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View Full Version : Harmless Speculation on the rules-wise future of Tau



mattmanforever
07-01-2007, 15:57
I'd like to preface this with a note that this is not meant to spur any rumors of a superfast re-relase of Codex: Tau Empire, and especially given all the recent talk about Codex release orders, this is in no way correlated with any of that affair.

That being said, upon leafing through the Codex for the Nth time yesterday, I got to thinking about how things'll be different next time. Here's some of my complete unofficial and in-no-way-grounded-in-legitimate-source speculation - just what I see as the logical progression of the army.

1. I think Crisis Suits will get the option to have two of the same weapon system without twin-linking, like Shadowsun. It'll likely require some sort of upgrade (Integrated Weapon System Targeting Matrix, or something), but I think that Shadowsun is in someways playtesting the waters for allowing this option.

2. The introduction of some of the special issue wargear as standard equipment. Seems like a no-brainer, but I guess the interesting bit will be what is made standard issue. In my opinion, none of the weapons are so good they need to be special issue, and while I can see some of the support systems and such restricted to HQ choices, but a lot of it I think can be opened up to Shas'vres. Similarly, as miniaturization progresses, I think more and more items will have the option of hard-wiring. Hard-wired targetting arrays, anyone?

3. A rehashing of the special characters. It seems to be the consensus that both Aun'va and O'shassera are sort of "meh". I think there's potential for them, but some tinkering needs to occur. Shadowsun has various and contradictory bits of equipment, while just about everyone agrees the best thing to do with Aun'va is get 'em killed. Farsight should obviously count towards the Crisis HQ, and perhaps Ork Fighters should be looked at.

4. Obviously new stuff would be introduced, but what? New vehicles? New alien races? New suits? I really have no idea where to begin here.

5. An increase in the viability of a more Static-oriented list. I think that there were steps taken in the new Codex to try to make this happen - namely, ntworked Markerlights and the Marker Drone. However, somewhere, someone pulled the punch and made them too expensive to be a realistic option (2 Marker Drones will give you a 75% of a BS 4 on your squad, while the Honour Guard gets it definitely for, at most, about 2/5 of the cost.). Other interesting elements were introduced that work, like Advanced Stabilizer Systems for Broadsides and Sniper Drone Teams, but it's still pretty much the wisdom that a high degree of mechanization exists. As many will be quick to point out, a lot of that has to do not so much with the Tau speciically so much as the nature of 4th Edition. However, internal fixes within the Codex would make Static Tau competitive.

That's about all I can remember thinking of - anyone care to comment or produce some of their own speculations?

Ap0calypse
07-01-2007, 16:08
Didn't the Tau get 2 codex's almost in a row? Hopefully it will be at least another decade before we see ANOTHER Tau codex. I think it's pointless to speculate on changes as the next codex will be with version 5 of 40k, and there will be new rules.

Mr Zephy
07-01-2007, 16:50
Anything new would have to come in the apocalypse add-on (of plastic baneblade fame). It could happen, but not very likely IMO

ShadowKitana
07-01-2007, 17:20
I was going to post something simmilar on what "special equipment" would become standard and what would go away. Personaly I think that most if not all of the new hard point battlesuit systems will go away. None of them are worth the hard point.

superknijn
07-01-2007, 17:35
Networked markerlights on battlesuits would be nice, and maintaining their 'heavy' designation is mainly a boost for the static Tau (BS4 Broadsides, although that means that the markerlights must be support weapons, and can
't normally be fired together with the twin-linked railgun)

New battlesuits (Maybe from forgeworld) are always nice, and add some variation.

I think that the Tau codex is fine as it is, so the above is just more 'candy', if you understand what I mean. Other codices need an update way more than the Tau.

Permanganate
07-01-2007, 19:13
Some of the Forgeworld stuff might make it into the codex. The XV81, XV84, and XV89 suck because they have no mobility, but the special character commander isn't too bad (great model, too) and the Tetra and Piranha TX-42 have uses.
What I'd really like to see is a total rethink of the special characters. Currently, we have the geriatric Space Pope, who is best served dead, Commander Farsight, who seriously limits your unit choices and is CC-oriented (play well and you don't need CC units), and one of the only ~50 females in the galaxy, who has a nice but underranged rule about using her leadership for everyone within 18", but her weapons fit is only useful if you drop her in the back of the enemy army and blow up tanks. (The premier military commander of the entire Tau Empire running around behind enemy lines, alone?!?!) Except for flavor, why would you take these people? Isn't there anyone in the Empire who knows anything about shooting or vehicles?
Marker Drones need to be cheaper. They're only useful on static FW and static stealth teams anyway, and they're very overpriced for their role.
I'm not sure they'll go for multiple identical weapons on battlesuits. If this rule change was made, I'd take two full crisis teams with all plasma rifles for killing one MEq/TEq squad a turn, one with all missile pods for one GEq/EEq squad a turn, and a monat 'O with all fusion blasters for killing one tank a turn. No wasted shots, and half the flavor of the battlesuits goes out of the window because only three or four weapons will ever be used. These are flying JSJ Obliterators!
Two of the new battlesuit systems need to be beefed up or disappeared. Failsafe detonator - who'd want to pay for a small chance of being able to explode when it's only AP-? Ejection system - the pilot doesn't do much of anything and doesn't count for VP, so the system is pointless.
Static Tau aren't very good against a good opponent, despite the new ASS. Do they need to be made better, or should people just do mech tau?
Pathfinders look great on paper but are a complete waste of points under ~1850pts, because they have to take an expensive transport (which was nerfed in the FAQ) and everyone shoots them to bits in the first turn. They also take up a Fast Attack slot, and I love my Piranhas. IMO, move them to Troops, say that an army must have at least as many Fire Warriors as they do Pathfinders (both squads and models), and either make them a point cheaper or make them more survivable - perhaps +1 cover save.
Fire Warriors: how to make these reasonable? Considering how good their standard gun is, you hardly ever see them in tournament lists. All the top-scoring tournament Tau lists have the minimum six FW, and even the slightly lower ones rarely have more than twelve. I think it's a combination of factors; they don't really fit into a mech tau army (the most effective type), they die amazingly easily in CC, and they have no special or heavy weapons. I really don't know what to do to them, though if someone does, maybe they'll make static tau armies competitive.
Vespid: these are just bad. Bad models, bad rules. Something might be done to them in the next codex as Tau don't have many AP3 weapons. I'm just not sure how to fix them without turning them into anti-marine battlesuits or flying Kroot.



Didn't the Tau get 2 codex's almost in a row?

The first codex was in 2001. Five years is hardly two codexes in a row, and they really did need an update - the fourth edition rules were particularly hard on drones.

mattmanforever
07-01-2007, 21:37
Believe me, this isn't meant to be a petition for a new Tau codex in 2008. However, I don't see why we can't talk about it justbecause the Tau just got a new codex.

Permaganate, a couple of points I'd like to respond to. You mention that same weapon systems would be bad mainly because it allows them to be too good at something, and I'm not necessarily disagreeing, but is that really such a bad thing.With a relatively expensive upgrade to allow it (lets say 15 points), a Crisis Suit with two plasma rifles would cost 80 points, without any other tricks. I think that's a pretty steep investment, personally.

Also, you question whether Static Tau can be brought up to par with Mechaized Tau, or whether people should just universally play Mech Tau. Perhaps I just have a soft spot in my heart for Static Tau for whatever reason, but I guess I just feel like both options deserve to be intrinsically viable because otherwise, it's kind of like 3rd Edition Eldar, int he sense that there's some obvious units to pick, a lot of obvious units not to pick, and everyone fielding the same army.

Lastly, you mention the humble Fire Warrior, and while I certainly agree thatthey are a bit too much of a pushover, I think that tinkering with the Marker Drone, the toy which I personally think was intended to make Static Fire Warrior teams (and thus Static Tau) viable, would bring everything else into place.

Otherwise, I basically agree with a lot of the stuff you mentioned. Especially your commentary on the special characters. I wish i could make other people see it that way.

Curufew
07-01-2007, 22:26
Lower the price of the hammerheads by alittle bit. Compare the Hammerhead to the Prism.

Prism basic cost at 115. It comes with Prism cannon,catapults,fast.
Hammerhead basic cost is 90 pts. Comes with better front armour.

I would like to see more auxilaries for the Tau Empire. Something like extra armour or spirit stones that stops you from being stun.

FraustyTheSnowman
07-01-2007, 23:31
I'm hoping they open up the human auzilaries option in the next codex. It's a realy cool concept, but ruleswise it's pathetic and counter to the tau background. Maybe I'm not seeing their use, but to me all they are is something cheep to use as shields/buffer, and according to the tau codex they don't realy play like that. Perhaps allowing specific units from the IG codex, with the option of giving vet sergeants markerlights, pulse rifles, or pulse carbines would work. I could see arguments either way on allowing IG vehicles, and lean more towards the NO option.

More alien auxilaries would be nice too, as well as fixing the vespid, and allowing more kroot. Why should a chaos marine army be allowed to take a bigger variety of kroot than a tau army? Makes no bloody sense.

Personaly, I don't see the problem with pathfinders. Yeah, it would be nice if they didn't have to take a devilfish, but I don't see that one little flaw making them not worht taking. Get rid of that requirement, and make them an elite rather than fast attack, and their perfect in my opinion.

Plastic tetras and the new piranha would be killer. As well as plastic heavy gun drones, especialy if they were made to be wargear aswell as heavy support. I'm not one of those who believes you have to have a single hammerhead/skyray in your army to make it work, let alone three, so it doesn't bother me that their HS, but for all those fruitloops who dissagree, making the heavy drones wargear will be the only way their ever actualy used in a game.

As for the special characters, I'm not a big fan of the concept in any army. The only character I've ever used with any consistancy ever was fabious bile, and that was just for the troop boosting thing, way back in second edition. I would say the tau characters make little to no sense, and range from a weird idea that works but is definetly the oddball (farsight), to what in gods name were the developers thinking? (that etherial on the floating throne)

Jammybee
08-01-2007, 00:01
Although they dont need a new codex, the point of the thread is idle speculation, so:

Bonus to static tau - heavy weapons in FW sqauds if no devilfish (?) I know it says that their doctrine is no heavy weapons in squad, but if there is a race to learn from their mistakes its the tau. Also like the Idea of the heavy drones.

Some kind of forcefield/armoured cockpit upgrade for piranhas. Also better weapon options.

Tau infantry commander - Command group like IG one, not super killy but benefits other tau units.

Reflex
08-01-2007, 00:18
see thats the problem with Tau... they are constantly getting better technology. see the imperium, chaos, eldar, necrons cant get better technology (necrons have the best ever so the C'tan have no need for better) because they dont know how to make better stuff or they are having a hard enough time as is (as such)...

so constantly the Tau are having newer and newer stuff which creates a problem with there codex, each time they need better stuff...

(i am having a real hard time thinking up this argument but some of the higher up guys might understand what i am trying to say...)

i think that Tau (the planet) needs to be blown up or something to stop what ever it is that i am trying to argue here so that it will fit in better and not be so troublesome...

(yeah sorry for the poorly worded and argued argument but i am incredibly stressed and am having a hard time atm... so sorry for the bad argument, grammer and such, but i hope you can understand what i am trying so pathetically to argue...)

max the dog
08-01-2007, 00:40
Personaly I'd like to see the Tau aquire some sort of close combat ability. No I don't want to see them turn into close combat killers but some sort of ability to survive a close combat engagement. Something like an alternate Firewarrior caste with a WS and Initiative of 3 and armed with a close combat weapon and pulse pistol. Nothing about that is game imbalancing and could actually play into the 40K fluff if the Tau were suddenly in need of close combat warriors.

EarlGrey
08-01-2007, 02:01
Personaly I'd like to see the Tau aquire some sort of close combat ability. No I don't want to see them turn into close combat killers but some sort of ability to survive a close combat engagement. Something like an alternate Firewarrior caste with a WS and Initiative of 3 and armed with a close combat weapon and pulse pistol. Nothing about that is game imbalancing and could actually play into the 40K fluff if the Tau were suddenly in need of close combat warriors.

May I introduce the Kroot, sir.
I find it funny that, and I'm sorry they are not technically Tau, the Kroot are there for the very reason that Tau are rubbish in Close Combat (and that the Tau disdain close combat themselves... because they are rubbish). Haha, I don't know if there is something in the water, but the wish for close combat Tau keeps cropping up. KROOT! KROOT! They're THERE in the CODEX. Tau have alien races to fill certain jobs - it makes them what they are!
For example: If your pipes burst, you need a plumber. If you're not a plumber, you hire a plumber as a mercenery. If he does a good job, or if you like him/her, why not invite him/her to stay, become part of the family so that he/she can fix your pipes again... err... where was I?

A lot of what people want for the Tau goes against current Tau doctrine. You know, the stuff that makes them Tau. Everyone wants close combat, heavy weapons etc. But if that all happens, then what we will end up with is something half way between Imperial Guard and Space Marine - but with jet packs and rail guns. Which is a bit boring.

Anyway. I like the idea of field testing new weapons, and would like to see more. Much like they publish new Guard Doctrines in White Dwarf, they could do the same with special issue weapons. Like they did with Rail Rifles to begin with. I would love to see more of that until the new codex comes around next century.

max the dog
08-01-2007, 03:11
May I introduce the Kroot, sir.
Yes I know the Tau have Kroot but for the fluff side of 40K I've been advocating the Kroot rebeling for thier own codex. The story line would be rich and besides, wouldn't it be funny to see an army codex who's best close combat trooper is no better than a standard guardsmen?

Nabeshin1106
08-01-2007, 03:14
I think that something like 0-1 Sniper Drones should be available to Fire Warrior Shas'uis with a Drone Controller. This adds a bit more hitting power to static Fire Warrior squads, and might be an incentive for more people to take them. Couple that with cheaper Marker Drones, and you have quite the unit.

Hellebore
08-01-2007, 03:34
I wouldn't mind seeing heavy gun drones.

Rather than allowing fire warriors to carry plasma rifles, or missile pods etc, I want to see gun drones with them.

I see it like the gun servitor - the guns are too heavy for a fire warrior to carry effectively, so they mount them on gun drones with the targetting array upgrade (like the sniper drones).

Thus you can have two battlesuit weapon options in a fire warrior squad.

I still would rather see battlesuits and shas'ui BS 4 and ONE attack, rather than BS 3 and TWO attacks - better shooting is in my mind more realistic than getting better at fighting.

Thus, fire warrior shas'uis will be the only squad leader that doesn't go up in A, but in BS.

Hellebore

NightLord
08-01-2007, 03:57
I have an idea to make static tau armys more competetive. Make each squad come with a marker drone standard. Give the drone the ability to take either a seeker missile a rail rifle. That would make them atleast not as useless. Maybe a unit selection like this.

Fire warriors
Unit size 6-12
For each 6 fire warriors you get one free marker drone.
You can equip the marker drone with one of the following weapons.
Rail rifle - 12 points
Seeker missile -10 points
Smart missile system - 16 points
The drone is allowed one hard point slot for a target lock at the cost of 10 points.

Something like that makes sence to me. It stays in the taus nature and allows more fire power rather than just troops that you are required to take.
I diddnt do the points how they would actually be(or should be) but it is just an example of my thinking.

Edit: Seeker missiles dont make that much sence to me seeing as they are so expensive so maybe another option in its place that is decent for taking out tanks.

Permanganate
08-01-2007, 07:11
Perhaps allowing specific units from the IG codex, with the option of giving vet sergeants markerlights, pulse rifles, or pulse carbines would work. I could see arguments either way on allowing IG vehicles, and lean more towards the NO option.

In normal Tau lists, yes, no IG vehicles. They would fit well in a defense/defectors list of Tau-aligned humans in a campaign codex taking place on a Tau world, though. Tau commander, a few other Tau, lots of humans.


Why should a chaos marine army be allowed to take a bigger variety of kroot than a tau army? Makes no bloody sense.

AFAIK, it's because the mercenary Kroot are out eating every enemy they come across, resulting in a greater variety than normal Kroot, who just have to eat what the Tau tell them to (mostly just Orks and the occasional human).


Personaly, I don't see the problem with pathfinders. Yeah, it would be nice if they didn't have to take a devilfish, but I don't see that one little flaw making them not worht taking. Get rid of that requirement, and make them an elite rather than fast attack, and their perfect in my opinion.

Make them Elite, and no good list will ever include any. Tournament lists always max out suits; XV8s and XV25s are probably the most cost-effective units in the codex. Also, it's not that the devilfish makes them not worth taking, it's that a ~100pts Devilfish is expensive and makes other units much more cost effective. How many Pathfinders do you see in good tournament lists, even after Markerlights were buffed in the latest codex? They're very expensive units.


I'm not one of those who believes you have to have a single hammerhead/skyray in your army to make it work, let alone three...

Not sure how you get by with no Hammerheads; their ralgun is effective against all units and they're tough tanks. Broadsides, even with ASS, tend to get eaten by speedy or infiltrating units (Wolf Scouts, Chaos Lieutenant with Daemonic Speed, etc).

FraustyTheSnowman
08-01-2007, 15:31
Granted, I haven't played very often with my no hammerhead ideals, but the few times I have it's worked for me. Of course, we don't see many vehicles in our group, and the only people who play chaos either play traitor legion (with no big scary demon princes) or have been told to no longer show up (for reasons beyond the fact that they use big scary demon princes). Generaly I play two to three squads of piranha, usualy all armed with fusion blasters, always with seeker missiles. My commander suit has a fusion blaster and usualy a plasma rifle. No other suits if I can help it. Yeah the hammerhead is a good tank, can take on infantry and armor, but I'm not going to go along with the idea that you HAVE to have one. If I felt there was a model that I ABSOLUTELY HAD to have every game just to have a chance at winning, I would no longer play that army.

I'm not familiar with what makes a good tournament army, or why people who play in tournaments do the things they do. Pathfinders have done alright for me, and have performed amazingly for my group's other tau player. I would like to see how they perform in the whole tournament scene before I cement an opinion, but as it stands I will continue to use pathfinders and be confused by those who don't. The reason I say elites is because I disslike the battlesuits, and as cool as stealthsuits are, I don't want three squads of them. Appearance is a large part of how I choose what to use in my army, and until GW makes some battlesuits that look decent in my opinion I wont be using them.

As for kroot, all I can say is I don't agree with your perspective of the story. From how the fiction in the codex reads to me I see the tau dissaproving of the kroot eating their enemies, but I haven't seen evidence that it is actualy stoped. Yeah they got rid of the eaters of the dead rule, but the fiction I've read still sounds like they only view it as barbaric and not criminal. Beyond that, not everything in the kroot merc list is based on what they eat, and some of what is there I don't see tau having a problem with. I forget what their called, but there is an elite choice with a special poison attack in hand to hand gained from eating poisonous creatures, not sentient, just posionous. The mounted kroot tracker things, why wouldn't the tau take advantage of them?

Permanganate
08-01-2007, 16:01
I'm not familiar with what makes a good tournament army, or why people who play in tournaments do the things they do. Pathfinders have done alright for me, and have performed amazingly for my group's other tau player.

They're a fairly good unit that adds some extra flexibility to the army, increasing the effectiveness of whichever squad is best suited to the situation. But they're not really cost effective. As with the hammerheads, there are few units in the Tau list that you must take or must not take, it's just that some are noticeably more cost effective than others. In most games, that doesn't matter; in tournament games, that matters a lot. It's the job of a codex designer to try to give a large range of viable strategies at all levels of play. Most don't manage it - you end up with 6 FW per army, or 6 las/plas squads led by Librarians doing Drop Pod Boo - but you always have to try making everything balanced.


Appearance is a large part of how I choose what to use in my army, and until GW makes some battlesuits that look decent in my opinion I wont be using them.

Check out the Forgeworld ones. Lousy rules, but nice models. I wish they just sold conversion kits for plastic suits, or perhaps just those nice heads.


From how the fiction in the codex reads to me I see the tau dissaproving of the kroot eating their enemies, but I haven't seen evidence that it is actualy stoped.

It's not that the Tau have stopped it - I made it clear that they're still eating orks and humans - it's just that orks and humans are all the normal Kroot get to fight, and thus eat. It's hard to get any new genes out of them. This is the whole fluff reason for Kroot mercs - they fight anyone, and get genes that the main (Tau-commanded) Kroot forces don't. (If they get genes from other stuff they eat, why don't they just forget the mercs idea and eat some snakes and bears, so every kroot would be built like a Space Marine with Betcher's Gland?)

Tim
08-01-2007, 17:48
Id like to see:

1) Heavy gun drones for fire warrior squads
2) A fire warrior commander as an HQ choice
3) More alien auxs, I think its a good fit fluff wise for the army
4) Photon grenades as standard on fire warriors (as part of their 10pt cost)
5) A sniper, fits the tau shooty army feel
6) Demiurge list that includes rules for tau taking select units as allies
7) Expanded Human Aux rules