Thursday, August 9, 2012

Coming Back from the Brink pt. 2: S.W.A.G

Greetings Gentlereaders,

As was kindly pointed out to me in my last article the tau armories received an overhaul that made  the greatest least and some of the least some of the greatest.  I'll be discussing the infantry and battlesuit wargear armories separately from the vehicle armory as there are items with the same name that function differently between the two armories.  You may find some errors in this, if so please point them out, no matter whether they are objective errors (e.g. 2 + 2 = 5) or subjective errors you believe exist (i.e. you disagree with my conclusion and are willing to defend your opinion).  I will be discussing the Special Issue wargear later, as it is both able to offer new tricks and is limited in its availability.  So without further ado...

Infantry and Battlesuit Armories (note: hardwired items do not consume a hardpoint)

Targeting Array - Adds +1 to the model's ballistic skill, but consumes a hardpoint.  This does not effect shas'os, shas'els to go up to BS 5, and all other models go up to BS 4.  For battlesuits that you feel must hit, I can see this being viable, though not as valuable if you are also twin-linking a weapon.  I would not recommend this on a Fire Warrior shas'ui as it does not benefit you as much as another having another body would for the same price.

Target Lock - lol!  I guess some play testers thought T'au would be overpowered if they could still split fire, so they took this away from the T'au.  I'm not sure why they FAQed it as they did, but that was the choice they made.

Multi-tracker - allows the model to fire two weapons simultaneously.  This is the bread and butter of most T'au crisis suits as it allows the suit to bring more firepower and fire it all at once.  I can't say I've ever seen it used on a fire warrior shas'ui or stealth suit as it would only allow the team  leader to fire their weapon and a markerlight in the same turn.  Since these models can't have networked markerlights, I can't see it as being that great an idea, though it would allow any subsequent units a better chance to kill the marked target.

Blacksun Filter - grants the model the night vision rule.  Night vision says that a unit with one model that has the rule, has the rule for all models.  Also, you ignore night fighting when shooting.  This was a sleeper item at the end of fifth edition.  If I had the points I would put this on my broadside team leaders because I wanted to have an answer if I played against night fighting necrons.  Now I would recommend it on the team leaders of all suit teams and possibly on fire warrior shas'ui if I was expecting to fight a horde army with flak or worse armor.

Drone Controller - allows and requires the model to purchase one or two of the following drones in any combination.  Drones take on the unit type of their controller and die if the controller dies, so it pays to be judicious with your purchases and placement on models.  Great for its price, can be hardwired and allows for some shenanigans.

Shield drone - Here is the greatest of the drones for its simplicity and utility.  It takes on the save and toughness of its owner and has a shield generator in addition to it, for less than the cost of a shield gen.  If you take this on a fire warrior shas'ui you really aren't getting much out of it, especially when you compare it to the drone you get from crisis suits and broadsides.  Because of the changes to wound allocation you be sure that your drones will do their job of dying before your team leader.  If there is a wound that has the requisite stats to instant kill your team leader you can use Look Out, Sir! to attempt to have the drone dive in front of the shot for your team leader if the team leader is in front, while having the leader soak up smaller shots first.  The safer course is to have the drones in front of the leader (or solo broadside) and force the opponent to kill both drones before the leader can be harmed.

Gun drone - This is one of the peices of wargear that is depenable and respectable if not outstanding.  For the price of a fire warrior you can add what is effectively a slightly better fire warrior with a pulse carbine to any unit.  If you are very desperate for anti-air fire, the twin-linking of the drone makes it better than a non twin linked weapon, but the power is very underwhelming for anti-air fire.

Marker drone - I would call this drone overrated if anyone desired them.  The price tag is massive, even if it can be the only mobile markerlight outlet besides the skyray.  It is a networked markerlight, and can buff its controlling unit, but for its mediocre reliability, the price is too high for me.  The benefits of markerlights are undeniable, but getting two drones for the cost of five pathfinders is a poor trade off in my opinion.

Bonding Knife - This allows the unit to test to regroup at standard leadership as long as the bearer is alive. I discussed the utility of this upgrade for fire warriors in my last post.  As suit teams are smaller in model count (unless each suit takes two drones) than fire warrior teams, the amount of models that would be saved by the regroup test would be less, though the value of those models would be greater.  Take to taste.

Shield Generator - This is an iron halo that consumes a hardpoint and is available to battlesuits only.  It is an expensive way to provide a save against shots that deny suit armor saves, not only in that it is as expensive as a plasma rifle, but also because it decreases the possible firepower of the unit it is protecting

EMP Grenades - These grenades are similar to the haywire grenade, but inflict no damage on a two or a three.  These are only available to fire warriors and can either be taken by the shas'ui or by the entire team.  I would not recommend these as they cannot be thrown and assaulting a vehicle means that your T'au guns have failed and it is a sad day indeed.

Photon Grenades - Defensive grenades for fire warriors.  They help you if you get charged, by making it more, however slightly, likely that you will win a close combat.  This is not a good thing.  I would never recommend taking these.

Vehicle Armory

Targeting Array - same as the infantry version.  I would recommend buying it for fusion piranhas and it comes on hammerheads for free.  Enhances only the burst cannon on devilfish unless you buy smart missiles, but on any other vehicle I would say this is requisite wargear.  The ease with which piranhas will die means they must kill their target in one shot or they have failed.  In 5th they did not need to kill anything, but now they cannot move block effectively against infantry and will be killed by same.  Skyrays will be better with better ballistic skill, but still horrid for their slot until they gain skyfire. 

Target Lock -  oddly this did not get removed.  It's quite simple, in that it allows each weapon on the vehicle to target independently, but it is not massively useful outside of the hammerhead.  The devilfish has weapons that are highly similar.   The piranha may benefit if it can find targets for its gun drones (though I view those as contesting units rather than weapons).  The hammerhead can divide its fire between anti-heavy tank and anti-infantry, but is primarily an anti-infantry platform, though it does benefit most from the target lock.  The skyray is sadly underwhelming in its low weapons payload and reliance on multiple rolls to hit to utilize its mediocre (for T'au) anti-tank capability.

Multi-tracker - this allows the vehicle to fire as if it were a fast vehicle.  Somewhat less effective as snap shots allow vehicles to fire more weapons more frequently, but it does allow a hammerhead to fire at full ballistic skill when moving six inches and possibly all weapons at full when moving twelve.  No longer required, but still a beneficial trinket for its points.

Blacksun Filter - see the infantry section for the rules.  The some vehicles will not have a reason to purchase this (e.g. piranha and devilfish) as thier weapons only reach into the 12"-24" band of night fighting and are not low ap weapons.  The hammerhead and skyray should purchase this if you expect to be night fighting because their anti-vehicle capabilities are high quality and low volume, so any cover save negates a higher proportion of your output.  Is it great, no, but neither is it exspensive. 

Seeker Missile - A poor man's hunter killer missile, which is a poor man's krak missile.  To use these you need to have markerlights in your list, they have to hit, and then you need to spend a markerlight and roll again to hit , admittedly at ballistic skill five.  I personally hate this because it is very similar to hunter killer missile, for the same price, that requires more hoops to jump through for no good reason.  The upside is that another unit can request one of these missiles fired by using a markerlight, regardless of line of sight.

Sensor Spines - Essentially a siege shield.  Not a bad investment, however I've found that avoiding terrain is usually simple and reaching the range you need for most vehicles is not difficult.  This would be a better investment on devilfish if fire warriors could not fire at full range while moving, but now that this is no longer the case, the devilfish and therefore the sensor spines that shine most on it are less useful.

Flechette Discharger - Assaulting vehicles in fifth edition was not a winning gambit as you might need sixes to hit the vehicle.  This upgrade made attacking vehicles dangerous for infantry that had a poor armor save, as it wounds any model directing its attacks at the vehicle on a four or more.  Marines with their better armor made the wound less threatening, but it was only ever meant to be a slight deterrent.  Is it a good upgrade, I don't believe so.  However I will say that it will see more use if you buy it as vehicles are now much more susceptible to assaults and will probably be assaulted more often.

Disruption Pod - This was THE vehicle upgrade for Tau vehicles in fifth edition, as it essentially gives smoke if the shooter is firing from more than 12" away.  This still happens, though the effectiveness of both the disruption pod and smoke launcher has decreased.  The pod has now been relegated to defense against alpha strikes because of the new jink save.  Jink allows any moving skimmer to receive the same save as one that has a disruption pod simply for having moved.  If you are worried about not going first with a mechanized Tau army, this is a good upgrade.  If not, just keep mobile and you have a point blank range disruption pod.

Okay, so if you've read this far you deserve your reward.  Next time we'll be looking at the basics of what makes Tau Tau: guns.  There will be more wargear to cover, but those are not widely available and thus not Stuff We All Get.  I am glad and thankfull that anyone would be willing to listen to me rant and rave over plastic dollies on the internet.

I'm Underground Heretic and I have to live with that every day.

1 comment:

  1. Target Lock for infantry have been added back in, and Disruption Pods now grans Shroud, so your cover save becomes 2 better.