Hi Folks! Rhys here. Today we’re taking another look at the T’au content in the fifth Psychic Awakening book, The Greater Good, in light of the FAQ document that Games Workshop released a few days back.
I’m going to write a couple of articles on this FAQ, and this first one will discuss two main points that GW didn’t address in this update. In the second article later this week, I’ll discuss the changes that GW did make.
I’ll begin with a general assessment. This updates leaves me with something of a sour taste in my mouth. I think GW missed the mark.
Now, I want to expand on that point briefly before I get into the meat of the issue. All things considered, I think GW is doing a great job with 40k at the moment. Be it the speed the of the new releases or the quality of the new models, this is a great time to be in the hobby.
Indeed, while I think that some criticism is warranted, I’m a glass-half-full kind of chap, and I think that, overall, GW does very well.
However, I would argue that they dropped the ball on this one.
Let’s start with a broad theme. GW didn’t address all of the issues that the community had with this book. This seems like quite a big oversight because the work is already half done. T’au players have been discussing and debating the ambiguities with some of these rules for a good few weeks, and GW has only addressed some of the players’ concerns. This could mean a variety of things, but I think that the most likely is either the development team was too busy to address everything or another team made the decision to exclude some of the feedback that they received.
And it’s that last point that I find most frustrating. GW must have seen this feedback, meaning that an individual or group of individuals made the decision to exclude it.
As a general rule, this is a sensible: not all of the feedback that GW receives will be relevant. But there are some glaring omissions in this FAQ, issues that are certainly relevant to the T’au faction, and someone must have made the choice to exclude them in this update.
So what did the FAQ not cover? There are two main oversights, and while eagle-eyed players have no doubt spotted more, I’ll just discuss these two for now.
First, T’au players have been asking if the change to the Master of War ability in the Farsight section of the book is applicable to the T’au codex as a whole.
A brief explanation for the non-T’au players: T’au Commanders can use an ability called Master of War once per game. It has two variants: Mont’ka and Kauyon. Mont’ka allows T’au units within 6″ of the Commander to move, advance, and shoot without penalty. It’s a very useful ability, but we’re interesting in Kauyon for the moment. Kauyon allows T’au units within 6″ of the Commander to re-roll failed hit rolls if they do not move. The key word in that sentence is ‘failed’. As re-rolls happen before modifiers, some rolls might not be eligible to be re-rolled, and yet will still count as missed shots once modifiers are applied.
The Farsight Master of War entry in The Greater Good changes the wording in a subtle fashion: units within 6″ of the Commander can re-roll hit rolls if they do not move. Notice the removal of the word ‘failed’. In this version of the rule, the T’au player can re-roll shots that would’ve been misses after the modifier was applied. Put simply, he can re-roll more dice.
In the context of the game at the moment, this would be a normal, expected change. Most re-roll abilities in the shooting phase allow players to re-roll all shots. It’s a sensible change to the rules.
But the FAQ didn’t address this problem. Why not? It would’ve been a simple addition to the document. It wouldn’t have taken much more work to include the few lines of text that would have the new wording of the rule apply to the T’au codex as a whole. And it’s certainly not the case that GW was unaware of the problem: the T’au community has been very vocal about this issue.
Why, then, did GW choose not to update the rule? It strikes me as quite strange.
Second, T’au players have been asking whether Shadowsun’s Master of War ability only applies to units that belong to the T’au Sept. The answer, put simply, is yes, but should it only apply to T’au Sept units? T’au players ask this question because, prior to the release of The Greater Good, players could only take Shadowsun in T’au Sept forces. Now, Shadowsun can lead any force.
But her Master of War ability is Sept-locked. Why, then, would anyone take her in a non-T’au detachment? The main draw of Shadowsun is that she can use her Kauyon Master of War ability twice per game — I actually don’t think she’s worth it even considering the double Kauyon, but that’s a different issue — but if she can only use Kauyon with T’au Sept units, why bother?
I’ll admit that GW could’ve assessed this issue and decided that Shadowsun’s Kauyon should be Sept-locked. And if this is the case, fair enough. However, it would’ve been great for GW to mention this in the FAQ. Anything that shows the community that GW is playing attention and listening to our concerns is a big plus, and I think this issue would’ve warranted a brief note in the document in order to address it one way or the other.
Of these two issues, I think the first is much more pressing. It would’ve been great if GW had made that change codex-wide, but, at least for the moment, the non-Enclaves T’au players out there will have to live with it.
But I want to end this article on a positive note. It’s very easy to get disheartened and frustrated when GW makes a misstep. But I would encourage players to remember that we are on the outside looking in. We’re not on the development team for these products. We don’t know what’s going on. A business is a large, cumbersome beast at the best of times, and a business that needs to keep a game as complex as 40k balanced and playable for everyone is yet more cumbersome. Put simply, getting this right is hard.
And Reece said it on Signals from the Frontline recently: we’re living through a golden age of the hobby. Overall, it’s a great time to play 40k right now. We can handle a misstep here and there.
And remember, Frontline Gaming sells gaming products at a discount, every day in their webcart!