This is the first in a series about identifying and playing alien allies with your Tau Cadre, and in this post we are going to focus on the Kroot.
I had heard that there was to be a Tau supplement in August or September, and before I found out that it would be Farsight, I was hoping that it would have rules for the alien contingents from the various spheres of the empire's expansion. These aliens are mentioned in various rulebooks from both Forgeworld and Games Workshop, so none of this is made up... erm, well at least not made up by me.
This notion of an alien codex has been further fueled by rumors from way back January or so that someone had seen a large Kroot monster, and that there were also models in play testing for both a Kroothawk and Vespid Spinewings. Then more recently a Kroot Supplement plus one more Tau Empire book was predicted for next year. All this talk has the gamer community (particularly Tau players) in a twitter...
Aside from my poor little Templars Army (which only started because of the human battlesuit (dreadnought) in the AoBR box), I am a die hard Xenos player with a major for Tau and Kroot. Heck, I even have a warm spot for the six-eyed spikey bug men. Anyway, those rumors made me very happy, and as great as our new codex is or can be, I was rather disappointed when it came out. Not only was there no Kroot cc monster, but the previously pathetic cc abilities of my beloved Kroot Carnivores were nerfed somewhat further away from the savagery expressed in the Kroot fluff. That is not to say that they aren't useful in new and attractive ways, but they're certainly no longer what they were.
Most people only used ever them as anti-assault "Kroot-loops" for broadsides or other vital assets as it was. But there were a few of us who actually had the cajones to take on that flying shit-storm of Eldar farseers and warlocks on their little jetbikes with huge units of Kroot and their hounds. We wanted what little cc they had and longed for more. I remember a tag from another blog a while back that I really liked, "I power game -with Kroot!"
At any rate, Kroot Carnivores should be at least a little tougher than a standard guardsman. And losing the extra attack hurt my little Kroots' feelings. I'd rather have seen a new Kroot unit with these sniper-lite abilities added to the codex (call them, I dunno, hunters?). Then maybe improve the toughness and/or strength of the existing carnivores and everyone would be happy. Heck, they could have even kept the point price the same or upped it one and I would have still been ecstatic.
But that is not to be, at least not for now, so let's move on.
The core question of this particular post is "How can I power game -with Kroot?" (yes, I borrowed that line).
And the answer is, that depends on your local gaming group (at least for now). There are several solutions that come to mind:
- Get consent from your opponent to use the fan-developed Kroot codex
- Get consent from your opponent to use the old Kroot Mercenaries data sheet
- Model and play them as Tau (or something else). Simply model Tau weapons on them and use Tau codex rules or play your Kroot models "counts as," like Eldar Oogla, or d'Orkies, or whatever floats your boat.
- Start with a Tau HQ, and use Kroot Carnivore, Shaper, Hound, and Ox models in all your troops FOC slots. Then fill your other slots with Forgeworld Knarloc herds and Greater Knarlocs as appropriate -this option is not as fun or effective as others, and you will never win with it, but it does get your Kroot models onto the table so it works in a pinch.
The Kroot Codex
A while back, Andy Hoare and Lachlan Abrahams developed a Kroot Codex. The units were similar to those listed in the Kroot mercenary rules for Apocalypse games, with a few extra bits to add capability and survivability as well as fill out the FOC. It was a cool thing, and while not officially sanctioned, it was fun and could still be used to break monotony --in a pinch. Also had some beautiful models pictured...
In fact, that's what I liked best, some of the model conversions those guys came up with to fill that codex were quite brilliant. The shaper (far) above has a chainsword (called an eviscerator in the Kroot Codex) and this one is a master shaper. But my favorite in the Kroot Shaman below.
I won't rehash that codex here, but it was fun. The group I play with now is a little more intense and most want noting to do with playing a fun game anymore... for some reason it's become all about winning and winning by codex, not necessarily cunning and strategy. Gets a little old to me, but whatever. You can find that codex here.
Way, way back in 2007 GW allowed Kroot armies in Apocalypse games via Forgeworld books, specifically the quintessential Imperial Armour: Apocalypse and Imperial Armour: Taros Campaign volumes. There was even a specific data sheet for Kroot Mercenaries. I do not have my own copy of those books, but I found a copy of the Kroot Mercenaries data sheet here.
I have not yet seen anything that invalidates this, but then I haven't been looking. Since the most recent Apocalypse book doesn't seem to include it, I am sure it is obsolete, maybe someone out there can enlighten me? Whatever the case, I don't think you would get too much guff when asking to play a friendly game with these guys as long as you have a Tau codex (so everyone can see the regular Kroot stats) and a copy of the Kroot Mercenaries datasheet. If anything they would be silly not to play against you (as they would most likely win). But oh, the glory of fielding an all Kroot army...
A "Counts As" Kroot Army
Another way to play your Kroot (or whatever) is to use them as a "counts as" army and make them an allied detachment. I like using Eldar because they are battle brothers with Tau.
My Master Shaper becomes an Autarch, my Shaman a Farseer, and my Shapers become Warlocks. My Eldar Oogla army (named after the Kaezon Oogla from Star Trek Voyager -and the word ugly) is not too extensive, but I have included a possible FOC list a little further below.
Here are some possible Kroot "counts as" Eldar ideas...
♦ Kroot Master Shaper (Farseer) ♦ Angkhor Prok (Eldrad) ♦ Kroot Shapers (Warlocks)
(If you model any of these on lesser gnarlocs they can be counts as jetbikes)
♦ Kroot "abomination" conversion (Avatar)
♦ Vulturekind (swooping hawks)
♦ Stalkers (with multiple genestealer arms) (warp spiders)
♦ Lesser Knarloc riders (jetbikes)
♦ Hunters (Pathfinders)
♦ Carnivores (Guardians)
♦ KrootOx (Eldar Artillery) ♦ Greater Gnarlocs (War walkers) ♦ Lizardmen Ripperdactyls with Kroot Riders (Vypers or aircraft) (c'mon, admit it, these things look kroot-like)
Only problem is that it gets confusing if you have regular Kroot units in your Tau force and you use an allied detachment of Eldar Oogla. Too many Kroot to keep up with. I do not use this method because 1) the hounds do not really work, as anything Eldar-ish --though the KrootOx does work well as embedded artillery for guardians, and 2) I have another all-alien allied detachment that uses Eldar rules but no Kroot or Vespids -but more on that in a later atricle.
Kroot Stuffed Tau
Your last option is to use a Tau Codex cadre and stuff Kroot units into Every FOC slot you can. Currently there is no HQ or Elites FOC units for Kroot, but there are Kroot units for Fast Attack (knarloc herds), Heavy Support (greater knarlocs), and Troops (Carnivores, shapers, hounds, ox, and baggage herd greater knarlocs).
I think this type of Kroot army would probably suck most. It forces you to replace three of your Tau strengths with much inferior Kroot units (fire warriors replaced by carnivores, pathfinders replaced by lesser knarlocs, and hammerheads and broadsides replaced by greater Knarlocs). yay!
Now, rumor has it that a new supplement is coming in Q1 2014 for Tau. Obviously, no one but GW knows what that supplement will be (or even if it will be, for that matter) but it gives me great hope. I can see every FOC slot filled with Kroot units (wish-listing).
- Kroot Master Shaper (from the datasheet)
- Character Angkhor Prok.(from his own datasheet)
- The cc monster in the rumors
- Headhunters (from the datasheet)
- Knarloc Riders from Forgeworld
- Kroothawks or Vulturekind (from the datasheet)
- Stalkers (from the datasheet)
- Forgeworld's Greater Knarlocs with large Kroot guns
- KrootOx in units of their own.
- Carnivores (4th edition Tau codex Kroot rules)
- Snipers.(current Kroot rules)
- Transport beast? (from playtesting rumors)
I think if you want to build an all-Kroot army, then sticking with the units listed on the data sheet is the best of these options. They have the credibility of GW/FW sanctioned rules, and they retain the true flavor of a truly Kroot force (yuck, can you imagine the flavor of Kroot?).
For now, my little Kroot minions remain on a shelf in my display case. I look at them lovingly from time to time, remember the times we had together, and sigh. I think Kroot bring a maniacal twist to the otherwise stoic and regimented Tau. I really like them and I just know there has to be a better way to play them.
I hope this predicted supplement is actually forthcoming. But for now it is all wishlisting and daydreaming. Most of it is based in GW precedent, and rumors from a reliable site, but until we actually see it, it is indeed speculation and fantasy. But hey, that's the game we all play, so why not? Go ahead, indulge yourself.
Last pic, for your indulgence. This is a Kroot warlord on a heavily converted Balrog model. Back when I was building my Kroot army I was digging around the interwebs for conversion ideas. I am not sure where I found this, but when I find it again I will update this post to give credit where credit is due (click on it to enlarge).
Just remember, GW may make the models and write the rules, but it's your army, so go crazy!
I play Tau (and sometimes Kroot).
29 July, 2013