Thursday, 18 April 2013

It's all About the Tau: Part 4 - Elites

XV8 Crisis Suits.

These were the stand out performers in the old dex and they just got better! Stats are the same as before but they now come 3pts cheaper, and have Black Sun Filters and Multitrackers built in. These were almost auto picks in the old dex (depending on loadout), so in affect, XV8’s are 11pts cheaper!

Weapons are a little bit more expensive across the board (with the exception of the plasma rifle). The options are

·         Fusion Blaster (now an 18” melta gun),
·         Plasma Rifle (S6 AP2 Rapid Fire),
·         Missile Pod (S7 AP4 Range 36”, Assault 2)
·         Burst Cannon (S5 AP5 Assault 4,  18” range),
·         Flamer (S4 AP5)

You can upgrade the suit with 3 items taken from either the weapons list, or the Support Systems’ list. So you can take up to 3 weapons, and the multi tracker allows you to fire 2 in the shooting phase.

At the moment the big question vexing Tau Geeks is whether you can take two of the same single weapon, or one twin linked weapon, and another single weapon of the same kind (i.e. a twin lined plasma rifle and a single plasma rifle). I favour the view that you can from the wording in the new ‘dex, but accept it is not entirely clear. Expect this to be FAQed.

The support systems are the same as for the XV8 Commander

·      Advanced Targeting system. Characters with the ATS make precision shots on a 5+.
·      Counterfire defence system. Allows the user to fire Overwatch at BS2
·      Early Warning Override. Gives Interceptor
·      Positional Relay. If it’s within 6 inches of a table edge (including your opponents!), any outflanking unit can choose to come in from that edge
·      Target Lock. Can shoot at a different unit than the rest of your unit.
·      Vectored Retro Thrusters. Gives Hit and Run USR.
·      Drone Controller. Allows the user to fire Gun and Marker Drones at the users own BS. It does not work for missile drones.
·      Stimulant Injector. Gives Feel No Pain USR.
·      Velocity Tracker. Gives Skyfire.
·      Shield Generator. Provides a 4+ invulnerable save.

You can take 3 suits in a unit, and can upgrade one of them to be a Shas’vre for 10pts. Interestingly the Shas’vre gets an extra attack, and importantly is Leadership 9…… this is where the Junior Shas’el commander went! That extra point of leadership, on such a crucial unit is golden, and well worth the 10pt upgrade IMHO. However, more interestingly he also gets access to the Signature Systems. However, unlike a Commander, or a Shas’vre bodyguard, the signature systems counts towards his 3 choices.

As a reminder, the systems are;

·      Neuroweb System Jammer. Any unit within 12 inches has the “Gets Hot” rule when shooting
·      Onager Gauntlet. The user swaps all his attacks for one S10 AP1 attack. The thought of an XV8 punching holes in a landraider makes me smile!
·      Failsafe Detonator. If you die you blow up. Bit silly really.
·      Repulsar Impact Field. D6, S4 AP- hits on any unit assaulting the bearer or his unit at I10. Not really worth it IMHO.
·      Command and Control Node. If the bearer does not fire, all models in his unit re roll “to hit” until the end of the current phase.
·      Puretide Engram Neurochip. Can give the bearer Counter Attack, Furious Charge, Monster Hunter, Stubborn or Tank Hunter until the end of his next movement phase. Remember, Tank Hunter and Monster Hunter confer on a unit.
·      Multi-spectrum Sensor Suite. Gives the unit Ignores Cover, if the bearer does not fire that turn..
·      XV8-02 Crisis “Iridium” Battlesuit. Gives the wearer a 2+ save, and T5, with no movement restriction.

Finally, all suits can take 2 Drones – either Gun, Marker or Shield (but note NOT missile drones)

Phew….lots and lots of options.

As before XV8’s are the swiss army knife of the Tau Codex, they can be pretty much kitted out to do what ever you need them to do.

Need to kill MEQ/TEQ  - 3 suits with 2 plasma rifles each, with a Shas’vre toting a Command and Control Node – 12 S6 AP2 BS3 shots, rerolling to hit. Give the Shas’vre a Multi-spectrum Sensor Suite (or 2 marker light hits) and they also ignore cover. Need to kill tanks? Same team but swap out the plasma for Fusion. Want more flexibility - for the same points you can give them a fusion gun and a plasma gun. Need some horde control? Give a 3 man team 2 burst cannons each, 24 S5 shots for 12pts less than a 12 man Fire Warrior team which puts out exactly the same number of shots. Worried about being charged? As well as the plasma and/or fusion gun, fill the 3rd hard point with a flamer. On average, 6 Overwatch hits on anything charging them. For 216pts give a team 2 missile pods each and Velocity Trackers – 12 S7 shots that fire at flyers using BS3. Make one of them a Shas’vre  for 10pts, and give him the Puretide Engram Chip for 15pts, and they all have Tank Hunter….! By my calculations that should kill a Vendetta in one turn of shooting (ignoring jink saves).

And of course there are Drones.  All XV8 Drones (marker, shield and gun) are 12pts each (sadly you can’t take Missile Drones on XV8s, only on Broadsides).

Gun Drones are pretty awesome now – add a Drone Controler to any of the Suits for 8pts, and the Drones use the suits BS, boosting their BS from 2 to 3. Given they are Twin Linked that effectively makes them BS4 (slightly better actually). So for 80pts you get 12 Twin Linked BS3 S5 AP5 shots. On average that’s 9 hits, or 8pts per hit. A 12 man Fire Warrior squad at 18” will only get 6 hits. A 12 man squad costs 108pts – so 18 points per hit…..! So attaching Gun Drones to an XV8 team is more than twice as efficient as a squad of fire warriors….! And that’s ignoring the ablative wounds they give the Suits.

Marker Drones are much cheaper now, but they’re trickier to play. I’ll come back to them when I look at the whole issue of marker light support.

Shield Drones – really not worth it IMHO. Go for Gun Drones all the way.


So, just like before, XV8s are awesome! What I find intriguing is how the improvement in Gun Drones allows you build a very flexible unit.

Take three suits. Upgrade one to a Shas’vre and give him 2 burst cannons and a Drone Controller. Give the other 2 a plasma rifle and a Fusion Blaster, and fill the third hard point with target locks. Add up to 6 Gun Drones. You now have a unit that can fire plasma and fusion blasters at hard targets, and hose down lighter targets with 20 S5 pulse rounds all shooting at BS3, and 12 of them are twin linked!

It’s an expensive unit (around 220pts) but at short range it’s devastating.

They key will be working out exactly which loadout fits in with the rest of your army.





  1. It really does look as though Crisis suits are gonna continue to be effective (to one extent or another) in plenty of rolls. Good news for sellers of rare earth magnets, to say the least :)

  2. Agreed on the magnets! I made the mistake with my old suits of not magnetising them. To be sure I'll magnetise them now! Its going to take me a while to work out the exact load out that will work best.


  3. Very good overview.

    I particularly like your ideas on adding the full amount of drones to a crisis team. I immediately liked the option of adding more drones just for the ablative wounds reason, but comparing the the effectiveness of drones shooting to fire warriors was an eye opener. I may have to add a few more drones into my crisis units and take the drone controller.

    Fire Warriors still have the nice 30" range, and at just under the drone's range they can be effected by the Etheral's invocation to fire 3 shots each. However after seeing your number crunching I'm tempted to add 2 drones and a controller to my commander, even though is role is to give tank hunters to my broadsides, as later in the game he can join the piranha gun drones.


  4. Be very cautious of my number crunching.....Maths not my strong point! But it does seem that drones, providing you can boost their BS, are pretty good.

    And you're right about the piranha gun drones. That's a good combo too. As are piranhas in general.