XV88 Broadside Battlesuit
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 Space Marine Devastators, a 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, which most pilots would find a use for once they move to piloting a 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.
XV88-2 Broadside Battlesuit
The XV88-2 is a variant of the Broadside battlesuit with the Railguns slung under the arms rather than over the shoulders and the support weapon is mounted on the shoulders rather than under the arms. Sometimes the shoulder-mounted missiles are replaced by twin Plasma Rifles. As you know, the XV88-2 was made to please the oldschool Tau players by basking them with the power of nostalgia.
The XV88-2 is also known for another thing, in that it is stupidly ridiculously hard-to-find limited edition model. As expected from GeeDubs price gouging their own products to create artificial scarcity, Tau players cry bitter tears when they accidentally miss out on that model.
All in all, this battlesuit is there mainly for those who want to play oldschool XV88s. While it does not offer the same punch nor Dakka as the XV88s with the Rail Rifle or Smart Missile Systems, it offers a more flexible and versatile weapons platform that could target anti-tank or anti-horde enemies on the fly.
On the Tabletop
Want to field a Broadside? That'll be 76 points, minimum, for one battlesuit with a Heavy Rail Rifle and two Plasma Rifles; depending on the weapon loadout and other options you choose, this price can reach well over 100 points. However this does mean you get a weapon with a 60" range that fires 2 shots per attack at S8, -4 AP, D6 wounds per hit, and deals an additional Mortal Wound to the target on each wound roll of 6+. Alternatively, by trading in the vehicle-busting Heavy Rail Rifle for two High-Yield Missile Pods (at a 25 point increase) you'll get 8 S7 AP-1 D3 damage shots at a more modest 36". This switches the Broadside's focus from a premier heavy tank buster to a light vehicle and infantry wrecker. Most Broadsides also equip the Smart Missile Systems over the Plasma Rifles due to the added range and ability to fire at targets not in LOS. After all, if the enemy has managed to get close enough where you are relying on your Plasma Rifles to make a difference you've probably done something wrong and your Broadside might not live that much longer. For 5 points the Broadside can also take a Seeker missile to squeeze out some extra damage in a pinch.
It can also take a pair of drones. Gun drones are only 10 points a pop but they don't add to the primary function of a Broadside. Shield drones are 10 points as well and grant a 4++ save on an ablative wound. Useful, but do note that the Broadside can take a Shield Generator for only 8 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 2 S7 AP-1 D3 damage shots per drone. This sounds useful on paper, but the drones have a BS of 5+, so don't expect a huge number of hits.
Finally, the Broadside may pick one Support System:
- The Advanced Targeting System is a welcome addition when using a missile-heavy Broadside, because the benefit of having AP-2 over AP-1 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 when the unit is getting charged, and if that's happening something somewhere has gone wrong. Pass.
- Drone Controller is useful for increasing the BS of Missile Drones, Gun Drones, or Marker Drones, but useless with the Shield Drone. It's also cheap.
- The Early Warning Override is an interesting option. If an enemy unit is deployed mid-battle within 12" you'll get to unload into them at -1 to hit. 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 re-rolls 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.
- 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.
When using Power 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 - 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