As the 9th edition meta continues to evolve, we T’au players have very few reasons to be cheerful. We knew from the beginning of the edition that the T’au were going to have a tough time until the release of the codex, but I don’t know if many player’s would have predicted just how difficult 9th edition is for the faction.
A few days ago, Games Workshop released an article on the Warhammer Community page that discusses the current state of the meta. The chaps from the excellent 40k Stats Centre podcast, Val Heffelfinger and Peter ‘the Falcon’ Colosimo, wrote the piece, and it’s definitely worth a look if you haven’t checked it out already.
That said, it makes grim reading for T’au players.
Unsurprisingly, we’re way down at the bottom of the table when it comes to faction rankings with a win percentage of just below 43 percent. As a comparison, Salamanders and Harlequins, the factions in first and second place in this particular ranking, have win percentages of 59 and 60 percent respectively. The factions on this table are ranked by TiWP — Tournaments in Winning Position — not win percentage, but win percentages still provide a pretty good idea of how the factions are doing, of course.
While I don’t want this article to be a downer, there’s not a whole lot to be cheerful about at the moment.
With that in mind, let’s continue to think about how the faction could change in the coming codex. Last week, I discussed what clues the T’au content in the new Imperial Armour book might hold for the future. I spent quite a bit of time on what new stratagems might look like, as well as how the Sept tenet system could change, but in this article I want to take a look at something more basic.
GW really needs to address the faction’s problem with infantry. And to be fair, it is a tricky one to solve. Not every faction in the game can have access to big, chonky lads in cutting-edge power armour. While I would very much enjoy the T’au equivalent of an Intercessor, or indeed a Heavy Intercessor, we’re unlikely to get anything quite like that in the Troops slot.
Of course, Crisis Suits are broadly comparable to Heavy Intercessors — I’m not saying that they compare favourably, but there are definitely some similarities. But while parts of the stat-line are similar, Crisis Suits perform a fundamentally different role to Heavy Intercessors.
Crisis Suits do not take the obsec rule; Heavy Intercessors do. And the obsec rule is one of the most powerful in the game.
In fact, it’s this fact that makes Stealth Suits far less valuable than Intercessors. Again, the stat-line is broadly similar, but Space Marines players take Intercessors in the Troop slot; T’au players take Stealth Suits in the Elite slot. Again, Stealth Suits don’t have the obsec rule.
We have units with similar stat-lines, then, but where it really counts, our Battlesuits don’t do what we need them to do in the context of a discussion about infantry.
What’s the solution? Could we move Crisis Suits to the Troop slot? It’s not such an unlikely idea. In fact, Farsight Enclaves players could do just that a few years ago. Indeed, I wouldn’t be surprised if GW went back to this idea in the form of a custom Sept tenet. This would mean that the T’au player would have to give up something valuable in order to take Crisis Suits in the Troop slot, but I wouldn’t say that it’s completely out of the picture.
And what about Stealth Suits? Could we move these sneaky Battlesuits into the Troop slot? While this idea is unlikely, it’s not entirely outside the realms of possibility. GW hasn’t done it before, but it would be an interesting option.
However, I think it’s more likely that we get something new. First things first, GW is a company that sells models. Anything that prompts players to purchase new kits will have some play. Of course, we T’au players haven’t had any new units in a good while, so I’m sure we’ll snap up whatever new models and units come with the codex, but I do think that something interesting in the Troops slot might be a yet more lucrative idea.
Here’s what I think would be a cool: a new dedicated transport. Don’t get me wrong. The Devilfish is a classic, a workhorse. But I think we might see something smaller and faster that transports fewer models. I think that we could see the T’au equivalent of the Venom or the Starweaver.
It would be a touch bigger than the Piranha, and with any luck it would have a couple of decent guns on it. It would have a transport capacity of no more than six, and it would have a very respectable Movement characteristic. I think we could do without the Drones — we have enough vehicles with Drone ports. I’d like to see a new design that incorporates the aesthetic of the faction but takes us somewhere new. Of course, we would need to come up with a suitably nautical-style name.
Plenty of T’au players have frustrations with the Devilfish, and I’m certainly one of them. It has its place, but for me the Devilfish doesn’t quite cut the mustard. Granted, most of the army doesn’t quite cut the mustard, but you know what I mean.
Would such a transport solve our issues with taking a holding objectives? Honestly, I think that it would go a long way. Our Fire Warriors would still be fragile, but it would give them ablative Wounds and the ability to get up the board quickly, which is one of our key problems at the moment.
Many players — both T’au players and otherwise — want to see a T’au army that is mobile and quick. I’m not saying that we should be as quick as the Aeldari, but we should at least have a bit of speed. At the moment, the reliably quick units that are worth taking are the bigger Battlesuits, and we know how everyone feels about the Riptide. It’s a great unit, but we would like other T’au units to be worth taking as well.
Are we likely to get a new transport when the codex is released? I have no idea. I have heard absolutely no rumours whatsoever about the 9th edition T’au codex. All that we have is speculation.
There are a couple of kits in the range that desperately need redoing. The Vespid kit is probably the main contender here. That sculpt is not great. And what’s more, it’s a Finecast, which means that working with it is a chore.
I’d really like to see a new Kroot kit as well. The Kroot models themselves aren’t too bad, and the kit is plastic, but there’s lots of scope to do more with the unit, so I would imagine that the Kroot will get a look in.
But all things considered, the range looks decent. With any luck, this means that we’ll get some shiny new kits. A small, zippy little transport with some dakka is, I would argue, just what the doctor ordered.
It goes without saying, of course, that the faction needs a lot more than a cool new transport, but when we’re talking about the T’au problem with objectives in 9th edition, I can’t help but glance enviously at the Drukhari and Harlequins ranges. Both the Venom and the Starweaver are excellent choices — granted, the Venom is a touch too expensive, but let’s put that to one side for now — that give Drukhari and Harlequins players options to which T’au players have very little access. Piranhas are similar, but without any obsec infantry inside, the Piranha isn’t nearly as useful as these vehicles.
Would such an option make T’au too similar to Aeldari armies? I wouldn’t imagine so. We don’t hold a candle to Harlequins at the moment, and one new transports won’t change that, and with the upcoming release of the new Drukhari codex, I’m sure that Archons across the Webway will have all manner of new and interesting skills and abilities.
Let’s have a new transport, then. Nautical-themed names on a postcard.
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