Monday, July 16, 2012
Tau in 6th Edition
Let me start off by saying that I haven't had many games of 6th edition yet but here are some of my early thoughts about Tau and the way 6th edition has/will affect them. I'll probably put more posts up on this subject as I get more games in but this is what I've got for now.
The 6th edition FAQ for Tau clearly states that this bit of wargear no longer does anything. Now obviously in 5th it technically didn't do anything as target priority tests don't exist but most people played it as the model with a target lock could fire at a different target to the rest of the squad. For suits this meant 5 points for the ability to split fire (10 if you include the necessary team leader upgrade). This was particularly great for broadsides as with twin-linked S10 AP1 you had a really good chance of taking down two vehicles with a single squad. For example, in one game at Open War I took down two vendettas with the first shots of the game! Now in 6th I'd probably need 6s to hit them but with twin-linked it's a 1/3 chance which is pretty good really.
With target locks gone we lose some of our capacity to kill stuff but all is not lost. For 5 points you can still upgrade one of your broadsides to a team leader who then becomes a "Character". Whilst this isn't much help with vehicles it means that any 6s to hit against troops can be allocated to a specific model. That means a decent chance of picking off a power fist or anything else that's a threat to your suits e.g. lascannons, plasma gunners etc. Now I'm not gonna pretend this is as good as a target lock but at least it's an essentially free upgrade as you nearly always take a team leader.
Not that they were used much anyway but the skyray is even more gimped by the lack of target lock. This means both of it's markerlights have to be fired at the same target and it can no longer launch it's own missiles. Bit of a shame but as I said it's not like people took them anyway. Personally I reckon in 6th edition they'll get "Skyfire" but that's mostly wishful thinking.
Every Tau player knows that range is their friend. Very few armies can put down the same amount of fire at extreme range. The problem was, in games against those pesky Necrons, Night Fighting for a few turns became a bit of an issue. Acute Senses on all of the suits helped but that rule is now essentially useless. With the new Night Fighting rules you must be within 36" to see a target (as before really) but also the target gains either a +1 or +2 to their cover (depending on range). This is pretty annoying. So with Target Locks becoming useless, something that used to be pretty useless (before Necrons) now becomes awesome. The Blacksun Filter now gives Tau units Night Vision meaning they can totally ignore Night Fighting. The rules for Night Vision only require one model to have it for the whole unit to benefit.
This means that if you give a squad leader (including for Fire Warriors) a Blacksun Filter they can totally ignore Night Fighting for just 3 points! The only other army (that I can think of) that gets this benefit is Dark Eldar. Now in 5th edition this wouldn't have been a big deal but in 6th there's a decent chance of Night Fighting coming into play in every single scenario making Night Vision a good thing to have! Obviously on any suits that have 12-18" range it probably isn't worth giving them Blacksun Filters but Deathrains and Broadsides almost have to have them.
Not much has changed here but the ability to regroup at any time with full Ld is pretty handy. Now this isn't to say you aren't going to be cut down in combat but if you manage to get away there's a pretty solid chance to regroup now. The question is, even at 5pts, are Bonding Knives worth it? As far as I can tell the restriction of enemies within 6" no longer applies so there's a better chance of being able to regroup now but with the limit dropped from 50% to 25% to still regroup the Bonding Knife isn't really giving you much extra.
Thanks to AP1 now giving +2 on the damage table it's not difficult to figure out that those railguns just got even better. That being said you still need to roll 4+ on the damage table to explode the vehicle so it hasn't made things all that much better. Slightly more chance of blowing it up balanced against just wrecking a vehicle. For Tau, blowing up a vehicle is useful as it helps keep your opponent at range. The problem is that vehicles are a lot softer anyway so maybe glancing things to death is the way to go.
Railguns are certainly handy when it comes to trying to claim the victory point for "First Blood" though!
Double FOCs at 2,000+ points
Whilst it remains to be seen what the UK tournament scene will adopt as its "standard" points level. Part of me hopes it stays at 1,750 as there's already an influx of cheesy lists onto the internet making the double FOC thing seem like a recipe for monotony. For Tau it could mean having a lot more suits on the board but it remains to be seen if this will be good or bad.
With the changes to Rapid Fire all weapons of this type have got a boost but none more so that the humble Tau Pulse Rifle. The main difference in 6th is that Rapid Fire is now half range not 12" which means a precious 3" boost to the double tap range of a Pulse Rifle. Couple that with the ability to move and still fire at 30" and it should be easier to keep your Fire Warriors safer.
The main problem for Fire Warriors was always their perpensity to fold when faced with even a slightly superior combat unit (i.e. every other unit in the game). Overwatch goes a long way to levelling that playing field. Whilst the true impact remains to be seen, assaults certainly aren't as likely as they were. The new wound allocation means that that horde of Orks/nids travelling towards you will not only have to withstand shooting in your turn but also in the turn they assault. Even with Snap Fire a double tap from an S5 gun is pretty nice. Taking models from the front means that unit might never make it into combat with your flimsy warriors.
I'm currently trying out Photon Grenades as well. These not only take away the charge bonus but also give your fire warriors Stealth from those pistol shots before the charge. Now I never used to take them because they were wasted points on a unit that I wanted to die on the turn it got charged. However, the possibility of thinning out the enemy enough to hold it in combat for a couple of turns or even fluke a win means that it might be worth giving these a second look.
New Tau Codex
Most of the rumour-mongers are saying that the new Tau book will hit the shelves in early 2013. Personally I'll be surprised if we see it before next Summer but who knows. In a game where shooting is even better than it was before the possibilities for the new book seem endless. The one thing that I'm interested in more than anything is the possibility of a flyer. I'm not talking a forgeworld one being used in 40K but an actual main rules flyer. Some people reckoned this would come before the book with a WD datasheet but either way I'm pretty excited about the idea.
So that's what I'm thinking so far about Tau. I certainly think 6th edition has given them a boost on the whole as they're one of the few armies that didn't rely on vehicles too heavily to be effective. As I've said, my main concern is how they'll deal with flyers but we'll have to see what the new book brings. I'll post more when I figure more out!