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This week's topic is dedicated to the various special characters that have made appearances in the Tau force, old and new. O'Shovah aka Farsight, Shadowsun, Aun'va, Aun'shi, and even Anghkor Prok - all are open for discussion here!
Do you still field any of the "less official" special characters in friendly games? How do the various special characters hold up under 5th edition rules? Are any of them competitive in nature, or are they purely reserved for friendly games?
What about army themes? Do you run a Farsight Enclave, with or without Farsight himself? What do your lists look like when including a special character; are they just the same lists plus the character, or do you try out new tactics with them?
Anything and everything related to Tau special characters can be discussed here!
My SC experience (confined to vassal mostly) has been experimenting with Farsight himself and Aun'shi. Well farsight isn't really that crash hot, for 170pts he's pricy, only average in assault, mediocre with shooting and his only real buffs are in a Battle cannon me please bodyguard. That being said I have fielded farsight enclaves without him (lots of firewarriors and xv8's), they tend to do well against horde armies, but if more than a few monsters or heavy tanks show up then they crumble against the high T and high AV, the majority of the shots bouncing harmlessly off or missing at a crucial moment. Guard are another pain, with lots of AP3 blasts one lucky shot can obliterate your suits.
They also fair well against MEQ's because the plasma shots blast the toughies and the massed vollies whittle down the troopers.
Aun'shi although not official is my favourite, great at fending off minor characters and backed up with a full kroot squad and shaper is a tough nut to crack for the likes of guants, orks and other medium assault troops. With the charge they can rip into heavy assault troopers as well, and with 5thed if they can corner a tank take that out pretty well (aun'shi with his honour blade and the str 4 kroot on rear armour)
Bearing in mind that Aun'shi was in Codex Tau, a late 3rd ed codex which was Chapter-Approved updated to fit into 4th Ed, there was an entry in this CA update FAQ concerning Aun'shi.
Aun'shi - Aun'shi's Honour blade's ability to parry may only be used against the attacks of an enemy character in base-to-base contact. His Honour Blade counts as a Rending weapon." (Chapter Approved Codex: Tau FAQ V4.0 © GW 2004)
I just thought you might like that last sentence.....
"Tau Commandment #226: Participants who use Velocity Trackers in the Tau Clay Pigeon Tournament will be disqualified"
My one complaint about 40K is its growing reliance upon special characters. I have never ever wanted to field a named/special character, preferring to focus on the grunts. Or at least, the unnamed, less kewltastic HQ choices available.
So from that standpoint, none of the Tau special characters has ever had any appeal for me.
Going beyond that, neither Farsight nor Shadowson appeal to me rules-wise, either. Farsight's only claim to fame is that the can take a huge retinue (wow. how cool.) and has the only power weapon in the army. But he -- and his retinue -- are expensive, are not actually scary in assault, and is just a big target for pie plates.
And shadowsun? Two fusion blasters? wow. how cool.
I have never thought fielding an Ethereal was actually all that fluffy to begin with, so never have. IMHO, Ethereals are too precious to waste on actual combat missions. They are architects and leaders, not commanders. Why would I put any of them in an army list?
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This is my post where I will complain about the Tau special characters. I will complain and complain and complain, and then rant a little. You may of course not read it if you do not like complaining...
The Tau special characters in the most recent codex are crappy and boring. Let me be more specific - They are not effective and they are... boring.
Aun'Va - This guy is pretty pathetic. Not only does he have the same drawbacks as any regular Etheral, namely, the fact that your units will all run away, but in 5th edition his leadership bonus is useless. He gives troops the "stubborn" ability which is not very good. Some people thing he's good in close combat, which he kind of is, but do you really want to take a character like him, who is as expensive as him, into close combat where he will surely die and then your entire army will run away? The only thing I can think to do with him is have him run up the field, commit suicide by assaulting something, and then have a regular ethereal on hand so your units don't run. Now everyone has Preferred enemy and furious charge, and you can assault everything. Of course, why would you want to since Tau units aren't very good in close combat and Kroot don't get the bonuses?
Aun'Va - FAIL.
Farsight - Mediocre in close combat. Mediocre in shooting. Expensive. Restricts some of the best units in the Tau arsenal to a maximum of 1 per army. Hmmm... let me think about this...
Farsight - FAIL.
Shadowsun - Kind of okay for a leadership boost I guess. Stealth field. Two fusion blasters. I guess she could be good to take out vehicles - if she could only get close to them without dying. Expensive.
Shadowsun - SEMI FAIL
When will they bring back Aun'Shi? Or give us characters with kick ass abilities like the marines, Witch Hunters or Eldar have? Sigh.
Last edited by ZenGamer; September 25th, 2008 at 19:49.
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This will only be of interest/benefit to those who actually like Farsight, but keep in mind the new rules for retinues. Its not enough to make me reconsider using him, but should be handy for those who already do.
I don't even bother with fusions on my normal stealth suits, so I fail to see where Shadowsun would fit in my army...
The best thing about an Ethereal would be a BS4 FW bodyguard, but that means you just spent extra points to make a FW unit unable to hold objectives. Not to mention that a unit of FW can get BS increases with markerlights for cheaper than the upgrade points plus Ethereal cost.
Standard Shas'O and Shas'El commanders are our best HQ choices. We get loads of options and reliability for much cheaper than the special characters.
I've toyed with the idea of getting Shas'O R'myr from the FW line. He's gotta be the coolest XV-8 model. I think there's potential for him with some Helios bodyguards. Of course, you could stick with regular O's or El's for cheapness, but I might be willing to pay the points just to field that model.
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The only time i have ever had a use for shadowsun is in a apocalypse games. I bring her and a few fusionblaster suits right up behind enemy landraider spearheads with the flankmarch assest. That works great in my experience but other then that i never use named characters just go with regular HQ suits.
I tend to avoid special characters like the plague, they are seldom worth it and generally have rules that make me wonder WTF?
The Tau special characters are particularly bad, most characters from other army books give bonuses to organisational structure, ours are a detriment. Aun'Va is a particular one I despise, that is a lot of points for an ethereal, can't help to think what you are giving up to have him in your list.
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The only special characters I use or have used are Aun'Shi and Farsight. I loved Aun'Shi, good model, cheap points, decent stats, and beefed up a firewarrior squad. Farsight is also a great model, one of my faves. I like to run a farsight enclave every now and then, just to play something a little different.
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I've found that Anghkor Prok is really good in smaller games. He's real cheap and if you attach him to a unit of carnivores, every one of their close combat misses can be rerolled, which is awesome.
In larger point games, however, he often will get overshadowed, especially considering he takes up an HQ spot that can be devoted to a more useful model.
His only real problem is the controversy with him being able to infiltrate or not. In his special rules it says he must be played exactly as written, but in the kroot rules it says ALL kroot without krootox's can infiltrate. Blah blah blah, most people say he can.
He would be absolutely bad-arsed if he was aloud to take special equipment, like a metla or eviscerator.
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