T’au Codex Review: Part 2 – Relics, Generic Stratagems and Traits

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Warlord Traits:

These are the generic warlord traits that are available to take for any Tenet, giving T’au players a lot of flexibility to either follow the set traits offered up in the codex or make up their own and give their cadre a distinct flavor. This is most welcome indeed.

Precision of the Hunter – Re-roll wound rolls of 1 made for your warlord against enemy vehicles or monsters

The very definition of ‘meh’, as its application is both situational and limited by what most HQ/Character will be doing in the new T’au. I can only really see this going on a suit, and even the it is just about ok on a tank/monster hunting Commander or Coldstar going solo in the enemies backline.

Through Unity, DevastationIn each of your shooting phases, pick a unit that is visible to your warlord; Until the end of your phase each time you make a wound roll of 6+ against that unit made by a friendly Sept unit within 6″ of your warlord, the AP is improved by 1

Not bad, and unlike the previous trait is widely applicable across many of the HQs/character. It might well be great on an FSE commander escorting a crisis bomb, or cadre fireblade/ethereal/Aun’va in a fire warrior nest, or even a firesight marksman babysitting some broadsides/riptides. It will help the ‘IT MUST DIE’ style stratagems take their target down (looking at you focused fire), and is one of the more fluffy traits.

A Ghost Walks Among Us – Add 6″ when the Warlord Advances instead of rolling a die

Again, ok – might work on a coldstar commander to give you that little bit extra mobility (not that he needs it) and synergises well with darkstrider since he is going to be pushing forward with breachers most of the time. Also works well with Vior’la tenet – quadfusion coldstar and three fusion piranhas in an outrider detachment anyone?

Through Boldness, Victory if your warlord is within 12″ of an enemy unit at the start of your shooting phase, you can re-roll failed hit rolls made for your Warlord until the end of the phase

An interesting one – again favours the brave who don’t mind their warlord getting quite so close to the enemy, but interesting in that it doesn’t limit you to aiming at the unit within 12”. Maybe some assassination style shenanigans are possible with this one? Again favours commanders for me, as it’s wasted on any other HQ choice.

Exemplar of the Kauyon – Re-roll failed hit rolls for Warlord as long as they have not moved

I find this a poor reflection of Kauyon, and can’t help but feel the rule team could have come up with something more interesting and fluffy. It will suit some builds of commander (SAMmander moslty) but in general your commander will want to be ducking and weaving with the best of them. Ok on a fireblade to make his markerlight more reliable, but that’s about it. And I have no idea what Shadowsun is supposed to do with it…

Exemplar of the Mont’ka – Warlord can advance and shoot as though they had not advanced this turn

Again, ok but not earth shattering. Use is a bit limited, almost certainly only for commanders, and redundant if you take Vior’la tenet (lazy rule writing). As above, also a poor reflection of the fluff – to really reflect Mont’ka it should have been an area effect at least, otherwise the assumption is that your warlord is doing the Mont’ka all by himself, which is just bizarre. Cool, but very bizarre.


Signature Systems:

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So these are basically the Tau Relics (for all your Imperial scum out there), and add another dimension of flavor to the blue skins. Only one per Army as standard, and not to be taken on Kroot shapers – mainly because they will just try to eat it.

Puretide Engram Neurochip – Once per battle you can re-roll a single hit, wound or damage roll made for the bearer or friendly Sept unit within 6″. If army is battelforged, you gain a Command Point on a 6 every time your opponent or you use a stratagem.

Universally useful, this will be the mainstay of most T’au lists. Anything that improves CP efficiency is key to success in 8th, and as we will see the new stratagems mean that T’au are going to need as many of them as they can get.

Onager Gauntlet – S10 AP-4 D6D; one attack only

Not as ‘Tank Popping’ as the fluff would suggest, but then what is (looking at you railguns)? If your strategy is charging a commander into enemy vehicles to tie up there shooting, then this might be for you. Only really for aggressive play, and even then situational – a poor Sept’s fusion blades I guess?

Multi-sensory Discouragement Array – Enemy units within 6″ subtract 1 from Leadership

A new one on me fluffwise, and I struggle to see many players taking it. Once again it will benefit from aggressive play; getting it up close to the enemy to make the most of morale loses after your close range shooting attack. Alternatively, it might also be used on your gunline to help bleed the enemy as they inevitable slice through your lines in close combat, synergising well with the T’au sept tenet.

Solid-Image Projection Unit (Ethereal with hover drone only) – Once per phase, if declared as a charge target, the Ethereal can move up to 3″ before the charge is made

Another poor offering –moving 3” won’t keep your ethereal out of trouble, but it might at least move him closer to some supporting fire or behind some screens. However it is easily circumnavigated by just charging the screens and then consolidating to tie up the ethereal. It is also of no use against shooty armies.

Seismic Destabiliser – Start of each shooting phase, you may either pick an enemy Infantry unit claiming cover or a Building within 12″ of the bearer; the Building suffers D3 mortal wounds; the infantry squad rolls a die per squad member and on a 6 they suffer a mortal wound

A decent amount of damage can be dealt by this if it is utilised properly. Obviously terrain heavy tabletops are more advantageous to it, and if you are facing fortifications then even better. It could also potentially put a serious dent in big units hiding in cover (skulking Ork mobs, guardsmen manning the defense lines, etc). Best played aggressively, but rather situational in its application.

Supernova Launcher – Replaced AFP for 18″ Assault D6, S6, AP-2 2D can shoot out of Los weapon

Upgrades the Airbursting Fragmentation Projector into a decent weapon, so if you are intent on taking it then definitely worth the upgrade.


T’au Empire Stratagems:

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So. The meat and potatoes of the new codex. Stratagems are king in 8th, and if the T’au are going to be a force to be reckoned with they are going to need some decent ones, We have already seen what the tenet specific ones have to offer, now on to the generic ones.

Breach and Clear (1CP) – Use this stratagem in your shooting phase, before a breacher team from your army shoots at an enemy unit that is benefiting from cover. The breacher team rerolls failed wound rolls against the enemy unit until the end of this phase.

A nice boost for those who like to play the devilfish + Breachers + Darkstrider combo, but a bit situational as the enemy have to be in cover. Good for rooting out tough units guarding objectives or well dug in threats, and a reasonable price I think.

Branched Nova Charge (1CP) – When using the Nova Reactor, you may choose two effects rather than just one

Welcome back Riptides! For those who like to bring the big boys to the table, look to induce salty tears from your opponent with this one. Ok, so not as broken as the infamous Riptide wing, but pretty great as the new Riptide works. It effectively doubles the value of the mortal wound paid for the Nova charge effects, an since all three have their place there will be plenty of situations where you may well want to use two (boost/nova charge weapon being my favourite – allow you to shoot a unit off of an objective and then move on to it, lot of tactical possibilities here), and the synergies with other stratagems require an article all of its own.

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Multi-spectrum Sensor Suite (1CP)Used before a battlesuit unit shoots, enemy units cannot claim cover saves from that unit.

Fairly decent, as removing cover is not to be sniffed at, but T’au can usually achieve this through markerlights anyway. Good for targeting units that rely on cover for survivability.

Fail-safe Detonator (1CP) – Use when a Battlesuit unit from your army is destroyed in fight phase, roll a dice for each unit within 3” and on a 4+ it suffers a mortal wound.

A bit pants, especially when considering you hurt friend and foe alike. A single mortal wound on a 4+ is a bit underwhelming (more party popper than power core meltdown), probably better pending the CP on a save reroll to try and keep the suit alive.

Automated Repair System (2CP) – Battlesuit or Vehicle regains D3 lost wounds.

A bit expensive if you cant roll your 5+, but nice in a pinch to get your big guns back online. Great for keeping commanders going, as well as keeping Longstrike in the game for longer, and another one for Riptides to use much to their opponents chagrin.

Neuroweb System Jammer (2CP) – Start of enemy shooting phase, pick an enemy unit within 18” of Battlesuit Commander; subtract 1 from hit rolls made from that unit this phase.

Situational in that only shooty armies are going to care about it, but this could really mess with your opponent no end. Quad fusion Coldstar will be in the enemy ranks anyway, so letting this off on your opponents big guns will be the icing on the cake of whatever he has just melted the face off of. Wait, did that sentence work? Ah who cares, you get the gist, I think it’s pretty good.

Repulsor Impact Field (1CP) – After opponent successfully charges a Battlesuit unit, roll a dice for each model in the enemy unit within 3” of your unit and 6s deal mortal wounds

I can feel my sides splitting with mirthful laughter already. Look out Ork/ Tyranid players.

Command and Control Node (1CP) – Commander cannot shoot but Battlesuit unit in your army within 6” can re-roll wounds.

Wow. WOW! Rerolling wounds is in short supply in the T’au codex, so any mechanism for doing so is welcome indeed, but this is pretty darn great. Will almost certainly be a key component of any farsight/crisis bomb, but is equally good for backline burstides and broadsides laying down the dakka. At 1 CP it is an absolute steal too – the Buffmander will rise again!

EMP Grenade (1CP) – When throwing a photon grenade, only make a single hit roll and if it hits, deal D3 mortal wounds against an enemy vehicle.

As someone who keenly felt the loss of EMP grenades, this is a welcome addition to the list and will give someone a nasty surprise. Just a shame it’s not wargear.

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Hunting Grounds (1CP) Kroot Hound unit successfully completes charge, Kroot units within 12” can re-roll charges.

Urgh. I mean, c’mon. Is this the best we can do for our auxiliaries? The codex on a whole has been pretty poor for the loyal kroot and vespids in the ranks, and stratagems as terrible as this do nothing except make the rumours of a kroot codex seem more plausible.

Uplinked Markerlight (1CP) – When a markerlight successfully hits, place D3+1 markerlight tokens instead of 1.

Solid, will be used almost every round.

Support Turret Replacement (1CP) – If a Turret has been destroyed for a Fire Warrior team, it can be replaced.

Okay I guess, but then you have to take the turret in the first place, and I think most players will just be taking more fire warriors instead.

Point Defence Targeting Relay (1CP) – Vehicle can overwatch on 5s and 6s

Utterly redundant for T’au Sept (more lazy rule writing), I can only really see this being used a s a desperate last resort to stop a dreadnaught on his last wound charging your (non T’au sept) Hammerhead, hoping to railgun them to the face. Highly situational, but also highly amusing if it comes off.

Emergency Dispensation (1CP/3CP) – Take extra relics

Standard trait in most codices, has some nice synergies for T’au and might mean players take more than just the PENchip.

Orbital Ion Beam (3CP) – Commander has not moved or Manta Striked in the preceding movement phase. Pick two points on the battlefield 2D6” apart and draw a line between them. Each unit suffers D3 mortal wounds on a 4+ (characters 5+).

I really like the idea of this one, and want to believe its great, but it relies on a lot of luck to be effective. Firstly your commander has got to stay still (which he really doesn’t wan to do, unless….. BUFFMANDER!). Then you have to roll well on your 2D6” line, because a double 1 at this stage is going to suck. Then you need a decent number of 4+’s, followed by 3+’s on the mortal wounds role to make any kind of impact. You don’t need to mathammer it to see the depreciating returns, and I think it would struggle to put significant hurt on even the most crowded of deployments.

Recon Sweep (1CP) – Pathfinder team can moved 2D6” in the shooting phase but cannot shoot or charge.

Its ok, meaning they can effectively move 3D6 if they advanced first (and why wouldn’t you, since they can’t shoot or charge). It will help get them reposition if they find themselves out of markerlight range after deployment, or if you want to get them in rapid fire range for their ion/rail rifles next turn.

Wall of Mirrors (1CP) – Stealth suit unit within 6” of Ghostkeel may move anywhere within 12” of Ghostkeel (but 9” away from enemy), even if they were in combat.

A good way of pulling your stealth suits out of trouble without having to fall back, or catapulting them onto the opposite flank of your ghostkeel for support, but quite situational. Might see some use as the trigger for FSE crisis bombs to get within 6” of the enemy, as this redeployment happens before the homing beacon has to be dropped.

Stimulant Injector (1CP) – start of any turn, a battlesuit model with wounds characteristic of 10+ can use the top row of the models’ damage table regardless of wounds remaining (unless it dies)

Another great one for Riptides, troll your opponent back to the dark ages by performing at full capacity despite the amount of damage he has managed to put on your big guy. But seriously, use sparingly, otherwise we’ll see the riptide start to top the ‘40k most hated unit’ lists again. Equally good for big brother too…

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Positional Relay (2CP) – start of movement phase, pick a recon drone and a unit of the same sept that has been setup in a manta hold and can setup within 6” of the recon drone.

The fact that this does not cross over Septs really hurts this one, which is a shame as it’s not bad. Again it relies on you taking a unit you might not otherwise have considered (the recon drone), but it is a great mechanism for utilizing your crisis in the manta as a counter strike against an aggressive enemy. Way too step at 2CP though.

Summary

So there we have it, a veritable smorgasbord of buffs, tactics and strategies to build your lists around and dominate the battlefields of the 41st millennium.

The generic warlord traits are, on the whole, slightly worse than the Sept specific ones in my opinion. However it is a pretty close thing as both sets of traits are fairly underwhelming – there is maybe one stand out good one here (Through Unity, Devastation) followed by a raft of ‘meh’ ones.

The signature systems are also a bit of a rollercoaster ride, with a few nice good ones (Seismic Destabiliser ) and awful ones (Solid-Image Projection Unit) bracket by the generally ok weapon upgrade ones. On the whole, not massively inspirational and do little to steer you away from the auto-take that is the PENchip.

But of course, the above two categories are just the sprinkles on top of the trifle that is stratagems. There are some really great ones here for T’au, most notably the makerlight orientated ones and the ones that allow you to troll your opponents with your riptides. Luckily though, there is nothing massively overpowered here and the good ones are balanced out by their share of utterly naff ones (Hunting hounds, why oh why?!) which should keep the haters in check and not give the T’au any more of a bad press than they have had in the past.

Overall, I’m really happy with these new rules – they offer a lot of flexibility and interesting synergies that will allow T’au players to build armies that are both competitive and fluffy without one necessarily being at the expense of the other.

Which is just about all you can hope for in this game.

Unless you play Eldar.

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