Tuesday, 6 October 2015

Tau rumours and leaks - a burning eye view

Hi people - here I am again, giving you my own personal thoughts on some of the leaks we've seen for tau over the past few weeks.

As ever this post represents my own personal opinion on what I've seen, influenced by my experiences and the way I like to play the game - please don't assume they're a guide to what going to be most competitive in the future!


Stormsurge

I'm a bit mixed on this one - I like the distinction that GW have made in terms of it not being a battlesuit, but more a walking artillery piece. Amongst that I include the differentiation in terms of armour save (personally I think they've given it a 3+ because of the open cockpit rather than because riptides and broadsides are going to become 3+ as others have postulated). That being said however, I don't particularly like the design choices in light of that differentiation. The legs to my mind look too 'battlesuit' rather than 'mech'. Okay let's do this now, I think the design is very influenced by the mechwarrior computer games. What I mean by the legs though is that they appear as one part of a creature rather than a weapons platform. I may very well buy one of these and I'm sure it will grow on me, but at the moment I find their aesthetic a bit uncomfortable.

As for the weapons - I like the fact that they've included a ranged option for D-class, but that its range is limited. We all know by now that D is going to become more commonplace on the tabletop, but by limiting the range of the D profile for the Stormsurge's gun GW have managed to build in a certain amount of balance - if you want to get close you risk getting D'd, otherwise you take it out at range.

At the moment, I don't see the Stormsurge as being an auto-include for a Tau list, but it's certainly looking like a viable option. This to my mind is how a codex should look - lots of choices that aren't so good you can't leave them out.

Ghostkeel

I'll own up to this now - the Stealth suit is one of my favourite Tau models, and if they had more weaponry options in the current codex then my collection would be strongly dependent on them.

Seeing a larger version therefore of this awesome model has certainly made my hobby bits go all wobbly. I'll be getting at least two of these kits for my collection just as soon as balance in my collection (and bank balance) allows.

Rules-wise, again it seems to be nicely balanced. The guns, unusually for Tau, aren't outrageously good, but that's made up for by the clear bonuses the unit gets in terms of its survivability. Stealth and shrouded (yes, I'm in the camp that considers it gets both) while the drones are around is awesome, and doubling that up beyond 12" range to give it a 2+ cover save in the open is just gravy.

The aesthetic of the model builds nicely on the stealth suit design, using a similar helmet style and different leg armour to the riptide as well as a completely new torso.

In keeping with its role, it's less survivable than any of the other big suits we've seen so far, but aside from the cover mechanic it has one other very big trick up its sleeve, namely once per game forcing an opposing unit that has already declared it as a target to snap shoot. Debate goes on as to whether a unit of more than one of these guys can do that once per model or once per unit (personally I'm in the once per unit camp) but the key thing for me is that your opponent doesn't get to choose whether or not to shoot at it when they know you're using the countermeasures, you decide, and that can really mess up their day. Imagine those grav devastators that have just taken aim against you only to be told they've got to snap shoot, they're then stranded having been considerably less effective than they'd expected to be and are probably (if you've manoeuvred correctly) exposed to return fire.

Speculation

In some of the pictures I've seen what I think is another suit - could be this 'Coldstar' or 'Enforcer' the transfer sheet indicates is coming our way? Possibly. In all likelihood however it's just me not seeing detail I'm expecting to if it were a Riptide.

So that begs the question - what are the 'Coldstar' and 'Enforcer' transfers referring to?

Let me get my pipe and deerstalker.

Looking at the transfer sheet in detail, we've got the Riptide, with one set of transfers. We've then the Stormsurge and Ghostkeel, each with one set of transfers. The Breacher and Strike Teams, with 10 sets each and three extras (could be drones, or possibly weapon specialists?). The Stealth and Crisis suits are there, each with multiples of 3 of each different transfer, so I'm expecting them to still be boxed in those quantities.

That leaves us with the Enforcer and Coldstar Battlesuits specified, each of which gets one set of transfers. The classifications for those suits are XV85 and XV86. Going by the classification system I read about way back in the first Tau codex that means these suits are going to be in the Broadside range, I'm guessing bigger than crisis suits but smaller than broadsides. Tellingly though, there are way too many transfers for either of them to equate to the crisis suit detailing. My guess therefore would be that these classifications will relate to new commander level suits. I'd love to see a stealth commander option here, though I'm not holding my breath (so long as Shadowsun still has a codex entry I won't cry, I promise). What leads me to hope there will be however is the fact that these new suits each have new class numbers. We know that Shadowsun's existing suit (which we know is experimental) is class 22 while the normal stealth suits are class 25. Broadside suits are class 88 whilst Crisis suits are class 8. Generally speaking the first number indicates the 'weight' class of the suit (hence Riptides are '10'4 and the stormsurge is '12'8, whilst the ghostkeel weighs in at 95), though I can find no consistent point of reference for the second number - except that all the stealth armour except Shadowsun's ends in a '5'.

Actually, whilst writing this, I've discovered that the Enforcer suit is already detailed - GW released a Tau battlesuit size comparison wallpaper a few days ago, a more detailed version of which you can see here. The Enforcer class suit is the blue one in the middle, and seems to be a slightly smaller, jet pack version of a broadside suit. I'd therefore expect the Coldstar to be in this same category, though whether there's a likelihood of it being a Commander class stealth suit, who knows. Shadowsun's is clearly a development stage of the normal stealth class armour rather than something bigger.

In conclusion therefore - this set of releases has definitely got my juices really flowing for the Tau (as if they weren't already with my Tale of Gamers army coming along nicely). Depending on what the Crisis suits re-release is like (please please please let there be a nicer model coming) I may even need to re-think my promise of not including them in the army. I'll still want a viable collection based on the stealth aesthetic though. Thankfully with my birthday and Christmas coming up I'll be well equipped to pick up the codex, then decide on what to get to boost my collection substantially.