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Fluff from Forgeworld
Tau Supremacy armour is larger than any other current class of battlesuit. It is intended to meet a threat that the Tau Empire has not yet prepared for; the defence of worlds within their growing domain from the counter-expansion forces of other races. Lacking the manoeuvrability of other battlesuits, the KX139 Ta’unar Supremacy Armour was designed for static defence, carrying massively destructive, long range weapons.
Encountering increasing numbers of enemy heavy assault elements, from Imperial Knights to the towering alien monstrosities of the Tyranid Hive Fleets, Tau heavy flyers were often outclassed. Earth Caste engineer Fio’o Ke’lshan Sho’aun developed the KX139 to mount a dynamic yet stoic defence against such foes.
Armed with a pair of Tri-axis Ion Cannon and a Pulse Ordnance Multi-driver, this KX139 Ta’unar Supremacy Armour Battlesuit is ready to engage enemies at range and dominate the battlefield.
This fluff troubles me for several reasons. First and foremost, it goes against just about every Tau battle doctrine. It is not mobile, it is not flexible, it is designed to defend a location to the last, and it is a huge expenditure of resources on a single battle-suit that clearly cannot be mass-produced.
Second, even if Tau suddenly decided that they need to change their doctrine to one of absolute defense against heavy targets like Imperial Knights, the weapons clearly don't line up. The only documented successes against things like Warhound titans are thanks to the Heavy Rail Gun or the Area Defense Nodes (also Rail Guns). If the Tigershark wasn't cutting it due to lack of air superiority (unlikely, given the Tau emphasis on controlling the skies in all encounters) then this suit wouldn't make sense either. It would be a liability in the same way that Imperial titans are a liability when faced with the highly mobile attacks from the Tigershark AX1.
If it is designed to hold a single position, then why on earth does it need pilots and legs? Why not just build a fortification to mount the weapons instead of wasting energy on moving a little bit?
To me, this is just one more step in GW's dismantling of the established Tau fluff. Oh well. Carry on I suppose. Let's look at what is good about this model.
It is T9 so it is completely immune to anything under S6 and even shrugs of S8 weapons with ease. At 600 points it isn't cheap, but I think it is a reasonable price without being too much. We will have to wait and see how loud the outcry from the Spessh Mahreen community is to know for sure.
2+ armour, 5++ invulnerable that increases to 4++ against ranged attacks. This means that pretty much the only ranged attacks that can hurt this guy are psychic attacks, Grav weapons, and D weapons.
- The shield generator halves the wounds resulting from a 'lucky 6' on the D weapon chart, making even D weapons less of a threat. Though a 'lucky 6' will stop the shield from working for the rest of the shooting phase, which takes away any invulnerable save and makes it a bit easier to kill.
- It has a special defense system which lets it fire its smaller weapons on Overwatch at BS2. Very potent when you consider the amount of shots this applies to.
- 2 Twin-Linked Burst Cannons
- 2 SMS
- 2 Tri-axis ion cannons
- 1 Pulse Ordnance Multi-Driver
Keep in mind that this model does NOT have Supporting Fire special rule. Which means it can't help out against units getting charged around it, so you have to watch out for the enemy using your own units as 'stepping' stones for getting into combat with your KX-139.
- Standard- 60", S7, AP3, Heavy 6
- Beam- 60", S9, AP2, Heavy 3
In addition, you can switch either arm out for the Fusion Eradicator which is essentially a Multi-Melta with 5 shots. Most people prefer the Ion weapon for its range, but the Fusion weapon sounds intriguing, especially when it is a major threat against Imperial Knights. Any Knight hoping to assault the KX-139 will have to get within Melta range of it for at least one turn. 10 shots, BS4, S8+2D6 armour pen, AP1 has pretty good odds of killing a healthy Knight outright, and that isn't even including the primary weapon...
- Concentrated- 72", SD, AP2, Ordnance 1, 7" Blast
- Pattern- 12"-120", S8, AP3, Apoc Barrage(3), Pinning, Ignores Cover
Now, consider this, for a paltry 2 marker lights, you can drop a massive blast D weapon that ignores cover. At BS4 it won't scatter as badly and any extra markerlights just make it that much more accurate. Oh yeah, and the secondary weapons (Ion or Fusion) will also ignore cover if they are shooting the same target. D weapons were always the rock to the scissors of Death Stars, but this battlesuit really does make them obsolete.
It is weak against flyers, but that isn't what it is intended to shoot. It can essentially ignore all ranged attacks that aren't Grav or D which makes target priorities simple. Even 2 Wraithknights (about the same point cost) will have difficulty killing this guy in less than 3 turns. Grav weapons require nearly 27 wounds to kill it outright, which makes them one of the better options against it.
Properly supported with Markerlights and screening units, this guy can put out the firepower of an entire Tau cadre all on his own, which is a welcome addition when our cadres are already short on shooting attacks as it is.