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Sunday, August 8, 2010

Tau Codex Review: Piranha


Tau have one ‘issue’ in their mono-build of greatness, multiple units of awesomeness in their Fast Attack slot. They have some opportunity cost issues with what they take, especially if Gun Drone squadrons, XV-9 Battlesuits, Tetras and TX-42’s become more viable choices. As it is, Tau already have the balancing issue of Piranhas and Pathfinders and whilst Tetras and TX-42’s are similar to the Piranha and the proposed changes to Gun Drone squadrons make them basically more mobile and expensive Pathfinder squads, Tau generals need to be very careful when allocating their Fast Attack choices. This brings us to the much maligned Piranha…

The Piranha brings the only official fast skimmer to the Tau arsenal. Whilst Forgeworld has rules for the TX-42 and Tetra, the official codex only gives us access to the Piranha. Whilst the TX-42 has already been reviewed and the Tetra will be reviewed in the future, I’m just  making it clear here that we are considering the Piranha only in relation to other official codex choices. What the Piranha therefore does is provide a couple of things. A fast vehicle which can get out into midfield on your opponent’s deployment zone (something Tau have issues with). This means Tau can block opposing tanks effectively and drop off drones far away from their battlelines. The brilliance of blocking can be read about here but basically this allows the Tau army to keep shooting for long and avoid combat. Lovely. The extra bonus of this platform is it can carry around a BS4 meltagun. Woopee!

Whilst a tad on the expensive side compared to other skimmers, this is compensated by AV11 in the front arc and being completely invaluable to the Tau arsenal. Squads of 2 to 3 skimmers can block a huge frontage with their extra wide wings and 4” coherency rule. Whilst they are relatively fragile being open-topped and in squadrons (and also offer up 2 killpoints per squadron), if they do survive their initial blockage run they can run further blocks, drop off drones, put point-blank melta shots into tanks and contest objectives late game (if they live that long). Certain upgrades such as the disruption pod, targeting array, fusion blaster and flechette dischargers synergise well with this role and other than flechette dischargers, should rarely be left without. Remember though, Piranhas are primarily defensive units whilst the TX-42 is more offensively geared.

Like the Pathfinders before them, each Tau general needs to reach a balance between Pathfinders and Piranhas and if the new Forgeworld units are included (and other units become more useful) these also need to be factored in. So what changes would be welcome for Piranhas? Like some of the other good Tau units, not much. A little points drop would be good but otherwise they are perfect for the job they already do. If you want a more offensive skimmer which can still block, the TX-42 and suggested changes are a better option. Do you think more weapon options are worth it for Piranhas or should they be kept for the TX-42 providing clear and distinct roles for the two?

5 pinkments:

Chumbalaya said...

Piranhas are pretty darn good as is. A points drop and some more weapon options would be all they need. Scouts perhaps.

Kirby said...

I think different weapon options can be taken by the TX-42 and more mobility by the Tetra but this could also be rolled into one whole squadron much like Land Speeders, Typhoons and Tornados were over the last 2 SM books.

Evil-Termite said...

I would like to see piranhas be able to use a variety of weapons in their gun drone sockets. A rifleman dreadnought is 125 points. I think we ought to be able to get a pair of piranhas for 110 points with twin linked missile pods in each. The cost is less because armor is less than a dread and a pair of death rain crisis suits cost 106, so it seems like the piranhas should rate in the middle to me.

The other thing that would be nice to change would be an ability to add marker lights on them. Mobile marker lights on a piranha would be much more useful than normal pathfinders, so they would have to be a little more expensive, but not TOO much more.

I personally think that gun drones in the next version of the codex should not count as kill points, and not be able to capture OR contest objectives.

Gunn Bot Mk IV said...

Piranhas need to not be open-topped. Open-topped and squadron rules is simply a death sentence.

-willydstyle

Kirby said...

Open-topped is fine. I think in light of the TX-42, the Piranha remaining the more blocker and defensive oriented model should stay OT and the TX-42 gets closed comparments, etc.

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