The Future of the Tau - 5th Edition Problems
Due the nature of how Games Workshop evolves Warhammer 40K, what once was a competitive advantage or unique tactic can become a hindrance under new rules. To be fair, gun lines got a nice boost under the fifth edition changes. However, some of the mission changes have not been so nice to the Tau Empire. In this article, I will look at some the Tau Empire's weaknesses under 5th edition 40K.
Kill Points – We Have Way Too Many
In 5th edition, the victory condition for one of the standard missions is based on kill points. For each opposing squad eliminated, a player scores a single point regardless of the actual build cost of that squad. Therefore, armies which have either larger or more expensive squads will have fewer possible kill points then armies with smaller or cheaper squads. Unfortunately for the Tau, we generally have smaller and cheaper squads. It is not uncommon for a Tau army to have 50% or more kill points then the army opposing them. As a result, even the same number of build points are eliminated on each side, the Tau player is usually going to be on the losing side. This disadvantage does not even cover the mess with the gun drones our vehicles that was discussed in the Kludges article. The solution here would be to allow Tau players to build larger squads or make our armies more mobile. If we can run better, it will be harder to kill large amounts of squads.
Our Troop Choices – Just Not Enough
The Tau Empire technically has three troop choices: Firewarriors with pulse rifles, Firewarriors with pulse carbines, and Kroot. In 5th edition, if the goal is not too kill each other, then the goal is to capture objectives. Two of our troop types are stationary fighters: The Pulse Rifle Firewarriors and Kroot. If we pack in too many Pulse Carbine squads to increase our army's mobility, we lack the range and firepower to defeat our opponents. In the end, we can contest objectives because our vehicles and elite choices are highly mobile, but it is difficult for us to capture them. Here are some possible non-play tested solutions.
1)Drop the pinning ability on the pulse carbines and go back to it being an assault 2 weapon.
2)Make one of the faster choices, like a Crisis variant or Drone Squad(but not the Vespid), a troop choice.
3)Create a new cool type of troop that merges the two types of Firewarriors.
The Sky Ray and Vespid
I hope the Games Workshop doesn't look at the high sales of the Tau Sky Ray and makes the conclusion that the Sky Ray is awesome. While it looks really cool, it really isn't a practical unit. The reason everyone buys it is because at the time of this article, the Sky Ray boxes contains the pieces for all variants of the Sky Ray, Hammerhead, and Devilfish. In a similar fashion, the Vespid looks cool, but they are too expensive for such a low armor save. There are better ways to bring AP3 to the table.
The Ankle Joints of the Crisis Suits
I want to finish up on a modeling note. Personally, I think the Crisis suits are fairly ugly, but that is not what I am complaining about here. Even if the Crisis suits don't get a total redesign, some new ankle joints would be nice. The standard pose of the Crisis suits have the figures standing perfectly upright and the ankle joints are disappointingly small and weak. It is far too common to have the feet which are attached to the base break off from the rest of the battlesuit. Since the Broadsides are based on the Crisis Suit, they suffer even more from this problem because of their heavier torsos.