The Kroot are masters of evolutionary development, taking useful features from their prey to adapt themselves to new environments. Despite their potential infinite variety, there're several strains that see common use, filling particular tactical niches. Whilst not usually seen alongside the T'au, these diverse Kindreds often serve as mercenaries for other races. All of them wear some form of primitive armour meant for Kroots.
Apart from the Carnivore Kindreds, all of these different morphs were introduced shortly after the release of the first T'au Codex way back in 3rd Edition, as part of a White Dwarf-exclusive Kroot Mercenaries Codex in Chapter Approved. The army could be fielded on its own as a stand-alone force, or individual units from it could be included in certain other armies (everybody but Space Marines, Necrons, Sisters of Battle, T'au, and Tyranids) as prototype allies. Sadly, none of them've really been heard from since then, which's a shame because this's what the Kroot're all about.
Types of Kindreds
Headhunter Kroot dine upon highly poisonous and venomous prey, making their flesh equally venomous to the taste and touch, which somehow also gives them the ability of a corrosive acidic spit that can burn exposed flesh. They also often develop hyperactive nymune organs, letting them leap a good distance to close with the enemy for a killing strike. They are armed with Kroot Rifles and occasionally Frag Grenades.
On the tabletop, this translated into letting each model choose whether to attack normally, or to make a single Poison attack in melee that always wounded on a 4+. They could also be upgraded to have Fleet of Foot. They are a bit more situational really as the spit is only useful on GEQs, anything above would laugh it off.
Stalker Kroot consume only the stealthiest prey, apex ambush predators from Deathworlds across the galaxy, and this diet has given them a mix of chameleonic ability and nimble reflexes that enables them to sneak up on even the wariest of opponents. This makes them ambush specialists and enhances their already prodigious fieldcraft. Each Kindred numbers between ten to twenty Kroot including a Shaper along with up to five Kroot Hounds. They could also deploy using the alternative Ambush Special Rules.
Even Catachans've been caught out by them at times, only to increase their captor's skills further when they themselves are eaten, though this seems to be a one-off thing as the Catachans never really fought the Tau before. It is unlikely they will fool the Baby Ogryns twice again given the shit they deal with.
Carnivore Kroot, being undecided on their future bodyplans, have a highly flexible meal plan, so they're game chowing down on literally anything. These birdbois are your standard alien turkeys. When you think of Kroot, these are the guys you are most likely thinking of.
Composed of ten to twenty Kroot including a Shaper and armed with Kroot Rifles, though their Shaper is always on the look-out for fresh foes whose genetic traits can be absorbed. Some Shapers will also receive gifts from their employers and so may carry additional equipment into battle. As generalists, they form the core of a Kroot army, and are the most common form of Kroot seen among T'au forces.
Vulture Kroot've decided to return to their avian roots, and consumed winged prey to gain pinions of their own, developing small but functional wings. Not the utterly fabulous Sanguinius wings, but something more...disappointing.
They generally still keep the standard Kroot body plan though, so are unsuited for powered flight, but they can glide for short distances, and a favoured hunting tactic's to soar above the battlefield on warm updrafts, only to swoop down on their chosen target from out of the sun.
Crunch-wise, this made them count as Jump Infantry, except they didn't face issues when flying through jungle.
Tracker Kroot are adept at, well, tracking, having nibbled on prey with good senses, to the point where they can give a high-end Auspex a run for its money. It's a rare occurrence indeed when they lose a scent, and they can pursue it for days on the backs of their Lesser Knarloc mounts, acting as light cavalry to harass enemy forces and maybe charge an exposed flank.
They usually serve as mounted scouts for Kroot mercenary bands. Riding on Knarlocs, a Kroot strain native to the jungles of Pech, they are experts at hunting targets through dense jungle undergrowth. These kindreds also function as light cavalry during a battle, harassing at range or charging into exposed flanks depending on the situation. On the tabletop, they had Infiltrators, as well as Native Cavalry, which meant they didn't face issues when flying through jungle, and Native Trackers, which counted every model as having an Auspex.
In 7th Edition, these guys and their velociraptors are chumps. Anything that could kill an Ork could kill these guys and they don't come in good numbers. Best use as a Distraction Carnifex to catch bullets.
Not to be confused with the Headhunter Kindreds. Hunter Kroot make use of Kroot Hunting Rifles, heavier versions of their regular Kroot Rifles, with better accuracy and range at the cost of mobility. To help in their hunt, Hunter Kroot eat prey with good eyesight, so they can pick out priority targets with just iron sights, to avoid giving their position away with lens reflection.
Each Kindred numbers between five to ten Kroot, including a Shaper. They may or may not have gotten their genetic abilities by nomming on prey items with strong and acute eyesight, such as birds of prey or nocturnal creatures.
|Forces of the Tau|
|Command:||Cadre Fireblade - Ethereal - Ethereal Guard - Tau Commander|
|Troops:||Drone Squadron - Fire Warrior Team - Pathfinder Team - Stealthsuit Team|
|Auxiliaries:||Gue'vesa - Kroot (Great Knarloc - Kroot Carnivore Squad - Kroot Hound |
Krootox - Lesser Knarloc - Shaper) - Nicassar - Vespid Stingwing
|Battlesuits:||Battlesuits (XV02 Pilot Battlesuit - XV15 Stealthsuit - XV22 Command Suit |
XV25 Stealthsuit - XV46 Vanguard Void Suit - XV-8 Crisis Battlesuit
XV88 Broadside Battlesuit - XV9 Hazard Battlesuit - XV95 Ghostkeel Battlesuit
XV104 Riptide Battlesuit - XV107 R'varna Battlesuit - XV109 Y'Vahra Battlesuit
KV128 Stormsurge Ballistic Suit - KX139 Ta'Unar Supremacy Armour)
|Vehicles:||Devilfish - Hammerhead - Hover Chair - Piranha - Sky Ray - Tetra - Swordfish|
|Flyers:||Barracuda - Razorshark - Remora - Sun Shark - Tiger Shark|
|Kor'Vattra:||Manta - Orca - Automated Fighting Drone |
Automated Barge Drone - Automated Bombing Drone