9E Tau Codex Review: Elites: XV9 Hazard Suit

Today we look at one of the Tau’s Forge World units, the Hazard team. Click to read on, or check out the Tactics Corner for more reviews and strategies.

Overview

The XV9 Hazard is essentially an upscaled version of the Crisis, with a profile to match- although in the context of the inflating statlines of 9E it looks rather sad. Movement 8″ is expected for the frame, as are weapon skill 5+ and ballistic skill 4+. Strength and toughness five are actually the same as a Crisis has, although it does come with four wounds. Three attacks, eight leadership, and 3+ armor round out the basic profile. At 60pts per model in squads of 1-3, Hazard Suits are not generally going to impress.

Special Rules and Wargear

Hazard Suits come with most of the expected suite of special rules- For the Greater Good allows them to fire overwatch in support of friendly units, Bonding Knife Ritual lets them ignore 6s on morale, and Manta Strike allows them to deploy into reserves.

Aside from those rules, Hazards also have Photon Casters, which force enemies charging them to subtract two from charge rolls- a handy tool, though not one that will stop more determined foes.

Each Hazard Suit comes armed with a pair of Twin Hazard Burst Cannons (18″ S5 AP0 Dmg1 Assault 8), giving them quite a large number of shots, though not with an impressive profile. Either or both can be swapped for a Phased Ion Gun (30″ S6 AP-1 Dmg1 Assault 4), or for 10pts extra upgraded to a Fusion Cascade (12″ S8 AP-4 DmgD6 Assault d3, +2dmg at half range.) Hazard Suits can also take one support system off of the normal list as well as up to two drones per model in the squad.

Uses

Hazard Suits, although nominally tougher than Crisis, no longer really can make that claim with any meaningful degree of truth to it; while the extra wound can carry them at times, it simply isn’t enough to actually make much of a difference anymore, especially not in a world of d3+3 damage weapons. The Hazard does still have some limited roles it can fill, however, which puts it a notch or three above most FW units.

The main attraction here, oddly enough, is the squad size- the ability to be taken as solo models with an innate reserve ability makes them fairly helpful in terms of being a relatively-cheap unit to come down someplace inconvenient. 65pts nets you sixteen S5 AP-1 shots, although admittedly with a middling ballistic skill and one one damage apiece- still, that can clear quite a few elves or even orks out of a position if needed , especially if you can provide some support from Markerlights or stratagems.

Of course, you could easily compare them to other units that fill a similar niche- Tactical Drones and Vespid Stingwings both have very similar capacities and similar (though not identical) weapon profiles, and can come in cheaper for a minimum squad. They also have smaller footprints than the Hazard, which is surprisingly bulky on its 60mm base; however, the disparity isn’t completely against the Hazard, as it has better defensive stats by a significant amount as well as superior offense against most statlines, so you are at least getting some value out of those extra points. There’s also the issue of slots- if you find your Fast Attack choices taken up already, or need to fill out some Elites, that can also be a significant consideration.

There also is something- though not a lot– to be said for the Fusion Cascade. An 80pt model that can drop in and put out four Melta shots isn’t completely worthless, although I think it is pretty easily inferior to the Burst loadout by virtue of a variety of factors; its shorter range, inability to get half range when arriving, and extreme unreliability (random shots, BS4+, S8, random damage) mean that while it most certainly can arrive and cause big problems for a vehicle, it is by no means guaranteed to do so, and in fact will fail more often than not.

You may be thinking- what about taking squads of more than one Hazard at a time? Couldn’t you do that? No. No, you cannot.

Final Thoughts

Although the Hazard has been sidelined pretty hard by its new rules, it at least still retains some semblance of usefulness for the time being- although I suspect that if and when a new book is released, it probably is going to fall completely off the radar as Crisis become Core units and it stops having any relevance.

As always, remember 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.

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