XV-8 Crisis Battlesuit
The XV-8 Crisis Battlesuit is the main battlesuit of the the Tau Empire. Seen in every campaign the Tau have been involved in, the XV-8 Crisis suit is piloted only by those who have reached the rank of Shas'ui, but is ubiquitous enough that it is commonly used by many commanders in the Tau Empire as well. The suit itself is highly customisable, capable of carrying a wide variety of weapon load-outs and specialist equipment, including rare signature systems.
- 1 Description
- 2 Tactical Properties
- 3 Crisis Suit Variants
- 4 Useful Weapon and System Combinations
- 5 8th Edition
- 6 9th Edition
The XV8 is the Tau's general-purpose workhorse battlesuit. It's big enough to fit the pilot in its chest and tough enough to sustain punishment that could kill a Space Marine. It has four hard points (two on the hands and two on the shoulders) that can be used to install a dazzling variety of weapons and/or support systems, although most suits only have the reactor output and computing power for three systems, but the "Enforcer", Coldstar, and commander variant can support up to four. The most common loadout for Crisis suits is two weapons and one support system, although builds exist that employ all hardpoints for either weapons (Gunship crisis) or support systems (Buffmander). The suit also comes with jump jets that allow it to bypass dangerous/impassable terrain to quickly shoot at enemies and jump back to safety before the enemy has any time to react, a tactic known as Jump-Shoot-Jump. Crisis suits are usually deployed in teams of three, known as Ta'Ro'Cha, which are usually composed of close friends who have served together since they were Shas'la. Occasionally a pilot who has lost both his comrades can become a solitary warrior, or Monat (“Lone Hero”). Having to face a greater daemon can cause a similar behaviour. Depending on how the death of his fellows affected him, he can become either a Rambo or a Kamikaze.
The XV8 was created during the First Sphere of Expansion, but was only used very sparely because the energy generators at the time were too weak to power the heavy suit for longer than an hour or so at a time. On top of that, the anti-gravity drive wasn't invented yet, so it was a ponderous piece of junk. Later, the XV8 got both a powerful internal generator and a gravitic drive, and its reputation among Tau military technology climbed until it became the mainstay battlesuit of the Tau Empire.
Unlike the Imperium, Tau tech actually goes forward, thus Crisis in more recent editions come stock with Multitrackers (akimbo), Blacksun filters (those eagle-eye glasses) and can control drones without needing an outdately-named Drone controller (which now provides enhanced control), freeing a lot of hardpoints. It's also interestingly that formerly experimental weapon often gets into wider production as more general use options such as the Airbursting Fragmentation Projector or Stimulant injectors as one of the few times fluff and crunch line up. Disregarding the fluff a little, a Crisis team can be 10-tau strong, and cannot eject anymore due to not having access to that item in the codex. But they get yet more guns and stuff.
Just Dropping In
Tau battlesuits all have the ability to Deep-Strike onto the battlefield (except for the Broadside and R'Varna models, as they lack jetpacks). Crisis suits can make the best use of this ability as they have the greatest level of tactical variety, given their wide choice of weaponry and support systems. As long as you have a properly prepped Crisis suit team held back in reserves, you can adapt to anything your opponent throws at you. Standby for Titanfall indeed.
Jetpacks man, just, fucking jetpacks. Roll 2D6, move anywhere you want within that distance, and you only check for terrain if you land in a bad place. In addition, jetpack infantry status confers the Relentless special rule. Enjoy shooting heavy weapons on the move. Optionally, double-tap those Plasma Rifles into a squad of Tactical Marines or Terminators, and leap behind an obscuring wall to escape return fire (or charge what's left of the Tactical Squad if you're feeling ballsy. Just don't charge the Terminators).
No, you still don't want it to happen even with battlesuits, but if you run out of options, Crisis teams actually aren't half bad in an assault. They have two base attacks at S5, which can pretty easily take out light infantry such as Guardsmen and Ork Boyz. However, WS2 and I2 means they're dead against heavier assault troops, but then again, so are many things. Keep in mind though that a single Marine-wielded power fist or any other S8 attack means instant death for the T4 Crisis suits, so only try this against light or injured foes where a piss poor initiative and weapon skill are largely irrelevant. Assaulting tanks with a rear AV of 10 (which is almost all of them) is fine and reasonable, because a) they don't fight back, b) you hit them on 3+ with your S5 attacks, which against AV10 means 2 hull points off on average, and even against AV11 (Necron Barges and Arks) you'd statistically deal 1 HP of damage. The only time you would really need to do this though is if your battlesuit team was outfitted with only anti-infantry weaponry and didn't have any fusion blasters, missile pods, or other guns that would do the job much more effectively. Or if the tank in question is still standing with one or maybe two HP after getting shot by said guns, and you really want it dead before it could shoot back.
Crisis Suit Variants
XV-8 Crisis Suit
The basic suit. Nothing in the galaxy quite like it. All of them are constructed from a nanocrystaline alloy armour which covers everything save the joints and servos, giving the suit superior protection while keeping weight at a minimum. While the armour provides superior protection against most small arms, anti-tank weapons could punch through them like Flak Armour.
Think of the Leman Russ, and how it works (or better yet check out its page). 27 points base, but tooled up with the most expensive options it will break 80, so try not to go overboard. Its strength is its versatility; you can outfit it to handle literally any foe. Generally purchased as the Crisis Battlesuit Team. The old and new kits are mostly the same, although the newer kits have more radical poses than the old ones which mostly just stood up straight with arms bent.
XV81 Crisis Suit
A bulkier Forgeworld variant of the Crisis Suit, it has an integrated Smart Missile System, but this system also costs it a bit of customization. Due to this, it is only given to Tau Commanders and armed with the aforementioned shoulder-mounted Smart Missile System filling one of its three hardpoints.
Its use is a bit limited when you have the much more dakka Broadside Battlesuits in production. That said, these missiles are handy in granting the Tau ranged bombardment and provides the Tau with a more mobile artillery platform (as if that was ever something they were in dire need of). Tabletop wise, the XV-81 (Along with the XV-84) are identical in statline to an XV-85 Commander. An 8″ movement (and the Fly keyword) give them pretty decent mobility, and with six wounds and 3+ armour they don’t go down easily. Strength and toughness five give them a strong baseline to work from, and ballistic skill 2+ makes them excellent shooters. Their weapon skill 3+ and four attacks surprisingly makes them decent combatants, although you still don’t want to take on any “real” combat units. An XV-81 costs 76pts base (the same as an Enforcer does).
In 9th Edition, this is basically the commander in an XV8 Battlesuit with a mandatory Smart Missile System weapon and only 2 remaining slots for Weapons/Support systems. An ok choice if you want a commander with a weapon that ignores cover and fine with him only to having fewer customization slots than usual.
XV8-02 Iridium Suit
An alternate build in the Crisis Battlesuit Team set. A refinement of the XV-89, this is a rare prototype of an advanced defensive system. It's made of its namesake, an experimental Iridium alloy armour, granting it greater defensive properties than the normal Crisis suits without losing any agility like the XV-89 did. This variant is rarely seen on the battlefield, and more commonly given to a commander for enhanced survival, or to one of his bodyguards to aid them in their job of catching bullets with the face.
IRL, Iridium is a very hard, dense metal (surpassed in density only by osmium) that is extraordinarily resistant to both heat and corrosion; it is too brittle to be used as a pure metal, but its properties make it a valuable alloying agent as well as an important component in spark plugs and high-temperature crucibles. Iridium is very rare in the Earth's crust, but is commonly found in meteorites and the impact craters they leave behind. “Rare” relative to a freaking planet. Spark plugs aren’t exactly rare.
In 9th Edition, this is basically an armour upgrade rather than a model; you could add Iridium Armour without using a Signature System slot to do so, giving them a shiny 2+ armour save.
XV84 Crisis Suit
AKA the markerlight suit. This Forgeworld variant gets integrated target locks and networked markerlights. So if you wanna know what that goofy looking periscope of doom is, now you know. Like the XV81, the XV84 is made for Tau Commanders.
These suits are basically meant to be targeters for their teams, using these systems to aid with assaults. They are used when your in a situation where your pathfinders prove to be just too fragile, or where you have literally ran out of pathfinders due to a severe case of death. On the tabletop, the XV-84 is slightly more expensive at 80pts than the XV81. The XV-84, at least, has a bit more purpose. Although it functionally has only three “slots” (two open ones and a forced-pick Target Lock), it essentially has a fourth weapon in the form of its “markerlight”, which auto-tags anything the other guns shoot at.
While this is probably not the best use of a Commander’s weapon slot, it does have some advantages- since it’s not actually a Heavy weapon the way regular Markerlights are, it will be hitting on 2s and if you have a multishot weapon (like a Missile Pod) any one of the hits connecting is good enough to put a token on the enemy. In 9th Edition, this is another variant of the XV8 Battlesuit with rules. Comes with a markerlight, target lock and still has two more customization slot left.
XV8-05 Enforcer Suit
A Crisis variant piloted by Shas'El and Shas'O Commanders on the battlefield. It's mostly the same as a basic Crisis suit; the only real difference between them is that it is a tad bit larger and more well protected, as well as having an extra hard point for weaponry and support systems such as Plasma Rifles, Fusion Blasters, Airbursting Fragmentation Projectors, and Cyclic Ion Blasters.
Some people who didn't like Finecast (or were really cheap) used a regular suit in the place of the old kit since it was basically the same except the Enforcer has some flashier bitz and articulated fingers on the hand as well as being slightly taller. The new plastic model kit has much more aesthetic differences also grants the option of making a Coldstar Suit (you most likely don't).
In 9th Edition, the suit is the same as the regular commander in a normal XV8, but has 1 more wound instead of access to Iridium Armour. Only 4 points more than the standard Commander, so you may as well use him if you don't plan to give your Commander the Iridium Armour upgrade, saving you 6 points.
XV86 Coldstar Suit
The XV86 is covered in fins which streamline it, allowing super-fast movement across the theatre of battle, dealing with enemies in sharp shocks from its Burst Cannon. The on-board Holophoton Countermeasures and telemetry suites feed the Coldstar and its Commander pilot a massive variety of information that would overwhelm the untrained mind - instead, in this case, it allows the Coldstar Battlesuit to fly over its foes with such speed and agility that enemy targeting systems simply goes full retard.
While mentioned in codices previously, it's got rules and a model now. It looks like your normal Enforcer (it's based on the same kit), but with a large jetpack and dozens of control fins sprouting from it. For 60 Points you can upgrade your Commander to a FMC without Smash, Vector Strike or Fear, but with all the other good stuff like Jink and Swoop so no one can hit it, as well as a 6-shot TL Burst Cannon and a Missile Pod as fixed weapons. It has two support slots (for a total of four hardpoints), and it can take drones but they get left behind when swooping, and cannot take signature systems. In the book it engages in dogfights with the imperials, and is easily capable of both reaching low orbit and surviving re-entry.
In 9th Edition, the Coldstar commander has Ludicrous Speed - Movement 20", and Advancing adds another 20" instead of D6" for a total of 40" movement. No longer restricted to specific loadouts (save for being unable to take a cyclic ion blaster, and can only take a high-output burst cannon in a pair with a missile pod), so feel free to use your four hardpoints however you want.
TL;DR It’s the Tau’s very own Freedom Gundam. Must be painted red, white, and blue.
XV89 Crisis Suit
Fluff-wise, this one is meant to have increased protection but was really bulky and hard to move around in, eventually being scrapped for the Iridium Armour. It was for all intents and purposes, an experimental prototype meant more for stress testing than actual warfare. It still retains three hardpoints to attach other equipment however.
The issue with this is that crunch-wise, it's essentially identical to the basic Crisis suit save for a slightly curvier head and pauldrons, so it could be used to denote some important model or for variety, if you feel lazy with the green stuff and want to spend more money. Other than the cosmetic change, there isn't really a point for this model. Most of these suits were decommissioned and scrapped after the field testing phase in Taros in favour of the better designed XV8-02.
Shas'o R'Myr's Battlesuit
Shas'O R'myr (known as Commander Longknife), is a Tau Commander best noted to follow the Commissar Yarrick of pimping his own ride. Being the teacher's pet, Longknife was gifted his own experimental Battlesuit during the Third Sphere of Expansion.
Another Forgeworld character variant to the XV-8, outfitted with all sorts of top of the line gear such as a Flechette Discharger, a double barrelled Plasma Rifle, and a strengthened shield generator. This battlesuit is a one of a kind, basically every MC's personal Gundam. His bodyguard is made up of the other Forgeworld Crisis Suits just so he could tell the others that his baller.
In 7th Edition, this is a nasty little suit. Its Double-barreled Plasma rifle (Assault 2 Twin-linked with 24" range) and Target Lock is built to take down heavy infantry / monstrous creatures without needing to get into Rapid fire range like others (so his squad should have missiles). The Flechette launcher nicks the attacker for a S3 hit at I10. Depending on how you interpret the word 'any,' the flechette launcher may not be one use anymore. His enhanced shield generator has a 4++ against shooting attacks and a 3++ against close combat. His flechette discharger is a nasty surprise for swarm armies thinking they have just trapped the expensive tau HQ unit in CC...and they kinda have, because even guardsmen have a decent chance to survive S3 AP- flechettes, so put him in a squad that also has a Repulsor Impact field and other assault trinkets so their effects stack. A good choice, especially against Imperial Guard due to Preferred Enemy against them. If you want a Commander with double plasma, you'd be out of your mind not to take him: R'myr is cheaper than a similar Commander by 20 pts, but is using the equivalent of 5 hardpoints, his shield is better, allows for Repulsor Field stacking and thus can do his job both at close and long range.
Useful Weapon and System Combinations
A combination of dual flamers and vectored retro-thrusters as a support system. This allows you to throw down 2 templates before darting away in the Assault Phase and will keep you up close and personal with the enemy's infantry, while the vectored retro-thrusters allow you a chance to escape from melee, even if at Initiative 2. A whole squad of three XV8s with this configuration is able to dish out a genuine HELL on the battlefield, eating hordes of light infantry like there's no tomorrow, and even Terminators wouldn't charge them lightheartedly. And for an extra bonus, they're cheap too, with the team coming in at 111 points in total (37 points per suit).
- Getting a chance to test this one out in a 500 pointer vs. Tyranids. Only piece I didn't get was the retro-thrusters, but I'll put up how many points I manage to earn with this setup.
- Managed to strip 5 wounds off of a Carnifex and take out a Tyranid Warrior over the course of 2 games, but they kept fire off of my Stealth Suits while they wiped from the other side. So they didn't earn their points, but they presented enough of a threat to let my other units do their thing relatively unmolested. Tactically sound, but leave the vectored retro-thrusters at home if you're not taking drones or up against Imperial Guard, and be prepared to lose them early against anyone else.
Optimized Monster Hunting
To put it simply, run 3-man squads of Crisis suits with a Twin Linked Plasma Rifle, and a Plasma Rifle. The general gist of this is that without twin-linked weapons, you need 7 markerlights to reach BS10, but with twin-linked that number goes down to 2. Now with your pathfinders infiltrating into ideal positions, use your markerlights to boost your chance to hit to 100%, and go after big shit like D-Knights and silver baby carriers, all while playing the Jump Shoot Jump game in cover.
Ideally you should also have a riptide or three to deal with hordes, while this monster team deals with any major threats to the riptide.
Field of Fire
A combination of 2 Burst Cannons and a target lock. This allows you to have a group of three Crisis suits threaten three separate enemy units at the same time with eight S5, AP5 shots EACH (24 total). Keep in mind that only two of the suits need a target lock; just remember to designate which suit doesn't have one, and then it counts as the main squad, while the other two fire at separate targets. This allows you to free up a few points and give the one suit a drone controller and marker drones, so the target lock suits can keep fire off of your marker's back while he marks up the important targets and makes all those burst cannon shots count. You see, Tau victories are about synergy!
A Crisis suit Shas'vre with dual Fusion Blasters and an Onager Gauntlet. This unit spells DOOM! in one turn for any light vehicle with 2 hull points, and stands a decent chance at dealing with vehicles with 3 hull points in one turn. You can exchange the Onager Gauntlet for a velocity tracker to make a short-range anti-air unit that can force your opponent's air transports to take the long way around or risk dealing with this.
Alternatively, in 8E you can run a Coldstar with 4 Fusion Blasters for maximum melta with its 40" movement. If you are a Farsight Enclaves player you can use your Sept exclusive relic to upgrade two of those blasters to the kickass Fusion Blades to pretend you are a gundam.
Take a Crisis suit Shas'el or Shas'o (using up one of your few HQ slots) and outfit him with 2 burst cannons (add in a neuroweb system jammer if you're feeling fancy). Each turn you'll be putting out as many shots as a heavy burst cannon, even if they are weaker, but without the risk of Gets Hot and at BS5. And you'll usually be close enough to an opponent's unit to make the best use of the system jammer as they move in closer to try and put the hurt on "Commander Dakka". Add the drone controller and two drones at your own discretion (highly recommended if you really want the dakka). To make sure your enemy cries you can even put the commander in a squad of gun drones for a grand total of 36 S5, AP5 shots at BS5 per turn on a highly mobile and pretty tough unit.
Utility is the Best
A commander with a drone controller, a target lock and two Missile Pods goes into a squad with the same configuration. Then give all of them 2 marker drones each, and suddenly you have a squad with a lot of range and mobility that can threaten light vehicles or infantry from a safe distance while shooting markerlights everywhere! The icing on the cake is that every Crisis suit in the unit can fire against a different target, making this squad incredibly versatile. Put the commander in a squad of bodyguards if you are really afraid to lose him.
An Enforcer suit commander equipped with a drone controller, a stimulant injector, a shield generator, iridium armour, and a weapon of your choice (a cyclic ion blaster might be fun as Gets Hot has a very low chance of hurting someone with all these saves), then bubble-wrap him in shield drones and laugh as you've got something that can only be insta-killed by S:10 AP2/1 weaponry and will soak up anything else like a sponge. Expensive? Yes. Hilarious? Hell yes. (Also counts as a distraction Crisis suit.)
Give a Shas'vre an XV-84 for the Smart Missile System and/or Airbursting Fragmentation Projector, and Neuroweb System Jammer. You now have a unit that can launch missile or pie plates from outside LOS, and ignoring cover, while simultaneously granting Gets Hot! to the same or another unit. This single suit runs around 70-80pts depending on what options you take, but can maul a GEQ squad during its shooting phase then cause them to blow themselves up on theirs. Before using this setup, practice your trollface.
A dedicated anti-infantry/anti-heavy infantry/anti-vehicle unit that excels at inflicting heavy losses on the enemy's side. Two XV-8s are loaded with two Plasma Rifles and Target Locks and the third is loaded with two Fusion Blasters and a Target Lock. All of the Suits take two Gun Drones. A buffmander with a Drone Controller and two Gun Drones is attached to the squad and is usually held in Deep Strike Reserves. With this unit, you can dump 2 BS3 S8 melta shots, 8 BS3 S6 plasma shots, and 16 BS5 S5 pulse carbine shots, all twin linked and ignores cover, at different targets allowing you to optimize your target selection for the unit. Unless there your targets have an invulnerable save, you are most likely going to gut them.
To be frank, 8th edition Crisis were a joke. With the changes to how the T'au fundamentally operate as an army, Crisis were in an odd spot. They act like a gunline, and the expensive price for them made them prohibitively expensive. The only units you would take were usually the Enforcer, Crisis, or Coldstar Commander for the purposes of Buffmanders or suicide anti-tank units. It also didn't help that their Melta equivalent cost 18 points each. However, not everything is bad. After all, the way that fly worked in 8th edition, they were highly viable for deepstriking using a variety of different methods, then charging into melee to shut down a tank or some shooty infantry, and then retreating from said melee to shoot again, or even as expensive objective holders.
But holy crap, this went out the window fast. After Chapter approved 2020, many units got a substantial point decrease, including the Crisis suit chassis, and the Fusion Blaster. This made them less of a burden and more of a boon, especially after the T'au Psychic Awakening book dropped, which gave substantial buffs to the T'au, several of which directly benefited Crisis suits. This made them officially part of the Meta when players discovered it was possible to take Farsight Enclaves Crisis, Upgrade them with the Veteran Cadre rule for 1 cp, and then spend another cp to give them 5 markerlights, effectively BS2+ rerolling 1's to hit and wound. Add some shield drones and you have units that border being outright broken, if not a pain in the butt to deal with.
The new rules for 9th have dropped, and god help the Crisis suit, they just can't catch a break. One of their biggest boons, the fly keyword, has been nerfed to ignoring terrain, but not allowing retreat and shoot shenanigans. But be honest, that keyword needed a nerf. Now Crisis suits are in an awkward spot, as they are not a Monster or a Vehicle, which both have received buffs. To be fair, the edition is fairly early on and the Codex hasn't even dropped yet. We'll have to wait to see how much worse or better they get. This sounds like a time for faction-specific keywords so modifications can be made without screwing each other over.
|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