Longstrike

From 1d4chan
The OG T'au Tankie

Longstrike is the only T'au hero who isn't an Ethereal or a Battlesuit pilot. If you like Hammerheads and have played since 6e, odds are pretty good you've fielded him at some stage. He's not really been featured prominently in the lore, so most of what we get on him is a short codex page which is more or less recycled between editions.

His T'au name is Shas'La T'au Sha'ng which is clearly unpronounceable so he's been given more titles than an inbred Austrian Duke-- Hammerhead Pilot, Gunship Ace, Titan-Slayer, Terror of T’ros and Hero of T’au.

As one might have guessed from the titles, he's essentially the only notable T'au Hammerhead pilot. Essentially he got his start in fighting tank duels in the Western Deserts of Taros. The fluff for Hammerheads on Taros is essentially like the fluff for Space Marines everywhere else-- they're apparently able to blow through Leman Russ Tanks like tissue paper despite not really being that different statwise.

Eventually though the Imperium manages to get the Longstrike's Cadre into a battle where they're outnumber six to one. Longstrike's bondmates all get slaughtered-- though strangely Longstrike seems to be able to work his tank without them unless he was piloting with some temps that day... because the only way GW knows how to write drama for T'au is having them be the only surviving bondmate. Eventually some Razorsharks saved him and he stuck around to snipe the retreating Guard and he manages to bag a Warhound titan with a headshot. Presumably the thing was on its last legs if it could be taken out by a railgun shot, but Sha'ng must have neglected to mention that as it never comes up in the codexes...

It's also worth noting that the Taros campaign books claim only one Warhound titan was destroyed via Railgun shot and it was done by a Tiger Shark AX-1-0, so it's possible that there's some Red Baron kill dispute stuff going on here.

Longstrike comes back to be lauded as a hero, idolized by T'au populace and awarded with loads of random titles that presumably exist to fill page space. As a result, he gets picked for a special trial program when the Earth Caste decided to build the XV02 pilot suit which gives wears it enhanced reaction time and better aim. Unfortunately, it turns out that the suit basically had the same success rate as the early Puretide Engram chips as everyone but Longstrike soon gets their brains fried, because every named T'au hero needs to be piloting a special-one-of-a-kind Battlesuit due to unspoken anime law or something. As well as to justify why GW won't just let the T'au have a generic Tank Commander.

The bio here is pretty sparse with weird speculation because we don't really know much else and probably never will, seeing how little attention xenos factions get from Games Workshop.

Crunch[edit]

Generally Longstrike is seen as mandatory if you're trying to run any list based around Hammerheads. He essentially upgrades a standard Hammerhead with some improved Ballistic Skill (starting at +2). He gets an aura ability that spreads the +1 BS to surrounding Hammerheads. His Hammerhead specifically also gets a +1 to wound against monsters and vehicles as well as being able to treat enemy units as though they have an extra-marker light.

An additional exploit is that as a named character, he can redirect damage to Bodyguard Crisis Suits which can up his durability pretty significantly and really frustrate opponents, especially if you bring in extra drones to help screen the bodyguards.

tl;dr: He lets friendly tanks hit on +1, wounds scary vehicles on +1, and gets to always act as though there's one more marker light on opponents than there is.

Heroes of the Greater Good
Ethereals: Aun'Shi - Aun'Va
Fire Caste: Commander Farsight - Commander Puretide
Commander Shadowsun - El'Myamoto
Longstrike
Dawn of War: Shas'O Or'es'Ka - Shas'O Kais