This is where the really interesting stuff is.
Tetras are an AV10 fast skimmer with a Pulse Carbine and a Disruption Pod for 50 pts. Nothing terribly exciting. However, they also come standard with a High Intensity Marker Light, which pushes out 4 marker light shots per turn.
That is huge.
Remember all the problems with Pathfinders -they are fragile, immobile, and you have to take a devilfish with them? Well – tetras solve all of these problems. Eight pathfinders cost 96 points. Two tetras cost 100pts. So for 4 points more you have the same number of marker lights but you have the following benefits
· It’s mobile. Because it’s a fast skimmer it can move 12 inches and shoot the marker light. So the problem with static pathfinders is over. It is impossible to exaggerate how important this is;
· Because it’s a fast skimmer their range is extended by 12 inches – so the marker lights go from 36” range to 48 inches;
· You can fire at 2 separate targets even if you take them as a squadron because you can upgrade one with a Target Lock for 5 points;
· They can take blacksun filters for 5 points. Remember this doubles your night fighting rolls. But even better you can expend a marker light hit to allow another unit to fire at the unit hit ignoring the night fighting rules. Who cares about solar pulses now! In dawn of war you can move them on 12 inches, marker light something (2d6*3)*2 away, and blow it of the table! With enough missile pods you could blow a unit of long fangs away before they can do anything – whether you go first or second!
· They come with a permanent 4+ cover save (unless you are within 12 inches, but why would you ever be!). This makes them pretty survivable.
· And bests of all, for 5 points you can take a targeting array making them BS4!
So for 125 pts you get 2 AV10 fast skimmers that can hit 2 targets every turn with 4 BS4 marker lights on each target, and that solve your “solar pulse problem” and make you so much more effective in Dawn of War deployment.
At a pinch, they can also be used to block armour like a Piranha – but because Forge World loves you, there is something better for that….!
This is an AV11 (front and side) fast skimmer that comes standard with a targeting array and a twin linked fusion gun for 70-points. So essentially a piranha with upgraded side armour and a BS4 TL melta gun. Seventy points is the same as a Piranha with a Fusion gun and a Targeting Array. The difference is that you get AV11 side armour and a twin linked fusion gun, in exchange for 2 gun drones.
On that basis it is a straight choice between a Piranha or a TX42. On balance I think I would go for the TX42. The twin linking on the fusion gun is too good to pass up. However, most intriguing is that there are other weapons options.
You can swap the Fusion gun for a TL plasma rifle, a TL missile pod or a TL rail rifle. What makes this interesting is that it gives you an alternative to XV8 as a platform for these weapons (although at a cost). Now I don't think I would ever put a rail rifle or a missile pod on a TX42 - deathrains are just as good and much cheaper, and I've never been persuaded by rail rifles - but plasma....!
Three BS4 XV8s with TL Plasma rifles (Burning Eyes) come in at 195pts. Three TX42s with BS4 TL Plasma Rifles come in at 240pts.
It’s an interesting choice! Remember I was disappointed in the performance of the burning eyes? The problem was range and duality - i.e. they had limited range and no duality. Well the TX42s go someway to solving that I think. The key for me is that for 45 points your plasma becomes far more mobile and you increase its effective range by 6 inches. The plasma suits are in the list as “emergency” heavy infantry killers. The faster your “emergency” heavy infantry killers can get to that emergency the better! But at the same time they can also block infantry and vehicles.
For 45 points I’m almost sold.
These are interesting too. They are AV10 fast skimmer drones! They come with twin linked “long barrel” burst cannons (which extents their range to 36”), are BS2 base but come with a targeting array as standard. They also have a marker light and 2 seeker missiles in their base cost (110pts). But here’s the interesting thing – they come with a built in stealth field!
That means that anything targeting them has to roll 2d6*3 to see if they can spot them. With a 36” range on their main guns and an unlimited range on their seeker missiles there is no reason to ever be inside 21 inches (the average roll on 2d6*3).
What I think is interesting here is that, with a 24” flat out move it makes these guys fantastic last turn objective contesters i.e. keep them back for most of the game using their seeker missiles and burst cannons to harass the enemy (because of the stealth field generator nobody can kill them) and move them flat out turn 5 to contest objectives.
They are however very costly at 110pts each.
There are other "approved" units - mostly other Kroot units - but nothing in them really catches my imagination. The problem is that they compete in Heavy Support and fast attack slots, and other options are just so much better IMO. The Greater Knarlocs compete with XV88s and Hammerheads, and the Kroot Riders, while an interesting counter assault unit (perhaps), compete with Tetras, TX42s and Remoras.
OK, next post some thoughts on how to put this together in a Tau army, that is hopefully much more dynamic.