Monday, July 9, 2012

6th Edition: Vehicular changes and Stealth Teams

My last article had a bit of an alarmist tone, noting the issues the current ways of playing Tau would have in the new edition. However, I figured I would take a few guesses at how Tau will be played up until the new 'dex based solely on how the new rules and FAQ have shifted the game. This will be segmented into a few articles, starting with this one. Onwards!

Big changes:

As I'm sure I don't have to tell you, 5th edition was mech edition. Everything you took was aimed to take down vehicles. Melta suicide squads, Long Wolf Missile spam, the works. For the Tau, a big part of that was maxing out on Missile Pods. However, 6th edition has changed the game quite a bit in regards to vehicles; not only can they never score (save that one mission), they can't contest. They also have taken huge hits to durability. While in 5th landing a glancing hit was nothing to write home about, now it chips off a third of the health of most vehicles.
So what does all this mean? First and foremost, it means vehicles are going to be less prevalent. We need to switch over to a larger focus on anti-infantry firepower. Other armies may be focusing on this through packing plasma guns where they can and making use of weapons like bolters and lasguns. Luckily, we excel at anti-infantry naturally, having a plethora of S5 options. That brings us to...

The Humble Stealth Suit
Stealth Suits were never that great in a competitive environment. While proponents of the meek weapons platform would prattle on about the versatility of being able to both Outflank and Deepstrike, their durability and armaments left a lot to be desired. Being only Toughness 3 with their Stealth Fields buffing them, they were not at all durable, and subject to counterfire. In addition, Deepstriking them left them unable to jump away from their targets (3+ save and Stealth Fields didn't matter too much against rapidfire), whilst Outflanking was unreliable at best. While this may sound like nitpicking (and it is), these are all notable flaws when compared to their bigger brothers in 5th, the Crisis Suit. For a mere sixteen points more per model, You could have a Crisis Suit with an additional toughness, wound, and a twin-linked Missile Pod instead of a piddling Burst Cannon. You could fight from a much farther range effectively. All you gave up was the weak Stealth Field and Outflanking.

Now things are different. While you could make the comparison that a TL-Burst Cannon/Black Sun Filter Crisis Suit would just be a better Stealth Suit (gaining a wound, a toughness, and a Twin-linked weapon for only 10 points more), Stealth Suits now have two excellent USRs thanks to the FAQ; Stealth and Shrouded. Shrouded increases your cover save by 2 points, while Stealth does the same by one point. This works even in the open, meaning if you would normally have no cover, Stealth Suits go from nothing to 5+, then from 5+ to 4+. Behind the weakest cover, they have 3+ cover saves. Behind the majority of cover, they go down to 2+ cover saves. 2+ cover saves. That's a huge deal. We all know that Tau are masters of obscuring themselves using their own units or terrain. Combine this with the new Stealth Suits and you have huge saves.
Furthermore, Stealth Suits make efficient vehicle hunters via Deepstrike or Outflanking in this edition, even without a melta. A full squad of Stealths shooting at AV10 get on average 1.5 Penetrating hits and 1.5 Glances... enough to drop a vehicle with the standard 3 hull points. While this may seem like little, it makes them something your opponent has to watch for and adjust for, and with the Stealth Generator giving us a 2+ cover saves, it makes them a difficult to crack force. Not to mention that they can still act their original role of dicing through infantry models. Unfortunately, we lose out on the old Stealth Field rules to get these bonuses, but this is a decent enough trade-off in my opinion.
I can see Stealth Suits being a much bigger part of the game.

1 comment:

  1. You're absolutely right about the Stealth being amazing. Heck, it's even improve the tre crappy Sniper Drones.
    -Gundam John