Thursday, May 2, 2013

Tau Codex Review: Troops

Well, to be honest there's not much change to the Troop types in the new codex.  There are no new Demiurg troops, there's no HQ to turn crisis suits into troops either, as rumors had been hinting.  Oh well, I wasn't expecting THAT big of a change here. 

However after reading the entire codex I really wish they made Vespids a Troop choice, their expense and limited weapons range would balance them nicely versus Kroot and Firewarriors.  And they would have been a nice mobile option for taking objectives.  Oh well, I guess they'll flounder in the overly full Fast Attack slot this edition. 
  On to the Troops section review:


Pros:  Excellent 30" range, 15" rapid fire range.  Strength 5 guns.  4+ armour isn't bad.  Can be buffed nicely by Fireblades and Ethereals.  Support Fire special rule is very nice.  Can get drones.  Now come with photon grenades standard.  Can take EMP grenades.  Cheaper than last codex.  Shas'vre can get Markerlight and Target Lock.

Cons:  Only BS3 without marker light support.  Poor in close combat.  Dedicated Transport is expensive.  Leadership is average.  Only Toughness 3.  Low Initiative.

Notes/Tactics:   Firewarriors got some nice subtle boosts in this new codex.  They are still only BS3 and quite dependent on marker lights to be effective.  But, with the addition of some synergistic HQ choices, they can really shine.   Combining an Ethereal and a Fireblade with a unit can potentially give each Firewarrior 4 shots in rapid fire range, thats awesome.

Devilfish are still expensive and Disruption Pods got even more expensive.  You probably won't be seeing a lot of them on the tabletops.  But, taking one for your Ethereal is a good idea because it prevents him from being Instakilled by high power template weapons.  It also greatly expands his 12" bubble of Invocation influence, so I recommend taking one Devilfish in your army for your Ethereal.

Overall I give the Firewarriors a solid B.  Their cost reduction and subtle improvements definately make them viable.

Kroot Carnivore Squads

Pros:  Dirt cheap.  Better guns than Guardsmen.   They finally have an armour save standard.  1x Hound grants the squad Acute Senses.  Krootox Gun is good against vehicles when outflanking.  Sniper rounds are cheap and can be mass deployed.  Have Move Thru Cover and Infiltrate.  Can use marker lights now.

Cons:  No longer have extra attack from kroot gun.  No longer Strength 4.  While 6+ armour save for free is better than what they had, its still only a 6+ armour save.  Stealth ability is still only in Forests, which you rarely see on most tables.

Notes/Tactics:  Contrary to most Kroot fans, I'm not too concerned with the nerfs to their close combat abilities.  Since 6th edition, they have been pretty useless in close combat.  If you try to charge with them, they'll get shot up in overwatch with no armour saves. 
Besides once they got into combat they were rarely better than the unit they were facing when it came to close combat.  They were only good relative to the rest of the Tau units which are arguably the worst in the game.

I think Kroot got a nice boost overall in this codex.  They can use marker lights and they have the nice and cheap option to use Sniper rounds.   Plus they got a good cost reduction as well as a base armour save.   Plus Outflanked Krootox Guns can be rather effective on most Vehicles' side armour.

I dont think you'll see many competitive all Kroot armies and I think most people will make the majority of their Troop choices Firewarriors, but I do think every army could benefit from a squad of Kroot.   Lets face it, Firewarriors like to sit and shoot, not run around the tabletop.  And since Devilfish are relatively expensive and fragile have a bunch of those isn't terribly cost effective.   So how do you get Troops to claim distant objectives?   Kroot!  Keep them in reserve and then Outflank them (hopefully later in the game so they dont get shot up).   Bring a pair of Krootox to help take out Vehicles (and spread wounds).  

So Kroot aren't the end all be all troop choice, but they are dirt cheap and definately have their uses.   Just don't think of them as a close combat unit anymore.   I give Kroot Carnivore Squads a B-.

So, we didn't really get any new Troop choices, and our choices are rather limited, unlike Chaos Deamons and Blood Angels who both have 5 troop choices.  But its safe to say that both our choices have improved and focused more on the main philosophy of the Tau army which is synergistic shooting power.   Having Vespid become a Troop choice would have been a nice complement to the other two choices, but, oh well, we can't have everything...


  1. I agree with ur unit assessment, but not sure that i find the grade you gave them helpful (not sure your expectations match the armies natural strengths and weaknesses). I loved reading these articles great work!

  2. Yeah, the grades are kinda arbitrary but I'm trying to keep them relative to each other with all the units. Firewarriors are definately better than Aun'Shi heheh