Hey folks. Today I’m going to take an in-depth look at the improvements to Crisis Suits that the fifth Psychic Awakening book, The Greater Good, provided for the T’au.
This article won’t be an in-depth look at Crisis Suits in general, however. For some excellent analysis on this classic T’au unit, I’d recommend checking out the Crisis Suit review article here on Frontline. A lot of the analysis there still stands up in the current meta, so I’d definitely recommend it if you’re interested.
Moreover, for brevity’s sake, I’m going to presume that the reader has at least a little knowledge of how the T’au work on the battlefield. I won’t, for example, go into how Markerlights function in this article. If you’d like to get up to speed, I’d highly recommend Goonhammer’s in-depth T’au Empire tactica.
Over the past few years, most competitive T’au players have overlooked XV8 Crisis Suits — and for good reason. In a T’au meta that was dominated by Riptides and Commanders, Crisis Suits really struggled to make an impact.
There are a handful of reasons for this, but I would argue that one is most important: mediocre ballistic skill. Hitting on 4s can be very tough for an army that relies on shooting output to do the business, and other powerful T’au units that hit on 4s offer T’au players other strengths that Crisis Suits simply did not offer. The Riptide, for example, gives T’au players many different options outside of its shooting output — indeed, I think that the Riptide is best thought of as a defensive asset, but more on that in another article.
A few months back, I wrote about the T’au points updates in Chapter Approved 2019. In that article, I mentioned the points updates in CA 2018, and I did so because of one important comparison: Crisis Suits were reduced in points in both CA 2018 and CA 2019. In CA 2018, Crisis Suits were reduced from 42 to 27; in CA 2019, Crisis Suits were reduced from 27 to 24.
However, neither of these points reductions made the unit playable.
Indeed, it was the intrinsic aspect of the unit itself that I mention above that made it so unpalatable.
But The Greater Good has changed the game. I’ve mentioned in previous articles that I think that the Farsight Enclaves will be the T’au army to beat in the coming months. In essence, competitive T’au lists will go from triptide juggernauts to strike-and-fade Commander spam — but all T’au lists can now benefit from a squad of Crisis Suits. Yes, the Enclaves is the way to do it, but The Greater Good provides T’au players with tools to make this classic unit effective regardless.
How does it do so? It provides players with two stratagems that mitigate the unit’s average ballistic skill: aerial targeting and coordinated engagement.
Aerial targeting is a brilliant stratagem. For the cost of one command point, the T’au player may choose one enemy unit anywhere on the battlefield. For the remainder of the shooting phase, any units in the T’au player’s army that shoot at the chosen enemy count the number of Markerlight counters as one more than it is. A unit with two counters counts as having three, a unit without any counters counts as having one, and so on. It’s a clutch stratagem. I would usually use it at least four turns out of six. It goes a long way to solving the Markerlight conundrum for T’au.
For one command point, then, the T’au player can go some of the way to mitigating the Crisis Suits’ average ballistic skill. It’s not much, but it’s a lot better than nothing. But this stratagem has army-wide benefits; it can improve the performance of any unit in a T’au force.
But the other stratagem that I mention above really does the business for XV8s specifically.
Coordinated engagement allows the T’au player to, again, choose one enemy unit anywhere on the battlefield. The T’au player also chooses one of his Crisis Suit units. When shooting at the chosen enemy unit, the nominated Crisis team takes the benefit of five Markerlight counters. Now we’re really cooking with gas. Going from hitting on 4s to hitting on 3s and re-rolling 1s is absolutely brilliant. This stratagem makes the unit so much more effective.
I’m going to discuss the best weapons on take on Crisis Suits later, but for now lets turn to the Farsight Enclaves. This is where the magic happens.
The Enclaves have a bunch of cool rules that make them a very strong faction at the moment, but the one about which we’re concerning ourselves is another stratagem, veteran cadre. For the cost of one command point for a one-to-three-man unit or two command points for a four-to-nine-man unit, this stratagem allows a Crisis Suit unit to increase its weapon skill to 4+ and increase its ballistic skill to 3+. Enclaves players use his stratagem before the game begins, and its effects last for the entire game.
Paying two command points to allow a big unit of Crisis Suits to hit on 3s for the entire game is an absolute steal.
With one rule we’ve mitigated the unit’s biggest problem — this alone makes Crisis Suits playable again. But we can also of course employ the coordinated engagement stratagem that I mention above to turn this unit into an absolute deathstar.
One of the ways to make Primaris Marines absolutely deadly is to take their already accurate firepower and add re-rolls. Most players know just how effective a Primaris unit can be in the current meta with all of the abilities that Space Marines players have to increase their accuracy.
The Greater Good now gives these abilities to Crisis Suits.
If a Farsight Enclaves player takes a unit of Crisis Suits, he will almost certainly take the veteran cadre stratagem before the game begins in order to increase the unit’s ballistic skill from 4+ to 3+. He can now pay a further two command points to have this unit hit on 2s and re-roll 1s in the shooting phase. And just for good measure, the full stack of Markerlights that the coordinated engagement stratagem grants also allows the unit to ignore cover and move and shoot without penalty.
So we now have the tools to make Crisis Suits super accurate. The Enclaves have the best tools, but the regular Joes in the Empire have strong tools nonetheless.
I want to finish by taking a look at the weapons with which T’au players can arm their XV8s. I won’t go into detail here — again, see the piece that I linked in the beginning of this article — but I do want to highlight two absolutely killer ways of arming XV8s now we can rely on them shooting straight.
First, let’s take a look at the cyclic ion blaster. This weapon has been a staple on T’au Commanders for a good few years, and it’s easy to see why. It’s an absolute powerhouse.
One Crisis Suit armed with three cyclic ion blasters shoots nine shots at 18″. Immediately we can see how valuable the improvements are: weight of fire is usually inaccurate, but not so with Crisis Suits anymore. Of the 9 shots, T’au players could reasonably rely on 8 hits — and that would be a conservative estimate.
Three Crisis Suits, then, could easily yield 24 hits. If the T’au player chooses to overcharge, he’ll have 24 strength 8, AP-1, D3 damage hits. This is getting into unit-destroying territory, and that’s with only three Crisis Suits. We could easily double this output at the cost of one more command point and three more XV8s — the veteran cadre stratagem costs one command point for a three-man unit and two command points for a six-man unit.
When the tournament scene gets going again, I think we’re going to see Crisis Suits armed as above be taken as a supremely effective deepstrike bomb. Keep an eye on Richard Siegler‘s lists. I can well imagine that a player of his caliber will take something that looks like this.
Second, with the new custom Sept traits we’re seeing many more missile pods hit the table, and while the Enclaves aren’t able to take advantage of the hardened warhead trait, there still plenty of reason to outfit Crisis Suits with three missile pods.
Three Crisis Suits each armed with three missile pods could easily yield a full house of hits with the stratagems I’ve mentioned. 18 missile pod hits is nothing to sniff at. With strength 7, AP-1, and D3 damage, missile pods are a very effective tool in the T’au arsenal. Moreover, with a range of 36″, T’au players could handily run a Crisis team as a backfield pseudo-artillery unit while taking advantage of their newly acquired accuracy.
In terms of points, three XV8s each armed with three cyclic ion blasters runs to 234 points. Three XV8s each armed with three missile pods runs to 207 points.
With the upgrades that The Greater Good has provided, I think both of these units are an absolute steal.
Crisis Suits are back — and it’s going to be great to see this classic T’au unit get some play again. They’ve been out in the cold for far too long.
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