are not my cup of tea most of the time as they are most effective when the enemy is most effective (within 12"). Being T4 and multiwound still sucks for them as well. I do did the Deathrain configuration more than I ever did before though.

    I do however like Shas'O or Els with bodyguard. They are a squad of characters and are thus able to use precision fire. I would run them with plasma (maybe TL) and missiles and use them to weed out the people in squads that I don't want getting near my stuff (melta gunners, plasma, sergeants ect.)

    I wish shadowsun could join units and give them stealth ...

    That's all I got that you didn't mention already. I am even thinking about adding some Tau allies to my stuff. Death Wing and Tau HO!

  10. For the record, Crisis Suit Bodyguards are NOT characters, they got faq'd for some reason.. My opinion is GW hates the Tau since they also took away target locks for no reason.. But that's just me..

  11. As a regular tau player (played them all the way in 5th) thanks for the article...

    A few things;
    * railguns are exactly the same regarding the damage chart - it shifted up one value. A 4+ killed last edition, and it kills now.
    * Cover is easier to get! Yeah. That is great for our guys, but bad for our shooting of plasma and railguns. Fortunately that is what we have markers for
    * Kroot are brutalized by overwatch having t3 and no save (no, I don't often get them shaper t-shirts). I did find using them as 24" shooting to be handy as you describe.
    * Stealth suits while more survivable (unless you get assaulted) are still mediocre on offensive capability. I do run them, but only in specific configurations (marker teams).
    * Firewarriors - yes, move and shoot is awesome. However, everyone else gets to move and shoot at 24" the FW is taking fire more than while yes, they did get a minor boost...we must still be very careful with them.
    * target locks - wtf gw? Sure, I get maybe you wanted to nerf the broadside...but my railrifle pathfinders are not happy.
    * Jink - don't forget to move!!!!
    * Seekers vs. flyers - in the faq it says a seeker uses BS5 even when a shot would normally be BS (due to snap etc.).
    * AdvSS - slow and purposeful now gives full movement (so no more rolling short for your Broadsides, if you buy this) lose overwatch. Not a huge thing, but something to pay attention to.
    * The demise of the ethereal caste - jumping off a building or getting him shot may be fun for preferred enemy, but more than likely you just handed your opponent a victory point, as most missions he will be the warlord (due to high LD). Use with caution.

    Thats all I got for now...only had a few games so far as final note... the "relic" mission is VERY challenging for tau, due to the implications of how exactly the thing is picked up and moved. So far, I have had to pretty much table my opponent to get it.

    thanks for the post!!

    1. Very much agree with a lot of your points. Vehicles getting cover much more easily is bad for Tau, as it pushes you to maneuver closer to to get shots around said cover, and taxes your markerlights more. Kroot are much less reliable, I think, as bubblewrap now with Overwatch and that units can blast a hole through the unit and charge right into what ever it behind it.
      If Seeker Missiles get to use BS5 they are a huge asset to have, and will give Tau a definite edge in the anticipated proliferation of fliers.
      I think you'd have to be VERY careful considering sacrificing your Ethereal. Prefered Enemy is good, but all those checks on your units when he dies can cripple you. Consider also that many units can take twin-linked weapons, and you already have markerlights.

  12. I tried an ethereal once, to get the preferred enemy in 6th.. I lost 3 teams of firewarriors, a unit of 2 broadsides, and would have lost another unit of broadsides but they were on the 2nd floor of a ruin and didn't have the movement to get off the board, and managed to rally.. That was with Shadowsun on the table. Every unit that was outside her bubble (dead center my deployment zone) failed their leadership. I was running a stupid list with 50 firewarriors, max Kroot (but only one ox) and 2 2 man broadside teams. After losing half my force on turn 2 I decided that that 60pt army buff for preferred enemy really wasn't worth the risk. The tau should apparently be colored yellow, not blue..