Tau Codex Review: Devilfish

The Devilfish is the Tau codex’s dedicated transport- in fact, the only transport of any kind that they get. (We will ignore the Forge World ones because A, it’s Forge World and thus not legal most places, B, they’re all superheavies anyways, and C, they’re atrocious.) Unfortunately the Devilfish didn’t change at all in armament or points cost from its last incarnation, although the rules did shift around it and some of its options were altered a bit. While it can’t really hope to hold a candle to the other AV12 skimmer transport in the game right now, the Devilfish ends up being a pretty respectable little platform that can get your mans around the battlefield to where they need to be and keep them alive.

The Basics
The Devilfish is one of the tougher transports out there, clocking in at 12/11/10 as a skimmer; while this might only appear marginally tougher than a Rhino, the difference between AV11 and AV12, as we’ve discussed in the past, is actually rather major. It means that S6 weapons can’t penetrate you and S7 weapons are half as likely to score a roll on the damage charge- and both of these are very common profiles. As a skimmer, it also benefits from a 5+ Jink save most of the timeand can more easily traverse terrain. Add in a primary armament of a Burst Cannon and a pair of Gun Drones (each getting four S5 shots to 18″) and you have a vehicle with firepower on par with the Psyback, but with much greater ability to weather enemy shooting- albeit at a cost.

The cost is the main downside to the ‘Fish- starting at eighty points and going up from there, it is NOT a cheap vehicle. While this is counterbalanced somewhat by the low price on most upgrades as well as the squad inside, Tau certainly do not have the capacity to spam transports for transports’ sake the way some other armies can or have in the past. The Devilfish is just what the label says- a transport designed to move little soldiers around the table; it can contribute firepower, but isn’t going to be particularly overwhelming in that regard.

Note that while it can only be bought for Fire Warriors and Pathfinders, other units- so long as they are not Bulky- can embark on the Devilfish. This means that the various HQ options can mostly accompany a squad of buddies in a ‘Fish, but in emergencies a squad of Kroot can hitch a ride in there as well if they don’t have any weird mutants hanging around with them. Drones, by special exception, are also allowed to embark.

As with all Tau tanks, the onboard Drones have the option to disembark as you would other squads from a transport, moving about to act on their own. As they are not scoring or denial units, preventing some of the shenanigans that were possible last edition, neither do they count as killed units or otherwise count against you- they are entirely suicidal in nature. We’ll come back to them in a bit, but for the time being just keep in mind that small squads of Drones can be incredibly obnoxious to the enemy.

The Devilfish comes with only two native upgrades, the first being swapping the Drones out for a Smart Missile System for 10pts. This is a very cheap price for such an excellent weapon and significantly lowered from the previous edition, but there are some caveats. Since the Devilfish is not Fast, it is not quite so much of an upgrade as one might expect- Drones, since they are their own unit, fire as passengers and thus don’t count towards the vehicle’s quota of weapons, whereas an SMS will force you to snapfire that chin Burst Cannon most of the time. Since both armaments offer four S5 shots, they are very comparable, though the missiles are superior on a number of other fronts (BS3, 30″ range, Homing.) I often don’t take SMS on my vehicles both because of the above factors and because point constraints force me to make cuts and they are one of the earliest. However, some players swear by them, so we will leave it to the reader to make the decision.

Their other option is to purchase Seeker Missiles for 8pts each; since Devilfish generally won’t be in a great position to be launching missiles and aren’t otherwise inclined to be shooting at tanks, these aren’t a particularly attractive purchase overall. They are at least cheaper than the Marine version thanks to BS3, but you have better places to be spending your points if you want anti-tank firepower.

Beyond that, the Devilfish can be upgraded with any of the usual Tau vehicle accessories. The big kid in town is clearly the Disruption Pod; while it might be a bit pricey at 15pts, adding +1 to all your cover saves is very strong and helps keep the tank alive against incoming fire. A 5+ to a 4+ is no insignificant change, and if you Flat Out you end up with a 3+, which should easily deter all but the most dogged (or lucky) shooting. I consider a Disruption Pod to be a requirement for all Devilfish- the chassis simply starts at 95pts and goes from there.

Sensor Spines, at 5pts, are quite cheap and provide a very useful bonus- Move Through Cover lets the Devilfish pass all Dangerous Terrain tests automatically, so you can zip in an out of terrain with impunity. I don’t often invest in them, but as a way to shed 5pts you could certainly do a lot worse- and if you expect a fight on heavy terrain, they might be a very good option indeed. Flechette Discharges can also see some use; they inflict a S4 hit on all models in base contact with the vehicle during the beginning of a fight- they probably won’t save you from dying, but they can sometimes peel off a couple attackers and certain armies (like Tyranids and Orks) will find them very inconvenient indeed. The Automated Repair System, while rather marginal, is at least cheap and might randomly win you a game; it lets you get back a Damaged result from earlier in the game, giving you a gun to fire or letting you scoot to a better spot. Better than a Rhino’s repair rule, but no more likely to work and thus not a strong candidate.

The remaining upgrades are all pretty marginal or worthless- the ability to Overwatch, Precision shots (more expensive than the other version for some reason?!), defense against Interceptor, Night Vision, etc, are all fairly useless to a transport and thus aren’t really worth considering.

Role and Strategies
The Devilfish’s job is very simple: get Fire Warriors where they need to go. AV12 and a 4+ or 3+ save make it a very tough nut to crack and skimmer status allows it to maneuver with the rest of a Tau army while they output firepower. Tau often struggle to keep their troops alive through a game and the Devilfish is one solution to that problem- especially if you have other “hard” targets around to draw attention from it, many opponents will not or cannot afford to shoot your Devilfish in the early turns of the game, and by the final turns it is often too late from getting where they need to. With their relatively bulky chassis, it is quite easy to hide a small squad of Fire Warriors completely out of LoS behind one, often on an objective. And while it may not be unusually fast, crossing the board in a Devilfish is a lot quicker- and safer- than most Tau units trying to do so on foot, so it can be a good way to claim a distant objective.

The Devilfish’s role as a transport can extend to more than just getting troops to objectives, however; in a rather amusing twist of fate, the old 4th Edition tactic dubbed “Fish of Fury” went from rather derpy to rather dangerous thanks to a variety of factors. Although it still shouldn’t be anything like a primary plan of assault, as a hold-out defense against an enemy that has gotten too close it can be rather effective. Enabled by an Ethereal and possibly Markerlights, Through Unity Devastation, or other reroll effects, even just a pair of 9-strong Fire Warriors can put 18+ wounds on a squad of MEQs from point blank range, plus whatever firepower the tanks themselves contribute. (Remember that Drones, since they are not part of the vehicle, benefit from Storm of Fire as well.) With the ability to rain down shots from other parts of the force at a distance and then put a lethal volley of point-blank fire on the survivors, the Devilfish can be a very dangerous contributor to the Tau shooting game. Moreover, should some enemies survive the barrage, they are faced with two bad options: first, go after the actual threat, the Fire Warriors- this will mean a long walk around the Devilfish (which typically operate in pairs to maximize the strategy) and then an even longer attempt at a charge- and with the changes to multicharging, that simply won’t be an option in most cases. Second, assault the Devilfish themselves and then deal with the FW on a subsequent turn- but this still means eating a wave of Supporting Fire from both the FW on foot and the Drones still embarked. (Drones shoot as passengers, remember, and passengers are allowed to fire Overwatch.)

Drone Shenanigans
The Gun Drones attached to a Devilfish bear special mentioning here because they can be the source of endless amusement for you and frustration for your opponents. At a glance, they don’t look like much- some S5 pinning shots on pretty weak frames. However, Fantasy players (as well as some others) may see the value hidden inside- as a cheap (“free,” in fact) disposable squad with good movement, they make the perfect disruption unit. They can hound weakened squads and finish them off, saving you firepower for elsewhere; they can randomly force Pinning or Grounding tests, as any chance for the dice to turn up poorly for the other guy is a good thing for you; and most importantly, they can block movement and assault lanes.

You see, while Gun Drones may not be much of a unit, they still technically are a unit. This means that the enemy must obey the 1″ rule with them, and you can use this to your advantage, especially against armies where a disproportionate amount of firepower is concentrated into a few units (such as with deathstars, etc.) Using their exceptional maneuverability (Jet Pack Infantry), a small unit of Gun Drones can place themselves directly into the face of something that is trying to move towards you or your objectives and just sit there shouting “Hey! Hey! Hey! Pay attention to me! Hey! I’m not touching you, does this bug you? Hey! Listen! Hey!” until they finally get fed up with it and turn some guns on them… at which point they Go to Ground and you hope for some lucky dice. But even if they die then and there, they have already served their purpose- Gun Drones exist to draw attention and delay the enemy, and if they accomplish anything else in the process that is just a bonus. Every inch of ground the enemy is forced to cover to walk around them, every shot that is aimed at them rather than your actual troops is a benefit.

Of course, some armies- such as those with transports- have a lot of distributed firepower and can easily aim some random shots at your Drones until they die, but many others will not, and it is against these that your Gun Drones shine. Other vehicles in the army have access to Drones, but none come so cheaply and ubiquitously as the Devilfish’s.

So what armies actually need Devilfish? Well, unsurprisingly, the foot Tau list is right out the window pretty much by definition. Hybrid lists can do well with the ‘Fish if they have enough other heavy mech and infantry units to keep them from being sole targets- generally some Hammerheads, Skyrays, Broadsides, Riptides, and Crisis can do well here, but don’t forget allied armies that can bring similar chassis- Wave Serpents, Ghost Arks, Annihilation Barges, and other midrange or tougher vehicles complement them well. Also note that the frame of the Devilfish is easily big enough to hide JSJ units behind, so a small school of them can be a great place to hide your Crisis or Stealths.

Mechanized armies, of course, are wholly reliant on the Devilfish; for these, maxing out on armored targets is the obvious goal, whether from Tau or from allies. Here you’re more likely to see larger units of Fire Warriors inside the ‘Fish and thus also see them used as delivery vehicles rather than just metal boxes.

The Devilfish is a strong and flexible transport with both decent firepower and top-notch survivability, but its features do not come cheap and it is not enough for the army to ride on its back alone. Finding success with them requires knowing when you can afford to trade scoring units for firepower and vice versa, not to mention proper use of baiting, maneuver, and refused flank-style tactics. However, in the right army the Devilfish can soundly refute the meme of transports being dead in 6th edition, making it a valuable addition to the Tau armory.

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...

82 responses to Tau Codex Review: Devilfish

I've said it before, and I'll say it again; the Devilfish sucks.

For what it gets you, the idea of the chassis 'starting at 95 points' is outrageous. Its shooting is literally nothing special, just more of the exact same S5 AP5, but much of it at considerably shorter ranges. No special weapons to support the Fire Warriors inside, no melta or plasma or even S6 to try and pop Rhinos so Fire Warriors can volley into the squishier Marines inside. AV11 on its rather considerable side armour means it's not all that tough, and while being a skimmer is nice for the Jink, its only real defence is that it's not actually a threat, so decent generals will just leave it while concentrating on the units that actually put out decent firepower. At 95 points this thing is worth almost 11 Firewarriors, but you'd never know that from its shooting capabilities.

As for the drones, the fact that they can never score or contest now is the nail in their coffin. Sure, you can use them to bop around, harassing people if you feel like it, but unless you're facing one-unit Draigowing the enemy will probably be able to find a couple of spare infantry models to deal with two T4/4+ models before having to devote any of their big guns to it.

And while I know it's considered bad form to compare across codexes, look at every other skimmer transport in the game; they're either cheaper or tougher, either have firing slits or superior weaponry. The Devilfish sits in the middle of every axis when it comes to these things, right where nothing is strong enough to be good. It's too weak for its costs, too expensive to be spammed, too poorly armed to carry the army and too slow (for not being Fast) to offer mobile firepower. It's just a failure of an option from every angle; if you really need to get a unit across the board, spend five more points, get Darkstrider, and just Outflank right into the enemy's deployment zone on Turn 2.

I completely disagree.

I think puppy is fairly on the money. Tau struggle with mobility and fishes provide it. They allow you to better utilise your firepower. They allow some funky tricks like deploying close to an enemy obj turn 4 and shooting, then popping a stubborn bubble to contest or slingshot in a stubborn commander.

It’s not about fire power, it’s about board control and winning the conditions.

just correct your post to read "Fire warriors struggle with mobility" as in general, Tau do not struggle with mobility.

Exactly so. I'll talk about this one some more in the Kroot article, and there will also be an article entirely about Tau's scoring woes- and how to solve them- at some point as well.

You solve them by playing farsight XD

Now honestly, the fish aint THAT bad, its just…not enough.
If it came with stock pod in its 80 points, costed less from the firstplace, had the hammerhead body (well, its the same model, would make sense), or came with an intresting gun, then it might be worth it.
But as it is, rare is the case that you would have enough spare points to use one. its just, as someone said, TOO balanced between perks, being average on everything.

I think the biggest problem is that, with the inclusion of allies, Tau just have so many better options for mobile scoring. Off the top of my head, DA Wave Serpents, Marine Razorbacks, and Chimeras are all better values bringing better firepower and/or greater survivability at a fraction of the cost.

Nothing you list has greater survivability, particularly on a point/point basis.

More importunately though, nothing you listed can carry Fire Warriors.

So? Fire Warriors aren't the only units that can take and hold objectives for you.

And the Wave Serpent has much greater survivability than a Devilfish (+1 side armour, Serpent Shield) while also offering far greater utility (Fast, longer ranged/higher strength weaponry).

Thats not far more – thats situational.

Serpent shield won't be up many many times, because you use it to kill stuff. Or its useless because you get glanced to death anyway.

+1 sidearmor isn't all that fancy either.

In terms of survivability the difference is marginal at best and thus covered by the difference in points. Considering his mobility and shooting the Serpent still surpasses our Devilfish with ease but it has to pay a pricetag for the mentioned superiority.

I stick with Farsight Crisis as mobile troops for now 😉

The fact that is is a skimmer and has turret-mounted weapons (or just doesn't care about shooting) makes it much harder, if hardly impossible, for the enemy to take advantage of AV11. Even if they do, you still have that 4+/3+ protecting you, which is pretty rough.

It doesn't have particularly excellent firepower, but it still outguns a basic Razorback chassis and is arguably better than the TLAC version, which comes pretty close in cost while being worse in basically every measurable way.

>spend five more points, get Darkstrider, and just Outflank right into the enemy's deployment zone on Turn 2

And then get shot by Bolters, die horribly, and realize that Fire Warriors on foot are an incredibly vulnerable unit and need some form of protection- hence the Devilfish.

I'm not arguing the Devilfish is a fantastic deal- I wince every time I have to write down those 95pts in an army list. Putting it side-by-side with the Wave Serpent is just stupid. But, like the Tyrannofex in 5th Edition, it is a necessary evil in the army list, and given how much other good stuff Tau have I can live with the Devilfish being a bit mediocre. It won't be a staple of all or even most Tau lists, but it enables a mechanized build that I feel is pretty strong and for hybrid lists it is a useful option to have.

The fact that Crisis and other units can hide behind it, Drones can play harassment duty, etc, are all just bonus features.

"it still outguns a basic Razorback chassis and is arguably better than the TLAC version"

A naked Devilfish is twice as expensive as a basic Razorback, two of which it does not outgun, and five points more than the TLAC version, which has a superior weapon. And I don't know about you, but I don't see many people fielding either. I see Rhinos and Chimeras for their cheapness, and Battlewagons and Land Raiders and for their toughness, and Wave Serpents for their weapons (and their toughness, because Wave Serpents are ridiculous), and Raiders and Night Scythes and Vendettas and Stormravens for their mobility. The Devilfish has none of those; it's not even remotely cheap, it's not (especially) tough, it has a pathetically underwhelming weapon loadout, and it's not especially mobile for a skimmer.

I will admit that the Darkstrider comment was facetious; between the Commander and either an Ethereal or a Fireblade, you won't have the HQ slot to spare anyway. However, for the same price as a naked Devilfish you can get 11 Kroot, who not only can just appear on the far side of the table as needed without having to weather a turn or two of shooting, but will actually score and earn Linebreaker once they get there, neither of which the Devilfish can accomplish. Aside from hiding an Ethereal from Guard artillery-sniping, I just honestly can not see any reason why you would choose to take a Devilfish over more bodies, with more guns.

Because it's resilient, much more so than eleven Kroot. Eleven Kroot can fail a morale check and disappear very easily; a skimmer with 3+ cover not so much so. I said it in the article and I'll say it again: the Devilfish is a troop transport, first and foremost. It exists to protect your Fire Warriors above all else. Rated on that capacity, the Devilfish is an acceptable unit that does what it needs to.

^^ This. It's resiliency per point is fantastic. Maybe the best transport in this category in the game, although the Ghost Arc is close. Considering its primary goal is to transport and protect FWs, these are particularly important details.

Except 'this category', namely, transports that are only for actually physically transporting and protecting a unit, is basically non-existent. Rhinos and Trukks are the only transports I can think of that are strictly for transport, and they reflect that by being cheap enough to spam and throw away, while Ghost Arks are the only 'protection only' transport, and not only does it offer much greater protection (13/13/10 vs 12/11/10) while also being a skimmer, it's open-topped, allowing the Necron player to make use of it as a firing platform. The Devilfish is by no stretch of the imagination cheap enough to throw away, and with no firing points cannot be used as a protected firing point for the models inside.

What are the best transports in the game? Discounting the flyers, which are their own unique thing and which, notably, there has been not one new one released in 6th to date, it's either things that are cheap and spammable (Rhinos, Chimeras) or things that are incredibly resilient (Wave Serpents, Ghost Arks, Battlewagons). There's a reason for that; being 'resilient per point' is meaningless if your points are high but not too high (you pay more for the Wave Serpent and Ghost Ark, but they're much tougher), because all it means is you're an expensive second-tier option, particularly if you bring no meaningful firepower with you nor a platform for the squad being transported to contribute their own firepower.

And while the Devilfish's 'primary goal' (really its only goal, given vehicle rule changes in 6th) may be to transport and protect Fire Warriors, I still maintain that this is a pointless goal. If you need resilient scoring units, you can get much better out of either of Tau's battle brother options alone, and if all you want are bodies downfield you can just throw some Kroot on the board and force your enemy to split his anti-infantry firepower while your Fire Warriors advance.

I would have to disagree that "resilience per point" is a meaningless measure. Would the Wave Serpent still be good if it were 200 or 250pts? Obviously not. Cost matters, and a Devilfish is only somewhat less tough than a Wave Serpent at 2/3 the cost. Now, obviously you're losing a lot there in terms of firepower, but again: the Devilfish exists to keep your troops alive.

>I still maintain that this is a pointless goal. If you need resilient scoring units, you can get much better out of either of Tau's battle brother options alone

You can only take two scoring units from an ally, and in many games two scoring units isn't really enough. Moreover, if you're Tau primary, you HAVE to take Tau troops. It's not a matter of "well I will just use something else instead," you are required to take them- it's not an option. At that point, you need to be looking at how you can make your Tau-side scoring units viable; there are a number of different options in that regard, and Devilfish are one of them. Running Devilfish alongside other mechanized options, such as Wave Serpents, is complementary in effect (you think they're gonna shoot 'Fish before Serpents? lolno), much more so than having fragile FW on foot or even Kroot (if all the rest of your list is mechanized.)

Devilfish aren't the only Tau option; they're not even the first choice. But they are a _viable_ option for lists and one that serves a good purpose.

>if all you want are bodies downfield you can just throw some Kroot on the board and force your enemy to split his anti-infantry firepower while your Fire Warriors advance.

It really doesn't take much firepower to clear out either Kroot or FW when they're on foot, unless they spend all their time going to ground, and you can't really afford to do that every time the other guy gets five Bolter wounds on you. The thirteen Kroot you get for the price of a Devilfish will die much easier to most kinds of firepower than the Devilfish will.

I didn't say resilience per point was a meaningless concept. What I said was, it's meaningless when the unit in question is expensive, but not incredibly expensive, because in that specific case what it means is that you have an expensive mid-tier option. And as an aside, just what metric are we using, exactly, to determine when an option is resilient for its points? Is the cheap-but-fragile Rhino more or less resilient per point than the tough-but-pricey Wave Serpent? And how do they compare to the Stormraven, with its melta-immunity and the protection afforded by being a flyer?

"You can only take two scoring units from an ally, and in many games two scoring units isn't really enough."

Hang on, two mobile scoring options, backed up by Fire Warriors on your side of the table, and suits to contest, isn't enough? Why does your entire army -need- to be able to get to the other side of the table by Turn 3?

"It really doesn't take much firepower to clear out either Kroot or FW when they're on foot"

It actually does, especially if you're not stupid with your Kroot and bring them in with cover between them and the largest amount of anti-infantry firepower (even better if you can bring them straight into area terrain, but that's not always viable). Particularly if you have an Ethereal hanging around to buff their LD, getting rid of three or four squads of Fire Warriors, properly supported by battlesuits and tanks, with a couple squads of Kroot suddenly appearing on the edges of the opponents' deployment zone to boot, can be a lot to ask of any army. Putting 5 bolter wounds on a Fire Warrior squad (2.5 of which they'll shrug off, anyway) requires almost a dozen Marines at full range, or six at rapid fire, and since Fire Warriors will always get to shoot first, nevermind ion cannons and ion accelerators, why are you advancing into that many bolters in the first place?

> And as an aside, just what metric are we using, exactly, to determine when an option is resilient for its points

That's not really an answerable question and I think you know it. I can cite how many Autocannon or Meltagun or Lascannon shots a respective platform takes, on average, to destroy a tank or whatever, but that's not going to be a satisfying answer for you at all.

>Hang on, two mobile scoring options, backed up by Fire Warriors on your side of the table, and suits to contest, isn't enough

Fire Warriors are pretty fragile, and suits contesting enemy objectives is not always reliable in the face of melee combat. Tyranids, Daemons, etc, are more than happy to melee a Riptide to death if you throw it at them. You need redundancy of scoring units to consistently claim enough objectives to win.

>It actually does, especially if you're not stupid….

The number of Ignore Cover and Barrage weapons flying around these days is pretty huge- Fire Warriors have a limited resilience to this, but will still crumple fairly quickly. T3/4+ just isn't that much better than a Guardsman, especially not at twice the price, and Ld7 is very weak. Sure, you can bring an Ethereal along, but that has disadvantages of its own and doesn't automatically cover the whole board, nor is he guaranteed to be alive at the end.

Cover saves are great, but in 6th Edition they are not something you can simply assume that you will automatically get all the time the way you pretty much could in 5th. Templates, barrage, Markerlights, Focus Fire, etc, all give very accessible ways to bypass cover, and most armies are bringing at least one of those things to the table.

>>That's not really an answerable question and I think you know it.

This. I generally refer to it as a "resiliency matrix" as different weapon profiles will hit different defensive stats…differently. You kind of have to look at the whole picture and weigh it some what intuitively against the meta you will face. In short, though, the Ghost Arc and Fish are at the top, in terms or transports.

>>. Cover saves … Templates, barrage, Markerlights, Focus Fire, etc,

Not to mention CC, an option all codexes have at their disposal (all though many tend to ignore).

Which is all well and good, but I'm not the one who brought up 'resiliency per point' in the first place. If you can't actually define or demonstrate a term, perhaps you shouldn't be using and defending it.

I just did define it. I'm just pointing out its not a simple number that I can throw into a comment. It's a matrix. With lots of numbers. It's very easy to calculate and determine for yourself though.

I did know it, which is why I brought it up; talking about 'resiliency per point' is a perfectly meaningless bit of babble because there's no actual matrix and no way to objectively evaluate the resiliency a vehicle will have given the staggering multiplicity of threats available to it. It's rather bad form to defend your choice with a term you can't actually define or explain.

If you're playing an objective-heavy game against horde-Nids, you've basically lost; you need to concentrate on the secondaries and simply try and contest as hard as possible. Tau just can not out-score an army that can take three units of fairly tough MCs that can all make 3D6 new scoring models every turn, and with no CC to effectively sweep entire units off the board in one fell swoop they also can't really clear the table, either. To play Tau, even with our fancy new codex, is to know when you can crush your enemy and win big, and when you'll need to play smart and fight for the draw or the victory on secondaries.

And there aren't really 'huge' numbers of Ignores Cover and Barrage weapons flying around, there's more or less the same. What new barrage weapons have been introduced that see heavy use? Aside from the Heldrake, what radical new Ignores Cover weapon has taken the 40K world by storm? The AP- Serpent Shield? Guard have the biggest access to these goodies, and they're taking them in the same numbers they always have, because those weapons got neither better nor worse; which is to say, in large or small or no amounts, depending entirely on the kind of Guard army you're looking at.

>>is a perfectly meaningless bit of babble because there's no actual matrix

Actually, there is. It's really easy to put together yourself. Seriously, have you never seen one of these before?

>>Aside from the Heldrake, what radical new Ignores Cover weapon has taken the 40K world by storm?

You mean the entire Tau Codex? Are you just arguing for arguing sake at this point?

That exaggeration is so gross as to verge on the outright mendacious. The 'entire Tau codex' does not have Ignores Cover weapons; they have three such weapons, two of them very short ranged, and none of these ignore Fire Warrior armour saves. Now, you can use Pathfinders to give Ignores Cover to better weapons, but in a Tau-on-Tau battle you're basically just ensuring that Game Turn 1 is going to be an absolute apocalypse for the Pathfinders, with none of them left standing by the end of the turn because they're a fragile link in the cadre's chain.

And no, I can't say I have ever seen this much-storied 'resiliency per point' matrix. Which I trust gives some idea as to why I give so little credence to the idea that this unproduced document totally proves that you and AP are completely right and I'm entirely wrong. :p

The entire Tau Codex has access to ignore cover through Marker Lights. Your histrionics not withstanding.

>>And no, I can't say I have ever seen this much-storied 'resiliency per point' matrix.

And I can't say I have actually seen a quasar or a positron, mere figments of scientists imagination, right?

>talking about 'resiliency per point' is a perfectly meaningless bit of babble because there's no actual matrix

Oh, come on now- you're saying that because I can't produce a set of charts on demand the term has no meaning? Alright, then, I demand you produce a set of charts quantifying the value of scoring units. Do it, I dare you, or otherwise you have to admit that there is no value to having a scoring presence in your army.

Resilience of a model as measured against its cost is a perfectly valid metric; it's one of the reasons that the Vendetta and Heldrake are both so powerful- they are comparatively cheap and very hard to get rid of. The Devilfish may not sit on quite the same scale as those heavyweights, but You are hard-pressed to find a tougher troop transport in the game. Its cost is certainly not awe-inspiring, but neither is it crippling.

>If you're playing an objective-heavy game against horde-Nids, you've basically lost

That… isn't really true at all. I'm not sure why you would say this; have you not actually played horde Tyranids with Tau, mech or otherwise? I assure you it's quite winnable- in fact, I would even call it a pretty favorable matchup. Skyrays make short work of Tervigons, and detonating two (or even three, if you're lucky) of them first turn will really swing a matchup.

>What new barrage weapons have been introduced that see heavy use
>Aside from the Heldrake, what radical new Ignores Cover weapon has taken the 40K world by storm?

Thunderfire Cannons, Griffons, Colossi, various Eldar monofilament weapons, and Hawk grenade packs are all pretty relevant. As far as Ignores Cover goes… well, discounting the Heldrake and Serpent Shield in one fell swoop is pretty ridiculous in and of itself, but there's also the ever-present Markerlights as well as Perfect Timing, all of which are kinda important in the current tournament scene.

I'm saying that because you're throwing around a term in defence of your argument that you haven't actually demonstrated proves your argument, it's a meaningless concept as far as I'm concerned; you're not going to convince me that Devilfish are good because of their 'high resiliency per point' rating while the only proof I have of this rating is you telling me it exists.

" Skyrays make short work of Tervigons"

A single Skyray has exactly as many seeker missiles as are necessary to deal exactly as many wounds as a single Tervigon has, meaning if you miss with any of your shots, or roll even a single 1 to wound, or the Tyranid player isn't so dumb as to not put the edge of the Tervigon's base in some area terrain to shrug off a third of those wounds, you're not going to be able to take it down. I personally would hardly consider 'need everything to go perfectly to kill' to be synonymous with 'make short work of'.

Alright, I'll give you the Eldar weapons, and the Thunderfire Cannon, as they've just been updated. But again, Griffins and Colossuses aren't new, they've been there since the Guard ccodex was written in 2008. And yes, I do discount the Serpent Shield as being an anti-infantry Ignores Cover weapon of considerable importance, because it's D6+1 AP- shots. A Wave Serpent is really going to drop its immunity to penetrating hits, against Tau, in order to kill, what, two, maybe three Fire Warriors? And in a Tau-on-Tau matchup, which is the only time markerlights would be an issue against Tau, you're basically just going to ensure not a single Pathfinder survives past Turn 1, so no, markerlights are not going to be hugely reliable across the entire army once you're down to a couple on the odd Skyray and maybe some marker drones attached to suit squads.

>>Turn 1, so no, markerlights are not going to be hugely reliable across the entire army once you're down to a couple on the odd Skyray and maybe some marker drones attached to suit squads.

That's enough ML to ignore cover for ~2 primary salvos per turn, ie, enough to cover a 'tide/'sides salvo. It's pretty relevant.

>I'm saying that because you're throwing around a term in defence of your argumen

Would you also deny that "firepower per point" is a meaningful term? Because I don't really see any difference between the two, and both of them are pretty commonly measured stats.

>A single Skyray has exactly as many seeker missiles as are necessary to deal exactly as many wounds as a single Tervigon has,

Cast Prescience/Guide on Skyray; shoot Markerlights, two hits expected, fire all missiles with Ignore Cover (plus SMS), ~6+4 hits expected. Fail to wound with one of them, shoot… well, basically anything else in the army at it. Problem solved.

A Skyray that "only" deals five wounds to a Tervigon is still doing most of the work in killing it.

>But again, Griffins and Colossuses aren't new, they've been there since the Guard ccodex was written in 2008

You asked what weapons had gained in popularity recently, and I told you.

>A Wave Serpent is really going to drop its immunity to penetrating hits, against Tau, in order to kill, what, two, maybe three Fire Warriors

Uh… yes it will? Tau aren't actually that great at penetrating AV12 these days since they don't bring six or nine S10 guns to the table every game. Missilesides will pretty easily ping the Serpent to death, Shields or not, so they need to be frontloading damage to bring down priority targets. (They are probably shooting at Broadsides, not Fire Warriors.)

>you're basically just going to ensure not a single Pathfinder survives past Turn 1, so no, markerlights are not going to be hugely reliable

Okay, at this point it's clear you haven't actually played against Tau. Dismissing Skyrays and Marker Drones offhandedly while assuming the ML hits come from Pathfinders is just silly.

"Cast Prescience/Guide…"

So, now we're assuming that Eldar Allies come standard for a Tau army? Because the entire point of your Devilfish review seemed to be that it was, a, absolutely essential to get resilient scoring models across the table quickly and b, there were simply no other options available to the Tau player to do so. If you have Farseers around to buff your Skyray, why would you need to worry about sending Fire Warriors across the table when you can send Windrider Jetbikes out instead?

And if you need to dedicate a Farseer to buffing the Skyray to be confident it will do 'most' of the work in killing a single Tervigon (which I notice is still hanging out in the middle of Planet Cueball… ^_~), I still don't think you can really claim they can 'make short work of' them, especially not two to three a turn.

>So, now we're assuming that Eldar Allies come standard for a Tau army? Because the entire point of your Devilfish review seemed to be that it was,

Ha ha, wait, do you wanna argue with me about whether Tyranids are a tough matchup for Mech Tau or do you wanna argue about whether Devilfish are a good unit? Because you're mixing and matching the two pretty wildly here.

>which I notice is still hanging out in the middle of Planet Cueball…

You did notice the part where I used both Markerlight hits to get Ignore Cover, right? Or do you regularly play with BLOS terrain that is big enough to hide a Tervigon from multiple angles? If so, I might suggest that is the problem, not 'Nids being an unbeatable matchup.

>especially not two to three a turn.

Two Skyrays, with Guide/Prescience on them, average around ten wounds to T6/3+ targets. If the other 1500pts of your army can't AT LEAST finish off those two Tervigons and possibly nab a third in the bargain, you have a shitty army or the other guy's dice are on fire.

I want to argue about both. 3++ is a competitive site for competitive players; it's TAC lists, not tailored lists, around here, is it not? So, why is it that when you're discussing the Devilfish it's a solid 'Recommended' because there's just no other mobile scoring available, and when you're discussing fighting Tyranids all of a sudden there are Eldar Allies built right into the underlying assumption of the list? If Allies, why Devilfish and not Windriders; if no Allies, Sky Rays are a heck of a lot less reliable at killing a Tervigon in a single salvo.

I will admit, however, that yes, I totally missed that you used the hypothetical markerlights to give the Sky Ray Ignores Cover. Total brainfart on my part. My bad, sir.

>I want to argue about both

Okay, that's fine, but they are two different things and you're just intermingling them.

>If Allies, why Devilfish and not Windriders

Because, as I've said before, you can only have two allied troops. If I could trade all of my Devilfish full of Fire Warriors for Wave Serpents full of Guardians? You damn well bet I would, but I can't if I want to take more than one Riptide or Skyray.

There are better units out there than the Devilfish; I'm not denying that. But there aren't any better units in the Tau codex for what it does, and that's what we're looking at here- the Tau codex. Options for allies expand but do not replace our native troops, so we have to look at what we can do with those troops to make a list functional. In a mechanized list, a Devilfish is superior to breaking out saturation with FW or Kroot on foot. In a hybrid list, the ability to get troops across the table and keep them alive in the face of the heavy anti-infantry firepower than can be expected in the current environment is also valuable.

Well with the Razorback now being 55pts with heavy bolter (75pts still with upgraded weapon) it now seems that the Devilfish isnt massively overcosted in comparison. I'm still undecided on the comparison with Chimeras but personally think the Rhino with its ultra cheap cost is still the transport of choice.

Unfortunately (as mentioned above) I think the main problem for the Devilfish is allies. It sits in the middle of the expensive and very shooty/durable wave serpent and the incredibly cheap Rhino. a DF with DP upgrade costs nearly as much as 3 rhino transports and if you are going SM allies you are better off with SM objective grabbers over firewarriors. If going pure Tau the DF becomes an option out of necessity. Even Farsight allies gives you mobile objective takers in your crisis suits.

the problem with comparing the cost of the devilfish with three rhinos is that you cant get either without first buying a unit for them to transport.

True but with the now reduced costs for tac marines 12 firewarriors in a DF is comparable (points wise) to 10 tac marines in a rhino. I know which I'd prefer as my objective takers in midfield.

But it's not always an either/or; if you're playing Tau, you have to take some Tau troops. If you're pushing a mechanized or hybrid strategy, you have an incentive to at least consider running your troops in a Devilfish.

But how often do you actually see people toting around Razorbacks? One, maybe, but for the most part (in my experience) it's either a bunch of Rhinos for their cheapness and firing platform ability, or a Land Raider or two for their sheer rock hard-ness. Or Stormraven, because flying transports with AV12 all around and TL-melta/AC are pretty solid. The fact that people keep comparing the Devilfish to the Razorback is kind of telling, because in neither case are we talking about particularly great vehicles. The only real difference is that there are plenty of non-Razorback options for Marines, whereas Tau just get stuck with their own, underwhelming choice.

And yeah, Allies really kills the Devilfish. Considering AP is constantly going on about how 3++ is a competitive blog for competitive players wanting to run competitive armies, it astounds me that he could speak so highly of such an uncompetitive choice. You need mobile scoring platforms? Take Eldar for Wave Serpents or jetbikes, or Marines for drop pods or Rhinos, or Guard for Chimeras. There are way, way better options out there, that come with additional bonuses on top of that, too. If you want to run a pure Tau force for fluffy reasons (which, no judgement, I do that myself) and simply must have mobile scoring, then you'll need to Devilfish, yes. But that will never be the best possible option available to you, and it's weird to hear such a sub-par option being touted so relatively optimistically.

Well I was only mentioning razorbacks in reply to your comment above. I wasn't suggesting they are a much used unit.

"A naked Devilfish is twice as expensive as a basic Razorback, two of which it does not outgun"

It's more like one and a half times the cost and it probably does have 1 &1/2 times the firepower. I'm still not suggesting the DF is great, allies ruin it for me and I'd rather take SM in Rhinos. I don't think I've even fielded a DF since the new book came out. I often cant fit them in. Off topic I don't think the Razorback is worth it either for 20pts more than a Rhino, not with just the addition of a TL heavy bolter.

It sounds like we're largely agreed, then; the fact that the Devilfish is largely comparable to the Razorback doesn't say good things about the Devilfish, it says bad things about the Razorback.

Hm I beg to differ.

How many people take a Razorback for its 6 man transport capacy? *cough* 12pointsAcolytheunlocktax
How many people take Deilfish for their awsome S5 shooting?

The Razorback is a gun that happens to be a transport.
The Devilfish is a transport that happens to have a gun.

They are not compareable.

I think you're just uncomfortable with AP having an opinion that is different from "this is shit! Do. Not. Take!" =)

he also didn't mention the turtle-fish shennanigan game. Take that dp-fish, move it. drop the contents out and have them shoot. then, flat out the devilfish back in front of them. it gets 3-up save, the behind models are likely out of los. Ta-dah! This is also pretty helpful for crisis suits as well, as the devilfish is big enough for them to hide behind, and protects against crappy assault-move rolls.

Sorry, but that's not legal. You can't move and flat-out the turn infantry disembarks. If you could, one could do the same thing with rhinos: Move, disembark, shoot, then move the rhino in front of them to completely screen them. Now if I wasn't a lazy person I would look up which page of the Rulebook this is found, but I'm lazy I'm afraid.

Thats actually not a legal trick. Per pg 79 (under the rules for disembarking):

"If the vehicle had not moved before the unit disembarked, the vehicle can then move normally. If the vehicle had already moved before the unit disembarked, the vehicle **cannot move further** (including pivoting on the spot) that turn."

If the vehicle moves before it drops off troops it cannot move flat out that turn.

That being said its perfectly fair to disembark troops from a transport that did not move; shoot; and then have the transport flat-out after that.

"Powersliding" also evokes the image of your tank commanders playing wicked guitar riffs while their huge, poofy hair blows in the wind and pyrotechnics erupt around them, which is awesome.

Has there been an article about any kind of approximate ratio of mech to foot units that makes a hybrid list without leaning too far one way or the other?

No as it really depends on which army you are talking about and what points level you are talking about and where the the points are also going.

An Eldar list for example could easily have 60% of its points tied up into vehicles and its not a bad list. Space Marines though? Not so good, etc.

In the end it's too hard a ballpark to really put a figure onto.

I think he was talking about in terms of whether you consider a list to be Foot, Mech, or Hybrid. Like, is it still Mech if you've got one PathFinder team out there Scouting ahead, or is that enough to make it Hybrid?

As Kirby says, the definition will be fluid, even in in the situation you talk about. I would call the army you describe still mech, but kinda stupid for introducing a single foot element into itself. 😛

The definition of a hybrid army is essentially any army that mixes both mechanized and foot elements, but within that context we can talk about different degrees of effectiveness in using that paradigm. For example, a list with Terminators, tough transports, and MCs across its slots is hybrid and does it well because it forces the enemy to use the same sorts of guns to deal with all of its units. On the other hand, a hybrid list of GEQs, Land Raiders, and flyers I would argue does not synergize well with itself, since you need distinctly different guns for each type of unit.

Foot, mech, or hybrid are only very broad descriptions of a list- my "mech" Tau army isn't properly a mech list, since it runs two Riptides in support of the tanks, but functionally it is closer to pure mechanized than hybrid, hence my calling it such. The way a list functions and how it presents its targets to the enemy will be the main determining factors in classifying it moreso than how many of which units it lays down on the table. For example, 5E-style Grey Knight lists were often "mechanized" in the sense of running lots of transports, but played like hybrid armies, as you generally disembarked from those transports to shoot at the enemy.

Now that i think about it, wouldn't one or two DF be extremely useful at giving the enemy cover for the purpose of focus fire? You could flat-out a DF with troops towards a target to give half the enemy unit cover saves for your other shooting Tau to make use of.

You could then focus fire that unit, with other Tau, while being an annoying 3+ CS blocking unit for their moving troops. The enemy commander, on his turn, can either choose to shoot at your DF, or ignore it and go around it. Either way, it's a win-win. Then next turn, if your DF is still floating, you can unload it and add lots of shooting from the FW within.

I wonder how feasible that is.

It's a pretty legit tactic, although you would need enough other shooting units of the right types (i,e, that can't just see over the 'Fish, as a Riptide can) to take proper advantage of.

Still, it's a very nice use of Focus Fire and other 6E rules.

Provided the opponent isn’t actually standing in cover already, which most players try to do. Vehicle blocking to snipe models occasionally comes up though. I think it’s usually better when ignoring a tanking character

Even when they;re in cover, you can use the 'Fish's large chassis to block LoS to models you don't to target, allowing you to selectively kill off squads.

Shenanigans like this where why "pull casualties in LOS" were removed from the 5E rules, but apparently GW wanted to bring them back. 😛

Tau struggle moving scoring units up the board and keeping them alive. Period. Outflanking Kroot or FW is cute, but they just don't survive long enough to do anything meaningful – maybe, maybe grab a Linebreaker VP if they don't come in until Turn 4, but even then, doubtful. The Devilfish isn't the best of a bad choice, it's the only choice for a pure Tau list, if you decide you actually want to go mobile. There's two other choices that really need to be considered;

a) allies. Especially Eldar. Swap 6 FW for 3 jetbikes and bingo, fast mobile scoring. Leave them in reserve for a bit, then have them rage over to where you need them.
b) don't go mobile. This sounds counter-intuitive, but it can be done fairly effectively, and the bulk of the work is done prior to Turn 1.

If you are smart about where you place objectives, you can hold one in a static firebase and force your opponent to put his guys in LOS of your shooters if he wants to claim them. Make use of the 12" bubble around an objective to stop him placing his objectives in good spots (ie, place your objective 10" away from his ideal spot, denying him that safe objective position). Couple that with good denial units, and you can hold one objective and deny the others. I use a 3 man Crisis team for that, two with plasma/plasma and one Raven setup. Great for dropping behind the enemy and clearing small squads off objectives.

Some food for thought anyway. Devilfish, in my mind, just aren't cost-effective enough to earn a place in my lists.

There are lots of lists that don't use Devilfish, and shouldn't- I think foot Tau (with some kind of ally) is one of the stronger builds available right now, and it has absolutely no use for them at all. Likewise, depending on your ally choices you may not have much interest in them, either.

However, I disagree on the "hold one, deny the others" plan. That was entirely viable in 5E, when you could Tank Shock with impunity onto those objectives in midfield, but in 6E when you can expect the other guy to start 48" away from your objectives a lot of cases and you don't have those cheap, disposable transports to do the job, I don't think it's really a very good option. What if the other guy starts with more objectives than you? What if he's got the tarpit units to keep you off his objectives? You can't rely on that aggressive of a plan as Tau I don't think. Like all other armies, Tau need enough troops to claim multiple objectives on both their own and the enemy's side of the field.

my buddy, the guy who introduced me to 40k, was master of the fish of fury and using the little drones as annoying bastards.

anyway, nice article. sure, the devilfish isnt the best transport, but its not like the tau have many options in the regard (which is sort of odd for the army billed as the mobile shooty force)

my buddy, the guy who introduced me to 40k, was master of the fish of fury and using the little drones as annoying bastards.

anyway, nice article. sure, the devilfish isnt the best transport, but its not like the tau have many options in that regard (which is sort of odd for the army billed as the mobile shooty force)

It actually makes a certain sense, fluff-wise. Everything else is mobile; drones, flyers, tanks, suits. But since Tau don't have a tactical doctrine built around taking and holding ground, their line warriors don't need to be able to rapidly redeploy to seize some arbitrary point on the map. They pick their ambush positions and open fire, forcing the enemy to keep their heads down, while everything else bounces around picking apart particularly bits and pieces of the enemy force, and the enemy either breaks and falls back, or rallies, and the Fire Warriors just leg it out of there while they're still disoriented.

Unfortunately, this is one of those times when the rules follow the fluff to the detriment of the rules.


Though why the expendable robot drones couldn't be fearless (at least when in a drone-only squad) is beyond me.

Yeah, the drones sort of go in entirely the opposite direction; you'd think they'd either be Fearless (to represent their pre-programmed total dedication to the Greater Good) or even get to pass or fail morale checks at their choice (to represent their cold logical appraisal of the situation). Instead, they're just as cowardly as the rest of the Empire without an Ethereal around to hold their pulse carbines for them.

Same reason Necrons tend not to be Fearless, because they are programmed to be rational. And They Shall Know No Fear would be better called "Fearless But Not Stupid."

Pg 55 of the TE:C reveals why they are so cowardly, "So deeply do the Tau believe in the Greater Good, that even their drones are programmed with self-preservation protocols – in the face of what the AI deems to be hopeless odds, the drones will attempt to escape."

Not even gun drones are considered to be disposable if it can be helped. It is consistent with Tau fighting style, and probably not GRIMDARK enough for most.

Actually, that greater good comment confused me.

So deeply do the Riptide pilots believe in the greater good, that they will sacrifice themselves for it.
So deeply do the Tau believe in the greater good, that they will not even sacrifice hardware for it.


-shrugs-. I'd agree, but it just feels like the people writing the fluff for both of them didn't really talk to each other.

You can actually finesse that into something that works.

The Tau believe in the Greater Good, and the value of all individuals in their service to said Greater Good. So, they refuse to get into the institutional habit of constructing completely expendable units, even drones, because that undermines the idea of equals struggling together to achieve a united goal. That being said, because they understand that the Greater Good is ultimately of more importance than the life of any single individual, Riptide pilots are willing to make the choice to sacrifice themselves in furtherance of the larger objectives of the species. It comes down to the difference between sacrificing an unwilling group and allowing an individual to sacrifice himself.

As an aside, I've always felt that the Tau were likely not to have the kind of problems with AI that the other races have had for just that reason. The Ethereals interpretation of the Greater Good basically makes everyone equally valuable and equally expendable at the same time, so you can't really construct an institutional system of oppression for AI in the way humans did during the Dark Age of Technology. Since Tau AI are no more or less slaves than biological Tau, the AI wouldn't have the liberty-based philosophy available that drives so many oppressed robot uprisings.

That's my interpretation of the Greater Good, also.

No one is FORCING you to fight, like the Imperial Guard. Even the drones must be willing, and must have the chance to get away if the situation allows for it.

However, knowing you have the choice (the command even), to retreat when needed, willingly sacrificing YOURSELF for the Good of All is the highest honor you can pay to the ideals of the Greater Good.

It is a sad truth to know that someone must die for the others to live, such is the way of war. Better it be a willing sacrifice, who knows through his death his comrades live on, then a poor soul who's only other choice is death from his own commissar.

The Tau do no believe in holding territory when fighting. That is why the do hit and runs.

The sign of a good commander, is one that knows when to retreat to save lives and to gain a better advantage. I believe the codex, or puretide himself mentions this. That is why drones run away. Beep boop.