Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Coming Back From the Brink, pt.8: Tanks a Lot!

Greetings Gentlereaders!

Today we'll dive into the motor pool of the Tau Empire and see what gold we can separate from te dross.  I'm not sure how much comparison there can be between Tau vehicles and non-Tau vehicles as far as points-efficiency is concerned as I've not heard of a good way to understand GW's way of writing units, but I'll do the best I can.  This will end up another multiparter, but I try not to write anything not worth reading and hope we can all learn something from this series.  On with the show!

First we need to look into out weapons selection.  I can't label the weapons as I did with the battlesuit weapons as most of these are available to most vehicles and have varying points costs from vehicle to vehicle.  I should have covered vehicle wargear in its own post, but you can find my comments on the FAQ 1.0 vehicle wargear here.  Let me explain what I mean when I say that a vehicle has "primary" and "secondary" weapons. Primary weapons are either turret or nose mounted, secondary weapons are always at the front of the vehicles on nacelles in circular housings.

Burst Cannon - This is just like the battlesuit version and is available on all vehicles.  Heavy support tanks can take two of these as a secondary weapon.  Piranhas and devilfish have this as their default primary weapon.

Fusion Blaster - Only available on the piranha and is exactly like the battlesuit version.  Not the multimelta that marine speeders get, but at least it's on a fast skimmer.  It's quite a cheap upgrade.

Smart Missile System (SMS) - Just like the broadside version, but works much better on the tanks.  Available as a secondary weapon to all vehicles except piranhas.

Gun Drones - Two gun drones that can detach if needed and become a two drone squadron exactly as if they were purchased from the fast attack section.  Not a horrible option, but it is the same price for the hammerhead and skyray as the SMS.

Seeker Missile - This is a hunter-killer missile that requires a markerlight hit to fire.  The skyray has an array of six as its primary weapon.  All vehicles can purchase up to two for a fixed price.

(Hammerhead) Railgun - Same stats as the broadside weapon, but trades the twin-linking for the ability to fire a strength six armor penetration four large blast at the same range.  It's the price of a Templar rhino, but it's generally the only blast Tau armies brought in fifth and it's a railgun.

Ion Cannon - This is a three shot, sixty inch range, armor penetration three autocannon.  Only available on the hammerhead, this is rarely seen, though it is forty points cheaper than the railgun.

The Tau Empire's motorpool has a modular design similar to the Imperium's with all vehicles except the piranha being a bits swap from a single chassis.  The devilfish is a dedicated transport for fire warriors and pathfinders, piranha are fast attack, while the hammerhead and skyray are in competition in the heavy support.  None of these vehicles come at a low base cost, though most have few upgrade costs.  Next time I'll look into the piranha and see if one of the most lightly armored vehicles in 40k can endure or even shine in the change from fifth to sixth.

I'm Underground Heretic and I get to live with that everyday.


  1. The Ion Cannon may be a better way to get PA kills than suits, if not for the fact that it's fighting broadsides for a slot. Maybe they'll "Executioner" this in the new codex...

  2. I still wouldn't take an Ion cannon, not until it's profile changes. Maybe it will become the Battle cannon shot of next codex. Tau could use a few more large blasts.

    But I'd say always take at least 1 devil fish, and 1 hammerhead when possible, the 3++ cover save on the HH as it fires from back field is great, and 2++ on DF when it flat outs to cover other units is the new fish of furry.

    1. Well I've learned something today. I had misread the Jink rule and thought the flat out bonus only extended to fast skimmers. I'm glad I had ninety points free in the list I was building.

      The Ion cannon math is in pt. 10, next tuesday, so I'll leave it to then. As far as hammerheads vs broadsides, my mantra for Tau has been 'different tools for different purposes.' The broads are excellent at killing vehicles in one shot, the hammerhead has a more flexible role, not the best way to kill either infantry or tanks, but good at both.