It's time to look at the heart of the cadre around which you should build all your armies and most of your efforts, the Fire Warrior team. While not greatly changed on the surface, the fire warrior team's wargear and options have changed significantly and they have been catapulted to center stage in the Tau player's playbook rather than being relegated to hiding in a devilfish. While Son of Horus has been promoting them to me since before the new codex, I had consistently underestimated them due to my dice luck.
Statistically speaking, the fire warrior is unchanged. They have the same stats in all categories they did in the previous codex, but have dropped one point per model. By itself I would have said that was enough, but they also gained the Supporting Fire special rule and photon grenades. Photon grenades now grant the fire warriors the Stealth rule if they are being shot from within eight inches and deny assaulting units their bonus attacks (but not any other bonuses) from charging. That right there is a steal when you consider how the changes to rapid fire weapons improved their pulse rifles.
|Not just for pathfinders any more|
Speaking of EMP grenades, the fire warrior team may purchase these for two points per model. In the previous edition these were simply worse haywire grenades, now they are haywire grenades. The improvement to haywires means they can destroy a vehicle through weight of glances. Fire warriors now can always hit vehicles on a 3+, which means a full team should get eight hits on a vehicle, which means six and two-thirds hull points of damage to any vehicle. The amount of fire warriors in a squad means that their grenades are a legitimate threat to any walker that assaults them. If you want to be really courageous, or desperate, a team of carbine warriors can assault walkers with a decent chance of killing them. This may be the most improved option for fire warriors.
|Nothing says "I got your back, bro"|
like slicing each other open
The fire warrior shas'ui upgrade is essentially unchanged in its built in options. The shas'ui still offers a significant buff in leadership, an extra attack and access to options for the team. The improved options he has access to make him well worth the purchase. While the infantry armory has been removed, the most popular options have been retained: Markerlights with target lock, drones and bonding.
The markerlight and target lock have now been bundled together for your convenience for fifteen points. Since your fire warriors cannot benefit from their own markerlight(s), the target lock can be quite useful, but not necessary. The most significant change to this option is that the markerlight can benefit from any markerlight benefits your team uses. Effectively, this means that marker drones and/or shas'ui markerlights can put markerlight hits back into the pool on a target when your team fires at it. The target lock may not be a great option, but it allows your markerlight to "work ahead" of your other weapons if you are confident you can down your target with your current volley.
Fire warrior teams in themselves have been thoroughly examined and I hope you enjoyed thinking about them. Seeing teams of six in devilfish I believe will be a thing of the past, while seeing four or more teams on foot should be expected. I'll be looking at drones next time and the devilfish after that. I hope you learned, I know I have since getting this codex. More than that I hope you have found the errors in my article and would be kind enough to illuminate me about them. Until then,
I'm Underground Heretic and I like trains.