Tau Codex Review: Formations: Allied Advance Cadre

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Overview

The Allied Advance Cadre (not to be confused with the Advanced Allies Cadre, or Cadre of Advancing Alliances) is one of the lesser-known formations in the Tau codex; indeed, nothing about it is likely to jump out at you as a “wow” moment, but none the less it’s a fairly solid option that can significantly improve all of its component units while having fairly minimal taxes involved.

The formation consists of four units of Kroot Carnivores and two units of Vespid Stingwings; the units can be of any size and composition desired, so I typically cleave close to my standard setup for both (13 or 17 models for Kroot, minimum size for Vespid.)

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Special Rules

Although it’s hard to say that the formation really ever “shines,” if anywhere the bundle of special rules is certainly its top feature. Essentially acting as a “networking” formation, it shares the benefits of both units to their other half as well as giving them some small additional bonuses to represent their cooperation.

The Vespid’s bonuses, unfortunately, are the smaller of the two- though still not insignificant. Just like the Kroot, they have the Infiltrate and Stealth (Forests) special rules, allowing them to not only keep pace with their lesser brethren as well as giving them another option for keeping themselves protected. (As you’ll recall, Vespid already have Stealth [Ruins] built in, as well as Move Through Cover.)

The bonuses for Kroot are more powerful, though with a catch- in order to get them, the Kroot have to stay within 12″ of the Vespid. This isn’t exceptionally difficult to do, since the Vespid are fast and can Infiltrate along with the Kroot. However, as both units can be a touch fragile, it’s entirely possible for the enemy to wipe out the Vespid first in order to deny the rest of the formation its benefits, which can be problematic. Still, for all that it’s still not bad; when in range of their alien pals the Kroot upgrade their Stealth (Forests) to Shrouded (Forests), a rule that technically doesn’t exist but is pretty easy to intuit what it’s intended to do. More relevantly, they also get +1 Ballistic Skill, bringing them up to a much more respectable firepower output- especially when further enhanced with Markerlights or other bonuses.

Last but not least, all units in the formation have the Supporting Fire special rule, but can only use it to protect other models from the formation. This isn’t particularly huge, but like Supporting Fire itself it will occasionally stop a charge cold when you get lucky- the AP3 and Sniper weapons in particular have good odds of dissuading even many of the larger targets out there from making 11″ and 12″ charges on your units just out of boredom.

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Uses

So, what do we do with this? If you’re taking the Allied Advance, you’re probably not doing so as a standalone formation- that would mean giving up Objective Secured on the Kroot, which is a pretty big loss. So you’re probably dipping into a Hunter Contingent or Dawn Blade Cadre and running it as an auxiliary option, which will flavor how we want to use it.

As noted earlier, we really need to be keeping the Kroot and Vespid near each other if we want to be getting our full bonuses, and that means keeping the Vespid alive. Our 12″ range is actually pretty forgiving, especially because we’ll likely be taking larger units of Kroot that we can spread out where needed, so a lot of the time the Vespid will essentially be playing peekaboo: hiding behind some blocking terrain to stay in range of the Kroot most of the game, and then jumping out to put some damage on a unit of MEQs or the like late in the game.

One big advantage is that the Vespid are a lot more survivable than you might expect, so long as they keep to cover- you have Stealth for two of the three most common terrain types out there (forests and ruins, with hills being the missing one) so chances are very good you’re getting a 4+ or 3+ cover save, and if you Go to Ground (as you will probably need to) you can increase that even further. T4 and 4+ armor also help, since even most Ignores Cover weapons won’t cut through you and you aren’t taking excessive numbers of wounds from weaker weapons like Lasguns.

The Kroot, meanwhile, really want to be finding a forest to hide in or at least tag with one toe- remember, even just a single model being in a forest for Shrouded will benefit the whole unit. With their enhanced BS and Infiltrate, I find that it’s worthwhile to take not just the Sniper upgrade on them but also mix in a Krootox as well; those S7 shots into side armor (or against high-toughness targets) can be pretty valuable, and every once in a while you’ll be able to make use of those S6 melee attacks as well. As always, a solo Kroot Hound to help with Outflanking and Sweeping Advance is also very helpful.

The biggest problem with the formation is that it doesn’t really serve any specific purpose in a list- as Kroot are a troop unit, they don’t have a strongly-defined role on the battlefield and tend to just kinda hang around taking potshots at things. While that +1BS certainly makes your potshots a lore more effective, they still aren’t going to be ruling the battlefield, and as the whole thing is a non-trivial amount of points that is a bit of a problem.

Both of the Tau decurions provide excellent benefits to the Allied Advance Cadre; Combined Firepower can really put the hurt on a target with BS5 sniper weapons, especially if you keep the squad size small so that you’re not wasting shots. Coincidentally, the formation as a whole is the perfect size to do two Combines (i.e. six units) against a pair of different targets. The Dawn Blade bonus is arguably even better for them, since rerolls to wound let you fish for Rending hits with your snipers and can turn them into emergency backup tank killers as well. However, as both detachments can easily access Kroot (and Vespid, if it comes to that) via their core detachment, the incentive to take an Allied Advance is rather low overall- nothing that it does is exceptional or impossible to replicate through other means.

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Final Thoughts

The Allied Advance Cadre is far from a bad formation; if you like Kroot and want to slip some into a list, there are a lot worse ways you could do so. However, it does suffer a bit from being a rather bland choice overall, all the more so because it’s largely composed of troop units. Tau’s basic infantry, like those of many factions, just don’t cut the mustard in a competitive meta and so formations composed of them are pretty unlikely to do so either unless there’s something exceptional going on, and there really just isn’t in this case.

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About abusepuppy

AbusePuppy is the one who has been ruining 40K for everyone this whole time. He is also searching for the six-fingered man and is one of the three people who know the secret recipe for coke (not the soda, the illegal drug.)

8 Responses to “Tau Codex Review: Formations: Allied Advance Cadre”

  1. Happy_Inquisitor March 14, 2017 12:45 pm
    #

    I have played this formation a few times and it is definitely not tax-free, the Vespid are certainly a tax as one of the more over-costed units in the game. The kroot have far more cost-effective ways to get access to +1 BS than Vespid – basically all your Markerlight options – so you are not taking this formation for the BS boost.

    Shrouded in Forests would be nice if it was ever relevant, in a year of using Kroot competitively I saw a grand total of one tree on a tournament table. So you are not taking this formation for that either.

    Which leaves the Supporting Fire rule. Which to be fair is not terrible but you are investing heavily in fragile troops for a rule that might just kill the odd enemy model just before one of your units is mulched.

    It is fun in games where you have all the time in the world to move your massed kroot around and are not worried too much about how competitive it all is.

    • Shas'Itsa Mari'o March 15, 2017 6:44 am
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      Yeah all of this. I’d even go so far as to say the Kroot are a tax as well unless you’re just using them to bubble wrap. I know a lot of people like them, but I’m not one of those people haha

      • Kevin Lantz March 15, 2017 7:09 am
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        The problem with this formation is that troops aren’t providing much for tau these days. Toss it into the mix that it’s part of a detachment that already has 3 troops in it’s base detachment, it’s now making the troop selection (and without ob sec) super redundant and not adding anything to help with other threats.

        • abusepuppy March 15, 2017 8:43 am
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          This is the real problem, yes. Kroot are actually a pretty decent unit, though they suffer from the proliferation of Ignores Cover weapons in the environment. However, being forced to take seven troop squads in a detachment is… not enticing, to say the least.

          With that said, I still don’t think Vespid are as bad as people give them credit for. They’re not all-stars, but neither are they complete garbage fires.

          • Shas'Itsa Mari'o March 15, 2017 9:57 am
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            Kroot just die too easily in my opinion. Ignores cover is a big part of it but I rarely ever see Forests on the board anyways so their cover bonuses never really reach their potential anyways.

            I think if the Neutron Blasters had one extra shot it would make them (close to) worth it. There’s a lot to like about them but they’re incredibly overcosted for what they can do. Especially when there are better options for Fast Attack.

            They both seem close but a couple glaring weaknesses hold both units back.

          • abusepuppy March 15, 2017 1:27 pm
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            Kroot do die easy, but they provide an important role in Tau in not just providing movement-blockers on the cheap but also being an outflanking troop choice. This formation doesn’t particularly enhance that, but it’s a very valid role for them.

            I see forests fairly often, so that issue may just be part of your local meta or something- they’re certainly one of the easier terrain types to build.

            Assault 2 on Neutron Blasters would go a long ways, yeah. Part of the issue, as mentioned in the article, is that Plasma Crisis do basically the same job but better, which doesn’t leave Vespid with much of a job. S4 and Assault Grenades could also go a long ways, or S3 and a power weapon.

          • Shas'Itsa Mari'o March 16, 2017 5:28 am
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            True, I put them in the category of harassment unit similar to the role stealth suits would play. I just prefer stealth suits. But you’re right the outflanking definitely has a place as does the movement blocking if you’re playing a mostly static gunline. I just don’t play that style much anymore.

            Yeah it probably is, although I don’t remember seeing too much forest at LVO either. Maybe one little copse of trees on every other table. Even then, stealth (forests) basically just makes them ruins anyways. I know it’s fluffy to make it a forest only perk, but they probably should have just made it stealth while in terrain.

            Assault grenades would be solid. A point reduction wouldn’t hurt either. 100 points for four and a strain leader is kinda ridiculous. Especially since he’s almost a must take so they don’t run away when your opponent looks at them funny.

      • Happy_Inquisitor March 15, 2017 11:49 am
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        Kroot are alright. They are flexible and sometimes having infiltrating roadblocks or distractions will really help. They do die to pretty much anything but at least they are cheap. With turn 1 charges increasingly a thing in 40K I think having a few kroot around to bubble-wrap is a sensible precaution.

        Vespid are just too expensive for what they do and giving them enough of a leadership boost from the Strain Leader to keep them on the table after they take any casualties just makes them more expensive.

        I have run this formation a few times, I have run my vespid (or at least some of them) many times. I can think of just two occasions where my vespid were anything but a disappointment. There is no other Tau unit I have tried which so consistently fails to fill any useful purpose.