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Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Tau Codex Review: Vespids

Remember this? Ya it's still going. Know why I got side tracked? I got to Vespids. Vespids are really the ugly step-sister when it comes to the Tau codex as they really have no purpose. They carry AP3 guns which are 12" in range which leaves them very open to getting attacked in return. Their jump infantry status doesn't allow them to JSJ so they might actually be able to shoot and then get out of dodge. Their weapon is a paltry S5 so cannot damage tanks reliably and is only a single shot so isn't scaring Marines regardless. Add in cover for 5th edition and these guys have the offensive viability of throwing your 25mm bases at your opponent (aim for the eyes).

Before we go further let's add in the crappy statline. BS3. Save 5+. Ld 6 unless you buy a Strain Leader (man if he dies...) which takes you to Ld9. As usual their combat effectiveness is pretty dismal though they do have T4 and I5 but still suffer from 1A and WS3 but they are Fleet...woot!. They also have no options for heavy or assault weapons to actually make them threatening to any unit in the game. Add in their basic cost of 16 points a model (22 for a Strain Leader) and these guys are expensive, fragile and piss poor offensively. The only thing they have going for them is they get to re-roll dangerous terrain checks so they can move around in cover and not die to bolter fire.

All in all this unit sucks. AP2 is much more readily available on Crisis Suits at a greater rate of fire, range and mobility. Piranhas are much more capable as blockers and harassers and with options like the TX-42 have more ability to damage opponents and Kroot are far better at being crappy wannabe combat units than Vespids ever will thanks to WS and S4 (not to mention their uses as bubble-wrap). In the end the Vespids just have no place in the army as they are, have too high an opportunity cost compared to other units in Fast Attack and need a major overhaul to viable in the new book.

So let's look at potential changes. First off their basic gun needs to be improved to at least range 18". Up the strength to 6 so it's different from your basic Tau weapon as well and making it assault 2 so it can actually scare tanks and MEQs is probably the easiest fix. With their ability to move into and out of terrain safely (for Jump Infantry) their save is really okay as it is but weapon options would be really good. A weapon which is geared towards anti-tank and a weapon which is geared towards anti-infantry (and allowing 2 per 5) would allow this unit to be built in way which can help fill a need in the Tau army.

Raising their BS to 4 would also be a huge improvement. Tau use mercenaries to augment their army and fill out any weak spots so getting guys which are just 'as bad' at shooting as they are seems counter-intuitive. They would obviously need a points hike (thinking 20-22 points, +5 for leader) and would probably be looking at +10 or 15 points per special/heavy weapon depending on the stats of those guns.

Changes like this would make Vespids a viable stand alone option but still have a pretty steep opportunity cost in comparison to Pathfinders and Piranhas based squadrons. That being said, giving them the ability to actually damage something and have options to be more effective against specific targets is more likely to make them viable. Being able to get effective firepower of a specific type out of the Fast Attack slot means the Tau army would have more options to play around with units elsewhere in the Force Organisation chart and effective Vespid units could allow this. As they stand now however, they are a terrible unit and should never be used in a competitive environment if one is looking to do well with Tau.

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