Hi all, and welcome to the first of my unit reviews for the new Tau codex - I'm starting at the top with the Comander - enjoy!
Before you get there though, please have a look at the poll on my blog - I'm trying to organise a charity gaming event in the UK and am looking for community feedback - please please vote as the feedback will influence the event and how it's run - there will be a new poll up each week focusing on various aspects of the proposal.
Battlefield Role Designation
Actual Battlefield Role
Just about as flexible as they come – the Tau Battlesuit equipment locker overfloweth, from cheap horde killers like flamers and airbursting frag projectors, through high rate of fire guns such as the burst cannon and cyclic ion blaster to the elite killers of the plasma rifle and tankbusting fusion blasters, not to forget the long range high strength missile pods, the Tau Commander has just about every option of man-portable weaponry covered (ok, he doesn’t carry a D weapon, but you get my point). With a high BS of 5, that shooting is likely to be delivered exactly where you want it too.
That’s not all though, because with the advent of signature systems and other wargear, the Tau Commander doesn’t have to be a gun platform (indeed, probably the most common loadout for him doesn’t actually require him to take any weapons). By not shooting, the Tau Commander is able to apply the benefits of several signature systems to his unit, making them substantially more effective – namely twin linking their weapons (in effect), ignoring cover and granting them either monster hunter or tank hunter.
The third role this model is able to fulfil is that of a disruption unit. Again, through judicious use of possibly the most ridiculously underpriced equipment in the game, he can make a unit within close proximity suffer from ‘gets hot’ on their guns, and if you do manage to kill him, can become a sucker punch as his suit overloads, exploding and showering everyone in the vicinity with shards of hot metal.
Finally, as if all that wasn't enough, the latest addition to the line of battlesuits is the 'Coldstar' option. This suit grants the model the ability to fly, though it misses out on many of the useful rules flying monstrous creatures benefit from, and ceases to be able to take a variety of weapons, but against some armies the ability to only be hit on a 6 could be very handy indeed.
85-259pts, though the cheapest realistic build is 93 (no guns, just a drone controller to get BS5 markerlights)
Well given his flexibility there are plenty of ways and therefore costs to take this guy. Realistically don't count on less than 150, and up to about 200 is fairly common if you want to do more than just buff something else.
i may edge myself out onto a relatively thin branch of the tree here and say that this is probably the single most synergistic unit (adopts Jeremy Clarkson voice) in the game. His wide array of buffing equipment, and wound tanking ability mean he can either protect or enhance as you see fit, and his own shooting is pretty handy too!
Essential, desirable or whimsical?
Quite honestly he's pretty essential. You can take a tau army without one but it's generally a lesser army because of that.
How many dice will you need?
Not a huge number as you might imagine for a single model, though a maximum of 8 shots is possible, so more than most characters.
The Commander has a naturally high ballistic skill, so his chance of failure in his own shooting is low, which combined with the potential to gain invun saves or provide rerolls to other shooting means he's a pretty reliable beast too.
On his own, using his shooting probably just a strong cheddar. Used either as a drone controller or buff unit, probably a good tasty Camembert.
The Tau Commander is probably going to be the glue that holds your force together - he's that important. The whole Tau army works on the basis of the synergy between units and the combined total being stronger than its constituent parts, and the Commander has the ability to increase the effectiveness of those units by a huge margin. Don't leave home without one, even if you do want to take another HQ.