Riptide Variant: XV109 Y'vahra from Forgeworld

October 6, 2014 ·

Introducing the newest addition to the Tau Empire: the XV109 Y'vahra! I am over the moon about this new battlesuit, so I figured I'd post about it!


This bad boy was engineered by the same Fio that designed the XV107 R'varna. While the XV107 acts like the Riptide version of a Broadside, the XV109 acts like an XV9 Hazard. The Hazard was designed as close assault suit, designed to operate independently and harass an enemy advance while the main Tau force got into position.
Like the XV9, the XV109 operates independently from the hunter cadre (nothing else can keep up with it!) bringing the fight to the enemy and wreaking havoc on its advance.

Here is the Forgeworld page with more pictures, and the fluff: XV109 Y'vahra
And here are the Experimental Rules. These are the first round and are likely to change before finalization.



The Y'vahra statline is similar to a regular Riptide, but with two important differences: 4 wounds instead of 5, and Ballistic Skill 4 instead of 3. This emphasizes the suit's role as a bit of a glass cannon and puts damage output over survivability. One wound may not sound like much, but it can be a big deal, especially when this suit will almost always need to be Nova charging.

It has access to all the regular Riptide upgrades and it can take the Shielded Missile Drones OR regular Shield Drones. I'm not sure The base price for this suit is 230 so it isn't cheap, even before you add in upgrades, and you'll want them.
It is also a Fast Attack option for Codex: Tau Empire so it doesn't compete with Riptides or R'varnas. 9 Riptide CAD? Yes please!


The XV109 suit comes with the regular 2+ 5++ Riptide saves, but the invulnerable save becomes 4+ when less than 12" away, including close combat: nifty. It grants Hit and Run, but its initiative is still 2 and it carries a Flechette Dispersal Pod. The pod grants a free D6, Shredding, S4AP5 attack to models 6" away when the Y'vahra uses its special jetpack or Deep Strikes. Nothing crazy, but it's always fun to shred some infantry, and they don't have to be the same target as the main weapons either. Speaking of the special jetpack...

Dat Jetpack. Delicious
This is the Vectored Thrust Array. It allows the Y'vahra to make a special move every other turn. It moves like a Swooping Monstrous Creature (so basically anything between 12" and 24") so it can be in your opponent's face on turn 1! 

Note: Currently, I'm interpreting this to mean that the suit can still Assault after making this special move. Moving like it is a swooping FMC does not make it an FMC, so it doesn't follow the same restrictions.


Ah, the juicy part. 
  • First let's look at the Ionic Discharge Cannon (right arm). It is a 12" S8 AP3 Heavy 3, Blind weapon with a Haywire Burst special rule. Haywire Burst grants a Haywire hit to the target in addition to any regular hit from the weapon. So, if you hit a tank twice it takes two S8 hits and it takes two Haywire hits, so you can even threaten AV14! This weapon is a premier tank hunting weapon, and it makes good use of the Y'vahra's BS4. The only downside is that it doesn't match up very well with the second weapon. Blind could be your saving grace when dealing with counterattacks, but since you'll be targeting MEQ with the Y'vahra, I wouldn't bank too much on it.
  • The left-hand weapon is a Phased Plasma-Flamer. It is a 6" Torrent (14" total threat range), S6AP3 Heavy 1 weapon. Wow, what a marine killer! But wait, there's more. It can fire an alternative profile that makes it AP2, heavy 2, and Gets Hot! Oh my, if that doesn't toast every TEQ in range, I don't know what will... Gets Hot being the only downside, I can't see the regular profile being used very often. Note that when using Wall of Death for Overwatch, you will still only get d3 hits, not 2d3.
These weapons are fantastic, but they do not mesh with each other particularly well unless your target is MEQ. If you decide to roast TEQ, then your IDC shots will not have very much effect. If you target enemy vehicles the PPF won't be doing much damage either. Unless it is an open-topped transport (No Escape indeed). Obviously MEQ will all melt to the Y'vahra, but then you may end up with some overkill.

Something to note, this could work very well against an Imperial Knight. If you use the Swoop to get close, your opponent will almost certainly choose whatever arc it is facing for his Ion shield. The rest of your army can target the Knight and not have to worry about the shield, while your Y'vahra can just roast some infantry or some other nearby target.

Nova Reactor

These are the Nova Reactor abilities for the Y'vahra. Unlike the R'varna, a failed nova roll can be mitigated by the Stimulant Injector.
  • 3+ invulnerable in close combat
  • An extra D3 shots from the IDC
  • Can jump into Ongoing Reserves, even if it was in close combat!
  • Gains Jink and a 4+ cover save when Swooping/Thrusting as if it was moving Flat Out
The 3+ isn't all that great, given the limitations, but if FW nerfs the shield generator as it is, then it will be a better option. Obviously, the 4th power was not updated for 7th edition. Currently, we'll have to check with our opponents to agree what this power grants. Powers 2 and 3 are going to be the most fun and the most used. 

Support Systems

I can see this making good use of a few of the support systems.
  • Stims are awesome (at least for now) and are just as great as on a regular Riptide. Just expensive
  • Velocity Tracker could be handy. The higher BS and the swoop movement could let you drop even the heavier fliers with ease. Those Haywire hits add up, even if they Jink
  • EWO would be fantastic if you are facing a Deep Strike army. It is shorter ranged, but that PPF will reliably roast more TEQ than the Ion Accelerator on a Riptide
  • The positional relay could have a place here, since the high mobility can put the relay in range of your opponent's table edge on turn 1. Add in some reserve manipulation and bring those Kroot and Stealth Suits directly behind the enemy on turn 2!
  • The CDS and ATS aren't that great, especially since they only affect the IDC and it only shoots 3 times.
  • Target Lock and DC are worthless, since you'll likely not want to take any drones at all. If you did take drones, I expect you'd take a single shield drone to try and get that high initiative for Hit and Run.

Expected Changes

These are only the first draft of experimental rules. Unlike the Imperial Knight variants, the new Tau toys have to go through years of being "unofficial" before they can be considered "40k approved." The R'varna is still technically experimental and there's no telling how long it will be before these models will receive official rules.
Marine armies are the most prevalent armies in the game. Naturally, they will whine and cry and hate on anything that excels at killing them, and because there are more Marine players, the general outcry that FW will hear is that the Y'vahra needs to be nerfed...hard. These are things that would not surprise me if they changed, and I would expect the point cost to stay the same as well.
  • Most likely, they will want the PPF to be reduced to AP4/AP3 with a bigger penalty for using the second profile
  • They will want there to be some sort of penalty for using the escape thrust (free attacks?)
  • Stims may not work anymore on failed Nova rolls
  • BS reduced to 3
  • The shield generator could be changed back to a regular Riptide generator


This model is a beauty. It looks fantastic and if I had the money I would only run this model in place of regular Riptides. The Jetpack is what sold me on it. Gorgeous.
The rules look like a ton of fun too. The extreme mobility and the short range of its weapons make this thing a dangerous toy to be playing with, for everyone involved. I vastly prefer its play style to the R'varna's, even if I do love the R'varna model. 
People think that Riptides are so hard to kill, but in Rapid Fire range (or close combat) they go down easier than you'd think, and this thing basically HAS to operate in Rapid Fire and charge range of its enemies. If you want it to survive more than a couple turns you'll have to be pretty careful with how you play it.

I haven't playtested it, but I feel like it is probably actually pretty balanced as it is. I hope they don't nerf it very much, if at all. I'm going to email Forgeworld, imploring them to be gentle if they decide to nerf it. Maybe they'll listen if we make a good case for it.

What do you all think of the new Y'vahra? Do you prefer the long range pounding the R'varna dishes out? What do you think they'll nerf?


Liam Ainscough said...
October 6, 2014 at 9:08 AM  

I love this variant and as you say it will be a lot of fun to play, all I need is a riptide variant and my life will be complete :)

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