Hi folks! Rhys here with another look at the T’au content in the latest Psychic Awakening release. Today I’m going to take a look at the Sept tenets with which T’au players can replace the T’au Sept. While many competitive players will be making the change to the Enclaves in order to benefit from the loosening of the Commander restrictions, the custom Sept tenets offer some interesting options as well.
The Greater Good gives T’au players the opportunity to further tailor their force with Sept tenets. Some of these tenets are strong, providing players with useful buffs to key units. Many tenets are, however, somewhat underwhelming. This is, to one degree or another, expected.
But it does raise a question: are the bonuses from the Sept tenets strong enough to forgo the ability to overwatch on 5s, which is, of course, the T’au Sept tenet.
It’s not at all surprising that the T’au Sept tenet has been the most popular in the competitive scene in eighth edition. Hitting on 5s in overwatch, combined with the army-wide For the Greater Good ability, can be deadly. And perhaps more importantly, 5+ overwatch is a powerful disincentive to even attempting a charge.
Most players will have been on the receiving end of a T’au Sept overwatch phase. It isn’t pretty.
However, good players will have ways to mitigate T’au Sept overwatch. From out of line-of-sight charges to soaking up shots with less valuable units, there are ways to get around overwatch. And anything that ignores overwatch has the potential, of course, to do a significant amount of damage to a T’au gun line.
So let’s check out what other Sept tenets T’au players might want to have a look at.
There are a couple of standout combinations in The Greater Good, but today I only want to talk about one, and it combines Stabilisation Systems with Hardened Warheads. I think this combination could see a lot of play.
So what do they do? The Stabilisation Systems tenet allows Battlesuit-keyword models to ignore the penalty for moving and shooting heavy weapons.
This solves the perennial problem with the Riptide: what Support Systems to take? Consensus dictates that Riptides take two of the following three Support Systems: the Advanced Targeting System, the Velocity Tracker, and the Target Lock.
The Advanced Targeting Systems adds an additional -1 to all of the Riptide’s weapons. This is obviously strong, and it works particularly well with the Hardened Warheads tenet, but we’ll come to that in a moment. The Velocity Tracker grants the Riptide +1 to hit rolls against units with the fly keyword, and the Target Lock allows the Riptide to move and shoot heavy weapons without penalty.
Using this new Sept tenet combo, then, frees up the slot that the Target Lock would otherwise have taken. Now our Riptides are able to move and shoot without penalty, receive a useful +1 to hit against models with the fly keyword, and have an additional -1 on all weapons. This makes the best unit in the codex just that little bit better.
But the fun doesn’t stop there. Our other Sept tenet makes the Riptide even more deadly.
Hardened Warheads adds an additional point of AP to Missile Pods, High-Yield Missile Pods, Smart Missile Systems, and Seeker Missiles.
Those Smart Missile Systems on the Riptide? They’re now AP-2. This is a very useful little buff. The Smart Missile Systems will now be even better at harassing smaller units throughout the game, especially those weaker units that players conceal in cover, with the Smart Missile System ignoring cover.
Moreover, equipping Commanders with Missile Pods has for a little while been the T’au Hipster’s choice loadout. The Commander’s strong ballistic skill made for accurate, consistent firepower that could threaten from turn one — the Missile Pod’s range is 36″. But taking four Missile Pods meant forgoing the Advanced Targeting System, meaning that each Missile Pod was AP-1 only. While this doesn’t make for poor offensive output, it wasn’t particularly frightening, and the only way to consistently get those Missile Pods to AP-2 was to take an Advanced Targeting System and forgo the extra Missile Pod shots.
Now, this is no longer a problem.
The Hardened Warheads tenet allows T’au Commanders to take four Missile Pods, each at AP-2. I think we’re going to see a lot more of this loadout on the tabletop. It’s just so consistent. As I mention above, this Commander will be able threaten from turn one. Indeed, a Coldstar Commander armed with four Missile Pods has a threat range of 56″, and that’s without taking into consideration his 20″ advance.
We’ve seen how this tenet buffs Riptides and Commanders. But it does yet more for Broadsides.
Both of the Broadside Battlesuit’s weapons benefit from the Hardened Warheads tenet. And the Battlesuit itself benefits from the Stabilisation Systems tenet. A single Broadside will now put out eight strength 7, AP-3, damage d3 shots at 36″ and eight strength 5, AP-2, damage 1 shots at 30″. Whichever way you look at it, that’s pretty solid output.
Except when it isn’t.
I want to write a separate article about how Broadsides are doing in the current post-The Greater Good meta, so I’ll only briefly mention this here. These improvements don’t solve the main problem with the Broadsides: the bad touch. Tag these guys in combat and they’re all but useless in the following turn. When T’au players are sinking as much points as they are into Broadsides, this is a big problem, but that’s a topic for another article.
Here’s the thing: are any of these bonuses going to be enough to make T’au players forgo 5+ overwatch? It’s a tricky one. And I don’t know the definitive answer. For that, we’ll have to wait for the number-crunching to take place over at 40k stats. But I can offer an opinion. Is it enough? I think it will be.
There are two ways to slice it. First, most armies have tools and strategies to negate overwatch, meaning that the 5+ isn’t always as useful as it might be. Second, players like new stuff. And these new toys and buffs and abilities certainly qualify as new stuff. I think, at least for a time, the lure of the new will see many T’au players trying out some of these tenets.
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