Tau Barracuda AX-5-2 Multi-role Fighter Review

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Alexander Villagra brings us a review of the Tau Barracuda. Check the Tactics Corner for more great reviews!

Hello my fellow war gamer`s. Today I’m going to be writing a rules review of the new Forge World, Barracuda. I am writing this from a competitive standpoint taking into account the currant competitive Meta. NO DEATH FROM THE SKIES RULES. We don’t use them in ITC.

So for those of us that remember 5th and early 6th edition tau. The barracuda was one of the only fliers (that was not garbage) that we had access to but back then it costed around $200.

  • A supersonic AV 11, 2 HP paper airplane. That being said that paper airplane did have some really good weapons and was accurate being native BS4 with a 3+ Jink
  • An ion cannon at S7 AP3 heavy 3, 60 inch flyer shredder.
  • A S7 AP4 assault 2 missile pod.
  • 2 garbage S5 AP5 ignores cover burst cannons
  • 4 Seeker Missiles 8pts a piece S8 AP3 one use only

barracuda strike force

Now look what we got a 175 point, AV 11 front and side armor, 10 rear 3 HP still supersonic flyer that’s now a heavy support choice. A much neglected slot in the recent Meta.
With a 5+ invulnerable against glancing hits and 6+ against penetrate hits. Any vehicle let alone a flyer with a native save is good in my book. And it’s still BS4 with strafing run.

Strafing run gives a +1 BS against non-skimmer or flying targets. So those marines are getting hit on 2s. Making the new barracuda the most accurate unit in the tau Arsenal without the support of marker lights. Did I mention it causes Pinning as well? Because it does.

Now that we trimmed the fat off of this monster let’s get to the main course  GUNS, GUNS and BIGGER GUNS!

main weapon variants

The standard weapons are your drone controlled long barreled burst cannon. What’s long barreled you say. The range went from 18 to 36 inches of S5 AP5 heavy 6. That’s nice with 2 of these your looking at 12 shots hitting on 2’s and still ignores cover. Sorry guardsman, you may want to reconsider cover camping with this thing in the air.

You still have the ion cannon without the large blast AP3 and the missile pods. But now we have 3 new weapon systems available. First we will start off with the heavy burst cannon. S6, AP4, heavy 6 with less range at 24 inches. No option to nova charge though. But it’s still useful none of the less. Then we have our big gun the swiftstrike rail gun. S10, AP1, 24 inches heavy 1. It’s good for sniping a demon prince, allowing you to instantly kill him in the air. Or trying to take down a hull point with a potential explodes result on an Imperial knight but it’s an extra 20 points. I don’t recommend it unless you need some S10 in your opponents back field to kill a warp hunter or other heavy artillery.

The last one is not really that great cyclic ion blaster turrets. Replaces the LB burst cannons with S7 and AP4 but its 18 inch range and 3 shots make it counterproductive and its 15 points extra. Unless you really need the extra punching power.

flat bottom view

Survivability.
It’s pretty tough by Tau standards since you need 6’s to hit and snap firing Bolters can’t hurt it. It has 3 HP and 5+/6+ if you don’t want to Jink. If you flat out it gets a 3+ cover save. If you buy the Disruption pods it gets a 2+ cover save. 6s to hit and 2+ save. Most opponents won’t bother shooting his army’s big guns at them. Just watch out for dedicated AA like the Mechanicum`s Ongar walker or the Space Marine Stalkers.

Offensive capabilities.
They can be suited to any kind of role. Anti-tank, anti-infantry, scat bike hunting, marine killing. Or super heavy unit harassment

mid view

Recommended load out.
Ion cannon and LB burst cannons should do just fine. Remember to add D-pod and repair drones to increase its durability. And maybe even the decoy pods against other tau players. 4++ against interceptor. If you needed to spare high strength weapons take the seeker missiles as well. Wounding Eldar Knights on 4s and ignoring the armor.

Thanks for reading this review honorable tau commanders, imperial scum, or pointy heads till the next time happy hunting.
And as always, Frontline Gaming sells Games Workshop product at up to 25% off of retail, every day!

You can also pick up some cheap models in our Second Hand Shop. Some of these gems are quite rare, sometimes they’re fully painted!

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22 Responses to “Tau Barracuda AX-5-2 Multi-role Fighter Review”

  1. Blight1 July 30, 2016 9:17 am #

    I think the ITC should consider DFTS again. FW has updated their flyers to include those rules so one of the major concerns is gone.

  2. Loofanator July 30, 2016 9:22 am #

    Nice write up! A few quick points:
    The ion cannon is a barracuda ion cannon, which doesnt have a large blast mode.
    Similarly, the barracuda heavy burst cannon is only heavy 6.
    The auto targetting guns dont ignore cover, they just ignore jink. Looking good guardsmen!
    Disruption pods cant get you to 2+ cover, as the agile rule states it maxes out at 3+.

    • Heldericht July 30, 2016 1:18 pm #

      Yeah… I would urge the author to make these amendments to the article so as not to mislead newbies. Those are some pretty important points.

    • Alexander July 30, 2016 9:54 pm #

      Auto-targeting
      Weapons with this special rule ignore any cover saves OR cover save bonuses provided by the Supersonic or Jink
      special rules, as well as any provided by moving Flat Out.

      the problem with this rule by the way its written. you would be right if they did not put the OR in front of it. because it does say

      Weapons with this special rule ignore ANY cover saves and by the definition of OR and I Quote “used to link alternatives” implying that if for example, someone tries to get a cover save through modifier means (someone tried to do this to me too) they get a +1 from stealth that they get a 6+ even if cover is being ignored. while most of us who have been playing this game for years know this is not the case it still happens (although forge world could of just said ignores cover) sorry that’s still a toasty guardsmen

      • Loofanator July 31, 2016 2:17 am #

        “Weapons with this special rule ignore any cover saves or cover save bonuses provided by the Supersonic or Jink special rules, as well as any provided by moving Flat Out.”

        If it was simply ignores cover, it would just say ignores cover.

        What is ignored? “Any cover save or cover save bonus”.

        As is often the case, the wording is less than perfect, but it wasn’t written by a lawyer. Please don’t try to rules laywer this by looking up the definition of “or” becuase I guarantee forgeworld didn’t.

        • Alex July 31, 2016 8:04 am #

          The reason why I would say that it does ignore cover. Because it says any cover saves it’s RAW vs RAI. That why it’s kinda screwy with the Agile special rule. The other agile flyers don’t have the limitation but the barracuda does. So RAW the barracuda gets a 3+ Cover no matter what so you are correct. It’s stil not bad better then a 4+ and saves 30 points in my list.

          • Loofanator August 1, 2016 3:18 am
            #

            OK, I’m glad you agree with me on RAI, which is clear. Asfor RAW, this could be ambiguous, but not overly so.

            You are arguing that the rule reads as follows:
            “Ignore all cover” or ” ignore all cover bonuses from jink”
            Which frankly makes little sense. If you say the first part, why bother saying the second?

            I’m saying the rules reads like this:
            “Ignore all (cover saves or bonuses) from jink”

            Since RAW is a bit ambiguous, but RAI is clear and leans towards the RAW option that makes more sense, that is how the rule should be played.

            Please don’t try to nitpick exact wording for advantage. This just angers players.

          • Alex August 1, 2016 9:10 pm
            #

            Ok loof we are just having opposite views on this matter and I won’t change it and encourage players decide for themselves.
            In my group who is made of all types of players Everyone reads it as ignores cover entirely because we use rules as written if we started using everything as intended it would make the game nonfunctional this matter is left for individual players to decide RAW or RAI in their games lets just agree to disagree.

          • Loofanator August 2, 2016 3:41 am
            #

            But this IS RAW. Look, think of it as an math equation.
            “ignore any (cover saves or cover save bonuses) provided by the Supersonic or Jink special rules.”
            “ignore any” and “provided by the Supersonic or Jink special rules” are distributed both to “cover saves” and to “cover save bonuses”.

            This is common practice when writing, as otherwise sentences are very awkward.

            Are you honestly saying that the rule should have been written like this?
            “Weapons with this special rule ignore any cover saves provided by the Supersonic or Jink special rules, as well as any provided by moving Flat Out or ignore any cover save bonuses provided by the Supersonic or Jink special rules, as well as any provided by moving Flat Out.”

            Yes, GW has made many mistakes when writing rules, but this is not one of them. This rule is written just fine, the only problem is it was written for gamers, not lawyers. When you deliberately and insistently misinterpret a rule for advantage, you’re not being clever, you’re being a jerk.

      • westrider August 1, 2016 6:26 pm #

        GW is sloppy with their “or”s. But they’re consistently sloppy. It’s exactly the same thing as the Blood Tithe bit with Characters, for instance.

        I should just send them an MLA handbook or something.

    • Alexander July 30, 2016 10:16 pm #

      For the Agile special rule stating that we only have up too a (max) of a 3+ cover save is like implying that the 4+ jink save is increased to a 3+ just let the reader know that it goes to a 3+

      for example the Xiphon pattern interceptor that the imperium has almost identical special rules but does not say it has a maximum of 3+ as i recall USR`s don’t change from model to model as it is a USR and the Jink special rule has no maximum cover save if you go past a 2+ you go to a 2+ reroll to 4+.

      the point is i believe forge world may have just put that statement there for an example rather than a limitation because that would be a little limiting as well. also i can just say Jink saves do not have a limit to what that save is.

      • Loofanator July 31, 2016 2:24 am #

        This one is a bitmore vague. Please consider this: which is applied first, agile or diruption pods? If the pods are applied first, then the save is already at 3+ and agile would have no effect.

        The rules says “maximum of 3+” so I dont think it should be able to get a 2+ save. Why else would it say “maximum of 3+”?

        • Alex July 31, 2016 7:56 am #

          The special rules always apply first. But did you see what I mean about the jet fighter that the imperium has with the same special rules I blame forgeworld for this one because they were copying and pasting this rule from the last barracuda. Which I’m still covinved that they have a chimpanzee working the rules office in England lol

          • Loofanator August 1, 2016 3:06 am
            #

            Yes, I see your point about the imperial fighter, but that’s just it: it doesn’t say “maximum of 3+”, this one does.

    • Alexander July 30, 2016 10:22 pm #

      I also state on the top of the paragraph that it still has the ion cannon but without the large blast.

      the only thing i was wrong about is the amount of shots that the Barracuda heavy burst cannon shoots. as it is not a riptides burst cannon.

      thank you for pointing these rules that may have been interpreted in a different way so that i may Explain myself as for why I wrote the review the way I did.

      i mean no offense to you in any way I’m just stating my side of the argument.

      • Loofanator July 31, 2016 2:29 am #

        At the beginning, you list the following as a bullet point:

        “An ion cannon at S7 AP3 heavy 3, 60 inch flyer shredder.
        (Overcharge it for a S8 AP3 large blast Marine killer.)”

        I’m not trying to be a pain, just please fix these errors. Some of them, like the ion cannon not getting a blast mode, are significant changes that readers would want to know.

  3. AbusePuppy July 30, 2016 12:14 pm #

    The AX1 is really just too expensive for what it does- while it gains an extra HP over the normal Barracuda and simmer nice weapon options, it’s still pretty fragile and is 45 pts more. With that being a full one third price increase, it feels pretty hard to justify based on the option of a solo S10 shoot alone (as the missile+ ion are actually quite good against misty medium-weight vehicles.

  4. westrider August 1, 2016 6:28 pm #

    For those situations where DftS is in effect, it actually gets even better, in a relative sense, because Strike-Flyer is the best of the various Combat Roles for Flyers.

    • Alex August 1, 2016 9:01 pm #

      Because it can pick and choose what role it wants to be for that turn

      • westrider August 1, 2016 11:39 pm #

        Strike Flyers basically gain all the potential benefits of Fighters in DftS, but don’t suffer the BS penalty against Ground Targets. Literally no downside to them in the DftS Rules at all, which isn’t true of any other variety.

        • ccrraazzyyman August 5, 2016 3:56 am #

          Except they can’t do the break turns, and with an agility of 4 you could count on those more often than not.

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