Peculiar Points Reductions

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.

And remember, Frontline Gaming sells gaming products at a discount, every day in their webcart!

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About Rhys Jenkins

Software developer, T'au player.

9 Responses to “Peculiar Points Reductions”

  1. Avatar
    Yarium June 7, 2021 5:56 am #

    GW wants the newer codexes to shine. Some codex creep is built in because change keeps things fresh. Why risk usurping a new codex by changing an old one? Besides, they likely ARE busy testing the new codexes for these factions. Testing for two codexes for the same faction simultaneously? Waste of resources. As a GSC player, this makes me upset that I am a GSC player, even if I can rationalize this. At least I’m spending this time getting a lot better at playing the game. Once I get a new codex that they HAVE put work into creeping up I will be unstoppable. Until then, I’m a punching bag.

    The 1 pt change to Riptides? Yeah, that’s literally just for easier record keeping. Not sure at what point they flip this switch, but they seem fine with non-standard pricing for items below a certain threshold, and above that threshold they try to at least do increments of 5.

  2. Avatar
    Rob Butcher June 8, 2021 7:33 am #

    have you seen the new Codex ? NO

    have you spoken to the playtesters ? NO

    have they seen the printed Codex ? No

    Has there been a single BIG tournament in the past fifteen months ? NO

    Did Tau win Nova 2019 and GWGT 2020 (two of the last three big events) without a strong Codex ? YES

    Did Orks win GWGT without a Codex ? YES

    Do we know when the Tau Codex is coming ? NO Which container it’s in off the west coast of USA or in the Suez Canal ? NO

    IT’s time to give Tau a break and write an article about something that matters. Maybe the direction of the new Gaunt’s Ghosts. A command squad for W40K and a great KillTeam all in a box.

    • Reecius
      Reecius June 8, 2021 9:10 am #

      Rob, why don’t you write an article? You have a lot of opinions, let’s see what you got.

      • Avatar
        Gunum June 8, 2021 10:34 am #

        Yeah! More content for the content mines!

      • Avatar
        AndyArticle June 8, 2021 12:42 pm #

        At least if Rob did, I wouldn’t have to read his comments on every tabletop website.

        (I promised I wouldn’t bite, but here we are)

      • Avatar
        Jace June 9, 2021 3:42 am #

        Do you really just take submissions?

        • Reecius
          Reecius June 9, 2021 6:34 am #

          Yes, if they’re well written and topical we are happy to showcase new writers.

  3. Avatar
    Shas'o June 8, 2021 9:43 am #

    Thank you for these Tau articles. Many times I see Tau as the brunt of jokes or viewed with disdain. I started with Tau as my first army 4 years ago and really enjoy playing them and the design of the models. These articles keep me going with little insights and background on the army. The wins in 2019 were primarily because of an extremely skilled player and drone spam in my opinion. Drone spam has been pointed out of existence now. Also back then the Tau were playing against old codexes. As new codexes are released the old Tau can’t hold a candle to them very well. Orks have had two codex releases since the Tau book if I remember right.

    Thank you again for writing positive things about Tau.

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