It’s not a good time to be a T’au player. While I still love the faction, even the briefest glance at any win-rate data tells a pretty unfortunate tale.
But this fact is even more evident when we take a look at the coming 40k codex books. It would be a very reasonable assumption to presume that there are at least five codex books to be released before we even get a look in.
We can be sure of at least three books. The Adeptus Mechanicus, the Adepta Sororitas, and the Orks. These books — in this order — have been confirmed by official Games Workshop sources.
What’s more, on the fifth day of the recent Warhammer Fest Online, GW released a video that strongly hints that both the Grey Knights and the Thousand Sons are on the way as well.
As I say, it’s not a good time to be a T’au player. The faction isn’t good and there’s little hope for a new codex any time soon.
Before I get even more melodramatic, let’s take a step back. GW knows that some factions are really struggling with 9th edition. The design team is no doubt aware that the T’au and Genestealer Cults lack the fundamental tools required to compete in the current meta with the current ruleset.
These guys and gals may not love 40k as much you, dear reader, or me or Reece or Pablo, but they, to one extent or another, know what is going on with the game that they make their living designing.
Now, I don’t want to let them off completely. It was clear to the 9th edition playtesters that the T’au was entirely unequipped to deal with the new edition, and this feedback would’ve been known to the design team.
Indeed, if you’re a fan of Tabletop Titans over on YouTube, you’ll very possibly have heard Brian Pullen — arguably the best T’au player throughout 8th edition — talk about his experience playtesting T’au for 9th edition.
Simply put, Pullen made it very clear to his contacts at GW that the T’au was going to struggle in 9th edition, and, of course, he was entirely correct to do so.
It’s fair to say, then, that the design team knew that certain factions were going to struggle.
However, I want to be fair here. Anyone who has been involved in game design will know that when a new edition of a game is released, it is absolutely inevitable that some factions do well and some factions do poorly. This is simply the nature of the beast. It is, I would argue, unavoidable.
The designers knew that certain factions were going to struggle, but the new edition had to be released by a certain date, and no process is perfect. The T’au simply got the short end of the stick.
Let’s return to the issue of release order. Factions that are performing very well in 9th — Admech and Sisters, for example — are due to get new books very soon, and factions that are languishing at the bottom of the pile must continue to wait.
But here’s the thing. Faction power has virtually no effect on release order.
I don’t know exactly how long GW takes to release a codex. I’ve heard a wide variety of timelines, most of which could be plausible, but something like six months to a year sounds about right.
Of course, new codex books should coincide with new models, which adds another factor to consider. The time between the designing a new model and the release of that model is certainly more than a year.
Whatever the specifics, we can safely assume that GW can’t respond to shifts in the meta particularly quickly.
What does this mean for the factions that are struggling at the moment? Well, it’s not good news. You’re going to have to wait. And that’s the long and short of it.
We humans are an imperfect bunch, and we tend to emphasise negatives over positives. I’ve seen a lot of chat in two or three different places online that is very despondent about the faction. Of course, a few posts here and there don’t necessarily speak to the mood of the T’au community as a whole. I’ve certainly seen some positives comments as well.
But, broadly speaking, there is a fair bit of negativity. And I completely understand why some T’au players would feel this way. Playing T’au at the moment can be rough. And while the keenest blades are forged in the hottest fire, there’s only so much that most players can take before they start to get frustrated.
What’s the solution? Well, if you only play one faction — like I do — then there isn’t one. In fact, that’s not entirely accurate. If you only play one faction, you can start another faction.
This isn’t particularly practical advice for a lot of players though. 40k is a reasonably expensive hobby, and even if buying enough new models to get started with a new faction isn’t a problem, the time it takes to build and paint these models usually is.
That’s one of the things with Warhammer. Most people who play the game have some disposable income with which they can purchase new models. Indeed, money isn’t the most valuable resource when it comes to playing 40k. The most valuable resource is time.
It takes time to start a new faction and build up your collection to, say, 1,500 points or 2,000 points. And many people who play 40k can’t — or don’t want to — invest that time into a new army.
I said it last week in a different context, and I’ll repeat myself here:
This too shall pass.
Everyone will get their codex. The meta will shift. This faction will fall from grace. That faction will rise to the top. The world keeps on spinning.
The T’au codex had better be really good though.
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