Saturday, 17 October 2015

Tau formations - a few thoughts.



Howdy all, I thought I'd post up today a few thoughts I've had about the Tau collections we can see on their website. We've seen these aplenty before, but some sharp eyed soul spotted that three of the formations detailed actually refer to them being detailed in the Tau codex. Now as there are no formation in the current Tau codex we can be pretty certain that they are from the forthcoming book instead.

I have had a look myself on the website just cos I'm nosey, but it also occurred to me that the text also gave us, in a couple of instances at least, an idea as to what the formation bonuses might actually try to achieve!

Let's start with the one I'm most likely to be interested in, cos you know, it's my blog and I can do things like that.

Optimised Stealth Cadre

The collection includes 6 stealth suits, seemingly in two squads, and a Ghostkeel, and the flavour text has this to say about the formation.

Their stealth fields are networked using a technique known as mesme’j’kaara - the wall of mirrors - which utterly blinds targeting sensors with a mesh of interlocking obfuscation fields, making the weaving, undulating movements of the squad completely unpredictable.
So, we know that these units all have stealth and shrouded anyway, so what benefit could be achieved by linking their stealth fields? Well the text talks about blinding targeting sensors, so could we be seeing enemies forced to snap shoot if the units are close enough together? Alternatively, it also talks about 'The Squad' so could it mean that the six stealth suits and the Ghostkeel can be taken as a single unit? My other thought is that perhaps the cadre might give stealth and/or shrouded to units behind them in addition to the usual 5+ cover save for partially obscuring a target. 

I'm crossing my fingers and hoping for the benefit to be that they're taken as a squad, which would drastically improve the firepower output of the ghostkeel!

Heavy Retribution Cadre

This formation is made up of three Ghostkeels and two Stormsurges, which is a pretty hefty investment in both points and money no matter which way you look at it (way out of my league at the moment!). The flavour text has this to say.

Three Ghostkeel Battlesuits lead the charge, spotting and advising, while two Stormsurges absorb their data, take aim, and annihilate.
I think this one is pretty clear, and we've probably seen something similar in the Adeptus Astartes codex, using the Ghostkeels to improve the aim of the Stormsurges behind them. My money is on either a generic boost to BS (though that would tread a little on the toes of marker lights) or, more likely, twin linking the Stormsurges main weapons.

Armoured Interdiction Cadre

Finally we have a tank formation, three Hammerheads (with their new TX7 designation) and a skyray. I'm betting most Tau players would have preferred it the other way round, though let's wait and see if the Hammerhead gets a buff.

Screaming, roaring jet engines herald the arrival of the TX7 Hammerhead Gunships, and the Sky Rays assist them, streaking blue contrails peppering the skies with their messages of hyperspeed death.
This is probably the least obvious of all the text clues. There are a few potential options though.

The roaring jet engines may indicate the cadre could be deployed via deep strike?
Streaking blue contrails peppering the skies with messages of hyperspeed death - could the Hammerheads have Skyfire???
Or are we looking at some form of preliminary bombardment style rule where the vehicles get to fire from off-table before they arrive into the game? I'm excited, as the formation benefits here may convince me to invest in this formation, I do love the Hammerhead model.

Firebase Support Cadre

That leaves us with three model collections left on the page, The Ghostkeel Wing and the Mobile Assault Force Stormsurge are pretty self explanatory I think, as they can both be taken in units of three, so having them in a collection is reasonable.

That leaves us with the Firebase Support Cadre (Notice how the three formations above are also referred to as Cadres?). This was released ages ago as a dataslate, but I do wonder if it will remain supported and usable in games of 40k as it's still on the website and referred to by the same term as the other formations. What worries me however is that the website doesn't state it's included in the codex as it does for the other three, which leads me to think it might be discontinued (that being said, it's also the only one that obviously hasn't been updated to the new paint scheme so may just be awaiting a re-write).

What do you reckon, am I way off?