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Thursday, June 17, 2010

Email in: Tau XV-9 Hazard Suits


"I would like your opinion on the use of XV-9 Hazard suits in a 2000 pt army list. As a FA choice, I believe they offer an interesting alternative to the current Tau codex FA choices. Would you rate XV-9s as a must have, might have, or no need to have unit? Assuming you decided to field them, what number of models/units and weapons/equipment would you select? How does the 1999 point Tau army list you provided in your Armies in 5th: Tau article change to include this unit? Thank you for your feedback!


Marc"

Had to ask Marc for the rule set as I don’t have IA2. Everyone else has to find them yourself as I couldn’t find them on ForgeWorld except an old set of rules :P. The models from ForgeWorld are awesome and I've always considered grabbing one for the heck of it but I'm going to hold off and hope GW produces plastic versions in the future. Gundam FTW! There’s also a rule that wasn’t explained, vectored retro-thrusters which I’m assuming gives the XV-9 hit & run? Correct me if I’m wrong please. Anyway, for tournament play the suit is obviously out as it’s IA but the concept is an excellent idea for the new Tau codex in the next year or so. So let’s do what Marc has asked and take a look at it. It’s in the FA slot so competition is fierce with Piranhas and Pathfinders and for what it does…not worth it atm. Tau rely far too much on the blocking Piranhas provide and in 2k point games, can’t get marker lights efficiently elsewhere. Let’s do a rundown of the suit and the weapon upgrades and see if there are some changes we can make to make it viable in comparison to these choices.

So their statline. Standard suit Tau except T5. T5 is a big *look at me S8!* which is huge and a welcome improvement to Tau survivability once actually shot. Rest of the statline is noting to cheer about though and for 75 pts base…well IDK if I want to pay 50 pts for T5, multi-track & 2x TL BC (which would normally + multitracker cost 29 pts so 21 pts for T5). The retro-thrust engines are nice to get out of combat but for those 21 extra pts I’d want an automatic flee (this might be the case not sure, clarification please someone?; I know they auto-pass if they have drones). That would also emphasis the “Fast Attack” role of the XV-9. You also MUST buy one support system and other than the target lock, are more expensive than usual. XV-9’s can also regroup when below 50% as if they had a bonding knife and defensive grenades + the usual acute senses/deep strike of Tau suits. So let’s look at the new weapons and see if they make this choice more feasible.

XV-9’s start with 2x TL-BC, not something we want in our FA considering S5 is everywhere else. The Phase Ion Gun is S4/AP4/18”/assault 4/rending and is the cheapest upgrade…not really great. Whilst the AP is an improvement on normal Tau weaponry, the lower strength doesn’t help account for the lower BS Tau have everywhere else. Whilst assault 4 rending is nice, the range and strength limit this gun in applicability. Fusion cascades are S6/AP1/12”/assault D3/melta for the middle upgrade. Not bad really but 18-24” would have been much nicer to extend that melta range and you can see D3 falling on it’s face a lot. A dedicated 2 shot might be nice. As it stands, like the Fusion gun for Crisis Suits, the Fusion Cascade ends up being severely limited by range and puts the XV-9 in harms way. The final and most expensive gun is pulse sub munitions rifle which is S5/AP6/24”/assault 1”/large blast/no cover. AP6 and no cover? Not fantastic as it’s not puffing away at 5+ save units like Guard or Guardians. The range is more feasible and a couple of these couple put out a lot of infantry wounds but Tau already have impressive anti-infantry elsewhere and is quite an expensive option.

So, none of the weapons are fantastic. They are generally limited by range restrictions or are mono-role where Tau suits roll around with duality generally. They are also about 20pts too expensive for 5th edition (and the guns way overpriced) and 10-15 pts too expensive compared to Crisis Suits atm. Mainly though, they don’t do enough to warrant the lose of Piranhas or Pathfinders. What I’d like to see from these suits is a points drop and more medium ranged options and potentially the ability to take Markerlights efficiently (maybe 2 per model + drones?). This lends itself to a replacement for Pathfinders (at a much higher price) but encourages a full suit army which is also much more survivable. Otherwise I think S6-7 weapons with a range of ~24”+ are a must but we want to avoid having them simply as T5 crisis suits but also want them to be reliable (so no 2D6“ assault move or anything). Whilst the XV-9 is designed as being up close and personal, Tau are never really going to enjoy being in your face unless they are blocking.

I think I answered all Marc’s questions! If not just shout out and will answer in comments. So what are everyone else’s thoughts on how to make this unit viable for the next Tau codex or what would you like to see it be able to do? Let's see if we can't create a mock-up for the unit we might like to use. Remember the main limitations are the competing factors of Pathfinders and Piranhas and we still want those choices to be viable, too.

7 pinkments:

Chumbalaya said...

The FOC juggling I want to see is Farsight making Crisis suits Troops. *drool*

Anonymous said...

Great summary! I had a feeling the limitations of the weapons choices and no real game-critical abilities (i.e. blocking Piranhas) made the the suit a hard sell from the outset. I love the model, and definitely hope this style of Crisis armor is the future of Tau styling and design. Now, how about those Piranha TX-42s.....

Marc

Kirby said...

E-mail me the rules for the TX-42s and I'll put up a review for them too Marc. ^^ Ya I love the models but I've heard they are a pain to put together (gogo resin) and are a lot bigger than your normal crisis (how do I hide!?).

AbusePuppy said...

Retro-Thrusters give Hit and Run. The suits have a special rule that allows them to use the VRT even if they have drones with them (you normally can't) and, if they do so, the drones are destroyed and they automatically pass the test.

The PIG seems like a decent weapon, if not great- four shots and Rending mean it has a reasonable chance to punch a hole in most transports and can do some damage to most other targets as well. AP4 means it can do damage to non-MEQ targets as well.

Fusion Cascade is too short range and only has base S6. If it were S8 or 18/24", it would be usable. Shit, at 24" it would be pretty excellent.

PSR is interesting because it's something you can't easily get elsewhere in the codex (large blast.) AFP is shorter range, Hammerhead eats up slots we use for Broadsides. I think this is the one gun that may actually be useful for some people, although I'm not greatly impressed.

Add the mediocre weapons into the high cost and fighting for a slot and you have a recipe for trouble. I like the XV9, but I don't think I'd actually use them.

(Oh, and it's worth noting that the XV9 is required to buy a support system in addition to its MT and weapons; it doesn't have access to the battlesuit wargear, but rather its own list. The only change in cost I noticed was that the Drone Controller is more expensive- 5pts, I believe.)

TX-42s are great if you use Piranhas for killing things, not so much if you use them as a blocker. They do have the advantage of not giving up the extra KP for the Gun Drones, though, and TL Fusion is pretty sexy. I can't see a point to any of the other weapon options, though.

Raptor1313 said...

I like the thought of suits in other force org slots (kind of like 'nid force org flexibility).

I like the durability, but I just can't find something in the weapons that I really like. I'd love a cover-busting AP5 weapon like the submunition rifle, but its current AP6 is 'eh.' I'd also love the option to put some kind of anti-tank weapon on them, like a missile pod or something.

As is, they fight for markerlights and can't block or melta stuff. It's just fighting against things that do stuff that's a little bit more essential for Tau, is all. Hopefully Tau can get Markerlights effectively in other slots if/when they get redone and this guy makes it into the codex.

Kirby said...

Agreed Raptor; they need a buff in their guns to make them worth taking over Pathfinders or Piranhas whilst also taking a drop in points. It markerlights become more available army wide, these also might be more useful.

Kirby said...

So chatting with Puppy and we've come up with one option for the XV-9 as a suppliment to the article on Crisis suits. Assuming Crisis suits become the medium ranged suit (24-36), Broadsides remain the long ranged suit and Stealths becomes the mid-range suit (12-24), XV-9 as their fluff, stats and rules imply become the close ranged suit and a melta weapon is the perfect balance for this.

Fusion Cascades are changed to: S8, AP1, Assault 2, range 12" or S6, AP1, Assault 2, range 18" and rough cost for 2 suits with 2 fusion cascades w/multi-trackers + team leader and target lock = 160-170 pts.

This creates competition between PF/Drones for mass ML fire (and the DS bonus of PF fish), blocking or offense of Piranha and TX-42 + excellent close ranged support by the XV-9 which is much more vulnerable to small arms fire and combat than normal crisis but has the T and special rules to not be a waste of points.

Thoughts?

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