Here is my last prediction, and I am not changing it much, just adding on.
Well, we get a new commander battlesuit, I believe to be roughly based on the Enforcer suit from last edition. That, plus some bits to make an Irridium version. He can also be the Coldstar, which I think will never see any action. I play tau, but the flying ColdStar will be a huge target, die easily, and make me cry in front of my enemies.
He only packs a six-shot burst cannon and a missile pod, and no signature systems. UGLY. He is not good for much and is bad at a whole bunch of things.
We also got a new Ethereal, Aun'Do. He is in the Burning Dawn Campaign box, but I bet he will also be in a clam pack at some point. With Aun'do, we should also get an adjustment in the warlord traits, most likely two very similar sets: one for battlesuit commanders and another for ethereals other generals. I'm not saying Ethereals are going to be Jedi, but they do not work well as warlords in the current codex.
Not much here.
Pathfinders need a little more staying power, but I seriously doubt they will get it. They are not resilient enough to withstand the hate their markerlights invoke. I think the rules guys like this the way it is, because every turn the enemy spends eradicating these guys is a turn of firing for firewarriors etc... The one or two turns of markerlight buffs are merely incidental.
Vespids were the favored unit to get some love, but it is looking like they got nothing inthis release. The best thing GW could do for these guys is bump their weapon skill and give them two attacks to match their fluff. These guys do not see much table time, if any, particularly when they compete against pathfinders and flyers for the slot. Maybe the new FOC will fix this.
Drone squadrons need BS3. Period. But they will not get it in this codex.
Markerlights should get some clearer rules in this codex, particularly in regards to calling in seeker missiles.
Darkstrider moves down to unit upgrade in Fast Attack. Add him to a unit of pathfinders the way to add Longstrike to an armoured unit.
Nothing else changes.
I am hoping the stealth suits get some attention. Either increased toughness or another wound, or a better weapon. Maybe giving them markerlights would help. Anything would help, because as it stands now, they are virtualy vespids with their current stat line.
You've all seen the Stormsurge and Ghostkeel models along with the reworked crisis and commander suits. I see possible "big suit /little suit" synergies as follows:
............Stealth Cadre (Ghostkeel and stealth suits)
............Crisis Cadre (Riptide and Crisis suits)
............Heavy Support Cadre (StormSurge and Broadsides)
............Fast Action Cadre (Y'Vahra and Hazard suits)(Forgeworld)
These are logical combos, and would fit nicely into a new decurion-style force organization chart. I also expect these formations to be the big power plays in this codex. They will provide the rule bonuses that these units will need to be successful.
With one exception, I am going to defer to Skyler on the details of our two new battlesuits and the Tidewall. His article is already written, and should post in a day or two.
That exception is this: With these large units being so oriented toward anti-infantry, along with changes in the FOC and tactical objectives reducing the need for large numbers of troops AND potential nerfs to the broadside armor save, firewarrior gunlines backed by broadsides will become less prevalent in many Tau armies.
A disturbance in the force, I sense.
There are also a lot of rumors out there that the broadsides will lose their 2+ armor save and get the standard Tau 3+. I do not believe this.
The nerf to S8 on the Broadsides rail gun was hard to take in the last codex, it still pains me every time I want to take them (but don't). Skyfire didn't fix that for me. Messing with the armor save will move the Broadsides further into the Vespid zone along with the stealth suits, drone squadrons, and actual vespids (all cool models, but all virtually unusable).
One nice change would be that drones are actually treated as wargear and do not force leadership tests when they die... but that's not going to happen.
Hammerhead: We still have one of the best tanks in the game. Armour 13 in the front, second only to the AV-14 armored marine spewing shit-box thingy. I do not think there will be any changes to the Hammerhead, unless it gets an option for Strength D for its current railgun configuration. I doubt this will happen, though.
Unless something like Longstrike adds a buff to his unit of hammerheads, like Strength D, or twin-linking.
Oh, and hammerheads in squadrons. There is a formation on the GW site called Armoured Interdiction Cadre and it includes three hammerheads and a skyray. This reminds me of a formation by the same name in one of teh Imperial Armour books, Damocles Crusade I think. That formation gave three free markerlight hits for each of these squadrons in your army. Who knows what this formation will give us, certainly no discount for buying them all at once. But other than allowing them in squads, there will be no changes for our premier tank.
Skyray: Again, aside from squadrons, no changes. The only other possible change I see is maybe a change to how markerlights call seekers.
Devilfish: No changes here either.
Firewarriors: I am thinking we have bad news here. My bet is that firewarrior squads will be cut from twelve to ten warriors per squad. The Devilfish is still 80 points, and now we have those super-assaulty Breachers (lol), but little changes to the warriors (themselves) other than that.
Breachers (firewarrior variant): Ok, a 5-inch strength 6 blaster is a nice little weapon for street fighting, and I like the look of the new breachers, but they will all die on the turn after they shoot. And 10-man squads cut the one thing we have, volume of fire. From twelve to ten firewarriors costs 4 shots from carbines, 6 shots if there is a fireblade in the unit, and 8 shots if that unit is also near an ethereal. seems miniscule, but that is a dead marine, two dead guardians, and three dead boyz. Since we have virtually no other way to kill any of these people, eight shots means a lot to us.
For ten additional points, the squad will get a missile pod turret (if they remain stationary in the movement phase), and there is a new 'guardian' drone that gives them a 5+ invulnerable save. This seems like a beefy shield drone, and you all remember how we argue every game about the save that drone "bestows." So I guess three options for firewarriors is a good thing.
............Breachers - short range, strong gun S6 within 5 inches
............Carbines - medium range, S5 at 24 inches, assault 2
............Rifles - long range, S5 at 30 inches, rapid fire
The Cadre Fireblade will likely move down to troops as a unit upgrade, like Darkstrider and Longstrike. He will still give the BS5 markerlight and the +1 shot buff. No other changes though.
My bet is that drone squadrons also get moved to troops, and stay BS2.
It'd be nice to see Firesight marksmen move to troops, but they would sacrifice their BS5 to do it. They will not change at all.
Kroot: We have heard nothing about the Kroot. Which means they are either unchanged, or not in the Codex. I hope they are out of the Codex. Why?
Because "out" means they are getting their own. I love my Kroot, but I hate the way they die. They need codex love, and I do not even care if it's Forgeworld love.
Kroot for the Kroot God!
Not bad though, at least there are choices, five in fact: 3 varieties of firewarriors, drone squadrons, and our beloved kroot.
Overall, my prediction for this codex, Light on the nerf bat, but a nerf bat none-the-less. Yeah, we get a few new models, but their rules are a bit lack-luster. I love the sculpts, but I am not in awe of their phenomenal cosmic powers at all.
--NOT AT ALL.
Strength 7 everywhere (but not much more), our only Strength D weapon needs viagra to get past 10 inches, and it looks like relatively low toughness and low wounds seem to be the rule du jure for our battlesuits.
And how about a just little toughness and WS on ONE unit. Make it vespids, that wont break the fluff, they're not actually Tau. Maybe give us gue'vesa with guardsmen stats. Or maybe a giant battlesuit that can actually kill a tank? How about anything that can actually kill something else with one shot (at more than 10 inches)? We'll take any and all of them.
It's ok. We'll take it. Particularly because in a way it evens out the Tau battle-meta (yeah, I hate that word, too). I do not believe these new unit adjustments will make Tau competitive, not by any stretch of the imagination. But combined with a new force org, I believe this will give Tau lists more variety especially in friendly games and small local tourneys.
And that can only be good.
I will revisit this page after the drop and correct myself in red, as good teachers do.
Here's a parting shot.
I play Tau.