Wednesday, November 25, 2015

New 7th Edition Tau Codex Review (1 of 2) - Spot The Difference!

Apologies for the delay in reacting to the new book but thanks to the fantastic people who come to Blog Wars, I'm now the proud owner of a copy of the new Tau codex and a Stormsurge battlesuit. Expect to see more of the latter in upcoming posts but it's the former I want to talk about today. Whilst we've had several 7th edition books that don't feature massive changes, this new Tau codex is the first to see hardly any changes to the existing units. I had a discussion with Gareth Newton-Williams (who kindly organised the whip-round at BWX that bought me my codex) and I was saying that I couldn't really justify buying it. With the rules for the new units published in WD (or in the kits themselves) and pretty much every formation from the codex leaked online it seemed unnecessary. GW also took the strange step of saying you could buy the Kauyon campaign book to get all the new rules instead. The campaign book that costs £45 instead of £30 for the codex. What is a pain in the arse though is that the Tidewall isn't in the codex but does appear in Kauyon but that's no accident let's face it.

Don't get me wrong I'm tempted by the campaign books in their own right but don't try to sell them to me as an alternative to a codex! Anyway, moving on. This will just take a couple of posts rather than my usual several posts since not a lot has changed.

The Book
The cover art is just a recoloured version of the beautiful Raymond Swanland piece that adorned the "old" book. The spines are identical and the inside cover is the same artwork but red instead of blue?!? The most noticeable difference inside is the switch from predominantly ochre Tau to the white colour scheme of the Vior'la sept. Personally I think it's a nice change to break up them monotony of the yellowy-brownness. I like how the new kits look in white and I only wish I'd persevered with white Tau instead of copping out and going for grey. Otherwise the big change in the book is the now familiar switch to dataslates. I've already expressed my views on this but I'm slowly coming round to them. There are also some of these 2D colour scheme pictures which are essentially page fillers as far as I'm concerned.

New Models
It's great to finally have some new kits for Crisis suits and the Commander. The interim new commander kit that came in finecast was a bit of a disappointment for me. I bought one but never assembled it so it went on
eBay. The new crisis suits are great though. I was worried they'd change to the more curvy aesthetic of the FW suits but I'm pleased to see the same basic look with a few minor tweaks and a lot more pose-ability. I'm tempted to buy a set and magnetise them for every weapon just to replace some of the incredibly static poses I created with the old kit thanks to my poor early modelling skills.

The Ghostkeel and Stormsurge are taking Tau even further down the road towards Gundam etc. I'm actually a big fan of both of them and I think it's a great touch to be able to see the pilots. Without that you can start to feel that these suits are just monstrous creatures and forget that they're immense feats of technology. Finally, the new Fire Warriors are again a subtle improvement and I like the look of the new Breacher team. I'll probably playtest them a bit with pathfinder proxies before I commit to any but they're certainly nice to look at. I defy anyone to tell the difference between the Strike team models and the old ones without a thorough inspection. Still, it's nice to see GW update some tired kits and it gives me hope for some other models that need it (here's looking at you, CSM).

Changes to Existing Stuff
The Kauyon book has a handy guide to the seven minor changes to the book. There's nothing particularly earth-shattering here.

  • Commanders can now be fielded as a XV86 Coldstar with fixed weapons. That's a 6 shot twin-linked burst cannon and a missile pod to be precise. It becomes a somewhat limited FMC which basically just gives it faster movement and increased durability. I don't think it's worth the trade off for the limited weapons though and forces him to run solo for an extra 70% of his original cost. Think I'll pass.
  • Ethereals can now take recon armour which is meh (but perhaps if you've got 5pts burning a hole in your pocket) and a hover drone which is equally meh. Other than that they've just clarified Storm of Fire doesn't affect Stormsurges! I'm frankly amazed that GW realised this as I'm sure the interwebs would've figured that one out quickly and it would never have been FAQ'd.
  • Fire Warriors as we knew them are now Strike Teams and get the option to take a support turret (more on them in the next post) but are otherwise identical. Well, apart from the minimum squad size now being 5 instead of 6. That might sound insignificant but for those who want to just take minimum troops in a CAD and have more points for bigger toys that makes two FW units 30 pts cheaper than two Kroot units. The Kroot are probably of more use but 30pts is a lot!
  • Darkstrider's Fight on Foot rule is updated to include Breacher teams.
  • Crisis bodyguards move from slotless (effectively) to Elites. This is a bit of a pain in the arse if you're sticking to a CAD. I often used it to allow me to take a crisis team with my commander plus a second team in Elites alongside two Riptides. Both crisis teams and crisis bodyguards can now be taken in units of upto 9 models though which makes things interesting. Not saying I'm going to field 9 of them regularly but might consider 4-5 every so often.
  • Riptides, Hammerheads and Sky Rays can now be taken in units of three and gain the Fire Team special rule. Not that excited about fielding any of these in units. If anything I think it harms them. You don't want your Riptides in a big unit that can be charged and taken out of the game. Better to split them up and deploy them separately. Likewise for the tanks too. Of course the Riptides can be given target locks to help matters but still. Fire Team is a nice bonus but I'm not sure I want two together in a unit, never mind three. Time will tell I suppose.
  • Finally, markerlights got some minor wording changes plus the addition of the Destroyer option. This upgrades the Stormsurges destroyer missiles to D. That's a big deal but more on that in the next post.
Not much has changed really. You might think I'd see that as a good thing. In a way I do but I really think that some things needed to go from the old book. I don't hold with the view that Devilfish need to come down in price. They're 12-11-10 and those extra drones can be a pain in the arse (ask Matt). Likewise I think everything else is reasonably costed with one major exception: Signature Systems. Part of me wanted them changed completely but I'd have also settled for a massive points hike. Compared to every other book's "relics", the signature systems are just too cheap for what they do. I know the MSSS and CaCN stop you from firing but ask anyone who's played against a buff-commander (again, Matt) what they thinks of that. It might sound crazy for a Tau player to be asking for stuff to be toned down but they're just daft at times. They're probably no worse than some of the formations in this book (more on them in the next post) and obviously I'm not being forced to take a buff-commander but it frustrates me that they're pretty much an auto-include.  

Think what you will of the new Necron book but at least silliness like Mindshackle Scarabs and Tesla on Snap Shots was sorted out. People already hate Tau for their ridiculous rules and I feel that this codex isn't going to help matters. It's frustrating when you think back to those heady days before the Necron and Eldar books dropped when it looked like GW might actually find a balancing point. Play Wolves, GK, BA etc against each other and you get some great games. Granted DE was a clusterfuck and Orks still struggle at times but generally speaking they're quite balanced between each other. I welcome the new units for some variety but I fear we'll still just see broadside-spam and other such silliness. 

Right, that'll do for today. In Friday's post I'll talk about the new units (yay!) and formations (sigh). Incidentally, if you're planning on buying any of the new Tau stuff you should check out Element Games who offer discounts and use the banner on the right which helps support From The Fang too. Totally optional of course but I appreciate it.

EDIT: I didn't get round to writing the second post like I intended so it'll probably come on tomorrow night (Saturday) instead.


  1. I actually really like the way they gave us options with this release. For people who just play Tau, grab the Dex. For folks like me, who also have Raven Guard and/or White Scars forces, grab the Campaign book.

    I kind of feel like the Formation options, between this and what's been leaked from Mont'Ka, have made the Signature Systems less important to a certain extent. There are several other ways in there now to get stuff like Ignores Cover and Tank Hunter, and better sources of Markerlights, so the Buffmander feels less necessary. We'll see how it actually plays out.

    1. Thing is. The obsessive part of me would still want the codex if I'd bought the campaign book. It's just a shame the Tidewall isn't in there.

      That's kind of the problem with the formations, too much Ignores Cover and Tank Hunter. Tau don't need more of that. This arms race is getting daft.

    2. I just heard Space Wolves are supposed to be coming soon, and now I'm gonna be facing a real struggle if they get the same treatment :P

  2. I think the that Tau will actually be able to play in multiple different styles now with the changes to the book. Are they more powerful than they used to be? Of course. Formations tend to do that to an army. Some of them are a bit over the top

  3. Accidently pressed publish before finishing..
    Some of the formations are a bit over the top, some are pretty useless. We should be used to that from GW by now. The MSSS and CCN are powerful relics, but are they more powerful than the white scars relic that ignores cover and grants +1bs. For relentless grav gun rotting bikers that's pretty good. Probably not.
    Overall I would say tau got a bump, but are still not eldar / necrons / marine / war convocation levels power that the game has reached.

    1. There were already multiple play styles possible in the "old" book and adding the new units gives more options. I just don't think the formations are necessary on top of that although I admit I'm just generally not a fan of formations. When Spearhead first came out I remember how people saw them as a way of GW making you buy more tanks but now they're suddenly acceptable even though they're doing the same thing still!

      I don't think they're necessarily worse that some of the other armies but like you say the power level of some armies is very high now. It's just frustrating that other armies are so left behind. Has always been a problem but when they've updated books 6 months ago that are now lagging well behind that's very different to a 3 year old book in the same position.


Note: only a member of this blog may post a comment.


Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...