The Greater Good: stratagems

Hi folks! Rhys here with another look at the new T’au content in the fifth Psychic Awakening book, The Greater Good.

I want to take a brief look at some of the more interesting stratagems that T’au players will be able to use once the new supplement is released this Saturday.

Let’s begin with a stratagem that Games Workshop previewed on the Warhammer Community page early last week: Coordinated Engagement. I want to highlight this stratagem because it immediately makes Crisis Battlesuits more viable. Indeed, there’s plenty in The Greater Good that makes those classic XV8s a very tempting choice. This is a great move on the part of GW. Crisis Battlesuits were the mainstay of T’au armies way back when, and it’ll be great to see them back on the tabletop in competitive lists.

The Coordinated Engagement stratagem reads as follows: ‘Use this stratagem in your shooting phase. Select one XV8 Crisis Battlesuits or XV8 Crisis Bodyguards unit from your army, and select one enemy unit. Until the end of that phase, when resolving an attack made by a model in that XV8 Crisis Battlesuits or XV8 Crisis Bodyguards unit against that enemy unit, treat the enemy unit as having 5 Markerlight counters.’

We’re paying two command points for a full stack of Markerlights that only one XV8 unit can use. Put simply, I think that this stratagem is very strong, and will see a lot of play.

What does a full stack of Markerlights give the T’au player? In this particular instance, he’ll be re-rolling 1s, ignoring cover, ignoring the penalty for advancing and firing assault weapons, and adding +1 to BS.

And why is this so valuable? Five Markerlight hits can be tricky to achieve, especially in lower points games. The option to simply have five Markerlight hits appear without having to worry about hitting with any other units is very strong. It takes away the ambiguity of rolling the dice. Every T’au player knows how frustrating it can be to miss that clutch Markerlight roll, and how much it can affect the output of your army in a crucial moment. But with Coordinated Engagement, we needn’t worry. We know what outcome we’re going to get.

Consider that Crisis Battlesuit units can take between three and nine models, and the bigger the unit, the more effective the stratagem. I think that we’re going to see plenty of T’au players take big units of Crisis Suits, start them in deep strike, and come down on turn two or three with one hell of a punch. Six Crisis Suits with three Cyclic Ion Blasters each shooting at a fully lit up target are going to do some serious damage. In fact, that combination will delete most units in the game. It’ll be expensive, but it could very well be worth it.

What other stratagems can T’au players look forward to? Sticking with the theme, I think we’re going to see a lot of use out of the Aerial Targeting stratagem. For one command point, this allows the T’au player to pick an enemy unit that, until the end of the phase, counts as having one more Markerlight token than it actually has.

Again, granting Markerlight hits without having to roll is very useful. Any stratagem that allows T’au players to reliably get Markerlights on a target is going to be popular. And for one command point, I think that Aerial Targeting is going to see a lot of use.

Not only can players use it to get that final Markerlight hit for the magic +1 BS, but we can also use it at the beginning of the chain to grant re-roll of 1s. This second use could be particularly useful for mobile gun lines — the classic triple Riptide, triple Commander build — if conventional Markerlight support is out of line of sight or out of range. Indeed, T’au players could get more use out of this stratagem near the end of games, when the usual Markerlight sources have been destroyed.

There’s a lot of scope here, and it’s cheap. This one is a winner in my book.

Let’s check out one more. This one has been doing the rounds since last week when it appeared on the Warhammer Community Facebook page, and it’s easy to see why. Modulated Weaponry allows a non-Titanic unit max out the number of shots it gets with a heavy weapon. The Riptide’s Ion Accelerator, for example, would go from d6 shots to six shots.

This is a great stratagem. But there’s one Battlesuit in particular that will benefit greatly from it: the Y’vahra. Why? The Y’vahra is armed with a heavy 2d6 flamer. And when the Y’varha Nova Charges, this flamer goes to heavy 3d6. Hit it with Modulated Weaponry. That’s 18 auto-hitting attacks at strength 6, AP-2, damage 3. This has the potential to be absolutely heinous.

I say it has the potential to be heinous because there are other elements that make the Y’varha tough to take in competitive lists. At over 400 points, it’s just too expensive. And to get the most out of it, players need to run it in the Bork’an Sept in order to increase the range of the flamer. This presents yet more problems: Savior Protocols is Sept-locked, meaning that non-Bork’an Drones in the army can’t intercept incoming damage. In any case, the stratagem itself is going to see some use.

Players can see the theme here: these three stratagems allow players to know exactly what their models will be doing in a turn. Be it a guaranteed five Markerlights, a guaranteed additional Markerlight, or a guaranteed maximum amount of shots, T’au players can use this information to plan accordingly. This is good stuff.

This is, of course, just a brief snapshot of what T’au players can look forward to. Expect more this weekend!

And remember, Frontline Gaming sells gaming products at a discount, every day in their webcart!

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