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Top Tau Topics this Month
How do you deal with Drop Troop Imperial Guard? by Carmachu
Tau and Cheese by Onlainari
Why to use Helios? by Commissar Black Behemoth
Carnifex and Raveners by ToastMaster
Top non-Tau Topics this Month
Grey Knight Terminators? by Brother-Captain Zoren
Which Race Will Die First by Wernejo
Tactica: Pathfinders…the great debate!
Written by: 42
Some would say that GW wrote the Fast Attack section of the Tau codex drunk at a party on a Friday night. Other however would argue that GW employees are not the sort to go to those sort of parties, and in fact when they devised the concept of Pathfinders they gave the Tau a remarkable and unique unit. So many different opinions, just one unit lets take a look.
What are they? Essentially very similar to Fire Warriors, the major different being they carry chunky laser pens (markerlights) on the end of their carbines, and have to take a Devilfish.
So these markerlights…? The markerlights are the main reason that people take pathfinders, not just improving the BS (effectively) of other units they can also be used to fire Seeker Missiles, which handily don’t need Line of Sight to fire! Furthermore the Markerlights can deal with those pesky sniping units lurking around in cover and relying on their cover save for survival. A nice combo that I have found useful is a markerlight followed by a Railgun submuntitions blast into an area of cover try it yourself on horde like armies! Which bring me onto…
What do I markerlight? Marker-lighting is often best used for your biggest and best guns the ones which will do the most damage if they hit. However it’s best to look at the situation each turn before choosing automatically anything that carries a railgun. Besides Hammerheads have BS4, and Broadsides have twin linked weapons! Instead it I best to markerlight the most dangerous unit of the enemy, this could well be the fastest one, or the most far forward but the one that will cause you the most trouble IMMEDIATELY. Don’t get too tied up in destroying all of his tanks, when he has assault squads bearing down on you for instance!
As for alternative units to use the markerlight, stealth suits are a popular one because all 3 shots from their burst cannons will then hit on 2+’s! Crisis Suits too, with a mediocre BS may benefit too, especially when firing plasma or with their one-shot fusion blasters.
Other Uses? Although marker lighting may be the most popular reason to have pathfinders, that is not it. A squad of pathfinders has access to the closest thing in the Tau Armoury to the sniper rifle The Rail Rifle to give 3+ armour save armies some nightmares. From what I have just described about Pathfinders they sound a very dangerous unit, but hence aren’t they going to be targeted quickly? Especially if they have these Rail Rifles you speak of? Certainly and you can use this to your advantage too! Only just a bit more expensive than Fire Warriors, Pathfinders can be used as great bait. This becomes an even more worthwhile target once you start taking smaller 6 man squads or less if your opponent choose to shoot you then it’s a fire magnet and not much lost, but if he doesn’t that’s an average of 3 markerlight hits a turn!
Furthermore, lets not forget that any unit in a Devilfish is a very useful scoring one indeed. The pathfinders can rely on the protection and speed of their Devilfish to stay out of combat, be transported to the best vantage points for shooting, then in the latter stages zoom off to claim an objective!
What the…? … says your opponent as you tell him that all five of your seeker missiles from various tanks are coming straight towards his heaviest tank! Where did they come from? - As already mentioned, seeker missiles can also be fired from a markerlight hit, and the great thing about them (apart from being one of the few tau weapons with strength 8, and a termie cracking AP!) is that they don’t need Line of Sight. If you decide to take them it adds another trick up your sleeve definitely, and suits most Tau players styles engaging the enemy at little risk of being shot at/assaulted back! Simply load up your pathfinder Devilfish with Seeker Missiles, and using your pre-turn move hide it behind cover…wait until the markerlight hits start coming…then fire away from the safety of being invisible to the enemy! And not just tanks should fear the seeker missiles, with a good strength they are also invaluable for the purposes of instant kill on frustrating multi-wound Commanders, Death Company, Necrons or the like.
And this pre-turn move you speak of? Very useful indeed, read the section in your Tau codex carefully and use this to your advantage. As already mentioned it could be used to hide the devilfish away in cover to become a gunboat or perhaps you could use it to deploy a whole Pathfinder squad themselves in the best sniping position over the whole battlefield. If you are using the team as bait then perhaps you want to advance towards the enemy… Or perhaps your plans involve the pathfinders sitting back anyway with the non-scoring Devilfish causing some havoc tank shocking? It’s up to you, but use this special rule to your advantage whatever you do!
Meh! The sceptics will say! And they have valid points themselves…Even small decoy units of Pathfinders are going to cost you a minimum of 128 points due to the fact that the Devilfish is compulsory therefore you don’t see them appearing much in lists of 1000pts or below.
Secondly, some don’t value their static uses, to be able to fire their markerlights they do indeed have to be stationary. To some pure mechanised players, even though they have a devilfish, it means everytime that they travel in the Fish, they cannot jump out and fire with markerlights in the same turn (however do remember the pinning pulse carbines that come as standard!).
Furthermore, Pathfinders aren’t the most basic of units to use like many other Tau ones. They don’t have great offensive capabilities themselves and instead are used for enhancing the fire of others therefore it is true that skill has to be used for the commander to get the best out of his expensive unit, and they will indeed prove a waste of points if you choose the wrong targets.
To conclude Pathfinders in my opinion are a great unit when used right, and are unique in their weapons and capabilities. To be they have so many advantages that outweigh the cost, and I find them often valuable beyond the points that I paid for them. However like any unit there are drawbacks, but I urge all players to at least give them a bit of a try out before you discard the idea For the Greater Good!
Rumours: New Tau Codex
Written by: 42
As we all should know by now (if not then this may come as a nice/sudden shock!) the Tau Codex will be remade (release date rumoured to be 1st of March) with new units and rules, here I have put together a list of things that we know for certain will be changed or added in. These are not rumours! They are for definate!
1) There will be a New Tau Codex coming out called, 'Tau Empire'
2) There will be at least four new units in it - Vespid, Piranha, Sniper Teams, Skyray
3) Stealth Suits are being re-done, and may now carry fusion blasters - new Stealth models being produced however they may well be alongside the 'old' XV-15's and not replacing them.
4) The Vespid are a new allied race to Tau, they share a much closer relationship with the Tau than Kroot, and so wear Tau armour and use Tau Weapons with a mix of their own technology. As far as rules wise goes we know that they are excellent 'marine hunters' which indicates AP3 weaponry or better. Furthermore we know that they fly, have short ranged weapons, and also rely heavily on the squad leader (strain leader) for leadership and weapons boosts. Taken as a fast attack choice.
5) Sniper teams consist of a maximum of 3 sniper drones (armed with railrifles) and one Tau spotter, reportedly excellent against infantry and can be taken as a Heavy Support Choice.
6) The Sky Ray and Piranha are both inspired from the Forge World models, so we expect rules/models to be very similar.
7) The whole markerlight system is being re-vamped.
8) Ethereals will have new models and slightly different rules, allowing Fire Warrior bodygaurds.
9) There will be two new Tau Special Characters, a female commander Shadowsun some sort of new battlesuit, and a wise ethereal Aun'va'den'ta. The old character Aun'shi will not make the new codex.
There will be another round up next month as our knowledge slowly increase! Hope this has given you an excellent taster though of juicy new things to come!
Fluff Feature: It’s just part of the Job
Written by: MalVeauX
The blasted landscape smoked from years of bombardment, as both sides gained and lost ground without pattern until all was eventually quiet. After all, what was all of this territory for? But where death would befall any race, there would be those who rise and grow off such waste of life. This particular moon was waged upon by the Tau, who could not convince the inhabitants to join their Empire, as they wanted this moon for the local surveillance. When the inhabitants rose as militants, there was no choice but to beat them back. They fought to the last man and were destroyed as such. The Tau began to construct their normal building routine on newly acquired territories and thought nothing more on matter, and of course, had no idea of what was to come.
A plague ship passed by this sector several years later, and the Tau barely even recognized it as a ship as it drifted on and off their devices that detected it. After they knew something was there, it was already gone. These ships were fabled, but certainly not magic, so the Tau left it be and simply inscribed in a log to have that area heavily surveyed on the next scouting patrol. Little did they know that something made it to the moon, undetected.
The rotten flesh, long decayed in the soil and the old bones wriggled as something new crept upon the land. Maleficius felt a pull to this death as there was a new host of disease for him to capture and be a host to. The rotten bio material that laced his tactical dreadnought armor must have made for odd readings for the Tau, as they did not even realise he had teleported from the plague ship. The Tau were meaningless to Maleficius and he simply roamed the old battle fields, absorbing the pestilent death just beneath the surfaceit was a gold mine to him.
Locally, a patrol team spotted movement and quickly called in to get a dispatch. Maleficius was large after all, heavly stomping around in the desolate landscape. A team of Pathfinders came in and kept monitor on the “beast” but they did not recall what kind it was really. They had faced down Imperial Terminators and Tactical Dreadnought armor in the past and had detail logs, but they had nothing on this ghastly thing. It looked much older and not even really machine any more as the sand and debris stuck to the walking limbs of the “beast” due to it’s bio moisture around each bit of plated armor. After a small debate, it was ordered that this particular beast should not be there, and was obviously hostile, and it was said to eliminate it completely. As such, the markerlights were layed and several XV15 Battle Suits came into sight of the beast, directly from behind. Maleficius was not even bothered by their pressense as he slurped and trodded on. The XV15’s opened fire at once, and ceased fire at the same moment and quickly jumped away. Again, Maleficius didn’t move and the pulse fire did nothing, except single some of the fungus on his Tactical Dreadnought Armor’s rear. The Tau reported back that this “beast” was made of some kind of very hard material and their weaponry had no real effect on the target, so an XV8 was dropped to attempt to crack open this tough outer shell. The Suit landed right in front of Maleficius and he gazed at it blankly as the Plasma generating rifle charged up and blasted directly into the front of the his chest. He felt a slight burn as his eyes turned white. Something had burned his precious parasites within him. His rotten teeth lost enamel as his pressed them together and the battle suit toppled over, and a blue liquid began to seep as spores quickly grew on the armored plates. The incredible rot was quickened by Maleficius’s psychic abilities, which were quite strong but invisible to the Tau. With such a display of effortless death, the Tau retreated and called a full Cadre to remove this “beast.” Each ship landed as the Fire Caste poured out, followed by a Hammerhead as they all in unity fired upon Maleficius. The sight was spectacular as he wasn’t even visible anymore, covered by flashes and fumes. He slowly walked towards the Tau on the basin edge, seemingly unharmed, as nothing could crack through his old hardened armor and mutated flesh as the fungus grew just as fast as the fire burned it away. For a moment, the Tau were shocked by such a display of power.
It was then that an XV-88 clammered out of a drop hatch and took a firm stance behind the Fire Caste. Once markerlighted, it’s weapon system turned to Maleficius and there was a trail of searing smoke that simply appeared. Maleficius’s fungus vaporized and vanished from sight and the old Tactical Dreadnought armor clamored and fell over. There was no flesh to be found at all, and all that remained was the old machine, now reduced to rubble with two small holes that allowed light to creep inside the hull.
The Tau marked on their logs the event and reported back to their stations and continued on with their work on the moon and Maleficius was forgotten, only to be read about in a log sheet as a local anomaly that was unstudyable.
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