7th Edition Tau:

May 31, 2014 ·


Hello all.

I am going to be discussing a few of the changes to Warhammer 40k with the arrival of 7th edition, and what they mean for Tau players.

Hu Jin Tau touched on some of these, but I'd like to examine them in a bit closer detail. The short answer, is that things have changed, but we are still in the fight, with some new tricks too.


The Bad

Let's start with the bad. Tau no longer have ANY Battle Brothers, outside of other Tau detachments or Farsight Enclaves. We can still ally with everyone, but nothing like in 6th. Seems those other races decided we weren't all that friendly after all. No matter, they will all join the Empire eventually.

Jink has been altered. This is both good and bad for us Tau. The new rule, I believe, was intended to nerf Waveserpent spam by, at the very least, taking away their offensive capabilities when benefiting from crazy cover saves. While this puts a little bit of a handicap on Eldar transport firepower, it cripples the already mediocre Tau battle tanks. Skyrays need those markerlights to make their missile salvos effective, but if they have to jink to stay on the board before the enemy flier comes on, then they might as well be terrain. Hammerheads will not be able to use their weapons' large blast profiles if they jink, taking away one of the only things they had going for them.
"But... Markerlights!" You might say. Markerlight sources are expensive and hard to keep on the table. Hammerheads already needed markerlight support to be effective, but now they need more? And they still won't be able to use their Blast profiles?
No. From now on, our Skyrays and Hammerheads will have to act like a regular Astra Militarum tanks, but with less dakka and less armour. If you take them at all, that is.

Speaking of vehicles, they are harder to destroy. Tau's calling card used to be killing vehicles that nobody else could. Our long range AP1 weapons are expensive, but at least they had good odds of destroying what they hit, now they don't even have that.  Similarly, Tau won't be able to abuse this new damage table like other armies that have AV14 vehicles (which is just about everyone). Tau players won't be taking as many Skyrays and Hammerheads as they used to, so the Devilfish is really the only thing that wins on this one, and it was relying on its Jink save to stay alive anyways.
In addition, Skyrays are now drastically less effective. They can't destroy fliers or vehicles with one missile, so they'll have to rely on volume of fire to glance vehicles to death. Since they have a limit of 6 shots, they are not built for volume of fire and you'll be lucky if you can down a single flyer with the Skyray. At this point, suits with Velocity Trackers are the only way to get rid of enemy air support (outside of our own Fliers). 

Psychic phase. We have no psykers, so this is essentially a free phase for other armies to use force multipliers or shoot us with psychic bullets. The only saving grace is that it's a little harder for regular psykers to get powers off (armies built around the psychic phase are another matter, and are also OP). Perils are scarier for psykers, but your opponent doesn't have to worry about us denying the witch with our own psykers, so he won't throw as many dice in order to avoid Perils. Yay...
Still, in the words of CoffeeGrunt: "The best Deny the Witch measure is a Pulse Round to the face"

Charge range through cover is a flat 2D6 -2 inches. Not a huge change, but before you were likely to lose 3 or 4 inches. Many of the units in our codex ignored difficult terrain on the charge anyways, so this is a small buff for other armies and, conversely, bad for us.

Sniper weapons no longer actually Rend so our Kroot and SDT's will be less useful against enemy vehicles.

And last but certainly one of the worst: Independant Characters cannot join a unit containing a Monstrous Creature. No more attaching Support'O's to Riptides and wreaking havoc on everything in sight. It was fun while it lasted, but I guess we can give them this one. The exception would be O'vesa, who is an Independant Character himself, and he would be the one joining other units instead of the other way around.

The Good

Now, on to the Good, as we should never dwell on the negative. The future is bright and Tau are the only ones to get us there.

Photon Grenades have changed. Now they have a thrown blast profile, so even our BS3 firewarriors have good odds of hitting their target. This blast wont hurt anything, but it Does force a Blind check. Unfortunately, Blind checks now only occur once per phase, but that one failed initiative check is going to hurt tremendously. Much more useful than Stealth under 8" imho.

Devilfishes. Our battle tanks may have suffered at the hands of 7th edition, but our transport is looking much better. Realistically, 6th edition was the beginning of the end for the Warfish, but 7th is the nail in the coffin. Our transport is speedier and tougher than a Chimera, and it also gets a DPod buffed Jink save! These will be tough to take down, and they are...

Scoring! Devilfishes can now claim objectives and hold it against anything but an enemy Troop choice. Granted, a dedicated Land Raider will be even tougher, but we can take 3 Devilfishes for the price of one Landraider, and our vehicles are faster. Watch out for those zippy Eldar. We may be a bit quicker than Astra Militarum, but that doesn't mean we are actually Fast. Devilfishes will be back in style, and maybe with Carbine Firewarriors too (forcing a Pinning check AND a Blind check? Yes please)

Barracudas are a bit better, as their burst cannons ignore the new and improved Jink save, and they will be sitting pretty on a 2+ Jink save if you give them DPods. The Barracuda was my favorite before (though I haven't played with one) and now it is looking better and better in 7th. It is a shame that it can't use it's overcharged Ion Cannon if it Jinks though.

XV-9 Hazards with Fusion Cascades are a bit better now. Still not cost effective, but since they already relied on a higher rate of fire than Fusion Blasters, the new edition is kinder to them. Oh, and XV-9's have Photon Casters, so they can try and blind low initiative armies too!

Flamers can now hurt passengers in Open-topped vehicles. Our transports aren't Open-topped (except for Piranhas carrying drones) so our Firewarriors are safe. The fun will be when you drop some Soul Cleanse-D's next to an Ork Trukk and roast them inside it.

What Does it All Mean?
  • This means it's business as usual. Mass firepower is still the name of our game.
  • Tau will have to have good Alpha Strikes to set the pace early and keep those psykers under control. So you may not be reserving as many units as you used to.
  • Devilfishes will be popular again, and they will make your opponent furious as they run around snagging objectives while enjoying a 3+ cover save on top of a universal buff to 7th edition vehicles. 
  • Hammerheads will become even rarer (Longstrike will almost cease to exist) and maybe Skyrays too.
  • The occasional Blind will be hilarious when your opponent's hyper assault unit suddenly can't even hit a Firewarrior in close combat.
  • Tau seem to have been hit with the Nerf bat overall, but not that hard. We are still strong, and now we can freely use tactics to our advantage without feeling sorry for our opponent because we are "OP". 
  • Long range anti-tank firepower is no longer an option for Tau. It used to be our thing, but now we can't do it effectively. We are going to need to play smarter and be prepared to get our hands dirty. This isn't the end, it just means that we need to work on our "close" game, which Tau are pretty good at anyways.
  • I also expect to see more Enclave players. Crisis suits are now even more important than ever, and FSE is the only way to get them onto the board in sufficient numbers.
  • And finally, some things just don't change...
    Check out more of Sebastian's stuff at eastern-empire.com
Let us know what things you are looking forward to trying that you wouldn't have done in 6th edition! And how you are going to keep those transports on the other side of the board where they belong.

16 comments:

Trentat Hawat said...
May 31, 2014 at 5:10 PM  

Anti-air is even worse than you thought.

Taking Velocity Tracker means that ALL of your shots at ground targets are Snap Shots.

Interceptor no longer allows normal BS against ground targets.

There is no point to taking Velocity Tracker any more.

You're better off just spamming missile pod shots at flyers and hoping for 6's.

Furstenburg said...
June 1, 2014 at 11:48 PM  

Just a couple of things I noticed here. Jet pack units took a bit of an assault nerf, we now don't use our jet packs when charging and suffer difficult terrain. The book says you use your her packs if you don't charge...

Secondly devilfish can hold objectives against troops. If bought as a dedicated transport for a troop choice they become a troop choice themselves

Furstenburg said...
June 2, 2014 at 12:10 AM  

I also think Farsight enclaves allies is going to be essential. It makes or crisis suits troops and allows us to take our only psychic dfence , the talisman of moloch, which now acts like a psychic hood with +2 DTW within 12"

It also allies us to take a tide with ECA which I'm going to be trying out with burst cannon and velocity tracker to see how it deals with flyers. This setup to a bit of a nerf though as you could give it tank hunter before. But still being tending with 12 shots it should still be effective

TheGraveMind said...
June 2, 2014 at 8:05 AM  

I disagree with the grenade part. The cover save was great against units shooting before assaulting or rapid firing as it covers most of the range.

With blind, we have to be that close to throw it, and not be in combat. Id rather either completly kill the unit or run away. If it wasn't blast it would be good as you could over watch with it.
Everything else is pretty spot on though.

Skyrays improved a little I think. Before, they had to be moving to get their jink, which meant they were snapfiring all but one weapon anyways. Now they can stay stationary to fire, and still gain a jink save.

Gargoyleking said...
June 2, 2014 at 4:31 PM  

So, Piranha's are fast moving open-topped 'transports' that can drop off a pair of gun drones. Does that mean that the Drones can charge in the turn they come out?

I'm thinking Piranha swarm dropping some drones off as a Pathfinder squad drops a blinding grenade on some orks. The drones may not be up to the task as a single squad, but 5 squads of two shooting and then charging in as the slow orks are seeing stars might give them a chance to whittle them down a bit and hold them off for an extra turn.

But maybe I'm not reading things right? Or would this just be a poor idea?

Skyler Hoeft said...
June 3, 2014 at 7:01 AM  

Good catch on the Jetpacks. I'll be sure to watch out for that when I consider assaulting with my suits.

The Talisman does give us a decent DTW, but it won't work against Blessings or Summonings, and those are the only powers that really scare me.
The crisis suit troops is a crazy Win but I think that super-scoring Devilfishes are even crazier.
I too am looking forward to fielding an ECPA Riptide with a HBC.

As for the grenades, it is a matter of preference I guess. Overall I think the Stealth within 8" (but only if you don't GTG) wasn't very useful against assault units that likely wouldn't shoot at all in order to keep the charge distance as short as possible. Blind won't be overly useful either, but it could be fun.

Anonymous said...
June 5, 2014 at 4:08 PM  

The barracuda is so much better with a possible 2+ jinx save! while it denies all jinx saves to the enemy. It also has that impressive ion cannon, with the large blast. Problem is that it is a forge world model. Either forge world updates the stats to put it in line with 7th edition, or good luck finding someone who will play with you. Forge world kind of did this to themselves by giving their models uber stats that ruin the game.

Anonymous said...
June 5, 2014 at 4:11 PM  

The barracuda is so much better with a possible 2+ jinx save! while it denies all jinx saves to the enemy. It also has that impressive ion cannon, with the large blast. Problem is that it is a forge world model. Either forge world updates the stats to put it in line with 7th edition, or good luck finding someone who will play with you. Forge world kind of did this to themselves by giving their models uber stats that ruin the game.

Enigma Crysis said...
June 6, 2014 at 1:36 PM  

Really the Barracuda has uber stats that ruin the game? What are you smoking? The Barracuda is perfectly in line for what an Air Superiority Fighter should be doing. Most Forgeworld models are under powered for what they do. Also way to try and Troll as a lot of places allow Forgeworld.

Anonymous said...
June 8, 2014 at 1:02 PM  

Enigma Crysis, I was not trolling, but giving my opinion. At least I support my opinion with facts and data. It is not enough to justify your opinion by just stating that is perfectly in line with what a air superiority fighter should be doing. Why is that, I ask, is that perfectly fine? If you think a 2+ jinx save is perfectly fine while denying all cover saves to your opponents is perfectly fine! I must ask what you are smoking. There has to be a balance to the game. There are now 8 stats out there for the barracuda printed in 8 different forge world books. Nobody knows which one of the 8 should be used. On top of that, I don't think it was the original intention of forge world to give it a 2+ jinx save! but that is what happened when you put it in 7th edition context. The problem is that forge world is slow to put up faq's, and update it to 7th edition. That is why the barracuda is unbalanced. The same could be said with all other forge world fighters when compared to the 7th edition codex fighters.

Skyler Hoeft said...
June 9, 2014 at 5:45 AM  

FYI, only the Barracuda's Burst Cannons ignore cover from jink saves. Still awesome, since jink saves are so much better nowadays. It is an excellent fighter, unfortunately it is a solid brick of Resin, which makes it darn expensive in $.

It is a shame that 7th edition made no attempt to silence the Forgeworld boycott that still exists in places. Though if TO's don't want Forgeworld, having a note in the BRB that it is legal wouldn't really change their minds.

Anonymous, you could always dare people to play you with forgeworld. Tau forgeworld is so underpowered I doubt they'd have problems playing against it after they played it once.

Anonymous said...
June 9, 2014 at 10:55 AM  

The current rule set to use for Tau Forgeworld vehicles, etc... is the Taros Campaign, 2nd edition. They have not faq'ed this book for use with the 7th Ed rules.

Enigma Crysis said...
June 12, 2014 at 8:58 PM  

Why would the lack of an FAQ/Errata prevent anyone from playung IA:3? Look at the 7th edition FAQ/Erratas for the Tau Codex. Has anything major changed from the 6th edition FAQ/Errata? Has anything major changed for how Tau work in 7th Edition outside of the psychic phasd? No, then you can use IA:3 perfectly without one.

Anonymous said...
January 13, 2015 at 9:38 AM  

I love the idea of using forgeworld items, but I never do because of the permission thing. Whether OP or not... Your opponent blames the uber Forgeworld model for the loss or shares stories of how he won the day against the OP Wallet warrior fielding Forgeworld models.

Anonymous said...
February 4, 2015 at 5:07 PM  

A few things confuse me about the review and some of the comments.
1: Why is the railgun suddenly bad at popping tanks? It's AP1, so gets +2 to the roll on the vehicle damage table on penetrating hits.
2: Velocity Trackers. They don't give you permanent Sky Fire, but lets you choose whether to have it or not, each time you shoot, see Codex: Tau Empire, p. 69.
3: Interceptor. All it does is let you take a shot against something that arrives from reserves, provided it's in range and LoS.
4: You cannot in fact use markerlights to boost your BS on snapshots, because of the way different modifiers are added together. Effects that set your BS at a certain number are added last, so however many markerlight hits you add to a unit's BS, it still gets set to 1 if snapshooting.

jewelfox said...
June 11, 2015 at 11:19 AM  

The last anon pointed out some of the things I was thinking of, that the OP and other commenters seemed to miss. If you look at page 68 of the 2013 Tau codex, though, it specifically says markerlights can boost the ballistic skill of snap shots and overwatch.

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Warhammer Tau is a group of wargamers who feel that they have a little something different to offer other Tau Empire, Kroot, and allied players... even if it's just a starting point for discussion! Our goal is to produce at least one article per week to inform and encourage the Tau and Warhammer gamer community. For the Greater Good, of course!


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