With the end of the edition closing in on us, I figure I’d empty out my box of ideas that will otherwise never see the light of day. Click to read on, or check out the Tactics Corner for more reviews and strategies.
Like anyone who delves into game design, from time to time I am struck by ideas that my brain forces me to write down. Some of these turn into articles, like the many I’ve written here. Some simply sit around waiting for a good time to get posted, and some never find it. So before GW brings down the hammer and sends 8th Edition into oblivion, here are some of the ideas I’ve had stewing around. I’ll throw in a bit of commentary on them as well as the basic text for the unit; obviously things like keywords and whatnot are missing, but you can probably figure out which ones would be warranted.
Lady Aurelia Malys
Mv7″ WS2+ BS2+ S3 T3 W6 A4 Ld9 Sv4+
Lady Malys is a single model armed with the Lady’s Blade and a Splinter Pistol. Only one of this model may be included in your army.
The Lady’s Blade Rng- S+2 AP-3 DmgD3 When the bearer makes their attacks during the fight phase, they can make two additional attacks with this weapon. However, if one or more of those attacks rolls result in a ‘1’, the bearer suffers a mortal wound. Increase the damage value of this weapon to 3 when attacking a model with the Daemon keyword.
Power from Pain, Shadowfield
Crystal Heart: Lady Malys is immune to the effects of all psychic powers.
Twisted Mind: If Lady Malys is your warlord, your opponents cannot gain command points while she is on the battlefield or embarked on a transport on the battlefield.
Poisoned Whispers: If your army is battleforged and contains Lady Malys, you can add +1 to all rolls to determine table sides or first turn.
Overlord: Reroll all hit rolls of ‘1’ for friendly Kabal of the Poisoned Heart units within 6″ of Lady Malys.
For those of you who remember back to 5th Edition, Lady Malys was once an actual character in the Drukhari (or Dark Eldar, at the time) codex. She was a rival to Vect and one of the few archons who could reputedly keep up with his scheming, although her statline at the time was a bit bland. However, she did have an interesting gimmick in that she had received a “gift” from some sort of warp entity- implied in the text to be the Laughing God- that rendered her immune to all psychic power as well as having near-prescient insight into what her foes would do. I wanted to represent her cunning and unique abilities in a way that would give Poisoned Heart kabals an interesting way to build, hence the interactions with first-turn choices.
Commander Puretide PL9 (195pts)
Mv6″ WS3+ BS2+ S5 T5 W7 A4 Ld9 Sv4+
Commander Puretide is a single model armed with a Plasma Rifle, Missile Pod, Multitracker, and Shield Generator. Only one of this unit may be included in your army.
For the Greater Good, Manta Strike, Master of War
Way of the Warrior: At the start of each of your turns, you can choose one Tau Empire unit (other than a Kroot or Vespid) within 6″ of Commander Puretide and declare either a Hunt or an Ambush. If you choose Hunt, when the chosen unit advances, it rolls two dice rather than one when adding to its movement value. It also ignores all penalties to hit with shooting attacks this turn. If you choose Ambush, if the chosen unit remains stationary in its movement phase it can reroll failed wound rolls this turn.
Warsage: When Commander Puretide uses his Master of War ability, it affects all friendly Tau Empire units on the battlefield, other than Kroot and Vespid.
The game is including so many other ultra-famous characters from the histories, I figured why not try out one for the Tau? I gave him a bit worse stats than “modern” commanders and their battlesuits because unlike other races, Tau actually change and upgrade their tech, but his real value is obviously in supporting nearby units with his abilities. Ambush might need to be toned down a bit, since it effectively is letting you double up on Command/Control Node every turn and that could be pretty brutal.
Mv7″ WS2+ BS3+ S4 S3 W5 A4 Ld9 Sv5+
Anghkor Prok is a single model armed with a Kroot Rifle and the Blade of Union. Only one of this unit can be included in your army.
Blade of Union Rng- S+1 AP-1 Dmg2 If one or more enemy models are slain by this weapon in the fight phase, friendly Kroot units within 6″of the bearer do not have to take morale tests in the ensuing morale phase.
Wisest of Their Kind: Friendly Kroot units within 6″ of Anghkor Prok can use his Leadership instead of their own when making morale tests.
Master Shaper: Reroll all failed wound rolls for friendly Kroot units within 6″ of Anghkor Prok.
Trusted Ally: Kroot units included in an army with Anghkor Prok gain the <Sept> keyword and will benefit from any Sept abilities appropriate to their detachment.
Anghkor Prok was actually another model with old rules from 4th edition, which have unfortunately since been obviated. As the uniter of all Kroot beneath the benevolent hand of the Tau (or the ultimate bootlicker, depending on how you view things) Prok is mostly just a basic Shaper but with a few upgrades. Rerolling all wounds gives him the ability to make Kroot actually maybe dangerous to things, and letting them use Sept traits opens up some unique build options to do weird stuff.
FULGRIM THE ILLUMINATOR PL21 (410pts)
M* WS2+ BS2+ S8 T7 W16 A* Ld10 Sv2+
Fulgrim the Illuminator is a single model armed with the Sundering Blade, Reapoing Blade, Culling Blade, and Blinding Blade. Only one of this model can be included in your army.
9-16 18″ A6 -2
5-8 14″ A5 -1
1-4 10″ A4 -0
Sundering Blade melee Str x2 AP-4 Dmg4
Reaping Blade melee – – – Each successful hit causes one mortal wound
Culling Blade melee Str+0 AP-2 Dmg1 Make three hit rolls for each attack with this weapon
Blinding Blade melee Str+0 AP-2 Dmg2 If this weapon slays a model, enemies must subtract one when rolling to hit Fulgrim until the end of the next turn.
Death to the False Emperor (p.??)
Quicksilver Reflexes: Fulgrim has a 4+ invulnerable save.
Deadly Allure: Enemy units within 6″ of Fulgrim must roll 2d6 and get lower than their Leadership if they wish to Fall Back. Additionally, all enemies within 12″ of Fulgrim suffer a penalty to their Leadership as shown on his Remaining Wounds chart, above.
Primarch of the Emperor’s Children: You can reroll hit rolls of ‘1’ for friendly Emperor’s Children units within 6″ of Fulgrim as well as wound rolls using a sonic weapon (Sonic Blaster, Blastmaster, Doom Siren) with such units.
Fulgrim the Illuminator can attempt to manifest two psychic powers in each friendly Psychic phase, and attempt to deny two psychic powers in each enemy Psychic phase. He knows the Smite psychic power and three psychic powers chosen from the Slaanesh discipline (p.???).
We don’t have a Fulgrim yet, and that makes me sad. We probably will eventually, but this was my take on what he might be like if we ever do. Four cool swords for four distinct purposes in combat lets him do all sorts of weird stuff in combat against different targets. Angron would be next, presumably, but he’s difficult to make interesting because of the nature of Khorne, so I hadn’t come up with any thoughts there.
Earth Caste Attache
Mv5″ WS6+ BS5+ S3 S3 W3 A1 Ld7 Sv4+
An Earth Caste Attache is a single model armed with a Drone Controller.
Technical Advisor: When a unit of DX-4 Technical Drones uses their Repair Protocols, they can reroll any of the dice to do so if an Earth Caste Attache is within 3″ of the unit.
Strength of the Earth: Anytime a Fortification within 3″ of one or more Earth Caste Attaches would lose a wound, roll a d6; on a 5+, that wound is not lost.
Battlefield Repairs: An Earth Caste Attache can, instead of shooting, choose to try and repair a friendly Battlesuit, Vehicle, or Fortification within 3″. Roll a d6; on a 3+, one damaged model in the unit regains d3 wounds.
Water Caste Attache
Mv6″ WS6+ BS5+ S3 S3 W3 A1 Ld8 Sv5+
A Water Caste Attache is a single model equipped with a Shield Generator.
Political Adviser: All Kroot and Vespid units add +1 to their leadership while there is at least one friendly Water Caste Attache on the battlefield.
Flow Like Water: When one of your units within 6″ of a Water Caste Attache chooses to fall back, it may still Advance as part of that movement.
Diplomatic Credentials: Whenever your opponent spends one or more command points while at least one Water Caste Attache is on the battlefield, roll a d6; on a 6, they must spend one additional command point. (If they cannot, there is no effect.) This ability does not affect command points spent before the first battle round begins.
Air Caste Attache
Mv8″ WS6+ BS4+ S3 S3 W3 A1 Ld7 Sv5+
An Air Caste Attache is a single model equipped with a Pulse Pistol.
Fleet Advisor: At the beginning of your shooting phase if you have one or more Air Caste Advisors on the battlefield, choose an enemy unit in line of sight of one of them. All friendly Tau Empire models with the Flyer battlefield role add +1 to hit when attacking that target.
Swiftness of Air: Units with the Fly keyword that start their movement phase within 6″ of one or more friendly Air Caste Attaches add +1″ to their movement characteristic for the duration of the phase.
Strafing Run: Once per battle, if an Air Caste Attache did not move during your movement phase, they can call for a strafing run instead of shooting with any of their weapons during the shooting phase. Choose two points on the battlefield no more than 7″ apart and draw an imaginary line between them; for each unit that falls under that line, roll a d6. On a 4+, that unit suffers d3 mortal wounds. You cannot call more than one strafing run in a single phase.
Currently only two of the five Tau castes have “real” representations on the tabletop, unless you count the various Flyers for the Air Caste, since they in theory operate them. I wanted to see what it would look like to put together assistants from the other castes that might act as advisors for a Tau invasion or planetary defense, using their unique skills to aid in the battle where they could. We know that it’s not uncommon for the castes to work together in fights like this, but so far there’s no good way to represent it.
The Earth Caste was pretty simple- they do repairs and work with emplacements. I gave them a small bonus to work with Technical Drones, which seemed to make sense. Their abilities to aid fortifications don’t save those units from being garbage, sadly, but the text is there none the less.
Air Caste wasn’t too difficult, either, since there is a good example in the form of the Fleet Advisor in IG. I mostly took the template from him, with a few small tweaks.
Water Caste was the hardest, because what they do is so distant from the game we play that it can only really work on a very conceptual level. The Diplomatic Credentials ability had a ton of different versions which variously let you temporarily stop a close combat, prevented a stratagem from targeting your units, altered the mechanics for the roll to go first, and many other ideas that never quite panned out right. I settled on the command point tax as being useful but not overwhelming, but I’m still not particularly happy with it.
With the closing of this edition fast upon us, are there any units you’re sad we didn’t get to see, or options that didn’t make it in this time around? Homebrew units you have always wanted to put out there, or named characters of your own that hold a special place in your heart? This is the last hurrah before 9th, so get all of that out of your system now before things get overturned again.
As always, remember that you can get your wargaming supplies at great discounts every day from the Frontline Gaming store, whether you’re looking to start a new army or expand an existing one. (Hint: they will also probably have the new edition for preorder as well.)