Chapter Tactics #59: Are Tau Still Competitive?

Chapter Tactics is a 40k podcast which focuses on promoting better tactical play and situational awareness across all variations of the game. Today PeteyPab calls on the aid of two Tau players to dissect the new Tau Codex and determine it’s competitiveness.

Show Notes:

  • Tau Codex Review starts at 21 minutes in
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  • Chapter Tactics is back! With Weekly episodes and a lot of tactical insight, this is your place for all things 40k in 8th edition.
  • Check out the last episode of Chapter Tactics here. Or, click here for a link to a full archive of all of my episodes.
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  • Intro by: Justin Mahar

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About Petey Pab

Aspiring 40k analyst, tournament reporter and Ultramarines enthusiast, Petey Pab only seeks to gather more knowledge about the game of 40k and share it with as many people as he can in order to unite both hobbyists and gamers. We are, after all, two sides of the same coin.

28 Responses to “Chapter Tactics #59: Are Tau Still Competitive?”

  1. Dakkath March 18, 2018 11:35 pm #

    Looking forward to the article about the poor design choice on commanders.

  2. Kevin Lantz March 19, 2018 1:51 am #

    Still? were they ever competitive?

    • abusepuppy March 19, 2018 3:01 am #

      4th, 5th, 6th, and 7th had eras where Tau were a solid competitive army, spoiler army, or even top-tier. The Riptide Wing era most people bitch about was actually not even close to their high-water mark, as they didn’t take all that many top spots at tournaments (and virtually none at major events like LVO or NOVA.)

      • Kevin Lantz March 19, 2018 4:05 am #

        So like 5 years ago? I don’t disagree with the solid, but not sure ever top tier without argument.

        • abusepuppy March 19, 2018 6:00 am #

          Tau armies won several national-level tournaments in 6E as well as tons and tons of GTs, especially when allied with Eldar. Attaching a Farseer to a Riptide so you were basically immune to Grav, then fasting Prescience + Perfect Timing was an extremely common trick, as were making “death balls” consisting of multiple characters (with different toughness values, natch) plus the character Riptide all attached to a single regular Riptide.

          In 5E you also had Tau acting as a major spoiler and occasional contestant for top spot thanks to having some of the best anti-tank in the game during an edition where tanks were omnipresent.

        • peteypab March 19, 2018 8:10 am #

          8th edition hasn’t even been around for a year yet. Tau were more competitive, and common at last year’s LVO. Meta-speaking, they have had a real fall from grace.

  3. IW March 19, 2018 6:20 am #

    Thanks for the review!

    Interesting the opposing views on the Ghostkeels. With a massive red flagged warning of: A: I haven’t played the new codex yet and B: I did not play the index Tau too much.

    The Ghostkeels Cyclic Ion Raker is better when overcharged now, the stealth field is improved and the burst cannon came down in pts which marginally offsets some of the increased costs on support systems. Interestingly the shield generator is now only 8pts instead of 40, which means you can make the Ghostkeel quite durable.

    Most of the Sept tenants help it out as well in some form and it has access to a bunch of stratagems. Same can be said for other units so that may be a moot point.

    It is also the only way to reliably make homing beacons work now in conjunction with stealth suits and the wall of mirrors strategem.

    • Shas’O March 19, 2018 8:40 am #

      Good call on the Ghostkeel shield gens. Makes them much more durable!

    • abusepuppy March 19, 2018 2:53 pm #

      The Ghostkeel is more survivable overall for sure, but that’s not my problem with it- I just don’t feel like it _does_ a lot on the table. Taking a Shield Generator means giving up one of your support slot systems, and it really needs those; Target Lock is pretty mandatory (especially with the changes to the Markerlight table) and ATS is certainly so for the Ion version.

      Trying to pull off a Wall of Mirrors -> Homing Beacon -> Crisis drop combo is… it’s just really optimistic. You’re relying on a whole sequence of pieces all staying alive and being where they need to be, and I don’t think that is something you can really expect in most circumstances.

  4. tanniith March 19, 2018 8:09 am #

    “kroot are better hormagaunts” except they’re not fearless. and slower. and move after infiltrators like nurglings and scouts, so you don’t actually get to screen out with them. and even aside from all that hormagaunts aren’t that great anyways. Gargoyles are the unit you’re looking for there.

    For my points I’d much rather just spend another 2 ppm for a pathfinder or firewarrior. Better in every single way that matters. If they had a second attack or infiltrated they’d be amazing. Unfortunately they’re pretty lackluster.

  5. Shas’O March 19, 2018 8:39 am #

    Great review, but 2 points:

    The overcharged cyclic ion raker almost DOUBLED in firepower… Ghostkeels are much better now.

    Also, XV8 commanders are the only ones that can take iridium. This could be worth -1W.

    • Petey Pab March 19, 2018 9:41 am #

      Take that Abusepuppy and George!

      • Shas’O March 19, 2018 1:15 pm #

        Hey, no disrespect to abusepuppy or George; love those guys 🙂

        But I’m with Petey Pab on Ghostkeels. They also gained infiltrate, which combined with their durability makes for great screening and board control.

        • Dakkath March 19, 2018 1:36 pm #

          Ghostkeels already had infiltrate in the index. Them, stealth suits and Shadowsun.

          • Shas’O March 19, 2018 2:34 pm

            Indeed they did, my bad!

        • Peteypab March 19, 2018 2:50 pm #

          Lol, just joking around with them a little bit.

    • abusepuppy March 19, 2018 2:57 pm #

      I find inmost cases that I’m actually not firing the Overcharge profile- 8E armies, more often than not, consist largely of infantry of various types and lots of single-wound models. So its firepower goes up in some circumstances, but certainly not in all- and unlike the Broadside, Riptide, etc, it did not see a major price break.

      The XV8 Commander can take Irridium, but that actually makes it more expensive than the XV85 Commander is (by 11pts.) Given the binary nature of characters that I talk about in the episode, I don’t think it is worth it.

  6. Lady of Titan March 19, 2018 1:22 pm #

    Hey, the volume of the voices are wildly different. Abusepuppy is super quite. Pablo and George are quite loud in comparison. Just thought you needed to know.

  7. Cptjoeyg March 19, 2018 1:55 pm #

    March Madness 2nd place – did not have any Fire Raptors and no Guilliman

    • Petey Pab March 19, 2018 7:19 pm #

      Thanks for the heads up. Sadly my phone is acting up, and I didn’t have access to the lists.

      Got a list?

  8. Slurp March 19, 2018 3:50 pm #

    Abusepuppy was particularly contrarian today. More than a few times he interrupted folks who were trying to speak. This is really frustrating to sit through as a listener.

    Looking forward to more episodes with Geoff and Val.

  9. petey pab March 19, 2018 7:17 pm #

    Hello! Thank you, I thought so as well. This is actually a good sign. Because I turned abusepuppy’s mic down because he was too loud. It shows I have control over everyone’s audio quality.

    I will work on making it more equal in the future.

  10. GhostValley March 19, 2018 7:38 pm #

    Something as a brand new tau player – still building models and am not even close to first game with them – I am wondering about drones: how many do the average player take? Is it usually enough to just have the collective sum of all the drones that come as unit upgrades or is a dedicated unit or 2 the thing to do?
    I know the answer is subjective and depends a lot on list and strategies etc but as a total neophyte I’m curious what you guys think about it. And then are shield drones the go-to? The gun drones seem lacklustre to me.

    I enjoyed that you all had differing opinions – the stuff you did agree on seems like a lock and hopefully the rest is a sign of a balanced book fit to different styles

    • abusepuppy March 19, 2018 9:26 pm #

      I’ve been finding that I want around 10-20 drones in my 2000pt lists these days, so that’s a good goal to aim for; of course, there will always be that odd outlier list where you want more.

      I haven’t used anything but Shield Drones so far, though Marker Drones are a fine choice as well. With a 50% increase in price, I think Gun Drones are pretty hard to defend.

      • GhostValley March 20, 2018 3:47 am #

        Cheers. My projected lists are close to 10, so I may be a bit low.

        • abusepuppy March 20, 2018 6:20 am #

          It depends a lot on how many suits you have to protect; things like Riptides, Broadsides, and Y’varhas need heavier drone support than Commanders do.

  11. Don Tomaso March 20, 2018 12:38 am #


    Are GK too still “competitive” or is it just DW?


  12. JJ April 16, 2018 11:17 pm #

    Hey guys, another great episode. One bit of constructive feedback is there was a lot of talking over each other, an especially large section when talking about the Tsu relics.

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