Tau Tactica: Victory Points

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While the rules of Bonding have not changed much in our new Codex, it's application and purchase has and perhaps it's purpose can be seen in other ways now. So the idea here, is to explore the idea of what Bonding can be useful for from a Victory Point standpoint and which units are going to perhaps take more of an advantage from this, over others.

:: How Bonding Changed ::

Bonding is now Wargear, meaning that it is purchased by a character in order to have it in your normal army list. So long as your character is on the board, you have bonding. However, should you lose that character to an effect or bad positioning of luck, you can lose bonding now-this is a big difference. It means you're more vulnerable to placing your characters at the extreme edges of terrain, to avoid limiting the kill zone to only include your character. So if you're going to be using bonding, you may want to take a little more conscious effort to not just lose your leadership, but to not lose your possible option of preserving some victory points.

:: Victory Points & Bonding ::

First we need to know why Bonding is useful here, not just the idea of keeping our guns on the table, but keeping our points on the table and the delicate difference that Bonding has, compared to before.
So first of all, bonding and victory points should instantly ring a common bell:Missions. If you're just having a kill fest, then this isn't really for you. But if you're focusing on missions and you're playing a Tau force that uses the units we're going to look at, then you may find a way to preserve a few more victory points, which may help you take every ounce you can from a Missions in which victory points are a part of Victory or Defeat.

Victory Points & Units

Let's take a quick look at what Victory Points and Bonding have in common:
[I.] - Units off the table count forfull victory points. This is a result of failing moral and falling off the board. If you were near the board edge already, then this is probably not going to be preventable. However, if you were away from board edge, you may be able to prevent yourself from falling off the table with a simple re-group test made possible through bonding.
[II.] - Units falling back count forfull victory points. That means, if you have a unit that is normally going to keep falling back due to being below 50% starting strength, with bonding, you can attempt to regroup, which means you can prevent yourself from constantly falling back and not meeting that board edge, which means possibly only givinghalf victory points instead offull points.

:: Bonding & Our Units ::

Let's take a look at which units will have the chance to take bonding and a little discussion on whether or not it's probably worth it and how it effects their overall cost.

XV8

The Crisis Teams will be able to take Bondingif they have a Shas'vre (or a Team Leader) with access to the armory, or a Commander. This is a bit out of our way most of the time, since the purchase of a Body Guard and the purchase of Shas'vre characters (and Team Leaders) in general in the Crisis team is not quite the norm for many players. Bonding unfortunately is out of the way here, and ultimately costly due to the fact that we must buy the character and then buy bonding (knowing we can lose the model who purchased it; not just the squad). This is not very effective, since most of the time, bonding is only going to help if we are broken below 50% strength, and in small unit sized teams, we're usually going to be usingLast Man Standing so again, it's not overly useful and will not come into play very often, if ever.
Verdict: Not useful on XV8's. Last Man Standingwill replace it's usefulness.
Extra: Depending on use of Drones, this could become a viable wargear option though!

XV15

Stealthsuits have more models to a team, and so may have more times in which they can make a good use of Bonding. Typically, Bonding will not be useful for Stealthsuits who fail moral from combat, as they may be destroyed from combat anyways. The problem is, we don't typically make use of the Shas'vre upgrade in Stealth teams (though a Team Leader may purchase it). Now, to give you an idea about squad size and boning: (1) 8+ man teams, due to Drone upgrades, could possibly make a use of Bonding, but barely. (2) A 6 man stealth team will take advantage of bonding when they have 2 members left. At 1 member, they use Last Man Standing, so there's only one point in which bonding becomes used. (3) 5 man stealth teams work exactly the same as 6 for bonding. (4) 4 man stealth teams do not get an opportunity at all to use bonding, before meeting the Last Man Standing test. (5) 3 man stealth teams are also not going to take any use of bonding. So in the end, it's not all that useful considering you must buy a character to get it, buy bonding and then never get to use it enough to make it worth it-which is a shame because they're a lot of points to preserve, so just try to guard your final suit for half victory points.
Verdict: Not useful on XV15's. Last Man Standing replaces it's usefulness.
Extra: However, it's possibly useful in a Stealthteam that takes a lot of use of Drones to up their squad sizes above 8.

Fire Warriors

Finally we reach a team in which Bonding may become useful. Fire Warriors are a team in which we typically are already purchasing a character, the Shas'ui. That means, we're not going out of our way to gain access to bonding and to top it off, Bonding is a bit cheaper now, so it's not a major purchase here, but more of a tiny extra, to attempt to save some victory points. Fire Warriors also have larger squad sizes, which means we have a few more models to take use of bonding between that 50% strength line and the final model of the team. Fire Warriors also are more apt to fail moral from the shooting phase, and have a chance to survive it, compared to a unit broken in combat, where they're expected to possibly be destroyed. So a ranged Fire Warrior team, especially one using some of the new Markerlight tricks, may be able to make a use of Bonding here and protect some points. Let's look at our teams: (1) 14 man teams (using drones to buff the size) will take advantage of bonding at 6 models to 2 models remaining in the unit, and if they're falling back. (2) 12 man teams will take advantage of bonding at the 5 to 2 model range. (3) 10 man teams will take advantage of bonding at 4 to 2 models. (4) 8 man teams will take advantage of bonding at 3 to 2 models. After that, it's down hill. So we have some leg room with Bonding and Fire Warriors. And if you consider that you may be investing in drone extras from time to time, you may have a considerable amount of points to protect. Also, if you're not mounted in a transport, bonding could be a nice option for preserving half of those points, on ranged static teams of Fire Warriors.
Verdict: Useful for static teams who already buy Shas'ui with unit sizes from 14 to 8.

Pathfinders

Again, we have another larger model unit typically who will purchase a Shas'ui more often to maintain leadership and we can easily fit in a cheap bit of Bonding to sweeten the deal. This is great, because Pathfinders will typically be taking casualties from shooting very quickly and their markerlights are useful up to 36 inches, so even if they fall back, they can still affect the game. The problem is, we won't have much room to even use bonding due to our squad size and their priority as a target for shooting, even if they are far away. As a unit, they will use bonding at: (1) 10 man teams (due to drones) from 4 to 2 models. (2) 8 man teams will take advantage of bonding from 3 to 2 models. After that, bonding simply doesn't apply much anymore and we're going to be between scoring and last man standing via one model almost always. Overall, bonding would be very useful here if it worked, but unfortunately we won't have the chances to actually make use of it, which means it's just not going to preserve much here.
Verdict: Not useful for Pathfinders. They're going to see Last Man Standing too fast, and take more casualties than Fire Warriors most of the time if targeted on top of that.

XV88

Broadsides are basically in the same boat as the Crisis Suits. They typically will not have much room to use their Bonding ability, due to squad sizes and last man standing. Also, XV88's rarely are taken in large groups to begin with and still must become a character (or Team Leader) in order to gain access to the wargear purchase. While the XV88 would make a great use of always being able to regroup, having a gun that can keep on firing, especially with the new A.S.S. upgrade, it unfortunately will never get to use bonding very often if ever.
Verdict: Not useful for the XV88. It simply will never see that middle ground between scoring and Last Man Standing.
Extra: You may pull off an advantage from bonding, if a larger number of Drones were employed.

:: Bottom Line ::

Unfortunately we just don't have much room to use our Bonding ability. We didn't have a great chance to use it before, but as Bonding changed, it was worth looking to knowing if perhaps it changed enough to inspire us to use it again. The bad news is simply that it's not globally useful in our codex.
However, bonding can be useful for large fire warrior teams; especially if you are purchasing drones and are interested in trying to protect half your victory points sometimes. Drone types in general can help beef up sizes to increase our chance to get more middile ground for the place that Bonding becomes useful.
In the end, it's just still not all that worth it I find, unless a unit is already prepared to take advantage of it.
 




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