So, Tim over at The Tau of War has found quite the lovely little gem. It's a video codex review put out by Beast of War, and of course since it's popping up on Tau of War and now my own, almost-exclusively-Tau-concerned blog, obviously it's a review of Codex: Tau Empire.
And it is simply awful.
It's awful for a variety of reasons, really, but you can basically boil it down to three main problems. The two guys doing the review, Darrell and Andy, don't know the units; they don't understand the units' roles; and no offence to all my power armoured brothers and sisters out there, but they are clearly Marine players to the core.
The first problem is as obvious as it is massive, namely, these guys haven't even got the basic rules of the units down. Their advice on the 'best' build for an XV8 crisis suit, for instance, is jaw-droppingly awful, namely twin-linked plasma rifles and "the thrusters that allow them to jump up and jump back down again to get a free move in the assault phase." They then dismiss any other loadout because the rest of the weapons "are all virtually pointless," being "all AP5, pulse rifle, carbine, pistol" weapons. Pulse pistols? On an XV8 battlesuit? Good lord! They think every battlesuit can buy three upgrades, because apparently XV15/25 stealth suits and XV88 broadsides aren't battlesuits. And speaking of stealths, they think XV15/25 stealth suits can take "some of the better weapons, with better AP," despite scoffing at fusion blasters on XV8s not five minutes earlier. They think shield drones are 30 points. They think the spotter on a Sniper Drone Team has to hit before the drones can fire at a target, and by the way, one of them initially thinks the SDT are armed with plasma rifles. They even seem to be suggesting that you could have Fire Warriors hop out of a Devilfish, rapid fire a target, then hop back in again, which isn't just not knowing the rules for the Tau, it's not knowing the rules of 40K itself. With such shockingly shallow knowledge of the basic rules for the army, it's hard to hold out any hope for a deeper analysis of how to play it.
And indeed, there is none, because these guys absolutely do not understand the roles of basic Tau Empire units. They talk about using S5 pulse weapons and the plasma rifle to threaten light vehicles, and completely miss the missile pod. They're baffled by the Kroot, and apparently by the very concept of terrain, since they worry about armour-less Kroot being "stood in the middle of the board rapid firing your guns." For that matter, they complain that Fire Warriors, "like most of the rest of the army, they need to hide behind a wall," a statement so baffling the only conclusion one can draw is that they exclusively play something like Grey Knights terminator or Blood Angels FNP armies, since everything else out there will want to find cover pretty regularly. Heck, even those armies wouldn't want to just charge across an open field into the face of Lascannons and Krak Missiles! They dismiss Piranhas as being overcosted suicide units, heck, they dismiss the entire fast attack slot as being "pretty poor," strong words for a slot that contains Piranhas, Pathfinders and even the oft-unappreciated Gun Drone squads. Despite their not understanding how SDT shooting works, repeatedly dismissing the value of BS3 in general and even specifically complaining that "their BS is terrible," they think that "arguably these guys are one of the better choices for shooting." They recommend Fish of Fury as a tactic, and they don't even add on the SMS, Targeting Array and Multi-Tracker to get the best possible results. They don't even seem to understand the concept of blocking, complaining that what you really need is "some way of slowing the enemy down in getting to you" and then just shrugging their shoulders and moving on to the next point. Their review gives absolutely no indication that a Tau Empire cadre has any kind of chance at victory, at all, and it pretty much boils down to the fact that these guys have no idea how to play a non-rock Marine army, at all.
Now, I'm not saying there's anything wrong with Marines. Heck, every now and then I find myself contemplating a small strike force to call my own, probably something done up in homage to Gurren Lagann or the Thousand Sons. So don't think I'm disparaging Marines players, in general, here. But these guys, they play like the worst, laziest sorts of Marine players, the kind of guys who just throw Longfang/Grey Hunters or Draigowing or Deathwing on the board and don't really bother to think about things. Sure, 'finesse' is often just a way of excusing poor results and taking credit for lucky breaks, but there is an artistry to a properly executed battle plan. And frankly, listening to these guys talk I can't help but feel they're the sort who play Marines not because they have some particular affinity for a chapter or the overall mythology, but because Marines have a string of 4's in their statline and lots of 3+/2+ saves and big tanks, none of which really force them to put serious thought into the way they play. It's the same sort of lazy mentality as you see in all those min-max netlists that come out whenever a new, high-strength codex hits the shelves. And unsurprisingly, applying it to Tau Empire, or frankly any non-Marine army, is a sure way to get your army killed.
Seriously, guys. Is it really so much to ask that you get someone who knows what they're talking about for these things?