Warhammer 40,000: Kill Team (HoR)/Tactics/Tau
Predictably, the scale-shrinking of Heralds of Ruin has radically changed how the Tau now run, as they can no longer be as reliant on their huge-ass battlesuits that can blow shit up. Rather, your options become very limited in that field, meaning that you'll have to find other means to get their firepower on the field. Of course, this means that you'll need to start hauling along the basic foot soldiers of the Empire. The loss of the Ethereals also means that you no longer have any way to bolster your men, and the lack of Fierblades means a lack of extra fire-support. Compensating for this means abusing cover like a bitch to avoid being splatted/cooked.
That aside, many of the tools available to the Tau are still present, for better or worse. Markerlights are still available in good quantities, though not quite as massive as before. The grand utility of the Crisis Suits are still incredibly useful, just a little smaller in scale. Broadsides can still total anything they witness.
- Supporting Fire: Since Tau no longer have this rule exclusively, they ought to grab a bit of a boost as early adopters. That bonus is that all models within 6" that have this rule can overwatch. It might be just as well anyway, as the only units lacking this are Kroot (who are passable in melee at least) and Vespid (Who can just jump out of the way anyways).
- Bonding Knife Ritual: A bit re-done, this allows for models to re-roll the Nerve Test for having a model die within 3" of them.
- Markerlights: Whenever a Tau model declares it’s using one or more of the markerlight abilities, all friendly Tau models within 6" of the shooter may benefit from the same abilities against the same target during this shooting phase.
- Wargear Drones: They run about the same as before, merging with the unit that bought them as a squad.
- In a campaign, any drones that get blown up while attached to a model can't give away VP or EXP (as they aren't even counted in the FOC), and since they're Non-Learning, they'll never gain Battle Honours, instead letting the owner get it all as if he wasn't in any squad. If they do die, the drones can never be recovered and must be bought again as upgrades.
- Multi-Targeting Array: Essentially allows you to Split Fire with each of a model's weapons. Not such a big deal with TL Crisis weapons, but doing it as bare doubles definitely can. Can be good when a Crisis leader has two different types of weapon, as two weapons of one type (say, Fusions) might be a bit of over the top for a single enemy troop.
- Kodachi: A Power Sword for any leader. At least it's better than nothing, and if you unfocus your eyes, you can pretend you're bringing out a rookie Farsight. Also, Crisis suits has S 5. S 5 Power Sword with three A?...
- Command Node: Boosts IP from 6" to 12". A reasonable take, as Leadership is slightly shaky for Tau, and with a good Ld, you can be quite a tough bunny to move around.
- Extended Drone Controller: All friendly Gun/Marker Drones within 12" can use a Leader's BS. It's probably usable for some markerlight shenanigans, but it's otherwise pretty naff without those lights, as most leaders has BS 3. Is it worth it? Depends on the amount of Drones you have.
- Twin-linked Rail Carbine: Two TL S6, AP1 at 18" for 20 points, making it cheaper than TL plasma rifles and only slightly shorter range. Take with the Fire Warrior or Pathfinder Shas'Ui for a nasty surprise for any TEQs or light transports.
Fire Warrior Shas'ui Only
- Hard-wired Light Shield: Grants a 5+ invulnerable save. Nice, but three times as expensive and less die-efficient than...
- XV05 Armour: Grants a 3+ armour save. At just 5 extra points, it's an absolute steal.
- Shield Generator: Really expensive, but a 4++ is a really nice save for a battlesuit to take.
- Stimulant Injector: The other big take for survivable battlesuits. In this case, FNP. Probably the better take, as it's usable at any time, even on armor-ignoring blows.
- Counterfire Defense System: Now overwatch at BS2. Decent with certain setups, but otherwise something that's really only used if you want the statistical boost.
- Early Warning Override: This will make you the bane of all Terminators everywhere (and maybe Blood Angels). The moment they deep-strike, you get to shoot them full of plasma rifles.
- Positional Relay: Grants you some more reliable outflanking...which is pretty pointless as there's only one mission where you'll get Outflank. Otherwise, it'll end up biting you more than helping you.
- Vectored Retro-Thrusters: Fleet and Hit & Run are rules that can make a Battlesuit good at deploying wherever he wants. Issue is that at I2, you're going to be stuck more often than not. Enjoy Fleet though, you're now free to dart around like hell. Note that Broadsides cannot take this upgrade, as their guns are too big for jets to fit.
- Drone Controller: Grants Gun/marker/Sniper Drones within 6" the ability to use a battlesuits' BS. Really, the difference between this and the Extended version above is range (as the Extended is usable by any Leader) versus utility (This can work on Sniper Drones too, making them a little more of a useful tool). More often than not, they'll use the EDC unless they're saving up with the Crisis Shas'vre.
- Advanced Targeting System: Precision Shots are prime hits. If ever there is a model that needs to die first, this cheap upgrade will make sure that they do.
- Stabilized Jet: A reliable way to make your second jump in Assault more reliable as it lets you roll 3d6 and pick the best distance.
- Low Weight Composite: Immunity to Strikedown is something of a big deal for Battlesuits, as it gives you the ability to keep on hopping around. Pair this up with the Retro-Thrusters so you can make the most of it as several melee weapons get Strikedown as well.
- Coolant Injectors: A new threat that arose from the changes of HoR is flamers. With the regularly crap Initiative of most Tau models means that they'll catch on fire easily. Adding this will negate it on the Battlesuits, which are probably the most valuable assets you have.
Kroot Shaper Only
- Master of the Hunt: Reveals hiding models within 12" of the Shaper and blocks infiltrators from getting within 24" of him. Really nice in keeping the enemy within a prime range to fire away, especially with snipers.]
- DNA Samples: This gives you some random boosts based on some recent prey.
- +1 Weapon Skill thanks to the Ogryn.
- +1 BS from a Ratlings. A real thing that are really real.
- +1 LD from humans, presumably the genetic ability to shoot your friends.
- +1 Initiative thanks to Eldar, which is always nice.
- +1 S. Now you're as strong as a Space Marine. Pretty nice.
- +1 T. Thank the Orks for some good bonus defense.
- Blood of the Stalker: Gives Acute Senses, which is only useful if you get Outflank, so don't waste it on this in most instances.
- Specialist Hunter: A cheap way to grab Preferred Enemy for one codex.
- Furious Strain: Grants Furious Charge. Pretty nice to add some sting to a charge and then leg it to sting again.
- Extra Chitin Layers: Gives Feel No Pain to keep your bugman flying.
- 1 Leader
- 1-25 Core
- 0-3 Special
- Crisis Shas'vre: Formerly the most expensive Leader the Tau gets, but being so also gives him a bevy of different upgrades, which is why Crisis Suits kick so much ass in the big game. The new meta does a good deal to keep him in check, however. The Crisis Suit is now effectively limited to two weapon hardpoints, but in return gets a grand list of upgrades mentioned above just by being a battlesuit and a leader. Aside from that, he can buy the Bonding Knife Ritual if you expect to see plenty of nearby units going down, Iridium armor if you expect lots of firepower aimed at you, and up to two Gun/Marker/Shield Drones to fit whatever holes you think you'll need.
- Fire Warrior Shas'ui: A basic fire Warrior Sarge, who can either grab his basic Pulse Rifle, a Carbine, a Pulse Pistol and CCW (Which is pretty dumb, even if you sprung for the Kodachi), or a Pulse Blaster and Field amp relay. He can buy the Bonding Ritual, EMP Grenades, Markerlights, the DS8 Tactical Support Turret, and 0-2 Drones. With the addition of the Twinlinked Rail Carbine for leaders and the XV05 armour, this once weak sarge can now stand strong with the best of 'em.
- Pathfinder Shas'ui: Slightly more expensive than the Fire Warrior Shas'Ui, but he gets Markerlights in his base cost for far cheaper. Aside from that, he gets the same upgrades, but can now buy either the Ion Rifle or Rail Rifle based on what you exactly plan on hunting. He's a bit better at being the support leader for a heavy army, but he's a bit more vulnerable in exchange. The other big downside is the loss of his special drones, though those losses are slightly mitigated by the cover-heavy terrain. He also forces you to grab Pathfinders as Core, which works to support his sniping work.
- Stealth Shas'vre: The current most expensive battlesuit Leader, but he doesn't grab as many options. He can only buy the Fusion Blaster if he plans on doing real big game hunting, and can only get support by 0-2 Drones, Markerlights, or the Bonding Ritual. While not quite as massive cost with the upgrades, he still is a big investment. If you do take him, consider a drone to make it majority Toughness 4.
- Kroot Shaper: For the same price as a Pathfinder Shas'Ui, you get a Kroot with Pulse Rounds, which are...not astounding. He can buy a proper Pulse Rifle or Carbine, but the better take should be the Sniper Rounds, so you can snipe out something in cover.
- Vespid Strain Leader: Middling cost, but he allows you to grab more Vespids as Core so you can mass up buzzing spam.
- Fire Warrior: The basic foot infantry of the Tau Empire. They come base with a Pulse Rifle, which can be swapped for a Pulse Carbine or Pulse Blaster/Field Amplifier Relay for free. Their only upgrades are the Bonding Ritual and an EMP grenade.
- Pathfinder: Now available as a core choice with a limit of 3 to an army, 5 if you take the Pathfinder Shas'Ui. They grab the same options for guns as the Leader and can grab the Bonding ritual or EMP Grenades. Their switch to a Core choice makes these a much more solid pick than they once were, and some markerlight support is better than none.
- Drone Squadron: For every five Fire Warriors, you can take a squad of 3-5 Gun/Marker/Shield Drones for 12 points each. Buying this will probably cut into any heavy battlesuit plans, so take if you're not going full-suit. That said, these are a good way to back up any weaknesses that appear in a squad. While non-scoring and Non-Learning, they get more disposable in campaigns as they will recover on a 2+ if they ever die.
- Kroot: The basic cheap Kroot. He's only passably decent in melee, but taking sniper rounds makes him a cheap and effective sniper if you want to cut some corners for more suits.
- Kroot Hound: You can take these puppy-chickens for every Kroot you buy. They're not much stronger, but a good deal faster for assault. The fact that they're Non-Learning means that they can be thrown in with less guilt, since they're actually a point cheaper than basic Kroot.
- Krootox Rider: For every five Kroot (That's basic Kroot, no Hounds), you can also take a Krootox so you can have a murderous chicken-ape that has a rather vicious S7 AP4 Rapid Fire gun. They're really expensive for troops, but the support in firepower and assault makes him a worthy add to a Kroot-heavy army.
- Kroot Shaman: A surprising new add to the list, you finally get a Psyker to throw into your army. His choices are limited to Prescience (for fire support), Scrier's Gaze (skip this, the only possible use it has is the Mysterious Terrain), Forewarning (a decent save for a gang in the open), Psychic Shriek (to murder mobs), or Mental Fortitude (free Fearless means that you'll always find a way to strike back, though locking a model in melee is a bad move). Other than that, he's pretty much a Kroot that you can only take 0-1 of.
- Stealth Shas'ui: 10 points cheaper than the leader, but can only take a Fusion Blaster and the Bonding Ritual. Grab him if you plan to sneak around and make some alpha-striking.
- Vespid Stingwing: You buzzing friends who can fire rather comfortably against the MEQ and can also become a nuisance by charging and then breaking at any time. Of course, that FC upgrade up top is a very nice grab, especially for a Stingwing army, where you're taking the bugs en masse.
- Broadside Shas'ui: The other 0-1 hard-capped choice who just happens to tote the biggest guns ever. He come only with the big rifle, so you'll have to pony up some more in order to grab the second rifle/missile set, but can still swap his Heavy Railrifle for HYMP. Aside from that, he can also grab 0-2 drones of any kind he wants, making him the flat-out most expensive choice in the codex. Use only if you're seriously needing the big firepower.
- Sniper Drone Team: A Marksman can grab 1-3 Drones to form a special squad that'll only fill up one FOC slot. The drones are disposable like the Drone Squadron as campaigns allow them to recover on a 2+ if they die, meaning that they can totally move wherever they want and fire without fear. The issue is that the entire squad is Non-Learning, meaning that the marksman is now unable to better himself in a campaign.
- Crisis Shas'ui: Cheaper than the Shas'vre, but keep the same trademark versatility of the battlesuit. The only losses he takes is the Leader wargear and the non-weapon upgrades aside from the Bonding Ritual.
A tactic that has seen a surprising measure of success in play has been taking a Crisis Shas'Vre as Leader, a handful of footslogger Core to hold objectives, stay out of the way, and be a general nuisance, and three Crisis Shas'Ui (assuming a 250pt. list; YMMV based on your local meta requirements). With a weapon combination of a Flamer and Fusion Blaster, they can utilize the overabundant terrain prevalent in Kill Team games to stay out of the line of fire, using their turns to pop forward, blast the enemy into oblivion, and return to safety. Their 3+ and 2W keeps them alive and kicking under fusillades of Core units' fire, their flamers devastate light infantry, and they make unparalleled assassins of high-point, 2+ armor save units that tend to dominate the metagame. Sorry, Terminator lists! They tend to play on a somewhat more level playing field with vanilla MEQ lists, requiring more finesse to hold objectives and a more significant tactical approach, but excel at their function: staying alive, assassination, and laying waste to large numbers of low armor save units. This list makes Guard, 'Nids, and Ork players cry. Untested vs. Eldar.