Friday, 19 April 2013

It's all About the Tau. Part 5 Elites (Cont)


Firstly, let me say that I built and base coated this model over the weekend. It is an awesome model. It’s so well designed, goes together relatively simply and has lots of options for posing it in really exciting ways. Love the model…..the rules on the other hand…. not (yet) convinced.

Stats are interesting WS2  BS3  S6  T6  W5  I2  A3  Ld9  Sv2+ Jet Pack Monstrous Creature. Has a Heavy Burst Cannon (HBC) as standard (Range 36” S6 AP4 Heavy 8) or for 5pts can take an Ion Accelerator (IA) (Range 72”  S7  AP2  Heavy 3 or Overcharged to become Range 72”  S8  AP2  Heavy 2 Large Blast, gets Hot). It comes with a TL SMS as standard that you can swap for a TL Plasma Rifle, or a TL Fusion Gun for free. It can also take 2 shielded missile drones for 25pts each (essential a missile drone with a 4++), which crucially are also T6. He can take 2 Support Systems.

The funky bit is that the Riptide comes with a Nova Reactor. At the start of the movement phase it can charge the reactor. On a 3+ you can do one of 4 things. On a 1 or a 2, you take a wound with no saves (you get FNP if you take a Stim Injector as one of your support systems). The options are

·         3++
·         Move 4d6 in the assault phase
·         Fire your secondary weapon twice
·         Nova charge your primary weapon. If you do this the HBC becomes Heavy 12, Gets Hot and Rending. The IA becomes S9 AP2 Heavy 1 Large Blast, Ordinance.

But it costs 180pts base.

If you are going to run the Riptide to my mind the Ion Cannon is the stand out weapon. With all it’s modes you can deal with pretty much anything on the board. Hordes - large blast. Monstrous Creatures – standard shot. MEQ or TEQ – Overcharged AP2 Large Blast. Armour – Nova Charged S9 AP2 Ordinance Large Blast. The only thing where the HBC might be better is if you want to give the Riptide an Early Warring Override (for Interceptor) and a Velocity Tracker (for Skyfire), and use it is an AA platform. But I think Skyrays and Broadsides do this better.

One interesting use is taking an Ion Accelerator and giving him an Early Warning Override to deal with Drop Podding Marines, or Deep Striking Terminators.

So, if I were to take him, I would pay 5pts for the IA and take a stim injector and an Early Warning Override. But that’s 225pts….! And it’s still only BS3!

However, setting aside the lacklustre BS and the high points, the real problem I have is that he competes for a slot with XV8’s, and I just can’t help feeling that XV8s are better. For the same points I could get 3 XV8s with plasma rifles and fusion blasters, upgrade one to a Shas’vre, give him a drone controller, take 4 gun drones and still have points left over.

Now of course these units are not comparable in the roles they play on the battle field, and I think that’s the point really. It will depend entirely on what you want your elite slots to do. Do you want a resilient sit back and shoot gun platform to support your Gunline – then the Riptide is the guy for you. Do you want a more flexible unit to go forward and support your D’Fish mounted Firewarriors, then maybe XV8’s are the way to go.

I get the feeling Riptides could be really good, but you would need to build your list around them.

But the great thing is……at least we have choices in the Elite Slots now.

Stealth Team

Stealth Teams are pretty much the same as they were in the old codex, but a few changes have happened round about them that make them a little more interesting.

There base stats and costs have stayed the same (WS2 BS3 S4  T3 W1  A1  Ld8  Sv3+  90pts for 3). You can upgrade to a Shas’vre (importantly giving them Ld9) who can take a marker light, a Homing beacon and 2 Drones. You can add 3 more suits. They come with a Burst Cannon base, and 1 in 3 can take a Fusion Blaster. Their suits give them both Stealth and Shrouding and they can infiltrate. Each of them can take one Support System.

The big deal with these guys is that they have a 2+ save in any cover, and a 4+ out in the open.

Like Shadowsun and Darkstrider, I can’t help thinking there is a clever ways to use Stealth Suits that would justify taking them other XV8s or a Riptide, but I’m not sure I can see it. The only thing I could come up with is giving them a Positional Relay, infiltrating them to a far corner, and bringing in some outflanking Kroot on your opponents board edge. But then what?

Like Riptides, I think you would need to build your whole Cadre around this concept (probably with Shadowsun) – might be interesting!


XV8s are still to my mind the stand out units. They are so flexible, and pack a huge punch for their points. You can see them playing a role in any army.

Riptides and Stealth Suits are less flexible. To make them work I suspect you will needto build your Cadre around them.


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