Games Workshop must really dislike T’au. Right? Well, no. I think that the chances of the head honchos at GW holding distinct and sincere animus toward any one faction in particular are very low.
Of course, the people in charge of rules writing and codex releases are just that, people, which means that each individual holds all sorts strange and peculiar biases and beliefs about the game that means so much to so many people. We know that this is true because it applies to everyone.
However, GW sometimes does a really good job of seeming as though the T’au aren’t really a priority at all.
What do I mean by this? I think I could sum up my point with the following fact: in Chapter Approved 2021, the Riptide decreased in cost by one point.
Such a paltry decrease in cost really feels like a slap in the face for many T’au players, and I myself really don’t know what to think about it. There is one potentially upside, which I’ll discuss later in this article.
Everyone and their dog knows that the T’au is struggling in 9th edition. The playtesters pointed it out during testing for 9th, but, seemingly, GW wasn’t interesting in making any changes to the faction to keep it competitive.
What’s more, the briefest glance at win rate data will reveal that the T’au is right down at the bottom of the pile — or, if not at the very bottom, pretty close to it.
And while there have been two or three respectable results for T’au players at tournaments, all things considered, the faction is really struggling.
And that, simply put, is why this latest CA release feels so unjust. GW often take the opportunity that CA affords to give poorly performing factions a shot in the arm. While points reductions can seldom do enough to fix a subpar datasheet, they are nonetheless welcome. We know that the faction needs a complete rewrite, but taking ten percent off the cost of handful of key units would’ve been very well received.
Instead, what did we get? The base cost of the Riptide reduced by one point; the cost of a Shield Generator decreased by five points; and the cost of XV9 Hazard Battlesuits decreased by five points.
The Riptide change simply feels as though GW wanted to bring the model down to a multiple of ten. The model was 261 points without weapons or Support Systems. It is now 260 points without weapons or Support Systems.
In theory, this wouldn’t bother me at all. 260 is an easier figure to work with than 261. Let’s put aside the fact that most people build army lists with apps that automatically calculate the cost of their models. Multiples of ten are nice and easy to work with.
But in the context of T’au in 9th edition, I can certainly understand why T’au players would find this a little irritating. GW found the time to take one point off the model, but they couldn’t find the time to drop it down to, say, 250 or 240.
Yes, the change to the Riptide is strange, but what about those Shield Generators? Crisis Suits and Stealth Suits now save five points on their 4+ invulnerable save, which, to be fair, is something. It’s not going to change the game, but it’s something.
Competitive T’au lists include a Farsight Enclaves Crisis Suit bomb, at least one of which will be equipped with a Shield Generator, so that’s five points saved. In fact, let’s go ahead and call it ten points: a couple of those Suits will likely take a Shield Generator.
So that’s fine. It’s okay. It’s not great. It’s not terrible. It’s a small points drop to a unit that most competitive T’au players are taking at the moment. It’s a small step in the right direction.
But that’s the thing. It’s a small step. Small steps don’t really cut the mustard at the moment.
And what about those XV9 Hazard Suits? A five point decrease is certainly welcome, but these Battlesuits must now pay for the Support Systems that they previously could take for free. If, for example, a T’au player were to take an Advanced Targeting System on an XV9, the actual cost of the model wouldn’t change.
In fact, the model is now slightly more expensive if the T’au player takes a more expensive Support System. Go figure.
Earlier in this article I mentioned a potential upside to these peculiar points adjustments. Here’s my not-so-hot take: very little changed in this update because the next T’au codex will be released soon.
While I have virtually no evidence to support this claim, it’s at least plausible. The Sisters codex will be released next week, and we know that the Orks will be soon after that. It’s not beyond the realms that both the Grey Knights and the Thousand Sons are released in July, which puts us at early August.
GW has stepped it up in the past few weeks. The codex books are starting to be released at a solid pace, and the T’au book has to come out eventually.
Again, I’ve got no supporting evidence for this. I’m simply hoping against hope that we’ll get something soon.
This CA really gave us nothing at all of substance, and there’s no doubt that GW knows that the T’au needs some attention. If we have a codex just around the corner, why would GW give us points that will very soon be out of date?
Whatever the case, we’ll soon find out which codex books will follow the Grey Knights and the Thousand Sons. With any luck, the paltry offering from CA 2021 indicates that a codex isn’t too far off.
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