XV88 Broadside Battlesuit

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From left to right: The XV8, an XV88 with a Rail Rifle, an XV88 with High Yield Missile Pods, and a XV88-2 (no longer available).

88mm guns IN SPESSS!

The XV88 Broadside Battlesuit is a modified, heavy version of the XV8 (the original model was more blatant with this, since it just looked like a regular Crisis Suit with BIG GUNS on its back) that trades lightness and maneuverability for two smart missile systems (or plasma rifles) and twin railguns. They provide Tau infantry with anti-armor, and now anti-air, fire support. 6th Edition changed these twin-linked railguns into a Rail Rifle; whilst the rail rifle boasts the fact that it looks freakin' sweet, it's a nerf from the double-barreled railguns. Broadsides can also carry loads of seeker missiles now. A single 3-suit team of Broadsides entrenched in cover is enough to deter all but the heaviest of tanks from getting in range, lest those war machines become overpriced bricks of burning cover. They are as well armored as a Space Marine Terminators, but thanks to the bulk of their weapons and portable generators needed to charge them, Broadsides are one of the few battlesuit models to lack jetpacks. In a similar way to a space marine devastators, Broadside team is usually the first assignment for the freshly promoted Shas'Ui battlesuit pilots, largely for the same reason: as observing the battlefield from the relatively safe distance is a good learning experience, most pilots would definitely find a use for once they move to piloting Crisis, Stealth or more advanced suit.

Since the models for broadsides were once quite similar to standard XV8 which were cheaper than Broadsides (a unit of three costed about 30% more than a single Broadside), a Tau player on a budget could buy a trio of Crisis Suits and then convert the railgun and missiles out of tubing and plasticard. GW figured out that players were doing this, so of course they started manufacturing a different model for Broadsides which naturally costs half of your monthly salary to buy. It looks kick-ass, but we all know Games Workshop never shakes your hand without also giving you the finger!

Forge World had heard your prayers for a while. Old style Broadsides were brought back in the shape of the XV88-2, swapping the locations of the Rail Rifles and Missile Pods around. Swapping back to the original configuration doesn't take too much kitbashing, either. Sadly, they're gone from the store now.

On the Tabletop[edit]

The old XV8. Rest in peace, little man, for your time has passed.

Want to field a Broadside? That'll be 183 points base. This horrific price increase does mean that you'll get two S8 AP -4 D6 damage shots at 60" range and deal an additional Mortal Wound for every 6 on your to wound rolls, and you'll get 8 S5 AP0 D1 missile shots that ignore cover bonuses and can be fired blindly. While this is quite the ammount of dakka, it's just not worth it. By trading in the vehicle-busting Heavy Rail Rifle for two High-Yield Missile Pods (at a 19 point increase) you'll get an additional 8 S7 AP-1 D3 damage barrage at a more modest 36". This switches the Broadside's focus from a premier heavy tank buster to an anti-light vehicle platforms that can wreck things like Sentinels with ease. Its base missile systems can be traded in for a pair of Plasma Rifles (which is 18 points cheaper) to deal with heavy infantry at short ranges. But when they get this close you've done something wrong already and your Broadside might not live that much longer. And for a small 5 points you'll get a Seeker Missile for that extra wound.

It can also take a pair of drones. Gun drones are only 8 points a pop but they don't add to the primary function of a Broadside. Shield drones are 8 points as well and grant a 4++ save on an ablative wound. Useful, but do note that the Broadstide can take a Shield Generator for only 5 points so they're not it's only source of invulnerable saves. 10 points will net you a Markerlight Drone, which will certainly help the Broadside and it's BS4+ a lot. Finally, a Broadside can take Missile Drones at a hefty 20 points a pop, which increase its damage output by 4 S7 AP-1 D3 damage shots. This sounds useful on paper, but when combined with BS5+ you won't hit a lot.

Finally, the Broadside may pick one Support System:

  • The Advanced Targeting System is a welcome addition when using a missile-heavy Broadside, because the difference between AP-1 and AP-2 is a lot bigger than giving your Heavy Rail Rifle AP -5. Not expensive either.
  • The Counterfire Defence System is useful on paper, but it only works on units within 6" that are getting charged, and if that's happening something somewhere has gone wrong. Pass.
  • Drone Controller is useful with Missile Drones or Marker Drones and not expensive, but useless with the Shield Drone. Cheap as well.
  • The Early Warning Override requires you to be within 12" of the enemy, but if you are and an enemy unit is deployed mid-battle wihin that range you'll get to unload into them. The HYMP/Plasma Rifles loadout will get the most mileage out of this, to really thin the numbers of your enemies if they're dumb enough to appear (and RAW this even covers disembarking from a transport) within range. But if your Broadside is this close, it's prone to being charged. Good, but requires to be built around.
  • Multi-trackers allow for rerolls of 1s on the To Hit roll, which is useful for the high rate of firepower the Broadside puts out. Except it requires all weapons on the same target (which is no longer the standard in 8th Edition) and a single Markerlight achieves the same. Very cheap, but pass.
  • Shield Generators grant a 4+ save for only 8 points. Very useful if you don't have Shield Drones.
  • Stimulant Injectors let you ignore a wound on a 6+ roll. Not bad and cheap, but not the best option.
  • The Target Lock lets you move/advance and fire without penalties, but a Broadside is best snugly embedded in cover. Plus, with 5" movement it won't go anywhere. Cheap but useless.
  • Velocity Trackers give a +1 to hit against units that FLY, making the Broadside a potent anti-air unit. A well-placed Heavy Rail Rifle shot can really put a dent in a flying unit, and a missile loadout can ruin a flyer's day if it gets close enough (remember: 36" is a long range but it likely does not cover the entire table).

Even with three of its most viable builds (HRR+SMS+VT+Shield Drones, HYMP+SMS+ATS+Shield Drones, HYMP+PR+EWO+Shield Drones), the Broadside keeps suffering the same issue: they're just too expensive. For less points you can outfit a Hammerhead with a better Rail weapon and the same support weapons on a tougher and faster platform.

Power Ratings[edit]

When using Powe Ratings the Broadsides lose their primary issue: their huge cost. 9 points is still quite a bit for a single model, but the firepower can really make a difference. Take one of the above-listed builds, and don't forget that free Seeker Missile.

Forces of the Tau
Command: Cadre Fireblade - Ethereal - Tau Commander
Troops: Drone Squadron - Fire Warrior Team - Pathfinder Team - Stealthsuit Team
Auxiliaries: Great Knarloc - Gue'vesa - Kroot Carnivore Squad - Kroot Hound
Krootox - Lesser Knarloc - 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 - Piranha - Sky Ray - Tetra
Flyers: Barracuda - Manta - Orca - Razorshark - Remora - Sun Shark - Tiger Shark