Saturday, March 31, 2018

Tau Codex: 8th Edition Review

The Tau are back! March 17th saw Games Workshop release the first 8th edition codex for the Tau Empire and what a codex it was! New Sept Tenants, Stratagems and even a list building restriction found nowhere else in the game. Tau really did get it all. However after getting the codex, I decided that it was worth a look through. These will be first impressions from the codex between myself as a veteran Tau player and Jerry2die4 as a brand new Tau player. Each of us has written a segment of this article. We hope that both the veteran players and the new players see what has come out of the Eastern Fringe.

Jon's thoughts as a Veteran Tau Player

First off, the good. TAU SEPT TENANTS! Finally! This is something that I've wanted since 4th edition for the Tau. Now that we have six sept tenants, we have the ability to actually have some uses for certain units. Since my Jar'Kia sept is a world that was taken by the Bork'an Tau, I felt it was only natural for me to take the Bork'an Sept trait.

Next comes the warlord traits and there are a lot of them. Tau got a few in 6th and 7th when the warlord traits first came out. However this edition has seen the number raise drastically. Each Sept is getting its own trait and this allows for the player to have a lot of say on how their warlord is run. I plan to have my commander running a triple Ion blaster and some shield drones. However, the 1 Tau Commander suit per detachment is kind of a bust. More on that later.

The Stratagems that  Tau got were really nice. We even got the return of the Doomsday bomb from 4th ed. A pleasant surprise for those long time tau fans. I think as a Tau veteran player, the most noticeable thing about the codex was a the number of options that it opens up. I like how each stratagem allows for the flexibility of play. A tau player should be able to pull of between 10 and 15 command points allowing many tactical options for the average player. Stratagems allow for the Tau player to be able to play his or her army with a lot of synergy. Whereas the Imperial Guard is about numbers, Tau is about fire power in the right spot at the right time. Each piece of war gear and stratagems allows a Tau Shas'o to be prepared for anything and everything.

Victory for the Tau over the Forces of Chaos

Now on the bad and the ugly....

First, Crisis suits are still very expensive. The base cost for a crisis suit is seemingly too high for the output of damage that it does. With the loss of Crisis suits being troops, the usefulness of the unit has gone down. This also damages Farsights ability to "Farsight Bomb" the enemy with crisis suits.  Secondly, the uselessness of the Tau Key word for Jetpack. When keywords first became a thing, it was hoped among many Tau players that this keyword would allow for us to Jump-Shoot-Jump. However in the codex, the Jetpack keyword was not given any abilities. In essence, its useless.
Riptides, although better priced are still very expensive and usually die very quickly. Other units like the forge world Barracuda went up in points and are not worth fielding. Another problem is that some of the Special Characters like Shas'O O'Ralia are unable to be fielded due to their specific Sept Keyword which is not in the codex. At the moment, taking O'Ralia is more of a hindrance to you than to the enemy.

Now the ugly. The elephant in the room. The only 1 Commander rule for Tau is a major hindrance to the army at the moment. With no other army facing this restriction, Tau seem to have been (un)fairly treated in the restriction of their main HQ unit. I never used the Commander Spam and I understand why it was removed. However, what we got in return put a hamper on the army as a whole. For those who like to run multiple commanders, the limitation is going to hurt. With the March FAQ coming soon, hopefully this issue will be addressed.

As the codex starts to gain some age, Tau players will have to adapt to the coming meta. Already many list are aiming for as many command points as possible. The Tau Septs with their special rules allow for players to have all types of play be it defensive or offensive. Time will tell where the codex falls in the power levels. As a long time Tau Veteran, I am both excited and hopeful to see the army recover from its index era and move onward into 8th.

Tau'va Shas'la!


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