Hi folks. Rhys here with a final look at the T’au content from The Greater Good FAQ document.
Here’s the thing: an update to a recently released book shouldn’t warrant much writing about. And I’m starting to sound like a broken record — in fact, I definitely sound like a broken record — but Games Workshop really should’ve sorted these issues before release.
This is the question, then. Would we tolerate fewer releases per year if the quality were better? Honestly, I don’t think we would. In a sense, we’ve been spoiled over the past two or three years. Since Games Workshop’s latest CEO, Kevin Rountree, joined the company in 2015, GW has upped its game significantly. Remember when we didn’t have Warhammer Community? Most of us will, and this world is definitely better than that one.
In fact, many of you will remember bygone editions in which we would get two or three codex releases a year. Even if the reduction weren’t that severe, the community as whole is, I think, pretty happy with the release schedule that GW has adopted.
That is to say that, for the time being, this is the level of quality that GW is going for. Overall, it’s pretty high, but plenty of mistakes slip through the cracks.
Speaking of mistakes, let’s crack on with the last of the changes.
The Greater Good introduced a new prototype weapon, accelerated-photon grenades. It’s a cool upgrade to the standard photon grenade, preventing the target unit from advancing, halving its charge distance, and subtracting one from melee attacks if a hit is scored.
The FAQ poses the following question: ‘Do accelerated-photon grenades replace the model’s photon grenades?’ And this would be a reasonable question, if the original text didn’t already address it. On page 37 of the The Greater Good, under the flavor text for the weapon, the text reads: ‘Unit with photon grenades only. This Weapon System replaces each photon grenade that models in this unit are equipped with’. This seems pretty cut and dry to me. But the answer to the question that the FAQ poses prompts yet more questions: ‘No. The ability gained is in addition to the weapon (which can be fired normally).’
The text in The Greater Good was clear: accelerated-photon grenades replace the models normal photon grenades. This one puzzles me. It could certainly be the case that I have misread something in the original text from the book or the text from the FAQ, but I don’t think that I have. Why is GW clarifying something that wasn’t at all ambiguous in the first place?
And what’s more, why did GW choose to reverse the wording of the original weapon? The Greater Good was clear. The accelerated-photon grenade replaces the unit’s normal photon grenade. It seems to me like one of two things is true. Either GW didn’t read the original text in the The Greater Good when composing the FAQ document, or GW decided to change their original rule. Neither of these options make sense to me. If the designers had wanted accelerated-photon grenades to be used in addition to photon grenades, why point out in the book that units aren’t allowed to do so?
If I missed something here, do let me know. This one is baffling.
Next, we’re still on the subject of grenades, but this question is perfectly reasonable: ‘Are the hit roll modifiers from accelerated-photon grenades cumulative with those from photon grenades?’ The FAQ answers this question in the affirmative.
It’s this kind of clarification that we should expect from the an FAQ document such as this. The original book is ambiguous on the issue, so it’s perfectly reasonable for T’au players to expect a clarification.
The next item clarifies that the Farsight Sept ability Aggressive Footing confers a markerlight token on an enemy unit even if it doesn’t already have one — the text in The Greater Good simply states that Farsight units ‘treat that enemy unit as having one more markerlight counter than it actually has’.
I don’t see this as ambiguous, but, again, different people read texts in different ways, and clarity is always welcome.
However, there is a stratagem that does the exact same thing, Aerial Targeting. The FAQ document does not address this stratagem, even though there is the same potential for ambiguity.
As a brief tactical sidebar, Aerial Targeting one of the best T’au stratagems. To be able to drop a markerlight on any enemy unit on the battlefield without rolling to hit is extremely useful. I use it at least four turns out of six when I’m playing competitive 40k.
Next, the document clears up some wording around the Onagar Gauntlet and the Fusion Blades. In the original T’au codex, these weapons allowed to bearer to make only one attack and only two attacks respectively. The Greater Good allows these attacks to made in addition the models normal attacks. This is a good change, making the model wielding these weapons slightly more dangerous. Anything that improves combat T’au is a good thing in my book.
However, the FAQ document does restrict these improved versions of the weapon to Farsight Enclaves units only. While employing these new rules army-wide would’ve been cool, I’m not particularly fussed about this restriction. They’re unlikely to see use in competitive play anyway.
Next, another small change. Under the army-wide rules for the Farsight Enclaves, the FAQ document tightens up exactly which units can use the Farsight Sept trait: ‘All Farsight Enclaves units in Farsight Enclaves Detachments – that is, any Detachment that only includes Farsight Enclaves units – gain the Aggressive Footing ability’. Previously, the text said that all ‘Farsight Enclaves units in Codex: T’au Empire gain the Aggressive Footing ability’. There isn’t anything to say here that I haven’t already said. The original text was sloppy; the FAQ updates it.
We’re on to the penultimate change of the document, and this is another small clarification. This time, we’re looking at one of the best stratagems in the book, even if it’s only available to the Enclaves. The Veteran Cadre stratagem increased the BS and WS of Crisis Battlesuit units to 3+ and 4+ respectively. It has almost single-handedly made Crisis Suits a viable choice for the Enclaves, but more on that in another article. What does the FAQ change? Here’s the text: ‘Models in that unit (excluding Drones) have a Weapon Skill characteristic of 4+ and a Ballistic Skill characteristic of 3+.’ Well, dang. No more super dakka Drones.
For the non-T’au players, Crisis Suits units can take Drones in the same unit. The original wording didn’t exclude any potential Drones from the 3+ BS.
And while it would’ve been super cool to have Gun Drones hovering around the battlefield with four pulse carbine shots at 3+ BS, it does in fact make sense that only the Crisis Suits get the update. I mean, it’d be tricky for a Drone to become a veteran. A T’au operating system update can’t be that good.
And finally, the Seismic Fibrillator Node. The FAQ updates the wording, making its use clearer. The FAQ text: ‘Once per battle, at the start of your opponent’s turn, you can choose to activate this Relic. If you do, until the end of that turn, when a model starts or ends a move (excluding pile-in or consolidation moves) within 6″ of a model with this Relic, roll one D6: on a 1 that model’s unit suffers 1 mortal wound.’ The original version of this text didn’t include the ‘excluding pile-in or consolidation moves’ section. This is a sensible addition to the rule. But it’s one that shouldn’t have escaped play testing.
And that’s that, folks.
Here’s one final word on editorial quality. As much as I like having plenty content that is easy for me to write about in these articles, I would much prefer higher editorial standards at GW. But that’s not the world we live in. We live in a world of consistent, regular releases — most of which are brilliant — and occasionally the quality suffers.
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